Do not drink bubbly wine and then try to settle in and work. I decided to be a good girl and do the piece I promised for zephprolixity a long time ago--I've been horribly delinquent on several things while pushing to finish Shifts, and I really didn't have any business calling for anything else--spent three hours mucking around on it and getting it the way I wanted it, and didn't save. Not even once. And guess what? Yuppers. Comp froze, I lost the whole shebang.
I need to play, though. I'm going to do the challenges.
L/J for coralia13
Hey... L/J for LJ. :p
I'm not sure this counts as a challenge, but... will you write something MWPP, focusing on L/J?
Heh. James is still trying to get a word in edgewise in my head, but Lily snuck in instead.
Start 11:22 p.m.
"They drive me mad," Lily said, trying to break off a piece of Hagrid's treacle tart, which she could at least pretend to eat. "Honestly, the whole bloody pack of them."
"Eh, they're just boys, being boys." Hagrid handed her a mug of tea large enough to wear as a hat. "Bit stupid, but tha's the way it is. They'll grow out of it."
"Right. I'll remember that when they steam my head and dip it in butter for dinner." Lily tugged at the long, knarled carrots that were hanging from her head where her plaits had been this morning.
"That'll go away, little Miss, and you know it."
"That's not the point."
"Really! First Potter does this"--she tugged at the carrots--"then Black and Pettigrew stood there pointing and laughing!"
"And the other one?"
"Didn't say a word. Not a single thing. And I'll bet he laughed later, too."
"Well, yeh'll come out of it all righ', really. Yeh're a good girl. Yeh know they don't mean no harm."
Lily drank her tea, feeling less comforted than she usually did after a visit with Hagrid. Generally, he just took her side and left it at that. But of course, James Potter was one of his favorites. He'd never say a word against James. Instead, he changed the subject and talked about the potatoes he was growing, which had an infestation of chizpurfles because the Potions mistress had tried an experiment on them and they were covered with magical goo. Lily reminded herself to stick to rice dishes in the Great Hall.
When she finished her tea, she wrapped a bright tie-dyed scarf around her head and went back up to the castle. Severus Snape was near the door when she came in, and he wrinkled his nose at her before disappearing, not even bothering to make fun of her. She supposed it could have been worse--Bellatrix Black had left school last year, and she was relatively certain she would have ended up steamed and buttered if Bella had seen her like this.
"Evans!" someone called jovially. "Hey, Evans!"
Lily stopped, not bothering to look around. She knew Sirius Black's voice perfectly well. "What is it, Black?" she asked. "Have you decided to turn my eyes into peas or whatnot?"
"No." He came around her, shaking his head and tucking a piece of parchment into his bookbag. "Honestly, Evans, we didn't think it would even work. Don't get your knickers in such a twist!"
There was nothing to say to this extraordinary pronouncement. Lily just gaped at him.
Sirius shrugged, managing to look sheepish, but not particularly contrite. In the three years they'd been at Hogwarts together, Lily didn't think she'd ever seen Sirius or James look remotely sorry for anything... and they'd both gotten progressively worse since first year, when she'd thought they might end up as friends. "Look, we really didn't know it would work. And you ran off so fast we didn't have a chance to fix it! James and I have been looking all over for you."
"Why should I believe either one of you about anything ever?"
Sirius shifted uncomfortably. "Oh, let up a bit..."
"Really, Potter is insufferable. Why would he do this?" She ripped off the scarf.
"Well..." Sirius frowned. "Well, actually, er..."
"He didn't do it. I did it. He pretended to because you were already angry at me about that business in Charms yesterday."
"Goodness, why would I be angry about that? My essay growing wings and flying out the window onto the Quidditch pitch? Honestly, if I didn't know better, I'd think the pair of you were a couple of spoiled little pure-bloods having a bit of fun with a Mud-"
Sirius put his finger over her mouth, looking very sincere. "Don't say that word, and you do know better."
"How do I know better?"
"You just do." He pulled her aside, and took something from his pocket. A mirror. "Hey, James," he said. "I've got her, up by the Great Hall. She's a bit tweaked."
James's voice came through the mirror. "Don't keep her there! God, anyone could walk through there. Give her the you know what and bring her up here so I can undo it."
"The you-know-what?" Lily asked.
"Are you sure you want to do that, mate?" Sirius asked the mirror. "The you-know-what..."
There was a long pause before James said, "I ran into your cousin Narcissa. Word got around that something happened, and they're all ready to jump on her, and I reckon it might be partly our fault, so yes. Give her the you-know-what and get her up here without anyone seeing her."
Sirius put the mirror away and reached into his book bag. He paused with his hand buried in scraps of parchment. "All right," he said. "This is James's. Don't ever tell."
Lily raised her eyebrows at him and said nothing. If James told him to give her whatever it was, he would do it. If James Potter told Sirius Black to hand over the keys to the family's Gringotts vaults, Sirius would probably just ask if he wanted them polished first.
With a deep sigh, Sirius pulled a silvery length of cloth from the bottom of the bag and handed it to her. His hand slid inside of it and disappeared.
"You have an In-"
"Shh. Just put it on."
Dubiously, Lily slipped into the Invisibility Cloak. No wonder they were able to get away with the things they did.
"Follow me," Sirius said. He led her up the stairs. It was silly, really. There was hardly anyone in the corridors to hide from and--
"Oh, look. My cousin. Skulking around and not making a pest of himself. He must be up to something."
Lily turned with dread. She could handle Narcissa Black, but the tone of voice suggested that she wasn't alone, and it didn't mislead. She was there with a handful of other third years, including Snape, and with the miserable Head Boy, Lucius Malfoy. A few other scattered Slytherins stood with her, making a line across the corridor just in front of the Fat Lady's portrait. Lucius must have told them all where Gryffindor headquarters were.
"Now," Lucius said, "we know you've got the Evans girl someplace. We understand that you and Potter have been hexing her. We'll have to see it... to punish you properly, of course."
"Right. I'm sure that's what you want." Sirius nudged around, and something clattered to the floor.
"You dropped your mirror," Snape said. "And I'd guess that's your favorite thing in the world, isn't it?"
Sirius rolled his eyes extravagantly, and drew his wand. Lily noticed that he jostled the mirror toward her slightly with his foot. She got the picture and snuck forward as he lazily pointed his wand at Narcissa and said, "Capillus leviosa."
Her hair suddenly stood on end. Lucius shot some kind of hex at Sirius, who dove to avoid it. Lily scrambled forward and grabbed the mirror. "Potter," she whispered into it. "Potter, can you hear me?"
James's face swam into the mirror's surface. "Yeah... Evans?"
"Spot of trouble outside, if you don't mind."
Sirius ducked behind a statue and shot another hex at Snape, and Lily dove behind a tapestry that hid a locked door. She slipped out of the Cloak and let it fall to the ground, then burst out into the fray, wand drawn, carrots flopping bruisingly around her shoulders. Narcissa saw her and tittered with laughter. Lily changed the sound of it to a croaking bullfrog.
The portrait opened, and James, Remus, and Peter spilled out of the hole, throwing hexes with great abandon (Lily had rather thought Remus Lupin didn't actually know the hexes the others did, and was surprised to see him using them so easily).
Lucius raised his wand and sent up a flare that would call for Argus Filch.
"What are you all doing here?" James asked. "You're not meant to take sides anymore, Malfoy."
"Oh, but I'm meant to defend students against such vicious hexing as this." He touched one of the carrots, then wiped his hand on his robe in great distaste. "Tell, me, Mudblood, which of them is responsible? I'll see to it that he loses points and has a detention."
"I did it myself," Lily said with no hesitation. "I thought it would be an interesting fashion statement." She gave him a frosty smile.
He turned and yanked on one of the carrots, hard, and part of the bottom of it broke off. He tossed it across the corridor with contempt. When it landed, it turned into a fistful of Lily's red hair.
James didn't bother with a hex. He barreled across the corridor and shoved Lucius, throwing the older boy off balance.
"Five points from Gryffindor," Lucius said, getting up and dusting himself off as they heard Filch coming up from downstairs. "And five more from Miss Evans for lying."
Filch spent the next twenty minutes trying to sort it out, mainly taking Lucius's word for everything--the Fat Lady had been dozing through the whole thing, naturally--but more concerned about damage to the corridor. By the time he left, the Slytherins in tow, James and his friends had managed to lose twenty more points.
They stood looking at one another awkwardly when they were alone, then Lily sighed and went to the tapestry, pulling out the Cloak and handing it to James.
"You could have just let them confiscate it," he said.
She shrugged, and handed Sirius back his mirror, then stood looking at them with her arms crossed over her chest.
"Er..." Remus Lupin started, and made a motion at either side of his face. Peter Pettigrew nodded, though he still looked too out of breath from the skirmish to say anything.
"Right," James said. He tapped the carrots a few times to no effect, then did a complicated Reversal charm that Lily had seen in a sixth year book. A moment later, the plait on the right side of her head returned as it had been. On the left side, the hair was considerably shorter where Lucius had broken it off, and unraveled completely. James winced, looking honestly sorry for the first time since Lily had known him. "Sorry, Evans. It's, er... "
"I told her it was my hex," Sirius said.
"I didn't believe him," Lily said.
James nodded. "Er... would you lot mind if I had a word with Evans?"
The others disappeared inside, Sirius with one protective glare back through the portrait hole.
James leaned agains the wall. "I think this may have been partly my fault," he said.
"Well... possibly largely."
"Largely," Lily repeated, bemused.
"The plaits were only meant to come undone. Your hair is... well, you know, it's nice to look at." He nodded to himself, and blushed deeply.
"Well, I'll have to cut it off now," Lily said. "Thanks."
"I don't understand you. I gave you the Cloak and I came when you called and--"
"You turned my hair into carrots!"
"All right. That was a stupid thing to do. Just... they were looking, and I had to say I was doing something, didn't I?"
"Right, then. Good. I'm glad you understand." He nodded sharply and went back into the Gryffindor common room.
Lily stood in the corridor for a long time, shaking her head as she undid her remaining plait.
End 12:58 am