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Chapter 35 : Chapter Thirty Five
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The plan was sort of brutal in my opinion, but Sirius and Henn quickly quieted me and said they were doing it no matter what. Sirius said he had detention the rest of the week and half of the next, so we would have to wait to proceed, since he said something along the lines of ‘There’s no way I’m missing out on this’.
Meanwhile, I was somehow surviving through the continuous battles throughout my head, telling me one thing then the other. The invitation of the wedding was still secure under my pillow, where I looked at it every night and wondered what I should do. Conveniently enough, (or not) Petunia’s wedding was set on one of the days I was on Easter break, something I found very unusual. I would think that Petunia would try her hardest so it would be nearly impossible for me to attend, but I suppose I was wrong. I wondered if Virginia was influencing her, and what was happening with my father at the moment. Maybe he was still acting cold and indifferent with Carrie, pretending his eldest daughter didn’t exist. Even though I always pretended that I didn’t care too much about him, it made me sad what my father was doing to himself and his family.
Although I wasn’t exactly killing myself, I was constantly during classes zoning out and wanting to cry, getting one bad grade after the next. During Transfiguration I had gotten another Dreadful on my pop quiz, and scrawled at the top in Mcgonagall’s handwriting was: See me after class.
I made some excuse that Mcgonagall was just giving me more Head Girl duties to Henn, who merely shrugged and exited the room with Grace and Remus. I delayed as long as possible with my bag until everyone had left the class room, Mcgonagall shuffling papers at her desk. I swallowed the lump in the back of my throat and hitched my bag over my shoulder, heading over to her. She didn’t look up at me.
I cleared my throat. “Um, Professor?”
She looked up at me. “Oh, yes. Ms. Evans.”
“You said you wanted to talk to me.”
“Yes, as a matter of fact I did.” She said sternly, adjusting her glasses and sitting down at her desk. She folded her fingers together and gave me a perturbing stare. “I think you can imagine what I want to talk to you about.”
“Yes.” I mumbled. Those damn Dreadful’s. Mcgonagall gave me a hard look.
“Ms. Evans, during the last six and a half years you have spent here, you have always given me exceptional grades,” Mcgonagall began. I lowered my head and looked at the ground, not willing to respond. “That is why when I found out you were applying for my N.E.W.T.s class, I wasn’t surprised in the slightest.”
She was starting to make me feel lower than myself, which was saying something. I kept my head down.
“But this year, you’re grades have been steadily dropping—”
“Professor,” I suddenly sputtered. “I’ll do better, I just misread some of the stuff…”
“That may be it,” Mcgonagall sighed. She adjusted her glasses again and looked at me, her look softening slightly. “Ms. Evans, I was just wondering if you were going through…let’s see—difficulties.” She seemed to get that last bit out slowly, as if she wasn’t used to doing this often. My eyes filled with tears, so I looked down again.
“No, Professor.” I murmured. “Nothing besides academic.”
I could feel her eyes on me, but she seemed to finally believe me. “Alright, Ms. Evans.” She said, taking a deep breath. “You may go.”
I was going crazy. There was no other explanation. I could see Henn talking beside me but I couldn’t hear a word she was saying. My hand was holding my fork in midair but I wasn’t anywhere near eating anything. My stomach felt hollow, my head felt hollow, my gaze did too. I stared at the table counter, not really looking at it.
Even the teachers were starting to notice something was wrong with me. My teachers just started to catch on, while my father didn’t even know. He didn’t know what I was going through, even though I was supposed to be his daughter. He was supposed to be taking care of me. But he didn’t. He didn’t even try.
My eyesight was fogging up, and I blinked, trying to hold the tears back. Remus was looking at me oddly, making me uncomfortable to see that he had noticed something different about me. I cleared my throat suddenly. “I…er—need to go to the loo. Excuse me.”
I could feel Henn and Grace staring at me, Gaby did too when I passed her at her spot next to Leah and Kat. I fumbled with my fingers as I clutched my wrist, needing badly to do something to it.
I stumbled into the bathroom, stuffing myself in a stall and locking the door quickly behind me. I sat on the toilet seat and looked at my wrist, rolling my sleeves up. I wasn’t necessarily doing anything bad…I mean it was only a rubber band. Okay, so it would hurt a little. But it’d heal the next day, no big deal.
I started to snap it over and over again, but found that it wasn’t enough. I tried harder so it would be more effective. It still didn’t work.
“Damn it,” I cried, wiping the tears off my face and flicking my wrist continuously. It was very pink now; I could almost feel my skin tearing. Soon enough, I started bleeding, only a little, but still satisfactory. For some reason I had an evil satisfaction as I looked at its reddish color, the little blood marks which I quickly wiped away with my sleeve. My wrist was stinging now, but only a little. I pushed my sleeves down again and quietly left the stall, stopping to look myself in the mirror.
I was getting worse and worse, you could see it in my face. I was almost scary to look at. I wasn’t taking care of my skin or hair, making me look pasty and my hair greasy. I had hastily put my auburn locks in a bun, without even brushing it. My skin was oily under my eyes and nose, and my eyes were sunken in because of my dark circles. My lip quivered. My eyes…
I leaned in closer, so that my nose was touching the mirror. I stared at my own eyes, seeing hurt and sadness in them. I always had liked my eyes; they were a different green, brighter than most greens. But now…they were dull, lifeless. There was no sparkle in them. They hardly seemed green anymore; they looked more like murky, grassy water.
I started to cry again, my eyes looking even more horrible because now they were red. I forced myself to turn around and slid down to the floor, clutching my face.
What was happening to me?
“Lily, are you okay?”
I looked up at Remus’s worried face. He had stayed with Grace, even though everyone else had already left after the prefect meeting. I had to stay another hour or so with James, (Lucky me) so that we could decide what we were going to do about the Graduation Ball. I was relieved to let my mind think about something other than having to stay another hour with James, but even the sight of Remus wanted to make me cry.
“Yes,” I said, smiling. I knew it was a false one. “Why?”
“You haven’t been yourself lately.” Grace said, biting my lip. I wanted to scream at her for saying that. How did she even know how I really was? She had met me when I was eleven, when I was already screwed up. By then, I was already not myself.
“I’m just tired, is all.” I said, stretching my arms. “And I’m not looking forward to all these preparations I have to make.” I glanced at James who was by the door, talking to Eve. My mood worsened. Unconsciously I reached under the desk and flicked my wrist with the rubber band, which I kept on me all times. It was a habit now.
Remus gave me a searching look, and I knew that he knew I was lying. He was smarter than that.
“Seriously, I’m fine.” I said, as they both continued to look unconvinced. “Just go on, I want to get this done quickly and you guys are going to distract me.”
“Okay.” Grace said slowly. “I’ll see you later.”
“Bye, Lily.” Remus said, waving before heading off into the hallway with Grace. I sighed and leaned back in my chair, my head pounding. As Remus and Grace left, Eve saw this as a sign that she should go too, so she did. I noticed that she looked a bit peeved, something that wasn’t very Eve-ish.
“Ready?” James sulked, looking quite annoyed also. He pulled out a chair and sat in front of me, taking out some things out of his bag. “Okay, well I have some ideas that I jotted down a few days ago…take a look at them.”
If this was before, I’d be surprised that James was actually doing his job without anybody telling him to, but this was now, and nothing seemed interesting anymore.
“Okay.” I said, without another comment. I took the paper he gave me, while he raised his eyebrow.
“No nasty comments?” he asked, almost as if he was relieved.
“None at all?”
“Do you want me to say something, Potter?” I snapped. He smiled.
“That’s more like it.” I ignored the flutter in my stomach.
“Professor Dumbledore told me that we couldn’t decorate the Ball in any House colors,” I said after reading the list of things he had written down, which were actually quite good. “So we can’t put up red and white banners.”
“Why can’t we use House colors?” James asked incredulously.
“He said that the Ball has to be neutral to all Houses.”
“He’s off his rocker.” James said, rolling his eyes and leaning back in his chair. “Okay…how about light blue and white banners? And then we could do that silver confetti that Dumbledore was talking about earlier.”
“Okay.” I said, shrugging and giving him back the list. “What else?”
James looked taken aback. “What do you mean?”
“Do you have any other ideas?” I asked, clarifying what I meant.
“Well…” he said slowly. “Don’t you?”
“Are you alright, Evans?” he asked, furrowing his eyebrows.
I hated how everyone was asking me that lately.
“No.” I growled, without thinking about it. James gave me a perplexed look, and I quickly added, “Sorry, I’m just really tired right now.”
“It’s nine o’ clock.” James said, tilting his wristwatch at me.
“Yes, and I’m just not sleeping well lately, alright?” I snapped. “What’s everyone’s problem?”
James sat upright in his chair, giving me a confused look. “Why aren’t you sleeping well?”
Merlin. “Just because.” I said nastily. James’s lip curled.
“Any more hallucinations?” he asked in a would-be-innocent voice. I glared at him.
“I never had a hallucination and you know it.”
“How would I know?” he asked amusedly. “All you said was that you saw a stag, and that’s impossible…”
I rubbed my temples, trying to calm down. “Potter, I don’t want to talk about this.”
He raised his eyebrow at me. I never gave in that easily to a fight, especially one with him. “Are you sure nothing’s wrong?”
“James!” I hissed. “Just leave me alone!”
“Okay, okay.” James said, looking taken aback as he put his hands up in defensive. He was annoying me more and more by the second. I flicked my wrist under the table again. “Just making sure…”
I groaned, knocking my head on the table and pressing my forehead against the wood. I knew that James was probably looking at me oddly, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t do this right now.
I sat up. “I have to go.” I said, getting out of my seat and hitching my bag over my shoulder. James looked up at me incredulously.
“Have to go?” he repeated disbelievingly. “Lily, we have work to do.”
I looked at him, and I noticed that he was just starting to see the change in me. I wasn’t the old Lily anymore. I was worse, far worse. I took a deep breath.
“I don’t care.” I said, as I walked out of the classroom and into the hall. And I truly was saying what I thought. I meant what I said. I didn’t care what he thought, I didn’t care what the teachers thought. I didn’t care what my dad or Virginia thought of me.
I really didn’t.
I opened the door to our dorm and groaned inwardly once I saw that Grace and Henn were both in there, giggling at something they were reading in Witch Weekly. I went over to my bed and threw myself onto it, hoping they would ignore me. Of course, I had forgotten that Henn and Grace were my friends, and they were good ones too.
“How did it go?” Grace asked interestedly. “Got much done?”
“No, not really.” I replied tiredly. “You know Potter, slacking off as usual.”
I felt slightly guilty, since James was the only one who had contributed to the Head Boy and Girl meeting. While that, I hadn’t done anything useful. Apparently however, it was a good lie because none of them looked suspicious.
“That’s James.” Henn mused. “Hey, do you want to come here and read with us?”
She was being kind, knowing that I had probably had a bad time at the meeting with Potter, which I did, and she wanted to cheer me up. I got up from my bed and walked into the bathroom. “Not now, Henn.” I said, somewhat coldly. I glanced at her and saw that she looked slightly hurt, but quickly pushed it out of my mind. I seized my toothbrush and rolled up my sleeves, starting to brush my teeth. Soon enough, Henn followed me in, taking her own toothbrush.
“I heard that we get our tests back from Flitwick.” She said conversationally, although she still looked somewhat offended. She was annoying me more and more by the second. “You probably did really good.”
Now she was trying to flatter me so that I wouldn’t be in such a bad mood. I spat into the sink, washing my mouth. The water hit my wrist and I drew back quickly, since it stung.
“You okay?” Henn asked, raising an eyebrow and still holding her toothbrush in her hand.
“Yeah.” I said, grimacing. Henn’s eyes traveled downwards towards my wrist, stopping there. She stared at it.
“You have a bruise there,” Henn said, pointing at my wrist. Suddenly she took my wrist and looked closely at it. Her eyes lingered for a moment on the rubber band I had on. She stared at me. “How did you get that?”
“I dunno.” I lied, shrugging. “I probably bumped into something but I don’t remember.”
“You bumped your wrist against something?”
“Yes.” I spat. “Is that a problem?” Henn scowled at me.
“No, I just think it’s weird, that’s all.” She replied crossly. “What’s wrong with you?”
“There’s nothing wrong with me.” I snapped, turning my back and getting out of the room. “Nothing except that you’re terribly annoying.”
“Annoying? I didn’t even do anything except ask why you have a bruise.” Henn said defensively. “It’s not my fault you’re acting like a prat.”
“I’m not acting like a prat!”
“What’s going on?” Grace asked.
“Nothing.” I said nastily, and stormed over to my bed. I shut the four-poster forcefully, so I wouldn’t have to look at anyone.
My anger was bubbling inside of me. It was only a matter of time before I completely blew it.
Henn was hardly talking to me now. The only time she would say something to me was when she asked stiffly what our homework was, or if she could borrow my textbook. I would always grudgingly respond her, although we both knew that each other’s company wasn’t pleasant anymore. When I was actually making sense it saddened me a little, since Henn and I had never gotten into a serious argument or fight before. I had never spent so much time without having a real conversation with her.
My grades were still dropping, even though I was trying my hardest in everything. Even in Charms I had gotten merely an ‘Acceptable’, when usually I got an ‘E’ or an ‘O’. I was getting mad at the world, and everyone who was in it.
One night, when I was in the common room by myself, sitting in the corner and staring blankly at my book, I was surprised when someone decided to sit across from me. I looked up and saw that it was Sirius. Figures. Only a mad man like him would want to sit with a girl who was completely out of her mind right now. At this point everyone thought I was slightly insane for two reasons: 1.) The whole ‘hallucination’ deal, and 2.) I didn’t talk to anyone anymore, just sat by myself in the common room, thinking of my doom.
“How are you, Evans?” he asked merrily. I stared at him with the clear indication that I did not want to talk to anybody right now, but he didn’t seem to get the message or just ignored it. “Can I have a word?”
“What?” I said through gritted teeth. He raised his eyebrows at me.
“Well, well, Evans.” He said, shaking his head and tutting at me. “You mustn’t be so moody all the time.”
“And you mustn’t be a git all the time.” I retorted irritably.
Sirius grinned at me, leaning back so that he was supported on the hind legs of his chair. “Alright, alright. I won’t be a git, if you’re not being moody. Deal?”
I grunted in reply, which made his grin widen. “Okay. Listen, yesterday was my final detention, so we can go through with the plan tonight.”
“Tonight?” I asked tiredly. “Why tonight?”
“Because I want to do this as soon as possible.” Sirius said briskly. I raised my eyebrow.
Sirius paused for a moment, looking thoughtful. “Because it’ll be fun.” He finally said, but I distinctly saw him glance at Gaby afterwards.
“Fine, whatever.” I snapped. “Go get Henn then.”
“Wonderful.” He said happily, and then went go get Henn by the fireplace, where she was talking to Leah and Kat.
“Just a second,” Sirius said once Henn had come over, and we were both standing by the portrait hole. There were only a few people in the common room at this time of night, since it was around midnight and we had school the next day. We watched in silence as Sirius went over to James, who was frustratingly doing his homework, but stopped to listen to him. He rolled his eyes and nodded, Sirius scrambling up to the boys’ dormitories. James closed his book and went over to us, frowning.
“I’m really not in the mood for this.” He said, digging his hands inside his pockets as Henn and I glared at him.
“Neither are we.” We said at the same time, and then quickly covered our mouths. James watched in confusion as Henn and I narrowed our eyes at one another then quickly looked away.
“Here we are!” Sirius said jovially as he reappeared at the foot of the staircase, something bulging in front of his chest. The few people that were still doing their homework or studying jumped and turned around to stare at him, since he was being so loud. I rolled my eyes.
Sirius seemed to be the only one that was being enthusiastic about the whole thing. I asked him what was underneath his robes but he just shoved me out of the common room instead.
“Lily dear, you’ll see.” He said, grinning at me. I saw James’s jaw tighten.
“What are you four doing out here?” The Fat Lady snapped once she saw that we were coming out. She narrowed her eyes as she saw Sirius and James. “Not going down to the grounds again, are you? An old lady at the entrance hall told me she saw you sneaking down there.”
“Don’t worry, my lady, we’re just going for a little stroll.” Sirius said, giving her a ridiculous bow. James rolled his eyes as Henn grinned, and I just crossed my arms, saying nothing.
“I’m warning you, Black!” we heard her call out as we turned the corner. He stopped us as we came in front of the tapestry, which lead to the other parts the school.
“Alright, come here.” Sirius said, taking out a silvery cloak from under his robes. “We have to get under this.”
“Wait, is that a—” Henn started, but I already knew what Sirius was holding. It was James’s invisibility cloak, the one he had saved me from Filch in.
“Yep.” Sirius said, grinning.
“How did you get it?”
“It’s not his.” James and I said simultaneously. I blushed, as James looked quickly at the ground.
“Well, I don’t really want to know what you two were doing under here,” Sirius said mischievously, as Henn laughed loudly. “Shh, Henn. We’re out over curfew, remember?”
“Sorry.” Henn said, grinning. “Are we all going to fit under there?”
“We’ll have to.” Sirius said, shrugging. “It’ll be awfully slow work, though. Okay, now get in.”
He threw the cloak over us, but it was very small for all four of us. We crammed underneath it, making sure it covered our feet.
“James, get behind Lily.”
“No.” James said defiantly, blushing.
“Yes. I don’t want you standing right behind me—”
“Sirius, shut up!” I said, blushing also.
“Well, it’s true. Honestly, we’re both guys, I don’t want him to be pressing against me with his—”
“Sorry, Lil.” Sirius grinned at me.
“Okay, okay, I get it…” James muttered, and got behind me. This really wasn’t going to work, since I could smell him really well from here.
“Alright, moving…” Sirius whispered as he moved the tapestry out of the way.
It was real slow progress. When I was underneath the cloak with only James, there was plenty of room. But with Henn in front of me, giggling with Sirius, and James right behind me…it was getting unbearable how crammed we were.
“This isn’t working.” I finally panted as we moved down the staircase onto the third floor.
“Hold on, we’re almost there…”
In silence, we slowly made our way down to the entrance hall, taking a left into the door that led to the kitchens.
“Can we take this off now?” James moaned. I knew he was just as uncomfortable as me.
I saw Sirius look to the sides, scanning the hall we were in, that lead to the kitchens. “Alright.” He finally said. “Coast is clear.”
We gladly ripped the cloak off of us, making sure that we were far apart enough. James was at a completely different side from me, as Henn and Sirius exchanged annoyingly knowing looks.
We reached the portrait at the end of the hall, Sirius tickling the pear. He took a hold of the knob and pulled it open.
It wasn’t surprising anymore the way the house-elves moved about in the kitchens, squealing in delight once they saw that they had visitors.
“Sir, would you like something?” the nearest one squeaked to Sirius, who grinned.
“Yes…I was wondering if I could look at what you were serving for breakfast?”
The house-elf looked at him curiously. “Well, yes, sir. I suppose you could…”
We scrambled after the wobbling little creature, who reached the cabinet on the other side of the room and opened it. Each shelf had hundreds of pastries, cereal bowls, donuts, and porridge…
“Maybe this is a little mean.” I said uncertainly as the elf left us to it.
“Not at all.” Henn said, while Sirius and her ignored James and I. They were pointing their wands at the food and muttering incantations.
“C’mon,” Henn said irritably.
I sighed. Well, whatever, right?
I woke up the next day and strode over to the bathroom, avoiding my reflection and brushing my teeth to my back to it. As usual, Henn came in wordlessly, pretending I wasn’t there as I pretended she wasn’t there either. Grace had already left of course, probably with Remus down to breakfast, having no idea what was going to happen that morning.
Henn left without saying anything, leaving me alone. I took three rubber bands from my drawer and put them around my wrist before taking off.
I was surprised to see Sirius waving me over when I walked into the Great Hall, where he was sitting next to his usual gang and Henn. I sighed and moved into the seat he saved for me, grinning. “Can’t let you miss the show, eh?” he said eagerly.
“What show?” Remus asked as Grace raised her eyebrow at me. I pretended to look just as clueless as she and took the nearest bowl of porridge towards me.
“What did you guys do?” Peter asked, looking slightly hurt that he was left out of a prank.
“You’ll see.” Sirius said proudly, and both him and Henn turned completely around in their seats, waiting for a certain girl to come into the Great Hall with a certain boy.
Natalie and Jack came in simultaneously, giggling and holding each other. Natalie looked very smug, making me want to throw something at her. She’d get what she deserved though, sooner or later.
I glanced at Gaby, who once seeing Jack enter the Great Hall, quickly turned in her seat and looked at her cereal instead. Grace was starting to put two and two together, since her eyes were slowly narrowing as they followed Natalie and Jack’s steps. She turned to me, scowling.
“What did you guys do?” she hissed at me. I said nothing, since I was completely concentrating on Natalie, who was sitting down now.
“This is it,” Henn breathed. Sirius’s grin was fading from his face as he continuously glanced at Gaby, then back to Natalie and Jack.
At first I wondered if it worked, but a moment later, when Natalie was reaching towards the porridge that was in front of her, smirking at something Jack had said, the porridge came at her instead; slowly levitating into the air.
People around her, including Jack, stopped in mid conversation. They were all staring at the bowl, which Natalie was aimlessly still reaching out for onto the table, although it was far from it. I held my breath as I watched the bowl high above her head slowly tip over.
SPLASH. The whole thing came pouring over her head, and she shrieked. The Hall went silent, the whole Hufflepuff table turning in their seats to look at her as her scalp started to burn.
“Aargh!!” she screamed.
“Oh my god.” Gaby said in a would-be-silent voice, except that no one was speaking in the Great Hall, so it was quite otherwise.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Soon the pitcher of orange juice was zooming at Jack, spilling its contents onto him. The school watched in horror as every kind of food or drink was thrown at them without warning; the jam, which spread itself magically across Natalie’s face, the milk, which was poured into Jack’s shirt, and the various kinds of toast, which threw themselves at their bodies.
Sirius couldn’t stop himself from laughing, and soon enough, other people started to too. The High Table was in confusion, the teachers still stunned for any kind of authorized response. Actually, for a moment I looked at Dumbledore and it seemed like he was restraining himself from smiling. He unmistakably looked at the Marauders, and me, and his eyes twinkled with amusement.
He’s a strange man, Dumbledore.
“Jack!” Natalie shrieked. “Jack, do something!”
But Jack didn’t know what to do, so he did the only thing he could do; he ran.
No joke. He ran out of there so fast like he had seen a ghost or something. His face pale, (Except for the marmalade plastered on his face, that is) he was chased out of the Hall with the food trailing behind him, not only by the food we had jinxed, but by the stuff people were now throwing at them, purely out of amusement. Soon enough Natalie had run after him, screaming something about lunatics while a loaf of bread continuously beat her on the head.
Finally, the teachers thought they should do something. Professor Sprout ran after them, while Professor Mcgonagall muttered incantations under her breath to stop the food in midair, making them fall to the ground unceremoniously. The whole Great Hall was laughing now, screaming to imitate Natalie’s shrieks.
“Vengeance,” Sirius said, stretching his arms and leaning back casually against the bench. “Is sweet.”
“Very sweet.” Henn grinned. I wasn’t listening to them; I was looking at Gaby, who looked too stunned for any response. Soon enough though, her lips curled into an unmistakable smile. Sirius noticed this too, and his own grin faltered slightly.
I was positive that was Sirius’s real goal anyway.
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