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            Lily could feel James’ eyes on her as she sat listening to Severus talking about how he had found a way to stop a Mandrake-cry killing you.

“…and so, once you’ve let it brew for two months, you place a dead Mandrake in it and stir it five times counter-clockwise. Once it turns orange, you quickly place it in a flask and I’m really not interesting you, am I?”

“Hmm?” said Lily distractedly, blinking as Severus shook her out of her thoughts.

Severus gave her a hard look then looked over the other side of the room, to see James staring at them.

“Something I can help you with, Potter?” he enquired, looking both smug and annoyed at the same time.

“How about washing your hair, you filthy grease-ball?” spat James, angrily.

Sirius guffawed heartily next to him as Severus turned pink.

Lily caught his hand as he plunged it into his robes, intent on pulling out his wand and cursing James into oblivion.

“Don’t start!” said Lily furiously, glaring at Severus and James in turn.

Lily couldn’t stand another fight between James and Severus. She didn’t care that they hated each other – duelling was not an option.

“Let’s all just…just relax. Talk about fluffy things and…wonder where the rest of the class is…” she finished, a frown on her face.

“Where is the rest of the class?”

Sirius, James and Severus all looked around the room, as though this action would cause the class to appear.

“Were we ‘sposed to go to the Library or something?” asked James.

“Probably,” replied Sirius, looking supremely unconcerned.

“We should go and look,” said Lily, getting to her feet.

Severus followed suit, much to James' annoyance.

No way was he letting Snape go anywhere alone with Lily.

“Come on, Sirius,” he said, standing up and elbowing him in the process.

“Oi! Where’re you going?”

“To find our class!”

Sirius looked confused, then glanced over at the door and saw Snape and Lily leaving together.

Rolling his eyes, he said, “You’re such a loser, Prongs,” but heaved himself up all the same.

James glared at him.

“James, are you coming?” called Lily from the other side of the room.

James felt his stomach do a back-flip at the sound of Lily saying his name, but Lily’s stomach was doing more of a sickening lurch as she realised what she’d just done.

No way were she and Potter going to be on speaking terms through any action of hers. She’d apologised - now he had to make the effort to accept it.

“Ooh, check it out, Prongs,” whispered Sirius. “Looks like you’re in there, mate!”

“Shut up,” hissed James.

The pair of them hurried to catch up with Lily and Snape, who had just gotten to the end of the corridor.

“So,” said James, trying to act cool as he watched Snivellus inch ever closer to his beloved, “You two an item then?”

The shock on both Lily and Snape’s faces were priceless.

Snape recovered first, and bitingly replied, “Shut your face, Potter! Although it may be hard for someone as dim-witted as you to understand, girls and boys can actually spend time together without fancying each other!”

James raised his eyebrows.

“Well, actually, Snivellus, I can understand the principle of a girl and a guy being just friends – it’s just that we all know that that isn’t how you regard Lily, is it?”

Snape’s face flooded with colour, and James smirked, satisfied.

He began to walk past the two of them, but his smirk was replaced with a look of worry, as Lily broke away from Snape and strode towards him.

 “What is your problem, Potter?! Leave Sev- No! Sev, don’t!

James looked round just in time to see a fist swing towards his face.

The resounding crunch made Lily wince.

James bought a hand up to his bleeding nose.

“Oh, that’s gonna cost you!” he snarled, pulling out his wand as he did so.

“James, don’t!” cried Lily, but the words had barely left her mouth when Severus yelled “Protego!

Lily had to duck as the curse rebounded towards her.

“Sev!” she yelled, as the wall behind her exploded.

But neither James nor Severus was listening. They were both glaring at one another, daring the other to make the first move.

Sirius was currently watching them like a predator watches its prey, ready to strike the minute he thought James was in trouble.

But Lily had had enough. She strode over to Severus, intent on talking him out of this ridiculous fight but just as she reached him, James shouted, “Impedimenta!

The force of the spell blew her off her feet and she crashed into a stone-gargoyle.

James looked horrified at what he’d done.

“Lily!” he yelled, just as Snape did the same thing and they collided as they both raced to check that Lily was ok.

“Get out of my way, you scumbag!” roared James, punching Snape in the face.

Snape responded by spitting in his face.

“You’re the fucking scumbag, not me Potter!”

The pair suddenly found themselves flying through the air. James smashed into a potted plant and Snape landed awkwardly on his side.

Gasping as he dragged himself to his feet, James looked round wildly and saw Lily glaring at him, her wand in one hand, as she wiped her bleeding lip with the other.

“Lily, I’m sorry, I-”

James grimaced as he heard another vase smash behind him.

“Oh, just go away, Potter!” spat Lily, tears running down her face as she dragged herself to her feet.

Slapping away James’ helping hand, she hurried off to the hospital wing, leaving James to stare after her, and wonder if he’d ruined everything.

He didn’t even grin when he heard Snape yell, as Sirius’ curse hit him.

He did, however, freeze at the unmistakeable tone of Minerva McGonagall.

 “SEVERUS SNAPE, SIRIUS BLACK, AND JAMES POTTER!  WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK YOU ARE PLAYING AT?!”

Turning slowly around, he was met with the unpleasant sight of Snape’s greasy head, right in front of his face.

“Oh, god, move over greasy,” he said disgustedly.

“Potter!” roared McGonagall, making him jump. “I am absolutely appalled at this! Your attitude, it’s just… unacceptable! This is not the kind of behaviour I expect from the Head Boy! You will come to Dumbledore’s office at 8pm, and explain yourself. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself stripped of your title!”

James gasped.

“But… Professor-”

“No buts! You are in serious trouble! And I don’t know why you’re sniggering, Snape! You and Black both have detention – for a week!”

James barely heard their protests – he was too wrapped up in his own dire situation.

Stripped of his Head Boy status?

He couldn’t believe it.

No, he couldn’t believe himself, his stupidity!

He’d thought that his immature days of being an absolute git were gone – how very wrong he’d been.

And now, he was going to have to pay the price.

Perhaps Lily had been right about him all along…

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