She lay there, staring at the dark ceiling. Lily Evans hasn’t been able to sleep. Her bed made, her pajamas put away, her teeth brushed; now all she had to do was wait. Her parent’s alarm had yet to go off, not to mention that her handsome snowy owl, Berthold, hadn’t yet returned from his nightly wanderings.
Lily sat up, tucking her long red hair behind her ears and looked at her muggle clock. 6:13am. They should be up in about fifteen minutes, she thought, crossing the room and clicking on a lamp she kept on the dresser. Might as well get breakfast started to get things rolling. She stretched, then bent over her bed to fluff the pillows and pull the wrinkles out of her down comforter.
There was a slight scratch on the window.
“Berthold!” said Lily, darting towards the noise and sliding up the lower pane. “And what do you have there?”
Her sleek white owl hopped off the sill onto the mahogany desk beneath. He dropped a tiny dead mouse into her hand and snapped his black beak happily.
“Thank you, Berthold,” she smiled. “I am a bit hungry.”
She quietly slid the window closed and opened the door to Berthold’s cage. He swooped up to the perch and stretched his wings, preparing for an anticipated nap. Lily returned to her desk and picked up Berthold’s gift and proceeded to the kitchen. There, on the counter waiting for someone to fill her food dish, was her sister’s Siamese cat. Lily gently tickled the cat’s ear and showed her the mouse.
“Er, here you go, Ming,” Lily said, plopping the mouse into the dish on the floor. "A gift from Berthold."
Ming gracefully dropped to the linoleum to examine the treasure. She preferred her mice alive, but couldn’t resist snatching up the little heap and darting out the kitchen cat flap. Lily watched Ming playing on the back porch. She wished she could take the cat to Hogwarts with her, but her sister, Petunia, would never let that happen. Shrugging, she went to the sink and thoroughly washed her hands.
At about seven-o-clock, Lily was joined by her father, whom she greeted with a kiss on the cheek and a cup of steaming coffee.
“Couldn’t sleep?” he asked, winking a gray eye.
“No,” Lily said with a sparkling smile. “You know I can’t wait to get to Diagon Alley!”
“Careful there, Lily!” came her mother’s voice, rushing into the room. “You’re going to spill the grease on the floor!”
Lily looked down at the pan of bacon she was holding. In her excitement, she had tilted the handle and the contents were about to go overboard.
“Whoa! Thanks, mum!” Lily said, quickly straightening up as her mother took the handle.
“Let me finish cooking, dear. Go ahead and have a seat.”
Lily gave her mum a light hug and sat down across from her father, who was going over her school supplies list for the hundredth time. She smiled at his eager face as she poured herself some orange juice.
“Fascinating, isn’t it Dad?” she said.
He looked up and smiled. Lily’s parents had always been very supportive of her being a witch. Mrs. Evans was so proud of her daughter, and Mr. Evans was always so delighted with his little girl, especially after her O.W.L. results arrived a couple of weeks ago. And the wizarding world was so fascinating to them; ever since Lily first learned that she was a witch, she had wished they were magical too.
As Lily’s mother set the last plate of breakfast on the kitchen table, Petunia came sluggishly into the room, dragging her fluffy slippers and wiping the sleep from her eyes.
“Why are you all up so early? It’s Saturday, isn’t it?” she asked, tightening her night robe around herself and settling down next to her father.
He put his arm around Petunia's slender shoulders and squeezed a hug out of her. “Don’t you remember, dear? We need to go to Diagon Alley today and get Lily’s books. Want to come along?”
Petunia quickly flashed a cruel glare at her younger sister, then cranked her long neck around and smiled up to her father. “No thanks, Daddy. I’ve got plans with Vernon today. He leaves soon for his final year of business school.”
* * *
They finally arrived at The Leaky Cauldron around ten-o-clock. Mr. Evans paid the cab driver then Lily directed her parents along towards the ratty inn that no one but she seemed to notice. As they stepped through the front doors, all the patrons sitting around the feeble tables quieted and looked curiously towards the two muggles. The stillness lasted momentarily and then everyone quickly got back to his or her gossip.
The Evans family skirted their way to the back of the pub to the magically sealed entrance of Diagon Alley. As Lily reached for her wand from inside her chocolate-colored jacket, there were suddenly more bodies cramming into the small courtyard.
“All right, Evans?” came a loud voice from behind.
Surprised, Lily looked up into his hazel eyes.
“Potter, Black,” Lily acknowledged after a moment's recovery, blushing a little.
Everyone stood in silence, smiling at one another until Lily understood that the boys weren’t going anywhere.
“Er, you remember my parents--”
“Of course! How do you do Mr. and Mrs. Evans?” James Potter beamed, taking Lily’s father’s hand and shaking it vigorously.
“Very well, James!” her father said. “Ready for another go at Hogwarts?”
“Yes Sir, Mr. Evans,” James announced proudly. “Sirius and I have been looking very forward to our sixth year. Can’t wait to hit the books again!”
Sirius quietly snorted behind James, who discreetly elbowed him in the gut. “But we don’t have quite as much to look forward to as your lovely daughter, Lily,” Sirius said, squeezing past James to shake her parent’s hands as well. “Her being a Prefect and all.”
Lily blushed a little more, hoping her parents didn’t catch Sirius’ slightly sarcastic emphasis on some chosen words.
“You should be very proud of your little girl,” James continued, undoubtedly because he knew she couldn't tell him off in front of her parents. “She is quite the witch. I expect she’ll make Head Girl next year!”
Lily’s mother beamed with pride, wrapping an arm around her daughter’s shoulder and squeezing. “We are extremely proud of Lily. She got top marks on her O.W.L.s, you know!”
“Shall we?” Lily interrupted, holding out her wand.
“Oh, allow me,” James said, quickly snatching up his wand as well.
But Lily already began to tap the bricks. She wanted to get through to Diagon Alley as soon as possible.
Her parents stood fascinated as the brick wall opened to form a neat archway, revealing a very bright and busy cobbled street. James smiled down at Lily again as she tried to hide her emerald eyes and pink cheeks. She quickly led everyone into the alley.
“To the bank, then?” her mother asked.
Lily was about to answer when James quickly chimed, “We have to get to Gringotts as well, Mrs. Evans. We’ll accompany you!”
As if on command, Sirius swooped between Lily’s parents, putting an arm around both her mother’s lavender petticoat and her father’s blazer, guiding them towards the wizarding bank. James clamped himself lightly to Lily’s arm and followed at their heels.
The strapping, young Sirius quickly charmed her parents, pointing out sights and telling jokes along the way to Gringotts. Lily noticed they had put arms around him as well, marching along in a tight row, laughing as though he were a family friend.
James simply smiled, walking along holding onto Lily, who was not the slightest of impressed.
"Why so shy?” James asked quietly as she watched her parents. “I don’t embarrass you, do I?”
“Actually, you do. You’re quite the sneak too.” Lily couldn't look at him. “Leave us alone once we get inside or you leave me no choice but to burn your eyebrows off again.”
Chuckling, James looked over at her, “Aw that's harsh! Sirius and I were just--"
“This is supposed to be a day just for my parents and me,” Lily firmly interjected. “They don’t get to see much of the wizarding world. Can’t you understand?”
James watched Mrs. Evans peer back to Lily with a smile and then turn back to Sirius.
“Right. OK,” he answered softly and defeated.
“Your parents are brilliant!” Sirius said through his bouncy laughter as they met at the top of the stairs to Gringotts.
Lily produced a weak smile, squirming out of James’ grasp and turning to her mother. “Shall we?”
Once they made the necessary monetary exchange and Lily had finally dragged her gawking father back into the alley, Lily pulled out her supply list and looked around.
“Where to first, dear?” her mother asked. “Books?”
Lily nodded and led them past the colorful shops and display windows to Flourish and Blott’s bookstore.
“Once we get all my supplies, I can show you any shop you’d like, Dad” Lily promised, pulling his arm into the shop as he stole one last glimpse of the crooked street called Diagon Alley.
In the bookstore, crammed full of magical books, witches, wizards, and Hogwarts students, Lily searched out all the titles she would need for the year. Once Lily purchased her books, she wandered around to find her parents.
Her mother was found gleefully chatting with a group of witches, whom all seemed to be in competition for wearing the tallest hat. She found her father on the second floor in the Magical Creatures section. A group of young Hogwarts students were trying to explain a boggart to him.
As they were turning to leave and head off to the potions shop, Lily bumped face to face with a pretty little girl, who’s dark eyes flashed through her sweeping brunette fringe. She looked up to meet Lily’s emerald eyes at once, giving the most arrogant, disdainful smile.
She glared at Lily’s parents. “Enjoying Diagon Alley?”
“Aw, if it isn’t my little cuz, Trixy!” came a mischievous voice from behind the girl.
James and Sirius had just entered the shop as well. Sirius was about to put an arm around his cousin's shoulder, but she growled and plowed through the Evans family deeper into the store.
“Everything ok?” James asked, looking the Evans family over.
“We’re fine. We were just leaving,” answered Lily, brushing her jacket smooth.
“We're going to do a bit more shopping and then find some lunch, boys. Would you care to join us?” asked Mrs. Evans.
James glanced down at Lily’s diverted eyes. “Thanks, but Sirius and we've got to shop and run. We’ll catch you next time, Mrs. Evans.”
He poked Sirius along to let the Evans out of Flourish and Blott’s. James watched them make their way through the commotion of the street. Just as he was about to join Sirius in the bookstore, he spotted a witch and a young boy walking briskly towards their location.
“Oi Padfoot!” he called over his shoulder. “Quick!”
Sirius joined James and peered out the window. His face went grim and pale.
“Oh joy,” spat Sirius, bitterly. “Me mum and me little brother, Regulus.”
“I still can't believe that he’ll be starting at Hogwarts this year.” James exclaimed. “Hey. You wanna get out of here?”
“Yeah,” muttered Sirius. “We can buy our books later.”
With that, James opened the door and the two of them darted into the crowd just in time to avoid the cruel eyes of Mrs. Black and the eleven year old son she so adored, Regulus.
James and Sirius came upon the Quality Quidditch Supplies window display, and quickly forgot about their flight. The newest model of the Comet series had just been released, and they felt as giddy as all the small children pressed against the window. James rode a handsome Comet one-eighty, but this was the highly anticipated Comet one-eighty-FIVE! James smirked at Sirius and they quickly pushed their way into the shop.
* * *
“How about a sundae from ol’ Fortescue’s to celebrate!” offered Sirius as he gruffly clapped a hand to James’ shoulder.
“Absolutely!” agreed James, holding a wonderfully large and delicately wrapped package stamped with the Guarantee of Quality, assured as is any broom sold at Quality Quidditch Supplies.
They sat down at a table in the sunshine and waited to be served, catching only glimpses of the ice cream parlor’s workers every now and then.
“Pretty busy today!” barked Sirius as he began to glare at the store front “I’ll go order from the counter.”
Sirius headed in while James lounged, looking around at the crowd. He very randomly locked his hazel eyes with a set of particularly green ones. Lily had just arrived with her parents, obviously for that lunch they'd planned. He straightened up as they walked past, watching Lily proceed into the ice cream parlor while her parents stuffed their bags under the table behind James.
“And what does young Potter have there?” came Mr. Evans’ voice.
James pivoted on his chair and smiled. “My new broomstick, Mr. Evans. The newest and fasted one yet. The Comet one-eighty-FIVE!”
“Fascinating!” Lily’s father announced. “I hear you’re quite the um, Quidd-ch player.”
James’ curiosity perked. “Oh? Lily’s mentioned me? Er, I didn’t think she was much of a Quidditch fan, I mean. I know she goes more for the Muggle sports.”
“That’s true, she really fancies football. But you’ve brought the Gryf-fin-dor house the Quidd-ch Cup every year you’ve played, I understand,” explained Mr. Evans.
Just then, Sirius returned carrying two heaping bowls of ice cream. He sat down and smiled at the Evans before sending a covert wink to James.
“I guess this street isn’t big enough for the two of you, Prongs,” Sirius quietly joked as the Evans chatted together. “Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t get away from that girl.”
James kicked Sirius under the table as Lily arrived, carefully balancing lunch for three.
“This street isn’t big enough for the two of us, Potter.” Lily said coolly as she sat down and scooted her chair to face away from the boys.
Every one laughed except for James, who turned back to his table and was pink in the cheeks. Sirius thought it was capitally fun to hear one of his quick-witted jokes uttered by Lily Evans, but took the liberty of changing the subject on his best friend's behalf.
“I’ll buy your old Comet one-eighty for 10 Galleons.” Sirius offered abruptly.
“Done!” exclaimed James, and they quickly clapped the deal closed above the table.