Chapter 1 : The Compartment of Catastrophe
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The Compartment of Catastrophe
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. If i did, i'd be filthy rich.
Remus pulled the train window shut as rain began to drum violently upon the glass. “Brilliant start to our last year, weather like this,” Remus grumbled, his eyes glaring out at the dark sky. Sirius folded his hands behind his head and leaned against the wall.
“Yeah, bloody depressing. Where the hell is James?” Sirius asked.
“He’s with the prefects,” Peter mumbled, his head half-buried in the neck of his sweater.
“I guessed that much, Wormy,” Sirius retorted, “but what’s keeping him?” Sirius crossed to the sliding compartment door and opened it, sticking his head out down the skinny hall. With a shrug he plopped back down in the seat across from Remus. “Only the trolley,” he grunted.
At this, Peter whipped out a galleon and a few sickles and turned them over in his hand. “Trolley’s just rubbish, makes you fat, Peter,” Sirius said, “takes about a week just to work off a few chocolate frogs and a pumpkin pasty,”
Peter shrugged. “I’m not watching my figure, Padfoot,”
“Ah, but look where that's got you, potbelly,” Sirius gibed, pointing at Peter’s slightly overlarge stomach, “Is James coming back at all? Eh, he’s probably shagging the Head Girl in the loo,” Remus grinned.
A blur of red passed by the open door at Sirius’ words, but it turned around and stood in the doorway. “For your information, Sirius, James was not shagging me in the loos--eurghh,” Lily Evans said, raising an eyebrow.
“Lily!” Sirius exclaimed, “Head girl? What’s James up to?”
“Last I saw, he was busting Severus for having unacceptably greasy hair,” Lily said, rolling her eyes, “do you lot have any idea why he got chosen as Head Boy?”
“For my dashing features and sparkling personality, of course,” James said into Lily’s ear, creeping up behind her and making her twitch, “and Snivellus’ hair was just becoming a hazard! ‘Tis my job to help protect the students and enforce the rules, and I believe Snivelly’s hair was very objectionable. Am I wrong, Evans?”
Lily sighed, “And here I am, thinking you might have changed over the summer. You just get worse with age,” and stormed off into an empty compartment, shutting the sliding door behind her.
“Have I not changed?” James asked as he sat down, ruffling his hair. Sirius and Remus laughed at his gesture.
“No, of course you have, mate. You grew half an inch and learned to make those bloody scrambled eggs!” Sirius joked.
James’ mouth tightened. “No, really, am I always going to be a stupid, ignorant prat in her eyes?”
“Pretty much,” Remus admitted.
“This is going to be the golden year, I can see it now,” James mumbled sarcastically.
“Come off it, Prongsie, she’ll realize the error in her judgment soon enough,” Sirius soothed, an evil grin spreading wide across his face.
“Just be more of a gentleman around her,” Remus suggested.
“Mm…how do I start?” James inquired.
“Go sit with her,” Sirius advised.
“Yeah, and don’t say anything stupid,” Remus added.
“Easier said than done,” James mumbled, and walked off to Lily’s compartment.
James peered through the small window and saw Lily sitting alone, her head leaning against the window. Her hand was pressed against the glass and he saw her shoulders sag as she let out a deep breath, fogging up the window. James found himself staring at her for several long moments, his nose squashed against the pane, until Lily turned around and jumped, her green eyes wide. She cast him a look of sheer disgust and turned back towards the window. James didn’t move. Lily turned her head slowly and rolled her eyes, getting up from her seat. She unlocked the door and slid it open.
“What?” Lily asked, obviously very ticked off.
“You look lonely,” James shrugged.
“Yeah, well, I’m just savoring these moments when I don’t have to be around you.”
“I’m afraid those are long over, Lily.”
“Since when am I Lily to you?”
“Erm, since I knew your name?”
“Ugh, Potter, you know what I mean.”
“Fine, fine. I became a gentleman over the summer,” James informed her, raising his eyebrows.
“Don’t you mean the last five minutes? I seem to recall you called me ‘Evans’ just moments ago in your little compartment of catastrophe?”
“When you put it like that you make it seem like the place has got one of them stupid Dark Marks over it or something!”
“James, it’s not funny. He has spies, you know. They’ll murder you in the corridor if they ever caught you speaking of him so lightly!”
“Please, don’t tell me you call him ‘You-Know-Who’ or ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’,” James taunted, using a very impressive, scary voice and shaking his hands in mock terror. Lily was definitely not amused.
“Shut up, James. People are dying. Innocent people are dying! Muggles! Children! I don’t know if your tiny little brain caught on, but we’re all in imminent danger!” Lily hissed. She flopped down on the seat, looking away from James, who had moved from the doorway and sat down opposite her. Lily turned away from him.
“So I’ve heard.”
“And a prat.”
“Ahh, that was cold.”
“I tried, I really did, but—“
“You’re repulsively immature.”
“Au contraire, woman. I am of age. I am—“
“Don’t call me ‘woman’.”
“So you’re a man now? Blimey, you’ve changed,” James put in, his eyes twinkling, his mouth fighting a smile—and losing.
“Oh SHUT UP, POTTER,” Lily exclaimed, standing up and slapping James hard across his cheek. He frowned and held his reddened cheek. Lily scowled, “and get your clothes on.”
“ I didn’t even notice they had come off…ooh, you’re good.”
“Eurghh. I meant robes, James. Get your robes on.”
“This is going to be a long year,” Lily sighed, looking up.
“It’s still 365 days, Lily, they didn’t change it. But I digress—“
“Why are you still here?” Lily’s face changed from annoyance to murder.
“I’m going!” James stood up.
James returned to the marauder’s compartment, rubbing his cheek. Lily’s blow was strong for her size. “So, were you a gentleman?” Remus asked hopefully.
“Harder than it looks,” James muttered, snatching his robes from his trunk and shuffling down the hallway to change.
The train came to a stop. James hurried to the door, hopped off, skipping the steps, and turned around. “Three a carriage, mates! Get your scrawny bums down here!” James called as an influx of students in black robes scampered off the train. About twenty feet away, Lily stood, calling.
“Three to a carriage, please! Don’t push, thank you. Goyle, tuck your shirt in,” A grumpy Slytherin stuffed the front of his shirt into his pants, glaring.
After all the students had made their way onto the horseless carriages, James climbed into the first carriage, reserved for the Heads, and waited for Lily to sit down. As soon as Lily took her seat as far away from James as possible, the carriages lurched forward simultaneously and began bouncing along down the path.
Lily turned herself away from James and stared at the lake. “How the hell did you become Head Boy?” she grumbled.
“Well, apparently everyone else thinks I’m a wonderful, talented person with a lot of potential, save you. And I believe you are the only girl in this whole bloody school who’s not absolutely infatuated with me.”
“Then I guess I’m the only girl in this whole bloody school with any common sense whatsoever,” Lily muttered. James raised his eyebrows.
“You’re just the only girl who won’t give me a chance,” James said, a sneaky grin across his face. Lily turned around.
“James, I will never go out with you. Ever,” Lily declared, slightly agitated. James smirked.
“Never say never.”
The sorting and feast was mostly uneventful, save a pale little girl bursting into tears after being sorted into Hufflepuff and an anonymous levitating chicken wing roaming around the Gryffindor table. James had prepared to let loose an exploding bowl of gravy upon the Slytherins, but Remus reminded him of his new gentlemanly approach to seducing Lily, which did not involve a shower of meat sauce.
The Great Hall became drowsy and the platters of food disappeared. Dumbledore rose from his chair and cleared his throat, silencing the Hall.
“Now,” he announced, his voice booming throughout the room, “our prefects and Head Boy and Girl, Mister Potter and Miss Evans, will escort you to your houses, where your beds await. Sweetest of dreams, and good night.”
James ambled out of the Hall, but he was dragged quickly towards the steps by a certain redheaded girl. She stood with him on the fifth step as all the students gathered and stared up at them, awaiting direction.
“Welcome and welcome back to you all. Before you retreat to your common rooms, we’d like to remind you that all prefects, and the Head Boy and I, can dock points for misconduct. And, erm…” Lily faltered. James shot her a look and continued.
“Yeah, er, be good and that. Remember your password,” James added. Lily rolled her eyes and went on.
“Hufflepuff dormitories are down the staircase on the left, Ravenclaw tower is up on the seventh floor, west side of the castle, Slytherin dungeon is down the right staircase, three flights down, and Gryffindor tower is on the seventh floor, south side of the castle, so follow your prefects and good night,” Lily stated. She and James started up the stairs, the rest of Gryffindor in tow.
James stood in the middle of the Gryffindor first year boy’s dormitory. Around him were five bright-eyed, short boys, studying the room. “Right then, you stunted little...little--" James trailed off. "You lot are roommates until you get out of here. So yeah, your trunks are in front of your beds, don’t try going up to the girls dormitories, but feel free to bring them in, yeah?” The boys stared up at James incredulously, "Well, just remember that for later,” James added, and he ran down the winding staircase to the common room.
“We were never that short, right Padfoot?” James asked, dropping onto an ornate red couch and un-tucking his shirt.
“Nah, nor as innocent,” Sirius joked. James watched as the common room became less crowded and the students retreated to their beds. Remus was reclining on the floor with his back to the fireplace and Peter was snogging his giant of a fifth-year girlfriend, Berdina, in the corner. James faked a gag to Sirius, which sent them both into a fit of stifled laughter. “I’d have to be completely arseholed to snog that one,” Sirius added.
“I’d have to be dead,” James put in.
“We should seriously get to sleep, mates,” Remus suggested, sitting up straight. Peter was leading Berdina to the girls’ dormitory stairs, making sickening love-struck faces at her. She giggled, holding her pudgy fingers to her lips. Sirius rolled his eyes.
“Oy, Peter! You going to be saying goodnight for another three hours?” James called out, causing Peter to retreat back to his friends, who were just pulling themselves up. After seven flights of dizzyingly windy stairs, they were back in their dormitory where their four poster beds awaited them.
Lily threw herself halfheartedly onto her bed, drawing the hangings tightly around the bed frame. She hadn’t been at school twelve hours and already she was sure that her seventh year was going to be positive hell. Her courses had nothing to do with it; she was a model student and most subjects came easily to her. It was the fact that she’d have to spend the year in James Potter’s nauseating proximity.
It wasn’t that James was a complete arse. He was clever beyond the textbooks and famously athletic. Most of the pranks he organized were all in good fun, and on occasion they threatened to make Lily giggle. And Lily would admit that he wasn’t half bad looking. The only thing was that he knew it. And he abused it. He somehow got it into his head that he could have any girl at Hogwarts, and Lily was the only one who resisted him.
So she had become James’ new target for incessant flirting, which annoyed her beyond anything. Almost all of other girls in her dormitory were absolutely infatuated with the Marauders, but Lily only found Remus to be bearable. Peter seemed kind, but he clung so dearly to his friends that it was creepy, Sirius was irritatingly close to James, and James was an egotistical, pigheaded trickster, blind to his own insufferable idiocy. Which was why Lily would never fall for James Potter. Ever.
The next morning came all too quickly. James barely got any sleep the night before, and eight o’ clock found him racing down the steps of the boy’s dormitory stairs with his shirt un-tucked, tie messily knotted, and deep purple bags weighing down his eyes. Sirius, Remus, and Peter were waiting at the bottom of the stairs, still half asleep.
“Well, don't you look dashing,” Sirius commented sarcastically. James ran a hand through his hair and shrugged.
“Lost cause, Padfoot,” James grumbled, and they headed down to breakfast.
Sirius ripped James’ schedule from his hands and examined it. “Yeah, every class,” he spoke with his mouth full of toast, “and we have bloody double potions last thing every Friday. Friday, Prongs!”
Remus leaned across the table towards Sirius and James, nodding his head towards where Lily and her roommates sat. “But so does Lily,” he whispered harshly. James’ hazel eyes grew wide.
“Double potions on Friday doesn’t sound half bad, Padfoot. Why are you so miffed?” James joked, a sly grin spreading across his face.
“It’s still two hours straight of Slughorn, no matter how many hot redheads,” Sirius retorted, just as Professor McGonagall stopped behind him. Remus tilted his head and widened his eyes in warning.
“Er, I don’t want to intrude on your…er…conversation, Black, but I’ve appointed you captain of the quidditch team, as Mr. Potter has already taken on the position of Head Boy. I suggest organizing tryouts as quickly as possible, becauseGryffindor has an early start this year. Our first game is the twenty-seventh of the month, and If I were you I’d be booking fields for practice immediately,” Professor McGonagall informed Sirius, then walked off towards where Lily sat.
“Prongs, you’ve got to help me choose the team, yeah?” Sirius said.
“’Course. I mean, it was I who created the team to win the Quiddtich Cup two years in a row, wasn’t it?” James replied cockily.
“Yeah, but Croe and Applewhite left, didn’t they? I think we’ll be hard pressed to find beaters with skills like theirs—and we’ve got less than a month to train whoever we do find,” Sirius whined.
“Put up a flyer at lunch,” Remus suggested. Although Remus didn’t play quidditch because of his wolf-y condition, he was as into the sport as James.
“Nah, we’re going to get a whole load of duff little kids,” Sirius replied.
“You have to have a fair tryout, Padfoot,” Remus pointed out.
“Fine. We’ll do the blooming tryout. I’m just saying it’s a total waste of my time to sit and watch some prepubescent little girls fly about.”
“Oy, you never know when you’ll get a first year better than the lot of them, Padfoot,” James argued. Sirius scowled.
“That’ll never happen in a million years, Prongs. Never.”
“Miss Evans?” Professor McGonagall said as she walked up behind Lily.
“Yes?” Lily replied.
“Madam Bowne couldn’t help noticing you had a career choice as medi-witch, and though you’ve expressed to me that you’d like to be an auror, she and I both think it would be beneficial to work in the Hospital wing as a volunteer. Professors Flitwick and Slughorn have agreed to give class points to the volunteers, and I myself think it would be wise to learn remedial magic for the field you’re considering entering, And Madam Bowne can always use more help.” McGonagall spoke tonelessly, as if rehearsed. Lily nodded.
“Sure,” Lily said.
“Good, see Madam Bowne after your last class today, please.”
Lily nodded again and returned to her food. Sure, volunteering in the hospital wing wasn’t exactly Lily’s idea of a really good time, but McGonagall was right—it would be an important skill. Plus, Lily had somewhat of a maternal personality, according to her roommates. She liked to heal and make the invalids feel better.
And she could get away from Potter’s unwanted advances for a few hours.
A/N My first chapter! For future reference, I'm going to try to keep this story pretty cannon for the most part (no head dormitories or exchange students or infamous Lucius attacks and the like). And please, review! It only makes my writing better :-)