Chapter 3 : Memories
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Chapter 3- Memories
Lily Evans flopped into one of the cushy chairs by the fireplace as she watched the portrait swing closed behind Professor Dumbledore.
Bringing the list of Head duties closer to her eyes (she really must get Mum to take her to the optometrist one of these days), she began to read aloud.
“1. Patrol schedule. Organize Prefects and yourselves into a regular bimonthly schedule that simply repeats. 2. Password changes. Professor McGonagall and I simply ask that you have the different Houses report their new passwords to you every two weeks. Do not forget to change the passwords to the Prefects’ Bathroom and your own dorm. 3. Point calculation. Though the points deduct automatically from the hourglasses near the Great Hall, we ask that you record all your point deductions, and all are to be reported into the master ledger (located in your common room). 4. Detention overviews. When a Prefect (or yourselves) issues a detention, they must report them in the bi-monthly meetings. Though some detentions are truly unimportant, be sure that they report any violence-related or prejudice-related detentions. Those are ones that also need to be reported to Professor McGonagall and myself.”
“Wow. That is the most I’ve ever been asked to do without any form of compensation,” James muttered, staring mindlessly into the crackling flames of the beautiful marble fireplace.
“Me too,” Lily replied, chuckling slightly. “So do you want to work on the prefect’s schedule now? Dumbledore certainly seemed rather…”
“Nervous, yeah. It was odd. I haven’t ever seen anything get Dumbledore so riled up, but he seems to feel like this is really a priority.”
“Well, it is, isn’t it? It’s not like You-Know-Who is exactly cowardly these days, is he?” Lily shot back, a bit more snappily than she intended.
James’ bright hazel eyes hardened slightly, his expression grim. “No, no he’s not. I guess we should start on that schedule, then?”
Lily sunk further into the cushions, crossing her arms over her chest as she did so. “Seems like a good idea.”
The schedule was taking a trifle longer than expected, but it was, to Lily and James’ excitement, almost finished.
“So, we’ll patrol together, then?” James asked tentatively.
“Well I suppose so…we are pairing all the other prefects with their counterparts, so it only makes sense,” Lily explained with a sigh, absentmindedly twirling a scarlet strand around her finger as she spoke.
“Hah, to think that after working so hard to avoid me for over two years, you still have to hang out with me for two hours every two weeks! This is great!”
She threw a very dirty look in his direction. “Don’t remind me.”
“Oh, come on, Evans. You know it’ll be a good time,” James said with a grin that he hoped looked appropriately charming, putting the final touches on to the schedule as he did so.
“I’m sure,” she replied, allowing herself a slight grin.
“So…how was your holiday, then?”
Lily rolled her eyes at the sentiment. People asked how your holidays were when they had nothing else to say, in Lily’s humble opinion. It was a filler question, a sentiment meant to hang in the air and lead to bigger things, like full conversations and friendships. But Lily Evans, for as much as she was trying to lighten up, couldn’t convince herself to lighten up enough to become friends with James Potter, prankster extraordinaire. That was definitely going too far.
“Er, decent, I s’pose. Potter, just because we’re stuck in this really…well, kinda awkward…position together, it doesn’t mean we have to be friends. We just need to get through our duties and get done what needs to get done. You don’t have to act like my best friend, you know.”
James Potter’s eyes darkened until the hazel seemed downright unrecognizable. He had no bloody idea how he was going to handle this year. She had told him last year in a rather chastening conversation to come back with his head deflated. Now he comes back to school deflated and dealt the perfect hand to win over Miss Lily Evans…and she still wants nothing to do with him. This was impossible.
“Fine. Sorry for caring.”
He quickly got up from the couch and walked into his room, making sure to shut the door with a slam that rattled the walls.
Lily groaned and rubbed her temples. This is going to be a long year.
As she sank back into the cushioned chair, Lily’s mind began to drift into memories that she thought she had long forgotten.
James Potter and Lily Evans had never been friends, mainly because of her fondness for rules and his affection for breaking them. But they had been acquaintances, once upon a time. In the beginning of Hogwarts, James respected Lily for her brains, and she him for his heart. James Potter was actually one of the few purebloods that made sure to stand up for muggle-borns like herself to those crazed Slytherins and their potent hexes. Lily, in return, was the only girl capable of besting James in every subject but Transfiguration. She gave him someone to top, a goal to reach.
That delicate acquaintanceship came crumbling down around 4th Year.
“Have you heard who’s going together to Hogsmeade next week?” Sirius Black had said jollily, making big strides to catch up to his best friend.
“Who?” James asked disinterestedly. He was used to Sirius’ completely useless information by now.
“Lily Evans is going with our own little Remmy! Isn’t that hilarious?”
James was paying attention now. “But…I didn’t know Remus liked her.”
“Apparently he has for ages,” Peter Pettigrew piped up, joining them on his way out of Muggle Studies.
“Imagine that,” Sirius replied with a grin, slyly eyeing the blonde Hufflepuff passing by.
“Well. I don’t want him to go,” James replied, as if his opinion ended the discussion.
“Why not?” Peter asked, completely bemused.
“Because…she’s all wrong for him. Plus, she will totally put a damper on our pranks. She’s a bloody shoo-in for prefect next year.”
“Doth mine ears deceive me? Is…ickle Jamesie…jealous?” Sirius asked with a snigger.
“Why would I be jealous, Padfoot? I don’t like her.”
“Are you sure?” Peter asked, joining in with the fun.
“Of course I’m sure, Peter!”
“I don’t think you’re sure,” Sirius said, guffawing by this point.
“Bloody hell! I’m completely sure that I do not like Lily Evans!” James shouted, blushing the whole while.
“Well, thank you for the memo, Potter,” a sarcastic voice replied.
True to the irony of the situation, James was now faced with none other than Miss Lily Evans herself.
James had tried to apologize a few times after that, but it just never seemed sincere enough for Lily to accept. Then after Remus and Lily had broken up, he openly admitted his crush with far too much vigour for Lily’s liking. Lily could still remember the first time James Potter had decided to ask her out. It was at the beginning of 5th Year.
“Hey, Evans! How about going to Hogsmeade with me?”
Lily heard it from all the way across the Great Hall. He has got to be bloody mad if he thinks I will accept, she thought to herself. Her cheeks were heating with embarrassment as she noticed the attention of the entire breakfast crowd was now focused upon her.
“Not in a million years, Potter,” she called out simply. Tying her hair into a ponytail and shouldering her bag, she and Eduina got up to go to class.
After exiting the Great Hall, she noticed James leaning against the banister, blocking her way to Transfiguration.
“No, that’s okay, thanks. I’d much rather sit here and chat a bit. You’re early for class anyway,” James replied dismissively, taking a Golden Snitch out of his pocket to play a little catch while he spoke.
Lily gritted her teeth in irritation. “Please move, Potter. I like to be early.”
“No. Thanks for being polite, though. It’s very sweet of you to care for my feelings. Hello, Eduina, how are you doing?”
Eduina’s olive complexion reddened as Lily looked at her accusingly. “Er. Hi, James. Fine, thank you. And you?”
“Great, thanks! At least one of you knows how to be polite. But Evans, why won’t you go with me to Hogsmeade?”
Lily felt her eyes bug out slightly in shock. Why? Because I’m bloody sane, that’s why!
“Well…for starters, you embarrassed me in front of the entire school by asking me out like that. Not to mention that you’re a complete prat that makes my job as prefect a living hell, you haven’t had a girlfriend longer than two weeks, you torture people with your childish pranks, you don’t value the same things that I do, we have absolutely nothing in common, and…did I say you are a prat? Because you are,” Lily finished, flustered.
Eduina nodded solemnly. “Yup, I’m pretty sure prat was in there somewhere.”
James weighed his opinions, catching the Snitch again as he did so, finally saying as he allowed them to walk past him and to their classes, “Well…it could be worse. You don’t hate me.”
Eduina’s eyes met Lily’s. “Yet,” they both whispered in unison.
The past two years felt like they had dragged on forever. Eduina Azevedo had been the only saving grace in Lily’s day-to-day drudgery. James Potter was a complete and utter pain in her arse, asking her out at least biweekly since that morning in 5th Year. But for as much of a pain as he had become, he had inadvertently brought she and Eduina closer together.
“Evans, will you go out with me?” James recited, sitting in the Common Room about a metre from where Eduina and Lily were playing chess.
“No. Please go away, Potter, I’m trying to concentrate,” Lily replied dismissively, scowling as Eduina captured her bishop.
“One thousand, nine hundred and ninety-five, Prongs,” Sirius called, meeting his best friend’s eye.
“Lily, please go out with me?”
“One thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six.”
“Lily, you stole my queen. You weren’t supposed to do that,” Eduina accused with a slight giggle.
“Oh. Oops. Bloody Potter made me lose my concentration.”
“My name sounds so wonderful on your lips, Evans,” James replied with a grin, taking the infamous Snitch out of his pocket once again.
“Dream on,” Eduina muttered, laughing under her breath at the situation. Normal girls were up in their dorm, chatting about boys, reading Witch Weekly. What did they do? Play wizard’s chess and listen to Lily repeatedly turn down James. It would be a lovable bit of their routine if it weren’t so bloody annoying.
The girls managed a whole five minutes’ worth of play in silence, which allowed Lily to regain her edge over Eduina. In the five minutes, Lily had captured one of Eduina’s castles, both knights, a few pawns, and one of her bishops.
“I’m going to win,” Lily teased in a singsong voice.
“Not on my watch,” Eduina retorted, smiling at her best friend.
“So,” a male voice intervened.
The girls met eyes with a collective groan.
“How about that date?”
“One thousand, nine hundred and ninety-seven, Prongs.”
“I should just get ‘no’ tattooed on my forehead, Eduina. I’d save a lot of wasted breath.”
The girls had gone from friends to practically sisters thanks to James Potter and his annoying persistence. They were united against an everyday annoyance; indeed, it seemed that James would never get the hint to leave her alone. But one day, something seemed to click. It was near the end of sixth year, Lily remembered it well. Finals were over, thankfully, and Lily and Eduina had decided to go for a walk around the grounds, enjoying the feel of the coming summer.
“Lily! Can I talk to you for a second?”
Lily turned to see James Potter quickly closing the gap between himself and the girls with his long, efficient strides.
“Why?” she asked suspiciously, partially wondering if this was some sort of bizarre prank she hadn’t been let in on.
“I want to ask you something.”
James looked at Eduina meaningfully, but Lily retorted, “She’s not going anywhere. There’s nothing you have to say to me that you can’t in front of her, you know.”
He shrugged. “I wanted to know why you always turn me down.”
Her emerald eyes bugged slightly. Now he asks? Now that I’ve turned him down over three thousand times?
“Hmm… I guess I turn you down because of your ego, mainly. You hurt others and either don’t notice or don’t care. Your blatant misuse of your powers…your pranks are childish, not funny. I’m also not amused by the fact that you want me because I am the one person you can’t have.”
James had been getting successively more and more chastened as the sentence had gone on, but the last bit outraged him.
“No, I don’t want you because of that! Lily, I…well…I care about you, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked you out this many times.”
“His persistence is somewhat admirable,” Eduina deadpanned.
Lily rolled her eyes. “Okay, Potter. That still doesn’t change the fact that we’re completely wrong for each other. Merlin, we’re not even friends!”
“I’d like that to change,” James had replied hopefully, his hazel eyes widening.
She shook her head in reply. “Is that all you wanted to say?”
“No. Now that you’ve given me that…er…lengthy list of my less-than-fantastic attributes, what do you think I should change? I mean, what would it take for you to finally agree to go out on a date with me?”
She chewed her lip thoughtfully, crossing her arms as she did so. Meeting Eduina’s eyes, they both seemed to come to the same conclusion. “Deflate your ego, Potter. Then we’ll talk.”
Lily Evans had not thought of that conversation in ages, but James Potter had replayed it over and over in his brain the whole summer through. While Lily’s holiday had been a miserable whirlwind of bridesmaid dress fittings, dinner with her family and Vernon, floral arrangements and other such nonsense, James’ had been just as eventful. Since Sirius Black no longer lived at 12 Grimmauld Place, he spent his time at the Potters, “deflating” his best friend. Lying down on his big bed, James Potter let his mind drift to a conversation the two had had that summer.
“Okay, James. I’m Lily. I’m walking past, looking unusually pretty. What do you say?” Sirius prodded for what felt like the fifth time that night.
“You have got to be bloody kidding me. How is it that I, successful ladies’ man, have you as a best friend?”
“Luck of the draw, Padfoot,” James drawled, releasing the Snitch once again.
“Okay. Try again.”
“You look quite lovely, Evans.”
“Close, but not totally there yet, Prongs. If you say ‘lovely’ it sounds too fake and debonair. Also, compliments are usually best paid with first names.”
James sighed, sitting up on his bed. They had been practicing Lily-isms for most of the night. Every night was something different- Lily’s likes and dislikes, how to sincerely pay her a compliment, what shade of red her hair actually is, etc. etc. etc.
“Lily, you’re looking very nice today.”
“Great!” Sirius exclaimed with visible relief. He hadn’t gotten much sleep this summer thanks to James’ “project”. He sincerely hoped Lily gave in quickly at the start of term, because he couldn’t handle Prongs frantically talking to him through their mirrors at one in the bloody morning anymore. “It’s sincere and not over the top. She’ll probably be shocked, but she’ll appreciate it,” Sirius praised.
James nodded gratefully. At least I finally got something right. “What will I do if this doesn’t work, Padfoot?”
His best friend’s deep and thoughtful grey eyes clouded over slightly. “It has to, Prongs. It just has to.”
James slammed his fists into the comforter as he thought back to that night. It was so frustrating. He didn’t know how to approach Lily. James had done absolutely everything he could to ensure that this would be the year. This would the year when Lily Evans finally let go of her longstanding grudge against James Potter, fell into his arms, and begged to have his babies. Yes, this was the year.
But then why wasn’t she reacting like she was supposed to?
It seemed that despite James’ first attempts at civility, Lily was happier holding a grudge than she was trying to rebuild burned bridges. He didn’t have the slightest idea how to go about this. Sirius and him had never done a lesson on “Get Lily to Believe You’re a Decent Person”…though, in retrospect, it might have been a decent idea. This is hopeless, he found himself thinking. Getting up, he fished in his trunk for the beat-up Golden Snitch. The golden plate was beginning to wear down to a duller steel layer from the amount of times James had played with it. One wing was broken and fluttering weakly, but James refused to get another. This is the Snitch I had when I started chasing Lily, and I’m keeping it until she gives me a chance.
The girl in question was currently watching the embers of the fireplace die down, eyes burning with unasked questions.
How is this year going to be? He seems different than he was last year, but, even so, will we be able to work together? What if we fight during the year like we have in the past? We’ll have to work together now.
Lily’s thoughts paused momentarily as she got up from the chair and headed towards her room, shutting the door softly behind her. Changing and getting in to bed, her thoughts resumed once she got under the covers. What about after Hogwarts? I don’t know what I want to be at all. I know that I want to help fight You-Know-Who and his vicious cronies, but I don’t know how to go about it. I have so many questions about my future.
Lily Evans drifted into a fitful sleep, dreams fraught with possibilities she wasn’t sure she wanted to consider.