Well here's chapter four, I feel so proud of myself and I'm not even that far into the story, all well! I'm not going bore you with my ramblings and I think its very obvious I don't own Harry Potter (you can even check my closet to see if I've stashed him away somewhere, I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE!)
P.S The changes in the previous chapter follow through here, I'm sorry if it's confusing, but it's all been corrected by these changes and keeps the story Canon.
On with the glorious glorious story! Golly.
The summer went by in a blur of homework, sunshine, cruel hisses and fewer meetings with Sev than I bargained for. All in all it was a droning, colorless summer. I was beyond relieved when it was less than a week before I could hop onto the scarlet Hogwarts express and escape the gray cloud that shrouded the life I lead in the muggle world. Of course it was wonderful to be near my parents, and it was always delightful to listen to Petunia hiss at me like an angry cat and purr sickeningly whenever the post was delivered by the Walrus Vernon.
Actually, I could live without the last two parts, no problem.
I definitely couldn't wait to be back in my four-poster at Hogwarts, back with all my dorm mates and Willa. Back where I belonged. Even though I was born into the muggle world I felt like a mismatched puzzle piece among everyone else, my neighbors, people I passed on the street, I didn't fit anywhere except in the wizarding world. I could get comfortable in muggle surroundings but I would never truly feel satisfied with them.
I was so eager to get back to Hogwarts that I even missed peeves. I even missed Potter.
James, why was it that even the thought of him made confusion explode suddenly in my mind? I didn't know where I stood with him anymore with my sudden and almost unfair change of heart. My heart was never considerate these days. I didn't know where I was with Sev either. It was like I was on a shifting staircase at Hogwarts. I would jerk and move about, spinning and drifting in all directions.
I finished all my homework within the first week and was left in a lazy stupor, answering letters sent to me from my dorm mates and Alice. Willa wrote the most letters though, so I knew almost every minute of her holiday as well as she did.
I went for walks with my dad and helped him in the garden. He would always want every single detail of my year, laughing at all the right moments and praising me when it was needed. He was good that way, kind and considerate as always. I went grocery shopping with my mum, helping her pick out watermelons that didn't look dry and shriveled up like giant raisins or the bezoars we were shown in potions class. I packed away all the frozens into the refrigerator before the popsicles melted afterwards and that was my good deed for the day.
In some ways it was peaceful. But I craved the bustling beehive that was Hogwarts, full of activity and bursting at the seams with life.
"Lily! We're leaving now, hurry up dear!" called my mother from downstairs, her voice shocked me from my thoughts.
"C-coming!" I answered, hastily pulling a brush through my stubborn hair and pulling it into a loose ponytail. I flew through the hallway and pretty much jumped three stairs at a time to reach the door. My mother stood there shaking her head and hiding a smile.
"We don't want to keep your friend waiting now do we Lily?" she said, digging through her purse to find the car keys.
"Willa said she'd wait in the Leaky Cauldron mom," I answered her briskly, purposely ignoring her statement. My mother grinned, extracting the car keys from her pocket and jangling them in front of my face.
"Is Petunia and Dad coming?" I asked as I opened the door and made for the car.
"No, Petunia pulled the most unattractive face when I asked if she wanted to come and your father went in to the office to finish off some paperwork, you know how he is, so forgetful," she said from behind me.
I smiled as I slipped into the car seat, my father was very forgetful. He has trouble remembering names and faces; I swear he mixed me and Petunia up more than once when we were young. The car was comfortably silent after that, apart from a few questions from my mother about how school was. Both my parents were always shamelessly interested in the wizarding world and I was very proud of them for it. The trip to the leaky cauldron didn't go fast enough in my opinion. We were finally walking into the dusty dark interior of the Leaky Cauldron when I spotted Willa's familiar explosion of caramel colored curls headed straight for me.
"Hi Lily! I'm so glad you're here! You can tell Ted off for teasing me!" she gushed when she was close enough.
"It's nice to see you too Willa," I answered, very amused. My mother walked over to talk with Willa's parents and I saw Ted detach himself quickly and rush over.
"Whatever she says, she's lying Lily!" He cried pulling Willa under his arm and pinning her to his side. Ted Tonks was tall and stocky, with fair hair, not the exact caramel of Willa's but a wavy mellow color all the same.
"Hey! See how he treats me Lily? He's eight years older and he uses the advantage of his miraculous growth spurts over his young, defenseless sister!" she gasped in mock irritation, shooting her brother a good natured glare. I laughed at her words.
"I can't help puberty little sis," He said, releasing her. She rubbed at her arm in feigned annoyance; a small smile curled the corners of her lips upward.
"Yes, yes, you should leave us girls alone now dearest brother, don't you have a wife to get to? We have much shopping to do and a boy's presence is just not acceptable," she said briskly, coming to my side.
"You're so sexist sis, but if you say so. I guess I'm stuck with the group of parents over there. But I'll gladly get back to Dromeda and Dora," He jabbed his thumb over his shoulder at my mother and Willa's parents, who were all involved in an animated discussion. There were two other people present; one was a willowy woman, with rich curly hair falling past her shoulders. Cradled in her arms was a giggly little baby. She was talking happily with Ted's parents and noticed him gesturing her way. She beamed and waved the little girl's hand at us.
"I'd love for you to meet her Lily, but I'm afraid my sister is all too intent on getting out of here, yeah?"
"Yes I am, have fun bro!" Willa said with a sweet smile.
She coiled her arm through my own and began dragging me through the dark bar to the back door.
"A-alright Ted, bye! I'll meet up with you later mum!" I called just as I was disappearing through it.
Once we were alone in the small courtyard Willa turned a beaming face in my direction.
"You've been thinking of him haven't you Lily?"
"By 'him' who do you mean?" I asked indifferently as I walked up to the brick wall and tapped the brick that was three up and two across three times.
"Do I have to describe him again? The guy with eyes that could melt ninety chocolate frogs, does he ring a bell?" she prompted with some impatience.
"Oh him, he hasn't crossed my mind," I said with a shrug, feeling my cheeks begin to glow scarlet at my obvious lie. Willa laughed when she spotted my red face. A hole in the brick wall appeared and began to grow larger and larger.
"Oh Lily, you're an awful liar!" She said through her giggles. I just kept silent as I looked at my shoes and felt my warm face with one hand.
Willa smiled knowingly in my direction as we walked into Diagon alley, the sounds and smells twisted through the air, deafening to the ears and nose.
"I wonder if we'll see him, Potter strikes me as a procrastinator he'll probably be here to buy his school things too. It suits him, buying his school supplies three days before the school term starts!" She said sounding utterly delighted. I shot Willa a wide eyed look of terror. I couldn't see him here! I don't know how I should act around him anymore!
Willa grinned at my reaction, looking more eager than ever to go Potter hunting. I had a sudden, vivid image in my mind of Willa chasing James down Diagon alley, swiping at him with a large butterfly net in her dainty fingers. In this image she had a wicked glint in her brown eyes.
I grimaced inwardly to myself; this was going to be a long day and it was barely halfway over.
"Stand still will you!" scolded Madam Malkin as James took a deep breath. Madam Malkin liked her customers to remain stock still while she pinned their robes in place. James froze immediately, not daring to breathe again. He saw Sirius snicker out of the corner of his eye and felt cheated that he couldn't even shoot him a dirty look, he'd have to turn his head to do so. Sirius tried to look interested in the pre-made dress robes or the many colors of fabric on display while he waited for James but just couldn't pull it off. Instead he leant against the counter looking bored and brain dead.
"I swear you boys grow like weeds on engorgement charms! Make my job easier please and stop growing Mr. Potter; you're almost a whole head taller than you were last time!" Madam Malkin said frowning as she carefully stuck a pin in the sturdy black fabric draped over James's shoulder.
"I can't help what my body decides to do! If it decides it would like an improvement then it does it against my will, I'm completely innocent here!" James retorted while Sirius doubled over in silent laughter.
"Yeah, that's a good excuse James! I must remember that excuse
Madam Malkin shot Sirius a disapproving look that would have charred the fabric piled on the counter if Sirius wasn't in front of it. His mouth clamped shut immediately. James felt the corners of his mouth twitch in amusement. What Sirius had wanted to refer to was definitely not meant for this middle-aged woman's ears. Madam Malkin sniffed haughtily as if saying; that's right, keep your mouth shut.
"You're done," she said dryly as she whipped the robes over James' head and folded them neatly on the counter along with all their other purchases. James tipped some galleons onto the table, not caring if it was too little or too much, Sirius making a small contribution along the way. His dear mother hadn't bothered to throw the family's vault key out with him so he could pay for his school supplies. But then, when did his mother ever act…motherly? James and Sirius left the store weighed down with school robes wrapped in brown paper.
"Padfoot, I really don't want to know what you were going to say in there," James said casting a crooked grin in Sirius's direction. Sirius returned this expression with a wolfish upturn of his mouth, a sort of half smile.
"Yeah, lucky I stopped myself; she would never let me back into the store again if I'd finished that sentence!" He answered with a bark like laugh.
Suddenly James saw a flicker of scarlet curls amongst the crowd and twisted his neck to get a better look. Lily was standing in front of Eeylops Owl Emporium looking curiously through the window and talking animatedly with a girl next to her. James was so mesmerized by Lily that he didn't even bother to remember the girl's name. Then as if coming sharply to his senses he dived behind Sirius and attempted to hide behind him.
"Merlin's pants James! What are you doing!" Sirius hissed as James dragged him behind a barrel outside a nearby apothecary. James peeked around the side of the barrel; Sirius followed his friend's entranced gaze and burst into hysterics. His bark like laughter rang through the already noisy air. James whipped around and clapped a hand over his mouth.
"Will you shut up Padfoot!" he whispered, glaring into his friend's amused face. Sirius was trying very hard not to rip James's hand from his mouth so he could continue laughing. It hurt to swallow it down and the situation was just too funny.
"Why are you suddenly so bashful mate, you're never self-conscious around her at school," Sirius gasped when James lowered his hand.
"I don't know ok? Stop asking stupid questions Padfoot!" James said quickly as his whole face flushed red, even his ears. Seeing the color creeping over James's cheeks made Sirius think of those muggle devices they called thermometers. Sirius shrugged as he too peered around the wooden barrel. He immediately jumped back like he'd been burnt.
"She's with Evans! That girl Willa!" he said, his expression unreadable. James guessed it was something along the lines of shock-horror.
"Oh so that's her name. What about her?" James asked. His interest was half-hearted; he only had eyes for Lily.
"She-she well…oh never mind!" Sirius said hastily, his tone had an edge of irritation.
"Damn, they're moving, come on Padfoot!" James said hurriedly, springing to his feet and rushing after them. Sirius had a split second to absorb what was said before he jumped up and followed James. They followed them down the cobbled walkway and into Flourish and Blotts, where they crouched behind a teetering pile of thick, leather bound books.
"So, we're stalking them now are we? Fine with me, I need to observe this Willa person, she's too bright for her own good and that could be trouble for us this year," Sirius whispered as his eyes followed her around the store as fixatedly as James's did with Lily. James had no idea why he was acting this way, if Lily saw him spying on her she would definitely think he was a creep.
That was the last thing James wanted, she already avoided him at all costs at school and cold shouldered him whenever possible. After four years he should have been thoroughly discouraged. But he found no matter what she did to him he couldn't stop liking her. Lily Evans was just that type of person, charming and kind. She was like a kitten or chocolate, you just couldn't hate her. That was what James thought at least.
When they left the store Sirius and James followed, this time they went into Gringotts. The two of them decided that they couldn't possibly follow them in there and hid themselves behind a towering marble pillar to wait for them. They peered around the corner hopefully every few seconds and pulled their heads back looked dejected every time.
"What are you two doing?" asked a familiar voice from behind them. James and Sirius jumped simultaneously and turned their heads guiltily in the direction of the firm voice. Remus stood behind them, brown paper packages tucked under his arm. His expression was searching and he eyed the two of them suspiciously. It was hard to get anything past Remus.
"N-n-noth-" James began but Sirius cut him off.
"We're stalking Willa and Evans," he said matter-of-factly, shrugging as a sly grin slipped onto his face. James gaped at him.
"Have you no shame Padfoot!"
"Of course, that's why I get all the crazy chicks."
Remus sighed testily.
"You two are incredible you know that? Have you any idea how suspicious you two look?"
"Shut up Moony, here they come!" James hissed as he yanked Remus roughly down beside him and Sirius.
"I can't believe you've dragged me into this, don't you have any respect for people's privacy?" he said in hushed, exasperated tones, casting them his signature look. It was a raised eyebrow that plainly displayed his disapproval of anything they did when they received it. They got that expression very often.
"They're heading to Madam Malkin's store Prongs," Sirius pointed out to James, totally ignoring Remus. Remus simply shook his head, a small smile sneaking onto his features, he was very amused. James and Sirius sprung to their feet and wove between the thronging crowd of shoppers, Remus on their heels.
"This is just sad," He said when he was within ear shot. James and Sirius shushed him and hid behind a rack of robes. This can't end well. Remus thought to himself as he crouched down next to them. Both seemed captivated by their subjects. It was something Remus found both creepy and admirable.
"Well I haven't actually had my new robes fitted, Madam Malkin always gives me a fair price for some reason, so I'll just-" Remus made to stand up but was pulled roughly back into a crouching position by James, who shot him a burning look behind his glasses.
"You'll give us away!" he hissed. Remus cast him a blank look.
"I'm not spying on them though, that's all you not me…" He said, tilting his head to the side ponderously. Sirius snickered.
"He has a point mate!"
"Hmmm, he really does doesn't he?" said a female voice coolly from behind them. All three of them froze stock still like statues. They turned their heads stiffly towards the voice. They all gaped in horror as they looked up into the newcomer's, sweetly smiling face.
"If you three aren't careful your faces will freeze like that," she said as she scanned the three boys in front of her, each looking like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car. Each was frozen like sculptures, all gaping like dimwits and in James's case, flushing guiltily. She especially enjoyed the expression on Sirius's face. Since everyone but her seemed incapable of speech in that moment of time, Willa decided to not only break the ice but to smash it into tiny shards.
"So why are you lot spying on us?" she said curiously, cocking her pretty head to the side, looking the picture of innocence. Her voice was sweet but there was a dangerous undertone. Willa did not believe in beating around the bush, she was always straightforward and blunt. Nearly Headless Nick, the Griffindor ghost at Hogwarts, always said that she was as blunt as the axe that had failed to part his head properly from his shoulders. It was at this time that Remus realized he was more involved in the situation that he had thought himself to be.
"Well? Are you just going to gawk at me or should I bring Lily over to coax it out of you?" she said threateningly, placing her hands on her hips and raising a slender eyebrow. From where the three of them were crouching she looked very intimidating. Well, as intimidating as someone with her looks could be. Sirius thought slyly to himself.
"Well its kind of obvious that we're spying, isn't it love?" Sirius said suddenly, he seemed to be getting over the first shock of being caught in the act. He was returning to his usually arrogant self, a wolfish grin transformed his face as he got used to her presence. Willa smiled so sweetly in his direction that Sirius could practically feel the sugar rush at
the back of his skull. Remus also seemed to be composing himself slowly
but he still looked very awkward. James snapped out of his horrified trance at the mention of Lily. He cast Willa a badly disguised look of worry at her threat. She giggled under his anxious gaze.
"Don't worry James; she never noticed you and I won't get her now. She's getting fitted; she thinks I'm looking at dress robes. But next time you stalk us please be less noisy, it's like you boys don't know how to whisper," she said cheerfully in answer to all of his unasked questions.
"So you don't mind being stalked?" Sirius asked with a bark of laughter.
"Special circumstances seemed to have made me enjoy it," She answered, her eyes sparkling mischievously. Remus cleared his throat from beside James.
"What makes you think there will be a next time?" he asked, giving her a searching look. Remus was always gathering information; he was rational with a curiosity that seemed to never be satisfied. She cast him a small smile of knowing and superiority.
"Oh, I know there will be lots of next times if James is given the chance."
James stuttered a string of words that seemed to have blended together as his face mimicked a thermometer, much to Sirius's amusement. Willa seemed to enjoy their discomfort.
"Anyway, I'll distract Lily so you can make a clean getaway," she said airily, as she curled a strand of honey colored hair around her forefinger absent mindedly. Sirius noted she still looked sweetly innocent with her bright brown doe eyes and non-threatening appearance. He was learning quite fast she was anything but. James and Remus seemed to have caught onto her act as well and were looking at her in a sort of impressed reverence.
"Why are you helping us? Not that it's not appreciated or anything," asked James, shooting her a curious look and adding the last part hastily.
Her eyes seemed to gleam deviously as she examined their three questioning faces, as if weighing her options.
"Oh, there's definitely a catch," she answered silkily. Sirius looked caught between being impressed and irritated at her superior air. Remus looked politely grateful while James looked full on relieved.
"Wait- what 'catch'?" He asked suddenly, his relief changing back to suspicion. Willa just giggled and waved her hand dismissively. There was something ominous about the way that she laughed that made the group of boys shudder. Sirius looked acutely impressed now; a flicker of amusement flashed across his expression.
"You'll know when I want you to know, anyway next time I catch you three snooping on us I won't be so merciful, Lily will get involved," she said in a charming sing song voice.
"How in Merlin's name did you not get into Slytherin?" muttered James under his breath grudgingly. Another enchanting smile graced her face.
"I'm as surprised as you are- too bad I'm not a pureblood psychopath. That and I'm muggleborn," she answered cheerfully. Sirius's expression instantly changed into one of complete bliss and approval at her words. James cast him a questioning look. Sometimes he just couldn't understand his best friend at all.
"You don't strike me as a Slytherin," Remus said suddenly.
"Of course, I've got the wits and the cunning but I can't stand the prejudice, I hate it. I'd rather poke a wand in my eye before I become a Slytherin," She said with a shrug. Sirius looked quietly delighted; it was such a discreet happiness that it seemed only James could notice it.
"Well I'm off to distract Lily; I can guarantee you half a minute. I don't make a habit of lying to her after all." And with that she brushed past the group with the calm and grace of a dancer. James had to nudge Sirius very hard in the ribs to make him stop staring.
All three of them peered around the rack of robes and waited for some sort of signal to make a run for it. Willa was standing next to Lily talking animatedly and pointing to some robes at the back of the store, her one of her hands was behind her back.
James found he was holding his breath with the building suspense; he really just wanted to get out of there. Suddenly she began flicking her hand frantically towards the door and they took that as the green light they'd been waiting for. They scrambled as quickly and silently as they possibly could out of the door, doubled over and frantic. Remus bumped into a pile of fabric and almost tripped himself up.
Once they were outside they bolted down the cobbled walkway, dodging between shoppers and keeping within a reasonable distance of each other. They stopped when they were just outside Ollivanders. James leant against the doorframe and attempted to catch his breath, Sirius and Remus were both bent over and panting.
"Well she's going to be trouble," James said suddenly when he'd regained control of his lungs.
"Definitely, we'll have to be extra discreet around her, we've worked too hard to stop progressing," Sirius said with a shaky gasp.
Remus remained silent as he looked at his friends, feeling both enormous guilt and warmth for the two of them. They would never know how grateful he was to them.
"Evans is also really observant so we have to be very careful to cover our tracks when the transfiguration is complete," James said as he straightened up and cast an affectionate glance at the wand shop he had been leaning on.
"Yeah, but we would have anyway we've never been caught yet," Sirius added with a smirk.
"How about all those times Filch caught us coming back from the restricted section?" Remus pointed out with an amused smile.
"Oh Moony nothing gets past you, you've really bruised our ego's there!" Sirius said with a bark like laugh. Remus just grinned triumphantly.
James had a feeling that fifth year was going to be a big one.
Especially when he thought of their plans.
"How many school rules are we breaking again Moony?" He asked folding his arms and leaning against the display window, an arrogant smirk playing on his lips.
"About thirty…oh and expulsion," Remus answered matter-of-factly, he couldn't help but feel slightly alive, it was obviously James' confidence, it was very catching. Sirius smirked wolfishly in appreciation.
Well, I think its progressing nicely! Anyhoo I just really want to thank everyone who has favorited this story and put it on alert and all that other touching and awesome stuff! THANK YOU! Reviews are welcome but really I am very grateful already to the people who just take time to read this!
There might be a slight delay in chapter five (I need to just put the rest of the story in order in my mind!)
But it will be comming out soon! (what? I'm on a roll and I'm going to finish this fanfiction if it KILLS me!)