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There Will Come a Day by pink daisys

Format: Novel
Chapters: 16
Word Count: 85,665
Status: Abandoned

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, General, Romance
Characters: Dumbledore, Lupin, Snape, Sirius, Lily, James, Regulus, Pettigrew, Voldemort, OC
Pairings: James/Lily, Remus/OC, Sirius/OC

First Published: 01/29/2005
Last Chapter: 10/14/2007
Last Updated: 10/14/2007

Summary:


This is Lily and James' story of their seventh year, The year they fell in love, companioned by the best friend's they could ever find. "You egged me?!" James cried in disbelief. Lily grinned cheekily at him. "Happy Birthday." she stated before waving to her friends and walking out the door. "Unbelievable." said James, in awe of Lily. 'She's amazing.' He won't give up hope... maybe there will come a day when she will surrender to his heart? Maybe.


Chapter 1: The First Day Of Summer
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[A/N] Hi! This is my first attempt at a Lily/James story, and I hope it turns out okay!

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, or any of JK Rowling's wonderful ideas. I only own the plot, and the few characters that I made up myself =D



Chapter 1 - The First Day of Summer


Lily stared out of the window of the car that was steadily moving closer to her home. She drummed her fingers on the door along with the music from the radio, and listened to the family within the car talk to one another. Lily was very anxious to get home to see her own parents, who she hadn't seen since Christmas vacation. They hadn't been able to pick her up from the train station because they were working late, so Lily had gotten a ride home with her next-door neighbours, the Potters.

"Jamesy, when we get home can you take me out on your broom?" came the sweet voice of 9 year old Sarah Potter. Lily looked at her. She was an adorable little kid with long raven hair and bright hazel eyes. She was sitting between Lily and James, and at the moment looking up at her older brother with a pleading look in her eyes.

He just laughed and said, "Sure sweetie." in a tone that Lily hadn't heard in a very long time. He only talked to his family and people who he truly cared about like that.

"Hey Evans, care to join us?"

There was that oh so annoying tone of voice he used with her. Lily glared at him. James just smiled his egotistic smile. She rolled her eyes at the messy haired, hazel eyed, immature prat. "No thanks." Lily answered, trying to be as civil as she could.

"Aww, please come fly with us?! Please?" begged Sarah.

Lily looked down into her hopeful eyes and couldn't help but smile. "Aww, Sarah you know how much I hate to fly."

Sarah pouted, but soon perked up again. "Well... tomorrow can you come over and bake cookies with me?" Lily's smile widened. She loved James' little sister, and whenever she babysat, they would make something together.

"Of course I will!" Lily told her. Sarah started to hop around in her seat. "Yay! Are we there yet?" she whined. Lily laughed, but soon caught sight of James staring at her.

She rolled her eyes, and looked away, trying to ignore him. She couldn't very well tell him off while his parents were sitting right there could she? Why did the annoying prat have to pester her anyway?

For the past few years, James had been asking Lily out to bug her, or thats what she figured anyway. He couldn't actually like her, he was too conceited to like anybody besides himself for too long.

Finally, they reached their destination. Lily quickly jumped out of the car, glad to get away from James' stare. Mr. Potter, a friendly man who looked a lot like James, especially with the hair, unloaded her trunk and as Lily started to drag it across the lawn, she called out "Thanks for the ride!"

Ms. Potter was a kind, red haired lady. She just smiled and responded "Anytime Hun!"

Lily grinned and kept dragging her trunk towards her house. James had disappeared inside his house, and Sarah had waved and then followed her big brother inside. The Potters had an enormous house. It was the biggest and nicest on the street. Lily sometimes wondered why they even lived close to her. It wasn't a classy neighbourhood, just normal, with big and small houses, and Lily knew that the Potters were a rich family.

Lily's own house was fairly sized, with 2 stories, and it had a nice yard in the front and back. There was a big oak tree in the middle of the front lawn with a wooden swing attached to it. Lily smiled to herself and soon realized that she had reached the door. She turned the doorknob and let herself in, dragging her heavy trunk behind her.

"Hello!?" she called out to the seemingly empty house. There was a small shriek and before Lily knew it, her mother had rushed into the parlor to greet her and had pulled her into a hug. "Lily! I missed you sweetheart! How was everything? Did you do well?" Lily grinned and returned her mother's embrace. "It was great mum."

Lily's mother had golden blonde hair and bright green eyes, just like Lily's. Her father on the other hand had red hair and blue eyes, and Petunia, Lily's older sister was tall, bony, blonde, blue eyed, and intensely disliked Lily. "Wheres dad?" Lily asked excitedly, "... and Petunia?" she added as an afterthought.

"Your father is still at work. We're all going out for supper at Metropolitan with a few families from the neighbourhood, and he's meeting us there. Petunia's upstairs getting ready, so why don't you go and do the same? I bought you an outfit that I think you'll like." She smiled with a twinkle in her eye and Lily shrugged. "Okay then." and then she dragged her trunk up into her room.

Lily closed the door and looked around at her room. She sighed in contentment and walked over to her bed where she let herself fall onto the bed. "Finally home." she muttered and smiled to herself.

Lily lay there for a few moments before she figured she should get ready to go out for supper with whoever her parents had invited. Suddenly she realized who was most likely going to be there and she groaned. They were probably going with the Stone's. Lily walked past her mirror and made a face at it. The Stone's were rich, and while Mr. and Mrs. Stone were nice, their son Brandon was incredibly conceited, and snobbish. He was even worse than Potter, and that was saying something.

She opened her closet and immediately saw the outfit her mother bought her. Lily's jaw dropped as she saw the dress and shoes. They were gorgeous! Lily took it off the hanger and layed it on the bed. She went to take off her shirt before her eyes narrowed and she looked towards the window in her room, which coincidently was straight across from the window in James' room. Lily closed the blinds and got dressed just in case anybody was watching.

In his room, James swore out loud and pulled his invisbility cloak off with a scowl. He knew he was being a pervert by watching Lily, but he couldn't help it. She was just so beautiful. With a sigh, he turned to get dressed for supper.

Lily did her makeup, put on jewelry and put her long hair half up with slight curls at the end. Lily stood back and examined herself in the mirror. She was wearing a light green spaghetti strap dress with a gathered midriff. With it, she was wearing silver high heels, a silver bracelet, and a silver locket-necklace that her mother had given her for her birthday a few years ago. Lily thought she looked all right, so she grabbed her silver purse and headed downstairs.

"Oh Lily, you look beautiful!" gushed her mother. Lily blushed. "Nah, but I do love the dress and shoes! Thank you!" Lily saw her mum roll her eyes and she smirked. "So who are we going out with anyway?" Lily asked. "Oh, we're meeting the Stones, the Potters and the Dursleys at the restaurant, and we better be going! Where is Petunia?"

Lily supressed a groan. A whole night with Brandon, Potter, Petunia and those horrible Dursleys?! This night was going to be agonizing. "I don't know where Petunia is, I haven't seen her at all."

At that moment, Petunia came down the steps. Lily bit her lip to keep from laughing. Her sister was wearing a hideous, purple flowered sundress that came up to her knees and was pretty low cut, her blonde hair was up into a bun at the top of her head, and she was wearing ugly white pumps. She looked really slutty and ugly.

Lily forced a smile, but it actually turned out to be a grimmace. "Oh your home are you?" Petunia sneered at her, and said nothing else. Lily didn't answer, she just rolled her eyes. "Where's dad?" she asked her mom. "He's meeting us there as well, he had to work so he's going to be a bit late."

"Oh, okay then." Lily said, looking at her mother. She looked really nice and done up this evening with a long black dress and her make-up done. Ms. Evans usually didn't wear any kind of makeup, so this was a nice change.

"Let's go shall we?" Lily's mother said, leading her two daughters out to the car.





A half hour later, Lily found herself sitting at a long table trying to look like she was enjoying herself. Unfortunately, Brandon had sat on her right, and was busy trying to flirt with her, while Lily tried not to be rude. James was sitting across from her, and glared at Brandon every time he opened his mouth, and Sarah sat on the other side of Lily, much to her delight. Lily loved the 9 year old to peaces, and with Sarah sitting there, it meant that neither Petunia, her ugly husband-to-be Vernon, or Vernon's sister Marge could sit there. Petunia and Vernon were at the far end of the table, and Marge was sitting next to James, flirting with him as much as Brandon flirted with Lily. It was quite funny really.

"So... James ... your so muscular... do you work out often?" Marge purred, placing her fat hand on James' arm. Lily tried her hardest not to laugh at James' impression. He looked torn between disgust and fear. He moved away slightly and gave a slight nod before turning to pretend to talk to his father, who was sitting on his other side.

Lily watched him for a moment. James was wearing black pants, a white, clean cut shirt, and a tie, which happened to be pink. 'He looks adorable.' Lily thought for a moment before realizing what she had thought. Of course, James Potter was good looking, she couldn't say otherwise because it would be a lie. But apart from the fact that he wasn't hard on the eyes, he was so immature, childish, and arrogant that it completely overruled the good looking factor.

Brandon turned to her again and started to talk, snapping Lily out of her reverie. "Lily, I've been thinking about you lately. I knew you'd be coming home from that boarding school. You've got to stop this charade you've got going on. You know you like me." Lily stared at him with disgust, as did James. Before Lily could say anything, James cut in.

"You really think she likes you? Get a grip on yourself. If she liked you she wouldn't be looking so horrified right now. Now back off."

Lily felt her temper rising as she looked at James, but Brandon shot back. "How would you know you loser?! She can speak for herself!"

"No I am dead serious! She obviously doesn't like you so just bugger off!"

Brandon opened his mouth to talk again, but Lily shot both of them death glares. "Brandon, James is right, I don't like you, I never will... Sorry." she added as an afterthought to be less rude.

James had a triumphant smirk on his face, but Lily turned to him and it died. She looked angry enough to kill. "And you, James Potter. You take those words you just spoke to heart you hypocrite! I know you don't even really like me, so just leave me alone!"

With that, she excused herself and stormed off to the bathroom.

James stared after the beautiful Lily Evans. What was it that she had said? He was a hypocrite? But that prat Brandon was trying to hit on her! 'Nobody's allowed to hit on her except for me!' James thought angrily. When he had calmed down somewhat, he realized that she had said that she didn't think he really liked her.

Right...James thought sarcastically. Does she really think that I, James Potter, one of the infamous Marauders, would spend so much time on her when I could have any other girl at school? He scoffed to himself. She was blind, thats all. He'd get her to see what she was missing.

Lily entered the room once again, and James was floored by her beauty. Of course, he was nearly always left speechless whenever he saw her, and he always got nervous and that was the main reason he was allways so conceited when he was around her. Of course, James didn't realize this, he was allways just too busy staring at her. However, the main reason he liked her wasn't her looks, even though that was a good part of it. He also admired her, although he would never admit it to Sirius or Remus. She was her own person, and she worked hard to get what she wanted. She had a fiery personality, and she had been the first, and last to ever turn him down. It made him want her more.

Lily slid back into her seat and just concentrated on ignoring Brandon and James. They were both so infuriating. She just wanted to go home and go to bed. Suddenly something caught her eye and her face lit up. Her father had finally made it!

She ran over to him and engulfed her father in a hug. "Hi honey! How are you?! Wow, you look some pretty. I'm gonna have to fight the boys off with a stick!" Lily laughed and led him over to the table where she had to go back to her seat, away from her father, but he promised that they'd catch up later.

After the main course, nearly all the adults got up to dance. Lily groaned. She didn't want to dance. Especially not with any of the choices she had at the moment. Lily just sat in her seat watching her parents, and everybody else dancing. Lily, James, Brandon, and Marge were left at the table. Sarah had run off to dance with her father.

'Please don't ask me to dance. Please don't ask me to dance. Please, please, please ... " Lily thought desperately.

"Lily, dance with me. Please?" came Brandon's demanding voice. She really really didn't want to, but he dragged her across the room and made her dance. She just openly glared at him. A little while away, Lily saw Marge threatening James to dance with her, and then she dragged him over to near herself and Brandon. James looked absolutely horrified with his dancing partner, which made Lily laugh slightly.

"Ah ha! So you are having a good time with me! I knew it." Brandon said, smirking at her. Lily rolled her eyes. "I'm not having a good time, I was laughing at James."

"Oh."

Suddenly, Brandon's hands seemed to be moving downward, away from her waist. "Brandon..." she said warningly.

"What?" he asked, smirking and tightening his grip on her, his hand still wandering lower. She glared at him. "Stop it right now." she said forcefully.

He just smirked. All of a sudden, he smashed his face against Lily's and kissed her. She tried to pull back, but he had her pushed up against a wall. Finally, she managed to free one of her hands and smack his head. He immediately let go. Lily was sending him death glares and she slapped him, hard. In a matter of seconds, somebody hit Brandon from behind, bringing him down to the floor, but Lily didn't notice this, as she was allready walking brisquely away, wiping her mouth.

She walked out into the fresh air and sat down on the sidewalk. She really just wanted to go home and go to bed.

About 10 minutes later, the door behind her opened, and people poured out of it. Lily heard some yelling, and spun around to see what the commotion was all about. Mr. and Mrs. Potter were telling off James, Mr. and Mrs. Stone were telling off Brandon, and the Evans and the Dursley's were shaking their heads and heading to their cars.

Once Lily was in her car with her parents, she asked what all the yelling was about.

"James and Brandon got into a fight over something. I didn't catch what though. Apparantly James attacked Brandon after seeing something that disturbed him. That's pretty much what I gathered." said Lily's dad, scowling.

"Oh." said Lily, lost in thought. What had James seen? Certainly it hadn't been Brandon kissing her. It couldn't be, could it? No, that was impossible, why would he care so much? Lily was really confused. When she got home, she went straight to her room, and to bed.

James was in his room, fuming. Damn that Brandon, kissing Lily. Nobody was allowed to do that! HE hadn't even kissed her yet. And now his mother was mad at him for trying to kill Brandon when he had kissed her. Well he was only defending her! She obviously didn't want to be kissed by that prat! James paced around his room, wanting somebody to talk to, but there was nobody. He wished Sirius or Remus was there. James fell on top of his bed and thought for a long time. He finally fell asleep and had wonderful dreams about a girl with long, red hair and emerald eyes.

Chapter 2: Conflicts
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[A/N] Hi! I know not many people are reading this.. but hopefully more will soon! I would REALLY like to know what people think of my story, so could you review? Please? *gets on knees and begs* PLEASE?

LoL, okay, enough with that. I know that I only posted the first chapter yesterday, and to be truthful, it was boring, so I decided to post this one early. The next one probbaly won't be up as early. ^_^

Disclaimer: I own nothing but Aria, Carina and the other characters I made up, and the plot. If I owned Harry Potter, my name would be Joanne Rowling, and I definitely wouldn't be writing this fanfiction. :)


Chapter 2-
Conflicts


Lily woke up the next morning way too late for her liking. Lily Evans was allways up at the crack of dawn, but now it was 11:47 AM. She got up grumbling, and headed to the shower.

20 minutes later, Lily was dressed in jean shorts and a tank top, and was eating toast at the kitchen table while the rest of her family ate lunch.

Lily's mother and father stood up and cleared their throat. Lily looked at them, confused, as did Petunia. "We're going on a second honeymoon on Friday. You girls will be fine on your own for a week won't you?"

Lily smiled at her parents. "Of course we will. You just go and have fun."

Petunia rolled her eyes at Lily. "I'm going to Vernon's." was all she said, and then left.

Lily finished eating her toast and felt something furry touch her leg. She jumped but soon saw that it was only her chocolate lab, Cocoa. "Hey baby!" Lily cooed to her 4 year old puppy while petting him. "Wanna go for a walk honey?" she asked. The puppy's ears perked up and he barked.

Lily laughed and pulled on her sneakers, grabbed the leash and left with a wave to her parents.





James was bored. Really bored. There was nothing to do in his house, he wasn't allowed to play Quidditch for 2 weeks because that was his punishment for trying to beat up Brandon, and he had no friends over. Sirius was still at his parent's house, and so was Remus, and Peter.

He sighed and glanced out the window. His heart fluttered. Lily was walking past his house with her dog. Her long hair was up in a loose ponytail, and she was wearing short shorts and a tank top. Suddenly, James had the urge to go for a walk.





Lily walked past the Potter's house, hoping that James hadn't seen her. Her hopes went unanswered however, as the door of the house opened and a tall boy with unruly hair came outside, spotted her, and jogged towards her flashing Lily his award winning smile that made most girls swoon.

That smile didn't work on Lily though. It just annoyed her.

"Hey Evans!" came that infuriating voice. Lily gritted her teeth. "Hello Potter." she answered.

"What'cha doing?" James asked her, determined to have a civilized conversation with her.

Lily sighed in exasperation. It was bizarre how quickly James could get on her nerves. "Taking my dog for a walk. What does it look like?"

James was taken aback by her tone of voice. It had only been a simple question! "Oh, Umm... Mum wanted to know if you could babysit Sarah tonight."

Lily shrugged. "Sure I'll babysit. What time?"

"Err... I think she said 7... or maybe it was 8... I don't remember" James said, feeling stupid.

Lily rolled her eyes. "Okay, I'll be there at 7. Is that all? I was looking foreward to a leisurely walk with my dog without being pestered." Lily said, not realizing how mean she sounded.

James sighed. Although he was used to Lily's mean behavior, it still hurt him. "Yeah that's all. See you." he said, and with that he turned and left.

Lily stared after him, feeling confused and slightly guilty. I was just a bitch to him wasn't I? Lily sighed and continued with her walk. He had actually been civil to talk to, she couldn't say the same for herself however.

Confused, Lily continued on her walk, lost in thought. About James, no less. It was probably the first time she ever thought about him for longer than 2 seconds.

No, wait... I think about him a lot don't I? Lily was disgusted with herself. But, it's usually how annoying he is that I'm thinking about, so that's normal.

'You're still thinking about him.'
came that stupid voice in her head. Lily scowled. "I'm going insane. I'm talking to myself for Christ's sake!" she muttered to herself.

"Bah..." Lily grumbled to herself. "I'm going home. Come on boy!" she said to her dog, and she headed back to her house.





A few hours later, Lily lay on her bed with her headphones on, singing, and reading letters from her 3 best friends Aria, Carina and Remus.


Lily,
Hey hun! I hope your enjoying your summer so far... even though I did only see you yesterday. But anyway... I hope Petunia isn't being the normal bitch, although I know she is. Is James being berable? You know Lils, he isn't really that bad. Anyway, I really hope Rina's parents are treating her okay. Errg, I hate them. I know that Sirius is probably gonna take off to James' so you'll probably have more company, ha ha.
Anyway, sometime we should get together and see if Carina can come too. Tomorrow I'm headed to the beach for a week, so we'll hang after that okay? See ya then, and if you don't write back, there shall be consequenses! ;-P
Love,
Aria



Lily grinned as she finished reading it. Aria Smith was the one in her group of friends that could allways make anybody smile. She got excited easily, and was often hyper, rebellious, and outspoken. She had long, golden blonde hair and pretty bluish green eyes. Aria was one of the prettiest girls in the school, but rarely had a boyfriend because she refused to be tied down until she found 'the one'.

Lily re-read the letter. James being berable? I think not. Suddenly she had a mental image of James dancing with Marge and she snorted with laughter before reading the next letter.


Lily,
Oh my gosh my family is driving me INSANE! I hate them I hate them I HATE THEM!!! (except for Sirius of course) Regulus is just being the snotty little bastard like allways and my parents have actually taken to... nevermind.
Sorry if that seemed a little un-like me, but I had to get it out. I can't wait until next year when I won't have to come back here. The only thing that is keeping me sane is Sirius, but he's planning on leaving and going to James', and I can't go.
Anyway, on to happier things. I hope your first day of summer is better than mine. Aria seems to be having a good time. Lucky her, she gets to go get a tan at the beach.
Have you heard from Remus lately?
Umm... I better get going. I really hope your doing okay, and if your not, don't hesitate to complain to me as I just did. Please write me back soon!
Love,
Carina



Lily frowned as she read the letter. It didn't sound like Carina at all. She was usually the complete opposite of her twin except for in looks. Carina had long dark hair and pale blue eyes just like Sirius', but where Sirius was loud, rambunctious, and couldn't care less for rules, Carina was quieter, cared about her studies, and was the kind of person who you could tell anything to, and she loved to help everybody.

While Lily worried about her friend, she couldn't help but grin when she just mentioned Remus out of nowhere. Lily had suspected that Carina had liked Remus for quite a long time, but she would often deny it.

Lily decided to read the last letter before replying to all three, so she opened the one from Remus.


Hey Lily,
I'm bored, and I decided to write you instead of starting that Potions essay for Whitly. Anyway, has your sister been treating you okay? And more importantly, has James been acting like an idiot? 'Cause you know, he really isn't that bad.
Of course, I am one of his best friends, so I'm inclined to say that anyway, but if he was completely horrible, I wouldn't be friends with him would I?
Have you heard from Carina lately? I just got a message from Sirius, and I'm worried that their parents are being their normal, pure-blood obsessive selves and hating the both of them.
Well... I'll probably see you in a few weeks, 'cause James' birthday is on the 23rd and I'm obviously going to be there.
Of course, he'd have my hide if I didn't show up on his doorstep with a gift.
The only thing is, that the 22nd is a full moon. (makes face here) So that sucks.
I'll talk to you later!
Remus



Lily couldn't help but laugh. Remus asked about Carina, Carina asked about him. 'They're both just too thick to see it themselves.' Lily thought, smirking.

Remus Lupin was one of Lily's closest friends. It was sort of weird that he was best friends with both James, who Lily hated so much, but friends with Lily too. He had shaggy light brown hair, and bright blue eyes. He was quite good looking, just like James and Sirius, and was sought after by girls nearly as much.

But he was worried about Sirius and Carina too. Hopefully Carina would be here or at Aria's soon, so that everybody would be able to stop worrying. Of course, Lily had to worry about Remus too. She was one of the few who knew about his lycanthropy, and every month she would get extrenely worried causing Carina and Aria to worry about her.

Lily sang especially loud as she set to answering her friends letters, and didn't realize that she was being watched.

James Potter had heard Lily singing, not for the first time, and was entranced by the sound. She was a terrific singer. Every note made him shiver. He was watching her read her letters, smiling sometimes, frowning other times. He loved it when she laughed at something, because he didn't get to hear it very often. Lily was so much prettier when she smiled, but usually when she was around him, all he got to hear was her yelling at him. He sighed and glanced at the clock. Nearly 7. Lily'd be over there soon to babysit Sarah. James didn't want to be yelled at again, so he decided that he was going to go out somewhere when she got there.





"Come on Cari, please leave with me?" Sirius begged his twin for the thousandth time. To his dismay, she shook her head. Sirius growled and sat down on the floor, leaning up against his bed. Hers was across the room. Their parents hated them so much, they didn't even get their own rooms.

He didn't understand it. "Why won't you leave? They're horrible! They've allready started hitting me, soon it could be you!" he said, worry evident in his voice. Why wouldn't she listen to him?

Carina sighed and sat down next to her twin. "Sirius, I'm scared to leave. What if they find us? They'd most likely kill us, or close to it... And we have nowhere to go! Or any way to get there!"

She told him, tears welling up in her eyes, not for the first time in the past 2 days.

Sirius sighed too, and looked his sister in the eye. "Rina, we can go to James' or even Lily's. They live right next door to each other. You know that, they've let us stay there before."

She opened her mouth to speak, but Sirius kept talking. "We have that motorcycle that Uncle Alfred gave me. We could leave on that, and if they found us, we could go to the ministry. I won't let them hurt you."

Carina opened her mouth to respond when the door flung open and a younger boy with dark, greasy hair stood there smirking. Sirius and Carina glared at their brother.

"Go away Regulus." Sirius said through gritted teeth. Regulus just smirked.

"Trying to run away? Oh ho, Mum and Dad won't like this." He shot them an evil smile before leaving the room quickly yelling for his parents.

All of the colour had drained from Sirius' and Carina's faces. "Oh god." she wimpered. Sirius looked around the room. He heard angry footsteps

coming up the hall. He had to hide his sister, but it was too late. An evil, dark haired, ugly man stood at the doorway. Regulus was right behind him, and an horrid looking woman was behind him. They were all glaring, save for Regulus who was just grinning evilly. Sirius glared defiantly back and stood protectively in front of Carina.

"Trying to run away to your mudblood loving friend again?" sneered Mr. Black, stepping inside of the room. Sirius didn't answer. "Answer boy!"

Sirius still didn't answer.

"You can't leave us. You have nowhere to go! You'd die of living on the streets, and you'd take your sister with you." Mrs. Black tutted.

"It'd be better than living here." Sirius shot back. Behind him Carina gasped, knowing what was coming next.

"You little insolent, ungrateful, wretch!" shrieked Mrs. Black. "You can't leave here! I forbid it! You would bring dishonour to the Black name!"

"Dishonour?" asked Sirius in disbelief, "Your the ones who dishonour the god damn family name! With all of your pure blooded madness! And..." he went to go on, but his father started advancing on him, so he stopped talking and just glared at his father, waiting for the blow that was sure to come. Sure enough, his father's fist collided with Sirius' allready sore jaw and he fell backwords. But he wouldn't let his father of having the pleasure of knowing that he had hurt his son. Instead Sirius just stared back, unaware that he was bleeding.

Carina watched in horror as her father advanced on her twin for the second time. Suddenly, she felt somebody grab her wrist and looked up to see her evil mother, grinning wickedly at her and tightening her grip. Carina glared at her, trying not to look towards Sirius and her father. She knew what was happening, and was powerless to stop it.

Suddenly, Carina heard Sirius let out a howl of pain. She was startled, and looked towards him finally. What she saw made more tears pour from her eyes. Her father had confured a whip, and was whipping Sirius! She let out a noise that made her sound like a wounded puppy dog. She wanted to help her twin somehow, but she couldn't. Her mother had a firm grip on her wrist, and she wasn't about to let go.

Finally, Mr. Black through the whip to the side of the room and hissed, "Allways remember. The Blacks are allways 'Toujours Pur'. Now shutup and start your work.

Sirius had had enough. His entire body felt like it was on fire, but he wasn't going to take this any longer. "No." he said.

"No?" said his father menacingly.

"You heard me. I'm leaving. You can't make me stay. And Carina's coming with me." Sirius said, and tried to walk towards his twin, but the rest of the 'family' got in his way.

"She's staying with us. Maybe we can knock some sense into her, even though we couldn't do it with you."

Sirius was torn. He couldn't just leave Carina to suffer the rath from his family could he? No. He refused to. He sighed in defeat. Then he noticed that his father was grinning rather criminally. Sirius stayed on his guard.

"She's staying. But you are not. Get out of this house. I never want to see your ungrateful face again."

Sirius gaped in shock. He couldn't leave Carina there! "No! She's coming with me!" His father came towards him and took ahold of his arm, and started to drag him out, with the help of Regulus. "NO!" Sirius screamed out.

Carina was in shock. Her parents couldn't throw Sirius out! She'd be all alone with her horrible family! More tears flowed down her cheeks. She had never been away from Sirius for very long either.

She caught his eye, and he tried to reassure her that everything would be allright, but neither one of them believed it. All Sirius saw when he looked into Carina's eyes was 'Don't leave me!' and fear. His father and brother, whom he would no longer call that, dragged him, kicking and screaming all the way downstairs and out the front door where they finally let go of him.

"Don't you dare do anything to her." Sirius said. The two of them started to laugh manically and didn't respond. They just retreated back inside the house. Sirius had rage builtt up inside him and he screamed in frustration. What could he do now? He had to get Carina out of there! But how?

He didn't know what to do. He really wanted some advice, so Sirius decided to go seek help from his best friend, James Potter.





James was wandering around the neighbourhood. He was incredibly bored, but he didn't really want to go back home and do something stupid that would most likely result in him getting told off by Lily. He sighed and sat down on a swing at a playground near his home.

Suddenly, James got a weird feeling in the pit of his stomache, like something was wrong. He looked around at the dark, quiet playground. It was quiet, but James couldn't shake off that erie feeling, so he decided to head home.

Back at James' house, Lily and Sarah had just taken a batch of cookies out of the oven and were happily eating them. It was pretty much the usual routine when Lily babysat.

"Lily, wanna do a puzzle?" Sarah asked Lily, her eyes shining. Lily smiled. "Sure sweetheart, you go get it, and I'll clean up here."

"Okay!" said Sarah happily, and she bounced off to go find her puzzle. Lily started on the dishes, and when Sarah got back she was nearly done.

"Found it!" said Sarah. Lily turned around grinning, but her expression turned to one of concern when she saw Sarah's face. "Honey, are you sure your feeling all right? Maybe you should go to bed. It is 9:30."

Sarah's face was suddenly pale, but she shook her head. "No, I want to do the puzzle!"

Lily sighed, but nodded. They sat down at the kitchen table. Lily remembered Ms. Potter saying something about Sarah not feeling that well. They set to work on putting the puzzle together, but it was harder than usual as the pictures were moving.

All of a sudden, Sarah started to cough and splutter. "Sarah honey, are you okay?" asked Lily, concerned, and she went closer to the little girl.

Suddenly she turned an ghostly white, and was still coughing. Sarah started to throw up, but it was blood that was coming out of her mouth. Lily screamed and her mind raced. She pulled Sarah into her arms, ready to floo to St. Mungo's, when the door opened, and James came in. At the exact same moment, the little girl went limp in Lily's arms.

Lily screamed again and tears filled her eyes as she desperately checked Sarah's pulse. It was low. She ran towards the fire, shaking when she heard a voice behind her.

"What's going on? Sarah? SARAH!" came James troubled voice as he came closer. He saw Sarah, gulped and looked up at the obviously shaken Lily.

"We need to get her to St. Mungo's!" Lily said, almost hysterical. "I don't know what happened! One minute she was fine, the next she was looking a bit peaky, and then boom!" She cried, tears rolling down her cheeks.

James got a lump in his throat looking at the two of them. "Come on!" he yelled gruffly, bringing them to the fireplace. Together the 3 of them
flooed to St. Mungo's.

James and Lily rushed through the people to get to the front desk. "Help!" Lily yelped. A woman in lime green robes spotted her with Sarah and immediately took the little girl into her arms. "Wait here." was all she said, before disappearing with a bunch of other healers.

Lily sat down in the waiting room, still shaking uncontrollobly. James sat down next to her, a worried expression on his face. James suddenly saw the state that Lily was in, and he didn't even think, he just acted. He put his arm around the red haired beauty and said in a soothing voice, "Sarah'll be okay now. She's in safe hands. Don't worry."

For some reason, having James' arm around her and his words made Lily calm down slightly. She stopped shaking and smiled slightly at him. "Somebody needs to tell your mum. Do you want to stay here, and me go get them?"

James nodded. "Okay, you know where they are right?"

Lily nodded, and left immediately. She flooed back to the Potter's house, and was startled to hear a rapping at the door. She hesitantly looked out.

It was Sirius.

Confused, she opened the door. He eyed her suspiciously.

"Evans? What are you doing here? Where's James?" he asked, Lily was surprised at his tone. It was anxious, defeated, determined, and worried all in one.

"He's... at the hospital with Sarah..." she said, and her voice broke.

"WHAT?" exclamed Sirius, pushing past her. "What happened? Why are you covered in blood?" he asked her, looking concerned and worried.

"Sarah collasped while I was babysitting her. I was just about to get her parents." Lily explained, still choking back tears and heading back over to the fireplace.

"Oh, I'm going to St. Mungo's then. Will you be okay?" he asked, noticing how upset she was. Lily nodded, but Sirius realized that she was definitely not okay.

"Oookay... well you go on back to the hospital. I'll go get the Potters. Where are they?"

Lily sighed, and told him. He gave her a brief hug, which surprised her, but made her feel better anyway, and then she returned to the hospital.

"Where are they?" James asked when he saw her coming.

"Sirius showed up. He's gone to get them." she told him. James looked surprised. "Oh."

10 minutes later, Mr. and Mrs. Potter rushed in, followed by Sirius. They spotted Lily and James and headed straight for them. "What happened?"

Mrs. Potter demanded. Lily explained everything, and then they all just sat down to wait, except for Mr. Potter, who was insisting to see his daughter, but the healer wouldn't let him yet.

Once everybody had calmed down somewhat, James turned to look at Sirius questioningly. "So, what happened?" he asked his friend.

Sirius sighed and his face suddenly took on a look that said that he was furious. "They kicked me out."

"WHAT?!" James and Lily both cried in disbelief. James and Sirius both looked at her. She blushed. "Sorry, I couldn't help but overhear."

Sirius sighed, and suddenly Lily noticed his shirt was ripped. Underneath, the skin was raw, irritated and cut. She gasped. "What happened to you?" she asked, her eyes filling up at the sight. Sirius moved away from her and looked at the floor.

James saw what Lily was looking at and he took in a sharp breath. "They didn't..." he said, shocked. Sirius just nodded grimly.

James clenched his fists. "Those bastards!" he cursed. Sirius buried his face in his hands. "That's not the worst of it." he mumbled.

Lily looked at him, tears rolling down her cheeks. She hadn't realized that the Black's were that bad. How could they beat their own son? Suddenly something clicked with Lily and she looked at Sirius in horror. "Where's Carina?" she asked in a deadly whisper.

Sirius looked up at her, pain in his eyes. "They wouldn't let her leave." he said. Lily started to cry more, out of worry for her friend, Sarah, and for Sirius. This was turning out to be a horrible night.

James didn't know what to do. He desperately wanted to confort Lily, but he didn't know what to say, and he was so pissed off at Sirius' parents right now, all he wanted to do was hit something. What if Carina was hurting right now? She and James had never been really close, but they were still friends, just as Lily and Remus were friends. James laughed bitterly. Aria, Remus and Peter were relaxing at home right now, with no worries.

Sirius just sat there sullenly. Everything just sucked at the moment. Carina was still with his parents, Lily was crying silently, James looked utterly furious, and little Sarah was in there fighting for her life. Sirius felt a lump grow in his throat. He hadn't seen Sarah in a long time, and he was quite attached to the kid.

The night was long, worrisome, and overall uneventful. About 11:30, Lily realized that her parents had no idea where she was. She was extremely reluctant to leave, but she knew she had to. She stood up and gave Sirius and James a brief hug. It was really weird, how Lily could hate them both one minute and now she was giving them both hugs. She just felt so horrible.

"Let me know what happens." she said quietly. Ms. Potter nodded and gave her a hug. With that, Lily sighed and left without another word. When she got home, she ran up to her bed and after changing, fell ontop of it. She lay there under her blankets, and started to cry all over again. After a long while, she finally fell asleep and was lost in a world full of dreams.


Chapter 3: Victories
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[A/N] Hey y'all! I hope everybody enjoys this chapter!! I had fun writing it! =D LoL. I'm sort of falling asleep right now, so I'm not gonna say much here ;-D Layyter!!! XoX

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, or any of the characters that JK Rowling made up! I only own Carina, Aria, and anything else you don't recognize!


Chapter 3 -
Victories

The next morning, Lily woke up extremely early and in an incredibly miserable mood. At first, she didn't remember why, but as she made her way sleepily to the bathroom for a shower, she remembered Sarah, Sirius and the hospital. Her stomache lurched and she started to hurry so that she could get back to see if Sarah was okay.

What if she wasn't? Lily was the one babysitting, what if they blamed her or something? What if Sarah didn't make it?

Horrible thoughts filled Lily's head. What a wonderful vacation this is turning out to be 'ey? Lily thought sarcastically as she got dressed in a long light pink skirt and a white tank top. She hurridly brushed her hair and did her makeup. She was in a rush to see how the little girl was doing, and she wished she hadn't left the night before.

As Lily grabbed a bagel for a quick breakfast, she didn't even notice that her parents were staring at her, and unamused look on their faces. Lily turned to leave the house when she finally noticed them.

"What?" she asked, slightly annoyed.

Her mother coughed. "Where were you last night?" Her father shot her a sharp look, and she sighed in exasperation.

"I was at St. Mungo's Hospital because Sarah's sick, and I'm going to see her now!" and without waiting for a reply, Lily was out the door.

***

"Can we see her yet?" came Mr. Potter's disgruntled voice for the 10th time since James had woken up on the cold, uncomfortable chairs of the hospital's waiting room. Right now he was sitting with his face on his hands, worried sick about his little sister. He had seen her the night before and he didn't know what was wrong with her, but she didn't look good.

He also remembered how scared Lily looked, and how worried she had been about Sarah. He hadn't realized how much time Lily actually spent with his little sister. Sarah probably spent more time with Lily than he did, which was quite pathetic really.

James looked to his left and saw his best friend in the exact same spot he had been in last night. His face was stoney, and he looked really sullen. James sighed and leaned back into his chair again. It had been an extremely long night, and they had gotten allmost no information about Sarah the whole time.

Suddenly, the door opened and James looked up, hoping to see a healer, but instead saw a beautiful red haired girl. He couldn't help but be cheered up slightly. James allways got cheered up when Lily was around, and it saddened him that she didn't feel the same way about her that he did.

Lily made a beeline for James and sat down next to him. "Have you heard anything?" she asked anxiously. James shook his head 'No' and she sighed.

They sat in silence for a few minutes before Lily leaned in close to him. James' pulse quickened. "Is he okay?" she whispered into his ear, indicating Sirius. James gave his friend a concerned look, and shrugged. "I don't know. He's been awfully quiet."

Lily bit her lip. She had allways hated to see people in pain. She moved closer to Sirius and pulled him into a hug, surprising the three of them.

"It'll be okay Sirius." she said quietly, so only he would hear her. Sirius smiled grimly into Lily's hair and whispered back. "Thanks Lily."

Lily pulled back and looked into his sad blue eyes. "Are you alrite?" she asked him, worried about his well being. He gave a curt nod. She sighed and leaned back into her chair.

About 20 more minutes of silence, Lily got sick of it. She didn't want them to be depressed. It was extremely uncharacteristic. She had to find something to cheer them up, but she didn't know what, so she just sat in silence, playing with the fabric of her skirt.

Finally, the door swung open and an old woman clad in a healer's uniform came in and walked over to the Potters, Sirius and Lily. They all looked at her expectantly, not saying anything.

'Well?" hissed Mr. Potter.

The healer gave him a sad smile. "We've been doing all we can for your daughter. You can all see her now."

Instantly, everybody jumped from their seats and followed the healer down the halls and eventually into a small, private room. Lily looked around and saw the little girl lying in the bed. The five rushed to Sarah's bedside. Mrs. Potter had tears rolling down her cheeks, and Lily was choked up.

The small girl was just so tiny, and deathly pale. It was scary.

Lily glanced at James and Sirius, they both looked lost and depressed. It was sad to even look at them. Lily sniffed and looked back at Sarah, feeling very lonely, and her heart was breaking for the motionless child.

Soon, chairs were conjured and everybody spent their time waiting for Sarah to wake up.

She still hadn't woken up after 4 hours, and Sirius found that he couldn't just sit there any more. He was too restless and worried about his twin, so he got up and left with a quick word to James and a nod to the rest.

Lily slumped back into her chair and closed her eyes. She felt really horrible about everything. Maybe it was the cookies that had made Sarah sick. She should have prevented it somehow. It hurt her heart to look at the small child, and now that Sirius was gone, maybe she should just leave the Potters alone.

With that in mind, Lily stood up and whispered, "I should probably leave you alone for a bit. I have to go home anyway. I'll be back later."

Before anybody could respond, she was out the door. She walked down the hallway and towards the exit. Half way out, a few patients passed her, and her heart went out to them. There was a sick looking little boy, an unconcious man who was bleeding rather horrendously, and a depressed looking women. Maybe I could be a healer when I graduate. Then I could help all these sick people... Lily thought as she made her way back to the fireplaces. It was a thought. She wanted to be an Auror, but a healer would be pretty good too.

Finally she reached the fireplaces and went home.

***

What can I do to help? Sirius asked himself. He was pacing outside of St. Mungo's in muggle London, and was getting increasingly frustrated with himself. Who knew what sort of torture Carina had already been subjected to? He had a horrible feeling in the pit of his stomache. He knew that his twin needed him, but he didn't know how he was supposed to help her.

He knew that his parents would definitely have more precautions on the house now, and he would never be able to get through them. He had no way to get help from the inside, and that cursed house elf would certainly be no help to him.

Sirius swore under his breath and sat down on a park bench. I could always tell somebody... He scoffed at himself. Tell who? The Potters had enough trouble for themselves right now, and Remus and Peter were too far away to be any help.

Suddenly, a lightbulb went off inside Sirius head, and he jumped up and ran off into the unfamiliar city.

***

A few days went by unceremoniously. James spent most of his time in the hospital with his parents and Sarah, who still hadn't woke up. They had gotten the news that she was in a coma from a deadly wizard disease called Hunthropitus.

Lily's parents went on their honeymoon, leaving Lily and Petunia at home alone. Petunia was never home, and that suited Lily fine. Most of the time she was in the hospital anyway. No matter what anybody told her, she still felt guilty because Sarah was sick. Lily and James hadn't spoken very much to one another, except to ponder about their friends. It was really awkward between the two of them actually.

Sirius had disappeared without a trace. Everybody was really worried about him, but James was confident that he'd be okay. He knew that Sirius was somewhere trying to figure out a way to get Carina from their parents, and frankly he couldn't blame him.

It was now Sunday afternoon, and Lily and James were both sitting by Sarah's bed.

Lily was studying Sarah's face. Was it just her being hopeful, or did the small girl have a bit more colour on her face than there was before? Lily touched Sarah's hand. It was as cold as ice. She shuddered and leant back into her chair desolately.

"Why do you always stay here?" Lily jumped at the sound of James' voice. She hadn't been expecting him to speak. Her eyes sprung open and she looked at the boy beside her.

"What do you mean?" Lily asked, confused by the question.

James sat up straighter and ran a hand through his already messy hair. "Er... why do you stay here so much? You don't have to. I don't want to make you feel like you have to or anything, but you should be out having fun with Aria."

Lily gave a small laugh, yet she was frowning. "I'm worried about her!" she stated as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "I was the babysitter! She wasn't supposed to get sick! What if it was my fault? I have to be here. I spend most of my summers with her you know."

James sat back in his chair, obviously thinking. Lily sighed and turned back to look at the little girl.

"It's not your fault." came James' voice again, and for the second time, she jumped. He gave a small chuckle, but Lily silenced him with a look. She didn't respond to his statement.

James opened his mouth to speak again, but he was cut off by a small movement in front of him. James froze, his gaze set on his little sister. His heart was pounding. Please let her wake up! he begged to a higher power.

Suddenly, James saw Sarah's eyes flicker open for a moment and her hand moved ever so slightly. Instantly, James sprung out of his seat and leaned in close to his sister. "Sarah, Sarah sweetie. Wake up." he whispered in her ear.

He noticed that behind him, Lily had moved closer to the bed as well. She was on the other side of the bed, gazing down intently at the frail child. "Wake up... hunny everybody wants to see you wake up and get better..." Lily said in a low voice. James glanced at her face and was taken aback to see that there were silent tears pouring down her face.

Sarah's little body stirred a little bit more and she let out a soft moan. Lily's and James' faces broke out into huge smiles as they continued to look at Sarah. Finally, the little girl opened her eyes and squinted up at them.

"Jamesy?" she spoke in a small, sweet voice. James pulled her into a big hug, looking as if he never wanted to let go of his little sister. "I'm here." he murmured. When he let go of her at last, she smiled weakly at him before turning her gaze on Lily, who was still watery eyed. "Lily?"

Lily smiled at her and pulled her into a friendly hug. "Don't you ever do that again you hear me?!" she said, smiling through her tears. She pulled away from the young girl, and James pulled her into another hug. "I'll go get your mommy and daddy, okay honey?"

Sarah's face lit up and she nodded. Lily ran from the room to floo to the Potter's house where Mr. and Mrs. Potter were getting cleaned up after being at the hospital most of the night. Lily soon found herself in front of a fire and she sparkled floo powder on it.

"The Potter House." she said loudly, and in seconds was being whipped away from the lobby of the hospital.

Lily arrived at the Potter's familiar house and fell foreward onto the rug. She quickly brushed herself off and went to go find Sarah and James' parents. She found them in the kitchen.

They looked up when she entered but didn't say anything. "Sarah's awake!" Lily announced, grinning widely.

"Oh!" exclaimed Ms. Potter, a large smile forming on her pretty face. Within minutes they were back at the hospital, Lily right behind them. Lily saw them burst through the door and she could hear Sarah's excited voice yelling "Mommy! Daddy!" as she walked back into the door.

A warm feeling filled Lily as she watched the Potters' united again. She smiled sadly and sat down in one of the chairs. I wish my family was this close. Lily thought wistfully. Her family weren't very close at all. Petunia hated her with a passion, she loved her mom with all her heart, but she wasn't home that much, but Lily was really close with her father. She loved him to bits and every summer, they'd hang around and do stuff together, like play golf, soccer or pretty much anything.

The Potter's were the prety much picture perfect family. They didn't appear to have any problems, and they all loved each other. Lily watched James and Mr. Potter tickle Sarah and she was laughing while Mrs. Potter stood back and smiled, her eyes twinkling. Lily sighed softly. She wanted a family like theirs someday. Suddenly she scoffed at herself. Lily believed in true love and happiness, but not for herself.

I mean I haven't had a boyfriend that I actually felt something for... Of course, that could be because of the fact that 'Mr. If you touch Lily you die so don't mess with James Potter' over there won't let me. Lily rolled her eyes at the thought. James was so annoying. He rarely ever let another guy near her, with the exception of Remus. It drove her nuts!

However, she couldn't help but soften slightly towards him as she watched him with his sick little sister. You could see it in his eyes that he loved her and cared for her well being. Too bad he isn't like this more often. He might actually be a nice person then...

Lily sighed again and resumed watching the happy family.

***

Sirius Black was ready to get his sister from the clutches of his evil father, mother and brother.

He stood outside of 12 Grimmauld Place underneath James' invisability cloak and he was disallusioned. In his left hand, he carried his broomstick, and in his right hand, he had his wand. He was gripping these items so hard that his knuckes had turned white.

Taking a deep calming breath to slow his racing heart, and mounted his broom and slowly flew past windows, looking in them for his twin.

As luck should have it, they were charmed so that he couldn't see in, nor hear anything inside.

But Sirius had thought of that. He whipped out his wand and quietly said the countercurses. Ha! Moony shouldn't doubt me and my abilities. I'm not completely stupid! he thought before completely focusing onchecking the windows for any sign of Carina.

Finally, he saw her. The minute his eyes fell upon her, rage started to overtake him. His sister was lying on her bed, looking scared, lonely, way too skinny, and most of the skin that Sirius could see was red, irritated, cut and swollen. Sirius was just about to utter a spell to open the window when the door of the room flew open, and in came Mr. Black. Sirius glared at him, knowing full well that his father couldn't see him.

Then something happened that made Sirius' blood boil. He just wanted to burst into the room and kill the man who claimed to be his father.

Mr. Black had taken out his wand, uttered a few words and now Carina was writhing and screaming in pain. She was being subjected to the Cruciatus Curse.


[A/N] Maybe I should leave you here.... that would be rather evil though wouldn't it? LoL =P


It was pain beyond pain. Carina felt as if her whole body were being stabbed with sharp, white hot knives. She wasn't aware of anything, except the excrutiating pain. After what seemed like forever, the pain finally lifted and she opened her eyes to see the mad face of her insane father. He kicked her onto the bed and left without a word.

Carina lay on her back, incredibly sore from the effects of the curse. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she wished that she could escape. "Sirius... where are you?" she wimpered pitifully.

She closed her eyes and willed sleep to come to take her away from her pain. A few minutes later, Carina felt a slight wind on her face. Startled, her eyes popped open and she scanned her room. Nothing was different, except that the window was open now. She eyed it warily. She had tried many times to get the window to open, but she hadn't been able to. Why was it suddenly just opening on its own?

Carina sat up straighter as something whizzed past her, and before long there was a small thump of something hitting the wood. Carina tensed, not knowing who or what it was.

Suddenly, Sirius appeared out of nowhere. Carina stared in shock at her twin. Finally she regained her mentality and slowly began to work her way off her bed. She was still incrediblt stiff from the effects of the curse though.

Sirius automatically ran foreward and engulfed his twin in a hug. "Are you okay?" he whispered furiously. I'll kill them for hurting her!

Carina nodded weakly as Sirius looked at her. Suddenly there were footsteps sounding from downstairs and they both jumped. "Hurry... lets get your stuff and get out of here!" Sirius hissed while taking out his wand. He pointed it at her trunk and shrunk it. Sticking it into his pocket, her urged his sister to get onto the broom, which she did.

It was painful, but Carina did was she was told. She gripped the broom with her hands, eager to get away. She was terrified of flying, but even more terrified to stay there any longer.

Without warning, the door flew open. Carina's heart near stopped. There, outlined in the doorway was her father.

"You!" he hissed, glaring at Sirius, who glared defiantly back. "GERTRUDE! HE'S HERE! THEY'RE GETTING AWAY!"

A shriek was heard from downstairs, and Sirius ran towards Carina, who was waiting with the broom. She was trembling and looked panic-stricken. One look at her, and Sirius' resolve was set. He was going to get Carina and himself out of there, and they would never darken the doorstep again!

Mr. Black lunged foreward and caught Sirius by the neck. He yelled and swung his hand backwards, hitting his father in the face. He quickly wrenched himself out of his father's grasp, grabbed his best friend's invisability cloak and hopped on the broom in front of Carina.

She hugged his back and screamed "Go!" Sirius didn't need telling twice. The broom quickly shot towards the ceiling and then quickly headed for the window.

5 feet... 3 feet... nearly there...

"AAAAHH!!!" Carina screamed in Sirius' ear. He jumped and urged the broom foreward but he found that it wouldn't move. He whipped his head around and was infuriated to see his mother, trying with all her might to drag Carina off the broom.

"GET OFF ME YOU BITCH!" Carina screamed, near hysterics. Sirius pointed his wand at his mother, angry blood pouring through his veins. He didn't think, only acted. "STUPIFY!" he yelled, and instantly the broom was moving foreward again.

The broom was three quartres out of the window when something caught the end of the broom, slowing it down. Sirius glanced back and saw that it was Regulus. He let out a roar of exasperation and urged the broom foreward anyway.

Now they were out of the house, with Regulus hanging onto the broom with one arm. Mr. and Mrs. Black, who was now awake were screaming at them and sending an array of curses and hexes their way. Apparantly they didn't care if they hit Regulus as long as they hit Sirius or Carina.

Carina hugged her brother's back tightly. She was vaguely aware of how hard she was squeezing him, but was more concerned with Regulus trying to make the broom listen to him. She glared down at the ugly prick, and he yelped as he fingers started to slip off the broom. Carina was torn between wanting her evil brother to get hurt and concern for him falling 30 feet and hurting himself. She didn't have time to decide as his fingers failed to hold the broom any longer and he fell.

She closed her eyes and buried her face into Sirius' back, trying to block out Regulus' screams.

Sirius placed James' invisability cloak over the both of them and once they were a few blocks away, Sirius let out a whoop of elation. Carina was torn between relief and disbelief. It hadn't really sunken in that she was away from her parents.

I'm... free! Carina smiled as she realized this completely. Tears rolled down her cheeks from happiness. She was so glad that she was out of there!

A few minutes later, Sirius landed the broom. Carina hopped off and attacked her twin with a fierce hug. "Thank you!" she said hoarsely, grinning happily and crying at the same time.

"Rina, I couldn't just leave you there!" he said, a lump forming in his throat while returning the hug.

"I thought I'd never see you again!" she sobbed. Sirius made a sudden movement and forced her to look into his eyes. "You will ALWAYS see me again. Don't ever doubt that. Your my twin! Don't forget that okay?" he said firmly, but softly. She just nodded.

"We should probably get to St. Mungo's. I would take you to James or Lily's house first, but they're probably at the hospital anyways." Sirius informed her.

Carina was taken aback and instantly worried about her friends. "Why? What happened?" she demanded to know. Sirius smiled grimly. "Sarah's sick. Lily was babysitting and the poor kid passed out."

Carina gasped. "Is she okay?" she asked, extremely concerned for the child. Sirius shrugged. "I hope so." he said sadly. Together, they walked the 5 blocks to St. Mungo's.

*****

Well..... thats chapter 3! I hope you all liked it! ^_^ The next one will probably be out next week! Please review! Thanks! I luurve you all!! =D

Chapter 4: Happy Birthday Jam... er... Potter
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[A/N] Hi! I'm sorry that it sorta took me awhile to get this up! :) But here it is! LoL... It's pretty long... I think... LoL.. Anyways, Please review and tell me what you think! Thanks so much!! I love you all!! ^_^

Disclaimer: I own nothing... except the plot... and a few of the characters that I made up myself... :)



Chapter 4 - Happy Birthday Jam... er... Potter

"Can we do the puzzle now Lily?" Sarah asked in her sweet voice, gazing up at her with huge hazel eyes. Lily couldn't help but laugh slightly. She knew that the child was bored and wanted something fun to do. Lily couldn't blame her. She'd want something to do too if she was stuck in the hospital.

The small girl had been pestering her about that puzzle for the past hour now, and now that the healers had finally left Sarah alone, Lily figured she should do the puzzle. "Sure sweetie." She said, picking up the puzzle that Mrs. Potter had brought and laying it on the table by the bed.

The two girls spent the next little while doing the puzzle about a unicorn comic character named Daisy. James watched them. He couldn't help it. It was like he had a disorder or something that made him watch Lily all of the time.

He smiled slightly as he watched two of his favorite girls in the world, but his heart felt tight. He had been so worried about Sarah. He still was actually. What if something else happened to her? James wouldn't be able to stand that.

And Lily... It tore him up inside to know that she hated him. Well it's your own fault you prat! came an annoying voice that sounded suspiciously like Remus'. He scowled lightly and tried to divert his attention to elsewhere.

Fortunately, a moment later the door creaked open.

Lily looked over to the door and her heart broke at the sight. Tears threatened to overflow as she jumped off the bed and threw herself on her best friend. "Carina!" she cried. "Are you okay? I've been so worried! My god, you go sit down, I'm going to find you a healer okay? Good."

She ran from the room, her blood boiling. Those Blacks will get what's coming to them! she thought angrily about Sirius' and Carina's parents.

When Lily ran from the room, James jumped up and pulled Carina into a hug as well. "Your okay now?" he asked. She nodded slightly and sat down next to her twin on a nearby chair. Her head was pounding, but she was happy. A big smile was on her face.

Sirius and James looked at each other and smiled slightly. They knew everything was going to be okay for now at least.

Lily returned 5 minutes later with a healer on her tail. The healer quickly healed most of Carina's wounds and gave her a few potions. You know, the usual, and then left again.

Lily sat down next to her friend, and Carina gave her a warm smile. Lily smiled back and Carina rested her head on Lily's shoulder. She let out a low sigh. At least that was one friend she could stop worrying about... somewhat anyway...

***

The next few weeks went by fast. Carina stayed at Lily's for most of the time and Sirius stayed at James'. Sarah was out of the hospital and was looking much better, and everything was pretty much normal.

Lily's parents came home from their honeymoon, for which Lily was all too glad. She was not happy at being alone with Petunia for any longer.

In the last week of July, Aria finally came over for a visit. She had been away at the beach for much longer than anticipted. Aparantly she had met a guy who she hadn't been able to resist and just had to stay longer.

The three girls were sunbathing in Lily's backyard by the pool, talking and just catching up.

"So.. whatever happened to your reasoning about guys?" asked Carina, smiling. Aria shot her a look and Lily laughed. "She's right. I thought you weren't going to get 'tied down' until you found 'the one'.

Aria rolled her eyes. "How am I going to find 'the one' if I don't try em out! Besides Travis was really nice, and hot and..."

Lily cut her off, laughing slightly. "Okay... are you going to keep in touch?"

Aria nodded enthusiastically. "AND he's a wizard! He goes to Beauxbatons!" Lily and Carina were impressed. "We'll have to meet him." said Carina, mock seriously. Lily nodded. "Yep, to approve."

Aria just rolled her eyes.

"You know, Remus is going to be here in a few days..." said Lily slyly, watching Carina's face for a reaction. Right on cue, a slight blush formed on Carina's cheeks and she didn't answer.

Lily and Aria exchanged knowing looks, but didn't say anything yet. They could worry about that later. Instead, Aria turned the conversation around and said, "Yeah, it'll be James' birthday. You reckon we should do something for him?"

Lily let out a derisive snort. "For him? Or to him? I say we egg him." she said, grinning in a manical way. Carina and Aria burst out laughing. Lily was confused. "What's so funny?" she asked.

Before either one of them had a chance to respond, an all-too familiar voice said, "Ahh, Evans. You wouldn't really egg me would you?"

Lily pursed her lips, looking much like her sister in an unpleasant way and said, "Go away Potter."

"No, I sort of like to see you in your bathing suit." Stupid... stupid stupid stupid! thought James, berating himself. Why couldn't he just learn to hold his tongue?

Lily stood up and glared at him. Needless to say, if looks could kill, James would have dropped dead that second. "Get out of my yard!" she said forcibly.

James decided to oblige, but first he turned to Carina. "Sirius wants to see you or something..." he rolled his eyes. "Something about... a guy or something."

Carina got an ugly look on her face, but she sighed and got up. "I'll be back." she said, following James from the yard.

***

"So... let me get this straight..." Carina said, trying to keep calm. "You want me...to promise you... that I'll stay away from ALL of the guys at Hogwarts this year..."

Sirius nodded, uncharacteristically serious. Carina sighed. "I can't promise you that!" she said, anger rising up in her.

Sirius glared at her. "And why's that?" he asked suspiciously. "You fancy somebody?"

Carina immediately thought of Remus and her cheeks tinged a little bit, but she stood her ground. "What would it matter!? Sirius I'm not a baby! We're going into our last year at Hogwarts! I'm not gonna forget that there are guys there! Do you want me to go lesbian or something?"

He frowned at her outburst. "I just want you to be safe." he said, sounding hurt. Carina sighed, her anger slowly melting.

"I'll be safe at Hogwarts Sirius. They won't be there." Carina said softly, refering to her parent. She gave her brother a hug and he sighed.

Sirius didn't answer right away. He didn't trust anybody with his sister, but he guessed that he'd have to worry about that when guys asked her out. The only people he wouldn't mind her dating were James and Remus. They were the only two guys he trusted in the world with Carina.

"I know." he gave in. Carina smiled widely at him and kissed him on the cheek. "Come on, lets go get James, Aria and Lily and go do something fun."

Sirius snorted. "James and Lily... are you sure Rina? Whenever those two do something together, they end up fighting."

Carina rolled her eyes. "Yeah I know, but that's all Lily. She's way too stubborn for her own good. She'll come around eventually."

Sirius smiled unhopefully. "Let's hope so." For James' sake or he'll be one heartbroken lad. I mean, how many guys chase after the same girl for 6 years?

***

I wish I lived in Canada or something... far far away from Potter... Lily thought, annoyed as she listened to him and Sirius talk about Quidditch. She was lying on her bed in her room, and James and Sirius were in James' room, going on and on about some broomstick... Carina was trying to drown out their voices by closing the window and turning up some music, but their voices still carried over into Lily's room.

It was early in the morning, too early for James and Sirius to be talking about quidditch. It was 6:38 AM on July 23, James' birthday.

She groaned and buried her head over her pillow to go back to sleep. Potter's birthday is not an adequate reason for me to be awake so early in the summer. Although every year James Potter always had managed to wake Lily up extra early on his birthday.

Before Hogwarts, before Sirius, Remus, Peter, Aria and Carina, when the two of them were best friends James used to somehow make it through the windows into Lily's room and wake her up by singing their favorite song 'Let it Be' by the Beatles. Lily smiled slightly at the memory of a small, messy haired kid singing 'LET IT BE, LET IT BE WHISPER WORDS OF WISDOM LET IT BEEE!!!' at the top of his lungs. Lily would laugh and jump out of bed and sing loudly 'Happy Birthday' to him, and then she'd give him a gift. It had been tradition until James' 13th birthday. He had become an arrogant prat then, and Lily woke up and screamed at him to get out.

She remembered the hurt look on his face, and tried to ignore the squirming guilty feeling in the pit of her stomach that she still felt when she thought of that day. She sighed and finally managed to fall back asleep.

For a little while anyways.

Lily was awakened an hour later by Carina hopping on her and waking her up. "Get up Lily! We have to get up nowww!"

Lily growled and rolled over. "Why??" she mumbled, then smirked as something clicked. "Aww Rina, you can get ready to see Remus by yourself can't you?"

Carina blushed as Lily looked at her with bleary eyes. "That's not why!" she said, scowling. Lily rolled her eyes. "What is it then?" Lily asked, getting out of bed as she realized that there was no way she'd be able to get more sleep.

"Your mum is downstairs with Petunia and your dad waiting for you. Apparantly she has some sort of big news." Carina said, shrugging. Lily raised her eyebrows, her wind wandering.

I wonder what it could be... maybe one of our aunt's are coming to visit...

Lily glanced at the clock and groaned. It was only 7:50. What sort of announcement has to be made at this time of day? Lily thought exasperatedly while heading down the stairs in a grumpy mood. Usually Lily loved mornings, but lately she had preferred to sleep in.

Lily enetered the kitchen and slumped over to the empty chair.

"Finally... geez, you don't expect everybody to wait for you all the time do you freak?" hissed Petunia. Lily was too tired to do anything but glare.

"Girls!" spoke up Lily's mother with an anxious note in her voice. Petunia fell quiet and Lily waited for whatever news her mother wanted to share that early in the morning.

She yawned and finally her mother went on. "Well... I.. er... We.. I mean... umm... I'm pregnant again!"

Instantly, all signs of sleepiness disappeared from Lily's appearance, and she stared at her mother in shock.

"WHAT?" came Petunia's shrill voice.

Lily smiled as the news finally sunk in. "I'm going to be a big sister!" she said happily rushing from her seat to hug her mother.

"It isn't all that great." came Petunia's drawl. Lily shot her a glare. "Well I'll be a GOOD big sister." she shot back.

Her mother sighed, and said "Why can't you two get along?" as she released herself from Lily's embrace and held her husband's hand. Lily smiled broadly, in an extremely cheerful mood, and ignoring her mother. This is going to be so exciting!

***

Once Lily had informed Carina of her parent's news, they both got dressed happily and waited for Aria to show up. Once she did, the two of them dragged Lily to the Potter's to wish James a Happy Birthday and to give him his gifts... and so Carina could see Remus.

They were just about to leave Lily's house when suddenly she stopped walking and froze, a blush creeping up on her cheeks. "I can't." she said. Aria rolled her eyes and started to drag her. "Lily! Just because you hate..."

Lily cut her off. "No no... I don't have a gift for him... even if I do dislike him, that's awfully mean isn't it?"

Aria laughed slightly and said, "No worries, just go make him a card quickly." Lily hesitated and then did it. She got a peice of paper and a crayon and wrote 'Happy Birthday' on the front, and on the inside she wrote, 'From Lily.' It wasn't much. Actually... It was extremely pathetic.

She couldn't help but write some of the lyrics to 'Let it be' on the inside, just to remind him that they used to be friends. Then, just so he wouldn't think that she was getting soft, or starting to like him, she grabbed some things that would definitely change his mind on that.

10 minutes later, Lily had her purse slung over her shoulder gently and Aria was ringing the doorbell to James' house.

Sirius opened the door and grinned at them. "Come to greet the birthday boy have we?" Lily rolled her eyes and Aria and Carina smiled. "Yes we have. We have gifts for him too."

"Gifts? Did somebody say gifts?" came James' voice from behind Sirius. Aria and Carina laughed, but Lily didn't see what was so funny. Potter was selfish, so what?

Carina and Aria walked towards James smiling and holding out his gifts. "Happy Birthday!" they said and each gave him a hug. He grinned and thanked them.

James knew how much Lily detested him, and he wasn't expecting anything from her. He was surprised that she was actually over to his house. He glanced at her. She was twirling her hair and looking around the room. Suddenly her eyes flicked down to meet his and James' stomach flipped over. He gave her a weak smile, which she unexpectedly returned.

James' stomach flipped again as she layed her purse down gently on the kitchen table and walked towards him, smiling awkwardly.

"Happy Birthday Jam... er... Potter." she said quietly and handed him a card. James was surprised, and as much as he tried to, he couldn't hide it.

It's really not all that surprising that I got him a card is it? Lily bit her lip. Yes, it is... I've been awful to him and haven't given him anything for his birthday since we were 12...

She watched him open the card and a rare smile lit up his face. It wasn't one of his conceited 'you-know-you-want-me' trademark grins, but an actual smile. Lily couldn't help it, she smiled too.

James stared down at the card in his hand. His stomach clenched as he read the song lyrics. It was nice to know she remembered, but that thirteenth birthday had definitely been the worst one ever. "Thanks." he said, not really knowing what to say. Lily just gave him a small smile.

"Where are Moony and Wormtail?" came Sirius' whining voice. Lily rolled her eyes and turned away from James, thankful to get away from the awkwardness.

Suddenly the doorbell rang and 2 people walked in through the door. "Hellooo?!" came a familiar voice. Lily grinned and went to greet one of her best friends. "Hi Remus!" she cried as he entered the room and gave him a big hug.

James tried to swallow his jealous feelings. Why did Remus have to be one of Lily's best friends? It wasn't fair.

"Have you had a good summer so far?" he asked her, smiling. Lily grinned at him and nodded. "Have you?" she looked at his handsome face and frowned. He was pale and had bags under his eyes, she could also make out faint scratches on his face and arms. She shot him a warning look. "Are you okay?" she asked. Lily was always worrying about Remus on the full moons.

He gave her a grin and nodded. "No worse than usual." She gave him a patronizing look, and then turned around to let others greet him and Peter.

Suddenly she caught a glance of her purse on the table and grinned evilly. She walked calmly towards it and slung it around her shoulder. She looked around the room. Everybody was talking, and not paying attention to her.

Lily walked towards the group of friends, just when Sirius started to sing "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthhday to you, Happy Birthday dear Jamesie, Happy birthday to you!!!!!"

"Padfoot, don't you ever call me that again..." James said seriously, but smiling all the same. He had his back to her and she walked towards him.

Her hands reached into her purse and her fingers enclosed around something round and cold. Remus caught her eye and gave her a 'what-are-you-doing?' look. Lily brought a finger up to her lips and grinned manically.

By now she was standing right behind James, and he hadn't noticed. Sirius was keeping his attention, just as she had asked him to earlier.

Lily raised her hand out of her purse and a moment later... 'Splat!'

James suddenly felt something cold and wet on his head and trickling down his neck. "Arrghh!!!" he yelled and turned around to see all of his friends cracking up at him. He saw Lily with a guilty look in her eyes and broke into a grin. "You egged me?!" he said in disbelief.

Lily grinned cheekily at him. "Happy Birthday." she stated before waving to her friends and walking out the door to go back to her house.

"Unbelievable." said James, in awe of Lily. She's amazing.

***

Later that day, everybody was just lazying around outside by Lily's pool. She would have kicked the guys out, but they weren't being unmanageable and it was Potter's birthday, so she felt like being nice... well... nicer than usual.

Sirius, James and Carina were in the pool playing around, Aria was asleep and Lily and Remus were sitting at the edge of the pool and talking.

"So, you've still got that crush on Carina?" Lily asked, smirking.

Remus shot her a look and looked at Sirius warily. He hadn't heard though, he was too busy ganging up on James with Carina in their water fight. "When have I ever told you that I like Carina?"

Lily rolled her eyes. "Pur-lease. I can tell. Your always watching her. I see the way you look at her, and you asked about her in your letters to me."

He glared mockingly at her and she gave him a cheeky smile. They turned silent for a minute, and then Remus sighed. Lily turned to look at him with a confused look on her face. "What?"

"She'd never like me back."

Lily let out an exasperated sigh and let her feet dangle in the cool water of the pool. "Wanna bet on that?" Lily asked, grinning.

Remus gave her a disbelieving look before gazing back at Carina. "Sirius would kill me..." he muttered. Lily rolled her eyes. "Who cares about that goon?"

Remus chuckled before turning sombre again. "I'll think about it." he said, still watching Carina's gorgeous figure frolicking in the pool with her brother.

Lily smiled again. "Well, think quickly. I heard a rumour at the end of last year that Josh Thompson liked her, and was going to ask her out on the train going back to school after he broke up with his girlfriend."

Remus scowled. "I said I'll think about it." he said, pouting. Lily burst out laughing at the look on his face and jumped into the pool.

"What's so funny?" he asked indignantly. Lily just started to swim towards the other three and called out, "Your face!"

Remus gave her a 'ha-ha-very-funny' look and jumped in after her.

James had watched the two of them talk and laugh from the other side of the pool. He couldn't hear what they were saying though. He really wished he was Remus sometimes. Him and Lily were so close, like siblings.

Lily's laughter rung out in the air as she swam away from Remus and towards Carina. James watched as she whispered something in her ear. Carina blushed a deep red and she went under the water to hide it.

Remus swam up behind Lily and yanked her legs, pulling her under. She shrieked and came up spluttering, and Remus was laughing. She glared at him. "Ooh you are so going to regret that." She said teasingly and then hoisted herself up out of the water.

She walked over to Aria and sat down next to her sleeping friend. Now, what would be the best way to wake her up. Lily pondered for a moment before jumping up and running into the house.

She returned a moment later, smiling evilly and with a bucket in her hands. She filled it up with water and poured it over Aria's head.

James watched, amused as Aria jumped up and started to chase the beautiful redhead around the garden.

Lily was laughing and looking extremely happy. James felt his stomach quiver. He loved to see Lily smiling, especially since he rarely saw her like that. It was an extremely pleasant change.

James couldn't help but notice and be slightly embarassed at himself for always watching Lily. He didn't even realize it, and whenever she smiled, he smiled. It was weird.

Sirius saw his friend watching Lily. He stopped tickling his sister who looked up at him. She realized what he was looking at and sighed. "He still likes her?" Carina asked softly.

Sirius nodded, his gaze not wavering from James. "I'm worried about him. I think he really feels something for her this time. Why doesn't she see that?" he asked, slightly frustrated for his friend.

Carina sighed again. "Lily is really stubborn, and she's convinced that James is a git. Me and Aria have been trying to get through to her, but nothing works. She thinks that James is just toying with her." she told her brother.

She could tell by the look on his face that he was bewildered. "But that is so stupid."

"What's stupid?" asked Remus as he came towards them.

Carina felt her cheeks burn and tried to ignore it. "Lily thinking that James is toying with her."

Remus glanced at James, who was still staring at Lily who was now beging threatened by Aria with the hose. He looked back at Sirius and Carina, and ignoring the flip in his stomach, he said, "It is rather stupid isn't it? I've been trying to talk to her too. She just won't hear of it."

The three stayed silent for a few minutes before Sirius looked around and noticed that somebody was missing. "Where's Wormtail?" he asked.

"He had to go home." said Remus. Then he headed for the edge of the pool, to climb out. Carina and Sirius followed his lead. 10 minutes later, they were drying out on some beach towels. Sirius had fallen asleep, and Aria had finally got tired of chasing Lily. The two of them were now sunbathing next to Carina and Remus, who were both a little bit red because they were sitting next to each other.

Aria glanced around, and saw something that made her crack up laughing. What is the world is he doing? She wondered to herself.

She noticed everybody else look at her strangely and she pointed to the pool, her hand wavering because she was laughing so hard.

"JAMES! WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING IN THERE?" Aria yelled out, trying to drown out her giggles.

James finally realized that he was still standing in the middle of Lily's pool, watching her. He flushed crimson and hurridly got out of the water, trying to ignore his friend's laughter.

I have got to get a grip on myself! Why do I always make a fool of myself around Lily? James silently berated himself as Remus, Aria and Carina laughed. Lily just smiled and shook her head as if amused.

For some reason, James' spirits lifted as she met his gaze. Her eyes weren't narrowed in dislike or anger, but full of laughter. He smiled shyly at her, before turning back to sit next to a snoring Sirius, trying to ignore the feeling as if he had missed a step going down the stairs.

He didn't see her smile back.

Chapter 5: Back To Hogwarts
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[A/N] Hi! Sorry this took so long to get out! Actually, I posted this yesterday, but it didn't get accepted!! Grr... LoL :) Well, hopefully this works!! Enjoy! ^_^

Disclaimer: I own NOTHING that you recognize. :) If I did, my name would not be Sara Power, I wouldn't be 15, nor would I be sitting here, writing fanfics! :)



Chapter 5 - Back to Hogwarts


"Mum! Cari! We're going to be late! Hurry up! We can't miss the train!!" Lily called from the porch. Her trunk was already in the car, and she was eager to get back to school.

"Coming!!" came a familiar voice, and within minutes, Carina came into view, dragging her trunk behind her. She stopped, panting and scowled. "You only want to get there early because your Head Girl and you want to know who the Head Boy is!" she complained.

Lily flushed slightly. "I don't want to miss the train is all!" she said defensively. "MUM!" she called out once again.

Carina bit back a smile and continued hauling her trunk out into the car. She already knew who the Head Boy was, and she also knew that Lily was going to be utterly shocked when she found out. It was James Potter. Sirius, Aria, herself and Remus found this incredibly funny, but neither James nor Lily knew that the other was going to be their partner for the entire year.

Finally, Lily's mother appeared with Mr. Evans who gave them each a hug. Of course, Petunia was nowhere to be seen.

"Okay honey, let's go!" Lily's mother said smiling, but slightly red in the face. Lily smiled and then hurried her Mum out to the car, she had already said goodbye to her father, but not her sister. Not that she cared about her sister though.

The three of them got into the car, but Lily's mother didn't start the car. Lily rose her eyebrows. "Mum?"

Mrs. Evan's glanced back at the two girls and smiled sheepishly. "Oh I forgot to mention that we're giving James and Sirius a ride as well." As much as Lily tried, she couldn't keep a sour look off her face. Carina giggled slightly at her, and Lily glared.

5 minutes went by and the boys still hadn't shown up. Lily was getting quite annoyed by this time. She really wanted to get going.

At last, James and Sirius appeared from the Potter's house, dragging their trunks behind them. Lily avoided all eye-contact as the two boys got into the car. Please don't sit by me. If he sits by me, I just might have to hurt him. Pleease...

Lily felt somebody slide into the seat next to her, she clenched her teeth and sharply turned her head. To her relief, it was Sirius who was sitting next to her. Carina was in the front and James was next to Sirius. Lily breathed a low sigh of relief that she thought nobody picked up on. But James did. He saw it and he got a pang in his chest. He sighed and looked out the window.

"Ready?" came Mrs. Evan's voice. They all nodded, and finally the car started to move. It was a long, boring, quiet ride. Which was extremely unusual since Sirius and James were both in the car.

After a little while, Sirius poked Lily in the arm. She turned to look at him questioningly. He leaned closer to her and whispered so that nobody else could hear "Evans, I know I've asked this before, and so has everybody else, but what is the big deal about James?"

"He's insufferable." she replied shortly, getting extremely annoyed at everybody who kept asking her that. What was the big deal if she didn't like James Potter?

Sirius chuckled slightly. "I think your going to have to lighten up when it comes to him. I have a feeling that your going to be seeing quite a bit of each other this year." He said, trying to hold in his laughter.

Lily looked at him, furrowing her brow. Sirius was amused at her confused look. He turned away from her and started to talk to James about something. Lily was lost in thought. What the hell is Sirius going on about? He's an odd kid... She shook her head and resumed looking out the window.

Eventually, they all reached King's Cross station, and Lily hugged her mother goodbye. She felt a sort of weird tug at her heart when she looked at her mum, and got a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach. She shrugged it off as being nervous about head girl, and it was her last year. She smiled and walked with Sirius, Carina and James onto the train, dragging their trunks.

They settled in a compartment to wait for Aria, Remus and Peter and just relaxed for a bit. Lily was getting anxious now, and kept checking her watch. She had to go to the Head compartment soon.

After 2 very long minutes, she decided to just go to the compartment to wait before she drove herself crazy. She turned to Carina who was talking to Sirius while James stared out the window. She cleared her throat. "Yeah, um.. I'm just gonna..."

Lily was cut off by the door sliding open and revealing Remus and Aria. She smiled at them as they sat down, squishing into the seats, and laughing slightly as Remus sat by Carina and they both blushed. It was too cute.

"So, Lils, don't you have to be somewhere?" asked Aria, her eyes sparkling. Lily jumped up. "Right. Yeah, I'm just gonna go to the Head compartment now. I'll see you guys later."

Lily turned to leave but a burst of laughter made her turn around again. "What's so funny?" she asked as she slightly feared for her friends' sanity. They were all cracking up at absolutely nothing.

Suddenly Sirius pointed and Lily followed his arm. James was staring at her, with his eyes slightly popping, and his jaw nearly to the floor. He did look pretty funny, but she still didn't get what they were laughing at. "What?" she asked again.

Her words startled James from his trance and he blinked. "You... you're head girl?" he asked, his voice slightly raspy. Lily nodded, still slightly confused, but then she saw something small and shiny clasped in James' hand and it clicked.

Her jaw dropped. "You're head boy?!" she asked, incredulus. He confirmed her suspicions by nodding, and she finally understood why her friend's were laughing so much. They must have known. It would explain Sirius' comment earlier anyway. She looked around at them and rolled her eyes.

"Well, come on then. We don't want to be late at our first meeting." She said, grabbing his wrist and dragging him out of the compartment.


Lily and James left the other four in confusion. "What happened?" asked Aria, once the shock of Lily not freaking out over James being head boy was over.

Nobody answered, they were just lost in their own thoughts. Then Carina broke out into a wide smile. "She's coming around! Finally!"

Everybody looked at her, and grinned. They all knew that it was only a matter of time before Lily broke down and went out with James.

How wrong they were. [A/N] Ha ha =P... *cough* Sorry... on with the story...


Lily and James arrived at the Prefect Compartment to find all of the prefects waiting for them. Lily immediately dropped James' wrist and cleared her throat. "I'm Lily Evans and this is James Potter. We're Head boy and girl this year. Um..."

Lily felt a tap on her shoulder and turned around to find herself face to face with James. "What?" she asked, slightly annoyed that he had interrupted her. "I... er... thought you might want this." he said, handing her a sheet of paper. She looked at him questioningly and he quickly said "Dumbledore's instructions."

"Oh!" Lily said, feeling a little bit embarrassed. She turned back to the prefects as she scanned the paper. "Um... It says that everybody has to patrol the hallways from time to time. You are allowed to dock points from anybody not acting as they should, but if I... we... see anybody abusing their positions, you will be reported."

Lily looked to James to see if he had anything to add, even though she doubted it.

James just nodded and looked at them all. "Er... I think Lily pretty much covered it all... oh yeah... you've got to make sure all of the first years follow Hagrid... and after the feast, show them where to go... and try to scare them as much you can!" He joked. The prefects laughed, and Lily shot him a look so he shut up. "Yeah... you can go back to your friends now if you want..."

The prefects all left and Lily and James were left alone. It was rather awkward. Hmm... what to do now? Oh right, go check out the Heads' compartment I guess... James thought. He turned to leave, but then turned back and looked at Lily. "I'm gonna go check out the Heads' compartment. Wanna come?" he asked casually.

Lily hesitated, but she was rather curious to see it so she shrugged. "Sure."

James broke out into a grin and the two of them headed for the compartment next to the Prefects'. He opened the door and walked in. "Impressive." James said, sliding into a leather chair.

It was a rather comfy room, donned with the colours for Gryffindor as both Heads were Gryffindors. There was a small fridge, as well as a few chairs and a loveseat, all deep red and golden. Lily sat down on a different chair, away from James. She looked out the window at the passing scenery.

She had this horrible feeling that something terrible was looming over her. She didn't like that feeling at all. Try as she might, she couldn't shake it off. Maybe her feeling was just a little bit of fear over that phsyco that had dubbed himself 'Lord Voldemort'. He had been mentioned in the 'Daily Prophet' a few times in the past few months for attacking muggleborns and terrorizing muggles. Everybody was sure that he was just another '15 minutes of fame' dark wizard, but Lily wasn't so sure. She had a bad feeling about him.

Her thoughts drifted to her family. Her mom was going to have another baby. In 8 months, she'd be a big sister. Lily couldn't wait, and she was determined to be a better big sister than Petunia was to her.

Suddenly, Lily found herself wondering if Remus and Carina would ever get together. She smiled slightly just thinking about it. They were so cute, but so oblivious. She knew that they both were head over heels for the other, but neither could see it. She knew they'd work it out eventually though. They were so perfect for one another.

She sighed. Cari and Remus were so perfect for one another. She would never find somebody like that. She knew that she would never find her own true love. I'm not pretty, I'm not different, I'm not perfect... I'm just... regular... boring Lily Evans...

Lily didn't realize that one person was watching her at that moment. James found Lily Evans far from boring or regular. To him, she was perfect. He adored her flaws, though there weren't many that he could see. He loved her gorgeous red hair and emerald eyes, she had always stood out among other girls. Every girl he had ever dated, he had compared them to Lily. He knew it wasn't fair, but he couldn't help it. Even when they were little, James always had a habit of watching out for Lily and protecting her.

Why can't things be as they were when we were little? He asked himself sadly, watching the sunlight reflect off Lily's hair, making it look like there were golden and copper streaks intertwined with the rusty red.

She sighed and it shook James from his stupor. He got up from his chair and walked over to where Lily was sitting. She had a sad expression on her face, and he was concerned. "What's wrong?" he asked softly.

Lily jumped, she had forgotten that James was there. She looked up at his handsome face and forced a smile. "Nothing, lets get back to our friends." she said, getting up from her chair and crossing the room. James followed her, not convinced, but decided to let it go.

They were halfway there, when Lily couldn't stand the awkward silence anymore. She prefered it when they were talking, or even fighting. So, eager to get the silence gone, she said the first thing that popped into her mind. "So, how'd you get to be head boy?"

The minute she said it, she instantly felt ashamed. That was rude... God Lily, you are such a bitch...

James heart sank, but his temper rose. Here he was, worrying about her and she goes and asks him something like that? "What, did you think I couldn't? Did you think I was too immature, or too much of an arrogant toe-rag that I couldn't measure up to picture perfect Lily Evans?" he said coldly, not looking at her.

Lily felt terrible. She got a pang in her heart at his cold words, but she knew she deserved it. Lily couldn't think of anything to say, and she was too proud to apologize, so she just kept quiet.

James let out a disappointed sigh and sped up his pace once he saw that Lily wasn't going to answer him. He finally reached the compartment where Remus, Sirius, Peter, Aria and Carina were and stepped in, closing the door behind him harder than he meant to. Ignoring his friends, he sat moodily in the window seat and stared out the window.

Aria looked at him in confusion. Normally, it would be Lily storming in and staring out the window to try and calm down, while James slunk behind looking sheepish, but now it was opposite. Suddenly she realized that Lily wasn't even there. "Uh... James?" she asked tentatively. His head snapped around to look at her. "Er... where's Lily?" she asked him. James just shrugged and looked back out the window. Aria sighed and looked at Carina who looked confused.


Lily was, in fact taking her time walking behind James. She knew that she should apologize. James was an incredibly smart student, she had absolutely no right to say that. While she was walking down the hallway sulking, Lily suddenly felt a tap on her shoulder. She spun around and saw a good looking guy with blonde hair and brown eyes. It was Josh Thompson, a Hufflepuff. "Hi." Lily said, forcing a smile.

He smiled widely. "Hey Lily, oh Congrats on making Head Girl. Um, do you think you could ask your friend, Carina Black to meet me in the Great Hall after the feast?" He looked at her hopefully, giving her puppy dog eyes.

Pah, over your dead body I'll help you over Remie... Lily thought smugly, but she forced another smile. "I'll pass the message along..."

Josh's smile widened and he turned to leave. "Thanks!" he called out, and then he was gone. Lily couldn't help but roll her eyes. She continued on her way to her friend's compartment, but she was dreading it. After all, James was in there. So, Lily decided to stall a bit and go to the washroom. She turned and headed in that direction instead. She was nearly there when a hand caught her arm roughly.

Lily turned around sharply and saw a small, greasy, black haired kid named Severus Snape. She glared at him and wrenched her arm out of his grasp. "What do you want Snivellus?" she asked coldly.

His face contorted into an ugly sneer. "I want you to go out with me." he told her, in what he obviusly thought was a seductive tone. It was disgusting. Okay... EWW!

Lily looked around for somebody to come and save her, but there was nobody around. She backed up, reaching for her wand but suddenly he lunged his face towards hers.

Luckily, he missed. Lily shot him a quick, but painful, kick where it hurts and took off running. Gross... ew... ew.... EW!

Snape keeled over but looked up at Lily's departing figure. He felt anger rise up in him and before he knew it, he whipped out his wand and yelled "Diffindo!"

Lily felt a sharp pain in her cheek and she clasped her hand to it. Tears burning her eyes, she pulled her hand away to see blood. She gritted her teeth and yelled back "50 points from Slytherin and detention!" then she turned and ran.

Lily finally reached the compartment that her friends were in and she opened the door and stumbled onto an empty seat.

"Lily! What happened?!" Aria asked sounding concerned. She had been the first to notice the profusely bleeding cut on her friend's cheek. At Aria's statement, everybody turned to look at her and Carina started to clean her cut. Lily held her tears back, but they all noticed her watery eyes.

The minute Aria had spoken, James head had swiveled around and he saw the cut on Lily's face. He immediately forgot how ill-tempered she had been with him and felt anger pounding through his veins. Whoever had done that to Lily was going to get a good 'talking' too. Meaning, they were gonna get their butt kicked.

"Who did this to you?" came Sirius' furious voice. Carina finished cleaning Lily's cut, and she healed it with a flick of her wand. The stinging left her cheek and she forced a smile. She felt gross because Snape had come that close to her. Ewwww. She shuddered at the memory.

"Honey, who hurt you?" Aria asked gently, repeating Sirius' question. Lily sighed. "Snape..." she muttered, not meeting anybody's eye.

As she wouldn't look anybody in the eye, Lily therefore, she did not see the angry faces of the people surrounding her. Especially James. He stayed quiet for a moment, seething and torn between doing nothing, comforting Lily, and going to blow Snivellus' brains out. He came to the conclusion that Lily would probably snap at him if he tried to comfort her, and he wasn't one to do nothing...

James stood up and excused himself quietly, saying he needed to use the washroom.

Nobody saw through that excuse though, except for Lily. They all just nodded. "Yeah... um... I'm going to join you on that... trip to the... little boys room..." said Sirius, trailing off as he jumped out of his seat and followed James out the door.

***

A little while later, Lily was perfectly fine, and was just trying to get the horrible image of Snape trying to kiss her out of her head. Sirius and James hadn't returned yet, so Remus, Lily, Carina and Aria were just chatting and having a good time.

[A/N: Peter was there too... just not talking... he's too afraid to talk around the girls...lol...]

Lily suddenly grinned devilishly as she remembered something. She looked at Remus and smirked before turning to Carina. Remus got slightly afraid for himself now. He did not like that look that Lily had gave him.

Lily opened her mouth and spoke to Carina in a playful drawl. "Oh, Cari... I almost forgot! Josh Thompson..." she shot a look at Remus who now had an ugly look on his face, before continuing on, "was looking for you..."

Carina blushed immensely while Aria and Lily laughed, mainly because of the look on Remus' face as he turned and looked out the window, scowling and obviously thinking hard by his expression.

Finally, when the two girls had calmed down, they sat back and watched Carina and Remus think. It was more interesting than one would imagine.

As Lily watched Remus' face closely, she was amused by his oddly contorted face. He was slowly getting redder and redder.

Aria on the other hand was watching Carina. She looked torn and helpless. It was rather funny.

Remus didn't notice Lily's stare. He was too busy lost in his own thoughts, which were racing through his head. She can't go out with that stupid Hufflepuff... I should ask her out now, before he does... no.. i can't... should I take Lily's advice? She practically threw this situation on me... grr.. she's too smart for her own good... but if Cari goes out with Thompson... I'd have to see them... together... kissing....

Remus' last thought set his resolve. He could feel his face reddening but he didn't care. He turned slowly to look at Carina, who looked as though she was having a powerful internal struggle. He took a deep breath, and then remembered that Aria and Lily were still in the room.

Deciding he didn't care, Remus opened his mouth again and said "Carina?" in a strained voice.

He inwardly flinched at his shaky voice. She looked up at him, looking puzzled. "Yes?" she asked.

Remus opened his mouth again before closing it quickly. What if she says no?... Carina was looking at him curiously with those gorgeous pale blue eyes, and he felt his insides melt. He took a deep breath, and stuttered, "Cari... err.. would.. um... will you be my girlfriend?"

He waited with bated breath and studied her reaction.

Carina stared in shock. What did he just say? But as she realized what he had said, fireworks exploded in her stomach and a grin creeped upi into her face, all thoughts of the Hufflepuff forgotten.

"Of course I will!" she answered, shyly but happily.

Remus broke out into the widest smile anybody had ever seen and he moved closer to Carina on the seet. He had the urge to lean over and kiss her, but they weren't alone so he settled for reaching over and entertwining his fingers with hers. He smiled as his heart beat erratically and little jolts of energy erupted from where their hands were touching. Carina smiled as well, looking up at him.

"Awww!" came Lily's and Aria's voices, startling Remus and Carina out of their 'happy trance'. The new couple blushed and Lily pounced on her two friends. "It's about time!" She exclaimed happily, giving each of them a hug.

Suddenly, the door opened and James and Sirius walked in, grimacing in a satisfied sort of way.

Lily noticed that James' knuckles were bloody and he was starting to form a black eye. All happy thoughts about Remus and Carina disappeared as she stared at him and Sirius who was sporting a few cuts. Suddenly it clicked about where they went and she swore under her breath before jumping out of her seat and pushing the two of them down on either side of her so that she could tend to their wounds.

"You idiots! I didn't tell you to go after Snape did I? Did I? No! Oh my lord, he better not be dead you knumbskulls! What if a teacher found you? You'd be expelled! Arrgh, you two are insane! I'm going to age if I'm around you too much!!" she ranted as she cleaned Sirius' cuts and then healed them with a flick of her wand.

She turned to James and continued her rant, "I really don't know what I'm going to do with you! Errg, you make me so mad! You could have gotten caught! Or what if Snape had some other of his weird friends with him! You would have been outnumbered! And then you'd be sorry! Oh, you make me so mad!"

She finished healing James and gave them both a stern look. The two boys glanced at each other amusedly. "You know Prongs, I don't know if that was a 'be careful because I love you' speech or a 'you are a git' speech..."

James nodded. "I'd say it was a mixture of both. But I didn't hear a 'Thank-you James and Siri! I love you both sooo much for kicking Snivelus' ass!'

Lily rolled her eyes, but couldn't keep a smile off her face. She slapped them both round the head and moved over so that she was sitting next to Remus, across from James and Sirius.

"Is he hurt bad?" Lily asked, slightly fearful. James and Sirius exchanged glances. "Well.. he'll be fine once somebody finds him and brings him to Madame Pomfrey. No lasting damage..." said James seriously before Sirius cut in. "I dunno Prongs... that punch to the nose might disfigure it a bit..."

Aria laughed, and Lily rolled her eyes, shook her head and smiled at the same time. It was a weird movement, and James couldn't understand it.

"Maybe I wanted to get him back myself!?" Lily suggested in an indignant manner.

James and Sirius glanced at each other and started laughing hysterically. Lily's face started to flush and she let her temper get the best of her. "Oh, so now you think that I wouldn't have been able to handle getting Snape back?"

The laughter died from James and Sirius' faces. Neither of them wanted to be the recipient of Lily's anger. James opened his mouth to talk but Lily cut him off before he even started. "No! I don't even want to hear it! Now just shut up. For your information I COULD have done a lot to Snape if I wanted to. I am very able to look after myself and I don't need you to fight my battles for me!"

Aria rolled her eyes in the background. She knew that Lily was an extremely proud witch, and couldn't stand having people think she was incompetent in anything, but Lily did tend to go over the top a lot.

Remus and Carina watched this outburst and were very amused by it. Remus grabbed Lily's arm and dragged her back down onto the seat as she had stood up without realizing it during her rant. "Lils, calm down... have some chocolate..."

Lily looked at her friend offering her a chocolate frog and started to crack up laughing for no reason whatsoever. The others looked at her as if she was insane, but she couldn't help it. It was just the way that Remus had said it. She took the chocolate from him and ate it, still chuckling slightly at his unhealthy obsession with chocolate.

After Lily had calmed down from her little laughing fit, she was back to glowering at James and Sirius. Even though she wasn't really that mad at them. She was actually kind of glad that they stuck up for her. She was also starting to feel slightly ashamed of her outburst, but her pride was keeping her from apologizing and thanking them.

Especially James. She had been incredibly rude to him, and he still went and stood up for her. I will never understand that boy... Lily thought exasperatedly.

Sirius was playing exploding snap with James. Every so often he'd glance at Lily and chuckle slightly. Sirius knew that she wasn't really as mad as she let on, but James certainly thought she was. It was incredibly funny. Every time Lily would move the tiniest bit, James would watch her out of the corner of his eye causing Sirius to win the round.

Suddenly something else caught Sirius eye and he jerked out of his seat and stared wide eyed at his sister and Remus. He pointed an accusing finger at the couple who were holding hands. "What's going on?" Sirius demanded to know, shifting into 'protective big brother' mode.

Remus gulped and looked up at his friend. He was at a loss for words, as he was afraid that his friend would beat him to a pulp when he told him the truth. He knew it was cowardly, but he couldn't help it. Remus ended up just giving his friend a big cheeky grin, at which Sirius scowled at.

Carina glared up at her brother. "Remus just asked me out, do you have a problem with that?" she asked dangerously. Sirius swelled up as if he was going to blow up and scream.

Arrgh... I told her that she should steer clear of all of the guys at school! Damn you Cari! Why can't you date somebody good? Like Prongs or Moony or something? I'm gonna kill... wait... she's dating Moony!!! Sirius finally came to his senses and realized what she said.

He grinned. "Terrific!" he exclaimed happily as he sat back down, ready to resume his game with James. He then realized that everybody was staring at him. "What?"

James, Lily and Aria started to laugh at the same time, while Carina smiled happily, Remus stared in happy shock at his friend, and Peter stared out the window neither knowing, nor caring about what was going on around him.

***

Finally, the train stopped and before anybody knew it, they were trudging through the front doors of the magnificant school. Everybody went to their respective tables, and to Lily's dismay, James sat next to her.

"I wish they'd hurry up... I'm hungry!" moaned Sirius, holding his stomach. Aria rolled her eyes. "You ate on the train, calm down! It's only the sorting!"

"...stupid midgets... It better not take long..."

"Don't call them stupid midgets!" Carina told her brother sharply before turning her attention back to Remus, who was holding her hand under the table. She gave him a small smile, and he smiled back, causing butterflies to flutter in her stomach again. She was the happiest she'd been since she had escaped her parents.

Suddenly the door opened and Professor McGonagle came bustling in followed by several tiny 11 year olds... as well as 2 boys who looked around 16 or 17 years old.

Lily nudged Aria, who wasn't paying attention, to get her to look at the extremely attractive boys who had walked in with the first years. Aria glanced over at them, and her jaw dropped.

Aria stared in shock. It was the guy from the summer! "That's Travis!" she hissed to Lily, butterflies raging in her stomach.

Lily looked the two boys over. They were obviously twins, both with shaggy dark brown hair and deep chocolate eyes. "The guy from Beauxbatons? They are pretty good looking!" Lily glanced at the taller of the two, and her stomach did a little flip.

Aria nodded and looked at her friend for a moment. Lily's eyes were glazed and her cheeks were flushed slightly. "She shorter one is Travis... Like what you see? His brother's name is Seth." Aria teased. Lily blushed and turned away, not answering.

Unknowingly to the two girls, James had heard everything that they had said, and jealousy was running through his veins. He'd have to have a talk with this guy. With any luck, they'd be put in Slytherin so that Lily wouldn't think twice about dating either one.

But of course, the twins were both placed in Ravenclaw, and they were in seventh year as well. James narrowed his eyes as he looked at them. I don't like them.

Nobody realized that while Sirius was talking to some blonde chick, he was actually listening to Lily and Aria's conversation, and he was thinking the exact same thing as James.

***

After everybody was sorted and the feast was over, Dumbledore sent everybody off to bed.

Aria, Lily and Carina were walking up by themselves, because the guys had gone off somewhere. That disappointed Carina a little bit, as she had been hoping to spend some time with Remus, but she figured that they'd have plenty more time to spend together.

Suddenly somebody called out to Aria and she whirled around. "Aria!" Travis Daniels called out once more. She stopped walking, and made Lily and Carina stay with her. They waited, and soon he had reached them, slightly out of breath.

"Hi!" Aria said shyly, smiling up at Travis. Lily and Carina were taken aback. Never in their life had Aria ever been shy.

He smiled charmingly back at her. "My parents decided to send me here instead." he answered, before she had a chance to ask.

She smiled again and nodded. "That's great!"

"Um... I was wondering, would you like to..." he trailed off, looking nervous.

Aria's smiled widened, and her her heart was beating oddly.. "Yes." she stated before he even had a chance to ask her out.

Travis' grinned happily at her, and he leaned over and kissed Aria softly on the lips. She kissed him back, feeling little butterlies do loops in her stomach, totally forgetting that her friends were waiting for her.

Lily and Carina didn't really care though. They were busy talking to Travis' brother Seth, who had come over to say 'Hi'. Actually, it was more Cari talking, and Lily staring or occasionally nodding and laughing.

I should get going... maybe Remus is still up... Carina watched Lily's face for a moment. She could tell instantly that her friend liked this guy, and however much she wanted her and James to get together, if Lily liked Seth, then Cari was going to help her get him.

"I'm going to head up to the common room to find Remus. I'll see you later Lils. Be sure to drag Aria back with you okay?" she said, smiling.

Lily's eyes widened. She wasn't sure if she wanted to be left alone here with this incredibly hot guy.

But, maybe she did. She wasn't sure if she liked him or not, but there was only one way to be sure. She smiled and nodded to Carina, who left, and then turned back to Seth who grinned broadly at her.

"So, Lily... you're real pretty you know that?" Lily found herself blushing as she looked up into Seth's handsome face. "Would you like to go out with me?"

Lily was surprised by his bluntness. Did he just ask me out? Oh my lord... well... he is hot... god... what would James think? He'd be furious, but it'd be so funny, and he'd finally get off my back... geez... some guy just asked me out and I'm thinking of Potter of all people? Focus Lily!. Lily hesitated, but then smiled and nodded. "Sure."

Seth grinned at her, and then brought his lips down to meet hers. She felt a slight flutter in her stomach, and her heart skipped a beat. When she broke the kiss, Lily smiled up at Seth, before grabbing Aria's arm and starting to drag her down the hall. "Good-night!"

The two girls reached the common room, floating on cloud 9. They had only just arrived at Hogwarts, and they both already had boyfriends.

Lily was lost in thought about a boy as she walked up the stairs into her dorm. And it wasn't just any boy. Oh no. It was James Potter.

That's right. James Potter. NOT Seth Daniels, who she had just met and who was now her boyfriend.

Well, she was actually thinking of both.

I wonder what the look on James' face will be like when he realizes that I'm taken... he's pretty much prevented me from having a boyfriend in the past, so I wonder what it'll be like... he'll finally have to move on and leave me be...

...do you really want him to leave you be?
Came a voice in her head. Lily scowled. Of course I do! Why else would I have said yes to Seth!?

Why DID you say yes to Seth anyway? .... Because he's nice, and hot... and I figured that it couldn't hurt....

So after 6 years of the same guy liking you and asking you out, you decided to go out with another guy who doesn't even know you? .... SHUT UP!...
"My lord... I'm having a conversation with myself in my head..." Lily muttered to herself as she put on her pajamas, ignoring the looks she attracted by talking to herself by her roommates.

She flung herself on her four poster and layed there, waiting for sleep to come, while her mind was still racing. Why did you rush into things with Seth? Your an idiot Lily! You don't even know him!... I know, but I'll learn more about him as time goes by... besides... Aria said he was nice right?.... yeah... you know what? Screw worrying and thinking about everything. From now on, I'm just going to plunge head first into things like this. After all, I never know what's going to happen, or what somebody's like until I try right? .... Right... yet you didn't take that advice when James asked you out those thousands of times...

...James is a jerk though...

...an incredibly good looking jerk...

...Oh my lord...I'm still having this conversation with myself in my head. Go away you stupid voice!... Tomorrow, I'm going to learn more about Seth, and just be a 17 year old girl.

I'm just going to be young and have fun... and drive James Potter insane while doing it.


Chapter 6: The Letter
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[A/N] Hi! Tis meee...LoL. I hope you all like this chapter.... though I bet a lot of you won't.. ahh well ;-). LoL. At least you get to see what's behind Seth's incredibly good looks. *snorts* Yeppp... Anywayyyss.... I hope you like it! =) Please Read/Review! Thanks soo much! I luuurve you all!! =)

Disclaimer: Sadly, I own nothing. NOTHING! Except Aria, Carina, and the very few other things that you don't recognize. *wipes a tear away* ;-)


Chapter 6 - The Letter


Lily woke up bright and early the next morning. She climbed out of bed, yawning and glanced at the clock.

6:03? Early isn't it?

Shrugging, Lily decided to get up anyway. She looked out the window, the sun was just rising. It was a beautiful sight, and it looked to be a promising day. Lily smiled and had the urge to go for walk.

She had a quick shower, and got dressed in her uniform. She didn't bother with make-up yet. It wasn't as if she'd be seeing somebody she wanted to impress or anything.

Then, Lily headed down into the seemingly empty common room. She crossed the room and was just about to exit the portrait hole when a voice stopped her. "Lily?"

She spun around and smiled warmly. "Hey Remus!"

"Where are you going so early?" Remus asked from the couch, stifling a yawn.

Lily shrugged. "I woke up early and I decided to go for a walk outside. Wanna come?" she suggested.

He got up and yawned. "Sure."


10 minutes later, the two friends were walking along the edge of the lake, just talking and enjoying the morning's fresh atmosphere.

"I'm so happy that you finally asked Cari out!" Lily said happily.

Remus smiled sheepishly. "You get the credit... you pretty much forced me too..."

Lily smiled cheekily. "Well, I had to do something! Josh Thompson actually was going to ask her out you know!" Remus frowned, and Lily laughed. "Oh come on Remie, she'd never pick him over you." He just blushed and a small smile was present on his face.

"Well, what about you? Are you going to give James a shot?"

Lily suddenly remembered Seth. How in the world did I forget?

She shook her head. Remus gave her an exasperated look. "I actually have a reason though!" Lily cried in defense. He just rose his eyebrows questioningly.

"I have a boyfriend." Lily stated, and kept walking. They were almost fully around the lake now. Lily suddenly noticed that Remus had stopped walking. She turned around to see him staring at her. "What?"

Remus' mouth was hanging open. He shut it and hurried to catch up to Lily. "Who?" he demanded to know.

Lily blushed. "Seth Daniels. The new guy from Beauxbatons. He's twins with Aria's boyfriend, Travis."

Remus frowned. He had seen those new guys flirting with half the girls at the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor tables the night before. From what he could tell, they were conceited snobs. Way worse than Sirius and James.

Remus' heart suddenly sank. Now that he knew that Lily had a boyfriend, it was his job to inform James.

He suddenly realized that Lily was talking to him. He just nodded and didn't listen as they walked back towards the school for breakfast. How could he tell his best friend that the girl of his dreams was dating somebody else?

As Lily and Remus entered the great hall, Remus spotted James, Sirius and Peter at the end of the table. He also noticed that neither Seth nor Travis was there.

As Lily went to go sit with Aria and Carina, Remus slowly walked over to his friends, readying himself to tell James the news. He knew that his friend was going to be crushed.

He sat down on James' left and said, "James, I've got to tell you something."

The three friends all turned to look at Remus, who looked as though he swallowed a fish. "Spit it out mate!" said Sirius exasperated, and turning back to his food.

"Lily's got a boyfriend."

James spit out his porridge as he tried to absorb this new and alarming information. "What?" he stuttered, his temper rising. "Who? I'll kill him!" He looked around the hall, narrowing his eyes.

"That new guy, Seth Daniels. And apparently Aria is now dating Seth’s brother, Travis." Remus said, bracing himself for the temper tantrum that was sure to come from James.

Across the table, Sirius got a weird pang in his chest as he heard this news. He just ignored it though and concentrated on trying to calm his best friend down. James had jumped out of his chair and tried to walk over to Seth, who had just walked in the door, to pound his face in.

Thankfully, Remus caught him. "Sit down James!" he hissed, forcing his friend back in his seat.

James sat down, feeling a hollow spot in his chest give a pang as he watched Seth Daniels walk over to Lily... his Lily... and give her a kiss on the cheek.

He didn't know what to do. His first choice would be to go and kick Seth's ass, but then Lily would be angry with him. James just felt torn inside. He had always believed that Lily one day actually would end up with him, but now she had Seth.

James felt anger pouring through his veins as he thought about stupid, perfect, Seth. He was jealous, angry and hurt, but he was going to hide it. Nobody was going to know. He wasn't going to give Lily the satisfaction of knowing that her going out with Seth effected him so much.

***

"I can't believe Binns gave us that huge essay... it's the first day back!" Aria groaned as she sunk onto the couch in front of the fire.

Lily slumped down next to her. "I know... stupid ghost... at least we have two weeks to finish it... Where's Cari?" she asked, looking around the common room.

Aria shrugged. "Off somewhere with the Marauders." Lily nodded in understanding. It wasn't unusual for Carina to be hanging around with the boys. Sirius was her brother after all, and now Remus was her boyfriend.

Suddenly Aria shrieked. "Crap! We're supposed to meet Travis and Seth out by the lake in 20 minutes! We have to get ready!"

The two girls jumped up, and hurried to their dorms to get dressed.

Lily tried to act as excited as Aria, but the fact was, she wasn't. She didn't understand it though. She was going to go meet her new boyfriend! She should be thrilled!

Maybe that's because you don't really like him, and you know you made a stupid, rash decision by agreeing to date somebody after only knowing them for 10 minutes.

Lily scowled at the annoying voice in her head, and tried to disregard it.

Putting on a false smile, she and Aria rushed out of the room, heading towards the grounds.

Lily had no idea that Aria was thinking the exact same thing she was. Except, she had spent nearly the entire summer with Travis. There was definitely a spark, but being with him didn't feel right.

Aria just shook the thought out of her head and swiftly walked after Lily. Oh, screw it. You only live once, right?

***

As Lily and Aria were rushing to get to their dates on time, Carina was sitting under a huge tree on the far side of the lake with her brother and James.

"You are idiots you know that?" she told them, exasperatedly.

They both shot her affronted looks and she sighed. "Look. James, it's so obvious how you feel about Lily to everybody except Lily. Now, she has got herself a boyfriend, who I've only talked to once, but at the time, seemed nice enough... a bit too flirty though..."

James' cheeks burned, but he shook his head. "Whatever Cari. I don't care at all. It's no big deal..." he said, trying to sound confident, but then something on the other side of the lake that made his heart feel as though it were sliced in two. It was Lily. Kissing Seth. He tore his eyes away and looked at Carina and Sirius.

They had identical smirks on their faces. He sighed, giving up. He couldn't even go a few hours without fooling the two of them. Sometimes, having such great friends was incredibly annoying.

"Fine. FINE. I do care. But I can't do anything about it, so I'd prefer it if we changed subjects. Er... Sirius... have an eye on anybody yet this year?"

"Um, what?" Sirius asked quickly after hearing his name. He had zoned out, staring across the lake. James rolled his eyes.

Carina laughed slightly. "I bet he does. He's liked Aria since third year. He's just a lot better at hiding it than some people." Sirius shot her an angry glare and she laughed.

James stared at him, wide eyed. "You've liked Aria since third year? AND you didn't tell me! AND Carina knows?"

"A twin always knows." Carina said mysteriously, trying to hold back laughter.

James shoved her playfully and Sirius stayed in one place glaring at his sister for letting out his secret. "No I don't..." he said pitifully. He had about as much luck as James had with trying to conceal the fact that he was upset.

He sighed. "How did you know?"

Carina just shrugged. "It was obvious." he said simply.

"No it wasn't!" Sirius argued. "Nobody knew except for you!"

"And Lily... Anyways, I knew because sometimes you talk in your sleep, and I've seen you staring at her."

Sirius blushed, and Carina smiled widely. It was a rare feat to make Sirius Black blush, and she had just accomplished it. "That's 10 Galleons to me. I've got to go find Remus.” she flushed slightly. "Do you two know where he may be?"

They both shrugged, and Carina gave them an exasperated sigh. "Fine, I'll go search by myself... but before I go I just want to say this: Don't just sit here and mope about Lily and Aria. But don't make them unhappy by screwing up their chances with their new boyfriends. Especially you James."

He gave her an innocent look that she saw through right away. "Don't give me that look James Potter! Lily has never been able to date anybody because of you! If she likes him, don't mess it up! Please?"

She paused for a minute, and then smiled mischievously. "But of course, if he's an ass... that's entirely different... and remember... this is our last year here at Hogwarts. It's gotta count for something right?"

With that, she stood up and walked away, leaving the two boys flabbergasted.

After a moment of silence, Sirius spoke up. "How is it that she is so shy around everybody else, but when she's around us, she's like that?"

James just shrugged. His mind was on Carina's words, his eyes on the beautiful redhead sitting with her boyfriend on the other side of the lake.

Sirius looked at his best friend and let out a sigh. James had it worse than he did. Aria didn't know that he liked her whereas Lily knew, and detested James for it.

That was part of the reason he had never told Aria how he felt. He was scared of getting a reaction like Lily's. So, instead, he had thrown himself head first into the rest of the girl population at Hogwarts.

Sirius sighed. Being 17 is really complicated sometimes isn't it?

He didn't know that years from that moment, Sirius would look back onto his teen years and wish that everything would be as they were then.

Nobody at Hogwarts knew that life was going to take a turn, and it definitely wasn't for the better.

***

"Yeah... That's so interesting!" Lily said, her cheeks hurting from the fake smile that was plastered on her face.

Seth had just finished telling her a story about how, when he was in America, Muggles had wanted to make him a model, and his whole tragic life story.

It had been vaguely interesting the first time he told her...

Dull the second time.

Incredibly, mind-shattering boring the third time.

And now, he was on his fourth retelling of the story. Lily wanted to scream and run and jump into the lake to get away from Seth's self absorbed, good looking self.

He bent down to kiss her softly again. She kissed him back, glad to stop hearing him drone on and on.

Her nerves were growing thin. She really didn't want to be rude by walking out on him, or breaking up with him already... but he was driving her INSANE!

She had also noticed, that the only time he would kiss her would be when another guy walked passed. Oh, she was going to be in a terrible mood later, and she reminded herself mentally to apologize to all of Gryffindor house in advance in case she cracked and did something she'd regret.

Lily had found out many things she never wished to know about Seth in the seemingly never-ending few hours that she had been sitting there with him. Like, he always wore tightey-whiteys, and he had a company make his own line of hair care products because he was so rich, and he only shopped at the most expensive places that were only found in America because he didn't like British clothes (Lily couldn't tell a difference), and he sometimes wore makeup.

That's right.

He wore makeup.

Right now, Lily was wishing she had never agreed to go out with him. Well it's your own fault! She inwardly berated herself on being so stupid. She swore that she would never do something as stupid as going out with a guy when she had just met him again.

Ever.

It was just way too boring. If she kept this up, she was going to waste her life away listening to the same, already boring story over and over again.

Lily's mind wandered as Seth started on his 5th retelling of his story. She looked frantically around for somebody who could save her from her torture and make it seem not rude.

She spotted James and Sirius across the lake. Perfect. Now all she had to do was somehow get them to walk over by her and she could pretend she needed to talk with them about something... Head duties with James perhaps.

Lily knew she was getting desperate, but she would willingly go on a date with James to get away from Seth at that moment.

At least it would be interesting.

Much to Lily's luck, James and Sirius got up and started walking back around the lake. Come closer... please come closer..... GOD DAMMIT JAMES! SIRIUS! WALK OVER HERE! she screamed in her head.

Thankfully, they did walk somewhat near her. Well, Sirius did. He gave her a strained smile as he passed and she gave him an odd, pleading look. Her eyes read very plainly: 'Sirius please get me out of here now! PLEASE!'

"Hey Lily!" Sirius said, grinning. Lily's face brightened. Thank GOD for Sirius Black!... wow... didn't think I'd ever think that....

"Hi Sirius! Let me introduce you to Seth Daniels. Seth, this is my friend Sirius."

Sirius smiled at Seth, who glowered at him. Lily resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Seth was probably upset because Sirius had interrupted his speech.

Sirius turned back to Lily. "Lils, I really need to talk to you... about Potions... and I think James needed to see you about Head Duties. It's really urgent."

Lily jumped up so incredibly fast, that even Sirius was surprised with her speed. "Sorry Seth. I'll catch up with you later!"

And with that, she grabbed Sirius hand and dragged him away. When they got a safe distance away Lily pulled him into a hug.

"THANK YOU!!!!!" she said, eternally grateful that he had saved her from dying a very boring death.

Sirius chuckled. "Boyfriend not up to par?" he joked.

Lily slapped him playfully on his arm. "He just brought new meaning to me of 'bored to death'." she told him. Seeing his confused look, she explained further. "He told me his life story 5 times. FIVE TIMES!"

"So why didn't you just say, 'Seth, we're over. Your boring.' and be done with it?" Sirius asked.

Lily shrugged. "I didn't want to be mean, or rude. Besides, I did say that I would go out with him."

Sirius rolled his eyes. "Your not still going to are you?"

Lily's eyes widened. "Good lord no! Especially if I have to go through that again! But I don't want to seem too heartless, so I'll just avoid him for a few days and maybe he'll break up with me instead... and if not.. then I'll do it..." Lily told him, shrugging. She was just glad to get away.

"Hey, I saw James with you earlier. Where'd he go?"

Sirius shrugged, nonchalant, but inside he was jumping for joy. James was going to be so relieved. At least one of them would be happy. Sirius glanced around and saw Aria and Travis not too far away. His heart stung for a moment, but he brushed it off. He didn't deserve her anyways.

Lily noticed Sirius' gaze towards Aria and Travis and sighed. She and Carina had suspected that he had liked Aria for a while, and lord knows that she liked him. They were both just too thick to see it, and now Aria seemed awfully happy with Travis. At least one of us had a good date...

"Let's go do something fun!" suggested Lily. Sirius raised his eyebrows as if to say 'Really?' Lily frowned at him. "I know how to have fun you know! Especially after that lecture. Now, lets go find people and go do something!!"

Sirius shrugged. "Sure, but I don't know who we'd find, except James."

Lily shrugged. "Sure whatever. Come on."

What?" Sirius followed Lily as she walked towards the school. She was actually okay with doing something with Prongs. Wow. Maybe she's coming to her senses at last...

***

James, Sirius, Remus and Peter were walking up towards the common room. It was Friday, after their last class. The first week back was finally over, and James was in an incredibly good mood, as was Remus.

Remus was in a good mood because he had his first real date with Carina that night, and James was happy because Sirius had told him that Lily didn't like Seth.

Life was good. For those two anyway.

Sirius had a different opinion.

At the moment, life was looking pretty bleak.

Aria was still dating Travis, and according to his sister, they had a date tonight.

Also, Sirius had gotten another threatening letter from his parents, and he was sure that Carina had gotten one too. He was extremely apprehensive that they were going to try something. He was not in a good mood.

However, neither James, Remus or Peter noticed. James was too busy thinking of Lily, Remus was too busy thinking of Carina, and Peter was too busy thinking of cheese.

That’s right. Peter was thinking of cheese. As he had no girl in his life, he was forced to turn to food.

Pathetic.

Anyway, the Marauders entered the common room and spotted the girls sitting on the couches in front of the fire. They headed straight for them.

It was sort of weird. Every year previous, Sirius, James, Remus and Peter would be friends with the girls, but they would never really do much with them, and now they were always together.

Of course, it was only the first week back. It could change at any time, but for now they were friends... except for James and Lily.

She had warmed up slightly towards him, at least she had stopped detesting him. Although, nobody knew this. Lily actually found herself enjoying the time spent with James on the nights when they would have to patrol, which were Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 10:00 to 11:00.

Sirius didn't follow his friends over to the fire though. He silently went up into his dorm to read his letter again.

Carina noticed this and followed. She had received a letter too, and she wanted to talk to her brother about it in private. It scared her to death, and she needed to talk to him about it.

She found him sitting on his bed, staring at the letter with a disgusted, angry look on his face. He looked up as she entered the room, and silently shoved the letter at her so that she could read it.

Ungrateful Wretch,
How dare you walk out on me last month?! And then you come back for your sister!? I have given up all hope of you, you scum. But SHE still has potential to be a good part of this family.
I have a marriage set up for her with Severus Snape, and don’t you dare try to stop it! It will go ahead no matter what you do! I believe he goes to school with you, but he has a noble family and is placed in Slytherin. If it wasn't for you, Carina would be a good, obedient child, instead of following filth like you and your mudblood loving ways. Carina isn't very pretty, so Severus is a very good choice for her, as he doesn't care for petty things like that.
Blood is all that matters. Next week, I will be coming to your school to talk some sense into Carina. I very much hope that I don't see your ugly face anywhere.
By the way, you are no longer a part of this family. Your name has been burnt off our family tree, but your sister's still remains. I can't have filth like you penetrating our family.
There are some changes going on in the world, for the better. Soon our world will be purified, and there will be no ungrateful snots in it like you, and your mudblood friends. Beware.
Don't bother to respond. We all wish to never hear from you again. We hate you.
Remember. ‘Toujours Pur!’
Gertrude Fredwilma Black.



Carina's face paled as she read the letter, which was much longer than her own. All her's said was that her mother would be coming to talk to her next weekend to try to purify her once again. It said nothing of the fact that she was set to marry Snape!

She looked into her twin's face, which was distorted with anger. She didn't know what to do. She didn't want to be part of that family, and she sure as hell wasn't going to marry Snape.

Sirius pulled his sister into a hug and tried to soothe her. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she clutched her brother. What was she going to do?

"Don't worry Rina, I won't let them or Snivellus touch you..." he said, a lump forming in his throat. He didn't much of a chance helping her, and they both knew it.

They sat there for a while, not noticing the time, and just crying. It broke Sirius heart to see his sister like this. He was seething with rage. Their parents were not only forcing Carina to marry Snivellus, but they had called her ugly, and said that she belonged with them. His sister was extremely pretty, and she sure as hell did not belong with those pureblood maniacs. Sirius longed to help his sister out of this mess, but he was lost as to what he could do to help her. He couldn't stop tears from running down his cheeks as he tried to comfort her.

Carina felt safe in her brother's arms, but she knew that he wouldn't be able to protect her from her family forever. "I hate them!" she sobbed over and over again.

Sirius just hugged her tighter. "I know." he whispered, his voice getting caught in his throat. "So do I."

***

Downstairs, Sirius' and Carina's absences were not going unnoticed. "Where are they?" asked Aria, looking around.

Lily just shrugged. "Cari seemed a little upset today." she said, only just realizing it, and berating herself for not noticing earlier. She had been so absorbed with avoiding Seth that she hadn't given her friends a second thought. How could she be so heartless?

"So did Sirius..." said Remus. "He had been acting strange ever since this morning..." Something suddenly clicked in his head, "...when the mail came..."

James head snapped up. "He got a letter didn't he?" Remus nodded, and James swore under his breath.

Lily and Aria watched this exchange with confused faces. "What are you two going on about?" Aria asked, incredulous.

"Their parents must have sent them letters."

Lily and Aria understood at once. "Do you think we should let them be for a little while?" Lily asked, concerned for her friends.

James shook his head. "Something must be going on, they've been gone for a while."

"I'll check the dorms." Remus said, getting up.

Lily got up as well. "I'll come with you." Remus nodded, and they both walked up the stairs into the boys dormitories.

As was expected, they found Carina and Sirius in the boy's dorms.

However, Lily and Remus did not expect to see that they were crying. Both of them.

And nobody had ever seen Sirius cry. Something terrible must have happened, and both Lily and Remus knew it.

Lily immediately rushed over to them and stopped by the bed. "What's wrong?" she asked worriedly, her voice thick with concern.

They both looked up at her with teary eyes. Carina's full of sadness, and Sirius' a mixture of rage and depression.

Carina looked up at her best friend, and finally broke away from Sirius. Lily immediately had her arms around her friend, trying to sooth her even though she had no idea what was going on.

When they broke away, Carina looked at Sirius, and he nodded. She picked up the letter and motioned for Lily to read it.

It was then that Carina noticed Remus was in the room. She froze. What would he think? She was supposed to be marrying another man! How would her boyfriend react? Tears rolled down her face once more, and Remus, who had stopped at the doorway, ran in and sat down next to his girlfriend, who wouldn't look him in the eye.

Lily finished reading the letter and felt like barfing. Her heart broke for her friend, but she didn't know how to react. An arranged marriage. With Snape no less. Tears filled Lily's shocking green eyes as she passed the letter to Remus and then hugged her friend again fiercely.

"What's going on?" came a familiar voice. Everybody turned to look at James and Aria, who had just appeared at the doorway.

They walked in awkwardly, totally confused, and found places to sit on the already crowded, small bed. James looked at Sirius, who was staring at Remus, as if trying to read his mind.

Remus, James noticed, was reading a letter. He leaned over and read it over his friend's shoulder.

Remus barely noticed. He was staring at the same line over and over again.

I have a marriage set up for her with Severus Snape...

He didn't know what to do. He just stared in shock. How unfair. For both of them. Remus and Carina had finally gotten together. They were happy, and now this had to happen.

Remus felt as thought his heart was being torn into a million pieces. And even though he knew how much he was hurting, he couldn't imagine what Carina was feeling.

But he wouldn't let her get married to that slimy, freak of nature. She obviously didn't want to, and Remus wasn't going to let it happen.

By now, Lily had told Aria what the letter had said, and the two girls were crying softly. James was absolutely disgusted at the entire Black family, save for his two friends. His mind was racing on how to get Carina out of this, as was everybody else’s.

His parents might know somebody from the ministry who could help... James would have to send an owl to them immediately.

However, now everybody's eyes were on Remus as he stared at the letter, waiting for his reaction.

He finally tore his eyes away from the hateful letter and looked into Carina's beautiful blue eyes. There was no way that he was going to let this girl... his girl go through something like marrying Snivellus.

Remus wanted to say something to his girlfriend, but all of his friends were there, and he wanted to be alone with Carina for a little while.

Carina must have felt the same way, for she tore her eyes away from Remus and looked at her brother, who nodded and got up, giving Remus a warning look on the way out. Aria, Lily, and James followed him out, giving encouraging smiles to the two of them.

When they had left, and the door was closed, Remus opened his mouth. "I won't let it happen." he told her softly, but forcefully.

Carina looked up into his gorgeous bright blue eyes, her own eyes still watering. "How? My family..." she trailed off, looking desperately into Remus' face.

He pulled her into a hug, and they embraced tightly, as if afraid that the other would disappear if they let go.

Finally, Remus broke away and looked Carina straight in the eye. He cupped her face with his hands and said quietly, "I'll find a way. You will not have to marry that pathetic excuse for a human. I don't care what I have to do, but you will not be marrying Severus Snape."

Carina smiled weakly, willing herself to believe him as she looked into his eyes once again. She had to trust him. They would find a way to be rid of her family. She knew that it would be hard, but she saw in his eyes that they were truthful. He wouldn't let her get married to Snape.

"You promise?" she asked him softly, still scared,

Remus still had her face cupped in his hands. He was very close to her face already. He moved his face down slightly, and kissed her softly, but meaningfully.

Carina melted into his arms, accepting the kiss. After a few minutes, Remus broke the kiss and looked her straight in the eye.

"I promise."

Chapter 7: Confrontations
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[A/N] Hi Everybody! Sorry for the wait. I was in Halifax... and I have a life... lol ;-).. Anyway...

Is my story any good? Really. I'm asking because the reads have gone down SO much, so I was hoping that you guys could tell me what you like/dislike so that I could try to fix it. Thanks so much! =)

Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing you recognize. Sad, but true. *wipes away tear*



Chapter 7 - Confrontations


"Myrddin is another of his names... Merlin married a beautiful red haired woman named Vivienne however they did not have any known children... Myrddin was and remains to be the most powerful wizard of eternity... There was a prophecy about a boy who would be stronger than Merlin, but no boy was ever born..."

Professor Binns, the ghost professor was droning on and on as usual. Nobody ever paid any attention in History of Magic, except for Lily, Carina and Remus occasionally.

Lily stared down at her black piece of parchment. There was too much going through her mind at the moment, she couldn't concentrate long enough to write notes.

For one thing, she was extremely concerned about Carina. It was now Friday, and Mr. and Mrs. Black would be arriving the next day.

Lily glanced away from her paper to the Slytherin side of the classroom. Snape was there, staring avidly at Carina. It was sickening. He was almost drooling for Christ's sake. Lily felt anger start to fill her body.

All week, Snape had been trying to talk to Carina, to try to kiss her and touch her. Luckily, Carina now never went anywhere without either Sirius, Remus, James, Aria, or Lily as an escort.

At that moment, Carina was sitting next to Remus, who was holding her hand encouragingly as Snape stared. Lily could see that she was trying to ignore him, as she had been doing all week, but Lily knew that her friend would soon crack under the pressure.

She just sighed and went back to staring at her paper.

Something else was on her mind. Seth Daniels.

She rolled her eyes at the thought of him. All week she had been avoiding him, saying that she had a lot of work to do, or that one of her friends was going through a tough time. But now that it was last class on Friday, Lily was ready to bet that he'd try to drag her off somewhere after class.

Why don't you just break up with him? She asked herself. Lily thought about it. Why didn't she break up with him?

Because you'd feel bad. He hasn't done anything to you. Maybe you should give him one more chance...

Lily thought about that for a minute. She could give him another chance... but then she remembered how bored she was listening to him talk about himself.

She shook her head slightly. No, she would have to do something... I'll talk to him the next time I see him, and I'll just take it from there... she decided as the bell rang, signaling that classes were over for the weekend.

Lily sighed once more and stood up, collecting her unused parchment and putting it into her bag. She got up and headed over to her friends, who were waiting for her so that they could leave.

"Come on. Lets get up to the common room." Sirius muttered, ushering everybody out. He had seen how Snape was looking at his sister the whole class, and he wanted to get her into the Gryffindor Tower, where she would be safe from any Slytherins.

James picked Carina up and threw her over his shoulder. He had also seen how the Slytherins had been watching his friends, and he wanted to Carina be safe. He was sure that they were going to try something soon, as the Black's were coming the next day.

Carina shrieked. "James!" she laughed. "Put me down!" she pounded on his back, actually smiling for the first time since she had read the letter.

James shook his head. "Nope. I'm stealing you away from Remus." he cackled and winked at his friend.

Remus grinned and rose his eyebrows. "Well then..." he put his arm around Lily. "I'll just have to run off with Lily."

Sirius laughed. "But surely you wouldn't mind in the least." he teased James.

Aria snickered. "No. Because James doesn't care for Lily at ALL." she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

James blushed and glared at his friends, while Lily laughed. It only made James blush harder. "Ha. Like James would care..." Lily said, swinging her arm right back around Remus.

"No. But I would."

The group of friends stopped walking and whirled around to see Seth Daniels standing there, looking livid.

Lily swallowed her groan and forced a smile. "Hi Seth!" she said, her voice a little too cheery.

"Lily, what are you doing with him?"

Lily's face contorted into one of confusion. Then she realized that she still had her arm around Remus and his arm was slung around her shoulders. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "..Um.. walking?" she said, not removing her arm from around Remus.

Seth's eyes narrowed. "You two look pretty cozy there..."

Lily and Aria exchanged exasperated looks here, while Remus bit his lip to keep from laughing, Carina was laughing quietly from behind James' back, as she was still slung over his shoulder, Sirius laughed silently, and James watched the scene in front of him as if it was an extremely interesting television program.

"He's my friend." Lily said shortly. "Am I not allowed to walk with boys who are my friends?"

Lily's nerves were already stretched with her worries about Carina, and this boy wasn't helping her temper.

"Not like that. You're only allowed to walk like that with me."

Lily's eyes narrowed. Remus, James, Aria, Sirius and Carina cringed, waiting for the outburst.

"What the hell? I am allowed to walk with my friends thank you very much. Nobody tells me what to do. Especially not you. We've been on one date. ONE! And I don't even think that is classified as a date. You sat there and talked about YOURSELF for the entire time. Hell, I've had better dates with the Giant Squid than I've had with you." At this point, Lily stopped her rant and started to laugh slightly. "You know it's bad when I consider the giant squid a better date than you... ask Potter, he'd tell you..."

Seth just stood there and stared, his eyes wide. Everybody figured it was because nobody had ever said anything like that to them before.

They were right.

Lily waited for his reaction. He didn't respond and she was starting to get impatient. "Well, are you going to say anything?"

At this, Seth seemed to regain his senses. He stood up straighter. "You are my girlfriend. You shall not speak to me like that! You are nothing but a tramp! I guess your sleeping with him too?"

At this, Remus began to get scared. Not of Seth, but of Lily. He could tell that she was about to blow her top. He dropped his arm and inched away from her, towards James, who had put Carina down and who was staring at Lily in adoration.

Lily opened her mouth to scream, but Seth kept talking. "Well, Lillian, I am extremely upset with you. You are so far, being a horrible girlfriend, and a whore. However, I will find a way to make it up to you. I will be generous, and I will not break up with you. I already have thought of a way you can repay me." he said with what probably was supposed to be a seductive smirk.

Everybody's eyes were on Lily, waiting to see her reaction. James was steaming. How dare he speak like that to Lily? Does he WANT to lose her? He should be worshiping the ground she walks on! She does NOT deserve that creep... come on Lily. Give him a piece of your mind..."

James wishes were answered.

Lily's face, by this point, was as red as her hair. She was fuming.

"HOW DARE YOU! Don't you talk to me like that. I am allowed to speak to you however I want. Have you never heard of free speech?" she said icily, walking slowly towards Seth, glaring daggers in his direction.

"And don't you refer to me as Lillian, mom" she spat. Seth's eyes narrowed, and he pursed his lips in a Petunia-ish way. Lily went on.

"I am NOT a whore. And I am NOT a horrible girlfriend. YOU are a horrible boyfriend you womanizing jerk. And geez, I thought Potter was arrogant, but bloody hell! I mean, your seventeen for god's sake! You are NOT the king of the world! My god, I am SO glad that I've only known you a week, I don't know how I would have lasted if you had been coming here since first year... I really don't know how you walk around the castle with a head as big as yours! Blah Blah Blah... You’re a model, you wear makeup, your 'mommy's little boy'. I DON'T GIVE TWO SHITS! And NEITHER does ANYBODY ELSE! SO JUST SHUT UP!!" she screamed at him.

Seth was looking affronted, and a tad bit scared. James could understand why. Lily had screamed at him before, but never like this. He was glad he wasn't on the receiving end this time.

Lily took a deep breath and plunged on. "You should really take a leaf out of Potter's book and deflate your overly large head. Geezus..." she said in a much lower voice, though still incredibly cold. She turned to leave, but then spun back around.

"Oh, and I won't be so generous, you sexist freak. We're over... not like we really had something anyway... but don't ever talk to me like that again."

She spun on her heel and walked back towards her friends.

"Ugly Bitch Whore..." Seth muttered under his breath.

Lily whirled around again and walked straight up to Seth, glaring at him with so much disdain, her hair was almost crackling with electricity with the power of it.

"What did you call me?" she hissed.

Seth just smirked. Lily wanted to slap him, but restrained herself.

"50 points from Ravenclaw." she told him in a low voice, still glaring.

He was unfazed. He stared at Lily for a moment before bringing his face foreword and knocking his lips against Lily's. She won't be able to resist that! he thought smugly.

James was walking swiftly towards Seth. Anger pulsating through his veins. How dare he kiss Lily. James planned on kicking his ass, just like he had with Brandon.

It took only a second for Lily to register what Seth was doing. She instantly pulled away and looked at Seth with disgust before slapping him with all her might.

Seth clutched his cheek that was burning with the sting of Lily's blow.

"Don't touch me again..."

James had almost reached Seth, when a terrified gasp made him stop and turn around in alarm.

Lily had heard it as well. She whirled around and saw a bunch of Slytherins coming down the hall. It was obvious that it had been Carina who had gasped. She ran back towards her friends, all thoughts of Seth thrust out of her mind.

Sirius and Remus had Carina behind them, protecting her. They were sort of forming a shield for her.

Lily and James reached them, and James jumped next to Sirius and took out his wand, aiming it for the approaching Slytherins.

Lily and Aria each took one of Carina's hands. "Don't worry. The guys will distract them, and we'll get away." Aria told her friend. She caught Sirius' eye and he nodded. "When I say so, take Carina and run. They won't get her. Don't stop until you've reached the common room. My sister will NOT be having any encounters with Snivellus anytime soon. She won't be marrying him.

Aria and Lily nodded.

By now the Slytherins were half way down the hall. Remus recognized Snape, Bellatrix Black, Lucius Malfoy, and 4 other seventh years he was sure were called Nott, Avery, Crabbe, and Goyle.

The odds were against them already, and when Lily, Aria and Carina ran, it would be three against seven. Not that encouraging.

"Just hand over the girl, and nobody gets hurt." said Bellatrix in her lazy drawl.

Sirius sneered at his cousin. "No."

"Severus only wishes to speak with his future wife." Lucius Malfoy sneered.

Remus glared. "She won't be marrying that git." he told the Slytherins. They snickered. Remus was beginning to get angry.

"She won't, not if I have anything to do with it."

Snape sneered at him. "Let me assure you, you don't have any say in the matter. She's promised to me. There is no way that she can get out of it, unless of course she already married." He scoffed. "And that isn't about to happen."

The wheels in Remus' head were turning, but he didn't answer, so James took matters into his own hands. "Get out of here. She doesn't want to talk to you, and she won't." he said forcefully.

The Slytherins just laughed.

Sirius turned his head slightly and nodded briefly to Aria. She instantly squeezed Carina's hand, and they began to inch backward.

Bellatrix noticed this movement. "You come back here you little bitch. Stupify!"

Lily yanked her friend away from the course of the spell, and the jet of red light hit the floor.

"Expelliarmious!" Lily cried out, pointing her wand at Bellatrix. The wand flew out of her hand, and James caught it.

Soon, a war broke out among the 13 students. Jinxes and curses were flying left and right.

Lily saw Snape trying to come foreword and she jumped in front of him. "Get back. She isn't going to talk to you."

He sneered. "Shut up mudblood." Unfortunately for him, James heard him, and Snape instantly found himself with a black eye. Malfoy had taken this opportunity to send a curse at Lily. She fell to the ground, pain corrupting her body, but nobody noticed.

Aria suddenly caught sight of Snape trying to get to Carina. She instantly grabbed her friend's hand. Carina looked at her, her eyes wide with fear. "Come on. Lets get to the tower before Snape comes." Carina nodded instantly, and 5 minutes later, they were gone.

Snape realized this, and howled. "She's not here!"

All of a sudden, a voice came out of nowhere. "STOP THIS IMMEDIATELY! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?"

Everybody froze and turned to look at Professor McGonagle who had appeared at the end of the hall.

She walked brusquely towards them, her mouth in an extremely thin line. She looked around and spotted Lily, who was now sitting on the ground, nursing James' broken nose while he tried to squirm out of her grasp.

"Ms. Evans! What is going on here?!" McGonagle demanded to know. Lily gulped, and stopped trying to help James, who gratefully pulled away.

"The Slytherins were trying to get to Carina to do god knows what to her, and then before you know it, this happened." she tried to explain.

"And you did not see fit to come find a teacher, or put a stop to this yourself. You and Potter are head students! Shame on you!"

Lily blushed, and stared at the ground. McGonagle swerved around at glared at the Slytherin students, several of which were sporting minor injuries. "Is this true?" she questioned angrily.

None of the Slytherins answered, save for Bellatrix. "Of course not. She makes it look like we're the bad guys. We didn't do anything wrong. We were walking down the hall, spotted the Black girl, Severus wanted to talk to her, and these Gryffindors blew it all out of proportion."

James, Sirius, Remus and Lily glared.

Professor McGonagle clenched her jaw and examined the two groups of students. Finally, she spoke. "60 points from both Slytherin and Gryffindor for fighting in the halls, and detention for each of you. Be thankful it isn't more. Potter, Black, Evans... head down to the hospital wing. Madame Pomfrey should be able to clean you up. You 7, stay for a minute." she said, referring to the Slytherins.

The four nodded and headed for the Hospital Wing. James was watching Lily. What was McGonagle on about? Lily's fine! he watched her from the corner of his eye while Sirius and Remus talked about killing Snape, and hoping that Aria and Carina had made it back okay.

Lily was walking gingerly, making sure she didn't know that she was hurting. Nobody had noticed Malfoy use a curse on her. She didn't even know what it was, but it sure hurt like hell. She was sore all over, and it hurt to move. She bit her lip, hoping nobody would notice.

"Lily, what's wrong?" came James' voice. Lily sighed. How in the world does he know? She pasted a fake smile on her face. "Nothing, I'm fine." she told him a little too cheerfully.

Neither James, Sirius or Remus was convinced. "That's bull. What's wrong?" Sirius asked her, putting an arm around her shoulders. Lily tried not to wince, but she was unsuccessful. Sirius pulled his arm away immediately.

"No, seriously. What's wrong?" asked Remus, sounding concerned. Lily sighed, and looked at the faces of the three guys around her. "Not that much... one of them hit me with some sort of curse that caused pain..." she told them, trying to make it sound as if it were no big deal.

Needless to say, they didn't buy it.

"What curse was it?" Remus asked.

"Are you still hurting?" James asked her, concerned. Inside he was raging mad. I'll kill whoever it was. Right after I kill Snape. Unless it was Snape who did it. Then I'll kill him twice...

Lily didn't look any of them in the eye. "I don't know what it was. I didn't hear the curse." She decided to ignore James' question.

"Who was it?" asked Sirius angrily. James made a mental note to thank Padfoot later for asking that so he didn't have to. If he had, Lily probably would have yelled at him and not told him... or something...

"I don't know." she lied.

"Lily!" Remus said. "You don't fool any of us. Who was it?"

She looked up angrily. "It doesn't make a difference! So please, lets just shut up and go to the Hospital Wing so that James can get his nose fixed, and Sirius can get rid of that black eye.

"I have a black eye?" Sirius asked. They passed a mirror on the wall and he looked in it. "Well, what do you know. I do."

Remus rolled his eyes. "And so that we can get something for you to take for the pain that your still in."

Lily glared at her friend. How did he knew her so well? "I'm not in any pain!" she told him stubbornly.

Sirius threw his arm around her shoulders again and squeezed slightly. Lily breathed in sharply as a sharp pain shot through her. James noticed this and he pushed Sirius off her. "Hell your not in any pain!" he cried.

Finally, they reached the Hospital wing and stepped inside. Madame Pomfrey came bustling out of her office. She spotted James and Sirius immediately and began tending to their wounds. 10 minutes later, their minor injuries were completely healed.

"Okay, come on let's go!" Lily said, heading for the door.

"Oh no!" James exclaimed, rushing foreword to catch her. He blocked the door. "You have to let Madame Pomfrey heal you first." She glared at him.

"I am perfectly fine! Now move!"

James shook his head. "No!"

Madame Pomfrey walked over to see what the fuss was about. "What's going on?"

Remus butt in. "Lily's in pain, and she doesn't want you to help her..."

"'Cause she's too proud to say that she got hurt." put in Sirius. Lily shot him an evil look. He grinned cheekily at her.

Madame Pomfrey looked at her. "Are you in pain dear?"

Lily shook her head. "No! I'm fine!" she insisted. James scoffed. He reached out and squeezed her arm, not hard at all, but Lily gave a small, pitiful whimper.

James withdrew his hand immediately, feeling guilty for causing Lily pain. Madame Pomfrey was frowning. "Why are you in such pain child?" she asked, leading her over to a bed gently.

Lily sighed and finally gave up. She allowed Madame Pomfrey to sit her onto one of the beds, but winced when she moved even the slightest bit.

"Well... what happened?" The nurse asked again. Lily tried to shrug, but found that it hurt too much, so she said, "I got hit with a curse. I don't know what one it was or who sent it."

Sirius, James and Remus exchanged knowing, triumphant looks, and James pulled a chair over to where Lily was sitting. Sirius followed suit. Remus remained standing. "I'm going to go check on Carina and Aria, make sure they got back okay. If you aren't back in a few hours, we'll be back."

James and Sirius nodded, but Lily scowled. "I won't be here for that long." she told him. Madame Pomfrey rolled her eyes as she looked through her Potion's Cabinet.

Remus grinned. "Right... See ya! Hope you feel better Lils."

She just glared at him, and he chuckled before heading out the door.


He walked swiftly to the Gryffindor Tower, and upon entering the portrait hole, instantly spotted Carina and Aria sitting on the sofa next to the fire. He walked over and sat down next to his girlfriend, and found that she was crying.

He wrapped his arms around her at once and held her tight while she cried. He gave Aria a questioning look, but she shook her head, indicating that she either didn't know, or couldn't talk about it.

Remus wasn't stupid. He knew that the reason that Carina was crying had something to do with her parents arriving the next day. But, as the next day was Saturday, he was not letting Carina out of his sight the entire day. Actually, he was going to make sure she stayed in Gryffindor Tower the whole time.

They sat in silence for a little while before Aria spoke. "Where are the others?" she asked.

"Hospital Wing." Carina looked up into his face, looking worried. "What happened? Is everybody okay?" she asked frantically.

Remus nodded. "Sirius and James are perfectly fine." he assured them. Carina and Aria nodded and waited, but when Remus didn't answer they got impatient.

"What about Lily?"

"She's... convinced that she's fine..." Remus told them, not meeting their eyes.

Aria hit him. "What happened to Lily?" she demanded to know.

"One of them hit her with some sort of spell, but she won't say who or what the spell was. I don't know if she even knows. But, it made her be in a lot of pain. Sirius put his arm around her and it was as if she was sore all over or something. She didn't want to go to the hospital wing, but James forced her to." He chuckled slightly.

"But she's okay right?" Remus nodded. "Uh huh, but Madame Pomfrey made her stay. Don't worry about her. If she's not back in a few hours, we'll go check on her, but I'm willing to bed that James won't let her out anyway."

Aria laughed. "Those two... they're like an old married couple."

"That they are." Remus said, smiling. Carina just smiled weakly.

Remus hugged her tighter, and Aria suddenly got the feeling that they needed to be alone. She cleared her throat, and said "I'm going to head to the Hospital Wing now. If I don't get there, Lily might have James' head chewed off, and Sirius isn't strong enough to stop it." She winked, and left the common room.

Remus looked down at his beautiful girlfriend once more. "Are you gonna be okay?" he asked her quietly.

Carina looked up into his concerned, gorgeous blue eyes before burrowing her face into his chest. "I don't know." she finally said. "I.. I just.. I was hoping that I would never have to see them again after Sirius got me away this summer, and tomorrow they are going to be here, at the castle... and what's worse... they're coming to set me up with Snape..." Tears poured down her eyes, and she felt Remus grip her tighter.

"You won't have to see them. I'm going to make sure of it. James' parents are coming in with some people from the Ministry though, to talk to your parents. But, We'll stay here all day, the guys can bring us food. And if they come up here looking for us, we'll escape on broomsticks or something." Carina smiled slightly. She couldn't help but have faith in him. She looked up at him, smiling, before her smile disappeared.

"I never did tell you why Sirius had to come and rescue me did I?.. No... I haven't told anybody. Not even Lily or Aria... Sirius is the only one who knows..." Tears started running down her cheeks again.

Remus wiped them away. "You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to.." he told her in a soft voice.

She nodded her head. "I know... but.. I want to... I need to..." Remus nodded and waited for her to talk. She took a deep breath.

"Okay, well... I was only there without Sirius for... 2 or 3 days at the most... but it was the worst 3 days of my life... At first, it wasn't so bad. They just got me to do all of the cleaning, over and over again, but that was normal anyway. Then they'd confine me in my room with no food or water or anything... but they used to do that anyway too, but never for so long. I think they gave me 2 pieces of bread and a glass of water the whole time... but anyway... after a few hours, my Mother would come in and start screaming about how I was an ugly, mudblood loving slacker, and then she'd get me to do more work... the usual... but then... when father would come home, he'd spend hours in the kitchen drinking, and then he'd come up to my room... when he was in a good mood, he'd just slap me around a bit, and I’d occasionally get thrown into a wall or something... but after Sirius left, he was in a terrible mood, and he and Regulus took it all out on me..."

She stopped there, trying to collect her thoughts so that she could continue. She took another shaky breath and plunged on.

"At first they started kicking and punching me, and then... then they'd use me as target practice with their wands. They used all sorts of jinxes, hexes, and mostly curses on me. I hadn't even heard of most of the curses they had used. Then... my father.. he started to favour the Cruciatus Curse..."

At this point, Remus hugged her to him fiercely. He couldn't stand that the Black's had treated their own children like that. He knew that they didn't treat Sirius or Carina good, but he had no idea that they were physically abusing them, and to that extent... the Cruciatus curse! Remus had read somewhere that having that particular curse performed upon you was 20 times more painful than a Werewolf transformation, and he knew how incredibly painful that was.

Anger pulsed through his veins. He was going to get revenge for Carina. Her parents would not go unpunished.

"He kept saying how that what he was doing to me was only a taster. That if I didn't see his way, something worse would happen. I heard him talking to Regulus the night Sirius came to get me. He was... he was going to rape me... my own brother... It's disgusting... and just plain wrong... but then Sirius came and took me away. I was planning on never seeing them ever again."

She finished telling her story, and the tears were now starting to form quite a wet spot on her boyfriend's shirt. He didn't care though. His heart bled for Carina. He wanted to make all of the pain she had to go through disappear. It really wasn't fair.

After a while of just holding each other in their arms, Remus cleared his throat. "I have something to tell you as well. I know that I have to be honest with you, and after I tell you, I won't be surprised if you run out of the room screaming... but just know that I... I... I love you."

Remus stopped talking when he saw the look on Carina's face. He was extremely nervous at the moment. For one thing, he had just told his girlfriend of 2 weeks that he loved her, and he was about to tell her the thing that ruined his life.

Carina had a million emotions going through her head. He... he loves me... This sunk in, and Carina felt herself smiling widely, tears still pouring down her face. Those three small words... how was it that they made her feel so safe? Her problems about her family seemed a million miles away. Remus loved her, and she knew she felt the same.

"I love you too." she whispered. Remus let out the breath he hadn't known he was holding and kissed Carina tenderly before pulling away. He looked her in the eye, and opened his mouth. He was terrified.

"Okay.. what I have to tell you... I.. I'm a Werewolf." he cringed and waited for her to scream and run.

Carina's eyes widened and she drew back from him slightly, studying him. Oh my god... my poor Remus. Life is so cruel sometimes! I can't imagine all the pain he has to go through... all the torture... all the ridicule...and I thought I had it bad...

A fresh flow of tears erupted from Carina's eyes and Remus mistook them as a bad sign. He stared at the floor, downcast. Therefore, he was extremely surprised when Carina threw her arms around him, hugging him tight.

"Oh my god!" she sobbed, "You poor child!! Life is so unfair! Why didn't you tell me before?"

Remus pulled away, still in shock that she wasn't running for the hills. He shrugged. "I was scared. The only people who know are James, Sirius, Peter, Lily and some of the teachers."

She cocked her head and looked up at him. "Why were you scared? It's not like I would have liked you less for it. You can't help who you are. Your only a wolf once a month. It doesn't affect who you are on the inside."

Remus heart felt as if it would burst. He smiled nervously at her and she cuddled up next to him again.

They sat there in comfortable, loving silence for a little while. They didn't need words. They both knew that the other would love them no matter what happened, forever...

But, exactly, how long is forever?

***

"I am perfectly FINE! How many times do I have to tell you that? I can go back to the common room! I'm perfectly perfect!" Lily cried out in frustration from her bed in the hospital wing.

So far, Madame Pomfrey had poured at least 7 different potions down her throat, each of them utterly disgusting. She had to say, she didn't exactly feel all that better, but she wasn't about to let the nurse, James, and Sirius know that.

Sirius and James were sitting on chairs on the left side of her bed, watching her amusedly, while Madame Pomfrey fussed about, trying to find more Potions.

Madame Pomfrey had her back turned, and Lily seized the opportunity. She leaped out of bed and ran for the door.

"Lily! Get back here!" came James' voice. She didn't answer, she had reached the door. She reached out to open the door when it swung open and hit her in the nose.

"OW!" she cried out in pain. Lily could hear James and Sirius roaring with laughter behind her, and she shot them icy glares through her watering eyes.

Aria stepped into the room. "Oh my god Lily!! I'm so sorry!"

Lily was clutching her nose. "I think it's broken." she announced, tears streaming down her face. Of course, breaking her nose was all the more painful than it should have been, because she was still suffering the after-effects of whatever curse had been sent at her.

Aria led Lily back to her bed, where she reluctantly sat down. Sirius and James were still laughing uncontrollably. She hit James, who was nearest. "It isn't funny Potter!"

Sirius nodded, clutching his chest. "Yes... yes it is!"

Madame Pomfrey came back, and saw Lily holding her nose. She rolled her eyes and immediately set to work on healing her broken nose before searching for another Potion.

Once Lily's nose was healed, she sat on her bed, with her arms crossed over her chest, glowering at the sheets. Suddenly, she turned to Aria. "How's Cari?" she asked.

Aria's face melted into a frown. "She was crying. She really is terrified. But then Remus showed up, and he was doing a better job of comforting her so I came to check on you. What happened to you anyway?"

Lily shrugged, ignoring the sharp pain that had run through her body at the movement. "Some curse..." Aria looked at her skeptically, and Lily averted her attention to James and Sirius. Sirius was fumbling with the hem of his robe, glaring at it, lost in thought. Lily glanced at James, and found herself looking into his concerned, gorgeous hazel eyes.

Lily suddenly felt naked. She was all too aware of everything going on around her, and she felt as if James could read her thoughts. She was very uncomfortable, but calm at the same time.

Then, she realized what she was doing and she quickly looked away, blushing slightly, and annoyed to see that Madame Pomfrey had returned, with yet another potion. She groaned. "Isn't that enough Potions?"

The nurse sent her an impudent glare. "This is for something... different... it's something for a specific curse, it won't do anything if it wasn't what you were hit with.

Lily shrugged, plugged her nose, and downed the potion in one gulp. She put the goblet down and made a face. "Ew."

Almost instantly, Lily felt a warmness spread from her mouth to the very tips of her toes, and she stopped hurting. She smiled, relieved, and looked back up at an anxious looking Madame Pomfrey.

"Did it work?" she asked nervously. Lily nodded, slightly confused by the look on the nurse's face. She was frowning. Wasn't she supposed to be happy that the potion worked? Lily sure as hell was. She hated the hospital wing. Lily wanted to be a healer, but she hated hospitals. She hated the smell. It smelled of 'morbid death and lost hopes' to her. She absolutely detested hospitals. If she was going to become a healer, she would have to have her own office or something... or maybe healing just wasn't for her.

"Very well." Madame Pomfrey said, before turning back around and leaving.

Lily watched her go hopefully. "Does that mean I can leave?"

"Not a chance."

Lily pouted. "But I'm fine! Madame Pomfrey, you can't keep me here forever!"

The nurse just shook her head and kept walking. Lily glared at her retreating figure.

"You've only been in here 25 minutes." said James.

She hit him again. "Oh shut up."

Suddenly, the door of the hospital wing flew open and a boy ran in, looking breathless. "Oh my GOD Lily! I came as soon as I heard! Are you okay? Are you hurt?"

The four friends stared at the boy in disbelief. James and Sirius exchanged looks that plainly read 'What the hell?'

"What are you doing here?" Lily asked, her voice icy.

Lily, Aria, Sirius, and James glared daggers at the Ravenclaw as well.

He didn't seem to notice. Seth Daniels walked up to her bed and grinned at her. "Just making sure that my girlfriend is okay after encountering a bunch of Slytherins!"

Lily stared at the boy, incredulus. Didn't I just dump this guy? I did just slap him and bitch off at him... right? What is his problem?

"Okay...?" Lily said in a voice of forced calm, "Um... WHAT?"

Chapter 8: The Ugly Woman Who Screams like a Banshee
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[A/N] Heyyy!! Sorry this took so long.. but at least I got it up riiight??? LoL. I hope you all like this one...

Please Read/Review... and remember.. i own NOTHINGGG!! =D



Chapter 8 - The Ugly Woman Who Screams like a Banshee


Seth stood at the end of Lily's hospital bed and smiled innocently at her. "I asked you if you were feeling better sweet pea."

Lily stared at him, incredibly confused. "Seth... don't you remember that... that conversation we just had about an hour ago?"

He nodded enthusiastically. "Of course I remember! I asked you not to walk with some guy, and you pleasantly agreed!"Lily didn't know how to react. Was this dude insane or something?

She just stared at him in utter confusion.

At this point, Aria and Sirius, who were standing with James behind Lily, glaring at Seth in dusgust, felt the need to butt in."What are you going on about you freak?" Sirius exclaimed, walking forwords.

Seth just smiled at him, and didn't answer. Aria folded her arms across her chest and sent a peircing glare at Seth. He barely even flinched. "Did you miss the telling off that Lily gave you?" she asked in a condescending tone of voice.

Seth ignored Sirius and Aria, and walked towards Lily. He put his arm around her shoulders, much like Remus had been doing earlier, and sighed contentedly. "I'm so glad you're my girlfriend! You're beautiful, and I'm beautiful. It's a perfect match!"

Lily froze, and had a look of disgust on her face. James began to get angry, and he walked up and pushed Seth off Lily. "What the hell do you think you're doing! You bloody broke up! And don't act like you don't remember it! We all heard it! Bloody Hell, people in CHINA heard it!" Lily flushed slightly at this, but let it go as she watched Seth's face contort into one of confusion.

"I don't know what you're talking about man." Seth said, backing away from James. "We never broke up..."

Lily suddenly found her voice and rounded on her former boyfriend. "We DID break up this morning! And if you don't remember it, then let me spell it out for you! We-are-no-longer-together. Good bye!"

Seth looked shocked, and he backed towards the door. "Um... Wow. I had no idea you wanted to break up Lily. I'll just be going then..."

And then he ran out of the hospital wing, his arms flailing pathetically. The 4 watched him leave, both annoyed and confused. After a few minutes, Lily just shook her head.

"Well... I feel much better. Let's go!" she said cheerily, heading for the door.

She was nearly there when the door burst open again, causing Lily to jump backwards with fright. She looked up scowling and saw Remus and Carina standing there. Lily glared at them. They were blocking the door.

"We were just leaving." Lily told them, trying to push her way past Remus.

James rolled his eyes and said lazily "Remus, don't let her go."

Remus instantly, forced Lily back to her hospital bed, where she sat glowering at all of her friends. "I am fine you know. That potion worked!" She poked herself in the arm. "See?" She smacked herself in the head, causing her head to start throbbing again, but she ignored it. "See! Perfectly fine!"

The rest of them ignored her and sat around her bed. "What was that potion for anyway?" asked Aria, after a long silence. Everybody shrugged. "Dunno."

Madame Pomfrey apparantly heard Aria ask this question and she came over, smiling sadly. "It was for the Cruciatus Curse my dears."

There was a shock-filled silence, before Lily broke the silence. "Oh. That's why it hurt so damn much then." she said, stating the obvious. She spoke mostly to herself, but they all still heard.

James was fuming. He was trying not to show it, but he wouldn't have been surprised if steam was coming out of his ears. He was so angry. "Lily..." he said in low voice, trying not to show any emotion. She turned to look at him, biting her lip. "Who was it?"

It was a demand, not a question. Lily heard his serious voice, so out of character and she refused to look at him. The truth was, she knew exactly who had cursed her, but she didn't want her friends to know and go after him themselves, which they no doubtedly would, especially Sirius and James. And then they would get in trouble, maybe even expelled... but there was another reason why she didn't want to tell. She was scared that after he was punished enough, he would come and put her under the spell again, and she never wanted to experiance that pain again.

"Lily, look at me." James said sternly. Lily didn't want to, but she found herself looking up at him and staring into his hazel eyes. His voice was demanding, low, and emotionless, but his eyes betrayed him. They were narrowed in anger, concern and determination. "Who put the spell on you?"

Aria, Carina, Sirius and Remus were staring at James as if he were nuts. They all knew that Lily was incredibly stubborn, and if she wanted to keep something from them, she would. Also, he was demanding her to do something, which is not something that you should do with Lily... take how She and Seth broke up for example. They were waiting for her to blow up at him because... well... she was Lily Evans, and he was James Potter. Enough said.

Lily found herself breaking under James' gaze. She couldn't lie to him. She didn't know why, but at that moment, she just couldn't. "Lucius Malfoy." she muttered, finally breaking eye contact.

James nodded curtly, and tore his eyes away from Lily to look at his other 4 bewildered friends. His gaze met Sirius' and he nodded, turned swiftly and started to walk for the doors.

Lily sat up in bed and glared at him. "You two get back here." she said in an icy voice, used to cover up her worry.

James and Sirius heard her tone of voice and stopped walking abruptly. Each slowly turned and looked at her. "Sit down. You will not go kick Malfoy's ass. Sit." she ordered, furious with herself for breaking and telling them who it had been.

The two boys knew better than to defy Lily and go kill Malfoy, but it didn't mean that they wouldn't later. They returned to their seats and Lily seemed to read their minds.

"Don't you dare go and try to kill him later either. Let him be. He's a vile peice of filth, you don't need to descend to his level." She watched their faces, but both were unmoving and passive. "Please... you could get kicked out of school, and you have bigger things to worry about then some blonde freak. Please?" she asked with a hint of urgency in her voice.

"She's right you know." spoke up Aria. Sirius turned to look at her, and sighed. He knew it too. He had enough on his mind as it was... after all, his parents were coming to Hogwarts tomorrow. He buried his face in his hands. Damn.

***

Carina woke up the next morning to the soft pitter-patter of raindrops on the window. She didn't open her eyes as she remembered what was happening today. Panic flooded her, and she pulled the blankets over her head, determined to stay there the whole day if she had to. She was not going to see her mother and father.

Meanwhile, Sirius, James, Remus, Peter, Lily and Aria were downstairs, sitting in silence, speaking very seldom. Sirius stared solemnly out the window at the rain that was coming down in torrents. The grey weather matched his mood terrifically, although it would have been better suited if there were cracks of lightning every now and then.

Nobody was speaking, just staring at nothing in particular in a tense silence. Aria glanced at the clock. It was 10:38 AM. She sighed. None of them had left the room for food, and Carina hadn't even made an apearance although Aria knew that she was awake. Carina didn't sleep in this late normally.

Suddenly, James' stomach let out a rather loud growl. Everybody fixed their attention to him and he blushed slightly, but shrugged. Everybody looked away, save for Sirius. "Go get some food mate." he said in a soft voice, breaking the silence.

James furrowed his brow, looking thoughtful. Finally he spoke. "Me and Pete can go get food enough for all of us. Somebody go get Cari. She needs food too."

Aria nodded and stood up. "I'll go talk to her." James nodded, and he and Peter exited the portrait hole quietly, while Aria made her way up to the girl's dormitory.

Lily watched her friend disappear up the stairs, and she leaned back in her chair and gave a great sigh. She was terribly worried about her friends. She was hoping against hope that Mr. and Mrs. Black wouldn't come today, and leave everybody in peace, but she knew that her hopes weren't about to come true. Anger coursed through her body at the memory of Sirius when he had shown up at the Hospital last July, and of Carina when she had joined them afterwords. They were sick, vile people, who didn't deserve to have children as good as Sirius and Carina.


Aria reached the door to the dormitory and only hesitated for a moment before slowly opening the door. She walked in and saw that the curtains around Carina's four-poster were still tightly shut. She sighed and walked over to her friends bed. Pulling open the curtains, she said softly, "Cari?"

Carina, who had tensed up when she had heard footsteps and the door opening, now relaxed immensely. She recognized that voice. It was only Aria. She didn't say anything, but Aria knew that she was awake.

She sat down at the end of Carina's bed but didn't say anything for a few minutes. Finally, she opened her mouth and spoke. "Cari, get up sweetie. Everybody is waiting for you downstairs, and James and Peter are gone to get food."

Aria watched the bundle of blankets for the slightest movement. She didn't find any, so she pushed the blankets back and stared down at her friend, who was wincing from the light. She looked horrible. Her eyes were puffy, her face had tearstains all over them, and she was sweating.

Aria's heart went out to the girl, but she restrained herself from throwing her arms around her friend. "Sweetheart, don't you want to come downstairs with Remus, Sirius, James, Lily and I?"

Carina looked up at her with wide, puffy, pale blue eyes, but didn't say anything. Aria knew that her friend was scared. She would be too, and she absolutely detested the Black's for what they put their children through. She didn't know all of it, but she certainly knew that Carina and Sirius were abused.

"Honey, they aren't down there. They can't get down there. They were in Slytherin remember? Come down into the common room with the rest of us. We'll protect you if they come, and besides, you'll feel better with company than being up here all by yourself."

Carina sat up in her bed, hugging her pillow tightly to her chest. "I don't know." she whispered, tears filling her pretty eyes. "I'm still scared."

Aria couldn't help it, she wrapped her arms around her best friend and squeezed tight. Carina just sat there, allowing herself to be hugged by her friend, but feeling somewhat better for it.

"Come on sweetie, you don't need to be scared. Big, strong Remus is down there remember? He would never let them get at you. And don't forget your big, overprotective brother, and his big overprotective best friend." Aria told her sincerely.

Carina pulled away and looked down at her bed, fumbling with the blankets. Slowly, she nodded. "Okay." she whispered. Aria gave her another quick hug before getting up off the bed and leading Carina down into the common room.

When they reached the common room, Aria led her friend over to Remus, who instantly took her into his arms. Sirius couldn't look at her. He hated to see his sister like that. He always felt so useless.

Lily's heart was breaking as well. She didn't know what to do. She just sat on the edge of the loveseat hugging a pillow to her chest and staring at the fire.

They sat in silence for a little while, with the only noise being the cracking of the dying fire, and the wind and rain raging outside, pounding against the windows.

Finally, James and Peter came back with a big basket of food. Sirius conjured up a table, and James spread the food on it. There were muffins, bagels, toast, and fruit.

Everybody reluctantly took something to eat except Carina, who was staring at a random spot of the floor.

"Cari... come on sweetheart, eat something..." Remus tried to persuade her. She merely shook her head.

Lily stood up and picked up a blueberry muffin and brought it to her, knowing it was her favorite kind. "Please Rina, eat something..." she pleaded.

Carina just looked up at her. "I'm not hungry." she told them.

Sirius was determined to get her to eat, and he knew how to do it too. He had had to force his twin to eat before, and more than once. He pulled her into a tight hug, and hauled her off of Remus' lap so that she was sitting on the couch between the two boys. He held her close to him and rubbed her back, whispering unknown things into her ear. The others couldn't hear, but they were watching in facination.

Sirius was whispering happy things to his sister. Small things that most would consider boring and unimportant, but these small things were what made their childhood berable.

Remus watched his girlfriends face, which was still sad, until she smiled slightly, surprising them all. Sirius whispered something else to her, and she let out a short laugh.

Sirius then began to softly sing a song. "Too ra loo ra loo ra... Too ra loo ra li... Too ra loo ra loo ra... Hush now don't you cry..."

It was an Irish Lullabye, and Sirius was a wonderful singer. He sang it so softly that he was almost whispering it, but the room was so quiet that Lily, James, Remus and Aria all heard it too. They held their breath, wondering what Sirius was going to do next.

Carina closed her eyes, reminiscing when Sirius would sing her that same lullaby. It was how he used to get her to sleep, after their father had beaten them, or when their mother didn't feel like giving them any food. That song would always calm her down, and remind her of her brother. He was always talking care of her, it seemed.

James stared at his two friends, feeling sad, frustrated, and in awe how well Sirius could take care of his sister. He felt a pang in his chest as he looked at her. He had known her as long as he had known Sirius, and they were very close. It was so frustrating how he couldn't help them, besides the fact that his parents were coming soon with some of their Ministry friends. He hoped that they would get there soon, before the Blacks did.

Suddenly, Sirius' hand shot out, and he took the muffin that was still in Lily's hand. He held it in front of Carina. "Please eat it Rina..."

Carina looked at the muffin for a moment, and then she took a bite out of it. Sirius smiled and leaned back, proud of himself, but didn't say anything. What was there to say?

***

The 7 friends stayed in the common room all day. They never left, save to get food. Even then, only a few people went at a time, and neither Carina, Sirius, or Remus stepped foot outside of the portrait hole all day.

They were waiting anxiously for James' parents to get there, trying to distact Carina by playing chess or cards, or telling stories, reading magazines, the girls doing each other's hair, and more... but the time seemed to be slowing down.

Finally, around 2:00, the portrait hole swung open, and Professor McGonagle stood there with Mr. and Mrs. Potter, Sarah, and 2 other people that James recognized. They were Mr. and Mrs. Bones from the 'International Magical Office of Law' Department at the Ministry of Magic.

Sarah ran into the room smiling her adorable, wide smile and jumped into James' arms, her raven hair flying everywhere. "Jameee!" she yelled, wrapping her arms around her brother's neck.

James smiled and hugged his little sister back. "Hey Munchkin!" he said, before putting her down. Sarah looked around a bit before her gaze landed on Lily.

"Lily!!" she yelled, and threw herself on the surprised red head. Lily just laughed and hugged the small child back. "Hi Sarah!" she said sweetly, before letting her down, and letting the little girl clobber both Sirius and Carina, then Aria, and then Remus.

James smiled, watching her little sister greet all of his friends. He loved the little girl to peices, and suddenly he realized sort of what Sirius was going through. He had no idea what he would do if Sarah was in Carina's predicament. He just prayed that nothing bad would happen to his little sister.

But unfortunately... prayers sometimes go unanswered...

By now, Mr. and Mrs. Bones were talking to Sirius and Carina. The rest of them decided to leave their friends alone, and they sat down on the other side of the room, listening to Sarah talk a mile a minute about a new friend who had moved in down the street.

Professor McGonagle then left with the Bones' , and everybody was just lounging around. Suddenly, Professor McGonagle appeared at the portrait hole once more, this time with a grim look on her face. Everybody froze.

"Carina, your parents have come to talk to you. Will you please come with me?"

Carina just shook her head violently. "No! I don't want to see them ever again! I won't marry that vile... thing! I'm not going to see them!" she shouted, tears pouring down her beautiful face. Remus reached for her and took ahold of her hand.

McGonagle shook her head sadly. "Ms. Black, please come with me... Mr. and Mrs. Bones will sort everything out..."

"No!" she yelled hysterically, and then she ran up to the girl's dorms.

The rest of the friends looked at each other worriedly. Professor McGonagle just shook her head once more and left, the portrait swinging shut behind her.

"Come on... we're getting up there... Pete, go stall McGonagle or try to seal the place off, then go up to the boys dorms, and ignore my parents if they go up there. Pretend you don't know us okay?" Sirius ordered him.

Peter nodded, and left the portrait hole. "Prongs, Moony... we need our brooms. Come on.."

The three boys ran up to their dorms as Lily picked up Sarah. She and Aria rushed up to the girls dorms to find Carina. They walked into their dorm to find Carina in her bed, rocking back and forth, clutching her knees to her chest, staring at the door. Her face was as white as a ghost.

Aria instantly rushed to her friend's side and wrapped her arms around her, not saying anything. Lily put Sarah down, and sat down at the end of the bed. Sarah just stood there, staring at Carina, her face pure and innocent.

"Don't cry Carina, it'll be okay..." Sarah said in her soft, sweet voice. Carina looked at the small girl before flinging her arms open and hugging the child fiercly.

At that moment, the three boys flew into the room on their brooms. They stopped for a moment, watching the scene before them, their hearts panging in sympathy for Carina, and seeing the small girl in her arms, making them smile softly at her innocence.

The three boys dismounted their brooms and shut the door. Lily locked the door with a spell, and they all squeezed onto Carina's bed, all touching in some way, letting Carina know that they wouldn't let her parents come get her, and strengthening her.

They sat there for a few minutes, each lost in their own train of thought. Sirius was staring angrily at the door, and Lily and James were trying to entertain Sarah by telling her a story, Lily forgetting for a moment that she was supposed to hate James. Remus was hugging Cari into him tightly, as of he was afraid to let her go, and her face was pressed up against his chest, her eyes closed, trying to calm herself down. Aria was just sitting there, thinking about nothing in particular, just letting ramdom thoughts enter and exit her brain.

Suddenly there was a tap at the window. Everybody froze, and Carina clutched onto Remus' arm tightly, her delicate fingers turning white with strain.

It was an owl.

It tapped on the glass again, more urgently than the first time. Aria, who was closest to the window, got up slowly and passed to the window. She hesitated with her hand over the latch, but then threw the window open.

To her great surprise, the owl stuck out it's leg for Aria to untie the peice of parchment. She took the letter from the owl and read it.


Aria,
I don't know if this is a bad time, but I haven't seen you all day, and I need to talk to you.
Please, it's urgent...
I just realized something... and it's sort of freaking me out...
Please meet me in the great hall?
Love,
Travis


Aria immeditately began scribbling on the back of the parchment.

"Who's it from?" asked James.

Aria quickly looked up and bit her lip. "Travis... he wants me to come see him..." Sirius moved his gaze from the door to the owl, his eyes narrowing, but not changing his angry expression. He watched as she looked back down at the parchment, scribbled something else, and then sent the owl back to it's owner before sitting back down on the bed. He scowled and glared at the door again.

"You can go if you want..." Carina said in a frail voice, breaking the silence once more.

Aria just shook her head. "No way. You are more important than him."

Carina opened her mouth to speak again, when a terrifying, shrill scream met their ears. "WHERE IS SHE?? LET ME THROUGH YOU STUPID PICTURE! I HAVE TO SEE MY ... DAUGHTER ...!!! LET ME IN I TELL YOU!!!!"

Sirius head flew around. She was here. His awful mother was here at the school. He caught sight of Carina, wrapped up in Remus' arms. He had to do something to get her out of there.

"MRS. BLACK! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED...." James heard his mother scream, but Sirius' mum cut her off.

"TO HELL WITH NOT BEING ALLOWED IN HERE! I HAVE TO SEE HER! SHE IS GOING TO MARRY SEVERUS!!!"

Sarah's eyes widened at the screaming. She clung to her brother's leg, whimpering while James looked around frantically. He had to get his friend out of there... he heard footsteps bounding up the stairs, and Mrs. Black screeching her head off. His eyes met Sirius' dark, anxious ones, and he shook his head. He didn't know what to do!

Lily was gripping Carina's hand tightly, trying to reassure her as they heard the pounding of the steps. She was almost there. Suddenly, something caught her eye and she jumped off the bed. "The brooms! We can fly out!" she yelled.

Sirius didn't stop to think, he just followed Lily's advice, wondering to hell why he hadn't thought of that. He grabbed his broom, mounted it, and motioned for his sister to join him.

She ran to the broom and got on behind her brother. Lily opened the window. "We'll be right behind you, although somebody has to stay behind... Go!"

They didn't need telling twice. Within seconds they were out the window into the pouring rain.

"I'll stay. Remus and Lily can get on one broom, Sarah and James get on the other. I'll come outside as soon as I can." Aria said, pushing the two other brooms into her friends' hands. They nodded, and mounted the brooms quickly. There was a pounding at the door, and Sarah started to cry.

Once she was alone, Aria threw herself on her bed and grabbed a book, making herself look as if she were reading all along. Blood was pounding in her ears. She really did not want to meet this woman, but Cari was safe for now. Thank God...

Suddenly, the door burst opened and in came the ugliest woman Aria had ever seen. She was tall, and overweight, with yellow skin, bulging yellow eyes, and crooked teeth. "WHERE IS SHE?" the woman screamed.

Aria winced, but innocently looked at the ugly woman. "Who?" she asked politely. Ms. Black looked around the room, flaring her nostrils as if she were trying to sniff out Carina.

Ms. Black ignored Aria, as she looked for her daughter under the beds, in the bathroom, everywhere. Soon, McGonagle, James' parents, and Mr. and Mrs. Bones' came thundering up the steps as well. They looked quite relieved to only find Aria in the room.

"She's not here. Why don't you look somewhere else." suggested McGonagle in a breathless voice.

Ms. Black glared at them all one last time before stomping off, screaming like a banshee for her husband.

The adults gave her an appraising look before going after Gertrude Black. Aria sat there in silence for as long as she could, but after 5 minutes, she couldn't take it anymore. She hopped off her bed and headed swiftly for the door. She made her way through the castle, making sure she didn't run into Ms. Black anywhere. She was lucky.

Aria finally made it into the entrance hall, and was about to open to door when she heard a voice calling out to her urgently. "ARIA!"

She turned around, biting her tongue to make sure she didn't lash out at whoever was calling her.

It was Travis.

"Aria! I'm so glad I found you! Can we talk? It's really important..." He reached her and looked at her with big eyes that made him look just like a puppy dog.

Aria groaned. "Not now, Travis! It really isn't a good time..." she pulled open the door and walked out into the cold, immediately regretting it once she got pelted with rain droplits. She gritted her teeth. I've gotta find them..."

She looked around, wondering which way they would have gone. She finally decided on looking around the back of the school, but before she could take more than 3 steps, Travis stopped her.

"Aria, no you don't understand... I really have to talk to you..."

Aria let out a long breath. It was clear that Travis wasn't going to go away until he talked to her. "Okay, fine... What is so important?"

Travis opened his mouth, but no sound came out. Aria just looked at him, beginning to lose patience. She really had to go find Carina, James, Lily and Sirius.

"WHAT? Just spit it out!" she said, annoyed, placing her hands on her hips.

Travis gulped, and opened his mouth once more, but again just stood there, gaping like a fish.

Aria threw her hands up in exasperation. "Listen, I've got to go!" With that, she spun on her heel and started to walk away, rolling her eyes and wondering where the hell her friends could have gone.

"Aria..." Travis started, staring at her departing back. He had to get this out now. He didn't think he could take it anymore.

Aria didn't even stop walking, she just shook her head and kept going.

Then she heard something that made her freeze in mid-stride.

"Aria.. I... I think I'm gay..."

Chapter 9: Truths & Frikin' Slytherins
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[A/N] Heyy Everybody!! I am SO SORRY that I haven't posted another chapter of this story in over a month!! I'm horrible.. but it IS quite stressing to be writing 3 stories at once (and before you ask.. the third one is on quizilla).. Yep.. and I had exams... *shudders*... but now it's the summer so I'm gonna have a lot of free time!! And my dad took that weirdo program off the computer so taht I have unlimited time again!! (and a good thing too.. I've been on the computer for like.. 5 hours... pathetic.. I know.. but meh.. I was reading SexySuitcase's quizzes.. and I LOVE THEM! So you should all read em too...

oh.. I'm rambling aren't I? And most of you don't care what I'm saying.. so.. yeah.

Anyway... I hope you like this one!! And you know that I know that you know that I don't own anything..except for Carina and Aria.. and Travis and Seth.. but whatever.. =) Hope you like it! Please Read/Review! Thanks, Love you all!!



Chapter 9 - Truths & Frikin' Slytherins

Well that had not been what Aria was expecting.

She stopped in her tracks, all thoughts of her friends momentarily evaporated from her mind. She whirled around. "What?" she asked, bewildered.

Travis' face was now a deep red, but he looked at her defiantly. "I think I'm gay.." he repeated, his voice stronger this time.

Aria just stood there staring at him, the rain pelting her face. She ignored it. "Thats... er.. shocking..."

He didn't answer, just watched her. Aria bit her lip. "So, I suppose we aren't together anymore then..." she said, her voice emotionless.

He nodded. "I suppose so... um... I'll understand if you don't want to be friends or anything..." he coughed, "I'll just be going now." He turned to leave. Aria rolled her eyes.

"Why wouldn't I want to be your friend? Because you're gay? Come on. That's not that big of a deal... as a matter of fact.. I've always wanted to have a gay friend... but I was always leaning more on Sirius... not you..." she joked, twirling her extremely wet hair in her fingers.

Travis smiled, obviously relieved. "Could you not.. spread it around though?"

Aria smiled. "Sure thing."

Suddenly she remembered Carina and she jumped. "Oh.. I've got to go. I'll see you around!" She pulled him into a hug, and he hugged her back.

"So you really think Sirius is gay?"

Aria pulled away and slapped him in the back of his head. "Bye Travis!" she called, laughing, before running off in search of her best friends.

***

"Jamie, I don't like it out here." Sarah Potter whispered into her brother's ear. James held on to her tightly, scared that if he loosened his grip on his baby sister, then she would fall from the broomstick.

"We're almost there sweetie." he told her, reassuringly as they flew downwards, towards the back of the school. There was a small hut back there that he knew about. They could all hide out in there for a while, at least until the rain let up.

Finally, James spotted the small wooden shack. It was half-hidden by trees, so it was pretty hard to make out. James landed right in front of it, and climbed off, pulling Sarah into his arms.

He turned around, looking to see if his friends had followed them. He squinted as the icy rain hit his face, and he sheilded Sarah. Sirius and Carina landed right next to him, followed a few minutes later by Remus and Lily.

"Come on guys, lets go in here and wait for the rain to let up." he said, leading them all into the shack. They all filed in, and sat down on the cold, hard floor.

It wasn't much, but at least now they had shelter from the rain.

Carina sat in the corner of the small place, farthest from the door. The place wasn't very big at all. They all sat down, and there was barely anough room to spread out all of their legs.

Sirius was sitting on one side of his twin, while Remus sat on the other, trying to calm her down.

Carina knew that she was safe for now, but she didn't know how she was going to get out of the stupid marriage in the long run. She couldn't hide forever, and she knew it.

Everybody else knew it as well, but they didn't want to admit it.

Suddenly Sirius was jerked out of his thoughts about his sister as he looked around the room at his friends. "Where's Aria?" he asked, realizing that she wasn't there.

Lily spoke up. "Somebody had to stay behind. There wasn't enough brooms. She said she'd try to find us after."

"She's not going to know to come here. Somebody is going to have to go find her." said James. "I'll go." He went to stand up, but Sarah clung tightly to his leg. He looked down at her and sat back down.

Lily stood up. "I'll go."

Without waiting for a response, she braced herself and walked back out into the stinging rain. Looking around, Lily decided to start looking for her friend by the front entrance to the school.

She walked quickly, trying in vain to dodge the rain. Usually, she loved the rain, but now it was coming down hard, and painfully.

Suddenly, Lily got a weird feeling, like she was being watched. She sped up her pace, and shook the thought from her mind. The uneasy feeling had most likely come because the sky was grey, and she was still near the back of the school, where she had never ventured before.

Before long, Lily spotted a figure walking quickly towards her. She tensed for a moment, but then relaxed, recognizing the blond hair and slim figure. It was Aria.

Lily started running towards her friend, and soon reached her. "Aria! Thank goodness! It's freezing! Come on, let's get going. Everybody's waiting.. Aria? ... What's up?"

Aria had a weird expression on her face. She was still processing the information that her now ex-boyfriend was gay. It was sort of weird. Aria just shook her head. "Nothing.. Is everybody okay?"

Lily gave her a weird look, but nodded. "Yeah. Everybody's fine, but lets get back. They're all hiding in a little hut near the back of the school. Come on."

Aria quickly followed Lily, who led her to the small shack. Lily opened the door and they both walked in and sat down on the floor with the rest of their friends.

In Lily's absence, a small fire had been conjured in a bottle, and it was keeping everybody warm. Also, everybody now had blankets to wrap up in. Lily sat down next to Sarah and shivered, noticing finally how cold and wet she was. She glanced at Aria, who was shivering as well.

James looked at the two girls and took out his wand. "Siccus." he muttered, pointing his wand at Lily. Instantly, she was dry. She smiled gratefully at him, and he tried to keep the blush from his cheeks as he did the same thing to Aria.

They all stayed quiet for a long while, not doing much. Sarah had fallen asleep on her brother's lap.

Soon, Sirius grew tired of the silence. He didn't want everybody to be depressed anymore. He was sick of it. He wanted his friends to be happy again. He couldn't stand this.

He cleared his throat and looked around at them all. "We've got to cheer up. The world isn't over you know. There is no way in hell that Rina's marrying Snivellus, and we just escaped my parents. Let's just try to forget it for now."

They all nodded in agreement, but Remus rose his eyebrows. "So tell me, what do you propose we do, being stuck inside a small, damp hut?"

Sirius stroked his chin, as if deep in thought.

"Well.. we could always... play truth or dare.. or spin the bottle.. or tell scary stories.. or.."

"Or we could just talk... you know.. tell secrets, get to know each other better.. find out why some people.. er.. dislike others..." spoke up Carina, surprising everybody, including herself. She agreed with Sirius fullheartedly. She just wanted to forget about everything for the moment. At the last comment, she noticed that Lily had narrowed her eyes at her. She bit back a grin.

"Sounds good." said James. Everybody seemed to agree.

"Well.. err.. how about we start off, everybody asking somebody a question about themselves and they answering it." Suggested Aria. They all nodded. "Okay.. Lily first."

Lily's beautiful green eyes widened. "Why me?" she whined.

Aria smirked, but before she could answer, Remus spoke up. "Because you're the most confusing of the lot." he told her. She glared at him.

"Fine then. Go ahead. One at a time."

Sirius started. "What's your favorite dessert?" he asked. James looked at him. Sirius' eyes widened. "What? It's a very important question!" James rolled his eyes.

Lily laughed. "Strawberry Rhubarb Pie." she told him. He nodded, apparantly satisfied.

Carina went next. "Um... If you had one thing in the entire world that you could do for the rest of your life, what would you do?"

Lily bit her lip, thinking hard. "Well... As for a career, I'd like to be either a Healer or an Auror. I'm not really sure... but what I would love to do... is sing."

All of her friends looked at her in surprise. Not one of them had ever known that she liked to sing.

Except James.

"Really?" asked Aria. "I've never heard you sing."

Lily flushed. "Well.. I do.."

"I've heard you sing. Your voice is amazing." James cut in. Lily looked at him.

"You think so?" she asked.

He nodded. "Really."

"Ooh! My turn!!" said Aria. "Sing a song for us!"

Lily rolled her eyes. "That's not a question about me."

Aria smirked. "Nope. It's a request, as nobody here besides James has ever heard you sing."

Lily twirled her hair with her fingers. "I don't know..." Her friends instantly started begging and pleading with her to sing. Lily sighed. "Fine! FINE! But if I suck, it's your fault that you had to listen to it."

They all smiled happily and waited. Lily opened her mouth, but no sound came out. "Come on then!" Aria said impatiently. Lily shot her a glare before closing her eyes and starting to sing.

It was beautiful. They all stared in awe of Lily as she sang to them, save for James, who sat there with his eyes closed, smiling lightly to himself. Lily's voice sounded like it had come from an angel. That's what she sounded like. An angel. Soft, and sweet, yet elegant with a very.. Lily-ish vibe. Amazing.

When she was done, they all stared at her in shock. Lily began to flush under their gaze. She cleared her throat, which seemed to wake Sirius from his reverie. He started to clap loudly, and whistled. "That was amazing Lily!" he told her.

Lily blushed again and, ignoring all the praise she was getting from her friends, she turned to Remus. "Your turn. What's your question?"

"How has James heard you sing before?"

Lily scowled. "What's with the questions not about me?" Remus smirked. James didn't meet anybody's eye. Nobody answered. "Fine. Well.. um.. when we were little, James and I.. used to be... best friends... and.. yeah..." Lily felt her cheeks burn. Why the hell am I blushing?

Remus, Sirius, Aria and Carina were all smirking at her. James was staring at random spot on the floor, seemingly lost in thought. Lily was feeling very awkward. "Stop it!" she suddenly burst at them. They started to laugh slightly. Lily glared. "Next Question! Potter?"

James looked at her for a few minutes, as if trying to think of the perfect question. He hesitated for a minute, and then asked in a quiet voice. "Why do you hate me so much?"

Everybody stared at Lily, waiting for an answer, anxiously wanting to know what went on in that head of hers.

Lily was in shock. She had definitely not expected James to ask that. She swallowed, and cast her mind around, searching for the answer. Why did she hate him so much?

..Because he's an arrogant, selfish pig..

...But James really wasn't that bad, was he?

No, he isn't... Geezus, I've really got problems haven't I? How in the name of God am I supposed to answer this question? And in front of everybody? Oh my.. I really don't want to be here...

Suddenly a voice broke her train of thought. It was James. "Lily, forget it.. you don't have to answer."

She looked at him...

Really looked at him. She saw his annoyingly endearing messy hair, his deep hazel eyes, his seemingly calm, confident exterior.

She looked farther.

His eyes seemed to hold a trace of something unrecognizable.. but as Lily looked closer, she recognized it as sadness. Had that sad helplessness appeared there because of her? No.. that was impossible. So many things were happening right now, it could have been from anything.

She looked closer still, peircing his soul with her beautiful eyes, unbeknownst to her, James was feeling very fragile at the moment. Lily was gazing at him with such intensity, that he was slightly scared. He felt open, and unsafe. He'd never felt that before.

Everybody was still waiting for Lily to say something. She realized this, and opened her mouth, still not sure of what to say. She knew that she had hated him, at one point... but did she anymore?

She didn't like him, but she didn't hate him either. Lily was terribly confused. She didn't know what to think. Finally, she broke eye contact with James and looked down at the wooden floor.

"I don't..." she said softly, her cheeks turning slightly red.

All 5 friends gaped at her, completely taken aback, but at the same time, immensely satisfied. Remus was the first to snap out of his reverie. He smirked at his friend. She made a face at him, still looking slightly embarrassed.

Remus suddenly cleared his throat, deciding to take pity on Lily. He broke the overwhelming silence and said, "Who's next?"

Sirius, Carina and Aria snapped out of it as well, smiling knowingly as they continued the little game, learning more about each other. James however, was only half clued-in.

He was confused, to put it mildly. What the hell? She doesn't hate me? What? She sure acts like it! .. How many times has she said that she's hated me? At least a couple dozen times in the past few years...

His mind was reeling. But she hasn't really been acting like she totally hates me for the past.. month... jeezus! It's only the end of September! How did everything get so confusing so fast?

Then something clicked. She didn't hate him. She doesn't hate me... Lily Evans does not hate me, James Potter!

James bit back a broad smile, not wanting to look too happy on the outside.

On the inside, he was screaming in joy, and laughing, and doing cartwheels, and soaring high in the sky on his broomstick.

"James?"

He snapped back to reality. "Yeah?" he asked.

"It's your turn to question Sirius." Aria told him.

James looked at his friend, and snickered. "Why haven't you had a girlfriend yet this year? We've been here for nearly a month, and you haven't asked anybody out yet."

Sirius glared at him. James smirked. Carina and Lily were silently laughing, along with Remus. Aria was just looking at him, her face passive.

"If you must know," he said pompously, "It's because I like somebody else who isn't one of the clingy chicks I've dated in the past."

That surprised everybody as well, as they hadn't been expecting that sort of answer from their friend. Aria had a sinking feeling in her stomach, but she pushed it away.

Then it was Remus' turn for questioning. "Where do you disappear to every so often?" Aria asked him curiously.

The room went completely silent. Everybody was looking at each other nervously. Aria was the only one of them who didn't know that Remus was a werewolf.

Remus looked at her. He opened his mouth, deciding to reveal to her his secret. He just hoped she wouldn't hate him. "I'm... I'm a werewolf." he said quietly.

Aria felt as though somebody had just thrown a brick on top of her head. Her hand covered her mouth in shock as she digested this information. She didn't move as everybody waited for her reaction. She just stared at her friend.

A zillion thoughts were running through her head. Her eyes started to well up with tears. Oh my GOD! How could I have never known? Not once! He's so nice! One of the sweetest guys I know.. and.. he's.. a monster! ... but he can't be a monster. Remus isn't a monster, I've known him for 6 years! And look what he's doing for Cari! It's the moon that makes him a monster! That beautiful..horrible moon... What a horrible life he must lead... Thank God for Dumbledore, or else he probably wouldn't go to school.. and he's so smart... Oh.. I remember learning about Werewolves in Defence Against the Dark Arts.. but Remus isn't a dark art.. he's just one of us.. one of my friends who has something terrible happen to him once a month! Oh, what a sin! I've heard how painful that transformation is! Remus Lupin does not deserve it! The poor child!

Aria had taken longer than the others to react, and Remus was taking this as a bad sign. She didn't want to be his friend anymore. He didn't blame her of course, he was dangerous.. but it still hurt.

Sirius and James were staring at Aria, willing her to make the right choice. He knew she had it in her. She wouldn't hate Remus, would she? No.. she couldn't.. James knew that Sirius liked her.. a lot.. but if she didn't accept Remus, he knew that she would never get a chance with Sirius.. of course.. then.. she wouldn't deserve it anyway..

Lily and Carina were staring at their friend as well. They were pleading with her not to be angry. They knew their friend well, and they knew that Aria was more likely to be mad that everybody had known before her, than she actually was at Remus.

Suddenly, Aria realized where she was, as she looked at Remus again. She took in his appearance. He looked so old, and anxious for his age... She really didn't realize how she hadn't noticed before. By now, tears were streaming down her pretty face. Before she realized it, Aria had jumped up and gave Remus a big hug.

"I'm so sorry." she whispered. Everybody gave a sigh of relief. Sarah squirmed in James' lap. Aria pulled away from Remus, noticing his bewildered expression. She rolled her eyes. "Did you really have so little faith in me, that I would like.. run away or something?? .. I guess everybody else already knows?"

Everybody nodded. Aria sat back down. "I wish you'd have told me sooner, but I'm glad you trusted me enough to tell me at all." she said.

Lily was impressed. Aria was acting very.. mature.. She had expected her friend to be histerical or completely in shock.

James beamed at Aria, proud of her decision, knowing that it would take Sirius one step closer to realizing that he liked the girl.

They went back to their little game.

Soon, they had asked everybody questions, but Aria. She answered them easily, and then it came to Carina's question.

"What's up with you and Travis? .. And what do you see in him?" Sirius stared at her intently.

Aria gulped, and looked down to the floor, not noticing Sirius' gaze. Her mind was spinning. Should she tell her friends about Travis' ... situation?

She looked at them. She knew that they were trustworthy, look what Remus had just told her! ... but she didn't know how everybody felt about gay people. She knew Lily was fine with them, and she guessed that Cari would be, and most likely Remus.. but what about James and Sirius?

Deciding to tell them the truth, and hoping that Travis would understand, she cleared her throat. "Oh.. uhh.. we aren't together anymore... he err.. well.. he's gay."

There was a surprised silence at the end of this statement.

Lily smiled and laughed. "I've always wanted a gay friend! Now he can go shopping with us and stuff!" she said excitedly. Aria laughed, as did Carina.

Remus was taken aback, but didn't really care all that much. As long as Travis didn't hit on him, he was fine. There was nothing wrong with being homosexual.

James, on the other hand, was torn. He hadn't really known anybody gay before, and he found it sort of weird. He knew that his parents were totally against it, and they had taught him the same... but, now that he thought about it, it really was no big deal. It sort of was like all the prejudice against Muggleborns and Werewolves wasn't it? There was nothing wrong with being different. He just shrugged.

Sirius on the other hand, was keeping a very straight face, absolutely passive.

On the inside he was jumping for joy and doing a victory dance.

Why was he so happy?

He wasn't really sure...

Well.. that's a lie. He knew that he liked Aria. He didn't want to like her, but it was impossible not to.

* * *

"Um.. you guys.. you think it's safe to go back to the castle yet?" Carina asked timidly. As much as she didn't want to face her parents, she was getting cramped up in this stupid little cabin.

"Oh Geez! Mum and Dad should have left by now, and Sarah's here!" cried James.

Lily bit her lip, thinking. "Well.. a few of us could go take Sarah back to her parents and find out if your parents are gone yet.." she suggested. Everybody agreed at once.

James stood up. "Okay, I'll go.. and I'll bring the map, and the cloak when I come back, so that you can hide under it okay?"

Aria stood up as well. "I'll go too."

"Me too." said Lily as she got to her feet.

James picked up his little sister, who was still sleeping, and the three teenagers made their way out the door, and back up to the castle, leaving Sirius, Remus and Carina in the small wooden shack.

It had finally stopped raining, so James, Lily and Aria walked back to the school slowly, barely speaking. Once they reached the huge doors to go inside, Aria pulled them open, and the three began looking around for Mrs. Potter.

They didn't have to go far. James' Mom was in the Great Hall, speaking with Professer McGonagle. "Mum!" James cried out when he seen her. "Are the Black's gone?.. Here.. take Sarah.."

Mrs. Potter walked swiftly towards her son, and scooped her daughter into her arms. "Yes, they have gone, but they were furious. Tell your friends to be careful, okay?"

James nodded. "Sure Mum." He turned back to Aria and Lily. "I've just gotta run up to my dorm for a bit. Wait for me?"

Aria nodded. "Okay. We'll be outside."

* * *

"Is she asleep?" Sirius asked, coming back to reality as he had been lost in his thoughts.

Remus nodded. "Yeah. Good thing too. I don't think she's gotten any sleep at all for the past few nights." He looked down at his beautiful girlfriend, who was presently cuddled up into his arms, eyes closed, her breathing rythmic and calm.

Sirius looked at his sister for a moment, before looking up at his best friend. "Listen Moony. You're one of my best friends, but Carina's my sister. As much as I hate to say this to you, hurt her, and you die."

Remus, who had been expecting some sort of speech like this from Sirius nodded resolutely. "Sirius, I would never, ever, in a million years, dream of hurting Carina. I love her."

Sirius smiled. "I know. Which is why I'm glad she has you now, instead of some other guy. I trust you."

Remus smiled too. "I would hope so." he said, smirking slightly. He paused, glancing at his friend. "While we're on the subject of girlfriends.. when are you ever going to ask out Aria?"

Sirius scowled at him, but didn't answer.

"Come on Padfoot, I know you like her.. heck, everybody knows you like her.. and I know it's been for a while too. How come you haven't said anything yet?"

Sirius wouldn't meet his eye. He looked at the floor and opened his mouth, choosing the right words. "I don't want to be rejected. I like her too much to be rejected."

Remus stared at his friend. Things were falling into place. "You mean like James, and Lily." It wasn't a question.

Sirius nodded again, finally looking up at his friend. "I like her too much to be rejected."

Remus opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by the door opening. Aria, Lily and James walked in smilng. "Their gone. Come on, lets go back to the common room." Aria said cheerfully.

Sirius jumped up, and smiled widely at his friends, fighting back the blush that was trying to desperately to form on his face. "Let's go then!" he said, a little too happily, although nobody noticed, save for Remus.

"Should we wake her up?" Remus asked, refering to Carina.

Lily nodded. "Yeah, I think we should, just in case." She said as she knelt down next to Remus and preceeded to wake up her friend. "Cari.. wake up sweetie.."

After a few minutes of prodding and lightly shaking the girl, she was awake, and standing up. "Here, put this on." James told her, handing her his invisibility cloak, and glancing at Lily as he said it.

On the way back down to the shack, Lily had been fascinated with the cloak. At the moment, she was feeling the way the silky cloth moved between her fingers, like water woven into the material. James found it rather cute, how she was so obsessed with the material. Of course, he could never tell Lily this...

Carina put the cloak over her head, so that she was completely invisable. "Okay. Let's go." she said, following her friends out of the small cabin and out into the cool, fresh air.

The 6 friends walked through the castle happily, although Sirius was keeping a sharp eye out for the Slytherins. Lily was walking slightly behind everybody else, watching her friends. Aria and James were talking with serious looks on their faces, Sirius was walking in front of everybody, his face moving towards every unknown sound, every movement. Lily bit back a laugh. He looked like a dog.

Remus looked very odd indeed, walking where he supposed Carina was, trying to keep near her, but she was teasing him. She would say something and his face would whip around, looking for her, before looking somewhere else, an amused smile on his face. Lily watched as he tried to catch her, and laughed when he hugged thin air.

She loved her friends.

Lily was getting to know each and every one of them more and more, and they had only been at Hogwarts for less than a month.

Life's weird like that isn't it? Sometimes, life just speeds up, when you don't want it to. Other times, like now.. it seems to slow down, although Lily wasn't complaining. At the moment, everybody was safe, with the exception of Carina, but they'd all help her get through it.

Suddenly, Lily caught sight of Sirius, who had frozen in his tracks, staring at the corridor beyond them. Lily followed his gaze and held back a groan.

Slytherins.

Of course.

The frikin' Slytherins just had to be there, ruining everybody's joy.

"Cari, shut up." Lily hissed, catching up with where she assumed her friend was. Remus looked at her questioningly, but then noticed the group of Slytherins coming towards them. He narrowed his eyes.

They always had a way of just showing up, when nobody else was around.

Typical.

At least Carina was invisable.

"Black! Where is she? Where is my bride-to-be? I know you've got her somewhere!" came Snivellus' snarling voice.

Sirius glared. "That is none of your concern, you greasy haired pillock!" he spat, unable to come up with a better insult. Aria couldn't help but laugh slightly. Pillock? Seriously...

The small group of Slytherins ignored his comment. Bellatrix stepped foreward and sneered at them. "Well then, since she isn't here, we, or should I say, Severus, has a message for her."

"She doesn't want to hear any of your crap, so just piss off!" Remus said angrily.

Lucius Malfoy stepped foreward then. "Shut your dirty mouth and let the man talk." he said dryly.

"Man?" said James, scoffing. "Snivellus isn't a man. He's a pathetic little boy."

Lily let out an annoyed sigh. She wanted to get Carina out of there as soon as possible, and as the only way to the Gryffindor Common room was being blocked by the Slytherins, it probably wasn't a good idea to start a fight with them.

Snape growled at him, but ignored him. "Just tell my future wife, that I am not giving up. It isn't over. She may have escaped once, but she can't hide forever."

"Think whatever you want Snivellus, Carina will never be marrying you, so just go stick it up your ass." Sirius spat. "Now would you kindly move, you're blocking the hallway."

The Slytherin's obliged, shooting menacing glares at them, but knowing that it wouldn't be smart to start a fight right now. They had gave them the message, that's all that they had planned to do.

Lily walked behind all of her friends, making sure that they were all there. Sirius and Remus stormed away, trying to keep their tempers in check, with Carina running beside them. James had an ugly look on his face and was walking fast, trying to catch up to his friends, as was Aria. Lily hurried to catch up, but a hand seized her wrist, turning her around sharply, until she came face to face with Snape's sneering face.

She glared at him, and tried to wrestle out of his surprisingly strong grasp. "What do you want." she growled.

Snape smiled at her, much like he had done on the train. It scared her, but she wouldn't show it. "What do you want!?" she said again, louder this time.

"Well..." he pretended to look thoughtful. "As my dear wife to be isn't here..." he trailed off, grinning in a way he must have thought seductive.

Ew.

"Get off me you pervert!" Lily hissed, trying once again to get out of his grasp. He held on tighter, pulling her closer. Lily winced, looking around the halls. Nobody was around. Her friends had disappeared, eager to get back to the common room with Carina, and even the other Slytherins had left. She was totally alone with Severus Snape. Not something every girl dreams of.

"I hate you! Get off me you dispicable, ugly, greasy, arrogant, annoying.. THING!" Lily shouted, annoyed and afraid.

Suddenly, Snape pushed her forcefully against the wall, knocking the air out of her, while still maintaining a firm grip on her wrists. He sneered at her. "Do not insult me." he ordered. "You are totally alone. Nobody is here to help you. So I suggest you stay quiet."

Lily struggled to kick him, but she couldn't move her legs. Apparantly, he had used some sort of paralysing spell on her, and she couldn't reach her wand as the asshole was gripping her wrists. The most she could do was glare, so glare she did.

Although, glaring isn't a very good weapon. Snape just ignored it, lifting one hand from her wrists, which he instantly conjured up a rope, and tied her two hands together.

And then, he muttered "Silencio."

She had no voice.

Peachy. Oh great. This is just perfect. Lily thought sarcastically. This was definitely not the best situation she'd been in. She was mostly grossed out than anything... and scared.. she was utterly petrified, but refused to show it.

All of a sudden, Snape began to talk to her with his digusting voice. "You know about the Dark Lord, do you not?... Yes.. I thought so. At the moment, something big is going on. Something that will change many lives, and not for the better.."

Lily stared, terror filling her mind. She didn't know what to think. Her heart was pounding in her chest. "The dark lord hates Muggles.. and especially Mudbloods.."

Lily's mouth went dry.

"I'll let you find out on your own however." He smiled maniacally. Lily got an uncomfortable, icy cold shiver down her spine. She shuddered, not liking that feeling at all.

Then, Lily felt like gagging. Snape lifted one of his large, greasy hands, and was running it through her hair, tracing her jawbone with his disgusting fingers, and slowly feeling up her neck, moving his hands towards her breasts.

Lily really felt as if she was going to barf, but instead, she spit on her captor. Snape withdrew slightly, looking disgusted, and then pushed Lily forcefully against the wall again, knocking her head painfully against the cold, hard stone. She winced, but then ignored the pain. Her mind was racing, panicking. How the hell am I going to get out of this? God damnit. If only I had walked just a little bit faster... but nooo... Geez! Doesn't anybody realize that I'm not following them?

* * *

Remus was still walking down the corridor next to Sirius, trying to calm down. It was working for the most part, but he just wanted to get into the common room so that Carina could take off the invisbility cloak, and he could make sure that she was okay.

Oh how he hated those Slytherins.

They all felt the same way. Sirius was walking in front of them all, muttering profanities as he went.

James was talking to Aria, discussing how they could protect Carina from Snape, because, as much as he hated to admit it, she couldn't hide forever. Eventually, they were going to force her to walk down the Aisle and marry Severus Snape.

It was rather quiet, and Aria suddenly got a weird feeling, like something wasn't right, and an icy cold shiver went down her spine. She stopped walking abuptly, shivering.

Beside her, she noticed that James had stopped too, and had a weird look on his face. She caught his eye, and he looked confused. "Did you feel that?" he hissed.

She nodded, feeling scared. "I don't like it." she said, her voice hardly above a whisper. They didn't move for a second, until Sirius, Remus, and an invisable Carina walked towards them.

"You felt that weird cold feeling too?" Carina's voice asked timidly.

They all nodded.

Remus turned to look at Lily, to see if she'd felt it too, but he couldn't see her pretty red hair anywhere. He felt the air leave his lungs. When was the last time he'd seen her?

..back with the Slytherins..

He turned back to his friends, his eyes filled with worry, but James had noticed as well. He looked around frantically, making everybody wonder what the hell was going on.

James stomach felt as if it had turned to ice. "Shit... Where's Lily?"

* * * * *

Chapter 10: Girl's Night Out
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[A/N] - Heyy everybody! I checked yesterday, and realized that it had been practically a MONTH since I last updated!! I am sooo sorry for the wait!!! =| A lot of stuff has been going on though, and the release of The Half-Blood Prince and everything.. so I hope you all forgive me!! =)

I hope you all enjoyed HBP as much as I did.. it really was terrific!! =D JKR is such an amazing writor.. anyway..

For those of you who read my other story; Ginny's Story, you will have noticed that I am no longer writing it.. and for this.. I apologize as well.. I really did enjoy writing that story, but it didn't fit with HBP, and well.. I've decided to delete it, for now at least.. I may revamp it sometime, figure out a plot that will work for it, or maybe ignore it completely and write another story about Ginny.. I have been thinking lately about a plot for another Lily/James story (you can tell that those are my favorite kind.. =D) but I won't be writing it yet.. I'm going to finish the story I have on Quizilla before I think about writing something else...

Anyway.. enough of my ramblings... Actually.. I just wanna say RIP to my friend, Freddy, who didn't deserve it at ALL.. and I guess, to the person who died in HBP, that I won't say here because it would ruin the book for you if you haven't finished it..

And.. you all know that I don't claim to own Harry Potter or blah blah blah.. =D Hope you like it, and pleaase review!! =)


Chapter 10 - Girl's Night Out


Ew... Oh he is so disgusting.. the BASTARD! Snape's hand were now wandering in a very uncomfortable fashion for Lily, and she could do nothing to stop it. She was struggling, trying to get away, but Snape had a surprisingly strong grip, and he had her wrists tied.

Finally, he moved back slightly as if sizing her up, and Lily could move her legs slightly. Suddenly he lunged his face foreword, trying to kiss her, and he loosened his grip on her.

Utterly disgusted, Lily brought her knee up hard, and hit him hard in the groin. He groaned and doubled over, at last letting Lily out of his grasp. She turned and started to walk away.

"Someday.. you won't be able to escape..." Snape hissed. Lily turned and glared at him.

She opened her mouth to retort, but the silencing charm was still on her. She glared and turned to walk away once more.

Suddenly she felt something hot graze her shoulder, and a burst of pain erupted there. She wasn't sure what to do, so she started to run, hoping to get to the Gryffindor Common Room before Snape could catch up with her.

Unfortunately, Snivellus wasn't finished yet. Lily kept running, as she saw jets of light just nearly miss her. What a freaking lunatic. Holy shit!

"LILY!" A wonderfully familiar, un-evil voice yelled to her. She looked up, ignoring another searing pain in her shoulder, and saw James, Sirius and Remus running towards her.

Oh, Thank God!

Lily stopped running, feeling tired, and her shoulder was still paining. She heard footsteps running away somewhere down the hall and glared down there, where Snape had run off.

The three boys reached her and Remus pulled her into a hug while Sirius looked suspiciously down the hall, and James just looked at her.

"What happened?" James asked, sounding worried.

Lily opened her mouth to speak, but then realized that she still couldn't talk, and instantly was annoyed. "Silencing charm?" asked Remus, letting go of her. Lily nodded, and he muttered the counter curse.

"Thank You!" Were the first words out of her mouth. "Can you please untie these stupid ropes?" she asked, infuriated. While Sirius was untying them, James noticed blood on Lily's shoulder. White hot anger surged through his veins.

Once Lily was untied, she instantly gripped her shoulder, and smiled weakly. They were all looking at her pointedly, waiting for her to tell them what happened.

"Well..." said Lily, breaking the silence. She started to walk away. "Lets go back to the common room shall we?"

Remus rolled his eyes, and Sirius and James just sort of looked at her. James shook his head. "No. You're hurt. Hospital Wing it is!"

Lily glared at him. "I'm fine!" She insisted, and started to walk away again. The three boys exchanged glances before running foreword. Sirius got there first and he swung Lily over his shoulder and started carrying her off.

"SIRIUS BLACK! LET ME DOWN THIS INSTANT!" Lily screamed, pounding on his back. James walked behind Sirius and smirked up at Lily, who glared at him.

"Nope. You won't go to the Hospital Wing otherwise."

Lily sighed, exasperated, but didn't talk. Instead she just admitted defeat and hung from Sirius' shoulder, feeling completely stupid.

"LILY!"

Lily made a face, squeezing her eyes shut. What now?

"LILY EVANS!"

Lily noticed that Sirius hadn't stopped walking, even though somebody was calling out to her. She opened her eyes, and saw Seth at the end of the hall, running to try to catch up to the four, and he had an angry look on his face.

Lily pursed her lips, not wanted to deal with the boring psycho at the moment.

She watched him struggle to catch up with Sirius, James, and Remus and when he finally did, he was out of breath and huffing. "Lily!"

"What?" she asked in a tired voice.

"What do you think you are doing? Letting some guy who is NOT ME carry you around?"

Lily felt her temper bubble to the surface, and she struggled to keep it down. She glanced at Remus and James who were looking at Seth in disgust.

"You are not my boyfriend Seth! GO AWAY!"

He shrugged her off, and kept talking. Lily wasn't listening, she was getting so incredibly annoyed with this kid. Her fists were clenched, and she had her eyes closed, as if by not seeing him, he wouldn't be there.

"Sirius, walk faster." She said, trying to keep her voice even.

"Yes Ma'am!" he said, and quickened his pace. James and Remus hurried to keep up with Sirius, as did Seth.

"Geezus.. is there anyway that we can get rid of him?" James asked in an undertone.

Finally, they reached the Hospital Wing and rushed inside, slamming the door in Seth's face and locking it. Sirius let Lily down and she looked torn between running out of the hospital wing and getting annoyed by Seth, or staying with no Seth.

She decided to stay.

James went to get Madame Pomfrey, and Lily sat down on one of the Hospital beds. Sirius and Remus sat down next to her.

"So what happened?" asked Remus. It wasn't so much of a question as a command.

Lily narrowed her eyes. "Snape." She grumbled.

Remus got a stony look on his face. "I hate that bugger."

Sirius had a muscle twitching in his jaw. "God. He's such a fucking prat! I mean, First it was the train, then this whole fucking marriage thing, and now this. God damnit, he'll be after Aria next!" Sirius spat angrily.

Nobody had time to respond, because Madame Pomfrey rushed out of her office, followed by James. She walked briskly up to Lily and demanded to see the cut. Lily sighed and pointed to her right shoulder, letting Madame Pomfrey do her thing, while Seth was still outside of the door trying to be heard.

Lily shut her eyes and tried to block everything out. It had been a very trying day.

***

The next few weeks flew by. Soon it was near the end of October, and not much had happened that compared to the action packed September, although nobody was complaining.

The Slytherins had for the most part stayed away from Carina, and Lily hadn't had any more run-ins with Snape. This made everybody slightly suspicious, thinking that they were up to something, but as they waited, nothing happened, and the friends began to drop their guards.

Seth was still acting extremely strange. Once in a while he would come up to Lily and still think that she was his girlfriend. It was driving Lily crazy, and many times, somebody had to stop her from cursing the boy on the spot.

Carina had gotten another letter from her parents, saying that the wedding would be taking place the week after Graduation, and she had no way to get out of it.

All of her friends were always thinking of a way to help her.

Then one day, as Lily was writing an essay for Potions, she thought of it. She was lying on her stomach on the floor with her papers and books spread out around her. It was late at night, but she was alone in the common room with only the sound of the dying flames for company.

She was determined to write her essay on 'Moon Stones and their Use in Potion Making' so that she would have it out of the way, but she couldn't concentrate.

Staring into the dying embers of the former rich, crackling fire, it hit her.

Cari wouldn't be able to get married to Snape... if she already was married... to somebody else..

Lily sat up, realizing what had just wafted it's way into her mind. Surely she hadn't been the first to think of this. Marriage was a big, scary thing.. but it was probably the only thing that would save her friend from being forced into a lifetime of unhappiness with a greaseball.

"Lily?" came a voice. Lily jumped, still focused on her thoughts about Carina. She turned around and saw James Potter standing there wearing only bright red boxers and a white t-shirt. She felt her cheeks heating up, but kept looking at him.

"Yeah?" she asked, her thoughts jumbled.

James walked over and sat on the couch. "What are you doing?" he asked, cocking his head at her.

"Homework..." she said vaguely, collecting her papers and books. She wouldn't be able to focus on moon stones anymore that night.

James watched her put all of her books into her bag, and was suddenly struck with the thought of how beautiful her hair looked with the fading light of the fire. She sat down on the couch, seemingly thinking hard about something. Her pretty face was contorted into one of deep concentration and she had a far away look.

"Penny for your thoughts." he said softly, and Lily jumped once more, forgetting that James was sitting there. She looked at him for a long moment, until James thought she wasn't going to answer him, and he was getting slightly uncomfortable because of her intense gaze.

"I was just thinking about Cari's predicament." she said quietly.

James looked at her sharply and sighed. "That's what is on everybody's mind."

Lily nodded, staring off into space once more. Silence fell between the two head students, before Lily broke it once more. "What if she wasn't... technically.. able.. to get married..." She trailed off, biting her lip.

James' brow was knit with confusion. "What do you..." A look of dawning apprehension appeared on his face. He hesitated before speaking. "You mean, if she already was married?"

Lily nodded. "I've been thinking about it, and there really is no other way. If she hides, they can still find her and drag her off to marry Snape. The only way out of it is to already be married... at least, it's the only thing I see..."

She paused before a moment. "Her and Remus are in love, I know that.. but they've only been dating for a month. I can't think of anybody else she would marry though. Remus wouldn't let her marry anybody else, that is certain... but I don't know if they'd be ready.."

"They'd have to be, wouldn't they? They aren't really left with much of a choice.. We should talk to them about it, but I wouldn't be surprised if they've already thought of it."

Lily nodded. "Yeah.. We can't be the first to think of it."

They fell silent once more and all of a sudden Lily realized that she was having an real conversation with James Potter.. which was weird. Even though their friends were all getting closer, Lily and James pretty much stayed the same relationship-wise.. Lily just stopped hating him and screaming at him about every little thing..

This is too weird. Way too weird. Incredibly way too weird... but it's probably better if we're friends anyway. He hasn't asked me out in quite a long time, maybe he's finally maturing.. or something..

But then, of course, James had to ruin it.

"So Lily.. there's a Hogsmeade trip coming up. Wanna go with me?"

He watched her and waited hopefully. They had been having a civil conversation where they had actually spoken, and it was clear that she didn't hate him anymore. They were always together.. of course either one or all of their friends were there as well. The only times James and Lily were alone were when they were patrolling, and now...

Anyway, James was gaining hope.. Especially when Lily didn't answer right away.

Lily was staring at him, utterly annoyed that he had proved her wrong. He hadn't changed, nor was he going to. She couldn't believe that he actually had the nerve to ask her out again. He had been doing so well, and she had actually begun to like him as a friend.

She let out a sigh of disappointment and stood up, not restraining herself from rolling her eyes, but keeping her temper in check.

"No, Potter." She said stiffly before walking out of the room, and up into the dormitories.

James stared after her, feeling the blow of disappointment and heartbreak all over again. He let it wash over him before a new emotion engulfed him. Anger. At himself. Bringing his fists down hard onto the couch, he let out a roar of frustration. Why am I so stupid? I just screwed everything up! He realized with a pang of regret. He sat there sulking and staring at the fire for a long time, so absorbed in his own thoughts, he didn't notice the light footsteps which were Remus walking back up to his dormitory after hearing his friends' conversation.

James sat in the couch in front of the fireplace until the fire was totally gone, yet he still didn't move. He didn't know that another of his friends was lying awake as well.

Remus was lying in his bed, vaguely listening to Sirius' constant snoring, and Peter's occasional whimpers. He was thinking about what he had just overheard Lily and James talking about.

They thought that he should marry Carina, before Snape could. He had to admit, that this thought had penetrated his mind on more than one occasion, but it seemed so preposterous that he had always pushed the thought right back out..

But now that he had heard it spoken out loud, it did make sense that it would be the only way for Carina to get out of marrying the foul Slytherin.

Are werewolves even allowed to marry?

As this thought drifted into his mind, he scowled. Screw it, even if I'm not allowed, I wouldn't pay any attention.... but.. marriage?

It seemed so far away.. yet he realized that he was 17, and it was his last year of school... Many of his classmates probably would be getting married in a few years, they were of legal age in the Wizarding world.

Knots formed in Remus' stomach as he imagined it. Marrying Carina would be the best thing that could happen to him.. but he didn't think that it would be so soon.. maybe in about 5 or 10 years.. not in a few months...

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Remus closed his eyes, and pictured Carina's face in his mind. A ghost of a smile lingered on his lips as he imagined her wearing a wedding dress, walking up the aisle... and he could picture nobody but himself waiting for her, waiting to become married to the most beautiful woman in the world...

Severus Snape would not have that privilege, Remus decided. He would marry Carina. If there was no other way, he would... He loved her, and he would love to spend the rest of his life with her.

And with that thought, Remus fell into a surprisingly content sleep, unlike his best friend who was still sitting in the common room sullenly, waiting for morning.

* * *

James was in a foul mood the next morning. He was still angry at himself for ruining what little friendship he had acquired with Lily, and everything seemed to be going badly. He had fallen asleep on the couch in the common room, and only got a few hours of rest. He had woken up to some 4th year girls poking him, he had spilt his cereal all over his robes, causing Sirius to roar with laughter at him. Due to this, he was late to Potions with Slughorn because he couldn't remember the spell to clean it up, and nobody else seemed to want to help him.

.. and when Lily walked by with Aria and Carina, the latter of the two smiled at him, while Lily walked straight on past, her nose in the air, pointedly ignoring him.

So, when he finally arrived in Potions class, he was not in a good mood.

"Late Mr Potter? I'm sorry to have to deduct 5 points from Gryffindor. Try not to be late next time." James nodded at the fat old man and slumped into his chair next to Remus.

"As we were discussing before Mr Potter came into the classroom, today we will be making an antidote of one of these poisons. You spent last class studying ways to make antidotes, so this should be no problem. You have all class to come up with it. Use whichever ingredients you wish. You may work in partners. Begin."

James and Remus got up and made their way towards the store cupboard along with everybody else. James grabbed a poison from Slughorn's desk and returned to the table while Remus grabbed a bunch of different ingredients they could use.

He really wanted to go back to bed, not make a stupid antidote of a stupid poison. Damn Potions. Why was he taking it anyway? Slughorn didn't particularly like him.. he wasn't part of the SLUG club... oh.. right.. he needed Potions to become an Auror...

James looked at his sandy haired friend and gave him puppy dog eyes. "Moony.." he said in a sing-song voice. Remus looked at him with an amused smile.

"Go to sleep Prongs."

James grinned and slapped his friend on the back. "Thanks pal.." he murmured before putting his head in his arms.

"No problem.. you've gotta be up all night Saturday anyway.." James looked up at him.

"Huh?.. Oh!.. you mean because of your... furry little problem?"

Remus started to laugh hysterically, attracting strange looks from their neighbors. "Yeah.. that..." he managed between laughs. James grinned.

"Okay then. Good-night.. wake me up when Slughorn comes over."


Lily was bored, and really not wanting to do her work. She sat back and watched Aria load things into the cauldron. Normally, she would be working hard as well.. but she just wasn't in the mood.

Glancing around the class, she saw Severus Snape writing furiously into his Potions book, Carina and Sirius working together to try to get their antidote to work but not really paying attention as it was Sirius, and he never payed attention in Potions... How he ever got into the SLUG Club was beyond her. She also saw Bellatrix Black sitting in her chair, looking altogether non-caring as she stirred her potion.

Lily turned around, and saw James Potter asleep, his head buried in his arms, while Remus did all the work for the Potion. Pursing her lips, she turned back to her own cauldron to see enormous amounts of thick, green smoke wafting from it, while Aria added more and more things.. including a lock of her hair, and a bit of dirt from the floor.

Lily rolled her eyes. "Aria... what are you doing? Stop that.. Evanesco!" Instantly, the green smoke vanished, and the cauldron was empty. Aria turned on her.

"What did you do that for? Now we'll fail the class!" She said haughtily. Lily made a face.

"I've never failed a Potions class. Calm down." she said, before turning and heading towards the store cupboard.

Just then, Slughorn's voice boomed across the dungeon. "Okay, Stop what you're doing! I'm coming to see your antidotes now!" Aria looked frantically towards Lily, who was walking back to her seat, completely at ease.

"What are we going to do? We've failed! I can't afford another fail in this class!" hissed Aria.

"Relax!" Lily told her, smirking slightly. "I've got it covered."

In the corner of her eye, Lily saw Remus wake up James just in time for Slughorn to check on their Potion. She frowned, wondering why the hell Remus would allow his partner to sleep and to make him do all the work.

Soon, Slughorn had reached Aria and Lily, and looked at them, bewildered, no doubt wondering why his prize student had no antidote waiting to be checked in the cauldron.

Everybody was looking at Lily, including Aria. She suddenly snapped out of her trance and held out her hand, showing Slughorn what was in it. A bezoar.

Aria broke out into a relieved smile, linking her arms with Lily as Slughorn stared at the tiny pebble in Lily's hand. Suddenly he started to roar with laughter, and Lily smiled smugly.

They left the dungeon a few minutes later, grinning. Slughorn had awarded them full marks, and reminded Lily that his next little party was on Halloween, just after the feast.

James walked out of the classroom with Sirius, Remus and Carina, admiring Lily from where she walked with Aria a little ways down the corridor. He wasn't listening to his friends talk.

Suddenly he got a weird empty feeling that had nothing to do with Lily nor his friends. He stopped walking and looked around the corridor. Everything was normal.. but then why had he gotten that weird foreboding feeling like something was going to happen?

Shrugging it off as tiredness, James hurried to catch up with his friends as they headed for their next class, charms.

* * *

The rest of the day went on as per normal. Nothing out of the ordinary was occurring, as a matter of fact, it was a little bit of a relief to see that Lily was once again refusing, point-blank to speak to James Potter.

Finally, classes were over for the day. Lily was relieved as she walked quickly back to the common room, not bothering to wait for anybody. She had a horrible, throbbing headache and she wanted to go lie down for a bit.

Carina watched her red-headed friend zoom out of the classroom massaging her forehead before turning to look at Aria. "What do we do?" she asked her blonde friend.

Aria bit her lip, twirling her blonde hair with her fingers as they started to walk back to the common room, pretending not to notice the guys who were watching them from a distance.

"I don't know.. Lets just go talk to her, find out what's wrong." Aria said, picking up the pace.

"God, those guys are really annoying aren't they? I know that their worried about the Slytherins, but seriously! They are taking it a bit too far.. and you're with me! They haven't done anything in a month!" Carina exploded, uncharacteristically.

Aria smirked at her. "What say you that we give em the slip tonight and head out to Hogsmeade?" she asked excitedly, bouncing as she walked.

Carina laughed at her friend. "If Lily comes."

Aria nodded. "Of course she'll come! And if she doesn't consent, we'll drag her anyway.."

"I wouldn't doubt you."

The blonde glanced at her friend, a wide grin on her face. "You shouldn't."

* * *

"Lilyyy!!" came Aria's whiny voice. Lily groaned and covered her face with her pillow, groaning. "You have to get up! We're going to Hogsmeade tonight!"

Lily shook her head. "No!" she mumbled against the pillow. Aria rolled her eyes as she and Carina sat down on either side of their friend.

"We need to get out and have fun! We're 7th years! And, the guys aren't going to know.. it'll just be us girls.. James won't be there." Aria wheedled.

Lily poked her head up and shook her flaming red hair out of her face, causing her head to start throbbing again. "I've got a headache." she told them, pouting like a little girl.

Carina laughed lightly before waving her wand. "Better?" she asked, lying next to her friend.

Lily's headache was instantly gone, and she weighed her options. On one hand, she could stay at the castle, moping, and doing homework in the presence of Potter, who she was sorely disappointed in at the moment. On the other hand, she could get out of the castle with her two best friends and have fun in Hogsmeade without Potter.

Bit obvious what I should do... "I'll go." she told her friends, sitting up in her bed and smiling. Then she remembered something.

Aria grinned and hopped up. "Excellent!" she said, instantly running for her bureau. "Pick out what you're wearing now, and have a shower. We leave after supper." she commanded, but Carina shook her head.

"Why don't we go out for supper?" she suggested. Aria froze for a moment, before a grin became plastered on her face.

"Brilliant idea Cari! Now, get dressed and get showered! We don't have much time! You never know who you may see in Hogsmeade!"

Lily watched her pretty friend go through a dozen outfits before she actually stood up. "Fancy, or casual?" she asked, heading towards the bathroom in which Carina was already showering.

Aria paused for a second. "Both. Get a little dressed up, but not too much. We're not going to a party or anything.. just a night on the town!"

Lily laughed at how enthusiastic her friend was sometimes and headed for the shower, thinking that this night out with her friends could be just the thing she needed.

* * *

"Hey Remus, do you know where the girls went?" Sirius asked as he stretched out onto the sofa by the fireplace, rubbing his stomach after a particularly large meal. As there had been no women there to stop them, James and Sirius had decided to have an eating contest, with Remus and Peter as the judges, something Remus in particular didn't exactly like to do.

The aforementioned boy shrugged "No idea where they are. They weren't at supper." Suddenly a horrible thought struck him and he began to panic. "What if the Slytherins..?" He trailed off, as Sirius and James looked up in alarm as well.

"Shit!" Sirius swore, standing up and looking around the common room as if the girls were going to pop out from under the couch.

James stood up as well, putting up a calm face against his panicking interior. "Calm down.. maybe they ate in the kitchens, or maybe they got House-elves to bring up food to them in the dorms. Somebody should go check." he said rationally.

The other two boys looked at him and took deep breaths, calming themselves and trying to make the terrible thoughts that were crossing their minds to disappear.

"I'll get the brooms." said James, rushing to go up the stairs, taking them two at a time. He ran into the messy dorm before pausing and backtracking a little bit, looking at the door.

There was a note and a picture stuck onto the door. Ripping it off the door, he looked at the picture and smiled to himself. In it, Lily, Carina and Aria were dressed up extremely nicely, as if they were going out somewhere, and they were all waving and blowing kisses at the camera. It looked to be a fairly recent picture.

He stared at the picture of Lily for a few moments before realizing what he was doing. She looked incredible in that picture. She had her hair down and scrunched, and a little more make-up than usual. He noticed that they were all wearing more make-up than usual and had done weirdly awesome things to their hair. Aria's hair had a variety of different things done to it, that suited her personality perfectly. It was curled in some places, braided, teased, crimped.. whatever... and it looked really cool. Carina's hair was perfectly straight, straighter than normal, save for a few pieces in the front which were curving away from her face. It looked very nice.

Realizing that he had been staring at the girl's hair-do's, he shook his head to wake himself from his reverie, and looked at the note, recognizing the handwriting. It was Aria's.


Hey guys!
Well, that goes for Sirius, James, and Remus anyway...
but Lily, being the wonderful overachiever that she is, enchanted this parchment so only the three of you can read it. Anyway.. Whats up? Okay, I'll get down to business..
You're probably all worrying your handsome little heads off wondering where we are..But we are perfectly fine. Absolutely, positively fine! That picture is one we just took! And mind you, I'll be wanting it back..
Oh wait, nevermind.. One of you can keep it.. We took two pictures. =D
Oh yeah.. we aren't there, if you haven't noticed. And We aren't telling you where we're going, because you'll come after us and yadda-yadda-yadda... It's girls night out.. which means NO GUYS!..
...unless of course we meet some.. muaha.. ;-)
Don't worry Remie, Carina's safe with me and Lily.. Anyway.. don't come try to find us and ruin our night, because, as it is Friday, and we haven't gone out in a long time, we will kill you. And mark my words, Lily is already not speaking to James, so I wouldn't put it past her.
Got that? By the way, she says she's disappointed in you Jamesy boy.. whatever that means..
Okay.. this is getting quite lengthy, and frankly, I'm getting bored writing it. Soo.. We shall see you in the morning.. Or not.. we'll all probably have hangovers..
But mayybe tomorrow afternoon.. or the day after.. whatever..
Love you all! Don't worry about us! =D
XoXo
Aria, Lily, & Carina



James had an amused grin on his face when he returned back to the common room, no broom in sight. Sirius was looking at him impatiently.

He thrust the paper and picture towards them, smirking and plopping himself down onto the couch once more.

Sirius finished reading the paper and shook his head, his bark-like laugh ringing out over the common room. He took a good look at the picture, and grinned.

Remus finished reading it and sat down next to James, not sure whether he should worry or laugh.

"They'll be fine." James told him, seeing Remus' face. "Let them have their night. Their probably in Hogsmeade or somewhere with a lot of people."

Sirius took another look at the picture and frowned. "We should go get them! Just LOOK at what Rina's wearing? Look at what their all wearing!" He said, shifting into protective-brother mode.

Remus looked at the picture and smiled. "I think they look pretty good if I do say so myself.. happy too."

Sirius was quiet for a minute, pouting. "How come they get to go off and have fun, and we don't?" he whined.

James laughed. "It's their girls night out." He pointed out. Sirius shrugged.

"So?"

Remus rolled his eyes. "They don't want us there. They haven't had much time for just the three of them lately... and a lot's been on everybody's mind.."

The whiny look on Sirius' face disappeared. "Too true, Moony my friend.. Too true.."

* * *

Lily, Aria and Carina sat in the Three Broomsticks, sipping on butterbeer and deciding how they were going to spend their night.

"What about shopping?" suggested Cari, Aria made a face.

"Not crazy enough.."

Lily smirked. "Streaking?" she suggested sarcastically.

Aria wrinkled her nose. "Too crazy..."

Just then, Madame Rosmerta wandered her way over to the three girls, smiling at them. "Sneaking out for a night on the town?" she asked, her eyes twinkling. They grinned at her. Rosmerta had only graduated a few years ago.

"Do you know a place where we can go?" asked Aria, somewhat whiny. The other girls laughed.
Madame Rosmerta grinned.

"I know just the place! A club just opened a little while ago, and I'm pretty sure that their letting in anybody who's 16 and up. It's just down the street, you should check it out! I haven't had a chance to myself yet, you can tell me what it's like!"

The girls jumped up and thanked Madame Rosmerta, before rushing out into the October night and walking as quickly as they could, as they were wearing high-heeled sandals.

As they were walking down the street, they caught sight of a brightly lit-up building with music sounding from the open door. They smiled and walked straight on in. It was nice enough place, with a dance floor as well as a place to sit and mingle.

The girls found themselves a small table and sat down, drinking in the lively atmosphere. There weren't many people they recognized, which was understandable as most of the people they knew were still up at the school.

Aria hailed over a good looking waiter and asked what sort of drinks they sold. He grinned and responded, "Anything your heart desires!" The girls grinned, and Aria, feeling bold decided to get some Firewhiskey, while Lily and Carina ordered Strawberry-Kiwi Coolers.

Aria took a big gulp of her Firewhiskey and coughed. It burned going down, but then went away. She suddenly stood up, hearing a really great song and started to drag Lily with her. The redhead laughed, and sipping her drink, motioned for Carina to come dance as well. She agreed, and the 3 friends had a great time, dancing and laughing, drinking occasionally, flirting with cute guys..

Carina watched her two pretty friends flirt with some guys and laughed, picturing Sirius and James if they could see their crushes now. Suddenly, a slow song began to play, and Carina suddenly wished that Remus was there. She felt somebody tap her shoulder, and she whirled around to see a very good looking blonde standing there with a sheepish grin on his face.

"Would you like to dance?" he asked, looking at his shoelaces. He looked really cute, and he sort of reminded her of Remus. Feeling a little bad for turning the guy down, she shook her head.

"Sorry.. I'm going to go sit down.." she told him before doing what she said she was doing, and sitting down at an empty table. From her chair, Carina could see Aria sucking face with some random good-looking brown haired guy, and Lily was dancing and laughing with a guy that had messy blonde hair.

Biting back a laugh, she could see likenesses between the two guys her friends were occupied with at the moment, and Sirius and James. Rolling her eyes at the girls, Carina looked around the club once more. She suddenly felt really tiny, and she didn't know why. She felt lost, like she didn't belong there.

Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she got another drink and downed it. Feeling slightly dizzy, she looked around the club once more, until something caught her eye. A man whose face she couldn't see, he had dark hair and wasn't facing her. She felt chills run up and down her spine, and tried to shake them off.

Keeping her eye on the man, her mind raced. It could be anybody.. a Slytherin maybe.. Or maybe she was just being paranoid. Finishing her drink, she called for another one. Just as she raised the bottle to her lips, the man turned around and she breathed a sigh of relief. It was just another unfamiliar face in the crowd.

I am too paranoid.. she told herself. I'm perfectly safe here.. just have fun like Aria and Lily.. But Carina didn't feel at home there. This wasn't a place for her, she just wanted to go back to Hogwarts and curl up next to Remus on the couch in front of the fire, where Slytherins couldn't find her. Here, she was out in the open for anybody to find her.

Urgh, You're being stupid. Lily and Aria would never have brought you here if it wasn't safe.. She reminded herself, implying a false sense of security.

All the thoughts she had been trying to ignore, all the thoughts she was afraid of were coming back to her.. The memories of her family beating her over the summer, every summer... The thought that she would never see her twin again, that Remus would hate her when he found out that she was supposed to be married when school was over.. She could see the Slytherins in her mind's eye, she could see her family.. she could foresee that horrible day when she would be forced to walk up the Aisle and marry Severus Snape..

She felt so alone, in the middle of a random club in Hogsmeade. She was surrounded by many nameless people, who were all getting drunk and having a good time. She looked around, trying to see Lily and Aria, to tell them that she wanted to leave, but she couldn't see them anymore. They had disappeared, just like Remus was going to someday when she would finally have to marry Snape..

Feeling tears burn at her eyes, she tried to fight it back by taking another large gulp of her drink, one after the other.. drink after drink.. She wanted to drown in the drink, so that she wouldn't have to remember everything.. She wanted it to disappear, dissolve into nothing, at least for the time being.. and eventually, it did.



[A/N] okay. for this entire chapter i had written 'slaghorn' instead of 'slughorn'. bahahahahaha. i can't believe how stupid i am sometimes. anyway, I've fixed it all now i think. And thanks to whoever informed me of my idiocy (i don't remember your username). =)

Chapter 11: The Hangover & Letter, From Hell
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[A/N] - Hellooo!! Yes, I know I've been forever, but I've had horrible HORRIBLE writor's block.. and I was reading Gomer's story. Amazing..... Anyway. I know that this one is pretty short, but it seemed to be a good spot to end it... hehe... So, here's chapter 11! Sorry for the wait... Enjoyy!! =)


Chapter 11 - The Hangover & Letter, From Hell

While the girls were out in Hogsmeade having their 'Girls Night', James, Sirius, Remus and Peter were hanging out in the Room of Requirements.

"Hey mates, look what I've got." Sirius said mysteriously. The other three looked at him with raised eyebrows. He grinned, and grabbed something that was behind his back, holding them out in his palm for the others to see.

Cigars.

James laughed and took one instantly, looking around for a lighter. He noticed that neither Remus or Peter had taken one yet, so he motioned for them to grab one as he fumbled with the light, finally getting annoyed and using his wand to conjure fire to light his cigar.

Remus rolled his eyes but took one anyway, and Peter took one nervously, his hand twitching as he watched his three friends light up and sit back, talking about nothing in particular.

"Here you go, Pete" Remus said, lighting his cigar for him. Peter gave a watery smile, and coughed from the smoke.

The boys were silent for a few minutes, enjoying each others company as they hadn't been able to spend a lot of time together with just the 4 of them lately.

Soon, Sirius broke the silence. "What do you think the girls are doing?" he asked the group.

James shrugged. "I dunno, maybe they've gone clubbing!" he suggested.

Sirius made a face. "I can't picture my sister at a club." James and Remus rolled their eyes.

"Shut up mate, you just say that 'cause she's your sister. She is 17, you know." James said, staring at the fire.

Sirius didn't answer, and James figured that this was a pretty good time to get what he and Lily had been talking about out into the open.

He cleared his throat. "Uh.. me and Lily.. er.. Lily and I, were talking.."

"WHAT? You and Lily had an actual conversation!" Interrupted Sirius, feigning shock. James glared at him, watching him fake a heart attack and die from shock.

"Ha. Ha. Ha." James said, unamused. "Anyway. Me and Lily were talking, and we think we've come up with a solution for Carina's problem." he told them.

Sirius looked up at James with wide eyes, all thoughts of pretending to be dead forgotten. "How?" he asked, sounding hopeful.

James glanced at Remus, who was staring at him with a glazed look in his eye. The messy haired boy looked into the fireplace and unconsciously ran a hand through his hair.

"Well..?" asked Peter in a timid voice. He didn't show it much, but he was worried about his friends, even if he didn't talk to them often, they were still nice to him.

"We figured that the only way for Carina to not marry Snape, would be to... marry somebody else."

The four friends sat together, each of their minds reeling. A deafening silence filled the room, pounding at Remus' eardrums. He had thought about this for a while now. It very rarely left his thoughts, but he had decided that he would. He loved his girlfriend, and he was going to save her from marrying Snape, and if that meant that he had to marry her, then so be it. He loved her, and he would be honoured to spend the rest of his life with her.

He suddenly realized that his three friends were staring at him, waiting for his take on this. He took a deep breath and looked at Sirius. He couldn't make out the expression that had molded it's way onto Sirius' face.

"I'll do it." he told them, smiling slightly and watching James and Peter's faces light up. His two friends laughed and did a little dance. Sirius on the other hand, looked as though he was fighting a raging battle in his mind. Remus watched him, waiting for his reaction, and grinning widely when Sirius walked over and gave him a tight hug.

When he pulled away, Sirius had a zillion thoughts still running through his head, but the dominent one was telling him, 'This is a good thing. Rina will marry REMUS instead of Snivellus. Moony is going to be your brother-in-law!'

Sirius smiled at him friend, and uttered two words that he meant with every fibre in his being.

"Thank you."

* * *

"Come on Cari, stay with us here, and be quiet!" hissed Aria, holding her friend's hand tightly, as to not let her stray away from them.

Lily and Aria had returned to their table after dancing to find Carina in a state of extreme drunkeness. Deciding it was best if they went back to Hogwarts, they managed to get Carina out of Hogsmeade, across the grounds, and now, they were attempting to move her through the castle without waking anybody up.

Lily grabbed Carina's other hand and helped Aria to pull her along. "Shh.. Honey.. you've got to be quiet, okay?"

Cari was talking very loudly to the both of them, just rambling on and on about something they couldn't understand. Suddenly she started to cry, loud wails that echoed off the walls.

"Silencio!" Lily muttered, pointing her wand at her friend, who's voice was instantly taken away. It appeared that she didn't notice, however, and kept babbling on, tears pouring down her face.

"She's never drinking ever again." Aria said grumpily.

Lily clenched her teeth. "Lets just work on getting her up to the dorms."

They had barely moved 3 steps when Carina became limp in their arms, and the staggered under her weight. They hadn't been expecting her to fall asleep.

Aria sighed and picked up her friend. "I'll carry her. She isn't very heavy. Let's just hurry up, okay?" Lily nodded and the two girls walked quickly and silently to the portrait hole.

Luckily, they didn't meet anybody on the way there, and the fat lady only rolled her eyes and let them in after they told her the password. The common room was completely empty as well, so Lily and Aria carried Carina up the stairs, put her in her bed, took the silencing charm off her, and fell onto their separate beds, falling asleep instantly.

* * *

"Oh.. holy shit..." Carina swore, clutching her head which was throbbing painfully. She had attempted to get out of bed, but now decided to lie back down. She covered her head with her pillow and groaned in pain. "I am never drinking ever again!"

"That's great to hear. I don't fancy having to carry you anymore." came Aria's annoyingly loud voice, along with the sound of the curtains around her bed being pulled open. Carina flinched and hugged her pillow closer to her head.

Next, came Lily's voice. "Cari, get up.. I've got some medicine for you. It's nearly lunchtime." Carina wouldn't move, so Lily sighed and motioned for Aria to go on to lunch. Aria hesitantly nodded and headed down the stairs.

"Rina, come on.. up you get.." and with one quick movement from Lily, Carina was left lying on her bed with no sheets or pillows.

Carina groaned, wincing and shutting her eyes tightly as the light made the pounding in her head worse. "Lily.. leave me alone!" Cari whined, covering her head with her hands.

"Carina Emily Black! Get out of this bed immediately!" Lily said sternly, and Carina groaned, admitting defeat and sitting up.

"Happy?" she grumbled, clutching her head.

Lily smiled. "Yes, I am."

Carina glared at her. "Well goodie for you. I feel like hell." She told her friend, closing her eyes and trying to overcome the dizziness that had come with sitting up.

"Well, you did drink an awful lot last night."

Cari winced. "I don't need reminding... oh god..." she said, clutching her stomach. "I'm gonna puke." she said, her face turning white.

Lily stood up and tried to get her friend on her feet. "Come on.. lets get you to the bathroom." she said kindly, helping Carina towards the toilet. They reached it just in time, for Carina to throw up.

Lily wrinkled her nose, and pulled her friend's hair away from her face."You'll be fine in a little while. I'll get the others to look for a healing spell for you." she said, rubbing Carina's back, trying to make her feel a little better.

"Thanks Lily.." Carina spluttered, before ducking her head into the toilet again. Once she was done retching, Lily handed her a box of tissues that Carina took gratefully.

"Lils, don't ever let me drink again."

* * *

Aria went down the stairs into the common room, looking around for the guys. Spotting them on the couch, she walked over and before they could say anything she asked, "Do either of you know the spell to cure Hangovers?"

They snickered and she sat down crossly. "Do you?"

Sirius leaned forward and stared at her. "Not feeling well after your 'Girl Night?'" he asked with mock sympathy. She glared at him.

"No, I'm just tired. Cari's the one up there puking her guts up."

Aria laughed at the stunned faces of the four boys. "Yeah, I know.. It was Cari who got drunk, weird right? Lily's up there dragging her ass out of bed and holding her hair up while she pukes."

"My sister?" Sirius asked in disbelief. Aria nodded and Sirius shook his head.

"I don't know the spell. Do any of you?"

James, Remus and Peter shook their heads. Sirius shrugged, and Aria rose her eyebrows. "None of you know? Prefer to work of hangovers the old fashioned way I suppose?"

James glared at her. "Hey, we don't drink that much!"

Aria just rolled her eyes. "Who wants to come with me to find a remedy?" James and Peter stood up to go with her. She looked at the other two.

Sirius gave her an innocent look. "I've got detention with McGonagle in a few minutes." He looked at his watch. "Oh whoops, I better get down there before she gives me another few hours." He got up and headed to the portrait hole before skipping giddily and clapping his hands, saying "Oh, I can't wait to see ol' Minnie!!"

The remaining marauders and Aria rolled their eyes, and three of them ventured out the portrait hole, while Remus ran up to his dorm, grabbed his broom and proceded to fly up to the girl's dorms where he heard the sound of retching and Lily's soothing voice coming from the bathroom.

He stood in the doorway and winced as Lily had to yet again hold his girlfriend's hair out of her face and rub her back, Remus couldn't help but smile, thinking about what a wonderful mother Lily would make one day.

Lily caught sight of her friend, and smiled wearily at him. "You shouldn't be up here Remus, I'll take care of her, don't worry."

Remus shook his head and knelt down, taking off his cloak so that he was left with just his t-shirt. "No, that's fine. You go on downstairs and get something to eat. Aria, Pete and James are in the library, Sirius' has got detention again.. so your left alone for now." Lily smiled.

"You sure?"

Remus nodded, taking her place and Lily got up reluctantly. "Okay, well I'll go grab a bite to eat and then I'll go join the others in the library, if you need anything don't hesitate... A hung-over Carina isn't the prettiest site."

"Shut up Lily." growled Carina, her head still stuck in the toilet. Lily bit back a grin and left.

Remus sat there for a few seconds, pondering what to do, and Carina sat up slightly, wiping her mouth with the tissues and looked up at him. She looked horrible, her skin was pallid and greasy, her hair matted, her face looking rather green.

"Ugh.. I feel horrible." she whined.

"You look it as well." Remus smirked. Cari hit him.

"Thanks." she said sarcastically, massaging her forehead. "If you ever see me drinking again, promise me you'll turn it into orange juice or something?" she asked miserably.

Remus laughed. "So, why did you drink so much last night anyway? Lily and Aria aren't nearly as hung-over as you are." he asked, concern not hidden in his voice.

Carina made a face. "I don't know." she lied quickly before feeling a wave of nausea sweep over her and she stuck her head back in the toilet, Remus keeping her long hair away from her face, and rubbing her back, much like Lily had been doing earlier.

Remus frowned, knowing she was keeping something from him, but decided to fish it out of her later, when she wasn't feeling like hell.

* * *

"Hey! Travis! Travis!... Wait up!" Lily called, spotting Aria's ex-boyfriend on her way to the great hall for supper. They had already found a spell for Carina, and after performing it, it didn't work as well as they had hoped, but she had stopped puking at least. Lily was running late, because she had stopped by the owlery on her way down to send her weekly letter to her parents.

Lily quickened her pace to catch up to Travis. He turned around and smiled uncertainly at her, they didn't really know each other all that well.

She caught up to him and fell into step beside him as they walked through the corridors. Lily opened her mouth to talk. "Hi!"

He rose his eyebrow. "Hi...?" Lily laughed slightly.

"Yeah, I know we don't really know each other that well.. but I was hoping that you could shed some light on the... interesting... subject that is your twin brother." Lily said, choosing her words carefully.

Travis smirked at her. "What do you mean?" he asked lightly, and Lily mock-glared at him.

"Um... well..." She started getting flustered. "He.. err.. well he keeps thinking that I'm still his girlfriend! We broke up what.. four, or five weeks ago? And.. I must admit.. it is driving me absolutely insane!"

Travis laughed. "Yeah.. I probably should have warned you before you dated him, or at least told Aria... but Seth, he's.. um... extremely conceited, and vain.."

Lily snorted. "No. I hadn't guessed." She said wryly. Travis grinned before going on.

"I mean, he's my brother, and he's a good guy most of the time.. but with girls... he can't take 'No' for an answer. It's always been that way... As a matter of fact, I have a suspicion that he's been subjected to some sort of hex or something... Or maybe he's just mental..." He added as an afterthought, before laughing. "Either way, you should just ignore it, or if he's really driving you up the wall, then either kiss somebody else in his range, or pretend that you have no idea who he is... or both."

Lily nodded, her brow furrowed. She was slightly weirded out, to put it mildly. "Okay, thanks." She smiled at him as they reached the great hall. "Well, I'll see you around." She said, waving and walking towards the Gryffindor table.

She sat down next to Sirius and glanced at Cari who was staring at her food as it was poison, rubbing her temples. That spell had got rid of her stomach sickness, but she still had a massive headache.

"Not feeling any better? Man, you must have been some drunk to have a freaking hangover even now." James said, rather bluntly. She glared at him.

"I think I'm getting the flu as well... and I'm dead tired." she muttered, standing up. "Screw this. I'm going to bed. Night." And with that, she walked away from the table and out of the great hall, leaving her friends smirking after her.

Sirius grinned, but quickly scanned the Slytherin table. All were present. He relaxed and enjoyed his meal, keeping an eye out for Slytherins leaving the great hall. It seemed they hadn't notice Carina leave.

"Hey James, isn't that your owl?" Peter asked, staring at the tawny owl that was making its way towards the Gryffindor table.

James frowned and nodded. "Why am I getting mail now? This is weird." He mumbled and the owl landed in front of James, sticking out it's leg.

James untied the letter, his stomach clenching as he feared the worst. He faintly noticed practically everybody in the hall staring at him. People rarely got owls during the night.

James opened the letter. The other marauders, Lily and Aria watched as his eyes grew wide, his jaw clenched and he froze, his skin pale.

"What is it, mate?" Sirius asked gently. James appeared not to have heard him. He re-read the letter, and tried to ignore the painful feeling in his throat. He tried to swallow it away, but that only succeeded in making his eyes water.

"James?"

Without warning, James' right fist curled into a fist and he took it down hard on the table. He stood up, and looked to Dumbledore, ignoring his friend's questions. His hazel eyes found blue, and they locked. Dumbledore nodded slightly and James walked quickly out of the Great Hall, followed by the headmaster, the letter still clenched in his fist.

The 5 friends who were left sitting at the table looking at each other. Almost at once, Sirius, Remus, Peter, Aria and Lily stood up at exactly the same time, making everybody who was watching the scene, wonder if it had been planned.

The group of friends made their way out of the Great Hall and wordlessly decided to first see if James had gone back to the common room. He hadn't. Nor was he in the dormitories.

Once they were sitting in the boys dorm, wondering what the hell could have happened, Remus got out the Marauders Map and looked for James on it.

"He's in Dumbledore's office." The werewolf announced to the group.

Sirius stood up. "I'll go figure out what's going on." he said, and before anybody could object, he was gone.

* * *

"Sir..." said James, fighting against the rather painful lump in his throat. "I've got to go home for a few days." he told his professor. There were no question in his words. It was a fact. He was going home.

Professor Dumbledore nodded his consent, which James wasn't really looking for, and he walked towards the fire, and floo-ed away.

The headmaster watched the young man leave and sighed, sitting down in his chair. The twinkle that was always present in his eyes, dimmed somewhat.

Suddenly there came a urgent knocking on the door, and without waiting for somebody to answer, Sirius walked in quickly.

"Where's James?" he asked when he realized that his best friend wasn't there.

"He had returned to his home for a few days." Professor Dumbledore said vaguely, the sadness weighing down his words not unnoticed by the boy in front of him. Sirius frowned, getting impatient.

"What happened?" he asked, trying to keep his temper in check. "Is James okay? What did that letter say?" Sirius stared at the old man, who heaved a great sigh, and gestured for him to sit down. He did so, his stomach fluttering as he hoped desperately that everything was okay, although he knew that it wasn't.

* * *

Carina, Aria, Lily, Peter and Remus were sitting on the couches in the common room, staring at the fire, waiting for Sirius to return with what they knew was going to be dreadful news. Why else would James have run off so suddenly?

The didn't talk much, their thoughts weighed down their minds. Each were thinking of James as well as countless other things. It was inevitable that they would think the worst, running through the worst possible scenarios in their mind, and occasionally thinking that maybe they mistook James' sadness and shock, for only the latter, shock.

But in the back of their minds, they knew that James would have stayed with them, eating supper and telling them all about whatever had happened. He wouldn't have left so suddenly.

Lily wasn't even acknowledging the fact that she was supposed to be disliking James. The thought hadn't even registered, she too worried, frantic even, she had a bad feeling, that something terrible was happening, and she couldn't do anything about it, because she didn't have a clue as to what was going on.

After a while, the portrait door opened and Sirius walked in, a pitiful look upon his face. His eyes were wide, and his brow was furrowed in worry. He was chewing on his tongue as he walked quickly and purposefully towards his friends, not saying a word.

They watched him, waiting for him to say something. Sirius opened his mouth, took a deep breath, and said in a strong voice that broke for a minute in the middle of his single sentence.

"Sarah... Sarah had a relapse... and they.. the healers don't think she's going to make it this time."

Chapter 12: The Meaning of Friendship
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[A/N] Heyy... Yes, I finally got this up! Oh my.. everything has been driving me absolutely crazy lately! But.. I'm still trying to make time to write.. and voila! Here is chapter 12. Hope you all enjoy it! Please review! =D


Chapter 12 - The Meaning of Friendship

Lily stared at Sirius in shock. Of all things that could have happened, why this? A poor little girl. She stood up, tears stinging at her eyes and ran up into the girl's dorm, her friends barely noticing as they digested this horrible news.

Sirius sat down on the couch next to Aria who saw the look on his face and immediately gave him a warm hug. Sirius ignored the flopping sensation in his stomach as his mind raced desperately. I have to go help James. I've gotta go be there for him. He can't get through this on his own. He needs me. Sirius' mind and heart told him.

He looked around at his friends, minus Lily, and realized, James needs us all. He opened his mouth, but before he could utter a word, Lily came running down the stairs, a small leather backpack on her back and stopped right in front of them, hands on her hips and her eyes glassy from held tears.

"What the hell are you all still doing here? Get off your arses and come on! James needs his friends right now!" she told them furiously before yanking Sirius out of his seat and dragging him towards the portrait hole.

"Bloody hell woman! I'm coming! There's no need to get your knickers in a bunch, I was just about to say the same thing... Geez... by the way you're acting, you'd think that you actually liked James."

Lily shot him a death glare, but didn't answer as she headed out the portrait hole. Sirius followed, smirking to himself and motioning for the others to come as well.

He headed out the portrait hole and saw Lily up ahead, walking far too quickly, and he jogged to catch up to her. "Lils, slow down... We're coming... Lily, are you okay?"

Lily nodded quickly, not meeting Sirius' eye, but slowing down her pace considerably. "It's just... I want to get there.. before... The Potter's, they shouldn't have to be alone, if..." she trailed off, holding back the tears that were threatening to fall.

Sirius didn't say anything, there were no words to be said. He just put a comforting arm around his friend as they walked slowly, waiting for their friends to catch up.

Lily leaned her head on Sirius' shoulder and took a deep breath.

"This year... our last year.. it was supposed to be the best one ever..." she said dismally.

Sirius stopped walking for a minute and looked at his red haired friend. "Lily, look at me." he told her, forcing her to look him in the eye.

"This year, I know it's started off badly, pretty damn badly actually.. but it isn't even Christmas yet. Don't think on it like that. We've still got the rest of the year.. hell, we've got the rest of our lives... " he paused for a moment, deciding whether or not to say something he had been wanting to say for a long time. Throwing caution in the winds, he did. "Lily, tell him how you feel." he said, rather bluntly.

She looked at him, startled and started walking again, their friends only a few steps behind. Sirius watched her walk through the entrance hall and through the door before turning around and smiling sadly at his friends.

"Knight bus. Teachers are gonna be pissed, but we don't care. We're doing this for the Sarah, and for James."

* * *

James was sitting in an extremely uncomfortable plastic chair, and although a piece of the plastic was sticking into his back, he sat there, unmoving, staring at the white wall littered with ads from the Ministry. Clenching his jaw, he waited in the waiting room at St. Mungos. Glancing at his pacing father, he was alarmed to see how scared his father was.

James' father was a very strong man. He tended to joke around quite a bit, much like James, and very rarely let his negative emotions show. Watching him run a hand through his greying hair, James was shaken, and he looked to his mother for reassurance, but was crestfallen to see her looking very disheveled.

Her red hair was messy, and she was sitting with her eyes closed, rubbing her temples shakily while her lips trembled.

Tearing his eyes away from the sight of his anxious parents, he looked around the dismal room, searching for something to distract him for just a few minutes. It was nearly empty, the only other occupants being a lone young man looking worried and impatient while he waited, and one other young couple, who clung to each other and the young child in the woman's hands fearfully.

James' heart went out to them, before he was distracted with his own thoughts once more. He sighed, slumping in his chair and looking up at the clean white tiles that covered the ceiling, praying with all his might to a god he wasn't sure existed.

'Please, if there is a god.. please spare my little sister... please... she deserves to be healthy... she's only 10... please...'

Suddenly the visitor's door burst open, drawing the attention of everybody in the room. James was surprised to he Remus walking in, holding hands with Carina who was still suffering from a headache. The couple was quickly followed by Peter, Aria, and lastly, Sirius with his arm around Lily's shoulders.

Ignoring the small pang of jealousy in his chest, he managed to form a weak smile on his worried face. Sirius clapped him on the back, much like a brother and gave him a reassuring grin as he sat on James' right. Remus sat down on James' left, and Carina sat next to him, while Peter, Aria and Lily sat on the chairs opposite him.

Just by his friend's presence, knowing they had left Hogwarts to come here just for him, made him feel the tiniest bit better.

* * *

A long ways away, sitting in his office at Hogwarts school, the aging headmaster looked onto the grounds, where he had, minutes before, watched the 5 friends leave the school, and did nothing to stop them.

Behind him, the door opened, and his deputy headmistress walked brusquely into the room. "Albus, students have just left the school. Shall we send somebody after them? It's not safe to go wandering around." said Professor McGonagle. She paused, waiting for an answer, and when she did not receive one, she pressed, "Albus?"

The headmaster turned to her with a bittersweet smile on his face.

"The friendship that has conspired around these 6 students is absolutely amazing, especially in these dark times. I have never seen people more loyal to one another." He said vaguely. McGonagle waited, unsure of what to do.

"James needs them right now." he told her, "It would be unwise and cruel to stop them from going to his aid. Let them go."

* * *

A healer, clad in his uniform lime green robes, walked down the hallway, nearing the door which he was forced to go through and be the bearer of terrible news.

The healer was young, still not used to the concept of losing somebody. It was surreal, and he felt horrible for being unable to do anything more. Guilt weighed down his insides as he pushed through the doors and spotted the anxious family, waiting for news.

Taking a deep breath, he made his way over to the rather large group who waited, watching him with terrified expressions on their faces. He hesitated, who was he to tell this family what they had lost? Who was he but one worthless healer who had not managed to do his job?


Fearfully, Lily watched as the young healer walked closer, a resolute look of guilt on his face. With a dark feeling of dread, she looked towards James, as he watched the man walk closer with clenched fists and a hint of pleading in his wide, hazel eyes. She barely noticed Ms. Potter standing as the healer came to a stop in front of them, and spoke in a voice of subdued emotion.

"Mr. and Mrs. Potter.... We did all we could for Sarah, but it wasn't enough. I am so sorry."

James was vaguely aware of Sirius' tight grip on his shoulder, and the eyes of his friends boring into him while he heard the healer speak. His throat was getting tighter and tighter by the second, and he knew that the healer was still speaking, but James was unable to hear him due to the pounding in his ears.

He could hardly breathe, and as he gasped for air, he was unaware of his hands shaking. He felt Sirius' grip on his shoulder tighten, and James looked wildly to his best friend to deny what the healer had said.

Sirius' face was stony, and he gave a small shake of his head. James' eyes widened and he looked to his left, to Remus in panic. He saw his friend shaking his head and biting his lip as he held his girlfriend, attempting to comfort her while she cried.

'No...'

Every second that passed, James was finding it harder and harder to breath. The lump in his throat was growing painful, and it was soon followed by a dull pang in his chest. In panic, he looked from Peter who was staring at the healer in shock, to Aria who had covered her face in her hands, her shoulders shaking while she cried. His burning eyes turned to Lily, who he saw was looking at him while she clasped her hands together so tightly that her knuckles were turning white. He kept his eyes on her as tears fell down her face and it registered in his mind that she was looking at him with concern flitting her features.

His vision was blurring, and he looked top his parents in one last desperate hope that they would tell him that the healer was lying, that Sarah, his adorable little sister was perfectly fine.

His heart was ripped open when he turned his gaze to his parents and was met with the horrifying sight of his strong parents, clinging to each other, sobbing heartily. His mother's grief filled wails pounded in his ears and it hit him.

'Sarah... gone... My little sister is dead, and she's never coming back.' The thought hit him like a thousand lightning bolts. Grief overwhelmed him, and he couldn’t breathe. As he struggled for air, he payed no mind to the liquid running down his cheeks. All he knew was the slicing pain his heart that he knew would never leave him.

Unexpectedly, he was suddenly aware of somebody engulfing him in a very tight hug. He vaguely recognized the bright red hair and skinny frame in his anguish and it registered numbly that it was Lily who was hugging him.

Lily faintly wondered what she was doing. She had told herself to stay away, to let Sirius and everybody else comfort James, because she was so damn confused, and they weren't very close... at all... but when she had seen the terror, and heart-wrenching pain in James' eyes, and the first tear had fallen from his eyes, she hadn't been able to contain herself.

"I am so, so sorry James." She whispered in his ear, her voice shaky. "It'll be okay... I promise... I know that well.. I'm not the easiest to get along with, and I have a rather.. bad.. temper... but.. I'm still your friend... and... well.. I'm here. Know that." With that said, she gave him a small kiss on the cheek and pulled away, wiping away her tears as she let Sirius take over in comforting his best friend.

* * *

The wake and the funeral were the hardest things James had ever had to endure. Just seeing his usually so lively little sister just lying there, unmoving, off-colour... It was ... there are no words to describe what it feels like to see somebody who was once so full of life just there, in a coffin... it's crazy, and unbelievable, and so, so, so sad.

For the past few days, his friends were consistently around him, and he was grateful to them, as he knew that all of them had known Sarah as well, and especially Sirius who had practically became part of the family. But when he was around James, he would put the mask on, and fake being normal, to help James.

Lily, for the most part, had kept her distance from James since she had bombarded him with her hug at St. Mungos. Now, as the congregation left the church, carrying little Sarah off towards the graveyard where she was to be buried, she stopped walking as she entered the ironically beautiful day, and watched him. He was standing in the middle of the crowd of both muggles and magic-folk wearing his best black outfit along with a bright pink tie, Sarah's favorite colour.

He was just standing there, watching the people move towards the graveyard.

Lily's gaze turned to a small boy who Lily recognized as being one of Sarah's friends. He was holding his mother's hand and crying softly. Lily felt a tear run down her face. 'Life is cruel' she thought bitterly.

Lily's gaze was brought back instantly to James as she heard him yelling furiously at Sirius. "No! God damnit Sirius! I am not watching my little sister get put into the god damn ground!" He screamed hysterically. Tears jumped to her eyes again as she watched James lose the composure he had so desperately tried to keep for the past few days, and he turned and fled.

Wiping her eyes, she started down the steps, fully intending to go after him, but she was stopped by Carina's hand on her arm. Lily looked into the sad face of her friend, and Carina shook her head softly. "Let him go."

* * *

James hadn't been able to stop running once he had started. He had to get away from that church, and from all those people, he had to get away from his friends, if only for a little while.

Fighting against the painful lump in his throat and the burning of his eyes, he didn't stop running until he was in the middle of his backyard, beside a huge tree. He stopped running and looked around the peaceful garden.

He was completely alone.

And with knowledge of that fact, James fell to his knees and wept. He pressed his back against the trunk of the large tree and let it all out. He cried for Sarah, he cried for the pain his family was in, he cried for everybody and anybody who had ever lost a sibling or a loved one.

He wept because Sarah would never get to go to Hogwarts, or grow up, or fall in love, or just have the courtesy of living...

'How could so much life be taken away from such an innocent little girl, due to one stupid god damn disease?'

James sat there under the tree for a long time. He hadn't moved since he had arrived. Now that he had stopped crying, he was silent, just sitting there doing and thinking about nothing whatsoever.

He was an empty shell. He couldn't bear to feel anymore, so he had shut off everything, if only for the time being.

He registered the sound of a car pulling up into his driveway, followed closely by another, which he suspected was Lily's. He didn't move, he just sat there.

He heard people speaking, car doors slamming, doors closing, and then, silence.

Sighing, James ran a hand through his hair and leaned his head against the tree, breathing deeply and clearing his mind of everything. He was completely blank.

"Hey." came a familiar female voice, startling James out of his reverie. He opened his eyes and simply looked at his blonde friend. "Can I sit?" Aria asked hesitantly. James gave a non-committal shrug and she perched herself next to him. They were quiet for a few minutes before Aria broke the silence once more. "I missed you after the service..."

"I couldn't watch." James said simply, his voice flat.

"Everybody's worried about you, James. You know that we're all here for you, don't you?" She said sincerely, watching him closely. He nodded silently, and she continued talking with her blue eyes shining from unshed tears. "We're going to get through this together. I promise."

Again, James said nothing, so Aria tried a different tactic to get some sort of emotion. "Lily's been going crazy worrying about you."

Still nothing.

Aria sighed and took James' hand in hers, giving it a friendly squeeze. "It will be okay." she told him firmly. James remained expressionless, but gave her hand a squeeze. Aria smiled softly.

They sat there like that for a few minutes in silence, until Peter came wandering down to the yard. Aria gave him a small smile, and he only hesitated a second before sitting down next to his two friends, giving James a warm smile. The three stayed there for a while until Sirius showed up.

"So this is where you've been all this time!" Sirius said in a would-be lighthearted voice that nobody was fooled by. They all knew that Sirius was hurting as well. Aria held out her hand to him, and he took it, sitting down between her and Peter, giving James a warm grin as he ignored the tingling in his hand.

Minutes later, Remus and Carina had found their way to James' backyard as well. They didn't think twice before sitting down as well, forming a circle. James looked around at his friends with a growing feeling of warmth in his being.

The 5 friends sat there for quite a while, doing absolutely nothing, just being comfortable in each other's presence, knowing that Lily should be joining them soon.

When she didn't, Sirius cleared his throat. "Prongsie, It is my duty to tell you, and make sure that you know that we, including Lily even though she isn't here... as a matter of fact I haven't seen her since she was talking to that guy.. Brandon's his name I think?... She..."

Remus cut him off. "What Sirius here is trying to say is.."

"That we love you." put in Carina, smiling warmly at her friend.

Peter then put his two cents in. "And we're here.."

"Always." said Aria, giving James' hand another squeeze.

"And you better know it! This is what friends are for!" Sirius said jokingly, but behind the light-heartedness, James knew he was sincere.

James couldn't help the grin in his face, and he smiled for the first time in 4 days. "I know, you guys. I know."

* * *

She was walking down an empty hallway. The lights were dimmed and she stopped, feeling scared, in front of a door. She did not want to go through that door. Suddenly, somebody pushed her and she fell through the door, her dark hair falling in front of her face.

Looking up she saw the greasy haired git known to her as Snivellus, wearing black dress robes and sneering at her, his nose looking abnormally larger than normal. She was pulled to her feet, when she realized that she was wearing white, wedding robes. Turning around she attempted to flee the small church, when she was restrained. She felt herself being dragged to the alter, and she was crying.

"Carina Emily Black, you are here to be wed to Severus Angus Snape."

She shook her head, crying and looking out to the people gathered there in the church for somebody to help her. It was then that she saw Remus. He was trying to force his way past a wall of men in black cloaks. He couldn't reach her.

Suddenly she was aware of the full moon, at which Remus turned into a terrifying werewolf and wasn't able to stop the ceremony. Her attention was wrenched back to Snape as he forced a ring on her finger. "You are mine." He told her, and she fell to the floor, crying and crying...


...Until she woke up.

Sitting up straight in her bed in the guest room at Lily's house, her heart was racing wildly, and she was frightened. Looking around the room wildly, trying to see through the darkness.

Lying back down on the bed, she rubbed her eyes and noticed that she had been crying. Remembering her nightmare, she shuddered and buried her head in the pillow, sobbing once more.

Hearing a groan from the other side of the room, Carina looked over and remembered that Aria was sleeping in the same room as her. Not wanting to wake her friend up, she got out of bed and left the room.

She walked quietly down to the dark, empty kitchen and sat at the table, trying to calm herself down. A glass of milk and a blueberry muffin later, she pushed her mind to think of other things.

Tears welled up in her eyes once more as she thought of the funeral which had taken place that day. Sarah had been so young and good. Carina knew she would have grown up to make the Potter's proud. Especially James, who had loved his little sister so much.

Sighing, she rested her chin on her hands and though about James. Carina loved the boy and considered him as her brother, especially as he and Sirius were so close.

And Lily... 'Lily will realize her feelings for James... It's so obvious to us, why can't she see it?' She wondered, rolling her eyes fondly at the thought of her red haired friend.

Speaking of Lily... 'I haven't seen her all night, since the funeral...' She realized, and Carina wondered if she had come home at all. Feeling a bout of worry raise up within her, Carina walked quickly and silently up the stairs and paused at the door to Lily's room. Opening the door as quietly as she could, Carina peered around her room, her gaze stopping at Lily's untouched bed.

Her feeling of worry increasing, Carina near ran back to the guest room and quickly woke up her blonde friend. "Aria! Aria get up! Lily's not here! We need to find her!"

Aria sat up in the bed, rubbing her eyes. "What are you yelling about Cari?" She asked sleepily.

"Lily isn't here! I haven't seen her since the funeral." Carina said urgently.

Aria's eyes widened and she threw the covers back. "What?" She asked, climbing out of her bed and walking towards the door, Carina close behind her. "But where the hell could she be?" Aria asked, whispering. They didn't want Lily's parents to be woken up yet. They didn't want to worry them, especially Mrs. Potter, as she was pregnant.

"I don't know!" Finally, Carina calmed down somewhat and she was able to think straight. "Maybe she's at James'?" she suggested, although sounding very doubtful.

Aria nodded. "Lets check and go wake up the guys." The two friends raced out of the house, being as quiet as they could and ran across the lawn to James' door.

It was locked.

Aria cursed under her breathe while Carina grabbed her arm and dragged her round the back. The back door was locked as well, but luckily there was a huge tree pretty close to the guest room window.

"Climb it?" asked Aria. Carina nodded, and they made their way up the tree, towards the window. "Nearly there..." Aria muttered, reaching for the window, and rapping on it with her knuckles. When she got no answer, she knocked again, and again, and again, until she got so frustrated that so pounded on the window. Almost at once, the window flew open and Sirius stuck his head out.

"What the hell are you doing?" he hissed.

"Let us in." Aria told him. He shrugged and grabbed his wand before levitating the two girls through the window.

By now, both Remus and Pete had woken up as well. "What's going on?" Remus asked, rubbing his eyes.

"Lily's missing." The two girls said at the same time. The three boys were instantly alert.

"What?" Peter asked, quickly getting out of his bed and walking over to his friends. Remus quickly joined him, looking concerned.

Carina sniffled. "I woke up ‘cause I had a nightmare and I realized that I hadn't seen Lily since the service so I went to check on her and she wasn't there, and it's obvious that she hasn't been there."

Sirius sat down on his bed. "We've got to find her." he said, looking at them.

Aria rolled her eyes. "That was a given." she said.

Sirius ignored her. "But, what about James?"

They were silent for a moment. "Let's see if he's awake. If he is, we tell him. If not, we let him sleep." Aria said, heading to the door. The 3 others followed her just as she opened the door to James' room a notch. She quickly closed it.

"He's asleep." She informed them.

"Somebody should stay behind just in case he or the Potter's wake up." Remus said reasonably. Peter nodded and volunteered to stay behind, as long as they let him know when they get back what happened. They agreed and quickly left the house. Once they were outside, they stood in the middle of the road and looked around, worrying silently, each in their own minds, until Sirius spoke up.

"Where do we look?" he asked.

Carina bit her lip. "Let's check the park first, it's a couple of blocks away." So they did. Lily wasn't there.

They wandered around for hours, wondering where the hell she would be. They looked and looked and looked, but they couldn't find her anywhere. Not at any late night stores, or sitting in a phone booth, or wandering the streets, or at any little playgrounds.

"Where in the name of Godric Gryffindor could she be?" Aria asked, rubbing her arms to warm up as she worried her head off about her friend. She looked down at what she was wearing. Pink cotton pajama pants and a skimpy white tank top. She glanced at her friends. Carina was wearing practically nothing as well. A small black t-shirt and blue cotton pajama shorts. Sirius and Remus were both wearing boxers and t-shirts, and everybody was starting to get rather cold.

"Maybe she's back at home by now?" Carina suggested feebly.

"Maybe we should check her house, and tell her parents." Remus said miserably.

Aria and Sirius nodded, disheartened and distressed as they wondered where their friend could be. They began walking back towards Lily's house, through the silent, cold, miserable night, when there was a noise from the trees which lined the road. The four whipped around, the boys taking out their wands and aiming them towards the sound.

"Who's there?" demanded Sirius. "Come out of the trees!"

A figure stumbled out of the bushes, and fell to the ground, shaking. Remus was the first to recognize the red hair. "Lily!?" He yelled, shocked. Sirius, Carina and Aria jumped, and looked closer at the figure quivering on the ground. Realizing that it was indeed their friend who they had been searching for, they ran over and knelt beside her.

The four friends were shocked and furious to see Lily's condition. She was still wearing the plain black dress she had worn at the funeral, but it was ripped and torn and wrinkled and dirty. There were a few cuts on her arms, and a gash on her left cheek. Her hair was a mess, and her makeup was running. It was obvious that she had been crying, and it was nerve wracking to see Lily shaking on the ground, curled up into a little ball.

"Lily.." Carina said softly.

Lily looked up at her, and took a deep breath. "Rina?" she asked, sounding afraid. Carina nodded and Lily looked relieved. "Oh thank god.." she muttered. Aria bent down and gave her red headed friend a hug.

"What the hell happened, Lils?" she asked. Lily froze, as if thinking back to what exactly happened, and then tears filled her eyes and she started to cry. Carina and Aria held her in their arms while Lily sobbed in their arms, while Remus and Sirius looked on, confused and angered.

When it seemed as if Lily had calmed down somewhat, Sirius knelt down and said, "Lily?" Lily tensed at the sound of his voice and looked up at him, fear filling her eyes as she inched away from him. Confused, Sirius reached out to put a hand on her back, but she recoiled from his touch, and started to cry once more.

Alarmed, Sirius pulled away. "What the hell happened?" Sirius demanded to know, looking around the deserted road as if the person who had done this to Lily would show up there any minute.

Remus on the other hand knelt down closer to Lily and looked her directly in the eye. He was shocked to see how scared she was. Lily Evans was rarely scared, and if she was, she didn't show it. "Lily..." he said, moving an inch closer, she shuddered. Furrowing his brow, he looked at her. "Lily, I would never hurt you, you know that, don't you?"

She just looked at him. Sirius leaned forward as well. "I promise, We promise that we would never do anything to hurt you Lily." He told her very seriously.

Lily just sat there, tears welling up in her eyes as she fought against her rational side. She didn't know what to say, so she said the only thing that made sense. "Can I just go home, please?" she asked timidly.

"Of course sweetie." came Aria's voice as she helped Lily stand up. "Let's get you home."

And so they did. They walked and walked and soon they were almost there. The four friends couldn't help but notice the way that Lily stayed closer to Aria and Carina, and how she was limping slightly, and they each wondered, extremely worried for her, what had happened.

When they finally reached Lily and James' street, Lily started to pick up her pace, just wanting to collapse in her bed and sleep and sleep and never think about anything again.

She was nearly there when her friends caught up to her. Carina gently grabbed her arm to stop her. "Lily, you need to tell us what happened." She said. "So we can help you."

Lily just stood there, her body shaking once more as she remembered and tried to forget. Suddenly the door to James' house burst open and two figures came darting out of the house. The one in the lead was extremely angry, that everybody could tell.

Suddenly Lily was terrified once more. She turned to Carina, Aria, Sirius and Remus. "Please... Don't tell James." She said, tears pouring down her dirty face. Then, the red-haired girl turned and fled into her house.

The four friends watched her go in silence. Within moments, James had reached them. "What the hell is going on?" He demanded to know. "You all gone off somewhere in the middle of the night without me?! When one of our friends is in trouble? Why the hell didn't you get me up? What is wrong with Lily?" He asked, his voice breaking somewhere in the middle of his rant. He couldn't bear something to happen to somebody else he loved.

The 6 stood there, nobody really knowing what to say to James. Lily's words were echoing in their heads. After a long, pregnant pause, Sirius sighed, and said truthfully, "I really don't know, mate, I don't know..."

And he didn't. None of them did.

* * * * *

Chapter 13: Their Lily
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[N/A]- Yeah. I know. I've been forever... I have no excuses to give, just.. bah. lol. Actually I would have had this up about a week ago, but my dada was doing something with the hard-drive and then the internet wouldn't work... BUT.. here we go... at long last. (Hey, when you have to wait for something it makes it better dont it? Don't it?? LoL.)

I have no disclaimer, you all know I don't own Harry Potter...

And before I go, I would like to thank i dOnT sTuDy x for helping me out of the hole i'd written myself into, and for her ideas. =D Luurve you hun!


Oh.. would you all like a recap? I bet you would, since it's been so long. Well here's the end of chapter 12:




"Who's there?" demanded Sirius. "Come out of the trees!"

A figure stumbled out of the bushes, and fell to the ground, shaking. Remus was the first to recognize the red hair. "Lily!?" He yelled, shocked. Sirius, Carina and Aria jumped, and looked closer at the figure quivering on the ground. Realizing that it was indeed their friend who they had been searching for, they ran over and knelt beside her.

The four friends were shocked and furious to see Lily's condition. She was still wearing the plain black dress she had worn at the funeral, but it was ripped and torn and wrinkled and dirty. There were a few cuts on her arms, and a gash on her left cheek. Her hair was a mess, and her makeup was running. It was obvious that she had been crying, and it was nerve wracking to see Lily shaking on the ground, curled up into a little ball.

"Lily.." Carina said softly.

Lily looked up at her, and took a deep breath. "Rina?" she asked, sounding afraid. Carina nodded and Lily looked relieved. "Oh thank god.." she muttered. Aria bent down and gave her red headed friend a hug.

"What the hell happened, Lils?" she asked. Lily froze, as if thinking back to what exactly happened, and then tears filled her eyes and she started to cry. Carina and Aria held her in their arms while Lily sobbed in their arms, while Remus and Sirius looked on, confused and angered.

When it seemed as if Lily had calmed down somewhat, Sirius knelt down and said, "Lily?" Lily tensed at the sound of his voice and looked up at him, fear filling her eyes as she inched away from him. Confused, Sirius reached out to put a hand on her back, but she recoiled from his touch, and started to cry once more.

Alarmed, Sirius pulled away. "What the hell happened?" Sirius demanded to know, looking around the deserted road as if the person who had done this to Lily would show up there any minute.

Remus on the other hand knelt down closer to Lily and looked her directly in the eye. He was shocked to see how scared she was. Lily Evans was rarely scared, and if she was, she didn't show it. "Lily..." he said, moving an inch closer, she shuddered. Furrowing his brow, he looked at her. "Lily, I would never hurt you, you know that, don't you?"

She just looked at him. Sirius leaned forward as well. "I promise, We promise that we would never do anything to hurt you Lily." He told her very seriously.

Lily just sat there, tears welling up in her eyes as she fought against her rational side. She didn't know what to say, so she said the only thing that made sense. "Can I just go home, please?" she asked timidly.

"Of course sweetie." came Aria's voice as she helped Lily stand up. "Let's get you home."

And so they did. They walked and walked and soon they were almost there. The four friends couldn't help but notice the way that Lily stayed closer to Aria and Carina, and how she was limping slightly, and they each wondered, extremely worried for her, what had happened.

When they finally reached Lily and James' street, Lily started to pick up her pace, just wanting to collapse in her bed and sleep and sleep and never think about anything again.

She was nearly there when her friends caught up to her. Carina gently grabbed her arm to stop her. "Lily, you need to tell us what happened." She said. "So we can help you."

Lily just stood there, her body shaking once more as she remembered and tried to forget. Suddenly the door to James' house burst open and two figures came darting out of the house. The one in the lead was extremely angry, that everybody could tell.

Suddenly Lily was terrified once more. She turned to Carina, Aria, Sirius and Remus. "Please... Don't tell James." She said, tears pouring down her dirty face. Then, the red-haired girl turned and fled into her house.

The four friends watched her go in silence. Within moments, James had reached them. "What the hell is going on?" He demanded to know. "You all gone off somewhere in the middle of the night without me?! When one of our friends is in trouble? Why the hell didn't you get me up? What is wrong with Lily?" He asked, his voice breaking somewhere in the middle of his rant. He couldn't bear something to happen to somebody else he loved.

The 6 stood there, nobody really knowing what to say to James. Lily's words were echoing in their heads. After a long, pregnant pause, Sirius sighed, and said truthfully, "I really don't know, mate, I don't know..."

And he didn't. None of them did.

* * * * *

There we go. Now that everybody's up-to-date, Lets move forewards!!!! =D


Chapter 13 - Their Lily

Lily curled herself up in her safe, warm bed, and hugged her dog, Cocoa tightly as she fought hard against the newly formed memories she had acquired. She tried to think of happy things, of Hogwarts, or her friends, but it was proving difficult to close out what had happened.

The door was locked. The windows were locked. The bedside lamp was on, and her wand was sitting beside her on her bed, so it was in easy reach if she should need it.

Despite all of this, she was still terrified, and hurt.

Her ankle was throbbing, a result of running as fast as she could through the dark forest. And many minor scratches were present on exposed skin because of this as well. A rather painful cut was exposed on her cheek, and another one on her left forearm.

.. And the bruises... Lily winced as she twisted her body slightly, and softly clutched her stomach.

However, no scar or minor injury could ever pierce her so deeply as the events that night,

She had never liked him, the filthy arrogant bastard, but she would have never thought he was capable of such actions.

In all accounts, when Lily finally calmed down slightly, she considered herself lucky. She had been able to escape. Running a hand through her dirty hair, she shuddered to think of what would have happened had she not been able to distract him, for the distraction had been all she needed, and then she had run harder and faster that she ever thought possible.

And even as she knew this, Lily sat in her comforting room, and she was still scared.. still picturing that maniac-like look in his eyes... one of rage, lust, and arrogance. Just remembering that look in his eyes.. a sob erupted from her chest as it sunk in.. what happened... what could have happened.. and what would have happened if she hadn't gotten away. Flinging herself on her bed, she cried, and thanked and unknown force that she had escaped.

... and she hoped against hope that if such an incident ever occurred again, she would be as lucky as she was this night.

* * *

The next few days passed slowly and an air of thick tension was surrounding the group of friends.

Everybody was worrying about everything; what the hell had happened to Lily, how James was doing, along with everybody else mourning, James' parents, Carina, the full moon, having to return to Hogwarts and make up for the classes they had missed...

Everything was piling up, and the stress was starting to take it's toll on everybody.

The red head was doing a spectacular job of acting. Apart from that night, she had appeared as normal as ever. She refused to let her friends know what was going on.

Needless to say, they were not that easily fooled... however... with everything else piling up as well.. sometimes it just evaporated from their minds, being replaced by immediate problems.

However, they had chosen the worst time possible to be ignorant of Lily's need for her friends. She was sinking deeper and deeper into a hole that she couldn't get out of. Stress was overwhelming her, while depression captured the fiery girl...

* * *

Soon, they were all back at Hogwarts, doing their own thing, trying to get back to normal, yet worried as hell and stressed about every little thing. It was a rainy, Friday afternoon as Lily sat by herself in the library, immersed in work even though classes had only just ended. Her stomach growled, but she ignored it. Her red hair was unkept and shoved into a ponytail, there were bags present under her eyes, and her makeup was smudged.

She was scribbling away at some Potions essay, not allowing her mind to wander towards anything. It was easier that way.

Pausing for a second to rub her tired eyes, she yawned, before returning to her work, her eyes dropping from sleepless nights. She'd taken to having nightmares, not just about that night in the woods, but about Sarah, James, Carina and Snape, Peter, the rising threat of some dark lord, and her sister.

So instead of sleeping, she forced herself to work until exhaustion which would hopefully provide a dreamless sleep. She would have gone to the infirmary for a dreamless sleep potion, but her common sense was lacking and even if she had gone, Madame Pompfrey would have surely wanted an excuse.

So she buried herself in work, and when she was with her friends, she put up such a marvelous act, they hardly noticed.

As the girl finished her essay, she packed up her things, and trudged up to Gryffindor tower to drop her things off before heading down to the kitchens to see if there was any supper left... but it seemed that she didn't have to take the extra trip to the kitchens after all, for as she entered the common room, Carina and Aria were sitting, waiting for her with a basket of food in front of them.

Her two friends grinned at her. "Hey Lils. You missed supper, so we brought it for you. Where were you?" asked Cari, motioning for her to sit down. Lily obliged and took a nibble of a bun.

She forced a smile. "Library. I wanted to finish that essay for potions."

Aria rolled her eyes. "Crazy broad! You have a week to finish that essay.. but nevermind, you can help me!" she said, grinning. Lily smiled back through a yawn.

Carina propped her feet up on Lily's lap. "So what shall we do tonight? The guys have gone off pranking somewhere, so its just us girls."

"It's about time they got back to their pranking!" Aria exclaimed, a concerned smile on her face. "Maybe it will help to cheer them up."

Lily smiled sadly. "I hope so." She stifled a yawn and took another small bite out of an apple. "So what's the plan for tonight?" she asked. The she spotted Cari looking at her shrewdly. "What?" She suddenly felt very self-conscious, and a wave of fear passed over her.

"Are you okay? You look tired. Have you been overworking yourself again?" Lily let out a small sigh of relief.

"No, I'm fine." she insisted. Cari didn't look convinced, but Aria waved it away.

"She'll be fine." Aria told Carina, and Lily, who had averted her eyes and taken another bite of her apple, didn't see the look that was exchanged by her two friends.

* * *

Meanwhile, the marauders had taken refuge in the kitchens... even if it was right after supper, but hey, if Sirius and Peter wanted some more puddings, they were gonna get them.

So while Remus and James sat themselves at a table, sipping their tea, Peter and Sirius filled their faces with trifles and eclairs. Remus shot them look and muttered, "Pigs."

James smiled. "Damn right their pigs."

Sirius pouted. "Hey, I missed Hogwarts food." James gave him a weak smile, the reason why they had to have missed the food ever present in his mind.

Sirius seemed to realize he'd said something wrong, and instantly started racking his mind for a subject change. It landed on Lily. "So.. guys.. what do you think happened to Lily that night?" He asked, a hint of anger in his voice. All three of his friends instantly turned and looked at him.

"She's acted pretty much normal since then." Peter said, a curious look on his face. "Maybe it wasn't really anything at all."

Remus shook his head. "No, you didn't see her that night. She was terrified."

"What was she acting like?" James demanded to know, an ugly look on his face. "What was the matter with her? She bolted for the house when I came out."

Sirius and Remus exchanged glances before Sirius opened his mouth. "We were looking for her, and when we finally found her, she stumbled out of the woods, and just.. fell onto the pavement. I didn't recognize her at first."

Remus cut in. "When we had realized it was her, we went over to see if she was okay, naturally... but she was shaking and still her dress from..." he stopped himself, "her black dress.. and she was cut up and bruised and messy. She was grateful to see Aria and Rina.. but she wouldn't touch me or Sirius..." he trailed off.

James' fury was building up inside if him. "Obviously pointing out that whoever did whatever to her was a guy. Go on."

"We brought her home, and when she saw you running, obviously pissed off, she got scared and ran." Remus finished, looking at his friend. "Who could have done something to her anyway?"

The 4 boys searched their minds. James hadn't been paying attention to anything at the funeral... and neither had his friends... but Peter suddenly remembered something. "Hey.. there was a guy.. she was staring at her I think... yeah, every time I’d glance around and see him, he'd be staring at her.." he blurted out, feeling guilty for not remembering sooner.

"Who was it? What did he look like?" James asked, his voice flat, as if he already knew the answer.

Peter tried to remember. "Tall, uhh... dark hair... he was wearing a white shirt and uhh... a red tie.. yeah.. er.." James cut him off.

"Was his hair straight? Did he have a big nose?"

Peter tried to remember. He nodded. "Yeah, he did."

James looked murderous. "Brandon Stone." he said slowly, spitting out the name as if it was the cause of a scratch on his broomstick. "I hate him."

"So this.. Brandon guy.. did something to our Lils?" Sirius asked angrily.

James nodded. "Most likely."

"Who votes we kill him?"

James and Peter rose their hands. Remus opened his mouth. "First, we find out if it really was him."

"And if it is?"

Remus had an ugly look on his face and said simply. "We kill him. Then we kill Snape. Deal?"

Sirius high-fived him. "Deal... now hows about we release some of our frustration on old Snivellus now?"

The four marauders grinned evilly and started to plan.

* * *

"Oooh! I know what we can do!" said Aria mischievously. The other two looked at her. "Why don't we go clubbing in Hogsmeade and get Cari absolutely drunk!?" She paused, laughing slightly at the look on Cari's face. "Oh wait.. I forgot we'd already done that!" Carina made a face at her, and three of the girls laughed.

"How about we have a total girly night? Read magazines, do our nails, wax our legs, use face masks, pluck our eyebrows and all that jazz? It's girly, there’s no chance of us getting drunk.." Aria smirked, but didn't interrupt Cari. "And we haven't done it in a while. Total estrogen night.. without clubs."

Lily smiled. "Sure thing."

15 minutes later, the three girls were sitting on Aria's bed in their pajamas, eating chocolate and drinking pina coladas. Aria swished her wand and music filled the air. She jumped up and danced her way into the washroom, returning with a large bowl of green paste.

Lily and Cari tied their hair up and began scooping the stuff onto their face. Aria did the same. "So what's on everybody's minds?" she asked, trying to decide between 2 colours of nail polish.

Lily shrugged, trying to be nonchalant while her heart skipped a beat. "Not much." She quickly busied herself with choosing a nail polish as well. She chose a deep, crimson red.

Carina took another sip from her not-so-alcohol-free pina colada and started flipping through a 'Witch Weekly' magazine. "Just stuff. But lets not talk about serious stuff tonight, okay? Umm.. Ria, got your eye on any certain guy.. as your last boyfriend turned out to be gay?" The three girls laughed.

Aria shook her head, finally deciding on a bright turquoise green nail polish. "Nope, completely single. I'm still searching for 'the one'. Lily?"

Lily scowled at her. "Nope." The other two girls rolled their eyes, but didn't say anything. Lily blew on her nails, waiting for them to dry so she could go wash the green muck off her face. "Cari, aren't you going to do your nails too?"

Noticing the change of topic, but not commenting on it, Cari shrugged. "Spose so." So she went through Aria's rather large collection of nail polishes and decided on a pale pink.

Lily took another sip from her pina colada and upon confirmation that her nails were indeed dry, she got up and headed to the bathroom.

Once the water was on, Aria leaned over and spoke softly to Carina so that Lily wouldn't hear. "We're going to get it out of her tonight." She told her friend. Carina nodded, her forehead wrinkled in concern.

The water stopped running so the two friends quickly pasted smiles on their faces, and went back to what they were doing as Lily came out of the bathroom, her face free of green muck.

Many more pina coladas later, the three girls were having a rather good time. Aria stood in front of a large, full length mirror, plucking her eyebrows, and scrutinizing herself.

"My hair is too long." she said out loud, standing back, and putting the tweezers down.

Lily jumped up, having put all thoughts of everything away from her mind for the night. "We'll cut it!" She said excitedly. Cari jumped up as well, while Lily ran for a chair and scissors.

After pushing Aria into a chair, they stood back and took a good long look at their friend's long, blonde, wavy hair. Lily glanced at Aria, feeling a little too 'hyper' and not at all concerned about the results of them cutting their friend's hair. "Are you thinking what I’m thinking?"

Cari grinned mischievously back. "I think I am." The two girls walked slowly towards their blonde friend, scissors in hand, grinning like maniacs. Aria was slightly scared. "You do a bad job, and I'll kill you!" Her threat went unnoticed.

Cari flicked her wand, and instantly a spray of cold water sprayed out of the tip and completely soaked Aria's head. She shrieked, and wiped her face. "I only need my hair wet you crazy people!" They payed her no mind, and started cutting.

And cutting.

And cutting.

And after a while... they were done!

The two girls stepped back and admired their work. Lily raised her wand and instantly Aria was dry. "Don't look yet!" The red head squealed, running into the bathroom and returning with a Sleek-eazy potion. Rubbing a small amount into her hands, she applied a little bit on her friend's hair. She stepped back next to Cari, and the two girls beamed at their work.

"Now you can look!" Carina said happily. Aria didn't turn around. "I'm scared!"she squeaked. Lily rolled her eyes.

"Arianna Rosemary Dorothy Smith! Look into the mirror!" Aria shot her an uneasy look.

"How did you know my full name? I've never told anybody my full name!"

Once again, Lily rolled her eyes. "Just look Ria."

So she did. Aria turned around and upon seeing her hair in the mirror, stared in shock. "Like it?" Carina asked nervously, picking at the hem of her shorts.

Aria broke out into a large grin. "It's so short! And curly!"

Lily and Cari beamed. "It suits you. I love it." Lily gushed. They had cut their friend's hair so that when it was curled the way it naturally was, it didn't even reach her shoulders. When her hair was long, it had only been wavy, curling only a bit on the bottom, but now that the weight had been taken off, her blonde curls were tight and bouncy. It looked awesome.

"Lily's next!" Carina shouted, pushing Lily into the chair in front of the mirror. Lily stared, wide eyed.

"What? No! I like my hair the way it is, thank you!"

Aria smiled. "We won't change it very much."

Lily tried to get out of the chair, but found she couldn't. Carina had done some sort of spell that prevented her from moving. "Guys!! Come on!" They took no notice of her words as they scrutinized Lily's long, thick mane of red hair.

Aria started towards her with the scissors. "Don't worry Lils, Cari's going next too. We'll all have hot new haircuts."

"But I like my hair!" Aria waved her wand. Lily couldn't speak anymore. She pouted.

And the girls got to work.

* * *

Meanwhile, the four boys known as the marauders, stumbled into the portrait hole, laughing their asses off. "I can't wait to see Snivellus at breakfast tomorrow!" James said, holding his stomach as he laughed.

Sirius nodded, and collapsed on the sofa, grinning broadly. "He deserves it, the slimy git." Although the real reason for his large grin stayed secret. James was finally laughing again. Sirius' smile widened. 'It's about time too, he deserves to laugh.'

Remus sat down on the couch as well, smiling to himself. "That he does." Peter followed, sitting in the armchair, still laughing.

After they'd calmed down a bit, James challenged Remus to a chess game, which turned out to be a very competitive, dirty game. "Aww, come on! You aren't going to beat me that easily Moony!" James cried out, as one of his Bishop's was brutally taken by Remus' knight.

"James, admit it. You will never win against the chess-master." Sirius said, grinning and stepping out of James' reach. James glared at him, which distracted him enough for Remus.

"Checkmate." James sat back, defeated.

He shook his finger. "One day... ONE DAY!!!" Sirius, Pete and Remus all laughed. James pouted. "So.. anyway.. what shall we do now?"

"Remus could always whip your ass in chess once more." Peter said, grinning. James shot him a look, but soon was distracted by a tapping at the window.

The four boys looked round and saw an owl. None of them moved. The owl tapped incessantly. "Maybe we should just leave it there." Sirius said flatly.

Whenever there was mail at night, it was never good.

The owl kept tapping, he was getting annoyed. "Fine." Sirius got up and grumbling, opened the window, allowing the owl to fly in and stick out his leg. Sirius glared at the owl while untying the letter, and watched as it flew off. Returning to his friends, he didn't so much as look at the letter, and threw it onto the coffee table as if it burned him.

They stared at it for a while, before James picked it up. "It's addressed to you and Carina. Sirius didn't say anything for the longest time. At last he sighed and stood up. "I suppose I'll go get her."

But there was no need for, the next moment, three girls descended the stairs into the common room, laughing and singing. The four boys stared.

The first thing that caught Sirius' eye was Aria's hair. It was... gone! 'I loved her hair...' he thought sadly to himself, before realizing that her new, short haircut made her look even hotter. His heart skipped a beat.

Then he berated himself on thinking about her in that way. He instead forced his eyes away from her, and realized that all three girls had gotten their hair cut. Lily's was wavy and reached just below her shoulders, and Carina's was still long, and straight, but now it was layered around the front, and she had a few streaks of dark blue in her hair.

And then, he realized that he was looking at the girl's haircuts and, disgusted with himself, he noticed the girl's outfits.

'Oh lord.' Being the guy that he was, he couldn't stop staring at Aria's tiny pajamas. She was wearing boy cut shorts and a tank top. He gulped, and tore his eyes away.

They landed on the letter, now on the ground at James' feet. Sirius snorted at his slack-jawed friend who was staring at Lily with no shame. She was wearing pajama pants that came up to her knees and a sports bra.

Sirius' eyes fell once more to the letter on the floor. His heart fell, he knew it was from his parents. He looked up to catch his sister's eye, and for the first time, noticed what she was wearing.

He shifted into protective brother mood. She was wearing shorts and a very small t-shirt. He opened his mouth to say something about her outfit, but the words got lost in his mouth when he saw her bending down her pick up the parchment.

He saw the colour leave her face as she stared at it, but nobody save for him, noticed. Lily and Aria were too busy laughing in their near drunken-state and talking to Remus, James and Peter. Sirius walked towards his sister. She looked up at him, and he could see the fear in her eyes. They sat down. "Wanna open it together?" he asked, gritting his teeth.

Carina nodded, so Sirius slowly opened the envelope and took out the parchment. There was only a few sentences, and as his mind digested what they said, panic overtook his brain and, as if in slow motion, he opened his fingers to let the parchment fall from his fingers, but it was too late. "Great Hall!" He yelled to his friends, and then he felt a hook behind his navel, and with a flash he was gone, his sister at his side, reading the sentence over and over.

It's about time you've learnt your lesson and talked about the upcoming wedding. It's happening, get used to it. Great hall, right now. - Gertrude Black

* * *

At Sirius' words, the five friends looked towards the twins. Lily let out a very audible gasp, and jumped up. James stood up as well. "Come on, great hall, like he said!"

James, Remus and Peter started to run for the portrait hole, and Lily and Aria followed, as quick as they could... seeing as they were under the influence just enough...

After the two girls had stumbled out of the portrait hole, they linked hands and started running to catch up with the guys. When they finally caught up, Lily had to stop for a moment, for everything was spinning. "Woahh.. hold on a sec." She told them, massaging her eyes.

James sighed in impatience. "How many drinks have you had?" he asked angrily. Lily flinched at the sound of his voice and cowered away from him.

"Only a few.." she said in a small voice, turning away. James grabbed her wrist. "Lily.." he trailed off as she yanked her hand back and backed away from him, tears in her eyes.

Lily's reasonable side had left her. James was angry at her. He was going to hurt her too.

James took a step towards her, and she whimpered, grabbing Aria's hand and then she started to run. James exchanged a confused and worried look with Remus, and the three boys started running again.

Soon, they had reached the entrance hall, finding Lily and Aria unable to get the door open. James whipped out his wand. "Alohomora!" he said. It unlocked, and soon, the friends had rushed inside. "Lily!" a voice from behind them called out, but they ignored it.

* * *

Carina and Sirius landed with a thunk on the hard floor of the great hall. Carina got to her feet, glowering at her parents who looked at her in disgust.

"Filthy. Cover yourself up, for god's sake!" Suddenly she felt very naked, in her small shorts and t-shirt. She didn't know what to do or say, her mind couldn't form a full thought. Suddenly she felt something warm over her shoulders and looked to her brother, smiling in gratitude as she covered herself with his robe.

She looked at her parents, and just stood there next to her brother, waiting. They didn't speak. "What?" she asked finally, losing patience.

Her mother walked a bit closer, and suddenly Carina realized that standing here in the great hall in her pajamas and being half-drunk probably wasn't a good idea.

"Your father and I are here to talk to you about the upcoming wedding." Gertrude Black informed them. Carina stared at her, not taking in her words, but wondering how her parents could be so ugly, but Sirius, herself and Regulus not be.

"There isn't going to be any wedding." Sirius said angrily.

Carina looked up at him, finally realizing what they were talking about. She started to get angry. "No, there isn't. I won't be marrying that slime-ball." She told her parents airily. She noticed her mother take in a deep breath, obviously angry. 'Well she might as well get used to it.' Carina thought to herself. She looked back at Sirius. "Let's get back to the common room now." She said, and started to walk towards the door.

Suddenly she found herself unable to move, and felt a twinge of fear. Sirius was at her side almost instantly. "Finite Incantatem" he muttered. Carina turned around and glared at her parents.

"I am not marrying Snivellus!" she told them, turning to walk towards the door again, but tripping over Sirius' robe and finding herself on the floor. She started to laugh.

And it was then that Sirius realized that his sister was drunk.

Suddenly the door to the great hall opened, and Sirius grinned at his friends. He glanced back at his parents and smirked while he lifted Carina to her feet. "I'm sorry to have wasted your trip, my loving parents, but it was indeed worthless. So lets just get this straight. Carina won't be marrying Snivellus. There is no way in hell that she will be marrying that piece of dung. There is no way you can make her, because she won't. Got it? Good." he turned to go.

"I have it in a contract. We made the unbreakable vow to Severus. She has no choice."

Sirius opened his mouth to retort, but his words died in his throat as an ear splitting scream filled the room, followed by loud sobs. Sirius' heart jumped to his throat, as he and Carina completely forgot about their parents and ran for the door to see what was going on.

James, who had been listening attentively to what had been going on in the great hall, turned around in shock and fright when he heard the scream.

'Lily..'

His heart felt as if it were shattered into a million pieces as his eyes found her. She was sitting on the ground, hugging her knees to her chest, and rocking back and forth, staring up at a guy with brown, curly hair, in fright.

James' blood was pounding. He took off towards the guy, recognizing him as Seth Daniels, and wanted to pummel him for whatever he had done to Lily.

"Get away from me!!" Lily screamed, obviously terrified and she backed away as fast as she could. James realized she was crying as well. He got a rush of adrenaline and hurled himself at Seth, punching him as hard as he could. "What the hell did you do to her?" he asked, with such anger that Seth flinched, clutching his nose.

"WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO HER?" he roared. Lily whimpered, and somebody grabbed his arm. He looked round. It was Aria.

"Stop it James! You're scaring her!" James' hand fell instantly to his side and he turned to see Lily still cowering in fright, tears pouring down her face. He hardly noticed Seth running away.

James knelt down in front of Lily, who backed away. James was heartbroken to see the fear in her eyes. "Lily, don't be afraid. I'm not going to hurt you. I promise." Lily moved even further away, and James sighed in frustration, tears filling his eyes. He didn't know how to help her. He couldn't stand to see her like this.

"Pete, run and get Dumbledore." Remus told his friend, and he left. The five friends remaining didn't know what to do.

Carina knelt down by her friend. "Lily.. Lily sweetheart, what happened?" Lily looked at her with tears in her big, beautiful green eyes, but didn't speak. "Sweetheart, can you tell us what happened? We love you, we're not going to hurt you. What happened in the woods.. who did this to you?" She asked gently. Lily broke out into a fresh wave of sobs, and clung to Carina as tight as she could. Carina hugged her back and looked up at her friends, her mind suddenly clear from the haze of alcohol.

They didn't know what to do, but they all knew one thing. They were going to freaking kill the pig who did this to their fiery, brave, wonderful Lily.

But first, they had to get their Lily back.

* * * * *

Chapter 14: Tears and Truths
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[A/N] Hello all! I know, I've been.. what.. 2 months? I completely suck, I know. I've been.. uhh.. busy.. hehe. Not that that is any excuse... but well better late than never right? Right. And I'm sure (or at least I'm hoping) that you'll all like this chapter even though its sorta.. really sad.. but whatever. =) Enjoy and leave a review if you care to share your thoughts, tell me what you liked/disliked or if i made any stupid mistakes.. or if you just want to rant. ;-) Later taters! Lova y'all!

Chapter 14 - Tears and Truths

"Professor Dumbledore!" Peter was standing in front of the gargoyle that blocked the way into the headmaster's office. He tried again. "Professor Dumbledore!" There was no answer. He cursed in frustration, his mind racing for the password.

"Fizzing Whizzbees! .. Uhh.. Chocolate Frogs? No.. um.. Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans... Uhh.. Butterbeer!.. Honeydukes... Zonkos! Mars Bars... Kit-Kat Bars... Droobles Best Blowing Gum... Ice Mice!.. Bloody hell what is it? ... Liquorice Wands! Smarties! Toffee! SKITTLES!"

To his immense surprise and relief, the gargoyle sprang to life, revealing the staircase which lead to Professor Dumbledore's office. He ran up the stairs, pounding on the office door, completely forgetting to be respectful in his panic. He fidgeted and knocked on the door again, meeker this time. Upon hearing the headmaster's welcoming voice, he rushed in.

"Professor Dumbledore, you've got to come quick. There's something wrong with Lily.. well we knew that there was something wrong since the day of the funeral, but she wouldn't tell us, and she's been fine since then so we thought nothing of it, but something happened and she's crying and she wont let anybody near her and..."

He trailed off as Professor Dumbledore held up a hand to silence him. The headmaster did not question him. "Lead the way, Mr. Pettigrew."

* * *

"Lily sweetie..." Carina's head was beginning to pound. 'Why did we have those stupid pina coladas?' "Calm down.. Shhh... We're here to help you honey.. we love you.." Lily didn't take any notice of her words. The redhead was sobbing fiercely into Carina's pajama top, mumbling things she couldn't understand.

Carina looked up at her friends, tears in her eyes. "I don't know what to do for her!" She said, tears pouring down her face. "I hate it. I can't help her! Why can't I help her?" she asked, her voice slightly slurred. Remus knelt down beside her.

"Cari, have you been drinking again?" Carina blushed, but ignored him and resumed rocking Lily back and forth. Remus looked into her face and sighed. "Rina, it's not your fault Lily's like this."

"But I can't help her.." Carina cried, hugging the still sobbing Lily to her even more tightly.

Remus kissed her gently on the cheek. "She'll be fine. We just have to get her away from here. Let go of her now sweety.." Carina shook her head. Remus tried to pry her arms away, but was startled when a somebody behind him yelled at the top of their lungs.

"CARINA EMILY BLACK GET BACK IN HERE THIS INSTANT!"

Carina immediately let go of Lily and backed herself up against the wall. She looked down at Lily, who was now being comforted by Aria.

She felt Remus' arm around her waist. She felt lost. She could hardly form a full thought and there was something the matter with Lily.

Remus looked around at his friends. Pete was gone to get Dumbledore, Sirius was trying to reason with his parents.. well, arguing viciously was more like it, and James was just sort of standing there, staring at Lily.

"James!" he said sharply, jolting him out of his stupor.

James jumped, blinking. He fell to his knees beside Lily and Aria, trying to soothe the redheaded girl and help Aria keep a straight head.

Lily heard somebody else beside her and looked up with frightened green eyes. She saw James' messy hair and froze, staring at him in fright. 'He yelled at me earlier.. he's going to hurt me!' She slowly backed away from him, breathing heavily, not knowing what to do or where to go. Alcohol and fear were both clouding her senses. She felt as if she was struggling to find her way in a fog.

"Lily... Lily I promise I will not hurt you. Lily, can you hear me? I will never, ever, hurt you. I promise you that. I promise, I promise, I promise on my life... on behalf of my poor little sister Sarah..." He was saying. Lily paused, looking at him. Looking into his hazel eyes.

Her fear was slowly deteriorating, her rational side was starting to come forth again. James wasn't going to hurt her. 'James wouldn't hurt me... I know he wouldn't... he may be an annoying prick at times, but he would never, ever hurt me..' Realizing this, she fell into his arms, feeling a fresh wave of sobs come over her.

James hugged her tightly, his worry winning out over his anger for the moment. His arms encircled her protectively. He wasn't going to let go.

Suddenly he became aware of Mrs. Black screaming about Carina's marriage to Snivellus, he suddenly realized that Cari was cowering in Remus' arms, and Sirius was screaming at his parents. He realized that they had acquired a rather large audience and that Aria was sitting on the floor holding Lily's hand, a somewhat dazed expression on her face.

The girls were drunk, scared and tired. They needed to get back to Gryffindor Tower. He looked down at Lily, gathered her up into his arms bridal-style and lifted her delicate frame as he locked eyes with Remus, who understood.

Remus bent down and pulled Aria from the ground so he was supporting both Aria and Carina on either side of him. Carina was still staring at her parents wide eyed as they screamed at Sirius.

Suddenly, the crowd parted and Professor Dumbledore appeared there, a look of pure outrage etched upon his normally passive features.

"What is the meaning of this Gertrude?" The headmaster asked with an even voice, although nobody missed the animosity in his gaze. "I was under the impression you were coming to the school to calmly discuss important matters with your children. You have no right to yell, scream or degrade them in any way. Also, I remember you promising that there would be a ministry official with you? To foresee the arrangements, as you put it."

There was a pause. The tension in the room could be cut with a knife. "Get out of my school." Professor Dumbledore said, venom not hidden in his voice. "You shall not be welcomed back until you can properly address your son and daughter as able, young adults with their own opinions and rather different values than yourself."

Mr. and Mrs. Black stood glaring at Professor Dumbledore, but neither spoke. "Get out."

Sirius and Remus exchanged glances, and decided that it would be better for them to leave. Peter, having returned to the Entrance Hall with the headmaster lead the way back to Gryffindor Tower in silence. Once through the portrait hole, the boys had an unspoken coversation and carried the half asleep girls up into the boy's dorms, so they could keep an eye on them.

James laid a now sleeping Lily on his own bed, covering her up to her chin with blankets, and tucking her in tight. Next, he conjured a cot for himself and sat down on it. He looked around the room at his friends. Aria was sitting somberly on Sirius' bed, staring at Lily. Sirius and Peter were sitting on Pete's bed, and Carina and Remus were sitting on Remus' bed, holding hands.

James looked over at Sirius, and caught his eye. Sirius made his way over to his best friend and sat down next to him on the little cot.

"We should probably try to get some sleep. The girls are still half-drunk, and Lily's asleep. We can't talk to her tonight, but tomorrow.. we are not going to leave this room until everything is out in the open, okay?"

James nodded, Sirius stood up and clapped him on the back, worried about his friend's forlorn expression. He walked over to his bed, and was almost surprised to find Aria sitting on it. He sat down next to her, and even with everything going on, he still couldn't help himself admire her albeit rather glossy, turquoise eyes.

"Are you going to be okay?" he whispered. She looked at him with her gorgeous big eyes. "I just feel so helpless... I only wanted tonight to be fun... Me and Cari were going to try to figure out what was wrong with Lily tonight.." She said, sounding distraught. "I didn't know that it was so bad.. I mean.. I..." but she trailed off as she started to break down.

Sirius didn't know what to do, so he did the only thing that seemed right, and put his arms around her, hugging her and trying to dismiss his rapidly beating heart at being so close to her, even if she was in distress.

Eventually she calmed down and pulled away from him. He gave her a weak smile, she returned it. "Thank you Sirius." she whispered, Sirius only managed another stupid weak smile. He stood up. "You can sleep here tonight." He told her quietly while conjuring a cot for himself.

She shook her head while massaging her forehead. "No, no. I couldn't do that. I'll sleep on the cot."

Sirius rolled his eyes and lay down on the cot. "Aria, just sleep on the bed."

She huffed. "Fine." She sat down and smiled. "Thanks."

"No Problem." He looked around at everybody else. Rina and Remus were already asleep on Remus' bed, cuddled up together, Lily was sleeping, Peter was sleeping, James was lying there on his cot, most likely not sleeping. Sirius sighed and closed his eyes, willing sleep to come.

* * *

James was the first one awake in the morning. He stared out the window, thinking about.. well, everything. He suddenly wondered what the date was, and realized that they'd missed Halloween. It was November 4th.

It was a very grey day outside. Dark clouds filled the sky, warning everybody that it was going to rain. It was going to be a very dreary day.

It fit his mood. A million things were going through his mind, and he didn't know how to process all his thoughts. He looked around the room at his sleeping friends and flicked his wand at the door. Nobody was going to leave that room until everything was out in the open.

They all needed to have a good long talk.

* * *

Lily was the last to wake. Groaning, she pulled the covers up over her head to dull the sounds of voices that were making her head pound.

All of a sudden the memory of the night before vividly flashed through her mind and she tightened her grip on the blankets, ashamed and afraid.

"Lily?"

Her muscles jerked at the sound. She took a deep breath and pretended to still be asleep. Aria spoke again. "Lily, we all know your awake."

The redhead burrowed her head into the pillow, not getting up. She breathed in deeply. The pillow smelt good.

"Lily." Came another voice, male this time. "Lily, come on we've got to talk to you." It was Remus. She shook her head against the pillow.

Shame was burning at her stomach. How could she have been so weak? How? She didn't want to face her friends. They were going to make her tell them finally what happened. She was afraid.

She felt somebody sit down near her feet. "Lily, please.." Carina whispered.

Realizing that she couldn't stay curled up in bed forever avoiding her friends, she sighed and sat up slowly, massaging her temples.

She looked around the room and jumped as she saw that all 6 of them were staring at her.

She felt very self-conscious. "What?!" she asked nervously.

Nobody spoke. She considered her options. She concluded that she could either stay put with their powerful gazes on her, hide under the covers again, or make a run for the door.

A second later she threw the covers from her and bolted for the door. It was locked. She cursed out loud and slumped to the ground near the door, resigning herself to talking to her friends.

It was silent for a time, until Aria spoke. "Why are you hiding from us, Lily? We're all worried about you. We love you, whatever happened, you can't deal with it by yourself."

Lily closed her eyes and took a deep breath, willing herself not to cry.

She felt Aria sit down next to her, followed closely by who she suspected was Carina. A moment later, her suspicions were confirmed. "Lily, don't you know that we're here for you, no matter what?" Carina took her hand.

"She's right, you know." came Sirius' voice. "We've known each other a long time, even if we only really started hanging out this year. You've always been Cari's best friend, and the marauders have always looked out for you."

"You’re the one who's always telling me to talk to you, to confide in others and to not forget to live because of my condition, Lils." Remus reminded her gently.

Lily fought as hard as she could against the lump in her throat. She took a big shaky breath, biting her bottom lip. Her eyes were closed tightly.

"You can't deal with your demons by yourself Lily. We want to help you." Aria told her firmly.

"Let us help you Lily, please." Carina's voice broke. "Ria's right. You can't keep it all inside. It's not healthy."

Lily still didn't speak. She doubted whether her voice would have worked anyway.

"Please don't try to deal with it on your own. It's impossible. Believe me, I know. You can't do it by yourself..."

Lily cut Sirius off. "Yes I can." She said quietly.

She felt a pair of arms encircle her. "No, you can't."

Lily couldn't hold it anymore as she heard the truth in his words. She started to cry into Remus' shoulder. He held her close, rubbing her back. They'd been friends a long time, and it just about killed him to see her like this.

After a long while, she pulled away from her friend and looked him in the eye, thanking him without words. She looked around at everybody as she sat on the floor. Remus had pulled Cari into his arms, and Aria had placed herself on Lily's right side, picking at a dent in the floor, while every so often she'd glance over at Lily, her turquoise eyes watery.

Sirius was leaning against the bed closest to them, his eyes closed, and Peter was sitting cross-legged on the bed. James hadn't moved from his spot at the window. Lily stared at him as he glared out the window at the grey sky. She remembered the night before.

She got a hollow pang in her heart as she watched him. He was on the other side of the room. At the moment, she didn't want him so far away.

"Lily?" She looked at Aria, who had taken her hand in her own. Lily looked into her friend's eyes and knew what she was asking her.

She nodded and steeled herself. She tried to organize her thoughts, and opened her mouth. "He.." she swallowed painfully. "I.. I..." Tears filled her eyes. "I don't know where to start." she whispered, frustrated.

Aria squeezed her hand. "How about after... the service." Lily nodded, her eyes filling up once more as she thought of Sarah.

"I came out of the church with everyone... and I.. oh god I don't remember... I saw James..." Lily's eyes flickered toward the aforementioned boy "..and Cari talked to me... but then everybody disappeared... I didn't know where everybody went... so I started to follow everybody... somebody grabbed me by the arm, and I turned around to find it was... him.."

She paused for a second. ".. Brandon... he's always been a down right prat.. I mean, he's an ass.. but I... he.. James knows him, he's a stuck up prick.. but..." She realized she was rambling and took a deep breathe and plunged on.

"Anyway.. I'm not really sure what happened, but he was being his normal conceited self... but he wasn’t, you know? He was acting different.. like, he was actually being nice... and he comforted me... Argh! I hate him! I hate him! I hate him!" She let out a small sob as Carina pulled her into a hug.

"I was so.. so stupid!" Lily cried, "He told me he'd walk home with me... and I let him because he was being nice, and I thought that maybe he wasn't that bad after all... and then he told me he knew a shortcut home through the woods... and he convinced me to go... I figured that he knew more about the place then I did, being at Hogwarts so much... so I... I followed him..."

"It was a really long path... and it started to get a bit dark... and.. all of a sudden.. he.. he pushed me against a tree and... and kissed me..."

Lily was breathing heavily, her heart racing as she remembered. She forced herself to keep going. "I tried to get away.. but he hit me.. and I tried to run.. but I tripped and sprained my ankle... I didn't have my wand with me.. I'd left it at home.. and I couldn't get away... then a few other guys I didn't know showed up and.. and.. they all tried to.. to... they made me... they... I had to... to..."

She faintly realized that she was crying so hard that her stomach muscles hurt from the strain and that she'd curled herself up into a ball. She was picturing vividly the wild look in their eyes. She could feel the ghost of their meaty hands groping her, forcing her to do things she didn't want to do... She shuddered and forced herself to keep talking.

"And then... He made them leave.. he said he wanted me all to.. to himself... and then it was just us... and I tried to crawl away, but he hit me again.. and he kicked me.. and... and..." She trembled at the memory.

"But I managed to get away before he... he could.. he tried... to.. to..." She took a deep breath and licked her dry lips. "..but something distracted him.. and then I ran.. I ran so fast. I don't think I'd ever ran that fast in my life. Then i found you guys."

Mentally and physically drained, she collapsed into Aria and Carina's arms, crying in earnest.

She looked up at them with watery green eyes and whispered, "I'm sorry."

She felt somebody's arms around her, making her look up at them. "For what?" Sirius asked, his eyes ablaze with anger and concern.

More tears spilt from Lily's eyes. "For telling you.. for not telling you.. for being so stupid.. for burdening you with this when everything else is going on too."

"Lily, look at me." She looked up into Sirius' pale blue eyes. "You have nothing to be sorry for. You are not a burden. You're our friend. If anything, I'm sorry."

She looked at him, wondering what the hell he could be sorry about. He answered her unasked question. "You’re like another sister to me Lils.. I'm sorry for not protecting you like I should have, like a brother should."

Lily couldn't help but smile at him through her tears. "Oh, Sirius.." He pulled her into a hug and she dissolved into tears again.

James still hadn't moved from his place at the window. He wasn't sure Lily wanted him to. He wasn’t sure he could look at her. He wasn’t sure that he would be able to be strong for her if he looked at her. He wasn’t sure of anything, so he sat there, staring into the grey sky as the clouds finally opened up and rain poured down in torrents.

His fists were clenched, his heart broken, his pulse rapid, his temper short, and his cheeks wet. He didn't know what to do. How had he allowed this to happen?

Brandon Stone was going to get what was coming to him, that was for certain.

He finally allowed himself to look at her. He could only see the side of her face as Sirius hugged her. He could see the tear stains. Her hair was messy, her makeup from the day before was smudged, she was pale. She had also fallen asleep.

He watched as Sirius carried her to his, James’, bed and laid her down. He felt as if he was rooted in place. He didn't know what to do. He just stared at her as she lay on his bed, asleep. 'Merlin, she's beautiful...'

He was abruptly wrenched out of his reverie as Aria stood before him and slapped him with all the strength she could muster.

He stared at her in shock. "What?"

She stood there, her expression mutinous. Her now-short blonde hair was a mess and her cheeks were wet with tears. He had no idea what he had done.

"What is the matter with you?" she asked him, looking as if her energy was spent in that one slap. He opened his mouth to speak, but she cut him off. "You say all the time that you love Lily so bloody much, but now, when she needs us all the most all you do is sit there!"

She waited for his response, her hands on her hips. James had never seen her lose her temper like this before. It was frightening. "She wouldn't have let me.." he trailed off.

Aria scoffed. "She let you yesterday!" she pointed out. "She needs us all now. And you can't offer her the support and comfort and the friend's ear that she needs if you sit there and stare at the rain, James!"

Anger started to rise within him. "I don't know what to do for her, Aria!"

"You didn't even look at her." Her voice was like ice. "James, sometimes you are so bloody stupid! I saw Lily look at you. Did you think that for one minute during that speech, that maybe it would have been nice for her if you met her eye while she was baring her soul to us, to you? Or something that would have shown you care? In the name of merlin, James! For somebody who claims to be so desperately in love with Lily, you sure have a bloody great way of showing it!"

Her words stung. He didn't know what to say.

His eyes burned with tears. He felt like shit, but he was angry too. Fury was welling up inside of him. "Don't you think for one bloody minute that I don't care about Lily." he said in an even voice. "Don't you dare imply it. I would do anything for that girl."

"Then why.."

"I couldn't look at her!" he exploded. "I couldn't bear to see the look on her face. I hate to see her hurt. I hate it! I can't bloody stand it when I can't help her. I'd give anything for her to be okay, for her not to hurt, for her to smile."

He stopped talking when he saw the look on Aria's face. Her face was lit up with a big, watery-eyed smile. He was flabbergasted when she gave him a huge hug. "There's our James back." she whispered. "Now, prove it."

* * *

As Lily slept, the rest of the friends took the time to calm themselves down, to clear their minds. Sirius was doodling on the back of somebody's essay that had been lying around, Peter was reading a comic strip, and Aria was picking through Sirius' trunk to find something to do. Meanwhile, James was still slightly disconcerted about Aria's little.. confrontation, and Carina and Remus had disappeared behind the hangings around Remus' bed, which would explain Sirius' not-so-casual glances toward the bed.

"Hey, what's this?"

As she was desperately trying to distract herself from her thoughts, Aria started to pick through Sirius' trunk and had pulled out a black, folded piece of paper. Her eyebrows rose. 'Now.. what could this be?'

The blonde highly doubted that Sirius would have had this carefully folded piece of parchment hidden in his trunk if it was just a regular piece of paper.

Sirius, having looked up at her words, made a mad jump for the parchment. "Hey, leave that alone!" Aria held it out of his reach, grinning.

"What, this?" She grinned coyly. "Now what would you want with this blank, unremarkable piece of parchment?"

Sirius growled. "Blasphemy!" he screamed as he made another wild leap for the paper. Aria laughed.

"Then if it actually isn't a blank piece of parchment, what is it?"

Sirius glowered at her. She grinned widely. "Oh, well then I guess you wouldn't mind me keeping it. I'm running a little low on parchment."

"Arianna!" Sirius yelled, reaching again for the map but Aria moved at the last second and he fell head first over his own bed. The blonde burst out laughing.

"I think that is the first time you've ever called me Arianna." she told him airily before returning to the point at hand. "Now, this couldn't possibly be that thing that you boys are always mooning over, that you bring everywhere, yet I haven't been able to actually look at yet, could it?"

Sirius said up and looked over the bed at her, pouting. She bit her lip to keep from laughing and turned her attention to the parchment. She unfolded it, but it was blank. "Man, I don't have my wand. What is it?" She whined, turning to Sirius and giving him a sad, 'lost-puppy dog' look.

He caved. "It's a map of Hogwarts." He sighed, running a hand through his dark hair. Aria grinned at him. "Show me?"

He took out his wand and motioned for her to come closer. She handed him the parchment and he put his wand to it. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

Aria laughed and rolled her eyes. "Only you four..."

Sirius grinned at her. She looked down as lines started to spread all over the parchment to form words. "Messrs.. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs proudly present the Marauder's Map." she read aloud. "Ooh! This is pretty damn cool, Sirius."

He opened it and she breathed out deeply in wonder, smiling. "Nice." she commented sincerely. Sirius grinned proudly as he watched her pretty face light up as she examined the map.

His heart fluttered as she looked up at him and smiled a smile he'd never seen on her face before. It was a tight-lipped smile that reached all the way up into the twinkle in her beautiful eyes. A smile that expressed something he'd never seen before, and couldn't quite put a finger on.

As he smiled back, the world didn't seem as bad as it usually did, with the rising dark lord and the pricks who try to take advantages of girls. Her special smile lit up the whole world, his whole world.

But, bloody hell, he didn't understand it.

* * *

Remus held Carina close to him as he sat against the headboard of his bed. His mind was racing. He couldn't get Lily's words out of his head. He couldn’t stop thinking about how much he'd love to meet Brandon Stone during a full moon...

But he had other things on his mind as well.

Quietly, he said "Cari?". She looked up at him and sat up, holding his hand between them. Quickly, he placed a silencing charm around the bed so that they wouldn't be heard. "I want to talk to you about something."

She nodded, waiting as she saw the serious look in his eyes.

"That night, when you, Aria and Lily had that girls night, what was wrong? Why did you drink so much?"

"Remus, I told you.." He shook his head. "No, you didn't. Be honest, I know that there was more to it. What's the matter?"

Carina didn't speak for a minute. She looked away, tucking her hair behind her ear. Finally, she spoke. "I just felt alone." she said in a quiet voice that made Remus’ heart ache.

"Why?"

She looked him in the eye. "Because when I eventually do have to marry Snape, because I will, Remus. I can't hide forever.." She felt as if a cold hand was squeezing her heart tight as she admitted her fears aloud. "Because when I do, I'll be alone. Totally alone with that foul monster, and I'm scared. I don't want to!"

Remus squeezed her hand. "You'll never be alone."

She sighed. "Remus.." He cut her off. "No Rina, you are not going to marry him." He told her firmly.

Tears of despair filled her eyes. "Yes I will! I can't hide forever! They'll find me and I'll have to. That's the way it's going to work, and it's time we realized that!"

Remus was shaking his head. "No."

"How? Answer me that. How will I..." She trailed off as he looked her in the eye and gave her a small, sincere smile.

"Just trust me."

Carina sighed. She wanted to believe him so much it hurt, but she didn't know if she could. She didn't want to set her heart up for any more of a fall than it was already going to take. There was nothing he could do that would save her from that fate.

Her eyes burned with unshed tears as she finally gave into the horror which would be her future. She would be married to Severus Snape, and there was nothing she could do about it.

But she could enjoy the rest of the year. She could help her friends get ready for their lives. They had such opportunity, and she would see to it that they took every one. Lily would get better and realize that James was perfect for her. Sirius and Aria would finally get together. Remus would, she choked back a sob at the thought, find somebody else, and Peter would do alright for himself and be happy. Unlike her.

She looked into her boyfriend's handsome face, into his warm blue eyes so filled with the hope that she had given up on. She forced a small, fake smile and told Remus the lie that he wanted to hear. "Okay."

* * * * *

Chapter 15: Beyond Normal
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[A/N] - Hello everybody. Hehe. I know I've been well.. incredibly slack. And I haven't posted in forever. I know you all hate me, but I guess I'll have to live with that. LoL. Hopefully it won't take me quite this long to get the next one out. And I did give you an extremely long chapter to make up for the lack of chapters recently. So yeah. Enjoy!!!



Chapter 15 - Beyond Normal

When Lily finally woke up, she lay in the bed for a few minutes, just listening to her friends. A small smile played across her lips. Bloody hell how she loved her friends. She felt so much better now that she'd actually told them what had happened, and she felt so stupid for not confiding in them before.

All she wanted to do now was make things go back to normal. She just wanted to have fun and stop worrying about everything and enjoy her last year at Hogwarts. Sure, the last few months had sucked ass, but it was only November. She had the rest of the year ahead of her to make it freaking awesome, and she wasn't going to waste any more of it.

She lay on the bed for a few more minutes listening to James attempts to win at chess against Remus while Sirius, Pete, Aria and Cari talked about random things. At the moment it was the girl's new haircuts. When Aria suggested that he let her cut his hair, Lily couldn't help but open her eyes to see his face. She couldn't help but laugh aloud at his scandalized expression.

At the sound of her laughter, everybody turned to look at her. She grinned at them, avoiding James' gaze and hopped out of bed before realizing for the first time what she was wearing. She blushed and crossed her arms over her sports bra. Looking around, she grabbed a t-shirt from the trunk closest to her and pulled it over her head. "Whoever owns it will get it back eventually." She informed the guys.

"So. No offense, but I'm sort of tired of the stench in this room. I'm off to get dressed where it's clean."

"Hey, our room is clean!" Sirius pouted. She rolled her eyes as she walked out of the room. She could hear Aria and Carina following her.

"Yeah. Clean. Whatever." Aria yelled back sarcastically as she and Cari caught up with Lily. "So Lils, how's you feeling?"

Lily smiled at her two friends. "So much better, thank you." She told them sincerely. "Today I wanna go do something fun. I want to go somewhere and just have a good time." Aria grinned at her.

"Hey, it's a Hogsmeade weekend." Carina realized. "Want to go there?"

"Hells yeah!" Lily said, bouncing into the room.





An hour later the girls were dressed and ready to go. Lily was itching to go spend some money on herself. "We haven't had a proper shopping spree in ages. I want clothes." She informed her friends as she buttoned up her blazer and pulled on her sneakers. "You guys ready?"

Aria grinned as she applied one more coat of mascara to her eyelashes. "Yep! Let's go. Cari?"

"Hang on! Just gotta brush my teeth." Aria tapped her foot impatiently before quickly coming bored and eyeing Lily's hair.

"You know, we did a really good job on our hair." She commented, admiring her work.

Lily grinned. "Surprisingly."

"Now we've just gotta get outfits to match!" Cari said loudly as she walked into the room, pulling on her sweater. Finally all three girls were ready and they made their way down to Hogsmeade.

Ignoring Honeydukes, Zonkos and other places where students normally gathered, they headed towards a shop they had found in their fifth year. It was their all-time favorite place to go in Hogsmeade as the shop sold clothes; robes and stylish 'muggle' clothes, jewelry and accessories and shoes.

And it had a wide variety of clothes. Things to wear around your parents and teachers, comfortable clothes to hang out in, dresses and fancy things for going out, and others.

It was any shopper's dream store. Or, at least it was Lily, Aria and Carina's.

Aria led the way in, the little bell on the door tinkling, announcing their arrival. Her blonde curls bounced as she took off towards one side of the store. Lily and Carina smiled and split up to find a few outfits of their own.

As it was with them, they each chose a few outfits before trying them all on at the same time.

"Hey Lils, look at this wrap! Don't you think it's cool?" Lily rolled her eyes and grinned. "It's wonderful darling." She told her friend before turning back to the few shirts she held in her hands.

She glanced over at Carina who was scrutinizing a pair of high heeled boots. She couldn't help but grin.

She was having a great time with her friends. Nothing would bring her mood down today.





"How about this one, Remus?" James pointed to the gold ring with a huge ruby on it.

He rose his eyebrows and didn't even bother to answer. He didn't know if his voice would have worked anyway. His stomach was twitching nervously. He looked around the near-deserted store at his friends.

They were helping him pick out a ring.

An engagement ring. For Carina.

He thought he might pass out with the weight of the enormous thing he was doing. He knew he was crazy, but he loved her and he was doing this for her, for them both.

It didn't make him any less nervous. He looked over a few more rings, none of them were good enough. Peter pointed out a few silver ones. Sirius slapped him across the side of his head, reminding him in a hiss of what silver did to people with Remus' condition.

The salesperson was no help, pointing out the most expensive of the rings. He didn't have that much money. His stomach sunk with the realization. What if he couldn't afford top buy Carina a ring? What if he couldn't afford to take care of her when they got married?

He swallowed his worries and kept looking. He pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger, trying to control his nerves.

He didn't know what was the matter with him, but if he was this nervous just buying the engagement ring, how would he ever be able to ask her? He tried to have faith in himself.

Starting to get frustrated, Remus let out a small sigh. It seemed as if he had searched the entire store. He couldn't afford to go anywhere else.

"Hey Remus, look at this one." Sirius motioned for him to come. Remus obliged and let his eyes follow to where Sirius' finger was pointing. It was the first ring Sirius had told him to look at, Remus suddenly realized.

But it was perfect. A small, gold band with a small, but not too small diamond sitting atop of it. He didn't know much about rings or diamonds or the way they were cut, but this one, he knew was the one.

He just had one question. "What's the price?" He feared the answer.

The salesperson answered. "72 Galleons."

Remus' jaw near dropped. That was it? "It is all real then?" He asked, slightly suspicious. The salesperson nodded, smiling slightly. Remus couldn't hold his smile. "I'll take it."





"Well? What do you think?" Aria asked dramatically as she swept out of the dressing room. Lily and Carina gaped at her. She was wearing a strapless, crimson dress that came up to just below her knees. On her feet, she wore black heeled sandals with straps that wrapped around her ankle. She looked gorgeous.

Lily and Carina grinned widely in awe. "It's beautiful darling." Lily said as she shimmy-ed up next to her. "I'd love to see Sirius' expression if he ever sees you in that dress." Aria rolled her eyes and turned around once more to conceal her flushed cheeks.

"Let's see yours then!" Carina rolled her eyes and stepped into the change room. A few minutes later, she opened it and walked out wearing a simple, white halter dress. It fit her perfectly.

Lily was next. She came out wearing a long, black, slinky dress that accentuated all her curves. She was beautiful. They were all beautiful.

Aria dug through her purse for a few minutes before grabbing her camera. Lily groaned, but laughed when Carina started to tickle her. Aria snapped the picture.

"Ahh, enough with the fancy stuff!" Lily cried out after a few minutes. I'm itching to try on some of that stuff over there." She pointed.

They spent the rest of the afternoon doing much the same thing, and before they knew it, it was getting dark. By the time they left the store they were hungry, poor and weighed down with a lot of bags.

Lily suddenly started to laugh. She shrunk her bags, stuffed them in her purse and started to run. "Come on!" She called to her two friends. They followed her lead, shrinking their bags to put in their purses and racing after her.

They found her standing in the middle of the grounds, looking up at the sky expectantly, waiting.

Waiting for what, they couldn't tell.

"Lily what the hell are you doing?" Aria asked, trying to catch her breath. Lily didn't answer, just stood watching the darkening, cloudy sky with a smile on her face.

"Lily?"

"I'm waiting for the rain." She told them calmly, the smile still on her face. Aria and Carina laughed, and laughed even harder when the skies opened and the water came down in torrents.

Lily shrieked with joy and started to dance.

Aria and Carina, smiles on their faces, joined her. "We just need some music." Carina said, giggling.

Lily opened her mouth and started to belt out her favorite song by The Beatles. Let It Be. While she twirled in the rain, jumping in puddles, getting completely full of mud, and laughing. Laughing with all her heart.

Laughing as she hadn't laughed all year.

Aria and Carina couldn’t help but get caught up in the infectious carefree spirit that was their Lily. The Lily they had missed so much. She was back.

Carina couldn't keep the tears from rolling down her face as she laughed and danced and sang with her two best friends in the rain. Tears for Lily. Tears for Happiness. Tears of sadness because she knew that this would not last. Tears because she so wanted it to.

Neither Lily nor Aria saw those tears. They were hidden by the rain and their own wishes of wanting to be this happy again.





"What in the world are they doing?" Sirius asked, astonished. James came up next to him, a smile in his hazel eyes. Remus and Peter joined them. They'd been running to get out of the rain on their way back to Hogwarts, but stopped when they caught sight of their three female friends.

Running. Laughing. Playing. Singing. Jumping. Dancing.

James watched as Lily jumped on top of Aria, sending them both into the mud as Carina bent down and with a fistful of mud, smashed it in Lily's face.

He could hear their laughter. He could hear Lily's laughter. It warmed his heart for reasons unknown, even to him.

He watched as Lily stood up, dragging Aria up with her and the two of them started to dance again, twirling in the rain, while Carina laughed and slipped in a pile of mud, falling on her rear.

By now, the girls' infectious giddiness was catching on and the four boys made their way over to their friends, amused smiles on their faces. James' smile widened when he could make out the words that Lily was singing at the top of her lungs..

...when you find yourself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be..

"Hey!" Sirius shouted out when they were close enough, waving a hand above his head. James watched as Lily and Aria started towards them, picking up speed while Carina still lay in the mud. He laughed as Lily reached Sirius first and tackled him into the mud, Aria not far behind.

Sirius sat up and spat mud out of his mouth, rising his eyebrows up at James who was roaring with laughter. "What's so funny Prongs?"

A minute later, the two boys were rolling in the mud. "THAT'S IT PADFOOT! YOU ARE GOING DOWN!"

Aria watched them, grinning and the second they paused, she jumped on them screaming "BOYS SMELL!" like a 5 year old. Remus laughed, which caused Lily to divert her attention to him.

"REMIE!" She yelled, jumping onto his back, splattering mud everywhere. "Let's go visit Cari. She seems to have fallen asleep."

Carina was actually lying in the surprisingly comfortable mud, listening to the rain and half wondering where her friends had disappeared to. She was weirdly calm as she ran things over in her mind, strengthening her resolve for what she knew she had to do, which was break up with Remus sooner rather than later so he wouldn't be hurt.. as much.. when she married Snape.

"ROAR!!!"

The brunette jumped up, her scream piercing the night. "LILY!" Carina held a hand to her rapidly beating heart. "You scared the shit out of me!" Carina glared as her red-haired friend rolled around on the ground laughing while Remus stood behind her, biting his lip in a vain attempt to contain his laughter. Carina's stomach flipped over as she looked at him.

Lily picked herself off the ground and threw her arms around her friend, her muddy hair sticking to Carina's face. "You know I love you." Lily told her, still grinning. Carina growled playfully and Lily grabbed her hand and started to pull her back towards Aria, Sirius, James and Peter who were all now having a mud-ball fight.

James felt a cold, wet mud-ball explode over his head and let out a strangled cry, twirling around to get revenge on his attacker. Lily. He let out a war cry and tackled her to the ground. She went down laughing and was immediately fighting back, sticking his face into the mud.

"Hey!" He cried out as he looked around blindly, mud filling his vision. He struck out blindly, trying to wipe his glasses with one hand and throw mud with the other. He managed to clear some of the muck in time to see Sirius raise a white flag in surrender from underneath a mound of mud with Aria, Lily and Carina all sitting atop of it, cracking up.

He suddenly wished he had a camera, and then realized that Aria was digging through her purse and pulled out hers. He grinned and motioned for her to pass it to him. She did. He stepped back, aligned the camera and snapped the picture.

Click.





"Come on! It is freaking cold!!" Aria whined, wrapping her arms around her extremely wet and dirty torso.

Lily scrunched up her face. "I don't remember the password.."

"WHAT? Lilyyy..." The blonde girl pouted and Lily laughed. "Uhh..."

Carina rolled her eyes. "Eff this, I'm just gonna go with the guys."

"To bathe? Cari, you know your brother is gonna be there. You and Remus can't..." Carina cut her off with a look.

"WITH MY CLOTHES ON!" She told them. "Then I'll transfigure it to my bathing suit or something." She walked off and left Lily and Aria staring after her, shivering in their muddy clothes.

"Yeah. Come on." The two girls quickly caught up with their friend down the hall. She was knocking on a portrait. "GUYS?!"

"Yeah?" came Sirius' voice. "Lily can't remember the password, so put on some clothes and let us in!"

There was a short muffled conversation and then the portrait opened slightly and Sirius poked his head out, his wet hair clinging to his face. He had a mischievous look on his face. "Alright, but hurry up."

He opened the portrait wide enough for the girls to come through. Lily went first, took one look at the huge, steamy, bubble-filled bathtub that was as big as a swimming pool, yelled something incorrigible at the top of her lungs, ran and jumped.

She came back up with a smile on her face. "Thank Merlin." she sighed. "Can somebody transfigure my clothes into a bathing suit?"

"Lily?!" came a horrified voice. She looked towards the sound and saw James cowering in a corner of the tub. She rose her eyebrows at him.

"Uhh.. what are you doing here?"

She stared at him, horror-struck before covering her eyes with her hands. "Please don't tell me your not wearing anything..."

He didn't answer her but glared at Sirius. "PADFOOT! I AM GOING TO EFFING MURDER YOU!"

"So do you guys normally go bathing together naked?" Aria asked, stifling her laughter with her hand.

"NO!" was the disgusted reply. "HE DARED ME!" James yelled. "GET ME SOME SHORTS! I'M SERIOUS!"

"No, I'm Sirius."

"SIRIUS!!"

"Alright, alright. Keep your hair on." He said chuckling, as he through his friend a pair of green trunks. James grabbed them, disappeared underwater for a moment, then resurfaced still glowering.

"I'll get you back Padfoot."

Sirius grinned widely at him. "You go ahead and try."

"Fine. Prank war starts now. Me against You. Think you can handle it?" James might have looked intimidating, but he was up to his chin in bubbles, so it took away from the effect.

Sirius had an uncharacteristically solemn look on his face. He pursed his lips. "Your on." Then he spun on his heal and left the room.

Remus, Carina, Lily , Peter and Aria watched him leave, laughing.

James' glare followed him until Sirius was no longer visible. "Your going DOWN!" he yelled all of a sudden, twitching. He yelled out in alarm and disappeared underwater for a few moments.

When he resurfaced, the green trunks were in his hands and Sirius was back, his bark-like laughter filling the room.

"Padfoot; 2. Prongs; 0."

James glared.





A little while later, the 7 friends were lounging around in the kitchen. Sirius had won their little pranking match a few minutes before when he had jinxed James' treacle tart so that when James took a bite, he grew feathers almost instantly. They had lasted 5 minutes. And now James was sulking because he lost.

"What's the matter Jamesy-boy? Still upset about losing to my amazing pranking skills?"

James grinned. "No, actually I was thinking about how you would look with that big head deflated." He flicked his wand and they all watched as Sirius' head slowly shrunk as if it were a balloon with a hole in it.

"Like you can talk." Aria said smirking. James shrugged, smiling, and returned his friend to normal. "God, I'm bored. All we ever do is eat." she said, stretching out and lying down, lying her head on Sirius' lap.

He grinned down at her. "Why Miss Smith, are you implying that you would prefer to be doing something else down there?"

Aria immediately sat up, blushing.

"Oh, I don't think she'd mind." Lily said slyly. Aria glared at the red head while Carina covered her ears and made a face. "That's my brother you're talking about. That's disgusting!" She shuddered.

Sirius stood up, walked towards the door and said "Well it's not like you can talk Cari, you and Remus are absolutely revolting the way you cling to each other." He looked back and grinned at their red faces. "Who's coming with me?"

Peter stood up. "Where are we going?"

Sirius grinned mischievously. "To cause havoc."

"Oh, stop trying to be mysterious." Aria goaded, punching him lightly in the gut as she walked past him and out into the hall. "We all know the difference."

Sirius looked offended. "Hey, I am very mysterious."

"Of course you are."

"I am!"

"I never said you weren't." Aria told him lightly.

"Shut-up."

"Hey, I'm agreeing with you!"

James, Lily, Peter, Remus and Cari exchanged amused glances as they listened to their friend's banter as they left the kitchen.

"I hope they get together soon. This is driving me mad." Peter said, voicing all their thoughts.





The rest of the night was spent hanging out in the halls, making a lot of noise, quite a lot of butterbear, a few fireworks, wandering through the castle finding different rooms and passageways, hiding from teachers and generally having a fun time.

Grinning as she thought back on her night, Aria flopped down on her bed, staring at the ceiling for a few minutes. Yawning, she decided that she didn't want to go to sleep yet so she sat up, looking around the empty dormitory for something to do.

Her turquoise gaze was caught by her purse. She was off of her bed in a flash, going through her purse and pulling out all of her miniature shopping bags. "Engorgio" She muttered, flicking her wand. She turned around, eyeing Lily's record player as her things returned to normal size. With another flick of her wand, music by The Beatles started playing loudly.

Happily, the blonde started to unpack her shopping as she tried not to think about what her parents would say when they found about her shopping spree. She soon forgot about it as she packed away all of her clothes in her wardrobe, already having an outfit for the next day blossoming in her mind's eye.

Once she had that done she collapsed on her bed once more, the words of The Beatles resonating her head. "...All the lonely people... where do they all come from?.."

She shifted her weight. Something was sticking into her back. It was extremely uncomfortable. Getting annoyed, she sat up and saw what she'd been lying on. Her purse. Growling, she shoved it out of the way, spilling some of the contents onto the floor. Pursing her lips, she gathered up her wallet, lip gloss, mirror and camera. Blinking, she stared at her camera for a few minutes before grinning. She wasn't really tired anyways.

She jumped out of bed, her camera clutched in her small hands and headed for the large closet in the bathroom that she had made into a room where she could develop her pictures from the day.





He didn't feel like going to bed, he doubted he would've been able to sleep anyway, there was too much going through his mind. Sighing, Sirius changed his route and headed for the Kitchens for the second time that night.

He was going to go insane from all of this stupid teenage drama, but he couldn't help but be overwhelmed with questions that he had to know the answers to. For instance, what was the matter with his twin? She'd been acting weird all night.

And when was Remus going to propose to her now that he had bought a ring?

When would his parents try something else?

Was Lily actually okay or was she trying to cover up her feelings... again?

And what in the name of god goes on inside of his best friend's head? Was James depressed and trying not to show it? Was he trying to ignore reality?

Did he have a potions essay due Monday? What was he going to do once he was out of school? Where was he going to live?

And lastly... Why did he have to have more-than-friendly feelings about a certain curly-haired blonde? Why couldn't his hormones just go away?

Suddenly, Sirius realized that he'd been standing in front of the portrait of a bowl of fruit. He reached out, tickled the pear and pulled open the door. He was greeted by a few beaming house-elves. "Hello Sir!" squeaked the one nearest to him. "Mister Black is hungry already?"

He wasn't really hungry, but nodded anyway. "Yeah, do you have any of those chocolate eclairs left?" He asked while getting comfortable at a seat at the Gryffindor table. Almost instantly the house-elf was back with a tray-ful of crepes, eclairs and tarts. Sirius smiled absentmindedly and thanked the house-elf, who bowed and quickly went about his work.

Sirius took a bite out of a chocolate eclair as he was left alone with his thoughts once more.

They drifted to a place he had not allowed them to drift in a long time. To his home.

Or lack thereof.

He was always thinking about his parents nowadays, but not as his parents. It was easier to think of them as things. As something that was just there. Things that he was not emotionally attached to.

But as much as it pained him to think it, he was.

He hated them so much, for so many things. And he hated himself because on some level he still wanted their approval.

He knew that he would never receive their approval or love. That path was shot from the moment the sorting hat touched his head and yelled 'GRYFFINDOR!'.

He thought back to that day. Carina had been sorted before him, the very first black to ever become a Gryffindor. He had been right behind her. He had been shocked and confused, much as she had.

He'd been hoping Regulus would have followed in their footprints, but no. He'd been placed in Slytherin, the bugger.

For once, he allowed himself to think back on his childhood, which had been relatively normal. He remembered how his mother used to be beautiful, before her sickness. Carina resembled her to the extreme on how Gertrude Black used to look. His father had never been amazingly good looking, but more rough around the edges. Sirius had looked up to him.

Then his mother had gotten sick and she'd never really gotten better. She'd lost most of her good looks and that had left her bitter. Around the time when Sirius had turned 10, the fighting started. He, Carina and Regulus would hide out in their rooms, trying to ignore the yelling. When he and Cari left for Hogwarts in their first year, he hadn't wanted to leave Regulus behind.

He hated the way things had turned out, but he was glad at the same time, because his parents, however vile they were, helped him to become the person he was now.

They had pushed him, being cruel and blunt sometimes, but they had helped to make him Sirius Black.

It just wasn't the Sirius they would have liked.

And for that, and that alone, Sirius could smile when he looked back into his childhood.





"Ha! Now we're tied."

"What? No we're not, I'm winning."

"Lily, we're tied."

"Count how many pieces you've got left." He looked at her. "Just do it." She rolled her eyes and watched him count. "How many?" She asked.

"Nine."

"And how many do I have left?" She watched with a smug grin as he counted the white pieces. "Well..?"

"Eleven." James grumbled, pouting.

Lily grinned widely, proud of being right. She tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear and looked back down at the chess board, trying to figure out her next move. "Knight to H4."

James watched in dismay as her knight struck down his bishop and growled under his breath. He looked up at her grinning cheekily at him and his heart unwillingly sped up. He made a face at her.

She stuck her tongue out and crossed her eyes. He laughed. "Attractive."

She grinned. "Of course."





While her pictures were drying, Aria had changed into a black tank top and purple shorts. Still not tired enough to go to sleep, she dug out a few of her old photo albums and scrapbooks from under her bed, where she'd stuck them at the beginning of term because they took up too much room in her trunk.

She pulled one into her lap. It was big, purple and decorated with numerous amounts of pink sparkles and ribbons. On the front in big, black letters were the words 'My Second Year At Hogwarts'. Smiling, she opened the scrapbook. On the very first page was a picture of herself, Carina and Lily. Aria inspected the picture. The three friends were dressed in their pajamas. Lily's long red hair was extremely messy as she laughed, showing where she was missing one of her front teeth. She had her arms slung around the other two. Carina was smiling widely, clutching the teddy bear that Sirius had bought for her for a Christmas present when they were 7 in her hand, her shoulder-length hair was tucked behind her ears. Aria herself was cracking up laughing about something and picking at her purple pajama pants because there was a hole in the side. Her hair was long and messy and wavy and everywhere.

Her friends were adorable.

She turned the pages of the book, finding more pictures of her friends; Lily reading, Carina sleeping, Lily screaming when James put a frog on her head, James, Sirius, Remus and Peter sitting in front of the fire, Carina on Sirius' back, James when Lily had turned his hair bright pink by accident, her when she had snuck into the boy's dorms and stole their boxers, Lily making a funny face, the three girls having a snowball fight, Lily and Carina grinning for the camera by the lake, her friends on the way home on the train, etc.

Second Year had been a pretty good year, she recalled. She happily picked through a few other of her photo albums, coming across pictures of her friends, family and some where just random pictures. There were a few of her friends from other houses as well, but she wasn't nearly as close with Dorcas Meadows, a Hufflepuff who had graduated the year before, as she was with Lily and Carina.

She turned the page of her 'Year 6' scrapbook and stopped. It was a picture of a bunch of her classmates at the very beginning of the school year. It had been an extremely warm day in September, the very first week of school, and all of their year had the afternoon off because McGonagal and Flitwick had to leave for some reason, and they were the only classes for the afternoon.

Practically all of their year was outside, basking in the warm sunlight. It was one of the first times that year that friends from different houses had a chance to catch up.

It was like a big party almost, everybody outside, mingling and whatnot. Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, even a few Slytherins.

Everybody having a good time, despite the house rivalries. They'd all had fun, together...

And she had proudly gotten a picture of it.





The two young adults walked slowly around the ground. Neither were speaking. Carina was all too aware of Remus' grasp on her slightly sweaty hand.

This was the perfect time to break up with him, as planned. It had to be done sooner rather than later, or he would be hurt even more in the end, and she knew it.

Carina looked out at the lake. The water was still and dark as was the sky. There were no stars, and the half moon was barely visible behind the thick clouds. It was a depressingly dark night, but calm and beautiful at the same time.

She tried to steel herself for the inevitable. She had to work up the courage to do this. She had to break up with him.

Suddenly she felt dirty for holding his hand, and let go immediately. She was going to hurt him, she couldn't hold his hand.

He turned to her, his brow furrowed. "What...?"

She opened his mouth to do it, but she found herself saying, "Nothing". She smiled at him and sat down on the grass. He did the same and they sat there in silence.

It was the loudest, most obnoxious, awkward silence she'd ever heard.

Her eyes were tearing up. She didn't want to do this. She never wanted to do this. Ever.

But she had to.

Carina tucked a stray piece of hair behind one ear, took a deep breath and turned to her boyfriend. "I have to talk to you about something."

Remus took a deep breath and nodded resolutely. "Okay.."





It was too quiet, he couldn't sleep. Muttering to himself, Peter flipped over onto his back and stared at the ceiling. No matter how hard he tried, sleep wouldn't come, and he was being plagued by his jealous thoughts once more.

He tried not to think bad of James, Sirius and Remus, but they all seemed to have better lives than him.

They were always the ones with the girlfriends, the ones who were liked and told the funniest jokes, and the ones who made fun of him.

He certainly liked his friends well enough. They made him laugh, they helped him out with homework, they included him when they hung out, and he looked up to them. But he wasn't as good looking as Sirius, as good at Quidditch as James, or as nice as Remus. It just wasn’t fair.

Growling to himself, he threw the blankets off his bed and stood in front of the full-length mirror in the bathroom. He scrutinized himself.

He was too fat, that he knew, but he showered nearly every day and combed his hair and tried to be nice to the girls, but nothing ever worked.

He would never have a girlfriend. It sucked.

'Maybe if I worked out a bit, and dieted or something...' Peter hated the fact that he had to work at looking good while his friends didn't. He envied them greatly.

Sighing, he slouched back to bed, still thinking about how miserable his life was compared to his fellow Marauders. A few minutes later he was ashamed of himself. He knew that Sirius had a hard family life, and it wasn't easy for Remus to be a werewolf and keep everything inside. Moony was the king of keeping everything inside after all.

Angry at himself for thinking ill of his friends he turned on his stomach and buried his face in his pillow. He hated how insecure he was about everything, even his friends.

He tried really hard to be like the others, but it was exceedingly difficult at times.

Sometimes he felt like just giving up.





"You cheated!"

"What?!" asked Lily, extremely offended.

James glared at her. "You cheated!"

"No I didn't!"

"I just saw you!" James rolled his eyes, exasperated. "Jeez Evans, you can't even beat me at a little game of chess so you've got to resort to cheating?"

Lily got up, rage coursing through her body. James instantly regretted his words and nervously looked up at her.

"BLOODY HELL POTTER!" Lily raged as a small voice in the back of her head asked why she was getting so upset over something so stupid. "How dare you accuse me of cheating? You think I have to cheat to win at chess you egotistical jerk? Merlin Potter, I thought I had you figured out, but there you go again, you stupid prat! You'll never change will you? You are nothing but the same conceited jackass I abhorred last year! GOD DAMNIT!" She cursed loudly as she stubbed her toe on the leg of the chair she'd been sitting on.

"Do my ears deceive me? Such colourful words for such a pristine girl."

"SHUT YOUR TRAP POTTER UNLESS YOU WANT ME TO SHUT IT FOR YOU!"

"I see I've touched a nerve." James couldn't shake the feeling that if he kept going that Lily would just go crazy from frustration. He didn't know why he kept going. He also didn't know why she was so upset. He assumed it was hormones. Or maybe pent-up emotion. Or maybe she was just really hungry. Or tired. Either way, James was getting a kick out of it.

"Are you looking to be castrated? Because your heading in that direction."

"That would mean you'd actually have to go down there."

Lily was calming herself down somewhat, preferring to keep things 'rational' as getting all worked up never really got her anywhere. "Is that supposed to scare me? It amuses me to see that you think me so proper... of course, I don't know where that has been. I might get an STD. But I guess that's what wands are for."

James just stared at her, not used to this as opposed to her screaming at him. He wondered if she was serious. Her expression gave nothing away.

Lily was immensely pleased at his speechless reaction. She sat back down and folded her legs. "It's your turn." She told him, referring to the chess board.





"No. Carina, don't do this." Remus told him girlfriend seriously. His heart was beating abnormally fast in panic. She wasn't listening to him.

"This is for the best, Remus. This way you can get on with your life .."

He cut her off. "Knowing you're getting married to Snape? It's not going to be that easy Carina."

She was growing frustrated. Breaking up with him was hard enough as it was, she hadn't expected him to be so outspoken against it. "And you think it'll be easier when the day comes and I'm still dating you... and I'm forced to walk down the aisle towards somebody who isn't you? It's going to be hard enough as it is without..."

"Listen to me!" She wouldn't. He hated the way she was talking about it as if she'd already resigned to the worst. He watched her talk with such sadness and conviction in her voice and realized that she'd had no hope from the start. She had fully accepted what she was going to do.

Suddenly he stepped away from her with a sick look on his face. Carina noticed and mistook his expression for one of finally accepting what was to be her fate. She was wrong.

"How could you put so little faith in us? You are fully ready to throw me aside for.. for Snivellus!" He said, disgust and hurt all too obvious in his voice.

Carina gasped and shook her head wildly. "No! Remus, I love you and I wish that there was some way that this wouldn't have to happen, but it WILL happen."

"Because you won't give this a chance! You gave up too easily!"

"NO!" She could hardly see his face for tears. "Remus, I'm just accepting what is going to happen! I can't hide from my parents, they will eventually find me. Besides, where would I run?"

'Do it... Moony just do it for God's sake!'

"Tell me that Remus. How would this ever end up working? They are my parents and they have arranged a wedding for me. It's fully in their rights to do this. It's a little unorthodox, I know, but the Ministry won't see it our way!"

'She's going to keep going with this crap unless you finally do it.' Remus told himself, trying to pool his courage.'.. but what if she actually believes what she's saying?' "Carina..."

She ignored him and rambled on, trying to get everything out at once. 'Why is he making this so difficult? It's hard enough as it is!'





"She loves you! Yeah, yeah, yeah! She loves you! Yeah, yeah, yeah! And with a love like that, you know you should be glaaaad!"

Aria laughed as she jumped off her bed, holding her hairbrush as a microphone, singing at the top of her lungs. She danced her way into the bathroom where she made a face at herself in the mirror and pulled her hair into a ponytail before proceeding to wash her face.

She knew her pictures should be developed by now, so she dried her face and went in to look at the enchanted photographs. Her vision was caught by one of Lily and James in the mud. They were rolling around, shoving mud in each other's faces. Suddenly the little Lily and James in the picture stopped rolling around and just stared into each other's eyes. It was very romantic... if rolling around outside in the mud was romantic.

Aria burst out laughing as she saw it. She couldn't wait to see the expression on Lily's face when she saw it.

Smiling, she looked around at the other ones and her eyes couldn't help but linger at one of Sirius. She'd taken it when they'd been at the kitchens. The mini-Sirius was laughing at something or another, before shoveling a huge piece of pie into his mouth. Then he saw the camera, swallowed, and flashed his adorable grin at her.

Not his award-winning flirting grin, his Hi!-I'm-searching-for-something-witty-to-say,-oh-god-I'm-a-dolt.-What's-up?! grin.

She couldn't help but smile as she watched it.

At long last she tore her eyes away as she berated herself. 'Getting involved with Sirius will amount to nothing good. He'd get bored after a while, just like he always does. Besides, he doesn't see me like that anyways...'

Sighing, she made her way back into the dorm and threw herself onto her bed. The Beatles were still playing. Not really in the mood for that anymore, she flicked her wand and The Beatles instantly changed to AC/DC.

She lay on her bed for ages, listening to Kiss, AC/DC, The Ramones, and Alice Cooper.

Quite suddenly, there came a tapping at the window. Half asleep, Aria groaned and forced herself to get up and walk to the window. She opened it and the owl stuck out it's leg for her to untie the letter. The minute she had it untied, the owl took off to the owlery.

Seeing that the letter was addressed to her, she shuffled her way back to her bed, grumbling the whole 3 feet of the way about "Damn people who send letters too damn late in the night for no god damn good reason."

Still grumbling and half asleep, she tore open the envelope and unfolded the parchment inside.





"YOU ARE A NO-GOOD, SELF ABSORBED, CHEATING PRICK!" Lily's red face was contorted into an expression of pure, unadulterated rage.

As was James'. "YOU'VE GOT A STICK SHOVED UP YOUR ASS LITTLE MISS PERFECT!"

The fact that it was incredibly late and that they'd probably wake up the entire Gryffindor house was going unnoticed. A few stragglers suffering from insomnia, or a few who were just light-sleepers had come to see what the racket was about, were watching in amusement at the Head Boy and Girl. Peter included.

Nobody was quite sure what had started the shouting-match. From what the bystanders had gathered, it was over Chess, and it was incredibly dumb.

"I HAVE NOT GOT A STICK UP MY ASS! YOU NEED TO SHOW SOME MORE RESPECT AND DISCIPLINE! YOU ARE HEAD BOY!"

"AND YOU NEED TO LEARN WHEN TO SHUT UP AND WHEN SOMEBODY IS JOKING! YOU ARE IMPOSSIBLE!"

"ME?? I'M IMPOSSIBLE? YOU ARE THE ONE WHO IS BLOODY IMPOSSIBLE! YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING, YOU PIG!"

"I'M NOT A PIG, YOU STUCK UP BITCH!"

"PRICK!"

"PRUDE!"

"YOU ARE AN IRREDEEMABLY MISERABLE MISCREANT AND A DEPRAVED, ACIDLY ACRIMONIOUS DEPRAVITY OF GENETICS!"

"WHAT IN THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!"

"IDIOT."

"WHORE!"

"I AM NOT A WHORE!"

"NO YOU'RE TOO BLOODY PERFECT TO BE A WHORE! YOU ARE AN UNEQUIVOCALLY DEPRAVED FIEND AND A FECULENT, ODIOUSLY SUFFOCATING MIDGET WITH THE NATURAL GRACE OF A SWAMP RAT, YOU KNOW THAT?"

"WHO ARE YOU CALLING A MIDGET? I'M ONLY A FEW INCHES SHORTER THAN YOU, YOU MISERABLE LASCIVIOUS LOUT, NAIVE, BUG-EYED INFLICTOR OF MISERY ON ALL WHO CROSS YOUR PATH!"

Peter was watching the verbal abuse with his eyebrow raised and an amused smirk on his face. He turned to a younger girl who was standing next to him and watching the fight with wide eyes He said 'I wonder if they know that what their saying makes no sense whatsoever."

Unfortunately for him, both Lily and James heard him. They turned their angry faces on him and screamed "SHUT UP PETER!".

He tried to hold in his laugh but failed dismally. Luckily, they had returned to their insult-war and didn't notice. It was Lily's turn.

"YOU ARE A MISERABLY DECADENT LECHER AND A NEFARIOUS, SCRUFFY-LOOKING DEPLORABLE CALAMITY OF BIRTH!"

"YOU ARE AN ABOMINABLY GLUTTONOUS TROLLOP AND A MYOPIC, ACIDLY ACRIMONIOUS CAUSE OF NIGHTMARES IN SMALL CHILDREN!"

"DID YOU JUST CALL ME FAT POTTER? YOU ARE GRIEVOUSLY UNSEEMLY DUNCE AND BELLIGERENT, DISEASE-RIDDEN PROOF THAT GOD HAS A DISTURBED SENSE OF HUMOUR!"

James fell silent, staring at her. Lily just glared at him, breathing hard, wondering why he wasn't continuing their incredibly stupid fight.

Their audience was anxiously waiting to see what would happen next.

He didn't know what possessed him to do it. James took a step closer, pulled her into his arms and kissed Lily for all she was worth.





"Carina..."

She still wasn't listening to him, and he could see that she was becoming hysterical.

"... and I can't do anything to change it! You can't do anything, James' parents can't do anything, nobody is going to be able to do something to help me, so... so I've come to terms with it, and so must you!"

Finally, he put a hand on each of her shoulders and shook her gently, making her look at him. "Carina! Listen to me!" he said sternly. She fell silent, at long last, and waited for him to speak.

"You can't give up this early! It's only November for Merlin's sake." She opened her mouth to speak, but he silenced her with a stern look. "Now, listen. Do you want to marry him?" She shook her head wildly.

"Then you have to at least fight for your rights! If you truly didn't want this, then you would search a hell of a lot harder for a way to get out of it!"

"But..."

"But nothing! You're taking the easy way out, you are giving your parents what they want."

Cari looked up at him with angry wide eyes. "You think this is easy?!" she asked, incredulous. "Trying to break it off with you so that you can get on with your life without me?! This is the hardest bloody thing I've ever done, and you aren't making it any easier!"

"Well good!" He felt his calm facade slipping away.

"What?"

"I'm glad I'm making it more difficult!"

"But why?" She was starting to cry again, she couldn't help it.

"Why? Are you seriously asking me that? ... Because I don't want to be broken up with you! I love you! Bloody hell..." He nervously ran a hand through his sandy hair. 'Do it now, Lupin you idiot. Just say it!'





Lily pulled away, staring at James in shock. The feeling quickly changed to fear and then to disgusted fury. She slapped him as hard as she could, putting everything she had into it.

"YOU PERVERTED BASTARD!" She screamed at him, taking another step away from him and hugging herself. "HOW DARE YOU?"

"Lily..."

She couldn't believe him. He had heard what she'd told them all that morning. He saw Seth kiss her, he'd been there! Tears started to cloud her vision, but she angrily wiped them away.

"I trusted you! You bloody prat! I can't believe you! You heard... I told you!! How dare you use me like that?!"

James stared at her, horror-struck. "No, Lily... it's not like that. I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"

"I thought you were different. I really did." Tears were pouring down her cheeks by now, however hard she tried to stop them. "But you are no better than him. I hate you! I can't believe I let myself trust you!

"Lily.. I... I'm sorry!" James was furious with himself. 'Bloody hormones! Why the bloody hell did I do that?' He was terrified about losing her again. He knew that he'd just lost any and all progress he'd made towards them being friends again.

"No you're not you bloody prick! I hate you, I hate you, I HATE YOU!" She turned to run up into her dorm but James, panicking, grabbed her arm.

"I'm sorry, Lily. I.. I love you!" He was horrified when she flinched and tore away from him, fear clouding her bright green eyes.





Aria hadn't moved an inch since she opened her letter. She stared down at the words, her mind hazy and numb. 'No. It can't be true. No way in hell...'

She crumpled up the letter and pulled out her wand. With a quick flick, it started to burn. She watched it until it was nothing more than a few ashes on the floor.

Then, shaking her head to clear it, she pulled the hangings shut on her bed and buried herself under her covers, squeezing her eyes tightly shut against a pounding ache in her head. Sleepily, she flicked her wand once more and the dormitories became quiet.

She tried to move her thoughts onto something that wasn't the letter she'd read, and now desperately wished she hadn't. It wasn't true of course, she knew that... but still...





It was around 2:30 in the morning when Sirius made his way back to Gryffindor Tower from the Kitchens. He didn't expect anybody to be awake, so he was incredibly surprised when he opened the portrait hole and saw at least two dozen people.

They were all watching a fight he realized. Between Lily and James. He rolled his eyes and walked towards them, trying to see what this row was about.

When he got a clearer view, he was shocked to see Lily crying hysterically, and even more shocked when she saw her slap James. She said something to him, but it was so low that he couldn't hear. He stopped in his tracks, gaping at the two.

Suddenly Lily ran, still crying, up to the dorms, screaming "I HATE YOU!". Incredulous, he looked around at all of the staring faces and snapped at them all to get to bed.

Sirius slowly turned his gaze on his best friend and slowly walked towards him. James hadn't moved an inch since Lily had fled the common room. When he got close enough to get a good look at his friend's face, he stopped walking, startled to say the least, to see tears falling down James' face.





Carina sighed, knowing she had to do this now. It was getting extremely late and she was getting cold. She just wanted to go and sleep forever in her warm bed. She looked up into Remus' face and steeled herself. He could tell he was struggling to say something.

"Remus, I'm telling you, this way it's better for the both of us."

"..Cari.."

"It'll be easier to break up now than later, because we can't stop the inevitable."

"Carina..."

"I love you and I hate to do this, but we have to face facts. There is no way for us to be together after this year, why kid ourselves and set ourselves up for the fall in June? I won't do it."

"...Rina."

"I'm sorry Remus. I don't want to do this, but I have to..."

Remus took a deep breath and cut her off by getting down on one knee and pulling out a small black box. Carina stared at him with shocked, wide eyes.

"Carina, I love you and I won't let you marry anybody else."

She was flabbergasted. "Remus, what...?"

"Will you marry me?"


Chapter 16: A Human Handkerchief
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Chapter 16 - A Human Handkerchief

Monday morning brought about a new bout of weirdness at the breakfast table. Sirius sat next to James, who looked like hell. Aria sat across from them and was unusually absorbed in a book that she was reading. Carina and Remus walked in hand in hand and were absolutely revolting the entire breakfast, Peter was pretty much normal, and Lily didn't show up at all.

The day before had been relatively quiet. The girls had hardly emerged from their dormitories at all, save for Carina who couldn't bear to be away from her fiance for too long. So while Cari and Remus were off making out, James, Sirius and Peter had spent the day hanging out in their dorm.

The first class of the day for all of the students was charms. James rushed there early, trying to get a chance to talk to Lily, only to find the room empty when he arrived. Sitting down in his usual seat at the back of the classroom, he put his face in his hands and closed his eyes, breathing out deeply and berating himself for the thousandth time. He knew full well why Lily was so upset and knew just as well that she had a right to be. He had been a selfish prick, and deserved to be hated by her.

But he couldn't stand it. He wanted to be the one she ran to when she was upset, not the one she ran away from. 'Merlin, I'm a bloody moron'.

He sat up, rubbing his tired eyes as more students walked into the room. A few greeted him, he smiled weakly in response, too miserable to start up a conversation.

Nonetheless, he payed attention to who was walking through to door. If Lily arrived soon, he'd have a chance to try and talk with her before the class started. He hadn't a clue what he was going to say, but he knew he had to do something.

He saw Aria walk in alone, oddly still immersed in her book. He watched Travis walk in behind Aria, chatting to the people around him as were most people, and he noted the way that Sirius and Peter were watching him and whispering to each other.

Sirius took his usual seat next to him but didn't say anything, something that James was thankful for as he was pooling his strength just to stay awake -  quite a feat as he hadn't slept a wink since he and Lily had last fought.

James watched, mildly disgusted as Carina and Remus walked in hand in hand. Actually, walking was not an accurate way to describe it. They were practically skipping, brimming with happiness and completely oblivious to the rest of the world. It was sickening, but James was so proud of his friend for stepping up and doing what he was doing. He was happy for his friends, but quite jealous because he had never had something like that, and suspected he never would, seeing as he only had eyes for Lily and she hated him with all her might. 'Rightfully so.', a miserable voice in his head told him. He groaned self-pityingly.

Before long, Professor Flitwick had entered the classroom and started class. Lily still wasnt there. James hit his head off the top of his desk and stayed there, face-down.

".. Er... James...?"

"What?" he growled at his best friend.

Sirius poked him. "Flitwick just asked you a question."

"Your point?"

"Er..." Sirius tried another tactic. "Lily just walked in the door." It worked. James' head was up, his eyes scanning the room before he scowled at Sirius, who pointed to the far side of the classroom. "No, she did. Look."

He did. Lily was sitting by herself, looking perfectly perfect, as if she hadn't a care in the world. Unless you looked a little bit closer, you'd never see the slight bags under her eyes, the small rumple of her blouse, the tiny tear in her skirt, or the sad lack-of twinkle in her eyes. James noticed.

He also noticed that she was absolutely refusing to look anywhere near him... and that she jumped when Flitwick tapped her on the shoulder to see her homework, before covering up her surprise with a fake smile.

The one time she glanced over at him, the look in her eyes hurt him much the way that he imagined blunt daggers would when being stabbed continuously and dying a slow, painful death because of it.

'I hate myself'. James groaned before promptly falling asleep and smacking his head off his desk once more.

* * *

'Put one foot ahead of the other. Breathe. Don't turn around. Stay focused. Don't turn around. Don't look at James or you'll do something you will regret. Just leave the classroom and get to Ancient Runes. Just walk. Ignore him. Walk.'

"Ms. Evans?"

She jumped, much to her shame, and quickly turned around to face Professor Flitwick. She hoped he wouldn't take too long. James hadn't left the room yet, and she really did not want to have to speak with him.

"Yes?" She asked politely. 'He's still not gone...' He was hanging back, lingering, hoping to get a chance to talk to her. Well, she didn't want to hear anything he had to say. She was confused, scared, hurt, dissappointed, and most of all, pissed off to the extreme.

'Why won't he just leave? God, you'd think he'd be eager to get away from Charms. He freaking slept the entire class! God, I hate him... Why would he do that? Why?'

"Well, you see, Ms. Evans, one of my younger students is having a lot of trouble mastering some of the charms, and since you seem to have such an apititude for my class, I was wondering..."

'God, Potter, just leave! I don't want to talk to you!' "Sure, Professor. I wouldn't mind giving somebody some extra help." 'If he doesn't let me leave I'm going to...'

"Why thank you, Ms. Evans. Normally I would give a student some more of my own time, but I'm finding myself to be incredibly swamped this year. The trouble with Mr. Black is that if he can't do it once, he just gives up."

'God damnit Potter, this is getting rediculous! Leave the effing classroom! .... Hang on... Back up.. What?' "Wait, who needs tutoring?"

Professor Flitwick let out a small laugh. "Oh, you think that the most important thing would be who you will be helping wouldn't it. Mister Regulus Black is his name. He's a few years younger then you. Your friend Sirius Black's younger brother in fact.

'Wonderful.'"Oh okay." 'Smile Lily.' "Well I'd better be going to Ancient Runes now." 'Thank God Potter finally left.' "When would you like me to start tutoring?"

"Oh, how about 2:30 on Saturday at the Library? I'll pass the message along to young mister Black."

'Keep smiling.' "Wonderful. Bye Professor!" 'The world hates me.'

* * *

Sirius wandered aimlessly through the castle, his mind so incredibly full he almost felt as if he should invest in a penseive. Mainly, he was thinking about the sorry, heartsick prat that was his best friend. Sirius was caught between anger and worry for James, but he figured that both Lily and James were angry at James enough, and the world was enough worried about James as it was, so he settled for merely thinking - almost untainted of emotions. It had been quite the busy - if busy was the word, terrible was more like it - few weeks and Sirius was at a loss of what to do about anything.

...Sarah Potter, James and Lily, what that prick did to Lily, Severus Snape, Carina and Remus - 'Merlin, they're getting married!' -, and as always, Aria randomly flitted through his brain, and she'd been acting odd as well.

He sighed audibly, pushing open the doors leading to the grounds. He wished there was something he could do, something productive - 'no, that doesn't include that late potions essay', Sirius told himself - that would make somebody feel better. He was so frustrated, he wanted to hit something - namely Snivellus or Brandon Stone or his father - but the grounds were empty of people. He contented himself with leaning against a tree down by the lake.

What was it that James and Lily had been fighting about? Pete had said something... Sirius couldn't remember offhand so he let his eyes scan the lake as he struggled to make sense of what had happened on Saturday night. His two friends had been fighting over... chess. He rolled his eyes as he remembered, grinning slightly. Pete had said that the fight had escaladed into complete and utter nonsense, and then, completely out of the blue, James suddenly decided to snog Lily.

Sirius scratched his neck, grimacing as he thought about it. Under normal circumstances, the fight - and aftermath - would be hilariously funny. As it was... well, his best mate could have waited for a better time to be overcome with the urge to snog the living daylights out of Lily.

It had probably not been the best idea considering the episode on Friday and then Saturday morning was when Lily had told them... and James... 'Merlin, I'd nearly forgotten Aria had gotten mad at Prongs 'cause he'd spent the entire time staring out the window instead of with Lily!' Sirius ran a hand through his hair, remembering the look on his friend's face and grinning as he remembered how James had vowed that he'd do anything for Lily.

'Nice way of showing it mate, snogging her when she's feeling vulnerable. That's the way to go about it.' Even Sirius knew - and he could be quite dense at times as well - that James had dug himself into a deep hole this time.

Squinting his eyes, he suddenly focused on something across the lake. A person, with... red hair. Lily. Sirius stood up and started towards her.

* * *

Carina and the now-constant grin upon her face plopped down onto the couch next to Remus. She'd found him in the common room just as she'd expected. For the past few hours she'd been in her dorm doing homework. At first, the couple had tried to do homework together, but they'd found that it was too distracting so Carina had retreated into her dormitory.

Now she was finished, and it appeared that Remus was as well. She leaned back against the arm of the couch and placed her feet on her boyfriend''s lap. "Hello, Mr. Lupin." She said, hiding a yawn with the back of her hand and closing her eyes contentedly.

"Hello, Mrs. Soon-to-be-Lupin." Carina's eyes popped open and her grin widened so much that it seemed as if her whole body was glowing. Remus wasn't any less giddy with his adorable, goofy grin reaching all the way into his eyes and bringing out the sparkle that made all of the tired, weary, premature aging lines disappear completely.

She sat up and kissed him lightly, savouring the thought. She was going to be Mrs. Lupin. 'Mrs. Remus Lupin.' She sighed happily and switched positions in order to cuddle into his chest.

They stayed there for a bit, enjoying each other's presence. Carina looked around the room, noticing for the first time in a long time how pretty and majestic the entire place was. Her gaze swept across the room taking in banners, people talking and laughing, the warm red and gold, when something caught her attention and her gaze lingered there.

It was Aria. She was immersed completely in her textbook, very unlike her. Frowing, Carina watched her for a little while, and with rising concern, realized that something was wrong. She wasn't sure why she was convinced of the thought, she just knew that she was right. Maybe it was the way that her friend's hair was limp, or the way her face was set; complete and utterly absorbed but far away at the same time. Maybe it was the fact that she hadn't turned the page of her book more than once in the past 25 minutes, or perhaps the way she was gripping the edge of the book so tightly that her knuckles were turning white, or maybe because Aria's whole countenence was... off. Her back was hunched, she was cowering into herself - which was completely unlike her - Aria Smith was a proud, confident, exuberant girl who didn't back away from anything.

"What's wrong?" Remus asked. Carina realized she'd tensed all of her muscles whilst watching her friend.

She glanced up at her fiance before looking back at Aria. "Look at Aria. Does she seem... different... to you?"

Remus followed her gaze to their blonde friend. "Different? Different how?"

Carina pursed her lips, trying to think of a way to convey to him what she was thinking. "Just look at her. Do you get the feeling that something's up?"

"Why, do you think something's wrong?" he asked, squinting his eyes and peering at Aria's figure, hunched over her book.

"I don't know. I haven't really been... I hadn't noticed until just now, but I get the feeling that there is. I mean, just look at her. She's completely into that book, but she's not. She's turned the page once since I've been watching her."

Remus scratched the back of his neck as he thought back on the past day. "Now that you mention it, she has been rather reclusive all day."

Carina nodded, her eyebrowns wrinkling as she pondered her friend. She wondered if she should go over and talk to her, but she didn't know for sure if something was wrong, and... Carina sighed heavily and leaned back into Remus. 'I'll leave her for a bit, if she's still acting funny I'll confront her.'

Aria then seemed to get the feeling that she was being watched. She looked up and met Carina's eyes. Cari smiled at her. Aria gave her a small, forced smile that wasn't really a smile and was more of a twich of her lips, and then she turned her gaze back to her textbook.

Carina's worry grew, but she didn't go over to her friend. She just watched.

* * *

"Urghah!" Lily screamed angrily, beating the dirt ground with her fists as she bent over, her legs crossed under her. Sitting back up, she dissolved to tears again, furious with herself for being unable to stop crying. "God damnit!" She cursed, hugging her legs against her thin frame and letting her forehead rest on her bony knees.

'I'm so stupid!' "What the hell is wrong with me?", she sobbed uncontrollably. She honestly didn't know. She'd been fine a half hour ago, sitting calmly in the common room and writing her essay for Transfiguration. It was proving difficult and she was getting frustrated, but when she'd accidentally tipped over her bottle of ink, she'd completely lost it. It hadn't even really ruined her essay, only the last paragraph. Lily didn't understand it.

"Stop crying!" She screamed at herself, trying to take ahold of her bodily functions... but it only made her sob harder. Things she didn't want to think about were suddenly flashing before her eyes: Her sister being a bitch, little Sarah Potter lying in her coffin, the look on Cari's face whenever she thought about her parents, Sirius' expression whenever he saw his sister hurting, Brandon Stone and his friends and that terrible, horrifying look in their eyes, James...

She growled at the thought of him, a fresh wave of tears sliding down her already wet cheeks. She didn't know what to think of him. 'Friday night he was all nice, and then Saturday... why wouldn't he look at me? Did he not care? Did he think I brought it upon myself? Maybe he just doesn't like me... but Friday he brought me back to the dorms, and he swore that he'd never, ever, ever hurt me!' She snorted with mirthless laughter. 'Yeah, then what the hell was he doing kissing me? He must have known... he heard... How could he do that? How?'. She felt the cold ache of betrayal, and was angry because she didn't understand it.

She realized that she was shivering, and hugged herself tighter. 'Get ahold of yourself, Lily! You are not this weak!'. She couldn't, and cried all the harder for it.

Something touched her shoulder and before she could react rationally, she gave a little shriek and twisted away from the hand, her head snapping around to see who was there. She relaxed and tried fiercely to wipe away her tears and stop crying when she saw that it was Sirius.

He didn't say anything, just sat down beside her. Lily tried to take deep breaths, willing herself even more to stop the tears. It worked somewhat, as she managed to take shaky breaths. She felt her friend's arms surrounding her, protecting her, and she let herself go, crying into his chest and didn't bother to try to stop it.

As she began to get control of herself, she was aware of Sirius' hand rubbing circles into her back, and the wet spot on the front of his sweater. Slightly embarrassed and ashamed of herself, she pulled away a little bit and smiled weakly at him. "Sorry." She mumbled, hugging her knees to her chest again. Sirius' hand stayed on her back as he rose an eyebrow at her. "Your shirt's all wet." She explained, pointing.

He glanced down, but otherwise ignored his damp shirt. The two friends were silent for a time, before Sirius opened his mouth. He hesitated before saying "Do you want to talk about it?"

Lily stayed silent, biting her lip, her cheeks flaming at the embarassment of being so vulnerable around him, around anyone.

Her mind raced, and she took a big irritated breath as her thoughts landed once again on James Potter. "It's just... mainly... I don't... Ugh." She couldn't get her words out as her anger gradually grew once more.

Sirius took a wild guess. "James?"

She nodded miserably, sighing as her anger suddenly dissipated, leaving her with a cold, empty feeling. She didn't know how to explain what she was feeling, so she didn't.

"If it's any consolation, he's angrier at himself then you are at him. And that's something." He paused, unsure if he should go on. "He knows he screwed up. He hasn't slept, he's barely eaten, he's turned back into a zombie again. It's like..." He gulped against the painful lump in his throat, "It's like Sarah's funeral all over again."

Lily looked up at him, her eyes burning. She didn't know what to say.

Sirius sighed, rubbing his forehead with his free hand, the other was still around his friend. "I know you don't believe it, or want to hear it, but he really does care about you."

In a flash, Lily's hot anger was back. "He has a funny way of showing it."

Sirius sighed again, this time impatiently. "Lily, think about it for a second. Really, think about it from an outsiders point of view. Remember Friday night? He took care of you. He - "

Lily cut him off. "He promised - " The fire in her tone broke. "He promised he'd never hurt me. He swore it on his sister. If there is one thing I remember from that night, it's that. He couldn't even go 24 hours..." She trailed off. Sirius was taken aback. He didn't know what he was expecting, but it wasn't this. He waited for her to go on.

"Then he wouldn't even look at me!" She burst out violently. "The entire time I was telling you guys, he wouldn't even look at me! God damnit! ...In the name of Merlin, I don't know what goes on inside his head! And then we were having fun and he picked this stupid fight and then, then, he completely proves to me that he wasn't listening and couldn't give two shits about me except getting in my pants! God, I'm so stupid!" Lily shrieked, fists tight and eyes closed, her muscles tight as she let out a dry sob.

Sirius stared at her in shock. He'd had no idea that James' actions hurt her this deeply. He was going to have to have a talk with his best mate. Now he understood why Lily refused to talk to him. 'Merlin... She likes James.' He stared at her with wide-eyes. 'Lily has fallen for James! He broke her heart... by trying to be who she wanted him to be - and getting a tad bit carried away -... and she doesn't even realize it!'

Not really wanting to delve deeper into the subject that was Lily's feelings for James, Sirius just sat there and studied her. She was a complete wreck. Her hair was a mess, her makeup everywhere except where it'd been originally applied, her eyes were bloodshot, and her cheeks stained... but that wasn't the thing that worried him the most. She was so skinny and so fragile that he was scared that even by hugging her, he might hurt her. He watched as she tried desperately to calm herself down, and he was struck by how defeated, how weary, how terribly desperate for normal she seemed.

Where was the strong, proud, energetic Lily that had shown herself briefly a few days ago?

"Lils, are you sure that's the only thing on your mind?" he asked hesitantly, not sure what she would say, not sure if he wanted to hear it.

Her reaction wasn't at all as he expected. She started to laugh.

Loud, humourless, almost hysterical laughs filled the air. Sirius was alarmed, and kept his guard up. 'What the...?' He didn't say anything while she laughed harder and harder until she was rolling around in the dirt, banging her fists into the dirt.

Suddenly Sirius became aware that not only was she laughing hysterically at nothing, but she was also crying.

He felt lost, completely unsure of what to do and almost scared by her actions. 'What is wrong with her?' He asked himself, worried beyond comprehension. He fought against the rising lump in his throat.

Just as he thought that terrible laughter would never end, it did. Lily sat up and looked at him, shame pulsing from every pore of her body. He didn't know what she was ashamed about, and neither did she.

"I have a million things on my mind." Lily said quietly, tracing lines in the dirt with her finger. "But the things that keep coming back... Mainly Sarah, and Cari, and James, and Petunia, and... and... that expression... those eyes... those hands..." She looked as if she were about to puke.

Taking a deep breath, Sirius suddenly realized that he was grinding his teeth. He hadn't been aware of it, but his anger had taken ahold of him. He wanted nothing more at that moment, then to beat Brandon Stone within an inch of his bloody worthless life.

He watched as Lily closed her eyes, and ran a shaking hand through her red hair. "I don't want to remember. I hate remembering it. Why do I keep thinking about it?"

Sirius thought that she looked exhausted, as if a harsh wind might just blow her over. He desperately wanted to cheer her up, to make her happy and laugh sincerely. She was scaring him.

He had no idea what to do, so he grabbed hold of the only thing he could think of and hoped for the best.

"Well, I know how to get your mind on to happier things." Sirius said as he made a preposterously serious face at her. She just looked at him.

He opened his mouth and took a deep breath.

"When a problem comes along, you must whip it! Before the cream sits out too long, you must whip it!"

He got up started dancing terribly, all the while sneaking glances at his friend. "When something's going wrong, you must whip it! Now whip it - into shape - shape it up - get straight -  move foreward - try to detect it - "

His heart lightened with relief as he saw a smile forming on her lips. He winked at her and danced towards her. "It's not to late to whip it - whip it good."

"Come on Lily!" He said while dragging her up off the ground and twirling her. " When a good time turns around you must whip it! You will never live it down unless you whip it! No one gets their way until they whip it!"

Finally, she laughed and joined in. "I say whip it! Whip it good. I say whip it, whip it good! Crack that whip, give the past the slip. Step on a crack, break your momma's back."

Before long, the pair of them were laughing and dancing like maniacs. "When a problem comes along, you must whip it! Before the cream sits out too long, you must whip it! When something's going wrong, you must whip it!"

Lily face was flushed from dancing and singing. A huge smile was on her face as she pushed all her bad thoughts to the back of her mind. Sirius twirled her again before miming whipping something something. They sang simultaneously, "Now whip it - into shape - shape it up - get straight - go forward - move ahead - try to detect it - it's not too late - to whip it -  into shape - shape it up - get straight - go forward - move ahead - try to detect it - it's not too late to whip it - whip it good!"

* * *

The next morning's breakfast was yet again different. For one, Lily actually attended and she sat by Cari and Aria, the latter of which was busy writing an essay for Potions and hardly spoke. The marauders were late in showing up and nearly dropped dead in their seats. Remus didn't show up at all - the night before had been a full moon. Sirius paused by the girls just long enough to say that Remus was fine, just sleeping, before sitting down with James and Peter at the end of the table.

Before long, Aria glanced up at the head table and met the headmaster's eye. She muttered something incorrigible to her friends, gathered up her books, and left without eating anything. Lily and Cari met each other's gaze as she left. "What's up with her, do you know?" Cari asked, worry furrowing her brow.

Lily shook her head, biting her lip as she wondered about how odd Aria had been acting for the past few days. She glanced down at the boys, and saw that Aria's odd manner hadn't excaped them either. She also saw that all three of them were getting up and making their way over to herself and Carina. She clenched her jaw in annoyance and turned back to Cari.

Just as she knew they would, she felt the bench shift as people sat down. One of them leaned over and asked "What happened with Aria?" It was Sirius. She turned around and shrugged, momentarily surprised to see only Sirius and Peter at the table. Her gaze quickly darted around the room, and she caught a glimpse of James' back as he left the great hall. She got an odd feeling in her stomach and turned back to Sirius, who'd been watching her.

She felt her cheeks flush, though she didn't know why, but was saved by the arrival of the mail. An owl dropped The Daily Prophet in her lap, and she busied herself in reading it. The other's talked around her, but she took no notice. She was deeply immersed in reading an article. Disgusted and slightly fearful, she elbowed Cari in the ribs. "Hey, look at this." Lily said as she spread the paper out in front of her. Her friends leaned in and started reading.

It was an article about yet another act of terrorism. It had taken place at King's Cross Station, a popular place for both muggles and magic-folk. Wizards and witches tended to take trains in times when they couldn't, or didn't want to apparate, floo or ride on broomstick because it was comfortable and didn't take terribly long. It was also very pretty and a convenient place to watch how muggles acted for those who had an interest in people. As a matter of fact, it wasn't uncommon for muggle studies classes to take a field trip on a train to find out how muggles act. Luckily, no classes had been present at the station or on any of the trains due in on Saturday morning.

"It took place on Saturday. Why do you think it took so long for the story to make it to the paper?" Peter wondered aloud.

Lily glanced at her friend, raising an eyebrow. Why the Prophet had taken so long to report the act of terrorism was the least of her worries. She ignored him.

"Voldemort's getting more bold, attacking King's Cross." Sirius said grimly. "The Ministry hasn't caught him yet, and he's waving it in their faces."

"It's been ages since this guy started testing the ministry like this. I don't know what he's trying to do. I don't understand it. Why haven't they caught him yet?" Carina asked, a hint of anger at the Ministry's incompetence in her voice as well as a hidden tremble of fear.

One thing was on everybody's mind. 'Everybody underestimated this Voldemort character.'

* * *

It was an unspoken agreement to find out what was going on with Aria. All of Tuesday went by, and nobody had seen hide nor hair of Arianna Smith. She didn't show up for class, and couldn't be found in her dorm or the common room. After thoroughly checking the Marauder's map, it was concluded that she was nowhere in all of Hogwarts. She finally reappeared through the portrait hole late that night. Lily, Cari, Remus, Peter, Sirius and James were all in the common room when she finally stumbled through.

From different places around the room, all of them took in her bedraggled appearance; her stringy hair, her gaunt cheeks, her wrinkled black dress, her bloodshot eyes.

The uncomfortable silence in the room was palpable. Aria shifted awkwardly, her mind racing for a believable explanation of where she'd been all day. They were waiting for the truth, she knew. She also knew that by lying and being as she'd been for the last few days, she was a complete hypocrite. ' "You can't deal with your demons by yourself, Lily. Why are you hiding from us, Lily? We're all worried about you. We love you, whatever happened, you can't deal with it by yourself." '

Her own words to her best friend danced heavily in her own head, mocking her because she knew the truth in them. She realized for the first time how hard it had been for Lily to confide in them, and her heart went out to the redhead. 'I'm not as strong as you, Lily.'

"My Grandma's been pretty sick lately, and my parents... " She ignored the lump that had ridden suddenly in her throat. "Wanted me to come and see her. Luckily, she took a turn for the better today around suppertime, and I didn't want to leave." She lied through her teeth.

Her friends didn't speak as they digested this information. It certainly was believable. Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending on how one looks at it - for Aria, they didn't believe a word of it.

* * *

The rest of the week went by with hardly a change in the way Aria was acting. Lily and Carina hadn't been able to get her alone to talk to her, and they were growing frustrated. She was always the first to rise in the morning and the last to get in at night. It was driving them crazy.

Finally, on Saturday morning, Carina and Lily woke up at dawn to catch their blonde friend. It worked.

When Aria awoke, Carina and Lily were sitting on the bed next to her, looking at her. "What?" She asked self-conciously.

"Aria, what's really been going on?" Lily asked, seeing no reason to beat around the bush. "We don't believe that bull about your Grandmother."

Carina stood up and sat down on the end of her friend's bed. "You know you can talk to us. That's what we're here for. You know that."

Aria summoned all of her energy, cursing them for catching her so early in the morning when her defences were down. "Nothing. I'm serious, Rina. Nothing else has been going on. I'm just really tired and stressed out because of my Grandma - who keeps bouncing from doing worse to doing better and back again - and plus we've been getting so much homework and..." She trailed off at seeing the look on Lily's face.

Aria's temper rose. "Look, I don't have to tell you every single thing that happens in my life. It's none of your business. There is nothing else going on anyway! Just please, leave me alone! Nothing's happened! Everything is fine! Why don't you trust me!? God!"

Lily folded her arms and looked at her, her eyes venomous. "Arianna Rosemary Dorothy Smirth, you know every little thing of my life. I am entitled to help you deal with your problems as well."

"Aria, we know something's up. You're different. You're upset. We hate seeing you this way. We want to help you." Cari told her sincerely.

"OH MY GOD!" Aria raged. "Just leave me the bloody hell alone!" She jumped out of her bed and made her way angrily into the bathroom for a shower. When she'd shut the door, she leaned against it, mentally exhausted from being confronted by her friends so early in the morning. Taking a minute to compose herself, she swallowed back the wave of tears that threatened to overtake her and got into the shower.

Still where Aria had left them, Lily and Carina sat staring the bathroom door, worried that whatever it was that had happened was worse than they had initially thought. Locking gazes, they decided to go seek help from their friends.

* * *

"Hey James, have you seen my other sock?"

There was no answer. Sirius pulled his head out of his trunk and huffed, crossing his arms as he saw his best mate hitting on his bed, staring at nothing and not helping looking for the missing sock!

"Prongs!" Still nothing. "PRONGS!" Nothing more than a twitch. "Bloody hell. JAMES BLOODY POTTER"

"Ow! What the hell?"

James finally focused on the annoyed 17 year old baby on the floor and scowled at him while rubbing his nose where one of Remus' heavy books had hit him.

"Have - you - seen - my - sock?" Sirius pronunciated slowly and clearly as if he were speaking to an idiot.

James rolled his eyes. "No."

"You sure? It's the white one with the - "

"I'm positive."

Sirius pouted. "But it's my lucky sock! You have to help me find it!"

"Ugh, you mean that old scrap of cloth that has never been washed?"

Sirius ignored him and stuck his head underneath his bed in search of his beloved sock. Before James even had time to roll his eyes once more, the door swang open.

Lily walked in, pointedly ignoring James and looked down at Sirius, cocking her head to the side inquisitively. Carina stepped in after her and looked to James, raising her eyebrows and nudging her brother with her toe. "What in the name of Merlin are you doing?"

He pulled himself out from under the bed and looked up at her sadly. "My lucky sock is gone."

"Thank Merlin. Maybe the House-Elves just decided to wash it to save us all from that horrid thing. Or, better yet, maybe they burned it when they realized that the stench was permanent!"

Sirius clearly wasn't amused by this thought. Lily decided that they had wasted enough time and was eager to get to the point even though Remus and Peter weren't there.

"We couldn't get whatever it is that's been eating Aria out of her. She blew up at us."

Sirius, already half-annoyed because of his friends' lack of helpfullness about his sock, grew even more irritated with this news. He faintly heard Carina and James speak, but he paid them no mind. He pulled out a sock from his wardrobe - all thoughts of his missing one gone - stood up, and posed dramatically.

"Alas! Aria, thou hast turned away thy lovers and befriended no one! I shall go fetch what ails Arianna's heart or else I die here! I will get it out of her!"

Lily hid her laugh behind her hand as James stared at Sirius in bewilderment. "What the bloody hell?"

"I think something is rotten in the state of Scotland!" Sirius bellowed and then with a lot of hand waving and flourishing, he ran out the door.

Lily burst into laughter, and James looked at her with wide eyes, a smile playing around his mouth. A moment later, Sirius returned again. "I forgoteth my broomsticketh!" He grabbed said broomstick and headed for the door once more, said "I'll put a girdle round about the room in forty minutes!", and dissappeared, this time making his way up to the girl's dormitory.

* * *

"Hey you." Sirius said lightheartedly although it was the opposite of how he was feeling.

Aria glanced up from her book and smiled - though it was rather forced - at him. "Hello." She replied before returning her attention to the text in front of her.

Sirius do anything for a minute but watch her as she lay on her stomach on her bed, his concern continually rising. When he finally sat on the bed beside hers, he didn't say anything.

After a few minutes, Aria sighed and closed the book. Sitting up, she scowled at him. "Lily sending in the troops now?" She asked shrewedly.

Sirius hesitated awkwardly for a moment before saying "She's worried about you."

Aria harrumphed. "I'm fine! Why wouldn't I be?"

"Why wouldn't you be?"

"I don't know. That's the point. There's nothing wrong. I don't know why you think there is. What could have happened?"

"What could have happened?"

"Why do you keep answering my questions with a question?"

"Why do you think that is?"

"Why must you be such an annoying prick?"

"Why must you think me an annoying prick?" Sirius bit back a grin as she gave a little half-scream of annoyance, but could tell he wasn't getting anywhere.

"Really though, I can tell something's up. Why don't you save me the trouble of having to find out myself and just tell me?"

Aria sighed and glared at him. "You won't be able to find out."

"So there is something to find out then." It wasn't a question.

"What? Sirius! No! There's nothing -"

"You just said so." Sirius pointed out.

Aria pressed her face into her mattress in frustration. "God you're annoying." She grumbled.

He just grinned. "So now I've got to do some snooping about to find out what's wrong?"

She glared. "Even if there were something up - which there isn't - who would you ask? There's nobody to find out anything from!"

Sirius rose an eyebrow. "Professor Dumbledore." he answered swiftly. "As headmaster, he would have to know your whereabouts when you left Hogwarts."

He had her there.

She sat up and looked at him. "Why didn't just just ask him first then? Not that he would tell you anything private."

"So your admitting it. There's something wrong." He didn't let her argue. "I don't want to hear it second-hand, Aria. I can't make you feel better if I'm not here. I want to give you a chance to tell me yourself. You can't hide it forever. The truth has a way of making it's way to the surface."

He was trapping her. She sat there frozen, her was mind oddly blank. He seemed to notice the change in her demeaner and moved so that he was sitting next to her on the bed. He looked her in the eye and asked sincerely, "Are you okay?"

'No. Please don't make me say it. Saying it sounds so real.' A large lump had, at some point in the past few minutes, formed painfully in her throat. Her eyes watered. She blinked, trying to erase memories from only a few days prior that refused to move from the forefront of her brain.

She hugged herself and fought desperately fought against those god forsaken tears. The new gaping hole in her heart had left her with the worst lonliness she had ever felt. It wouldn't go away, as much as she tried to ignore it, and Sirius was making her aware of it.

She felt his arms encircle her and stiffened, trying even harder to stem the flow of tears that were trying even harder to erupt. He rubbed her back. "It'll make you feel better to tell somebody. It doesn't have to be me, do you want me to go get Lily or Cari?"

She shook her head. Nobody else needed to see her vulnerability. She continued to fight a losing battle against her tears.

Despite herself, she felt herself melting into his embrace. "I can't help unless you let me, Aria." Sirius told her.

She pressed her face into his chest, wanting that terrible ache to go away. "You can't help. No one can help." She found herself talking against her will. "Please don't make me say it." She hated how weak her voice sounded.

"Whenever you're ready to talk, I'll be here." He whispered encouragingly into her ear, as he continued to rub her back. Aria nodded, knowing as she did so, that she would never talk about it.

She wanted to talk to her mother.

Realizing it, she couldn't help herself and burst into tears, holding onto Sirius as if her life depended on it.

* * * * *

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