Five Minutes

Chapter 15

Disclaimer; I don't own the wizarding world of Harry Potter or any of the characters in it. I wish I did. But I don't.

Hello reader!

Here's chapter Fifteen!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Fifteen

'Is he OK?'

'What happened?'

'You'll have to talk to Evans. She saw the most.'

'Why aren't I getting any sympathy?'

'Because you weren't hurt!'

'I was knocked out.'

'And ten minutes later you woke up. UNHARMED!'

'But I still-'

'Shhhh! He's waking up.'

James opened his eyes to find himself in the hospital wing. There was a crowd of people around his bed. Some he knew. Some he had only seen in passing. And a few girls who he had turned down for dates in the past couple of years were stood with chocolates and flowers and sympathetic expressions.

'Err…' James managed to squeeze out before he started to choke.

'Move. Move. Out of the way. Out of the way!' Madam Pomfrey said barging through the crowd to get to James with a glass of water. She helped James to drink it as he choked, relieving him.

'That's it everybody out!' Madam Pomfrey said pointing to the door.

'No.' James strained to say, 'Not them.' James pointed to his friends.

'Fine. But everyone else, out!' Madam Pomfrey ushered the crowd from James' bed out of the door. They reluctantly left James alone with Remus, Sirius and Peter.

'What happened?' James asked quietly, a pain rising in his chest as he spoke.

'You have a crushed left lung. And a punctured right lung. Three broken ribs. And a scratched left ventricle.' Madam Pomfrey said bustling around James and fixing his bed and pillows.

'So I'm fit as a fiddle.' James tried to joke before starting to cough again.

'Don't talk.' Madam Pomfrey said, 'They're just the normal issues. Because three different spells hit you at the same time, they have reacted together and until we know which curses they were, I don't want to treat the burn it has caused on your torso. Meaning I can't fully treat your normal injuries. All I could do for now is temporarily slow the injury effects and reduce your pain.' Madam Pomfrey then filled his glass with some more water and left him alone to talk, or rather, listen to his friends.

'It won't take long to find out what those curses were.' Remus said in attempt to comfort a silent and stony faced James.

'Yeah.' Peter said in a tentative agreement.

'Look mate.' Sirius said slamming his hand down on James' shoulder, only to remove it again when he saw the pain in James' face. 'Sorry.' he said to James' glare. 'Anyway,' Sirius continued, 'Dumbledore is the only one who can identify those voo-doo spells the death eaters made up and he'll be back soon. He's just putting some protection around Hogsmeade for the locals, you know…helping them put some things back together. He'll be done in no time…' Sirius finished uncertainly as James was now glowering darkly at Sirius. 'Remus?' Sirius said turning to Remus to help him out.

'You're a wimp.' Remus said to Sirius, 'You know that?'

'Yeah.' Sirius said to Remus nodding his head, 'I do.'

'So…death eaters you can handle. But not James?' Remus said with raised eyebrows.

'James scares me.' Sirius said a little defensively.

'But death eaters are evil!' Remus said in disbelief.

'James could be evil too!' Sirius said.

James banged his hand down on the table next to his hospital bed, frustrated that he was unable to talk under the instructions of Madam Pomfrey.

Sirius and Remus looked at James' angry and annoyed face.

'See.' Sirius muttered, leaning into Remus, 'Evil.'

James banged on the table again.

'Jeez calm down!' Sirius said, receiving a smack round the head from Remus.

'Anyway.' Remus said, 'when Dumbledore identifies the curses, he'll be able to tell if the potion that you need to take to heal all your normal problems, will react to any of them. Then they'll be able to get started on healing the damage that the curses did to you.'

James looked at Remus a little bit confused. His expression asked Remus what he meant.

Remus got up and pulled back James' bed sheets. 'Do you mind?' he asked James, pointing to the pyjama top he had obviously been put in when he arrived in the hospital wing.

James took a moment before he motioned his acceptance to Remus.

Remus unbuttoned James' pyjama top and pulled the sides of the shirt away to reveal James' chest.

James looked down shocked, horrified and a little confused. It was a mess. His chest was now a mix of green, black and purple. The black and green looked like mould and ash all at the same time. The purple injuries stood out a mile away. Looking down, the right side of his chest had three deep lilac gashes whereas the left side of it had numerous amounts of little violet dots which looked like gnat bites.

James swallowed and sighed. He hadn't realised the extent of the damage the mixed curses had done.

Suddenly the hospital wing doors swung open with a bang and in swept Dumbledore. His expression was calm, but from his entrance, James had a sneaking suspicion that he was a bit angry.

'Ah Mr Potter.' he said, stopping at the edge of James' bed, 'You look well.' he said with a small smile.

James smiled back into Dumbledore's twinkling eyes which glanced disappointedly at Sirius. He obviously knew that Sirius had snuck out to Hogsmeade after the privilege had been revoked. For some reason though, he didn't seem to press on with that matter. He had more important things to deal with and apparently, punishing Sirius for betraying his trust and orders wasn't one of them.

'Well.' Dumbledore said, clapping his hands together, 'Shall we see what curses, charms, spells and what-not's have hit you then?'

James nodded his head and Dumbledore walked to his bedside and took out his wand. He placed the tip of his wand onto James' chest and closed his eyes, listening to his wand. It took five minutes for Dumbledore to open his eyes again and slip his wand back into his robes.

'Well, seems you were hit with one curse, one hex and one charm.' Dumbledore began, 'The Cruciatus curse, the Flagrante curse and a blasting charm. It's a good job it was the blasting charm and not the curse or else, we would have had quite a different situation to deal with.' Dumbledore chuckled a little before continuing. 'From the look of things, the cruciatus curse caused the cuts, the flagrant curse caused the dot like burns and the blasting charm caused the mould like deterioration. Because all of these spells occurred at the same time, the Cruciatus curses effects were not put to their usual standards. Instead of harming you mentally and torturing your body, the curse cut you physically. The magical residue from the combined spells is what's causing the discolouration. However, you will be able to drink the potion to heal your internal injuries without causing you any harm. Then you will need to start a course of potions and pastes to reverse the effects of the combined curses. It should take about three weeks, maybe a little longer depending on how you react to them.' Dumbledore finished. He nodded his head to James and then to Remus, Sirius and Peter in turn, and then left the hospital wing with one last sweep of his cloak.

Madam Pomfrey, who had come out of her little office when Professor Dumbledore had first appeared, now bustled over to James with a goblet full of a steaming potion. It was a silver colour with a jumping surface. It smelt like gas. James made a face as Madam Pomfrey presented it to him. He took it reluctantly and drank it down as quick as possible as it tasted like oil. Then Madam Pomfrey got out her wand and tapped James chest, saying a silent spell, to heal his broken ribs.

'Give it five minutes and you can talk again.' Madam Pomfrey said putting the goblet down, cleaning it with her wand and then filling it up with water, 'After four hours I shall administer the first round of your treatment; the healing paste.' And with that she bustled away, leaving the four boys to sit silently for five minutes whilst the potion healed James' internal organs.

Severus was sat in his dormitory in the Slytherin dungeons He was staring at a letter he had found on his pillow when he arrived back from the Christmas holidays. It was the letter he had written to Lily before they all went home to be with their families for the holidays. Because he hadn't received a reply from Lily, he had hoped that she was just deciding whether or not she should write back and had actually read the letter she was sent. Now he saw that she had returned it, unopened, and the reason he hadn't received it, was because she had sent the owl straight back to his dormitory which he had left to get on the Hogwarts express.

This deep-seated hope that Severus was carrying around with him, didn't seem to be going away. It was like a virus. It kept coming back when he least expected it to. The last time was on the train back to school. They had bumped into each other on their separate ways to find compartments. She didn't really say much to him, but no nasty words were exchanged. After that, he kept walking by her compartment, hoping that she would either invite him in or tell him to go away. Either way, she would have spoken to him. Then, the last time he walked by, she was gone. And on his way back to his own compartment, he saw her deep red hair in the compartment with James Potter and his annoying friends.

It was un-nerving, this hope. Not because he didn't want to be hopeful, but because of the consequences should any of his fellow Slytherin's or death eaters find out. They would surely tell Voldemort, and then his and Lily's lives would be over. He had been trying to learn Occlumency, but had no idea if he was succeeding in applying it against Voldemort. He just had to pray that he was.

Severus rapped his knuckles on the desk he was sitting at, thinking. He was thinking about what had happened previously that day. What he had helped orchestrate. It was what Voldemort had described as their own New Year's celebration at their last meeting. He had a plan to try and draw out the mudbloods. It was to randomly attack villages, wizarding or muggle, so that any who dared to stand up to him would fight and hopefully, in Voldemort's opinion, die and take their rightful place in the ground. Also, during these attacks, he would scout about, invisibly, for some talented witches and wizards who he thought could be persuaded to join his cause. He wanted the strongest. Those who were skilled and, most of all, those whom people seemed to trust so that that they could convince others to join up too.

For the Hogsmeade attack, it was Severus and the other Slytherin's jobs, to alert the other death eaters when the most mudbloods, witches and wizards were in the village, so that the most damage could be done. It was a small but crucial part of the attack. They weren't actually allowed to fight yet as they were still Hogwarts students and they would be no use to Voldemort if any of them were expelled. He needed them inside of the school. To be his eyes and ears on the education all of the young witches and wizards were being given. They were to tell him if they believed anyone to be willing to join the ranks. Or if the person Voldemort wanted, was susceptible enough to be bribed, blackmailed or tricked into signing up. And at the moment. Voldemort, unbeknownst to many and confided in a few, was wanting to recruit werewolves.

He had asked Severus to keep an eye on the situation. To inform him when Remus was the weakest during the full moon and when he would be the most susceptible to succumb to Voldemort. Now Severus, after witnessing the bond between Remus and his Gryffindor friends, knew that even attempting to sway the werewolf over to the dark side was impossible. The marauders, however annoying, irritating and insufferable they had proved to be towards Severus, had a strong sense of loyalty and each were strong enough to overcome the advances of any dark magic. Severus had told Voldemort, his head bowed in reverence and his voice shaking in terror, that it would be highly unlikely that Remus would ever even consider joining Voldemort's death eater army. But Voldemort was adamant in getting as many of, what were considered 'dark creatures', as possible. Acting on the information Severus had given him over the last two months on Remus' strength during the moons cycle, Voldemort was sending in Fenrir Greyback, the nastiest werewolf there was, to attempt to turn him. If he failed, Voldemort would know that it was a lost cause. But Fenrir hadn't failed him yet, so he was hopeful. Severus on the other hand, knew that nothing would work and was anxious to be assigned a new task which would take his out of the marauders path. He couldn't stand to watch them for another day.

It was getting late. Severus looked at his battered watch, the one his mother had given to him a few years back for Christmas, to check the time. It was ten past eleven at night and none of his dorm mates were back yet. Severus decided to call it a night anyway. He placed the letter he had written to Lily in the draw where he kept all his Lily related things, locked it and got up. He put on his pyjamas and got into the four poster bed pulling the green and silver sheets up to his chin and staring at the green canopy above his head. He soon fell asleep, thinking of the Christmas present Voldemort had given to all of his death eaters; a family of three dead muggles.

Lily was reading the Daily prophet. Hestia had brought it to her that morning. Only a day had passed since the attack in Hogsmeade but the paper was filled with news of the attack, missing witches and wizards killed by the death eaters. The headline of the Daily Prophet read, 'Havoc in Hogsmeade'. Lily shook her head and tutted.

'What's up?' she was asked. The question came from her left.

'More news.' she replied, 'It's getting worse out there.'

'Well we are in a war.' the person talking to her sat up. He moaned as he did, pain racking through him.

'Are you ok?' Lily asked concerned, 'Are you even meant to sit up?'

'No.' he said, 'I have tried flying but I can't seem to do that without my broom.'

Lily laughed. 'Maybe you should take your situation a bit more seriously Potter.'

'What happened to James?' James said, hoping he wasn't pushing his luck with her.

'What?' Lily asked, her heart beating loudly and her hands a little bit sweaty. From holding the paper, she thought.

'When we were talking in Hogsmeade you called me James.' James said with a nervous smile.

'You want me to call you James?' Lily said with a deep and shaky breath as she put down her paper on the bedside table

'It is my name.' James said with a cheeky smile.

'Fine.' Lily said as she smiled at him, 'James. Now don't you think you should lie back down?'

'How come you can sit up then?' James said doing as she said and lying back down but keeping his head facing Lily, 'You were hit with the same curse as me.'

'Well technically, yes.' Lily said rolling onto her side in her own bed in the hospital wing, which was next to James', so that she could see and talk to him better. She continued, 'But you also got hit with two other spells. I however was only hit with a mild Flagrante curse which means my recovery process is quicker than yours. Also, my injury doesn't hurt as much as yours meaning, I can sit up.'

'Unfair!' James said whilst Lily nodded with a smile, 'So, are you gonna tell me what happened then?'

'What do you mean?' Lily said.

'Didn't you see what happened to us all?' James asked, 'The Flagrante curse normally doesn't knock you, it burns your flesh but doesn't knock you out unless it's really strong and judging by your health it was quite weak. So you probably saw everything that happened. Even if you don't realise it.'

Lily looked down momentarily, and a little guiltily. She believed it was her fault that he was hurt. The chain of events started at her hand. If she hadn't stunned Sirius, she wouldn't have been distracted and hit with the Flagrante curse. James then wouldn't have tried to see if she was alright and wouldn't have gotten hit with three spells from the three death eaters Lily felt she had 'set free' or, 'let go'.

'I don't really remember actually.' Lily said, trying to feign confusion.

James looked a little suspicious but must have accepted it as he shrugged his shoulders and said, 'Oh well. Guess we'll never know!'

'Guess not.' Lily said with a small smile to James.

'One good thing about being in the hospital wing is we don't get all the homework.' James laughed, changing the subject.

'No we still get the homework.' Lily said, hiding a smile.

'Really?' James said depressively before continuing on in deep dramatics, 'That sucks. How am I meant to write when I can't lift my arm for pain?'

'Well…' Lily said, still trying to hold back some laughter, 'The way I look at it you have two options.'

'Let's hear it then.' James said, catching the smirk Lily was trying to hold and knowing she was having him on, but playing along anyway.

'Well you could either write with your feet,' she began, 'Or stop being such a pansy, man up and deal with the pain!' Lily smiled and laughed under her breath.

'You're so nice to me.' James said sarcastically.

'I know.' Lily replied with an angelic smile, 'Tactful too!'

James laughed at her and shook his head.

At this moment Madam Pomfrey bustled over with a large tub of paste which healed the Flagrante and reversed its effects.

'Great.' James moaned, 'It's my favourite part of the day!'

'Well if that's how you feel about it then I may just have to sweet talk Madam Pomfrey to upping your dosage!' Lily said sweetly.

'See.' James smiled, 'So nice to me!'

Classes at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry started on the fourth of January. The school was still buzzing about the Hogsmeade attack. It seemed to be the only topic worth talking about. Sirius seemed to be the only one getting tired of the relentless subject.

'Can't people just get over this already?' he asked Remus as they walked to their Defence Against the Dark Arts class.

'Is this still about you getting no attention?' Remus said with a knowing smile.

'Well I was hit too!' Sirius suddenly yelled causing some second years near him to turn around. He regained his composure enough to wink at the two girls, setting their hearts racing. He then returned to his original state of distress.

Remus shook his head at Sirius' attention span before continuing, 'But you got up!' he said slowly.

'After ten minutes!' Sirius said dramatically, 'I could have died!'

'From a stunning spell?' Remus said.

'It was a fatal ten minutes!' Sirius continued in dramatic mood, 'I bet it was the worst ten minutes of your life!' he said turning to Remus, 'Not really knowing if I was dead or alive-'

'I knew you were alive-'

'If you would ever see me again-'

'I prayed I wouldn't-'

'Moony!' Sirius said stopping in the middle of the corridor.

'Sorry.' Remus said with a smirk and pushing Sirius playfully forwards to go on with their journey to Defence Against the Dark Arts.

They continued to walk towards their lesson in silence. Sirius had childishly turned his head away from Remus. Remus was thoroughly amused by this and was chuckling under his breath when they finally reached the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom.

They both walked in and took their seats near the back of the room. Peter was already there.

'Wormy! There you are!' Sirius said, being uncharacteristically nice to the small podgy boy, 'Where have you been?'

'I've been sat here for two hours.' Peter said a little embarrassed, 'Someone set my watch two hours early.'

Sirius burst into laughter, roaring his head off. It was a mad cackle which would have turned heads had they not been the only students in the room at that moment.

'Didn't you get a little suspicious when no-one else turned up?' Remus said, laughing himself, 'Why didn't you leave?'

'Someone put a sticking charm on the chair, so I can't get up.' Peter said looking down sadly.

Sirius continued to laugh loudly. Other Gryffindor's had started to enter the room. Hestia, Alice shaking their heads as they did so. Emmeline not taking much notice in her dreamlike state.

'Why didn't you reverse the charm?' Remus asked, struggling to compose himself.

'I couldn't reach my wand.' Peter said pointing at his bag which had a battered wand sticking out of the front pocket.

Sirius' laughter was getting louder. He was nearly out of breath and was holding a stitch in his side. The room was slowly filling and now others were laughing along with Sirius' infections laughter. Frank Longbottom, Dirk Creswell and Mary McDonald included.

'Why didn't you just, well, jump the chair along?' Remus said, now making no attempt to stop the waves of silent laughter.

Peter looked down again and tried to rock the chair, 'Whoever stuck me to the chair, stuck the chair to the floor.'

Remus managed to stop himself laughing after five minutes, long enough to take out his own wand and mutter the reversal charm, freeing Peter from his prison.

'Thanks!' Peter said gratefully to Remus as he stood up and stretched, his body aching from being stuck in one position for two hours, 'Where's Prongs?' he asked looking around Remus and Sirius as if he expected James to just jump out.

'He's still in the hospital wing Wormy!' Sirius said harshly, now stopping his excessive laughter altogether at the mention of his best friend. 'Merlin Peter!' he continued, 'You were stuck here for two hours not two weeks! Prongs won't be out till then.'

'Sorry.' Peter murmured as he sat back down in his chair.

Remus sat down next to him and Sirius next to Remus in the chair which James normally occupied, leaving the chair which was usually Sirius', free. They all got out their wands hoping for a practical lesson. It wasn't likely, but they liked to think positive.

'Did you hear that?' Sirius whispered to Remus.

'Hear what?' Remus said as he levitated a crumpled up piece of parchment, which was on the floor, into the bin.

'I swear I just heard Prongs.' Sirius said a little bit freaked out. He was looking around himself as if he was expecting to see James randomly crouching in a corner, waiting to jump out at them and scare them.

'Aw. Are you having withdrawal symptoms?' Remus said in a mocking voice, 'Don't worry, we'll go and see him after this.'

'I'm not having withdrawal things.' Sirius said.

'Symptoms.' Remus corrected as he got his text book out of his bag.

'Whatever.' Sirius said grumpily. He too began to get his text book out of his bag. Suddenly, he slammed it onto the table, causing Peter to jump out of his skin. It didn't seem to affect Remus.

'I heard him again!' Sirius said with wide eyes, looking around the classroom which was now filled with the rest of the class who were also getting their equipment out of their bags. 'Maybe he's a ghost!' Sirius continued in a dramatic fashion.

'Or maybe,' Remus began, flicking through his text book, 'He's talking into the mirror.'

'Oh yeah.' Sirius said, diving into his bag and taking out his part of the two-way mirror that he and James had found in the Potter mansion's attic four years ago. They found it when they were exploring some parts of the house they had never been in. Four years later, they still had not been everywhere in the huge mansion.

'Prongs!' Sirius said happily. Remus leaned over Sirius' shoulder and smiled into the mirror where James' face was smiling out.

'Moony! Padfoot!' James said gladly before his tone changed and he spoke to Sirius, 'You better not be in my chair!'

'No!' Sirius said, sneakily sliding over one seat to the left.

'Whatever!' James laughed, 'I'm bored!' he continued, 'Skip class and come entertain me!' he said like a child.

'What about dear sweet Evans?' Sirius said with bobbing eyebrows, 'Isn't she keeping you company?'

'Lily's asleep.' James said, shrugging his shoulders.

'Lily?' Remus asked, 'Since when are you on a first name basis with her?'

'What can I say Moony?' James said, 'The hospital wing is a magical place where magical things tend to happen.'

'Nah mate!' Sirius said, 'That's just Hogwarts.'

'Whatever.' James said, 'So you gonna come and keep me company or what?'

'All right.' Sirius said with no hesitation, putting his text book back in his bag, 'You coming Moony?' he asked Remus, now swinging his bag over his shoulder.

Remus sighed and thought for a moment before saying, 'Sure. Why not.' and he too gathered his books and put them back in his bag, 'It's not like we're doing anything special.'

'See you in a bit!' Sirius said into the mirror before shoving that too in his bag. He stood up and headed through the crowd of students in the classroom. Remus followed him. They had forgotten to inform Peter, who had his face buried deep in his bag looking for his text book, where they were going.

At the end of the week, Lily was released from the hospital wing. She was gathering up the stuff she had been brought by Hestia and other friends during the week. There was a packet of muggle playing cards, around seven newspapers, (one for every day she'd been in the hospital wing), boxes of exploding bon-bon's, books and get well cards and gifts.

'You gonna come visit me?' James asked now able to sit up in his bed. His treatment was moving along quickly. Madam Pomfrey was confident that, if things kept going the way they were, he would be out of the hospital wing in just a week and a half. Three or four days before it was originally estimated.

'Sure.' Lily said as she took down her get well cards and put them in a pile, If I don't feel too guilty to face you, she thought.

'Good.' James said with a defiant nod of his head, 'I'll be bored when you're gone. No one to annoy!' he continued with a cheeky smile and a raise of his eyebrows.

'You didn't really annoy me!' Lily said, returning the cheeky smile, 'I had fun.'

'It was fun.' James said with starry eyes, 'You reading me boring stories. Playing that muggle card game; wish.'

'Fish!' Lily corrected.

'Right, right. Fish.' James added before continuing with his list of activities they had done that week whilst bedridden in the hospital wing, 'Playing wizard's chess and then the decidedly more dull muggle chess. Stuffing our faces with too many sweets in an attempt to satisfy your sweet tooth. Hiding the healing paste so Madam Pomfrey couldn't torture us with it. Being yelled at by Madam Pomfrey for hiding her healing paste. Giving Madam Pomfrey her healing past back. And finally, when we rearranged the hospital wing from the comfort of these uncomfortable beds.'

'I swear on that one Madam Pomfrey nearly had a fit!' Lily laughed, 'I bet she'll be glad to get rid of you in a couple of weeks!'

'Nah. She loves me!' James replied before pointing a finger at Lily, 'Besides, that last one was your idea! Think you've developed a taste for breaking the rules!'

'Show me the rule that says I can't rearrange the hospital wing when I want!' she smirked piling up her books.

'Fair do's!' James said smiling at Lily.

Lily smiled back looking into James' eyes and feeling instantly relaxed. 'I'm sure you won't be that bored.'

'What makes you say that?' James said suspiciously.

'Well if this weeks any measure to go by, I think Lupin and Black will be able to keep you company.' she said with raised eyebrows.

'They're not here that much!' James said waving her comment away.

'They skipped all their lessons!' Lily laughed.

'I seem to remember Jones skipping a few lessons to come down here!' James said mockingly disapproving.

'That doesn't count!' Lily said, 'It was only divination. A subject she hates and one of no particular substance or significance. Lupin and Black skipped all their lessons!' she laughed.

'Only Defence Against the Dark Arts, Charms, Potions, Herbology and when Remus has Care of Magical Creatures!' James said.

'That's all of them!' Lily said, now gathering up her newspapers. She could do all this magically, but, for some reason unknown to herself, she wanted to stay where she was for as long as possible. She supposed it was because the bed she had been staying in was really comfortable. She had been sleeping well that past week. Comfortably and undisturbed unlike in her dorm where she found Hestia's broom cleaning supply's under her mattress and where she would be woken in the night by Hestia's sleep-talking.

'No it's not. We would never miss transfiguration!' James said seriously, shaking his head.

'Why not?' Lily asked, almost finished with her packing. She picked up a large bag of chocolate frogs which Hestia had thought would cheer her up, 'Want these?' she asked James, tossing them over to him.

'Thanks.' he said, 'We don't skip transfiguration for two reasons.' he said putting the bag of chocolate frogs on his bedside table, next to the potion he had to take in ten minutes time, 'One, because transfiguration is actually my favourite subject. And two, McGonagall scares us.'

Lily laughed loudly, 'You wimp!' she managed to spurt out during her peals of laughter.

James nodded his head. 'Yes I am. But hey. If she didn't scare us senseless then she wouldn't have gotten such good results out of us in our O.W.L's.'

Lily's laughter faded out as she thought about a conversation she and Hestia had had before Christmas. It was three days after the Quidditch game against Hufflepuff, the night before the end of term Transfiguration test McGonagall was adamant on giving them. She and Hestia were studying and were discussing the rumour that only one person had managed an Outstanding in their transfiguration O.W.L. With full marks it seemed. At the time, they had thought it was Remus but now…

'Out of interest,' Lily said, trying to seem casual, throwing some rubbish in the bin next to her hospital bed, 'What did you get in your Transfiguration O.W.L?'

'Why?' James asked, not really wanting to divulge his grade. McGonagall had told him he was the only one with that particular mark.

'Just curious.' Lily said, smiling kindly at James and breaking any hope he had of trying to keep his mouth shut.

'I got an O.' he said almost reluctantly but unable to deny her her request. 'What about you?'

'An E.' Lily said with a smile, 'I better go then. I told Hestia I'd meet her at breakfast.'

'All right.' James said memorizing her as she looked then. 'Come and visit me!' he said as she picked up her things.

'I will.' she smiled, 'See you later!'

'Bye!' James said. They smiled at each other one last time before Lily headed towards the exit.

She had reached the doors at the end of the hospital wing, when she was inexplicably felt the urge to turn around and look back to James one last time. She did so to find his eyes still fixed on her. Her hand became sweaty on the door knob. She held up her other hand in a good bye, James did the same, and Lily opened the hospital wing doors and left the room.

She closed the hospital wing doors behind her and took a long sigh, resisting the urge to go back in.

'Are you ok?' came a voice from the shadows in the left corner.

Lily recognised the voice. It was a voice which had just ruined the good mood she had had for over a week. 'What do you want?' she said venomously as Severus Snape stepped out of the shadows.

'I wanted to know if you were all right.' he said through gritted teeth. Every wave of Lily's hatred for him was knocking him down. It hurt him to see the loathing in her eyes. 'I heard you were hurt in the Hogsmeade attacks.'

'I'm fine.' Lily said with a stiff jaw, 'Thanks for asking.' She began to walk away. Severus followed her.

'What happened?' he asked her, trying to keep up with her as she sped up.

'I'd have thought you'd have heard by now.' she said stiffly, turning a corner. Severus was still following her in the shadows. Lily continued with one last piece of information hoping to appease him and allow him to leave her alone, 'I was hit with a Flagrante curse.'

'But your fully healed now?' he asked, allowing a slight hint of worry to escape into his voice.

This worrying tone in Severus' voice stopped Lily in her tracks. She turned around to face him giving him, for the first time, a chance to start a conversation.

'I was going to come and visit you in the hospital wing,' he began, 'but I get it now. I've been trying to grasp the idea ever since we stopped being friends but I think, now, I finally get it. I'm not just convincing myself that I get it like I've been doing for almost eight or so months now or, maybe I am…I'm trying to get it. I really am.'

'You're rambling.' Lily said with a straight face, her patience wearing thin.

'I'm sorry.' Severus laughed, hoping to get her laughing too. He was unsuccessful. His laugh wasn't infectious like some peoples. 'I just wanted you to know that, I'm trying understand why you don't want to be my friend. I'm trying come to terms with it. And I'm trying respect your decision. I'll stop bothering you now.'

'Thank you.' Lily said, 'That's all you wanted?' she asked. Severus nodded. Curious, Lily asked a question which in later years, she could either view as a mistake or the best decision of her life. 'Why didn't you come and visit me in the hospital wing? You just said you were going to. But you didn't. Why?'

'I'd have thought you'd have known.' Severus said, venom working up in his mouth and a sneer on his face, 'That…prat…Potter is in there too.'

Lily looked down, a smile forming on her face, one she couldn't restrain or force to go away, as she said one word, 'James.'

Severus looked at Lily's expression. He could only describe it as one he gave when he thought of her. It burned his skin and with murder in his eyes he said sharply and angrily, 'What did you say?'

'James.' Lily said looking up, innocence in her eyes.

'You're on a first name basis with that git, that swine!' he said, his voice getting dangerously low and quiet.

'He's my friend.' Lily said, realising that Severus was no longer playing nice. She saw his ugly side rearing its head once more.

'You vowed to never be his friend!' Severus said, shaking with rage, 'Are you stupid? You called him an arrogant toe rag on more than one occasion. You hated him! The way he always pestered you to go out with him. The fact that he bullied everyone in sight! The way he shows off! You hated him!'

'I can change my mind!' Lily yelled, the temper which came with her red hair flaring up. 'He is a sweet, kind boy who is my friend and is there when I need him! He's been better to me in these past few months than you ever were!'

'The way you're talking about him…' Severus spluttered furiously, his voice rising to an angry shout, his eyes blazing in vehemence 'It's like you actually like him! And not just as a friend!' he stopped breathing heavily after his outburst waiting for a response from Lily who was just standing there. Dumbstruck.

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