Chapter Two

The next morning, around six, Lily woke up to a scuffling noise near her dormitory's fireplace. She sat straight up in bed, groggily thinking it might be Petunia going through her things. She blinked, then remembered where she was. Swinging her feet out of bed and into her slippers, she caught sight of the disturber. Lily squealed. The shuffler was a sort of elf, dressed in a toga-like piece of cloth with the Hogwarts emblem on the front. It had large eyes, a sort of green, and long bat-like ears. Turning around, it saw her looking at it, picked up its tongs and dustpan, and fled out the door, slamming it loudly. The door woke the rest of the dormitory's inmates up. Lily saw Amanda in one of the beds near the window, the twins from the boat near the door, and two blonde girls in the other two beds. All of them were rather grumpy and groggy, and all of them wanted to know what had happened. Lily reached for a dressing gown. "It was a sort of elf thing, tending the fire. I guess I shouldn't have screamed; I think I frightened it away. It slammed the door when it left." One of the twins sighed. "Elf or not, I'm going back to bed." And she did, falling back on her pillow almost instantly and starting to snore. Lily rolled her eyes, as did one of the blonde girls. "How did we ever sleep through that?" the blonde girl who had rolled her eyes asked. Amanda shrugged, tossing her long brown hair over one shoulder. "I'm just glad I did. I don't know how I did, though." They got dressed quickly and went down to the common room, which was still relatively empty. There were about four third years and fifth year, none of them looking quite happy or awake. One of them started grumbling the minute they came in. "I hate poltergeists. Have you met ours yet?" one of the third years asked. Lily shook her head no. "I didn't even know we had one, to be honest." The fifth year groaned. "His name's Peeves. He just moved in last year, and you'd better be thankful he hasn't thought up anything worse than dropping water balloons on us." The third year that had spoken before snorted. "Water balloons? Is that all he did to you? I don't suppose you've had him empty your trunk over you, using the excuse that he thought you were cold. We've been up since four, cleaning my stuff up and nursing bruises." Several other students had started to filter in, all of them dressed, some of them wet, and all complaining about Peeves. Saying good-bye to a continued nap in an armchair in front of the fire, Lily went downstairs to the Great Hall, hoping for a plentiful breakfast. She got her wish. The golden plates were already filled with biscuits, bacon, porridge, toast, fruit, pancakes, and all sorts of eggs. She helped herself to some of everything, wondering how she could still have an appetite after last night's feast. Amanda had entered with Lily, choosing a seat right next to her. "What is the point of a poltergeist, I'd like to know? Practically all other creatures have sense, but 14

poltergeists?" She went on like that all through her bacon and eggs, and Lily sat next to her, bored, grumpy, and very tired. She was relieved when some of the other students started to come in to breakfast, among them her four friends from the train last night. Sirius pulled out a chair across from her, almost unnaturally awake. "Morning, Lily!" She glared at him under half-open eyelids. "Go away and celebrate your awakeness somewhere else. I'm trying to sleep." Her head dropped back onto her arms, ignoring the schedule Professor McGonagall was handing out that had landed on top of her milk glass. James sat down on the other side of Lily. He picked up the schedule and squinted at it. "Hey, you've got Charms first period with us! We didn't take our exams last year, so we're back. Oh...have fun second period--you've got double Potions with the Slytherins...like I said, have fun...Herbology, not that bad...you've got that with the Ravenclaws...you've got flying with the Slytherins--that seems to be a tradition, Gryffindor doubling with Slytherin in Potions and flying--oh, thanks, Professor." This last was to Professor McGonagall, who was making second rounds with schedules. "Let's see...hey, Sirius, we have Transfiguration second...remember the Nail-Loss Charm?" Lily raised her head again. "James, it's too early in the morning. Go back to bed." James looked at her incredulously. "It's eight-thirty, the first school day of the year, and breakfast time. What more could you want and why on earth are you so tired?" Lily scowled. "Have you ever heard of noisy elves and poltergeists at six a.m.? I think that would explain my monstrous desire for a large mug of straight caffeine with only a little bit of coffee." Remus broke in. "James, all the girls are gonna be like this today. Peeves attacked half of them and the other half were awakened by the noise he made. If you don't want to be clawed to death, I'd suggest you leave them alone." James shrugged. "Oh, look, there's the mail!" He pointed towards the ceiling, which had been a grayish blue, but now sported a thick, dark cloud of owls. Two swooped down at their table with letters, one a dark gray, the other an eagle tint. James and Peter took the newspapers each of the owls held and handed over pieces of biscuit and bacon to the owls, which took flight immediately after their breakfast. Lily raised her head enough to look over James' shoulder at the paper, which bore the headline Daily Profit in dark blue and gold on parchment. The headline was in bold, over a picture of a smiling blonde witch. "Mandy Mysenclaw Promoted", was the article the front page devoted itself to. James skimmed the paper quickly, then folded it up, a bit disappointed. "Nothing good in there today." Sirius shrugged. A bell resounded through the corridors, and the multitude in the Great Hall started moving off to class. Charms was held in a rather large classroom, as there were about forty in the class. They included Amanda, the brunette twins, whose names were Heather and Anne, the two blonde girls, Eva and Vanessa, James, Sirius, Peter, Remus, Malfoy, and Snape. Lily managed to get seats next to her four new friends, which unfortunately were only two away from Malfoy and Snape.

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Lily got her Charms book out, laid it on her desk along with parchment, ink, and a quill, and turned to James. "So, why is half this class part of the second year? You said you didn't take your exam in the Great Hall." James nodded. "We had a large earthquake last year, right before our last exam, and we had to leave Hogwarts early. They also forgot to give us our notes not to use magic over the holidays that year." he added offhandedly. Lily slumped in her chair. "You mean we can't use magic over the summer?" James nodded. "Darn. I was hoping to hex my sister." Sirius turned around. "You have a sister? I didn't see her on the train. Or at the Sorting, come to that." "Well, you couldn't, could you? She's a Muggle, and one of the most annoying ones there is." Snape leaned over. "Yes, your sister is a pain." Snape lived in Lily’s neighborhood, and had a secret crush on her. Lily shrugged. "So are my parents," she said. Malfoy turned around as well. "Are you from a Muggle family?" "Yeah. What's it to ya?" Lily shot back. "You’re a Mudblood!" Malfoy had an evil gleam in his eyes. Snape pulled out his wand. Behind Lily, James did the same, pointing his at Snape while Sirius covered Malfoy. Malfoy reacted first. "Gefriere!" Lily fell out of her desk, shaking. Her lips were turning blue, and she shivered with cold. Behind her closed eyelids, her eyes went blank. James and Sirius had forgotten their opponents, who settled back in their desks lazily. Jumping out of his chair as well as half of the class, James was the first to reach Lily. He gripped her by the shoulders, hard, shaking her. "Lily, wake up! Lily!" Remus was feeling her pulse, eyes wide. James whirled around to Snape. "Undo this right now!" Malfoy yawned and stretched, not bothering to reach for his wand. Sirius pointed his wand at Malfoy. "Undo this or else, Malfoy!" Lucius leaned back in his chair, running his fingers through his white-blond hair. "I can't." James turned white. "What do you mean, you can't?" "I mean I can't. We never looked up the counter-curse, that's why we can't." Losing the color in his face as well, Sirius turned to the rest of the class. "Go get help!" About fifteen people ran for a teacher; the others were trying to cover Lily with their cloaks. Five minutes later, the fifteen students had returned with the news that the teachers were in a staff meeting and had charmed the door so no one could come close enough even to yell through the wood. Lily wasn't even shaking anymore, while about twelve of the class had dashed to the library, trying to find the counter-curse. The handful of Slytherins in the class were laughing and not hiding it; they weren't trying to help, either. A limp figure was huddled in black cloaks, looking almost like a mummy. Her eyes were sinking into her head; her limbs could have been boneless. James had resorted to slapping her cheeks to regain her consciousness, and he was about to give up, when he heard a shout.

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Amanda came racing over with a large book. "Here. The index says: Countercurse to Freezing Spell. Page 473." She flipped through the pages as quickly as she could. It wasn't fast enough for James, who snatched the book from her and immediately found page four hundred seventy-two. "Four seventy--SNAPE, I'M GOING TO--" He had to be forcibly restrained from attacking Snape both with wand and fists. Sirius picked Lily up from where she had fallen after James' abrupt rising. "James, what on earth?" James shoved the book under Sirius' nose. "Here, look!" Sirius' mouth dropped open. Page 473 had been torn out. Sirius sank back onto his heels, looking as though a lightning bolt had hit him. "There-there's no counter-curse?" James turned on Malfoy. "There is, and one of them has the page." He pointed his wand again. "Hand it over. Now." Malfoy shrugged. "I threw it in the common room fire." Remus blew several fuses. "YOU DID WHAT?" "All right, all right, boys, now settle down! What's all this about?" A pretty blonde witch, about thirty years old, had entered the room. She wore pale pink robes and had tied her curls back with a darker pink ribbon under her hat. James tried to raise Lily to her feet and failed. "Professor, Malfoy did some kind of freeze thing, and we don't know the counter curse!" The teacher knelt down next to Lily and felt her forehead and cheeks. She stared up at James in polite bewilderment. "There's nothing wrong with her, not as far as I can see." James stared. "There isn't? But, Professor--" He stopped as Lily opened her eyes and blinked. "Lily! Are you all right?" Vanessa and Sirius bent over her. "Is she awake? How'd you do that?" Lily felt as though she had been buried and taken out of her grave again. As though someone had set one of the Pyramids on her chest. "What happened?" She looked up at James, who was holding her head in his lap, and sat up quickly. "What happened?" she repeated. No one could answer that, because no one exactly knew, except Snape and Malfoy, and they didn't volunteer anything. There were several halfhearted ers while Lily struggled to free herself out of the mountains of cloaks that she had been swathed in. James tried to explain. "Professor Zimmermann, Malfoy did this kind of freeze hex and Lily, here, went all cold and stiff, sort of as if she were dead or something." Professor Zimmermann frowned. "Lily Evans, I think it is?" Lily nodded weakly, too worn out to answer. "Well, I think you'd better go to the hospital wing, just in case. I'm not punishing anyone, since I have no evidence, but I don't want any magic in here except what I have assigned, all right?" The class nodded. "Sirius, would you accompany Miss Evans to the hospital wing, since I don't think she knows where it is yet. Class, back to your seats." She turned to Lily. "Dear, you can leave your things. I'll have someone take them back to the dormitory later." James turned to Sirius. "Hey, Sirius, I can take her there--you don't have to bother." He reached for Lily.

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Sirius shook his head determinedly. "No. I was told to go, and I will. C'mon, Lily." He put her arm around his shoulders, acting as a prop, and together they left the classroom, leaving behind a fuming James. They reached the hospital wing and introduced Lily's problem to Miss Hilton, the hospital nurse. She coughed a bit and then told Lily she'd have to stay for a day or so, since she never knew what aftereffects that charm might have. She handed Lily a long, white nightgown and bustled out of the room. Lily sank onto her assigned bed, feeling like a lump of lead. "Sirius, I don't know how you managed to get me this far. I feel like I weigh ten thousand pounds and then some." Sirius smiled at her. "You don't. Are you sure you'll be all right? There's nothing else you need?" Lily's eyelids drooped. "Sleep?" Sirius grinned. "That might help. If you're not asleep by lunch, I'll send you a card with a Sleeping Breeze inside. That might help." Lily reached for the nightgown. "Sirius--" she managed to stand up--"Sirius, thanks." She gave him a hug, dropping back onto the pillow right afterwards. For some reason, Sirius' face was red and he left quickly, after his "Anytime." As fast as she could, Lily changed into her nightgown behind a screen, feeling like and even worse than dead. She had just enough energy to take her hair down from the ponytail it had been in all day and climb into bed; Miss Hilton had to pull the covers over her. She woke goodness knows how much later, with a bowl of soup beside her. Lily spotted some movement near a door and called to it. "Miss Hilton?" The plump witch darted over. "Did you want something, doll?" Lily wrinkled her nose at the 'doll' part. "How long have I been asleep?" "Goodness, dear, you slept like a corpse. I'd say ten hours, dear. It's around eight now, and I suppose you'll have some visitors as soon as dinner's over." She gestured towards the bowl on the nightstand. "Eat your soup!" Lily obeyed, though each mouthful was like sawdust. She kept straining her ears for the noise of people after dinner downstairs and hardly noticed that the bowl was empty and that she was still dipping the spoon in. She couldn't have been more relieved when a buzz downstairs announced that dinner was over and that she'd have some company. The first person that came in was Amanda. She brought several treacle tarts up and a get-well card from Eva, who, she said, was buried under homework. Vanessa followed, with some Chocolate Frogs and Every Flavor Beans. Close behind Vanessa were Peter and Remus, who were almost buried under a large bouquet of tiger lilies. "Because that's what you look like. It makes no sense, we know, but they're out of everything else but red roses." Sirius was last, with the get-well card and a small teddy bear with a scarf and mittens. "Just because you had that Freezing Hex put on you. Hope you get better soon." He and Amanda stayed with her until she fell asleep, which didn't take as long as Lily had thought it might, as they were telling her about their classes after she left. M Amanda talked the most. "So, you know, Snape didn't get into trouble at all? And neither

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did Malfoy? Well, right after class, James and Remus sort of cornered him. I don't know what they did, but afterwards, Snape would have solemnly sworn he was a hedgehog to the end of his days. If I were them, I'd have made him wash his hair, but then, they're guys, they don't think of stuff like that." They left her no homework, and the day would have been perfect, except...Why on earth hadn't James come? Miss Hilton released Lily from the hospital wing the next morning, just in time for breakfast. Lily was still a bit shaky, but she managed to get dressed, make the bed, gather her things, and walk downstairs without collapsing. Putting her things in the dormitory, she ran over all the faces she'd seen yesterday. She had awakened after Snape hexed her with her head in James' lap, and he'd sounded really worried, so why didn't he at least come and see her? She puzzled over it all the way down to the Great Hall, where she slid into her usual seat, across from Sirius and next to James and Amanda. All of them were happy to see her, all of them waved to her to come and sit down, all except James. Not thirty seconds after she had sat down, James took his newspaper and left to go sit next to Sheila. Lily, Sirius, Remus, and Peter stared at his empty seat. "What on earth was that about?" "I don't know...?" "He didn't even say ‘see you guys later’; what's wrong with him?" "It wasn't my fault, was it?" Sirius shook his head. "Lily, the last thing it is, is your fault. He's just in a bad mood. He'll be back before evening." But James wasn't. He sat as far away from Lily and Sirius as he could during Charms and didn't show up for lunch or dinner at all. No one knew where he went and no one had any idea why. Lily didn't talk much all that day either, and it wasn't until Amanda suggested a walk around the grounds that she cheered up a bit. Outside, the sun was setting over the lake and twilight set in. Lily and Amanda found themselves chattering aimlessly about random things and about their families and about how wonderful Hogwarts was, but Lily couldn't really pay attention. All she thought of was James' strange behavior that day. They were just turning back to the castle when Lily turned back around. "What?" Lily frowned. "I don't know, but I saw something.” "You saw what?" "It was a sort of large bird--There it is again!" She pointed to a black speck that had crossed the rising moon. "What do you think it is?" Amanda shrugged. "I don't know and I'm going inside. See you later." Amanda left Lily standing on the front steps. Lily didn't stay on the front steps. She crept towards the black dot, which had landed near the lake in the meantime. She tried to be as silent as she could manage, and, since she'd used a Petrificus Totalus on the grass blades, she succeeded very nicely. Lily crept behind a tree, just the right distance away from the person, for so it was, who was sitting on the grass with a broom beside him. James was sitting by the lake, staring into the ripples. He didn't speak or move for about thirty minutes; then he got up and went back to the castle, but he walked and

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looked as if he was carrying all of Versailles on his back. The next few weeks were pleasantly average; James was speaking again and Lily had learned several of the jinxes he had invented. He was in the common room one evening, teaching Lily the 'Sprout' hex; it caused the victim to sprout whiskers, fur, and cat's ears. James was being the victim, and so far, Lily had only managed to give him long, droopy whiskers that reached to his shoulders. She'd tried the charm about a dozen times, and James still wasn't looking like a cat. "All right. One more time. Forestia!" James closed his eyes. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean for the whiskers to grow down to your waist, I really didn't!" Lily gasped out. "I just can't do this. I just can't!" "Yes, you can." Sirius' voice came from behind an armchair; he'd been watching the whole session unnoticed. James jumped and looked rather uncomfortable. Sirius stood up. "Here, let me show you." He took Lily's hand in his, swished it once and pointed. "You do that." She repeated the motions. "Good. Now try it with the words." Lily took a deep breath, swished and pointed. "Forestia!" James' face, which had been clean except for several waist-length whiskers, had sprouted a furry coat that reminded Lily somewhat of a cat. His ears moved to the top of his head and grew pointy and furry. He wasn't James anymore; he was--well, strange. "I did it! I really did it! Oh, Sirius, wow!" And she hugged him tightly, making him exaggerate a choking sound. "I really did it!" James' face grew cold. He threw his wand down on top of his unfinished Charms homework and stormed up to the boys' dormitory. Puzzled when James left so suddenly, Lily went back up to her dormitory as well. She met Amanda on the steps and got chased all the way up to her four-poster, since she'd tried out her 'Sprout' charm again and succeeded. She sat on her bed for a bit, looking out onto the lawns, when a darkish shape swished towards her window and started rapping on it. "Alisande!" Lily opened the window quickly and took the rather oversized letter from her owl, who took off towards the Owlery almost immediately. Pulling the window shut and drawing the curtains, she leaned back into her pillows to read. The first sheet was from her mother. Darling, how are you? You've had several calls from your friends, they're all wondering where you are. I can't exactly tell them or give them your address (since I don't even know it myself), but I told them that you'd write (I told them you're at boarding school in America). But if you ever get a letter written, let Alisande bring that to me, too, and I'll see that your friends get it. Not much is happening here; I've been trying out those potion ingredients and Petunia went to a movie last week with Vernon Dursley. Your father wants to send this, so I'd better say 'bye. Love, Mom Lily smiled. She put the letter under her pillow, wondering what the results of the

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experiments were. The second and third pages were from her father, with an answer to her question. I suppose your mother told you that she has tried out those Diagon Alley beetle eyes things and the dragon liver mess. I don't blame Petunia for practically moving in at that Dursley's, as this house STINKS. Stinks as in bad. It's also filled with almost permanent smoke, which won't leave even if we turn on all the fans and open the windows. Anyway, we had some serious rain, and I've pasted some pictures of your mother's garden, which, well, isn't a garden anymore, to put it bluntly. It's more like a rather dirty pond. (Here he had taped some pictures of a sort of mud puddle.) Petunia has taken over your room; transformed it into a cross between a greenhouse and a den. It has too many plants in it, to put it kindly. I don't think you can even see the window from the door, or vice versa. But I've told your friends that asked for you that you moved in with your grandmother, which I later found out was a mistake, as your mother told them you went to boarding school. You'll have to explain; I have no words or imagination that will fit this mess. I've made Petunia write something, but she's insisting on using the last few lines of this page and not getting her own sheet. I just think she doesn't want to keep any sort of contact with evil witches who would sweep down on her and cut her eyes out as soon as they have learned how to. (Here he drew a flower with a few petals.) Love you, (I love you not.) I love you. (I love you not.) Dad The rest of the page (about two lines) were taken up with a sort of scribbly writing. Lily, you shuld nevr have left. I haf to do all srts of expleinin were you went. And so ha I took posessn of your room. Ha ha. Petunia. Lily raised her eyebrows, then, setting the letters on her night-table, smiled a bit. "The first thing I need to do when I graduate is make Petunia learn how to spell. That was pathetic." She yawned, then, taking a look at the clock, which read ten o'clock, quickly slipped on her nightgown and, getting into bed, drew the four-poster's curtains.

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