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
“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
“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.
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.
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…
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.
“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.”
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
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
“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
“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
“How did you know?”
Lily had gone slightly pale.
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.
nothing…they’re probably just busy.” Lily pursed her lips and turned. “I’m
going to go send a letter to my mum.”