I had expected some kind of World War III to lash out on me, have nasty rumors about me splitting the Marauders, and so on - but instead, nothing like that happened. Even the pranks were more low-key, more innocent - which I found kind of ironic, since Remus had been the sane and responsible one out of all the four Marauders, and now when he was gone, the Marauders seemed... well, different.
Although I avoided the three Marauders whenever I could - it was just awkward for me - they still found a way to crawl into my personal space.
Namely, James Potter did.
When I hauled all my books to the Library to study, he appeared like out of thin air a few seats away from me and JJ. At breakfast, lunch and dinner, he always sat across from me, eating silently. Sirius and Peter - who I had never actually witnessed to have a real conversation before - were quite hilarious, to be honest. They tagged along Potter, alwasy surrounding him, and talking over him, as Potter just ate his food silently. At first, I ignored them all. But then, I started to listen to their conversations - not eavesdropping, of course!
I would never do that.
"So, if sausages are made out of pigs," Sirius continued on his topic, as if he was discussing world peace. I looked up, only to see him wave a sausage at Peter over Potter's head. "Are pigs called 'cannibals' if they eat a sausage, then?"
Peter frowned at him, his eyes on the sausage. "I.. err... Prongs?"
"What kind of sane human being would give a sausage to a pig in the first place?" Potter said bluntly, his eyes on his food. It almost seemed like they had discussed this topic before, I realized, as I watched Sirius glare at him in annoyance.
"Way to spoil the punchline, mate!" he barked, sulking.
"It's not a punchline if you've heard it many, many, many times!" Potter shot at him, shrugging once.
Had Potter always known how to be so catatonic?
"You still ruined the joke," Sirius sighed, shaking his head.
"It's not even a joke..."
"This is all her fault!" Sirius accused, suddenly pointing the sausage at me.
"W-what?" I breathed, and I heard JJ let out a small squeak next to me.
She did that a lot, actually.
"He's been such a loser ever since Moony left!" Sirius went on, as Potter slowly looked up. "He's been shadowing you like some freaky stalker, never saying a word, never making a move, like he should! He's not even hexing people right, these days! It's - all - wrong! YOU ARE RUINING THE MARAUDERS!"
His banter had gone unnoticed, if he hadn't shouted the last part about me ruining the Marauders. I blinked, unable to speak.
"I... I, uh..." I stammered, glancing at JJ for support.
"Come, Lily," she said simply, standing up with her plate. "We can sit over there."
The words had barely left her mouth, when Potter stood up, his expression unreadable.
"Potter?" I asked, suddenly worried. He almost looked sick, as if he was about to throw up, or something. "Potter, are you feeling okay?"
"Hogsmeade weekend," he muttered, staring straight at me. "Three Broomsticks. At one o'clock."
With that, he thundered away, his fists tightly clenched.
"What... just happened?" I whispered, as Sirius and Peter hurried after him.
"I..." JJ began, biting her lip, as she sat back down. "I seriously don't know. Was he askign you out, like on a date? Does that make any sense to you?"
I had to admit that it didn't.
~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~
"He's probably just fooling around with you," JJ said a few days later, as we found ourselves in the Library - again.
I nodded without saying anything. It was a known fact that James Potter didn't ask girls out - in fact, he didn't exactly date at all. Apparently, he was too good for any of the girls in Hogwarts, which was just ridiculous - I didn't think he was that awesome, and quite honestly, some of the girls here were quite nice.
Another rumor said he only approved of girls who were purebloods, and brilliant - like those from Beauxbatons.
You're the only girl I approve of...
I shook my head violently, trying to erase Potter's voice from my head. Of course he was fooling around - this was probably just another prank, and everything uptil now was just an act so that I would agree and make a fool out of myself.
"So, what are your plans?" JJ asked, peering at me closely.
"What?" I said, blinking.
"For Hogsmeade, of course!" she laughed, putting down her quill. "It's three weeks away, and it's the last Hogsmeade trip before Halloween!"
"We don't celebrate Halloween," I said bluntly. "This is not America, JJ."
"That's odd," JJ said with a frown. "Because I heard the other girls mention a party yesterday."
"You mean Dolly, Kitty and Betsy?" I snorted, shaking my head slowly. "That's not a party you want to attend, it's more like an opportunity to embarrass yourself on an international scale."
Of course I hadn't heard more details of the party - only a selected few were invited, like the Marauders - and it was always talked about, weeks later. Why, I had no idea. I only knew that people with some kind of social life always referred back to the party, 'You know, like at the Halloween Party...'
"Oh," JJ said, looking crestfallen.
I quickly tried to come up with something clever and nice to say, but nothing seemed quite right to remove that sad look from her tiny face.
"JJ, you can go, though," I said awkwardly. "I'm probably just jealous that I'm not invited," I said lamely, trying to match a fitting smile to go with the lie.
"Really?" JJ said, looking hopeful. "You could come with me, as my date!" JJ sudddenly suggested.
Oh good God.
"Err," I said uneasily, flipping through my book. "Maybe next time."
Thankfully, JJ was easily distracted. I almost wished I could be just as easily distracted, but Potter's words kept haunting me for the rest of the week...
~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~
"Holy shit," I whispered, as I stared at the gigantic, ten feet large, glossy picture of Dorcas.
Apparently, Dorcas had made it big in Australia - that's where she had gone, and that's where Remus had followed her. Apparently, Dorcas was promoting her new book, which was also available as an audio book for children - and why not adults, too! - who couldn't read.
Still, the size of the cardboard-Dorcas in the middle of the busy streets of Hogsmeade shocked me.
"I still can't believe you actually met her!" JJ breathed, holding her ten shopping bags - half of them were clothes, the other half were make-up and such. "What was she like? Was she as snobby as she looks?"
I turned to look at JJ in surprise, then back at cardboard-Dorcas, who smiled at me with a dazzling smile, her wide eyes sparkling. How could anyone think of her as being snobby? Dorcas Meadowes was far from it, and it was a sad fact that only few people knew it, I realized.
"No," I said quietly. "She was not."
I couldn't find any words.
Luckily, I didn't need to, as JJ decided to move on and continue her shopping spree. I hadn't bought much, just a few books, one of them was my favourite; The Fascinating World of Muggles by Janeli Wortspot, which I intended to give to my sister Petunia as a Christmas present.
She would be delighted.
The weather, however, wasn't the best. It had been raining for three days in a row, and even now it wasn't clearing up for a second. Big, fat, cold raindrops fell from the sky, making the ground all muddy and slippery. Everywhere you looked you saw big umbrellas held by students, and I always wondered how the couples could share an umbrellam comfortably. To me, it looked anything but.
"Is it really okay to not go?" JJ asked, for what seemed to be the fifth time within three hours.
I sighed, stealing a galnce at the dark sky form under my umbrella. A few raindrops managed to fall on my nose, and I quickly pulled back under the safety of my umbrella.
"He's probably somewhere with his friends by now," I murmured, as I glanced at my watch - it was almost four o'clock. "Most likely, he intended me to wait out here in the rain like an idiot, don't you think? And besides, who is he to order me around - what to do, where to go, who to meet, at what bloody time? I mean, wasn't his tone a bit demanding, like, and order, or something? How outrageous is that, right?"
I sighed again, staring ahead. When JJ didn't speak, I look around at her, only to see her stare at me in surprise.
"What?" I demanded.
"Wow," she said, matching her steps with me. "You're so firm."
I rolled my eyes at her, trying to find something to distract her with again. I glanced at the shop we were standing in front, and randomly pointed at something in the window. "Oh, look! What's that?"
JJ hurried beside me, and peered through the window at the dangly looking doll with a creepy smirk. The doll had black hair, and a ridiculous pointy hat - he almost looked like a clown to me.
"Oh, that's the Jack the Joker!" JJ explained enthusastically. "It's a character from a book - well, more like a cartoon! - and he's always joking around, annoying people for never being serious, when in fact, he's actually hiding his true feelings behind the mask," she said, and pointed at the smirking face. "See? That's not his real face! It's a mask! And behind that mask, there's just a normal boy, waiting for someone to make the effort to look through the mask," JJ said, sighing. "Too bad it's not that popular."
I stared at the doll, feeling stunned. "Really? Can we take a look?"
JJ seemed more than happy that I actually wanted to go into a shop, other than a bookstore. We entered the tiny shop, and circled the shop for a long time until we found the doll - Jack the Joker. I picked one of the dolls up, and peered at it closely. Now when I looked at him up close, I could see that his face was actually a removable mask. It looked so fake, so... weird. I carefully removed the mask, and was surprised to find the most adorable face I had ever seen; it was just like a little boy's face, so full of innocence and sadness - all at the same time. The doll didn't look ridiculous anymore, it looked... well, sad.
I blinked, as I held the doll tightly.
Annoying people for never being serious...
I carefully brushed my fingers through the doll's dark hair, trying to make it flat and tidy. It was so messy...
Hiding his true feelings... waiting for someone to make the effort to look through the mask...
With a jolt, I dropped the doll, and took a startled step back as it hit the floor with a thump. JJ looked up from the other side of the aisle, her brows raised.
"Lily? What's wrong?" she asked.
"I need to go," I whispered, slowly turning around. "I'm so sorry, JJ, but I need to be somewhere..."
But I was already out through the door, and running down the street. I ran - as fast as a person with an umbrella can possibly run - until I could see Three Broomsticks just at the end of the road.
I didn't see him at first. I saw people leaving and entering the Three Broomsticks, as I debated whether I should risk all my self-respect and dignity and take a look myself, or just admit that it was worthless and just leave - when the crowd parted, and there he stood; James Potter, resembling the look of a drenched rat.
"Potter," I whispered.
I knew he couldn't have heard me, but it was almost as if he had heard me, since the very moment I had whispered his name that he looked up - and directly at me.
He pushed himself away from the wall he had been leaning against, and stiffly hurried up to me. I had the time to wonder where his umbrella was, when he suddenly stood right in front of me, his face contorted with fury.
"EVANS!" he almost roared in my face, and I jumped back.
I almost expected him to punch me, or something, so I closed my eyes, preparing for the hit - instead, a pair of strong arms embraced me, making my umbrella fall to the ground.
"Y-you came..." he whispered in my hair, his voice shaking of the cold. "Thank God you're okay... I thought something h-had happened... to you..."
I stood still, not daring to move. Without even realizing it, I felt a bit touched - and it hit me like a electric shock.
Oh. My. God.
~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~
A/N: A bit short? Yeah, I know :(
- Lily xxx
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