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My Lips Are Sealed

The entire day was nerve-wracking, to say the least. In every spare moment, Lily was staring down at her piece of parchment, trying to decipher her own handwriting. She was constantly at either Evelyn or Madeleine’s side, rapidly firing off questions every few moments. There was so much to learn about “the art of enticement,” as Lily so eloquently put it. The three of them went to the Great Hall for an early dinner, just before Lily’s detention, where Lily received her final few lessons.

“Okay, go ahead,” Madeleine said as she sat at the table, watching Lily critically with narrowed eyes.

Lily, for her part, cleared her throat and loosened up her shoulders in preparation, focusing her eyes on the far side of the Great Hall. She then smiled subtly, bringing her hand up to flip her hair behind her shoulder with a rather seductive smile on her face.

“That’ll do. Except you hit Evelyn in the face, but we’ll just assume no one will be behind you,” Madeleine said as Evelyn sputtered behind them. “And try not to whip your whole head around. It looks a bit like you were slapped in the face.” Lily noded at this readily, gulping nervously as Evelyn began to speak.

“What do you say when you enter the room?” Evelyn began when she could speak once again, a bit flustered from the mass of hair that had hit her. Lily was well prepared for this one...

“Hello there, James,” Lily said in a sweet voice, looking down coquettishly for a moment before glancing up through her eyelashes alluringly. She came out of her stance quickly, looking between her friends for an endorsement.

“Okay, that’s a little too much. You’re not trying to shag him,” Evelyn said cautiously.

“Yet…” Madeleine muttered, but Lily hit her in the shoulder, silencing her rather quickly. This was clearly no time for such jokes.

“Let me try again,” Lily said, clearing her throat and taking a deep breath. “Hello there, James,” she said, smiling somewhat after a moment.

“Better. The voice is still a little too velvety. You’re still you, remember?” Evelyn said, to which Madeleine agreed.

“Good call, my friend. Here, Lily, try just saying the words as you always would. No voice, no seductive eyes. Just smile a bit as you say it. A bit, being the key phrase here," Madeleine told her as she held up a warning finger.

Lily nodded slowly. “Hello there, James,” she said in a somewhat more blunt voice, offering her friends a subtle smile.

“Perfect! Now, what do you say about the whole friendship thing?”

Lily took a moment, replaying the words she had written down in her head a few times. Finally, she began. “James, I know you’ve been working so hard and it seems like it would be unfair for me to pretend to be disgusted with you even though it’s clear you’ve changed. Perhaps we could be civil from here on out?” She looked to her friends in approval, which they gave with applause of congratulations.

Despite this, Lily’s demeanor changed completely as her smile dropped and she looked nervously down at her plate. “What if he says something that’s not in the plan?’’ she asked anxiously, letting out a shaky breath.

“Lily, he can’t talk. You’re going to have the upper hand here the entire time. Relax,” Madeleine told her slowly, putting a hand gently on her friend’s arm. “This isn’t a life or death situation here. You’re just going to be friendly to him. Pretend he’s one of us.”

“But he’s not one of you! He’s different! If it was one of you this would be simple! But then again, I wouldn’t have this probably if it was one of you…” Lily protested hurriedly, scrunching her eyebrows up in deep concern and confusion.

“Yes, well… That’s all I can give you,” Madeleine said after a moment, patting Lily on the back a few times. “Now make me proud,” she told Lily firmly, smiling encouragingly as Lily stood up with a deep breath. With that, Lily nodded firmly before turning to walk out of the Great Hall.

Lily found herself wringing her hands all the way to the classroom, turning around several times to tell herself that she wasn’t going to do this until she remembered that it was detention and therefore not voluntary. She was rehearsing little things in her mind, muttering a few choice words in order to hear them spoken in her own voice. This merited a few odd looks from passersby, but she paid no attention.

When she finally made it to the classroom, she stopped in front of the door, preparing herself. She would sit down, wait for James to come, wait for Slughorn to come, and the rest would fall into place. Squaring her shoulders, Lily reached for the doorknob and opened the door.

“James!” she exclaimed, her eyes widening as she unexpectedly saw him already sitting there in the front row, his wand sitting on the desk near him. He looked up to her and smiled genially, waving to her.

“You’re already here!” she said with equal shock. She was shaken up by the fact because it meant that her plan was already deteriorating. He wasn’t supposed to be here yet… He was early. It was then when she noticed that he was pointing up to the clock at the front of the room—five after five. She was late. That never happened… Apparently she had taken longer than she had thought muttering to herself in the hallways and mentally preparing for her task.

“Oh…Right…” she said slowly, gulping nervously. She was only lucky that Slughorn wasn’t here yet. With her eyes trained on the ground, she moved slowly towards the desks. Terror seized her when she realized that she had no idea which desk to sit in. They hadn’t gone over this! Was she to sit next to James, or a set away, or a row away, or far behind him? With apparent hesitation, she made her way to the desk next to him, planting herself in the seat uneasily. She could feel his eyes trained on her, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Good thing he couldn’t talk…

At that point, Professor Slughorn opened the door and walked in, a thick folder under his arm. “Good morning,” he said to the two of them, setting down the folder on the desk at the front of the room. “This morning, you’ll be grading my First Years’ most recent exams. There’s a key somewhere in that pile, but I assume that you will know the answers without it.” He smiled at Lily as he said this, but she still had her eyes on the desk. “As soon as you’re done, you may leave. I’m trusting you, as the two Head Students, to grade these faithfully.” With that, he nodded to them and left the room.

There was silence for several moments as James glanced between Lily and the tests. When she didn’t move for several beats, he stood up and walked over to the folder, bringing it over to the desk. Grabbing half of the papers, he leaned over to Lily and set them on her desk before grabbing a quill and ink to begin.

“Do teachers always make you do their busy work?” Lily asked rather suddenly as she looked over at him, surprised at the strength in her voice. He looked up from the tests to her, offering a smile before nodding. “Oh… See, I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been in detention,” she said all too quickly, but he just chuckled a bit and nodded knowingly. “Right…” she murmured, looking back down at her papers, reaching for her own quill and ink.

They sat in silence for several minutes, only the sound of scratching quill bits permeating the air. “How about that weather?” she said abruptly, looking over at him with wide eyes and concern still lacing her features. He looked up at her, somewhat alarmed by her expression and suddenness. He gave her a halfhearted thumbs up, a nod, and a reluctant smile. Blushing madly, she murmured something before looking back down at her paper.

After another couple of minutes of agonizing silence, Lily cleared her throat and did one of her well practiced hair flips. Except her hair didn’t go over her shoulder as she had planned. Instead, it caught on the top of her quill, forcing her to manually dislodge her hair before flipping it again. She looked over at James, offering him a toothy smile before returning to her paper, muttering “Oh Merlin…” under her breath in horror.

Lily looked back up when she felt James poking at her, trying to hand her small piece of parchment. She grabbed it and looked down at the sloppy writing—“are you okay?” She laughed exaggeratedly, shaking her head. “James, you’re so funny! I’m perfectly fine!” she told him, and when he didn’t join in her laughter, she stopped hastily and returned to the tests.

It wasn’t five minutes before she burst out once again. “I’m sorry about the whole Potions class thing, by the way. I don't know if I said that already…I suppose I’m the reason you’re in here, and I know that I acted terribly childishly. I just… I’m…Sorry…” Her words came out with extreme difficulty, probably due to how seldom she offered apologies, especially to James Potter. For his part, he smiled warmly at her, shaking his head in a gesture of forgiveness. Letting out a sigh of relief, she looked back down at her tests, though didn’t get the chance to make one mark before she continued speaking rapidly.

“James, I want to tell you that I’d like it if we were friends, but can you just pretend that I was a lot more suave about asking you and that I didn’t ask and that it was really more of a suggestion and that I didn’t make a complete fool of myself in the process even though I am well aware that I did?” she asked at breakneck speed, holding her breath as she watched him.

The smile that formed on his face wasn’t one of condescension or of victory. Instead, it was one of pure exhilaration. His eyes lit up as he laughed in delight. He reached over for the piece of paper on her desk and their hands brushed lightly, eliciting a deep flush from Lily which did not go unnoticed by James. Nonetheless, he made no snarky expression, and instead scribbled something new on the parchment before handing it back to her. “You don’t know how happy that would make me,” it said.

Lily’s stomach flipped and for the remainder of detention, she found herself unable to keep the goofy smile off of her face.

“How’d it go?” Lily hadn’t even closed the door to the Girls’ Dorm before she heard Madeleine’s voice. Her two friends were sitting on the ground at the foot of Evelyn’s bed, a few magazines spread out between them. They looked up expectantly at Lily, eagerly awaiting her news.

“It went well,” Lily said simply, looking at them for a moment before moving to her bed.

“Elaborate please?” Evelyn asked slowly, standing up before approaching Lily’s bed.

“Well, I went there, I did what you told me to do, and…Yeah…” Lily said plainly, shrugging her shoulders whilst avoiding their eye contact.

“What did you do wrong? Don’t tell me you said something stupid,” came Madeleine’s voice dully.

“Well… See, I got there late… And then we were working… And I was trying to do the hair swish…” Lily’s voice was quiet and tentative and she refused to meet Madeleine’s eyes. “Okay, I completely messed up, but he doesn’t hate me and he said that he would love to be friends,” Lily spat out, quite akin to her outburst earlier that day.

“Suave, Lily,” Madeleine said with a chuckle, but Evelyn merely smiled.

“That’s wonderful,” Evelyn said genially. “Oh, and his letter already came today, and we were quite tempted to read it. Be proud of our self restraint,” she told Lily, leaning down to pick up the letter that was hidden underneath the magazines.

“How’d it get here this fast! I only stopped at the Charms classroom to pick up a test review… He couldn’t have written it that quickly,” she said, but stopped. She had finished her test grading a bit after him, and he had been writing something while she finished… Reaching for the letter, she tore it open and began to read.

“Dear Lily,” (she paused here, noticing that it was a proper letter this time rather than just some poorly planned note, not that she minded that either…) “You’re sitting next to me finishing up the grading and I decided to start your letter for tonight. I should probably be taking a few of those exams so that we can finish quicker… Apologies, please don’t be mad. You only have two more to go and it seems counterintuitive… Anyways, this is off-topic. Though I don’t think I really have a topic. I didn’t do anything particularly stupid (I didn’t even fall out a tree! It’s a good day so far, clearly) and I don’t think I made you angry (though forgive me if I did. I’m afraid I don’t know sometimes, though I think you know that.) I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’re willing to be friends with me. I feel like a little kid saying that, but it’s true. No matter what comes of this, you’re friendship is more than I could ever hope for. I know I used to be an absolute prick, but I promise that you won’t regret what you ever so eloquently said. I mean, I’d still like to win and be able to go on a date with you, but… I’m going to stop here before I dig myself in a hole, though that’s probably inevitable knowing how articulate I am. Anyways, I think you’re almost done with that one and I don’t want you to see me writing this letter because or else it wouldn’t be a surprise. –James.”

Lily didn’t say anything for a moment, instead keeping her eyes on the paper as she skimmed over the words once again, a faint smile on her lips.

“Well, you two are quite a pair,” Madeleine said eventually with a snort, leaning on her bedpost in amusement.

“What?” Lily asked, looking over at her friend with a furrowed brow.

“You two just…” Madeleine paused, contemplating her words. “You guys are so polished when you’re not around each other. Every girl wants to jump him because he’s so charming and you’re the most put together girl in school. But the moment you two are put together in a room or really in any situation, you turn into mush and all of your sophistication vanishes.”

Lily looked over at Evelyn, who was nodding with a knowing smile. “Is that a bad thing?” Lily demanded worriedly, looking back to Madeleine.

“No,” Madeleine told her with a small shake of her head. “It’s absolutely perfect.”

Hope you enjoyed it!  It's getting close to the end and I can't wait to see how you all like the conclusion of the story.  Thanks for reading and thank you for all the reviews.  

Until next time,


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