The Seer's Diary
Chapter 12: Thestrals

Snape gawked at her, but she turned again, taking Sirius's arm and walking away. She pushed past everyone that had gathered in the corridor, until at last they'd made it to the next car.

They stopped. "Are you okay, love?" he asked her.

She nodded, biting back tears. "He's just a stupid git anyway," she sniffed. "Next time I'll let you hex him."

Sirius smiled broadly. "That's my girl," he said. "Or, well, Prongs's girl, technically."

She giggled half-heartedly.

"Padfoot?" Remus stuck his head out of a nearby compartment. "What—Lily?"

Dorcas squeezed by Remus, gaping. "What happened to your knee?" she asked.

James was out of the compartment next, quickly at Lily's side. He wrapped his arms around her, kissing her forehead. "Are you okay, Lily?"

"That good-for-nothing slimeball hexed her," Sirius told James.

"WHAT?" he shouted, causing Lily to jump. "I swear to Merlin—"

"It's fine," Lily said. "I wasn't exactly undeserving."

"Lily..." Dorcas said softly. "I'm sure that's not true..."

"No, I mean it." Lily shook her head. "Black only heard half the things I said and I'm sure he'll agree it wasn't pretty."

"Actually," Sirius said, "I was very proud of the things you said, so I don't think—"

"That statement pretty much speaks for itself," Peter offered, now joining them in the corridor.

Lily and Dorcas laughed, but Sirius pouted. "That's not fair!"

"Come on," Remus said, also smiling. "Let's not block the hallway, yeah?"

Lily nodded, feeling James slip his arm around her, leaning into him as they walked.

She took a seat near the window, James kneeling down in front of her. Gingerly, he rolled up her pant leg, revealing a nasty cut on her knee.

"Here," Dorcas said, kneeling beside James. She pulled out her wand, waving it over her knee. Instantly the cut closed up, leaving only a tiny pink sliver.

James leaned in, kissing the newly healed skin.

"Ignore the girl with the wand, here," Dorcas smiled, "it was really that kiss that healed you."

Lily laughed, unrolling her pant leg. "But of course."

"Not to ruin the sickeningly sweet moment here," Remus said, "but I do believe we should be changing into our robes."

"If we must," James sighed, pulling his and Lily's from his bag. She took hers from him, pulling them over her head, pinning the Head Girl badge to her chest. She watched as James pinned his own to his chest.

She had to admit, she rather liked this newly found family she had; she felt safer and she felt in place, like she belonged not only with them, but to them, and they belonged to her.

She watched as the four boys chatted animatedly and played exploding snap, Dorcas sitting quietly across from her with a book in hand. And for the hundredth time, she assured herself that she could easily get used to this.

However, the light outside quickly disappeared, as did all true signs of civilization. And while she knew that hours had passed, it seemed as though she'd only just taken her seat when James glanced at his watch and announced that the two of them had to get back to the front of the train to oversee everything.

"We'll see you guys on the platform," Dorcas said with a smile.

Sirius nodded. "We'll wait for you."

"Thanks, mate," James smiled, taking Lily's hand.

It was only a quarter of an hour before the train pulled to a stop. The doors opened, and as the students filed out, Lily and James made one final check on the train, to make sure nobody and nothing was left behind.

Finally they were off the train, and easily found the others waiting for them near the path for the carriages. There was only one remaining, the other students already having left for the castle. They began walking to the carriage, when suddenly Lily realised something had changed.

She gasped, taking a step back, running right into James. As he stopped, Peter and Sirius both collided into him.

"Lily?" Dorcas asked, standing beside her. "What's wrong?"

"You don't see it?" she asked her friend, staring at her confusedly. "But—"

"You guys go on, we'll be in there in just a minute," James told them, and they nodded, Dorcas still looking at her friend, concerned. They left the door of the carriage still open for them.

James walked up to the beast that was in front of the carriage, a creature which Lily had never noticed before. It was so strange, she was so certain that the carriages were horseless, pulled by invisible magic, yet now there was something standing there, waiting to pull them up the path to Hogwarts. And even though Dorcas couldn't see it, James did, and he stood there, patting its snout. And suddenly, Lily understood.

"Thestrals," she muttered under her breath.

James continued to pet the beast as Lily approached them both. "My guess is you can see them because of that woman in Diagon Alley..."

Lily's breath caught for a moment, and she nodded, putting her hand out, letting the creature sniff her hand. She watched as it leaned into James's touch, then hesitantly placed her hand on the other side of its face.

"They're beautiful," James sighed. "I hate that they're associated with such a terrible thing, when they're such amazing creatures..."

Lily nodded. "Who was it that you saw?" she asked quietly.

James didn't have to ask her what she meant. "My grandfather," he said. "I was pretty young, and he was very old. I don't remember it, really, but I remember being in his room and it all being okay, and then... he was just gone. And my grandmother was crying, and so was my mum..."

"Have you always been able to see them, then?" she asked.

He nodded. "Sirius thought I was mental. Thought he became friends with the wrong bloke." He smiled at the memory. "He's been able to see them for a about a year, though, since his Uncle Alphard passed away."

Lily nodded. "I'm sorry," she said.

He smiled at her. "You know you apologise too much, right?"

"I know," she sighed, laughing. "I'm—"

"Sorry?" he asked teasingly. "I never would have guessed!"

Lily playfully smacked James's arm. He smiled, kissing her forehead and taking her hand. "Come on," he whispered,pulling her back into the carriage.

"Everything all right?" Alice asked as the couple climbed in.

Lily nodded. "Just fine," she told them, forcing a smile and squeezing James's hand slightly.

They were the last carriage to pull up to the front of the school, long after the rest of the students. They hurried up the steps and through the large doors into the Great Hall, the smell of food happily meeting their nostrils, and Lily noted that they'd missed the Sorting. She turned to say something about it to Dorcas, who shrugged, and the six friends took seats at the back end of the table. The redhead was just about to help herself to some shephard's pie, when Dorcas, who was on her right, poked her in the ribs, and nodded up at the table.

"Look beside Flitwick," she mumbled.

Lily turned to the Head Table, scanning the faces until her eyes fell upon their Charms professor. To the left was McGonagall, in her usual emerald green robes. Lily's eyes narrowed, looking instead to the tiny man's other side and—oh.

The woman looked very young—in Lily's opinion, almost too young to be a professor. But, she reasoned with herself, everyone has to start somewhere. Her brown hair fell past her shoulders in waves and slight curls, her face pale but rather beautiful.

James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter were all staring at the young witch, now, as well. Lily knew that they all had a silent understanding—despite missing the Sorting and Dumbledore's speech, there was no doubt in any of their minds that this woman was their newest Defense Against the Dark Arts professor.

Sirius was staring at her with raised eyebrows, mouth slightly agape. "Damn," he muttered under his breath.

"Wonder what her name is," Dorcas mused.

Peter shrugged. "We'll find out soon enough, won't we?"

"Let's just hope she's not as awful as some of those we've had in the past," Lily sighed.

A few hours later, Lily and James found themselves striding down the empty hallways, the first night of duties to be covered by the newly named Head Boy and Girl.

They were quiet, and Lily furiously sought for something to say. She argued with herself that the silence was far from awkward, simply comfortable instead, but she still felt the need to be saying something.

And then the thought struck her and she bit her lip. It was something she'd had on her mind recently, since they had started dating, and she concluded she might as well mention it.

"There's something I've been meaning to talk to you about," Lily said softly. They'd made it through the castle already, keeping their eyes open for any problems or wandering, trouble-making students, but found none.

"It's all going to sound so stupid, but now that I've started talking, I really just can't stop myself," she said quickly. "But, well, I'm glad you never listened to me all those times I told you to leave me alone. And I'm really glad you never gave up on me."

James grinned at her, sweeping in for a chaste kiss on the lips. "And I'm glad you finally gave me a chance."

"Yes, well," Lily sighed, wringing her hands, "I probably should have a long time ago."

"Nah," James said dismissively, waving one of his own hands. "I reckon we got together right when we were supposed to."

Lily laughed. "Just don't start talking about 'destiny' and 'fate', Potter, because those are pretty big words."

James smiled even wider. "Ha ha," he said sarcastically. "You and I both know that's all rubbish. No matter what claims I make about a divine hand playing a part in us being together, Divination and Seers and all that? It's garbage."

"I don't know," Lily said, "the centaurs—"

"The centaurs," James cut in, "aren't crackpots who believe that a dog in your tea leaves means you're going to die. You didn't have to sit through two years of insane theories—you decided to be smart and take Arithmancy."

Lily smiled, leaning against the wall behind them, and sweeping her hair over her shoulders. "Okay," she told him. "You're right."

James laughed, resting his hand on the cool bricks beside her and leaning in. He pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Merlin, I love it when you say that."

"Don't get used to it," she muttered.

"And you've been telling me those very words for a year now," James said, leaning in closer to her.

"Are you ever going to get tired of proving me wrong?" she asked under her breath, forcing herself to keep staring into his eyes, even as his tongue darted across his bottom lip. She swallowed hard, trying to remain calm.

"Never," he promised. And with that, he crossed the remaining centimetres between them, covering her mouth with his.