Lily walked through the barrier with a sigh of relief, thankful to be away from her sister. In the summer holidays Petunia had been too busy with her new boyfriend to be much hassle, but the Christmas holidays were a different matter altogether. Lily would much rathered stay at Hogwarts, her mother probably wouldn’t miss her all that much, but her father had insisted. Lily was halfway across the platform when an over excited Alice Scamander ran over to her, Alice was a fellow Gryffindor in her year level and very nice, but hardly the person Lily was most anxious to see.
“Lily did you hear?” Alice asked, practically bouncing in her impatience to tell Lily what was no doubt a piece of particularly juicy gossip.
“Hear what?” Lily asked, curious despite herself. Alice always knew what people were up to.
“Sirius ran away from home!”
This news while a surprise to Lily, was not a shock. Everyone in Gryffindor Tower knew how Sirius felt about his family.
“Oh, good for Sirius.” She answered with a smile, hoping that now she could find Severus, she hadn’t seen him all holidays and wanted to know why. Lily strained her neck, looking around but she couldn’t see him.
“That’s not all!” Alice said with a laugh.
Lily turned back to Alice a mixture of dread and amusement, her usual feelings when the marauders pulled a prank, building up inside of her.
“What did Sirius do?” Lily asked, wondering what Sirius could have done to his family to make Alice so gleeful.
“He took Regulus with him!”
And that was not the last time that day Lily heard of Sirius and Regulus running away from home together. When she passed the compartment Amelia Withers, a fourth year Gryffindor Lily tutored in Charms, was seated in Amelia and her group asked if Lily knew anything more than they did. When she was stopped by Frank Longbottom, who told her that prefects did not have to patrol the train that day, he too asked what she knew on the matter. In fact Lily was willing to bet that just by being in the same year level and house as Sirius Black, it took her twice as long as usual to reach the compartment she and her friends always shared.
“Finally Lily! We thought you were never going to turn up.” Mary exclaimed as Lily slid open the compartment door.
“Everyone kept stopping me to ask if I knew anything about Black and his brother running away from home.” Lily muttered irritably, putting her trunk away.
“Do you?” Asked the other occupant of their compartment, Jolene McAdams.
“No of course not. Why would I?”
Jolene shrugged but exchanged a meaningful glance with Mary. Although Lily loved both Mary and Jolene dearly, this was the problem with being the third in their group. Jolene and Mary had bonded instantly, whereas Lily had taken longer to make friends in her house. She wasn’t either of their best friend and her decided lack of a best friend (neither of the girls in question would count Severus as a best friend) sometimes caused Lily to feel rather left out.
“Well I’m glad you’re here anyway. Jolene thought perhaps you would catch the later train in order to avoid the New Years party.” Mary said, eager to break the awkward silence that had begun to descend.
“I said I would go didn’t I?” Lily asked, hurt that Jolene should doubt her word like that.
“Well you’ve never been to any of the parties in the common room before, so you obviously don’t like them.” Jolene said with a shrug. “I thought you might just not come.”
“You’re right, I’m not a fan of parties.” Lily relented, deciding it wasn’t worth it. Another drawback of the friends she had in Gryffindor, Jolene and her were always butting heads. The both of them were stubborn but more often than not it was Lily that backed down, lately more so than usual. It had occurred to Lily that if she and Jolene had a serious fight, it wouldn’t be Jolene looking for a friend to sit with.
“- isn’t just any party after all. It’s a tradition! It’s not just some food and alcohol laid out on a table like normal common room parties.” Jolene was saying and Lily realised that they had been talking to her whilst she was considering her lack of a best friend. “So basically it’s a big deal and a good thing you’re coming. What are you wearing anyway?” Jolene finished and Lily thanked her lucky stars she had tuned in when she did.
“I’m not sure exactly, I brought a few dresses so I can change my mind if I want to.” Lily answered. “But I was thinking of wearing that light blue one I got for Christmas last year, you know the –“
“The strapless one?” Mary asked and Lily nodded in affirmation.
“Yes I remember that one, it’s very pretty.” Jolene agreed nodding, it was an unspoken rule that before attending any event Jolene must first look over what you planned too wear. It was very important to Jolene that she and everyone associated with her looked good, according to her it came with being part of a moderately traditional pureblood family. In actuality the McAdams were so old fashioned they were practically medieval, the reason Lily labelled them ‘moderate’ when it came to pureblood standards was that the McAdams did not believe in pureblood supremacy. Mr McAdams had actually called it a ‘load of toss’ which when translated to real English was ‘a load of fucking bullshit.’
The conversation considered to revolve around the upcoming party and Lily found herself lost once again. She wished Sev would hurry up and find her, for the last two weeks all Lily had thought about was this train ride back but the incessant talk of dresses, make up and shoes was wearing thin.
Briefly Lily drew her mind back to a time when she had been on exactly the same page as Mary and Jolene.
“I don’t know how I’m going to do this Potions essay! It’s impossible!” Jolene exclaimed throwing herself down face-first on her bed.
“You think that’s hard wait till you get to Charms!” Mary teased. “Just ask Lily to help you, Lily’s a whizz at Potions.”
“But I just finished all my homework!” Lily protested.
“Lils! Please, I’m going to get a T! T for troll!” Jolene had always been somewhat dramatic.
“No! You should have started earlier like me! Then I would have helped you.” Jolene then jumped off her bed and onto Lily’s.
“What are you –“ But her words were cut off in gales of laughter as Jolene dug her fingers into Lily’s sides, Lily was cripplingly ticklish.
“Alright! Alright!” Lily yelled, giving in to Jolene’s demands. “I’ll help!”
That’s more like it!” Jolene said with a haughty sniff. “Come on, lets go downstairs.”
Lily sighed, her friends were nothing like the laid back, silly, little girls they had once been. Now they were determined to look and act ‘sophisticated’, although their attempts fell somewhat short every time an attractive boy paid them any attention.
“Don’t you think Lily?” Mary was saying.
“Hmmm? Sorry I didn’t hear you.”
“I said Sirius is looking very handsome this year, don’t you think?”
"Oh, yeah, yeah I guess he’s pretty attractive.” Lily agreed, not really having thought about it.
“See I told you it wasn’t just me, he’s better looking than last year.”
“Impossible, he’s perfect and always has been!” Jolene had something of a crush on Sirius Black.
“Oh come on Jo – “
For what felt like the millionth time just that day Lily sighed. She just wished she had one female friend who cared about the same things as she did and whether or not Black had grown more attractive over the last six months was not something Lily cared about.
“What did you do with him?”
“Where is he?”
“I swear Black if you don’t tell us where Regulus is –“
The Slytherins had been on his case since he got on the train. As far as Sirius could tell his parents had spread it around that Sirius had kidnapped his brother, which he most certainly had not. Regulus had wanted to get away from their parents and Sirius had consented to take him. They weren’t even living together. Why was he suddenly responsible for what Regulus did?
“You think he told me what he’s doing?” Sirius demanded of Ruth Zabini, the girl Regulus was apparently dating. “He’s not coming back here, that’s all I know.”
“Well aren’t you helpful?” Ruth said sarcastically before stalking past him, her group of whispering friends following after her.
“That was friendly.” James commented and Sirius could tell he was fighting laughter.
“Oh shut up Prongs.” Sirius said as they set off towards their compartment, the Slytherins apparently satisfied Sirius was telling the truth.
“What? It was! No one even drew a wand! For Slytherin standards that was practically an intimate occasion!” James protested in a manner that would have been quite convincing if he wasn’t laughing. Sirius glared at him as they came to a halt, before opening the compartment door.
“Get away from your adoring fans?” Remus asked with an amused smile as Sirius and James sat down.
“Adoring fans? I thought you were being questioned by Slytherins?” Peter asked sounding confused.
"Remus was just being sarcastic Pete.” James explained gently. Sirius didn’t know how his best mate did it. Peter was great if you wanted a laugh or someone to admire girls with but he didn’t have the quickest of minds and his ignorance tended to get on Sirius’ nerves.
“So, on a similar topic, how is Regulus?”
“Fine last I heard from him.” Sirius said with a shrug, he knew what Remus wanted to ask and gave him a look to say ‘go ahead’, he had no problem telling his friends where Regulus was. After all none of the marauders had links with Voldemort.
“Where is he anyway?”
“What on earth is Regulus doing in France?”
“Finishing his education away from bad influences, and our parents.”
“Ahh.” Was all Remus said before frowning as if he’d just thought of something. “How on earth did you get Regulus into Beaubaxtons?”
“Then who did?”
“Our Uncle Alphard, he’s very sympathetic towards muggleborns, although for obvious reasons he’s kept that quiet. He has a lot of gold, also he’s been dating one of the Professors there for nearly twenty years.”
“That would help.” James commented with a grin.
“Connections are connections.” Sirius said with a shrug. “I don’t care how he did it, I just care that Reg is out of the Slytherin common room.”
“Yeah it might be a bit awkward to explain why he ran off with his blood traitor, Gryffindor brother don’t you think?” Remus said with a grin.
“I’ll say, I thought he was mad when he asked me to take him as well.” Sirius agreed.
“I guess he doesn’t want in on all the Death Eater crap.” James said with a grin. “You obviously rubbed off on him a little.”
“Good. We don’t need another one of my family members signing up.” Sirius said, the reminder of Bellatrix not a pleasant one.
“Who -?” Peter began to ask but James shushed him and quickly changed the subject, but Sirius wasn’t listening. Once upon a time Bellatrix and he had been the best of friends, of course even then she’d had something against muggleborns but she hadn’t been evil. It was hard to look back on those few good days from his childhood now as most of them involved afternoons spent in his Uncle Cygnus’ backyard playing with Bellatrix and Andromeda. It was even harder to accept that Bellatrix was a Death Eater when you looked at what Andromeda had become.
But she was definitely a Death Eater, there was no denying it.
Sirius had seen her mark.
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