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Chapter 15 : Rejected
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She was rubbing her fingers over Lily’s hands. The action caused some pain to Lily, but not enough for her to grimace. Even if it did hurt, Lily wouldn’t have said anything. She wanted out of the infirmary, and a little pain wouldn’t stop her.
“Can I go to breakfast?” she asked the nurse.
“I don’t see why you can’t, but…” said the nurse. “…if you feel intense pain, the blisters come back, or your skin starts to bleed. I want you back here. Is that understood?”
“Yes, I understand.”
“All right off you go.”
Lily didn’t hesitate. She was out of the infirmary and on her way to the great hall in a second. Her stomach was empty. The soup she had yesterday was enough for her last night, but that had worn off over night. She started to think about the food that would be there in the hall. As she did her pace picked up until she was almost running through the hallways and down the stairs.
The noise of breakfast at Hogwarts reached her the same time as the smells of the food. Her stomach made a loud rumble that she was sure if anyone was within ten feet of her they could hear. She hurried down the main stairs to the doors of the great hall. She almost stopped walking when she saw Theodore sitting with the Marauders.
He was sitting there talking and laughing as though the events of yesterday never happened. Lily watched him as she walked to a seat close by him. She tried to listen without being obvious, as she piled her plate with sausage and eggs. She grabbed several pieces of toast, and poured a large glass of pumpkin juice for herself.
He seemed to be consoling Black about something. He had his French accent back. He was quite believable as a Frenchman.
Both Black and Potter seemed unusually morose this morning. Potter had turned and looked at her, but didn’t make any of his usual remarks about their nonexistant relationship. He was showing signs of having been in a fight. There were marks on the side of his face, and his knuckles were raw. His friends were also looking a little beat up.
As she listened, the name of the waitress came up. From what she could hear, Black was crushing on the waitress, Ray. Lily couldn’t help but smile to herself. Sirius Black the heartbreaker of Hogwarts has gone all goo-goo eyed over a waitress, who was actually a fierce Auror. Theodore must be enjoying this situation.
Lily looked over at Black. He had a sad and dejected look on his face. She didn’t want him to think she was staring at him, so she shifted her gaze up to the head table. She saw Professor James sitting up there, quietly eating his breakfast. He had a worried expression as he read the Daily Prophet.
“Excuse me,”Lily said to the people around her. “Does anyone have the Prophet that I could read?”
A paper was passed to her from someone several seats away. As it was handed to her she heard someone say, “keep it, it is just full of rubbish anyway.”
Looking up at Professor James, Lily tried to find the same section of the paper as what he was reading. As she glanced up at him, she quickly turned the pages.
“What are you looking for?” asked Potter.
“I am trying to see what has Professor James so vexed, Potter.”
“You know you called…,” Potter stopped talking as he stared at her. He seemed to look at her then shake his head.
Lily finally found about where the Professor was reading. She glanced over the headlines. She didn’t see anything unusual about the news on the page. The only thing that seemd a little unusual was that Barty Crouch the Head of Magical Law Enforcement was taking leave due to contrating a mild case of Dragon Pox. She wasn’t sure if that was bothering the Professor. She stared up at him to see if he said anything to a neighboring Professor.
“You know he is too old for you, and he is married,” stated James with a dour tone.
Lily snapped her head back to Potter. “I know. I am not interested in him that way.”
“What way are you interested him?”
Lily felt her anger rising. She might have formed a relationship with Professor James, but it wasn’t that type. He was more of an adult mentor to her. He seemed to have the same interests as she. He also saved her life.
“Whatever I feel towards Professor James is my business. Not yours,” she snapped at him.
The entire table had gone quiet, and they were all looking at her. She felt her face flush with embarrassment for being overheard. What she said was poorly worded and she just realized what it must have sounded like.
“I am just saying he is old enough to be your father,” replied Potter tersely. “And that is too greasy for you.”
She knew that voice, and knew who it belonged to. “Yes, Sev,” she replied while turning to look at him. He had a letter in his hand.
“Professor Slughorn asked me to deliver this to you,” Severus said while extending his hand with the letter in it.
“Thank you, Sev,” said Lily as she took the letter from him. He stood there and stared at her. The rest of the table seemed to be waiting for her to open the letter. She hated being the center of attention, so she stared at everyone else and they went back to eating. However, Sev was still standing there staring at her.
“You delivered the letter. Did the Porfessor want a reply right now?”
“He did not say.”
“Then I will read it at a more private moment. You can return to your house table Severus,” she said coolly.
“Yes, Snivellus leave and slime your way back to the rest of your slimey friends,” growled Potter.
“Don’t you have detention, Potter?”
“No, it is Theofrank’s turn to serve detention,” stated Potter.
“Until the Christmas hols,” added Black.
“Well, he is a true rule breaking Gryffindor,” responded Severus with mock admiration. “You should be proud. You corrupted another dunderhead.”
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Lily was moving as quickly as she could to the dungeons. The letter from Professor Slughorn stated the Mr. Ipacac would be stopping by today, since he was unable to stop at The Three Broomsticks yesterday. Lily had rushed back to her dorm and changed into her best robes. She also picked up her Potion supplies before leaving for the dungeons.
She pushed the door open to the dungeon and stopped inside staring at the waitress, Ray, working at one of the tables. She had two cauldrons brewing and a puzzled expression as she stared at the steam coming off the cauldrons. Her face was scrunched up and deep creases marked her forehead. Lily walked over to her. She was curious why she was here, and what she was doing.
“Good morning,” said Lily brightly. Ray snapped her head up and looked at her shocked.
“Oh hello, good morning,” replied the waitress nervously.
“You look like you are having problems,” said Lily. She looked down at the table and saw four bottles of Zonko’s love potions. “Worried about admirers?”
“Yeah, something like that,” replied Ray. “It has been a while since I did this. Something isn’t right.”
“Do you want me to help you?”
The waitress looked up at her and grimaced. “Yes, if you think you could find out what is in these.”
Lily chuckled at her statement. She had been able to analyze hidden poisins for about two years, even though they haven’t even covered it in class yet. “Not a problem.”
Lily waved her wand and vanished the contents of the cauldrons. She walked over to the cabinets and picked out some reagents and walked back over to the table. She poured the reagents into the cauldrons and stirred it several times before starting a fire under it. As the cauldrons were heating, Lily wanted to ask Ray a couple of questions.
“Your name is Ray?”
“Yes,” she replied tentively.
“Is that your first or last name?”
“That is my only name,” she stated sharply.
Lily was taken back by Ray’s tone. “Oh, all right. I was wondering why you are in Hogwarts? Is this something for Professor James?”
“Yes, you could say that I am doing this for him. I am the new assistant Professor of Defense.”
“How long have you known Professor James?” Lily saw she was uncomfortable with the questions.
“I met him this summer at the pub.”
Lily poured some of the potions from two bottles into separate cauldrons. “You only met him this summer? You two worked well with Theodore fighting the Death Eaters.” Lily smiled at the expression on Ray’s face. “I still have my memories of yesterday.”
“I have known about him since I learned that I was magical, but I only met him a few years ago.”
Lily was checking the fumes coming off the cauldrons. The testing seemed to be faulty. She was carefully checking the reactions. After determining what was in the potions, she emptied the cauldrons and cooled them to mix the next batch of reagents. She placed new reagents in the cauldrons, stirred them, and started the fire again.
“You are Muggle born?” Lily asked Ray.
“Yes, I am. What did you discover, and what would I need to brew an antidote?”
“What I found doesn’t make sense. Wait until I have the other two analyzed, before I say anything,” responded a puzzled Lily. “Where did you learn to fight like you three did?”
Ray grimaced at her question. “Professor James changed many of the old ways when he took over our department. He has changed so much,” she said proudly. “Before him, it seemed as though every…” she seemed to stumble on her words. “… one in our department had their own reserved bed in a hospital. Now we rarely ever go to the hospital.”
Lily looked at her. She talked about Professor James with pride. “You really like him, don’t you?”
Ray looked shocked at the question. “No, yes, not in that way,” she stated. “If he hadn’t defeated…,” she stopped talking for a second. “…all the pureblood fanatics, then I never would have been able to discover that I am magical. I would have remained a freak in the Muggle world.”
Lily smiled at her. The potions were ready to analyze. She watched as the fumes waft off the surfaces. It was the same results as before. “That’s odd,” she said out loud to herself.
She looked at Ray. “All the potions are the same ingredients. They are a mix of Pepper-up Potion and a Calming Draught.”
“I thought I had messed up when I came up with the same results,” stated Ray. “I can’t believe that Zonko’s sells them as Love Potions.”
“I can,” replied Lily. “They are there to make money. Do you want me to make up a cure for Professor James.”
“No need, I am can deal with a Calming Draught.”
“You?” questioned Lily.
“Yes, I am not sure why, but Harry told me that I was the one who needed the antidote to the Love Potions.”
Lily started to smile. She was going to tell Ray why, but the door opened and Professor Slughorn entered escorting a tall balding wizard wearing half glasses on a gold chain.
“Ah, Miss Evans, I would like you to meet Mr. Ipacac, and old student of mine,” stated the rotund Professor proudly.
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Lily Evans had had a wonderful day. She had met with Mr. Ipacac the head of the Medicinal Potion department at St. Mungo’s. They spent almost two hours talking and another hour with her demonstrating her abilities with a cauldron. She left the meeting with an outline of the potions and techniques that she would need to have perfected by summer hols.
After a quick lunch, she ended up here in the library researching everything on the list. She was so busy that she even forgot to stop for dinner. It was now almost curfew and she needed to get back to her house before she gets house points taken off. The walk was difficult because she was carrying four books and three roles of parchment. She had made it almost to the portrait when she saw Professor James and Theodore walking side by side.
They didn’t look like a Professor and a student walking together. Theodore seemed to be too relaxed. He should be more nervous walking beside the Professor. They seemed to be discussing something. They would take turns talking and gesturing to each other. It looked like two colleagues discussing theories of an experiment.
They stopped walking a few feet from the portrait of the Fat Lady. They turned to look at each other. Lily noticed that Professor James seemed to react to something. He turned and stared at her. Theodore noticed the direction of his gaze and turned to see her several feet away from them. He gave her a forced smile.
“I will be going to my common room now Professor,” stated Theodore woodenly.
“Don’t forget you have detention again tomorrow evening,” barked Professor James. He turned his back on Theodore and started to walk towards her.
“Professor, I would like to talk to you,” Lily stated. He didn’t respond or even slow down his walking. She did something drastic and stepped in front of him. “Please Professor, could I speak to you alone,” she half whispered to him. She could see something in his facial expression, but she didn’t know what it was.
He placed his hands on her shoulders and tried to move around her. Lily moved with him to block him from walking away from her. “Please Professor; I need to talk to you. It would be best if we were alone.”
“No, and I don’t have time to explain why it must be no,” he said as he grasped her shoulders firmly and tried to move her to the side.
“Please it is important,” she nearly begged him. She needed to talk to him and thank him for saving her.
“Miss Evans, you are making a scene,” he whispered to her.
Lily was confused about what he was talking about. He stepped back and to the side exposing the portrait hole that now had at least ten Gryffindors standing outside and through it staring at her. To the front and left was Potter glaring daggers at her and the Professor.
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