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Author’s Notes: Hello, hello. Before any followers of Meant to Be decide to throw an unpleasant amount of rotten fruit at me -- well, wait. Actually, I don’t have anything to say that would stop you from doing that, but hear me out anyway! I know you’re all probably fuming at me. The thought, “She’s wasting her time on this, when she should be getting the rest of Meant to Be up!” has probably crossed your mind by now. Trust me, it has mine.

But! I’m going to say this to defend myself: You must understand that I have been working on Meant to Be for just a little under a year, by now. I have only completed one other story (a one-shot, mind you), since then, and almost all my fan-fiction writing time has been consumed by Meant to Be. Meant to be is, in all honesty, a bit sad and depressing at places. I needed a break, and writing a nice, fun, less dramatic mini-fiction was a great way to accomplish that.

Now, I’m going to say another thing that’ll make you want to throw stuff at me, but I beg you, at least give me a moment to dodge! This is not a one-shot. I have about 3-4 chapters planned for this story. However, I do have two chapters written already, and this is a really quick fiction to write, by my standards, that is. (I wrote two chapters in two days. That’s pretty good, for me.)

Okay, I’m rambling now. Without further ado, I give you -- Oh wait. I have actual notes on this story. Dang. Okay, so it’s slightly AU (see end Author’s Note for more detail), and it takes place in Lily and James’s sixth year.

Okay, NOW, I give you…Dear Lily (Chapter 1: Mr. Prongs, indeed).

The Great Hall was in pandemonium. Students howled with both laughter and disgust as everything from mashed potatoes to chocolate frogs was hurled from their golden dishes, and proceeded to attack students and teachers alike. Teachers were stripped of their dignity as they wiped gravy from their foreheads and potato from their chins.

A certain red-haired Gryffindor prefect watched the ordeal attempting to keep a straight face. It really was quite a genius prank -- not that she condoned that sort of behavior, she reminded herself hastily. The professors were baffled. Professor Flitwick had attempted to charm the plates to stop emitting food, but all it had achieved was to send a plate of Pumpkin Pasties hurtling towards him; the tiny professor tumbled off his chair with a squeak. Professor McGonagall had also tried some complex spell, only to be greeted with the same effect. Dumbledore was smiling serenely as he wiped a bit of chocolate pudding off his cheek a tasted it with interest.

Lily Evans, the aforementioned prefect, had to dive under the table, under the pretense of dodging flying food, to hide her giggles. Oddly, however, she had not been hit with a single morsel of food. It seemed to just…bounce off her. Less than a minute ago, a parsnip had been soaring directly at her, but it had changed direction just before hitting her.

Lily’s good friend Harriet eyed her suspiciously as she reemerged from beneath the table. “How come you’ve come out so clean?” she asked irritably, rubbing the spot where a peppermint humbug had just whapped her smartly between the eyes.

Lily shrugged, failing to hide a grin this time. “Maybe the food has respect for authority?” she asked, motioning at the shining prefect badge.

“Right,” snorted Harriet, nodding at the High Table, where Professor Slughorn was laughing heartily as Professor McGonagall scowled. “It respects them, alright.”

Harriet yelped and ducked as a drumstick came hurtling towards her. Lily didn’t even flinch this time, and indeed, the drumstick froze in front of her. Smiling slightly, Lily grabbed it out of the air and took a bite. It was a shame to let such good food go to waste.

Lily supposed, being a prefect (and, seemingly, the only one the rogue food avoided), she should do something, but she couldn’t for the life of her think of what that something was. Instead, she simply observed, denying her amusement.

To her right, she saw some first years hiding under the table, their hands over their heads, and to her left, she saw some older students hooting and laughing, adding to the commotion by throwing food or sending it towards others with a banishing spell. Among these, she recognized some of her own year; Sirius Black and James Potter, to name a few.

In all the kerfuffle, Lily had hardly noticed a gold plate near her spit out an envelope. The envelope shot upward, then floated back down lightly, landing before her. Lily picked up the envelope with some surprise and examined it. It was a standard beige envelope, but what caught her eye was the wax seal upon it. The seal was scarlet, the letters MWPP adorning it.

She nodded softly with comprehension. Of course. It was them. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t realized it before. She ripped the envelope open carefully, and pulled out a piece of parchment. It was written in scarlet ink, matching the wax seal. Very little was written; it simply read:

Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs bid you a Happy Halloween!

Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, indeed. Of course. Of course it was them. These tricksters, these ‘Marauders,’ as they were called, were famous at Hogwarts. Every crazy, ingenious prank that Hogwarts encountered seemed to be of their doing: The time it snowed in the second-floor corridor, and students could be found sledding down staircases. (Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs wish you a white Christmas.) The time all of the suits of armor had been charmed to belch loudly whenever a teacher or prefect walked by. (Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs send their utmost respect.) The time the words “Slytherin smells” had been charmed to follow around the Bloody Baron -- the Bloody Baron! -- for a day. (Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs would like to remind everyone that honesty is a virtue.) And every time, a letter with the scarlet seal. It was their trademark.

Soon, these ‘Marauders’ were accountable for everything that went wrong. Missing quills, spilt ink, vanishing sweets. “A Marauder got you,” they’d say. They were famous, and yet no one knew who they were. The students responsible never got punished, because they were never caught. But were they even students? Or phantoms, ghosts? That was what was so fantastic about them. The Marauders were a mystery. Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, indeed.

Figuring she had better show the letter to either McGonagall or Dumbledore, Lily made her way to the High Table, clutching the envelope. She reached McGonagall first. “Professor?” she said. A rather harried looking McGongall turned to her, and Lily handed her the letter. McGonagall’s frown became even more pronounced as she read the words written.

“The ‘Marauders’ again!” she said angrily. “Thank you Miss Evans, you may have a seat. Mind you watch your step.”

But at that exact moment, the food suddenly stopped flying about. At last, it seemed, the plates had run out of ammunition. A few students sighed in relief, a few moaned in disappointment, and many emerged from under tables and chairs.

Professor McGonagall was livid. “I have a message for Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs,” she said coldly, addressing the Great Hall, which fell silent almost immediately. “When I find who you are -- and I will -- I will give you so many detentions that you will break the current record in one punishment. Understood?” But everyone knew she wouldn’t. No one would ever catch the Marauders. You couldn’t catch phantoms.

“Hang on just a moment there, you!” Lily stopped, realizing it was she who was being addressed. She turned around in surprise to see Professor Chilling-Block, the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, pointing at her suspiciously. “If I’m not mistaken, you, Miss Evans, are the only one who seems to have been immune to the attack!”

Lily froze. But it was true, she was perfectly clean, and everyone else…

“Headmaster, I think we’ve found our culprit,” said Chilling-Block in triumph.

There were a few gasps and angry murmurs, but most student looked surprised and doubtful. She saw James Potter exchange a shocked glance with his friends. He looked rather worried, actually.

“I didn’t -- Of course I would never -- I --” Lily stuttered.

“She was hiding under the tables, Professor!” said James Potter suddenly. “That’s why she’s clean; she was hiding under the tables, because she was scared of getting dirty!” He smirked, and there were a couple of laughs. “Besides, do you really think a swotty prefect like her would do something like this?”

Lily felt her cheeks burn. She was not hiding and she was not a swot! How dare he…how dare he…!

“In his uncouth way,” Professor McGonagall said coldly, addressing Chilling-Block, “Mr. Potter has a point. Lily Evans is an honorable student. I would not have made her a prefect if I did not have more faith in her than this. There is no proof to your claim. Innocent until proven guilty.”

Chilling-Block looked most sour indeed.

The students were dismissed -- some grumbling, some still laughing at the spectacle -- and told that sandwiches would be provided in their House Common rooms.

“And you have your Marauders to thank for the ruining of a wonderful feast,” McGonagall told them as they left, although those who looked closely could not help but notice that the corners of her mouth twitched as she said it.

Harriet and Lily, who was still grumbling slightly about the accusation, followed the crowd of Gryffindors towards the common room.

“That was completely unfair of Professor Chilling-Block,” said Harriet. “I mean, just because it looked like you had done it…you didn’t do it, right?”

“Of course I didn’t,” said Lily flatly. “Do you really think I would?”

“Of course not,” answered Harriet promptly.

“It was a brilliant prank though,” Lily mused, climbing through the portrait hole after Harriet. “Incredibly well thought out. I suppose they just had to charm the plates to eject the food…I have no clue how they would’ve done it…and the poor house-elves, I suppose they’d just keep adding food to the plates, unaware what was going on above, clueless as to why the food was disappearing so suddenly…”

“You know,” said Harriet, rolling her eyes, “if you keep going on like that, I might actually start to believe that you did do it. I’m going to go get a sandwich,” she said.

“Get me one, will you?” Lily asked, as she flopped onto a chair with a sigh.

“Evans,” said a voice from behind her. Lily turned around to see James Potter grinning at her.

“Oh, great. It’s you,” she said, turning back around again.

“Well, that’s nice!” said James sarcastically, walking around the couch to stand in front of her. “You should be thanking me. I practically saved you from taking the blame --”

“Oh, that’s what you were doing, was it?” Lily replied resentfully.

“You’re sore about the prefect comment.”

“I think it was more the ‘swotty prefect,’ part.”

“Oh, don’t be so touchy,” James said dismissively. “I got you out of trouble, didn’t I?”

“Humph,” said Lily.

“You act so stuffy, but you can’t tell me you didn’t enjoy that at least a little. I saw you laughing.”

“Oh really? I thought you saw me hiding under the table,” Lily countered, crossing her arms.

“Yeesh, someone’s crabby tonight.”

“Oh, just bugger off,” Lily said glaring at him.

“Fine, fine…” said James, shrugging and rolling his eyes. Lily watched him out of the corner of her eye as he walked over to his friends. They talked for a moment, and then James disappeared into the dormitories, leaving his friends shaking their heads slightly.

“What did he want?” Lily looked up to see Harriet following her gaze.

“Just being a git, really. I don’t know what I ever did to that bloke, but he seems to really like picking on me.

“Maybe he likes you,” teased Harriet. “You know, the little boy who pulls your pigtails.”

“Oh, shut it,” said Lily laughing now. “Potter the git likes Evans the swot, that’ll be the day. Oh gosh, Harriet. You’ve made me lose my appetite.”

They both laughed. Lily lingered only a little longer in the common room, due to the funny looks and whispers she was getting. As she climbed the stairs to the girl’s dormitory, she could’ve sworn she felt something brush against her, but nothing was there when she looked around.

Glad that the dormitory was empty, Lily searched through her trunk and pulled out a book, figuring she’d get a little reading done before turning in. But when she pulled open the bed hangings, she froze.

There, lying on her pillow, was an envelope with a scarlet wax seal.

Both intrigued and slightly apprehensive, Lily reached for the envelope. Breaking the seal, she pulled out the letter carefully.

Dear Lily,

Please accept my most heart-felt apology. Even the most thought-out plans can go wrong. I had had no intent of making you appear to be the perpetrator. It had never occurred to me that leaving only you untouched would make it appear as if you were behind the prank. You are probably wondering -- and rightfully so -- why you were unaffected by this evening’s show. The answer is simple; I shall tell you, but please promise not to think less of me. I simply could not bear to sully something so beautiful. And you looked so beautiful tonight, as always.

Please, again, accept my apology.

Mr. Prongs.

Lily stared at the letter. Mr. Prongs? It had to be a joke…a prank…by the biggest prankster in the school, she reminded herself. And yet, she felt sure this letter was genuine. She pulled the covers up to her chin and read the letter again.

And you looked so beautiful tonight, as always.

Who was this mysterious Marauder? And why her? Why Lily?

When the other Gryffindor girls came up to the dorms, Lily was still there, the bed hangings closed, staring at the letter.

And when they themselves fell asleep, so had Lily, the letter clutched inside her hand.

Author’s Note: There we are, chapter one. Now, I have a few notes to make on the AU-ness of this fiction:

1. James and his friends do not call each other “Prongs” or “Moony” in public. That’s the major AU factor in this story. It simply wouldn’t work if they did, because then everyone would know who the Marauders were, which, in essence, destroys the story. On that note, they do not call themselves “the Marauders” in public, for the same reason.

2. James does not constantly and/or has never asked Lily out. They don’t get along, certainly, but James does not make his affections for the red-head quite so obvious.

3. James’s character is slightly different in this fiction. He does not seek quite the attention he does in canon, or else he would, of course, admit to being Mr. Prongs and a Marauder and claim all the glory that the Marauders have. I did try to keep the essence of his character, though, so he is still a rather cocky git at times.

I think that’s all…Oh, one more thing. I cannot decide whether to call this fiction “Dear Lily,” or “Letters of an Anonymous Marauder.” I would love your opinion on the matter, if you would be so kind. :)


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