Chapter 15: What You Least Expect
The next morning, Lily woke up before anyone else. Remus was contently snuggled in a blanket, sinking into the couch. Sirius, on the other hand, was contently drooling into his palm. She held back a giggle for fear that any sort of noise would wake them from their slumber. She liked it better this way when they weren't bickering or passing sarcastic remarks. They were peaceful.
Basically starving, Lily went over to see if she could get something out of the vending machine, but when she reach down to grab her food, there was another one in there still.
He hadn't eaten anything last night. He had forgotten his food as soon as he had seen her. It was probably the only time he had ever done that. James had always looked after his stomach before anything else, especially girls. It flattered Lily in an odd way.
She grabbed his bag, as well as hers, to make sure he had something in his stomach. It wouldn't do him any good to look fragile and starved when his mother woke up. It would only worry her more.
Lily walked down the hall, looking through every room as she passed because she didn't exactly know which one the Potters were in. As she was looking into one of the rooms, she bumped straight into a doctor, knocking his clipboard from his hand. He was quite young, and quite handsome, she had to admit.
"Oh, jeez! I'm so sorry. Are you ok?" he had his hand at her elbow.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm fine…" she was muttering while trying to ignore the pain where he was holding. That, would definitely bruise. But when she looked up at him, she managed to forget her pain. He had hazel eyes, too. They were alive and bright even this early in the morning. She hadn't seen such warmth in any pair of eyes since…
"She said she's fine. You can let go now," a sharp voice cut her thoughts.
James was standing behind her. How long had she actually been staring at this doctor? He must think she was a mental patient. But there was James behind her, and he sounded…dare she say, overprotective?
The doctor simply smiled and moved on, without a word.
"That was rude," she spun on him.
"It's early. I'm cranky in the morning, you know this," he muttered.
"I was just going to ask him where the room was. You didn't have to act that way," she scowled.
"Lily. Damn it. It's too early to start arguing with you! And if you were going to ask where the room was, why didn't you ask instead of standing there and making an idiot of yourself with starry eyes?" he shook his head and grumbled to himself walking away from her. She had no choice but to follow him.
"James!" she shouted.
He turned around.
The bag of chips he'd gotten from the machine last night hit him in the chest. He stared at it for a moment in his hands as he tried to remember where it came from in the first place. But then…
"What the hell! You couldn't have just handed it to me?"
"I don't want to be near a grumpy old man in the morning. It's contagious." She spat and turned around, walking in the opposite direction.
What happened to the James Potter from last night? Where was the sweet and gentle person that she had fallen in love with? How many personalities can one person go through!
"Lily, stop," he called out to her.
She kept walking.
"Lily, please! Look, I'm sorry. I'm just not in a good mood in the morning! I'm not a morning person! You can understand that, can't you? Please, Lily. Don't walk away from me..."
The pleading tone in his voice was tearing her apart. She couldn't refuse him when he begged so earnestly. She stopped and turned to face him.
"I hate it when you do that. Do you know that? I absolutely hate it," she said.
"What did I do?"
"Your split personalities! One minute, I feel safe with you, the next minute I want to kill you! I'm tired of switching gears. Can't you stay in one frame of mind! It's driving me insane!" she was flailing her arms around as she spoke, but once she saw James' taut expression, she immediately stopped with her accusations.
"I'm sorry. I can't help it. I'm still tired because I didn't sleep much last night. So, I haven't slept, I haven't eaten…and seeing you…" he stopped and ran his hand through his hair.
"What about me," she urged.
He didn't answer for awhile, but when he looked at her, she saw such hollowness there that his heart was in his eyes.
"I missed you, damn it. That's all. And…" James stopped again to run his hand through his hair. Why was this so hard? He never had speech problems before.
"And, what?" she prodded again.
"Nevermind," he mumbled. But when he saw the look on her face he added, "We'll talk about it later."
She looked at him as if she didn't believe him.
"Tonight. We'll talk tonight."
With this, she was satisfied. She nodded and walked back to the lobby.
However, when she got to the lobby, she found an addition to the group that was
originally there. Remus and Sirius were still sleeping, because it wasn't noon yet, but three more chairs had been filled. Word bile filled Lily's mouth to which she was about to spew, but one of them spoke first.
"How's my Qudditch captain faring?" she asked in a non-concerned manner.
"Diana. What are you doing here?" it came out viciously.
Another voice spoke for her.
"She's here to see James. Is that so hard to believe?" The voice was thick and deep.
Lily shivered. Lucius Malfoy. The arrogance!
"And what are you doing here?" she asked, even though she knew perfectly well that he would have found out she would be here. Yet, he had some nerve coming here when the Marauders were within 10 feet…especially with Sirius within 2 feet. If Sirius woke up to this, he would not be happy. And that would be an understatement.
"I came here to escort Diana. I have to make sure my family is safe. You see, we have to make sure that the pure blood race is protected so that we can start to take over. I'm merely guarding her," Lucius smirked.
"What makes you think that he's going to want to see you? How did you even find out that he was here! You have no idea what's going on! Why don't you just go home. Coming here was a waste of your time," Lily spat. Her hands hand already gone to her hips and she was fuming like a true red head.
"Well, I figured that when James went missing for over a month, I'd do some research. I mean, I can't afford to lose my best customer, can I?" Diana said in a tone that positively inflamed Lily from head to toe. Her cheeks burned from anger and her hands balled into fists.
Your best customer! Lily couldn't even manage to form intelligent speech with all the words she wanted to say running through her mind. Instead, she turned her attention to Lucius.
"If he sees you here, you realize you're going to die?" Lily threatened while motioning towards Sirius.
"He wouldn't dare lay a hand on me or use magic in the Muggle World. Besides—I'm not afraid to kill him," Lucius smirked. It was almost revolting.
"You think that you could kill him? I hope you do know that it's 3 against one if you ever do get the courage to fight. If you mess with one Marauder, you mess with all of them," Lily repeated the words she knew the best in her mind. By themselves, the Marauders were brilliant students in their own right. But together, it was a brotherhood that could not be broken or damage simply because of their combined power and deep friendship.
Lucius simply gave her a look that forebode her destruction. No matter how she tried to ignore it, it disgruntled her a little.
"You could have had any guy you wanted," he started off by saying in a low muttering voice, "BUT YOU RAN TO POTTER!"
"I didn't run to anybody!" Lily said between her teeth. She didn't want to wake up Sirius unless she needed to, and she didn't want to alert James either.
But another sickening feeling came along. Lucius Malfoy, the boy most known for his devotion to the pure blood race, was jealous of James Potter because of a Muggle's love.
"What do you want with me anyway?" Lily couldn't stop herself from asking.
Instantly, Lucius' eyes lit with perverted flame.
"You'd be a slave to my every whim," he said approaching her.
"Oh, please, Malfoy. Is that how your father taught you?" a deep voice came from the door. "Sorry to burst your bloated ego, but can you actually be stupid enough to think that anyone wants to sleep with you?"
Diana let out a squeal or delight at seeing James at the frame of the door, Lily simply tried to hold in a giggle from the look on Malfoy's face at hearing those words, and Malfoy himself was rendered speechless (besides the angry glare tossed in James' direction).
"How long have you been standing there?" Lily asked as he came towards them.
It was a short reply, and Lily could tell that something was wrong. She caught James' eye, and though she thought it was impossible…they seemed even emptier than before when she had seen him not even an hour ago. Something was definitely wrong.
"Why are you here?" he demanded quietly, though the cutting edge of his voice got the point through perfectly fine.
"Me or Diana?" It was a stupid question, but who better to ask it than Malfoy.
"I'm here because I…I missed you," Diana sighed heavily, trying to lure him with her fake tear-filled eyes.
Lily rolled her eyes and folded her arms.
Does she seriously believe that it's going to work?
"I'm here because she was going to go alone. Surely, you wouldn't let your family roam in the middle of the night into the Muggle World where anything could happen to them," Lucius emphasized.
That is exactly what happened. He was playing on James' guilt, making it seem like it was James' fault his parents were in the hospital and that Lucius was a better person for looking out for his family.
"I give my family some sort of protection…you understand? Protection against the possible dangers of traveling where one should not be going. Perhaps if you were a better son, you would have understood that you had to protect your family. It's one of your duties, by the way…"
However, James didn't seem to hear anything he said.
"I thought I told you… that if you ever laid eyes on her again, that I would personally make it my duty… to kill you," James said with a menacing voice.
"You…you never said that," Lucius squinted his eyes at James as if to figure out what exactly came out of him mouth.
Lily already knew the problem. James was Amos when he and Sirius found her in the hall with Lucius. To Lucius, Amos made that threat…not James.
She tried to give James a warning glance, but he didn't seem to see her.
"If I didn't say it then, I'm saying it now. Stay away from her."
"As you wish, Your Highness," he mocked.
For a moment, Lucius and James seemed to have a glaring match…up until Diana sighed heavily again.
"Oh, James. It just breaks my heart to see you in such torment. I…I just don't know what to do. I'm so alone at the castle knowing you're so far away!" she began her sniffling.
Lily rolled her eyes and had the urge to swing a lead pole into Diana's head.
Much too violent…maybe a gag would do just fine. For now.
"I miss you so much, that I can't stand it sometimes!"
"Shut up." James looked disgusted.
Diana gasped as if she was pierced with a knife.
"I'm sick of you and your infatuation. I never even did anything to you to make you believe there was something between us. I never liked you! Never! If I ever did like anything about you, it was the fact that you stopped talking to me to take a breath of air before you died! Leave me alone!" James was frustrated beyond belief. Lily had never seen him like this. He never raised his voice in front of a girl, even if the girl was the most annoying prat in the whole universe.
Diana, however, didn't get the message—the complete moron that she was. Instead, she stepped right in front of James and put her hand on his shoulder.
"I know you don't mean that. People say things they don't mean when they're upset. You can talk to me—I promise, I'll be good…" somehow Lily saw Diana manage a twinkle in her eye under the circumstances.
James glared at the hand on his shoulder, and Diana instantly took it off, as if she had been burned.
"Touch me again, and I promise you'll regret it."
Lily instinctively took a step back. This was so unlike him. He was being cruel, and James—under no circumstances—was ever cruel. The tone of his voice made everyone, even Malfoy shiver from its iciness.
"Well!" Diana gasped, completely offended. It was rattling to know that even with her seductive charms, James Potter was unreachable.
Instead of begging for any further attention from James, Diana spun on Lily and gave her a murderous glare.
"How is it, that a filthy, little, mindless MUDBLOOD can get what she wants and not me?" then a faint smile touched her lips, "I'll get what I want in the end. Even if you have to die for it…"
Lily never broke her eye contact. Diana wanted to make her feel threatened, but Lily wanted to laugh in her face.
"I'm not the mindless one. Try to kill me, and you'll end up killing yourself with the things I can do to you."
"Empty promises do no good," Diana snapped and Apparated.
All that was left was Malfoy. He looked at Lily with a furious stare.
"If you hurt her, you'll regret it. No one touches my family," Malfoy knew what Lily was capable of, and he didn't want Diana to end up in ruin—not to mention shaming the whole family line for generations.
"She'll make the call, Malfoy."
Diana popped in again for one last word. But she wasn't going to attack verbally. She carried a knife in one hand and raised it to Lily's throat before she could react.
Lily didn't even have time to gasp before she heard…
Diana screamed and dropped the knife. Her body with slashed deeply and she seemed to be bleeding so badly that in a few seconds, her face was pale.
"POTTER!" Malfoy screamed, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING!"
With a few mutters, Malfoy restored Diana. She was breathing harshly and glaring furiously at James and Lily.
"I told you to stay the hell away. If you attempt to try it again, I'll make sure Malfoy's not around to save you sorry ass!" James warned dangerously. Even Sirius and Remus seemed uncomfortable in their sleep, surely they could sense James' contained fury.
With a flick of his wand, he set Diana on her feet and gave color back to her skin. Wordlessly, he started walking away.
"Oh, PLEASE, Potter," Malfoy mimicked, "Is that how your father taught you? To walk away?"
James stopped stiffly. It took him a long moment to answer. With tension hanging in the air, Sirius opened his eyes.
He saw Malfoy, but before he could do anything about it, James spoke in a low voice.
"I don't have a father anymore."
Silence rang through the waiting room.
No one dared to move, no one's eyes left James' turned back.
Then he walked off until no one heard his footsteps anymore.