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Chapter nine – Just A Bet

Ruby sat up quickly as Lily burst into the room in a flood of tears. “Lily?” she cried standing up to meet Lily at the door. “What happened?” she asked concerned at the sight of her friend. Instead of answering Lily pushed passed her and ran straight into the bathroom.

“Lily?” Ruby asked knocking gently on the door five minutes later. “Lily come out, tell me what happened.”

She could hear Lily’s muffled sobbing on the other side of the door. “James… Sirius… bet… me…idiot!” Lily wailed the crying getting louder. “Stupid, stupid – hate him!...thought…thought – ”

“Come on, Lil, calm down.” Ruby told her, concerned by the pitch of her voice. “I can't understand you. You have to come out f the bathroom.”

“No.” Lily sobbed again. Ruby sighed as she slowly sank to the floor, her back against the door.

“Where is she?” Holly asked as she entered the room frantically. Ruby pointed behind her wearily.

“She won’t come out and I don’t know what happened.”

“I’ve only heard whispers but-“ Holly began as she took off her cloak. She was cut off by the sudden opening of the bathroom door, Ruby’s shriek as she fell and Lily’s numb voice.

“I can hear you from in there you know.” She told them, taking a seat on her bed. Ruby and Holly watched her, still unsure. “So people are talking about me already? What a gullible fool I am – ”

Holly rushed over to her. “No, no they’re not. Don’t worry.”

“You haven’t even asked if it was all true.”

“Was it?” Holly asked cautiously.

“What did you hear?” Lily asked in the same tone as Ruby made herself more comfortable on the floor.

Holly sighed. “That Sirius screamed out to the whole common room that basically the only reason James was dating you was because of some bet-”

“What?” Ruby cried from the floor, then turning to Lily, “Is that true Lil?”

Lily sighed, crawling under her covers before answering. “No, it’s not true.” She said, watching as both girls let their breath out. “You forgot the part about me standing there stupidly, completely mortified as the whole of Gryffindor watched as he made a fool of me.” She said as tears well up in her eyes.

“Oh Lily, It can’t have been that bad.” Ruby soothed, joining them on the bed.

Lily nodded pitifully. “It was. And by tomorrow everyone will know the story of poor Lily Evans and how she got her heartbroken by bad boy James potter. How stupid she was and how hot he is and how everyone predicted it was never going to work because he was too good for her and-“

“Lily! Ok stop. Nobody is going to say any of that.” Holly cried alarmed at her ramblings.

“Yes they will because I’m stupid and he is hot and I should never have trusted him!” Lily wailed again, this time without tears. “What was I thinking?”

“That he is crazy about you.”

“Maybe he wasn’t…maybe I was just some girl to him. That I was only ever an ego boost…”

“Oh Lily, that’s not true.” Ruby told her, leaning in to hug her friend.

“It is true! I meant nothing to him.” Lily whimpered. “I'm sorry,” She sobbed, wiping her eyes. “I’m such a pain.”

Her friends shook their heads. “Don’t worry Lils it will all turn out all right.” Holly told her.

Lily nodded, though not entirely convinced. “I think I just want to go to sleep.”

Nodding again Holly and Ruby left her bed for their owns.

“Holly?” Lily called about half an hour later when they were all still awake.

“Yeah?” Holly whispered back, rolling on her side to look at Lily.

“What were you and Sirius fighting about?” She asked in an emotionless voice.

“How did you know we had a fight?”

Lily shrugged, wiping away her tears that just would not stop flowing. “He was so angry. I just thought – I'm sorry.”

“No you were right.” Holly sighed. “I’m not sure what it was about. I thought we were just messing around but I don’t know anymore…it’s weird and messed up.”

Lily nodded silently, not knowing what to say. It was messed up she thought, as she hugged her pillow to her face, wanting desperately to stop the tears. Since when did Lily Evans cry over stupid boys? That was an easy question, ever since she fell in love with James Potter, Lily sighed to herself.

She knew by now her friends would be asleep but her mind was just too full of mixed emotions and thoughts to drift off. Letting out the deep shuddery breath that often came after tears she took a peak at her watch.

2.49am…

Did that mean she had been asleep or had she been lying awake for over three hours. Moodily she kicked off her blankets, shivering at the sudden rush of cold.

Silently as she could, so not to wake the others she made her way to the window, sitting on the cold stone window ledge. Miserably she let her head fall against the wall and pulled her knees up to her chin. The miserable night seemed to match her mood. The fog had drifted in and the clouds blocked the moon from her sight. Absolutely perfect.

(A/N adapted from the song “angel” by Sarah McLachlan.)
Spend all your time waiting for that great romance.
For the break that will make it OK
There's always some reason to feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction or a beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
Let me be empty and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

In the arms of the Angel far away from here
From this dark, cold dorm’try room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the Angel; hope to find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
The storm keeps on twisting, hr kept on building the lies
Cant you make up for all that you lacked
It don't make no difference, escaping one last time
It's easier to believe
In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees

In the arms of the Angel far away from here
From this dark, cold dorm’try room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
In the arms of the Angel; hope to find some comfort here

You're in the arms of the Angel; may you find some comfort here

***

“Lily! Wake up! You have to get up!” Holly shouted the next morning for the sixth time. Lily just grumbled something before burrowing further under her blankets.

“Come on Lily. You already missed breakfast and we are going to be late.”

Lily poked her head out from the covers. “I don’t wanna go.”

“Why not?”

Lily sat up further. “Because nobody wants to be the newest ex of the Gryffindor Quidditch captain and head boy in a school full of vicious back-stabbing-gossiping-piranhas. I shudder to think of what they are saying. And I don’t want to see him.”

Holly sighed, it was times like these when she needed Ruby. But Ruby had gone to steal some toast before the hall closed while Holly got Lily up. “You have got to go classes.”

“Didn’t you hear me? I don’t want to see him. I don’t want to see anyone.”

“Okay…” Holly breathed. “Come on, if you stay here you’re only giving them more reason to talk…”

Lily groaned. “Fine, I'm getting up.”

***

“James? You have to get up! NOW!” Remus hollered across the room, hurling a shoe across the room. James stirred when it hit him in the back of the head. Slowly he poked his head out from under his blankets to glare around angrily.

“Bugger off, Moony.”

“Hey, “ Remus cried holding his arms up in indignantly. “I haven’t done anything wrong here. I don’t even know what happened. Okay? All I know is you came in last night threw a couple of punches at your best friend and never said a word about why. So unless you care to tell me, you can lay off right now.” he concluded before heading to the door.

“Do you remember the bet Sirius and I made on the train?” James asked just as he reached the door.

Remus cringed, knowing what was coming yet still turned to face James. “Yeah…”

“Lily found out.”

“What?” He asked, leaning against the door. “How? Sirius? No.”

“Sirius. Yes. He yelled it out for the whole common room to hear.”

“Why would he do that?”

“Because his own life sucks and he wanted to make mine the same.”

“So you are saying he was jealous?”

“I knew there was a simpler way to say it.”

Remus grinned half heartedly. “And Lily?”

James nodded miserably. “Hates me.”

“Ouch.”

James nodded again. “I know.”

***

“James? You ok?” Remus asked later that day in transfiguration. For once James seemed incapable of performing the spell they were supposed to be practising. Instead he was watching Lily with a look of torture on his face.

James sighed. “Yeah…no. I wish she would talk to me.”

Remus nodded, unsure what to say to that. Every time James had tried to speak to Lily she had simply disappeared leaving James wondering what the hell had happened. It was obvious that Lily was upset from the way she avoided him, the way she missed meals and the way she stared aimlessly out the window in classes, not paying attention to her teachers. Remus did not doubt for a moment that these things had escaped James’ attention.

While James stared at Lily, Remus gazed around the room. Things sure had gotten messed up. Who would have thought that in a couple of months things could have changed so much, then as quick as change arrived, things had gone back to normal. Well almost normal. Sirius still sat away from James, now sporting a lovely black eye. Remus who had tried not to take sides had talked to him but it was obvious James hadn’t.

“Are you planning on talking to Sirius? You shouldn’t let this ruin your friendship.”

James snorted. “He obviously doesn’t give a toss about me if he would purposely destroy the best thing in my life.” He spat stabbing thin air with his wand. “I hate him so much right now. There is nothing he could do to make it up to me.”

Remus closed his eyes wearily, opening them when McGonagall’s voice cut through the room. “Now the wand movements are extremely important, if we could have a demonstration…ah Miss Evans. If you could…Miss Evans?” she prompted when Lily did not respond.

Startled Lily turned around to face McGonagall. “Sorry?”

McGonagall shook her head. “This is not at all like you, Miss Evans. Please try to pay attention.” She told Lily sternly before turning away.

“Oh the poor thing!” A Hufflepuff infront of her whispered loudly enough for most of the class to hear. “Can’t even concentrate!”

McGonagall spun around sharply as Lily felt the familiar stinging sensation of tears of embarrassment. She would not under any circumstances turn to look at him.

“What was that, Miss Ellis?” McGonagall asked quietly.

Miranda Ellis stood up in a way that screamed self importance. “Professor, I just wanted to say that Lily cannot be blamed for her actions today.” She said in a sickly sweet voice, turning to look at Lily. “I myself would be as distraught as she is, if I had let someone as fine as James Potter get away.” Miranda continued this time turning to wink at a horrified James. “That is if the rumours were true-“

“That’s quite enough, Miss Ellis.” McGonagall snapped. Miranda Ellis sat down, smiling silkily at Lily one last time who was still fighting tears of humiliation. She hated Miranda Ellis at that moment even though she hardly knew the girl. In the back of her mind she could hear McGonagall still addressing the class but instead, her mind had drifted back to last night. Without warning the tears began to roll down her cheeks. Lily sobbed once, drawing the attention of her teacher and classmates. Shakily she stood up and walked quickly out the classroom, barely registering the calls of McGonagall as she ran down the empty corridor.

Back in the classroom James stood almost as quickly as she had, ready to run after her.

“Sit down, Mr Potter.” McGonagall commanded

James didn’t budge. “But-“

“Sit.” McGonagall told him in her most stern voice. “Miss Sinclair,” she said nodding at Ruby who immediately jumped up and ran out the door.

“Sit! Mr Potter!” She told James again.

“I don’t see what the big deal is. She was just a bet.” Came a bored drawl from the front of the classroom.

The room fell silent as rage bubbled over inside James. He saw red, no longer could he hear peoples whispers he could only see Sirius sitting calming infront of him smirking cruelly. Without warning James hurdled the desk infront of him lunging at Sirius and knocking him off his chair. Together they landed on the ground with an ‘oomph’ of surprise from Sirius and loud clatter of the toppling chairs.

With a sudden burst of excitement everyone was on their feet to watch as somehow Sirius wrestled his way to the top and threw the first punch. A mixture of shrieks and cries of encouragement came from the bystanders. Remus pushed his way to the front of the crowd of students for a better look. He was about to pull the two of them apart when McGonagall raised her arm infront of him.

For a moment McGonagall just watched as the two boys, who she knew to be best friends, attempt to maim each other. Shaking her head she withdrew her wand, waving it angrily she watched as an invisible force dragged the boys apart. Both struggled for a moment as the room grew quiet.

McGonagall glared at them angrily as James calmed first, breathing heavily he wiped the blood from his lip but never taking his eye off Sirius. Sirius glared back, breathing equally as heavy and determined not to look away first.

It was McGonagall who broke the silence. “Never!” She shrieked. “In all my years…Detention! Both of you!” She said, glaring at both of them. “Class dismissed!”

***

James walked slowly back from McGonagall’s office in a mood dark enough to end daylight. Looking up he caught a glimpse of red hair disappear around the corner. Darting forward he caught Lily by the arm. She swung around quickly but didn’t try to pull away when she saw his face, for a moment forgetting everything that had happened at the sight of him.

“What happened to you?” she asked in a whisper, her eyes widening.

James shook his head, ignoring her question. “Please. Talk to me. Let me explain.”

This time Lily shook her head, finally yanking her arm out of his grasp. “I don’t care what you have to say.” She whispered, backing away from him slowly.

“Please.” James begged. “You have to understand-“

“Understand what? That all the time you told me I was special and different I was just like those other girls? That you played me for a fool? That while I told you exactly how I felt about you, you…you lied to me so you could humiliate me in front of everyone?” She cried, slightly hysterical. “No thank you, I understand just fine. You never cared about me. I was only a game. A conquest, a challenge. What ever you want to call it, it ends the same way.” She whispered sadly, tears streaming down her face. He opened his mouth to defend himself but she cut him off.

“Just leave me alone.” She told him sadly before disappearing into the common room.

James watched her sadly hating himself beyond comprehension for any pain he had caused her. Slowly he made his way back down stairs thinking things over until he realised he had reached the lake. Angrily he hurled a small stone into the lake before sinking to the ground beneath the huge beech tree. He stared up at the sky until his eyes were drawn to the sixth window of the Gryffindor tower. Lily’s dorm. Thinking of her he began to sing softly.

(A/N: adapted from Your winter by Sister Hazel.)
“Grey Ceiling on the Earth
Well it's lasted for a while
Take my thoughts for what they're worth
I've been acting like a child
Your opinion, what is that? It's just a different point of view

So, what else what else can I do?
I said I'm sorry, and I'm sorry

I said I'm sorry but what for?
if I hurt you
Then I hate myself,
I don't wanna hate myself, don't wanna hurt you

Why do you choose your pain
If you only knew
How much I love you, Love you

I won't be your winter
I won't be anyone's excuse to cry
please can I be forgiven
I will be right here

Old picture in my mind
Memories that make me smile
Frozen image of ourselves
We were happy for a while

I read your eyes just like your diary
Oh remember please remember

Well I'm not a beggar, but once more,
Well if I hurt you, then I hate myself,
I don't want to hate myself
Don't want to hurt you

Why do you choose your pain
If you only knew how much I love you, Love you

I won't be your winter
I won't be anyone's excuse to cry
and can i be forgiven
till then i will be here.

I won't be your winter
And I won't be anyone's excuse to cry
And we can be forgiven
And I will be here...”

***
A/N:

“Your winter” by Sister Hazel

“Angel” by Sarah McLachlan

A/N2 i love the song in this chapter, therefore i love this chapter... tell me your thoughts other wise i only have my own...oh how sad. i think i may cry.

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