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! Thanks for being so patient with me for this update. I know it's been long but I had no internet where I was staying for a week so I didn't want to make promises to update when I knew I wouldn't be able too.
Thank you as well to everyone who has reviewed! You are the nicest people and really boost my confidence with this story when I read what you've written so a really BIG thank you to you!
Anyway, here is Chapter Sixty-Four
Hope you enjoy it!
After Lily's birthday, time flew by. The seventh years had homework piled on them for their N.E.W.T's which were coming ever closer. They were just a few short months away, the end of their Hogwarts lives were just a few months away, but by the way the Professors were talking, you'd have thought it was only days. Every Professor seemed to think their subject should be the most important in their students' lives, accepting no excuse if they forgot to do the homework or just couldn't find the time. The Professors weren't considerate of the other subjects their students had taken so, if they didn't have homework because of them, they got detention. James and Sirius got detention a lot.
Between his detentions, Quidditch practices and their head duties and patrols James found that he was so busy that he had been unable to find hardly any time to spend with Lily since her birthday. She blamed him for their lack of or little time together, telling him when he did manage to find time for her, (which was any available time he had much to Sirius' annoyance), that if he just did his homework then they wouldn't be having this problem. He told her he would do his homework but then he'd be changing for the better and she wouldn't want him to do that now would she? Lily said yes.
It wasn't long until the seventh years welcomed a much needed and, for most of them, deserved break. It was a Hogsmeade weekend and James, Sirius, Remus and Peter had decided that their stock of Zonko's products were seriously low. They needed to fill up their supplies. Sirius was extremely excited about this which none of the marauders got the reason behind. If they had been paying attention to his behaviour though, more importantly, if James had been paying attention to his behaviour, he might have known the reason behind his enthusiasm over the Hogsmeade weekend and he wouldn't have done what he did.
'Come on!' Sirius was saying to James who was sat on his bed in their dorm room doing his shoe up.
'I'm coming Padfoot! Jeesh!' James said, moving onto his other shoe to tie that up.
'Ever think that Padfoot was a girl in his past life?' Remus asked James, leaning against the door frame of the dorms bathroom, wiping his freshly washed and shaven face on a towel.
'What do you mean past life?' James smirked at his shoe, looping the black laces together.
'Yeah you're right.' Remus laughed, throwing the towel he was holding at Sirius who caught it with narrowed eyes.
'Oh ha, ha I'm a girl.' Sirius said with a shake of his head as he threw the towel at Peter who was sat next to James on his bed minding his own business.
'Least he admits it.' James said standing up with a grin, grabbing his watch which his mother had had made for him for his seventeenth birthday from his bedside table and putting it on.
'With hair like that no admittance necessary.' Remus chuckled, taking the towel Sirius had thrown at Peter and throwing it towards his own bed, missing it by a couple of feet. He stared at the towel where it fell and shrugged. He couldn't be bothered to walk the couple of feet over to it and pick it up.
'Can we leave my fantastic hair alone for just one day please?' Sirius asked, running a hand down his luscious black locks and giving out what he obviously thought was a winning smile but what James and Remus just raised an eyebrow at. Peter also tried to raise an eyebrow but failed miserably and just received a mocking laugh from Sirius, the only one to see his attempts.
'Sure.' James said as he walked to the door.
Sirius, Peter and Remus immediately followed, Remus closing the door behind him on their extremely messy dorm room.
'If you had fantastic hair.' James carried on, walking casually down the stairs with his hands in his pockets.
'Hey!' Sirius said, following James down the spiral staircase in the same manner, hands in pockets and a casual stroll, 'I have phenomenal hair!'
'Congratulations.' Remus said sincerely. He too was walking in a nonchalant manner down the steps which would lead them into the common room. Only Peter was unable to pull of the cool air the other three marauders seemed to be able to naturally acquire.
'Thanks!' Sirius said happily, taking one of his hands out of his pockets and once again running it down his perfectly styled hair. The hereditary Black hair. He may hate his family but he did love the fact he had their hair.
'I meant for knowing the word phenomenal.' Remus corrected to which James gave out a loud laugh for. He was laughing when they finally came into the common room.
'What's so funny?' Lily asked in greeting to them.
'Sirius.' James said simply, walking over to her and putting his arm around her shoulder, kissing her quickly in greeting.
'Naturally.' Lily laughed as she put her arm around his waist and the pair walked towards the portrait hole expecting the other three to follow which they would have done straight away if Sirius hadn't stopped on the stairs momentarily. When Sirius did start to move, the three did follow Lily and James but for Sirius, it was a bit begrudgingly.
Sirius feelings were hard to explain, even to himself. Steadily, since James had started dating Lily, or at least since Sirius had found out about them, he had grown to dislike the situation, even hate it at some points. It was probably jealousy that James was spending all his time with Lily instead of playing pranks and gags with him. In fact, the last prank he remembered playing with James was Halloween and that was months ago now. But what confused him was the fact that he had been all up for James, his best friend, finally getting the girl he had wanted all along. He hadn't expected to be passed over for her all the time though. Sirius thought he would get over it and just be happy for his friend but something stopped him from being and he had become sullen and rude instead. Again, he couldn't fully understand why. And if he didn't know himself how on earth he could have explained it to James? All he knew is he was extremely pissed off that Lily was joining them today.
He withdrew himself from the conversation as they all walked down to the entrance hall and waited for Professor Linkedin to lead them all down to Hogsmeade as part of the precautionary measures in place thanks to the Hogsmeade attack that had happened over a year ago now. Sirius walked with his head down, his jaw set stiffly and his eyebrows furrowed down in an irritated frown. He shot angry glances at James and Lily who seemed to be wrapped up in each other. His glances sent whispers through the group that the marauders and Lily were walking with down to Hogsmeade but he didn't notice and he didn't listen to what they were saying.
James noticed his silence as they were on the path to the village. 'What's up Padfoot?' he asked him, looking past Lily to Sirius who shot him a slightly evil look. Again, whispers.
'Nothing.' Sirius answered, looking at the ground, 'Wanna roll into Hogsmeade?' he asked through a tense jaw knowing that, as Lily was with them James wouldn't do it. He would have done if Lily was with them and they weren't going out but not now they were.
'Nah the grounds wet.' James said. What he said wasn't untrue. As they were just into February, the ground was damp from the spattering of rain they had had. Plus it was morning the wet ground was even worse from the morning condensation that was floating about in the air.
'Course.' Sirius muttered.
'Are you sure you're alright?' Remus asked Sirius, patting his shoulder in a brotherly fashion.
'Yes.' Sirius said snappily, in such a way that caused Remus and James to share a look and stop asking.
They walked into the village, James remarking that he was surprised that Sirius hadn't done anything to bug Professor Linkedin against whom he had sworn a vendetta, all because she had given them homework on their first day back at school. Sirius just murmured back, not trying to be part of the conversation at all. Instead, he mooched along, slightly behind the group in Peter's usual position with his hands in his pockets. He let Remus and James lead the conversation as they went into Zonko's joke shop and Honeydukes and the other picturesque shops down the main street of Hogsmeade only grumbling back responses when he was spoken too. He stayed like this for about an hour as they walked through the crowds until a suggestion was made.
'Let's go to the Three Broomsticks.' Lily said happily, hugging James' arm and smiling up at him.
'Ok.' James smiled to her straight away, kissing her cheek, 'Everyone up for that?' he asked the group as a courtesy, knowing that they'd all agree with him anyway. Or so he thought.
'Yeah sure.' Remus said, heaving a sigh and silently thanking Lily for the suggestion. He was thirsty.
'Absolutely.' Peter said, agreeing to it just because Remus and James had.
'No.' Sirius said loudly and defiantly.
'What?' James said, turning to him in surprise at his rejection of the idea of going to eat, 'You're turning down food? Are you ill?'
'No I'm just not hungry.' Sirius stated shortly.
James raised his eyebrows at Remus who returned his look and turned to Sirius to repeat James' previous question. 'Are you ill?' he asked.
'No.' Sirius said harshly.
James took a deep breath. 'Well I am and Lily's suggested it so-'
'Oh well if Lily's suggested it then we've got to do it!' Sirius exaggerated, 'Come on then, let's all go skipping down to the Three Broomsticks.' he said with a large gesture of his hands before stalking away in the direction of said pub.
Lily's expression was taken aback. She looked up at James whose lips had disappeared through annoyance. He shook his head after Sirius and looked at Remus, almost in need of assurance that that was odd behaviour. Remus shrugged at James. Peter copied the shrug. They all followed Sirius.
When the four reached the pub they saw that Sirius had managed to nab them a table for four in the corner; one seat short for the five of them there. They walked over to the table, James grabbing a chair from one of the tables next to theirs for him to sit on. Remus sat down next to Sirius, Peter opposite Remus, Lily in front of Sirius and James sat down at the end of the table in his stolen chair, Sirius on his left, Lily on his right. He had his arm across the back of Lily's chair. Sirius was sat back in his chair with his arms folded, looking away, everywhere but the eyes of his friends. And Lily. Knowing that Sirius was avoiding them, James and Remus started a conversation about their future applications for the auror training programme. Peter joined in which was fine, Remus and James welcomed his contributions with kindness. Sirius still wasn't speaking.
Lily sat at that table feeling extremely uncomfortable. She zoned out of James' conversation and stared at Sirius, trying to catch his eye so that she could see, as she assumed, if she was the problem. As she stared at him, she felt others staring at her. She looked around though and found that no one was. Or at least, no one was that she could see. Maybe she was paranoid but maybe not. She shook her head at people's perverse interest in her relationship with James. Didn't they care that something else was going on here? Couldn't they quit it long enough for her to focus her attention completely on what was wrong with Sirius? After all, he was James' best friend and whatever was bothering him was annoying James. The only problem was that Sirius didn't seem to be in a sharing mood. Whenever James or Remus had asked him what was wrong he just blew them off. Maybe if someone else asked he would be more inclined to ask. She decided to give it a try.
Whilst Remus, James and Peter talked about aurors they admired, Lily tentatively leaned over the table to Sirius, off of where she was leaning against James' arm and asked him, 'Are you sure you're ok Black?'
James noticed the sudden lack of weight on his arm and turned to pay attention to Lily's whisper to Sirius. Remus and Peter carried on with the conversation James had previously been in.
'Yes.' Sirius snapped at her.
'Really?' Lily asked sceptically, 'Only you seem a bit…well...hacked off?'
'Oh you're very perceptive aren't you?' Sirius said not looking at her but rather down at his right hand, picking his nails in irritation.
'Percep-' Lily started to try and lighten the mood, only Sirius interrupted.
'I'm not stupid Evans! Though I'm sure you'd like me to be-'
'Alright Sirius that's enough!' James cut in loudly and rather madly over the top of Sirius who turned to face him.
Remus and Peter stopped their conversation and turned their attention to what seemed to be a sullen and grumpy Sirius, an uncomfortable and taken aback Lily and an angry James who looked to be at the end of his tether.
'I don't know what you're problem is but can you please get over it?' James said to Sirius, trying his hardest to level his voice to a volume which wouldn't attract unwanted attention.
'I don't have a problem.' Sirius said slowly, looking James dead in the eye with a slight frown. He was unwavering in his gaze.
'Clearly you do!' James replied in irked disbelief, 'Since we've been going out you've been very rude to Lily.' he went on, motioning to Lily who leant back in her chair with a slightly saddened expression on her face, looking around her and now noticing a few people whispering. James didn't notice. He carried on. 'I don't get it.' James said, 'What's she done to deserve it.'
Sirius breathed deeply and looked at James who was waiting for an answer. An answer which Sirius couldn't really give him. He didn't know himself really. Lily technically hadn't done anything. Yes she was taking up a lot of James' time but that was as much James' fault, perhaps even more. He just didn't like it. He didn't like them together as he thought he would. He wasn't going to tell James that though. But then again, what else could he tell him?
'I just don't like you two together that's all.' Sirius said with a shrug. He watched James and Lily's faces fall before adding, 'I'm sorry.' He wasn't sure if he was though.
James took a deep breath. 'Well you're just gonna have to get used to it.' he said. He wasn't going to break up with Lily for anyone. He had waited too long for her, something which Sirius knew and had, James had thought, supported. If Sirius had suddenly decided he didn't like it then he would just have to lump it. It would be easier if he liked Lily but if he didn't…no. Sirius would have to learn to like her.
'You know,' James started with an annoyed sigh, 'I'm not sure what else she can do to win you over. She's already snogged you.'
Lily looked down and flushed at the memory of that embarrassing event. Sirius wasn't embarrassed though. He did however fold his arms and jut his jaw out.
'You were all up for us going out last year.' James continued, reminding Sirius of his past backing of James' pursuit. He knew it had wavered at times but mainly it was there.
'You tried to convince me to give him a chance a couple of months ago.' Lily inputted quietly.
James looked at Lily in small shock. He looked between his girlfriend and his best friend. He knew them both very well and, even though he was sure what Lily said was true, he couldn't help but seek assurance from Sirius. 'You did?' he asked him.
Sirius spluttered slightly. 'Yeah…well…', then everything he had been feeling, everything he didn't understand in himself burst out and came to a boil. 'Well that was before your life became the Lily show! All about what Lily wants and what Lily needs and what Lily wants to do!' he said loudly, before standing up, his chair bouncing back slightly and wobbling, threatening to fall over. 'Just because you've got a girlfriend doesn't mean you ditch your friends!' Sirius stated finally, pointing his finger on the table to emphasise his point before stalking away to the bar.
James watched him go and gave a single disbelieving breathless laugh. He looked at Remus who was just looking back at him with raised eyebrows and that disappointed expression he used to wear when Sirius and James cursed Severus Snape. Then he looked at Peter who was looking at him, not disappointedly, but with less admiration than usual. He didn't look at Lily. He couldn't because he knew that what Sirius had said was right. And it made him feel horrible.
He looked down at his lap and sighed, closing his eyes and biting in his top lip in, almost in shame, knowing that ever since his relationship with Lily had come out he had been spending more and more time with her and less and less time with Sirius and Remus. And Peter of course. He hadn't stopped to think that any of them would take offence to this. He hadn't stopped to think that Sirius, who had been disowned by his family, (even though he liked that fact), could start feeling as if he was being passed over by James for someone else. That this could touch a nerve. He hadn't stopped to think of that at all.
He started to run a hand through his hair to mess it up as he usually did but stopped halfway through, his hand resting on the back of his head. He knew he was now sitting in an awkward silence where Remus and Peter were waiting for him to go and sort Sirius out; to apologise. He brought his hand down heavily to the table with a sigh and stood up to go do just that when Lily stood up also and put a hand on his arm to stop him.
'Let me go talk to him.' she said, looking into his warm hazel eyes with a small grimace.
James looked down into her eyes, her brilliant emerald green eyes and stopped. The same feeling he had felt over the Christmas break when he had rushed to her side in Diagon Alley, when she had looked into his eyes then and had asked to stay at his, presented itself again. He felt a tug, a snap and at that moment, could not deny her anything let alone this simple request. He wanted to say, 'no he's my best friend I'll go talk to him' but he couldn't. He didn't know why but at that moment, just as in Diagon Alley, he would have done anything for her, given anything to her. He nodded and she left but not before he realised that whatever hold she had over him could one day prove dangerous.
Lily made her way through the crowded pub over to the bar where she could see Sirius leaning almost depressively. She made a beeline for him until she finally came to his side, not noticing the whispers as she leant next to him. Sirius didn't notice the whispers either but he did notice her.
Sirius glanced at her once. 'Great.' he spat sarcastically, turning his head away from her with a roll of his eyes.
Lily jumped straight in. 'Why don't you like me now Black?' she said in a soft demanding tone.
'Cause it's all about you!' Sirius burst out turning to face her but keeping one arm leaning on the bar, 'Sitting there…' he motioned over to the table where Remus was looking at him. So was Peter. James had his back to him, too ashamed (he hoped), to face him. He turned his head back to face Lily and said in complete seriousness, 'I don't recognise James and he changes when he's with you.'
Lily looked a bit shocked. 'I don't think he does.' she said with a small shake of her head.
Sirius took a deep sigh. 'He does.' he said nodding his head and turning back around to lean fully on the bar. 'He's not as fun.' he continued, smearing a wet ring of condensation which had been left by a cold bottle, 'He cares more about what he's doing. He's careful. He's not himself.'
That was when Sirius realised part of his problem with James dating Lily. He had lost his friend in the process. He had lost the carefree prankster who would curse or hex people, (Severus Snape), in the hallways and joke and mess around. Sure he still answered back to teachers, built barricades in lessons, didn't do the homework, doodled in class instead of paying full attention and had always been an ear to bend if you needed him, the fiercely loyal friend, but he wasn't the same boy from fifth year. James had changed, all for Lily, the girl who had always rejected him, and that's what he didn't like. He supposed he would have to get used to it at some point but at the minute, he didn't see Lily as a person worth changing for. Until he did, he doubted he would like the new James.
'Believe me he's still an arrogant idiot.' Lily said with a laugh that said she would rather him not be. But then he wouldn't be James so she supposed she didn't want him to change anymore. Just stay the boy she had fallen for.
Sirius shook his head. 'Bet he doesn't try to spellotape his head to the table.' he said with a bitter recalling laugh at that memory. They had been in fourth year and had snuck out to The Three Broomsticks a few days after the full moon to celebrate Remus' good health and their nearing the success of their Animagus transformations. They had nicked a load of the schools spellotape and James, on a mere whim, instead of taping all the shop doors in Hogsmeade shut ready for the schools trip down to the village the following day, had decided to tape his face to the table, declaring that he had finally completed the Animagus transformation. His Animagus state; a table. Then he had gotten his face stuck, (obviously), and Madam Rosmerta had called Dumbledore to take the boys back to Hogwarts, James still attached to the table. They had earned a month's worth of detentions for that but had decided it was worth it. Sirius doubted James would do anything like that now. Especially as he was also head boy, a position given to him, Sirius was sure, because of the change he had made in himself for Lily.
'No he doesn't.' Lily said slowly, wondering why on earth James had spellotaped his face to a table. That was weird. Ha! He was weird. She made a mental note to tell James that later when this mess was sorted out but for now, she continued to talk to Sirius.
'He's still an idiot though.' Lily said, dropping the arrogant, 'At my sister's wedding he kept introducing himself as Elvendork.'
'Was he undercover?' Sirius asked.
Lily paused. Why did people keep asking that when it came to this anecdote. He introduced himself as Elvendork, an oddity in itself. 'He said he was.' she said cautiously.
'Doesn't count.' Sirius muttered sulkily.
Lily paused, looking at Sirius' sullen face, his haughty good looks masked with a bitter annoyance. She took a deep breath and reached out for his arm but he flinched away. She pulled back her arm.
'I'm sorry I take up so much of his time.' she apologised quietly, 'But relationships are hard and…if we want to make it work then we need to spend time together.'
'Time yeah.' Sirius agreed. He wasn't going to deny that. James did need time with Lily for his relationship with her to succeed. 'Not every single second of every single bloody day though!'
Lily retreated into herself a little bit before starting meekly. 'We don't-'
'Well it bloody well feels like it!' Sirius swore, cutting her off. He breathed deeply to calm himself down and carry on. 'Even over Christmas it was all about you. Even when you weren't even there! It was always, 'I've got to write to Lily' 'I've got to tell Lily this'. You didn't spend as much time with him when it was all a big secret did you?'
Lily paused and looked at her hands, knowing he was right just like James had. 'No I didn't.' she said.
Sirius sighed and now, for the first time since he saw Lily in the common room that morning, was calm and, for the first time since this problem first arose, was also honest about how he was feeling. 'It may seem selfish,and James and Remus are going to take the piss out of me for being such a girl, but…I was looking forwards to this Hogsmeade weekend because you weren't gonna be here. It was just gonna be the guys.' he stopped and laughed slightly, looking up to the ceiling of the bar. 'I just wanted to spend some time, with my friends, relaxing and joking and pissing about. But I can't.' he stopped his laugh and looked at Lily with an ever so slight disdain. 'Because of you.' he said bluntly.
Lily blinked and knew he was right. She had had no right to intrude on this weekend when she already spent all of James' free time with him. She hadn't stopped to think, just as James hadn't. He needed to manage his relationships better, whether romantic or friendship.
'I can go if you'd like?' she said.
Sirius shook his head and looked back to the water ring he had been smearing earlier. 'Then Prongs will just be mad at me for making you leave.'
Lily shook her head determinedly, fully prepared to do the selfless thing and give up her own time with James for Sirius' sake. 'No he won't.' she said, still shaking her head before going into a mini speech. 'I agree with you. He needs to manage his time better and perhaps, I don't know…allocate a time when it's just you guys and a time where it's just him and me. Just because he's going out with me doesn't mean he can start disregarding his friendship with you and taking it for granted. Both relationships are important and both need time spent on them. So…I'll go. I'll leave you boys to do whatever the hell it is you do when I'm not here.' she finished, standing up from where she was leaning on the bar and turning around saying, 'Discuss the important issues was it?' before walking over to James.
Sirius looked over his shoulder from where he was still leant on the bar and watched Lily bent over talking to James. He had no idea what she was saying to him. It was less than a minute though before he saw James nod his head, stand up, give Lily a fleetingly passing kiss and Lily leave The Three Broomsticks flashing Sirius a friendly smile, a smile which he returned sending unnoticed whispers through a few people around him.
Sirius turned back to the bar and looked down at it for a few seconds, steeling his confidence before going to face James. He didn't know what Lily had said to him and so had no idea what James would be like. But he had to find out so he pushed himself off of the bar and walked back to his table. When he got there, James grinned at him and patted him on the back in a brotherly manner as he sat down as a way to let him know he was sorry. Also in aid of this, James acted completely normally and began to discuss the 'important issues'.
'So a griffin and a dragon flying contest.' James said, clapping his hands together once and leaning forwards on the table to ask the group, 'Who wins?'
Since the Hogsmeade visit, James had made better use of his time. He began to manage it better under the instruction, help and guidance of Lily. He made sure that when Remus and Peter had Care of Magical Creatures and Lily had Ancient Runes, he spent time with just Sirius and didn't talk about Lily. He made sure that there were free periods where it was just the four marauders either eating in the kitchens or hanging out in the room of requirement or, when they felt daring enough to brave the wet February, hanging out underneath their beloved beech tree. Then there was his time with Lily. He ensured that he spent at least an hour with her every evening which Sirius came to terms with. The only day he insisted spending with all day her was Valentine's day, a Tuesday, which Sirius understood perfectly announcing, in his usual innuendo insinuating way, that he already had plans.
Remus, who hadn't particularly taken a great deal of notice of James' abandonment of them for Lily, did notice his phased return to the group. Sure he had realised on occasion that James hadn't been spending a lot of time with his fellow marauders but he, unlike Sirius, hadn't made that big a fuss over it. Then again, he had had a lot more to deal with. The full moon, studying, actually doing the homework they were set whereas Sirius had only really partaken in the full moon on Remus' list of activities. Still, he found himself thankful for James' return as he hadn't realised how stroppy Sirius had gotten until he was lifted out of his mood.
Peter was ecstatically happy that James was now spending more time with the group, though he didn't really show it to them. Secretly, he was extremely glad that James had returned because it meant that Sirius wouldn't snap at him quite as much. Sure he would still be mainly a background figure, one that followed the other three around, trailing after them as if they were his gods or heroes or something along those lines but her wouldn't be cowering from Sirius' temper. Instead he could bask in the popular light his friends were blessed with, soaking up whatever rays he could catch that fell from them now James was back, (something which the school didn't fail to notice).
Lily was oddly happy with the new 'arrangements'. It gave her a chance to miss James when he wasn't with her, something which she didn't think would be at all possible but was. It gave her time to study and finish her homework and be with her own friends who she realised, after her talk with Sirius, she may have been neglecting also in favour of James. It also gave her an opportunity to be excited to spend time with him, as she had been when they had kept their romance a secret. She loved looking at the clock and realising that she and James had made plans to meet somewhere in five minutes. She loved the butterflies that built up in her stomach as the clock struck down the time until she saw him then, when she did see him, the swoop it gave her stomach, a swoop that was always repeated when she took that first inhale of beech wood or when he gave her a kiss. She loved spending time with him and, when she was with him, she thanked god that she was disobeying her father in his wishes of her not seeing him. She really, really liked him.
Sirius, the one who James' new time management was actually for, was starting to get used to the new James. He wasn't all that different from the old James if you really looked at him. Sure he wasn't hexing everyone and anyone anymore and, sure, he wasn't always up for pulling a prank or a trick, but he was most of the time. It just depended on what it was. Shoving gum in all of the key holes and blaming it on Peeves he would do, messing with the house point trackers, he wouldn't. Still, Sirius was starting to recognise his old best friend again, something which he pointed out to James who only replied with the answer, 'what do you mean? I haven't changed?' Sirius decided not to point out that James had changed for Lily, afraid that it would just make James mad, so he just left it. He still couldn't see why Lily was worth changing for anyway. He was getting along better with her but still hadn't found what James was obviously so keen on. He saw no outstanding quality which made her worthy of such a change. He decide to give it a bit more time though. After all, James was content.
Everyone was happy with James' new way of managing his time. But James, James was most happy when they were all together. In that rare free period where it was him, Lily, Sirius, Remus and Peter all together, having a laugh. He loved it when he was with them all, the people he cared most for in the world. Strangely, when he was running a Quidditch practice, was one of these times.
Lily had taken to watching James run his Quidditch practices from the stands with Remus and Peter. She watched them for Hestia as well but she did like to see James taking control, something he rarely did in his role as head boy. He just let her take over. And it wasn't like he was domineering in their relationship either, demanding and arrogant sometimes, yes, but never domineering. So it was nice to see him leading a Quidditch practice, his enthusiasm captivating. However, on the 19th of February, Lily didn't stay long at the Quidditch practice. James' role as Quidditch captain was unable to keep her from someone who clearly needed help.
She watched James and Hestia tossing a Quaffle about in the air along with the third Hufflepuff chaser whose name escaped her. Her eyes darted over to Sirius who wasn't doing what James had told him to, instead batting a spare Quaffle into the air repeatedly. She watched him carry on doing this with a bit of fascination, (she wouldn't have been able to do that on the ground let alone on a broom), until James called everyone to the ground with a loud whistle. Her eyes followed them to the ground and she tuned into what James was saying, only just catching his words.
'All right guys, before we get started properly I've found out the line-up for the Slytherin Quidditch team.' he was saying. Lily watched him as he turned his head around the team to look at everyone individually as he said this, his gaze resting on Sirius a bit longer than the rest. Lily wondered why.
'The Keeper is Nicholas Tyler.' he said, looking at his Keeper who nodded. James then looked at Hestia and the other Chaser and told them who the three Chasers on the Slytherin team were and did the same with his Beaters, Sirius and another Gryffindor, telling them who their positions were being played by on the opposite team. But when it came to announcing the Seeker on the Slytherin team, James didn't look at his own Seeker. He carried on looking at Sirius.
'Finally,' James began slowly.
Lily wondered what was with his snail's pace on announcing the Seeker for their opposing team. She listened to him continue.
'The Seeker is,' He paused again.
Was it for dramatic intentions. If it was, Lily thought it was silly. But then James announced the Seekers name, and she realised the reason for his pauses.
'It's Regulus Black.' James said.
Lily watched with a puckered brow as Sirius' expression dropped. Beside her, Remus sat forwards and Lily saw him frown with concern. She looked back to Sirius who had dropped his broom and was shaking his head to himself. Suddenly he walked forwards, pressed his Beaters bat roughly into James' chest, (which caused him to step backwards slightly from the force Sirius had given), and walked off of the pitch. Lily expected James to follow him and thought he was going to when he turned around to watch him walk into the changing room, the exit to the Quidditch pitch, but was surprised when he turned back to the rest of the Quidditch team and continued with his practice.
'Isn't he going to go after him?' Lily asked Remus, very surprised at James and a little disappointed in him.
'He will do soon.' Remus said assuredly.
'Why not now?' she questioned.
'He's got to finish the practice.' Remus pointed out as if it was obvious, 'There's a game next week.'
'But Black is his best friend-'
'And he needs time to cool off.' Remus said, turning to watch the practice again where James had sent everyone off into the air to do drills.
'So you're not going to go find him either?' Lily demanded.
'James has the map.' Remus shrugged, 'I doubt I'll be able to find him if he doesn't want to be found and he needs time to-'
'Peter?' Lily said, turning to Peter who was shocked that she was talking to him, let alone using his first name. (Really Lily just hated saying Pettigrew all the time. It was such a mouthful)
Lily waited for Peter to answer but he just sat there in silence with wide eyes. She shook her head at him and stood up. 'Fine.' she said, 'I'll go find him.' And with that she walked out of the stands in search of Sirius.
Thanks for Reading