The Gilded Lily

The Gilded Lily

DISCLAIMER: This idea is based upon a book, called the Gilded Lily. I will not complete it, as a reassurance not to commit plagiarism. I hope not to make this too clichéd, but if I do, I apologize ahead of time. This hopefully will be much different from my usual L/J fics.

   Lily held her head high as she walked through the crowd heading toward the Gryffindor Common Room. Her entourage was boring her as usual. Her protégée, a third year that must have been at least two years younger than her, followed her example. Among the large group trailing Lily Evans, Jackie Kensington was the only girl. From the lowly second year Jonathan Potter to the Head Boy Rafael Hernandez, there was quite a diversity in the group that followed her.

   The stranger was dark. He stood next to Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, the only two of Lily's male friends that had not a single interest in her. They were waiting for somebody at the portrait hole. Lily was instantly studying the stranger. His hair was dark, his eyes filled with hidden pain and disdain, and he looked up to see Lily Evans looking him up and down. As her entourage disbanded, many weren't Gryffindors, her beauty became more and more apparent. He was a Gryffindor, she could tell by the way he held himself and the way he cocked one eyebrow up at her, nodding in her direction to find out who she was. He bent his head to whisper a comment to Sirius. His clothes were sleek and dark, just like his messy hair. It added to the mysterious charm.

    Remus flashed her his mischief grin, which sent both chills and thrills through Lily. They had dated once, as a joke in first year. After fifteen minutes they announced to the Common Room that they were bored and broke up. Lily remembered the deep laugh of her idol, Molly Jackson, a fifth year. All that remained of the entourage (as the fellow Gryffindors had already filed into the portrait hole) was Jackie Kensington, who was eyeing her mentor with great interest; and Jonathan Potter, who knew who the stranger was.

  "See this," Lily whispered to Jackie, "This is the perfect time for you to learn how a lady acts. You see that I do not approach the strange gentleman, but I wait for my friends to introduce me." Lily instructed. Sirius must have caught her drift, because he stepped forward from the place he was leaning. Lily straightened and Jackie stifled a giggle.

  "Madame Evans, hope you have had a wonderful day." He said as she offered her hand. He took the small hand in both of his large ones, then kissed the top of it.

 

   "Am I being pursued by the very gentleman who said that I was as interesting as Sir Snape discussing which grease he uses on special occasions?" Lily asked teasingly and flirtatiously, hoping that Jackie was taking notes.

 

  "Alas, not today. I have to introduce you to someone. In a way, you know him. Because of sudden, er, deaths in his family, he has been away from Hogwarts for two years, completing his lessons at his estate. Ms. Evans, may I introduce you to James Potter?"

  Lily smiled coyly. Another one for her list. Another for her entourage. Not the private one, consisting simply of Jonathan (he was useful for simply fetching things), Jackie, Remus, Sirius and possibly Peter, if Jonathan was in classes. That was the entourage she held for pleasure of company, not simply pleasure. This Potter would be useful for the upcoming Harvest Festival in Hogsmeade. She had yet to find an escort and a fresh one would be better than perhaps, oh, William Davies.

  "Lady Lillian, I presume? The fantastic Lily that Sirius and Remus cannot stop chattering away about ever since my arrival? The very Lily that covers for Sirius's potion explosions? The very Lily that has simply replaced me?" James asked as he walked closer. He winked at Jonathan, who was in awe of his cousin. He took her hand as Sirius had. Less pleasure flowed through her as he kissed her hand. She sensed trouble, but today she had a wild streak. When he offered his arm, she accepted with an even wider smile. She was the Hogwarts queen, and it was certainly nice to have something fresh to cling to. Sirius and Remus tooted their imaginary bugles, as if announcing that the royal couple was coming through. Jonathan said the password and swept an imaginary red carpet out for them, and Jackie slowly brushed aside.

  "May I proudly introduce the King of Hogwarts, Crown Prince of Gryffindor, President of the Marauders, Prime Minister of Womanizing, and all-around good guy, James Orion Potter!!! And his lovely escort, Queen of Hogwarts, Crown Princess of Gryffindor, Owner of the Stage, Sparkle of the Kingdom, the Most Elegant, Charming, Intelligent Female on the premises, Miss Lillian Isabelle Evans!!!" Sirius boomed to the Common Room. Many hadn't heard from or seen James in the two years he had been gone, and only third years and up could even scarcely remember him. But he seemed noble, dark, and if Lily Evans could take his arm, he was surely admirable.

    Lily Evans was an heiress. A Muggle heiress she may have been, but nonetheless an heiress. She had an intense beauty, of course, and though quiet, was friendly and intelligent. Quiet wasn't quite the word, she wasn't quiet. She was more, how do you put it, reserved. If everyone at Hogwarts were royal, Lily was a lower princess who kept a low profile, and Jackie would be the lowly baroness assigned to stay by her side.

   Lily had her rules, of course. As for dating, she wouldn't date a gentleman more than a year younger than she, and if they were too old to attend Hogwarts, they were simply too old. She had a grand scarlet velvet armchair with golden accents reserved for her facing one of the many floor-to-ceiling windows, and one side of the chair faced outwards toward the wall with the portrait hole. The ottoman was in a coordinating style, and that was reserved for Jackie. The most that could be said to her while she was sitting there was a greeting or salutation of some kind.

   Lily had already changed from her usual uniform, and from the after-school outfit that kept her warm during the cool weather. She had unpinned her hair from its normal complicated up-do, and left her curls loose, which was a rare sight. This Friday night, she selected a long-sleeved, white, button-up silk pajama shirt, and long, matching silk pants. Both were trimmed in a solid bolt of silk in a shiny sort of pale silvery gray. She had her bare feet and lower legs tucked beneath her as she read her book, and eventually even Jackie left her side as the lower grades went up to bed. The seventh years had a test early in the morning, and the sixth years were tired of lingering. Most of the fifth year girls had gone up to bed, until all that remained in the room was Sirius and Remus playing a game of chess, James watching, Peter struggling alone with his Herbology homework, and Lily just twenty feet away from them in her usual chair, reading her book. She had turned her chair to face their game, perchance her book got boring.

   James sat with his legs wide apart, his elbows resting on his thighs, his chin resting on the palms of his hands. Sirius and Remus were both unbeatable, and knowing them, the match would go all night. As Sirius's cries echoed through the room (his pawn was the first throughout the entire game to be captured), James heard a light, feminine chuckle. His eyes strayed from the game and onto the white-clad figure reading by the moonlight. The moonlight illuminated her face, and there was a silvery glow around her.

   Lily looked up again, this time Remus had lost his most loyal knight. She didn't go back to her book immediately, though, the stranger, Remember, it's James. You know him, he was the boy who.. Was watching her with a knowing smirk slowly taking over his face. She went back to her book, shaking her head with a sort of odd smile on her face.

 

   James stood up, knowing his friends wouldn't notice if he left. ("ARGH!! MY QUEEN!!!") He slowly strode over to the ottoman, knowing Lily wouldn't look up. He sat down like he had been sitting earlier, and began to watch her read. Her eyes flickered upwards for a moment, but obediently went back to her book.

   "Shakespeare is such a fool." Lily said after a bit of silence.

   "Whatever do you mean?" James asked quietly.

   "Have you ever read Shakespeare?" She asked, closing her book.

   "Most of his plays, a few of his sonnets." James answered like he had before. He was watching the outside activity, either that or staring off into space.

   "None of his romances are ever like real love. Like Twelfth Night, for instance. Everybody is so giddy and full of love that they skip logic entirely. Not everyone is like that. Romeo and Juliet, the lovers were so devoted to one another that they died for each other, nobody would do that. And the characters that fought, all skipping any chance of peace talks and going straight to violence. Shakespeare is a fool." She said, opening her book again and going back to reading.

   "Do you believe in love as strong as the love Shakespeare writes about?" James asked with great interest.

   "I have no belief in love. Do remember that I live in a society where love is wanted but never acquired." She said, still not looking up.

   "Then tell me, I do not understand, why do you socialize with strictly potential suitors? Why do you not forget the society you are used to and bring yourself down to Hogwarts, earth, even?" He asked with a little disdain dripping from his voice. "I am also in high society and my parents are deeply in love."

   "Potential suitors are simply for amusement. My parents will select my husband, and the society I am used to would never allow me beyond the boundaries that I have already stretched by coming here. And if you have to ask, my family was once of nobility, but not high nobility. They had no choices under the Queen or King's will, and they have not changed since. I am spending my trust fund on Hogwarts rather than being silly and frivolous and attending some French charm school. Tell me, Mister Potter, do you not know that asking too many questions is rude?" She asked in the same cool voice.

   "Of course I know it. I am simply interested in you. Do you not know, Madame Evans, that snapping, no matter how well concealed, reveals problems with one's personality?" He asked in a teasing voice that finally seemed to find itself.

  "Are you well-traveled, Mister Potter?" Lily asked, still supposedly reading her book.

  "My relatives have been dieing all over North America and Europe, if that answers your question." He said, moving closer to the arm of her chair.

  "Damn." She swore, putting down her book in frustration.

  "Lady Lillian, did I hear your delicate lips form such an apalling word?" James asked in fake surprise.

  "Yes." She spat, still holding her head high.

  "Why, Lady Lillian?" He asked, moving closer to her. He stroked her hand with one of his index fingers.

  "You fit the profile. Arrogant, rich, intelligent, and a pet peeve of mine." She said, jerking her hand away and opened her book furiously.

  "The profile of what, may I ask?" He said. He had been moving so close that as he buried his nose in her hair, she could feel his warm, pleasant breath on the back of her neck.

  "Somebody my parents would make me marry." She said, slamming her book finally. She stood up with a jerk.

  "Thank you, Mister Potter, for your unwanted, annoying company. I do hope we can have a civil conversation in the future." She said coolly. She turned on the heel of her foot and headed to the bottom of the stairs leading to her dormitory.

  "Lady Lillian, I have been quite civil, friendly even." James called after her.

   She turned to face him. "Do not call me Lady Lillian. Ever." She said in an icy voice. She turned again, her curls bouncing furiously after her.

   "Jesus, James. What did you do?" Remus said, not looking up from the chessboard.

    "I shook up Lady Lillian's perfect life. I believe I'm going to enjoy this year." He said, as he went to sit where he had been before he went to speak to Lily. "Who's winning?"