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Chapter three – Quiet Observations 

“Yoo-hoo! Prongs! Oi! Snap out of it!” Sirius told James, waving his hand infront of his face. 

James blinked a few times and turned to Sirius. “What?” 

“Uh well, you have been staring at Evans and Barker for like all of breakfast and your bacon is going cold. Can I have it?” 

James nodded. As if he cared where his bacon went. 

“So…” Sirius said through a mouthful of James’ cooling bacon. “Is it a stupid question to ask why you were staring at Lily Evans?”
 
James scowled. He wasn’t staring at her. Well maybe just out of the corner of his eye but it had been almost a month since he found out about Lily’s new boyfriend and he was still confused. What did Lily see in him? 

“I don’t get it.” 

“Neither do I.” Sirius agreed, now licking his fingers. “That bacon was good, could even say it was better than mine. Why does it always happen that way? It’s always better when it’s someone else’s. Anyway I agree, I don’t understand how you could leave it on your plate to-“ 

“I wasn’t talking about the bacon!” James interrupted. 

Sirius stopped rambling and moved to look at what James was staring at. “Yeah I don’t really see it either, I mean what's so special about Ev-“ James gave him a look.
He had heard this speech many times. Why Lily Evans? What made her so special? What was it about Lily Evans that made her worth the chase? And so on. Sirius could quiz James for hours and James didn’t have answers. He didn’t know why, but he did know she was worth it. 

“He's gone again.” Commented Sirius to Remus and Peter. “YO! James! You’re doing it again!” 

“Am not.” James replied absentmindedly, his attention still on Elliot Barker, who seemed to be trying to tickle Lily. 

“He doesn’t even know what he's saying!” Sirius complained, although he knew his complaints wouldn’t be heard by anyone. 

Remus as always was absorbed in his newspaper, James was, of course, watching Lily and Peter…well Peter was currently distracted by a fly that was buzzing around the great hall. 

“How can I be expected to start a good healthy argument when the opposing teams’ rebuttal is ‘am not’!” Sirius continued to tell his empty plate. “I mean what makes Lily Evans so worth all James’ attention. I mean sure, like I get why he's like, why him, not me. Like Elliot Barker is a stinking Ravenclaw for one and they suck at Quidditch and he reminds me of my great Aunt Agnes and that’s kinda scary and they totally don’t look right for each other…You know?” he questioned the terrified looking third year girl to his left. Her eyes widened and she looked like she was about to cry. 

Sirius sighed. “Have I gone crazy?” he asked her again. 

“Can I answer that?” Sirius spun around. 

“Holly!” He squeaked, finally locating the source of the voice. 

Remus finally looked up from his newspaper. “What can we do for you ladies?” He asked seeing as Sirius incapable of speech while James simply hadn’t moved. 

“Well,” Ruby began, seating herself in between James and Remus. “Hols and I were just walking past on our way to Quidditch tryouts, the same tryouts James should be at right now…JAMES! TRYOUTS!” She told him loudly, seeing as he wasn’t getting it. 

James jumped to attention, right Quidditch. 

“Catch ya out there Prongs!” Sirius called after him joyfully. 

Ruby turned to Holly, who was still standing in the aisle, Ruby and Holly seemed to be having a silent war with their eyes. Ruby willing Holly to take a seat while Holly stubbornly stood in the aisle, indicating this meeting wasn’t her idea. 

Ruby sighed, turning back to Remus in defeat. “Anyway couldn’t help but hear Sirius’ mad ramblings and by the way I am concerned for that poor third year. She seemed quite shaken up. Should we have followed her? Made sure-” 

“Ruby!” Holly cried to hurry her friends speech. “Right.” Agreed Ruby after Holly gave her a meaningful look. “We don’t like him.” 

“Awesome.” Sirius stated. “Now who are we talking about?” 

Ruby sighed. “Elliot you moron! He is a complete arse and doesn’t deserve Lily. Holly and I can barely stand him!” 

“Oh.” Was Sirius and Remus only reply as they finally understood. It seemed no one was all that supportive of Lily’s new boyfriend. 

Remus leaned forward, “So why are you telling us? Shouldn’t you be telling Lily?” 

“Look,” Holly breathed, finally sitting down. “Lily is our friend you can't just tell your best friend that you hate her boyfriend! I for one don’t want to be the one to tell her that He is over reacting, insanely jealous, undeserving pompous prick!” She hissed surprising everyone. 

Usually Holly Marlingson was so quiet and mild-mannered. “What would you do?” 

*** 

James felt like hitting his head against a wall. He had been Quidditch captain for three years but never had the job been this stressful. He had his new chaser and beater, but still needed a new seeker unfortunately all the hopefuls were well, hopeless. 
He was about to assign the place to a third year when Ruby Sinclair ran onto the pitch with her broom in hand. 

“Wait!” She called. “Am I too late?” 

“Depends on what you had your heart set on Sinclair” James informed her. 

“Seeker…” She told him fearfully. She did have her heart set on this position. 

James breathed a sigh of relief. “Let’s see what you can do.” He winked at her and called for the team to get into position while silently praying she was better than average. Seeker tryouts tested the speed of the flyer and reflexes and so far each hopeful had failed abysmally. 

She saw her cue and took off, leaving James in a gust of wind. At least she could fly, James thought. She was beating most of the others already. 

The other team members began to throw small balls in her direction; surprisingly she caught most of them. James turned to view the crowd. He finally spotted Sirius and Remus who gave him thumbs up. 

He blew his whistle. “Well done Sinclair, you made the team. To everyone else, sorry, thanks for coming and better luck next year.” 

He watched as they all trudged off while Ruby was swarmed by her friends. They were all squealing congratulations. James caught Lily’s eyes and she smiled at him. Lily Evans actually smiled at James Potter. James felt woozy but pulled himself together.

“All right team 

(A/N: Adapted from ‘I’ll make a man out of you.” From the movie Mulan.)

James: Let’s get down to business to win the cup. 
Are you Quidditch players or are you not? 
You're a promising group, I hope the best 
And you can bet before we're through 
People, I'll make champions of you 
Tranquil as a forest But on fire within 
Once you find your center 
You are sure to win 
You're a spineless, pale pathetic lot 
And you haven't got a clue 
Somehow I'll make a champion out of you 
Ruby: I'm never gonna catch that snitch 
Chaser 1: Or roll away from flying bludgers, 
Beater 1: Boy, was I a fool for thinking I could learn! 
Ruby: He's really got me scared to death, Hope he doesn't try to replace me 
Chaser 2: Now I really wish that I knew how to fly! 
Team: We will win We will be swift as a golden snitch 
We will win We have the force of the steely bludger 
We will win With all the strength of the greatest fighters 
No match to those who dare to fight 
James: Time is racing toward us till the game arrives 
Heed my every order and we might survive 
Are you unsuited for the thrill of flight If so pack up, go back, you’re through, 
How could I make a team out of you 
Team: We will win We will be swift as a golden snitch 
We will win We have the force of the steely bludger 
We will win With all the strength of the greatest fighters 
No match to those who dare to fight” 

“All right team that will do for today, our first game is against Ravenclaw in a month, practice will be twice a week until then. I’ll let you know the times.” James watched as the Quidditch team trudged towards the change rooms. He sat on the grass and waited for his friends to walk down from the stands as they always did. 

“Can I have a go?” Sirius asked nodding towards James broom. 

James nodded and turned to Remus who had joined him on the grass. “What do you think? Is the Quidditch cup ours this year?” James asked. 

“I think you may have a lot of work to do but it is possible, especially with the mighty James Potter on the team.” Remus joked. 

He laughed as James stood up and pulled a tough guy pose. 

“Oh Remus, don’t encourage him.” Admonished Lily, joining them on the pitch with Ruby and Holly. They had come back for Ruby’s broom, which she had left by the stands. 

James scowled. “It was a joke Evans, a joke. You should know a joke by know.” he commented, his mind on Elliot Barker. 

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” 

“It means nothing.” James retorted sharply. 

“What did you do to him?” Lily demanded, her hands on her hips and eyes narrowed in anger. 

“Why do you always assume the worst of me? I did NOTHING if you were referring to your precious Barker! I was merely pointing out that he is laughable. I have never touched him with wand or fist nor have I ever talked to him in my life. That’s right for once I have done the decent thing and tried to keep out of your life and you cant see that.” James told her in a deadly voice before stalking away. 

“You should really apologise to him Lils.” Whispered Holly after all the marauders had run after him. 

“Why?! He was the one to insult my boyfriend!” 

“Yeah and you accused him of attacking him personally just because he made a teensy comment expressing his disapproval. Which if you think about it is understandable. That’s not very fair on him Lily.” Holly concluded. “Think about it. 

“She added grabbing a confused Ruby’s hand, leaving Lily alone on the Quidditch pitch with a million thoughts running through her Head. 

Was Holly implying that she too disliked Elliot? 

***

 Lily returned from a quiet dinner with Elliot to find Ruby and Holly in the common room talking to the Marauders. She coughed as she walked past to catch her friends attention. They quickly said their goodnights and followed her up to the dorm. 
Ruby forced a grin as she closed the door. 

“Hey Hol, Sirius was quiet tonight. Again.” She joked raising her eyebrows to make her point. Holly groaned. 

Lily laughed. “I’ve never seen him so nervous around a girl before. You must have really had an affect on him.” Lily commented, not quite knowing why since Holly was the same as ever. she was still the same sweet Holly Marlingson she had known since first year. And that Sirius seen everyday. 

Holly rolled her eyes. This was not what they had come here to talk about. She cleared her throat. “Um Lils? We need to talk to you.” 

Lily frowned and walked over to the mirror. She picked up her hairbrush then turned back to them. “What about?”

“Elliot.” They both answered. 

“What about him?” she asked suspiciously. Thinking back to Holly’s speech on the Quidditch Pitch. 

“Well,” Holly offered, “We just don’t think…” 

“We just don’t think he's right for you.” Ruby finished with a shrug. 

“What do you mean by that?” Lily asked, her voice shrilly. 

Ruby sighed. Where to begin. 

(A/N: Adapted from Get another boyfriend by the Backstreet Boys) 

Ruby: “Let's talk about you, 
Both: Sweetie, 
Holly: You gotta hear us out 
Ruby: Or do you really want to be the last to know What he’s all about 
Ruby: Let's talk about what he says To be essence of your life 
Holly: But he'll eat you up from inside slow 
Ruby: And then he doesn't wanna know 
Both: I'm tellin’ you he'll eat you up from inside And then he doesn't wanna know Listen, we mean it There’s nothing that he's worthy of 
Ruby: He's just another playa', 
Holly: Playin’ in the name of love 
Both: We've seen enough, now this must come to an end Get another Boyfriend 
Ruby: Let's talk about what, He's done to become your number one 
Holly: Or was it all the promises of diamonds, pearls and party dresses that turned you on 
Ruby: I've seen it before 
Holly: (Don't take!) Anymore, free too, You're through for sure Just go get on with your life 
Ruby: STOP! Acting like you're giving up I'm telling you, go get on with your life 
Both: Stop acting like you're givin’ up Listen, we mean it there’s nothing that he's worthy of He's just another playa', Playin’ in the name of love I've seen enough, now this must come to an end Get another Boyfriend” 

Lily was shocked; she couldn’t believe that her two best friends didn’t approve of her boyfriend. She couldn’t say anything, instead gave her friends one last deadly look before she stormed out of the dorm. She paused at the foot of the stairs, she had no where she wanted to go besides away from the dorm. She was about to turn toward the portrait hole when she heard someone call out her name. 

She turned to see Remus sitting alone at a desk doing his homework. “Come sit.” 
Remus said moving his books from the seat next to him, 

“Is something wrong?” Lily looked on the verge of tears. 

Lily looked Remus straight in the eye; she knew she could trust him. “It’s Holly and Ruby, they think that… they think that I should break up with Elliot. They said that he’s just a player and that I can do better than him.” Lily sighed she paused for reassurance but after a moments silence looked up to see Remus staring at his shoes.

“You don’t like him either do you?!” 

“Its not that I don’t like him Lily, I just don’t trust him.”
 
“I can't believe this,” Lily exclaimed jumping up from her seat. “I thought that you of all people would understand!” Lily yelled over her shoulder as she exited through the portrait hole. 

“Sorry about that Remus,” came a voice from behind Remus, he turned to find Ruby and Holly standing at the bottom of the stairs to the girls dorm looking rather guilty.

“It’s fine really; I think I made it worse though. What did you two actually say to her?” 
Ruby and Holly told Remus what they said about Elliot. 

He nodded, ”I totally agree with you, we have to make Lily see how much of a git Elliot really is.” 

“Remus what has gotten into you? I have never heard you call someone a git or anything nasty for that matter.” 

“It’s what you get from being friends with James and Sirius since first year. Speaking of James and Sirius… I think we need their help with this one.” 
Before Ruby and Holly could answer, Remus had put his fingers to his mouth and wolf whistled in the direction of the boys’ dormitory. 

Two seconds later Sirius appeared at the bottom of the stairs. 

“You whistled Moony?” Sirius asked in an expressionless voice. 
Remus grinned and patted the seat next to him. Sirius rolled his eyes but still sat down next to him, while Ruby and Holly sat across from them. 

“So…” Sirius prompted as he made himself more comfortable. “What topic could be so delicate that one would need the help of the wonderful Sirius Black? Yes please,” Sirius added curiously, leaning forward, his head cradled in his hands. “Share your troubles with me.” 

“Lily again.” Ruby told him. Ruby looked at Holly. 

Holly was the first to speak. “We tried to talk to her about Elliot but she wouldn’t listen to us and we don’t know how to make her realise that she’s too good for him and that she should end it before he does something to hurt her! “ 

“What do you think we should do?”

“Well,” Sirius said thoughtfully rubbing his chin as he spoke. “I think-“ 

“NO!” James interrupted suddenly from behind them he had just entered the common room and couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. 

“Hold it! Oh come on! Holly, Ruby - you two are her best friends! You know her better than anyone. She’s smart and sensible. Don’t you think she can make her own decisions about who she dates?” James questioned, casting his eyes around for the others to side with him. They didn’t. 

“I can't believe you people! I can stay to listen to you to discuss Lily Evans’ love life! I meant what I said this morning. I fully intend to stay out of this one. Good night all.” He concluded with a mock bow before he turned and headed back to the open portrait hole. The others watched him leave in silence while his word sunk in. 

“He really cares about her doesn’t he?” Mused Holly after a moment. They all looked up at her contemplating this thought too. 

“More than you know.” Sirius agreed sadly, “He would do absolutely anything for her and she just doesn’t notice.” 

To him that was one thing he would never really understand. How could she not see the decent and caring side of James? But to him the greater puzzle was how James always managed to look passed the cruel comments to see the best in Lily Evans. It kind of reminded him of someone else he knew. What was it about Holly that he found so intriguing? 

*** 

James had left the common room in a hurry. He was now regretting it. He was forced to wander the halls aimlessly, as going back to the common room now, would be humiliating. He paused to stare out the window at the empty Quidditch pitch, if he could he would go flying right now but as he looked closer it appeared someone was 
already occupying the deserted field and he would recognise that red hair anywhere. 

James ran his hand through his hair and gave a strange strangled sort of laugh. 

(A/N: Adapted from Popular Mechanics For Lovers by Beulah) 

“I know he knocks you off your feet You’re so blind; you think he’s sweet 
Well he’s wrong for you, I swear 
Did you forget to read the script? 
There was never a role for him It was always you and me, just me 
Popular mechanics for broken hearts could help me now 
I know you never felt romance 
And we always are at war I can erase those parts out 
I never made you feel complete 
I would fall beneath your feet I would never bring you down, so down 
Popular mechanics for broken hearts could help me now 
Just because he loves you too 
He would never take a curse for you 
Don’t believe a word he says 
He would never cut his heart out for you 
I heard he promised you the moon 
But so what Some can promise you it all 
The moon just ain’t enough 
And there’s so sense in trying I know cause I’ve been trying all the time 
To find something that would make you mine 
But all I ever find, my love 
Are clichés that don’t rhyme 
Popular mechanics for broken hearts could help me now” 

James sighed, then looked away from the couple below him. 

Lily’s friends were right, she was going to get hurt if she didn’t do something about it. James couldn’t do anything about it, and watching her with Elliot was more than he could bear. 
***
 A/N: I’ll Make A Man Out Of You, music by Matthew Wilder, lyrics by David Zippel, vocals by Donny Osmond and Chorus 
Get Another Boyfriend, by Backstreet Boys 
Popular Mechanics for Lovers, by Beulah

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