The next morning the excitement over the events in the garden seemed to have died down some. Although the major excitement of the holidays was now over, it was too cold for anyone to be out of doors (it had stopped snowing, but it was still one of the most severe winters Hogwarts had ever seen), and everyone had to crowd in the common room. Needless to say, it was more of a zoo than anything else. Lily and Tracy were playing a game of exploding snap, after repeated attempts to finish the Potions essay that was still looming over their heads. The common room was too noisy to get any work done anyways, they decided. “Everyone, try to keep it a little less on the rowdy side!” Lily hollered over the racket. The noise stopped for a moment as everyone stared at her. “Oh! Well, thank you!” Lily said blushingly, as she hadn’t expected her position as Head Girl to have much of an effect. She sat back down, and was about to pick up the next card of the deck, when the common room immediately went back to its previous sound decibel of deafening commotion. Lily sighed, and Tracy smiled at her. “You’re fighting a losing battle, hon.” Tracy reminded her, and Lily shook her head as she again reached for her card. BOOM! The deck exploded as she placed it on the pile, singing more of Tracy than Lily. Once again the common room was silent, looking for the source of the explosion. “Hey! Head Girl! Try to keep it a little less on the rowdy side!” James called out from the other side of the room with Peter. Even Lily had to laugh along with the rest of the common room, though she was torn between rolling her eyes at James and going over there and kissing him. She always melted when he joked and put up that crooked smile. James turned back to Peter, who he had been debating whether to tell about the secret meeting of Dumbledore and Rochem or not. He wasn‘t going to mention that Remus had been on the verge of running away, that was a personal matter. Someone tapped him on the back, and thinking it was Lily, he whipped around and was about to take her up into her arms, when he realized it wasn’t Lily at all. It was Sirius. “Watch those hands there, James.” Sirius smirked at him. James punched him on the arm. “I mean, I know I’m extremely good looking, but I think Lily might object.” This time it was Lily’s turn to punch Sirius in the arm, though she smiled when she did so. “Well, well, well, James. Your girl hits harder than you!” James intended to hit him again, but found that this would be more difficult than it had been, as Tracy had just came up to the group and was now hugging Sirius tightly. Remus was standing aside from Sirius a little, but was also soon enveloped with arms. Crystal clung to him, then Lily joined in, then Erica, then Tracy (Sirius looked a little forlorn at this, but he got over it soon enough by yelling, “GROUP HUG!” and throwing his arms around the entire group). Soon everyone was on top of Remus, and even he couldn’t help but laugh (although it was a very muffled sort of laugh, as he was at the bottom of the pile.) James, also being close to the bottom, heard it, and smiled. “See what you would have been missing Moony!” He told him, as more people from the common room noticed the pile and decided to jump on. “What, getting suffocated?” Joked Remus, and this was just about true too! After the commotion of Sirius and Remus’s return had quieted down a bit, James sank into one of the couches, a little way off from his friends. He felt the need to be alone, to think over all that he had heard in Dumbledore’s office last night. Lily watched him wander off from the group, something that James Potter rarely did. Something was wrong with him, she decided. “James, are you okay?” She asked as she sat down on the couch next to him, startling him out of deep thought. She was surprised to see dark circles under his eyes, she had never seen him look so, well, out of it before. “Wha-? Oh, yea, I’m fine.” James told her, yawning. He hadn’t really gotten that much sleep last night. Lily’s green eyes stared into his, trying to look past the surface. “Are you sure? You’re awfully quiet today, not like your usual self.” “Just a little tired, I suppose, had a late night and all.” This wasn’t a lie. He had had a very late night. He gave another tremendous yawn, stretched his arms, and then extended his body length across the entire couch. Lily looked down at him, his eyes closed, his head resting peacefully on his lap. She thought for a moment how funny it would be if she sprang up all of a sudden, jerking him awake. But as she continued to watch him slumber, his chest rising and falling gently with his breath, the more she just wanted to curl up next to him and nap… but for the moment, his head in her lap was a pretty good arrangement. James smiled in his sleep. Lily had to smile too, he looked so cute, almost innocent, just lying there. She ruffled his already rumpled hair, and his smile broadened. One eye opened and stared back up at her. “Oh, James, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to wake you!” She apologized quickly, James still grinning. “Don’t feel bad. I wasn’t really asleep…” He said, turning his face so they were seeing eye to eye. Lily looked shocked at these words. “Still, I like what you were doing to my hair… you don’t have to stop doing that!” “James Potter!” Lily cried in mock outrage, jumping up from the couch. THUMP! James rolled off as she stood up, flopping onto the rug. Lily smiled down on him again, but it was his turn to surprise her. He sprang to his feet, swept her off of the floor and into his arms. Lily opened her mouth to protest, but found that James was already kissing her there. Later that day the racket in the common room had died down a little, and Lily and her friends were lounging on the couches near the fire. Most of the Gryffindors had headed down to the Great Hall for dinner, and the common room was quite empty except for them. James was really sleeping this time, using one of the armchairs as a bed. Lily looked over to where the other Maruaders were, and laughed as she saw Sirius going over to wake up James in a very rude and disturbing (but nevertheless humorous) way. Tracy watched him as well. “What was wrong with James earlier, before you two got lip locked?” Tracy inquired of Lily, who turned her attention back to her after seeing James spring up in surprise from Sirius’s tickling spell. “He didn’t really say, just that he was tired. I think that something is really bothering him, though.” She confided in her friend. “I don’t think he’s telling us everything that’s been going on…” Tracy began, and Lily was reminded of how Erica had accused him of keeping the truth from her, Crystal, and Tracy about what happened in the garden. Lily sighed, knowing that she had also lied about that too. That’s pretty bad, to lie to your best friends… she thought to herself. “I’m sure if it were important, he would have told us.” Lily reassured Tracy, trying to convince herself about it as well. Tracy raised an eyebrow. “Do you really think so? I mean, don’t tell me you bought that story about the animal dragging Remus and him off into the forest after knocking out Sirius!” “Well, Dumbledore believed him…” Lily tried to evade the fact that Dumbledore hadn’t believed this story, hoping Tracy wouldn’t realize the truth. “And I believe him!” She added as an afterthought. Crystal and Tracy were now watching them with interest. It was very rare that Tracy and Lily quarreled. “Do you believe him? Because I sure don’t believe that story!” Tracy answered, her voice sounding a little less curious and a little more accusing. Lily could feel her anger starting to bubble up. Why couldn’t Tracy just accept the story! Lily wondered, angered that Tracy was questioning not only James’s honesty but also her own. Well, actually, you didn’t tell them the truth, either… she reminded herself. Lily said nothing, very aware of her three friends staring at her, Tracy looking a little heated. “Yes, I want to know what really happened to Remus… why he wouldn’t talk to me when I visited him in the hospital wing!” Crystal asked suddenly, also looking annoyed with Lily. Once again Lily didn’t answer, now even unable to bring herself to meet their eyes. “You know, don’t you Lils?” Erica joined in, and Lily felt her anger turn to shame, her face growing red. “You know the secret James is hiding… what all the Marauders must be hiding. That’s why you covered up for them in the garden!” “Well I…” Lily tried to say before being interrupted. “And why Dumbledore took you and James and Peter to his office, because he knew you were lying!” Crystal pointed out, her finger pointing at Lily accusingly. “I promised I would…” Lily tried to say again. “So you would rather keep the secrets of a guy, a guy I might add that, before this year you hated with all your guts, than tell your friends, who have stuck up for you and by you ever since you came to Hogwarts! Even lie to your friends!” Tracy huffed, and Lily had never felt more low than when she finally brought herself to look into Tracy’s face. Crystal and Erica wore similar faces of anger and disbelief. “Fine! You want to know the truth! I’ll give you the truth!” Lily spat back at them, and they continued to glare. Lily stole a quick glance at the Marauders, who were playing wizard’s chess and unaware of the argument. “You have to promise not to tell anyone, though! James made me swear…” She began and dropped her voice. “We won’t tell!” They whispered back urgently, eager to know the great Marauder Secret. The girls leaned in, and Lily took a deep breath, feeling as though she were about to do something she would regret. But her friends would hate her if she didn’t tell them! “Ok, you know how Remus goes and visits his mother every month?” She asked them, and Crystal nodded. “Yes, she’s very sick, he goes and cares for her. What has that got to do with anything?” Crystal hissed defensively. “Well, he doesn’t really go and visit her. He’s, well, um” Lily found it very difficult to get the words out. She glanced around the circle of girls nervously, Tracy nodding her on. “What? What is he?” Crystal gasped, afraid of what the revelation could be. “He’s a werewolf! Okay, you know the big secret now, happy?” Lily remarked to the stunned girls harshly, feeling terrible about betraying James’s trust. More terrible, in fact, than when she had been lying to her friends. “You might as well know the rest of it. James, Sirius, and Peter, they’re all animagi, and roam Hogsmeade with Remus when he transforms. It was a full moon the night of the Yule Ball, and Sirius transformed into his dog form, and tried to control him. James then came out and transformed and managed to get him safely to the forest. Dumbledore knew what really happened, well, except for the animagi part, but that’s why he called us to his office. I didn’t want to tell you all because I wanted James to trust me.” Lily finished miserably, but she heard a voice behind her before her friends could speak. “Well, I guess we all see now it was James’s mistake to trust you.” Sirius spoke gravely, and Lily turned around with dread to find herself face to face with the Marauders. Peter looked very surprised, Sirius seemed quite angered, but James looked completely disbelieving. Remus stepped forward, and Lily was surprised to see that he looked the most calm and composed of the group. “Really, Sirius! They would have found out anyways. Don’t blame Lily or James!” Remus said, trying to calm Sirius down (he was well known for his temper). It was Crystal who found her voice next. “You’re a, a, WEREWOLF?” She muttered, and Remus stepped forward to comfort her. “And you didn’t tell me? You lied to me all this time?” “Crystal. I wanted to tell you, but I was afraid that…” Remus began, putting his arm around Crystal. Crystal went rigid, pushing his arm aside as she scooted away from him on the couch. “Don’t touch me, werewolf!” She shrieked, trembling from head to foot. Erica also looked positively frightened. Remus’s face fell. “I was afraid you would react like that.” He finished his statement quietly. “You told them? Lily how could you?” James asked her imploringly, a pleading look in his hazel gray eyes. Lily’s own eyes were once again welling with tears. “I really thought I could trust you. I mean, I didn’t believe Emma when she said you had told her about it, I told myself you would never do that. But I guess I was wrong…” “James! I swear I never told Emma! You can’t really take her word over mine!” Lily exclaimed, brushing away the tears that fell upon hearing his words. “That’s what I thought, but after this, I just don’t know.” James told her, feeling betrayed. Not only had Lily told her friends Remus’s secret, but now Crystal was petrified of him. And it was all his fault. “I thought I could trust you, Lily Evans! I thought you, of all people, would know how it feels to want to keep something secret!” James continued, realizing that his voice and anger were rising. More people were drifting into the common room, and began to watch the unusual site, having no idea of what was really going on. “I kept your secret, and I thought you’d do the same for me. But I was wrong. I was wrong about everything. I was wrong about YOU!” And with that, James stood up and stalked off to the boys dormitories, followed by Peter. Remus also stood up after one last melancholy look at Crystal, who refused to look at him, and joined them. Sirius, however remained for a moment. “I don’t know how much good it’ll do to tell you all this, as we all know how good you are at keeping secrets, but nevertheless, Remus and the rest of us Marauders would prefer if you didn’t tell anyone else. Not that it matters anymore, as you all have already ruined the secret.” He addressed them shortly, turning towards the dormitory. “Oh, and another thing. Tracy, consider ‘us’ to be over.” He retorted back before also heading up to the dormitories. Lily buried her head in her arms and sobbed, not bothering to wipe away the tears she shed anymore.
A/N: First, let me apologize for the long wait, I went to the beach with my family and had absolutely NO INTERNET until today! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! Next, thanks for all the wonderful reviews! You guys are the best! :D
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