Title: Second Thoughts
Author E-mail: AmethystJackson@hotmail.com
Keywords: Lily James Death Eaters Hogsmeade
Spoilers: Um, well, the fifth book is spoiled by my author's note.
Summary: Destiny has a way of interfering when and where you least expect it – in this case, Valentine's Day, 1977, in the small village of Hogsmeade.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: I've never written any MWPP Era fics, mainly because they tend to bore me…but I've got a soft spot for James now that we know he wasn't the prince he was made out to be. I had an odd burst of inspiration one night and started this. So, there you have it, a Lily/James fic is born.
This is dedicated to the great and awesome Libs, because she's sympathized with my ava-making tendencies, and she's an all around groovy and pervy hobbit fancier. You'd have to be mad not to lurve her.
Volume 1000, No. 1
Week of September 28, 2003
Welcome readers, to our first article of autumn! Who knows what you can expect from our authors during this interesting time of year? Well, Amethyst said, "We're going to write the same things we always write, you twittering airhead," but Amethyst is…well, mean. So expect the unexpected now, even from Amethyst…because this week, she's done something extraordinary and new: she's written Lily/James and given it an really lame title!
It was our seventh year at Hogwarts, and a certain Head Boy who didn't deserve his title was surrounded by his usual crowd of friends and adoring fans in Hogsmeade. I was there in hopes of keeping control, should that awful Sirius start something…or worse, should James start something, in which case, I would have demanded he hand over his badge. One would have thought that Remus would have subdued them, but he was really just as bad as the others were.
No, I really didn't like the boys in my year.
It was the February Hogsmeade weekend, falling right on Valentine's Day, horror of horrors. The girls, especially the younger ones, were being absolute idiots, fawning all over the boys of their choice. James certainly loved the attention, though he kept looking over at me in the Three Broomsticks. Probably trying to get me to believe I had really passed up something special in refusing to date him at least one hundred times. To that, I can only say, in his dreams.
Can you blame me, though? He's so arrogant and conceited, walking about with that stupid snitch and a crowd of girls and his immature friends as if being good at a silly sport made him better than the rest of us. Well, I wasn't falling for it, and if he ruffled his hair one more time, I was likely to explode.
It was during this fateful Hogsmeade visit that two very pivotal things happened. One was very bad, the other, very good. Fate had intervened, in more ways than we would ever know.
I was alone in the Three Broomsticks that day - as alone as I could be in the crowd, that is - and I was quite content to sip my butterbeer in peace. Between all the complaining students and pressuring teachers and working with James, I felt I deserved that peace. James, however, was not very considerate.
Not for the first time, I sighed at this. Heavily. "Hello, James."
"Er…enjoying yourself?" he asked, twirling his bottle of butterbeer. Not his usual alcoholic beverage, I see. Perhaps he thought I'd like him better sober. To tell the truth, I'm not quite sure. He can be quite amusing when he's drunk….
"Yes, I was," I replied pointedly, though James wasn't known for his ability to take hints.
"Are you doing anything later?"
Not this again! I thought he had finally stopped… "No," I told him in the coldest voice I could manage, hoping that he wouldn't venture further.
"I'm guessing by your tone that you don't want to do anything with me later, either."
I was almost impressed. At least he was learning. "For once, you would be right."
He frowned. "Why won't you give me a -"
CRASH.James and I exchanged a look. That had been the definite sound of a window breaking - with magic. If a student was responsible, it was our duty to clear things up. Wordlessly, we rushed out of the Three Broomsticks and onto the rather chilly main road of Hogsmeade.
Despite my hatred for him and his infatuation with me, we did make a very good team. I hate to say it, but James always was very clever, and a natural leader, as well. He could keep the students in control, which only infuriated me more. It just wasn't right that someone like James should be so good at so many things…his head is swollen enough as it is.
When we stumbled upon the scene of the crime - the Hog's Head - we quickly realized that the culprits were not students at all…
"Death Eaters," James whispered. I could tell he was as terrified as I was. He pulled me out of sight, down an alleyway.
"Do you think they're going to attack the school?" I asked him quietly. If they were, we had to get the students to safety.
"I don't think so…it wouldn't make sense to attack from Hogsmeade if they were going to; they would have to fight through the town. I think they're just attacking the village…"
"We've got to get the students back to the school."
"I'll take care of it; you need to leave," he said. I started to protest, but he interrupted me. "Lily, you're in real danger here! They won't hesitate to kill any one of us, but they'll do awful things to you, Lily, because of…you know."
My parents - my Muggle blood. I understood, but there was no way I was leaving. "We're all in real danger, James. I'm not leaving the others to die."
"Christ, Lily, just get to safety, please," he said, surprising me. Was that actual emotion in his voice? Did he really care that much?
I don't know why, but I agreed to it. "All right. I will."
I watched him run out into the street, and I found myself wondering if perhaps I had been wrong about him. But those thoughts would have to wait. I had to leave the alley sometime, and as my mother liked to say, "There's no time like the present."
When I ran out into the street, however, I realized that I would not be getting to safety anytime soon. There were fifty of them, at least, some stunned, some still standing. The teachers were struggling with them, as well as the older students that had learned enough to fight. I, too, would have to fight if I wanted to get back to the castle…I might as well have stayed. So I would.
I stunned one, two, three, feeling fairly confident in my dueling abilities. It was then that several things happened at once. I heard my name being shouted through the curses - James. I heard a somewhat familiar voice shouting the beginning of a curse. Then I felt myself being whirled around - James had pulled me out of the way of something - and then he cried out as the curse that was meant for me hit him. Cruciatus. He fell to his knees, and I forced myself to act through my shock. I Stunned the Death Eater behind him, and his mask slid off when he fell. Severus Snape.
I helped up a trembling James, horrified. Snape had meant to torture me…after all the times I had defended him…and poor James had taken the curse for me. There were tears on his face. He had sustained his share of awful Quidditch injuries, but I had never seen him cry over any of those.
"Come on, you should get back to the castle," I said, taking him by the arm.
"But - I've got to help the teachers, they won't be able to -"
"You're not much good now; you can hardly stand. Besides, it looks like it's nearly over. They've got it under control. Come along, now." Hesitantly, he agreed, and we moved away from the fighting, up the path that led back to the school.
The walk back was unhindered, and when we reached the school, we found the Entrance Hall buzzing with activity. Madame Pomfrey had set up an impromptu infirmary there, the real one being on the fourth floor and hard for some of the returning students to reach. A seventh year Ravenclaw rushed over to us.
"What's he been hit with?" she asked me, apparently under the impression that James was incapable of answering.
"Cruciatus," I told her, still holding onto James, even though he was probably capable of walking on his own by now.
"Ah, well," the girl said uncomfortably, "There's nothing that can be done about that except rest. Just make sure he gets to bed."
I nodded, and we headed up to Gryffindor Tower, silent. My thoughts were so confused. James had taken an Unforgivable Curse for me, and I had the terrifying feeling that had it been another - Avada Kedavra - he might have taken it as well.
Had I been so wrong about him? Did he genuinely care about me? Perhaps I had misjudged him. People could change…and perhaps he had. He had always been conceited, but come to think of it…he didn't seem as eager to soak up the attention as he had before. And he wasn't as bothersome as he used to be…he had only asked me out twice this year. And he had tried to protect me.
And I would die before saying this to him, but his hair did look good when he ruffled it.
"Thank you," I heard myself saying. "For…taking the curse. I…it was…thank you."
He gave me a weak sort of smile. "I couldn't watch it happen."
We walked on quietly for a few moments before James spoke again. "I wish I knew who did it."
I stiffened. Would it be wise to tell him? "What does it matter?"
James looked over at me suspiciously. He must have seen right through me. He was always good at seeing things like that. "You saw who it was, didn't you?"
I hesitated, then nodded. "Yes, I saw."
He stopped abruptly; I had to turn around to look at him. "Who was it?" he demanded. I knew he would not let the subject go until I told him, but I didn't want to. James had a terrible temper at times.
"It was…Severus Snape," I told him. I worried about how he would react. James had always hated him, and I knew he would love nothing more than a good excuse to be cruel to him.
His eyes widened. "Snivellus? I knew it! I knew he was one of them. He's going to pay for this -"
I shook my head. "Leave it to others to punish him. Don't sink to their level."
"I can't believe you, Lily!" he said, raising his voice. "Why are you still defending him? After what he tried to do to you - now that we know what he is - how can you act like it was nothing? Because believe me, it was a hell of a lot of pain!"
Of course, he would take it as a personal offense, after having suffered the curse. I wanted to return to the person that I had been less than an hour ago; I wanted to be angry with him. No matter how hard I tried, however, I couldn't blame him. "I don't mean to trivialize any of that, James. I know that he needs to be punished for what he's done. But you're not the person meant to do that. It would be revenge, most likely with a few curses; I know you're capable of a lot. I don't want to see you resorting to any of their methods just because you're angry."
I knew James hadn't wanted to hear any of that, but he took it incredibly well. "I guess you're right," he said. That was the best one could hope for from James, and I appreciated that.
"Come on," I sighed. "Let's get back to the Tower."
Things had changed between us; that was evident. To be honest, it scared me. My feelings toward James had taken a near 180-degree rotation, and I didn't know how to handle that. Things were awkward. I no longer knew just how to act or speak to him, and I knew he sensed that.
"I'm sorry for shouting," said James as we approached the portrait hole.
"I know," I replied, offering him a smile for his sincerity. "Orange magnolias," I added to the Fat Lady. She let us in, watching us curiously.
Only three students were in the common room when we arrived. They sat in a corner, whispering, anxious looks on their faces. All three looked up at us in unison as we walked in.
"Did…did You-Know-Who come to Hogsmeade?" a brown-haired girl of about thirteen asked us. I looked at James, who looked back at me, and then turned back to the girl.
"The…Death Eaters were there. I don't believe You-Know-Who ever turned up, and the Death Eaters didn't do much more than break a window. Don't worry," I added, forcing a smile. "Hogwarts is perfectly safe and sound."
This seemed to reassure her somewhat, and she and her friends resumed their conversation.
"It's only going to get worse," James said. His words went unheard by the three third years across the room. I knew that the statement meant only for my ears was true. It was obvious to everyone that something powerful was brewing. We would never understand what a large part we would play in it.
I glanced over at James to find him staring back at me.
"Will you go out with me, Lily?"
I blinked. "Is this really the time to be asking a question like that?"
James shrugged. "There's no time like the present. Death Eaters could have lethifolds kill us in our sleep tonight; that considered, I figured it would be better to ask now than tomorrow."
I couldn't help laughing, though his words were morbid and I didn't know how I was going to answer him. "I suppose you have a point."
He raised an eyebrow at me. "Are you going to answer, or should I assume that you're going to say no again?"
I considered him for a moment. Perhaps he deserved a chance after all. What would it hurt to say yes, when I might die that night in a lethifold attack?
"Actually," I said to him, "I think I'll say yes this time."
A/N: Yes, this is the part where I get sick of writing and finish it off to post. ^_^ At the moment, however, I'm here to advertise Witch Weekly, where clever witches post a new ficlet every week. Yes, it's quite remarkable, and to read the works of all of our writers, past and present, you can head on over to the SpellbookFics Yahoo! Group - where creativity more often than not leads to insanity.