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Six Degrees of Separation by Montague
Chapter 17 : Dirty Hands
 
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A/N: Sorry again about the reverse of chapters! I've edited this one a little since first posting it.

********

Lily P.O.V.

 

Since all of us had told Remus we knew about his affliction, the first full moon that came around went a lot smoother than normal. The boys didn't have to try and sneak out, and we all knew not to expect them back until morning. Jane and I sat studying in the library until late, while Lynn and Octavius enjoyed each other's company somewhere. Madame Pince kept the library open for us for about half an hour longer than normal, but eventually politely kicked us out. Jane was the only student I'd ever seen the cranky librarian take a liking to.

 

On our walk up to the seventh floor, Jane seemed distracted. I waited for her to tell me what was going on, but spoke up when she didn't seem likely to breach the subject. "Is everything okay, Jane?"

 

"What? Yes. Of course," she lied.

 

"Are you sure? We've all been kind of worried about you lately," I told her truthfully. For the past few weeks she seemed increasingly distracted, and dark circles constantly ringed her eyes. Sirius, at a loss, had come to Lynn and the week before, but we were just as clueless as he was.

 

"Well, I have had a few things on my mind…" she trailed off.

 

"Yes?" I urged.

 

She grabbed my arm, her eyes widening. It took me a moment to figure out why, but then I saw a group of Slytherin boys, Regulus Black included, round the corner ahead.

 

"Let's go this way," she whispered, and pulled me down a side corridor before they noticed us.

 

"It's okay," I tried to assure her, "I'm a prefect, they probably won't mess with us."

 

"I know, but… I'd rather not deal with them right now."

 

"Alright, fine," I arched an eyebrow, but she didn't seem inclined to continue. We walked along in silence, and I was on the verge of opening my mouth to invite her to the common room when she spoke up.

 

"Lily…" she began slowly.

 

"Yes?"

 

"Do you think you could keep a secret?" she asked quietly, "I really need somebody to talk to about something."

 

"Of course. You can always talk to me about anything. Do you want to go to your room so we have some privacy?"

 

"That would be great," she smiled nervously, and we went up the last flight of stairs to the seventh floor.

 

When we settled down into two comfortable armchairs, she seemed too nervous to actually start talking. She frowned at her hands for a few moments before she looked up at me and said, "Do you want some hot chocolate or something?"

 

"Sure, that sounds great," I shrugged. I didn't particularly want any, but I knew it would make her feel more at ease. She loved hot chocolate.

 

"Zoda?" she said tentatively.

 

"Zoda?" I asked, but was interrupted by a loud crack and the appearance of a small house elf with bulging blue eyes and bat-like ears.

 

"Good evening, misses," the house elf bowed, "How can I be of service?"

 

"Hello, Zoda," Jane greeted her, "I was wondering if you could please bring us some hot chocolate?"

 

"Certainly, miss," Zoda bowed again, and with another loud crack, was gone.

 

"You're just full of surprises, aren't you?" I smiled at Jane, "First friends with Hagrid, now friends with a Hogwarts house elf."

 

"I only recently met Zoda," Jane explained. "She's the one who comes to tend to my room."

 

With another loud crack, the house elf reappeared, balancing a tray of hot chocolate in one hand and a tray of pastries in the other. Once she set the trays down, she bowed again. "I hope this is to your liking, misses," she squeaked in her shrill voice.

 

"Thank you, Zoda. Would you care to join us?"

 

"Oh, no than you miss, you is too kind," Zoda's eyes grew larger, if that was even possible, "I has fires to tend."

 

"Alright. I'll see you later," Jane smiled sadly, and Zoda disappeared again. She took up her hot chocolate and blew on it for a few minutes, and it was then I noticed a tear fall from her eye.

 

"Jane, what is it?" I asked, concern filling my voice.

 

"Oh, Lily… I don't know what to do," her tears flowed faster and she set her cup down without even drinking any. "Something terrible happened," she whispered.

 

"You can tell me," I reached out an gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. I'd never seen her this upset.

 

"Remus... he, uh, kissed me," she gasped, putting her hand over her mouth as if embarrassed.

 

"You…" I was unsure what to say. That was the last thing I expected to hear.

 

"And--and I smacked him," she continued.

 

I knew it was inappropriate, but I had to stifle a giggle, "Then what is there to worry about? It sounds like you took care of it."

 

"I… I guess I did, but I feel so horrible not telling Sirius--"

 

"Do not tell Sirius," I cut her off, "It was just one kiss right?"

 

"Yeah," she confirmed in a small voice.

 

"And I'm sure Remus felt bad," I continued, "He knows you're with Sirius, and they're best friends. I'm sure he didn't mean to. When did it happen?"

 

"The night Lynn asked him if he was really a werewolf," she bit her bottom lip.

 

"Of course. It makes sense," I reasoned, "he was just upset, and you were trying to be a good friend. I don't think you have to worry, unless it happens again. Or, unless you have feelings for him. You don't. Have feelings for him, I mean. Right?"

 

"Right," she nodded, "I want to be with Sirius. I… really like him. You won't tell anybody, will you?"

 

"Of course not," I squeezed her hand again, "I'm glad you came to me. It must have been hard to keep it to yourself all this time. I'm sure the both of you will forget all about it soon enough."

 

I told her this with more confidence than I felt. I knew how Remus Lupin felt about her, but I didn't think that was what she needed to hear right now. I could only I hope I did the right thing. She and Sirius obviously made each other very happy, and though Remus was my close friend, Sirius was, too. Lupin would just have to move on. There was nothing else for it.

 

……

 

Sirius and James both missed ancient runes the next morning, and I was unlucky enough to be late. The only seat left was smack in between Veronica Smethley and Fifi LaFolle on one side and Marlene McKinnon and Agatha Timms on the other. All four were obnoxious and complete head over heels for Sirius. Unfortunately, my insane need to be nice to everyone got the better of me, and I smiled at them before taking my seat.

 

It didn't take long…

 

A few minutes into class, Agatha leaned over and whispered, "hey Lily, is it true Jane's a virgin?"

 

"Excuse me?" I wrinkled my nose in distaste, "that is absolutely none of your business."

 

"I'll take that as a yes," she giggled to Marlene.

 

I sighed and shook my head, knowing it was just beginning. Instead of listening to Fifi make snide comments to Veronica, just loud enough for me to hear, I raised my hand every time Professor Babbling asked a question. At least then, instead of hearing rude remarks about all my friends, I only had to deal with her muttering things like 'know-it-all' and 'what a teachers pet.' That I could handle.

 

"So, what does Sirius see in Jane Montague, anyway? I always thought she was kind of a freak," Marlene spoke up when Professor Babbling set us to working on deciphering.

 

"She's a really nice girl," I shrugged.

 

"So, he's into nice girls now?" Marlene snorted, "I wonder how long that will last."

 

"It can't last long," Agatha answered, "They already broke up once. It can only be a matter of time."

 

"Didn't she get abnormally high marks on her O.W.Ls?" Marlene turned to me to ask, but didn't wait for an answer. "She must not have much of a life."

 

"She's just abnormally smart, and has time for studying and leisure," I snapped.

 

"Bloody hell, Lily, don't get your panties in a twist," Agatha rolled her eyes at Marlene, "we're just wondering about her."

 

"Right," I responded, tight lipped.

 

The two continued talking about her for the next ten minutes. At one point, Fifi and Veronica even joined them in bashing Jane, so I was getting it from all sides. Again, the question of Jane's virginity came up.

 

"Oh, she's definitely not a virgin," Fifi flipped her hair knowingly, "Bliss Waffling told me herself she broke up with that Octavius kid because he couldn't get enough of Jane. And I heard she's been hanging out with Alexander Derring. I wonder what Sirius would think of that."

 

"Ohhh, I doubt he'd be happy," Marlene's darks eyes glinted mischievously.

 

"She's probably a closet whore… gone to bed with half the school, but nobody talks about it because she's such a freak, or maybe she threatens to curse them if they talk--"

 

"ENOUGH!" I stood up screaming, "Silencio!"

 

The spell hit Fifi square in the face, and I quickly hit Veronica, Marlene, and Agatha as well.

 

"Miss Evans!" Professor Babbling shouted, bustling over from the front of the class, "What on earth do you think you're doing?"

 

"I'm sorry, Professor," I hung my head, "they were talking and wouldn't be quiet. I couldn't concentrate."

 

"Be that as it may, there is no reason to use magic on them," with a wave of her want, my spells were reversed, and all four girls began talking at once.

 

"I know, Professor. I'm very sorry," I tried to sound as ashamed of myself as possible.

 

"If they're disturbing you in the future, please just let me know," Babbling scolded. "Ten points from Ravenclaw, and ten points each from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. I don't want to hear any more chatter over here, understood?"

 

"Understood," we all murmured together.

 

When Professor Babbling went out of earshot, Fifi muttered, "bitch."

 

Then I really lost it.

 

I muttered the first jinx I could think of, langlock, right as the bell rang and hurried out of the classroom in hopes of avoiding punishment.

 

"Miss Evans!" Professor Babbling's shriek sounded just as I reached the door.

 

"Bullocks," I cringed and turned to face her.

 

"Yes, Professor?"

 

"I think a detention is in order. I don't know what has gotten into you, but you obviously need to take the time to think about your actions. Tomorrow night, my office. You can join Mister Black at the same time--eight p.m. sharp."

 

"Yes, Professor," I tried to remain neutral, but I'd caught sight of Fifi's smirking face over Professor Babbling's shoulder and just wanted to punch her. Ever since third year, she'd made Sirius' life suck at every opportunity, and she didn't care who she sacrificed as collateral. Her actions had affected all my friends at different points over the last few years, and she never got in trouble. It was about time she did, and I knew just who to talk to.

 

I found him wandering out of the Great Hall, looking dazed with disheveled hair and an untucked shirt. His small eyes were watering from lack of sleep, and he didn't even notice when I waved to him from across the entryway.

 

"Peter!" I called.

 

"Oh, hey Lily," a dazed smile lit up his face, "how's it goin'?"

 

"I was hoping you, and possibly Potter, could help me with a… project. Did James make it to Muggle Studies today?"

 

"I assume so. He was gone before I got up," he squeaked, "what kind of project?"

 

"You'll see," I winked. "Just get Potter to meet me in the library after dinner. That'll be the last place Sirius will expect him."

 

"You got it," Peter shrugged.


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