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Chapter 11 : Chapter 11
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I wake up early on the morning of the 26th, excited to see Lily. She sent Callista back with her reply, saying she’d be here around ten if that was alright, and that I really shouldn’t put postscripts like that because they make her worry even though I told her not to.
At ten o’clock precisely, the flames in the fireplace glow emerald green, and Lily steps out gracefully, dusting herself off.
I get up from my chair to greet her. “Hi!” I say excitedly, giving her a hug. “How was your Christmas?”
“Oh, it was alright,” she says. “I love seeing my parents but Petunia was insufferable. She kept calling me a freak every time Mum and Dad weren’t around,” she adds sadly.
“Well you’re here now,” I say brightly. “Come upstairs.”
We go upstairs to my room and Lily puts her things down on the extra bed we’ve long since added for her when she comes to stay.
“So, what did you need to talk to me about?” she asks.
Before I can answer, the doorbell rings.
James woke me up this morning with cries of, “Lily’s arriving today! Lily’s arriving today!” He then proceeded to shower, spend half an hour attempting to flatten his hair to no avail, and change his t-shirt three times. He was done with all of this by nine o’clock.
I, on the other hand, took my time getting up, eating breakfast, showering, and getting dressed, like a normal person.
Then I was forced to go over to Maddie’s, in the cold, to see if Maddie and Lily would care to engage in any sort of activity with James and myself.
I wish Moony was here. He always knows how to calm Prongs down when he goes into Lily overdrive.
So that’s where we are now, waiting for Maddie and Lily to come answer the door.
The door swings open.
“Lily!” James greets her delightedly. “It’s been too long!”
“Hi, James,” Lily replies in what could safely be considered a pleasant voice.
“Come in,” says Maddie, which we do gratefully.
We end up in the sitting room, James and Lily on the couch, and Maddie and I in armchairs.
“So,” says James, “what shall four teenagers like ourselves do on this fine winter day?”
“We could go to Diagon Alley,” suggests Lily.
“That’s a good idea,” Maddie agrees as James says, “Excellent idea, Lily!” I roll my eyes at him, but nod in agreement.
We get ready to go. James and I are still in our coats, so we wait for Lily and Maddie to get into their coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. James goes first, takes a pinch of Floo powder, steps into the grate, drops the powder, and shouts, “Diagon Alley!” He disappears in a whirlwind of flames.
Lily goes next. When she’s gone, Maddie turns to me. “Do you want to go next?” she asks.
I shake my head and take Maddie’s hand that’s not holding the jar of Floo powder in mine. “Can we stay here for a minute?”
“I don’t know,” she says hesitantly. “They’ll be wondering where we are…”
“They’ll be okay without us,” I say insistently, and I don’t give her a chance to protest before placing a lingering kiss on her lips. She returns it, and I wonder why all of the sudden it’s like I’m addicted to her, and want to kiss her every chance I get.
“We really should go,” she says, blushing slightly, and takes a pinch of Floo powder before handing me the jar.
“Keep your elbows tucked in,” I advise, and she smiles before dropping the powder and exclaiming, “Diagon Alley!”
I watch her disappear. As she’s whisked away, I notice something: she’s wearing the scarf I gave her.
James, Lily, Sirius, and I are strolling down the cobbled streets of Diagon Alley, which is now covered with snow. We visit Eeylops Owl Emporium, where I buy some treats for Callista. We pass right by Gambol and Japes Joke Shop, which, according to James and Sirius, is nothing compared to Zonko’s.
We stop in Quality Quidditch Supplies, where James, Sirius, and I gaze longingly at the ad for the Nimbus 1500’s that claim to be “the fastest broom in the world!” and will be arriving next September.
“Pity we won’t be going back to Hogwarts next year,” says James sadly. “Imagine the Gryffindor team on those.”
I don’t bother pointing out that not everyone on the team would be able to afford them, I just think wistfully of how we won’t be going back to school next year. It’s strange. Hogwarts has become a home away from home, and it’s hard to imagine life without moving staircases, talking portraits, or the comfortable armchairs of the Gryffindor common room.
As we leave the shop and continue walking, I look around at my friends.
James, a constant in my life since age one, loyalty unwavering. I look at him and see one of bravest people I know and one of the best friends I’ve ever had.
Lily, so strong, so smart, and kinder than anyone. When my conscious speaks to me, it’s Lily’s voice I hear, always there to be my guide and help me through anything.
Sirius. He’s impulsive, headstrong, stubborn, reckless. Daring, brave, bold, fiercely loyal, protective, reliable, caring. This year especially he’s been whatever I needed him to be—a confidant, a laugh, a comfort--just by being himself.
I think about my friends who aren’t here-Alice, cheerful, innocent, forever the optimist. She brightens any situation, something I’ve always been grateful for. Remus, calm, caring, sensible. He balances out James and Sirius, and he is always there if I need someone to talk to, even though we aren’t the closest in our group of friends.
I can’t imagine my life without any of them.
“Maddie, are you alright?” asks Sirius, forcing me out of my thoughts.
“I’m fine,” I say with a small smile caused by his genuine concern.
We return to my house and Mum insists on making us all hot cocoa. We sit around the fireplace, warming up, and sipping hot cocoa from our mugs. Somehow the conversation turns to reminiscing.
“Do you remember our first Hogsmeade trip?” James asks with a grin.
“How could I forget?” replies Sirius. “I spent more money that trip than I had in the first 12 years of my life combined.”
I laugh, remembering how entranced James and Sirius had been by Zonko’s. We’d all been excited for Hogsmeade; it was our first venture out of the castle by ourselves.
“Do you remember our first detention?” Sirius asks fondly.
“Of course!” says James. “Lines. ‘I will not run down the corridors like a crazed niffler.’”
We all begin to laugh, and once we start, we can’t stop. When we finally manage to calm down, I say, “Remember when we all met each other?”
Everyone is silent for a moment. “Well,” says James, “my memories from my first year of life aren’t that numerous, to be honest.” He smiles at me. “But we’ve got plenty of memories.”
“If I recall correctly,” says Sirius, “the first thing you ever said to me was ‘If you ever call me Mads again, I will hex you into oblivion.’”
I cringe. “Okay, so maybe that was bit harsh for an eleven-year-old.”
“Well you still haven’t done it,” he says, grinning cheekily at me.
“And we met right away,” James says with a smile to Sirius, who grins back. “Instant best mates.”
“How about you, Lils?” I ask. “Do you remember?”
Lily is looking distant, like she’s trying to remember something she’s long since blocked out. “Yes,” she says to me. “My first meeting with you was on the train. Then later when I sat down at the Gryffindor table, you saved me from James, who must’ve asked me fifty questions about myself.”
“I was trying to make friends!” says James defensively.
“Oh, is that what you were doing on the train, then?” asks Lily, whose voice now contains a slight edge. James looks confused, then a look of dawning comprehension falls over him and his face falls.
“I am really sorry about that,” he says, after a moment, in a much more serious tone. “I was a stupid eleven year old kid who got carried away with trying to impress you.”
Lily’s expression goes from annoyed and disapproving to surprised and touched. Silence fills the room for a moment until she speaks again. “I forgive you,” she says with sincerity. “Besides,” she continues, “if anything, we should be proud of how far we’ve come.” She looks at James and I feel a peace between them that has never been there before.
James and Sirius leave when it’s time for dinner, and we say our good-byes. Before Sirius leaves, he whispers in my ear, and it sends a chill down my back.
“I think you secretly love it when I call you Mads.”
I watch as a girl with long dark brown curls and chocolate brown eyes detaches herself from the throng of waiting students and makes her way up to the stool. Professor McGonagall places the old and frayed hat on her head and the entire hall waits expectantly.
After a moment, the hat shouts, “Gryffindor!” and the girl jumps off the stool looking excited. She comes over to the Gryffindor Table and sits on the other side of Lily Evans, whom I met on the train but didn’t quite get off on the right foot with.
“Hi again!” says Madison brightly to Lily.
“Hi,” replies Lily with a smile she surely wouldn’t have given me.
“I’m Sirius,” I say, forcing my way into the conversation. “Nice to meet you, Mads.”
“If you ever call me Mads again, I will hex you into oblivion,” says Madison with an attempt at fierceness that doesn’t quite work. I think I’m going to be good friends with this girl.
Soon after, James is made a Gryffindor. He has a huge grin on his face as he sits down next to me and gives me high five.
“Hey, Maddie!” he says excitedly, giving her a hug. “Sorry I lost you on the train,” he adds apologetically.
“It’s alright,” she says, “I was sitting with Alice, and then Lily came in.” Alice is a cheery-faced girl sitting on Maddie’s other side. “James, this is Alice Bradley,” she says, introducing them, “and this is Lily Evans,” she adds.
James eyes light up at being introduced to Lily, but her reaction isn’t like his. Her penetrating green eyes stare at him with the kind of fierceness Maddie attempted earlier, only Lily succeeds. “We’ve met,” she says coldly.
James looks a little put out, but he doesn’t let it keep him down. “So, Evans,” he says. “What house has your family been in? Mine have all been in Gryffindor. Do you have any older siblings here? I don’t, I’m an only child. What class are you looking forward to the most? Personally, I think Transfiguration sounds the coolest. Did you know that there are people called Animagi, who can turn into an animal at will? Professor McGonagall is one. Are you excited for flying lessons? Do you fly? I do, it’s the best thing in the world!” His eyes shine with excitement, expectantly awaiting her answers.
Perhaps Lily feels overwhelmed by all these questions, or perhaps she just hasn’t forgiven him for the incident on the train. She gives James a strange, and not very encouraging, look and all she says is, “I’m Muggle-born.”
“Oh,” says James, looking slightly embarrassed. “Well that doesn’t make any difference," he starts to tell her in a reassuring voice, but Lily has already turned her back on him and is talking to Maddie again, who is introducing her to a bloke named Remus Lupin, who looks entirely too tired for an eleven year old. James looks slightly grumpy and turns to me.
“Remember Snivellus from the train? He got put into Slytherin,” he points out. I follow his gaze to the Slytherin table, where Snape is sitting a little way along the table from a group of students I know only too well. My cousin Narcissa glares at me. I know I can expect a Howler from my mother tomorrow morning, screeching about how I’ve brought shame on the entire family. From the Slytherin table, Narcissa’s boyfriend, Lucius, is also giving me a dirty look. Only my favorite cousin, Andromeda, gives me a small smile.
“That’s just proof that we were right about him,” says James in a disgusted tone. “Oh sorry,” he says quickly, “I forgot you said your family-”
“Don’t worry about it,” I say, watching Narcissa and Lucius talking to two other boys whose names I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but they look like a pretty unpleasant lot.
“Okay then,” says James, relaxing. “So, have you flown before?”
We start up a conversation about flying, and I realize that I’ve found myself a best mate already. And hopefully, if I’m right, I’ve found myself a friend in Maddie too.
“So,” Lily says, sitting down on her bed. “Now that they’re gone, what did you need to talk to me about?”
I hesitate. I’d been prepared to tell her about Sirius, I’d intended to when I wrote it in my letter. But somehow, now the moment is here, I can’t bring myself to.
“You and James,” I say, completely changing tack. “You sent him a thank you note?”
She blushes. “It was a very nice necklace.”
“You’ve never sent him a thank you note before,” I say pointedly. “Why now?”
She shrugs. “I don’t know. It seemed like the right thing to do this year.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad you did it,” I tell her. “I was just wondering why.”
She nods. For a minute, I think I’m in the clear. Then-
“Maddie,” says Lily suddenly. “I sent that note on Christmas day. You wrote to me on Christmas Eve.”
Damn. Lily Evans is too smart for her own good. Or rather, my own good.
“What do you really need to talk to me about?” she says, the concern evident in her voice.
“Okay,” I give in. “Something sort of happened after the last Quidditch practice before the holidays.”
She looks at me as though she’d like to say something but she remains silent and waits for me to continue.
“I was in the changing rooms, and er-well, Sirius came in, and first we were just talking, you know, casually, and then he-er-kissed me- we kissed.” There, it’s out. Maybe not in the most coherent way possible, but there you have it.
To my shock, Lily doesn’t seem surprised. No raised eyebrows, no dropped jaw, no hand clapped over mouth, nothing.
“Okay, I’m not an attention hog,” I say, “but a little reaction would have been nice.”
“Well, Maddie,” Lily replies, “I can’t say I’m all that surprised.”
“What?” I yelp. “How can you not be surprised? I was very surprised!”
“Well, I really thought it was only a matter of time,” she says matter-of-factly, as if she’s explaining something out of a chapter of the Standard Book of Spells, Grade 7. “You two have always had unbridled amounts of sexual tension.”
“What-unbridled-sexual tension?!” I splutter. “You know I’m talking about Sirius, right? Sirius Black? The one who constantly calls me a nickname I don’t even like? The one who snogs about ten different girls a week? That Sirius?”
“Yes, the Sirius who told you the truth about your arse of an ex-boyfriend, comforted you while you cried, hit the bloke with a Bludger, bought you a scarf for Christmas, and kissed you,” responds Lily. “That Sirius.”
I sink back into my pillows. Sirius had done all those things. But I mean, except for the latter, they had all been acts of friendship. Hadn’t they?
“Maddie, think about it,” says Lily, somewhat impatiently. “Why else would he have gotten so mad at Lucas? James is your friend too, and I didn’t hear anything about him chucking a Quaffle at Lucas’s face.”
“Well, James fancies you!” I protest.
“Ha! So you admit it; that could mean Sirius fancies you!” she says triumphantly.
“Lily, it’s Sirius. I’m probably just next on his list,” I tell her. “I mean, you didn’t hear him right before he kissed me.” I make my voice deeper. “‘You know, Mads, with all the people we’ve snogged, we’ve never snogged each other.’ It’s just a normal thing for both of us, snogging. It didn’t mean anything.”
“First of all, that sounded nothing like him,” says Lily. “Secondly, if it didn’t mean anything, why is it worrying you so much?”
“Well because-because he’s made things awkward!” I say. “I mean I certainly can’t tell James, who knows how he’d react?”
“Calm down,” Lily says briskly. “It was only one kiss.”
I look up at her, and I know the guilt is etched on my face.
“It wasn’t just one, was it.” It’s a statement not a question. A grin spreads across her face.
I shake my head. “We kissed again on Christmas.”
Lily looks at me knowingly.
“And earlier before we Floo-ed to Diagon Alley,” I say, and she looks at me, satisfied.
“You fancy him,” she says bluntly.
“I do not!”
“Oh, stop it,” says Lily. “I’m not going to force you to admit anything, but I think we both know the truth. And I think Sirius does too.”
“Well, we haven’t exactly talked about it,” I say. “Whenever we end up alone, we just end up…”
“Snogging,” finishes Lily.
“Exactly,” I say. “Which proves that that’s all he wants to do! Snog! He’s not in it for the emotional commitment, he never is!”
“Are you?” Lily asks.
I shake my head. “No,” I say firmly. “I tried that. It doesn’t work.”
“No, Maddie,” says Lily. “It didn’t work. With one boy. An idiot of a boy, at that. Sirius is not like Lucas.”
“You’re right, he’s honest about how many girls he’s snogging at once,” I say. “Which, come to think of it, is pretty useful information. At least I know what I’m getting into with him.”
“Ha! So you admit you’re getting into something!”
A/N: Hey, guys! I hope that this chapter didn't seem too boring to you; I just thought it was important to address how much Maddie, Lily, James, and Sirius care about each other outside of the romantic stuff. I hope you liked it, and don't worry, things get more exciting next chapter, and Chapter 13 is the party! Thanks for reading, let me know what you thought!
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