He Asked Too Many Questions
Lily couldn’t quite remember how she had ended up roped into spending almost every Sunday morning since fourth year sitting on the Quiddich stands wishing for death. The tradition had been born some time after Delilah made beater on the Gryffindor team and uttered the words ‘Please come down Lil’s, I’m really nervous and need you to support me’. Lily had deduced that she was far too good a friend. She stared blankly towards the practising Gryffindor team and tried to ignore the September chill that was creeping it’s way along her goose pimpled flesh.
This practise was more interesting than most however. James Potter was the new Captain and, much to Lily’s amusement, did not seem to be enjoying his new post. Lily had been sure he would positively thrive on being incharge; he’d have even more people think he was obscenely important than just him and his reflection. All the idiotic kids who treated the Quiddich team like minor celebrities in the corridors would absolutely adore their cheeky chappy leader but… When it came to actually leading… No. James definitely was not having a good time.
The team was definitely not performing as well as it had done the previous term. For one thing two of the chasers had graduated and were replaced with two idiotic looking boys who didn’t seem to know a Quaffle from a Snitch but were willing to argue about it and Sirius had gotten even better at his ‘knock the team of their brooms’ game. Delilah appeared to have lost all her coordination over the summer and had fallen off her broom five times in the past half hour, only twice aided by Sirius. James was trying to simultaneously search out the snitch, plead with Sirius and keep Delilah from plummeting to an untimely death. He was so busy he hadn’t even had a chance to ruffle his hair.
Lily watched on as the snitch fluttered temptingly around James’ left ankle but he didn’t even notice. He was too busy trying to break up a fight between his new Chasers who were trying to snatch at each other through the air. Lily couldn’t hear exactly what was going on from her position below but when James began to bellow things became clear, “I DO NOT CARE IF JEKINS CALLED YOUR FROG MENTALLY INEPT! THAT MEANS NOTHING TO ME! DO I LOOK LIKE A MAN WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR FROG? IT IS A FROG! THE FROG WOULD PROBABLY PLAY BETTER QUIDDICH THAN YOU! WHY ARE YOU ON THIS TEAM? WHY DID I LET YOU ON THIS TEAM? GET OFF MY TEAM! GO! GO!” He was motioning so wildly in the direction of the changing rooms that he almost slid from his broom, luckily he steadied himself in time but then from across the pitch- SPLAT! Delilah was laying face down in the mud. Again. Sirius was about fifteen feet above her gasping for breath with tears of laughter streaming down his face. She promptly- obviously unhurt- jumped to her feet and began flinging whatever stones she could find at him, none of her attempts were successful in anything but making Sirius laugh harder. “THAT IS IT!” James shrieked and for the first time Lily felt stirrings of pity. She was vaguely frustrated just watching the teams antics, she couldn’t imagine trying to control them. “EVERYBODY OFF THE PITCH! PRACTISE IS OVER! IT’S OVER!”
The team, looking surprised, all landed and began to troop into the changing rooms. Lily watched as Delilah took a hefty swing at Sirius with her broomstick, missed and managed to unbalance herself so that she landed on her butt in the mud. Sirius was laughing so hard it seemed he would collapse, he took the Quaffle from the passing Jenkins and dropped it on Delilah’s head. She looked so angry that Sirius actually did collapse from laughter. After two failed attempts Delilah struggled to her feet and stormed into the changing rooms with less clean skin left than muddy. Sirius soon followed still looking intensely amused.
James flew, somewhat dejectedly to the stand where Lily was sitting and landed quite near her. He made his way to her and collapsed into the next seat with a heavy sigh. “I’m not going to ask you out today,” He told her taking off his glasses and massaging his eyelids as he spoke.
Lily smiled sympathetically at him, “Any particular reason?”
“Well for one Sirius thinks that you’ll want ice cream if I don’t… But mostly because I think if anything else goes wrong today I’ll jump off the North Tower,” He shot her a shadow of his usual cheeky grin. Lily felt the sudden strange desire to hug him. He just looked so… tired.
“Why do you care if I want ice cream?” She asked half reaching out to brush some hair from his eyes before she realised what she was doing. Her hand stilled midway and suddenly the tension between them was thick. James’ hazel eyes watched her cautiously, he seemed utterly still as if he didn’t want to do anything to upset what the moment could become.
After what seemed like an eternity Lily began to lower her hand back to her knees but James reached out an grabbed it, his hands felt large and warm around hers, her heart was suddenly pounding in her throat and she didn’t know why. She couldn’t understand how in a moment James had went from being amusing to being heart pounding. He pulled her hand right in so it was against his chest, that newly broadened, Quiddich robe adorned chest… Lily might have mentally cursed Delilah’s casual ‘James Potter is sex’ comments if she’d been able to think beyond the mantra of ‘oh my god, oh my god, oh my god’ that was on repeat in her skull. “You don’t get it do you?” James asked, his glasses were still off and she could see his eyes more clearly than ever before, they were so hazel they were almost brown but a brown that is dashed with honey and warmth.
“Get what?” She asked cursing the frog that seemed to have lodged itself in her throat.
“That I’m not joking around,” She could feel his heart speeding up against her hand. It was thundering against his chest as hers was in her own. “I care about you Lily,” The words hung unfinished yet simultaneously concluded between them and then James swept inwards and captured her mouth with his. It was a brief kiss, nothing more than a hot press of his lips on hers before he pulled back and watched her expression carefully. Lily couldn’t think beyond the tingling in her lips and then James stood up, “Well I’ll see you later,” He began walking away.
“What?” Lily was confused, “What? That’s it?” She watched as he continued to walk and then he turned around, his cheeky, charming smile in place.
“I told you: I’m not asking you out today,” Then he winked, threw his leg over his broom and flew, speedily, away from her and into the changing rooms. Lily’s jaw was still somewhere around her feet when Delilah appeared some ten minutes later.
“What’s up with you?” The girl asked with a patch of mud still on her nose and her broom slung over her shoulder.
“James Potter is an asshole!” They began walking towards the school.
“Maybe so but what I wouldn’t do to his ass-,”
“Delilah!” Lily snapped, “Don’t even say it!”
They were nearing the bottom of the steps in the stands when Delilah missed a step and tumbled to the bottom, hitting the floor with a large ‘oof!’ and the crack of her knee on the hard, stony ground. “Ow!” She cried out looking deeply frustrated. Her blue eyes welled with unshed tears as blood seeped out of the shallow cut on her bare knee.
“Are you OK?” Lily rushed down to help her to her feet but Delilah pushed her off looking angry.
“Yes I’m fine!” She snapped wiping her tears away before letting out a small scream of frustration, “I’m just so tired! I can’t do anything! I keep falling over and I can’t stop it and it’s so annoying and then Sirius Black keeps pushing me around!” And then without adequate warning she began to wail. “Why can’t I do anything right?” Lily watched in horror as Delilah dissolved before her very eyes to a weepy, wailing mass of emotion right there on the Quiddich pitch.
“Shush! It’s OK!” Lily soothed making an unsuccessful snatch for her as she collapsed to the ground again.
“No it’s NOT!” Delilah half screamed, her face was now barely distinguishable it was so swollen and red, “I’m tired! I’m hungry! I can’t play Quiddich! I haven’t done any homework! I saw Angelica’s-” A deafeningly loud wail caused Lily to flinch, “Why does my life suck so much?” She wept into her palms, “WHY DOES EVERYTHING SUCK SO MUCH?”
Then, as he had always had great timing, Sirius chose his moment to appear above them on the stands, the Quaffle in hand. “LOOK OUT BELOW!” He yelled jovially letting it go. Delilah looked up just in time for the red ball to obscure her vision before she was knocked unconscious. Lily peeked out from between her fingers as her friend curled sideways in seemingly slow motion. Sirius came down the steps and looked shocked to see Delilah laying in the foetal position, unconscious and tearstained.
“Is she… dead?” He asked looking somewhat ill and Lily kicked him as hard as she could in the shins.
“NO! BUT NO THANKS TO YOU! ARE YOU CRAZY?”
“Ow!” Sirius rubbed his shin angrily, “Why do you keep hurting me Evans?”
“Why can’t you just leave her alone?” Lily hissed resisting the urge to kick him again. She went to Delilah’s side and knelt down beside her, “Delilah,” She said shaking her friend gently, she didn’t stir. “Help me get her to the hospital wing,” Lily demanded her eyes blazing, “You are such an ignorant git sometimes Sirius!” She let out a little scream of frustration, somewhat similar to the ones Delilah had been issuing moments before. “For pities sake! She was upset! And what do you do? You hit her on the head with a Quaffle! The great Sirius Black! Beater of Gryffindor Quiddich team, beater of crying girls who need all the strength they can get now that they’re living on less than one meal a day! But you don’t care about that do you!” She conjured a stretcher with a complicated wave of her wand and carefully began to move Delilah onto it, being careful not to rattle her head around too much, “Oh no! Sirius Black doesn’t care!” Now that Delilah was safely on the stretcher Lily strode to where Sirius was cowering and dug a finger into his chest, “You don’t care about anyone but yourself!” She shouted prodding him again, “You say whatever you want! Do whatever you want! As long as it suits you then it’s fine! Your best friend was trying to coach a team today and what did you do? You pushed his team off their brooms! You pushed Delilah off HER broom! You have no right Sirius! You’re not her friend! You’re a nobody to her! Why should you push her around?” Lily was positively spitting with rage. Sirius looked somewhat indignant.
“Now that’s all a bit harsh,” He complained, “I was only joking around-,”
“And now Delilah could have a concussion!” Lily yelled, “Or worse-!”
“Excuse me,” A sneering male voice cut in, “I don’t particularly care but if your friend does have a concussion maybe you should worry more about getting her to the hospital wing rather than wasting your time giving Sirius Black a lecture about compassion.”
Lily turned her anger from Sirius to Lucius Malfoy who was kitted out in a very expensive black winter cloak and looking terribly bored. He held up his pale hands as if to surrender before she had a chance to kick off on him, “Fine. Leave her lying on that stretcher while you battle it out,” He sniffed, “I just know that if it was my friend I’d have her on the way to school by now,”
“What are you talking about?” Sirius snorted, “Like you have friends Malfoy-,”
“Well not friends by your standards clearly,” Lucius smiled at them then cast a long look at the still unconscious Delilah, “Most of my friends are conscious and not on stretchers.”
“Most of your friends would see people like Delilah de-,”
“No.” Lily held up her hand to stop Sirius mid snappy retort, “He’s right. Lets get her to school.” She looked appropriately abashed as she and Sirius jointly levitated the stretcher.
“You’re a prat, Malfoy,” Sirius couldn’t help but grunt as he trudged off with Lily. Lucius just smirked infuriatingly before turning and walking in the other direction.
The hospital wing was dull and dark when Delilah woke up. She sat up slowly as her stinging head tried to figure out what had happened. Then she remembered. Sirius’ beaming face and the vision obscuring red ball… That Bastard. The clock above the door told her it was five minutes until three AM. Three AM, awake and alone in the hospital wing. Great. With a groan Delilah flopped back onto her pillow to stare at the ceiling and listen to her grumbling stomach. She supposed that there was on upside to being knocked out by Sirius and that was that she’d missed dinner.
She tried to get back to sleep but the ticking clock on the wall had become unbearably loud. Tick, tock, tick, tock. She buried her sore head under her pillow to drown it out but it was no good; she had been put in a room with the loudest clock in the world. It was as if the world didn’t want her to rest, she could hear animals outside practically forming an orchestra of animal noises. Howls and barks floated up from the grounds to punctuate her pillow silence.
The clock ticked steadily towards the witching hour, and then, as the hour hand met three, as if on que, the door to the hospital wing swung open. Delilah became very still under her pillow, she could hear her breathing excruciatingly loud- even louder than the blasted clock- who was coming to the hospital wing at this time? Was Sirius coming to finish her off? Her heart was thundering and she wasn’t even sure why, she just knew she didn’t want to come out from under her pillow. Ahh the bravery of Gryffindor House.
“I was very right,” Sneered the intruder, “Black does fancy you.”
Oh no. Delilah wished the pillow would swallow her up. She would look an absolute state with no make up and her hair complete untouched. But there was nothing for it. She slowly pulled the pillow of her head and turned to her visitor.
“Are you sure there’s no alarm on that door Lucius?” She asked, ignoring his comment, as she sat up. He shrugged and came to sit on the edge of her bed.
“I don’t think there is, Pomfrey would have been here by now if there was.” Delilah nodded slowly her eyes on the now closed door. “Are you OK?” Lucius asked after a brief silence, “You were out cold.”
“Yeah I’m fine,” Delilah smiled bravely, “Just another bump curtesy of the great Sirius Black,”
“Oh another bump?” Lucius looked shocked, “Is this your way of telling me-,”
“Shut up!” She kicked him so hard that he slid from the bed, “You know I haven’t been.”
“I can’t believe you just kicked me off your bed. I’m Lucius Malfoy,” He called to her from his position on the floor, “I hope you’re regretting your rash decision because it’s very likely I’ll take your first born child as revenge-,” A pillow flew from atop the bed and hit his face, “Oh that’s it.” Lucius grumbled getting to his feet, “I’m not only taking your first child; I’m smothering it in barbeque sauce and having it for tea.”
“Yummy, baby back ribs,” Delilah winked at him, “But next time you eat a new born try chilli sauce- much more pleasing on the palette.”
“Oh yes because you’re very aware of what tastes good,” Lucius rolled his eyes, “There’s barely an inch of flesh on you,”
“Don’t lie,” Delilah frowned at him, “Anyway Narcissa is much thinner than me,” Her voice had a slight bite to it and Lucius’ eyes rolled dramatically once again.
“Not this again. I don’t fancy her. She’s a freak.”
“Yet completely crazy. Although from what I’m hearing you’re totally barmy too so maybe I’m into psychotic?”
“Oh so you’re into me?” Delilah’s expression brightened and became playful again.
“Emotionally yes… physically I give it another four minutes,” Lucius flashed her an almost animalistic grin and her jaw dropped.
“I can’t believe you just said that-,”
“You asked,” He was crawling onto her bed, raised above her by arms that she knew to be strong and commanding.
“I guess I did,” Then he kissed her. The clock on the wall ticked steadily and if Lucius had been paying attention he would have realised that, once again, he was exactly on time.
Lucius arrived back in the Seventh Year Slytherin boys dormitory mere moments before Severus Snape and Rodolphus
Lestrange. In fact Lucius had only climbed into bed to roll around and make it look slept in when Severus crept in with his outdoor cloak still on.
Upon seeing Lucius awake and fully clothed on his covers the boys went very still. The three watched each other carefully and then Lucius, with a careful look at their sleeping dorm mates, spoke in a lowered voice, “And where were you two?”
Severus shot Rodolphus a silencing glance before replying, “I could ask you the same question Malfoy,”
“Prefect rounds- not that it’s any of your business,” Lucius replied scathingly tapping his prefect badge as proof, “Now with my authority over you two stated, I’ll ask again: Where were you?”
“I am not permitted-,” Severus began but then Rodolphus interrupted.
“We should tell him, Bellatrix was suggesting that he could be trusted- that he should become involved-,”
“It is not your silly girlfriend who gives us our orders! He is not even of age!”
Rodolphus glared at his friend, “You wouldn’t call her my silly girlfriend to her face-,”
“It’s my birthday next week, but never mind that- You two have seen Bellatrix? How? When? Tonight?” Lucius interrupted glancing from one boy to the other as they both became very quiet- feeling they had said too much.
“It is none of your business Malfoy,” Severus sneered with unwarranted venom, his black eyes boring into Lucius with distinct hatred.
Lucius observed the boy coolly then his the iciest voice possible replied, “There is no need to become so hostile Snape, I’m sure if I have a word with Narcissa she might think more highly of your attentions,”
A dull flush crept along Severus’ pallid cheeks and he seemed to almost reach for his wand then thought better of it, “Sod off,” He hissed finally.
“Rodolphus,” Lucius addressed the other boy, “Tell me where you were,”
Ignoring the sharp nudge in the ribs he received from Severus, Rodolphus replied, “This night in two weeks you can come with us. But until then don’t ask any more questions- and tell no one.”
Shooting Severus a smug smile Lucius nodded his head, “Right, OK,”
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