The girl with a green knitted beret on her head, and an apple in her hand, ducked behind the corner of the Three Broomsticks when she saw her brother approaching.
It wasn’t that she didn’t like him. In the usual run of things, she got on far better with him than any of her other relations (especially Albus who could be an uptight arse at times).
However, James had really annoyed her last night. She’d walked into the Great Hall, trying to act nonchalant in front of the Hufflepuff table (Greg Cadwallader was looking so lush, these days), when James had struck. Not only had he started making kissy faces at Lily, he offered in a very loud voice, to go right over to the Hufflepuff table and have a ‘man to boy chat with Greggy’. When Lily has hissed at him to shut up, he’d added in an even louder voice that he was ‘only looking out for his baby sister.’
Embarrassed, Lily had walked straight out of the Great Hall and to the kitchens, where she’d munched her way through a bowl of apple crumble and then felt sick.
Greg had not been at breakfast the following morning, but she’d seen him head off into Hogsmeade with a girl from Hufflepuff.
“What are you doing lurking out here?”
Lily looked up and saw Rosmerta levitating an empty barrel across her back yard. “Sorry, I was avoiding someone.” She swallowed. “My brother, James, actually. He’s being perfectly foul at the moment, and I don’t want to see him yet - not until I’ve sorted out how to make him pay.”
Rosmerta started laughing. “You know something, Lily. I know everyone says you’re just like your mum, but you’ve always reminded me far more of your namesake.” She winked. “Now, your mum was very good at revenge. I remember seeing her Bat-Bogey Hex, but it wasn’t subtle. Your grandma, however...” She lowered her voice. “Lily Evans always thought the punishment should fit the crime, so when your granddad used Swelling Solution on a spider and introduced it into the girls' bathroom...”
Lily’s eyes lit up with excitement. “What did she do?”
“She devised a big sticky web across his bed that trapped him for an hour.” She laughed at the memory. “Sirius tried to pull him free and got stuck, too. They were pulling bits of web off their skin for days.”
“Wow! And I’ve always been told that my grandma was practically perfect.”
“Perfect for your granddad, maybe,” Rosmerta murmured. “He would never have settled down with a goody-goody.”
Lily grinned at Rosmerta, her mind now awhirl with an idea.
It was simple to buy the sweets, and easy to Charm them. The hardest part would be getting James to eat them, yet Lily thought she’d found the perfect way.
“Lily! My baby sister!” yelled James from his table. “All by yourself!”
“Go away,” she shouted back, hiding her grin as she pulled out the bag of sweets.
“Ooh, what you got, Lils?” he asked, and standing up he waltzed across to her.
“Nooo!” she cried, as he snatched them. “James, give them back! They’re mine!”
A grinning James opened the bag and spying the sweets, helped himself to three.
“Ta Lily,” he said cheekily, and then he started to chew.
Lily stood there staring at her brother. She watched as his lips started to swell, and cheeks puff out. She saw as his look of astonishment turned to one of horror, as the sweets in his mouth became larger and stickier, clogging up his teeth and tongue.
“Aghl,” he spluttered. “Wha guh gug, Ly?”
“What are you asking me, darling brother?”
He pointed frantically to his mouth. “Wha guh gug?”
“Goo goo ga ga?” she cooed, and smiled sweetly. “Aww, has Jamesie decided he wants to be a baby? How cute.” She turned away from him. “I did tell you not to eat my sweets, you silly baby. Perhaps next time you’ll listen.”
Then, turning on her heel and brushing past Greg who looked rather alarmed at her trick, she left the Three Broomsticks.
“Oy, Potter!” someone shouted after her. Looking back, she faltered when she saw the smirking face of Scorpius Malfoy peering round the door. “If you’ve got any more of those sweets, I wouldn’t mind shutting your bloody cousin up, as well.”
Seeing his smile, Lily felt something inside of her lift. This day was definitely ending on a high.