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First posted: July 19, 2004
Suggested music: “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who

Chapter Two
Still James Potter



Morning classes were, for the most part, uneventful.

During Ancient Runes, Alenas, their eccentric professor whose insanity was a joke among the students at Hogwarts, began the class with a long lecture about their N.E.W.T. exams, which made Lily uneasy. As usual, she punctured it with animated reenactments of her crazy personal experiences that never had anything to do with Runes, ancient or otherwise.

Lily found her thoughts wandering to the train ride with the Marauders the previous day as she sat next to Summer, who watched in alarm as their teacher crawled around on all fours during a particularly odd demonstration. If they really had done a little bit of growing up over the summer—“they” applying mainly to James—then she was willing to bury the hatchet, she decided.

She even allowed herself to giggle with the rest of the class as James and Sirius asked Alenas totally irrelevant questions just as she began to actually talk about Ancient Runes which always launched her into another series of weird anecdotes. It was a regular routine of theirs and usually, Lily would roll her eyes at them, wishing they would let the professor teach, but today, she found it a lot more amusing.

There was no sense in holding grudges.

Then they went straight to Arithmancy, taught by a grumpy old wizard with a curling mustache, called Professor Pollock. He, unlike Professor Alenas, never got distracted or gave any visuals whatsoever but droned on and on, hardly looking away from the chalkboard. This was guaranteed to make all his students daydream or doze off, awakened occasionally by Sirius’s sleep talk. The minute he sat down at his desk, he fell into a deep, shameless sleep until the bell that signaled the end of class.

During break, they all lounged on the courtyard benches, chatting away the free minutes of their day.

Sirius was first to notice the lone figure pass by, hunched over a stack of Dark Arts books. It was Severus Snape. He had shared a mutual hatred with the Marauders, James in particular, since the moment they had laid eyes on each other. With a glimmer of excitement in his eyes, Sirius nudged James, who nodded as a mischievous grin smeared across his face like butter. Remus saw the exchange and stopped mid-laugh, shifting uneasily.

James and Sirius fell away from the group and began walking several yards behind Snape. When the rest became aware of the sudden lack of two distinctively loud voices in their conversation, they fell silent. Their eyes strayed, following the owners of the voices. Peter alone seemed excited. Lily looked at Remus, then at the two boys tracking Severus.

“Hey, Snivellus!” shouted James.

Lily’s heart seemed to fall into her stomach. No. No, not again.

Snape jumped and spun around, hastily pulling his wand out of his robe pocket. He twitched compulsively and snarled at the sight of James and Sirius.

“Preservios!” said James, flicking his wand lazily in Snape’s direction before Snape could say a word.

A purple jet of light flew by and Snape’s knees buckled. His legs collapsed under his weight, squishing and wriggling like jelly, no longer in his control. His wand dropped to the ground and rolled out of his reach.

“Potter! You…stupid…idiotic…” Snape tried to say as he struggled to grab his wand.

Almost everyone in the courtyard had turned to watch, captivated. Some of the students had stepped closer to get a better view. Remus had turned his head and was concentrating on a nearby tree.

Lily didn’t want to believe her eyes. Disappointment inflamed her temper as she watched her old friend get attacked by who she had thought was a new friend. But no, she had been wrong. He was no different. He had not grown up. How could she have been fooled so easily? He was still, and always would be, James Potter.

“Nice one, Prongs,” Sirius was saying. Then he looked down at Snape. “Had a good summer, Snivelly? I see you still haven’t bothered to take a shower.”

Several people laughed. Lily cringed at the cruelty. She looked away from Severus. They may not be friends any longer, but she could not watch him get humiliated.

“Has he ever? Bet he’s never touched a bar of soap in his life. If he could sell all the oil in his hair, he’d make a bloody fortune,” sneered James, while more people gathered around for the show. “Is that what you’re going for? Thought you’d make a bit of money?”

More hearty peals of laughter resounded throughout the courtyard. Each one cut a deeper hole in her illusion.

“Shut up, Potter!” Lily yelled as she stood up, her almond-shaped eyes blazing with hot anger.

James turned halfway through messing up his hair, looking surprised at the sound of her voice.

“Why do you always have to go and do this?” she asked in disgust.

“Making me spew my guts with that stench of his is good enough reason, I reckon,” retorted James, smirking.

More laughter. Lily’s eyes wandered back to Snape. He was giving her a look that said, “How can you talk to these people?”

“Yeah, Evans. We’re just concerned with our friend Snivellus’s hygienic issues,” said Sirius. “We all know he can use all the help he can get.”

Then Snape, who had seized the opportunity and snatched his fallen wand, muttered something as he pointed it at James’s back. James flew up in the air and slammed hard into the stone floor of the courtyard.

“Prongs!” cried Sirius, and many girls in the on-looking crowd shrieked and gasped.

In spite of her fury, Lily’s heart stopped in the split second during which James lay there, motionless.

But James quickly raised his wand again and, still lying on his back, shouted a curse just as Sirius said another. The next second, Snape was sprawled on the ground with huge slimy boogers flapping from his face and clumps of his greasy hair were sliding off his skull by the roots.

“POTTER! BLACK! SNAPE!”

Professor McGonagall, looking shocked and dangerously livid, parted the large group of students and hurried toward them. “Come here immediately.”

Sirius helped James, whose head was soaked in blood, to his feet. They walked calmly toward the professor. Snape, on the other hand, couldn’t move. His legs would not hold his weight and he couldn’t see due to the thick layer of boogers that covered his eyes. McGonagall sighed angrily and muttered the countercurse to the Bat Boogey and the Jelly Legs hexes. Still freakishly bald, he stomped over, swearing under his breath.

“I would watch your mouth if I were in your current position, Mr. Snape,” snapped McGonagall. “You’re in enough trouble as it is. Follow me, you three.”


* * *


In Defense Against the Dark Arts, the entire class was buzzing with talk of the duel and speculation about whether the boys would come away from McGonagall alive. The majority had just finished confirming in excited whispers that they had no chance at all, when none other than Sirius Black strode into the classroom, looking very alive and very pleased with himself. Professor Rynda glared at him from her desk, her monstrous eyebrows bearing down upon him.

“Black, you’re late. Detention this Friday and ten points from Gryffindor.”

Sirius merely nodded.

“And wipe that smirk off your face!”

“Yes, Professor,” said Sirius, his grey eyes twinkling, as he slid gracefully into the seat next to Remus.

“We’ve got a week’s worth of detention, each,” he said, leaning toward Remus. “Snape, too, because McGonagall saw what that slimeball did to Prongs. She couldn’t figure out how to reverse that Balding hex that Prongs used on him so now they’re both in the hospital wing!” Remus sniggered. “Oh! And guess what! Prongs made Quidditch captain!

“Seriously?”

“Yeah, McGonagall kept going on and on about how bad dueling in school is and then she said to James that as a leader, the Quidditch captain should learn to behave better.” They both laughed at James’s unfailing good fortune.

Lily wasn’t laughing. It outraged her, how easily they always got off. Somehow, she couldn’t agree that adding more to the list of things for James to brag about was something to celebrate.

She turned in her seat and shot an ominous glare at Sirius.

“All right there, Evans? I think there’s something wrong with your forehead—it looks like it’s pulsing or something,” he said, winking.

“You’re revolting, Black. You think you can get away with anything just because girls throw themselves at your feet and you know a few hexes,” Lily snapped. “But let me tell you something. It’s not going to last long. Soon people will realize what worthless asses you and Potter are.”

Some students around them were staring. Remus looked somewhat surprised but Sirius was fighting back laughter. He whistled, as though impressed, and Professor Rynda deducted ten more points from Gryffindor.

Lily turned back around furiously.

“The team’s going to go downhill fast with Potter as a captain,” she muttered to Di.

At dinner that evening, James smiled at her, apparently fully recovered. Lily threw him her dirtiest look and sat down at the other end of the table. What a difference from the previous night.

The Marauders passed her on their way up to the Tower. James paused and bent down over her shoulder.

“I told you, Evans,” he whispered, his lips horribly close to her ear. “I’ll always be a Marauder, first and foremost.”

Lily spun around in her seat, her fury boiling right back up again, but he was already strutting out the door.

* * *


It was just as though nothing had changed. Lily slipped seamlessly back into her old habit of avoiding James Potter.

She blamed the deep sense of disappointment on herself. He was an arrogant jerk for whom too many things came too easily—how had she let herself be hoodwinked into thinking otherwise? It became a subconscious mission of hers to teach him a lesson. The way she saw it, if she paid him no attention, he would eventually take the hint, change his ways, and come crawling to her with a heartfelt apology for his immaturity, humbled by her frostiness.

Only then, would she be willing to be friends. Only then—and it would have to be bloody heartfelt.

There was a small hole in her brilliant plan. She had overlooked the fact that James was equally stubborn.

Whenever he got the chance—and he found plenty of chances, being a classmate in all her classes, her Quidditch captain, and, as he put it, the Head Boy to her Head Girl—he approached her with a charming joke or pick-up line, polishing it off with his lopsided grin. As much as she tried to make her point, it was as though he was blind to all signs of hatred. His spirit never faltered, no matter how hard she tried to wipe that damn grin off his face.

So on and on it went, a seemingly endless cycle, both unwavering in their fruitless attempts to change the other.

“All right there, Evans?” James said, startling Lily as she made her way to the Gryffindor Tower one morning to fetch her Guide to Advanced Transfiguration.

She glanced at him and kept walking as though she hadn’t heard him. Undaunted, James continued.

“You’ll have to talk to me sooner or later. In case you haven’t heard, I’m the new Quidditch captain. Tryouts for a new Beater are this weekend. I’ll need the entire team there and I believe that includes you, Evans.”

“Got it. Now leave me alone, Potter,” she snapped.

“Oh, I love spunk in a girl,” he chuckled, pleased with himself for finally getting a reaction out of her. “But I wouldn’t talk to your captain that way if I were you. I have the power to control your career as a Chaser, after all.”

Lily rolled her eyes and sped away down the corridor.

“Lovely talking to you, Evans!” she heard him call.

* * *


On Saturday, Lily and Di walked across the dew-glazed lawn and down the sloping path to the Quidditch pitch for the Beater tryouts. The rest of the team, which included James of course, Frank Longbottom, a sixth-year Beater, the Keeper, Anna Linde who was also in sixth year, and the third Chaser, Jamal Brown, a fourth-year, was already in the locker room. There were five or six other Gryffindors, nervously twirling their broomsticks, ready to try for the open Beater position.

“Ah, about time our other Chasers got here!” said James loudly.

“What are you on about? We’re right on time,” said Lily, after checking her watch. “We just have to change and we’ll be right out.”

“Then by all means, take your time…and if you need any assistance while you’re changing, I'd be happy to help—”

Lily swung her broomstick and whacked him before he could finish his sentence. He stumbled but caught himself, rubbing the side of his head with a sly grin on his face. Lily turned on her heel and led Di into the changing rooms.

Why couldn’t I just ignore him? He just loved that, I know it.

“Blimey, Lil, he was only making a joke,” Di said quietly, as they pulled on their Quidditch robes.

Lily sighed and nodded. “Yeah, I know I should have ignored that stupid prat. I don’t know why I did it. It’ll only encourage him. There’s just something about him that gets to me so easily…

Di shut her locked and picked up her broomstick. “He can be pretty obnoxious but he’s just a boy.”

Lily thought about this but chose not to answer. Just a boy. She liked that. She only wished James himself would understand that he was, indeed, just a boy and not the treasure of the wizarding world

They headed out to the pitch with the team, broomsticks over their shoulders. James warmed them up by passing the Quaffle around. When he brought out the Bludgers. Frank hit them at each potential Beater in turn while James looked on, studying their aim and strength.

After awhile, they began to play a match so that James could see if the Beaters could protect their teammates from Bludgers in real situations. By the end, James had narrowed the group down to two options: Ben Rogerson, a fourth-year and a third-year named Andrew Barry.

Frank swung hard, sending a Bludger soaring toward Lily, who was open for a pass and Andrew, hovering several yards away, saw this and sped toward her. He stretched out his club hand and blocked it. James gave a roar appreciation.

“Nice save, Barry!” he bellowed across the pitch.

“Thanks a lot, Andrew. I didn’t see that coming,” said Lily.

He smiled, blushing scarlet.

At the end of the session, James called the team to the locker rooms to discuss the tryouts. Coming to a decision, the captain called in the anxious participants and announced that Andrew Barry was the new Beater.

“Congratulations, Andrew!” said Lily, as they tramped back up to the school half an hour later. “Our team is really fun to play for, you’ll love it. Well, at least it was when Kingsley Shacklebolt was captain last year…I don’t know how it will be now, with Potter in charge…”

“Really? He seems like a brilliant captain to me. Really knows his stuff,” said Andrew, looking a little surprised. “I can’t wait to start! I’ve always loved Quidditch.”

Lily made a noise of disagreement but jumped suddenly when someone spoke up from behind her.

“So, Evans,” said that someone with a familiar slickness. “You think I’m a horrible captain?”

James sped up and fell into step next to her. Judging from the smug grin on his face, his feelings weren’t too damaged.

“I never said that, but considering your character outside of Quidditch…I’d say it’s a safe assumption,” Lily said icily. “We have yet to see, I suppose, but I’m afraid I don’t have much faith in you.”

“I’m afraid you are the only person who feels that way,” he returned. Then he grinned evilly before adding, “I suppose Snivelly might as he’s just beginning to grow his hair back…” He sniggered. “But, apart from you two, people generally think of me as a pretty good guy. So I can’t be that bad…why don’t you go out with me?”

“You disgust me, James Potter,” was all Lily said before marching away with Di.

“That, my young friend,” sighed James, clapping Andrew on the shoulder with a paternal air, “is how to work the ladies.”

His grin faded into a faint smile as he watched her walk up to the castle.

“She fancies me,” he said. “It’s so obvious.”

“Oh, yeah. Totally obvious,” agreed Andrew, as he looked up at his captain.





A/N: Thanks for reading. Please review.




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