Chapter 16 : Make It Count
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So sudden that she lost grip of her bag, she was swung back and pressed against the hard wall. She heard the thud as her bag made contact with the floor but the contents of her bag were forgotten as she looked up to find James’ cold eyes boring into hers.
She gulped audibly and stared back with wide and fearful eyes.
This wouldn’t be good.
Make It Count
Melody walked down the corridor towards the great hall in high spirits. She had just concluded her transfiguration quiz and she was fairly confident that she’d aced it. Humming happily under her breath, she was taken by surprise when hard hands pulled her back and pressed her against the cold wall.
Melody giggled. “You need to stop manhandling me.”
James grinned crookedly. “Says who? Besides, I like manhandling you.” He wiggled his brows suggestively and swooped down to capture her lips. Melody’s hands snaked up and around his neck and she stretched on the tips of her toes.
“If this is what you mean by manhandling, then you can manhandle me any day.” She purred as he placed soft kisses down her neck. He chuckled, though never lost contact with her skin. When she felt his teeth prod at her skin she pushed him away. “No hickeys! I still have the one from the other day!”
He smirked and pushed her back against the wall. “I don’t mind.”
Melody rolled her eyes. “Of course you don’t.”
He gazed at her for a few moments before smiling tenderly and placing a lingering kiss on her forehead. “I love you baby.” He murmured.
She sighed and leaned into his embrace. “Back at you Potter.”
Melody blinked up at James’ towering form and gave an audible gulp.
“How could you.” He growled. “You stood there with me at my parent’s funeral and told me everything would be okay. You sat with me for hours and said NOTHING!”
“What did you think; that if you fucking broke up with me that I would instantly stop loving you? That I wouldn’t care if my best friend fucking died- that it would be okay because she broke my damn heart!”
“NO! You don’t get to talk! Sixteen years- sixteen years of fucking friendship and you think me capable of that?! If that’s what you think then you don’t know me at all!”
Melody made no move to brush her tears away, instead she watched as he raged at her. Oh he wasn’t angry, he was absolutely livid.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered faintly. “I thought that it would be the best way to keep you from hurting. The only thing I wanted to do was protect you.”
“You know what the worst part is?” He asked, visibly deflating before her. “I spent all this time trying to ignore you, not speaking to you.” He stepped back and slid down on the opposite wall. “I promised that I would protect you from him, and I didn’t.”
She rushed towards him and kneeled down, her legs giving way gladly. “Please, don’t. Don’t blame yourself. I’ve come to terms with this, but if there is anything I can’t bear, it’s to see you blame yourself for something that could never be your fault.”
She leaned closer. “What I said to you at the funeral- I meant all of it. It’s going to be alright.” She clutched his hand and pleaded with him through her eyes. “Everything is going to be alright.” She repeated.
James landed smoothly and slid off his broom a few hours later, watching Lily Evans warily. “You following me Evans?”
She crossed her arms, most likely for warmth. It was spring, but the air was still crisp at night. “I was doing my rounds when I saw someone out after hours, flying no less. As you can imagine, I’m absolutely shocked it’s you.” She said sardonically.
His lips turned up in a reluctant smirk.
She shook her head. “I never saw you. Just don’t get caught out too late.” As she turned to leave, he called out.
She turned around curiously and he watched her with hooded eyes. “Will you...sit with me...for a bit?”
She cocked her head to the side and without a word, stepped towards him and lowered herself to the cold ground.
“You ever feel like things are spiralling out of control sometimes? Like you have no more say in the things that happen in your life?” He asked softly, looking out at the brightly lit sky as he joined her.
She shot him a wry smile. “I haven’t felt in control since I got a letter telling me I was a witch.”
James gave a dry laugh and then fell silent. “When I found out my parents were dead, I- it wasn’t real. I felt like I was on the outside looking in. It’s so...frustrating! And now-
He choked and his shoulders shook. Lily simply gathered him into her arms, rubbing his arm slowly as he cried silently.
“My sister Petunia got married the other day and I just found out yesterday. I didn’t even know she was engaged.” Lily said absently. James’ head rested on her lap as she brushed through his hair comfortingly.
He scoffed, eyes closed. “Sounds like a real gem.”
“Ever since I got my letter, she’s hated me. Calls me a freak, tells me that if I died she wouldn’t care because the world would be a better place without my kind.”
“Is she jealous?”
Lily frowned. “I don’t know. I shouldn’t think so. I mean, she hates magic- or so she says. We used to be so close. She was my best friend. It hurts because now especially, with everything going on- obviously she doesn’t know, but her words cut a little deeper.”
“Have you tried to speak to her about it?”
She scoffed. “She wouldn’t listen.”
“Would the body binding curse be going too far?” He asked lightly.
Lily smiled. “A little; certainly wouldn’t help my case.”
They fell into a comfortable silence.
“How long does she have?”
James opened his eyes and turned his head slightly to face the lake. “Five months.”
Lily mulled this over before leaning forward to place a kiss on his forehead. “Make it count.” She whispered.
In the weeks following, the girls remained attached at the hip, never leaving each other’s side for more time than necessary. So when the Marauders sought them out, it was to find them lounging by the lake together, three heads of hair gleaming under the sun. It was the first really hot day and it seemed everyone at Hogwarts was taking advantage of it.
“Of course the three of you would spend a day like this lying out instead of in the air, or in the water.” Sirius quipped. He fell beside Melody and pulled her close.
Chanel glared at him before pulling her back. “Good idea Sirius, why don’t you go and drown yourself.”
Melody rolled her eyes fondly. “You’re both ridiculous.”
James smirked and instead of joining his mates on the ground, leaned against the trunk of a nearby tree. “He’s right you know, perfect day for a dip.” He gave Sirius a meaningful look and the latter smirked back.
Before she could refuse or resist, Sirius hauled Melody into his arms and ran for the lake, James hot on their heels. In between shrieks of outrage, Melody kicked at him furiously, but it was all to no avail. Behind them, the others looked on in amusement.
Sirius and Melody were in the water first and James- after pulling off his shirt- jumped in behind them. Melody surfaced, sputtering obscenities while Sirius doubled over in laughter. James also laughed and swam towards her.
“C’mon, let’s see if we can find the Giant Squid.” And Melody realized they were doing this for her.
She rolled her eyes and gave an involuntary laugh. “
Between hiking through the forbidden forest and nearly getting trampled by angry centaurs and discovering every secret entrance the Marauders had found, Melody didn’t have time to think about her ticking time bomb, and although James kept their relationship purely platonic, Melody was enjoying every moment frolicking with her friends around the castle.
“Ow Black! That was my foot!”
“Honestly Sirius, you’ve stepped on my feet at least three times now!”
“How do you even know it’s me?!”
“Okay, you know what? Lumos!” Remus’ wand flared to life, joining James’, though he’d been using it to light their path as they shuffled towards the cellars of Honeydukes.
“How much longer James?” Anna asked with an exasperated sigh.
“Almost there, if Chanel and Sirius would stop tripping over each other, we could get there faster.”
The former glowered murderously. “It’s not my fault this tosspot has two left feet!”
“Oi! Look who’s talking!”
“Would you two shut up?” Remus cried.
Peter sighed exasperatedly behind them.
Not soon enough, they reached Honeydukes and James went first to scour the cellar. His search was quick and he was back within moments to usher Anna and Melody under his cloak, carefully climbing the stairs and leading them outside. He did the same with the others until they were all out, finally setting off towards the Three Broomsticks.
“I don’t know about you lot, but a night of getting right pissed is just what I need!” Chanel exclaimed.
“Amen to that.” Sirius muttered.
The overhead bell chimed as they stepped inside and they nestled into the corner out of sight as James excused himself to where Rosmerta was eyeing him in amusement.
“What’s up with that?” Anna motioned as the door to the kitchens closed behind the two. Sirius gave a wolf-whistle.
“Old Prongsie and Rosmerta had a bit of a thing over the break. Guess he left her wanting more.”
Chanel muttered something which sounded like ‘floozy’ under her breath while Melody’s face fell slightly.
A few minutes later, James came out with a tray of butterbeer in his arms. “That was quick.” Sirius smirked.
James rolled his eyes. “I was getting drinks you git.”
“Butterbeer? That’s all you got?” Chanel asked with a pout. James grinned. “And a little something more.” He raised his mug and winked. “Bottoms up!”
“But I don’t wanna go to sleep!” Chanel slurred, hanging off Remus’ arm. Anna clucked. “No one said you had to go to sleep. We’re just going up to the common room. Now shut up before you get us caught!”
Sirius barked and she jumped. “Eman-uel can’t hold her...drink.” He drawled, swaying slightly. Remus gave a sarcastic snort. “Yeah, she can’t hold her drink.”
James scowled. “Jeez mate, how much did you have?”
“Three?” He asked, holding up five fingers. Peter laughed.
“You’re so loud Sirius, like a dog.” Melody laughed at her joke, clinging tightly onto James’ arm. Anna snickered. “I wish I could record this.”
Sirius and Chanel walked ahead, slurring words at each other- Remus stuck between them- while Anna and Peter laughed silently behind them. James and Melody brought up the rear, following a few feet behind.
“James...why haven’t you kissed me?”
James looked down at the inebriated girl in surprise. “Er...”
She looked up and stumbled slightly. “Do you want to kiss me?”
He smiled. “You’re gone, aren’t you?”
Melody didn’t smile back; instead she took him by surprise and pushed him flush against the wall, pressing her lips against his. James responded back in surprise before gently pushing her away. “Mel.” He murmured, shaking his head.
She frowned. “You don’t want to kiss me.”
James licked his lips uncertainly.
Her eyes were glazed as she stared at him. “Do you still love me?” She whispered. She sounded so sober; James had to do a double take.
“I love you Mel.” He started quietly. “But I don’t know if I’m still in love with you. I-
He stopped abruptly and turned his head away.
“She’s a wonderful girl.” Melody whispered. James looked back at her in surprise.
“Lily. I see you two together. She makes you laugh.”
He furrowed his brows. “I don’t...”
Melody smiled. “It’s okay. This is what I wanted when I broke up with you. I wanted you to open up to someone else. She’ll take care of you.”
James shook his head. “Alright, you obviously drank way too much. Let’s get you to bed.”
“You don’t see it now James, but you will.”
“Okay, up you get.” He grunted, gathering her into his arms and as she laid her head on his chest, she smiled. “I love you Jim Jam, always.”
James lay in bed as the light poured through the windows, he could hear the others stirring in their beds and he knew their clocks would go off soon. James rubbed his eyes and sat up, really wishing he could have gotten even an hour’s worth of sleep. Unfortunately Melody’s words had nagged at him, as much as he’d tried to chalk it off to the alcohol speaking, for some reason it unnerved him.
“Pull yourself together.” He muttered to himself, slapping his face twice before standing and dragging his feet towards the bathroom. Lily Evans was nothing more than a friend. He didn’t need nor have time for anything more and that was that.
A/N I won't even bother with the excuses. Love you guys! Review!