Chapter 20 : Drifting.
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It was easier than arguing but it took a surprising amount of effort to follow James’s lead in terms of not throwing my arms around him in the corridor or going up to the boy’s dormitory to read my book whilst waiting for him to return from Quidditch practice.
There was nothing stopping me from talking to the others, but it seemed that with James and Sirius deliberately not talking to me properly it was easier to install a bubble of silence around me – it was almost refreshing, actually, to re-familiarise myself with my thoughts again. I spoke to Alice sporadically, but for the most part I’d spent the week almost utterly silent or in the middle of some inane and mundane conversation about nothing much, really.
Bizarrely, I quite liked it. I missed talking with James, but it didn’t seem entirely like the end of the world – he would forgive me, I knew that, and we would talk about it, it’s just we weren’t doing it right now and that was fine.
By Wednesday, things had gotten a little worse. I’d spent half an hour trying to study in my dormitory before giving up and walking down the stairs feeling oddly dejected. The Marauders were there, as usual, and I decided that it might be a little too awkward for me to go sit with them – instead choosing a sofa by one of the windows, pulling out my books to give the impression of working.
Really, I had no intention of doing anything but listening and watching their conversation.
“Just wonderful,” Remus grinned, “even better now Sirius is making an idiot of himself.”
“Hey,” Sirius returned with his old, slightly less melancholy, smile stretching across his face “who are you calling an idiot, moony?” It was fairly likely that, given the Marauder’s weren’t exactly talking to me at current that I’d probably never know to what they were referring to, but it was still nice to see Sirius laughing and joking around with the others like he used to.
James, too, was looking pretty cheerful and less stressed than he had done for quite some time. Internally, I tried to remind myself that it wasn’t because we were currently at a stalemate: McGonagall had maintained that James did need to take a short break from Head duties (at least whilst there was a Quidditch match so nearly upon us) and so she’d told him, categorically, that if he didn’t both return his transfiguration grade to its normal high and win the Quidditch match with a top notch performance, then he was to be given an honourable discharge and his position given to someone who had less responsibility. Knowing James, he was determined not to lose his position despite not wanting it in the first place, and was sure to be determined to convince McGonagall that he was full capable of managing all his responsibilities and having much more fun than most of the population of Hogwarts.
James always had done things in style.
I smiled fondly at the four of them. Whilst I’d been distracted watching James, they’d started a game which essentially involved exchanging cheesy chat up lines. My focus just about returned as Sirius delivered something about falling into James’s eyes (and, if things had been okay between us I would definitely have chimed in with the ‘ I sympathise with your problem entirely’ because James’s eyes were just so darn expressive, but being in the dogs house I decided it would be best to remain a spectator).
“Chat up lines about eyes are especially corny.” Peter interjected.
“I know some that are even cornea.” James grinned.
“Teach us, we’ll be your pupils.”
“Nah,” Sirius countered, “we’d know all his secrets.”
“That’s something iris… I’ll-risk? Iris? Poor effort, sorry guy.”
Over on my arm chair, I smiled slightly.
“Eye, eye,” Sirius grinned.
“Sirius,” Peter put in, “what have we told you about overusing puns. I mean, Siriusly?”
“Patronuses in Defence on Monday,” Remus said, “reckon we can use Quidditch victory as inspiration?”
What struck me as nice about that was that Remus genuinely meant it. It didn’t matter that Remus wasn’t on the team, they still all celebrated their victory as if they’d all played on equal share. Before recently, I’d never considered the delicacies off dating a part of the four. They were all so very finely balanced that adding another person to the equation was always going to be tricky. Mary’s presence, and later absence, had affected their dynamic a lot; with Sirius continually oscillating between carefree repressed emotions and out and out grief (although, for the first time, his cheerful mood seemed genuine) and as a result Peter seemed to have been pushed out ever so slightly. Then there was me, and in taking up so much of James’s time along with everything else, had really made their relationship more distant.
I made a note that, when James and I were on better terms again, I should try harder to talk more to Peter and Remus.
Which was where the revelation came in: I had to tell Remus that I knew. And I had to do it before I was instructed to do so by James. And hopefully he wouldn’t hate me for making that decision without him.
“What do you call a Slytherin with a sense of humour?” James questioned the room at large. “A weird slightly hallucinogenic dream.”
“What do you call a sarcastic Hufflepuff?” Sirius bit back, “confused and probably not actually being sarcastic – just more idiotic than normal.”
“What do you call a sly Ravenclaw?” Remus muttered, beginning to sound tired through the obvious jubilation that came with the four of them hanging around together, “a Slytherin.”
“Hufflepuf with a death wish?” James grinned.
“Amos Diggory.” Sirius interjected with one of his trademark smirks. The others burst into a round of raucous laughter and, for a split second, James caught my eye.
I didn’t mind spending time apart, not really, I didn’t mind the fact that he was having fun with his friends – was glad, in fact, but there was something oddly striking about being in the Gryffindor common room, sat at not quite opposite ends of the room but not all that close either, both of us knowing that I was listening to his conversation and secretly enjoying the Marauder’s casual banter. But I wouldn’t just laugh openly like I almost wanted to.
Instead I sat with my small inadequate smile aware that James was still too mad to talk about it properly without an argument sparking up. And, well, we were both a little too good at arguing for that to be a good idea.
I wasn’t the least bit worried about this being an actual end, because that just wasn’t going to happen, but it was strange to be so distant when not so long ago we’d been near inseparable.
James was still looking at me. Suddenly, it was all a little bit too much. It wasn’t like I’d spent the whole week crying in a hole, because I hadn’t cried at all, and now – for no good reason – I really wanted to. My expression faltered slightly.
I decided I had to get out of the room. It was just so suffocating. I grabbed my bag off the floor and got the hell away from there.
As soon as I heard the portrait swing open behind me I knew that James had followed me – I hadn’t exactly been expected it but it wasn’t much of a surprise either. James took a further step out of the portrait hall before turning and seeing me standing there, knuckles pressed against my lips, face scrunched up slightly to stop me from crying. Then before I’d really registered what was happening he’d taken one of my hands, wrapped an arm around my waist and kissed me. We stayed like that for a few long moments, wrapped up in each other kissing just to the right of the Fat Lady: the closest we’d been since Valentine’s day was a kiss on the cheek and I don’t think I’d anticipated how lovely it felt to have James’s arm around me again.
It wasn’t real.
Just because James was too lovely to let me drown on my own, that didn’t mean he wasn’t still far too mad at me. And I couldn’t even be annoyed at him for it – because I’d messed up really bad and then I’d made it worse by messing things up with Sirius. Not that I exactly regretted slapping him round the face, because the rumour after Sirius’s lovely corridor announcement had been brutal – now I was the Dumbledore’s slutty, mudblood puppet which was a definite step down – but that was part of the problem in itself. I was too good at justifying my own actions to myself.
Of course it had been a good idea to walk into a situation when I might accidentally get myself killed, because later I’ll be prepared and I’d know what it felt like to be torture. I was increasing my chances and, maybe I hadn’t expected it to hurt so damn much, but I wasn’t ashamed of it. The only reason I’d had to pause to feel guilty was because James had been so distraught.
And the reasoning behind keeping the fact that I knew Remus was partially selfish. It wasn’t wholly selfish, because it had been easy to justify the fact that Remus would tell me when he wanted to know because that was true… and I hadn’t intended to dig any of that up. It had been an accident. I should have told James, yes, but that didn’t mean I would do if I had to start over.
It made my head hurt.
Recently, I’d felt like I was dependent on James and at the same time had been acting as selfishly as ever – not factoring him into decisions much and just expecting him to be okay with it, or at least deal with it, and the idea of changing that about myself hurt my head.
Relationships weren’t something I had a lot of experience with: sometimes you were told that it was all about compromise and then sometimes I was told that you shouldn’t change who you are for someone else. There was probably a line between those two options, but it seemed like a pretty skinny line and I had no idea which side I wanted to stand on.
James was vastly and inarguably very important. At the moment he was the most important thing in my life which was terrifying – being a teenager who barely believed in settling down and having children and being so firmly convinced that things had to work out wasn’t a position I’d ever thought I’d be in. I’d thought Mary was an idiot for having such a serious relationship with Sirius, especially after finding out that she was dying – it had seemed pretty idiotic to go falling in love when it was only going to result in Sirius ending up like this.
Apparently these things weren’t planned out with the help of logic and reason.
Instead, I was Lily Evans and having an argument with my boyfriend had resulted in me internally revaluating everything about my life.
And it wasn’t pretty.
I had a lot of things to sort out. In the name of James Potter. It was such an awful, terrible realisation that had been hovering around my head for the past couple of days like some sadistic vulture.
James had his arms locked around my waist, still, and our foreheads were just shy of pressing together: I couldn’t keep hurting James like this, when it was theoretically such an easy fix.
“You can go back inside now,” I muttered quietly.
This was akin to the ‘we need to talk’ moment as ever a moment had been – by the look on his face, he very much thought that I meant a lot more than what was said. Relationship politics were complicated, too, back then James had literally just meant let’s talk right now and I just meant I’m okay on my own but there were all these implications and suggestions and subtext which was difficult to pin down. Why was communication so bloody difficult? Were all relationships this hard? It was a wonder anyone managed to stay together at all.
“No,” I breathed, “that’s not what I mean. I just mean… I know you’re still mad. And that’s okay, James, but neither of us are very good when we’re mad. We’ll say things we don’t mean and bring up things we don’t really care about and that’s how I ended up yelling at Sirius and I don’t want to argue with you, James. So just… you need more time so, let’s not talk now.”
See, that wasn’t so bad. But we could hardly put of the eventual discussion forever and the more I thought about it the more I realised how royally I’d screwed up: it wasn’t about the actual decision, which James could forgive me for easily, but it was my whole mentality which James must be aware of. Lily first, James second; Lily does what Lily wants because Lily wants to.
That was his problem with me walking into the cruciatus curse in the first place. Beyond the fact that it had been idiotic and I hadn’t cared about my own personal safety – that was bad enough – but the fact that I’d known James would be upset and I’d damned well done it anyway. And then I’d said ‘I’m not sorry’ and I’d been utterly truthful – I wasn’t sorry.
I couldn’t care so much about James and not care about how my decisions would make him feel. It was illogical and unnecessary and I was so bad at relationships it was unreal.
“Okay,” James said, one arm still around my waist, “Lily, you – ”
“I don’t mind,” I said, biting my lip and pressing my forehead against my chest, “I miss you but… I think maybe we both needed a little space anyway and I understand. I won’t hold it against you.”
“Are you okay? You don’t hate me?”
“I think I hate myself a little.”
That was true. James had been right. I was quite obviously not a functional enough person to be in a relationship with someone else. I was selfish and so wrapped up in myself. It was beginning to hit me how utterly human James was – not some perfect, pretty boyfriend who could cook really nice food. I’d actually hurt his feelings.
“Don’t do that,” James said, an almost trace of a grin and then he kissed me, “I don’t hate you.”
“Yeah, good,” I said, trying for a smile and falling a little short, “you can go back to Sirius and the others now, I’m okay.”
“You’re not going to run off and disappear whilst I’m trying to forgive you?”
“No,” I said, “I’m right here, James. I’m not going anywhere. However long you need.”
“I’ve only just got you,” James said, seriously again, “I’m not going to lose you.”
“But that’s just it,” I said, looking up at him again, “it’s just… soon we’re going to talk it out and it’s all going to be fine. We’re not going to lose each other.”
“Precisely.” James said, pressing another kiss to my lips. “You’re okay?”
“Yeah. You’re okay?”
James nodded, kissed me again and then he made for the portrait hole, hesitated, kissed me again, and then disappeared inside the Common Room.
I had also hurt my sister’s feelings.
Thinking of James, the lines of stress etched onto his face as he worried about his mother and the utter relief once she’d finally been released from St Mungo’s and was allowed home, and the horrible panicky feeling in my gut whenever I thought of my own mother should have pointed that out to me weeks ago.
I’d been so completely offended by Petunia swearing at me that I’d lost sight of the real issue here – that Mum just wasn’t okay. And Petunia, at home without me and resenting me for not having to deal with it and barely noticing, distracting herself by planning out her wedding to Vernon Dursely and pretending that her life was all kinds of normal and conventional.
I’d hate me too.
“Sirius,” I called, watching him turn around and send me a curious look. That was fair enough – he hadn’t realised that I’d been walking in the same direction as him, a couple of feet behind in the corridor, and I’d barely spoken to him since our argument. In all the conversations we’d had since then, the same mundane fake conversations I’d had with James, we’d pretended that I hadn’t slapped him round the face (easier after the day after, when I’d had a hard time not looking at his slightly red cheek) and that he hadn’t fed the whole castle some story about mine and James’s sex life.
We were probably never going to ever mention the fact that, in James’s view, the whole castle thought we were sleeping together.
“Evans,” Sirius acknowledged. His eyebrows raised curiously for a second, waiting for me to catch up if I wanted to, and not entirely knowing what the hell I was going to say. Sod, it wasn’t like I knew either.
“I’m going to the owlery.”
“Probably shouldn’t let you wonder round the castle at night.” Sirius said, half shrugging as he continued walking, me now in step with him.
We’d ascended to floors of the staircase before I’d worked out that I needed to say something to break the ice. I could hardly claim remorse about slapping Sirius round the face and given how often we were at each other’s throats I hardly thought he was actually upset about what had happened. Alternatively, I’d been pretty damn upset when Sirius had carelessly mentioned my Dad’s death over breakfast and he had at least given me an explanation – as shoddy as that had been.
“Look,” I said, frowning slightly, “I don’t think you should be dating.” Sirius looked mildly impressed at that, regarding me with a highly sarcastic smile that seemed to cry ‘really Evans? You’re actually giving me dating advice?. “And not just because it makes me uncomfortable, but because I think that you don’t want to – you just want to want to. So you’re pushing yourself unnecessarily and, anyway, you don’t really like this Joanna girl and she’s not really your type but she’s not like Mary so you’re going with it anyway. And I think that you’re going to hurt her and yourself, but…. I should have told you that instead of going a bit psycho and stalking your date. So I’m sorry, I guess.”
“Okay,” Sirius said, nodding with an unreadable expression on his face, “a convincing an apology, I’m sure.”
“But it is my business, because you’re my friend. I know that we get on terribly and that, well, we’re a bit rubbish – but you’re like the unwanted brother I never had and, well, I worry about you.”
“Are you… okay, Lily?” Sirius asked, his forehead creasing slightly. “That’s not a suicide note, is it?” He asked, gesturing towards the piece of parchment in my hand.
“I’m… writing to Petunia again. And my Mum.”
Sirius seemed to take a few moments to take this in and decided not to comment – Sirius was aware of the situation regarding my parents and Petunia, but went to great efforts not to get involved with any of that stuff. Exactly as I wouldn’t get involved with any of the business going on with his family. We were, after all, only friends to a point.
“Did you sort it out with James?” Sirius asked, seeming to digest this information slowly, “when you were talking outside the other day?”
“He didn’t say?”
Sirius sent me a withering look. “He denied he’d talked to you,” he added with an eye roll, “pretended he’d just made a mad dash to the bathroom. I’m not getting involved, Evans, so if you’re looking for relationship counselling…”
“- then I’m unlikely to ask you anyway. No we didn’t sort it out,” I said, shrugging slightly, “he’s still mad. We’ll talk at some point.”
“Because, frankly Evans, I know exactly why you did what you did. There’s no point wasting your apologies on me.”
We fell into silence for a long few moments, enough to reach the floor below the Owlery, when Sirius paused to start talking again. “James doesn’t really think there’s something going on, Lily,” He continued, falling into step beside me with a trace of the light-hearted smirk that had been returning over the past week or so, “he just thinks other people think there’s something going on.”
It struck me as quite strange that Sirius and I hadn’t had such a serious conversation in such a long time and near remarkable that Sirius was almost being semi helpful.
“Why does that make a bloody difference?” I asked with the first traces of frustration working their way back into my stomach. “Honestly, who cares?”
“Evans,” Sirius said, smirking properly this time, “why was it you publically slapped me in the face, by the way?” I didn’t answer that. “Oh, that’s right – because the rumour that you and James have been sleeping with each other in random parts of the castle is thanks to me.”
“But,” I said, trying to find my argument, “that’s a worse reason to be mad than if he actually thought – ”
“- no it isn’t,” Sirius countered, “it’s not like he doesn’t trust you, me, us whatever – he just doesn’t like the idea that everyone thinks that we’re having it off behind his back. Pride, rather than lack of trust… which is why he didn’t mention it to you before you pissed him off utterly about the date-stalking thing, Lily, because it’s not really much of a reason and he knows it’s stupid.”
“It’s still stupid.” I countered, shoving my hands in my pocket and sighing. “And it’s not the same as you spreading that rumour, Sirius.” Sirius grinned at that. “And it’s not even true!”
“I know,” Sirius grinned, “and yet it’s so believable – that’s the great thing about it.”
“You’re such an arse, Black.” I said, folding my arms but finding I wasn’t really mad anymore. The week had more or less mellowed all my anger, even about the goddamn rumour. Anyway, I’d been a bit of a bitch and I had slapped him round the face – so it probably all balanced out in the end.
“James wasn’t mad about it.”
“Right,” I said, “so that rumour's fine but the other isn’t?”
“Well, it doesn’t make him look like a prat. See, pride Evans – no one is exactly going to think any less of James because of it. Probably the counter, really.”
“God,” I said, “well that’s just charming.”
“Precisely,” Sirius grinned, “I’ll leave you to post your letters, Evans. “
“Wait,” I said, “do you think… do you think James would be mad if I talked to Remus?”
“What does it matter to you?”
“Sirius, come on,” I said, frowning slightly, “I need to talk to Remus before this escalates, but… I just want to make sure I’m not making anything worse.”
Sirius gave me a slightly strange look before sighing deeply and closing his eyes for a long time.
“I don’t think he’d be mad. As long as you’re doing right by Remus, James isn’t going to hold it against you. But, Lily, you should really talk to James soon.”
“I thought you weren’t giving me relationship counselling?” I asked pointedly. “Look, Sirius, we’ll talk when he wants to talk. It’s not like we’ve broken up or anything – it’s just a temporary blip.”
“If you’re sure.”
“I am.” I said defiantly, turning towards the stairs and trudging up the steps on my own.
Remus’s face instantaneously drained of all colour.
“I… I didn’t mean to pry,” I muttered weakly, “and I don’t care.”
Remus didn’t say anything.
I know I was supposed to be Dumbledore’s Gryffindor mascot, or something, but I didn’t feel particularly brave right now. This was going to go horribly wrong and Remus was never going to talk to me again. And then James was going to hate me. And Sirius already hated me in that special way of his, so that wouldn’t make much difference.
“Remus,” I said, reaching forwards and stopping short of resting my hand on his arm, “I’m really sorry. I can’t even imagine… I don’t know much about it,” I admitted, “but, I read some books… a lot of the weren’t particularly flattering but they all agreed about… about the pain. You don’t deserve that. No one does.”
“Really?” Remus asked, his expression turning slightly dangerous. “So, a werewolf who supports You-Know-Who, positions himself outside children’s houses to punish families he… doesn’t deserve to hurt?”
“I’m not an expert on ethics, Remus. I know you’re a good person.”
Remus still hadn’t moved. He was still ashen faced and barely blinking. And, still, I’d never been frightened of him before now – I hoped to hell that was because of the glint of anger in his eye, rather than the fact that I was aware he turned into a ruthless monster once a month.
“I could kill you, easily.”
“I could kill you easily,” I returned, “I could accidently tip a vat of poison over you in potions class. I could hit you with a hex that makes you fall off a building. People are pretty fragile.” Remus sent me a look that was almost sarcastic. “I should have told you the minute I found out,” I said miserably, “but I thought maybe I’d wait until you told me yourself, but… I don’t know, Remus, I just…”
“Don’t worry about it,” Remus said, tersely, “these things make for awkward conversations.”
“Sorry, Lily, I don’t want to talk about it,” Remus said, frowning.
“Do you… ever talk about it?”
“I talked about it with Mary,” Remus said, closing his book and taking a deep breath, “there’s not much to say. It’s just there.”
“That,” I paused, “I’m sorry.”
“No, look, I’m handling this all wrong,” I sighed, biting my lip, “I’m a muggleborn, Remus, I don’t know that much about it. Sirius was mad at me because he thought I’d taken it badly and thought you were a monster of some sorts but that hadn’t even crossed my mind! And now you probably think it’s your fault James and I are arguing but it’s not it’s because I was an idiot and I didn’t tell him.”
“Lily,” Remus said, his forehead creasing into a frown; he looked much older than he should do. God, poor poor Remus. “Thank you.”
“I... if you ever want to rant about it or talk about it to someone, well, someone who’s not James or Sirius, who can be a bit useless sometimes.”
“ – or Peter.” Remus interjected, closing his eyes as if caught in a thought.
“Right,” I agreed, “well, yeah. I guess, I’m here.”
“Excellent.” Remus said, in a way that was probably only half sarcastic.
I looked at him for a few moments and frowned again. It hadn’t exactly gone how I’d wanted it to but, then again, I didn’t know what I was expecting. I could hardly imagine Remus to be pleased that I knew, or for him to suddenly open up and tell me about all his werewolf related angst.
“Just, Lily,” Remus said, “promise me you’ll tell Peter that you know. He hates being the last to know.”
“Sure, anything.” I said, reaching forward and touching his arm just for a second before getting up and walking away.
It seemed like he really wanted to be alone.
Everything had gotten steadily more awkward as the week progressed. I wasn’t sure whether Remus had told James that I’d told him about the whole thing or not, so I was half scared to face either of them and ended up lying awake all night wondering whether Remus thought my avoidance of the Marauders was because he was a werewolf or because of the James situation.
Petunia hadn’t replied to my letter, not that I expected her to, although my Mum had replied to mine and the carefully written lies weren’t the least bit comforting, but there was something in her handwriting that made my eyes well up.
Sirius was acknowledging me, the whole of Hogwarts still believe that blasted rumour, James was still acting as though we were acquaintances (although now that was with added long, deep looks) and Remus was looking pale and lacking sleep. I had yet to find Peter alone to talk to him about anything – plus, I didn’t really know where to start with Peter. I knew Remus through Prefect Duty, Sirius through the Mary debacle and James through… well, that was a hell of a story to condense. But Peter was just a boy in my year that my path had never really collided with – I hadn’t got a clue how to engage him in a conversation.
Anyway, I’d come to the conclusion that I needed to talk to James or I was going to go crazy. He must have had enough time to vent by now and if not I wasn’t entirely above gargled apologise and the like – I just wanted James back properly.
Alice had reported that he was in detention for vanishing a seat Snape was about to sit on in view of McGonagall (typical James), so since it had turned twelve I’d been sat in the Common Room waiting for him to come back. That way he couldn’t escape the conversation.
Not that he would, James was just too lovely for that.
I was just falling asleep next to the fire when the portrait hole opened and James stood, framed in the doorway, looking more pensive than he’d seemed all week.
“Lily?” James asked.
There was no one else in the Common Room now, thank God.
“James,” I muttered, standing up, “look, I’m sorry James. I never meant to just disregard you like that or make you look like an idiot or anything it’s just that I’m so rubbish at…” I paused, “what?” James was smiling slightly, a hint of a smirk playing at the corners of his lips. He took a step into the common room.
“I was about to say forget it, Lily,” James said, taking another step forwards, “I don’t like arguing much.”
“You seemed okay,” I muttered, sitting back down heavily on the sofa (consciously leaving enough room for James to sit next to me).
“So did you.”
“I think I was,” I said as James sat down next to me, “I… it wasn’t worth it though.”
“No,” James agreed, “Sirius said you wrote to Petunia and talked to Remus. He warned me that if I left in another couple of days you’d have gone to apologise to Snape.”
“Unlikely,” I laughed quietly, “what… what changed your mind?”
“I’ve just been in McGonagall’s office,” James admitted, “She wants… she wanted to ask me to do a speech at Mary’s memorial feast.”
James looked grim for a moment, “for the year’s anniversary of her death.”
I felt like I’d been winded for a moment. Surely, surely, it hadn’t been a whole year since Mary had died? That couldn’t be possible. Except, it was late February so that meant… next month; it had been over eleven months since Mary McDonald had died.
“And I just thought sod it,” James said, closing his eyes for a second, “I’m not thrilled, obviously. But… talking to Remus, writing to your sister I guess… Well, Lily, there’s a lot bigger things to get upset about.”
“So we’re good?” I asked, threading my hand through James’s.
“Lily,” James grinned, “we’re perfect.”
We sat there, next to each other on the sofa for a long time. Our shoulders were pressed up against each other, hands clasped together so tightly it was bordering on painful and our knees touching. We didn’t kiss or talk. We just sat there, connected again, until I ruined it all by starting to fall to sleep.
And somehow, in the middle of it all, I forgot I still had to talk to Peter.
Hello there! Was this a long wait? I feel like it was. Sorry about that, guys. The problem with this story at the moment is I always want to write the next but one chapter. All through the last chapter I wanted to be writing this one, now through this one I wanted nothing more than to write twenty one. But, woah guys, twenty chapters! This is officially how long TAOS was originally supposed to be but, well, things don't always go to plan... the current plan is thirty chapters, whilst we're on that topic. Thanks for reading and reviewing as always guys! Lily starts to really grow up from this point onwards and its exciting (for me, anyway). Hope you guys are still enjoying this :)
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