I grinned as I strode to Potions, Lily laughing by my side. Our friendship was truly flourishing. I mean, anyone could tell by just looking at the facts - We could both relate to each other in many subjects and we shared the same view in nearly all the matters we brought up, making conversations between us both easy and enjoyable. It had only been a day, but I was certain that she trusted me completely by now, and I trusted her just as much.
"So how did Potter react to that?" she grinned, clearly entertaining the thought of several ways he could do bodily harm to himself.
"Well, first he grabbed his hair and began to pull it, but then Sirius cried out, 'Not your hair! It won't help for you to walk around bald!'"
"I'd like to see that," Lily smirked.
"I'm sure you would," I laughed. "But then James decided that the best thing to do would be to pull Sirius's hair instead--"
At this, Lily couldn't contain her laughter in the slightest. "Oh, that must have been priceless!" she declared.
"It was. For days afterward, all Sirius would do was mope around about his 'forever-damaged, once-handsome locks of hair'. He still doesn't think it looks the same today, but honestly, Sirius can be overdramatic at the best of times."
Lily nodded. "I know what you mean, the Marauders are the worst people to have ever entered this castle - besides you, of course, Remus," she said kindly. "I honestly don't know how you got mixed up with that lot."
I smiled grimly at her. This was my opportunity, if I could play it right. She certainly trusted me enough now, and she had brought up the subject…
"Well, they certainly appear that way from anybody outside of the group's view," I said carefully, trying to sound nonchalant. "But once you get to know them, they're actually the most brave, loyal, and selfless people I have had the pleasure to know."
She raised her eyebrows. "Really? Even Potter?"
"Oh, especially James! He invited Peter and I to his and Sirius's compartment on the first ride to Hogwarts. We were sitting in an empty compartment, not knowing anyone and being too shy to make friends. The minute he saw us, he wanted to include us."
Lily looked surprised. "Potter did that?"
"Yes, and that's back when he was eleven! He's matured since then, despite what you might think. He's done more for me than anyone else ever has. I just hope I can do the same for him one day." I said the last part more to myself, glancing sideways at Lily. But she was staring ahead of her, her jaw set, thinking deeply. I smiled to myself, certain that I had emphasized James's good points well enough in a natural manner.
We entered the classroom, where Lily noticed that her best friends, Alice and Mary, had partnered up. Lily took the seat in front of them, smiling at them as they waved to her. I was about to sit in the seat beside her when a tall figure beat me to it, practically pushing through the crowd of people in the room to reach the chair next to her first.
"Lilypad!" he cried out happily. She turned her grinning face towards his, recognized him instantly, and scowled.
"Potter, what are you doing here?" she hissed, the sound of her friends' sniggering quite obvious behind her.
"Being your partner, of course," he said nonchalantly, getting his things out of his bag and placing them on the table in front of him. I stood there, shocked at the turn of events. This was not supposed to happen. I was supposed to persuade her while we worked together! Now James was going to blow it, there was no doubt about that in my mind.
"Prongs," I whispered in a low voice, poking him in the shoulder to try to capture his attention. "Prongs!" It was no use. He had turned his eyes onto Lily, and it was like he was in a whole other world. Lily looked slightly bemused before turning her attention to the front of the room, where Professor Slughorn was shuffling through his lesson plans.
I glanced hurriedly around for a place to sit and found only one seat left - next to Sirius. I hurried over and practically fell into the seat, digging through my bag to find my Potions kit. By the time Slughorn's jovial voice was booming through the room, I had retrieved all the supplies I needed and was quickly jotting down his words in relief. Professor Slughorn said briefly that since this was the first day of school, he wanted us to try to create a rather tricky potion, just for fun, and we'd receive our NEWT lecture tomorrow. For now, though, he was scribbling quickly on the board, going over the fundamentals of the Draught of Living Death.
Throughout the short lecture, I stole a few looks at Lily and James to see how they were doing. Lily seemed a bit more curious and a little less angry at James than before, but still appeared uncomfortable with his gaze resting right on her during the entire lesson. He didn't even try to do it subtly or pretend to pay attention.
"Now please prepare for me the Draught of Living Death, using page 82 of your textbooks as reference!"
Sirius and I got to work silently, flipping our books to the correct page and removing the first ingredients from our kits. My eyes scanned the first directions quickly, and I began to chop the root in front of me into neat, even pieces, while Sirius ground the second ingredient with his pestle beside me.
As I threw the root's pieces into the cauldron, stirring twice counter-clockwise after each piece, I sighed audibly. Sirius glanced up at me with a raised eyebrow.
"Something up, Moony?" he asked, not seeming too concerned.
"Yes," I answered a bit sadly. "James is ruining things for himself! This was the period I was going to emphasize James's strong character and the best traits he has that would appeal to Lily, and now that's ruined." I suddenly looked down at the potion and frowned, thinking back to the last few seconds. "Um, Padfoot, was that one stir or two?"
"Uh…" Sirius scratched his head. "Two?" he guessed. At my nervous look, he practically laughed. "Seriously, Moony, half of the details in this book are just for show. Just go on with the potion." He scooped his ground-up, no longer identifiable ingredient into a cup and handed it to me to measure.
"Okay…" I wasn't too convinced, and I don't imagine I sounded very sure of myself, but I followed his advice and continued on with our work. Sirius dug through his kit for several leaves, seeming rather pleased about something. "What?" I asked, and the smile dropped from his face as he looked at me confusedly.
"What what?" he asked, puzzled.
"You seem happy… what happened?" I mentally cringed. What kind of question was that? Sirius seemed to be thinking along the same lines, for a grin appeared on his face.
"Gosh, Moony, someone's a bit jumpy today," he said, finally retrieving the necessary leaves and passing them along to me. I dumped the heavily-ground ingredient he passed to me into the cauldron and accepted the leaves, picking up the knife from my desk.
"Does it have something to do with my bad news?" I guessed, watching him carefully. His left ear twitched slightly, which I had learned over the years was a sure sign that he was at least very slightly nervous. Other than that, his face was completely impassive as I spoke.
"What? 'Course not, I just caught the eye of that Hufflepuff over there." He nodded to his right, and I turned and saw a giggly blonde chatting animatedly to her partner, turning, and throwing Sirius a flirtatious look. He returned it with a wink.
"Well," I said loudly, trying to capture Sirius's attention once again. "The potion should now be a delicate light-blue color--" I stopped short as the bubbling green liquid rose higher and higher in our cauldron. "Uh, Sirius--" I began before it exploded on both of us, covering us in faulty potion. Everyone in the room went quiet, including the Hufflepuff girl Sirius was flirting with, and after a few moments, Professor Slughorn strolled over in concern.
"You boys all right?" he asked, wrinkling his nose as he came nearer. "Merlin's beard! What happened here?"
"Er… I… we…" I wasn't really sure what had happened, so I gestured feebly to the cauldron in front of us. Professor Slughorn peered at it before gazing sternly at us.
"Did you not stir it both times when adding the roots?" he demanded.
Sirius looked shocked, and I muttered under my breath in a rather accurate impression of Sirius's voice, "'Half of the details in this book are just for show!' Rubbish."
AN: Sorry for the wait! School has been chaotic lately, but I've found time to put up the next chapter. Hope you're enjoying it so far, please let me know what you think! ~WaterLily :)
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