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A/N many many many apologies for the wait, exams have been the bain of my existance for the past few moths and have left little time for anything else. Rather than keep you waiting I've split this next chapter in half to get it out quicker.


“I can’t tell you how good it feels to be rid of that cast!” Lily said as she stretched her fingers and cautiously curled them into a lose fist. “Oh I meant to ask you; do you still have that old snitch you used to play with all the time?” Lily asked as they walked out of the hospital together. Lily knew that when having a muggle cast removed a special saw was used to cut it away, she’d feared that the wizarding method might have been similar and so when James had offered to hold her hand when she had voiced these fears to him, she had taken him literally.

“Yeah, sure, why?”

“I have to squeeze something that size as part of my exercises for getting my hand back to normal, I was wondering if I could borrow it?”

“Of course.” James routed around in his trouser pocket for a moment and pulled out the little gold and white ball, it’s wings fluttered slightly but it made no attempt to escape as he passed it to Lily.

“Oh.”

“What?”

“I didn’t know you still carried it around with you. I haven’t seen you play with it in ages.” James shrugged and put his hand back in his pocket as Lily smiled at him.

“Did you also not know that you’re still holding my hand?” James asked with an amused grin and a raised eyebrow.

“I am? I hadn’t noticed.” Lily said feigning shock; she had actually been trying very hard to try to forget she even had a left hand in an effort to stop the heat spreading from her palm to the rest of her hypersensitive body. “Best stop that at once then!” the mock seriousness on her face was belied by the twinkle in her eye.

“Oh no you don’t!” James said as she half-heartedly tried to free her hand. “I’m not letting you go now.” And he entwined their fingers, smiling at her before indulging in more small talk and regaling her with another of his seemingly endless adventures. It was still early and most students were either still in bed or at breakfast as they wandered aimlessly around the school halls.

Lily was looking up at James and laughing when she screamed. Someone had startled her by grabbing her shoulder and she was spun round as James let go of her hand and pulled out his wand in one smooth movement.

“Snape.” James spat in recognition, Severus, however ignored him and spoke directly to Lily.

“Can I have a word?” he asked her tightly.

“You can have two, f-“ James stopped at a sharp look from Lily but continued to glare at Snape who sneered back without an attempt to hide his contempt for his enemy. Lily rearranged he robes, which had been tugged from her shoulder and appraised Severus. Lily turned her back on him and lowered James’s wand with a firm hand on his wrist. James didn’t resist and dragged his eyes from his nemesis to look directly at Lily.

“Are you going to tell me not to talk to him?” she asked after a second of just looking at each other.

James’ brow furrowed and he looked a little surprised at her question, “You can talk to whomever you want to Lily, although I have a hard time thinking of a reason why you’d want to talk to that.” Snape hissed behind her back and Lily turned quickly, surreptitiously placing herself between Severus’ wand and James’ chest.

“You have one minute Severus, I advise you to be concise.” She said with cool formality, Snape blinked for a second, looked at James and grabbed her arm again. Lily shook him off easily and straightened her back. “I said you could talk, I did not give you permission to touch me.” Lily heard James smother a snort behind her and under other circumstances, the look on Severus’ face might have made her laugh too. She walked a few paces away from James and turned to face Severus again.

“What are you doing?” he demanded instantly.

“Excuse me?” Lily asked bewildered, kettle calling the pot much?

“Are you back with Potter?”

“Not that it’s any of your business Snape but no, me and James are just friends.” Lily was not a malicious person but she knew emphasising the names would sting her old friend and she was not in the mood for one of his interrogations. He looked taken aback at the word ‘friend’, as if this was somehow worse than whatever he had expected.

“How can you be friends with him?”

“People change Severus.” You’re testimony to that.

“He doesn’t deserve you.”

“Maybe not, but neither do you.”

“So Potter’s the reason we aren’t friends anymore, we can’t be friends because Potter’s changed?” He asked mockingly. Lily was incensed!

“No Severus. This is the reason we are no longer friends.” She said as she grabbed his wrist, pulling back his sleeve as she flipped his arm to reveal an ugly tattoo on his bone white flesh. Snape hissed and retracted his hand as if burnt. “If you think we could have any type of relationship after that you were sadly mistaken. Don’t you get it? With Him there is no distinction. You think he’d care if I was one of the scores of Muggleborns he’s tortured? If my parents were slaughtered like animals for being Muggles? And I hate to say it Severus, but there can be no distinction here; there’s no such thing as a good Death Eater.” If only there was!

“Lily, wait! I’ll… I’ll leave.”

“I wish I could believe that Severus, I really do.” She said softly and sincerely, she gave him one more compassion filled look before turning back to James who was trying very hard not to listen a few paces away. She picked up the satchel she had dropped when Severus had first startled her and walked down the corridor with James at her side.

“You ok?” James asked after a minute of silence.

“Yeah.” Lily said with a small sigh and a tentative smile. “It’s been on the cards for a long time now. It’s actually kind of a relief to be honest, a weight off my shoulders.” James slung his arm around Lily’s shoulder and gave her a quick squeeze.

“I know! Why don’t we go to charms now, I’m sure I can convince Flitwick to show us that Patronus charm he mentioned last lesson, what do you think?”

“The Dementor repelling one?”

“That’s the one.”

“Yeah, ok. What do you think yours will be?” Lily asked happy to have a change of topic to distract her from the disturbing memory of Severus’ bereft stance as she’d walked away from him.

“You mean if I actually manage to do it?” Lily chuckled. “I guess it would have to be a stag, same as my animagus form. What about you?”

“I don’t know.”

“I think you’d have something like a tigress.”

“A tigress? Why?”

“Think about it- they’re intelligent, feisty, independent, and fiercely protective.” At this Lily really laughed, now that one was very true, “They have a wicked temper when pushed and then they’re very rare… and very beautiful, they’ve even got red fur!” he added pulling a lock of her hair playfully.

“You’ve thought about this way too much.” That means he’s been thinking about you a lot! Whoop! James laughed.

“When we had the lesson and Flitwick told us how everyone’s patronus is different me and Padfoot tried to guess what each person’s would be. Parker’s was a toad.” Lily snorted and when they reached the classroom door, she knocked and entered, still smiling at James who followed her in.

“Ah, Miss Evans, Mr Potter, anything I can help you with?” Flitwick asked in his high-pitched squeak. He was sitting behind his desk on a seat piled high with cushions and marking a stack of fifth year essays.

“Actually Sir, we were wondering if you might please show us the patronus charm you mentioned last lesson?” James asked the tiny Professor.

“Ah… piqued your interest did it Mr Potter? Yes, I thought it might.” The Professor smiled at his student knowingly, “And Miss Evans; always eager to learn.” His eyes twinkled affectionately at his most talented student. “Well I can’t see why not.” He said, hopping down with a hand from Lily and an indulgent smile as he pulled his wand from behind his ear and waddled over to stand between them. “Now the trick is to think of a really happy memory whilst performing the charm, the incantation is simple enough but finding and sustaining that memory and the feelings that it evokes- that’s the tricky part. It takes real strength of character, especially under the circumstances that the charm needs to be performed. Now… observe: Expecto Patronum.” A burst of brilliant silver shot from his wand and coiled and swirled before taking the form of a beautiful, young nymph who curtseyed to the Professor who smiled and bowed before waving his wand again. The girl disappeared with a graceful turn and she was lost like smoke blown on the wind. “And there you have it.”

“Wow.” Lily and James said simultaneously, although Lily had the feeling it may have been for different reasons. Boys! She wasn’t even solid!

“Whoops.” Flitwick said as he checked his watch, “Time to let the others in.” James and Lily locked eyes as they sat down at their separate desks and a silent message passed between them- there would be no patrols tonight…

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