Chapter 56 - The Order
A big problem. That's what Professor Dumbledore had told Lily they might have on their hands after the pent up magic from Lily's parents' funeral had yet to release itself. However, a month later, Lily was still holding her breath nearly every time she raised her wand. And yet nothing odd had happened. In fact, she felt that her magic had never been more on target. The problems she had faced during the beginning of the year were far from her mind as spells came to her with the ease of being a pre O.W.L.S. student. If her professors had noticed a difference, they weren't saying. And even though it seemed inevitable that the other shoe would drop, Lily was finding that she enjoyed not having to stress over spell work so often.
Even though spell work was coming easily, the handwritten part of her work wasn't. The essays seem to go on forever and all sixth year students thought they'd scream if they spent another Saturday afternoon pent up in the library trying to catch up on work, just to have it loaded back on again come Monday morning. It was a vicious circle that Lily would have loved to put an end to. But there was no slipping for even just a moment, or she might be buried under the load of work and never again see the light of day.
The load of work was consuming, but even more so for James and Sirius, who also had to throw quidditch practice into the mix somewhere. And since the upcoming match against Hufflepuff was drawing closer, James was opting to spend more time on the pitch than doing homework. Lily vaguely wondered how he was even finishing all the work when at least four times a week he was on the pitch until dark. Lily closed her History of Magic book with a sigh of relief and rolled up the parchment she had been working on. Her stomach growled loud enough that the dark- haired girl sitting across the table looked up at the clock. "Is it dinner time?"
"I think we might have missed it," Lily said sourly. She hadn't noticed the six o'clock dinner hour come and go. But it had. In fact, it was nearly eight o'clock. Her stomach growled again. "I guess we could nick some food from the kitchen."
"That sounded a lot like James Potter sitting over there talking," Remus said. He stepped off the bottom step of the staircase and stepped closer to the table Lily, Kassie and Gabrielle were sitting at. "He's not rubbing off on you, is he?"
Lily smiled sweetly. "No. I can get into trouble on my own, thank you very much. He is usually just the one who comes up with the plan, or takes the fall for it. Who would think innocent Lily would do anything like hex Davey?"
"I knew you did that! It looked like your charm work," Kassie said proudly.
Lily set her book bag on the table and started to fill it. "He shouldn't have called Peter those foul names."
"And Peter should have known better than to try the engorging spell in the hall," Remus added in a matter-of-fact tone. "Though I did offer to reverse the effects. I wasn't sure he would have been able to carry his thumb up to the infirmary at the rate it was growing. And then to have his tongue tied, literally. Lily, that made me proud, it really did."
Lily beamed and swung her bag over her shoulder. "Is James still at the pitch?"
" 'Fraid so. He's working the team into the ground. I'm sure it's because Hufflepuff's seeker is literally the best they've had for years." Kassie yawned. "If Sirius tells me that one more time, I'm going to charm his bat to beat him over the head. I'll be glad when this match is over. I think we need a Hogsmead weekend. I'd love to get out of here for a bit. All this homework is draining the life out of me."
"Draining? I'm already there and it's only March. Still, I'd rather be here cramming night and day than be at home." Lily pulled a face at the thought of going home this summer. She had half a mind not to go. But where she would stay was even beyond her. While dating James, she was fairly sure that Olivia Potter might have some misgivings about her staying at Potter Manor. Kassie was staying with Sirius, so that was out of the question. And while she didn't fancy the idea of spending what precious money she had to get through school to get her own place, it was sounding more and more like the only option she had. She could get a job, she supposed...
"Food? Lily? Are you there?" Kassie waved her hand in front of Lily a few more times for good measure. "I'm going to fade away into nothing while you day dream about James!"
"I am not day dreaming about James, thank you," Lily said, coming out of her thoughts. "Let me go throw my bag down and we'll go."
"Here, take mine, too," Kassie said, throwing her book bag at Lily. Lily nearly fell over with the effort and struggled to get herself and the two heavy bags up the stairs. She put them down on Kassie's bed and glanced out the window. Even from here she could hear a shrill whistle blowing as the Gryffindor team practiced on, even though dusk was settling over the grounds. There was something sad about watching the small figures dodging in the shadowy light. Something that made Lily want to run out there, demand James come in and spend some time with her that didn't involve school work or quidditch strategy. Heaving a sigh, Lily shook her head. She turned to leave the room when a small piece of folded parchment on her bed caught her attention. Stupidly she looked around, even though she knew she was alone. "Was that there before?" she wondered aloud.
Silence greeted her. Slowly she picked up the parchment. Her name was written in clear, looping handwriting on the outside. Sitting down, she turned it over. The back had an old fashioned candle wax seal with small words written under it. "Tap wand here. If you are not the addressee, this parchment will self ignite." Lily gave it a quizzing look and turned it over one more time just to be sure it indeed was her name wrote on the front. The same neat writing stared back at her, and clearly said Lily Evans. Shrugging, she pulled her wand out and touched it to the wax seal. At once the seal broke and Lily was free to unfold the parchment and read the contents.
I wish to discuss something of grave importance with you.
Please come to my office at midnight. You'll find Sour Sadies
will tickle your taste buds.
Professor Albus Dumbledore
Lily re-read the letter once more before suddenly it burst into a blue flame and within less than two seconds was gone. "Well!" she said in surprise, jumping off the bed. Curiously she looked around. It appeared she was the only one with the strange invitation on her bed.
"LILY! Did you get lost?!"
Realizing that she had been gone far longer than it would take to drop two bags off, Lily rushed out of the room, the letter still on her mind. But since no one else seemed to have received the same invitation, it seemed perhaps an unspoken rule to not mention it to her friends. When Lily stepped off the bottom step and into the common room she found Kassie standing by the door, her arms crossed and tapping her foot lightly. "It's about bloody time. Someone could waste away waiting for you!"
"Sorry," Lily muttered, giving no explanation. Kassie gave her a sideways glance, but said nothing.
Lily watched the clock beside her bed tick ever closer to midnight. The room was full of sounds of deep sleep and soft snores, but Lily laid awake, her mind racing. She, of course, was going to go to the meeting. But for Dumbledore to ask her to come at midnight? What if she was caught out of bed and roaming the castle at such hours? Not to mention detention, there was no telling how many points she could loose Gryffindor. It could loose them the house cup at the very least. The clock ticked one minute closer. It was now or never. Swallowing nervously, Lily quietly got out of her bed, slipped her house shoes on and crept out of the room.
Every creak in the common room seemed overly exaggerated as she made her way towards the portrait hole. It almost seemed someone was behind her, but Lily turned and looked over her shoulder several times without finding anyone there. She stopped to take a deep breath and pushed the portrait hole open just as someone grabbed her from behind.
A short lived, shrill scream erupted from Lily's throat and her fist flew threw the air to come in contact with... nothing? But something had definitely grabbed her hand. Lily blinked, her heart racing and her breathing coming in short gasps. Then as her tangled mind connected what she was seeing, the face of James Potter appeared, floating in mid air. "J-James?"
"You scare easily!" James accused, obviously trying not to laugh.
"In this day and time, with Voldemort and what not, you accuse me to scaring too easily?!" Lily huffed, trying to get her wits about her. "I could have cursed you!"
"Could have," James agreed, "but didn't. Where you off to?"
"I-eh, where are you going?" Lily shot back nervously.
James gave her a lopsided grin that made her heart flutter. "Same place you are, I imagine. Come on, get under here so you don't get caught."
Lily looked around nervously, but it appeared they were alone in the common room. Happy to see James, as always, but even more so with his invisibility cloak, Lily obliged and crouched under the fabric. "This is a tight fit," she noted, trying to bend her knees as they walked.
"Well, we are a bit taller than the last time. But that's okay, at least it's an excuse to be closer together."
Lily rolled her eyes playfully, but the sight of Peeves the Poltergeist hanging upside down from a near-by flag pole made them both stop short. He seemed not to notice them as he wrote obscene words on the stone wall with what appeared to be chalk. James and Lily stood very still for a minute, but when they still went by un-noticed, decided they could probably make it past without getting caught. Still, Lily found herself holding her breath until they past by and entered the next corridor. The rest of the journey went by without problem, unless you count the fact that James had stood on her toe twice and both times had brought tears of pain to her eyes. When at last the stone gargoyle that served as the door keeper for Professor Dumbledore's office came into view, Lily felt hot from sweat and ever glad to be rid of the invisibility cloak.
"Sour sadies," James said clearly. Like breath had been breathed into the stone statue at those words, the gargoyle jumped aside and allowed them passage to the stairway beyond. Lily found herself once more focusing on what the meeting could possibly be about now that the threat of being caught was gone. If James was curious, he didn't show it. Lily contributed some of that to his skill at handling pre-game jitters at quidditch. Either that, or he wasn't in any way wondering what was going on. Perhaps he was used to getting late night invitations from the Headmaster.
"Come in, come in," Professor Dumbledore said cheerfully as the large wooden door swung open. The room was full of tables and shelves of different objects that Lily wasn't sure of their use. Some whistled or sang as they passed, others just spun on their own or sat perfectly still. The instruments didn't seem out of place here, though. It was as if they were perfectly at home; their meaning only known by their owner. "I'm glad you could make it."
Lily noticed as she turned away from the silver objects that had at first caught her attention, that James and herself weren't the only persons invited to this meeting. There were several other students, most, she noticed, in their seventh and final year at Hogwarts. In fact, there was only four other six years besides herself and James: Sirius, Peter, Remus and Rachel Bones, a Hufflepuff that Lily only knew vaguely. The other students watched as they sat down at the table that was situated in the middle of the room.
Professor Dumbledore seemed to take a mental check to see if everyone he invited had turned up. Apparently satisfied at the group, he clapped his hands together and took place at the head of the table. "I'm sure that you are wondering why you have been invited here at such a, well, odd time of the day. But before we begin, I need to pass around this parchment for each of you to sign. It is an understanding of privacy, so we say. This meeting is not to be discussed outside these walls where others may hear. It is vital," here his eyes shown around the room, stressing the importance of the words, "that no one found out why you are here tonight. This parchment will merely place a charm into effect so that if you repeat what you have heard to anyone, the memories will be completely wiped from your mind." He smiled, not cheerfully, but more with satisfaction. Lily noticed several people at the table glance around, but no one spoke. "If you should choose not to sign, please leave."
The sound of her own breath seemed unreasonably loud to Lily. But no one moved. Making sure that his words were understood, Professor Dumbledore indicated the quill he was trying to hand to Peter and looking slightly nervous, Peter scrawled his name to the parchment and passed it to Remus. One by one each person at the table signed their name to the parchment, no one speaking in the meantime. Finally it came back to Dumbledore. He rolled it up and looked once more around the room over his square glasses. "Now, as I said, it is vital that no one else comes into this information. Because what we are about to discuss is the security of the wizarding world.
"As all of you are surely aware, Voldemort is gaining power by the day. And as more and more join his ranks - either by force or voluntarily - it is becoming more and more obvious that something has to be done and that the Ministry of Magic is loosing hold on the situation. I will not beat around the bush; it is getting bad. So bad that the Daily Prophet has barely touched the tip of the iceberg."
He paused, allowing the information to sink in. Lily felt her heart beating furiously. "I have asked those who are in the room to come to this meeting tonight to ask you to join an organisation that is planning, as we speak, to take matters into their own hands. We have set up informants, spies, aurors and capable witches and wizards to help in the war against Voldemort. To stop him, we hope. And gain back the peace that left our world many years ago now. I ask you to stand up and fight, to choose a road that may, in the end, take your life. But one that hopefully will end in victory. We must stand together, in this time, and unite our powers, or life as we know it may end completely. Each one of you in the room has my utmost confidence in your powers and beliefs that you can be an asset to our cause."
"Excuse me." A voice drifted through the space and everyone at the table seemed to turn simultaneously to the speaker. The seventh year speaking was only vaguely known to Lily. She seemed slightly nervous about interrupting, but determined none the less. "Is this something the Ministry is doing?"
"This is without Ministry knowledge." Those five words was spoken with a grave under meaning and silence followed. Without the Ministry's knowledge meant that more than likely it was against wizarding law. But it also had significant meaning; they could take a stand against the greatest evil known to man, be he wizard or muggle. Lily knew without a doubt in her mind that she would do whatever it took to help: and if he meant her life, so be it.
With the knowledge of what Professor Dumbledore was calling "The Order of the Phoenix", Lily felt even more determined to do her best in her school work. All the knowledge she could gather about magic, spells and witchcraft would help in the coming days. And Lily was sure that the more she knew, the better off she'd be. She wasn't the only one who thought this. After the meeting, the headmaster had assigned each of the willing students a task. Lily's seemed simple enough - find out everything possible about Lord Voldemort. She had been given a name: Tom Riddle. This was the man behind the mask. The person who posed the biggest threat to wizard kind since Grindelwald. And his name was Tom. Lily shook her head. Somehow something so trivial, something so common, seemed less threatening. No wonder he changed his name.
Lily was excited about the prospect of doing something. For so long now she had been a sideliner to the war raging against the world she loved so much. But now, at least, she was doing something. Even if that something was interfering terribly with the already overloaded year she was having.
The free periods she had this year, that was taken by classes this time last year, could have been a big help. Except that it was taking all that free time and more just to finish her already growing mound of homework. In order to find time to also search for something - anything - about Voldemort, meant less time with James and she rarely saw him as it was.
This was on the mind of more than one person. James was now trying to juggle another task on top of the others he already had: he was supposed to use the network of the many people he knew from different houses to see if he could somehow feel out where they stood among things. As Dumbledore had said "The world isn't made up of good and bad; Death Eaters and Aurors." So James wasn't recruiting, per say, he was "getting a feel" of his fellow school mates and where their views lay. But on this particular early spring day, James Potter had only one thing on his mind.
Lily looked up from the parchment she was pouring over, trying to make sure the essay she had spent most of the night on was going to earn her nothing less than a perfect grade. The sunlight behind James was washing over him, and blinding Lily so that she couldn't see his face. "Where?" she asked, squinting.
"Come on. Let's get out of here."
"I have to finish this and start on Professor McClure's essay on the twelve uses of dragon's blood," Lily said with a huge sigh. She swept her wand across the parchment and assured the ink was dry, carefully rolled it up. "I'm sorry, James. Can I take a rain check?"
The sunlight now poured freely on the table as James threw himself roughly in the chair across from Lily. He leaned forward. "A what?"
Lily smiled, tilting her head and staring at James for a moment. "It's just a muggle saying. It means can we do it another day, or later."
"Oh." James studied Lily for a moment. "Ok, it's later. Come on." There was an undertone in James' voice that said she wasn't backing out of this, no matter how long or hard she tried. Momentarily Lily allowed the consuming thought of just how much work she had to do engulf her, but James grabbed her hand and caused her to stop. "It'll all be there later. But the sun won't. It's a beautiful spring day; let's go enjoy it for a little bit."
Lily allowed herself to be pulled from the chair and led out of the Gryffindor common room, down all the stairs that would take them to the outside and into the bright sunlight that Lily had only noticed lately as it streamed in the windows throughout the castle. The air was reasonably warm, considering that it was only early spring, and the wind was light as it lifted her hair off her shoulders. She took a deep breath; the air was considerably fresher outside and her lungs seemed to enjoy not having to sort through the dust and stale inside air she was accustomed to as of late. Feeling much better about the fact that James had taken her away from the homework she really needed to be working on, Lily felt herself relaxing. As they sat under a tree next to the lake, there was only one argument that seemed to come up. Thirty minutes into it, it seemed neither one of them was going to back down.
"Hmmm, me more."
"Look who's talking."
Lily drummed her nails against the back of James' hand in a slightly off-hand rhythm and sighed deeply. The sunset was perfect; the clouds eased over the horizon in sync and the purple and pink hues cast a magic scene that Lily was sure not even the best wizard or witch could duplicate. The wind danced around, causing Lily to shiver slightly. The warm day had been a treat, but the night was bringing a chill with it that reminded them that winter still had one or two tricks up it's sleeve. Small goose-bumps sprung to Lily's arms and she rubbed the hair on her arms back down.
"Are you cold?"
"Want to go in?"
"This coming from Miss I-have-too-much-homework-to-go-outside?" James smiled quirkily and pulled Lily closer to him. They had a magnificent view of the sunset's picture on the lake and with Lily lying against him, her head nestled in the crook of his neck, life was perfect. Or as near as it could possibly get. It was entirely too bad that every day couldn't be like this one; the worries and pains that everyday life had thrown at them kept at bay by the gentle movement of the lake and the slow easing of the clouds across the sky. James felt quite poetic at the moment, but something was still burning at the back of his mind. "Lily?"
"I love you more."
Lily huffed. Just when she thought James would give up the petty argument that had been going back and forth with, he would spring it on her again. Not that she minded, it was arguments like this that made her face feel warm in the chilly night - made her feel like all was right in the world. But that didn't stop her from replying. "Whatever makes you sleep better at night."
"It does, as a matter of fact," James chuckled. "Come on, I'm hungry, let's go bug the house elves."
As they walked back to the castle, hand in hand, Lily had the feeling that she wanted to run back out to the lake, sit down again and demand the sun return to the sky. She didn't want this day to end; she feared another one wouldn't come along for a while. When she re-entered the castle walls it was back to homework, spell work and searching, endlessly, for any clue to Voldemort's past.
Even as they went to the kitchen, grabbed some food from the house elves and then headed back to the Gryffindor common room to eat, Lily couldn't get rid of the feeling of dread. Trying to dismiss it as paranoia because she had spent so much time reading about the rise of the dark arts, the redhead settled back in the arm chair and bit into an apple.
"Hand that magazine to me, would you?" James asked with a mouth full of biscuit.
Lily made a face, pointed her wand towards the magazine on the other end of the table and promptly screamed, bolting for the floor just as the entire table came up and flew across the room. "Watch out!"
There was a resounding crash as the wooden table burst into a million splinters upon impact with the stone wall. Several doors up the stairs could be heard opening and voices calling out. Lily felt bewilderment and fear clutch at her chest, making it slightly hard to get enough air so she could think about what just happened. She hadn't felt different, hadn't even put much effort into the command. Why would this be happening now? Even though Dumbledore had warned... "James?" Lily looked around frantically for a second as the sound of footsteps on the stairs grew closer.
"Mmm, I'm okay," a voice muttered from the back of the couch. Lily didn't want to think about how James ended up back there. Or what had just happened. But that, like most things, wasn't an option.
The footsteps grew ever louder and the first to reach the common room was Sirius. Wand at the ready, he ran over to James. "What the bloody hell was that?!" he said, looking around at the broken table, Lily, and then James as if doing so would answer the question in a reasonable fashion.
"If I had to guess," answered James, rubbing his arm, "Lily's summoning spell was a bit... strong, shall we say?"
"Strong?" Broderick Acton, a third year, asked sarcastically. "You sure you weren't trying to kill him?"
"No I wasn't trying to kill him," Lily said sourly as the room filled up with Gryffindors of all years. "There's nothing to see here. Go on back to bed!" Her voice was high pitched, nearing on hysteria in her opinion. She swallowed, running her hand through her hair. "It was an accident, no need for further investigation. So off with you."
Slowly the room emptied, small talk cutting through the room and getting louder. Lily felt a headache coming on. "Repairo," she muttered at the table. The pieces jumped back together as if nothing happened at all. Lily sighed. Life just couldn't be boring and predictable for one minute, could it? "James, I think I'm going to bed."
James was still rubbing his arm dumbly and staring at the now whole table. He blinked stupidly and took a few steps over to Lily. Slowly he put his hand on her cheek. "You ok?" he asked softly. Lily's eyes were welled up like tears were threatening to consume her. He recalled, a month or so back, that Dumbledore warned this may happen. It was nothing unexpected... except why did stuff like this have to keep happening to Lily? Couldn't it go bother someone else? She'd had enough.
"Sure. Dumbledore said something about my magic might go a little haywire." Lily shrugged as if she didn't care in the least. James knew better. "I guess this is what he was talking about?" Her voice sounded hesitant.
"Dumbledore was a lot more concerned than you're letting on, wasn't he?" Sirius asked in a matter of fact tone. James felt the intense need to knock his best friend upside the head. He settled for not so discreetly stepping on his foot. "Maybe you should go see him?" Sirius added just as James put all his weight on the foot he was trying to crush Sirius' with. His best friend let out a whelp like a wounded dog and glared at him.
"What? Before I blow someone up?" Lily bit out, a little hurt at what Sirius might be implying. "I'll just have to concentrate more, that's all. I'm off to bed." With her worst fears out in the open like that, Lily wanted nothing more than to run and hide. Without another word Lily climbed the stairs and slammed the door to her room behind her.
James finally gave in to his first impulse and slapped Sirius upside the head. "Good going prat."
"James, you can't say that you don't think this is a bit alarming? After all, Lily isn't exactly known for having too little magic. Between that and her visions the girl is practically a walking time bomb."
Sirius' best friend stared at the staircase Lily had just disappeared up. "She hasn't had any visions for a while now, I'll have you know. And she was enjoying living without them. And now this... can't anything in her life be easy?"
"Mate, is anything easy in this day and age? Kassie?"
"Huh?" the black haired witch said innocently from behind Sirius, unaware that he knew she was standing there.
"You should talk to her."
"Because there are some things a best friend can say that other people can't get away with," Sirius stated as if he knew this better than anyone else. "I just wanted to be sure she doesn't hurt someone. Or herself," Sirius muttered, looking at the large scratch on the wall where the table had made impact.
James opened his mouth to say something, realized that he really had nothing helpful to input and snapped it shut again. Kassie sighed, resigned to her fate, and took off towards the staircase with the speed of a race of turtles.
If there was anything that was bugging Lily more about her new found power it was that Dumbledore had explained to her that she may have a lack of it since the scene at the funeral, not a build up of it. Splashing cold water on her face, she went back to her room and climbed in bed, being sure to shut the curtains so Kassie didn't come to have one of those best friend pep talks with her. The last thing she wanted to hear at the moment was that everything was going to be ok, this was just a phase and - her favourite - we'll all get through this together. More than feeling a little sarcastic at the moment, Lily wasn't in the mood to deal with good will and nice thoughts. She wanted to scream, plain and simple. And since this wasn't an option - at least not without causing more of a ruckus - she slipped under the covers of her bed and decided to sleep on it. All these thoughts also stopped her from writing in her diary, as even the spirit who dwelled there would be full of false cheer and Lily didn't want to hear it.
Laying down, Lily stared at the top canopy on her bed for several hours after the other girls in the room had drifted off to sleep. Fitfully thinking on and off about going to James' room and talking this out with him, Lily finally fell into a light slumber. Her dreams were full of explosions and unexpected magical twists. Then visions of her parents funeral, the sadness... Petunia. She pointed her wand at Petunia, but nothing happened and her sister laughed at her, telling her that her parents' death was her fault and now she had nothing. Then it faded and she was at school. James was having a wand fight with Snape and Lily cut in and accidentally made Snape blow up. Lily awoke in a sweat to find that she had only been asleep twenty minutes.
"This is stupid," she mumbled, getting up and putting a dressing gown on. She grabbed her wand and pulled the bed hangings closed behind her. "Lumos," she whispered. Thankfully there was no explosion, just the small light at the end of her wand sparking to life. Lily let out a breath she hadn't realized she was holding and stepped softly towards the door. Ever so slowly she crept down the stone stairs and into the common room. The moon light poured through the curtains, making small shadows dance around the room. It seemed to take forever before she found herself at the bottom of the boys' staircase. She looked back across the common room, waiting almost expectedly for someone to jump out and demand to know what she was doing. But no-one did. She took a deep breath and ascended the boys' staircase. She needed to talk to James, and waiting until the morning just wasn't an option. Every small creak amplified ten times in Lily's head so that she was positive someone was just behind her. Looking around her more than once, she pushed the door open to the sixth year boys' dorm and slipped inside.
Once there Lily felt positive that everyone in the room was surely awake and knew exactly what she was doing. But as she tip toed past Peter and Sirius' bed, no one jumped out from behind the curtains or leapt from a shadow to ask her what she thought she was doing. And with only her own fears to keep her company, Lily finally managed to make it to James' bed and pulled the curtain back.
"Hey Lily," James whispered and Lily promptly screamed.
"Silencio!" James spoke the spell and threw his hand over Lily's mouth, pulling her onto his bed all at the same time. Satisfied that his spell had worked (especially since no one else in the room had come running over) he burst out laughing as Lily struggled to sit up. "A bit jumpy, are you?"
"You could say that," Lily bit out, trying to gather what little bit of dignity she might have left after this episode. She doubted it was enough to even worry with. "You could have cast the spell and then spoke," she huffed out. "You nearly scared me to death."
"Is that how it happened?" James said huskily, grabbing Lily and pulling her down next to him. "Scared you to death? We can't have that, I'm just starting to really get into this relationship."
Lily raised an eyebrow that she realized a moment later couldn't be seen by James in the darkness of his curtain surrounded bed. She fumbled for a moment for her wand and pulled it up. "Lumos."
The light flared up, causing shadows to shoot up the curtains. James blinked stupidly for a moment. "What's that for?"
"So I can see whom I'm speaking to," Lily said smartly. "I don't like talking in the dark."
A decidedly evil grin broke across James' face. "And why not?"
"Prat," Lily said, slapping him on the arm. "Anyway. I didn't come here to snog you."
"Damn it," James muttered, sitting up and looking like Lily had just told him Voldemort took all the ice cream in the world. "Eh, I mean, oh. Well, that's fine. What did you come in here for, then, my love?"
Lily giggled, feeling at ease just being this close to James. She propped a pillow up behind her, leaned back and gazed at James' face in the glow of the wand. The shadows danced behind him, growing larger and smaller as he moved so he was comfortable. Lily waited a few minutes, sighing softly. "Do you think it'll happen again?"
James didn't need to ask what. He had known Lily long enough, even as friends, to know that she was worried sick over what had happened in the common room. In fact, he was actually a bit surprised it took her as long as it did to come to him to talk about it. He bit his thumb nail - or what was there of it - while trying to decide what to say. After all, how do you say that it's a bit alarming without sounding like you think it's a bad thing? James usually could come up with the right thing to say, even though most of the time he didn't recall knowing he had. But now, with Lily gazing at him with green eyes full of worry and slight panic, he couldn't figure out what would be best to say. After all, if he was in her shoes he wouldn't want to hear small chit chat about how it would be alright, and they'd get through it together.
"Is it so bad that you can't say anything?" Lily asked after a few minutes.
"Nonsense. It's worse," James quirked, giving her a lopsided grin.
Lily giggled and James had the distinct feeling that he had made it through another moment of indecision. The tension in the air seem to deflate slightly. "It's not a terrible thing, really. You just need to learn to channel it more carefully. Always assume that it's going to be a strong burst of magic, and control it. You're strong enough, I know."
James suddenly found himself on the receiving end of Lily's lips. He gave into the sensation for a moment, then pulled back, laughing. "Thought you weren't here to snog me?"
"Are you saying you'd rather I stop?"
James shook his head violently. "Not in the least."
-End Chapter 56.
Hello everyone! (I'm assuming there is still more then five people reading this story?) This is your overly-tired author who keeps disappearing because life keeps getting in the way trying to make an update :)
So, I tried very hard not to make this a cliff hanger since God alone knows when the next update will be. Olivia just got out of the hospital yesterday due to having tests to see why she randomly projectile vomits. Nice, eh? We'll know the results in a few weeks. Anyway, the chapter would have been out a few days ago, except for the hitch that I wasn't here to get it. And my wonderful editor, Kate, is a proud new mummy of a 11 week old baby boy, so her hands are full, as well. But we're trying! Thanks so much to those of you who are sticking around with the story. The next chapter is about 1/3 finished. But that doesn't mean anything, really. Because there is no telling what all will happen between now and when I get it done.
So, let me know what you thought. If you're still around, or if you've given up. Visit the boards - we are coming up on our third anniversary for the boards and fourth anniversary of the story. Hard to think that it's taken me four years to spit out 56 chapters, eh?
Until next time; stay safe this summer. Don't over work (it sucks, trust me!) and enjoy the sun.