Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Easter, Happy Birthday to me and to you and to Harry Potter.
Carry my soul into the night
May the stars light my way
I glory in the sight
As darkness takes the day
Sing a song, a song of life
Lived without regret
Tell the ones, the ones I loved
I never will forget.
Never will forget.
In Noctem, Hogwarts Choir 1997
If a gush of wind were to blow you over the Scottish highlands and lochs, through the forest and onto the Hogwarts grounds then up to the glorified Quidditch Pitch this is what you would see: Lily Evans sitting with her elbows digging into her knees and hands in a prayer like position as they just touched her lips. The Slytherin and Gryffindor Quidditch team flying high above her but she is keeping her eyes on the stand opposite her where Severus has just caught her stare and she immediately looks to ground. The icy wind would then blow you two stands from Severus' left to see Georgia Brown staring at Remus Lupin with narrow and misunderstanding eyes. For she could not comprehend how he could be sitting next to Peter Pettigrew, a boy she wished dead. The high turn of the wind would raise you to Noah Burke's level of seating and you would see a boy who watched the game with the blankest eyes that were suddenly distracted by Ingrid Vance picking herself up and vacating the Hufflepuff stand opposite. Lastly, the wind would have you fluttering in the wings of the golden Snitch high above and then, still caught in the wings, you would be hurling towards the ground only to be encased in a brown leather glove. And that's the end of your journey.
One week earlier
"If you already think someone is something you're opinion is not going to change overnight," Ben turned his head to face Mary as they lay just outside of the old beech tree's shadow. Spring was alive and well at Hogwarts. Coloured patches of wild flowers were scattered along the lower mountainsides where the peaks were still lightly capped with snow. The young Whomping Willow was now covered with a lush blanket of green leaves and new grass began to cover everything else. While every so often wild animals would peak out of the forest for the sunlight and the birds finally returned to the cloisters of the castle.
"I disagree," said Mary pointedly whilst shielding her eyes from the sun as she lied next to Ben.
"I do, if you had a high opinion of someone and then they did something offensive to you then your opinion would change instantly."
"Well, obviously," Ben shrugged, "but in this case you think the person is bad so you're not going to change your mind quickly. It's harder to get in the good books rather than the bad books."
"Well, obviously," Mary repeated and Ben sighed, clearly giving up on the topic. Mary sensed this and reached for her Transfiguration book to study. She rolled onto her stomach and turned to the last chapter. She had almost covered it all but with worry her eyes averted to Ben who now had his own eyes shut. Mary had not seen him study once and although he was smart she did have her concerns.
Relief and satisfaction filled her after an hour once she closed the book. Stretching out, she noticed a group of students walking along the top of the hill away from the castle. One boy in particular was leading the army of Gryffindors carrying broomsticks and his motivational calls could be heard from the bottom of the hill. Casting a glance at Ben, who slept peacefully, then back to the boys, Mary smirked.
"Ben," Mary pushed him, "tell me about this rather important Quidditch match you have this weekend?"
Ben moaned something incompressible.
"Potter would have you training for that, right?"
Mary counted in two seconds before Ben jumped, gave her a fleeting kiss then ran up the slope.
"Good luck!" she called after him laughing and turning onto her back. Wisps of white cloud floated through the sky and she watched them go by through her eyelashes completely relaxed. Running her fingers through the growing grass she heard them before she saw them, the pounding of their feet as they ran down the hill towards their usual spot.
Lily was the first on the ground next to Mary then Evelyn landed on her other side breathing heavily.
"Why did we ever abandon you old beech tree?" Lily sighed looking longingly up at the tree. She rolled onto her stomach so she could see the other two better and plucked daisies out of the ground. "I think we should go somewhere for Easter."
"It's next week, bit late to plan anything don't you think?" said Evelyn who now had her eyes closed facing the sun.
"Are you still supposed to be going to the Fawcett's?" asked Mary.
"Dumbledore thinks it would be best. If I do decide to go that is, or I can stay here. Will you be at Bens?"
"No, I'll be spending the week with my parents. Won't get any work done at Bens."
Lily dropped her head trying to disguise her grin, "Surely it's not that much work like all the other years?"
"Are you serious?"
"I haven't looked," said Lily spinning one of the flowers in her hand.
"It's just study, that's all," Evelyn joined in dully. "I can't wait for this week to be over. I just want to get out of this school, if I see another foul Slytherin… we better win this Quidditch match. Is James positive about it?"
"Of course he is," Lily answered quickly.
"Have you spoken to James lately?" asked Mary.
"No," said Lily just as quick as before.
"This game should be the most important thing in your lives right now! You should be thinking about it every day. You should feel confident about it all the time!" James Potter walked backwards facing his team, stepping on the fragile flowers as he did. Sirius walked forwards next to James but with a smirk rather than the face of a warrior or commander in chief.
"In todays practice you must be perfection and you will not be leaving the pitch until you are. Ben?"
"Sorry," Ben struggled to breathe as he reached the group. Everyone stopped as James did and Sirius turned.
"Where's your broom?" James asked flatly.
"In the shed," Ben crouched over, leaning on his knees.
"No, it's not," James replied and Ben cursed himself. His broom was indeed not in the shed. James had made everyone take their brooms back to their dorms to prevent them from being jinxed by the Slytherins. It was smart but bloody annoying.
"I'll use a second hand one," Ben waved his hand and tried to stand up straight.
The team turned to James waiting. Ben and Sirius received special treatment, everybody knew this. James never treated them like anyone else in the team and now sat an awkward silence of sorts.
"You should get your broom," James threw his own to Ben who caught it with ease. An understanding smile was shared and Ben left. "Does everybody else have their brooms?"
Ben rolled his eyes as he reached the Fat Lady, this was ridiculous. He climbed the stairs and reached the dormitory where his own broom waited but his blood went cold as he entered the room. Within one second his wand was held out and James' broom had been dropped to the floor with a loud clatter.
"What are you doing here? Why is he here!" Ben roared at Peter who had gone beyond pale.
"Ben Wood… shouldn't you be out practicing how to throw a ball?" the intruding Slytherin sneered, "and leaving us proper Nobles alone?"
"Proper? Proper!" Ben spat and pointed his wand at Peter, "he isn't of noble blood."
"I count him as an honorary member of my own," Severus Snape said in a bored tone.
Ben laughed, "You can't do that. Peter, what are you doing?" he asked sincerely. "Why have you let this filth in our room? Where everything… The Marauders…" Ben lost his words as he noticed Peter showed no emotion and he suddenly felt outnumbered and threatened in his own room.
"The Marauders?" Severus laughed cruelly and walked over to James' bed passing Ben who still had his wand raised and now his back to Peter. "The Marauders…" Severus picked up the Invisibility Cloak and disappeared.
Ben sat up straight in his bed. The blankets were on the ground and he was out of breath, again. For the third night in a row he had experienced the same dream. Everyone else in the room was fast asleep in the darkness that surrounded them. Ben's eyes settled on Peter's drawn curtains. He knew it was all surely just a dream but the problem was that he couldn't actually remember coming back to get his broom that day. He knew he was out with Mary and that he didn't have his broom. Then James sent him back and then… well, he must have just got the broom then headed back to the pitch. As per every night Ben's eyes grew too heavy to continue and he was asleep again within minutes but it was always restless as his subconsciousness ran through that afternoon again and again.
"You look horrible." Mary, with her hand on Ben's chin, turned his face towards her so she could study him in the light that shone through the tall window behind her. He leaned forward and kissed her but she pulled away. "What did you do last night?"
Retiring from his efforts, Ben picked up his quill and aimlessly traced over the heading Transfig that he had written on the first page of his notebook. "I slept," he said lightly, wishing that the class would begin soon. He shouldn't have come so early with Mary.
"And the night before?" Mary sat with her head resting in her palm. She curiously looked to James and Sirius who were laughing about something but they didn't appear to have the same weariness as Ben did.
"Oh, on that night I went to Hagrid's hut and got madly drunk then we apparated to Norway – without a splinching – and checked out this dragon reserve thing, kind of bizarre but hey, came back in one piece and now I'm here."
"How brave of you."
"It was a joke."
"So was that."
Class began and no more was said. In fact, no more was ever said on the matter until months later when it all seemed obvious and when Ben wished he had never questioned himself and forced it to the back of his mind and Mary would never let an instinct go ever again.
Four of them had gathered secretly two months ago now. James had suggested the neglected classroom which he and Lily used for Prefect meetings. He knew she, or anyone else for that matter, wouldn't go there unless a meeting was in place. It was dusty, cold and completely forgotten which made it perfect for the two Head Students when they loitered behind after meetings.
Remus, instinctively, sat in his usual seat while James, Sirius and Ben each pulled up a chair around him. Their Gryffindor scarves were wrapped up to their chins and when they talked their breath was visible in the seemingly stale air. James hesitantly explained what he believed to be true; Peter had caught him and Lily, which he felt was a concern due to Peter's supposed time spent with Snape. Then Remus reasoned that none of them had seen Peter with Snape since long before Christmas. Sirius, on top of this, recommended that they let it go in good faith. They agreed and let it go.
Until it came back to Remus, that is.
"Are you aware," Georgia started slowly in the present day, "that Pettigrew spends time in a rather questionable area of the restricted section?"
Remus looked up at her from his book and raised an eyebrow, "He's a seventh year student. Like you and I."
Georgia blinked, "Yes," she dropped an aged book in front of Remus who flicked through the thin yellow sheets that made it.
"These are all quite out-dated by, what, centuries. This is what you found him looking at?" Remus looked back to the cover, "Torturous Curses for the Advanced." He wanted to say Peter wasn't clever enough but he saved it.
"Spells come and go… and come again," Georgia didn't quite catch his eye but more looked towards the filled wooden shelves that towered above her and Remus.
Facing the book cover down, Remus sighed loudly to get her attention, "Why do you care?" he asked with interest but Georgia felt as though this was now a test of sorts. He had the slightest of slight smiles and his eyes now were just slightly narrowed as if it were a game, too.
So she gave herself time and thought about the answer.
"Could be serious," she shrugged.
"It isn't serious," he said instantly.
"How do you know?"
"Because… I do."
She put her hands on her hips and judged Remus' reassuring nod. With her huff the fly-aways from her messy braid rose up and then down, which Remus noticed.
"Ravenclaw has a house meeting before dinner."
"Is it me or is this becoming a common occurrence?"
Georgia kissed Remus lightly, "Common occurrence."
Once she left Remus eyed the book again. Wanting to get away from it, he swept all his belongings into his bag with one arm and walked away only before guilt rose within him and he retraced his steps to put the book away. Quickly, he paced down the side aisle of the restricted section trying to figure out where this particular book belonged. Speeding past one row he paused abruptly.
It couldn't have been.
"Peter?" Remus walked backwards to see his friend five metres down.
"Remus?" Peter seemed surprised but then so was Remus who noticed that what he was holding had now been exposed. "What's that you have there?"
"A book," Remus answered quickly whilst searching for some form of recognition in Peter's expression. There was.
"I can see that," Peter was thinking quickly and Remus waited. "That one is a bit old though, had a flick through it the other day."
"Really, why would you be looking at it? It seems like it would attract those who are more inclined to… do bad things. Don't you think?"
"Then why am I seeing you holding it now?" Peter made a point. He could assume as much of Remus as Remus himself had assumed of Peter.
Remus hadn't needed to come up with an answer because Peter went on.
"I know that you are still a bit so-so with me and it's my fault, completely. Yes, I kind of went… there but that's all passed. There's nothing to gain from it. I don't know why I did it." Peter trailed off and Remus believed him.
Three days ago
"Obliviate," Peter directed his wand at Ben and to his relief it worked flawlessly because something within him had just snapped.
"Bloody James making me get my own broom," Ben mumbled before he picked up the two brooms on the floor and left as if nothing had happened. The moment the door flung shut Snape had thrown the Cloak onto James' bed but Peter wasn't finished.
Before Snape could do anything Peter had flicked his wand with a flourish known only to a few people and it was clear that Snape recognised his own creation before he was on the floor, unconscious. Peter lowered his wand and walked around aimlessly before making fists and hitting the wall. The noise that was made created urgency within him. James, Sirius and Ben would be absent for a while longer but Remus could be back at any moment.
Flustered, Peter threw James' Cloak over Snape and levitated him ever so slowly out of the dormitory and out of the common room. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead and his body produced a steady shake. He didn't know where the students of the damn school were but he thanked Merlin that they weren't loitering around the Gryffindor Tower. Two floors down and an alcove which presented itself suitable was now Snape's new resting place. Wasting no time, Peter ran back to his room, neatly folded the Cloak, remembered it was never folded, scrunched up the Cloak and threw it in James' trunk then collapsed on his bed.
The pounding noise in his ears continued as he thought back to what he had just been told. Severus Snape has every intention to learn Legilimency. Something, that once he became an accomplished Legilimens, he could do without a wand and, even worse, words. As soon as Peter had heard this he went into an instant panic. He had known and had seen things that he did not want Snape to see. He had thought he could do all of this and still keep things to himself. Childish, was the word that came to Peter's mind and it stuck.
Even worse Peter had spent too much time with Snape that he walked straight into a trap. Peter didn't want to think that the Slytherin had used the Imperio curse on him but it was only too possible because he certainly did not willingly bring Snape to the dormitory. No, Peter was not that stupid. He wanted to say something to Ben but no words would come out of his mouth until finally the magic broke, perhaps under Snape's hidden anxiety that they had been found. Peter stared at the clock on his bedside table until his eyes hurt. This was the end of it and he just hoped that Ben wouldn't remember…
The door opened and Lily, laughing, walked in with Remus.
"Sorry to bother you, Peter," she waved with that glow she had on some days and others not. "I just need to steal one of Remus' books."
Peter rose slowly from the deep sleep he had unintentionally fallen into. With a quick side glance to windows he could tell it had just fallen dark. His mind automatically recounted earlier events and his stomach contracted as he orientated himself with the time and the people around him. Seeing Remus made him remember yet another mistake he had made earlier on the weekend but that could be fixed… hopefully.
Lily had planted herself on James' bed and Peter noticed that her cheeks were a little red, most likely from the sun. Remus, pale as usual, kneeled beside his trunk whilst digging through it and throwing Lily books every so often.
"It has a dark green cover, Remus, with gold writing" described Lily as she threw incorrect textbooks back at him. Remus muttered something from the depths of the trunk but Lily only smiled and laid back waiting for this textbook.
Just as Remus called his victory the three Quidditch players dragged themselves in. Peter eyed Ben carefully, trying to note any change but there didn't seem to be anything as the boy kicked his broom under his bed. Sirius was the first to grab cleaner clothes and head to the bathroom. Remus, whose moment was stolen, threw his dark green covered textbook to Lily who caught it with ease while keeping eye contact with James who stood tall at the end of his bed watching her, arms crossed.
Peter couldn't really see them from his angle but they lasted for a moment and he realised it was the first time he had seen the two of them together for weeks. Finally, James turned and opened the cupboard in search for clean clothes of his own.
"Thank you so much, Remus," Lily jumped over to him and gave a light hug from behind as he was packing up his trunk. Within seconds she was gone and discussion about Quidditch broke out.
Evelyn marched to the front of the classroom with a storm in her wake. Furious, she slammed her hand down on Professor Slughorn's desk.
"No," was the beginning of her argument.
"Sorry, my dear?" Slughorn stared at her.
"This," Evelyn gestured to the list of pairings she had just received, "is not going to happen. I refuse to work with her. I will not work with a Slytherin."
"Miss Bell, in a time like this it is important to encourage inter-house partnership. I'm afraid there is nothing I can do about." Of course he could but he wouldn't. Evelyn made her way to the workbench where a smirking Clarissa Bulstrode stood with one hand on her hip and the other leaning on the workbench.
"This'll be fun," Clarissa enthused as she turned to keep facing Evelyn. "How about you stop being a poor team mate, realise we're not the only Slytherin and Gryffindor pairing and get to work."
Evelyn reluctantly allowed herself to look at the other pairings and Clarissa was right. There was also a Hufflepuff and Slytherin pairing and Noah was paired with a more quiet Slytherin, Tom Parkinson. The Ravenclaw wizard noticed Evelyn's stare and waved encouragingly.
"See, Burke seems fine," said Clarissa. "In fact, they already know each other," she added slowly after a pause.
Evelyn gave a small snort, "Doubtful, Noah isn't friends with any Slytherins. I'm going to get the ingredients." Taking the list and a small spare box with her Evelyn rushed over to the shelves of jars.
"Lily, tell your darling Professor that he can't do this," she joined up with the redhead and added everything to her box that Lily did.
"I can't do anything," Lily and Evelyn glanced back at the table to see Severus speaking to Clarissa. "Just… get the job done," Lily finished firmly.
Peter joined the rest of them at eight o'clock to go to a rather exclusive Order meeting. They had been few and far between, these meetings. So once word spread about a new upcoming one for seventh year students only excitement grew between the boys. Peter was especially excited to break the news on the way that this particular meeting was actually a lesson. The Gryffindor Tower was now far behind them and he couldn't wait any longer. The small talk died down, their voices stoped echoing through the empty stone corridors and he took his chance.
"It's actually going to be a lesson, you know?" he started, unable to control the grin on his round face.
At first no one said a thing then Remus turned, for he was a few paces ahead of the rest looking out for Georgia, Peter assumed. "A lesson?" the tall Gryffindor repeated.
"Yeah, on –" Peter quickly checked his surroundings, "– Patronuses"
They all faced him for a mere few seconds then continued on. No one said a thing but there was a shift in mood or energy between them. Peter couldn't place it, everyone still looked the same. Lily had continued talking to Evelyn, Remus kept walking ahead, James spoke in low tones to Sirius but it wasn't about Patronuses and Mary and Ben slowly followed the lot of them in their own world.
Soon enough the Ravenclaws, Georgia Brown, Nicky Branstone and Noah Burke, joined the Gryffindor group at the half way point. Without hesitation Georgia wrapped her arms around Remus and led the group with him. Peter wondered if she had told Remus about what had happened, about what he had said to her. From the looks of it Peter assumed not but from the ignorance Georgia was displaying towards him, he guessed it was still fresh in her mind.
They all entered a spacious room that Peter hadn't seen since the Marauders invented the Map. The walls were covered in red paper that had an ancient story painted upon it in gold. The room boasted of tall narrow arched windows along one wall but no furniture besides large candles which glowed on cobwebbed stands.
"I have come up with an ideal way of communication. The use and ability to cast ones Patronus will be imperative during these times. Your Patronus will be able to carry messages from you to another and not be interrupted." Dumbledore began his speech in the candlelit room. Outside the windows was a clear night. The moon highlighted owls swooping through the air around the castle and if one was to look downwards the grounds would be clear and visible in the moonlight.
Lily cast a glance at James who kept his eyes fixed on Dumbledore. Her heart-rate quickened ever so slightly and she wished to be anywhere else but here. In the moment that Peter mentioned what this was going to be about she wanted to take James aside. They, the other seventh year students, would know it was not just a coincidence. This was why James wasn't impressed the moment he saw her Patronus. He knew this day would arrive. Lily did too but she didn't think it to be so soon. Dumbledore continued on about the usefulness of the spell but Lily heard none of it. She stared out those windows and spotted a flock of birds fly upwards out of the forest and she wondered what had happened out there and could it be worse than what was about to happen in here?
Before she could get too carried away in her thoughts a silver phoenix raised up above her. The beauty in Dumbledore's Patronus was mesmerizing. Everyone followed its movement around the high ceilinged room and it was in this moment that she caught James' attention. He gave her one nod.
Every one broke out from the huddle that had been formed and Lily directed herself towards the tall windows. She breathed on one smaller panel and traced a star in the fog created.
"What are you afraid of?" James asked from behind her. Lily could see in the reflection that he, too, was looking at the forest, maybe he had seen the birds before.
"No one in here," she turned to look up at him with a slight tilt of her head.
"We've kept space between us for weeks –"
"Doesn't mean it's changed," Lily cut in darkly.
"I'm not finished and I know it will still be what it was before. What I mean to say is that they're not on the edge of their seats waiting for it. Quite the contrary, they're more interested in their own then yours or mine for that matter."
"What did you think when Peter mentioned it?" Lily asked.
"I didn't believe him." They both looked over at Peter who was struggling like the majority of students in the room.
"Potter!" Dumbledore raised his voice across the room and James paused before making his way over.
"He doesn't know that you can do it," he whispered to Lily then left to join the group on the other side.
It wasn't long until the silver smoke which formed as a stag galloped across the room and Lily felt the pressure.
"Don't think we haven't noticed that you're not even trying," Mary nudged Lily while Evelyn continued her attempts.
Lily didn't particularly know what to say without sounding conceited. She thought over when James asked what was she afraid of and she, proudly, replied no one in here. She was being honest though, there really wasn't anybody to fear in this room.
Resigning to her plan of just doing nothing she stepped aside and found James in the small crowd. As soon as she parted her lips to say the charm a stab of fear mixed with regret hit her. What if this would ruin their plan? It was too late to turn back as her own silver doe pranced over to James as she had intended. It caught everybody's attention as it was fully corporeal and silence filled the room. The doe disappeared once James took his eyes off it and looked to its creator.
She wanted to kiss him right then. It would have been just like those big romantic gestures that featured heavily in her Muggle novels but she stayed still. James gave her a half smile but she knew from the way he held himself that he was pleased and proud of her.
"It's becoming a bit of a forest in here," Sirius broke the silence loudly but before a reaction could be formed Professor McGonagall, hair out and night robe on, sped through the door and marched her way to Dumbledore.
The students were silenced and waited whilst the two spoke in hushed tones facing away from the rest. Peter nervously tapped his wand against his thigh as he watched James face Remus who had the better hearing. A name was mentioned but Peter couldn't be too sure. Remus nodded at James and it was confirmed, this was a matter of the Order but also one of the better noble families. Peter now noticed everything about James change. A shadow of darkness had cast itself upon his features and Peter knew he was worried but that didn't show and it never would on James. Possible scenarios were already running through Peter's mind. He knew what they could do, he had heard it all.
McGonagall finished and stood by Dumbledore as he dismissed everyone except James which Peter found to be unfair. If they were all part of the Order shouldn't they all be informed? Clearly, nobility still held priority.
"There is so much I would like to say about the past month… tonight… but right now, the very present, unfortunately needs to be addressed first and foremost." Dumbledore spoke slowly and James let his eyes wander around the room.
"What happened to Em?" he asked directly.
Dumbledore didn't hesitate, "She was captured in a raid. It appears that our plans were not entirely a secret and therefore they knew we were coming. I blame only myself."
"Can I tell Ingrid?" she was the only person on James' mind.
"I don't think it's best for student to bear such a responsibility," McGonagall said, clearly concerned.
"I wouldn't say Ingrid and I are merely peers at this school," James argued. "I want to do it."
McGonagall waited for Dumbledore to speak, leaving the final decision to him. "You will tell her what I have told you and that action is being made. I will inform you of any news but I doubt there will be anything by the time you tell her. Also, let her know that if she needs to visit myself, Professor McGonagall or even Professor Sprout she may do so immediately without hesitation. And you, James, must not hesitate yourself. It's best to just do it without waiting for a good time."
"I can do it," Sirius offered at breakfast the next morning.
"No," said James without consideration.
"You have to do it today," said Remus sternly.
The whole ordeal would probably have been easier if Ingrid had engaged in some contact with him over the last weeks but she hadn't. In fact, she seemed to be quite preoccupied all the time. With what, James didn't know but it annoyed him.
The owls swooped down and as usual these days, the Marauders received nothing but that was okay because Ingrid Vance did and whatever it was came in a navy envelope which meant it was from her home. James peeked through students as the unaware Hufflepuff unfolded the Vance stationary. His heart leaped, they must have told her, they'd beaten him to it. Ingrid folded and hastily stuffed the paper back in its envelope before squeezing out of her spot on the long bench. James watched her carefully as she quickly left the hall.
"That was it," he looked at Remus and Sirius for the confirmation he didn't need and chased after Ingrid.
"Ingrid!" he called out after her just as she began to cross one of the grass courtyards. She turned with a faint smile and not a feature out of place as the sun shined around her. James fell short of everything he had planned to say.
"Yeah?" she rocked back and forth on her heels with her letter well hidden by now.
"Are you all right?" James ran his hand through his hair confused.
"Have you heard from your family recently?" he fished for something – anything – to replace this awkwardness with.
"Just now actually, Mum just ravelled on about Easter coming up and so on." Ingrid innocently squinted in the sunlight waiting for James to say something.
"How quick is your owl?" James asked.
"Not very, the letter is dated for the day before last. I really need a new owl but you know…" Ingrid shrugged and waited for James. "Listen, I've got somewhere to be –"
"Yeah it's fine, go," James turned before Ingrid did. Sirius and Remus were waiting in the river of students that now surrounded the four sides of the courtyard. The disappointment on their faces was evident and before he could register anything else Lily was at his side shoving pieces of paper in his hands.
"Can you please hand those extra one's out to the prefects you see today. I got most at breakfast but some weren't there." James flicked through what appeared to be an adjusted patrol timetable and read all the names Lily had written on top of each.
"They're all Slytherins," he raised his brow.
Lily shrugged and James was reminded of Ingrid, "They weren't there. Look, if you don't want to –"
"I'll do it," James held the roster's away from her.
"Okay, have a look and get back to me and please get those other ones out. Two Slytherins were supposed to be on tonight."
He scanned for the date and found that now he and Lily were on instead of the two Slytherins. Lily was gone by the time he finished but she was waiting in the common room on time at the strike of ten thirty. A later patrol time had been implemented due to the changes elsewhere in the Wizarding world and they would do the first one tonight. The only corridors they walked were the ones that led to their spare classroom where the meetings were held.
James sat in a random chair near the front but Lily kept walking all the way and sat on the main desk.
"What's wrong with you?" she asked feeling the distance now more than ever in the last month.
"Emmeline is gone and I have to tell Ingrid," James ran his hand through his hair avoiding Lily's eyes. From his peripheral vision he saw her jump off the desk and walk slowly around tracing her finger on the desk then flicking the dust off onto the floor.
"Why don't you just do it?" James flinched ever so slightly at her directness.
"How do you tell someone that?"
"You just say it," Lily was behind him now but James didn't move.
"Without hurting her?"
"You're going to hurt her, of course, but you wanted to. You asked to, or so Sirius tells me."
James twisted around to see her sitting on a desk a few rows away. "Have you adopted your family's cruelness since a month ago?"
Lily said nothing but stared at him.
"Sorry," he muttered.
"I have to tell you something," she started and did not stop until her whole story was told. By then she was in front of James and every part of her wanted to fall onto him.
"It's been awhile," James spoke after a moment's silence.
"It was only going to be so long."
"Are you going to go?" There he went with that expression that she could not read so she decided not to answer for the moment. "You'll be fine. Take your wand."
Lily frowned, "Why wouldn't I?"
"Sometimes I think… I think you still see him as someone he is not."
"I see him for exactly who he is," said Lily firmly and James ran his hands through his hair again with a deep sigh.
"Really? There's not one tiny part of you that is still left behind?"
"Oh, I don't know, left at old Chalfield, some fourteen year old running around extravagant corridors in young love with the boy that visits every other day." James tried to say this off handily but he feared that he failed.
"It was us running down corridors in that house."
James scoffed, "Not at fourteen. You two… were a team once upon a time." Lily felt her stomach tighten and brow furrow as James stared down at the desk. "He's been quiet over the last few weeks and I just don't want you to be under prepared."
"We've been quiet too," said Lily and James could hear the hint of pain in her voice.
"So when is it?" James asked, ignoring what she had just said. He didn't want to go there despite knowing that Lily had set this night up to address that exact issue.
"I don't know," she lied. It was going to be the night of the Quidditch match.
Realising that James wasn't going to follow her on the topic she so desperately wanted to talk about, Lily turned on her heel to leave. Before she reached the door she heard him get up and it was only seconds before he had his hands on her shoulders and had spun her around to be almost against him.
"We are going… so well," he muttered against the top of her head and she closed her eyes. "You are going so well and I know you know I've been watching. You know I wish to be more of a help to you but you have everyone else and we've only got one more week, one more."
Lily let herself revel completely in the feeling of him running his hands down her back but he didn't kiss her like she thought he would. She didn't try to kiss him either, instead she nodded and led the way back to the Gryffindor Tower with James a few paces behind just like they had over a month ago.
"I want Lily to go into this completely uninfluenced," said Dumbledore seriously. "I think it would be wise for Lily to be on her own until Easter. I know you share the same circle of friends so it will be difficult but if you two could keep a distance, it would be wise. The questions will start soon, it's only a matter of time, and I think Lily should handle them herself. Also spending time with other people in the Order that you usually wouldn't could be a good idea too."
It certainly wasn't a question or recommendation. It was an order and although they usually ignored such things this one seemed to make sense. Lily felt James looking at her but she didn't move. She held her head up and simply nodded. No words could come to her in that moment. It had been two weeks since her family severed ties with her and she had depended on James for all assurance since. So, perhaps, this was what she needed. The brave face she displayed needed to no longer be an act but the real thing. As for influence, Lily wasn't completely in favour of everything James said anyway but maybe speaking to others like Ingrid and even Ben about how things were done could be worth her while.
She hadn't realised that Dumbledore and James were talking but before she could catch up they had finished and she was descending the narrow staircase from Dumbledore's office. The whole way back to the dormitory she was a pace ahead of James and not a word was spoken. Everything was going to change.
Noah breathed in deeply before potions that day. He hated this class at the moment. Slughorn wasn't teaching them what they needed to know for their NEWTS. He was simply floating around making up some farfetched curriculum. Then, because of this, Noah felt the need to study extra hard to make up for what wasn't taught in class. On top of this he began tutoring a couple of students that were preparing for their OWLS. He shouldn't have accepted the offer with his own plate as full as it was but he couldn't stand seeing them in the corner of the common room stressing out any more. He kept this to himself though. The last thing he wanted was other people lecturing him about taking on more work.
Tom Parkinson came up beside Noah who gave a small smile as a hello. The class filed in and everybody went straight to the benches to continue their work from days past.
"What are planning for after school?" Parkinson asked out of the blue and Noah couldn't decide if it was a hint towards the war or if he was genuinely interested in career prospects.
"I'm thinking of teaching," said Noah lightly, it was a nice open answer he thought.
"Wizarding or Muggle?" Parkinson went on.
Noah pushed up the sleeves of his sweater and crushed the bozoar's buying himself time. "Not sure," he finally answered.
"I think it's ridiculous how the noble families think this war is about them," Parkinson said so quietly Noah wasn't sure if he heard it right. To be safe he said nothing but the Slytherin went on, "Don't you agree? I mean, certainly they have some part but they'll all be dead by the end of it and there'll be no more. Then the only divide will be pureblood and Muggleborn, just as it should be. What do you think?"
Noah glanced around the room, it wasn't really a great place to be talking about such things, especially with a Slytherin. "I think we have different views about it."
"Sure you're for equality of Muggleborns and I'm for the superiority of purebloods but what about this third party business?"
"I have friends that are nobles –"
"So do I," Parkinson cut in but still in a barely audible voice.
Noah didn't want to say what he really thought. He wasn't used to voicing his own opinions and he didn't feel now was the time to start so he gave no answer and the conversation ended to his relief.
Evelyn noticed Clarissa's sly smile from the beginning of class but pretended to ignore it. Time past incredibly slowly as everyone immersed themselves in their own work with small talk inbetween. Evelyn had noticed Parkinson and Noah talking quite a bit and soon Clarissa decided to start.
"You know, I didn't realise Noah would show an interest in the Dark Arts, quite a surprise."
Evelyn didn't say a word.
"Yeah, he joined us the other day. Had a good old chat about things, I told you he and Tom already knew each other."
"Do you just have this urge to stir? Like, do you just live to mess with other people?" Evelyn put her blunt cutting knife down.
"I'm not messing with anyone," Clarissa shrugged with her hair bouncing on her shoulders as she did so.
"You are! You think I'm going to believe that Noah has an interest in what you lot do after class?"
"I'm just letting you know, okay," Clarissa held both hands up in defence against the fiery Gryffindor.
"No, it's not okay. Is everything just a joke to you Death Eaters?" Evelyn shut her eyes the second she said it and she could feel Slughorn right next to her before she opened them.
The class was staring at her as Slughorn whispered in her ear that he recommended she excuse herself and see him for detention that evening. Avoiding eye contact with everyone, Evelyn picked up her bag and weaved her way through the benches.
Sirius watched Evelyn sulk back into the common room after her detention with Slughorn. Clearly, he thought, she didn't know how to enjoy detention. It was something that had to be mastered after years of practice after all.
"Three Broomsticks?" James suggested from his seat as he dropped a potions book on the floor.
"Not until you tell Vance that her cousin is missing," said Remus sternly.
"You haven't done it yet?" Sirius sat up instantly.
"If I had I would have told you."
"I'm going for a walk," Sirius pushed himself out of his own armchair and didn't look back as he quickly escaped the small crowd of students.
James let him go and held all the words he wanted to say back.
It wasn't until minutes later that Remus spoke up, "You know what he's gone to do, don't you?"
She crossed her legs which were covered with sheer stockings and let her head rest in her hand as she smiled at the Gryffindor chaser, John Abercrombie. Sirius, who had turned had few heads as he rushed into the Great Hall, sat next to Ingrid making his presence well known. Unamused, she simply gave him one second then turned her attention back to Abercrombie who had now stopped talking in Sirius' presence. Ingrid noticed this and as her smile dropped she turned to the seventh year.
Sirius gave Abercrombie a look which Ingrid presumed was some sort of code because he got up and left rather quickly leaving her with just Sirius.
"I was having a conversation, you know?"
"There is something important –"
"Really? Merlin, Sirius, tell me all about it and I'll pretend to care," Ingrid mocked him with her words and expression.
He didn't wait for James, "Emmeline is missing."
Ingrid's face fell blank and she stared at the table. She wanted to say that she already knew but that would be a lie. She only knew something wasn't right. She hated Sirius for telling her this way and she wanted to slap him to release the overwhelming feeling that suffocated her in that moment. The footsteps of the other one made her look up and reveal her now pale complexion. James ran towards her and she calculated that this did not go to his plan. Perhaps he was supposed to tell her but Sirius stole the opportunity.
James jogged the last metres to reach her and Ingrid watched him expectantly, "I'm sorry," he said and she scoffed.
"Don't say that shit," she scrunched up her features.
"The Order have –"
"Well obviously there's something happening. Why don't we all just use our fucking Patronuses to bring her home!" Ingrid snapped, cutting Sirius off. The other students that were still around from dinner were now starring in their direction. "Where's my cloak…" she mumbled as she gathered her cloak from the bench and stood up.
"Ingrid," James tried to block her way.
"Potter," she revelled in James' expression because she was sure she wore it a few months ago when he said Vance instead of Ingrid.
"Where are you going?" Sirius asked, interrupting the silence between the two.
Ingrid narrowed her eyes at Sirius, "To find Abercrombie."
"Don't be like this," said James with exasperation.
"I'll be however I want to be. I can't do anything about Emmeline! So why shouldn't I just go and waste my time and keep out of everyone else's way? If I was considered important in this matter I would have been told when it happened because I have a feeling that neither of you have just found out!"
Ingrid didn't wait for them to say anything. She left in a rush but, of course, did not go to Abercrombie. She didn't even know why she said that. Instead, she went to the greenhouse where she sat down in a dirty corner where the cold evening air rose through the floorboards making her shiver.
James came and sat next to her in the darkness with the dimmest of light emitting from his wand.
"I wish you had a map of England," Ingrid said softly.
"I wanted to tell you."
Ingrid nodded silently and wiped a salty tear from her cheekbone, "You should have." She caught James' eye, "You really, really should have. You should have made an effort every day which you clearly didn't because I know that when you try hard enough you succeed."
"I couldn't hurt you," James turned away ashamed with his excuse.
"You didn't hurt me, you let me down and I think that's worse."
He heard his father in Ingrid's words and he instantly felt an urge of desperation to fix this. "We'll find her together."
Ingrid laughed lightly at this then breathed in deeply, "She's dead, James."
"You don't know that."
"I know that she isn't at home where we were brought up together. She's in the possession of wicked people, mad people and if she's not dead yet – well, dare I ask how many days you've been keeping this from me?"
James hesitated, "Three."
"Exactly, it's time to step up James Potter."
She rose with ease and he quickly joined her. As soon as they were outside she let him overtake her and she followed him to the castle in the moonlight. Trailing behind James, she let her eyes wander to the stars and thought on where Emmeline would be. She wished for her not to be dead but then maybe it was better to be dead than tortured. James said something that Ingrid didn't hear correctly but he must have known because he caught her when she tripped over the hole he warned her of. They continued on the same way until she mutely turned to go to her common room. Once there she spoke to no one and within minutes she was in her bed with her blankets pulled up to her eyes. Tears blurred the vision of the wild flowers in the vase on her bedside table and she used her bottom sheet to dry her cheeks. She wanted to write a letter to her family but they would already know. Everyone knew except her and in that moment Ingrid felt completely alone. Not that she wasn't before but now it almost seemed that while there was nothing for her at Hogwarts soon there would be nothing for her at home either.
"Thank you," James didn't want to say it but as horrible as it had been at least it had happened.
"Where is she?" Sirius asked from his bed where he flicked through the Daily Prophet which was now a day old.
"She went to her common room," James removed his glasses to rub his eyes.
"She'll be all right," Sirius still didn't look up from the paper.
Remus turned to James doubtfully and waited for his response but it didn't come.
"She's older than you were when your dad died. She's not a child, she wants to be useful and informed. People don't like being left out of important things such as this," Sirius finally put down the paper. "Anyway, we have Quidditch tomorrow."
The team briefing had finished and they now lined up waiting to be called. The Slytherins, who were to go first, seemed to taking their time so James turned to his team one last time.
"Let's just make this quick," he was cut off by their call and they flew into the pelting rain.
The game of the year began in a blur but the Gryffindor's, as James wished, were quick with their moves. The Quaffle remained in heavy possession by Gryffindor with Slytherin only managing to intercept on a few rare occasions. Everything was going to game plan until a red robe fell to the ground.
Lily and Remus were the first standing trying to figure out who it was. With a quick turn to Mary, who pointed to a player in sky, it was confirmed that it wasn't Ben. The commentator was the first to confirm that it was Johnson, Sirius' partner Beater. The Slytherin stand was cheering and the game went on.
Sheets of rain kept sweeping down on them with the wind adding an extra chill. Lily dug her elbows into her knees praying for the game to be over. The Bludgers were invisible against the grey sky and she just wanted everyone off that pitch. All the players, besides the Chasers, moved higher for a reason Lily couldn't comprehend but it seemed that the Slytherins were leading the way. Through the space Lily stared to where Severus usually sat. She assumed he would be finding great amusement in this game as he watched the players high above. His head moved to face Lily's stand and she quickly turned incase she was visible although it was doubtful.
Georgia watched as another Gryffindor player was actually shoved off their broom.
"Can't be too surprised, G. Just because they've got big Potter doesn't mean they're the greatest team." Georgia twisted to see Irish sixth grader, Liam McKenzie, looking smug as ever.
"Then wouldn't you think that all of Ravenclaw should be going for Gryffindor so we have an easy win in the finals?" Georgia suggested politely and McKenzie said nothing more.
Thinking of the Gryffindors, she looked over to one of their stands with her binoculars to find Remus sitting next to Pettigrew and her blood boiled. She wished for a bludger to hit the boy smack in the face which considering the way Slytherin were playing could be a possibility.
Only two Gryffindor chasers swooped past and Noah realised which player was down, John Abercrombie. About five minutes had past but he didn't hear the announcement. In fact, he wasn't really paying that much attention. He was never a Quidditch person and thought it ridiculous that Gryffindor continued to play despite what was clearly happening. Noah then wondered if this was how it would be on the war field as well. Constant fighting until everyone was on the ground. Tactical withdrawals, anyone? Noah guessed not. He wanted to leave and get out of this rain. Highly considering it, he scanned around squinting to see if anyone else was leaving and aha! There was movement in the Hufflepuff stand. Yes, somebody was standing up, excusing herself out of her row of seating and down the stairs. Fantastic, Noah would do the same. He was only half way down the rickety staircase when in an instant a Slytherin and Gryffindor crashed into the wooden panelling, leaving a gapping rip in the blue material. Stunned, Noah recognized the unconscious Sirius Black and could only think of one word suitable enough for the occasion, fuck.
Under her umbrella, Ingrid marched towards the castle. Still dealing with last night, she didn't want to see Black glorify himself on the pitch when, in her mind, James should have left him out of the team for this game but who was she to govern that Quidditch team. They were a lot of daring and stubborn Gryffindors. Just like all Gryffindors. Emmeline had been one and look where it got her. Emmeline, Lily, Sirius and eventually James… Their traits would be their downfalls, all eager to die and leave the ones who loved them behind. Ingrid violently kicked a rock into a deep puddle ahead of her. Tomorrow she would be out of here and she would find Emmeline and that was that.
Back on the Quidditch pitch the game went on with Slytherin overtaking Gryffindor. Clare Hooper, the Gryffindor Keeper, was only just managing with constant bludgers being sent her way. She had realised that she was next on their hit list and wished nothing more than for Benji to catch the Snitch so she could escape. The Slytherin's were cunningly sending the quaffle and bludger towards the hoops at the same time so to catch the quaffle meant getting hit by a bludger. She hadn't seen the one that eventually hit her. It came from the side as she reached to catch the quaffle. Within a minute she was somewhere warm and dry. It was quiet here too besides a low mumble. Clare opened her eyes to see her teammates either in beds or standing around them besides two in particular players that were missing. A few Gryffindors went from bed to bed. Mary Macdonald was one of them, the girl she had to walk back to the castle one day because Ben was worried. For a moment she thought that this must have meant Ben was hit too because really, Clare had no idea who was still playing by the end. Then someone touched her arm and it was in fact Ben himself. He was unscathed just drenched.
A loud bang made them all flinch and turn to see that James had thrust open the double doors and was now storming down past beds which were occupied by part of his team and to the very last which held Sirius. Benji was close behind him and stood at James' side. The uninjured Gryffindor players backed away from the bed and waited. Clare slowly sat up to see Sirius, bruised and battered but smiling.
James, who had remained completely stern, broke into a grin and Benji opened his hand to reveal the golden Snitch. "Bought us enough points to win just before the whistle straight after Clare fell."
Clare let her head fall back with relief while the others cheered, filling the wing with noise that even young Pomfrey didn't hush. James stood over Clare looking incredibly concerned. She noticed his smile had disappeared and that the room was silent and then black.
Lily dried her hair then pulled it back then let it down again. Clipping her cape together she listened to the celebrations down in the common room. She grabbed her wand and headed down the staircase and made a beeline to the portrait hole.
"It's tonight?" James caught her just as she ducked to leave.
"Yes," she tried to remain calm and not grow irritated but she couldn't help it so she backed up a little to address James properly. "And I think it's ridiculous that you are all celebrating down here while Clare is still in the hospital wing."
"Clare is fine," said James calmly.
"How do you know that?"
"Because she is in her bed upstairs sleeping peacefully. She came back when you were in your room. Everybody gave her a cheer and her friend walked her upstairs with a sleeping draught from Pomfrey herself."
"See you later," Lily mumbled and finally ducked the whole way to get out and get away from the Gryffindor tower.
Severus paced back and forth in the empty dormitory whilst the Slytherins in the common room sat in their fury. He hadn't even looked at her in over a month. He forbade himself to do so in an attempt to make her completely anonymous to him. In the classes that they shared he sat silently at the corner desk and focused heavily on his work. During the early morning frosts when the owl posts arrived he disregarded the letters from his family, they were no longer interesting. The hint of mention about the Evans family would throw him off track and he did not need that. Severus could not, however, disregard the trickle of gossip that passed him one day.
Her Patronus was a doe.
He knew what Potter's was.
It wasn't a surprise but… why now? He didn't need it now and he could only think of one course of action which could get him over it – confrontation. Lily hated it, he knew this and so did he in some part but it had to be done.
She stayed back after Potions one day to ask Slughorn a question about the upcoming NEWTS and Severus saw this as the best opportunity that would ever come his way. Potter and the rest had left and now it was just Lily, Slughorn and him in the corner. He loitered around them half pretending he was listening to Slughorn's useless advice but Lily had spotted him. Severus could tell this by the change in her concentration which no longer belonged to the professor.
"Well, thank you, that helps so much," Lily ended question time quickly all while avoiding Severus' glare.
"Anytime sweet Lily, see you tomorrow." Severus watched as Slughorn beamed down on his favourite then scurried away to his next class which he was clearly late for. Lily hesitated for a second and Severus wondered if she would pretend he were never there and just leave. She adjusted her books in her arms and turned to face him which led to a sensation of relief. She said his name and he hated the feeling that followed but he had to get on with it.
"It's been awhile," he started with and despised himself for it. Lily's grimace was so patronising. "I want to have a quick word with you."
"So have it," said Lily shortly.
"Not now, later, after the Quidditch match in the Great Hall."
"After the Quidditch match?" she was sceptical, Severus could tell but she also seemed interested. "That's an odd time."
"Yes but there's an important issue to talk about."
"I'm terribly sure there is." He now started to grow agitated with her. She was becoming more like Potter, throwing smart remarks here and there. Her blank gaze was off putting and the way she now looked towards the door as if he wasn't worthy off her time was worse.
"Will you be there then?" Severus tried not to show his growing impatience but Lily, being who she was, could read through him and he knew it.
"We'll see," she turned on her heel.
"Have to ask Potter first?" He couldn't help the words that flew out of his mouth.
Lily stopped and only turned her head slightly, "Where's Emmeline Vance?"
He was thrown by her new topic but he wasn't into niceties now. "It's good to see you're learning who is on your new side. I doubt you would have known or cared for Emmeline this time last year."
Severus watched as Lily gave a slight shake of her head then left him to be clearly dissatisfied.
And now it was time to see if she would show. He went for his scarf then thought against it, he didn't need any extra restrictions on movement. As he rushed through the common room he could feel cold eyes fall upon him but he kept his own looking forward and soon he was free. The night air bit at his bare neck but he ignored it and suppressed the shiver that ran through him. Possibilities played in his mind as he tried to slow his pace.
Severus now reached a more common area of the castle which was also better lit. A few students walked here and there and he couldn't care for them. All he hoped was that there would be no one in the Hall because no one needed to see what would surely happen.
The heavy doors were open and he walked through into the empty Hall. He shut them partially behind him, leaving just enough space for Lily to squeeze through should she ever arrive.
Lily did squeeze through the doors into the Hall which was now only lit by the artificial moonlight. She didn't spot anyone in the room and the only sound was her breathing. Crossing the Hall to the top of the Slytherin table she admired the beauty of the room at night. A scurry interrupted her serenity and she jumped back in fright but couldn't see what flashed in the dark before her but before she could even look for it Severus spoke.
"I heard…" he paused. "I heard your Patronus is equal to his."
Lily spun round causing her cape to fly out audibly. "It's not equal, unfortunately. His is stronger than my own."
"That's not what I meant," Severus edged closer towards her. "But of course Potter's Patronus is strong. What, with all those lovely childhood memories? Memories that we were never allowed to create for ourselves. We're not supposed to be able to casts these spells and I guess I am curious as to what you think of." He laughed lightly to himself, "I predict it's him. It must be him because what else is there? Every memory of your family is stained as if it was a white page and someone spilt a jar of black ink over it."
Silence followed that.
Lily felt herself grow warm under her cloak and under Severus' gaze. Then he continued.
"I must admit I have thought about this ever since I heard of it."
"There is not much to it," Lily voiced, still standing still with her cape now readjusted.
"But there is everything to it," Severus' voice was pained. "If it weren't for Potter would you be able to still produce a Patronus and if so what would it be? Is he really the only source of happiness in your life? Are there no memories before him? No memories of your friends. No memories of me?"
She knew she wasn't supposed to hear that due to the way he covered and continued on but it all fell on deaf ears. The sentence finished then and there for her.
"… after everything, everything, he was the one that helped you, that gave you a memory…"
Could a memory of Severus even produce a spark, Lily wondered. She decided no because just like her family, every memory of him was stained with that same black ink.
"… and it's a doe. I know it's a doe just like they said. Everyone knows his is a stag just like his fathers… A stag is a worthy prize, should a hunter ever kill one… Show me."
Lily snapped back to the present and stared through the semi darkness at Severus. "Show you?"
"Show me. Think about whatever it is you think about and cast it."
"I can't do it now."
"But you can, that is the whole point of it, to be able to cast it when you are feeling troubled, uneasy and or frightened."
"I told you I'm not very good at them."
"You need Potter around." Lily scoffed at Severus' accusation and crossed her arms under the cape. "Your little rebellion is quite ineffective without him isn't it? What can Lily Evans do without a boy who hides under Invisibility Cloaks standing behind her?"
She cast the first one which had him on the floor. He hadn't seen it coming but that had no effect on his ability to retaliate. Then came the first curse he had ever sent in her direction. The red light that cut through her cape told her what it was and where they now stood.
"Family honour is what we fight for!" Severus raised his voice. "So fight, Lily! Fight like a Potter. Fight for the stag on their family crest. Fight as if you were wearing that red sash. The colour of spilt blood that has over taken the white one you used to wear so nobly."
Lily pushed her loose hair back off her forehead with one hand to discover a small layer of sweat. She wiped it off her hand then silently cast her next curse which Severus blocked. It continued then like a sword fight, each waiting for the other to make one crucial mistake. Severus walked backwards down between the Slytherin and Ravenclaw tables under the bewitched ceiling.
They had gone past student spells to using ones that their families had taught them. Spells that they were taught to use in battle and spells that were created to hurt. Lily didn't even realise until her curse hit an invisible wall that someone else was in the room. She followed Severus' gaze to see Dumbledore standing at the Gryffindor table lowering his arms. She fell against the cold stone wall exhausted, holding her wand loosely while side gazing at Severus who leaned over his arms which rested the Slytherin table. His hair hung over his eyes which were looking only at the table.
"Enough," Dumbledore bellowed and Lily shut her eyes and let her head fall back. "We do not tolerate this sort of magic at Hogwarts. We do not stand for this!"
Lily felt a chill sweep down her back causing her to shiver. She wiped the last bit of sweat off her forehead and Dumbledore told her that she would be going to the Fawcett's manor first thing in the morning. Lily did no more but nod to everything that was said. She had no energy to argue and Severus was still a few metres by her side. The professor beckoned them to leave and in a quick moment Severus caught Lily's eyes and they both paused. A mutual agreement was made with a simple look, no one would know about this.
This chapter is for those people who emailed me after months of not updating asking for a chapter. I can't tell you when the next one will be and I wish I had more time to write but this alone has taken me months and constant effort in the last few weeks and so I hoped you enjoyed it. Thank you again.