Chapter Three

The next morning, Lily raced downstairs to breakfast. For once, Peeves had decided to move on to the Ravenclaw dormitories, so for two days, Lily had gotten enough sleep. Making sure no one was waiting outside the portrait hole to get back in (since only a few people could pronounce James' ridiculously long password), she went downstairs quietly, determined to confront James about what had happened in the common room last night. With luck, she managed to get caught up in a large group of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw girls, and, completely encased, managed to slip to her seat next to James unnoticed. With an abrupt motion that couldn't and didn't fail to attract his attention, she pulled out her chair and sat down. Without waiting for him to mumble out a "Hi", she faced him squarely. "Why did you leave the common room like that last night?" He started. "Like what?" "You know very well what I mean. You got all huffy and stormed out of the room. Why?" "I--I--I didn't-" "Yes, you did. Did you get mad about something I did?" "I didn't get mad." "Yes, you did. You're sitting right here till you answer me." Sirius interrupted. "If he really doesn't want to tell, he'll sit there right through classes. I'd look up some curses, if I were you--oops." James had thrown him a ferocious glare. "I mean, try persuading him nicely--oh, what's the use. James, better look up a really good Shield charm. Sorry, man." He pushed his chair back and ran out of the Great Hall as quickly as he could. James half-smiled, obviously amused, then turned back to his Charms homework. Trying to force a bit of conversation, Remus moved to Sirius' now-vacant seat. "Hey, James, when's the next Quidditch match? I heard you've been training a lot." Lily frowned. "Quidditch?" James took his eyes off of his homework. "Don't tell me you've never heard of Quidditch. Please don't tell me." "I haven't. It sounds like a balloon-blowing-up contest." James' eyes almost fell out. "You poor, deprived child. Here, let me explain." Remus rolled his eyes. "Poor child. Poor, poor child indeed. She'll be here till lunch, if I know James." And he left the hall, trying to shut out James' explanation of how exactly the Quaffle fit into your hand and the record of how many fouls had been made in a single game. Lily walked out onto the Quidditch field that evening with James, as the team had a practice that day. Several of the team members were already there, though she didn't know any of them. One, a tallish boy with red hair, waved to them to come over. "So, James, brought your girlfriend to watch?" James blushed scarlet. "John, she's not my girlfriend. I--I just found out this morning at breakfast that she'd never heard of Quidditch before now, so--so I just thought 22

I'd bring her to a practice." John gave him a Look, then turned to Lily. "So, did he bore you out of your mind all day telling you about Quidditch?" Lily shrugged. "It might have been more understandable if he'd actually explained the basic rules of Quidditch. He didn't even mention that this was played on broomsticks." The team stared at James, who went even redder. "Hey, I forgot she didn't know what this was about. And how did you know that this was played on broomsticks?" he challenged, whirling on Lily. She pointed to the broom in his hand. "I might have thought you were going to do a detention or something, but you said you were going to Quidditch practice." John looked puzzled. "Detention?" "Yeah." He looked even more puzzled. "Broom, sweep, floor...?" John shot a half-smile. "Oh, right. I knew that!" He saw his teammates not bothering to hide several sniggers and quickly picked up his broom. "OK, time for practice, isn't it?" He shot into the air. Five other blurs followed him. James was still on the ground, throwing a scarlet robe on over his own. "Lily, you don't have to stand here. There're bleachers over there"-he pointed towards a clump of trees--"and I don't think we'll be that long." A girl with raven-black hair leaned down from her perch on her broomstick. "Yo, James, quit denying it. We'll make you divorce if you don't come up here right now!" James scowled at her. "Anya, shut up." He turned back to Lily. "See ya later." And he was off, kicking the ground hard. Lily went to the bleachers James had pointed out and sat down, smiling as she remembered the red on James' cheeks as he was accused of being her boyfriend. Lily was surprised at how fast time flew. The only clue she had to how late it was, was the moon rising over the field. The team members noticed it, too, and, after John sent the Quaffle through the middle golden hoop, they landed on the dewy grass. Lily jumped right off of the bleachers and half-ran towards them. "Wow, guys, that was really good! I couldn't do an eighth of that if I tried my best!" Miranda, the raven-haired girl, slithered out of the scarlet robes. "This is your first time ever seeing a Quidditch match or practice?" Lily nodded. "I was raised with Muggles." Miranda nodded, understanding. "Oh. But do you like it? I mean, from what you saw today?" "Oh, yes! I think you're wonderful!" John laughed. "Then I guess you'd better come out here more often. James never plays this well." James turned on him and pulled out his wand. "John, I told you before--shut it!" "All right, all right! Man, you can't even talk to him!" he added. "Won't let you lie about him, won't let you tell the truth--OW!" James was retrieving his broom from where it had been flung--at John's stomach. "So," Ashley, a brunette Chaser, added, "you've really never heard of Quidditch before now?" Lily sighed. "Really, really.”

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"Seriously? I don't know why James even took a second look at you--he'd normally never get close to anyone who'd never heard of Quidditch." She ducked a swipe from James' broom and sped, laughing, back to the castle. The rest of the team had by now gone inside. James turned to Lily. "I think we'd better go, too." "Oh, right." Lily nodded. They passed the time up to Gryffindor Tower talking about miscellaneous things, then, when they came to the hallway before the portrait hole, James stopped his remarks about the blonde streak on the back of his head he and Remus had given Snape one day (he'd carefully avoided mentioning Sirius). "Listen, Lily, about what they said on the field earlier? I mean, about you and me?" Lily was determined not to blush as hard as he was. She shook her hair back from her face. "Yeah, what about it?" "Well, I thought that, well, maybe--" They had rounded the corner by now and were facing the portrait hole and a bunch of amused team members. "Go on, James, go on!" Miranda was sniggering. "Why don't you continue?" James blushed again. "Why on earth are you guys still out here?" was his puzzled and rather annoyed answer. John raised his eyebrows. "Because Mr. Brilliant here made up a password no one else can remember, much less pronounce." James rolled his eyes. "Oh, right. Hippopotomonstrosequippedaliophobia." The portrait door swung open. As the team piled inside, Lily pulled James' sleeve. "What did you want to tell me?" He shrugged. "Nothing important. Forget it." Lily came down to breakfast the next morning with a large appetite, not having had any dinner the night before. She came into the Great Hall just in time to see James and Sirius magically pin a large banner with the words "Serverus and Sheila" and a border of pink roses with red rims about ten feet above Snape's head and see three-fourths of the Hall burst out laughing, including Professor Zimmermann and Professor Vector, the very young Arithmancy teacher. Lily slipped into her seat and was halfway through her bacon and eggs before Snape noticed his airy adornment. He blasted it into the ceiling, which repelled the smoking banner and caused the burning fragments to float onto the Slytherin's heavily laden table, into milk jugs and on top of porridge bowls. The Great Hall exploded with laughter while Snape sat with his wand still in his hand, looking rather stupid with a piece of ash draped around his head like a tiara (compliments of Mr. Potter). None of the Slytherins ate much breakfast that morning. James had a large smile on his face that morning in Charms, while Snape struggled to keep control of his wand. So, apparently, did Professor Zimmerman when her wand flew out of her hand, circled the room twice, and landed between Malfoy's shoulder blades, causing a large strip of cloth to be torn away from his robes, revealing a red mark somewhat like a heart on his back. She was new, just arrived that year, so she didn't immediately look towards Sirius and James, who were slapping high-fives in the back of the room. 24

Malfoy had to be excused to get new robes, and Professor Zimmermann gave them a free day while she spent her time running her eyes over her wand, which she held inches away from her nose, to see what was wrong with it. Lily had been offered their schedule for the day and was scanning through it. "You've got first period Charms, I know that, but--You've got jinxes planned for all your teachers today? Look at this"--she ran her finger down the page--"Transfiguration: Vanishing Chair and Heel-Loss Charms. What the heck is a Heel-Loss Charm?" James smiled blissfully. "McGonagall wears high heels. I just want to see if their loss will make her fall or not. If not, we'll think of something else. Just the Vanishing Chair by itself isn't enough to disrupt a lesson." Lily raised an eyebrow. "You want to disrupt a lesson that badly?" He shrugged, grinning. "I know everything she's trying to teach us." Lily rolled her eyes. "Oh, really. Here." She had reached into her book-bag and pulled out the teddy bear Sirius had given her. "Turn this into a--a cat's good." James raised his eyebrows. "That's all?" He swished his wand once, muttered something under his breath, and almost immediately transformed it into a cat with a rather distorted smile. "Oh, I forgot." He touched the cat with his wand and immediately, under the wand's touch, it grew a satin pink bow around it neck. "Hey!" Sirius frowned. "You'd better be able to undo that!" "Why?" "I gave her that bear!" "You did?" The cat jumped off of the desk and headed straight out of the halfopen door. "Oops." Sirius gave him a Look. Later that day, at lunch, to be precise, Lily found herself giggling at the account James, Remus, Sirius, and Peter gave of McGonagall's falling into the chalky blackboard after losing her chair, her dive into the first row of students after losing her heels, and the entanglement her robes had with a white Persian cat with a bow around its neck. At that, Sirius handed her bear back, with an additional adornment. Over the white scarf, it had a broad pink satin bow. "Too pink for comfort," was Sirius' comment, "but James insisted on it." James jumped in. "So you'll have a memento of the only time McGonagall ever got her robes messed up. Though, with us around, it won't be the last..." "I doubt it will be, at that." Lily dunked her bread in her soup. "I've got flying lessons next--since our teacher got sick, we haven't had a lesson yet." Sirius nodded. "Oh, right, I heard about that. James was griping earlier, how none of the first years had been taught to fly, because we REALLY need a new Beater. Joseph's a nice guy, but he's really bad." Lily swallowed her piece of bread. "Why'd you pick him then?" James sighed. "He was the best we could find." John sat down next to Amanda. "I offered to play both positions, but McGonagall had something against that." Remus snorted. "John, she just doesn't want us to lose the House Cup!" "What, you think I'd make us lose?" Lily nodded. "Even I can answer that. How're you going to throw and catch the

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Quaffle with both hands on the bat?" "Oh." Peter and James sniggered. "Good point." Remus changed the subject, pointing over to the Slytherin table. "Hey, Lily, check out Sirius and James' latest work of art! He hasn't noticed it yet." Lily took a quick peek, then choked into her pumpkin juice. Snape was sitting with his back to the Gryffindors, and fastened onto the back of his robes was, magnified several times, the receipt of his rose purchases in Fraeden Square, plus a moving picture of Snape handing them to Sheila, his usually pasty white face a sort of gray in the blackand-white photo. "How'd you take that picture?" Remus laughed. "They didn't. It's kind of artificial. But Sheila helped--a lot!" Lily grinned. "How?" James smiled, eyes on dessert. "Sheila has a useful habit of explaining just where a person was standing and where they where and how they looked when they said this and where their hands were...all kinds of useful things." He perked up, as if struck with sudden information. "Hey, Sirius, any posts about Hogsmeade weekends?" Before Sirius could answer, Lily had interrupted. "Hog--what?" James waved her off. "It's the only all-wizard village in Britain. Any news, Sirius?" "Nah. Sirius shook his head. "I even got into the teacher's lounge, but they haven't posted anything yet." "Damn. We're running out of firecrackers, and you know what we need them for." James said, nodding at Sirius. "What for?" Lily asked, curious. James shook his head. "Sorry, can't tell you. Anyway, you'll find out soon." He looked at his watch. "Oops, gotta go. See you people at dinner!" "Oi!" Remus called after him. "We've got out next two subjects together!" "Like I said, see you at dinner!" James turned out of the Great Hall and vanished from sight. Remus shrugged. "I guess Varla and Metphis'll be missing out on their jinxes. And I'd really looked forward to those; actually, I've been counting on them, since I haven't done my homework for either of them. Damn!" Lily climbed through the portrait hole and into the common room that evening, just before dinner, to put her books away. About five older kids were clustered around a notice on the wall, but Lily didn't bother to read it. She dragged her books upstairs, a bit tired, as the flying lesson hadn't gone so well. Inside her dormitory, she found Amanda lying on her bed, sleeping. Lily shook her shoulder. "Amanda, wake up! It's almost dinner time." The sleeping girl started, sat up in bed, and shook her hair back. "W-what? What time is it?" Lily smiled. "Six-thirty. C'mon, come down to dinner. How long have you been asleep, anyway?" Amanda yawned. "Not that long, actually. I think only fifteen minutes." Pulling her off of the bed, Lily grinned. "Well, come down to dinner, then! I'm starving!" They went down to the Great Hall together. Both of the shot a quick look at Snape

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as they entered, but for once, both he and Malfoy were prank-free. Slightly disappointed, Lily and Amanda slid into their seats. James wasn't there yet, but the minute the plates were filled, he ran to his chair, panting a bit. "I got them, Sirius." was all the explanation he gave for being late, which wasn't much of an explanation. "Oh, hi, Lily." He turned back to Sirius. "We'll need to work on the word formation, if we want this ready by Saturday." Lily didn't ask. She had a feeling James wouldn't answer or brush her off, and she wasn't in the mood for that right now. Reaching over the table for a biscuit, her robe slipped back from her wrist, revealing an ugly bruise. Sirius' eyes widened. "Lily! How on earth did that happen?" Lily grimaced. "Flying lessons. I'm not good at all." James looked a bit disappointed at that news, but reached over and took her hand, looking at the bruise. "What exactly happened?" "Oh..." Lily shrugged. "Nothing worth hearing about. I got knocked off my broom, then got caught between two other brooms." She pointed to her wrist. "That's how I got this. But it's all right, it's not that bad." she said, trying to regain her hand out of James' grasp. He frowned, not letting go. "You really should go to Miss Hilton. I'm not much of an expert on injuries, but I still think this might not be just a bruise." Lily succeeded in pulling her hand away. "I'm all right, there's no need for the fuss! It's just a bruise." "Hm!" James said, clearly not convinced. "Hey, we have our first Quidditch match on Saturday! I forgot, we have training tonight. Lily, want to come?" She shook her head. "Sorry, I can't. I have a Defense Against the Dark Arts essay to finish. I wish I could," she added. James nodded, obviously disappointed. "Oh, yeah, right, I think you told me something about that yesterday. No big deal." But he didn't look as if he really meant it. The Quidditch match would be in two hours, and Lily was looking forward to it, as was the rest of the school. Most of the Gryffindors had bought red robes or were dressed in red Muggle clothing. Lily felt a bit left out, since she had never bought any red clothing, as it clashed terribly with her hair. She ended up borrowing a gold Muggle dress from Eva, which had a scarlet trim around the edges, sleeves, and neckline. It was a bit fancy, but she decided it would be the best she could do. She was planning to wear a jacket anyway, so the gold wouldn't flash too much. Picking out a gold ribbon to tie her hair back with and slipping into a long black duster, she ran downstairs to the common room. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter were already there, whispering by the fire. Lily sat down on the carpet, next to Remus and Sirius. They stopped their whispering abruptly to greet her. "Lily! Ready for the match?" "I'd better be, after all the work you guys have put into practicing. I can't wait!" "Yeah, this'll be good. Especially if Gryffindor wins--right, James?" Sirius shot a grin at James, who was checking his sleeve for his wand. He nodded, and Remus suddenly seemed anxious. "James, if you get cold feet and tell anyone, even her"--he jerked his thumb 27

towards Lily--"I--" James rolled his eyes. "Calm down, you know I won't. She's a girl, she'd tell everyone. It's in their nature." Lily's forehead cleared. "Tell what?" Sirius glared at James. "Not one word, James, not one word!" James shrugged. "You'll find out." "Please?" "I'll say this much. Don't worry," he added as the other three reached for their wands, "it's nothing dangerous." He turned back to Lily. "It involves sparks." Lily's eager face fell. "Wow, what wonderful news. I figured as much myself." "What?" James jumped up. "When?" "You three have to be a bit more secretive if you want anything to stay hidden. What spark formation did you have to work on?" Sirius, Peter, and Remus laughed at James' dumbstruck face. "Well, James, even if she's no good at Quidditch, she's still smart! I'd say that's a pretty good bargain." There was a loud ring in the common room, followed by Professor McGonagall's voice. "All Quidditch spectators, please come to the field now!" There was a mad rush for the portrait hole. The heat hit Lily when she first walked outside. "Wow! Where did that come from?" she asked Sirius, who was walking next to her. He shrugged. "It's been like this all day. You mean you haven't noticed?" "I haven't been outside yet. This is too hot for me!" Lily unbuttoned the black duster and slid her arms out of the sleeves. Right beside her, Sirius threw up his arms to cover his eyes. "What, do I look that bad?" He shook his head, blinking. "No, you look great! I'm seeing spots, though." Lily was a bit puzzled. "Why?" He looked pointedly at her dress. Lily looked down and the glare hit her eyes. "Oh. Ow!" She was blinking now, too. By now Peter had caught up with them. "Why'd you wear that? Whom are you getting all fancy for; it isn't James, is it?" She stared at Peter. "No! Of course not! I didn't have anything red, so Eva let me wear this." He looked at her with a "yeah, right!" on his face. "Really, you can go ask her!" "All right, all right. Just--just put that black thing on till the sun goes away." Lily glared at him and he shrunk back, cowering a bit. "You wimpy rat." Lily whirled around and climbed up the bleachers. Below them, the teams met; the captains shook hands. High up in the stands with the teachers, a Ravenclaw fifth year was doing the commentating. "And Ravenclaw and Gryffindor's captains shake hands; Patil and Venn, and...they're off! The Quaffle goes to Miranda Shaw of Gryffindor, she ducks a Bludger-nicely done there, Gates"--there were several cheers from the Ravenclaw end and many boos from Gryffindor--"--anyway, Shaw ducks Ravenclaw Chasers Park and Newby, heads for the goals--come on there, Patton, save--oh no--ten points to Gryffindor..." Here he was interrupted with violent cheers form the Gryffindor end and several

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halfhearted sighs from Ravenclaw. "And the Quaffle goes to Ashley Thomas of Gryffindor, ducks that brilliant Bludger again, oh, and yes! Ravenclaw in possession, there's Park heading for the goals--She scores! Ten points to Ravenclaw!" The game went on for another three hours. At about five, Lily was exhausted from being in the sun so long and jumping up with applause every time a Gryffindor scored a goal. The score was tied at ninety-to-ninety, and it seemed like the game would never end. Lily pulled Sirius' sleeve. "How long do you think the match will last?" He shrugged. "The record's two months, seventeen days. ALL RIGHT, GO MIRANDA!" Miranda had just scored, making the score one hundred to ninety for Gryffindor and leaving Lily openmouthed. "Two months, seventeen days? If I can last this hour, I'll be glad." Several other people seemed to feel the same way, too. Professor Zimmermann was snoozing against Professor McGonagall's shoulder, and half of the school was wilting in the heat, which had increased as much as it was able. "Ravenclaw in possession, Newby heading for the goals--wait--was that the Snitch?" James had shot upwards, towards the teacher's stands. All of the school immediately snapped to attention, and even Newby stopped in midair, losing the Quaffle as Miranda snatched it and scored a Gryffindor goal, but there were only a few cheers from the Gryffindor end as both seekers were speeding toward the Snitch. Both hands were outstretched, though at the last moment, a Bludger, very well aimed by John, came flying at Venn, the Ravenclaw seeker, causing him to turn aside sharply. That was all James needed. He pulled away from the teacher's tent, a tiny golden ball with fluttering wings grasped tightly in his hand. The stadium erupted. Lily saw Sirius pull out his wand and mutter something, and immediately, the stadium literally erupted. Firecrackers blew out of the ground and exploded in the sky, which was now a murky twilight. Red and gold sparks flew out of the stands, flying around the stadium, and then combined in the middle, about seventy feet off the ground, to form a blazing fountain of light. Several hundred sparks spilled over the sides, combining, for everyone to see, the words: "Gryffindor Wins!" And underneath it, in smaller letters: "Not a surprise, really, was it?" The Ravenclaws were too surprised and excited to boo at that last message, as everyone poured down to the field to congratulate the teams. The next morning, all the Gryffindors stayed in bed until about twelve; the latest coming down around three. The whole common room was filled with yawning people who had flopped down in poufs and chairs, some on the floor. No one had bothered to get dressed to go down to lunch, as they still had lots of candy and butterbeer from last night's party, and even Eva and Vanessa, usually so picky about their apppearance, tramped down the girls' staircase in dressing gowns and unbrushed hair tied in kerchiefs. Lily had spent the afternoon with James and Sirius, who were engaged in trying to teach her the latest jinx James had invented, a sort of charm that repelled Malfoy's permanent vomit-breath hex. She still wasn't quite sure on how to pronounce the word, so she ended up with a weak and wobbly sort of shield that was quickly vaporized by Sirius' well-aimed Tickling Charm. For the seventeenth time that day, Lily sank to the floor,

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wheezing and gasping for breath. Sirius let her lie for a while, then, after hearing her threats of dyeing his hair orange while he slept, removed it without hesitation. "Sirius, I'm going to kill you and have fun doing it. Come here!" She pointed her wand at his retreating figure. "Fine then. Chicken!" Lily sank down onto a red velvet pouf. "James, this isn't working. I've tried so many times and it's still pretty pathetic." "Yeah, I know. The main reason it isn't working is that you're not concentrating hard enough." She glared. "How am I supposed to concentrate if I'm being threatened by everlasting fingers poking me in my sides? I'll try again. But use a different jinx on me, all right?" James scowled. "Girls. All right, go ahead." Lily took a deep breath. "Phew. Breathe in...breathe out." She raised her wand. "Fetronus!" This time, she could see a smoky kind of glass rise in front of her. Lily looked over at James, who nodded and raised his wand. "Tenrash Pfefferolus!" A blast of red light issued from his wand and blew right through her shield, hitting her in the mouth and causing her to scream. "James, if I ever get hold of you, I'll--" She couldn't finish her sentence, as she had made a mad dash for the butterbeer. Remus looked up from his book. "What'd you do to the poor girl? That old Pepper Breath one?" James shook his head, grinning widely. "Something new. I'm hitting Malfoy with it first chance I get. I haven't figured out a name for it yet, but it causes a semi-permanent sensation like you've just swallowed a jar of flaming hot salsa. Here she comes. Remus, come here!" He had pulled his friend out of his armchair and used him as a block against the curses issuing from Lily's wand. "Why did we ever teach her those things?" James bellowed in Remus' ear. Remus didn't answer as Lily hit him with the second Full-Body Bind in a row. His head dropped back onto his shoulder, leaving James' head free as a target. Lily ran her fingers along her wand, grinning evilly, then started chasing James all through the corridors outside, hitting several suits of armor accidentally and causing a sort of blockade at one corner, where a statue and a painting had fallen on top of each other and blocked the corridor. Lily rounded a corner, knocking over a spear from an old suit of armor, and found herself in one of the dungeons underground. But this one was different from Caulwell’s; she'd never set eyes inside this place before. It apparently hadn't been used for quite some time; the walls were greenish and slimy, while the few chairs in the room that had obviously been rather nice; covered with blue or black velvet, were now completely useless. Someone or something had clawed the furniture to bits, leaving broken and splintery pieces of wood all over the floor. The backs were broken off of one chair, and about three mahogany table legs were lying around, devoid of the table top. Lily gasped. She moved forward into the dungeon, a bit tentatively. Recalling the second spell Professor Zimmermann had taught them, she held up her wand. "Lumos!" she whispered, looking around for James. Behind her, the door slammed, making her jump. "Who's there?" No one answered. Sticking from the ceiling was the ring of a trapdoor, and, hoping this might have been where James had gone, Lily pulled on it.

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It gave way easily, and, to her surprise, all she saw was muck, mud, algae, and rotten pieces of wood that had been pushed down to form a sort of floor to the place above. Lily realized that there was no way on earth anyone could be up there, but, next instant, her thoughts were distracted by a trickling drip, drip echoing through the dungeon, coming from a hole in the ceiling, right in front of her. Eyes wide, Lily realized she had to be under the lake. She rushed to the door; tearing frantically at the handle, all the while thinking that the ceiling might collapse, letting in the lake. The door wouldn't open. "Help!" Lily repeated over and over again, hoping someone might hear her. "Someone, help!" She tried to remember the spell to unlock doors that Professor McGonagall had taught then just last week, but her mind was like a freshly-wiped slate. She banged on the door again, having gazed back at the water and, finding that the hole had expanded to the width of her little finger, began to pound on the door with one of the table legs. But the door was of stone, and she was far under the floors of the often-traveled corridors. Lily sat down, trying her best to think of the charm and to ignore the growing puddle in the corner. "All right, I was raised among Muggles. I can think of something without my wand. Really, I can!" she added, almost as if she were giving herself disbelieving looks and sniggering at herself. "Never mind, I can't. I've just successfully succeeded in confusing myself. Congratulations, Lily." She groaned and leaned back against the stone door, catching sight of a chair leg. "That's it!" She jumped up, picked up the rotting piece of wood, and raced towards the broken trapdoor. Standing on her tiptoes and as many chairs as she could pile up, she managed to stick the piece of wood into the gap. Dusting off her hands, she smiled. "There!--no--OUCH!" The pile of chairs she had been standing on collapsed under her weight. Lily fell towards the ground, and, trying to stop her fall, grabbed hold of the closest thing she could find--in this case, the chair leg. It came out of the ceiling and she landed on the floor, with a considerable amount of lake water soaking her robes. She managed to look up at the damage she had done. Lily closed her eyes, not even bothering to move away from the small waterfall pouring onto her lap. When the water was up to her ankles, Lily regained enough presence on mind to crawl back to the door, the part of the dungeon that was the most elevated. Here, only an inch of muck swirled around her shoes and robes. "This is hopeless," was her only thought as she stood back up and started to pound on the doors again. "Hello? Can somebody hear me, please, hello?" In a sort of rage, she started to kick at the door. Her wand was useless, as she had only learned a few random jinxes here and there. "Is someone there, I need help!" She whirled back around to hear a cracking noise. Several stones had fallen from the ceiling and with them a small flood. "Oh, why do these doors have to be so heavy?" she wondered as she pounded the stone, already in waist-high water. Sitting down was impossible. "Someone, help me!" Lily started to reel with fright. Hoping against hope that this would work, she pointed her wand at a chink in the door. "Tenrash Pfefferolus!" The

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orange light that issued from her wand burned a hole through the chinks about as large as twice the width of her wand. Lily took a deep breath, trying to calm her shaking body. She stuck her wand through the gap and sent as many red sparks as she could manage down the corridor. "If no one sees these, I don't know what I'll do." She closed her eyes, then, as if struck with a sudden maniacy, started to curse the stones in the door. Upstairs, the students were getting up from dinner in the Great Hall. Meandering along a corridor to his common room, one student caught sight of several red sparks flowing down the corridor. He followed them, wondering. Many staircases later, he found himself far under the school's regular corridors. He stopped, having heard someone scream. The scream was repeated, and the voice sounded somewhat familiar. He moved quickly down a corridor. Inside the dungeon, Lily was desperate. The water was chest-high, and she had made close to no impact on the dungeon's door. "Help, someone, please!" she shouted as a last-ditch effort, as she thought she heard something outside. The water was rising faster now, and she leaned against the door in silent acceptance. The next moment, there was no door, and she was looking into the dark eyes of someone she thought she knew. The last thing she remembered was the bang of the door as he closed it again, preventing the water from rushing out.

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