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As Lily rushed along the corridor that led to the entrance of Dumbledore’s study, she quickly tried to formulate an argument in her mind.

On the one hand, James had cursed her, causing her to spend almost an entire day in the hospital wing. But, on the other, and as much as she hated to admit it, she liked working with James, and didn’t fancy having to find a new balance with somebody else.

No, it would be much better if James remained as Head Boy.

All she had to do was convince Dumbledore of this.

 

*

 

James fidgeted nervously as he waited for Dumbledore to sit down.

He really really didn’t want Dumbledore to take his Head Boy badge off of him.

Being able to stand the silence no more, James began, “Sir, I know that I’ve been an idiot-”

“It has always fascinated me, Mr Potter,” said Dumbledore, pressing his long fingers together and fixing James with a piercing stare, “when it comes to the prospect of losing one’s high position, how repentant one becomes. If one were not in danger of being demoted, I rather suspect that there would be no remorse. Am I correct?”

James blushed.

He always felt as though Dumbledore’s piercing blue eyes could see right through him, and now really wasn’t a time when he wanted Dumbledore knowing what he was thinking.

“Look, Sir, I know that I’ve acted like a complete idiot, and I probably don’t deserve to keep my badge, but I just lost it when I saw… uh… well, um…” James coughed uncomfortably.

Dumbledore smiled knowingly.

“It has been brought to my attention that yourself and Miss Evans have had a fight. Is that correct?”

James reddened further and nodded.

“And what, may I ask, was the argument about?”

“Um…” stammered James, uncertain as of how to answer. “Lily- I mean Evans - thought that I’d been going through her bag, which I hadn’t. She got really mad and said loads of stuff that really pissed – uh, I mean, annoyed – me, so I lost my temper and, um-”

“Took it out on the contents of Gryffindor’s 7th Year boys’ dormitory?”

“Um,” said James sheepishly, “Yeah.”

He faltered for a moment, wondering whether Dumbledore was going to tell him off, but Dumbledore merely smiled and began to hum slightly.

“Um, and then Evans came and apologised, and said that she’d like to be, uh, friends… A-and I told her that… that I didn’t want to be,” finished James, bowing his head slightly and mentally slapping himself for the hundredth time for turning down Lily’s offer.

“I see. You did not wish to accept Miss Evans’ apology?”

“No,” blurted out James, “No, I just… didn’t want to be friends with her…”

“You wanted to be more?” nodded Dumbledore.

James’ insides shrivelled with embarrassment.

How did Dumbledore know this?!

“Mr Potter, despite Professor McGonagall’s insistence that you be stripped of your title, I do not have any plans to do so.”

James looked up at Dumbledore disbelievingly.

“Y-you’re not taking my badge away?” he breathed, hardly daring to believe what he was hearing.

“No, I am not. As much as I do not condone violence, I have it on good authority that you were under a lot of stress when you attacked Mr Snape – after all, it’s not easy seeing the one that we love dallying with someone else, is it?”

James did not answer, but Dumbledore’s question seemed to be rhetorical.

After a brief pause, during which Dumbledore muttered something about needing to brush-up on his Shakespeare, James realised that now was probably the right time to leave.

Pushing his chair back, he stuck out his hand, feeling slightly foolish as he did so.

Dumbledore took it, a slightly bemused look on his face, and shook it.

“I really appreciate this, sir, and I promise you, I won’t put another foot wrong.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t go as far as promising that,” chuckled Dumbledore, withdrawing his hand from James’. “A bit of Marauders’-style mischief never hurt anybody… except, perhaps, the Slytherins.”

James laughed nervously.

Dumbledore really was the least conventional Head Master Hogwarts had ever seen!

Picking up his school bag, he gave a final nod to Dumbledore, and headed for the door.

Just as his hand settled on the door knob, it flew open, smacking him in the face and sending him sprawling onto the floor.

Clutching his nose, he looked up with watering eyes to see who had come hurling through the door.

 

 

*

 

“James!” cried Lily, gasping as she realised what she’d hit when she had flung the door open. “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!”

Rushing over to him, she knelt down and gingerly took in the state of his face.

“Is it broken?” she whispered, placing a hand over her mouth.

James gingerly prodded his nose and yelped.

“Yep,” he said, wincing, “Yep, I think you’ve broken it good and proper!”

Lily looked horrified.

I am so sorry! I didn’t realise you’d be right behind the door! I only just heard from Alice and Romeda that Dumbledore was thinking of taking your badge off of you! I’m not too late, am I?! Stupid Peeves caught me as I got to the stone gargoyles, and it took me five minutes just to get him to let me through! But I’m here now, and I’m willing to fight for your title; where’s Dumbledore?!”

Looking around wildly, she spotted him sat at his desk, looking highly amused.

“Professor,” said Lily, standing up and moving towards him, “I know that James can be a bit of an idiot sometimes, and slightly too arrogant for his own good, but he does really care about being Head Boy, and I think it’s wholly unfair to deprive Hogwarts of his, admittedly less than normal, approach to head boy-ship. I mean, you yourself are hardly what one could call conventional, and yet you’re the best head master Hogwarts has ever had!”

“Oh, you flatter me so, Miss Evans,” smiled Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling. “But you needn’t worry – Mr Potter’s position is as secure as it ever was.”

“What?!” cried Lily, spinning round to look at James, who was currently in the process of searching for a tissue to stem the blood that was flowing from his broken nose. “You’re still Head Boy? Why didn’t you tell me?!”

“I think the small event of getting smacked in the face with a door by a rather excitable red-head drove the thought from his mind somewhat,” beamed Dumbledore, rising from his chair. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting to attend to with the Minister of Magic. Feel free to occupy my office for as long as it takes to, ah, sort out your differences.”

With a small wink, he waltzed past Lily, who was still reeling from the fact that James had not been dismissed, pulled open the door, and gently closed it behind him, chortling slightly as he did so.

When Lily heard the door click shut, she felt a wave of fear wash over her.

James had attacked her; did that mean he hated her?

Turning around slowly, she noticed that James was turning steadily whiter as he struggled to stop his nose bleed.

Rushing over, she waved her wand, causing the bleeding to stop immediately.

With another wave, she repaired the damage to his nose, adding in a blood-replenishing charm for good measure.

Sniffing, James said gratefully, “Thanks. I think I’m part-haemophilic.”

“Is that even possible?” laughed Lily, reddening a bit.

“Who knows?”

There was an awkward pause.

“James…” began Lily, but he cut in.

“Lily, earlier, when I cursed you, I swear I didn’t mean to! I was aiming for Snape and you just got in the way… I honestly never meant to hurt you. I’d never hurt you, Lils.”

Lily opened her mouth to protest that he shouldn’t have been cursing anyone, but closed it again, a small smile appearing on her face.

“I’m sorry that I accused you of stealing my stuff,” she said softly, looking him in the eyes.

“And I’m sorry that I completely flew off the handle and wouldn’t accept your apology,” replied James, staring back at her.

“Does… does that mean you have now?” she asked, feeling slightly nervous.

“If it’s still there to be accepted,” said James, hoping with all his might that it was.

“It is,” nodded Lily.

“Then I accept!” laughed James.

Lily laughed too.

“Ok, good – perhaps we might actually be able to get on for more than two seconds without biting each others’ heads off!”

“Here’s hoping!” grinned James.

“Right, well, I best be off. You should really go and get your nose checked out – I don’t know how temporary my mending is, and it still looks a bit wonky if you ask me.”

“Ok,” nodded James, “I’ll do that.”

“Ok then,” said Lily, “I’ll see you later.”

 Turning around to leave, she was filled with a sudden urge to hug James.

Taking a deep breath, she turned back round to face him and gave him a quick hug, before darting out of the door.

Five minutes later, James was still rooted to the spot, his face frozen in shock.

Lily Evans had actually hugged him!

HIM!

James Potter.

Head Boy.

Clinically arrogant.

Him!

His face suddenly broke into a grin.

Maybe all was not lost after all!

 

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