After Jack and Patricia had walked away, Lily let out an audible sigh of relief. “How did he know I was a Muggle-born?” Lily asked nervously. “Who cares,” James replied trying to look bored, as if he thought nothing of the odd couple they had encountered. In truth, however, James was just as curious as Lily. And he certainly hadn’t liked the way Jack had looked at her. James made a mental note to keep an eye on him. Lily, who was still frowning, shook her head slowly. “Come on, lets get some seats,” said Lily, trying to sound normal. James nodded and followed her. For some reason, that encounter with Jack Mallon had bothered them both quite badly. They could sense something was not quite right with him. The rest of the journey was very quiet, as both Lily and James were deep in thought. When the train finally stopped, they stood. It dawned on Lily how she and James could just sit in each others presence, only thinking, and not be at all uncomfortable. James seemed to realize it too, because he smiled at her. “Hey Evans, I’ll tell you what. I will do you a favor and sit next to you during the feast,” James wiggled his eyebrows, and Lily couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh, I wouldn’t want to ruin your reputation,” Lily said sarcastically and started walking away to find Alice. James put a hand on her shoulder to stop her. “Hey, Lily…” he stopped and gave a meaningful look towards Mallon. He lowered his voice, “be careful alright?” Lily looked at him, realizing that he had called her Lily. She nodded, touched by his caring. She waited, almost expecting him to start grinning stupidly and tell her that he was joking or something. But he didn’t. “I will, thanks…James,” Lily nodded, and he seemed reassured. Then he smiled. “See you at dinner then,” and he walked away, not allowing her to answer. Lily giggled, and then stopped. What was she doing?! This was James Potter, the annoying boy who pulled her pigtails in class and called her ‘red’ and was so arrogant. Perhaps, Lily told herself, he wasn’t so annoying. Perhaps he had changed, or she had changed, or both. Then she shook her head, very confused at the feelings rolling around inside of her. Then she saw Mallon looking at her. Her skin crawled as she realized that he was talking to Malfoy. They were snickering, and talking behind their hands. She knew they must be up to no good. She looked away from them determinably, and went to find Alice. “What on earth took you so long?! I was looking all over for you, James said you were coming,” Alice complained as they walked up the drive towards the carriages that were pulled by some invisible force that Lily didn’t know about. “I was…thinking,” Lily said, smiling at how inadequate that sounded. Alice shook her head. “You’re very odd this year.” “Yes, I know,” Lily said shaking her head. Alice smiled. “It’s James, isn’t it?” Alice said slyly. Lily’s eyes widened in shock. “What?! How could you possibly think such a disgusting thing! Never even mention that, I mean, who could like someone as annoying, and big-headed as James Potter?” “You,” Alice said simply. Lily frowned, but decided not to say anymore. Maybe Alice was right.... Later, after they had made their way to the castle, Lily and Alice sat down together, their stomachs growling. “I sure hope the Sorting doesn’t take too long, I’m starving!” Lily said, clutching her stomach. “Me too,” said a voice that wasn’t Alice. Lily turned to see James shoving a third year aside so he could sit next to Lily. “Told you I would sit next to you.” Lily rolled her eyes. Then the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, stood up. The Great Hall quieted. “Welcome to Hogwarts,” he said in a very cheery voice. “Before we begin our ceremony, I would like to make a few notices. To our Heads of Houses, I would like to ask them that, after the feast, they lead their first year students to their correct Common Rooms. When that task is finished, you will come to my office for further instructions. Also, to Prefects…” Lily stopped listening at that point. She knew she should be listening, but she couldn't help but remember her feeling of relief as James had walked into that compartment, warding off Lucius Malfoy. Then her thoughts traveled to the concerned look he had held in his eyes as he watched Mallon looking at her as if she were slime beneath his shoe. James noticed her daydreaming and smiled. “Dreaming about me?” James whispered sarcastically. “NO!" she said defensively. She turned to see James' shocked face, and realized that she had just exploded. "I was just thinking of how nice that Hufflepuff Prefect was," she said, covering up her odd explosion with something she was sure would irritate James. James shot a skeptical look over at the Hufflepuff table. "He looks like a chipmunk," he decided. "No he doesn't!" Lily protested, while silently agreeing, he did have rather large teeth. James began making bizarre faces, making his teeth protrude and crossing his eyes. Lily laughed, but then stopped after a fourth year girl glared nastily at her. Lily, immediately chastened, decided that she should pay more attention to what was going on around her, especially since she was Head Girl. After the Sorting and Dumbledore's notices, the golden plates filled with food, and Lily dug in. She was starved, but even as hungry as she was, she hadn’t eaten as much as James. “Good grief, you must have eaten half of the table! It’s a wonder you’re not as big as Hogwarts by now,” Lily said. James shrugged. “It’s all that homework I do, it keeps me in shape.” Lily laughed. “With the amount we get, I’m not surprised.” Then Lily remembered. “Wait! James, we have to take the Gryffindors to the Common Room.” “Oh, yeah!” James said, remembering what Dumbledore had said. “We’d better go then.” He stood up, and Lily did so as well. “First years, I am Lily Evans, and will be your Head Girl this year.” Lily smiled brightly. “And this is…” but she was cut off. “James Potter, who is ‘perfectly capable of introducing himself,’” James said, mocking Lily’s earlier remark on the train. As soon as the children had turned the other way to go to the Common Rooms, Lily stuck her tongue out a James. Together they led the first years to their correct dormitories, giving them the password. Once they were finished, James rubbed his hands together. Lily looked at her watch. “We need to go to the Headmaster's office, for our instructions,” Lily announced. James nodded and they took off. When they got to the Headmaster’s office, they knocked on the door. “Come in,” said a familiar voice. They entered. “Do sit down. I have compiled a list of the requirements of the Head Boy and Head Girl.” Lily held in a groan. Dumbledore saw this, and smiled. "I would like to say that you may go and rest, but Professor McGonagall believes it necessary to explain the list to you. Lily and James both jumped as McGonagall came from the corner. They hadn't noticed her before. Lily wanted very much to go to sleep. She forced herself, however, to listen to the very long list of what she needed to do. The telling of the list took about a half-hour. Lily was nearly asleep, having given up twenty minutes ago to try and remember everything. When Professor McGonagall finished, she looked up at them expectantly. “Do you understand, then?” They both nodded, though Lily doubted James had listened any better than she had. "Now, before you leave, the Head's are required to take a test on what they have learned today, to make sure they weren't sleeping during the list," Dumbledore said, amusement sparkling in his eyes. James gasped. "Professor!" he complained. "I, however, am afraid to say that I lost the tests in the mail. I hope you're not too disappointed. James let out an audible sigh of relief, and even Lily couldn't help but smile slightly. "Thanks professor," she said. Dumbledore winked. When James and Lily left Dumbledore's office, they were too tired to remark on how boring their training session had been. They walked about halfway to their Common Room, but then James stopped. Lily, not realizing he had, kept walking. James grabbed her arm, and she turned curious eyes on him. He put a finger to his lips, listening intently. And then Lily heard it too. “He would never join us. He is too noble,” came Malfoy’s voice. “Yes, I got that impression. But, I do believe that he could be turned. He may be noble, but if we did manage to get him on our side, things would be much easier,” Lily and James recognized the second voice as Jack Mallon's. “Yes that is true. But how and when would we ask him? And what do we do if he says no?” Mallon didn’t answer for a long while, but waited quietly. Lily started to get nervous. Then she heard that horrible sniffing noise he had made in the train. “Well, Lucius, we can ask him now, as he is listening to us right around the corner.” Lily jumped, and James stepped forward. Malfoy and Mallon came around the corner. Malfoy looked at Mallon, impressed, apparently, that he had known about their spying. “Well, Potter. You have heard enough. What do you say? Join us?” “In what, exactly?” James said, his voice hard. He was completely serious. No joking, no playfulness, but hard, cold danger. Mallon smiled. “I’ve heard that you are good at The Dark Arts,” he said. James shook his head. “No, I am good at Defense Against the Dark Arts.” “You mean you have never tried to practice any of the actual spells you are trying to protect yourself from?” Mallon snorted. “You will learn. We will teach you. We can practice on her,” he said, motioning towards Lily. Lily stiffened. James reached down and grabbed her hand. “You won’t touch her,” James said murderously. “She is a Mudblood. A complete animal,” Malfoy said. “Is that what this is about?! All of that ‘Pure-blood’ crap?” Lily said hotly. Malfoy’s eyes narrowed. “Yes, and you’re the first on our list. We are getting together those who agree that Muggle-borns are useless. And you, Potter, will join us.” James could feel Lily’s hand shaking in his. “I will not join your little club, I think it’s disgusting. And I swear to god, if you so much as lay a hand on Lily, I will rip you to pieces,” said James. And he meant it. Malfoy started to laugh. But Mallon stared at James intently. “Have you ever felt torture, Potter? Get ready for it now. You’ve made me angry…” he raised his wand. “NO!” yelled Lily, knocking the boy's wand out of the way so that the blast from his wand hit the wall beside James. “Why, you disgusting little MUDBLOOD!” Mallon yelled, raising his arm, getting ready to hit Lily across the face. James grabbed him by the throat, however, and slammed him into the wall. James punched Mallon repeatedly as Lily struggled with Malfoy. She raised her wand, and sent a paralyzing spell at him, but he ducked, and it crashed into the wall behind him. He just as quickly sent a bright white bolt spitting from his own wand, right at her middle. She wasn’t fast enough, however, and she was knocked off her feet, her wand clattering away. She saw James struggling with Mallon. She had to think of how to get them out of this. But all that was knocked from her as Malfoy grabbed her from behind and slammed her against the wall. James roared in anger. “LEAVE HER ALONE!” James yelled, delivering a final blow. He then grabbed Lily’s wand off the ground, and hit Malfoy with a spell so hard, he dropped to the ground. Lily looked at James, completely out of breath, her mind spinning a hundred miles an hour. Mallon was lying on the ground, unconscious. “Thanks,” Lily panted. James walked to her, his eyes full of worry. "Merlin, are you alright?” He said, his voice crackling. She nodded, still trying to get her breath. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered. His hand came to her cheek, where a bruise had begun to form. She winced, but smiled. “It wasn’t your fault,” she said. But just then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw Malfoy, standing, with his wand pointed straight at James. She grabbed her wand out of James’ hand and shoved him flat against the wall. “EXPELLIARMUS!” she yelled. Malfoy was blasted against the wall, then he slumped to the ground unconscious. James stared. “Nice shootin’ tex,” he said. “”Well, I figured I owed you one, since if it hadn’t been for you I would probably be at the receiving end of some torture curse.” James shivered. “I don’t even want to think about that,” he muttered, kneading his forehead with his hands. Lily felt a strong upsurge of emotion. She knew, at that precise moment, she had fallen in love with James Potter. “Then think about this,” Lily whispered, and slowly, hesitantly, she lifted up on her toes to kiss him.
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