Unicorns and Realizations
Lily Evans was comfortable. She was
in her favorite chair by the fire, reading her favorite book – “A Magical Eve”,
by Serena Knight – and warming her favorite (as they were her only) toes. Lily
Evans was in no mood to be disturbed by any rude, raucous boys today.
Unfortunately, rude, raucous boys don’t usually care what kind of mood one
happens to be in; they bother one regardless…and today was certainly no
different. Just as Lily was about to reach her favorite part in the book,
James Potter came storming into the common room, looking almost theatrically
distraught. Lily nearly snorted into her pages at the look of sheer despair on
his face, but when he turned toward her, she knew this was more than just a
prank gone wrong.
“Evans!” He called across the common
room, and began to walk toward her, running his hand through his hair. “I need
“James Potter? Asking me for a favour? Surely you’re joking.
If not, your arrogance exceeds even my expectations. I’m not going to help
with one of your stupid pranks, if that’s what you want.”
James took a deep breath. “It’s
not,” he replied.
Lily raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”
“Please,” he said, as though the word
was foreign to his tongue. “I’ll explain later…I promise I’ll repay you. I
will. Honeydukes’ best…it’s all yours…”
“Fine,” Lily interrupted. “I’ll help
you.” She didn’t know what possessed her to help him. Maybe it was the
pleading look on his face, or the fact that for the first time since she’d met
him, she heard him use the word “please,” or maybe she just knew that this
time, he was serious.
James immediately grabbed her hand
and pulled her to the other side of the common room, practically throwing her
out of the portrait hole. As soon as they were out, he started running
full-speed, dragging her behind him. They streaked out of the castle, Lily
gasping in shock as the cold hit her like a wave. She hadn’t had time to grab
her cloak. Still running, they were headed straight for the Forbidden Forest.
Lily’s eyes grew wide. He was taking her into the forest. She started to
voice her alarm, but James’ hand held hers in such a way that would brook no
argument. They continued running, stumbling their way through the undergrowth
until they finally came to a small, grassy clearing. In the center of the
clearing was a beautiful animal writhing in great pain. A unicorn.
“Can you help him?” James demanded.
“What happened?” Lily asked,
“He seems to have had some kind of
run-in with a werewolf. He’s bleeding pretty badly, but I don’t want to touch
him…they don’t react well to men, you know.”
“I know,” Lily replied quickly.
“Questions can wait for later. We’re
running out of time,” James snapped.
Lily walked, mesmerized, to the pale
animal. Silver blood was running down its side.
“Here,” James said as he pulled a
white towel out from his robes, “use this.”
Lily took the towel and held it
against the wound, to soak up the blood. The unicorn twitched a bit but eventually
settled back down. With her right hand, she pulled out her wand and applied
several healing charms, none of which were effective. “Healing charms aren’t
going to work. I’ll need a potion with some concentration of phoenix tears.”
“We’ve got something in the Quidditch
locker room…a general wound healing potion. I think it contains a trace of
phoenix tears. Quidditch injuries can be very bad, you know. But…we can’t
leave him here alone,” James explained.
“I’ll stay with him,” Lily offered.
“No…it’s far too dangerous.”
“James Potter, I am a fully competent
witch and I can take care of myself,” she said angrily. “Besides, few animals
would go near an injured unicorn,” she added.
“Right, then.” And he ran off,
faster than Lily had ever seen anyone run.
She turned to the unicorn.
“Honestly, that boy,” Lily sighed. “I can’t stand him. I really can’t. He
and his wild friends tramping around like they own the whole school – forest
included. He seems quite familiar with the territory, you know. And then…how
did he find you here in the first place? I suppose it’s a good thing,
though.” The unicorn suddenly looked up at Lily. “I meant a good thing for
you,” she clarified. “I’d rather spend my Sunday afternoons as far away from
James Potter as possible, thank you very much. He never seems to care about
anything other than his own amusement,” she paused for a moment. “But
today…today was different, somehow. He really cares about helping you. That’s
rather kind of him, isn’t it?” Realizing what she had said, she added, “but
he’s an awful boy. Perfectly dreadful, when he’s in his right mind.” She sat
in silence for a few moments, stroking the beautiful white fur. After several
minutes, James returned with a vial of the potion.
“Sorry it took me so long. Is he
alright?” James seemed truly concerned, and quite out of breath.
“He’s fine,” Lily replied as she took
the bottle from James. Gently, she applied it to the wound. A few long
seconds later, it began to slowly heal. “He should be alright for now. I can
bandage him up…can you come check on him tomorrow? Will you be able to find
“Yes,” James replied.
“Ok, then,” Lily spoke as she
finished tying the bandage. “We’re done. Can we take it a bit slower on the
way back, please? I’d like to admire the scenery of the forest when it’s not
in a blur.”
“Hmm? Er…oh, of course…” James said,
but his thoughts seemed to be far away from the forest. He was staring at
Lily’s hair, and she suddenly felt very self-conscious. As his eyes met hers,
he realized he’d been caught staring and turned bright red. Lily turned back
to the unicorn, staring at the brilliant whiteness of it. “Let’s…er…go, then,”
James stumbled over the words.
As they were walking back through the
forest, Lily asked James why he hadn’t gone to a teacher, or Hagrid, or anyone
else first for help.
“I dunno, really,” he shrugged. “You
were just the first person I thought of.”
As they reached Gryffindor Tower,
James thanked Lily for helping him, and they entered the common room and went
their separate ways. Sitting in her comfortable chair, watching James
conversing animatedly with Remus Lupin and Sirius Black (surely plotting some
highly illegal prank), she couldn’t help but think that maybe James Potter wasn’t
so bad after all.