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! Just the one chapter today folks, sorry. Erm...I think there was confusion with the update date and it took me a while but I think I figured out why. I live in England and I think the dates are written differently here so the 29/5/2013 is the same as the 5/29/2013. The day and the month are just the opposite way round. But to avoid any confusion I will write my update dates out long hand! SOLOUTION! :)
Anyway, here's chapter Fifty-Six!
Hope you enjoy it!
The next morning, feeling elated that she was actually going to her sister's wedding, something she hadn't thought possible, Lily went into the great hall for breakfast. She was alone. She had just finished dropping Hestia off at the Hospital Wing because she had been complaining of an upset stomach, (very melodramatically), and as Alice usually had breakfast with Frank, this left her by herself. She didn't mind though. Sometimes it was nice to be alone with your thoughts. Sometimes it wasn't. This was one of those days.
She sat down in an empty space half way down the Gryffindor table and looked at the food that appeared in front of her. She reached for a slice of toast when she hesitated and looked up. Opposite where she was sat was the Slytherin table. They were all sneering at her. Well at least most of them were. She took a deep breath and shook her head to herself. They always looked at her like that. To that house, she was dirty. Dirty blood to be precise. She was a mudblood. So this wasn't anything knew to Lily and she powered through, ignoring their sneers and started to eat her breakfast.
The hall was alive with whispers. It always was. Breakfast was the time for gossip. So was lunch. And dinner. Hogwarts liked to gossip a lot. After all, even though it was a school full of witches and wizards, they were still all human. And if something newsworthy came along, Hogwarts would have a gossip-filled day. Usually Hestia told Lily all the gossip. Hestia loved knowing what was going. Lily was sure that if Hestia wasn't her best friend she wouldn't know half of what went on in that school. As it turned out, today, because Hestia wasn't well, Lily didn't know what was going on. So, her curious nature taking over, Lily turned around to see if she could catch a snippet from the Hufflepuff table behind her or the Ravenclaw table behind that.
She got a surprise. When she turned around she found at least a dozen or more eyes on her. A group of fifth year Hufflepuff girls stopped their conversation just to give her an evil look. At the opposite end of the table, a group of seventh year Hufflepuff girls did the same. On the Ravenclaw table, dotted around, were at least fourteen girls scowling at her. Joshua Hunt was scowling at her also whilst it seemed his friend Sean McEvoy tried to talk him round. Lily turned slowly back to her food. Subtly, she glanced sided to side down the Gryffindor table and found that people in her own house were doing the same. She just didn't know why.
Automatically Lily checked her clothing. Did she have something stuck to her robes? No. She picked up her knife and studied her reflection in it. Did she have something on her face? No. She ran a few fingers threw her deep red hair. Was there something tangled in it? No. She glanced over her shoulder again. More girls were glaring at her. Why were people staring at her?
'Hey.' James said as he sat down next to her. He was oblivious to the stares. People often stared at him. He continued in a whisper. 'I think I've thought of a way for us to crash your sister's…wedding. Are you ok?'
'People are staring at me.' Lily muttered through the corner of her mouth.
James looked confused. 'I think you're paranoid.' he joked.
Lily didn't laugh. She was nervous. 'No James I'm serious.' she said honestly, 'People are staring at me.'
'Don't be ridiculous.' James began, starting to turn around to check, 'No one is- everyone is staring at you.'
'I know.' Lily said through gritted teeth.
'Well what have you done?' James asked.
Lily looked at him in shock. 'Who says I've done-'
'Well, well, well!' Sirius said, interrupting Lily half way through her sentence as he sat opposite her, a mischievous smile on his handsome face. Remus sat next to him, opposite James, no change in his natural expression. Peter sat next on James' right hand side and looked at his plate. Sirius was the only clue.
'How's the happy couple?' he asked straight away, glancing between James and Lily with a smirk.
James looked at him with a frown. He couldn't know. Nobody knew apart from Hestia. He had told no one.
'What do you mean?' Lily asked, her breathing starting to get deeper.
'The happy couple.' Sirius repeated, 'Prongs and Lily.'
'Since when do you call her Lily?' James asked slowly, gulping and knowing the answer.
'Since I found out you two started going out.' Sirius grinned, 'I mean-'
'You told him!' Lily said, cutting across Sirius and turning to James with a hurt expression in her eyes, 'After I told you not to! Everyone knows!'
And with that she stood up and ran from the hall.
'Well that could-'
'Thanks a lot!' James snapped at Sirius who was once again cut off in the middle of his sentence. He got stood up also and immediately followed Lily out of the hall, trying desperately to catch up with her.
Sirius looked shocked at James' tone. He had never seen his best friend act like that. James had given him no time to talk. He had snapped at him. James never snapped at Sirius. He always played along with the joke, no matter what it was. He always found the funny side of everything. This should have been no exception. But it was. James was serious. Deadly serious. Sirius had seen that in his eyes. He watched him run out of the hall, very unsure about what had happened.
'Lily!' James called after her as he followed her running up the stairs just outside the entrance hall, not caring anymore that people were looking at the scene they were creating and knowing what it was all about. 'Lily slow down!'
Lily didn't slow down at all. She had tears brimming in her eyes as she ran down the corridor that led off of the entrance hall steps. She was making her way to the Hospital wing to see Hestia. She needed to see her best friend. She needed to get away from James but he wasn't making it easy. She couldn't bring herself to stop and look at him. Not when he had broken her trust. Not when he had done the only thing she had specifically asked him not to do. But she couldn't avoid him forever on her run because she was getting a stitch in her side from not breathing, (and not running very often). She slowed to a walk as she started to climb up another flight of stairs.
For James, it was harder to try and get in front of her when she was climbing up the stairs, especially as there was a crowd of students moving down them at the same time walking slowly to try and catch what was going on. They were making a public scene, something which Lily didn't particularly care for. He tried to talk to her as they walked.
'Lily! For Merlin's sake will you please listen to me?' he begged her, 'I don't know how everyone knows but I had nothing to do with it! You have to believe me!'
Lily stopped on the stairs, a couple of steps above him, and turned around to face him. James could see the tears in her eyes. 'Why do I?' Lily asked him rhetorically, knowing that she didn't have to do anything, least of all believe him. 'No one knew and we were doing fine! Why did you want to ruin that?'
'I didn't.' James said, urging her to believe him.
'Then how is it your best friend knows? And the rest of the school?' Lily questioned, again rhetorically. She knew he'd have no answer for her anyway. He wouldn't admit anything because of his damn pride. The ever present ego of James Potter.
Her last comment had sent the crowd that had stopped on the stairs to watch what should have been a private exchange between their two head students on their way.
James waited until they had all dispersed, until he and Lily were alone to respond to her. 'I don't know.' he answered truthfully.
'I thought so.' Lily said with a disappointed shake of her head. She turned around to walk away from him, not wanting him to see the tears that were threatening to spill out, the tears she had believed he had caused.
James didn't let her walk away from him however. He grabbed her wrist and turned her around to face him again. He was becoming angry and frustrated now because she wouldn't believe him. He had to make her see the truth he was telling her. He took a deep breath to calm himself as he began to make a make or break speech. It would either save their budding relationship or tear it to shreds and burn out like Fawkes on his burning day.
'Ok.' he began, 'Let's forget for a second that I promised you I wouldn't tell anyone about us per your request. Let's forget that for almost three months you trusted me with that secret and that, during that time, I told no one because it was what you wanted. Let's forget that I've let you call all the shots between us from the beginning. And I mean the very beginning. First year upwards. Everything that has happened between us has been down to you or on your terms. Do you really think, that after all of that, I would risk what we've got going on here? Risk losing you?'
James paused and looked into Lily's eyes, waiting for a response. When she gave him none, he carried on.
'I waited for you for six years. I know I probably didn't handle everything in the best way most the time, asking you out every day and hexing Snape etcetera. I wasn't patient to start with but I still waited and I became patient. I took everything you said to me, everything you shouted at me, on board and I tried to change myself to be someone who you could see yourself with. Change isn't easy but I did my best for you. It took six years for you to finally agree to go out with me and I don't think you realise how happy that made me.'
He paused again and looked into Lily's eyes. The tears that had been gathering there slowly were disappearing. Now she didn't look angry or hurt anymore. James went for it one last time.
'Now I don't know who found out about us. But you've got to believe that I told no one. I kept it all a secret and even when I wanted everyone to know, like with that business with Joshua Hunt, I still kept my mouth shut. Because for these past three months, even though nobody could share in it, I have been happier than I've ever been before. And that's been because of you. So tell me, do you really think that I would want that to end? Do you really think that I would ruin what I have wanted since our first year at Hogwarts? Really?'
Lily took a deep shaky breath and simply said, 'You only started to like me in third year. You asked me out for the first time in third year. Not first.'
James smiled crookedly at her, knowing that he had made her see his way and that she believed him. It was the best feeling in the world to him. Her trust added with the fact that she actually remembered the first time she had asked him out. The fact that she had actually taken notice of the time that his feelings towards her had obviously changed.
'Yeah.' he agreed, running a hand through his hair and then putting them both into his pockets, 'But first year sounded more theatrical.'
Lily looked down and smiled at the floor. She looked up at him through her eyelashes into his hazel eyes, going a bit pink at his gaze butterflies in her stomach, his long declaration from before also having an effect on her blush. He was smiling at her.
'You remembered the first time I asked you out.' he stated.
Lilly looked up at him fully now, at his handsome smirk. 'Of course.' she said, before adding teasingly, 'You remember the day someone starts to bug the hell out of you.'
'I didn't bug you before?' James asked, his smirk turning into a grin.
'Not as much.' Lily replied.
James took a deep breath, took his right hand out of his pocket, offering it to Lily. 'One way to get through this.' he said, 'Are you with me?'
Back in the main hall, Severus Snape was smiling inwardly to himself. He had seen it all unfold. He had seen his plan to break Lily's trust in James Potter and his plan to actually break them up, unfold right in front of him. He couldn't have asked for it to have gone better. He had seen Lily run from the hall, obviously upset with James not stopping to look at him when he ran after her. He knew Lily. She wouldn't listen to James at all. No, now she wouldn't give him the time of day because she had shared herself with him and he had betrayed her, or so it seemed to her. When James Potter came back into the hall, Severus would go and find Lily and she would be grateful for his company. He just had to be patient.
Of course, when James Potter did return and Severus went to find Lily, he wouldn't tell her what he had done. That would only upset her further and he didn't want to do that. Not at all. He wouldn't tell her that he had caught her snogging James Potter in the corridor the previous night. He wouldn't tell her that. He wouldn't tell her that he had returned to his dorm room and had made twenty noted copies of her secret. He wouldn't tell her that. He wouldn't tell her that earlier that morning he had sent out all twenty of these notes, five to each house table and had let the gossip spread like wild fire. No. He wouldn't tell her any of those things. He would comfort her and tell her that he loved her as he should have done so many times before. That was his plan now. He just had to be patient.
But patience wasn't the problem. He could have had all the patience in the world and it wouldn't have made and ape of a difference. For he had underestimated the connection James had forged with Lily. He had underestimated James' ability to talk her round. He had underestimated the truth.
James Potter walked back into the hall, confidence oozing. He had sureness written across his face and a kind of giddy happiness behind his eyes because, following him into the hall, her hand entwined strongly in his, was Lily Evans. Severus' Lily. Only she wasn't his anymore. She hadn't been his for a long time. She didn't seem as confident as James Potter. She looked nervous, hating the eyes that had swivelled towards them when they had walked in the hall together, not knowing that two of these eyes belonged to Severus and that they were the only ones expressing real pain.
James led Lily into the hall, holding her hand for support.
Lily looked around apprehensively, uncertain about this. She knew that this was the only way to get past this barrier that had presented itself before then, too soon in her opinion, but she didn't think she could manage it. Not like James seemed to be able too. 'James I really don't think I can do this.' she whispered to him tersely.
'Yeah you can.' James assured her, squeezing her hand as they walked past people whispering about them and people staring at them.
'No I really can't.' Lily said, almost stopping.
James didn't let her stop though. He knew she had to get over this hurdle and she wouldn't thank herself later if she bailed out on the opportunity. So, still holding her hand tightly in his, he put his arm around her, holding it around her waist so that her arm was crossed over her flat stomach. He held her to his side in encouragement and said, 'I'm right here next to you. Just ignore them.' knowing it was easier said than done as almost everyone in the hall seemed to be thoroughly captivated by their appearance, whispering and staring at them as they passed by. So he continued to talk to distract her as they walked the last stretch of floor to their seats by his friends.
'Besides,' he started with a smile, 'people would have figured it out sooner or later if I kept turning up with your lipstick on. We'd have had to tell them about us…that or how I like to dress up in drag at the weekends and I think I'd prefer that to stay private for now.' he ended jokingly.
'That should always stay private James.' Lily said with a small laugh as they sat down together, having made the walk, (which had seemed like a lifetime for Lily), from the entrance hall to their seats.
As they sat down, Lily opposite Sirius, James opposite Remus and next to Peter on his left hand side, Lily gave a small smile to the other marauders. Remus smiled back at her kindly, Peter avoided her but he avoided practically everyone, and Sirius grinned broadly at her bobbing his eyebrows in strong insinuation. He carried on until James kicked him under the table to stop.
They sat in a tense silence, James filling his and Lily's plates with breakfast for he had a feeling that she wouldn't eat otherwise. Remus, Sirius and Peter watched him do this. They watched him as he poured her out a bowl of Cheeri Owls, making sure there was no powdery substance falling into the bowl as he knew she didn't like that. They watched him as he grabbed her a couple of slices of toast, buttering one and putting jam on the other. They watched him with raised eyebrows and a sort of fascination for they had never seen James act like this before. Not even Sirius had seen him act like this before. This was new.
Lily didn't notice what he was doing though. She could still feel everyone in the hall looking at her. 'James they're still staring at me.' she said to him.
'Cause you're so pretty.' James replied simply, depositing her toast on her plate. It seemed that Sirius had done her the favour of eat the toast she had had earlier.
'You're a suck up.' she whispered playfully to him.
'Only to you.' he said with a smirk, now buttering his own toast.
'And me!' Sirius said joining into their conversation for he felt left out by his best friend. After all, he should be the one with the attention. He always got attention.
James looked up at him with raised eyebrows. 'And him.' he conceded, gesturing to Sirius with his knife, 'Not him though.' he continued, now motioning his knife towards Remus. He missed Peter out.
'Why not him?' Lily asked James in reference to Remus.
'He's just not worth it.' Sirius said simply with a mouthful of muffin, spraying some crumbs out in front of him just short of Lily. Lily looked disgusted but James, Remus and Peter seemed to be used to it.
'Thanks.' Remus muttered.
The conversation ended there. Peter looked down at his plate and continued to pick at his breakfast. Remus carried on as normal. Lily bit her lip nervously, a tad uneasy at the new situation. She glanced at James who smiled at her supportively. Sirius sat in front of the pair looking back and forth between them, watching their silent exchange whilst chewing hungrily on his muffin.
'Well!' he said, trying to break the silence, 'This isn't awkward at all!'
James looked up at his best friend and laughed a single breathless laugh. 'Is now.' he commented.
'Already was.' Sirius muttered under his breath.
James shook his head at Sirius and smirked mischievously. 'You've got butter in your hair.' he stated.
Sirius acted exactly the way James knew he would and the tension between the small group was broken. They all relaxed into their friendship and everyday personas, accepting the new relationship that had just been brought out into the open with no extra fuss. Exactly how James and Lily had wanted it to be.
'What?' Sirius yelled, immediately throwing his head forwards to search his silky black locks for the aforementioned butter. But when he heard James laughing at him, he slowly raised his head and sent his best friend a dramatically evil stare. 'That's cruel prongs.' he said, shaking his head at James' trick on him before going into his, 'I love me who do you love' routine which James, Remus and Peter were often treated to on occasions like this. 'You're just jealous of my stunning good looks.' he said arrogantly, smoothing down his hair and checking himself out conceitedly in his knife. He was very vain.
'Yeah.' James said sarcastically with a roll of his eyes, 'That's it!'
'You and Moony have always been jealous of me!' Sirius went on to boast, placing his hand across his heart in an attempt to look valiant. It didn't work.
'Why would anyone be jealous of you?' Lily queried in a joking manner, joining in on the conversation hoping to distract herself from the many stares she and James were still receiving.
Sirius paused and let his hand drop to the table looking at her with a neutral expression before turning to James and saying, 'Prongs she's mean. Break up with her.'
'No I agree with her.' James chuckled much to Sirius' fake dislike as he took a bite of his toast.
Playing on his role as being the most dramatic, Sirius took in an almighty fake gasp which earned him a small giggle from Lily. He then huffed a quick sigh and turned to Remus for support. 'Well Moony doesn't do you?' he asked him, fully expecting him to agree with him. After all he had no reason not to.
Remus didn't oblige. He looked around the table saying, 'Was that someone calling my name?' as a way to avoid Sirius' question.
'Moony!' Sirius said in shock before pretending to be hurt, 'How could you?'
'I really think it was' Remus continued with his gag before turning to Peter to get him involved. 'Was that you Peter?' he asked him.
Peter mumbled under his breath which no one, not even James who was sat next to him, could hear. James shook his head and affectionately ruffled the straw like hair of his wordless friend.
Sirius sneered at the action but swiftly moved on to switch the topic of conversation and attention back to himself. 'See!' he said loudly and proudly, 'That's your jealousy of me right there! Actions speak louder than words my friend!'
James and Remus silently looked at each other and smirked. Then, simultaneously, as if they had repeated the same action many times before, they both picked up a muffin and lazily threw it at Sirius' face; James' aimed well and hitting his forehead and Remus', (who couldn't throw), just hitting his cheek.
'Hey!' Sirius said as he raised his arms from the sudden onslaught of muffins which bounced off of his face and scattered across the table out of his reach so he couldn't even eat them.
'Actions speak louder than words my friend!' James grinned, mimicking Sirius' earlier statement and using it against him.
'Well what was that action supposed to say?' Sirius asked now starting to load his plate with more food as he hadn't realised during his theatrics that his plate was empty and for Sirius, an empty plate was just not acceptable.
'That you piss us off.' James smirked.
'And we want you to shut up.' Remus added.
'It's a long shot but we thought we'd give it a try.' James shrugged, helping himself to another slice of toast.
By this point, half the people in the hall had become bored and had stopped focusing their attention on their head students as they had just acted as naturally as possible. James and Lily, more James than Lily, had acted as if nothing had changed, as if nothing was happening and the school wasn't watching their every move. They acted as if this breakfast was just the same as the day before. So the hall hadn't gotten what it had expected when the news about the new relationship between one of the most popular boys in school and the girl he had chased for many years had arrived. Still, it didn't stop some of them watching to see if anything interesting would happen. Not that the marauders cared by this point. They were carrying on as normal.
'You could have just asked.' Sirius went on in a mumble.
'Would you have done it?' Remus asked him with an exhausted derisive look. The question was pointless. He knew the answer.
'No.' Sirius said after a small thoughtful pause.
Remus and James looked at each other again and once more grabbed a couple of muffins each to throw at Sirius. The first two had hit him. The second two he caught quickly as the group laughed together.
'See, your words say you want me to shut up but your actions say you want me to eat.' Sirius said as he peeled the cake casing off of one of the muffins he had caught, dropping the other on his plate and taking a large bite. He spoke with his mouthful. 'You're gonna have to make your minds up.' he said matter of factly as if he was the boss of the group.
'Just eat your food princess.' Remus said to him as he himself went back to his own breakfast.
'Moony!' Sirius whined, spraying him with food he was trying to eat as he turned to face Remus, 'You promised not to call me that anymore!'
'I lied.' Remus said simply with a shrug as if he didn't care which, in all fairness, he didn't.
'Prongs!' Sirius moaned.
'Calm down.' James chuckled, before placatingly adding, 'We just sent your tiara out to be cleaned. You'll have it back in no time.'
'I hope you haven't sent it to the same place as last time.' Sirius said, now playing along with the joke as it was James who was making it. It seemed as if whatever joke James made, Sirius would play along with, even if he had just rejected it from someone else moments before. 'They tarnished the metal.' he went on.
'Well this has been fun but I think that I've take all the stares I can for today.' Lily sighed to the group. She had tried to ignore the stare and had done so for ten minutes, most of them disappearing but a few were ever present, burning into the back of her head and she just couldn't take it anymore. Hestia was definitely right about that. She turned and spoke solely to James. 'I'm gonna go check on Hestia and leave you to chat to your girlfriends.' she smiled.
'We're guys.' Sirius corrected her in offence.
'Sorry. Boyfriends.' Lily said, turning to smile at Sirius in her joke. She was then about to get up to leave but James stopped her, determined to jump over all the hurdles in one sitting.
'If we're doing this we're doing this properly.' he said seriously, now ignoring his friends who were watching their interaction. But he didn't care. He enjoyed attention usually and revelled in it. Now he ignored it in favour of Lily.
'You've become very demanding lately.' Lily pointed out with narrowed eyes, doing her best to ignore the fact that they were being watched but not succeeding in it as well as James. Her eyes kept flickering away from his to look around her.
'Yeah but you like it.' James smirked, sure of himself.
'Not sure I do.' Lily shook her head.
'Still got to do this properly.' he repeated with a raise of his eyebrows and a serious look.
'You make it sound like a chore.' Lily scowled playfully at him.
'Sometimes is with you.' James replied with a simple shrug of his shoulders and the hints of a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
'You know you like a challenge.' Lily stated.
James leant closer to her and lowered his voice, now, for the first time, very aware and a little self-conscious about the people in the hall watching them. 'And I know that you don't like making public scenes so unless you want me to chase you through the hall again…' he said before he breathed deeply to finally say, 'Give the people what they want.'
It was the last hurdle. If it wasn't now then all eyes would be on them until it happened and Lily knew this. It was all rather pressurised, something which hadn't been present for them since their third date. But the pressure was back and it needed to be done and gotten out of the way. So, with most the eyes in the hall on her, Lily swallowed deeply, placed her right hand on James' cheek and closed the gap between them, kissing his lips for a short amount of time before pulling away. She could feel the blush creeping up into her cheeks as James smirked at her, his permanent expression. So she said her goodbyes and swiftly exited the hall, the student body's curiosity hopefully satisfied.
James watched her walk out of the hall, his smirk still on his face. He then turned to his friends who were smiling insinuatingly at him and simply said to them, 'She never usually turns red.'
And with that, at the same time, Remus and Sirius stood up to give James a mocking standing ovation. They were the only ones. No one joined in. Well Peter tried to but James pulled him down. It was there inside joke because they had always said if James was to ever get Lily to go out with him, he would deserve a round of applause. And that's exactly what he got from them.
He let them carry on for around five second, raising one eyebrow and shaking his head at their behaviour, before he said calmly, 'All right guys cut it out.'
Slowly, Sirius and Remus stopped clapping. Sirius then turned to Remus. 'We've known about this for twenty minutes and I already don't like it.' he said. Before, James would have taken the round of applause and would have perhaps given a little bow but now, out of respect for Lily and worry that it might get back to her, he didn't and he stopped them quickly. For Sirius, this wasn't right and he didn't like it.
'Speak for yourself.' Remus sighed, sitting back down and returning to his breakfast, 'I've known about it for twenty days.'
'Wait!' Sirius said loudly holding up his hand in a stop action. He was still stood up. 'You told him and not me? Prongs!' he then started to go into a quick but short ramble, 'That's it! You're fired as my best friend. Peter you've been promoted…' Sirius paused as if he was thinking better of the decision, looking at Peter with a slightly disgusted sneer.
Peter looked up with wide eyes at being addressed. He wasn't particularly part of the conversation. He had no experience in the area of girls unlike Sirius and, now, James. Remus didn't have experience either as he always shielded himself from girls saying they wouldn't want to go out with a werewolf anyway. But what he lacked in experience, he made up for in knowledge. The marauders had yet to find a topic that Remus didn't know at least something about.
'Actually,' Sirius said, his voice returning to a normal volume as he finally sat down from his standing ovation, 'I'll give you another chance Prongs. All you gotta do is explain why you told him and not me.'
'Hey I told him nothing.' James said in defence as he picked up the slice of toast that Lily hadn't eaten from her plate and took a bite.
'Then how do you know?' Sirius asked Remus with a frown. If what James had said was true, and Sirius had no reason to believe it wasn't, then how had Remus known about that secret relationship?
'Elementary my dear Watson.' Remus replied.
Sirius' frown deepened. He looked extremely confused. 'Huh?' he questioned loudly, making it well known that he had no idea what Remus was on about. Personally he thought he was going a bit mad. He had known him for six and a half years, his hole Hogwarts career. Surely he knew his name by now? 'What's that supposed to mean?' Sirius wondered aloud, 'Who's Watson?'
'Character from a muggle book.' James responded, taking another bit of the toast he had claimed as his. He munched his way through it for five seconds before he realised that Sirius, Remus and Peter had all turned to look at him in muddled inquiry. It wasn't like James to know something like that. That was Remus' forte. He swallowed his toast and explained, 'Lily told me about it.'
Sirius narrowed his eyes and leant over to Remus to stage whisper noisily so that James could still hear him, 'This is weird. She teaches him things. Not even the Professors can do that.'
James chuckled and tore off a bit of his toast to throw at Sirius. Sirius caught it and shoved it in his mouth earning another chuckle form James before he turned to Remus and asked, still carrying on with the muggle reference, 'Alright Sherlock how'd you figure it out?'
'Well,' Remus said, putting down the muffin he was picking his way through so that he could focus his attention on the upcoming conversation, 'you remember that day in Hogsmeade when we went into the three broomsticks and sat in the same booth as Evans and Jones, McEvoy and Joshua Hunt?' he asked.
'Git-face? Sure.' James replied, casually shrugging it off even though it still bugged him deep down.
'The story you told.' Remus said in the start of an explanation.
'Yeah?' James recalled after a moment. He remembered the story told, the lie about why they had been whispering together. He had said that Lily was telling him off for being a bad head boy and had used the patrol where he helped someone break into Professor Linkedin's office as an example.
'Yeah that happened on patrol with me not Evans.' Remus pointed out.
'Oh yeah.' James realised before cursing at his own stupidity, 'Crap! I forgot you were there.'
'That was it?' Sirius pondered with a quizzical expression, (a big feat for him), 'That's how you figured it out?' he continued before adding with a nod of his head, 'Wow your smart.'
'That wasn't just it.' Remus continued.
'So you're not smart?' Sirius smirked, poking fun at Remus who turned to look at him slowly, obviously unimpressed. Sirius' smirk faded. 'Just saying…' he muttered with a small shrug.
Remus shook his head at Sirius once before turning back to James to continue with his explanations of how he had come to figure out James and Lily's secret. 'You were holding her hand under the table, you disappeared to go see Dumbledore which wasn't possible because we went into the hogs head after you left and saw him in there.' Remus accounted.
'Oh yeah…' Sirius murmured, lifting his head and staring into the distance as he remembered himself, Remus and Peter, (along with Arabella who was his date for the day), going into the Hogs Head only to walk straight back out of it when they had seen their headmaster in there. It was a dingy pub anyway and they didn't particularly like it. Avoiding their headmaster was just an excuse to leave.
'So it was just the Hogsmeade trip?' James asked Remus, wanting to establish his slip up, mostly to see if there was anything he could have done differently to hide it. Not that he could change anything now anyway. He was just speculating.
Remus took a deep breath before going into a list of reasons which had tipped him off to what was really going on in James' life over the past twenty days. 'No.' he said, 'There was you wanting to go to Slughorn's Halloween party. You always took at least one patrol together. You kept turning up wearing lipstick-'
'I dress in drag.' James cut in, making a joke, the same he had made to Lily earlier.
'Me too!' Sirius confirmed happily.
'Yeah…' James said with an awkward pause and a frown, 'I was joking.'
Sirius' face dropped. 'Me too…' he established uncertainly.
After this rather uncomfortable declaration which had automatically been rescinded, Remus went on with his list of clues to James' relationship with Lily whilst Sirius tried with all his might to clarify his revelation.
'More often than not I'd wake up in the middle of the night and you'd be gone-' Remus said.
'It was just the one time!' Sirius burst out.
'-you checked the patrol rota with her more times than necessary considering it was posted on the notice board and you helped create it-' Remus continued, ignoring Sirius.
'I was eight.' Sirius said, hauntingly dramatic.
'You took her outside to talk to her in that Potions lesson. I walked out and saw you hugging her.' Remus stated.
'It was my mother's night dress.' Sirius recalled with loathing remembrance.
'You became more excited about Transfiguration lessons because you sit next to her now-' Remus went on with a monotonic tone for his list now.
'But it wasn't just me!' Sirius surged through.
'-you kept going to the library which just isn't your thing-'
'My brother was in there too!'
'-she dragged you off yesterday to Merlin knows where-'
'I mean that thing was huge!'
'-and then I also walked in on you two in the Quidditch changing room where she was practically stripping you.' Remus finished offhandedly.
'But we didn't wear heels or make up and-' Sirius paused, his mind just registering Remus' words. 'Evans was stripping you?' he asked James with a head tilt before congratulating him as boys do, offering him a hand in high five. 'Nice!' he said.
James didn't take the high five and instead, out of respect for Lily, he clarified what they were actually doing in the Quidditch changing room before Sirius got the wrong idea. 'She wasn't stripping me she was doing the buttons up on my shirt. I'd done them wrong.' he said, shrugging the insinuation away.
Sirius took his hand down. 'So you haven't-'
'No.' James cut into the question, knowing what it was going to be anyway and answering truthfully. He wasn't the type of person to lie about such a thing just for the approval of his friends. Other things yes, but not that. Not like Sirius who he was sure had over-embellished some of the stories he told. Not all of his stories though as he had dated many girls and it wasn't implausible. He had disappeared with one girl or another on more than one occasion when they were in Hogsmeade. But most of his brags had to be exaggerated just because he was the only one in the group who had actually gone so far. Remus hadn't because of his own reservations to do with his lycanthropy. Peter definitely hadn't. And James had had his eye on Lily.
Remus changed the topic. Not completely but enough. 'When'd you get together?' he asked, knowing they had been together far longer than the twenty days he had known about. The bond they had shown just over a simple breakfast had proved that.
'I asked her out second day back at school.' James answered, relieved for a change of subject.
'That's almost three months!' Sirius exclaimed, shocked that his best friend had kept something from him for that long.
'Glad to know you've finally worked out how to read a calendar.' James said with a sarcastic smirk.
'Thanks!' Sirius said proudly, taking the compliment. Sarcastic or not; it was a compliment.
'So you asked her out on the Friday, when'd you take her out?' Remus queried, now actually going back to the breakfast he had discarded to reel of his list of clues to James. He picked at his muffin again, not unlike Peter was doing. But Remus was picking at his muffin because it was something to do. Peter was picking at his muffin because he wasn't involved in the conversation about girls and relationships. He never was unless he was the butt of the joke.
'Sunday.' James stated, the date imprinted in his mind, emblazoned across the back of his head. It was a Sunday in September. The fourth.
'Can't have done.' Sirius butted in adamantly with a shake of his head, 'You were with us all day Sunday and we had Quidditch trials.' he remembered. Again, a big feat for him.
James simply raised his eyebrows at him once and smiled mysteriously. They would never know. He turned back to Remus. 'So that's how you knew.' he clarified.
'Pretty much.' Remus shrugged.
'Why didn't you say anything?' James asked.
'Seemed like you didn't want us to know.' Remus brushed off.
'Fair enough.' James said hidden thanks in his voice.
There was a pause before Sirius started.
'I mean, I knew there was something going on too.' he said in pretend cockiness, 'Best friend intuition…' he paused, trying to make them believe him which they didn't. 'I knew…I knew something was going on…'
James turned the conversation subject around. 'So Sirius dresses up in drag?' he said.
Thanks for reading!
I will update on 5th June 2013