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It felt good to be back at Hogwarts James thought to himself. He was now standing on the platform watching the students get off the train, waiting for them all to make their way towards the carriages so he could do one final check of the train before it headed back to London. He ignored all the stares and gossip aimed in his direction as he stood there waiting. He received many hugs and handshakes from his friends from before and he had left. He was overcome with the happiness it brought knowing that Hogwarts had indeed missed him while he was gone. What seemed like most of the female population had asked to sit by him at the feast which he politely responded with we will see hoping they understood this to be a nice way of saying no. Finally after James had been standing there for 30 minutes there were no longer students exiting the train. He also noticed that he had never seen Sirius get off. It was then that he decided he would start his final check.

James stepped on the train and with a wave of his hand cast Homenum revelio to see how many were still on board; he paused and waited a second for the spell to do its thing. He wasn’t shocked in the least bit when a smoke like number two appeared telling him there was another person besides the conductor on board. With that he started making his way down the train in search for the missing student. He was nearing the end of the train so he knew he had to be close, but couldn’t help feel frustrated at his lack of findings. That is until he opened the next door on the left and saw his best mate with a black eye and a bloody nose tied to, in a standing position, the luggage rack.

“What the hell happened?” James asked while quickly untying his best mate. He couldn’t believe something like this would happen on the way to school or at all for that matter. All he could think about was how whoever did it was going to start the year off with a hell of a lot of detentions that’s for sure.

“Oh, you are going to start caring about me now that you are back is
that how it is?” Sirius said now untied and standing nose to nose with James. “You think you can just fucking come back to school after abandoning all of us last year, did you think we would forget?”

James knew exactly what was going to happen next, he had been friends with Sirius too long not to expect it. He knew it was best to just let Sirius let go of all his anger instead of trying to calm him down. So he just continued to stand there and stare him in the eyes like he was doing to him.

“What, you spend a year away and now you’re chicken like all the damn baby Death Eaters who had to tie me up on my way to the loo? Is that why you aren’t saying anything Potter? Is it because you are weak and afraid?” Sirius whispered fiercely.

James knew all too well that that he was being baited. He fought the urge to tell Sirius that this was ridiculous and continued to stand there and wait for the moment that he knew was soon to happen. And just as soon as he finished that thought he saw Sirius pull his fist back. Sure he had plenty of time to dodge his punch but he knew that would only make the situation worse so instead he waited. He felt his fist hit his jaw with a painful amount of force. James didn’t flinch or even reel back from the hit, instead he just took. In fact he stood there giving Sirius a look as if to say does this make you happy, and he could see in the eyes of the boy across from him that his decision was instantly regretted. Sirius though wasn’t about to show weakness, so without a word he stepped around him and made his way off the train towards the castle. James watched him go and saw him perform healing spells on his eye and nose. He on the other hand had no intention of healing his wound. Instead he started walking in the same way Sirius had left, he felt his jaw throbbing painfully and he could feel the blood dripping down his chin on to his once clean shirt. He knew he deserved the pain which is why he was going to let it heal the muggle way instead of using magical treatments.

15 minutes later he was opening the doors to the Great Hall. As soon as he entered every student turned to look at him, at least they are still a bunch of noisy gossipers he thought to himself with a smile. Whether it was because James Potter was back, or because James Potter was back with a bloody lip that made them stare he had no idea. Either way he really didn’t care. What he did care about was that he could no longer sit with the Marauders at the feast. He did a quick glance towards them and saw Remus shake his head but smile at him letting him know that Sirius was still being a pissy arse, but that he still was okay with James. With this reassuring gesture, James continued to look for a spot to sit. He noticed that there was an opening across from Lily and next to Frank Longbottom and made his way over to the seat.

“Do you mind if I join you?” He asked the group which also included Alice Haley who had curly blond hair and pretty brown eyes. She also happened to be Lily’s best friend, Frank’s girlfriend and had played chaser with him on the Gryffindor quidditch team.

“Of course we don’t.” Frank said scooting over to make a bit more room.

“James what happened to you?” Alice asked concerned that his lip
was still bleeding freely and that he still had no intentions of fixing it.

But before he even had a chance to explain, the first years were escorted in by Professor McGongall. He let his mind wander while the sorting hat sang its song. He did a quick cleaning spill to clear up the blood on his face the he glanced down the table to see that Peter looked upset about something, Sirius still looked pissy, and Remus looked quite annoyed. Even though he wasn’t included at the moment he couldn’t help love those guys like his brothers. They had been through so much together and he was anxious to get back to helping Moony during the full moons. He made a mental note to apologize to him for that later. He was pulled from his reverie when he saw a young girl with brown hair and brown eyes who was the first to be sorted into Gryffindor. He noticed the first year looked lost so James beckoned her over, he noticed the girl still looked anxious but continued walking over to him. When the girl reached him James motioned for her to take a seat.

“I’m sorry but I missed your name” James started to say but before he had a chance to finish the girl was already answering.

“I’m Kay North.” The young girl said proudly and stuck a hand out for James to shake.

Alice, Frank and Lily were all watching with a smile at the girl who seemed goofy but endearing nonetheless.

James responded by grabbing her hand and giving it a firm shake. “Well Kay North you can call me James Potter.”

“…you’re James Potter?” She asked shock clearly written on her face. James looked around at the three seventh years sitting with him looking just as confused as he felt.

“The one and only.” He replied with a kind smile.

“My sister had the biggest crush on you when she went here. Her name was Tiffany North she graduated when you were a fifth year. I can’t wait to tell her that I’m friends… with you.” She finished weakly clearly embarrassed that she had called him her friend so soon after meeting him.

“Well then she would be very jealous to hear that we are friends, don’t you think?” He said sincerely. He waved his hand and a magical camera appeared. “Lily would you mind taking a picture of the two of us, so she can send it to her sister as proof?” He asked Lily was beaming at him and it made him feel like dinosaurs were wrestling in his stomach.

“Of course I will.” She said as she pulled the camera up to aim it at the two of them.

James threw his arm around Kay and smiled as charmingly as he could and the next second the camera flashed and Lily was handing it back over the table to him. With another wave of his hand three copies of the photo had appeared and the camera had once again disappeared. He took a moment to look and see that they were both wearing big smiles, it was a perfect picture.

He handed two to Kay who looked overwhelmed and said “There is one to send to your sister and one for you to keep” he said.

“Thank you.” She said quietly still seeming surprised at what had just taken place.

Before anyone else could say anything Dumbledore was on his feet. James then noticed he must have missed the rest of the sorting while he was talking.

“Pardon me but I have some very exciting news to share with you. I promise it won’t be long but it will be worth the wait for food.” Dumbledore said his eyes twinkling brighter than normal. “I regret to inform you that this year there will be no quidditch between the houses of Hogwarts.”

James noticed that the whole great hall was in an uproar, some kids even looked ready to throw knives. Maybe I didn’t miss this after all, he thought sarcastically to himself.

Alice turned to James noticing his lack of reaction and asked “Why aren’t you furious James, you love quidditch more than anyone and if there isn’t quidditch how are the scouts going to watch us play?” she said in a huff.

“You see Alice I think that when you hear the rest of what he has to say you will not be so upset.” He said because he had noticed that Dumbledore had only said between houses and not that there wouldn’t be any quidditch at all. His theory was proven right when Dumbledore quieted the hall and started speaking again.

“This year I’m pleased to inform you that Hogwarts will be competing in the World Championship Magical School Quidditch Cup, now before you start talking amongst yourselves and tune me out please listen to the rest a bit longer.” He paused so they had time to stop the little chatter that was starting to grow. “Be that as it may tryouts will be conducted by Professor McGongall next week starting with the Seekers on Monday, Keepers on Tuesday, Beaters on Wednesday and Chasers on Thursday. The tournament will consist of ten per school three of which will take place at their own stadium. The other seven will be at the opposing schools home pitch and unfortunately only the players and professor McGongall will attend these matches. If we succeed in winning all those matches which I’m confident we will.” He said with a mysterious smile before continuing “then the whole school will be traveling to Spain where the championship match will be held, so you may cheer on our team. And now that I’ve babbled on far too long you may dig in.” He finished as the food appeared and he sat back down and struck up a conversation with Professor Slughorn who was seated on his left.

James glanced around and noticed the whole school was once again in an uproar though he noticed no one looked like they were about to throw silverware anymore. He helped himself to some potatoes and chicken and started listening in to the discussion Frank, Lily and Alice were having.

“You are trying out aren’t you love?” Frank was asking his girlfriend. James looked up curiously waiting for her to answer. But he wasn’t finished speaking when he added “I mean you have to you are the best chaser here!” He stated indignantly as if she were daft to not want to. Frank had a point though; James thought Alice was clearly one of the best chasers Hogwarts had at the moment. She wasn’t a hall of famer but she would easily get some looks from scouts he thought to himself.

Finally she responded. “Frank I am not the best chaser, but of course I plan on trying out. I’d have to be mental not to.” She said excited at the prospect of getting to play internationally.

“What about you James?” Lily asked finally bringing him into the conversation.

“Yeah I heard you were the best chaser in Hogwarts history.” Kay added in response to Lily’s question.

He took a moment and actually thought about trying out. He had always wanted to play quidditch professionally, though he would need to speak to the headmaster to see how that would fit in with the Order, which would be his number one priority after graduation. Finally he spoke “Yeah, I think I might.” He said with no excitement to his voice.

“Aren’t you excited about this?” Alice asked incredulous that he could sound so impassive about the whole thing.

“Of course I’m excited” he replied instantly then continued by saying “but I’m Head Boy this year and if I had to travel for the matches and that would leave Lily with my share of the responsibilities too.”

They all looked taken back for a moment before Lily spoke “Potter if you don’t try out I will kick your arse so hard you won’t be able to sit for a month.” She finished looking very serious and quite fierce.

He looked solemn then said “Well that settles it then doesn’t it?” They all seemed to be anxious waiting for his response to Lily’s threat, when he spoke again finishing his previous statement. “Hello Spain.”

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