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Author's Note: At the bottom of this chapter, there's a letter James is writing and it's supposed to be crossed out a bit, but I can't make it work. So if you see a sentence that ends abruptly, it's because James crossed it out. Enjoy the chapter!
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Chapter Sixty Two
Mr. and Mrs. Evans


The fight in Diagon Alley was on the lips of every witch and wizard in England for the days following. There was not a day in which the Daily Prophet did not print an article about the attack. There was a list of the injured and the killed when the Magical Menagerie exploded. The boys could only be grateful that Peter’s father was not among either list. John Pettigrew was undoubtedly shaken by the explosion, but he was completely healthy. Several workers and customers who had been inside the pet shop had been killed instantly and one or two were severely injured and taken to St. Mungo’s. Almost at once, the Prophet was pointing fingers at the Ministry for not having enough security in a place where children could be found and for not having foreseen the attack.

No one seemed to want to point fingers at the actual cause behind it – Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

There was a strong sense of fear now in the Wizarding World. People traveled in tight packs, hardly daring to step out of the house on their own. Who knew if they would make it back to the house if they went out alone? There were reports of street peddlers selling overpriced self-protection amulets that were not guaranteed to protect someone, but to give them nasty boils in the most inconvenient of places. Every person out on the streets at late hours of the night looked seedy and suspicious. No one felt safe anymore.

When the four boys arrived back at Sirius’s flat after their disastrous trip to Diagon Alley, it was to find that no one really wanted to talk about what happened. For a long time, the four boys sat in Sirius’s sitting room, staring at the walls opposite them with rather unfocused looks. At one instance, Peter thought to ask Sirius who he was talking to when they were there, but Sirius merely scowled. He did not want to tell his friends that one of those masked Death Eater maniacs was his little brother. Sirius was surprised that Peter had even noticed Sirius had been talking to someone. After an hour of sitting in almost complete silence, James, Remus and Peter left to go home.

“So, what goes on in these Prefect meetings?” James asked Remus, who was looking pale and peaky as he was still recovering from the full moon two days ago, as they made their way to the Prefect carriage at the head of the Hogwarts Express. They had just left Sirius and Peter, who were going to find a compartment for the four of them.

“The Head Boy and Girl give the Prefects the passwords for the common rooms, they tell us the responsibilities that come with being a Prefect; we get a bit of a lecture from the Heads. It doesn’t really take too long.” Remus wanted to see who the Head Girl was. The Head Girl hadn’t been bad last year, but the year before was dreadful. He hoped it wasn’t another repeat of his fifth year.

“So I have to lecture everyone?” James asked anxiously. He knew he could pull off a lecture, but how much authority would the Prefects think he had over them? He had never been a Prefect before and now he was suddenly Head Boy.

You don’t have to. The Head Girl could do that.”

“What was Dumbledore thinking?” James burst out, stopping just a compartment away from the one the Prefects had gathered in. He leaned against the wall with his arms folded across his chest, a frustrated expression clouding his face.

“What are you talking about?”

“Why did he make me Head Boy? Did he honestly think, ‘oh, James Potter would make a great Head Boy’? He could’ve picked anyone else! He could’ve picked you or Patil or MacMillian. Anyone but me!”

“Maybe he thinks you’re the best for the job,” Remus tried convincing him. Remus felt guilty admitting this to himself, but he was rather surprised, stunned more like, that Dumbledore had picked James to be Head Boy. Remus certainly didn’t want the job, but he knew there were others who coveted the position a lot more than James ever would. James was in trouble too much in his past six years at school. He spent half his life in detention, for Merlin’s sake. It was only recently that he had showed any signs of maturity.

“Don’t give me that rubbish, Moony,” James snapped. Then, more calmly, he went on. “Sorry, mate. I’m not trying to take this out on you.”

Remus held up a hand to stifle James’s apology. “It’s fine. Look, let’s just go in there and get this over with. This meeting can be as short or as long as you want it to be.”

James let out a short laugh. “We’ll be lucky if we make it to five minutes.”

The two entered the compartment to see that most of the Prefects had already arrived and were conversing quietly. Remus took the vacant seat beside Emily Fort and Jensen Patil, who seemed to be making bets on who the new Head Boy and Girl would be.

“You two will never guess who the new Head Boy is,” Remus told them in an undertone.

Before either of the Ravenclaws could say anything, Severus Snape’s surprised and angered voice filled the compartment. “What are you doing here, Potter? This is a meeting for the Prefects, not their friends.”

James’s eyes narrowed on the Slytherin, but when he spoke his voice was oddly calm. “I’m here because I’m Head Boy, Snape.”

There was a collective round of surprised noises from the students assembled in the compartment. The Slytherins were enraged, Snape more than any of them. His face was tinged a fiery red and was contorted in disgust. “You’re joking, aren’t you?”

James glanced at Remus, who gave him a look that silently said to be patient. He couldn’t hex Snape on his first day as Head Boy. “Would you like to see the letter Dumbledore sent me, making me Head Boy?”

Snape looked as though he would very much like to see the letter, but kept his mouth shut and slumped in his seat, looking mutinous.

James cleared his throat and the rush of murmurs subsided. “Is everyone here, then?”

“Lily’s not here, James,” Remus said, surprised that James hadn’t this noticed this himself.

“And no one’s said they’re Head Girl either,” Emily Fort pointed out.

This was true. None of the female Prefects had spoken up about their promotion and there was no one else coming in and announcing that they were this year’s Head Girl. But they couldn’t keep waiting for someone to show up; James wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. The Head Girl would just have to introduce herself whenever she decided to show up. “Okay then… I’m James Potter, your Head Boy. I recognise a lot of you and… err… I look forward to getting to know those of you I don’t already know.” His eyes darted towards his friend, who nodded encouragingly. “I… I’m not entirely sure what my predecessors have talked to you about.”

“Because you were never a Prefect,” Snape snarled under his breath, though loud enough for everyone to hear.

“Stuff it, Snape,” Emily Fort snapped.

James quickly flashed the girl a smile. This was the one Remus had caught Sirius snogging last year. Sirius picked a good one. “But I’m going to talk to you about something I think is going to be very important this year. After what happened in Diagon Alley, I think it’s important that we learn to watch out for ourselves, as well as our friends and…” James glanced swiftly in Snape’s direction before looking back towards the rest of the compartment’s occupants, “Sometimes the people we don’t like.”

Snape promptly snorted at James’s sentiments.

“Do you have something to say, Severus?” Remus asked in a dangerously tranquil voice.

Snape looked disgusted at being addressed by Remus, as Remus did not have a high enough status to speak. “I just find what Potter is saying to be hypocritical.”

Every Prefect turned to see what James’s reaction would be. Had this been under any other circumstances, they would not have been surprised if Snape started sprouting sprouts out of his nostrils. But James didn’t appear to be troubled by Snape’s rude comment. His posture was steady and his expression neutral. “Snape is right,” James consented and if there was twinge of disgust in his voice, it was only barely tangible. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t change and I’m sure everyone else here will want to do the same.”

The Prefects nodded agreeably. It was a far cry from reality that the four Houses would ever coexist entirely peacefully, but it was worth a try to unite some members at least. They could start with the Prefects, anyway. Perhaps the other students would follow the example. It would be a pain; James knew this, to pretend he actually liked Slytherins. Then again, he didn’t have to pretend to like them; he just had to put up with them. With a few more words of encouragement and passing out the new passwords to the Prefects, James’s first Prefects’ meeting was officially over.




“I’m bored.”

“Oh no.”

“Why do you say ‘oh no’ like that, Wormtail?”

“Because every time you say you’re bored something bad usually happens.”

Sirius sat up straight, his feet, which had been propped up on the seat across from him, slamming on the compartment floor with a loud thud. “I resent that,” he said defiantly, turning away from Peter, looking highly offended. “The last time I said I was bored, we ended up finding that passageway that led to Honeyduke’s. You can’t say that was bad, can you?” He raised an eyebrow at Peter, as if daring him to say it was bad.

Peter was silent and Sirius knew he had gotten his point across. Sirius couldn’t say his friend was entirely wrong, strange things usually happened when he said he was bored. Sometimes, though, good came out of his boredom. He was bored when he thought up their nicknames and they had all grown to like them. Half the reason they even had the Marauder’s Map was because he had been bored one night and said they should all go wandering aimlessly about the castle. That wandering was what led them to the passageway to the sweet shop. So why did all his friends flee in terror when he said he was bored?

“It has to be Lily.”

Sirius and Peter turned to see Remus and James entering the compartment, midway through a conversation that, for some reason, involved their fellow Gryffindor seventh year. Unless they were talking about James’s chances of ever getting a date with Lily, which it didn’t sound like they were, the two had no idea what their friends were talking about. “What has to be Lily?” Sirius asked as James dropped down beside him and Remus took the vacant seat next to Peter.

“Head Girl,” Remus replied, leaning back in his seat and shutting his eyes.

Sirius raised his eyebrows. “Shouldn’t you know by now?”

“There was no Head Girl there,” James explained. “And Lily wasn’t there either.”

“Really?” Sirius said, surprised. That was most unlike the girl. “Lily Evans missed a Prefect meeting?”

Remus and James nodded. It was odd, too odd for their liking. Lily never missed anything involving her Prefect duties. She always did her patrols, even when she would rather not and always went to the mandatory meetings. It took nothing short of a fatal illness to keep her from doing her job. Perhaps she had gotten caught up doing something else on the train, like trying to keep two second years from beating the stuffing out of each other. That could be time consuming and Lily would definitely pause to handle that, especially if no one else was. But the boys just couldn’t imagine her skipping an entire meeting unless something truly important came up.

“How was your first Prefect meeting, Prongs?” Sirius asked, digging some gold out of his pocket as the clattering of the lunch trolley reached their compartment.

“Oh just wonderful,” James said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. “Get your food. I’ll tell you about it when you get back.”

Sirius nodded and started towards the door before looking over his shoulder. “Wormtail, Moony, you two hungry?”

Peter got up to accompany Sirius out into the corridor, digging some gold out of his own pocket, while Remus shook his head and remained seated. His appetite had not quite come back yet. Sirius instantly knew the reason for Remus’s decline and nodded, going out into the hallway with Peter. When the two returned, their arms were laden with sweets. They each dumped the sweets on a vacant seat and began searching through them. “So how was the meeting?” Sirius asked again, ripping open a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans.

“Well, it started with Snape wondering why the bloody hell I was there,” James began, snatching up one of Sirius’s Licorice Wands and biting the top off with unnecessary force.

“Of course,” Sirius muttered darkly before throwing a murky green bean into his mouth. He chewed on it for a few moments before his face contorted in disgust and he spat it out into his hand. “Sprouts.” Wrapping the bean in a spare wrapper, he set it aside. “Snivellus is probably just jealous because Dumbledore didn’t make him Head Boy.”

“Well, I’m sure no one saw me coming,” James pointed out fairly. “No one expected Dumbledore to make me Head Boy.”

“Yeah, I thought it was definitely going to be Remus,” Peter put in, unwrapping a piece of Drooble’s.

“I’m glad it wasn’t me,” Remus muttered sleepily. “Being Prefect is bad enough.”

“Is it really that terrible, Remus?” James asked intently. He always wondered just why Remus hated being a Prefect so much. He knew part of it was because Remus felt he had no authority over anyone and the job was completely wasted on him. James also knew Remus hated it because he couldn’t keep his own friends in line. It wasn’t until now that James realised how irritating that must have been for him, to not even have his friends backing him up when it came to his Prefect duties.

“I may exaggerate it sometimes,” Remus admitted, opening his eyes and slumping in his seat. He nodded to James. “You might like it better than I do.”

James nodded. “Go to sleep, mate. You look ready to pass out.” Remus didn’t need James to tell him this. He shifted in his seat so he could rest against the wall beside the compartment door and was asleep within seconds. “I wonder what happened with Lily,” James went on, his eyebrows knitted together in worry. It just wasn’t like the redhead to miss something as important to her as a Prefect meeting. He couldn’t picture her just skiving off.

“I’m sure she’s fine, James,” Sirius said in his best reassuring voice, though he did not believe it, himself. Quickly thinking of something to make James feel better, he added, “We’ll ask Alice about it later, if we don’t see Lily. I’m sure Alice will know whatever’s going on.”

Sirius was right. Alice Gordon was Lily’s best friend; she would know whatever was going on in the redhead’s life. James hoped that, whatever it was, it wasn’t as serious as he thought it might be.

~*~

“To our newcomers, welcome! To our old comers, welcome back! I must say how wonderful it is to see such faces as yours, all eager to begin your new year of schooling.” Professor Dumbledore stood in his place at the Staff Table, surveying his charges with his twinkling eyes, a broad, genuine smile on his face. “I do believe announcements are in order, but I see the golden platters before you wished to be filled with your supper and I believe it unwise to deny them this. Tuck in, everyone!”

There was a round of appreciative laughter as the empty golden platters on every table were filled with the most delicious looking foods anyone could imagine. The respectful silence that was present as Professor Dumbledore spoke was now replaced with the excited chatter of the students and the clinking of silverware. The house ghosts drifted around the ceiling, which reflected a clear starry night sky, watching as the students ate their fill. There was, however, a distinct change to this excited chatter. It didn’t sound like the eagerness of students ready to embark on their new year of schooling, but an excitement that spoke of the events in Diagon Alley. Everywhere, particularly the older students were discussing it.

“I was in Diagon Alley before it happened too,” Frank Longbottom was telling sixth year Cindy Warhol, who was fretting over the attack. She had been doing her shopping that day, but had left about an hour before the wand fire and explosion started. “In the morning, before anything started. Alice and I were doing some last minute school shopping.”

“We were there when it happened,” Sirius said grimly, leaning forward on the table. Everyone sitting around him also leaned forward, James, Peter and Remus especially. Sirius had not talked about the fight at all and they wanted to know what was going on in his mind.

“Who did you see? Were there people from there, the people who started the attack?” Alice asked anxiously. From what they knew about some of their classmates, it would surprise any of them if they were the attackers.

Sirius’s mouth twitched, though it was unnoticeable. When he answered, it was in an awkward, distracted voice. “No… no, not that we could tell, anyway. They were all masked, you see.”

“That makes them more dangerous, then,” Frank said disgustedly, shaking his head. He stabbed a sausage on his dish and shoved it in his mouth, an angry glare in his eyes. “Unless you get one of them to talk, you might recognise the voice. If you don’t, you have no idea who you’re up against.”

Sirius nodded distractedly, pushing around the food on his plate. “Yeah… you’d have no idea.” When he was sure the others were still engulfed in their conversation, Sirius glanced over his shoulder, towards the Slytherin table. Regulus’s back was to him, so he could not see the expression on his brother’s face. Was Regulus terrified because he could be identified? Was he smug because everyone around him seemed to be discussing that disaster he was a part of? It made Sirius’s stomach churn uncontrollably to think that Regulus could take pride in what he had done. With that thought in mind, Sirius began stuffing his dinner into his mouth.

“What’s with you?” Remus asked. Sirius only ate that way when he was mad.

“Nofink, Moomy,” Sirius said through a mouthful of roasted potatoes. With great effort, Sirius managed to swallow his dinner. “Nothing, I’m fine.”

Remus watched Sirius through doubtful eyes for another moment before shrugging and turning to talk to Peter.

“Oh, Alice, have you seen Lily?” James asked suddenly. He was looking up and down the Gryffindor table searching for the girl, but she was nowhere in sight. James couldn’t believe that Lily had missed the Prefect meeting and was also missing the Start of the Term Feast; it was too much unlike her.

Alice frowned sadly at James and shook her head.

“She wasn’t with you on the train?” James had thought that if Lily wasn’t with the rest of the Prefects, she certainly would have been with her best friend. He didn’t like what he was hearing. Was Lily okay?

“I’ll explain later,” was all Alice said before going back to her dinner, though not eating much of it. James saw the deeply saddened look in the girl’s face and wondered what was going on.

After an hour, once the puddings had disappeared, Professor Dumbledore stood up. Almost at once a hush fell over the Great Hall as every student listened intently to what their Headmaster had to say.

“I trust many of you are aware of what occurred in Diagon Alley a little over a week ago,” Dumbledore began, his voice carrying loud and clear across the dining hall. There was a rush of murmurs throughout the students. Even the Muggle-born first years had managed to find out what had happened in the alley. “Because of this, there will be extra security around the castle.” There was another bout of murmurs; this time, however, some sounded mutinous. It was a well known fact the students loathed extra-security measures. Dumbledore’s voice rose over the others, growing more forceful. “This is only to ensure your safety. While I cannot go into much detail about these measures, keep in mind that wandering the corridors at night will not benefit you, neither will attempting to sneak off school grounds.

“These are troubled times we are about to go through,” Dumbledore continued, surveying the hall, eyes resting on as many students as possible.”I advise all of you to be careful. Do not take my words lightly. I encourage all of you to stand together, to put aside your differences and help one another.” There were some sceptical looks amongst the students, particularly among the Slytherins, but no one said anything. “Now,” Dumbledore went on. “On a lighter note, I would like to introduce our newest Defence Against the Dark Arts professor.” Dumbledore spread his left arm towards a middle-aged man with a bushy brown moustache and scruffy brown hair. “I would like you all to join me in welcoming Professor Hayes.”

There was a scattered round of applause, which Professor Hayes acknowledged with a small smile. The students knew by now not to get attached to their Defence Against the Dark Arts professors. Hayes would be gone by the end of the year, just like the rest of his predecessors. The only hope any of the students had for him was that he appeared to look nicer than Professor Finely. Then again, that was not an incredible feat.

“Now, I’m sure you’re all ready to go to bed and to be well rested for your classes tomorrow. Prefects, please escort your housemates to your common rooms. Good night!”

The Great Hall was filled with the sounds of the benches scraping along the floor. The first years followed their fifth year Prefects, looking apprehensive and thrilled about venturing further into the castle. James, Sirius, Remus and Peter hung back so they could speak with Alice, who had asked them to wait for her.

“So, what’s wrong with Lily?” Remus asked concernedly as the group exited the Great Hall behind their fellow Gryffindors.

There was such a sadness emanating from Alice that the boys feared the absolute worse. “It’s her parents,” the seventh year said quietly.

“Well, what happened to them?” James pushed on urgently, a tiny bit of relief washing through him that Lily wasn’t hurt. Not that he still wasn’t worried; whatever happened to her parents would affect her.

Alice struggled to get the next words out. “They were in a car accident; there was nothing anyone could do to save them.”

James, Sirius, Remus and Peter were silent. Mr. and Mrs. Evans were in a car accident, no one could save them… they had died. Each boy was suddenly feeling incredibly ill. They had seen Mr. and Mrs. Evans before at the platform; they had looked like nice people.

“What about Lily and her sister?” Sirius asked suddenly. “They weren’t in the car when it happened, were they?”

Alice shook her head and the boys were instantly relieved. “No… Lily was at home and Petunia was with her boyfriend.” Alice sighed and stared down at the marble floor. “Lily will be back in school on Monday. She just needed a few days to collect herself.” Alice gave the boys another sad smile before heading on to the common room with Frank. James, Remus, Sirius and Peter paused in their place, unable to go much further.

“I can’t believe Lily’s parents died,” Peter said disbelievingly.

“Lily can’t be taking it well,” Remus said, sidestepping a tiny second year who went running by him.

“Oi! No running!” James shouted after the second year’s retreating back.

“Exercising your authority, Prongs?” Sirius asked, a hint of a smirk on his lips.

“Well, he could’ve knocked someone over.”

“Prongs, the kid was three feet tall, he’d probably just knock himself over.”

The boys were the last to enter the Gryffindor common room and saw that only a few people lingered downstairs, most had already gone up to bed or to put their belongings away. Remus, Sirius and Peter had settled themselves in the best armchairs by the fire, but James excused himself, saying he wanted to get to putting his things away. They didn’t question him. James entered the dormitory to see that Frank was already halfway through setting his four-poster up.

“Good summer, James?” Frank asked as he took out a pair of robes for the next morning.

“Can’t complain,” James replied, sitting down beside his trunk and flipping up the latches. “Yours?”

“Pretty good, except for, well, you know.”

James nodded knowingly and pulled out a sheet of parchment and his writing instruments from his trunk. He unscrewed the lid of his inkbottle and dipped his quill in. The quill paused over the parchment as he thought of what to write.

Evans Lily,
Alice told me why you weren’t at the Prefect meeting and
I know losing your parents is hard and
If you ever want to talk about
I’m really sorry about what happened, Lily. I really am. I wish I knew what else to say, but I don’t. I’m just really sorry. And congratulations on making Head Girl, you deserve it.
- James





Excerpt from Chapter Sixty Three: The Woes of Remus Lupin

“Merlin, Remus, you’re no fun, anymore.”

“I’m studying, Sirius.”

“You’re always studying, Remus.”

Remus slowly lifted his eyes from his book and glared witheringly at Sirius, who did not back down for a second. “Here’s a wonderful idea, why don’t you ask Peter if he wants to go to the kitchens with you?”

Peter glanced up from his Ministry pamphlets and nodded eagerly. “I’ll go with you, Sirius.”

Sirius gave one swift nod toward Peter before rounding again on Remus. “I was going to ask him, Remus, but I thought the three of us should go.”

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