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The Con by katlynncore
Chapter 9 : Chapter Nine
 
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                                                                 Chapter Nine

Disclaimer: I am not, nor will I ever be, J.K. Rowling. That would simply be impossible. So, because of this, the work of fiction I have created here is based off of her Harry Potter series and characters within this universe. I may have made up my own plot and a few characters, but everything else belongs to J.K. Rowling.

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     “Did you tell her the plan yet?” Sirius asked James since I did not respond to his first question. I was still trying to get over the fact that James Potter almost kissed me. It was quite jarring.

      James spoke through gritted teeth. “No, Padfoot, I have not had the chance to, but I thank you kindly for the most unwelcome interruption.”

     Sirius looked between us and his eyes grew large. “Were you—”

     “What plan?” I interrupted him. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into this conversation just yet because I didn’t even know what just happened. Plus, there was no way that Sirius was going to be a part of it if I could help it.

     He looked at me as if I were incredibly stupid. “The plan to get rid of Gabby.”

     My eyes shot to James. I was sure he was about to yell at Sirius for once again putting down his girlfriend, but James just nodded at me. “You want to get rid of Gabby?” I asked.

     “That’s the general idea,” James said.

     “Why did you just spend the last five minutes shouting at me, then?”

     “I wanted to make sure you were telling the truth.”

     “And?” I was curious as to what James would say considering half of what I’d just told him was a lie. I was also kind of annoyed that he did that to me. That annoyance sort of disappated when I remembered how mean I’d been to him the day before. I’d done it for completely honorable reasons, of course, but it was still mean.

     “You’re an incredibly horrid liar, Lily.”

     “I am not!” I exclaimed, aghast.

     “Well, I guess you can be good when you’re prepared, but not when you’re caught off guard. That’s why I dragged you in here.”

     My reply dripped with sarcasm. “Huh. How intuitive of you.”

     “Actually,” Sirius interrupted, “the broom cupboard was my idea. I mean, I guess Prongs came up with the whole catching-you-off-guard-thing, but I thought this would be the best space. You’re less likely to hex anyone in here.”

      If looks could kill, Sirius would have been on the floor with the glare I sent his way just then. He widened his eyes as he attempted to look innocent. “What? Just making sure the general population of Hogwarts stays safe.”

     James sighed. “Shut up, Padfoot, before she actually murders you.”

     “So,” I said, slowly taking my eyes off of Sirius to make sure he felt a lasting, searing impression, “what does this plan entail?”

     “We’re still in the pre-planning stage right now,” James told me. I reckoned they had a whole system for making plans by this point. The Marauders were nothing if not famous for their carefully calculated pranks. “For the moment, I’m going to continue to pretend I’m dating Gabby.”

     As much as I hated to admit it, James dating Gabby did seem like a good idea, so I nodded. “We need to keep you on her good side for now. No telling what she would do if she knew what we were up to.” Gabby had become a sort of manipulative, dangerous, and downright scary girl in my mind over the past few weeks. The power she had to confound an entire school still amazed me. But, you know, not in a good way.

      James, Sirius, and I decided we’d discuss this further the next night in the Room since James had Quidditch practice that night. As we parted ways to our respective classes, a budding excitement started in my gut. Not only was I able to be back on James’ good side, but also Gabby—and more importantly, Marlene—would continue assuming that James no longer wanted anything to do with me.

     Oh, how naïve I could truly be sometimes.

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     I was in a somewhat pleasant mood at the end of classes that day. I usually hated walking through the corridors when they were so crowded, but the conversation with James and Sirius earlier made me not really notice the other students’ bodies bumping against mine. It was as I was on my way to the library for a bit of free time that my books exploded from my hands. I looked down at them in wonder for a few seconds completely dumbfounded.

     “Thought you could be sneaky about it, did you, Evans?” Marlene’s voice hissed right next to my ear. I whipped around to see her standing too close for comfort with her wand gripped tightly in her hand. Gabby was leaning up against a wall across the corridor with a wicked sneer on her face.

     “What are you talking about?”

     “Oh, come on. We saw James follow you out of the Great Hall earlier this morning. What did you two talk about?”

     “Nothing. We…we had another row is all. I was rather nasty to him the other night and he was just getting back at me. It was your request that I stop being friends with him, yeah? I was just following orders.”

     Marlene rolled her eyes. “Please. Am I supposed to believe that?”

     “Believe what you want, but that’s the truth.”

     “Right,” she scoffed. I noticed that the other students stopped walking around us and were beginning to watch. Great. An audience. “And what of the rest of the Marauders? Sirius seemed rather chummy with you this morning at breakfast.”

     I sighed. “What? Does Gabby lay claim on them too? Is she dating all four of the Marauders now?”

     Marlene pointed her wand at my face. It almost touched my nose. “Watch it, Evans. You know perfectly well what I mean.”

     “Actually, no, I don’t. I can be friends with whoever I bloody well want.”

     “I’m warning you,” Marlene growled, but I cut her off.

     “Oh, come off it, Marlene! This is stupid. You can’t dictate who I can and can't be friends with. You can threaten me all you want with your bloody wand, but we both know that Charms isn’t your best subject.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted them. Marlene’s eyes widened before they shrunk into slits. A collective gasp went throughout the crowd around us.

     “No, Marlene, I’m sorry, okay?” I said as I backed away from her. There was a dangerous glint in her eyes. I had both of my palms up and facing her. I knew that if she did try to jinx me, I could best her, but I really didn’t want to resort to that. “Please, just put your wand down.”

     “Fat chance of that happening.” She struck my abdomen with a stinging jinx. It was one of her better ones, unfortunately, and I flew back against the wall from the force of it.

     I clutched at my stomach. “Marlene, please. Stop.”

     Marlene, of course, just ignored my plight and hit me again with the stinging jinx. This time it was in my shoulder. I hadn’t deflected it because I really didn’t expect her to hit me again. Marlene had a bit of a temper, but she wasn’t cruel. At least not when she was my friend. Tears stung my eyes. I happened to look over at Gabby and the look on her face made me sick. She was really enjoying this.

     I took out my wand and easily deflected her next jinx. Now, I was pissed. “Marlene, stop it.” She struck again and I blocked it once more. “Marlene! I’m serious. What is wrong with you?”

     She raised her wand yet again, but didn’t get to finish using it. “Miss Evans! Miss McKinnon! Lower your wands immediately,” Professor McGonagall’s voice boomed. I dropped my arm instantly. Marlene’s angered expression didn’t change but she thankfully put her hand down. “The both of you will meet me in my office. Now. The rest of you, move along.”

     As my former best mate and I shuffled off to McGonagall’s office, I caught eyes with James. He was frowning deeply, but gave me a sympathetic look. He knew how harsh McGonagall’s punishments could be. I was undoubtedly looking at a detention in my near future.

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     As it turned out, I was in fact assigned detention as expected. McGonagall sentenced me to a night of manually polishing the silver trophies without the aid of magic. The detention she gave Marlene was much worse since she had been the aggressor.

     After McGonagall scolded us on the behavior that is expected of each and every Hogwarts student, I went to the trophy room as Marlene headed to the Hospital Wing to clean out the bedpans. I tried not to smirk at her before we separated. I mean, it really wasn’t her fault that she forgot we were friends, but damn, did that Stinging Jinx hurt.

     It took me about an hour to get through one shelf of trophies, and there were five total. I tried to make them as clean as possible, but I feared that I was fighting a losing battle. It was as if these trophies were made to collect all sorts of rubbish and cling to it as much as possible.

     “I wouldn’t go about trying to get the big one on the middle shelf too clean,” James said from where he leaned against the doorway when I was on the third shelf later that night. “Padfoot tried to use magic on it in third year. McGonagall, of course, knew he’d attempt something like that and charmed all the trophies to get dirtier with magic. It was after his fifth attempt that he finally figured it out, the dolt. I’m not sure it’ll ever clean properly.”

     “Thanks for the advice.”

     James came over to sit beside me on the floor and picked up a rag. “James, you don’t have to help me. Besides, I thought you had practice.”

     “Practice ended ages ago. I was bored, so I came looking for you.”

     “So you could help me polish unpolishable trophies? Wow, Potter, you really know how to have fun.”

     He laughed. “The polishing part might not be fun, but hanging around you isn’t half bad.”

     I gave him a shy smile and looked down at the trophy in my hands as if I’d found a spot I was suddenly very interested in removing. Was James flirting with me?

     “You know, there was something about watching your row with Marlene today. It seemed so familiar. Like, I knew exactly what expressions you’d be wearing because I’d seen them on your face a thousand times before. The weird thing is, aside from the other night, I don’t remember ever fighting with you.”

     “But we have, James. That’s what we do. We fight constantly.” I turned to him wishing that I could somehow get through to him. This was such a huge part of both our lives. Maybe it would be just the thing to bring back his memories. “You say something in a very toerag-like manner, and I counter it with a nasty comment about your character. Or you ask me out, and then I say I’d rather be doing something unpleasant instead. Or you and your mates pull a prank, and I have to scold you about it.”

     “Merlin’s beard, are we really always rowing?”

     “Yes. Well,” I amended, “at least we did before this year. I think becoming Head Boy matured you a bit or something. We haven’t fought too much since then.”

     James screwed up his face in concentration. “I can almost remember it. It feels like the memories are right there on the edge, and if I focus enough, It'll come to me.” We were silent as he thought, but then his shoulders sagged. “I can’t. It’s too hard. They keep escaping me.”

     I put my hand on his and gave him a sad smile. “It’s okay. We’ll find a way to fix it. No need to give yourself a nosebleed.”

     James’ hand squeezed mine, and after a few minutes, I waited for him to pull away and change the subject. But he didn’t. I felt the intensity rising between us. I couldn’t help that my gaze kept dropping to his lips. We sat like that for I don’t know how long. It was agonizing. It was amazing.

     When James spoke next, his voice was slightly unsteady. “If it’s okay with you, I’m going to kiss you now before Padfoot finds a way to interrupt us again.”

     I sucked in a shocked breath before nodding (a little too vigorously, if I’m being honest). James’ hand brushed along my face so his fingers could thread through my hair. He pulled me forward until our mouths collided with each other.

     It was a long, sweet kiss. All I could think was, James Potter is kissing me. James Potter is KISSING me. James Potter is kissing ME.

     As I was rambling on in my head, I hadn’t noticed that James had stiffened. He pulled away slowly. I opened my eyes to find his wide and staring back at me. “Lily,” he breathed. It was not, however, on a sigh of passion like one would expect. It was more like shock. “Lily, I remember.”

     “You…remember? How much?”

     “Everything, Lils.” James grabbed my face and kissed me briefly before saying, “I remember everything.”

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Author’s Note: FINALLY, right? James and Lily have finally kissed AND he’s finally remembered everything. I’m going to try to get the next chapter up quickly. In the meantime, tell me what you think. What’s going to happen with Marlene? What about Gabby? I would love to hear your guesses. Thanks for reading!


 


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