A/N: So I sat down at the computer today, and I said to myself, I said, "Holly, you are finishing Newton today."
And so I did. Somewhat. I suppose it's now actually tomorrow, being that it's nearly 1 in the morning, but that's a mere technicality, isn't it?
So, here it is, the third and final chapter. Not quite as long as the last, but I do hope you still enjoy it. Tell me what you think, loo-hoos!
Disclaimer: Every Illegally Claimed Potterverse has an equal and opposite Bank-breaking Lawsuit. Not mine.
Newton Knows Best Chapter Three:
The Third Law
Because I love it.
And for Cath,
Because she has a thing
for Grawp's nipples.
...And I love her.
Madam Pomfrey was pissed off.
Glass vials of brightly-colored, putrid-smelling, frolicsomely-fizzing potions tinkled furiously as she sifted through them with deft fingers, like a chandelier that's had the misfortune of becoming the preferred headquarters of a certain petulant poltergeist called Peeves. Lily wondered vaguely which Unbreakable Charm had been used on them and whether or not, if she used it on herself, it would help prevent her from breaking down and dissolving into hysterical torrents of tears.
Somehow, she thought it wouldn't.
"Come on, James," she muttered, leaning over the inert form of a black-haired, sopping-wet boy whose broken spectacles she removed gently and set on the table beside the crisp white-sheeted hospital bed, "Wake up, now."
Tears blurred his figure as she removed his glasses, as if they had been removed from her own face, and she sniffed pitifully as a droplet fell from an eyelash and dripped onto his nose. The chinking of the vials stopped suddenly, and Lily quickly brought an arm up to wipe her face with her sleeve.
"Oh, for Merlin's love of pumpkin juice, the boy's wet enough already without you crying all over him, Miss Evans," it was said in a stern tone that didn't fit the compassionate action of handing the sniffling girl a small handkerchief.
Lily took the offered tissue with what was to be presumed an apologetic remark, though it sounded somewhat more like a doxy agonizing through his dying throws after having been lightly spritzed with a gentle mist of Demented Don's Deranged as a Dementor Doxy Decimator Drizzle.
Lily Evans was distraught.
It was fairly obvious, what with her unintelligible gurgles and wailings, but it can also be said that had the entire world been deaf and unable to hear these worrying sniffles, her distraught state of being could have still been deciphered from the simple fact that she was clutching in both hands, James Potter's limp left hand and holding his fingers tenderly to her chin.
It was a sight that warranted the extreme overuse of italics as well as the extreme over-surprise of one Remus J. Lupin.
"Um, Lily?" he queried uncertainly, quite convinced that he was perhaps hallucinating the vision before him. He tugged the edge of the flower-printed hangings blocking his hospital bed from view aside a bit more and squinted towards the bed opposite the room.
Lily, for her part, did not give quite the pitiful, blubbering, agonizing-death-throws-of-a-doxy answer to poor Remus as she had to the school nurse, but she did counteract that small favor by turning to look at him with wide, glistening, sad eyes and a trembling lower lip that just barely brushed the tops of his best friend's curled, limp fingers.
Remus thought that perhaps he should have stayed hidden behind his curtains. That or cracked the water pitcher beside his bed over his skull. Maybe catapulted himself out the window behind him. Or impaled himself with the metal leg of the bedside table. Teenaged boys and crying girls are a combination wrought with discomfort, and the teenaged boys, for one, would quite rather go on a date with a hag with a body odor difficulty than be faced with said crying girls.
Their reasoning behind it was quite simple, and most often quite accurate…whatever they did in the situation, it was almost always the wrong thing.
Such was Remus J. Lupin's logic when faced with a crying Lily Evans. But being that he was perfectly unable to ignore her sad gaze without feeling himself a despicable, insensitive prat worthy of stoning and mudslinging, and being that he was also perfectly unable to move fast enough to catapult himself out the window properly after his transformation the night before, he submitted to his fate and consulted his brain in order to remember the list of rules the male population of Hogwarts had devised on the subject.
Rule Number One: Be sympathetic.
He could do that.
"Er…er, um…what's…what's wrong?"
Remus' mind flew into a panic and he cursed himself for not remembering the second rule (Never, ever, under any circumstances ask the question 'what's wrong?' if you don't want to have to cast multiple drying spells on your shirt and/or listen to an hour long, unintelligible explanation that you will then have to pass the correct judgment upon lest you want a heavy object thrown at your head.), as his query was met with a tiny, quavering whimper and rivulets of tears streaming down the distraught girl's face. She gasped in a little breath before she whispered, audible only to Remus, and that was because it was just a full moon and his hearing was a bit sharper than usual,
"I thought…I thought I'd killed him with a bludger."
Remus thought fleetingly that surely there was a quite hilarious story behind that particular statement, but deduced that querying on that line of thought would most likely induce more tears from Miss Evans, and therefore decided to focus on the positive.
"Well, he isn't killed though, is he?"
It was said with an encouraging sort of tone, accompanied by a soft, sympathetic sort of wave of the hand towards the limp form that was Mr. Potter, and a hesitant sort of smile that suggested the severe trepidation Mr. Lupin was currently feeling as to what, exactly, the Crying Girl would do next.
Which, as completely amazing as it may be, was to cry some more.
"No," she wailed, "he isn't killed, but I thought he was killed! He might have been killed!"
Remus squirmed in his hospital bed as if unnecessary movement might provide some sort of barrier between him and the Crying Girl, and in his state of complete mystification as to what to do, settled upon grabbing his water glass quickly and draining what little didn't splash out as a result of the sudden seizing of it. He set it down quickly again, though in a bit more gentle manner than when he'd picked it up, and scratched the back of his head uncomfortably.
"Erm…well…still, he isn't killed. That's a check in the pro column, isn't it?"
Remus liked to think in terms of charts and graphs, as it were, due in part to his, as his friends referred to it, "beastly ailment," with which it was necessary to constantly consult moon charts. Also in the favor of charts and graphs was the fact that it took a chart of ingredients, and a web graph of spells, and an interesting map of Hogwarts, for his three friends to learn to be Animagi and help him out with his previously mentioned "beastly ailment."
Therefore, he often referred to pro columns and con columns. Especially since he often thought of his life in this way.
Pro to Lycanthropy: He could smell when the house elves were making treacle tart all the way from two corridors up from the Great Hall, and could therefore maneuver his way to the front of The Marauders in order to get there first, and get his share before the other three attacked it like starving hinkypunks and left none for a kind-hearted werewolf.
Con to Lycanthropy: Beastliness.
Simple logic, see. It helped him put his life in perspective.
Lily Evans, however, didn't seem to share in his logic, and in response to his comment about pro columns, only burst into another flood of tears. She then, in order to comply with, and I know you were wondering when this would come up, the great Sir Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion, counteracted his statement with a con of her own.
Every Action has an Equal and Opposite Reaction. Capitalized as with a title as a result of it being so important.
"He…may…not be…dead," she gasped out between sobs, "But he…is…totally…incapacitated and…not…moving and he…made me think…he isn't…he isn't…" Miss Evans found she could not finish her statement due to the fact that the finishing of it would have quite overstepped the 'equal and opposite' bit of the 'reaction' bit of the 'law,' and everyone knows you can't break a law.
Remus Lupin, however, had aided and abetted and more times than not actively participated in breaking the law, and therefore saw no reason to resist the overstepping of one.
"Made you think he isn't what?"
Lily shook her head furiously and buried her face on James' chest. A muffled answer floated to Remus from across the room, and he frowned.
"He isn't a lad stuck in Jell-O?" Remus scratched the side of his nose. "No, I don't suppose he is, but you'd better not mention that to him, because he'd think it a grand idea and then I'd be stuck having to remove him…and Sirius, for that matter. Better not tell him about it either."
Lily lifted her head to stare across the room at Remus. He was relieved to find that she was no longer crying. Only sniffing occasionally.
"I didn't say anything about Jell-O. I said I thought he wasn't a bad sort of fellow."
Remus looked at her. "Oh," he said, "well, all the same, I'd appreciate it if you didn't mention the Jell-O idea to him, because…did you say that you didn't think James was a bad sort of fellow?"
Lily buried her head back in James' chest and nodded.
"And we're talking about James?"
She nodded again.
"The one you're face is buried on?"
"Of the Sixth Year boys' dormitory in Gryffindor Tower?"
"James Potter, boy who charmed all your books to show you only page 267 of your next class' text in third year?"
No- Lily's head snapped up. "That was him?"
"Moooonnnyyy! Why would you tell her that?"
Both Remus' and Lily's heads snapped to the previously limp body residing on the hospital bed beside Lily.
"James!" they both cried, and Lily threw her arms around his neck.
James' eyes widened a bit before he suddenly squinted them and turned his face towards Lily's head on his shoulder.
"I'm blind without my glasses," he said, turning to look sorrowfully past her shoulder at Remus, "but I can tell that's Lily's hair right there. I hate it when Pomfrey gives me that Skele-Gro. It always makes me have hallucinations like this."
Remus merely raised an eyebrow at his friend before there was suddenly a flurry of motion, and Lily Evans reared back to smack James Potter on the chest. James' eyes widened considerably.
"Except she usually doesn't do that," he mentioned, before he was smacked once again, and ceased all other activity besides covering his head with his arms and backing into his pillows for protection.
Lily huffed at his cowering and snatched his glasses from the table. Grabbing his hand, she shoved them into it before sitting back and crossing her arms over her chest. James unfolded his arms from his head slowly and cut his eyes to her warily as he slowly put on his glasses.
"Are you going to hit me again?"
He was answered with narrowed eyes.
More narrowed eyes. James turned to Remus.
"Moony, is she going to hit me again?"
Remus glanced at the angry (but, thank Merlin's flannel boxer shorts, no longer crying) girl.
"She might," he said. "Depends."
James cut his eyes back to Lily. "On what?"
"No idea. It's just that usually with girls it depends."
James took his eyes off Lily long enough to throw Remus a disgusted look. "A lot of help you are," he said.
Remus just shrugged and leaned over to dig through the school bag at the side of his bed, effectively disengaging himself from the conversation and leaving his friend entirely and completely alone to face the Angry Girl.
He heard James shift in his bed and then a tentative, "So…Lilo. How're things?"
Remus winced for his friend and ducked behind his Transfiguration textbook.
There was a huff from Lily, and then, "How're things? Oh, I'll tell you how things are, James Potter. Things are very bad, that's how things are."
James reached up to run a hand through his hair, but stopped when he realized his entire head was bandaged and Lily was eyeing his hand with severe annoyance.
"Are they?" he asked. "Well, that's…that's…very bad," he finished lamely.
Lily nodded curtly. "Yes, it is," she said.
There is a specific gene resting in the very middle, central part of the second X chromosome in the female karyotype, which allows the female the ability to circumnavigate actually voicing audibly and in incontrovertible terms, the specific transgressions of a male, and in fact force him to admit, inadvertently of course, his own contravention in no uncertain terms, thereby leaving him with his own hole very successfully dug and no means by which to un-dig himself.
In other words, the ability to confuse James Potter to the point of incriminating and/or quite thoroughly setting himself up for impending doom was programmed into Lily Evans' DNA.
This is the rather unnecessarily complicated explanation for what happened next. But, in more comprehensive terms, we can just go back to the third law.
Here is the action:
James Potter squirmed in his hospital bed as Lily Evans simply sat staring at him intensely, in an almost accusing sort of manner, until he simply could not take it anymore, and determined that if he didn't at the very least ask her why things were so bad, he would go the rest of his life thinking himself lower than the lowest point in the ocean. Dirtier than the dirtiest section of Severus Snape's greasy hair. More pathetic than the most pathetic wail issuing from Myrtle's haunted bathroom.
And so on and so forth on that line of thought.
He therefore brought a hand to the back of his neck, nervously glanced at the intensely staring Lily Evans, and asked, "Erm…uh…why? Are things so bad?"
Here is the equal and opposite reaction:
Flaming eyes, James Potter would swear to it in days to come, her eyes had caught fire.
"Because of you, James Potter, it is entirely your fault!" And thus began the rant. It was a full-fledged rant, one in which many subjects were discussed, and then discussed further still, and discussed even further after that, until James Potter's eyes were stuck quite thoroughly in an abnormally wide position as a result of the discovery that quite possibly every single very bad thing that had ever happened to anyone on the entire planet could be attributed to himself and his "prat-like characteristics."
It was a rant on cold feet (in the literal sense, of course, being that her feet were rather freezing due to the excessive amount of snow that wedged itself in her shoes as she dragged him up to the hospital wing), on sore shoulders (as a result of the actual dragging bit I just mentioned), on faulty anger management techniques (she didn't like to admit that the technique had actually worked quite well up to the point at which it caused his head to be bludged in.), on making her think he was deader than Merlin's favorite pet pixie (she also didn't like to admit that he really couldn't help that fact since she'd inadvertently bludged his head in), and, most importantly of all, on-
"---making me think you're not a bad sort of fellow. Maybe even a decent sort of fellow! A decent bloke. You, James. Can you imagine? I will never forgive you for this! Never!"
For those of you who think that this could not possibly be an equal and opposite reaction to the simple question "why?", I will simply remind you that Lily Evans is a female, James Potter is a male, and Lily Evans had been recently reprimanded, annoyed, accidentally fondled, scared magicless, and forced to admit something she didn't want to admit by one James Potter, and if you've ever been in the presence of a severely stressed female, you'll wonder why I didn't include an explosion and a swift kick in the unmentionables in the reaction.
James' poor brain had quite imploded by this point, especially because he'd received a very severe bludge to the head as well as a long-winded speech by an angry Miss Evans, and he found himself incapable of any sort of intelligible thought besides that of,
"You think I'm a decent sort of fellow?"
And if Lily hadn't indeed thought this very thing, her response to the query might have been slightly more…violent, shall we say.
Instead, she merely nodded once and said quite matter-of-factly, "Yes, I do. And I will never forgive you for it."
All James could manage in response to this was a slowly-spreading grin and a bit of an excited bounce before he looked over her head across the room.
"Oy, Moony!" he called, "Did ya hear that?"
Advanced Transfiguration was not removed from it's position poised in front of Remus' face as the boy answered.
"I heard nothing. I am not a part of this conversation. I will not be caught in the middle, and I will not be scraping your remains from the ceiling if you piss her off any more. I am not here. You cannot see me."
A hand reached out from behind the book with these words, and the flowery curtain about his hospital bed was whisked closed quickly, the bottom fluttering a bit at the sudden movement before all was once again silent. Remus J. Lupin had been involved in far too many disputes in which he was the peacemaker, and as he had Charms with Miss Evans, and had seen what she could make a disobedient porcupine do as punishment for stabbing her with one of its quills, he decided that being the middle-man for any dispute in which she was on one side would be a definite check mark in the con column of his life.
Therefore, all that could be heard in the room was the water dripping slowly off the edge of Remus' bedside table from when he'd grabbed his glass too quickly, and the faint tapping of Lily Evans' right foot.
James took note of this. "You know," he said, gesturing vaguely to her foot, "that's a fairly good anger management technique right there. Foot tapping. Helps get rid of the nervous energy due to excessive frustration and the like. Not so bad on the joints as foot stomping, either."
Lily's right foot stopped tapping abruptly. James looked up.
"Oh no, don't do that. Stopping that is bad because then your nervous energy due to excessive frustrations and the like will build up, and then I will be in very immediate danger."
Lily stomped a foot. "You're already in very immediate danger, James, considering you have a concussion, due to those very same anger management techniques, might I add, and which only serves to inhibit your already painstakingly slow brain processes."
There was a snicker from behind the flowery curtains. James threw a pillow towards it and glared across the room as he addressed Lily's insult.
"I might have a concussion, but I do seem to remember you being the one to smash the Bludger at my head."
"It's not my fault you let the damn thing loose, and you were the one too stupid to duck."
"I might've been able to duck if you hadn't smiled at me."
"Oh, so it's my fault because I smiled at you?"
"Well, then I'll be sure never to smile at you again."
"Oh no, don't do that."
"Why not? It seems to cause all sorts of problems when I do."
"But I like the problems."
"You like having a concussion?"
"If it means you'll hang around, then yes."
This last statement brought the silence from before back in full. Until, that is, Lily Evans voiced the very appropriate question, "…What?"
Every Statement has an equal and opposite Restatement.
"I said that if having a concussion means you hang around in the hospital wing with me, then no, I don't mind at all."
Those of you with sharp minds are now wondering, "But what about the 'opposite' bit of the restatement?" In explanation, I will only say that James Potter was always one to bend the rules just slightly, and he didn't see any way of including an opposite restatement without causing further grievous injury to himself.
Given Lily's recent revelation that she thought James a decent sort of fellow, she couldn't bring herself to make any kind of biting remark. She actually, as amazing as it sounds, blushed a bit, and mumbled a quick 'thank you' before mentioning that she really had to get back to Gryffindor Tower, and she hoped he'd recover soon.
It was the first time they'd parted company with mutual civility.
Which, as a sidenote, Remus became very well aware of over the course of the next three hours, being that his friend simply would not shut up about it. In the end, he was forced to mention a rather odd thought he'd had about a lad stuck in Jell-O, and thereby effectively distracted James from his reflections on mutual civility, and set himself up for a session of rather interesting cleaning techniques in order to get his friend out of the blob of Jell-O which would fill a corner of the Great Hall in what was most likely the immediate future.
Now, given James' recent head injury, he wasn't quite able to make it to the next Hogsmeade weekend, which happened to be Valentine's Day, which he'd always quite depised anyways what with the fluttering pink confetti and such, but he found that even the prospect of missing a chance to ask Lily on a date and be brutally denied wasn't so bad when she turned up bearing chocolate on that very day, proclaiming lamely, that "she felt bad since it was her fault and all, so she'd brought a bit of Hogsmeade to him."
It was the first time they'd spent a whole afternoon laughing and conversing normally, instead of screaming and arguing loudly.
But, as cliché as it sounds, it wasn't the last.
It was a rainy afternoon in mid September when the final and most equal and opposite reaction to all the arguments and yelling matches that had taken place over the years occurred, and it was a day that would change the fates of both the Wizarding World and the Afterlife.
It was the day in which James Potter wondered of Miss Lily Evans if she would perhaps, "wanna get married?"
Her answer, as it were, was the epitome of an equal and opposite, and quite ironic, reaction.
"Well, you are a decent sort of fellow, after all."
It is the nature of The Three Laws to constantly be repeating themselves, and this answer not only provided for an equal and opposite reaction to the accumulation of negative answers given to James Potter by Lily Evans, but also an Action to start another Reaction.
Albeit, it was in a slightly different…world than the first.
"Albert! Albert, you sly old dog, get out from there, you buggering fool. Come here, come here this instant."
The great Sir Isaac Newton was pounding in an overly excited manner on the front door of one Albert Einstein's heavenly Laboratory. There were grumblings heard from within the door, before it was thrown open with utmost irritation, and the great Sir Isaac Newton was met with the sight of a rather small old man with extremely odd hair glaring out at him.
"Vat do you vant, Isaac? You must leave me alone, like I ask of you. Vhy can you not do zis?"
Newton stepped back from the man slightly and patted a hand to his head. "Albert, I don't understand it. Every time I see you I tell you you must go to a different barber, and yet every time I come back, you still haven't been. Why is that?"
Albert grabbed both tufts of gray hair poking out the sides of his head and pulled furiously. "Because you make me do zis, you fool, every time I see you!"
Newton ignored the man's frustrated hair-pulling and instead pushed past him into his heavenly Laboratory.
"You owe me fifty Galleons," he proclaimed as he picked up a vial of brightly colored liquid and examined it in the light.
"Do not touch zat," Einstein said, grabbing the vial from him, "Get out of my heavenly Laboratory. I do not owe you fifty of zese Galleons. I do not know vat it is you speak of."
"My dear man!" exclaimed Newton, "Do you not remember our wager?"
"That Lily Evans and James Potter would finally fall in love due to my Three Laws of Motion, of course!"
Einstein stared for a moment before finally shaking his head and turning away. "You are mistaken, dear sir. You do not vin zis vager. It vas my law. It vas E equals MC squared. Everyzing is zese formula."
And thus began the argument that would plague the entire heavenly Afterlife for decades to come. Dead people really have a whole lot of nothing to do, you see, and Isaac and Albert found that they could spend years straight walking about the Afterlife, simply arguing, and not tire of it. Especially since they were both scientists, scientists who had made their own laws, in fact, and that meant neither one had an ego that could stand to be bruised.
So it happened, that when so many years later Harry Potter finally defeated Tom Riddle, the spirit of the deceased evil warlord was sentenced to an eternity in the vicinity of the perpetually arguing Sir Isaac Newton and Doctor Albert Einstein.
As an equal and opposite reaction to this sentence, he went entirely insane within the first week, his ears fell off by the second, and by the third, he could no longer hear the words "Oh, but you are mistaken, dear sir," without screaming in agony and begging for his filthy Muggle father.
And so, by writing this little story, which it did take me entirely longer than it should have, but such goes the way of life, I have endeavored to put an end to the petty argument by providing a comprehensive answer to that perpetually argued question, "Who knows best, Newton or Einstein?"
It has been a long road, and it has taken a long time, and it took long hours of thought, but if you'll look at my title, you'll see that I have discovered the answer.
Newton does in fact know best, and that's not just because his name sounds better with the rest of the title.
Really, he does. If you don't believe me, you can ask Lily and James Potter, they'll tell you. So will their son, as a matter of fact, being that his defeat of Lord Voldemort was a direct, equal, and opposite reaction to the fact that he sneezed when a bit of soot went up his nose.
The papers glorified the story, of course, but that really is entering upon a subject that has no place in this particular tale. What does have a place in this particular tale is, in fact, an ending, and being that I have no fourth law to end with, I shall have to conclude with this simple statement:
As a result of One Book in Motion, Accelerating at a Speed equal to it's Velocity divided by it's Mass, preventing two Objects Not in Motion from Snogging in the Stairwell, it produced a Reaction that was Equal and Opposite to the Original Action, in that it started a Chain of Events in response to a Previous Chain of Events in which there was much screaming and negative vibes emitted, that then resulted in One Final Equal and Opposite Reaction in which much snogging and affirmative vibes were emitted, which then recycled itself as another Action, and caused perpetual unrest in the Afterlife, insanity in an already psychotic warlord, and one completely round the bend story to come into existence and prove to the world that you do not know lunacy until you have been hit in the gut by a tree named Willamona who has a great-grandfather's cousin's niece's daughter's divorced husband's best friend's previous financial advisor who is now a wand in a red-head named Lily's possession.
In simplified, extremely condensed, comprehensible layman's English terms, that means that, without an inkling of a doubt, Newton most definitely Knows Best.
And if you still doubt that, you simply have to go and ask Aberforth's favorite goat about it. I'll let him explain to you why, as I'm not entirely sure the reasons belong in a story underneath an M rating. Though I can't be positive, since I've never asked.
A/N: And that, loo-hoos, is the very end. It took too long to get here, but I can honestly say that it was fun...and that I'm completly relieved it's finally over. I mean, really. The time this took was ridiculous. Address the hate mail to my Muses, please.
So, now I'm out for summer, and will therefore be working most ardently on Cheese Wheels. As soon as I get back from travelling, at least.
Thanks for reading, loo-hoos! Ya'll really are wonderful.
And review, why doncha? For old times' sake?