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13 July 2005 @ 09:35 am
chapter thirteen - calling all angels  
I still, as of yet, haven't broken my writer's block. Gnaaaaaagh.

With the arrival of Half-Blood Prince soon, I'd imagine this story will get a little AU-ish ... depending on the amount of drastic changes that the sixth book will incure, I might try to adjust or, perhaps, I will just ignore it and this fic will move its way towards AU. I would appreciate that, just out of common curtesy for myself and anyone who might be reading, you not mention the sixth book, please. I know for a fact I will not be recieving my copy on the 16th, and it's just ...common sense.

Thank you.

Anyway, well, here you go. I may try to shove out all my old chapters before the newest book comes out -- but maybe not, because that doesn't give me much time, does it?

I hope you enjoy this chapter. I loved writing it.


Chapter Thirteen – Calling All Angels
I need to know that things are gonna look up
I feel lost drowning in this sea spilled from a cup
And there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
And you can feel the world shake from the words that I said
And I’m calling all angels
-Calling All Angels,
Train
--

Lily was up early the next morning. It had surprised her when she’d fallen asleep the instant she’d hit the pillow, what with all the thoughts running around in her head, but she the next morning she was up, showered and ready to go before seven o’clock.

With her homework finished, no essays due for some time and a burning desire to do some thinking, Lily headed down from the Gryffindor tower and made her way into the hallways. They were deserted, for the most part, and she took to maneuvering almost by second nature toward the Great Hall.

She felt disoriented and light-headed, almost. She was perfectly awake and yet she could not concentrate on her surroundings. No matter what she did, her mind continued wandering backwards, to last night; it was like an instant replay, over and over again. She couldn’t stop thinking about …well, all of it – about the noise the werewolf’s teeth made when they clacked together, about the surge of terror she’d felt, about the staff meeting they’d overheard, about the blood on the stag and her fingers and on James’ shoulder, about his firm grip on her shoulders and his fiercely determined hazel eyes…

She gave her head a little shake, although it was to no avail. She wanted, almost desperately, to talk it over with someone, and she’d considered once or twice breaking her word to James. In the end, she always decided against it. She couldn’t bring herself to do it. It had seemed to mean so much to him that she stay silent and she did owe him for saving her life, but mostly she simply could not bring herself to break a promise to James Potter. Despite the many derogatory things he was, James kept his word when he gave it, and Lily couldn’t bring herself to not return the common decency.

There were so many things she wanted to know. She wanted to know why James had been so defensive when they’d been talking about werewolves. Why did it bother him so much? Why had he been so determined to convince her of a werewolf’s innocence? It was odd. From what Lily had seen, it wasn’t a view most of the wizarding world had – quite the opposite, in fact. From what Lily had seen, almost everyone had the same view she had. Werewolves were dangerous, threats to society and ought to be treated as other threats were.

James’ behavior struck her as odd.

She also wanted to know why he had been outside in the first place, although she doubted she’d ever learn the answer to that. The Marauders were actively secretive. They were like a secret organization or cult, and while Lily was sure they were hiding something much bigger than prank ideas, she couldn’t fathom what. Even if Lily thought the idea was stupid, she had to admit they were powerful within the society of Hogwarts. Now, in their seventh year, Remus, Sirius, Peter and James had more influence than she was sure even they had anticipated.

Those thoughts lead her down another path entirely. Come to think of it, there were plenty of things she wanted to know about the self-titled quartet. How had two people like Remus and Peter come to be friends with James and Sirius? How come they could communicate so effectively with just a glance? She could do that with Anna and Melanie, yes, but with the boys it was nearly telepathy.

Moreover, what in God’s name had taken place in sixth year? Lily, like the rest of the student body, had only seen what had to have been the outcome of an argument – no, not an argument, more like an ...explosion. She had no idea what it’d been about and from what she gathered, neither did anybody else, but it had to have been something dramatic.

Brow furrowing, she chewed on her lip thoughtfully as she often did when thinking of an answer during an exam. She had no idea why, but she’d felt a sudden burst of that sensation she always felt when she knew she was about to realize something – usually an answer to a test question. There was …something. A gut feeling told her their argument in sixth year had something to do with whatever the hell had happened last night.

Closing her eyes, she tried to recall exactly what had happened in sixth year.

--

“I know he’s an asshole, Lily, but you’ve got to admit, he’s gorgeous.”

Lily shook her head slightly as she, Melanie, Anna and a seventh year named Alice Noels stepped into the Gryffindor common room. None of the Gryffindor sixth year males had been to classes that day, something particularly unusual. Usually, even if they were skipping, they had sense enough to send at least one of person to class to get notes and assignments – typically, it was Remus or Peter. Today, however, none of the four had been present, and Lily and her friends found it unusual.

“Black’s appearance cannot compensate for his personality,” Lily replied dully, shaking her head.

Anna snickered, pulling out her chair. “I dunno, Mel. I mean, he’s good-looking, obviously, but I, personally, am more of an Amos Diggory type of girl.”

Alice – the only one of the four already in a relationship – snickered and shook her head and looked over at Lily, grinning knowingly. Lily made a face, pulled out a chair, and took a seat.

“I wonder where the four of them were today,” said Lily, letting her books clang to the table. “Whenever they skip classes it means loads of work for the prefects the next day.”

“Remus’s a prefect, isn’t he?” asked Melanie as she flipped open her History of Magic textbook.

“Not like he does anything,” noted Alice, sparing Lily from answering.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Lily continued, pulling out a quill, “it was quite nice not to have them being insufferable distractions today. I just get the feeling they’re planning something asinine we’re all going to pay for tomorrow.”

“Go find them,” suggested Anna with a chuckle, “make sure they’re not setting kittens on fire or anything.”

“I think I’ll enjoy these few moments
without Potter on my tail, thank you,” replied Lily, glaring over at Anna with a barely concealed grin.

It was barely a minute or two before someone descended the stairs from the boys’ dormitories. Alice’s aforementioned significant other, Frank Longbottom, was a seventh year and he was quite well respected by Anna, Lily and Melanie. He was a good guy, if a bit clumsy, and there was a good-natured humor about him that made him amiable. Alice glanced up from her work and tilted her head.

“Frank!” she called, and the boy looked over.

“Alice,” he said in response, tilting his head.

Alice smiled. “Where’re Robin Hood and his merry men?”

For a couple seconds the confusion could be seen on Frank’s face and he tilted his head. “Who… oh, you mean Potter and the gang? In their dormitory, I think. Been in there quite a long time, actually, but they must’ve cast a silencing charm. Can’t hear a thing they’re saying.”

Alice raised an eyebrow and shrugged. “Better go save those bunnies, Lily,” she remarked, nudging Lily under the table.

Lily shook her head. “Lord Almighty. I don’t even want to begin to speculate as to what four teenage boys would be doing alone in a locked dormitory with a silencing charm.”

Frank grimaced. “Oh,
Lily, bad girl. There’s a mental image I don’t need.”

Lily snickered deviously and continued working.

Frank dragged a chair from a nearby table over toward the table where the girls were, taking a seat. Peering at the work the girls were doing, he opened his mouth – perhaps to comment, perhaps to offer help, Lily would never be sure, because before he could get a sound out there came a slam from the boy’s dormitories and a rather noticeable noise as someone thundered down the stairs.

The five seated at the table, along with most everyone else in the common room, looked over instinctively. Whatever they expected, chances are it was not what they saw. Remus Lupin swept down the stairs, jaw clenched, eyes narrowed and radiating fury.

It was a rare sight. Sirius had quite a temper, and with reasonable frequency when something would happen – be it with Peter or Severus Snape or one of his family members – it would become known to the general public. James, though he’d always seemed somewhat more stable than his best friend, had flown off the handle on more than one occasion, and Lily could even recall Peter being particularly indignant (alongside Sirius and James, mind you) in the defense of Remus before. Remus, on the other hand, had never before displayed any sign of having a temper at all. He was quiet and shy and unusually kind for someone in Potter’s inner circle.

Yet there he was, seething.

In a second, James appeared at the bottom of the stairs, hurrying after him. “Remus! Wait—“

Remus rounded on him. “Fuck off, James!” he snarled, shushing the common room entirely. “You’re
every bit as bad as he is!”

Even James seemed taken aback by the reaction. For a beat, he stood there, mouth agape, dumbfounded. “
What?!” he cried, sounding offended. “I’m not the one who—-this wasn’t my fault!”

“This time,” Remus finished for him, and there was an acidic tone in his voice Lily had never imagined him to possess. “Don’t act so innocent, James. Don’t act like you’re such a goddamn
hero! You think I don’t know the two of you do everything together?”

The common room was silent. Everyone was watching. The Marauders had never before turned on one of their own, with the exception of an occasional spat, and even then, never had it been Remus. Peter was at the bottom of the stairs now, a few paces behind James, his eyes wide. Above him, several stairs up, Sirius Black looked awful – pale, brooding and scowling.

“Not this!” James retorted, growing indignant and defensive. “I’m not that stupid!”

Remus smirked. “I wouldn’t wager money on that, James.”

There came a sharp, derisive laugh from Sirius.

James spun on his heel, shooting a vicious glare up the stairs at the boy who was his best friend. He opened his mouth to argue.

Peter beat him to it. For the first time Lily could remember, Peter Pettigrew raised his voice at Sirius Black. “Oh will you bloody well shut
up, Sirius?”

Sirius stared at him for a second, quite possibly as shocked as the audience was, before his expression turned to one of contempt. “Don’t tell me to shut up, you little twerp. This doesn’t even involve you!”

James leapt to Peter’s defense. “Of course it involves him!”

“Oh for once in your life let someone fight their
own battle, James! Once -- once -- can you not be the knight in shining armour?” growled Sirius in return, his voice reaching an unusually high pitch. “And I’m sorry, you’re wrong, it doesn’t involve him. It never does, apart from the fact that he follows us around because he’s head-over-heels for you and you just love feeling loved.”

Peter’s mouth was ajar, and whatever courage he’d found earlier was fading fast. James, for his part, was looking more and more enraged by the minute, and Sirius stormed down the staircase, past Peter, to stalk between Remus and James.

“Shut the
hell up, Sirius,” came James’ harsh tone. “If there’s someone here who doesn’t deserve the friends they’ve got, it’s you.”

Sirius wilted. The only people who could ever knock Sirius from his pedestal were Remus and James, both of whom were glaring daggers at him now. Lily – and everyone else, she was sure – was dreadfully curious as to what in God’s name was going on. They were the closest friends in the school, and yet they were standing here, looking ready to tear each other to pieces.

Sirius took a minute to replace the look of hurt with a look of animosity. “You’re every bit as bad as I am, James, whatever you want to believe. It’s nothing you wouldn’t have done. Besides, I—“

“Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot – you have an excuse, don’t you?” James interrupted him, his voice snide and sarcastic. “You’re allowed to be irrational and dangerous and downright stupid. It’s in your blood.”

A second of silence followed. James had used a viciously mocking tone, and even without being Sirius’ best friend, everyone in the room knew the easiest way to get under Sirius’ skin was mentioning his family. No one dared associate Sirius with the other Blacks; in the end, it left you with quite a few Blacks very angry at you, and they all had wicked tempers.

The second of silence ended when Sirius’ temper flared. In a fluid motion that made Frank grimace, Alice squeak and Lily jump, Sirius’ fist connected with James’ nose.

Obviously taken by surprise, James was sent smashing back into the wall a foot behind him. A trail of red from his nose indicated the strength of Sirius’ punch. He ran a hand under his nose and drew it forward, eyeing the blood. His eyes widened, but Lily couldn’t place the emotion.

Sirius, Remus and Peter were frozen. It seemed as though the instant after it had happened Sirius had regretted the action, but it was hard to say – he was standing there, shoulders squared but making no move to follow up. Peter was quickly looking from James to Sirius and back again, obviously unnerved by the fact that his two idols were clashing. Remus’ gaze was fixated on Sirius. Everyone in the common room was silent and staring.

Remus broke the silence first.

“You are,” he began, still looking at Sirius, “the most insufferable, unbalanced, inconsiderate prick I have ever had the misfortune of befriending.” His voice was lethally quiet, his teeth clenched and he was, quite literally, shaking with anger. He paused a second and then looked at James. “Although, I must admit,
you are a close second.”

With that, he spun on his heel and stalked out of the common room through the Portrait hole. Both Sirius and James gazed after him, before slowly Sirius shifted his gaze to the ground awkwardly and James clenched his jaw, looking irritated. His nose was still bleeding steadily and he swore, wiping under his nose again and looking at his bloodied up hand.

Temper tantrum ending abruptly, Sirius glanced up from the floor, looked to James and back down again instantly. Lily was not sure that she’d ever seen anyone look more sorry. He spun around and darted to a table in the corner in order to grab a tissue from a nearby box, but upon turning back around, he found James to be already holding one to his nose. Peter was offering an entire box.

Arm outstretched uselessly, Sirius hesitated a moment.

“I—” he began, swallowing, sounding more vulnerable than Lily had ever imagined the mighty Sirius Black could ever be, “James, I—”

James’ eyes met Sirius’ and narrowed. “Save it, Sirius,” he hissed, knocking Sirius’ arm aside with one hand. He swept from the room with a purposeful glare, Peter at his heels. Sirius-

“Watch it, Evans!”

Reality came crashing back to Lily as she came crashing back to the ground. Landing on her back, confusion overwhelmed her for a moment before her eyes ran up the legs in front of her and she discovered they belonged to Narcissa. Lily stared at the Slytherin dumbly for a moment before springing back to life and picking herself up off of the floor. Running a hand down her clothing to brush off the dust, she looked at the blonde. “Sorry.”

Narcissa raised a disinterested brow. “Try to keep your head out of the clouds, Evans.” She sent Lily a typical cold stare and walked around the redhead. She’d gone about three steps before she paused, turned and looked back at Lily. “Evans.”

Lily sighed, kneeling down to shove her books back into her bag. “What, Black?” she asked tiredly.

The Slytherin took a few steps towards Lily again. “I hear that you spent all of last night with Potter. Is that true?”

Lily shook her head. “Of course not. I would not be able to bear spending that long with him. It was only a few hours.”

The moment she said it she regretted it.

“Only a few hours?” repeated Narcissa, voice silky. “What on Earth were you doing outside with Potter in the middle of the night?”

Running away from a werewolf and eavesdropping on staff meetings, what do you expect? thought Lily with an impatient sigh. She hardly had collected her own thoughts about the previous night, she did not want Narcissa interfering. Aware that she would not get away unless she gave an answer, she said the first lie that sprang to mind. “I was helping him with something.” Specifics? “Tutoring.”

Narcissa’s eyebrows rose. “Oh? What subject?”

Lily looked up into Narcissa’s rather cold eyes, once more remembering James’ advice on lying.

Oh bloody… She said the first thing that came to mind.“Charms,” she replied convincingly.

Narcissa seemed more amused than was appropriate for the situation. “Tutoring James Potter in Charms, you say?”

Lily nodded, held Narcissa’s gaze and nodded. “Mmhm.”

Narcissa smiled a sly smile that Lily thought bore an uncanny resemblance to Sirius’ mischievous grin. “Interesting.” With that, the blonde was on her way again.

--

When Lily made her way to breakfast later that morning, she was sandwiched between Anna and Melanie, but the Gryffindor table looked empty. It wasn’t so much the fact that no one was there, she supposed. There was only one end that seemed devoid of people, and it was the end that usually was inhabited by James and his gang. None of them were present that morning, and Lily found it a bit unusual.

“How were the kids last night?” asked Melanie once Lily had taken a seat.

Instantly, Lily felt herself tense a bit. She wasn’t used to lying, and she wasn’t naïve enough to think she was particularly good at it. Busying herself with piling food onto her plate, she shrugged. “It was okay, I suppose,” she said, “Easy material.” Don’t ask questions, don’t ask questions, don’t ask questions…

“You’re a saint for doing it,” Anna said, shaking her head. “I can’t stand kids. My younger brothers are plenty.”

Lathering her pancakes in syrup, Melanie nodded. “Amen. Most kids drive me up the wall.”

“They were fine,” said Lily, shrugging once again. She searched her mind for something, anything to say that would change the topic…

Anna did the job for her. Nudging Lily in the side, she jerked her head in the direction of the Slytherin table. Lily followed her gaze and stared across the hall.

The Gryffindor and the Slytherin tables were beside each other, something Lily thought to be a major error in judgment on the founders’ part. Because of this, oftentimes Severus Snape and James Potter were far closer than anyone could have thought wise. Lily couldn’t count the number of times that, over the years, one or more of the gang had begun antagonizing Severus, only to have the argument escalate and, oftentimes, result in a food – or fist – fight.

Oftentimes, she was sure, the only thing that kept them from killing each other right then and there was the Head table.

The thought of that jogged another memory within Lily, brought on by the one from earlier.

It was nearly a fortnight since the collision in the Gryffindor commons, and it was nearly fortnight since anyone had seen any of the Marauders besides James and Peter speak to each other. While no one in the school seemed to have the slightest idea what had started the rift, it was deep and pronounced. They avoided each other at every turn. Lily was certain they actually went out of their way to not pass each other in the hallways, and when they did have to see each other, the only looks exchanged were brisk and cold.

Remus had become almost a different person entirely. A far cry from the warm, quiet boy he had been previously, he was now bitter and even cold. Melanie sat beside him in one of their classes since the argument, and afterwards she had been quick to tell Lily and Anna that he acted most bizarrely out of character. When he spoke his words were acute, sharp and sneering.

It was an unnerving transformation.

At the other end of the spectrum was Sirius; formerly jovial and outspoken, the boy wasn’t even an echo of his former self. Without his friends at his back at every turn, he was reclusive. Silent unless spoken too, brooding, presumably depressed and startlingly withdrawn, he was scarcely recognizable. Perhaps the most unusual was that, without his friends, Sirius was actually a good student. Rather like James he’d always done well in school with minimal effort, but now it seemed whenever Lily saw him – which wasn’t all that often – he was absorbed in something academic, something he wouldn’t have been caught dead doing a month ago.

James and Peter were the only ones speaking to each other. Peter had changed little; mostly, he seemed confused. Lily imagined that having his three idols torn apart rocked his boat quite a bit.

James, however, was feared. In retrospect, Lily wasn’t quite sure why. James wasn’t typically the one who flew off the handle as Sirius did and James wasn’t the one who’d thrown the punch in the common room. Somehow, however, word seemed to have spread throughout the school that James Potter was lethal and Lily had seen underclassmen on more than one occasion change paths to avoid coming into contact with him.

The fight lasted much longer than Lily had anticipated. She’d given it three days, initially, and so had her friends. Stubborn though they were, it was obvious to everyone in the school that the four of them weren’t quite complete without each other. Lily saw James and Peter when they talked; oftentimes, James was gazing off in the distance, looking disinterested, sometimes even irritated, and Peter would yammer away unawares at his side. Lily couldn’t recall ever seeing Sirius and James be in a similar position.

Lily was early to breakfast that morning, as she often was. The seventh year end of the table was pretty empty. Alice was off tutoring Frank, Melanie was finishing last-minute homework, Anna was sleeping in, and Lily had been hungry, so she’d headed off to the Great Hall. James was there when she arrived, without Peter, and Lily could recall being sort of surprised.

The one good thing that had spawned from the deterioration of the ties that bond was that not once since the argument had James made any sort of pass at Lily.

They spoke not a word to each other, as they rarely did. She never bothered to initiate communication unless he did, and he seemed quite preoccupied with his pancakes, stabbing them over and over while eating next to nothing.

It must have been a minute or two into the argument that Lily even realized what was happening. Looking up from her food, she found Severus seated at the Slytherin table directly behind James, hissing something maliciously. James’ jaw was clenched and he was sending Severus a particularly deadly glare over his shoulder.

“I’m warning you, Snape,” Lily heard James begin.

“Warning? Since when do you believe in warning, Potter? Isn’t that a bit too
noble for you? You never seemed to take to warning me when you still had cronies at your beck and call.”

James’ eyes shut briefly. Lily had to hand it to the two of them – they knew how to get under each other’s skin.

“Snape—“ James began, but Severus ignored him once again.

“Why is that, Potter?” he continued, sneering. Lily saw why. Here he had the chance, a rare chance, to get back at James for years of torment without too much of a risk. There were teachers at the Head table in the same room. James didn’t have Remus, Peter or Sirius to side with him.

For once, Severus and James were equals.

“Is it because you wouldn’t
dare do something without your beloved bodyguards to back you up? You aren’t so daring on your own, are you?”

James twitched. Severus needed to back off. Lily could see James exercising every sort of self-control he possessed as he smiled coldly and replied through gritted teeth. “I’m not kidding, Snivvy. Don’t make me regret the decision to let you
live.”

The words struck Lily as odd, but leave it to James to be over dramatic. Rolling her eyes, she cleared her throat. “Excuse me, would the two of you be so kind as to –“

“Stay out of it, Evans,” James barked at her, eyes flashing. “Snape, sod off.”

Severus wasn’t about to do anything of the sort. “What
did happen to your little henchmen, anyway, Potter? Did you finally realize what a mistake it is to befriend bloodtraitors and halfbreeds?”

Something in James snapped. Ignoring the students filling the halls, ignoring the teachers at the head table, ignoring the fact that he didn’t have any of his typical back-up, he spun around faster than Lily would have otherwise believed possible and, magic forgotten, his fist connected with Severus’ stomach.

Severus lurched backwards in surprise and fell from the bench, landing on the floor and hitting his head on the side of the table.

“Potter!” Lily exclaimed, eyebrows arching. Hers was not the only voice that said it; Professor McGonagall had leapt up from the staff table.

Equally as fast, James pulled his wand from his pocket and pointed it down at Severus, eyes narrowed.

“Don’t you dare,” he hissed, sounding venomous.

The present was a lot less dramatic. As Lily looked over, Narcissa whispered something to the girl beside her, who snickered. The Slytherins rather quickly began whispering amongst themselves, and several of them cast wide-eyed glances at Lily.

“Can I help you?” Melanie called over to them rather loudly, arching an eyebrow.

There only response from the Slytherins was more whispering.

Lily shrugged. “I have no idea what they’re on about, to be honest,” she said, eating a forkful. “I’ve stopped caring, at this point.”

“That’s weird,” said Anna, shaking her head. “And to think I thought they’d grown out of the gossipy phase.”

“Girls never grow out of the gossipy phase,” Melanie muttered, shooting a dark look at the Slytherins and then eating a piece of her hotcake.

“Fair enough,” said Anna with a bit of a shrug. “I wish they’d leave Lily alone, though.”

Lily wasn’t fazed. “Don’t worry about it, Anna. It’s probably something about Muggles eating babies or rats or something of the sort, and I don’t feel like correcting them at the moment.”

Anna snickered. “Fair enough.”

Consumed with small-talk for the time being, Lily ignored the looks the Slytherins were sending her and the whispers that were working their way from the seventh year half of the table to the first years. Mercifully distracted from the events of the previous night – from what she’d overheard from the teachers, from the werewolf, from promising James – Lily allowed herself to fall comfortably into the familiar groove of trivial school discussion.

When James entered the hall, the murmurs amongst the Slytherins escalated and turned into something of chortles. James sent them a disinterested look but said nothing, opting instead to sink into a seat at the table beside Anna, heaving a sigh.

He looked tired, not that Lily was surprised. For a moment he sat there, gazing tiredly around at the food on the table, before lazily opting to merely pour himself a drink. Finishing nearly the entire goblet in one go, he set it down with a clink and yawned.

“Good morning to you too,” said Anna after a minute, staring at him.

He looked up and blinked, almost as if he noticed her presence for the first time. “Good morning, Anna.”

“Decided to roll out of the grave this morning, then, did you?” she asked, a grin tugging at her lips.

He smiled tiredly. “Mmmhm.” Yawning again, he gave his head a little shake. “Sorry, didn’t get much sleep. Dead tired.”

“What in Godric’s name were you doing all night?” asked Melanie, raising her eyebrow.

“Nothing, that’s the sad part,” he replied. “Insomnia.”

“Poor baby,” Anna remarked with a bit of a snicker, sending him a grin.

James made a vaguely-coherent noise in reply, eyes closing. Lily thought he looked about ready to collapse and frowned. Why was he so much more tired than she was?

“Maybe you should go back to bed,” was Anna’s advice after a minute when it became apparent James was trying to sleep upright. She slipped an arm around him and gave his opposite shoulder a little affectionate squeeze.

The affectionate squeeze caused James to jump and let out a hiss of pain.

Anna retracted her arm instantly, looking startled. Melanie stared over at James, and Lily bit her lip.

The blood…

…and the stag.

What the hell is going on?

“What?” asked Anna, furrowing a brow. “Something wrong?”

It may have just been Lily, but she thought James looked distinctly uncomfortable. “Oh, it’s nothing. Just a little sore. Quidditch practice.”

Anna frowned. “Well, maybe if you didn’t have this damned thing so tight…” and she reached a hand up to where James’ tie had his collar fastened unusually snug-fitting around his neck. “It is the weekend, you know.”

James’ hand caught hers. “No, it’s fine.”

He gave her hand a little squeeze and let it fall between the pair of them. Anna looked about to protest, but before she found the time there was the familiar cacophony of wings and tittering that accompanied the morning post every day.

A chirpy little owl swept down toward Melanie and quite happily dropped the Daily Prophet on the table in front of her. Quickly paying off the bird with a sickle and a piece of her pancake, Melanie picked the paper from the table. Untying the string and unrolling it, her expression turned to a frown.

“Oh no…” she said faintly, sighing.

Lily leaned over Melanie’s shoulder and read the headline, sighing. Anna leaned over Lily, and James craned his neck to see over the girls.

The headline was bold and clear.

“DARK MARK” LEAVES ITS MARK: PREWETTS MURDERED
Ministry Baffled Over War’s First Pureblooded Civilian Casualties

Anna let out a low whistle, shaking her head. Melanie swore. Around the Great Hall, other students receiving their copies of the Prophet reacted in scattered ways, and once again whispers rippled through the crowd.

James and Lily exchanged a wary glance.

Melanie lifted the paper a little higher and read aloud.

“Neither of the victims were Aurors nor did they work for the Ministry, sources say, although they were adamantly against muggle-born discrimination. “There was no reason for the attack apart from the fact they don’t believe what You-Know-Who wants them to believe,” says Auror Alastor Moody. “It’s a shame. Good people, the Prewetts.”

It doesn’t look to be a one-time occurrence, the Ministry fears. “It looks to be a continuing trend, unfortunately,” remarks Bartemius Crouch, Sr., Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Will there be more civilian casualties?

“Most undoubtedly,” he tells the Prophet. “This is a war, of course it’s going to get bad. But we’re working on it. We will catch those responsible and they will rot in Azkaban, as they deserve to.” Recently, Crouch has been actively trying to modify Auror spell restrictions and lift regulations on trials for those suspected of Dark activity.

Moody informs the Prophet that the Ministry is taking steps to try and prevent any further casualties. “Ministry Intelligence is working on composing a list of potential targets and alerting them as soon as possible. The best advice we can offer at the moment is to stay alert. Don’t let your guard down. Constant vigilance!”

It leaves the public to wonder -- is anyone safe anymore? It was only a week ago in Hogsmeade that an Auror couple and their seven-year-old daughter were found dead, victims of both the Cruciatus and Killing Curses. The Ministry has no leads.

Perhaps most troubling of all is Hogsmeade’s close vicinity to Hogwarts, currently under the rule of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Students in years three and up are allowed to visit Hogsmeade in scheduled weekend trips. Hogwarts’ population is diverse, hosting names like Black, Lestrange and Snape alongside names like Potter, McKinnon, and Diggory, as well as countless Muggle-born and half-blooded children.

One only has to look at the Head Boy and Girl of Hogwarts this year to see the Headmaster’s view on the war. Acting as Head Boy and Girl are seventh years Lily Evans and James Potter, the former a bright muggle-born and the latter the well-known family’s only heir. It seems an interesting choice of icons and under the supervision of a man like Dumbledore, who’s to say it isn’t a political statement?

As of current, Dumbledore has made no move to change the school’s policy on Hogsmeade weekends.

See section 4B for the continuation, ARE OUR CHILDREN SAFE?”


As Melanie finished and lowered the paper, she glanced beside her. Anna looked dazed.

Lily and James were holding each other’s gazes firmly. James no longer looked tired; he appeared alert in the way he had the previous night.

Whispers spread throughout the Great Hall moments later, and not for the first time both James and Lily were correct in assuming the whispers were about them.





Notes: Regarding first flashback: I wanted to write it forever, as I think I mentioned in my actual authors notes. I had fun incorporating Alice and Frank, two characters I rather enjoy. In many fics I have read, the sixth year incident just sort of blows over after a day or so, and that's something I've always had a hard time swallowing. Remus, I'm sure, would be much angrier than that -- and I also have a hard time believing James would side with Sirius. As far as perspectives go, Remus is angry because he [rightly] feels betrayed and revokes his trust in all of them; James is outraged that Remus is mad at him and astounded Sirius would do something that stupid, and Sirius, whom I'm sure did not really 'mean' it, lets temper get the better of him and turns defensive as well. Peter and James were the only two I saw with no reason whatsoever to be mad at each other, and so I left them together. Besides that, I wanted to show that their relationship was deeper than simple hero-worship.

Regarding the second flashback: It came to mind just as I wrote the scene with Lily in the great hall, and I couldn't resist. It worked, and it did manage to show that, furious at each other or not, there was still that slight tie between the Marauders. I thought it was affective in getting across the 'thick-and-thin' aspect, and to be honest I rather liked that little scene, so I hope you all did too.

Regarding the newspaper article: I wanted to remind everyone of the war once again, because it seemed appropriate. James and Lily are mentioned both because they are the main part of this fic and because it's something I've noticed before and found a little peculiar. Both Gryffindor, one a muggle-born girl and the other a pureblood from what is presumably one of the 'good' families? It seemes a little obvious -- and they seem like blatant targets. I had fun writing that article.



Comment if you've got the time. =)


<3
Kali
 
 
Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: the show must go on ; moulin rouge
 
 
 
get_over_urselfget_over_urself on July 13th, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC)
I love this chapter, becuase I love reading about the marauders arguing. Not that I don't love all of the marauders, but...I dunno. I just love reading about them shouting at each other...lol. Very nice...
Laurenxxx
ilk_girl on July 13th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
very nice. I agree with your comments. I hate it when people don't include Peter that much in their fanfics, but it bugs me even more when they don't include him at all. It was awesome that you put him in, and it was nice of James to stick up for him. The only thing that still makes me wonder is what the heck turned Peter to the "dark side."
fleur137fleur137 on July 13th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
Aww...u sure know how to make a girl happy on her b'day ne?
(Anonymous) on July 14th, 2005 12:07 am (UTC)
i can't tell you how awesome it would be if you got all the chapters out before the book comes out. i really liked the flashbacks. they were so good and relevant and interesting. your writing just flows so easily it doesnt seem like im reading. its like every sentence you write is a fact i learned and am just being reminded of it... if that makes any sense. anyways, this chapter was amazing.
<3 mari
Tayloroh_fine on July 14th, 2005 04:28 am (UTC)
Fabulous chapter! The flashbacks are incredibly well written. The exchange between the Marauders is very well done and more realistic than anything I've ever read.

Well done, and update soon!
rebeka13rebeka13 on July 14th, 2005 07:49 am (UTC)
two more words in addition to the ones i have just said, update soon
Some incredibly evil cansscarlet_avatar on July 14th, 2005 10:37 am (UTC)
Wow! Excellent chapter. The emotional intensity especially in the flash backs was raw. Loved it. I think your interpretations of all 4 boys during the fight were very realistic though i felt Remus was a bit unfair towards James but that could just be my James bias and Remus has perfect reasons to act the way he does. Liked that You have fleshed out Peter and given him more of a role than his usual fanboy one.

Can't wait for the next update and HBP in only one and a half days!!!
downdown_igodowndown_igo on July 14th, 2005 05:36 pm (UTC)
ee! it's awesome. I'm in love with the way your words flow, and the flashbacks were superbly written. Can't wait for the next chapter! =)

<3 Julia

ps- good luck
Traceytraceria on July 15th, 2005 06:39 pm (UTC)
I remember thinking that your flashback of the 6th year fallout being very in-tune to what I'd imagined. Nicely done, yet again.

Er...back to work here...

I like the sporadic distraction, though. This was a VERY nice break, indeed. :)
Sophiecookiegirl18 on July 19th, 2005 12:26 pm (UTC)
Great Chapter, I very much enjoy the flashback. I can't wait for the next chapter!
(Anonymous) on July 22nd, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, good! Not only an update, but this was always one of my favorite chapters. I love the flashbacks, mostly because as this is a Lily-POV fic, we don't really get to see much of just the Marauders.
Update soon!
~AnonyMOUSE11
(Anonymous) on July 27th, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC)
Arrggh...where ARE you? I'm starting to feel very impatient, do update soon.

~A RandomReader
(Anonymous) on July 27th, 2005 07:12 pm (UTC)
Boo. I'm sad you haven't updated in like twenty million years. haha okay maybe not that long, but you know. Anyways, I want you to know that i really, REALLY look forward to your next update. I live off your story. It's damn good. So, yeah, i get that you have a life and that youre not some weirdo machine that spits out stories every day, BUT it would be much appreciated if you would update soon. :) Thanks!
You Rock, You Rock, You Rock
mb4
Camillamo_chan on July 28th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
Heeeeey. Just re-reading your chapters and they're still good, as always. Glad to hear you're still around yo.
Austinjohnmayergirl23 on July 31st, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
Ah, my favorite chapter of the story so far. I remember first reading this on ff.net. I read it three times and printed it out because I love it so. The flashbacks are divine. The characterization is perfect. I loooooove this so much. I simply adore it.

Ta~
*me