Crashing Down Around Them

Chapter 3

Of New Teachers, Inner Struggles and Late Night Talks


James didn't sleep well Sunday night and woke up the next morning feeling rotten.

"What wrong with you mate?" Sirius asked him when he finally fell out of bed just as the others were leaving for breakfast.

"Couldn't sleep." James mumbled, his voice muffled by the pair of Peter's boxers he had fallen face first into.

"Why not?" Remus inquired, peeling him up off the floor.

"Dunno."

"Right well, I'm off to eat." Sirius said brightly Peter trailing behind him. Remus stared at James as he heaved himself up and grabbed his robes out his trunk.

"What going to watch me get dressed as well?" He snapped as his friend's eyes unrelentingly followed him. Remus didn't say anything and continued to look at James with an unsettling look in his eyes.

"Whatever." James scoffed, walking into the bathroom to get changed. When he shut the door and escaped Remus' piercing stare his face contorted, for just a second, into an ugly mask of self-loathing but before he could blink it was gone and he got dressed into his pants and shirt. Once he was finished he leant back against the door for a second. Just because Evans had decided to play a cruel joke on him, and he had done what he needed to not what he wanted to for once, didn't mean he should feel rotten and take it out on his friends. He splashed water on his face, slapped himself for being such a girl and strutted back into the bedroom.

"Sorry bout that mate." He told Remus grinning at his friend. Remus cocked his head to one side and looked at James for a second before appearing satisfied.

"No problem, we all know you get like this at your time of the month." The smirk on his face was wiped off as soon as James launched himself at him, and his misery was soon forgotten.


"If I could have your attention." Dumbledore's voice boomed through the hall Thursday night at dinner. All the students immediately stopped their conversations and looked towards their headmaster, it was incredibly rare to have an announcement when it wasn't a feast. "Due to unforeseen circumstances Professor Wilkes has had to leave us." As the words left his mouth a loud cheer erupted throughout the hall. "Now, now." Dumbledore said, smiling softly "So Professor Jacobsen will be taking Defense against the Dark arts for the rest of the year." He gestured towards a short, plump woman with wild, short and curly chestnut hair who had been sitting unnoticed at the staff table. The hall was silent as the students looked skeptically at each other; she looked like a chef or a mother, not a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. "Please make her welcome." The was a spattering of polite applause throughout the hall, but Professor Jacobsen didn't seem to mind the skepticism, in fact she seemed to enjoy it.

"I think I'm going to look forward to her lessons." Katy said to Lily and Liz after the noise had returned to the hall "It should be like a free period, like history of Magic."

"Which I can't believe you still take." Liz shot at her friend.

"Like I said, a free period." Katy smirked.

"I don't know, I think I'll enjoy her lessons, but for a different reason." Lily spoke up, her voice softer than usual, the sparkle vacant from her eyes.

"Really Lily, you think so?" Liz asked

"Yea, what makes you say that?" Katy sounded skeptical

"No Reason, just a hunch." Lily said quietly.

Meanwhile down the table a bit the Marauders were also discussing the new teacher.

"I say we welcome her with a prank." Sirius whispered

"Not her first lesson," Remus argued, "That's too much, even for you."

"We did it to Wilkes." Peter pointed out

"Yea, but he radiated bastard." James said

"True, that." Sirius chimed. His friends stared at him

"Did you just say true that?" Remus asked his friend

"Yes, yes I did." Sirius looked confused, "Why?" His friends just chuckled and shook their heads, apart from Peter who howled with laughter.

"Yea Pete, It wasn't that funny." James gently told his friend, who blushed bright red.

"Can we get back to Jacobsen?" Sirius asked

"I agree with Remus, we should give her a couple of lessons, I mean we didn't prank any other teachers on our first lesson with them." James stated his opinion, shocking the others.

"Did you just pass up the opportunity to play a prank?" Sirius asked

"No, I just said we should delay it a bit."

"But she looks so easy." Sirius whined like a little girl.

"Fine, you can prank her. But without my plan and Remus' skill I think you'll fail." James smiled knowingly

"Just watch me." Sirius sniffed, storming out of the hall trying to hold back laughter though still a bit offended.

"This should be good." Remus chuckled.

"It defiantly will be."


James hadn't been sleeping well for the whole week but Friday night was particularly bad. Sometime around three in the morning he gave up on sleep, grabbed his invisibility cloak out from under Sirius' bed – how it got there he didn't know, or care to know – and walked silently down the stairs. As he neared the bottom he could hear sobbing coming from the common room, a very familiar so. His head wrestled with his heart for a second before he threw the cloak over himself and tiptoed out the common room, the girl too upset to notice the portrait hole opening by itself.

James wandered the halls for a bit before making up his mind and heading towards the kitchen. Narrowly avoiding the head boy by slipping though a secret package James finally arrived at the picture of the fruit and after tickling the pare and stepping in he was surprised to find Liz sitting at the table, head in her hands.

"Lizzy, what's wrong." He asked her gently.

She lifted her head and stared him straight in the eye, despair evident in hers

"Lily."


Lily quietly crept down into the common room, sure that at this time of night it would be empty and a perfect place for solitude. She curled up in the love seat she had occupied that night a month ago. Why couldn't she have realised what a good person he was then, why couldn't she have made the first move, to repair everything. Why did she have to be stubborn and stupid, why couldn't she have let bygones be bygones. Again tears started to streak down her cheeks, and she wiped them away angrily. It shouldn't even matter, it was Potter and he was finally leaving her alone like she had always wanted. She shouldn't be crying over this, she shouldn't be depressed but she was. If she was honest to herself fighting with him had always been a high point of her day, it got her blood boiling, her mind sharp and made her feel good. Of course it was just the adrenaline, the rush of winning but she still missed it, there was no one who could throw a verbal punch quite like Potter. It was just all the stress and tears over everything she had been holding for the past year. The secrets the hidden hurt. And now she didn't have the anger to keep it at bay it was crashing down on her, crushing her under its weight.

The common room door swung shut, starling Lily. There had defiantly been no one there, and she hadn't opened the door. She was truly going mad now, and that thought only made her cry harder.


"What about Evans?" James asked Liz gently, sitting down next to her.

"Lily." Liz corrected sharply.

"Okay, Lily then." James said, very taken aback by her tone.

"Sorry James, it's not your fault, it's just I'm just really worried about Lily, and my parents and my grade's."

"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked her gently.

"Sort of." Liz sighed, leaning her head towards his body.

"Well then just tell me what you want to." He wrapped his arms around her shoulders.

"I dunno, I guess I'm really worried about Lily." She sighed, "I know you don't like her so if you don't want to hear about it..."

"No, if it's bothering you then tell me. You of all people know I don't hate her."

"Okay, well if you're sure you want to hear me overanalyse and worry over everything…" She moaned

"Hey, It will just help to get it off your chest. If it's bothering you it can't be that stupid."

"Ok, well I'm not sure she'll want you knowing this but Lily's been really, really upset about something all week, since Sunday night actually. She was fine in the morning but when we got back from the library in the evening she looked absolutely distraught. She'd cried herself to sleep." At Liz's words James felt like a knife had twisted through his stomach. It couldn't have been his fault, could it? No she must have had a confrontation with someone else. On the outside James just gave Liz an encouraging look.

"Ever since then she's just been really withdrawn, she rarely speaks, she doesn't eat much she hasn't even been motivated to do her homework and it's scaring us. Even Keira noticed that something was up." Liz was getting hysterical and James started rubbing soothing circles on her arms.

"Wow, it's that bad?" James asked, more concern in his voice than Liz thought possible.

"Yea it's that bad, and when I find the bastard who said something to her. Well he's going to be so dead?"

"What makes you think a guy said something to her?" James asked trying to keep the nervousness he felt out of his voice "Has she said something?"

Liz looked at him strangely for a second but continued none the less "She hasn't said anything to us but she's been sleeping really restlessly and keeps mumbling something about a guy and how he's right and she's a horrible person." James felt like a train of guilt slammed into his body. He had never been that mean to her had he? He replayed the conversation over in his head but nothing jumped out at him. Unless it really had been her own idea, or maybe there was something else, she must have had a run in with a Slytherin or something. That was it, or so he would tell himself.

"Well I guess you just need to prove to her she's wrong. Try and cheer her up and act as you usually do. Don't try getting her to tell you what's wrong because that will generally make her close down even more." James finally told Liz.

"What." Liz lifted her head off his shoulder, "Since when were you all in touch with your emotions and smart?" She asked him.

"Since forever." He told her in a high-pitched girly voice "Sirius is my best mate, it comes with the territory." He added. Which was partially true, however most of his experience came from Remus and his furry little problem, not that he could tell Liz that.

"I suppose that's true. For a 'Playboy' he sure is girly." She giggled

"Yea, but none of the girls actual care, they think he's 'gorgeous' 'good' and 'sexy' and don't give a toss about the rest." James said

"True, do you think he's ever going to settle down?" Liz asked him

"Seriously, No."

"Keira will be devastated."

"Well if she's up for a quickie he thinks she's hot so tell her to knock herself out." He chuckled "Feeling better now?" James asked her suddenly turning more solemn.

"Yes, thanks for the great advice James." She smiled at him. "Who would have thought?"

"Any time."


Lily backed away from the kitchen door in shock. She'd come down to try and find Liz to apologies for her behavior during the week and had found her locked in an embrace with James Potter of all people. She blindly wandered around the castle, deeply hurt and jealous though she tried to deny it. Of course she wasn't jealous of them together, she just didn't want to share her best friend with the guy who'd basically told her his life would be better if she just disappeared off the face of the earth, or at the very least out of his life.

She felt trapped, suffocated and isolated. She should have known if she pulled away from her friends they would turn somewhere else, she supposed she wouldn't want to be friends with herself after the way she had been acting of late, but even so to turn to Potter. It just twisted the knife deeper.

She was wandering the halls feeling very sorry for herself when she walked into something –or someone - hard.

"Lily, what are you doing out of bed after hours." Remus asked her gently.

"Thinking." She whispered, staring at her feet.

"About what?" He asked her, grabbing her arm and leading her into the empty common room.

"Just stuff, my friends, you know." Lily began to twist her fingers together in her lap.

"Alright missy, whatever self-deprecating thoughts you're thinking send them straight out of your head." Remus commanded.

"Wha…"

"Lily, how long have we been friends for? I know how your brain works and I can see it in your face." He told her, grabbing her hands and stopping the twisting motion. "You think you're not worthy, that your friends have deserted you and that they should, but stop right now. Your friends are worried about you and you defiantly deserve the best and most supportive friends in the world, understand me?" He asked her

"Yes." She nodded meekly.

"Hmm, keep working on that and I might believe you next time." He told her dryly, getting up from the couch. "Sleep well and think about what I said." He headed up to his dorm. Lily watched his retreating form and when she was sure she was alone curled up into a ball. Remus didn't know her friends, didn't know what they put up with. But he was right, if she wanted to keep her friends she needed to get the hell over herself. Tomorrow.


A/N: Voila another chapter. Okay I'm getting a bit disheartened so that's why this story is going so slowly. have i really gotten worse in my stories since i've started. usualy im not one to complain and am happy with 5 reviews or so but i dunno.... anyway yes this one is finally up because the inspiration is a bit dry expect updates a bit sparsely. Remember to check the link on my profile for cover art for each chapter. Also yes i know this is a bit depressing but the next chapter is lighter and in a couple more the story really starts so hang on tight :D

xoxo

Lilybet