AN: It's been a while, but here I am, back with another chapter of fic for you, beloved reader. Let me assure you that this would have been posted sooner had I not forgot and my computer somehow managed to devour my edited chapter. (I honestly have no idea where that chapter went, which bites, because I had already typed out my author's notes. Rargh.) I feel kind of embarrassed because this chapter is so short. Rest assured, though, that I have not stopped writing. I love this fic and my readers too much. (Now is the time when two people pop up and start barraging me with demands to update Not What We Seem.)

Anyway, here are some general notes on the chapter, for those of you who actually read them.

Spells, which are my own: Mordeo asper – "bitter bite" in Latin, and anathema facere – "banish him" in Latin.

The following books are not inventions of my own, but actual published works.

Discoverie of Witchcraft, Reginald Scot

Nymphidia, Michael Drayton

Enquiry Into Plants, Theophrastus

The Book of Poisons, Gustav Schenk

Existential pockets are also mine.

Many, many thanks to beta Lavinia, who is a goddess of a beta-reader (though I am far from such when it comes to actually getting something posted). Thank her for reminding me that I still had a chapter to post. And now… enjoy!

chapter eighteen

"We can practice in the dungeons until we come up with a better place," said Snape as they neared the end of the secret passage. "There are some sheltered places on the grounds that would work well, too."

Lily remembered looking for Remus the other night and finding him in that strange room. "I think I know of a place, too," she said.

"As long as it's secure," said Snape, and she nodded, even though he couldn't see her behind him.

"This Saturday's a Hogsmeade day," said Lily. "After the Ball committee meeting, everyone'll be gone. We can look for a good place then. Unless you wanted to go to –"

"No," he cut in, "Saturday will be fine."

"All right."

They came to the end of the passageway, and Lily came up short behind Snape. He half-turned, and there they paused for what Lily imagined was an aeon. In the silence of the passage she could hear the whisper of his breath, and in the silver-blue wandlight his black eyes glittered, unearthly. In the tight, enclosed space his presence overwhelmed her, frighteningly close and undeniably there too suddenly for comfort.

He broke the spell, glancing away and laying a careless hand on the shut door. "If you ever need to get out of the dungeons quickly," he told her, "use this passage. The password from this side is mordeo asper."

Saying this, he pushed the door open. A cool, dry rush of dungeon air greeted them, and the sound of voices in the adjoining corridor. Snape waited for Lily to come out of the secret passage before shutting the door, which was disguised as a section of column near the caretaker's office.

Lily watched him as he made sure the door was fully shut, and was still scrutinizing him when he turned around to give her a curious look.

"Thank you," she whispered, and would have continued, but a voice rose near them, and Snape tipped his head in a curt goodbye. And then he was gone, disappeared into the dungeons, skirting and embracing the shadows like some mythical inhuman thing. She watched him fade away, and then, shaking herself, she continued on her own way.

Severus dropped his Charms text on the bed and sat down at the dormitory's only writing desk to break the seal of the scroll that had been carefully tucked in his robes pocket all day. A familiar script met his eye, and he settled comfortably back to read.


It's been some time – too long, by my guess, and I blame myself for not writing sooner. You're a busy fellow, I know – especially this year, which, if I remember correctly, will be your fifth, right? OWLs year. I'd tell you not to let those bastards get you down, but then, I remember your particular inclination toward school and schoolwork, and figure that my advice would be superfluous, as you probably have everything under control.

Don't worry, this letter won't be long. I just want to know a bit about how you're doing, and how you held up under relocation over the summer. Yes, I heard about that; Catilina is a friend of mine; she was the older sister of a classmate at Hogwarts. She'd left school before us, but I knew her from my visits during the summer. Don't worry, though; she hasn't been telling tales. She just mentioned her fabulous new potions genius the last time I was over at Julianne's, and I found out the rest for myself. I want to offer my condolences, and also, if you like, you could come visit me at my Uncle Herbert's. (A fantastic old bloke, Mum's older brother – he knows everything there is to know about Dark artefacts, and has quite a history with the Ministry – Mum disapproves like mad, of course, but isn't that the general idea?)

Oh, and Catilina did happen to mention your red-headed girlfriend in our little chat; says she was something of a regular after she found out you worked at the shop. – Ooh, I wish I was there in person to see the look on your face! I can hear your voice now – "Girlfriend? Don't be absurd, Maria."

I'm just teasing, you know that. But I'm not going to go any further, because I'm sure I'd end up embarrassing you, and I'm rather hoping you'll write me back.

In jest,


Severus carefully rolled the parchment back up. If it had come from anyone else, he wouldn't have hesitated in sending a strong hex by way of owl, but as it was Maria, he could almost shrug off her ribbing. Summoning his quill case from his bedside table, he began to form his reply.


School is fine. The advice, hypothetical as it is, will be appreciated, especially as the advent of the first hails the beginning of Quidditch season and its loads of conflicting addenda.

I know it will come as such a surprise to you, but I must decline your invitation to your uncle's. While it sounds fascinating, I'm afraid that I can't spare the time away from work, and I shall be returning to the shop over the holidays. I wouldn't be averse to you visiting me there, however, and I'm certain Catilina will welcome a distraction. She always does, even in Evans' case, though she does like to feign indignation at her intrusion.

Evans is less of an accessory than you seem to think. I haven't much to say on the subject other than we have come to an agreement of sorts, and are more or less resigned to concord. I'd really prefer you didn't address me about it, as the matter is inconsequential.

I'm sending this in the next post. Service here is pathetic – but you remember how it is, I'm sure, so I won't waste parchment on unnecessary details. Have a pleasant Hallowe'en.


Severus bound the letter with a piece of twine and left the dormitory. The dungeons were particularly damp, and though the Slytherin common room and dorms were warded against the wet, the corridors outside were not, and he saw half-frozen puddles at the edges of the corridor. He shivered inside his fraying jumper, and tried to ignore the subterranean chill.

It wasn't much better up in the Owlery, which was open to the darkening skies and littered with bird-droppings and feathers. He sneezed twice, startling a couple of sleeping birds, and carefully made his way over to a nearby perch, where a school owl was roosting.

Having dispatched the bird with his message, Severus hasted out of the Owlery and back down into the warmth of the school. Classes were out for the day, and for once he had nothing to do. He wasn't used to having time to kill, and he was hard-pressed to come up with something with which to occupy himself: the Quidditch pitch was occupied, and he didn't feel like holing himself up in the library. It was really too cold to go back down to the dormitories any sooner than absolutely necessary. He thought about calling on Evans, but he soon pushed that idea right out: he didn't know where to find her, and he was hardly going to go ask.

The cold weather warranted some bodily comfort, he decided. He hadn't gotten a chance to use the prefects' bathroom, though he had seen it and been impressed despite himself. It was there he headed, and after a hot bath he succumbed to temptation and lay out on one of the gently heated marble slabs that ringed the walls of the bath, and thought about the events of the past few days.

His humiliation over being bested once again by Potter was increased sevenfold by the fact that Evans had been there to witness it, and that she had championed him. However, his thoughts as of late were increasingly prone to gravitate toward the conversation he had had with her last Tuesday at the end of Arithmancy. He had not meant anything in particular by inquiring after Lupin's health, but then he had realized that his innocent query had revealed a hitherto unconsidered set of mysterious coincidences which seemed to bear rather more magnitude than Evans assigned to them.

For Lupin was indeed ill often. Not every week, as Evans had exaggeratedly stated, but far more often than was usual for a boy of Lupin's strength, which Snape knew from personal experience was considerable, even when the boy was at his most haggard-looking. He disappeared regularly as clockwork, it seemed, but Severus couldn't recall seeing him in the infirmary on any of the many occasions that Eberwulf employed him as a courier bearing crates of Pepperup or Dreamless Sleep to the nurse. Nor could he recall fuss made over the oft-infirm prefect, or gossip pertaining to the nature of his injuries. Lupin didn't seem an especially active boy; when the rest of the Gryffindors were out flying, Lupin generally sat in the stands and watched.

Severus rested his chin on his arms, relishing the oppressive steam of the bath and the warmth of the marble flat against his stomach. What did it point to? It was a bothersome thought, like a scab at which he couldn't help but pick. But he couldn't achieve a firm enough grasp on it to work it out; he lacked information, if not incentive. He didn't hold any particular grudge against Lupin, except a vague disdain that such an intelligent fellow would deign to associate with Potter and Black. He supposed that his meagre respect for Lupin would be enough to condemn him in the eyes of his housemates, but he couldn't help but respect someone who was so very much like himself. It was true – Lupin, while firmly ensconced among the Gryffindors, was a solitary sort of creature; Severus could tell by the way he distanced himself from Potter and Black's antics. Lupin respected Severus, and had always been civil to him, unless provoked. Severus almost regretted those times he had harassed the quiet Gryffindor, before he had realized that Lupin, unlike Potter and Black, was not out to get him.

Severus sighed and sat up, wiping the perspiration from his brow. There was no use in mulling over it now, when he had no information to go on and the heat of the bath was beginning to muddle his senses. He left the warmth of the marble slab and, some minutes later, after having dressed and run a comb through his hair, he departed the steamy bath in favour of the chilly bowels of the castle.

Lily took a quick shower to wash off the greenhouse grime before heading down to the library. She was early by a quarter of an hour, but she intended to find some charms texts that might help with the project she had abandoned over the summer. To tell the truth, she was getting fed up with it, and the only reason she kept at it was because she refused to resign herself to silence during her months away from home. She thought it perfectly ridiculous that she should build up such a collection of albums to which she only got to listen three months out of the year. And it was true – she had many more albums than cassettes tapes, but vinyl was a lot less portable than tape, and it wasn't like she had room for a record player that wouldn't function.

With the help of the crotchety librarian, she found a couple books that might help her, and she sat down at one of the study tables near the front doors of the library. Around four, students began to trickle in to join her, and by four-fifteen she had an almost-full table.

"Well," she said after greeting everyone, "I'm kind of at a loss without Maria here this year. Um. And I'm not really good at speaking in front of groups. Basically, though, I wanted to reform last year's club and do something useful with our knowledge of charms. So – first things first. We need to decide what our goals for the year will be."

There was a silence, and those present – which amounted to five or six students ranging from lowly first-year to lofty upper-former – looked at each other expectantly.

Lily cleared her throat. "Uh, well, I, for one, thought it would be good if we could – you know – go mainstream, so to speak. You know. Because in the past, the charms club has always been pretty much a private group, not acknowledged by the school as an official club. I have no idea why, especially considering the size of group we had last year."

"I think it's because, as a private group, we can exclude those who we don't believe will apply themselves," said Hortensia, shaking back her long dark hair. "If we go – mainstream, as you say, we'll be obligated to include those who don't take a real interest in charms, and want to join for other reasons."

"I don't know," said Lily. "That sounds plausible. But if we had the support of the school, we'd have more opportunities available to us, I think."

"Like what?" asked Dorcas Meadowes, a blue-eyed Ravenclaw in Lily's year.

"Like funding," Lily replied.

"Funding for what?" snorted a younger Slytherin boy Lily hadn't seen before.

"Books. Materials."

"Can't we fund ourselves?" asked William Wallace, the Hufflepuff Lily recognized from the previous year.

"Well, we could," said Lily slowly, "but we'd have more opportunities as an official club than a private one. Perhaps we could talk Professor Flitwick into taking us on a field trip. And as an official club, we might also be allowed to help out the prefects with decorations for the ball, or assist in the maintenance of the castle."

"And why would we want to do a thing like that?" asked the Slytherin boy. "That's why they have groundskeepers."

Lily frowned. "I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name."

"Bertram Woods," said the Slytherin, drawing himself up as if the name should mean something to her. It didn't.

"Well, Bertram," said Lily, "you are obviously new. The whole point of this club is to learn, and the best way to learn is to put into practical use all those theories Professor Flitwick's been cramming in your head for the past – what, two years?"

"Excuse me," Bertram Woods sniffed, "but I refuse to lower myself to the level of a common janitor."

"Then I'm sorry, but I'm afraid that this club isn't for you," Lily said coolly, feeling suddenly quite put out with the boy. "The rest of us aren't afraid to get our hands dirty."

Suddenly realizing the boldness with which she made that speech, she glanced to the rest of the group, feeling the flush on her cheeks as five pairs of eyes met hers. But to her relief, most of the group met her gaze with proud and approving ones of their own.

"That's right, Woods," said William Wallace. "Evans is right."

Lily watched as Bertram's face reddened. "I am not," he said heatedly, "going to voluntarily scrub flagstones or – or – muck the Owlery!"

"You'd be using a wand," said a smart-looking Ravenclaw sixth-year Lily knew only as Brody.

"It doesn't make a difference!" Bertram snarled, standing up so violently that his chair wobbled and threatened to tip. "I am no common house-elf!"

Lily sighed and stifled the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose. "If you don't want to participate in club activities, Bertram, why do you even want to join?"

"Maybe I don't," Bertram snapped, eyes bright and nostrils flaring.

"Then leave," said William Wallace, and Bertram snapped his head round so quickly he winced.

"Make me," he said belligerently.

Lily ground her teeth, but it was William Wallace who responded first, drawing his wand.

"Anathema facere," he said with a slashing wand movement, and Bertram Woods suddenly found himself being propelled from the library by forceful invisible hands. He didn't go silently, but shrieked protests at the top of his lungs, and the sound of his yells and the library door slamming shut behind him brought the librarian speedily to the scene.

"What is all this noise?" she hissed, eyes livid and cheeks white.

"Sorry, ma'am," said Wallace with a courteous little bow. "Second-year fudged a charm. Won't happen again, I assure you."

"No jinxes in the library," Madame Pince stressed, and Wallace regarded her with wide-eyed innocence.

"Of course not! No, we were just practicing some charms, and Woods' backfired. Sent him to the nurse straight away. We'll leave if you prefer, though; right?"

The rest of the group nodded at the librarian.

"I won't tolerate noise in the library," said Madame Pince, and Wallace dipped another bow.

"Next time we'll meet in the courtyard, then. Evans?"

Surprised, Lily glanced at him. "I guess," she said, scratching her ear. "Um. Is the meeting over, then?"

"Shall we make a motion to adjourn?" Wallace replied.

"Hold on a second," said Hortensia brightly. "Shouldn't we take roll? To keep track of who was here, and whether anyone new comes next time?"

Lily exchanged a look with Wallace, and shrugged. "I suppose that would be a good idea," she said, and accepted the roll of parchment Hortensia immediately offered her. With a flourish of the seventh-year's Ever-Inking quill, she signed her name at the top of the list. William Wallace followed suit, and when the parchment had been passed around the table they had collected a grand total of six signatures.

"Should we mark down Bertram Woods' name too?" said Hortensia.

"Sure, for posterity's sake, if not for anything else," Lily said, and Hortensia jotted down Woods' name, house and year in her neat script.

"Motion to adjourn?" Wallace said, once this ritual was completed.

"Seconded," said Hortensia, and there was a shuffling as people gathered the few things they had brought and stood to leave.

"Meeting again next Wednesday?" Hortensia called out, and Lily gave an affirmative nod.

"In the courtyard if it's nice out," she said. "Otherwise we'll go to the Great Hall."

"And we can elect officers," said Hortensia happily, and Lily gave her an uncertain smile before bidding her goodbye.

That went well, she thought wryly as she climbed the steps to her dormitory. Talk about a disaster. Nothing had been accomplished other than the exclusion of a Slytherin. So much for house unity and forward thinking – God, why can't I do anything right?

Entering the dorm, Lily slung her satchel onto her red and gold bedspread. "Be lucky if anyone shows up next week," she muttered to herself, going to the window opposite her bed and opening it. A chill October breeze drifted over the wide stone sill and across the hardwood floor. Lily kicked off her shoes and padded back across the floor sock-footed.

Perhaps it'll go better next time, a hopeful voice in the back of her mind piped up, but she was inclined to doubt it. She couldn't remember for certain the exact reaction of the other students after Wallace expelled Woods from the library, but she couldn't get the image of a dozen shocked and disapproving faces out of her mind.

Meanwhile, she had another thing on which to concentrate. The ball was coming up in two weeks, and apparently they would have to officially decide on music and main entrée on Saturday. That wasn't to mention the lesson she had scheduled with Snape after the prefects' meeting, and she had to find that room again, the one with the disappearing door, in which she had found Remus. She had passed through that hallway earlier today, but she hadn't seen the door. Maybe it had been the wrong hallway….

Lily sighed and flopped on her bed. No use fretting about it now. She dug her Divination homework from her bag and began working.

Saturday morning dawned with the chilly threat of snow hanging low above the castle. The common areas of the school were knots of confusion as students in high spirits prepared for the trip to the neighbouring village. The prefects got their meeting over and done with as quickly as possible, and no sooner than they adjourned did they make a rush for the horseless carriages that took them to Hogsmeade.

Lily stayed behind in the prefect lounge, pleading an upset stomach to Remus, before his sceptical look reminded her that he already knew. She apologized and told him her real motive for staying behind, whereupon he gave a slight frown, shrugged his shoulders, and told her to try to enjoy herself. He left then, wrapping up in his patched brown coat, promising to bring her back some butterbeer. As he left the room, he bumped into Snape coming in, who gave him a beady look before letting the other prefect pass by.

Lily watched Remus disappear off down the hall before turning to Snape, who was observing her with a calm interest.

"Did you tell him?" he asked quietly, shutting the door behind them.

Lily felt her cheeks flame up irrationally. "Yes," she said, and tried the approach of not explaining herself. But to her surprise he did not explode, nor even berate her.

"I thought so," he said simply, and stepped out of the room. "You said you knew of a place to study."

Clearing her throat, Lily nodded. "I think so. That is, I'm fairly sure where it is, but it's kind of hard to find…. You know the castle, it likes to change…."

"It's not going to take all afternoon just to find this room, is it?" Snape frowned. "If you don't know where it is, we might as well practice in here." He gestured toward the room they had just left.

"I know where it is," Lily said, sounding surer than she felt, and they started down the hall.

Five minutes later they had arrived at the appropriate hallway, but no door was in sight. Blushing, Lily paced back and forth through the hallway, examining the hanging tapestries and the suit of armour tucked away in a niche by a window. But there was still no door. Snape watched her with a critical eye for a full minute before speaking.

"You did say it was this hallway, didn't you?"

"It's here somewhere," Lily said hastily. "I just – don't know exactly –"

But at that moment, as she made her third pass down the hall, she spotted it. It was a narrow and somewhat crooked portal, nestled deep within the wall, not unlike, Lily thought, a slit in a butterfly box. Its mantle was decorated with deep runic engravings, ones of protection and concealment, and it was by these that she recognized it. She honestly didn't know how she could have missed it, and it was apparent that Snape was as surprised as she, as she heard him give a short intake of breath.

"I suppose that's it?" he said.

"…I think so," Lily said shakily, and went to the door. Snape strode over and stilled her hand before she could open the door.

"How are you so sure it's safe?" he asked, maddeningly, and his grip tightened slightly on her wrist. Lily shivered and tried to slow her unsettled heartbeat.

"How dangerous do you think it could be? This is Hogwarts, after all."

Snape's mouth twisted upward wryly. "I can't begin to tell you how hole-riddled and illogical that argument is."

"I've been in there before," Lily said, still quite aware of his hand around hers, but not entirely anxious to extract herself from his grip. "And I've obviously not been bitten in half."

"You seem to be under the misconception that I'm not serious."

"Good grief, Snape," Lily sighed, "will you lighten up? It's just a classroom. Besides, everyone else is at Hogsmeade, if that's what you're worried about."

And before he could formulate an answer to that, she had reached out with her left hand and opened the door.

Her breath caught in her throat at the sight that met her eyes.

"Evans, where did you find this place?"

Lily pulled her hand out of his and crept reverently into the room, which was furnished with all the trappings of a professional Defence classroom. There were gadgets, tables, a potions station and a cabinet of ingredients, and bookshelves chocked full of dusty tomes and scrolls. She and Snape dropped their satchels and headed directly for these shelves, and entertained themselves for a few minutes, reading out titles to each other.

"A Hex for Every Season, Moist Braggin," said Snape.

"Twelve Ways to Duel, Gertie Blutwald," Lily countered.

"Enquiry into Plants, Theophrastus."

"Discoverie of Witchcraft, Reginald Scot."

"Nymphidia, Michael Drayton."

"The Book of Poisons, Gustav Schenk."

Snape's head snapped around. "Let me see that," he demanded.

She handed over the little volume, and he took it and opened it reverently. His hands caressed the water-stained pages and he seemed totally absorbed for a moment before he snapped out of it.

"Well. This certainly is impressive," he said briskly, "but time's wasting. To work."

And they got to work. Lily hadn't practiced all week and was beaten sorely, but Snape didn't ridicule her when he knocked her over with a simple Disarming spell, but merely had her try again. They practiced until they both realized they were starving and had missed lunch, and they debated going down to the kitchens to rummage up something to eat.

"I have a better idea," said Lily, and out of nowhere she produced a sack of ham and Swiss sandwiches, crisps, and biscuits. Feeling immensely pleased with herself, she almost didn't notice Snape's glare.

"What?" she said as she noticed his suspicious expression. "Don't you like ham?"

"If you don't mind me asking, how did you manage that?" he demanded, not sounding much like he worried whether or not she minded his question. "Existential pockets are highly restricted charms."

Lily beamed. "Flitwick helped me learn how to do it. It wasn't – well, I'm not going to say it wasn't difficult, because that's not true, but he said I showed an aptitude for it, and the last month he's helped me learn. Believe me, it wasn't easy. The first few times I managed to conjure a successful pocket, it would end up collapsing and would swallow whatever I'd put in it. I lost an entire scroll of notes before I decided I'd practice with crumpled parchment until I perfected it."

Meanwhile, she was separating the sandwiches, and as she reached the end of her speech she held one out to Snape. "Ham sandwich?"

He accepted it, but his frown didn't fade. "But they're restricted," he repeated. "You have to sign a waiver stating you won't hold the International Charms Bureau responsible if you lose something valuable, and you also have to sign a paper stating that you will not use your pockets for smuggling or anything else illegal, and then they have to decide whether they actually want you using the pockets – "

"I know, Snape," Lily said, rolling her eyes as she opened the crisp packet. "I did all that. I mean, I have an arm, I can sign whatever they put in front of me. And Flitwick is a highly respected member of the International Charms Society, and he vouched for me. All in all, the most difficult bit was just learning how to do it."

Snape frowned and unwrapped his sandwich; however, he did not broach the subject again. Instead: "Do you want to practice more after we're done, or do you think we should quit for today?"

Lily shrugged. "I dunno. I kind of have homework. Arithmancy in particular; that assignment he gave us Thursday…."

"I've started on it," said Snape between bites. "It's not difficult."

"Maybe not for you," Lily grumbled, and Snape gave a surprising snort.

"Don't fool yourself. You're just as good as I am. And they're just worksheets; it's not as if they require any abstract thinking." His voice was filled with scorn.

Lily smirked. "Maybe so. But in any case, I'd like your input. There is the essay at the end, if you'll remember. Who will you write about?"

"I've no idea," Snape admitted. "I'm planning on visiting the library later this afternoon and do some research."

"I'll come with you," Lily said thoughtlessly. "I could probably use your input."

Snape was silent for a moment, and when she looked up at him she saw that his face was carefully blank. "Are you sure that's a very good idea?" he said neutrally.

Lily suddenly realized her error. "Er. Possibly not the best," she conceded, and then schooled her features into a casual expression. "Ridiculous, though, assigning an essay on a famous arithmancer. As if there are any. Bet you ten galleons that half the class writes about Nicholas Flamel."

He laughed, and when he stopped short he looked just as surprised as she did.

They finished their lunch hastily. When the last chocolate biscuit had been neatly devoured, Lily gathered up the trash and, not able to help a bit of showing off, opened up another existential pocket and disposed of the miscellaneous wrappers.

Snape shook his head at her casual behaviour, an I-can't-believe-you're-using-an-existential-pocket-as-a-dustbin look on his face, but he made no comment and dug through his satchel for his Arithmancy things.

They settled down at the table again and began studying in companionable silence, one occasionally announcing a pertinent find in their textbook to the other or making a suggestion as to the essay portion of the assignment. They finished the eleven worksheets relatively soon, and having done so they made the decision to adjourn. As they packed their things away, Lily noticed that Snape slipped The Book of Poisons into his bag, but she didn't comment. At the door, they glanced at one another, and Lily sighed.

"Next Saturday, then?"

Snape nodded. "Same time?"

"As long as the prefect meeting doesn't run over."

He nodded again, compressing his lips. Lily had come to recognize this look as one he put on when he was restraining himself from saying something he really wanted to say. She looked at him expectantly, and as the silence stretched out she noticed that his breathing was a little shaky, a little irregular – that his nostrils flared with every other breath, that his eyes blinked a little too fast, that his fingers were white on the leather strap of his worn satchel. He really wanted to say something.

Her silly heart skipped a beat or two, and she licked her lips expectantly, but suddenly he was all motion: he pushed past her and through the door, muttering a brief goodbye on his way out. Lily was left standing at the door, hand fluttering over her heart, her pulse dancing and her breath constricted. Her thoughts whirled in her mind, dashing this way and that and crashing into one another, effectively preventing her from sorting anything out. Her curiosity pushed into overdrive, and the need to satisfy it was overwhelming, but what could she do but leave the fantastic room and somehow find her way back to her dormitory?

She meandered back to Gryffindor Tower.