Chapter 1 : Lily and James: Star Cross'd
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Generally speaking, at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry there are about 15 people in one house in one year. Lily Evans' year was quite different -- there were only six of them: herself, April Prewett, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. At the moment, the six of them -- the 7th years -- were the only ones in the Common Room -- it was about 12 o'clock and the rest of the students were already asleep in their dormitories. From her comfortable position on the couch in front of the fire, Lily looked around at them all silently as they talked.
"Does anyone else notce how much of a future I *don't* have?" Sirius was complaining form his seat at the piano in the corner. He had just finished playing a Chopin prelude.
"What are you talking about, Sirius?" James asked. James, with unruly black hair and deep brown eyes, was sitting very near Lily, with his hand on her knee. They had been dating since their third year.
"Look at you all, studying dutifully for our finals in two days. We'll take them, you'll all pass, and then each and every one of you will use your remarkable talents to take on the adult world of jobs. Remus, you could illustrate a book, you're so good at drawing, or you could teach; you've been tutoring Peter for years."
"If any school would take me," said Peter with a sigh.
"Peter, you already have a job," Sirius went on. Actually, Peter's job was carrying mail for owls that had collapsed en route a destination. It was a dumb job but nobody really expected him to do more.
"April, you kick ass on the stage, you'l be a concert performer within a month after we graduate."
"Kudos, Sir Futureless," April said form the floor near the fire. Lily laughed. April was Lily's best friend, had been since the first day of school. She had blue eyes and blond ringlets that framed her classically pretty face. Lily had always envied her for her beauty, energy, and humor -- and of course, her talent for singing. Four things Lily didn't have.
"Lily, you're so brilliant, you could take on any job you want and dominate it," Sirius said. Lily reddened. She had always been quite the opposite of April -- subdued, quiet, and shy. However, she was naturally bright, and did extremely well in her classes, especially Charms, usually without even trying. Though she didn't know it, and couldn't understand it even if she did, it was her innocent and withdrawn nature that had always attracted James; she was sort of a mystery at first, and the more he uncovered about her the more he loved her.
"James, you rock hard at Quidditch, although you kick my butt academically, too." James could get grades equal to Lily's if he had the motivation to try. Which he didn't. What he liked to do most was laugh and make other people laugh.
"Meanwhile, here I am, hitting on the piano," Sirius went on. "I am the reject of the rejects of Hogwarts. Which cancels out, doesn't it?"
"No, you're a double reject," April said. "But you have a motorcycle. If you wanted, you could be a hobo, living on your motorcycle."
James was getting bored listening to Sirius complain while pretending to study; he leaned over and whispered in Lily's ear: "'Hitting on the piano' . . ."
"James. Study," she whispered back, trying not to laugh.
"Lily, let's go outside for a while."
"Don't be silly, I've got to study, and so do you."
"Lily," April piped up. "Leave. Smooch. Return. Study. Sleep."
"See, everone else wants us to leave," James said. "Now it's peer pressure, you have to do it."
"I don't care where you go," Sirius said disinterestedly. "Just so long as I don't have to see you kiss."
"Please, Lily? Look at the stars!" He waved his hand toward the huge dark window. "I know you want to . . ."
"Oh, of course I want to, James, but I *can't*."
"Yes, you can."
James fixed his warm dark brown eyes on Lily. "I love you," he said, super-sweetly.
Her bright green eyes shimmered. "Don't do that."
"I love you," James said again, his tone melting into pure chocolate.
Lily gave up; she and James hurried out of the Common Room. As soon as they were gone, Peter scooted near Lily's seat to sneak a look at her completed star chart.
"Peter," Remus said warningly.
The crickets chirped in rhthym wth the chilly winter wind and their footsteps across the grass. Lily stopped when she came to a spot in the great yard behind Hogwarts where she had a clear view of the entire sky. Her green eyes shone with wonder as they raised to the Heavens in delight. James, behind her wrapped his arms around her waist and pressed his cheek into her flowing, dark-red hair. Lily smiled in content.
"I'm going to miss this place when we leave in June," Lily said suddenly. James was silent; he knew she wanted to say more. "I mean, this is where . . . this is where my life began."
"I know. I love it, too. And the people in it."
"At least we've got a semester left."
"Don't sound so grave, Lily. When we leave here, our lives will only have just begun. You know that, don't you?"
Lily was pensive. "I guess so. -- But somehow, it doesn't feel like it."
"Why not?" James kissed her cheek. "I'll be with you."
"Forever?" Lily was happy again.
"I promise, forever."
Lily turned in his arms and put her arms around his neck and kissed him. "This is my world," she thought. ""Hogwarts, James, and the stars . . ."
A sudden noise cut through the atmosphere and Lily and James pulled apart. It was a rustling in the bushes on the outskirts of the -- Forbidden Forest.
James and Lily whipped out their wands as the rustling continued, and a gigantic figure emerged, massive and hairy. Lily and James sighed in relief.
"Oh, it's you two!" Hagrid said gruffly.
"Hello, Hagrid," said James and Lily simultaneously.
"Gave me a bit of a fright," said Hagrid.
"Yeah, us too," said James.
"Do you need any help?" Lily offered, noticing the bag he had slung over her shoulder -- even though she was quite a small person whereas Hagrid was eight feet tall and five feet wide
"Nah. What're you two doin' out so late anyhow? Shouldn' be doin' this, what with . . . one thing and another."
James and Lily exchanged glances. They'd heard rumors of a Dark Power about to rise, but it had yet to present itself in any way, shape, or form at Hogwarts. To the students so far, it was a distant occurence, always happening to someone else.
"Can you tell us what's going on, Hagrid?" James asked. "What's the Dark Power? What's it trying to do?"
"Not at liberty to tell yeh that, James. Not yet . . . But somethin's comin' alright. . . . Now, you'd best be gettin' on up ter the castle; go on, now, both of yeh."
"Okay; good night, Hagrid," Lily said politely, and they went back hand and hand.
"Good luck on yer final exams!" Hagrid called after them.
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