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Chapter 8 : Reaction (or Lack Thereof)
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Scarlet hopped off the bench and hurried across the street towards Sirius who didn’t look too surprised to see us there. Sirius set down his trunk while she said something to him. She spoke quietly and Anna and I were too far away to hear what she said.
Scarlet let out a gasp at something Sirius responded and then reached out a hand, placing it comfortingly on his arm.
“Annie, d’you ever wonder if maybe… there’s more between her and Sirius than she’s telling us?” I whispered, leaning towards her.
Anna frowned, running a hand through her corn-silk hair. “I’m not sure…”
“I mean, they grew up together like Sev and I,” I said hastily, my eyes flitting back and forth between Anna and the couple talking under the streetlight. “And everyone thought Sev fancied me. Scar’s put up with a lot of Sirius’s shit over the years… I just wonder if she might fancy him a bit.”
“You’ve put up with all Sev’s shit… d’you fancy him?” Anna raised a sly eyebrow at me and I rolled my eyes.
“Touché,” I replied blandly and Anna laughed quietly.
“Honestly, though?” Anna said quietly, leaning towards me. “I think she might… I asked her about it once, last year. She got really mad at me, told me I was off my rocker if I thought that.”
“Defensive, eh?” I peered over at Scarlet and Sirius who were still talking.
“Really defensive,” Anna nodded.
“Well, if she does like him, I wonder why she’s never told us,” I wondered out loud and Anna clucked her tongue impatiently.
“Isn’t it obvious?” she asked, narrowing her hazel eyes at me. “You and I both know the kind of person Sirius Black is… he’s worse than Potter when it comes to girls. She’s probably embarrassed.”
“Good point…” I chewed on my lip. “But I wish she would tell us. I don’t want her to feel like she has to keep secrets from us.”
“She probably would tell us if we didn’t act like we hated the Marauders so much,” Anna giggled and I let out a snort.
“It’s not acting on my part,” I laughed, tucking my legs up underneath me on the bench. “But I get your point… maybe we could ease up a bit.”
Anna and I looked up as Scarlet and Sirius walked towards us, the latter still dragging his trunk.
“Evening, ladies,” Sirius said breezily to us as if we hadn’t just witnessed his parents kicking him out of the house.
“Are you alright, Sirius?” I asked tentatively, shooting a quick look at Scarlet who just rolled her violet eyes.
To my surprise, Sirius just chuckled and dropped down onto the bench next to me.
“I actually feel better than I have in a long time,” Sirius said, glancing sideways at me with his entrancing silver eyes.
“But…where are you going to go?” Anna asked and I let out a grunt as Scarlet decided sit on top of me, seeing as there was no more room for her on the bench.
Sirius shrugged, seeming completely un-phased by this issue.
“I’m always welcome at the Potter’s. I’ll just head over there,” Sirius said carelessly, ruffling his dark shaggy hair.
“You’re just going to turn up? Isn’t that kind of… rude?” Anna asked, narrowing her eyes at him.
“Ah, you’re right…” Sirius nodded and pulled something square out of his pocket. It looked like a tiny mirror, but what kind of help would that be?
“James?” Sirius said clearly into the mirror, his breath fogging up the surface.
I stared at him incredulously. Was he expecting it to talk back to him or something? Had Sirius Black finally gone insane?
“What’s up?” Potter’s voice answered from the mirror and I gasped as I saw Potter’s face appear in the tiny mirror.
“Parents finally chucked me out. Can I crash at your place?” Sirius said casually into the mirror as if it were perfectly normal.
“ ’Course,” Potter answered, sounding slightly surprised. “I’ll just let mum and dad know… they’ll be ecstatic. They’ve been asking about you all summer. You coming tonight, then?”
“Yeah, I’ll catch the Knight Bus,” Sirius answered, gazing down the street. “I’m with Scarlet, Evans, and Doucette right now.”
Sirius flashed the mirror towards us and Scarlet gave a quick wave at Potter’s small reflection. I rolled my eyes and shifted uncomfortably beneath Scarlet. My legs were starting to go numb.
“Alright, Evans?” Potter jerked his head cockily at me and I stuck my tongue out childishly at him.
“See you in a bit,” Sirius said, tilting the mirror back towards himself and then shoving it back in his pocket.
It was hard to believe that he was so calm after what just happened with his family. I think I’d be falling to pieces if my parents disowned me.
“You have a two-way mirror with Potter?” Anna giggled, idly braiding a small section of her blond hair.
“It’s ok to be jealous,” Sirius shrugged haughtily, a playful twinkle in his eyes. “We use it to keep in touch during the summer, chat during separate detentions, you know, that kind of thing.”
“Er… bromance much?” Scarlet giggled, and I let out another grunt as she accidentally elbowed me in the ribs.
“Excuse me?” Sirius choked, turning towards us.
“You two kind of act like you’re in love,” I explained to him.
“We are in love,” Sirius frowned, his eyes flitting between us. “Just in a manly kind of way.”
“That’s a bromance,” Scarlet, Anna, and I said together, laughing.
“You’re just jealous,” Sirius sniffed, shoving himself off the bench. “Now if you don’t mind, I have a Knight Bus to catch…”
Sirius thrust out his right arm which was still clutched around his wand and Scarlet hopped off me as a loud screeching sounded down the street, a purple blur streaking around the corner.
“Take care of yourself, alright?” Scarlet said quietly, trotting over to where he stood at the curb. She threw her arms around him and he gently hugged her back.
"Owl me when you've made it to James's?" Scarlet requested, letting her arms rest idly around his neck.
"I will," Sirius nodded and Scarlet unwound her arms from around him. She quickly brushed a hand across her cheeks where I saw tears twinkling in the light from the street lamps.
Sirius caught her hand where it lingered by her face, reaching up with his other hand to wipe away one last stray tear.
"Hey," Sirius said quietly, leaning towards her. "Everything'll be alright. I promise. I'll see you in a few days."
Anna and I exchanged a meaningful look as Sirius kissed her quickly on the cheek before the Knight bus veered around the corner, halting abruptly in front of the pair.
The conductor hopped down the steps, snatching up Sirius’s trunk and he followed him onto the bus, waving at us quickly before he disappeared. In the blink of an eye, the triple-decker purple bus had disappeared around the corner.
Scarlet walked slowly back to us, her face unreadable but it was easy to figure out where her thoughts were. Her oldest friend, the boy she'd grown up with, and possibly the boy she fancied, no longer lived a few houses down from her.
Looks like my life wasn’t the only one changing this year…
* * * *
“I overheard Hannah Sanders telling Olivia Collins that she overheard Professor Kettleburn saying that we have to go into the forest and capture a Gytrash this year,” Anna said knowingly before taking a sip of her coffee.
“Oh, well if Hannah Sanders said it, it must be true,” Scarlet said, her voice rich with sarcasm. Anna glared at her.
We were sitting at a round table outside the Whitecrow Café in Diagon Alley. It was quite early in the morning and the streets were still relatively empty. I had somehow managed to convince Anna and Scarlet to head out early to avoid the swarms of students in the afternoon…but in reality, it was because I wanted to get the best copies of our schoolbooks…
“Professor Kettleburn said we’d be doing Gytrashes in our N.E.W.T.s, so I actually wouldn’t be too surprised,” I said, watching the early morning light stream down in dusty rays around us.
“Yeah, but I don’t think they’ll have us romping off to the forest to capture one,” Scarlet said realistically, lifting her steaming coffee mug to her lips.
“Either way, I’m just excited to finally start on all of those things the teachers have been hinting at for years would show up on our N.E.W.T.S.” I said, a smile playing at my lips. “Professor Slughorn told me after the exam last year that we would be doing Veritaserum this year.”
“You would be excited to do all the difficult stuff,” Scarlet chuckled, rolling her brilliant blue eyes. “It’s a breeze for you, but it means a whole lot of extra work for us average students.”
“You’re not average, Scar,” I contradicted, glancing at her over the top of my mug. “You know you’re just as smart as I am… you don’t apply yourself.”
“Thank you, mum. But honestly Lily, I wouldn’t be as smart at you even if I did apply myself and do the extra work,” Scarlet said fervently and Anna nodded.
“I don’t know how you do it,” Anna mused. “You remember things from first year that I don’t even think the teachers remember.”
“I know,” I said, a smile creeping onto my face. “Which is why I’m going to try to relax a bit this year… you know, not kill myself over classes, have some fun?”
There was silence for a moment and I looked up to see Scarlet gazing open-mouthed at Anna, her eyes wide with surprise.
“You know, Annie, I think she’s been confunded,” Scarlet laughed, turning her sapphire eyes on me.
“I haven’t been confunded!” I laughed. “Look, I just… it’s our 6th year and I want to make the most of it, you know, before N.E.W.T.s really take over our lives.”
“What brought all this on?” Scarlet asked, narrowing her violet eyes at me.
“It’s not… This isn’t because of Alex, is it?” Anna asked carefully.
I winced at the mention of Alex.
“Well, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t start with that…” I said slowly but held up a hand to stop my friends from interrupting. “But it’s not what you think.”
Scarlet and Anna exchanged a meaningful look that I didn’t miss.
“Over the summer I did a lot of thinking and some of the things Alex said were true,” I continued and was immediately met with angry glares from my friends.
“Not everything,” I contradicted quickly. “I just mean they had a bit of truth to them. He said I took things too seriously, so maybe it wouldn’t kill me to lighten up a bit… oh, stop it Annie. You know it’s true,” I hissed as Anna sputtered angrily.
“So you’re going to… what, come to parties with us this year?” Scarlet asked, her lips turning up at the corners as if she expected me to scoff at this idea too.
“When have you ever gone to parties before?” I asked and Scarlet frowned at me.
“The Marauders? They always invite us, and so far you have yet to join us at all,” Scarlet raised her eyebrows at me, her mouth twitching in a smile. “And the Quidditch party last year doesn’t count because you stay for a grand total of six minutes.”
“Scar, this is Lily we’re talking about….you know she won’t want to go to real parties,” Anna said, trying to suppress her own smile, her butterscotch eyes drifting between Scarlet and I.
“And for the record, I don’t avoid the Marauder parties because I don’t want to drink,” I clarified, narrowing my eyes at Scarlet. “I avoided them because I hate a good majority of the Marauders.”
“But you’re going to lighten up, right? So why not start with the Marauders,” Scarlet challenged me and I knew she was just trying to see if I was actually serious about easing up on everything. But I also wondered why she was so insistent on me getting along with the Marauders…
“That’s kind of a tall order seeing as I can’t even get through one conversation with Potter without one of us hexing the other,” I said, raising my eyebrows at her. “And why do you care so much?”
“Because the Marauders party a lot, and look how happy they are! They must be doing something right, you know?,” Scarlet shrugged. “If you actually want to have fun this year, I’m just trying to point out that getting along with the Marauders will make that a whole lot easier.”
“She has a point, Lils,” Anna said quietly, raising an eyebrow at me and I recalled our conversation from the other night concerning Scarlet and a certain Marauder.
“I have to get along with the Marauders?” I asked meekly, hoping they would think of an easier way for me to prove how laid back I could be this year.
“Yes,” they said together and I sank back into my chair, defeated.
“Fine…” I sighed. “I’ll try. But if I end up hexing Potter into oblivion, you can’t say I didn’t warn you….”
“Excellent,” Scarlet smirked as she tossed a few galleons on the small table and followed Anna and I away from the café and down the street.
“This is going to be an interesting year…” Anna mused, looping her arm through mine as we made our way to Flourish and Blotts.
* * * *
The bookstore was mostly empty when we arrived which meant that we were able to get the best copies of all our books as I had hoped. I may be loosening up, but that didn’t mean I still didn’t look forward to school shopping. Scarlet had found a new book on her favorite Quidditch team and Anna was absorbed in a book on exotic magical creatures from Asia.
I had found the Charms sections and was just about to immerse myself in a book on advanced charms when I heard footsteps behind me.
“Well, well well,” A smooth voice behind me said and I turned wearily to see Potter leaning casually against the shelves at the end of the row. “Look who took a trip to the beauty parlor this summer. Why the new look, Evans?”
I sighed heavily, crossing my arms. The only difference in my looks since the previous year was that I had started wearing my hair down all the time now instead of in my usual ponytail.
Stupid Potter. I didn’t need to go to a salon to take a hair-tie out of my hair.
“Just wanted something different,” I shrugged, trying desperately to remember newly adopted philosophy of not taking everything so seriously… including Potter. Especially Potter….
Potter stared at me suspiciously for a moment, his bright hazel eyes narrowed to slits behind his glasses. He seemed taken aback by my lack of reaction to him.
“Don’t you read enough in class? You’re seriously the only person I know who does extra reading,” Potter nodded towards the bookshelves, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Some people just like reading,” I said calmly. It was taking a very great amount of self-control to be civil to him.
He stared at me, his mouth slightly open, as if he wasn’t sure if he’d heard me correctly. I smiled slightly at the look on his face. It was pretty amusing to see him look so unnerved like this.
“Why aren’t you yelling at me?” Potter finally asked his brow furrowed in frustration.
“You haven’t done anything for me to yell about,” I shrugged, and with a jolt I realized how true it was. Merlin, I really had been too uptight before...
Potter narrowed his eyes at me disbelievingly and I heard footsteps approaching the end of the row. Without even a backward glance, Potter aimed his wand behind him just as a figure appeared between the stacks.
The poor unsuspecting victim, who I recognized as a fifth year Ravenclaw, barely had time to react before Potter’s silent spell hit his feet. The Ravenclaw’s legs struck up a kind of speedy jig as the spell collided with him.
“What the hell? Who did that?! Make it stop!” The Ravenclaw boy sputtered angrily, bending over to try and hold his feet still.
Potter shrugged innocently at the boy and pointed towards me.
The boy looked furiously at me and with an apologetic flick of my wand, I lifted the spell. The boy cursed under his breath at me and hurried away.
Potter turned back towards me, an expectant grin plastered on his face.
“That was quite a good silent spell you just did there,” I smiled serenely back at him and watched with satisfaction as his grin faded. I mean, it was impressive… we hadn’t even learned silent spells in class yet.
“What the hell, Evans! Why aren’t you tearing me a new one?” Potter burst angrily, his arms flailing as he pushed himself away from the bookcase.
“Are you actually mad that I’m not yelling at you?” I asked pleasantly. This whole easing up thing was becoming more and more fun by the second. Why hadn’t I tried this sooner? It was definitely worth breaking a few dozen school rules to see Potter this aggravated.
“No, just confused…” Potter said slowly, as if he were trying to think of things that would warrant a normal reaction from me.
“How’s the boyfriend?” He asked and I scowled darkly. That was hitting below the belt and he knew it, but I wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction of pissing me off…
“Potter, you know we broke up,” I said sweetly, trying to disguise my anger as indifference.
“You’re really not going to yell at me, are you?” Potter smiled, amusement lighting up his eyes.
I shook my head steadily, making myself remain calm even though every fiber of my being was longing to give him a good smack on the head.
“Dumbledore’s asked me to take over as Prefect this year,” He announced triumphantly, smiling as though he was sure he had won.
“What about Remus?” I asked, surprised by the news. He had done a perfectly good job as a Prefect and I couldn’t imagine why Dumbledore would sack him.
“Moony stepped down himself,” Potter shrugged.
I didn’t say anything to that. I would have to ask Remus about that later. I liked doing patrols with him, he was a good person to talk to. He had such a calming presence… I wonder why he stepped down?
“Aren’t you happy though?” Potter asked, a triumphant smile tugging at his lips. “Now we get to do patrols together.”
I grit my teeth, letting all the things I longed to say pulse silently through my head. How could Dumbledore have picked that…that git as a Prefect!? Was the whole fucking world out to get me? How on earth was I supposed to endure an entire year of meetings and patrols with him!? Of all the reckless, irresponsible, trouble-making, womanizing prats, Dumbledore had to go and pick HIM.
“How nice,” I finally said, hoping that he didn’t notice the slight strain in my voice.
“Oh, come on!” Potter whined, breaking his victorious composure. “I thought I had you with that one.”
“You almost did,” I admitted, still smiling pleasantly at him.
“So what happened, then?” Potter asked, sounding like a sulking child.
I shrugged, finding it easier and easier to put off this ‘who cares’ attitude.
“I guess I just don’t see the point in getting mad about things that are beyond my control,” I said, realizing again that it was true. Potter continued to stare at me skeptically. “Look, I’m just trying lighten up a bit this year… have a little fun?”
“Seriously, have you been hit with a Confundu-“
“I’m not confunded!” I burst angrily, as Potter let out a laugh.
“Ah, there’s the temper,” he flashed a heart-stopping smile at me that luckily I was still immune to.
“Ok, I’m leaving now,” I said, turning away from him, but a hand shot out and pulled my arm, turning me back towards him.
“Wait!” Potter said, chuckling lightly. “I have to know, are just messing with my head or are you seriously not going to chew me out for hexing that Ravenclaw back there?”
“Why would I chew you out?” I asked, shrugging. “It was funny.”
“Go out with me, Evans,” Potter said, not skipping a beat.
I let out a snort of laughter. “Never.”
“Oh thank Merlin, it is you. I was worried for a minute,” Potter said with mock concern. “But come on, you can’t give me the I-don’t-date-Hogwarts-boys excuse anymore. Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t give it a go.”
“Because I hate you,” I said simply, turning towards him. “And you hate me. That feeling, at least, is mutual. Why you insist on asking me out every minute of the day is completely beyond me.”
“Haven’t you ever heard? Opposites attract,” Potter smiled coyly. “And I don’t hate you… I just don’t understand you, and frankly its quite amusing to see how angry you get every time I ask you out. ”
“Oh, well then in that case, pick me up at seven,” I said, pretending to swoon.
“Now, now. No need for the sarcasm,” He chuckled appreciatively.
“You know, you’d think my constantly rejecting you would deflate your head a bit,” I said, glancing over at Potter, who was still leaning casually against the bookshelf next to me.
“Hm? Sorry, I missed that. I caught sight of myself in that mirror. I’m having an amazing hair day, aren’t I?” Potter said, gazing through the rows of books at an antique mirror mounted on the wall.
“My god, you’re humble,” I muttered, thoroughly irritated now.
“Who’s being humble? It can’t be James…” A voice floated around the corner to us. Sirius Black appeared at the end of the row, his dark hair brushed casually away from his stunning face. He was flanked closely by Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.
“We were wondering where you’d disappeared to, Prongs,” Remus said, barely looking up from the book he was reading.
“Evans,” Sirius smiled cheekily at me, his eyes briefly flitting down, then back up to my face. I felt myself blush slightly at his inspection. “What happened to you? Did you accidentally walk into a salon thinking it was the library?”
I scowled darkly at him, clenching my teeth together.
“Don’t bother, Sirius,” Potter chuckled. “You won’t get a rise out of her.”
“Is that so?” Sirius’s silver eyes glimmered mischievously.
“Yep,” Potter said, leaning against the bookshelves next to Sirius. “I hexed a Ravenclaw right in front of her and you know what she did?”
Sirius waited for him to continue, his eyes flitting to my face again briefly.
“She complimented me on my silent spell,” Potter chuckled, shaking his head like he still didn’t believe it.
“You’re kidding me,” Sirius said, staring at me in disbelief. He leaned closer to Potter and said quietly, “You sure she hasn’t been confun—“
“I’m not bloody confounded!” I shrieked and heard the entire store go silent at my outburst.
The Marauders dissolved into laughter and I glared murderously at them.
I harrumphed and stomped past them towards where Scarlet and Anna were waiting just outside in the street for me.
“See you on the train!” Potter called after me and I fought back a smile as the image of the Ravenclaw’s flailing feet danced before me…
A/N: Hurray! A new chapter! So now Sirius has officially run away, or been kicked out, whichever you want, James is still the same arrogant and annoying Marauder that we all know and love, and Lily's going to try and be more laid back this year... hmmm gonna be an interesting year, eh?
Anyways, I'm loving all the wonderful reviews from you guys! You have no idea how happy they make me! I'd love to know what you thought of this chapter! Leave a review and make me smile :)
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