Five Minutes

Chapter 62

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

Hello reader!

Here's chapter Sixty-Two

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Sixty-Two

When it came to the topic of Lily Evans, Severus Snape was completely unmotivated. His plan to break her trust in her friends, to isolate her away from them and force her to see he was her only true friend had failed. Admittedly he had only actually tried to break her trust in the marauders but if he hadn't succeeded in breaking her trust in them, her newest friends and the boys she used to despise, how on earth was he supposed to be able to break her trust in Hestia Jones or Alice Prewett? They had been friends with his Lily for far too long now. Their bond was too strong and, as much as Severus hated it, he had to admit there was nothing he could do there. He could do nothing about any of it anymore. Lily was friends with the marauders, Hestia Jones and Alice Prewett and she was dating James Potter. Severus believed he could do nothing to change that anymore. All he had left now were his Slytherin colleagues.

They weren't his friends. They hadn't even remembered his birthday which had just passed. Severus didn't like any of them. Even sat around with them in the Slytherin common room as he was at the moment, he didn't feel invested in any sort of communication with them. They were talking. He wasn't listening. He hardly ever listened to them but he knew what they'd be talking about and if he tuned into their drone like voices for a moment, he could confirm his suspicions.

'…it's happening for us now!' Bellatrix was saying excitedly, 'We are finally being taken notice of!'

'Took long enough.' Wilkes said in a bored voice.

'What do you mean?' Rabastan Lestrange asked Bellatrix.

It was then that Severus noticed the two new additions to their group. They were two of the three new potential death eaters from the meetings in the Christmas holidays. Obviously they had been charged with taking care of them and steering them the right way. Severus hadn't noticed till now and he didn't particularly care. He didn't like either of them.

The first was Rabastan Lestrange, the boy who had just spoken to Bellatrix. He was sat closer to her and Severus presumed it was because she was matched up with his older brother. As pureblood wizards, they didn't have a lot of choice for spouses and some families preferred to pick partners for their children. Severus was sure Bellatrix wasn't particularly interested in Rodolphus Lestrange, too committed to Voldemort. He was sure that if she could have him instead she would. Not that Severus really cared. She could marry a goblin and he wouldn't give a toss. He didn't like her. She took too much pleasure in it all. Still, it seemed she was looking after Rabastan. Whether she wanted too Severus didn't know, but she was doing it.

The second was Regulus Black. Severus didn't like him either but that was more on principle. He reminded him too much of his older brother Sirius Black. He looked very similar to him with his black hair and grey eyes and haughty good looks. Every time Severus looked at him he wanted to shoot a curse or a hex at him. Just send some sort of painful spell his way and watch him take it. But he had to keep reminding himself that Regulus Black wasn't Sirius Black. Apart from their similarities in looks, there was nothing else remotely comparable about them. And Regulus was going to be a death eater soon. Severus had to respect his dedication to the Dark Lord.

'The Daily Prophet printed news of our attack in Chelsea.' Avery explained to Rabastan.

'And they've not stopped reporting it since.' Mulciber said with an evil grin appearing on his face.

Severus zoned out again. No, the Daily Prophet hadn't stopped printing news about the death eater attack in Chelsea, London since it had happened three weeks ago now. It didn't bother Severus. It meant things were about to change. What did bother him was that Avery, Wilkes, Mulciber and Bellatrix hadn't stopped talking about it for the whole week they had been back at Hogwarts. And now, because Regulus and Rabastan had joined them, they were going through the whole conversation yet again. If Regulus and Rabastan had just read the paper this wouldn't be happening.

Severus had read the paper. He had read it that first day after their attack. And excited as he had been to read it, it wasn't the first thing on his mind. Lily was. He had been waiting for the Daily Prophet and the article that proved that Voldemort was now considered a very serious and real threat to the wizarding world and, before he saw Lily that was all that was on his mind. He couldn't wait to see the Daily Prophet finally admit that the wizarding world was in, what they referred to as 'turmoil'. Then he had heard the familiar cracks of apparation where he was hiding and stumbled upon James Potter dropping Lily off home after she had stayed at his for the night. After that, all thoughts of the Chelsea attacks were put out of his mind.

All he could think of then was Lily. Why had Lily been at James Potter's house? He knew what James had said, what he had smirked about and insinuated but that could have just been to torture him before the arrogant git cursed him and knocked him out. Severus didn't want to believe it. He couldn't believe that Lily would do that. And with James Potter nonetheless. It wasn't possible. It couldn't be possible.

Severus zoned back into the conversation that was happening around him.

'…then we'll finally be able to show them which house is best.' Avery was saying.

'If the Dark Lord has his way, and I sincerely hope he gets it, Slytherin will be the only house at Hogwarts.' Mulciber said.

Severus zoned out again. They were still on the same sort of topic only this time it was centred around what Voldemort would do when he finally came into power. When he finally took over to run things in the wizarding world the way they should be run. They had been talking about this subject endlessly too. It was boring Severus now. All their ideas about what Voldemort would do were stupid to be perfectly frank. Yes he probably could instigate a policy where everyone must prove their heritage. Yes he probably could put in place a system where the muggles began work for them. But under no circumstances could Voldemort gain control of Hogwarts. Severus believed in Voldemort and his cause but he wasn't stupid. Voldemort was still no match for Dumbledore and Dumbledore would never hand over the keys to Hogwarts willingly. He'd have to kill him. And that wasn't ever likely to happen.

Severus agreed with them on some points though. Slytherin should be the only house at Hogwarts. Lily should have been in Slytherin. Severus had wanted her to be but, of course she couldn't be. He had known that really but he had still hoped. She was muggleborn, a mudblood, unworthy of Salazar Slytherin's house of purity. And now that she was with James Potter, she was even less worthy to be in a house of purity. She wasn't pure anymore thanks to him.

Slytherin was a great house in Severus' opinion. People undervalued it and thought that snakes and scroungers and just generally bad people came out of his house but that simply wasn't true. Not always. He didn't think he was a bad person. He was just fighting for what he believed in. How could anyone blame him for that? If people, if Lily looked at things properly, she would see that he was a far better person than James Potter. After all, he didn't strut around the school as a pointless head boy hexing and cursing everyone in sight like James did. And if Severus did curse anyone they probably deserved it. It was all justified. Like when he defended himself against James Potter. It was justified.

Lily thought James Potter had changed but she was wrong. Proof and point was when he had seen them in the park and what had happened after Lily left. James Potter had returned to his usual arrogant self and had cursed Severus, knocking him out cold. He had provoked Severus into shooting the first curse but, in the end, Severus knew that James Potter would curse him anyway. He had been cursing him since first year. The only time he hadn't cursed him was throughout sixth year. Severus knew why. It was to prove to Lily he had changed, to manipulate her thought of him so that she would become his friend, fall for him and go out with him. If only Severus could prove to Lily that that had all been an act. He could prise her away from James Potter if she knew he had returned to his old ways.

A brainwave overtook Severus. James Potter was back to his old ways. He had cursed him once, who was to say he wouldn't do it again. If James Potter cursed him and Lily saw then she would finally realise that James Potter was a good-for-nothing bully and she would believe Severus when he told her that he hadn't changed. Severus' only problem would be getting Lily to witness it. He could get James Potter to curse him, no problem. He would be more than happy to comply in that area, Severus was sure. But he sincerely doubted that he would hex Severus in front of Lily If he did that, his act would be ruined. So really, the only way Severus could prove to Lily that James Potter was still a bully, would be if he used a curse on him that had lasting effects. Visible effects. Like a stinging jinx or something. But that might not happen straight away. Severus would have to be patient. And for this, patience was a price he was willing to pay.

'He lives!' Remus said.

'He breathes!' Peter said.

'Yippee.' Sirius muttered.

James walked into the kitchens through the portrait of the bowl of fruit which served as the entrance. His grin from when Remus and Peter had greeted him was quickly replaced with a frown from Sirius' comment. With his hands in his pockets, he walked over to his friends who were sat on one of the long tables which ran the length of the kitchen being served and assortment of food by the Hogwarts house elves. He stopped and sat down next to Sirius. 'What's up with you?' he asked him.

'Nothing.' Sirius mumbled, rolling his eyes and looking away from James.

James raised a single eyebrow. 'Obviously.' he said sarcastically but left it there. The whole group had enough sense to leave it there. They didn't know what was wrong with Sirius but if he wouldn't tell James what was bothering him then they knew he wouldn't tell anyone. It wasn't worth pursuing the topic.

Remus changed the subject. 'Where's Evans?' he said, taking another bowl of jelly off of one of the house elves and sliding it across the table to James who caught it effortlessly, 'Thought you'd be with her.'

'Jones dragged her away.' James sighed miserably as if he would much rather be with his girlfriend than sitting around in the kitchens pigging out on jelly with his friends. In all honesty, he probably would be. 'Says I've been hogging her and she wants a girly night.' he went on, taking one of the spoons from the middle of the table and shoving it into his jelly.

Remus chuckled at James' sigh. Peter was expressionless. Sirius wasn't. He rolled his eyes at the conversation being once again turned to Lily Evans. He had had to cope with it steadily becoming all about her since he found out about them before and during the Christmas break. He had tried to be supportive, knowing how much James liked Lily, even going so far as trying to convince her to give James a chance when he didn't know that they were together, but it wasn't easy when he felt as if he was always being passed over for her. Sirius didn't like to be passed over for anyone, especially the girl who had turned his best friend down so many times in the past. But that didn't seem to matter to James now.

'What does that mean?' Remus asked James with a slight frown.

'No idea.' James shrugged, wobbling his jelly on his spoon, 'Only clue I got was Lily said her nails were fine.'

Remus tipped his head onto the side and continued through with his frown. 'Nails?' he queried.

'No idea.' James replied, shoving his spoonful of jelly into his mouth. He had no idea what Lily's nails had to with Hestia Jones wanting a girly night. He had no idea what a girly night consisted of. How was it different from any other night? He'd have to ask Lily about it later.

'How's things going with you two then?' Peter asked James meekly, trying to be a part of the conversation. For once, he believed he had found the right subject to run with.

'Well actually-' James began with a smirk.

'Did you read the Daily Prophet today?' Sirius cut him off with a serious face. He didn't want to talk about Lily Evans again. He had had enough of James talking about her. He wanted a different conversation and didn't particularly care what subject he changed it too. This was the first thing that popped into his head.

James frowned at Sirius' interruption. 'No.' he said before adding curiously, 'Why? Did you?'

Sirius paused and looked at James for a moment before nodding his head slightly and saying, 'Yeah.'

'I didn't know you could read.' James smirked, taking another mouthful of his strawberry jelly, snickering slightly at his own jibe.

'Me either.' Peter said, jumping on the band wagon having feeling a bit deflated at his choice of conversation being passed over and cut off buy Sirius.

'It's a miracle!' Remus joined in, throwing his spoon in his bowl having finished his own helping of jelly. Immediately, his bowl was swept away by one of the Hogwarts house elves only to be replaced by a huge plate of chocolate éclairs, something which all four boys greatly appreciated.

'Bless Merlin he'll be able to take his N.E.W.T's.' James said, reaching forwards and taking an éclair. He ripped it up, the cream inside, spurting out from inside, and dropped it into his jelly before mixing them together.

'Ahh N.E.W.T's.' Remus exhaled, taking one of the éclairs but eating it normally unlike James. 'The bane of my existence!' he continued.

It was true. They had been back at Hogwarts from their Christmas break for just over a week and the professors had been piling on the homework and the study work and the quick-paced lessons. They had been revising every topic they had ever learnt. Remus had never been so exhausted from studying before. Plus he had just had the full moon so he was even more tired thanks to that. It was why he had agreed to come down to the kitchens with Sirius in the first place. He needed a break from it all but it seemed that even in the sacred space of the kitchens, N.E.W.T's invaded them.

'I know.' James said, filling the inside of one of the bits of éclair that he had torn up, where the cream used to be, with jelly using his spoon as a tool, 'All Lily seems to do is study for them.'

Sirius rolled his eyes. They were back on the subject of Lily Evans again. Yippee.

'And what do you do?' Remus asked James with raised eyebrows.

James stopped filling his éclair with jelly and looked up at Remus with a serious face. 'I study too.' he said.

'Really?' Remus asked sceptically.

'No.' James conceded, continuing to fill up his creamless éclair, 'I watch her study and I doodle. But she thinks I study and it impresses her so-'

'Dude you got her already!' Remus laughed, watching James put down his spoon and take a huge bite of jelly filled éclair, 'You don't need to keep trying to impress-'

'They're asking for the Ministers resignation.' Sirius interrupted Remus, just as he had interrupted James only moment before. Only Sirius wasn't interrupting Remus to carry on with the line of conversation which their group just couldn't seem to escape from. Sirius interrupted to change the topic to one which didn't make him want to throw his bowl against the wall or use a silencing charm on James. He moved back onto the conversation he had tried to start earlier.

'What?' Remus asked with a frown, wondering what was behind Sirius' sudden seriousness, no pun intended.

'In the Daily Prophet.' Sirius stated, cream from his chocolate éclair sticking to the corners of his lips.

'Wait.' James said, holding up a hand, a completely shocked look on his face, 'You actually read the Daily Prophet?'

'Yeah.' Sirius said, using the sleeve of his robes to wipe the cream away from his mouth, 'I already said I did.'

'I thought you were joking.' James chuckled, finding the funny side as he so often did. Sirius didn't.

'Why would that be a joke?' he replied, not his usual self who would laugh at something James found funny because they invariably shared the same sense of humour. Not this time though.

James' chuckle died out slowly and a little awkwardly. 'You. Reading.' he shrugged, 'It was funny.'

Sirius turned away from James and talked to Remus instead, something which confused James no end. After all, it was usually him and Sirius who ran the conversation, being the ring leaders, or him and Remus, making fun of Sirius. He had never been the third person, (Peter didn't really count). It really confused him. He couldn't figure out what was wrong with Sirius. Usually he'd tell him. Wouldn't he?

'It's cause of the attack in Chelsea.' Sirius said to Remus who was looking at him with a frown, puzzled at his blatant ignorance of James. 'They say the Ministers been covering things up.' Sirius continued, for once in his life actually invested in a conversation of substance to the real world instead of topics based on food or hexing the Slytherins or the next prank they could pull. All three of his friends stepped around this warily, wondering what it was all about. They didn't stop to think that it could be because Sirius was just fed up about James going on about Lily.

'Well that's obvious.' Remus said, glancing briefly at James who was still looking confused at Sirius turning away from him. He shrugged at Remus who returned his baffled look.

Sirius continued on with his subject, disregarding his friends' stunned silence. 'They want his resignation. They want Dumbledore.' he said matter of factly.

'That'll never happen.' Remus went on, proceeding with Sirius in his conversation out of mere curiosity, 'Dumbledore doesn't want to be Minister.'

'Well unless they want another attack like Chelsea they need to get someone in like him.' Sirius said, taking a huge mouthful of éclair. He had polished of three already. This would be his fourth and he still had another one in his hand. He was like a machine when it came to éclairs.

'Mum said that attack was awful.' James inputted, not liking Sirius blanking him out.

'So did mine.' Peter put in. He was talking for the same reason as James was only James would never know it. Peter always entered like that because he had never been one of the leaders like James had.

'Really Pete?' Remus asked Peter in an attempt to include him into the conversation. He noticed that they left him out sometimes and always tried to rectify it. But Peter always made it hard because he would say something and just leave it.

'Wouldn't let me out of the house.' Peter squeaked, leaving it there as Remus knew he would.

'That's tough.' Remus continued, trying his hardest to keep Peter involved and going along a line of conversation which he had started. 'My dad wanted me out of the house.'

'Why?' Sirius asked, food spraying out of his mouth and landing a short distance in front of him on the table.

'Felt safer when I wasn't there.' Remus explained with a grimace. He hated the reason his father didn't want him near him, especially as it was originally his fault. If he hadn't tried to get one over on a werewolf Remus wouldn't have the life he had now. He wouldn't be forced to go under a painful transformation every month, a transformation which caused his dad to swap between feeling guilty all the time or feeling unsafe and anxious. 'All to do with Greyback.' Remus continued, spitting the name out with disgust to which his friends gave sympathetic faces for. They all knew the story. 'Thinks he's gonna come and get him and can sense where he is cause of me and…it's all very weird.' he finished with a sigh.

'Sorry mate.' James said, handing him an éclair as if that would make him feel better.

Remus gave a single laugh and took the éclair off of James. 'He's already talking about me moving out after Hogwarts.' he said, picking the chocolate off of the top of the cream dessert and eating it first.

'You should come live with us.' James said offhandedly.

It was then Sirius, who had been sat moodily and plainly serious in a retaliation to James' choice of conversation, returned to himself and became very enthusiastic. 'Yeah!' he practically yelled, banging his fist down on the table causing Peter to jump and a couple of close house elves. He was spraying food out of his mouth as he continued excitably. 'We'll party it up true marauder style! Just us three!'

Peter deflated. He wasn't part of the three. The marauders were built around a four but he wasn't part of the three.

'Won't just be us three.' James corrected Sirius with a laugh, glad his friend was back. He had no idea what his mood was about but it had concerned him. He had acted like that during the Christmas holidays but that was because he was writing to Lily every few hours. He wasn't writing to her now so he assumed it couldn't be that. Whatever it was, it had seemed to have disappeared. Or so he thought.

'Why?' Sirius muttered under his breath, unimpressed, 'Evans gonna be there too?' he continued to murmur bitterly.

'No.' James said, now extremely confused by Sirius' mood swings. He was acting like Remus during the full moon when the tiniest little thing would set him off. Only he wasn't a werewolf. He had no excuse for his behaviour. Still, James trod lightly, just as he did with Remus all those times. 'My mum will be there too.' he carried on gently, 'Remember? The lady with the pie.'

That returned Sirius to normal. 'Ohh pie.' he said dreamily, looking around at the house elves who sprang into action fetching Sirius a pie. They brought it to him quickly and Sirius dug in immediately.

James shook his head bewilderedly at Sirius behaviour and just continued with his conversation. 'How bout it then Moony?' James asked Remus, 'Gonna come live with us?'

'Possibly.' Remus said with a shrug.

None of them noticed Peter's saddened expression at being left out of this. He'd have willingly gone to live with James and Sirius in the Potter mansion but, he was never asked. He wouldn't be asked. He would be forced to live with his mother. Great.

Lily Evans, Hestia Jones and Alice Prewett sat on Hestia's bed in their dormitory in Gryffindor tower. Alice was laying over the foot of the bed with her hands in the air, allowing her nails to air dry having just had them painted a ferocious pink by Hestia. Her head was hanging limply off of one side of the bed, her legs the other. Lily was sat crossed legged in the middle of the bed, one elbow resting on her knee in boredom, her head in her hand as she allowed the other hand to be subjected to an attack of nail polish by Hestia. She was sat at the head of the bed, also crossed legged and concentrating hard on painting Lily's nails in a vivid electric blue.

Hestia liked to paint Lily's nails when she let her. They grew better than her own; straight up instead of flowering out to the side. The nail polish she was applying was going on smoothly, unlike Alice's. Alice bit her nails but Hestia had still insisted on painting them. It was harder and the nail varnish went a bit gloopy due to the small surface she had been given to work with but she had done it anyway. Still, she was glad when it was time to switch to Lily. It also meant she could discuss her birthday.

'…and I've found this place to do your cake in Hogsmeade because, although the house elves always do a good job, I just think that as it's your last birthday at Hogwarts we should have something really special.' Hestia went on.

She had been talking about her preparations for Lily's birthday party for a good fifteen minutes now, describing to her about the decorations she had found or bought or even made and telling her all about the food she intended to serve along with the assortment of drinks.

Lily wasn't particularly fussed. She didn't really want a big party like Hestia was planning. If she was honest, this year she just wanted to go out for a meal with Hestia, Alice, James and the marauders. It would mean more to her. It would be her first birthday with a boyfriend and she'd much rather spend it in an intimate situation rather than a lavish party where she would be forced to talk to people she never usually spoke to. But Hestia had already gone through so much trouble so she was just letting her get on with it.

She didn't know why Hestia was bothering really. After all, she knew Lily didn't really like parties. Every time she had thrown one Lily couldn't wait for it to be over. Every time there was another party, usually a marauder party, Lily only went because she and Hestia had a deal that she would stay for a couple of hours, be polite and make the rounds before legging it out of there so she could go do something else like read a book. They had made that deal so that Lily wouldn't seem unsociable and a spoil-sport. She wasn't really she just didn't see the point in parties. She preferred to go out for meals with her friends or just hang out with them in the common room. But when it came to Lily's birthday, Hestia always seemed to forget that her best friend was and anti-party person. When it came to Lily's birthday, all of Hestia's knowledge of Lily's stance and take on parties went out the window. Instead, she seemed to confuse her with someone who wanted a big birthday celebration. Lily would correct her but, as said before, Hestia had already gone through so much trouble. Lily would just have to grit her teeth and get through it.

Hestia's parties were always a dignified affair anyway. Finger sandwiches, savoury snacks, pumpkin pasties, sausage rolls, biscuits, trifles, fruit and an assortment of drinks. Tasteful decorations strategically placed around the common room which was always the venue and a very nice cake with the amount of candles that corresponded to Lily's age that year. Everyone would be invited so as not to leave anyone out. Lily hated leaving people out too but when it came to the guest list of a party, she did wonder why certain people had to be there. For instance, from second year upwards when Hestia had started to throw her these little shindigs, Hestia had always insisted on inviting the marauders who, at the time, Lily detested. Now, obviously, she wanted them there but there were others who she still would prefer not to show up such as some girls in her year who were rather two faced and mean. They had actually liked her in the past but, now she was going out with James Potter, they had changed their opinion of her drastically. They hadn't changed their opinion on James though. The consensus was that he was still hot and free to date even though he had a girlfriend. The same thing applied for Sirius but the difference was, he was actually free to date. Anyway, she wished they wouldn't be at her party but, as Hestia was throwing it, she knew they would be.

If the marauders were throwing her a party and she had asked for them not to be there, she was sure they would have made it happen. Well, James would. Sirius would want them there so he could flirt with them. Still, Lily couldn't help but wonder if her birthday would have been better planned by James than Hestia. She wouldn't tell Hestia this though as she would just be offended. She knew what she'd say. How can your boyfriend of only four months plan you a better birthday party than me, you're best friend of more than four years? Lily wouldn't have been able to answer the question, especially as she knew James' style of party already. He and the marauders were notorious for their parties which consisted of no decorations, any venue they could find whether it be the common room, the Quidditch pitch or, on a couple of occasions, a random abandoned hallway and only jelly and butterbeer as sustenance. Who was to say that he would listen to her ideas for her birthday any more than Hestia would?

Well, Lily was stuck. She wouldn't get to do what she wanted for her own birthday. It was inevitable. Her party wouldn't even be suited for her. If she was going to have a big party she'd at least expect the theme to be something to do with her, something personal and meaningful. But no. Hestia had settled on the theme; tea party. She had planned an old fashioned tea party with scones and tea and finger sandwiches and bunting. The whole shebang. Lily found the idea rather dull and boring if she was honest but she didn't tell Hestia that. Instead she listened to her go on and put in the occasional 'yes' or 'sounds good' even though she was thinking anything but.

'…and that shop in Hogsmeade, Madam Puddifoot's is going to lend us the tea cups and tea pots.' Hestia said, moving on from one finger to another, adding a second coat to Lily's nails. 'Oh, and the cake stands.' Hestia carried on. 'Doesn't that sound nice?'

'Mmhmm.' Lily answered, not really paying attention but rather looking at Alice lying over the end of the bed. She had been laid like that for more than ten minutes. Surely it would be hurting her back by now.

'What do you think Alice?' Hestia asked Alice who sat up straight away.

Lily watched her sit up and couldn't help but think she must have stomach muscles of steel. She hadn't used her hands to help her up at all. She had just sat up as if she was doing a painless sit up. Lily knew she couldn't have managed it. She had lousy stomach muscles. If she laughed too hard they hurt. If James even stared at her too deeply, her stomach folded, let alone when he kissed her too passionately. She wondered how Alice had come to have such strong stomach muscles. She didn't play Quidditch and, as far as she knew, there were no other wizarding sports. If there were she was sure James would have tried to bore her with them by now. So how Alice had gotten such a strong stomach she had no idea.

'Lily?' Alice said, waving her hand in front of Lily's vacant expression.

'Yeah?' Lily replied, snapping out of her thoughts and realising she had been staring at Alice's stomach, something which must have seemed odd to both her and Hestia.

'I said how does your party sound to you?' Alice went on.

'What do you mean?' Lily questioned with a confused frown. She had completely missed what Alice and Hestia had just been saying. Alice filled her in.

'Hestia asked me what I thought of her ideas for your birthday party and I said that what I think doesn't matter, it's whether you like it.' Alice said, 'Then she said you loved the idea and I asked you if that was true.'

Lily hesitated and bit her lip. 'Well…' she started.

'Lily!' Hestia exclaimed in shock.

'I'm sorry Hestia!' Lily apologised truthfully. She wished Alice hadn't asked her. She wished she had just let her get on with planning a party and allowed he to just get through it. Now she had cast doubt over it all.

'You said you loved the idea!' Hestia continued, her voice rising a little in pitch.

'Well technically, you asked me if I liked the idea and I just didn't say no.' Lily said quietly, biting her lip again.

'That still leads me to believe you like the idea!' Hestia said, 'Come on! It's an old fashioned tea! It's adorable.'

'Yeah but…' Lily began unsurely, 'It's not really me though is it?'

'Well what would you prefer?' Hestia asked a bit snappily, 'Bearing in mind I've already arranged it all and asked to borrow things.'

Lily sighed and looked away but Hestia didn't seem to want to give up.

'Well?' she said with raised eyebrows.

'Hestia, maybe we should do what Lily wants.' Alice put in, blowing on her nails to continue to dry them. Her gloopy nail polish was taking a lot longer to dry that Lily's smooth varnish. 'It is her birthday after all.'

'No!' Hestia whined, 'I always plan Lily's birthday parties! Even in the earlier years when we weren't that close.'

'That is true.' Lily put in, hating being in the middle of this, literally. She was sat in the middle of Hestia and Alice who seemed to be at the start of an argument.

'Has she once asked you what you wanted though?' Alice asked Lily calmly. She had never been involved in planning Lily's birthday before so didn't know what went into it. She had been to her past birthday parties though and they just never seemed to fit her. They had always been great parties though, Hestia had a knack for it, that she couldn't deny, but she couldn't help but get the feeling that Lily hadn't particularly wanted to be there. And now, as she considered Lily to be the closest thing she had to a best friend since she and Emmeline had fallen out, she was determined to find out what she would want for her birthday. Only Hestia, as Lily's stated best friend, wasn't making it easy.

'I always ask her what she wants!' Hestia said in outrage that Alice had even made such a suggestion.

'Do you ask her or just run what you're going to do past her?' Alice asked with raised eyebrows.

'I…I…well we always…its…' Hestia spluttered, realising that Alice was actually right.

Whilst Hestia stuttered, Alice turned to Lily and asked her, 'What would you prefer to do for your birthday? If you could do anything in the world?'

Lily looked down at the bed sheet she was sat on and started to draw circles on it, her nervous habit. 'Well,' she swallowed, 'probably just…go out to the Three Broomsticks or whatever with you two and James and…the marauders. And Frank and Sean if you'd want to bring them.' she added as an afterthought. After all, if she said Hestia could bring her boyfriend along, maybe she'd be more receptive to the idea. She was wrong.

'Then that's what we'll-'

'No!' Hestia whined loudly, 'I've already planned this party! Everyone knows about it! You can't just swoop in and change my plans Alice!' she continued madly. 'Lily is having an eighteenth birthday party. A tea party. In the common room. On her birthday and that's final!'

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