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    I ran into the forbidden forest and quickly climbed a tree before I began crying. I stayed outside all day, ignoring the crisp November air. Throughout the day I thought I heard the sound of various students tromping through the woods, no doubt looking for me, but I ignored it all and just kept on thinking.

    For 8 years I had been so assured of my place in the world. I was the Slytherin Queen and had been since before I'd even attended a class (blood still counted for something amongst the Slytherin families). I was the most popular and wicked girl in Slytherin and could do everything I wanted. By the time I'd turned 17 last year everything had been perfect - I was head of my class, pretty, popular, dating Jason Avery, and life was just beginning. Now I was 17 ½, slipping in my classes, skiving off my prefect duties, broken up with Avery, and quickly realizing that my social status had just severely slipped. I'd never be minister by 25 now and honestly, I didn't even care anymore. My life was over.

    In retrospect, I may have been exaggerating a bit, but that was how it felt. For example, I wasn't "slipping in my classes." In truth, Oliver and I had gotten one "Troll" on a potions assignment because we had been, erm, distracted, and forgot to take it off the fire. Snape had let me slide with a warning (I'd never gotten below an "Exceeds Expectations" in his class, and I was still his favorite student) but Oliver had lost 20 points for the assignment. Later that night I'd awarded him 25 for "outstanding flying" What can I say? I'd felt guilty. Anyway, not the point.

    As darkness slid around the grounds I figured that I'd best get back inside before I lost any major points for Slytherin. I had lost enough friends this morning just from being in the same general area as Oliver Wood. After I dropped from the tree and dusted myself off, I walked back into the castle. I saw Oliver looking at me across the way, he looked as though he'd walked away from this morning's events without too much damage. A small smile broke across his face. I turned from him and walked to the dungeon. I just couldn't face him. I knew it was stupid, but at the moment, he was the symbol of everything that as wrong with my life.

    I stormed through the castle, wanting nothing more than to melt into my nice, warm bed. As I entered the common room, everyone stared and whispers followed me all the way to the stairs. "You are a right idiot" I said to myself in the mirror as I dropped into bed. "A right bloody idiot."

    "You can say that again." McKenzie said, just as I had closed my curtains. I pulled them apart and came face to face with the scariest looking Slytherin I'd ever seen. McKenzie and I had been best friends since we were born, and she had stuck with me through everything. Even the time I'd thought it would be a good idea to shave me head and dye my eyebrows neon yellow. I had been hoping beyond hope that she at least would remain by my side. "He's a Gryffindor! Not even just a Gryffindor - he's the Gryffindor! He's their bloody Quidditch captain! Their pride and joy! You broke up with Avery for Oliver bloody Wood, Lily, do you realize what you've done?!" I just stared. "Not to mention," she continued, "every Slytherin 7th year - including you - and the entire Gryffindor Quidditch team have detention for a month, each house lost 100 points and we've lost all Hogsmeade privileges until further notice - not that it'll stop us from going, but still." McKenzie was fuming. I had the idea that the entire house had come bitching to her when they couldn't find me. Then she said the three words I'd never thought I'd hear her utter. "I despise you," she spat and closed my bed curtains roughly.

    That night I didn't sleep very well. Visions of attacks from left, right and center kept popping into my dreams and I'd wake up in a cold sweat. And when it wasn't the surprise attacks, it was that look of Wood's, the look he'd given me in the Great Hall. The look that told me he forgave me for running away. The look that told me he loved me.

    The next morning as I entered the Great Hall for breakfast, I thought back to the first day of classes the year before.

    The Slytherin Court entered the Great Hall with Avery and myself in the lead. We were fashionably late, as always, but our places remained empty, right in the power seats at the head of the table. The Slytherins stopped eating and talking and watched us walk to our seats. The teachers - minus the newbies - ignored the ritual. Even the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs watched as we passed through the hall. Once we had reached our seats - and our untouched food portions (only the best) the house went back to its normal activity. That was power. Even the 7th years had watched us in awe. We ruled the house, there were no doubts.

    This morning provided a sharp contrast. As I made my way down the table, people shuffled to close spaces and whispered as I passed. They didn't want to let me sit there. When I reached the end of the table with no where to site, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Not believing what I was doing, I walked over to where Oliver sat with the twins. I gently tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around, gave me a surprised look, and then, realizing what must have happened, slid over to let me sit. The whole hall - which had been watching with baited breath - gasped. A Slytherin sitting with the Gryffindors? Was the even allowed?

    We ate in silence, the twins eyeing my suspiciously the entire time. When breakfast was over, Oliver stood up and offered me his hand. I looked between it and him - the message was clear. There was no use hiding it. Slowly, I took Oliver's hand and we made our way to class, whispers following all the way. When we reached the potions classroom, we queued up outside with the Ravenclaws (we'd left breakfast well early).

    "Well, if it isn't the Slytherin Queen, fallen from Grace." Posey said as we stood outside the door. I didn't respond, I didn’t even look at her.

    "Shove it, Posey." Wood said when he realized that I wasn't going to respond to the comment. I had gone from citizen high to citizen low in less than 24 hours, it had to be a record of some kind. I sighed in defeat and slowly made my way to my desk. The week was long, I spent classes being silent and meals were skipped as often as possible. When not possible (i.e. when Oliver forced me to go) they were spent eating quickly next to Oliver at the Gryffindor table.

    Saturday night came around and I was on my prefect rounds, I had nearly doubled the shifts I took since Halloween. ("Good work, Wood," Percy had commented. "She's never been so dedicated." Oliver had punched him and received a detention). At about 2 am I saw something move in the shadows and jumped. "Probably just a rat" I muttered to myself and continued on my rounds. A few minutes later, I heard footsteps behind me. I spun around. "Show yourself!" I demanded weakly. I was a shadow of my former self to say the least.

    "Lily, it's me." Came Oliver's voice as he emerged from the shadows. My wand hadn't even been drawn - I no longer cared if they attacked me.

    "You shouldn't be out of bed." I said quietly. Oliver took me in his arms.

    "And you shouldn't let them get to you. You're still Lily Potter, nothing can change that."

    "There's no power there anymore. I might as well be Neville Longbottom for all the good it'll do me." I said.

    "Bollocks. You are still the same feisty Slytherin you have always been. So what if they don't fall all over you anymore? The only reason they're winning is because you're letting them. If you go out there and show them what you're made of they'll respect you again. And besides, who needs them? Lily, you have more than you'll ever need right here," he pointed to my head, "right here," he pointed to my heart, "and right here," he finished, pointing to himself. I smiled at him despite myself and decided that I absolutely had to rebuild my credibility. And I had to start with that bitch Posey. And Percy and Penelope wouldn't be bad targets either.

    "Go to bed, Oliver, before you get into trouble." I said, kissing him gently.

    "As long as you promise me you'll be alright." I looked at him and he smiled, knowing that I would indeed be alright, for when I looked up at him, I had that old sparkle in my eye - the one that meant trouble.

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