Chapter 6 : Chapter 6 - Midnight Wanderings
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A/N: This chapter is a lot more melodramatic than any of the previous chapters, and I don’t know if I’ve gone slightly over board? You’ll see what I mean.
P.S. Disclaimer: Everything belongs to J.K.Rowling, and I don’t own Slartibardfast, he is a character belonging to Douglas Adams. I just thought his name was too cool not to use. Hehe.
“Potter, will you just let me go?” I shrieked as many heads turned to look at me.
“Not until you hear me out Evans,” he said, his grip on my hand tightened so that there was no way of escape.
I was stuck. With Potter. Alone.
Merlin, why do you hate me so much?
He plonked me down unceremoniously in chair at the back of the room as he sat opposite me.
“Well,” I said, “what is it?”
He looked over his shoulder to check that no one was listening in to the conversation and then inclined his head towards me. For a moment I thought that he was going to try and kiss me, and my hand was poised, ready to dive into my pocket to grab my wand so I could hex him like I had promised to, should he make another move on me.
But to my surprise when he opened his lips, his voice was soft, gentle, almost loving. The old bravado was gone, and in its place was left a humble James with such depth to his eyes that I felt I could see through him, to the real boy behind the loud, obnoxious façade.
“Please Lily, I’ve loved you since the moment I met you. Why won’t you give us a chance?”
I didn’t want to reply, I couldn’t. It seemed like one more no would break him, and some small part of me didn’t want to hurt him, not when he was being so sincere and honest. Instead, I tore my eyes away from his and gazed down to my feet, absent-mindedly picking at a loose thread on my jumper.
“Because? Lily, ‘because’ isn’t good enough,” he said earnestly grabbing my hands forcing me to look at him.
“Do you want the truth Potter? The truth is I don’t know. I don’t know why we’re not supposed to be together, we just aren’t ok? We’re at two opposite ends of the spectrum, we are just too different. It would never work!”
I really thought that I had done it. He let go of my hands and turned his face away from me.
But I was wrong. When he turned back, his sincere and humble appearance had gone and he was back to the egotistical, irritating prick he had always been.
“I know what it is,” he said drumming his fingers on the table and leaning back in his chair with a smug smile on his face, “you’re scared.”
“Scared of what exactly?” I said, my eyes narrowed trying to figure out where he was going with this.
“Taking a chance, being impulsive, actually living for once rather than following your head all the time and leading a boring life.”
“I’m not boring!” I cried outraged. “Just because I don’t go pulling pranks all over the school and breaking rules does not mean that I’m a boring person!”
“Ok then… tell me what was the last interesting thing you did?”
I sat for a moment thinking. I mean there has to be something, surely I can’t be that boring… can I?
“Umm,” I said now resorting to making something up just so that I could prove him wrong (or at least pretend to).
“That’s what I thought,” James said triumphantly, “you can’t think of anything because you have always been to scared to do anything impulsive.”
“I am not scared, I can be impulsive if I want to be!” I exclaimed defiantly.
“Alright then. Prove it,” he said leaning towards me, mischief flashing in his eyes.
“W-what do you want me to- to do?” I asked tentatively. I was determined to show James that I wasn’t scared, but I didn’t like the look in his eyes and I wasn’t sure what he was going to ask me to do. I hoped it wouldn‘t be dangerous, but I wouldn’t put it past him.
“Excuse me?” I asked incredulously.
“Kiss me,” he repeated simply, “unless you’re too scared…” He let the words hang in the air as he held my gaze steadily silently daring me to do it.
“Ok,” I whispered. I couldn’t believe I was falling for this, actually giving in to James Potter’s will? But my shear determination to prove him wrong over-powered me as I leaned in to kiss him.
He seamed taken aback for a moment, but that vanished quickly as he leaned in as well.
Our lips were inches away from each other.
I was really starting to regret this.
I couldn’t turn back now…
“YOU LITTLE SLUT!” someone screamed from behind me.
The whole pub went silent. I froze as did Potter and we wheeled around to see what the commotion was, realising only too late that it was me being shouted at.
Anna Bradley was towering over our table looking murderous, and skulking behind her, looking as if Christmas had come early was Amber.
“How dare you fool around with my boyfriend while you know perfectly well he’s going out with me, but then I come and find you about to make out with Potter as well?! Tell me Evans do you have any self restraint?”
I sat there shocked. What could have given her that idea? “What?” I stammered utterly bemused, “I wasn’t fooling around with anyone! Who’s boyfriend?”
“Oh don’t play the fool with me Lily Evans. We both know that you and Charlie have been getting it on in the library, every Sunday for the past month!”
The pub was deathly quiet, everyone was staring wide-eyed at Anna and me. I noticed Charlotte and Mollie, who had been making their way back to the table were stood stock still. Mollie had evidently slopped half of the Butter Beer down her front in surprise.
Before I knew it, I was on my feet shouting as well, how could she accuse me of such things, she barely even knew me? “I certainly have not been ‘getting it on’ with Charlie. I’m his tutor for God’s sake! Who told you that?”
“Amber!” cried Anna, pointing an accusing finger directly behind her to where Amber stood. “She said she saw you last week with him all cosy under the tree by the lake.”
So I guess this was it. Publicly humiliate me in front of a large majority of the school and get me given the title of ‘school slut’. Great one Amber, really original; it must be the oldest trick in the book (apart from spreading a rumour that you are actually gay- but no one believes those kind of rumours any way).
“Oh please, do you really believe everything that Amber says? And why didn’t you have the decency to actually ask me if this was true before you came and shouted at me in front of all these people?” I yelled.
“I didn’t need to ask you, I know it’s true, I had hard cold evidence,” shrieked Anna, who was red in the face and who’s voice had risen to a deafening pitch,
“Like what exactly” said Potter standing up glaring at Anna.
“Shh. Sit down” said somebody from within the crowd, but I ignored this.
“Then tell us: where did you go every Sunday? And why was it that Charlie would always come out of the library looking so pleased with himself huh?” said Amber with a sneer worthy of Lucius Malfoy.
“Nobody asked for you to speak Amber,” said Potter who was obviously determined to defend me like some knight in shining amour, possibly hoping that I would fall into his arms in gratitude. Like that’s going to happen.
I took a deep breath, trying to steady myself so I wouldn’t shout again. But before I could even open my mouth, Charlotte did the thing I’ve wanted to do since second year.
She walked right over and slapped Amber. Full in the face. With everyone watching.
Did I mention it was full in the face?! That girl has gone officially crazy.
No one said anything. We were all staring from Amber to Charlotte and back again as if we were watching a tennis match.
Amber just stood there rooted to the spot, a dazed expression on her face as if she couldn’t quite comprehend what had just happened. But then I then again, I think none of us could.
After a moment Charlotte seemed to come to her senses, and realising what she had just done, turned tail and ran from the pub.
I stood for a moment stunned, then quickly left after Charlotte, leaving a murderous looking Amber and a very shocked pub in my wake.
Outside, the wind whipped my face and I had to wrap my coat tightly around me. The street was mostly deserted, nobody wanted to stay outside too long and so most of the stores were jam- packed. This made it easy to spot Charlotte who was sitting on the pavement not far away staring into nothingness.
“What the hell?” I shrieked as I reached Charlotte, but she ignored this question and carried on staring. By this time Mollie had also left the Three Broomsticks and was making her way over towards us.
“Bloody hell Charlotte, have you gone fucking insane?” cried Mollie when she reached where I was stood, but again she ignored what we said.
There was the bang of a door and I glanced over my shoulder to see the marauders sauntering up the street towards us from the Three Broomsticks.
“Charlotte, what was that in there?” asked Sirius half laughing as he, Remus and Potter had all joined us. Remus looked rather bemused, but Potter just looked down right scared. And I think I would be too if I were him. Charlotte had always been the quiet, sweet one, if anyone were to slap somebody my bet would have been on Mollie, not Charlotte.
“I don’t know, I sort of just lost control. Shit, she’s going to kill me in my sleep! What am I going to do?” moaned Charlotte gazing down at her hands.
“Well duh, of course she’s going to kill you!” said Mollie.
“Not helping the situation,” I whispered in her ear.
“I think we’d better get you up to the castle before you slap anyone else,” said Sirius good humouredly, heaving her off the pavement and on to her feet. She leaned on his arm for a moment before beginning to make her way slowly up the street with Sirius’ arm wrapped around her waist.
Somehow, I managed to find myself at the back of the procession with Potter.
Why is it that bad things always seem to happen to good people?
“So you aren’t actually going out with Charlie are you?” Potter asked cautiously.
I had had enough of Potter and without saying anything in response to him, I sped up to walk with Mollie and Remus.
News in this school seemed to travel like wild fire, by the time we were sitting down for dinner almost the whole school was talking about what happened in the Three Broomsticks.
Both Charlotte and I were too humiliated to feel like eating anything and only Mollie seemed to have an appetite (she also compensated for the lack of food on our plates by helping herself to third portions of steak and kidney pie).
“It was like a proper bitch slap,” said one excitable third year over dinner to the crowd of eager listeners around her.
Charlotte heaved a sigh and said exasperatedly to Mollie and me, “C’mon lets go. I don’t want to have to listen to this any more.”
“But… but… I’m not finished yet!” protested Mollie who was only half way through the mountain of food on her plate.
Yet Charlotte was obviously not listening; she had already pushed away her plate and was getting up from her seat.
“You can always get something later,” I told her quietly as I stood up to follow Charlotte. Grumbling, Mollie reluctantly followed us out of the hall and up the marble stair case towards Gryffindor tower.
“Vogone” I muttered to the Fat Lady as she swung aside to let us in. Luckily, there were very few people in the common room as most were down at dinner so we took the comfy armchairs by the fire.
“It will pass soon enough,” I said consolingly patting Charlotte on the knee, “you’ll see. By tomorrow they’ll all be talking about something else.”
“Then why do you care so much?” asked Mollie.
“I don’t care about what they say,” said Charlotte quietly. “I suppose I’m just shocked at myself. I had always thought that I would feel better if I did something like that to Amber, but I don’t. I just feel as if I’ve sunk to her level.”
“Have you ever spread horrid rumours about people, told lies, or stolen any ones boyfriend?” said Mollie pointedly.
“Well then, you haven’t sunk to her level, and I don’t thing you ever will,” she said smiling at Charlotte who gave a weak grin in return.
After a while Charlotte turned to me with a mischievous smile, “so what was going on with you and Potter before Anna so rudely interrupted you?” she asked wiggling her eyebrows.
“Nothing,” I said evasively. I had been afraid that they would ask me about this, and I was not about to let them think that there was anything between us. They had both spent far too long during fifth and sixth year trying to get us together. Having said that, you’d have thought that their ‘master plans’ would have improved over time, but they usually consisted of locking us together in a broom cupboard. Needless to say, those plans never worked.
“A likely story…” said Mollie slyly. They had both leaned in towards me, and I could tell from the looks on their faces that they were not just going to accept ‘nothing’ as an answer.
“Fine,” I sighed exasperatedly, “if you must know, Potter said that the only reason that I didn’t want to be with him is because I’m scared of taking a risk and living on the wild side for once rather than being boring. So to prove to him that I am most definitely not boring, I was going to kiss him.”
There was silence for a moment before they both erupted into laughter. I couldn’t understand it. What was so funny? “What are you both laughing at?” I asked, rather hurt that they found that fact that James Potter called me boring so hilarious.
“It’s just that, Lily… he knows you better…than you know yourself, and you won’t admit it.” gasped Mollie in-between bouts of laughter.
“Well I’m glad that laughing at me has lifted your spirits,” I snapped at Charlotte, who was now looking jubilant. “Can I be of any other service to you perhaps?” I added sarcastically, just for good measure.
“I know of something that will lift your spirits even higher,” came a voice from right behind the armchair making us all jump in shock.
Sirius Black strode around the chairs and stood in from of the fire, facing us. “Well you know how amazing all the Marauder parties are?” he began.
“Yes,” chorused Charlotte and Mollie at the same time I said, “No.”
“Ohh Lily you should at least come to one, they’re so much fun!” said Charlotte excitedly turning to me at the prospect of another party.
“Huh,” Sirius gave a nervous laugh and ruffled his hair looking uncomfortable but composed himself quickly, “well, Prongs, Mooney and … I mean the marauders and I were wondering … seeming as it’s our last year here… if you, Charlotte, would like to, I don’t know… if you would like to share a birthday party with me?” he gushed. “I mean our birthdays are close together and… it might be fun.”
“I’d love to!” she cried positively beaming, all memories of this afternoon forgotten as she leapt up from the sofa and ran to hug him. Sirius patted her awkwardly on the shoulder but looked pleased none the less.
“Is that what you were talking about last week?” I asked as Sirius looked confusedly at me from over Charlotte’s shoulder. “Down by the lake. You said that you had little over a month to plan it?”
“Oh, right, yes that’s what we were talking about.” he replied suddenly realising what I was talking about. “How did you know?”
I didn‘t want to tell him that I had been sitting under the tree with Charlie, the awful memories of the Three Broomsticks flooding back to me so instead I mumbled “I had been outside, needed a walk…” Sirius nodded in response, but my embarrassment was saved as Charlotte said, “Now Lily, there’s no way you can get out of going to this party as it’s mine as well!” as she disentangled herself from Sirius, a broad smile still plastered to her face.
Urgh. I clutched my hands to my stomach as it rumbled loudly again. I was quite surprised that it hadn’t woken anyone up actually. I glanced over to the clock on my bedside table which read one in the morning.
It had been rather late before we had gotten into bed as Charlotte had insisted on going over ideas for the party. Mollie had been all for ‘bouncy castle themed’ before I pointed out that there was no way we could possibly bring a bouncy castle into Hogwarts and that the marauders would probably not take too kindly to that idea.
I tried to silence the noise of my stomach by rolling over, but it was no use, my stomach was determined to be heard. I seriously regretted not having anything to eat at dinner as now the thought of those pies and pastries were making my mouth water.
“Mollie, are you still awake?” I whispered to the bed next to me, “do you want to get something to eat?”
She mumbled something that sounded like ‘Slartibardfast’ which I took to mean no.
Figuring that there was no point waiting till morning as I might die of hunger, I crept lightly out of the room and down to the common room. But to my surprise there was somebody there.
Keeping out of sight, I watched as they moved in amongst the shadows until a patch of moonlight fell across their face. “Sirius?” I asked, “what are you doing up?”
“Couldn’t sleep,” he said as he walked fully out of the shadows and faced me, “you?”
“Hungry,” we stood there for a moment unsure of what to say.
“I know of where to get some food you know,” he mentioned pulling from a pocket in his pyjama bottoms what looked like an old piece of parchment.
“Where?” I asked as my tummy gave another, louder rumble.
Chuckling, as I wrapped my arms over my stomach to keep it from gurgling again, he drew his wand and strode to the portrait hole opening it for me.
“I hope you know what time it is?” cried the Fat Lady indignantly having just been woken up by him.
“Yes we do, and we’ll be back soon so don’t go back to sleep!” he said over his shoulder as we hurried down the corridor.
“The cheek…” I heard her grumble, before she swung closed again. When we reached the end of the corridor, Sirius took the piece of parchment and, muttering under his breath, tapped it with his wand.
“Where are you taking me?” I asked.
“But you know we aren’t supposed to be out of bed after hours! What if we get caught?” I started to panic at the thought of Filch finding us here.
“And has that ever stopped me before?” Sirius asked raising his eyebrows. I didn’t reply, I was still unsure about wandering the castle at night, but as my stomach gave another lurch I followed him around a corner and down another passage.
We made our way silently through the castle, Sirius occasionally checking this piece of parchment and me, hands over my torso, glancing back over my shoulder every few seconds to make sure that there were no teachers around.
“Evans will you stop that?” said Sirius with an irritated expression after I had whipped my head around for what must have been the fiftieth time, “I’d know if anyone was coming, and we’re almost there now.”
“How do you know where the kitchens are? And why do you keep looking at that piece of old parchment?”
“ ‘Piece of old parchment?’ This,” he said holding it up and illuminating it with his wand so that I could see tiny black dots spattered across it, “is a map of the whole school and everybody in it.”
“But how did you… how…?” I stammered utterly dumbfounded.
“How did we get it?” he asked finishing my sentence for me, “we made it. This,” he said proudly, “is a Money, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs original product. But you mustn’t tell anybody, it’s top secret,” he added stowing the map away in his pocket as we rounded the corner, and came to face a painting of a bowl of fruit.
“Will you do the honours?” asked Sirius pointing to the painting.
“What do you want me to do?” Surely this wasn’t the entrance to the kitchens, and even if it was how did Sirius expect me to be able to get in? Was there a password like there is for Gryffindor Tower?
“Just tickle the pear,” he said. The pear squirmed and to my surprise it morphed into a large green door handle. Sirius prised the door open and I just had time to glimpse a large room full of pots and pans with house elves scurrying everywhere before I heard movements behind me.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” came the leering voice of Argus Filch behind us.
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