Chapter 2 : it's sort of like a slap in the face
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“Thank goodness you guys are back, I can’t decide what to cook for din—“
Lily looked up and saw a man with brown hair and eyes standing on top of the kitchen counter, a saucepan in his hand and staring at her with an alarmed look on his face.
“What the hell is Lily Potter doing here?” he hissed to the other three.
Cillian sighed. “Lily, this is our other flatmate Ashley. Lily will be staying with us for the next week. It’s a long story. I’ll explain it to you later when I’m not so tempted to go jump off the balcony.”
“You have a girly name,” Lily told Ashley.
He glared at her but didn’t say anything, instead he lowered himself until he was sitting on the counter instead of standing on it. Absentmindedly, he grabbed a package of licorice wands and began munching on them.
The rest of the gang had flopped down on various furniture around the living area, which was in the same vicinity as the kitchen while Lily continued to stand near the counter. It was quiet for a few moments until everyone began hearing a soft mewing noise.
“What is that?” Rocky questioned, her eyes darting around the room, looking for the culprit.
Lily coughed awkwardly and shifted her bag which was slung over her shoulder. The mewing continued and a moment later, a scraggly black cat leapt from her bag and onto the counter, where it pounced on Ashley and stole his licorice wand, biting his hand in the process.
“Dracula!” Lily exclaimed while Ashley howled in pain.
“WHAT IS THAT DEMON THING?” he screamed as he cradled his hand close to his chest.
“Bad Dracula!” Lily yelled as she ran around the kitchen trying to catch her cat. She finally accosted it after trapping it in a corner and when she wheeled around, she saw four pairs of eyes staring at her.
“You have a cat,” Elliott stated unnecessarily.
“Erm, yes,” she replied awkwardly.
“And it’s named Dracula?” Cillian asked suspiciously.
“Yeah… he, um, likes to… bite people.”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” Ashley muttered angrily from his perch on the counter. “I’m probably going to contract any number of cat diseases because of this.”
Rocky rolled her eyes. “Pour some disinfecting potion on it. We have like a million bottles of it. Merlin knows we use it enough with all the accidents that seem to happen around here.”
“I don’t like the disinfecting potion!” Ashley protested in a whiney voice. “It stings!”
“Don’t be such a baby,” Lily piped condescendingly. “It’s just a little cat.”
“You’re not allowed to speak to me. Your cat is the spawn of Satan,” Ashley snapped at the girl.
“Whatever, Ashley,” Elliott dismissed. “Now what were you saying earlier about cooking dinner? I’m starving.”
“I’m too traumatized to cook now.”
“It’s a tiny cat! Get over it!” Lily exclaimed in exasperation.
“Why is the she-devil speaking to me?” Ashley asked the rest of the group.
“Will you just make food? I’m starving,” Elliott reiterated to him.
“Everyone calm the hell down. I’ll make some dinner. So shut up and watch some telly-wision or something,” Cillian demanded as he got up and went to the kitchen. “Don’t mind Ashley, he’s horribly dramatic,” he added to Lily in a low voice as he walked by, making her giggle.
“I heard that,” Ashley pouted as he bit off a sizable piece of another licorice wand. “And it’s television, not telly-wision, you dolt.”
Lily took Dracula with her over to an armchair that she flopped down on. It was really the only way to sit in it. It was so old and worn that the pillows were all flattened, especially in the middle of the seat. It was the type of chair you really had to commit to sitting in. Elliott flipped on the television, a device Lily was familiar with because her father insisted on having one in their home, stating that he needed it to watch muggle news which could be important to his job. She thought this was just an excuse and that he really just liked to spend his evenings lounging in front of it watching brainless sitcoms.
“Did Liverpool win earlier?” Ashley asked Elliott. Or at least, Lily assumed he was asking Elliott. Rocky looked like she simply could not care less about what was being said.
“Course they did. They’re unbeatable this season, I’m telling you,” Elliott replied brightly.
Lily knew they were referring to the muggle sport football. She had an acquaintance from Hogwarts who was a big Manchester fan. He was a muggleborn and she figured Ashley and Elliott probably were as well, if they were fans of football.
“You two are so boring,” Rocky whined. “And can’t we watch something besides this football or whatever it’s called?”
“No,” the two of them replied simultaneously.
“I really want biscuits,” Ashley chirped suddenly.
Rocky glared at him in disbelief. “We’re about to have dinner.”
“So what?” he dismissed with a shrug.
“Speaking of,” Cillian began from his position in the kitchen, “come and get it.”
Ashley comically leapt out of his seat and hurtled himself toward the kitchen, immediately whisking up a bowl and heaping in a good portion of the stir-fry Cillian had whipped up for them. Lily trailed behind Rocky and Elliott and soon they were all perched on various surfaces in the kitchen (there was no kitchen table, but there were a couple stools by the counters and the counters themselves were a decent enough place to sit).
“This is really good,” Lily complimented as she chewed on a piece of tangy chicken.
“Cillian is a stir-fry master,” Ashley added.
“Oh, stop. You’re making me blush,” Cillian said in an over-the-top girly voice, causing everyone to laugh. Elliott spit out a mouthful of rice onto the floor (which was immediately attacked by Dracula) and which made everyone laugh even harder.
Lily decided then that she maybe liked this hodge-podge group of people. Maybe she would even come to think of them as friends. She didn’t have many friends; it would be nice to be able to add a few more to the list.
After dinner, they turned on the television to Rocky’s choice of channel (mostly because she kicked Elliott in the shins until he gave the remote to her). She chose a melodramatic show about vampires and love. Lily found the show itself to be a little silly, but also found the main character to be ridiculously gorgeous.
“His face is just… flawless,” she commented in awe as they watched.
“I know,” Rocky sighed, a dreamy look on her face. Elliott scowled.
“He’s literally the most beautiful man in the world. Hands down,” Ashley agreed. “I sent him a letter one time asking him out, but apparently he isn’t gay.”
“You would just spend the entire date trying to get him to wear more colors or style his hair differently,” Rocky commented.
“And he would thank me. My style advice is brilliant, if only people would listen to me.” He turned to Lily and continued on, “I’m always trying to get Cillian to comb his hair and for the love of Dumbledore, you’d think I could get Elliott to wear a decent shirt every once in a while instead of those ratty t-shirt things. But alas, they don’t listen to me. Which is obviously a mistake on their part.”
“I like Cillian’s hair,” Lily piped in.
Ashley winced. “Why? It looks like an accident. An accident involving fire and… pigeons. Or something.”
“A fire and pigeon accident? That’s what my hair looks like?” Cillian asked in a jokingly offended voice. He wasn’t much to care about what his hair looked like… obviously.
Despite Ashley’s comments, Lily still thought Cillian’s hair was decent. It was messy, but she thought it was cute. Everything about Cillian was pretty cute in Lily’s opinion, actually. She didn’t know how old he was, but all four of them were probably about twenty, if she had to guess. She was eighteen – fresh out of Hogwarts.
They spent the rest of the evening and well into the night lounging about and making fun of the sappy television shows Rocky made them watch. Rocky responded to this teasing with snappy, insulting quips which Lily quickly learned were not to be taken seriously.
Eventually, they all headed to bed. There were three bedrooms; one for Cillian, one for Ashley, and one for Rocky and Elliott. Lily was not looking forward to a week spent sleeping on a couch, but was saved by the chivalrous streak in Cillian, who offered up his bed to her while he slept on the lumpy couch.
He was quite the gentleman, Lily thought as she drifted off to sleep, Dracula curled up at the foot of the bed.
The next morning, chaos barreled into the apartment in the form of the Daily Prophet.
And also in the form of Elliott’s screaming from the kitchen.
The scream woke everyone up (including a very reluctant Ashley, who much preferred to sleep in). Quickly, everyone scurried into the kitchen, anxious to discover the reason behind Elliott’s shrieking. Cillian thought it was a burglar, Rocky thought it was a murderer, Lily thought it was her father, and Ashley, well, he just really wanted some biscuits.
On his way to the kitchen, Cillian grabbed a broomstick sitting in the hall and wielded it like some sort of weapon, almost hitting Elliott in his excitement.
“Whassgoinon?” Ashley murmured sleepily, awkwardly resting his head on the kitchen counter.
“We’re completely screwed, that’s what’s going on!” Elliott screeched. “We’ve got to got to get rid of the girl!”
“Calm down,” Rocky demanded. “Tell us what’s going on.”
Instead of answering, he tossed the day’s copy of the Prophet at her. She glanced down at the front page and her eyes widened as she read the headlining news of the day.
“¡Dios mío!” she whispered frantically before clearing her throat and reading out loud, “Lily Potter, youngest child of Minister of Magic Harry Potter, has gone missing. She disappeared yesterday afternoon and has not been heard from since. Witnesses claim to have seen her in Diagon Alley around noon. While Aurors are doing everything they can to find her, the family has announced that they will give a reward of 10,000 galleons to anyone who can bring them their daughter unharmed.”
The room was deathly silent for several long moments. Lily’s eyes were bugged out and she was finding it hard to breathe. She couldn’t believe what was happening and she especially couldn’t believe she had been so stupid as to think no one would come looking for her.
“I’ll send my family a letter,” she blurted out, breaking the spell of charged silence that had overcome them.
“You’ll do more than that!” Elliott cried. “You’ll get your bloody arse back home right now before our arses get thrown into Azkaban!”
She looked down at her feet. “I’ll write them a letter – really it will be fine! I’ll tell my father that I just needed some time away and I’ll be back at the end of the week. He’ll understand, I promise.”
Elliott looked like he wanted to shout some more, but held his tongue and tried to calm down by taking obnoxiously deep breaths.
“What in the world are we going to do?” Ashley asked, feeling quite awake after the recent discovery. “Someone might have seen you guys with her in Knockturn… and if they come round here, we’ll all be neck-deep in a river of trouble.”
“Don’t you guys trust that I can keep you out of trouble?” Lily queried. “Because I can!”
Cillian, who had thus far been silent, sighed and rubbed his temples. “I don’t know if it’s that simple, Lily…” he said, trailing off.
Angry at them all for blaming her, Lily stomped out of the room and a moment later, they heard the door to Cillian’s room slam shut.
“I’ll go talk to her,” Rocky suggested, sounding surprisingly calm and not pissed off, which was new for her.
She knocked on Cillian’s door and tried to open it, but found it locked. Not wanting to anger Lily by breaking in she knocked again and called through the door, “Lily, can you let me in, please? Let’s have some girl talk.”
She heard some shuffling on the other side and soon the door swung open and Lily allowed her to enter. Rocky shut the door behind her and they sat down next to each other on the bed.
“Why don’t you want to be at home?” Rocky asked her gently.
“I just want to get away from it all for a little bit,” Lily admitted, embarrassed by the tears burning her eyes. “Being a Potter is not as fun as it looks, you know. Everyone expects you to be perfect. Everywhere I go, people only look at me as a member of the Potter family. I’m never just Lily. I love my family… but I just want to be Lily for a little while.”
Rocky nodded understandingly. “I’m from Spain originally. I don’t have much of an accent anymore because I’ve been in England so long, but I’m from Spain. My family is very well known there and I always hated the way people would look at me when they learned my name. That’s why I begged my papa to let me go to Hogwarts instead of the school in Spain. I got to be a bit more anonymous there, and I loved it. That’s where I met the guys and except for summer holidays during school and a few trips home since then, I’ve been in England ever since.”
Lily smiled at the older girl, suddenly feeling like there was someone else in the world who could understand her perfectly. Rocky grinned back.
“So what are we going to do?” Lily asked her new friend.
“Well,” Rocky began, “I have a plan. But I don’t know if it’s something you’ll want to do. But it’s definitely something I can get the guys to agree to.”
“Tell me,” Lily insisted and Rocky explained her idea, which Lily agreed to. Leaving Lily to do her part of writing a letter to her parents, Rocky went back to the kitchen to propose the plan to the guys, who looked incredibly anxious and nervous.
“I’ve got a plan, so listen up,” she said. “Lily’s in there writing a letter to her parents explaining that she is safe, is staying at a muggle hotel as a little holiday, and will be home at the end of the week. Likely, her parents will still be freaking out and trying to find her, but at least they’ll know she’s not in any immediate danger. Meanwhile, we will keep our agreement with her and she will stay with us for a week.”
“Bloody hell, woman! Are you completely insane?” Elliott interjected incredulously.
“Let me finish,” Rocky growled at him. “At the end of the week, we will take Lily to her parents, saying that we found her staying at said muggle hotel. And then,” Rocky paused to smile widely, “then we will collect the 10,000 galleon reward.”
The boys, who had been all prepared to argue with her, stopped short. That was a lot of money and they desperately needed it.
“It’s an idea,” Ashley admitted thoughtfully.
“All we’d have to do is keep her out of the public eye for a few days,” Cillian added.
“How hard could it be?” Elliott continued.
“So we’re all in agreement, then?” Rocky asked the gang and received three affirmative nods.
“We’ve got nothing to lose,” Elliott said. “Besides pretty much everything.”
“That’s comforting,” Ashley snipped at him.
“Whatever, let’s do it. We need the money,” Cillian pointed out.
Rocky grinned. It would be rather exciting, really, to be harboring a girl who was undoubtedly being searched for by hundreds of witches and wizards across Britain. Rocky loved a good adventure, and this would certainly qualify.
a/n: Welp, that was the second chapter. I meant to have it up sooner, but time has kind of gotten away from me! I have finals next week so everything's been kind of crazy. Anyhow, I finally managed to finish this chapter and get it posted! Thanks to everyone who read/reviewed/favorited and to my frandz who have helped me with things.
btw for every review i get i will eat a piece of chocolate and i really want some sooo...