The Trouble With Lifts
Summary: "I should have known that a magical lift was only going to cause trouble. And here I thought that an inanimate object couldn't pose a threat to my sanity - which was a ridiculous assumption. Obviously."
Disclaimer - I don't own anything, sadly. Everything Harry Potter is JK Rowling's, and the song lyrics are properly accredited to their creators. Wait, I guess I own the sketchy plot. Huzzah!
A/N: Hello! After a ridiculously long hiatus, I have returned to the lovely world of fanfiction. It's kind of wonderful to be back. Anyways, the idea for this story's been rumbling around for a while, but it originally was going to feature Harry and Ginny. However, my heart belongs to Lily and James, and there's something about trapping these two in a mischievous elevator that I couldn't resist. Now, read and hopefully enjoy!
Chapter One: Elevator
"Blame me for the elevator - I know you will, oh yeah, you will.
It's not me who's the operator, but you're going down, down, down."
Elevator by Hot Hot Heat
I'm not entirely sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn't what it turned out to be.
I suppose I thought that it wouldn't be much different from the first Head's meeting we'd had with Dumbledore. You know, discussions about rules, and what was expected, and the passwords to the Head's dorm and everything. However, I was a little bit surprised that Dumbledore had called us to his office again only a week later.
And by 'us' I mean James Potter and I. When I'd found out on the train that he was Head Boy, I honestly thought that James had been kidding. He'd flounced up, his lips twisted into a crooked grin when he'd brandished the shiny gold badge at me.
"Kidding, Evans? 'Course not. One should never joke about important things like being Head Boy," he'd told me gravely.
Ever since then, I'd seriously been questioning the Headmaster's sanity. And okay, I'll admit that James has perhaps matured from how he used to be – at the very least, he seems to have pulled his head out of his as-ahem, behind – but he's still James Potter, one quarter of the Marauders, Hogwarts' most notorious pranksters. The only person with more detentions than James, is Sirius Black. What kind of example does the set for the young and impressionable first years?
Not that they really to us anyway. Sigh.
Anyways, given Dumbledore's apparent lunacy, I don't know why I'd been surprised that he'd dragged us down to his office during dinner to show us nothing but an ordinary brick wall. Yes, you read that correctly. A brick wall.
Thanks professor. I really needed to know what one looked like. It's not like they aren't all over the bloody castle.
I sighed, my gaze momentarily flickering over to James. He seemed to find the whole situation rather amusing. Typical.
"Professor?" I questioned, "Your office wall is really smashing and everything, but why are you showing it to us?" Especially during dinner. I was unbelievably hungry.
He didn't answer me - instead his blue eyes twinkled behind his half-moon glasses as he tapped the wall three times with the tip of his wand.
"I'm in terrible need of a lift," Dumbledore said, his words spoken in the same soft manner he always used, but there was a teasing tone hidden beneath the softness.
I peered at him, arching one eyebrow.
The old man chuckled before tipping his head back to the wall he'd tapped with his wand moments before. I glanced over, and couldn't help the small gasp that escaped my lips. The brick was twisting and peeling back, revealing a set of large mahogany doors, twisted with intricate brass designs. The doors slid open, and behind them, through a criss-cross brass safety gate, was the inside of a lift. The walls were a deep, shiny mahogany, their rich colour lending warmth to the four by six space.
James stepped forward, his fingers reaching through the gate. "A lift, Professor? In Hogwarts?"
"Is it new?" I asked, my gaze still on the lift. "Hogwarts, A History doesn't mention it."
James chuckled, "That book fails to mention a lot of things about Hogwarts, Evans."
I glared, about to retort when Dumbledore spoke.
"No, it's not new, Miss Evans. It's been here since the school's inception. Alas, it's a bit of an embarrassment as it hasn't been the most reliable over the years," Dumbledore explained, pushing his spectacles farther up his nose. "This lift is one designated for the Head Boy and Girl. As a way to compensate for your busy schedules, it will allow you to go anywhere in the school almost instantly. But, it's been out of use for the last few years," he sighed. "It sometimes has a mind of its own, I'm afraid."
"What do you mean, Professor?" I asked, eying the lift warily.
"Oh, nothing too dramatic, Miss Evans, but it has been known to break down from time to time. However, Professor Flitwick assures me it's working perfectly now."
"How does it work?" James asked. I could see the spark of an idea alight in his eyes. As always, he was planning something.
"It's simple, really," Dumbledore said, "To make it appear, tap any wall with your wand three times and say 'I'm in terrible need of a lift'. Once inside, simply state wherever you'd like to go."
"May I give it a go, Professor?" James asked, a crooked smile appearing.
"Of course, Mr Potter."
"You coming, Evans?" he asked, his hazel eyes catching mine. I shook my head. "I'm fine, thank you."
"Suit yourself," he said, pulling open the safety gate and stepping inside. He mumbled something and the mahogany doors slid shut. Moments later, the brick wall shifted and chinked back into place, perfectly undisturbed. The Headmaster's office fell silent, save for the ticking of an odd looking clock to my right. Dumbledore pulled a small, square tin out of his pocket, clicking it open. He picked a small yellow candy out and popped it in his mouth. He then held out the box to me.
"Lemon drop, Miss Evans?"
"No thank you, Professor," I said, still eyeing the wall where the lift had been before. "Is he going to come back?"
"Mr Potter?" Dumbledore asked. "Well, yes. I should hope so. Filius will be terribly upset if the lift is broken already."
As if on cue, the bricks peeled back again, the mahogany doors sliding open to reveal a very pleased James Potter. He stood in the middle of the lift, holding two steaming bowls of food.
"Brilliant, Professor!" James exclaimed as he nudged the gate open with his foot. "A trip to the kitchens has never been so easy!"
"I'm glad you find it to your liking, Mr Potter," Dumbledore smiled.
"Does it go absolutely everywhere, Professor?" I asked. I watched as James seemed to fumble with the two bowls, muttering about burning his fingers.
"Within reason. Mr Potter won't be able to get it to take any trips to the ladies' lavatory, or the girl's dormitory," Dumbledore mentioned with a smile, "and as always, the Professor's quarters are off limits. Other than that, it will take you nearly everywhere within the castle."
I nodded, still watching as James set the bowl down on the Professor's desk, and stared at his hands, glaring at the angry red spots where the bowls had burned him. "Bloody house elves, and their ruddy hot food," he muttered darkly.
"Perhaps you wouldn't have had such trouble, Potter, if you'd settled for only one bowl, instead of trying to gorge yourself with two," I told him offhandedly, a smirk twisting my lips.
James tossed me a glare, "This one," he said, picking up one of the bowls and shoving it into my hands, "is for you."
Oh. Well, then.
I stopped smirking. I stared down at the rice and chicken in the bowl, unable to move for a moment - even as the heat of the bowl burned my hands. I then looked back at James, who was staring at me pointedly.
"Ow," I said suddenly, nearly dropping the bowl. I placed it back on the desk before looking at James. "Well, er, thanks, then," I managed to get out. He shrugged and pulled a fork from his pocket.
"Don't mention it," he said, forcing the metal utensil into my hand. Dumbledore cleared his throat.
"Well, Mr Potter, Miss Evans, that's all I brought you down here for. You are free to go back to your dorm whenever you wish," he said, moving to sit behind his desk
"Yes," I said, "Of course, Professor. Thank you." I pulled out my wand, charming both bowls to cool, before picking mine up. If James said thank you as I left the Headmaster's office, I never heard it.
Leaving the office, I headed down a long corridor to my left, winding along until I reached a small statue of a funny looking little man, wearing a very large hat with a feather. I flicked him on the nose once, and then pressed down on his left foot. My stomach growled as the little statue spun around once, and a door opened in the wall behind him. I stepped inside, pulling out my wand as the door shut behind me.
"Lumos," I whispered, heading down the dark, narrow passageway. There was a wooden door at the end, light shining through the crack at the bottom. I nudged the door open, and stepped inside the room.
"Well it's about time you got here," Chelsea said, eying me from her spot at the large desk across the room. It was a place we'd stumbled upon in our third year - a small room filled with old desks and bits of rubbish. Over the years we'd been transfiguring different items that we needed, turning it into our secret comfy studying area. She spotted the bowl. "What's that you've got?"
I stood in the doorway, staring at my bowl of food as I spoke to her, ignoring her question. "Something weird just happened."
"Weird as in 'I've just found a man brilliant enough for my best mate, Chelsea Fanrae, to date'," she asked, "or more like, 'I think I've figured out why the third floor Charms corridor always smells faintly of cheese'?"
"Neither," I said, looking up at her. "Weird as in James Potter brought me a bowl of food from the kitchens."
Chelsea sighed and tucked her strawberry blonde hair behind her ear as she set back to work scribbling something at her desk. "That's not weird, Lily. Uncommon, maybe - but not weird."
"You're referring to the fact that he fancied me in fifth year," I said, flopping down on the couch to my left.
"Ding, ding, ding! Give the girl a prize."
I grimaced, digging under the couch cushions to find what was digging into my side as I told her, "Don't be ridiculous, Chelsea. He can't still be on about all that rubbish." I found the offending item – an old book end I'd tried to turn into a quill and instead turning it into something that was part metal, and part feather – and put it on the floor.
"You underestimate your womanly wiles, Miss Evans," Chelsea informed me, pointing her quill at me for emphasis. "That boy is positively infatuated with you. Always has been, always will be."
"Codswallop," I told her, pulling the fork James had given me out of my robe pocket and rubbing it on my skirt to clean it.
"It's not codswallop and you know it," she sighed. "James Potter fancies you. You know this. We've discussed it a million times."
"You don't know for sure," I argued, taking a large forkful of rice and stuffing it in my mouth. Through my mouthful I said, "He hardly even spoke to me sixth year."
"Gee wiz, I wonder why? Perhaps it was because during fifth you called him a bullying toe-rag?"
"I've insulted him before," I muttered, "Still do, actually."
"You also vehemently declared that he – and I quote – 'made you sick'," she said, making air quotes with her fingers. "Perhaps the poor bloke realized he was fighting a losing battle and decided to back off for a bit and regroup."
"Or maybe," I said, jabbing my fork at the air in her general direction, "he decided to surrender."
"Or maybe you're just being a complete tosser," Chelsea glared, throwing her quill at me. She broke out in a smile a moment later. "He still fancies you, and you know it."
"I'm ignoring you now," I said, taking a bite of chicken.
"Fine. Be a prickly little swot," she sighed. "What'd Dumbledore want?"
"He showed us a lift that the Heads are allowed to use. That's how James got the food."
Chelsea's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean a lift you get to use? Hogwarts has a lift?"
"That's what I said. Apparently it's been broken down for years," I told her, scraping the last bit of rice out of the bowl. I stood, placing the dish on the coffee table. "Look, I'll show you."
I moved to the nearest empty wall and tapped it three times. "I'm in terrible need of a lift."
A moment later, the lift was there.
"Merlin," Chelsea breathed, rising to move closer. She stared at it, her eyes growing brighter by the second. She turned to me, her smile devious. "This is absolutely wicked."
"It's just a lift, Chelsea," I said. "And a dodgy one at that."
"It certainly doesn't look dodgy. It actually looks quite spiffing if I do say so myself," she admired, pushing aside the brass gate and stepping inside. "How's it work?"
"You get in, and then say where you want to go."
"Brilliant! Get in."
"You heard me, Lily Evans," Chelsea said, her freckled face caught in a big grin. "Get in!"
"No thank you, I'll pass."
"I have Charms homework I should be doing," I told her, pointing over my shoulder to my rucksack on the floor.
"Charms, shmarms. Get in the lift, Lily."
"And I also have a three foot essay for potions. Very important, that." I said, turning away.
"Slughorn'll forgive you," Chelsea said, grabbing my wrist and pulling me inside the lift. "We're taking this baby for a spin."
I sighed, resigned to go along with her plan and shutting the safety gate. "Alright then. Where are we going?"
"Lift of Destiny!" Chelsea shouted. "Take us-"
"Are you daft? You don't need to bloody shout," I grimaced, covering my ears. She grinned wickedly.
"Take us to James Potter!" she shouted even louder than before. I could have slugged her.
The lift rocketed upwards, and then shuddered to a halt a moment later. Chelsea was laughing to herself, apparently mad with power. I rubbed my temples, trying to ward off my approaching headache as the doors slid open.
In retrospect, I should have known that a magical lift was only going to cause trouble. And here I thought that an inanimate object couldn't pose a threat to my sanity - which was a ridiculous assumption. Obviously.
Through the brass safety gate we could see into James' room in the Head's dorm. And it wasn't empty either. Sirius was lounging on the bed, one arm behind his head and the other holding a book open, his feet crossed at the ankles. James stood near his dresser, his white school shirt lay on the floor at his feet as he rummaged in the top drawer. They both turned when the yellow light from the lift spilled into the room.
Horrified, I stood there, my mouth hanging open as Chelsea grinned, nudged me in the side and exclaimed, "This lift is bloody brilliant!"
A/N: So, please, please, please with a cherry on top (of anything you want, attractive people included) review! It'll make my day. :)