You'll notice that I have changed the title of this story from Queen of the Crunk to Lily Evans, Chaser. I've rued this first choice of title for many years and have wanted to change it for a long time. The whole story could honestly use a rewrite, which I don't have the time for, so in lieu of removing the whole thing, I've just renamed it. This makes me feel a bit better about having the thing still out there in the world, with my (fake) name attributed to it. Sorry for any inconvenience or confusion!
Note: I've done a very basic update of this fic - I've changed mismatched chapter names and removed any glaring typos - but there is no new content within.
Another (nit-picking) note: I'm actually an editor in real life and so am annoyingly finnicky about grammar and punctuation. (Feel free to judge any misspells/typos now that you have this information! I should know better.) I did a very quick update of a few pages and changed some spaced en dashes (#–#) to unspaced em dashes (—). For some reason, the site has put a space in front of each em dash, which has pissed me off, but I can't be bothered going through and taking them all out. I've taken them out of this first chapter, but nowhere else. Am I pedantic? Yes. Any regrets? No.
I hope you're all well and kicking goals in life! You're all wonderful people.
Arithmancy and Gas
At some point after five o'clock on an unusually bright evening in October—Halloween, to be precise—Lily Evans staggered into the seventh year Gryffindor girls' dormitory.
Despite the fact that it was no longer hers, having recently claimed a particularly nice room in the Heads' dormitories with no small measure of glee, she threw herself onto the closest four-poster bed and ripped the pinching boots off her feet. After the bloody things had been banished to the other side of the room, she fell back onto the bed and groaned aloud; one long, tortured sound.
What a bloody bad day. From beginning to end.
Five minutes passed during which she tried to empty her mind. Snippets of the day—memories she had been trying to repress—ploughed determinedly through her shoddy meditation and eventually, scrunching her eyes against the barrage of remembrances, she gave herself up to regret.
'Shouldn't have done it,' she wailed. 'Stupid, stupid idea.' She thumped the bed with both fists and started to wrestle off her coat. 'You should have known. So you were angry,' she snarked, battling with a pesky sleeve, 'and hurt. So you had a something to prove.' She gave another strangled moan and covered her face with her hands. 'So what? You've probably ruined everything.'
Another recollection hit her: just a facial expression, but it was enough for her internal organs to begin to petrify with embarrassment. Then, for a good thirty seconds, she kicked her heels as hard as she could against the foot of the bed and roared her frustration at the ceiling as loudly as possible. When she had exhausted herself she collapsed back onto the covers.
'What in Merlin's name are you doing?'
Lily sat up. Dorcas was standing in the doorway, watching in amazement. A gaping Marlene followed her through and Mary poked her head curiously around the doorframe seconds later. 'Was that you, Lil?' she asked, frowning. 'What did Dorky's bed ever do to you?'
Next door someone muttered, 'Cripes, that didn't sound good.' Doors all along the corridor were clicking open and worried questions were thrown all over the tower.
'Someone's killing a hippogriff,' chortled a sixth year down the hall.
'Simone's killing a hippogriff!' yelped another student a little further down.
'Simone's being killed by a hippogriff!' shouted a hysterical first year, somewhere else in the tower.
'Arithmancy,' a world-weary fourth year said sagely, passing by the seventh years' dormitory.
'Nah —Hogsmeade today. Bad date, I'd wager,' her friend said, laughing. 'Happy Halloween, eh?'
At this last one Lily groaned as if mortally injured and pulled Dorcas's pillow over her face, securing it with both her arms. Mary stuck her head out of the door to calm the masses, yelling, 'Simone's alive! No hippogriffs have been killed. Head Girl's had a shit day, so pipe down, the lot of you.' Swatting Mary on the arm, Dorcas quickly followed with, 'Arithmancy! It's just Arithmancy. And– and gas. Yes. Killer combination.'
The door swung shut and soon afterward Lily felt the bed sink in a few places and a hand on her ankle.
'That bad, huh?' came Dorcas's voice from her left.
'So bad I feel physically ill,' Lily said, without exaggeration. Her stomach would lurch with nausea each time she thought about events prior to arriving in the dormitory five minutes ago.
'Gas?' Marlene asked awkwardly. The door opened again before Lily could raise the issue of Dorcas proclaiming her flatulence to the tower. In came a blissful Alice with a loud exclamation of, 'Lord almighty can Frank snog. Mars, I tell you—'
She cut off short, noticing the little huddle her roommates made around the pathetic figure on the bed. Lily could feel her trepidation from across the room. 'What's happened?' came Alice's tentative whisper. She tiptoed closer. 'Lil?'
'We're just about to find out,' Mary said. The bed sank in a fourth place around Lily's prone form. 'Care to share, Lilykins?' Someone prodded Lily in the side and she swatted feebly at the rogue hand.
'Quite honestly, no,' she muttered through the pillow. 'But you're bound to find out about the shambles at one point, so I might as well be the bringer of rubbish news.'
There was silence in the dormitory. Someone was patting her ankle sympathetically, Dorcas was making soothing little 'mmm' noises in her throat—'I'd stop groaning, Dorky, or you'll put her off her story,' Mary muttered —and the other two were singularly quiet.
Someone tugged at the pillow over Lily's face and she relinquished it grudgingly. Marlene and Alice were to her right, Mary and Dorcas to her left, and all four were staring at her with a mixture of sympathy and curiosity.
'Well,' Lily started, breathing out in a long exhale. She stared up at the canopy ceiling for a moment and then closed her eyes again. Now that the mortification had passed she just felt like crying. 'I've ruined it all. I should have known.' Her throat was closing up with emotion, but she pushed through it angrily, 'After I got that letter this morning–'
'Wait, sorry,' Alice butted in, sounding apologetic. 'What letter? I went out early with Frank this morning.'
The bed rang with the collective protests of disbelief from the other girls. Mary heaved a great sigh. 'Catch on, Longbotty-to-be! Hurry up and tell her, Lil—I want to hear the good stuff.'
'The good stuff?' Lily asked incredulously, the debilitating weakness dropping away for a moment as wrath flashed in her eyes. 'Is this your dearest friend's life here, Mary MacDonald, or the latest goss?' Mary looked properly abashed. Then to Alice, Lily said, frowning, 'Where've you been the last few months, Al? You should be ever aware of my ordeals.'
'I'm sorry,' Alice said, guilt clear on her face. 'I've been… preoccupied.'
The other three—those who were fit vessels for such positive emotions—laughed uproariously. 'We all know what that means,' Dorcas said slyly.
'Hey!' Lily griped, propping herself up on her elbows so she could quell her audience with a stare that forebode certain death. 'Do you want to hear the story or what? I am quickly losing the will to live and I will either die or start crying in the next five minutes if I can't sort my head out. That means you have to shut up and listen.'
'Proceed, by all means,' Marlene said quickly, looking properly apologetic and hushing the others. Mary wiped a tear of laughter from her eye and Alice, glowing a pleasant pink, settled down more comfortably upon the bed.
'Should we wait for Emmeline?' Dorcas asked, looking toward the door.
'No,' Mary said mercilessly, slapping Dorcas's knee with a sharp thwack at further delaying the story. 'Bad witch. It's Em's fault that she's not here. Now all of you stop interrupting poor Lily.'
'From the very start,' Alice put in quickly, her blush still in full force.
'Right.' Lily heaved a great sigh. 'From the start, then.'