Several minutes later, Lily sat down heavily next to her best friend, Alice. She was fuming. “What on earth is wrong?” Alice asked, her pale eyes wide. Lily glared at her feet. “It’s that James Potter! You wouldn’t believe! I was walking through the barrier, minding my own business, and he came plowing through from the opposite direction! Made a complete fool of me. Then, to make things worse, his nasty little friends came out and started talking to me!” Lily said this all very quickly, and Alice was clearly trying not to laugh. “He didn’t! You mean they...talked to you?!” Alice said in mock horror. Lily frowned at her friend, and then gave in as they both burst out laughing. “Alright,” Lily admitted. “Maybe I’m a little wound up today. It’s just I was feeling all tense after breakfast with my sister this morning, and then to have that oaf sprang on me like that…” “Well, at least he is good looking. It’s better than having…say…Severus knock into you,” Alice said, grimacing at the thought. “Yeah, care for a game of Exploding Snap?” Lily asked. Alice nodded, and Lily rummaged in her bag. She came upon the cards and set them on the seat beside her. She looked at Alice, who was staring out the glass window of the compartment door. Lily sat up straighter to see what Alice found so interesting. In the compartment opposite them sat a tall, gangly boy. Freckles dotted his cheeks and the bridge of his nose. He had slightly large, buck teeth, and bright blue eyes. His hair was the color of sand, and he had a forelock that seemed to get in his way as he pushed it out of his eyes constantly. It was Frank Longbottom. Lily grinned broadly. “Should we see if Frank wants to join us?” Lily said innocently. Alice nearly leapt out of her seat. “No!” she said. Then, realizing her outburst she cleared her throat and turned towards Lily. “No, I don’t think he would enjoy Exploding Snap.” Lily smirked at her. “You’re not at all obvious Alice,” Lily said, winking at her friend. “Shut up,” Alice said, but she was smiling. Then their conversation was interrupted by the opening of the compartment door. They turned to see Lucius Malfoy standing there. Lily stopped smiling at once. She had known it was coming. Lucius had to come and remark on her being a Muggle-born. She didn’t see a Head Boy badge on him, though, and that gave her a large amount of satisfaction. She stared coldly at him, and he smiled. “Lily…how nice it is to see you. I trust your…family is in good health?” “Perfect health,” Lily said shortly. “That’s a pity,” Malfoy said. Lily glared at him. He walked over and sat down next to her. Lily would have moved to the seat opposite them, but didn’t want to leave Alice sitting next to him alone. “Get out of here, Malfoy.” “Now, now, Lily,” Malfoy said silkily, putting his arm around her shoulders. “That’s hardly good manners, but what could I expect from a…” “Excuse me,” said a firm, dangerous voice from the doorway. Lily looked up to see James Potter standing there, his face was etched with silent fury. Lily’s heart did a somersault and she felt oddly relieved. “I believe, Malfoy, that Evans asked you to leave,” James said, his hands balled into fists. He was staring at the arm that Malfoy had put around Lily. Slowly, like a cautious snake, Malfoy moved his arm from around her shoulders and stood up. James never took his eyes off of him. “What a temper we have,” Malfoy said, sneering. “Afraid I’m going to steal your prey? Well, Lily,” he said, turning to her, “there is always some other time. Perhaps we will meet in some dark corridor. That should wipe that smirk off your face.” He licked his lips tauntingly. “GET OUT!” James and Lily roared together. James pulled out his wand and pointed it at Malfoy’s face. “You will never touch her again. Do you hear me?” Malfoy only smirked, and sauntered away. Lily stared at James, amazed at the difference she saw in him now. He was no longer cool and collected, but flustered and angry. He looked at her and then at Alice. She was staring between Lily and James. “Sorry…” James muttered to Lily. “I didn’t mean to get so worked up but…” he broke off, his cheeks flushed with embarrassment. Lily still did nothing but stare. She opened her mouth to thank him, but was interrupted by a bunch of cheery male voices. Three young men walked in, Lily recognized them from her early years as Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. Lily nodded to them all, and then looked back at James. Suddenly he was grinning ear to ear, his lazy ‘I-don’t-care’ pretense back in place. It was almost as if the whole incident had never happened. “Well, Lily, I just came to tell you that we’re supposed to sit up front, being Head Boy and Girl,” James said, shrugging. “Yeah, he’s too good for us, boys,” Sirius said in mock sadness. “I guess we’ll have to find a new idiot friend.” They all laughed, but none laughed as hard as Peter. He clutched his stomach, doubled over with laughter. Sirius shook his head, and said, smiling, “get help, Peter.” Alice, who still hadn’t moved from her spot on the seat, was sitting uncomfortably, watching the people around her. Lily tried to go sit by her but James stopped her. “No, we really need to go. We are already late,” James said. Lily nodded, realizing he was right. “I’ll see you later, Alice,” Lily said apologetically and left with James.
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