Chapter 4 : Start A War
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“In 1501, Tobias the Terrible conquered all of the established magical communities across America...”
I’m so bored.
“The Spanish and Portuguese wizards infamously colonised much of the magical communities across this region during the 15th and 16th centuries, long before the Muggles arrived...”
You should be listening. This will probably be on the exam.
“If you’ll turn to page 1003, you’ll see a picture of Gawain the Great. You should have read as far as page 1010 for today...”
Peter’s asleep. Have you any ink?
Are you finally going to take notes?
Just wondering what Pete would look like if he could grow facial hair...
“Mr Black, would you please stop drawing on Mr Pettiweather and pay attention?”
Lily laughed quietly as Professor Binns turned back around and continued droning on to the class of disinterested students. It didn’t surprise her that Sirius’s was the only name in the class the contrary ghost got right; he was used to disciplining him. Sirius didn’t look in the slightest bit embarrassed; it wasn’t his first time being told off in History of Magic. He smirked at her and shrugged, secretly delighted that he had made her laugh. After weeks and weeks of watching her stare off into space with nothing but despair etched on her face, it was nice to know that she still could laugh. James would want her to laugh.
“You should really listen, Sirius,” Lily told him as they walked out of History of Magic together. Peter trudged behind them, yawning; Remus had dropped the subject after the OWLs, as had James. “There is so much to learn before the exams. Have you even started your research project yet?”
“I’ll start it next week,” Sirius told her.
“It’s due at the end of March! That’s three weeks! I started mine in October.”
“That’s why you’re Head Girl and I’m the holder of the record for most detentions received by any student in the history of this school,” Sirius said proudly.
“How could you possibly know that?”
Lily headed for the library while Sirius and Peter went to meet Remus in the Great Hall for lunch. She often skipped lunch to study; Sirius had lectured her on it, but she took no notice of him. She had lost weight in the two months since James’s death, but the three boys were at a loss of what to do about it.
“She’s in the library again,” Sirius told Remus as soon as he sat down at the Gryffindor table.
“And she didn’t eat much at breakfast,” Peter pointed out.
“I know,” said Remus sadly. “But we can’t make her eat.”
“We can’t just sit back and watch her do this to herself,” Sirius snapped. Remus and Peter looked at each other; they didn’t want to say it aloud, but Sirius looked just as malnourished as Lily. He was constantly stressed when she wasn’t around, as if worrying she’d do something stupid if he wasn’t beside her. He simply forgot to eat most of the time, just like he forgot to shave. Worrying about Lily seemed to distract him from thinking about James, and worrying about Sirius was a distraction for Remus and Peter. Although, Remus wasn’t quite sure when Sirius went from being angry with her to caring about what she ate. “She laughed today.”
Remus looked at Sirius. He noticed the pride in Sirius’s voice. “Well that’s good.”
Sirius continued to look angry as he sat through lunch, eating nothing.
“Have a sandwich, mate,” Peter suggested.
“I’m going to find her,” Sirius decided, and rushed from the Great Hall.
She wasn’t in the library, or the common room, or the dormitory (he had asked Yvonne to check). When she showed up to the classes after lunch, it was obvious she had been crying. Clearly her laughter hadn’t lasted long.
Sirius finally caught up with her in the common room that night. Their meetings by the fire had become nightly and the other Gryffindors now knew that the chairs by the fireplace were completely off limits after eight. Lily didn’t even pretend to be reading anymore; she sat there for no other reason than to talk to Sirius. He found their meetings comforting too. For some reason, when she was with James, he had never noticed just how interesting a person she was, or how funny or insightful she could be. He could sort of see why James had been so obsessed with her.
“I looked for you in the library at lunchtime,” Sirius told her when he sat down in his usual spot beside her.
“I wasn’t there.”
“Yeah, I got that.”
“Sometimes I just like to be alone,” she explained.
Sirius began to get that awkward feeling that arose in him whenever the subject of James-and-Lily came up. It was clear she had gone to some sort of secret place of theirs; James often told him of times they would sneak away from Head Duties after dark and head down to the lake. So, in the interest of keeping the conversation slightly less awkward, he changed the subject.
“You really need to start eating more,” he said. “Peter said you didn’t eat anything at breakfast, and you weren’t at lunch, and I didn’t see you at dinner...” He tried to make it out like he didn’t really notice it himself, that it was others who pointed it out. In reality, it was all he could think about.
“How much have you eaten today?” Lily raised an eyebrow at him. She clearly noticed his lack of nourishment too.
Sirius thought about it for the very first time. “I dunno,” he mumbled.
“That would be nothing,” Lily said firmly. “I asked the boys. Yesterday you ate a slice of bread at lunch and a forkful of Cottage Pie at dinner. The day before you ate a fried egg. Please don’t be so hypocritical as to lecture me on eating.”
“I haven’t been hungry!” he protested, as if this was an acceptable excuse.
“Neither have I,” she shrugged.
“Sirius, how is it more important that I eat than if you do?”
“It...it just...it just is!” he spluttered stupidly. He couldn’t quite explain it; he had no appetite, and he knew he’d be alright if he skipped a few meals. He’d munch on things when he was hungry. Lily looked so frail and weak. She needed food more than he did.
“I’ll eat when you do,” Lily told him.
Sirius frowned at her, but then his expression relaxed into the cunning look she so recognised. “Hold that thought.” He jumped up from the couch and sprinted from the common room. Fifteen minutes later, he was back with two plates piled with roast potatoes, chicken, stuffing, vegetables and gravy. Having gone out with James, Lily knew exactly where Sirius had been: the Hogwarts kitchens.
“You must be joking,” Lily folded her arms as Sirius tried to hand her one of the plates. “It’s way too late for dinner!”
“It’s never too late for dinner,” Sirius insisted, sitting back down on the couch. “Come on, Evans – I’ll eat when you do.”
Lily continued to frown at the smirking Sirius, and eventually sighed and took one of the plates from him. “Fine!”
“That’s the spirit,” Sirius grinned and dug into his food. It wasn’t until they both began eating that they realised just how hungry they were. They ate in silence and cleaned their plates after ten minutes.
“That was quite nice, actually,” Lily admitted, setting her now empty plate down on the floor. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. I was bloody starving now that I think about it.”
They stayed up later than usual that night, chatting about everything and nothing. Lily managed to forget about her pain for a while and shared some laughs and some memories with Sirius, surprised at how easy it was to talk to him.
“I remember back in first year I found you so...scary,” Lily told him as they recounted their past days at Hogwarts. “You were the creepy one of the four.”
“I was the creepy one?” Sirius cried. “Pete had a pet raven and those buck teeth and I was the creepy one? I could barely sleep in the same room as the chap my whole first year!”
“You were the creepy one!” Lily insisted. “You had that shifty look in your eye and you used to wear your hair in your eyes all the time! It was like you were hiding something...yes, you were definitely the creepy one. And then people would tell me stories about the Black Family, which made you even creepier...”
“Oh, cheers. So when did I stop being the creepy one?”
Lily studied him for a moment. “You’re still the creepy one.” She then started laughing at the look of horror on his face.
“I am not creepier than Peter, Evans!” Sirius argued, very worried about his reputation. “I’m not! He tries to look in the keyhole of the girls’ bathrooms! I’m telling you, he’ll end up in Azkaban before any of us!”
“Oh come on, you have to admit you’re a bit weird...”
He narrowed his eyes at her. “You’re winding me up?”
She grinned. “Maybe a bit.”
“Well at least I wasn’t a nerd.”
“You wish you were a nerd,” Lily said coolly. “Beats being weird and creepy.”
“Have you always been this cheeky?”
“Have you always been this sensitive? Insulting you is actually quite fun.”
“Just admit I’m not creepy!”
“I don’t want to be a liar, Sirius!” she laughed. It was a much heartier laugh than he’d heard in a long time. It was very refreshing.
“You’re creepy!” he retaliated, somewhat poorly.
She hit him lightly on the head. “Work on the comebacks.”
“I have nothing against hitting women,” Sirius joked, pretending to hit her back. She grabbed his arms before he could make contact.
“See, that’s one of the many creepy things about you.” Sirius struggled to break free from her grip, and as he did so, he noticed a look in her eyes he hadn’t seen before. He felt slightly uncomfortable with it, but very intrigued. He was about to ask her what was the matter, when it happened:
She kissed him.
It was the very last thing he expected her to do; aside from the fact that she had never shown any romantic interest in him, she had seconds before insisted he was ‘creepy’, and this was definitely not a line he’d heard before. He instinctively placed his hands on her waist and kissed her back; it didn’t occur to him to break away from her. And strangely, it didn’t feel as wrong as he knew it should have. In fact, it was downright nice.
After about a minute, she pulled away quickly. She looked upset, disgusted and utterly embarrassed.
“I...I’m so sorry...” she whispered, and then ran up to her dormitory faster than lightning, leaving Sirius alone in the common room, completely bemused.
When he walked into his dormitory and found Sirius lying on the floor with his hands covering his eyes, Remus knew straight away that his best friend had just done something wrong. Not wrong in the normal sense either – something wrong enough that even Sirius recognised how wrong it was, wrong enough to send him into a pit of shame. Remus had thought Sirius could feel no shame anymore; not after streaking naked through the corridors after losing a bet to James in sixth year.
“What did you do?” Remus asked straight away, sitting down on the floor beside Sirius. He groaned in reply. “Come on, I’ve been friends with you for seven years; nothing shocks me anymore.”
“It’s bad, Moony. It’s really bad.” Sirius didn’t remove his hands from his eyes.
Remus raised an eyebrow. “You killed someone, didn’t you?”
“You killed...two people?”
Sirius lowered his hands and looked at Remus. “This is the worst thing I’ve ever done.”
Remus was now genuinely worried. “Mate, what happened?”
“I kissed Lily.”
Remus couldn’t stop his mouth from dropping open in shock. “Y-you’re sure you didn’t kill anyone?”
“Well, technically she kissed me,” Sirius elaborated. “I just...didn’t stop it.”
Remus remained quiet for a few moments, gathering he thoughts on the matter. He had seen Sirius and Lily grow closer since James’s death, but this he did not see coming. He now wondered why he didn’t. “When did this happen?”
“About twenty minutes ago.” Sirius sat up and faced Remus. “I’m the worst person ever.”
“No you’re not,” Remus told him.
He didn’t have to say any more. Lily was, and always had been, James’s girl. She was off-limits to everyone who considered themselves friendly with James. Just because he was dead didn’t mean she was fair game; it was like insulting his memory.
“Look, you’re both grieving,” Remus said wisely. “It’s normal that you’d want to comfort each other. Don't worry too much about it, people make mistakes.” He had done an excellent job at masking his shock at the news. Sirius and Lily – the concept was alien.
Sirius climbed into bed, not at all comforted by Remus’s words. He accepted Remus’s logic; two people are upset, they do stupid things and thoroughly regret them. He could even forget about the incident if it wasn’t for the disturbing feeling that was growing in the pit of his stomach. It wasn’t guilt – rather, it wasn’t just guilt. It was a craving, a desire to go back and finish the kiss that Lily had broken off just as quickly as she’d initiated it. Since when did he want to kiss Lily?
Back when she was just the subject of James’s affections, Sirius had found Lily to be quite annoying. She always seemed to kill the fun, look down her nose on James and his friends and, in general, make James completely miserable. True, when they started going out together she relaxed a bit, but she was still uptight. Her selfishness after James died was another source of aggravation for Sirius – so why was he becoming attracted to her now?
He spent the entire night thinking about her. First he tried to think of her in the pre-James’s girlfriend way he used to; he tried and tried to hate her again, but he couldn’t. He could still feel her lips on his. Then he tried to think of her as James’s girlfriend – James’s girlfriend. His best friend’s girlfriend, the one girl James truly loved. This sent him spiralling down into a deeper pit of shame, so he pushed it to the back of his mind as best he could. Finally, he chose to think of her as his friend, Lily. The girl he’d become close to in the last few weeks, the girl he’d shared laughs with and comforted when she cried. This was a Lily James had never known.
The attack on Diagon Alley was initiated by two Death Eaters, and it was clear from the beginning that it was neither planned nor approved by the Dark Lord. The attack lasted no longer than two minutes; four order members were on the scene and foiled the Death Eaters’ plans within moments. It made page eight of the Daily Prophet. Nobody was hurt, nobody was affected. Those who had been in Diagon Alley at the time put this down to the great work the four Order members had done. However, the Order members themselves couldn’t quite explain it.
The four of them sat at the Bones’s dining table. They were Edgar, Gideon, Emmeline and Benjy, and each of them looked angry and frustrated despite their victory.
“Are you sure none of you deflected that stunning jinx?” Edgar asked for the fourth time since they had arrived back at Headquarters. “It was heading right towards me! I was sure I was done for and it just stopped!”
“And I didn’t send that Impedimenta at Dolohov. I know it came from my direction, but I didn’t send it. Believe me, I would admit it if I had!” Benjy insisted.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” Gideon growled. “It was like there was someone else there on our side.”
“But everyone had cleared the Alley at that stage,” Emmeline pointed out. “I looked at the direction the curses came from, and it was like there was some invisible person casting spells for us...”
“Why wouldn’t they reveal themselves to us?” Edgar growled.
James was outside the door of the dining room, listening with a smirk on his face. He had been spending most nights at the Bones’s house anyway, and had been (as far as everyone else was concerned) in his bedroom practicing spells all evening.
“Are you alright, James?”
The sound of Emily Bones’s voice made James jump; he had not heard her creep up behind him.
“I’m fine,” he insisted, “Thanks. I’m just –”
Before he could continue, the door of the dining room swung open. Disturbed by James and Emily’s voices, the four Order members had ceased their conversation. Not wanting to admit their victory was not entirely theirs, they had planned on keeping the night’s events entirely between them.
“Alright, James,” Benjy greeted him. “Coming in or what?”
James realised how stupid he must have looked standing there in the dark hall. Emily excused herself to check on the children while James took a seat beside Emmeline.
“So how did it go?” James asked, pretending he knew absolutely nothing about what had happened in Diagon Alley.
“Fine,” Gideon said quickly.
“Perfect,” Benjy answered at the same time. Edgar gave them warning looks.
“Everything went according to plan,” Edgar said with a tone of finality.
James was annoyed. He was, after all, a member of the Order too. He was the reason they prevented catastrophe in Diagon Alley today. Why couldn’t they trust him? Why wouldn’t they tell him the truth about what had happened? Had he not earned their respect after all these weeks of training?
After sitting awkwardly with them for over half an hour, James decided it was time to leave. He could tell they would not discuss anything important in front of him, and it made him feel like a child. He bade them a grumpy goodbye and moved into the hall to apparate back to his flat. However, before he did so, Emmeline caught him by the arm.
“It was you, wasn’t it?” she whispered. She had closed the door to the dining room behind her so that the others wouldn’t hear.
James kept a neutral expression. “What was me?”
Emmeline was not fooled. She continued glaring at him with a fierce stare that both intimidated and intrigued him. “You were in Diagon Alley.”
How could she know? He had been so careful not to let the cloak slip off him at any point, and as far as he knew, there were very few in the Order who knew about the cloak in the first place. “No I wasn’t. I’m not allowed out of the house, remember?” James knew he was playing with fire by lying to her face, when it was so blatantly obvious that Emmeline could see right through him. It was unsettling how perceptive she was.
“You need to be careful, Potter,” she told him firmly, causing him to roll his eyes. He’d heard it all before. “I mean it. If anybody gets wind that you’re alive –”
“I won’t be anymore,” he finished for her. “I know. I’ve heard.”
Emmeline frowned. “It’s not just your life on the line, you know. If You-Know-Who finds out you’re alive, he’ll do whatever it takes to get to you. And he’ll do it by targeting your friends and family first. You can kiss your precious girlfriend goodbye.”
James’s heart almost stopped at the thought of Voldemort getting to Lily. As a Muggleborn she was in enough danger as it was; if Voldemort found out she and James were an item, and that James was alive, her death warrant would be signed, sealed and delivered.
“So when you’re told to stay behind, you better do it,” Emmeline warned him. She turned to go back to the dining room, but stopped outside the door to add: “But thanks for today. You really helped.”
Thanks so much for all of the encouraging reviews guys! Hope you enjoyed this one...:xxx
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