Chapter 1 : A Whistle Through Time
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“Please Mum, please!” The glass my nose was pressed up to started to fog up under my warm breath.
“No James. Brooms are strictly against the rules for first years. Now come on, we need to get you fitted for your robes.”
“But Mu-um, it’s the new Silver Bullet!" I whined.
“Nope, now off to Madame Maulkin’s.”
Little did I know who would be in that shop right then. If only my mum would have let me look at the brooms for just a moment longer, then perhaps I could have ‘accidentally’ tripped the beautiful redhead and been forced to be the gentleman and lend her a hand to get up. Ah well.
I wrinkled my nose in disgust as a rather frumpy looking lady with fuchsia robes and too-strong perfume yanked me to the back of the small and over-crowded shop. There, already being poked with pins, was a small, nervous-looking girl about my age. My mouth fell open. She had fiery red hair that fell past her shoulders and startling green eyes. It was then that I knew that this was the girl for me. Unfortunately, this beautiful little angel that had graced me with her presence (well, I guess I can’t really say that…After all, I just happened to walk into the store while she was there… she didn’t really have any say in this encounter… although I like to pretend she did) caught me staring at her, and for some reason, didn’t seem to like it. Why, I do not know. I mean, even at eleven, I can look very handsome if I try, and believe me, I was trying. So she kicked me in the shin. Even though there were a dozen people standing around, and she’s covered with pins.
“Do you mind?”
“Do I mind what?”
“You were staring at me.”
“No, I do not mind staring at you.”
“That’s not what I meant!”
“Well, that’s what I meant. But I have a good reason. You’re very pleasant to stare at. My name’s James, in case you want to stare at me. I always find it more enjoyable to stare at someone whose name I know. I mean, not that I stare at other girls, don’t worry, I mean, I did once, but that was almost a year ago, and I’m sorry, and it won’t happen again, I mean…” I was babbling. But babbling or no babbling, I hoped she picked up the hint that I wanted to know her name. I smiled as sweetly as I could muster. It was for nothing. She wrinkled nose at me the same way I wrinkled my nose at the shop lady who was wearing robes vibrant enough to make anyone nauseous.
“I don’t care if you stare at other girls! In fact, I would RATHER you stared at other girls! Just leave me alone!”
Luckily the adults had been busy talking or pinning, so none of them had noticed this slightly-less-than-pleasant exchange between the two of us.
“Okay, Lily, you’re all set.” The shop lady (the one who wasn’t wearing the putrid robes) carefully lifted the robes over the girl’s head.
“Bye Lily!” I cried joyfully as she headed towards the exit with her mother, or her friend’s older cousin, or her cousin’s older friend, or whoever the heck she was shopping with. It didn’t really matter to me. It could have been her favorite zookeeper, I don’t know. Anyway, she scowled at me as she left with the person. While I was sad to see her go, I was still delighted to know her name.
“Lily Potter.” I whispered to myself. It had a nice ring to it.
It was one week before school started. I was shopping for some new jeans in Muggle London with my aunt and my cousin Rick. He’s four years older than me and likes to boss me around. He’s in Gryffindor. I want to be in Gryffindor, too, but I’m not so sure about being around Rick all the time.
“Rick, have you ever been in love?” I wanted to know.
“Of course I have. All real men have been in love. They just sometimes don’t want to admit it.”
“I guess that makes me a real man.” I smiled happily. I was feeling more grown up by the minute.
“You can’t be in love. You’re too juvenile.” Rick likes using long words in order to try to confuse me. But he can’t fool me. Even though I don’t know too many long words, and I don’t pay attention when anyone tries to teach me geography, I do know that Juvenile is that river in Egypt. What a river has to do with being in love beats me. But I didn’t let Rick know that.
“Think what you want. But I’m planning on getting married. Hopefully by Halloween. It might be Christmas, because you know women. It takes forever for them to pick out their dress.” Rick just laughed.
While my aunt was busy paying for our packages, I waited by the front of the store. Right near where I was standing was one of those muggle machines where you put in a muggle coin and a prize pops out. Sort of like a gumball machine, but with little plastic toys instead of candy. Beautiful rings were advertised on the front of the machine. Also pictured was a little plastic monster, and a little orange car that couldn’t be bigger than my baby toe. Or maybe it could. I momentarily debated taking off my shoe and sock to see, but then I decided that there wasn’t time. Quickly I fished around in my pocket and found a muggle quarter. I stuck it in the slot, twisted the dial, and squeezed my eyes shut, hoping that one of the pretty rings would come out. Preferably the one with the clear plastic gem. Maybe Lily would mistake it for a diamond. Although if the car came out, at least I’d be able to see exactly how big it was. But I really wanted a ring. Because the ring is what makes the girl marry you, right?
I opened up the little prize door, and the round, smooth plastic case the prizes come in tumbled into my hand. Opening it up, I realized it was not the ‘diamond’ ring. It was not a ring at all. It wasn’t even the little orange plastic car. It was a bright yellow whistle. Oh no. I quickly shoved my hands back in my pockets, trying to find another quarter. I didn’t have any success. Frantically, I began to look all over the floor, hoping to find change that someone had dropped.
“James! Time to go!”
Darn! Oh well. I looked at the little yellow whistle in my palm. It would have to do.
I nervously wiggled in my place in line. I knew it would be my turn soon. Sure enough,
I took a deep breath, and refusing to let anyone see how nervous I was, sauntered up to the hat and pulled it onto my head. 'Please Gryffindor,' I thought desparately. 'Why Gryffindor?' the hat asked. 'Well,' I thought to it (all while mentally kicking myself for doing something so uncool as talking to a hat) 'all my family has been in Gryffindor, and those guys I met on the train were just put into Gryffindor, and you put Lily in Gryffindor. I’m marrying her. You can’t separate a husband and wife!' The hat didn’t answer for a minute. It made a funny noise, almost if it were laughing at me. But I knew it wasn’t. Because hats can’t laugh. And I hadn’t said anything funny. So it must have been coughing or something. Except hats can’t do that either. Maybe they can. Well, anyway, it soon answered. 'Erm…okay…if you say so…' “Gryffindor!!!”
I breathed the biggest breathiest breath of relief, and immediately sat down with my new friends, Sirius, Remus, and Peter, who were luckily sitting near Lily.
After the feast, I thought determinedly, This is my chance. It’s now or never. Or at least, now or tomorrow.
I got down on one knee, facing the girl who had won my heart with her smile. Wait, I’ve never seen her smile. I’ll start over. I got down on one knee, facing the girl who had won my heart with her scowl. Wait, that’s not right, either. She didn’t scowl at me until after she had won my heart. Scratch that, too. I got down…ah forget it. I kneeled in front of Lily, holding out the whistle.
“My dearest, darlingest, Lily, you brighten my life like a firefly in a dark room. You make me want to smile so big that you could fit an entire watermelon in my mouth. You make my heart melt like a Popsicle in the middle of July. Will you make me the happiest man alive and marry me?”
Lily blinked. “Who are you?”
I was crushed. It was like she was stabbing my heart a million times over with thousands of swords. Or maybe toothpicks. Either way, very painful. And then I smiled and stood up.
“You know me. James Potter, at your service.”
She looked at me, eyes wide, puzzled. I was okay with that. I could stare into those beautiful emerald green eyes for ever and ever. And ever and ever and ever. Finally a look of comprehension crossed her face.
“You’re that kid that kept staring at me at the robe shop.”
“Guilty.” I said, grinning. She smiled and placed her left hand on my right shoulder, and started to come a bit closer. I was glad that she remembered me, and overjoyed that her hand was on my shoulder, but I was beginning to get a little bit scared. I wanted her to marry me, not kiss me. I didn’t want to catch the cooties, for Merlin’s sake! But her mouth headed for my ear instead, and she whispered, oh so quietly, “Leave… me… ALONE!” The last word she shouted. It kind of hurt. Actually, it really hurt. But I didn’t tell her that. She backed away, but left her hand on my shoulder. Then she formed a fist with her right hand, and really decked me one in the stomach. I can guarantee you, though, that I was knocked out with a smile, because the last thing I thought gave me hope. There’s always tomorrow. Scratch that. I knew I should have gotten a ring.
----4 Years Later----
It was the beginning of my fifth year. Everyone always talked about fifth year as being the hardest year. I wasn’t worried. How bad could it be? I had much more pressing matters on my mind. It was time for my bi-annual proposal. For the most part, I had taken to simply asking Lily out when I got the chance, but twice a year, right after the Welcoming Feast and right before the End-of-Term feast, I asked Lily if, since she so adamantly refused to go out with me, if she would please just marry me. It was our little tradition. Madame Klein, the nurse, had gotten so used to these episodes that she simply gave Remus (he’s the most responsible) a supply of Revival Potion, so that I wouldn’t have to come to the Hospital Wing every time Lily knocked me out. That first time it happened, back in first year, she apparently hadn’t tried to make me unconscious. But now, she does. It’s not because she’s overly violent, or she hates me or anything (because we all know she secretly loves me as much as I love her), but just because of tradition. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Taking out the little whistle, I took a deep breath and got down on one knee.
“Evans, will you-”
BAM! I was on the floor. Oh well.
----2 Years Later----
She was walking swiftly down the corridor of the Hogwarts Express. I was not far behind, trying to reason with her. I was much more mature than I was before, why couldn’t she see that. And I’d outgrown my silly crush. I really did care about her. But it seemed as though she’d never be able to care about me.
Lily gave a frustrated sigh, and turned on her heel to face me.
“Potter, get real. I didn’t want anything to do with you in first year, and I don’t want anything to do with you now.”
“I’m not the same person I was in first year! I’ve grown up, I really have. I’m sorry about first year. I made a mistake. If only my mother had let me look at that broomstick, then I wouldn’t have stared at you in Madam Maulkin’s, and you wouldn’t hate me right now.”
“This has nothing to do with the robe shop! And certainly nothing to do with a stupid broomstick! It has everything to do with the fact that you’ve asked me out more times than I can count, AND you’ve asked me to MARRY you THIRTEEN TIMES! With a stupid WHISTLE for Merlin’s sake! You can’t get it through your thick head that I want to be LEFT ALONE!”
“I’ve only asked you to marry me twelve times,” was all I could think of to say.
“No, there was that time in second year when Sirius tricked you into thinking that it was the last day of term when it really wasn’t.”
“Oh yeah. I forgot about that.”
“You would.” She sneered.
She turned around, and headed into the Heads’ Compartment, slamming the door behind her. I opened the door and followed her in.
“Leave! This is the Heads’ Compartment only!”
Sadly, I showed her my badge.
“I am a Head.”
I almost didn’t ask her to marry me at the feast. Almost.
“Wow, it’s hard to believe that our time at Hogwarts is over,” I said reminiscently as I looked around the Head’s Common Room for the last time.
“Yeah, Hogwarts is like my home. I don’t really know where I’ll go, now. My sister is living with her husband in Surrey still. I guess I’ll go back there until I find somewhere else to live.” I could tell it was taking all of her will power not to cry. It was taking all of my will power not to cry, too. Lily’s parents had been murdered by a Death Eater attack back in September. My parents, both Aurors, had gone to try to fight the Death Eaters during that very attack and gotten killed. It was hard to believe that both of our lives were changed so drastically in one blow. But there was one change for the better. It was dealing with these tragic events, all while attempting to keep up with N.E.W.T. work and facing the responsibilities of being a Head, that caused me and Lily to get to know each other, and really care about each other. We began dating in mid October. Even though we’d only been going out for eight months, we were closer than most couples our age, almost as though our relationship had lasted for eight years instead. Well, I guess the six years she hated me counts for something.
I put my arm around Lily’s shoulders, and she relaxed against my chest. We stood there for several long moments, silently taking in the comfort of each other’s arms.
“You can come to my house, in Godric’s Hollow,” I said suddenly. Lily’s eyes widened. “There’s plenty of room. Ever since…” here I stumbled over my words, “ever since my parents passed away, only the house elves have been living there.”
“James, that is a wonderful offer. But…well…it wouldn’t exactly…be right,” Lily mumbled uneasily.
“Why?” I asked.
“Well…” Lily began awkwardly.
“Oh!” I said, finally comprehending. “You mean it wouldn’t be morally right, us living together.”
Lily nodded mutely.
I grinned. “Sure it would be all right.”
Without any hesitation, I got down on one knee and pulled a small jewelry box out of my pocket. I also pulled something else out of my pocket. It was the little plastic yellow whistle I had bought, years back, from a muggle gumball machine. The bright yellow color had faded quite a bit, and there was a little crack from where I had once accidentally sat on it while it was in my pocket, but it just wouldn’t feel right asking her the pressing question without it.
“Lily Evans, will you marry me?”
Speechless, she nodded.
“Yippee!” I sprang up from my position on the ground, and laughing, spun Lily through the air. To my pleasure, she started laughing too. As I set her down, she leaned forward and kissed me, wrapping her arms around my neck. I can’t remember ever feeling happier.
For once I wasn’t knocked out cold.
A/N:The line ‘You “make my heart melt like a Popsicle on the Forth of July”’ is taken from the movie “Little Rascals”, except I altered it a little because, obviously, they are in Britain, so it reads "in the MIDDLE of July". But yeah, the movie that was made 10 or 12 years ago (not the old television series) was my inspiration for that line.
This is slightly AU because neither Lily's nor James' parents were killed by death eaters, but it fit the story in this case.
***UPDATE**** I have been getting various reviews, both here and on other sites, with people wondering how I knew James and Lily's parents were not killed by Death Eaters. I have, after looking and looking, found the quote from JK Rowling herself, which was conveniently hiding in the Mugglenet/LeakyCauldron interview.
MA: What about Harry's family - his grandparents - were they killed?
JKR: No. This takes us into more mundane territory. As a writer, it was more interesting, plot-wise, if Harry was completely alone. So I rather ruthlessly disposed of his entire family apart from Aunt Petunia. I mean, James and Lily are massively important to the plot, of course, but the grandparents? No. And, because I do like my backstory: Petunia and Lily's parents, normal Muggle death. James's parents were elderly, were getting on a little when he was born, which explains the only child, very pampered, had-him-late-in-life-so-he's-an-extra-treasure, as often happens, I think. They were old in wizarding terms, and they died. They succumbed to a wizarding illness. That's as far as it goes. There's nothing serious or sinister about those deaths. I just needed them out of the way so I killed them.
So yeah, that's where it came from. Thanks for reading my story!
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