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...”9 – Get an Owl of my own”. James could hardly hide his surprise. It was genius, really. And so obvious, when you thought about it. Who would make a list with only number ten? ‘Number nine is easier than the last one, though’ thought James. After the tenth wish he would think that if there was a ninth wish it would certainly be more complicated than that. There was only one thing that made James want to fulfil all of Lily’s wishes, and that was to see what was number one!

What James didn’t know, was that number nine would be far more complicated than he could imagine. The following Saturday was free, and James had his plans ready. Early in the morning, right after breakfast, he snuck up to his dormitory and grabbed the Marauders Map. His backpack was already ready, and his alibi had been planned carefully. If anyone asked he had been doing his homework and wished not to be disturbed. He made his way to the secret passageway to Honeydukes, through the statue of the Witch who was famous for something which he could not remember, and all the way to Hogsmade. After twenty minutes he was exhausted, but he had reached his destination.

The Marauders Map was no longer of any help, as it only showed Hogwarts. James put it away, and concentrated on getting out of Honeydukes unseen. The shop wasn’t crowded, but luckily he wasn’t the only one there. It was a great risk to take, going to Hogsmade. If one of the teachers were there, then whoops, he’s expelled. James was just walking down towards the animal-shop, when whoops… Professor-alert went off inside James’ head, and in two seconds he was hiding behind a corner. The professor, Professor Dumbledore, went straight past him, although he could swear that Dumbledore lifted his glasses a bit and blinked at him as he walked past him. Professor-alert went off, and James could breath normally again.

A couple of minutes later James entered the animal-shop just down the street from Honeydukes. There were no one inside, only the animals. The birds hooted at him from the minute he came in through the door, ad it smelled of bad eggs and rotted bacon. A bell chimed, and the manager of the store came in as from thin air. Taken by surprise, James took two steps back and stepped on one of the cages so it nearly fell to the ground. The manager caught it, but landed on the floor himself.
“I’m so sorry” said James, helping him up. Fortunately for him the manager had a sense of humour, and laughed it off.
“I get that all the time” he said, before he asked “is there anything I can do for you?”
“Yes, actually” said James. “I’m looking for an owl.”

“Well, then you’ve come to the right place!” the manager said and shot out his arms. He hit one of the cages and landed on the floor again, trying to save the poor creature inside it. After brushing off some dust and cobwebs, the manager went on to showing James some of the owls. The first one was brown, with big eyes and it made a rather disturbing noise with its feet. The next one was white, a little bit blue and… oops, not so steady there. Third one was also white, this one with very few feathers and a loud snoring sound. The other birds were just like the first ones, one worse than the other. At last there was only one left.

“I must warn you” said the manager, and it made James terrified that it was something worse than he’d just witnessed – an owl with no feathers and a terrible singing voice, maybe?
“I must warn you” repeated the manager “that this owl is one of the smallest ones in Britain.” He held a cage in front of James. At first he couldn’t see anything, and he began to wonder if it was so small you couldn’t see it without a microscope. But there, something was moving down there, there was something alive there. A small owl, smaller than James’ fist, was sleeping in the hay. It was chocolate-brown with some white spots on his little wings. It didn’t make any weird sounds, it was covered in feathers and most importantly it wasn’t purple, like some of the other ones were.

“I’ll take this one” he said, happy about his decision. The manager looked from him to the bird to him again.
“Okay” said the manager after making sure he wasn’t kidding. “That will be fifteen sickles, thank you.” James took out a galleon and told him to keep the rest. When he got outside he wrote a letter to Lily, unsigned of course, by using his wand, and tied it to the little bird’s foot.
“Now, you bring that to Lily Evans, and you stay with her. You got that?” he said to the bird. It was now very much awake and very eager to get going. It nipped James’ glasses before heading off towards the castle. James watched it disappear, and began his journey home.

It was no easy journey, as the place was now crowded with people who might recognize him. He regretted not bringing his invisibility-cloak, why could he never think of those things before it was too late? He was relieved when he was back in the tunnel and on his way to Hogwarts. He climbed up to through the statue, and went to the Gryffindor common-room, ready to find a happy Lily with an owl in her hand.

But no, that would just be too lucky for James. If James wanted just this one thing to happen for him, then that would be the thing that would not happen, for sure. The common-room was a mess when he entered. There was completely chaos, and James headed for one of the tables so that he could stand on it and see what was happening. The sight was not pretty. Someone was lying on the floor, and the crowd was standing around and not moving a finger to help. The person was covered in something James couldn’t quite figure out what was. The person was almost being smashed by the crowd. The person seemed to be unconscious. The person seemed to be... LILY!

James jumped off the table and pushed some of the people away from her. He picked her up and headed for the Hospital Wing while wondering what was going on. She was much lighter than he would have thought, and he had no problem carrying her. He felt like a real hero. Almost. He arrived at the Hospital Wind minutes later, and Madam Pomfrey was quickly there, but not asking any questions. The curtains around Lily were closed, and James waited patiently on a chair on the other side of the room.

The waiting seemed to take forever, but at last Madam Pomfrey approached James.
“She has got a severe case of allergy” said Madam Pomfrey. James felt like strangling someone, but decided to wait with that.
“It was lucky you brought her in here now, a couple of more minutes and the damages would be much more severe than it was just now.”
“Any idea of what she’s allergic to?” said James, hoping she wouldn’t say the word he was thinking of. But the word came.
“She’s got owl-allergy. When she comes in contact with an owl her body reacts this way.”

James waited an hour or so before he could see her. He wanted her to have someone there for when she woke up, even if it was only ‘Pain-in-the-ass’-Potter, as she so delicately put it. James had to laugh, she was very creative but she wasn’t focusing on using her gift on something useful. Except in potions, but that didn’t really count.

“Hey, Potter!” he heard from behind the curtains. The curtains were pulled away, and there was Lily. She was still in bed, but she was sitting up straight and she was almost back to normal. James couldn’t take his eyes off of her, until she continued.
“What’re you doing here?”
“What do you mean?” he said. “I’ve been waiting here for you to wake up!”
“And why is that, if I may ask?”
“So that you wouldn’t be alone when you woke up!”
“Madam Pomfrey is here”
“You know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I know. And thanks, by the way!” Awkward silence.
“No problem” said James, smiling for the first time. Lily smiled back and the silence became an awkward one again.

“When will you be out of here?” asked James.
“Before long, hopefully” replied Lily. “Madam Pomfrey said I might have to spend the night.”
“Do you want me to get some of your friends for you?” asked James, not wanting to go but not wanting to be disturbing when she’s ill.
“Are you leaving?” said Lily, a hint of sadness shining through. James was shocked.
“Not if you don’t want me to” said James. Lily nodded approvingly, and James stayed with her until Madam Pomfrey made him go so that Lily could get some sleep.
“Last thing she needs now is all these guys in here flirting with her” said Madam Pomfrey, and Lily blushed just as much as James did, if not more.
“I’m the only one here” said James.
“Oh, well” said Madam Pomfrey. “Off you go.”

The day had, in all, been a success. James had managed to get to Hogsmade and back without anyone noticing. He had bought an owl for Lily, and when she had gotten sick from it without knowing he was the guilty one, he had rescued her. Then she had talked to him like a civil human being. The day could not get any better.

The only thing he might be able to live without happened after he had been kicked out of the Hospital Wing. He was just going to go to bed, and since the dinner was about to be served, no one would be in the common-room. That’s how wrong you can be. Entering the common-room, James thought he was all alone. He took out his wand and said:
“Accio diary”. The diary came, and just as he was about to open it and write about the day’s events, he heard noises from one of the corners. He spun around, and saw Sirius and Holly laughing their butts off.
“What’s so funny?” said James, holding his purple diary behind his back trying desperately to hide it from his friends.
“Purple?” said Sirius between laughing. “If it had only been black or brown, but purple?”

James disappeared up to his room, extremely embarrassed by the whole scene. He decided to dye the book black, and write ‘English Grammar’ on it. Then no one would know it was a diary, and no one in his dorm would even dream of opening it.

Lily was out of the Hospital Wing within the next day. She was totally healed, and much livelier than before. She seemed to shine even brighter, and James was blinded every time he saw her.
“James” said Sirius seriously one day. “You have got to get over her now. It’s been… who knows how many years… and she still doesn’t like you!” But just at that moment Lily walked past them.
“Hello, Potter” she said, without the slightest hint of irony or anger. James looked at Sirius, and nothing more needed to be said. Sirius could just give up, because James certainly wasn’t.

Two weeks went by before he checked the list again, this time he was hoping for something a little less dramatic. Sure, his and Lily’s relationship, if you could call it that, had improved during the last couple of weeks, but there was no need to repeat. Who knows what could go wrong now. Why would she even wish for an owl when she knew she was allergic anyway?
‘Girls’ thought James. ‘They’re just too complicated!’ But now that he had started, there was no way he was going to give up on the list. Wish number eight was…

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