Chapter 30 : The Dark Mark
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Movement becomes dance when the emotions
brought about by performing the movements
are the reason for moving.
- Source Unknown
James shook his head, looking over at me sitting across him one morning in the Great Hall. My look flicked occasionally from my plate with scrambled eggs and toast to his face, giggles emerging every now and then.
The Great Hall was fairly empty, it was Saturday, so most people hadn’t got up yet. There were some younger Gryffindors sitting at the far end of the table, but except from that, James and I had the entire table to ourselves.
“So, now you know,” he said, finishing his glass of pumpkin juice.
“It was even more fun figuring this one out than discovering your invisibility-cloak…” I smiled mischievously.
“How did you know I was that stag?” he stopped me. His eyes were clenching onto mine.
“Doing exactly what I’m doing now,” I said quietly, letting my fork scoop together the rest of my breakfast.
James looked questionably at me. “And what would that be?”
“Looking into your eyes,” I explained. “I don’t know how, but the eyes of that stag seemed familiar to me. It reminded me of you.”
“Really?” James said, looking at me while creasing together his eyebrows. “How come?”
“How come? Come on, I recognised your eyes, James! I remembered their hazel colour! Is it so much more to it?”
“So… You think I was beautiful in stag-form, did you?”
He smirked a little, making me feel warm and embarrassed.
I nodded to my plate. “Yeah, you were.”
“Thanks for the compliment, then.”
“Tell me, are you always fishing for compliments like that?” I suddenly said. “Usually that’s girls’ area of expertise.”
“You certainly aren’t…” James smiled wearily. “You seem to avoid them.”
“Are we having this conversation again?” I said, rolling my eyes. “When are you going to stop?”
“When you tell me, obviously,” he rested his head in his hands, looking expectantly over to me.
“Oh, you think I’ll do that, do you?” I teased. “Don’t think so…”
“That’s what you’re saying now.. Just you wait till I sit here with the contents of your soul in my hands.”
I laughed. “You sure have high expectations, James.”
“I usually get my way, though,” he looked daringly at me.
“Do you, Mr. Potter? How come I never accepted any of your dating-propositions, then?”
‘What a fool I was..’
“Because… my usual tactics obviously didn’t work on the ballerina,” James whispered. “But just you wait… she’ll turn around.”
I gave him a look.
“What makes you so confident?”
“Lily? Have anyone ever resisted my charm? My Quidditch-skills? My smile? My handsome face?”
“You’re so stuck up,” I said, almost disgusted. “I thought you’d changed?”
I was almost disappointed.
“Relax, Lily… I’m just joking about it all. To be honest, I’m not really all that confident any more.”
“I said, I’m not really that confident anymore,” he repeated.
James shrugged. “I don’t know…”
He scooped the Daily Prophet towards him, and the moment the headline became obvious to his vision, he scowled.
He turned it over so I saw the front page.
In thick black letters the headline read “More Muggle Killings in England”.
A burning house was portrayed on the moving black and white photo underneath it, and what was unmistakably the Dark Mark hovered over it.
I covered my mouth with my hand, looking at James with horror in my eyes. He looked shaken, too.
He looked at it once more himself before sending it along the table.
“Bastard..” he mumbled, digging his gaze down in the wood of the table.
“Are you alright?” I said wearily, putting my hand on top of his on the other side of the table.
“Yeah.. Yeah, I’m fine,” he stuttered. “Can we go up to the common room? Or the library? The grounds?”
“Whichever you’d like,” I replied.
“Common room, and then the grounds,” James suddenly grinned.
I looked up on the note board in the common room, noticing that a note about ballet classes was pinned next to the Quidditch-note.
All ballet classes have been back to normal since Halloween, but now you’re all in for another change.
After a long December break, it’s time to start training for exams.
Up till now we’ve only had lessons with all of you together, but after Christmas we’ll start to have lessons in smaller groups according to which exam you are taking.
Below is a list of the Gryffindor dancer’s groups, and the timetable you will follow up till June.
“Where are you on that list?” James asked curiously, looking over my shoulder.
“The grade eight exam,” I said, pointing at a short list consisting of me, Dorothy and Jennifer.
“You’re only three?”
“No, there are seventh-years from the other houses as well, James,” I said matter-of-factly.
“Oh. Whatever, I don’t know anything about ballet, except that I’m short of breath every time I see you dancing, because you’re so brilliant.”
I blushed, not knowing what to say.
“Is it just me or have you been blushing quite frequently lately?” he laughed, looking at my avoiding eyes and red cheeks.
“It’s not really helping me to calm it down when you say that, you know,” I said embarrassedly, feeling my blush increase.
“It doesn’t matter, I think it’s cute,” James smiled down at me. “Lessgo, I want to get to the grounds while the snow is still fresh.”
I turned around completely, looking at him with puzzlement.
“We’re going to have the year’s fist snowball-fight, ballerina!” James squeaked excitedly like a child, shaking me slightly.
“Oh no, we’re not!” I protested.
“Of course we are! I’m giving you a minute to put on something warmer, or I will drag you out the portrait hole anyway. So hurry up!”
I knew James good enough to know he would actually do that if I didn’t do as he said, so I followed his order. Three minutes later, I returned to the common room, ready to go.
“Girls are so slow..” James muttered when we climbed out of the common room.
It was still just ten a.m. in the morning, and the sun was glittering on the white carpet covering the world outside. I smiled brightly, remembering the countless fights I used to have with Hillary and Anna some years back. After we had entered our fifth year, we suddenly didn’t have time for that sort of fun because of O.W.Ls and everything.
But now, I was happy James had brought me out in the cold grounds. Somehow I found this strangely romantic, and I wondered if he thought the same.
“I want to build my defence over here,” I said firmly, walking over to a higher level with tons of snow.
“No fair! Ok, I’ll let you since you’re going to lose terribly when I’m through with you..” James teased.
I started scooping up large amounts of snow, packing it together to a nice wall around me. With some help of my wand, I made it thick and hard as ice when James wasn’t looking.
“I will beat you, James… just watch!” I whispered to myself as I made a snowball, muttering ‘dobleus’ under my breath. The snow ball quickly started copying itself into many, many more snowballs, giving me a good amount to throw over to James’s defence place.
“I’m rea-” I started, but then I noticed the little castle James had built himself.
“Thought you were clever, ballerina?” he smirked. “I’m the master and commander of this game.. should have thought of that when you built your two and a half feet high ‘thing’ to protect yourself behind?”
I gasped. The castle was six feet high, and it had some sort of cellar where James had stored what looked like a hounded snow-balls in all sizes. On the top he stood, as the proud stag he was, looking at me with an excited grin.
“This is so unfair!” I cried over to him. “You’re going to soak me, freeze me out, KILL me!”
“Oh, you didn’t notice until now? Don’t worry, I’m gentle with the ladies,” he smiled charmingly.
I flicked my wand at my snowballs, which now seemed like a much less reliable amount. They flew over to James, ready to fall over him like bombs in the air. But before I saw how it turned out, thirty snowballs soared through the air in my direction, banging down my perfectly built protector.
I now stood there almost stripped of defence, and out of things to throw. The answer? I started sending James’s snowballs back at him, to avoid them hitting me. I didn’t really succeed though, because they were too many. Some were aimed at my neck, other’s at my head or my stomach.
After five minutes, I made a white flag erupt from my wand, crying out I surrendered.
“Ha! I told you!” A perfectly dry and warm James came over to me. “Don’t mess with James the snow-lord!”
“O-Ok, can we go back to the co-common room now?” I said shakily, feeling some more snow run down my neck. “I’m freezing to death here..”
“Sure, Lily!” James smiled, running over to me and putting a hand over my shoulders.
The minute he had done that, I took my revenge. I grabbed him when he didn’t expect it, and threw him in the ground right into a pile of snow.
He was surprised, and looked up at the laughing me, wearing a priceless expression on his face.
“You-You…” he forced out. “Do you really think you’re getting away with this?”
He straightened up slightly, pulling me down with him. I felt the cold frozen water-crystals find my bare skin and cool it down with a rush of screaming.
“How dare you!” I yelled, scooping up some snow and throwing it at James lying next to me. He moaned slightly as the snow soaked him, but laughed and had a good time at the same time.
“Would you believe me if I said my mind was playing with the thought of burying you in that lovely little hill of snow over there?” he whispered to the giggling dancer next to him.
Without thinking, I hurried up, running in the opposite direction, laughing.
I heard James getting up as well, chasing me around like he had done with the chocolate basked in the common room some time ago.
“You know I’ll catch up, Lily!” he laughed.
“Prooooooongs!” A roar came from the other side of the grounds by the castle. “Wait for me!”
‘Oh NOOO… It’s Sirius! I’m as good as dead!’ I thought desperately.
James had stopped, grinning at his best friend. “Come help me catch Lily! She’s asked for it!” he said, pointing at his wet neck and hands red with cold.
I was caught a minute after Sirius entered the stage, unwillingly paying the price for ever messing with James..
“Isn’t the common room the best?” Sirius smiled happily, pulling close his blanket in front of the fire.
“I love it,” James agreed, sitting under his double cover. “It’s so warm and cosy… All we need, really… Right Lily?”
They both looked over at me, chuckling slightly.
“Y-y-atcho!” I sneezed, feeling my red nose. I was still icing cold, even though the common room was so warm everyone had emerged to the library or the Great Hall. “Absolutely the best..”
“Want another blanket?” Sirius suggested.
“Don’t you think four is enough?” I yelled, sneezing again.
“Oh, bless you!” James sniggered.
I laughed and suddenly remembered what I was supposed to do later that day.
“Oh no! It’s Hogsmeade weekend! And…” I looked at my wrist-watch. “It’s noon already! When are we going there?”
“At one o’clock…” Sirius said casually. “In an hour.”
“Holy crap! I’ve got to take a shower and get ready! I’m supposed to do Christmas shopping with Anna…”
I ran out of the blankets, shivering as I escaped the warmth. I walked wobbly up the stairs in great speed.
My plan wasn’t working the way I’d have liked it to. Apparently, Lily didn’t detest Potter as much any more. She was on the contrary close to getting warm about him again, after what I’d heard and seen.
The kiss wasn’t strong enough to make her make a permanent decision about him. What was I going to do?
Our time in the library together was something I always looked forward to, and it didn’t look like Lily felt any different about it. Maybe I should tell her how I felt, to some extent?
But I couldn’t do that before the Christmas Holidays were over.. because I was leaving Hogwarts tomorrow. Heading home for two weeks, to my family to have a nice break off school… Then I’d come back and capture Lily Evans’s heart.
A/N: What Bryn doesn’t know, of course, is that James is perhaps going to capture it first…;) *wink*
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