Chapter 10 : Grapevine
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Angry Lily graphic by me ;)
“I heard it through the grapevine, not much longer would you be mine. I heard it through the grapevine and I’m just about to lose my mind, honey honey yeah.” – Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1970
James scored for the seventh time in a row and everyone in the Gryffindor section roared as he saluted his followers. Well, everyone except for Lily Evans. She simmered angrily while her companion for the game, Walter Davies, seethed just as equally.
“He’s such a ball hog,” he grumbled.
“I know,” she replied with a sneer.
“He just gets lucky most of the time. It’s not really skill.”
“He’s just a pompous, arrogant git! He doesn’t deserve the attention he’s getting from professional scouts!”
“AND JAMES POTTER SCORES AGAIN! Merlin, I don’t think Hogwarts has seen a player quite like him! He won the Cup for Gryffindor last year and I think he’ll - ”
“Oh come on Minnie, you can’t – yes – yes I understand you. I’ll report to detention on Monday and call you by your proper name. Now let’s see if Slytherin can answer James – ehem - Gryffindor’s 80 to 0 run!”
As Erastis Avery sped down the pitch with the quaffle in his hands, Lily and Walter stood silently with their arms over their chests. As they collectively fumed, the quaffle changed hands several times and Wilmur Mulciber eventually whipped down the field with a triumphant grin plastered on his face. Although Lily had no love for James Potter, she felt herself fume even harder when the Slytherin scored against the fatigued Gryffindor keeper. Her house pride swelled within her and she felt conflicted between her intentional ignorance for the sport, house allegiance, and eternal hatred for the Gryffindor captain.
The dilemma unnerved her to no end.
She huffed and turned towards her left, away from the Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain next to her, and looked upwards towards the sky. The day was certainly not going her way.
“Hill passes to Bigsby to Potter and he – HE SCORES! 300-130 GRYFFINDOR!”
“This is absurd,” Walter grumbled again, his mood turning completely sour as the Gryffindors around him started jumping up and down joyfully on the stadium benches. “I don’t understand how this is happening.”
“It’s happening,” Alice Cooper finally butted in, “because James Potter is an excellent chaser. And you should have studied him harder last year, Davies. He never gives up. Never.”
She threw a glance at her best friend and Lily glared back at her, not willing to acknowledge the Gryffindor’s hint; she knew that Alice didn’t like her budding relationship with Walter, but Lily chose to ignore her advice. He had been nothing but a gentleman towards her, walking her to class and engaging her in academic conversations about Potions at Slug Club meetings, which is why she had decided to accept his invitation to go to Hogsmeade together.
He also loathed James, which made him even more attractive in Lily’s eyes.
Their fresh relationship had sent rumors flying all over the school – did Walter actually like her or was he trying to steal her away from James out of spite? - but Lily didn’t care. It felt magical. For once in her life, she was having a great time without James mucking everything up. He was staying away from her, just as he promised, and Lily couldn’t remember a happier time.
Well, except for her relaxed summers with Severus … but she didn’t want to let her mind wander in that direction. She knew it would only make her feel depressed and hollow.
Alice raised a brow playfully, snorted, and carried on watching the game. Lily sighed again forcefully and followed her gaze towards the Head Boy; He looked determined as ever as he sped down towards the Slytherin goal post and Lily’s eyes flashed when he barely avoided an oncoming bludger. She tried to ignore the fire in her veins as she remembered the first game of the season and the massive amounts of blood that had poured out of his injured arm. It had been like a Muggle car wreck – she couldn’t look away, even though it was terribly horrific and gory.
Suddenly, Lily shook her head to sever her thoughts from her memories. It was only a game, nothing more. James would be fine without her incessant worrying.
Sirius Black, however, took a different path. He spitefully launched one of the bludgers at his younger brother Regulus, the Slytherin seeker, and the young Black skidded out of the way and subsequently lost sight of the snitch as Usha Patil zoomed upwards to follow his vapor trails. The Slytherins cried out and jeered at the eldest Black’s actions and Lily started to bite her nails as trouble began to brew in the stands.
Although most match ups between Gryffindor and Slytherin produced a lot of turmoil, this one in particular had the potential to cause a full-blown riot. James and his courageous teammates were dominating the field, only losing once to Hufflepuff, and a lot of students accused the entire team of cheating and foul play. In their eyes, there was no other explanation for their spectacular start to the season; they were breaking records left and right.
The Gryffindors’ success was not a fluke or an accident, however. They were just too good.
Lily tried not to notice Walter bristling as James sped down the pitch again with the quaffle, passing it back and forth to his fellow chasers, and knew he was one who had spearheaded the allegations and called for a full out inspection of the entire Gryffindor team after they had beat Ravenclaw a second time, outscoring them 400 to 10. In order to be fair, the Hogwarts faculty examined the team and found that they were completely playing by the rules.
No cheating, no foul play.
In retaliation, one of Slytherin’s generous donors supplied the team with brand new broomsticks to increase their chances against the emerging powerhouse. Yet, as Josephine Hill stole the ball from Avery, Lily remarked that their new brooms weren’t doing them a lot of good. The Gryffindor players had more skill and finesse - something that couldn’t be bought.
“And Hill shoots – SCORES! 310-140 GRYFFINDOR!”
“You know,” Alice whispered into Lily’s ear as the rest of the Gryffindors shrieked happily, “I heard a rumor about Josephine.”
“And I care because?”
“She’s going to Hogsmeade with James.”
“WHAT?!” Lily screamed, causing several students including Walter to turn around and gawk at her. She froze instantly, trying to think of a way to cover her slip. “That call!” she said raising her brows incredulously as she motioned to the field with her hand. “That was a completely biased call! Don’t you agree, Walter?”
“Sure,” he replied nonchalantly and then crossed his hands back over his chest, “but I still want Slytherin to win this one. No offense. I mean, Potter does have several good plays but he needs to work on his -”
As Walter began to prattle on about Quidditch strategy and how much he wished James Potter would keel over and die, Lily automatically tuned him out. She had managed to convince everyone around her that she was paying attention to the game but in reality, she was only paying attention to one specific player; her eyes were glued to the Gryffindor captain as he zipped and zoomed around in the air and suddenly, she saw several black spots in her field of vision. Her heart began to race, causing her blood to fly through her veins.
She felt dizzy. She felt light headed. She needed to sit down.
With a flop! she collapsed down onto the bench below her and as all the other Gryffindor students remained standing, Lily felt the world closing in around her and she heard a faint popping sound in her ears. Something was squeezing her chest and she tried to ignore her extreme claustrophobia as Gryffindor’s recent goal churned the crowd into a frenzy.
“Lily!” Alice cried out and ducked down to sit beside her. “Oh I’m so sorry, Lily. I didn’t mean to upset you, I just thought you should know! I’m such a horrible friend, please forgive me!”
She put her arms around her friend’s shoulders and Lily couldn’t do anything but rest her head in her arms in a catatonic daze; Alice’s news was certainly a large shock to her system and she didn’t know how to control all of her conflicting emotions. She was completely stunned. She should have been happy - overjoyed even - that James was moving on but she felt even emptier than she had when Severus had called her a Mudblood and essentially ended their friendship.
But why did she care what James did with his life? She was still an excellent Head Girl, a member of the Slug Club, and recently, the companion of the handsome Ravenclaw Quidditch captain. Without James, she was excelling in everything. She was perfect.
Yet, as she watched one of the Gryffindor players rocket over her, she couldn’t help but let her bottom lip quiver while her eyes began to water. If there was one thing constant in Lily's life, it was James Potter. Without fail, he always asked her out, pranked unsuspecting students, and acted like a general arse. She always accused him of being immature and obtuse and he always proved her right.
However, ever since their spat at the beginning of the year, he had turned into a different person. He only talked to her when he had to, encouraged younger students to take their studies seriously, and led the Gryffindors to victory most of the times he stepped onto the pitch. He was a new James and Lily didn’t fully realize the consequences of his actions until now. She had tried to ignore it, but it seemed that James had grown up and didn’t need her anymore.
And despite her resentment towards him, she felt completely drained, blank, and bare because of it.
“And Patil grabs the snitch from right under Black’s nose! GRYFFINDOR WINS! AGAIN!”
The rest of the Gryffindors burst into applause and spontaneous cheers as they thumped their feet against the stands below them; their roars filled the stadium, drowning out the Slytherin hisses and objections. Lily felt the subsequent vibrations as she continued to silently sit on the bench. She didn’t even hear Alice telling Walter that she wasn’t feeling well and would meet up with her later.
Lily felt like someone had placed a timeturner on her neck because everything suddenly was moving at light speed; students’ interactions and cheers were short and brief as they milled about on the pitch, congratulating the members of the winning squad. She even felt completely unattached when Sirius and his younger brother began to throw punches at each other on the field. Just as quickly as the fight had started, it ended.
The time lapse continued. Suddenly, she felt Alice pinch her right arm and she physically jumped into the air. Time slowed back down and Lily shook her head back and forth to dispel the illusions she saw in front of her. Many of the students had left the stadium, except for a couple of players who remained on the field.
Yet, once Lily’s eyes caught Sirius's angry scowl, she no longer felt dazed and confused. Instead, her old anger bubbled up from inside her and she balled up her fists at her sides. James had to be punishing her for blackmailing her, that was the only logical explanation. He was not grown up. He was still a child and he was using her foolproof plan against her. He had to know that ignoring her would make her even more angry than bugging her. He just wanted to make her suffer, even if he couldn’t personally do it himself. After several straight seconds of grunts and scoffs, she pushed Alice to the side and muttered that she would see her later.
She would not let James Potter make her feel inferior. It was her job to do that to him.
“Black!” she screeched as she stomped onto the field, her Head Girl instincts finally kicking in. “Where the hell is Potter?”
“Woah Evans, calm down. We won!” Sirius said with a carefree grin as he held his hands up in the air innocently. “No need to be angry!”
“I have every right to be angry. Answer the question.”
“Fine, fine. He’s in the locker room.”
“Good. Now if I ever see you taunting your brother like that again, I will be forced to give you detention,” she said through her teeth. “A week’s worth.” Sirius’ brows shot up his forehead and he let out a low whistle, not believing that she would try and threaten him after his spectacular, albeit daring Quidditch performance.
“I do hope James is prepared for your fire storm,” he said softly as he turned his back towards her. Lily growled and watched him saunter away from the locker rooms. As he passed a shadowy corner, she saw several puffs of smoke float upwards and a hand that reached out to pull him out of the sunlight and into the shadows. Flashes of black and blonde hair melded together as the pair started to snog passionately and Lily rolled her eyes.
“POTTER!” she screeched again and her voice echoed down the long hallway that led to the Gryffindor locker rooms. When there was no answer, she huffed and stomped loudly until she reached the door labeled “Wizards”. She pressed her ear to the door and when she heard sounds coming from behind it, she let out another throaty growl. With a large, angry shove, she forced the door open and was prepared to kick it down if she did not successfully expose the inside of the locker room. Thankfully, her first try was enough and she stormed into the room, her eyes murderous and full of rage.
“EVANS!” James yelped as she turned the corner. He looked very flustered as he knocked over his Quidditch bag in surprise and all his personal items spilled onto the floor. However, her fury instantly ceased when she realized that he was standing before her, only clad in his pants. Any other time she would have made fun of him for wearing underwear with childish cartoon quaffles on them but this time, Lily couldn’t stop staring at his perfectly sculpted abs. Her mouth even flopped open in surprise.
He had the body of a god. A Gryffindor Quidditch god.
“We have to talk about Hogsmeade,” she finally seethed, fighting the urge to run her fingers over his exposed skin.
“What about it?” he said, his eyes shifting back and forth nervously. He clearly had no idea she was ogling him.
“It’s next weekend and you haven’t done anything,” she retorted, putting her arms over her chest in annoyance. “I’ve been the one double checking everything. This is the first trip of the year, Potter! We have to set a precedent so nothing bad happens in the future. If anything goes wrong, it’s our fault. You got that? Our – well I guess it would be your fault since I’ve met with all the Professors and ran over the approved student list several times. I know you have a date -”
“You know about that?” he asked incredulously as he straightened his glasses on his face. He didn't confirm that it was in fact a date, but she made her own conclusions.
“Of course I do, James, gossip spreads like wildfire in this Castle. But just because you have a date does not mean that you can shirk your duties. We have to check every student off and make sure that none of them sneak into the carriages without permission. We have to maintain order – something I know you’re not used to doing.”
“I’m going to be there with you, Lily,” he said sternly. “I’m not going to ‘shirk’ anything.”
“Good. Now go take a shower, your body odor is nauseating,” she grumbled and then swiftly turned and exited the boys’ locker room. Once she slammed the door shut, she leaned back against it and expelled a large sigh. Yelling at James Potter always made her feel better, even if he did confuse her beyond belief.
Author’s Note: Weeeee Jily! I had a hard time writing this chapter because … well I can write angry Lily and in love Lily, but confused Lily is a bit more difficult. I hope I made her look a little bipolar because James is totally driving her crazy LOLZZZZZ.
The next chapter will be all the girls when they go to Hogsmeade. It’s going to be a long one so I’m hoping to get it up within the next week or so but I foresee it being at least 5,000 words. That’s going to take awhile, considering I’m wrapping up my last semester of college and job hunting. I know these past chapters have been a little disjointed but you’re going to love the next chapter. SHIT GOES DOWN.
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