"Um, no, it's alright, Professor."
It had taken little time to arrive at the Headmaster's office since Lily had insisted on dashing down the corridors at maximum speed, disregarding the other students who were and sensiblywalking. There had been loud shouts of protest and a response of "Sorry!" from James for Lily's recklessness, but in the end, they had made it past the stone gargoyle ("Cockroach Clusters," murmured James) and seated themselves in Professor Dumbledore's office without too serious of a mishap.
Dumbledore did not follow up his offer of the sticky yellow candy with any further words which caused uncomfortable silence, leaving Lily and James to awkwardly twist and turn the ends of their clothing and look up at the Professor in anticipation of what was to occur next.
"Ah, yes," he finally said at last, gently setting the tin of candy to his right and looking up from the dusty book he had been studying for a few moments. If Lily didn't know better, she would've believed the Headmaster was amused by their awkward impatience.
"Are you changing us back, then?" James finally erupted, cracking from the pressure of his impatience. The Headmaster of Hogwarts merely smiled and nodded, staring at the two students sitting across from him as if he was expecting great entertainment out of it all.
"Yes, Mister Potter," confirmed Dumbledore, clasping his hands together. "At first, I was contemplating whether or not to have you write an essay on the different ideas you've learned from the experience–" He caught sight of their protesting and appalled expressions and chuckled. "–But, I realize it's been enough punishment having to act as the other so I shall let you off this time with only a warning." James exhaled in relief; essays were not his forte.
"It's only a simple spell like last time," Dumbledore began, slightly distracted as he fished for his wand in his desk drawer, glancing down at the book spread out in front of him, "but there mightbe slight discomfort. I can only hope you both haven't indulged in a heavy breakfast as nausea might be a side effect." He paused slightly with a grin. "Among other things."
"Side effects?" Lily's voice rose an octave higher than she meant to and she blushed. "Like what?"
"Nausea, dizziness, vomiting," Dumbledore answered dismissively. "There might be some drowsiness or a certain odd vegetable growing on a body part, but Madame Pomfrey is capable of returning you to perfect health as always. There's no need for fretting."
"Certainly..." the two voiced while imagining carrots sprouting from their stomachs.
Two firm nods. The complicated wand dance once more. A quiet mutter of the spell.
The muttered incantation immediately let out a burst of impossible light, tinted green with flecks of gold, but seemed almost white to their blinded eyes. Small material shards of light magnetized from various ends of the room, behind the drape of a curtain, between the pages of a book, under Fawkes' noble cage, tapering the luminance which surrounded Lily and James piece by piece. The white brightness disappeared gradually while the green color darkened, the color settling on their shoulders and Dumbledore watched like a hawk with a lemon drop between his lips. Eventually, the cage of light faded and the two fifth years were left blinking at each other, rubbing their eyes.
"The spell doesn't go for instant gratification, does it?" remarked the one in Lily's body, peeking up at the Headmaster. "I'm still in Lily's body, aren't I?"
"Yes, you are," insisted the one in James' body with a disappointed shrug, eyes still choked with timid hope. "I suppose we'll wake up tomorrow morning in our right bodies?"
Dumbledore only answered with the irritating mysterious smile, obviously proclaiming that he knew the answer while they didn't. If he wasn't Albus Dumbledore, Lily would've marched up and smacked the grin from his lips.
"You're late for Transfiguration already," sighed Professor Dumbledore, peeking at a grandfather clock on the opposite wall. "Just inform Professor McGonagall of our interview and she'll excuse you this time."
"Thank you, Professor," Lily sighed and the two tentatively rose from their chairs, glancing back at Dumbledore one last time before closing the solid door behind them, desperately wanting to trust the competence of their odd, yet brilliant Headmaster.
They said not a word to each other when they exited the staircase and plodded towards the direction of their Transfiguration classroom, previous enthusiasm diminished to sullenness. Lily was shivering, although the castle itself was not very cold, her pale lips shaking. James, cutting his eyes towards her and noticing the outward display of shock and worry, wrapped his arms around her comfortingly.
"Hey, no worries, Lilyflower," he murmured quietly, rubbing her arms in assurance. "We'll get back into our rightful bodies."
"Don't touch me, Potter," she ordered in a tone more harsh than she had meant, but she was upset and the bitterness was rather difficult to control, especially when conversing with a boy whose body she was trapped in at the time. "And how do you know?" she sighed at him.
"Because," James began, wrapping his arms around her again, enveloping her in his warmth. She didn't protest this time and allowed herself to be held. "It's Dumbledore, Lily."
"Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of our time? Hell, the greatest wizard since the discovery of magic?" James spluttered, raising his eyebrows. "C'mon, Lily. Even Voldemort and his little minions are scared of him and that means Dumbledore can probably do some crazy shit. Probably more crazy and complicated than switching people's bodies around."
"Well, he did find thirteen new uses of dragon blood," admitted Lily, remembering the accomplishments of Dumbledore she had memorized when she was in second year and had been obsessed with the history of Hogwarts and their professors.
"See? No need to worry." He pulled her to him closer, rubbing her arms comfortingly again. Lily complied without a grumble although the arrangement was awkward. James was in Lily's body after all and had to make do with wrapping Lily's large frame (in James' body) with the small, twig-like arms. Yet it was endearing at the same time; one could almost hearing the paintings sigh from the adorable display of affection.
"Have you ever gotten a boner?" James asked suddenly, breaking the blissful silence. Lily shot him a glare for definitely ruining the peaceful moment.
"Well, you're in my body and all," began James with a stupid grin. "I was just wondering if you did. So have you?"
"No!" Lily cried, appalled, and even if she had, she definitely would not be relating the experience to him. She did not want to discuss how she was woken up from the middle of the night, panicked because she thought there was something in bed with her, only to discover that it was James' member, waving to say hello. It was only by sheer luck the rest of the boys in the dormitory hadn't woken or she wouldn't have ever heard the end of it.
"Well, there's a broom closet right here if you want to feel what it's like–"
"Potter!" Lily roared, her features distorted by her utter disgust. "You are the most vile and uncivilized boy I have ever met–" She untangled herself from his arms. "– And I don't want to talk to you ever again!"
She began to speed walk away from him, huffing indignantly and adjusting the rimmed glasses on her nose, when he rushed to catch up to her, reaching up and grasping her wrist deftly with an odd look in his eyes.
"Lily, wait!" he cried as she whirled around, staring back at him strangely.
"What's the matter with you–" she began, but was immediately cut off.
Lily would never relate the experience with anyone, least of all her friends, but if she had to, she decided she knew exactly how to describe it. She would first tell her companion to imagine standing at the door of one's house, fumbling with the keys and swinging it open, when suddenly, a group of family members and dear friends popped out from behind various places in the living room a great big chocolate cake with balloons and party favors and a shout of, "Happy birthday!" Especially when it wasn't one's birthday. Then, she would go on, imagine there be a great earthquake, shaking everything and the floor suddenly caved in, causing all the people at your un-birthday party to slid into the crack and fall to their untimely death and watching it unfold. She would command the person to take such a shock and multiply it by a thousand as that was the astonishment and indignation she felt when James Potter leaped up and kissed her full on the mouth.
It went on for a few seconds before Lily registered what on earth was occurring and she tugged a gleeful James Potter off her lips. She was livid and hissed, "What the hell was that?"
Bursting into laughter, James hurried down the corridor, calling out behind him, "Is that a boner you got there, Lily?" Her glare and words were enough to kill.
– – – – –
"Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep."
It was an alarm clock. It was definitely an alarm clock that was beeping obnoxiously so close to her ears and it sounded mightily like her own, although her mind was still wandering aimlessly from dream to reality. However, it was an alarm clock, not the loud, donkey-like brawl of Sirius Black's voice. Lily sucked in her breath.
Oh, please let me be back in Lily Evans' body, my right body, she prayed, shutting her eyes tighter, grasping her hands together desperately. Oh, please, please, please. I'll even be nice to Black today–
"Turn your bloody alarm clock off, you arse-licking Slughorn's slut!"
Mary! Recognizing the familiar insult, Lily shot up from behind the cozy blankets, examining her surroundings. She was sitting on a bed covered with a navy blue sheet with her lime green alarm clock bellowing at the world to wake up while Mary McDonald and Emmeline Vance laid writhing on their own beds, grumbling at "Lily's stupid bloody damn alarm clock that would not shut up".
"Shut off your alarm clock, will you?" Mary snapped in irritation, smashing a pillow over her ear aggressively. Lily noticed it was still screaming and hurried to press the green snooze button. Mary returned to bed, greedily hoping for two more minutes of blissful sleep while Emmeline stretched and slipped out of bed with a grimace.
"One day," grumbled Emmeline as she shuffled to the lavatory, "you're going to come back from the library and you're going to find that bloody alarm clock gone and in the Giant Squid's lake, you mark my words..."
"Emmeline!" Lily squealed, finding her voice from all the delightful shock the world had presented to her. She dashed from her bed and leaped at Emmeline without warning, wrapping her arms around the poor girl. Spluttering, Emmeline, with a scandalized expression, shoved Lily off, staring into her eyes in bafflement.
"What's gotten into you?" she asked. "You're never a morning person! Or ever so... affectionate."
"But it's such a glorious morning, Emmeline!" Lily crowed happily, clapping her hands together. She jumped forward to snatch another hug, but Emmeline took a careful step back, raising her eyebrows suspiciously.
"I'm not going to lend you any more Galleons," she advised with a grave look. "You're probably spending them on mushrooms you were supposed to pick up for Herbology–"
"Oh, how can you be so seriou today?" Lily cried, skipping around the dormitory in only her pajamas, fluttering her arms as if she was a free robin, swerving in the morning sky. "It's such a lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely–"
"Emmeline, make her shut up!" Mary bellowed from under her pillow, smashing the fluff down on her head to omit the loud, jubilant noises. "Stun her or suffocate her or kill her or something, but by Merlin, make her shut up!"
Lily whirled around quickly, staring at the direction of Mary's bed as if she hadn't noticed another human being inhabiting the same room with her and Emmeline. Her green eyes glittered and without notice, she pounced on the bed, the mattress creaking under the weight. Lily threw her arms around Mary, the same she had done to poor Emmeline just moments prior.
"Oh Mary, it's so good to see you again!" Lily chirped happily, smashing the poor girl in a sandwich, the bottom being the mattress and the top being Lily Evans. Mary choked, waving her limbs into the air and attempting to pull the tightly clinging mate off.
"She's batty," Emmeline remarked, shaking her head and retreating to the safe lavatory while Mary wrestled with Lily for a few minutes before the sticky grip was released and Lily was smiling contentedly at Mary while she grumbled and chucked a pillow at Lily's head.
"What the hell is up with you?" came the grumble from Mary McDonald who had never seen Lily in such an annoying mood. She would've gladly strung the girl up and let her dangle from their dormitory window without remorse.
"Good thing Alice already left for breakfast or she would've done more murderous things," mumbled Mary as she began brushing her tangled mess into settled hair, sitting on the bed beside Lily. "You know how she gets in the mornings."
"Yes, I do, and I absolutely love it!" Lily cried with a wide smile. Mary gave her an odd look and resumed brushing her hair while bellowing at Emmeline to hurry in the shower, she didn't have to scrub off every single germ on her skin, by Merlin, there was too much to scrub off anyway.
While Emmeline and Mary grumpily readied themselves for classes, Lily finished in a record time of four minutes and sat on her bed, smiling radiantly and patiently waiting for them, willingly fetching objects and sometimes erupting in a fit of joyful laughter. It would be safe to say the friends were rather concerned.
"What is wrong with you?" Mary hissed as they trapezed down to the Great Hall, Lily skipping rather than walking calmly. "What's with your- your whistles and laughing and hugging us randomly?"
"It's just because it's a beautiful day, Mary!" came the cheerful response. Mary felt like strangling Lily and all her stupid joy. She half expected to see sparrows land on her head and deer to turn up around the corner and join Lily in her happy song. Mary felt like vomiting.
"Lily, stop slouching," Emmeline scolded, pulling Lily up to her full height. "It looks dreadful. And will you please get that ridiculous grin off your face? You look stupid!"
"But it's such a beautiful day, Emmeline!" insisted Lily as if that explained away all her odd behavior. Mary and Emmeline exchanged their thirty-fifth look of the day, concerning Lily Evans.
"Oh, there are the boys, let's go sit with them," Mary remarked, pointing at the group of boys snarfing down the breakfast food on the table.
"Just please don't talk about worm vaginas again," groaned Emmeline with a roll of her eyes. "Do you know how many odd glances we were getting? I counted up to seventy-eight."
Mary smirked. "That seems a little lower than expected. I'll try to hike it up today."
"Well, good morning!" Lily exclaimed as she dropped into her seat, opening her arms widely as if she was ready to embrace the boys with her undying happiness. "Good morning to you, Sirius! Peter! Remus!" She paused, her smile faltering. "Where's Potter?"
With an odd and disgusted look, Sirius said, "He's in the Hospital Wing. He woke up today with turnips growing out of his ears."
"You have no idea how odd it was to wake up and see turnips growing out of your best mate's ears," added Remus, sharing an odd look with Sirius and Peter. Peter nodded, but rather nauseatingly. When Lily had began to eat heartily with gusto, Peter leaned over to Mary and murmured, "Is she alright?"
"I have no idea," Mary answered truthfully. "Just pretend she's not trying to give you a hug over the table and it'll be alright."
"She's not going to be like that all day, is she?" hissed Sirius, leaning over the table and eyeing Lily's wide grin wearily as she buttered a blueberry muffin. "James was like that too before he noticed turnips in his ears."
"She's just being cheerful," Mary murmured weakly. "Just ignore her. She'll stop soon enough."
"She better," grumbled Sirius. "She's ruining my mopey mornings."
Unfortunately, despite popular and hopeful beliefs, Lily did not mellow as the day continued. During Transfiguration, she thanked a Slytherin boy for picking up her wand that had rolled off the table by embracing him and he had to be taken to the Hospital Wing due to severe trauma. During Charms, she cast the strongest Cheering Charm out of anyone in the class and that entire wing of Hogwarts had to spend two hours grinning their wits out. During Potions, she nearly kicked over Sirius and her cauldron when she danced a little jig on the account of their scarab beetle wings being "ground just right".
She was skipping out of Greenhouse Five after an enthralling class of Herbology when she noticed the group of three Gryffindor boys, one of them missing again, trudging onward in front of her. One had strange things coming out of his ears. Murmuring, "be right back," to Mary and Emmeline who were glad to get rid of her for a few moments, she hurried towards them. Peter noticed her first and alerted the rest of the boys by screaming.
"Evans! Good to see you again!" Peter cried in a tone that was meant to be jovial, all the color draining out of his face. "Er, well, I have to go, um, study for History of Magic with Remus. I'll talk to you later, good bye!" He rushed away before Lily could get a word in. She shrugged and turned to the remaining boy, James.
"Hello," James greeted with a shrug, his expression slightly sour.
"Hello," Lily replied, smirking at the turnips growing merrily out of James' ears. "Where's Sirius?"
"Haven't got a clue. Probably doing something unmentionable in a broom closet again."
Lily flinched, but she remained grinning. "Hey James," she began casually. "Do you like turnips?"
"Oh, shut up," scowled James, stomping forward so quickly that Lily had to hurry to catch up to him.
"I bloody don't know," James grumbled, kicking aside a pebble on the ground. "I just woke up like this, with stupid turnips growing out of both ears. You have no idea how much Sirius laughed. And Madame Pomfrey!" He looked up with a passionately irritated expression. "Madame Pomfrey laughed me out of the Hospital Wing and told me to come back tonight for the remedy! She is a batty woman and I bloody hate her!"
Lily laughed heartily, her first natural laugh in the past twenty-four hours. "I wonder how she's going to get those turnips out. Is she going to use a spade?"
"Probably some weird potion to melt them off or something," James scowled. "I think this is one of the side effects Dumbledore neglected to explain."
"Either that or punishment for kissing me yesterday," Lily hissed with a sniff. "You deserve it."
James smirked and winked at her. "You obviously liked it since you got a–"
"Don't think that I won't smack you because I will."
"Alright, alright," sighed James, holding his hands up in defeat. "I'm sorry. Although apparently you'regetting pretty good at being nice to people recently."
"Oh, you've heard all the stories from your friends, haven't you?" Lily knew she should be ashamed of her oddly happy conduct, but she couldn't bring herself to mind.
"And I'm sure those stories will be circulating on for quitea few weeks."
"Nope. They won't."
James raised his eyebrows and stared. "They won't? What do you mean?"
"I have my ways," laughed Lily, clomping on towards Hogwarts. "And they work rather brilliantly. Just a few words of a threatening nature including blackmail and a certain bloody death andvoila! The rumors disappear from the gossip mill almost entirely."
"It's going to be rather hard to get rid of these rumors..."
"It'll disappear. Trust me," Lily insisted with a wide grin. "And I'll go back to being me again tomorrow so no worries. Me being cheerful and skipping around and being friendly with you is just temporary. Tomorrow, I'll be scolding your wits out."
"Oh, Lily, do you have to?" James began pleadingly, clutching his hands together. "We're getting along so well! Can't we be friends please–"
"After what you did when we came out Professor Dumbledore's office?" Lily raised her eyebrows patronizingly, her familiar expression returning, while James bowed his head with a blush.
"I said sorry," he mumbled.
"Sorry? You didn't think I would forgive you so easily, did you?" snorted Lily. "After all, I've been holding a grudge against you for five years now. I'm not going to be friendly so easily, Potter."
"At least call me James for today," insisted James as another plead. "Just for today. You can go back to calling me 'Potter' and 'arrogant toerag' and 'McGonagall's panty licker' tomorrow."
"Fine then," Lily agreed with a breezy smile, "James."
"'Ey, ye two! Whatcha doin' out o' class? Potter? S'that ye?"
"Hagrid!" James cried, waving his hand at the giant man standing beside his cozy hut. "What are you doing outside? It's freezing!"
"Ter keep an eye on rascals like ye," Hagrid replied with a chuckle. "An' Lily Evans 'erself, eh? Potter botherin' ye? Can kick 'im into the Forest if ye'd like," he offered and Lily laughed, shaking her head.
"Not today, thank you," she called, pulling her jacket closer when the wind blew past, "but maybe another day?"
"Ah, I'll be keepin' me schedule free," Hagrid winked. "Jes' come alone whenever 'e's bein' annoyin'."
"Aw, you're not supposed to be conspiring against me, Hagrid," James grumbled good naturedly. "You told me you would help me!"
"O' course then, Potter," laughed Hagrid, waving his hands at the two. "But run along ter class. Don' want ter be late again, do yeh?"
Before James could answer cleverly again, there was a sudden yelp and a squeal and Sirius came dashing out from back of the hut, his black mop sizzling at the ends, sooted smeared on his usually white skin. His hands which were formerly immaculately groomed were blackened. Hagrid frowned, observing the boy who was trying to put out the fire that was creeping up his trouser leg.
"What's the problem now, Black?" Hagrid inquired with a furrow of his brows. "I thought I told ye ter be careful–"
"I was!" Sirius insisted in a loud and indignant voice. "The bloody thing just blew and I–" He caught a glimpse of Lily and James standing next to each other, watching him in unhidden surprise. "Oh, Jamesie! Save me! This is the most awful thing ever!"
"Sirius! What's going on?" James questioned in shock. "Where have you been? We haven't seen you since breakfast!"
"This one," Hagrid huffed as he picked up Sirius by his shirt and set him away from James and Lily's direction. It was as if he was trying to stop a dog from escaping, "got in a bit o' trouble today wit' Perfessor McGonagall today."
"Oh, what did you do now, Black?" Lily groaned. Sirius' eyes flickered back and forth and he muttered sheepishly.
"I was trying to set Mrs. Norris and Snivellus on fire at the same time, but it turns out it wasn't Mrs. Norris but–"
"McGonagall, in her Animagus form," Lily breathed, barely hiding her amusement and keeping laughter behind her teeth. "What did you do to Severus?"
He wrinkled his nose, shoving himself off Hagrid's meaty grip. "The spell caught the back of his robe and he shrieked and we started dueling, but McGonagall turned back into a professor with some of her hair on fire and–"
"And the manticores are gonna escape again," rumbled Hagrid, pushing Sirius towards the back again. "Ye get back there and keep 'em company, Black, wit' Snape."
"What's he doing with the manticores?" Lily inquired as Sirius began to sulkily disappear behind the hut, teeth rattling from fright.
"Jes' helpin' me wit' a little project I've started," Hagrid answered with a wide smile. "We're tryin' ter breed manticores an' firecrabs and Dumbledore thought it'd be a good detention for 'em–"
"You're breeding them?" James gasped, staring more at Sirius than Hagrid. "Sirius, why would you possibly decide to volunteer to do this?"
Sirius struggled with his words, pulling himself to his full height, crying in a defensive voice, "It was either that or switch bodies with Snape! You think I wanted to do this because I thought it was fun?"
"Ah, yer not supposed ter be tellin' people that, Sirius–"
"Wouldn't you rather have switched bodies?" Lily interrupted with a gasp.
"Are you out of your mind?" Sirius snapped in irritation, rubbing a bit of soot off his cheeks. "That's the stupidest thing I've heard you say, Evans!"
"Who in their right minds would switch bodies with another person for a week?"
Hagrid finally ushered them away from the hut and insisted that they return to the castle and not discuss whatever they had heard from the "loud-mouthed Sirius Black" and not worry about it for even a minute. So Lily and James wandered back slowly to Hogwarts, exchanging amused glances with each other, chewing on Sirius' statement and the hell of a week they'd gone through.
This is the (real) end! Thank you so much for sticking to this to the end even when I was burping out updates slower than a fire crab on a rampage! ::bows::
Thank you everyone for your support and I hope you enjoyed the story!