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A/N: I'm slipping in a note to clarify that the bad guy is indeed Bryn Johnson, the same Johnson who was in the library, spied on Lily etc. He was also the one Lily dated back in sixth year, but broke up with because she was too busy and she wasn't really in love... With that in mind, enjoy the chapter and the rest of the story!

Chapter Seventeen, The Funky Change

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Someone once said that dancers
work just as hard as policeman,
always alert, always tense, but see,
policeman don't have to be beautiful at the same time.
- George Balanchine

I looked down at the mark scribbled in the right corner of my Gnabbler-essay from Care of Magical Creatures.

An “Acceptable”.

I should have got at least an E. But it wasn’t my fault James and I had been sitting in the common room that night, laughing like mad remembering my panic-attack in the forest when we were supposed to find the small irritating Gnabblers.

That essay became short and not too detailed. But I included the most important things…

“I suppose you mean ‘Gnabblers usually let out a smell that stinks as a defence mechanism’ instead of ‘Gnabblers usually to let out a spell that links as a defence mechanism’? Apart from some small misses like the one mentioned, you have the main points and a good illustration of the Gnabbler. Acceptable.”

I smiled reading the comment form Professor Frogley. James had made me change some letters and words to see the new, hilarious meaning, and we ended up with stomach-cramps. But I didn’t remember to turn all the things back. Well well.. I survived. I’d make my next essay better.

“Hey, what did you get?” Remus bent over to me during lunch.

I shoved the papers away from him, almost afraid to make him see. I always got E’s in that subject and even some O’s. But this time it was a poor A.

‘Does it matter? It’s Remus after all..’

“Ok, ok.. I got an A,” I sighed, letting him grab the papers.

He shook his head playfully at me.

“Not good Lily.. What does “The Gnabbler is usually whine and fray in the winter-mouths” mean? Were you drunk when you wrote this? You should have got a ‘Poor’ on this, really..” He looked over at me in surprise.

“It was supposed to mean that the Gnabbler is white and grey in winter, but that was one of the sentences I didn’t have time to correct before handing it in.”

“Why did you write that stuff in the first place? You must have done it in the middle of the night or when you were having a hangover to pull off those spelling mistakes,” Anna asked.

“I was actually just in a good mood, so I changed them on purpose.”

“What? Just to sit there laughing at yourself?” Hillary joined in.

“No.. I did it after I’d gone over the Halloween-report with James Sunday night.”

Remus, Anna and Hillary looked very oddly at me.

“You two getting along well?” Remus asked to make me stop laughing. Just the thought of James howling in laughter when I red my manipulated essay was hard to push out of my head.

“Yeah, I think we are. I think it’s because he hasn’t asked me out for almost two weeks. Which suits me perfectly,” I said, smiling.

“By the way, I got a letter from him just now,” Sirius said, holding up a green envelope. He read out loud:

“Dear Padfoot, Moony and Wormtail,

The funeral was this morning, mum and generally everyone but me cried their eyes out. I was probably the saddest of them all, I just couldn’t manage to cry. It was a touching ceremony though. I wonder how many galleons they spent on all those roses and flowers?

Please let me know what Lily got on the Care of Magical Creatures essay? Don’t ask why. Maybe she’ll tell you if you ask, but wait till she’s finished laughing for the answer. As you know, I’ll be back on Wednesday, thank God I’m going to miss double potions on Tuesday. Have fun with that.

Padfoot, you’ll have to stand in for me as Captain on the team tomorrow on Wednesday, I’ll know if you cancelled the practise, believe me! Remember we’re playing Slytherin in a couple of weeks, and we’re having a run-through of the new tactics on Saturday. So we’ll have to be easy on the good stuff on Halloween on Friday. Too bad.. I know.

See you tomorrow night!


“I knew he’d say the stuff about the Quidditch and the drinking, and please share whatever it is Prongs is referring to, Lily?” Sirius smiled.

“I’ll tell you later, lunch is over so I have to get to my Arithmancy-class.”

“Sure sure.. I won’t forget. What did you get on the essay by the way?” He smirked.

“That’s none of your busi…”

“She got an A,” Remus cut me off.

“An A? Lily Evans! When did you stop doing your homework properly? Let me see that!” Sirius joked.

All three of us looked at the essay resting on the table, and I dived for it. Unfortunately, Remus got it before me and handed it gladly to Sirius, giving me an evil grin that wasn’t like him at all.

“What the…?” Sirius exclaimed. “…the female has a dangerous temperament when it’s love sick? Since when did Gnabblers become love sick? You tell me that? It didn’t say so in the text book… Even professor Frogley says you missed points on that one.”

Before he was half through the sentence I was having a fit of laughter again.

“I see what Prongs meant… This is obviously a touchy topic.”

“Oh shut up, Sirius!” I said, snapping the essay and linking with Anna’s elbow so we would get to class in time. Sirius just stood there, shaking his head and looking at me as though I was an alien.

“She’s going mad these days, I’m telling you. You should see her when she’s over-tired. I think it’s because of all the sleepless nights when she was all stressed over the show,” I heard Hillary say to Remus, Peter and Sirius.

“I heard that!” I yelled back as I exited the Great Hall.

It was Tuesday, and it was ballet-class. Lindsay had given us Monday off to rest after the show, but now we were going back on.

I had to say I couldn’t bare the thought of starting to train myself up for the ballet-exam coming up next spring… It was going to be very demanding.

But as the lesson started, Lindsay was praising us for our brilliant performance on Saturday, and had a sparkle in her eye I wasn’t that used to seeing. We all sat spread out on the floor, listening to her.

“I want you to listen to this piece of music,” she said, tapping the music box.

At first I creased my eyebrows at the sound of creepy laughter and wind blowing in the background. Then the music took a drastic change to a pop rock sort of thing. I wondered what the guitar and the catchy singing was doing in a ballet-studio, but I got excited by the look on Lindsay’s face.

“I reckon it’s time to drop the elegance and straight postures and have a little fun, don’t you think? I’ve set up a different, short dance for the fifth to seventh-years to do together on Halloween this Friday. All other dancing-lessons are cancelled, we only have two hour right after the normal school-lessons every day. So the other girls have this week off to rest after the show, while we have a little funky change.”

I grinned. Four days without ballet, but with some sort of funky jazz. And then dancing it on Halloween. I felt my body shake with anticipation.

“We will have the start of the dance, then the sixth-years will have the middle-part, and the fifth-years will go on stage after them again before all of us do the ending. Sounds fun?”

Even Dorothy smiled and nodded. I was stunned.

“We will learn this in three days?” Jennifer whined, a little worried.

“Don’t worry. You’ll have six hours to practise! And you’re not doing the whole song, you know. Just two of four parts of it. I know you’ll manage, you’re all so good at learning fast.”

That calmed most people down. I was ready for the challenge.

“Ok, we all start in different positions around on the stage. We’ll be wearing tall hats and have cloaks in the beginning, I’ve organised for some cauldrons with smoke to stand between us at the back as well.”

After a quick warm up, (no pliés or grand battements at the barre) Lindsay started to tell us more about the dance and start organising. She set us in different parts of the room, and told us to pretend there was a cauldron between us. Then she showed us some easy basic steps.

We had soon learnt a lot. In the beginning we were witches on Halloween, and then we threw our cloaks off, dancing to quick, funky music. We were supposed to wear tops that glowed in the dark, and Lindsay wanted to enchant our dance sneakers so they became glowing as well. And when the Great Hall was being all dark.. it was going to rock!

The room was warm and filled with an enthusiastic atmosphere.

“Brilliant, Lily, but keep your feet parallel and not turned out like in ballet. And keep your body weight forward. That’s it.”

Everyone was keen and learning fast, even though it was unusual. I had a couple of jazz courses in the summer on my back, so I wasn’t that bad.

“Now, drop that sweet smile, and give me some attitude!” Lindsay yelled, turning on the music to repeat the last section.

When we returned to the changing room we were sweaty and happy.

“Bring loose clothes tomorrow, let your leotards have a week off,” Lindsay yelled after us.

“That was like … the coolest!” Jennifer exclaimed as she took off her dancing slippers. “I can’t wait to continue that tomorrow.. Just imagine, we’re going to go mad on Halloween!”

“I know,” I smiled, finding my lime green socks.

I heard Fanny and Jill hum on the melody to the dance, marking the steps. This was going to be one Halloween I wouldn’t forget.

‘I miss him.’

How could I not? I knew he was only gone for two or three days, but who cared? I was not used to going to classes without seeing his smile by the breakfast table first...

I remembered staying up to one AM on Sunday night.. I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to go down to the common room to do homework instead. And who was there?

James of course. He had a pile of books next to him, he was going away so he had to finish about five essays before he left for London.

At first it had been quite embarrassing, because I had left earlier the previous night when he started to bring up the kiss he had pressed onto my cheek. But when I sat down by a table of my own, he had soon moved over to me for company.

I found it disturbing at first, but then we started joking around because we were so tired and bored. When I was almost falling asleep over my books, the muscles in my face was sore from laughing.

He had played his game right that time.

He had kept his promise, he hadn’t asked me out like I thought he would. It was strange to laugh with him. I was so used to giving him rude replies and be mean it was unnatural to laugh and smile with him.

But I liked it. It felt good to do that. At the same time I didn’t dare to think about it too much. After all, he was playing a game, and I was a part of it. And I wouldn’t let myself fall for him. After the incident in the hospital wing with Sirius, I was being very aware of what I thought about James.

It would only get worse if I fell for him. If I said yes to one of his desperate suggestions to date me, he would dump me like he dumped any other girl.

So I was strict with myself.

‘But I’m allowed to like him. He can be my friend… But nothing more. I can’t be hurt at this point.. when I’m finally managing to get onto my feet again. That would kill me.’

‘The thoughts rushing through my head on Saturday night was just lust. I would have liked anybody to kiss me… not only James. That was why I ran off to my dorm. Nothing else.’

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