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Please see the Author's notes at the end Chapter One: As with all things there had been a beginning and an end. :::::::: The beginning: This time he wasn’t going to get away, he was certain of it. His heart was hammering in his chest sweat pouring down his face and Argus Filch was hard on his heels. If he had stuck by Padfoot he could have been safely concealed underneath the invisibility cloak. Instead James had been caught across the hall in the open trying to bewitch one of the portraits to insult the Slytherins as they exited their dungeon common room. There had been nothing for it but to run like hell. It had really been a brilliant revenge on the Slytherin prefect Montague, he’d never have a clue what hit him but when that blasted portrait of Sir Cadogan had begun yelping, “Interlopers! Intruders! Stand and fight you blasted curs!” Filch had heard and now James Potter was done for. Swearing at the Knight’s portrait James understood again why the staff was always insisting it be moved to another area. He had heard Cadogan’s clanking armor running from portrait to portrait practically broadcasting his location to Filch every step of the way. Up from the dungeon, through the Great Hall in a mad dash he had reached the corridor outside the library only to find himself within a few feet of the Bloody Baron. The Baron’s back was turned and James had flung himself in through the library doors. Now crammed against a suit of armor in the empty library, after-hours his breath coming in desperate gasps. There was no way out of here. Filch entered with his lantern held high, “I hear you!” He trumpeted. James shot a desperate look around the large room but there was nowhere to go that wouldn’t land him in the open. Filch’s lantern was approaching accompanied by the soft sound of his wheezing laughter. “Mr. Filch?” A cool voice called and to his great dismay James Potter saw Lily Evans stand up from her seated position at one of the tables. Her hair gathered in a loose ponytail, she was obviously studying. Large dusty tomes littered the desk in front of her, one of which tried to get up and scamper away as she stood. Lily pointed her wand at the book and casually stunned it. “What are you doing in here?” Filch asked the Head Girl suspiciously. “After hours. Out after curfew!” “I have a note, Mr. Filch.” Lily answered with unruffled courtesy and she produced a piece of parchment from the pocket of her robes. “Professor Flitwick and Professor March both gave me permission to be in the restricted section. I’ve been studying for my NEWTs.” Filch snatched the parchment and hastily read the note. “But you aren’t alone in here! I saw him, running like the Beast of the Black Forest was after him!” Lily was just barely in James’s sight line but he saw her forehead furrow as she seemed to consider the stooped man’s words. “No. No one’s come in here while I’ve been studying Mr. Filch. I would have heard them.” “Lying!” Filch screeched but with somewhat less certainty. The Evans girl had never been in any trouble and she was a particular favorite of Professor McGonagall’s. “I assure you, I’m not.” Lily answered in that same smooth, unruffled voice. Filch might have been about to argue the point but it was at this moment that Peeves went swooping through the library, cackling madly as he went. “Oh Argus Filchy!” Peeves taunted from his position fourteen feet up in the air. “Looking for students who never are there! Don’t know why the headmaster even keeps you here! Put you out in the bins with the other useless things!” Laughing still Peeves rocketed through the wall and there was a shattering of glass from the corridor outside followed by successive crashes as Peeves made his way down the hall. Filch desperately looked around once more before uttering a half-smothered curse and chasing after Peeves. Potter couldn’t believe his good luck. He’d been inches from being caught and Lily Evans of all people had been the person to unwittingly save him. James wasn’t sure how she could have missed his spectacularly ungainly entrance into the room but it didn’t matter. No house points would be lost. He wouldn’t be in detention all he need do was continue hiding until Lily was finished with her studies. It wasn’t an attractive proposition, cramped as he was but it certainly beat being at the mercy of Filch. “You can come out now.” Lily Evans called and for a moment James Potter thought that perhaps Filch might be the better alternative. Her dislike of James was well established her adherence to the rules never varied, she seemed immune to his charms. He was done for after all. “Hello there. Knew I was there, I take it?” James tried to make his voice even and charming but it came out as something of a squawk. “Of course I did. God Potter, what a racket!” Lily looked James up and down carefully he was red-faced and perspiring. His unkempt hair seemed to have found new angles at which to stick out from his head. He even looked slightly frightened. “Oh. Uh, well then. Thanks. Thanks for covering for me.” He said with what he desperately hoped was a winning smile. It evidently wasn’t. “You’re not in the least welcome. I wouldn’t have done it but you’re Head Boy, I’m Head Girl and I didn’t want to hear the Slytherins crow about your detention tomorrow.” Her vivid green eyes never left his face her dark red hair seemed to crackle with vitality in the glow from the torchlight. “What in the world have you done this time?” James shifted uncomfortably from one foot to another. Moonrake Leeches in Montague’s bed had been a particularly difficult prank to pull off. That rat would be covered in bright green pustules until Madame Pomfrey could procure the antidote of Hogswidth Thistle. Hogswidth Thistle only grew in France in a large enchanted valley and was protected by the most vicious herd of wild Hippogriffs in Europe. It served him right though. “I wasn’t doing anything.” He was shooting for innocence but knew he fell far short of the mark. Lily huffed in irritation. “Alright, I was outside of the Slytherin Common Room when…” “The Slytherin Common Room?” Lily found herself fascinated despite herself. “What were you doing there?” “Uh, er, waiting, for a friend to come out.” James’s hazel eyes blinked rapidly as he often did whenever he was covering up his mischief. “A friend? In Slytherin?” Lily said doubtfully. “You don’t have any friends in Slytherin.” “Well, I should say I was waiting for a friend who had gotten into the Slytherin common room.” James felt desperate. He could lie smoothly to teachers but found himself scrambling when confronted by the composed seventeen-year-old girl in front of him. If she would only quit looking at him! It had something to do with her eyes, he felt sure of it. “A friend that got into…” Lily paused in confusion and then a look of dawning realization spread across her even features. “How did he get in there?” Now was not a good time to tell her about the invisibility cloak or how he and Sirius had followed Achbot, a Slytherin third year in order to overhear the password. Two hours later Sirius had crept in with the jar of leeches and found Montague’s bed. James was to have kept an eye on the Marauder’s Map, checking for movement but no one had been about. He’d taken a moment to try the insult charm he had learned on the portrait and that was when the creaking knight had awoken from a light doze and begun shouting. Padfoot had arrived in the hall behind him and announced “mission accomplished!” just as Filch rounded the corner. James didn’t know what to do now. As always whenever he was near Lily he had trouble thinking clearly. Although he was widely admired by nearly all of the students at Hogwarts Lily had never been one of his fans. Plus, there was something about her green-eyed gaze and thick black lashes that made clarity of thought somewhat impossible. He decided to settle for half the truth. “It’s a long story but we were just trying to exact some justice.” James hoped that the word justice would distract the slight, red-haired girl in front of him. “Justice?” She asked with a note of doubt in her tone. “Yes, justice. Look, Montague was harassing Fielding earlier today. Giving him a truly rotten time of it, hexed the poor kid with a nausea spell that made him miss Potions.” “A prefect hexed a fourth year Hufflepuff?” Evans still sounded doubtful but possibly slightly outraged also. “Well, you’re Head Boy, why didn’t you just put a stop to it?” “I didn’t get there in time!” James answered honestly. “By the time I reached the landing Fielding was as sick as a dog, Montague was reprimanding him for rudeness to a Prefect and March was there backing him up!” Sylvania March was the much-despised teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts and the current head of the Slytherin house. “Oh. I see.” Lily chewed her bottom lip for a moment and seemed to consider the situation. James Potter had an ego that could practically fill the entire castle but all of this seemed to line up with what she knew. Professor March was always biased in favor of the Slytherins and Hector Fielding had been plagued by the Slytherin Prefects since his first year. Fielding was muggle-born and had a particularly earnest quality about him. He was tiny for his age and prone to doing things like tipping over under the weight of his own bookbag. Lily sighed. It didn’t seem that any of the Mauraders would go too far out of their way for a Hufflepuff boy but Montague was equally hard on the Gryffindor students. Whatever they had done to him he probably richly deserved. “So, what did you do to him?” She asked with a slight smile. Thus far a version of the truth had helped so Potter decided to continue in that vein, “Moonrake Leeches, in his bed.” “Oh! James he’ll be green for a month!” Lily was astonished. “Well, it will match Fielding’s face this afternoon and Montague’s robes.” James allowed himself a small version of his famous grin. Lily Evans looked at the young man before her. He was taller now than he had been in previous years, his hair was certainly no tidier but there was a difference in his manner. He seemed almost…kind. “Fine then. I’ve got loads of studying to do so good luck getting back to the common room.” She was dismissing him. “You aren’t coming then?” James asked, this was shaping up to be the most pleasant conversation he’d ever had with Lily. He wasn’t anxious for it to end. “No. Professor Flitwick had to force Professor March to allow me access to the Defense Against the Dark Arts section and I doubt I’ll get another opportunity to study them this extensively.” “All right.” James conceded. He had never liked the Dark Arts and it wasn’t simply because he loathed his teacher. “I’ll head back then. Goodnight and Lily? Thanks again.” “You’re welcome.” She answered absently as she turned away. Thanking the stars for his good luck James whipped out the door into the empty corridor took a moment to check his map in order to avoid further disaster and legged it for the Gryffindor common room. Five minutes later the portrait of the fat lady was swinging shut behind him as he arrived back at his school house. His three closest friends, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew were waiting for him. “Prongs!” Sirius spoke from the long couch in front of the fire. “We’d nearly given up all hope. Figured Filch would have you licking trophies clean until dawn or something.” “Very nearly did but I caught a lucky break.” Potter answered. “Oh? Did you trap Filch in a room that only appears every fifty years?” Padfoot asked. “Not quite.” James told him what had occurred in the library. “Lily Evans saved your neck?” Remus Lupin asked with a frown. The full moon had only passed two days ago and Remus still looked weary. “Yes, she did.” Prongs answered with a small smile. “And how exactly did you get around the fact that she disapproves of everything about you?” Peter asked. His pinched face and watery eyes glistened in the firelight. “Hey now, she doesn’t think I’m all that bad.” James felt a tad defensive. “Oh, certainly not. Fat Head is usually a term of endearment.” Padfoot added as he stood and stretched his long frame. “Fat Head?” That didn’t sound promising. “Don’t worry, she also calls you His Royal Fat Head from time to time, so there is a mark of respect there.” Sirius yawned hugely and suggested they head up to bed. James felt oddly deflated after the evening’s activities and agreed. They trooped off to the tower room together. :::::::::: The next morning at breakfast Lily Evans was feeling quite tired. She sipped some pumpkin juice and absently munched on a piece of toast as she put the finishing touches on roll of parchment for Professor Binns’s class. She muffled a yawn, as she threw her long ponytail over her shoulder and tried to concentrate on the History of Veela manipulation as it pertained to the peace negotiations between the McTavish family and the Chzortchoy clan in 1865. The history should have been interesting, Boris Chzortchoy of Russia had called down a befuddlement curse on all male McTavish’s after one the McTavish family members had fallen in love with Boris’s wife, Irina who was among other things a Veela. The McTavish’s, before confusion had struck nearly everyone, had enacted a poverty curse against the Chzortchoy family. It was only through the intervention and persuasion of the Irina’s mother, a full blood Veela that all out war between the powerful wizarding families of Scotland and of Russia had not broken out. There had, of course been problems, the McTavish’s were all too bemused to remember exactly how to remove the curse and the Chzortchoy family had been accused of kidnapping and holding prisoner the oldest male heir to the McTavish fortune as leverage. It could have been interesting but Professor Binns only wanted information regarding the impact on the Russian economy instead of the strange romance or the power of the Veelas. Lily yawned again. As usual she had a pencil stuffed behind her ear but she wrote with a quill. “Lily, he’s watching you again.” Amelia Strong a fellow Gryffindor seventh year whispered to Lily. Without glancing up Lily asked, “Who’s watching me?” “That horrid Severus Snape.” Amelia hissed back. Lily was used to this Severus Snape had a habit of staring at her when he thought no one else was watching although whenever he spoke to her he called her filthy names and insulted everything she did. Boys, Lily thought, were quite confusing. She looked towards the Slytherin table briefly and sure enough, the tall thin Slytherin Snape was staring at her with an odd, hopeful expression. As soon as she caught his eye he tossed his hair back from his high forehead and sneered at her. She went back to writing on her parchment. “Lily?” Amelia said again and Lily snorted in irritation. “Let me guess, still watching?” She asked her friend, a tall, spindly girl who would have been pretty if she had managed to tame her unwieldy blonde hair and remembered to push her glasses up on her long, straight nose occasionally. “No, well, actually yes but now James is staring at you.” Amelia sounded confused, why was everyone always staring at Lily? She was pretty certainly, with her glowing hair, clear complexion and sparkling eyes but she generally wasn’t particularly friendly to any boys. Amelia contemplated asking Lily what kind of shampoo she used for roughly the 100th time but said nothing. “James Potter?” Lily tried to keep her voice light but a slightly nervous edge had crept into it. She didn’t care for James at all with his swaggering ways and disregard for the rules. Still, she was surprised because her heart fluttered briefly. She glanced up. “No, I’m sorry, I guess he was just looking towards Megan Hogan.” Amelia apologized. “Oh.” Lily refused to admit that this disappointed her slightly. She finished her essay and began stuffing her things into her bag. If James Potter wished to stare at Megan that was entirely his business. After all, Megan had an exceptionally well developed figure and curly chestnut hair that perfectly framed her heart shaped face. Boys were not only confusing they were generally shallow. ::::::::: “You’ll bore holes into her if you keep that up.” Remus “Moony” Lupin commented in a whisper to James. “Eat your breakfast you git.” “Eh?” James asked, his eyes locked on Lily who was bent over her parchment again her quill scratching busily away. That silly Muggle writing instrument always tucked in her mass of gleaming hair. “I said eat before you perish from unrequited loved.” Remus teased. His voice was pitched low enough that neither Sirius “Padfoot” Black or Peter “Wormtail” Pettigrew could hear him. Besides, they were busily engaged in an argument about how to turn the treacle tarts at the Slytherin table into tar tarts for that evening’s dinner. James still did not look away but just at that moment Lily looked down the table towards him. He quickly shifted his gaze to Hogan, the sixth year student who wore too much makeup and always seemed to be sticking out her chest. Hogan immediately smiled at him and James glance darted across the great hall in a panic, his eyes coming to rest on that towering, nasty piece of work, Snape. “Snivelus is certainly getting an eyeful this morning.” Padfoot had settled the tart argument and was watching the Slytherin with vague interest. “Why’s he ogling Evans?” “I don’t know.” James growled but he found that he was flushed with anger. “Easy there Prongs,” Sirius eyed his friend warily, “he hates her, remember?” “I remember.” James couldn’t believe how flushed he felt. “Let’s just hope he does too.” Sirius regarded his friend with interest. James had gone out with many of the girls in the school, but he’d never actually shown a prolonged interest in any of them. He decided to distract his friend. “Ah look at that, the well endowed Hogan is taking an interest in Prongs.” As soon as Sirius spoke the busty girl switched her gaze to Sirius who smiled mildly in return. She was a pretty thing, even if she did look like the prow of a ship. Admittedly, there was nothing wrong with being curvacious he mused…and with that, he lost all thought of James’s interest in the self-contained Evans girl. ::::::::: Severus Snape sometimes wondered if he had been bewitched. He wouldn’t put it past a Mudblood, trying to ingratiate herself with one of the oldest, pure-blood families like the Snapes. He’d heard his father talking to his mother about it often. Evidently Lord Voldemort cautioned all of his followers against such dangers. Once again Severus wondered how much Voldemort had to do with the disappearances over the last two years. Muggle-born wizards and witches who had married into pure blood families had gone missing with increasing regularity, sixteen to date. It wasn’t until the first death had been confirmed by the Daily Prophet that Severus became nervous. Not wishing to associate with Muggle-borns was one thing, but killing them? Certainly Lord Voldemort wouldn’t consider such a thing? If he did, he certainly wouldn’t consider hurting a student, would he? Against all reason Severus found himself hoping that Lily Evans would remain safe. Lily’s hair caught the light as she turned and looked at Severus and the tall student felt as if the bottom had dropped out of his stomach. He tossed his head and glared at her. He was bewitched, he decided. There was no other explanation. Why else had he sought out the cream from Madam Pomfrey to clear his skin, why else would he be secretly washing his hair in a potion specially concocted to help his hair be less greasy? Snape had no interest in any of the girls at Hogwarts, least of all a Mudblood Gryffindor like Lily. Still, the words of his father came clearly to him once again, “Soon we’ll be free of these impurities, Lord Voldemort knows what to do.” Was Lily one of the impurities? Severus Snape’s confusion deepened when his stomach lurched again, this time in fear. ::::::: At the staff table Minerva McGonagall and Ablus Dumbledore were discussing the latest edition of the Daily Prophet. Another Muggle-born wizard was missing and the tearful interviews with the family of the man were heart wrenching. Looking out across the dining tables McGonagall’s gaze came to rest on Lily Evans who suddenly turned her head looked toward the Slytherin table. There, Severus Snape flushed with what appeared to be surprise or anger and glared back. McGonagall’s gaze shifted back to Lily and wandered to James Potter who was staring at Lily quite intently. Minerva watched the rest of the activities with interest that bordered on concern. “Albus,” She began hesitantly. The Headmaster was generally not concerned with the romantic entanglements of the students but this particular development was alarming. “I think that two boys are showing a pointed interest in Miss Evans.” “Indeed?” Asked Dumbledore, his long crooked nose still pointing downard towards the paper. “And who might those two boys be?” “Severus Snape and James Potter, unless I’m very much mistaken.” Minerva said a bit anxiously. “Albus, this isn’t going to end well.” Beside her Dumbledore sighed, “No, I fear that it will not.” Author's notes: Okay guys...this is still the original story. It's going to take me a bit to get it back up again but....Please review. If you liked it before, let it be known that you like it now. You guys were really good to me the last time and I'm reposting this story because I've had a lot of requests. I will also repost the sequel. However, this is a booklength fic. To any new readers...please know that. It's a long, complicated story. Please review if you have a moment - even if you've reviewed in the past because wow...will this ever look pathetic with 40 odd chapters and no reviews. Thanks as always for reading.

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