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Chapter 55 : So Close and Yet So Far
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Author's Note: Hello all. I know it's been a while, but it started to bug me that I didn't give these characters closure. So, working from the outline I still had, I filled in some snippets of their lives. I hope to have, as the final piece of the story, three parts; the rest of their sixth year, their seventh year, and their lives after Hogwarts. This is the first part.
James sidled up to Lily, barely giving her a glance before returning his attention to the boy. "What's going on here, Snape? You trying to pull something?"
Lily rolled her eyes and gave him a slight shove. "Lighten up James. We're just having a conversation. A perfectly normal social interaction; nothing to be concerned about. Snape here was just… helping me out with something."
Snape sullenly glared at James. "Yeah, Potter, don't get your knickers in a twist. See you around, Evans." With that, the boy melted into the shadows of the bookcases and was gone.
Lily chuckled a bit, then turned to face James. He was staring at her now, as if to determine for himself that Snape hadn't done anything. Those intense chocolate brown eyes were scrutinizing her so closely that Lily felt her neck begin to flush. Really, eyes like those were dangerous on a boy, especially one so charming as James Potter. If she wasn't careful, she'd begin to fall for those eyes (even more than she had already admitted to herself.) "Really, James, Severus wasn't doing anything wrong. In fact, he's been trying to do things right."
"What is that supposed to mean?" James asked suspiciously.
"Snape actually tried to warn me about the attack, James. He was trying to help."
"And just how did he know about this attack, exactly?"
"He said he overheard it in the common room-" Lily tried to explain but was cut off.
"Oh, Lily, come on! He 'heard about it?' Look, I know you used to be close to the guy, but why can't you see the obvious? He's one of them."
Lily was taken aback, but quickly regained her senses… and her anger. "You have no right to say that about him! Absolutely no evidence! Why can't you just accept the fact that he isn't the guy you try to make him out to be?"
James's face grew stony. "Look, Lily, I don't want you to see him again. He could be dangerous. I think he is dangerous."
Lily could almost feel the heat shooting out of her eyes. "Are you forbidding me from seeing him again? You have no right! We're friends, Potter. Just like you and I used to be." With that, Lily spun around and stalked out of the library, leaving James behind with his fists and jaw clenched tightly.
Still red-faced, Peter crouched in an alcove at the end of a long, deserted corridor. The Slytherin who had cursed him in front of the entire Transfiguration class waiting outside their classroom. And the boy had been two years his junior! Peter hadn't even had the chance to raise his wand before he felt his ears growing, sagging below his shoulders, then his elbows. Amidst the jeering laughter, he had fled to the Hospital for a quick remedy. And now he was all alone to let his hopelessness wash over him. Suddenly, footsteps.
"Peter, are you there? I saw you come this way; don't you dare hide from me."
Emily. Ever since the attack at the Vivir's house, the two of them had been spending time together, doing homework, eating meals, and walking around the grounds. If she was looking for him now, it was reasonable to assume that she had witnessed Peter's most recent embarrassment. Peter's head sunk even lower.
"There you are." Peter looked up to see Emily frowning down at him. "What do you think you're doing, exactly? You're being pathetic."
"Didn't you see what happened out there? How can I face those people right now?"
"Stop sniveling at me. Who cares what they think? That's why you're so afraid all the time, you know. You're too afraid of what your friends and everyone else think of you. Just let it go!" Peter turned to face her, and Emily leaned down to meet his eye level. "Confidence. Peter! You have to have more confidence!"
The next instant, before he could second-guess himself, Peter had grabbed hold of the back of her head and smashed her face into his in what was an inelegant, yet passionate kiss.
Peter was enjoying the kiss thoroughly, until he suddenly grew nervous and released Emily. Though terrified, he met her eyes and remained silent, awaiting her inevitable fury.
Instead, Emily smiled at him. "That's it, Peter. Confidence. We'll make a man of you yet."
Lily once again spent the summer with Alex, although this time, there was no unwelcome visit to the Potters'. Since their blow up in the library, the two had reverted back into their constant, angry bickering and refused to be left alone together, making things considerably awkward for their two friend groups which had begun to merge. She had not spoken to James since leaving school, but still heard updates on his life through Sirius's letters to Alex.
Apparently, James had been spending a lot of time with a girl he met at the local Quidditch practice pitch- a Hufflepuff girl, Jenny, one year younger than them- and what had started out as a casual flirtation had evolved into a steady relationship.
Alex had hesitated before sharing this with Lily, but Lily accepted the news with carefully performed indifference. Potter was no longer a part of her life, and she was much better off. If he had a new girl (not that she herself was ever "Potter's girl"), that only meant that Potter would have less time to spend annoying her. So this was better, really. She was fine. Completely fine.
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