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.
Here's chapter Twenty-Four!
Hope you enjoy it!
James walked back to Gryffindor common room in a daze. He kept going over the last thing Hestia had said to him in is head; Don't tell your girlfriend either. That would just add insult to injury if she knew that Lily liked you. You wouldn't want to ruin that relationship would you? What girlfriend? Did they know something he did? Surely he should have been one of the first people to know that he had a girlfriend? He wondered what she looked like. Was she pretty? Of course she was! And she was smart too. And funny, sweet, caring…he shook his head. What was he on about? He didn't even have a girlfriend.
If truth be told, James had never had a girlfriend. Sirius used to make fun of him for this. He had a new girlfriend every week, but James just didn't have one. He'd had plenty of offers though. From their first year, James had been asked out by several girls. Looking back now, it seemed a bit odd that a group of eleven year olds would even be thinking about having relationships. But, nevertheless, James was asked out many times by several girls in their first year at Hogwarts. He had, of course, refused, (because he thought they all had germs at the time), but it didn't stop people asking him out in the years to come.
It wasn't until their third year that the number of girls trailing after him, asking him out or, beginning that year, if he wanted to go to Hogsmeade with them, dwindled slightly. In their third year, everyone in Hogwarts knew that James Potter was only interested in Lily Evans. It was in their third year that James realised that she was the reason he had turned down everybody else. And it was in their third year that James had asked her out for the first time…
She was walking by the beech tree. Her long and wavy hair blew out behind her gently in the soft breeze that had passed through on that spring day. James stared at her as she walked past him. She was laughing. James smiled at the sound. He was just thinking about the warm tones in her laugh when he was hit around the back of his head.
'OW!' he yelled, looking around to see his best friend Sirius smirking at him. 'What'd you do that for?' he continued, rubbing the back of his head.
'You weren't listening to me!' Sirius said simply.
'Ever think that was intentional?' James laughed.
Sirius gasped dramatically and made a grab for the book Remus was reading so that he could throw it at James. He didn't get it though as Remus, who was now keyed into the strange workings of Sirius, moved it out of his way just in time.
'What were you staring at?' Sirius asked, after he had stuck his tongue out at Remus for obstructing his plan.
'Err…' James said, unsure of what to say.
'He was staring at Lily Evans.' Remus said, not looking up from his book.
'How'd you know that when you couldn't even see where he was looking?' Sirius asked, flopping down onto the ground next to Remus and poking his head.
Remus slapped Sirius' hand away. 'He's been staring at her since we came back to Hogwarts after summer.' Remus said, 'Don't you pay attention?'
'Depends if there's food involved.' Sirius said dreamily, looking away into the distance and licking his lips.
'Why don't you ask her out?' Remus said to James, finally closing his book and looking up at James who was now leant against the beech tree, arms folded, legs crossed and staring at Lily once more.
'She doesn't like me.' James said, 'I don't know why. Everybody likes me!' he finished arrogantly.
'Maybe because you hung her best friend, by his feet, up on the chandelier in the entrance hall and gave everyone sticks to poke him with.' Remus replied with raised eyebrows.
'It's only Snivellus!' James scoffed, 'Don't know why she likes that slime-ball anyway! He's a Slytherin!'
'Again. Best Friend.' Remus stressed.
'Merlin knows why!' James spat in Severus' direction. He rolled his eyes, turned around to face Remus and flopped down on the ground in front of him, 'Anyway, I've done worse things than that to old Snivelly!'
'Why are you proud of that?' Remus asked with a raised eyebrow in question.
'Cause we're pretty inventive when it comes to torturing that git!' James smirked.
'That is true!' Sirius nodded eagerly.
'Getting of topic!' Remus said through gritted teeth, (He never approved of James and Sirius' torture of Snape), 'Are you gonna ask her out?'
'Eh…' James said getting up, 'Sure. Why not?' Who'd refuse me right?!' he continued cockily, 'She be stupid to, let's face it! Let's go!'
'You're gonna ask her out now?' Remus asked, getting up as well and following James. Sirius did the same as did Peter who had been sat by James' feet, picking the grass absentmindedly and staring up at him in awe.
'No time like the present!' James grinned, as he strutted down a decline of ground over to where Lily was sat. Unfortunately, she still wasn't alone. Severus was sat next to her.
They were talking and laughing together by the black lake. Lots of other students were crowded in clumps, dotted around them. A couple of sixth year boys were tossing a Quaffle around whilst a group of first year girls were sat in a circle doing each other's hair. Most people were outside today. It was a warm and everyone wanted a break from studying for upcoming exams or just school in general. Lily and Severus were no exception. Nevertheless, they didn't seem to notice the people around them. They were in their own world which was about to be shrewdly interrupted by James Potter.
'Oi! Evans!' he shouted as he came towards the end of the decline towards the black lake.
Lily looked up, a smile on her face to see who had called her. As soon as she saw James however, her smile dropped and she turned away to carry on her conversation with Severus who looked very smug at being chosen over James. They were once again enveloped in their own little world. Severus was telling her about whole wizarding villages and towns that he knew about as Lily was intrigued by the idea of Hogsmeade and always living in a place where magic didn't have to be hidden from muggles around them. They were just discussing the future and that it would be fun to live near each other when they were older, as a children and adolescents do, when their conversation was once again shrewdly interrupted by James calling Lily's last name.
'Oi! Evans!' James voice shot through their little world and sent it crashing to earth with an almighty bang.
Lily looked sharply at James, an annoyed glare on her face which had loathing etched all over it. She waited until he was within earshot before saying harshly through almost gritted teeth, 'What do you want Potter?'
James finally reached the end of the declining hill, Remus, Peter and Sirius just behind him, flanking him like wolves as if he was the leader of the pack. He stopped in front of Lily to whom he flashed a cheeky smile which was dripping with arrogance and an 'aren't I awesome' look. He then turned to Severus, sneered and sniffed in disgust, before turning back to Lily and giving her another smile.
'I'm here to make all your dreams come true!' James said opening his arms wide in invitation.
'You're gonna fall of the face of the earth?' Lily asked hopefully.
Severus smiled at Lily before giving James a smug look which showed his glee at Lily's comment and his detest at James' presence.
'Earths round love.' James said, dismissing Lily's comment with a wave of his hand.
'You're gonna renounce magic and leave the rest of us in peace?' Severus sneered at James, venom dripping in his voice.
'Do us all a favour and shut up beaky!' James snapped at Severus, who stood up so that James had no higher advantage. The two boys stared at each other with hatred before Remus elbowed James in the ribs and reminded James why he had come over here in the first place.
James turned his gaze back to Lily, (who was now stood up with her arms folded and her hip out in a slouched and relaxed stance), but all the while keeping an eye on Severus in his peripheral vision. 'So Evans,' he began, 'ready for your life to get better?'
'Oh I can't wait!' Lily said sarcastically, rolling her eyes and looking away from James. She gazed out across the black lake. It was still and nothing was happening. The glassy black waters didn't even have a trace of a ripple on them. But still, to her, anything was more interesting than James Potter.
'How is anything you say going to improve her life!' Severus spat looking James up and down, trying to make himself look taller than his opponent but failing miserably. James was still, and would always be, an inch or so taller than Severus was.
James didn't even pay him the courtesy of looking directly at him to say, 'Pipe down Snivellus. People who actually matter are trying hold a conversation here so why don't you go back to your miserable little existence and leave me to talk to the gorgeous Evans here!' he finished giving a smouldering look to Lily who just sighed impatiently and raised her eyebrows.
Severus boiled with rage at many things in that sentence. The name 'Snivellus'. The implication that he didn't matter. Being referred to as having a 'miserable little existence', (which was sort of true in the aspect of his home life). But the thing that really ticked him off was James calling Lily 'gorgeous'. How dare he even look at her in that way? His face turned red and his hands, now clenched in fists, began to shake, his knuckles turning white. His eyes flashed dangerously, a black glint shining in them. His lips disappeared and the area where they were turned as white as his knuckles, contrasting greatly with his now flushed face. The tip of the iceberg on his outraged state was his nostrils flaring. His breathing was deep and just when Lily was about to retort back, Severus fumbled for his wand, finding it quickly, taking it out and pointing it straight at James' chest.
James, who had still been watching Severus out of the corner of his eye, whipped his wand out fluently and, without hesitation, threw a stinging jinx at Severus with a gentle and easy flick of the wrist. Remus looked away when this incident occurred, as he always did, pretending he hadn't seen what his best friend had done. Sirius however had realised what was going on by this point. He had gotten his wand out and was pointing it at Severus who was now on the floor. Peter was watching his friends merciless attack on Severus Snape as if it was the greatest thing in the world.
Severus' face began to swell. His eyes receded into his face slightly whilst the flesh around them puffed up and forced them to close. His lips, which had previously disappeared due to his anger, tripled in size until they looked like two large slugs. His nose became larger, (if that was possible), his cheeks looked as if they were being filled with cotton wool and his ears began to stick out of his head slightly.
Lily quickly rushed to look at Severus who was now in the floor, his wand falling out of his swelling hand.
James threw his wand into the air with an impressive twirl before catching it and slipping it neatly back into his pocket. 'So Evans,' he said as he straightened his robes, obviously unaffected by what he had just done, 'you wanna go out with me sometime? Maybe go to Hogsmeade? Anywhere you want to go I'll take you! All you have to say, what you're obviously going to say; Yes-'
'No!' Lily said as she helped Severus to her feet and began to walk up the inclining hill that James, Sirius and Remus had just descended down.
'Good. I'll meet you at…wait…' James said, his cocky and confident attitude wavering, 'No?'
'Yes.' Lily said shortly, struggling to move a growing Severus up the hill.
'Good.' James sighed with relief, 'That's what I thought you said! So I'll meet you at-'
'No…' Lily said, whispering to Severus to carry on to the hospital wing, letting him know that she'd be their shortly. When he reluctantly went on his way, she turned around and walked back to where James was stood, Sirius, Peter and Remus still flanking him.
'Not 'yes I'll go out with you', 'yes' to my earlier 'no I will not go out with you'.' Lily finished, folding her arms and looking at James with a disapproving attitude.
James' mouth was slightly open in bewilderment. He leaned slightly back to Sirius and whispered, 'Are you confused too?' Unfortunately, he didn't whisper as quietly as he had hoped judging on what Lily had to say next.
'Are you as stupid as you are mean?' Lily said, emphasising her insults, 'I will never go out with you! Not in a million years!'
There was a pause. 'A million and one years?' James replied cheekily.
'Never.' Lily stressed exasperatedly.
'What? Why?' James asked, shocked that Lily was declining him. 'Come on Evans. I'm a catch!'
'Well this 'catch',' she said, using air quotes and getting angrier, 'just tripled my best friend in size with a stinging jinx!'
'Pretty impressive right!' James nodded happily.
'Why are you so proud?' Lily said disgusted with James' attitude.
'Why won't you go out with me?' James retorted.
'You didn't answer my question.' Lily said through gritted teeth, tipping her head jerkily to the left.
'You didn't answer mine!' James responded insolently, taking a step nearer to Lily. His eyes challenged her.
'You want to know?' Lily demanded as she walked angrily towards him down the small decline of hill which she had just walked up. She came down to level with him looking him in the eyes. 'You really want to know?' she repeated.
'Yeah.' James said as if it were obvious. 'You're making a big mistake. Give me a reason why.' James folded his arms and stood in a relaxed pose which looked as if he couldn't care less what she had to say but would endure it anyhow.
'A reason.' Lily muttered thoughtfully before continuing in a full blown rant. 'Well here's a whole list of them; You're arrogant. You think everybody worships you. You're always messing up your hair to make it look as if you've just gotten off of a broom. (It doesn't work by the way, you just look a mess.) You think rules don't apply to you. You're always looking at yourself in that stupid little mirror. Your so-called 'pranks' are menial, irresponsible and sometimes just demeaning! You're a clever person but you let it all go to waste. You never do the work in class and many times slow down the process of learning for everybody else. You're a bully. You bully everyone without provocation. You are a mean, obnoxious, arrogant, self-involved toe-rag and I'll never go out with you or even like you in that way ever. Clear?'
James paused with a smirk. 'Now when you say self-involved-'
'Ugh!' Lily stressed before turning away with a whip of her hair and flouncing away up the inclining ill towards the castle, obviously in pursuit of Severus to see how he was doing.
James watched her go. A small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, his eyes narrowing slightly in the acceptance of a challenge. He folded his arms and brought one hand to rest on his chin in thought. His smile was now full with arrogance.
'Sorry mate.' Sirius said, clapping James on the shoulder from where he was stood.
'Sorry.' Peter repeated meekly.
'Yeah. Sorry James.' Remus said walking forwards a step and ending next to James. He had his hands in his pockets and was watching Lily, as was James, enter the castle.
'Don't be sorry.' James said smiling at Remus, 'She'll go out with me one day. All the girls in this school want to go out with me.'
'But she doesn't.' Remus replied folding his arms.
'She will.' James said nodding his head in certainty, 'You just wait. She'll like me one day.'
That was a long time ago. Of course, as the years went on James began to lose faith in the idea that she'll like him the way he liked her one day. So much so that he had recently settled into just being her friend with no hope of things going any further. But could he do that now he knew that she like him? What was to stop him acting differently around her now?
He was still trying to figure out why she had been ignoring him. Why she'd been so short and angry with him. It couldn't only be because she liked him and she didn't want too. That would be strange. It's not as if it was his fault she'd begun to have feelings for him. Maybe it was something to do with his 'girlfriend'. Maybe it wasn't the fact that she liked him and she didn't want too. It was more likely that she had begun to like him, heard somewhere that he had a girlfriend and then became frustrated that she couldn't tell him how she felt or do anything about it. James chuckled to himself. If Lily had heard him thinking like this she would accuse him of being big-headed and self-involved. He shook his head.
By this time he had reached the entrance hall. He looked out onto the grounds. It was a bit misty and you could see some frost still lingering on the tips of grass. It would disappear soon. Spring was on the way. If only it was raining, James thought. Too many people that would be a strange thing to request but it was normal for him. If James ever needed to clear his head or think seriously about something, he would go for a walk in the rain. He couldn't explain why, but it would usually help him figure things out and he could sure use all the help he could get to figure out what to do about this.
He had told Hestia that he wouldn't tell Lily anything and he had promised Lily that he wouldn't ask her out. But Lily liked him now. And he was sure that the only reason Hestia didn't want James to tell Lily anything about what they had discussed in the dungeons was because they both thought he had a girlfriend. But as that wasn't true, surely it would change the situation if they knew. He'd have to check with Hestia.
James sighed and moved away from the entrance hall which he had been stood in for five minutes just staring outside and wishing it would rain. He climbed up the staircase to his left and carried on up to the Gryffindor common room entrance which was guarded by the portrait of the Fat Lady. He walked up to it and was about to say the password when the Fat Lady began in a rant.
'I hope you're a Gryffindor!' she huffed, 'Only Gryffindor's are meant to know where the entrance to this tower is. Of course I can see you're a Gryffindor by your robes but what am I meant to say when students from other houses come up to me, knowing I guard the entrance to the tower and giving me the correct password!'
'Has that ever happened before?' James asked her with a tilt of his head.
'Why would I be talking about it if it hadn't happened before?' the Fat Lady said, outraged, 'Honestly. I thought the students of this school were meant to be bright. Yet you prove me wrong.'
James rolled his eyes and said the password, not wanting to listen to the Fat Lady anymore. The portrait hole swung open to reveal the Gryffindor common room and James stepped in, the Fat Lady's portrait swinging shut behind him, still ranting. The common room was crowded. It was filled with students sat in pairs being sickly sweet due to the valentine's day hype. There were high pitched giggles as the pairs tickled each other. There were people just staring across at someone they liked or into the eyes of someone they loved. And there were some couples snogging so intensely it should have been done in private.
James walked past them all and leapt up the stairs to the boys dormitories two steps at a time. He came to the door which contained his dormitory and opened it quickly. When he entered the room he saw Remus sat at the top of his bed, cross legged and looking at his calendar. James carried on into the room, jumped onto his own bed in a relaxed laying down position and folded his arms behind his head. He sighed deeply alerting Remus to his presence.
'Hey.' Remus exhaled, tossing his calendar to the side, 'Found out why Evans is mad at you.'
James sat up straight. He couldn't know. Could he? Of course not! Hestia had only just told James and Lily had told no-one. He assumed anyway.
'How?' James asked.
'Evans told me.' Remus replied.
That'll do it, James thought.
'Yeah,' Remus said, his expression becoming angry as his got up from his bed and walked towards James'. He leant against one of the bed posts of James' four poster bed and continued, his voice becoming laced with frustration and annoyance, 'She thinks we're all still too childish for her to be friends with us. She basically said that she gave us a chance and we blew it.'
James chuckled quietly, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. So Remus wasn't told the truth by Lily.
'Why are you laughing?' Remus asked, 'Don't you get it? It was all for nothing. I convinced her to give you a chance. You made a lot of changes, not going after those toss pot Slytherin's-'
'Are you all right moony?' James asked, getting the distinct feeling that something was wrong with him. Yes Remus would be annoyed that someone hadn't given his friends the benefit of the doubt but he was a lot angrier than he would have usually been, even going as far as to call the Slytherin's toss pots which to him was a horrible insult. The only time he became like this was when he was nearing the full moon, but that was still a week away. Usually James, Sirius and Peter could count on four or five more days of a normal, peaceful Remus before he would become short and angry at what Sirius always referred to as 'his time of the month'.
'I'm fine!' Remus snapped before softening, 'I'm sorry. It's just that I don't like the fact that she's mad at you for being you and she's mad at Sirius for being him-'
'That's not what's wrong.' James said, shaking his head. He knew that Remus' anger at Lily giving up on their friendship, though it would annoy him, was not what was making him this agitated. 'You can tell me.'
'How are you dealing?' Remus came out with, presenting what James thought was a sudden change of conversation topic.
In truth, it is what Remus had been thinking about for a while. How was James dealing with the death of his father. It was one of the reasons why he had reacted so harshly to Lily rejecting their friendship to her. As he didn't know how James was doing, he didn't want anything to change and trigger a drastic downwards spiral. It was so hard to judge James feeling sometimes. Mostly he wore his heart on his sleeve. Everyone knew who he loathed and they all knew how he felt about Lily Evans. The whole school knew how loyal he was to his friends but no-one but maybe Sirius could ever know how James was dealing with his family life at home. Remus knew the main facts but the details were unclear sometimes.
He knew that James had been close to his parents when he was a very small child. When he started going to Hogwarts things had begun to change but you would never know it from James exterior. (He had the distinct look of someone who had been adored and well cared for.) His parents had brought him to platform nine and three quarters to see him off to Hogwarts and picked him up from the train station for the first two years when things had started to change. But James never let it faze him. He went home for Christmas every year as if nothing was different, but as the war started to grow tense, his relationship with them had distanced due to the heavy load of their work. During this time he became extremely close to his house elf Linda. But knowing all of this didn't clue Remus into how James was really coping with the loss of his father.
'What do you mean?' James asked, having no idea where the conversation had steered to.
'How are you dealing with…your dad's death.' Remus asked.
James blinked a few times. His jaw relaxed and his mouth opened slightly. There was a small crease forming between his eye brows. He wasn't expecting that and had to think for a few minutes for an answer.
'Well…' he began, 'It's not the same obviously. I mean…I know he's not there anymore. I can't just decide to write to him because there'll be no reply. I'm not completely ok with that but…there's nothing I can do about it.' he continued sadly before giving an unexpected chuckle, 'Man he'd be annoyed if he saw me stewing. I can imagine him now, 'I had a full life James but you're not going to have nearly as much fun if you keep thinking about me!' is what he'd say.'
Remus smiled. 'So you're all right?' he said, 'Or at least you will be in time?'
'Yeah.' James said, smiling at Remus, 'That's not what's got you so angry is it?'
'Partly.' Remus shrugged, 'I didn't know how you were coping with things and I just thought, I dunno, that Evans saying she doesn't want to be our friend anymore would upset you. I know how much you like her.'
'Well I'm fine.' James grinned. Of course, Remus had no idea why James was completely fine with the situation. Truth be told, if James hadn't spoken to Hestia earlier he probably would have become quite depressed. But knowing what he did now, even though he had no idea what to do next, he didn't feel that bad at what Lily had told Remus though it was undoubtedly true; he did still act like a child sometimes.
The thing that James didn't miss though was Remus saying 'partly'. Obviously, and James had known this from the moment Remus had started talking about Lily being annoyed at their child like behaviour, something else was wrong. And James had an inkling of what it was.
'What's up with you?' James asked Remus with a knowing look.
'Nothing.' Remus said, with a small shake of his head and a slight shrug of his shoulders. He pushed himself upright from where he was leant against James' bed. He walked back to his own bed at sat on the pillow at the top, his back leaning against the wooden head board.
James made himself comfortable on his own bed, sitting crossed legged and leaning forwards slightly to see Remus more clearly over the bottom board of his grand four poster bed. 'Yes there is.' James said certainly, 'It's about the full moon coming up isn't it?' he finished.
'No.' Remus answered. He began picking his nails, a habit he had picked up from his father which meant that Remus was attempting to avoid the topical conversation. This action was what clued James into the fact that he was on the right track.
'Come on.' James said, 'What's up Moony?'
'Don't call me that.' Remus replied with closed eyes and a hanging head.
'Aha!' James half shouted, standing up fluently from his bed and walking over to where Remus was. He flopped down onto the foot of Remus' bed and stared directly at him, trying to get him to look up. He continued, 'So the full moon is what's bothering you. You usually get angry about your nickname when it's close to that time of the month or when something about the full moon is bothering you! So what's up?'
Remus sighed and looked up reluctantly. He stared just over James' head, not looking him in the eyes as he was sure it would give him away. Remus held most of his emotion in his eyes. 'Nothing's wrong.'
James being James of course, didn't accept this as an answer. When he knew or felt that one of his friends was worrying about something, upset about something or depressed about something, he was always there for them to help them out. 'Are you worried the death eaters will try to sway you again? I promise they won't get to you mate. Firstly it's unlikely they'll try again after one failure and secondly, me, Sirius and Peter will be there to protect you from them.'
'It's not my protection from them I'm worried about.' Remus began with frustration coming out in his voice. He now looked at James directly. If his eyes were ever going to give away how he truly felt, than this was the time to use it to his advantage. 'I'm worried about protecting you from me. And Peter. And especially Sirius. What if I attack him again and this time he's not lucky enough to make it out?'
'Wow.' James said, 'You really think a lot of yourself don't you! You're not that strong against all of us!' he chuckled. 'I hope you realise that you saying you don't want us to come and see you during the full moon isn't going to stop us. And the only reason Sirius was so messed up last time is because me and Peter weren't with you both.'
'He was still messed up though wasn't he!' Remus stressed, 'You're not coming. I won't let you!'
'It's not about what you're letting us do or not.' James said. He was still chuckling. 'You do realise that no matter what you say you're not changing our minds.' James got up off of Remus' bed.
'We're never going to agree on this are we?' Remus asked looking up at James.
'Nope.' James said as he walked back to his own bed and jumped back on it the way he had originally landed; lain out with his arms behind his head, 'Don't you have prefect duties tonight?' he asked Remus, staring up at the deep red and gold canopy above him on his four poster bed.
'Yeah.' Remus exhaled, swinging his legs out and over the side of his bed, 'Suppose I'd better go.' He stood up and stretched slightly. He then walked around the bottom of his bed and towards the dormitory door which would lead him directly out onto the spiral staircase to the Gryffindor common room. 'See ya.' he called back to James as he left the room.
'Bye.' James called back to Remus as he exited the room, leaving James alone in the dormitory with his thoughts.
Lily was sat in her dormitory alone. She was hiding in case James came back from the potions room and saw her. Hestia was supposed to tell him that she wasn't feeling very well and it would be obvious that it was a blatant lie if she was sat in the common room doing some homework or reading a book. Keeping up this charade of illness though wasn't the complete reason of why she was hiding. Actually, at this point there was no point in locking herself away in her room. She had told Remus that she wasn't going down to make the Felix Felicis potion with James because she thought they were too childish, she'd given them a chance and they had blown it with their childish ways and though this wasn't the real reason, she was certain that Remus was sure to tell James it was. So in truth she was hiding in her room away from her lies and the embarrassment.
She looked around her room. It was draped with red and gold, a grand and mighty lion emblazoned tactfully on everything. Some Gryffindor she was. She wasn't even brave enough to go and tell James herself that she was 'ill' or that she believed he was too 'childish' for them to be friends. No. She had had Hestia go and make her excuses for her and then roped Remus in with a totally different and dishonest lie. It was a coward's way out and she felt that she didn't deserve the robes she was wearing.
At that moment, whilst Lily was wallowing in her dishonesty, Alice Prewitt and Emmeline Vance, the other pair of best friends that shared the room with Hestia and Lily, (Mary MacDonald wasn't that close to anyone in the dormitory. Her friends lived in a different one), walked into the room. Alice came in wringing her hands, a nervous and uncertain expression on her face. Emmeline followed her in, a dreamy look in her eyes with her head tipped slightly on one side. Straight away, Alice started pacing and Emmeline floated onto the edge at the head of Alice's bed. She watched her friend without giving away a single hint of how she was feeling.
Lily followed Alice out of the corners of her eyes. She was walking up and down so fast it looked as if she was either going round in a circle or in two places at the same time. She was going so quickly she was starting to make Lily go a bit dizzy. She had to stop her.
'Are you all right Alice?' she asked, getting up from where she was sat on her bed, walking over to Alice and steadying her by placing both hands upon her shoulders.
When Alice finally gave into being stopped by Lily she blurted out what was wrong. 'Frank just told me he loved me!' she said, an unmistakable trace of panic flitting across her face.
'Isn't that good?' she questioned, taking her hands down from Alice's shoulders and turning her head slightly with a look of curiosity.
Alice, who had been looking down in thought, with her right hand near her mouth with anxiety since Lily had stopped her pacing, looked up in disbelief. As if Lily hadn't fully grasped the situation. 'We've only been dating for two weeks!' she said in the silence that had ensued after Lily's previous comment. She continued in the same high pitched and anxious squeak, 'I'm not even calling him my boyfriend yet! How can he say he loves me when we're not that serious!' She then started to hyperventilate. 'Oh Merlin, Merlin, Merlin. Geez!' she panicked, now fanning both hands in front of her face in an attempt to calm herself down.
'All right, all right.' Lily said soothingly, guiding Alice to her bed and sitting her down at the edge of it in the middle next to Emmeline, who was still at the head of the bed. Lily sat down next to her at the foot of the bed and asked, 'What exactly did he say?'
Alice took a deep steadying breath. She was trying to calm herself down before telling Lily what had happened with Frank. 'Well, after the valentines feast, Frank asked if I wanted to go for a walk so I said yes and we went for a walk.'
'Naturally.' Lily said, receiving a sharp look from Alice to which she replied with, 'That's normally what you do when you go for a walk. Walk.' There was a short and awkward pause. 'So you went for a walk…' Lily carried on, encouraging Alice to continue with her story.
'Yeah.' Alice went on, 'He took me outside and walked me down to the black like where he had a blanket laid out with a jar of those blue flames and a bunch of flowers. Of course, you know, that's really sweet so I thanked him and hugged him and we went to sit down. He gave me the flowers and we swapped cards. His was really sweet. It had a really nice verse in it that said something like, 'You're eyes are like stars which fell from the sky', then a lot of other sweet things about the moon and the sun and it ended with, 'I'm glad I have you to call mine'…I think…'
'Well that's romantic. It's lovely.' Lily cooed.
'Yeah.' Alice said shortly, 'I know. Which is why my card was such an embarrassment!' She placed her elbows on her knees and put her head in her hands.
'Why?' Lily said suspiciously, 'What did you write?'
Alice turned her head to face Lily before muttering self-consciously, 'I put 'Roses are red, violets are blue, you're dating me and I'm dating you' and then I signed my name at the bottom.'
'Oh…' Lily replied, 'Well…' she began, trying to think of something positive to say, 'Well it rhymes!' she ended with.
In truth, it was a shocking Valentine's Day poem. Even the generic valentine's cards which you could find in card shops were better than that. It was one thing missing from the wizarding world; a card shop. Any cards sent in the wizarding world were handmade making it really hard to think of a nice verse to write in them for the recipient. Sometimes the outcomes were really bad. Like Alice's poem to Frank.
'Well what did he say?' Lily asked Alice in continuation of their conversation.
'He just laughed. And then he said that he loved me.' Alice said. 'He laughed…and then said he loved me! What do you say to that!' she ended her voice now in an unusually high register which wasn't natural for her.
'Well…what did you say?' Lily asked.
Alice turned in slow motion to look at Lily. She looked shocked and unsure. 'Nothing!' she squeaked, 'What do you say to that? Nothing!'
'Well usually it's followed by 'I love you too' or something along similar lines.' Lily replied with a slight shrug of her shoulders.
'Yes, but usually it doesn't happen until a few months into the relationship!' Alice yelped, 'By that time the foundations are cemented and you're calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend and, fingers crossed, hopefully, the feeling is mutual. This isn't mutual! I mean I like him, sure. But I don't know him well enough to say that I love him!'
'Alice,' Lily said, 'You're rambling.'
'Can you blame me?' she replied, her voice finally dropping back into its natural register and volume. She had been shrieking so high before Lily had been sure that only dogs could hear her.
'No.' Lily conceded, shaking her head, 'But you still haven't told me what you did when Frank said that he loved you. I know you didn't say anything, but what did you do?' she asked, stressing certain words in an attempt to get her point across.
Alice muttered something inaudible to which Lily asked her to speak up. Alice then finally said, 'Nothing.'
'Nothing?' Lily replied, scandalised.
'Nothing!' Alice repeated. She then went into another rambling speech, her words gradually getting faster and faster, her speech becoming rapid, 'I did nothing. I got up and walked away. I said absolutely nothing and I did nothing! This sweet, sweet boy had just told me that he loved me and I got up and walked away! Oh good Merlin I'm a terrible person! I just left him out there in the dark where anything could have happened because I was too scared to say anything! Why couldn't I tell him that I just didn't feel that way yet?'
'Shh! Shh!' Lily soothed, rubbing Alice on the back trying to calm her down. 'I think you're going to have to go and talk to him.' she said, 'Just tell him that you were shocked and that at the minute, you don't feel that way but you're sure you will come to in time. Okay?'
Alice exhaled. 'Okay.' she breathed, 'Oh why did he have to tell me that's how he felt! Why couldn't he have just kept his mouth shut!'
'You can close your eyes to the things you don't want to see. But you can't close your heart from the things you don't want to feel.' Emmeline said serenely. She had stayed silent during the whole of Lily and Alice's conversation until this moment when she had randomly decided to spout out a philosophical idea relating to the situation. She was always doing that and it wasn't often that her pieces of knowledge made Lily think, but this one did.
You can close your eyes to the things you don't want to see. But you can't close your heart from the things you don't want to feel.
Thanks for reading