Chapter 10 : Chapter 10
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‘Where are we going?’ Lily asked again. ‘And I swear if you say “you’ll see” again I’ll-’
‘Hogsmeade,’ Black sighed, rolling his eyes at James who was only partially visible through the witch’s hump.
‘What?’ Lily screeched. They’d actually been halfway decent all morning. She hadn’t been enjoying their company, but it hadn’t been that bad. Until now. ‘No! Potter, you’re Head Boy, you can’t let students go wandering off the school grounds! It’s dangerous and irresponsible and I’ll tell Professor McGonagall if you go!’
Potter sighed and actually looked ready to listen to her, but Black - damn him - intervened. ‘You get your arse into that tunnel, James Potter!’ he ordered in a very business-like voice.
Potter laughed, climbing back down. ‘Yes, Mum.’
‘And you need to get that knot out of your wand, Lils.’
‘I’m not going,’ Lily said firmly.
‘I am,’ Black said shrugging. Lily’s face hardened as she thought through the implications. Potter had clambered out of the statue again and was about three feet from them when Black pointed at the passageway.
‘Prongs! In!’ he barked. ‘We need more Dittany and bandages and that Murtlap stuff, and there is no way in hell I’m carrying it all one-handed.’
That made absolutely no sense to Lily, but that seemed to seal the deal for Potter. He nodded. ‘Hopefully you’re un-stuck by then, Pads, or I’m as good as dead,’ he said as he dropped through the witch’s hump.
‘Lily, I’m going to lower you down and Prongs is going to catch you.’
‘Black, if we get caught and expelled, I will murder you.’
‘Simple solution,’ Black said. ‘Don’t get us caught.’
‘Me?! What abou-’
‘Lils, we do this all the time. We never get caught. You’re the only new factor here, so if we get caught, it’s your fault.’
Lily realised she was going with them, willingly or not. She already knew better than to try to talk them out of it. She had a feeling Potter would listen if she begged him not to go, but Black would march on, dragging her behind anyway.
‘Can’t I get down myself?’ she asked, gesturing to the statue.
‘Easily... If you were on your own. But we’re stuck together and I don’t fancy dislocating my shoulder.’
‘Fine!’ she growled. ‘Potter, are you ready?’
‘Yes.’ Lily could have sworn there was a smile in his voice. Black gently lowered her through the hole into the darkness, a process made awkward by their joined arms. She was just wondering where Potter was when a pair of large, warm and surprisingly gentle hands gripped her waist and set her on her feet.
Her arm tugged slightly as Black dropped down next to her. She saw they were standing in a tunnel, one which went completely black when Black sealed the entrance.
‘Lumos,’ Lily whispered. Potter and Black blinked in the light. ‘So why do you need Healing potions and bandages?’
‘You can never be too careful,’ Potter said, sounding anxious. Black shot him a worried look. Potter hastily changed the subject. ‘What else do we need?’
‘Firewhiskey, Butterbeer, Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs... stuff like that,’ Black said instantly. ‘Our stores are running low.’
‘Firewhiskey?’ Lily asked with a resigned sigh.
‘Yep.’ Black grinned excitedly.
‘She had a soft spot for Marauders,’ Black informed her.
‘Of course she does,’ Lily grumbled. It seemed like everyone except her did. ‘You’re all of age, right?’
‘Right. Even Jamie’s been seventeen for a few months.’ Potter rolled his eyes. So he was the youngest. ‘But this has been going on since end of fourth year.’
‘What?!’ Lily had nothing against them drinking, especially since they were all of age... but fourth year?!
‘Everyone except Prongs was fifteen by then,’ Black said defensively. ‘Besides, Rosmerta gets it; boys are curious and want to try alcohol. She knows that, and by that point, she knew us fairly well too. She knew if she didn’t sell to us, we’d find someone else who would. She’ll give us a bottle of Firewhisky every two weeks, but only if we promise that’s all the alcohol we’ll drink during that time and that we won’t come back for more before the two weeks is up. That way, she knows that what we’re drinking is good quality, but also that we won’t over-indulge. Oh, and we’re not allowed to use re-filling charms.’
‘Fair enough,’ Lily said, surprising herself. ‘So that rumour’s true then, that you drink?’
‘It’s three quarters true,’ Black said, his stormy eyes flicking to Potter’s face. ‘We haven’t been off-our-face drunk in quite some time and it’s almost always longer than two weeks between bottles. It’s not like the three of us have a glass every night, either. That went bad a few years ago.’
Potter grimaced obviously remembering. ‘You and Moony were sick as dogs...’
Black chuckled, turning to Lily. ‘The three of us were.’
‘“The three of us?”‘ Lily asked. ‘Who doesn’t-’
‘Me,’ Potter said quietly. Lily stopped walking, but Black didn’t notice and half-dragged her until she caught up with him.
‘Really?’ Lily asked in a flat voice. ‘So I’m to believe that you don’t actually mess around with girls and that you’ve never touched Firewhiskey in your life?’
‘Oh, no, I’ve tried it before.’ Potter said easily, ‘I’ve drunk with the guys once and got absolutely smashed. It was horrible but like Sirius said, we were curious... After that... I just don’t see the appeal, you know.’
‘He hated it,’ Black added, elbowing him with his free arm. ‘Moony and I coaxed him into trying it again and he went to bed feeling sick after the second glass.’
Lily laughed at Potter’s embarrassed expression. ‘I like to be in control, you see. I can have fun sober, and carry on like the rest of them, but my judgement is sound.’ He grinned. ‘Believe it or not, that’s actually a good thing.’
Lily eyed him thoughtfully. ‘Is it weird that I believe you?’
Potter grinned, ruffling his messy hair. Black looked between the two of them with a smug expression and said, ‘Very.’ The three of them laughed.
They were quiet for a bit, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Then Potter spoke, ‘So, Lils,’ he said cheerfully, ‘this isn’t quite how I imagined our first trip to Hogsmeade...’
Lily smiled grudgingly. ‘I never imagined one, full-stop.’
Potter made a face. ‘Well, we’re past that now, so maybe next time there’s a trip – or if you just feel like going – we could go together?’ Lily’s temper ignited and she glared at Potter, not even deigning to respond with words. He flinched, hastily backing away. ‘I was just wondering!’
‘Just like you wonder every day,’ Lily snapped, her good mood gone.
‘You might have an epiphany,’ Black said helpfully.
Potter grinned. ‘One day you’ll realise I really love you and that you love me back.’
‘Unlikely.’ Potter’s face fell. ‘Honestly, don’t you get tired of being rejected?’
‘You have no idea,’ Black muttered darkly, sharing a look with James.
‘I get tired of rejecting you!’ Lily said shrilly.
Potter’s face lit up. ‘That’s what I keep hoping for.’
Lily rolled her eyes. ‘Seriously, Potter. Give. Up.’
‘I can’t,’ he said so quietly that she wasn’t sure he said anything at all.
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