The Sugar Quill
Author: Izzy  Story: Discoveries  Chapter: Erintius
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Chapter Two:

Chapter Two: Erintius

            News about Lily finally accepting James’ offer spread around Hogwarts with alarming speed.  Not that this was altogether unexpected.  Lily was used to gossip circulating quickly amongst the students.  What she did not expect were the reactions from teachers, who seemed to have taken an almost unholy interest in the pairing.  Professor Slughorn, in particular, was quite keen on finding out the exact details of the match.  It took Lily nearly ten minutes to escape him the next day after Potions.  James, of course, was insufferably cocky and proud of his achievement.  To his credit, he attempted to tone down this pride around Lily, but she wasn’t fooled.  He strutted down the halls with a giant grin on his face the next day, and was all too pleased to hear the congratulatory remarks from fellow students that had been egging him on.

            “I still can’t believe that you’re going with him!”  Evy, a curly haired fifth year Gryffindor Prefect who hero-worshiped Lily exclaimed, following her through the hall towards the Charms classroom the next day.  “I mean, you two hate each other, right?  I don’t understand why,  since he’s so good looking, but I guess there should be more to a boy than looks, right?  But still, he’s been going after you for years it just doesn’t make sense that you’d suddenly give in, does it?  I mean, what could make you change your mind?” 

            Lily was used to Evy’s long streams of questions but found them rather irksome today.  “I’ve told you already, Evy, it’s to get him to leave me alone.”

            “But what if you do have a good time?  What if you end up liking him?  I mean, it could happen, right?”  Evy peered up at Lily through her thick glasses, eyes wide in question.  

            “I don’t think there’s any danger of that,” Lily said wryly, ignoring a few members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team who gave Lily a chorus of whistles and applause. 

            “Guess not,” Evy shrugged, and turned down another hall towards her History of Magic classroom.  “But still.  It could happen.  Not to mention that he’s gorgeous.  See you later, Lily!”  Evy trotted off happily down the hallway.  Lily watched her go for a moment, frustration mounting.  Going to Hogsmede with James might be more trouble than it was worth. 

            “What’s all this I hear about you finally stepping off that high horse of yours in order to go out with my best mate, hum?”  Sirius Black came up next to Lily suddenly. 

She scowled over at him.  “What’s it to you?”

            “Just wanted to give you my blessing,” he said cheekily. 

            Lily rolled her eyes.  “I only said yes to get him to leave me alone, Sirius.  I don’t care one lick for James.”

            “Come off it, Lily.  Don’t ruin this for him by being so put out about it.  You could at least pretend like you’re having a good time.  He’s been planning this weekend for ages!”  Sirius, though hardly adept with romantic sentiment himself, always recognized it for what it was worth. 

            “He...what?”  Lily’s scowl disappeared.  “How did he know I’d say yes?”

            “You couldn’t say no forever,”  Sirius said.  “Oi!  Wormtail!  You’re going the wrong way,” he shouted down the hallway suddenly, spotting Peter Pettigrew heading towards Transfiguration.  “It’s Charms next, you idiot!”  He cuffed Peter behind the head as he approached in a teasing fashion.  “Honestly, you’d think after nearly two months back at school he’d remember the schedule.  Come on, mate,” he gave Peter a small shove on the shoulder and watched him lumber awkwardly towards Professor Flitwick’s class before speaking.  “He keeps doing that.  James and I think he lost his mind over the holiday.  Maybe he got in the middle of some badly executed charm or something.  Keeps disappearing.”  He winked at Lily.  “Don’t be late, Evans.”  He stalked off after Peter.  Several girls in the hallway watched him with eager, love seeking eyes. 

            “Cheeky,”  Lily scowled, fixed her bag on her shoulder and started after them. 

            Normally Lily would have sat in the front of the room with some of her best friends, but the last thing she wanted was more conversation about the date with James.  She found an empty seat in the back corner and sat in silence until Professor Flitwick had climbed onto his pile of books.

            “We will be continuing work on our Erintius charms this afternoon.  Remember that in order to clear your minds of anxiety you must be willing to put your frustrations aside.  Inner ties to your problems will make finding peace nearly impossible, especially when performing the charm on yourself.” Professor Flitwick bounced up and down comically as he gave the class instructions.  “If you choose, you may work with a friend on this assignment.  Sometimes explaining your frustrations to another is the best way to relieve your own stress.  Otherwise, you have the duration of class to work.” 

            Lily wasn’t about to talk about her inner anxiety with another member of the class.  In light of recent events she chose to work alone, though some of the girls and most of the boys sought her attention.  She was a valuable partner in Charms.  She had a knack for it and was good at explaining the task at hand on a level that someone would understand.  Today she’d rather be on her own.

            She wouldn’t have made much of a partner in this particular lesson.  Her eyes kept wandering to the back of James’ head a few rows up.  He and Sirius had partnered each other and seemed to have succeeded in their attempts with the charm.  For years she had wanted to take a comb to his hair and smooth it out a bit,  but just now she wouldn’t go near it with one.  It suited him.  And his smile could drive her crazy even when she was furious with him.  Subconsciously she was admiring every part of him.  The dimple he had on his chin, his laugh, his eyes and the way they were looking right back at her…

            They were looking right back at her.

            He smiled pleasantly at her and turned back to his work, muttering something to Sirius and twirling his wand around in his fingers.

            She groaned and looked fixedly at her desk, praying that no one had seen.  A folded piece of parchment appeared next to her left hand.  She frowned a bit and opened it. 

No one saw. 

            Lily frowned and looked back up at James.  He was hard at work on mastering the charm. 

How do you know?

            She whispered a spell under her breath and the parchment disappeared, and reappeared on his desk.

Because I’ve put a memory block on all of them that were watching.

            Lily looked around.  Sure enough, four or five people in the class had the same lost look on their faces.  She had half a mind to reprimand him for using spells against students but…under the circumstances…

Thanks.

You’re welcome.

 

            “That was one of the most brilliant ideas you’ve ever had, James,” Sirius looked very impressed.  “Saving her from embarrassment like that…from everyone but me anyway…she’ll probably love you after that.” 

            “I don’t think she was staring at me, Padfoot.  More my general direction.”  James started up the stairs to Gryffindor tower to drop his bag off before Quidditch.  “And I’d like to labor under the delusion that I might not ruin all chances with her less than twenty-four hours after she’s agreed to go.”

            “Best of luck with that then.” Sirius looked doubtful that he’d succeed.  

            “A little faith, hmm, Sirius,” James stopped in front of the portrait of the fat lady.  “Gobbledygook.” 

            “And anyway,” continued James, climbing through the hole, “I’m not going to give her any reason to hate me.  Now that I’ve got her I don’t have to pester any more so I can lay on the old Prongs charm and let everything just fall into place.” 

            Sirius guffawed and started up the stairs.  “Prongs charm?”

            “I don’t know.  Give her some flowers or…something.  I’ll think of it.” 

            “Just no more of those singing daffodils, alright?  I never want to see those stupid things again.” 

            James pushed open the door to their dorm and grinned.  “Me neither. Bloody annoying.” 

            He tossed his bag onto the bed.  “See you at dinner?”

            “I’ll be there.”

            James left the room and jogged down the stairs two at a time.  He stopped dead at the bottom of the steps.  Near the fire were two or three second years huddled around a hysterical first year boy. 

            “What’s wrong?”  He went over to the group of them.  A girl handed him the Evening Prophet. 

FOUR WIZARDS KILLED, THREE MISSING

FOUR UNIDENTIFIABLE WIZARDS WERE KILLED

IN AN ATTACK NEAR BLACKPOOL EARLY THIS

MORNING.  THREE MEMBERS OF THE KNOX FAMILY

ARE CURRENTLY MISSING.  MORE NEWS TO FOLLOW

AS INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE.

           

            James stared at the boy and got down on his knees in front of him.  “Your last name’s Knox, isn’t it?”  The boy nodded. 

James wasn’t sure what to do.  He looked around the common room, searching for some kind of inspiration.  Remus would be better at this.  “Alright you lot, clear away…” he told the crowd gathered around the boy.  “We should go talk to Dumbledore,” James said.  “He probably already knows, but…he’ll know how to help you…” it sounded so lame and unconvincing, and the boy didn’t seem comforted by this idea, so without thinking, James gave him a hug.  “It’ll sort out.  Dumbledore will know what’s going on.  He always does.”

“What’s wrong?”  Lily had entered the common room.   James looked up at her, frowning.  Lily frowned back and turned the newspaper over. 

James pulled away from the boy and took him by the shoulders.  “Look, Andrew…that’s your name, right?”  The boy nodded.  “We need to tell Dumbledore.  I mean…he probably already knows because he’s Dumbledore but…”

“But he’ll be able to tell you more than the Evening Prophet,” Lily spoke up quickly.  “Come on, Andrew.  I’ll take you.”  She held her hand out for him to take.  He took it. 

James stood.  “Do you want me to come with you?” he asked, anxious to help somehow. 

“If you want to.”  Lily led Andrew gently over to the door. 

James followed a few paces behind them.  Nearly everyone was at dinner now.  His team would be wondering where he was for practice, but he didn’t much care at this point.  They were a shoe-in for the cup this year anyway. 

“Ice Mice,” Lily said, reaching the entrance to the Headmaster’s office. The stone

gargoyle moved aside and the doors opened, revealing-     

“Professor!”  James was half surprised to see him there. 

            “Mr. Potter, Miss Evans and…” He looked down at the obviously upset Andrew, “Mr. Knox.  I should like to have a word with you.” Dumbledore put a hand on Andrew’s head and his tears subsided.  “I was expecting you.  Thank you for your assistance James, Lily.  It is most appreciated.  Come along, Andrew…”  Dumbledore led Andrew to the moving stairs that led to his office. 

            The gargoyle jumped back into place.  Lily was frowning still.  “I hope nothing’s wrong…”

            “I’m sure everything will be just…”

            “Ghastly.”  A snide voice came from behind them.  “Dumbledore’s going to tell him his parents are dead.”

            “How do you know?”  James flipped around, wand already out and pointed strait at Snape’s face. 

            “I’ve got my sources.” His wand wasn’t out.  He was leaning casually against the wall, completely unperturbed. 

            “What kind of sources?”  Lily asked, looking at Snape with suspicion.

            Snape ignored her question.  “You haven’t heard from your Mudblood parents for a few days, have you, Evans?”

            “How did you know?” Lily had gone slightly pale.

            “Just commenting,” Snape turned and started down the hall.

            “What do you know about my parents?”  Lily ran after him and grabbed his arm. “Tell me!”

            “Get your hands off me.  I don’t want your filth all over my robes,” he wrenched out of her grasp and turned a corner. 

            “Come back here, you coward!”  James ran after him, wand raised. 

            “No!”  Lily blocked him.  “Don’t.  You’re no better than him if you do that.” 

            For a moment James was tempted to ignore her and fly Snape into the Great Hall without his pants on, but he let his wand fall.  “Why didn’t you tell me that you haven’t heard from your parents?” he turned to face her.

            “Why should I tell you?”  Lily was watching Snape stalk down the hallway. 

            “Well, you should have told someone!”  James ran a hand through his hair.

            “It’s probably nothing…they’re probably just busy.”  Lily pursed her lips and turned.  “I’m going to go send a letter to my mum.”

           

           

//
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