The month of January at Hogwarts went by like so many others. The weather was cold and snowy, and the castle was cold and drafty making the places by the fire prime real estate in all the common rooms. There had been one Quidditch match between Ravenclaw and Slytherin, which Slytherin had won in a disputed fashion. Over all it was a normal month at the magical school. Except one thing that was bothering Lily, James continued to be nicer to her. It wasn’t as if he was chatting her up. He was just being polite and gentlemanly to her and other people.
It was driving Lily around the twist. It almost seemed as if someone had told him what she wanted in a boyfriend and he was putting on an act to get her. She won’t fall for that game. He has been a toe-rag for five years. She won’t trust him after only four weeks on acting like a gentleman.
She feared he might try to trick her to going to Hogsmeade with him on Valentine’s Day weekend. It would be like him to put on an act to get her to agree to go out with him. She can’t be fooled that easily. She will be prepared for when he tries to trick her into going to out with him.
“Lily,” drawled a voice familiar to her.
Lily was in the dungeons alone working on her healing Potions for Mr. Ipecac. She had been standing here stirring a potion as it thickened. It was going to be a healing balm. It had to boil while constantly being stirred for it to thicken properly.
This was her third attempt at making it. The first time the contents of the cauldron boiled over to douse the flames, because she hadn’t stirred it enough. The second time she used magic to stir the cauldron full of reagents. It exploded filling the dungeon with sticky tar-like substance. She wanted to get it correct this time. She needed to get the potion correct before moving onto more difficult ones. She also needed to get this correct so she could impressMr. Ipecac.
“Sev, what are you doing down here?”
“I came to talk to you, of course,” replied the dour student.
“I am busy as you can see, Sev.”
“I see you standing and stirring a potion. You could cast a charm so the Potion stirs itself, and we could have our talk.”
“No I can not. I tried using magic and it exploded on me. Please leave me alone while finish this.”
“When will you be done?” grumbled Sev.
“I am not sure when I will be done here, and I would prefer if we meet somewhere public. We can’t be friends anymore. You made your choices, and I can’t abide by them,” stated Lily. She wanted to make sure that their friendship was over since he decided to become a Death Eater.
“I will be waiting out in the hallway,” he stated icily. He turned and walked into the hall closing the door loudly behind him.
Lily sighed at her predicament. She didn’t need this. It was bad enough Potter was bothering her, but Sev hurt her. He had been her best friend and confidant growing up. He was more of a brother to her than Petunia had been a sister. However, his choice of joining the future Death Eater club made their friendship untenable.
Time seemed to creep by as she stood there stirring the Potion. It was slowly thickening, and it was looking as it was supposed to, but it was taking far too long. However, the longer it took the longer she would have to come up with a solution to her situation. Maybe Sev would tire of waiting and slither his way back to the Slytherin common room.
Forty-five minutes later she was finished with the salve. It was thick white goo, but it was excellent at healing skin abrasions and minor burns; a standard for magical first aid kits. Packing it into a large container, Lily cleaned up the Potion table she had been working at.
Looking up at the clock on the wall, she hoped that Sev had some place to go and she would not find him waiting outside the door. Pocketing the salve, she wanted to go to her common room to finish her homework.
“Can we talk now?” asked Sev when she opened the door.
“Are you still planning to be a Death Eater?” she snapped at him. He looked as if she had slapped him.
“What does it matter what I do when I am not around you?”
“I can’t believe you,” she shouted as she quickly turned and started out of the dungeon area of the castle.
“What if I tell that I would not join if you went with me to Hogsmeade?”
Lily stopped walking. Her back was towards Sev. She didn’t know what to say. She never felt that way to Sev. They had always been friends almost siblings, but never that type of a relationship. At least she had never felt that way.
“I’m sorry Sev, but I never felt that way towards you,” she said barely above a whisper. It bothered her that he harbored these feelings toward her. She never felt that she led him on, but it had become increasingly obvious that he cared for her differently than she cared for him.
“Why am I not wealthy enough for you like Potter,” he spat.
Lily spun on her heels and slapped him. The sound of her hand colliding with his face echoed off the walls of the dungeon’s hallways.
“First of all I am not interested in that toe-rag. Secondly, I do not care how much money someone has. I am not like that,” she yelled at him. “That is something that Purebloods consider, not me….”
“Because you are filthy Mudblood!” shouted a voice.
Lily suddenly realized that they were not alone in the hallway. Sev also looked up surprised. The sound of footsteps filled the hall. Lily looked around there were Slytherins all around them. Thorfinn Rowle the vilest of all Slytherins was standing besides her smiling.
“Did you hear what I said, Mudblood,” Thorfinn said to her.
“I heard you. I need to get back my common room,” she said quickly as she turned to leave. She was blocked by two more Slytherins. She looked around and realized that she was in trouble. She was completely surrounded.
“I think we need to teach you to respect your superiors,” said Thorfinn, as he pulled his wand.
Lily could hear silencing charms being cast at each end of the hall. She was in trouble and there was nothing she could do to get out of it. She looked at Sev. He stood there with her handprint red on his cheek. He seemed to look torn between defending her and joining the rest of the future Death Eaters.
“I treat the Professors properly,” she said and quickly pulled her wand. If she was going to get hexed then she was going to get a couple of them before being overwhelmed.
They were so overconfident they didn’t notice her pulling her wand and pointing it at their feet. A quick silent Tripping Jinx sent three of them flat on their back with a loud crunch.
The entire hall was suddenly filled with spell fire.
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
The students walked up and down the moving stairs at Hogwarts without realizing the danger that was above them. James Potter was leaning over the railing at the top landing. He was covered with his Invisibility Cloak holding a balloon filled with crimson paint. There were three other balloons lying on the floor by his feet. Two of the balloons were filled with gold paint and the last one filled with crimson paint.
“Any Slytherin’s,” asked James. His arm was starting to ache as he held it cocked. He only had a window of about a second to throw his paint balloon at anyone several floors below. He had thought of this prank at the last Quiddtch practice. He could bomb anyone, but he wanted one of the Slytherins.
“No mate. I don’t see any of them near the stairs,” said Sirius. He was sitting back away from the edge of the landing so no one would see him or the other two Marauders, as they surveyed the map.
“They may all be in their common room or the library,” offered Remus.
“The library” laughed Peter and Sirius together.
“They only go in there to harass the first years from the other houses,” said Sirius. “Hold it, I got a target James.”
“Better, it’s Filch.”
“Filch? You want me to hit Filch with this?”
“Brilliant,” squeeked Peter.
“Alright Sirius, what floor?”
“Third floor, James, can you hit him?”
“Watch me,” stated James poudly. “Tell me when he is ready to step on the stairs.”
“Now James. Now!” said Sirius frantically.
James focused on the third floor stairs. He cocked his arm ready to throw the balloon of paint. When Filch stepped on the stairs, they started to move making the throw even more difficult. He has tossed the Quaffle into tighter targets than this. With a snap of his arm, a balloon appeared seemingly out of thin air as it flew from under his cloak.
James watched as the ballon arced past the other three levels of stairs. Some of the students turned when it flew past them and followed it down. They were greated with the sight of Filch covered in crimson paint.
“Arrgh! I’ll flog you rotten students to within an inch of your lives,” the caretaker screamed at the unfortunate students on the stairs above him.
The other students took off running as the caretaker tried to get off the moving stairwell. James held his hand over his mouth so he didn’t laugh out loud at the sight of the paint splattered caretaker cursing and flailing at the students he thought had hit him with paint.
The other three Marauders leaned over the railing to see the sight below. Even after Filch had left the stairwell, they could still hear him screaming.
“Bloody hell, that was brilliant James,” laughed Remus.
“Great prank, mate,” congratulated Sirius.
“One of the best yet,” agreed Peter.
“I just wish it was Snivellus or one of the other Sytherins,” said James.
“My slimey brother would have been the best,” interjected Sirius.
“Where are all the Slytherins?” asked James.
They unfolded the map and searched over the area of the dungeons. They all saw Lily’s footprints standing in a hallway by the Potions labs surrounded by Slytherins.
“To the dungeons now,” yelled James.
He grabbed the map and took off running. He led the way as all four of them raced down the stairs to the dungeons. James was frantic as he ran, while stuffing his cloak into his robes pockets. The map showed Lily was by Snivellus, but there was another eight Slytherins in the surrounding hallways approaching her. James feared that Snivellus had set her up. He was still angry with her breaking off their friendship last year.
His heart was beating out of his chest as he ran down the final stairs and turned towards the dungeon entrance. He held the map out in front of him as he ran to save Lily. She was now surrounded in the same hallway. It looked as if they had posted two lookouts at each end of the hallway.
“You…three… take that…direction…directly to…the Potions lab,” gasped James to his friends. “I…will…run around… the… other… way.”
“How many?” shouted Sirius.
“Nine,” he shouted over his shoulder as he took another path. He didn’t even look back to watch his friends. The only thing he had on his mind was saving Lily. He put the map away so it was easier to run with his wand at the ready. He couldn’t slow down now. He had to get to her. He would never forgive himself if he didn’t.
As the hallway came into view, he noticed that the two guards at his end were looking back into the hallway. They were talking but he couldn’t hear them they must have cast Silencing Charms on the hallway.
Without hesitating he hit them with a full Body-Bind. Running past the falling Slytherins he saw Lily trying to defend herself against overwhelming odds, while Snivellus stood back not doing anything. Sirius, Remus, and Peter were engaged at the other end of the hall with four Slytherins. Regulus, Sirius’ brother, was amongst them.
Firing the strongest Impedia Hex he could he pushed the two nearest Slytherins together making them fall over.
Lily turned to notice him. He didn’t have any time to say anything, because the rest of the Slytherins were now attacking him. He could barely hold off their assault.
Lily attacked the Slytherins. She hit Thorfinn Rowle with what appeared to be an Engorgia Charm as his hands started to swell up. His wand dropped from his swollen fingers. James was able to knock him over with Tripping Jinx.
Suddenly James realized that he was standing shoulder to shoulder with Lily Evans fighting against the Slytherins. He couldn’t help it. He turned and smiled at her. It was a mistake, because some Curse hit him slicing his shoulder open.
“Sev, you git,” shouted Lily, as she Hexed her former best friend.
James knew they were in serious trouble these were future Death Eaters, and some he suspected were Death Eaters even now.
It would only be a matter of time before they were all hexed or worse. He heard a scream as Peter went down at the other end of the hallway. Sirius screamed curses at his brother and Remus cast spells at a frantic pace.
A seventh year Slytherin lifted his wand and sneered at James as he was engaged with a recovered Rowle.
“Duro,” shouted Lily.
The seventh years robes turned to stone. He was stuck with his arm in the upright position as his curse slammed into the ceiling sending chunks of stone spraying everyone near him.
The seventh year released the Spell. He moved to the left away from James and Lily and the five Slytherins spread out across the hall. There was no way James and Lily could fight against them spread out like this.
Rowle went down in a heap as a red beam hit him in the chest. The other four Slytherins quickly joined him. Professor Ray calmly walked past James and Stunned the rest of the Slytherins fighting withn Remus and Sirius.
“All right, everyone else lower your wands,” she ordered them. “If you don’t, I shall Stun you.”
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
Ray surveyed the Headmasters office and tried not smile at the scene before her. There were nine Slytherins and five Gryffindor students trying not to attack or even glare at each other in front of the Headmaster and their head of house.
Professor McGonagall was the most comical of all. She stood poker straight with a tight lipped expression that looked like she had just eaten three persimmons and four sour lemons. She was glaring daggers at Lily Evans even more than the other four pranksters.
Professor Slughorn seemed slightly put off to be dragged into this meeting. He sat in his seat twiddling his thumbs while his hands rested on his large round belly.
The Headmaster was sitting behind his desk with his fingers steepled in front of his mouth. His bright blue eyes would sweep across all the students then rest on the two heads of house before glancing at her and then Harry, before starting the circuit again.
Harry was a mix bag, much like she was. She could tell he was having a difficult time not smiling about the situation. His mother joined the Marauders battling nine Slytherins in the halls of Hogwarts. He glanced at his mum with pride on occasion before showing mask on neutrality.
“I cannot begin to impress on you the gravity of the situation here,” said the Headmaster. “I have every right to expel all of you for fighting in the halls of this school. This was far more than a minor hex sent at another student. From the evidence gathered you were engaged in an all-out battle. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“We were just defending ourselves from these Gryffindors,” spat Rowle.
“You liar,” shouted James. “You were attacking Lily….”
“That – that Mu…,” yelled Rowle.
“Don’t say that word in my office, Mr. Rowle,” warned the Headmaster.
“She did. She attacked us first. We had to defend ourselves. Ask her, she fired the first Curse,” yelled Rowle.
“Is it true, Miss Evans?” asked Professor McGonagall tightly. “Did you fire the first curse?”
Lily looked as if she was going to cry. She looked at her head of house then at the Headmaster, before answering. “Yes, I did, but…”
“She started it. Expel her!” shouted Rowle.
James Potter jumped up and if he hadn’t been restrained by his friends looked like he was going to punch Rowle. “Leave her alone, you vile loathsome….”
“Enough!” shouted the Headmaster.
“Albus, I would like to ask Miss Evans a couple questions,” said Professor Slughorn.
“By all means the floor is yours Horace.”
“Lily, why were you down in the dungeons?”
“I was working on the skin hydrating balm for Mr. Ipecac, Professor.”
“Did you get it to come out this time?” asked the Potions Professor.
“Yes,” replied Lily. She reached into her robes and produced a tin. She quickly removed the lid to show the Professor the clear goo inside.
“Oh very good, Miss Evans,” cheered Professor Slughorn, but he suddenly became serious. “However, I am afraid that you are going to need to tell everyone why you started this fight.”
“When I was working on the balm, Sev came in and tried to talk to me. I didn’t want to be disturbed so he left. After I finished the balm and cleaned up I left the Potions lab and he was waiting for me in the hall.”
Lily glanced at Severus Snape then at James Potter before continuing. This little action was noticed by Harry also.
“As I was talking to him, Thorfinn and seven other Slytherins entered the hall. Four of them split into two groups and cast Silencing Charms at each end of the hall. Thorfinn was saying some vile things to me. I felt that I was going to be attacked, so I attacked first.”
“You liar,” shouted Rowle. He reached for his wand.
The four Marauders all fumbled for their wands. Ray had hers out and was pointing at Rowle when his wand flew high in the air. Harry caught it. He was the fastest in the room at pulling his wand.
Thorfinn wasn’t done he lurched forward. Ray was close enough that she grabbed the back of his robes before he could reach Lily. He tried to swing his arm back at her, but she was able to grab it and twist behind him. He wasn’t very skilled at hand to hand combat and Ray was surprised how easy it was to gain control of him.
“Mr. Rowle, I have reached the end of my patience with you,” yelled Professor Dumbledore.
Rowle continued to struggle to get free. Ray drove her one knee into the back of his causing him the fall to his knees. While still holding his arm behind him, she grabbed his hair and pulled his head back so she could look in his eyes.
“Either you stop squirming, or…”
“Ray,” shouted Harry.
“Professor Ray, we do not condone violence as a way of controlling students,” said the Headmaster.
“Oh, all right,” she said. She let go of Rowle’s head and arm, but shoved him so he fell on his face. “I hadn’t even started to get violent. I was only protecting others from this gentleman.”
Everyone was looking at her with shocked expressions, except for Harry, his dad, his mum and Sirius Black. He had this weird sappy look on his face like a love sick teenager.
“I must apologize for Professor Ray’s actions. We are used to handling dangerous criminals not children,” said Harry. “Could I intervene?”
“Yes, Professor,” said the Headmaster.
“Miss Evans, could you point out the people who you said cast the Silencing Charms.”
“I –I am not sure who did it, but those four were the ones at the ends of the hall,” she said pointing out four Slytherins.
“If we check these gentlemen’s wands and find they had cast a Silencing Charm recently, then it would prove Miss Evans correct.”
Ray smiled as the two of the people pointed out by Lily started to sweat. It was almost a confession. Harry calmly walked over to the two nervous boys and asked for their wands. He cast then Priori Incantatum on them and each one showed a Silencing Charm had been cast recently.
“I think that proves Miss Evans story, Headmaster,” stated Harry. “If you do not expel everyone, I think I have an appropriate discipline for all of them.”
A smile formed on Professor Dumbledore’s face. “Undoubtedly the castle will be getting a thorough cleaning.”
“I think it would help teach them a lesson.”
“What about house points, Professor James?”
“Fifty house points should be taken for each person from their house,” stated Harry.
A gasp was heard around the room. Everyone was shocked even Professor Slughorn.
“That would be 450 house points from Slytherin House,” he said shocked. “I don’t think we even have that many.”
“Then Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff will probably win the house cup this year,” stated the Headmaster. “I think the punishment is appropriate. However, if any of you engage in any altercations the rest of the year. You shall be expelled. Is that understood?”
He waited until everyone acknowledged him.
“Very well Professor James, when do you want the students and for how long?”
“I need to make some preparations, but I think tomorrow after dinner would be good. Do you think the rest of the month would be long enough, Headmaster?”
“I am actually tempted to say the rest of the year, but I will make it until the end of April.”
“That is three months,” gasped James Potter.
“I cannot stress how close all of you came to being expelled. Accept this punishment or leave this school,” said the Headmaster menacingly while looking over his half-moon glasses.
“Oh and you are all barred from going to Hogsmeade for the rest of the year.”
The grumbling student’s voices filled the room, and Ray tried to keep from laughing aloud.
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
“I cannot believe I have been barred from Hogsmeade,” complained Sirius. “You owe me mate.”
“I owe you?”
“Yeah, I got three months detention and barred from Hogsmeade for saving your girlfriend.”
Sirius looked upset, but Peter and Remus were sniggering at the comment.
“Is she?” asked Remus.
James looked at his friends. They didn’t have to Follow him. They are now complaining about saving Lily. “Would you have preferred she had been Hexed to bits down in that hallway?”
Sirius looked ashamed. “No, but I also would have preferred to get away with it clean.”
“Hey, I’m sorry you blokes have to do this, but I don’t regret saving her, even if it wasn’t Lily. I would have wanted to save someone from what those gits were up to.”
“Yeah, I don’t want to think about he will have us doing,” said Sirius.
“It couldn’t be any worse than cleaning the loo’s,” stated Peter.
“Here! Here!” said all four in unison.
The sudden appearance of someone beside Remus caught all of them off guard.
“Mind if I sit here?” asked Lily. She was looking at Remus as she spoke.
“No not at all,” chimed James happily.
He stared at her. She had never sat within ten seats of him before. This new development had his mind working overtime. He was going to say something to her, but she cut him off before he could get a word out.
“Forget about it, Potter,” snapped Lily.
The other three Marauders laughed at her comment.
“I was going to ask you why you aren’t sitting with any of your old friends.”
“In case you haven’t noticed we are the pariahs of the Gryffindor house,” stated Lily as she looked at the supper choices. “Everyone is absolutely chuffed at us about losing all the house points. We are now a distant third. The only good thing about it is Slytherin is in worst shape. They are in the negative.”
“We can make the points up,” stated James cheerfully.
“How?” questioned Lily
“We need to win the last two Quidditch matches and you need to keep answering the questions in classes and earning points. We’ll get the 250 points back, or close to it,” stated James.
Lily smiled at him. It was probably the first unforced smile that she ever gave him and it made his heart skip a beat.
“I wish I had your confidence,” she said quietly. “Do any of you know what he will have us do?”
“We were just trying to figure that out,” stated Remus. “Whatever it will be, it will be hard and without magic.”
“Well at least I have experience with that sort of thing,” said Lily.
The five of them spent the next hour eating and talking. He even noticed Lily laughing at some of his jokes. As they finished their puddings, Professors James and Ray walked past them towards the entrance hall.
“Well, it looks like it is time,” said Remus gloomily.
All five of them stood up and walked to the entrance hall. The Slytherins were still sitting at their table. They waited for five minutes before Professor Ray went to get them. Soon the Slytherins were standing in with the rest of them.
“Follow me,” stated Professor James.
Without saying anything else he turned on his heels and started walking towards the lower levels of Hogwarts. James kept running possible detentions through his mind; everything from cleaning the Potion lab to scrubbing the walls.
They stopped in front of a large portrait of fruit. Professor James stopped walking and stared at all of them. “I want your wands,” he said holding out his hand.
With much grumbling everyone placed their wand in his hand. It didn’t bother James. He had detentions before, and was used to this part.
After receiving everyone’s wands, the Professor turned and tickled a pear in a portrait behind him. The large portrait swung open revealing Hogwarts kitchens.
“After you,” indicated Professor James.
They all filed into the hectic kitchen. Once inside, the portrait swung closed. James looked around at the crammed space. It was filled with four long tables that seemed to mirror the tables in the great hall. The tables were filled with dirty dinner plates and flatware, enough to set a table for almost a thousand people. Beyond the tables were counters and closets for storage. James thought he could a see a long bank of ovens to his left.
“I want the Gryffindors to take one task and the Slytherins the other. Your two tasks are either washing these dishes on the tables….”
Rowle cut him off. “We will do the other. Gryffindor can wash all the dishes.”
Professor James looked at him and the other Gryffindors. “Do you agree with that?”
“Yes, Professor,” stated Lily with confidence. “I have a question. What are we going to do the cleaning with?”
The Professor pointed his wand at the end of one of the long tables. Two large blocks of soap appeared along with two large piles of cleaning towels. Lily grabbed up the one block of soap and a pile of towels.
“Enjoy washing all those dishes Gryffindors,” mocked Rowle. “We will enjoy watching you.”
“You never learned to cook did you,” laughed Lily.
“You will find out. Isn’t that right, Professor? Come along boys we need to get washing.”
James followed Lily obediently as she walked between the tables filled with dirty dishes. He couldn’t help himself. His gaze lowered as he walked to watch her wiggle as she walked. He was oblivious to everything else around him.
“Are you sure about this, Evans?” asked Sirius. “There seems to be more dishes than we could possibly wash without magic in a night.”
“Trust me, we don’t want the other job,” Lily said looking over her shoulder. She seemed to glare a little at James. “Black, Remus, and Peter start cleaning off the tables. There should be a rubbish bin around here somewhere.”
They had walked past the tables by this time. There were four metal sinks against the wall in front of them. Lily walked directly to the smallest set of sinks. She tossed the large bar of soap in the sink and turned the spigots on. She grabbed several heavy coarse flannels out the pile of cleaning cloths. She handed James the rest.
“Here Potter, you dry and stack the dishes. I don’t want you cleaning the tables and staring at my arse,” she said with a snear. She turned to look over the kitchen. Her expression suddenly changed as she let out a snort of laughter. “I don’t believe it. It is so cute,” she gushed about something.
James wanted to tell her that her arse was cute, but he knew that would not go over too good. It was then that he realized she was gushing over the trash bin. It had been Transfigured to look like a large pink pig.
Lily walked over to the trash bin and smiled at it. It was an interesting piece of magic, but James failed to see what was so cute about pink pig with a head about three feet in diameter. Her attention was quickly pulled from the pig to the cabinets beside the pig. She opened them up, and smiled at James.
“I found where the table service goes. The problem will be getting to the top without magic,” stated Lily as she looked at the top shelves. James knew he would never be able to reach it without help. He will find a solution later. The other three Marauders had started cleaning off the plates and stacking them beside the sink of soapy water as instructed by Lily.
She had shifted the water to the other sink and started washing plates. James was amazed how quickly she could wash the plates. It was almost as if she was using magic. She turned and glared at him.
“What are you doing standing there and staring. You need to rinse those plates and dry them, Potter.”
James was caught by surprise by her tone. “Yes, master, James will do you bidding,” he said trying to imitate a House Elf.
He stepped beside her and started doing as she ordered. Time started to fly as they worked side by side, his thoughts started thinking about what it would be like to be doing this as husband and wife. The happy thought was quickly destroyed by realizing they wouldn’t be doing things like this for very long.
The Five were working quickly moving through the plates and flatware. Lily washed, James dried, and the other three were putting the dishes away. They worked for almost twenty minutes without even thinking about the Slytherins until they heard Rowle shouting.
“What do you mean I need to clean it better?”
“There is food stuck to the inside of all these pans,” shouted Ray. “You need to get all the burnt on and baked on food off the pots and pans. The stoves and range tops need to just as clean, and don’t forget about scrubbing the floor.”
“This won’t come clean,” shouted Rowle.
“You just need to scrub it longer and harder. Now get back to work,” ordered Professor James.
“Scrub it?” questioned the Slytherin.
“How did you clean it?”
“We wiped them out with the towels you gave us.”
“Use the soap and water to clean everything,” said Ray. The mirth could be heard in her voice as she seemed to be trying not to laugh.
The sound of pans being slammed into the larger sink to their right rang through the kitchen. James glanced over and saw Rowle giving orders to the younger Slytherins. They were frantically trying to figure out how to work the sink and scrub the pots and pans while Rowle stood there.
Lily turned to look at him. “That is why I wanted to do this. Trying to scrub the pots and pans can be harder than the plates,” she whispered to him.
Her face was inches from his. He could even feel her breath on his cheek. A chill ran down his spine as he thought about her being so close to him. The sounds of splashing and clanging beside them broke the sensation he was feeling. He was now laughing openly at the Slytherins cleaning skills.
“I need a break,” said Lily as she stretched her back out.
“I’ll take over for you,” said Remus. James kept drying and Lily started working with Sirius and Peter. After another forty minutes, Sirius and Peter traded places with Remus and James. They had nearly finished all the table settings. Now they had to figure out how to reach the top shelves without magic.
James smiled at how simple it could be.
“Professor James,” asked James. “Could we get a ladder to use so we can reach the top shelves?”
He watched as his son walked up to him and looked at the shelves where the dishes were stored. With a wave of his wand there was stepladder tall enough that they could reach the top shelves.
“That is not fair,” shouted Rowle.
“If you need something to assist your cleaning, all you need to do is ask,” stated Professor James. “What do you need?”
“We need something to get these things clean,” responded Rowle.
“You need to be a little more specific.”
Rowle growled at the response. It was obvious the man had no clue how to live without magic and House Elves.
“Professor, we would like some scouring pads. Copper ones if that is possible,” said Severus.
With a wave of his wand, four large scouring pads made of copper appeared by the sink where the Slytherins were working. “All you needed to do was ask,” said Professor James.
Rowle and the other Slytherins stared at Severus as though they couldn’t figure how he knew about scouring pads.
“Muggle studies, third year,” he drawled to his housemates.
Lily chuckled at his comment drawing a glare from him.
That little exchanged peaked James’ curiosity. He wanted to know what Lily knew.
Within another twenty minutes, the Gryffindors had completed their jobs. The Professors inspected their work before allowing them to leave. It had only taken them ninety minutes to clean all the dishes. Even though it was a short detention they were all tired and their hands were red and chapped.
As they walked into the common room, Lily told them to wait for her as she went to her dorm room. This statement had James’ imagination running wild at what she could be planning. He and the Marauders looked for a place to sit by the fire, but everyone seemed to ignore them. It was a Lily had said. They were all pariahs to the Gryffindor students. The quartet found an unused area by the cold outer stone wall.
“What are you expecting her to get, mate?” Sirius asked James.
“I don’t have clue,” replied James.
“What do you want her to have for us?” asked Sirius as he wagged his eyebrows.
“Not us mate. No way in hell would it be us,” said James harshly as the other three laughed at his reaction.
As they were laughing, Lily had come back down the stairs. She was holding a large tin.
“Hey, what’s so funny?”
“Oh just a little Marauder fun,” said Sirius. Lily gave him a strange look. “Us, we are the Marauders, and since you are going to spending the next three months serving detention with us, you can be an honorary Marauder.”
“I am so honored,” said Lily sardonically. “I have some healing salve for our hands.” She sat down and placed the tin on the table. She opened it and took out some of the salve and rubbed it into her hands. The red chapped skin immediately healed.
The other three all took a bit of the salve to rub into their hands also. James was last to use it. He didn’t want this moment to end. This was the closest he had ever come to having an actual conversation with Lily.
“I wonder if we could use the Impervious Charm on our hands before the next detention,” said James. “It would keep our hands from getting chapped and needing this salve.”
“Good idea,” said Remus.
“We can’t use our wands,” stated Lily.
“We can cast it before we leave for detention,” countered James. He enjoyed the look in Lily’s beautiful green eyes, as she looked at him with approval.
“Also thinking about that…,” Sirius said. “…if we could actually start cleaning the plates with magic before we leave the great hall.”
“We would have to be careful and not clean to many,” said Remus. “Professor James and Ray would get suspicious.”
“True, I figured about twenty a meal,” said Sirius.
“Hold on, I do not want to be a part of this if it means we get more detention,” hissed Lily.
“That is why I only want to do twenty a meal,” said Sirius. “Relax; we don’t want more detention either.”
“Here, here,” the four boys shouted together.
Lily broke out in giggles at their antics. “Is that how you blokes vote on things?”
James stared at her. He never heard her giggle before. She was so feminine when she giggled. He was even more smitten with her, and he never thought that was possible.
“No that means universal agreement,” stated Remus. “Occasionally someone will shout out ‘here, here’ only to have everyone else just stare at him.”
“It is usually me,” said Peter.
“I think we need to get to our homework before it gets any later,” stated James. He was thinking about possibly going out to pull a couple of pranks later, and he wanted to get the homework out of the way.
“Here, here,” said Lily. She was the only one who said it. The other four boys stared at her.
“We never get excited about homework, Evans,” said Sirius. “We just do it because we must. James, since you brought it up. You can get all of our books from the dorm.”
“Oh all right,” said James as he stood up. He didn’t want to leave for fear that Lily would leave. “Are you going to study with us, Lily?”
“I could. I doubt if anyone else in this house would talk to me right now.” She picked up her tin of salve. “Does anyone need any more of this?”
They all indicated that they were good, so she started to walk towards the stairs. James took this opportunity to talk to her alone and went for the books in his dorm.
“Lily, thank you for the salve to heal our hands and also for choosing the easier job,” he said to her. He was surprised when she turned to look at him. He was actually expecting her to say something over her shoulder as she walked away.
“I should be thanking you,” she said sheepishly. “If you hadn’t come to my rescue in the dungeons…,” She stopped talking and shuddered. “…I would have been in a bad way.”
“Us Gryffindors must stick together,” he said. He hesitated as a thought occurred to him. “This will seem like a strange question to ask, but I have been curious about something.” He hesitated as Lily seemed to pull away from him almost as if she feared his question. “You told Professor James that you thought his stag Patronus was noble, any particular reason why you feel that way?”
Lily stared blankly at him. “That was not what I was expecting. I think the stag is a magnificent creature. I have always been fascinated by them. They are so strong, and yet have a reputation of also being very gentle. They are just magnificent and noble creatures. Why do you ask? Is your Patronus a stag?”
James laughed at her comment about his Patronus. He wasn’t going to tell her that his Animagus form in a stag.
“I don’t know. I haven’t been able to form a full Corpreal Patronus yet. Is yours a Stag?”
Lily laughed at him. “No, I wish it was, but I still haven’t been able to find a strong enough of a memory.”
“Hey, Potter are you getting those books or are you two on a date?” shouted Sirius from across the room.
He looked back at his friends. They were all laughing at him. “This isn’t a date. I am not cheap like you, Black” he shouted back to them. They all roared with laughter. He looked at Lily. She had an unreadable expression on her face. It was neither a look of disapproval nor approval. It was as if she was trying to hide her emotions.
“I guess we better get the books so they can get the homework done,” said Lily.
“Yeah, they are always so anxious to study,” he said sardonically.
“Yeah,” Lily said a little awkwardly. She stood there as if she wasn‘t sure what to do before she walked up the stairs.
James watched her for a few steps. Something just happened between the two of them. It seemed that the adversarial relationship that existed between them had just been pushed to the background. It was much too soon to talk about getting married and having their son, but it suddenly felt as if it wasn’t totally impossible either. It felt like his dreams of a life with Lily were now a possibility.
The next time he tries to create a Patronus, he will use this memory.
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