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The Flower and the Stag

Part 7c

Sirius dropped his wand, and stared at the box. Lily sat down on the ground, her head in her lap, and James sat next to her, putting his arm around her shoulder.

'This is not good.' Sirius muttered.

'True.'

'So what're we gonna do?'

'Dunno.'

The three of them lay on the ground, each trying to work out what to do.

'How about we talk to Remus?' Lily suggested.

'Why Remus? I mean, he's kind of sick at the moment.'

'Then when he gets better,' Lily insisted. 'He knows heaps about this sort of stuff.'

'Like what? Finding dead bodies in a crate? I don't think so, somehow.'

'Can't we just talk to him about it?'

'Alright, alright.'

They crept out the room (after sealing the crate shut again) and hurried up to the common room -although only after going up several wrong staircases.

Lily fell into a chair, but -to her great disappointment- she couldn't get to sleep. For one thing, she kept thinking of the bodies in the box, and their eyes. For another, James was right next to her, which made it very difficult to snooze -maybe because his arm was under her back, or maybe because she had to restrain herself from leaning over and kissing him in front of everyone in the common room.

She sighed, and after at least half an hour of lying awake, she fell asleep.

Remus entered the common room that evening, looking for James and Sirius. Peter said they hadn't been in class all day, and he couldn't find them anywhere. But what he saw in the armchair by the fire made up for everything he had been through in the past day. He grinned, raced upstairs to their dorm, grabbed a camera, ran back downstairs, and took a photo.

It was quite funny. Lily was curled up close to James, sucking on her thumb, Sirius was wedged in between James and the armrest, and James just looked squashed. But they all looked so tired, he couldn't find the heart to wake them up. He watched them with a smile on his face.

Lily stirred, and opened her eyes slowly. 'Remus?' She said sleepily, trying to get up. She found that she was stuck, and decided to stay put before any of her hair got ripped out.

'What've you three been up to? I never knew three seventh years could fit in the same armchair.'

Lily looked confused, then saw James and Sirius beside her. 'Oh. Sirius wasn't there before.'

'So it was just you and James, eh?'

Lily glared at him. 'You're just as bad as Sirius sometimes, you know that?'

'I do my best.'

'Er- Remus?'

He sat down in the armchair opposite his friends. 'Yeah?'

'Um, there was this box in this room and there were these bodies in it-'

'Bodies?'

'Well, yeah.'

'You found bodies in a box in a room?'

'Yes.'

'Maybe we should wake the other two up?'

'Yes.'

She nudged James with her elbow, and he groaned. 'What time is it?' He mumbled, blinking through his glasses.

She shrugged. 'Could you please get off my hair?'

'I'm not on it.' He started to get up, and Lily shrieked.

'Ow! Ow ow ow, James it's stuck! Ouch!'

She stood up after him, her head on an angle, trying to stop her hair being pulled.

James stepped on Sirius's toe, and he woke with a start, eyes puffy. It took him a moment to work out what was going on, but when he figured it out, he grinned. 'Lily?'

'What? Ouch!'

'You don't have to follow James everywhere, you know.'

'If I could slap you without getting my hair ripped out, I would.'

'But, sadly, you can't.'

Remus sighed. This could go on forever. He whistled loudly, causing the entire common room to go silent.

'You can go back to whatever you were doing,' he reassured the other Gryffindors. They looked at him strangely, but then went back to their homework and whatever else they were doing.

'Now.' He addressed his friends, two of whom were in a very uncomfortable predicament.

Remus stepped over to Lily and James, undid the loop of hair that was stuck on a button on James's shirt, and then looked at them. Lily was rubbing her head.

'Lily said you found some bodies.'

'Shhhh!' Sirius hissed. 'Come up to our dorm.'

'What about me?' Lily asked, hands across her chest.

'You can come.'

She raised her eyebrows.

'Oh, Lily, who cares about the rules?' James said impatiently. 'Just come.'

'Fine.' She followed the others up the boy's staircase, trying to ignore the looks other Gryffindors were giving her.

Sirius closed the door behind them. 'Okay. Moony, we were out last night, trying to find ways to get a detention-' Remus rolled his eyes '-and we lost the map-'

'What?'

'-And we ended up in a room that we thought was empty. After Lily had fallen asleep on James-'

'Hey!'

'Well you did. Anyway, after that, the sun came up, and we saw these huge crates just sitting there.'

'Just sitting there? No writing on them?'

'Well…There might have been some.'

'Like what?'

'Private?' He hurried on. 'And so we opened them -only because Lily said we couldn't-'

'Thanks, Sirius. Just blame it on me.'

'I will. And there were about three people in there.'

'How do you know they were dead?'

'They weren't screaming? Breathing? They showed no signs whatsoever that they were alive?'

'They were dead.' Lily said bluntly, interrupting Sirius's speech. 'You could see their eyes.' She turned white, remembering this.

'Um, I'm just curious, but why are you telling me all this?'

'Because you're our friend-'

'And we thought you might be able to help.'

'Oh. It's just I don't know much about finding dead bodies.'

'Maybe we should tell Dumbledore,' Lily said, flopping down on the bed closest to her.

'And say what? Excuse me, professor, but we found some dead bodies in a room at about midnight last night, after we'd tipped shimmery paint over the castle cat?' Sirius stared at Lily. 'I don't think so.'

'Then what are going to do, huh? Just leave them there?' She stood up, her hands on her hips. 'But then they might kill more people! We HAVE to tell someone!'

'Calm down, Lil'.' Sirius said looked tired. 'We don't have to tell someone. We can figure it out for ourselves! It'll give us something to do.'

'Oh, goody.' Lily muttered. 'Researching dead bodies. How fun.' She looked up. 'What about the NEWTs? We have to study for them.'

'Who cares about studying?' He answered airily.

'Me?'

'You don't count.'

'Shut up you two. We aren't going to get anywhere. I agree with Sirius-'

'You would.'

'Because-' he looked at Lily 'I don't think we should tell anyone before we know what's happening.'

'What do you think is happening?'

James sighed. 'I think that someone on the dark side is shipping bodies into Hogwarts for spells.'

'Why?'

'You can use human blood in some spells.'

Lily shuddered. 'What kind of sick person would want to do that?'

'What kind of sick person would want to twist someone up into a ball?' James said quietly. 'These people are sick. They're evil. And my guess is, they're getting someone in the castle to brew illegal potions that involve humans.'

Lily fell backwards onto the bed, and stared at the canopy above her. 'I wish we'd never found that box.'

James flopped down next to her. 'Me too.'

Sirius and Remus exchanged a glance. 'How cute. James?'

'What?'

'I think your girlfriend's fallen asleep.'

'She is not- what?'

'She's asleep.' Remus grinned, and waved goodnight. Sirius followed suite.

James glanced down at sleeping figure next to him and sighed. 'Lily?' He shook her shoulder. 'Lily?'

She mumbled something and turned over onto her side.

James couldn't help smiling. Then he picked her up and carried her down the stairs in his arms, her long hair hanging limply over the side.

He was just opening the door to the girl's dorm (which was very difficult with a seventeen-year-old girl in his arms) when Lily's eyes opened, and she looked at him blearily.

'James?'

'Shhh. I think the others are asleep.'

Lily looked down. 'Why are you carrying me?'

'I didn't think Peter would appreciate finding you asleep in his bed.'

'Oh. Sorry.'

'S'okay.'

He placed her down in her bed, and she looked up at him, her green eyes staring hard at him. 'Thanks.'

James shrugged. 'You're not that heavy.'

Lily laughed and threw her pillow at him, then grew quiet. James thought she was about to say something, but she leaned over and kissed him, her arms around his neck.

They were interrupted by a whistle and a groan.

'Ha!' It was Jo. 'You owe me a galleon!'

James grinned and pulled away. 'Bye.' He left quickly, leaving a very pink Lily.

'So, Lily.' Jo said, coming over with a grin on her face. 'You don't like him, eh? Could've fooled me.'

Lily shrugged, and muttered something under her breath. 'Why does someone owe you a galleon?' She asked, looking around.

Holly parted the hangings around her bed and padded over in fluffy rabbit slippers. 'We had a bet. I thought he'd kiss you first, and Jo thought you'd kiss him.'

Lily stared at them. 'I can't believe you're my friends.'

'Oh, don't worry. You've still got James.'

Lily laughed. 'And you've got Sirius.'

Jo snorted. 'We're just friends.' She looked dreamy for a moment. 'Thought I wouldn't mind if we weren't.'

Holly giggled. 'Come on. We better get to sleep.' Jo nodded and waved goodnight to everyone.

'Hey, Lily?' Holly added.

'Yeah?' Lily was crawling under her overs, and she glanced up at Holly, yawning.

'What would you do if you thought someone wanted to kill someone you knew?'

'What? Someone's trying to kill someone?' Lily sat up in bed.

'No, no.' Holly said hurriedly. 'I'm just…reading this book. I was just wondering what you thought.'

'Oh. I don't really know. Tell someone else? Try and help them? Sorry, I'm not sure.'

Holly forced a grin. 'That's okay. See you in the morning?'

'Yup. That is, if I wake up. I might sleep all day.'

'Like today, you mean?'

Lily groaned. 'That was not a sleep. You have no idea how uncomfortable I was. I had James' elbow sticking into my back for over six hours.'

Holly laughed, and snuggled down into her own bed, closing the drapes behind her.

God,

Please don't let anything happen to Lily. I know they're coming. I can feel it. Please, God.

She fell asleep.

The next day, Sirius was extremely pre-occupied -more so than usual- and he even stuffed up in Transfiguration, which was usually his best subject.

James, Sirius and Remus walked out of the classroom together, planning to go down near the Forbidden forest, where no one else would be.

'Did you see that 'cat'?' James said, laughing. 'It looked like- like-'

'A mouse gone wrong?' Remus suggested.

'Ha ha.' Sirius grumbled. 'I was thinking.'

'Something new for you.' James said cheerfully.

Sirius mumbled something. 'Anyway. It was a mouse gone wrong, when you think about.'

Remus started to laugh. 'I don't think I want to think about it. It was quite- scary, I think the word is.'

The two of them giggled for a bit longer, while Sirius watched them, not looking at all amused. 'When you two are quite finished.' He said. 'We can go outside.'

'We're coming, we're coming.'

They walked over to a fallen down log that wasn't in view of the castle, and sat talking about brooms for a moment, just in case anyone had decided to eavesdrop.

There was a crunching sound from behind a bush. James stood up silently, and crept around it, careful not to make a sound.

Sirius and Remus watched him go, but they weren't expecting to hear James say 'Lily?'

'James?'

'What're you doing here?'

'Following you.'

'Oh. Hey, Sirius?' He called.

'Yeah?'

'Can Lily come?'

'Yeah.'

Lily came in first, looking cross. 'Why didn't you tell me?'

'You didn't seem very interested in the whole dead body thing,' Sirius said.

'I still want to know what's happening. But if you want me to go, I can. At least then I can explain to Jo and Holly that I'm not out here making out with James.'

James coughed, and Sirius raised his eyebrows. 'You can do that if you want.'

'Very funny.' She sat down on the log, and looked at the piece of parchment Remus was scribbling on.

'So…You think this has something to do with Voldemort?'

'Yes.' All three of them answered at the same time.

'Okay…But, I'm just wondering, why doesn't Dumbledore know?'

'Duh, Lily.'

'Sirius, can't you just answer a question properly?'

'Sure I can. What I meant was, why would they tell Dumbledore they were doing something illegal?'

'That's a lot of things to put into duh.'

Sirius shrugged.

'What I meant was, doesn't Dumbledore know about everything that goes on in this castle?'

'He can't.' James said simply.

'Why not?'

'Gee, you're slow today, Lily.'

'Thanks.' She said dryly.

'He can't know about everything. Unless he let us become animagi. Which I seriously doubt.'

'Oh yeah.'

'So what're we going to do?' Remus asked.

James looked thoughtful. 'Okay. Come here.' The other three leaned in, and James whispered his plan.

Lily looked thoughtful. 'That might work.'

'That was why I suggested it.'

She nodded. 'You've got more brains in there than I thought,' she said, tapping his head with her knuckles. Then she left.

'Hey, Lily?' Remus called.

'What?' She yelled back. 'I need to do my charms homework.'

'Meet us here, tomorrow, three o'clock, kay?'

'Yeah.' She nodded, waved, and then started running back to the castle.

James looked at Sirius. 'How can she do that?'

'Do what? Like you? I honestly don't know. But you have to admit, you do make a nice couple.'

'No. Work that hard in Charms? Anyone would think she likes it.'

Sirius patted his back. 'James. I think she does.'

He shuddered. 'I s'pose we all have our problems.'

~*~*~*~*~

The next day, at three o'clock, Lily, James, Remus and Sirius were sitting on the log, eating jam-tarts when they were supposed to be at Divination. Lily licked her lips, then looked around at her companions.

'What do we do now?'

'There isn't really much we can do now. We just wanted to get out of Divination.' James looked quite pleased with himself. 'But we were thinking we could go to that room tonight. To see if we can find any messages.'

Lily looked slightly sick. 'Do we have to look in the box?'

'You can keep watch,' James reassured her.

'Getting soft in your old age, are you James?' Sirius said grinning.

James ignored him.

'How are we going to find our way there?' Lily wondered out loud. 'Someone- not mentioning names- lost the map.'

All heads turned towards Sirius, who at least looked a bit ashamed. 'I didn't mean to. I didn't try, or anything. Don't be so mean.'

'Aw. I'm sorry Sirius. But how are we going to find that room? Wander around the castle?'

'That was the idea. Start at around eleven o'clock and we'll have all night.'

'Can we do it on a Friday?' Lily asked, looking pained. 'I can't miss any more Transfiguration. Professor McGonagall's ready to kill me.'

'Spoilsport.' Sirius muttered. 'Yeah, okay. Then we can sleep all Saturday. That okay with everyone?'

'Yup,' James agreed, eyeing the last tart. 'Does anyone want that?'

Lily scrunched up her nose, deciding. 'Nah. See you all later? I want to hear if Jo set anything alight in Divination.' She bounced off.

The boys watched her go. 'Trelawney really should get rid of those candles. Soon she won't have a tower to live in, if Jo keeps knocking candles over.'

Remus nodded, but James didn't seem to be thinking about that.

'She's really cute when she does that thing with her nose,' he said, biting into his tart.

Sirius burst out laughing. 'You've got it bad, Prongs.'

'What've I got?' James said through a mouthful of jam.

'Nothing,' Sirius said loftily, still fighting to keep a straight face. 'Nothing at all.'

~*~*~*~*~

That Friday night, James, Sirius and Remus crawled out of bed, trying to be as quiet as possible, so as not to wake Peter up.

Remus tripped over a bedpost though, and swore loudly, waking up the snoring Peter, who threw back the hangings and stared at them all.

'Where are you going?'

'Don't worry, Peter,' Sirius said, teeth shining in the moonlight. 'James is just going for a midnight stroll with Lily. We're supervising them to make sure they don't get up to anything.'

James rolled his eyes to the ceiling.

'You are not!' Peter said indignantly, stepping out of bed in his pyjamas. 'James doesn't even like Lily.'

Sirius snorted. 'Where've you been the last week? You obviously haven't heard about James carrying Lily to bed, and then snogging her for five minutes straight.'

'That is a slight exaggeration.' James muttered. 'Anyway, how'd you know?'

'Jo wasn't going to keep it a secret, Prongs. It was valuable information.'

James put his head in his hands.

'Don't worry,' Remus said kindly. 'The Hufflepuffs don't know. Yet,' he added as an after thought.

Peter glared at them all, his tiny eyes watery. 'I want to come.'

'No way. Besides, Lily's coming. You hate Lily.'

'I don't hate her. She hates me.'

'She does not hate you,' James said, sighing. 'Sirius, just let him come. He can't do anything wrong.'

'Except give us away and get us suspended.' Sirius said under his breath.

'Besides that.'

They crept down the stairs, Peter making them all frustrated because he remembered he was in his pyjamas and wanted to change- they didn't let him- and by the time they reached Lily at the bottom of the staircase, Peter was almost in tears, and Lily was very bored.

'What took you so long?' She hissed, blowing on her hands, trying to keep them warm. She stuffed them in the pockets of her black cloak, and followed the others out the portrait.

'Someone,' Sirius said, glaring at Peter, 'woke up.'

Lily noticed him for the first time. 'Oh, you're here, are you?'

'Yes.' He said grumpily.

She shrugged.

'Did you and James kiss?' He asked, knowing Lily hated talking about this.

'None of your business.' She answered, hugging herself.

'Are you okay?' Remus asked. 'You look frozen?'

'Yeah, I -I' she sneezed loudly, then sniffed, rubbing her nose on her sleeve. 'I think I've got a cold.'

'Want a tissue?' Sirius asked, conjuring one up out of thin air with his wand. Lily nodded and thanked him, blowing her nose.

Peter watched them all with anger welling up inside him. Would they do that for him? Probably not, he thought crossly, biting his stubby nails. They'd just tell me to shut up.

About an hour later, James peeked inside a room. 'This is it,' he announced.

'What are we looking for?' Peter asked, sniffing.

'You'll find out.' Sirius said, a wicked glint in his eyes.

'I'll keep watch,' Lily said hurriedly, and she walked quickly over to the door and out the room, not looking back.

'Is she scared?' Peter said, feeling pleased. He wasn't scared.

James opened the largest crate with his wand, then stepped back, looking at Peter angrily. 'You look in there, and tell me if you like what you see.'

Peter stepped forward, looking into the crate. Three…bodies…he felt sick. And not because of the sight that lay before him. What had master said? I’m sending some -er- presents. I want your friends to find them. Maybe we'll get them early. Not the boy though. The girl,' he had said, rubbing his hands together. 'I want the girl.'

Peter stepped back, and looked at James defiantly. 'It's not that scary. She's just a wimp.'

James didn't say anything, but Lily, who had been listening, peeked inside the doorframe, looking furious. 'Get lost, Pettigrew. Unless you want me to throw up all over your miniature head.'

Sirius clapped. 'Go Lily!'

Peter sat down on another box, then got up hurriedly, remembering what was probably in it.

'I have to go,' he said abruptly, feeling the dark mark master had burnt into him throb once more.

'Whose the wimp now?' Lily said when he left.

'I have more important things to do,' Peter said airily.

'Like what?' Lily scoffed. 'Running to the nurse?'

He stepped up to her, until he was so close he had to look up at her. 'You should watch it, Cooper.' Then he scurried off, out to the broom shed, where he straddled his broom and flew away. Rather wobbly as first.

Lily watched him go, suspicion evident in her eyes. James walked out, looking very pale and unlike James. 'What'd he say?' he asked.

Lily shook her head. 'Nothing. It doesn't matter.' She looked at him closely. 'You're all white. Stay out here for a minute with me? Please?'

He nodded, and they leaned against the stone walls silently, shoulders touching. 'This is freaking me out,' Lily whispered, almost hoping he wouldn't hear her.

'Me too.' He patted her hand. 'Me too.'

A little while later, the other two emerged, looking tired but triumphant, and very pleased with themselves. 'We've found a letter!'

Lily looked up, interested. 'What's it say?'

Sirius handed it to her, then wiped his hands on his robes, pulling a face.

~*~*~*~

To B

Here are the materials you sent for

Be at the grounds, Thursday night. I want payment for my troubles.

A

~*~*~*~*~

'Yuck.' Lily muttered. 'Ew ew ew.'

'All true,' Sirius said cheerfully.

'Why're you so happy?' Lily asked, looking confused.

'Lily,' Remus said patiently. 'We'll be able to get them! They'll be there!'

'So you are going to tell Dumbledore, aren't you?' Lily asked.

'Well…' The three boys exchanged glances.

'You have to!' Lily said loudly. She covered her mouth with her hands. 'Sorry.' She whispered. 'But you do have to tell him. You can't deal with Voldemort yourselves!'

'Who says?' Sirius said stoutly, looking cross.

'God, Sirius, you're such an idiot! I don't want you all to get killed!'

'You don't?'

Lily sighed, exasperated. 'Course I don't. That's why I'll come with you.'

James looked at her. 'You sure?'

'Yes.'

'Positive?'

'Yes. Stop worrying.'

'See, Lily, that's what happens when you let someone carry you to bed,' Sirius teased, grinning. 'They become overly over-protective of you- ow!'

Lily laughed.

~*~*~*~*~

Peter knocked on the door to Masters house.

'Password?' The eerie voice said, and Peter tried to stop himself trembling.

'Mudbloods,' he squeaked.

The door swung open. It had been oiled since last time, he noticed with satisfaction. The creaky door spooked him out.

'Ah, Pettigrew,' Master drawled, 'I trust the delinquents have found my note?'

'Eh?'

'Your 'friends,' Master said impatiently, twirling his wand in his fingertips.

'Oh! Oh, yes. They have.'

'And the girl?'

'Yeah. But she wouldn't look at the bodies. They made her feel sick. And the others, too. James was all pale.' Peter said this with some sort of pride.

'But the girl,' Master pressed. 'She will be there?'

'Yes. She follows James everywhere now.'

'Oh?'

'Well, not everywhere. Not to detention.' Peter was babbling, as he always did in Masters presence.

'Why is that, boy?'

'They like each other,' he said with disgust, wrinkling his nose at the mere thought of it.

'What?' Master hissed, sounding furious.

'They like each other,' Peter repeated, backing away.

'How do you mean?' Master was tapping his wand against his other hand, shooting out red sparks from one end.

'Er- someone saw them kissing, I think. And now James always sticks up for Lily…Instead of arguing with her.'

Master sat silently for a moment, deep in thought. 'I knew this would happen,' he murmured. 'It was too strong…'

'Master?' Peter whispered. 'What was too-?'

'Do not worry, my boy. We shall get lovely little Miss Cooper before any harm comes of this 'romance'. An evil smile spread across his face. 'You need not worry about her any more.'

Peter bowed and turned to leave. 'Pettigrew!' Master snapped.

Peter spun around.

'Ye-yes, Master?' He stammered.

'Pretend you are sick next Thursday…We do not want anyone getting suspicious, do we?'

'N-no, master. Of course not.' He bowed again, and backed out of the room.

~*~*~*~*~

The next Thursday, during a Charms lesson, they sat up in a tree, trying to work out what to do. Lily was very put out about missing Charms, and wasn't feeling very useful. Sirius kept swinging from branch to branch, Remus was studying (his books kept falling down to the ground) and James was trying to get everyone to pay attention.

'Where's Worm-boy?' Lily asked, after being knocked off a branch by Sirius. She swung herself upright.

'He's sick,' James answered, then grabbed a quill that was about to topple off and fall down.

'Stupid little rat,' Lily muttered, chewing her nails in boredom.

'Lily.' James admonished her.

'Come on James, you know he is!'

'You don't have to be so mean to him though.' James answered.

Lily shrugged and started to climb down.

'Hey!' Sirius called. 'Where're you going?'

'Inside. Before I strangle James.'

Sirius turned to James. 'Aren't you going to go after her?'

'No,' he muttered.

Sirius gaped at him. 'You're so dumb, Prongs!' He cried in exasperation.

'And why is that?'

Remus looked up, interested.

'If you two didn't have so much pride you wouldn't get mad at each other! You need to get over it!'

James snorted.

'He's right,' Remus said quietly. 'She does love you. But you can't just let each other go like that.'

'I didn't let her go,' James said. 'She just -went.'

'Oh, you make me so mad, sometimes' Sirius said, and he if had been on the ground he would have stamped his feet.

'You sound like Lily,' James said with a tiny grin on his face.

'Look.' Sirius said, hanging upside down and looking at James directly in the face. 'You - love - Lily.'

'No - I -don't. I like her. Not love.'

Sirius sighed. 'Fine. But can't you at least tell her that?'

'Why? And since when were you so in touch with feelings?'

'This is just obvious. And because you're my best friend, and I don't want to see you and Lily break up.'

'We were never officially together.'

'You haven't been together for the last year and a half, but has anyone- besides those Hufflepuffs- asked you out? Hit on you? Everyone was too scared either you or Lily would attack them.'

James looked at him. 'I'll talk to her later, alright? After we've done this.'

'Fine, fine…just talk?'

'Sirius.'

Remus laughed, and his books fell down -again. But before he had a chance to bring them back up, they heard a loud crunch from somewhere in the forest.

~*~*~*~*~

Lily walked through the halls, her blood boiling. She almost didn't see Holly before she ran right into her.

'Ow! Oh, sorry, Holly…What's wrong?'

'Lily!' She gasped. She'd been running too, apparently. 'You- have- to- warn- James! He'll die!'

'What?'

'James! That- note!' Holly stopped for a moment to catch her breath. 'That note they found. It's a trap. They're trying to kill you. But you're not there, so they'll get James!' Holly looked at her pleadingly.

'How- how do you know all this?'

'I don't get top grades in Divination for nothing,' she answered. 'And-' Holly looked a bit guilty. 'I found a glass ball of James's…it shows the future…it showed you…dead.' Holly whispered the last word.

Lily stood still for a moment, and then she turned and ran, calling over her shoulder 'I'm going to Dumbledore! Get help! Get someone! Anyone!'

Lily sprinted to the Gargoyle at the front of the passage up to Dumbledore's office.

'Open up, you ugly horrible thing!' She started banging on its mouth. 'Let me in!'

She was just running through a whole line of swear words when the Gargoyle stepped to the side and the Headmaster walked out, looking very worried.

'Why you little- Professor! James! He's-'

'I know, Miss Cooper. Stay inside the castle, please.' He stopped to think about this for a moment. 'Better yet, stay in my office.' He nudged her inside.

'Hey! What- why?'

The gargoyle closed again, only this time with her on the inside.

She heard Professor Dumbledore lock it magically.

'WHAT? Hey! Help!'

After several minutes of yelling, she became hoarse, and dashed up the stairs to a window. There were so many people down there…Hogwarts students in their black robes, and other people…older people…coming towards the castle…Then Dumbledore came, and the tallest of the other people walked up to him. They disappeared, along with their followers so suddenly, it took a moment for Lily to realise what was happening. Dumbledore didn't move. He yelled out a spell, and then, when that was done, he hurried forward.

Lily stared out the window, her nose pressed up against the glass.

Then she did the first thought that entered her mind. She smashed the glass, grabbed a broom from a shelf nearby, and leapt out the window. Since she still had some sense in her brain, she didn't land near the mess, but several metres away. Then she pushed to the front, surveying the scene before her.

Bright orange ribbon or tape -Lily couldn't tell- was suspended in mid-air, and hit-wizards were appearing everywhere. They kept going invisible to catch people trying to get under the barriers.

Lily hurried over a to an empty looking section and started to scurry under it. Before she could get very far, someone invisible grabbed her.

'Oi!' They yelled.

'Oof!'

They pushed her back to where the crowds were standing and pulled their invisibility cloak off, still holding onto her arm. Lily took a good look at him, and realised he was only a few years older than her, she recognised him as a Ravenclaw -but he obviously didn't remember her.

'Wha' d'yeh think yeh doin?' He asked crossly, glaring at her.

'Trying to get through,' Lily said, stating the obvious.

He snorted. 'Yer not allowed there, yeh hear meh?'

'Yes.' However, she continued trying to push past him.

'Look 'ere, Missy! It's a disaster in there, righ'?'

'I don't care!' She yelled. 'James is in there-'

'I don' care if it's yeh boyfrien' or yeh Pa in there, yer not going in!'

Lily stopped, and narrowed her eyes. 'He is not my boyfriend.'

'Righ''

'Got that?'

'Got it.'

'Good. NOW LET ME PAST!'

'I'll 'ave to arrest yeh if yeh don' move it soon!' He yelled back, furious with this girl. He remembered her now. She was a Gryffindor Prefect. He saw a badge shining on her chest as the sun caught it, and raised his eyebrows.

'Head girl, eh?'

She glared at him. 'Go dunk your head in a lake,' she snapped. Then she froze him, ducked under the barrier, and ran towards the middle of the crowd gathered in a group, where officials from the ministry and nosy school kids that had managed to get through were running around in a frenzy, trying to find out what was going on.

Lily spotted Sirius sitting on the ground a few metres away, and ran over to him. She threw her arms around his neck, and he winced. 'Ouch. I've hurt my arm a bit. Can you- Lily? You're okay!'

'Why wouldn't I be?'

Sirius looked a bit nervous. 'No reason…Look, I'll tell you later. I think it's James you should be hugging.'

'Is he okay? Where is he?'

Sirius grinned, and pointed. Lily spun around, and saw James standing nearby, a lop-sided grin plastered across his face.

'JAMES!' She shrieked. She leapt over to him, flung her arms around his neck and wrapped her legs around his waist, hugging him tight. He wasn't in great condition, for several different reasons, and the force of her jump knocked him down flat on his back.

'Oof!' Before he could say anything else (not that he really wanted to with Lily on top of him) she had kissed him so hard he wondered if his lips were bruised.

Remus wandered over to where his friends were standing. Well, sitting and lying. 'Sirius?'

'Yeah?' Sirius had a huge smirk on his face, and he was watching Lily and James with great pleasure.

'I take it they've made up?'

'Something like that.'

'What happened?'

'Well, Lily saw James, shrieked, knocked him over, and I don't think they've come up for air in the last five minutes.'