Chapter 1 : The Game
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And don’t even ask why I’m sitting in this stupid circle, actually playing this game.
It’s all James Potter’s fault.
Isn’t it always?
“Go on then! Spin the bottle!” Mary giggles, excitably.
I sigh and lean forward. Reluctantly, I flick the bottle, sending it spinning in a circle. After a climatic chorus of, “oooooooohhhhhh!” from my friends, the bottle stops slowly ceases to rotate.
And guess where it lands?
On Sirius Black.
Merlin, why do you hate me?
Mary’s ecstatic grin is wiped off her face, and James’ face falls into a comical “o”.
“Come on then, Evans!” Black laughs. He puckers up his lips, making kissing sounds and leans forward. Horrified, I fall backwards causing Marlene to snort with laughter (so attractive, I know). Potter jumps up and heaves Sirius back.
“I’m bored of this game, now!” Mary decides suddenly.
Strange, we’ve only had one round. And Marlene had to snog Peter (poor girl. He looks- and smells- like a rat).
“Hmm, I wonder why!” Marlene rolls her eyes, chuckling to herself. For that, she earns a death glare from Mary.
“Okay, what shall we do?” I say, tiredly. I’m exhausted. Here we are, in our seventh year, seventeen/eighteen years of age and we’re playing childish games that 12 year olds play.
Like Spin the Bottle.
We can’t get any more immature.
“I know! Let’s play Truth or Dare!” Potter pipes up.
A chorus of enthusiastic “Yeah!”’s break out.
I stand corrected.
“Come on guys! I bored of the silly games now. Let’s do something sensible!” I say, emphasising the word: sensible. I just get a load of blank stares.
“I agree with Lily. This is getting a bit old now,” Remus says cautiously, looking at his friends nervously. Still, after seven years, he gets anxious about how his friends will react. Surely he must know he’s accepted.
“Lighten up, Mo- I mean Remus!” Sirius laughs, slapping his friend of the back.
“Well, the birthday girl gets to choose! And since I’m the birthday girl, I say we play Truth or Dare!” Mary trills in her sing-song voice.
Why am I friends with this girl?
You’re probably wondering how the lads got invited, right? Well, let’s put it this way, it wasn’t my idea to invite them.
As you probably guessed, it’s Mary’s birthday (insert sigh here) so she decided to throw a small, intimate party.
She’s had this huge crush on Sirius Black since First Year. She thinks he’s good-looking and funny.
I know, bonkers. I think she was dropped on her head as a child.
That’s why she didn’t want him smooching me. Not that I want him smooching me either.
She’s been flirting non-stop with him for years. Apart from flirting, up until two days ago, she hadn’t done anything about it. Two days ago, however, she asked Sirius whether he wanted to come to her party.
I’d like to say she said it all calmly and sexily. Not quite. The conversation went like this:
“E-excuse me. Sirius?” she says nervously. Sirius turns away from his friends and smiles at Mary. His mates all say goodbye and carry on walking (though James winks at me. Sigh.).
“Evans,” he nods at me. “Still refusing James?”
“Yes. Why?” I say coldly.
“No reason. You’ll crack soon.” He smiles slyly. Before I can rant, he turns to Mary and says, “Yeah?”
“I-I... I...” Mary stutters. Sirius looks at her expectantly. I poke her in the back, prompting her.
“Come on, Mary,” Marlene says through gritted teeth.
She takes a deep breath. “Doyouwannacometomyparty?”
Sirius blinks at her. “What?”
She repeats it, but this time it comes out in an even bigger mush. This time it sounds like, “Doyounnatomty?”
Now Sirius just looks scared.
Marlene sighs heavily. “She’s nervous, sorry Black. She’s inviting you to her party on Saturday.”
“Can you come?” I ask him, glaring at him. He grins at me, his eyes crinkling.
“I’ll be there!” he winks at Mary.
Then, Mary promptly faints.
It’s rather embarrassing.
So, we were all fine and dandy (Mary even skipped to class that day. Skipped.) until Sirius marched back up to us yesterday.
“Hey.” He smiles at us, flicking his hair out of his eyes.
“H-h-h-hi...” Mary manages to choke out. Behind me, Marlene struggles to hide her laugh.
“What do you want, Black?” I hiss, warily looking him up and down.
“Listen, you’re party is still on right?”
“Well, sorry, but I can’t come.” Black shrugs nonchalantly. Mary looks like she might cry.
She chokes back a sob. “W-why?”
“I just can’t...” he looks genuinely sorry as he pats Mary on the back. He turns and starts walking away.
Suddenly, he stops and revolves round on his feet to face us again.
“Unless...” he murmurs.
“What?” Mary pipes up eagerly.
“Well... I might consider coming if... No you won’t like it...” he sighs sadly.
“No, I’ll do anything! ANYTHING!” Mary practically yells.
Looking slightly alarmed, Sirius continues. “I’ll come... IF you invite James too. Oh, and Remus. And Peter too, I suppose.”
Anything but that.
Mary looks pleadingly at me.
Must. Resist. Puppy dog eyes.
“Fine!” I concede eventually after an internal battle with myself. Mary grins at me like I just saved her life.
“They can come!” Mary giggles.
“Great! See you then. James can’t wait Lily!” he smiles at me. I roll my eyes.
It wasn’t my fault! I was being a good friend. Unfortunately, my good deed means I have to sit opposite James Potter for the whole night. Which isn’t how I like to spend my Saturday night.
You know that feeling when you just know someone is staring at you?
Well, I had that feeling the whole party. I’ve still got it now. And the thing is, every time I look up because I can feel someone’s eyes on me, I see James gazing at me.
Most of the time, I’d roll my eyes or glare at him, but for some reason, more times than I’d like to, I find myself returning his gaze, looking intently into his eyes.
And for some reason, I keep losing myself in his eyes. His hazel eyes seem awfully bright and memorizing tonight...
Must be something I ate. I knew something was up with that treacle tart...
Anyway, back to the game.
So, we’re currently huddled in a circle in the middle of the Room of Requirement at one o’clock in the morning, James, Sirius, Peter, Remus, Marlene, what’s-her-face- from-Hufflepuff Mary’s friendly with, Mary and I, playing Truth or Dare.
“Okay, we’ll take it turns to spin the bottle. Then, whoever it lands on has to answer a truth or complete a dare set by the spinner!” Mary cries excitedly.
“Wait a second.” Marlene interrupted. “What if the person who it lands on, refuses to do it? How do we make them?”
“The Unbreakable Vow!” James pipes up. The rest of the group cheer.
“Good idea!” Sirius yelled.
Are they drunk? I knew they spiked the Butterbeer! With something strong...
James rolls up his sleeves and Sirius whips out his wand. “Rightio!” says he, “Let’s get cracking!”
“Woah, woah, woah!” I hold up my arms and interrupt them. “Let’s think for a minute! If we make the Unbreakable Vow and break it, we’ll die!”
“Exactly!” James laughs, not at all slurred. My gut feeling is that he’s not actually drunk, he’s just this stupid permantly. “Adds to the fun!”
I can see his faults, so why do I keep getting this swooping sensation in my stomach whenever he speaks?
“I agree with Lily,” Remus says quietly. “I think that might ruin the fun if Sirius dropped dead after not telling the exact truth...” he continues with a faint trace of a smile on his lips. “But, I think there is another way. In Defence, Sir mentioned a while back of this vow you can take. It’s a bit like the Unbreakable Vow, but you don’t die. If you break the Voluntas Vow, you start growing fur or in the worst case scenario, you break out in permanent spots.”
“Awesome!” Sirius cheers, high-fiving James.
“But, that’s not that bad. They’re just spots. You can get rid of them, can’t you?” Peter says in his squeaky, hoarse voice.
“No, Remus is right.” Marlene grimaces. Remus blushes. She continues, not noticing it, “They’re permanent- they’ll just keep growing back. And they’re not pleasant. They squirt pus everywhere.”
“Speak from personal experience do we, Mackinnon?” Sirius winks at her.
“Not personally, no,” Marlene responds coolly, raising her eyebrows.
“Alright, let’s do this Voluntas Vow, then. Let’s go!” Mary interrupts; the attention has been away from her long enough. She gestures for Remus to begin.
He clears his throat nervously as he takes out his wand. “Erm, okay. Right, hold hands with the person next to you.”
Funnily enough, the boys all grasp hands with no complaint.
“Okay...” Remus frowns as if trying to remember what comes next. “Oh yeah! I remember. We’ve all got to repeat this oath. So repeat after me.” He clears his throat once more. “I swear-”
“By the Voluntas Vow-”
“By the Voluntas Vow!”
“To tell the truth-”
“To tell the truth!”
“And complete any tasks asked of me-”
“And complete any tasks asked of me!” (James added a little “o-er” on the end of this one.)
“If I fail to stay by my Vow-”
“If I fail to stay by my Vow!”
“I will bear the Voluntas curse-”
“I will bear the Voluntas curse!”
That seemed to have a sort of finality about it.
Gasps ripple through the group. A binding of light wrap around our arms, joining us together. After a few seconds, the light fades into our skin. But I feel different.
“Woah.” Is all James can manage.
That seemed to sum up all of our feelings nicely.
“So...Who wants to go first?” Mary smiles anxiously at us.
What’s-her-name-from-Hufflepuff’s arm shoots up. “Ooh! Me! Me!”
Mary pretends to think about it. “Alright...” she says slowly.
What’s-her-face- from-Hufflepuff leans forward and flicks the bottle. It finally stops spinning and comes to a halt at Mary. She claps in delight.
“Okay! Truth or Dare?” What’s-her-face-from-Hufflepuff asks Mary.
“Truth!” she replies easily.
“Hmm..” What’s-her-face-from-Hufflepuff pouts, thinking hard. “Mary, who do you fancy?”
Oh, how original.
Mary flushes pink and mumbles something incoherently.
“Pardon? Speak up, chuck!” Marlene cups her hand around her ear, obviously enjoying Mary’s discomfort.
“Sirius...” she murmurs, a notch louder. Sirius doesn’t flush; he merely looks pleasantly surprised.
“I’m flattered. Thank you!” he replies gracefully. Wow, Black’s actually polite. Mary, meanwhile, looks like she might faint again.
Marlene is next in the circle, so she spins it. It spins round coming to a stop directly at Remus. He blinks in shock but recovers quickly.
“Alright, Truth or Dare Lupin?” she asks him, a cheeky grin playing on her lips.
He hesitates from a moment before replying, “Dare.”
“My man!” James cheers punching his arm. Sirius claps him on the back whilst and yells,
“That’s my boy!”
Remus flushes happily.
Marlene cracks her knuckles, not taking her eyes of Remus. He returns the steady gaze. Then Marlene smiles evilly. “Jump into the Black Lake now, and tickle the Giant Squid’s tummy.” Remus looks unimpressed so she adds with another wicked twinkle in her eye: “Naked.”
The girls gasp (I’m counting Peter too). Sirius and James just nod their heads, looking excited.
“Bring it.” Is all Remus says.
I’ve never seen him so confident. I suppose it must be down to adrenaline and the excitement of impressing Marlene.
So, with a little help from that weird little map the boys have, we head down to the Lake, moving as quietly as eight slightly intoxicated 17 year olds can at a party.
We make it past that new Caretaker- Filch, I think he’s called- and run into the open air. It’s chilly and the wind whips mercilessly at our faces.
“Come on Remus, old boy, strip off.” James prods him in the ribs, whilst shivering.
“B-but it’s freezing!” Remus protests.
“Do you want spots for the rest of your life?” Sirius asks him seriously.
“Spots that squirt pus everywhere?” James continues, not a trace of a smile on his lips. Both have expressions suitable for a funeral. Remus sighs gustily and grits his teeth. He strips off, one layer at a time. He shivers even more each time.
The moonlight reflects off his skin showing something horrible. Deep gashes run up and down his back and his legs and arms. Bruises cover every inch on his legs, deep purple and some yellowing.
Marlene gasps and reaches out to touch a particularly deep one on his arm. Remus flinches away, muttering something like, “They’re nothing.” Sirius and James frown, worried.
Remus turns and runs towards the Lake. He reaches it and strips off everything, even his socks, until he’s wearing nothing but his underpants. Then, he plunges into the icy depths. After a few seconds, his hand resurfaces waving what appears to be his underpants. Then, his hand (and his underpants) disappear back into the icy depths.
We wait for what feels like eternity. And he still hasn’t come up.
Marlene leaps up in anguish. “I’ve killed him! I’ve gone and killed him!” she hisses to herself.
Meet my friend Marlene, the Positive Thinker.
But, I agree, he’s been down there far too long. Hopefully he cast a Bubble-Head charm or something like that.
“I’m sure he’ll cast a Bubble-Head charm on himself or something like that!” I say. I tend to repeat what’s running through my head.
“If he’s not died of hypothermia first!” Marlene cries, semi-hysterically.
“If he dies, my party will be such a FAIL!” Mary wails at the top of her voice. Marlene now looks like she might puke.
“Not helping Mary!” I moan, letting my head flop into my hands.
“I’m going after him!” Marlene yelled suddenly and dramatically. Naturally, I did nothing and carried on staring at the floor- Marlene is very melodramatic. She says theatrical things and then does nothing. It all goes silent. Then-
“Um, Evans. You’re mate’s stripping.” James says in an unnaturally high voice.
“What?!” I squeal, leaping up. Marlene is running towards the Black Lake, pulling off various items of clothing as she runs. “Why didn’t you stop her?” I yell at the rest of them. Then I charge after her, screaming at the top of my voice. I’m vaguely aware of pounding footsteps behind me. It’s James.
Before I can reach her, Marlene plunges into the Lake.
“IF SHE DIES, I’M GOING TO KILL YOU POTTER!” I screech at him, punching his chest. He grabs my hands and stops me from striking his chest.
“They won’t.” He says calmly. Oddly enough, I find myself reassured by his voice. I let him pull me into a hug.
I let him hold me for the next few minutes. It’s warm and comforting, and he smells amazing: of freshly mowed grass, quaffles and treacle tart.
Then suddenly, two heads appear from beneath the surface. It’s Marlene and Remus. Remus is leaning heavily on Marlene as she heaves him from underneath the icy depths. It looks like he managed to put his underwear back on (thank Merlin).
James chuckles beside me as we wade into the water to assist them.
“What?” I ask him as we help Marlene drag Remus the dry land.
“Well... it’s like the roles are reversed. It’s supposed to be, you know, the amazing warlock rescuing the beautiful witch in distress, right? Well, it’s the witch rescuing the warlock!” he laughs to himself as he tells me.
It’s not even funny.
But for some reason, it makes me laugh.
I start snorting hysterically and loudly. Then I look up at James, to find him blinking at me in shock. Which sends me into another fit of laughter. As I double over, he begins to chuckle, louder and louder until we’re both rolling around, laughing hysterically.
In less than five minutes, we’ve gone from being hysterically worried to hysterically laughing. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?
Somehow, we make it back to the Room of Requirement without out being seen even though we have two hypothermic students (who are both in their underwear), two hysterically laughing students (we’re still aching with laughter) and three slightly scared students (they’re walking some way in front of us)...
We hurry into the Room, which has magically reformed to sort our needs. It’s now a small, cosy room, sort of like the Gryffindor Common Room, with a blazing hot fire and various steaming potions on a table nearby. We sit Marlene and Remus by the fire as they warm up little by little. Then we look at the potions.
“Which potion should we use?” I turn to James.
“You’re the potions whiz, Evans. You tell me!” James laughs.
“Shut it, James. Help me figure out which are which!” I reply punching him gently on the shoulder. He freezes and tenses up. I poke him unsurely. “James...?”
“You called me James.” He says in a tight voice.
“Well yeah. It’s your name, isn’t it?” I blink at him. He blinks back.
“I know. But you always call me Potter. You never call me James.” He answers back in the same constricted voice. Then I realise what he means.
“Oh.” Is all I can manage. I feel the tips of my ears turn red, so I busy myself with identifying the potions.
“Here, take this one first. It’ll bring your temperature back up,” I tell Marlene and Remus a few minutes later, after figuring out which are which. They gulp it down eagerly, smiling as they feel themselves grow warmer. “Then this one.” I order them to take the next few potions.
Soon, colour returns to their faces and they smile.
“Thanks for saving me,” Remus smiles at Marlene shyly.
She salutes him. “No problem, darling!”
Marlene never notices someone is flirting with her. It’s rather odd.
“Hey! Guys!” Mary claps her hands together awkwardly. “So, shall we carry on with the game?”
“Yeah! Best to take our minds off things, yeah?” What’s-her-face-from-Hufflepuff says.
I nod reluctantly. “S’long as we don’t dare anyone to do something that’ll kill them!” I look at Marlene pointedly. She blushes and looks down. She’s said sorry to Remus about three hundred times, but she still feels guilty.
Remus rolls his eyes, and places two fingers under her chin, pushing her head up. He smiles warmly at her to show he’s forgiven her. Marlene smiles tentatively before leaning against him. He blinks in shock for a moment. Then he shuffles closer towards her and wraps his arm around her nervously.
I look up and catch James’ eye. I nod at Marlene and Remus and raise my eyebrows at him. He grins.
“Alright guys! Let’s get back into the circle!” Mary calls. Obediently, we all scoot into our original places. “Okay, it was Marlene so it should be Remus next, but he’s done enough today!” she giggles. “So, it’s Peter next!”
“B-b-but!” Peter stutters.
“Let Peter sit out, he’s rubbish at this.” Sirius interrupts rudely. Peter sinks backwards, looking relieved.
“So, that means it’s you Sirius!” Mary giggles.
Sirius waggles his eyebrows. “Yes, I suppose it is.”
The atmosphere visibly tenses: everyone know Black is the ultimate darer- nothing is too much for him.
Sirius gazes at each one of us before kicking the bottle with his foot. It spirals around and around for what seems like eternity. As it begins to slow, everyone leans forward in anticipation.
Slowly, inch by inch, it stops.
Guess who at.
Everyone sighs in relief. My heart speeds up.
“Okay, Evans. Truth or Dare?” Sirius rubs his hands together, winking at me evilly.
“Dare.” I reply quickly, before I can hesitate. I hope no-one noticed the nervous waver.
Sirius sighs contentedly as everyone gasps at my choice. I can live with a dare, no matter how bad it is. But Black is manipulative. If I chose truth, I know he would get me to spill out my deepest, darkest secrets.
“Hmm...” He murmurs to himself, pretending to be stuck for choice. He knows exactly what my dare is, I just know it. He’s playing for effect.
“Get a move on, Black.” I say, coolly.
“Alright, Evans. I’ve made my choice. I want you...” he pauses and closes his eyes. “To...”
Come on, come on, come on!
“Kiss James.” He eyes shoot open at the words. Everyone gasps. Even James looks shocked.
“You have got to be kidding!” I practically yell. Sirius shakes his head, smiling slightly.
“And, you have to do it!” Sirius tells me in a sing-song voice. I cross my arms angrily.
“Hey! Do I get a say in this, or am I just an object?” James pipes up, crossly. “Look, Lily-”
He’s said it. Lily. Not just Evans. My heart does a little flutter.
“I know you hate me and everything but you have to do it. So let’s get it out of the way.” He looks a little upset as he says it, which troubles me.
“Alright,” I consent.
James shuffles forward on his hands and knees. He coughs in the crook of his elbow before facing me. He blows some hair that fell in his eyes. It floated right back.
Could this get any more awkward?
Then I look at him. I look at him properly- directly into his eyes- and the whole world spirals out of control. I gaze at his bright hazel eyes and notice the emerald green specks near his pupil, the way the grey shades sparkle in the light.
Finally, after seven years, I see how beautiful he is.
Not in the “hot” sort of way the other girls see him, but in the inner beauty sort of way. He’s beautiful.
And by the way James is gazing into my eyes, I’m pretty sure he’s just had the same experience. Gently, he pushes a loose of hair behind my ear.
Slowly, he leans forward until his lips are a centimetre away from mine. I can feel his warm breath blowing softly against my face.
Haltingly, he moves forward again. And then his lips are on mine.
They’re sort and gentle and taste like all my favourite foods moulded into one. I close my eyes and kiss him back, still gentle.
All too soon, we break apart. I’m aware of cheering from the spectators but the sound is muted. I can’t break James’ gaze. James is the only one that matters.
It was amazing.
I can’t believe I just said that. Seven years I’ve hated him, hated my feelings, hated everything between us. And then one kiss, one kiss, makes me realise that I’ve loved him all this time.
I laugh quietly and James looks at me questioningly. I shake my head a little. Then he smiles my favourite smile: the crooked, cheeky smile that shows all his teeth.
Suddenly, without planning it, without thinking, I’m kissing him again.
The cheers from our friends stop abruptly.
This time the kiss is more passionate. We need each other: it’s desperate and fervent. Fireworks explode inside me as our tongues dance together.
Wait a second!
I’ve gone soft! In thirty seconds, I’ve gone from stone-hearted-Lily to hopeless-romantic-twirp-Lily! Who knew it’d be James to make me go so wet and romantic?
Well, judging by my friends’ unimpressed looks, everyone else did. Just not me.
James and I carry on kissing eagerly, making up for seven years worth of kissing.
If this was one of those Muggle Rom-Com’s the lights would dim, epic music would build up to this moment and the audience would cheer.
Then, the camera would zoom out on James and I kissing devotedly, the screen fading out as we smooch...
But it’s not.
Instead, we get Sirius Black pushing James away yelling,
“GET A ROOM!”
They didn’t know it then, but each person it that room lives were connected with another.
James and Lily stayed together and married, Lily giving birth to a beautiful baby boy, Harry.
Sirius and Mary had an on and off relationship for several years. That relationship mainly consisted of snogging.
A few months later, Marlene finally agreed to date Remus after unknowingly turning him down seven times.
What’s-her-name-from-Hufflepuff stayed friends with Mary and acquaintances with Lily and Marlene. They never did catch her real name.
And Peter? Well, he effected each person in that room.
Peter betrayed James and Lily, giving Lord Voldemort the only way to kill them. He got Sirius sent to Azkaban for years.
Peter’s “friends”- Death Eaters- tortured Mary, like the Longbottoms, into insanity.
Peter’s master killed Marlene along with the whole of her family.
Peter escaped from Lupin and helped bring Voldemort back to life. His fellow Death Eater killed Lupin. Remus had moved on, married and had a child.
And what about What’s-her-name-from-Hufflepuff? Well, she had a son. He was called Cedric Diggory. Pettigrew killed him.
They were all connected by thick bonds. They were all betrayed by one man.
But, it does not matter. Because for that night, they were happy.
They were in love, had great friends and trusted each other.
And it all started in a game of Truth or Dare.