Chapter 26 : Love Potion No. 9
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“It’s very important that you put the frozen ashwinder eggs in only after you’ve stirred seventeen times clockwise. The number of stirs is essential here,” Professor Slughorn was wandering around the room as we each poured over our hot cauldrons.
Amortentia, as it turned out, were even more difficult than Veritaserum. Though love potions could be made within the span of one class period, the work involved was astronomical. My eyes were beginning to ache with how diligently I stared at my potion, looking for any sign that something had gone wrong.
Scarlet was muttering curses under her breath as her potion hissed quietly and Anna nearly burst into tears when hers started issuing pink bubbles into the air. Severus on the other hand, had somehow remained perfectly calm throughout the entire class. I still hadn’t spoken to him since our conversation on the train and even though he’d been sitting next to me for the past two hours, he had yet to say a word to me other than “pass the lovage”.
Severus had just finished his potion and Slughorn was now inspecting it. His potion had of course turned out perfectly. Steam rose in small spirals from the lustrous pearl-colored liquid. He hadn’t even broken a sweat. What a jerk.
“Very good, Mister Snape,” Slughorn boomed, clapping him on the shoulder before addressing the class. “Now, we can’t actually test our potions by drinking them, that would be disastrous. But there’s a very simple alternative. Love potions smell differently to each person so once you’ve finished, all you have to do is simply smell your potion. I’m sure you all know about pheromones… this is somewhat similar. These smells will be what is most attractive to you… so if you smell dung, you’ve probably made your potion wrong.”
Slughorn chuckled and the class responded with a weak smile, all of us too exhausted to pretend to be amused by him.
“Mister Snape, care to test your potion for us?” Slughorn turned back to Severus, who blanched as the entire class’s attention was turned to him.
Sev hesitated for a moment before quickly breathing in the scent that emanated from his potion.
“Erm… it smells… good,” Severus faltered and a few chuckles rippled around the room. Slughorn stared at him attentively, an amused smile spreading beneath his enormous mustache. “Like… old books, and lavender... a-and cool summer nights.”
I saw Anna’s and Scarlet’s gaze flicker to me for an instant and I tried to stop the blush that was creeping into my cheeks.
Severus snapped his mouth shut and quickly busied himself bottling his potion. There were titters around the room and a bit of laughter. It was pretty clear to everyone else who he was talking about…
“Well, you have twenty more minutes to finish up,” Slughorn pulled out an ornate gold pocket watch to check the time. “Once you’ve finished I just need a labeled flask of your potion put on the shelves. You may clear everything else away. I must impress upon you not to taste your potions. It will only end in embarrassment for you.”
There was a flurry of motion in the classroom, everyone trying to finish their potions. I carefully picked up two ashwinder eggs, freezing them with a simple charm before dropping them into my potion.
I felt Slughorn’s presence behind me and I prayed to whatever deity was listening that my potion didn’t explode in my face.
I let out an immense sigh of relief when my potion turned a glossy pearl color and began steaming subtly.
“Very good, Miss Evans!” Slughorn boomed and I saw Scarlet glare at me across the table, a streak of yellow sneezewort smeared across one of her cheeks.
I let my wand fall onto the table as I wiped the sweat from my forehead.
“Now,” Slughorn said moving around to the side of my table to inspect my potion more closely. “Care to test it?”
I leaned forward slightly, letting the spiral columns of steam wrap around my face as the scent overwhelmed me. I was barely aware that Severus was bottling his potion absurdly slowly, lingering at the table while I tested my potion. What was he hoping to hear, the same thing he said? If he liked me so much, why hadn’t he ever told me? And why hadn’t he spoken to me for nearly a week?
“It smells like…,” I paused, inhaling again. The scent was so wonderful I never wanted it to go away. “Like… lilies, and hazelnut coffee and… freshly-made donuts…”
I snapped my mouth shut, suddenly realizing what I was describing. Anna and Scarlet exchanged an amused look while Severus frowned, furrowed his brow, and swept away from the table to put his sample on the shelves, clearly unsatisfied with my assessment.
“Very good, Miss Evans,” Slughorn rumbled, a knowing smile stretching widely beneath his mustache.
I quickly bottled a sample of my potion and began cleaning up.
“Lily can you go put our samples on the shelves?” Anna asked, handing me hers and Scarlet’s flasks. “We’ll clean everything up here.”
“Sure,” I nodded, taking their flasks. Before I turned towards the shelves I saw Anna and Scarlet exchange another look that I didn’t quite understand, but I figured they were still obsessing over what my love potion smelled like.
After class let out, we all walked towards lunch. Severus had disappeared as soon as his cauldron was clean and I was glad he didn’t accompany us. His love potion aroma had me on edge… I couldn’t just ignore that his love potion clearly described me. But it didn’t make things any easier…
“Did you smell anything interesting in your potions?” I asked Anna and Scarlet as we made our way to the Great Hall.
“Mine kept hissing at me,” Scarlet scowled. “But I thought I smelled shoe polish at one point… though, that can’t be right.”
“Mine smelled faintly like roses, but it was bubbling too much for me to really tell….” Anna said as we walked between the rows of tables towards our usual spot.
“Say, Lily… didn’t you tell us James brought you coffee and donuts while you were in York?” Scarlet asked, her voice thick with insinuation.
“Yes, and if you mention it again I’ll hex those pretty red lips of yours right off,” I growled at her and she and Anna burst out laughing as the Marauders joined us at the table.
“I’d really rather you didn’t do that,” Sirius said plopping down next to me at the table. “First of all, she’d look like a snake. Secondly, how would anyone be able to snog her if she didn’t have lips?”
Sirius winked at Scarlet who blushed furiously and suddenly became very interested in assembling her sandwich.
“How’d your potion turn out, Sirius?” Anna asked. “Any interesting smells?”
“Well, I think I smelled strawberries at one point,” Sirius said, scratching his chin absently. “But then cheese became the most overpowering odor. That could be because I was standing next to Peter though.”
“What’s wrong with cheese?” Peter asked genuinely, his mouth half full of the crackers and cheese he’d been eating.
“What about you, James?” Anna asked and I shot her a glare.
“Huh?” James asked, his mouth full of bread.
“Your potion?” Anna repeated, an amused smile on her face.
“Oh.. er… ,” James faltered, taking another bite of his sandwich as he thought. “It smelled like … I dunno, something floral, I think…Don’t really remember.”
“I thought you said it smelled like lavender and hazelnut,” Sirius frowned at him, and James chocked on his food.
I stared at him blankly, trying not to read anything into it but Sirius flashed a smile at me and I quickly dropped my eyes to my empty plate.
“Lily, you mind pouring us some pumpkin juice?” Scarlet asked, nodding towards the pitcher in front of her.
“Why can’t you do it?” I scoffed, reaching across the table nonetheless to pour everyone a glass.
“My hands are covered in jam,” Scarlet supplied, brandishing her sticky fingers in my face and I wrinkled my nose.
“You’re like a toddler sometimes,” I smirked as I set the empty pitched down next to me.
“Yeah, I really should go clean myself up,” Scarlet sighed, scooting herself away from the table. As she pushed herself back, she jerked the table forward, sending my glass of pumpkin juice spilling all over the table and onto Anna.
“Oh no, Annie I’m so sorry!” Scarlet apologized as the orange liquid stained Anna’s shirt. Anna leapt back from the table, dabbing at her shirt frantically.
“Shit,” Scarlet muttered, setting my now empty glass upright. “Come on, let’s go get you cleaned up. We’ll meet up with you in Transfiguration, Lily!”
Scarlet and Anna hurried from the table and disappeared from the Great Hall before I could even say anything. It wasn’t like Scarlet to spill things… she was the most graceful one of us. And Anna could have easily cleaned her shirt right there with magic. There was something weird going on with them today…
As there was no pumpkin juice left, I poured myself a glass of water and finished my lunch with the Marauders, talking about inconsequential things like our upcoming apparition classes and when we’d all be able to take the test.
“Can’t take the test until March,” James muttered bitterly, swirling his untouched pumpkin juice around in his glass. “It’s complete bollocks.”
“At least you only have to wait until March,” Sirius scoffed before nodding at me. “My birthday’s not until July.”
“I think apparating’s overrated,” Remus shook his head at his friends. “Where on earth do you need to go so bad that you need to be able to apparate?”
“You’re only saying that because you’re already of age,” Sirius grumbled, “And can take the test as soon as we finish our lessons.”
“It could be worse,” Remus said pointedly, nodding towards Peter. “Pete doesn’t turn seventeen until next September.”
We all glanced over at Peter and I was surprised to see that he was staring at me with a strange expression on his face, his empty glass of pumpkin juice clutched loosely in his hand.
“You alright, Wormtail?” James clapped his friend on the shoulder. “You’ve got that look on your face like when Lorna Andrews told you she fancied you and you passed out.”
“I… wha?” Peter muttered, still maintaining eerily intense eye contact with me.
“Never mind,” Sirius chuckled, rolling his eyes at his friend before turning to me. “What about you, Evans?”
“What about me what?” I asked, still aware that Peter was staring at me.
“When can you take the test?” James repeated in an infuriatingly condescending voice. I glared at him before answering.
“Only a couple weeks,” I shrugged. Like Remus, it didn’t make much of a difference to me when I took the test.
“No shit!” Sirius’s face lit up. “I didn’t know your birthday was so soon. You having a party?”
I snorted out a laugh. “Absolutely not.”
“Why not?” Sirius asked, his full attention on me now. Remus was slowly shaking his head at his friend’s enthusiasm and Peter was still staring at me.
“Because party’s aren’t really my thing,” I shrugged again. “I’ll probably just spend the night studying.”
“No.” James said flatly, quickly jumping on board with Sirius. “We’re throwing you a party.”
“No, no, no,” I said quickly, shaking my finger at him. “I’ve been to your parties before. Absolutely not.”
“Ah come on, Evans,” James nudged me in the side. I cringed slightly at how he had slipped back into the infuriating use of my surname. “You don’t turn seventeen everyday.”
“It’s not a big deal,” I contradicted, uncomfortable with the thought of having a party entirely devoted to a stupid number.
“No point in arguing,” Sirius clucked, rolling his eyes. “It’s already decided.”
“Bloody idiots,” I muttered and I heard Remus chuckle quietly.
Lunch was soon interrupted by the afternoon bell and Sirius and James’s scheming was cut short, much to my relief. We all traipsed to Transfiguration class and I took my seat between Scarlet and Anna, the latter of which was sporting a clean shirt now.
I quickly filled them in on James and Sirius’s party idea, hoping they would know me well enough to persuade them to call it off.
Much to my chagrin, they were both completely ecstatic about the idea of a party in honor of my birthday.
“Come on, Lily,” Scarlet said softly as McGonagall swept into the classroom. “What better way to show them once and for all how relaxed you’ve become? And one little party couldn’t hurt, right?”
“If you say so,” I grumbled, finally surrendering.
McGonagall began the day’s lesson and everyone fell silent. I tried very hard to pay attention but I found my thoughts drifting away from switching spells. I was preoccupied instead by thoughts of birthday parties (during which I was already planning on hiding in a broom closet), Anna and Scarlet’s odd behavior today, and love potions.
I let my eyes drift around the room, validating my lack of attention with the fact that I knew switching spells backwards and forwards by now. Scarlet was doodling stars all over her parchment and Anna was taking vague notes, her hazel eyes drifting in and out of focus.
I glanced across the room and stiffened when I noticed all four of the Marauders staring in my direction with odd expressions on their faces. It was one thing when Peter stared… but all of them? Was this some kind of joke?
“Scar,” I whispered out of the corner of my mouth. “Any idea as to why the Marauders are staring at us?”
Scarlet glanced over at them inconspicuously and then leaned her head closer to mine.
“They’re not staring at us,” Scarlet whispered back, a knowing smile spreading across her face. “They’re staring at you. Quite intensely, I might add.”
I snuck another look at them. Peter was still gaping, mouth half open at me like he had been all during lunch. Remus was a bit more subtle about it, sneaking glances every couple seconds between taking notes. Sirius was giving me a hard stare, like one gives a very difficult Arithmancy problem.
And James… well, I tried not to linger on him. But I couldn’t ignore that I actually liked the way he was looking at me. It was an intense gaze, but not intimidating. His dark brows were furrowed but his hazel eyes were soft, like he was trying to figure something out.
“Lily,” Anna whispered to me when McGonagall turned around to write something on the board. “Why are the Marauders staring at you like that? Did you flash them at lunch or something?”
I rolled my eyes. “No, of course I didn’t. I have no idea.”
For the rest of the lesson I tried very hard to ignore the eyes burning holes in me from across the room. I wondered if this was just some kind of prank they were pulling… but to what purpose? Or were they still just trying to plan my birthday party?
The bell sounding at the end of class could not have been more welcome. I wanted to get out from under their watchful stares. Anna, Scarlet, and I made our way out of the castle to the greenhouses for Herbology, our last class of the day. The January air was cold and we hugged our robes around us. As we approached the greenhouses I noticed a figure standing just outside the door. I groaned internally when I saw that it was Peter.
“Pete, aren’t you cold out here?” I asked, trying to keep my voice friendly though he was giving me that same odd look he’d been giving me all day.
“Huh?” Peter asked, his eyes not leaving my face. “Oh, I didn’t really notice the cold.”
“Well, I think class is about to start,” I supplied, my eyes flitting to Anna and Scarlet who were both suppressing giggles at Peter’s peculiar behavior. “We should go inside.”
“I’ll go anywhere you want, as long as you’re there,” Peter said in a low, intense voice and my eyes widened.
“Alright…?” I said slowly. Anna and Scarlet were beside themselves, barely able to contain their laughter anymore.
I turned abruptly and hurried into the greenhouse, hoping beyond hope that Peter didn’t try to sit with us. A sigh of relief escaped me when he broke off from us to go sit with the Marauders, who were all giving him equally miffed looks. As soon as he sat down with them they all leaned their heads together in an intense discussion.
“What the bloody hell is going on here?” I hissed to Anna and Scarlet who were doubled over on each other, laughing hysterically.
But they were too busy laughing to answer me so I dragged them over to our seats and sat down roughly.
“S-sorry, Lily,” Anna said between bouts of laughter. “We didn’t think they’d be this intense about it. Your potion must have been really strong.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked flatly, dread flooding through me.
“W-we snuck some of your potion out after class,” Scarlet giggled despite the icy glare I was giving her. “And put it in the pumpkin juice at lunch. That’s why I spilled yours, so you wouldn’t drink any.”
“You didn’t,” I hissed, but Scarlet and Anna nodded guiltily.
“We thought it would be funny,” Anna shrugged, still shaking with laughter. “Come on, they’re always pranking people, but who’s ever pranked them aside from you exploding James’s cauldron?”
“And a love potion is perfect,” Scarlet said, a mischievous grin spreading across her face. “You remember what Slughorn said? The drinker won’t remember anything that happened afterwards. They’ll all make fools of themselves falling at your feet and have no idea after.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I scoffed angrily.
“Come on, Lily,” Anna said, her voice softening. “It’s just a bit of fun.”
“I can’t believe you two,” I hissed at them. “Celia Carrington already hates my guts for that weekend in December. What do you think she’ll do if she sees James following me around like a puppy, making goo-goo eyes at me all day? It’ll be a miracle if I don’t end up in the hospital wing.”
“I think you’re taking this too seriously,” Scarlet shook her head at me and I huffed incredulously.
“I don’t think you’re taking this seriously enough,” I contradicted her.
“Come on, what happened to the Lily who was laid back and didn’t care if we pulled pranks or broke the rules?” Anna asked, raising a skeptical eyebrow at me.
“This is different,” I hissed as Professor Sprout swept past us towards the front of the green house. “That was before…”
“Before you started having feelings for James?” Scarlet interrupted me and I sent her a withering stare.
“No,” I said vehemently.
“You’re just afraid that if this love potion makes him confess some lovey-dovey feelings for you, you’ll actually like it,” Scarlet hissed back at me and I stared at her, stunned.
“That’s bollocks,” I whispered as forcefully as I could. “And I’m not talking about this anymore. What’s done is done.”
Scarlet stared at me for a second and then rolled her vivid blue eyes, turning her attention to Professor Sprout who had begun the lesson.
“Lily, I’m sorry,” Anna whispered quietly to me. “We didn’t think you’d get mad about it… it was just supposed to be funny.”
“It’s ok,” I sighed, feeling bad for snapping at my friends. “I’ll just… sneak them the antidote at dinner or something. It’ll be fine.”
But dinner came and went with no sign of the Marauders. I didn’t know why, but that only made me more nervous. The Marauders never missed dinner. Whatever their reason, I was sure it wasn’t good.
The evening was so quiet without the Marauders around, in fact that I was able to get all of my work done for the entire week. It’s amazing how simple my life would be without the Marauders…Sigh, a girl can dream.
After a few hours of stony silence, Scarlet had begrudgingly apologized for the prank with the love potion. Anna, who had been apologizing to me every five minutes all night, nearly succumbed to tears when Scarlet and I shared a fist bump, and a “we’re good”.
Since nothing dramatic had come from the love potion, the three of us safely assumed that the potion had simply worn off after a while and the Marauders were probably out planning some prank. No harm had come of it, like Scarlet had assured me and I felt thoroughly silly for overreacting.
Anna and Scarlet bid me goodnight as I set out for my patrol and I aimlessly wandered the halls killing time. This time of year it was usually too cold for most students to wander the halls at night so there really wasn’t much for me to do.
I turned the corner to inspect the second floor by the Charms classroom and ran right into someone, sending me sprawling to the floor in the most ungraceful way imaginable.
“Merlin, I’m so sorry!” A male voice came and I felt strong hands lift me off the floor. I shook away the stars flitting back and forth in front of my eyes and saw that it was Sirius Black who had picked me up.
“Oh, hey Sirius!” I said, strangely glad to see him. Weird as it was, I was actually enjoying my friendship with him. That boy definitely knew how to keep me entertained.
“Lily!” Sirius gasped as he recognized me and in his surprise he let go of me, sending me toppling back down to the floor. “Shit! I’m sorry!”
He rushed forward to help me up again but I shooed his hands away, laughing.
“I think you’ve done enough damage already; I can pick myself up,” I chuckled, brushing the dirt from the floor off my skirt. Sirius stared at me apologetically while I dusted myself off.
“So where’ve you been all night?” I asked conversationally when Sirius didn’t say anything. “You guys kind of disappeared after class.”
“You noticed I was gone?” Sirius asked, his silver eyes brightening as he gazed at me.
“Er… yeah?” I said, narrowing my eyes at him. Maybe the love potion hadn’t quite worn off as we thought it had. “Well, when there was enough food at dinner for third and fourth helpings and none of the Slytherins spontaneously sprouted antlers, we realized you and your friends were missing.”
“Ugh,” Sirius groaned, suddenly irritated. “Don’t even talk to me about my so-called friends.”
“What’s wrong?” I asked, tilting my head to the side in mock concern. “You lot have a lover’s quarrel?”
“They just don’t understand,” Sirius said dramatically, flailing his arms out to the side. “They don’t get it.”
“What don’t they get?” I asked, trying very hard to suppress my smile. Maybe Scarlet was right… love potions were fun. Just as long as Sirius didn’t try to snog me.
Sirius snapped his head towards me and his expression instantly softened as his eyes focused on my face.
“They don’t understand what it’s like to be in love,” Sirius said intensely, taking a step towards me.
“Sirius,” I said tenderly, patting him on the shoulder. I could barely keep a straight face anymore. “If you’re so in love with James, why don’t you just tell him? I’m sure he’d appreciate your honesty, and he might even feel the same way. I see the way he looks at you sometimes.”
“James?” Sirius’s face crumpled in confusion. “I’m not in love with James.”
“My mistake,” I smirked, unable to contain my smile anymore.
“Lily,” Sirius took another step towards me. “I’m in love with yo—“
“Stop right there!” A voice called from the end of the corridor. Sirius and I both whirled around to see Remus Lupin stomping angrily towards us. His face was contorted with rage, his hands clenched into fists at his side.
“Excuse us, Lupin,” Sirius sneered at his friend. “We were just having a private conversation if you don’t mind.”
Remus came to an abrupt stop in front of us, frowning. “I absolutely do mind.”
“Why don’t you let Lily and I finish our conversation and then we’ll see if she still even wants to talk to you,” Sirius said patting Remus condescendingly on the head before sending a suggestive wink my way. I gagged quietly into my sleeve.
“You shouldn’t even be out this late,” Remus shot back at him lamely. “I should give you detention.”
“Detention?” Sirius let out a laugh. “You’re not even a prefect anymore, you can’t do anything. I can be out as late as I want to be.”
“Actually,” I interjected quietly, “Neither of you should be out of bed right now.”
Both of the boys turned to look at me, all traces of anger vanishing instantly from their faces. They gave me a tender smile and then snapped their heads back towards each other, their rivalry renewed.
“I found her first,” Sirius hissed childishly. “Therefore, she’s mine.”
“But she likes me better,” Remus retorted. “We’ve been friends longer.”
“I’m more attractive!” Sirius burst hysterically.
“I’m smarter!” Remus countered, and I nearly laughed at how the two of them were nose to nose by now.
“Oh yeah?” Sirius straightened up, trying to look intimidating.
“Yeah,” Remus said deeply, his chin jerking up slightly.
“Oh my god, look out behind you!” Sirius said suddenly pointing to something behind Remus who whirled around. “It’s the moon! Run, Lupin! Before it gets you!”
Remus’s tensed stance relaxed when he realized there was nothing there and Sirius was doubled over in laughed.
“Lily,” Sirius said breathlessly, turning his face towards me. “D’you really want some bloke who’s afraid of the moon?”
“You’re such a git, Black,” Remus growled, kicking Sirius in the shins.
“Oy, watch it!” Sirius snapped as he staggered backwards into the corridor wall.
“Ok, guys,” I finally interrupted, stepping between them and pushing them away from each other with my hands on their chests. “That’s enough.”
“You decide then,” Remus said, his blue eyes resting tenderly on mine. “Who do you like better? Me? Or that womanizing prat.”
I heard Sirius growl on the other side of me but I ignored him.
“Well, it’s such a hard choice,” I said diplomatically. “I don’t think I can decide this by myself. Why don’t we go see what Professor Slughorn thinks?”
I slid my hands down each of their arms and took them by the hand, starting to pull them towards the Potion Master’s office before they could protest.
Thankfully we didn’t run into anyone as I led them quickly through the halls towards the dungeons. Sirius and Remus had started up their “who’s smarter” argument again and I just let them go at it, feeling it was better to have them distracted lest they realize why I’m actually taking them to Slughorn.
We rounded the corner towards Slughorn’s office and for the second time that night, I ran right into someone.
“Sorry!” I apologized quickly, not even bothering to see who I’d just run into. I tugged on Remus and Sirius’s hands, urging them towards the Potions professor’s office.
“Lily, wait!” I heard a familiar voice say and I stopped in my tracks.
“Sev?” I turned slowly towards him, letting go of Remus and Sirius. “What are you doing out so late?”
“I was looking for you, actually,” Severus stammered, his dark eyes flitting briefly to the love-drunk boys I was towing behind me.
“Oh, now you want to talk?” I rolled my eyes irritably at him. Of all the times…
“Lily, I’m sorry,” Severus apologized urgently. “You don’t understand how difficult—“
“Save your breath,” I cut him off. “I get it. You clearly value the company of your so-called friends over me. That’s fine. I’m done.”
“That’s not it at all,” Severus contradicted, his voice pleading. “Please, just listen—“
“Look, Sev,” I interrupted him again. “I’m kind of busy at the moment. Can we talk about this later?”
“No,” Severus said sternly and my eyes widened at him. “There’s something I really need to say to you, and if I don’t do it now I never will.”
“Give me five minutes, Sev,” I said as Remus and Sirius started fidgeting and slapping each other. “If you wait here, I’ll be back—“
“I love you, Lily,” Severus blurted and I gaped at him.
“Excuse me?” I whispered, dangerously close to breaking into hysterics.
“I love you,” Severus said again, his dark eyes intense on my face.
“Yeah, well get in line, Snivellus,” Sirius said, leaning around me to look at him. “We love her, too.”
As my gaze shifted from Sirius back to Severus, something clicked in my brain. Scarlet St. Clair sure had some nerve…
“Oh, for Merlin’s sake. Not you too,” I muttered irritably, rolling my eyes at Severus. I gave a heavy sigh and reached forward to grab his hand. “Alright, Sev. Come on, join the party.”
I started pulling him along with us towards Slughorn’s office, ignoring his feeble protests and I knocked loudly on the professor’s door. Behind me, Remus and Sirius had gotten into another slapping match and Severus was babbling something about how his feelings for me were true and honest.
Yeah, that’s what they all say, Sev.
I heard shuffling from behind the door, which opened a moment later to reveal a rather disheveled Professor Slughorn.
“Miss Evans?” Slughorn mumbled, confusion crossing his face. “What’s the meaning of this? Merlin’s beard, it’s after midnight!”
“I’m so sorry to wake you, Professor,” I apologized swiftly. “But these students seem to have ingested some rather potent love potion.”
I shot all three of them withering looks. Remus and Sirius flashed goofy grins at me while Severus still sputtered protests.
“She’s brilliant, isn’t she professor?” Sirius said in an awe-struck voice as he gazed fondly at me.
“I see…” Slughorn’s moustache quivered as his eyebrows raised a fraction of an inch. “Well, Miss Evans, I’ll get them sorted out. Thank you for bringing them, I’ll send them on their way after I administer the antidote. You may go back to patrol.”
“Thank you, Professor,” I said earnestly, backing out of his door.
“Professor, I’m not drugged!” Severus protested and Slughorn clapped him on the back tenderly.
“Of course you’re not, my boy,” Slughorn said sympathetically.
“Lily, tell him! I’m not—“ Severus turned pleading eyes on me but I shut the door quickly, drowning out his voice. I think I knew deep down that Severus hadn’t been drugged with Love potion… But it was much easier to delude myself into thinking that he was. I had enough problems already.
I strode through the halls, trying to think of anything but Severus. I only had a little bit more time left on my patrol so I simply wandered through the halls, slowly making my way back towards Gryffindor tower.
I let my mind wander away from love potions towards the party James and Sirius were planning to throw me. What was I so worried about? I’d never actually been to a real Marauder party for more than five minutes before… so why was I dreading it so much? The Marauders had never been caught throwing a party, so that was a pointless thing to worry about.
Was I worried about drinking? It was true that I’d never been completely drunk before, and I didn’t intend on getting so… so maybe my anxiety over this party was totally groundless. Maybe Scarlet had a point… if I let them throw me this party, it really would show them once and for all how relaxed I’d become. And if I actually enjoyed it, maybe I would finally convince myself of how laid back I’d become…
“Lily?” A voice startled me and I whirled towards it, breathing a deep sigh of relief when I saw that it was only James. He was at least allowed to be out this late.
“Hi,” I said, tucking my withdrawn wand back into my pocket. “Just finishing patrol?”
“Actually, I was looking for you,” James said, falling into step beside me as we walked slowly through the sixth floor corridor.
“Were you, now?” I asked in an amused voice. I didn’t fancy another trip back to Slughorn’s office, but I supposed I should get James the antidote as well, though he didn’t seem all that love-drunk…
“There’s something I wanted to talk to you about,” James said hesitantly, his fingers twisting together in front of him. Then again, maybe he was a little love-drunk. He didn’t even notice that I’d just abruptly changed our path to take us back to the dungeons.
“Oh? I can’t imagine what you would want to talk to me about…” I muttered, rolling my eyes to myself. It was one thing for Remus, Sirius, and Peter to go all gah-gah for me, but an entirely other thing with James… the sooner we got to the dungeons the better. This could only end badly…
“Could we stop walking for a moment?” James asked and I paused, turning towards him while keeping my face carefully guarded.
“Alright,” I sighed. “What is it you wanted to talk about?”
“Well… it’s just,” James faltered, his eyes dropping from my face. His hands fidgeted in his pockets. “I… well, lately I’ve been feeling…”
“Spit it out, James,” I said impatiently, wanting to get this over with. Why weren’t we closer to the dungeons? I couldn’t do this… I couldn’t hear this.
Merlins’ beard, Scarlet was right about that, too… I couldn’t hear this from James because I knew I would like it! But how much would this hurt tomorrow when things were back to normal?
“It’s just… I like you, Lily,” James said finally, lifting his eyes to mine. “A lot. In fact… I think I may be falling in love with you.”
“Ok,” I said numbly, trying to keep my face neutral and ignore the chills that crept up my spine at his words. “Can we go now?”
It was taking an enormous amount of self-control to keep myself from getting lost in those damn hazel eyes of his. I concentrated all of my effort on making my feet move, carrying me closer to the dungeons.
“Well, what do you think?” James asked tentatively as he followed me.
“What do I think of what?” I snapped, picking up my pace. We were nearly there. Just a few more—
“Lily,” James grabbed my hand, pulling me around to face him. “I’m… I’m in love with you.”
“That’s nice,” I said in a strained voice. This isn’t the real James talking, I reminded myself acidly. He doesn’t love you. It’s just the love potion talking! Get out! Go! Move!
“Well… don’t you… love me, too?” James asked, his face falling slightly at my indifference.
“I… I…” I stammered, unable to form a coherent sentence when he stared at me like that. He took a step closer to me while my mouth stumbled over the rejection I wanted—I had to say.
But James didn’t wait for my response and before I could object, his lips were on mine and every part of my body was suddenly alive, as if someone had lit my very soul on fire. I let myself get lost in his kiss, ignoring the part of my brain that was screaming for me to stop.
James’s hands slid up my sides to my jaw and I felt him brush my hair gently away from my face. I sighed into his kiss, not able to resist the softness of his lips and how they caressed mine in the most perfect way. It had never been like this with Alex. It hadn’t even been like this with Amos… It was like kissing an angel.
Albeit, an angel hell-bent on destroying everything I thought I knew. What happened to the Lily Evans who hated James Potter’s guts? Well, she was currently snogging his face off in the dungeons. Ugh, I disgust myself sometimes.
“Lily?” A voice thundered down the corridor towards us and I quickly shoved James away from me. He didn’t even pay attention to the fact that Severus Snape was marching angrily towards us from the dungeons, his rope whipping violently behind him. James was looking at me with the most peculiar expression on his face, like a man who’d just woken up from a wonderful dream to find that it had come true.
I ran my hands distraughtly through my hair, turning towards Severus whose dark eyes were flashing dangerously, his gaze fixed on James.
“Sev,” I said, my mind desperately trying to think of some excuse for what he’d just seen. “I was just trying to bring James to Slughorn… he’s been love potioned, too.”
“Didn’t seem like you were trying too hard,” Severus said angrily, finally turning his furious gaze on me.
“Sev, come on,” I said desperately, becoming slightly nervous at the deranged look on his face. “You saw Remus and Sirius earlier…. I’m not lying. He really has been drugged.”
James was still staring at me with a goofy grin on his face and that only seemed to upset Severus more.
“So your reaction was to snog him?” Severus growled, his eyes flashing down to my hand where James was trying to entwine his fingers with mine. I quickly shook him off.
“He kissed me,” I explained hastily, hoping beyond hope that Severus would calm down. There was something so dangerous about him when he was mad.
“Didn’t look like you were trying too hard to stop him,” Severus snapped.
“That’s because she was enjoying it,” James smiled haughtily.
“James, shut it,” I snapped back at him and he smiled affectionately at me. “Severus, you know it’s not like that,” I said turning back to him.
“No, Lily,” Severus shook his head. “Stop lying to yourself. I tell you I’m in love with you and you pretend like I’ve taken a love potion. He says it and you’re all over him. I’ve had enough of this… you’ve dragged my heart up and down these halls for years. You knew how I felt about you.”
“I didn’t,” I objected as Severus’s dark eyes flashed with anger. “You never said anything until tonight… how was I supposed to know?”
“Come on, it was pretty damn obvious, Lily,” Severus growled, his face twisting with pain. “I waited while you wasted your time with that idiot Hufflepuff and comforted you for weeks after he broke up with you.”
“Sev,” I said weakly, dropping my hands to my side. But Severus kept going.
“I even watched while you went on a date with Diggory, all along hoping that you might give me the time of day,” Severus went on, pain flashing behind his dark eyes. “I’ve been there for you since the very beginning… since before you even knew you were a witch. How can you just ignore that? How can you not see it? And then at the Christmas party we were finally together and I thought that maybe you might want to be with me too… but then you ran off with him.”
Severus jerked his head towards James who was skipping in circles around me, blowing kisses.
“I didn’t run off with him, Severus,” I contradicted but Severus just shook his head, a half-amused smile twisting his mouth.
“I’m sick of pretending that some day you’ll feel the same about me when it’s pretty damn obvious that you want him. God, him of all people, Lily,” Severus said in a frustrated voice, an edge of despair and anger to it.
“I don’t,” I argued but Severus scoffed. “How many times do I have to tell you?”
“No matter how many times you say it, I can see it in your eyes,” Severus shook his head at me. “I should have know from the very beginning… What else would you expect from a mudblood?”
And there it was. Again.
That one little word.
James stopped skipping around me abruptly, his head jerking towards Severus as if he’d just snapped completely out of his love-induced trance.
“What did you just call her?” James demanded, marching up to Severus who was several inches shorter than him.
Severus didn’t answer, but continued to glare at me with icy black eyes. It felt like my entire body had turned to ice. Tears welled up in my eyes at this final betrayal, but I couldn’t open my mouth.
“You know, I think you’re just jealous because Lily loves me and not you,” James said, giving Severus poke in the shoulder with his finger.
I knew instantly that this was the breaking point. Before I could stop him, Severus whipped his wand from his pocket and had it pointed at James, who backed away slightly with his hands raised.
“Relax, mate,” James said, the cheeriness vanishing from his voice as he realized that Severus posed a threat to him.
“Severus, stop!” I took a step towards him, attempting to get him to lower his wand, but he was too strong for me and he shook me off.
In the moment that Severus was distracted by me, James reached for his own wand but before he could I heard Severus mutter something quickly under his breath. There was a brilliant flash of red light and James collapsed to the floor with a yelp.
Everything fell utterly silent then. My heart hammered in my chest as I stared at the place where James had fallen and remained unmoving. I heard Severus’s ragged breath beside me.
I had no idea what spell he had just used on James. I’d never heard those words before. It wasn’t in any of the spellbooks I’d ever read. What had he done?
I gasped suddenly as a line of red seeped through James’s shirt across his chest. I lurched forwards towards him, my hands shaking terribly as I knelt down next to him and began unbuttoning his shirt where the blood seeped through.
“Oh, god,” I breathed, taking in the sight of the long crooked gash across his chest from his left shoulder nearly to the bottom of his ribs on the right.
James’s breath came in short bursts and his eyes flew open as he came to. Pain swam in his eyes, which were fixed on the ceiling, his jaw clenched as he tried to hold in the scream of agony I knew he wanted to release.
I looked back towards Severus who was standing stock still, his wand still aimed at where James had just been standing. I thought I saw a hint of regret flash in his dark eyes as they met mine but before I could say anything, he turned and sprinted down the corridor and out of sight. The bloody coward.
I looked back down to James and winced. Blood continued staining his skin, his shirt, my hands….He was going to bleed to death if I didn’t do something soon. But what could I do? I didn’t even know what spell Severus had used… And he had just left us here! How could he?
Without waiting for any rational thought to occur, I grabbed my wand and in a shaky voice whispered, “accio dittany!”
We were close enough to the potions classroom that a small bottle of clear liquid zoomed through the door and into my hand. I unstopped the bottle and tried my best to keep my hands from shaking as I dripped the liquid onto the long gash.
James hissed violently as the dittany touched his skin and his body contorted in reaction to the increased pain. The places where the dittany touched sizzled slightly but the bleeding slowed.
“Shh,” I tried to hold him still, my hands leaving bloody prints on the clean parts of his shirt. “T-try to stay still. I know it hurts. I’ll make it stop, I p-promise.”
James’s body continued to twist in pain as more blood gushed from the parts of the wound I hadn’t put dittany. But the bottle was nearly empty… there wasn’t enough to stop it…
A sob escaped from me as the hopelessness of the situation overwhelmed me. I couldn’t just leave him here to get help. It might be too late by the time I got him to the hospital wing. And Severus had just abandoned us.
“What on earth is going on—Oh, my word!” A voice from the end of the hall startled us, but I felt relief flood through me as Professor Slughorn emerged from his office and rushed towards us. Behind him, Remus and Sirius stumbled out of his office, looking slightly dazed but relieved of their love potion- induced trances.
Both of the boys stopped abruptly when they saw me bent over James on the floor and they simultaneously rushed towards him behind the professor, curses slipping from both of their mouths.
“P-p-please, help him” I stuttered, moving aside as Slughorn quickly knelt down next to James, pulling his shirt aside. I saw his face twist into a grimace as he inspected James’s injury.
“What on earth happened here?” Slughorn said in a shaky voice as he pulled his wand from his robes and began waving it over James’s chest.
“I don’t k-know,” I stuttered as tears spilled from my eyes. Remus and Sirius pulled me to my feet, all of us staring helplessly at James. “I don’t know what spell he used. I t-t-tried to used d-dittany but there wasn’t enough.”
Slughorn was silent for a moment as he continued moving his wand over James, whose groans of pain slowly ceased and his body relaxed.
“We have to get him to the hospital wing,” Slughorn said sharply, getting to his feet. He pointed his wand at James, who rose into the air with his levitation charm. I followed numbly behind him as he strode towards the Hospital, not saying a word. Sirius reached a comforting arm around me as we silently watched silently Madam Pomphrey help Professor Slughorn get James into a bed. The nurse rushed to her office and came out with an assortment of bottles, pulling the curtain closed around James.
I winced as I heard a shriek of pain from behind the curtain, followed by the old nurse’s voice assuring him that it wouldn’t hurt much longer.
Silent tears were streaming down my face, my bloody hands clasped together in front of me as I stood waiting. Sirius and Remus were exchanging equally confused looks and I knew how bewildering this must be for them.
The potions master finally emerged from behind the curtains and walked towards me.
“Miss Evans,” he said, in a solemn voice, uncharacteristic of him. “I need you to tell me exactly what happened tonight before I showed up.”
Sirius removed his arm from around me as I sank down onto an empty bed. I was afraid I wouldn’t even be able to talk, but as soon as I uttered the first word, the entire night’s events came spilling from my mouth, sparing no details. Professor Slughorn listened attentively without interrupting, while Remus and Sirius’s eyes widened in shock as I recounted my night. I told them everything, every detail about the love potions and what happened with Sirius and Remus before I’d taken them to Slughorn. As embarrassing as it was, I even included the bit about Severus declaring his love for me. It was the only way that Slughorn would understand why Sev was then so upset upon finding James and I.
“It was an a-accident, though” I said after I’d finished telling him how Severus had cursed James. “I don’t think he actually meant to curse James. “
I wasn’t sure why I was lying to protect Severus after everything that had happened tonight. After all, he had hexed James and left him there to die. What obligation did I feel to him? I knew I should feel none… any rational person would.
Of course I knew that whatever happened now, Severus and I could no longer be friends. We were just too different. He had his view of the world, and I had mine, and they could no longer coincide as hard as we tried. He had chosen the path towards dark magic and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I had to accept his choice. I couldn’t help him anymore… this was all I had left.
“P-please, Professor,” I said as Slughorn considered my story. “I don’t think he meant to actually hurt James…”
“Very well, Miss Evans,” Slughorn said after a moment of silence. “I'll deal with Mr. Snape tomorrow... I appreciate your honesty.”
“Is he going to be alright?” I asked quietly, glancing over at the white sheet that hid James from my view. Sirius and Remus had their heads bent together, muttering between them something I couldn’t make out and they paused to hear Slughorn's reply.
The potions master let out a strained breath. “It will take a few days to heal, but Madam Pomphrey seems to think he’ll be just fine. You’ll all be able to visit him tomorrow, if you wish.”
“How am I supposed to explain what happened?” I sighed, staring at my shoes. “He won’t even remember anything from tonight because of the love potion.”
“I’m sure he’ll understand…” the old professor said uncomfortably and I realized with some embarrassment that I’d essentially just spilled my entire love life to my potions professor, not to mention Sirius and Remus. “In the meantime, however, I would advise you to get some sleep. Forgive my bluntness, but you look like hell.”
I let out a sigh as I pushed myself off the bed, heading towards the door with Sirius and Remus in tow.
“Miss Evans?” I heard Slughorn call after me and I paused in the doorway, turning back towards him. “That was some very quick thinking on your part, using the dittany. You ought consider a career as a healer.”
“Thank you, professor,” I said flatly, my eyes flitting towards the white curtain of James’s bed. “But I think I’d rather be and Auror and stop dark magic before it even happens next time, rather than try to heal the consequences.”
A/N: Soooo love potions... was I right? Lots of drama? I kept going back and forth between breaking this chapter into 2 parts since it's so long, but then I didn't want to be mean and leave you all on a cliffhanger :P
So what did you all think?
Sev totally lost it here... do you think Lily will ever forgive him? Or is this kind of it for their relationship?
Lily and James kissed (finally)... how do you think that will pan out? Especially since James won't remember anything?
Will this change anything between them?
Also, the next chapter is in James's POV :)
I love hearing what you all think of the story! Thank you so much to everyone who's reviewed! It means the world to me!
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