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Hello, and welcome. I’ll try and make this introduction short and sweet, but knowing me, it will be half a novel.

I’ve been working on this story – Hope, for a while now, and have posted it on this site, as well as others in the past. Lately, I’ve been making adjustments and changing aspects of it, and have finally decided to repost. Before I get into the first chapter, there are a few things you need to know.

First and more most, this is not canon. Okay? Not. Canon. As much as I adore the canon plot of James lusting after Lily, I’ve decided to write to the contary. So please don’t review with “OMMGGZZZZ BAD AUTH0RRRR JAMZ IZ SUPPOSED 2 LUV LILZZZZ!!11”. Although, I’m almost certain all those kinds of people have now moved onto Twilight, so I’ll assume myself safe from Flaming Noobs.

Secondly, this isn’t my only story. I’m currently posting another one on another site, and am in the process of working on another. Luckily, a lot of this is pre-written, so posting should be frequent, as long as I can make time to get around to it.

So, information about the story, yes?

Title: Hope
Author: Siriusly Smitten x
Rating: PG 13. Apart from embarrassing amounts of fluff, and the odd snog in the corridor, it’s pretty harmless – for now. =D
Disclaimer: JK Rowling should be queen. She owns all but the characters you don’t recognize and the plot.
Main Pairing: Lily and James, possibly others.
Genre: Romance, Drama, Action, and hopefully a little humor in there somewhere.
Very, very basic summary: He looked at her and said, “Do you ever feel like you’re working for something you’re never going to get? The shoot-and-miss kind of deal. Like, no matter what, you can’t have it, but that makes you fight for it just a little bit more?” She looked at him, stared at him for a second, and replied, “everyday…”

Hope

She didn’t believe in much, but she believed things happened for a reason. He came into her life and turned everything upside down.

Chapter one – Chocolate Cake

I didn’t know what to do with myself – I never did. I stood as blank as a piece of parchment. My pea green eyes, which were the only things moving, flicked from left to right as if I was a lion, eyeing it’s prey.

I placed a single hand on my jerky stomach, feeling a familiar guttering sensation build up that made my lips quiver, my nose scrunch up like an old brown paper bag and my eyes turn suddenly squint so all I could see was the brilliant beams from the September sun. With the help of a final, determining shudder from my uneasy stomach muscles, I came to the dreaded conclusion that he was indeed back.

My pale, oval face was heating up like the stove in my mother’s kitchen. I could fry eggs on my cheeks and mushrooms on my nose if I so desired. My already monochrome legs were going paler with sudden shock, joining my wiped out face that normally had a tinge of color to it. Any passer by would’ve claimed I had seen a ghost.

His messy patch of hair bobbled up and down amongst the huge crowd standing on platform nine and three quarters. I could feel my bones wanting to give way; turning into led with every confident stride he took in my general direction.

My hopeful wish that he had fallen off his broom and suffered a fatal accident too serious to return to Hogwarts over the summer was destroyed as I looked at him once again, just to make sure it was he. He reminded me of an awfully tall, thin tree, with a mop of black hair and glasses. That was the more foul description I gave him, because honestly, he looked nothing short of a Greek God.

As he casually sauntered closer to where I was standing, his figure became entirely visible. If it weren’t for my wandering eyes that scanned every part of his lanky figure more times than necessary, any young Hogwarts student would think I belonged in the Fountain of Magical Brethren at the Ministry of Magic with all the other statues. I simply couldn’t move.

There was no denying it; it was definitely James Potter.

Abruptly, I shut my eyes, calming myself down, trying to get rid of the horrid, yet amazingly satisfying, feeling his simple appearance was giving me. It was like eating an extremely fatty, sugary cake. You enjoy every mouthful, your eyes glowing with pleasure as you eat the gooey cake. Then after you’ve finished, you realize that a whole kilo of fatty goodness was probably in that one piece of chocolate-covered cake. You can actually feel it travel to your thighs. You feel horrible at the mere thought of eating something so fattening. You want to discharge it straight back up again or take a long glass of water to get rid of the stomach-turning feeling. No matter how good it tasted, the aftermath is unbearable.

That’s what being in deep infatuation with James Potter is like.

About as calm as a turkey before Christmas, I opened my eyes, erasing the thoughts of chocolate cake, knowing I would look stupid if James or one of his foolish friends caught me standing in the middle of the busy platform 9 ¾ with my eyes closed. I really needn’t have bothered. James Potter wouldn’t take notice of me if I was standing right before him, dressed in nothing but my favorite pair of pink underwear. Even with the cute little bow on the front.

He was getting closer, strutting as usual, his three friends next to him. It was as if the Ministry of Magic had arrived on the platform. Hogwarts students, young and old stopped to steer as The Marauders swaggered past, making sure they took up every inch of room they could manage so people had to literally hug onto the barriers to make way for the four gods. Someone should really roll out the red carpet and give the four idiots golden crowns.

Giving up all trust of Potter finding me amongst our fellow students on the platform, I grabbed hold of my trunk and hurried towards the train, dodging the crowds of students who were still deferential in the Marauders’ entry. I had told my friends to meet me on the train somewhere. I guessed they were already there. One was so paranoid about missing the train that she gets here too early, one lives so close to the station that she could sleep in till 10:30 and would still get here on time, and the last was so close to missing the train last year that she promised herself she would arrive half an hour early this year.

***

The whereabouts of my three friends was beyond me as I collapsed into the Heads meeting compartment near the front of the train after searching the entire vehicle for the girls. I crashed on the nearest burgundy bench that stretched around the square compartment. The bench seemed softer, bouncier, greater quality than the ones in all the other compartments. Oh, this is just the beginning of the royalty that comes with being Head Girl: Bouncy seats one day, jewelry and red carpet the next. My shoulder length hair, that was something that didn’t go with my soon-to-be-famous self, flopped haphazardly around my face, tickling my freckled skin slightly. Too lazy to flick it away, I left it.

I pressed my finger against a small, cold surface on my Hogwarts jersey, just to make sure it was still there. After all, it was thanks to that little piece of metal did I have authorization to be in here.

I had become rather protective of the small thing over the holidays. After realizing in third year that I was dreadful at Quidditch, I had always silently hoped the famous badge would come my way in seventh year. And finally, someone had noticed my hard work. I was Head Girl. My badge gave me a level of superiority that made me cackle evilly every time I thought about punishing Sirius Black for every prank he pulled on innocent people this year. Oh such satisfaction.

I was bored. The pleasure provided by the badge and flash compartment was fading as quickly as it came; I needed something to do. Out of pure desperation, I bent down, opening my trunk. I admired my organization skills: each piece of clothing I owned was folded neatly to the left, while my books lay to the right, stacked perfectly aligned on top of each other. On top of my pile of books, sat a single black-covered journal. I grabbed it, closing my trunk. Mum had made me promise to write in it, saying something about how I would regret not doing it later. I flicked through the empty pages of the diary that smelt like lavender. Apart from smelling it occasionally, I really had no intention in using it.

I reached into my trunk again and pulled out a quill and ink. I dipped my quill in the ink, thinking of what to write. Nothing came to mind. Ditching the idea completely, I started doodling hearts around the blank page, putting a “J” in each one – against my better judgment.

Stop it, Lily. I ordered myself, managing enough control to drop my quill.

I looked out my window, watching the hills turn into blur as the Hogwarts Express rolled past. The once bright sun had disappeared behind a thick gray cloud, making a dark shade cover the green peaks. I looked more carefully at the hills, trying to detect three figures streaming across the green planes. If my friends had actually missed the train, I expected them to be running along the hills any moment now. And if I couldn’t see them, I’d defiantly hear them. Their cursing would be loud enough for the entire train to hear.

At that moment, the compartment door slid open. I spun around, expecting to see the head boy. Instead, stood two girls – one so tall, she made me look microscopic and the other with evident black hair and a pale complexion to match. The third was missing, which came to no real surprise. She would turn up eventually. It was a pleasant feeling; knowing that two of my three friends had made it one time.

***

“When is this Head Boy turning up?” My friend, Rachel Howell asked. Her fingers were up around her round face, fishing blonde strands of hair away so they flung back behind her. “I hope he’s good-looking. You’ll have to put in a good word for me, Lily.”

She shuffled further down her seat, spreading her legs out, which successfully put my pale spotted ones to shame. Rach began inspecting them for new scars and bruises caused by her rather evident tact of falling over everything that gets in her way. The obviousness of her lack of grace shows on her legs. I don’t think she’s had a perfect, unscarred knee since she was five.

Even slouched like she was, her head was still level with mine. Rachel, or Rach as she prefers has always been taller than most others – even the boys. She complains until the owls come home about her height – or until Krista tells her to stop acting like a hooting bird with an overweight parcel.

“You can do that yourself,” I muttered in response. And she could. Although being known to struggle at many things, Rachel definitely was not flawed at talking.

“Rach, If he’s been made Head Boy, there’s no way the codger is going to look like Amos Diggory,” my best friend Krista Walker said, crushing Rach’s hopes of an attractive Head Boy. I hid my disappointment rather more subtlety than Rach.

“Whoever he is, he’s late.” I said, scanning my watch for the second time. I had never been patient.

“Maybe its Stubbs,” Rach suggested. “He’s never on time for anything, even if it is a date with the beautiful yours truly.” Her smitten pink cheeks tightened and her face formed a half-smile.

“What one was that, Rachel?” Krista teased. “The one you snogged who stunk of smoke or pizza face? I lose track.”

Kris also swung out her legs from under her. She slid down the bench until she could connect her pale, matchstick-thin limbs with the seat opposite her. She was almost lying flat across the two benches. She would’ve been if it weren’t for her head that was perched slightly above the seat. Rach and I smirked at each other. Standing at only five foot five, when it comes to height, Krista isn’t too hard to beat.

“Pizza face,” Rach answered. “The one with the pimples who always turned up to potions fifteen minutes late.” She declared as if Kris needed a further description. She didn’t.

“Someone really should buy him a watch.” Rach continued. She paused for several moments. “But it’s probably Potter. He’s worse than Stubbs. He has a watch but doesn’t even use it.”

My diary that I had been holding in my hand fell to the carpeted floor as if I had dropped a substance that was rather slimy. It landed with a small thud as if it wanted attention from the three of us. Poor book. It got ignored completely.

I had the attention of both girls.

“Don’t be naïve, Rachel.” I said, reassuringly. I restored no ones confidence, not even my own.

Of course it was possible. Ever since witnessing Charlie Doily, the heaviest and laziest student in our year run three laps around the Quidditch Pitch without stopping in year three I’ve been a strong believer in “anything’s possible.” Mind you, Doily had a horde of enchanted bees after him set by Sirius Black. I suppose that would make anyone run.

James certainly had more of a chance becoming Head Boy than Doily did ever running that far ever again. With or without the bees. The poor boy was rushed to St. Mungo’s due to lack-of-breathing.

Kris shrugged. “Still like The Lord O’ Mighty?” she asked, rolling her eyes disapprovingly. Even she knew it was a stupid question. It pops up every train ride, every year. Along with “How are you’” and the great hugs, for me anyway, comes several questions regarding James Potter.

This year, I decided not to answer.

“We can read you like a book Lily… literally.” Rach grinned and gazed down at the floor, pointing to my diary that was lying open, showing James’s name scribbled everywhere, circled in hearts. It was pathetic. I was as bad as a giggly schoolgirl. No, I was worse.

I didn’t bother picking it up, they had already seen it. After all, it wasn’t like it was some kind of secret we talk about in hushed whispers. I’m surprised that half the school doesn’t know. I may as well be wearing a sign on my forehead saying, “I love Potter.” I make Rach look like the subtlest person ever when I compare my actions around Potter to her. In fact, I would go as far as saying I no longer have a private life.

“Don’t you think it’s about time you told him?” Kris said, yawning. “The idiot has been kept in the dark for three years now.”

“Two!” I interjected, loudly.

“Oh, Lily, do something!” Kris said suddenly flustered. Her arms flapped in the air, her lips curled into a little grin as if the thought of me embarrassing myself in front of James Potter amused her.

“I am not going to do-,” I stopped; not being able to finish my sentence about how even being around him makes me nervous. The compartment door was slowly sliding open.

I held my breath, knowing this was probably the head boy. Even though he was exactly… eleven minutes late, I wanted to greet him with a smile. I’d prefer him not to know the impatient, rude, stubborn, sarcastic-is-all-I-can-offer side of me. That’s reserved for Sirius Black.

The compartment door was now fully open. I could make out a tall figure standing almost hesitantly in the corridor. The person stepped in, or rather strutted, as if he owned the entire compartment. Instantaneously my hands began to shake, my mouth turned dry, and my heartbeat became so fast it felt like my heart wanted to jump out from behind my ribcage to give this years Head Boy and my future work partner a blood-spattered greeting.

Without thinking, I dived for my journal on the ground. I tossed it behind me. Anywhere out of sight would do. The book flew above Kris, who reached out with both arms to grab it, forgetting about her position on the seat. The book landed on the ground, Kris with it. The only difference was she was swearing.

My eyes moved from the ground, to his grinning face, then back down to his chest. Attached to his red and gold jersey was a badge identical to mine, except with the initials “HB” instead of “HG”.

A quite mutter of “Oh Merlin” escaped my mouth, as I prayed to high Merlin he had simply stolen the badge from Remus Lupin. A groan escaped my mouth after my quiet plea, just loud enough to blend in with Krista’s loud moans of pain and Rachel’s stupid giggles.

***

The tree was standing right in front of me – the grinning tree, to be exact. My eyes were the size of snitches as I stared at James Potter, looking just as dashing as he did back on the platform. I wished he, as well as Rach, would stop grinning; it only made me one hundred times more worried as to what this could possibly mean.

“Oh it’s you. I thought it might be. Um, you’re the one that nearly hit me over the head with a club for teasing Snape in sixth year, weren’t you? Um, Evon?” Potter asked. He spoke with ease, like it didn’t matter to him if he was speaking to three people or a large audience. To be frank, I was far too bemused in his entry to do anything but stare. I will admit, I had trouble breathing.

It wasn’t like there was anything particularly amazing about him. In fact, he looked rather normal in a simple jumper and black pants.

“It’s Evans.” Kris corrected him, sourly. She rose from the ground, still clutching her back as if it was in danger of falling off. “Lily Evans, Potter; not Laly Evon.”

“Sorry,” Potter replied, not sounding sorry at all. He ignored Kris, and pranced into the compartment, leaving the door open. “I’m Head Boy,” he explained, with a goofy grin.

“No you’re not.” Krista accused. “You stole it, I bet from Lupin. You have more skills as a thief than you do as a Head Boy.”

“Ha-ha, poor Remus wishes he was Head Boy,” James smiled, “but no, I assure you…lady; badge is mine.”

“But no one would make you Head Boy!” Krista objected.

“Kris!” I hissed, forgetting my little mid-life crisis to shut the trap on my best friend. James’s focus turned from Kris and Rach to me. It looked like he was seeing me for the first time, like the ‘Evon’ thing was a silly mistake or a stupid joke that he thought was funny.

I blushed under his steer, trying to count the number of beads that hung around Rach’s wrist that dangled over the seats end. Out of the corner of my left eye, I saw James plop down next to me, shuffling to find comfort.

“Ladies, I believe this is the Heads’ compartment. So if you don’t mind.” That got my attention. I snapped up, seeing James pointing to the open door, clearly amused.

“I don’t mind…they…can…they can stay.” I said at once. My head was in the clouds; up in the air; I would even take it as far as saying it had gone to the moon. Talking like a normal person was a little beyond me at this point. Krista and Rach clearly found it hilarious; their smiles were quickly getting larger after every painful second of silence.

“Heads only.” James mocked, taking great pleasure in bossing my friends around.

Without much hesitation from the pair of useless, disloyal codgers, Krista and Rachel stood up in unison. I felt like I was getting deserted at sea and the only islands in sight left were vanishing, leaving me in the pits of a perilous ocean.

My friends’ leaving was the realization that this was actually real for me. As the last locks of Rach’s blonde hair disappeared into the corridor, I became fatally aware that I was alone with James Potter. And it was going to be that way for an entire year.

How on earth did I strike so lucky? I wouldn’t call it luck at this point, mind you. More along the lines of seriously unfortunate to the point of wanting to jump out the train windows and walk my way to Hogwarts. At least I might have Sarah for company.

The feelings a little overwhelming that’s all. I’m sure I’ll see the great side of it after the train ride. James Potter was Head Boy; I was Head Girl. A very lucky Head Girl at that.

“Sorry about getting your name wrong,” he said. He somehow managed to sound sincere. “And just for the record, I didn’t steal the badge from Remus. We’re not off to a good start, are we?” James laughed to himself. Yes, to himself. He certainly wasn’t getting any laughter out of me. If I could work out how to open my mouth, he’d probably get a few giggles. All I could muster was a faint smile and nod, which he probably didn’t notice.

“So Evans,” Potter said, brushing his hair through his untidy black hair. “I guess you weren’t expecting me, huh?”

Damn right I wasn’t expecting you. I expected a box of Blast-ended Skrewts before you. I opened my mouth, looking like a goldfish. James was looking directly at me, his eyes wide, perhaps hopeful for so much as a word from my dried up mouth. I had his full attention. Feeling like I was going to vomit any second, I snapped my mouth closed. I was the silliest girl in all of Hogwarts. All I could do is shake my head.

“I wasn’t expecting me either. My poor mother was nearly sent to an early grave when we got the letter. She even mailed Dumbledore to see if it was a mistake. Sirius has been giving me jack all holidays.”

I managed a laugh.

“Wow! You actually make noise!” James laughed, sitting up in his seat a little bit more, his eyes lighting up, now certain I was capable of speaking like any normal human being and not some ape in a muggle zoo.

I smiled and looked down. My hands weren’t shaking as much. I felt like a complete idiot though.

I started fidgeting with the cords on my jersey, twisting them around my middle finger as James continued to talk about his holidays and damn Sirius Black. I wished I could talk as much as him. In my head I have these imaginary conversations with James and myself. I’m funny and smart, and even a bit cheeky. And in reality, when I want to be, I am funny, smart, cheeky and sometimes a bit rude. James just doesn’t see that, and I knew I was going to have a hard time coming out from my shell.

***
Getting off the train was like coming up for air after being stuck under water for several minutes. Every bump along the way and every blurry mountain the train passed made me feel insecure. I suddenly felt a pang of sympathy for animals in a muggle zoo: locked up, unable to escape. It was difficult breathing inside the compartment. The windows were foggy, the air dense and my mind soaring with the most bizarre thoughts. I’m afraid that’s the reality of sharing a ride with Potter to Hogwarts. Yet, somehow, I’ve come out smiling.

My eyes were squint as I attempted looking past the light fog surrounding Hogsmeade station. I must’ve looked rather silly with my huge smile that in no way matched my thin eyes and overwhelmed, swaying steps. I could make out a line of horseless carriages on the path leading up to the castle, little lights along the path lighting the road. I made out three figures standing by a nearby carriage, one with blondish hair that was wilder than the Whomping Willow. That great mop belonged to Sarah.

Deciding there was a first for everything, I irresponsibly left James to direct the first years to Hagrid. I approached my friends, desperate to see if Sarah was showing any signs of tiredness from running all the way to Hogwarts.

“Where have you been?” I ordered, inspecting my tall, lanky friend suspiciously. I failed at the ‘Worried friend’ look. My smile gets me every time.

“Long story,” Sarah muttered, rolling her eyes. She forgot her own self rather quickly. Even amongst the mist, she could see my face clearly. “You look happy. How was the magical ride?” She said, sarcastically.

“I am not going to giggle and gossip about a train ride.” I declared, looking at each of my friends separately. Each of them turned away, suddenly looking interested in the lampposts and the boats that were carrying the first years over the calm lake.

“Did you talk to him?” Kris asked, her lips forming the same little smirk like in the carriage before James arrived. The cockiness was on the face. “It seemed like you had an invisible strip of tape drawn across your face when we left. Potter help you out with that, did he?”

“Oh no. The tape stayed on.” I admitted, while hoping into the nearest carriage.

“So…you sat there voiceless?” Sarah asked, the first of my friends to show me an ounce of sympathy. Her perfectly arched eyebrows raised slowly, a flat smile on her face. I welcomed her sympathy: I certainly wasn’t going to get any out of Kris or Rach, who took so much pleasure in teasing me in my speechless state.

“Finally! A sympathetic friend.” I joked, as the horse-less carriage took off with a lurch.

“Lily, we found Sarah stuck in-between the luggage racks. I hold more sympathy for her. Only because she got owl droppings in her hair, mind you.” Krista replied her once smug smile replaced with a large beam that showed off her two dimples.

“Not my fault.” Sarah muttered between her teeth, very eager to drop the subject. “At least I didn’t swear to a Prefect.” She began, mischievously.

“What one?” Was the first question that came to mind.

“Lupin.” Rach laughed.

“The prat asked us to join him and the dimwits in their compartment.” Krista explained, clearly believing that was a good reason to start mouthing off.

“Did it ever occur to you that you could just say “no”?” I suggested.

Kris paused. “No.” She finally answered.

“So rude.” Sarah sighed. “What are they going to think of you, Kris? Oh, rabbits leg, what are they going to think of us? Dragging you off like you were an escaped criminal from Azkaban! Poor little Peter Pettigrew will never talk to us again!”

“Is that such a bad thing?” Kris asked. She twirled the top hairs on her head around her index finger, clearly not bothered at all.

“It is! Peter is going to be scared. Then he’s going to tell Sirius, who will never come up to me again and actually talk. No one will talk to us!” Sarah panicked, dramatically.

“Like James and his friends talk to us anyway,” I said, rolling my eyes, “he thought my name was Evon, for Merlin’s sake!”

“Like we’d want them to talk to us anyway,” Kris said, surely. Her tone matched the chilling winds: short, quick, and definite.

I moved my back up against the hard wood, letting it rub a particularly itchy spot on my mid region. I sprawled my long, legs out, not being able to see the freckles that decorated my almost-white complexion; it was get getting darker. We continued moving up the small road, heading for the place I had called home for the past seven years.

Yes, here I was again. Things were the same: Same carriage, same bumpy road up to the castle and same complaints from my friends about James.

Yet, as secure as everything was, something was going to change this year. And it wasn’t going to be the old bumpy road that would get replaced with a smooth slab of concrete. Everything was safe and steady, yet I had never felt so insecure.

***

The four house tables in the great hall were full with eager Hogwarts students, dressed in black robes and topped with tall hats. The sorting had finally ended and every nervous first year was sorted into their house. I hadn’t paid much attention to the sorting; in fact I had paid no attention to the sorting. I was more fixed on the surroundings of the great hall. This was my last beginning of year fest at Hogwarts. I wanted to remember everything, down to the last evil eyes belonging to some people in the Slytherin table.

My eyes travelled from the misty enchanted ceiling to the staff table. Albus Dumbledore, Head Master of Hogwarts was now standing, looking around the hall. He coughed a couple of times, making his existence known. Instantly, everyone hushed and turned to look at the old, white bearded man.

“Welcome, students young and old to another year at Hogwarts! Before we all begin the feast, I have a few beginning of term reminders. Firstly, the forbidden forest is strictly out of bounds, because well, it’s forbidden. Secondly, Mr. Filch has asked me to remind you that Ever Bashing boomerangs, Screaming Yo-yos and Fanged Frisbees are not permitted in corridors – or anywhere else for that matter. And thirdly, tuck in!” Dumbledore elegantly raised his arms, and before I knew it, plates beyond plates of food had appeared on the Gryffindor table.

“What does he mean we’re not allowed screaming yo-yos in the corridor?” Black hissed to his friends, as if he did not understand the English language. The marauders were four seats down from my friends and I. They were surrounded my girls who thought it cool to show off their little waists by wearing their school skirts incredibly high. Their shirts were tied up stupidly; maybe they as well ought to have come to the feast in simple bra and undies. It was however satisfying to see not one of the boy’s were taking any sort of interest.

Forcing myself to look away from James, who stood out like a sore thumb with his jet-black hair and height, I turned to my plate, which was being filled with generous helpings of mashed potatoes by Sarah.

“There will be plenty of time to steer at him later, Lily.” Sarah rolled her eyes.

“Unfortunately,” I added.

“What do you mean?” Kris asked, her mouth packed with slices of vegetables.

“I think I’m going to hand in my badge. I can’t do a year of this: throat always dry, not being able to talk in his damn presence...oh and the shaking knees!” I moaned.

“Don’t you dare!” Kris practically screamed. “If anyone’s resigning, it’s him.”

“Lily, you have to relax,” Rach insisted, her mouth full of mash. “Don’t fall out on us now – it’s only Potter after all.”

“He’s only human, Lily.” Sarah added, unhelpfully, I might add.

“Just.” Kris finished.

Finally, the dirty plates and food scrapes were cleared from the tables and Dumbledore stood up again. The hall went quiet. I was half tempted to rest my head on the table and go to sleep right then and there.

“Now that we are full…” You can say that again, I thought. “I would like to introduce our new Head Boy and Girl!” Dumbledore’s voice echoed around the hall.

I suddenly perked up.

“This year, both heads are from Gryffindor. May I introduce James Potter and Lily Evans!”

Girly giggles and yells, at the mere mention of James’s name could be heard through the loud applause. I could actually see Keira and Courtney, friends of James. The two girls’ heads roamed the hall, stopping occasionally at a group of giggling girls to give them pitiable glares. Two years I’ve been waiting for Keira and Courtney to figure out my little “secret.” They’re smart those two; don’t like messing around. They’re as straight as wooden spoons, none of that tittle-tattle stuff. I could tell from first meeting we would never be best of friends. Still, it doesn’t stop me admiring them. Ever so slightly of course: they’re James’s friends and yet they have never laid a finger on them. I applaud someone with so much self-control.

There was another girl sitting with the two best friends as well. Leila I think her name is: the school drifter: she goes through friends as fast as Black does dung bombs. Even the small black-haired girl was perched up on her seat. I wondered how she did it: she’s barely taller than Pettigrew. The three girls sat straight on the wooden benches, clapping for James. I figured it was for James only: I doubt they even know my name.

James was all ready out of his seat, grinning and waving to his admirers like he had just won the award for Hogwarts most attractive guy. I weakly stood up, saving the waving for another day.

As the cheering and giggly screams of “Oh James!” died down, I sat myself down again. I felt absolutely fine standing in front of all those people. In fact, I wouldn’t have minded waving and grinning like James – my confidence was that high. Not even Courtney’s little confused glare towards me could dampen my poise. Although I think she was looking at Kris, perhaps wondering if she always looked so sulky whenever James was so much as mentioned. The answer to that: yes.

***

James and I walked down the deserted corridors, making our way up to the third floor where the fat lady hung. Dumbledore had just finished talking to us about our “duties”. To me they sounded more like “opportunities to make an idiot of myself in front of James Potter” but “duties” sounds more appealing.

The trip up to the third floor seemed to take forever. With every step we climbed, the more I felt like I was going to vomit and it wasn’t because I had made a pig of myself at dinner. Apart from James muttering something about pumpkin juice coming out of Black’s nose during the feast, we walked in silence.

Finally, not a moment too soon, we came to a stop outside the fat lady. James muttered the password and the portrait slowly swung open, revealing a hole. James stepped aside, extending his arm out.

“Ladies first.” He said with a small, charming smile.

As elegantly as I could, knowing James was no doubt looking at my backside, I crept through the portrait and stepped into a huge, brightly lit circular room.

I was back at home.

Students young and old sat in the Gryffindor common room, too involved in their own business to acknowledge the two heads. I heard James stand next to me.

“Welcome home.” He said. I turned to face him, realizing he was standing extremely close. Being about a head taller than me, I cranked my neck to return his gleaming smile.

“Last year.” I said, softly.

“You seem sad, Evans.” James commented.

“This has been my home for seven years. It’s hard to imagine this is the last year I’ll spend in this room. I’m going to miss it; down to the last loud-when-aggravated portrait.” I replied.

“I dunno about those portraits, but I’ll miss everything else.” James yawned, stretching his arms out.

I smiled, hiding the awkwardness I was feeling. “Well, I’m tired. I think I’ll err, go to bed.” I stammered.

The personal conversation with James came to a sudden stop as he nodded in my direction before taking off to the far corner of the common room, joining his friends. Lazily, I made my way up the flight of stairs leading to the seventh year’s dorm that I shared with my friends.

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