?

Log in

 
 
17 March 2010 @ 08:17 pm
Fic: It's All Politics [Part 2]  
Title: It's All Politics [Part 2]
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.


4



The summer after fifth year and the first term of sixth year was a time for reflection. Lily didn’t regret her decision to break off her friendship with Severus; it was anything but an easy choice to make. But she had too much self-respect to allow herself to be deemed an exception or one of the “good ones” based off some madcap notion that Muggle-borns were inferior by default. The incident by the lake was the last straw to an accumulation of warning signs—each more alarming than the last.

Lily’s friends’ warnings of his behaviour and her own attempts to dissuade him from Dark Arts and Death Eaters failed for the last time. Back in their dormitory the night after the incident, Mary McDonald was rather forward about the ordeal; while the rest of Lily’s girlfriends attempted to cheer her up with sweets from Honeydukes, Mary assured her, “You did the right thing. He just can’t have his cake and eat it too.”

It would have been easier to put all the blame on Mulciber and claim he was the catalyst in Severus’ behaviour; but that gave Mulciber too much credit. Lily was tired of wracking her brains in vain to conceive another inane excuse for why Severus believed something she found so disgusting. She was sick of feeling as if she had failed as a friend for her inability to change warped views of blood status and Dark Arts. Few friendships lasted forever, but she wanted to believe they could be an exception to the rule, like they were invincible. She had clung to her memories of an earlier Severus but those fleeting images and memories became nothing more than a barrier, obstructing the nastier reality of their relationship; they were reduced to simple disagreements that derailed into digging up previous arguments about Potter and Mulciber, like old scabs ripped off to bleed anew.

She saw Severus twice that summer. A week after they returned home, he lurked outside her home for nearly half an hour. She watched him, unseen, through the tiny threads of her thick, mustard-yellow curtain. He glanced up at her window every few minutes, seeming too unsure of whether or not to knock on the door. He waited until Mrs. Evans, late for a book club meeting with a run in her stockings and her hair slightly askew, headed towards the family car in the driveway. With the window cracked open and the street quiet that afternoon, she could hear snatches of their conversation.

“Hello, Mrs. Evans. Is Lily in?”

“Oh—” Mrs. Evans hesitated, quickly looking towards Lily’s window. “I’m sorry, darling, she’s not feeling very well today. But I’ll tell her you came round.” Her mother gave him a small squeeze on the shoulder, and with one last glance toward her window, Severus slouched off down the road. She almost felt guilty.

The second time she saw him was a July afternoon when she was running a quick errand. Severus was across the small road, walking briskly out of a nearby pharmacy, lighting up a cigarette with a match from his pocket. He froze when he caught sight of her beyond the parked and passing cars, his eyes widening. With the short distance between them, she could tell he was in terrible shape: thin and dishevelled, and the cigarettes did little to ease his strange disposition. She gave an awkward wave of her fingers before hurrying into the alteration shop to pick up her father’s suit set. When she came out, he was gone.

Lily spent long summer days lying on her floor, lethargically, mindlessly listening to records, and nights staring into the blue glow of the telly. She wanted to get away from it all: magic, the wizarding world, and its increasingly violent conflicts. Stories of murdered Muggles, Muggle-borns, and dissenters of the Death Eaters and Voldemort plagued her to the point of canceling her subscription of the Daily Prophet that summer and making up excuses to avoid her Hogwarts friends.

At first, disconnecting was an odd relief. Her summer picked up some speed with a fling with Henry Hemmings, a Muggle boy she met at a bookstore. Their short relationship was only a small component of a summer of exuberant weekends driving around with Henry’s mates in beat up cars around Yorkshire, coming in late and reeking of shitty fags and even shittier cider, and staring at the glazed eyes of Farrah Fawcett in a bathing suit on Henry’s ceiling whenever she was in his too small bed with sheets clutched to her chest. All were fun distractions, an escape from the reality of a world Henry would never know of and a world that Lily felt unwelcome in.

Summer was almost at its end when Lily came to the conclusion that purposely avoiding the slightest trickles of magic and the wizarding world did nothing but emphasize how much she truly belonged there. She could no longer ignore the restless, bubbling, intangible sensation in her bones and knew something wasn’t right. Something was unnatural about separating herself from what was rightfully hers, a world that belonged to her just as much as it belonged to any other witch and wizard. Recoiling from war and hatred didn’t make either element disappear and escapist thrills didn’t destroy the grim realism, only shrouded it with pretenses.

OWL results brought her back to reality and, encouraged by her good marks, Lily returned to Hogwarts feeling both oddly disconnected yet rejuvenated and ready for her last two years of school. Nevertheless, NEWTs level courses were a challenge both academically and socially: though she had a number of friends and acquaintances in each of her classes, she often had to deal with the awkward task of sitting nearly every day in the same room as Severus, as well as Mulciber, which was in some ways much worse.

First term came and went without much of a hitch, and to her surprise she found herself in the company of James Potter, of all people, more than she ever anticipated. Though she and Severus were no longer friends, his adamant assertion that James Potter fancied her never left her mind. It was beyond clear by sixth year that Severus was absolutely right, and James had no qualms openly expressing this fact. This sometimes made being around him—no matter whether the encounter was playful or irritating—a relatively uncomfortable affair.

One February night Lily was startled to find James alone in the common room; he never seemed to be without the Marauders or the admiring younger years. She approached him, carrying her newly checked out Transfiguration- and Potions-related tomes. Perched atop those was a long, rectangular box of leftover chocolates from her seventeenth birthday.

“Studying for McGonagall’s exam?”

James pushed his square-framed glasses further up his nose as he grinned up at her. Running his hand through his hair, he moved his book off the cushion next to him, offering Lily a seat. “Sort of. Glancing through, really.”

“Class was a right kick in the arse today,” Lily said, gathering her legs onto the cushion. “Of course, you wouldn’t understand. You’re ace at Transfiguration.”

“Thanks.” James glanced up from the text to smile at her with a proud gleam in his eye. “It is my favourite subject.”

“I can’t believe that out of everyone in the class, the only people who managed to completely change their hair colour were you, Sirius, and Sev—” Lily stopped herself and blinked furiously, busying herself with her book before finishing in a low tone. “Severus. It was impressive.”

“Honestly, you called him Snivellus once. I’d keep it up if I were you, does the spirit good,” James said, resting his arm behind the couch and leaning in towards her with what he must have believed was a comforting grin.

Lily looked up with a glare; James’ smile sank. “I’d rather not, and neither should you.”

“Yeah, but he—”

“Yes, James, he called me a filthy little Mudblood. I hardly need you to remind me.” Lily gathered her hair behind her ears, feeling herself tremor with anger. “I came here hoping to review with you, not to talk about this. Sometimes I wonder whether you were genuinely offended by his comment or if you just use it as an excuse to gripe about him.”

“Of course not,” James insisted. “Don’t be stupid. You know how much I hate that blood purity shite no matter who spews it.”

Lily’s hardened expression softened as she regarded James, his hair as messy as ever but with a pleading look in his eyes. He may have been contemptuous when it came to bullying Severus and acted as if the world was his oyster, but a total arsehole he was not, particularly where politics were concerned. She realized she was staring and looked away from him to eat her chocolates.

“Blimey, you eat those slowly.” She looked up, noticing James watching the almond cluster between her fingers; the chocolate was slowly melting. Lily wordlessly held the box out towards him, and he peered at the chocolate confections of different shapes, colours, and sizes; his hand hovered over them before grabbing a dark shell-shaped chocolate. He held it up to the light and squinted. “What’s in this one?”

“Blackberry filling. Sorta weird, eh?” Lily said, sucking the chocolate off of her fingers.

James shrugged and popped the shell whole into his mouth. Still chewing, he said, “Good though, thanks.”

Lily shook her head with a reluctant grin before closing her book and standing up. “Look, I’ve got rounds. I’ll be back at—”

“Nine-twenty-five on the dot,” James finished with a short laugh. “Remus told me about how prompt you are. It’s scary.”

“Speaking of Remus, if you see him tell him that Verma wants to know if he can switch rounds. And watch my books, will you? Don’t charm it to do anything while I’m gone and try not to get any wank stains on it or something. And don’t nick my chocolates.”

“But can I get wank stains on your chocolates?”

“Well, sure...if you want to wake up in the morning with boils on your bollocks.”

James gave her a soldier’s salute before returning to his Transfiguration book.



...



Lily and Mulciber had agreed in fifth year that anytime they were stuck patrolling together, they’d divide the castle in half: Lily was to start from the seventh floor around Gryffindor Tower and make her way down to the fourth floor, while Mulciber started in the dungeons around Slytherin and made his way to the fourth floor as well. They met at the bottom of the staircase nearest the prefect bathrooms, acknowledged each other, and went their separate ways.

That night the corridors seemed full of couples schmoozing and snogging in secluded alcoves and under stairwells. Valentine’s Day was approaching, and it appeared as though many were celebrating as early as possible. By nine-ten Lily caught no sight of Mulciber at the staircase, so she strolled around in a small circle, vaguely admiring the towering tapestry hanging halfway down the damp, dark corridor. Ten minutes later, Lily was wondering if Mulciber skived off rounds entirely that night when she suddenly bumped into him as he walked around the tapestry just as she turned towards it. Lily held her wand in a vice-like grip and clapped her hand over her mouth to stop a scream, and Mulciber looked just as startled until his eyebrows relaxed.

Lily cleared her throat. “Right, well, since you’re done with your half of the patrolling...I've got a Potions essay to start.” She started toward the old stone stairwell nearby.

“Why bother starting that essay?” Mulciber sneered. His voice ricocheted around the small, stone enclave. “You could blow your nose on a piece of parchment and turn it in and Slughorn would give you an Outstanding.”

Lily stopped in her tracks. “Excuse me?

“But not before he raves on about how you should be a Slytherin,” Mulciber spat.

Lily scoffed and continued to walk, not the least bit interested in hearing Mulciber rant about Slughorn’s favouritism. But she heard Mulciber following until he was right on her heels, his breath warm and fluttering through her hair.

“But be honest, Evans: how many times did you have to suck old Slughorn off to get those marks he’s always raving about? It’ll be our little secret. Do you get on your knees once per term, or is it more of a weekly routine? ”

Lily spun around and slapped him soundly across his cheek. He froze, then gingerly touched his face, gaping at her. The expression seemed unpractised and crude, certainly out of the element of the ever cool and collected Mulciber; a mortifying mixture of embarrassment and disgust, as if she had dared touch him.

Lily’s fingertips pulsed from the strike, tingling with pain and triumph: she couldn’t deny she’d wanted to do that for years. “I earn my marks in Potions fair and square. Piss off, Mulciber.”

She strode down the corridor, assuming Mulciber would back off and wander back to the Slytherin common room with a bruised cheek to match a bruised ego.

EXPELLIARMUS!

She hardly had time to react to Mulciber’s furious howl before her wand wrenched out of her grip, striking the ground with a soft clatter down the corridor. Mulciber advanced towards her, pushing her back against the stone wall under the stairwell. He pressed against her, his frame obstructing her view of the dark hall. She didn’t want to show the slightest sign of fear, but her heartbeat increased dramatically with every inhale of his skin.

“Don’t you think it’s funny,” Mulciber started, his voice rumbling low in her ear, causing her to shiver, “that without your wand you’re completely defenseless? You’re even more useless than usual.”

Get off of me!” She pushed against his chest, but he hardly budged. Her breath quickened. “I’ll report you for attacking a fellow prefect.”

“You really think I’m intimidated by the fucking prefect badge?” Mulciber grabbed the golden badge pinned to the left side of her chest and ripped it off, tearing her robes, and threw it on the ground. The loud clank echoing through the deserted hall made Lily flinch. “When will you stupid Mudbloods understand that life isn’t just inside this damn castle? You lot have gained a really false sense of security.”

“I’m not an idiot, Mulciber,” Lily said, lowering her voice to as stern of a tone she could muster. “I know what’s going on in the real world. And I know exactly what you’re going to be up to as soon as you leave. I know how keen you and your lot are to bring your propagandist rubbish onto Hogwarts grounds. Don’t condescend to me, as if I don’t know.” Her voice cracked at the end of her diatribe, and she felt her eyes water. She looked away from him, down at his shiny leather shoes, but Mulciber grabbed her by the chin so she was forced to stare at his dark blue eyes in the hazy glow of the distant torch light.

“You’re thinking about Severus, aren’t you?”

Lily tensed. The sickeningly sweet delivery of his false concern made her nauseous. “You aren’t really his friend, you know,” she whispered. “You aren’t.”

Mulciber scoffed. “As if you are. I’m pretty sure that you’re the one who dropped him last year.”

“That doesn’t mean I don’t care about him, you sod. That doesn’t mean that I don’t worry about what the hell he could possibly be getting up to,” Lily snapped as more tears streamed down her cheeks. She wrenched her chin out of his hold. “You couldn’t care less about him.”

“He should have dropped you first,” Mulciber said through bared teeth. “He was too soft. If some Mudblood was nagging me about Dark Arts all the time...acting so saintly about it when you’ve never used a dark spell in your life.”

“And I hope I never have to,” Lily snapped, voice still strained but standing up straighter.

“So you have no idea how it feels,” Mulciber said softly, his hands gripping her upper arms. There was a dark gleam in his eye and a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. “You couldn’t handle it anyway. It’s too powerful. You haven’t lived until you’ve felt the thrill of it running in your arm, through your body. The Dark Arts is about what everybody wants and what most are too cowardly to strive for.... Power. It’s about controlling something designed to be uncontrollable.” He looked madder and madder as his gaze remained unblinking, eyes wide, tone dropping with every syllable. “You feel like God, Evans. Like you can do anything. Don’t tell me you’ve never wanted to feel that way. If you do, you’re a fucking liar.”

His closeness was becoming claustrophobic, scattering her thoughts. She took a deep breath. “What I’ve wanted is pointless to how Dark Arts corrupt your mind...your decisions. It makes you sick. It’s not just a hobby, Mulciber, it’s...it’s like an addiction. Being familiar with the Dark Arts is one thing, but practicing it is another! Why...why am I even trying to reason with you? You’re a complete nutter! Oh, but I’m sure Voldemort must be proud to have so many of his boys using Dark Arts. What, does it make you feel like a big man, then?”

Mulciber’s face contorted into a snarl, his grip tightening as she grew bolder. “I’d be more careful if I were you, Evans.”

“Are you threatening me?”

Mulciber nearly smiled. “Think of it as a warning. No need playing dumb, is there? You know what I’ll be up to after I leave this place. You know what we want, and you know what we’re after. But don’t be too surprised to find yourself in a situation you can’t get yourself out of.”

“What the hell are you going on about?”

“It’s all politics, you see. Everything is political. Everything from us real wizards demanding the right to use our abilities without hiding or fear...to turning Mudblood bints like you into nothing more than a piece of skirt. Nothing is coincidence or by chance. Strategy, all of it.” Mulciber relished the flicker of fear she knew she showed against her will. He pressed his body closer to hers, lips grazing against her hair and setting her nerves on fire. “A slag like you should be fun. I’ll make sure to give you one. Maybe I’ll convince everyone else to keep you around when we’re done instead of killing you and dumping the body. I wouldn’t mind more than a few sloppy fucks with you.”

“So this is what gets you off, Mulciber? Pinning girls to walls while you fantasize about shagging and killing them?” Lily tried to ignore his arousal pressing against her stomach. Managing to scoff, she looked into his eyes, hoping she evoked an air of valour and cold apathy. “Wow, you really are a sick bastard.”

Mulciber’s eyes narrowed, and with a snarl he shoved her shoulders into the hard stone behind her. “Do you really want to see how much of a sick bastard I can be, Evans? You’d gag for a demonstration, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you?” Lily quietly hissed as the back of her head banged against the wall and her shoulder blades seared with pain.

Mulciber’s grip on her arms cut off her circulation, making it more difficult to move her arms, and his body pressed against her in made it impossible to move her legs. But she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of hearing her fear in her throat; it’s what the bastard wanted.

“With one flick of this wand I could make you do whatever I want. You think I’m having you on, don’t you? Don’t think I know how to perform an Imperius Curse?” He jostled her again. “I’m not bluffing. I could make you jump out of that window and no one would notice you were there until the first years head over to the greenhouses tomorrow morning, only to see Saint Evans’ muddy blood killing the grass. I could make you fall down that flight of stairs and break your little neck.” His fingertips feathered against her collarbone. “I could make you give yourself to me. I wouldn’t even have to trip you to get a look under your skirt.”

Mulciber’s hands were cold as they slithered under the bottom of her shirt, squeezing her bare waist. Lily gave a startled cry, and he removed one hand and gripped her by her cheeks while the other tightened on her skin. “Shut up, you stupid cunt.”

Once convinced she wouldn’t open her mouth again, he let go of her face and tried to hold her still as she struggled against him. She felt him smile against her hair. “I wonder how many goes Severus would have with you. Maybe I’ll ask him.”

Reaching well beyond her limit, and without a second thought, she reared her head back and spat into Mulciber’s left eye. He staggered back, stunned as he ran his palm frantically over the side of his face, and Lily took the opportunity to kick him wherever her legs could strike. Mulciber cursed and staggered, nursing his shins. Lily grabbed her wand and dashed up the staircase as fast as she could. When she reached the top step, she heard Mulciber shout from the floor below, “Mudblood bitch!”



...



Lily leaned over a basin and feverishly splashed cold water on her face in the prefect bathroom. Her hands were trembling as she conjured up a small hand towel to dry herself off. She looked down at the towel, showing the residuals of her makeup on its fine, white fibres; it was easier to look at than her own face. Finally looking at herself in the mirror, she frowned upon seeing how red her eyes were and gently flushed them with more water until the irritation cleared up. She wanted to sob, to scream, to release her frustration in any way possible and wondered why this had to happen to her, knowing this wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t been brought up by what people like Mulciber deemed the wrong sort. Purebloods and half-bloods didn’t have to worry about maniacs attacking them in corridors for something so arbitrary, so uncontrollable. Her hands clutched to the curved, porcelain edges of the sink and she took deep, shuddering breaths; each exhale caught on the lump in her throat.

After several moments she felt her muscles relax and her tremors stop. It was ten minutes after ten o’clock when she finally returned to the common room, and James set aside a piece of parchment before leaping up from the couch.

“All right? What happened? What’d he want?” James asked.

“What did who want, James?” Lily snapped, eying him suspiciously and in no mood to be interrogated. In a daze, she moved back to the couch, and James followed. The common room was oddly sparse; only a sleeping third year and a few fourth years writing letters remained. Lily gazed at the dwindling fire, vaguely recalling that it was much more robust before she left. James prodded her bare knee with the chocolate box, in which only five remained: he had eaten three.

“I left the clusters,” James said sheepishly. “You ate more of those than the others, so I just figured...”

“Thank you,” Lily said softly, looking at the chocolate box with eyes watered slightly from moving her eyes from the burning embers. After a beat of silence and with a peanut cluster poised at her lips, she said, “Can I share something with you, James?”

“Sure, anything,” James said, turning towards her.

Lily finished her chocolate and closed her eyes, leaning her head back and trailing her hands over her face before she began.

“I’m so tired of feeling as though I have to prove I belong here. I can work twice as hard as a pureblood and still be treated as some sort of bloody success story, like I lack the same sort of magical abilities as a half or pureblood by default. I used to be so sure of myself, as if I could single-handedly fight prejudice.” She scoffed, deprecation filtering through her words. “But now I feel as if there is nothing I can do about it. And sometimes I wonder if purebloods will ever look at me as an equal. I’m friends with plenty, but even they say things that are unintentionally offensive and I just...I mean...Is it all a fucking facade, and really you are all just marvelling at the fact that I can hold a wand properly?” She sensed James about to interject, so she cut him off before he had the chance. “I know, you think it’s silly, but I can’t help it. I’m proud to be a Muggle-born, but at home, my sister acts like I’m a complete freak and here people act like I’m lower than dirt. I don’t truly fit in anywhere, I suppose.”

James said nothing, and instead placed a hand on her shoulder. Lily took his hand and brought it down to her lap. He cleared his throat. “My parents always taught me that blood purity was absolute rubbish, and they’re right. You’re brilliant, regardless of who your bloody parents are. I mean, I’m not going to pretend that I know how you feel because I don’t - I’ve been lucky and frankly I don’t think I deserve it.”

“You shouldn’t feel guilty,” Lily said. “It’s not your fault that people are complete arseholes.”

“Well, when you read the Prophet and see stories of people getting kidnapped and murdered because of blood status, it’s a little hard not to. But all you can do is try to help, I suppose.”

“Help?”

“Well, sure,” James whispered, before leaning in close to her. “If the war is still going on once I’m out of here, well...I want to be fighting on the right side.”

Lily had never seen James so mature, so grave. In that moment she realized that, in a way, they’ve grown up together. Since their first horrid encounter on the train in first year when they were both so small and gangly, knobby-kneed and high pitched...and now, Lily was already considered an adult in the Wizarding world and James would be as well in a month’s time. It was surreal, how much time changed people; how it had changed Severus, how it had changed James...how it had changed her.

“You know,” Lily said softly, “you shouldn’t try so hard sometimes.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well,” Lily started with a quirk of her lips, “When you try to impress me, you have as much grace as a hippogriff wearing stiletto heels. But when you don’t try, well, you can be rather charming. And...thoughtful...I reckon.”

“And is this one of my better moments?” James asked, sounding hopeful.

Giving him a furtive smile, Lily replied, “I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.”

Lily stood up and wrapped her arms around her, suddenly chilled without the immediate warmth of James’ body. Both moved toward their respective tower doors. James ran his hands through his hair with his head slightly lowered, his eyes gazing upwards towards her. She felt herself begin to blush. “Goodnight. And thanks for listening, I appreciate it. I really do.”

“Anytime.” His eyes followed her as she ascended the staircase. “Night, Lily.”

The next morning, Lily mucked up the courage to inform McGonagall about her encounter with Mulciber. She decided to leave out the more intimate details which were too disturbing to recall aloud and remained vague about the attack. McGonagall assured her that Mulciber would be reprimanded accordingly but getting the incident off her chest was far from the highlight of her day: that evening she found out that Mulciber was recuperating from a nasty case of boils...on his privates. James received two weeks of detention and Mulciber was stuck in the hospital wing for two nights with a temporarily tarnished reputation and a laundry list of suitable punishments dictated by McGonagall and Slughorn. Nevertheless, Lily had to admit that the timing of the boils affair was an incredibly strange coincidence.



5



The seventh year Gryffindor boys’ dormitory was always a right tip. Books and clothes strewn haphazardly across the floor, quills and spilled ink jars lay sad and broken on the ornate carpeting, and something bright blue of a mysterious consistency had been splattered above the window. The wireless blasting The Hobgoblin’s latest singles made the messy boudoir appear even more hectic. Yet despite the complete disarray and momentary sense of disgust, Lily tended to be rather comfortable in the clutter. The room was completely empty that late May evening, except for Lily and James.

“Hurry up, James, we’re going to be late!” Lily shouted.

“In a minute!” James called from inside the bathroom.

With a sigh, Lily lay back on James’ bed and swung her legs back and forth against the edge of the frame. They had officially been dating for eight months, and to call their relationship a rollercoaster was a complete understatement. The idle gossip eventually slowed down by November, Sirius ceased calling Lily a “complete fucking Yoko Ono” by December, and by January Severus managed to stop looking at her as if she had a venereal disease.

Lily and James had gone to the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year together, and a relationship had quickly flourished from there. She had invited him over for an evening during Christmas hols - an adventure in itself. He marvelled at her record collection, claiming it was much bigger and diverse than Sirius’, which consisted primarily of punk music and one Bee Gees album he swore had magically made its way into his stack.

James was perfect in his imperfection; he was funny and lively, yet knew when to be serious. He was much smarter than Lily had ever given him credit for, and he was bloody good at snogging to boot. Lily’s parents approved of him right away while Petunia was, naturally, skeptical and thought that her fiancé Vernon was the best thing since sliced bread.

If anyone had told her a year prior that she’d soon be dating James Potter, she would have told them that were bonkers. Honestly, she sometimes believed she must have been bonkers to fall in love with him, especially when he came hopping out of the bathroom with one leg in his trousers and a shirt hanging from his mouth. He quickly righted himself so he wasn’t flailing about the room in his y-fronts and instead looked nearly decent with half his clothes on and hair askew as usual.

“Could you not lie in my bed with your hair all...spread out like that?” James asked, sounding pained. “I’m starting to get ideas, which include skiving off Slughorn’s party and staying here.”

Lily rose slightly with a quirk of her lips, leaning back against her elbows as she watched him search for a clean shirt to wear under his navy blue robes with the gold buttons; they were her favourite.

“I promised I’d go...we’d go,” Lily said. “I’d really rather not have Slughorn pestering me about skipping out on his last big party of my last year at Hogwarts.”

James stood in front of a floor-length mirror, examining himself from all angles as he pulled and tugged on his robes. He ran his hands atop his hair as if trying to press his flyaway locks of hair flat on his head, to no avail. “As long as Slughorn remembers that I—not him—I am your date, I guess it’ll be all right.” James turned to wink at Lily and just narrowly missed being hit in the face with his pillow. Instead, it hit the wireless, which fell to the ground with a thud; Stubby Boardman sang no more.

Slughorn’s spring affair was like every other gathering from prior years: schmoozing up to important people, older students none too subtly hinting at employment opportunities, and dozens of bowls of crystallized pineapple sweets placed within mere feet of one another. As the last large-scale Slughorn party of the year, Slug Club members brought dates or friends to the event, many of whom had never before attended an infamous Slughorn event; the room was packed, despite being charmed to increase in size.

The night had gone by smoothly enough, but Lily suspected that something must be wrong in the cosmos if everything went on without a glitch. As James, Lily, and a few other students were in the middle of conversing with Professor Slughorn and famed Potion inventor Jonathan Yancey, James excused himself to refill Lily’s glass of mead. Just as Yancey ended his story, Lily glanced over towards the beverage table only to see James standing stock-still with Lily’s glass of mead in hand: he was eavesdropping on the conversation behind him, a conversation between Severus, Mulciber, and a man Slughorn had invited to the party but one Lily did not recognize. She politely excused herself and headed over towards James, hoping to tempt him away from whatever he was overhearing.

Just as she reached him, James audibly snorted. “That’s the biggest load of tosh I’ve heard all week, Mulciber.” He faced Mulciber and Severus, who both looked affronted and startled by the interruption. He looked from between them again and grinned. “Though I must compliment you on your choice of date for tonight.”

Mulciber’s nostrils flared as he glanced timidly at the man to whom he had been speaking while Severus flushed an ugly mauve and turned his attention to Lily, giving her the only look he seemed able to throw her way when she was with James: disgust.

“Egad, are you Cornelius Potter’s boy? James, is it?”

The stranger suddenly beamed at James as if he’d been reunited with an old friend. His bushy brown-and-gray eyebrows rose, and his light brown eyes crinkled at the edges. He appeared to be around sixty years old, matched Lily’s medium height, and wore very dapper grey dress robes with black trousers.

James couldn’t resist smiling at the recognition as he handed Lily her drink. “The one and only.”

“Merlin, the last time I saw you, you were up to here!” He placed his hand well below his hip. “I hear you play Quidditch. You’re a Chaser, am I right? Ah, thought so, you were rather obsessed as a boy, if I recall correctly. And if your badge is correct, you’re Head Boy! Merlin, I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I’m—”

“Adrien Agterop, of course. You write for Politics Monthly.

Agterop lifted his glass. “Ah, so the man knows Quidditch and political periodicals. And how are your parents?”

“Well, sir, very well.” James nodded as he maintained a smile through the lie; his father had been ill since the holidays.

“And who is this young lady on your arm?” Agterop asked, regarding Lily’s dress robes of deep purple and the gleaming gold badge pinned to her front. “Head Girl, I presume.”

“Lily Evans, pleasure to meet you.” Lily gave him her hand, which he gracefully turned palm down and brought to his lips with a genial kiss. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Severus shift slightly.

“Anyway, sir,” Mulciber said, angling his body away from Lily and James and looking intent on continuing his original conversation. “As I was saying...I’m of the belief that it is more than merely intermixing that sullies pride in one’s purity - it’s the introduction of the notion that purity doesn’t matter at all - that, well, pardon the lack of a better word, mucks everything up. If we’re teaching our children that purity is of no consequence, then they will be heedless regarding future partners, wouldn’t you say? It’s bad enough for pureblood families to become more flexible with their philosophies, but discouraging half-bloods from being more discerning will only further denigrate their magic. Future generations will be as inept as Muggles if something isn’t done!”

With a sudden bought of rage, Lily wondered—through Mulciber’s obnoxious attempts at sounding sophisticated—if Severus even realized that Mulciber insinuated he was some sort of degenerate or if Severus secretly believed the same.

James’ cheeks coloured with contempt, but he simply shook his head. “And I still say that’s the biggest load of tosh I’ve—”

“Do you mind, Potter?” Mulciber growled through gritted teeth.

“On the contrary, William,” Agterop said, lifting his index finger, “I believe it would be fair to allow Mr. Potter to express his opinion on the matter. You must, of course, have a complete understanding of an opposing viewpoint to properly defend your own.”

Mulciber looked disappointed, his lip curling as he looked at James as though he wanted to throttle him.

“Thank you, sir,” James said, with a nod and a winning smile towards Agterop. “Intermixing has no effect on magical ability. That’s just pureblood propaganda, and you know it.”

Propaganda?” Mulciber cried before chuckling with incredulity. “It’s common sense: magic is diluted more and more each time Muggles muck up the blood line.”

James rolled his eyes. “There are plenty of wizards of magical and non-magical parents who are just as competent as, if not more competent, than purebloods. Who your damn parents and grandparents are has nothing to do with your magical capacity. There is no solid proof, and it’s barking. Besides, if it weren’t for intermixing we all would have died out ages ago.”

“Right, says one pureblood with a spotless lineage to another,” Mulciber snorted before turning to Agterop once more. “The worst, really, is when Muggle-borns start clamouring about oppression. They’ve been allowed into Hogwarts for nearly a thousand years, have positions of power throughout our world, and they still feel as if we’re unfair to them every minute of every day. The ingrates should thank us for letting them in at all. We risk our very existence with every Muggle who knows about us. And it’s ridiculous that we’re in hiding to begin with, just as you said in your book that came out in ’73, sir—the one titled The Life-Long Troubles. I read it the very day it was released. Compelling read, absolutely enlightening.”

“Muggle-born attendance at Hogwarts is no more of a privilege than half or pureblood attendance,” Lily said abruptly, to Agterop’s surprise and to Mulciber’s displeasure.

Mulciber put on a false smile, still attempting to appear mature and intellectual, but his tightening, red-handed grip on his glass of wine gave away his true sentiments. “Is that right, Evans?”

“Yes. Ingrates, you said. As if you’re doing Muggle-borns a bloody favour,” Lily said, with a shake of her head. “Muggle-borns are just as much wizards and witches as purebloods and half-bloods. Blood purity is an ideology, not a reality. Surely you weren’t sleeping in History of Magic, Mulciber. It’s designed and upheld by people who fear differences and changes, so they create hierarchies and put themselves at the top so that they can rationalize their power and status as if it’s God-given. It’s ridiculous”

“My, my, Ms...Evans, is it? For such a young lady, you’re rather passionate about this matter,” Agterop said, peering at her curiously under his large brows. Lily had to wonder why expressing her views on the matter was some sort of surprise while the boys carrying on was seen as simple manly tête-à-tête.

“Well, sir,” Lily said, chin lifted. “I’m Muggle-born.”

Agterop’s eyebrows nearly flew off of his forehead, while Mulciber took the opportunity to whisper something in Severus’ ear.

“I was told years ago that it made no difference.” Lily looked at Severus, who swallowed and gained a sudden interest in his drink. “And they were right - it doesn’t make a difference. Blood distinctions are only used to maintain some...false sense of power.”

Agterop was shooting glances between James and Lily as if they were some sort of fascinating spectacle. “Well, this is certainly, ah, of interest. Potter, a pureblood, courting a Muggle-born. My, my, in these troubled times that’s rather—”

“Political,” Mulciber said, voice smooth and grin wide as he caught Lily’s eye and winked at her; the pounding blood from her impassioned speech turned cold. “It’s all politics, isn’t that right?”

“Well, inadvertently so, yes. Now, now, don’t think I’m merely reducing your relationship to outside affairs,” Agterop quickly added, noticing James looking ready to refute. “But, I’d imagine someone with your politics, James, would like to be seen as an, ah, example of sorts.”

“Yes, Evans can be used as an example of Potter’s enlightened belief system,” Severus said, speaking for the first time. “Inspirational.”

“I’m not some sort of political pawn,” Lily informed Agterop, though looking straight at Severus. “People shouldn’t need to see people of different blood statuses in a relationship to realize that bigotry is wrong.”

Severus’ lip curled before he regarded Afterop apologetically and spoke. “Pardon.” Mulciber was far too busy glaring daggers at Lily to witness Severus’ departure as he moved towards the front door of Slughorn’s office and into the hallway.

She handed James her glass of mead and followed Severus, disregarding James calling out after her and the questioning looks of nearby students and guests. She saw Severus walking swiftly along the corridor and called his name, approaching him as fast as her heeled shoes would allow.

Severus turned around sharply. “What?

“You don’t really believe what Mulciber implied,” Lily said, as an assertion rather than a question.

“I don’t know what the hell to believe anymore concerning you. Nothing surprises me. So maybe Mulciber’s right.”

“That’s rubbish!” Lily moved closer to him and with each step his hardened resolve dissipated. “Must you believe every word that comes out of Mulciber’s mouth is gospel?”

Severus raked his fingers through his hair and pulled as his speech grew more frenzied. “No, what’s rubbish is having to suffer seeing you two snogging in the corridors as if you can’t function for a fucking second without his tongue down your throat!”

Lily’s eyes grew wide with disingenuous concern. “Oh, of course, Severus. How dare I show affection towards my boyfriend without thinking of your feelings? How inconsiderate of me, how careless. Blimey, you’re self-centred.”

Her tone only incensed Severus further. “And you’re naive. I pity you, really.”

“There’s no need to pity me,” Lily said, shaking her head with a frown. “I’m happy. And damn it, we may not be friends anymore but that doesn’t mean I don’t want you to be happy either.”

He’s using you, Lily!” Severus shouted, waving his arm haphazardly in the direction of Slughorn’s office. “Maybe not as some pawn but for something else. Anything else.”

“And I understand why you think that, but you’re wrong,” Lily snapped. “We love each other—and I know that makes you sick, but it’s the truth.”

Severus was very still except for his shaking hands. “He’s thinking with his cock, Lily, and you’re falling for it like some...some stupid tart!”

Lily crossed her arms, eyes narrowing into a cold glower. “So now I’m a tart?”

No, no—what I meant was, you’re...” Severus cautiously glanced at her, as if anticipating an interruption. “What I mean is—that’s how he’s sees you! Like some stupid tart, expecting you to swoon every time he walks by just because he’s some Quidditch hero and has a vault at Gringotts. It seems to be working.” He looked down at her and wrinkled his nose. “Didn’t think you’d go for the posh sort. What are you, your sister?”

Lily sighed. “You know what, try it all you want. I’m not going to apologize or feel guilty for my relationship.”

“So is this the part when I say I hope you two are very happy together?” He gave her a withering look. “He’ll make a fool out of you. Once he gets tired of you like an old Quaffle, don’t say I didn’t tell you so.”

“Do you really wish that on me? Just for the satisfaction of being right?” Severus said nothing, and Lily continued. “There are so many things I know you’re getting up to that I hate with every fibre of my being, and you know that, but I hope for your own sake that I’m wrong. I hope every fucking day that I’m wrong and you’ll wake up and realize what you’re getting yourself into, because I care fuck-all about being right if it’s in exchange for your wellbeing, so please. You’re better than that...than Mulciber...than them. I know you are.”

Lily watched the boy standing across from her, his face masked in practiced impassivity, but he couldn’t hide from her. She could interpret every twitch of his lips and dart of his eyes as if it was its own language. She knew dispassionate was the last thing he was at that moment; he was fighting an internal battle of what to say next, how to react.

“Are you done?” Severus asked at last. He attempted to sound callous but she heard the hint of pain in his voice, as if looking at her for a moment longer would be agonizing. Lily nodded, pressing her lips tightly together so they wouldn’t tremble. Severus looked down at his shoes before giving her a last, piercing stare. “Bye.” He strode down the hallway, back to the dungeons.

“Bye,” she managed, wondering if he heard her and also reassuring herself it wouldn’t have changed anything either way. She might have ended it two years ago, but nothing felt as final as that moment.

...



The rest of Slughorn’s party was uneventful yet poignant, knowing it was her last Slug Club soiree of her school career. It did, however, end on a high note: Mulciber spilled wine all over the front of his robes and, as one third-year guest loudly and aptly pointed out, it looked like he’d pissed himself. “I swear, I didn’t make Mulciber spill his drink,” James told Lily on their way out of the party. “I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. We can only thank the party gods for something so fucking hilarious.”

They returned to the boys’ dormitory around midnight. The boys were already sleeping - at least Remus and Peter were. Sirius’ bed was empty, and Lily reckoned he could be doing God-knows-what God-knows-where with God-knows-who. She originally stopped by to pick up a pair of earrings she had left on James’ dresser, but by the time they were in her grasp, James wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed the skin beneath her ear. “Stay.”

Minutes later, she was wearing James’ oversized Puddlemere United shirt in his bed. He cast a silencing charm around the hangings and charmed them closed.

Lily asked what James knew of Agterop, and James’ brows furrowed. He looked rather different without his glasses on - certainly more squinty and perplexed in an endearing way.

“He’s a bit of an enigma really. He doesn’t think we should have to remain in hiding to appease Muggles. He’s written loads of articles about it.”

“Do you think he supports Voldemort?”

“I really don’t think so, at least not completely,” James said, playing with a strand of Lily’s hair. “A few of his ideas like not living in fear of Muggle interception, sure, but I don’t think he’d ever want to get his hands dirty, and I’m sure he doesn’t support some mass genocide. Did you see the way he was reacting to Mulciber’s barmy ramblings?”

“He did look rather uncomfortable.”

“Enough about him, what did you want with Snape?” James asked. “And for the record, this is the last time I will ever mention him in my bed.”

Lily stared at the hangings above and closed her eyes. “I’m worried about him. Of what he’ll be getting up to in a matter of days, with Mulciber and Avery most likely...once we’re out of school. I just don’t know what it’ll take to get him to see reason.”

“Maybe you’ll be in luck and the Death Eaters have a no greasy, big nosed gits policy.”

James!

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, that was shit of me, you’re right,” James apologised, seeing her utter lack of amusement. “I shouldn’t try to make it funny. I know. Because it’s not. But I reckon all you can do at this point is hope for the best.”

Lily nodded. James gently pressed a kiss against her forehead, his hand running lightly through her wavy hair. Lily’s mouth touched James’ throat, lips grazing his Adam’s apple.

“By the way,” James started, and Lily’s lips vibrated against his skin. He pulled away slightly and sat up, gazing at her face. “My eyesight may be terrible, you’re really just a big red blur, but you’ve got to be the prettiest red blur there is.”

Lily laughed. “Just don’t go out looking at any Muggle stop lights without your glasses on. I may have some competition.”

James kissed her again. “I should have asked you earlier, but...well, you know we leave in a couple days and, well, er...” James was nervous, mulling over his words as if he’s been considering them for quite a while. “Well, I’m going to get a flat in London, and I think it would be brilliant if you, we, you know, lived together.”

“So you’re asking me to be your flatmate.”

“Er, a flatmate...with benefits.”

“That’s a big step.”

“Aye.”

Lily’s lips curled into a smile. “I’d love to be your flatmate with benefits, James. But what do those benefits include?”

James smirked, hazel eyes crinkling at the corners as he wiggled his eyebrows up and down. “I could show you, if you’d like.”

Lily reached up to push her hands through James’ perpetually messy mass of black hair before giving him a peck on the tip of his pointed nose. “I’d like that very much.”



...



Being a Muggle-born in the midst of a war of status, blood, and privilege conveyed something political whether she liked it or not. While her every move did not intentionally coincide with a political message or motive—especially not her romance with a pureblood—Mulciber wasn’t exactly wrong in that corridor in sixth year. He was frighteningly realistic about the politics of subjugation and degradation to meet political goals. Mulciber’s smoothly delivered three little words always remained at the back of her mind. Sometimes they consumed her: as she read of the carnage in the newspaper, when she received a photo of a woman slaughtered by the Killing Curse with a simple message of ‘you’re next’ on the back , and especially when writing to her family and explicating why contact between them may soon be limited due to ‘impending circumstances.’ All of it, the panic and the terror, was politically tied.

When she returned to her and James’ flat from Order business covered with bruises and fresh scars, every mild discomfort and fractured wrist was worth the fight against Voldemort’s hopes for a dictatorial new world order. She might have been unable to break the bonds politics had on nearly all aspects of her life, but it comforted her to know she wasn’t alone in her burden - and with James and the Order beside her, she never would be.

 
 
Current Location: NYC
Current Mood: rushed
Current Music: Arctic Monkeys - Pretty Visitors | Powered by Last.fm
 
 
 
yemeron: Awesome!yemeron on March 18th, 2010 01:46 am (UTC)
Wow. Where is maraudersaffair's Orson Welles applause gif when you need it? Anyway, I was supposed to be working, but this was a great (powerful, poignant, just fucking awesome) distraction. Congrats!

ETA: By the way, I know that's not the most intelligent review. I'll give you all of that on AIM, bb. ;D

Edited at 2010-03-18 01:48 am (UTC)
Ashley!  It's Unisex!randomneses on March 20th, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
I'm really glad you found it to be powerful. I was worried that it may have fallen a bit flat but this review gave me a bit more confidence about that :D

And intelligence isn't needed! Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it :)
-: Pétales et jardin de la nymphe Ancolielobsterbelle on March 18th, 2010 06:29 am (UTC)
I enjoyed the way Lily wanted to retreat from the wizarding world during her holidays. It makes perfect sense.

The scene with Mulciber attacking Lily in the hallway was really disturbing, but so well-written. So was Lily's growing appreciation of James.

The worst, really, is when Muggle-borns start clamouring about oppression. They’ve been allowed into Hogwarts for nearly a thousand years, have positions of power throughout our world, and they still feel as if we’re unfair to them every minute of every day.
That's the kind of bullshit I hear all the time to disguise overt racism. I think it's a very realistic attitude to have inserted.

Lily had to wonder why expressing her views on the matter was some sort of surprise while the boys carrying on was seen as simple manly tête-à-tête.
YES. Good point!

That was a really touching, sad, funny story.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Vintage - Hope I die before I get oldrandomneses on March 20th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)
I'm really glad that that made sense/worked well to you!

I tried to bring out some aspects of prejudice and bigotry that are largely ignored or hardly touched on with mwpp era fics so I'm happy that you appreciated it/that it was realistic.

You have no idea how much feedback means to me and I'm very happy you found this touching bb :)
(no subject) - lobsterbelle on March 23rd, 2010 12:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
secretsolitairesecretsolitaire on March 19th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
Smart and interesting story. Enjoyed!
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: MM - Sally: Future 60s Revolutionistrandomneses on March 19th, 2010 07:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm very flattered and grateful, particularly for the QR rec. I really appreciate it ♥
amethysth: chatting maraudersamethysth on March 21st, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
This was gorgeous. I loved it so much, especially Part 2 (mostly because there was less Mulciber and more James, lol). But honestly, it was brilliant. You write really well, and I like how you went through Lily's struggles to find that peace with who she is in this turbulent, political world. Just excellently done.(and I cracked up at the Yoko Ono reference.)
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: IB - Plenty more clunge in the searandomneses on March 22nd, 2010 05:56 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks I'm really glad you enjoyed!

And I understand what you mean about less Mulciber. He was an experience to write but I love James.

I'm also glad you think I did a good job with Lily's woes. I really tried to understand how she'd feel dealing with such an environment during such a pivotal time in her life so I'm glad it was convincing.

(I'm a fan of Sirius being jealous of Lily and Lily/James so yeah, he'd totally think she's a "Yoko" as a scapegoat XP)

Thanks again for the review :3
Rachaeldeadrana on March 21st, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
This was lovely. Your characterization of Lily, James, and Severus was magnificent, for me that's the most important thing. The dialog was really natural and so much less formal than you find in a lot of Marauder era fics, which I thank you for! You really made them teenagers while still conveying how quickly they had to find their place in the world, so young. I really enjoyed the way you made time pass quickly without the reader feeling like they were missing out, as well.
Basically, this is everything I could ask for in a Lily/James fic - I only wish it were longer! Thank you :)
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: HP - GREASY POTTER SANDWICH W/KETCHUPrandomneses on March 22nd, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
Thanks for commenting :) I really appreciate it.

I'm happy the characterizations worked out. Those three are my favorites to write and work with and I think characterization is so key so I'm glad you think I did a good job. And I'm really glad you thought the dialogue was realistic. I try to get them to sound like British teens from the 70s as much as I possibly can.

Thanks again, babe :D
glass_icarusglass_icarus on March 22nd, 2010 03:18 am (UTC)
*flails* Oh, Lily. &hearts I love this so much, bb.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Misc - The very latest thing my dearrandomneses on March 22nd, 2010 06:03 am (UTC)
Aw I'm so glad that you love it. I really appreciate your feedback!

There just aren't enough Lily fics out there, and many of the ones I've seen as of late are pretty damn disrespectful to her as a character so I hope that this is a better representation on what she may have been like.
izzy_the_hutt: Shoeboxizzy_the_hutt on March 25th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely gorgeous. The insinuation that James is only dating Lily to illustrate his liberal political views is absolutely stunning--just because its so bloody despicable. Snape was the right mixture of sympathetic and pathetic (just how I like him)--and I think you had his dynamic with Lily down well.

And of course, Lily and James without the cheese factor is always a plus. Sirius comparing Lily to Yoko Ono made me laugh, and wish that he had had an appearance in this story...but perhaps you find him difficult to write? Mulciber creeped me the hell out, so good on that too.

All in all--awesome.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Santigold - I'll be your junkierandomneses on March 27th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
I'm really happy that you believe I got the dynamics down well. And yeah, I don't think enough fics really touch on the politics of the era so I tried to do that a bit.

Haha, I try not to make anything cheesy so I'm glad Lily/James wasn't. And I always sorta thought that the idea of Sirius seeing Lily as a ~threat/taking James away could be realistic. I certainly don't find Sirius easy to write but I don't really know if he quite fit in with the story but I do write him in another story of mine, although he is not a main character.

I'm glad I succeeded in making Mulciber creepy :)

Thanks so much for your feedback, I really really appreciate it.
killerbunny117: Lily Evanskillerbunny117 on March 26th, 2010 04:00 am (UTC)
Great fic :)
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: HP - Lily/James Rear Window style lurverandomneses on March 27th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Thank you!
cityskiesx3cityskiesx3 on March 29th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
*lurker alert
OMFG. O_________O So well written, and just beautifully done. Guh. Awesome. Adjective for amazing. More adjectives here, here and here because I can't think.

And to think I was initially going to skip over it because I was like, wtf is Mulciber?? Lol. That first sentence really drew me in. Once again. Guh.

PS. As thought slowly returns to me, I lovelovelove your portrayal of Lily. She seemed so much more realistic than we usually see in fics - not 100% pure, not 100% bad-ass... just an extraordinary girl facing life. Sofreakinawesomeomfg.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Me - All tarted up & I DO look the samerandomneses on March 30th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Re: *lurker alert
Aw, I'm glad you think so highly of it and I'm glad you stuck with it despite the confusion over Mulciber XP

Also, I'm glad you liked my portrayal of Lily. She's one of my favorite characters in the series and I see her written all sorts of ways, most of which don't really jive with how I see her so I'm glad this stood out/was realistic.

Thanks again!
(Deleted comment)
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Skins - I just might sneezerandomneses on April 16th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!

I'm happy that you thought the characterization was good, especially concerning Mulciber. I recently became pretty intrigued by the fact that Lily expressed a lot more disgust/discomfort about Mulciber in "The Prince's Tale" than, say, Avery. Also, I recall something about Mucliber being an ~expert~ at the Imperious curse so yeah, I figured he would be an interesting character to work with so I'm very happy it worked out.

And it's almost disappointing how rarely I see people deal with the blood/privilege issues in Harry Potter in their fics. Not to say that it has to be a main focus of every fic but I've found myself getting more disillusioned to MWPP era fics, particularly the ones involving Lily, that don't address any of it at all. Or they just scratch the surface and mention the Mudblood incident one or two times. So I wanted to try something different.

Anyway, enough of my blabbing. Thank you so much for the feedback. Your opinion really means a lot to me :)
Margo! Boxcar! Saturn!: [hp] ginnychocolatepot on April 18th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
♥_♥ This is the most uncomfortable fic I've ever read, and it's fantastic. Every single aspect was spot on - Sirius being a prat in the background (while simultaneously going "LOOK I KNOW ABOUT MUGGLE THINGS I R REBEL"), Snape being wishy-washy, Lily and James and Lily/James (I always forget how much I like that ship). And it felt very British to me, too; granted, I didn't grow up in Britain so maybe I'm way off, but my job does entail watching hours of British tv.

If I were you, though, I'd add to the warnings that the fic could be triggery for rape victims, as I don't think "sexuality" and "violence" quite cover it.

Edited at 2010-04-18 04:28 pm (UTC)
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Me - That Sheffield lad Alex Turner & merandomneses on April 18th, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC)
This is the most uncomfortable fic I've ever read, and it's fantastic.

Haha, wow, that's a new one! B I'm glad that you enjoyed it despite the discomfort (hey, even I felt uncomfortable writing/rereading some parts as well so I feel you).

Lily/James (I always forget how much I like that ship)

There is not enough of it :( I'm happy you thought things were spot on too.

And thank you for the heads up about the warnings. I'll edit it ASAP!

I really appreciate your opinion, thanks again :)

Edited at 2010-04-18 06:38 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - chocolatepot on April 19th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
maybe1ce: Hurray!maybe1ce on April 18th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
I think this may be the ONLY Marauder-era fic I've ever read that feels like CANON. Beautiful job, too, in showing what blood predjudice REALLY looks like. There are only hints of it in Harry's era, but there is enough there to show that this is very like what the Marauder era must have been like for a Muggleborn girl.

Oh, and I haven't seen this commented on, yet: The bit in Part 1, when Lily jokes about tattooed arms and Snape holds his arms out and says it won't happen? I know he was talking about his muscles, but the knowledge of the tattoo that is coming? Gave me shivers.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Skins - Not much like Sid and Nancyrandomneses on April 18th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Wow, I'm super flattered rn :3 And yeah, I think that there was more to blood prejudice than just throwing around slurs (this goes for every -ism). I wanted to portray it in more than one, static way.

And...um...holy shit, I didn't even think of that tattoo thing that way! Haha, well I sure feel like I just got schooled! Thanks for bringing that up, I'm happy to know that it was effective despite being unintended!

(Deleted comment)
Ashley!  It's Unisex!randomneses on April 22nd, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for the feedback! I'm very happy that you thought the characterization was good. I'm very concerned about that in my writing. Also glad you found it thought provoking!

And it's okay, parentheses are lurve ♥
just heatherheather on April 19th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
You write one of my favorite Lilys. ♥ But spot-on characterization all-round; I don't know why you were so worried about this, bb!
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: HP - HI HATER!randomneses on April 22nd, 2010 03:41 am (UTC)
Aw, I'm so honored bb :3

Thanks for the feedback!

And gurl, you know I'm worried about everything :X
Musings of a Post-Harry Potter survivorravenstar84 on April 19th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
Apologies for not writing up a review (you already know I like it. :-p,) but here goes:

I cannot get enough of this line:
“The worst, really, is when Muggle-borns start clamouring about oppression. They’ve been allowed into Hogwarts for nearly a thousand years, have positions of power throughout our world, and they still feel as if we’re unfair to them every minute of every day. The ingrates should thank us for letting them in at all. We risk our very existence with every Muggle who knows about us.

This rings so true to something racists would say in real life. And so full of pompous entitlement. Pretty much like many of the purebloods in HP. :-p

I cringe just thinking about Mulciber's comments and attack on Lily. I still keep wishing she told McGonagall the whole story, but that's just personal gut reaction to things like this. You gave her both vulnerability and strength equally, so she is the awesome. :D

And yes, I don't think there's enough written about how serious the racism in HP is.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: AM - I'M ZORRO YOU TWATrandomneses on May 1st, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
Apologies for not replying to this earlier XD

I'm happy you liked that bit but I'm not surprised. We're ~on the same page~, bb :3

And yeah, I def feel you on wishing she told McGonagall the whole story. But I figured it's a reflection of the fact that many women, regardless of how strong they are, feel a level of shame about recounting things like that :(

Also, yeah, people really need to tap into the whole racism element of HP in fic more, especially in first war fics. I feel like its ignored way more than it should be!
wwolf_87: winchesterswwolf_87 on April 19th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
I loved it. It's creepy as hell but some things have to be creepy.
Specially, I liked your Snape, who fitted canon perfectly (it's very hard to find that in a fic), and I adored you Lily.

Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Fash. - The Quiz Kid Look will never dierandomneses on April 25th, 2010 07:01 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm glad you loved it :) And yes, the creep factor was uncomfortable to write but I'm glad its purpose was met.

I'm also happy that you liked Snape and Lily. They're favorites of mine, especially when it comes to writing them :)
Katiesporkgoddess on April 19th, 2010 10:22 pm (UTC)
This has got to be one of the best "first Voldemort war-era" fics I've ever read. It's just so dark and... realistic. You really capture what I imagine the mood was like, as well as the experience of a Muggleborn who is pretty much not welcome in either the Muggle or the Wizarding world.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: MM - Sally: Future 60s Revolutionistrandomneses on May 1st, 2010 03:16 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm extremely flattered!

I think more fics should have some sort of reflection on Lily's minority status in the Wizarding World but it can be sorta hard for some people to grasp. IDK, as a minority myself I think I have a pretty good imagination/perspective on how she may have felt about some things. :)

Thank you again!
theorclair: gene sam annietheorclair on April 20th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
I agree with everyone before me in compliments, but I will also add I really liked the way you wrote Slughorn. Very true to character.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!randomneses on April 23rd, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!

And thanks, Slughorn seems like quite the, er, character XD I feel like he's the sort that means well but can be beyond obnoxious and ignorant from time to time.

Edited at 2010-04-23 04:00 am (UTC)
pearlette: Albus Severus!pearlette on April 20th, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
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—

LOL! I'm British, and this line was PERFECT. :D

Great story, very well written. :) Excellent characterisations of Lily, James and Sev ... how good to read a fic that does all three justice!

Snape's wishy-washiness, in the face of his own attraction to the power that the DEs offered, is very believable and fits in with what we know of canon. I'm a big fan of Snape and I can never understand how such an intelligent bloke could fall for the DE bigotry, especially as he was a half-blood himself! But your story fits in with my canon interpretation of how he got sucked into it all.

I also like your take on James. :) This is how JKR should have written him. All-out prat when he's 15, then finally growing up, and being tender and protective to Lily.

And your Lily is lovely: fiery but vulnerable. I approve of how she doesn't allow James to diss Sev, despite the painful ending of their friendship.

And Mulciber is one convincingly nasty, NASTY dude. *shudder*

I wish poor Lily had told Minerva everything about the sexual assault. And James as well. (Could have been some great hurt/comfort there!) Although his revenge on Mulciber was very satisfying.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!randomneses on May 1st, 2010 03:31 am (UTC)
OH, I'M GLAD YOU APPROVED OF THAT LINE XD

I saw some footage of Blackpool once and was like, "...what is this clusterfuck?" in the nicest way possible.

And I'm happy that you liked the characterization. Those three are my favorites 8D

I'm a big fan of Snape and I can never understand how such an intelligent bloke could fall for the DE bigotry, especially as he was a half-blood himself!

Right? But people desperate for a sense of belonging mixed with some sort of prejudice that was already there can be pretty easy targets for that bullshit. Sad but true :\

I also agree that JKR should have done more to show that James wasn't always the biggest twat this side of twatshire.

And yeah, I feel like Lily still would have cared for Snape even though she highly disapproved of what he got up to.

Glad Mulciber was convincing. It was a bit uncomfortable to write but I'm happy to hear that it was effective.

I wish poor Lily had told Minerva everything about the sexual assault.

Yeah I've had a couple of people prod at me a bit for that. I figured that what would have been the ideal doesn't always work out that way. I know many women feel very embarrassed to discuss the details of those incidents :(

Anyway, thanks again for the positive feedback. I really appreciate it!
Carson: Weasley is our Kingimagined_away on April 21st, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
This was fantastic! Someone on HMS linked to it and I'm so glad they did.

I've rarely seen Lily written this way (and I had a serious period of Lily/James reading) but I love how you portrayed her. Especially that she was spunky and ready to fight like fuck.

I haven't read a Lily/James fic since we found out about Severus and Lily's friendship but I think you handled it beautifully. I could tell how upset Lily was even through her determination to do the right thing. The scene at the party was probably my favorite of the story.

I know this isn't the most coherent review (sorry about that! Too little sleep, too much school) but I really did enjoy this story. You've given me a Lily/James itch now though. I'll need to find some more stories.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Vintage - Hope I die before I get oldrandomneses on May 1st, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it and my portrayal of Lily/her friendship with Snape. I really enjoy writing the two of them. They're beyond dysfunctional.

I hope you find some good Lily/James stories (and if you do, give me a heads up! ;D They are srsly lacking). I can relate to a lack of sleep and school stress though. I can't wait until this semester is over.
Sailor Lum: boom by ajchersailorlum on May 1st, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, that gutted me! (And I mean that as a complement!) Very tense and engaging and I liked how you brought James and Lily together (even though my Severus/Lily shipper heart whimpered). Ah, but with Severus's head firmly up his arse (as it need be to be canon compliant), James was the way to go (I like that James was able to hope for the best regarding Snape, on Lily's behalf).

Your Severus and Lily scenes were great and illustrated just how messed up the relationship got and the underlying affection they still shared before SWM...although Severus really lost sight of his priorities even before then and in a most maddening way. Speaking of that... ugh at Severus that he wasn't totally soured on Mulciber after the upskirt incident! - Severus had his priorities borked in an even more extreme way even sooner than I tend to imagine. Your Severus is pretty far gone even before he crosses the line in SWM (my fic version of Severus is not *quite* that effed up, since he can still have an "ah ha" moment...but my fic goes off into AU land, heh heh).

I like how Lily still cared for Severus to the end and wished he would turn away from the Dark side for his sake. I really want to strangle Severus, esp. in that last scene. He was such a shit waffle!

And Mulciber! What a nasty, twisted, pervy, creepy, vile guy! He's even worse than my Mulciber (and I thought I was writing him pretty nasty...but yours has mine beat).

On a fluffier note, the bit with Lily's first Hogsmead friend-date with Severus (and her utter cluelessness that he would be into a "more than friends" date) was cute. As was James's reaction from the sidelines.

I also liked how Lily tried to retreat from the wizard world due to all that went, and was going, down. Poor Lily.

I liked your Lily's spunkyness and sense of humor.

Great job on the fic!
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: AM - I'M ZORRO YOU TWATrandomneses on May 9th, 2010 06:34 am (UTC)
Late reply is late! Anyway, as you know I'm very flattered by your comment and I really appreciate the feedback 8D

And yep, I needed to make sure that Snape's "head-up-arse syndrome" was in full swing...as it should be. He really had priority issues which I think is quite crucial to his overall downfall.

I'm also glad you thought the characterization of Mulciber was, er, creepy. I suppose I succeeded with flying colors with that fucker, yeah?

I try to give Lily a good balance of, er, traits? Glad the boldness was evident.

Again, thanks for the feedback! I'm so happy you enjoyed it!
(Deleted comment)
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Celeb - Karen blamed it on the alcoholrandomneses on June 23rd, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
Re: here via crack_broom rec
Sorry for such a late reply!

I really appreciate your feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed it and considered it believable. I was really trying to paint a realistic image so I'm happy to hear that I succeeded.

And I'm happy that you thought Lily's relationship with James and Snape were done well. Thanks!
Elizabeth PerryElizabeth Perry [dreamwidth.org] on June 5th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow, this is amazing.
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: HP - GREASY POTTER SANDWICH W/KETCHUPrandomneses on June 9th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I appreciate it :D
Angharad: I <3 booksathousandwinds on June 17th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
I love this story - it's bleak and hopeful in all the right places, and I love the realistic take you have on Mulciber's harassment of Lily - it manifests itself in much more subtle, socially-accepted ways before it escalates into a rape attempt. And the way the fundamental difference between James and Snape is articulated (James is willing to apologise when he screws up), and why Lily marries one rather than the other (and that it's not presented as a choice between them: Lily ends her friendship with Snape, and then later, for separate reasons, starts going out with James).
Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Nick Cave - Beauty School Drop Outrandomneses on June 23rd, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed the story. I'm glad you liked the duality of the darker bits with lighter moments in the story (I don't think I can write a fic that is so either or, both aspects make for a more interesting story in my opinion).

I'm also very happy that you saw that this wasn't intended to come off as some sort of "Lily-making-a-decision-between-James-and-Snape" thing because a lot of people go for that and I just don't realistically, see that having been the case. They're such different people and the circumstances of their relationships are also very different, I just wish more people acknowledged it that way.

Anyway, enough of my rambling, I'm glad you enjoyed.
Salome: stathamrundecadent_chains on July 17th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
Oh, I really liked this. Something about the lightness to it (the mention of Blackpool especially) but there was definitely an uncomfortable aspect to it too. I just reread the whole series, and the bit with Lily recounting Mary's experiences in the Prince's Tale both intrigued and worried me. We don't often get to see what it must've been like, being essentially prey for the Mulciber-type creeps, with the war not yet having come to a head.

I also liked the contrast between Snape and James, not least because they're not seen as an either/or option for Lily, which I think is Snape's key misunderstanding. And I enjoyed that last Slug Club meeting.

Basically, I liked it, and reading this I see why you can empathise with Lily, and I'll be sure to read more of your stuff in the meantime. :)

Ashley!  It's Unisex!: Skins - That's the end little girlrandomneses on August 1st, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it (and appreciated the Blackpool reference)!

Oh and I'm glad that you noticed that James wasn't some other option to Snape. I definitely never imagined that there was some option between the two for her, they were totally different people and her relationships with them were based on completely different things. It's disingenuous when people think otherwise IMO.

And yeah, Lily is my favorite :3

Thanks again!