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‘Acceptance is not a state of passivity or inaction. I am not saying you can’t change the world, right the wrongs, or replace evil with good. Acceptance is, in fact, the first step to successful action. If you don’t fully accept a situation precisely the way it is, you will have difficulty changing it. Moreover, if you don’t fully accept the situation, you will never really know if the situation should be changed.’ – Peter McWilliams

Amelie found herself waking to a stiff body and blinding sunlight that reflected the brilliant white walls as effectively as it would have if they were mirrors. Squinting as she looked around, she could vaguely make out that no-one was standing over her. In a strange and peculiar motion, her heart sank and soared at the same time, leaving her feeling confused. One side of her felt dejected: none of her friends had apparently come to ask up on her or see where she had been for the past hours she had been missing. On the other hand, she thanked the stars above for it – Madame Ferreus was nowhere near! Nevertheless, it didn’t help that she had gauze in her mouth and her wrists were fastened tightly by the clasps that she had seen earlier on. It seemed that Madam Ferriby had warned The Wench of Amelie’s tendency to escape the horrors that the hospital wing presented at the first opportunity. Realising that with her wand on the bedside table she could do nothing, she fell back on the wood with a dull thunk and stared up at the ceiling.

‘Very drab,’ mused the girl as she saw the smooth, even and – of course, white surface above her. It seemed the painters had been unable to restrain themselves from sparing even the ceiling from the ghastly colour. Squinting to prevent her perfect vision from deteriorating form excessive light, Amelie’s eyes continued to examine the ceiling, hoping to find anything out of the ordinary. Soon, she found that, if she squinted in a particular way, she could just make out a hint of crimson seeping through the white…

Half-amused, half-horrified, Amelie’s imagination exploded as she constructed a scene involving a student hobbling into the hospital wing, his clothes soaked with blood all down the left side of his body. It looked as if he had been subject to a hacking by another student - with a very blunt axe. She could just see the thirsty looks on the faces of the medieval healers with distinct Ferreus-like personality traits as they fumbled their way through unknown and untested potions and plants, not particularly caring about the balance between life and death of the unfortunate student before them.

Then, just as the nutty healer and her accomplice were going to pull out an organ for fun, Amelie realised that she no longer needed to squint so much. Somehow, it was as if someone had stepped into the light, providing her with much needed shade.

“Thanks,” she said dismissively over her shoulder, wishing to go back to her intriguingly gruesome daydream.

“You’re awake!”

Amelie’s heart dropped. Turning around, Madam Ferreus stood, looking just as malicious as ever. But that was no the end of it, oh no! The sadistic woman was holding a lethal looking metallic instrument that looked like a cross breed between a pair of tweezers and a pair of garden sheers.

Amelie gulped.

“Let’s get you checked, then!”

Lily prowled through the dimly lit corridors, the clatter of her school shoes on the stone floor echoing, generating a brisk rhythm – setting the pace for her thoughts. On her chest, her prefect badge flashed bright as the rays from the slowly-descending sun found its way through the windows and onto the cool, shining surface of the metal emblem that revealed Lily as the authority figure she was.

It was coming on to eight o’ clock, and though it was far from curfew, she couldn’t help but indulge in the fact that only she and a handful more students could give a legitimate excuse for any excursions past that pre-determined hour. The badge had come as a blessing to Lily – a symbol to represent the hard work and effort had come through; that the years battling prejudice had in fact been worth it. No one could say she was just a muggleborn anymore. Responsibility had always been seen as something of a luxury by Lily. Being the youngest in her family, she had always enjoyed those moments when she had been in put in a position of control, especially as she found that she coped with it with significant ease, and she held on to them with relish. The knowledge that she, within her, had the capability and confidence to be of help to others provided her with a boost, and spurred her on to do excel in the various fields she attempted. Now though, having been useful for absolutely nothing all day, her self-esteem had sunk to an abysmally low level.

Amelie and Alice’s respective quandaries each remained unresolved, and she, though having wracked her brain-cells sore for the best part of the afternoon, had done absolutely nothing to improve the situation. She only wanted to be able to think about something other than last night’s catastrophe in the common room.

The boy confused her so badly she felt it was rather pathetic. Sure he was talented, gorgeous and charming, what with his adorable smirk and tendency to knowingly get into all sorts of mischief, but… Lily sighed. Maybe she was making excuses, disregarding and eschewing his hints all the time, but how was she meant to react when in the presence of a boy who set all her senses on fire without even realising it? How would she be able to stand the life she led, if she was no longer the one who led it?

Of course, she was probably over exaggerating, as per usual, but….

Well, first she had been unable to prevent Petunia from turning into the worlds-worst-toffee-nosed-cow, and now her friends were spiralling off into some arbitrary circle of delirium. Could she not stand her ground for this one thing at the very least?

And if she did (by her own choice, of course) decide to give in to the boys remarkable allure, who was to say that he wouldn’t run away as soon as she accepted? Who was to say that James really did care for her as much as she cared for him? Call her a hopeless romantic, but if one thing was for certain, it was that she simply could not handle that much heartbreak. And heartbreak was inevitable when coupled with someone like James Potter.

Even to herself she couldn’t fully explain it; all she knew was that nothing ever seemed to work out for her completely. As a child, she had spent years forming tight bonds with her own little group of friends in primary school, only to have to leave them for Hogwarts without a proper explanation at the age of eleven. Upon learning that she was a witch, and entering the world that was soon to be hers, she had in turn lost something precious to her heart in the world that she had left: her sister. As she realised that she was in fact quite talented, she had been prevented from gleaning full satisfaction from her achievements because of the snotty Slytherins who would mock her for her supposedly “dirty” parentage. Really, then, could she be blamed for putting off the time when she’d have to deal with Potter? Call it female intuition if you will, but somehow she knew that by her enviable luck, something ill would certainly come of something so great.

A scowl etched its way deep into the otherwise smooth planes of Lily’s visage as she continued to plough her way through her thoughts, hands crossed firmly over her chest. A group of timid first-years scattered at the sight of the disgruntled red-headed prefect, starting guiltily as if they had been caught in the act of brewing illicit mixtures. If this was a true assumption or not, no-one could determine, because Lily’s mind was not processing anything but the infuriating smirk that played so often on the corners of James Potter’s fill lips, the way his hands brushed through his insanely unkempt hair, or the playful glint that crept up habitually in those sparkling pools of hazel he so unjustly claimed his own. Her mind could not possibly take in the patter of little feet scampering away when it was wondering why it couldn’t be thinking about the almost-equally handsome Robert Branstone with just as much zeal. Life was so unjust.

“NO! Bloody hell! Get off me you evil wench!”

Lily stopped so abruptly in her tracks one would think she had been immobilised. Had anyone been walking behind her, she would have been promptly run into. As it was, she had scared all the students in the corridor away with her furious muttering and growling, and it was only she who had seemingly heard the familiar screams and curses as clearly as if they had been uttered right next to her. Lily winced, knowing that her friend was doubtlessly in deep shite if something had brought that tone of panic into her usually-confident voice. Sure enough, the screams had come from the direction of the hospital wing. Knowing that a rescue-mission was indeed in order, Lily rolled up her sleeves, all thoughts of James Potter and Robert Branstone gone.

“Madame Ferreus! You’ve got to come, qui-“

There was a pregnant pause in which Lily stood, eyes wide, on the threshold of the hospital wing, not quite believing what she was seeing.

Feathers fell slowly from the air, settling on what should have been the white tiled floor, except it wasn’t. The previously spotless hospital floor was now covered in torn bedspreads, broken wooden chairs and overturned beds. Pillow feathers and ripped cases were littered across the ground, surrounding the only two people in the vicinity. Madame Ferreus and Amelie had frozen mid-movement, with the nurse’s knees pinning Amelie’s legs down in what looked like a very painful position. Amelie seemed to have fallen face-first on the floor, but her arms had been grabbed by Madame Ferreus and pulled back so that her torso was bent back over her legs. Their mouths were open in shock, and with a clatter, a medieval-looking instrument dropped from the nurse’s mouth and onto the floor.

The sound of the metallic instrument, though considerably muffled by the blankets and feathers, was still enough to make Lily gather her wits about her. Amelie, who was now in quite a bit of pain, closed her eyes and prayed for something intelligent to come out of her friend’s mouth.

“Madame Ferreus! There’s a students up on the fifth floor – shrieking something terrible. We think he might be cursed. He needs your attention immediately!”

“Cursed!” shrieked the nurse, jumping to her feet at once and throwing Amelie from her vice-like grip. “Well, why didn’t you say so girl? I’ll be there right away!”

Without another word, she left, looking like a child who had just been told that Christmas had indeed come early, leaving the two girls to stare at each other in silence.

“Well,” said Amelie in a bid to break the silence.

“Indeed,” Lily replied dryly, not fighting to cover up her lack of amusement.

Quirking her mouth to the side at this lack of enthusiasm displayed by her saviour, Amelie stood up and headed out. With a backwards glance, she looked to see if Lily was following. She wasn’t.

“Aren’t you coming?”

Lily strode past Amelie, ignoring the raised eyebrow. As soon as she was about to step out of the wing, she turned back.

“Oh, I almost forgot. Filch told me to tell you that seeing as you’ve been so attentive of your detentions recently, you get to have an extra long session this evening…” said the girl, decidedly blasé. Looking down at her watch, she continued. “…in five minutes time, in fact. I guess you’d better run along. Have fun!”

And with that, the redhead stalked off without another word.

Amelie skid along the corridor and came to a halt outside Filch’s office, panting. The distance between the hospital wing and the little grubby door on the ground floor was quite a distance, and she felt rather proud of herself as she looked down at her watch as the second hand came to a halt on twelve, indicating that the five minutes she had were now over. With a little nod to herself, Amelie raised a hand to the door so as to alert the beast within to her presence, only to find the door creaking open: an ominous sign.

A figure with dirty, matted hair and yellowing teeth leered down at the girl, his cat mewing softly at his heels, her eyes eerily alert of the company.

“Decided to bless us with your company, eh?” said the caretaker, his jaw aquiver. “Well I’ve got a hell of a night lined up for you… You won’t ever think of missing a night with me again.”

Though repulsed by the man’s choice of phrasing, Amelie knew she had no choice but to follow as he swooped out of the office, through several secret passages and along a number of eerie-looking corridors. Once they had reached a large, wooden door, Filch stopped and with a rattle he picked out the key he needed. Placing it through the keyhole, he turned it with a scraping noise so loud and jarring that Amelie thought the door must have been locked for over a century, at least. The door opened, and Filch held up his torch to reveal a room so thick with dust and cobwebs that the objects inside were not distinguishable. The light of the naphtha torch that the caretaker held flickered, not aiding Amelie much in discerning whether what she was looking at was a dead cat or an ornament.

“Get cleaning,” he said, handing Amelie a mop, a bucket and various muggle cleaning appliances that looked to be ages old and out of date. “No magic.”

“Ah but sir, come on,” she said, looking around the room with a wary eye. “There’s got to be at least a dozen Boggart’s in here and all.”

“Well then you best keep your spirits up, shouldn’t you?” he said, face alight with glee. “Nighty night.”

The man hobbled off, leaving Amelie with nothing but the cleaning appliances and the thought of how Madame Ferreus and he should never be paired together, for fear of all hell breaking loose.

Lily made her slow way back to the common room in a decidedly less vindictive mood. Knowing that Amelie at least could reflect (and maybe, by some miracle, repent) for her actions towards her friend earlier that day, she felt as if she had finally done something, be it small and inconspicuous. Because really, however stupid Alice had been, she did not need to be shaken so brutally from her wonderland. Lily, however inexperienced in these realms, knew that in matters involving wonderlands, things were rarely as they seemed.

‘Bowtruckles,’ she muttered as the Fat Lady swung forward to admit her.

She cursed the deity that caused her eyes to train on the shock of messy black hair in the corner, because it was, no doubt, the very same one that was making her hands shake and heart start beating faster. A pair of hopeful, hazel eyes locked on to hers. She knew this was coming sooner or later. A muttered curse escaped her lips as she trained her eyes to betray nothing. Not yet. She couldn’t deal with this now. But the longer she stood there and look, the more tired she became.

It was all so damn illogical.

With a tired shake of her head, Lily made her way up the winding staircase, exhausted. It had been such a dreary day at first, what with no-one knowing what to do… and then suddenly it all exploded – though she was glad it had. If she had been left to her own devices for any longer she would probably have gone mad. Now Amelie was in detention, James and Sirius were defending what was left of their masculinity, Remus, Peter, Kyle and Callum were probably in the boys’ dorms and Dorcas was surely in the girls’ compartment with Alice, who had probably calmed down by now.

Step after dreary step Lily trudged forwards until she came to a door she had come to know as her own for the past five years, even though she shared the room beyond with all the others. The small corridor was dark, and it wasn’t until Lily came right up to the door and practically trod on something that she realised the little bundle squashed in the corner next to it.

“What the-“

“Dorcas! What are you doing out here?”

Dorcas rolled around, bleary-eyed, staring up at Lily. “She’s not letting us in.”

Perplexed, Lily’s eyebrows furrowed. “Who?”

“Who do you think?” Dorcas asked dully, clearly not her perky self due to lack of proper sleep. “Alice, of course! She’s locked herself in.”

“Right,” said Lily, wondering why everyone seemed to need her help. “And did you bother at all with Alohomora?”

“Er – “

“Thought not,” Lily sighed. “Come on, get back.”

With a little shuffle, Dorcas moved out of the way. A few seconds later, and they were in.

The lights were off; the curtains were closed, as were the crimson ones around Alice’s four-poster. Dorcas and Lily shared a look before creeping forwards towards it. Peeking through the corner, they saw Alice fast sleep, her make-up smudged across her face. Tears had caused her mascara to run, tainting a patch of the pillow black beneath her. Her hair that had obviously been immaculately curled was now a chaotic bundle of blonde frizz. Lily groaned. She had obviously gone to Benjy again.

Pulling away from the curtain, she turned away and headed towards her own bed, wrenching her top from her body. It was her fault. If only she’d been a bit nicer to Alice. If only she’d stayed with her instead of running off to find Amelie. Perhaps then she’d have been able to hang on to that tiny shred of dignity that hadn’t been torn asunder.

“You couldn’t have done anything, Lily,” said Dorcas quietly, obviously noting Lily’s frustration.

“Yes, I could have.”

“No, Lily,” said Dorcas, incredibly calm. Lily looked up, seeing Dorcas on the edge of her own bed, a contemplative frown on her face. “Even if you had stayed, then Amy’s issue would have been left and you’d have been beating yourself up over it. Sometimes things don’t work out perfectly, Lily. You have to accept that.”


“You can’t be superwoman. Your heart’s in the right place, Lily, but you’re looking at things in the wrong way.”

Lily bit her lip as she lay on her soft bed, staring up at the crimson canopy above her. Perhaps Dorcas was right. Perhaps she wasn’t needed in every tiny little thing that went on around the castle. After all, not all mistakes are bad to make. Maybe, just maybe, something good would come out of all of this. Maybe, out of all the ill fortune she’d been experiencing in her life, something incredible would appear that would cancel out all the bad.

It couldn’t hurt to be optimistic, could it?

Lily rolled over and tried to make herself comfortable amongst the layers of cloth. No, it couldn’t hurt… even if, deep down, she didn’t feel it one bit.

Another chapter done! I hope you liked this one. Much more Lily-centred. I felt she needed a little moment to vent out her emotions… and for you lot to get to know her a bit more. People who want Sirius/Amelie action, don’t worry. It’s not all disappeared. It’s only been a day since the Room of Requirement, and other stuff has been happening.
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