Chapter 6 : Bathroom Serpents and Dark Tunnels
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I rushed into the girl’s bathroom, one I knew would be unoccupied by any living person. Of course, Moaning Myrtle was there, but she was too busy crying in a stall to pay me any attention.
I didn’t cry. It takes a lot for me to cry. But I let met my grief show on my face and let out a few dry sobs. My relationship with Petunia was never the best. She was always jealous of me, mostly because of my magic. Because I knew she wasn’t really disgusted, it was simply to hide her longing to be in this world. But throughout the years, jealousy had turned into resentment, and resentment morphed into hatred. Petunia hated me. Freaks. The word bounced in my head, making me disoriented. I grabbed a faucet on the nearest sink to steady myself. It had a little snake etched into it. Ew, snakes were the mark of Slytherin. That reminded me of Severus, and my unhappiness doubled. However, the wound that Sev had made in my heart had learned to heal. My heart throbbed for what he used be, but then I thought about the future, and the happy memories were gone.
Back to Petunia. She was getting married to that awful Vernon, and I couldn’t help but think she chose him just to spite me. He was fat, and was only polite to those who could help him get further in life. Even my parents had been a bit apprehensive. But that was over now. She had matured enough to ignore me, and I hadn’t heard the word freak for more than a year. It would all be fine. I took a deep breath to steady myself, and walked calmly back to the Great Hall.
Breakfast had ended. That was fine, I had finished my toast when Dumbledore had been talking to the boys. But the students had hung back. This being the first day, we had to get our schedules before class. I sat where I had been sitting before, and tried my best not to groan when James moved next to me. He leaned forward and whispered in my ear.
“You okay?” His voice held a bit of concern, which was surprising in itself, but I was focused on more important things. He had noticed my choke and my abrupt leaving. Shit.
“Fine, thanks.” I tried to punctuate the brevity of my statement, but James remained oblivious.
“Would you care to explain to me what happened there?” Normally, I would have huffed and told him to fuck off. Or, more probably, to shove off. James had never heard me curse. In fact, only Alice and Mary had, because I tried to act polished around the professors. But James’ breath was hot on my neck and it sent shivers down my spine. He hadn’t been rude or flirty to me since the Diagon Alley visit. So I decided to tell him to shove off more politely and discreetly.
“Later.” My voice was quick, and he was about to argue with me when McGonagall got to us. Since we were both becoming Aurors, our schedules were nearly the same, except I took Ancient Runes while James took Divination. It was a soft subject, something neither Sirius nor I had kept to ourselves, but James claimed he only took the course because the death premonitions Professor Sindra told were hilarious. Due to his previous marks in the class, I was sure it wasn’t because he had a knack for the subject.
After our first Transfiguration lesson, I was walking outside for our free period to work. It was a gorgeous day, but McGonagall had already lectured us on our N.E.W.T.s, and then proceeded to load on us a week’s worth of homework. Due tomorrow. Just as I was rounding the corner I felt a hand on my back. It was warm and manly, and I had felt it many times before. It made my back tingle and my breath involuntarily quickened, along with my heartbeat. I was so sure he had cursed my body to do that when my back was turned. Which is why I turned around faster than lightning with my arms crossed and a scowl on my face. After a girl just got loaded with homework on the first day of school and is receiving unwelcomed stares from half of the male population is not the time to approach her with anything but chocolate. And she’ll act worse if you have been annoying her for the past four years.
“What Potter?” He held his hands up in surrender. I still frowned at him. It was hot, and I wanted to unbutton the first few buttons of my blouse. Before it would have been no big deal, but in this outfit it would cause a scandal. This was a bit cooler round the legs though, and a lot more stylish, so I preferred it. This didn’t keep me from being annoyed though.
“Sorry Lily! I was just wondering, is-” But before he could finish, Sirius came bounding up to us. I turned and walked away. I was not in the mood to talk to Sirius Black of all people. I had seen what he and Vidia Chasings had been up to in the back of the Transfiguration classroom, and he had been eyeing me in a way that made me uncomfortable. Plus, I was on my period. Somebody Avada me.
But James bounced after me. “Lily, what did you run away for? I was wondering what got you all frazzled this morning. Please don’t tell me it was some foolish girly thing.” His voice was a bit irritated now. My famous temper flew up, but for the first time in James’ presence, I fought to keep it under control.
“Yes James, it was a foolish little girly thing. Because I get so easily caught up in those, and don’t have any real issues. Because you know me so well. Now run along, I’m sure Sirius wants to tell you all about Vidia Chasings’ new lip gloss flavor or whatever.” My face red, I close to flew next to Mary, who was crunching on an apple while doing her homework. I could see Alice a ways away, her hand entwined in Frank Longbottom’s. They had been going out since the very end of last term. It was sweet that at least one guy in this school treated a girl right.
As Lily ran away again, my short burst of irritation dissipated. Now I see what I did wrong. She could really have had a problem this morning, and I just cast it away as some trivial thing akin to chipped nail polish and frizzy hair. She sat down next to her friend Mary and gazed longingly at Alice and Frank Longbottom, who were romancing grossly around the grounds. I never knew Lily had a thing for Longbottom. But then I saw she wasn’t looking just at him, but at the couple’s entwined hands. I guess in a mushy way it was romantic.
Then it hit me. I couldn’t believe I had been so daft. Of course, Lily would have reminded me how dim I was if she wasn’t currently mad at me. Lily wanted romance. Ew. I fine tuned my plan. I guess I could be friendly to her, then romantic. Because really, it was hard enough to get out of the enemy zone with her, let alone the friend zone. The transition from friendly to romantic would have to be swift. Let her generate an interest in me before actually jumping the gun and snogging her senseless in front of the entire school, restoring my reputation.
Well, I had to start sometime. I leaped over to where the ‘object of my affections’ was sitting. Impulsively, and on a spur of the moment thing, I decided to be genuine. No acting. I couldn’t act worth a damn anyways.
“Lily, I’m sorry. I was rude. I just was... really concerned because you acted so sad after breakfast today. You’re... too pretty to be glum.” I hoped this romance thing wouldn’t be as hard, but my hesitations proved otherwise. I was a bit rusty at this whole- genuinely liking a girl thing, but I hoped she didn’t notice. She didn’t look like it, in fact she was smiling. Yay.
“Thanks Pott- James. really though, I’m okay now.” She turned to look away. I couldn’t have that. not at all. If we were to become friends and I was to seduce her into dating me, we had to talk about it. She needed to trust me with her secret.
“Really, Lily. Please tell me. I was an arse.” My voice had just the right amount of sweetness to drag her right in.
“Um, it’s fine. My sister is muggle, and she was just jealous that I got to go to Hogwarts, so she called me a freak a lot. It’s fine though, she looks like a horse anyways.” Her voice cracked a bit in the end, and her friend Mary, the one which was attacked by that one dark wizard, put a comforting arm around her and glared at me. Her glare said “How dare you hurt her like this?”.
All of a sudden I was disgusted with myself. Did I really need to manipulate Lily so much that it upset her? Since when did I have the right to trick girl into dating me? I really was an arse. I didn’t need to scrap the plan, though. I just needed to be myself. Like I said before, no acting. And no faking. Evans really was hot, and it didn’t take much imagination to pretend I actually liked her.
“Oh Lily I’m so sorry. If it helps, guys really don’t like jealous horse- girls.” I tried to make her smile, and it worked a bit. The corner of her mouth pulled up. I had never seen Lily cry, and it was my guess she didn’t do it often.
“I guess it does, but she’s engaged. He’s really a pig though, ridiculously fat and rude.” Her eyes got a bit brighter. I continued to try and make her laugh.
“They’ll raise a whole farm together then.” Sweet success. Her light chuckle rang softly through the grounds, for all passers by to hear. I had made Lily laugh. Not yell, not get sad, not be annoyed. I made her laugh. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face as I said goodbye and headed inside.
James wasn’t that bad. It was a conclusion I came to as he walked away. Of course, it was obvious he was listening to me for once and pretending to care just to get together with me. And of course I would play along to get with Remus and show the school that James really wasn’t that scary. But he was funny, and he regretted making me sad. I could tell. Maybe if he wasn’t so annoying and mischievous and so intent on getting with me, we could actually be friends. But that was in another life. He was bent on making me date him, and I was bent on making his threats crumble. If anyone really thought about it, it was obvious that he would only hurt dark wizards. Which is why he never had a problem hurting Sev. I sighed.
I worked on my homework under the large tree I was sitting under with Mary. I had barely gotten halfway through when it was time for lunch. My mood worsened. I had only been able to get through half the homework I was assigned in one class, and I had gotten a 90 minute break. I knew what my mum would say: ‘Don’t get your knickers in a twist now darling, it is supposed to get harder now. Don’t you have a big test at the end of the year? Organization is key’. Just thinking about the N.E.W.T.s got my palms sweating. Even the name freaked me out. It was probably a joke, but when you only have a few months to study for the Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests, the humor vanishes.
I smelt the buttery scent of the rolls emitting from the Great Hall in waves. Intermingled was the hearty aroma of shepherd’s pie and the spicy- sweet fragrance of apple pie. My stomach was hollow, something that was impossible to ignore. I turned into a tapestry to avoid Peeves, who was dropping bowtruckles on the heads of passing students. The turn was sharp, and I stumbled into someone hard, warm, but also soft. Perfect. That is, until me and my mysterious companion hit a wall and crumpled down.
It was dark in the secret passageway behind the two tapestries, and the floor was cold. Both the boy with whom I had tangled during the fall and I were breathing hard. The tapestries must have been bewitched, because no one came to check on us, and all was silent.
After a few seconds to regain our breaths, we stood up.
“Lumos,” He whispered, raising his wand.
A/N- Didja like it? Didja? Didja? Or what could’ve gone better? please please please review guys! It helps me write, and then the chapters will come faster.... Really. Thank you!
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