celestine_fics: The four Hogwarts founders in Potter Puffs style (Books - Harry Potter - House Unity)
celestine_fics ([personal profile] celestine_fics) wrote2011-12-24 06:47 pm

Harry Potter Fic: A Note on Hypocrisy (PG)

Title: A Note on Hypocrisy
Author: [personal profile] celestineangel
Team: Team Stag!
Rating: PG, for some light swearing.
Wordcount: 2,750
Warnings: None, really, except perhaps vague insinuation of stalkerish behavior?
Prompt: Winter Image 1
Summary: Class is in session, and the topic? Hypocrisy. Someone has taken it upon themselves to be the teacher, with Lily Evans as their student.
Author's Note: This was originally written for [community profile] lilyjames_fest, and obviously, I was Team Stag, and obviously, we were the awesomest. This is the first time I've written Lily, so please be gentle! Also, this is a strange mix of a somewhat liberal, somewhat literal interpretation of the prompt, I think.




A Note on Hypocrisy



Are you a hypocrite? Circle yes or no.

In Lily's belly, a tight knot of anger and shock forms. Not only does she not have a clue what the note could mean, but it's simply a terrible thing to ask someone. Especially anonymously, through a note.

Lily looks around, but doesn't see anyone who looks as though waiting on her response. Just someone playing a cruel prank, then.

Are you a hypocrite? Circle yes or no.

Scowling, Lily crumbles the parchment in her hand and throws it in her bag.

It isn't a very good day to cross her. She's already in a bad mood, one that isn't improved by having Herbology in the afternoon with Slytherins. If he tries to apologize to her one more time, she's going to have to hex him, and she really doesn't want to do that.

Another glance around the room shows her Potter staring at her again, which does nothing to lift her spirits, especially when he catches her catching him, and only grins.

Arrogant bastard.

Lily turns her eyes back to the front of the room, resolutely staring now at the blackboard and Professor McGonagall's handwriting. Potter is not worth her notice, even if Polly Parker thinks he's handsome with his lopsided smile and constantly mussed hair. Polly Parker is a silly, shallow girl who doesn't look past the surface. Fortunately, Lily is well aware that an attractively straight nose and tall frame, even with Quidditch talent, doesn't mean anything in comparison to kindness and compassion, not to mention a strong sense of right and wrong.

All of which Potter very woefully lacks.

McGonagall is kind enough to only give them twelve inches of essay homework to do rather than the usual fifteen, and Lily packs up her things and leaves before Potter can get it in his head that the look she gave him was an invitation for conversation. Which it was not, because she can think of at least ten other things she'd rather be doing.

None of them include Herbology, as it is every bit as uncomfortable as she expected, with Severus trying to catch her eye. She ignores him. Her heart breaks all over again, but she ignores him.

There's no changing him. No saving him. She has no desire to watch him destroy himself and other people.

Leaving, she can hear him behind her, "Lily! Lily! Wait, wait, please!"

"Lily!"

A different voice, one that makes her frown. Lily turns to see Peter Pettigrew running toward her, a bit red-faced. She can't deny his timing is fabulous, as behind him Severus glares at the boy with an expression that's frankly quite frightening, but has also stopped calling to Lily himself. Still, Peter's one of Potter's friends, and normally doesn't speak to her.

"Peter?"

He falls into step beside her, though he has walk a bit faster to keep up with her. "I just wanted to see if you'd thought about the History of Magic homework? I don't have any ideas--"

Before he can finish, she blurts out, "Why aren't you asking your friends?" It comes out a bit harsher than she meant, but it's a good question, really.

"Oh, well, I just thought... I mean, they always start late and I thought you might have a different perspective but oh look, there's Remus, I'll talk to you later!"

He darts off, leaving Lily quite bewildered.


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~



Friendship, supposedly so strong, can also be so very, very fragile.

Lily has learned this lesson already, learned that what she thinks she can do, she can't, that what she thinks she can change, she can't. She's learned there are times you can't save someone, because they don't want to be saved.

She's learned that sometimes you must save yourself instead.

Yet, and yet, why does she feel so terrible?

The notes don't help. The one in Transfiguration is only the beginning, she soon finds notes everywhere. There's one stuck to the window just on the other side of her bed curtains one morning, and there's one in her book satchel, and even one stuck inside one of her books. There might be three days without one, and then a day with five in a row in the strangest of places.

They are, every one, the same set of questioning words: Are you a hypocrite? Circle yes or no.

It's as though some demented child has taken the typical Do you like me? question to another level, where instead of childhood infatuation it's a need to blame her for some hypocrisy she can't quite fathom.

It feels silly, but it's beginning to feel a bit like stalking.

"It certainly is disturbing, Miss Evans," says Professor McGonagall when Lily takes a handful of the notes to her. What's worse is that nothing McGonagall does to the papers with her wand will reveal the culprit. Even the handwriting is unfamiliar, and all the students' handwritings should be known to a teacher who sees them every day; to Lily's mind, McGonagall should at least be able to say it's familiar, but she can't. Lily's mystery contact is nonexistant, it seems.

It can't be one of ghosts. Can it? What reason would one of them have for this, even if it were possible for them?

"I'm afraid there isn't much I can do, however, not without knowing who the perpetrator is, and whoever they are, they're very good at covering their tracks." At least, by her frown, she's taking it seriously.

"It's Potter," Lily says, knowing she has no proof, but believing it all the same, "it has to be."

McGonagall looks startled. "What makes you say that, Miss Evans? Mr. Potter is certainly a troublemaker, but this doesn't seem his style."

That's true, but it doesn't shake Lily's certainty. "He...." She's never said this aloud before, and she never thought she would, especially to a teacher. "He fancies me." Even if she doesn't feel the same way for him--and how could she, with him being the arrogant toerag he is?--it's still embarrassing, and Lily can feel her face flushing hot.

She glances up just in time to see one of McGonagall's eyebrows lift, but the professor gives no other overt reaction. "I see. Well, if it is Mr. Potter, I would caution him to polish his methods of flirtation a bit before trying again." With that, she hands the notes back. "If you receive any more of these, please let me know."

Lily walks away after stuffing the notes in her bag. She feels ashamed, but more, she feels ready to punch something.

Or someone.


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~



"Hey, Evans, fancy seeing you here, we just--"

It's quite satisfying to interrupt Potter's words with a fist to his jaw. It's even better to see the way his head snaps to the side from the force of it, and right at the moment, she's angry enough to punch him again to see if she can make him stumble or fall. Not even the incredulous looks on the faces of his friends make her pause.

"I don't know how you're doing it, Potter, but keep your hands and your notes out of my things!"

The completely blank expression he gifts her with is enough to make her reconsider. On an arrogant toerag like James Potter, who spends most of his time inflating his own ego, genuine confusion isn't hard to distinguish from acting. Unless Potter is a better actor than she gives him credit for, which is always a possibility, but Lily doesn't think this is the case.

He really looks confused. And... she realizes with a sinking stomach, there's hurt there as well.

"What the hell, Evans?" is all he asks.

Satisfaction dries up like a river bed in summer, and Lily Evans loses her equilibrium.

"I... you... you didn't send the notes?" She hates how uncertain she sounds, but what else is she to do when he looks at her with those wounded animal eyes?

Now another expression sneaks in beside the confusion, and that's wariness, alongside what Lily suspects might be the thought that she's lost her mind. Maybe she has, because if it isn't Potter sending her the notes, she doesn't know who could be, who would.

"I think you need some rest, Evans, and some tea."

"That's what my mum does!" Peter pipes up from his place next to Lupin, who has settled into a placid expression, revealing nothing more than idle curiosity in the proceedings. "Tea, I mean," the smaller boy finishes weakly.

On the other side of Lupin is Black, with his long hair and Polly Parker-described "rakish grin," which in Lily's opinion made him look more like a wolf staring down a meal. If Potter's attention is arrogant and somewhat clumsy, Black's is... predatory.

Where does that image even come from? She's probably just overreacting.

Overcome suddenly with anger at the way Potter looks at her, Lily reaches in her bag and pulls out a bundle of half-crumpled notes, throwing them at him. "Those notes," she says to him, though he didn't ask, mainly to prove to herself that they exist. "Look me in the eyes, Potter, and tell me you had nothing to do with them."

What she sees there, when he goes through the notes one by one, faster when it becomes apparent that they are all the same, makes her stomach clench. He glances up at her, a frown on his face, and she thinks Oh, because the emotions most coloring that frown is worry. For her.

"I had nothing to do with them," he says, and dear God, she believes him. "Have you taken these to a--"

"Yes, but...." Hesitation. She's unaccustomed to talking to Potter without there being scathing words and anger involved, and her anger has all but fizzled out completely. "Well, I took them to Professor McGonagall, but whoever wrote them is very good at covering their tracks, and she said she can't do anything without knowing who it is." Lily bites her lip, a little anger rising again as she thinks about how McGonagall seemed not to take the situation as seriously as Lily would have liked. Serious, but not serious enough.

"It could be Sniv--Snape."

She shouldn't come to Severus' defense, she knows that, but a lifetime of doing so, and five years of opinions about Potter, betray her. "You just want to believe that, you have no proof, and he wouldn't. He's been trying to apologize to me this whole time, so you just leave him out of this, Potter!"

"Right." He steps away from her instead of rising to the occasion as usual, instead of trying to turn this into a way of asking her out. "Well. Good luck with that problem of yours, Evans."

He's gone before she can pull in another breath, leaving her staring after him in confusion.

"You can only hurt him so many times," says someone, and Lily realizes Lupin, Black and Peter are still there. It's Lupin who speaks, holding one of the notes, his eyes on it and not her. "You should give him a chance to be more than an arrogant ass; half of that is his misguided attempts to impress you. Just thought you ought to know."

He doesn't get up to leave, nor do Black or Peter. The three of them just sit there, watching her as though expecting something to happen, maybe her head to explode or for her to run off after Potter.

Instead, she leaves them behind on her way back up to her dorm room.


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~



For an entire week, there's no sign at all of any notes.

Lily should be ecstatic. She should be getting on with her life, hoping the notes are gone forever. While she is hoping they're gone, for some reason she's not happy. Well, that makes it sound as though the reason is a mystery even to her, and it isn't. She knows very well why she's unhappy, she just hates it.

She's unhappy because Potter is unhappy, and she made him that way. Because another thing that hasn't happened in a week is Potter asking her out.

You can only hurt him so many times, Lupin had said. You should give him a chance.

Of course he would say that, he's Potter's friend. But the words have stayed with her anyway, because oddly, she's still thinking about Severus.

Clearly, they were nothing alike. Though, there had been a short time when she thought she and Severus might... that there might be more there. He's made his choice, though, and she can't approve that; but she defended him for so long, and she spoke to him about his other friends, and she tried very hard to save their friendship.

Can she say she's put the same effort into befriending Potter?

Absolutely not, why should she have? He was an ass to Severus from the moment they met.

In all fairness, her traitorous mind supplies, Severus wasn't much better, but you stood by him. You stood by a lot he did that wasn't much different from things Potter did.

She'd formed an opinion of Potter in that moment, and never once allowed it to change.

Lily frowns, looking down at the blank parchment before her. She's supposed to be writing an essay for Charms, but lessons are the furthest thing from her mind. Instead, she's thinking about boys and notes and wondering when it happened that she really did become a great big hypocrite.

"Oh damn."


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~



Fifteen minutes later, she's found him sitting on the shore by the lake, and she hands him a small piece of paper.

Are you a hypocrite? Circle yes or no.

In bright red ink, she's circled "yes."

He peers up at her a moment, then offers a smile that looks better on him than his usual grin, as this one is small and tentative and filled with much more promising things. After a moment, she sits beside him.

Sits, and actually talks to him.


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~



They watch from the windows in the boys' dormitory, watch the girl and their best friend.

"Blimey," says Peter.

Sirius snorts. "I know. It's a bloody damn miracle, but I'm glad. Now we won't have to hear him moan and groan all the time."

Remus just stands there, smiling slightly as he watches James and Lily begin to laugh at something or other. Peter runs off to start spreading the word prematurely, but Sirius turns to Remus, eyebrow lifted in silent query.

"What?" asks Remus, voice as placid as his expression. Really, he doesn't have to answer. Sirius rolls his eyes.

"Everyone thinks you're the nice one."

"I am."

"Bullocks."

"Language, Mr. Black."

Rolling his eyes again, Sirius turns his head to once again look out of the window. "I'm glad he's happy, but if I end up having to wear dress robes for a wedding, I'm blaming you."

Remus just smiles a little wider.

"You do that."


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