Author's note and disclaimer: I am quite delighted to say that I created Beatrice Booth and therefore consider myself the owner of all rights to her. Sadly, that's about all I own. I'm also not happy with the ending of this, but I'm hungry and my breakfast is awaiting, so you'll have to make do with this. Review?

Comfort Food

"I hate James Potter!" she screeched, spitting the verb from her mouth as though it held a putrid taste on her tongue. Her schoolbag plummeted from her shoulders to accentuate her point and she exhaled viciously as a variety of quills, coins and rolls of parchment spilled out and onto the floor. White-faced, Lily Evans impatiently pushed a lock of dark red hair out of her eyes and glared down at the young woman who was sitting at the table in front of her. "He is a complete bastard!"

Her friend, an exceedingly tall and skinny girl named Beatrice Booth whose eyes, hair and skin were all exactly the same shade of eggshell brown, nonchalantly flipped over a page of the magazine she was reading and didn't bother to meet her eyes, evidently unimpressed by this temper tantrum. "Your stuff is on the floor."

"I don't care about my bloody things!" she cried, but she gathered them back into her bag with her wand just the same. "Didn't you hear what I just said about Potter?"

"Oh no, what did he do this time?" Beatrice replied monotonously. "Something foul and unforgivable, I'm sure."

"As if it's not already bad enough that he exists, yes, he did!" Lily, who was fully intent upon demonstrating just how foul Potter had been by flying into an untameable fury, did not bother to keep her voice down, and glared defiantly around at the many students who had taken it upon themselves to gawk at her. Her best friend, however, plainly not as interested in Lily's affliction as everybody else, turned over yet another page of her magazine and carried on reading.

"If you continue to ignore me, Beatrice, I shall lose my mind and jump off the Astronomy tower, and then I will be dead and you will never be able to live with the guilt."

"Or you could sit down and stop making a tit out of yourself. Then I'd talk to you and you wouldn't have to die, which would really suit me better. I can't finish my sodding Potions essay without your help, so I'm going to need you around for that."

Lily huffed and puffed and harrumphed in objection, but gave in nonetheless, all but throwing herself onto the bench with a loud growl, at which point she dropped her head onto the table and left it there.

"So what did Potter do, then?" said Beatrice, casting aside the magazine and surveying the top of Lily's crimson coloured head. "Slaughter some helpless virgins? Set fire to a unicorn? Sneeze too loud? I'm sure he was really nice, and you overreacted. That's usually what happens."

"He is never nice to me, Beatrice," Lily hissed in reply, raising her head from the table and narrowing her eyes.

"Lies, lies, you are never nice to him, Lily."

"I have good reason not to be! He's a pompous, higgledy-piggledy headed prat with a giant Quaffle up his arse!"

"The day Potter has a Quaffle up his arse is the day I get down and dirty with Slughorn, and may I remind you, your highness, that you are a raging, psychotic bitch," Beatrice countered calmly. "I'm not going to sit here and listen to you harp on about him unless he's actually done something horrible."

"Of course he did something horrible! He-"

"I'm not listening if it was something really trivial, either, or if he just asked you out again. Have some pie." She motioned to the cherry pie that lay untouched on the table in between them, the preferred comfort food of both girls.

"It wasn't," Lily replied stubbornly, sitting upright. "And I don't want any pie. I only eat pie when I'm depressed.'

"Aren't you depressed now?"

"No, I'm just bloody furious!"

"Well that's a waste of good pie, if you ask me," Beatrice replied. "Imagine how enjoyable pie would be if you ate it while you were happy. More fun than eating it while you're depressed or bloody furious, I'm sure."

Lily's response was to grit her teeth and clench her fist around a butter knife. She began to stab the air with it. Beatrice rolled her eyes.

"Stop being a baby and tell me what Potter did to piss you off, for Merlin's sake. People are staring at you."

"No, it doesn't matter," Lily grumbled, putting down the knife and pouting like a petulant child who was being scolded for doing something naughty. "You'll stand up for him no matter what I say he did."

"That's really not true."

"Yes it is. You think he's bloody wonderful." She glared at something in the air above Beatrice's head and folded her arms across her chest.

"Untrue in the extreme! I'll admit that I do think he's a hot, sexy hunk of man-meat, but that doesn't mean I think he's wonderful," she smiled impishly to herself. "Not like a certain friend of his I could mention, who is both wonderful and a hot, sexy hunk of man-meat…"

"Take care not to drool on the pie while you sit there and dream sick things about Remus, won't you? I'll just sit here and explode!"

"Explode if you like," her best friend offered, grinning. "Just don't explode on the pie."

A silence descended over the two girls, or at least, over Beatrice. Smiling to herself, she returned to her magazine while Lily continually grunted and tutted; mumbled asides under her breath and tapped her foot against the bench leg, arms folded and waiting impatiently to regain Beatrice's attention. After a few minutes, the latter looked up from her article and a fleeting look of mischievousness crossed her features.

"Look on the bright side, my dear."

"There is no bright side," Lily mumbled grumpily.

"Of course there's a bright side! We're already three months into sixth year, you know."

"So?"

"So…" Beatrice laughed and threw a sugar cube at Lily, who groaned and dropped her head to meet the table once more. "You only have to put up with Potter for, what, another one and a half years or something? Less than that, I think. You've already lived with him for over five, a third of that is virtually nothing. After that he'll be gone!"

Lily lifted her head from the table and peered at Beatrice through wayward strands of red hair with a curious expression that made her look as if she was having trouble seeing her. "Gone? What do you mean?"

"Lily," Beatrice let out a long suffering sigh. "We'll be finished with school. You won't have to deal with him any more. He'll marry some pure-blooded rich bird or move in with those mates of his and you'll never see him again. Gone. Forgotten! Tutto perduto! Per sempre! Molto bene!"

"Marry some, some… pure-blooded rich bird?" she whispered, with wide eyes.

"It doesn't really matter who he marries so long as he's gone, does it?"

Lily continued to stare at her with furrowed eyebrows. She did not look remotely happy.

"Well smile, you daft cow!" said Beatrice joyously, her eyes glittering with glee. "Surely I've just given you the best news of your life? Why aren't you swinging from the rafters with happiness?"

There was a long silence in which Beatrice had to reach for her magazine again in order to hide her smirk. Lily remained lost in her own little world, presumably one from which Potter was absent and chasing after some pure-blooded rich girl who most definitely was not her.

"You're right," she said presently, looking mildly confused, and absent-mindedly chewed on one of her fingernails. "You're absolutely right. I'll never see him again, will I?"

"Nope, no more Potter! Never ever again, just imagine it! Savor it, babe, let the words sink in."

"Hrumph," mumbled Lily. She shifted uncomfortably in her seat and tore the tip of her nail off with her teeth, slightly red in the face.

"I mean you've always said that Potter's been a thorn in your side ever since the day you arrived at Hogwarts, haven't you?"

"Yes," she replied noncommittally, so quietly that Beatrice had to lean forward to catch her. "Yes, I… he has." She removed the nail from her mouth to rub her lower lip with her finger.

"I almost feel sorry for him, actually," Beatrice continued. "He's trying so hard to factor himself into your life in some sort of real way and it's all going to come to nothing, in the end. The poor old bugger. Still," she continued philosophically, nodding to herself. "At least he's trying, and he doesn't take you for granted. A lot of people don't realize what they have until it's gone, you know. It's really very sad."

Lily was staring at a salt shaker like it had personally offended her in some way. Beatrice smiled to herself and left her to her thoughts for a little while, returning to her magazine. After a few minutes of browsing through an article about Witch Weekly's Top Ten Ministry Wizards, she returned her gaze to her best friend, who was looking very troubled at this point.

"Lily?" she said, her amusement evident in her voice. Lily jumped, coughed awkwardly, blushed from her head to the base of her neck and avoided Beatrice's eyes determinedly.

"No, yes, of course, you're completely right. This is stupid. I don't actually care, I just… hadn't really thought, and… you know, Potter, he's… he's…"

"Horrible? Disgusting? Arrogant? Juvenile?" Beatrice flawlessly raised one eyebrow in a perfectly perceptive manner and grinned wolfishly at her best friend. "Yummy?"

Once again there was a silence, in which the two girls stared each other down.

"You know, I want some pie!" Lily suddenly snapped in clipped tones. She covered her face with her hair, and hastily grabbed the pie dish.

"Lily? Comfort food? Whatever for?"

"Let's change the subject, yeah?" She cut herself a very, very generous slice and shoved a rather large portion of it into her mouth with her fingers.

"Lily? My darling best friend? Could it be true? Could it be possible that-"

"Shut up, Beatrice! Just give me that plate, will you? This has nothing to do with Potter."

Beatrice gasped and clapped her hands. "YES!"

Lily's eyes widened in shock as she realized what had just happened. "No! No! I'm not... I don't!"

"Oh, come on!" cried Beatrice loudly, much to the surprise of the surrounding students. She practically spluttered with undisguised mirth as she pointed gleefully at Lily, who was now attempting to slide off of her seat and under the table, her face now redder than her hair. "I knew it! I knew it!"

"Shut up!" Lily pleaded, covering her face with her hands to hide herself from the many people who were watching them.

"No fucking way! Five years I've spent trying to get that confession out of you! I am not shutting up now!"

"Oh my God, no, Beatrice. He's..." Lily squealed incomprehensibly as the object of her affections entered the Great Hall with his friends at that very moment. "Oh God, he's here, Beatrice, please... don't!"

However, Beatrice had been too involved in her own excitement to listen to what Lily had said, and continued to squeal and point at her friend. "I fucking knew it! Knew it! Lily, you-"

"SHUT UP!" Lily screamed, losing her head completely as James Potter caught sight of her and began to make a beeline toward the table. She jumped up from her seat and stormed out of the Hall, leaving her schoolbag and shoving past the insufferable boy who had caused all of this upset with a muffled groan. The occupants of the Great Hall watched her leave in total silence.

Baffled, James Potter ran a hand through his hair and sauntered over to Lily's now unoccupied seat. Beatrice had picked up her magazine once more and had resumed her reading of it in the peace she had so long desired.

"What was that all about?" he asked, once he reached her.

"Haven't got a clue. She wouldn't tell me," she shrugged, looking innocently up at him. Her gaze fell upon the mangled slice of pie that Lily had left on her plate and her eyes gleamed. "Hand me over that pie, would you?"