Chapter 2 : Fiery Teacups
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My mind was frazzled after my conversation with Bellatrix. I couldn’t think straight. It didn’t help that Lily was sitting next to James Potter. Her back was too me, giving me a perfect view of her unmistakable red hair, and unfortunately, the view of Potter touching it. She didn’t seem to mind and continued her conversation with Sirius Black, fidgeting in her seat every time James’s fingers brushed her neck.
The embers of red-hot anger started to grow in the pit of my stomach. His touch was like a long time lovers; comfortable and sure. He had no reservations about touching her. The fact that she reacted to his faint touch gave me answers I didn’t want.
She loved James Potter.
And she’s felt that touch before; but in private.
Just when I was about to stand up and confront them, she turned and slapped James’s hand away, telling him that if he could sod off, her life would be complete. James, being ignorant, laughed her off, but nevertheless stopped touching her. At least he respected her.
I still didn’t like the image of them sneaking off into a broom closet together. That of course meant that the image was going to continue to haunt me for the rest of the day.
My attention was drawn to the HeadMaster when he cleared his throat, though, not entirely. I watched James out of the corner of my eye. He was at first focused on the HeadMaster, then he got the attention of Sirius and they started making faces. Eventually they stopped, with Sirius becoming interested in what the HeadMaster said, forcing James to turn his attention elsewhere.
He turned it to Lily.
My fist clenched involuntarily when I saw his hand reach out to stroke her hair again. He contented himself with running his hand through it, then wrapping it around his fingers when he reached the ends.
My entire body stiffened when I realized he was going to yank.
Lily, turned around suddenly and smacked him, sending his glasses across the hall, in my direction. They hit the wall behind me with a faint clinking sound, then fell to the floor.
A few Slytherins and Gryffindors laughed, but no one laughed harder than Sirius. Shame-faced, James got up and made his way around our table to retrieve his glasses. I watched him pick them up and shove them onto his face. I smirked at the red handprint on his cheek. He looked at me suddenly.
“Snivellious,” he spat at me. I didn’t reply and my smirk grew wider as he sauntered away, trying to act unbothered by getting smacked.
I turned my gaze back to the HeadMaster, who seemed not to have noticed the exchange between Lily and Potter. As I did so, I couldn’t help but sneak a glance at Lily.
She was looking straight at me, no, glaring at me. The fire from her hair seemed to have been transferred into her usually calm, green eyes. My smirk vanished instantly. My Goddess was furious with me. What did I do?
She turned around in her seat so fast, her hair whipped around and left streak marks in the oxygen. I had the sudden realization that she thought I was smirking at her, for getting her hair pulled. Crap. Now she probably thinks I’m more disgusting than she already did.
Angry shame tugged at my heart, so much so that I hardly enjoyed seeing the heaps of food appear at our table. The smell was intoxicatingly delicious, but I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it.
“Dig in Severus.” I heard Avery’s voice beside me. “You’re acting weird.” He added on a side note, stuffing his face with a cinnamon roll.
That’s me; mister weird-o. Congratulations for finally figuring that one out Avery. Guess the neurons in your brain actually do work once in a while.
I grabbed a few sausages, and took a bite of some french toast. As I went to drink my pumpkin juice, a hand stopped me. I recognized the nail polish as Bellatrix’s.
“I wouldn’t drink that if I were you. Connor is jealous.” She whispered in my ear, and then pushed the second year girl on my left over so she could sit down. The girl looked like she wanted to fight back, then recognized Bellatrix’s hair and stopped herself.
“Connor is jealous of me drinking pumpkin juice.” I said slowly, trying to comprehend how Connor could be weirder than I was.
“Yes, because you drink so differently than everyone else.” She grabbed the rest of my french toast and ate it, then eyed my sausages.
It took me longer than I care to admit to understand her intention. “You’re being sarcastic.”
“Yes, nitwit, I am being sarcastic. I’m saying that Connor thinks you are competition, so don’t drink your pumpkin juice. He wants to get rid of you.”
I set the glass down, eyeing it with distrust. Then an idea popped into my head.
“And why are you telling me this?”
“Because, honestly, out of everybody, you’re the one who knows the most Dark magic. We need you.”
I restrained myself from wrinkling my face in disgust.
“That’s not a very good reason to protect me.”
“It’s the only one I got.” She shrugged and looked interested in her bracelet.
I glared at my food, and muttered, “Thanks.”
“Don’t be offended Severus. It’s nothing personal.”
“My life is kinda a personal thing Bella.” I glared at her. A dark, angry flush filled her cheeks at my remark.
“How dare you! Bella?!”
“Don’t be offended Bella. It’s nothing personal,” I said in a mocking voice, mimicking her previous statement. Inside, I regretted hurting her feelings. Not that I really had friends, but I shouldn’t take my anger out on them anyways.
“You are a prat! I tried to do a favor - “
“A favor? That’s your definition of a favor?” While her voice got quieter, mine got louder. Avery elbowed me in the ribs to keep me from yelling.
“Yes. Yes I do. I think I deserve a thank you for saving your life! Oh, and lets not forget: an apology.”
We glared at each other. Finally, I gave in. “Thank you. I’m sorry.” My voice was rigid and stiff. The only person I had ever apologized too was Lily.
She rolled her eyes.
“How do you know Connor did anything?” I asked, still eyeing my pumpkin juice.
“Because he told me,” She sniffed and stood up. She walked away and sat down next to Connor, her back facing me to make a point.
I decided to not finish breakfast and go walk around to think. I would probably be taunted, or followed by James and his gang, but I really didn’t care.
I didn’t notice Lily had vacated her seat.
The corridor was empty. Sometimes a few stragglers passed by me, but besides them, it was empty. I sat on a bench with my back to the court yard, letting the cold breeze wash over me. My book bag was leaning up against my leg, and the solidity of it’s weight gave me comfort.
Not that I need comfort. I’m not a loner.
Well. Okay, I take that back. I’m a little bit of a loner.
Fine, I’m a serious loner.
But that’s not the point.
I stared at my knees, not sure what I should think about. My brain was empty really; an utter void. I tried to think about Lily, but that just made me angry. Why are girls so easily infuriated? It’s not like I did anything wrong!
Oh wait. Yes I did. Nevermind.
I sighed and watched my breath condense in the air, mimicking fog. I felt hollow. Being empty of thought can do that to a person. Just when I thought I should head back to the Great Hall, Lily walked by me.
Her head was lowered in the common “Please don’t look at me” way, and her hair obscured her beautiful face from view. Her shoulders were hunched up, as though she was trying to shield herself from wind. I felt the sudden urge to protect her; grab her and hold her close. Acting on the pure instinct that I knew I would regret later, I got up to follow her. I walked about five feet before I realized I had forgotten my book bag. I looked behind me, and then back at Lily; completely torn. If I went back to get my bag, Lily could disappear. If I didn’t go get my bag, I may find my books shredded and scattered around the courtyard by Potter.
I chose having shredded books, and ran silently to catch up with her. Lily needed me. Or someone. I preferred it to be me.
Lily stopped for split second, as though considering actually waiting for me. She turned around to face me. I stopped in my tracks because once again, there was fire in her eyes.
“What.” She spat, not even bothering to form the word into a question.
“Is...are...well, back there...I-uh...see,” I floundered helplessly. I don’t think I had ever been this close to her since our last talk, and my brain was shutting down.
“Spit it out Sev.” The venom in her voice wavered slightly, putting me immediately on edge. I didn’t know what to do when girls cry.
‘I just, saw you walking back there. You looked upset, and I wanted to let you know that I’m available if you need someone to talk too. Potter really had no right to pull your hair that way, and I’m sorry he did that. I know you don’t think highly of me after what happened last year, but that doesn’t change the fact that I want to make sure you are okay. I care about you Lily, despite what you may think. I want to let you know that I will be there for you when you need me,’ is what I should have said. What came out of my mouth was, “Is your hair okay?”
“My hair. You’re worried about my hair.” Her tone was filled with disbelieving anger. I was mentally slapping myself. My brain and my mouth are not attached.
I tried to make a good comeback, but I couldn’t. “I meant, are you okay?”
“No Sev, I am not okay. Do you have any other useless questions for me or can I go now and cry in peace?” She sneered bitterly at me, her bottom lip quivered slightly.
“Don’t cry.” The quietness in my voice surprised me. It was almost a whisper; a begging whisper.
She looked at me, her green eyes glazed over slightly from the already existing tears. She seemed to be actually considering accepting my comfort.
To both of our surprise, she did. After dragging me into an empty classroom first. Guess she wasn’t that accepting yet.
She laid her head on my chest and wrapped her arms around me. I hoped she couldn’t hear the beating of my heart - it was going crazy.
I felt horribly out of my element and clumsily put my arms around her in response. I rubbed her back slightly, feeling like an idiot for not knowing what to do. Other guys made it look so easy, yet here I was. I was pretty sure she hadn’t actually started crying; I had seen her cry a few times and she acted completely differently - trying to hide her face and not wanting any sort of attention. Of course, I could be completely wrong and when she steps away the entirety of the front of my robe will be soaked, I don’t know.
Suddenly the door opened and in walks one of Lily’s friends, Maria. Maria was a short red-headed girl in Ravenclaw. Her face was slightly chubby, and it was obvious her hair was dyed, but from what little I have heard of her, she seemed pretty nice. Today, her hair was curled. Not wavy curls, but the short, little curls that any Slytherin guy couldn’t resist to yank.
Maria’s blue eyes opened wide upon recognizing me, and her mouth almost opened too. She managed to stop herself just as Lily turned around.
Lily’s head was hung, so as not to show her face. “Hey Maria.”
“Hey Lily. Sorry for uh...interrupting.” Maria shifted her notebooks in her arms, clearly uncomfortable in this situation.
Lily kept her voice low as she bent to pick up her bag that she had carelessly tossed on the floor. “No, it’s fine. I was just getting ready to leave anyway.”
She followed Maria out of the classroom, only slightly turning around to say goodbye to me. She turned the corner and was gone from sight.
Maria nudged me, harder than necessary, and wiggled her eyebrows at me suggestively. “So, you and Snivellious huh?”
“Shut up.” I grumbled. The past few minutes were the most awkward of my life, and I didn’t want to relive them. I couldn’t believe I had actually hugged him. He had called me a Mudblood. Ugh.
“I always knew you had a rebel streak in you!” Maria punched my arm and laughed triumphantly.
I couldn’t stop the slight smile from creeping onto my lips. “Oh my god shut up. I do not.”
Maria smirked at me. “Right. Lily Evans, the most boring girl in school who never does anything and never breaks any rules.. riiight.”
I blushed slightly. “Maria, seriously shut it. Oh my god.”
Maria grinned mischievously. “You know, I never took you for the type of girl to be into guy’s with no personal hygiene.”
“Maria!” I pushed her playfully. “There is nothing going on between us! It was one hug; One! And that was only because I was crying.”
Maria’s facial expression changed suddenly. “You were crying?”
“Yeah,” I muttered as we entered our charms class, “I’d rather we didn’t go into that right now.” I spotted James’s messy hair and inwardly groaned when he turned around after hearing my voice. He looked overjoyed to see me and patted the empty chair on his right.
“Yeah no. We aren’t getting into that right now.” I added again, under my breath. Having James overhear our conversation would not be good.
“Whatever you say Lily. Talk to you later.” Maria called over her shoulder and went to sit next to Sirius, who tried to pretend she didn’t exist.
As soon as my butt hit the chair James starting talking.
“Hey there you. How’s your morning been?” He gave me a wide grin, which I immediatly realized was false.
I rolled my eyes and grabbed my charms book. “If you are going to apologize you better do it now before I get even more irritated with you.”
James’s smile faltered. “Apologize? For what?”
“You really are toerag aren’t you. For pulling my hair that hard James!” I paused and then added, “You act like you’re a seven year old.”
James sighed and looked towards the front of the class. “I’m sorry,” he said after a few minutes.
“Good.” I replied simply, leafing through the book for something to do.
Without thinking I said, “This type of flirting isn’t really doing so well for you. You might want to switch tactics.”
James’s head snapped back to look at me. His astonished expression was almost comical; if he hadn’t been being serious.
“Yes James, flirting.” I rolled my eyes and found an interesting note on the levitation charm that I hadn’t seen before. James interrupted my reading before I could really get into it.
His hand went under my hair and his fingers splayed against the skin of my neck, rubbing the part where the base of my skull met my neck. He leaned in until his lips were brushing my earlobe, sending shivers down my spine. His voice was slightly husky, and his warm breath made goosebumps rise.
“What type of tactics do you wish me to change to?” I could feel his lips curve into a smirk when my response was only a slight inhale of breath. He pulled away before the Flitwick noticed, leaving me wanting more. I wanted to know what his lips felt like, what his hands would feel like on the rest of my skin...
Oh god Lily no! This is James Potter! Ew! Control yourself. What if someone read my mind?
I looked around hurriedly, trying to see if anyone had been looking at me. No one was; everyone was focused on Flitwick and laughing; he was making teacups dance in a conga line. I glanced through my lashes at Potter and was relieved to see that he wasn’t looking at me. I turned back to Flitwick, who was writing the enunciation of the charm on the black board. I got out my quill and wrote it down. When I reached for my wand, I heard Potter’s voice in my ear.
“Are you going to tell me what tactics you want me to use?” he whispered, his lips tantalizingly close to my earlobe.
I felt the slight burn a blush start to creep onto my skin. “Shove off Potter.” I tried to hide my embarrassed smile.
He pulled away.
“If they lady wishes it, then it shall be done.” He muttered as he flipped through his charms book to find the incantation Flitwick was having us practice. A girl sitting in front of me was having some serious problems; her teacups were running around and knocking things off of the desk. She was hurriedly trying to fix her mistake before Flitwick reached her table, but by doing so, set one of them on fire. It promptly jumped off the desk to get away from her and ran around the room, lighting book bags on fire along with the hem of robes.
James jumped up and tried to grab me and get me to stand on top of my chair, but the flaming tea-cup set the leg of his chair on fire, making him distracted.
The girls were screaming and the boys were yelling and stamping their feet. Flitwick’s voice could be heard shouting, “Aguamenti!” over the chaos of the room. I jumped from my chair and followed suite, preventing the book shelves from setting on fire and saving a poor girls hair, and a few robes. Some other kids followed my lead, till at last, the tea-cup was the only thing left to deal with.
We all hunted around the room looking for it, until a Ravenclaw boy named Blake discovered it’s shivering form in a deserted corner. It was completely charred, and it sounded like it was whimpering from fright. Flitwick picked it up and carried it back to his desk to keep an eye on it, and then went around helping the student restore their wet articles.
While people were cleaning up, Sirius came over. “Some party huh?” He spoke a little softer than normal, so the girl (who was still sitting in front of me, and crying softly from embarrassment - her best friend trying to comfort her) wouldn’t hear him.
James snorted. “Yeah, I guess. Hey, you okay Lily?”
I shrugged. “I guess. You?” James nodded, and gave me a one-armed hug. I didn’t realize I had been shaking until his arm wrapped around me.
“Don’t worry about me mate; I wasn’t scared.” Sirius rolled his eyes at us. James smirked.
“Go and comfort Maria over there. I’m sure she would be more than welcome to receive a hug from you.”
Sirius turned to look at her, putting on a reserved look. We all watched her mend her soaked books - Sirius with a slight disinterest.
“I’d rather not.” He sniffed, turning back to us. James let his arm slide off of my shoulder casually. “Oh no, I think you’d rather.” He winked.
“You know, Maria is nice. You just have to get to know her.” I shrugged again and bent down to ring out the bottom part of my robes; partly because they were soaked, and partly because I was smiling.
“Why, do you insist I get to know her?” Sirius’s voice was clipped, obviously not enjoying our sly remarks on his way of dating.
“Get to know who?” Maria asked over his shoulder. She had come to find me.
Sirius’s eyebrows furrowed. “Never you mind.” He turned stiffly and walked away, with seemingly no direction except to get away from her.
Maria watched him go with a slight look of surprise. She turned to James. “What’s up his ass?” she asked simply. James laughed. “You would be surprised.”
I shoved him. “Be nice.” I started laughing too, despite myself.
Maria rolled her eyes, but couldn’t keep her smile back. “Well,” she turned to look at the girl, who was miserably packing her stuff up, “Guess we know one thing.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Time to stop practicing on tea cups.”
James and I burst out laughing just as the bell rang for the next class. As I walked out the door, I heard Sirius’s voice behind me, “You can say that again.” I could almost hear his smirk.
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