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Between love and hate by Capella Black

Format: Short story
Chapters: 3
Word Count: 5,431
Status: WIP

Rating: 12+
Warnings: No Warnings

Genres: Romance, Angst
Characters: Lupin, Sirius, A. Longbottom, Lily, James, Pettigrew
Pairings: James/Lily

First Published: 12/05/2009
Last Chapter: 06/09/2010
Last Updated: 06/09/2010


Everyone knows that Lily hates James. The real question is why?

Banner by the amazing White, thanks so much!!!!

Beta'd by the awesome LilyAndScorpius4eva - you rock!

Chapter 1: A truth universally acknowledged
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In their final year at Hogwarts, the seventh years varied widely in the quantity of scholastic knowledge that they had acquired. However, there were some truths universally accepted and understood. They all knew that homework from Flitwick could be handed in late, but that of McGonagall could not. They knew that pranking Filch would be funny forever, but pranking a Marauder was only funny until you got found out. And they knew that Lily Evans always had, and always would, hate James Potter. 

The last of these seemed highly ironic to Lily herself, in a ‘this would be funny if it wasn’t happening to me’ kind of way. For in truth, Lily had not always hated James Potter. In fact, in fourth year, she had even begun to form a bit of a crush on him – the bold and funny boy so universally loved. She had watched him fussing with his hair and playing tricks on others with rose tinted adoration, certain that were he only to notice her, they could be perfect together. In her mind, she would bring out the sweet and clever side of him that she sometimes saw when he helped his friends with homework. In return, he would allow her to be seen as more than just a bookworm – allow her to be the vivacious teenager she knew she could become. She was so certain that he would be the one to notice the real her, as she had noticed the real him. 

Only one person had ever known of her secret crush – her best friend at the time, Severus. He had desperately tried to convince her not to say anything; pleaded with her to avoid the inevitable embarrassment. However, Lily had been convinced she knew best, and so had marched off to the boys dormitories to confess all.

Pausing just outside their room, Lily heard two people talking, in that brash, confident way unique to edgy teenage boys.

“You’ve got no chance, mate!”

“Really, bet I can get Lily to go out with me before you can get ... Alice to go out with you!”

Lily gasped, too shocked for a moment to even leave. However, the sound of approaching footsteps quickly spurred her into action, and she fled back down the stairs and onwards to her room. She flung herself onto her bed, and sobbing, drew the curtains tightly closed. How could I have ever thought he would actually like me? All this time, all those smiles and hellos, and it was all for a bet to see who could date the biggest geek. As tears poured down her face, she told herself that she should at least be grateful she found out before he had a chance to truly humiliate her, but it was a cold comfort to her freshly broken heart. 

An hour later and James was still trying to work up the nerve to do the deed. He had been in love with Lily for almost two months now, which seemed like an impossibly long time, particularly as she barely seemed to notice he existed. He couldn’t believe he’d been stupid enough to make the bet with Sirius, but the constant teasing about his ‘hopeless crush’ had finally gotten to him. He’ll see, he thought ruefully, as he glanced at his friend, who was playing snap in the corner of the common room, soon I’ll be dating the girl of my dreams, which is more than he’ll be able to say for him and Alice. He knew that Sirius was far too cool to ever risk asking out a girl like Alice without absolute certainty of the answer. Until a few weeks ago, he had assumed the same would be true of him as well, but each moment spent watching Lily and her ‘friend’ Snivellus made him ever more desperate. Today, I’ll ask her today.

Just as he was convincing himself of this, a group of fourth year girls came down the stairs, including Lily herself. So desperate was he to achieve his goal, he failed to notice her puffy eyes and red nose, instead blurting out:

“Lily, can I have a word?” 

Lily turned round; shocked that he would approach her so publicly. It’s one thing to ask me out as a joke, it’s another to do it in front of all my friends. Surely he wouldn’t be so cruel?
“Yes?” She answered, arching an eyebrow and looking highly irritated, “what do you want?”

“I was wondering if-you-wanted-to-go-out-with-me.” James rushed, “Next Hogsmeade weekend, perhaps?”

How dare he! HOW DARE HE?! Incensed, Lily replied “Not a chance, Potter. I wouldn’t date you if you asked me every day for the rest of your miserable life!”

“Oh yeah?” James responded, turning an angry shade of red. “We’ll see about that!”

Lily simply glared at him, before turning on her heel and storming out of the common room. 

“Well, that went well,” Sirius commented, coming over to check on his friend. “You OK there?”

“Fine.” James responded, overcoming the urge to cry, “She’s just playing hard to get.”

“Really?” Remus added, joining the group after collecting his cards. “’Cause she sounded pretty certain with that whole ‘I wouldn’t date you if...etcetera’.”

“Precisely – she’s trying to make it a challenge. I mean she practically begged me to keep asking her out!”

Remus and Sirius shared a look over James’ head, before each taking an arm and pulling him towards the portrait hole.

“I think you need a nice big dinner, and then we’ll get you to bed, OK?”

James rolled his eyes, aware that his friends were trying to handle him.

“Whatever guys, but I’m serious; I’m going to keep asking her out, and one of these days, she’s going to say yes. You’ll see!” 

Well, over the past two and a half years, they had definitely seen; they’d seen their friend continue to ask out Lily Evans every single day, and seen her continue to refuse him. What they hadn’t seen was her pain, as the guy she had once adored continued to treat the idea of them dating as nothing more than a joke. Oh, she knew he no longer saw her simply as an asexual nerd – two years of growing and a new wardrobe and hairstyle had seen to that. However, he still didn’t take her seriously, but assumed that she should simply fall at his feet because of how great he was. Well, she was one girl that wasn’t going to fall for the Marauder charm, to then be casually thrown aside. Alice hadn’t gone near a guy for almost a year after her disastrous date with Sirius, and Lily still felt guilty for not cluing the girl in while she’d had the chance. 

James was almost at the end of his self-confidence when it came to Lily Evans. The past two and a half years had been very kind to her, and as they now boarded the train for their seventh year, she was looking better than ever. He honestly couldn’t work out where things had gone so wrong with them – back in fourth year they had almost been friends. Then that disastrous day had happened, and ever since they seemed to have become locked in some twisted kind of war. He couldn’t even pinpoint when asking her out had stopped being because he thought she was playing hard to get, and instead been about trying to change her mind. What he did know though, was that it was time to end it, and simply leave her alone like she clearly wanted him to. Lily Evans always had and always would hate James Potter; everyone knew that, even him. 

A.N. So, taking a mini hiatus with Just Malfoy. This idea kept getting in the way, so I'd thought I'd put it out there, see if it would help. Any opinions? Please review!

Chapter 2: The Hogwarts Express
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As the Hogwarts Express pulled away from platform nine and three quarters, the Marauders got themselves settled into their usual compartment at the rear of the train. As ever, they had an entire holiday’s worth of news to catch up on, and this year there was an especially large amount of catching up to do. 

“So I said, ‘that’s it! You can stick your blood status where the sun doesn’t shine – I’m out of here!’ And then I grabbed my trunk, jumped on my Cleansweep, and soared straight on over to the Potter’s.”

“No way!” Peter Pettigrew looked up at Sirius with a whole new level of awe.

“Yeah, that’s pretty much what I said when he and all his worldly goods turned up on our doorstep. My mum nearly had a fit!” James added, “Course, once she’d heard what those...” he trailed off, flicking a glance towards Sirius.

“Go for it.” Sirius said with a wave of his hand, “They’re not my family anymore.”

“OK, well, once she’d heard what those...” James then used a word that made the other two Marauder’s wince, but with still no response from Sirius, he continued, “... had done, she welcomed him to the family with open arms.”

“A brother I can be proud of, at last!” Sirius and James high fived each other at this, before collapsing into their seats.

In truth, it’d been the best summer holiday James could remember, despite the circumstances of the wider wizarding world. Ever since he’d been a little kid, he’d begged his parents for a brother, but it had taken Regulus’ defection to the dark side to propel Sirius from his own family and into theirs. From the moment he’d arrived, they’d been planning pranks, practising quidditch, and generally having a blast. In fact, he’d been almost sorry to return to school. However, a letter from Dumbledore naming him head boy, and more importantly mentioning his co-head, had quickly changed his mind. Oops, I guess I’d better get going, he thought suddenly.

“Well, we should probably be getting along to the perfects’ compartments” he said aloud to Remus, “Sirius, you fill Peter in on operation abject humiliation while we’re gone.”

Remus closed the carriage door behind them, and then turned to James.

“Operation abject humiliation? Good to see that your promotion hasn’t gone to your head.”

Meanwhile, at the other end of the train, Lily Evans and her best friend, Alice Burke, were already settled in for the meeting, having left their bags in their usual compartment with their roommates, Hestia Jones and Marlene McKinnon. The tea trolley had just left the nearly empty prefect’s compartment, and Alice was happily tucking in to her personal mound of provisions – her mother didn’t believe in junk food, and so she was taking the opportunity to make up for nine weeks of healthy eating. Lily, meanwhile, was not being her usual enthusiastic self. After three cauldron cakes and two chocolate frogs, Alice began to notice that something was amiss. 

“You’re not dieting again, are you? ‘Cause seriously, once you can see ribs, you’re officially thin enough.”

Lily smiled, ever glad of her best friend’s ability to straight-talk her out of a low mood.

“Nah, nothing like that. It’s just...” Lily paused, trying to find a way of putting it objectively, “...why would Dumbledore make James head boy? He had so many other options – Remus, Severus, Amos.”

“OK, moving straight past the fact that you mentioned your boyfriend third,” Alice responded, smirking, “what’s so wrong with James? He’s responsible, smart, a team player...”

“Firstly, Amos Diggory is NOT my boyfriend; we went on two dates. Second, James is no smarter, more responsible or team player-y” Alice’s smirk widened at this rare loss of eloquence, “than any of the other candidates.”

“If you say so. Dumbledore must be up to something dastardly then – he’s probably joined forces with the Marauders themselves!”

Lily rolled her eyes, but found herself smiling at her friends gentle teasing.

“I’m being weirdly obsessive again, aren’t I?” When Alice failed to deny this, Lily continued, “OK, so take my mind off things – tell me about your holiday. How was your visit to Frank’s house?”

“Oh man, I forgot you’d been in Mugglesville for the last couple of months – we got attacked!” Ever since her parents had died eighteen months earlier, Lily had been living with her sister Petunia, and her new boyfriend, Vernon Dursley. Both were determinedly anti-magic, and so Lily was forbidden from having any contact with the wizarding world during the long summer months.

“Attacked?” Lily replied, shocked. And I thought my holiday was bad.
“Yeah – you know Frank’s been helping the anti-‘You Know Who’ movement? Well, we were out having a walk, and suddenly a couple of his followers just apparated around us and started throwing hexes right left and centre. They were totally over the top too – one of them even tried to put us under the Imperius curse.”

“No! So, clearly you got away...”

“Yeah, Frank was amazing.” Alice sighed, overcome by a rare moment of girlishness, “He threw more stunners than a Dutch dragon squad – Auror training is definitely paying off. Still, we only just got out of there, and now the Longbottom house has to have round-the-clock security.”

“Wow; it’s getting really real now, huh?” The two girls sat in silence for a few moments, considering the changing world in which they lived.

“Hey, mind if we join you?” Remus’ head popped around the door, throwing the girls a sheepish grin. Alice shrugged, unfazed either way. Lily however, looked truly pained, aware of exactly who else the ‘we’ would include.

“I’m guessing I no longer have the option of avoiding him,” she responded, resigning herself to her fate.

“Nope!” James bounded past Remus to sit by Lily. “You’re stuck with me now, all year long!”

“James,” Remus warned, “remember our chat.”

James looked pensive for a moment, before shuffling off the edge of Lily’s lap.

“Sorry Lils,” he offered, “how was your summer?”

Lily was utterly shocked by this turn of events; James was giving her personal space, and asking her something other than ‘do you want to go out?’ Does this mean I can’t yell at him? she thought petulantly.
“Um, fine thanks,” she responded reluctantly. “So, you’re head boy?”

“Seems like it. Congratulations on getting head girl. You must be pleased.” James smiled politely at her.

“I was,” she muttered, before turning to their new fourth, “Remus, how was your holiday? Is your mother feeling any better?”

Both of the boys turned red, as Remus replied,

“Well, she waxes and wanes. Thanks for your concern.” The girls exchanged twin looks of confusion, particularly as both boys looked more amused than saddened. Recovering first, Lily tried a new line of inquiry.

“Did you hear about Alice’s hol...?” She trailed off as the door opened, and they were joined by the three Slytherin prefects.

“Oh, we all heard about Alice’s little adventures,” Bellatrix Black drawled, her voice dripping with sarcastic concern, “you really should take better care in picking who you associate with.”

“Sorry, grave-robber says what?” Lily responded acidly, coming to her friend’s defence, “aren’t you one of You-Know-Who’s little groupies?”

“Aw, is the little mud-blood jealous?”

Instantly, seven wands were duel-ready. However, before it could go any further, the door once again opened to reveal the remaining seven prefects. Lily, aware of setting a bad example, hastily returned her wand to her pocket, and the others quickly followed suit.

“Are we interrupting something, Lils?” Amos asked warily, as they hovered by the doorway. James glowered at him, but otherwise the group returned to forced smiles.

“No, not at all. We were ... just waiting for you lot. So, as you will have been told, James and I are the new heads. I figured we could do the same as last year – split into sexes to discuss anything you think we need to know, and then pair off for patrol. Any questions?” Lily looked around quickly, before continuing, “OK, girls in here, and James will take the guys in the next compartment.”

James raised an eyebrow at her, smirking, but otherwise refrained from commenting on her authoritative attitude.

“What she said,” he said to the guys, standing up and leading the way.

The train managed to get to Hogsmeade with no more than the usual number of incidents – one lost toad, three hexes, and an unconfirmed case of emerging Spattergoit; all in all, Lily thought they’d done pretty well. Course, there’s always the feast to go wrong, she reminded herself as she chivvied the trembling new first years towards Hagrid’s looming form. As she glanced around, she was surprised to note James was doing the same. First he doesn’t flirt with me, then he lets me tell him what to do, and now he voluntarily helps out without asking for anything. What is he ... oh my goodness, he’s finally given up on me! 
She wasn’t sure why this thought should leave her feeling suddenly cold, but it did. It’s not that I actually like him flirting with me, it’s just... how could he not be interested? Lily was well aware that the alterations she’d made to herself in the past few years had been met with widespread approval by the male population; it turned out that guys preferred lower cut tops, more make-up and subtle flirtation, and less discussion about potions class. She’d always assumed that James’ continued pestering was proof that he was just as shallow as the rest, so his sudden disinterest was most disturbing.

With the last of the little ones safely away, she carefully moved towards the remaining prefects in the last ‘horseless’ carriage. Ever since the truth of the carriages had been revealed to them in fifth year, the majority of the students had become a touch skittish about their invisible steeds. In Lily’s case, this was exacerbated by the childhood fear she had of regular horses, which she blamed on an unfortunate incident at her sister’s eighth birthday party. Amos, already comfortably seated next to his fellow Hufflepuff Juliet Caperi, chuckled at her obvious discomfort.

“Come on, Lils, they’re not going to bite,” he said as she continued to edge towards the door. She glared up at him, before jumping in and sliding into the seat opposite.

“Prove it.” She responded sulkily.

“Really, Lily,” he continued disapprovingly, “don’t you think we’ve got bigger worries than innocent thestrals?”

Lily rolled her eyes at this, once again glad that she hadn’t taken things further with the pompous Hufflepuff. His fellow house member Juliet, however, widened her eyes at this, gushing:

“Oh my goodness, you mean like You-know-who? I heard,” at this point her voiced dropped to a theatrical whisper, “that he was planning to attack the school!”

A couple of the prefects gasped at the news.

“What?” James responded from Lily’s left, “Why on Earth would he do that? We’re just a school? Plus, going up against Dumbledore? I doubt even he’s that reckless.”

“He’s got a point there Jules – it doesn’t exactly make a whole lot of sense.” Amos added.

Juliet reddened at the twin looks of scepticism from her fellow prefects, but responded:

“Well, all I know is that Susan said that Andrew overheard Rosier and Snape talking about it, and apparently, there’s something You-know-who wants, and he’s willing to risk coming here to get it. I wander what it could be?”

“Perhaps he’s heard about our very own rabid thestrals?” Amos said, cracking himself up. Juliet looked genuinely curious about this, while Lily returned to glaring.

“Or maybe he just wants to meet someone with an ego as big as his. I’m sure you’d get on great with him Amos.” Instantly Lily regretted saying this, as Amos abruptly stopped laughing and instead looked hurt. Way to go, head girl. Less than one day into it and you’ve already alienated almost half the prefects. She couldn’t help noticing that James had brightened up at this comment however, seemingly trying to stifle his own laughter. Why’s he so happy at our arguing, she wandered, does he want no-one to fancy me? The short journey had certainly given her a lot to ponder.

A.N. Yes, the HP lexicon puts Sirius moving out in 5th year, but all we know for certain is that he was about 16 – if he was young for his year, with a birthday in August, then he could have been 16 still during the first part of the summer between 6th and 7th year, as Harry was. If this seems farfetched, then let’s just call it artistic licence – I don’t want the war to have gotten too far at this point.

Chapter 3: New Start, Old Problems
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As James entered the Great Hall, he felt a familiar wave of excitement wash over him. However, the sensation of the myriad possibilities that each new school year brought was altered by the fact that this would be his last year, bringing a sense of pre-emptive nostalgia to the mix. He smiled as he spotted his friends at the far end of the Gryffindor table, with an extra space clearly saved for him.

Carefully avoiding an ‘accidentally’ outstretched leg from the Slytherin seventh years, he made his way over to the rest of the Marauders, acknowledging various other friends as he went. Sirius had always been the most popular with the ladies, but James was the real guys’ guy, and as such it was a full five minutes before he eventually sat down. Glancing up, he noticed Lily looking for a spot herself. Instinctively, he went to wave her over, but Remus noticed him and promptly remarked:

“James, seriously, what part of ‘back off’ is confusing you?”

“The part where I can’t even sit near her. Isn’t that what friends do?”

“Yeah, but you’re not friends.” Remus shook his head disbelievingly, before continuing. “The idea was to become her friend, let her realise you like her as a person, and that she likes you as a person, and then pursue her romantically if there’s actually any real connection. Forcing yourself on her, even in a non-sexual way, is not going to help. Remember, you’re trying to behave in a mature and respectful manner.”

“Wow, way to play to your strengths!” Sirius commented with a smirk.

“Are you trying to say I can’t be mature and respectful?” James asked.

“Yes,” Sirius responded.

“Fair enough,” he conceded.

Peter looked poised to add some undoubtedly witty rejoinder, but was prevented by a loud throat-clearing from front of the hall. They turned and found the familiar sight of an old frayed hat, sitting on a small stool in front of a line of quivering first years.

“You know, I’ve just realised that we never played a prank using the sorting hat.” Sirius commented under his breath, as a hush fell over the room “That seems like quite an oversight on our behalf.”

“Well, it put us all in Gryffindor; so in a sense it’s responsible for all our pranks. It’s played its role.” James whispered back. As he finished, a wide tear appeared by the brim, and a distinctive voice began to sing:

“I am the Hogwarts Sorting hat,
As most of you will know,
And my job is to work out where
You would be best to go.
If wisdom is your treasure
Then in Ravenclaw you’ll fit,
Whereas those who go to Slytherin
Most prize their cunning wit.
In Gryffindor I’ll place those
Who are brave, and daring too,
While Hufflepuff is filled
With those most loyal and most true.
But sadly these are not
The only factors which I see
For family will also
Influence the choice for me
I’ve had this job since Hogwarts
School had only just begun,
But recently I’ve questioned
Why we think it must be done.
So I’ll remind you all of something
That I’ve never sung before:
This school is all one body
Though of houses there are four
Our differences are smaller
Than the magic that we make;
If we let our pasts divide us
Then the whole school is at stake
So remember when you put me on
And let me do my worst,
That wherever my choice places you
You were placed in Hogwarts first.”

For several seconds there was total silence, as every student and teacher was united in utter surprise. Slowly, a tentative applause was given, the hat taking its usual bows. McGonagall stepped forwards and turned to the first years:

“When I call your name, put on the hat and sit while you are sorted. Ackeley, Oscar!”

As a pale blond boy nervously reached out for the now inanimate object, quiet discussions broke out around the hall.

“Well, that was unusual,” commented Sirius.

“Totally,” Peter added, “who knew a Sorting Hat could get political?”

Further down the table, Lily was having a very similar conversation.

“Eerie or what?” she said, shivering. “And there was me hoping it all might have died down while I was incommunicado.”

“No such luck. You know things are serious when the head-gear gets involved. Still, uniting with the Slytherins – it’ll take more than a war to bring that about!”

Lily smiled weakly at her friend’s comments, but the expression didn’t reach her eyes. Noticing this, Alice asked:

“Did you speak to Sev at all over the summer; I know he lives pretty close.”

Shaking her head, Lily replied, “No. Petunia would have had a fit if he’d come round to mine, and his mother has become creepy in the extreme recently. Besides, I’m sure he’d have been too busy with his death eater pals.”

“Don’t say that. I know you miss him Lils, and besides, we’ve no proof that he’s joined that gang.”

“Oh, come on; he was overheard talking about You-know-who on the train.”

“According to Juliet Caperi! If everything she said was true then you’d have six boyfriends and be in a committed relationship with me!”

“Fair point, but still, Sev’s just changed over the last few years; I don’t know how else to describe it.”

“I guess. Talking of people who’ve changed; James was behaving himself pretty well today.”

“Yeah. I’m stuck between two explanations; either Remus has finally found a spell strong enough to control him, or the mother of all pranks is about to unfold.” Or he’s over me, she added silently.

“Or he could have just grown up... wait, you’re right; the mother of all pranks is definitely about to unfold.”

“Zeller, Andrew,” McGonagall called from the end of the hall, as the last quivering first year was went up, to promptly be sorted into Hufflepuff. The Sorting Hat was promptly removed, along with its stool, as the headmaster stood up to make his start of term speech.

“To the new amongst us, I wish a warm welcome; to those returning, welcome back. And to you all I say ‘tuck in’!”

“Ah, Dumbledore; always just on the right side of loony,” Sirius commented with a fond smile.

“Ooh, look, here it comes!” Peter added, as the start of term feast mysteriously appeared before them. The four Marauders all stopped for a moment, tense with anticipation, before Remus said:

“Quick, start filling your plates; we need to act natural or someone will get suspicious.”
The others immediately began to follow his lead, but by that point, no one was watching the Gryffindor table.

All along the Slytherin table, quiet pops could be heard, followed by louder gasps and profanities. Above this noise, came the later but louder sound of the other three tables laughing, as they watched bright pink dresses appear up and down the table, taking the place of the school robes of various pupils. After a brief pause of surprise, the teaching body rose to help the affected individuals, but it seemed that every time one outfit was restored, another one changed.

“OK,” Peter whispered under the general roar. “I get how you modified the switching draught to turn things pink, but how did you get it to keep jumping like that?”

“It isn’t jumping – the potion’s on a variable time delay; it’s just affecting different people at different times.” James replied, grinning. “But I amazed at how many people it’s affecting; what did you put it in?”

Now it was Peter’s turn to grin. “The pumpkin juice; you know how picky death eaters are – didn’t want to miss anyone out!”

“So, is everyone else looking forward to Transfiguration this year?” Remus butted in with, loudly. “I know I can’t wait to learn about transfiguring ourselves to have extra powers.”

The other three looked at him in disbelief, before noticing a presence behind them.

“I think you boys might have quite enough powers as it is, actually; it’s just learning how to use it appropriately that you need to learn.”

“Professor McGonagall! How nice to see you again,” James exclaimed, attempting to cover Peter’s continuing look of panic.

“After the feast, I expect to see all of you in my office. Understand?”

Sirius looked ready to reply, but after three quick kicks in the shins, he joined the others in politely nodding instead.

“OK, we are officially brilliant,” James said once they were sufficiently far from McGonagall’s office.

“Yeah; thank goodness no-one would believe you capable of sneaking into the kitchens, hey Wormtail?”

McGonagall had unsuccessfully questioned the foursome for almost twenty minutes, before reluctantly accepting their various alibis. Only Peter had been unaccounted for during any of the period prior to the feast commencing, and he had been seen entering the bathroom, albeit for almost twenty minutes.

“I do feel a little guilty though,” Remus added quietly. “All that stuff about how she was relying on us to set an example to the younger students; how we had been given positions of responsibility and all.”

“Exactly,” James replied. “And how better to set an example than by messing about with the Slytherins? Honestly, Moony, sometimes I just don’t get you!”

The boys continued debating this as they entered the common room, only to be stopped in their tracks by a certain red head.

“James Charlus Potter! What on Earth do you think you were doing?” Lily hissed, mere centimetres from his face. The remaining Marauders quickly slid past and headed up to their dormitory, having long since learnt to stay out of such arguments.

“Excuse me? What did I do?” James replied, his face a mask of innocent curiosity. Wow, she’s pretty close up. Though her eyes are a little freaky when they bulge like that – looks definitely can’t kill, right?
“You know exactly what you did! I know you have no respect for the Slytherins, or school rules, or even how this reflects on us as a team, but I’d have thought you might have at least considered what this might mean to Dumbledore. Honestly, he goes to all the effort of making you head boy, and this is how you repay him?”

Why is it that when she says it, I suddenly feel guilty? Turning pink, James kept his eyes firmly rooted to his shoes, waiting for Lily to finish.

“You know, earlier today I’d really begun to hope you had changed. Couldn’t you at least try to act your age?”

Realising she was expecting an answer at this point, he looked back up. “OK.”

“Well... wait, what?” Lily’s expression went from indignant to incredulous as she processed his response.

“I’ll try to act my age. Not that I’m admitting to any non-mature activity, but I guess I could at least try.”

“Well, OK. Right. Good.” Never having actually won an argument with James before, Lily suddenly found herself at a complete loss. “So, see you at the prefects’ meeting on Friday?”

“Sure thing. See you then.”

James gave her a quick smile before heading up after his friends.

What just happened? Lily thought to herself as she returned to where she had been sitting with Alice.

“Not that I was eaves-dropping, but did I just hear James Potter agree with you?” Alice asked as Lily sat down.

“I think so.” Lily replied, looking a little dazed. “Maybe he actually has grown up.”

“Well, on that note, I think it’s definitely time for bed.”

“Good plan – I think I’ve had all the excitement I can handle today.”

After a quick check on the first years, they hazily made their way to their dormitory and got ready for bed. However, while Alice began snoring mere moments after her head hit her pillow; Lily found sleep more elusive, as she continued to ponder the events of the day. One thing was for sure, it was going to be an interesting year.