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Chapter 26 : You Decided To Let Love In
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The moment you decided to let love in
. . .
That's all we need to say
I'll take my chances while
You take your time
-Goo Goo Dolls
I watched as Darren Wood rose into the air. I envied his broom; my family was just as powerful and well off as his, they just had different connections. I tried to rid my head of these thoughts, deciding that it would be bad to be thinking of things like that when I made my decision.
I caught a glimpse of Anna, as I yelled to her and Sirius to go and do a few drills. She was watching him in a very inconspicuous way.
Him being Darren, not Sirius. I sighed.
This is not going to end well for either of my mates, I decided.
Again, I turned my mind away from other thoughts, and watched the speed of the Nimbus 1000 as Darren sped towards the three goal posts. He was trying out for Keeper. I pulled my other two Chasers and instructed them.
"Go as hard as you can. Don’t hold back; we need to see what this dude is really capable off."
Dude? I thought, as I flew upwards in between my two team mates, holding the large, red Quaffle. Anna must be rubbing off on me.I nodded at Darren, and he nodded back, confirming the start. The first shot I took at him was a rather mean and fast side-arm, considering that he hadn’t had all that much time to warm up, and we both knew it. But from the moment his fingers closed securely around the ball, I could feel it in my gut that Darren would be our Keeper.
I still had to give the other two candidates (who were considerably good players) a shot, but it soon became clear they were nothing compared to Darren. At the risk of sounding creepy, I was beginning to think him coming to the school was possibly the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. (Besides, of course, Lily kissing me.)
I took him aside, after I had seen the other two and told him that I already knew he was it. I asked him to join us up in the air, as part of the team. I looked briefly at my watch as I rose back into the air to begin try-outs for Seeker. It was just after eleven and I glanced at my watch regularly as the minutes ticked by; I needed to meet Lily in less than an hour to discuss Head things.
For Seeker, I eventually settled on a rather scrawny Fourth year. Of course, as Seekers go, scrawny was good; he had quite a good eye as well. As the newly formed Gryffindor Quidditch team, captained by myself, trudged off to the locker rooms; I plotted how I would unveil my new training tactics. I already knew that they would probably not go down well. We were going to win this year, without a doubt.
I took a quick shower and rushed to get dressed. I thrust my broom into Sirius’ hands, quickly telling him to, "Lock it up safe with the rest," as I made a mad rush to meet Lily in the library. I arrived just in time, red faced and slightly out of breath. I knew that Lily would not have minded had a been a little late (she had become far more tolerant of me as of late) but I knew I would be further into her good books if I was on time.
I saw her shoulder-length, striking red hair, and waved giddily. I quickly ran my hand through my hair; I saw her frown slightly, but she was smiling soon again. Her straight, white teeth made me want to smile too.
"Hey," I told Lily breathlessly, and took a seat across from her.
"Hey," she said. I sighed as her soft, sweet voice hit my ears. In the past year, Lily’s transformation had caused me to be even more fascinated by her.
"So," Lily began, jumping straight to our important duties. "It’s the middle of September, and I think that we should have a Hogsmeade visit towards the end of the month. I know that it’s short notice, but these don’t seem to require much planning?"
Lily’s tone made me realize that she was asking my opinion. Lily Evans wanted my input on something?
"James?" she prodded.
I quickly came out of my shock. "I agree completely," I told her. "I think we should have at least one a month, maybe the third Saturday of every month, so that people can plan ahead?"
"That’s a good idea." Lily made a couple of notes on a small scroll of parchment.
I, James Potter, had a good idea! Lily seemed to be happy with my plan, so I tried pushing my luck with another idea that had been bouncing around in my head. "What about having – well not really a ball - but like, a party, in the Great Hall?"
"No." Nope, I was wrong. No luck whatsoever.
I decided to push the idea. "Well, it could be an inter-house sort of thing," I said grudgingly, thinking of those damn Slytherins.
"No. Whenever you and your friends have parties, there’s always drunkeness. Sirius and Xanthis almost killed themselves last time there was a party. And don’t give me some crap about there being teachers; someone would still spike the punch and-"
"Okay, Lily, forget I mentioned it." I tried not to sound whiny or sarcastic, knowing that it would upset her, but sincere.
Lily however did not seem to want to let it go. "I bet you think I’m a right fun-sucker now, don’t you?"
"Not at all," I told her with complete honesty. Lily’s need for complete order only served to make me more attracted to her, odd as it seemed.
"Well I’ll show you," Lily whispered dangerously. Her face was turning a light pink color, spreading across her cheeks and framing her scattered freckles. "Let’s have a huge party this year. I’ll go see what the Headmaster thinks."
Lily stood up quickly, and pushed her chair off, before walking briskly out of the library. I was left sitting in shock at the table with Lily’s neatly written notes in front of me. I had just been honest after all, all I had done was a put an idea out there, if she didn’t like it, it was fine. I hadn’t meant to provoke a reaction like that out of Lily; I hoped that she wouldn’t be angry with me when she returned.
I leaned back in the uncomfortable chairs and observed my surroundings. A few Hufflepuffs were studying with double the number of Ravenclaws in the corner. An older student seemed to be teaching a younger one in another. At one table, four Slytherins were huddled extremely close together and discussing things secretly.
Damn Slytherins, I thought again. They ruin everything. Even this party idea with Lily.
They hadn’t done anything yet, but I knew they would.
I tapped my foot nervously and ran my hand through my hair. I watched the library doors intently, and time seemed to stretch on for hours. I finally saw Lily return, all though it was only about ten minutes after she left. She had a much more relaxed look on her face.
"Well," she said, as she neared me, and I noticed she was smiling. "Professor Dumbledore said he thought an inter-house party would be a grand idea. Sorry I snapped at you before, James. Anyway-"
I barely registered her apology. This was my chance; it was a bad idea, but my feelings overrode my rationality.
"Lily, will you go with me, to the party. As my date?"
I had interuppted her in the middle of a sentence. A bad start to it all. True, we had become friends, and I had not asked her out once since the end of Sixth year.
Lily looked at me; she seemed at bit confused. At first I wondered whether the words hadn’t accidentally come out in a different language. Then, I saw something in her eyes; it was the same look that she always got in them when I asked her out - except - this time was something different. Something in her body language wasn’t so rigid, and her hand wasn’t so near the pocket of her robes; like she wasn’t about to whip out her wand and hex the brains out of me.
Time slowed down and I felt like I was going to be sick. I had always handled Lily’s rejections in stride and with confidence; something about this time felt like it would be a death sentence, and the last time I would ever ask her out.
And I was right.
At first, I didn’t react. Then I began to feel sick. Wait a second. What the hell had she just said?
Lily’s still red face smiled shyly. "Yes, James."
I passed out cold.
"Hey, numb nuts, wake up!" I knew the loud voice to be Anna.
"Quiet down immediately, Miss Xanthis, or I will forcibly remove you from this infirmary." I chuckled lightly when I heard Madam Pomfrey’s sharp tongue.
I slowly opened my eyes. I was in the hospital wing, but didn’t feel any pain. I gasped when I looked to my right and saw Lily standing there smiling. And then I remembered.
"Godric, you scared me James. I thought you’d had an extremely early-in-life heart attack," Lily said, smiling brightly.
"Good to know the prospect of my death makes you smile," I joked as I sat up and got out of the hospital cot. I had been in the infirmary many times before, and I had learned that the only way to get out in a timely fashion without Madam Pomfrey fussing over you eternally, was to get up and leave as soon as possible. I walked casually out of the hospital wing with Lily at my side (who seemed to be holding back some sort of comment;) Sirius and Anna brought up the rear.
Remus rushed up to us just outside the doors; we hadn’t even gotten a chance to properly close them yet when he nearly collided with us.
"It’s time," he whispered into my ear. I looked apologetically at Lily and nodded at Sirius. He came rushing up to me and Remus, and the three of us left in a hurry. We had a prank to pull.
"Any idea what’s up?" I heard Lily ask Anna as we ran out.
Sirius laughed; I was thankful that Anna didn’t spill our secret. She knew that we knew that she knew that we were going to set off our prank. She also knew that I didn’t want Lily to know. So she was good and kept the secret. I reminded myself to get her some chocolate later. I mean, it was a lot of knowing for one person, especially Anna.
We met up with Peter as he ran out of the library just in time, with Madam Pince on his heels. She stopped before she left the library though; we all liked to believe that she’d melt into a puddle if she did, as if an invisible line was painted across the entrance she couldn’t cross over.
"Guys, guys, it’s all set," Peter gasped, trying to regain his breath, and cringing from the shouts that the middle-aged librarian sent his way.
"You rock my world, Peter," Sirius said, clapping our friend on the shoulder. Peter beamed.
"Okay, we’ve got to have an alibi. It’s our last start-of-term prank; it would just make it all even better if they couldn’t frame us for it. They’d all know it was us anyway." I ruffled my hair unconsciously.
"I can’t believe this is our last year," Sirius said. I looked over at my best mate. He looked excited, but there was definitely a touch of sadness under his eyes. I sort of wished Anna was there; I was sure she’d be able to fix that in a jiffy.
"Yeah," Remus said, looking slightly nostalgic. Then, getting back on topic, he added, "You know, we will be lucky if this even works."
It was nearly ten o’clock. At eleven, everyone would be soundly in their common rooms. There was no one patrolling tonight. Being Head Boy had it’s advantages, I had to admit; I had scheduled all the patrolling students so that no one was patrolling tonight, besides Lily and I. (I’d just have to work my magic and talk Lily out of it.)
"Come on, in here." Sirius grabbed each of us by our robes and dragged us into a dark classroom. "Alright, we’ve got to make sure there’s no one out in the hallways; we want this to be funny, not dangerous."
Peter pulled the map out of the pocket of his robes and tapped it with his wand. "I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good."
I smirked, as I often did when I heard that phrase. The idea for a password had been Remus’ idea, and it hadn’t failed us yet.
"Okay," the small, mousy boy said, as he scanned the map. "There’s two people up in the right-wing of the seventh floor, and a few people in the kitchens. But other than that there’s no one."
"Okay," I said. "I’ll seal all the doors. Sirius and Remus, you guys take care of the people out of bed."
They nodded. "Pete, come help me."
He jumped up, probably surprised that we had asked for his help. Sometimes, regretfully, we neglected him; it was just that he wasn’t always as quick as us other three Marauders.
I instructed him on the incantation and the wand movements. Together, we practiced conducting the spell just as the two-way mirror (Sirius held the other) warmed in my pocket. I nodded at Pete and took out the mirror.
"Alright, mate, the coast is clear," Sirius told me.
I nodded towards Pete, and this time, we did the spell for real.
"Check the door nearest you; see if it’s sealed."
The mirror went black, and I assumed that the mirror had gone into Sirius pocket. Soon after it was out again. As Sirius informed me that, "It was completely locked." I saw Remus waving wildly and jumping up and down in the background.
Sirius rolled his eyes and sighed. "Remus says ‘hi.’"
I broke the connection for the mirror and stuck it back in my pocket. Peter was sitting in the teacher’s armchair, and I perched myself on a desk. The room was quiet as we waited for Remus and Sirius to return.
"Yo!" Sirius burst into the classroom. He walked over to the Marauders’ Map, which was spread open on a desk. He made one last sweeping glance of the map. "Alright, there’s no one out. Let’s get this done."
"Are you sure we can do this?" Peter asked nervously, as he brought out his wand.
"Of course," Remus said. "It’s a simple modification of the Aquamenti charm that we used for last years prank."
I contemplated. "You don’t think this is too similar to last years prank, do you? I’d hate for this last one to suck."
Sirius shook his head and let loose his bark-like laughter. "Not a fucking chance. Let’s do this shit."
A/N: Holy crap! Just got back from Warped Tour! (Anyone else go? Completely incredible, eh?) Anyways, the reason I'm telling you all this - I would like to dedicate this chapter to the random dude who saved my life. (Being squishered by four people who are all bigger than you is not fun or a good idea.) Well, we were in a pit so I didn't get a chance to properly thank him. So, thanks, random dude.
A/N2: This is going out to wheresmyedward, who helps me fill in all the little nooks and crannies in my chapters. Yeah, she's pretty incredible.
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