Chapter 7 : First Year: 1971
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“Welcome to your first Astronomy class,” Professor Sidera said loudly, effectively silencing the excited chattering.
After all, they were having class at midnight!
Lily grinned at her new dorm-mate Mary MacDonald and she grinned back. Both were Muggleborn and both were so excited to start learning about the way of the magical world.
The class immediately perked up as the professor picked up a telescope. “First we’ll learn how to use a telescope,” she said briskly. “Has anyone used a telescope before?”
The first years were quiet as they all looked at each other. One boy with messy hair and lopsided glasses said loudly, “Sirius has!”
“Oi, shove off,” the one called Sirius replied, pushing the messy-haired boy. Lily and Mary looked at each other in annoyance. They’d only been here for a week or so and already they’d been in trouble more times than they could count.
Sidera thinned her lips. “Have you used one before?” she asked crisply.
Sirius shook his head and the messy-haired boy said, “Stop lying! He has. His family made him study stars and things like that!”
Sidera looked at Sirius and asked, “Are you a Pureblood?” It was not intended to be threatening but Sirius bristled at the question.
“So what if I am? Doesn’t make any difference, does it?” he said loudly.
Sidera smiled and shook her head at him. “No, it doesn’t. I know who you are. You must be Sirius Black. And you?” she asked, looking at the messy-haired boy.
“James Potter,” he said promptly. “I learnt a bit of Astronomy but never paid any attention to my mum. She’s an old bat,” he said fondly.
Mary gasped. “As if he’d talk about his mother that way,” she whispered to Lily. Lily agreed and stared at the two with distaste written all over her face. They’d been the ones who’d annoyed her and Sev on the train. She still hadn’t warmed up to them yet.
Sidera smiled again. “I know her, but since you two know so much about Astronomy, I’m going to let you teach the class, is that okay?” They stared at her, gobsmacked and she chuckled. “That isn’t going to happen. So stop talking and listen to me, okay? I don’t care if you’re the Astronomy genius in the world, I’m the teacher and you listen to me.” They nodded and James shuffled his feet.
Lily had a new found respect for this teacher. The rest of the class laughed at the pair and the professor resumed teaching the students how to use a telescope. Lily and Mary listened attentively and when the professor told them to partner up, they immediately inched closer together.
However, there were a few troubles where people were in threes, others were alone so the professor rolled her eyes and said exasperatedly, “I’ll put you in pairs. You and you go to that telescope. You two, together and at that telescope.”
She kept pairing up students and then her eyes came to rest on Sirius Black and James Potter. They grinned at her. “If you think I’m putting you troublemakers together, think again!” Their expressions dropped and she pointed to James. “You, you can go with…” Her eyes searched around the classroom and then pointed at Lily. “Her. And go over to that telescope in that corner.”
Lily groaned and James grinned. “Heya, Evans. Seems like we’re partners,” he said bounding over to her.
“Unfortunately. See you, Mary,” she said sadly, about to start following James to the telescope.
Mary gave her a sad look. “Good luck.” Lily laughed and then Professor Sidera paired Mary up with Sirius and put them on the opposite side of the classroom.
“You too,” she said as Mary’s face dropped. She too looked disappointed with these pairings but neither could do anything.
“Oi, Evans!” James said, beckoning her over to the telescope. “Hurry up and come over here. The stars aren’t going to be out all night.”
Lily scowled and deliberately took her time getting to the telescope. She could tell James was getting irritated by the way his leg was jiggling up and down. She felt a smug sort of satisfaction and when she finally got to the blasted telescope she said, “I’m here now.”
He rolled his eyes and said, “Well, since you took so bloody long I’ve already gone and set it up.”
Lily huffed in annoyance. She needed to learn how to do this; otherwise she’d get in trouble! And he knew that! She thinned her lips and said, “I’m just going to have to redo it, because I need to learn how to because unlike you I’m a Muggleborn and like a normal kid I played outside instead of fiddling with telescopes.”
James shrugged. “Fine. Don’t expect me to help you.” He folded his arms and sent her a challenging glare.
She sent a scathing glare in return. “I won’t need your help,” she said stiffly. Her arm reached out but before she could try to work out what knobs she needed to turn and what angle she needed to have the telescope, he reached over and fiddled around with everything.
“What did you do that for?” she said in outrage.
He gave her an innocent look. “I’m only giving you a fair go. How else will you learn?”
Annoyed with his logic, Lily turned her back on him and ignored that stupid smirk of his. He watched in interest as she started twisting and turning the telescope. She kept peering at the eyepiece and she quickly gave it one more twist. “There,” she said happily. James looked at the telescope and it seemed to be in the correct position so he scowled deeply. Lily grinned at his expression.
“Professor,” Lily said, raising her hand in the air to attract the attention of Sidera. She looked at Lily and Lily asked timidly, “Would you mind checking our telescope? Is this right?”
Sidera walked towards them and moved them out of the way. James stayed a bit back, wary of her. Lily looked on eagerly, rising on her toes to look at the way the teacher fiddled around. “Pretty good job, you just didn’t adjust the finder scope. Here, see what I’m doing?” Lily nodded enthusiastically as James looked on sullenly. “Now, you’re ready to start looking at stars. Good work, guys.”
Lily grinned and James still stared at the ground. Sidera walked away and Lily said, “Shall I have a look first or did you want to?”
James shrugged moodily. “Whatever.”
Lily tore her eyes away from the night sky and said exasperatedly, “What is your problem? I know we aren’t the greatest of friends but the sooner we get through this the sooner we can get away from each other. So stop moping about and do something!” She folded her arms and glared at him. She then cast her eyes over to where Mary and Sirius were, and was suddenly thankful she was with James not Sirius. Sirius was putting things in Mary’s hair and kept moving the telescope away from her every time Mary tried to look in the eyepiece.
James sighed. He unfolded his arms and said, “Yeah, you’re right. You can go first. What are you going to draw first?”
Lily shrugged and cast her gaze back over him. “Whatever I find first.”
James cracked half a smile and jerked his head towards the telescope. “So are you going to look through it?”
“Oh, right,” Lily said, flustered. “Yeah.” She quickly picked up her notebook and laid it in front of her and searched for her quill. James tapped his foot impatiently and she finally found it, letting out a triumphant noise. “Found it!” At James’ annoyed look, she shut up and peered through the telescope. She frowned and looked for an easy constellation to draw. She finally found one and started scribbling on her parchment, checking every so often what star went where.
She could feel James right behind her so she turned around and snapped, “Would you stop breathing?!”
He looked taken aback and she clapped a hand to her mouth. “That’s not what I meant,” she said, blushing furiously. “I don’t want you to stop breathing.”
“I should hope not, considering it’s keep me alive and all,” he said good naturedly. She was rather wary of his ridiculous mood swings but it was late at night and maybe he just didn’t cope with late nights well. She was a bit more crabby than usual but she was used to staying up late, her and Petunia used to sneak into each other’s bedrooms and talk the night away.
She missed her sister but she pushed the thought to the back of her mind. She needed to focus on Astronomy. She gave him a small grin and said, “I meant do you mind not hovering over me. It’s annoying.”
He nodded and took a step away. “Oh, okay. I was just curious to what you’re drawing because you’ve been taking a long time.”
She blushed. “Sorry,” she said a bit frostily. “I just can’t get this infernal shape. But I’m nearly done.”
James nodded and waited for Lily to finish. When she finally did she let out a loud, “Huzzah!” James rolled his eyes and peered through the telescope. He then looked at Lily’s drawing and then back at the telescope.
“You didn’t even draw the same bloody constellation!” he cried out, picking up her parchment. “You’ve got all the stars in the wrong position!”
Lily snatched her parchment back from his dirty hands. “I’ve done it right! Are you looking at the right one?” she asked in annoyance.
James huffed. “Yes, I am! I know how to look through a ruddy telescope!” She shoved him to the side and looked through the telescope again.
She said exasperatedly, “It’s exactly the same! Look!” She pointed at the eyepiece.
James argued that it wasn’t the same. “It’s not even upside down! Or flipped or anything! I’ve no idea what you’ve drawn, Evans but it sure isn’t this constellation!”
Lily scowled. “Well then you do it if you’re so good at it,” she shot at him.
“I will, and I’ll show you what it actually looks like!” he said stubbornly. He grabbed his own piece of parchment and started to scribble on it furiously. Lily watched in annoyance and in no time at all, he had finished. “There, look at this and then the constellation in the sky and tell me it doesn’t look the same,” he said, handing his parchment to her.
She took it off him, still scowling and looked through the eyepiece. She then looked down at the parchment in her hand and sure enough, it seemed that he had drawn it much better and much more accurate than she had.
He noticed her face twisting and he smiled in smug satisfaction. “Is mine better, Evans?” he asked mockingly.
She sniffed haughtily. “Maybe,” she said, extremely unwilling to admit it.
“Give it up; you know I did a better job than you. You better get used to it,” he added cockily. Lily growled and handed him back his parchment.
“Shut up, Potter. Now let’s identify this bloody thing, okay?” she said grumpily. James grinned at the fact that he had managed to get under her skin.
“Sure thing,” he chirped happily. Lily shot him a filthy glare and pulled out her Astronomy textbook from her bag. She opened it up and flicked through it, barely glancing at the ‘alignment of the stars’.
James grabbed a hold of her wrist to cease the annoying flicking of pages. “Oi, Evans. Slow down, won’t you? You can’t possibly be reading all those that quickly!”
“Get your hand off me, Potter,” she spat. Her eyes screamed hostility and James—who was extremely alarmed—quickly let go of her wrist and raised his hands up in defence.
“I didn’t mean anything by it. Merlin, what’s got you all cross?” he said wonderingly.
Lily resisted the urge to scream at him. “You! You’ve got me all cross! You’re an annoying, stupid, git who needs a good kick in the face!” she said nastily.
James’ eyes darkened. “At least I’m not a little brat who gets all huffy when things don’t go her way!” he said lowly.
Lily huffed. “You’re so rude, you know? The first time we met you were a prat and each time after that you’ve been a prat and now I’ve been partnered with you for Astronomy and it is so annoying because if it weren’t for yours and Sirius’ prattish tendencies I could be working with Mary and having a jolly good time but no! You had to be annoying and provoke the teacher and—”
James cut off Lily’s furious rant. Her face had gone rather red. “What the hell is your problem? Not everything is going to go your way, and you weren’t any better either when we first met. You were a right snob, and you still are! So stop blaming me and Sirius because not everything has gone perfectly in ‘Lily-Land’,” he spat.
Lily snapped, “Oh shut up. I may as well do this blood assignment by myself.”
James snorted. “You’re probably going to get it wrong because you’re so hopeless at this subject.”
Lily snapped the textbook shut and shot him a glare. “Why am I horrible in this subject? Is it because I’m a Muggleborn? Just because you’ve had some practice in this subject does not mean you are the mighty king of everything!” she said.
James rolled his eyes. “Just face it, for the time being, I’m better than you in this subject. And yeah, it’s because I’m a Pureblood but who cares about freaking blood status? It isn’t important!”
Lily heard Sev say the same thing. She had worried about it when he first told her about magic but on the second day of being here she noticed it was a big deal. It wasn’t as evident in this year—although there were some questionable students—but in older years she saw it. When she heard people making fun of others with the same blood status as her, she hid in the bathroom for a few hours before a girl in her dormitory, Dorcas, told her some people worried about blood status but most people didn’t. And the people who did were not people who she would want to be around, apparently.
She relaxed slightly after that but she was still rather sensitive on the whole Muggleborn issue.
“Evans,” James said, snapping his fingers in front of her eyes, “wake up, there.”
She blinked and said, “Sorry. I was just thinking.”
“About what?” he asked, his previous hostility seeming to have disappeared.
“Blood status,” she said curiously. Immediately James’ face turned into a wary one.
“Why?” he asked suspiciously.
She shrugged. “Well, I don’t really understand it, do I? Sometimes I hear things at home with ‘coloured people’, or whatever. I don’t really understand but I feel like it’s the same thing,” she said, thinking out loud.
“I don’t know anything about the Muggle world,” James said, “but I do know that blood status is quite important in some households. Not mine,” he said quickly. “But others. I’m not too sure of it either, my parents don’t really tell much.”
She nodded and he noticed she was fiddling with the spine of the book. She was trailing her nails up and down, up and down. “Should we go back to work?” he asked.
“Oh, yeah,” she said, flushing a brilliant red. She shifted nervously and said quietly, “Sorry I said all those nasty things about and to you.”
He ruffled his hair. She twitched but he didn’t notice it. “That’s alright. And I’m sorry too.”
She gave him a tight smile and returned to her book. She finally found the right constellation and read out loud, “Tarandus.”
“What is it?” James asked curiously. Lily peered at the pages, her mouth twisting in confusion.
“It’s a reindeer,” she said, frowning at the book.
James looked at the book itself and said, “Yeah, okay? Why are you confused?”
She cocked her head to the side and squinting her eyes, she said, “I don’t see it.”
James gestured for her to give him the book so he could have a proper look at it. She reluctantly handed it over and after looking at it for a few seconds, he let out a short burst of laughter. “Evans, it isn’t going to be a super accurate drawing of a perfect reindeer. It’s a simple picture, here, follow my finger.” He pointed at different stars and dragged it along the page, tracing the outline of the reindeer.
“Oh,” she said quietly. “I understand.” She blushed and James laughed, looking at her sideways.
“Did you think it was going to be a perfect artwork or something?” he teased.
Her cheeks were burning. She muttered, “Maybe.” He grinned and rolled his eyes at her.
“Ah, Evans, so naďve,” he said jokingly. She tried not to smile so she bit down on her lips. James noticed it but didn’t say anything. “What do we do now?” he asked, looking around the classroom.
Sirius was still annoying Mary and she looked livid. Lily heard her say, “I’m going to jam this stupid telescope up your left nostril, Black!”
Lily laughed at her new friend’s antics. She turned back to James. “Seems like our mates aren’t getting along,” she observed, gesturing to the other side of the room.
James looked over to the pair where Sirius said, “You probably wouldn’t even know how to do that seeing as you can’t even look through the thing!”
Mary let out a noise of frustration. Through gritted teeth, she said, “I can’t look through the damn thing because you keep moving it.”
James snorted at his best friend’s cheeky smirk. Lily said, “I’m glad you’re not being like that right now.”
James’ eyes flicked back over to Lily. “I could be that annoying,” he suggested.
Lily shook her head and grinned. “Please don’t, I’m starting to actually warm up to you. You know you aren’t that bad when you’re not insulting anyone?”
He grinned. “Thanks. And you’re not too bad once you stop acting all high and mighty.”
Lily blushed and ducked her head, her hair covering her warm cheeks. “Thanks,” she mumbled.
“No worries,” James said, sitting down on the ledge of the Tower. Lily looked up and then went white.
“You’re going to fall off!” she said loudly. The rest of the class turned to them and James gave them a wave.
“Nah, I’m fine,” he said, his eyes twinkling. Lily started to panic, what if he fell off? What would she do then?
“Potter,” Sidera barked, “get off the ledge before you fall down and hurt yourself. I don’t want to bother with that paper work.” She glared at him.
James grumbled but reluctantly hopped off the ledge. Lily let out a sigh of relief and he looked over to her. “Would you have cared if I fell off?” he asked curiously.
“Of course,” Lily said indignantly, appalled to think that he thought she’d be happy if he fell off.
James shrugged. “Just curious. You don’t seem to—”
“To what?” she asked, her green eyes narrowing dangerously. “To care?” she asked, putting her hands on her hips. “Newsflash, I’m not that snobby I don’t care if you fall off! It would be terrible if you fell off because most likely, you would die. I’m not that mean to not care at all! I can’t believe you’d think I’m like that?” she said angrily.
James raised his arms up in self-defence. “I didn’t mean it like that, Evans—”
“I don’t care how you meant it, you still said it!” she snapped, cutting him off. He was about to retaliate but the teacher cut him off.
“Alright, it seems that everyone’s done their work. I’ll escort you to Gryffindor Tower. Come along,” she said, gesturing them to leave the Tower.
Lily stomped off to find Mary, who looked extremely angry. She let Mary tell her about her night before telling her about her own night.
“Argh, those boys are so annoying!” Mary said, scowling.
“I know,” Lily said miserably. She looked behind her where Sirius and James had their heads bent together and they were whispering as well.
“And you know what Black said to me?” Mary nearly shrieked. She didn’t wait for Lily to answer and said, “He said one day that we would become friends! Pfft! As if!”
Lily snorted. “That’s never going to happen.”
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