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 Fifty-Four!
Hope you enjoy it!
Professor Dumbledore truly trusted very few people. There were many people whom he had trust in; people he had trust in to teach the students in his school, people he had trust in to follow the rules and people he had trust in to set an example. But still, these weren't people whom he trusted so completely that he would leave his life in their hands. No, there were only very few people he truly trusted to that extent. And now more than ever, he needed to decide who they were.
You see, even though the Ministry of Magic had been portraying everything on the whole to be very much hunky dory, only letting out snippets of information about how bad the situation really was, the state of the wizarding world was nearing ruin. Outside the safe and cosy walls of Hogwarts and the neat little village of Hogsmeade, things were getting worse. Voldemort, or as most people referred to him now, he who must not be named, had gathered an army of sorts. He now had a strong group of followers which willingly terrorised anyone in their path, tortured those who they considered to be blood traitors and killed muggleborns. And yet still, the Ministry of Magic was unwilling to do anything to stop it. This was why Dumbledore had decided to take matters into his own hands.
For the past few months, the summer holiday and the last months of the previous school year, Dumbledore had been making plans for and creating a resistance. A force of good which could rival Voldemort and put a stop to his evil. He had a name for the resistance, the Order of the Phoenix, inspired by his own phoenix named Fawkes. He had found the perfect location to hold any meetings he needed to, a hidden house in the back streets of London which was cloaked with charms and enchantments, unbreakable by anyone but him. Lastly, he had a list in a little black book. A short list but a list all the same. A list of people who he truly trusted and who he believed would be willing to help him face Voldemort and his forces. He had spoken to half the people on this list and they were all too willing to help.
The people on his list were from all different walks of life, ages and professions. The ones who had already agreed to be part of the resistance and were all too ready to take an active role in defying Voldemort, Dumbledore had met through different circumstances. The first person he had spoken to about his planned resistance was Professor Minerva McGonagall, a professor at Hogwarts. Dumbledore had spoken to all the heads of houses but, in the end, she was the only one willing to put her life at risk in that way. Dumbledore had met her at Hogwarts. He had never taught her when he was a transfiguration professor as her Hogwarts career had ended the year just before he took up that post, but when he had been named Headmaster of the school, she was the only one he had considered to fill his previous post. She would do anything to protect the students of Hogwarts and she believed that helping Dumbledore's resistance and becoming an active member of the Order of the Phoenix was the right way to go.
Secondly, Dumbledore had spoken to Rubeus Hagrid, keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts. Hagrid had been expelled from Hogwarts in his third year thanks to Voldemort, formally known as Tom Riddle. Nobody had believed that Hagrid wasn't responsible for the disastrous events that had taken place that year. They had all believed Tom Riddle. Everyone that is, apart from Dumbledore. Dumbledore knew Hagrid was innocent and had convinced Armando Dippet, (Headmaster at the time), to allow Hagrid to stay on the grounds. Dumbledore had helped Hagrid through his life and had grown close to him, or at least, as close as a man such as Dumbledore can grow close to someone. He truly trusted him with his life and for this reason, and others which none but Hagrid knew about, he had asked him to join the Order of the Phoenix, something which Hagrid fully accepted without hesitation; ('O course I will! No need ter ask. I'll do whate'er yeh need!')
The third person Dumbledore had spoken to was one of the most celebrated aurors of their time; Alastor Moody. Of course most of the people he worked with had called him mad and they weren't without reason. Alastor Moody had a way about him. He had different and perhaps less ethical methods to capture those he was chasing. He had picked up his mesh of tactics from his family, all sadly passed now, who had all been aurors. Coming from a long line of aurors, it wasn't surprising to Dumbledore that he wanted to help him stop Voldemort.
Then, Dumbledore had been to see Elphias Doge, an old friend of his. During his Hogwarts days, Elphias Doge had always admired Dumbledore and had been a dutiful friend. Dumbledore perhaps hadn't appreciated that too much at the time, concentrating too hard on becoming the best he could be and improving upon his natural abilities. Still, even though Dumbledore had never fully cherished his friend, Elphias didn't care and was all too willing to help him out. In the back of his mind, Dumbledore supposed he knew this. He supposed he played on it. He wasn't proud of it.
Aberforth Dumbledore was the person Dumbledore should have gone to see first. Apart from Professor McGonagall and Hagrid he was the closest in proximity to the castle, owing, running and living at the Hogs Head. But Dumbledore didn't think of his brother first. If he had, he still doubted it would have made much of a difference. He wouldn't have wanted to see him first as when Dumbledore saw Aberforth, and enormous bubble of guilt always came along with the visit. Still, Dumbledore knew that his brother would want to help in the resistance if only he was a silent partner. He had seen what that kind of greed for power had done and he would do anything in his power to help prevent another Arianna situation.
The Prewett and Weasley family had been next on his list. The Weasley's, Arthur and Molly, Dumbledore had remembered from their days at Hogwarts and he had never seen a more trustworthy, loving and powerful pair. They, however, were the only ones to decline his invitation to join the Order of the Phoenix. Dumbledore understood. They had a growing family; three young boys named Bill, Charlie and Percy at the ages of six, (almost seven), four, (almost five) and just turned one respectively. Plus it seemed that Molly was pregnant again. But even though the Weasley's said no, Molly Weasley's twin brothers, Gideon and Fabian Prewett were all too willing to help.
From this wholesome family, Dumbledore's next choice for an ally would seem odd. He had seeked out one Mundungus Fletcher, known con-artist and contributor to the black market dealing stolen merchandise and controlled substances. He wasn't a convicted criminal but he was close. Dumbledore saw great advantage on having someone like that on his side. Nobody else could see it but at the end of the day, they didn't need too. Dumbledore had his reasons and that was all that mattered.
So far, these were the only people he had recruited. They had already started to defy Voldemort's movements but nothing was being reported in the Daily Prophet. At the moment, Dumbledore was sat at his desk in his circular office reading the famed wizarding newspaper; the paper that was now being censored. It no longer reported anything to do with Voldemort. The Minister of Magic had prohibited it. Slowly, he had been able to decrease the papers mention of the dark wizard until, finally, mention of his name was completely erased. Dumbledore had read the paper cover to cover but nowhere in that paper was the slightest hint that the wizarding world was in disarray. There were many articles about promotions within the Ministry, a new section of vaults being added to Gringotts and gossip filled articles which were most likely all lies. The main article, on the front page, was an interview with the Minister of Magic celebrating his first full year in office. Nowhere in that article had he mentioned the chaos he was sitting on. Nowhere.
Dumbledore closed the paper and put it to the side. His office was silent. The usually vocal portraits of past headmasters were silent. Fawkes wasn't chirping, (too close to a burning day), and even the clocks on the walls made sure that their ticking was unheard. The ragged sorting hat sat atop one of Dumbledore's many bookcases, saying nothing. Everything, every object in that room seemed to understand that, in this situation particularly, silence was golden. Dumbledore took a deep breath. The sound filled the office.
He opened the draw in his desk with a fluent wave of his elder-made wand. The draw popped open and, with another wave of his wand, the black book that lay inside floated out and landed on the desk in front of him followed by and eagle feathered quill and a pot of ink. Then, Dumbledore tapped the air with his wand and the drawer slammed shut, the echo of the action reverberating around the circular office as if it was nothing but one of the simple caves which surrounded the village of Hogsmeade.
Dumbledore opened his book and read through the list. There were thirteen names crossed off; eight with ticks and five with lines through them, people who didn't want to join the order; Professor Horace Slughorn, Professor Pomona Sprout, Professor Filius Flitwick and Molly and Arthur Weasley. Below these, were a list of fresh names; people who he hadn't spoken to yet. He was taking his time when he asked people to consider joining his resistance. After all, it wasn't a decision to be made lightly. It was literally a life or death decision. People needed to think about it and he gave them all the time that they needed in the world to decide. Some had agreed straight away and had only taken a short amount of time to decide due to Dumbledore's insistence that they think it over. Others had taken longer, such as the Weasley's. They had taken three weeks to decide what they wanted. Dumbledore had stayed within the vicinity of their house for the whole of that time. He had been traveling in and out of the school to make these trips but not many people knew this. The hefty list of people he had left to visit though meant that he would be traveling more and more over the coming months, leaving the school in Professor McGonagall's capable hands.
Left on his list were seven more names. First there was Arabella Fig; a squib who lived in the muggle world. In Dumbledore's mind she would take a more placid role in the group. She would be his eyes and ears on the muggle world, something which he desperately needed. Then there was Benjy Fenwick, Marlene McKinnon and Dorcas Meadowes. They were all past students from Hogwarts, all from different houses. Dumbledore had seen their talents and believed they would be valuable and strong additions to his resistance. Lastly there was Sturgis Podmore, Caradoc Dearborn and Dadalus Dearborn. These were the people who Dumbledore truly trusted and he needed their help. He just hoped that they would give it to him.
James Potter and Sirius Black were worn out. They were sat slumped over their respective desks in potions, practically laying their bodies over them, having arrived five minutes early, (an unusual achievement for them). They had just had an exhaustingly long and harrowing Quidditch work out which had lasted the whole of lunch. James had had the team doing drills practices and anything else he could thing of at every available free moment, lunchtime was no exception. Their first Quidditch game against Ravenclaw was approaching fast and James wanted his team in tip top condition so that they could win.
Sirius suddenly waved his hand around lazily in the direction of James. He was doing it half-heartedly. What he was doing though, James had no idea.
'What are you doing?' James asked him with a lazy slur to his words.
'I'm trying to hit you.' Sirius replied in a sluggish drawl, 'I hate you.'
'You're short by about three feet.' James yawned. He didn't particularly care that Sirius had said he had hated him. He knew he didn't mean it. He was just tired and Sirius didn't like to be tired. Plus James had forced him to have a ridiculously short lunch so that they could have Quidditch practice, something which Sirius wasn't particularly accustomed to. That short a lunch meant that he hadn't filled his stomach to the brim and was now, consequently, hungry.
Sirius was still waving his hand around. He carried on for around five more seconds before letting his hand fall limply to his side. 'I give up.' he said with no effort in his voice whatsoever.
'Ok.' James replied, still not caring.
At this point, Lily walked into the room and saw the two boys lazily hanging over their desks. She raised her eyebrows and shook her head at the pair of them. She walked a little bit further into the room and stopped at James' desk. 'Hestia told me to tell you she hates you.' she said simply, relaying the message her extremely groggy and moody friend had given her, 'Her exact words were, 'I hate James Potter and you tell him that I hate him and that if he make us do anymore ridiculous and pointless drills I'll push him off of his broom. I don't care who he is'.'
'Thanks.' James replied, closing his eyes having paid hardly any attention to Lily at all. She could have said anything and he wouldn't know the difference. He didn't notice her red eyes.
'You're welcome.' Lily smiled, patting his shoulder a couple of times before walking over to her own desk which Sirius was currently sprawled across. 'You're gonna have to move Black.' she said to him as she sat down at her seat and put her bag on the floor.
'I can't move.' he whined, his voice slightly muffled due to the fact that he had now buried his face into the crook of one of his arms, the other still gently swaying by the side of him from when he had tried to hit James.
'Why not?' Lily questioned in confusion.
'Because I hate Prongs!' Sirius moped with a tired whimper. He scowled into the crook of his arm, an expression which no one could actually see.
'That seems to be the consensus.' Lily replied as she got her copy of Advanced Potion making out of her bag. She fitted it on to the table next to where Sirius' elbow was but only barely. She only had a limited amount of space now as he 'couldn't move.'
'What?' Sirius said. He turned his head to face Lily. He looked completely and utterly worn out, as if he was about to cry, and utterly flabbergasted at what Lily had just said. He then started to stutter and ramble some nonsense. 'It's too…no…long words...can't…no…what?...'
'Don't use long words.' James said to Lily as he finally sat up with a sigh, 'It just confuses him.'
The three were silent after that. Lily busied herself getting her quills and ink pots out whilst Sirius and James relaxed in their chairs unmoving. They were both very stiff and, where James was trying to gather some energy for the upcoming lesson, Sirius was still sat lying over the desk scowling and making no effort to get out of Lily's way as she prepared for the lesson.
The last Gryffindor student in the small potions class entered the room; Remus Lupin. He hadn't been with James and Sirius at lunch. He hadn't fancied spending an hour outside in the Quidditch stands with the harsh November wind whipping at his face. There was condensation in the air. So he had spent his lunch hour in the library with Peter. They had both been toasty and warm inside the castle, relaxing and studying. When he arrived in the potions classroom though, he saw that his friends had had quite a different lunch.
'What's up?' he asked with a laugh as he sat next to James who looked as though he had fallen asleep in his chair. He hadn't. His eyes were just closed.
'Padfoot hates me.' James said as if this was a statement he said every day. And, when he withheld food from his best friend, it was.
'Well what else is new?' Remus replied, brushing this comment to the side, 'Sirius hates everyone.'
'Not true.' Sirius said, finally sitting up and allowing Lily to spread out a bit more across the table, 'I don't hate everyone. Just Prongs, Wormy, Evans here, the Quidditch team, the Slytherins, (gits), the Professors, the Hufflepuffs, (puffs), the rest of our house, Professor Linkedin especially, Ravenclaws, (swots) and did I mention the Gryffindor Quidditch captain at all?'
'That's everyone.' Remus said as he, just as Lily had just been doing, got out his copy of Advanced Potion Making, quills and ink pots.
'Why do you hate me?' Lily asked, offended. She had thought that they were friends. (Sort of.) And that statement had touched a nerve.
'You made me move.' Sirius pouted at Lily before turning back to Remus, 'And that's not everyone Moony, I never mentioned you. I like you.'
'Gee I feel so privileged.' Remus said sarcastically, rolling his eyes.
'Don't.' James yawned, flopping back down onto the table, his head making contact with it with a dull thud, 'He'll only make you do stuff for him.'
'He does that already.' Remus retorted, pushing James' head to the side so that he could actually open his potions book. 'Usually it has something to do with food.' Remus continued offhandedly as he began to read through the list of potions ingredients for Wiggenweld potion, a potion which reverses the effects of the Draught of Living Death, which they were told they were doing this lesson. They would be marked on it.
'Oh food.' Sirius said wistfully as if Remus had suddenly reminded him that his belly was grumbling for the food it was denied at lunch.
'Here we go.' James sighed, shaking his head where it was on the table.
'Prongs I'm hungry.' Sirius whined at James, sticking his leg out in an attempt to kick him. He couldn't reach. It didn't stop him trying though drawing a confused expression from Lily. It was almost as if he had a twitch.
'You're always hungry Padfoot.' James mumbled into the table.
'But I'm hungry Prongs, I'm really hungry.' Sirius whined again, his whinging now becoming higher in pitch and more dramatic. He sounded as if he was in a life or death situation and, to Sirius, he probably was.
'I know you're hungry.' James said, turning his head to face his best friend who was pouting like a little puppy-dog. 'You've been telling me you're hungry every five minutes for the past hour that you're hungry. I get the message.'
'Then why haven't you done anything about it?' Sirius moaned, still attempting to kick him, his foot now flailing about lazily as if it wasn't his own.
'Cause I haven't got anything with me.' James said, kicking his own leg out so that it was now in some kind of foot war with Sirius'. Lily thought this was most odd. Remus however, was used to this behaviour from the pair of them.
He took a deep breath and dug into the bottom of his bag. He brought out a full box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans much to the delight of Sirius. 'Here.' Remus said, stretching his arm out across his table so that Sirius could lean over and grab the beans. 'I was saving them for an emergency. I think this clarifies.'
'Yeah. Or I'd have killed him.' James said lazily, still kicking his leg out to kick Sirius with, failing miserably as he wasn't particularly aiming well.
Sirius reached out his hand, his leg still kicking out, to try and reach the pack of sweets. He was unsuccessful as, just like when he was trying to hit James earlier, he was about three feet short. He was waving his arm about like this when Severus Snape entered the room.
Severus walked into the potions room and took in the sight in front of him. James Potter was slumped over his desk looking, in Severus' opinion, an absolute mess. Remus Lupin was sat next to him, closest to Severus, holding out a full box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans to Sirius Black who was trying to reach them but not succeeding. Then, next to Sirius Black, was Lily. She was reading her copy of Advanced Potion Making, taking no notice of what was going on around her, her hair covering her face. She had no idea that Severus was stood staring at her. She would do soon.
Severus started to make his way across the classroom the only way he could; past James Potter's and Sirius Black's chairs. What he didn't know was that they were both trying to, very childishly, kick each other. As he walked past them his shins got the most of it.
'Watch it!' he snapped at them.
'You watch it Snivellus!' Sirius retorted, finding energy enough to cruelly taunt Severus with that wretched nick name. James sniggered at the table next to him at this. Remus, as he usually did, pretended to ignore them. But Severus wasn't focusing on their reactions. He saw Lily's reaction. And in her reaction, he saw a flicker of annoyance. He saw a flicker of the girl who hated those boys for bullying him. He saw a flicker of his old friend, the one who vowed to hate the marauders for forever and a day. He could have sworn that's what he had seen. He would have staked his life on it.
He made his way over to his chair and sat down to watch the evens in front of him unfold. As he sat down and got his things out of his ragged and tattered bag, as the rest of the potions class filed into the classroom, he eavesdropped into the conversation that was happening in front of him.
'I can't reach.' Sirius was whining to Remus.
'Try.' retorted Remus, making no effort to move and actually give Sirius the sweets to stop his moping and aching belly.
'Throw them.' Sirius said, withdrawing his hand completely and opening his arms ready for a catch. It was the most energetic movement he had exhibited since collapsing in his chair after James' Quidditch practice.
'I can't throw.' Remus reminded him.
'But I'm a great catch!' Sirius replied before turning his head to face Lily to add in what he obviously thought was a charming and suave way, 'In more than one way.'
Severus enjoyed the next part for Lily paid no attention to Sirius' joke, rolled her eyes and turned away. He was ecstatic at this part. He wasn't at the next.
Remus threw the box of sweets in Sirius' direction but what he had said proved to be very true. He couldn't throw. The box of sweets left Remus' hands and flew wonkily over to Sirius and Lily's table, hitting Lily on her head before bouncing dully onto the table. When Severus saw this, his eyes widened and he turned to glare evilly at Remus. No one noticed him.
'Ow.' Lily said rubbing her head where the box of sweets had just hit her.
'Sorry.' Remus apologised sincerely.
'Are you ok?' James asked her, concern showing in his voice, (something only Remus picked up on), but not in his action as he just stayed slumped over his desk, still too exhausted to move.
'Yeah.' Lily said. This time there was something in her voice. Remus didn't notice it. Sirius didn't notice it, (too busy eating the sweets that had just come his way). James did. So did Severus. You'd have to know Lily to know the tone in her voice. Something was wrong. No one could ask though as for both parties, for both boys, it would have been suspicious. But James resolved to ask her later. Severus couldn't make the same resolve.
By the time Lily had recovered from Remus' wayward throw, Professor Slughorn had entered the room. He bustled over to his desk talking to the class in his usual pompous bellow and instructed them to get out all the ingredients that they would need for the Wiggenweld potion which he had informed them last lesson they would be making. He then informed them he would be marking the potion and that he had never before had a student who could brew a satisfactory concoction. It was something he always said to them to motivate them. It worked on most of his students. Not James and Sirius this lesson though.
When everyone got up to collect potion ingredients from the cupboard, they stayed where they were, James lying over his desk, Sirius eating Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans in a hungry fashion. When everyone had returned to their desks and plonked their cauldrons down, turning up the heat to warm the pewter pots through, they stayed where they were, James lying over his desk, Sirius eating Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans in a hungry fashion. After half an hour, when half of the class were half way through their potions, Remus and Lily included, Sirius and James were in the same position; James lying over his desk, Sirius eating Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans in a hungry fashion. It was becoming monotonous. It was clear they wouldn't be doing anything this lesson. James would relax and Sirius would eat. It got to the point where Slughorn felt the need to go and speak to their head of house; Professor McGonagall.
As he made his potion at the back of the room, Severus kept an eye on what was going on in front of him. From the tone in Lily's voice, he knew she was in a tender place at the minute. He knew she could be pushed. He had known her for a long time and, even though he wasn't sure what the reason behind her vulnerability was today, he knew it was there. And he knew what to do.
Lily Evans. The most important thing to her was her schooling. She had spent countless hours working her arse off to maintain a certain standard in her education. She did this to ensure that there would be no prejudice against her, being a muggleborn and all. She didn't like bad marks. She didn't like to hand work in late. She liked everything just so. And Severus knew this. He could play on this. He could use this to his advantage to try and make Lily see reason that he was her only true friend. She would come back to him and he could protect her forever and always from Voldemort because he was on the inside. He could do it, he knew he could. In Severus' ideal world, that's what would have happened. And it all would have started with what he did next.
Sirius Black had discarded the last of his Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans because he didn't like any flavour that matched the caramel coloured ones. They ranged from coffee to earwax to marzipan and Sirius didn't like them at all. So he left them on the table next to him as he leant back into his chair to relax for the remainder of the lesson. Whilst Sirius did this, Severus took his chance. He discreetly took out his wand and, whilst Lily was rooting around in her bag for her scales, he levitated the sweets into her potion, ruining it and framing Sirius.
Lily's potion began to spit and hiss loudly. She turned back to it and, in a panic, tried to calm it down, wafting away the steam that had started to emit from the top. Her potion was now gently corroding the edges of her cauldron away, the Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans reacting badly with the many ingredients Lily had already combined to make the first part of her potion. Suddenly, a spurt of putrid greed liquid shot out of a hole that was forming in the side of her cauldron. It shot out onto the floor near James' feet which alerted him to a problem. Immediately, he went over to Lily to see what was going on.
'Woah! What happened?' he asked her, trying to help her waft away some of the smoke. His voice notified the class of the difficulty that had now presented itself. The Slytherins got on with their work, not caring and sniggering into their own potions. Severus watched the events unfold. Remus and Sirius stood up to see what was happening.
'I don't know!' Lily panicked, hurriedly trying to disperse the steam that was covering the top of her potion.
'You've got to stop the leaking.' Remus said.
'I know!' Lily snapped.
The four Gryffindor students worked as a team to try and control the disaster that was now Lily's potion. It was now ruined and Lily, who was upset at this, turned her despair into anger when she saw what was floating atop her failed green potion.
'Black!' she said furiously, 'You put Bertie Bott's into my potion!'
'No I didn't.' Sirius said truthfully, defending himself.
'Then why are there jelly beans floating on my potion?' she asked him crossly, 'Just because you were too damn lazy to even attempt making your potion doesn't mean you had to go and ruin mine!'
'But I didn't ruin yours!' Sirius replied, denying all knowledge of what had happened.
'Then how did your sweets end up in there?' she questioned with raised eyebrows, the temper that paired itself with her red hair showing through.
Severus was enjoying this.
'I don't know but I didn't put them there!' Sirius barked back, not liking being shouted at when he had actually done nothing wrong, 'Prongs, back me up here!'
'Don't you dare!' Lily said to James in a deathly voice.
Now James knew both parties pretty well by this point and he knew he couldn't win. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, he knew Sirius wasn't lying because he could always tell. On the other, he knew something else was bothering Lily and she wouldn't listed to reason until he talked to her properly and found out what was actually wrong.
'I think we need to just calm-'
'Oh isn't it too late for you to start being the voice of reason?' Lily snapped at him as she took out her wand, 'It's been over two months; I think its too late for you to start acting like a sensible head boy at this point and-HEY! Give me my wand back Potter!'
Severus smiled. She had resumed referring to James Potter by his last name. A bitter action.
James held Lily's wand out of her reach. 'No.' he said firmly, 'If you keep waving it around you'll poke someone's eye out and as mad as you are at Sirius or me I don't think you'd want to be responsible for the loss of eyesight.'
'Wanna bet?' Lily warned, glaring at him angrily.
James then took action. 'Ok.' he said. He gave Lily's wand to Remus for safe keeping and took Lily gently by the arm.
'What are you doing?' she asked him angrily.
'Taking you outside.' James replied, 'You need to calm down.'
'I do not-'
'Lily.' James said to her warningly. He gave her a look which Severus couldn't see. He did see Lily's face though and he saw her give in. She turned on her heel and angrily marched out of the room.
James took a deep breath and was about to follow her, but Sirius stopped him before he could.
'I didn't do it Prongs.' he said truthfully, willing James to believe him.
'I know.' James said simply, 'Time to go be a head boy.' he carried on clapping his hands together.
Remus shook his head and watched James go. He knew that whatever James said to Lily outside the room would not be in the capacity of his role as head boy.
James closed the door behind him to ensure that they had the best possible chance of not being over heard. He then turned to Lily who was pacing back and forth in the corridor furiously, her hands on her hips. 'What's wrong?' he asked her.
'What's wrong?' Lily stated quietly, repeating his question before blowing up at him, 'What's wrong is your bloody best friend just threw sweets into my potion, a potion which is being marked! But mine can't be marked now because there's nothing left of it so I'm gonna get a T. And it's all thanks to that idiot you consider to be your best friend who you sided with!'
'Lily-' James began, waking over to her and stopping her by taking her shoulders. She didn't respond to well.
'Don't touch me!' she shouted at him, shrugging out of his grasp.
James let her. He let her carry on.
'Sometimes you and your stupid friends can be so selfish!' she went on, 'First I'm almost blinded by Lupin's bad aim and then I'm nearly burnt because whatever reacted badly with those damn sweets was corrosive. Then you! You took my wand of me! If you hadn't done that I might have been able to save my potion! Now I can't and it's all yours and Black's fault! I can't believe you did that! You should be thankful really. If I still had my wand you wouldn't be standing there!'
James waited for a couple of seconds whilst Lily breathed heavily. 'You done?' he asked her.
She didn't answer.
'Ok.' James said, 'I'm gonna assume you're done so before anything else I'm gonna say that Sirius didn't sabotage your potion.'
'I can tell when he's lying and he wasn't.' James said, cutting her off before she could go off into another rant. 'You've got to believe me on that.'
Lily still didn't answer. She looked away from him.
'Now what's wrong?' he asked her, a soothing tone in his voice.
Lily still didn't answer. She avoided eye contact with him at all costs, looking towards the floor, ceiling and walls. Anywhere but his compassionate hazel eyes.
'You can tell me.' James continued, 'You know that right?'
As soon as James had said that, Lily's bottom lip had begun to quiver. She brought her hand up to cover her eyes for she didn't want him to see her cry. That was the last thing she wanted. But it seemed she had no choice as her tears began to spill out from under her hand and run down her cheeks. She took in a deep shaky breath and felt him pull her into him. She felt his strong arms encircling her comfortingly, one of his hands stroking her long deep red hair soothingly. She rested her head on his chest and cried into it, now no longer worried about not letting him see her weep. She was over the edge now and her tears were flowing out, staining his school robes as she rested against them. There was no stopping it.
James held her in his arms for a good three minutes whilst she cried. He did his best to comfort her even though he had no idea what the reason behind her sudden fit of tears was. But he really didn't need to know. All he needed to know was that she was upset and he had to be there to hold her, and that was what happened. If she wanted to tell him what was going on she could. He would listen to her. But if she didn't that would be fine too. As it was, she did want to tell him.
She pulled away from him and wiped her eyes, apologising for crying whilst she did so, something which he just waved away. She didn't need to apologise. Lily then went on to explain what the reason behind her outburst was.
Earlier that day she had received an invitation to her sister's wedding only it wasn't what she had thought. It wasn't actually an invitation. It was a notification of her sister's upcoming nuptials with a quick note of apology stating that they simply had too many guests and she couldn't come. It was very corporate. Along with that note was a letter from her mother asking her to stay at Hogwarts for the Christmas holidays so that they could focus on Petunia's wedding which would happen the day after Lily was supposed to return home. That had upset her the most. She knew that she wasn't invited to her sister's wedding. She had known since Vernon had proposed last Christmas. That was no surprise and she thought she had come to terms with it. But whatever happened she thought would have been at home for the wedding. She thought that she'd at least have been able to wish her sister luck on her wedding day and see her. But obviously not.
James listened to her dutifully. He listened with kind compassion for there was nothing more he could do. As much as he wanted to help her, short of barging into Petunia's wedding and demanding her to let Lily watch her get married, he could do nothing, and he was pretty certain she wouldn't want him to do that anyway.
'I'm sorry Lily.' he said, stepping forwards and wiping away a tear that was running down her cheek with his thumb, 'Do you think there's a chance she could change her mind? It's a couple weeks away yet.'
'No.' Lily sniffed, shaking her head and wiping a tear away from her other cheek, 'I just thought I could be at home for her wedding even if I couldn't go.'
'Could you write to your mum?' James asked her, 'Reason with her about going home? Or your dad?'
'No its ok.' Lily said with a damp smile, appreciating James' suggestions and optimism but knowing it wouldn't work.
'I can stay with you for Christmas if you want?' he suggested, taking her hand in support.
'Thanks but don't worry about it.' Lily laughed wetly, 'That would be hard to explain to Black. He lives with you right?'
'What you doing Snape?' they both heard a voice shout from inside the classroom. They didn't know whose voice it was. They didn't know that Severus had become impatient at waiting to see if Lily had become so angry with James that she had rescinded their friendship. They didn't know that the class had heard her shouting at first and had then heard nothing. They didn't know that Remus had been out to see what was going on and had seen Lily in James' arms and they didn't know that after he went quietly back into the classroom he had watched its occupants to ensure that no one would go outside and interrupt their private moment. They didn't know they he was warning them against Severus' imminent departure. All they knew was that they were warned and, thanks to this warning, they dropped hands. But the interruption they were expecting didn't happen. Another one did.
'What are you two doing out here then?' Slughorn asked the two head students, not noticing Lily's red eyes as he approached them, bustling along down the corridor.
'Lily's potion kind of…corroded.' James said slowly, wondering if he had used the right word, 'But it was my fault sir and I was just apologising to her.' he went on, taking responsibility so that Slughorn wouldn't think Lily had gone wrong in her potion and so that Sirius wouldn't get the blame for something he hadn't actually done.
'Was there a particular reason why you ruined Miss Evans' potion Mr Potter?' Slughorn asked, not particularly impressed that someone had sabotaged his favourite students potion.
James paused. 'For a laugh?' he shrugged.
'Mmm.' Slughorn said, bobbing on his heels, 'Detention then Mr Potter. Miss Evans I wouldn't worry about your potion today. I've decided I'm not going to mark this batch as not everyone in the class seemed to be putting all their effort in today.' he carried on, looking pointedly at James. 'Oh and Mr Potter, Professor McGonagall wants to see you and Mr Black in her office. You go ahead and I'll send Mr Black after you.' he ended, walking into his classroom to fetch Sirius.
When he was gone, Lily turned to James. 'You didn't need to do that.' she said.
'Eh.' he shrugged again, 'We both know I'm used to detention.'
Lily shook her head and smiled at him. 'I'll see you later then.' she said.
'Ok.' he replied, gripping her hand in goodbye, 'Let me know if there's anything I can do. I really don't mind staying for Christmas you know.' he smiled.
And with that he dropped her hand and walked away from her on his way to Professor McGonagall's office and what was sure to be another detention whilst she turned around to go back into Potions and apologise to Sirius for shouting at him before he left to join James.
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