Chapter 1 : Of Unsolicited Advice
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Though it was the middle of dinner time in the Great Hall, one could have heard the drop of pin. Every ear was anxious to hear the response to the tumultuous display witnessed five seconds previous.
Had it only been five seconds? Lily’s head couldn’t quite wrap around what had just occurred.
A mere 10 minutes earlier, Lily had been rushing to dinner; she was ordinarily extremely timely and organized, however a new book from the library had grabbed her attention so fully that she found herself half an hour late for dinner. Rushing as she was, she failed to notice that the only available seating left at the Gyrffindor table was across from the bane of her existence, James Potter, until it was too late.
She could have passed his self-satisfied grin off as normal behaviour for his ‘good fortune’, save for the fact that the facial expressions of his good friends gave him away.
Remus Lupin sat to Lily’s right; he grimaced at her slightly (in apology?) before turning back to James with a half-hearted double thumbs up.
Peter Pettigrew sat across from him, on James left. He kept throwing awed glances from James, to Lily, to the Slytherin table, and back again.
Sirius Black, Lily recalled noticing only at the end, sat to her left. It was here that the snap of fingers came from.
Lucas Brant, 7th year Slytherin Prefect, stood jerkily from his place at the table. Slowly, others from the Slytherin table followed suit, varied degrees of scowls and grimaces reaching Lily at the Gryffindor table. Brant cleared his throat dramatically before opening his mouth. Then—to everyone’s utter shock, song burst from his lips:
“You’re just too good to be true, James can’t take his eyes off of you. You’d be like heaven to touch, he longs to hold you so much. At long last you have arrived, and he thanks Merlin he’s alive. You’re just too good to be true, he can’t take his eyes off of you!”
Lily notedly kept her own eyes away from James’, but even if she had wanted to spare a glance in his direction, the mayhem erupting from the Slytherin table would have pulled her attention back.
A handful of Slytherin’s provided an acrobatic dance routine, while a choice few (Severus, Lily noticed with a cringe) served as backup vocals to Brant for the chorus.
Brant finished with an embellished flourish. “So let him love you, Lily, let him love you…!”
The Slytherin’s held pose in their final positions, save for all of their faces, trying with all their might to make their bodies listen to their brains. Some were red in the face from the exertion of trying to shake off the spell, but were unable to so much as utter a single word.
As if on choreographed cue, every head in the Great Hall swivelled to Lily to see her reaction.
So there she sat, completely dumbfounded and speechless. Lily took a deep breath.
Everyone leaned in closer.
Lily bit her tongue. She pushed back roughly from the table. In hardly a whisper, glaring daggers at James, she seethed, “whatever that was, take it off them. Now.”
She was out of the Hall before anyone had let out their breath.
* * *
At the Gyffindor table, Remus shoved Sirius to break the spell when he caught sight of a murderous looking McGonagall bee lining for them.
The Slytherin’s snapped out of their hold. Some fell forward because of their precarious stances; others burst forth out of the Great Hall as fast as their legs could carry them.
* * *
Lily looked up, startled, when the door to her empty classroom banged open. Her former best friend, Severus Snape, stood in the doorway looking livid.
“Oh, Sev—“ she began, wiping angry tears from her eyes, but was cut off.
“You need to end this!” His eyes were blazing.
Lily cowered back. She was stung by his tone. Her eyes glistened anew. “I didn’t ask for this!”
“And I did?!?” he yelled back, anger radiating off of him. “End it Lily, I really can’t take anymore of this waiting around!”
“What do you expect me to do?” She shouted back, angry tears spilling from her eyes.
Snape looked taken aback for a moment, but held his stance. He lowered his tone before speaking again. “Make it stop. Just say yes.”
Lily staggered back as though she he had struck her, a disgusted look on her face. “What…?”
Snape lowered his voice more, his head and his eyes likewise. “It’s not just the pranks, Lily… I can’t bear waiting around for it to happen anymore…”
“But—I don’t… that’s not… I—“
“Don’t you see it Lily?” he interrupted, “it’s just…him, “he said the word with loathing. “Potter gets everything he wants… I can already see it.” His eyes took on an angry glint once again.
Lily’s tears ceased, and her temper flared brilliantly in recognition of what he was saying. “Right. And I’m just some possession to be gained? You’re as bad as he is!”
Snape’s hard veneer returned, all trace of friendliness gone. “More like a collectable…” he sneered, “a gold medal on the blood traitor’s mantel.”
Lily’s gaze hardened and she squared her shoulders. “I am not a collectable. But even if I were, it would be better to belong to Potter than to Voldemort.”
Snape cringed at her use of His name.
Lily stared determinedly at the boy in front of her, willing him to deny her accusation.
After a moment, Snape sighed. “I hate him,” he whispered, turning his back on her.
Lily closed her eyes. “Not as much as I hate Him.”
They both knew she was not referring to James.
Snape nodded once, admitting the goodbye of his actions, before heading out the door.
Lily covered her face with her hands, preparing herself to exit the room and go to bed. The awful day, however, refused to admit defeat just yet. She had barely reached the door when she heard Snape’s voice again.
“Don’t push me Potter,” he growled, shoving James roughly out of his way. “You’ve already won, isn’t that enough?”
“Watch yourself, Snivellus, or I won’t take kindly to your tone,” James rebutted, catching sight of Lily.
She noted the momentary glimpse of horror on his face.
“Alright, Evans?” he called, ignoring Snape completely.
Lily looked at Snape once more before he left the corridor. Closing her eyes and sighing heavily, she replied, “can’t you just leave me alone?”
“Lily, I… I didn’t mean… you just look upset,” he stuttered, slowly making his way towards her.
“How would you expect me to respond to that?” Lily gestured as though toward the Great Hall, or perhaps Snape.
“Oh,” was the response.
Lily rolled her eyes before trying to push passed him.
“Lily, I’m sorry! It’s just—it’s the only way I can get your attention. You won’t give me the time of day otherwise!”
She whipped around to face him again. “Gee, I wonder why that is?”
“I honestly don’t know!” James cried out, shaking his head when she mistook his exasperation for cockiness. “I realize I’m far from perfect, but I’m not an arrogant child anymore. Really, Lily, can’t you see that?”
“You’re right, silly me!” Lily crooned sarcastically. “That display before was the most mature thing I’ve ever seen!”
James sighed and quietly responded, “that was a response to a provoked attack, Lily.”
Lily scoffed. “Of course. What was it this time? Did they take ‘your spot’ under the oak tree? Walk down the same corridor as you? Dare to look you in the eye?”
An annoyed look crossed James’ face. “Noooo. Sirius caught them… they were going to… they’re just not good people, Lily, trust me.”
“And who are you to be the judge? With your spotless record?”
“They were planning an attack on the Muggleborns, alright? Sirius stumbled across them—they were ever holding Pete captive to keep it hushed up. That make it clearer for you?” James huffed, looking at her uncomfortably.
“All… all of them were?” Lily questioned, thinking of one Slytherin in particular.
“Yes,” he nodded. “All the ones involved in the—tonight, yes, they were all there.”
Lily blinked; tears stung there, threatening to spill over. She would not let them fall now, not if front of Potter. She shook her head to clear it. “And what did I do to incur that embarrassment?”
James looked taken aback, but then sheepish and apologetic. “That was Sirius as well…thought it was fitting… paying homage to the most respected Muggleborn in the school… it was stupid, I know… don’t know what I was thinking, really…” James finished to himself.
Lily looked down to the Head Girl badge on her chest, then to the gleaming Head Boy badge winking at her from the front of James’ robes. She thought on his words, and those uttered by Snape earlier, and began to mutter obscenities under her breath. “Fine,” she said curtly, furious when James looked up at her with a bewildered expression on his face and she had to explain further. “One date, Potter.”
She wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t witnessed it with her own eyes. The way he burst open with joy at those three little words, his eyes alight and his grin stretched wider than she had ever seen it.
James let out a chuckle. “Right, yeah. One date. Um… two days—Hogsmeade?”
“Whatever.” She rolled her eyes, finally managing to push passed him.
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