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"Where are you going? Bedtime's in five minutes," she challenged the boy. James jumped as soon as she spoke and stopped in his tracks.
Severus made a low sound that sounded awfully like talking.
"Moony, you're a genius!"
She had to hand it to the boys, when they needed to get something done, they really did go all out. She suddenly realised she was smiling a little and had to work hard to smooth out her face and even harder to make herself look annoyed.
Her gaze flitted about the room as she reached for words, and a flash of movement to her left caught her attention. Bowing her head as though she was embarrassed, Lily used her downwards gaze as a cover for when she looked sideways. Those idiotic boys clearly thought she would be too flustered by Dumbledore's question to notice anything, and they would have been right if her actions downstairs hadn't all been part of a performance.
She was determined to put an end to this conversation right now, but instead she found herself asking, "Why are you in detention, anyway?" It was as if once she started talking to him, she just couldn't stop herself.
The voice was full of malice and Lily's heart sank; she knew who it was before she even looked. Her stomach turned over in fear when she realised that the owner of the voice wasn't alone. With him were three other Slytherin students, all of them tall and menacing. Beside her, Lily felt Mary stiffen. Without being conscious of doing so, Lily moved forward half a step as though to shield the younger girl.
She heard a brief cry of, "The spells been broken!" and immediately launched herself through a door across the hall which had been standing ajar. It seemed to be a bathroom, though Lily was too scared to light up her wand and take a good look. She closed the door quietly and the lock gave a soft click as she aimed a spell at it. Less than a second later she heard the door across the hall being wrenched open and several sets of footsteps moving her way. She held her breath, knowing she was done for.
Lily shook her head in disgust. "So you don't mind working for a murderer, as long as you don't have to do his dirty work?"
It should have been so simple. He would nod and Lily would be immensely relieved she didn't have to go to the party alone. So if it was that simple, why was he looking at the ground and rubbing the back of his neck as though he was more uncomfortable than he'd ever been in his life? Lily waited for his reply, feeling more and more awkward by the second.
The decision was made: she was most definitely going to go and wake up Professor McGonagall – no, Professor Dumbledore, in fact – right then and there, though she was currently heaving the mirror back onto its hook above the doorway.
Lily shrugged, biting her lip. Each word that came out of Lynne's mouth was grating on her nerves; she was already feeling frustrated at not hearing the rest of the boys' conversation and now she had to explain why she had no social life? Though she was trying not to let herself think about it, James Potter's harsh words about her being a snob were creeping into her mind again.
It had been their sanctuary once upon a time: a place to spend time together without the constant looks of disgust from their respective housemates. Without the Slytherins sneering at them or the Gryffindors hurling insults, they were free to chatter and laugh to their hearts' content. Lily glanced briefly at Severus as she took a sip from her bottle, and she couldn't imagine feeling so free with him ever again.
She was wandless, alone, on the edge of a mass duel that was getting very out of hand.
If she got anything less than an E in this test, Slughorn was going to be in dire need of a strong Reviving Potion, and she wasn't even sure she could remember how to brew it.
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