Disclaimer- I disclaim it all as everyone will for generations to come.
Authoress's Note- Well. Perhaps I shouldn't have left you all hanging for so long, eh? (coughs) I could make excuses, but most of them would be completely and utterly made up for your and my own entertainment value, so I will leave all those off. I CAN say that I haven't been completely inactive since the last time I updated any of my stories; I wrote a new summary for Seven Years of Marauding and did some much needed editing on a few chapters, but I'm sure you're not all as interested in that as the chapter below this type. So I will just say I get a little twinge of pride knowing I've finally finished one of my fanfiction stories, and I'd like to thank all you readers immensely for staying with me to the end. I went off on a bit of a reminiscent tangent farther into the chapter, so bear with me. I hope you've all enjoyed the ride as much as I have. E.D.J.
Much, much love to my reviewers!
ThelovelyladyLily- We should campaign against people who get James's eye color wrong! (evil grin) I've very glad you liked the descriptions as I am very much aware that my description skills are not always up to par! I love you describing Andy as 'the guy who's ruining everything'! It made me laugh when I read your review!
Pauly- I'm glad you liked the chapter, and I apologize for leaving you hanging for so long!
you-don't-understand- Oh no, please don't be so hard on yourself about your looks and such! I'm sure you're a wonderful person, both inside and out. And well, I won't force you to embrace your romantic side, but if you want to! Yay for hugs from the boy you like! Yes, sarcasm is absolutely wonderful; I think I've picked up my taste for it from watching too many Friends episodes. I've very glad you liked the transformation description because as I said to thelovelyladyLily I can be rather lacking in that department. Yes Andy is 'The Boyfriend'. Yes, clumsy Sirius Black ... (laughs) I think that's just always how he comes out when I write him because he's always banging himself against things in Seven Years of Marauding ... Hmm. Oh don't apologize for long reviews! I LOVE long reviews, and besides, you should see how long of reviews I send. I mean it, they're enormous.
fujutsu- I'm glad you like the story!
vixen black- I'm glad you're excited about finding out what will happen in the letter! Andy, a git! Yes, I suppose he is just because he's in the way.
Auramistealia- I'm glad you liked the chapter! Ah yes, the movie Never Been Kissed with Drew Barrymore. It's phenomenal. And it has Michael Vartan! (rather fangirl-like scream) He just makes me squee at the sight of him. I'm glad you liked the girl talk as well, and I'm sure everyone is wondering what Andy's letter says. (grins evilly)
nothinrunlikeadeere- Oh that's alright. I'm quite aware that I'm evil. In fact, I'd probably be hurt if you didn't say I was evil!
Skippy- Oh it's completely alright about the Marissa thing. Yes, everyone does seem to have O.C. obsession, don't they? I've watched maybe three episodes of it, and it was good but in a teen soup opera kind of way (this being said by an ex-Days of Our Lives obsessee). And yes, don't we all know that pushing feelings away never works? Sirius's reply was rather worrying, wasn't it? (sighs) That boy ... Yes I PROMISE I will post if I ever decide to completely leave. I had one moment about a month ago where I got so angry at (I believe it was mostly because Serena's work is gone, grrr ...) I typed up a letter for my author's page stating I was done and finished here forever, but right after I posted it, I changed my mind, and two minutes later it was gone. I suppose it was a good way to vent though. (sighs) Yes, they deleted Serena's work for breaking the new 'no song lyrics' policy, and she and I were in a tizzy for a while because she'd lost all her work when her computer got fixed or something (?). But thankfully someone had it all saved. She's joined The Great Break too, though not as someone completely leaving I believe. Which reminds me I have to e-mail her ...
brooklyngirl- No, I still don't have the new Princess Diaries book yet! I almost bought it yesterday, but I had four other books that were all at least $15 each, so I put it back. (sigh) I'm glad Meg Cabot commented on the horribleness of the movies in it though! (cackles) I'm glad you liked the new chapter!
Harry Lvr- I'm glad you liked the chapter! And well, Remus might tell Em, he might not. That would be telling ... (cackles)
hiei's lil dragon- Will Lily and Andy be breaking up? Only reading can tell ...
iLoV2ObSeSS- Funny, talented, and evil? Thank you! All wonderful compliments! (grins) I'm so glad you like the story!
goth hamster- I'm glad you like the story! And you've MET Tamora Pierce! Lucky you. I want to meet her! (pouts) As to your questions ... I apologize if I'm a bit vague in some areas; I don't like to give out a lot of my personal information. How old am I? Well, I'm still in high school; I'll tell you that much. Where do I live? The U.S. My favorite book? Besides Harry Potter? (laughs) Anything by Tamora Pierce (except her Circle of Magic books, which I haven't read yet), Ella Enchanted, Crown Duel and Court Duel, and almost anything by Robin McKinley. Favorite movies? Funny Girl and What's Up, Doc? with Barbra Streisand, Aladdin, Moulin Rouge, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. How did I pick my user name? I always liked the name 'Elladora' from when I first ran across the name Elladora Ketteridge, the discoverer of gillyweed, and I combined it with a funny name of a magical bird from Harry Potter, and voila instant user name! And the D.? Well that just looks nice. And I'm sorry I only give my screen name out to people who I know in real life (with one exception), and also I'm hardly ever signed on to AIM anymore, so you'd hardly ever catch me on anyway!
psychoravenclaw- I'm glad you love the story!
MagicFairyDuster- James, a snobby stag. Heh heh. Mr. Bean as in Rowan Atkinson! That's the only Mr. Bean I've heard of. Or Rowan Atkinson of the British comedy show Blackadder? I've taken to watching too much BBC America as you can tell! I love British comedy! I am quite upset they stopped showing Blackadder just when I discovered it. Hmph.
Ch. 26- An End and Perhaps a Bit of a Beginning
"Lily, it's from Andy."
The four girls sat in silence, looking as if they were all trying to recall who Andy was, as he had been pushed into the background to make room for the whirlwind of other events that summer. Even Lily hardly spoke of him, though her three friends had been hard-pressed to get her to speak at all as of late. It seemed she'd taken to spending her time lost in her own thoughts, though no one was quite sure what exactly Lily was mulling over.
Finally, Lily said, sounding a lot more cheerful than she felt, "Well, give it here, Hest!"
As if in a daze, Hestia slowly handed the envelope to Lily, who quickly tore it open and drew out the letter. Lily's face betrayed nothing as she read, her eyes moving back and forth over her boyfriend's neat, precise hand.
Then, without a word, the letter slipped from between her fingers, and it fluttered silently to the floor.
The sun was coming up; Remus could feel it.
He blinked his eyes blearily and saw the stag looking at him tiredly, as if he would've very much liked to curl up and go to sleep. The large black dog seemed to have already given into his own feelings of sleepiness, as he was sprawled out on his back, mouth wide open, with only the occasional twitch of a paw to show that he was still alive and breathing.
And the rat? He was scurrying around, (as rats are often prone to do) searching for any crumbs the four boys may have dropped, which there were quite a lot of, them being teenage boys and all. The rat gave an acknowledging squeak and a twitch of his whiskers to Remus before happily turning back to the half a Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Bean he'd recently discovered in one of the room's corners.
Remus gave a satisfied smile (or as much of a satisfied smile as a large werewolf can give) that everyone was present and accounted for. Then he felt his limbs begin to tremble as a ray of pale sunlight burst through the small bit of window to illuminate the room.
Then the pain started. Snout slowly shortened, shaggy fur sunk back into pale, clammy skin, hands and feet appeared from where paws had been only moments before, and finally Remus's other-worldly howling transformed into human screams. Those pained screams gradually faded and gave way to loud, convulsing sobs from the pale, shaking form huddled on the floor.
Silently, stag, dog, and rat transformed back into their respective human forms.
Remus felt something soft and warm placed around his shoulders, and he clutched at it, recognizing a blanket.
"Shh, Moony, it's alright," murmured his friends' voices soothingly as they had many times throughout that year. "It's over."
Remus slowly rose to his feet, a little unsteadily as his legs shuddered beneath him, unused to two legs once again. "Did—did anything happen?" he rasped, his voice tired from the howls and screams.
James, Sirius, and Peter shook their heads solemnly, and Remus breathed a sigh of relief as he always did when they reassured him that he hadn't bitten, killed, or torn apart any poor, unsuspecting people.
"Moony," Peter murmured quietly, "Em has a right to know."
"I know she does!" he snapped, whirling around menacingly, and his friends each took a step or two backwards as a glimmer of that awful wildness flashed in their friend's eyes.
Remus groaned and hung his head. "I'm sorry, Peter, mate. It's just … how in the world will she be able to understand it all? How'll I know if she can only see the werewolf side of me? What if she can't accept it? What if … she's afraid of me?" He let the questions hang in the air, and Remus turned to his friends, a desperate look in his eyes.
The three boys shifted uncomfortably before James finally said cautiously, "I suppose it's all up to fate. And luck."
Remus buried his head in his hands and muttered, "That's what I was afraid of. Bloody fate."
Emmeline, Hestia, and Monica stared at the letter lying on the floor for a few moments, studying the back of it silently, before all three dove forward to retrieve it, their curiosity getting the better of them.
Not one of them noticed Lily fall slowly backward into her chair, a new tautness to her face.
Monica was the one to get a hold of the letter first, and she slowly smoothed the creases out of it, and with a look at Lily that proved her assumption that her friend was lost in her own thoughts once more, she opened her mouth to read it aloud.
Well, I know I promised to write to you all during the holidays, but things have been just so … confusing lately, and now nearly at the end of the summer, I've finally seemed to have figured it all out.
I think, I mean I know, that we should break this whole thing off.
A small gasp escaped Monica's mouth, and all three girls looked pointedly at Lily, who refused to meet their eyes and merely continued to stare fixedly out the window. So Monica continued.
I know it's absolutely horrible to do this sort of thing in a letter, and if I could do it in person I would, but I would feel much too guilty waiting until term starts again.
I've—Merlin, you would think this would be easier to put in writing, but it's not—met someone else. She's actually a Muggle on holiday here from England, and you've no idea how hard it is to hide the fact that I'm a wizard from her. Actually, you probably have some idea since you've had to hide that you're a witch from your neighbors and such since you were eleven, so I suppose you don't have quite as much sympathy for me as I might hope.
I solemnly swear that I haven't cheated on you in any way, shape, or form. I'm not that type of bloke, Lily, and I hope you realize that. I also wouldn't dare because you're more than capable of getting your revenge in a number of different ways, most of which would most likely create intense physical pain on my behalf.
I really think you have every right to learn about all this before I even think of asking Julia (that's her name by the way) for something more. I'm sure you're upset by this letter, and I know no matter how many times I apologize, it'll still hurt. You're an amazing girl, Lily Evans. Really amazing.
P.S. I know if I was telling you this in person, I'd be receiving a nice ringing smack 'round the ears for even mentioning it, so I believe writing it is much less life-threatening: James is really quite a nice bloke, Lily. If you opened your eyes a bit more, you'd be quite surprised at what you'll see.
Lily let out a short bark of disbelieving laughter before breaking down into loud, heart-wrenching sobs.
The last few weeks of August were a blur for Lily, and her friends constantly fretted with worry over her. She'd gotten over the shock of her breakup with Andy fairly quickly, but still; she wasn't herself.
It wasn't that she seemed unhappy exactly, more lost. Hestia, Emmeline, and Monica had finally decided to give up on figuring out what was bothering her because every day Lily became a little more talkative, a little more herself again.
Monica and Sirius's relationship had progressed by leaps and bounds, and though everyone always pretended to vomit at the sight of the two of them together, everyone secretly found it endearing to find Monica dozing on the sitting room sofa, Sirius's head in her lap. They still bickered like squabbling first years from morning till night, but now the malicious and rankled edge to their voices was gone.
It had always been hard to place a finger on what was so perfect about Remus and Emmeline's relationship. Both were the same as they had always been: witty and sarcastic, yet still sensitive to everyone's feelings. Their relationship hadn't changed much from when they were only friends either, subtracting a few tongue-tied moments and adding a few stolen kisses for color, of course. But to see how both their faces lit up when they were together was enough to realize that both Em and Remus were quite content with what they had.
James had become more introverted like Lily in the past few weeks, though only Lily and her friends had a hunch why. Sirius, Peter, and Remus had prodded the girls along with James about what gotten both Lily and James into such a state, but all refused point blank to say a word.
Hestia and Peter were the same as they ever were in those last few weeks of the summer. Peter was his cheerful, eager to please self while Hestia remained quiet with her mischievous side shining through when she felt the need for it.
September first finally came, and it found the eight sixth years gathered inside a train compartment leaning out the window to wave goodbye to Hestia and James's parents as the Hogwarts Express slowly pulled out of the station.
They pulled their heads back into the compartment as the train gradually sped up, and for a moment, they all sat staring at each other, wondering if only one summer together had really changed them all so drastically. Sirius's arm was draped over Monica's shoulders, Emmeline was contently leaning against Remus, and all were chatting amiably, without a hint of a horrible spat in sight.
As Peter, Monica, and Emmeline began contemplating starting a large game of Exploding Snap to pass the time, James caught Lily's eye as she glanced up from her book.
"'Hélas, j'ai Transfiguré mes Pieds'," he pronounced rather fluently, reading the book's spine. "'Alas, I Have Transfigured … My Feet?'"
Lily sighed and tossed the book onto the seat next to her. "Yes, Hestia lent it to me. It's a play by some wizard named Malecrit, but I'm beginning to think the translation's no good."
James laughed and then he shifted uncomfortably. "Could I talk to you for a minute?"
"You are talking to me," Lily pointed out, grinning at him.
"Ha ha, very funny," he said sarcastically. "I'm serious. Outside the compartment? Please?" He looked rather pleadingly at her.
"Oh, alright," she said, a bit taken aback by the look on his face.
Together they maneuvered their way around the array of things strewn about the room until they managed to get outside the compartment.
A sinking feeling suddenly filled Lily's stomach as she turned to close the door. "Alright, what is it you'd like to talk about?" she asked, feeling she had a very good idea what it was going to be.
James cleared his throat and cast a furtive glance at the compartment door, as if he was half-expecting Sirius's grinning face to be peering through the glass. Finally, he said, "That night when you came to my house …"
Lily winced. "Oh. That. That was a mistake."
"A mistake?" he repeated. When she said nothing more, he said, "Explanations are in order, Miss Evans. That was a pretty big mistake."
"Alright," she said, throwing up her hands in surrender. "It was a combination of too many Butterbeers, my sugar-induced suggestion we play Truth or Dare, and Emmeline's sheer idiocy on her choice of a dare for me."
"Ah," James said shortly. "Well. Awkward."
Lily laughed. "If it makes you feel any better, I'm sorry."
James's laughter joined her own. "You would think that Lily Evans apologizing to me would help, but it really doesn't."
"I didn't think it would," she said, shaking her head. "I can promise it won't happen again though."
"Damn," he exclaimed, grinning at her. "That was a hell of a kiss, Lily."
"Oh, sod off, James!" she shouted, failing to sound very angry, opening the compartment door and shoving him through.
"Couldn't if I tried!" James shouted over his shoulder.
Lily just shook her head, and thought, Well, I guess a summer with the arrogant prat didn't turn out so bad after all.
What will next summer bring? Coming soon (hopefully) ...
Will Remus ever tell Emmeline that he is a werewolf or will he continue to keep the fact hidden from her?
Will Monica and Sirius's relationship last or will their constant bickering tear them apart
And as always ... What's on the horizon for Lily and James? Love or romance? Or will something bigger sever the progress they've made?
Again, thank you all for your wonderful support and reviews! The ending was actually supposed to turn out a bit differently with Lily being kind of insensitive and the title for the chapter worked with that ending, but then once I'd finished the chapter, I'd realized I'd forgotten to make Lily insensitive and had to change the title. To suffice, I like the new ending better! I can't set a date for when I'll start the sequel; I'm planning on finishing my Rita Skeeter fic Clawing My Way to the Top before I start the sequel. So if you all want to review and tell me to start finishing it up, so I can start the sequel to Summer with the Arrogant Prat ... (grin) Much much love! E.D.J.