Thanks HPFF validation team for putting up the last chapter in record time! And thank you SO much for whoever put me up on the Recommended Author of the Month thingy! I nearly cried with happiness when I saw my name up there! Thank you everyone who has reviewed this story so far for being nice, wonderful, kind, magnificent, and all those other positive adjectives out there!

Chapter 34: The Train Ride

One might assume, due to Potter Manor's sheer size, that it was inhabited by many people. But that was not the case. Most days, it was just James and his mother. On the rare occasion that Mr Harold Potter was home from his work, the atmosphere in the Manor was awkward and silent.

But when Sirius Black was visiting, there was never a moment of silence. Sirius was naturally a loud, rambunctious boy, but when he's with his best friend, James, the noise doubles.

James himself was not as hyperactive as his friend Sirius. When left alone he often read, thought, or played Quidditch. But when accompanied by his friends or Lily Evans, he was loud.

When he was around Lily, all of his philosophies about being nice and gentlemanly to women disappeared. All he wanted to do was to impress her so that she'd agree to go out with him. All he wanted was to be friends with her, and possibly more than that.

But now, he was secluded in a wardrobe with Lily Evans, and he was silent. He wasn't shut in his on wardrobe with Lily on his own accord, no sir. He was there because Sirius had pushed both him and Lily into the closet because he'd thought it would be funny.

James sat, quite motionless, on the floor of his wardrobe, wishing Lily would shut up.

"I'm dying!" she moaned, wallowing in her own misery. "Dying!"

"So I've heard," James muttered, leaning his head back to rest on a box of shoes.

Lily turned (as best she could in the stuffy wardrobe) to face James. "I'll bet you planned this!" she shrieked. "I'll bet you and Black had some sick little bet, and you planned this!"

James sighed. "My dear Evans," he said without looking at her. "If Sirius and I had had some 'sick little bet', do you really think I'd be sitting here right now, planning my fellow Marauder's unfortunate demise?"

Lily pouted and sat back as well. "Scratch what I said earlier," she grumbled. "I'm dead."

James chose it was best to not respond. He was thinking of ways to torture Sirius as soon as they got out of the wardrobe.

Lily was thinking of ways to get out. Sirius had the key, and they weren't allowed to use magic outside of school. She bit her lip, concentrating. Then it hit her.

She wiggled in the small amount of space she had, reaching up to her head. James stared at her.

"What on earth are you doing?"

Lily ignored him. She ran her hand through her hair, searching for a bobby pin or clip of some kind. She struck gold. Figuratively, of course.

"What are you doing?" James repeated, watching as she took out the bobby pin from her hair and stuck it in the lock, jiggling it hopefully.

"What kind of person gets a wardrobe that locks?" she grumbled, moving around the clip until there was a soft clicking sound.

James was astonished. Who thought that someone could actually do that? Unlock a lock with a bobby pin, that is.

"How'd you do that?" he asked as she pushed open the door, , allowing them to step out of the cramped closet and stretch their protesting limbs.

"It pays to be friends with Holly Anderson," Lily said.

"You're amazing," James breathed, not able to take his eyes off her. "Will you go out with me?"

Lily snorted, put the bobby pin back in her hair, and walked over to the door. "You wish, Potter."

Just as Lily reached to the doorknob, the door opened and Sirius stepped in, chewing on a chocolate chip cookie. Unintentionally, he smacked Lily with the door, causing her to fall to the ground.

He stared down at her.

"Are you dead?" he asked, nudging her motionless body with his foot.

James smirked--now that Sirius was here, it was his cue to be arrogant and Marauder-ish. "She's just fainted from the shock."

"What shock?" asked Sirius, picking a chocolate chip out of the cookie and popping it into his mouth.

"I asked her out," James explained. "The shock of getting what she finally wanted must have killed her."

Sirius nodded. "Ahh. I understand. Happens to me all the time."

Lily lay there in disgust. She couldn't actually believe that these two could be so full of themselves! Actually, she thought, scowling. I can. It's Potter and Black, for heaven's sake. They always treat girls like they're some sort of animal or something.

She stood up, and ignoring the pain in her back from being knocked to the floor, walked out of the room. James stared after her.

"Did we do something wrong?"

Sirius shrugged and stuffed the remainder of the cookie in his mouth. "Beats me."


By the end of the week, Lily thought she might as well be signed up for the sanitarium right then and there. She fully believed that if she spent another minute in the company of James Potter and Sirius Black, she'd go insane. So you can imagine how pleased she was when August the thirty first rolled along, bringing with it the long train ride to Hogwarts School.

But first they had to get to the train station. That in and of itself seemed to be a problem for the Potter family plus Sirius.

Lily, already packed and washed, pulled her trunk out of her room just as Sirius strolled out of the bathroom, wearing nothing but a towel. Lily gasped and covered her eyes.

"For goodness sakes!" she yelled. "Go get dressed!"

Sirius blinked at her, frowned, then walked into his room, muttering something about women. As soon as he disappeared behind his door, the one next to it opened and James walked out, still in his pajamas.

"You're not dressed already?" Lily practically shrieked. After all, they had to leave in fifteen minutes. "We have to leave soon!"

James, who was not wearing his glasses, blinked at her, rubbed his eyes, and shook his head. "No thanks," he muttered sleepily, and shut the door of the bathroom behind him.

Lily moaned and slid down the wall. Would they ever get out of the house?

Ten minutes later, Olivia walked past, adjusting her robes. She spotted Lily on the floor and stopped.

"Are you alright, dear?" she asked, as though concerned for the girl's sanity.

"Your son is in the bathroom," Lily grumbled. "Still taking a shower! And Sirius isn't dressed yet!"

Olivia, who seemed to be the only sane one in the family, frowned. "Well that won't do!" she said, and opened the door to the bathroom.

She walked inside and yelled for her son to get out of the shower. There was a loud banging noise, a sudden screech as the tap was closed, and a hoarse yell from James.


Olivia strode out of the room, shaking her head and muttering, "Honestly, James, I've diapered your bottom enough times to know what it looks like..." Lily couldn't help it. She burst out laughing. A humiliated James Potter was something she'd like to see.

Exactly thirty two seconds later, James walked out of the bathroom, fully dressed, but his hair still sopping wet. Lily was still laughing. He glared at her.

"You think it's funny, do you?" he asked, instinctively running his hand through his hair. He looked at his wet hand, then sprayed the water on Lily, who shrieked with surprise.

"Kids!" Olivia yelled from downstairs. "Don't fight! It's time to go!"

Wiping water droplets off her face, Lily muttered, "Thank god!"


Holly Anderson was in a complete "fruzzle", as her Aunt Debbie always used to say. She'd completely forgotten that she was supposed to pack her Hogwarts stuff last night! She had been too busy yelling and screaming at her mother to remember.

Her mother was a Muggle. A huge big Muggle. So she didn't understand, really, what went on in the Wizarding World. She didn't understand about Quidditch, ghosts, Wizarding currency, or any of it. And she didn't want to understand.

When she'd married Drew Anderson, she had no idea that he was a wizard. She though he was just a normal delivery boy, and he captured her heart. They had a child together, Holly, and everything was wonderful and perfect. But when Holly was seven, Daphne Anderson found Drew's stash of old schoolbooks and broomsticks. And she was furious.

After a huge fight with her husband, she left the house and did not return for six months. Holly was confused; why was Mum leaving? Why did she yell at Daddy? The young girl didn't know anything. So while Daphne was gone, Drew taught her everything he knew about the Wizarding World. He showed her Quidditch, he showed her Knuts, Galleons, and Sickles, and he showed her magic.

Holly was fascinated. But she still didn't understand. Why didn't Mummy like all the amazing things in the Wizard World? Why did she get so mad as to run away?

But Daphne returned on Holly's eighth birthday. She returned and apologized to Drew for running away. They made up, but Holly could see it wasn't sincere. She saw her mother flinch every time Drew touched her. She heard her mother cry every time Drew mentioned Hogwarts. And she felt her mother's coldness toward her only daughter. Her daughter who was a witch, and therefore abnormal.

So here Holly stood, on August 31, 1974, at King's Cross Station in London, completely and utterly fruzzled. She'd thrown her clothes in pell mell into her trunk, so it didn't close properly. She hadn't had time to brush her teeth or her hair, so her brown locks were frizzy and tangled. Someone she passed on her way to Platform 9 3/4 had muttered something about "crazy druggie hooligans looking for shelter". Holly was on the verge of tears.

Without saying goodbye to her father (her mother never came to see her off to school), Holly rushed through the magical barrier, and crashed straight into someone who had very foolishly been standing in front of the entrance.

She gasped as she fell to the floor, accompanied by whoever she had rammed into. There was a loud clatter as both their luggage carts fell over, and a loud hoot that must have come from the other peron's owl cage.

Despite the pain in her arm, Holly jumped up and took a good look at who she had crashed into.

The boy looked to be about fourth or fifth year, though she couldn't really tell because he was still on the floor. He had dark red hair, deep blue eyes, and pale skin lightly dusted with freckles. All in all, he was very good looking.

She was still too much in shock to fully process anything, so she just stared at him, rather than helping him up or saying sorry. Thankfully, he got up on his own, and once he did, Holly saw that he was at least a foot taller than her. Though that wasn't unusual--nearly everyone was at least five inches taller than Holly's own four feet ten inches.

"S-sorry," she stuttered, cursing herself inwardly. She never stuttered!

The boy--no, young man--smiled at her. "It's alright," he said. "I shouldn't have been standing in your way."

"But you didn't know I was about to come through," Holly reasoned.

The young man laughed. "Fair enough."

"Well I'll let you head on your way," said Holly, gathering up her trunk and its contents, which had spilled out. She cursed herself again. I'll let you head on your way?! That sounded like something her Aunt Debbie would say!

Rather than help her, like a gentleman, the man stood and watched as she picked up her things. He simply stared at her, as though wondering when she would leave.

But the next words out of his mouth were not "Can you get out of my way?" No. Instead, he said, "What's your name?"

Holly looked up at him, brushing a stray strand of brown hair off her face. "Holly," she answered. "Holly," she repeated. "I'm Holly."

The red-haired, handsome man smiled again. "Alright, Holly. I think I get it. I'm Anderson Cohan."

"Anderson? Like, that's your first name?" Holly wished she could have just smacked herself in the head right then and there.

"Yeah, it's my name. What's your last name?" Anderson appeared to not care whether she sounded like an idiot or not.

"Anderson," said Holly. "I'm Holly Anderson. That's why I was wondering if it was really your first name, because it's my last name, get it? Yeah. Well, I'd better go find my friends, now."

Anderson grinned. "Alright then, Holly Anderson. Until next time!"

Holly began backing away from him, not wanting to take her eyes off his handsome features.

"Yeah," she said quietly. "Until next time."

Anderson Cohan disappeared into the crowd, and with a sigh, Holly turned around to walk in the right direction. And she immediately crashed into someone.

"Whoa!" said the other person. "Watch out, Holly!" It was Amber. Amber helped Holly steady herself. "How was your summer?"

Holly shrugged. "Alright, I guess."

Amber didn't smile. "Why were you talking to Anderson Cohan?" she asked, a slight frown on her face.

Holly was surprised. "You know him?" she asked.

The two girls began walking toward the train. "I know of him," Amber corrected.

"Oh? And what did you hear about him, exactly?" Holly asked, concentrating on not tripping over her belongings.

"Just that he's not the nicest guy around," said Amber vaguely, stepping onto the train and offering to take Holly's stuff. "He cheats."

Holly climbed onto the train, out of breath. "In what? Chess?"

Amber didn't laugh. "No, on his girlfriends."

Holly scowled as they searched for a compartment. "How old is this guy, anyway?"

"He's in Zach's year."

Holly rolled her eyes. "So that's how you know so much about this Anderson dude!"

"Did someone say my name?"

Holly and amber spun around to face Anderson, leaning against a compartment door and grinning. He nodded his head toward Holly's armful of random belongings. "Need help?"

Holly gave a fake little giggle, then stopped abruptly. "Heh heh, NO!"

And still lugging her stuff, she pushed past Amber and entered the first compartment she reached. Anderson gave Amber a confused look, and Amber shrugged, then followed her short friend.

Thankfully, the room Holly had chosen was an empty one, where she could organize her things.

"Damn trunk!" she muttered, stuffing a large pile of socks back into the poor suitcase. "Just close!" She began jumping up and down on top of her trunk, as though that would make it close.

Amber shook her head at her friend. "Here, let me do it, Holly."

Holly sighed in relief and plopped down onto the sofa like chair in the compartment. "Thanks."

Five minutes after the train began to move, their compartment door opened and Cassandra entered, closely followed by Lily. Both of them looked out of breath from running down the corridor.

"What's up with you?" asked Holly as a greeting. Cassandra sat down next to her friend, but Lily remained standing by the door.

"Black!" she hissed. "He's running down the hall chasing us! And Potter, too!" She gave a little scream of frustration and punched the wall, which turned out to be a bad idea.

"Ow!" she whimpered. "That hurt!"

Cassandra shook her head at her friend. "Now we know not to punch walls, don't we?"

Lily gave a pathetic little whimper, and plopped down on the seat. "No," she mumbled, rubbing her knuckles.

Sighing in unison, the girls leaned back against the headrest of their seats, relaxing. Cassandra broke the silence, turning to face Holly.

"Why were you talking with Anderson Cohan, Holly?" she inquired of the short teen.

Holly stared at her incredulously. "Does everyone know this bloke except me?"

Lily shook her head. "I don't know him. Cassie just knows these things."

"Cassie knows everything," Amber added, nodding in agreement.

Cassandra smiled, blushing. "Not everything. I just happened to know who this Cohan guy is. He's in Zach's year."

"So I've heard," muttered Holly. "And I wasn't really conversing with him, we just bumped into each other. Literally."

Cassandra nodded. "I see. Well try to make it a point to not talk to him again. It's for your own sanity, safety, and well-being, you know."

Holly scowled at her friends and rolled her eyes. "Whatever!" she said under her breath.

"So how was everyone's summer?" Amber asked suddenly, wanting to break the awkward silence that had filled the compartment.

Cassandra said "It was alright," Holly shrugged, but Lily laughed hysterically. The other three girls turned to look at her.

"What's up with you?" Holly asked.

Lily stopped her freaky laughter. "I had to spend an entire week with JAMES POTTER AND SIRIUS BLACK!!" she yelled.

"Why?" her friends asked in unison.

Lily slumped back on her seat, a frown on her face. "Because my mother is an idiot."

"Lily!" Cassandra gasped. "Don't insult your parents!"

"That's easy for you to say!" Lily yelled, sitting upright again. Her friends could tell she was very upset. "You're the only one here with normal parents!"

Cassandra looked very surprised. "M-me?" she stuttered. "But you--"

"My parents are cripples!" Lily shrieked, now on the verge of tears. "I have to do everything for them! 'Lily, do the dishes! Lily clean the floor! Lily get the mail!' It's always me!"

"But," tried Cassandra timidly. "I thought Petunia wasn't even home?"

Lily slumped back down on her chair, looking defeated. She brought her legs onto the seat and wrapped her arms around them, curled up into a tiny ball. "Go away!" she sobbed. "Just leave me alone!"

Amber, Cassandra, and Holly were not stupid. They knew when to leave it. And this was one of those times. Slowly, the three girls began their own, quiet conversation, but none of them could help thinking that lately, they'd been trying to cheer Lily up a lot more often.


After a whole summer of not seeing each other, finally the four Marauders were together. And they were happy because of that.

At the moment, Remus was telling of his stay at Ilene's Institute for the Parentally Challenged, where he would have to stay for another three years until he became a fully fledged wizard. Sirius had already told Peter and Remus of his successful mission (the one where he stuffed James and Lily into a wardrobe together), Peter had said nothing interesting had happened during his summer, and when asked how his summer was, James had dreamily responded, "Lily..."

So now it was Remus' turn to tell a tale.

"So then Ranit comes barging in, yelling--"

"She sounds hot," Sirius randomly interrupted.

Remus blinked at him. "What?"

"I said she sounds hot," Sirius repeated.

Remus was still confused. "Ranit?"

Sirius nodded. "Yeah. I say that any chick who can scream and burst people's ear drums is hot."

Remus stared at his friend incredulously. Then, ignoring Sirius' twisted logic, he shook his head and continued his story.

Once he was done, the Marauders fell into a companionable silence. James stared out the window, thinking of his red-haired beauty, Remus took a book out of his luggage and began to read, and Peter and Sirius played a game of Exploding Snap.

After about an hour or so of this, James decided to speak. "Do you think she likes me?"

Peter looked up from his deck of cards, his bangs smoking, Sirius looked up from his deck of cards, completely unharmed, and Remus carefully marked his place in the book he was reading and asked, "Lily?"

James sighed. "Yeah, Evans. I mean, she always says she hates me, but do you think that's just a charade, and that under all that hate and anger she really loves me like I love her?"

Remus set his hand on his chin and began to think. Peter and Sirius glanced at each other, and at the same time Remus said it, they said, "No."

James frowned. "Oh." And he lapsed into silence again.

The other Marauders glanced at each other, but decided to let James and his random question go.

Peter and Sirius went back to their game, and Remus watched them for a while before announcing, "I'm bored."

"So play with us," said Sirius, not looking up.

"I don't want to," Remus complained. "I want something interesting to do."

Peter joined in the fun game known as "complaining", and said, "I'm hungry."

Just then, the compartment door slid open and the witch pushing the trolley cart appeared. Sirius, Remus, and James glanced at each other in astonishment, and Peter grinned.

"Would you boys like a snack?" the trolley witch asked, smiling at the Marauders.

Once the trolley lady left, Remus repeated hopefully, "I'm bored."

Nothing happened.

He scowled. "Darn."


The Hogwart's Express pulled into Hogsmeade Station, black smoke issuing from the pipes on top of the scarlet train. Students spilled out of the train, first years following Hagrid to the boats, and second through seventh years piling into the horseless carriages that would take them up to Hogwart's Castle.

Lily, fully recovered and not crying anymore, lead the way for her friends up to a carriage that, from the outside, looked to be empty. She put her foot on the step and was about to heave herself up to open the door, when the door swung open and smacked her in the face, causing the poor girl to fall to the ground. Her friends gasped.

"Lily!" Amber exclaimed, dropping to her knees to see if Lily was alright. "Are you okay?"

The person who had so rudely swung open the door peered out of the carriage and sneered.

"Serves her right, the filthy little Mudblood," said third-year Regulus Black, smirking at Lily's bloody nose. "She's got no right to be here at Hogwarts."

Holly drew herself up to her full height (which was not all that impressive--Regulus was taller than her) and was about to show the Slytherin a piece of her mind, when Sirius shot forward out of nowhere and punched his brother in the face. It was a difficult task, as Regulus was seated in the carriage, and therefore a few feet higher than Sirius.

"Serves you right, filthy Slytherin," Sirius spat back at Regulus. "You've got no right to be alive, let alone at Hogwarts."

Glaring and rubbing his slowly bruising eye, Regulus slammed the carriage door in his brother's face, his friends sniggering next to him.

The girls watched astonished from the sidelines. They had never seen Sirius so angry, even at his brother. As Amber and Cassandra helped Lily up, Holly, who was still shaking with anger, watched James, Remus, and Peter walk up to Sirius. James immediately turned to Lily.

"You're not dead, my Lily-Flower!" he said, and though his words were teasing, there was concern in his tone.

Lily gave him a death glare, and without a response, stalked away. Amber and Cassandra followed, but Holly hung back. She stepped up close to James and poked a thin finger at his chest.

"Say anything to her, Potter," she hissed, "and I'll hex you so fast you won't have time to say 'Bloody hell'."

And with that, Holly walked off, leaving her weird threat hanging in the air like a spider's web.


I know! I know Amber didn't cough, and Holly didn't giggle girlishly! I know I know I know! But I just wanted to FINISH this chapter! I'm SO sorry it took so long, please forgive me! I hope it was worth the wait! Tell me so in your reviews, and whoever can tell me all the 3 times Lily died gets an extra cookie! Until next time! Draco_IsMy_Drug

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