Chapter 1 : The Dancing Queen
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This is the story of how a boy got a girl to notice him. There’s something you haven’t heard enough of already, right? A story of girl meets boy… is there anything left to say on that field? Anything John Hughes hasn’t already covered? Anything The Beatles haven’t already sung about? Anything Nick Hornby hasn’t written of by now?
As a matter of fact, there is. Because the boy wasn't just any boy. And the girl wasn't just any girl. Their names were James and Lily. And this is their story.
The early morning sun shone stubbornly through the windows of James Potter’s bedroom, as if determined to shake the seventeen year-old from his dream. James grabbed his pillow and threw it at the window, eyes still closed, willing himself to go back to sleep even as he felt the dream fading away.
Lily Evan’s face, which two seconds ago had been snogging him maddeningly, smirked back at him in the dream, and evaporated the minute the pillow hit the window pointlessly, doing absolutely nothing to shield the sun's rays. James made a mental note to buy some curtains sometime. Maybe he’d even photoshop Lily’s face on them or something. That would certainly make his mornings less murderous.
As it fell, the pillow hit Sirius Black, resident best mate and loudest snorer in the world, who was lying on a cot directly under the window. “Huzzapatah phregm!” he screamed, sitting upright as if the Red Army were after him. A second later he blinked, looking around the room. “What. Even.” he managed to croak out.
“Careful there, I think you just cursed me in Russian” came the bored response from the cot closest to the door, belonging to one Remus Lupin, resident second best-mate and biggest early bird in history. Judging by the worn and yellowed paperback he hadn’t bothered to raise his eyes from, Remus had been awake since dawn.
“What? Russians?” Sirius squinted at Remus, as if he didn’t recognize him. Then he saw the slowly advancing sunrays on the floorboards. “What the hell?” he screamed, as if he were looking at a particularly disgusting species of termites instead of a few bright patches of sunshine. “What bloody time is it?”
James rolled over yawning, and deliberately ignored his watch. "Nine o'clock" he guessed, keeping his eyes closed. Sirius groaned. "I hate first-digit numbers in the morning" he informed everyone. A knock came from the door, and after James grunted in response, the door opened with a bang, making the three friends jump.
"Good morning!" Alistair Potter, resident father and Biggest-Morning-Person-After-Remus burst into the room overly enthusiastically, which could only mean two things: either Puddlemere United had won last night’s Quidditch Cup match, or their Hogwarts letters had arrived in the mail.
"Your Hogwarts letters have just flown in and hit Geraldine in the face" he confirmed, trying hard to look as if he wasn’t laughing at the memory of his wife getting a packet of letters chucked at her head by an overeager school owl on steroids. "Oh, I do love a load of post! It's like being back in Hogwarts... back when I was young and dashing and my hormones were raging and my hair wasn't thinning, and Geraldine was full-figured, and-"
"Father" grunted James from his cot, not quite unable to keep a small but mystified smile from appearing on his face. "No offense, but it's kind of unnatural for anyone under the age of 60 to be up before noon. We're only three lowly teenagers. Can't really deal with that sort of epic accomplishment so early. You mind?"
"Come on, Jamie" Mr. Potter chuckled, walking over and poking his son in the back. "You've got to start getting up earlier. After all, the early bird gets the worm!”
“Father, I’m not a bird, I’m a bloke” mumbled James. “Anyway, for all I know, in this analogy I’m the worm”
“Worms that wake up early die early, after all, Alistair” added Sirius, exchanging sleepy grins with James.
“Go on, James! How do you think it’s going to look when you’re courting that girl you always go on about, and you can’t even get up before 3pm? Be a man!"
"You know, Vikings slept well past one as a rule, and they were the manliest tribe in history. If I were half a decent man, I'd sleep till noon" his son replied, but he sat up in bed anyway. He knew better than to argue with his father, especially when he was in a good mood. He’d probably start singing in Spanish, or something. Ever since their trip to Mexico a month ago, Mr. Potter had become fascinated with muggle mariachis. Now it was all one could do to keep him from flamenco-dancing at dinner parties.
Squinting at the light, he saw that Remus was already awake and dressed.
"Traitor" James mumbled. Remus only laughed.
"Come on, Sirius" Mr. Potter went over to Sirius' cot and wrestled the sheets off him. Sirius, refusing to let go of the comfy sheets, slid off the bed, lost his balance, and collapsed on the floor.
“Yahpazetaph!” he cried as the floor met his hipbone.
"You always knew how to start a day on the right foot" Remus rolled his eyes. Sirius shook himself off. "Food." he just demanded, staggering up to his full 6-feet height.
"You boys wash up and get downstairs! After you get some breakfast in you, I’m sending you off to Diagon Alley. I won't have you lot missing your books because they've all sold out already". With a hasty crac! Mr. Potter turned on his heel expertly and disapparated.
"Okay, I know we're supposed to get used to that by know" said Remus, sounding shaken up. “But I just can't stop jumping to those cracking noises when your dad disapparates".
“Food” said Sirius again, practically whining now. “Foooood”
Knowing better than to deny Sirius nourishment, the three boys went down the wooden staircase barefoot in their robes and pajamas, save for Remus, who had changed into his usual smart uniform of khakis and light sweater. They headed for the kitchen, Remus and Sirius plopping down in the first stools they found, Sirius grabbing the first box of Count Chocula he could find and shaking about half the box into his cereal bowl. The Potters had a big kitchen, filled with pots and pans and even a real muggle refrigerator- Geraldine Potter collected muggle novelties as a hobby.
Geraldine Potter was already there, arranging a tray with their breakfast, a pile of letters next to their plates. She was thin and beautiful for her 60 years, and carried herself with a great level of poise even at the ungodly hour of nine in the morning.
“Hey mum” said James, kissing her on the cheek.
“Hello boys” she sighed, obviously not sharing her husband’s enthusiasm for the early morning. “Your father kept me up with his snoring again, so I think I’ll go punish him by watching “Mamma Mia!” for the fifth time this week.”
“Oh, don’t let him get you down Mum” laughed James. “’Cause you…” he dragged his words until he started singing, “…are the dancing queen!”
Sirius joined in, stretching his arms wide and sending his cereal flying “…young and sweet…!”
“… only seventeen!” finished Remus with an impressive tenor.
Mrs. Potter snorted, “Thank god Peter’s still working his summer job in Nostefar village, I don’t think I could take a forth verse of that”. She turned to go, but at the last minute turned around, plucked James’ letter from her apron pocket and handed it to him. “Oh, I almost forgot, Jamie. I couldn’t help noticing that your letter is significantly thicker than Sirius and Remus”. She raised a stern eyebrow at him. “Anything you want to tell me?”
“I got picked as Head Boy?” said James, trying to adopt a serious but failing as Sirius snorted into his bowl of Count Choculas. “Right” Sirius said as he chuckled. “Head Boy. Next I suppose you’ll be telling me that McGonagall’s secretly a cat.”
Even Mrs. Potter couldn’t keep a small smile from stretching on her lips. As she walked out of the kitchen, they could hear her saying, “Breakfast’s on the table. Do try not to inhale it all under five seconds, it can’t be good for your digestive system, Sirius.”
The minute she was out of sight, Sirius plucked James’ letter from his fingers. “Give me that, I want to see if they’ve already reserved you your own detention room”
James grinned, letting Sirius have it. “Maybe they found out about us stuffing Lucius Malfoy down a toilet and sending him to God-knows-where in the last day of term. Maybe they’ve already located him”
The three boys sighed with disappointment simultaneously as they thought of the wonderful and miserable things Malfoy could've gotten up to in somewhere like the Arabian desert.
"Y'know I hear he got picked up by Pantene for a muggle hair commercial" mentioned James nonchalantly.
"Lucy? " replied Remus with interest "Good for him, he needs something to keep his hands of the first-years”
"Yeah..." said James, reminiscing with a smile. "Though I also heard he stupefied the muggle agent who dared approach him on Carnaby Street to scout him"
Sirius scrunched up his nose, sure he was missing something. "What was he even doing in London? Surely that's too common for him. Downright seeping with muggles, the city is."
"Yeah, well, I believe the words 'Ew don't touch me' were amongst the eloquent rejection given by him, so that sounds pretty accurate"
"I do hope they haven't plucked him from the Sahara yet." mused Remus "I was kinda hoping he'd get sucked up by quicksand or at least contract some kind of disgusting skin disease from he sun"
Sirius spoke up, struggling with the seal plastered on James’ envelope. “Let's not get too upset for now, there's still a chance he was eaten by a camel. A strategy I'll adopt soon unless someone refills my bowl of Count Chocula.” he turned to Remus and pointed at him. “You. Get me more food.”
“It’s not my fault you always get overexcited at the second verse of ‘Dancing Queen’” grumbled Remus, but he did as he was told, chucking the box of cereal at him. Sirius, who had at that precise moment succeeded in breaking the seal off James’ letter, suspended the box in mid-air with a quick sweep of his wand milimiters before it hit his nose.
“You know, Moony, you should really know who you’re up against next time you hurl things at me” he began, tossing aside the boring booklist and eyeing a second piece of parchment inside James’ envelope.“I mean, there’s a reason why they call me the-” his eyes had paused on a pair of names at the bottom. Then they widened. Then his jaw fell to the floor. “Holy. Fucking. Hell”
“‘Holy fucking hell’? I’m pretty sure that’s the biggest oxymoron anyone could have ever said” quipped Grammar Nazi Remus, but Sirius shushed him by slamming the letter down on the table and turning upside-down the enevelope.
A silver-plated thing came rolling to the table, with entwining Hs and the Hogwarts Crest.
“HH... as in... as in Hogwarts Head Boy?” Remus asked, incredulously.
“No” answered James, whose astonished face showed every shade of shock known to mankind. ”No, there's no possible way, I could...” he started, shaking his head furiously, as if to clear the absurd thought from his mind.
“There’s been a mistake!” cried Sirius, grabbing the badge, and holding it to the light, as if checking its validity. “No one in their right mind would make Prongs Head Boy, unless it was Head Boy of St. Mungo’s or something…”
James whirled around to face Remus. “I thought you had it in the bag! What the hell did you do Moony to convince them otherwise, streak across the grounds naked?”
The latter didn’t seem the least upset, “To be honest it’s kind of a relief” said Remus, looking like a small weight had been lifted off his shoulders. “Sounded like a lot of responsibility. And I don’t really fancy flunking my NEWT courses”
“You mean your Pulitzer Training?” grinned Sirius cheekily.
“But there’s got to be someone else… anyone!” said James, growing panicky. It wasn’t humility that bothered him, it was the thought that his classmates must have been madder than he thought, for him to have outshined them all when it came time to pick top prize in responsibility.
“You do get top marks in every subject, James” Remus insisted. “And you’re a born leader, everyone can see that”.
"And, think about it" added Sirius thoughtfully. "Hogwarts would go up in flames if I were ever chosen as Head Boy, mermaids will pose for muggle porn magazines before Peter will ever get accepted for any leadership position, and resident Evans BFF Will Lester would just bribe everyone with food. I guess you're the only one left". Sirius roared with laughter, turning over the piece of parchment . “Good ol’ Dumbledore. He always was great for a laugh. Just wait until you read your letter, here, let me…” he began reading in a spot-on imitation of Professor McGonagall’s voice when she was lecturing the first-years on the House points system.
“According to Hogwarts School Code, blah, blah, blah… you will have the unfortunate but obligatory responsibility to deduct House points and give detentions to misbehaving students- excellent, Snivellus is in for a treat- blah blah blah… holy fucking hell!”
“I thought we agreed that ‘Holy fucking hell’ that was a grammatically incorrect oxymoron!” complained Remus, but Sirius paid him no attention as he started uncontrollably laughing.
“What?” asked James a little louder, almost laughing too, Sirius looked so stupid. “What is it? I swear, if I find out we have to mop the professors’ lounge, or something, I’ll-”
“No, no, nothing like… holy honeydukes, Prongs, you are so going to love this!” laughed Sirius.
“Oh, will you read the bloody letter already or do have to take away your bowl of Count Chocula?” said James, rolling his eyes.
Sirius stopped laughing at that. Glaring at James and Remus with distrust and sliding his bowl of cereal closer to him, he began reading out loud.
“…Also according to Hogwarts School Code, you will be obliged to patrol the school corridors at night during your assigned days, twice a week. Assisting you in this responsibility will be this year’s Hogwarts Head Girl…”
James braced himself, if he’d been chosen as Head Boy, who knew what other Head Case had gotten chosen, probably some git like Amos Diggory or Liam Chang-
“…Miss Lily Evans”
James’s jaw fell to the floor. His surprise was beyond description. The world was right again, there was a God after all! At first it seemed too good to be true, then he found himself smacking his head. How could he have been so stupid? Of course Evans was going to be Head Girl, Evans was perfection incarnate, he knew that more than anyone. But that wasn’t what he cared about right now. He snatched the letter from Sirius, and re-read it, just to make sure he wasn’t pulling one over him, but it was true, it was all right there at the end of the school supply list: James Potter and Lily Evans.
Now he just had to figure out a way of putting that in calligraphy on a wedding invite and he’d be set up for life.
The whole kitchen erupted in excited cheers: all was not lost after all. The three boys started jumping up and down, arms linked, doing a kind of can-can dance. “Potter! Potter! Potter!” they chanted, as they danced like this throughout the entire huge kitchen, only stopping after Mrs. Potter barged in on the celebration, saying that unless they’d like to be on the cast of Mamma Mia 2, they better pipe down and let her fawn over Colin Firth like a proper English housewife.