Chapter Nine: Ipse Esito Aedes

By Natali K. A.

"Corner her," Lily murmured, voice barely above a whisper. "I don't want anyone to be around to help her, even if it is a bit foul. Best we not involve anyone else."

"What are we supposed to do, lure the girls away?" Betty huffed. Suddenly, she got an idea. "Hang on right here. I'll be back with reinforcements."

"What—?" Ashley asked, but couldn't finish her question as Betty had already gone. She turned to Lily, who was crouched beside her behind the boulder in a side courtyard of Beauxbatons. "Do we just wait?"

"Yeah. Betty's evil enough to come up with something wicked," Lily smiled, positioning herself so she was more comfortable. "I just hope she doesn't take too long."

They didn't have to wait very long, much to their relief. Their free period would be over pretty soon, and they most certainly didn't want to face the wrath of McGonagall—Lily especially, considering the events earlier in the day.

Sirius and Remus stepped out of the corridor off of the courtyard, smiling handsomely at the Beauxbatons girls. Instantly, they all jumped up off their seat and practically ran towards them. How terrible to go to an all-girl school, if they were that desperate.

Only Josette remained seated, not really interested in the best friends of James Potter.

A grin spread across Lily's face slowly, giving her a wicked look. Betty rejoined them then, snickering.

"What're your plans?" she asked Lily. "You're not going to beat her up or anything?"

"Not sure," Lily shrugged. "If she's difficult, I'll have to."

"You'd get expelled. The Triwizard Tournament could be called off entirely for misconduct between schools," Ashley hissed. "Look! Hurry up, she's getting ready to leave."

Lily stood then, walking into the view of her enemy. The chit smiled, reclining against the wall she'd been sitting by as if to tell Lily that she wasn't afraid of her.

"That was low of you," Lily said in a frighteningly soft voice. "And to think that I once defended you."

"Is it my fault zat you two got caught fucking?" Josette snapped. She'd said fucking with a long u, so that it sounded more like foocking. It was enough to make Lily smile.

"Yes, it is your fault, incidentally, you little French whore."

"Is it not enough zat you got zee Potter vile I am left alone?" Josette spat, letting Lily see for just a fraction of a second the hurt in her eyes. "'E vas alvays comparing me to you."

Maybe this is just a case of a jealous ex-girlfriend taking her revenge a little too far, Lily thought. I mean, I did steal her boyfriend, didn't I? They were technically dating when I let James kiss me—those multiple times that he kissed me. She cocked her head to the side, staring at her newfound foe.

"And what did you accomplish by being a tattle tale?" Lily asked, narrowing her eyes. "Don't answer. There's no need. But if you'd hoped to get one or both of us expelled—or even suspended—you failed miserably."

Josette's maniacal laughter rose alarm from Lily.

"Is zat vat you zink? That all I did vas 'tattle tale'?" she asked, smirking. Lily was thankful that Betty and Ashley were there as witnesses. As if reading her mind, Josette's eyes came to rest on her best mates. "Is zis supposed to scare me? Zree leettle school girls 'oo probably aren't vorth zeir weight in magic." Her eyes glinted. "Zen again, Lily, you are looking a bit fat."

"What else have you done?" Lily growled, stepping toward her and reaching for her wand. "You need to learn to let go of things, Josette. Jealousy and bitterness doesn't become you."

"Come closer," Josette whispered, grabbing Lily's arm and pulling sharply so that Lily nearly fell. Her ear was right next to Josette's mouth. For a second, Lily was worried that the crazy witch would try to bite off her ear. "'Oo do you zink set it up so zat 'e vaz nearly killed?" She leaned back, shoving the pretty redhead from her. "A woman knows ven she is being lied to, non? 'Ow about zat time 'e kissed you under zee tree?"

Lily was genuinely sorry. This girl was completely out of her mind.

"It was wrong, but that's no reason to kill him." To be honest, she didn't really believe it of her—that this girl would actually try to kill him… No. She couldn't imagine it.

"You no believe? Very vell. 'Ow about zat snake you found in your bed? Mmm?"

Lily instantly wanted to blast that smart little raised eyebrow off Josette's face.

"Snake?" Ashley gasped. "Lily, leave it. She's nuts."

But Lily didn't hear her. How dare she try to kill them both! What the bloody hell was this lunatic playing at? She made to raise her wand.

Josette was just a step ahead of her. "Intestinus flagro!"

Lily managed to dodge the spell, but it still grazed her left shoulder. An unbearable heat flared through the upper left part of her body. Her hands shook. She knew that if had hit her square in the chest as Josette had intended, her internal organs might have caught fire. She would have burned to death from the inside out.

"You little skank!" Ashley shrieked, whipping out her wand, Betty just a nanosecond behind her. "I'll kill her, Lils, I will!"

"Don't waste your energy," Lily muttered, swallowing with difficulty as the heat died down within her. "You want to fight, Josette? Very well." It took her not an instant to know what she wished to do. "Ipse esito aedes."

Unlike most witches and wizards who liked to shout out curses, Lily never raised her voice above "indoor voice". She didn't need to shout to derive her power from her anger. Her blood was boiling enough as it was.

The curse, an old Dark spell, was designed so that the cells of the human body would eat itself alive. Lily had never dared to try it, wasn't sure she was even capable of such magic, but it seemed to work. The shrieks and wails coming from Josette were positively terrifying. But she didn't lose face.

She ambled slowly to her. It was a slow-acting spell, as to cause pain. She was in no danger of eating herself into non-existence.

"Mess with me again, Josette, and you'll regret it," she said in a deadly whisper. "You said that he was always comparing you to me. I feel offended." She spat on the floor in front of the agonized girl. "As if you could ever measure up. Finite."

The girl on the floor stopped writhing, sobbing hysterically. Her breathing was ragged and stilted.

"Lily…" Betty said, her voice shaking. "Let's go."

Lily stared hard at the girl that had supposedly tried to kill James and then her. Had she almost killed her? No, she'd be fine. She would. And Lily would not let herself feel guilty.

"Remember what I said," she told Josette in a whisper. "I'd advise you not to tell anyone about this. Stay away from me and James and our mates. If I see you fifteen feet near any of us, I'll repeat what happened today."

"She's bloody avoiding me," James growled, throwing his pillow across the room. This was the first night he'd get to spend outside the infirmary. He hadn't seen Lily since she'd dropped off his food the day before yesterday. She'd been on her way to do something then and had left promptly. She hadn't been to visit him all day yesterday or earlier today, even though Sirius had told her he wanted to see her.

Now he'd have to go hunt her down. Only he was feeling tired, which hurt his pride. James Potter did not let a silly little thing like getting stabbed in the gut slow him down.

"We'll kidnap her when no one's around," Sirius shrugged. "We'll bring her here, tie her up, and leave you to your own devices."

James ran a hand angrily through his hair. "Still doesn't explain why she's been avoiding me. I was perfectly gentlemanly, thanks."

Remus turned the page of his History of Magic book. James raised a brow at him, wondering.

"Women are fickle creatures," Sirius said as if it answered everything. "It's encoded in their DNA."

James continued to watch Remus, who hadn't moved to say a thing. Usually he was very opinionated. He was such a terrible liar, even if he was lying by omitting.

"What do you know, Moony my boy?"

Remus didn't raise his head but looked at James over the rim of his reading glasses. "Not a thing." He watched James for a moment before sighing. "Alright, I heard it from her mate Betty that she cornered Josette on her own. Turns out that she used a Dark incantation on her and feels pretty terrible."

"How come you know this and I don't?" Sirius whined.

Remus rolled his eyes. "Oh, fine. I was eavesdropping."

James chuckled. "That's my boy."

Remus grinned. "They were asking for it." He sobered up immediately. "James, she used the Self-Cell Eating Spell."

"What's that mean?"

"Your body's cells eats itself. You basically… eat yourself. Until you're gone."

"So? What does that have to do with anything?"

Sirius coughed. "Er, I thought you said she was just going to tell Josette to back off for spying on you two?"

James turned that over in his head. It did seem a bit… extreme. But there had to be some good explanation.

"Find her, let me know where she is. I'll ask her myself," he said finally. "Will you?"

Sirius and Remus gave him an annoyed look, chorusing, "As if you have to ask."

It didn't take them more than twenty minutes to discover what James should have been told by Lily herself.

She hadn't been at Beauxbatons since the evening before last.

Somehow, it wasn't too surprising when James picked up the object closest to him—a heavy volume of Chin-Chin the Greater and the Invention of Quidditch—and threw it halfway across the room to hit the door.

Lily, back at home, picked up the bread roll that had been left warming in the oven and headed for her front parlor room fireplace. Taking the little silk bag that held the Floo Powder out of the vase that hid it, she threw some over the flames, waiting for it to turn green. When it did, she said the name of the person she wanted to talk to.

After a somewhat lengthy conversation, she got the information she wanted.

"Try the Leaky Cauldron," the man sighed. "Ask Tom to show you to the Back Room. Go hidden, Lily. It's not a safe place. Keep your wand handy."

"I will. Thank you." With that, she stood, signaling the end of their conversation.

A/N: Ok. So I've officially screwed myself. Once again. As I always do. I really gotta stop doing this to myself. I'll never finish a freaking story if I don't stop this. But here I am. Getting myself into yet another long story. Sorry. Five chapters? Yeah. Right. I'm so full of it.

But I really do enjoy this. I guess. Blah. What a bother. Lol. I really will try to be faithful to updating!

I finished Rude Awakenings, so go on and read it—tis beautiful (just kidding. Not conceited, promise).

But do review, no? Free chocolate covered strawberry to anyone who does.

All my love,