Chapter 4: Of new friends and Kisses

Waking up in the hospital wing two days into first term was not an excellent start to one's seventh year. Lily could attest to that. She just so happened to be opening her eyes for the first time in forty-eight hours herself.

Lily's immediate response to her predicament was confusion. How on earth had she ended up with Poppy? Her green eyes flicked about the darkened room as she shifted her aching form to a sitting position. Sighing, she carefully propped up the pillows and leaned back into their softness to rest her throbbing head and heavy eyes.

Well, she thought, at least I can just stay here and not have to worry about classes. Classes? Classes! Lily's eyes sprang open, flashing in horror. Her breathing became ragged and her forehead currently displayed beads of sweat as horrible, terrible, beastly thoughts flickered through her already exhausted mind.

She would fall behind, surely she would! What if being unconscious for two days wasn't a good enough reason to miss class? What if the professors wouldn't give her homework to make up because she should have been there herself to get it?

Lily had missed two of the most important days of her seventh year career. The first two days of classes were the days in which all of her professors would discuss N.E.W.T.S and what would be expected of their students. How could she have missed those vital lectures? How could she?

Flicking on the lamp next to the hospital bed, Lily frantically scrambled to take hold of the comb that was resting peacefully unaware on the adjacent night stand. She harshly combed her way through the knots two days of sleep had brought to her fiery locks.

Hastily, she glanced at her wrist watch between each stroke, praying that too much time had not passed and she would still be able to make it to her lessons…Lily's stomach dropped unpleasantly low. A look of indescribable horror passed over her porcelain features. It was too horrible to think of! But what if…? She felt the tears beginning to spring up behind her closed lids as she dropped the comb to the side in defeat.

She would have to repeat her seventh year. They would make her! Lily was sure that no one had ever missed the first day of classes; the two most important days of the year.

"They're not going to make you repeat the year, never fear." An amused voice said from one bed over. Lily allowed one eye to open, allowing a single tear to escape and roll down her flushed cheeks.

Sure enough, in the dim light cast from the lamp she had previously turned on, Lily could see the silhouetted form of a girl struggle up into a sitting position in the next bed over. The girl flipped her lamp's switch causing a new burst of light to flood the darkened room. Lily opened her other eye. She was aware from past experiences that the scrunched up nose look was not her best.

"What?" she asked in confusion. Had this unfamiliar girl read her mind?

"They're not going to make you repeat your seventh year. Don't worry 'bout it. Two days is nothing. I've been out for weeks before. They're very understanding." She smiled warmly.

"How did you? I mean I never…" Even better than the scrunched-up-nose-look was the I've-no-idea-what-I'm-on-about-please-shoot-me ramble. Lily was having quite the time piecing together her thoughts.

"Believe you me, I know that look all too well. I wind up in the hospital wing at the start of every year." Lily stared at the girl in wonder. Every year? "My name's Gemma Fitchner." A wide toothy grin spread across her angelic face as she leaned across the gap separating the two beds, hand outstretched in greeting.

Lily leaned forward, grasping the girl's hand as she studied her new acquaintance's features. Gemma's golden blonde hair had been thrown up in a hasty pony tail, allowing her side swept bangs to hang lamely with a few other loose strands. Her sparkling eyes were a light hazel. Not too dark, not too light, Lily noticed. She played host to a light dusting of freckles across the bridge of her nose; her porcelain skin was pink from summer travels.

"And you're Lily Evans." Gemma released her hand, settling back into the covers. Now, Gemma seemed nice enough, but Lily had to wonder: How did she know so much about her? She could read her facial expressions without so much as a "hello" before hand, and now, Lily was to find, that this girl knew her name? Granted, loads of people knew who she was, but still.

"Are you a mind reader?" Lily blurted suddenly.

"Gemma snorted. "God, no." She laughed, sitting up again. Facing Lily, she folded her legs criss-cross apple sauce (tight as a pretzel). "You sent me a get well card at the beginning of my second year when I was out for two weeks."

Realization dawned.

"You're that girl Snape used that nasty spell on, no?" Gemma nodded, grimacing. Lily tutted sympathetically.

Gemma stopped suddenly, staring toward the Hospital Wing entrance. She grinned wickedly.

"I was wondering when you would show up." Lily turned to see who had come to visit. Her stomach plummeted back to its former level of despair upon seeing His Majesty himself (Potter that is) stroll casually toward her bed.

"Yes, well, Gemma dear," He flashed his prize winning smile at Lily before continuing. "I was bound to make an appearance sooner or later. How am I to melt the heart of stone that belongs to fair Lily Flower otherwise?" He gestured toward Lily, but not before ruffling that ridiculous mop he referred to as hair.

"With pickup lines like that, Potter, it's a wonder you get any girls at all." Lily put in, smirking.

"Oi! James! Where'd you go, mate?" A gruff yell resounded through the corridor outside the wing.

"In here, Sirius!" Potter called over his shoulder, his gaze still lingering on Lily. She sat up straighter as a new figure joined the happy bunch. She looked past Potter's piercing gaze, toward the door where a panting Sirius Black stood, glaring at an oblivious James Potter.

"James, you can't just wander off like that without telling anyone where you're off to. Remus had a fit he did. So disappointed that you didn't take him with you. Tut, tut, Jamsie. I assured him I knew where you'd be and told him not to worry." Sirius informed the room proudly, puffing out his chest.

Potter didn't respond. Sirius sighed in disappointment. "James, are you even listening to me?" Still, there was no response. Lily fidgeted uncomfortably under his burning stare. "JAMES!" Sirius bellowed as Lily gave Potter a good, sharp kick to the shin.

"What was that, Sirius?" He asked innocently, hopping on one foot in pain.

It was now Sirius's turn to be dippy.

"You." He used an almost mechanical voice. Lily followed his gaze toward Gemma, who was staring stony faced right back at him.

"Me." She replied unflinchingly.

"I forgot you'd be here." He offered lamely, nervously scratching the back of his head. Lily furrowed her eyebrows, glancing back and forth between the two of them.

"Well, Black, that's not too surprising." Gemma's cold gaze never once left Sirius.

"So we're back to this are we?" Sirius began to make his way past James and around Lily's bed toward the blonde. "Last names and cold glances is it?" He stopped in front of Gemma's bed.

"Well, seeing as you're back to 'forgetting' I exist, I guess so." She crossed her arms protectively, waiting for Sirius's smart retort.

"You know that's not what I meant," He begged, moving to stand next to her. He was actually towering above her. It was a position Lily had always found to be rather intimidating, though Gemma hardly seemed to notice.

"I'm sorry!" He boomed suddenly, throwing his hands in the air. "For everything," He crouched down so that he was eye level with Gemma. "How many times do I have to tell you that?" He said so softly, Lily almost couldn't hear.

"That's just it, Sirius, you haven't. Not once." Gemma whispered sadly.

"Well then, will this do?" Sirius asked, cupping Gemma's face in his hands and bringing her forward captured her lips in a soft kiss.

Lily heard Potter groan obnoxiously behind her. She turned her head sharply to send him one of the withering glares she had been practicing in the vanity mirror all summer long. Who was he to ruin such a precious moment? He just shook his head knowingly, and jerked his head forward bidding her to watch.

She had to admit, it was just about the sweetest thing she had ever witnessed. That was until Gemma pulled away suddenly, bringing an open hand down to swipe Sirius's face.

"That's not the way it works, Black." Gemma snapped her angel-like face painted with a look that could kill.

Lily for one was absolutely shocked. Black must have really screwed up this time if he was able to get such a sweet girl that angry with him. And she must really love him, she reflected, if she's willing to get so worked up over it.

Sirius's features clouded over as he stiffly stood, staring off into no where in particular.

"Fine. We'll just be going then. James, let's go." Potter nodded curtly and turned to leave, sending Lily a look that said "I told you so". He stopped suddenly, as though remembering something, and jogged back into the hall. A few moments later he returned bringing with him a small stack of papers and a few tattered books.

"Here's your schedule." He said as he handed Lily the piece of parchment that had her classes written neatly on it. "I copied down the assignments from all the classes we have together, so that's most of what you'll need." There were a few sheets of instructions that he handed her briskly.

"Thanks, I guess," she said as she accepted her things. And Lily couldn't be sure, but she thought she might have seen cocky James Potter blush. She grinned when he quickly looked away.

"I'll see you on patrol, Potter." His face fell considerably. "What's that look for?" Lily questioned impatiently as he turned to leave.

"I was just hoping you would call me James again," Lily raised her eyebrows. When had she ever called Potter by his given name? She would never…would she?

"Come again?" She asked, positive she had heard wrong.

"You know," He said, regaining his confidence. "On the train?" He reminded her, smirking. Oh that smirk. Lily's eyes narrowed.

Never in all her years at Hogwarts had she referred to Potter by his given name. She had broken the cycle. Terrible things were sure to come from this.

"James, I'm ready to go now." Sirius informed the room childishly.

"Fine, Sirius, I'm coming." Lily was still contemplating how on earth she could have possibly been responsible for such a horrid slip of the tongue when Potter leaned down and planted a wet, messy kiss on her cheek.

"Gross." She rolled her eyes, pushing him away. "Absolutely abysmal. Grow up, would you?" She sighed, clearing the side of her face of the remaining slobber. It was so… Potter-ish. He just smiled and waved, heading out the door.

"Sorry, Evans, must be off. Pranks to plan, you know. Or, prank really. The password is Emerald, by the way." He called over his shoulder. And they were gone.

An hour later, Lily was still silently seething over her encounter with Potter. Well, it was mostly silent at least.

"Hexed into the next millennium is where he'd be." she mumbled, gnawing at her nails.

"What was that?" Gemma asked, placing a hand to her ear mockingly.

"Nothing," Lily blushed at her carelessness. "Talking to myself, you know—"

She was cut off as madam Pomfrey came striding into the room.

"You are free to go, Miss Evans. You will resume classes tomorrow after a good night's rest." she nodded sheepishly. She was rather frightening, that Madam Pomfrey was. Lily found it quite impossible to know where exactly she stood with the woman, so she tried to speak as little as possible when the nurse was a round. Madam Pomfrey pursed her lips in satisfaction and left the room.

Lily threw back the covers and drew the curtain around her bed so that she could change from the gown she had been put in.

"He really likes you, you know." She heard Gemma call from her bed. Lily poked her head out from behind the curtain.

"Who?"

"James. He's fancied you since first year." She clarified. Lily knew this. Everyone in the entire bloody castle knew this. It was impossible not to know this. "I just think that maybe you should, you know, give him a chance."

Lily snorted. "Gemma, I'm convinced that there's someone out there for me, but I'm fairly certain it's not James Potter."

"Alright, but when you find him, do me a favour. Don't ever let him go."

Lily pulled back the curtain and stepped out into the centre of the room. Gathering up the books and papers Potter had brought, she headed for the door. Turning one last time to look at her new friend, she called, "see you around, Gemma," and left.

Lily glanced at her wrist watch as she left the Hospital Wing. 6:00—dinner time. She decided she should probably go by the common room to drop off her books and such before heading to the Great Hall to eat.

She began to make her way up the stone stair case and toward Gryffindor tower. Gryffindor, in Lily's own humble opinion was the most noble of the houses. Slytherin was cunning, Ravenclaws were brilliant, and those in Hufflepuff were loyal. None matched Gryffindor in bravery. She was proud of herself for being chosen by the sorting to be in such a house.

The portrait of the Fat Lady who guarded the entrance to the common room was now in sight. Now what was it Potter had said the password was?

"Emerald," Lily said confidently as the Fat Lady looked her up and down.

"What?" questioned the Fat Lady indignantly.

"Emerald," she repeated. The Fat Lady stuck her nose in the air.

"That's not the password." Not the password? But Potter had said…Potter.

"Watch out, dear, someone's coming." Lily stepped back as the portrait hole swung open and a shadowy figure emerged from the opening.

"Lily! We were so worried!" she was enveloped in a tight hug from Maria. Sarah was not far behind, looking at the ground, embarrassed.

"Sorry, Lily, I didn't mean to knock you out." Sarah glanced up, smiling apologetically as she traced a square onto the stone floor with her big toe.

"Its okay, Sarah. No harm done, I'm alright."

"Good. Shall we go to dinner then? I'm absolutely famished." Maria headed back down the hallway before Lily could stop her. She turned to Sarah for help.

"Actually, I was sort of wondering what the password was." Lily rolled her eyes, playing it off as a joke that she found to be rather amusing. "See, Potter said it was Emerald, but he was obviously mistaken." Sarah's perpetual smile faltered slightly.

"Well, um, Lily, he was probably talking about the password to the Head's room." The red head's face contorted in confusion.

"The what?"

"Er, see you got knocked out before the Prefect meeting, so I was supposed to tell you…" she trailed off; her face was bright red.

"The Head's room, Sarah?" she goaded.

"Right, you two will be sharing a common room all year. You each get your own bedroom and bathroom obviously, but other than that…" Lily didn't wait to hear the rest of her friend's explanation.

Potter was going down. Way, way down.

A/N: I know that this chapter seems very, very random at the moment, but I assure you that it is terribly necessary. I wouldn't have included it if it wasn't. Also, Gemma and Sirius have their own story, We Belong Together. Review, Please!