The Sugar Quill
Author: zzzFF Blue_Eyed_Athena  Story: Unicorns and Realizations  Chapter: Default
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Lily Evans was comfortable

Unicorns and Realizations

By Athena


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 a favour.”


“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, breathlessly.


“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.  “But…”


“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 him?”


“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. 


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