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Chapter 5: James - Flinging and Failing
"James… Prongs… wake up!" I heard faintly. It sounded vaguely like Remus's voice plunging itself into my dreamless slumber. Frowning slightly at the interruption, I turned onto my right side and buried my face into my pillow. So soft… I felt myself slipping back into a deep sleep…
"C'mon, Prongs," Sirius's voice urged. Ugh, why couldn't he just let me sleep? "Evans is waiting for you!" What?! I bolted up in my four-poster bed, my right hand automatically messing up my hair as I turned my head from side to side in search of her. I soon registered Peter, Sirius, and Remus outright laughing at my reaction, and I finally realized what had happened.
I groaned. "Must you guys lie to me every single time I don't get up right away?"
"We have to, or else you'll be late," Remus reminded me. I really hate his logic sometimes.
"Never gets old," Sirius chuckled, wiping a tear from his eye. I smacked him with my pillow.
"Well, what time is it?" I asked, yawning as I hopped down from the mattress.
"8:20," Peter piped up, anxiously brushing his thin blonde hair back.
I frowned. I knew I was used to a Summer sleep schedule and all, but that still sounded way earlier than necessary. "That's pretty early. I could've had at least twenty more minutes of sleep."
"No you couldn't, Mr. Head Boy. You've got to hand out schedules, remember?" Remus said as he brushed his teeth.
"Ugh. What kind of reward is this whole Head Boy thing, anyway? It's just more work," I grumbled as I began throwing my belongings on the floor, finally finding my clothes near the bottom of my trunk.
"Well, considering you get to do your duties with Evans…" Sirius began mischievously.
I smiled. "I think I'll be okay," I conceded. I got ready more quickly, hoping Lily would perceive my early arrival as me taking my new responsibilities seriously. Surely she'd appreciate that.
By 8:25, the four of us left a sleeping Frank snoring soundly in his bed and strolled down the staircase to the Dormitories at a leisurely pace, planning future pranks on our way to the Great Hall.
"Mr. Potter, good to see you return as our Head Boy," Professor McGonagall said briskly as she strode purposefully towards us at the entrance of the Great Hall. "Here are the schedules for the pre-OWL years. Give Gryffindor a good name, will you?" She handed me a small stack of crisp rectangular sheets of paper and gave me a small, rare smile with a hint of warmth in it before she swept down the table. I always knew old Minnie liked me.
I shuffled through the papers and frowned. "Who in the name of Merlin are these people?" I asked, reading name after unfamiliar name. Sirius peered over my shoulder and a cloud of confusion overtook his features as well.
"Yeah… good luck with that, Head Boy," he grinned, plopping down at the table with Remus and Peter.
I stuck my tongue out at him (in the most mature way possible, I assure you) and began the long, dull task of asking the younger Gryffindors their names and finding their slip of paper out of the large stack, all the while ignoring the laughter of my friends. I glanced down at the top piece of paper and read the name to myself. "Susanna Niel," I muttered, my eyes sweeping the table. I wondered whether it'd make McGonagall angry if I shouted the names down the table and was just about to risk it when I heard a beautiful voice behind me.
"She's a Fourth Year, sitting right there," Lily informed me, pointing to a young girl four seats away. I grinned at Lily as I handed over the paper to the girl she pointed out, though I wasn't quite thinking straight anymore. My only thoughts were now of her vivid red hair, her lovely pale skin, her vibrant eyes… Why did Lily have to mess up my brain so much?
"Thanks for the help, Evans," I told her in the smoothest voice I could manage under the circumstances, trying to look busy as I ruffled through the stack.
Lily grimaced at the thought. "I'm helping everyone here, Potter. You're taking far too long, and they're all going to be late for their lessons if we don't speed this up."
"Sure," I said, my mind already interpreting her actions and trying to decipher the smallest hint of her affection for me. She rolled her eyes, grabbed my stack, and began swiftly delivering the pieces of parchment to each kid. I followed after her, probably looking like a lost puppy, and watched her intently.
"How do you know all these people?" I finally asked her as she handed out papers without blinking an eye.
"I tutor lots of them," she replied simply. "Surely you remember. I've kicked you out of the rooms I tutor in more times than I can count, though I don't know how you keep finding me…"
"Oh. Right," I said, trying to push thoughts of the Marauder's Map out of my mind. I wouldn't be surprised if Lily was a Legilimens - her stare was always so sharp and piercing towards people she didn't trust, like she could see right through them. Despite that, though, I loved when she looked at me, for even a second…
"There, done," she said not long after. "I hope you're better at the rest of your Head Boy duties than you have been at the first two."
"For the school's sake or mine?"
She narrowed her eyes dangerously. "Both."
Yikes. She turned and was just about to walk towards her spot at the table when the question popped out of my mouth.
"Go out with me, Evans?"
She threw her hands in the air in frustration. "What do you think my answer will be?"
"Yes?" I asked hopefully.
"No, Potter!" she spat, marching towards her amused-looking friends as I walked sadly towards mine.
"No luck, Prongs?" Sirius grinned.
"None yet," I sighed. "But this isn't over…"
"Is it ever?" Remus asked exasperatedly. I couldn't help cracking a smile at that as I sat down between Remus and Peter, joining the conversation by munching my meal and speaking at the same time. My gaze drifted upwards, as though I had felt Lily's disgusted stare the moment it landed on me, and I found my suspicions confirmed as I saw her adorable nose delicately scrunched up. I closed my mouth quickly, not even chewing as I stared back at her, and she swiftly looked away. Sirius followed my gaze and gave several barks of laughter.
"Repulsing Evans again, are we?"
"Maybe, but did you see that? She was looking at me without me forcing her to," I said excitedly.
The other Marauders quite obviously exchanged looks with each other before Remus said, "Yeah, well, you've almost got her convinced, then." I felt my hopes rise for an instant before I recognized the sarcasm behind his words and scowled at him.
"Mr. Potter, you are applying for NEWT-level Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Potions, Charms, and Transfiguration?" Professor McGonagall asked with an air of already knowing the answer as she pulled out a blank sheet of paper and consulted her notes.
"Yes, ma'am," I answered quickly.
"Well, all seems to be in order," she replied, tapping the parchment and handing it to me. I glanced down at my new schedule and smiled at the sight of several free periods each day.
"Excellent, we've got the same classes," I heard from my right. I turned and saw Sirius leaning around Remus to get a good look at my paper. "Wormy, how 'bout you?"
"Er, guys," Remus spoke up nervously, "Transfiguration's all the way in the West wing, and we've only got five minutes left before it begins."
"Have we ever been concerned about being late before?" Sirius asked lazily, ladling more soup into his bowl.
"We always are on the first day of term," I reminded him, standing up. "We've got to get the best seats! Plus," I added happily, "Lily gets mad at me for being late, and being on time will definitely impress her."
As if on cue, Lily and her friends rose from their seats and hastened towards the great double doors at the entrance of the Great Hall. I brightened instantly. "Lily!" Her expression, on the other hand, dimmed as I came into view. "Potter," she replied curtly, hurrying to get past me. I wrapped my arm quickly around her shoulders and plucked her schedule right out of her hands.
"Hey!" she protested, snatching it back, but not before I had gotten a good look at it. I felt a big smile stretch across my face.
"We have all the same classes, Lily! Isn't that exciting?" I said earnestly. She groaned and didn't seem to think the question deserved an answer, for she hurried forward to get past me. "Wait, Lilypad! We're going to the same place, we can walk together!"
She made a face at me. "I want to spend as little time with you as possible, if you haven't noticed by now."
"I assure you that I can make any time you spend with me quite worth it." I winked charmingly. Our lovely banter was sure to get me somewhere with her, right?
Lily looked revolted. "Must you make disgusting references every time you talk to me?"
"If you really want to, we can skip the references and go right ahead to--"
"Just stop right there, Potter." She rushed into the Transfiguration room before I could respond, and I noticed Professor McGonagall seated behind her desk. Lily had a relieved smile on her face as she sat in between Mary and Alice. Darn it - I was going to sit there! I tried to ignore her smug smile as I walked past her and plopped down in the seat directly behind her. I soon found myself smiling - this wasn't so bad. I could stare at the red-headed beauty in front of me throughout the whole lesson and no one could tell me off for it. Humming slightly to myself, I took a sheet of parchment, an inkwell, and a new quill out of my bag and began doodling absentmindedly in the corner of the paper.
I heard a heavy thud next to me and didn't even glance up - it was Sirius's characteristic way of entering a classroom. He would throw his bag off his shoulder, swing it around to his other side and allow it to fall heavily to the ground while he practically fell into his seat. He was an attention-seeker, and quite a gifted one, too. He peered over my shoulder and grinned wolfishly. "Nice drawing, Prongs."
"Hmm?" I glanced down and noticed I had doodled a very pretty, smiling girl with big eyes and labeled her in decorative writing 'Lily.' "Oh." I quickly scratched the drawing out with my quill, trying to ignore the sparkle of amusement in my best friend's eyes.
"Good morning, students," Professor McGonagall greeted us briskly, and silence instantly settled over the room. She certainly had a rare gift, being able to make an entire room of rowdy teenagers become completely noiseless in the space of a second. "As you know, this is the year of your NEWTs, the most important examinations you will take in your wizarding careers."
Oh, great. I forgot that the first day of seventh year would be filled with the same lecture delivered over and over again. As she rambled on and on about the importance of NEWTs and the details of how the practical and written exams would be conducted, I tuned her out easily. I'd be hearing this several times today, no need to pay attention now when there were so many more interesting subjects to think about - or at least one: Lily Evans.
I sighed as I stared at her radiant hair cascading down the back of her chair. If only I could see her face, her beautiful face…
I grabbed my quill and scribbled onto the paper 'Go out with me, Evans'. I paused, ink dripping after the last word, as I considered whether or not to put a question mark. No, that would give her too much of an option. I tapped in a period with a satisfied smile and crumpled up the parchment. Aiming carefully, I threw the wrinkled ball at Lily's head as though this were a Quidditch match. I, the Chaser, easily hurled the paper (the Quaffle) at Lily, the center hoop. Direct hit! "Ten points to Gryffindor," I thought to myself.
Lily's head whirled around as she felt the small paper bounce off of her. Her large green eyes settled on the wad of paper on the floor, and she glanced quickly at Professor McGonagall (who was busy writing examination information on the board) before picking it up and smoothing it out. As soon as her gaze fell upon the words I had scribbled, her inquisitive expression hardened considerably. She glared at me and mouthed, "No, Potter."
I removed several rolls from my bag and gently separated them into smaller sheets. Quickly I printed 'Please?' on one and hurled it at her. She steadfastly ignored it, so I copied the message again and launched it at her once more. And again and again and again. Finally she whirled around and hissed, "Quit it, Potter!"
"Miss Evans?" Professor McGonagall said sternly, though her tone also had a hint of surprise in it. Lily turned, terrified, to her tall teacher. "You know there is no talking in class. And what is this? Are you passing notes?"
"N-No, Professor," Lily said timidly. "They're being passed to me. I'm just telling him to stop!" I felt mildly bad for putting her in this position, but at the same time, I wondered if maybe she would read my notes from now on.
Professor McGonagall picked up the papers, unrolled them each individually, and frowned. "Mr. Potter, no passing notes in class. Any… commands for dates may be made outside the classroom," she said slowly with a slight air of disapproval. There was some snickering from a few students around me.
"But this way she can't yell at me," I protested, to a chorus of laughter from my classmates. The corner of Lily's mouth twitched, as though she were about to laugh, too, and I took a sharp intake of breath. Did she find me funny? Was she in love with me at long last?
Even Professor McGonagall had a small smile on her face for a fraction of a second. "Well then, Mr. Potter, you will have to find a different way to avoid that. Now, on to NEWTs…"
I debated sending more messages to Lily but decided that McGonagall wasn't going to be so lenient next time, so I settled for staring at Lily for the rest of the class. Not a bad way to spend an hour at all.
AN: Here's James again! It's so fun to write from his point of view. :3 Thanks again to all my readers and reviewers!