?

Log in

 
 
17 March 2010 @ 08:16 pm
Fic: It's All Politics [Part 1]  
Title: It's All Politics [Part 1]
Pairing: Lily centric | Mulciber, Lily/James & unrequited Snape/Lily
Rating: R
Word Count: ~13,000 [combined]
Summary: The most constant emotional sentiment in Lily's Hogwarts career was her complete and utter loathing of one William Mulciber.
Warning: Language, violence, sexuality | Trigger warning for sexual harassment
Disclaimer: I obviously don't own HP
A/N: I haven't written any canon compliant HP fic for nearly three years because my AU has taken over my fic ideas. But this idea came to mind and I couldn't get it out so here it is. Thanks to lavinialavender for betaing and anewcitylife for the britpick. All mistakes are my own, these ladies are fab.


1



William Mulciber had never been on Lily’s radar of boys to be on the lookout for. At age fourteen he wasn’t one to attract attention: he didn’t play for Slytherin’s Quidditch team, and any romantic endeavours he may have participated in never made it through Hogwarts’ intricate grapevine. For Lily’s first two years attending Hogwarts, all she knew of Mulciber was that his family was well known and quite wealthy, he was one of Severus’ roommates, and he had let a chocolate frog loose in Potions class during first year.

Suddenly, in third year, Mulciber hurtled into her life like a rogue Quaffle and it didn’t take long for Lily to yearn for the years when Mulciber’s existence was as inconsequential as that of a fruit fly. Not only had Severus and Mulciber become much closer friends (which, in retrospect, she found understandable since he was a teenage boy and likely could not always relate to his girl best friend), but it was the same year that both she and Mulciber were invited to join Slughorn’s infamous—and in some ways overrated—Slug Club. The club was an excellent way to mingle with other students and make connections with important people; however, the excitement of Slughorn’s dinner parties wore off after the first term. Nevertheless, Lily attended every function, as did Mulciber.

It didn’t take long to realize how nasty Mulciber really was. His smarmy tone matched his smarmy disposition as he told Slughorn of his decadent vacations, divulged the status of his respected aunts and uncles, and showered Slughorn with imported chocolates and wines. Lily certainly didn’t have a prominent family lineage or exotic destinations to brag about—unless one counted Blackpool, and she sincerely doubted anyone did—but Slughorn’s admiration of her abilities and personality in the classroom transferred to their quaint conversations over the ornate dinner table in his office.

“Now tell me, Lily,” Slughorn started one March evening while scooping up a last spoonful of potatoes with relish only he could exemplify. “Are Muggle chocolates quite as enjoyable as our own? I must admit that I’ve never had the pleasure to try one for myself.”

Lily rolled her eyes and smiled. “I suppose I’ll to send you a box of Cadbury’s over the Easter hols.”

Slughorn’s eyebrows rose as he chewed his slice of roast. “Oho! Send it—”

“Directly to your office,” Lily supplemented as if reading from a script. “Never during dining hours because you’d be pressured to share with the rest of the staff. And I’m sure we all know that that’s the last thing you’d wish to do, Professor.”

Slughorn gave a booming hoot, and nearly everyone at the table chuckled or shook their heads (“Typical,” she heard Spencer Welpie whisper to Helen Edelman). Amid the laughter, Slughorn suggested, for the umpteenth time, that Lily should have been placed in his own house.

Sitting a few seats away from Lily, Mulciber did not look the least bit humoured, particularly by the latest suggestion of a change of house. He stabbed at his food with a gilded fork, staring at his handiwork and refusing to look up as Slughorn, to Lily’s embarrassment, droned on about something memorable Lily had said in her first Potions class. Thankfully, after that anecdote Slughorn moved on and asked Malcolm Warntroud about his father’s latest interview in the Wizard periodical The Ministry Review. Gazing around the large round table and absently prodding her mash, Lily briefly met Mulciber’s steely blue gaze; he suddenly pierced his roast with his fork, startling her. She quickly turned away from him.

By the end of third year, Lily was far from fond of any of the company Severus kept up with: Avery tended to ignore the existence of those he found below him, Wilkes was quiet but always managed to snicker at the most inappropriate times, and while Rosier flirted with anyone with breasts, blood status be damned, he was as prejudiced as the rest of the boys when it came right down to it. Yet she had no outright qualms against one more than another–until Mulciber finally made a name for himself after writing a controversial essay for History of Magic on the degradation of society, courtesy of the education of Muggle-Borns in wizarding institutions. News of a reprimand from the usually docile Professor Binns spread quickly through Howgwarts and incited outrage in many, consideration by some, and indifference by others.

“Who cares about what some jumped-up third year wrote?” Lily overheard an older Ravenclaw boy say to what appeared to be his girlfriend from Hufflepuff. “Now, if the prat can write my thirty-inch essay on human to animal transfiguration by tomorrow, maybe I’ll pay attention to him.”

At this stage in her life, Lily was accustomed to open displays of prejudice but they never failed to disturb her. Mulciber’s lack of consideration for basic social niceties and having the nerve to express his bigotry in an academic essay incensed Lily even more. Regardless, the new skip in his step was unmistakable and she knew his new reputation was nothing to take lightly.



2



Turning fifteen seemed to unleash chaos into what had been normal, everyday life. Lily supposed people simply called it hormones, but having something tangible to blame the insanity on was much easier; she found polyester suits to be a convenient scapegoat for the zaniness that was fourth year.

The ever-increasing rivalry between Severus and the Marauders—James Potter above all—was reaching outrageous levels from both parties, particularly with Severus’ obsession with the group’s clandestine adventures and the constant practical jokes they pulled throughout the castle.

Tensions mounted on an entirely different scale when the first Hogsmeade date appeared and resulted in an incredibly surprised and flattered Lily having to choose from a number of boys to go with. Severus was quite vocal in his disapproval of every student who asked her, from fourth-year Hufflepuff Alexander Perkins (“He’s asked out at least four other girls to Hogsmeade, so clearly he’s desperate”), to fifth-year Gryffindor Edward Lancing (“I hear he’s shit at potions”), to sixth-year Ravenclaw Quincy Tweed (“Are you mental?”). Lily ended up going to Hogsmeade with Severus instead of a date, and he seemed to be in an oddly vibrant mood the entire afternoon, especially upon spotting a surly-looking James Potter on the main road outside of Zonko’s.

A more disconcerting change through fourth year was Severus’ growing relationship with the likes of Mulciber. He made Lily’s skin crawl, like an itch she couldn’t reach. His smiles were cold and detached and his lips were often downturned in a perpetual air of mild distaste. Some girls seemed to find him striking, but despite his meticulously groomed dark brown hair and strong jaw, Mulciber’s attitude and worldviews made his most charming features completely immaterial and downright ugly to Lily. He made it more than abundantly clear that he disapproved of her friendship with Severus more than Avery, Wilkes, or Rosier ever bothered to. The very sight of the two together was either an opportunity for him to look at Lily like she was gum stuck to the sole of his shoe or slowly, silently study her up and down as if evaluating her. Lily much preferred Avery’s tendency to pretend she was invisible as opposed to Mulciber making her intensely self-aware of every freckle, every bit of exposed skin.

Then one spring day they were assigned as each other’s partners during Charms, much to their mutual dismay. Mulciber trudged through the bustling students changing seats and raucously threw his bag on Lily’s table.

“I’m not particularly thrilled either,” Lily told him as he fell into the chair across from her, leaning back on its legs with a cool expression while gripping the edge of the table to maintain balance. “The only reason Flitwick put us together is because we had the best results with summoning charms last class.”

“Are you really comparing our performance in this class, Evans?” Mulciber’s seemingly permanent scowl was even nastier than usual as he scoffed. “Keep that to a minimum, will you? It’s insulting.”

Lily rolled her eyes and glanced around the room; she spotted James Potter first, partnered up with her friend Amelia Burk, as he drummed his fingers on the wooden table while his square-framed glasses fell further down his nose. Severus seemed indifferent towards his partner, fellow Slytherin Nadia Barlow. As if he could feel Lily’s eyes on him, he turned to look at her. She gave him a weak smile, which he reciprocated before he glanced at Mulciber. She couldn’t quite understand why he was watching Mulciber with a look of such hesitancy. But her unease grew as she turned back to Mulciber and saw his tight lips spread in an unsettling smirk as he met Severus’ gaze.

“Listen,” Lily said, catching Mulciber’s attention. “I don’t like you, and you don’t like me. But I won’t receive poor marks in this class because of that. The faster we get this done, the faster we can stay the hell away from each other.”

Mulciber’s smile quickly faded, and the two stared at one another for several moments, daring the other to make the first move. With a glower, Mulciber scratched the nape of his neck, nodding towards her Charms book as if looking at it for too long would taint him. “Fine, get the damn book out.”

They worked diligently for the remainder of the period, speaking in short monosyllables only when absolutely necessary as they practiced the proper banishing charm technique. Both she and Mulciber were able to banish each others’ heavy, stone statues to the other side of the table with ease by the end of the lesson. The two stood up and demonstrated their mastery of the charm for Professor Flitwick, who responded with gusto before moving away to check how well Remus Lupin and Evelina Rowe had progressed.

Just as Lily was about to sit down, Mulciber aimed his wand towards her chair and murmured the banishing spell under his breath. This went unnoticed by Lily and with a small yelp she fell backwards, landing on her tailbone. Though embarrassed, she was relieved to realize it had gone unnoticed by their classmates as they cursed and squinted at their stone slabs; only Melinda Wisteria bothered to glance over at the sound. Lily glared at Mulciber while he sat with his chin resting in his left palm, wand in his right; his lips curled in a lazy look of amusement. It took her a moment to pay attention to the direction of his gaze, however, which was aimed between her legs. Lily pulled her thighs together with a gasp and quickly stood up, tugging the hem of her gray skirt down; she pressed her knees together as if stuck with glue.

Mulciber!” Lily hissed, feeling her cheeks turn crimson. Before she had a chance to build up a heated reproach, the bell rang for lunch, and she barely heard Flitwick’s hurried announcement of their homework assignment over the chattering, famished fourth years. Mulciber packed up his brown leather satchel and put away his wand. He leaned in towards her across the table, focusing on her scarlet cheeks as if admiring his handiwork.

“At least you’re learning your position in life, Evans. Congratulations,” Mulciber leered. “On the ground with your legs spread.”

Lily’s skin felt hot as she watched Mulciber walk away; her fingers twitched against the warm wood of her wand. She cursed Flitwick’s presence for her inability to properly hex the prick. Frowning, she threw her charms book into her satchel and spotted Severus lingering by the door: slump-shouldered, figure as gaunt as ever, and black chin-length hair falling lankly around his face.

“You’re angry,” Severus noted as he walked alongside her through the busy, echoing corridor.

“I’m livid,” Lily corrected before pulling him aside by the white sleeve of his shirt into a small alcove. Lily bit her lip and ran her hands through her wavy, auburn hair, mulling over how to explain herself. Severus watched her warily as she paced back and forth. She looked up at him and sighed. “Mulciber.”

Severus immediately relaxed, leaning against the opposite wall, and languidly pushed his hands in his trouser pockets. By now, Mulciber was hardly a rare topic of discussion between them. Lily’s disapproval of Mulciber went beyond his dislike of Muggle-Borns: he fed into Severus’ steady interest in Dark Arts more than Severus would ever care to admit, an interest Lily wanted him to cut off. “You think he’s a tosser, I know. But—”

Lily shook her head. “No, Sev, no buts this time. If you don’t hear it from me, I’m sure you’ll hear a much more embellished version of it later. He’s...he’s a complete pervert! You won’t believe what your mate Mulciber did during Charms. He used a banishing charm on me to look up my skirt and—” Lily bit her lip again, too embarrassed to repeat what Mulciber had said; she felt foul simply recalling it. “—the nerve!” Fuming, she turned back to him. “Well, don’t you have anything to say?”

Severus was very still, his lips pressed in a thin line, and his nose wrinkled; but he didn’t have the same look of vitriol as when she complained about the likes of Potter or recapped disastrous, overly-hormonal dates. If anything, Severus looked like a complete drip, unsure of how to react at all. He looked down at his dull black leather shoes with ratty laces, as if they suddenly held immense fascination. “He shouldn’t have done that. Mulciber is a fucking twat, we both know that.”

“Well, you can tell him that I—”

“What?” Severus retorted, head snapping up. He let out an amused noise through his nostrils. “That you’re ‘livid’ about it? I’m sure he already knows that. That was probably his point.”

“Why aren’t you taking this more seriously?” Lily folded her arms across her chest, tilting her head to the side with narrowed eyes. “If I told you that any other bloke did the same thing, you’d already be thinking of a dozen ways to make his prick shrivel off.” The likes of James immediately sprung to mind, but providing him as an example would have changed the direction of the conversation completely.

“That’s different,” Severus insisted, as if trying to convince himself of his own assertion. “They aren’t my friends.”

“You mean like Mulciber?” Lily’s voice became more and more high pitched as her disbelief at Severus’ blasé tone grew. “For fuck’s sake, Sev, if I can’t even trust you to do a quick, ‘Oy, mind not getting an eyeful at my best friend’s knickers in the middle of Charms’ on my behalf—”

Severus heaved a sigh before interrupting. “All right, all right, I’ll talk to him about it. I’ll tell him that he’s a right git for doing it. Will that make you satisfied?”

“Yeah, it would,” Lily said evenly.

The corridor was silent then, save the spontaneous sound of leather heels on the marble floor, and so were Severus and Lily. Though still upset by Severus’ lack of concern, she heaved a sigh and found his hand in the shadows of the enclave and felt him grip her hand back. He laced his fingers through her own, and Lily smiled. Severus stared at their hands, considering her chipped red nail polish between his potion and ink-stained fingers. His hand was a warm, welcoming sense of comfort despite their row, despite constant turbulence in their relationship; it was like a yo-yo, arguments and short-term silent treatments before quickly finding some way to reconcile.

She supposed they had always been a rather dysfunctional pair from the very first time they met. But what had once been arguments of misunderstanding were becoming arguments of ideals and values. They were much more heated than that silly row over whose idea it was to see if pickle root actually tasted like pickles one fateful second-year Potions class, which had left Lily with a polka-dotted tongue for a week. She knew Severus likely wouldn’t say a damn thing to Mulciber, conveniently forget to raise Lily’s concerns and would rather pretend their conversation had never happened; he cared too much about what Mulciber thought of him.

Lily hoped that their next inevitable argument was over something as inconsequential as pickle root rather than one over William Mulciber.



3



Lily and Severus sat on an ancient stone bench under a poplar tree; the minuscule amber glow was the only dash of light in the deep blue, misty twilight of autumn. Severus’s school robes fluttered around his ankles as a large gust of wind tore through the grounds. Dressed in her Muggle clothes, Lily pulled her new green coat closer to her body with one hand while holding a cigarette up to her red lips with the other.

“You’re a terrible prefect sometimes, you know. Smoking fags on Hogwarts grounds?” Severus took back his cigarette from Lily’s fingers and took a drag. The smoke emitting from his warm mouth mixed with the frigid weather, producing a massive gray cloud of tobacco and air. “Scandal.”

Lily laughed. “Never hurts to be a little bad, yeah?”

Catching up with each other had regrettably become a chore by fifth year. At fifteen nearing sixteen, it became abundantly clear they were drifting further apart with new friends and new interests, so they savoured any opportunity to meet in private.

She regained his cigarette and took an exaggerated drag, smoke streaming from her lips in a way she imagined appeared cool and nonchalant, like a femme fatale in an old black and white film. “Now all I need is a leather jacket, tight jeans, and a big, muscular bloke with tattoos all over his arms. If he has a motorbike, then I’ll have the full package.”

Severus snorted and wriggled his fingers towards the cigarette burning away between her fingers. He inhaled and scoffed. “Right.” Holding out his arms, he sceptically regarded their undefined form through his robe sleeves. “Well, I guess I’m out of the running.”

Lily grasped his upper arm as if searching for a hidden bulge of muscle. She glanced up at him, noticing his slightly downcast lips. With a squeeze of his arm and a warm grin, she said, “Don’t look like such a mardy little Tyke. I’m only joking.”

“My dad said my arms are worse than limp noodles.”

“Your dad also believed you when you said that witches can’t eat pudding on Wednesdays or else they’d melt. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Sev, but your father is hardly the bastion of all truth.”

Severus laughed into a hoarse cough. “You remember that?”

“Of course I remember!” Lily said, sounding affronted. “We laughed about it for hours. My sides were aching for the rest of the day. Oh, and it was a Sunday in August.”

Severus looked at her full on, absorbing her pale face and her nose pink from cold before he rested his gaze on her slightly parted lips. Lily quickly darted her tongue along her lips self-consciously, returning to the topic at hand.

“Anyway, I can prioritize. Smoking fags is hardly as reprehensible as the other horrid things that have been happening around here.” Severus’ eyes darted from her mouth to her eyes, and they gave each other significant looks before Lily quickly changed the subject and nodded at the waning cigarette. “Hurry up with that, will you? I thought that we could look up that potion you mentioned the other day before I meet up with the girls tonight. I’ve been recruited to facilitate a Muggle makeover party, you see, which really means that I have to make sure the girls don’t use up all of my fire-engine-red lipstick. Tuney already tried to nick it over holiday. She’d gone spare when I caught her, remember? Sev?”

Severus’ attention had turned to two cloaked figures in the distance. As they got closer, she realized with a frown that it was Avery and Mulciber. She heaved a sigh. “Oh, fantastic. Brilliant. Just the people I want to see on a Friday night: The motley crew, including a bigot who fancies my knickers.”

Severus raised his hand in acknowledgement of the boys. Lily turned slightly away from them and resisted the urge to skip the library affair altogether and start powdering noses and chatting about how attractive some miscellaneous seventh year looked that day in the dining hall.

“We’ve been looking for you, mate,” Avery said, scratching his blonde scalp and ignoring Lily with ease; she wasn’t complaining. “That third-year Crouch nicked this book from his father’s study over holiday. It’s fucking brilliant. There is this one that turns your kidneys inside out. Oh and another that permanently shuts any opening on your body. Plus, it’s got pictures. Right nasty stuff, I tell you.”

Severus’ eyebrows raise and there was a hint of a lift of his lips around the cigarette. Lily felt her stomach sink. “That sounds—”

Absolutely disgusting!” Lily cried, rounding on them. “I hope you boys aren’t planning to use whatever you find in that book or else I’d have half a mind to report Crouch to Professor Slughorn. Don’t think I wouldn’t. Crouch is already on notice after sneaking that book out of the Restricted Section last week.”

Avery stared at her as if she just apparated in front of him, then elbowed Mulciber playfully in the ribs as he mimicked her objection in a mocking, lofty tone. “Cor, are the painters in, Evans?”

“When they drop by, you’ll be the first to know,” Lily retorted.

Mulciber wordlessly seized Severus’ cigarette, took a drag, and threw it down before rubbing it into the cold grass with the toe of his boot. A small smile tugged at the corner of his lips. “Did you happen to remember that spell, Av? Or anything that’ll shut that fat gob of hers permanently?” Avery snickered, and Lily gave Mulciber a two-finger salute, which only resulted in Avery laughing harder. Mulciber grinned. “If you weren’t a prefect, I’d take away points, Evans.” He gave her his typical once-over; his eyes flitted across her face before averting his gaze toward Severus. “Are you coming or would you rather chat her up all night?”

“In a minute,” Severus snapped, looking exasperated. “Don’t wait up.”

“Fuck, I hate him. And I don’t hate easily,” Lily muttered, watching Avery and Mulciber walk off towards the castle. “They’re talking about this book as if it’s pornography. I’d rather them get excited about page three than that shite.”

Severus’ lip twitched as he said, “Avery’s got worse than page three under his mattress, I’ll tell you that much.”

“Brilliant,” Lily said, deadpan. “I still can’t believe Mulciber’s a prefect. How on earth?”

“Like I’ve said a billion times before, marks—”

“You’ve got just as good marks as him. Better, really, and you know it.”

“But I’m not showering Slughorn with enough sugar and fat to clog all his arteries. Mulciber is,” Severus noted with badly concealed resentment. Severus had wanted to be a prefect for as long as Lily could remember. “Just ignore him.”

“He’s becoming hard to ignore. If he isn’t staring me down during prefect meetings, he’s giving me right nasty looks during Slughorn’s gatherings. I haven’t done anything to him besides be Muggle-born...and your friend.” Lily shuddered as another strong gust of wind blew past her. “What a petty bastard.”

The two sat in silence for several moments before Severus spoke up. “Come on then, let’s look up that potion.”

“But what about that bloody book?” Lily asked, glowering at the castle as if she could see the book in the eager hands of the Slytherin boys.

“Fuck it.”

“You mean it?”

“I mean it,” Severus said, taking a long look at the castle himself. “You’re more important than some sodding book, you know.”



Part 2
 
 
Current Location: NYC
Current Mood: rushed
Current Music: Arctic Monkeys - Secret Door | Powered by Last.fm
 
 
 
-: La Danselobsterbelle on March 18th, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
Gazing around the large round table and absently prodding her mash, Lily briefly met Mulciber’s steely blue gaze; he suddenly pierced his roast with his fork, startling her. She quickly turned away from him.
This is my favourite part!

I am reminded of how much I hate group work. You captured the casual, guiltless prejudice towards muggle-borns really well. I love the way you describe Lily and Severus as people who are divided by their ideals, but still close friends. It's a good point that most fics seem to miss the nuances of.