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Lily's Choice by Winky

Format: Novel
Chapters: 35
Word Count: 75,252
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 12+
Warnings: No Warnings

Genres: Romance, General
Characters: Dumbledore, James, Lily, OC, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Snape, Voldemort
Pairings: James/Lily

First Published: 02/22/2004
Last Chapter: 06/30/2004
Last Updated: 01/29/2008

Summary:
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Harry Potter was the son of Lily and James Potter, who loved each other very much. But in their school days, their relationship was a little less than loving. What happened in between to change all this? A not-so-typical (and now complete!) Lily and James romance with lots of twists and laughs! Ah yes, I know, a new banner. Sorry for the confusion! It's the same story!


Chapter 1: Sighs and Owls
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A warm, summer evening breeze blew in through the open window, turning the pages of the open spell book and scattering the parchment on the desk. Lily Evans sighed and went over to close the window, even though she was enjoying the summer night air. She needed to finish her charms homework, and if it was continually blowing about her room, she wouldn’t get that much done. As soon as she had righted her papers, a shrill call came from downstairs.

“Lily, supper is ready! Hurry up!”

Lily sighed again. “Coming in a sec!” she hollered back to her sister, Petunia. Petunia was a year older than Lily, and they used to be great friends, best friends even. But ever since Lily had been going away to a different school, usually only seeing her sister during the summer, they had grown more distant. Lily figured it had something to do with the school she was going to, Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Amazingly enough, Lily was a witch, who would be starting her seventh year there on September first. Although as Lily had come to find at her years at Hogwarts, being a witch or wizard wasn’t unusual, but as she was the only witch in her family (she was muggle-born), she was very unusual compared to the rest of her family. Petunia had spoken very little to her sister this summer, though Lily had tried talking with her many times. It made Lily sad that they had grown so far apart, but Lily wasn’t sure how it had happened, for she wrote to Petunia and the rest of her family almost every week. But during the end of last year, Petunia had written back very rarely, and those replies had been very short. Oh, well, thought Lily, she can’t stay mad at me forever. And with this thought Lily began to walk downstairs to supper.

Mrs. Evans had prepared one of Lily and Petunia’s favorites, and Mr. Evans and Petunia had just finished setting the table when Lily entered the kitchen. They sat down and began to eat the meal as any other loving family, magical or not. Mr. Evans and Lily soon got into a good natured argument about their favorite football team, whether they still had any chance of making it to the playoffs for the championship. Petunia and Mrs. Evans were discussing what color dress Petunia would look best in for a party some of her friends were having, and decided a light pink would be nice, and that they should start looking for one at the stores.

The meal was almost finished when a loud tapping came from the window. The family looked up, and Petunia screamed, for there was a large tawny owl on their window sill, undoubtedly trying to come in. Lily went over to the window quickly and opened it, allowing the bird to shuffle onto the table, where it held out its leg for its letter to be untied. Lily undid the string, and with that the owl was off. Sure enough, it was Lily’s annual school letter from Hogwarts. Petunia was looking at her sister unbelievingly, in an almost horrified way. Mr. Evans looked only slightly shocked, he understood that magical folk like his daughter communicated in ways that were, well, slightly different than his, but that was ok. Mrs. Evans, who had backed away a little when the bird had landed on the table, was now eagerly looking over Lily’s shoulder while she read the letter aloud.

Dear Ms. Evans,
Welcome back to Hogwarts for another year. Here is a list of the supplies you will be needing as a Seventh Year student. As a reminder you will be eligible for trips to Hogsmeade, and due to the upcoming social events that will be taking place at Hogwarts, you will also need a set of dress robes.

We would also like to congratulate you for being chosen as Head Girl, representing Gryffindor as well as Hogwarts. This is a large responsibility but we feel you will do an excellent job.

The school train leaves at 11:00 on September 1st, and we shall see you at school.

Happy Holidays,
Minerva McGonagall
Deputy Headmistress

Lily, temporarily stunned with the news that she was Head Girl, stared at the letter, while her mother went back to the envelope and upturned it, allowing a shiny silver badge with “HG” on it to fall onto the table.

“Lily, why this is great! Being Head Girl must be a huge honor, and they chose you! Congratulations, sweetie!” said her mother, pulling her into a tight hug. Lily, who was finally coming out of her initial shock, broke into a smile.

“Well, I guess that means no more challenging the authority for you, because you ARE the authority now!” said Mr. Evans ginning jovially at his daughter.

“Yes, we are all so very proud of LILY, with her magic wand and special badge!” shrieked Petunia, stomping out of the room and up the stairs, leaving the rest of the family stunned.

“I’ll go talk to her.” said Mrs. Evans, looking a little tearful. She too left the room, following Petunia

Lily’s grin was gone. Was her older sister JEALOUS of her? Her perfect, popular, pretty sister who she adored? So that was why Petunia had been so distant with her this summer. All of the excitement she had been feeling a moment ago with the thrill of being Head Girl had left her. Slowly, Lily left the kitchen as well and began to climb the stairs. Back in the kitchen she heard her father call out, “I guess I’ll just clean this up now, by myself!”

Back in her room for the second time in the evening there was a tapping on her window. But it was not a school owl, it was a smaller light brown owl, who Lily recognized as Aurora, her friend Tracy’s owl. She went over and lifted the window open, allowing Aurora to flutter in. She too had a letter attached to her leg, a letter from Tracy. After she had removed the letter from Aurora’s leg, Aurora began to eye her room with interest, while Lily began to read.

Hey Lily!
How are you? I miss you so much! Have you gotten your supply list yet? Tomorrow Mother and I are going to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies, do you want to meet up and shop for dress robes together? Mother said she would be delighted to meet your mum, and that we could all get ice cream together. Wouldn’t that be fun? Oh my gosh, you would not believe this, but they are going to have a dance at Hogwarts this year! We so need to find dates, and then get ready together. It will be great!

Send me a letter with Aurora and I hope you can come tomorrow!

Love,
Tracy

Lily dashed out of the room, looking for her mother. Dress robe shopping would be so much fun with Tracy, and Mum would finally be able to meet some of her Hogwarts friends. Lily opened the door to Petunia’s room, and found her mother sitting there on the bed rubbing a distressed Petunia’s back.

“Um, Mum, my friend Tracy just asked if I could meet up with her in Diagon Alley tomorrow to go dress robe shopping together. You could come to, and meet Tracy’s mother. I need to get school supplies anyways.” said Lily, timidly, while Petunia glared at her.

“That would be fine, dear. We can take the train to London tomorrow and meet them there.” replied Mrs. Evans, still rubbing Petunia. “And I will buy you something special for being chosen as Head Girl.”

“Oh, thanks Mum! Uh, well, I should go tell Tracy, so um..” Lily stammered as she backed out of the room from Petunia’s look at her. As soon as she had evaded her stare, Lily ran back to her room, took out some parchment and a quill and wrote her response.

Dear Tracy,
Sounds great! Mum says we can meet up. I can’t wait to see you!
Tracy, you will never guess what I got in my Hogwarts letter. I’m Head Girl! Can you believe it? I know I can’t. The dance sounds like a lot of fun, but you’re right. We definitely need dates. Who would you like to take? Are you still madly in love with Sirius Black? Ha ha! Have you heard from Crystal or Erica? Maybe we could meet up with them too! See you tomorrow!
Love,
Lily

Lily read over her letter before retying it to Aurora’s leg. Aurora affectionately nipped her before swooping off into the night. Lily went back to the window and shut it. If she was going shopping tomorrow, she needed to finish her Charms essay tonight. Sighing once again, but a sigh of happiness and contentment, Lily smiled at the thought of seeing her friends again, new dress robes, and the surprise of being Head Girl. Whatever was bothering Petunia, she would get over it soon enough, and they would be okay again.



Chapter 2: Shopping and Greeting
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Lily and Mrs. Evans stepped into the Leaky Cauldron off of the bustling London street. The owner, Tom, came up and greeted them as he always had, ad cordially asked if they were interested in a drink. They politely refused, but promised to come back and have one on their way out. It was very crowded with other Hogwarts students, parents, and also the usual crowd who were looking very unhappy at all the people filling their pub. Lily and Mrs. Evans had to push their way across, nodding and pardoning themselves as they jostled through the mass of people milling around, ordering drinks, hailing tables, and trying to find friends they were meeting. At last they slipped out of the back door into the familiar bricked-in space behind the Leaky Cauldron, and Lily walked up to the wall with the trash can by it, and tapped the sequence of bricks, which rearranged and formed the arch into Diagon Alley.

If the Leaky Cauldron had been crowded, it was nothing compared to the wide street with its many magical and unusual shops. There was a very long line outside of the book store, and something of a riot going on in Quality Quidditch Supplies. A very harassed looking witch had just emerged from the Magical Menagerie, and had several color-changing piranhas clinging to her robes, which were dripping wet from the tank. With all the calling out to friends, the shouts form the Quidditch store (apparently over the last Silver Arrow, which was now being auctioned off to the highest bidder), the enthusiastic advertising from the street vendors (Pickled toad legs, Bargain! Only 10 sickles a pound!), and the hoots, meows, croaks, and more unusual animal sounds from newly purchased pets, Lily had to yell to her mother, who was standing right next to her, "WE NEED TO GO AND GET MY SCHOOL BOOKS FIRST, OKAY?"

"WHAT DID YOU SAY, DEAR?" called back Mrs. Evans, but Lily had grasped her hand and had already begun to lead her down the street. They went into Flourish and Blotts, and got the books Lily would need for her seventh year at Hogwarts, along with some new quills (including a very pretty turquoise peacock feather quill), parchment, and ink (not only traditional black, but also some lavender smelling lavender ink, and rose scented pink ink). Next was the Apothecary, so while Lily purchased the standard ingredients she would be needing throughout the year, Mrs. Evans enjoyed herself looking at they many interesting bottles and bins of things she personally hoped Lily was not putting in her potions and drinking. There where snake venoms, eel eyes, barracuda scales, jelly from the liver of a frog, and many insects that included specific instructions for proper grinding and usage. And I believed Lily wouldn't be doing gross dissections in a magical school like they do at Petunia's school! thought Mrs. Evans, smiling to herself and making a mental note to tell her other daughter, Petunia, that Lily still had to do gross stuff, even if she wasn't taking Biology. They made several other stops at the various shops, and purchased a great deal of other stuff, till all that was left to do was to get Lily's new robes and a present for her daughter for becoming Head Girl, which Lily had described to Mrs. Evans on the train ride over to London.

"Lily, do you want a broomstick for your gift? Or how about that book we saw, "Girls Who Are Charmed"?" she asked, her voice slightly muffled, as she was speaking from behind a large armload of shopping bags. Lily turned to speak to her mother, but instead burst out laughing at the sight of her. Lily's mum was barely visible, laden down under Lily's many parcels, packages, and purchases. She relieved her of some of the bags, and thoughtfully pondered what gift she would like.

"Definitely not a broomstick. Flying on those is so scary, there is nothing to hold on to! That book looked very interesting, but I can already do a lot of the charms in there", said Lily, her brow furrowed while deliberating. Suddenly, the perfect gift came to her. "Mum, what about an owl? Do you think I could have one of those? They could carry mail, and I've always wanted a pet, and this way I could write you, Daddy, and Petunia more often! Please?"

"Well, if you really want one..." began Mrs. Evans, who was a little perturbed that this gift idea had gone rapidly from book to bird.

"Oh thank you!" exclaimed Lily excitedly, but then Mrs. Evans cut her off.

"On one condition," continued Mrs. Evans, seriously, "You must write to me every week!" she said, breaking into a smile, hugging her daughter. "Now, let's go to Eyelop's Owl Emporium and choose it!"

In all of the excitement of getting an owl, somehow the packages had been transferred back to Mrs. Evan's arms, and she was once more stumbling under the weight as she tried to follow her daughter, who's amber red hair was swishing as she was chatting about what type of owl she might like to get. While they walked, many other teens were waving and calling out to Lily, who was very popular at Hogwarts.

"Hey Evans! Good to see you!"
"Lily! Over here! See you September first!"
"Lily, where you been all summer?"

Lily waved and called back to them, smiling at her friends and keeping a commentary for her mother's sake, who knew very few of Lily's acquaintances from Hogwarts.

"That's Alice Johnson, she and Frank Longbottom have been together since the last dance. Oh, and that's Cindy Chattam, she's a year below me, really sweet girl. And over there is..."

"Evans! Lily Evans! Hey, over here!" shouted someone across the street.

Lily recognized the voice at once, and began to search for the source. The cockiness in his voice had been a clear giveaway at once. Sure enough, Lily didn't have to look far, for standing outside of Quality Quidditch Supplies was a group of four boys. One was nodding over at her, ruffling his untidy jet black hair. James Potter, of course.

Lily snatched her mother's arm and began to steer her away from James and his friends, who called themselves the Marauders. But Mrs. Evans had already spotted the boys and was making her way towards them. "Come now, Lily dear! You must have heard them!"

"No, mum! We mustn’t go up to them!" hissed Lily, now being dragged to her mother towards James and the Marauders.

"And why not? You can't be so rude!" continued Mrs. Evans. Lily sighed. How could she explain to her mother about James Potter. He was arrogant, big headed, thought he was so cool because he was a Quidditch star, and always played with that little snitch. He also would never leave Lily alone.

"Hey Evans, so how's it going?" James asked as Lily and Mrs. Evans approached.

"Fine." said Lily coldly.

"You must be Mrs. Evans. I am Remus Lupin, how do you do?" asked Remus, the polite one of the Marauders, who was more reserved then James, and had been a Prefect with Lily.

"Why, yes! Hello, pleased to meet you Remus. Lily don't be so rude and introduce me to your friends here!" said Mrs. Evans, delighted at the prospect of meeting her daughter's classmates. Lily winced at the thought of the Marauders as her friends.

"Um, well you already met Remus," mumbled Lily, "so this is Peter," she said motioning to a shorter, mousy looking boy, "And Sirius," now nodding at the boy who was leaning casually against the wall, who was looking very blasé about it all, "and this is James." she finished, looking at the ground rather than at James, who was moving forward to shake her mother's hand.

"What a pleasure meeting you, Mrs. Evans. I can see where Lily gets her good looks!" said a winning James, now shaking a blushing and smiling Mrs. Evan's hand.

"Yes, yes, quite a pleasure but Mother and I really need to be going, lots to buy, people to meet, but nice chatting with you all, got to run now, see you on the train, good bye James, Sirius, Peter, and Remus, so see you all Later!" rambled Lily very quickly while forcefully walking towards the owl emporium, leaving the Marauders standing on the other side of the road.

"They seemed very nice Lily, and you were very rude to them. They were all very polite, and that James was very good looking!" said Mrs. Evans, smiling knowingly to her daughter, who wore a very disgusted face after her last words.

"C'mon mum. We need to get my owl before meeting Tracy."



Chapter 3: Dress Robes and Dates
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Lily opened the door to Eyelop’s Owl Emporium and held it open for her mother before entering herself. They were surrounded by large eyes blinking sleepily out from cages around them, with the occasional hoot. A large woman with spectacles magnifying her hazel eyes so that she too looked owlish approached them.

“Hogwarts, dear? What type of owl are looking to purchase?

“Yes, um…” answered Lily, gazing around at the many types of owls surrounding her. The woman was following her gaze, and judged her overwhelmed manner correctly.

“We have large owls such as the Barn and the Northern, or more medium sized ones such as the Eagle owl, the Tawny, the Snowy…” the woman began to ramble off, pointing to various specimen, Lily and Mrs. Evans following her finger, and Lily set eyes on a beautiful white owl, which must be the Snowy owl.

“That one, the snowy right there.” Lily interrupted, pointing at the owl, who was looking at Lily with large amber eyes.

“Very well, let me get her out for you. You can pay right up there ma’am.” addressing Mrs. Evans now, who looked up from the cage and nodded as she took out her purse to go and pay.

The woman took out the owl and Lily began stroking her soft feathers while the woman gathered owl food, treats, cage, and other equipment. The name for such a beautiful creature came to Lily at once.

“Iris, I will name you Iris.” murmured Lily to the owl.

“Iris, ey? Good name, the swift footed messenger of the gods, beautiful too.” said the woman. “Well, you’re all set. Thank you for coming! And take care of such an owl!” waved the woman as Lily and her mother, now carrying all of the owl supplies in addition to the other parcels, exited the store, Lily carrying Iris.

“We should go meet Tracy. She’s probably here by now.” said Lily to Mrs. Evans.

“You go on ahead dear. I’m going to go drop this off in the Leaky Cauldron” she said, acknowledging the tremendous load in her arms. So Lily set off to Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions carrying Iris in her cage. Before she had gotten halfway across the street she could see Tracy waving enthusiastically and rushed to greet her.

“Lily, Head Girl! Oh I just knew it would be you!” exclaimed Tracy, while the two girls hugged, seeing each other for the first time since the end of last school year getting off of the train.
“And, oh my is that your owl? She is absolutely gorgeous!” said Tracy, peering into Iris’s cage, who was now hooting as if to say, “Don’t forget about ME!”

“Yea, mum bought her for me for being Head Girl. So, ready to go in?” Lily said, nodding towards the door. “We’ve never had dress robes before! Wonder what color we should get?” she asked her friend as they entered the shop.

“School robes or dress robes, ladies?” asked Madam Malkin politely.

Soon Lily and Tracy’s arms were laden with several styles of robes in various colors and the girls went to the dressing rooms in the back to try them on. Lily’s first set were of a floaty satin, had a sweeping neckline, and were a mysterious shade of green. She slipped it on and stepped out for Tracy to critique. Tracy’s jaw literally dropped when Lily emerged and did a twirl for her.

“You like?” asked Lily, enjoying the swishing of the satin material when she twirled.

“Lily, it’s perfect! The green brings out your eyes, and the little rhinestones, you just sparkle!” breathed Tracy, in awe of her friend.

“Really? Tracy, you’re looking good yourself!” said Lily, now examining her friend. Tracy was wearing a bright pink robe that looked like it was made of very fine silk. The neckline was scoped and showed her shoulders, and there was a very thin line of gold around the edges that gave the impression that she was glowing. “All you need is a necklace to show off with that neckline!”

The girls went over to Madam Malkin who made the necessary adjustments on the dress robes for the girls. Then Mrs. Evans and Tracy’s mum entered and were floored at the sight of their daughters.

“Yes, don’t they look stunning?” said Madam, interpreting the looks on the mothers’ faces. “They are going to be worrying about keeping the guys away, not finding a date!” Tracy and Lily giggled.

The girls and their mothers left the store, bags in hands, and set off to Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, where Tracy had informed Lily that they were going to meet Crystal and Erica. When they saw the other girls, there were more hugs and introductions all around. The mothers sat at one table, sipping sweet tea and discussing the latest gossip and filling in Mrs. Evans. The girls did the same, eating Moosetracks icecream and dreaming of who they wanted to ask them to the dance, which Erica had heard was going to take place towards the end of September.

“Well, Sirius Black is just so good looking, I hope he asks me!” squealed Tracy. She had had a crush on him for the longest time.
“Sirius is good looking, but Remus is a lot nicer.” stated Crystal matter-of-factly.

“Girls! What if we all went with a Marauder! I could go with Peter,” Erica said slyly, “Tracy could go with Sirius, Crystal with Remus, and Lily with James!”

Lily snorted into her ice cream, “Me, go with James Potter? Go with the Marauders if you want, but there is no way you’ll ever see me with one of them, especially not Potter!”

“Lil, he is totally ga-ga over you! And he is really cute! I just don’t see how you wouldn’t want to go with him!” Crystal exclaimed, while Erica shook her head in disbelief.

“He thinks he is so great. I would only be adding to his already over-large ego if I went with him.” said Lily flatly. The girls all laughed at this.

“Well, we can find someone else for you, Lil. It’s just so hard to please you sometimes!” said Tracy, still giggling. Lily stopped laughing. Hard to please? Her? Lily thought in outrage, but said nothing, for Erica was speaking.

“I’ve missed you all so much over the summer! My mum said that since there is only one week left in holiday, you girls need to come and stay with us! Your family could come see you off at the train, and we would have so much fun!”

All the girls agreed that it would be fun, and went over to the Mothers’ table to ask if they could. Mrs. Roberts, Tracy’s mum, and Mrs. Turner, Crystal’s mum agreed immediately, but Mrs. Evans looked doubtful.

“Oh please, please, please Mum!” begged Lily. It would be awful if she couldn’t go, the absolute worst!

“Let her come, Judith! We’ll take good care of her.” said Mrs. Aibee, Erica’s mum, kindly.

“Oh I know, but are you sure you want four teenage girls for a whole week?” asked Mrs. Evans, a little unwilling to relinquish her daughter a week early before she would be off to school for the rest of the year.

“Lily is a delight! And you all will accompany us to King’s Cross to see the girls off! I won’t prevent you from saying goodbye!” added Mrs. Aibee, seeing Mrs. Evan’s true reluctance.

“Oh, well, alright then! You can go!” said a relieved Mrs. Evans. “Your Father and I will of course see you off September first then.”

“Petunia too?” asked Lily hopefully, though her sister had been locked in her room when Lily and her mother had left in the morning.

“Well, let’s just wait and see, dear.” said Mrs. Evans, a little doubtful.

Diagon Alley had begun to empty out a little, with evening beginning to settle in. The girls gathered all their packages, and Lily picked up a sleeping Iris in her cage. Hugs were once more exchanged, and Lily and her mother said goodbye, with Lily promising to write her during the week. After Mrs. Roberts, Mrs. Turner, and Mrs. Evans had departed from the Leaky Cauldron, Mrs. Aibee led the girls over to the fire place and allowed Erica to step up, take a hand full of floo and shout, “Aibee Manor!” Crystal and Tracy each stepped in and yelled the same, disappearing in the column of green flame.

“Go ahead, Lily.” motioned Mrs. Aibee to her.

Lily stepped into the grate, became uncomfortably aware of the flames licking her feet and legs, and clutching Iris also yelled, “Aibee Manor!” and spun off in a whir of ash, flame, and soot.


Chapter 4: At the Aibee Manor
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Lily began to feel the spinning slow down. She caught a glimpse of Crystal’s blond hair before face planting in Erica’s living room. Fortunately, there was thick carpet to cushion her fall, and soon Tracy was pulling her up, trying hard not to laugh. Crystal, who had caught Iris’ cage, was making no effort to keep her giggles in and was holding on to Erica she was in such glee. Erica was only smiling, and helped Tracy brush Lily off.

“Sorry ‘bout that, Lil, Dad just installed our new model here. It’s up to three times faster than the average fireplace, so if you’re not a frequent floo user, using it can be quite a, er, trip?” Erica jokingly apologized.

“Yea, you should have seen Crystal the first time she used it!” added Tracy, laughing at the memory, which had fortunately shut Crystal up pretty fast.

Lily was laughing now, and realized how great it was to be back with her best friends. Lily gazed around the spacious living room, which was lavishly furnished. The Aibees were very wealthy, as they were an old wizarding family. Lily had only been to the Aibee Manor twice before, but she could clearly recall the elegance and luxury of the entire mansion.

“Let’s take our stuff upstairs to our rooms. I was thinking two of us to a room, and we all will share my bathroom.” Erica said, leading up the back staircase. After two more flights, Lily’s legs were beginning to feel very tired from the weight of all her stuff. Finally the girls reached the third floor landing. Tracy, like Lily was breathing hard, but Crystal, who was very athletic, looked okay. Off of the landing was a long hall which Erica began leading them down.

“This is our West Wing of the house.” she called back to them, as she was unweighted down, having no stuff. She continued, sounding very much like a tour guide. “Here is my room, which connects to the bathroom, which is right here, and the bathroom is also connected to my guest room, here. And at the end of the hall is the West Wing recreation room, and on this side is my closet and mirror room.”

Lily was flabbergasted. Recreation Room? A whole separate room for the closet? Mirror Room? Tracy and Crystal were as amazed as Lily.

“So, who’s staying where?” asked Tracy, coming out of her stunned state first.

“Well, Crystal and I can share my room” suggested Erica.

“Okay, then Tracy and I will stay in here.” finishing Lily, motioning towards the guest room. She followed Tracy, dragging in her stuff. Her mum would be sending her clothes and the remainder of her Hogwarts stuff later in the evening.

The room couldn’t have been more perfect. The walls were painted a soft blue, Lily’s favorite color, and there were two large wooden beds, each painted white. There were two matching dressers, a white vanity table, two blue, fluffy lounge chairs that matched the blue bedspreads and pillows, and the same fluffy carpet (white) as in the living room. But what Lily loved about the room the most were the Large windows overlooking the lake (yes, the Aibees even had a lake) and the blooming gardens. Erica looked in, smiling, “Will this do okay for you both?”

Lily turned around and looked at her, “Even though, according to Tracy, I am hard to please,” she said, shooting a dirty look at Tracy, who smiled sheepishly, “I absolutely love it! It is perfect, and the view is wonderful.” Lily added.

“Yea, best view in the house.” commented Erica, looking out the window dreamily. “Well, Crystal’s done getting unpacked, so let’s go eat supper!” she said, snapping out of her reverie. “And afterwards, we can do makeovers and try on each other’s clothes, like we do at school!”

“Okay!” said Tracy brightly, then turning to Lily, “You coming, Lil?”

“You go on, I’ll be right down.” Lily replied, motioning to the remainder of her still packed stuff. But unpacking was not what Lily had in mind. She went to the desk, got out parchment and a quill, and opened her new ink, the rose scented pink kind, and started her letter.

Dear Petunia,
I am sorry if you are mad at me, but I am not sure what I have done to make you angry. I am at my friend’s house till the end of the summer, so I hope you will come and see me off on September first. I am really trying to enjoy myself, but I can’t, knowing you are mad at me. Also, I want you to know you are the best big sister ever, and that I love and miss you. Hope to see you September First!

Love, Lily

P.S. This is my new owl, Iris. Isn’t she beautiful?


Feeling a little better, Lily tied the letter to Iris’s leg, and watched as her amazing bird took off into the night. She sat there for a moment, lost in thought, then hearing her stomach rumble brought her back, and she went down the many flights of stairs to join her friends for supper.

***
Dinner, of course, was an extravagant affair, and very delicious. When Lily and the girls were all properly stuffed, they went back upstairs and into the Erica’s closet. Lily’s clothes had arrived by then, and so they began to try on clothes and model for one another. This practice of her friends had always bored Lily a bit, but her friends always enjoyed it. In fact, along with boy discussing and matchmaking, modeling clothes was one of Lily’s friends’ favorite pastimes.

Crystal came out into the Mirror Room with a glittery black dress with sequins on it. It was very short, and showed off her slender, muscular body in all the right places. Tracy had curled Crystal’s long blonde hair, and Lily had applied just the right colors to her cheeks, lips, and her crystal blue eyes. Erica was snapping photographs as Crystal mugged for the camera, to the applause of Tracy and Lily.

Next Tracy came out, wearing a fuchsia halter top and tight black capris. Erica had done her straight black hair in a half up, half down style, and Crystal’s make up brought the attention to her face. Lily snapped the shots, then Tracy tripped on one of her high heels and all the girls were laughing again.
After they had gained control over themselves again, Erica went, and Lily styled her very curly hair in a sleek up-do.

Lily was about to step out into the Mirror Room, where her friends were waiting, but for some reason she felt unusually self-conscious. She’d done some growing over the summer, and wondered what the reaction of her friends would be when they saw her in the tight green sundress Erica had picked out, revealing all of her newly acquired curves. Why was she being so silly, these were her friends she was talking about! And with that, Lily took a deep breath and stepped into the Mirror Room.

Crystal and Erica’s reactions were almost identical to Tracy’s reaction in Madam Malkin’s. Tracy was clapping enthusiastically, and called out, “Told you our little Lil has grown up a bit over the summer!” Lily grinned sheepishly, but Tracy wasn’t finished. “Looks like Crystal, Erica, and I are going to have a full time job this school year trying to keep James Potter off of you!”

***

The rest of the week passed too quickly for Lily’s liking. The girls spent the days swimming and sunbathing at the lake, shopping for accessories at the nearby store, “Bewitched”, and soon had complete outfits for the dance. There were many more makeovers, and the girls surprised Lily with a birthday party the Saturday before September first, inviting many of their friends from Hogwarts.

Lily had been completely unaware of the party, and had found it odd that her three friends sent her on a job to go to the post office by herself, though she hadn’t thought much about it at the time.

“It’s a very urgent letter for, um, the Minister of Magic… yeah.” Erica had told her a little unconvincingly. Lily raised her eyebrows.

“The Minister of Magic?” Lily had questioned before Tracy, Erica, and Crystal had shoved her out the front door.

Lily delivered the letter, which didn’t have the appearance of a very urgent letter, and came back to the house. The front parlor was empty, as was the kitchen, the bedrooms, and the rest of the house. Lily decided to go check outside, and opened the back door to look for her friends.

“SURPRISE!” Tracy, Erica, Crystal, and about thirty other people shouted as she stepped onto the patio. Lily’s face lit up when she saw friendly faces from Hogwarts beaming at her.

“You guys!” Lily squealed, hugging them each in turn.

“Happy Birthday, Lils.” Tracy squeezed her tightly.

It looked as though all the Gryffindors from the fifth year and up had been invited, as well as a few Gryffindor alumni from last year and a few Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. As Erica handed out slices of cake, and Crystal tried to organize an orderly depository of presents (it wasn’t really working, and one present containing Filibuster Fireworks had gone off and was scorching many packages), many of the guests came up to Lily to wish her happy birthday and to catch up on gossip.

It was during one of these such talks, while Tracy was entertaining a group of people about her run-in with the very cute Hufflepuff Quidditch captain, that Lily felt someone grab her hand. Gasping in surprise, she turned to see who was there, and found herself face to face with a grinning James Potter. Before she could say anything, he held his finger up to his lips to tell her to be quiet, and led her away from the group.

“Potter, I didn’t know you were here!” Lily exclaimed, and James winked. Lily frowned slightly. “Er, why are you here?”

“I was invited by your charming friend Tracy.” James told her matter-of-factly. Lily made a mental note to pulverize Tracy next chance she got. “You should have seen the look on your face when-”

“I don’t appreciate people grabbing my hand and dragging me off, Potter, if that’s what you meant.” Lily cut him off in a rather cold voice. James’s face fell slightly.

“Oh, no, not about that. When we all said ‘Surprise’ is what I meant.” James clarified a little awkwardly. “So, heard about the upcoming dance at Hogwarts?”

Lily nodded, wishing Tracy would come over and rescue her from having to talk to James Potter. This is all her fault, though Lily angrily.

“Any ideas of who you’d like to escort you there?” James continued, but Lily remained mute. “Because I’d be happy to oblige, you know, if you-”

“Just stop, Potter, okay? I’m not going to go with you.” Lily snubbed. James looked taken aback, but only for a second. He plastered his winning grin on just as quickly as it had fallen.

“Just give me a good reason, Evans, why you won’t go with me?” James asked. “I mean, there are plenty of girls who would go with me in a heart beat. It’s the whole Quidditch star thing, you know, that attracts them.” James waited expectantly, but Lily’s face was one of complete disgust.

“There’s your reason. Besides, why don’t you just ask one of the plenty of girls who would go with you? Save yourself some time.” Lily lashed before hurrying away. James stood there for a stunned moment, though after several years of this kind of treatment from Lily he had to admit that he hadn’t really expected her to say yes.

“If you’d just give me a chance, Evans, you might like me!” James called after her, but Lily made no indication that she had heard him.

“Where were you, sneaking away from your own party?” Tracy asked curiously. Lily shoved her lightly, and scowled.

“Thanks for inviting James and company, Tracy.”

“Oh, no problem. I thought they might make things a little more interesting.” Tracy said, not catching Lily’s drift.

As if to reaffirm Tracy’s words, a loud uproar by the refreshment table broke out. Several people were now drenched in punch, and finding the culprit wasn’t difficult. Sirius and James were laughing heartily at the mess they had made with a Filibuster firework and carefully thrown dung-bombs. Lily threw an accusing look at Tracy, but Tracy simply grinned.

No one else seemed to mind that everything was covered in punch, not even the people soaking in punch themselves. If anything, James and Sirius were receiving raucous applause, to Lily’s chagrin. Why troublemakers like Sirius and James were so highly venerated by the female population at Hogwarts was completely beyond Lily. Good looks, brilliant pranks, and Quidditch, Lily sighed to herself, watching as Tracy began to flirt with Sirius Black. So many girls fell into that trap, but Lily Evans was positive she would never be one.


A/N: thanks to all who have read and reviewed so far. You guys are the best!

Chapter 5: What the Letter Said
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Lily awoke the next morning, Sunday, September 1st, to Mrs. Aibee’s gentle tugging on her arm.

“Lily! Liiiilyyyyy!” she called softly. Lily rolled over and grunted to show she was awake. Reluctantly she opened her eyes and saw Mrs. Aibee now rousing Tracy on the other side of the room. Lily sat up and was confused for a moment, but then realized what day it was. She then stood up, gathered her shower stuff and change of clothes, and headed for the bathroom.

It was a good thing the bathroom had four showers and was so large, because four teenage girls getting ready always needed lots of space. Lily turned the water on cold first, stepped in and exclaimed loudly when the water made contact with her skin. Now feeling much more awake, she turned the heat up and began shampooing her hair with her favorite scented shampoo, Creamy Fresh Peaches. She finished her shower and reached out for one of the many fluffy towels, and wrapped herself up. Stepping out, Lily found the bathroom very steamy with all the hot water from the four showers combined. She pulled on her clothes, and tried to dry her hair as best as she could without her handy hair drying charm. After applying her makeup, she went back to her room to gather her belongings and fit them in her trunk, when she noticed that Iris had returned. Unfortunately, she had not returned with a letter.

When the other girls had also finished getting ready, they had just enough time for a quick breakfast before setting off to King’s Cross. The large car they rode in was obviously magical, and they arrived very quickly. When the group had reached the barrier between Platform 9 and Platform 10, Tracy, Crystal, and Lily found that their families were already there, waiting for them. Lily looked eagerly around, but only her parents were there.

The group inconspicuously entered Platform 9 and ¾ after some careful diversions, and said their goodbyes on the platform.

“I thought Petunia was coming too.” said Lily to her parents, unable to hide her disappointment any longer.

“Well, uh, she wanted to come, but she couldn’t, um, yea, so, but she gave us this letter to give to you!” said Mr. Evans, faltering a little at her daughter’s face. Lily brightened a bit when he handed her the letter.

“We’re going to miss you, sweetie! You be good as school, you’re Head Girl!” said Mrs. Evans, getting a little teary-eyed as she hugged Lily tightly.

“Yea, be good at school, Lils.” said her dad, also looking a bit watery as he kissed her on her forehead.

“Bye, Mum and Dad! Don’t worry! And I’ll write to you guys!” said Lil, smiling at the pair of them, not fully sharing their emotion.

“Come on, Lil, let’s board!” hissed Crystal.

Lily followed her onto the train, as steam began to issue from the train.

“Find an empty compartment quick, before they’re all full” said Tracy, also boarding.

“Over here, here’s one!” called Erica, a little further down the train. With difficulty the girls maneuvered their heavy and awkward trunks down to the empty compartment. But someone else had spotted the compartment and had also begun to steer their cumbersome trunk to the same compartment.

“Oh no you don’t!” hollered Lily, increasing her speed.

“Go Lils!” called Erica, who was trapped between her trunk and Tracy’s.

Lily was going all out now, considering her trunk and Iris’s cage, but so was the other student. Jerk, thought Lily. Who wanted to take their compartment so badly? Lily was so busy thinking about this that right as she came to the opening of the compartment, her trunk smacked headlong into the jerk’s. They hit with such force that Lily flew forward into the other person, who caught her nimbly in strong arms.

“Sorry, but this is our…” began Lily, as she struggled to get into a position where she could see who was holding her. It was no use, so Lily just hung there for a moment while the other person spoke.

“Well, it actually looks like we got here the same time, and since everywhere else is full, we’re just going to have to share. Isn’t that funny, Evans?”

Lily, with a sudden realization at the person’s last word of who was holding her, immediately began struggling once more.

“Put me down, Potter. Down, NOW!” Lily hollered, now kicking and flailing to no avail.

“Jeez, hold on a sec!” said James, setting Lily down right side up. Lily was out of breath from running and from struggling, and just glared at him while she huffed.

By this time The Marauders had caught up to James. Peter seemed unaware of what had happened, Remus looked politely embarrassed, but Sirius, grinning broadly around James shoulder, found the whole thing very comical. Erica had been released, and Tracy, Crystal and her were now at Lily’s side, while Lily continued to huff.

“I said MOVE IT, Potter! This compartment is ours!” Lily gasped, regaining some of her lung capacity.

“Just calm your pretty self down, now Evans. I believe the new Head Boy and Girl are supposed to hold a prefects’ meeting at the front of the train.” James tried to calm Lily down, but the intent of his words were lost as Lily chortled.

“And how would you know about things like that, Potter? Or has Remus been keeping you informed?” Lily asked, her friends giggling along with her. The Marauders looked very pleased with this question.

“Actually, Lily, he’s the Head Boy, not me.” Remus interjected timidly, trying hard not to smile. Lily raised an eyebrow at them.

“Nice try, Potter. If you though I’d believe for a second that Dumbledore would make you Head Boy, then-” Lily began, but James brandished a letter with his name on it very similar to the one she had received. Dumbledore had apparently chosen the troublemaker over Remus, very odd, thought Lily.

“Fine.” she replied shortly. Sirius was now sniggering loudly. “Don’t let them have this compartment, girls!” she commanded Tracy, Erica, and Crystal. But she knew it would do little good. Her friends had too big of crushes on the Marauders to be very forceful.

Lily followed James along the cars of the train. He opened the compartment door for Lily, who gave him a look of daggers as she stepped in. The prefects from the other houses were already assembled, waiting for their new Head Boy and Girl.

“Of course it is the Gryffindors who are late!” hissed an oily voice, belonging to an oily person. Severus Snape, from Slytherin, was probably one of the few people Lily despised as much if not more than James. He was obsessed with the Dark Arts, and loathed muggle-borns like herself. She saw his eyes narrow as he looked at her.

“Okay!” came James voice, sharply silencing Snape, retrieving Lily’s attention as she took her seat next to a Hufflepuff prefect. “Welcome, new Prefects! I am your new Head boy, James Potter!” said James, beaming around at them, well, except for Snape, whom he chose not to look at. “And this is Lily Evans, our Head Girl.”

Lily smiled around at them all, remembering when she had become a Prefect in her 5th year. “We’re going to have a great year!” Lily began to say, but James cut her off.

“So, what are the responsibilities of being a prefect, you might ask…” and James began his long-winded speech. After her initial annoyance at being interrupted, Lily took in very little after that, lost in thought as James rambled on for about twenty minutes. Occasionally he’d shoot a glance at her, grinning broadly, and she would nod and smile. Lily snapped out of it when she felt the people around her getting up and beginning to exit.

“I still can’t believe that Dumbledore made Snape a Prefect, even now, two years later.” James commented as Snape disappeared around the corner. Lily raised her eyebrow again at him.

“I still can’t believe Dumbledore made you Head Boy. What about Remus?” Lily asked.

“What about him? Dumbledore told me he had his reasons, and that the best way to keep a troublemaker out of trouble was to put him in a position of authority so he can see what it’s like to have to keep people like myself in line.” James said, entirely unabashed by this reasoning. “He was a little doubtful about putting you here, though, my dear. He wasn’t sure if this logic would work on a troublemaker like you!”

“Whatever, Potter. If you think that being Head Boy will change anything between us, you are very much mistaken.” Lily retorted as she left the compartment with him.

He quickened his pace to keep up with her. “I think things have already begun to change, Evans.” James flashed his famous crooked smile, and winked, before speeding up to reach the compartment first.

Lily paused for a second, trying to decipher what he could possibly mean. James smiled inwardly, knowing that she was trying to work out what he had said. He always liked to talk like that, beat people at their own games before they could realize what had happened.

The compartment door was open, and as Lily and James drew closer they could here laughter. But it wasn’t just Lily’s friends laughing in there, she could also here someone talking very animatedly about a Quidditch match, and even if the topic hadn’t been Quidditch, Lily knew Remus, Sirius, and Peter were also inside, entertaining her friends.

Lily stepped into the compartment, and sensed James behind her. Sirius looked up from the group he had caused such laughter and noticed them standing there.

“Good meeting, Prongs and Evans?” he asked, and James broke into a smile again.

“Excellent! The new Prefects are pushovers. We should have no problems causing mayhem this year!” James told them excitedly, and Lily rolled her eyes as they exchanged high fives.

“So, girls, since when do we share our compartment with the Marauders?” she asked them suspiciously.

“C’mon, chill out, Lils!” said James brightly, “There’s plenty of room!” he said, sliding over to make room for her on the seat. Lily glared at him, sat next to Tracy and spat at him, “Don’t call me Lils!”

James eyed her for another moment, until Remus began to recount a lengthy story. Sirius, who had been watching, flicked a cauldron cake at Remus and told him that for everyone else’s sake, to shut it.

Soon James and Sirius had engaged the rest of the compartment again with a tale of one of their most memorable pranks on Filch. Lily, making sure that everyone was focused on self centered James before reaching into her pocket and retrieving the letter from Petunia.

Lily,
I am sorry you live such a tough life and cannot enjoy yourself at a mansion. I would never have believed you would have become so spoiled and selfish, but it just goes to show you how much good this magical world is doing you.
I tell you this as your sister, but you no longer seem to be connected to the normal world anymore. So, we can no longer be sisters anymore, and I don’t see how we were in the first place. You are an attention seeking freak, and you hurt Mum and Dad every year by returning to that awful school. You reject their love and attempts to reach out to you. While you may be the better daughter, I am the only one who sees what you are doing to them, and to our family.

Please do not contact me anymore.

Petunia

P.S. Your bird is ghastly.

Lily read the words again, so full of loathing and hatred. She was stunned, and was barely aware of the compartment full of laughing, happy people surrounding her, and even less aware of the tears rolling down her cheeks. She eventually felt the eyes of James on her, and tried to hurriedly wipe her face, but he was too quick. The next thing she knew he had steered her out of the compartment, and amazingly enough, no one had noticed.

She was now shaking uncontrollably, tears rolling faster down her cheeks. Somewhere in her numb mind she bristled as she felt his arms on her shoulders.

“Evans? What’s wrong? What, what is it?” James asked, his voice full of concern. He caught site of the parchment in her hand, and wrenched it out of her grasp. She watched him as he read it through, his face becoming more repulsed after every line, and although he had just saved her from extreme humiliation in the compartment, she didn’t want him reading her problems!

“Who is Petunia? Who is this awful excuse for a human being?” he demanded of her, his voice trembling in rage.

“Mmmy ssister,” sniffed Lily, trying to snatch back the letter. And with that, her letter in hand, she ran down the length of the train and into the bathroom. James, quite shocked at what he had read and what had just happened, slipped back into the compartment unnoticed once again.


Chapter 6: Chocolate Frogs and a Shared Smile
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A couple more minutes passed until Tracy realized Lily was not sitting next to her. She looked around at the others who were still unaware. James, however was not in his usual spotlight, and was staring silently off into space. He felt her eyes on him, and flicked his head to the direction of the train car hallway, and brought his finger up to his lips, telling her to keep quiet.

If Tracy had been worried before, it was nothing to the way she was feeling right now. If James had known something about where Lily was before she had, what could have possibly happened to her? Had he done something to her? She thought wildly, before reminding herself how childish that sounded. Whatever Lily felt towards James, Tracy knew he was not evil! Her thoughts were interrupted, however, when Erica asked, “Hey, where’s Lil?”

James stood up and grinned as though he was at ease, but Tracy knew he was about to lie to the compartment, “She isn’t feeling to hot right now,” he began, but Tracy heard Sirius mutter to Peter, “She certainly looked hot,” but shut up when he met James’ stare.

“So she told me she was going to the bathroom, and would be back later.” he finished, as the compartment nodded in general acceptance and Sirius resumed his story of the time they had put an ignorable charm on Snape, and no one had acknowledged he existed for two whole days. Tracy, however, scribbled a note to James and flicked it across the compartment, which he caught with his amazing reflexes.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY FRIEND!?!

James read it and winked at Tracy. Oh he is so cute when he does that! Lily is crazy that she doesn’t like him! She couldn’t help but think. She felt the paper hit her ear, glared at James for his aim, and then smoothed out the parchment so she could read it.

She is going to be fine, but I think she would hate my guts less if you heard it from her, and knowing the way girls gossip and share secrets, you’ll find out sooner or later!

She heard the compartment door slide open, and Lily entered. She looked very pale, as if she had seen a ghost, or was even becoming one with the way her wide eyes were staring despondently.

“How you feeling, Lils?” asked Crystal kindly. Lily shot a frightened look at James, whose expression was blank. What if he told everyone about the letter? She thought in horror. Tracy saw why Lily had become so fearful, and so she decided she would help James out of this one.

“Yea, James told us how you ate too many chocolate frogs!” Tracy chimed, and Lily’s expression went from afraid to confused.

“Chocolate frogs always give me intestinal problems, too!” said Peter, while Sirius looked a bit disgusted at this news. Comprehension dawned on Lily, and she resumed her seat in the compartment next to Tracy.

“Right. Chocolate Frogs!” she said laughing a little at her alibi.

There was the grossly funny noise of someone letting off gas. The compartment immediately erupted with groans and disgusted gasps.

“Mental note to everyone in this compartment!” James shouted above the chaos that had resulted, “Never, EVER give Peter a chocolate frog again!” Peter grinned embarrassedly.

Lily mouthed a silent “Thank you!” to James, and he smiled at her. For the first time, Lily did not flinch or throw a punch at him. She instead returned the smile.

***

The sky had become very dark as the train continued on. The girls shoved the boys out of the compartment for the time being so they could change into their robes. Tracy, Crystal and Erica chatted happily as they changed, not noticing Lily’s unusual silence.

Lily was feeling very odd indeed. The initial shock of Petunia’s letter was beginning to wear off, and anger and resentment towards her sister was began to emerge. Then there was also James. She was more confused about him than anything else right now. He had saved her from humiliation, but he had also read her letter. But he had also covered for her, and that was definitely a good thing. And then there had been that smile… even thinking about that moment made her smile again… what was wrong with her! She was ADMIRING him, James Potter! The very same James Potter who she had sworn she would never like no matter how handsome he was or how well he flew on a broomstick. Still, she had too admit, she had looked into his clear gray eyes really deeply for the first time when she had smiled back, and she had liked what she had seen.

The train rolled to a halt, and compartments began erupting with students gathering belongings and trying to push towards the exits. When the crowd had swept Lily out of the train, she felt Tracy grab her arm, so as not to get separated. The other girls and the Marauders were no where in sight. Tracy steered Lily from the crowd. Lily protested, claiming she had to help organize getting everyone up to the castle. Tracy reassured her and told her that James would do it, and the overly eager Prefects.

“Are you okay?” she asked, her soft brown eyes looking concernedly into Lily’s own green ones. Lily pulled away a little.

“I’m fine, okay?” Tracy smiled a little.

“You honestly didn’t think I would believe you had Peter’s stomach condition. And even if I did, I certainly wouldn’t have, hearing it from James Potter!” said Tracy.

“You know me too well! Yea, chocolate frogs aren’t what’s bothering me. I don’t feel like talking about it just right now. After the feast in our dorm, okay?” said Lily, reassuring her friend.

“Okay.” said Tracy, apparently satisfied. The girls started walking up towards the queue to get in the horseless carriages, then Tracy turned an smiled mischievously at Lily.

“What is that look for?” asked Lily, laughing at her expression.

“Oh nothing…” said Tracy dismissively, walking a little faster to catch up with Erica and Crystal, who she had spotted up ahead. “Just that little look you gave James… and that smile!” Tracy called out to Lily, as she turned to run from Lily’s fist as Lily tried to retaliate and shut Tracy up.

James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter watched the four girls step into the carriage. James felt very happy right now, and Sirius watched his friend grin a little as a certain red head got into the carriage.

“I thought we had agreed that Evans was way out of your league, Prongs!” said Sirius, teasing James.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought too, until…” broke off James, also remembering the smile.

“What’s wrong with him?” muttered Remus to Sirius so that James couldn’t hear them.

“James is a little loopy over Lily, but what else is new?” Sirius replied, not bothering to keep his voice down.

“So, going to lasso that girl, Prongs?” Sirius inquired innocently. “Because I was thinking…” James watched his friend break into the expression that could only mean one thing.

“Got a plan, Padfoot?”

“Don’t I always, don’t I always?” Sirius smirked, and he shoved James playfully as their carriage approached.

“Oh no.” said Remus to Peter, “We’ve got a problem. Sirius has a plan!”


Chapter 7: A Plan, A Flirt, and a Fresh Start
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“Welcome! Welcome all to another year at Hogwarts!” rang the clear voice of Albus Dumbledore throughout the Great Hall. It was amazing that every Hogwarts student paid such close attention to him whenever he spoke. Lily, sitting at the Gryffindor table amongst her friends, got chills down her spine every year at the opening feast when Dumbledore made his speech. The door on the side of the Great Hall opened and a long line of tiny little first years trooped in behind a very large Hagrid, who was the gamekeeper for the school.

Dumbledore smiled kindly at them as they made their way up to the front of the hall, where Professor Mcgonagall had set up the old school sorting hat. The attention was now focused on the raggedy old heap of cloth, and the whole school waited for the annual song to begin.

A long time ago when Hogwarts
Was newly built, it’s true
Our four founders
Had quite a lot to do!

But most importantly there was the task
Of which students to invite
For the founders had their favorites
That they chose with lots of pride!

Gryffindor, brave and strong,
Valued leadership and daring.
Sweet Hufflepuff was loyal,
And prized the most caring!

Ravenclaw, cleverness
And students with quick wit.
Slytherin chose the cunning,
And the blood he would admit!

But as you see,
They now are gone, and only I remain.
To select your house,
But the criteria is still the same!

So whether you be a Gryffindor,
Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin,
I assure you that I’m right!
And so let the Sorting now begin!

The usual enthusiastic applause followed the hat’s song, and the first years were called up one by one to be sorted. After every new Gryffindor, Lily would help them find a seat at the house table, and try to get them to converse amongst themselves.

“Kevin, Hi! I’m Lily Evans, Head Girl. Welcome to Gryffindor! This is Trevor, you’ll be sharing a dormitory with him. Why don’t you two get acquainted?” Lily spoke kindly, and the small first year nodded timidly as he sat down next to Trevor, who was also very small and timid. I can’t believe I was once actually that small! Lily thought to herself in amazement. Finally, all the small, timid first years were sorted, and the feast began.

The food was excellent, as usual, and after it had ended and Dumbledore had made his start of term notices, Lily remembered that she was Head Girl and had no idea what the password to the common room was. She quickly got up and went over to where James and the Marauders were sitting.

“Potter?” Lily asked tentatively, as James and Sirius watched her, “What’s the password to the Common Room was?”

“Oh, Shrieking Shack is it!” he replied, and upon hearing this, Sirius choked on his pumpkin juice, spraying Peter.

“Are you serious, Prongs?” he asked James, who was now looking very pleased with himself, and nodded. The Marauders all started laughing, Lily standing there feeling like she had missed something.

“Um, well I’m glad the password has brought you all such joy.” she said, giving them an odd look.

“Yes, it has. Better watch out, Evans! The shrieking shack is verrrrrrrrrry haunted! Wooooooooo!” said Sirius, in a ghostly voice.

“And not just by ghosts! WOOOOOOOOOO!” joined in James. But at this Remus punched Sirius in the jaw.

“Could you guys NOT talk about this?” pleaded Remus, which shocked Lily, for she had never seen him this upset.

“Well, thanks. Just find me when we need to lead the first years up to the common room!” said Lily, thoroughly ready to leave the tense situation.

***

Later that night, up in the dormitories, Lily showed Tracy the letter from Petunia, and explained what had happened with James. Tracy was appalled, and wore an expression similar to the one James’ had when he had read the note. Tracy felt that the most important thing to discuss was Lily and James, which really irritated Lily, who eventually told her to be quiet for she was tired.

While Lily may have been ready to get some shut eye, The Marauders were huddled in an empty corner of the common room, while Sirius filled in the others about his brilliant scheme to win Lily over for James.

“And, here’s the tricky part,” he excitedly whispered to the boys, “We’re going to have to convince Peeves to help us!”

James always loved Sirius’s schemes, and this one was a fail-proof plan. It would surely get Lily’s attention, and just in time for the fall dance, which Dumbledore had announced would be on September 21st. They would find Peeves in the morning, fill him in, and the whole thing would be ready for launching at 5:00 tomorrow, right after the last lesson before dinner.

This would be the year everything changed between Lily and him, he thought excitedly as he headed to the spiral stairs. Finally, he would be able to show the girl he had had his eyes on since their first day at Hogwarts what a great guy he was, which was saying something as Lily usually never let him say anything past, “Hey, Evans!” He was Head Boy, she was Head Girl, what more needed to be said?

“Hey James!” said a voice behind him. Still caught up in his fantasies, he thought at first it might be Lily, but when he turned around it was definitely not Lily who had called his name.

“Oh, uh, hi Emma!” he said composing himself to a shorter witch with blonde ringlets, Emma Donaldson. “How’s your summer been?”

“Oh, just fine, but I missed seeing you…”she said, batting her long lashes at him. “And all the mayhem you Marauders cause!” she addressed them all, giggling.

Emma was the biggest flirt of the 7th year and pretty much the entire school, and it was widely known that she had her sights set on James. James had always found her rather annoying, but she could be fun to talk to at times, and Sirius consulted her often on the latest gossip about himself with the girls. Sirius was probably the biggest flirt of the guys, and had to keep on top of which girl was swooning over him every week.

“I heard you and Lily Evans had a little ‘run in’ on the train, it’s funny but that girl isn’t swayed by anyone” continued Emma, now right next to James, “not even Quidditch stars like YOU!”

“Well, Quidditch isn’t really her thing I guess,” muttered James, feeling very uncomfortable at the way Emma was looking at him, and wished Sirius or someone would distract her so he could just go to bed.

“Oh don’t be so hard on yourself, James! Every girl in this common room melts when you smile at them, except for Lily.” she said, and James knew this was reasonably true. “Has it ever occurred to you that Lily Evans is just stuck-up? Move on, James, and you’ll find plenty of girls who won’t bite your head off every time you try to be nice…”

“Well, that’s all very nice, but I’ve really got to go now, to bed I mean, so see you in class tomorrow!” rushed James, pulling away from Emma’s arm, which had begun to snake its way around his.

“Good Night, James!” she called after him, as he hurried up the spiral stair case to his dormitory.

“So, Mr. Loverboy, had enough of the female type for one day?” asked Sirius, cuffing him on the shoulder when he had caught up to the others.

But James wasn’t thinking about Emma, because he knew now what he liked so much about Lily. He hadn’t been able to figure it out those previous six years, why he was attracted to her above all others. Lily had a wildness, untamed energy and feistiness that James couldn’t control. Though the other girls swooned over him, the fact that Lily didn’t was one thing he liked about that girl.

And by this time tomorrow, he thought to himself as he got under the covers of is four-post bed, she might see me in a different light, assuming all goes well with the plan.



Chapter 8: Potter's Girl and the Perfect Plan
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Lily was staring into a deep cauldron filled with a gray, sparkly liquid that was swirling around, reflecting her face. She was very happy looking into it, but at the same time confused because she couldn’t see the bottom. She wanted very much to know what was going on deeper in that cauldron, but at the same time something was holding her back. Then she began to understand. It wasn’t a cauldron she was peering into, it was a very beautiful gray eye, looking oddly familiar…

Someone was jumping on Lily’s bed, waking her up. She tried desperately to remain in her unconscious state, a little longer and she would know who’s eye that was… but no, the jumping was persistent.

“Lily! Wake up, sleepy head! Head Girls mustn’t be late on the first day back at Class!” rang Tracy’s voice in her ear. Lily’s eyes snapped open, and she sat bolt upright, knocking Tracy onto the floor. She could dream later, but right now she had to get ready!

***

The Great Hall was unusually quiet, though it was filled with students. Everyone was very tired, the first day of term was always the hardest to wake up to. Those who were chatting were not getting very far in their conversations, as they kept getting interrupted by long, sleepy yawns.

Lily and her friends were among the tired. Erica had dark circles under her eyes, Tracy was staring blankly off into space, Lily had propped her head on her arm and was distractedly trying to eat her porridge, but kept missing her mouth. Crystal actually dozed off, but awoke suddenly when she found herself asleep with her elbow in the orange juice.

The noise of a group of people laughing loudly sounded very odd across the quiet hall. Lily looked over for the source of such awake people, and watched as the Marauders strolled into the Great Hall, looking over-lively in such a sleepy environment. Sirius saw Lily watching them, nudged James, who grinned and waved jauntily at her. Lily frowned as many people turned their heads to see who was on the receiving end, and she felt herself go scarlet with all those eyes on her. James then, to Lily’s embarrassment, smiled even broader and gave her a very obvious wink. Now several people were giggling, and many whispers were starting up.

“Why are they whispering and looking at you?” asked Tracy, who had just realized that there was some disturbance.

“Potter.” hissed Lily through clenched teeth, nodding in his direction. Tracy looked over, and watched with Lily, as he began to blow large kissed in Lily’s direction to her mortification, encouraged by the crowd.
“What, is he nuts?” asked Tracy, but Lily barely heard her, partly because the majority of the hall was laughing heartily at James’ antics and her reaction, but mostly because of the anger she could feel bubbling inside of her.

Amidst now gales of gleeful laughter, Lily stood up and stormed out of the hall, completely ignoring him.

“That wasn’t to wise on your part, Prongs.” remarked Sirius as he and James watch Lily disappear from the Hall.

“Well, let’s hope the plan works, then!” he replied. He couldn’t have resisted the reaction of the Hall when he had begun blowing kisses. That had been classic, he thought. Then why had Lily been less than amused?

The day passed very slowly for the 7th years. In each class they had been reminded unnecessarily that they would be taking N.E.W.T.s this year, and were lectured about the increase to their workload they would be receiving soon enough. The Marauders were extremely fidgety, as the plan would be happening right after the last class of the day, History of Magic. This was good, Peter had pointed out when they had received their schedules, as everyone will have just finished being bored out of their minds and the entertainment would be better.

Time was passing slowly for Lily, too, who had to endure teasing of “Potter’s girl” and “Lily Potter”. Her friends reassuringly told Lily that James had a big head and was a show off, so not to bother with him, which had comforted her a little.
In fact, she was so busy being miserable about James that Lily plum forgot about being miserable about Petunia. When the bell sounded at the end of her History of Magic class, Lily quickly gathered her stuff to leave, not even bothering to wait for Tracy, Erica, and Crystal. She felt like being alone.

Perhaps it was because she was in such a hurry to get away from everyone, or maybe it was because she was so preoccupied, but Lily barely realized where her feet were carrying her. She reached the third floor corridor, and found it thankfully deserted. She continued walking, but had the odd feeling that someone was watching her, or that she was being followed. She whipped around, but there was no one there. I’m getting paranoid, she thought to herself as she turned around to continue walking, but saw she wasn’t alone after all.

“And why is Perfect Head Girl Lily Evans wandering alone?” asked Peeves in a mock sweet voice, hovering in front of her, blocking her path. Lily saw to her horror that he cradled several large balloons, each filled with what looked like paint.

“You don’t look your usual cheerful self today!” he continued, now tossing one of the balloons casually in his hand, smiling sinisterly at her, “The perfect Lily has problems? Imagine that!!”

Lily, though quite frightened at what was happening, and now thoroughly hoping that the rest of her class would catch up to where she was, felt his words sting her the way Petunia’s had because of their similarity. Since when was she, Lily, perfect, she wondered, but Peeves had started taunting her again.

“Such a gloomy face doesn’t add much to the décor, eh?” he sneered, grinning more menacingly than ever, “We should color you up a bit!”

And saying this, he took aim and was about to throw the large balloon at her, when James hurtled out of, well it almost looked like he had come from thin air, but anyways he lunged at Lily, trying to push her aside in time. But, tripping on his shoelace, he fell forward and tried to stop himself by grabbing the nearest thing. This, unfortunately was the hem of Lily’s robes, and she toppled down too, but not until she had been hit square in the face with the balloon, and her robes had ripped along the seam.

James looked at horror at the expression of Lily, whose face was dripping with yellow paint, and her robes were ripped almost in a very awkward region. They stared at each other in disbelief at what had just happened for a moment, but as they did the corridor began to fill with students on their way up to the common room to drop off their stuff before dinner.

It took them a couple more seconds that Peeves had launched more balloons, and now they were both highly multicolored with paint. Lily’s eyes, so startlingly green, were now filling with tears as the shouts and laughter of the students echoed off of the stone walls of the hallway. James tried to tell her that it had all been a mistake, that he was sorry, or just anything to stop her tears, but his throat wasn’t working properly. Before he could stop her, she had begun to run down the hall to the stairs, clutching her ripped robes around her. Another balloon hit him in the back of the head.

“That was a rotten trick!” came a shocked voice behind him. He turned and saw Tracy looking at him murderously. As if he had wanted this to happen! He thought angrily. But the hall had gone very silent, and James looked around for a moment trying to figure out why, but then his eyes met the blue eyes of Dumbledore, and he knew this time, he had really done it.


Chapter 9: Just Punishment
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James followed Dumbledore down the hallway in a kind of horrified trance. Those who had witnessed the “plan” wondered what would happen to James, others who had not witness the entertainment watched James pass curiously, as he was covered in paint and being led away by the Headmaster. James was not afraid of what Dumbledore was going to do to him (except if he was going to be expelled). Getting detention or losing about a million house points weren’t what was bothering him. He was more afraid of what Lily would do to him, or what Lily’s friends would do to him on her behalf.

As Dumbedore and he rounded a corner, James saw Peter waiting for the word that all was clear. Peter, who had not been present for the fun, waved at James as he passed and called out to him.

“Did she say yes when you asked her?” he said foolishly. James could only stare at him. He hadn’t asked Lily to the dance after his heroic rescue attempt had flopped. James almost laughed with the thought of what Lily would say to him if he asked her now. Boy had he screwed up.

Dumbledore approached a large gargoyle, and said something very odd for the circumstances.

“Sugar Quill.”

With these strange words the gargoyle sprang to life and a large spiraling staircase was revealed. Dumbledore motioned for James to step in, which he did, and Dumbledore followed. They slowly spun up to a landing and a door. Dumbledore’s office! Thought James, who had never been there before. Then again, he’d never been in this much trouble before…

Dumbledore sat down behind a large desk with many whirring silver objects on it, and James awkwardly perched on another chair in the middle of the handsome circular room. Had the circumstances been slightly less serious and James would have liked to ask Dumbledore about the objects, but as the situation was, he decided it would be better if he didn’t.

“Mr. Potter. I think you know better than I do about why you are here. Would you please explain what happened in the hall to me?” Dumbledore inquired, not looking angry, but not smiling either with his clear blue eyes.

James mumbled the entire story to him, how Sirius had had the idea of James rescuing Lily from Peeves to win Lily over, and hopefully she would agree to go to the dance with him. He then told him how he had tripped while trying to push Lily out of the way so she wouldn’t get hit with the balloon, ripping her robes and both of them getting clobbered by Peeves. He was too embarrassed to even look at Dumbledore anymore. But James heard him chuckling and looked up to find the old man smiling at his bewildered face.

“James, I think you and Mr. Black had better improve your female impressing skills before you ask one to marry you, because my take on this is that Ms. Evans is not to pleased right now with you, and might just be a little unwilling to accompany you to the dance.” he teased James. James couldn’t speak he was in such shock to Dumbledore’s reaction. Dumbledore, as always with those blue eyes, knew by his face what he was thinking.

“No, James, you are not in trouble with me.” he said, still smiling, “But I think you might be with Ms. Evans. Every year it amazes me how radically adolescent wizards and witches behave to let the other gender notice them. May I suggest you use something slightly less ‘impressive’ next time you try to invite Ms. Evans, or any girl for that matter, to the dance?”

Impressive? He hadn’t been trying to impress Lily, he was already an impressive Quidditch player, what else could she be interested in? he wondered. Did Dumbledore think he had been trying to show off? Well, maybe just a little he had tried to impress Lily, but only because she was the only girl that wasn’t impressed with just his good looks and Quidditch abilities. Was that what Emma had been trying to tell him last night? Once again he had been unsuccessful to sway Lily, then again he doubted whether any girls would be swayed after being tackled, splattered with paint, and then had their robes ripped.

“You may go, but I want you of course to apologize to Ms. Evans, and respect her wishes if she would rather not be rescued by you in the mean time. And please tell Mr. Black that he needs to work on his scheme planning skills!” said Dumbledore as he dismissed him, still smiling.

“Oh, yes sir!”

***

Tracy had followed the yellow splatters of paint that Lily had left behind up to the common room after the fiasco. Lily had already gone up to the dormitory, and the common room appeared empty. She went up the stairs and listened outside of the bathroom. She could hear the water running and someone sobbing. Tracy tried to turn the doorknob, but found that the door was locked.

“Lily? Are you in there?” She called out, hoping her voice would carry through the thick wooden door. No answer, but Tracy definitely heard someone behind her. She turned quickly, and saw that one of her least favorite people was now standing in front of her.

“Bit upset, isn’t she?” smirked Emma Donaldson. Tracy felt her hand tighten around her wand in her robes. Although she shared a dorm with Emma, she felt about as friendly towards her as she did with any of the Slytherins. It was common knowledge that Emma had her eye on James, which was fine with Tracy and Lily, but it was also common knowledge that she hated Lily, mostly because James adored her.

“Sounds like a leak faucet the way she is crying in there. She came up to our dormitory and was really distressed. I was really worried, so I asked her what was the matter.” Emma continued, though Tracy knew she had not felt one bit of worry for Lily. “Lily said James had tried to put a move on her, but she wouldn’t let him.”

“Well, I don’t know if you’re lying or not, but it certainly sounds like James.” replied Tracy, not fully believing that Lily would confide such a thing with Emma, and wasn’t quite sure that James advancing on Lily was a coincidence with Peeves pelting them with paint balloons, but nor did she understand the connection between the two incidences.

“Well, we all know how stuck up Lily is, so who knows what REALLY happened. James might have just been passing by and Lily took it the wrong way…”

SMACK!

Tracy had slapped Emma round the face, shocking her into temporary silence.

“Thanks, Tracy.” came a quiet voice as Lily came out from the bathroom. She was almost unrecognizable with her puffy red eyes. Tracy grabbed her hand and led her away from Emma up to the dormitory.

“Just because you’re afraid you might actually fall for James, Lily Evans!” they heard Emma holler at them from behind.

“You doing okay, Lils?” asked Tracy, like she had yesterday.

Lily gave her a small smile and nodded.

***

When James emerged from the staircase, Sirius ran headlong into his stomach, knocking both of them to the floor.

“Sorry!” he gasped, helping James up. “I was trying to get to the office to cover up for you. What did you tell him? Which excuse are we using?” he asked, preparing himself to lie.

“He told me the truth Sirius.” calmly said Dumbledore, eyeing Sirius’s abashed face with amusement. “But don’t worry. I’m sure you boys will find another opportunity to use some excuses.” and with that, Dumbledore went back up the stairs.

“Great man, Dumbledore.” said Sirius weakly, echoing the Gamekeeper’s frequent statement. “Interesting they way your hair looks when it is blue, Prongs.” he said, recovering enough to comment on James’s messy hair sticking up in all directions, which was now a blinding shade of blue from the paint.

“Yea, well, that’s the last time I try a plan by YOU!” shot back James.

“Well, you were the one who liked the idea.” argued Sirius.

“That was only because I was blinded by a beautiful woman!” James retorted. “And now she’s probably going to kill me!”

“Yea, Lily will give you a just punishment alright! Maybe that’s why Dumbledore let you off, he knew you’d get it worse from Lily!” pondered Sirius. “Have you given up yet?”

James thought about it, and didn’t really see what he could do to make it up to her. I’m just going to have to try, he thought.

“Not yet, not without a fight!” he declared, and Sirius applauded him.

Chapter 10: Lilies and Snivellus
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The next couple of weeks passed fairly normally by Hogwart’s standards, but as the day of the dance approached, the girls became more giggly, the guys became more embarrassed trying to find dates, and everyone was anticipating the night of the dance with excitement. Well, except for Lily.

The day after the whole Peeves/Paint/Potter ordeal, the four Marauders had confronted Lily, Tracy, Erica, and Crystal. As expected, Sirius asked Tracy to the dance and Remus asked Crystal to the dance at once. Peter came over with them, but he was so nervous about asking Erica to the dance that she finally had to put him out of his misery and ask him to go with her (Sirius teased Peter a lot about this one.) James had approached Lily as well, but before he had finished getting the words out Lily had rejected him.

A week before the dance and it seemed that everyone had a date to the dance but Lily and James. Every day since the first time he had asked, sometimes after the last class of the day, sometimes in the common room before bed, James asked Lily to go to the dance with him again. And every day Lily flat out refused. The Saturday the week before the dance, Lily and all the girls in the 7th year dormitory woke up to a dazzling white in their room, and a very sweet scent met their noses.

“Look at the lilies” exclaimed Emma as she examined the hundreds of white flowers throughout their room. Everything was strewn with lilies. The beds were covered on the top, so were the dressers, the mirrors, the trunks, the floor, the curtains were decorated with them even!

“Lilies for the Fairest and Loveliest Lily of them all! These Lilies remind me of your beauty and sweetness, and your fair skin. But they are nothing compared to MY Lily!” Crystal read off of the card that was sitting next to the bouquet of lilies on Lily’s bedside table.

“Three guesses who sent these!” remarked Erica, in an awed sort of voice.

“Hey, there is still more on this card!” said Crystal, impatient at being interrupted. “Lily, my sweet! I long to smell your fragrance! Please come with me to the dance, for you are the only Lily I will ever have!”

“Bit dramatic, isn’t he?” was all Lily could say. She didn’t mind being called lovely and fair, but she felt highly on the spot with such a display.

“That’s all you can say to this?” cried Emma, waving at the lily covered room. “I don’t know what is wrong with you, Lily Evans, but James deserves better than YOU!” and with this she stormed off to the showers. The girls watched her exit.

“Can we please go to the common room? All this essence of Lily is making me a bit tipsy!” joked Tracy, and the girls all agreed that the scent was a bit strong.

The Lily décor was also in the common room, to Lily’s great surprise. Students who were up were picking up the lilies curiously, and were talking to one another about the enormous picture of Lily smiling down from above the mantle (which was covered in lilies, of course!). Lily spotted James standing by the fireplace, and she just watched in shock as he came up to her.

“Erm, Lily, will you go to the ball with me?” James asked, a pleading look in his eyes as he once again rumpled his hair. Lily didn’t know what to do. Everyone in the common room was watching with interest. WHY was everything James did so extravagant, so public? She wondered. The seconds wore on.

“I’m sorry James, but I think I’m just going to go alone…” Lily said slowly, feeling awful as James’s face dropped. Why did he have to be so kind at one time, then arrogant the next, and then so hurt! She thought angrily. This wasn’t the first time she had said no, so why did it feel so different?

“Oh, no problem, I understand.” James stammered in a falsely cheery voice, not understanding at all. He could feel his face flushing, all those eyes on him, though they usually never bothered him. Lily turned away, quickly hurrying up the staircase, trodding on the flowers as she went. James turned and sank into an armchair.

“Ouch, Prongs.” said Sirius dully.

Ouch was an understatement in James’s opinion. He had really tried this time, with the lilies and the card, everything had been perfect! Then why was he going to the dance alone? Was this Lily punishing him?

“I tried to warn you, James. Lily Evans is just stuck up.” he heard Emma say from behind the chair. “Give up on Lily, and find someone who appreciates you!”

James whipped around so fast he banged his head against Emma’s, who scowled.

“Sorry Emma.” he muttered quickly, but Emma was smiling now. “Hey, listen, would you go to the dance with me?” The words came out before he could stop himself, and hung in the air for a moment. He watched Sirius’s astonished face.

“Sure, James!” said Emma, now positively beaming at him. She threw a dirty look at Tracy, who was watching them very closely. “I’d love to go with you!” with that she giggled and exited through the portrait hole.

If he had felt miserable before, it was nothing as to the way he was feeling now. Why had he asked her? To make Lily jealous? Or just to heal his wounded pride?

“At least you have a date now.” commented Sirius, still looking very unnerved.

“Yea…”

***

The news of Lily and James spread around the school like wildfire over the next week. Guys from Gryffindor and other houses were approaching Lily to be their dates, since she was no longer reserved by James. But to everyone’s surprise, Lily turned them all down.

“Lils, you aren’t seriously going alone?” asked a panicking Tracy, as if this was the worst possible thing her friend could do.

“Sure looks that way…” Lily replied in a melancholy tone. She wasn’t sure why she had turned them all down, she should have been happy that James wasn’t on her back anymore. But she just wasn’t, and she didn’t know why.

The day of everyone’s anticipation finally arrived, but Lily had been dreading it. Saturday, September 21st, left everyone in the castle feeling anxious and exciting about the dance, which would be starting at 8:oo. Lily, Erica, Tracy, and Crystal spent most of the day out of doors, as the day was quite warm and sunny. Many other students were also enjoying what was probably going to be the last of the warm weather for the year, deciding that homework could wait till tomorrow to be done, even though the 7th years had noticed a definite increase in their workload.

The girls sprawled out by the lake, watching as Hagrid began to build a large dock that the students would be able to enjoy in the springtime. The girls were mostly talking about their dress robes, about what their dates would wear, and a lot of other stuff related to the dance, but Lily didn’t join in. She dangled her feet into the lake and almost found herself wishing she was back home. Then again, even home was not the same anymore. Lily had tried to send several more letters to Petunia, but she no longer got any response from her sister. There seemed to be a large commotion going on up by the beech trees, and spells being called out made it sound like a duel was going on. The girls got up to see the cause of the commotion.

“Serpensortia!” yelled an oily voice, which Lily knew belonged to Severus Snape. The gathered crowed gasped as a large snake flew out of the end of his wand, hissing provokedly.

“Transfiguro Serpiento!” came the second voice, and the snake had been transfigured into a garden hose. Laughter rang throughout the crowd. As the girls drew closer, the saw James dueling with Snape.

“Flora Nectura!” James cried, and this time the funny part was he had transfigured Snape’s overly large nose into a cactus blossom. Snape felt the flower with fury, and not bothering to change it back (or maybe he didn’t know how!) he shot another spell at James. James was of course too quick, but the spell had slightly singed some of the hair that was sticking up.

With a flick of his wand, James caused Snape to fly backwards against on of the tree trunks, pinning him there.

“Snivellus! How dare you ruin my hair! Don’t you know I happen to have a date tonight? What would she say if I turned up bald?” he said to Snape, in mock outrage. The news that James was going with someone else shocked Lily, who had not heard that James had asked Emma. She wondered who he had asked, and realized that this was probably why he had left her alone the past week.

“Well, I forgive you, Snivellus!” continued James, lowering his wand and allowing Snape to slide down the trunk onto the ground. “You might have forgotten there was a dance, as you don’t have a date!”

The crowed laughed spitefully at James’s words and at the cowering Snape. Lily really loathed Snape, but James was humiliating him in front of everyone for no apparent reason. Lily started to rush into the open space enclosed by the crowd, but Tracy caught her by the back of her robes.

“Lily, what are you doing?” she asked, looking at Lily confusedly.

“Never mind.” Lily replied, deciding it wasn’t worth making a fool of herself.

“Anyways, we should head up to the castle and start getting ready for the Dance!” Crystal squealed excitedly. And with that, the girls left the scene of James jerking Snape around like a puppet to get ready for the dance.


Chapter 11: The Dance
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“I didn’t know James had a date to the dance!” remarked Lily, but she was the only one of the girls who sounded surprised. “Who do you think it could be?”

Tracy looked uncomfortable at the question. She hadn’t told Lily about James asking Emma to the dance only moments after Lily had rejected him.

“I don’t know…” said Tracy, signaling for Erica and Crystal to keep quiet about Emma. She knew Lily would find out at the dance, but for some reason Tracy feared what Lily’s reaction would be. Although Lily had turned James down, Tracy suspected that Lily was hiding something, or at least how she was feeling, about her and James.

Back in the dormitory (the lilies had been cleared by the house elves recently) the girls got ready for the dance. This took a full three hours, as everyone showered, got dressed, accessorized, applied makeup, did their hair, and fussed over each other’s hair, makeup, and robes. Emma eventually joined them in the dormitory and got ready, occasionally throwing Lily a superior look. Finally the girls were ready, and stood in front of the full length mirror admiring themselves.

Crystal’s robes were a bright turquoise blue that made her blue eyes shimmer. Erica’s robes were a soft yellow, and she looked like a goddess dressed in gold. Tracy was wearing her hot pink robes, and gave the impression she was glowing again with the gold accents. Emma looked very sophisticated in her deep red robes, and her red lipstick went along quite well. All of them were somewhat overshadowed by Lily.

Lily’s robes, though elegant and stunning, took the backseat to her face, for her eyes were so intensely green that it was all you noticed, at first. Gradually you could take in the rest of her, her slender form, the sparkling robes, and her styled hair. She was breathtaking. Yet she was the only one of the girls not beaming at their reflection and at one another.

When the 7th year girls emerged from the staircase into the common room, all the boys turned their heads. There were many catcalls and whistles, causing the girls to smile and blush. Sirius came up to Tracy immediately.

“Wow!” was all he could say. He was looking very handsome, with dark blue robes and his hair styled so it hung nicely, framing his face. Sirius took great pride in his thick dark hair, and spent a lot of time styling it. The next thing Lily knew, Sirius had taken Tracy by the arm, and the two exited the common room. Remus was also awed by Crystal, and they followed Sirius and Tracy out. Peter was still stammering how nice Erica looked, but Erica was more concerned for Lily, who had just been hit with the realization that if her friends had dates, she would be sitting alone.

“Lily, want to walk down with us?” Erica asked kindly. Lily smiled but shook her head.

“You two go on. I would just be a third wheel. I’ll come down in a second!” she tried to sound cheery as she said it, but knew she had failed miserably. Erica and Peter also left, and she found she was standing in an empty common room. Emma must have gone off with her date, she thought to herself. She hadn’t even seen James, perhaps his date was in a different house. She finally decided to go down to the great hall, at least the food would be good.

The Great Hall had been decorated with autumn colors, and huge leaves decorated the walls. There were punch bowls filled with apple cider, and apples on all of the dozens of small tables in the hall. A large space had been cleared in the middle of the enormous room serving as the dance floor.

She saw that her three friends and their dates had already filled one table of six, and Lily desperately looked around for someone to sit with. There was an open seat by on of the sixth year Gryffindors, so she slid down into the seat. The sixth year smiled at her warmly, and Lily recognized her as Melody Moore. Her date was also looking at her, and Lily blushed.

“Welcome, to the Hogwarts Fall Festival Dance!” Dumbledore said, standing up at the staff table. “Please, place your orders with your plate, and let the feast begin!”

Lily perused her menu, not really hungry. She finally decided, and spoke to her plate. “Fettuccini Alfredo!”, and fettuccini alfredo appeared. The meal went smoothly enough, but when the plates cleared and a large platform rose at one wall of the Great Hall, Lily knew what she had been dreading all night was about to happen. Dancing, or in Lily’s case, not dancing.

A group of women in their early twenties who were wearing very sparkly sequined robes in bright colors trooped onto the stage. Applause rang out from the hall. Melody said excitedly to Lily, “I didn’t know Dumbledore had booked the Strange Cousins! They’re my favorite group!” Lily nodded politely, not really sure who the Strange cousins were supposed to be.

“Hey, if you’re Head Girl, aren’t you supposed to have the first dance?” Melody’s date asked, and Lily gasped. She had completely forgotten about that!

“And now, to begin the dancing, let’s welcome our Head Boy and Girl up here for the traditional first dance!” All the students and staff watched as James stood up and walked to the middle of the floor. Startled, Lily got up quickly and went to join him. He gave her a strange smile, and placed his hands on her hips. Lily frowned slightly, it felt so weird.

The Strange Cousins struck up a slow tune, describing the way Lily was feeling, and she and James began to revolve slowly on the spot. After awhile other couples got up and joined in. Lily smiled as she watched Tracy and Sirius dancing, they were very good together. Crystal was Remus’s hands on her hips, and Remus was looking very unsure of how close he was getting to Crystal, but both looked like they were enjoying themselves. Lily had to stifle a laugh as she watched Erica wince every time Peter trod on her foot, but Erica was still smiling at Peter all the same. The song finally ended, and Lily tore away from James very quickly, hurrying back to the table.

She watched the dancing pick up again with a new tune, and soon had lost sight of James. When Lily spotted him again, and saw who he was dancing with she felt as though she had been slapped.

James was twirling Emma, and spun her into a low dip. James asked Emma? Lily was so confused, but after rethinking the behavior of the two over the past week, she was surprised she hadn’t noticed it before. Emma had laid off Lily, and James had become very nervous whenever Emma and Lily were in the same area of the common room as him. But why did she care, she didn’t care about James! Then why did she feel such envy watching them dance so close together?

The song ended and a faster one began. A boy from Hufflepuff came up to Lily, who Lily recognized from Herbology as Freddie Macmillan.

“Lily, want to dance?” he asked politely.

“Sure!” agreed Lily, eager not to be the only one sitting around, and at least looking like she was having a good time.

She followed Freddie out to the dance floor and they began to dance to the funky, upbeat tune. It was actually a lot of fun. Freddie’s Hufflepuff friends were all very nice, and she continued to dance for the next couple of songs.

It is interesting how far one moves from the starting spot when dancing to a fast song. Lily looked up and saw that her and the Hufflepuffs were dancing right near Lily’s friends. Tracy danced over to Lily to talk.

“Hey Lils! Having fun?” she asked, her face flushed with dancing, Sirius came up behind her to listen.

“Yea, I am!” replied Lily, surprising even herself. She could feel James watching her, as Emma tried to get him to dance with her some more.

“It looks like you and Sirius are doing okay yourselves.” she pointed out, and Tracy blushed.

“She’s a dancing queen, alright!” joked Sirius. James broke away from Emma, who shot a look of pure venom at Lily, and came up to the group.

“This is Freddie Macmillan, everyone!” Lily said, introducing Freddie. She saw James stare coldly at Freddie.

“James! Dance with me!” Emma called out. James looked one last time at Lily before returning to his date. Another slow song started to play, and she felt Freddie placing his hands on her waist. Why not? She thought. She obviously wasn’t ruining James’s night, why should she let him ruin hers? And Lily and Freddie danced slowly.

It amazed Lily how fast the night went after that. Sure, Freddie wasn’t as good looking as James, but he could be okay. And he hadn’t had some hair-brained scheme that ended with her covered in paint! Before long, it seemed, the Strange Cousins finished their last song of the night, and Dumbledore stood up again.

“Well, I hope everyone has enjoyed tonight, but it appears to be midnight! Let us all give a final round of applause to our musical guests, the Strange Cousins!” everyone, including Lily this time, cheered very loudly. “But now it is time for bed. Our next dance will be our traditional Yule Ball, taking place on Christmas. Good night!”

Everyone began to file out of the Great Hall into the entry way. Several people were complaining loudly, wishing the dance could have gone on longer. Lily was feeling very tired, and was okay that the dance was ending when it did.

“Thanks, Freddie! I had a great time tonight!” Lily said to Freddie, smiling at him.

“Thank you for dancing with me. You looked really lovely tonight, Lily.” with this Freddie politely kissed her hand, and followed some of his friends off to the Hufflepuff common room.

Lily began to head back up to the dormitory alone. People were saying goodbye, and she felt it would be best if she just waited for her friends there, so as not to interrupt anything (Sirius and Tracy looked kind of busy.) When she reached the portrait to the common room, she spoke the password and entered. What she saw came as a huge shock.

Lily was not the first back to the common room after all. James and Emma had already returned, but they had not noticed Lily yet, so she kept quiet as they continued to say goodnight. James leaned over and aimed to kiss Emma on the cheek, but Emma had repositioned herself so that he missed and got lips. When he broke apart (rather quickly from shock), he looked over and saw Lily staring at them transfixed. James looked at her with a frightened expression on his face for a moment, before hurrying up the boy’s dormitory stairs. Emma smiled smugly at Lily, then she too went up to her dormitory.

“Lily, what’s wrong?” asked Tracy, who had entered with Sirius (who looked like he was wearing a bit of Tracy’s lipstick) and was watching as Lily sank down into a chair.

“Nothing. I’m fine! Just a little tired I think.” Lily told her friend, wondering why she kept telling Tracy this whenever she was not fine.

“Okay…” said Tracy, still not sure. “Coming to bed?”

“In a little while…” replied Lily. She didn’t want to look at Emma’s self-satisfied smirk for awhile.


Chapter 12: Of Kisses and Quidditch
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Lily was once more looking into the cauldron of gray, but she could only see a little into the depths this time. She felt as though more of the depths had been closed off, and it made her really sad because she knew she wanted to see what was at the bottom. If she brought her head closer, maybe she could see more, she thought. But she was afraid she would fall in if she did that, so she continued to watch it at a distance, but it was so beautiful at the same time…

“Lily? Why are you still down here?” asked James, looking at her from the fire. Lily had fallen asleep in the chair, and the common room had emptied. Just seeing James standing in front of her almost made her cry, why she was not sure.

“Lily, are you okay?” he asked, and it was a moment before Lily realized she was crying. She tried to nod, why was he being so kind, he had gone to the dance with Emma, but she sobbed even harder, having no idea why. James sat there awkwardly for a moment, then reached over and began patting Lily’s hand comfortingly.

“Y-you went t-to the d-dance with Emma t-though!” Lily stuttered, trying to gain control over her water works.

“Yes, I did.” James replied honestly. “But I asked you first, about twenty times.” he finished quietly.

“You e-even KISSED h-her!” Lily wailed, losing control again. She still had no idea why she was sobbing over this, and felt that she would be very embarrassed afterwards, but right now she didn’t care.

“Well, yes, but I didn’t mean to end up where I did…” James said, also remembering the earlier event, a disturbed look on his face. “You were doing okay with that Hufflepuff, Freddie”

“That was different!” cried Lily even harder than ever, not even aware she was crying on James’s shoulder now. James was aware of this, and was now stroking her head as she sobbed.

“Was it?” James wondered aloud. “But why does it matter, I thought you said you would rather go alone than with me to the dance, that I was just a big-headed, arrogant jerk?”

“OH I Lied!” Lily said miserably, realizing the truth. “I lied, James!” Lily felt James firmly set his hands on her shoulders and turn Lily so that they were facing each other. Lily tried to brush away some of her tears, feeling silly that she was still in her dress robes. James looked into her green eyes, she looked into his gray.

“Lily, why would you lie?” James asked, a little spooked at what was going on, but feeling excitement rising inside of him, she HAD wanted to go with him!

“I don’t know!” Lily said truthfully, finally stopping her tears. “I am sorry James. I guess I really missed out, now that you’re with Emma.”

“Just because I went to the dance with Emma doesn’t mean I love Emma” James replied, “Nor does kissing her on the cheek and missing!” he said quickly, as Lily had opened her mouth to object.

Both were silent for awhile, staring into the dying fire. Lily mulled over her feelings, trying to sort out what had happened, what was happening, and why she had lied. Did she actually have feelings for James? For the first time since the paint balloons, Lily remembered that smile, and got a warm feeling all over.

“You are really easy to talk to.” said Lily, yawning loudly after a couple of minutes of silence. “And I’m sorry I lied to you.”

“What about the whole ‘arrogant jerk’ thing?” James asked hopefully.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.” Lily replied mischievously. “Good night James.”

“’Night Evans.” replied James as he watched Lily walk up the stairs to the girls dormitory.

“Don’t be stupid, call me Lily.” he heard her voice call down from the stairs.

James groaned as he sank into the empty chair. Lily had lied. So did that mean she liked him? What would Emma do? Why would it matter, there wasn’t anything between him and Emma…still, he knew that Emma and Lily weren’t exactly buddy/buddy. Thinking about it confused him too much, so he went up to his dormitory as well, but feeling very happy that he could call her Lily.

***

The next day everyone felt kind of flat. All the homework that had been put off in anticipation of the dance now had to be done. Tracy couldn’t help but notice the change in Lily. She seemed much happier today than she had yesterday. Tracy also noticed that Emma was confused by Lily’s good mood, apparently thinking that seeing her with James at the dance would make Lily jealous.

“SO, Freddie must be some guy. I haven’t seen you this happy since the summer.” commented Tracy.

“Freddie?” asked Lily, coming out of a daydream even though the girls were trying to finish their potions homework. Tracy gave her a surprised look, she was sure that Lily was happy about Freddie.

“Oh, right! Freddie! Well, actually, no, it’s not because of Freddie.” said Lily, leaving Tracy out in the dark. James had just walked by with Sirius, and both boys had waved. Lily waved back enthusiastically, to the surprise of Sirius and Tracy, who each in turn looked at their friends. Lily and James just smiled.

Tracy grabbed Lily by the arm and steered her into a deserted corner of the common room. “Lils, are you sick?” she asked Lily, shaking her. Lily just laughed. Then she told Tracy what all had happened, starting with walking in on James and Emma. Tracy listened, and when Lily had finished, Tracy looked like she could use a good shake.

“He kissed…but then you…and he said…and you lied?” Asked Tracy weakly.

“Yep.” smiled Lily.

Across the room, James had finished telling Sirius the same story, and the two boys were walking over to Tracy and Lily.

“Did you hear? About him, and then kissed, lying, and now?” Sirius asked Tracy in the same awed voice. “Would you two make up your minds!” he hollered at James and Lily.

Lily’s world had improved dramatically. The next couple of weeks were some of the happiest she’d ever spent at Hogwarts. True, schoolwork in preparation for O.W.L.s had become a six hour ordeal every night, and Emma’s dislike for Lily had intensified for “stealing” James (even though Lily and James were just friendly, taking things slow), but aside from that she had seven great friends. Tracy and Sirius were inseparable, Crystal and Remus shared a cute sort of puppy love, and Peter was getting over his fear of pretty girls that liked him, so he and Erica were making progress. As for James, Lily had started opening up to him more, and was finding he was more than just the arrogant Quidditch star she had always assumed he was.

The first Quidditch match of the year was approaching, Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw. Lily and her friends rarely saw James, Sirius, or Crystal (she had made the team, and was almost as good of a chaser as Sirius) as the team was training four nights a week.

As anticipation grew the Friday before the match, no one was attentive in class. During potions, the last class of the day, people were so distracted that several cauldrons exploded as a result of carelessness, sending four people to the hospital wing. The night before the game, everyone was very loud in the common room, with people wishing the team luck. Lily, Tracy, and Erica had made a huge banner that said “Go, CRYSTAL!” in large scarlet letters, and had a Gryffindor Lion on it.

“Are you nervous?” Erica asked Crystal, who had not eaten anything all day.

“YES!” she said, and everyone laughed. It would be Crystal’s first game.

“You’re going to be great. You’re the best chaser on the team!” James reassured her. He was the team captain and the seeker.

“Oh, and I’m not!” asked Sirius, in mock outrage, and everyone laughed again.

“Well, maybe if you were watching the Quaffle instead of Tracy in the stands…” James replied good naturedly, and Sirius and Tracy both blushed.

Chapter 13: Telling the Truth
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The Great Hall on the morning of the match was exceptionally noisy, as the excitement for the game mounted. Crystal was very pale, and hadn’t touched a bite of her breakfast. Many of the other members of the Gryffindor team seemed to have lost their appetite, even Sirius was eating and speaking very little. Only James seemed like he was not nervous, and ate his toast normally. Lily reached across the table to Crystal and tried to force a muffin down her throat.

“Crystal, if you don’t eat, you’ll fall off your broom!” James exclaimed, while Lily continued to stuff Crystal’s mouth. This advice did not help, and it only made her gasp, gagging on her muffin filled mouth. Tracy whacked her on the back to prevent her from choking, and Crystal finally swallowed.

“Team! Let’s go kick some Raven butt!” James said after a couple minutes, standing up and beckoning to the players. Scowls came from the Ravenclaws who had heard him. Tracy and Erica hoisted Crystal up, and she was shaking.

“C’mon, Crystal! Don’t go looking like you’re heading to your death! You love Quidditch! You will be awesome out there!” Lily encouraged her, and the Gryffindors around her nodded. Crystal gave Lily a weak smile, and tried to put on a determined face as she followed the unusually quiet Sirius and a care-free James.

“We should go too, if we want good seats.” said Erica, and Tracy and Lily followed her out of the hall down to the Quidditch Pitch. The days were much cooler than they had been in September. October leaves swirled around them in the strong wind, and the girls clutched their cloaks tighter around them. They climbed up to the top of the stands, the best seats you could get. Soon the other students had completely filled the stands, and Lily, Tracy, and Erica were barely distinguishable from the sea of Red Gryffindor supporters surrounding them.

After a few minutes, Madam Hooch, the young flying Instructor and Referee, came onto the field, followed by the two teams. The Ravenclaw team was wearing blue robes, and Gryffindor in red. They could see James’ untidy head of hair, leading the team out, followed by Sirius’s dark locks. Crystal came out last. She was easily the smallest player on the field, and the only girl. Her blonde hair shone in the sunlight, and swayed in her ponytail as she walked a little behind the team.

“It’s a great day for a Quidditch match! A new year of Hogwarts rivalries renewed! Today, the first match of the season, Griffindor versus Ravenclaw!” rang out the voice of the announcer, a Hufflepuff fifth year that Lily recognized as one of Freddie’s friends from the dance. “And the teams take the field! Ravenclaw Captain Christian Davies and Gryffindor Captain James Potter shake hands! Teams ready for take off, the Quaffle is released, the whistle sounds and the teams are off!”

The Gryffindor supporters cheered loudly as Sirius immediately took possession of the Quaffle and shot towards the Ravenclaw keeper. He weaved in and out of the other players, dodging a bludger aimed by the Ravenclaw beater.

“Black putting on some nice moves out there!” called the commentator. Lily noticed that many girls, not just those in Gryffindor, were screaming insanely for Sirius. Tracy looked a little sulky at this.

“Black, coming up on Keeper Wilkes, passes the ball to new player on the Gryffindor team, Crystal Turner!”

“Go, Crystal!” shouted Lily, waving the banner wildly above her head. C’mon, only a little more and Crystal could score…

“Turner still in possession, swerves the bludger shot by Gudgeon of Ravenclaw, and shoots…”

“Go! Go! Go!” yelled Erica, bouncing up and down.

“Turner scores! Gryffindor ten, Ravenclaw zero!” The Gryffindor side of the field erupted with cheers, and even in the stands it was evident that Crystal was beaming.

The game progressed for awhile, Gryffindor leading forty to twenty. Suddenly, James went into a spectacular dive, and the Ravenclaw seeker followed.

“Has Potter seen the snitch?” the commentator wondered to the crowd, all of whom were on their feet, breath bated, watching the two players.

“Oh, they’re going to crash!” Lily cried, covering her eyes.

“No they’re not!” exclaimed Tracy, still watching.

“Yes they are!” Erica wailed, biting her nails.

They were both right. The Ravenclaw seeker plowed into the ground with a dull thud. James pulled out at the last second miraculously, and in his hand…

“He’s got the snitch! By golly, Potter’s got the snitch! It’s all over! What a dive! Gryffindor wins, 170 to 20, flattening Ravenclaw!” The noise from the Gryffindors was extreme, Lily and Erica were dancing around, Tracy was hugging the seventh year next to her, and the Gryffindor team surrounded James and came down together. Madam Hooch was tending to the Ravenclaw seeker. Lily, Tracy, and Erica went with the rest of the fans and flooded the field, trying to get to the team.

“Crystal!” Lily shouted, running to her friend and enveloping her in a tight hug. “You were great out there!”

“Do I get a hug?” James asked innocently, his hair very untidy from the sharp dive. Lily smiled.

“Only because you won the game for us…” she said, and gave him a light hug, surprising him and herself. “What were you thinking! You could’ve crashed! She exclaimed, pulling away.

“Where would be the fun in Quidditch without a little risk?” James joked, flashing one of his famous smiles at Lily.

Back in the common room, everyone was very loud and raucous. Someone had nicked a load of food from the kitchens, and what was promising to be a very good party was starting. James stood up on one of the tables, raised his goblet for quiet, and began to speak.

“Fellow Gryffindors!” he started, and everyone cheered. “This year, we have the best team in the school!”

“Hear, hear!” called out a few people.

“Our three chasers, Sirius Black, Crystal Turner, and Owen Bell, are a seamless entity! Our beaters, John Royster and Kevin Knightly, are unbeatable! Our Keeper, Mark Flannagan, never lets the Quaffle in!” James roared over the cheers from the students proudly, and many goblets were now raised.

“And I, as the Captain and Seeker of the Gryffindor team, leading us to victory! This year, the Quidditch cup is ours!” He yelled, and the applause was deafening. He jumped into the crowd of students like a famous rock star, and was caught by many hands supporting him. Lily cheered with everyone else, and when James had been placed on the ground (dropped by Sirius would be more accurate to say), he wormed his way through the crowd to get to her.

“Enthusiastic speech.” she commented to him while he continued to grin at those around him.

“Yea, a real crowd pleaser!” he said, focusing his attention on Lily now. “Say, Lily, if I ask you something, do you promise you won’t lie to me?” he asked, speaking quieter.

“That depends on the question.”

“Do you want to spend the day with me at Hogsmeade next weekend?” He asked, crossing his fingers inside his robes. Lily looked taken aback. Oh no… here it comes, he thought.

“Um, sure.” Lily replied slowly, aware of a couple people staring at them.

“Really? You wouldn’t mind?” asked James, not believing his own ears.

“Yes, I’ll go with you!” said Lily again, more confidently this time. James broke into a huge smile.

“Cause It’s okay if you don’t, I’d understand…”

“James! Do you want me to go or not!?!” Lily cried at him exasperatedly, but smiling as she did. “I’m telling the truth this time!”

They smiled at each other, as the crowd hoisted Crystal above their heads, passing her along while she blushed, though thoroughly enjoying herself. A little way off, Tracy and Sirius were celebrating, and Erica, Peter, and Remus shoved Crystal along above their heads as she passed by. She soon passed over Lily and James’s heads, and smiled down on them. Lily felt as though the day had been perfect, as James held her hand.

Chapter 14: The Day at Hogsmeade
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James waited nervously in the entrance hall on Saturday to meet Lily for their day in Hogsmeade. Just then he saw Lily coming down the stairs, and went up to greet her.

“Hey, James!” she said, smiling at him. James was amazed at how lovely she could look even in the school robes.

“Ready, Lily?” he asked her, linking arms with her, and they headed to the join the queue to the door. Filch, the caretaker was checking off the names of students who were going to Hogsmeade.

“Evans, Lily and Potter, James.” he sneered, checking them off as they headed through the door. Filch disliked the Marauders very much, as they caused mayhem so often, and always managed to get away with it.

Lily and James began the short walk to the village, making conversation as they went.

“So, what do you do for fun in the muggle world during your summer?” James asked her.

“Well, I really like to play football…”

“Football? What is that?” he asked, confused.

“Oh it is a great sport! You have to kick a ball to get it down the field, and then try to get it past the goal keeper to score. You can’t use your hands, only you’re feet, except for the goal keeper, who can pick it up…” Lily began to explain, but James interrupted.

“Wait! So no one is flying? And there is only ONE ball?” he asked, not sure if he had heard her correctly.

“Well, in muggle sports they usually try to promote teamwork, not just a place for the amazing James Potter to show off with a spectacular dive to win the game!” she joked, and James looked highly offended.

“Lily, I am going to take you flying one day and I will show you how wonderful it is!” James said, now grinning.

“Ok, but if I fall, you’ll be in big trouble, mister!”

Lily began to turn into the Three Broomsticks, the usual student hangout, but James pulled her arm, continuing to walk down the street.

“I thought we could eat at this other place I know, Madam Puddifoot’s.” He said to her, “C’mon, you’ll love it!”

They entered into a very steamy little café, which had a dozen or so cozy little booths for couples, and lots of little flowers on the tables. A witch came up to the pair and seated them at one of the booths, and took their orders.

“I’ll have a coffee and a slice of your chocolate cheesecake.” James ordered, while Lily looked around. She recognized a couple of other students, obviously on dates, and many of them were tightly lip-locked, steaming the windows. Lily suddenly became very aware of how close she and James were sitting to one another.

“And for you, dear?” the lady asked Lily kindly.

“Coffee and cheesecake, but I think I’ll have strawberry.” The lady nodded, took their menus, and left. Lily and James sat there awkwardly together for a moment, watching the other couples. Madam Puddifoot returned with their orders, and they sipped and ate cheesecake awkwardly.

“Do you want to go to Honeydukes or something after this?” James asked after a couple more minutes of the unbearable silence.

“Well, I was thinking we could go to the Shrieking Shack, I’ve never been there before.” Lily suggested.

“Really? You’ve never been there before? You’ve been missing out, Lily!” he said in disbelief. “Then we have to go there since you’ve never been. Gosh, Sirius, Remus, Peter and I go there all the time!”

After they had finished their coffee and cheesecake, they got up and headed for the Shrieking Shack, breathing in the fresh air after all the steam of Madam Puddifoot’s.

Lily walked around the falling apart shack cautiously when they got their, but James went straight up to one of the windows that was not boarded up and climbed into the house.

“What are you doing? This house is haunted!” she gasped, watching him in horror.

“Don’t be silly, of course it’s not. Come on, I’ll help you in.” He reached out for Lily’s hands, and she finally allowed herself to be pulled into one of the most severely haunted houses in all f Britain that was supposedly not haunted. She gasped again when she looked around the room they were standing in.

Everything was ripped and torn to shreds, the bed, the chairs, all the other furniture, the curtains, everything.

“Yea, sure, this house isn’t haunted!” she said, glaring at James.

“Don’t let this one room fool you, the other ones are okay.” he said, opening the door to the hall and pulling her onwards.

They turned off into another room, the parlor, and the difference was huge. All of the furniture was whole, and aside from the fact that the window was boarded up, everything was quite cheerily decorated. James sat down in one of the chairs, and Lily followed suit.

“So if this house is really not haunted, why was that room torn up and why does everyone think it is?” she demanded of him.

James looked like he was on the verge of revealing something big that he shouldn’t, and he hesitated for a moment. “Do you promise you won’t tell anyone? Not even Tracy?”

“Sure, but why can’t I…”

“Because if you do, Sirius, Remus, Peter and I would probably get expelled.” he said, in the most serious voice she had ever heard him use.

“Okay…” Lily said, not sure she really wanted to be here if they were doing something that could get them expelled.

“Well, first thing is, a ghost didn’t tear up that room, Remus did.”

“Remus?” breathed Lily, not believing the most kind and gentle of the Marauders could have caused such destruction.

“Yea, but only because he’s a werewolf.” Lily just stared at him in awe as he spoke. “So Dumbledore would let him come here when he would transform during the full moon, and he wouldn’t harm anyone, just that room. But Sirius, Peter, and I noticed he kept going off every month, and we made him tell us where he went. So, we decided to become Animagi and go around Hogsmeade with him to keep him company. And this is where we hang out every month!” He finished, motioning proudly around the room.

“You’re an animagus?” Lily asked, very impressed. “What do you transform into?”

“I’ll show you.” And with that, he stood up, and almost effortlessly it seemed, he transformed into a beautiful white stag.

“Prongs!” Lily realized, as she leaned over to stroke his head. She made a mental note to decipher Sirius, Remus, and Peter’s nicknames later. James became human again before her eyes.

“James…” she tentatively asked once he was sitting on the couch with her again.

“Mmm?”

“I’m really glad I came here with you today. I had a really good time with you, and I like getting to know you, and I am sorry for all those times I called you an arrogant jerk, or a big-head, or a…” Lily rambled on, but James turned so they were facing each other.

Lily stopped and was startled by how intensely he was staring into her eyes. She looked into his eyes of gray, and remembered her strange dream. She forgot about it promptly as James leaned forward. She leaned a little too, and this time James didn’t miss…

(A/N): Wow! Thanks to all of you who have R/R so far and helping me achieve one of the featured stories! You guys are the best!

Chapter 15: I Won't Let You Fall
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At dinner later that night, Lily smiled nonstop, unable to keep her happiness in. She had been kissed by James Potter! She kept thinking excitedly to herself. Tracy watched her throughout the course of the meal, grinning from ear to ear. She also noticed that James was very giddy, and was speaking more to Lily and less to the rest of them. Something had happened while they were at Hogsmeade, and Tracy was dying to hear the details from Lily.

Emma was also watching the glee of Lily and James, but did not feel the burning curiosity that Tracy felt. Emma knew what had happened, of course. She had followed them to the shrieking shack, and had spied on them in the parlor and witnessed the kiss. She was livid. But, she had also gained some valuable information, which she decided must be put to good use…

“Any moment, now, and Snivellus will get a ‘pleasant’ surprise when he takes a drink of that goblet…” James murmured to Lily, Sirius, and Tracy, keeping his voice to avoid being overheard. He and Sirius had planned a little exhibition for the dinner that evening, and promised the girls it would be very worth watching.

“Here he goes! Here he goes!” Sirius whispered excitedly, gleefully watching as Snape lifted his goblet to take a drink.

BOOM!

The goblet exploded with great force at the Slytherin table, drenching Snape (And several other slytherin students within a five foot radius) in pumpkin juice. But the entertainment wasn’t over yet. The liquid dripping down a very angry looking Snape was rapidly becoming…

“Instant dry cement!” Called out Sirius, for the whole hall, most of which were laughing heartily at Snape’s expense, to hear. Sure enough, the stony expression on Snape’s face was rapidly becoming, well, stone.

“Pity. I was hoping ole’ Snivellus would look better as a statue…” James joined in with Sirius, mocking Snape. Tracy and all the Gryffindors were laughing the hardest. Lily felt bad for Snape, but she had to admit he did make a very funny statue. She too snorted along with the rest. By this time Professor McGonagall had approached the Gryffindor table, and was wearing a very stern expression while she glared at Sirius and James.

“Potter! Black!” she barked. “Two weeks detention for the both of you!” this made Sirius and James only grin wider, as the hall witnessed them unflinching receiving their punishment. This, if anything annoyed Professor McGonagall more.

“And fifty points from Gryffindor!” still no visible impact on the self-satisfied smiles on the pair’s faces. The hall was now laughing at her.

“Each!” still nothing.

“And SET HIM RIGHT!” with that their faces fell, much to the enjoyment of the students, who could see that they preferred Snape as solid rock.

Sirius and James looked very disappointed as they walked over to the Slytherin table and returned Snape to his usual oily self. Needless to say he was seething with rage.

“I’ll get you Potter and Black!” he snarled.

As Professor McGonagall escorted them out of the Hall, James waved to the students and called back to the Gryffindors.

“Well, I guess this means we need to win by more when we play Hufflepuff in Quidditch!” and the Gryffindors, especially Lily cheered.

Two weeks later, after their sentences had been lifted, Sirius and James were back to conspiring against Snape, planning the best way to do him in again. Their plan makings were interrupted, however, by Professor Flitwick during Charms one Thursday afternoon.

“Honesty Charms, class, are very useful in the wizarding world, and are often good substitutes for when you do not have the time or the resources to brew a truth potions. Though not as effective as truth potions, they will work in a pinch, but keep in mind that the most skilled liars can still resist the effects!” Professor Flitwick informed the Gryffindor seventh years. Charms was Lily’s best subject by far, and it was one of her favorites. Professor Flitwick told the class to divide into partners to practice the charm, and there was a flurry of activity as everyone found a partner. Lily and Tracy partnered up, and James and Sirius partnered up next to them.

“Remember, say ‘Reveala Veritas!’ and circle your wand! After you place the charm on your partner, ask them a simple question that you both know the correct answer to. When you are asked a question, try to give an answer that is not true!” Flitwick called out over the students, who were very noisy. Charms class was always this way, and very chaotic with spells flying in every direction.

“You go first.” Lily told Tracy.

“Ok, here it goes. Revealo, no wait, Reveala Veritas!” Tracy yelled forcefully, circling her wand and nearly poking Lily’s eye out.

“Hey! Watch it!” Lily said indignantly. “Ask me a question to see if it worked!”

“Um, what is your sister’s name?”

“Rose.” Lily lied easily, smiling at her friend’s face. “My turn! Reveala Veritas!”

A jet of blue light emitted from her wand and hit Tracy in the face, but not harming her in any way.

“Who is the headmaster of this school?” she asked Tracy, who looked kind of out of it.

“Dumbledore.” Tracy replied, in a dazed sort of way.

“Well done, Ms. Evans!” piped Professor Flitwick, and Lily beamed. “Now just wait for her to come out of it, just a couple of minutes or so, and then she can continue working the charm on you.”

James and Sirius were having an interesting time with the charm next to Lily. Sirius had asked if James was a cow, and now James was lumbering around the room on all fours, mooing loudly.

“Oh, dear, he has put a truth reversal charm on him, causing Mr. Potter to believe that the truth is he is a cow!” Cried Flitwick, and hurried over to James to put him out of his odd state. Sirius and Lily were laughing so hard that they were clinging to each other for support.

“James, go moo!” Lily commanded him, and sure enough, James let out a very realistic MOO! Sirius clapped his hands together, applauding his friend the cow, causing James to moo louder than ever. It seemed that whenever someone clapped, James would moo some more, but Flitwick finally put an end to his cow-like behavior.

“Veritas Verdad!” he called out, his wand pointing at James, mid-moo. A jet of red light was sucked into Flitwick’s wand out of James. James blinked for a moment, and looked around confusedly as the class stared at him on all fours.

“Of course I’m not a cow! What kind of stupid question was that?” James said lightly to Sirius, not having an inkling as to what had just happened. “You’re really bad at this charm, mate!”

Sirius wore an evil grin on his face, slowly brought his hands up, and gave one loud CLAP.

“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” James hollered, unable to stifle it, and looked very surprised at what just came out of his mouth.

“Well, the after effects should be wearing off within a couple of hours… I highly recommend no one clap, or he’ll start mooing again.” Flitwick reassured the class, but as soon as he said that, everyone started clapping, and James was mooing wildly, unable to control himself.

“Good for him it’s the last class of the day, imagine him having to go to classes mooing like a cow every time someone clapped!” Tracy commented, but Lily didn’t reply. She was too busy clapping with the rest of the class as James mooed continually.

The next morning Lily got up earlier than she normally would have on a Saturday. She had decided to send another letter to Petunia. Lily had been sending weekly owls to her parents, but she and Petunia had not communicated since Petunia’s letter on the train. Hoping that her sister had cooled off from whatever had spurred her torrent of rage, Lily picked up her peacock feather quill and began to write.

Dear Petunia,
How are you? I am fine, school is going well. I really miss talking with you, and I want to start over again so you will not be mad at me. I hope everything is alright with you and school and stuff.

Love from your sister,
Lily

Lily looked at her very short, friendly note. It would have to do, she didn’t know what else to say. So she took it with her and headed for the Owlry.

There she found Iris easily among the many shades of brown. Lily carefully tied the letter to her leg, and was about to send her off when the Owlry door opened, and someone else came in. It was James.

“’Morning, Lily.” he said, greeting her as a handsome eagle owl swooped down for his package. He had thankfully stopped mooing late last night, although everyone in the common room had gotten a real kick out of it, clapping almost non-stop. And then there were Sirius and Remus, suggesting he change his nickname from Prongs to Moo-cow or Milky.

“Oh, you’ve stopped mooing!” Lily exclaimed.

“Don’t sound so disappointed!” he teased her. “Whatcha sending?”

“Just a letter…” Lily said, not really feeling like invoking James’s rage against her sister just then.

“Um, Lily, I was wondering, tomorrow maybe if you still want to, you know, go flying with me, well…” James rambled very quickly, obviously very nervous that she might say no.

“Really? Cool! I can’t wait! I’ve only been flying a couple times, and that was in our first year during flying lessons! Is it scary?” She asked him excitedly, while he struggled to make sure that he had heard her right, and that she had said yes.

“Wha, oh, of course not! And I’ll be there the whole time… I won’t let you fall.” He reassured her.

“I know. I trust you.” Lily replied, and they just smiled at each other for another moment or two, before realizing that they still had to go to class in a minute.

“Oh, my gosh! We’re going to be late!” Lily exclaimed, and rushed out of the Owlry frantically. James remained there for a few seconds longer, just thinking about Lily.


(A/N)-Whew! I finally updated! Sorry that took so long! Even if I fail that Biology test tomorrow, it'll be well worth it! :)

Also, thanks to gina* for making a great suggestion about the chapter!

Chapter 16: Just the Two of Them Together
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James looked up from his History of Magic homework to check his watch. It was almost 8:00, almost time for him and Sirius to head off to the dungeons to serve detention. True they had served the two week sentence imposed on them by Professor McGonagall, but the Head of Slytherin House deemed it necessary to punish them further with another week in his service, as Snape had been attacked unprovoked. Tonight was their last night, thankfully, for they had been pickling rat spleens, which was very unpleasant.

“Padfoot, mate, we should start heading down to the dungeons.” he said, sighing as he stood up.

“One more night of pickling rat spleens. If it were any longer, I would begin to think that it almost wasn’t worth turning Snivellus into that statue, since we had to turn him back.” Sirius replied dully, also getting up. Although they had put an unflinching face up when receiving their punishments in front of the whole school, they both knew that serving detention this time around had been particularly rotten. Although James wasn’t exactly ecstatic about the dungeon detention that awaited them, he was nevertheless in a very good mood in anticipation for tomorrow, when he would take Lily flying. Sirius knew that something was up with James, but what he was not sure.

“So, what’s up, Prongs?” He asked James, all pretense and subtlety abandoned. James looked over at him as they walked down the hall, looking very happy now indeed.

“I’m taking Lily flying tomorrow.” he said, a silly grin playing across his face.

“I had a feeling this was all about Lily… you guys together or what?”

“Well, I suppose we are ’together’….” James thought about it slowly.

“Course you are, mate! Got the first kiss and everything!” James had told Sirius about that moment in the shrieking shack, but he had not told him that Lily knew about the Marauders’ monthly expeditions there. For some reason James felt that Sirius wouldn’t like that…. although he had probably already told Tracy, the two of them were definitely together. They reached the dungeon doorway and knocked.

“Enter!” said a sharp bark from within. The boys entered, and found themselves facing the formidable potions master, Professor Rochem. He glared at them as they sat down and began taking out the jars of rat spleens. They understood that there was no need to speak, they knew why they were here, what they were going to be doing, and so Sirius and James began to pickle the slimy things.

It was very gross and slow work, and all the while they worked Professor Rochem sneered at them from behind his desk. It was common knowledge that as the Head of Slytherin, Professor Rochem favored his students above all others, and was especially unfair to the Gryffindors. James and Sirius among his most despised students, and the feeling between the boys and Rochem was equally shared. After they had been there for about an hour, another knock came at the door.

“Enter!” Rochem called as before. The door opened, but Rochem’s manner changed almost instantly when he saw who was standing there. It was, to Sirius and James’s greatest displeasure, Snape.

“Hello Professor. Sorry for interrupting…” Snape said in his oily voice, a look of utter triumph on his face as he watched a particularly large spleen squelch unpleasantly in James’s hands.

“Not to worry. Delinquents from Gryffindor, you know how THEY are.” Rochem said harshly, glaring at Sirius and James again.

“Very good one, Professor! I came down here to inform you that you received an owl. Here is your letter.” with this Snape handed Rochem an envelope. Rochem opened it cautiously and read a few sentences to himself. Snape gave one last gleeful look at Sirius and James before turning to leave. Rochem, however, eyes still on the paper, stopped him.

“Just another moment, Snape.” he said in a casual tone to Snape, although his face looked slightly worried.

“Yes Professor?”

“You didn’t read this, by any chance, did you?”

“No, of course not, Professor!” Snape replied truthfully. Rochem continued to stare at him, a little more suspiciously than before.

“And no one else has read this letter?” he asked, his tone more anxious.

“Not that I know of, Dumbledore caught me in the hallway, told me you had received this letter, which was still unopened, and asked me to deliver it to you.” Snape said, now eyeing the letter curiously, and beginning to wish that he had peeked at the contents.

“Very well, if you are certain, you may go.” Rochem said, dismissing him. “And do not breath a word of this letter to anyone!” he called after him.

Rochem stared back down at the letter, sinking into his chair. He looked up, and found that Sirius and James were watching him. He had plum forgot all about them, and they knew that he had gotten this letter! He wildly thought to himself.

“Potter! Black! Get out of my sight!” he hollered at them, causing them both to jump. Sirius accidentally squished a spleen, but he and James were to busy trying to leave the office as fast as possible.

“And if I find that you have spoken to anyone about this letter, it’ll be a month of detention!” they could hear him shout as they hurried down the dungeon corridor.

“Wonder what that letter said?” Sirius asked, panting, when they had emerged above ground next to the Great Hall after sprinting up two flights of stairs.

“Dunno…” gasped James, clutching a stitch in his side. “Biased old git!” And with that, they headed off to the dormitories to get some shut eye, although James knew it would be hard to fall asleep with the prospect of flying with Lily in less than 12 hours…

***

Lily sat quietly in one of the comfy chairs in the common room the next morning, reading. She glanced at the window to check the weather, and found it slightly overcast. She could hardly wait for James to get down here, thinking that it wasn’t just girls who took forever to get ready in the morning. She had barely been able to sleep last night, the thought of another day with James, alone, was driving her nuts!

“Good book?” came James’s voice from behind her, looking over her shoulder.

“Hardly. What took you so long?” she asked, springing up and heading for the portrait hole.

“Well, this may come as a shock to you, but my hair isn’t naturally this wonderful!” he said, in a very serious tone to her. “It takes a lot of hard labor to get it to look this fabulous!” he said, now grinnig at her cheekily.

“Yea, yea…” she said, waving his self-flattery away as they headed for the Quidditch pitch.

When James had gotten his broomstick, and they stood in the middle of the field, Lily became very nervous about the whole flying thing. What if she fell off?!? She thought, panicking. I won’t let you fall… she remembered his words, and took a deep breath, trying to swallow her fears. She felt his hands on hers, placing them firmly on his waist as he climbed onto the broom. She also got on.

“Ready?” James asked, looking back behind him at her.

“Um…” Lily began, trying to make up her mind.

“Well, that’s too bad, ‘cause here we go!” and with that he kicked off, and Lily screamed as they rose rapidly into the air.

“OH! OH GOSH!” Lily wailed, trying hard not to look down as they rose steadily higher, now completely wrapping herself around James’s middle in a bear hug, hanging on for dear life.

“Lily, open your eyes!” James told her, who had shut them very tightly.

“NO!”

“Come on! Don’t you trust me? The view from here is great!”

Slowly, Lily managed to pry her eyes open. They were gliding along smoothly now, above the Forbidden Forest. The wide expanse took her breath away it was so beautiful.

“Oh, James!” she gasped, temporarily forgetting that she was hundreds of feet in the air and straightened up to see better.

“Told you you’d like it…”

To say that she liked the view was an understatement. From here the deep greens of the forest stretched out for miles. The mountains in the distance loomed far away, but not in an unfriendly way. The lake shimmered beneath them, even in the overcast light. And the castle had never looked so magnificent to Lily before, when seen from so many angles. But this wasn’t why she loved being up here.

“It’s nice… but there is something I can think of that I like more….” Lily hinted playfully.

“What could be better than this?” James asked in disbelief, not catching on to what Lily was alluding to.

“James. I meant I like being here with you, more than anything.”

As they hovered, James in awe of Lily’s profound statement, a huge thunder clap sounded near above their heads, rattling them. Rain began pouring down, drenching them almost instantly. Laughing, James began to descend slowly to the ground, where they made a very untidy dismount, sliding in the muddy earth that had been saturated very quickly.

Trying hard to gain his balance, James felt his feet fly out from underneath him, and he landed on his butt in a huge puddle of mud. Lily, dripping from head to toe, laughed at him sitting there. He gave her a mischievous grin, and tackled her around the middle, dragging her into the mud too. They splattered each other with the mud for awhile, the rain continuing to pour down. Despite the mud and the rain, James thought that Lily had never looked so beautiful before.

“We should probably go in and clean up, you know, for the feast?” Lily asked, and he remembered that today was Halloween.

“I think it can wait…” And with that, he kissed her for the second time, while the rain and the mud splashed up around them. They kissed longer than before, and Lily felt so happy, with the rain bouncing off of her, being so close to James. Nothing mattered to them at that moment, the rest of the world melted away. All problems and worries were gone, and everything was perfect, just the two of them together.

Chapter 17: Interrogation and Valuable Information
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An early winter settled on the Hogwarts grounds in November. Owls were blown off course in the high winds, snow began to fall, and the 7th years’ lessons were becoming more physically and mentally demanding. Lily never had enough free time with her friends or James because of the tremendous amount of homework every night. Erica had become very snappish lately as a result of her workload, a drastic change from her usual caring and kind self. Remus was looking very ill, and Lily guessed it must be getting closer to the full moon, although she had remained true to James and had not spoken a word to anyone about his secret.

James had kicked the Quidditch team practices into overdrive so they could train for their match against Hufflepuff in December. This meant that they rarely saw James, Sirius, or Crystal outside of class, and when they did see Crystal, she was constantly close to tears and the littlest things set her off bawling because of stress. Tracy went into an almost depressed mood for lack of spending time with Sirius, and her complaining that James was working him too hard and too long and how it was hurting their relationship was all Lily ever heard from her anymore, and it was really starting to get on her nerves.

Lily had barely spent anytime alone with James since that day in the rain. At times it felt like he was almost avoiding her, always rushing off to go the Quidditch pitch to practice. She almost felt jealous of the game, wishing that he would spend all that time used for practice with her instead.

All in all, the month of November dragged on very slowly, and it was almost painful to see her friends breaking under the pressure. Even the professors seemed irked and frazzled.

“Crystal Turner! For the last time, it is a diagonal sweep with the wand, not a diagonal wave!” Professor Mcgonagall cried exasperatedly at Crystal during a particularly difficult transfiguration class. They were working on transfiguring primates into music boxes (what the point of transfiguring a primate into a music box is, they will never know), and the wand motions and incantation were very complex. Crystal, whose strong point had never been transfiguration, and also the fact that she never had the time to do homework or practice the spells anymore, had been completely unsuccessful the entire class period. The only one, in fact, who had not made the slightest change in her primate.

Crystal’s eyes began filling with tears, and Lily knew she was on the verge of emotional break down, right there in front of the class. Professor McGonagall sensed this too, and called her aside to speak with her. Lily went back to her own primate, which had acquired a turning handle, an odd boxish shape, a slightly wooden texture, and was now singing a classical ballad. Still, it was unmistaken ably a primate.

James was also called over by McGonagall. He looked very confused by this, as e had transfigured his primate successfully on the first go, and wondered why he had been summoned Crystal was now sobbing, and Professor McGonagall was now giving James a very stern talking to.

“Wonder what that’s all about…” Erica whispered to Lily, looking concerned. The bell rang and Crystal hurried out of the room, eager to get back to the common room and be alone, it seemed. Tracy, Erica, and Lily hurried after her to console her, and also to find out what happened. McGonagall was still talking to James, and so Sirius, Remus, and Peter waited outside the door for him. He emerged a few minutes later, looking very indignant indeed.

“What did she say Prongs?” Peter asked excitedly in the midst of all the action.

“Said I have to go easy on the practice schedule, that Crystal and other team members are falling behind on their school work.” He huffed angrily, as the thought of less Quidditch maddened him.

“You’ve got to admit, James, that the match is still a couple weeks away, and that Hufflepuff is a pushover… and I wouldn’t mind a little of a break either.” said Sirius carefully, not wanting to invoke James’s anger on him, but altogether happy with the prospect of less Quidditch practices.

“Yea, so you and Tracy can go off and snuggle some more?” James replied hotly, walking briskly in front of the group. “I thought you of all people would understand how important it is for us to practice for the games. Do you want to win the cup or not?” he yelled, turning back around to face Sirius, who looked very shocked by his sudden outburst.

“James, I’m sorry, but like you said at the beginning of the year, we’ve got this thing in the bag…” Sirius muttered quietly.

“Easy for you to say, you’re not the captain, you don’t see all of our many weaknesses, you haven’t seen the Slytherins in training, you don’t have all the pressure on you to win the game!” James was now hollering so loud that his voice was reverberating off of the stone hallway. With that, he spun around on his heel and stormed off n the direction of the owlry.

“I think something other than Quidditch is eating Prongs.” Remus replied, looking very grave.

“Whatever it is, he needs to get over it. I agree with McGonagall and Crystal, he has become a maniac, and I know we don’t need this much practice. It always seems like he is afraid to be in the common room too long, like he is avoiding someone there.” Sirius pondered to Remus as they headed back for the common room.

***

James sat alone in the owlry, feeling very guilty at the way he had yelled at Sirius. Quidditch wasn’t what was bothering him, and he also felt bad about the way he had been avoiding this problem, hurting Crystal and the others on the team. No, what was on his mind was Lily.

It had begun to scare him how much he thought about her, obsessed over her. He had had feelings in that mud puddle that he had never had before, and to know that he felt like that about her frightened him very much. He felt that he was way too young to be experiencing such passionate longings for a girl, a girl he had only kissed twice. He had been avoiding the common room, using Quidditch as his excuse, to avoid Lily.

He had always thought that he would have to admire Lily from afar for his entire life. Now that Lily wanted to be with him, he was ashamed that he was with her, for it felt like she deserved better than her. He was loopy when he was with her, unable to see straight. But when he was apart, he could barely stand the longing he felt. By concentrating on Quidditch, he was able to numb his mind for awhile.

“James, what are you doing here all alone?” came a simpering voice from behind him, startling him so much he jumped. It was Emma.

“Oh, hey, just thinking…”

“Right. Here’s another thing to think about…” She began, allowing the suspense to mount. Now was her opportunity to find out how much had happened in the shrieking shack, by seeing how uncomfortable he got. “Word’s out that you and Lily were up to something that day in Hogsmeade, you know, in the Shrieking Shack…” True, no word was out yet, but one would be soon! She thought with delight.

“What?” James asked, very confused. It had only been a kiss, nothing extreme or anything, he reassured himself. Unless she knew about what had been said in there…

“Oh, you know, how things got very ‘animal like’.” She said sweetly, using the animal example in reference to something very dirty, and was very delighted to see James’s reaction at her words. Something definitely had happened.

“You know then? You heard what we said and everything?” James said hoarsely, taking the animal reference as hinting that she knew he was an animagus.

Heard what they had said? Emma wondered confusedly. If she had been in Lily’s position, she surely wouldn’t have been talking during that. But James was definitely hiding something big, bigger than even she had imagined. Maybe Lily wasn’t the good little girl she had always assumed her to be.

“Of course, every word!” she replied slyly, although having no idea of what they had said, and feeling that what they had talked about was the least of their worries.

“How? Who told you this?” James knew he was dead meat if anyone found out about Remus being a werewolf, and the rest of them being illegal animagi.

“I have my sources.”

“Lily, she didn’t tell you, did she?” James asked, hoping that Lily had not betrayed his trust.

“Yes, it was Lily.” Emma lied, hoping that James would be angry with Lily for revealing whatever had gone down in the Shrieking Shack. “Just thought you ought to know beforehand of what is going on around the school and your little romp with pleasure!” she said, in ecstasy of what she had just done, and what hopefully James would do to Lily, whatever they had talked about. And with that, Emma turned and left James alone once more in the owlry, alone with his own worried thoughts of what was about to come. But Emma knew she would have to wait for the opportune moment to use her valuable information… and she could hardly wait.




Chapter 18: Apologies and a Great Catch
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James tensely felt the last days of November slip by, waiting for the rumors to begin. Whoever was going to use that information (certainly not Emma, he thought, she was a Gryffindor and all, she wouldn’t spread stuff as serious as this!) hadn’t spoken a word yet, and James decided it would be best not to confront Lily about leaking the secret until something did happen. Lily apprehended him first, however.

“James, we need to talk.” Lily said one evening in the common room, as they watched the heavy December snow fall through the window.

“Why have you been avoiding me?” she asked as James sighed, and turned to face her, but he was startled to see tears forming in her eyes.

“Lily! I haven’t been!” James said quickly, trying to console her with this lie, afraid to share his passionate feelings about her. She would think he is a stalker or something, obsessing over her day and night. With Quidditch practice no longer a viable excuse, he had been serving “detention” in the evenings, although really just flying around the grounds till late in the night.

“Yes you have! At least tell me why you don’t want to be together anymore!” Lily whimpered, trying not to have a total break down in front of the whole common room. She had really really really begun to like him, and she thought he had felt the same way. It was really hurting her that he rarely talked to her anymore, never sat with her, was always rushing off. If he would only give her a reason for this avoidance, she would understand, anything was better than being left in the dark like this.

James pulled her aside and began to tell her how he had been under a lot of stress lately, with being Quidditch Captain, his school work, and stuff like that. Lily didn’t buy it.

“You wanted me to be honest with you, and I was. Now I want you to be honest with me.” Lily interrupted him, in the middle of a longwinded recital of his poor Charms grades that he was working on.

“You know me too well. It’s not Quidditch that’s bothering me, or school, or anything like that. It’s you, Lily, you’re driving me crazy! In a good way, of course!!!” He added quickly, realizing too late that crazy might not have been the best way to describe it.

“You’re all I ever think about anymore! And I love thinking about you, but it’s like an obsession.” He continued, but unable to look at her when he spoke. “I have feelings for you that I know I shouldn’t be having so soon, but I can’t help it. I was trying to clear my head by avoiding you, but that only made me long for you even more.”

Lily just stared at him, or more so at the side of his face, as he was no longer speaking directly to her. She felt kind of odd that someone was obsessing over her, but at the same time relieved that James was not angry with her.

“I’m sorry Lily. I know you must think I’m queer or something, and really bothered by me now.” he said sadly.

“Why would I feel bothered that you like me? I thought that it was okay for people to like each other, and I thought you knew that I like you too.” Lily reassured him, still feeling slightly odd.

“So, you’re not afraid that I’m some psycho stalker now?”

“Of course not!” Lily laughed, now able to look directly at his face, as he had turned. “Do you want me to change or spend less time together or something?”

“NO! I like you just the way you are! As long as you’re okay with me being totally crazy about you… I was hoping we could spend more time together. Being apart from you was torture!” James was smiling now, feeling that he had been foolish to get scared over his feelings like that.

December was always a short month at Hogwarts, as the Christmas Holidays took up the last two weeks of the month. Of course this really just meant that the teachers tried to cram twice as much than usual in half the amount of time before the end of the term. And once again, even in the snow, Quidditch practices were daily for the Gryffindor team. James was tutoring Crystal in Transfiguration on the weekends, and she was greatly improving. The match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff was the first weekend of December, and despite the frigid weather and the blizzard conditions, the whole school would of course be there.

The morning of the match Lily woke up very early. This was unusual, as she liked to sleep late on the weekends, but for some reason she woke up and could not fall back to sleep. She hated when that happened, but decided it was useless to lie there for another hour before the other girls got up. She quickly dressed and went down to the common room to work on her muggle studies project. Her friends had signed up to take the class to learn more about where Lily had come from, and Lily took it with them as well. Needless to say it was a very easy grade for her, and she rather enjoyed hearing the wizard point of view on muggles.

She was just putting the finishing touches on her poster (The Muggle Mania of Football!) when Crystal came downstairs.

“Ready for the big game?” Lily asked her, as she did a little charm to make the letters sparkle with iridescent glitter.

“I ‘spose.” Crystal said through a heavy yawn. “Promise you won’t stuff another muffin down my throat if I eat some toast on my own free will?”

“As long as you eat something!” Lily laughed, remembering the last game.

When the rest of the castle had awoken, everyone bundled up to brave the cold and headed for the stands. Lily could barely move because of her many layers, and Tracy teased her, calling her the abominable snow beast, and Lily had to agree that she wasn’t far from the truth.

The wind whipped through the stadium, causing the eyes of the spectators to water with the combined pain of the snow blowing into them and the force of the gusts. Lily, Tracy, and Erica huddled together, waiting for the start of the game. The announcer’s voice boomed out over the snow, but it was apparent that his teeth were chattering in the cold, and he sounded very funny.

“The G-G-G-Gryffindor t-t-t-team takes the field, P-p-p-potter, Black-k-k-k, Bell, Royster-r-r-r, Flanagan, Knightly, and T-t-t-turner! And here comes Hufflepuff! D-d-d-diggory, Macmillan, Abbot-t-t-t, Dawson, Kirkpatrick-k-k-k, Lumsden, and F-f-f-foley!” The announcer managed to stutter out, though his words were barely heard over the whistling of the wind. The players were visibly shivering in their thin robes, as wearing cloaks would slow their flying down.

“And the Q-q-q-quaffle is released and taken by someone, c-c-c-can’t really see through the s-s-s-snow!” This was very true, the snow was coming down so fast and swirling so much, red and yellow looked very nearly the same.

“H-h-h-hufflepuff sc-sc-scores! T-t-ten to z-z-z-zero, Hufflepuff!” called the announcer, and the Gryffindors groaned, although very few in the stands had seen the score.

“Where is C-c-c-crystal? Do you s-s-s-see her?” Erica mumbled after a few more minutes of freezing cold.

“How c-c-c-can you even tell b-b-b-between the t-t-t-teams?” Lily replied, shaking violently with coldness.

“T-t-t-turner nearly scores, stopped by a B-b-b-bludger!” and with this they were able to locate her, the smallest player on the field, soaked to the bone, her blonde ponytail frozen solid.

“Q-q-q-quaffle picked up by Black, passed b-b-b-back to Turner, passes it t-t-t-to Bell. He’s g-g-g-going! Going! Almost there! G-g-g-gryffindor scores! T-t-t-tie game!”

The Gryffindors tried to cheer enthusiastically, but as they were shivering too much, very little cheering was actually done. It probably wouldn’t have made a difference, as the snow silenced just about anything, but this didn’t stop the announcer from trying to be heard. Whether the weather made the match seem to go on forever, or the seekers just couldn’t see anything out there, the game felt extremely drawn out to Lily. Just then a loud CRACK echoed through the stadium, audible even through the blizzard, and a red player began to fall from the sky.

“Oh my gosh! It’s C-c-c-crystal!” Tracy tried to scream as the trio watched in horror as their friend plummeted towards the ground at an alarming rate. The stands were silent, watching the fall. Just then out of nowhere James (Lily thought it was James, at least, recognizing the untidy hair) pelted after Crystal and dived below her.

“C-c-c-catch her! Oh James!” Lily wailed, now shaking from fear. A fall from that far up would surely be serious.

James caught Crystal tightly in both hands, managing to stay on his broom, about 5 feet above the snow covered ground. He did not stop flying however, and shot off in the complete opposite direction. Near the Hufflepuff goalposts, Diggory had gone into a dive, and would surely get there first. James flew through the air at a tremendous speed, no hands on the broom, still cradling an unconscious-looking Crystal. It looked impossible for the Gryffindors, with Diggory already closing in.

James was flying so fast that the two seekers were amazingly almost neck and neck, with James getting closer by the second. The stands were shouting even in the cold, for the excitement of who would get there first was invigorating. Diggory stretched out his hand, reaching for the tiny snitch, although completely invisible to the crowd through the snow. James shifted Crystal to his left quickly, and swiped with his right. What happened next no one in the stands could see, as the seekers reached for the snitch. James brought his hand back quickly to reabsorb Crystal’s weight and swiftly landed on the ground, carrying her over to Madam Hooch.

“Oh, Diggory got it!” Tracy cried disappointedly. But Lily continued to watch him.

“Did he? James wouldn’t have given up that easily.” The crowds watched Diggory, his arm still outstretched. He too looked confused by James’s sudden withdrawal, and it took him a moment to realize that the snitch was gone.

“D-d-d-does Diggory have the snitch?” The announcer called out. Then Diggory dropped his arm and also landed on the ground, and held out his empty hands to the crowd.

“Where’s the snitch?” The announcer voiced the question on everyone’s mind. “Did it get away?”

Madam Pomfrey and Madam Hooch were tending to Crystal. James walked out to the middle of the field and held up his hand. He had the snitch!

The stands, or at least the Gryffindor supporters, erupted. He had snatched it right under Diggory so quickly that Diggory himself hadn’t even noticed. While he did his victory lap of honor, Tracy, Erica, and Lily hurried down to the field to check on Crystal.

“What do you think happened to her?” Lily asked urgently.

“I d-d-d-didn’t see anything, only her fall!” Erica replied, very worried.

“What a great catch though, first C-c-c-crystal and then the snitch!” Tracy added fervently, and they all agreed, it had been a great catch.

Chapter 19: Loopy Raving
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Lily, Tracy, and Erica pushed their way through the crowds and deep snow drifts covering the field, trying to get to where Crystal and James had landed. Madame Pomfrey was administering aid to Crystal, and James and Sirius were looking on concernedly. The girls reached them, and Remus and Peter were not far behind in following. Lily looked at the unconscious figure of Crystal, and it took her a moment to realize that she was not only looking at her red Quidditch robes. Crystal was covered in blood.

Lily’s knees suddenly felt weak at the sight of the glistening red, so bright amid the white snow. Instinctively she grabbed James’s arm to prevent herself from collapsing, and he steadied her. Madame Pomfrey was now cleaning the large gash on Crystal’s head, the source of the blood. It was a very deep cut, and it smoked a little in the frigid air when she poured a thick, steaming potion on it.

“What happened to her?” Erica choked, looking like she might cry as she watched the wound smoke.

“Bludger to the head.” James grunted, unable to talk that well after all that had happened, still in shock of it all and then snatching the snitch.

“I told the headmaster the game should be cancelled with such weather. Couldn’t see it coming, poor dear.”

“She will be all right, won’t she?” Remus asked timidly, not taking his eyes off of Crystal.

“The cut will heal in a day or so. I’m not sure how hard the bludger hit her, whether there will be any memory damage, or how long that will last. But if it struck her so hard that it caused such a deep cut, I’d say she’ll be in the hospital wing for a week, at least.” Madame Pomfrey said solemnly, still tending to the wound. The group simply stared in silence at the seriousness of the wound.

“The thing I’m worried about is the Hypothermia she’s catching right now. I’ll take her up to the Hospital Wing, you lot can follow if you like.” She said, conjuring a stretcher and moving Crystal onto it. Again, silence from them, but they began to follow her, too stunned to say anything.

There were many gasps from the crowd as they made their way through. Clearly people thought Crystal was dead, and to Lily, James, Erica, Tracy, Sirius, Remus, and Lupin, it sure felt that way.

The last week of term felt like the longest week of Lily’s life. Between classes, after dinner, any free time they had, the girls and the Marauders would go and visit Crystal. Just as Madame Pomfrey had said, the wound healed after a day, but it wasn’t until two days later that Crystal woke up. If anything, Crystal awake with little recollection of who any of them were was harder for the friends to bear than an unconscious Crystal. Tracy, Lily, and Erica had all cried when they had tried to talk with her the first day she was awake, but she would only stare at them blankly for a moment before asking them who they were again. It wasn’t until Thursday that any real progress was made.

Lily and James sat at Crystal’s bedside during lunch. The others were eating in the Great Hall. The group had recently decided that it was taking a toll on them to all stop eating (as during every meal they would visit her), so during meal times they would rotate who would visit. Also, Crystal seemed less confused when there were less people crowding around her, and so today it was Lily and James’s turn. At the moment, Crystal was taking a nap, and so Lily was poring through the many cards and flowers that had been sent. James was staring out the window, where snow continued to swirl (it was falling much slower now).

Lily looked back at the bed, and saw that Crystal had awoken and was staring blankly at them once more.

“Hello, Crystal. How are you today? Do you remember us? It’s Lily and James!” Lily said brightly, smiling at Crystal. Crystal said nothing and shifted her gaze to James.

“Hey, Crystal!” James greeted her, no response. Next to him, he could feel Lily begin to break down and weep on his shoulder. Seeing Crystal so apathetic always got to her, and so James took her hands in his. Crystal watched with slight interest.

“Lily, don’t cry, please don’t cry!” He told her, now embracing her. He could feel her sobs as she trembled with sadness. They sat there for a moment, Lily and James unaware of Crystal’s unusual expression on her face. Lily wiped her face with her sleeve, and turned to face Crystal again.

“James?” Crystal asked, and Lily was so shocked that she nearly fell over. James looked pretty floored himself.

“Crystal? Do you remember me?” He asked eagerly, hopefully. Crystal stared at him for another moment, before shifting her gaze to Lily.

“Lily is sad.” Crystal spoke, and Lily could only sit there with her mouth hanging open at her words.

“Give her a kiss. You love her.” Crystal said, smiling slightly at their stunned faces. James kissed Lily on the cheek, and Crystal’s grin widened.

“Do you remember us?” Lily asked tentatively, not wanting to get her hopes up but hoping that she did. James was pondering Crystal’s words.

“I remember you, and him, and that you two like each other, and…” Crystal thought very hard, trying to remember more. Lily held onto Crystal’s hand tightly, her eyes filling with tears of happiness now. James continued to think about what Crystal had said, “You love her.” was it the truth? Did he truly love Lily Evans?

“…and Erica! …and Tracy! …and Remus! …and Peter! …and Sirius!” Crystal exclaimed, and Lily hugged her tightly.

Madame Pomfrey came in and saw an odd sight. Lily was clinging to Crystal, both girls were sobbing but smiling. James was watching them, in a happy but preoccupied way. Just then several more Gryffindors barged in, and watched the scene with her. Tracy and Erica ran to the bedside as well, and soon all four of them were in one, big, tearful, happy hug. Sirius, Remus, and Peter were also beaming, and soon James seemed to snap out of it and smile along with everyone else. Crystal was going to be okay!

“How did you guys jog her memory? Something must have triggered it!” Erica asked Lily later that day, after classes were over and they were back in the common room for the night. Lily thought about what had happened, and how seeing her and James kiss had brought back Crystal’s memory. Strange, she thought, that a simple kiss could bring so much happiness.

“No idea.” Lily lied, feeling that somehow what had happened in there had been private. “It doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that we have Crystal back!”

The more Lily thought about it, the weirder she felt about what had happened. Then there was what Crystal had said, the part about James loving her. Did James really love her? They were only 17, she reminded herself, way too young to be in love! It almost seemed silly. Yet, something in the back of her mind told her that maybe it wasn’t as silly as she thought… but she pushed it out quickly. Love was too serious for just a 17 year old!

She looked across the common room and saw James and Sirius animatedly performing hair-dying charms on one another, Sirius in a violent orange and James in a lurid hot pink. She laughed to herself and assured herself that neither she nor James were in love. James was parading around the room with pink hair, somehow that definitely didn’t qualify for serious enough to be in love.

Crystal had to remain in the hospital wing for the rest of the week, which did not make her very happy. She hated being cooped up, but at least she could actually enjoy her friends’ company whenever they came to visit now. Lily decided on Friday afternoon to skive off Muggle Studies to chat with Crystal privately. Skiving off a class was usually something Lily hated to do, but since it was only Muggle Studies, she decided she would be safe missing a class. The fact that Lily entered the Hospital Wing alone during class time surprised Crystal when Lily entered.

“Hey, Lils. What’s up?” Crystal asked her as she sat down by the bed. “Is something wrong?”

“No.” Lily said firmly, but then stopped herself. “Well, maybe.” Crystal watched her in her confusion. “I mean, yes. Something is bothering me, and I was wondering if you could help me.”

“I’ll try. It must be something really big, if Lily Evans is willing to skip class for it!”

“Crystal, what made you start remembering stuff yesterday while James and I were here?” Lily asked nervously, unsure if she really wanted the answer. Crystal looked at her with a puzzled expression.

“I don’t know. I just was watching you guys, and I guess it sort of clicked.” She replied slowly, sounding unsure. Lily told her what she had said before comprehension had dawned on her.

“Did I really say that? That’s really strange.” Crystal said, smiling now as she didn’t have to strain her mind. Just about everything had come back to her now, but things during the accident and the time she had been out of it were still very vague to her. “I was probably just raving or something, loopy and all!” She joked with Lily, but Lily wasn’t so sure Crystal had been “loopy” when saying it. She let it go, however, and told Crystal of their plans to go dress robe shopping for the Yule Ball at Hogsmeade on Saturday.

Lily felt bad that Crystal couldn’t go with them, as she wouldn’t be released until Saturday evening, but Crystal didn’t seem too bummed about it. On the contrary, Crystal looked very happy.

“Remus is going to spend the whole day with me, in here!” she said excitedly, and Lily had to smile at the simple caring act that Remus was doing for Crystal. And with the prospect of the end of term, shopping in Hogsmeade, and the Christmas Holidays, Lily put what Crystal had said during her “loopiness” out of mind.


(A/N): Hello! I am here to do some advertising (yay!). It would be so great if you could check out my new story "Only Time Will Tell". Don't worry though, I will still be working on this one!

(A/N): Slight setback... the chapter I was working on was EATEN BY MY COMPUTER! So, it may take me a bit longer than I hoped to update, as I am kinda bummed about having to try to rewrite the same chapter I had already done... oh well!!!

Chapter 20: Sirius takes a spill and a bow
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“So, where are you girls heading today?” Sirius asked Lily, Tracy, and Erica brightly. The girls and him, along with James and Peter, were watching Hagrid trying to force the main door open against the three feet of snow that blocked it. It was the last weekend of the term, and a Hogsmeade day.

“Well, first we need to do some dress shopping. Then after that we need to go shoe shopping. Next we need to go accessory shopping. Oh, and we can’t forget to go Christmas shopping! And then shopping for Crystal’s birthday, it’s in January. I need some new quills, so we might need to go shopping. Then Lily needs to buy more owl treats for Iris, she prefers them over the kind they have at school. And after that we’ll probably go shopping!” Tracy ran through the agenda, Sirius listened with apparent difficulty, as the wind outside whistled loudly across the opening that Hagrid had managed to force open thus far.

“So, to sum it up, I would say that they are planning to go shopping today.” Sirius concluded. Just last night James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter had asked Lily, Tracy, Crystal, and Erica to the Yule Ball on Christmas, and for the girls this meant they needed to go shopping.

“Well, think you’ll take a break sometime during that shopping?” James asked hopefully.

“Probably at some point.” Lily replied. “But shopping is our main priority!”

“Don’t we know!” James muttered under his breath to Sirius, but turned to the girls and said, “Maybe you could meet up with us at the Three Broomsticks later and we could all have a butterbeer!”

They all decided that this would be fun, and by this time Hagrid had managed to wedge the door open enough for people to get in and out. And with that, the girls set off to do what they did best. Shop.

The Marauders, for whatever reason, did not share this passion for shopping. But as it was nearing Christmas, and they did want to at least look ok for the dance, they felt that it was a necessary evil, at least for the day.

“Get the dress robes out of the way, you reckon?” Sirius suggested to James and Peter, who sighed and nodded grimly. They walked into Gladrag’s Wizard Wear, a large shop containing wall-to-wall racks of robes, and were temporarily at loss for words with the sheer number of robes.

All colors, all fabrics, all styles, all sizes, and anything else you can categorize robes by, they had them all. Where would they ever begin to look? A saleswitch soon came to their rescue, which they were most grateful for.

“Dress robes, boys?” She asked them, startling them out of their stupor. They nodded, and with that she began to dart around the room, stopping at various racks to grab different robes. They soon were laden down with an assortment of robes each, and she sent them to the dressing rooms to try them on.

Sirius came out first, wearing velvety robes of a dark blue. James wasn’t sure the color was right, and told him he resembled an overgrown blueberry. Needless to say, Sirius went back to try a different one on pretty quickly.

Peter’s first robes were an unusual yellowish color, and were not at all flattering on his more rotund tummy. James and Sirius both agreed that he looked like a blob of mustard, and so he went back to change.

Sirius came back out, this time wearing a shade of maroon. Normally this color made James retch, but it actually suited Sirius quite well. As Sirius went to have the saleswitch alter it, James whispered to Peter, “Now he looks like a purple grape!”

Peter next had a subtle shade of green on, and although he slightly resembled a squat, moss-covered boulder, James could not find any food or condiments to compare him to, and they decided that green was the choice. Next, James tried on his robes.

The first one was a satiny black one, very sleek but he decided it looked very masculine. He came out with it on, and it fit perfectly. I was lucky I got a winner on the first try! He thought to himself as he changed back into his school robes.

When the robes had been successfully altered and purchased, the boys were absolutely exhausted from ALL the shopping they had done, and decided to head over to the Three Broomsticks a little early to wait for the girls.

They stepped in and found themselves inside the pub squashed against the wall from the crowding students. Everyone had come, it seemed, enjoying the last visit of the term before the Holidays.

“Grab us a table, I’ll get the drinks.” Sirius said in a muffled tone, as his face was smooshed against James’s shoulder. Peter and James pushed their way through the crowd, reaching an empty table. Sitting down it wasn’t much better, as people kept bumping into them. Someone carrying drinks accidentally sloshed quite a bit of butterbeer on Peter’s head, and he was busy mopping himself up when the very last person James wanted to see sat down at the table.

“I see you’ve been shopping, James.” Emma said, smiling flirtatiously with him. James did not return the smile, but politely nodded. He had become wary of Emma, with the threat that the secret would get out, but also because she would never leave him alone, even when he was with Lily.

“May I see?” She asked, motioning to the bag holding his robes he had set on his lap. Once again he nodded, searching the crowd for a sign of Sirius’s return or Lily coming in. No sign of either.

“Ohh! These are sooo silky smooth!” Emma squealed when she pulled out the robes, and began stroking them in a way that made James uncomfortable.

“Found a date to the dance yet?”

“Yes.” Relieved that he could now give her a hint to go away he replied, and turned around to face her. He wished instantly that he hadn’t.

Emma’s robes were unbuttoned rather low, revealing quite a lot of, well, more than he would have liked to see. He tried desperately to look anywhere but there, unfortunately Emma was leaning over the table towards him in a position so that it was really all he could see. He snatched back his robes.

“Are you going with anyone?” He asked, more to distract himself than to engage in conversation.

“No.” she sighed, pretending that she didn’t care, hoping that he would notice how dejected she felt. “Although I had a great time with you at the last dance, they really don’t appeal to me that much.” she said dismissively, batting her eyelashes.

“You never told me who YOU were taking!” She said, as if she had suddenly remembered that he had omitted that minor detail.

“I thought you would have guessed. I am taking Lily. You know, LILY? Who I’ve been together with for, what, TWO MONTHS!?!” He said, a little louder than he meant to, but feeling rather frustrated that she would not take a hint. Sirius was walking slowly as not to trip with the bottles of butterbeer he was carrying, but noticed Emma at the table.

When he got nearer, he could also see the pained expression on James’s face, and the awkward position Emma was in. He decided he would do a little show for the crowd.

“WHOOPS!” Sirius hollered loudly, catching the attention of James, Emma, Peter, and a good majority of the rest of the pub. And with that, he went into a tremendous fake-trip, the butterbeer bottles leaping from his hands. He of course fell flat on his face, but the butterbeer drenched Emma. Partly because of her unusual positioning, but a large amount of the steamy hot liquid fell into her robes.

“AHH! HOT!” she exclaimed, jumping up and dancing around on the spot trying to cool down. The students all laughed hysterically. Just then Lily, Erica, and Tracy entered, and watched the unusual scene unfold. Lily went over to the table, Emma still hopping up and down in a ridiculous manner.

“Didn’t know it was the style to where the robes so, um, open!” Lily exclaimed, pointing at Emma. She definitely had a point, with all the bouncing around Emma had done, her robes had become a great deal more open than they had been before. Emma shot her a look of daggers (which was extremely funny, as her face was dripping with butterbeer), clutched her robes more tightly, and stormed out of the Three Broomsticks, followed by the laughing of the students.

Lily sat down next to James, and Sirius leapt up off of the floor, amid tumultuous applause from the crowd. Unable to resist, he climbed up on top of the table, and took a sweeping bow.

“Good show, Padfoot!” James called out to him, and Sirius gave him a wink, which James knew meant, “I told you I’d come through for you!”

And as Lily chatted animatedly about all the fun she had had shopping, James couldn’t help but smile as he watched her green eyes flash excitedly.

“James! Why are you smiling like that?” she asked him, giggling at the goony-grin he had plastered on his face. He didn’t answer her, but he knew that he was smiling because he was going to the Yule Ball with Lily Evans, and not Emma Donaldson.

(A/N): Yes, I know, I FINALLY UPDATED (told you I'd come through in the end, Lucille)!!! The reason for not updating for awhile was not because I am lazy and haven't felt like writing (although I am lazy!) is because after deleting this chapter, my computer's internet completely died on me, but thankfully my father is a computer WHIZ and he was able to hook me back up after a couple of days! So, thank my daddy for this chapter, GOOD JOB, POPS!

Also, ADVERTISING DOES WORK! (Thanks, LilyG!!!) Want to see what I mean, check out my other fic ONLY TIME WILL TELL. And tell me that you agree about the advertising!

Chapter 21: A Full Moon and the Yule Ball
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The first week of the Christmas Holidays were spent enjoying the three feet of snow that had collectively fallen, and Hogwarts truly was a winter wonderland. Hagrid’s cabin looked like a frosted gingerbread house, and the lake had frozen over. Christmas Day, Lily took this opportunity to teach her friends how to ice-skate. As it was a muggle thing to do, they had no idea what Lily was talking a bout, but she assured them it was fun.

“You glide along the surface of the ice! It’s not hard, really.” She tried to explain again, while she, James, and Sirius transfigured the bottoms of their boots so the blades were there. Tracy, Sirius, James, Peter, Erica, and Remus looked doubtful. Crystal was finally out of the hospital wing, but Madame Pomfrey had given her strict orders not to do any physical activity. At least she had allowed Crystal to go outside, although she had insisted on putting so many cloaks and scarves on Crystal that she was barely recognizable, and wouldn’t have been able to move enough to do any physical activity anyway.

Crystal laughed as she watched Lily demonstrating how to put on ice-skates. Sirius and James clearly thought she was mad, to stand on that little blade was surely impossible! To their astonishment, Lily was standing on the ground fine, and she helped the others lace their skates up. James promptly fell over, and knocked over the entire line of them, as they were all unsteady. This was going to be harder than Lily thought.

“I am not sure I understand WHAT we do when we’re on the ice. Will you show us, Lily?” Erica asked, trying to stabilize herself by holding onto Peter, who was even more wobbly than her.

“Ok…” Lily said, and she stepped onto the ice. Pushing off through her toes she gracefully glided out, and did a simple turn. Her friends, having never seen anyone ice skate before, let alone professional ice-skaters, oohhed and aahhed. Lily felt very silly skating all alone on the expansive lake, but found her friends astonished faces very comical, so she did a gliding arabesque. Then she skated back to the edge of the lake and held out her hand for James to come on. He lifted on skate off the ground and onto the ice, and felt his foot fly out from underneath him. He found himself sitting on his butt on very cold ice.

“Apparently you do not possess the same grace you have in the air when you’re on ice!” Sirius teased him. “Watch how it’s done!”

Sirius walked cautiously to the edge of the lake, and gingerly placed one foot on. Relieved he was not sitting on his butt, he began to lift his other foot, but before it reached the ice he lost his balance, tried to step back onto solid ground, and found himself not only on his butt, but gliding across the ice on his butt!

Tracy managed to get both feet onto the ice, but when Lily tried to pull her along she too lost her balance and slid on her stomach several feet, ramming into Sirius. James and Sirius still had not managed to get themselves up yet, and Lily couldn‘t help but laugh at the site of them.

Erica might have actually been able to stand on her own if Peter hadn’t been clinging to her for balance, causing them both to topple over. Remus was by far the best, managing to stand alone and even move an inch or so before tripping and landing on top of James.

After a couple of hours everyone had improved immensely, Remus even performing a tentative turn. James might have been able to do a turn if he had allowed Lily to help him, but he was determined to do one on his own. Soon the girls decided that they needed to go get ready, and everyone trooped back up to the castle, almost tunneling through the deep snowdrifts. Everyone except for Lily and Crystal were very sore from falling on their butts, and James whined that he wouldn’t be able to dance that night, but he only got a laugh from Lily and no sympathy.

Getting ready for the first dance had almost been torture for Lily, listening to her friends talk excitedly about their dates and the fun they were going to have. But getting ready this time, Lily was the most excited of them all, yet she couldn’t explain why she felt this way. She was happy, and that was all she cared about right then.

After showers, hair, make-up, and robes had been put on, the girls went to stand in front of the mirror to examine themselves again. Lily’s new robes were a turquoise and shimmered when the light caught them. If Lily had looked stunning at the first dance, it was nothing to how she looked now.

“Wow, Lils!” Crystal breathed, watching Lily twirl in front of the mirror. Lily couldn’t help but beam. Her smile had made all the difference.

Downstairs in the common room, James was pacing the floor nervously. Did he look alright? Would Lily think he looked alright? Would Lily decide not to go with him at the last minute? Sirius watched him, reassuring him to no avail. Remus sat on the couch, feeling very tired. He knew he shouldn’t go to the dance tonight, but he just couldn’t let Crystal down… it was supposed to be cloudy, so maybe the moon wouldn’t be visible. Remus hoped this would be enough to prevent him from transforming, and hadn’t told Sirius or James about it, knowing they would stop him from going. He watched James pace some more with Sirius, putting it out of mind. James was so nervous he didn’t realize at first that Lily was standing right next to him, also watching him pace.

“Ready to go?” She asked, still beaming. He jumped a little when he saw her. How could he describe her? He was speechless. Sirius, to James’s relief, answered for him.

“Sure is! Here’s your date, Lily!” And with that, Sirius pushed James into Lily, and they set off for the Great Hall.

“Lily, you, um, well, you look, um, well…” James stammered, but Lily smiled at him.

“You’re starting to sound like Peter around girls. I though the great James Potter wasn’t intimidated by anyone!” And after that, James was able to speak more normally, as he didn’t want to sound like Peter. But also, just being in the presence of Lily made him feel so free, like he could just be himself around her, didn’t have to try to impress her.

This time Remus and Crystal sat at a different table, and Lily, James, Sirius, Tracy, Erica, and Peter sat together. Lily ordered fettuccini alfredo again, and James ordered prime rib. Lily barely noticed what she ate, she was so deeply engrossed in conversation with James. She vaguely wondered why she had ever been so wary of him before.

After the plates had been cleared and the dance floor was open, as soon as Dumbledore invited the head boy and head girl to start the first dance, James stood up and led Lily out to the dance floor.

“Feels a little bit different out here this time, doesn’t it?” James commented, and Lily smiled.

“Well, last time I pretty much was telling myself that I hated your guts while we were dancing, and this time I’m telling myself how great it is to be here with you, if you mean that kind of difference.” Lily told him as he positioned his hands on her waist.

“I’d say that would make things a little different!” James replied as the band struck up the first tune.

It was a rather slow song, the kind for dancing close, and Lily felt that she and James were rather close, but she didn’t mind. She thought of the awkward booth the had shared at Madame Puddifoot’s, and was going to whisper to James to remind him about it when he spun her into a low dip. It had taken Lily by complete surprise, so it wasn’t very graceful. Well, he had already embarrassed her once out here, she might as well do the same for him.

Lily jumped into his arms, and he just barely managed to catch her it had happened so fast. Everyone in the Great Hall was watching them, wondering whether their Head Boy and Girl had gone completely insane. James made a good recovery by spinning around with Lily in his arms. It amazed him how light she felt in his arms. Gradually, more people came out onto the dance floor, but James and Lily didn’t notice them as they were having too much fun doing energetic dancing, trying to make the other look like more of a fool than themselves.

Dumbledore and McGonagall waltzed by them, Dumbledore wearing an amused look on his face.

“Changing tactics seems to have worked, eh, Potter?” And he winked at James, who grinned back while at the same trying to keep up with Lily in the jitter-bug dance they were doing.

“Although I must say, it is hard to tell whether you are trying to kill each other off with your unusual, er, dancing abilities!” Dumbledore said, smiling at them, his penetrating blue eyes twinkling.

The song stopped, but Lily and James didn’t, although both were breathing rather hard from the dancing. Lily was doing that slightly resembled the modern-day (well, not really modern any more as it was in the 90s, but modern for them anyways…) Macarena, when James lifted her up and swung her around in circles. She laughed as she watched the Christmas-decorated Great Hall and the brightly colored dress robes of the students swirl in front of her, feeling slightly dizzy. Why had she ever hated James? She wondered this as he let her down lightly to her feet, and beamed at her, panting slightly.

“Want to stop for a moment to grab a drink?” He asked her, and she slipped her hand into his.

“Yea, I was about to pass out from that, let’s take a break!” She sighed appreciatively as they left the dance floor to where the refreshment table was. Lily watched her fellow students dance, the colorful robes swishing. Freddie Macmillan spotted her and waved. Lily grinned and waved back, James, however, linked arms with her once more and tugged a little to get her to follow him. They sat at a table, resting their feet and sipping eggnog, when they noticed someone wearing moss-green robes dodging their way through the dance floor. James recognized the person as Peter, rushing towards them with an anxious expression on his face.

“Wormtail, what’s wrong? Where are Remus and everyone else?” James asked, looking concerned.

“Remus… Full Moon…” Peter gasped, trying to catch his breath. James put the two words together, and knew that something was definitely not right.

“Crystal… Remus… rosebushes… clouds parted….” he tried to get the words out, still clutching his side from running.

“Transformed… Sirius tried to control him… unconscious…” Peter continued, sounding more fearful of what he had just witnessed as he told them about it. He opened his mouth to begin to gasp again, but James had already taken off for the gardens. Peter sank into the now empty chair next to Lily.

“You mean he and Crystal were outside near the rosebushes when the clouds parted and Remus transformed?” Lily asked, in an awed state of shock. Peter nodded.

“I don’t think Crystal saw him transform, it was darker in that part of the garden, and she stumbled and fell.” Peter got out with out any pauses for breath.

“Well, then why is Sirius unconscious?” Lily asked urgently. Peter opened his mouth to speak, but then banged his head on the table.

“Nooo , you weren’t supposed to know about this…” Peter moaned, head still down.

“James told me already, it’s okay, you can tell me.” Peter looked startled at these words, James had told her?? Well, if she hadn’t known before, she probably had some idea of what was going on now anyways….


“Sirius tried to keep him in check in his animagus form, the dog, since Remus isn’t really himself when he transforms. James is always there with us, and helps keep him in check when we roam Hogsmeade, but Sirius alone just got batted aside by Remus, hit the wall and is out cold.” Peter sighed, looking very grave. “OH MY GOSH HE IS OUT COLD WE NEED TO GET HIM TO THE HOSPITAL WING!!!!!!!” Peter shouted as if this fact had just set in, causing Lily to jump and several other people to stare.

He and Lily sprang up and sprinted out of the Great Hall towards the gardens. This was certainly a more interesting dance than the first one… thought Lily, wishing she was still in James’s arms and hoping that Sirius, Remus, and James were alright.


Chapter 22: Falling into the Cauldron
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Lily and Peter hurried through the heavy oak doors and out into the gardens. Flitwick had conjured huge rosebushes there, and real, fluttering fairies shone like little jewels from the branches. The whole setting would have been quite romantic, with the trellises, the snow reflecting the fairy light, and the full moon, had there not been a massive dog with a freely bleeding head sprawled unconscious by one of the garden walls. Peter rushed over to Sirius (Lily was assuming Sirius was the dog, she could see how his eating habits would resemble those of a canine), and Lily conquered her immediate instinct to hurl at the sight of the crimson blood spreading across the white, snowy ground and joined Peter at the dog’s side.

Peter mumbled a spell and tapped the dog’s head with his wand. Immediately the dog began to change, morphing in front of Lily’s own eyes to Sirius. The change was not comforting at all, seeing instead Sirius with a pool of blood around his head. Just then a rustling came from the bushes behind them, and Crystal, Tracy, and Erica emerged, Crystal’s robes having a large rip at the hem.

“Lily? Peter? What’s going on? Where is… OH MY GOD!” Tracy pointed, seeing Sirius on the ground. “OH MY GOD!” she screamed again. Peter was trembling, Sirius definitely did not look good, and what’s more Tracy, Crystal and Erica would find out about their secret. Lily stood up and faced the girls.

“Go quickly and fetch Madame Pomfrey! He’s losing a lot of blood!” She commanded them, and Erica and Crystal set off. Tracy, however, knelt at Sirius’s side.


“What happened to him? Crystal and Remus were talking in the rosebushes, and Sirius, Erica, Peter, and I were eavesdropping. Then Crystal tripped over one of the bushes because her hem was caught. Erica and I were trying to get her untangled, and it was really hard to see because the fairy lights in these bushes had gone out. Then someone let out a howl, it sounded like, and then Sirius was shouting. Then we could here this big struggle, but we couldn’t see anything! Then Peter dashed out, then what sounded like James also started shouting. Then it was quiet. We were too scared, we were afraid to come out! What happened to Sirius??” Tracy asked again, after explaining the situation from her point of view. Lily paused for a moment, unsure of what to tell her as she held a wad of her dress robes against the wound on Sirius’s head.

“Well, um, Peter was telling me that he thought it might have been, well,” She began to say, wanting to tell Tracy the truth, but deciding against it. “Well, we think it was some kind of animal who attacked Sirius, then dragged Remus and James off.” She lied quickly, and Peter nodded in agreement to support the first story that had popped into her head. Tracy’s eyes widened in horror.

“Where do you think it took them?” she asked them in an awed, hushed voice as she held onto Sirius’s hand, which was very cold because of the snow. Lily thought hard, where would an animal take two of its prey??

“Forbidden Forest, most likely.” Peter answered for her, and Lily was surprised that Peter came up with such a good fib so quickly. Just then the sound of hurried footsteps reached their ears, and turning around the three of them saw Erica, Crystal, Madame Pomfrey, Professor McGonagall, and Dumbledore coming. The three adults looked very shocked by the sight that greeted them.

Tracy was looking very distraught indeed, her eye makeup streaking her face from her tears. Peter was very white and had blood on his hands from trying to clean the number of cuts on Sirius’s arms and face. And Lily was covered in blood, using her robes to sop up blood still flowing from the deep gash along the side of Sirius’s head.

“Where is our friend Mr. Lupin?” Dumbledore asked, his blue eyes very alert and serious. Lily and Peter could not come up with an answer for that, but Dumbledore had not been addressing them. Lily turned around and saw James limping towards them hurriedly, also covered in scratches.

“He’s still in the forest.” James replied hoarsely as he held onto one of the trellises for support, his right leg shaking violently under his weight. Through his ripped robes Lily could see a long cut, oozing blood. James looked at the group around Sirius with apprehension, wondering how much Crystal, Tracy, and Erica had witnessed, and how much they knew. Lily answered the question for him, explaining what had happened to Dumbledore in the garden, involving a large animal attacking Sirius, Peter getting James for help, the large animal carrying James and Remus away, and Lily and Peter finding Sirius here. She did not mention Remus being a werewolf, nor the Marauders being Animagi. Dumbledore kept his penetrating stare on her as she spoke, and Lily knew he could see right through her story, but he simply shot a quick look at the moon before turned to McGonagall and Madame Pomfrey without any questions about the tale.

“Poppy, Minerva, first take Mr. Black up to the hospital wing. Mr. Potter, Mr. Pettigrew, and Ms. Evans will come with me to my office. Mr. Lupin is safe now, and will return on schedule.” McGonagall and Madame Pomfrey looked surprised that Dumbledore was accepting Lily’s story, but both nodded and began to conjure stretchers and the like. “Ms. Turner, Ms. Aibee, and Ms. Roberts, you are free to return to the dance, or you may wish to proceed to your dormitories. I cannot allow you to accompany Mr. Black to the hospital wing, however, nor can I let you go into the forest to look for Mr. Lupin.” Dumbledore told them, as Tracy and Crystal’s mouths had begun to open in protest.

“See you in the dormitory, Lils.” Erica told her as the other girls set off, Tracy still teary eyed and Crystal trying to walk in her ripped robes. Lily nodded to acknowledge she had heard, but felt too tired or too overwhelmed to say anything in reply. Professor McGonagall and Madame Pomfrey floated the stretcher carrying Sirius up towards the castle, leaving Dumbledore, James, Peter, and Lily alone in the garden.

“Shall we step inside?” Dumbledore asked them, looking polite but very wary at the same time. They too began the walk towards the castle, Lily feeling very nervous about going to the headmaster’s office.

Her nervousness was temporarily abandoned and replaced by curiosity and interest upon entering the truly magnificent circular room. She was intrigued by the sparkling, whirring silver objects on the desk, and the many snoozing portraits of old heads. Dumbledore’s voice brought her back to the present situation, and her nerves.

“It seems like there is a very odd coincidence that Mr. Black is attacked by an animal, an animal that then drags Mr. Potter and Mr. Lupin into the Forbidden Forest when there is a full moon out, meaning Mr. Lupin would have become a werewolf.” Dumbledore addressed them, smiling very mildly, still looking a little wary. The penetrating look swept over them, one by one. When it passed to Lily, she knew that it was useless to lie to the Headmaster when he probably knew the truth already.

“That’s not exactly what happened, Professor.” Lily spoke up, and James buried his head in his robes, fearing that she would spill all. Dumbledore’s eyes widened slightly as if surprised by this news, although Lily reminded herself he had known all along she had been lying.

“There was no animal that carried James and Remus off. Remus just turned into a werewolf. Sirius tried to hold him back to prevent him from biting anyone, and he was thrown aside, hitting his head. Peter ran into the Great Hall to tell James, and James went and got him into the forest where he wouldn’t bite anyone. Peter and I followed, and we found Sirius in the garden. Crystal, Erica, and Tracy didn’t see anything, as the fairy lights had been extinguished.” She told him truthfully, although leaving out the part that Sirius was a dog and James had probably transformed into the stag in order to get Remus to the woods without getting bitten.

“Is this what happened?” He said, turning his stare to James and Peter. Both boys nodded enthusiastically. Dumbledore walked rather unconcernedly around to the other side of his desk, where he stopped and peered out of the window.

“If you say so, then you may go…” he said to them without turning around. Lily exhaled slowly with relief and had begun to slide her chair out when he spoke again. “Lucky thing Mr. Lupin did not bite you or Mr. Black. It usually takes another animal to get a werewolf from biting others…” Dumbledore said as if simply speaking what he was thinking. James went very white at these words.

“Just lucky, I guess, Professor.” He said, as Dumbledore continued to look outside, in the direction of the forest.

“Very well, Mr. Potter, very well.” Dumbledore replied, turning around to give them one last penetrating look. But this time, he smiled at them. “You might as well return to your dormitories now. I do believe, however, that you owe the still lovely Ms. Evans a few more dances out there.” with this he smiled more broadly, and Lily felt herself blush. “It would be a shame if you couldn’t enjoy a night with such a pretty date, even though she is covered in blood!”

James nodded and took Lily’s hand again. It was a rather gross matter more than anything, as both hands were flecked with blood and dirt. Lily smiled nevertheless, enjoying the feel of his warm palm against her own. Peter followed them down before turning off and heading for the common room.

If the pair had gotten stares before while dancing in the unique way they had been, it was nothing to what they got upon reentering the Great Hall looking the way they were. Lily’s hair had fallen from it’s elegant bun, and draped down on her shoulders. Her turquoise robes were rather wrinkled and there was a very large spot of blood near the bottom where she had tried to slow Sirius’s bleeding. James looked like even more of a mess. There were several leaves and twigs caught in his hair from the forest, and several scratches on his face. The gash on his leg was still bleeding a little, and his robes were torn in several places. But they could care less with their appearances right now as they stepped onto the dance floor once more.

The band struck up a slow song, and this time, instead of the rambunctious dancing of before, James held Lily close, and they revolved slowly around their spot. He could smell her shampoo, delicious like peaches. Lily rested her chin on his shoulder. James whispered in her ear, “Thanks for not telling Dumbledore about us Marauders being animagi… you really stuck up for me.”

Lily smiled at his words, remembering something that had happened at the beginning of the year. “Just like you did for me…” she whispered back, and he too remembered that day on the train, the letter she had received, that first smile they had shared. Lily turned her face so they were looking eye to eye.

Those green eyes. James looked into those green, emerald, sparkling eyes. He just wanted to look into those green eyes, for as long as he could…

Lily looked into James’s own gray and hazel eyes. She really looked deep into them this time. Her dream, looking into those cauldrons of gray… she had been curious what was in there, but too afraid to look to deep for she might have fallen in. There was no mistake now, she could see deep into James’s gray eyes, see past her reflection on the surface, past the gray themselves. She could see James, who he really was. Not the Quidditch star James, not the prank-pulling James that got her covered in yellow paint. Just James…

Lily had fallen into the cauldron of gray by finding what was in the bottom, and she had fallen in love.




Ok, I know this must be getting annoying but... ADVERTISING TIME!

To make it very simple, I am providing you with this link to my other story, Only Time Will Tell. It would mean a lot to me if you, my faithful fic readers, would check it out and tell me what you think. Thanks a bunch!!!

never mind about the whole link thing, I can't get that to come up... but don't let that stop you, please read Only Time Will Tell anyways!!!

Chapter 23: Poppy, Pent up Energy, and The truth about Redheads
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"Had someone told me that this is what it feels like to be in love, I would have done so sooner!"




Sirius was one of those resilient people, down but not out for the count. His cut had been deep, but relatively easy to mend. The day after the dance he was fighting Madame Pomfrey tooth and nail to leave the hospital wing, but she would hear nothing of it.

“Poppy! Look at me! I am strong, I am healthy! Do I look like I was ever injured to you?” Sirius shouted, calling her by her first name, which was often his tendency towards teachers he felt he could manipulate (Flitwick, for example…). But Madame Pomfrey was equally as willful as Sirius.

“Absolutely not, Mr. Black! You will remain in that bed till I deem you healthy to leave, and not a moment before!” She scolded him sternly, forcing him back to his bed. “And don’t call me Poppy!”

Remus was another story. Transforming was always hard on his system, and in addition he was feeling guilty for attacking Sirius, so he had barely spoken a word since returning from the forest. Having no one to bite, he had to scratch and bite himself, and was not in a very good condition. Although staying in the hospital bed next to Sirius, Remus could not even bring himself to look at his friend, even though Sirius reminded him that he couldn’t have helped it and to just get over it and move on.

Naturally, the whole school was eager to know what had happened that night, and rather than taking the word of Lily, Peter, and James, who assured them that Sirius and Remus were fine, they preferred to hear the tale from the “victims‘” own mouths. James had filled Sirius in on the story Lily and Peter had made up, and was sticking to it remarkably well, considering his usual habit of elaborate stories that strayed far from the truth. However, as it wasn’t the truth to begin with, Sirius had James’s permission to embellish away (which, of course, he did!)

Here was what happened according to Sirius (as he told a group of 4th year girls who had come to visit him and wish him well):

“Remus and Crystal were talking in the rosebushes, when a huge gust of wind blew and extinguished the fairy lights. Something grabbed Remus, and had begun to drag him away, when I came to his rescue! I lunged at it, not even bothering with my wand, not caring whether I attacked a human, or a beast! It was a bloody fight, and I yelled to Peter to get James for backup (In reality Sirius had been out cold long before this…, But Lily only nodded along), as he has a great right hook (James always felt that part was a nice touch to the story.)

"While doing this, I stumbled in the dark, and that’s when this animal dealt me that fateful blow, straight to my head (This story is going to his head, alright! Tracy muttered to Lily, watching the girls simper over Sirius).

"But by some mere chance, it didn’t completely knock me out! I struggled to remain conscious, I couldn’t let them take Remus away, and the girls were unprotected! Just then James came and took up where I had left off, and he chased the beast into the woods! Lily, the sweet angel of mercy she is, and Peter, that fellow of stout heart, they came to my side when all seemed lost! (Lily always found it hard to keep a straight face during this part, as Sirius would get so emotional and dramatic).

"With them by my side, I did not lose hope in my right hand man James, and I finally thought no more…”

Sirius then would sigh deeply and put up a distressed face, and the girls would once again simper and fuss over him. James would then shoo them away, telling them that Sirius needed his rest and his condition might worsen if he didn’t.

Together they put on a dazzling performance, and the only ones who found it highly unlikely were the people that needed to be convinced the most: Tracy, Erica, and Crystal.

Lily and Erica were working on the Charms homework they had been assigned over the holidays in the common room later that day, the feeling of excitement and anticipation gone as the dance was now over. Lily was busily checking her facts in a hefty volume titled, “Charming but Dangerous: Using your charms as an element of self defense!” for her essay on the subject, but Erica had her mind on something completely off the topic.

“What really happened in the garden last night, Lils?” she asked Lily, taking her by surprise with the unexpectedness of the question. Lily blinked, unsure of how to answer.

“What do you mean? You heard Sirius…” Lily began, deciding that if she could avoid the question she wouldn’t have to answer it.

“Lily.” Erica said, smiling at her, “You don’t really think that Crystal, Tracy, and I are thick enough to believe the tales that come out of Sirius’s mouth, even though some are!” Lily had to smile at this too, it did amaze her that some girls accepted Sirius’s words like they were the Bible or something.

“Well, I can see how you might doubt his side of the story, but James, Peter, and I are reliable!”

“Yea, I know you are… and I trust Peter, but….” Erica trailed off, but Lily had a feeling she knew what Erica was going to say.

“You don’t trust James’s word?”

“Well, he is Sirius’s best friend, and we all know how deceptive they can be when it suits their interests.” Erica said slowly, trying to find the best way to word it. “And I know he wouldn’t lie or anything to hurt anyone (well, maybe Snape…), but sometimes when he gets that crooked grin…” Erica continued, but Lily was looking almost glazed over, a kind of dazed smile playing across her face.

“Yea… that smile. I know what you mean.” Lily sighed, picturing that smile in her mind, the silly lopsided grin he reserved specifically for times of conniving with Sirius or times of togetherness with her.

“Hello? Earth to Lily? Lils, are you in there??” Erica asked, waving her hand in front of Lily’s eyes. Lily turned to look at her, still blissfully thinking of James.

“Girl, you’ve got it bad!” Erica exclaimed, laughing at her friend’s face that was so obviously happy with love.

“Got what?” Lily asked, smiling back. Erica leaned over the table to get closer.

“As if you didn’t know! Lily, you are SO OUT OF IT! You love him, he loves you, what happened at that dance last night that you didn’t spill last night with us?” Erica asked her slyly, and Lily’s mouth opened in shock.

“Oh my gosh! Nothing like THAT!” she honestly rebuked Erica, who’s eyebrows raised as she said this. “I swear! We just danced!”

Erica gave her a “right, whatever you say Lils, I don’t think so” look, but dropped the matter as they resumed their Charms homework.

***

“So, what did Dumbledore say about it?” Sirius asked James in the hospital wing. Madame Pomfrey was currently tending to a Hufflepuff 3rd year who had gotten locked inside a broom closet by Peeves, but she had locked the door to ensure Sirius didn’t try to leave. He was, however, jumping on his bed trying to get rid of his excessive pent-up energy, and James found it very difficult to talk to him when he was like this.

“Not much really. He knew that it was because of the full moon and that we had lied down in the garden, but he didn’t find out about us being animagi. Lily covered up for us.” he tried to tell him, not really sure if Sirius was listening as he was attempting to do a backflip on the springy mattress.

“Yea, she’s clever, that one. Red heads are like that, you know. You better watch her James, she’s fiery!” Sirius warned him as he landed on his but from his flip. “She’s one of those girls who follows the rules, Prongs, you think you know them, but then WHAMO! You do one little thing and they are off like a firecracker! Red hair, you know…” Sirius continued to tell him, but James was looking off into space, a silly, lopsided grin on his face.

“JAMES!” Sirius yelled in his ear, slowing his bouncing to properly startle his friend.

“Huh?” James asked him, not really interested, his mind elsewhere. Actually, it was on Lily… he could see her red hair fanning out behind her as it had last night when he had spun her around. God he loved that hair! And that cute little nose she had, especially when she would wrinkle it up in disdain… and those lips… and those eyes… green eyes… lovely like always…

“PPPPPPPPPRRRRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Sirius bellowed, and James nearly fell off of his chair. Even Remus in the bed next to him started in his sleep.

“Holy crap, Sirius! What was that for?” James asked him indignantly, he had been savoring the image of Lily twirling again.

“I can’t believe it has happened!” Sirius muttered quietly, in a state of disbelief. “You’re gone! Beyond the point of no return!” he continued, James watching his utter awe. “My best mate has finally met his match… Prongs, you’re in love!”

James grinned again, turning scarlet as he rumpled his hair.

“MR. BLACK! GET OFF OF THAT BED AND STOP ACTING LIKE A BABOON!” Madame Pomfrey raged as she stormed in, furious to see Sirius standing on the bed, the sheets in disarray from his bouncing.

Sirius got down, but smiled innocently at her. “Come now, Poppy! Just a little exercise to keep me nimble!” Madame Pomfrey was not amused at all, but James couldn’t help but snigger at his friend as Sirius jovially resumed to his hospital bed.

“Confinement has never suited him at all, Madame Pomfrey!” James told her, and she shook her head exasperatedly as they watch Sirius open a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and down the contents.

“And the last thing he needs is more sugar!” She said as she yanked the box (now empty) from his hands. James knew she would give in sooner or later and let him leave, or Sirius would drive her up a wall.




Comment from the Author: I thougt it was kind of funny how girls and boys react differently to being in love, or at least seeing their friends in love.

Sirius-"point of no return"
Erica-"got it bad"

Thanks for reading, please reveiw!




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Chapter 24: A Runaway and a Secret Order
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It was late. James had gone back to the dormitory for the night, and Sirius was now snoring very loudly. Remus stared at the Hospital Wing ceiling, a very blank ceiling. He wanted more than anything to fall into a dreamless sleep, he was so very tired. But if he fell asleep he would have that dream again, he just knew he would. That dream that had haunted for so long, of the day he had gotten bitten.

Remus was always a good boy, usually obedient to his parents, occasionally straying as little boys do. His family and him had gone camping in the woods when he was about seven, and the many creatures fascinated him. His mother had told him not to wander off into the forest alone, for he could get lost. But he had seen this rare and unusual bird, and decided that it wouldn’t hurt to follow it for awhile.

The bird was very colorful, but very hard to follow. With the thick foliage and the approaching darkness Remus soon lost sight of it, and the way back to the campsite. Now he was all alone, surrounded by the night and the trees, barely able to see a thing. He heard a strange noise rustling behind him, and he turned around quickly, his eyes trying to penetrate through the darkness.

The next minute was a flash of fur, claws, and ravaging teeth. His screams as it bit him carried to the campsite, where his parents were searching frantically for him. They followed the sound of his screams, and the howl as the beast attacked him. They managed to rescue Remus from death, but it was too late to save him from the bite. From that day on, he had been a werewolf.

He shuddered as he remembered that night in vivid detail. It made him nauseous. He hated what he became every full moon, even thought at the same time the adventures he shared with his friends were some of his greatest memories. He was so lucky to have his friends, the friends that hadn’t rejected him when they figured out his secret, the friends that had become animagi to hang out with him and make his transformations more bearable. James, Sirius, and Peter were the best things that had ever happened to him, well, not including Dumbledore allowing him to come to Hogwarts (where he had met his friends.)

But you could have killed Sirius. A nagging voice in his mind reminded him, and Remus knew it was true. It had been bothering him all day, how one little slip up could have been made so easily. He could have killed Sirius, or James when he chased him into the forest, or Peter or the girls in the bushes. It had been a close shave alright. Too close, he decided. There was no other choice. He had to leave Hogwarts, and it had to be now.

Slowly, stealthily, Remus got up from his bed and slinked towards the door. Luckily, Madame Pomfrey had unlocked it (thought she hadn’t told Sirius this, as he would have been out of there before she could have even said his name.) He would go to the dormitory, get his stuff, and send an owl to his parents. It seemed impossible to him that he would leave the only place he had ever found acceptance for what he was, the only place he had had true friends. But what had happened that night could never happen again, and he knew it.

He turned the door knob and pulled the door open slowly so as not to make any noise. He paused for a moment, listening to the silence of the sleeping castle, then took a step. The next minute he found himself squashed against the floor under something heavy he had tripped over. He didn’t call out for fear of waking Sirius or Madame Pomfrey, but the thing that he had gotten tangled up with let out a strangled yelp. Remus recognized that yelp.

“James?” Remus whispered, trying to get into a position so he could see (as he was still face down against the floor.

“Remus?” came James’s voice, and even in the dark Remus could see him pull of the invisibility cloak and materialize in front of him.

“What are you doing here, wearing that cloak?” Remus asked, very confused and slightly angered that his plan for running away would have to be set back.

“Well, I had been sleeping before someone stepped on me.” He told him with a bite of annoyance in his voice. “I had expected Sirius to try and make a break for it, but certainly not you! What are you doing?”

Remus didn’t answer. James continued to look at him, and Remus thought about how much he would miss his friends. He could at least tell James, James was the most trustworthy of the group.

“Just as you said, making a break for it before I almost get another one of my friends killed.” Remus replied, avoiding James’s stare, sighing deeply as he tried to hold back tears. He was leaving Hogwarts.

“You’re WHAT?” James asked in disbelief.

“You heard me, I’m leaving. I can’t stay here and put you guys in danger. Dumbledore was wrong, a werewolf can’t be at a school like this. I could have killed any one of you that night, or bitten you and you would have become like me.” Remus said bitterly, just wishing James would let him go on.

“It was a close one, but things like that happen. Sirius doesn’t blame you, Peter doesn’t blame you, and I don’t blame you either.” James told Remus reassuringly and truthfully. “And I know Dumbledore doesn’t. He has faith in a lot of people, and I have never known him to be wrong. And I know he is not wrong by letting you come here.”

Remus listened to these words carefully. James had only gotten started. “He believes in second chances, and in my opinion you haven’t even blown your first one. I slept outside this door in my invisibility cloak to prevent one friend who tends to act rash from doing something stupid, but instead I am going to prevent my other friend who has too big of a heart from doing something stupid. I will not let you run away from Hogwarts. I know it means too much to you, and you mean too much to us. I don’t care if I have to lay in front of every door in Hogwarts to trip you up, but you will not be leaving. You think you are doing the right thing for us by putting us out of danger of you, but you do more for us by putting us out of danger from ourselves.” James paused for a moment, and was startled to hear Remus crying.

“W-what do you m-mean by t-that?” he asked quietly, feeling ashamed not only for crying but for thinking his friends would let him get away that easily. James sighed.

“I’ll admit it. Sirius and I, well, we can be assholes from time to time. You are like the moral voice of the group, preventing Sirius and me from doing more damage than we should, and giving Peter confidence in himself. We’d be the ones missing out if you left, and you would be hurting us.” James finished, meaning every word sincerely.

The two boys sat in silence of one another, occasionally disrupted by the loud snoring of Sirius. Remus was at a loss for words. James was truly the greatest friend anyone could ever have. And he knew that James was right, as he always was.

“I’m sorry James, I just didn’t want to endanger my best friends, even if two of them are, well, assholes.” Remus said after a long while, and James smiled. “This is the only place where I am accepted, and you guys are my only friends. I don’t want to destroy that trust Dumbledore has in me, and I don’t want to destroy that trust that you guys have in me. I know that my secret is safe with you , and I would rather die that destroy that trust.”

“So would I, rather die than betray any of you. I’m sure we all would.” James said heavily, the word seem to weigh oddly on him, but he couldn’t figure out why. “So, going to stick around for awhile, or do I need to set up in front of the next doorway?” James said in a lighter tone, and Remus smiled too.

Back in the hospital bed, Remus felt the consolation of James’s words soothe him, and he fell asleep dreaming of what wonderful friends he had.

***

James slipped back under the invisibility cloak, still slightly in shock that Remus had been trying to run away from Hogwarts. Good thing I don’t trust Sirius! He thought to himself and chuckled, feeling very lucky he had been there. He was just about to continue his snooze outside of the hospital wing when he heard hurried footsteps coming from the end of the hall. James looked down the long corridor and saw Professor Rochem, of all people, striding at a rapid pace. “What’s he up to?” he wondered to himself as Rochem passed. James decided that it would be in his own interest to follow and see where he was going at this time of night.

James almost had to run to keep up with Rochem, and could barely follow what corridors they were taking as a result from the darkness of the castle. Rochem abruptly stopped, and James also came to a halt a few feet away. They were outside of the stone gargoyle leading to Dumbledore’s office. This was very unusual, Jamed decided. He also noticed Rochem had a letter clutched in his hand, looking very similar to the one that James and Sirius had seen him receive while serving detention that day.

“Sugar Quill.” Rochem muttered, and the gargoyles parted. Rochem stepped onto the moving staircase, and after a moment of hesitation, James followed. As they rode the staircase towards Dumbledore’s office, James held his breath, trying not to imagine what Rochem would do if he found him here, while he was in the middle of something so urgent.

They reached the top of the staircase, and stepped onto the landing. Rochem entered the office, apparently Dumbledore had been expected. The door was hastily shut, but a small crack remained as it had not been shut properly. James crept up to the crack and concentrated on listening with every fiber in his body.

“… What is so urgent, Randolph?” James heard Dumbledore say, his voice slightly muffled.

“Another letter. I don’t think this time they’ll take no for an answer!” Rochem’s voice answered, sounding very tense.

“I had a feeling this was coming. I have been noticing more muggle killings that are being traced to his name…”

“You know for sure that he is behind it all, then?” Rochem interrupted, and Dumbledore sighed.

“I do not know for certain, but I think we can assume that the Ministry is underestimating his rising power. They claim that a few muggle killings are not worthy of too much attention, but I think they may be more significant than they realize.” Dumbledore said gravely. James wondered who they were talking about.

“What should I say to these people, these so called ‘death eaters’?” Rochem implored.

“Best not to answer just yet. Being head of Slytherin, you are probably one of the first people they came to looking for support. You were right to come to me. If they got you on their side, his whole plan would be perfectly aligned for execution.”

“Plan? For what? Why would this, what does it say….” James could hear the rustle of papers as if Rochem were consulting the letter. “This ‘dark lord’ want me on their side?”

“This Dark Lord, or Voldemort as he is also called, used to be a student here. You probably would not remember him, he came after your time, but I do. And I also know that he remembers me, and knows that I am opposed to what he is up to. He would love nothing more than to get rid of that old Transfiguration teacher who saw right through him all those years ago. That’s why you would be such an asset to him, to get them closer to me.” Dumbledore said gravely. This was met with silence, as Rochem seemed to be at a loss for words.

“What could he possibly be doing, killing muggles? I mean, what’s the point?” Rochem recovered after a moment.

“That’s the sad thing, there really is no point to their killing except for they are out to kill muggles, muggleborns, and muggle lovers. Voldemort believes that purity of blood comes before all else.” Dumbledore informed him, and James heard a note of sadness in the old man’s voice that he had never heard before.

“And the ministry is doing nothing about this?” Rochem asked in disbelief.

“Not yet, at least. It will take them awhile to realize the enormity of Voldemort’s powers, of what this wizard is capable of doing. This is why it is so important to hope that he cannot get those followers he is looking for.” James was certain he had heard the sadness, and even tiredness, in Dumbledore’s voice that time.

“So we’re just sitting here until he makes his move and the Ministry wakes up?” Rochem asked in disbelief again, almost sounding angry that the Ministry was turning such a blind eye.

“We’re not exactly sitting, we’ve begun to form a secret order to prevent Voldemort from rising. Nothing fancy, nothing that elaborate just yet, but we’re beginning to tell others about what He and his followers are up to. It’s too risky to say more about that here, who knows if there is someone standing outside the door this very minute, listening to every word we say. But we can talk again, and I am happy to know that you are not going to join him and his supporters.” James could not believe what he was hearing. An evil wizard on the rise, the Ministry was unaware, and most importantly, a secret order. Why does no one ever tell him these things?!? A secret order sounded so cool. He heard Rochem and Dumbledore getting up from their chairs, and he realized that he had to get out of here, for Dumbledore always seemed to be able to see through invisibility cloaks. He hurried down the stairs and out into the hallway, hiding in a closet until he was sure that Rochem had passed.

Someone more evil than Rochem, who turns out is on the good side! James thought incredulously. This had certainly been an interesting night!

Chapter 25: Broken Trust and Shedding Tears
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The next morning the excitement over the events in the garden seemed to have died down some. Although the major excitement of the holidays was now over, it was too cold for anyone to be out of doors (it had stopped snowing, but it was still one of the most severe winters Hogwarts had ever seen), and everyone had to crowd in the common room. Needless to say, it was more of a zoo than anything else.

Lily and Tracy were playing a game of exploding snap, after repeated attempts to finish the Potions essay that was still looming over their heads. The common room was too noisy to get any work done anyways, they decided.

“Everyone, try to keep it a little less on the rowdy side!” Lily hollered over the racket. The noise stopped for a moment as everyone stared at her.

“Oh! Well, thank you!” Lily said blushingly, as she hadn’t expected her position as Head Girl to have much of an effect. She sat back down, and was about to pick up the next card of the deck, when the common room immediately went back to its previous sound decibel of deafening commotion. Lily sighed, and Tracy smiled at her.

“You’re fighting a losing battle, hon.” Tracy reminded her, and Lily shook her head as she again reached for her card.

BOOM!

The deck exploded as she placed it on the pile, singing more of Tracy than Lily. Once again the common room was silent, looking for the source of the explosion.

“Hey! Head Girl! Try to keep it a little less on the rowdy side!” James called out from the other side of the room with Peter. Even Lily had to laugh along with the rest of the common room, though she was torn between rolling her eyes at James and going over there and kissing him. She always melted when he joked and put up that crooked smile.

James turned back to Peter, who he had been debating whether to tell about the secret meeting of Dumbledore and Rochem or not. He wasn‘t going to mention that Remus had been on the verge of running away, that was a personal matter. Someone tapped him on the back, and thinking it was Lily, he whipped around and was about to take her up into her arms, when he realized it wasn’t Lily at all. It was Sirius.

“Watch those hands there, James.” Sirius smirked at him. James punched him on the arm. “I mean, I know I’m extremely good looking, but I think Lily might object.”

This time it was Lily’s turn to punch Sirius in the arm, though she smiled when she did so. “Well, well, well, James. Your girl hits harder than you!”

James intended to hit him again, but found that this would be more difficult than it had been, as Tracy had just came up to the group and was now hugging Sirius tightly. Remus was standing aside from Sirius a little, but was also soon enveloped with arms. Crystal clung to him, then Lily joined in, then Erica, then Tracy (Sirius looked a little forlorn at this, but he got over it soon enough by yelling, “GROUP HUG!” and throwing his arms around the entire group). Soon everyone was on top of Remus, and even he couldn’t help but laugh (although it was a very muffled sort of laugh, as he was at the bottom of the pile.) James, also being close to the bottom, heard it, and smiled.

“See what you would have been missing Moony!” He told him, as more people from the common room noticed the pile and decided to jump on.

“What, getting suffocated?” Joked Remus, and this was just about true too!

After the commotion of Sirius and Remus’s return had quieted down a bit, James sank into one of the couches, a little way off from his friends. He felt the need to be alone, to think over all that he had heard in Dumbledore’s office last night. Lily watched him wander off from the group, something that James Potter rarely did. Something was wrong with him, she decided.

“James, are you okay?” She asked as she sat down on the couch next to him, startling him out of deep thought. She was surprised to see dark circles under his eyes, she had never seen him look so, well, out of it before.

“Wha-? Oh, yea, I’m fine.” James told her, yawning. He hadn’t really gotten that much sleep last night. Lily’s green eyes stared into his, trying to look past the surface.

“Are you sure? You’re awfully quiet today, not like your usual self.”

“Just a little tired, I suppose, had a late night and all.” This wasn’t a lie. He had had a very late night. He gave another tremendous yawn, stretched his arms, and then extended his body length across the entire couch. Lily looked down at him, his eyes closed, his head resting peacefully on his lap. She thought for a moment how funny it would be if she sprang up all of a sudden, jerking him awake. But as she continued to watch him slumber, his chest rising and falling gently with his breath, the more she just wanted to curl up next to him and nap… but for the moment, his head in her lap was a pretty good arrangement.

James smiled in his sleep. Lily had to smile too, he looked so cute, almost innocent, just lying there. She ruffled his already rumpled hair, and his smile broadened. One eye opened and stared back up at her.

“Oh, James, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to wake you!” She apologized quickly, James still grinning.

“Don’t feel bad. I wasn’t really asleep…” He said, turning his face so they were seeing eye to eye. Lily looked shocked at these words. “Still, I like what you were doing to my hair… you don’t have to stop doing that!”

“James Potter!” Lily cried in mock outrage, jumping up from the couch. THUMP! James rolled off as she stood up, flopping onto the rug. Lily smiled down on him again, but it was his turn to surprise her. He sprang to his feet, swept her off of the floor and into his arms. Lily opened her mouth to protest, but found that James was already kissing her there.

Later that day the racket in the common room had died down a little, and Lily and her friends were lounging on the couches near the fire. Most of the Gryffindors had headed down to the Great Hall for dinner, and the common room was quite empty except for them. James was really sleeping this time, using one of the armchairs as a bed. Lily looked over to where the other Maruaders were, and laughed as she saw Sirius going over to wake up James in a very rude and disturbing (but nevertheless humorous) way. Tracy watched him as well.

“What was wrong with James earlier, before you two got lip locked?” Tracy inquired of Lily, who turned her attention back to her after seeing James spring up in surprise from Sirius’s tickling spell.

“He didn’t really say, just that he was tired. I think that something is really bothering him, though.” She confided in her friend.

“I don’t think he’s telling us everything that’s been going on…” Tracy began, and Lily was reminded of how Erica had accused him of keeping the truth from her, Crystal, and Tracy about what happened in the garden. Lily sighed, knowing that she had also lied about that too. That’s pretty bad, to lie to your best friends… she thought to herself.

“I’m sure if it were important, he would have told us.” Lily reassured Tracy, trying to convince herself about it as well. Tracy raised an eyebrow.

“Do you really think so? I mean, don’t tell me you bought that story about the animal dragging Remus and him off into the forest after knocking out Sirius!”

“Well, Dumbledore believed him…” Lily tried to evade the fact that Dumbledore hadn’t believed this story, hoping Tracy wouldn’t realize the truth. “And I believe him!” She added as an afterthought. Crystal and Tracy were now watching them with interest. It was very rare that Tracy and Lily quarreled.

“Do you believe him? Because I sure don’t believe that story!” Tracy answered, her voice sounding a little less curious and a little more accusing. Lily could feel her anger starting to bubble up. Why couldn’t Tracy just accept the story! Lily wondered, angered that Tracy was questioning not only James’s honesty but also her own. Well, actually, you didn’t tell them the truth, either… she reminded herself. Lily said nothing, very aware of her three friends staring at her, Tracy looking a little heated.

“Yes, I want to know what really happened to Remus… why he wouldn’t talk to me when I visited him in the hospital wing!” Crystal asked suddenly, also looking annoyed with Lily. Once again Lily didn’t answer, now even unable to bring herself to meet their eyes.

“You know, don’t you Lils?” Erica joined in, and Lily felt her anger turn to shame, her face growing red. “You know the secret James is hiding… what all the Marauders must be hiding. That’s why you covered up for them in the garden!”

“Well I…” Lily tried to say before being interrupted.

“And why Dumbledore took you and James and Peter to his office, because he knew you were lying!” Crystal pointed out, her finger pointing at Lily accusingly.

“I promised I would…” Lily tried to say again.

“So you would rather keep the secrets of a guy, a guy I might add that, before this year you hated with all your guts, than tell your friends, who have stuck up for you and by you ever since you came to Hogwarts! Even lie to your friends!” Tracy huffed, and Lily had never felt more low than when she finally brought herself to look into Tracy’s face. Crystal and Erica wore similar faces of anger and disbelief.

“Fine! You want to know the truth! I’ll give you the truth!” Lily spat back at them, and they continued to glare. Lily stole a quick glance at the Marauders, who were playing wizard’s chess and unaware of the argument. “You have to promise not to tell anyone, though! James made me swear…” She began and dropped her voice.

“We won’t tell!” They whispered back urgently, eager to know the great Marauder Secret. The girls leaned in, and Lily took a deep breath, feeling as though she were about to do something she would regret. But her friends would hate her if she didn’t tell them! “Ok, you know how Remus goes and visits his mother every month?” She asked them, and Crystal nodded.

“Yes, she’s very sick, he goes and cares for her. What has that got to do with anything?” Crystal hissed defensively.

“Well, he doesn’t really go and visit her. He’s, well, um” Lily found it very difficult to get the words out. She glanced around the circle of girls nervously, Tracy nodding her on.

“What? What is he?” Crystal gasped, afraid of what the revelation could be.

“He’s a werewolf! Okay, you know the big secret now, happy?” Lily remarked to the stunned girls harshly, feeling terrible about betraying James’s trust. More terrible, in fact, than when she had been lying to her friends. “You might as well know the rest of it. James, Sirius, and Peter, they’re all animagi, and roam Hogsmeade with Remus when he transforms. It was a full moon the night of the Yule Ball, and Sirius transformed into his dog form, and tried to control him. James then came out and transformed and managed to get him safely to the forest. Dumbledore knew what really happened, well, except for the animagi part, but that’s why he called us to his office. I didn’t want to tell you all because I wanted James to trust me.” Lily finished miserably, but she heard a voice behind her before her friends could speak.

“Well, I guess we all see now it was James’s mistake to trust you.” Sirius spoke gravely, and Lily turned around with dread to find herself face to face with the Marauders. Peter looked very surprised, Sirius seemed quite angered, but James looked completely disbelieving. Remus stepped forward, and Lily was surprised to see that he looked the most calm and composed of the group.

“Really, Sirius! They would have found out anyways. Don’t blame Lily or James!” Remus said, trying to calm Sirius down (he was well known for his temper). It was Crystal who found her voice next.

“You’re a, a, WEREWOLF?” She muttered, and Remus stepped forward to comfort her. “And you didn’t tell me? You lied to me all this time?”

“Crystal. I wanted to tell you, but I was afraid that…” Remus began, putting his arm around Crystal. Crystal went rigid, pushing his arm aside as she scooted away from him on the couch.

“Don’t touch me, werewolf!” She shrieked, trembling from head to foot. Erica also looked positively frightened. Remus’s face fell.

“I was afraid you would react like that.” He finished his statement quietly.

“You told them? Lily how could you?” James asked her imploringly, a pleading look in his hazel gray eyes. Lily’s own eyes were once again welling with tears. “I really thought I could trust you. I mean, I didn’t believe Emma when she said you had told her about it, I told myself you would never do that. But I guess I was wrong…”

“James! I swear I never told Emma! You can’t really take her word over mine!” Lily exclaimed, brushing away the tears that fell upon hearing his words.

“That’s what I thought, but after this, I just don’t know.” James told her, feeling betrayed. Not only had Lily told her friends Remus’s secret, but now Crystal was petrified of him. And it was all his fault.

“I thought I could trust you, Lily Evans! I thought you, of all people, would know how it feels to want to keep something secret!” James continued, realizing that his voice and anger were rising. More people were drifting into the common room, and began to watch the unusual site, having no idea of what was really going on. “I kept your secret, and I thought you’d do the same for me. But I was wrong. I was wrong about everything. I was wrong about YOU!” And with that, James stood up and stalked off to the boys dormitories, followed by Peter. Remus also stood up after one last melancholy look at Crystal, who refused to look at him, and joined them. Sirius, however remained for a moment.

“I don’t know how much good it’ll do to tell you all this, as we all know how good you are at keeping secrets, but nevertheless, Remus and the rest of us Marauders would prefer if you didn’t tell anyone else. Not that it matters anymore, as you all have already ruined the secret.” He addressed them shortly, turning towards the dormitory. “Oh, and another thing. Tracy, consider ‘us’ to be over.” He retorted back before also heading up to the dormitories.

Lily buried her head in her arms and sobbed, not bothering to wipe away the tears she shed anymore.





A/N: First, let me apologize for the long wait, I went to the beach with my family and had absolutely NO INTERNET until today! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

Next, thanks for all the wonderful reviews! You guys are the best! :D


Chapter 26: Jealousy
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The last days of the Holiday were very painful for Lily. James wouldn’t even look at her, much less speak or listen to her. Remus was very silent to her as well, since it had been Lily’s fault that Crystal was now terrified of him. Sirius didn’t completely ignore her, rather he was exceptionally rude and obstinate towards her and her friends, especially Tracy. Peter, of course, ignored Lily and her friends as well, because the other Marauders were. Her friends had forgiven her for not telling them the Marauders’ secret, and sided with her.

“They are just stuck-up show off jerks, Lils. I don’t know why we even liked them in the first place!” Tracy reassured her after Sirius had accidentally on purpose spilled his goblet of pumpkin juice all over Lily and her during dinner one day.

“Yea, you did the right thing by telling us. I mean, boyfriends are temporary, but friends are forever!” Erica told her comfortingly as she mopped Lily’s skirt to get rid of the pumpkin juice.

“And they did lie to us, or at least Remus lied to me, so we’re better off without them!” Crystal huffed, and Tracy nodded.

Lily put up a fake smile and nodded along with them, hearing what they said but not really taking it in. They didn’t feel the guilt that she felt for betraying James’s trust, of spilling their secret. Maybe to them boyfriends had been temporary, but James had meant more to her than that. Lily had loved him, still loved him, in fact. The first boy she had ever loved, really and truly deeply loved. But James no longer felt the same way, it seemed. Maybe her friends had reason to be angry at the Marauders, but James had reason to be mad at her.

Except for whatever he had been talking about with her telling Emma. She had never done that! Yet James didn’t believe her, and that made Lily angry. She said she hadn’t told her, and he should trust her! Well, you proved how trustworthy you can be to him already… she reminded herself glumly. Still, she hadn’t been lying about that!

If anyone was happy out of the Gryffindor 7th years, it was Emma Donaldson. Seeing Lily miserable and James single made her very happy indeed. And she hadn’t even had to start any nasty rumors to see it all happen. With Lily out of the way, her getting James was surely a definite. Emma smiled at the memory of herself dancing with James, and Lily dancing with that loser Hufflepuff Macmillan. What a wonderful memory!

James stared at the untouched soup in his bowl glumly. Sirius had just knocked a goblet of pumpkin juice on Lily and Tracy, and though Sirius, Peter, and Remus had all laughed hysterically, he hadn’t found it that funny. Sure, he had been mad at Lily when it had all happened, but afterwards he felt so empty, like something was missing. Lily had completely broken his trust, he had made her swear not to tell! Now Crystal and the others knew about Remus, and Remus was down in the dumps again about being a werewolf. He couldn’t forgive her for something like that! Yet he missed her, and although surrounded by his friends he felt lonely.

He looked up from his plate and snuck a glance in Lily’s direction. She was talking to Freddie Macmillan about their Herbology homework they had been assigned over break, and he was disappointed to see that she was smiling. It appeared to James that Lily wasn’t feeling lonely, ‘flirting’ shamelessly like that (actually, Lily was just trying to be polite, but you know how guys get jealous easily…). Well, if Lily was over it, he sure wasn’t going to be caught moping about her! He got up and walked over to where Emma was sitting, a few places down from Lily and her friends.

“Emma, did you do that Herbology homework?” James asked her, flashing his famous crooked smile. He could feel Lily and her friends watching him. Emma smiled back.

“Yea, I did. Do you want to see it?” She replied. James smiled broader.

“That would be great. Maybe you could help me with it back in the common room.”

“Sure. I’d love to help you with it.” Emma smiled playfully, also aware that Lily was watching.

“Thanks Emma!” He told her, making a mental note to bring Peter’s homework as he had already finished his own in five minutes, and Peter was very poor at Herbology. “And, I, er, like your, um, bracelet?” He finally decided to compliment on, hoping it wouldn’t be obvious he had just made that up. Emma didn’t notice, and blushed as if he had just worshipped her or something.

James hurried back to his own seat, not daring to look at Lily as he swept past. Sirius stared at him opened mouthed.

“DId you just- ?” He asked incredulously.

“Yea, I think I did.” James replied, feeling surprised by himself too. “Hey, it’s not like I can’t like another girl now!”

“True, but EMMA? She is so not your type.” Sirius remarked, sounding like an advice columnist for a teen girls’ magazine, like “Bewitching” or “Spellbinding Sorceress”.

“Really, Padfoot? Well then, who would you say is my type?” James answered with a bite of annoyance.

“Well, I would have said Lily, but no one likes a backstabber…” Sirius said loudly so that Lily and her friends could hear him clearly. Tracy looked over at him and glared.

“At least Lily tells her friends the truth! She is honest, unlike some people who will tell downright lies to your face!” Crystal called back, and Sirius looked livid.

Lily ignored her friends and the Marauders’ bickering, for she was too stunned by what James had just done to say anything. He had just asked Emma to spend time with him, and then had complimented her on that atrocious bracelet she was wearing! If he had been trying to get on Lily’s nerves, he had certainly succeeded, but she couldn’t let him know that.

“Freddie! Freddie, wait!” She called after Freddie, who had begun to walk back to the Hufflepuff table. He turned around, looking for the source of his name. Lily hurried up to him.

“Hey, I was just wondering if you might want to hang out next Hogsmeade weekend?” She asked in a rush, hardly believing she was asking a boy out. Freddie looked quite surprised himself.

“Really? You want to? That’d be great, Lily! The Hogsmeade weekend on Valentine’s day?” He replied, smiling happily at her. It had not occurred to Lily that the next weekend wasn’t until Valentine’s Day… but that was too bad for her.

“Um, yes! Of course!” She said brightly, and James felt his jaw drop. Tracy was also quite shocked.

“Cool! Hanging out with you is always fun, Lily!” Freddie smiled jovially at her then returned to the Hufflepuff table, where he received many high-fives from his friends.

Lily sat back down slowly, feeling her face grow red as her friends, the Marauders, and just about the rest of the Great Hall stared at her.

“Nice going, Lils!” Tracy congratulated her, and Erica nodded. Crystal smirked in the direction of Sirius, who wore an expression of disbelief similar to that of James’s.

Lily liked Freddie enough, he was a nice guy and all, but she felt rotten that she had just asked him out for Valentine’s Day to make James mad, and she didn’t want to go at all. But it was too late to back out now, and besides, it had surely made James mad… Lily looked over at James, and was startled to see that he was staring at her. Both averted their eyes quickly, ashamed to be looking into one another’s eyes after what had happened.

Snape and some of his Slytherin friends were exiting the Great Hall, when Snape noticed Lily. If there was one thing he loathed more than an arrogant Gryffindor like James Potter, it was a mudblood Gryffindor like Lily Evans.

“Getting a bit bold, aren’t we Mudblood? Asking a boy on a date?” Snape hissed to Lily as he passed. Lily stared coldly at Snape, his large nostrils dilating in apparent enjoyment of humiliating her, quite a few Slytherins sniggering at her. James clenched his wand under the table angrily.

“Shut up, Snape.” She replied, trying to remain composed and not lowering herself to Snape’s level.

“I mean, I thought you had bad taste when you were with Potter, but not even I thought you would ask a Hufflepuff like Macmillan out.” He sneered at her, and Lily felt the color in her face rising once again. This received many angry looks from the Hufflepuff table.

“Leave her alone, Snivellus.” James said to him in a heavy voice. Snape rolled his eyes.

“Jealous, are we, Potter? I really don’t see why you would go out with Evans in the first place. Sure, she’s got looks, but she is a filthy mud blood nonetheless…” Snape jeered at him. James flinched… of course he was jealous! But he would not take that from Snape.

“I told you to leave Lily out of it, Snivellus! It’s just you and me… and I think you remember last time it was just you and me, and which one of us ended up as a statue?” James shot back, and the smirk that had been on Snape’s face dropped instantly. With one last look of utmost loathing at James and then Lily, Snape turned and exited with his Slytherin cronies.

Lily turned to thank James, but found he was already on his way out the door, completely ignoring her. Fine, she decided. If he wants to be like that, it was fine with her. She didn’t care! She tried to convince herself without any luck.

James swept past her again, avoiding her thanks. He had stood up for her because he had to, because he wouldn’t take crap from a Slytherin lying down, not because he felt anything for her. Of course not, he tried to tell himself. Too bad he knew he still did.

“Ah, I had forgotten how we turned him into a statue! One of our finest moments, truly it was!” Sirius sighed next to him, remembering the happy memory of the stony faced Snape.




A/N: Hello! I am just throwing this idea out, please tell me what you think: I love to doodle and draw, and so I have started to make chapter illustrations for this story. They aren't all finished yet, and I also haven't yet figured out how to get them onto this computer and then to the story, but tell me if you think this is something I should do. Thanks!

Chapter 27: Delivery Boy
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“Why were you out so late, anyways, Prongs?” Sirius asked James curiously. It was the first weekend in February, and James had just told Sirius, Remus, and Peter about what he had heard in Dumbledore’s office that night. Remus blushed and stared at his shoes, but James just smiled.

“I fancied a walk, that’s all!” James replied, remaining true to his word to Remus about not telling about the conversation in the hospital wing doorway. He wasn’t going to make that mistake again, telling a secret to someone he thought he could trust… not that he didn’t trust Sirius, but James felt that Remus had had enough secrets blown for awhile. Remus was very grateful for this.

“So, this Voldemort guy, only a few people know about him and the Ministry doesn’t?” Sirius asked incredulously. James nodded grimly.

“Honestly, though. I don’t think he’ll get too many supporters. I mean, killing muggle-borns and torturing muggles? What kind of wizard would support that?” Remus remarked, Peter twitched nervously, but James and Sirius sighed.

“You’d be surprised, my little half-blooded friend. There are lots of wizards out there, pure-blood families like mine, that would rather the wizard race die out than marry muggles and muggle-borns to keep the race alive. They’ll even go to extremes like this Voldemort guy to kill them.” Sirius said in a grave tone. James, who also came from a pure-blood family, knew that Sirius’s family had people in it that might do such things. His own parents had no objections to muggle-borns and muggles, which would have been nice had he still been with Lily, not that it mattered anymore… Remus looked appalled.

“Surely not to that extreme!” He replied in shock. Sirius nodded.

“If Voldemort ever came knocking on the Black’s door, he would find some willing supporters. My parents hate muggle-borns, and despise muggles. All of my kin have been in Slytherin except for me and my older cousin Andromeda (she‘s a Ravenclaw 7th year), and my brother has been practically brainwashed to believe that tosh too. And there are plenty more bigoted purebloods in Slytherin for dear brother Regulus to befriend. I wouldn’t be surprised if Regulus joined Voldemort one day…” James and Remus looked at Sirius with concern. He rarely spoke of his family, ever since the Potters had taken him in over the summer when Sirius had run away.

That July night James had heard a tapping on his window, and thinking it was his owl, had awoken to open it. It wasn’t an owl, it was Sirius. James had never seen his handsome friend look so beaten up and distraught, with bruises and cuts on his face and chest. James’s parents had of course taken Sirius in almost as their own son, and James and Sirius had become more like brothers than ever. Sirius had never really told James what happened that night at his house, only that he was never going back. James was sure of one thing, the Blacks were the type of people who would join allegiances with a madman like Voldemort in a heartbeat.

“And Bella’s been betrothed to that Lestrange boy, the seventh year.” Sirius added, slipping deeper into a very disturbed an unnaturally subdued mood, especially for Sirius. Even James was shocked by this revelation.

“Bella? Betrothed to Lestrange? He’s 8 years older than her!” James exclaimed. Bellatrix Black, known as Bella, was another one of Sirius’s cousins and was Andromeda‘s youngest sister, also a Slytherin first year. She had, of course, the characteristic Black good looks, and unfortunately, the Black attitude towards muggles. Sirius’s other cousin, Naracissa, was a year younger than himself, and smitten with the Slytherin seeker Malfoy, who the Marauders detested almost as much as Snape.

“Hey, when there aren’t many pureblood families around, you’re forced to find a mate no matter what age… although Lestrange is a little closer in age to the other option that was being held out for her… the other choice was a man practically twice her age! But she is upholding the Most Ancient and Honorable House of Black, as any good Black child should.” He added, scorning the upheld beliefs of his family. James could tell Sirius was trying to make light of the situation, but he could also see that Sirius was upset. Remus looked at Peter, who had been very quiet throughout the entire conversation about Voldemort. Peter’s family was pureblooded too, but none of the Marauders had ever heard him speak much about his home life.

“Dumbledore’s setting up some sort of resistance, though. With Dumbledore in charge, I’m not too worried.” James reminded them, and this was a good deal of comfort. Just then Lily and her friends came in through the portrait hole, talking about something. Lily and James both averted their eyes. Ever since that day at breakfast, neither one had spoken to the other, and they never met eyes. It was very tense between them, though each putting on airs as though they didn’t care.

The Marauders stopped talking about the topic abruptly, as others were returning from dinner and they could be overheard. Lily looked at them suspiciously, wondering what they could have been talking about in such hushed voices and didn’t want others to hear. Probably some immature prank, she thought, thinking of the many that the Marauders had caused in the past.

Lily couldn’t help but smile, remembering when Snape’s cauldron had exploded, and how he had turned to stone. James could always make her laugh…. NO! I won’t think about that! She shook herself from those memories forcefully, hoping that no one had seen her smiling. James didn’t trust her, and besides, he liked Emma now, right? She reminded herself, kind of wishing it wasn’t true. And she liked Freddie a lot, right? She tried to convince herself again, knowing it didn’t compare. If she wanted to dwell on James’s immaturity, she decided to recall the incidence with the paint balloons at the beginning of the year. That was easy for her not to smile about.

“Lils, you coming up?” Erica called down to her, her friends half way up the stairs to the dormitory. Lily sighed and nodded.

“Be right there.” She assured her, casting one last furtive look at the Marauders. Emma had found her way to James, and the two were looking quite cozy. It didn’t look like James was missing her too much, thought Lily, a little hurt. That’s it then, no more James. Freddie, you and I are going to have the most romantic and wonderful time on Valentine’s Day, no matter what! Lily finalized as she followed her friends up the stairs to the dormitory, her mind made up.

Emma had manage to wedge herself next to James and Remus on the couch, making it a very tight squeeze. She smiled at James, who grimaced slightly before weakly smiling back. He was forcefully reminded how closely he and Lily had sat in that booth in Madame Puddifoot’s, so long ago. That, however, had not been so uncomfortable as this, sitting not only very close to Emma (which, in itself, could be bad enough) but also very close to Remus (which was actually quite funny, but he would have to laugh later…). They sat there like this for some time, making small talk, James ignoring simpering looks from Emma, trying not to laugh at the mock simpering looks Sirius gave Remus, until James decided he had sat enough (besides, his butt was falling asleep from being wedged in that couch!), and got up to go to the Owlry.

“Don’t forget about tonight, Prongs!” Sirius called after him, and James nodded and winked. It was a full moon tonight….

***

In the Owlry, James sat once again alone, thinking about Lily. He stroked his handsome eagle owl Artemis, lost in thought. As dusk drew nearer, another owl swooped into the Owlry, and James recognized it as Iris, Lily’s owl. He went over to her and examined the letter on her leg addressed to Lily.

“Aren’t you going to take this to her?” James asked, feeling slightly foolish he was conversing with an owl. Iris’s large, amber eyes gazed at him meaningfully, and she hooted.

“You’re not a very good owl, you know, if you don’t deliver mail to the recipient. I’m sure Lily would very much like to read this letter.” He reminded Iris, but she only hooted again, more softly than before.

“What, you want me to take it to her?” James asked disbelievingly, and Iris blinked at him and held out her leg. Highly affronted that he was obeying an owl, James untied the letter and said goodbye to Artemis. He gave Iris a last quizzical look. “You’re a strange owl, you know. That’s all I’m going to say.” And with that he was off to find Lily.

Back in the common room, James spied Lily and her friends filling in astronomy charts by the fire. James braced himself, for it would be the first time he would have spoken to her directly since the fight. He walked up and stood behind her. No one appeared to take any notice, diligently labeling stars and planets. James cleared his throat, finally getting their attention. The girls stared at him.

“Lily, I was in the Owlry and your owl wanted me to give this to you.” James said quickly, thrusting the letter into Lily’s lap. Lily looked from the letter to James.

“My owl told you to give me this?” Lily asked, unsure of whether she had heard him correctly.

“Yes, well, not exactly TOLD me, but…” James tried to explain, realizing how queer he had sounded. “Well, she came in and had this letter, and I was coming back here anyways and thought I’d just drop it off to you.”

“If this is some letter of apology, Potter,” Lily began, handing the letter back to him. James pushed it back to her.

“You think I wrote this letter? To you? An apology letter?” James inquired her, confused at the question. “Why should I be apologizing to you?”

Lily raised her eyebrows as she handed it back to him. “For being rude to me and accusing me of something I didn’t do.” Tracy, Erica, and Crystal nodded supportively.

“Accusing you? I didn’t need to accuse you, I heard you blow Remus’s secret, after I had told you not to tell. I think, Evans, you should be apologizing to ME.” He retorted, raising his own eyebrows and putting the letter back in her lap.

“Whatever, Potter. I did not tell Emma anything, though! You can keep your apology letter for someone who CARES! Maybe to Emma, you guys looked nice and cozy.” Lily snarled, angry that he had the nerve to come over and speak to her like that. She shoved the letter back into his hands.

“Yea, yea, yea, Evans. If you say so…” James said sarcastically, once more handing her the letter. “But this is no apology letter, I’m just the delivery boy for someone who has a lazy owl.” Lily stood up.

“First of all, I don’t know why my owl would give this to you in the first place if she did at all, but Iris is NOT lazy, so I know that was a downright lie. Second of all, I DON'T WANT YOUR APOLOGY!” Lily shouted, practically stuffing the letter down James’s throat as she pushed it in his face.

“OH, DON’T FLATTER YOURSELF, LILY! EVEN IF I HAD A REASON TO APOLOGIZE, WHICH I DON’T, I WOULD NEVER WRITE YOU A LETTER! JUST BECAUSE I LIKED YOU ONCE DOESN’T MEAN I’LL COME CRAWLING BACK, BEGGING FOR FORGIVENESS FOR NO REASON AT ALL! AND JUST BECAUSE IT SEEMS LIKE ALL THE GUYS THINK YOU’RE CUTE, AND PRETTY, AND SMART, DOESN’T MEAN THAT I DO… ANYMORE!” James shouted back in the same ferocity, throwing the now quite rumpled letter to her. Lily stood there open mouthed, letter at her feet.

James turned and stalked off towards his dormitory. “AND TELL YOUR LAZY OWL I AM THROUGH BEING YOUR DELIVERY BOY!" he hollered back as an after thought as he looked back at her before stomping up the stairs, positively seething with rage.

The common room was silent, everyone’s eyes on Lily, James’s voice still echoing and ringing in her ears.

“Lils, you okay?” Tracy asked, looking sympathetic, but slightly frightened of the image of James Potter in a rage. Lily didn’t answer, but remained standing there looking at the place where James had previously stood.

“Don’t worry about him, Lils. Freddie would never shout at you like that. James Potter had no right to come over here and start yelling at you.” Erica told her soothingly. Still no response from Lily.

“Yea, don’t listen to James, Lily. Forget about him! Think of the fun you and Freddie will have on Valentine’s day!” Crystal said, trying to cheer her up. Lily turned around to look at her friends, sitting there on one of the couches.

“Besides, Lily, you’ve got us, your best friends! Who needs James Potter…?” Tracy smiled reassuringly, but Lily was shaking her head, her mouth still open in disbelief.

“NO! IT’S NOT JAMES’S FAULT! IT WAS ALL MINE, AND YOU MADE ME TELL YOU!” Lily spouted in anger, realizing the truth for the first time. “YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR SECRET, AND I THOUGHT I WAS BEING A GOOD FRIEND BY TELLING YOU! I DON’T WANT TO FORGET JAMES, BUT HE’S FORGOTTEN ABOUT ME!”

Tracy, Erica, and Crystal cowered at her voice, but Lily was just getting started. “I CAN’T HAVE JAMES BECAUSE OF YOU, AND I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND ANYMORE IF I HAVE TO BETRAY MY OTHER FRIENDS LIKE JAMES! I SHOULD HAVE NEVER TOLD YOU! NEVER!” And with that, Lily snatched her letter and stormed out of the common room, heading for the library. The common room was silent again.

“Girls, we screwed up.” Tracy sighed quietly, and Erica and Crystal nodded solemnly.




A/N: I am sorry that it took me so long to update, I had cheerleading tryouts this week and absolutely no time at all! (But I did make the team! Yay!) I hope you like this chapter, please leave a review!

Chapter 28: Coming Home
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Still fuming with anger, Lily found a deserted table in the library and pulled out a chair quite forcefully. She sat down and remained there for a moment, letting her anger churn. Her friends had made her tell them! Crystal had completely gone spastic about Remus being a werewolf! Tracy and Erica had been making snide comments about the Marauders ever since! To them, they only lost a temporary guy, but to Lily, she had lost more than that. James was a friend to her! Well, at least he can’t complain about me being popular anymore… doesn’t look like I’ve got any friends now.

Some of the rage was starting to ebb away, slowly being replaced with guilt for biting James’s head off, and then her friends’. She remembered the letter that she was clutching, and just from looking at it she could tell it wasn’t an apology letter from James at all. Lily shuddered, her fault again. She opened the letter and began to read.

Dearest Lily,
How is school, sweetie? We hope everything is well. It sounds like you had a lovely time at the Yule Ball with James. He must be a really great guy! We’re so happy for you, and we really don’t want to rain on your parade, but we really have no choice.
Petunia has caught a fever and is very ill. We’ve also written to Professor Dumbledore, and he has excused you from class to come visit her. We think she’d very much like to see you, as her condition is very serious. We know you and Petunia didn’t leave for school this summer on very friendly terms, but she is your sister, after all. We know this may be difficult, but it will only be for a week. We are very worried about her, and the doctors are still unsure of whether her condition is life threatening. Dumbledore had made all the arrangements, and will allow you to board the Hogwarts express tomorrow for home.
Take care, sweetie, we can’t wait to see you! We love and miss you so much. Thanks for coming on such short notice, Petunia really needs you.

Your Loving Parents,
Mum and Daddy


Lily read the letter several times, unable to believe it. Petunia sounded really sick! How could she, Lily, have been so selfish? She needed to find Dumbledore immediately, and then pack. Oh, she hoped Petunia would be okay! Yes, her sister got on her nerves, called her names, insulted who she was, but her parents were right. They were sisters, after all. And sisters shared a stronger bond than friends and ex-boyfriends! She decided, standing up to leave. She left the library in a very different frame of mind than when she had arrived.

***

James flung open the door to his dormitory with a great deal of force. Peter, who had been standing near the door, yelped as he tried to dodge the heavy wood. James sighed as he apologized to Peter, and Sirius looked at him with concern.

“I’m sorry, guys. It’s just that Lily makes me so… urhg!” James hissed vehemently, punching his pillow on his bed, unable to express in words what Lily made him.

“We know, Prongs. You and Lily weren’t exactly whispering down there in the common room.” Sirius replied tentatively, obviously a little nervous to be around James in such a rage. “But what we’ve got planned tonight will surely put rampaging redheads far out of mind, my good friend!” Sirius smiled gleefully at his friends, and James perked up a good deal upon hearing this.

“Has Moony already left?” James asked, looking up from the pillow he was still pounding.

“Madame Pomfrey fetched him not too long after you left for the Owlry.” Peter replied, massaging his shoulder where the door had struck it. Sirius smiled mischievously.

“Ah, sweet Poppy. What a kind soul!” he said smugly, and James rolled his eyes.

“Well, I think a night on the town with a werewolf, a dog, and a rat is just what I need!” James stated decidedly, picking up his invisibility cloak and the Marauder’s Map. This Map was one of their greatest accomplishments, and they added a little more of the many unexplored corridors of Hogwarts and streets of Hogsmeade to it every time they used it. It was a handy item indeed.

The three friends descended to the Common Room, (James was very pleased to see that Lily’s friends had retreated to their dormitory) and were about to exit the common room when the portrait hole swung open. Lily rushed in looking very flustered indeed, clutching what else but the letter. She knocked into James headlong, as she had been in such a hurry she had not seen him there.

“Oh, sorry. Didn’t see you there. I’m terribly-” Lily stopped abruptly as she saw who she had rudely smashed into. James smiled an unusual smile.

“Perfectly understandable, Evans. I think we all know how much you want me, thinking that I would give you an apology letter. It’s all right, there there, now.” He told her mockingly, not feeling a bit sorry for the disgusted and embarrassed expression on her face as he patted her on the arm in a would be comforting way. “Although I really would prefer if you kept your hands to yourself, young lady.” And with one last wink and smile at a stunned Lily, amid laughter from the others in the common room, James and his friends exited through the portrait hole.

Had the situation been slightly different, Lily would have been livid, but as it were, she shook it off as she headed to her dormitory. Petunia was sick, and that was certainly more important. She began frantically pulling clothes from drawers, heaping stuff into her trunk haphazardly. She was so engrossed that she didn’t notice she wasn’t alone until she felt the hand on her shoulder. Amazing how temporarily inobservant one becomes when they are angry and worried.

“Lils, we need to talk.” Tracy said in a calm voice, her hand on Lily’s shoulder. Lily picked it off and returned to packing.

“What are you doing?” Erica asked, aghast by Lily’s antics.

“Packing.” Lily replied shortly. She was in no mood to talk to her “friends” right now.

“Why are you packing?” Crystal implored. Lily ignored her as she slammed her trunk closed and began to put her PJ’s on. Her friends exchanged confused looks as Lily climbed into bed. Tracy opened her mouth as if she were going to say something more, but just then the door opened and Emma came in.

“Have any of you seen James? I can’t find him anywhere?” She asked loudly, tossing her blonde curls over her shoulder. She noticed Lily was already in bed, even though it was only a little past 8. “What’s wrong? Are you sick?”

Lily ignored her and closed her eyes. She was not in a socializing mood right now.

“Sorry, Emma. We haven’t seen James in awhile. He went up to his dormitory last time I saw him.” Erica offered, though everyone’s attention was still on Lily and her odd behavior. Lily heard the door open and close, announcing Emma’s departure.

“Lily, please talk to us.” Crystal pleaded. Lily rolled over in her bed, turning her back to her friends. After a couple more uneasy minutes of silence, Lily’s friends returned to the common room. In a way Lily was almost happy she was going home, she needed to get away.

***

The next morning Lily awoke early and set off to meet Dumbledore in the Entrance Hall. Her trunk in tow, Lily quietly crept out of the dormitory, where the other girls lay asleep. When she arrived, she found Dumbledore already there.

“Good morning, Ms. Evans.” Dumbledore greeted her in his usual friendly charm. Lily wished him the same.

“I am sorry about your sister. If she needs any kind of magical remedy, don’t hesitate to write to Madame Pomfrey. She’ll be more than happy to help.”

“Thank you. I really don’t know what kind of sickness she has.” Lily replied quietly, feeling rather hollow and apprehensive of what state Petunia would be in when she arrived. With that, Dumbledore escorted her to the train station in Hogsmeade. Feeling odd boarding the train all alone, Lily waved to him as the train pulled away from the station and the quaint little town disappeared from view.

Lily slept most of the journey home, and was startled awake by the hiss of the steam and jerk of the train as it came to a stop at King’s Cross Station. Sure enough, in Platform 9 ¾, stood her father, smiling and waving at her.

All the anxiety that Lily had been filled with over the past couple of days was momentarily lifted as she leapt off the train and ran to her father. Mr. Evans smiled as his youngest daughter enveloped him in a warm embrace, and the two held each other tightly for a moment or so. When Lily finally released him, he was startled to see her vivid green eyes, so similar to his own, brimming with tears.

“How’s Petunia?” Lily asked quietly, and Mr. Evans brushed a strand of her hair from her face so as to look upon the face of his daughter more clearly.

“She really misses you, Button, as we all do.” Mr. Evans smiled again, and placed her trunk on the trolley.

Back at the house, Lily met her mother with much of the same emotion. After a happy reunion, Mrs. Evans led Lily upstairs to Petunia’s room. She was sleeping, her head propped against several pillows. Lily was startled by how pale and skinny Petunia was, who had always been rather slight, now looked more like a stick than ever before.

“The doctor says that her fever is dangerously high, but there isn’t much they can do for it. Taking her to the hospital would be pointless, as the treatment wouldn’t have much effect.” Mrs. Evans said quietly as Lily went over and sat at Petunia’s bedside.

Lily picked up the hand of her sister, the pink nail polish chipped and the fingers and palm like ice. She rubbed it between her own hands in attempts to warm it some.

“The medicine she’s on makes her very drowsy, and it could be some time before she wakes up. Would you like something to eat?” Mr. Evans offered tentatively, but Lily shook her head.

“I think I’ll just stay here for now, if that’s okay.” Lily replied in a hushed voice, and Mr. Evans nodded.

“Of course it is, sweetie. We can talk later.” Mrs. Evans smiled at Lily again before she and her husband closed the door behind them. Lily took a deep breath, and let it out slowly.

“Petunia, I’ve really missed you. I know we have our differences, but I really love having you as my sister. I hope you know that.” Lily spoke softly to her sleeping sister, just happy to have someone who would listen. “And I know that a lot of times I get on your nerves, and all that stuff, but the truth is, I need you.” And Lily began to tell Petunia, sleeping soundly in her bed, all her troubles and woes. And even though she wasn’t really listening, Lily was happy to be with her and have someone to talk to. She knew deep down she loved her sister.


Chapter 29: Forgiveness and James's Rage
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Petunia groggily opened her eyes, and felt frightened at first that she was still encompassed by darkness. She realized it must be very late, as the house was very quiet. After her eyes had adjusted, she saw that someone was sitting at her bedside. It was Lily.

Lily’s head drooped on her shoulders as she sat in the chair asleep. Petunia smiled at her, the red hair she loved to brush and braid when she had been younger hung unkempt around Lily’s face. Her head was pounding with a terrible headache, and she was shivering from head to toe. She let out a long sigh, and Lily started.

“Oh, Lily! I’m sorry to wake you!” Petunia croaked, it was the first time she had used her voice in awhile. Lily smiled with relief and leaned forward to hug her. She could feel Petunia shivering violently.

After pulling away, both girls stared intently but silently at one another. Petunia sighed again. “I didn’t think you’d come back.” Lily looked at her with a puzzled expression.

“Of course I would! You’re my sister, and-” Lily exclaimed, but Petunia held up her hand.

“I made a terrible mistake.” She confessed, and Lily smoothed her quilt. “I said all that terrible stuff to you in that letter, about how you abandoned Mom and Dad and me.”

“Why did you say that? You have no idea how much that hurt me.” Lily remarked quietly.

“Because unintentionally, you hurt me. I miss you when you go away to school, Lily. I hate that school because it took you away from me! It tore us apart, we used to be so close. Now I just feel like I don’t know what to say to you, that we’re so different that we can’t be like we we’re before. I hate it.” Petunia rasped, her throat very dry. Lily handed her a glass of water.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you, I just always felt that you thought I was a freak and all for going there. I don’t think it was Hogwarts that tore us apart, but I think it was you pushing me away.” Lily told her sister honestly. “And I hate it that you never want to look me in the eye, or hear about my life when I am home, it just feels like you don’t care.”

Both sisters looked at one another, then Petunia spoke again. “Can we start over?”

Lily smiled, something she had not done for awhile. “Yes! Yes!” and once again the sisters hugged, reconciling their relationship. Lily took Petunia’s hands into her own again, and felt a ring on her finger.

“Petunia! Is this-” Lily asked in astonishment. Petunia held it out to her, and Lily could tell she was blushing even in the dark.

“Well, it’s more like a promise ring than anything else. I don’t know, Lily, this could be the one. Vernon is just so loving to me. You have to meet him this summer!” Lily looked into Petunia’s brown eyes, and could see them sparkling, and she could tell that what Petunia was feeling for Vernon, Lily had been feeling for James not long ago. “What about you? I’ve always found it hard to believe that you don’t have a boyfriend at your school.”

“There was someone, and I really liked him, but then I messed everything up and now he hates me. I mean, for as long as I can remember, this guy has done everything in his power to get me to be his girlfriend, and I always pushed him away.” Lily moaned, the truth hitting her hard as she explained to Petunia in a nutshell what had taken her about an hour to tell her while she had been asleep. “And then I got jealous when he asked a different girl to the dance, but then he found out that I liked him too, which I probably had all along, and then he told me a really important secret. But then I blew it and told my friends, and now they don’t like him, and he can’t stand me, and he’s going out with this really horrible girl, and before I left I yelled at my friends, so now they hate me too. And I asked this guy to go to Hogsmeade with me and I really don’t like him that way, just as a friend.”

Petunia hugged Lily again as she began to cry. Lily recoiled in surprise at feeling how Petunia was burning up with her fever. “Petunia! I need to get Mum! You should be resting!” and Lily sprang up to fetch Mrs. Evans, hastily brushing away the tears she had been holding in. Before going out to the hallway, she turned around to look at her sister, and was relieved to see Petunia had fallen back asleep. At least one thing had righted in her life, she thought as she went to her own room and climbed into bed.

As the week went on and the doctors found ways to help with Petunia’s fever, Lily and Petunia reached a sort of silent agreement that nothing needed to be said about Lily’s magic, and the old friendship of the sisters began to grow back. All in all Lily was, for the first time in her life, a little sad about returning to Hogwarts. The Hogwarts Express arrived at the Hogsmeade station late Friday evening, and this time it was her friends that met her there.

“Lily! Lily! Over here!” Tracy called as Lily searched the dark platform for someone from the school to take her up. Tracy, Erica, and Crystal rushed towards her.

“Oh, Lils! Why didn’t you tell us?” Erica asked as the girls enveloped her in hugs. “We were really worried!”

“Are you still mad at us?” Crystal asked nervously as the hug broke apart.

“We’re sorry, Lils. We didn’t mean to force you to tell us, I don’t blame you for getting mad at us.” Tracy told her, but Lily remained silent.

“Can you forgive us?” Erica implored, and Lily sighed before breaking into a smile.

“I missed you all!” She told them truthfully, “Not just because I wasn’t at school, but because I felt like I severed our friendship. I shouldn’t have yelled at you all like that.”

“We deserved it.” Crystal told her, and Tracy and Erica nodded in agreement.

“Maybe,” Lily teased, amazed at how much better she felt with that off of her chest. The entire train ride she had been deliberating whether or not to seek reconciliation from her friends, or even if she would have the compassion to forgive them. But after making amends with Petunia, Lily knew she would only feel better if she at least tried. “But I forgive you for asking about the Marauders, and being mad at me for not telling the truth to you all.”

“It’s not just that, Lils. We messed up you and James.” Tracy sighed as they began to walk back up to the castle. Lily tried to shrug as if she didn’t care, but Tracy knew otherwise. “Don’t give me that, Lils. We all know that there was something special between you and James, different from Sirius and I, or Erica and Peter, or even Crystal and Remus.”

“It doesn’t matter, James has moved on, and I am too. Freddie and I are going to Hogsmeade together tomorrow, and I am going to enjoy myself no matter what!” Lily told them forcefully, and they all looked a bit surprised that Lily was okay with it all, but the only person Lily had failed to convince again was herself.

“That’s good, Lils, because we were a little worried about how you’d take it when we told you Emma and James were together.” Crystal said happily, and Tracy and Erica breathed a sigh of relief.

Damn it! Lily thought to herself, though still smiling on the outside.

***

James and Sirius were bent over their bowls of porridge, waiting for Remus and Peter to come down for breakfast. It was Valentine’s Day (gasp!) and the Marauders all had dates for the day. Sirius was quite infatuated with the Ravenclaw seeker, Remus and the Hufflepuff Prefect had gotten acquainted patrolling the corridors, and Peter was smitten with a Gryffindor 4th year. James, of course, was going to be spending the day with Emma, who, in the absence of Lily, had started to grow on him. Speaking of Lily, James looked up and saw the red head enter the Great Hall with her friends, and he nearly choked on his porridge. Sirius whacked him on the back.

“Easy, mate. I know you’re hungry, but you don’t need to inhale your porridge.” Sirius reassured him, and turned to follow James’s gaze. He quickly figured out the reason.

“I thought we’d been over this, Prongs. Lily-heartbreaker, not good. Emma-flirtatious and annoying, but overall trustworthy, good.” Sirius waved his hand in front of James’s face, whose eyes were starting to glaze over as he gazed at Lily. Sirius realized he wasn’t the only one starstruck at the return of the redhead.

“Look at Snape!” Sirius exclaimed, and James jerked his gaze from the doorway to the Slytherin table, where Snape wore much the same expression as James and ogling at Lily. James leapt to his feet, followed by Sirius.

“How dare he! The nerve of him! How can he sit there and-” James began, raging as he marched in the direction of the Slytherin table. Several students were eyeing him with curiosity.

“James! James! What are you doing?” Sirius asked him, grabbing his arm in an attempt to slow him. James struggled against him.

“I am going to curse that Slytherin so bad he’ll be barely recognizable!” James growled, Sirius trying to keep hold of his robes. “Did you see how he was staring at her?”

“Yea, I saw, but you can’t go barging over there like this!” Sirius pleaded with him, digging his heels into the ground trying to slow James down, being dragged past the Hufflepuff table.

“Lemme go, Sirius! Just let me at him!” James cried in exasperation, flailing in hopes that he might loosen his friend’s grip. Lily and the rest of the Gryffindors watched the spectacle with interest, not really knowing what had started James off in such a mood. Finally, James stopped.

“Fine, you win, Padfoot.” James sighed, and Sirius smiled, relaxing his grip.

“You just can’t act so rashly, James. It’s like I’ve always said, when you-” Sirius began to tell him, but James gave him one last fleeting look and wink before sprinting towards the Slytherin table once more. Sirius stood there dumbstruck for a moment, then came to his senses. “James! What the hell do you think you’re-”

BANG!

Sirius’s question was cut short by a jet of light and a spell hitting Snape squarely in the chest. Jelly-like protrusions began to sprout where the spell had hit him. It had all happened so fast that Snape didn’t even have a chance to react before James hit him with another curse. By the time Snape had his wand out and Sirius had caught up to James, however, Dumbledore had stood up, looking as angry as anyone in the hall had ever seen him. James lowered his wand.

“Mr. Potter, follow me to my office, I believe we need to have a chat.” Dumbledore said calmly, but it was evident he was mad by the way his piercing blue eyes were flashing dangerously.

“Yes sir.” James mumbled, feeling slightly embarrassed by the Headmaster’s anger towards him. But his embarrassment was only slight, however, because he was still seething with rage at Snape. He had gotten used to the idea that Lily was no longer his, and he was even okay with her being with Freddie (who was a nice guy, James had to admit), but just the sight of Snape checking Lily out had been too much for him to take. He was not a bit sorry for the now severely disfigured Snape, who was oozing slime from his ears.

Dumbledore began to head for the exit, and James followed, holding his head high as he walked past the table of the jeering and angry Slytherins, and carefully avoiding the gaze of Lily and Sirius.

After they had made their exit, excited discussion of what they had just witnessed broke out from the students. Tracy turned to Erica.

“What just happened there?” she asked her, and Erica shrugged. Crystal leaned in excitedly towards her friends.

“James saw Snape looking at Lily, and Sirius tried to hold him back, but James got to Snape first!” She whispered, and Lily choked on her pumpkin juice.

“Wh-what?” Lily gasped as she cleared her throat.

“You’re lucky James is jealous, Lily, I mean, it’s Snape we’re talking about!” Erica told her, and Lily was both relieved and slightly hurt.

“Does James not think I can’t take care of myself or keep myself out of trouble? I wouldn’t be so thick to mess with Snape! He just made a complete spectacle of himself in front of the entire school, letting his temper get the better of him.” Lily expressed her hurt, annoyed that James thought she couldn’t look out for herself.

“Ready to go?” a kind voice behind her asked. Lily turned in her seat to find herself face to face with Freddie.

“Oh! Yes, let’s go, Freddie!” She smiled, and stood up, allowing him to take her hand as they headed for the exit.

“See you in a bit!” She called back to her friends, who smiled and waved enthusiastically, planning on meeting up with Lily and Freddie for a butterbeer with their own dates for the day. Lily and Freddie waited in the queue to go to Hogsmeade, Filch checking off names, and Freddie turned to her.

“What happened back in there?” He asked her curiously. Lily shrugged.

“No idea. James probably just lost his temper and felt the need to take it out on someone.” Lily answered dismissively, a little disappointed that the day had begun with talk of James.




A/N: Hello, my wonderful readers! I know you must be fed up with me because I am taking a long time to update. I apologize, but I have had soo much homework it is insane! My final exams are coming up shortly, and time for writing will be even harder to spare. I beg you to be patient, as updates will be a tad slower in coming. But, don't fret, starting June 4th I'll be on summer vacation, and WRITING! WRITING! WRITING!

So, if I have infuriated anyone, I am really sorry, and I do feel really bad about it. Feel free to express you're outrage towards me in a review, if you would like, I promise I won't get offended.

Also, I am still working on trying to get my illustrations up, so hopefully they will be up soon!


THIS IS REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT!
I have reposted all previous chapters so the story takes place in their 7th year. The story is mostly the same, with a few changes (like fifth years to seventh years and Prefect to Head Girl, little words like that throughout!) If you are confused at how this story changes, I suggest you go back and reread chapters 5, 11, and 21, as they changed the most! All chapters that are posted from now on will take place during their seventh year, BUT THE STORY IS STILL THE SAME! Sorry for any confusion, but the ending wasn't going to work unless it was their seventh year. I understand if you are angry, but I repeat, the story is the same!

Thanks! ~Winky


Chapter 30: A Damsel in Distress, A Ring, and Shared Thoughts
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A/N: FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DIDN'T GET THE MESSAGE LAST CHAPTER, LISTEN UP!

I have slightly rewritten all previous chapters so the story fits Lily and James's seventh year, which used to be the fifth. THE STORY IS STILL THE SAME just a few words have been channged for most chapters. You could reread the story if you are not sure how this works out, or just chapters 5, 6, 11, and 20 as they have changed the most. I repeat, THE STORY IS STILL THE SAME! I am sorry if this makes anyone angry, but I had to do it in order for the ending to work out. Also, all chapters from now on will take place in the 7th year, so keep that in mind. If you are rereading one of the previous chapters and you find a mistake (like Flitwick addressing the 5th years, who should be seventh years) please tell me and I will correct it!


Now, all that aside, enjoy the chapter!




“You look really nice Lily.” Freddie complimented her while they waited for their coffee in Madame Puddifoot’s.

“What? Oh, why thank you, Freddie. You look really great, too!” Lily replied, snapping out of her reverie. She had been remembering the last time she had been in here, the time with James. She smiled as she remembered how close they had been sitting, how awkward it had felt. Well, actually, she was about the same distance away from Freddie, but it wasn’t as weird as it could be.

“How’d you do on that Herbology assignment we got back?” Freddie asked politely, smiling at her.

“I did okay, I got an E because one of the buds on my Flowering Ear plant wasn’t fully developed yet. How about you?” Lily responded, hoping to keep the topic of the conversation away from herself for awhile.

“I managed an O somehow. But I know what you mean about the buds, one of mine just bloomed the last day.” Ernie conversed jovially. “Wish I could say I was getting O’s in Potions. Now there’s a class I’m miserable at.”

“Aren’t we all?” Lily agreed, and the both laughed.

“I think it’s just Mudbloods and dull Huffing-Pufflings that are abysmal at Potions.” Came an oily voice from behind their booth. Lily and Freddie whipped around. It was Snape. Oh Goody, thought Lily.

“I believe this is a personal conversation, Snape, and I don’t recall inviting you into it.” Lily sniffed, turning back to her coffee.

“You better watch your back, Mudblood. Pretty hair and green eyes don’t change the fact that you’re nothing but dirt inside!” Snape sang in a light voice, and several of the Slytherins in the café sniggered.

“Whatever, Snape. You might want to watch your own back as well, unless you’d like some more ooze coming out of those ears…” Lily retorted in an even, almost polite tone. Snape narrowed his eyes.

“Potter’s not going to be around forever, standing up for you and defending your Mudblood honor. Oh, wait! I almost forgot… you’re dating a Hufflepuff now, ooh, I’m so scared!” Snape leered at her and Freddie, sneering sinisterly. Lily bristled, she would not let him insult James or Freddie! Or herself, for that matter…

“Is that a threat, Snape?” Lily smiled sweetly, now rising to her feet. The majority of Madame Puddifoot’s customers were watching with interest, surprisingly finding the situation unfolding before them more entertaining that remaining lip locked with their dates.

James and Emma entered the café, James looking quite furious from the chat he had had with Dumbledore, Emma looking a little sulky they had been delayed by James’ temper standing up for Lily. They walked into quite an unusual scene for the usual atmosphere on Valentine’s Day at Madame Puddifoot’s, with Lily and Snape standing in the middle.

“I believe it is a threat, Evans.” Snape replied, returning the cheerful tone. “But look! Potter’s just in time to save the day! Here he comes again to Lily’s rescue!” Snape said with delight as he spotted James and Emma on their way in.

“Slimulus!”

For the second time in one day, Snape was oozing slime from his ears. He looked aghast at James, whom he could have sworn hadn’t even touched his wand. James looked quite surprised as well.

“What were you saying, Snape? Something about me needing Potter to come to my rescue?” Lily said harshly to him, and both James and Snape stared at her in amazement, Snape still oozing. “I’m not a damsel in distress, I can take care of myself, thank-you-very-much!”

The café continued to gape at her. Lily held her head high and turned to Freddie. “Freddie, we’re leaving now. Let’s go to Honeydukes.” Lily commanded him, and Freddie nodded meekly, a little frightened of this powerful Lily. And with that, Lily and Freddie made their exit.

“Nice ears, Snivellus.” James hissed at Snape as he and Emma passed him on the way to their table. Snape, realizing that his ears were oozing still, shot one last menacing look at James before hurrying out of the café, peals of laughter following him.

“Lily sure knows how to make a scene.” Emma stated as she put her napkin in her lap. “She‘s sure got a temper, too!”

“She most certainly does…” James replied in a dazed sort of way.

“You know what I like about you, Lily?” Freddie asked her as they headed for Honeydukes.

“Mmm?” Lily replied, only half listening, still seething at Snape.

“That you stand up for yourself and those you care for.” Freddie told her, and Lily slowed her quick stride down.

“Thanks, Freddie! That was really nice, that’s what I like about you…” Lily smiled at him, and he took her hand. They continued to stroll down the wide avenue of Hogsmeade. “And that you’re funny, and charming, and just yourself around me. You just act like, normal, not like you feel you have to impress me by doing crazy stuff…” Lily trailed off.

“Like James?” Freddie questioned, not intending to accuse her. Lily whacked herself on the forehead.

“Oh, no, that’s not what I was going on about. I’m sorry Freddie, I ask you on a date and then I start blabbering about Potter after making a spectacle in Madame Puddifoot’. From now on, we won’t talk about Potter or Snape! Just you, and me!” Lily stated finally, smiling at Freddie again. They kept walking at a more leisurely pace for a few moments, enjoying one another’s company and silence.

“But yea, he really does show off and try to impress everyone, even though he could just-” Lily began out of the blue. Freddie laughed. “What?”

“You’re talking about James again!” He replied, amused, not angry that she had started to talk about her ex-boyfriend yet again.

“Oh my gosh! You’re right! Sorry! No more! I swear!” Lily cried in exasperation as they entered Honeydukes.

“Don’t worry about it. Besides, I’ve got something for you.” Freddie said in a mysterious voice. He fumbled in his robes for a moment before bringing out a small box. “Go ahead, open it!”

Lily held the box, wondering what could possibly be in it. She opened it, and saw that a heart-shaped emerald ring was in it. “Freddie, what is this?” She breathed, admiring the clarity of the stone.

“It’s a thought ring, whenever I think of you, the stone glows. I got you the emerald because of your eyes.” He smiled as he slipped it on her index finger, where it fit perfectly. Sure enough, the stone glowed, causing it to shine more than before. “Do you like it?”

“It’s wonderful! Thank you!” Lily beamed, admiring it. She took her gaze away from it, and found herself eye to eye with Freddie, who had not been admiring the ring, but had been admiring her. Lily leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the lips before pulling away. Perhaps she shouldn’t have kissed him! She thought to herself, as Freddie looked quite stunned. Freddie recovered remarkably well, and leaned forward to return the favor.


***

The tale of Lily’s encounter with Snape spread like wildfire throughout the school. James was a little disappointed that she did not have to speak with Dumbledore for performing the exact same spell on Snape he had, but he let it go. Lily’s new fame lasted for quite some time, through the remainder of February and March. Some speculated whether Lily or James should be feared more when provoked. It was difficult to say, as both were even for magical ability, tied for top of the class.

“I am fed up with Quidditch!” declared Crystal one Saturday in March, after a particularly long and rainy practice. Spring showers were in abundance, to no one’s delight, making any outdoor class a rather unenjoyable event. Lily and Tracy looked up from their History of Magic notes.

“Why’s that?” Erica asked from the floor, sorting her Potions notes. The N.E.W.T.s were still a couple months away, but already studying was becoming common. Crystal sank dramatically into one of the armchairs, causing Lily to scowl as some mud from her robes dripped onto her notes.

“Potter’s trying to drown us, with practices in rain like that! And Black won’t pass to me, and of course everyone sides with the Marauders because I’m the only girl!” Crystal complained. The Marauders, especially Sirius and James, had been extremely harsh to Lily’s friends, and Crystal was often singled out during practice.

“Well, if we lose the Quidditch cup because Black didn’t pass to you, it’ll be their fault, and everyone will blame them.” Tracy stated finally. It was remarkable how they had transgressed from first names to last names only with the Marauders in such a short amount of time.

“Lily, if it comes down to the showdown, you better clobber Potter for me, k?” Crystal smiled, but Lily frowned.

“Showdown?” she asked, looking up from the ring that she had been smiling at, which was glowing at the moment.

“All the third years are talking about how you and Potter are going to kill one another off sooner or later, they’re even placing bets. Ever since you hexed Snape-” Crystal told her, and Tracy and Erica laughed.

“They’re placing BETS? I don’t know how this whole thing started, Potter and I simply have different points of view. We are not going to finish each other off!” Lily replied in a stern but amused way. Third years are so excitable… As if to confirm Crystal’s testimony, just then a third year approached them, followed by another.

“Um, Sorry to interrupt, but we were just wondering whether you could perform a Synchrolosis Charm?” The first one timidly asked, and Lily had to use a lot of self control to prevent herself from laughing.

“Never tried to.” She replied honestly.

“We better put our money on James, then.” The second one muttered decisively to the first, who nodded before they both scampered off.

“Unbelievable!” Lily remarked, shaking her head. Her friends nodded in agreement. Just then, James entered the common room, looking as muddy and drenched as Crystal had. Immediately he was hailed by the very same third years.

“We were just wondering if you could perform a Synchrolosis Charm?” the question was presented to him. James studied them for a second, and glanced over at Lily and her friends, who were watching him as well.

“’Course I can!” James told them in an offhand sort of way.

“Really? Wow! We’re betting on you, for sure!” they told him excitedly. James flashed them a grin and ruffled his hair.

“Yea, right. I don’t think he’s even heard of that charm!” Lily said casually to Tracy, not really bothering to keep her voice down.

“What did you say, Evans?” James asked, coming up to the table. Lily shrugged.

“Oh, nothing really. I just didn’t think you’d even heard of it, that’s all.” James raised his eyebrows at her.

“Maybe not, but I could probably still do it.”

“Oh really? I’d like to see you try, Potter.” Lily replied with a slight laugh.

“I bet you would,” James smiled, taking out his wand. “But I wouldn’t want you to miss out on the fun! Why don’t we have a go, see who can do it.” Lily stood up, not sure he had heard him correctly. The common room watched with rapture.

“Do you think that’s a smart thing to do, Potter?” Lily asked, a tad annoyed and yet intrigued at whether he was serious or not.

“What, are you scared, Evans?” James shot back, setting his jaw firmly, and the common roomed made noises of approval and surprise. Lily took out her wand.

“Not of you, Potter. Perhaps we should give these third years reason to bet?” Lily replied, and even James looked a bit taken aback by this, but he recovered quickly.

“Fine by me, Evans. Let’s duel.” Lily nodded and gave him a challenging smile in agreement.

Tables and chairs were pushed out of the way, clearing a nice large area perfect for dueling. Lily and James stood poised opposite each other, wands at the ready. They bowed, and counted to three together.

“Rictusempra!” Cried Lily, shooting a beam of red at James.

“Mimble-Wimble!” Cried James, shooting a beam of blue at Lily. They shot spells at one another for several minutes, each dodging with agility and attacking with speed.

“Synchrolosis!” Cried Lily at the same time James did. Both shot out a beam of gold, and both were hit squarely in the chest. To the onlookers, it appeared that nothing had happened at first, but to Lily and James something unusual was happening.

In Lily’s mind, images were flying up: James riding on a broomstick holding onto his father, standing in the shrieking shack watching a young Remus transform, Sirius climbing through the window looking very beat up….

In James’ mind, images were also coming up: Lily baking a cake with her mother and sister, opening a Hogwarts letter for the first time, her sister yelling at her and calling her names….

James transforming into the stag for the first time…
Lily being sorted…
James sitting in the common room after she had rejected him, holding a lily…
Lily walking in on Emma and James…
James kissing Emma…
Lily kissing Freddie…

All of their thoughts were floating around, both Lily’s memories and James’s memories, flashing before the other, out of control.

James promising to her that she wouldn’t fall…
Lily hugging him tightly at the Yule ball…
Leaning forward for the first kiss…

And suddenly, as they shared the last thought at the same time, the bond was broken.

Everyone in the common room watched Lily and James with interest, looking as if they had just come out of a trance. To Lily and James it felt like coming out of a trance, both feeling a little dazed.

Lily looked up, and her eyes met with James. What had just happened? James was wondering the same thing. The portrait hole opened and Sirius came in, oblivious to the unusual events going on.

“Prongs, Peter found out which bathroom was the closest to the Slytherin common room! When those commodes explode, those Slythering will find a bit of water…” Sirius approached him in good spirits, stepping into the cleared area where James and Lily stood. Both Lily and Jams were panting as though they had just come up for air, and Sirius looked at James closer. “James, are you sick?”

“Okay! Duel’s over, thanks for watching, now go away! Shoo! Nothing more to see here!” Tracy waved her arms at the crowd of onlookers, many of who groaned and sighed in protest to the event being cut short. “You heard me, all over! Go to dinner!” The common room slowly emptied out, leaving James, Sirius, Tracy, Lily, Erica, and Crystal.

“What’s going on in here?” Sirius asked, bewildered. No response from James or Lily, who were still breathing hard and staring at one another. Tracy began uncertainly.

“Well, they both performed a Synchrolosis Charm at the same time, and then they sort of went into a trance, and then they snapped out of it, and they’ve been like this ever since.” Tracy explained. They continued to stare at Lily and James.

“You kissed Emma?” Lily finally got out.

“You kissed Freddie?” James asked in response.

“Did you see my thoughts and memories, too?” Lily asked, aghast at what else James had seen.

“And you saw mine?” James shook his head in shock. Tracy and Sirius exchanged confused looks.

“I didn’t know the charm did that!” Lily whispered, still fearful at what else James could have seen.

“Like I did? I’d never done that charm before!” James replied. “What else did you see?” He demanded suddenly, feeling as though his memories had been violated.

“Oh, loads of stuff, you on a broom, you as a stag, you kissing me-” Lily began to list, but James interrupted.

“Wait! You saw me kissing you, too?” James asked, finding it odd that the same memory had come about from both of them.

“You did too?” Lily implored, feeling the coincidence was odd.

“D’you mind filling the rest of us in on WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?” Sirius asked, he hated being left in the dark. Lily and James stared at each other for a moment more.

“I think I’ll go to bed now.” Lily said to no one in particular, feeling very odd at the events that had just happened.

“Lily, it’s only 7:00! You can’t go to bed now!” Tracy exclaimed, but Lily was already heading up to the dormitory.

“I think I’ll turn in, too.” James mentioned as he headed for his own dormitory. Tracy, Sirius, Crystal, and Erica continued to stand in the common room, dumbstruck.

“Whatever is going on with them, it’s getting too weird.” Sirius declared, and for the first time in a long time, Tracy agreed. Too weird.




A/N: Tired of waiting for me to update? Suffering from "Winky Withdrawal?" Then you might like to read my other fic, Only Time Will Tell while you wait! (Hey, a little advertising never hurts! :D)

Chapter 31: Snape Learns His Lesson
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The month of April was tense. Tense with studying for OWLs and NEWTs starting up. Tense with training for the final Quidditch matches of the year, and the Quidditch Cup Final between Gryffindor and Slytherin drawing nearer. Tense because stress about finding a date for the end of year dance was already kicking in. Tense because the Head Boy and Head Girl hadn’t spoken since sharing thoughts that day in the Common Room, and the entire house was waiting for them to explode at one another, which they felt was bound to happen sooner or later. And to top all the tension off, even the teachers were tense with more reports of muggle killings.

It appeared that the Ministry of Magic was becoming more aware, and accounts of the latest attacks on muggles were found in the Daily Prophet with more frequency. The name “Voldemort” was occasionally thrown in, as though the Ministry doubted such a person existed and the entire thing was just a conspiracy to shake things up and frighten people. James knew perfectly well that Voldemort wouldn’t remain killing just muggles for long, and although many students agreed with the Ministry that Voldemort wasn’t all that the rumors made him out to be, everyone was certainly frightened.

Lily was too concerned about the upcoming tests to pay too much attention to the circulating rumors that muggles and muggleborns were in danger. All of her friends were very worried about her, and Lily was quite honestly fed up. She was fed up with them trying to look out for her, fed up with Freddie trying to look out for her, and fed up with James for cursing Snape whenever she and Snape happened to be in the same room. One good thing did brighten her mood in April, however, and it was a very cheery thing indeed.

Dear Lily,

How are you? Don’t fret so much about your exams, I’m sure you’ll be fine. I am so happy right now, I just feel like I’m going to explode with joy! You’ll never guess why, I couldn’t wait to tell you!

Just last Saturday, Vernon and I went out for dinner. We were just sitting there, you know, eating our salads, when he started this long speech about the future. He told me all about his father’s drill company that he worked at, and how it was time for him to make some changes in his life. I honestly thought he was going to break up with me, right then and there! But then, he got down on one knee, pulled out a box, and asked me to marry him. Marry him! Can you believe it? Lils, I’m engaged! I’ve finally found the right guy for me, we’re in love, and everything is so wonderful!

The wedding is probably going to be this summer, so you can attend and be my maid of honor. I’m just so excited right now! I’m getting married!

I miss you terribly, and I can’t wait for you to meet Vernon. Write back soon, and keep studying hard.

Love,

Petunia


Just reading her sister’s letter made Lily smile. She was so happy for her sister. Vernon sounded like a great guy. Alas, Lily was a little jealous, getting engaged sounded so wonderful!

***

No matter how many times Lily tried to explain to the Common Room that exams were closer than they thought, all the students were exceptionally rowdy with the start of May. No matter how many times she reminded them that even though they might not want to study, there were other people in the Common Room who did want to, all the students were just so psyched about the Quidditch Finals that it was impossible for them to settle down. And it didn’t help that the Head Boy, who was also the Quidditch Captain, was the rowdiest one of all.

James and Sirius had been bouncing off the walls ever since they found out the finals would be between Gryffindor and Slytherin, the biggest rivalry of the school. Even Crystal was more loud than usual, annoying her friends as she cheered with the team and talked about the victory that was sure to follow. Lily hated to admit it, but as much as she wanted Gryffindor to win, she didn’t want to deal with the Common Room if they did win. It would be out of control.


Perhaps it was because of this excitement that James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter made such extravagant plans for the full moon in May. It was going to be a complete rummage of Hogsmeade, as they had to stock up with sweets, gags, and fireworks for the party they were already planning for a Gryffindor victory. James had plans to nick some fire whisky, and Peter and Remus were in charge of getting the celebration Fireworks as to surprise Sirius and James for the win. And Sirius, he had plans of his own.

Sirius and James, although best friends and alike in many respects, differed in a few key traits. Their choices in girls for example, and their relationships with them. James was more likely to remain in a relationship for a long time, such as Lily or Emma, while Sirius tended to bounce from girl to girl weekly. James was the more magically talented wizard, while Sirius was the shrewder scheme planner. And when it came to Snivellus, though their hatred for him was equal, their methods of revenge were different.

James tended to blow up on the spot, able to curse Snape senseless just as fast as he could catch the snitch. Sirius favored savoring sweet revenge by tricking Snape, luring the Slytherin unsuspectedly into his trap. Sirius may have tried to prevent James from getting back at Snape in front of the entire school in the Great Hall that morning, but his own anger had yet to be vented. And he decided to get Snape back by teaching him a lesson about sticking one’s own overly large nose into other’s beeswax.

The idea had come to him during their previous potions class, and it was Snape who had given it to him in the first place.

“Keep your beak out of this, Snivellus.” James had told Snape hotly after the Slytherin had been trying in vain to overhear the conversation about the upcoming full moon.

“Why, you sound like you’re hiding something, Potter!” Snape had retorted back. “I’m sure Dumbledore would be delighted to hear all about whatever it you’re planning, and I would be too!”

“Yea, yea, yea Snivellus.” James had waved him away, but Sirius continued to watch Snape. He knew Snape wasn’t stupid, meaning that Snape had figured out Remus’s absences were not all they seemed. He also knew that Snape would gleefully do just about anything to find out what they were up to. And Sirius was planning that it might be a good idea to let Snape in on the secret as well. What a laugh it would be when Snape met a full-grown werewolf! Sirius had laughed to himself.

Now was the time to set his plan in motion, luring Snape and his big nose into the trap.

Snivellus-
If you want to know a little secret, all you have to do is prod the knot on the Whomping Willow tonight. Follow the passage, and you’ll find a pleasant surprise! Don’t tell anyone what you’re up to, or the glory you’ll receive you’ll have to share….

Sirius smiled as the owl he had tied the friendly little note to earlier swooped down to the Slytherin table. He was positive Snape would take the bait, he wouldn’t be able to resist finding out a secret. Tonight would be a night to go down in Marauders’ History!

“What are you smiling about, Padfoot?” James asked, looking at the silly grin on Sirius’s face. He hadn’t told James about the plan, something told him that James wouldn’t be as keen as he was about it.

“No reason, Prongs. Just excited about tonight!” He replied.

After the day’s classes finished, Remus said good bye to his friends and winked. When darkness had begun to fall after a couple hours, the other Marauders sneaked out under the invisibility cloak and headed for the Whomping Willow. Pausing in the Entrance Hall to check the Map, James abruptly stopped them, staring hard at the parchment.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Peter asked nervously.

“What’s Snivellus doing out by the Willow at this time?” James wondered incredulously. Sirius shrugged.

“We’ll just have to wait til he clears out, that’s all.” Sirius replied, wishing he could witness his plan unfolding, but knowing how wonderfully it was about to happen made him giddy all the same.

“What the hell does he think he’s doing? He’s going into the passage!” James exclaimed, and Sirius broke into a wide smile despite himself. “Sirius, what’s going on?”

“Well, let’s just say Snivellus is finally going to get what he deserves for that big nose of his…” Sirius told them delightedly. James’s jaw dropped in horror.

“Sirius, you didn’t… please tell me you didn’t…” James pleaded.

“I did!” Sirius grinned even bigger. However Sirius expected James to react, he certainly hadn’t planned on him darting out from under the invisibility cloak and tearing out of the castle. Sirius and Peter exchanged shocked looks before following.

James sprinted towards the Whomping Willow, which was still frozen from Snape prodding the knot. He ducked quickly into the passage, and hurried as fast as he could while stooped in the passage. He heard Snape not far in front of him.

“Snape! Get away from there!” He hollered, and Snape turned around ahead of him to see who it was.

“You won’t stop me, Potter! You’re secret will be out soon!” Snape called back, turning and continuing to head down the passage. Stupid git! James thought.

“Snape! I’m serious! Don’t go any further if you want to live!” He yelled again as he chased after him, gaining on him.

“Threaten me however you like, Potter! You won’t be able to keep me quiet!” Snape shouted as the passage inclined upwards, telling James how close they were to the house.

“SNAPE! DON’T!” James cried out in frustration, grabbing one of Snape’s ankles as he dove, desperate to save him, although he would have very much liked to have let Snape fend for himself against the werewolf he was about to meet.

Snape shook his leg, trying to shake James off. A loud howl from the house startled them both. Snape broke free and started off again, but James pounced. Landing squarely on Snape’s back, James brought him down to the ground. Snape seemed to have taken no notice of him, however, and was gazing in horror from the ground at the werewolf tearing a sofa to shreds.

“Get up, you idiot! Run!” James instructed him, heaving Snape to his feet. Any minute and Remus would charge. The normally gentle boy was not himself while a werewolf, and nothing would prevent Remus from attacking James or Snape if he spotted them.

Snape seemed to have lost all control of his body with shock of seeing a fully grown werewolf. James really longed to hightail it out of there in the other direction and save his own skin, but he knew Snape would be a goner if he left him there. James began to drag the stunned Snape back down the way they had come, when Remus whipped around and saw them disappear down the passage. Another howl rattled James again, and still dragging Snape he broke into a run. Hoping that Remus wasn’t following them, James didn’t stop until he dragged Snape out of the passage.

The Whomping Willow seemed to have regained the use of it’s branches, and nearly knocked James off of his feet as he emerged. Dodging branches and still dragging Snape, James hurtled towards the castle. Clear of the Willow’s reach and blows, he collapsed from exhaustion, Snape’s weight, and sheer disbelief at what had just happened.

“Mr. Potter! Mr. Potter! Bring him here!” James heard someone calling to him in the back of his mind. It was Dumbledore, along with a very frightened looking Madame Pomfrey. Next to him, Snape sat up, a look of pure terror on his face.

“You okay, Snivellus?” James gasped, still breathing hard from his excursion. Snape’s eyes, wide with shock, narrowed slightly at his words.

“What a great prank, Potter! I shouldn’t have put it past you and Black to get me killed…” Snape muttered, the initial shock wearing off. Madame Pomfrey helped him to his feet, and was about to lead him away to the Hospital Wing, when Dumbledore stopped her.

“Just one second, Poppy. Mr. Snape, I’m sorry for what just happened to you, and I just want you to know that I’ll speak to Mr. Black. I forbid you to tell anyone what you have just seen, or next time I will allow Mr. Potter to let you face Mr. Lupin on your own.” Dumbledore spoke to him kindly, but at the same time sternly. Snape looked loathingly at James for another moment, before nodding. “Very well, then. Off you go!”

Dumbledore held out a hand to James, and helped him up. “I just want you to know, Mr. Potter-” He began to say, but James interrupted him.

“Honestly, Professor! I didn’t set this up!” James protested, and Sirius, who had been standing nearby after fetching Dumbledore interjected as well.

“He didn’t do anything, Professor, the plan was all mine. James was just trying to rescue him!” Sirius confessed, and Dumbledore held up his hands.

“Let me finish, let me finish! I just want you to know, Mr. Potter, that what you did showed true bravery and moral fiber. I am now more sure than ever that you were the right pick for Head Boy this year.”

“Oh, well. Um, thank you, sir.” James answered, embarrassed by his rude interruption.

“As for you Mr. Black, I won’t deny that I am disappointed in you. Your behavior was very childish, and your actions could have killed Mr. Snape. You will be serving detention with me till the end of the school year.” Dumbledore told him finally, and Sirius hung his head, knowing fully well that Dumbledore could have easily just expelled him. “Now, please return to your dormitories if neither of you are hurt. 8:00 in my office starting tomorrow, Mr. Black.”

James and Sirius set off for the castle in silence, Peter following at a distance. Neither one knew quite what to say to the other.

“James, I-” Sirius began.

“I know you’re sorry, Sirius.” James cut him off, and Sirius went silent again, as e had just about apologized.

“I didn’t mean to-” Sirius started again.

“I know you didn’t, Padfoot.” James silenced him again, looking grave.

“Snivellus just-” Sirius ventured.

“I know Snivelluss just had it coming, mate.” James sighed.

“Then are you-” Sirius tried to get out.

“No, I’m not mad at you. I’m just tired.” James told him with a slight hint of disturbance in his voice. They returned to the Common room in silence, where James went immediately to the dormitory and to bed. Sirius cursed himself for what he had done, not so much as he had almost gotten Snape killed, himself expelled, but how he had almost gotten James killed in the process. Tricking Snape into finding himself face to face with a werewolf hadn’t been exactly very smart on his part, Sirius admitted dully.





Chapter 32: The Smartest Marauder of them All
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The week preceding the match caused a great number of scuffles to break out between the Gryffindors and Slytherins, and two students were sent to the Hospital wing with tree branches protruding from their chest. The level of animosity between James and Snape had intensified so much, that no one wanted to be in the same room as them, for fear of being hit with a stray curse. A far as Snape was concerned, James hadn’t saved his life, rather, he had saved his own tail at the last minute after chickening out. And James was quite annoyed that Snape had been thick enough to fall for Sirius’s trap, and that he showed absolutely no sign of thanks for what he had done. As for Sirius and James, things were pretty much back to normal, although whenever Snape came up in conversation, both Sirius and James got very tense, so the subject was usually avoided. And with the match drawing nearer, the excitement united the friends again.

On the morning of the match, the entire Gryffindor house dressed in red, and even Lily couldn’t help feeling wound up with anticipation for the big game. The weather could not have been more different than the last match, the sky was blue and clear, and the weather was perfectly warm.

“Crystal, we’ve been through this before. You need to eat!” Erica reminded Crystal, whose excitement seemed to be winding down as nerves for the match set in. Crystal stubbornly shook her head.

“Turner! Eat!” One of her teammates barked at her, and Crystal looked sulky. Apparently the team was still giving her a hard time because Sirius and James were giving her a hard time.

“If she doesn’t want to eat, she doesn’t have to!” Erica shot back, waving the piece of toast she had been trying to force Crystal to eat moments before menacingly at them.

“Quidditch Cup Champions! Time to head out to the pitch!” James called from the other end of the table, and many Gryffindors applauded the team as they stood up and began to follow James.

“Good luck, Crystal!” Lily, Tracy, and Erica called after her.

“Lily, ready to go?” Freddie asked from behind her, and Lily smiled and nodded. They had arranged to sit together at the match.

“I like the shirt you’re wearing.” She told him as they walked out of the Great Hall hand in hand.

“I thought you might!” He grinned. His shirt had a large Gryffindor Lion on the front, crushing a snake.

The students and staff, as well as Hogwarts Alumni assembled in the stands, eager for the game to start.

“It’s a great day for a game of Quidditch!” Freddie’s friend, the announcer called out, his voice booming around the field. “The year’s season comes to a close with the Quidditch cup finals, and a rivalry like no other. It’s time, folks, for the match between Gryffindor and Slytherin!” The crowd erupted, and the players took the field.

“Madame Hooch is trying to convince Captain Potter and Captain Malfoy to shake hands… well that didn’t work. Never mind! The Quaffle is released and the players are off! Nott to Avery, back to Nott, intercepted by Black! Passed to Bell, back to Black! Black is blocked, swerves around, Turner’s open… but he passes it off to Bell. Taken by Avery! Avery takes it down, he’s flying, its up to Flanagan, and…! Oh, well, Slytherin scores…” The announcer commented in a disdainful tone, as the Hufflepuffs usually sided with the Gryffindors.

“That show off! Crystal was wide open!” Tracy growled in exasperation. Clearly Crystal was still getting the cold shoulder.

“FOUL!” The announcer’s voice cried in outrage.

“FOUL!” The Gryffindor supporters hollered in agreement. One of the Slytherin beaters, Goyle, had purposely whacked Crystal with his club. Madame Hooch shared a sentiment with the Gryffindors, all of whom were on their feet in outrage, and called the foul, giving Gryffindor a penalty shot.

“This really isn’t Crystal’s game.” Erica commented as Crystal massaged her arm before lining up to take the shot. She scored easily, tying the game. Lily cheered with the rest, but found herself watching James out of the corner of her eye. He was such an amazing flyer… she couldn’t help but think to herself. A memory popped into her mind, James telling her he wouldn’t let her fall. She wanted to be riding with him on that broomstick again.

She wanted to be riding with him on that broomstick again, she ran the thought through her head again. She wanted to be riding with him on that broomstick again. She wanted to be riding with him on that broomstick again! It had finally sunk in, not only did she want to be riding with him on that broomstick again (I think we’ve all grasped that fact by now!), but she wanted to be with James again.

She wanted James to hold her in his arms the way he had on the night of the Yule Ball, wanted him to hold her hand the way he had while they had ice skated, wanted to laugh at his jokes, wanted to share a secret smile, wanted to kiss his lips again…

The crowd continued to cheer as Gryffindor scored again, but Lily wasn’t paying the slightest attention to the game anymore. She sat down vaguely, feeling lost and misplaced. She obviously wanted to be with James again, she obviously was still in love with him, then why was she sitting here next to Freddie? And why the hell was James going out with Emma? You blew your chance… she reminded herself bitterly. She blew her chance.

“Potter and Malfoy go into a spectacular dive! It’ll be great to see who wins this one, folks! It all comes down to who catches the Snitch!” The announcer boomed excitedly, and Lily snapped her attention back to the game, watching James and Malfoy hurtle towards the ground in pursuit.

“GO JAMES!” Lily shouted, jumping to her feet, waving her arms wildly. Tracy and Erica stared at her.

“It’s neck to neck, down to the wire, edge of your seat, it’s intense! Both seekers have their hands outstretched now!”

It would all be over in a matter of seconds: either James would catch the snitch, Malfoy would catch the snitch, or neither one of them would and they would both smash headlong into the ground. As if James had been holding back for a moment, he suddenly shot forward so quickly that he pulled ahead of Malfoy for a split second. That split second was all he needed.

“POTTER’S GOT THE SNITCH!” The announcer declared, as Malfoy and James pulled out of the dive. James rose higher, his hand raised, clutching the tiny snitch. The stands erupted again, Gryffindor supporters were pouring onto the field from all sides. Lily and her friends shouted and jumped with everyone else.

“We won! We won!” Tracy cried happily, swinging Erica around.

“He caught it!” Lily shouted in excitement, dancing around like a crazy woman.

“Quidditch Cup! Quidditch Cup!” The Gryffindors began to chant, and the team did a victory lap before landing. Dumbledore presented them with an enormous silver cup, which McGonagall and James each grabbed a handle and hoisted it high, the sun glinting off of the shiny metal.

The crowd was persistent in reaching the field where the players had landed, and so Lily and her friends forced their way through with the rest of the school in attempts to see Crystal.

“Lily, are you feeling all right?” Tracy asked her as they were jostled by the many others trying to get to the field.

“Yea, I am. I just realized something, that’s all.” Lily told her, smiling as she said it. Tracy smiled back, not really sure what Lily could have realized. Lily just hoped it wasn’t too late. It had taken her awhile to realize that she needed James back, and perhaps he had already moved on so far with Emma that Lily was completely forgotten. Lily would just have to find out one way or another, promising to herself that if James had completely moved on, she would have to, too.

***

“Butterbeers all around!” Sirius called to the crowded common room, packed with celebrating Gryffindors, as he tossed the bottled drinks to outreaching hands. It was one of the most raucous parties the Common Room had seen for awhile, and had been going strong for several hours. Lily smiled with everyone else, but she hadn’t managed to get close enough to James to talk yet. The entire team was surrounded by Gryffindors congratulating them and chatting with them. Her friends and her had only managed to squeeze in a quick ‘hi’ with Crystal, and the crowd was the largest around James and Sirius. Seeing an opening between bodies, Lily wormed her way through. She found herself not face to face with James, but with Sirius.

“Can I help you?” Sirius asked, in a more serious tone than a normal Sirius would converse in.

“Oh, I was just wondering if James was around.” Lily explained, and Sirius raised an eyebrow. “To congratulate him, that’s all!” She added hastily.

Sirius shrugged. “He disappeared a while ago. Haven’t seen him since.” Lily thanked him before forcing her way out of the crowd, dejected.

Flopping onto one of the couches, Lily sighed. Someone next to her sighed as well, startling her. It was James.

“Oh! Um, hi!” Lily greeted him nervously. James gave her a small smile. “Congratulations, by the way. Good job, and all.” James nodded, waiting for her to continue. When she didn’t, he began to speak.

“Oh, right, no biggie. I wasn’t sure if you had come to the game.”

“Why wouldn’t I have come?” Lily inquired, and James shrugged.

“I didn’t think you were the Quidditch type and all, to get all caught up in it.” James replied simply.

“Just because I don’t play Quidditch doesn’t mean I don’t like to watch it or root for Gryffindor, you know.” Lily sniffed, smiling as she did though.

“Kind of like how you don’t like to party at a party, but will be there all the same.” James added, and Lily gave him a questioning look.

“You don’t look like you’re partying too much for someone who’s usually the life of the party.” Lily pointed out, and James grinned.

“Maybe I’ve changed, Ms. Evans.” James said with an aristocratic air that made Lily smile. Now’s you’re chance, tell him now… a voice in Lily’s head urged.

“James, I just wanted to ask you-” Lily began bravely, tensing herself for what she was about to do.

“Oh, James! Here you are!” came the shrill voice of Emma, causing Lily and James both to jump. Lily slumped at being interrupted after being on the verge of revealing her feelings. James switched his gaze to Emma, who plopped down right between them.

“I’ve been looking for you! What are you doing, tucked away from the party like this? Come on, James! This is your party, don’t be a party pooper!” Emma urged him, pulling him to his feet. James opened his mouth to protest, urging Lily to say something. Lily wanted to, but her voice seemed to be frozen in her throat.

“Lily, what did you want to ask me?” James asked urgently, looking desperate to find an excuse to escape the party. Lily put up a pained smile, her chance gone.

“Oh, never mind. I’ll ask some other time, it’s not really that important. Go enjoy yourself!” Lily told him, hating every word as it came out. James gave her a pleading look, but Emma smiled.

“Let’s go, my big, strong, Quidditch Captain!” she simpered before dragging him back into the throng of fairly drunk students, as Sirius had been passing out much more than butterbeer in those bottles…

Damn it! Damn it, damn it, damn it! Lily cursed herself as she watched James be led away. Lily Evans, you little coward, she told herself before heading up to her dormitory, entirely partied out.

***

James laughed as he watched Sirius stagger about, trying to get on his broomstick. Sirius was very drunk, as the party had lasted well into the night and had started up again in the morning after everyone had woken up. This meant that the majority of the Gryffindors who had been drunk last night were drunk again this morning. And as James had decided to go flying to clear his mind, and Sirius had come with him, it was quite a spectacle to watch him so drunk and so uncoordinated.

Sirius finally managed to get one leg over his broomstick, but Remus stopped him.

“Sirius, don’t drink and fly.” he told him patronizingly. Sirius squinted at Remus, his eyes very unfocused.

“That’s very, that’s good advice… Moony.” Sirius slurred out, swaying on the spot. James was in a fit of laughter as he watched, and even Remus was finding it difficult to keep a straight face. “Friends, don’t let friends, drink and fly….”

Remus, James, and Peter stared at him as Sirius made this remarkable statement, and then toppled over. Remus arranged him in a sitting position and told him to stay there for the time being, which Sirius reluctantly agreed to. Meanwhile, James picked up Sirius’s broom and tossed it to Peter.

“Care to take a few shots, Wormtail?” James asked good naturedly, and Peter gawked. He never got to take a few shots!

“Hey! That’s my, my, my-” Sirius whined, but Remus gave him a stern look.

“Yes, that is your broomstick. Honestly, I’ve never seen you so intoxicated before, Padfoot!” He told him, and Sirius broke into a wide, silly grin as James and Peter mounted their brooms.

“What can I say? You’re just privileged, Moony ole’ boy!” Sirius told him, and Remus shook his head, smiling at his friend.

In the air, James hovered poised between the hoops, while Peter held the Quaffle timidly.

“Go on, take your best shot!” James encouraged him, and Peter nodded. Pelting at James at what Peter must have thought was a frightening speed, he chucked the Quaffle as hard as he could. The shot was very wide.

“Try again, you’re just getting warmed up.” James reassured him, tossing the Quaffle back. Peter shot again, but as his hand released the Quaffle, he lost his balance. In order to stay on the broom, he did a sort of hop thing and smashed into the Quaffle he had just thrown. The ball sailed aimlessly to his right and plummeted towards the ground. Peter, his robes askew and looking very shaken, felt his ears burn as he heard their laughter.

From the ground, Sirius was in pain he was laughing so hard. Remus had to admit it had been pretty funny, and chortled alongside him. Even James was laughing heartily, bobbing up and down as he did so.

“It’s not funny!” Peter rebuked them, his face turning red as well.

“Oh yes it is!” Sirius replied, causing them all to laugh harder.

“That’s it, I’m through with being you’re fourth wheel all the time, only around for you to make fun of!” Peter declared finally, zigzagging rather ungracefully towards the ground as his friends continued their fun at his expense.

“Wormtail, come now! You really should have seen yourself!” James called to him, still smiling.

“We weren’t laughing at you, really. More, we were laughing with you!” Remus tried unsuccessfully to convince him, though his continued chuckle said otherwise.

“Does it look like I’m laughing to you?” Peter asked them, now red with anger more than embarrassment.

“You’re right, we’re laughing at you!” Sirius guffawed tactlessly. This made James laugh even harder, he just couldn’t help it but he did. Sirius always said the stupidest stuff when he was drunk. Peter threw the broomstick at Remus and Sirius, where it landed a few feet away. As he stormed off, Remus contained his glee and watched with concern. Peter had never acted like that before, they must have really hurt him.

“Guys, I think we were a bit harsh.” Remus tried to explain.

“Spoilsport.” Sirius teased him.

“Maybe you’re right, we’ll apologize later. He should be able to take a little friendly joking, though.” James told them as he landed.

Peter was enraged, more angry than he had been in a long time. Ever since he had been at Hogwarts, he had looked up to James, wanted to be just like him. He had always considered himself lucky to be a part of the Marauders, to be accepted into the group, even though he usually was more of a tagalong than anything else. But still, he had thought James, Sirius, and Remus to be his friends, although he usually did get the raw end of the deal. Well, that’s all over now! He thought to himself angrily as he headed for the castle, he didn’t need them anyways!

Peter was in such a huff as he walked that he hardly realized where he was going. In the castle he stormed along corridor after corridor, and it wasn’t until he heard the voices at the other end of the hallway did he realize where he was. He had wandered down near the dungeons, and the voices whispering sounded a lot like Slytherins who didn’t want to be over heard. Peter was about to turn and head in the other direction quietly, when something in the conversation caught his attention.

“And that awful Mudblood Evans, she’s got to go as well.” a voice sneered from around the corner. Peter paused, what where they talking about, she had to go?

“The Dark Lord already has his sights on her, she’s too clever and bold for a Mudblood. All those arrogant Gryffindors are!” another voice said, and there was a murmur of assent. Peter had a feeling this was definitely something he shouldn’t be hearing, but he was curious to hear more all the same.

“Like Potter.” a different voice suggested, and Peter recognized it. It was Snape. A silence followed this remark, and Peter held his breath as well. Could this Dark Lord be the same Voldemort that James had told him about so long ago?

“The Dark Lord will see that they are exterminated as well, and the other Marauders too!” the first voice said finally, and the agreement was murmured again. Peter was beginning to become fearful.

“Even Black? He comes from a good, pureblood family.” another asked, and they all considered this.

“He’s in Gryffindor because he’s like the others like Potter. They all are. Except for Pettigrew, I’m not so sure about him.” the first voice, who sounded like the leader, pondered. Peter’s heart raced, they were talking about him! He might not be exterminated after all! But it sounded like only those in good graces with this Dark Lord got to live…

“Pettigrew? Nah, he’s too weak, always has to have Potter and Black looking out for him.”

I’ll show them! Peter thought to himself, angry again that everyone thought he was just a follower, not really one of the group. Just then, the meeting started to disperse, and Peter ducked behind a suit of armor to hide.

“Well, it all comes down to who chooses to embrace what the Dark Lord has in store. The smart ones, like us.” the leader said as they began to branch in different directions. Peter chanced a peek, and recognized the leader as Malfoy. Avery, Nott, and many other Slytherins, including Snape as he had suspected, were also there. The others went on their way, but Malfoy lingered in the hallway for a moment longer. Peter continued to watch him, and to his horror, their eyes met.

“What are you doing here? How much do you know? Did Potter or Black send you here to spy?” Malfoy asked him, whipping out his wand. Peter stumbled out from behind the suit of armor. Stand up for yourself, don’t rely on James or Sirius.

“No.” Peter gulped. “I came because I want to join you!” Malfoy narrowed his eyes, but he lowered his wand.

“And what makes you think we’d let you join forces with him?”

“I-I-I could be your spy! Tell you what James and Sirius are up to! Get you valuable information!” Peter pleaded. Malfoy seemed to consider this.

“That’s a possibility, Pettigrew. An interesting possibility…” Malfoy looked Peter over. “I’ll write to the Dark Lord to see how he likes the idea. But for now, you tell no one of what you have heard! No one must know you are a spy, not even the others on our side. Not yet, at least.”

Peter nodded, and Malfoy smiled in a very unsettling manner. “I was wrong about you, Pettigrew. You’re the smartest Marauder of them all!”




A/N: I know, I know, another chapter without too much Lily and James action. I apologize, but these last couple of chapters were necessary for the set up, and I promise there will be plenty of Lily and James interaction in the next chapter. This next chapter is possibly the climax of the story! (Climax, not the end, very important difference!)

Also, I have two more weeks of extreme studying! But come June 3, I will be a free person! Free to write HP Fanfiction for as long as I want! Yay! June 3rd!





Lily was on her way back from the library, after checking out several books for extra studying. The NEWTs were closer than ever, less than a month away. Ahead of her, she noticed Peter looking around in a nervous way, and thinking something was wrong, she went up to him.

“Peter?” She asked from behind, and Peter jumped and let out a small cry of surprise. “Are, um, you okay?”

“Lily! Oh, fine, fine, just fine. Startled me, that’s all. Perfectly normal, fine!” Peter told her in a hurried tone before scampering off, leaving Lily alone in the corridor. He’s acting a bit odd, she thought to herself. From the other end of the hallway, laughter and voices carried, and who but the other Marauders walked into view.

“Evans! Have you seen Peter?” Sirius called to her, and Lily frowned. It was definitely odd that Peter wasn’t with them, and it seemed like he had run away when he had heard them coming.

“Yes, just a second ago. He was acting really odd. What’s wrong with him?” Lily asked.

“Well, we sort of laughed at him when he was taking some shots on goal, and he stormed off.” James explained, and Lily frowned again.

“You really shouldn’t do that to him, he looked really hurt. He might not always stick with you guys if you’re going to treat him like that!” Lily told them, and James raised his eyebrows.

“Thanks for the friendship lesson, Evans. Only it’d be a lot more believable coming from someone who knew how to be a good friend.” James replied, and Lily felt her face grow red.

“Oh, go and snog Emma, Potter.” Lily retorted scathingly before turning on her heel and heading for the common room, leaving James fuming.

“That was way below the belt!” James finally spat out, and Remus sighed.

“You were asking for it, Prongs.” He told him, and James knew he was right. Lily infuriated him all right, but yet he couldn’t help but remember the Lily he had fallen in love with. I wonder what she had been trying to ask me at the party, James thought to himself, annoyed that Emma had burst in when she did. He had to find a way to get Lily alone, and find out what she had wanted to ask him. He wasn’t sure why he felt so strongly about this, but something inside of him still longed for Lily, even though she had broken his trust.

“Do you really think we need to study for these tests?” Sirius groaned as Remus suggested they go and study.

“Sirius! These tests will determine our careers after school! Of course we have to study!” Remus exclaimed, absolutely appalled by such a question. Sirius groaned again.

***

“Quills down, please. This exam is over.” A wizened old wizard instructed them in the Great Hall. The house tables were gone, replaced by a multitude of individual desks. Lily placed her quill on her desk, and watched as her History of Magic exam flew up with the others to the front of the room. She sighed deeply, relieved the last of her exams were finally over.

“Thank you! You’re all free to go, and good luck with whatever career you pursue!” He told them after all the exams had been collected. A gradual cheer broke out, starting with a few ‘yays!’ and erupting as the 7th years hollered and stomped. Their exams were over!

Lily felt that all of her studying had paid off, and that her exams had gone remarkably well. She went over to where Tracy, Erica, and Crystal were, and found that Tracy was in distress because she had mixed up Elmeric and Elferic during one of the goblin rebellions.

“Cheer up, Tracy. I think I see that Hufflepuff coming over here to ask you to the dance…” Lily whispered to her friend excitedly, and Tracy beamed. Sure enough, Amos Diggory was heading their way.

“Hello, Tracy.” He greeted her, and Tracy smiled even wider. Lily fought the very strong urge to giggle. “Tough exam, wasn’t it?”

“Oh, yea. Really tough.” Tracy answered, blushing.

“So, d’you have a date for the dance coming up?” He asked her, also blushing.

“Not yet.” Tracy replied, and Amos looked relieved.

“Would you like to go with me?” Amos asked hopefully.

“I’d love to!” Tracy replied, and they both smiled again. After Amos had whisked Tracy away for a walk around the lake, Lily and her friends headed outside as well.

The dock that Hagrid had been building earlier in the year was finished, and some of the younger students were jumping off into the cool water and swimming around. With the exams over, and the dance in two days, there really wasn’t much left going on in the school year, as the year ended in two weeks. Lily, of course, was going with Freddie, though she was still feeling like it was wrong. Erica and Crystal also had dates, but from different houses. The end of the year ball at Hogwarts was always the grandest of events, and as it was only open for 5th year students and above, supposedly the most “action” happened at it.

Lily wasn’t looking forward to much “action”, in fact, she wasn’t really looking forward to the dance at all. She felt empty, and she still didn’t know why, but had a feeling that it involved James. She told herself not to worry, that she’d have a great time with Freddie at the dance, and James wouldn’t mean a thing.

The day of the dance, try as she may to think about Freddie, Lily was still fretting over James. Her unusual silence made her friends suspect something was wrong, and repeatedly asked her what was up. Lily waved their questions away with various excuses, and they seemed to be satisfied. In the dormitory getting ready, however, Lily was not as discreet about her internal struggles as she needed to be.

“And Amos said….” Tracy rambled on through a conversation she and Amos Diggory had had. As much as Lily, Crystal, and Erica loved seeing Tracy happy, hearing about what Amos said every two seconds was getting old rather quick.

“So, Lily, are you and James going to be able to perform the traditional Head Boy and Girl dance tonight with out killing one another, or should we alert Dumbledore?” Erica asked good naturedly, trying to turn the conversation away from Amos. Lily blanched. She had forgotten about that!

“It might be faster to just let them have another duel, rather than have them try to hex one another as they dance. Someone could get hurt!” Crystal joined in, also relieved to talk about anything other than Amos for the thousandth time.

“Er, maybe…” Lily mumbled, feeling that she would rather be talking about Amos right now. She quickly hid her blushing face as she pulled her dress robes over her head.

“Don’t kill my date, Lily.” Emma joked, who had actually been nicer to Lily since she had won the guy. Lily’s friends chuckled, but Lily chose not to reply. “Or steal my date, for that matter.” Emma added after a moment.

“Yea, like I would want to steal James.” Lily tried to laugh, but the girls were all staring at her in a different light.

“You’ve done it before, I wouldn’t put it past you to do it again.” Emma snubbed, any airs of friendliness abandoned.

“Trust me, I won’t make that mistake again.” Lily tried to convince them, secretly wishing she could steal James. It would never work, she reminded herself glumly, I’ll just have to be tortured with a dance with him, and then have it all taken away…

“Ready to go, ladies?” Tracy asked, and there was an assent of nodding from them all. Ready or not, Lily made her way down the stairs, heading for the End of Year Ball in very low spirits.


“Why the long face, Prongs?” Sirius asked James as he examined his reflection in the mirror. James shrugged. “Tonight’s the End of Year Ball! You’re night for you and Emma to-”

“Padfoot! I don’t want to do, well, you know what, with Emma!” James cried in outrage, startling Sirius.

“Easy, easy! All in good fun, all in good fun!” Sirius tried to calm James down, who was now very red in the face. Even if he did want to, well, you know, it certainly wouldn’t be with Emma.

“Is something wrong between you and Emma?” Remus asked in a concerned voice.

“Everything’s wrong. Nothing is right. I don’t think I’ll go after all.” James moaned dejectedly flopping on his back onto his bed.

“You can’t not go! You’re Head Boy! Remember? Head Boy, Head Girl, opening dance…?” Sirius reminded him, and James moaned again.

“Uh, oh. Head Boy and Head Girl dance!” Remus gasped, realizing why James had moaned again.

“Yea, Moony. I just said that!” Sirius sniffed with superiority.

“Padfoot, Head Boy is James.” Remus began to explain, as Sirius was obviously not getting this.

“Yeah. I got that part.” Sirius replied in an annoyed tone.

“And Lily is Head Girl.” Remus continued, hoping it would be enough.

“So?” Obviously, it wasn’t.

“Lily, James? Head Girl, Head Boy?” Remus pleaded, Sirius still giving him a blank stare. “LILY AND JAMES DANCING TOGETHER AS HEAD BOY AND HEAD GIRL!” Remus hollered, and comprehension dawned on Sirius.

“Ohhhh…..” Sirius smiled. “Tough break, Prongs. It was nice knowing you.”

“What do you mean by that?” James asked, and Remus also looked bewildered.

“Evans’ll kill you. Redheads are like that, you know. Hot tempers, they have.” Sirius explained, and Remus rolled his eyes.

“It’s just one dance, James will be fine!” Remus scoffed, feeling that Sirius was overreacting.

“Hey, a lot can happen during one dance! And Lily’s really clever! Think of all the damage she can do during one dance!” Sirius told them as though this was obvious. Remus and Sirius began to bicker, but James wasn’t listening anymore.

It’s not that he didn’t want to dance with Lily because he feared for his safety. He didn’t want to dance with Lily because he had been having these feelings. Strange feelings that someone with a girlfriend shouldn’t be having. Feelings for Lily, and he knew he had been ignoring them ever since they had broken up. They were stronger than ever now, and dancing with Lily, who James suspected he might still love, would be a terrible thing. Because Lily hated him, like she had before this year. He was back at square one, and he couldn’t get out. No, the reason he didn’t want to dance with Lily was because he knew that the song would end, and Lily and him might not ever dance again together, since no tradition would force them to. And he felt it would be easier to not dance at all with her than to have one dance before she was snatched away forever.

But she had wanted to ask you something, something she didn’t want Emma to hear… a little voice reminded James, and he considered this fact. He really wanted her to ask that question, whatever it may be. He wasn’t sure what the question was, or even what his answer would be, but it would be better asked all the same. But how to do it?

“Sirius, James can’t turn into a stag and gorge Lily with his antlers, if he did then Dumbledore would know he’s an animagus!” Remus bellowed, and Sirius waved this statement away as though it were irrelevant.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures, Moony. And if Lily’s going to transfigure Hagrid into a dragon to scorch James, he’s going to need-” Sirius began to reply.

“That’s it!” James sprang up from the bed in triumph, unaware of how the conversation had gotten blown out of proportion to stags and dragons. Sirius and Remus gave him a puzzled look.

“What’s it, James?” Remus asked, as James rummaged through his bag for a piece of parchment and a quill.

“Nothing, nothing. Continue on with whatever it was you were arguing about.” James told them, scribbling something on the parchment and sticking it in his robes before heading out of the dormitory. Remus and Sirius stared after him in a confused manner.

“Like I was saying, James would need to-” Sirius continued on with his theory, but Remus placed a silencing charm on him. Sirius’s mouth continued to open and close, now with the formings of very profane words on his lips, but Remus took no notice.

“Sirius, we can finish this later. We should go down to the dance now and keep an eye on James. He’s up to something.” Remus instructed him, and followed James’s lead and hurried out of the dormitory.

“Wait for me!” Sirius tried to call, but again no words came out. Grr, he thought to himself as he ran to catch up with Remus. I hate it when he does that!

***

The Great Hall had never looked so festive. Golden, shiny material draped from the ceiling and the windows, and purple tablecloths and lavish place settings gave the impression of royalty associated with a palace. The plates were gold, the cushions on the chairs were edged in gold, and gold glitter had been enchanted to fall from the ceiling and dissolve about a foot above one’s head. It took Lily’s breath away, walking into it for the first time as Freddie lead her to a table behind Amos and Tracy.

Once all the 5th, 6th, and 7th year students had been seated and become slightly more accustomed to the grand surroundings, Dumbledore stood up from one of the staff tables, and silence fell. “Welcome to the End of Year Ball, an annual tradition at Hogwarts! This is truly a night to celebrate, first for our 5th year students for completing their O.W.L.s. Second, for the 6th year students rising to the challenge as being the next examples for the other students of the school in their next year. And of course, for our 7th year students, after completing their N.E.W.T.s, and on their bright futures that lie ahead of them. Now, let the feast begin!”

Chatter and clangings of utensils started up as the orders were placed to their plates and food arrived. Lily nibbled at a salad, having no appetite. Not even for Fettuccine Alfredo. Freddie conversed amicably with the others at the table, occasionally trying to get Lily to join in. Tracy and Amos were lost in a conversation of their own, and Erica and Crystal exchanged meaningful glances of how they would hear all about Amos for weeks to come after tonight.

James pushed his spaghetti around his plate, eating very little. Emma took little notice, as she was entertaining their table with a funny story of how one of the Ravenclaw girls had gotten locked in a toilet stall during one of the exams. Sirius laughed along with the others at his table, but he too wasn’t really listening. More so, he was watching James with concern, as James rarely lost his appetite. Sirius’s date, a stunning Hufflepuff 6th year, was looking sulky at Sirius’s lack of attention towards her.

Finally the plates cleared, and James experienced temporary relief of not having to pretend to eat, when he remembered what was coming next. Dumbledore stood up once again, announcing the traditional Head Boy and Girl dance. In a trance, James stood up, and walked to the middle of the dance floor, Lily joining him much in the same fashion. Here it goes, James braced himself, taking Lily lightly by the waist, murmurs and whispers coming from the other students. Lily felt the eyes on her, and tensed slightly as the song started up, waiting for whatever James was planning to do her in with.

As they revolved there, both of them avoiding the other’s gaze, the glitter began to fall all the way to the dance floor. Soon, they were both covered in a sparkly gold dust. Lily giggled despite herself as James tried to shake it from his eyebrows. He couldn’t help but smile as she blinked to get it out of her eyelashes. Smiling, their eyes met. It took them a moment to realize that they were eye to eye again, and they quickly averted their eyes in embarrassment. Lily wondered vaguely why James hadn’t cursed her yet, or even insulted her yet. James was wondering the same thing.

“You look very pretty tonight.” James told her timidly, and Lily felt herself blush.

“You look very nice, too.”

“Annoying stuff, this glitter, isn’t it?” James said randomly after another moment of awkward silence. Lily nodded, and a cloud of glitter fell from her hair, causing them both to laugh nervously.

Other couples began to join them on the dance floor, all of them watching Lily and James cautiously. The song soon ended, and Lily and James let go of one another rather reluctantly. James held onto Lily’s hand a moment longer, and Lily gave him a questioning look. He smiled and raised his eyebrows meaningfully before letting go and disappearing into the crowd. Lily stood there for a second, watching him go, and it took her a moment to realize he had pressed a piece of parchment into her hand. Curious, Lily unfolded it and began to read the note.

Lily-

I thought we were over. I tried to tell myself we were. But I can’t stop thinking about you, no matter how hard I try. We need to talk. Meet me by the beech trees after the next song. I’ll understand if you don’t come, but even if you come to tell me that you hate me and remind me of what I don’t want to believe is true, it would mean a lot to me. If you never speak to me again after this, that’s fine. I just need to hear the words from you, whatever you feel. When you say it’s over, I’ll be able to accept it. But until then, I can’t help but wonder whether us being apart is wrong. And I want you to ask me that question.

-Prongs


Lily read it again, making sure she wasn’t seeing things or misinterpreting the words. She continued to stare at the words, standing in the middle of the dance floor surrounded by twirling robes. Freddie tapped her on the shoulder as a new song started up.

“Lily, want to dance?” He asked, then stared at Lily’s expression and took notice of the note she held. “What’s wrong?”

Lily gaped, how could she tell Freddie? He was such a sweet guy, but she just didn’t love him. She looked over by the door, and saw Emma pleading with James. Lily took a deep breath. “Freddie, you’re going to hate me for saying this-”

“Is it James?” Freddie asked, and Lily gaped again.

“How did you know?”

“Lily, I was watching you and him dance. It’s called chemistry, and you two have it. As much as I wish I could be with you, I know in my heart that you’re not meant to be with me. And I think you’ve known it too.” Freddie told her, and Lily hugged him.

“I’m so sorry for leading you on like this. I really think you’re a great guy, and an amazing friend.” Lily told him truthfully, and Freddie pointed towards the door.

“I’m glad we’re friends. No hard feelings. But I think someone’s waiting for you…” He smiled, and Lily smiled back as the song ended. She weaved her way through the dancing students, not sure what James was going to say, or what she was going to say, but anxious to get there all the same. Emma blocked her way as Lily reached the door.

“If you think I’m going to let you get away with James again, you’ve got another thing coming to you.” Emma told her menacingly, but Freddie smiled at her.

“Emma, you don’t understand. Please, just let me through!” Lily pleaded, but Emma was resolute.

Freddie took Emma by the arm and steered her away from the doorway. Lily gave him a fleeting smile of gratitude before hurrying out into the night.

“Emma, care for a dance?” He asked her politely, completely turning Emma’s thought process around. She looked at him, startled.

“Fine!” And Freddie led her away, Emma still confused as they began to dance to the music.

“Why did you let her go? She’s your date, you know.” Emma implored, but Freddie was laid back about the question.

“I had to let her go.” Freddie told her. “She had to go meet with James.”

Emma chose not to comment on that, but instead turned to her own woes. “What does James see in her that he doesn’t see in me? Why can’t he just let her go after all that? Why can’t they just move on?” Emma wondered aloud, as they continued to revolve.

“Destiny, I suppose.” Freddie said heavily. “No matter what happens, from you, me, or Snape, even, they’ll always end up together. It’s not that you’re a bad person, or anything, just not the person.” Freddie explained.

“What do you mean by ‘the person’?” Emma asked.

“The person for James. Lily is the person for James, and James for Lily.” Emma’s eyes were filling with tears at his words. “You have a person out there, you just haven’t met him yet or just haven’t realized who he is.” He reassured her. Emma looked slightly happier at his words, and smiled at Freddie, who smiled back.

James looked up at the stars, the night was so clear. Maybe she wasn’t coming after all, he thought sadly to himself. Just then, a beam of light spread across the lawn as the door to the castle opened and someone stepped out. The person hurried towards him, and James knew it was Lily immediately.

James ran out to her, and she saw him and began to run towards him, too. Panting, they both met and stared at one another.

“You came!” James said with relief.

“I came.” Lily smiled, and she took James’s hand.


Chapter 34: Eavesdroppers
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Hand in hand, Lily and James walked back towards the beech trees. The night was fairly clear, and the stars twinkled above them. The moon was out, but it was only a crescent, and they both remembered the events of the last dance in relationship with the moon. Neither one knew what to say. Lily spoke up first.

“So, um, you wanted to talk?” She prodded gently, and James cleared his throat nervously.

“Oh, uh, yea. I did. I do.” He mumbled. His brain was still rather numb that she had come. Now he had to talk. “Right. I wanted to ask you about what you wanted to ask me. So, what was your question?” He asked her, although this had only been part of the reason he had needed to talk with her. Lily shuffled her feet slightly, uncomfortable.

“That? Oh, well, later. I mean, there’s got to be something else you wanted to talk about, because you could have asked me about that any old time.” Lily reverted the conversation back to him.

“Yes, there’s more, but, well, oh just answer the question, Lily.” James pleaded.

“You didn’t ask me one. Ask me one and I’ll give you an answer.”

“You ask your question first.”

“Ah, but you wanted to talk to me first.” Lily came up in a dignified voice, feeling as though she had won whatever kind of game they had gotten themselves into.

“Was I the one who wanted to talk first? Or did you want to talk too and you just weren’t brave enough?” James asked her triumphantly, and Lily slumped. He had a point, she couldn’t top that.

“Well, I’ll be the brave one and ask the question first.” Lily told him, and was about to do just that when he interrupted her.

“Oh no, not if I ask you a question first!” James waved her away, and Lily couldn’t help but laugh to herself. She always won in the end… James gave her another triumphant look, then remembered that he now had to ask her a question. “Why’d you tell my secret?” He blurted out before thinking, asking the first question that came to mind.

“My friends knew I was lying to them, and they wanted to know the truth. I didn’t want them to be mad at me, and I had no idea they would react the way they did.” Lily told him slowly, choosing her words carefully. “I didn’t do it to hurt you, or because I felt that they were more important than you. What would you have done if I had told you something, and your friends knew you were lying to them about something? Would you have told the Marauders?”

James thought about this one. “I tell Sirius, Remus, and Peter everything. I don’t know what I would have done, kept a promise or break that promise just to tell the truth to my friends.” James pondered. “I guess I really didn’t put myself in your situation. I’m sorry, Lily. I was just angry, and disappointed, that’s all.”

“James, I’m sorry for breaking that promise. I really am.” Lily told him sincerely, and he nodded at her. They stared out at the lake again in silence.

“Your turn.” James said after a bit. Lily gave him a questioning look. “To ask a question.”

“Right.” Lily said to herself. Why was this so awkward? “After we, you know, broke up, I started going out with Freddie.”

“And I went out with Emma.” James added, and Lily nodded.

“And I thought that if I was with someone else, I wouldn’t think about you.” Lily started up again.

“Or that you would make me jealous.” James put in, and Lily smiled. “Or you were jealous of Emma.”

“And maybe some of that, too. Anyways, Freddie is really nice and all, but he just wasn’t, wasn’t, well he just wasn’t-” Lily struggled to find the right words, not sure if she was really getting her point across.

“I know what you mean, although Emma is sometimes not even nice. I felt like I had a big hole in me, and I was trying to fill it. But I realized something, Lily. Emma wasn’t right for me be cause she wasn’t you.” James told her honestly, and Lily looked into his eyes and could tell he meant every word.

“Freddie wasn’t you. I missed you.” Lily breathed, and neither one spoke for a second. “I wanted to ask you if you felt the same way, but I was too afraid that you might not feel the same way. Why did we do that to each other? We both knew all along that we needed one another.” Lily asked incredulously, and James shrugged.

“I don’t know. I was mad, you were mad. Everyone wanted to see us duel, or see who could hex Snape the worst, I just felt like I was competing against you.”

“I wanted to outdo you, but at the same time I wanted to be with you again.” Lily admitted. “Why are we so competitive? How can a relationship like that ever survive?” James pondered this question quietly for a moment. Suddenly, they heard a rustling coming from the branches overhead.

“What was that?” Lily whispered, and James pulled her behind him, as though to shield her. He pulled out his wand and pointed it menacingly in the direction of the branches.

“Reducio!” James hollered, and the red flash illuminated the area for an instant. In that instant, they were able to see a large branch fall to the ground. On the branch was a large something which fell to the ground with a dull thud.

“Who’s there? I’ll curse you if you don’t show yourself!” He threatened, and there was more rustling on the ground as the person (well, what they hoped was a person as they could only see the outline) stood up slowly.

“Lumos!” Lily said, and her wand beam cast light on the situation.

“No need to curse me!” The voice said. Lily held her wand a little higher from behind James, and when they saw who it was, they sighed with relief.

“Sirius! What the hell do you think you’re doing out here climbing trees?” James asked weakly, happy it had only been his eavesdropping friend and not someone else. Still, he was none too thrilled that Sirius had been eavesdropping.

“I saw you leave, and then Lily follow you. I feared for your safety! If she were to attack you all alone, no one would hear you scream!” Sirius told them unabashedly. “I climbed this tree while you two were running to meet each other. Then you started talking, but I couldn’t hear because the leaves were so thick.” Sirius continued as James and Lily stared at him dumbfounded.

“Sirius-” Lily began to say, but Sirius jumped at her voice.

“Should I stun her Prongs?” He asked as thought Lily was about to pounce. James walked over to him, took Sirius’s wand from his head, and gave him a hard rap on the head with it.

“You idiot!” James muttered, shaking his head in disbelief. Lily actually found it quite funny. Just then, more rustling came, this time from one of the bushes by the water.

“Wands out!” James whispered to them hurriedly, and the three wands were extended in that direction, Sirius still eyeing Lily suspiciously. Lily felt a shiver run down her back. How many people were hiding in the dark tonight?

“Ah! Don’t stun me! Or Lily!” The second hidden visitor of the night pleaded as they stepped forward.

“Tracy?” Lily asked, recognizing her friend’s voice. It was only Tracy and Amos, and Lily sighed relief again. No matter how many times someone appeared from the dark, it always gave her goose bumps.

“You’re okay!” Tracy exclaimed, running over to hug her. Lily pulled her off.

“What are you doing here?” Lily implored.

“We saw Freddie dancing with Emma, and I assumed the worst!” Tracy told her solemnly. Lily rolled her eyes.

“And what would the worst be?” Lily asked, not sure if she really wanted to know after Sirius’s reason.

“That James had kidnapped you and was going to, well, we weren’t sure, but-” Amos spoke up, his gaze darting nervously from Lily to James. Apparently stories about Lily and James and their volatile relationship had reached the Hufflepuff house.

“They think I’m trying to kidnap you, Lily!” James laughed, and Lily began to laugh too.

“And he thinks I’m trying to maul you!” Lily chortled, both of them now in cavorts of glee.

“Hey! It’s not funny!” Tracy told them, looking aghast.

“Yea, either one of you could have been killed!” Sirius scolded them, only causing Lily and James to double up in fits of laughter.

“You’re both nuts!” Amos told them, and Sirius and Tracy nodded worriedly in agreement.

“-James!-” Lily gasped, clutching her side with laughter. “-we’re insane!”

“-yea! We’re crazy!” James choked out between giggles. Sirius, Tracy, and Amos waited patiently for them to compose themselves, which took several minutes.

“Whew!” Lily panted. “I don’t know, James. If we’re always going to be trying to kill each other, or out do each other,”

“Or if people are going to follow us around, hiding in bushes and trees-” James added darkly, shooting a look at the other three.

“-And that, but if we’re always competing, no one’s ever going to win. We’re equal in temper, in shouting, in dueling, in Snape-hexing…” Lily began to list, smiling. James smiled broadly, too.

“I think you’re right, Lily. We’re evenly matched. There’s only one way to solve this-” James said dramatically. Sirius, Amos, and Tracy exchanged horrified glances. Showdown duel to the death!

“You don’t mean-?” Lily questioned.

“I think you know what I mean.” James said seriously. “We join forces!”

“WHAT?!?!” Sirius, Tracy, and Amos cried. Lily nodded.

“A team.” She and James smiled. Three disbelieving faces stared at them open mouthed. “I think we should celebrate this victory.”

“And how should we celebrate?” James raised his eyebrows.

“Like this.” Lily told him as she pulled him into a deep embrace and kiss.

“Oh my-” Tracy muttered.

“I don’t believe it!” Amos stated, dumbstruck at the passionately kissing Lily and James.

“WOULD YOU TWO MAKE UP YOUR BLOODY MINDS?!?!” Sirius hollered. “IF YOU TWO ARE GOING TO KILL EACH OTHER, FINE! IF YOU TWO ARE GOING TO MAKE OUT, FINE! JUST DON’T SWITCH BETWEEN THE TWO!”

His shouting was in vain, for all the good it did Lily and James were still lip-locked. Tracy, Amos, and Sirius all shook their heads.

“Completely nuts.”

“Absolutely batty!”

“Insane, I tell you.” With these words, they headed back up to the castle, leaving Lily and James alone.

Eventually they had to come up for air. “I like being on this team. Can we have a victory celebration again?” James asked hopefully. Lily giggled, watching the others retreat to the castle, pondering something.

“Sirius has some lung capacity, too. He might give us a run for our money one day.” Lily told him seriously, and James had to agree.

“So now what, Lily Evans? What’s next, now that we’re a team?” James swept her off of her feet, cradling her lightly in his arms.

“I think we’ll just have to wait and see, James. Just wait and see.” Lily sighed contentedly, wrapping her arms around his neck as he began to carry her towards the castle. They walked for a moment more in silence, both in awe at the night’s events. Lily felt completely content, but there was one more question James had been burning to ask for a long time.

“Lily?”

“Mm?” Lily replied, kissing his cheek lightly.

“Why did you hate me for all those years?” James asked, and Lily looked taken back by the question. “I always wanted to be your friend, for you to like me, but you never wanted anything to do with me until this year. Why?”

Lily removed herself from his arms in order to look him in the eye. “I didn’t hate you at first. When I saw you on the train the first day, you and Sirius talking about Quidditch to the other boys, I thought you were really cool. I kind of had a secret crush on you.”

“You liked me in our first year?” James repeated to make sure he had heard her correctly. “Why didn’t you say something? Especially when I always made a fool of myself in order to get you to like me?”

“That was exactly why I didn’t say something. I thought you were too cool to notice me, and then Sirius read that awful letter-” Lily began to explain, but James cut her off.

“Sirius, he means well,” James told her hurriedly. Lily raised an eyebrow. “Well, most of the time, if you’re not a Slytherin or in a position of authority that needs to be flouted, anyways. I liked you too, a crush like you said. I wrote you that, I guess you would call it a love letter, meaning every word of it.”

“But Sirius said-” Lily reminded him, and James nodded solemnly.

“Sirius thought I was being funny, and so he wrote a whole bunch of fake love letters from me to just about every girl in the first year. Which he then read out loud to our entire History of Magic class. I wasn’t making fun of you, Sirius was making fun of me.” James revealed, and Lily looked at him seriously.

“So, it wasn’t your idea to humiliate me in front of the class with that obnoxious letter? I always thought you were making fun of me, and then decided to pretend to be obsessed with me, and that over the years the joke got out of hand.” Lily admitted.

“Was the letter that bad?” James blushed. Lily grinned.

“I believe it went something like this: ‘Lily, Lily, Lily Evans the flowering bush of beauty and red hair‘-” Lily recalled, and James put on a look of mock affrontation.

“Hey, that was really poetic!”

“It got better. ‘Your eyes are like great big plates of greeness, and make up the leaves of your bush-” Lily sang.

“The bush was so symbolic!”

“And you are really clever and smart and witty, I am under your charm because you are really good at that class-” Lily continued.

“It’s just an unusual rhyme scheme, that’s all!” James defended.

“Tell me, my charming bush of Lily-ness, do you feel the same way about me? Or are my feelings useless?” Lily finished dramatically.

“Give me credit for that one, it actually did rhyme!” James pleaded, but Lily smiled.

“Your feelings are not useless, my snitch-catching friend of James-ness.” Lily winked as she took his hand and they reentered the castle.

“Does that mean I can call you Lily-ness?” James asked with an innocent look. Lily snorted.

“After coming up with names like Snivellus, Padfoot, Moony, Prongs, and Wormtail, all you can think of is Lilyness?”

“If you want a cool nickname, go to Remus, he came up with those. Well, except for Moony, that was Sirius’s invention.” James told her honestly. “How about Lilybush, or BushycharmyLily?” Lily groaned. “I’ll take that as a no.”

It was James’s turn to groan when he and Lily stood outside of the Great Hall, remembering the lovely welcome that would surely greet them. “Do we have to go in there?”

“I’m surprised James! I would have thought you of all people would enjoy all that attention.” Lily smirked as she opened the door, golden glitter flying out as she did so.

“The only attention I need know it yours.” James grinned winningly, and they walked into the Great Hall hand in hand.

Nearby, Sirius was trying to convince Remus of all that he had witnessed of James and Lily. Remus was adamantly refuting him.

“But I swear! They were kissing and everything!” Sirius pleaded, and Remus rolled his eyes.

“Honestly, Padfoot! I’m not that gullible-” Remus told him, but then an awed hush accumulated throughout the Great Hall. Remus and Sirius craned their necks in order to see what the excitement was about. “Oh my-”

In the middle of the dance floor, Lily and James were gracefully dancing, looks of pure rapture and admiration for one another on their faces. Everyone was so startled that they could only stare, and Lily and James remained the only couple dancing on the floor. Even the teachers were watching with curiosity.

As the final note of the song wavered, James pulled Lily into a low dip, and a tender kiss was exchanged. Neither one seemed aware of the many eyes upon them, or perhaps they didn’t care. Dumbledore rose from his seat at the staff table as they pulled apart. The tension was building, but Dumbledore merely gave Lily and James a commending look, and clapped his hands together.

The applause grew, and Lily and James laughed that a single kiss could be so resounding. James smiled at Dumbledore, and although the jubilation throughout the Great Hall had reached an almighty level, James felt sure that Dumbledore had winked, before turning to engage Professor McGonagall in conversation.

At the conclusion of the dance, Lily and James were swarmed by hordes of people, asking all about the reconciliation. Lily just smiled innocently, and James would grin goofily as if he didn’t know either. Lily whispered to James that perhaps they should make a run for it, and the couple elusively ducked through their own crowd of admirers. Once in the hall, they managed to sneak towards the Common Room.

As they passed the staff room, they overheard tense-sounding voices coming from within. Lily and James gave one another questioning looks, before ducking behind a suit of armor to listen.

“-But Albus said-” McGonagall’s voice was heard tersely saying.

“I know what Albus said. But I also know that Voldemort will stoop to the level of recruiting foolish children-” Rochem’s voice argued.

“They can hardly be called children at the age of 17!” Flitwick chimed.

“They are still foolish in terms of the real world outside of Hogwarts, and when you combine that with upbringing, their opinions and decisions are not always smart. They may or may not be children, but either way, they are recruits.” Rochem explained.

“But-” a voice tried to interject, but Rochem cut it off.

“If Albus isn’t going to find people like that for our side, I don’t see how we would stand a chance. They’re going to be adults sooner than we think, and they certainly have talent.” Rochem said finally, but McGonagall wasn’t done.

“Albus is afraid that if they die it’ll be a tragedy because they are so young. If we asked them to fight, most of them would do it in an instant. But it would be a terrible waste-”

“It would be a terrible waste to underestimate them, Minerva. Voldemort knows it, and Albus knows it too, although he is opposed to the idea. Sooner or later, the Order of the Phoenix will need them.”

James’s eyes widened. He could be in this secret order of Dumbledore’s! Lily opened her mouth to ask, but James shook his head. They sneaked past the door, and neither spoke a word until they had safely reached the Common Room.

“What was all that about?” Lily asked him, and James ran his hand through his hair. This was going to be a long explanation…





A/N: I know, I know, I TOOK FOREVER TO UPDATE! I know a lot of you probably hate me now, my patience with me would be long gone, too! I hope you can forgive me in time, or if you can't that you will still enjoy the story. I am sure you are all tired of hearing excuses, so I won't waste space with telling you them! (However, if you really want to know why I have tortured you for so long, I will glady give you some of my excuses!)

As for this chapter, I am slightly disappointed with the way it turned out. I think I relied on dialogue too much, and it just didn't meet my expectations. It has been written for a while now, but it is still bothering me. Too wordy? Too mushy? Faithful reviewers, tell me!

Once again, thanks for your patience with me. My hectic life is finally slowing down!!!

One last thing, I recently posted the first chapter to a new fic I am writing, called Family Ties. Once again I ask a favor of my faithful readers: please check it out and tell me what you think. I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew, so please alert me if I am heading in that direction! Thanks!

Chapter 35: Bravery and Love
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The hints of dawn had already begun to show, but James and Lily still remained in the common room discussing the Order of the Phoenix. James had told Lily all he knew, and together they had tried to determine what all could happen as a result of Voldemort on the rise and only a few witches and wizards to fight him. Lily completely agreed with Rochem, surprisingly, even though Rochem was the head of Slytherin and none too friendly towards Gryffindors like herself, though he never called her a mud blood.

“Dumbledore needs anyone and everyone to fight. We’re all a part of the wizarding world, so we all need to stand up against bullies that try to take over. Especially because only a few people are fighting him.” Lily told James forcefully.

“Comparing Voldemort to a bully is a little unevenly matched.” James replied. He wholeheartedly supported the Order and what they were fighting for, but he felt that recruiting 17 year olds was a little extreme. “Lily, it would be like Dumbledore coming up to you and me in the hallway today and asking, ‘Hey, want to fight a super powerful and evil wizard that will probably kill us all?’!”

“I know, James.” Lily sighed, closing her eyes for a moment in exhaustion. “But some things are worth fighting for, and even dying for as in this case.”

“Would you be willing to do it?” James inquired seriously, twirling a strand of her hair between his fingers. “If Dumbledore did ask you, would you join the Order of the Phoenix?”

Lily’s emerald green eyes looked at him in such an intense way , there was no doubt in James’s mind she was being sincere. “Yes. Voldemort is killing muggles and muggle borns for fun. It would be better to die fighting against him than to live and watch him do that, to stand by and do nothing.”

James nodded solemnly in agreement, but after a moment, he couldn’t help but smile at her serious face. Lily’s brow was wrinkled in deep thought, but there were still a few stray pieces of glitter clinging to her face. He brushed them off tenderly, and leaned forward to kiss her when a sound behind him startled them both.

“Did you two get up so early just to do more of that?” Sirius asked, yawning hugely as Lily blushingly pulled herself off of James. She had been curled up next to him on the couch, and it was easy to see how Sirius would conclude they had been doing more than talking. James grumbled.

“Never went to bed. We’ve been here talking the entire time.” He replied. Sirius’s dark eyebrows arched at these words.

“Oh, I see. ‘Talking’ the entire night. Of course.” Sirius nodded in a knowing voice.

“You’re up rather early yourself, Sirius.” Lily remarked as Sirius lowered himself into an armchair facing them. “You usually party pretty hard, and are hard to get up the next day.”

“Meaning that you’re so drunk when you go to bed, you’re too wasted in the morning to get up.” James clarified.

“Yes, well, that does seem to be my tendency.” Sirius shrugged unabashedly. “But before I even got to sample the spiked pumpkin juice last night, I happen to overhear you two, and after that I was so turned around and confused I couldn’t have been more out of it had I drunken an entire lake of Firewhiskey!”

“Sorry about that.” James shrugged, grinning at his friend.

“That’s okay. I’m fine, now. It was just a little bit of a shock, to see you two snogging like that while the rest of us were afraid of a death duel.” Sirius admitted, looking a little disturbed as he recalled the events. “And I’m sorry about the whole ‘don’t kill me, Lily!’ thing before. I’m stupid, we all know it.”

Lily laughed and James rolled his eyes. “I forgive you, Sirius. And I’m sorry about the whole Marauder secret thing, and the-” Lily began, but Sirius stopped her.

“Let’s don’t even go there. It’s over now, and I am okay with it all.” Sirius told them firmly. “Also, you probably said the same thing to James last night right before the smooching commenced, and if you and I started doing that right now, James might feel a little put out.”

James tackled Sirius, and Lily laughed even harder at the pair of them. It was good to be back on speaking terms with Sirius, too. She had forgotten how wittily silly he could be, and how funny it was to watch him and James wrestle. After the scuffle was resolved (James won, but it had been a close fight), Sirius turned serious again.

“No, but honestly, what were you two talking about?” Sirius asked, and Lily began to explain again. James listened for awhile, but he was so tired from lack of sleep that soon enough, he was snoring on the couch. Remus, who had just come down from the dormitory, looked interestedly at the three of them, and turned to ask Lily and Sirius what was going on, but Sirius held a finger up to his lips, hushing him.

“You’ll wake him up!” Sirius scolded mildly, and Lily and Remus both raised their eyes at his motherly behavior. “And I want to have that privilege.” Sirius added in a more mischievous whisper, and Lily and Remus understood.

James lay curled up in a ball, peacefully slumbering on the couch, as Sirius pointed his wand at him. Sirius smiled widely, and whispered a spell that Lily couldn’t hear. A large quantity of ice and water shot from his wand, drenching James. James jerked awake as the icy blast hit him, completely soaked. Lily, Remus, and Sirius were in cavorts of laughter.

“S-s-Sirius!” James spluttered through the water running down his face, his teeth chattering. “D-d-do you always have t-t-to be s-s-so disruptive when you w-w-wake people up-p-p?!?”

“Of course!” Sirius chortled as James stood up and his dripping robes formed a puddle around his feet. James shook his wet head, sending droplets of water flying. When he had finished doing this, his hair was drier but more untidy than ever, and quite fluffy. Sirius, Remus, and Lily watched as he smiled sweetly, coming closer to Sirius. Sirius looked rather alarmed.

“James! It was all in good fun! No harm meant!” Sirius pleaded as James drew closer, still smiling.

“I’m n-not angry, Sirius.” James continued to shiver and advance, and Sirius was not comforted by these words. “In fact, I only w-w-want to give you a hug!”

Before Sirius could protest or prevent it, James had given him a very sloppy and wet hug. Now both Sirius and James were dripping wet, and Remus and Lily laughed heartily at the wet pair of friends. After everyone had regained control (Sirius and James had laughed, too) they decided to go down to breakfast. Peter joined them along the way.

In the Great Hall, many people turned and watched as Lily and James (still soaking and leaving a trail of water behind him) walked hand in hand towards the Gryffindor table. Lily remembered a time not too long ago when she would have just about died thinking about all those people staring at her, especially alongside James, but found that she really didn’t care. She no longer was afraid of what other people might think, or trying to please everyone to fit in among them, and realized she could have done this a long time ago if she had listened to her heart. And her heart was telling her that James was the only one she would ever love. Lily realized it had been telling her this all along, but she hadn’t wanted to hear it and had been afraid to listen. But she was listening now, she thought contentedly as she sat next to James at the table, feeling a little pleased that everyone knew she was with James and that she no longer had to hide anything.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of the mail, and an owl swooped down to Remus to deliver the Daily Prophet across from Lily. As Remus indifferently glanced at the paper and began to set it aside, Lily watched as James began stacking his plate with pancakes, and smiled as he carefully drizzled syrup on top, his face drawn in concentration as he made sure the stack was well soaked. Just then, Remus knocked his elbow into the orange juice pitcher, knocking it over. He seemed not to notice that his cereal was floating in juice, and stared at the front page of the Daily Prophet in shock.

“Nice going, Moony!” Sirius exclaimed contemptuously, examining his now orange juice-soaked muffin. James grumbled in assent, as the juice washed over his pancake stack, but Lily was interested in what had made Remus start.

“What is it?” She asked, and Sirius, Peter, and James looked up at him, too.

Remus shakily spread the paper out in front of Lily, and James looked over at it, too. Sirius turned his head in an attempt to read upside down from across James, and Lily gasped as she read the headline.

Terror Loose: Mass Muggle Murder and Fresh Threats
Lord Voldemort and Followers behind Pure-Blood Crusade


Ministry officials received notification that the rumored-murderer called Lord Voldemort was on the move last night, but they were too late to prevent the catastrophe that resulted, writes one of the Prophet Reporters on the scene. Thirty seven muggles were murdered late last night in a “movie theater” (where muggles buy tickets and watch moving pictures that tell a story), all of which were unarmed. When the ministry arrived on the scene, the muggle “police men” had already begun to investigate the scene.

“All of them are dead, but we don’t know how! There’s not a scratch on them!” Exclaimed muggle police chief Tony Carlyle of the bodies. “They’re perfectly healthy, except that they’re dead!”

All 37 muggles had been killed with Avada Kedavra, concluded the officials, explaining why there was no harm to any of the victims, except for being dead. There were no direct witnesses of the assault, but Jerry Ganderfield, a “soda-jerk”, was nearby when it happened.

“I heard a lot of popping noises, a lot like the popcorn I make, but it was coming from the theater.” Jerry explained. “At first, I thought it was just from the movie, but then there were all these shouts, I couldn’t understand what they said, and then more popping, and finally someone shouted something else before there was a last pop! I went in, and found them all dead, every single one.”

At first, it was difficult to make anything out of this account, but when the police men told us that a skull with a snake for a tongue had been hovering over the theater, the story became clear. This symbol, as many know, is the calling card of the man known as Lord Voldemort, and his followers of “Death Eaters”, and has been spotted over the sites of recent wizarding disappearances. It seems clear that Lord Voldemort is behind this massacre, and that many more are likely to occur.

“This is a terrible tragedy.” Remarked one of the Ministry officials after the minds of the muggles on the scene had been modified. “And it appears evident that more of this is likely to come.”

Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, etc. etc., has been cautioning the magical community for months about this Lord Voldemort, but up until this point there have not been any major events to cause alarm. Now, it seems, is the beginning of what many would call a ‘blood crusade’, led by Voldemort, to restore the value of being a pure blood and the misfortune of not being one. Over time, the belief of pure blood superiority has begun to diminish, but with Voldemort on the rise, old feelings are starting back up again.

“Blood is counting for less and less with some, but it is counting more and more for me!” Declared the matriarch of one of the oldest and most prominent pure-blood families, the Blacks. “Muggles will go first, and the Mudbloods will be next!”

Lord Voldemort seems to be thinking along these lines, too. Written on the “screen” (where the “movie” flashes up in the theater), in vivid green letters were the words, “You’ll be next, Mudbloods!”. Ministry officials urge everyone to use caution, and be on alert. It is certain that we have not seen the last of Lord Voldemort.


Lily stared at the page in awe, and Remus and James exchanged nervous looks, realizing that Lily was in danger, too. Peter looked at them all nervously, but Sirius picked up his butter knife and savagely stabbed the paper, driving the knife into the wooden table.

“Stupid, pure-blooded, bigots!” He hissed, and the others watched him with concern. “Of course my mother would have something to say about this!”

As if Sirius‘s mood couldn‘t worsen, Sirius’s younger brother, Regulus, and his cousin, Bellatrix, came up behind him. “Did you see mum’s quote in the paper?” Regulus sneered. Sirius clenched his teeth and his fists.

“Such a wonderful woman! She’s always been my favorite aunt!” Bellatrix exclaimed with malicious glee. Sirius was now shaking with rage, and he turned to face them.

“That woman is no mother of mine.” Sirius said in a slow, bitter voice, hatred in every syllable. “I renounced the Black family a long time ago.” Regulus looked as though Sirius had slapped him, but Bellatrix was defiant.

“You’ll be singing a different tune when you’re faced with the choice of being killed for being a blood traitor or being the Black you were born.” She said impressively, especially for a first year. “A blood traitor like you is worse than a mublood.” Bellatrix shot Lily a nasty look, before she and Regulus strode off to return to the Slytherin table.

No one said anything for a moment while Sirius continued to seethe with rage. Another voice spoke up, startling them all once again.

“Could I have a word with the five of you?” Dumbledore asked politely, though he looked rather grave.

Taken aback by the underlying seriousness of his voice, they all nodded silently and stood up to follow him to his office. It was very unlike Dumbledore to call them away without the slightest offering of an explanation on the spot. This made Lily feel certain that whatever Dumbledore wanted to speak to them about, it was very serious and he did not want to be overheard by anyone.

After ascending up the spiral staircase that led to the circular office, Dumbledore motioned for them all to sit down in the comfy chairs before his desk. When they were all seated and watching him expectantly, Dumbledore sighed.

“I see you all have been reading the paper.” He said shortly. They all nodded, and Lily and James exchanged apprehensive looks, both suspecting what was coming next.

“We are facing difficult days ahead of us, in fact, they have already begun. Unfortunately, few wizards will not realize this until it is too late.” Dumbledore continued in his grave voice, but Remus interrupted him tentatively.

“Professor, but if the Daily Prophet has published this about Lord Voldemort, won’t everyone realize they’re in danger?” He asked, and James looked up to Dumbledore, feeling this was a good question.

“Most won’t, they will think it doesn’t affect them, or even worse, they will underestimate Voldemort’s power and ability to cause discord. He has been gaining followers for some time now, and it was only last night that the Ministry realized this threat.” Dumbledore explained.

“So there’s no hope then?” Peter asked timidly. “We can’t do anything to stop him? What would happed if we couldn’t stop him?”

Dumbledore’s piercing blue eyes penetrated Peter so sharply, that Peter winced as his gaze fell on him. For a second, James feared that Dumbledore might start shouting, or be angry, but just as quickly as it had came, the sharp stare was softened. If anything, James decided, Dumbledore looked sad.

“There is always hope, Mr. Pettigrew. It may be only a fool’s hope, but there is always hope. I called you to my office because I know you all to be loyal and strong people, who are just and good.” Dumbledore then in turn looked each one of them in the eye. As his eyes fell onto James, he knew he was being searched and evaluated by the old man, and for the first time since he had met Dumbledore, Dumbledore looked old. It was a scary revelation to James, that Dumbledore was old, almost as scary as what the old man was about to ask them to do.

“The Order of the Phoenix is an organization that has been formed to counter-act Voldemort and his supporters, made up of wizards who are just and loyal like yourselves. You all are young, but you are living in this world just the same, and to overlook you would be just as foolhardy as to underestimate Voldemort. I feel as though I cannot ask you to do this, to risk your lives when you have so much living left to do, but I know that I must.” He paused, waiting for any outburst or reaction, but Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter merely waited for him to go on. “Will you join the Order of the Phoenix?”

Sirius, Remus, and Peter, who had not been told there was a possibility they would be joining this league, looked at Dumbledore in surprise. James simply nodded resolutely, and Lily answered Dumbledore with a firm “Yes.” After the question had sunk in, Remus nodded too, and Peter managed to mumble his support feebly. Only Sirius, it seemed, was on the fence.

“Mr. Black?” Dumbledore prodded gently. James was appalled that Sirius hadn’t agreed at once. “I understand if you don’t want to, it is a lot to ask of a person your age.” Sirius stood up, looking very distressed.

“Why are you asking me this? I’m a Black! My mother and father are probably clinking glasses with Voldemort right now! And you believe that I am a just and loyal and good person?” Sirius exclaimed incredulously.

“I certainly do believe it, Mr. Black. Although it is understandable that your loyalty lies with your family.” Dumbledore said kindly. “I have never judged you on your family’s beliefs, and I do not judge you now. I asked you for the same reason I asked Ms. Evans and Mr. Potter, because you are a good person.” Sirius stared at him disbelievingly.

“So, you trust me, even though I am a Black?” Sirius asked, and Dumbledore nodded with a smile.

“Even though they are part of this blood crusade?” Sirius inquired, and Dumbledore nodded again. Reassured by this, Sirius grinned.

“Professor Dumbledore, I have no loyalty to my family, and I do not share their beliefs. If you really believe me and trust me, I want to join the Order of the Phoenix.” Sirius declared, and his friends beamed up at him, relieved.

“I have always trusted you, Sirius, and I always will.” Dumbledore said, no longer looking old, with a renewed twinkle in his blue eyes.

***

Lily was once again in the midst of her friends Tracy, Erica, and Crystal, something that usually always brightened her mood. But after talking with Dumbledore, her friends chatter and gossip about so and so and what they had done with some guy at the dance made her feel oddly hollow.

“And then, did you hear what he said?!?” Tracy shrieked excitedly, while Erica and Crystal begged her to tell them. Lily wondered vaguely whether her friends knew or even cared that Lord Voldemort had murdered 37 muggles last night. Her musings were interrupted by peals of delighted laughter from her friends.

“Lily, can you believe it?” Erica asked her, and Lily started.

“Sorry- believe what?”

Tracy, Erica, and Crystal stared at her for a second, and Lily smiled at them all.

“Right, I was kidding. Nope, it is completely unbelievable!” Lily said in a mock gossipy voice, but her friends were satisfied and continued to whisper and squeal about who knows what. The four girls were sitting outside under the very same beech tree Lily and James had talked by last night, and Lily turned to stare absently at the lake and tuned her friends out again.

It was amazing that they could be so unaware of the world outside of boyfriends, clothes, and gossip, Lily thought to herself. She wondered if Dumbledore asked them to join the Order of the Phoenix, if they would join.

“Hey, if you knew that the wizarding world was in danger, but not a lot of other people did, and you were asked to join a secret society to fight it, would you join?” Lily asked suddenly. Lily’s friends weren’t sure if she was kidding, and they gave her very bizarre looks.

“What?” asked Tracy, and Lily repeated the question.

“This is like a hypothetical question, right?” Crystal asked.

“Sure.” Lily said. “Just hypothetical.”

“Oh, yeah!”

“Of course!”

“Definitely!”

Her friends answered before turning back to their previous conversation, but Lily knew that they had just said yes to shut her up. She felt oddly distanced from her three best friends, all of whom were blissfully unaware of the hypothetical reality upon them. Actually, she couldn’t stand it.

“Okay, but what if it wasn’t hypothetical? What if the entire wizarding world was in danger?” Lily interrupted them again.

“Lils, are you okay?” Tracy asked, for what felt like the thousandth time this year to Lily.

“We would help, Lily. Why is this so important to you?” Erica asked gently. Lily had lost her patience completely now.

“It’s important because the entire wizarding world IS in trouble! It’s not hypothetical, it’s real! Can’t you all see that?” Lily exclaimed, causing Crystal and Erica to recoil. Tracy looked concerned.

“Lils, what’s this all about? We’re not in danger-” Tracy began to say, but Lily was shaking now.

Too angry to sit there anymore with her ignorant friends, Lily got up and hurried off. She didn’t know where she was going, but she couldn’t take it anymore. She was fuming so badly that she hardly realized where her feet were taking her. The sky had begun to cloud over, and a few rain drops began to fall as she broke into a run. Because of this, she didn’t realize that her own tears were falling at first. Not until she heard someone calling her name behind her.

Probably Tracy, she thought to herself as she continued to run. The intensity of the rain increased, and the person called again, closer than before. Lily hated that person right then, she just wanted to be alone. But even as she thought this, the person called again, and Lily knew it was not Tracy.

“Lily!” James said, catching up to Lily and grabbing her arms to slow her down.

“Let me go! Let me go!” Lily wailed, flailing and fighting to get out of his grip.

“Not until you calm down and tell me what’s going on.” James tried to pacify her. The rain had made him as wet as he had been after Sirius had woken him up this morning, and it was still coming down in torrents.

Lily stopped struggling, and James released her. Feeling drained, she turned to face him and threw her arms around him. He comfortingly rubbed her back as she sobbed into his shoulder. She was too overcome to say anything, and James waited patiently. After a few minutes, Lily’s sobs had subsided to dry shudders.

“Now will you tell me what’s wrong?” James asked. “Did someone say something to you? Was it Snape?” Lily shook her head. “You can tell me, Lily. Same team, remember?”

“James, I’m scared!” Lily moaned as she continued to clutch him tightly. “I’m scared to die! I want to fight and be brave like you and Sirius and Remus, but I’m just so scared!”

Lily began to sob again, and James squeezed her. “Lily, it’s okay to be scared. I’m scared, too.”

Lily nodded, but she remained clinging to James.

“No one wants to die, but everyone does at some point.” James continued, reassuring himself at the same time. “It might be our time, it might not be. But we can’t worry about dying just yet, because we’re still living.” Lily lifted her head off of James’s shoulder to have a better look at the face she loved so much, saying these strong words. James was still rubbing her back, but he was staring off into the distance as he spoke.

“You’re one of the bravest people I know, Lily, because you are scared and yet you are facing your fears. Dumbledore said he was right in believing in Sirius, and he was right in believing in you, too.” James spoke each word calmly, holding on to Lily right beside him, but yet his voice had a distant quality to it, too. It was almost as if he was speaking words of wisdom beyond his years, on some hidden inspiration.

Lily tenderly stroked his face, bringing his distant gaze back to her. “I love you, James Potter.”

James smiled in a peculiar way, different from his usual mischievous grin and his easy-going laugh. It was a smile of simple honesty and feeling that spread slowly across his face as he took in the green eyes looking up at him. “I love you, Lily Evans.”

As they stood there, holding onto one another, they both knew they could be certain of one thing. They didn't know the perils they would face, nor the hard times ahead for them. They did know, however, that they would always be there for one another, sheltering each other from pain much as they sheltered one another from the rain as they stood there.

With James by her side, Lily was still frightened of the unknown, but she knew she wouldn't be facing it alone. She had chosen to fight for what she believed in, and she had chosen love as her weapon. Dumbledore had known that it would not be easy for them, two young people in love with each other and with life, surrounded by so much hatred and death. But choices must be made, and Lily's choice that day was for love.




Well, that's it. This story is over. I hope everyone enjoyed it, but even if you didn't I'd still like to hear your comments. This was my first ever fan fic, and even if it is not to everyone's liking (or even to no one's liking!) I have a nice feeling of accomplishment. My friend who got me started writing this and fanfic in general really wants me to do a sequel to follow this story up, and I think I might do that. In the mean time, I will be working on my other fics, Only Time Will Tell (a time travel fic) and Family Ties (a second generation fic.) I hope some of you will check them out!

Hey, the sequel is called Come What May, so be on the look out for it!

Thanks to all my wonderful readers and reviewers. There have been so many helpful suggestions and encouragment. It really does mean a lot!

http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com