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Sirius Black was walking along the corridor, talking to Lily. They were not friends but had developed a kind of cold complicity, because Lily absolutely refused to speak to James Potter, and therefore had to address herself to Sirius whenever she wanted to borrow a book, or pass them in the corridors. Somehow, and quite incorrectly, she had identified him as the lesser of the two evils.

“Coming to Slughorn’s drinks, Evans?”

“Yes. I’m just waiting for Margot. We’re going together.”

Sirius made a face. “You’re friends with Holloway?”

Lily gave a curious half-smile. “We’re getting along. Anyway, she’s the only Slytherin in our year who hasn’t called me a Mudblood.” She smiled ruefully, and went on: “I would have expected her to be one of two, but as it turns out, it’s just her.”

“Well, never suppose she isn’t thinking it. Slytherins are all the same.”

“They‘re not all bad,” Lily reasoned. “Your cousin, Andromeda, is amazing. Just like Professor McGonagall. Composed and sarcastic and honourable…” Lily trailed off rather self-consciously. She had idolised Andromededa Black ever since they had met three years ago, but did not want to enthuse so much in front Sirius, whom she didn’t like very much, and who also happened to be a relative of her hero. He was smiling in a rather patronising way, as though there was nothing at all special about being composed and sarcastic and honourable. She changed the subject. “But Margot’s interesting, you have to admit. Incredibly clever.”

“She gives me the creeps.” Sirius muttered, with a shudder. “Those blank, staring eyes… she’s like a zombie.”

“No wonder you did so well in your Defence Against the Dark Arts exam,” Lily remarked sarcastically.

Margot Holloway emerged from the dungeon corridor. She was tall and shapeless, and her hair was as floaty as gauze, as though it refused to obey anything as vulgar as gravity. She was rather haughty in demeanour, and this effect was heightened by the fact that she was always at least two inches taller than anybody else in the room, so that she absolutely had to look down her nose at people. She was serene; neither warm nor vicious, neither friendly nor cold. Just severely dislocated from her surroundings. She was so clever because, for her, the world was entirely academic, and had no practical applications.

Sirius managed to disappear down another corridor before Margot spotted him, leaving Lily alone with her.  

“How was your summer, Margot?” Lily asked politely.

“Very interesting,” Margot replied, in the detached, slightly amused tone in which she always spoke. “My father - you know he works in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures? He took me with him to the outer Hebrides, to inspect a colony of Hebridean Blacks. One of them had set fire to a muggle village, and needed to be executed, so father let me dissect him.”

Lily, whose eyes had been shining with passionate interest until the word ‘executed’, blinked. She knew better, however, than to show any emotion around Margot. It was always greeted with polite - or worse, fascinated - incomprehension. So she replied, with a very thin, civil smile. “And are you interested in a career in veterinary magic?”

“No,” Margot shrugged. “I’m interested in seeing how their organs function in certain potions.”

“Oh,” Lily replied politely, staring straight ahead.  

There was silence between them as they climbed the marble staircase in the Entrance Hall.

“You come from a Muggle family, don’t you, Lily?” Margot asked suddenly.

“Yes.”

“Nobody from your family’s magical at all?”

“No.”

“Do you have any brothers or sisters?”

“I have a sister.”

“Older or younger?”

“She’s a year older than me…. Margot, are you taking notes?”

Margot looked up from her notebook serenely, as though this was the most natural thing in the world. “Do you mind?” she asked

Lily wasn’t sure how to respond to this, so they walked on for a bit in silence.
Eventually, she said: “Why are you interested?”

“Well, don’t you wonder why you’re magical, when no-one else in your family is? And so magical, too, that you managed to get the highest mark in the Transfiguration exam?”

“I expect I…” Lily blinked. “I did?”

“I asked Professor McGonagall. She said you got two per cent more than me.”

“Oh,” Lily said again.

“You know what she said when I asked what the extra two per cent was for? Imagination.”  

A strange, thoughtful smile crossed Lily’s face. “Really?”

“Yes,” Margot shrugged. “I couldn’t see what place there was for imagination in transforming a hairbrush into a hedgehog. She said my hedgehog had been perfectly anatomically correct, but yours was perfectly anatomically correct, and had a history.”

Lily stared ahead for a little while, then, smiling rather shyly, she said. “I’m really surprised. I was having a terrible day.”

“Because that Snape boy you were sticking up for called you a Mudblood in front of the whole school?” Margot asked tactlessly.

Lily contemplated outrage again, but settled for honesty. “Yes,” she said.

“That was very cold-hearted, I thought,” Margot offered. As with everything she said, it was an observation rather than an opinion. Its only job was to be correct.

“Well, thank you, Margot…”

“I mean, I know a lot of Slytherins that wouldn’t have thanked you, but I can’t think of anyone else that would have been disgusted by your help…”

“Yes,” Lily said, a little more sharply. “Thank you, Margot.”

“I told him so at the time,” Margot continued obliviously.

“Really?” Lily continued to stare pensively ahead of her. “What did he say?”

“He told me to go away and write an essay on it.”

Lily smiled, with her eyes shut. It was a painful, wistful sort of smile.

“What do you suppose he meant by that?” Margot continued.

“Who can fathom the minds of such people?”  

Margot paused, looking at Lily, as they approached Slughorn’s office. “Perhaps you could show me how you gave your hedgehog a history,” she said.

“Of course,” Lily replied courteously. Then, remembering what her mother had told her about kindness costing nothing, she added. “I’d like you to show me how you managed to get your Scintillating Solution to sparkle like that, in your Potions exam. It was beautiful.”

Margot regarded her pensively. Her mouth twisted a little, as though she was contemplating a smile. “I’d be delighted.”

They went inside Professor Slughorn’s office, and were immediately incarcerated by his hearty embrace. He seized one of them with each arm and crushed them to his side. “Girls,” he said, “so proud of you both! Why, Miss Holloway, your Scintillating Solution scintillated before it even touched the lips!”

Margot murmured something about powdered arrowroot. Lily had the distinct impression, impossible though it might seem, that she was embarrassed.

“And you, my girl,” Slughorn grinned, turning to Lily. “You’ve got something that can’t be bottled or brewed or learned from a book, Miss Evans. You’ve got spark and creativity, an intuitive grasp of the properties of your ingredients, an aesthetic appreciation for their subtleties...”

Lily laughed nervously. Several of the people already in the room had turned their heads at this rapturous tirade. “Thank you, sir,” she whispered, in a tone that pleaded for silence.

Slughorn perceived it and released her, still smiling jovially. “Well, grab yourselves a drink then, girls!” he boomed. “Miss Holloway, speaking of Scintillating Solution, come and talk to Mr. Snape about his, the thing was masterfully concocted…”

Lily, still blushing furiously, was left to hover by the sideboard. She poured herself a drink of butterbeer (liquid comfort), half-listening to Slughorn blustering about the properties of powdered arrowroot. She hadn’t looked at Snape, and was hoping to avoid it for the whole evening. Harder to avoid than the determinedly inconspicuous Snape, however, were James Potter and Sirius Black, who came in after a few minutes, their hair artfully messy and their robes hanging casually off their shoulders. They, she noticed, didn’t hush Professor Slughorn as he enthused over their talents.

After a while, Margot came back to her. Without any preamble, she said: “Professor Slughorn says that Snape had the edge on both of us in the Potions exam.”

“My goodness,” said Lily mildly.

“Historically, of course, most of the wizards who excel at Potions have a certain bias towards Dark Magic,” she said knowledgeably. “He Who Must Not Be Named himself won a special award for his Potions.”

“Well, they don’t come any darker than that.” Lily said with a bright smile.

“Miss Evans, have you spoken to Mr Snape about his Scintillating Solution?” Slughorn was dragging Snape along by the elbow. He looked sullen and didn’t meet her eyes. “He said that he used half a gram of dried aconite to make the potion lighter. Ingenious!”

Lily smiled politely. “Really?” she said.

Within a minute, Slughorn had dragged Margot off to meet a friend of his from the Ministry, and Lily and Snape were left alone. He was looking at his shoes.

“How have you been?” asked Lily. She wasn’t smiling, but neither was her voice cold. She looked him straight in the eyes as she spoke, and a painful ache in Snape’s chest told him how long it had been since she had last looked at him.
He opened his mouth to say ‘fine’, but the word wouldn’t come out, somehow. Before he could think of another one, however, James Potter and Sirius Black had sauntered over.

“Davies?” Potter asked abruptly. “Is Meg Valance telling the truth, Evans? You’re going out with Roger Davies?”

Snape saw Lily roll her eyes before she turned towards Potter. “That’s right,” she said coldly. “Know him, do you?”

“You could say that,” Potter grinned, “having beaten him at Quidditch on no fewer than eight occasions.”

“Really?” she asked sarcastically. “I hadn’t heard. You’re so modest about Quidditch.”

James Potter decided to ignore this. “He hasn’t exactly got much of a sense of humour, either.”

“If by that you mean he doesn’t curse first-years when their backs are turned, I’ll live with it.”

Sirius evidently decided it was time to step in. “He couldn’t if he tried, that idiot couldn’t tell a bat-bogey hex from a sneeze.”

“Hmm,” Lily smiled brightly. “Well, as long as he can tell a defenceless first-year from a Death Eater, I’m happy enough.”

And she walked off to join Margot.

James Potter stared after her irritably. Sirius nudged him gently. “There’s no accounting for taste, mate.”

“I think in some cases there is.” Snape observed drily.

“Who asked you, Snivellus?” Sirius sneered. “You’d be lucky to get a girlfriend at a troll convention.”

Slughorn, whose instinct for squashing discord at his parties was second to none, bustled over, and interposed himself between Snape and Sirius, who were staring murderously at each other. “Well, boys, I trust you’re all taking my Potions class for NEWT level,” he said pleasantly. “I don’t like to see talent go to waste, you know.”

“We’re not taking Potions,” The sneer hadn’t quite disappeared from Sirius’ voice, and he shot a nasty look at Snape as he went on: “Seems like sneaky magic to me.”

“For someone who creeps around the castle under an Invisibility Cloak, that’s pretty rich,” Snape muttered in an undertone.

Slughorn, who hadn’t heard Snape’s comment, seemed delighted with Sirius’ criticism. “Well, of course, there are wizards who believe that the subtlety of potion-magic equates with hypocrisy, yes. However, the advantage of slow, deliberating magic like Potions is that, whereas charms or hexes take the impression of a wizard’s feelings, potions can take the impression of a wizard’s thoughts.”

“And what happens if the wizard doesn’t have any thoughts, sir?” Snape asked, glaring at Sirius.

Slughorn smiled, though a little less warmly. “Then I wouldn’t have him in my Potions class. And I certainly wouldn’t have him at my drinks reception.”  
The first Slug Club meeting of the term after Snape and Lily have gained their OWLS, introducing my favourite character, Margot Holloway (who I imagine as a kind of evil Luna Lovegood!)
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:iconcreativelittle1:
CreativeLittle1 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2010
You have a superb talent at creating believable characters that never fail to interest.

And on I go to the next part...
:):)
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2010
:dance: :heart: Thank you, I'm so glad you liked Margot Holloway! I need to bring her into the story more - she never fails to make me smile!
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Ha, evil Luna Lovegood. Itís interesting, but while I was reading, I wondered if you had created her to become Lunaís mother. I could completely see Margot and Xenophilius producing Luna. Iím just a little fuzzy on what the initial attraction would be...
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010
Luna's mother... that's interesting. I remember Luna saying that she was a brilliant witch who liked to experiment - that would fit Margot perfectly!

OMG, I've just realized your signature is quoting Amanda Palmer! I love her - I play 'Who Killed Amanda Palmer' about once a day! :heart: You have good taste in music (as I'm finding out from the songs you put on the Snape playlist).
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Can it be? A fellow AFP fan?! :excited:
I swear, one meets the coolest people on this site. :dalove:

I only just realized I didn't have a signature, so a blog quote of hers seemed like a good choice. My real life friends know my two biggest obsessions are Harry Potter and The Dresden Dolls/AFP. I don't think many days go by when I don't listen to WKAP.
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:iconpolygamous-parrot:
polygamous-parrot Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2009
Margot, unlike so many OC's I have read before, read like a real JK Character! I was trying to remember her! :) Kudos.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2009
Thanks! :) :hug: That is such an honour to me, because I love JK Rowling's characters! (obviously, Snape first and foremost, but not just him...)
I really liked writing Margot, because she just gets to speak her mind all the time. No politeness whatsoever, it's great! :giggle:
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:iconpolygamous-parrot:
polygamous-parrot Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2009
Snape is King. Well, a Half-Blood prince, but close enough.
She's cool.Like you said, evil Luna :P. Is there more of her?
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2009
Yes, there is more of her in the story, but not as much as I would like! Maybe I'll write her into some of the new chapters! :)
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:iconpolygamous-parrot:
polygamous-parrot Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2009
Yay!
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:iconprayeratmidnight:
prayeratmidnight Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2008
How lovely!^^
I love Sev and Lily both being so sarcastic toward the marauders!^.^ (yeah, I'm mean to like James and Sirius being verbally kicked, but... they deserve it!^^)
I agree with lilyhbp, you really wrote all the characters so IC! Slughorn is his usual disgustingly pompous self^_^, James and Sirius are both perfect in the way they interact with Sev and Lily, and Margot (I have to ask: is she a canon-chara? If she is, I totally forgot her, and that would be a pity, she is so memorable^.~) is really sweet in her special way!^.^ “;Perhaps you could show me how you gave your hedgehog a history,” ...lol!^^
And (this paragraph both moved me with Lily's sadness and made me laugh out loud):
>“He told me to go away and write an essay on it.”
Lily smiled, with her eyes shut. It was a painful, wistful sort of smile.
“What do you suppose he meant by that?” Margot continued.
“Who can fathom the minds of such people?”<
How can anyone be so far away from reality? She really doesn't understand humour, let alone Severus's, does she?^_^

Well, what I try to say is: What a wonderful little story! You write in a way that makes me want the story to go on forever!^^ For example: Lily made a step toward Sev (can you say that in English???) when she asked how he had been, but they don't get the chance to make it up with each other... and I want them to become close again so desperately!>.<
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2008
Thank you! I love these characters dearly, and I really want Sev and Lily to get together, they have such an incredible connection! :) No, Margot isn't a canon character, I made her up: I thought it would be fun to give Lily a friend who really tested her patience! ;)
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:iconprayeratmidnight:
prayeratmidnight Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2008
I agree, Sev and Lily belong together!^-^
And Margot is really... special.^^ But you're right, she is funny, especially how Lily deals with her.^^

Tell me, please... Do all the stories in your gallery belong together, or are they all independent one-shots, or...??? I'm asking because "I really want Sev and Lily to get together" sounds like you wrote or will write some sequel where they will get together, and I'd love to read that right NOW!^.^
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2008
I'm afraid I haven't been writing the chapters in order (my brain leaps all over the place!) but if you go to my journal, you'll see a list of the order the chapters should be read in (well, they can be read in any order, really, but to avoid confusion, I've put up that list). I haven't written a chapter where Sev and Lily get together yet, but the closest they come is in Rosura, Part Three. That's my romantic chapter! ;) Thank you so much for your comments, I really appreciate them. :hug:
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:iconprayeratmidnight:
prayeratmidnight Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2008
Thank you! I will look at that list tonight.^^ (My fanfiction-addiction grows to unknown heights (I'm pretty sure I can't say that in English, but the message is clear, right?^^°;))
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2008
Absolutely! I think that's an expression in English, too. I'm addicted to writing fan-fiction, especially about these characters, so it's always good to meet people who are addicted to reading it! :)
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:iconveronika-art:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2008
Exceptional dialogs, the characters, all of them, are so spot on, so well written. I can see their personalities come through, and the comments are so well done, funny, sly and very good!

Oh my heart breaks for Severus... :heart: and for Lily....

Love the lines: “I’m interested in seeing how their organs function in certain potions.”

“I mean, I know a lot of Slytherins that wouldn’t have thanked you, but I can’t think of anyone else that would have been disgusted by your help…”

"Well, they don’t come any darker than that.”

“There’s no accounting for taste, mate.”
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2008
Thank you so much! I'm not a big fan of James Potter and Sirius Black, so it's fun to write Lily and Severus being cold and sarcastic towards them! ;) If I ever include them in a chapter, chances are they are being insulted!
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:iconveronika-art:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2008
Ahhh great, well you possibly know how I feel about James and Sirius by now... I am on Severus side totally!!! :D
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:iconmelissalianne:
MelissaLianne Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2008
lmao this is awesome xD I love the way you make it all fit in.
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:iconlily-in-utopia:
Lily-in-Utopia Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2007
evil luna lovegood :D
lol sirius is so mean. but funny.
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