James and Lily sat in the library where Lily couldn’t help but look over at the same aisle where she and Peter had their dispute a week ago. She kept running their dispute over and over in her head trying to figure out what had made Peter react so harshly. She was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn’t even notice James staring at her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
Lily brought her attention back to him forcing herself to smile. “Nothing. Just day dreaming.”
“You sure? You looked pretty concentrated for day dreaming.”
“I was just thinking about Peter...”
James put a hand to his chest. “Well of all the Marauders, I never thought you’d choose Peter over me.”
“Shut up,” she laughed pulling his hand down. “You know what I mean.”
“No, honestly he’s been on my mind a lot too. We’ve always teased him in good fun, but I never realized how much it really bothered him. I’m afraid it’s our fault he lashed out on you, love.”
“I don’t know... I think there’s more to it. There was something he said when he apologized-”
“Lils, can you do me a favor?” he interrupted. Lily looked up surprised that he would interrupt. “Lets not over analyze this. Peter probably did say something stupid, but honestly I think it’s just Peter. I think it’d be easier if we just moved on... you know?”
“He’s one of my best mates, you know? I said what I needed to say, he said what he needed to say. We’re straight now. I don’t want to be mad at him anymore.”
“No, of course.” She gave him a reassuring smile before scooting back from her chair. “I’m going to grab a book.” James grabbed her hand before she got too far and kissed the inside of her palm. Lily threw him a last smile before heading into the shelves.
She didn’t know what she was looking for, but felt like stretching her legs. Her fingers skimmed along the dusty bindings of the old, tattered books, a grey film forming over her finger tips.
“Should you really be wandering the aisles alone?” a voice said behind her. She didn’t have to turn around to know that it was Severus.
“I feel threatened by nothing.”
“Just because you don’t feel it doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
“Either way I can handle myself.”
Severus scoffed. “Like yesterday?”
“I had it under control,” she whipped herself around to meet him eye to eye. “It was Peter Pettigrew for Merlin’s sake.”
“He’s not the wide eyed innocent he makes himself out to be.”
“Lily!” a whisper came from an aisle over. “Where’d you go?”
“He’s probably just going through a hard time. Now get out of here,” she finished in a whisper.
Lily narrowed her eyes and crossed her arm. “I’m over here James,” she called out.
“That’s not going to scare me away.” He took a step closer to Lily bringing his voice down. “I...I have some serious information you should hear.”
Lily watched Severus’s face as she heard James come up from behind her. He looked confused with inner thoughts- torn between continuing with the information or stopping before he dug himself into a hole.
“What do you want, Snape?” James muttered.
“Nothing that concerns you.”
“Well you’re standing much closer to Lily than I had warned you to, so it does concern me.”
“Potter, why don’t you keep your nose out of her business for once? You were always so pathetic following her around-”
“Hey,” Lily snapped, but he continued.
“-throwing whatever jinxes you wanted at anyone, especially myself, whenever you thought they were too close to Lily for your comfort. It’s even worse now that you’ve somehow convinced her to make you her boyfriend. I can’t even say two words to her without you butting in.”
“When it’s scum like you Snivellus trying to talk to her it’s my duty to get her away. Merlin, get it through your greasy head that she wants nothing to do with you.”
“Stop it,” Lily tried to get between them.
“No, Lily! He needs a reality check!” James took a step closer making sure that Severus was only looking at him, not Lily. “You fucked up. Stop trying to be in her life.”
James stepped back, grabbing Lily’s hand and walked the opposite way out of the aisle. Lily’s head was bent in sadness despite that she knew it was all true. They were headed in the direction of their school things when a red flash hit James in the back sending him flying through the air and crashing into desks. The students sitting close by screamed, getting up from their desks to avoid being hit.
Lily turned around to see Severus standing in the aisle, his wand pointing out and his breathing labored. James sprang up from the attack, his adrenaline running.
“That all you got, Snape? Petrificus totalus!
He easily jumped to the side to avoid the body bind without losing his poised position. Both the boys raised their wands yelling out new attacking jinxes, but Lily was faster screaming, “Invisibilis murum!”
The spells cast out from their wands were stopped dead between them where Lily had pointed her wand. Both Severus and James stood ready for another shot while Lily remained between them holding up her charm.
“OUT OF MY LIBRARY!” Madame Pince came screaming. “McGonagall and Slughorn will be hearing about this!”
Severus immediately left the room, his head down, wand still beside his side. Lily relaxed her stance and James started collecting their school work.
“Get out!” Madame Pince was still yelling.
“We’re going!” James bellowed. The booming in his voice made Lily stop in her tracks. It was rare to see his temper raised so high. “Come on,” he muttered.
She followed behind him nervous to interrupt his anger. She wasn’t angry at him for reacting with a spell solely because it was a defensive spell that would have put an end to it all. She knew it would never end though so instead decided to end it herself before he did something that would get his badge taken away as a result.
James stormed all the way to the Gryffindor Tower, but stopped outside in the hallway. He carelessly tossed their books and bags to the floor, making Lily flinch, and then paced a few more steps.
“James, are you okay?” Lily asked softly.
“He attacked me from behind!”
“I know, I can’t believe he did that...”
“I can! He’s a coward! He always has been!” James ran his hands through his hair. When Lily didn’t say anything he turned to face her. “Well?”
“Tell me I was stupid for fighting back!”
Lily’s eyes widened taken aback. She took a step forward putting her hand against James’s cheek. “Why would I yell at you for defending yourself? You did nothing wrong back there! He openly attacked you, unprepared, in the middle of the library!”
He let out a sigh of relief. “All I kept thinking on my way up here was that McGonagall was going to revoke my badge.”
“I’ll back you 100% if she even thinks about that. The whole thing was my fault anyway.” James raised an eyebrow questioningly. “I should’ve walked away once he approached me...”
“It’s not your fault,” he shrugged. “He hasn’t tried to talk to you about anything other than Prefect duties this whole year. Who knew he’d all of a sudden try to just have a conversation?”
Lily thought back to Severus defending her against Peter. This would have been the perfect opportunity for her to let him know what had happened. But instead all she saw was James’s face when he had told her when he didn’t want to be mad at Peter anymore...
Lily believed what she had told Severus, that Peter was probably just going through a hard time, so instead she just nodded her head. “Yeah...who knew?”
It had happened quite naturally during the beginning weeks of school that Lily and James’s friends began sitting together at the meals. There had been once or twice where the girls had tried to rebel and sit separately, but when Lily refused to follow them to the opposite end of the table they decided to just stick it out.
On the edge of the bench Peter would sit next to Sirius who would refuse to sit anywhere except next to James who obviously wanted to sit next to Lily. On the other side of the bench Remus would across from Peter followed by Lisa, Danielle and then Marie. This sitting arrangement currently worked perfectly for Peter who had decided to avoid Lily at all costs since he had ‘apologized’.
Remus watched him as he awkwardly leaned back whenever Lily leaned forward and focused on his food whenever she spoke. He also saw Lily start to say something in the direction of Peter, but would always stop herself. It was true that the two had never been close, but now they were acting just plain...weird.
“I forgot my book in the dormitory, I’ll meet you in class.” Lily stood from her seat and kissed the top of James’s head.
“I’ll go with you,” Remus said also standing. “I forgot my parchment.” He waited until they were through the Great Hall doors and beginning the climb of the stairs before letting his curiosity get the better of him. “You and Peter worked things out, right?”
She tried to keep her face plain while answering. “Yeah.”
“Hm... You guys seemed kind of awkward this morning.”
Lily shrugged thinking of how to respond. “I think the whole situation is awkward. I didn’t let him into the party and he was upset about it. He apologized, but... I don’t know.”
“I think it was rightful you didn’t let him in. Sirius too.” With a glance he could see that Lily still wasn’t satisfied. “What else is on your mind then?”
“Stop pretending like you don’t want to talk about it.”
Lily stomped her foot and gave Remus a hard look. “I’m trying to forget about it. I don’t want to be the girlfriend who drives a wedge between her boyfriend and his friends. And if I tell you, who’s in the same circle of friends it’ll be like I’m spreading the poison.”
“I’m also your friend. And being in the same circle of friends as James never used to stop you from ranting on and on about how annoying he used to be.”
Lily chuckled at the truth. “That’s different... I knew anything I said wouldn’t change your opinion of James. But what I could tell you about Peter... It could change a lot.”
Remus sighed seeing the distress on her face. “Alright... We don’t have to talk about it. But if you ever want to you know I’m here.”
He bit his tongue from asking anything else, but it was killing him to find out what Peter had said or done. The fact she thought it was something that could change the opinion of all the Marauders made him nervous. Peter was always trying to step up to the challenges that Sirius put in front of him, from the difficult task of becoming an animagus to simply bringing a girl to a party, but that never seemed to get him deemed with the respect he wanted. Maybe he had finally reached a breaking point.
But being Remus, he would try to let it go the best he could not only because he knew it was what Lily wanted, but because Peter was his best friend. And what was a friendship if they couldn’t trust each other?
The pair walked together to their class now fully prepared with their supplies. Lily took her usual seat next to Lisa and then turned it slightly so that she was facing both her partner and James who was sitting behind her with a sour face.
Since the party debacle James had suggested to Slughorn that there should be a partner switch with a bogus reason like ‘to keep things fresh’. It had been a week since he had talked to him, but still James was stuck sitting next to Naomi, who for the most part didn’t talk, but still made the occasional attempt.
But today, Slughorn had a glint in his eye that the class had come to realize meant that he had come up with an idea that he thought was brilliant.
“Morning class,” he greeted. “Before we start today’s lesson I’d like you all to line up at the back of the wall for partner switches.” As the students filed themselves he continued, “Some of you may be thinking this is to solely freshen things up, but honestly Professor McGonagall and I agreed that we’d like to get some inter-House relationships going. That maybe by working together in this class you’ll begin to come together outside the class. Even help each other out whether it’s in the hallways or libraries.” At this point his eyes shifted from Snape and then to James.
“Uh-oh,” Lily muttered. James’s eyes widened when he realized what was about to happen.
“And I know the two perfect partnerships to begin this trend! Misters Potter and Snape, the first desk here, please.” When they took their seats Slughorn leaned down to look them both in the eyes and said, “I’d like to have a talk with you after class Severus, and Professor McGonagall has requested you in her office James. And across from them to help set the same example, Missus’ Evans and Russell.”
Lily held her jaw from dropping while Naomi openly sighed in annoyance. Nevertheless, they both took their seats, the four students sending out tense vibes to the rest of the classroom. Lily looked over to James who set his concentration on the blackboard. His insides were aflame with his hatred for Severus. Cowardice was something that he couldn’t stand almost more than anything else and here he was sitting next to one of the biggest cowards he had ever met.
Despite that Slughorn began his lesson and that Lily was constantly glancing at his blank parchment, James continued to glare at the blackboard afraid that if he opened his mouth to speak he would begin yelling, and if he lifted his hand to begin writing he would end up punching Severus in the jaw.
He tried to count the minutes as they passed, but it didn’t seem to help the time go by until he could finally get out of his seat. When the bell did ring, he was the first one out of the classroom making Lily sprint to catch up to him. Sirius was hot on his tail too knowing his temper would be short if anyone happened to get in his way.
“Oy!” he called.
“James, hold on!” Lily yelled.
The hallways became cluttered with students coming out of their classrooms. Sirius and Lily tried to push through, but eventually they were forced to a complete stop.
“Merlin professors are stupid,” he muttered.
“Usually I would reprimand you for that, but in this case I can’t help but feel the same way.”
They walked the rest of the way to Professor McGonagall’s office and patiently waited outside. Well, almost patiently. Sirius periodically pressed his ear to the cold, thick, door hoping to catch a part of the lecture.
“You’re not going to be able to hear anything. That door is steel.”
“You never know.” He quickly pulled his head away with a grimace on his face.
“What? Did you hear something?” Lily gasped.
A smile lit on his face. “Don’t be stupid Evans, this door is pure steel.”
Lily rolled her eyes and let her legs sink to the stone floor. Sirius continued to stand, his arms folded across his chest. “Can I ask you something?” He shrugged. “Why do you call me Evans?”
Again he shrugged. Lily turned her eyes away from him thinking he wasn’t going to answer when he spoke. “I’ve always called you Evans because I’ve never really thought of us as friends. In the past every time we talked it was in an argument over something we’d done. Plus, you treated Prongs like shit.”
“That was then though. You still wouldn’t consider us friends now?”
“I’d consider us...more than acquaintances, but not quite friends. We talk when we’re in a group, I make fun of you and James, but we’d probably be awkward if left in a room to talk to each other and wouldn’t think of one another to hang out with.”
Lily thought over his words mulling them over in her head. “I disagree,” she said barely above a whisper.
“How do you figure?”
“If we weren’t friends I don’t think you would’ve stuck up for me against Peter... You’ve even thrown remarks at Russell for me before. People don’t do that for people who aren’t their friends.”
Sirius was about to answer when the the office door swung open. James stepped out with McGonagall behind him, her hand upon his shoulder. Lily jumped up from his spot on the floor and immediately came to James’s defense.
“Professor, I saw the whole thing for myself and though you might think my version of the story may be hindered by the relationship James and I share I can promise that I can be completely professional about it and give you an unbiased version of it.”
“There were also other students in the library who I’m sure wouldn’t mind giving their own accounts incase you still want an outsiders point of view. I already have a list of names of some, though I wouldn’t suggest speaking with Madame Pince because with all due respect I feel like she can be blinded by her love for the library-”
“Miss Evans!” Lily’s lips snapped together finally giving McGonagall the silence she wanted. “Mr. Potter has already given me his side of the story, and Madame Pince also gave me her account that put Potter in the right.”
“Oh...” Lily blushed.
McGonagall turned her attention back to James. “I’ll speak to Professor Slughorn about the seating arrangement, but there’s nothing more I can do than that. I’m very proud of you Mr. Potter. You’ve come a long way.” She began walking down the corridor when Sirius caught her eye. “Mr. Black, I haven’t seen you in my office for quite some time now. It seems you might be taking a few leaves out of Mr. Potter’s book.”
“You have no idea, Professor.”
Her eyebrows raised catching the sarcasm in his voice, but instead of chiding him she simply continued her walk. The trio walked in the opposite direction trying to get out of her earshot.
“Talk about luck, Prongs!” Sirius laughed. “I think that’s the first time ever we’ve began dueling someone and actually gotten away with it!”
“It wasn’t quite a duel Padfoot.”
“What’d she say to you then?” Lily pressed.
“She said everyone she asked said I reacted out of self defense and even with a jinx that wouldn’t cause harm to my attacker or anyone else. Said that would become a trait I’ll need for when I become an Auror and other stuff.”
“I knew it! I knew she couldn’t punish you for it!” She hugged James from the side who returned it only half heartedly.
“Lils, would you mind if I talk to Sirius...alone?”
She was slightly taken aback by being asked to leave and quickly untangled herself from his side. “Of course not... I guess I’ll just meet you in class. Try not to take too long though, we’re already late.”
As Lily walked away, Sirius watched James. He had expected for James to be happier about avoiding detentions and other punishments but instead he looked troubled.
“What’s going on, mate?”
A small smile flickered on James’s lips for only a second before disappearing again. “McGonagall said it’s time...Dumbledore’s starting to recruit.”
Author's Note: Hey everyooooone!! Jeez louise can you believe we're already on chapter 15?! crazyyyyy!! Hehe! Hope you enjoyed itttt!
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