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Late Nights by ohmymerlin
Chapter 5 : Sixth Year: 1976
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 3


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pretty chapter image by locomotive. @ tda!



“Get real! You did not levitate Regulus when he was one! You would have only been two! Magic doesn’t reveal itself ‘till seven!” James argued, bouncing down the stairs, just having finished dinner.

Sirius huffed. “Believe what you want to believe. I so levitated Regulus when he was one. I remember because it was my first time I got in trouble.”

“Started at an early age, eh Padfoot?” Peter asked teasingly. Remus snorted.

Sirius winked at Peter. “You know it.” James rolled his eyes at his best mate so Sirius playfully pushed him. James stumbled and his foot got caught in the trick staircase. He then thundered down the stairs landing on someone with a loud bang.

Sirius swore and ran to help his friend and the poor person stuck beneath him. James rolled off and groaned, and the girl under him was crying. Remus ran to her side and realised it was Lily. Peter plucked James’ broken glasses off the ground and repaired them for his friend. He handed them back to James, who was still groaning.

“Prongs, are you okay?!” Sirius asked, slapping his best mate’s cheek. Peter smacked his hand away and James let out a breath.

“Winded. Who’d I land on?” he gasped out.

Remus answered, “Lily. We have to get you two to the Hospital Wing. I think she’s broken her leg.”

“No,” she said, “it’s alright. I’m just overreacting.” Her appearance suggested otherwise. Her cheeks were splotchy and James apologised, but as he was still in pain himself, it didn’t sound very authentic. A small crowd had formed around the five but Peter shooed them away.

“Come on, Lily.” Remus helped her up but she couldn’t put any weight on her left leg. She gripped onto him tightly and although she was protesting weakly, he swung her up in his arms, holding her bridal style. “I’m taking you to the Hospital Wing. James, you better come too,” he said to her. She hiccupped and nodded, wincing.

James groaned and slowly sat up, massaging his ribs. “I’m really sorry, Evans.”

She waved him off, but she still had a pained grimace and her eyes were still rather red. “I need my books,” she said, looking over Remus’ shoulder to see her scattered bag.

“I’ll get them, you guys go to the Hospital Wing, I’ll meet you there,” Peter offered. She thanked him and Remus took her down to see the matron. Sirius helped James up and assisted him in following Remus and Lily.

By the time the pair had gotten to the Hospital Wing, Remus had already placed Lily in a bed and the matron was fussing over her. James sat on the bed next to her, looking extremely apologetic. “I’m so sorry,” he said.

Lily told him not to worry as Madam Pomfrey started to fuss over him. He didn’t like being poked and prodded so he kept fidgeting and jerking away from her.

“Stop fidgeting, Potter!” she scolded. “Do you want to feel better?”

He sat still but still winced when she poked him a bit too hard. Eventually she left to get him a potion. “Here, drink this. It’ll clear everything right up. It’s nothing serious; Miss Evans here broke your fall.”

James grimaced. “Sorry,” he apologised for the umpteenth time. Again, Lily waved him off as he drunk the potion, making a face. “Ugh.”

Madam Pomfrey then checked him again and said, “You’re free to go now, Potter. And your friends.”

At her words, Lily looked pleadingly at the matron. “Do you mind if they stay? I don’t want to be alone.”

James felt something tug at his navel as he and Sirius exchanged surprised glances. They then turned to Madam Pomfrey who allowed them to stay, albeit reluctantly.

“Lily, I’m so sor—” James started as the matron went to get another potion for Lily.

“Sorry, I know. No, it’s okay. You tripped,” she said, fiddling with the edge of the blanket nervously. She sniffled and wiped her nose self-consciously.

Sirius shuffled his feet and said, “Well, I pushed him. I didn’t mean to hit you or anything, I swear!” Lily stared at him incredulously and he said, “I’m sorry.”

Boys,” she whispered exasperatedly to herself. She said to Sirius, “It’s okay; you never meant to do it.”

Peter then walked in with Mary, Dorcas and Marlene trailing behind him. Lily smiled at seeing her friends and thanked Peter for retrieving her book bag. He grinned at her and sat down next to Remus.

Mary said, “What happened?! We saw Peter gathering your things up and he said James fell on you?!”

Lily heard James mutter another apology and she laughed. “Yeah, he did, but it was an accident. I’m sure I’m fine.”

Marlene opened her mouth to say something but Madam Pomfrey walked out. “What are you all doing here?” she asked, shooing them to the side so she could give Lily the potions to drink. Lily gulped them down, making faces the whole time.

Dorcas said stubbornly, “She’s hurt and she’s our friend! We just want to make sure she’s okay!”

Madam Pomfrey frowned but allowed them to stay. She however, made the boys turn around as she checked Lily’s leg and ribs.

“Well, Miss Evans you might have a concussion so you’re going to have to stay the night. I just want to make sure you’re okay,” she said finally.

Lily said, “No, please don’t make me stay!” She heard James apologise again but didn’t take any notice of it. The matron apologised but still forced everyone to leave so Lily could get her rest. Lily huffed but her friends were forced to leave. They waved at her and left, leaving her alone.

Lily was annoyed, her leg was fine and she was sure she didn’t have a concussion. She pulled out a book from her bag and started to read quietly. The matron frequently checked up on her and decided she didn’t have a concussion, but she was to stay in the Hospital Wing for her leg. It was still not fully healed but she needed to rest it for the night.

Lily gratefully closed her eyes and got some well-needed rest, but when it was very dark, she heard a loud crash. She opened her eyes and looked around her, but didn’t see anyone. Madam Pomfrey rushed outside and asked Lily a few questions but Lily was clueless about the mysterious noise. She quickly checked her leg again before going back into her office.

Lily stared around warily, but decided that it wasn’t a big deal. She was about to close her eyes when James—in his pyjamas—appeared out of nowhere next to her bed. She didn’t scream but clapped a hand to her mouth. He looked alarmed and whispered, “It’s only me!”

Her heart was beating erratically. “What are you doing?” she hissed. “And how were you invisible?”

He shifted nervously, kicking the floor with the toe of his shoes. “I have an Invisibility Cloak. It was my dad’s when he was young.”

Lily let out a breath. “Oh. That explains all your pranks then.” He grinned and something lurched inside her stomach. She was thankful that it was dark because then he wouldn’t see her cheeks reddening. “And how come you’re here?” she asked.

He fidgeted again. “Well, I feel really bad. And I wanted to come down to keep you company.”

She laughed. “It’s okay. You don’t need to keep apologising.” She was about to say more but James heard Madam Pomfrey’s door opening so he quickly threw the Cloak around himself. “What are you—” Lily started but broke off when she saw the matron. “Oh, hello,” she said nervously.

Madam Pomfrey looked at her suspiciously. “I heard voices, there’s no one in here, is there?” She looked around the Wing and ducked her head to see under the beds.

Lily shook her head. “No, of course not!” she said vehemently.

She heard James breathe, “Act more natural.”

Lily blushed and said, “Well, sometimes I sleep talk. And answer myself. Dorcas is always getting annoyed at me. It doesn’t happen often, though.”

Madam Pomfrey stared at her a bit more but then bade her goodnight and walked back into her office. James threw the Cloak off himself as Lily relaxed, her shoulders slumping. “By God Evans, you are the worst actor I’ve ever seen.”

She scowled. “Well, I doubt that you could—actually, you probably could do better. Anyway, I’ve a spell that means she won’t hear us. What is it? Muffulto? Muffolsa? Mufflia—Muffliato!” She pointed her wand at the door and spoke loudly, “HELLO?”

The matron did not come bustling out so she smiled and placed her wand on the bedside table. “There,” she said, at normal volume this time.

James looked impressed. “Nice one. Where’d you learn that nifty spell?”

Lily faltered. “Erm, read it in a book somewhere,” she lied hurriedly. She doubted that he would take to the idea that Snape created his own spells. “And what’s best is that we can hear her but she can’t hear us.” James looked amazed. “Did you want to sit down?” Lily asked, shuffling over to give him space on the bed.

He looked amused. “You want me in the same bed as you?” he asked, grinning cheekily.

She rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t mean anything,” she said. Although it did mean something to the both of them. She was just in denial.

James shrugged and kicked off his shoes, sitting on top of the covers next to her. She tutted. “No, get under the covers. You’re nice and warm.”

He looked at her incredulously. “Lily, are you okay?”

She giggled and said, “Probably not. But get in here; I’m absolutely freezing over here. I want to spoon you.”

He laughed and said, “Now that’s an offer I can’t refuse.” Lily grinned at him and he wiggled under the covers. “I feel as if we’ve overstepped the boundaries of friends,” James said as Lily leant onto him, wrapping her arms around him.

“Oh, shush,” she said, resting her head on his chest, “you’re so warm and comfy.” He laughed and wrapped his arms around her and she smiled, squeezing him a bit tighter. She knew this was stepping boundaries but she found that she wanted to step over those boundaries.

Not that she’d ever admit it out loud.

James wrapped his arms around her and said, “Are you sure this is okay?”

Lily nodded and snuggled closer towards him. “You have no idea how warm you are. It’s bloody freezing and stop worrying if I’m okay. I’m fine, my leg is fine and I’m not a delicate princess.”

James laughed and said, “Well with my amazing muscles, I feel like everything is rather fragile.”

Lily snorted. “You think too highly of yourself, Potter,” she quipped. James grinned and Lily smiled up at him, tracing patterns on his arm with her fingernail. The two were silent for a long time before Lily finally got the courage to speak up.

“James?” she asked meekly.

“Hmm?” He looked down at her and brushed her hair away from her face. It was in her eye and she’d been trying to blink it out.

“Thanks,” she said, smiling at him. “Um, can I ask you something personal?”

He looked down at her seriously. “Depends how personal. What d’you want to ask?” His hand tightened on her arm, but not enough to hurt her.

She swallowed nervously and flicked her hair away from her face again. Once again, James pushed it back behind her ear. She took a few deep breaths. “Are you scared about the war?” she said hurriedly, panting slightly.

A thoughtful expression clouded James’ face. She said hastily, “If you don’t want to answer it, then that’s fine—”

“No, I’m just thinking what to say,” James said, cutting her off. She played with the long sleeve pyjama shirt and waited as patiently as she could. He finally said, “Yeah, I am. I’m terrified. But I’m also—in a kind of masochistic way—excited for it. I’m excited to be a part of something, and to stop being a stupid kid.”

Lily laughed, still tracing patterns on his arm. “You’re not a stupid kid,” she said, so thankful that it was dark and he wouldn’t be able to see her blushing.

“I was,” James said. “Remember first year?”

Again, Lily laughed. “Yeah, I guess. But to be fair, I was a bit snobby.”

“A bit?” he teased. “The Queen of England isn’t as snobby as you were!”

Lily grinned and mumbled, “Shut up.” He laughed loudly and she said, “I do feel a bit bad for being mean to you, though.”

He chuckled and said, “Don’t worry about it. I feel bad for getting your leg broken.”

Lily rolled her eyes and continued to trace patterns on his arms. He watched her silently and she said quietly, “James, I’m worried.”

“About the war?” he asked shrewdly. With the hand that Lily wasn’t tracing patterns on, he pushed his glasses back up his nose.

She nodded. “Yeah and…” she broke off, not knowing what to say next. James waited patiently for her and she said softly, “I’m worried about Snape.”

“Snape?” he asked loudly. She nodded. He asked bewilderedly, “Why are you worried about him? I’m pretty sure he can handle himself fine.” He didn’t say it nastily, but as a fact. Lily knew he was right but that didn’t stop her from being worried.

She sat up and looked at him seriously. “I know we aren’t friends anymore, but he was my best friend for a long time. He introduced me to magic and I can never forget that. He taught me everything about this world. And… you know how he’s, erm, interested in dark things?”

James nodded and she took a deep breath. “Well, with me, I could always tell him when he and his friends were being wrong. His friends never listened to me, but if I told him privately he would bring it up to his mates and they would slow down a bit.” James gestured for her to continue and she said, “The thing is, I’m worried because I’m not there to tell him what to do—oh gosh, that makes me sound so bossy—”

“Lily, trust me. It’s good that you were bossing him around. Because if you weren’t I’m pretty sure a lot of people would have gotten hurt, and maybe you’ve taught him a bit about conscience,” James said smoothly, cutting her off. “Sorry, continue.”

She shook her head. “No, that’s alright. But yeah… Since I’m not there, I’m scared a lot more people will start to get hurt. And I’m scared, for myself,” she said in a tiny voice.

James put an arm around her shoulder. “Why are you scared?” he asked gently.

She tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. “I’m scare that he and his friends will do something to me. Every time I see them, I want to jump behind a suit of armour or a closet, in case they try to do something. They hate people like me, it isn’t a secret and—” Her voice had started to rise, becoming borderline hysterical.

“Lily, look at me,” James ordered, directing her face back to his. He looked right in her eyes and said seriously, “I’m not going to let anything happen to you. I’m happy to walk you to classes and back. I’m make sure none of them try anything on you. Nothing’s going to happen as long as I’m alive and kicking, you hear me?”

She gnawed on her lip and nodded. He said, “And what do a bunch of sixteen year olds know? They’re just stupid kids who’s ability only extends to Stupefy.” He laughed, trying to make her lighten up.

It didn’t work. Lily shook her head. “No, James. Sev—Snape creates spells. You know Levicorpus?” she asked, knowing the answer. James had used it on Severus only a few months prior.

James’ mouth dropped. “He invented that spell?!” he asked, looking very disgruntled at the thought.

She nodded grimly. “Yeah. And he also made up Muffliato. The one I just used a few moments ago. And he also made up one where it causes the persons toenails to grow and something where the person’s tongue gets glued to the roof of their mouth.”

James, although looking thoroughly unhappy with this fact, said optimistically, “At least they aren’t dangerous.”

She shook her head and whispered, “No. He’s made this terrible one, Sectumsempra. It causes the person to bleed. He actually used it on you, after the O.W.Ls. How did you get that mended by the way?” she asked, taking a look at his cheek where the gash was. There was no evidence of scarring.

He shrugged. “Remus fixed it up,” he said nonchalantly. “He’s pretty good with those types of spells.”

Lily shook her head. “No, this isn’t a normal spell. It’s really hard to fix up, I think only he knows the counter spell,” she said, turning his chin to either side to see if there was even a little bit of scarring.

James coughed nervously. “Well, Remus doesn’t fix scratches and things like that normally. He’s got some weird spell that he uses.”

Lily let go of his chin and stared at him confusedly. “What do you mean?”

James shifted and said, “It’s a secret. And it isn’t mine to tell, well part of it is, but the big part isn’t.” He scratched at the back of his neck.

“Can you tell me your secret?” she asked curiously. She was leaning towards him and her eyes were bright, waiting for him to say something.

He bit the inside of his lip nervously. “Well, the thing is, I’m an Animagus.”

Whatever Lily was expecting, it wasn’t that. She jerked away and said loudly, “What?”

James repeated, “I’m an Animagus. A stag to be precise.” He looked at her timidly and fiddled with the corner of his sleeve.

It was silent as Lily processed this. “For how long?” she asked eventually.

He sighed a breath of relief. “Since last year. But I’m not registered,” he added before Lily could ask him.

James kept quiet as Lily turned the idea over in her head. She scrunched up her nose in thought, and suddenly she clapped a hand to her mouth. “Are you all Animagis? Is that where your nicknames come from? I understand why you’re ‘Prongs’ now!” she said in a rush, looking rather proud of herself.

James fidgeted again. “Sort of,” he said slowly. He ruffled his hair up nervously. “Look, what I’m about to tell you has to stay between the two of us. No one can know. And the boys can’t know I told you, okay?” She nodded, looking both concerned and excited to find out the infamous Marauder’s secrets.

James took a deep breath. “You were right about Sirius, Peter and me being Animagis. I’m a stag like I said before; Sirius is a dog, hence ‘Padfoot’; and Peter is a rat, which is where ‘Wormtail’ comes from.

“But Remus isn’t. It’s because he’s a werewolf, Lily. Where ‘Moony’ comes from. And we became Animagi’s so he wouldn’t be so alone every month,” James said slowly. “You can’t tell anyone, not even Dumbledore knows about this. I mean, he knows about Remus being a werewolf but not about the rest of us.”

Lily chewed on her lip as she thought of the whole thing over. James waited for her to say something and then she finally breathed, “Wow.”

James’ lips twitched into something of a smirk. He so desperately wanted to say something rude but he knew she would get mad so he kept silent and let her think it over.

She twirled a bit of her hair around her index finger and said, “You guys may be the best friends anyone could ever have. That’s such an amazing thing to do!”

James shrugged abashedly. “It really isn’t that big of a deal,” he said humbly.

“Not that big of a deal?” Lily echoed. “James, that’s something amazing. It’s no wonder you’re fantastic at Transfiguration and—oh! Last year, you said you knew about Animagi the most! That’s why!” she said, clapping a hand to her mouth. “That’s some serious magic!”

James grinned. “Well, yeah. It took Peter the longest but the first time we all went out there, it was so much fun.” He ruffled his hair a bit self-consciously, making it stick up.

Lily grinned at him and was overcome by the urge to pat his hair down. She squashed it down and clasped her hands together. She said, “Thank you for coming down here and keeping me company.”

James said, “That’s okay. I’m sorry I put you in here the first place.” He grinned at her.

Lily rolled her eyes. “You don’t need to apologise anymore. You’ve made it up to me, it’s okay. And it wasn’t even on purpose!” she said, laughing.

“Did you want me to leave now?” he asked after they were quiet for a small moment.

Lily shook her head. “No! I’m not actually that tired anymore, are you?”

He shook his head as well. “No, I’m not actually. I was just wondering if you wanted me to leave, I have been here for three hours.”

“What? Already?” Lily asked confusedly. James nodded and looked at a battered watch on his wrist.

“Man, I need a new watch. But yeah, I came here at about eleven. It’s two in the morning now,” he said, flicking the face of the watch.

Lily looked at the old watch but found it was one of those strange wizard ones. She would never understand how to read them.

“Anyway, what should we do?” she asked.

James shrugged. “I have Exploding Snap?” Lily grinned and he said, “I still need to get my revenge on you from second year.”

Lily laughed and said, “I did not cheat. But I’ll play you, and beat your sorry arse.”

James chuckled and handed her a pile of cards. “Not a chance, Evans.”


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