The Sugar Quill
Author: Hallie (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Score All to Us - Nil to Snape  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

***

Chapter 1 - Summer Holidays

Lily Evans was in her room in the small house she shared with her mother, father and sister. Looking at her, people saw a petite red head of surprising beauty. Curling hair fell down her back and startlingly green eyes beguiled all but the most hardened of critics. But what these people failed to realise was that Lily was no ordinary person. No, she was a witch, and in her sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

"Lily!! Breakfast's ready! Hurry up!" The voice belonged to Petunia, Lily's older sister. She had freaked when she found out that Lily was a witch, and barely spoke to her now, save to relay messages. Lily hurriedly fastened the top button of her jeans, and dashed downstairs.

"Morning dear. Petunia will be back in a minute; she's just gone to fetch the post. Go and fetch your father, there's a good girl!"

Lily smiled at her mother's affectionate chaos, and skipped off, in search of her father. She eventually found him in his office, head bowed over a piece of paper.

"Daddy! DADDY!! Leave that now. Mum's got breakfast all ready, and if you don't come now it'll get cold."

"All right darling, I won't be a minute." Lily hid a smile behind her hand. Her father was a brilliant scientist, and he'd soon forget about breakfast if she were got without him.

"Come on Dad. If you don't come now you'll be late for work." At that, her father glanced at his watch, and glared at her, startled out of his reverie.

"Is that the time. Lily, why didn't you tell me! I'll be late for work!" And he hurried out of the room, Lily on his tail.

Lily and her father were tucking into toast and jam when her sister entered. Petunia was tall and skinny, with blonde hair, and over bright blue eyes, all too ready to spot other people's faults.

"Three for you Daddy. Probably bills. Oh look, isn't he sweet! Look Mummy, Vernon's sent me a postcard, all the way from Greece! There's one for you too. Looks like it's from them."

Lily laughed. Vernon was Petunia's fiancé and Lily thought he was the most annoyingly boring man to grace the earth. And her sister's unwillingness to even say Hogwarts was funny really - well, it used to be annoying, but after six years you'd have thought she would have got used to it.

"Thanks." Lily absentmindedly sipped her tea, while reading the letter in front of her. It was basically informing her of the travel arrangements and the new books she would need. That meant she'd need to pay a trip to Diagon Alley. That was fine. Lily loved the wizard street, full of magical tools and tricks. One thing was for sure - Petunia wouldn't join her. Her father would be working. She'd have to go with her mother.

"Mum!! I need to get my school things. Would you be able to take me, please?"

"Sorry love. I wish I could, but your Auntie Maureen's having some problems, and I promised to help out. You'll have to go alone.

Great. Lily thought. It was typical. She had no way of contacting any of her school friends. Her best friends were lucky; people like Eleanor Silver and Cecelia Hall had owls that could deliver messages for them. Lily wasn't so fortunate. Living as a Muggle meant that her parents had insisted that she have a cat. That way people wouldn't question them. It wasn't that they weren't proud of her, they were, but Petunia's feelings had to be taken into account. Consequently she had Jet, a beautiful black cat, but not much good for taking messages.

When breakfast was over, her father kissed her on the cheek, and left the house. Petunia too disappeared, probably to write a slushy love letter to Vernon. That left her mother, but Lily knew that she would only annoy her if she stayed with her. So, she went back to her bedroom, and sat, pointed chin cupped by delicate hands, eyes dreamy, gazing, unseeing out of the window.

She'd been indulging in a daydream for over an hour when the soft coo of an owl startled her from her reverie.

"Aphrodite! How nice! That means Cee's actually remembered me." Lily couldn't quite understand her friend's logic in naming her owl after the Greek goddess of beauty. She assumed that it came from Cecelia's half Muggle parentage. Eleanor, on the other hand was a pure blood. She had no idea who Aphrodite was, and thought that Cee had made the name up. When Cee had explained, Eleanor had said that she could appreciate that the owl was pretty, but what was wrong with a magic name. Cecelia wouldn't talk to her for a week afterwards.

Lily removed the sheet of parchment from the snowy owls leg, and offered her a biscuit fragment.

'Dear Lil,

I hope you're enjoying the hols. I am. Cee came to visit yesterday, and mum was at her wits end. I reckon we could beat Sirius Black and his lot for mischief if only you weren't so goody goody. Anyway, I would have invited you, only I wasn't sure if your parents would approve. Some Muggles are awfully uptight about magic in general. But I've sidetracked. I got my letter today, and I wanted to know if you would like to meet me at Diagon Alley. I'm asking Cee too. It will be great if we can all go together. We can meet at Cee's house - it should be easy for you to get there. Let me know by giving Aphrodite a reply. Cee lent her to me, as Merlin's sick.

Hope I see you soon!

luv

Ellie

PS We'll go on 29/08. E.'

Lily read the letter, and scribbled a reply.

'Hi Ellie,

Love to come. See you at Cee's on August 29th. Don't forget! Luv Lily.'

Having done that Lily took herself downstairs for lunch. Once that was over, she went for a walk in the surrounding countryside, relishing the peace of the area.

Chapter 2 - Diagon Alley

On the 29th August, Lily rang the doorbell of Cecelia's house. Her mother came to the door.

"Lily dear. How nice to see you. Go up to Cee's room. I think she can't decide what to do with her hair or something. Anyway, Eleanor will be here soon - she's coming by Floo Powder. I'm off to finish my baking."

Lily loved Cecelia's mother. She was a witch, who had married a Muggle. This meant she knew more of the Muggle world that Eleanor's parents, who were both magical, and weren't all that worried about buses and trains not reaching them.

Lily galloped up the oak stairs to the bedroom Cee inhabited, along with her younger sister, Josephine. She pushed the door open, and was greeted by a girl at least a head taller than herself, with very long wavy black hair, and deep brown eyes set in an English rose complexion.

"Lily! How are you? Is Petunia annoying you again? Jo's been great this summer. She's starting at Hogwarts this year you see. Mum and Dad took her to get her stuff the other day. She's dead excited. Oh, and guess what!! I'm going to be an Auntie! We heard from Jonathan the other day, and Meredith's expecting!"

"Let's hope for the baby's sake it looks like Meredith and not Jon then. I mean, he's great and everything, but Meredith got the stunning looks."

"True." The door creaked open, and Eleanor entered.

"Hi guys! How're you doing? Are you ready to go?"

"I am! Lily?"

"Hey, Cee, your mum said you were messing about with your hair!"

"Oh. Well, I was. But I decided I'd just plait it, that way it won't get tangled."

"Um, Cee," Ellie said, cautiously, "Your hair's still down."

"Oh yeah! Never mind. I'll sort it out on the bus. So, are we ready to go?"

"Yep!!" Both Eleanor and Lily replied.

They took the tube to London, and then walked to Diagon Alley. Having got as far as the Leaky Cauldron, they stopped.

"Right. We all need to go to the bookstore. Oh, and I need some new robes, I've grown again! I don't think you two do though, Lily has hardly grown since we started, and Ellie's not grown much these last couple of years. Never mind. You can come with me, and then we'll go and stock up with ingredients for potions. Then we can finish with an ice cream, and go home. All right?" Cecelia had taken charge. When Cee was in a bossy mood, Eleanor and Lily both knew it was best to agree with her. So they followed her plan of action. They were laughing over ice creams, and causing many people to glance in their direction. They made quite a group, Lily with her distinctive ruddy locks, Cecelia and her delicate colouring, and Eleanor, who combined a peaches and cream complexion, with short straight sunshine blonde hair, and a pair of twinkling violet eyes. It was universally acknowledged that they were the prettiest girls in the school, and they were the subjects of much unrequited love. But as Eleanor said, people only loved the way they looked not who they were, so it wasn't real love anyway.

Once they had finished their ice creams, they could have gone home, but there was still plenty of time, so they looked in the sweet shop and the Magical Menagerie. Ellie and Lily were arguing about whether to go to Muggle London, or to the Joke shop, when two boys bumped into Cecelia.

"Cee! Are you okay?" Lily asked in concern, at the same time as one of the boys, black hair awry exclaimed

"Sorry!"

"Well I'll be-," The other boy, also with black hair said, startled. "The three flowers of spring. What a coincidence."

"Sirius Black!" Eleanor exclaimed, while Lily helped Cecelia back to her feet. "I should have known. You're the only person haphazard enough to knock some unsuspecting soul over. And what do you mean - flowers of spring?"

"Exactly what I said. Sorry girls. Things to do, people to see. See you at Hogwarts. Toodle-oo."

"Sirius, wait," the other boy muttered. "You'll have to excuse him, I think he had too much butterbeer. Are you okay Cee?"

"Well, I've been better. Oh, and James, your glasses are crooked. You might as well get on with your business. We're going to look around Muggle London. See you later." And she grabbed Eleanor and Lily, and pulled them away.

They left Diagon Alley, and took the bus home. Cecelia decided that they would enjoy themselves more at her house than in the city. By the end of the day, they had caught up on the gossip, and were looking forward to the beginning of term in excited anticipation.

Chapter 3 - Hogwarts Express

It was September 1st, and Lily was to start school that day. She got up, got dressed, and ate breakfast as usual, and then her father drove her to King’s Cross Station. Usually both her parents accompanied her, but her mother was busy, so it fell to her father to do the honours. Petunia would never come, believing that all magic was abnormal, as she did.

Lily said goodbye to her father on Platform Nine.

"Goodbye Daddy. Remember to write to me, and let me know everything. Don't worry, I'll be good. Tell Mummy that I'll send her an owl as soon as we get there. Take care of yourself."

"Have fun darling. Do your best, and enjoy yourself. I must go now, or I'll be late for work. Goodbye!" He kissed her, and dashed away.

Lily wheeled her luggage to the barrier between Platforms Nine and Ten, and leant against it casually. She fell through, to Platform Nine and three quarters.

"Lily!! Hey, Lil, over here." She turned to see Cecelia waving frantically, Eleanor stood by her, her expression clearly stating 'I don't know this person really!'

"Hi Cee, Ellie. How're you doing? Come on; let's get a carriage. We've got heaps of time, so maybe we'll be lucky and get one to ourselves."

"We'll have to get a move on then. Let's get on with it!"

The three girls got all of their luggage into one compartment, and spread out lazily, one in each corner. Lily was telling them about Petunia's fiancé Vernon, when four boys entered.

"-so anyway, he gets back from Greece, and she's ecstatic. I can't honestly see what's so good about him. Whatever she loves him for it's certainly not his looks. Compared to Vernon Dursley Cee's Jon looks like Prince Charming. Something tells me he doesn't like me. She told me she's told him, and I quote, 'my little sister's a freak, but don't worry about it. She's not here most of the time, and once we're married, we can forget her very existence if you want' unquote. Anyway-"

"Do you girls mind if we join you?" Sirius Black poked his head around the door. "Only everywhere else is full. We'd have found somewhere else, only we had to help Peter find his rat..."

The girls couldn't see any way out of it. They'd have to accept. So, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew joined them.

"Have you had a good summer?" Eleanor was making small talk. Somehow, talking about Petunia's boyfriend around the jokers didn't seem to be a good idea.

"Well, I had a great time. I think I blew the shed up five times. It was excellent." They had to laugh at Sirius' pleasure at causing mayhem. His poor mother must have been at her wit’s end.

"Do you know who the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teaches is?" Lily asked, curiously. The boys just stared at her. "What? I only asked."

"Lily, my dear flower, do you ever stop thinking about school?" Sirius asked.

"Now and then. Do you boys ever think about anything other than jokes?"

"Offhand? No." Sirius said.

"It's really unfair you know. We study like mad, and pass. You don't bother at all, and come out with pretty much top marks." Cee whined.

"No Cee, you and I study really hard and pass. Lily studies and gets pretty much top marks, and then she reads other stuff so that she can throw it at people when they least expect it." Ellie said, laughing.

"I can't believe we're having this conversation," exclaimed Sirius, disgusted.

"Well," Cee began, "we could always carry on talking girlie things, seeing as you boys don't want to indulge in intelligent conversation..."

"Well, actually, we wanted to ask you something." Sirius started, his voice low all of a sudden.

"What?" Lily asked, curiously,

"Well," James continued, "we've heard that you girls are more devious than you let on."

"And we figured that we could use some more brains when deciding what pranks to pull next." Sirius stated boldly. "We thought we'd set up a society."

"Great idea, two small problems." Cee whispered. "Problem one. Lily's a prefect, bless her little cotton socks. It wouldn't exactly set a good example if she became Miss Prankster of the year. Actually, scratch that. James already is Mr Prankster of the Year, along with the rest of you. I'm not quite sure how he got to be a prefect in the first place, but never mind that. Problem number two. How exactly do you plan to carry these pranks out?"

"Minor problems. If Jimmy boy and the flower girl-"

"Stop calling me that!!"

"What?" Sirius asked innocently.

"The flower girl. My name is Lily. And it's not my fault that lilies are flowers. And I'm not one. Okay?"

"I don't know," James said, not really paying much attention, "they say flowers are really pretty, you'd fit the bill there."

Lily, Cee and Ellie stared at him, jaws dropped in surprise. Sirius, Remus and Peter were trying their hardest not to kill themselves with laughter. Sirius and Remus caught a bewildered James between the two of them, and hurried out of the compartment.

* * * *

"I rather think, Prongs my friend, that you put your foot in it there." Remus said, his usually serious voice teasing.

"Yeah, James. I thought you said that you weren't interested in the flower girl."

"She told you not to call her that. And just because I said that she's pretty does not mean that I'm interested!"

"Really." Sirius said, knowingly. "Well, we'll just see about that.

Chapter 4 - The New Girl

Eventually the train rolled to a halt, and finally everyone was in the old castle that was Hogwarts. The Sorting ceremony was over, and everyone was sitting down to enjoy the beginning of term feast. Cecelia was particularly happy, as Josephine had been sorted into Gryffindor, the house she, Lily, Eleanor, and the four troublemakers were all members of.

James Potter, and friends were sitting opposite Lily and crew. They were wading their way through dish after dish of marvellous food, and talking at a rate of knots.

"You know, this year is going to be the best ever!"

"Sirius, you say that at the beginning of every year. And have you forgotten, this year we're doing NEWT's?" Remus Lupin asked, face aglow with laughter and warmth.

"Well, something tells me that Prongs is going to have a good year."

"Padfoot...Shut up!"

"Go James! And where did you get those ridiculous nicknames?" Cecelia asked, curiously. "They sound like they're out of Alice in Wonderland!"

"What?" Pettigrew asked, confused.

"Muggle book. My dad used to read it to Jo and I. But come on. We want to know what's the meaning behind this Prongs and Padfoot thing."

"Sorry. Trade secret. Eat your treacle tart like a good girl." Lily almost choked on her own treacle tart, at Sirius' treating Cecelia as if she were a five-year-old. She choked some more when Cee seemed to comply.

"Are you okay Lil?" Eleanor asked, concerned.

"I'm fine, just um, it went down the wrong way, you know..."

"Are you sure you're okay," Cee looked confused. "You don't usually babble. Maybe you should go to the hospital wing. You might be sick or something."

Before Lily had a chance to reply, Professor McGonagall appeared by her side, accompanied by a vivacious brunette, who was looking slightly bemused.

"Ah, Miss Evans, just the girl I was looking for. This is Felicity. She's just been transferred from her school in America. She's in the sixth year, and a Gryffindor, so please look after her." And McGonagall hurried off again.

"Hello!" Lily said, shyly. "I'm Lily Evans, and these are Cecelia Hall and Eleanor Silver."

"I'm Felicity Howell. I was at school in Boston, but I'm back in England now, for good, so I've been transferred to Hogwarts."

"So are you British then?"

"Welsh. We left Wales when I was five, for Boston, and now we're living in England. I expect someday we'll go back to Wales."

The three girls had noticed the lilting accent as soon as Felicity spoke. Clearly eleven years in the USA hadn't robbed her of her accent.

"That'll be lovely. So, what do you need to know?" Lily asked.

"Everything!!" Felicity replied, enthusiastically.

"Err, Lil, try introducing her to some other people so that she has a vague idea as to who everyone is!" Eleanor suggested, quietly.

"Good idea. Sit down Felicity, and help yourself to food. Sitting opposite us are James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. Guys, this is Felicity Howell."

"Pleased to meet you Felicity."

"Oh, call me Flick and have done with it. Felicity is such a mouthful."

"To my left is Emily Johnston, and to Cee's right is Samuel Allen. There are others of us, but don't worry about it right now. Enjoy the food. I do."

They finished their meal, and then made their way up to the Gryffindor Tower, where the Fat Lady guarded the portrait hole. Lily muttered the new password, Flibbertigibbet, and they entered. All made a beeline for their dormitories. It was late, and they needed to unpack.

Lily, Cee, Ellie and Flick entered the sixth year girls’ dormitory. Eight four poster beds dominated the room. The girls took the two beds closest to the window on each side of the room for their own, to a chorus of complaints from the other girls.

"You always get those beds!" Helen Canswell exclaimed. "Isn't it someone else's turn?"

"Nope!" Cecelia retorted, smiling. "Lily's a prefect, so she gets first pick, and naturally we want to be near her, so we have these beds. Don't complain. They're the worst beds really. All the spiders live in them!" And with this wicked proclamation she returned to her unpacking, while the other girls screamed.

Eventually all eight girls were unpacked, and in bed.

"Hey, Flick! Why don't you tell us about your life so far? I mean, tomorrow Lil will give you everyone else's life stories, but if you tell everyone, then she won't have to!"

There was a chorus of agreement from the other girl in the dormitory, and then Eleanor added softly.

"Lily's really shy. It's in your best interest to tell everyone yourself, and save her the agony."

So Felicity settled down to tell her tale.

"I was born in Wales, and for five years I lived in a little cottage called 'The Bluebells' with my parents. My mum's a Muggle and my dad's a wizard, so I grew up mixing the best of both worlds. But, when I was five, my mum died. Dad was really upset, and we left Wales for Boston as soon as we could. The states were great, but nothing could make up for the loss of my mother. Anyway, when I was eleven, I got a letter, inviting me to wizard school. Naturally my dad was thrilled. He came here, you see, and he wasn't sure what would happen to me in America. So I went there, and learnt great stuff, the same as you guys, I guess. But then last year Dad met another woman. She's English and her name's Margaret. While I was at school they started dating, and the next thing I knew, I was being introduced to my dad's fiancée. They decided to move back to England, so Dad wrote to Dumbledore to ask about me coming here. Dumbledore said that would be fine, so here I am. Dad and Mags are married, and living in London, and I'm safely out of the way at Hogwarts."

"Do you like your stepmother?" Cee asked, curiously.

"Well, I suppose so. I mean Mags is great, and really friendly, but she's not my mother. I think that's the big difference, you know. I can see her as a friend, but never as my mother."

At that moment Sirius Black and James Potter entered the room. The girls all shrieked, with the exception of Lily who hissed 'Shhhh', before glaring at the boys.

"What're you doing in here? You're not allowed."

"We know." Sirius said calmly. "But the boys were complaining about the noise you were making, so we thought we'd tell you to shut up and go to sleep."

"Practise what you preach." Cecelia retorted.

"We mean to." James replied. "'Night!"

And with that the two boys left. The girls snuggled down under the thick blankets, and soon the tower was quiet with the peaceful calm of sleep.

Chapter 5 - Potions and Snape

Lily, Felicity, Cecelia and Eleanor sat down for breakfast the next morning, and very soon James, Sirius, Remus and Peter joined them. The girls were laughing when Severus Snape, a greasy haired Slytherin boy, approached them.

"Oh how sweet. Looks like Potter's found himself a fan club. Pity about their lack of intelligence, isn't it Potter."

"Get lost Snape." James growled, angrily.

"What's the matter? Don't like it when the truth hits you?"

Felicity had been watching with undisguised disgust, but now she turned to Snape.

"Well. My dad told me to watch out for Slytherins. It's clearly changed here. He told me that they were devious. My pet rat has more intelligence than you, and if all you can do is insult people then I suggest you go back to your little friends. Maybe they'll think it's clever."

Snape looked at the outspoken girl in surprise. Then he turned on his heel and left, muttering about needing girls to fight battles, or some such like. The girls glared after him, before turning to Felicity.

"Way to go Flick! Teach the guy a lesson."

"Who does he think he is anyway?" Ellie asked, angrily.

"Is he blind or just stupid?" Lily retorted.

"Okay girls, calm down. We all agree that Snape is a greasy slimeball, who needs to be taught a lesson. You just happened to be the ones who proved our point." James said consolingly.

"Yeah, and we're real thrilled about that, oh, and can we set a couple of things straight?" Cecelia asked.

"Sure, knock yourself out!" Remus replied.

"Point number one. We are not your fan club. Do we look that stupid. Friends maybe. Fan club - never. Point number two. We are not stupid. Lily could rival you lot for intelligence any day, and she's far cleverer than Snape. I don't know about Flick, but Ellie and I aren't that bad. Point number three. What are we doing for revenge?!"

"I like this girl!" Sirius said, eyes glinting with mischief. "Okay. Here's the plan..."

Much later the Gryffindor sixth years had Potions with the Slytherins. The Slytherin housemaster, Professor Assize, took potions. He favoured the Slytherins, and consequently the Gryffindors always did rather badly from his lessons.

"Good morning. Today we're working on the Gubacious potion. As you should know this potion serves several purposes. It is most commonly used as a painkiller, when battle is being waged, but it also has healing properties. Using the notes you made last lesson, I want you to brew a Gubacious potion, and I intend to test it!"

And with that, the class set to work, eight of their number thinking more of their revenge than of their potion.

Severus Snape was an average student, although he excelled at Potions. Lily Evans was an above average student who was excellent with potions, but better with charms. Cecelia Hall while generally happy go lucky when it came to school was a potion brewer to rival Snape. James Potter was a star pupil, but his excellence was most apparent in Transfiguration. Eleanor Silver was a dab hand when it came to History of Magic, while Sirius Black was better at Arithmancy. Remus Lupin and Felicity Howell were both serious enough about school that no one would expect them to cause a distraction, and Peter Pettigrew was useless. It had been decided that these strengths would be played upon to gain revenge on Snape, who was, after all, far too full of himself.

"Time to set Stage one in to action, Lily muttered to Cecelia, who was her partner. Surreptitiously pointing her wand at Snape, she muttered 'tremelo', and all of his potions ingredients spilled to the floor. Step one complete; she turned to Cecelia to do her part. Cee winked at James, telling him that it was almost his turn. Cecelia then muttered instructions to Lily, who while apparently working on her potion, added certain ingredients to Snape's potion. This done James looked at Eleanor, with whom he was working.

"You do know exactly what it is you're doing don't you?" He asked. She nodded. While James used a simple spell to transform Severus' quill into a snake that was gradually slithering out of his bag Eleanor said, in clarion tones.

"Did you know James, that when they first made this potion in 1190, they used hedgehog quills instead of porcupines. It made the most unholy mess - and produced a pain-inflicting potion instead of pain reduction. You did get porcupine quills didn't you?"

James his task complete, replied.

"Eleanor. How many times do I have to tell you, I got the right ingredients," giving Sirius his codeword.

"Miss Silver, Mr Potter!" Professor Assize snarled, evilly, "kindly keep your voices down. Ten points from Gryffindor!"

Eleanor and James looked at each other, faces contorted with what looked like anger, but was in fact laughter. Sirius had done his part, and now Snape was dancing around, trying to subdue his scales. Finally, it was up to Remus and Felicity, seated behind Snape to bring attention to their part of the room.

"Oh don't be so stupid Remus. It's one phoenix tear, not two!"

"Felicity! You're a girl, and I'm telling you! You weren't here last term when we did this potion! It's two!"

"We did do work in America you know! And it's one!"

Heads turned to looks at the comical sight of pale looking Remus Lupin arguing with the new Gryffindor, who, it was obvious, knew that she was going to win.

Professor Assize suddenly noticed the commotion in the corner, and once they realised they had his attention, Felicity and Remus lowered their voices considerably. Professor Assize strode in their direction, however.

He was just about to begin a tirade against them, when he notice Severus Snape in what seemed to be an awful mess. The Professor turned away from the two Gryffindors, and instead stared at Snape.

"Mr Snape! What is the meaning of this?"

"I don't know sir. Everything seems to be going wrong."

"You got that right Snape. Everything is going wrong. Explain yourself. What have you done boy?" The professor growled.

"I don't know sir!"

"Really, well - Mr Snape, what is that sliding around your feet?"

"It's a snake sir!"

"Are snakes allowed Mr Snape?"

"No sir!"

"Well, congratulations Mr Snape. For the abysmal failure of your potions and your flagrant disregard for rules, you have detention tonight, and 5 o'clock. Don't be late."

After class, seven of the troublemakers met in the Gryffindor common room.

"Score one to us, and nil to Snape!!" Sirius whispered, excitedly.

"What exactly did you and Lily do, Cee?"

"Added a few extra ingredients!" Cecelia laughed. "Don't worry Ellie, suffice to say that Snape's potion is not Gubacious!"

"Well, I'll say that was quite some revenge!" Felicity said, slapping Remus, her partner in crime on the shoulder. "Oh, and Remus...it was two drops of Phoenix tears!" The whole group laughed out loud.

"Hey guys, I waited around for a bit, and guess what Snape's got to do!!" Lily entered the group, face flushed with exertion, eyes bright with merriment.

"What?" The others asked curiously.

"Clean all of the Potions equipment without magic until they sparkle like new, and shine all the trophies. I'd say we did okay!"

"Huh! That'll teach him for dobbing us up wherever possible. I've lost count of the number of times we've shined the trophies. That's one good job well done. See you." And the male part of the group left their female counterparts.

"Come on! Let's go and see Hagrid. We're free now.”

Chapter 6 - Remus’ Secret

          After three months at Hogwarts, Felicity noticed something rather strange.  Remus Lupin was off sick more than any other person in the school.  It was as if he had some sort of illness that bothered him once every month.  Felicity decided to speak to Lily about it.  She had soon learnt that Cecelia was a great friend, but rather outspoken, and often impatient.  Eleanor seemed to love being the centre of attention, and Lily was friend and confidante to the entire population of Gryffindor’s sixth year.

  “Lily!”

  “What’s up Flick?  I’ve just about got time to listen, as long as you don’t mind talking while I eat.  I’ve got to get to the library and research for a Charms essay, so today’s one of those eat and run sessions.  Okay?!”

  “It’s Remus Lupin.”  Felicity declared boldly.  Lily looked suddenly startled, and said

  “What about Remus?” more cautiously.

  “Well, have you noticed how he’s sick about once a month?”

  “It’s pretty hard not to Flick.  Remus might not be particularly loud, but you can feel his presence.”

  “I checked out when he’s sick against the lunar chart, and he’s sick at full moon.”

  “I think I know where you’re going with this.”

  “Lily.  Remus Lupin is a werewolf.  I’m 99.9% sure of it.”

  “Flick,” Lily said, and Felicity could see that she had thought this whole subject through.  “I agree with you.  He probably is, and I think the boys know too.  How do you feel about werewolves?”

  “I don’t really know,” Felicity admitted sounding confused.

  “They say werewolves are bad, and it’s true, a lot of people who are werewolves turn to the Dark side, but what you have to remember is that 96% of the time Remus is as human as you or I.  And what’s more, he’s a really nice person.  I’m prepared to bet he hates the whole werewolf thing.  Remus Lupin is not a werewolf, he is a person, and you should judge him as such.  He’s no more interested in the Dark Arts than Sirius Black or James Potter.  I’ve known for ages, but that doesn’t stop me from liking him.”

  “Well, I’m not bothered about the whole werewolf thing.  I mean, I know Remus, and I agree with you, but tell me something...do Cee and Ellie know?”

  “I doubt it, and if they do they haven’t spoken to me about it.  Don’t worry about it Flick.  Right, are you okay now?  Only I really need to study!”

  “Thanks Lil.  You get on with it.  See you later.”  Felicity called.

          Once Lily disappeared, Felicity made her way back to the Gryffindor Common Room.  She had just settled down, hidden from view by two huge armchairs, when she heard male voices.  She listened intently, and was surprised when only a second later Lily appeared, from behind what appeared to be a solid brick wall.

  “How did you get here?” Felicity muttered.

  “Secret passage.  Why are we hidden?”

  “We’re not.  Shhh.”

          So the two girls listened with bated breath, as James Potter and Sirius Black entered the room.

  “Full moon tomorrow.”  Sirius remarked, genially.

  “I know.”  James replied.  “What’re we going to do?”

          Felicity looked at Lily, unspoken question in her eyes.  Lily shook her head, and gestured for silence.

  “I suppose we’d better lie low.  Last time we were, um, rowdy, and it’s best not to attract attention two months in a row, or Dumbledore might suspect something.”

  “Yeah.  That could be pretty unpleasant.”  James admitted.  “After all, what we do is illegal!”

  “True.  Come on James.  I’m starving.  You must have found that book by now.”

  “Hold on a minute.  Yep!  Here it is.  All right.  We can go to the Great Hall now.”

          The two boys left the room, and Felicity gaped at Lily.

  “Do you know what that was all about?” she asked.

  “No, but I can guess!” Lily replied, looking her in the eye.

  “Well, come on then!  Share the secret with me!”

  “They’re Animagi.”  Lily said softly.

  “How did you figure that one out?”

  “Come on Flick, it’s not that hard.  We’ve established that Remus is a werewolf, right.  Now, knowing James and Sirius, if there was any way that they could help him, they would.  And drag Peter along for the ride.  We already know that it is impossible for humans to stay with werewolves without endangering themselves.  What you didn’t know is this.  We did Animagi in the third year, and the boys were awfully curious.  And they knew a lot more about the whole process than the rest of us.  It’s the first time I’ve ever seen Sirius interested in schoolwork.  If they take on animal forms then they can accompany Remus.  It’s as simple as that.”

  “You go in for puzzles don’t you Lily.  Most people wouldn’t gather that from the evidence you’ve obtained.”

  “Yes, but I had another advantage.”  Lily said softly.

  “Really.  What?” Felicity asked.

  “I used my heart.”

  “Pardon.”

  “There’s this thing Flick.  It’s called empathy.  It’s something I’m good at.  I simply put myself in the boys shoes, and it became crystal clear.”

 

Chapter 7 - Quidditch

          James Potter and Sirius Black were both members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team; James played as Chaser, and Sirius as Beater.  The first game of term was coming up, Gryffindor versus Slytherin, and consequently, the atmosphere at Hogwarts was full of rivalry.

          Snape hadn’t forgotten the joke the eight mischief-makers had played on him earlier in the year, and he was even more unbearable now, if that was humanly possible.  He could not pass any of them in the corridor without making a snide remark.  Unfortunately for him, they just laughed it off, so the effort was really wasted.

          The morning of the match came all too soon.  James sat down to breakfast in the Great Hall, Sirius and Remus beside him, and the four girls opposite.

  “Where’s Peter?” Eleanor asked, curiously.

  “Don’t know.”  Sirius said through a mouth full of bacon.  “Said he had to do something earlier.  Haven’t seen him since.”

  “Are you sure he’s okay?” Lily asked, concerned.

  “Lily, the boy’s sixteen years old.  By now he shouldn’t need other people to fight his battles.”

  “True...Aren’t you going to eat anything James?” Lily said, noticing that his plate had not been touched.

  “You should you know.”  Felicity piped up.  “You’ll need your strength later.”

          Cecelia laughed.  Felicity was not generally given to mothering people, so her sudden interest in James’ well being was rather funny.  But she sobered quickly enough.

  “Flick’s right James.  Slytherins don’t play fair.  If you don’t eat how can you hope to catch the Snitch.  I’m telling you here and now, Lucius Malfoy’s team will do anything to stop you getting it, including sabotaging your broom.”

  “I agree with Cee.  And Severus Snape is out for your blood too.  If I were you James, then I’d be pretty nervous too, but that doesn’t mean you should stop eating.”  Eleanor added her quota.

  “Okay!  Okay!  I’m eating!  Happy now?”  James started attacking his breakfast, mainly to keep the girls quiet.  He supposed that they were right, still, they didn’t have to act like his mother.

          At eleven o’clock, the entire school turned out to watch the match commence.  Remus and the girls found themselves good seats, and were sitting on the edge of their seats, ready to watch the unfolding action.

          Unknown to the Snape was also looking forward to this match, but not for the same reason.  Ever since they had started at Hogwarts six years ago, he had held a personal vendetta against James Potter.  He had decided that today Potter would finally face a bout of public humiliation.  In Snape’s opinion he deserved it.

  “Give a rousing cheer for the Gryffindor side!” shouted Judith Barnes, the Ravenclaw commentator of the event.  “Here come the Slytherins.  Well, they’re a happy looking lot.  And our umpire has arrived.  Madam Hooch blows the whistle, and they’re off.  And Gryffindor’s in possession.  There’s a surprise.  The Gryffindor team has been improving gradually over the last few years, and this is surely one of the best groups they’ve had.  Edward Maynard is in possession, he’s going for goal, and they score.  Gryffindor...”

          Lily had been concentrating on the match, but something inspired her to look up, and what she saw made her gasp in horror.  James’ broom seemed to be disintegrating before her eyes.

  “Remus!  What’re we going to do!”

  “What’s up Lily?  Can’t it wait?  I’m trying to watch!”

  “Remus!  James’ broom is falling apart.  If he doesn’t get the Snitch soon then he’s not going to!”

  “You’re right.  Dammit.  I wonder if he’s noticed.  JAMES!!  James!”

  “Remus you fool, he’ll think you’re cheering him on!” Felicity joined the frenzied conversation.  “We need to tell someone, before he kills himself.”

          They were hurrying towards the nearest teacher - Professor McGonagall, when Giles Sutton, the Gryffindor Seeker suddenly dove.  He seemed to catch something, just as James’ broom completely disintegrated, and he was falling through the air.  Before any of the horrified crowd could do anything about it, he had hit the ground with an almighty thump.

          Remus, Lily, Felicity, Eleanor and Cecelia were among the first to reach him, as Sirius touched down beside them.

  “Giles got the Snitch.”  Eleanor said, dully.

  “What good is the Snitch if James’ dead?” Lily asked vehemently.  Eleanor stared at her in surprise.  This wasn’t the softly spoken Lily she was used to.  Before she could utter another word, however, Professor McGonagall had arrived, in the company of Madame Flooey, the school nurse.  They magicked James onto a stretcher, and bore him away.

          As they were leaving, Remus noticed Severus Snape looking rather smug.

  “Snape did it.”  He muttered to Sirius.

  “Snape did what?”  Sirius asked, tiredly.

  “Snape killed James’ broom.”

  “He did WHAT?!!” Cecelia squawked from behind them, drawing heads in her direction.

  “Shut up Cee, people are looking.” Sirius said, gruffly.

  “The low down scum bag!!” Felicity said, and proceeded to curse Snape in a manner that left Lily, Eleanor and Cecelia looking at her in shock, and Sirius and Remus grinning.

  “Boy do I wish Snape had heard that lot!” Sirius said, looking at Felicity in admiration.

  “Could you stop cursing Snape for long enough for us to see if James is okay?” Lily snapped.  The others looked at her.

  “He’s not dying Lil.” Cecelia said, soothingly.

  “So?  He’s not dying.  In case you had forgotten we just won the match.  We need to celebrate!”

  “In the medical wing?” Remus looked at her sceptically.

  “Sure.”  She replied.  “Why not?”

 

Chapter 8 - Bad Tidings

          When James had recovered enough to learn the whole story he was seething.  After all, their prank had just given Snape a detention.  Snape’s revenge had the potential to ruin Gryffindor’s chances of winning the Quidditch match, and could have been fatal for James.

          Felicity, Eleanor and Cecelia had noticed something about Lily since that day.  She was acting strangely.  It wasn’t fair to say that she was in a world of her own, because she was still the Lily Evans she had been before, prepared to help anyone, and listen to everyone.  But she was more prone to delving into the realms of fantasy than before.

  “She’s in love.”  Cecelia pronounced one lunchtime, when Lily had disappeared to the library.  “It’s obvious.”

  “How do you know?” asked Eleanor, accusingly.

  “She’s doing a female version of Jonathon when he first clamped eyes on Meredith.  Haven’t you noticed?  She’s not eating properly, and she’s scarily happy.  Plus she spends a lot of time in La-la land.  I know she’s always been into the library, but this is the fifth time in as many days.  It can’t be a project, or she’d have told us about it.”

  “Thus speaketh Cecelia Hall, font of all knowledge.”  Eleanor retorted sarcastically.

  “She’s right.”  Felicity observed.  “The symptoms all fit.  It’s like Dad and Mags all over again.”

  “But surely she’d tell us.”  Eleanor said, confused.

  “No.”  Felicity said thoughtfully.  “I don’t think she would.  If it were you or Cee, or I, then we’d let everyone know.  Lil has more bottles of emotion inside of her than there are bottles of butterbeer in Hogsmeade.  She’s scared we’ll tease her.”

  “We wouldn’t!” Eleanor and Cecelia said, in unison.  Felicity looked at them.  “Okay.  Maybe just a tiny bit.  But we don’t want to upset her.”  Cecilia added.

Meanwhile Sirius, Remus and Peter were talking.

  “Prongs has been acting really weird lately.”  Sirius spoke suddenly.

  “I know.  It’s like he’s got a secret.”  Remus mused.

  “Well, he could tell us.”  Said Peter, sulkily.  “We’re his friends.

  “Maybe he doesn’t want to.” Remus suggested.

  “I vote we make him.”  Sirius said, suddenly.  “He really needs to lighten up.  Besides, Wormtail’s right.  We’re his friends.  We wouldn’t tease him that much!”

          But in spite of his friends teasing, James wouldn’t tell of his secret, and eventually, Sirius decided that for once he would have to admit defeat, at least, for the time being.  So he turned their minds to other things.

  “Have you done that essay McGonagall set us, on Animagi.  As if we didn’t do enough of those in the third year.”

  “Because you found it so hard, didn’t you Sirius.”  Remus said, sarcastically.

   “What did Sirius find hard?” Cecelia entered, arm in arm with Eleanor at this point.

  “The Transfiguration work.  What’s up with you two?”

  “Nothing much.  Oh, have you seen Lily and Flick, only they were muttering about something earlier, and disappeared.”

  “Nope.  Sorry.  Why do you need them?”

  “Because Lily had that look, the one she wears when she has a completely outrageous prank planned, and needs help carrying it out.  We want to know what it is.”

  “Excuse me!” James said in mock horror.  “Are we talking about the same Lily here.  Lily Evans, charming prefect, she who can do no wrong.”

At that point Lily flew into the room, and up into the girls dormitory, tears streaming down her face, completely ignoring her friends.  James looked at Eleanor.

  “What was that all about?”

  “I don’t actually know.  It’s not like Lily though.  I’ve hardly ever seen her cry.”

         There was a commotion outside the portrait hole, and then Felicity entered, face as black as thunder.  She stalked over to the others and sat down with a thud.

  “I just cannot believe that boy’s audacity.  As if it wasn’t bad enough, without him making it worse.”

  “Um, Flick.  I take it you were with Lily.” Cecelia said, looking concerned.

  “Yeah.  I was with Lily.” She said, sobering.

  “Well, what’s up with her?  Why’s she crying?” Sirius asked impatiently.

  “Her dad’s sick.  McGonagall just told her.  She’s got to go home, he wants to see her.”

  “What’s the matter with him?” James asked, curious.

  “Pneumonia.  Apparently they’ve had some really rough weather where she lives recently, and her dad already had a cold.  Then some people got snowed in, and the lady was expecting a baby, so he went to help dig them out.  He’s been getting gradually worse since.”

  “So why were you cursing someone when you came in.”

  “What?  Oh, you mean Snape.  Well, somehow he found out, and he told her that ‘That is so typically Muggle.  Have to have daughter home because Daddy darlings got a bit on his chest.’”

  “The prat.  That was seriously callous.” Cecelia stormed.

  “I think Lil agreed with you - she slapped him, and then went off in this mad dash.  And he actually looked surprised.  I mean, of all the times to go on about her heritage, now!”

  “So do you know if her dad’ll be okay?” Remus asked.  He was looking serious, concern showing in his eyes.

  “I’m not sure.  I’m going to see if she’s okay.  Cee, Ellie, are you coming?”

  “Try and stop us!” Eleanor replied.  James looked at Sirius, then Remus, then Peter.   They nodded, imperceptibly.

  “We’re coming too.” He announced.

  “You can’t.” Cecelia said, flatly.  “It’s against the rules for you to enter our dorm.

  “Since when did rules ever stop us.  We’re in.” He said firmly, his tone implying that arguing would be futile.

         So the seven of them made for the girls’ dormitory, at varying paces.  Felicity matched Sirius in energy, by bounding up the stairs, while Eleanor and Cecelia hurried up behind them, Remus in tow.  James and Peter brought up the rear.  When they reached the door, the boys hesitated slightly, after the girls entered, before Sirius threw the door open, and made his usual grand entrance.

         Lily was sat on her bed, reading a Muggle letter.  The boys plonked themselves down, and looked at her, expectantly.

  “Are you okay Lil?” Remus asked, sensitively.  Lily looked at him, suddenly seeing them all.

  “What are you boys doing here?  It’s illegal!”

  “We wanted to see you.” James said, simply.  “Do you want to talk about it?”  Lily’s eyes filled with tears again, but she blinked them back.

  “Look, Lily.  I know it sounds stupid, but talking helps.  When mum died dad and I were lost for ages.  We were like zombies, in wprlds of our own.  But then we talked, and it made it so much easier to deal with each day.  You don’t have to tell us if you don’t want to, but we’re your friends.  We’re here for you.” Felicity spoke eloquently.

         Wordlessly Lily handed her the piece of paper she had been scanning.  Felicity looked at her.

  “Read it.  Then you’ll know.” Was all she said.  But her voice lacked its usual effervescence, and her eyes were without their star like sparkle.

‘Dear Lily,’ Felicity began.

 ‘Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but your father is ill.  We need you to come home.  He wants to see you.  I suppose you’re wondering how he could be that ill without your knowing.  We didn’t want to bother you, you see.  He insisted that he would be fine.  Initially it was just a cold, and neither he nor I were worried.  But then your Auntie Maureen got snowed in.  The weather around here has been awful recently.  I hope it’s better at Hogwarts.  Of course, your father wanted to help dig them out.  The baby’s due any day, and so he decided it would be better if they were free.  I wasn’t so sure that it was a good idea, but he insisted.  So he did.  But he was out for hours, and even though he was well wrapped up, and I sent him with hot tea and soup, the next day he was worse.  By the end of the week he could barely breathe.  Of course, I got the doctor, and he says that it’s possible for your father to get over it, but it’s a bad case of pneumonia.  When I asked your father if I could get him anything he said you.  Please come Lily darling.  Petunia is always at Vernon’s and I get so lonely without either of you, especially with your father being laid up.  He’s having difficulty breathing, let alone talking, and can’t exactly strike up a conversation.  Let me know as soon as you can Lily, and don’t worry.  We’ll get him better.  Keep hoping my darling.

All my love

Mum’

         Cecelia looked at Felicity, then at Lily, her usually pretty face contorted into a frown.

  “He’ll be okay Lil.  It sounds like he just wants to see you.  You know what men are like.  They always think they’re worse off than they really are!”

  “Hey!  I resent that!!” exclaimed James.

  “Oh come off it James!  What was it like for a week after you came out of the hospital wing.  ‘I feel so stiff,’ ‘my head hurts’ blah blah blah!  Talk about milking it.  Don’t worry Lil.  Everything will work out.  I take it you are going?” Eleanor added her quota.

  “I have to.” Lily said, softly.  “If anything did happen I’d never forgive myself.  Dumbledore and McGonagall said that it’s okay.  I don’t even have to pack.  All my Muggle stuff is at home.  I don’t think I’ll be gone for long.  Dad should be better soon, and then I’ll be back.”

         And so, before dusk that night Lily left Hogwarts, and went back to her home, to nurse her father back to health.

 

Chapter 9 - Letters

         After Lily left, her friends waited anxiously for the arrival of a letter that would let them know how she and her father were.  When, on the Monday following the fateful Friday that she had left school, albeit temporarily, a letter arrived, the whole crowd gathered around Felicity, to whom it had been sent.

‘Dear Flick,

                             This is addressed to you, but it is meant for the others to read as well.  I didn’t see the point in sending everyone the same letter.  Thanks guys, for being there when I needed you.  I thought you might like to know that Dad’s getting a bit better.  Mum says that he’s perked up since I got home, but it’s still touch and go.  Mum is absolutely exhausted, and Petunia’s no help.  She spends most of her time with the Dursleys, so Mum had to do everything before I arrived.  I would have written to you sooner, but I had to sort some things out.  I hope you’re all okay.  You’d better be.  If James and Sirius have got another detention, then they can think of me while cleaning bedpans.  Maybe they won’t whine afterwards if they do.

          If you could send me the work I need to catch up on, then I’ll love you forever.  I don’t want to get behind in everything, because of the NEWT’s.  I can see Sirius pulling faces right now.  Well, to tell you the absolute truth, I need something to occupy me when I’m not looking after Mum and Dad.  I have to go now, but write to me soon.

Luv

Lily’

 

 

The reply was a joint effort, by the seven remaining mischief-makers.

 

‘Dear Lily

                             We decided to take a leaf out of your book, and to save paper, we’re writing this together.  We’ve enclosed all the notes we’ve made since Monday, and it’s now Thursday.  It’s taken us that long to get this letter composed.  I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to keep Sirius still long enough to write a letter, but it’s been quite difficult.  However, I’m side tracking.

         We’re all pleased that your dad is getting a little better.  Tell him that we’re all thinking about him.  I’m sorry about Petunia.  I suppose she’s got wedding plans or something.  Look on the bright side.  You won’t have to worry about her complaining about you being a witch.  I got a letter from Mags yesterday.  She’s expecting a baby, and wants name ideas.  Send some and I’ll be eternally grateful.  I’m useless at this whole baby thing.  Well.  Must dash.  We’ve got Transfiguration next, and McGonagall’s on the warpath.

         Lily.  How did you guess Sirius and I would be in detention?  Thinking of you didn’t really help, as we were polishing the trophies (fun!)  How are you?  Your letter was a little on the brief side when it came to telling us about yourself.  I hope you’re back soon.  It’s just not the same without you.  Now there’s no voice of reason.

Lil - how’re you doing?  Personally I am beginning to think that Professor Assize’s mission in life is to torture us.  He gave us yet another test the other day.  How many tests can you give a class for goodness sake?  James and Sirius are still as awful as ever.  Snape ended up with itching potion all over him the other day.  It wasn’t his though.  Sirius accidentally knocked it flying, or so he says.  Something tells me that he’s hiding something.  Remus agrees.  Thankfully he and I sit on the other side of the room, so we weren’t under suspicion.  Incidentally, that’s how Sirius and James got their detention.  Assize is convinced James was involved, and he might be right.  Anyway, Snape is absolutely seething.  I suppose I would be too if the same thing happened to me.  Itching potion of all things.  Lily, I’d love to continue this letter some more, but Remus is practically taking the pen from my hand in order to gain the parchment.  He reckons that he won’t be around in the near future to write his little bit, so I suppose I’d better come back once he’s finished doing whatever it is he’s doing.

         Sorry about that Lily.  Sadly Ellie is waffling about nothing and I really do need to get this done.  I wanted to speak to you, but I think that I’ll be busy in the next couple of days, and Flick wants to send this on Thursday (tomorrow).  So, remember not to wear yourself out too much.  I know that you’re worried about your Dad, but you need to take care of yourself too, or else you’ll be another sick person to add to the pile.  We’re all with you all the way you know.  If your Dad is getting better, I expect that you’ll be back at Hogwarts before you know it.  Until then, don’t let Petunia get to you, and let us know what’s going on.

Thus speaks Remus Lupin, authority on Life, the World and the Universe in general.  This pen sucks, but it’s all I could find.  While your away, make a list of good jokes to pull.  Flick is reading this over my shoulder, and she reckons that you’ve got better things to do than think of pranks, but I think that it will do you good.  Do you enjoy nursing.  I think that James would let you nurse him any day I had to scrap that bit, James was reading over my shoulder.  I don’t think anyone ever told him it was rude.  And I don’t know what he was on about.  You’re not the only voice of reason.  I’m perfectly reasonable, in a weird sort of way.  Any way, we’re still making Snape’s life hell.  He deserves it after what he said to you.  Look after yourself Lily.  Must dash

Hi Lil.  I’m glad about your dad.  It’s a pity you’re not here though.  The boys are running wild.  At least when you were around they clung on to an inkling of sanity.  Some of the things they come up with.  They have no common sense whatsoever.  Gryffindor won Saturday’s Quidditch match, so we’re in the lead now.  James is really pleased.  I’m surprised he didn’t mention it when he was writing.  It’s really funny about Flick’s step mother expecting at the same time as Meredith.  Flick reckons Mags is probably old enough to be Meredith’s mother.  Jo’s having a great time.  She’s as bad as Sirius if not worse.  She’s already had five detentions, any one would think that she was cursed.  You did really well in the Transfiguration essay, 99%.  McGonagall’s really impressed.  So’m I.  James got 100%, but he would, so did Sirius, and Peter got 99%.  There’s something fishy about that if you ask me.  Anyway, we’ve got to get this letter finished.  Flick has been on at me all week to hurry up, but it’s not my fault.  I wanted to write when she started, but then we had Transfiguration, and then the others have hogged the parchment all week.  Enjoy the break.  I made sure all the Potions notes were legible before giving them to Flick.

         Hi Lily.  I can’t really add much to this letter, so I’ll just say I hope you’re alright.  I didn’t do any of the notes.  James said you’d probably prefer Remus to do them.  All the same, I made sure that he gave them to Flick.  See you!

Right, that’s the screed.  The others are absolutely useless at this whole letter writing thing, so next time we’ll just do it individually.  However, it has been quite fun.  Take care of yourself, and look after everyone else too.

Loads of love

Flick           James                  Ellie            Remus                Sirius        Cee  

& Peter

         The letters went back and forth between the seven at Hogwarts and Lily for three weeks, although they were now written individually by those at Hogwarts, and to everyone from Lily.  Eventually they received the letter they had all been waiting for.

‘‘Hi guys.

                   Thanks for all of your letters, and the notes.  I’d never have got by without them.  You’ll be pleased to know that Dad’s much better now, and the doctor says that he’ll make a full recovery.  I’m glad.  Dad says that I’ve got to go back to Hogwarts now that he’s better.  He won’t be completely recovered for ages, but he’s going on a cruise with mum, so hopefully that’ll perk him up.  So I’ll be at Hogwarts this Christmas and Easter.  I’m glad that they’re going to enjoy themselves.  I’ll see you all soon.  Hallelujah, no more letters, at least, not for a while.

Luv

Lily”

 

Chapter 10 - Stress and Worry

          Two days after her letter arrived, Lily was back at Hogwarts, but her friends were horrified at the change they saw in her.  For one thing she was no longer pleasantly slender, but skin and bones, and there were large circles under her eyes.  Her hair had lost its shine, and all of her energy had gone.

  ”Are you okay Lil?” Cecelia asked her one day, worried.

  “I’m fine.  It’s good to be back.”

  “It’s nice to have you.” Eleanor replied.  “Maybe now we’ll be able to stop the boys from doing something stupid.”

         But as the week progressed, the girls got more and more worried.  Lily didn’t improve, she got worse.  She seemed to spend all of her time working in the library, and she didn’t have time to joke or laugh anymore.  It was as if she was scared something would happen if she was happy.

         By the Friday, even the boys could tell that something was wrong, but still Lily insisted that she was fine.  They decided it was best to leave her alone, because for all of her gentleness, and sympathetic nature, she had a hair trigger temper, to match her red hair, and they did not want to incur her wrath.

         In Transfiguration Lily sat next to James.  As usual, they sat down and listened to Professor McGonagall giving them notes.  Then, as they always did, they put the theory into practise.  James was working away at transforming a rock into a dog, when he realised that Lily was incredibly pale, even for her.  He was just about to ask her about it, when she gave a gasp, and fell.  Luckily for her, reflexes born of much practise on the Quidditch pitch meant that he caught her before she reached the floor, and placed her back in her chair.  Professor McGonagall was on the spot, noticing as usual that something was amiss.

  “Good Lord!  James, you’d better get her to Madame Flooey.  She looks rather ill.”

         Wordlessly, James helped a recovering Lily to her feet, and then the two of them made for the door.   They were walking along the corridor when he spoke.

  “So…you’re fine are you?”  Lily looked at him, and then at the floor.  “Honestly Lily, of all the things to do you had to go and faint on me.  You’ve looked awful this past week, so tell me, are you going to talk about it?”

  “You’re a bully, James Potter, and I feel like death warmed up, so if you wouldn’t mind postponing this interview until I’m not likely to keel over in front of you, then I’d appreciate it.”

           James continued, as if he hadn’t heard her.

  “We’ve all been really worried about you.  At least while you’re in the medical wing you’ll have to eat.  Yes” he said, noticing her eyes on him once more.  “We’ve noticed that any food that makes it to your plate is usually pushed around it until everyone else has finished, and then you abandon it.  Dammit all Lily, you need to look after yourself.  I know that these past few weeks have been hard for you, but pull yourself together.”

         They had reached the hospital wing by this time, so James had to abandon his tirade for the meantime.  Once Lily was safe in the nurse’s hands he had to go back to Transfiguration.  But he was back at lunchtime, after forcing down his food.

  “I thought that you said I had to eat.  If you’re in here how am I supposed to?”

  “Stop being cheeky and get on with it,” he replied.  “I only came because I figured you wouldn’t want to get lonely.”  He sat in silence while she ate her meal, and when it became apparent that she had finished, he spoke again.

  “So, do you want to talk about it?”

  “Do I have any choice?” she retorted.

  “Hey, Lil, if you don’t want to talk, I can’t force you.  I just thought it might help.”

  “Well…seeing as you asked so nicely…it’s like this.  I was absolutely devastated when I got Mum’s letter about Dad, of course, and I got myself home as fast as I possibly could.  At home it was awful.  Dad looked like he was going to die any second, and Mum wasn’t much better.  Petunia was no use, so I had to take charge.  First of all, I had to get mum to actually listen to me, and then when she did, the whole house relied on me.  I had to look after Mum and Dad, and keep everywhere clean.  I didn’t have time in the day to do anything else, so I wrote to you lot, and learnt all my school stuff at night.  I was tired out by the end of three weeks, but Mum and Dad were going to be okay, so I didn’t mind.  But since I got back I can’t sleep, and eating is like forcing slugs down my throat.   Still, Madame Flooey thinks that I’ll be okay by the end of the week, and then maybe you’ll all get off my back.”

  “I knew it,” Felicity said, entering at this point.  “I knew you were trying to do too much.  No point in telling you that though.  You know how to give a girl a fright, Lil, I’ll say that for you.  I almost had hysterics when you fainted, and Cee and Ellie were even worse.”

  “What are you doing in here?” Madame Flooey shouted at Felicity and James.  “This girl needs rest.  You must go.”  So they did grinning wildly.  However, Lily’s collapse, and James’ actions afterwards began a series of rumours that were eventually going to affect the pair concerned.

Chapter 11 - Rumours

When Lily was back in circulation, she was acutely conscious of the whispers and stares that followed her around. She knew only too well that people thought that she was a spineless weakling, and this sudden influx in Avoid-Lily Syndrome did nothing to put her at ease. She spoke to Felicity about it.

"It's really unfair Flick. They all think that I'm pathetic, just because I'm small, and quiet, and it just so happens that I fainted. That's not the real me...is it?"

"Lily, listen to me honey. Yes you’re small, but no one who really knows you would ever describe you as quiet. They might think that you're spineless, but they don't know the real you. You're one of the toughest people I know."

But even Felicity's reassurances didn't stop Lily from worrying. One morning at breakfast she noticed James was looking at her in a strange manner.

"Great." She thought "Now even my friends are going to desert me." She was about to comment, but he got in first.

"Don't start that again," he said, looking at her plate. Lily looked down at the food she had been pushing around for the past half an hour, blushed, and then smiled at him, before proceeding to clear the plate.

It was only through her friends’ watchfulness that she didn't begin to start doubting herself. She hated people she didn't know knowing anything about her, especially when what they knew was not necessarily truth. What Lily didn't know, and none of her friends were going to tell her, was that the rumours were actually about her and James. Sadly for them, their plan didn't quite work out the way it was expected too.

One day, Lily was sitting, hidden from view, in the library, writing an Arithmancy essay, when she heard her name mentioned. She heard her name, and her ears sharpened, unconsciously.

"-I reckon that they're hiding it. It's obvious that they're together."

"What, James Potter and Lily Evans? You've got to be joking. He's Mr. Irresponsible, and she's Little Miss Perfect. There is no way the two of them would ever get together."

"I don't know. Potter's been more responsible since he got the whole prefect thing, and Lily isn't as perfect as she seems."

"So let me get this straight. Lily and James are together, but no one is supposed to know, but everyone does. Sounds a bit far fetched..."

Lily didn't stay to hear any more. On the one hand it hurt her to think that people would believe things about her that were not the truth, and on the other hand, she found it highly amusing that they put her with James of all people. To Lily he was nursemaid and guardian, but never lover. Not looking where she was going, she bumped into someone. Looking up, she saw James Potter, and she burst into gales of laughter. He looked at her, frowning, probably suspecting that she was slightly unhinged.

"Um...Lily?"

"Um..James!" she teased.

"Why are you laughing at me?"

"I'm not."

"Yes you are."

"No I'm not. Don't worry about it James. It's just something I heard. It was rather funny."

But when she told Felicity, Eleanor and Cecelia about it, they didn't find it funny at all.

"Oh lighten up girls. I'm mean, of all people James Potter. He acts like my dad, not my boyfriend."

"Lil, it's not funny. People in this school are starting to hate you. They want old James for themselves you see, and you've snagged him." Felicity said, stating bluntly what all three were thinking.

"But we're not together." Lily said, suddenly confused.

"People think that you are. And let's face it Lil, sometimes the two of you could appear to be lovey-dovey."

"How?"

"Because the two of you get on so well, and before you say it I know that you get on equally well with Remus and Sirius, but it's James you sit next to." Cecelia put in patiently.

"Only in Transfiguration, and only because you three and Remus, Sirius and Peter decided to pair up boy/girl. And you decided who got to sit with whom. James and I were stuck with each other whether we liked it or not."

"But they don't know that. Look Lil, just forget about it. The rumours will die down. They always do. In the meantime, don't worry."

Later, when Lily was off catching up on some of the work she had missed, Felicity spoke to Eleanor and Cecelia.

"I was wrong." She began. "Lily isn't worried about us teasing her, because she doesn't even know that she's in love. And now I know exactly who it is that she's gone for,"

"Who?" Cecelia asked, curiously.

"Honestly Cee, you can't see anything unless it's shoved under her nose. The rumours aren't all that wrong. Okay, James and Lily aren't together yet, but I reckon they soon will be."

"You're reckoning without taking them into account. How do you know that James likes Lily? I still can't work out how you decided it's him she fancies. But never mind."

So the conversation ended. Eventually it became obvious that James and Lily were not an item, and so the rumours died down, but those in their inner circle were all too aware of the growing warmth between them.

Chapter 12 - A Trip to Hogsmeade

Halloween had been and gone, and Christmas was on the way. The sixth years were all looking forward to a trip to Hogsmeade. Lily was particularly interested, as she had missed the last visit, and was dying to see all the new jokes that were out at Zonko's. Also, being literary minded, she planned to buy a couple of books to keep her going throughout the Christmas break, much to Sirius' disgust.

On the Saturday morning, Felicity was the first to wake. Glancing at her watch, she realised that it was six o'clock, far too early to wake the others, so she tiptoed out of bed, and hurriedly put on her robes, shivering madly as she did so. Realising that it was unusually cold, she peered out of the window, to a fairy tale scene of whirling flakes of snow, and frost patterns in the lattices.

"Pretty isn't it?" A voice murmured from beside her. She turned to see Lily sitting up in bed. "A bit chilly though. We'd better go down to the common room, otherwise we'll disturb this lot." So Lily too dressed in haste, and the two girls crept to the common room. Once there, the fire was stoked up, and they stood in front of it to warm themselves.

Much later, a tired looking Cecelia entered the room, yawning.

"What are you two doing?" she asked, suspicious.

"Don't worry Cee, Flick was just telling me how her father managed to single-handedly ruin all their Christmas decorations last year."

"But how long have you been here?"

"What's the time?" Felicity looked at her watch. "About two hours, lazy bones. And it's stopped snowing now, so you missed a treat. Where's Ellie?"

"She was muttering something about lost socks. Better leave her too it. You know what she's like. They're probably adorning the astronomy tower, or something equally pathetic. She'll be down soon."

But the boys beat Eleanor by a fraction of a second, Sirius grinning wildly, a super angelic glint in his eyes that could mean only one thing - mischief. James and Remus looked equally self satisfied, while Peter showed no sign of any preoccupation, so the girls decided not to say anything As Eleanor had once pointed out, they had big enough egos that the girls didn't need to improve them.

Chattering merrily, the made their way down to breakfast. By ten o'clock, they were on the way to Hogsmeade. The chill in the air gave Lily's usually pale cheeks an extra flush, and Cecelia's blue black hair had broken free of it's usual restraint, and waved down to her knees, studded with icy jewels. Sirius was employed teasing Eleanor, who had wound five scarves around her neck.

"So, Eleanor...is this the new fashion?" he asked, gesturing towards the colourful lengths of knitting, "or did you just feel like showing us your entire wardrobe."

"Neither actually," Eleanor said icily, "I just don't want to catch a chill."

Lily. Cecelia and Felicity looked at her in astonishment. It wasn't like Eleanor to worry about her health, in fact, if Cecelia wasn't there to ensure that she was rational, she would have spent much more time in the medical wing.

Felicity, sensing that if the topic of conversation was not changed then something could go badly wrong, hurriedly changed the subject.

"Are we all going together, or are we just meeting up later?"

"Well...obviously everyone wants to go to Zonkos..." Cecelia started, "but Lily wants to go to Bewitched Books, and I know that Ellie needs to get some more quills...didn't you say that you needed to go to the Post Office Flick?"

Felicity nodded. Then Remus entered the conversation, an unusual glint in his eyes.

"Prongs wants to get a book or two as well, don't you James? And Sirius, you have to get some more nightshade, or Assize will put you in detention for the next six weeks. Wormtail?"

"I'm going to the sweet shop." Peter said, decisively. "That way if Sirius tries another of his trick I'll at least have something to remove the taste."

At that, the rest of the company fell about with laughter. It had turned out that the reason for Sirius' glee that morning had been a joke at Peter's expense. A foul tasting potion had been poured over his food, and when he had taken a bite of what was supposed to be scrambled egg, the yelp he made had the entire table in hysterics.

"So." Remus said, with a glance at Eleanor. "We'll all go to Zonko's, then James and Lily can go off to the bookshop. Sirius and Ellie can go to Super Scholastica together, and I'll go with Flick to the Post Office, while Cee can take Peter to the sweet shop."

The only change made to Remus' plan involved Cee going with Flick, and he himself was to accompany Peter.

"So, do you reckon Remus has twigged on?" Cee asked Felicity.

"I think so. And something tells me that old Moony likes stirring more than anyone imagined. Come on Cee, I really do need to get this letter to Dad. There's a parcel to go with it, and all the school owls are in use."

Meanwhile, James and Lily, unaware of their friends’ ambitious plan, were walking companionably to the bookshop.

"What exactly is it you want?" Lily asked James, suspiciously.

"Well...there's a new book, ‘How To Play Jokes and Remain Innocent’. I thought it might be rather...erm...handy!"

"I'll bet." Lily said dryly. "I should have guessed you wouldn't want anything educational."

"Yep. If I haven't got it already, then I don't need it. My mum gave me all of hers. She's a swot like you!"

"You take that back James Potter. I'm no more swot than the next person, and if I didn't read half as much as I do, your jokes wouldn't be any where near as good as they are." As she was speaking, Lily grabbed a handful of snow and threw it at him with all her might. He retaliated, and ten minutes later her efforts paid off. A particularly large snowball resulted in him lying flat on his back in the middle of the street.

"I believe I won." Lily said primly, but he saw the laughter in her eyes, and when she offered him her hand, instead of hauling himself up, he pulled her down.

"Never give up until your enemy is totally defeated. Otherwise you might find yourself joining him." Their eyes met, and for what seemed like hours they gazed at one another.

"I'm going to kiss her..." James thought. As if she could read his mind, Lily blushed, and scrambled to her feet.

"Come on smarty, or we'll never get back in time." James looked at her, but she was studying the ground intently. So he to got up, and they resumed their walk in the usual way, albeit in silence.

The eight of them met up in the pub later, and James recounted their tale. Sirius looked up, and spoke with the usual laughter in his voice.

"Well. I seem to recall hearing how shy you were right at the beginning of the year. Obviously the sources got it wrong."

"Hey!" Lily replied laughing. "Quiet does not mean shy. If you live with Petunia shyness is not something that you can keep."

"Yeah, Sirius! Did we forget to tell you? It's all a careful myth..." Felicity lowered her voice. "...in her free time Lily is an actress. She's a member of a Muggle society. And they taught her that the best way to remain unnoticed is to say nothing and pretend to be bashful."

Sirius glared at her, and she returned his look with a smile. Then Remus glanced at his watch, and they realised that they would have to finish up, as in twenty minutes they were due back at school. The rest of the day passed without incident, but a spark had been lighted, and eventually that spark could only grow into a huge fire, spreading warmth and happiness.

Chapter 13 - Hagrid

Christmas was over, and January had been and gone. At last it was February, and the inhabitants of Hogwarts rejoiced at the return of the sun. Though fine days were few and far between, they enjoyed them as much as possible, and even the bad weather was suddenly worthy of praise.

Hagrid lived in a small house near to the castle that housed the students of witchcraft and wizardry. Many of the school loved his open way of dealing with them but it was the eight mischief-makers’ company that he enjoyed the most. Perhaps it was James' unassuming friendliness, or Lily's sympathetic nature, but when he was with them he was at his happiest.

It happened that the second Saturday of February was fine, and being free of lessons, the girls decided to pass it with Hagrid. The boys had some mischief of their own to be getting on with, and when questioned they would give cryptic clues that not even Lily could solve.

Hogwarts in spring was one of the most beautiful scenes Lily had ever witnessed. The Forbidden Forest blossomed, and the ground was covered with delicate blooms that would later be used in Potions or Herbology.

At the door to Hagrid's hut Lily rapped a rhythmic rap, and called in a musical voice that could soothe the sourest of tempers

"Coee!! Hagrid. It's us. Is it all right for us to join you, only we thought you might forget what we looked like if we abandoned you for much longer."

"Why it's Lily an' Flick an' Cee an' Ellie. How're you three doin'? I 'aven't seen you four in many a day!”

"We've had so much work Hagrid, you wouldn't believe. And it's been hard too. Professor Assize must really hate us, because I swear he sets us essays on the least known potions on purpose. We've been in the library every day this week researching. But how are you?" Cecelia babbled at a rate of knots.

"I'm just fine. Lookin' after Dumbledore's pumpkins. Great man, Dumbledore. I was just weedin' them. We'll have some fine ones come Halloween."

"Marvellous...Hagrid...wouldn't you want to get married and have children one day?"

"Well, Lily, I 'ave to say that the thought never crossed me mind. I suppose if I met the right girl...yeah...then I would. Otherwise, there's no point. Don' worry though. I think you'll find the right person for yeh, if yeh haven' already."

"Oh.  Okay. Hagrid! What on earth is that?" Lily glanced warily at the rodent-like creature sprawled on the floor.

"That's my new pet. She's a ratunike. Rattie, meet Lily, Flick, Cee an' Ellie." The rodent looked up and bared her teeth at the girls. Ellie shrank back.

"Ah, look at 'er. She's smilin'."

"Yes. She's very, um, different." Cee said, quickly.

"I think she's adorable." Lily said, and Flick laughed, seeing the fingers she had crossed behind her back.

"She is that." Hagrid agreed. "Stroke her." Lily realised that she would now have to do as Hagrid suggested, so she stretched her hand towards Rattie, and let the bizarre looking creature sniff her fingers. The creature had a guinea – pig’s body, with a rat like face, and rabbit ears, and looked slightly sinister. She sniffed the proffered fingers warily at first, and then climbed on the hand before her. Lily gasped, and tentatively stoked the black and white striped creature.

"She likes yeh." Hagrid said smiling. "Yeh've got a friend for life there Lily."

To her surprise. Lily actually began to agree with Hagrid. In spite of her peculiar appearance, Rattie showed Lily great affection. But when Cee came close enough, and tried to stroke her, the little animal bit her, drawing blood.

Cecelia's squeal startled Lily and Rattie, and the two of them jumped. Rattie hid herself away somewhere, and Lily sat down, heavily, on one of the old armchairs that adorned the room. Hagrid hurriedly saw to Cee's cut, and then they stayed for lunch, in spite of Ellie's misgivings. She'd eaten with Hagrid before, and his cooking erred on the less than successful side of cuisine. However, it would be cruel to refuse the offer, and so the girls devoured doorstep sandwiches and rock hard rock buns, washing them down with huge cups of tea.

They spent the afternoon with Hagrid, listening to him regaling them with tales of old. In spite of his appearance, Hagrid was an excellent storyteller, and all too soon it was time for the four listeners to leave. It was getting dark, and soon dinner would be served at the castle. But they promised to come back soon, and Lily privately decided to learn more about ratunikes. Little did she know how useful the knowledge she was to gain would be to her in days to come.

Chapter 14 - The Marauder's Map

The girls enjoyed their afternoon with Hagrid, while James, Sirius, Remus and Peter were industrially employed. They had decided in the weeks beforehand that they needed to pass what Sirius called their "superior knowledge" of the school’s design on to younger generations. Remus did mention that they had another year to work on this plan, but James and Sirius had brushed his announcement off. As James had pointed out, next year would be their last, and they would have other things to sort out. Besides, as they had realised their dilemma now, they should solve it at once.

"But how can we do anything?" Peter had wondered.

"Well, the obvious answer to that would be a map..." James mused. "That way people could follow it easily. Most people have some understanding of maps."

"Yeah." Sirius replied, deep in thought. "But if it's a map, then everyone would be able to read it. Can you imagine what McGonagall would say if she saw it? 'I've never been so disappointed in my life. You boys should know better' blah blah blah. We'll have to do something to sort that out."

"That's simple enough." James declared. "We'll charm it to respond only to a specific phrase."

"Great! But shouldn't we have it a little more interesting. It should help the prospective mischief-makers, not just guide them."

"I've got it. Remus said suddenly, startling James out of ten years’ growth. "What would be the most useful thing to have when we go on nightly prowls?"

"What, you mean apart from knowing exactly where Filch and Mrs. Norris are?" Sirius retorted.

"Exactly." Remus replied. "We'll charm it so that it will show where everyone in the castle is. That way, you'd be able to move before you were found."

"Yeah, not everyone has an Invisibility Cloak." Peter added.

"Nice one, Remus. But we want to, um, upset anyone who tries to read it unlawfully." Sirius replied.

"Insulting Charm." James was quick to come up with it. "And we should mention that we wrote it. Not our real names you idiot!" This to Peter who was about to protest. "Our nicknames. Right. So we've got the framework."

"James...you're the best at drawing. You'd better draw the thing. If we let Sirius or Peter loose, it'll just be a black blob, and I'm not that good." Remus said, firmly.

So, James sat down to draw a map of the school as they knew it. It would have been easier had they been able to use magic to plot it, but Hogwarts was Unplottable. While James drew, the others looked up the various charms in preparation to use them. After an hour’s solid work, they just needed to charm the parchment.

Before anyone could do anything, Remus removed the parchment form James' grasp, and began to write on it.

Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs

Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers

are proud to present

THE MARAUDER'S MAP

James peered over his shoulder, and read it.

"Excellent touch Moony. Very poetic. McGonagall would be impressed...if she didn't understand what it meant."

Thereafter they performed the charms. The first and most important was the Invisibility Charm. Unless the correct password was used, the map would not reveal itself, and it would disappear on command. The Insulting Charm was then added. Each of the Marauders added their own charm to this, so each would be able to insult unlicensed readers. Finally came the trickiest charm. The Tracking Charm, which would ensure that all of those in the castle would appear on the map, complete with label. The charm was complex, but James, Sirius and Remus were up to the challenge, and when the girls arrived back from their visit to Hagrid their work was complete. The Marauder's Map was now a reality.

"So, what is it you've been doing then?" asked Cecelia, curiously.

"Well, being as you are like ourselves, I suppose we might let you in on the secret." Sirius looked at his friends, who nodded. "This." He presented the startled girls with a blank piece of parchment.

"You spent all day doing nothing." Felicity guessed. "Well in that case you'd have been better off at Hagrid's. He told some great stories."

"Flick." Remus warned. "There is more to this parchment than meets the eye." Eleanor looked at them, then fished out her wand and placed it on the parchment.

"Invisibilis removium." Nothing happened.

"Nothing happened." Lily observed.

"Hey, you'll show your secret, or my name isn't Eleanor Anne Silver." Eleanor replied, hotly. To the girls’ surprise, writing began to bloom across the page.

Mr Moony appreciates the suggestion but politely requests you to find something else to do, as this is a futile attempt to gain knowledge.

Mr Prongs concurs, and would like to add, ‘Have a nice life’.

Mr Padfoot suggests that Miss Silver turns her hand to something more in tune with her character.

Mr Wormtail would like only to finish with Good Riddance.

"Why do I get the feeling doing something you shouldn't be?" Felicity asked, eyes narrowed.

"But Flick, I can assure you - I solemnly swear I am up to no good." James replied, his eyes glinting mischievously. The map surfaced, and in the Gryffindor Common Room, the girls noticed their own names and positions.

"It's a map." Lily said stupidly.

"Congratulations Lil. You have learnt to recognise the obvious." Sirius replied, sarcastically.

"Something tells me that this isn't just for show," Cecelia joined the conversation.

"No." Remus said, grinning like a Cheshire cat. "We're putting it to good use."

Chapter 15 - Young Love

As the weeks went on, Felicity began to despair of James and Lily ever getting together of their own accord. Lily was too naive to realise what was going on, and James seemed to be equally so. In the end, Flick decided to take matters into her own hands. So, she called a meeting, involving herself, Cee, Ellie, Sirius, Remus and Peter. The boys came, curious, wondering why they had been told not to mention it to either James or Lily, and the girls knew exactly what Felicity was going to do.

"Thanks for coming guys. I suppose I'd better explain." she began.

"Too right!" Peter exclaimed. "I should be revising for the Transfiguration test."

"Anyway," Felicity continued, unperturbed. "I suspect you've noticed how James and Lily have become rather, how can I put this? Preoccupied recently."

"Difficult not to." Sirius whined. "James has been in cloud cuckoo land for months. I'm surprised he ever deigns to join us."

"I know where this is going." Remus said smiling.

"You know, don't you." Felicity said, her eyes meeting his.

"Know what?" Sirius asked, confused.

"About James and Lily." Remus replied. "They've fallen in love."

"What?!!" Sirius nearly fell off of his chair in his surprise. "I thought the whole thing was just an act. Anyway," he calmed down, coming to his senses. "How do you know?"

"Sirius, it's obvious." Felicity retorted, patiently. "Look at how worried he was when she was ill...and vice versa. And the Hogsmeade thing. It all adds up. But anyway. That's beside the point. What I want to know is this. How do we get them together...?"

While their friends were planning how to bring them together, James and Lily were together in the library, supposedly helping Flick by looking up some outrageous potion recipes. James kept glancing at his female counterpart out of the corner of his eye, and Lily had read the same page three times, without absorbing any of it.

Usually James was the outspoken one, but for some reason, he was suddenly shy. Lily, the more reserved of the two, on the other hand, was prepared to stick her neck on the line.

"James..."

"Mmmm..."

"Did anyone ever tell you, you've got nice eyes?"

"No."

"Well you have."

"So have you."

For another half an hour they worked, or rather appeared to work, steadily. Then James spoke.

"Lily..."

"Yes?"

"Would you mind if I did something?"

"What?"

"This." He leant forward and kissed her on the lips. Then he sat back, watching her flush prettily.

"Em...that was...unexpected." She said grinning. "At least we're hidden away from everyone else here."

"True. So, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" he asked, smiling at her.

"It depends what you're thinking." she replied, softly.

"I'm thinking that you feel the way that I feel. And I think that we're sort of, um..."

"in love?" she suggested.

"Yes. Thank you." He looked at her, and sparkling eyes of blue locked on jewels of emerald green. For a moment, nothing was said, they just looked into each others’ eyes, as if they could see their souls in them. At last Lily broke the spell.

"I think that people will start to think I live in the library if I don't leave soon. Besides, you can guarantee that the others are up to mischief. Without us. It's criminal!"

"Yeah. Why would they want us out of the way anyway...unless they're planning to do something to us."

"I'd like to see them try," Lily smirked. "We'd have to retaliate, and between us we could give the six of them a couple of pretty hectic weeks. But anyway, I don't think they're planning mischief in the way you mean. I overheard Cee talking to Sirius, and Flick called the meeting. And if I know Felicity, she's trying to act as matchmaker."

"How do you know?"

"From the way she's been acting for the past couple of weeks. She's itching to get us together. So's Remus if it comes to that. Why else did they send us book shopping together."

"Book shopping. Yeah...really romantic." James replied, deadpan. "But if they're trying to get us together and we already are...at least...I think we are?"

"Yes." Lily said, decisively. "Something tells me we should go and finish the meeting before they plan something completely outrageous. I'll bet you a sickle that's what it's about."

Arm in arm they left the library, talking companionably as they went. Anyone who saw them would not define them as a couple, but that is what they were. When they arrived outside the portrait hole, Lily turned to James, and kissed him.

"For luck."

"Hey, you can do the talking. I'd just put my foot in it." He exclaimed.

"I know." she replied. "Which is why you need luck." He glared at her. "For goodness’ sake James - these are our friends. But if you're that bothered then I'll do it." And having announced the password - Bedknobs and Broomsticks - she marched in, and spied her friends almost immediately. When she arrived, they stopped talking abruptly.

"Hi guys." She announced her arrival.

"Lily, hi!" Felicity spoke, a frown creasing her brow. "Weren't you in the library?"

"Yeah, but Flick, why exactly do you want to know how to talk to the animals? I'd have thought that this lot were animal enough for you." At which James, Sirius, Remus and Peter spluttered, although they managed to control themselves.

"Well. Um. I thought.."

"Flick - what exactly are you planning? Only we've been secluded in the library for a good hour and a half, and if we'd stayed there much longer, then we'd look like books."

"She wants to get you two together." Peter squealed, in spite of the glares Remus and Felicity were bestowing on him. Lily looked at James, and then held out her hand. He reluctantly gave her a sickle, and then the two of them burst into gales of laughter.

"What on earth are you doing?" Cee interrupted their squeals of mirth.

"It's okay." James calmed down enough to give a coherent answer. "Only Lily bet me a sickle that you were plotting to get us together."

"But that's not funny." Peter objected.

"No, but what is funny," Lily replied. "Is that we're already together, so you needn't have bothered."

"But you weren't when you left." Ellie objected.

"Well, after an hour and a half looking up potions in the mustiest corner of the library, you'd be ready to declare your love too!" James replied.

"You mean we didn't need to..." Remus said, smiling.

"Nope. Now. If you've quite finished planning out our lives for us perhaps we could do something more constructive."

Chapter 16 - The Joke Gone Wrong

It became obvious even to the most unobservant of those attending Hogwarts that James and Lily were an item. He was envied by many a man, and she was multi-cursed by the female population of the school. Fortunately, neither of them knew of this, and so the days passed without incident.

Severus Snape, meanwhile, was determined to discover where it was that Remus Lupin went every month. It was difficult for anyone to ignore Lupin's perpetual absences, and Snape was devious enough to realise that the cause of them could be used to his advantage. However, his intelligence did not branch to the same levels as that of Remus' friends. Snape did not notice the telltale signs that Remus was a werewolf - the boggart that turned into a full moon, checking out the lunar chart and the like. He was curious, and his curiosity led to carelessness.

One day, Sirius overheard him talking to his cronies. Sirius, quick of wit, and hot of temper decided that Snape deserved a lesson. Not realising the harm he could cause, Sirius told Snape the secret of the Whomping Willow.

"You want to know about the Whomping Willow? Fine. I'll tell you. Use a long stick to tap the knot in the roots, and the willow will freeze. Satisfied?"

Snape was, and Sirius went about his business, never dreaming that his revealing this information would later cause more harm than he could ever imagine.

Unknown to both Snape and Sirius, someone else had overheard their exchange. Felicity Howell was no fool. Knowing that Remus was a werewolf meant that it would be unsafe for any human to come into contact with him when he transformed. She recalled Cecelia once telling her that the Willow had been planted the year they started at Hogwarts. She put two and two together, and realised that it was the Whomping Willow that prevented anyone coming into contact with Remus in his transformed state.

Flick may only have been at Hogwarts for a term and a half, but she knew enough about Severus Snape to realise that he would use Sirius' information. She also knew that for him it was a potentially fatal situation.

Prior to Felicity's arrival, Lily, Cecelia and Eleanor had formed a threesome, but Lily had once mentioned that Cee and Ellie were closer to each other than she. Since Flick joined them, she had become Lily's confidante, and she instinctively knew that her softly spoken friend would know exactly what to do with this information.

Unfortunately for Flick, she had no opportunity to catch Lily on her own that day. Even more worrying was the knowledge that tonight was going to be a full moon.

It wasn't until the two of them were in the dormitory that she told Lily all that she had overheard. Lily looked at her in horror.

"But if Snape does what Sirius told him..."

"Bye bye Snape - I know. And while I admit that Snape is highly annoying, even Sirius wouldn't want him dead. And Remus would be mortified. We've got to do something Lil. Have you got any - Lily! Where are you going?" For as Felicity had been speaking, Lily had grabbed her robes, and was struggling into them. Felicity hurried after her, but it was no good. For someone so small, Lily was incredibly fleet footed, and by the time Flick had reached the common room, Lily had disappeared from sight.

Lily knew exactly what she needed to do. Like any other witch who had studied werewolves, she knew how to deal with them. But this wasn't a werewolf, it was Remus, and if she didn't find James quickly then everything would go horribly wrong.  But by the time she reached the Whomping Willow, she had not got the energy to travel any further.  After running a good few miles from the common room, she sank to her knees, and hoped that some divine power would help her to prevent the inevitable.

By a queer twist of fate James Potter happened to be studying the Marauder's Map at the time Lily arrived at the Whomping Willow. Startled, he decided to investigate, knowing that she would never leave the Gryffindor tower this late, unless some prank was planned. If that had been the case, then he would have known. So, he hurried to discover why it was that she had come to the Whomping Willow of all places.

"Lily?"

"James. You took your time didn't you." she gasped, trying to breathe, and talk at the same time.

"What are you doing?" her concerned boyfriend enquired, mildly.

"Flick told me."

"Told you what."

"James, don't play dumb. I know Remus is a werewolf, okay. And there's no time for me to explain, so just listen." she continued, seeing an unspoken question on his lips. "Flick heard Sirius tell Severus Snape how to stop the Whomping Willow from tearing you into shreds. Flick, in her wisdom, realised that the Willow was there to protect us from Remus in a werewolf state, and Snape will come, and if we don't do something, then either Remus or Snape will get hurt."

"Right. Damn Sirius, he never did know when to keep his mouth shut. Lil. You get back to the castle, and let Flick know that everything will be fine, before she blabs. I'll stay here, and wait for Snape. And don't worry. I have ways and means of protecting myself." Lily gave him a ghost of a smile.

"I know you're Animagi - Prongs." and with that she fled, hoping that he would be able to stop Snape before it was too late.

Back in the girls dormitory, she gave Flick a muttered explanation, before climbing into bed to fall into a restless sleep.

She was up early the next morning, and she reached the common room as a tired James, Sirius and Peter entered. She knew that Remus would probably be in the medical wing, recovering. Sirius and Peter ignored her and made for their dormitory, but in answer to her imploring look, James stayed long enough to explain.

"What happened?" she asked curiously.

"Well," James began, and settled back to tell the tale.

After Lily had left James was prepared. Lying in wait for Snape, without being seen to lie in wait was difficult, but he pulled it off. Snape had stilled the Willow and entered the Shrieking Shack before James could get to him. He froze in horror in front of the werewolf, and were it not for James' forceful pushing, he would have stayed there, easy bait for the creature. Thankfully, James had enough presence of mind to get Snape into the passage leading back to the castle.

Had it been anyone else, they would be grateful. Snape had no knowledge of James' capacity to transform at will, and so as far as he was concerned, the Gryffindor had risked his life to save him. But Snape merely snarled at James, and insisted that Dumbledore would expel him for his folly, which James thought was rather rich, as Snape himself had been wilfully defying as many rules as he himself had. However, Snape had gone and the danger was over.

"Now all I have to do is wait for Dumbledore's summons. And I'll guarantee that Snape'll tell him." James concluded. "Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to catch forty winks before breakfast." He kissed Lily quickly, and then hurried after his friends. But an interview with Dumbledore was inevitable, and Lily knew that it would happen sooner rather than later.

Chapter 17 - In Dumbledore's Study

Lily, Felicity, Cecelia and Eleanor met the boys at breakfast later that morning. The boys said very little, but Cecelia and Eleanor more than made up for it with trivial small talk.

Lily and Flick, knowing of the boys’ antics as they did, said very little. They were waiting for the climax that was yet to come. Sure enough, as they left the dining room, Dumbledore clapped his hand on James' shoulder.

"Mr Potter. I'd be very much obliged if you'd step into my office."

"Yes, Professor." James met Lily's eyes, and winked. Lily sighed with relief. Apart from any residual tiredness, James was on the top of his form. Snape had no chance.

In Dumbledore's office, there was an undercurrent of mischief that James was quick to pick up on. The Professor may well have been the best wizard ever to grace the earth, but James Potter realised that the old man was not without his eccentricities.

He gestured that James should sit down.

"Now Mr Potter. Mr Snape seems to think that you and your friends planned to ... assassinate him last night. He seems to believe you deliberately attempted to molest him. What would you say?" Dumbledore looked at James, and although his expression was sombre, his eyes were more questioning than incriminating.

"Well," James began, slowly. "I suppose I should start at the beginning. I know that you know that Remus is a werewolf. We found that out for ourselves. He explained everything to us, and I for one, didn't see any reason to discontinue our friendship." James frowned. "Remus is not a werewolf, and just a werewolf. He's a human being most of the time. He deserves a little happiness. I don't see why he should be reviled. If you ask me, the attitude most people display towards Remus borders on xenophobia. I appreciate that most werewolves fall under the influence of dark magic, but if anyone is good, then Remus is." James stopped his tirade for long enough to draw breath, and Professor Dumbledore entered the conversation once more.

"I know all of this James. I need to know about last night."

"I understand that. Sorry Professor. Well, it all began when Flick -"

"Flick?"

"Felicity Howell, Professor. She overheard someone tell Snape how to freeze the Whomping Willow. She also knows about Remus, and for someone as intelligent as she is, it was easy enough to put two and two together." And you knew all that anyway. James added, silently.

"Well, Felicity told Lily, and Lily decided that I should deal with it, as I see more of Remus than they do. So I did. Snape arrived, and I couldn't stop him from seeing Remus, but I got him out before he could come to any harm."

"Snape thinks that you knew of this plan, James, and got cold feet." Dumbledore declared.

"I'm not stupid Professor, and I know that Remus would be devastated if he caused harm to anybody. I had to stop Snape and I would never put anyone into that kind of jeopardy - even my worst enemy."

"Which Snape is." Dumbledore finished, smiling. "I suppose I should really interview Miss Howell and Miss Evans, as well as Mr Black. Snape told me that it was Sirius who told him of the secret. I'm assuming he got the information from Remus."

"No! Remus promised you he wouldn't tell anyone. Sirius' dad works at the Ministry, and you'd be surprised at how much research he can do. Once he knew we needed a knot, it was a case of trial and error.

"Well thank you James. I would suggest you all stay away from the Whomping Willow. It was planted for a reason. Obviously I cannot comment now, but I think that, perhaps Severus was mistaken."

More like you know, James thought. There's not much you don't know, and I'm prepared to bet that you know Snape hates me.

"Could you send Lily and Felicity to me, please James. I need to sort out this whole mess, and then everyone will be so much happier."

James left Dumbledore's office and went of to find Lily and Flick. Somehow, he instinctively knew that their interview would not be as easy as his, even though they had done nothing wrong.

On hearing of his summons, Lily and Flick travelled to Dumbledore's office with a sense of foreboding. As Lily pointed out, it was stupid to worry. They had nothing to hide, or to be scared of. Then again, unlike James' band of merry men, Lily and Co. had never had to visit Dumbledore before, and consequently didn't know what to expect.

On reaching the portrait, they heard Dumbledore's voice.

"The password is Liquorice Allsorts. Muggle sweets that I'm not above eating."

The girls smiled at each other and announced the password. The picture swung, and they entered.

"Miss Evans, Miss Howell. Have a seat." Lily and Felicity sat down, and Dumbledore began.

"Mr Potter has informed me that the two of you heard of Mr Snape's supposed plan. I would like to know why you did not inform a member of staff. It was a high risk to take."

Felicity and Lily looked at each other. They couldn't exactly say that James, Sirius and Peter would have been there anyway, and to inform a teacher would culminate in a discovery of the boys hidden talents.

"I suppose we didn't think, Professor," Felicity began, to smooth ruffled feathers. She could ooze charm on occasion, and was not above using it to get her out of a sticky situation. "Really, there wasn't time. I couldn't talk to Lily about it until we were in our dormitory, and it was getting dark by then. We'd have to have found a teacher, and explained, and by that time it would probably have been to late."

"I see." Dumbledore was pensive. "But why go to James Potter? You could have told Snape himself, and then all of this," he waved his hand around, "could have been averted.” Lily frowned.

"That would have been an excellent idea, but I don't think that it would have been viable. Snape doesn't really ... like James and-"

"Doesn't like him! Hey, Lil, join the real world. They hate each other!"

"Thanks for that clarification Flick." Lily said dryly. "Anyway, as we're James' friends, he doesn't like us either, I suppose it's by default." As Lily stopped for breath, Felicity took up the tale.

"If we'd said anything to Snape he'd think we were either trying to stop him finding something incriminating about Remus, or he'd ignore us."

"I see. So...you couldn't tell a teacher - it was too late. You couldn't tell Snape - he wouldn't believe you. What I want to know is why James was your first choice?"

Lily looked at Felicity. She could see that Flick was thinking the same as her - Dumbledore was suspicious. At last Felicity, in her usual forthright manner gave an explanation.

"Okay. I know I'm going to embarrass you Lil', so just sit tight and let me get this out. When you know someone really well, then you can tell where they'd be useful. Lily and James are sort of, um, together, and she knows him almost as well as he knows himself, and he's good at problem solving. And he and Remus are our friends. So he'd know what to do. I suppose we could have gone to Sirius or Peter," Lily suppressed a snort at that, "But," Flick continued, "it was Sirius' fault, and he can be awfully hot headed on occasion. And Peter. He's great and everything, but he relies on Remus, James and Sirius to help him, so he wasn't any good either. So it had to be James."

Dumbledore seemed to realise he wasn't going to get anything else out of the girls. Perhaps he didn't want to. After all, he had ways and means of obtaining the exact truth if he wanted.

"Thank you girls. You may go. Send Sirius to me please."

Lily and Felicity left the room thankfully.

"Flick! You are the absolute limit. He's the headmaster, not your granddad!"

"He was fishing, and you know it. And that's strange for a start. I mean, dad said he's quite laid back. He's being awfully...I don't know...uptight about it all."

"It was a stupid thing to do, and it could have got Snape killed, which would probably have lost Professor Dumbledore his job. If there was an award for coming up with the most harebrained scheme of all time, Sirius would win it - Flick - what are you staring at?"

For as Lily had been speaking, Felicity had come to an abrupt halt outside a seemingly empty classroom. Lily peered in, and then looked at Felicity, the colour draining from her face.

Inside the classroom, James Potter was kissing another girl.

Chapter 18 - Consequences

Eventually, Dumbledore finished his interviews. He passed judgement. Snape lost Slytherin thirty points. As Dumbledore had told him, his actions were against the rules for a reason, and if he was not capable of reasoning, then he must bear the consequences.

Sirius lost Gryffindor ten points. He had no right to tell Snape about the Whomping Willow, and his thoughtlessness could have caused serious repercussions. However, Dumbledore was perceptive enough to realise that Sirius had not meant to endanger Snape, and so had been lenient.

James Potter had won his house twenty points for bravery in the face of danger. It could have been more, but in his actions he had broken rules, and had to be penalised.

This meant nothing to Lily. People may have seen her as a walkover, but she wasn't. Most of the time, she was either bitterly angry, or highly bemused. Her friends supported her, and they were all giving James the silent treatment. Not knowing what Lily and Felicity had seen, James himself was confused at her attitude. She would happily chat to Sirius, Remus and Peter, but she froze every time she saw him, and the other girls weren't much better.

Sirius, Remus and Peter were concerned, and so they spoke to Felicity about their diminutive friend's sudden coldness.

"Flick! Why's Lily suddenly become an Ice Maiden in Jimmy boy’s presence? Come to think of it you, Cee and Ellie are just as bad. The guy's really cut up about her freezing up when he walks into a room."

"Good! He deserves it!" Felicity replied in heartfelt tones.

"Why?" Remus asked.

"He was kissing someone else. If he wants to play with fire then he should expect to get burnt. Lily's far too good for the likes of him."

"No way!" Remus exclaimed. "Look, Flick, I know James, and he'd never two time Lily. He thinks she's the best thing that ever happened to him."

"Yeah? He's got a funny way of showing it. I mean, I agreed with you, but I was with Lily when we saw him. She's devastated, understandably. I suppose it was too much to hope for - a sixteen year old boy who actually cared!"

"Hey, don't put all of us down. I never had you singled out as a man hater!" Sirius exclaimed.

"I'm not," Felicity sighed. "I suppose I'm just mad at James, and taking it out on you. Then again, I don't need to be. Lil's absolutely livid. I wouldn't advise messing with her right now!"

"There's another explanation." Sirius was convinced, and his tone showed it. "And I'm going to find out what."

The boys were never going to turn against James, and the girls were never going to alienate Lily, so the two groups were at a checkmate. The boys were not so sure that Lily and James should be together if she didn't trust him, in spite of Felicity's exasperated reasoning. Lily only believed because she had seen.

The atmosphere among the mischief-makers was fraught with tension. All of the previous camaraderie had been eaten up by suspicion. One day, when there was yet another awkward silence, Cecelia cracked.

"Look," she began, heatedly, "I hate this. If you two don't sort something out then I'm going to explode. For goodness sake, deal with it!  If you want us to leave, we will."

"Don't bother," came Lily's frigid tones. "I have nothing to say."

"Exactly!" James exclaimed. "You've been ignoring me for a week, but you forgot to let me know what I've done wrong!"

"You already know." Lily said, quietly. "Or have you forgotten already?"

"What? Lily grow up and talk to me!"

"Grow up? GROW UP! You're the one who needs to grow up James Potter. I'm not the one who's a two timing good for nothing!"

"WHAT?!"

"Oh, you've forgotten have you. Well, I suppose I'd better remind you. You remember Dumbledore telling you to find Flick and I. When he dismissed us we had to find Sirius. On the way we happened to glance into an empty classroom. Only it wasn't empty was it? No! Because you were in it, weren't you. Kissing someone who definitely wasn't me." The icy calm of Lily's voice was more disconcerting than any temper tantrum. James looked at her, startled, and then, to everyone's surprise, he laughed. Lily looked at him, and then her temper got the better of her. Her hand came up, and before anyone could realise what she was doing, she slapped him. Then she turned on her heel and left, throwing one final shot as she left.

"I'm glad you find it funny. Well, you just keep laughing because I never want to see you again. Ever." And with that she left, leaving an astonished company gazing in her wake. No one would have thought that Lily, usually so docile, had enough pepper in her to dish that one out. Typically, it was Sirius who spoke first.

"Well." He said in awed tones. "That went well."

"Oh yes, it was a complete success." James spat at him. "Absolutely marvellous. Now I'm one girlfriend down."

"Only one to go." Felicity muttered, angrily.

"Pardon?" James turned on her.

"Only one more to go!" Felicity said clearly. "You deserved every word of that."

"Oh, I see. Let's all support Lily. Didn't anyone ever think that perhaps it might be a good idea to ask me about it?" James stormed.

"No, because I saw you too. And the only thing higher than you on my top ten hate list is Voldemort. I even hate Snape less!"

"But I didn't kiss her." James said, testily.

"I saw you, lovey, and it wasn't just a friendly kiss on the cheek!"

"No Flick, I didn't kiss her, she kissed me. And she was a Slytherin. One of Snape's little friends. Something tells me that it was planned all along. Snape knew that Dumbledore would never expel us. That was his revenge."

"Try telling that to Lily." Felicity said, sceptically. "Although I actually believe you. It was hard to believe in the first place. Snape must be having a field day."

"Tell me about it!" James said, wryly.

"Um, James. I'm not particularly good at this whole apologising thing. It isn't really me, but I owe you one. I'm sorry. Forgive me?"

"Sure. It's not your fault. But even if you girls know the truth, Lily doesn't."

"So tell her the truth." Cecelia entered the conversation. "You sit next to her in Transfiguration, and we can't swap seats this late in the year. She'll listen once she's cooled off. She's been in tempers at Ellie and I before, and we're still friends."

"Um, Cee? I doubt she told you she never wanted to see you again!" Remus intervened. "Still there's no harm in trying. But I've got a better suggestion. She probably won't listen if you talk. Try writing. Then she'll have to read it. Cee, your dad's a Muggle, can't you send her a Muggle envelope thing, and then James can put his letter inside that.

"It's worth a try." Ellie said doubtfully. "Have you Cee?"

"Yeah. You write the letter, we'll see she gets it. That's the best we can do."

So the seven of them set to, and Lily received the end result two days later. She tore the letter open curiously, not knowing the handwriting. Cee had got Jo to address it for her, and her younger sisters clear print was an unknown to Lily. She opened it, and looked at the contents.

Dear Lily,

You said you never wanted to see me again, you didn't mention letter writing. So here is my explanation. Yes there was a kiss, but I wasn't the one doing the kissing. You should know me well enough to know that if I say something, I mean it, and I told you I was in love with you. While I won't guarantee you can't be in love with two people, I'm not, and so here's my explanation. You saw one of Snape's female Slytherin cronies kissing me, not the other way round. It's his idea of revenge. And if you don't believe this then you're playing into his hands. So, Lil, forget about it. I love you, not some other pathetic nobody.

Love

James

Reading the letter, Lily could tell that it had a ring of truth to it. There was no beating about the bush. James told her exactly what he wanted to, with no fancy poetry or lovey dovey stuff. He could tell that in her current mood she'd never accept that. And while she admitted that he could be lying, she doubted it. Her face broke into a smile, and she winked at him across the table. He smiled at her, and winked back. Sirius, Remus, Peter, Flick, Cee and Ellie all breathed a sigh of relief. The tempest was over.

Chapter 19 - A Peculiar Warning

Now that harmony had been restored in the realm of romance, there were more practical matters to deal with. Like how to get back at Snape for his attempt to damage James and Lily's relationship.

"I swear," James said, from the comfortable chair they were sharing, "if I had it my way he'd remember this one for a fair few years."

"Yeah, but James," Lily said tartly, "he had to ruin us because let’s face it, who'd be interested in a slimeball like him?"

"Now now," Ellie intervened, laughing. "Looks aren't everything!"

"Yeah but they help." Cee giggled.

"No." Felicity said decisively. "I'd go for character over looks any day."

"Yeah, but Flick," Sirius said, mocking her, "Snape has no character."

"Are you girls going to get girlie?" Peter asked, from his perch by the fireplace, "Because if you are, I'm leaving."

"No they're not." Remus replied. "We're here to decide how best to bring Snape off of his high horse - again."

"You lot are awful." Lily said, in spite of the merriment they could see in her smile. "We should just leave the poor guy alone."

"Um, Lil, " Sirius ventured, tentatively, "Yesterday among the many insults that you heaped upon him in his absence you mentioned a desire for revenge, quite emphatically. As I recall you were prepared to carry out the deed there and then."

"Yeah, but you didn't come up with a plan did you? And today I'm not quite so violent."

"Hey! You never told me you were violent when I declared my undying love for you!" James joked.

"That, my dear, is because I didn't think you'd be subject to it. Sadly, fortune meant that all did not go to plan, and now you know."

In spite of the prolonged meeting, none of them, not even Sirius, could come up with a solution which would sufficiently pay Snape back. And very soon, Snape was the last thing on their mind.

The next morning, Lily received an owl. That in itself would not have been strange, but she didn't recognise the owl. Not knowing anyone in the wizarding world, she was scarcely likely to receive one, and her curiosity was aroused.

"I wonder who it's from?" she said to Felicity.

"Open it and see. You seem to do nothing but get mail!" Felicity retorted.

Acting on her advice, Lily took the parchment, and unrolled it. The owl didn't leave, but that wasn't unusual. Many owls waited for replies to their letters. However, the note the owl carried was unusual, and Lily's went pale as she read it.

‘Miss Evans,

You must heed this notice, or I fear it will be too late. Listen to the owl. I have bewitched her so that she can speak. She, like myself has been in captivity for the past several months, and only recently did I find something that I think might interest you. Don't show this to anyone that you do not trust. Above all, be careful. The information the owl has is paramount to your continued survival. If this is found then I am in grave danger. Good Luck my young friend, and take care.

Halfreda Dubrillsiod

The others were startled when Lily pushed back her chair, and hurried out of the room, the owl on her shoulder, eyes wide with fear. Felicity looked at James, and the two of them followed her. Rolling his eyes, Sirius motioned for the others to follow, which they did curiously. It was something that they always did. The eight of them stuck together, and any threat to one of them, was a threat to all.

Eventually, all eight of them assembled in the Gryffindor common room.

"We can't stay here," Lily murmured. "We need to go somewhere private." In the end they made their way to the Shrieking Shack. The rumour of a haunting presence were enough to keep others away.

Once they arrived there, Lily read the cryptic letter to them all. When she finished, she added her own thoughts.

"It says not to let anyone that I don't trust know, but I think I can trust you, besides, I might need your help."

"Why don't you ask the owl to tell her story?" Remus suggested. If he was uncomfortable in the Shack then he didn't show it.

"I was just getting to that." Lily turned to the owl. "Who sent you? And what on earth is this all about?"

The owl replied, much to her delight. But as they listened they grew sombre.

"My mistress, Halfreda, sent me here to warn you. She is special. She doesn't need a wand to make magic, which is why I am able to talk to you in this way. I suppose you need to know everything.

In recent years there has been a lot of fuss about Voldemort." Only Peter looked stricken, the rest just nodded their agreement. "People seem to have forgotten that just because there is one bad person who is publicly prominent, it does not mean that others cannot exist."

"I agree with you there." Lily said, softly. "All we ever hear about are the atrocities Voldemort has carried out. Yet in times of war there are often others, equally bad, who are overlooked, or who become allies. The Muggles do it, and the witches and wizards do it. I suppose it's a part of human nature."

"Yes. Well anyway, have any of you heard of Endommager?" The owl asked.

"I have," James spoke up.

"So've I," Sirius agreed. That was no surprise, both boys had fathers who were high up in the Ministry hierarchy, and consequently heard more than most wizards and witches.

"Well, for the sake of those of you who don't, I'll explain. Endommager has been around for years, and he is about as bad as they come. His only reason for existence is revenge. You see, when he was a child his parents were killed by a freak accident, and he blamed the Ministry for improper supervision. Ever since he has been trying to ruin Ministry members, trying to hurt those close to them, make them understand how they feel. He is evil, and my mistress was caught up in an attempt to reprimand him. She and the hit wizards were all taken prisoner, and have been treated as animals ever since. That was seven months ago, in October. In the time since then, she has been listening, trying to fathom his next plan. And you, Lily Evans, are it."

Lily looked at the owl calmly, although Cee gasped, and even Felicity looked worried.

"But why would he want Lily?" James asked, puzzled. "She's Muggle-born. She's never had anything to do with the Ministry. If it were Sirius or I then I'd understand, but what good will harming Lily do?" His question was valid. Lily, as the only one of them with no magical heritage should have been the only one not likely to be affected, not the first on a hit list.

"But my young friend you are very wrong. You see, the young lady has something that Endommager wants very much. She has the power to make you, James Potter, miserable. She has stolen your heart, and any threat to her will affect you. If you are affected then your family will be. As your father is Minister for Magical Maintenance, you are an exceptionally good target. And by hurting Lily rather than you, you are helpless, in the same way Endommager was helpless all those years ago. He's twisted, but he's clever. Endommager wants you to suffer, and if you are not careful suffer you will. Now, I must go. I have been away from my mistress for too long as it is. But listen to what I say, you will need to remember it."

Chapter 20 - What Shall We Do?

Once the owl had flapped off, the young witches and wizards looked at each other in horror. They did not see how anyone could use someone to hurt someone that they cared for.

"Do you think that it's true?" Lily asked Sirius for confirmation, and avoided meeting James' eyes. She wasn't sure how to react to the information the owl had brought. She certainly had no intention of hurting the Potters. Not to mention the worry it would give to her own parents should they find out.

"It's true," James answered anyway. His own head was spinning. How on earth were they going to solve this problem? "And the owl’s right - you need to be careful."

"Why?" Lily challenged. "Because this evil wizard might hurt me, or because he might use me to hurt you?"

"Because he might hurt you." Remus looked at Lily. "You know Lil, hard though this may seem to believe, James does actually care about you."

"Yeah. Prongs worries about more than just mischief, though you wouldn't want to believe it!" Sirius added. Then Felicity started laughing. The others looked at her, startled.

"Oh, come on guys, you have to admit it was kind of funny. The owl knew more about our two lovebirds than we did, and we're with them every day. The owl had never even met them."

"It was slushy," Peter said, disgusted.

"Yeah, thanks for that little slight on my personal life Peter, Flick, but you may have forgotten that I'm the one who this evil wizard is going to come after. Pardon me for being edgy, but if someone you'd never even heard of held a major grudge against you, you'd be upset too. And I don't have a clue as to what to do about it." Lily was flushed, and she leant against the wall thoughtfully.

"Do as it said - be careful. There's not much else you can do." Cee stated the obvious.

"We could tell Dumbledore," Ellie added, doubtfully. "Maybe he'd know what to do."

"Like he'd believe us. Excuse me sir, but a talking owl told me that my life was in danger. Can you help?" Felicity mocked. "It sounds rather far fetched, don't you think. And that lot," she nodded towards the boys, "have got the reputation that'll make him think it's one huge hoax."

"Flick's right." Remus said, sorrowfully. "And we've been in enough trouble recently without this."

"Oh come on Moony. You love it really. Just think how boring life would be without Wormtail, Moony, Padfoot and Prongs!" Sirius sounded pleased with himself.

"Boring and safe." Lily retorted. "I don't think safe is a word that features in your vocabulary Sirius, but for future reference, it's part of mine. Right now, a very important part of mine. Which means I'd rather you didn't come up with any stupid stunts that left us wide open to ambush."

"You sound like a blinkin' army general," Flick moaned. "Lighten up Lil. So someone's after you. There's not much that we can do about it. I suppose we'll just have to be careful. Don't let it get to you. Be your normal bubbly self, or people will get suspicious."

"What, that dopey lot?" James smiled. "Don't make me laugh. They wouldn't notice that something was wrong even if you pointed it out to them. But Flick's right. Under the circumstances, there's not much we can do, except watch and wait."

"Besides," Cee chipped in. "Who'd attack you at Hogwarts? They'd have to be insane."

"Look, Cee, just because Voldemort is scared of Dumbledore, doesn't mean that this Endommager will be."

"Yeah, but at Hogwarts, it would be pretty hard for anything bad to happen to you without someone noticing. And it's the Easter hols next week, which means that we'll be able to look out for you."

"I'm not five, you know!" Lily snapped. "I can look after myself."

"I know you can," Ellie said soothingly. "But we've established as much as we can. Now we just have to wait, and hope for the best. Oh, and I suggest we get out of here. No offence but it's horrible in here - cold, damp and fusty musty dusty. Let's get back to the castle. At least it's warm and cheerful there."

No one could argue with her assessment, and so they left the Shrieking Shack. Although none of them were particularly happy with the plan they had formulated, they needed to sleep on it, before they could do anything else. Their main concern was to last until the Easter holidays. That way they had some chance of finding more information on this Endommager.

The week flew by, and the Easter holidays were upon them. Of the eight mischief-makers, Ellie, Cee and Peter were going home. James, Sirius, Remus, Lily and Flick would remain in school for various reasons.

On the Saturday, they woke up optimistic. In spite of their extraordinary escapades, all five of the remaining mischief-makers had a positive outlook on life, and even Lily couldn't stay worried for long. By the end of the previous week she was her usual self. Now that the owl was no longer there, it was difficult for her to worry. It was a case of out of sight, out of mind. However, she had listened to the often-repeated warnings, and was careful about what she did and where she went.

"You know, this could be quite fun. Now that Wormtail, Cee and Ellie have gone, the 'don't do that, it's dangerous' army have disappeared. We can blow things up to our hearts content." Sirius said, with a beam of satisfaction.

"Sirius, only you, James and Flick like blowing things up," Remus replied. "Lily and I go for more sedate forms of mischief."

"Apart from the time she blew Snape's breakfast up. Although he deserved it." He was referring to an incident of a couple of weeks ago, when James and Lily had still been at odds with each other. Just because she was no longer speaking to James, didn't mean that Lily liked Snape any better. And when he ruined her Potions homework, she let rip. After insulting him with vigour, she bewitched his meals for a whole day, so it was impossible for him to touch it without it blowing up in his face. And although he knew full well it had been Lily, he had no way of proving it. So, as always, she got off scot-free.

"I agree with you actually," Flick said to Remus. "We don't need to blow anything up - Snape's gone home for the holidays. Which means that we can explore instead. I reckon the Forbidden Forest could be potentially interesting." She looked at the boys with a peculiar glint in her eyes, knowing all too well that they were very familiar with the forest’s layout. She was prepared to bet that they preferred to travel in a transformed state while within it though.

"That's actually a good idea," James said, hiding the uncomfortable pause, while Sirius and Remus collected themselves. "We could take a picnic. I'll bet the forest’s not as bad as it's made out to be."

Lily took pity on the squirming boys. It would make it so much easier if they knew that she and Flick knew.

"Okay, you can drop the innocent act. Flick and I aren't stupid you know. If Remus is a werewolf, which we know he is," at this, Remus squirmed, "then you guys will have found some way to join him. And unless I'm mistaken, you're Animagi. Which is probably why you were so interested in them when we studied them in the third year. And why you're so particularly good at Transfiguration. So 'fess up. Oh, and I think that Flick agrees. You go into the Forbidden Forest more than you'd like us to think, don't you?"

"How did you...James?" Sirius' gaze hardened and he fixed his friend with a glare. James held his hands up in a gesture of innocence.

"Not guilty. I told Lily nothing. Anything they know, they worked out for themselves." Realising that he meant it, Sirius sighed, and turned to Lily and Felicity.

"Okay, I'm not going to deny it. We got fed up of breaking school rules, and decided to break the law instead. Yeah, we're Animagi, at least, James, Peter and I are, and we do use the Forbidden Forest fairly frequently. And I don't think I want to know how you found out. Do Cee and Ellie know?"

"No. At least, they haven't mentioned it to us, which they would have done if they did. Well, seeing as you boys are experts at navigation, you can find us the perfect spot for our picnic..."

And so the week passed. It was a week full of laughter and fun. If James, Sirius and Remus were awful for teasing, then Lily and Flick were more than able to match them. They ran riot, and yet no one in authority found out. An Invisibility Cloak was an asset that they were prepared to use. Free run of the forest was granted to them, although they always stuck together. It wasn't called the Forbidden Forest for nothing, and there were plenty of not so pleasant characters inhabiting it. But by the end of the week, they were tanned, happy, and exhausted. On the Sunday evening before the summer term started, Felicity coined the phrase to describe it.

"It's been too good to be true, you know. Something's bound to go wrong soon, I'll guarantee it."

Chapter 21 - Endommager

The summer term began. Those in the sixth year had to study. They had NEWT's to take next year, and there was no time to be wasted in classes, or so they were told. Sirius was never one to heed warnings, and consequently, the entire Gryffindor sixth year enjoyed the occasional bit of light relief, when things began to get too overwhelming.

The first three weeks passed without incident. If Lily was in danger, then no one seemed to be acting against her. Indeed, she had almost forgotten the owl with it's ominous warning. Almost, but not quite. In spite of her best efforts there was something about it that scared her. And that in itself was strange. Lily Evans did not go in for being scared. There were better things to do with your life then live it in fear. But then again, she had never been threatened by an evil wizard before, if you didn't include Snape, so perhaps that was it. Whatever the problem was, she wasn't prepared to discuss it. So outwardly, even to her friends, she was her normal, carefree self. Late at night, it was a different story. Nightmares broke her sleep, and she often went to breakfast with dark circles under her eyes. That was put down to studying. She was cautious.

But clearly she wasn't cautious enough. At the end of a seemingly normal day, as usual, she retired to the Gryffindor common room. But by a queer twist of fate, she realised that she needed her Defence Against the Dark Arts Notes, which she had left in the classroom, accidentally.

She entered the room, and went to her desk, humming merrily. But the silvery notes died on her lips when she looked up. Someone was there, and that someone was not a resident at Hogwarts. Lily, usually so organised, had left her wand in the common room, not thinking she would need it on a ten minute walk to find some misplaced notes. And that was her mistake. The dark presence in front of her wasn't likely to let her go back and retrieve it. Thoughts ran through her head, and she was about to scream. But before she got the chance, the world went black.

She awoke, much later, in what looked suspiciously like a prison cell. Fantastic. She thought. One slip and everything goes wrong. Her head was pounding, and she seriously doubted that her limbs would ever work properly again, but with an effort of will, she hauled herself to her feet, and then leaned against the wall for support. There was only one thought in her mind - escape.

"You won't escape." A chilly voice penetrated the thick cloud that was clogging up her mind. "You see, I'm not that stupid. I have studied you, Lily Evans, and I know how you work." The evil presence in front of her could only be the evil wizard she had been warned of, so many weeks ago.

"What do you want with me?" she asked, defiantly. Whatever it is, she added, silently, I'm not giving you it.

"Why my dear, I'd have thought it was obvious." he replied.

"Don't call me your dear, you pathetic lynch. Do I look like I've sprouted antlers?" She had to smile at that. James could not have used that particular piece of wit. As a deer, he did have antlers, even if it wasn't all the time.

"I suggest you learn some respect, darling, or you might find this stay much less comfortable." The icy tones were full of menace. Lily matched the tones with frostiness of her own.

"I'm sorry, I don't recall you inviting me. This stay isn't a stay at all, it's a capture. Oh, and if you want respect, you're gonna have to earn it honey, and you're not doing too well so far. I don't tend to be polite to people who assault me when my back's turned." I spend far too much time with Flick, she chastised herself, and that sounded like something out of a Muggle film. Oh well, it sounded good. Her thoughts were interrupted as a huge gloved fist connected with her head. Once more, the world went black.

He was with her again when she came to. It hurt, but she could live with pain, and there was no way she was giving into this particular man. Not in a million years, and not in eternity. So her defiance was not curbed.

"I hope that you've come to your senses. I don't particularly like playing games. Not even the childish ones you seem to favour. Now. You're going to tell me about the Potter family. Everything about the Potter family, and then you might like to enlighten me with stories of the Blacks. You see, darling, I'm not just a pretty face. I did my homework, and I know for a fact that you and James Potter are on intimate terms. And that you and Sirius Black are what one would term close friends. Myself, I think friends are a ridiculous waste of time."

"I'll never tell you anything about any of my friends. It would betray their trust, and unlike you, I have morals."

"How charming. But my dear, where are your precious friends now? You've been missing for hours, and I can assure you that no one is concerned about your whereabouts."

"It's the middle of the night you moron, of course they’re not concerned. They're asleep. As soon as they find out I'm gone..."

"They'll do what? Come and rescue you. You seem to have read far too many Muggle fantasy books. This isn't fantasy darling, this is real, and there's no one there to save you. Your knight in shining armour hasn't turned up, and my dear Sleeping Beauty, until you tell me what I want, you're going to be spending a lot of time in this little room." And with that he directed his wand at her, and she was fast asleep.

He continued his little talks with her, but to no avail. The pretty girl had more determination than he could have anticipated, and her faith in her friends was extraordinary. Endommager wanted to know about the Potters, wanted to hurt them in the way he'd been hurt. It gave him great pleasure to inform Lily that when she gave him his information, he planned to kill James Potter. That way his parents would appreciate the anguish you went through when those close to you were hurt by powers you couldn't control. That was his mistake, letting her know his intentions. After the horrified look had left her eyes, she had pursed her lips, and he couldn't coax any words out of her. Threats didn't work, nor promises. She was resolute. She would never betray James.

Endommager was growing desperate. In the end, he decided that he needed to take more drastic measures. He did not have time to mess around with schoolgirls, even spirited ones such as this. First he tried the Cruciatus curse. After all, he was an evil wizard. He could use the Unforgiveables if he wanted. But pain did not weaken her resolve. In fact, it strengthened it. So he went on to Imperius curse. But she resisted his control. She would not break under that one. In the end he fell back on the tried and tested. Veritaserum was made, and she was forced to drink it. Now he had his chance. She would reveal all of the Potters' secrets, and then he could continue to avenge his parents’ deaths.

Chapter 22 - The Search

The morning after Lily's capture, Felicity woke up early with a sense of foreboding. The previous night, Lily had not been around when she went to bed, but this wasn't unusual. She had spent a lot of time in the library lately, brushing up on defensive skills. So it was strange that Flick should be so concerned.

Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, Felicity sat up, and the next moment, she wished she hadn't. Lily's bed was empty. It was true, she sometimes did get up early, to enjoy a morning walk, or to write letters to her parents. Lily's pyjamas were neatly folded on her bed, which was tidily made. That was nothing new either. Felicity knew that her friend always ensured that all her things were in perfect order before leaving the dormitory. But even the logic of this knowledge could not shake Flick's feeling that something was badly wrong.

Hoping to render her fears as useless, Flick went down to the common room, praying that she would find Lily there. But she didn't, and what she did find brought her heart into her mouth. Her friend’s satchel was on the floor by a table which was strewn with writing paraphernalia. But the most telling sign was the wand sticking out of the bag on the floor. Felicity waited ten minutes, but Lily didn't arrive. And then she knew it was serious. Lily would never abandon her things or leave her wand if she was going to be gone for more than ten minutes. Which meant that something bad had happened.

Flick realised that the chances were that Lily had never been to bed the previous night, and the memory of the talking owl was suddenly all to clear. Picking up the ten and a quarter inch wand made of swishy willow, she hurried up to the dormitory once more, and attempted to shake Cee awake.

"Cee...Cee...CECELIA!!!" She whispered as loud as she dared. But it was to no avail. Cecelia could and would sleep like the dead. Realising that she was attempting the impossible, Felicity tried Eleanor.

"Ellie, wake up. Come on girlie, get with it...I need your help."

"Leave me alone...too early..." Eleanor mumbled in her sleep. Felicity threw her hands up in despair. Her friends were clearly going to be no use for at least the next hour, and she didn't want to wait that long. She got dressed as fast as she could. Sighing in a resigned fashion, she headed for the boys' dormitory.

For a second she paused outside the door, but she decided that rules would just have to be broken. And that was a laugh. Since when did she ever pay heed to the rules? She marched into the room in a determined fashion, and gazed in wonder at the boyish forms sprawled in each bed. How could they sleep at a time like this? But this wasn't the time to have trivial thoughts either, so she hurried over to the nearest bed, which James Potter happened to inhabit, and plonked herself on his legs. Fortunately for her, he'd always been a light sleeper, and he sat up almost immediately.

"Flick? What's wrong?"

"Tell you later. Get the others up." She whispered. In tandem they interrupted the slumbers of Sirius, Remus and Peter. Once all four boys were up she suggested they went to the Common Room.

"In our pyjamas?" Peter said, doubtfully.

"Well hurry up and get dressed," she replied exasperated.

"In front of you? You'll be lucky!" Sirius replied.

"I'll wait for you downstairs. Now get on with it!" And she vacated the room. Within ten minutes, all four boys were downstairs, and Felicity told them all that she knew.

"Look, I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but for goodness sake don't shoot the messenger." She looked at James as she spoke. "Did any of you see Lily last night."
"The last time I saw her, she wanted to do her Dark Arts homework, but she'd left her notes in the classroom. I met her in the corridor when she was on the way." Remus volunteered the information.

"So did any of you see her after that? I know I didn't and I can't ask Cee or Ellie. I tried, and their fast asleep, and likely to stay that way." All four boys acknowledged that they hadn't seen Lily since that time. "Well, all her Dark Arts stuff is all over the table, and I know it wouldn't take her more than half an hour to get it finished. Oh, and I found this in her satchel too." Flick held up Lily's wand. "And I don't think that her bed's been slept in either. Which means that something is badly wrong."

"So, let me just get this straight," Sirius growled, "you think Lil's gone missing. And you're worried about her. And you want us to help you look for her."

"Got it in one. So, are you with me?"

"It might be a good idea to have a look in the Dark Arts room, to see if there's evidence that she went there." Remus suggested.

So the group wandered to the room, and looked around. It wasn't long before James came across evidence that was hard to ignore.

"I've found her notes guys, and I suggest you come and see this!" The others crowded round, and saw Lily's notes scattered over the floor, as if she's dropped them. Even more telling were the huge muddy footprints marring the neatness of the notes.

"Well," Flick said, breathlessly, "that solved that problem."

"Not really. We don't know whose footprints they are." Remus replied.

Felicity voiced the fear that was with them all. The most probable explanation was Endommager. Which meant that Lily wasn't having it easy. In the discussion that followed, it was difficult to know what to do. Eventually it was time for breakfast, so the four boys, and one girl made their way to the Great Hall.

The arrival of the post gave them the news that they feared the most. It was addressed to James, and when he opened it, the other four crowded round.

‘Dear Mr Potter,

I thought you might like to know that I have Miss Evans right where I want her. Her belief in you and her friends is touching, but she can't resist forever. You might appreciate the knowledge that she resisted the Imperius and Cruciatus touchingly well. Don't try to help her, it will be a fruitless attempt, and I guarantee you'll regret it. I'd love to stay and chat, but some of us have prisoners to torture.

Remember, I have her

Endommager

"Fantastic, I don't think." Flick spluttered.

"Look on the bright side." Remus suggested.

"Remus, there is no bright side. My best friend has been kidnapped by an evil wizard. I don't see anything promising in the situation!"

"He said she was resisting the Imperius and Cruciatus. That's something to celebrate."

"We've got to rescue her." James said, suddenly.

"Prongs, have you gone mad?" Peter asked, terrified.

"No he hasn't." Flick retorted. "And I'm with James. We'll find her. We'll just have to figure out how. Oh, and it might be a good idea to tell Cee and Ellie. Two more will make it so much easier."

"I'm with you!" Sirius exclaimed. "That guy has got some nerve. Those curses are Unforgivables!"

"Count me in." Remus added, quietly. They looked at Peter expectantly.

"Okay, okay. I'll come too."

When Cee and Ellie were approached, they wanted to join the rescue party. Strangely enough, no one missed Lily's presence, and none of those aware of it thought to go to someone in authority. Instead, they plotted. Today was Friday, which meant they would be able to execute their plan on the morrow.

How they got through their lessons that day, none of them knew. But as soon as all the learning was over, they hurried to the Shrieking Shack. On the way there, they were waylaid by a Hippogriff.

"What the...Why exactly is there a Hippogriff loose in the grounds?" Cee asked, confused.

"I am here because my mistress sent me. She is Halfreda Dubrillsiod, and I believe she has contacted you before. I am here to help." The hippogriff tones were lilting, but understandable.

"So, does your mistress know anything about Lily? Where she is would be a good start." Flick suggested.

"I can do better than that. My mistress instructed me to bring four of you to assist your friend in her escape. We regret that more could not come, but I can only carry so many of you. The journey is long, and as you cannot Apparate, we will have to go there slowly. Miss Evans does not know it, but she and my mistress are in cells that adjoin each other. Consequently, Miss Halfreda can hear everything that goes on. I will take you to her as soon as we get to Endommager's castle, and she will help you rescue your friend."

"That's great! Thanks!" Flick was enthused. "Okay guys. Only four of us can go, which means three have got to stay behind. So I suppose we're going to have to argue it out amongst ourselves."

"It shouldn't be that difficult," Sirius was scornful. "Obviously Prongs will have to go-"

"I'm not so sure that would be a good idea," Ellie mused. "It seems that Endommager is after the Potters, which would put James at risk. And I don't know that Sirius should go, either..." The hippogriff entered the conversation once more.

"Miss Halfreda realised that you would have difficulty in deciding. From the information she has gained, she suggested I tell you this. In spite of the danger to Mr Potter, she thinks it would be wise for him to come. He has talents that would be handy, talents that Endommager does not know about. She heard Miss Evans talking about 'Flick' when Endommager was not with her. I believe that Miss Halfreda thinks it would be wise for this 'Flick' to come with me. She feels the Miss Evans would appreciate her friend joining the rescue party. And Mr Black would likewise be an asset. Miss Evans was wishing that she was as 'devious' as him so that she could get away, so Miss Halfreda wishes him to come. And Hibou, the owl who brought her warning to you told my mistress that Mr Lupin would be of assistance. Hibou seems to think that you are intellectual. Miss Halfreda understands that Mr Pettigrew and Misses Silver and Hall would like to join, but the others are more likely to be useful. I know it sounds harsh, but all of you would help, if you could, and we really do not have time to argue."

"I say we go with Miss Dubrillsiod's suggestion. The hippogriff - what's your name again?" Remus asked.

"Palo."

"Well Palo's right - we don't have time to argue. If Cee, Ellie and Wormtail will agree, then we'll do as she says."

The three agreed, and James, Sirius, Flick and Remus clambered on to Palo. When they reached the tower outside the boys’ dormitory, James collected his Invisibility Cloak, and then they said goodbye to their friends, telling them to let Professor Dumbledore know of Lily's predicament. Then they were off in earnest, clinging to the creature, and hoping against hope that none of them would fall off.

The journey was long, and there was very little conversation. As Remus said later, there were more important things to worry about than talking. Like not ending up as a blot on the landscape.

Eventually they reached a castle, surrounded by wrought iron railings. There was an opaque cloud of mist surrounding the actual building, and the negative emotions surrounding the building were palpable. But the four adventurers didn't care. They had a mission, and they planned to carry it out.

Chapter 23 - Rescued and Freed

Palo suggested they use the Invisibility Cloak to enter the castle. The hippogriff could get them in, but it was vital that they were not seen.

"But if Lily knows about the cloak then surely Endommager will have been able to find out about it. If he knows I have one, then surely it won't be as much good." James said, in a worried fashion.

"Even if he knows, he won’t be able to see us.  So we have an element of surprise, and I suggest we use it."

The cloak wasn't manufactured to house four bodies, and if James, Sirius and Remus weren't used to dealing with it, a lot of time would have been wasted getting it to cover them. However, they were quickly invisible, and Palo took them to a small entrance to the castle. From there, they would be on their own, but they could not get lost.

After thanking the hippogriff, the explorers started ion their journey.

"You know, if someone asked me what life was like in England when I was in the States, I'd have said pretty much the same as there. I take that back. Over here it's far more dangerous, and people are much more eccentric. Have any of you got any idea when we're going to find Lil?"

"No. And we're finding this Halfreda Dubrillsiod first. Palo said this tunnel led to her cell. And be quiet, just because we can't be seen, it doesn't mean no one can hear us."

They travelled up the dusty passage, cold and clammy, in silence, save for the occasional berating of one of their counterparts.

"Ouch! Flick that was my toe!"

"Well, I can't help it...if you didn't have such big feet..."

On one occasion, Felicity found herself in Sirius' arms, after Remus had pushed in exasperation.

"Oh, getting scared are we?"

"Shut up Sirius."

"Don't move, I was just getting comfortable."

"Sirius, you are disgusting, and this is not the time for teasing."

Eventually they reached a dimly lit cell, with a sole occupant. The woman could only have been in her early twenties, not much older than the rescuers. But her wavy blonde hair was tangled, and the blue-green eyes that she turned to them were haunted.

"You must be Lily's friends." The voice was musical.

"Hi, you're Miss Dubrillsiod right?"

"Call me Halfreda, please."

"I'm James Potter, this is Sirius Black, Remus Lupin is on your left, and our female counterpart is Felicity Howell."

"Only you can call me Flick," Felicity smiled. "Thanks for all your help. If it wasn't for you we'd never have known where to start. Have you got any idea as to how we're going to get Lily out of this place?"

"The only solution I can see is some serious magic. If she'd had her wand, she's have been out of here ages ago. I'd have helped, but the extent of my wandless magic is limited, and use of it leaves me tired. You'll have to be gentle with her incidentally, he's been a bit rough."

"Yeah, and by the looks of it, Lil's not the only one to suffer." Remus said wryly, eyeing the purple bruise adorning her eye.

"That's nothing. I've learnt to live with pain, and he can do far worse. But this is getting us nowhere. You need to get your friend out of there, and soon. Endommager has used Veritaserum on her, there is nothing you can do about that, but he'll want to hurt her even more. He is a madman, and it gives him strange pleasure to hurt other people."

"Right." James said, with determination. "Anyone have any ideas?"

"Well, letting Lily know we're here might be a good start." Flick suggested.

"Good thinking. You can do the talking - it was you're idea."

"Sirius, she's not going to bite."

"Yeah, but you're her best friend. Hurry up - I'm getting jumpy."

So Felicity hurried over to the wall that Halfreda indicated.

"Lily! Lil, are you there?"

"Flick! Is that you?"

"Yeah, it's me. You okay?"

"Sure I'm fine. Some imbecile has just interrogated me using the most potent form of Truth Potion known to man. I'm in top form. Are you by yourself?"

"No, Sirius, Remus and James are with me."

"What did you bring those jokers for? No, actually I don't want to know. Guys!"

"What's up Lil?" Remus asked.

"I swear, if you do anything stupid, I'm never going to let you forget it. But thanks for coming."

"Our pleasure. Okay, we're trying to formulate a plan."

"You're useless at plans." Lily groaned. "And none of you are any good at charms, or we could get a door in the wall."

"Hey, that was insulting. James could do it. And that was actually a good idea!"

Before they knew it, Lily's plan was implemented, and she joined them in Halfreda's cell. After an emotional reunion, she sobered up.

"Okay, I'm grateful that you rescued me and everything, but couldn't you have done it just a tiny bit earlier? He knows just about everything he wants to now, and believe me, coughing up information that you really don't want to give, but having absolutely no power at all over what you say is not particularly pleasant."

"I'd have to agree." Halfreda concurred. "I'm Halfreda, if you hadn't guessed. We need to get you lot out of here. Palo can carry all five of you, if you squash up a bit. You'd best go back the way your rescuers came."

"But what about you?" Lily asked, suddenly concerned. "How are you going to get free?"

"I can't, my dear. You and your friends are able to use that tunnel, simply because you're all flexible enough to wriggle down the narrower bits. I am not. So I shall have to bide my time until Endommager is stopped. However long that may be, I am content to wait."

"If I have anything to do with it, it will be sooner, rather than later. And how did you get in unseen? Endommager was certain that you'd never get far enough to rescue me."

"Lily, there are some things even you don't know." James said, smiling at his girlfriend’s expression. "We have an Invisibility Cloak, and we're perfectly happy to use it."

"Well, I'm not fussy. Let's get out of this joint."

The five of them made their way back out of the castle, and it was much harder covering all of them. Lily may have been small and slight, but she took up valuable surface space. At last they were back in the fresh air.

"Pardon me for asking, but how exactly are we getting back to Hogwarts?" Lily asked.

"Palo. He's Halfreda's hippogriff. Come on."

Chapter 24 - Explanations

It was Sunday by the time they arrived back at Hogwarts. Cee, Ellie and Peter greeted them, and then informed them that Dumbledore wished to see them as soon as possible.

"Like after I get changed." Lily said, firmly. "I've been in these robes since Thursday, and there doesn't seem to be much left of them."

Flick, James, Sirius and Remus agreed with her, and so they departed to freshen up. When they arrived back, all looked much better, but Cee noticed that Lily's hair, usually tied back and out of her face, was gripped back only on the right side.

"Lil, what's wrong with your face?" she asked, curiously.

"Nothing," Lily replied, firmly in a tone that allowed for no disagreement. So all eight of them proceeded to Dumbledore's study.

"You know, before we joined forces with you, I didn't even know where Dumbledore's study was. Now I'm back again. It's your influence."

Flick laughed at Lily's attempt to lighten the mood, and Cee and Ellie joined her. The boys just looked at them, silently wondering if all the tension had got to them, and they were having hysterics.

Once in Dumbledore's study, Lily began her story.

"I'm assuming that Cee, Peter and Ellie have told you all that they know, so I'm only going back to Thursday evening?" she questioned. Dumbledore nodded. "Right. I wanted to get the Dark Arts homework done, but I needed my notes to complete it, and I'd left them in the classroom. On the way to get them, I bumped into Remus on the way. Anyway, I got to the room, and I was just about to leave, when this dark presence stepped in front of me. I was about to scream, but I don't remember anything else. I think he stunned me. And I think I dropped my notes as well."

"You did - we found them." Cee informed her.

"Actually, James found them. You and Ellie were still asleep. Carry on, Lil." Flick chimed in.

"Next thing I knew, I was in this dingy little cell, and Endommager was with me. And I was thinking that now might be a good time to escape, only he assured me that I wouldn't, and he wanted me to tell him all about James and Sirius, but I suppose I insulted him, because I remember coming round again, and he was there, and he kept telling me that none of you cared, and that I'd never get out. I think he was trying to intimidate me, but it didn't work, it just made me mad. Well, I remember he tried using the Cruciatus Curse. And let me tell you that one hurt. So I told him he could take a hike if he thought I was going to tell him anything using that tactic. Then he tried the Imperius Curse, but it didn't exactly work the way he planned. I think that he realised that there was no way I was going to tell him anything voluntarily, so he force fed me Veritaserum. That potion is not one to be taken lightly. I think he knows pretty much everything I know now - including details of my personal life, which was quite embarrassing. And he knows where you all live, and the password to the Gryffindor tower; he even knows Cee's middle name is Marie. Well, then you guys came along, and you know the rest. So I'm here, he's there, and if I'm not mistaken, he plans an ambush. But not of Hogwarts. I think he's going to torture Mr and Mrs Potter, and trust me his idea of torture isn't particularly pleasant. So I suggest you get an owl to them ASAP, so that they can catch him when he comes. Then he'll go to Azkaban, and we can all go back to living a normal life."

Having heard Lily's story, Dumbledore dismissed the mischief-makers, and settled down to think. In recent years not much had been done about Endommager - Voldemort was a more visible problem, and consequently time and resources had been devoted on stopping him. However, Endommager had attacked a schoolgirl, which meant that he was out of control, and from what Lily had said, rather insane. Dumbledore began to plot.

That evening, Flick, Sirius, Remus, Ellie, Peter and Cee left James and Lily to their own devices. Instinctively they realised that the two of them would want to talk.

In the owlery, meanwhile, Lily was acting rather strangely.

"Lily, what exactly is up with you?" James said, at last.

"Nothing," she said, keeping her head down. He tilted her head back, and gasped at what he saw. The whole of the left side of her face was one huge purple bruise, and her eye had swollen shut.

"Lil, honey, that isn't nothing. Have you been to Madam Flooey?"

"No, and I don't want to. Besides, it doesn't hurt that much."

"Liar."

"Okay, so I'm a liar. It hurts like crazy. But that's not why I wanted to talk to you, so forget about it."

"But-" she covered his mouth with her hand.

"I wanted to say I'm sorry, okay. I never meant to let things go this far. If I'd been a little bit more careful, none of this would have happened. Your parents wouldn't be in danger, and I wouldn't feel like I've betrayed everyone." Gently, James pried her hand free.

"Lily, listen to me. It wasn't your fault. There was nothing you could do. It must have taken an awful amount of will to withstand the curses, and Veritaserum is failsafe. There was no way you could conceal anything. Ask Flick, or Sirius, or Remus, or Cee, or Ellie or Peter, we all agree. And you've told us everything, so we're all prepared. Mum and Dad are tough, he'll never get anywhere with either of them. Before you know it he'll be locked up for life. Stop giving yourself a hard time."

"I'm sorry."

"And stop apologising!"

"So-Okay."

"Right, now lets see Madam Flooey. Something tells me that you need a little bit more than TLC at the moment."

"I don't know, it could work."

"I don't think it would have the same effect."

"True. Come on then."

Two weeks later, James received a letter. After reading it, he showed it to Lily.

Dear James,

Next time someone kidnaps your girlfriend I suggest you tell Dumbledore, rather than joining the rescue team. However, that's completely beside the point. Your father and I got your letter about Endommager, and so we have been on our guard. He came two nights ago, after we'd had a message from an enchanted owl. Anyway, the owl told us to expect him, so a team of Hit wizards were in the house. I suspect that you'll be pleased to know that he's now under lock and key, and is not likely to escape. Your father says he'll get life in Azkaban for what he's done.

We'd like you to thank Lily for all that she did. From what the Ministry have heard from Endommager, she was a very difficult case to crack, and if it wasn't for her warning, no one would have taken us seriously when we requested Hit wizards, even if your father is important to the Ministry.

Look after yourself, and for goodness sake, try to keep out of mischief for more than two days in a row. Remember that you're a prefect. Give our love to Lily, and our regards to Sirius.

Love

Mum

And so it was all over. Later Lily got a letter from Halfreda Dubrillsiod telling her how she was now free, and was grateful to Lily and her friends for their contribution to the capture of Endommager. But there was no time to celebrate. Exams were on the way, and studying was the order of the day.

Chapter 25 - The End Of Term

Exams were in full swing, and Lily had never seen anyone so carefree as Sirius on the subject.

"Do you ever study?" she asked him, just before their Charms exam.

"Well, yeah...I read up on Endommager when you got that letter, and I know all sorts of things about magical mischief making."

"I didn't mean that, and you know it!"

"Sure I study. Just not very hard, and not for too long. Besides, James is just as bad."

"I can't argue with you on that. It never ceases to amaze me that you both pass with flying colours. I haven't seen James touch a study book at all.

"We couldn't get them, even if we wanted to - you, Flick, Cee and Ellie have got all of the Charms books, and I haven't seen any of you leave them alone for more than ten minutes."

"Touché. Must go - Flick's finished with Medical Charms, which means that I can read it."

Sirius sighed. But Lily's studying paid off. When the results came out, she was third in the year, with only James and Sirius above her.

"That is so unfair." She glowered at James, who smirked at her. "As far as I can tell you and Sirius did absolutely nothing, and you still did better than me."

"We went in for real life training, Lily, it's more fun, and much easier to absorb."

"Yeah, well, next year, you can take me training with you. Then perhaps I'll be able to experience this new form of study, and do even better."

"Um, I don't think so."

"Scared I'll do better than you?"

"No. But I don't think Sirius' idea of studying would quite coincide with yours."

"Do you know something? I think you're right."

All eight of the mischief-makers passed the end of year exams, even Peter, thanks to tuition from the other seven. Flick, Ellie and Cee did particularly well, so perhaps all their studying paid off. Whatever the reason, all eight of them were particularly pleased with themselves at the end of term feast.

They sat down at the Gryffindor table, and looked to Dumbledore for his end of term speech. Gryffindor had won both the Quidditch Cup and the Inter House Championship, so the hall was decorated with Gryffindor's scarlet and gold colours.

"About time too!" Lily muttered to Flick. "We won in the first year, but last year it was the Slytherins, and the year before the Hufflepuffs. The Slytherins got it in our third year, and Ravenclaw the second. But we've got to get it next year. They way we can leave with a bang."

The feast was full of merriment, and Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs couldn't resist the opportunity of playing one more joke on Snape. When their nemesis' hair started sprouting chips they were hard pushed to keep from laughing.

"I always did say you could fry food in his hair." Sirius muttered to James, who choked on his roast lamb. Lily thumped him on the back, and then murmured at him.

"I thought your mum told you to stay out of trouble."

"They won't know it was me."

"We all did."

"Lily, you were there when we planned it!" Sirius whispered.

"I told you not to do it then. As if he didn't hate you enough!"

"Well, you can't be universally loved."

"Never mind Sirius, we'll put an add on the Lonely Hearts Club page of the Daily Prophet." Felicity said loudly. Cee, Ellie and Lily burst into gales of laughter.

"Did you see his face?"

"What I wouldn't give for a camera!"

"Go Flick!" Sirius grinned at Felicity, and then spoke.

"Flick darling, why would I need the Daily Prophet when I have you."

"Wishful thinking, honey. Not going to happen."

"Yeah. If you two ever get together, I'm getting a one way ticket out of here." Cee joked.

"I'll go with you." Remus concurred. "Flick and Padfoot together. On second thoughts, it could be quite amusing. They should have learnt something from observing Lily and James-" Lily attacked him then.

"Not a good idea to say that when one of us is sitting next to you, Remus dear."

"Something tells me you and Flick spend far too much time together."

The meal was passed in lighthearted chat. While they planned to get together over the summer holidays, they would not be able to arrange for all eight of them to see each other at any one time.

The next day, they adopted a compartment on the Hogwarts Express. If it was a bit of a squash, they didn't seem to mind. After a rowdy game of exploding snap, they sat back to enjoy a good lunch.

"You'll get to see Jon's baby, won't you Cee. How does it feel, being an auntie...oh, and what have they decided to call her?" Flick asked, curiously.

"Being an auntie doesn't feel much different to being a sister-in-law which didn't seem to be much different from being a sister. And they're going to call her Violet. And don't laugh!"

"Why Violet?" Lily asked, stifling her giggles. "It's almost as bad as Lily."

"Lily's a pretty name. As for Violet, they didn't say, and I really don't want to know!"

"Mags' baby's due at the end of August. We can compare horror stories. What about you Lily? Isn't Petunia getting married?"

"So my mother informed me, last time she wrote. And I've got to be a bridesmaid!"

"What's wrong with that?" Peter asked, inquisitively. "My mother says all girls love weddings."

"I like weddings just fine. I'm just not so sure about Petunia's fashion taste. I have this really bad feeling that I'm going to look awful. She's only having me because she has to, as I'm her sister. She'll probably have lot's of pretty pink. Yuk!"

The conversation couldn't continue, as they reached platform nine and three-quarters. So they all piled off, and said their last good-byes.

"Write to me." James said to Lily.

"Try and stop me. And you'd better reply. And you should send the first letter too - I don't have an owl, and how else are you supposed to get a letter?"

"Okay." James kissed her, and then she had to hurry away. Her father was waiting for her on Platform Nine.

Chapter 26 - Petunia's Wedding

True to his word, James wrote a letter to Lily, and she received it in the first week of the holiday. But at the beginning of August, Lily sent James a letter that startled him.

‘Dear James,

This is going to sound really stupid, but how else am I supposed to ask you. Mum's told all of her friends about you, and they're expecting to see you at the wedding. You see, everyone can take a partner or guest. As my mum's friends are Muggles, they have absolutely no idea about magic, and they think I go to boarding school in Scotland, which isn't strictly speaking a lie, because Hogwarts is in Scotland, and it is a boarding school.

I suppose this letter is really an invitation, and a plea. Please please please please please come to Petunia's wedding. I hate having to do this to you, but you'll either find it completely boring, or amusingly quaint. I'm hoping it will be the latter. Obviously you can't come in wizard robes, and I doubt you've got a formal suit in amongst your Muggle clothes, so if you agree (and you will agree, won't you?) then I suggest you come shopping with me to London. Reply as soon as you get this.

Love you (but only if you agree)

Lily

P.S. I was only joking about not loving you if you don't agree. Lily.

James replied that he could manage a wedding, and would meet her on the Muggle side of Diagon Alley on the 18th of August.

"James?"

"I'm over here."

"Why are you skulking in the shadows? Come on. We'll go to Harrods, I think you'll be okay there. Oh, and don't make any remarks that mention anything magical, or the shop assistant will think you've gone mad."

"Okay."

They spent the whole morning shopping, in spite of James' moaning.

"Lily, you know I hate shopping."

"James, my sister will kill me if I turn up at her wedding with someone who looks like they got off at the wrong stop. If you'd stop whining we'd be finished much faster."

"But I don't want to outshine the groom."

"You've got the biggest ego! Anyway, if you turned up wearing a black sack you'd look better than Vernon Dursley, even if it is a little unconventional." Lily noticed the glint in his eyes that usually meant trouble. "And don't go getting any ideas or I'll never speak to you again!"

When they eventually left London, James had a morning suit, complete with waistcoat, shirt and cravat. Lily looked at him dubiously.

"Look, you'd better stay with us the night before the wedding, otherwise you'll be late, and I'm prepared to bet you'll need help putting that stuff on."

"Won't you be busy getting turned into a bridesmaid?"

"They'll do Petunia first. So, be at my house at 7:00 on the 20th August. The wedding's at one o'clock on the twenty first." She kissed him, and they parted ways, he to catch the Knight Bus, and she to the London Underground.

On the morning of the wedding, James was up and dressed before Lily. He met her, looking rather dopey, at the breakfast table, at eight o'clock that morning.

"Morning Lil'! Sleep well?"

"I would have if you didn't talk in your sleep."

"I do not talk in my sleep."

"Well, you talk in mine. And just for the record, I don't want a wedding like this."

"A wedding like...hold on Lily, who said anything about getting married."

"Well, as far as I'm aware, Vernon mentioned it to Petunia."

"I meant us."

"No one. I just said I didn't want a wedding like this. I never said anything about you."

"Are you always this crazy in the mornings?"

"You should know. I have breakfast with you most mornings of the year."

"You've been up for hours at Hogwarts. Go and have a bath or something, but for goodness’ sake wake up!"

"I'm going, I'm going. Oh, and James!"

"What?"

"Your cravat's on crooked!"

"Thanks."

When Lily emerged, some time later, she looked significantly more awake. And she was wearing her dress, rather than her pyjamas.

"Can you do the buttons up for me?" she asked, with a pleading look. "Petunia's having hysterics, and mum's trying to calm her down, and Daddy's in the study, practising his speech, and the hairdresser will be starting on me soon!"

"Don't fret Lily, I'll sort your dress out. Are all weddings this hectic?"

"I don't know. This is the first one I've been to."

"Marvellous. There you are. You look lovely."

"Flattery will get you everywhere. Love you." And she disappeared once more.

By half past twelve, everyone was ready. Lily, her mother, and James were going in one car to the church, and Petunia and her father would arrive in another one, slightly later.

When James said that Lily looked lovely, he wasn't lying. Her fears of pretty pink were not realised, and the soft green silk emphasised her slight figure, and rich colouring. The red hair was loose at the back, while there was an elegant braid circling her crown, studded with tiny flowers.

James himself looked rather more dashing than usual. The suit was a change from the robes Lily was used to, and it emphasised his height. Even his unruly black hair did not look out of place, and the spectacles he was forced to wear made him look intelligent.

The wedding went well, and then they all went off to the reception.

"Was it okay?" Lily asked James, anxiously.

"Perfect. Although if I outshone the groom then you were ten times as beautiful as the bride."

"That's my sister you're talking about. Besides which you're biased. Come on, we've got to circulate."

James had to laugh at some of Lily's Muggle acquaintances.

"You look lovely Lily dear. Who's your friend?"

"This is James Potter, Auntie Maureen. He goes to my school."

"Ah, you're Lily's young man. Will we be hearing your wedding bells soon?"

"Not too soon. For one thing we're still at school. For another, I'm not sure that's what we want." As soon as they left Lily's aunt, Lily stood on tiptoes, and whispered into his ear.

"You want to get married James love, I heard you propose in your sleep." and she giggled.

"Lily? How much champagne have you drunk?"

"None. And I resent that slight on my sanity." She hit him in mock anger, and soon the two of them were in fits of laughter.

"Come on James, let's dance."

"Muggle dancing?"

"It's the same as wizard dancing, you fool, and I know you can do that, Flick told me."

So the two of them glided around the room, oblivious to the events around them. Lily's Auntie Maureen turned to her mother.

"Those two will be a match, if I'm not mistaken, Evie. And something tells me they were made for each other."

THE END

DISCLAIMER – All of the characters and situations in this story are based on the ‘Harry Potter’ novels by J. K. Rowling.

Continued in All in the Name of Love...

//
Write a review! PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of reviewing a story or piece of art at the Sugar Quill is to provide comments that will be useful to the author/artist. We encourage you to put a bit of thought into your review before posting. Please be thoughtful and considerate, even if you have legitimate criticism of a story or artwork. (You may click here to read other reviews of this work).
* = Required fields
*Sugar Quill Forums username:
*Sugar Quill Forums password:
If you do not have a Sugar Quill Forums username, please register. Bear in mind that it may take up to 72 hours for your account to be approved. Thank you for your patience!
*Comment:
The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For questions, please send us an Owl!

-- Powered by SQ3 : Coded by David : Design by James --