Chapter 8 : Powdered Ground
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Locks of tangled blonde hair fell into my face as the parchments in my tightened grasp struggled to relieve themselves, swiftly moving down the constantly moving stairs and jumping over the trick step instinctively. The Great Hall was packed with thousands of worries and thoughts as I slipped onto the bench of the Ravenclaw table.
And then it happened.
The food came to life.
Confusion trickled into my bloodstream as I scrutinised the neatly piled buttered toast set in front of me that had just laughed. My first though was to put it off to the side as hallucinating but that is until it said that I had nice hair.
A toast told me I had nice hair.
Am I mad?
Although it wasn't the first occurrence of having delusions in my case, I could not say this was one of those instances for just behind me I heard several scrambled eggs tell a Slytherin boy, "Hey, you bloody git, something caught your tongue?" His eyes widened as he jumped out of the bench. That is until a variety of fruits were thrown at his head. Now don't get me wrong, nobody had thrown the fruits.
The fruits had a mind of their own.
Without a second though, my eyes immediately stared at the apple held in my hands that had a circle from where I had bit it just moments ago. "Would you like it if I bit you? You inconsiderate scum," it said, turning in my hands. My grasp loosened upon hearing the raspy voice, allowing it to roll across the floor.
Chaos took its place around me.
Students screamed out of fear, fear that had been born from confusion. Others simply smirked as they ate the food that scolded them while some were being beaten around the head (mostly Slytherins).
Professor McGonagall looked furious. No, she is furious.
Only one person could have done this.
"What is the verdict?" I asked as Remus took his usual seat beside me, darkened circles hanging below his eyes causing his scars to look more prominent.
"Detention for a month," he said, laughter in his warm eyes.
"Not too bad," I said with a grin.
"No, not too bad," he said, a grin slipping onto his face. "I hope that none of the... food said anything too horrible to you. It was just supposed to be a joke but I understand if you saw it as offensive."
"You really do ramble quite a bit," I said with a laugh and added, " It's a prank and everyone knew that, of course they didn't take it seriously. But I must say that the toast complimented me, which was a first time."
Remus smiled warmly, "Did you expect the toast to ever compliment you in your life?"
"No but it was nice," I said laughing quietly.
"It was quite a good prank though, I must admit," I added after several seconds of silence, my gaze turning towards the front of the classroom as students filed in wearily (food stains on their robes reminding them of the events of the morning).
"Thank you, a Marauder's original," he said with a small laugh.
"That was quite a bit of wand work."
"It did take quite awhile but I cannot say that we are horrible at Charms," he said, preparing his parchment and quill.
"No, not horrible," I said, a hint of sarcasm in my voice.
The Marauders knew that they were brilliant.
Of course no one told them that in fear of blowing James's and Sirius's ego a bit too much.
But the truth was still there.
Lily Evans was seething with fury upon hearing a platter of fresh pancakes tell her to stop being a well, not a very nice word and to agree to attend Hogsmeade with James Potter. This of course, made James's relationship with Lily much worse. If there had even been an ounce of kindness in her voice when she had spoken to him before, now there was certainly none- along with any chance of going to Hogsmeade together.
James and Sirius sauntered down the corridor, with smug expressions on their faces, followed by Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew who was fiddling awfully a lot with his thumbs as students stepped out of their way. I attempted to seek a crevice to slip through in fear of being late for Transfiguration. Today was certainly not the day to be tardy for Transfiguration (Professor McGonagall was not in her best of moods).
A few young girls that had formed a small group in the corner giggled to one another once the Marauders passed, them being the most handsome males in the male population of Hogwarts, as I couldn't help but roll my eyes.
"Why must you all walk so very slow?" I finally said upon failing to slip past them. James's hand immediately went to his hair as Sirius winked at a few girls who practically fainted right there on the spot.
"Well, it part of the after-show," James said to me as he grinned to a few others. My gaze moved towards Remus for a proper reason which he had none of. "These two are the ones walking a centimetre a minute," he exclaimed once seeing my expression
"Oh shove it, Moony, we all know that you enjoy it," James said, grinning.
"Enjoy what exactly?" Peter asked, a bit slow on the events.
"This," Sirius said gesturing towards the crowds of people, a mixture of smiles and glares as several patted them on the shoulder saying "Good one," while others simply killed them with stares.
"You enjoy watching people become human sandwiches?" I asked, watching the people flatten themselves against the wall in order to let them pass, a laugh escaped Remus's lips.
"It's all right if you don't understand, young one."
A retort as about to roll off my tongue when I caught the time from a nearing clock, panic arising within, as I said quickly, "I must go so if you could let someone else pass, it would be much appreciated."
Without another second wasted, I slipped past them and hurried to enter the Transfiguration classroom before I could here Professor McGonagall's quill scratching against a parchment to report a detention.
The chair across from mine scraped against the wooden floorboards as the thump of books dropping onto the table, echoed. My eyes flickered up to find the fiery red hair of Lily Evans preparing to begin her homework session. She finally looked up to say, "Oh, hello! You don't mind if I sit here, Alice, do you?"
A small smile tugged at the corner of my lips as I said, "I don't mind." With an expression of relief, she slid onto the chair as my eyes returned to the words of the book placed in front of me, absorbing the information I would need for the Defense Against the Dark Arts essay that was in dire need to be written.
An hour of silence had passed until a familiar bark-like laughter came from down the aisle.
"Lily, darling," James said, materialising behind Lily as he slung his arm around her slender figure, which she immediately shoved off.
"Oh, wonderful," she muttered with coated sarcasm while she ignored his presence.
"I'll bet he watches you while you sleep," I whispered to her, causing her to laugh.
"I do often think that he has some sort of tracker attached to me. It is impossible for him to always know my exact location," she said, leaning in towards me as James struggled to hear our words.
"Lily, love," James said, setting his bag onto the floor and sliding onto the unfortunately, empty seat beside her.
"Don't. Touch. Me," Lily said in a low and threatening voice, a glare forming onto her delicate features.
"I know you love me, sweet."
"Yes, Prongs. Somewhere very deep down in her heart she may have a miniscule ounce of love for you," Sirius said, patting his friends' shoulder.
"The drop is pure loathe."
"It is still a strong and passionate emotion,"James said, lifting a strand of her hair gently before she slapped his hand away.
"I'll show you p-"
"Are they arguing again?" Peter asked with a sigh. A pause fell upon us as the Marauders settled themselves at the now crowded Library table. Dipping my quill into the ink bottle set at the corner of my parchment, I began the introduction to the essay.
Sirius began poking Remus in the ribs despite his protests while James was unusually close to Lily's glaring face. I sighed deciding that all chances of finishing this essay at this table was far gone now. "That's enough," Lily abruptly said, packing her supplies as James touched her face. She glanced my way as I myself packed away my supplies, knowing that I had a better chance of finishing at the common room.
"You are all lovely but there are very low chances of finishing any sort of homework here," I said with a 'sorry' expression as I looked down at the floor, tucking the chair into its place.
I was about to walk towards the Ravenclaw tower when Lily caught my stride as she said, "Would you like to study together, in the Gryffindor common room? It's always nice to have company whilst doing homework."
The familiar answer was to reject, to avoid any possible social event. My head told me to lie through my teeth, to say the simple yet disappointing word, "No." But my heart said otherwise, it told me to accept for it was simply a study session that wouldn't be spent alone this time.
"I'm sorry, but I was actually planning to go back to the common room because I had left a few books there that I need in order to finish the essay," I said, the words coming so easily but I couldn't help but feel the disappointment drag down my eyes, instantly regretting the words.
"Oh, well... maybe some other time," Lily said, dropping her eyes to the floor but gave me a small smile as I tried to return it.
"Well, perhaps I could do without having an absolutely perfect essay," I found myself saying upon watching a flicker of disappointment in her eyes.
After several years of ignoring my heart and only listening to the words of my head, I finally listened the whisper of my heartstrings.
And it felt good.
Quills scratched against the creamy parchment as we would dip the tips into the murky liquid every so often, flipping the pages of thick textbooks. The fire lit the room with a warm glow as we sat in close proximity to it, feeling the warmth the flames sent. The Gryffindor common room held an atmosphere of cosiness that caused one to whisper under their breath upon entering the room, "Home."
"It's lovely here," I said as Lily gazed out of the tall windows.
"It's home," she said so quietly that I almost didn't hear her utter the words.
"Hogwarts is home," I agreed, my eyes watching the droplets of rain pour onto the castle.
It always would be.
The room was soon filled with the fade echoes of students laughing, talking to one another, as hundreds of thoughts passed through their minds. Cares that other would never gain knowledge of. Upon writing the last word of the essay, I set my quill aside and allowed the ink to absorb into the fibers of the parchment.
"Oh, I also just finished," Lily said gleefully as Olivia dragged herself down the stairs, stretching her arms indicating that she had woken up from a nap moments ago.
"Hello, Alice," she said with a grin, slumping in a plush scarlet armchair.
"Hi," I said a smile on my face as I packed my assignments away properly.
"You left us, the Marauders, to go to the common room?" James said as he walked through the portrait hole in disbelief.
Lily sighed as she said with sarcasm, "Because I would love to spend more time with you James."
"I knew it!" he said as she rolled her eyes.
"Well, I'll just be going then. It was lovely finishing our homework assignments together, Lily," I said with a sincere smile as I slung my bag over my shoulder.
The whisper of my farewell was scarcely heard as Lily threw insults at James's grin that seemed to be stamped on his face for eternity. There was a certain fire behind her eyes, that burned within her with a passion as I watched them.
Almost as if they will be bonded together for the rest of their lives.
The sunlight creeped in through the windows, illuminating our faces, every scar and every line of laughter. My fingers gripped the quill as they wrote false words of sincerity onto a parchment furiously while I forced a spoonful of cereal into my mouth. Blonde locks of hair fell into my face, pushing them away once more, as I leaned over.
I must admit that I was surprised to find that you replied to my first letter. Although I will not lie and say that I am reluctant to leave Hogwarts for the Christmas holidays, which is beautiful during that time of year, I will return home for the holidays. I am quite curious for the reason but I suppose that will have to wait until later.
My hands stopped every now and then, the quill's point hovering over the parchment as I thought of the words that would be appropriate to send. There were thousands of others things I wanted to say, such as "No, I prefer to stay here" or "When did your cold shoulder finally lift after so long?"
But I chose to write the exact words I didn't want to say.
And at the same time, I wanted to scream.
With books tucked protectively under my arm, I swiftly walked through the corridor, avoiding large groups of people. The only thought that occupied my mind was that of reaching my destination, the Owlery. Every year I found myself in the Owlery to send off the one letter I sent to my father once a year to show that I am still breathing.
Though, a reply was never normally sent.
"Oh, sorry," I muttered subconsciously, keeping my eyes glued to the carvings of the stone floor.
"That's all right," the voice said with a hint of laughter. My eyes immediately flew up, finding the face of the same Hufflepuff student who had been involved in the parchment incident only a mere few days ago.
"I see that we keep running into each other," he added as I was about to continue on with my mission.
"I suppose." I said politely but with a strong desire to leave the awkward conversation behind. Several seconds of silence whispered to me to bid farewell. "Well, good bye then."
Without even bothering to hear his own farewell, I ran off at an even higher speed towards the Owlery, practically flying over the stairs as I caught my breath once at my destination. The owls greeted me with a ruffle of their feathers as I tiptoed over the waste on the floor, reaching the owl that had not been put to use for years until now.
With a smile, I sent her off.
Along with my false words.
Thank you for the views and reviews. I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to leave a review but nevertheless, thank you. I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer. I know this story has changed quite a bit but I am trying to incorporate more of Lily/James's relatonship along with other realistic elements (I tried to stick as close the events/biographies of J.K. Rowling's characters). Also, the photography used in the chapter image is by Meghan McDonald from Flickr!
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