Pink Green Blue

Prelude to Destiny by Hourglass nomineeHourglass winnerAnotherDreamer

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Rating: PG. Created: September 14th, 2005. Updated: April 21st, 2006. Read Reviews (252)
Disclaimer: Characters, the magical world, etc, is property of J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros, not the owner of this fic.

Chapter Four -
Finding Her Niche

The worst part of going back to school was the packing: the folding and organizing of Lily's robes, quills, parchment, books, and various other supplies. Luckily for Lily, though, her mother was neurotic. Quickly pulling out cardboard dividers and labels, Faith Evans made short work of unloading and reorganizing the mess that Lily called her trunk.

"How did you expect to find anything in this mess?" Faith asked with a grunt as she dislodged a sock out from under her daughter's cauldron.

"I've never had any problems before," Lily quipped, taking her blouses and refolding them on her bed.

"That's because I've repacked your things every year since you were eleven, but now you're sixteen years old and you ought to be able to-- what is that?" Lily's blonde mother pointed at a misshaped grey lump that appeared to be moving. Lily poked it cautiously with her wand and a pink spark shot through the air. Then everything was quiet.

"Maybe you should put that in the backyard," said Lily in what would have been an off-hand sort of way.

"What? Oh, God, is it alive?" Mrs. Evans ran over to the window, opened it, and threw the grey thing into the street. "We are unloading this trunk."

Lily groaned and threw herself onto her bed. A loud clang resonated in the house, but Lily didn't care. Her father was watching the news and who really cared if Petunia jumped a little? Her older sister had been nothing but spiteful, mean, and full of horrible accusations since Lily came home. While both the Evans adults claimed they would grow out of their dislike of one another, Lily doubted she could ever find anything respectable, good, or even interesting in her snotty sister.

"What are you doing about the boy?" asked Mrs. Evans as she pulled out the wadded robe Lily had wrapped her quills in.

"Which boy?" Lily asked, deliberately avoiding the question.

"The one you spent more time with this summer than your own family. The one you think is dreamy and cute and just perfect," Mrs. Evans teased, filling the bottom of her daughter's cauldron with socks so as to conserve space.

"Oh right," Lily said, unsure of the right answer. Christian had suggested they continue dating, owling each other daily, but Lily didn't know if she could do that. Yes, he was cute. Yes, he was polite. Yes, he was the perfect boyfriend, but at the same time, her stomach did not do flip flops around him. Her heart did not jump to think of him, and while Lily did not want to admit it, Sam's negative opinion of him had really been the beginning of the end.

"So you won't be seeing each other during the school year?" Mrs. Evans inquired as she finished filling the cauldron and moved to position it in the trunk.

"I don't know what to do, Mum." Lily rolled over on her bed and threw a pillow over her head.

"Break it to him gently."

"But he's so right for me. He's everything I need, Mum. Everything I should want."

"But not everything you actually want," said Mrs. Evans softy, putting down the parchment she was organizing and moving to sit on her daughter's bed. She softly stroked Lily's hair. "And that's all right, Lily. You're young."

"I don't know why I don't want to keep seeing him, Mum. I have no idea," Lily said. And that was a bit of a lie. She had a feeling that her annoying obsession with James had something to do with it, but she was trying to ignore that fact for the moment.

"It's hard," Faith said.

"He bought me a necklace," Lily said, pulling the charm out from under her blouse.

"That's lovely," whispered Faith as she leaned forward and took it into her hand. And it was true. The necklace was gorgeous, and a very thoughtful gift. He said he noticed the way she always played with her necklace and wanted to get her one that would last. The charm was a phoenix that looked varying shades of red throughout the day.

"I hate that I'm bored of him," Lily said.

"Bored of him?"

"Well, that isn't exactly what I mean. It's just that when I see Ian and him coming up the walk, it's Ian that I'm excited to see because we have so much fun together. Christian and I don't ever laugh."

"You don't laugh?"

"No. He just. He isn't--" James, Lily wanted to say. She groaned, grabbed a pillow and tried to smother herself to death with it. Why did she have to compare Christian and James? Why couldn't she accept the boy who came by every day at five for a walk? Why couldn't she love the way he asked if he could hold her hand? Why couldn't his polite conversation be enough?

-------

The end of the first day of classes--the third day back at school--found Lily lying around an armchair in the corner of the common room. Her legs dangled off the armrests as she stared half-heartedly at her Potions book, not really bothering to read.

Actually, she should have been studying. She should have been pouring over her notes from the last five years, not to mention memorizing the entire book. According to Professor Darcy, that was the only way to even begin to prepare for the N.E.W.T.s. The tests were two years away and professors were already making Lily nervous about them; the sixth years would have pre-N.E.W.T. exams at the end of the year-a staff-run version of the real exams. Add to that the stress of designing her seventh year independent project by the end of March-- a project required of all students that allows them to study the subject of their choice in depth-and it resulted in a lot of stress piled onto Lily on the first day of classes.

To tell the truth, Lily was not really thinking about school. Actually, the thought hardly crossed through her mind except in passing. Mainly she let herself daydream, thoughts ranging from the realm of her desire to play a little football to thoughts of writing with a ballpoint pen. Occasionally she reflected upon her sister with bitterness and her teachers with little less than scorn.

Why did they want her to do so much? Why didn't they consider that maybe she had not spent her summer revising? Why didn't they ever suppose that she spent her time kicking a football and dating an extremely good-looking wizard who did not understand the concept of a traffic light?

Laughter brought her back into realty and she looked over at the source of the noise: a large group gathered in front of the portrait hole (blocking it, of course). Upon closer examination, Lily saw Tracy conversing with the rest of the Quidditch team. Her dull blue eyes gave off an impression that screamed angel! which contrasted sharply with her skill with a beater's bat and bludger. She was not malicious, just extreme gifted at hitting a magical ball at people's heads.

Another ripple of laughter passed through the group and split them enough that Lily could see the source of the noise: James Potter. She turned her eyes away. The last thing she needed was anyone seeing her staring at the boy.

Not that she was spiteful (well, okay, maybe a little), but the Quidditch team had barely spoken to one another the year before. They hardly worked like a team the previous year: the keeper kept things out of the hoops but never passed the quaffle back to the chaser in the best position; the chasers could hardly pass to one another without a mistake being made (a quaffle bouncing off a bludger they had not anticipated or a person thinking they were being passed to and when the ball ailed over them, trying to jump off the broom for it); the beaters hit the bludgers at whichever player on the opposite team seemed to be flying quickly (which resulted in many hurt seekers and many occasions with both bludgers were aimed at the same person); and the seeker caught the snitch regardless of whether it meant winning the game or not. Admittedly, that might have been the reason that were trounced by all the other teams, but why were they so chummy all of the sudden?

"Hey, Lily, you going to rejoin the world of the living anytime soon?" asked a voice next to Lily's head, making the redhead start. She had been very immersed in her thoughts.

"I am in the world of the living," Lily said, addressing the person who was now leaning against the back of Lily's chair. Looking up at the speaker, Lily saw a face she could recognize in the dark: that of her best friend Samantha Caldwell.

"You're in some world, but it isn't the one I'm in," Sam commented. While Lily lay ungraciously across the chair, Sam looked perfectly composed leaning against the same piece of furniture. Sam always managed to seem perfectly composed. How annoying.

"I'm right here," Lily said stubbornly, refusing to acknowledge that she had let her mind wander. She scrunched up her face into a look of complete childish petulance.

"And there's that lovable face I have come to know and love." Sam grabbed Lily's chin and wiggled it around until Lily broke free and glared daggers at the black-haired girl. "You love me."

"I doubt that," Lily said.

"Then why am I your best friend?" Sam asked condescendingly.

"Eat worms," Lily snapped. Sam blinked.

"What?"

"Nobody likes you, everybody hates you, why don't you go eat worms?" Lily sang quickly, reciting a teasing song her mates in primary school used to sing. "Eat worms is short for 'nobody likes you.'"

"You're barmy, you know that?" Sam asked. "Most people don't make up songs about worms." Lily shook her head sadly. These poor, poor magical-born fools.

"Why exactly are we friends?" Lily asked.

"Because I'm pretty?"

"Try again, Ugly," Lily replied, though in fact her friend really was quite good-looking with her black almond eyes and hair.

"Because my marks are outstanding?" Sam continued.

"Not as good as Snape's and I can't stand that bloke," Lily said. "And those are your best attributes, so you're screwed."

"Then why are we friends, exactly?"

"Mainly because of the five galleons your family sends me at the beginning of each month."

"And I told them not to bribe anyone until seventh year," Sam retorted.

"You'll have to talk with them about that," Lily replied, lounging back down across the chair--her red hair falling almost to the floor. She ran her hand through it, enjoying the feel of it today. Laughter echoed through the room once more and Lily did not have to move to know where it came from.

"When did Tracy become so friendly with the team?" Lily asked, changing the subject quickly and not caring.

"July."

"What happened in July?"

"Nancy Adams became Quidditch captain and decided the team needed some reshaping. So she basically forced them all to stay at her house and practicing on her family's pitch."

"How did she force them to do that?" Lily asked. She thought she had heard this story before but hadn't bothered to actually listen.

"Said that no spot on the team was guaranteed, that everyone would have to try out again this year if they wanted to be on the team. It was supposed to form team cohesion. All it did was ally them all against her." Lily briefly wondered why her shyest friend knew more about this than she did.

"How long were they there?"

"Almost two months. I'm surprised you didn't notice Tracy's absence," Sam said pointedly. "You live rather close to one another."

"It's not like we've ever made a practice of visiting one another at her house. She usually comes to mine," Lily said shortly.

"Are you sure you just didn't notice because you were busy with Rebound Boy--"

"His name is Christian."

"You were so busy with him that you didn't notice her lack of letters over the holidays, didn't bother to write her often enough, or didn't care enough to notice a lack of returning owls. And now we've been in school for three days and you haven't managed to ask one of your best friends how her summer went?"

"I vaguely recall getting a few letters about it and James Potter talked to her when we went to Diagon Alley, but I didn't think anything of it. She's Tracy. People like her." Lily did not feel like rehashing the horrible experience of seeing James again and realizing just how not over him she was.

"Her brother isn't such a fan of her."

"Matt?" Lily asked, shocked. "Are you kidding? They're best friends."

"No, no. I meant Will. He's an uppity little first year," explained Sam.

"I take it he and Chad aren't the best of mates?" Lily asked. Chad was Sam's younger brother--the one to whom she had bequeathed her frog at the beginning of the year--and a first year like Will McGrath, Tracy's younger sibling.

"That's the problem. They are. Stupid Ravenclaws."

"Actually. I heard they're supposed to be highly intelligent."

"Shut it, you. Why don't you go back to thinking about N.E.W.T.s or Petunia or James Potter?"

Lily tensed up. Sam knew she did not like talking about James or her crush on that moron. Ever. And for Sam to imply that Lily thought about him at all after she'd promised Sam she would move on this past summer-- that was just ridiculous. As if Lily would let him occupy even a single thought in her head simply because he was smart, funny, good-looking, clever, and... basically perfect. Frick. She had to stop thinking like that. He was also obnoxious, bigheaded, and cruel to his fellow students. He had made a fool of her last year. He was not perfect. He was not perfect. He was... anything but perfect. Please let him be anything but perfect.

"Is it that bad, Lily?" Sam asked, taking her silence to mean more than Lily wanted it to mean.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Lily said stubbornly, letting herself fall even further to towards the floor and enjoying the sensation of blood rushing to her head.

"Is he in all of your classes?" Sam asked, neither getting the hint nor letting the stupid subject go away.

"Practically." Lily sighed.

"And that upsets you because you like looking at him and feel you aren't being loyal to Rebound Boy?" Sam pressed.

"Christian and I broke up," Lily said. Yet another thing she did not really want to talk about.

"Oh," Sam said. Lily did not need to lift her ever-heavier head to know she was smirking.

"Your concern is overwhelming."

"I don't have to pretend to be upset that you broke up with a boy who wasn't right for you," Sam said.

"Yes you do."

"Why? You don't seem very upset." Sam moved to sit on the floor in front of Lily's upside-down face. Lily's eyes were beginning to feel the pressure and so she rolled over and, draping her arms in front of her and relieving the pressure in her head.

"Of course I'm upset," Lily said, feeling slightly dizzy even though she was practically lying down flat. "I dated him for months."

"But..." Sam pushed.

"But what?"

"But why did you break up with him?"

"How do you know he didn't end it?" Lily asked, irritated that Sam knew her so well. Lying to strangers was easier than lying to best friends. Sam would never believe Lily had broken up with him for any reason other than that she was still hung up on James.

"You're avoiding the question," Sam pointed out.

"What question?" asked Christine O'Connell, the other female Gryffindor sixth year. Her sudden entrance caused both Lily and Sam to turn towards her. In Lily's case, she turned a bit too quickly and fell off the chair. And before Lily could right herself, Sam began talking.

"About why Lily broke up with the Dufus," Sam said.

"You broke up with Hottie?" Christine exclaimed, walking over to be closer to her two friends.

"Why can't anyone call him by his proper name?" Lily moaned as she pushed herself onto her hands and crawled back into her chair.

"Was he a bad kisser?" Christine asked. The tall, blunt blonde believed relationships to be a means to an end, something that was okay unless it became boring. Then it had to end. Quickly.

"No!" Lily exclaimed. "I just-- it just-- I didn't want a long distance relationship." Christine nodded, understanding the need to end a relationship that would tie Lily to a boy she could never see.

Meanwhile, Sam was obnoxious and said, "I think you're lying."

"What?" Lily asked, shocked.

"That isn't why you put an end to it," Sam said.

"Then why did I break up with an absolutely gorgeous boy?" Lily asked, trying to sound like she herself did not know the reason for the split (trying to pretend like he wasn't standing a short ways away laughing with the Quidditch team).

"You fancy someone else!" Christine exclaimed. Sam smirked.

"No I don't!" Lily yelled, shocked that Christine had just figured that out. Lily's exclamation carried through the room and caused more than a few pairs of eyes to turn towards her. Christine, who was notorious for being stubborn, single-minded, and not caring what anyone thought of her, did not notice the attention. Sam, not liking attention of any sort, ignored them. Lily waved and smiled at the room as a whole, as if to pretend that she had meant to get their attention.

"Who do you fancy?" Christine pressed, definitely not getting the hint that Lily did not want to talk about this.

Lily turned to look at her friend. "No one, Christine."

"Liar," the blonde girl said.

"Are you and Rebound staying in touch?" Sam asked, trying to pry information out of Lily while she was defensive and off balance.

"Sort of."

"Sort of?" Sam asked.

"Yes. Sort of."

"Who do you like?" Christine popped in. The other two girls ignored her as she stared thoughtfully at the wall.

"And Christian isn't weeping over the broken relationship?" Sam asked.

"He's a boy," Lily replied, not wanting Sam to know the truth: Christian had been devastated by the break up. It made her wince to think about his face when she'd-- no she wouldn't think about that.

"Right."

"Who do you fancy?" whined Christine.

"No one," Lily sang. Lily got up, shaking herself off and trying to smooth out the many wrinkles in her robes.

"Why are you avoiding the question?" Sam asked.

"I'm not; I have a prefect meeting to go to," Lily said.

"Ew," Sam and Christine exclaimed together.

"I know." Lily started for the portrait hole.

"See you after dinner then," Sam said.

"Wait. Who does she like, Sam?" Lily heard Christine ask before she left the common room.

-------

Prefect meetings, it must be noted, were among the most boring, tedious, useless pastimes in the history of the world.

Tapping her quill mindlessly against the desktop at which she sat, Lily let her mind wander. Her father, she knew, was on some sort of committee at work that often met to discuss and decide upon important matters. After fifth year she had quietly taken him aside and told him how very grateful she was for his work.

"Why is that?" Mr. Evans had asked, looking slightly worried.

"Because I'm now on a board at school and I know how horrible it is, and I'm so sorry that you have to endure that just to be paid, and if you want to quit, I'll understand."

"No," he had replied, laughing, "I don't want to quit. Thank you though."

"I'm not joking. Honestly. It's one of the most painful experiences of my life. Nothing is accomplished... ever!"

And that statement was never truer than during the first meeting of the year, when the fifth years were introduced to the idea of what the prefects were expected to do. Lily remembered the meeting the year before-- her fifth year. She had fallen asleep. It had been a blur of graphs and charts and magical parchment from McGonagall. But at least last year, Cleo had been there to interrupt every few minutes with funny commentary. Now it was just Matt (Tracy's brother who had been made Head Boy) and the Head Girl, who Lily was sure had been introduced, though she must have missed it.

Out of the haze of words, Lily vaguely heard her name and looked up to see McGonagall glaring at her. There was complete silence in the room save for the clicking of Lily's quill against the desk. Lily stopped that movement and had the grace to look embarrassed.

"If I am boring you, Miss Evans, you may leave," replied the deputy headmistress in a tone that suggested if Lily left, she would not be taking her head with her.

"No. I'm fine. Your explanation of patrols made my mind wander," Lily replied enthusiastically.

"I have not mentioned patrols yet, Miss Evans." The professor's lips thinned.

"Oh. Well, then, I lied. Or I was joking. Whichever you prefer to believe," Lily announced, smiling.

"Let it not happen again."

"Of course not," Lily said primly. McGonagall nodded curtly and went back to explaining the intricacies of some horrible minute prefect duty. Lily went back to staring at the wall and tapping her quill.

"If you were a bloke, she'd have thrown you out," Kevin Creggie whispered into Lily's left ear. "That was brave."

Lily rolled her eyes. It had not been brave. It had been an act of desperation. She needed to liven up these meetings. She needed to hear some sort of laughter or shock or something from these stuck up students. She looked around the room, taking in the faces of the students looking so avidly at McGonagall. They were the elite of the school, the children who pushed themselves the hardest, who fought the hardest to prove themselves. They were the children who would kill one another if it bolstered their chances of being Head Girl or Boy.

She did not know what she and Remus were doing here. Well, she knew why they were here-who else could Dumbledore have picked from their year and house?

Samantha Caldwell was probably the most put-together people Lily knew. She would have made a good choice, but she-- Lily did not know how to explain it except to say that Sam seemed to hate being singled out for any reason. Sam liked living in shadows. In fact, she flourished in them and probably would have turned down an appointment as a prefect.

Tracy McGrath was a short brunette with dull blue eyes and though she enjoyed being good at things, Quidditch was her life. She would have valued practices more than prefect meetings. More than eating, sleeping, breathing, living, or dying too.

And Christine O'Connell was not what one would call "responsible." Christine never let go of a thought or idea. If something caught her interest it would become her obsession, for a short while at least. She would have blown off patrols and meetings if they bored her, and she wouldn't have understood what was wrong with that.

The boys were even worse. James Potter and Sirius Black would have abused their power to amuse themselves. Peter Pettigrew would never have wanted to take points away from anyone; that boy loathed making enemies.

So Remus and Lily got shacked with the chore and neither seemed to fit in at these meetings. Thank goodness the food was excellent.

As if to bribe the students into coming, the house elves pulled out all of the favorite feast dishes to give to the prefects during these long, long meetings. Often Lily found herself creating games with the food so as to drown out the discussions that never advanced. Once she had made a miniature of Hogwarts with a combination of five soups, two slices of cake, and a little bread. Lily smiled at the memory.

"Do you find something particularly amusing, Miss Evans?" Damn!

"No, Professor. I was smiling at the brilliance of your plan for the year," Lily replied immediately.

"Which plan?"

"The one about which you were just speaking."

"And what exactly might that be?" McGonagall asked in her challenging tone.

"I won't bore you with a repeat," Lily said. McGonagall glared some more. I wonder if she can revoke my prefect position? Lily thought. But once again she considered who her replacement might be and she decided that McGonagall would not want to take that chance.

But, Lily wondered, would losing her title really be that bad? Yes, it would. Though she did not like the actual practical meeting part of the job, Lily loved being a prefect. She loved having power and knowing she used it well. She loved being important and honored, though she did not like to admit that. She just really hated these meetings.

A sudden outburst of noise caught and dragged Lily back into reality. She leaned over to Remus and asked him what was going on. He looked back at her, amused.

"The meeting is over."

"Hallelujah!" A few people nearby laughed at her exclamation. The Transfiguration professor was not one of them.

"Miss Evans, stay behind." McGonagall's sharp tone stopped Lily half way out the door. Lily might not have thought anything of it, but the smirk from Remus -- Remus! -- as he walked out the door bothered her to no end. Lily mentally sighed, turned around, and found herself face to face with one of the angriest McGonagall faces. The older woman said nothing until after the last of the fifth years had collected their things and meandered out.

"Would you care to explain your behavior tonight, Miss Evans?" Lily shook her head, deciding that lamenting about the mundane meetings would rather insult the woman in charge of them. "I expected better of you, Miss Evans. You, as a sixth year, have an obligation to the younger students. You must set an example. Today, you told them that disrespecting professors and daydreaming in prefect meetings is acceptable."

Something inside Lily screamed to protest, to say that she had not been disrespectful. She had just... not paid unnecessary attention. But Lily remained silent.

"I don't understand your attitude in today's meeting."

"Sorry, Professor," Lily said, going through the motions and even feeling a bit badly for seeming to have upset the professor so much.

"I know you must feel overwhelmed because of the new classes, but none of the other sixth years reacted like you."

"Sorry," Lily repeated, not knowing what else to say. McGonagall's lips went thin again and she nodded, indicating that Lily could leave. The redhead grabbed her things and headed for the door, grateful to have gotten away unscathed.

The walk back to the common room was unremarkable. Lily had grown accustomed to the castle these last years (or maybe the castle had grown accustomed to her, she wasn't sure).

"Painful meeting, no?" The voice was surprisingly loud in the empty corridor and made Lily's heart jump. She turned and saw Remus Lupin walking fast to match her pace. When had she passed him?

"Completely pointless," Lily lamented, not wanting to talk about it or McGonagall's request for her to stay behind, or anything really. All she wanted to do was forget the hours of her life that had just been stolen from her by that stupid, stupid meeting.

"I hate those things," Remus said. Why was he talking to her? He never spoke to anyone unless one of his friends was nearby. And he most certainly never spoke to Lily; she knew because she had been trying to get him to converse with her for the past year on their monotonous night patrols. Why didn't he talk to her then (when it was needed) instead of now (when it was not)?

"I wasn't paying any attention, was there anything important discussed?" Lily asked in her most grumpy voice.

"The patrol dates were handed out."

"Another joy."

"I changed two of them."

"Neat," Lily said, annoyed.

"I just wanted you to know," Remus said. Lily nodded. The portrait hole was in view. "How are things with your boyfriend?"

"What?" Lily exclaimed, shocked that he asked and shocked that he knew she had seen someone over the summer. Christian did not even go to Hogwarts.

"You dated someone over the holidays, right?"

"Yes."

"He goes to Beuxbaton?"

"Right," said Lily uncertainly, "but we broke up."

"Sorry."

"How did you know about him?" Lily asked. Remus shrugged. Great, now he wanted to be quiet. The Fat Lady was in front of them by that point, so Lily said the password ("Schnoogle") and went in.

"I'll see you tomorrow in Defense," Remus said as a way of good-bye.

"I'm not in that class. I failed my O.W.L."

"Oh."

"I hated that class, couldn't do a thing right." Remus nodded and went left as Lily headed back for the door that eventually led to her dormitory.

What an odd day: first her professors convince her that the apocalypse is coming the form of N.E.W.T.s, then Christine implied that she broke up with Christian for someone else, Sam agrees with her, Tracy is suddenly best friends with the stupid Quidditch team, she had to endure those painful hours of the prefect meeting, was reprimanded by a professor, and had a relatively long conversation with Remus Lupin. It was only three days into the term and already things were off course.

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