Chapter 1 : Invitations and Unwanted Interventions
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The sound reverberated around the near-empty library as Lily Evans slammed the heavy book closed. Sighing in frustration, she laid her head facedown onto the book, willing herself not to cry. There were only seven days until the end-of-year exams and Lily was beginning to panic. She was never going to understand or remember the complex human transfiguration spells they had been learning this year, and it was bound to come up in the exam.
Why on earth had she decided to take Transfiguration at NEWT level? She hadn’t been that good at it last year and had only just scraped an E on her OWL for this particular subject. Now she thought about it, why on earth had McGonagall allowed her to take Transfiguration at NEWT level? The woman must be crazy, Lily thought, or maybe just a tad sadistic. Surely she would have known that Lily was not up to the intensely hard spells that sixth year Transfiguration would bring.
It was Sunday evening and Lily had spent the entire weekend revising, mainly for transfiguration, and now she was exhausted. It was almost curfew time. Thankfully Lily didn’t have prefect duties this evening so she decided that maybe she needed a break from the books and have an early night. Her mother had always told her that a good night’s sleep made everything seem so much better and Lily hoped this was true because she didn’t think she could feel much worse at the moment. So, she packed up her books, notes and quill and slouched out of the deserted library feeling dejected.
Luckily, Lily knew the route from the library to Gryffindor tower like the back of her hand and she wandered through the corridors in a daze. If she’d had to think about where she was going she would never had made her way back as her head was full of jumbled up incantations and wand movements that made no sense to her. When she reached the Gryffindor common room she couldn’t recall her journey from the library at all.
Lily didn’t stop in the common room to say hello to her friends and made her way straight up the staircase to her dormitory. Dumping her belongings in her trunk, Lily threw herself onto the bed and sighed again, trying to empty her mind of thoughts of the upcoming exams, knowing that she’d never get to sleep tonight otherwise.
She hadn’t been laid on the bed for long before Lucinda bounded into the dormitory followed less enthusiastically by Alison and Clara. Lily sighed inwardly at the premature interruption of her peace.
‘Lily! Where have you been?’ Lucinda demanded excitedly, jumping onto Lily’s bed next to her. ‘I have been dying to tell you my news!’
‘What news?’ Lily wasn’t sure she was up to hearing whatever it was that had got Lucinda so excited. She pulled herself into a sitting position, hugged her knees to her chest and looked over at Lucinda with what she hoped was an interested expression anyway.
‘Have you heard that the Marauders are holding an end of year party?’ Lucinda’s face lit up even more at her mention of the Marauders.
‘That’s hardly news, Lucinda.’ Lily stated, rolling her eyes. She instantly decided that she really didn’t feel up to hearing anymore of Lucinda’s news. She had heard enough about the Marauders’ party and she hadn’t particularly liked hearing about it then.
‘I told you she wouldn’t be interested, Luce.’ Alison scoffed, still standing in the doorway to the dormitory, twirling a strand of her blonde hair around her finger. ‘Come on, let’s go back to the common room, Lily’s probably got work to do.’
Lily ignored the scathing look and mocking voice of her roommate and supposed friend. That had always been the best way to deal with Alison when she got into one of her moods, which was surprisingly often these days.
Lucinda glared at Alison before turning back to Lily with a glint in her eye. ‘That’s obviously not my news, everyone knows about the party! My news is far more exciting.’ Lucinda was now practically jumping up and down, cross legged on Lily’s bed.
‘Spit it out then, before you spontaneously combust.’ Lily couldn’t help but smile at how happy her friend seemed despite her own dejected mood.
‘Guess who asked me to the party?’
‘Who?’ Lily asked, already knowing the answer. There was only one boy at Hogwarts who was able to get Lucinda this worked up. ‘Not...’
‘Yes! The one and only Sirius Black!’ Lucinda squealed at this point, grabbing Lily’s hands, extracting them from the vice like grip they had around her knees, and now actually started bouncing up and down on the bed.
‘That’s fantastic Luce!’ Lily stated, not really feeling the excitement. She had never understood Lucinda’s obsession with Black, an obsession she’d had since second year that had escalated dramatically with each passing year. In Lily’s eyes Sirius Black was just another arrogant, conceited, childish, idiotic, prank-pulling, uncaring, selfish prat. Just like his best friend Potter. Lucinda was obviously oblivious to this side of Black though, she had been sucked in by his good looks and charm.
In all honesty, Lily was some-what surprised to hear that Black had asked Lucinda to the party. For four years Lucinda had done all in her power to try and make Black notice her, and not once had he acknowledged her as more than a fellow Gryffindor. There had to be an alternative reason for this invitation. Instantly Lily felt bad for thinking this. Her best friend was wonderful, and any guy would be lucky to date her. Maybe Black had suddenly had a change of heart and did genuinely like Lucinda. Yes, this was the line Lily had to go with, she had to be supportive of her friend.
‘I know! It’s the best news ever!’ Lucinda swooned. ‘When you left after dinner he pulled me aside to ask me. He was gazing at me with those beautiful grey eyes. I thought my legs were going to give way when he told me I had to come to the party. And then, when he walked off to join the others he had a huge grin on his face and gave them the thumbs up. Oh Lily, I knew he loved me really, he must have just been too shy to ask me out before.’
Lily couldn’t help but snort at this statement. ‘Shy?! Sirius? I don’t think so Luce. Those two words do not belong in the same sentence.’
‘Well, whatever, I don’t care, he’s asked me now and that’s all I’m concerned about.’ Lucinda let go of Lily’s hands and rolled on to her back on Lily’s bed, a dazed look on her face.
‘He did look rather pleased with himself.’ Clara affirmed, speaking for the first time since they’d entered the dormitory.
‘So did the rest of the Marauders.’ Alison stated, leaving her position in the doorway and shutting the door noisily.
‘Hey! They’re my sweets!’ Clara stated as Alison swiped a box of Every Flavour beans from Clara’s night stand as she passed on her way to her bed. Alison simply smiled in a falsely sweet way. Clara scowled at Alison as she said to the group at large, ‘Now you mention it, Peter did seem overly excited about it.’
‘Maybe it was a dare. You know what they’re like.’
‘Don’t be so pessimistic, Alison.’ Lily scolded, even though she thought Alison’s statement could very well be true. Lily just didn’t want Lucinda to start worrying about things like that. If Lucinda got it into her head that it was a dare she would blow it with Sirius, and if he did actually like her Lucinda would be devastated to lose her one chance with him. Lily may not think Sirius was worthy of Lucinda but if he could make her happy then she would not interfere.
‘Just putting the idea out there,’ Alison said, casually lounging back on her bed across the dormitory from Lily and Lucinda.
‘She’s just jealous, Lils, ‘cause no-one’s asked her to the party.’ Lucinda stated, seemingly unconcerned by her friend’s theory.
‘As if,’ was all Alison said in reply, throwing a green Every Flavour bean at Lucinda.
‘So, Lily, you’re going to come, aren’t you.’ Lucinda stated rather than asked, popping the green bean in her mouth.
‘Not a chance!’ Lily replied instantly, shaking her head.
‘Oh, Lily, you have to come. I’m going to need the moral support!’ Lucinda practically begged.
‘Luce, it is the weekend before the end-of-year exams!’ Lily exclaimed. ‘The first of which is Transfiguration, and you know how bad I am at that. Nope, sorry, I’ll be spending the weekend revising. Alison and Clara will be there to give you moral support.’
‘Lils!’ Lucinda whined. ‘Please, for me.’
‘I wouldn’t waste your breath, Luce. Lily won’t come. She’s allergic to fun.’ Alison laughed tauntingly, throwing another Berty Botts Every Flavour Bean, this time at Lily, causing Clara to moan at the wasting of her sweets. Alison rolled her eyes, popped a handful of beans in her mouth then chucked the box across the dormitory to Clara.
‘I am not!’ Lily said defensively, hurt evident on her face. ‘I am just averse to breaking rules, which this party most definitely will, and failing exams, which I most certainly will if I don’t revise. Not all of us can ace our exams without having to put in an ounce of effort like Potter and Black do. I think it is totally selfish and irresponsible of them to hold a party so close to the exams. It’s just bloody typical of them!’
Lily could feel her anger rising. She was aware that she was potentially spoiling her best friend’s happy mood, but she couldn’t stop herself. Those boys irritated her too much to hold her anger back. And to be told by her friend that she was no fun was just downright hurtful and mean. Just because she wanted to do well in her exams did not mean she didn’t know how to have fun. Getting drunk and watching the Marauders show off and pull pranks was not her idea of fun. Besides, she was a prefect and attending an unauthorised party was not appropriate.
‘That’s it, Lily!’ Lucinda exclaimed happily, sitting up suddenly, obviously unconcerned by Lily’s outburst. ‘Who’s the best student in our year at Transfiguration?’
Lily looked at Lucinda perplexed. Was she just trying to make her feel worse, hadn’t she just been complaining about how bad she was at Transfiguration. Did she really need to debate who the best student in the year was. No, she did not!
‘James!’ Lucinda answered her own question. ‘And who do we know that would do anything to get the great Lily Evans to notice him and be nice to him?’
Again Lily didn’t answer, simply raising her eyebrows. So Lucinda answered her own question again. ‘James Potter!’
‘What has that got to do anything?’ Lily asked perplexed at where this was leading.
‘Merlin, Lily, I thought you were supposed to be intelligent!’ Lucinda stated jokingly. ‘My plan is simple. James could help you with your Transfiguration revision, and then you can come to the party with me without having to worry about the exam on Monday!’
‘And how exactly are you going to convince James to help Lily?’ Alison asked, sounding even grumpier than she had previously. ‘She has never had a nice word to say to or about him, and this past year he has stopped pining over her and asking her out every other day. He’s well over Lily, he’s moved on!’
‘Whatever! He’s just trying different tactics to win Lily over. I’ve seen the lovesick look in his eyes every time he so much as glances at Lily. I’m going to go and ask him!’ Lucinda jumped up from the bed with a huge grin.
‘Luce, no!’ Lily begged. ‘What have I ever done to you? Are you trying to torture me? You want me to willingly spend all week with Potter trying to learn Transfiguration – which, by the way, I’m wondering why you think James will succeed where McGonagall hasn’t? – And then you want me to spend more time with him at a party I don’t want to go to! I thought you were my friend, Lucinda!’
‘I am your friend. You’ll thank me for this one day Lily Evans! Trust me.’
Before Lily could stop her Lucinda had hurried excitedly out of the room, followed by an apologetic looking Clara and a stroppy looking Alison. Great, don’t I have the best friends in the whole wide world, Lily thought sarcastically.
Hurriedly changing for bed, Lily couldn’t help hoping that Lucinda would not be able to find Potter. As much as she agreed with Alison that he had seemingly given up on her and moved on, she couldn’t help thinking that there was also some truth in what Lucinda had said. Maybe he was just trying different tactics to win her over. If this was true he would take this proposal to tutor her as a sign that his tactics were working. And the last thing Lily needed right now was Potter to start pestering her again. Lily climbed into her bed and put the pillow over her head, hoping this would miraculously stop her from thinking about how Lucinda’s conversation with Potter was going. It didn’t work, surprisingly. Lily was never going to get to sleep now.
This next week was going to be a complete nightmare!