Life's Shouldn't Be Mutable
Written by donewithmarblesxx
Author's Note: This story is actually a re-written version of my old story, The Swap, but only better with details, characterization, and events that actually make sense. The plot is based off Blake Nelson's book, Gender Blender. Enjoy and please review! It's the only reward for us poor writers.
The sun shone brightly in the sky, the warm beams of light falling upon a large, castle-like school by the name of Hogwarts. Students roamed about the grounds laughing and joking, others locked in the library completing homework, and still some in classes. The colorful leaves of autumn were scattered about the school and it seemed to be the last beautiful day that the season had left. However, despite the pleasantries, there was something brewing in Hogwarts which would eventually cause two groups of students confusion and misfortune. It all began in the dungeons where the fifth years were brewing up another potion.
"Potter, stop that!" shrieked Lily Evans, head of class and probably the only redhead in the school. "Can't you tell this is the most important ingredient in this potion? Could you at least try to be careful?"
James looked up from his work and frowned. "Oi, at least I'm trying. What are you doing? Yelling at me?" He snorted, rolling his eyes. "Great help, that."
"Shut up! And if you can't do it right, don't do it at all!" she retorted back sharply, snatching the small club from his hand to smash the battlerage eggs herself.
"I'm smashing the battlerage eggs! Give that back, Lily Evans–"
"Mister Potter and Miss Evans! If you two don't keep quiet, then I assure you, there will be detention for the both of you!" snapped Professor Slughorn, mostly glaring at James than his star pupil, Lily. "Resume your work, but keep your voices down."
The two blushed, staring down at their hands rather than meeting the eye of the professor and seemed very ashamed and remorseful of their actions, but as soon as the professor's back was turned, they immediately returned to their quarrel, but only in furious whispers.
"Give me that club!" hissed Lily, grabbing at the instrument in James' hands.
"You think I'm going to give you a club? You'll beat me half to death after you smash the eggs to powder!"
"They're supposed to be close to powder, and if beating you first is something I have to do the smash the eggs correctly then it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make!"
James snorted and immediately raised the club over his head, quite out of Lily's reach much to her frustration. "It's not a sacrifice I'm willing to make."
"You're not included in the decision making."
Rolling his eyes irritably, James returned to beating of the battlerage eggs, muttering under his breath about "smart little redheads" and about how "they just needed to be bloody perfect with their bloody potions". Lily, obviously peeved with his murmurs, shot him a dirty look and returned to stirring the potion seven times counterclockwise carefully.
"What are you doing with those roots?" she squealed after a full minute of complete silence between them. "The potion's outcome depends on the size and shape of those roots!"
The boy sighed, clutching his forehead and stopping his brutal chopping of the roots and instead gazed into her eyes deeply. "Lilyflower..." he breathed, his hazel eyes capturing the emerald ones.
"What are you–" Lily began, suddenly feeling shy with all this attention.
"Just shut up." And he went on chopping up the important roots carelessly, even shamelessly whistling. Lily fumed.
"Oi, just because you settle for an A doesn't mean I do!" James flinched, looking insulted at the accusation of settling for only an A. An A? Who even got an A? Certainly not him. "This is O.W.L. year and if you make me fail this potion, then I will tear you limb to limb with my bare hands," she snarled, her usually kind eyes flashing hostility.
"B- But we're doing better than Sirius and Peter," James stammered, frightened with this new Lily, trying to defend some pride as he dumped the demented roots into the boiling potion.
"They're your measure of greatness?" scoffed Lily, rolling her eyes. "They fail. Why don't you take Amos Diggory as an example? He's just about the top of every class!"
James sighed, ignoring Lily's rant, knowing her little obsession– a major understatement– for the bloke. He merely glanced over at Sirius and Peter who were laughing and dodging the hot, pink liquid the cauldron was spewing out at them. He caught the two's eyes and immediately smiled, waving slightly. They waved back, but only for a moment– they had to avoid the hazardous potion-thing they had created.
"Why couldn't you've just worked with Sirius? Why? Why with me?" Lily murmured mostly to herself rather than James. Rolling his eyes, James leaned over the cauldron and saw the potion was bubbling along quite nicely as it was supposed to.
"Calm down, Evans," reassured James with a grin. "It looks pretty swell. Look at the bubbling."
"But look at the colour," Lily groaned, staring at the thing in dismay. "It looks almost like water."
"That's what it's supposed to be, isn't it?"
"No, it's supposed to be pale blue."
James sighed, rolling his eyes. "Ever think that the potion doesn't have to be perfect?"
"I don't think the potion has to be perfect," Lily replied with a frown. "Just... good."
"Which means perfect. For you, anyway."
Lily narrowed her eyes, biting her lip. "Shut up."
"Just think about calming down, Evans," sighed the boy. "We'll scrape up a good grade, alright?"
"I don't scrape up grades! I earn my grades and most of the time, it's an O!"
"Well, I'm sorry, Miss Perfect (And arrogant, he added silently), I'm afraid you might only get ninety-nine percent on this potion!" James snapped, sarcastic. "It's so horrifying, isn't it?"
Lily glared at him, and if eyes could shoot daggers, hers would've. "Well, at least I'm not a delinquent and am not proud of getting bloody As. Hey, don't put those in, you'll make the potion worse! That's all you do anyway–"
"Miss Evans! Mister Potter!" Slughorn boomed in a not-so-nice way, his eyes flashing. "I've warned you to keep quiet! Ten points from Gryffindor!"
The Slytherins guffawed and James glared at them until they turned to whispering amongst themselves and stopped with the mocking gestures and impersonations.
"Useless idiots," James mumbled to himself, thoroughly irritated.
Slughorn returned to inspecting the other students' work, tsking and nodding occasionally, mostly glaring at Sirius and Peter who had managed to spill their so-called potion which had somehow began to eat away the floor.
"Well, it can't be worse than those two–"
"This is all your fault!" Lily interjected, her teeth gritted and eyes flashing. James was shocked, shocked beyond words.
"My fault?" he repeated in an astonished voice. "How is this my fault? You're the one who was yelling and being argumentative! I was just being supportive! What have I done?"
Lily glared at him, hands clenched into fists. "You don't know what you've done? You've just about–"
"Miss Evans! Mister Potter! This is quite enough!" roared Slughorn, a vein popping out from his neck. "Detention for a week! And to the Headmaster's!" The two hesitated slightly, not knowing what to do despite his explicit instructions. "Now!"
"But Professor, I–"
"Miss Evans, I heard you arguing. Now march to the Headmaster's!"
Angrily, Lily slung her bag over her shoulder and began dragging her feet towards the door, James at her heel who wasn't looking upset or worried at all. The Slytherins whispered to themselves, some Gryffindors pointing as well and murmuring, "Look at the two, they're so cute." Lily could've punched them, but she restrained her fist. No need to land herself in more detention because of Potter.
Before the two were out of the classroom, James, being completely stupid, made a face at Sirius and Peter who immediately cracked a crooked grin. Unfortunately, the rest of the class, seeing such a funny face, burst into booming laughter, causing Slughorn to whip around and see James with his absurd expression.
"One more week of detentions, Potter!" he bellowed. James burst into a fresh round of laughter while Lily looked positively aghast at his actions. She immediately began walking with the philosophy of "I don't have to keep near Potter, we're not mates, and I'm definitely not associating with him when he's mad as this." James, noticing that Lily had began walking away briskly, rushed after her with bouts of laughter, clapping her back rather roughly.
"His face was hilarious, don't you think?"
Lily merely glared at him, her eyes wide. "Keep your hands off me," she ordered. "And hilarious? It is absolutely not funny at all! You think this is all a prank? A silly little joke?"
Lily looked shocked, having not really been expecting him to say "yes". Unfortunately, this made her simply mad. "Funny? This isn't funny at all, James Potter!" she roared, fuming. "I was just associated with you. You think I appreciate that? And I'm going to the Headmaster's! You think that's funny? It's not something you take lightly! You know people aren't sent to Headmaster's office that often!"
"Unless you're me," James added with a simple nod.
"Yes, unless I'm you which I'm most certainly not."
James laughed, ruffling his hair casually. "Calm down, Evans. No one's going to bully you for associating with me." Lily looked disbelieving, but didn't reply. "Besides, don't be so uptight. Going to the Headmaster's once isn't going to be on your school record."
Lily sighed heavily. She couldn't exactly trust Potter of all people, who didn't even know the meaning or appeal of a clean school disciplinary record. Besides, he probably thought detentions were fun.
"Just live a little, Lily," offered James with a little shrug. "It can't be that bad to get detention once in a while."
"Oh Merlin, just shut up, Potter."
With a smirk, James shut his mouth as his love wished and shrugged, hands in pocket and whistling as he walked down the corridor. The two were silent for a while, pondering on their own and occupied with their own travel down the corridor when James decided to ask a question:
"Wanna know something really gross?"
She gave me a look. "No!"
"Aw, come on, I know you want to."
James looked disappointed for a moment, but soon recovered. "I bet prudes like you are really interested, but are too prudish to speak up.
"I'm not a prude!" Lily protested, blushing slightly.
Furious at the accusation, because no one likes being a prude or even being called one, Lily sniffed and answered boldly, "Fine, let's hear how gross it is."
James grinned, knowing that he'd caught Lily's weakness. "Well, it's just that one day, I was sauntering down the corridor and I just seemed to catch a sight of a few people in an empty classroom–"
"And they were doing it," Lily interrupted, rolling her eyes. "Yeah, saw it, heard it, whatever it before."
"It? You call it, it?"
"It is what it is!" Lily insisted, her cheeks burning slightly. James smirked, ruffling his hair.
"It's sex you're talking about, correct?" he inquired with a grin. Lily glared at him, hands on hips, rather insulted that he would think she would be shocked by something like that.
"Yes, sex is what I'm talking about."
She glared at him for a while and he grinned back good naturedly before the look got much too chilling and he drew away his gaze, shivering slightly.
"So anyway, in the classroom, I saw a couple," James began again and Lily sighed, rolling her eyes.
"And it was actually two professors, discussing lesson plans."
"Oi, must you interrupt the story?" James snapped, irritated with the constant interjection. I mean, he was telling the story. Who? Oh yes, James Potter, not Lily Evans. "But you're close."
Lily raised her eyebrows. "Don't tell me that–"
"Why yes!" James cried brightly with an evil sort of a grin. "It was Dumbledore and McGonagall, having some–"
"Potter!" shrieked Lily, looking awfully embarrassed at hearing such a thing. "You shouldn't tell tales!"
"But it's the truth!"
"No, it absolutely is not!"
James sighed, ruffling his hair as it was his habit. "You're right, you caught me. That sort of thing would've never happened–" Lily smiled triumphantly, applauding herself for not falling for his tricks. "–since Dumbledore's gay."
He gave her a look. "Oh, you didn't know?" he inquired innocently.
"You're joking again, aren't you Potter?" she accused venomously. "And I'm telling you, it's not funny."
Lily clenched her eyes shut, thinking of all the strange things she'd seen Dumbledore do and how that could be- be interpreted to confirm that he was indeed gay. She shivered, stopping her thoughts before she traumatized herself.
"Okay, on second thought, let's not try to clarify anything. I don't need to know about the personal lives of the professors. Especially Professor Dumbledore's."
James shrugged. "Alright. Whatever floats your boat."
Whatever floats my boat? Ha! Like you've ever cared, Potter! she thought to herself, shooting him a dirty look.
"Oh, we're here!" James exclaimed, clapping his hands together as if he was excited. Lily stared at him wearily, much too tired of his carefree atmosphere and glanced about, looking for some huge wooden door that looked unwelcoming. But... she couldn't see anything.
"What?" she inquired, confused. "Where?"
"Here." James pointed to the stone gargoyle which had its mouth open in a menacing way. Lily snorted.
"That's a gargoyle, Potter, not a bloody entrance." She rolled her eyes. "Maybe you need to get your mind checked–"
"It's the entrance way!" he cried hotly, blushing at her accusation. "We just need to give the password!"
Lily smirked and began to examine the gargoyle. She could see why this had been chosen as the doorway to the Headmaster's office. It just about struck a bit more fear into you so you would absolutely dread going into the office.
"Well, none of us have the password," Lily mumbled, stroking her chin. "I guess we can't go see Professor Dumbledore after all. How unfortunate. We'll just have to go back to–"
"I know what it is!" James interjected with a grin. "It's Cockroach Clusters!"
The gargoyle jumped to life, leaping aside immediately and revealing a long staircase. Lily cursed Potter silently, her face in an unattractive scowl. Potter, proud of his accomplishment, barely noticed.
"How'd you know?" Lily inquired in a strained tone of voice, stopping herself from strangling the boy altogether.
"Love, I've been to this office so many times, I know the password, new and old, just like the professors," he explained with a grin and started up the steps, strutting like a proud rooster.
Something to be proud of, Lily thought to herself, rolling her eyes at her companion. She followed behind him miserably, gasping when the gargoyle resumed its normal spot after the two entered the staircase.
"Isn't this awesome?" James gushed as he treaded up the steps enthusiastically. "The gargoyle and all? I think it's ingenious!"
"Um, yes. Of course."
At the top of the staircase of a big wooden door, a brass knocker in the middle, looking anything but friendly. Lily could only shudder and wonder what horrors lay behind the simple wood. Maybe some torture devices...?
"What are you doing? Knock on the door!" Lily snapped, her stomach lurching uncomfortably.
"Oh, right," James replied, mouth smiling but his eyes strangely nervous. Lily took no notice. "Sorry, blanked out for a bit."
He carefully lifted the knocker and dropped it three precise times. Lily observed it with an eyebrow raised, but didn't remark on it. They waited silently; probably holding their breath, until the soft "Come in" was heard. James pushed the door open and made the motion to enter, but suddenly stopped. He turned back to Lily.
"It's just a bit of manners," murmured James, gesturing with his hands for her to continue before him. With an exasperated sigh, she stepped into the office, glancing about nervously as if something would pop out at her. There was nothing except for the whirring of the instruments which were cluttered about, the tall bookcases, and Fawkes at a corner, sniffing his feathers cautiously. There was a large desk at the center where the Headmaster sat, looking up at the two with his twinkling blue eyes.
"Ah," he started with a hint of a smile. "Miss Evans and Mister Potter, good to see you again. Please take a seat."
The two glanced at each other and made their way towards the two comfortable-looking chairs that were situated in front of Professor Dumbledore. James immediately slumped down on the seat and made himself at home while Lily sat rather timidly.
"Lemon drop?" Dumbledore offered, holding out a yellow-colored can.
"Ah, no thank you," answered Lily, remembering the muggle treat she's seen at drugstores. James declined as well, looking disgusted at the thought of a candy that did not fizz or pop or jump around. Dumbledore popped one in his own mouth, sucking on it contentedly as a little child might.
"Now, I believe you two had a dispute in Potions."
Lily looked astonished, opening her mouth as if she wanted to speak, but soon closed it again while James made no notion of being surprised. He probably was used to the Headmaster informing them the reason why they were in his office. That's why he hadn't bothered to begin explaining anything.
"Quite right, Professor," James murmured with a shrug. "Just a quarrel, though. Nothing serious."
The professor nodded. "Not quite serious, but very disruptive, Mister Potter," he answered in his calm voice. "This isn't the first time I've been informed of your arguments in class and I'm afraid most of your professors are finding it more than just a simple tiff."
"I can't help it that Potter provokes me," Lily added bitterly, crossing her arms.
"How do I provoke you?" he retorted. "I would say it's more the opposite!"
"What? I've done nothing! It's your fault for being so- so stupid!"
"Just because I receive ninety-nine percent on my assignments does not mean I qualify the title of stupid," James countered sarcastically with a sniff. "You're being perfectly unreasonable with your stupid perfectionism."
"Don't insult my personality!" Lily bickered, looking offended. "Professor, don't you see what he does? It's just–"
"As I've said, it seems that your arguments are turning to be quite a serious problem," Professor Dumbledore interrupted, looking amused by their quarrels. The two stared down at their shoes in shame. "Detentions won't cure a disagreeing spirit and it seems to do little good in having you two get along and stay silent enough for a professor to deliver his lecture." He chuckled in amusement.
"We don't argue that much," James murmured in mild protest. The Headmaster smiled, his blue eyes twinkling behind his half-moon spectacles.
"Thanks to my perfectly lovely library, I've discovered an ancient spell which is quite interesting," Dumbledore continued, staring at the two fifteen year olds. "I thought of you two immediately since the spell seems to be a suitable punishment." Lily swallowed nervously. "This will not be on your permanent records and I will cancel your detentions as soon as the spell is effective."
"Wha- What is it?" stammered Lily, looking curious, hoping that it would be a nicer punishment than a detention. However, she could only gasp when he supplied her the answer.