Disclaimer: I own neither the characters, the song, nor the few real people which appear in this chapter (if I said who, I'd be giving too much away!)
Author's Note: Final chapter! Important author's note at end. Thank you to everybody who has supported me through this!
Chapter 32: The Show Must Go On
Lily and James stood nervously in front of their headmaster, wondering what he knew. James hastily put his invisibility cloak behind his back, cursing himself silently for not remembering to put it on before.
"I wanted to let the two of you know that before you perform tonight, you and the other members of the glee club will be waiting in the little alcove room, just off the Great Hall. You know where the room is, I assume?"
"Good. I have here a small bag of Floo powder, just enough for one trip each," he said, handing them the bag. "If you wish, you may use the fireplace in the Gryffindor common room to Floo to the alcove, so your costumes aren't seen by the students beforehand. The alcove floo address is Violet's chamber."
"Thank you, Professor."
Humming happily to himself, Dumbledore started to walk away.
Lily and James were just about to breathe sighs of relief when Dumbledore popped his head back around the corner. "And by the way, if you don't do your very best tonight, you'll both have detention with me for missing class today." That said, he disappeared, humming again.
James and Lily looked at each other unhappily. "It's really happening tonight, isn't it?"
"I'm afraid so."
"I think this calls for ice cream."
That decided, they went to the kitchen to drown their sorrows in half an hour of unhealthy food.
As they sat, eating, James looked curiously at Lily staring at her for several seconds at a time.
Blushing, Lily finally asked, "What is it? Do I have something on my nose or between my teeth?"
"I was just wondering."
Lily felt like rolling her eyes. That certainly wasn't an answer. Not an acceptable one at any rate. "About what?"
"You." He looked away, back to his empty bowl.
"Could you be a little more vague?" she asked sarcastically.
He shrugged. "Probably."
Lily felt like she was about ready to pelt him with what was left of her ice cream and brownie sundae. "Fine. Be mysterious. We'd best get back to that special room of yours and get back to practicing." She picked up their bowls and brought them to the sink, thanking the house-elves.
"We've got it pretty solid, I think."
"Well, we ought to practice once more anyway."
"Maybe we should have some real food in our stomachs."
"No. We'll just call that ice cream mess we just ate dinner. If necessary we'll eat again after we dance. We don't need to dance on full stomachs. It's probably better that we don't, actually," Lily said thoughtfully. She tugged him by the arm and he dutifully followed her back to the room of requirement.
Together, they practiced one more time. The room obediently giving them the music (which sounded like it came from the walls themselves) just as it had given them the music every time they practiced that day. When they finished, they slumped down on the couch.
"Lily, I want to tell you something."
"All right." She half-lay down on the sofa, her head resting on the arm. James was seated next to her. Lily lazily closed her eyes and yawned. It wasn't six o'clock yet, but they'd worked hard all day and she wanted to enjoy a moment of peace.
James studied her. "You are beautiful, Lily Evans. Why do you to try to hide it?" he asked softly, almost as though he didn't realize he was speaking aloud. But he did realize it and the question had bothered him for a while now, particularly this past week.
Lily cracked an eye open. His voice sounded sincere, but it couldn't possibly be telling the truth. "I don't want to be beautiful," she said simply.
James cocked his head to one side, studying her again. He was vain and he knew it. He was good looking and he knew it and he liked it. The thought that Lily Evans didn't want to be beautiful was flabbergasting. She had a nice complexion, gorgeous hair if she ever bothered to let it down, and killer eyes. "Why not?"
Lily propped herself up on her elbows, realizing that she wasn't going to get any peace and that this conversation was not going to be one she liked. She gave an honest answer. "No one would take me seriously." Her brains were important to her. Inner beauty.
"Someone can be pretty and smart, you know, Lily. You are." He wondered if she thought that a person couldn't be both. That's what she seemed to be saying. Was that part of the problem all these years? Did she see him as handsome, and therefore write him off as a dumb jerk? Plausible, particularly given the evidence of how he'd treated her.
Lily was starting to get irritated and sat up. She wasn't pretty and she had no desire to be pretty. Her sister had told her that you couldn't have everything in life. If she had to pick one or the other, intelligence would win hands down. Girls who were pretty and perky now would someday become old, wrinkly, saggy, and gray. Her brains would be with her 'til the end of her days however. That's the way she chose. "No, I'm not. Really. I'm very plain."
"You're special," he insisted, getting a smidgeon closer to her.
"No, I'm not."
"Yes, you are."
"Yes, you are. You're brilliant and gorgeous."
"You're off your rocker."
"And you're still beautiful."
The rest of her reply was choked off as James started to kiss her.
For a moment Lily sat rigidly still, trying to process just exactly what was going on. They were sitting here, arguing about whether or not she was pretty, and he just up and kissed her. Was he trying to prove something? Not that she minded too much; he was proving to be a very adept kisser.
James had just launched himself at her with this his lips, but, finding that she wasn't resisting, he put his arms around her and kept kissing—fully aware that once she came back to her senses he might never be able to kiss her again.
Lily, for her part, decided that if she was going to yell at him, now was definitely not the time to do so. A little bit hesitantly, she started to return the kiss. After a moment, she got more enthusiastic.
James took this as a good sign, but after another moment or so Lily unexpectedly returned to her senses.
She broke off the kiss and scooted away from him on the couch, looking flustered.
"Yeah. 'Er' pretty much says it all," she said, embarrassed.
"Well, now I know you're not just smart and beautiful, but an excellent snogger as well," James said, laughing at her embarrassment.
She looked for something suitable to throw at him and couldn't seem to find anything. Odd, normally anything she really wanted in this room tended to appear. She was desperate to find a way out of this embarrassing situation. "Look, for right now, let's just pretend that didn't happen. We've got a dinner to get through. After that we can go back to yelling to each other or talking or whatever." The words came out of her mouth at breakneck speed.
James was slightly disappointed. He hadn't exactly expected one kiss to change seven years between them—though it did rather effectively end their argument. "Alright. Though, for the record, I'm living proof that a person can be gorgeous and brilliant," he said, letting a little of his old conceit back into his voice.
Lily blushed, not saying anything to disagree with him.
James felt his heart lighten a little. Maybe there was still hope. He'd put it aside…for the moment. "Let's go back up to the common room. By the time we get there everybody should be starting to head down for dinner. We can get ready and floo straight to the alcove." He wished for a book bag, turned around, and found one waiting for him. It was just the perfect size to stuff his invisibility cloak in.
Together, they walked back up the steps to Gryffindor Tower in silence, mulling over recent events in their minds.
Lily stole furtive glances at James. She'd definitely been reevaluating him this week; that much was certain. He was a far cry from the James that she kept telling herself had never changed and would never change. Not that she was planning on picking out china patterns anytime soon, or anything like that. He'd been a great friend this week, and he certainly seemed to have beyond friendship potential.
James tried not to look at Lily. He knew that kissing her had been pressing his luck. But it had been worth a shot, and whether or not anything came of it, he still thought it was worth it. They'd certainly gotten to know one another better this week. He knew her faults and talents both better than he had before and now she knew him for who he really was. He just hoped they could get through the dinner without humiliating themselves too much.
They stood at the portrait of the Fat Lady of Gryffindor Tower.
"I was thinking…maybe you could help me with my hair?" Lily asked in a small voice. "You seemed to be able to manage it better than I ever can."
"Only if you promise not to object to wearing it down."
"And bring barrettes."
"Alright," she said. Saying the password, they entered the common room.
People seemed to be on their way out, waiting impatiently for other people to finish. The common room seemed abuzz with conversation.
"What's going on?" James asked, grabbing a first year by the back of his jacket.
The boy, a freckle-faced redhead, "Somebody said dinner ought to be good tonight. They didn't say who, but somebody's gonna be making an idiot out of themselves down there. I don't wanna miss it."
"Who's 'they'?" James asked, grabbing him again as he tried to get away.
"The seventh years. Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. And Peter Pettigrass." The boy frowned. Pettigrass didn't sound right.
"Pettigrew?" Lily offered helpfully.
"Yeah. That's it. Pettigrew. Hey, you're Head Girl, aren't ya?" the boy asked, noticing her badge for the first time.
"Yes, I am," she said, smiling. She offered her hand. "Lily Evans, and you are?"
"Weasley. Bill Weasley." He stuck out his arm and shook her hand.
"Very nice to meet you, Bill. This is James, the Head Boy."
"He's not wearing his badge," Bill pointed out. "Are you sure he's the Head Boy?"
James rolled his eyes. "Of course I'm the Head Boy. You've seen me around, haven't you?"
"I saw you in the Quidditch game on Saturday. My brother Charlie is real keen on Quidditch."
James felt like banging his head against something.
Bill stared thoughtfully into space for a moment. "All I know is that if I were Head Boy, I'd wear my badge. Probably anyway."
Lily ruffled his hair. He was adorable. Eleven years old and she could tell he would be a heartbreaker. He just had that sense about him. Confidence was evident but he didn't try to act like he knew everything. "Your hair's adorable. Which side of the family does your red hair come from?"
"Both. Mum and dad are both redheads. My hair is too short though. I'm not cutting it at all while I'm here," he said proudly.
"Girls like boys with long hair. It's cool. You're cool," he said, looking at James. "But can I go now? I wanna go find out who's going to make an idiot of themselves." He managed to get James's hand off of his collar and take a few steps back.
Bill hurried off and James and Lily looked around at the emptying common room.
"He's seems like a nice boy," Lily said, smiling.
"Those dirty rats. I can't believe it. They must have been mad."
"What are you talking about?"
"Remus and Sirius. They've gotten everybody hyped up about tonight. Go on and get your dress and heels and things and meet me upstairs," James said, starting toward the boys' dormitory as the common room continued to empty.
Lily went to her room and dug out her costume and shoes. She went into the bathroom to look for barrettes and a hairbrush.
Alice was still in the room and said hello to her. "I wondered where you'd gone off to," she said, watching Lily search for barerrettes through the doorway.
"Hello to you too. We've been rehearsing. And you'll never believe what else. I'll tell you all about it later. Is it true that Remus and Sirius have gotten everybody interested in what's going to happen at dinner tonight?"
"I'm afraid so. You'd know about it if you stuck around the common room or gone to class today. I think I even saw a couple of notes about it."
"Like fliers. They said something about the singing sensations of the glee club and their mystery guests. Good luck."
"I'll need it," Lily said miserably. "What are you leaving so quick?"
Alice couldn't help grinning. "I have to make sure I get a good seat now, don't I?"
As Alice left, Lily muttered to herself, "Some best friend you are." She sighed, grabbing her things and heading down the girl stairs and up the boy stairs, passing a few last stragglers on her way. In front of James's door, she banged on it with her fist.
"Come in," James replied.
Lily entered and found James kneeling with Sirius's head in his armpit.
"Let go of him," she said exasperatingly.
"Why? He and Remus are the ones that got everybody all worked up. Have you ever seen everybody so punctual for dinner?" James asked.
"I guess not." Lily thoughtfully took one of her shoes and smacked the heel of it against Sirius's forehead, leaving an ugly square behind.
That taken care of, Lily proceeded to the bathroom and locked the door behind her. She changed out of her sweats and into her powder blue dress and strappy-heeled shoes. She looked in the mirror. The dress looked even snugger on her than it had when she held it up to her before. It complemented her rather well, but that wasn't the point. It wasn't her style. She was going to have to murder Sirius and Remus in the very near future if they so much as snapped one picture of her. Except for hair and makeup, she was done. She knocked on the bathroom door before entering the dorm again. "You decent, Potter?" she called.
"Yeah. If you can call this decent, that is. I think I'm blinded by looking in the mirror."
"Are you alone?"
"Yeah. Sirius is gone. I sent him packing. Just come in already."
Lily took a deep breath, unlocked the door, and entered the dormitory. She had to try very hard to keep from laughing. James was the very likeness of…who was she kidding? She couldn't help it. She laughed.
"Don't make fun of me," James said, pouting.
"Well, your clothes fit, and you've managed the hair right," she said, finally managing to stifle her laughter.
"Yeah, yeah, let's just see what you look like," James said, turning around to look at her at last. "Whoa."
"Is that all you've got to say?" she asked, feeling decidedly uncomfortable.
"Er, how's this: Whoa, baby."
"Wow. Can I pick dresses or what? And it fits you great. You look absolutely perfect. Except your hair."
"I'm not wearing any makeup," she said firmly.
"I won't ask you to. Your face looks fine just the way it is. Just sit on the bed and I'll get my wand. Do you have a brush and barrettes?" he asked.
"Yeah." She resignedly sat herself down at the edge of the bed.
"I wish we had time to do this properly. I'd get one of those neat sinks and shampoo your hair, and condition it. Oh well, we've only got about fifteen minutes 'til seven. We'll work with what we've got." James took Lily's hair out of it's scrunchy so it fell down her back. Carefully, he started brushing it. Any time Lily winced (somehow her hair had managed to accumulate a large assortment of knots during the day) he gently gripped the hair and brushed the knot away.
Lily was surprised at how well James managed.
Finally her hair was brushed smooth. James picked up his wand and performed a spell that would allow him to curl her hair. When he was done, her hair looked magnificent. He even took barrettes and clipped back the front piece on each side of her head.
"You're done. You're ready. We're ready," James said.
"How does it look?" He had face her away from the mirror.
"As beautiful as the rest of you; mind and body. Come on, we've got somewhere to be." He grabbed her by the hand and they picked up the packets of floo powder from the pockets of their previous outfits.
Down in the common room, they each took a deep breath. "Let's go."
Lily went first, throwing the green powder in, and saying clearly, "Violet's chambers!" and disappeared.
James followed, wand in hand.
When they reappeared they were indeed in the alcove just outside of the great hall, near the teachers' table. A painting of the woman named Violet looked down at them.
James performed quick cleaning charms on them to get the soot off, and went to setting Lily's hair to rights again. They noticed they weren't alone. It was one minute to seven, and Trevor and the four girls from glee club were there. At least, Lily and James were pretty sure they were the four girls from glee club.
Trevor looked at Lily and James. "I'm so glad you guys made it. We were beginning to worry. Great costumes! You guys look fantastic."
"So do you," Lily said, looking him and his costume over. "Elton John?"
"Yep." His costume included platform shoes and some incredibly (to James's mind) ugly sunglasses.
Dumbledore was making an announcement. "Tonight, we are honored to have one of our schools many clubs performing for us. The glee club, which has recently adopted the name Appreciators of Muggle Music Society is proud to present their first ever concert. Up first will be the club's head, Trevor Thompson. Trevor, please come out."
Trevor gave Lily, James, and the girls a thumbs-up before exiting the alcove. James and Lily peered out. The staff table had been moved to the side, at an angle and a small stage had been set up. There was an odd box nearby, from which the music came from while Trevor sang.
James and Lily looked at the girls in the room. They were all wearing wigs that they'd managed to tuck most of their hair into as part of their costumes and were carrying instruments with them. Well, one girl wasn't carrying hers. She had a full drum set on a cart.
"The Beatles?" guessed Lily.
They nodded excitedly.
"Are you really going to play those?" asked James.
"No. Well, Fran here can play the drums and is really going to play those. The rest of us are going to fake it with our instruments, but we're all going to sing," explained one of the girls.
"We'll have music going in the background like Trevor anyway," another girl explained.
Trevor managed to do quite well and earned a reasonably good reaction of applause and whistles from the audience when he was done.
Trevor joined his house table, and Dumbledore announced the names of the four girls. The girls got up and went through, getting up on stage. It took a moment for the students to settle down when they came out, but they really got into it and so did the students.
Lily watched for a moment, before turning and looking at the wall, feeling rather sick. "I can't do this, James. I can't go out there."
"Lily, come on. We're in this together. Mock, scorn, or praise we're in this together."
"I can't. What if they laugh at me? Or what if Sirius snaps a picture of me dressed like this? Or what if I fall? I'm not used to wearing heels. I hate wearing heels. Or what if I forget the words or the dance or—"
James put a finger over Lily's lips. "Lily, you'll do fine. You managed to play and win a Quidditch game this weekend. You managed to successfully prank the Slytherin Quidditch team from what Sirius told me. I haven't seen them yet, but I understand that most of the team is sporting pinkish-red hair. You'll do fine." James only believed about half of what he was saying. Lily had done fine until now, and so had he, but the truth was he was shaking in his blue suede shoes, so to speak. He was terrified. During the week, they'd had the cloak of "it's not really me" to cover themselves with. Now, it was really, and if they embarrassed anybody, they'd be embarrassing themselves. "Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Smile. There's the pretty lady I know. Chin up."
Somehow, calming Lily down helped calm himself down as well. However they both felt ready to fly apart again when the girls' finished their song and Dumbledore made the final announcement.
"For the past week, two students normally not in the club joined and agreed to participated in tonight's little concert. Anyone interested in joining club should see Trevor Thompson for more details. At last, without further ado, I present to you your Head Boy and Head Girl, James Potter and Lily Evans!"
The uproar was instantaneous. This is what they'd been waiting for. Some of them knew it was the heads who were going to be performing, others had only known that whatever was going to happen was supposed to be hilarious. Remus and Sirius stood ready with their cameras, waiting for whatever should come out from the alcove.
"I said, James Potter and Lily Evans!" repeated Dumbledore.
James and Lily each took one last breath, and marched out onto the stage. James stood there in his white jumpsuit, a little chest exposed, and his hair done in a perfect imitation of Elvis Presley's. The cameras started to go off immediately. Lily stood behind him in her powder blue dress. The dress matched the shoes they were both wearing, except for one thing: both of them were wearing suede shoes. Yes, blue suede shoes.
The music started.
Well, it's one for the money,
Two for the show,
Three to get ready,
Now go, cat go.
James sang the first stanza his hip bouncing from right to left, then standing still as his face scanning the audience of his peers. On the last line, he reached behind him, spinning Lily out into the open so they could sing the next lines together.
But don't you step on my blue suede shoes.
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes.
James and Lily stood face-to-face shaking the opposite index finger at one another, countering each others' moves for the first line. For the second line, Lily took James's hand and spun into his chest, spun out again, dropped his hand, and James shook his index finger at her again.
James took up the singing on his own again.
Well you can knock me down,
Step in my face,
Slander my name
All over the place.
Do anything that you want to do, uh-uh,
Honey, lay off of my shoes
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes.
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes.
On the first line Lily play pushed James and he dropped to a squat, leaning back on his left hand. Lily lifted her foot and stepped on his face at the appropriate line and turned away from him and back to the audience. James stood up next to Lily and turned her to face him. James advanced with two steps, and Lily countered two steps behind her.
James picked her up at the waist and set her down on the other side of him (at line "do anything"). On the next line he picked Lily up, supporting her behind the knees and back, and spun around once. Still holding her he spun around once the other way before putting her down. On the last line he shook his finger at her again, shuffling his feet forward.
Now, it was Lily's turn to sing.
You can burn my house,
Steal my car,
Drink my liquor
From an old fruit-jar
Do anything that you want to do, but uh-huh,
Honey, lay off of my shoes
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes
Lily had her hands splayed in front of her face and moved her hands out, standing with her left foot pointed and looking at James. She twisted her left hand and gave a bounce with her hip toward the right. She lifted her right hand in a drink-drink motion bouncing right and facing sideways. She took four bouncing steps toward James, while he walked backwards in place.
On "Do anything" she and James grabbed hands, shaking them side-to-side a couple of times and on "uh-uh" they let go and her arm went around his neck and back. Lily did a sort of jump up and his arms went out to hold her behind the knees and back as he had done before. She was off the ground and in his arms by "lay off." With her feet dangling in the air and his in plain sight on the ground, both pairs of blue suede shoes were clearly visible. They spun in two full circles.
The last line came and they sang it together, standing still and holding their pose (or rather, James holding Lily).
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes!
At this point, the planned choreography had been for James to set Lily down and for them to both bow. However, they improvised. James continued to hold Lily in his arms and a quite unplanned kiss occurred at the end of the line.
The kiss continued after the music ended.
Sirius and Remus were awed by the performance and made sure to take many pictures for blackmail purposes later on. Peter clapped as madly as the rest of the Gryffindor table. It had been a stupendous show. As a mater of fact, the Gryffindors weren't the only ones applauding. The Hufflepuff and Ravenclaws were enjoying it immensely. Even some Slytherins found some entertainment in it (though admittedly most of those either 1. didn't know the song was a 1950s Muggle song, or 2. simply enjoyed watching something so strange. Alice also had a camera present, but was a little too flabbergasted to remember to take more than a couple of pictures. She had a feeling she knew what went on other than dancing during their rehearsal time. Frank laughed as he hadn't laughed in some time. This was the first time James had gotten up and done any sort of singing in public (other than that odd transfiguration class) since that party seven years ago.
Snape looked on sourly. Potter made a fool out of himself and was still thought popular for it!
McGonagall started coughing rather loudly in an attempt to break up the kissing couple on stage.
Dumbledore merely smiled, his eyes twinkling and decided that they had definitely done well enough to merit not getting detention for skipping class. As a matter of fact, he murmured a few words and gave them each fifty points for Gryffindor. He waved his wand and dinner appeared; a mini-feast.
At last McGonagall felt inclined to actually get up out of her seat and force James and Lily to stop kissing. Though rather than put Lily down, James kept her in his arms and decided that they should continue their dinner in the privacy of the kitchens.
And even you, the loyal readers, must admit that the image of James Potter dressed up like Elvis Presley and singing Blue Suede Shoes is enough to tickle even the sourest funny bone.
Author's Note: That's it! It's done! I feel like getting up and dancing a jig! I've had a great time with this story—mostly thanks to you, my readers and your loyal support. But I'm glad it's done. It's time for me to move on to something new and finish up some old things (like Fortress and Why I'm Quitting the Cannons). As for a new story, I'll let you guys vote: I've got a Neville story I'm 9 chapters into and I absolutely love it, but it's a little AU as of HBP. I've also got a story that's completely AU, and it starts the night of the Potters' death, but only one of the Potter parents dies and Harry gets raised by somebody (several somebodies) other than his Aunt Petunia.
Anyway this story has been a lot of fun and 185 pages later it's finally over. I could do a sequel but I think this is a good ending place for it, so I'll leave it at that. Can everybody see why I had to switch it so that Lily wore the glasses in this fic instead of James—even though that isn't canon? I just couldn't bear to put Elvis in glasses. I couldn't do it. I know Blue Suede Shoes is old, but Trevor told them it was an older song. So nyeh! I wrote the choreography out a couple of months ago and these are my notes on it. I was trying to come up with the best way to write it so that you could see lyrics, choreography, and who was singing and I hope I didn't make it too confusing.
I might remove Bill Weasley when I edit this. Was it too weird? It occurred to me that by putting him there Molly's brothers (Gideon and Fabian) are only 5 years older than their nephew. It's been known to happen but that's not was what supposed happen in this story.
THANKS AGAIN SO MUCH EVERYONE!
Well, it's one for the money,—hip right
Two for the show,—hip left
Three to get ready,—scan audience, left to right
Now go, cat, go.—reach behind and spin Lily out
But don't you step on my blue suede shoes.—J step out left foot, face Lily, hips & left finger alt; L mirrors
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes.—L take J hand, spin into him, spin out, drop hand, J lean to her & shake finger
Well, you can knock me down,—L play-push J, J drop to squat leaning back on left hand
Step in my face,—L step on J face and turn back to audience
Slander my name—J stand up and turn L back to him
All over the place.—J step toward L 2 steps, L steps back to steps
Do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh,—J pick L up off ground and put on other side of him
Honey, lay off of my shoes—J pick L up at back and knees and spin around
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes.—J spin back other way (still holding L) & put down
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes—shakes finger at L and shuffles feet
You can burn my house,—L splay hands + front face & move out, left foot out w/ pointed toe, look J
Steal my car,—left hand twist out, bounce right
Drink my liquor—right hand up in drink-drink motion, bounce right facing sideways
From an old fruit-jar—step forward toward J 4 steps w/ bounce
Do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh,—grab both hands facing one another & arm behind neck
Honey, lay off of my shoes—into arms and start to spin
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes—spin in circle again
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes—hold pose