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.
Just repeating again, sorry to say that I'm going on holiday for a couple of weeks and won't be able to update so, at least for two and a bit weeks, this will be the only update. And this is the last chapter of this update. Sorry.
Anyway, here's Chapter Seventy-Two.
Hope you enjoy it!
'James?' Lily called as she walked over to him, across the Hogwarts grounds, to the beech tree where he was almost constantly.
'Yeah?' James replied as she approached him.
'Can I-' Lily began, wanting to ask him if she could talk to him, to try and prise his secret out of him, only she was distracted. 'Is that a dog?' she asked.
Stood next to James was a scruffy large black dog with glittering familiar eyes. She studied it but it looked away as if it knew she was trying to understand where she recognised those eyes from. Of course, Lily didn't know that the dog wasn't actually a dog at all. It was Sirius Black in his Animagus form.
James and Sirius had decided that a good use of their time, instead of spending their Saturday revising for their N.E.W.T's as most seventh years were doing, (their N.E.W.T's being only over a month away from beginning), was to test Sirius' abilities as a dog, as Padfoot; seeing if he could play catch like a dog, catching a fanged frisbee in mid-air, (he couldn't) and seeing if he could sniff out certain things, tracking them. That he could do. James had hidden some Bertie Botts every flavour beans in the forbidden forest and Padfoot had brought them back in less than a minute. But, then again, perhaps that was just cause it was food. There were certain things, as either a human or a dog, stayed the same.
James looked down at Padfoot. 'Err…yes?' he said, trying to sound sure but the statement coming out as more of a question.
'Why do you have a dog?' Lily asked him. James didn't have a dog. You weren't allowed dogs at Hogwarts. You were only allowed either an owl, a cat or a toad. That dog was definitely none of them.
'I'm looking after it?' James said, again, his voice being coloured as if the statement were a question. Really it was. A question of whether Lily was going to buy this. He had never been caught so close before. And now, as she was asking questions, was not a good time to start having close shaves.
'For who?' Lily wondered, folding her arms. She could tell he was lying to her.
'Hagrid?' James said, trying to sound sure of himself. He wasn't sure if it was working. Usually he was a great liar. He could effortlessly make up a lie on the spot and make it sound completely believable. It was a skill you needed if you got into trouble a lot which, over the past seven years at Hogwarts, James had. It was just to her. Lying to her was hard for him to do. He doubted whether it was believable. He hated lying to Lily. It physically hurt him inside.
James' lie wasn't believable, and now, Lily definitely knew he wasn't being honest with her. 'That's not Hagrid's dog.' she said, raising her eyebrows.
'Yes it is.' James tried again.
'No it's not.' Lily argued.
'Yes it is.' James said. He had to continue with the lie now, no matter how pathetically formed. Even Padfoot could tell things weren't going well. He lied down and looked away from the embarrassing scene that was unfolding in front of his canine eyes.
'No it's not!' Lily said.
'Yes it is!'
'No it's not!' Lily repeated with an air of finality about her. She brought the monotonous argument to a close. 'Hagrid is over there and, oh look!' she said sarcastically, gesturing to Hagrid who was over near his hut, 'That's his dog with him.' She continued, motioning towards Fang.
James paused. He stepped away from Padfoot to the side of Lily. 'Then who does this bloody dog belong too?' he said, trying to get into a joke.
'That's what I was asking you.' Lily said, not taking the funny side. She was too mad. She didn't know why she had become this mad over a stupid little situation but, she guessed, it was because she already knew he was keeping something from her and he wouldn't admit it. This was just another denial of a secret.
'And what did I reply with?' James asked, still trying to play the joke.
'James!' Lily exhaled in frustration.
'Lily!' James said, just trying to get her back into her good-natured self. She wasn't in that state at the minute. He felt as if he was back in fifth year. She was telling him off.
'James. Why do you have a dog?' she questioned, no room for messing around in her tone of voice.
'Well I thought I was looking after it for Hagrid but obviously not so…'
'So you're sticking with that story?' Lily asked in disbelief.
'Yes?' James answered
Lily huffed a sigh and turned away, she began to walk away from him as she said, 'For gods sakes James how many secrets are you going to keep from me?'
James followed her, leaving Padfoot lying on the floor totally unmoving, bored with the situation now. 'I'm not keeping any secrets from you.' he said to her back.
They were walking quite quickly and were now quite a distance away from Padfoot. He probably couldn't hear them now. Not because of the distance but because he had started to chew his paw and was too consumed by that to care.
Lily rounded on James. 'Look me in the eyes and say that.' she demanded, trying to catch his eye. But he wouldn't look at her directly. His eyeline always seemed to be averted to over her head or her hair or the ground. He wouldn't look her in the eyes. And she noticed. 'You can't do it can you.' she said with a derisive disbelieving laugh. 'You are keeping something from me James.' she went on, 'And I'm gonna find out what it is eventually.' And with that she turned on her heel and walked away.
James didn't follow her. A lead weight had dropped in his stomach and had rooted him to the spot. She was serious. And he knew it. 'Ah crap.' he said.
Alice walked up to the seventh year girls dormitory which she shared with Hestia, Lily, (her friendship group now), Emmeline Vance, (her old best friend who she had fallen out with the previous year), and Mary MacDonald, (who had taken Emmeline under her wing when she and Alice had stopped talking). She hardly spent any time in her dormitory so didn't see her dorm mates that often. Of course she saw Lily and Hestia but they were more of a two and Alice was usually too busy with her boyfriend frank. As was Lily come to think of it. Alice suspected that if Hestia had a boyfriend still, she wouldn't hang around with Lily and James all the time. The three of them might not hang out at all. Perhaps on occasion but not all the time.
She didn't know why boyfriends seemed to consume so much time but for both her and Lily, that was the case. Perhaps it meant that their relationships would last. She hoped so. She and Frank had already talked about the future, what would happen after they left Hogwarts. She was sure Lily and James probably had too. They seemed solid, just as much as she and Frank even though they hadn't been dating as long. Alice took Divination but wasn't one to make predictions. Still, if she was, she would predict that she and Frank, and Lily and James would stay as couples for a very long time. Maybe even for the rest of their lives. But Alice wasn't one for making predictions. Not since a prediction in divination had torn her and Emmeline's friendship apart. She held no stock for them now. Common sense all the way.
She entered the dormitory to find Lily sat alone on her bed reading a rather thick book on, what she assumed was, Ancient Runes. The book had symbols on the front of it so there wasn't much else it could be really.
'Hey Lily.' she said in greeting.
Lily sighed. 'Hey.' she replied miserably. She had been having a horrible week so far. She was sure James was keeping something from her and lying about it. She had homework she hadn't done. It was too hot because the summer was on its way. One of the prefects had complained about the patrol rota so she'd have to pay extra special attention to it during the next meeting on Friday and she had stubbed her toe on the door, pulling a bit of skin off of it and making it bleed. She had healed it but it still stung.
'Are you ok?' Alice asked curiously, sitting on the edge of her bed.
'I guess.' Lily said, turning the page in her book and making a face. To her surprise, Alice broke a small knowing smile. So her misery made her happy did it? That was nice. She thought they were really good friends. Granted they didn't spend as much time together as she did with Hestia but Hestia was her best friend and Alice had a boyfriend. It was different. Still, her misery making her happy was a bit mean.
'Problems with James?' Alice asked, knowing the answer.
Lily had been wrong. 'How did you know?' she asked, silently abashed at her hasty conclusions.
'I have a boyfriend.' Alice stated simply, 'I know that face.'
'Oh.' Lily said, thinking Alice quite wise for recognising a simple expression. 'I thought Hestia might have told you.' she confessed.
'No.' Alice laughed, crossing her legs and shuffling more onto Lily's bed. 'She's a gossip but she hasn't told me this.' she went on, 'She can keep a few things to herself.'
'Yeah I know that.' Lily exhaled, closing her book and putting it on her bedside table, 'She knew about me and James for almost a month before anyone else did and she managed to keep that quiet.'
Alice raised her eyebrows.
'Surprising right?' Lily laughed in agreement.
'Yeah.' Alice exclaimed in quiet surprise, 'That was the biggest piece of gossip this year.'
Alice was extremely shocked that Hestia Jones, a gossip by nature, had actually been able to keep that one under wraps. But, she supposed, if Lily had asked her not to tell she wouldn't have. Hestia had a set of unwritten rules about friendship. She got angry if someone broke them and she stuck to them almost religiously. Alice didn't know what would happen if she or Lily broke these special rules of Hestia's. She would probably flip her lid. Lily had a temper because of her red hair but Hestia could give her a run for her money sometimes.
'People really don't have lives.' Lily concluded.
'No they don't.' Alice agreed. She didn't understand gossip. It didn't mean she didn't take part in it or it didn't interest her sometimes but she was never one to spread it or one to want to know the freshest story. She didn't understand gossip. 'So what's up?' she asked, shaking her head out of her thoughts and reiterating her original question.
'Mmm.' Lily hummed with a shrug, beginning to draw circles on her bed sheets, an odd habit of hers.
'I might be able to help.' Alice said nicely, 'I could have been through something similar with Frank.'
'Mmm.' Lily repeated her hum. She looked at Alice and saw the caring there. She gave in. 'Ok.' she resigned, 'Well, James is keeping a secret of some kind from me.'
'Yeah?' Alice pressed on, thinking there was more.
'Well…that's it.' Lily clarified.
'Oh.' Alice said in small surprise, 'Well he's allowed to keep secrets Lily. He can't tell you everything.'
'I know that.' Lily sighed, 'It's just that last time he had a secret I ended up slapping someone.'
'Well in all fairness Snape probably deserved that.' Alice laughed. Lily had never had many violent tendencies, if any at all. It was rather funny that she had actually slapped someone. Especially as that person was her ex-best friend who none of them had particularly liked anyway. 'And if you think this secret might end up with you slapping someone again do you really want to know?' she asked her.
'I'd rather know than not know.' Lily said.
'I guess.' Alice nodded, 'But still, you can't force him to tell you every little secret.'
'That's the thing.' Lily replied, stopping drawing circles with her finger and leaning forwards slightly, 'I don't think it's a little secret. I wouldn't mind if it was. I know he has little secrets but he tells me he has little secrets and he just flat out denies this.'
'So are you sure he's keeping something from you?' Alice queried to clarify.
'I think so yes.' Lily said, looking down, 'I mean, I keep asking him about it but he just tries to distract me then averts his eyes, goes silent and leaves at the nearest available opportunity.'
'And you're sure it's not just annoyance at you keeping on asking?' Alice continued to interrogate.
'I can tell he's lying to me.' Lily said, 'And…I don't think he wants to.'
'Ok.' Alice said, sounding business like, 'Want my advice?'
'If you really want him to tell you, and if it seems like he wants to but won't for some reason,' Alice said, 'stop asking him.'
'What?' Lily frowned.
'Trust me.' Alice said with a small smile, 'Here's what you do…'
'Hey.' James said to Lily Tuesday evening, swinging himself over the back of the couch in the common room and landing, sitting, next to her. She was reading a book. He kissed her cheek. 'Guess what I just saw?' he said to her immediately. He was happy because he had just seen something that he thought would thoroughly amuse her. It was funny enough to momentarily clear his mind of the constant line of questioning that Lily had been throwing at him since Sunday morning every time they spent time together. His mind wouldn't be oblivious to it much longer though.
James saw she didn't smile at his happiness which she usually did. She didn't even look up from her book to look at him. She wasn't happy he was there it seemed. He didn't want to be big headed or anything but his happiness was infectious. When he was happy, she was too. Usually. 'Are you alright?' he asked her warily.
Lily took a deep breath, remembering what Alice had said and fighting all her instincts to ask him what he was hiding from her again. 'I'm fine.' she said, unconvincingly.
James sighed. He couldn't tell her what he'd seen when she was in a mood. She wouldn't find it funny. She wouldn't find it funny that, further down the school, there was a boy who was asking one specific girl out every day with cheesy pick-up lines. She wouldn't find it funny that the girl didn't like the boy at all and took every opportunity to call him names in return and reject him. She wouldn't find that funny at the minute. Or ironic. She would just say that the girl got it right. Stay away from the boy. James wanted her to laugh. He didn't want her to say that.
'No you're not.' he said, 'What's wrong?'
Lily bit her tongue. Alice had told her not to ask him. She said to try and act normal around him. Then, when he saw she was back to himself and they had settled back into normality, catch him off guard and ask him then. It was a good plan. In theory. But Lily was finding it hard not to question him about the secret she knew he was keeping. She thought he was keeping. No. She knew. And he was lying to her about it. Wasn't he? Now she had doubts.
'Oh.' James said, keying himself into what was wrong with her. He was getting tired of this. He wished she'd leave it alone. He wished she believed him. He wished he was telling the truth. He wished he could tell her. He couldn't. He ran a hand through his hair. 'Is this still about that secret you think I'm keeping from you-'
'I don't think, I know.' Lily cut in, unable to resist now.
'No you don't-'
'Then tell me.' Lily begged, closing her book and looking into his eyes. He looked back. He dropped his eye line. He took her book. Her doubt was gone.
'Lily you asked me yesterday and the day before that and the day before that and the day before that.' James said, flicking through the pages of her book, looking at what he was doing, 'The answer hasn't changed. I'm not keeping anything from you.'
'You're not?' Lily said, not believing him.
'No.' James sighed in exasperation, still not looking at her.
Lily looked at him though. And she saw the guilty expression in his face. 'That's a lie.' she stated, taking her book back off of him and turning back to the page she was on.
Hestia had told her to ask him about it. Alice had advised against it. But she was now doing her own thing. She was going to solve the problem on her own because she knew James. She knew what he couldn't stand. She knew it from the years that he had asked her out constantly. She knew what she was going to do now. She wasn't going to talk to him. The silent treatment.
Professor Albus Percival Wolfric Brian Dumbledore. Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Grand Sorcerer, Supreme Mugwump, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and, now, founder and chair of the resistance against Voldemort; The Order of the Phoenix. He was sat in his round office, as he so often was, awaiting the arrival of Professor Minerva McGonagall. He had asked to speak to her in her role as a Professor of the School, deputy headmistress and, perhaps most importantly, a member of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret resistance group against the forces that Voldemort had drawn up.
The Order of the Phoenix was off its feet now. It had various members, all willing to do their part to try and put a stop to Voldemort's tyranny, the death and destruction he was bringing. Each member had joined of their own free will. Dumbledore hadn't forced them to do anything. They all wanted to be part of the group. All of them. And they all knew the risks. They knew that they would now be constantly facing death. They knew they were in danger of being tortured, hunted down by Voldemort's death eaters and painfully crucified through curses, hexes and strong jinxes. They knew what they had let themselves in for. Dumbledore wouldn't have let them join if they hadn't understood. He knew what he was asking them to do; the people he trusted most in the world. He was asking them to risk death every single day, to put the lives of all they loved in danger. He had explained it all to them. And they had accepted it.
The Order of the Phoenix consisted of sixteen members including himself. There was Alastor Moody; a celebrated auror. Elphias Doge and Aberforth Dumbledore; people from Dumbledore's past, his childhood, his friend and his brother respectively. Mundungus Fletcher; a con artist extraordinaire. Arabella Fig; a squib. Benjy Fenwick, Marlene McKinnon, Dorcas Meadowes and Fabian and Gideon Prewett; ex-students of his who showed promising talent and, most importantly, who Dumbledore trusted. Sturgis Podmore, Caradoc Dearborn and Dadalus Dearborn; great wizards who were highly skilled and very trustworthy. Then Minerva McGonagall and Rubeus Hagrid; members of staff at Hogwarts. The Order was fighting fit and had been for a while.
They had been out trying to combat Voldemort's forces for six months now, since Christmas, and surprisingly, they hadn't been noticed. It wasn't because they weren't making a difference, though many of the members of the Order thought that to be true. Dumbledore assured them it wasn't though. He knew that if they hadn't been intervening in some of the attacks that had happened, the injury and death total would have been a lot higher than it was. He also assured them that it was good that they weren't getting recognition in the daily prophet because, if they were, it would defeat the purpose of their group. Safe to say, Dumbledore was happy with the way things were with the Order and how things were progressing. But he wasn't one to be foolish. He knew they could do better.
The thing that would make the most difference was a mole. He needed a mole in Voldemort's ranks, someone who they would be unable to corrupt, someone who was skilled at lying and concealing things, someone with high morals and, perhaps most of all, someone with a reason. But there was no one. None that he would ask that risk of. He wouldn't want to put anyone in that close a proximity to Voldemort who he knew was skilled at legilimens. If someone went that deep into the hornets' nest there would be a strong chance they wouldn't make it past the first day. So Dumbledore would have to think of other ways to try and circumvent Voldemort's movements. And the only way he could think of to do that, would be to talk to people who knew him, and talk to people who would know his mind-set. So he was making a decision. One which he didn't take lightly, one which he wished he didn't have to make, something his didn't want to have to do. But something he knew had to be done.
He was leaving the school for a few days, perhaps even weeks depending on how talkative people were. He would be going to talk to people who knew Tom Riddle. He would be talking to his old class mates, the ones that hadn't followed his command and had been lead into the dark arts. The ones that supported his choice, knew some of his motives but had decided to just support him from a distance. Dumbledore would have to use veritaserum and memory charms to get them to talk. He would have to manipulate their minds, take information out of them against their own free will. He didn't want to, but for the sake of the wizarding world, he would have too.
He would have to talk to his old employers. Those who had hired Tom Riddle willingly before he had become Voldemort. Hopefully, they wouldn't have made the connection between the boy who was dutiful and highly skilled and the wizard who people feared to speak of. Hopefully the information would be easy to retrieve from them because they wouldn't understand or know of its importance. But Dumbledore couldn't bank on that so he had prepared extra phials of veritaserum. It might be possible that he would have to take the same defensive and protective action against them as he would have to with Voldemort's old acquaintances, (for they could hardly be called friends). For if he was to talk to them, he would have to cover his tracks. Voldemort could not find out what he was doing.
The last person he needed to see did not know Voldemort. He would have heard of him, even where he was, but he would have never met him. However, Dumbledore knew that their mind-set would be similar. And he could perhaps help him get an insight into what might be going on in Voldemort's mind, what he's next moves might be. For he had most likely made these plans in his head. However, it would be no walk in the park to get him to talk. Dumbledore may have once been friends with Gellert Grindelwald but he had also defeated him and sent him to prison. He had turned his back on him because of what had happened to his sister. Because of what had happened to Ariana. Because Dumbledore felt enormous guilt about it. But he could prevent others dying if he spoke to Grindelwald and, even though it would be hard and painful and would torture his mind, he could put it to the back of his mind for the good of the wizarding world.
There was a knock at the door.
'Come in.' Dumbledore said serenely.
The door opened and Professor McGonagall walked into the room, the hardly wavering stern expression written across her face. She had probably just been dealing with some rule breakers or, far more likely, she had probably been dealing with Hogwarts head boy and his best friend. Still rule breakers but far more notorious for their pranks and sense of humour. At least for the past couple of years anyway. There was a tendency to overlook there constant disregard of the rules thanks to this. People still questioned Dumbledore for his appointment of James Potter as head boy but he had his reasons. He wouldn't disclose them but they were there. And if you stopped trying to find them, you would see them. Still, it baffled Professor McGonagall because she had to keep telling him off, even though he should know better by now. And, as predicted, she had just been berating him and Sirius Black about their latest exploits. Now she was here to talk to Dumbledore though, she pushed the mischief makers out of her mind and focused on the headmaster.
'Ah Professor McGonagall.' Dumbledore said, placing his fingertips together, 'Thank you for coming.'
McGonagall nodded her head in recognition of his thanks.
Dumbledore stood up and walked over to his phoenix, Fawkes, and began to gently stroke his head. 'I will be gone for a couple of weeks, perhaps more.' he informed her, 'There are things I need to find out and I can't find them out from the comfort of my own office.'
McGonagall stayed silent.
'I need you to take care of things whilst I'm gone.' Dumbledore said.
'Of course.' McGonagall answered.
Dumbledore looked across to her with a kind smile and one last statement. 'No one can know I'm gone.'
James rushed through the school. He had been in the kitchens with Sirius, wondering why on earth Remus hadn't joined them after his Care of Magical Creatures lesson. It had never occurred to him, at the time that he had gone straight to the Friday prefects meeting that was supposed to be run by James and Lily. Now he had remembered, it seemed obvious. Still, remembering this late meant that he was going to be walking in the room forty-five minutes after he had supposed to be there.
He usually didn't forget because Lily reminded him. But after a week of constant interrogative questions to which James had no answers for, she had just stopped talking to him. Completely. It was torture really. The past two days had been the worst. She would walk with him in silence to breakfast but, he suspected, if she wasn't walking that way with Hestia anyway, she wouldn't have even gone with him. She wouldn't even hold his hand. To back this suspicion up he had the rest of the day. She wouldn't walk with him after transfiguration classes, wouldn't talk to him during them. Didn't eat lunch with him, didn't notice him in Potions, Herbology, Charms or DADA. She would just blank him, giving him the silent treatment in hope that he would think twice and tell her his secret. When he had gone to pick her up from Ancient Runes she would just walk away, too annoyed with him for keeping secrets from her to even walk with him back to the common room. So, today, he didn't go and pick her up from Ancient Runes as he usually would have done on a Friday. If he had, he probably would have remembered the prefects meeting.
He opened the door quietly, but not quietly enough as everyone turned to look at him as he entered the room.
'Sorry.' he said to everyone, but more to Lily. However, she was the only one to ignore his apology. She rolled her eyes and returned to running the meeting, taking in the last requests for patrol dates. She took no notice of James, something everybody picked up on. No one knew what it was about though. The only thing they could think of, the last piece of gossip that circulated the school about them, was when Lily had slapped Severus Snape across the face, obviously over something James had done. People made up their own stories from there. The prefects, bar Remus, were no different.
Remus had no idea what was going on between the pair of them, but he knew better than to ask or draw his own conclusions about the situation. James had drawn a line. Asking what was wrong would cross it. So he left them alone, praying they'd figure it out sooner or later. James was always grumpy if Lily didn't speak to him. So her giving him the silent treatment was torturous, not only for him but for his friends too. They had to deal with him.
The meeting was long and arduous from then on. It dragged because there was an obvious tension in the room. James sat back from the meeting and kept glancing at Lily every few seconds, something which none of the prefects failed to notice. Lily just ignored him, ignored his presence. She had a stony face and, the one time that James decided to contribute something to the meeting, she cut across him and wouldn't let him talk. It was childish, she knew, but it made her feel better. Still, it meant that the atmosphere in the air was tangible. It was not nice to sit through and so, when the prefects were allowed to go, they all rushed out of the room as quickly as possible, but not before they had created their own versions of gossip.
When they left, and James and Lily were alone, there was silence. Their breathing was audible in the quiet room. It echoed around the stone walls. The slow ticking of the clock bounced off of the wooden desks in the room and the scratching of the quill Lily was using to write out the prefects rota was clear as a whistle. Not to mention annoying. It went on for five minutes until it was too much for James to handle. He didn't want to sit in a silent room with her. She was his girlfriend. They weren't supposed to ignore each other. They were meant to talk to each other, laugh with each other, joke, be sarcastic, make fun of, kiss and be with each other. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. He couldn't take her silence any longer.
'Lils are you going to talk to me?' he asked with a desperate sigh in his voice, a plea for her to answer him plainly present.
'Are you going to tell me what it is you're hiding from me?' Lily replied without missing a beat, turning her head to look questioningly at him.
'I'm not hiding anything from you.' James said in what had become is usual response to that question over the past week, his jaw tense because he was irritated, his eyes avoiding hers, looking anywhere else but the powerful green irises that stared back at him.
Lily looked at him a bit longer that she would have like to considering how irritated she was with him for lying to her and hiding things from her. When she did finally look away she sighed and turned back to the rota, asking him in a bored, 'because I have to' voice, 'What patrol do you want to do?'
James exhaled a deep breath. 'Lily-' he began.
'What patrol?' Lily repeated, making it clear that they were no longer talking about them. That discussion was over. They were now on business.
James was a bit more reluctant to make the switch from their relationship issues to head duties. But when he saw that she wasn't switching back, he tiredly threw out the days, 'Wednesday and Thursday.'
Lily looked over the timetable briefly. 'Can't do Wednesday.' she said, writing James in for Thursday. 'Megan has that slot.' she went on to explain shortly.
'Bump her.' James shrugged.
'No. She asked specifically for that one because she's got Quidditch and Birthdays and god knows what else going on.' Lily informed him, 'She needs to do that date.'
'Then I'll patrol with her.' James said.
'Lupin is patrolling with her' Lily pointed out.
James rolled his eyes. 'Give her the week off-'
'No.' Lily interrupted, annoyed that he was being so pedantic about a stupid patrol slot. 'Just pick another day.' she went on through slightly gritted teeth.
'I need Wednesday.' James sighed, running a hand through his hair and finally sitting up from where he had been slouching on his chair. He leant forwards on the desk, studying the rota over Lily's shoulder.
'Why?' Lily asked harshly, tossing down the quill onto the table. It skidded slightly over to James and he stopped it sliding any further by placing his hand over it, mid-motion. 'Why can't you just do Sunday?' Lily continued, not noticing anything to do with the quill and James whatsoever, 'Or Monday? Or Tuesday even? Why does it have to be Wednesday?'
'It just does.' James stated, pulling the rota towards him.
Lily stopped him. 'James-' she started in exasperation.
'Lily-' James smirked.
'No.' Lily cut him off quickly, looking directly into his eyes, and he into hers by force. 'Don't do that.' she said, 'Tell me why you so desperately need to do Wednesday.'
'Cause I can't do the other days.' James replied honestly.
'Why not?' Lily demanded, 'Quidditch?'
'Then what?' Lily asked.
'I can't tell you-'
'Because it's not my secret to tell!' James said suddenly, louder than he had been talking before. Immediately he dropped his eye-line from her eyes. He had looked into them longer than he should have. If he had been thinking he would have lowered his gaze ages ago. Now, he was sure, there were to be consequences. She now definitely knew he had a secret which meant that she now knew he had definitely been lying to her. Now he would have to ensure he worked twice as hard, concentrated even more on keeping Remus' secret. Because it really wasn't his to tell. He didn't have permission to release that information. Yet.
Lily paused. 'So you are keeping a secret from me?' she clarified, 'I knew it.'
'We've been together for nine months now, nine months yesterday in fact!' Lily said, the patrol rota for the prefects completely pushed out of her mind, 'We're not meant to have any secrets.'
James heaved a breath. 'I know that-'
'Then why do you have secrets?' she questioned harshly, 'What is it you're not telling me?'
James still didn't look her in the eye. He simply tried to explain in as little detail as possible. 'It's not my place to tell you. Other people are involved.'
Only one thing occurred to Lily when he said that. And it had nothing to do with the marauders. 'Are you…' she began hesitantly, swallowing hard, forcing the next words out of her mouth, '…cheating on me?'
'No.' James said immediately, hurt that she would think that first. They had been together nine months and one day. Why would he cheat on her now. Why would he cheat on her at all? He took her hand reassuringly, unable to resist. 'Merlin no Lily.' he said, brushing the hair out of her face and tucking it behind her ear, repeating the action again. 'Why on earth would I do that? How could you think that?' he asked.
'Well nothing can be worse than that in my mind so just tell me.' Lily said softly, unmoving from his hold.
James looked into her eyes and took a deep breath. He ignored that tug and snap feeling she gave him. It was hard to do. It almost broke him. He was so close to telling her but he didn't. 'No.' he said assertively. Or as assertively as he could.
'Fine.' Lily said, pulling out of his grip, taking her face out of his hand and her hand out of his. 'Fine.' she repeated, standing up and gathering her stuff. 'Tell me, don't tell me I don't care.' she muttered loudly as she swung her bag over her shoulder, still talking to James as he stayed seated. 'But don't expect me to be happy.' she stated, 'Don't expect me to trust you. And don't expect this to last much longer.' Lily finished, walking over to the door and out the room.
James' eyes widened and his stomach dropped. 'What?' he said. 'Lily?' he went on as he stood up. 'Lily! Lily get back here!' he said loudly, following her moments later out of the room. 'What the hell do you mean by that?' he called after her when he exited the classroom. But she had gone. 'Lily?' he called one last time, not expecting her to return.
He hit the door in frustration. 'Dammit!' he cursed.
Thanks for reading
I will update on the 12th of August when I'm back from my holiday!