Chapter 8: I Broke The Dam and I Don't Know How
My insides were aching and my brain was pounding and I felt as if I was sweating profusely. My mouth was dry and every time I attempted to swallow, I would get a coughing fit. I have no idea what I did to deserve such physical pain.
"Ugh, someone, please, turn down the sun!" I moaned, bringing the bed sheets over my face.
"Prongs, do you know what time it is?" The voice sounded strangely like Moony's but in my unstable condition, it was hard to tell.
"No, and I don't care, I feel—" I couldn't even complete my sentence because I was seized by a violent coughing fit.
"It's 10:00…p.m. Breakfast is still on the dresser beside you. Use your wand and you can make it warm and edible again."
"What's the breakfast?" I whispered hoarsely.
"Toast, pancakes, bacon, eggs, and orange juice. There's also a pitcher of syrup."
Slowly, I lifted my eyelids up and clutching both sides of my bed, I slowly propped myself up against the headboard. Weak. I had never felt so weak. Sirius was sprawled across his own bed, pale and sweaty. It looked like he was sick as well.
"Hungry," he moaned, putting a hand to his stomach. "Moony. Breakfast."
Moony rolled his eyes, but did not stray from his spot between our two beds. "What, now I have to tend to you two twerps?"
"I have never felt so sick in my life!" Padfoot complained.
"How come you aren't sick?" I asked Moony.
"I didn't spend nearly half the amount of time outside yesterday in the rain that you guys spent, nor did I drink nearly as much firewhiskey as you guys."
"What's the day today?" I asked.
"Thursday," he replied nonchalantly.
"We've got classes today!" Padfoot exclaimed.
"Never mind that," Remus said, waving away the intangible subject, "I've told the professors you both are terribly sick and asked them to excuse you from classes today."
In that moment, I knew that both Padfoot and I had never felt a deeper appreciation and respect for our friend than today.
"Aw, Moony, you are the bestest of the best," I smiled up at him in thanks.
"Your welcome. And break's over so I've got to get to class. Make sure you guys eat up," he said while making his way out the door.
It was very quiet all of a sudden. I don't remember the last time I'd been sick, but I knew it was very boring, despite not having to go to class.
"This is fun," Padfoot whispered, taking a bite of his pancake."
Within half an hour, I had finished my breakfast and chatted with my surrogate brother about matters that were not of any importance. Now, he was deep in slumber and I didn't know what to do. I felt too sick to fall asleep, not to mention I wasn't tired very much. So, I read and then I did some work, read some more, worked some more. Two slow, agonizing hours went by. It was lunch time for the students. I was so hungry. But my attempt to conjure up food fell flat. My mind was drawing a complete blank in regards to remembering the spell. Where was the bell to call up Moony? Oh wait, there wasn't one.
"Food," I murmured. "Thirsty. Need something to drink. So hungry."
My stomach growled heavily, a blatant reminder of what my body was missing. Aggravated, I threw the covers off, pushed my glasses onto my face, and abruptly jumped out of bed, only to fall back again. Instant head rush.
"C'mon, James, you can do this. Not that hard. One step at a time."
It seemed to take me about five minutes to get out of bed, and another ten just to get out of the room, all the while holding any sturdy object that I could get my hands on.
"Finally," I breathed hoarsely as soon as I stepped out of the common room and into the hallway.
It took a while, what with all the stumbling and stopping, for me to get to the portrait of the fruit which transformed into the entrance as soon as I tickled the pear. I staggered inside and plopped onto a seat, leaning my head against the cool metal table.
"Potter, what are you doing here?" A familiar voice questioned.
Slowly, I lifted up my head to see a pale, heart-shaped face surrounding by a sea of rich, red hair.
"God, you sound awful," she said disdainfully. "And you look it, too. Weakling."
Me? A weakling? I had half a mind to kick her, but had I risen, I probably would have fainted.
"And what would Master Potter like, sir? Ivy is always at your service," a small elf squeaked, dipping into such a low curtsy that her nose touched the floor.
"Something calm and soothing, Ivy, possibly green tea."
"Of course, sir," Ivy said, curtsying once again before she disappeared.
"Why are you here?" I asked Evans, lifting my head up from the table. Within seconds, Ivy brought me my green tea and I thanked her. As soon as my lips touched the warm, soothing liquid, I was virtually transported to a healthy, happy heaven.
"Not that I need to explain myself to you, but it's lunchtime," she answered, munching on a piece of garlic toast.
"Sneaking off to the kitchens, eh? We've taught you well," I smirked, breathing in the relaxing scent of my nutritious savior.
"Okay first of all, Pothead, I am not 'sneaking' off to the kitchens. I…" But words failed her. Indeed, she had come here secretly. A faded hue of red crept up into her cheeks, but it wasn't of embarrassment, just of frustration.
"Riight, okay. Don't worry Evans, it's not like I'm going to tell anyone. But, why'd you do it anyway when you know the kitchen is off limits?"
"Not that I have to explain myself to you, but I wanted to eat alone, not in the Great Hall with all those people chatting."
"Fair enough, fair enough," I nodded, sipping my tea. "So, how did you like your escapade at Hogsmeade two days ago? We never got a chance to talk about it.
Evans rolled her eyes and took a bite out of her chocolate éclair. "Eh, it was alright," she said.
I paused and looked at her. "Just alright?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. "C'mon, Evans. We know you had fun. Just admit it and I won't hold it against you."
She simply shook her head, shrugged her shoulders, and continued eating. She didn't look up for sometime and I took those few minutes to observe her. With pale, freckled skin; piercing, emerald-eyes; a heart-shaped face; and glossy, red hair, I wouldn't deny that she had a beautiful face and the figure to match. If she were like any other girl, I wouldn't mind going out with her. She wasn't like them though. She had a very haughty demeanor and a cold heart, but there had to be something beyond that, something hidden beyond the layers and layers and layers and layers and…well you get the point…of ice and arrogance. After all she was a good tutor. And she also appeared to have enjoyed our trip to Hogsmeade! That, I knew, was a fact.
"Potter, I hope you know I am not the least bit flattered at having you stare at me. To put it bluntly, I think it's rude. Now please, look at something else."
I turned my eyes towards my tea and continued drinking it. Indeed, Lily Evans was an odd one. I had always thought her this cold, cold being who deserved to be in Slytherin. I had never heard her cry or laugh (except out of sarcasm or mirth). But when she began tutoring me, it seemed that something hidden within her sort of crawled out. For the most part, she was patient in teaching me, though there were times when she lost her cool. She didn't smother me with candies, hugs, and kisses, but she didn't make me feel degraded or stupid, either, at least not constantly. Of course she did call me stupid some times, but that didn't really hit me, and that's besides the point.
"I don't get you, Evans," I said abruptly, catching not only her, but myself, off guard. I guess, in my frustration, the words tumbled out. But instead of covering myself, I simply continued. "Why haven't you made me feel like an empty-headed idiot during tutoring? Because trust me, you seem like the person who would."
"I don't feel the need to degrade you, Potter," she replied smoothly. "Besides, if I had, you'd have said something right back and we'd end up in a big argument, and being in a fight with you is hardly worth my time or energy. My goal is not to make you feel inferior, it's to fill that empty-headed brain of yours with useful knowledge, and I won't be side-tracked in my duties," she finished, raising her eyebrow and smirking at me. Smooth, Evans, very smooth.
"Perseverance is usually an admired quality in a woman, except when it gets annoying. Then it just makes a guy want to throttle the girl."
"Thanks for the compliment," she said dryly. "But I don't think I'm your type of woman."
I resisted the urge to laugh, laugh hysterically mind you. Did she really think that I had taken that sort of liking to her? That I had a crush on her or something? I take her on a trip through Hogsmeade with the other Marauders and she thinks that just because I want to show her some fun that I'm in love with her? Is she serious? Ah, such a bright young woman with a terrible lack of common sense.
"Strange as it seems, I'm not surprised by the fact that you think you're worshipped by the male population. But alas, my dear, simple-minded friend, it is not true."
Evans gasped in shock at what I said. Was she mocking me? Or was she really distressed by what I said? Maybe she was annoyed that I thought she thought she was a goddess.
"Oh no, Potter, whatever will I do? How can I go on knowing that the boys in the school don't love me? Surely, I shall die of heartbreak!" Sarcasm in its most potent form. "Ugh, Potter, I have the urge to beat you up right now, but I have more tact than that. If you think that I think that the guys in this school are in love with me, you are sadly mistaken. I know what people think of me, and I know their thoughts aren't kind ones. You know what people think of me, and—"
"Yeah, yeah, and I know you don't want friends, and you think they're useless, and all that pathetic, completely untrue crap." How could someone not want friends? I mean, really? Would anyone not want to go through life without at least a single friend?
"Oh, and for the record, Potter, it was rude of me to not correct myself earlier, but I do have friends."
I nearly had the wind knocked out of me. "Who?" I asked, eager to find out what saint would befriend this complicated, callous woman.
"My mom and my sister are my best friends and they are the only people I need to survive in this world," she said strongly, her nose in the air.
Oh. Of course she wouldn't have friends outside her family. "Evans, at the end of the day, your mom is your mom and your sister is your sister, and it's bloody fantastic that you consider them your best friends and all, but—"
"Really Potter, didn't we have a similar conversation before? Why are you so interested in why I don't like friends? Why does it surprise you, huh?"
"Well, ever since you started tutoring me, we've been spending more and more time together. As much as I hate to admit this, and I told myself I never would, but you're a pretty darn good tutor. It makes me wonder why you don't have the personality to match. I've often wondered whether your heart was made of ice. And I can't imagine what kind of childhood you've had or what kind of parents raised you to make you think that the world is beneath you and you don't need friends."
It was almost instantaneous. Before I knew it, I was on the ground and cradling my burning, pained cheek. Hovering over me was an enraged Evans, enraged like I'd never seen her before.
"How dare you, Potter. You have NO GODDAMN RIGHT to talk about my mom in that way. She is a wonderful parent and an even more miraculous person. My mentor and my guide and the reason that I am even alive. And you have the audacity to question how my mother raised me? Do you even realize who you're speaking of? You have the goddamn fucking nerve to talk like that about the woman who loved me and nurtured me and guided me? I swear, if you ever talk about my mother in any tone other than respectful, I will break your limps apart!"
I was too shocked to speak. She'd never hit me. She'd never shouted at me like that. She had never lost control like that. Almost immediately, I got up, still holding my cheek. The girl had quite some energy in that hand of hers. But that wasn't my worry. Her face was bright red and she was shaking uncontrollably. I panicked, not knowing what to do.
"Oh God, Evans, snap out of it! Damn it, what the hell is wrong with you?" Not knowing what to do, I took a glass of water and doused her with it. Her breathing slowed and she gradually ceased her outrageous shaking fit.
Minutes passed by and she didn't do anything at all. She sat there on the floor, hugging her knees to her chest. But what bothered me the most was the expression in her eyes, an expression that I'd never seen on her face before. Fear. Most dominantly were anger and shock, but I could see the fear. I didn't know why she looked so afraid, but in that moment, it didn't matter to me. She was no longer Lily Evans. She was a scared, vulnerable, angry teenage girl. She looked like she needed to be held, but did she really want me to? With the utmost care, I scooted closer and tentatively brought my arms to her. Before I'd even touched her, she leaped up and away from me, and that's when I saw the wetness on her cheeks. Tears. They looked so alien on her face that I doubted myself at first. But they could only mean that she'd been silently crying.
"Evans, I, I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to insult your mom. I was only…" But I could not go on because there was no one to speak to. Evans had already left, and I was still here on the kitchen floor, wondering why my words had had such a horrible effect on her.
AN: I know…I know it's sad of me that after 6 months of not touching the story that all I could come up with was a measly 6-page chapter. But please, please review and know that I'm not giving up on this story no matter how long it takes to finish! (wow, that seemed dramatic, lol)