Chapter Two: Walking to Transfiguration with Amelia, Lily saw Charles Montague at the end of the hall. “Good lord, what happened to him?” Amelia asked as she stared at the tall young man’s vividly disfigured face. Gretel Finch, another Slytherin prefect was trying to cast some sort of spell on his disfigurement but with each flick of the wand, Montague’s pimples seemed, if anything, larger. There certainly wasn’t any way they could get greener. “Haven’t a clue but I must say it suits him.” Lily answered lightly and glanced over her shoulder to smile at James Potter who was only a few steps behind them. “That’s encouraging.” Remus smirked. “Perhaps you’ve been downgraded to His Royal Slightly Swollen Head.” “Marvelous.” James answered dryly but couldn’t help feelingly oddly hopeful nonetheless. For two years James had tried to catch Lily Evans eye. Who knew it would take bright green acne to accomplish? As the students took their seats in McGonagall’s class there was a general murmur of voices. Tiny snippets of conversation could be overheard. “Oh you needn’t worry about him, Alice.” One Gryffindor girl comforted another. “Alexander Greer has no taste if he’d rather take that stuck up Cordelia Monfet to Hogsmead.” Alice Moore was a round-faced, sweet seventh year that had been dating one of the Ravenclaw boys. She looked as if she had been crying recently, her pale green eyes were rimmed with red. Catching her eye briefly, Lily smiled at her encouragingly. As Professor McGonagall swept into the room all conversation ceased. She opened her lesson plan on the top of her massively carved desk and began to speak without preamble. “As NEWTs will be the focus for most of you this year we will continue to study the art of transfiguring an inanimate object into a living creature. Today we will be turning Muggle Artifacts into Barn Owls. Remember to pronounce this spell slowly for maximum effect and also, take note, this is not to be attempted outside the confines of this classroom. The Ministry tends to frown on the bewitching of Muggle things. The spell in question is ‘Ocsavora Fidichio”, you may begin. Please work in pairs.” Minerva turned her back to the class as they began to separate into their accustomed pairings. James and Sirius were settling down to examine their alarm clocks with interest, Peter and Remus were across from them. “Pairs, that I will assign.” For the life of her Minerva was not sure what she was playing at, but she wanted to make sure of something and this seemed one way to do it. “Potter and Evans, Strong and Lupin, Black and Moore…” Minerva McGonagall would have blushed furiously if she could remember how but it had been years since she had occasion to recall. She was breaking apart her class into a veritable match making session. However, if romance had any sort of role to play in the coming battles, it was best to know now and why not experiment a bit while trying to gauge some of her students? James Potter’s hand began to rise towards his hair, perhaps to ruffle it, perhaps to make a futile attempt at straightening it. Either way, he stopped in mid-gesture as he remembered that Lily Evans seemed to like his constant hair adjustments least of all. “Well, we’d better get to it.” Lily said as James hesitantly approached her table. He looked flustered and Lily could count on one hand the number of times she had seen this young man ill at ease. She took stock of the lad before her. He was pushing six feet tall now, if he wasn’t ever so slightly over that. His fair skin was unmarred by freckles and whereas it was rather pale, it still glowed with health. He had an athlete’s grace and attitude, she thought. He smiled at her warmly and despite herself she smiled back. That smile, James thought absolutely delighted. He blushed to the roots of his hair. He’d watched her so often, never realizing that at least one of his friends was always aware of this. Perhaps it was because he was a werewolf and reluctant to make friends with too many people but Remus Lupin was always observing the behavior of his friends. It was safer to watch than to risk attachments himself. As for Remus he smiled kindly at Amelia and set to work. He pronounced the spell slowly and carefully, with more emphasis on the first word than the second and instantly, a small, spotted barn owl sat before him blinking in the sun. Amelia stared in admiration but Lupin didn’t notice, instead, he was watching his friend James having something of a time with it. What was it about Lily Evans? Sirius had once asked Remus as they had prowled through the forest one evening. They had been out collecting Manifest Mushrooms (ingest one and your ears would grow to twice their natural size!) with the plan of dumping them into the Slytherin’s soup. Lupin had shrugged noncommittally but he knew full well what it was, there just wasn’t any point in explaining it to Sirius. Like the flower after which she was named, Lily Evans was a delicate beauty. She was small boned, porcelain skinned and her enormous green eyes seemed to penetrate all the way through a person. Her hair was so luxurious that on the few occasions it was loose, it fell in a glorious shower. If you happened to catch the sun reflecting from her hair, it was as if a ruby had twinkled at you. Then there was her voice. Unlike many girls her age, Lily’s voice was not particularly high. Instead it rang in a melodious fashion but still managed to be slightly deeper than you would have thought such a tiny young woman could produce. Her voice alone had guaranteed that most of the young men at Hogwarts were goners for her at one time or another. But they usually recovered, whereas Remus knew, James Potter might ask out girls from the various houses, and they would accompany him to the tea shoppe in Hogsmeade but James Potter had fallen for Lily when he was fifteen years old, and he had never recovered. He might bluster that she was all about rules and had no fun in her, but Remus knew that’s all it was, bluster. Remus’s attention was dragged back to the table in front of him when Amelia uttered a startled cry. She had pronounced her spell incorrectly and the small clock in front of her had merely sprouted wings and tried to take flight. Stifling an urge to laugh, Remus reached up a hand and caught it. James and Lily concentrated on turning alarm clocks into hooting barn owls. James couldn’t seem to get the incantation right and as a result his owl sat disconsolately hooting “Bing!” He blushed furiously, feeling the hot blood creeping up the back of his neck. “Are you alright?” Lily asked as she struggled with her own owl which for some reason seemed to tick. James was one of the best Transfiguration students. In fact, Lily pondered all of the Marauders seemed to be particularly gifted in this class. “Fine.” James muttered and tried again. All he got for his troubles was a small poof of feathers and another “Bing!” This was becoming mortifying. Sirius was paying no true attention to poor Alice, who would have liked nothing better than to show Alex up by appearing in the village with Sirius. However, Sirius Black had little time for the kindhearted girl in front of him. He transformed his clock without any true effort and went back to watching James with Lily. What the hell had gotten into Potter? He was a red as a brick and if he kept up his ham fisted jabs with his wand the owl would soon be burping springs. Lily finally managed to get her owl to quit ticking and she looked up at James with a bright smile of triumph. It was evidently more than the Gryffindor Seeker could take. He thrust his wand out and desperately barked out the incantation once more. The owl suddenly grew to three times its size and fluttered its wings with surprise. “Bing?” it seemed to be asking. Professor McGonagall sat at her desk and watched carefully. Pettigrew had transformed his object with some difficulty. Black and Lupin had done so with ease. The rest of the class was have varying ratios of success. It was Potter and Evans to whom Minerva’s discerning eye was most often drawn. Potter’s large owl shot up from the table and straight towards Lily Evan’s face, she shrieked and ducked as it soared around the room. Evans was on the floor, Potter was trying to help her up and as she stood, her hair came loose from the ribbon that tied it back from her face. There was no mistaking the look on the boy’s face. He was smitten. Evans’ mirth filled laugh tinkled out across the room as she untangled herself from her disarrayed robes and said: “Potter, I don’t think you’ve got much of a future in Muggle Artifacts!” Before she collapsed giggling. They were definitely warming towards one another, thought Minerva. Amelia kept shooting quick glances at Remus also, and to his credit he had thrown a protective arm around the girl, drawing her underneath the table as Potter’s miserable attempt at Transfiguration dive bombed them. Sirius was too busy laughing to notice that he was on the receiving end of more than one admiring female glance. The seventh year for students was always confusing. They paired off more seriously then, and the object of the pairings was often more than a shared butterbeer or stolen kiss in the library. Alliances for life were often set in the final year. Alliances and grudges that because of the current climate of the times might very well turn deadly, Minerva thought uneasily. James Potter was from an old wizarding family. Lily Evans was a Muggle-born. That sort of connection could prove quite difficult now, with Voldemort drumming up supporters and so much talk of pure-blood vs. mixed. Then McGonagall thought of Severus Snape’s bitter, unhappy face in the Great Hall and a shiver went down her spine. Whatever the rest of the student body might think of the young Snape, there was no denying he was extremely powerful. Perhaps more powerful than he knew. Worse still anger could make a powerful man mighty indeed. “Bing! Bing! Bing!” Potter’s unfortunate transfiguration swooped near her head and Minerva muttered the counter spell so that it fell benignly onto her desk once again a clock where it lay ticking. :::::::: As Head Boy and Head Girl James and Lily had many an occasion to speak with each other. For the life of her Lily couldn’t understand why Dumbledore had chosen James as Head Boy. He took nothing seriously and he was a disaster at disciplining the prefects. Seemed he much rather jinx them than speak to them directly. Still, he had his strong points she supposed only Professor March seemed immune to his charms so he could talk nearly any of the teachers into favors. Long ago he had asked her out but after her scathing refusal he hadn’t asked again, now he seemed to spend half his time thinking about Quidditch and the other half asking out girls. He never seemed to ask them more than once or twice though. James watched Lily carefully, she was still flushed from laughing and her long hair was still hanging around her face. On the one hand, he’d made a complete mess of his lesson, on the other, he’d finally gotten Lily’s full attention. Later he would swear to himself that it had been an unconscious move but his hand moved to her hair. “What are …” Lily began. “You’ve got a feather in your hair.” James lied and inadvertently blinked twice. He was lying, Lily knew. His fingertips briefly tangled in her long hair and for a moment, Lily had no desire for him to remove his touch. She’d never noticed his hands before, they were always moving so quickly but James Potter had beautiful hands. Long tapered fingers, slightly rough as they caught in her tresses. “Hey, Prongs, what’re you petting Evans for?” Sirius called playfully and James’s hand dropped immediately to his side. “She had a feather in her…” He began and looked at his closest friend. There was no point lying he supposed, Sirius looked evenly at him. Remus was staring with a slight smile on his face, Peter was somewhere behind James but he knew that he would be staring too. “Right.” Remus said, “If we’re all done grooming each other, we’d better get to Potions. Harrington won’t like it if we’re late.” Professor Harrington was an aging witch who was retiring at the end of this term. She had no tolerance for her young charges any longer and could be a bit stiff with them. “Potions.” James repeated seemingly in a daze. Lily was putting her things in her bag in front of him, her eyes on his face still. “Yes Prongs, Potions.” Sirius stood beside him. “See you later Evans. You’ve got History of Magic next, don’t you?” “Yes.” She answered shortly and began to leave. Then she paused. “James, we really should get together and talk about the prefect duties. I’ve just heard that Montague is a bit ill, we may need to keep an extra close eye on Slytherin.” “Right.” James croaked. “Meet you after dinner maybe? In the common room?” “The common room? No let’s meet in the prefect’s lounge, we’re less likely to be disturbed there.” James didn’t answer. Lily Evans was suggesting a private meeting with him? Remus pointedly stepped on his foot as he made his way to the door. “Sure, the lounge.” James was attempting to sound composed. Lily smiled and left the room. The Marauders were gathered around the dazed Potter. “So, we’ve got a project.” Remus said. “Sirius and I have to sneak into the kitchens to get at the treacle tarts. Don’t eat any tonight, by the way.” Peter piped in. “Not that project you ninny. Prongs here has an interest in a certain lady, and we’ve got to help him figure out how to woo her.” Remus’s grin was nearly devilish. “Indeed.” Padfoot added, his voice equally mischief. “Our James is all grown up, and wooing is in order.” He added with a wink. “Please stop saying ‘wooing’ would you?” James seemed to snap back to himself when Lily was gone. “Sure, I like her, she’s nice. I wouldn’t mind…” “If she bore your children.” Sirius teased mercilessly. “If she’d …” James voice faltered, what did he want? “If she’d at least consider being friends.” “Friends?” Sirius laughed. “Okay, more than friends maybe. Take her out perhaps.” James tried to keep his voice casual. It was almost as successful as his attempt at Transfiguration had been that day. “Right, take her out.” Remus cutting the teasing short Harrington would take points like mad if they didn’t get a move on. “Take who out?” Asked Peter eagerly. “Lily Evans you knob. Did you see James here nearly swooning from love?” Sirius laughed as James cuffed him lightly in the head. “Evans?” Peter asked suspiciously. “But why would you want to date her? She’s a…” “What?” James’s voice sounded suddenly very sharp. “She’s a…bit aloof, wouldn’t you say?” Peter finished. “A bit. That’s where the wooing comes in.” Sirius was nearly helpless with laughter. Relieved that no one had guessed what he had been about to say, Peter Pettigrew walked towards Potions with his friends. Why would James want to date Lily Evans? He’d always looked up to James. What did James want with a Mudblood? It was very confusing and disturbing. And why was Moony staring at him like that? Author's Notes: Thanks for reading :-) This is a completed story but it will take me a bit to repost it all. Please take the time to review.
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