Sick and Tired

James Potter begins to realize his life isn't as perfect as he firstly thought of. Hogwarts' graduation grows closer, and a war waits for him outside of the gates. A tired enemy fuels the indecision and uncertainty James feels about where he's heading, and the destiny of many might be involved into James' brand new path.

Warning: this is a Snames fic, mature content.

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4. Piece of nothing

The class of 1978 was all reunited on the grounds nearby the lake, listening to Dumbledore’s speech about how we made it, and a life of wonders waited for us if only we worked towards it, as we worked to graduate in Hogwarts. I wasn’t sure if my life would be of wonder. Well, yes, I had enough money in my vault to sustain me and a small family comfortably for the rest of my life. Lily was going to move in with me – that was decided after her parents’ death, living with her sister and her sister’s husband was a living hell to her – and I was a member of the Order of the Phoenix.

Once the war was over, I would for certain have a place of honor wherever I went.

Still, there was an incognito: who would win the war? Voldemort was winning the race, taking control of the Ministry little at a time. And I didn’t know how powerful the Order of the Phoenix was, exactly. How many members? Who were they? How influential they were inside the Ministry?

The first meeting was supposed to happen after graduation… Dumbledore didn’t set a date in stone, however. It made sense. Even Death Eaters wanna-bes knew about the Order of the Phoenix, so it meant Voldemort has been keeping an eye on it. I wondered if Dumbledore knew about this, and how much precious information I was omitting to cover Snape’s ass. I wondered how much his neck was worth anyway.

And how the hell he involved himself  in the Death Eater crowd to know that much, if he still wanted to protect Lily. I was never happy he was friends with her, let alone in love with her, but it would be just too dumb to say something about him to Dumbledore… I had no doubts Snape was going to be a Death Eater, and thus not join the Order. Who would trust him?

It was true no one suspected of him since he wasn’t a troublemaker, though everyone knew he called no one less than Lily Evans a mudblood, and hung out with the wrong crowd far too much…

The sky was blue, and the sun was shining, and I felt as if though in a personal sauna due to my formal robes. I looked around, unable to focus due to the warmth, and I spotted Snape sitting not very far away, eyes on the wand he waved between his knees, releasing little red sparkles. He sat by the space between the mass of chairs, so people could pass in between the two groups.

I wondered if I was doing the right thing… Probably wasn’t. The doubt ate my insides. I needed to know.

If I just… Asked him… Maybe he would answer? Duh. No.

I shrugged the idea off, and my attention went to a bird flying above the lake. All I wanted was the ceremony to be over, and then we all could change these damned clothes and go into our last ride on the Hogwarts’ Express. Padfoot stole a bottle of firewhiskey just for the occasion. I wouldn’t be the Head Boy anymore, so to the hell with the rules. Not to mention the situation asked for mental numbness.
No one wanted the memory of last leaving the safe walls of Hogwarts actually imprinted in their memories.

Especially in those times of war, when the Daily Prophet brought nothing than bad news. It all seemed distant, far away, because we were still locked on our little world, trying to keep up with studies.

Now we had to live and keep going on with our lives in the reality the Daily Prophet wrote about.

OoOoO

“Argh, that speech was just plain boring.” Padfoot stretched his legs across the cabin, resting his feet on the opposite seat. “And I am glad to take off those clothes.”

“I was sweating so much I thought I would melt.” Wormtail joined Padfoot in his complaints.
Moony chimed in: “I thought Dumbledore’s speech was touching.”

Padfoot took the bottle of firewhiskey out of his inner pocket, magically expanded and swallowed the first sip from it: “Yeah, right.”

“I am next in line.” I said, and received the bottle.

The firewhiskey ran burning down my tongue and my throat and with my stomach empty, I already felt light headed. I took another sip, and give the bottle to Moony, who drunk from it though more discretely than me and Pads.

“I can’t believe we actually graduated.” I spoke again, the alcohol giving me an unnatural courage to tell what I’ve been thinking the whole time.

“Eh.” Padfoot shrugged, careless. “I couldn’t handle another year there.”

Well, of course he couldn’t because he wasn’t tormented by doubt and fear. Not to mention, he was still very much excited because of the Order of the Phoenix, though the excitement never really hit me in the first place. “Me neither, to be honest.” Moony shrunk his shoulders. “I was sick and tired of the Shrieking Shack.”

Our alcoholic beverage was back at Padfoot, by then.

“Think about the bright side, Prongs! Now we can help Moony with his time of the month without worrying about getting detentions.  We can do anything without worrying with detentions.”

“Now we just have to worry with Voldemort.” I said,  bluntly. “And Azkaban. Which is way worse than detentions, if you ask me.” More alcohol in my veins propelled me to go on. “We are members of the Order of the Phoenix, and Voldemort has a hold on theMinistry. Do you know what this means? If we break any law, for minimal that it is, we can be thrown in Azkaban forever, or worst, killed.”

I shove the bottle to Moony.

“But Voldemort doesn’t know about the Order of the Phoenix, right? How could he possibly know, given what Dumbledore said, about us being outside of the Ministry?”

Oh-oh. I didn’t tell them about anything that happened between me and Snivellus  in the last month.

“He doesn’t know, fair enough.” I said. “Forget about me, I’m just with my stomach empty and the firewhiskey is messing with my brain. I should get a cauldron cake or something.”

“I never saw you talking this way.” Wormtail replied, also, it seemed, under the influence of the firewhiskey. After all, he always agreed with everything I said. Not this time, though. Maybe being part of the Order was still too much of an exciting thing for him to see his life was actually on the line by the mere fact of him existing.

I left them be. I couldn’t tell exactly what brought me to this state of apprehension, so I’d rather shut up about the matter entirely. And I really needed the cauldron cakes or else I would severely regret my words, later…

“I’m going to get the cauldron cakes.” I said, standing up. “I don’t want a hangover.”

Especially because that night, Lily was supposed to move in with me and I didn’t want to start everything with the left foot… Or possibly barfing in the bathroom – we were not dating for that long. My way into where the trolley lady usually stayed was tipsy. The hallway moved and twirled --  I must be, without a doubt, looking rather dumb. I was not on a boat, rocking from side to side on the ocean. It felt like that to me, however.

Finally, I purchased the bloody cakes. The trolley lady inspected me up and down. How drunk was I looking? I ate one in my way back, just to be sure I wouldn’t embarrass myself. Or do something I regretted. The  way back wasn’t as rocky but still, it didn’t mean the alcohol wasn’t having  effects on me.

I walked past a funny window. I could recognize Avery and Mulciber and also a random Slytherin girl talking, too absorbed in their dark little world to care about the drunken guy in front of their window. But Snape wasn’t paying attention to that, so he frowned, certainly wondering why I stopped.
I myself couldn’t say for sure. Until I remembered: I should use up the last opportunity. With some luck we would never see each other again.
Go to the bathroom, I mouthed to him. I have something to ask to you. He raised an eyebrow, and shook his head lightly, saying no. I put my hands together, as if praying. It’s serious. Please.

He scowled and sunk on his seat. Bingo. I headed to the masculine bathroom as fast as I could manage, considering it still seemed I was on a boat. With another cauldron cake swallowed down, sobriety started to come up to me – and I panicked. I was sober enough to second guess what I just had done.

Fifteen minutes passed, and as the clock ticked, my desperation grew. What was I going to ask him? And how, without any firewhiskey available. Fuck.

But then, I started to vent the idea he wasn’t going to come.

Yes, he wouldn’t want to speak to me. And I might just be leading him to another prank or something of the like. Though by then he had already walked inside the hall of the masculine bathroom, so silently he scared the living hell out of me when I turned on my heels to leave.

“So you are here.”

“As unlikely as it seems, yes. Spill it, Potter.”

He had his arms crossed, and I could see the tip of his wand coming out of the pocket of his jeans. He thought I was going to pull a prank on him, for sure. Well, I wasn’t. But I didn’t want to ask him what I originally wanted to, either.

“Oh, well, I…” His gaze fell threatening upon me, and I swallowed hard. “I suppose I wanted to ask you something.”

“And that would be…?” he questioned. “I’d rather be somewhere else, if you don’t mind the honesty.”

“With who? Avery and Mulciber?”  He didn’t answer, so I continued: “What’s your plan, exactly? You want to follow Voldemort, you also want to keep Lily alive… How’s that going to work?

“That’s none of your business, Potter.” he replied. “And if that’s the only thing you wanted to ask...”

Snape made a measure to turn around and leave, but I blurted out: “I suppose what I want to say is that I didn’t tell Dumbledore… About you, I mean. And I want to know if I won’t screw up everything by wanting to believe you are not as bad as I thought you were.” The sentences came out in one breath. I can’t see his face, because his back is still turned on me.

 He looked over his shoulder to say: “I didn’t tell anyone, either. You are still a worthless piece of nothing to me, but Lily unfortunately doesn’t think so. Don’t flatter yourself too much, Potter.”

And he left. 

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