Chapter 1 : James & Lily's First Date
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And though the odds say improbable
What do they know
For in romance
All true love needs is a chance
And maybe with a chance you will find
You too like I
Overjoyed, over loved, over you
-Overjoyed, Stevie Wonder
You are one fascinating specimen, Prongsie, I thought suavely. Truly breathtaking.
I was admiring myself and my dress robes in my floor-length looking-glass in my room on New Years Eve, of course. I often have to assure myself that I was half as good-looking as I assumed I was. I can actually be quite insecure at times, but now is not the time for insecurity.
I have my very first proper date with Miss Lily Evans this evening, at my parents’ end-of-year ball. It’s a very lovely affair, of course; the food is excellent and the dress is quite fancy, but it’s full of all these old people my mum is friends with and my dad works at the Ministry with. Inviting my mates Sirius, Remus, and Peter usually makes the entire affair more bearable, and I’ve invited Lily and her best friend Rhian since last year and they’re pretty fun too. Well, Rhian’s probably more fun than Lily and she hasn’t loathed me for six years, but I am sure that Lily will be most charming tonight. After all, she is my soul mate.
The name’s James, by the way. James Potter. Only I usually refer to myself as Prongs because…well, I can’t tell you that. My best mates have nicknames too. Sirius (my best mate of all) is Padfoot, Remus is Moony, and Peter’s Wormtail. We might sound weird, being seventeen years old and having childish nicknames, but we Marauders as a rule are very silly and have a penchant for enjoying life. And everyone loves us except for Snape and a few other gits and Lily as of a few months ago.
She does fancy you, I assured myself as I straightened my black bow tie. Rhian said so, and Rhian knows how sensitive and insecure you secretly are so she wouldn’t toy with your fragile heart.
I snickered. I’m so full of it sometimes.
I actually am a bit insecure around Lily, though. She’s so pretty, and always has been. She isn’t hot, per se, but she’s nearly as tall as I am and has really straight, shiny red hair and the most glorious green eyes in the world. Since age fourteen, I have been madly in love with her, but because I’m not quite as pretty as her (unruly black hair, glasses, and thin as a piece of parchment) I never thought she’d take a fancy to me. Hence the insecurity and resulting conceit, that same conceit leading to rude behavior that initially caused Lily great repulsion.
But no matter, because Rhian says she fancies me back now. Which is a relief, since I’ve been in love with Lily for nearly three and a half years, and let me tell you, unrequited love is really a downer.
Once I finished combing my hair (unsuccessfully, I might add; it still stuck straight up in the back), I ran down the grand staircase in my parents’ mansion and into the kitchen, where my mum was supervising the team of house elves that was cooking for five hundred guests tonight.
“James!” Mum beamed at me, as she frequently does. See, she and Dad were approaching sixty when they had me, and I’m their only kid, so they think I’m the best thing since sliced bread. Also, my mum always makes certain to inform strangers that I am James, not Jamie, not Jim, and most certainly not Jimbo. I personally do not care when Sirius calls me Jimbo (which is whenever he’s not calling me Prongs), but I’ve been just James for so long that anything else seems wrong.
“Mum, where’s my right dress shoe?” I asked her, a bit frazzled because Lily is due to show up in ten minutes time.
“Goodness, darling,” she said as if I’d informed her I lost my new racing broom, “you’re certainly having a great deal of trouble holding on to that shoe.” Which was true. I always knew where the left one was, but the right one always managed to run off…heh heh, shoe humor.
“God, I need to find it!” I said hastily. “Lil—I mean, the guests will be arriving in ten minutes!”
Mum put on this loopy smile and cocked her head. “Oh James, you’re growing up so fast!” She began to cry and hugged me, locking me in her iron grip. “Why, it seems like just yesterday that you were running about the house naked!”
My jaw dropped in horror. Annie Potter is simply the most terrifying woman on the face of the planet. She’d better not burst into fits when Lily gets here, or else Lily will realize that my family’s entirely composed of nutters and she'll see that she’s much prettier than I am and should probably go out with Didier Rutherford, who is nearly as pretty as her, and she’ll dump me in a second.
“Mum!” I whined. “You’re so embarrassing!”
“Now Jimbo, is that any way to speak to your mother?” I heard Padfoot’s voice behind me. When I said that I didn’t have any siblings, I was probably misleading. Padfoot ran away from home last year and now lives at our house. My parents love him nearly as much as they love me, and we even kind of look alike. Well, we have the same hair color, but Padfoot isn’t awkwardly lanky at all, but is what most girls call a hunky mansicle. And they’d be right. I have no shortage of man love for my best mate.
“Sirius darling, have you seen my son’s right shoe?” asked Mum. She is always saying things like “James love” and “Sirius darling”, which is fine when you’re three but a bit overbearing now. Though Padfoot likes it, on account of his own mum always calling him things like “horrible wretch of an ungrateful son”. Mrs. Black isn’t a nice lady.
“Yeah mate, that’s why I came down,” said Padfoot as he tossed me my itinerant shoe.
I quickly slid on my shoe and avoided hyperventilating as best as I could.
“Oh, James love,” Mum said in her fashion, “you must remember to breathe properly, or else your little date will be even worse than you could ever imagine.”
“Yes, sweetie,” teased Padfoot, “you’ll surely spook fair Lily with your incessant wheezing.”
Memo to self: Murder Padfoot at soonest convenience.
Then, out of nowhere, my dad rushed into the kitchen, camera in hand.
“Bunch together, you three!” he said giddily. “James, show us a smile, there.”
Mum and Padfoot grinned maniacally, but I intentionally frowned. I cannot be related to these people. Well, obviously I’m not related to Padfoot, but Mum and Dad are pushing eighty years old, and they can still act like goofballs.
After the flash went off, Dad remarked, “Oh, I can’t believe that in seven months time, you boys will have graduated from Hogwarts!”
“My little boys are growing up!” cried Mum. She had called Padfoot her little boy ever since I first brought him home, the summer after first year.
“I can’t believe it, Replacement Mummy!” Padfoot hugged her. This really was too much.
“I’m going out for air,” I muttered, hurrying to the snow-covered back patio. It’s snowing less and less in England each winter, but there had been flurries last night, so the ground was blanketed with a clean coat of the stuff. If I were a stress smoker, I’d be puffing away at a cigarette right now. But no, I just have to preserve my untainted lungs!
Memo to self: Start smoking. If the whole Lily thing doesn’t work out, it’ll help you pick up girls.
Oh yes, I forgot all about Lily. God, she’s beautiful. Have I mentioned how she’s not exactly hot, but just really pretty? Oh good. Well, can’t hurt to reiterate that.
Even if she dumps me for that pretty git Didier, I will love Lily Evans forever. I don’t care if I’m a borderline stalker. She is perfect and if my parents and Padfoot don’t frighten her away, we will live the rest of our lives in absolute bliss…
Dum dum dum dum, singing the wedding song, dum dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum…
I am standing at the altar, looking smashing in my sexy dress robes, my hair not askew but tamed, my glasses gone and my eyesight perfect, my muscles buff rather than nonexistent, and my best mate Padfoot by my side (assuming I haven’t murdered him for conspiring to ruin my life with my parents) as my best man, and Moony and Wormtail chilling as the other groomsmen dudes.
And then Rhian walks down the aisle as Lily’s maid-of-honor, and maybe some little kid we find to be the flower girl, and all the hundreds of people in the audience getting really excited that the most beautiful woman in the world, Lily Evans, is about to walk down the aisle and marry moi.
And here she comes, looking pretty rather than hot like she always does, gracefully gliding along in her white dress, her silky red hair under a veil or something. She’s putting on a brave face and smiling, but I can tell she’s nervous. She is my soul mate, after all.
Then she gets to the altar and the marriage dude says all his crap and we exchange rings and whatnot, and finally the dude’s like, “I now announce Mr. and Mrs. James Potter. You may now kiss the bride.”
I pretend to go in for a slow, romantic kiss, but then I’m all like, “I’m outtie, suckas!” and I give Lily a big fat kiss on the lips and she’s all, “Oh James!” and Padfoot tosses me my racing broom and we hop on it and fly out of the church or wherever the hell we get married, and all the people back in the church or whatever are like, “Oh snap, this is the sickest wedding I’ve ever been to!”
“Memo to self:,” I said aloud inadvertently, “Tell Padfoot to hide broom under invisibility cloak, because otherwise Moony’ll try to steal it and convince us that flying out of the church at top speed is too dangerous.”
Suddenly, a huge popping noise erupting not ten feet away from me, and a familiar redhead Apparated.
“God, I hate Apparition,” Lily muttered, dusting herself off.
“Lily!” I exclaimed in a voice that was awkwardly high. She was wearing a really pretty green dress that made her long, skinny body look…hot. Lily Evans has curves, however slight. This could prove to be a problem for me, as before it took all my self-control not to snog her every second.
“James,” she said, surprised. “I, uh, I meant to Apparate right outside your front door, but I guess I got a bit lost and ended up,” she looked around, “out back.”
“Don’t apologize!” I said too loudly and nervously. “All that matters is that you got here safely!” Oh God, I’m such a dork. The glasses have become a self-fulfilling prophecy; I have become a dork because of them.
Lily raised her eyebrow at me. Christ, she does that good. “I heard someone say something about flying out of the church at top speed being too dangerous,” she said slyly. “That wasn’t you, was it?”
“Nuh uh,” I mumbled, blushing. Oi, how the hell did this broad get the great James Potter to turn into a nancy boy?
Lily gave me a sincere, sympathetic look. “I’m nervous too, James,” she said quietly. “This…us…it’s been a long time coming, hasn’t it?”
“Yup,” I said, feeling more moronic by the second. “So, shall we go in?”
At some point between my parents and Sirius’s mocking and Lily’s arrival, almost a hundred people had shown up for the ball. The ballroom wasn’t as empty and lonely as it usually looked when just my family was here, because it was filled with music and dancing people.
“Care to dance?” I asked Lily, debating in my mind whether or not it should be illegal for anyone to be as pretty as she is.
She smiled kindly. “I’d love to.”
I took her left hand in my right and put my left arm around her waist, and led her in a foxtrot. Lily was a pretty good dancer; not phenomenal but it was apparent that she’d had a few lessons. More importantly, she let me lead. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a crazy control freak, or anything, but some girls are really stubborn and don’t want the guy to lead, for who knows what reason. But Lily understood that that was just how it works in dancing.
After a few songs, we really got into the groove. Lily got more relaxed and would smile and laugh when I twirled her, and I, being quite the accomplished dancer, like to think that I impressed her with my skills. She didn’t chuck anything at me like she used to when I’d pull stupid pranks to impress her, luckily.
A couple songs later, I spotted Rhian walking over to us, looking a bit distraught.
“Hey guys,” said Rhian.
“Hey Rhi…what’s wrong?” Lily asked her. Rhian wasn’t crying or anything, but she looked pissed.
“Gwen was being a bitch again,” muttered Rhian. Gwen must have been her mum’s first name, because I knew they hadn’t been getting along recently. Rhian continued, “Well, I guess I’ll go find Sirius.”
“Ooh James, did you hear that? Rhian’s going to find Sirius,” said Lily goofily.
“I heard, I heard,” I replied, grinning, “Sirius.”
“I’m going now, freaks,” muttered Rhian, walking off.
Rhian isn’t normally this angsty. She’s always so bubbly and friendly, and she’s so tiny and cute that I’ve always thought that she’d make an ideal little sister. Except for the fact that she’s four months older than me. But I guess she’s in a weird mood because her mum’s a Muggle and isn’t crazy about her going to Hogwarts, and her dad was killed by You-Know-Who a little over a year ago, so her mum doesn’t think the wizarding world is all that safe. Which it isn’t. Anyhoo, at the beginning of last year, Rhian was going out with Padfoot, but she dumped him because he was really immature and selfish and all that. Then she dated Moony, but she dumped him because he wouldn’t tell her where he disappeared to every month, and now she’s back fancying Padfoot. It’s kind of crazy that my two best mates fancy the same girl, and if Rhian wasn’t my pseudo-sister and I wasn’t so in love with Lily, in all likelihood I would have taken a fancy to her too.
Lily and I were waltzing now and her hair was so darn shiny in the candlelight, and I realized how awesome it is to be in love. Give it a try sometime.
I saw my mum come over to us and say, “Hello you two!”
“Hi Mrs. Potter,” said Lily, polite and wonderful as always.
“Mum!” I protested, embarrassed. Sometimes she jokes that she never wants me to grow up and leave her, but it’s at times like this that I wonder if she’s joking.
“Oh James, for once stop pretending that your father and I embarrass you. I just came over to see if Lily was enjoying herself,” Mum said matter-of-factly.
“Very much,” said Lily. “Another great party, thanks for inviting me.”
“Hello Mrs. Potter,” said Moony, joining us.
“Look Mum, Moony’s here. You can go now!” I said enthusiastically.
“Oh James!” Mum reprimanded as she kissed me on the forehead and walked off.
“Aw James, your mummy wuvs you so much,” Lily teased. My face went beet red.
“Is she going to change your nappy?” asked Moony.
Memo to self: Murder Moony along with Padfoot.
“Shut…up…” I seethed.
Lily spied Moony glancing around the room and said, “I think she went to find Sirius, Rem.”
“Who?” asked Moony, though his face fell. He frowned and walked away aimlessly.
“Poor Remus,” said Lily. “I feel so bad because he waited for Rhian for all those years, but he kept lying to her about visiting his sick mum and all that.”
Where was he instead of visiting his mum? Sorry, but that’s classified.
“He’s so much better for Rhian than Sirius, anyway,” I said. Even though Padfoot is my best mate of all time, I know that he can be a royal ass a lot of the time.
“I hope she knows what she’s doing,” said Lily faintly.
“If Sirius is who Rhian fancies now, then she might as well be with him,” I reasoned. “Remus’ll be all right. He’s a strong chap, and sure his life really sucks, but he always gets through it.”
She sighed. “You’re right, of course.”
Damn, Lily is perfect. She’s cute and brilliant and tough as nails and doesn’t put up with any of my crap, yet she’s sweet and sensitive. We are going to have a perfect life together, and small army of adorable children…
Harry is the oldest, and a real chip off of yours truly. Now, Lily will think that she’s picking his first name (I’ve heard her say that Harry’s her favorite boy’s name) and I’m picking his middle name, James, but what she doesn’t know is that Harry’s an extremely common family name on my mum’s side. Heh heh, I win naming rights of this kid. Anyway, he’ll be nearly as handsome as me but pretty like his mum, and he’ll have her smarts and work ethic and my undeniable charm. He’ll probably end up inheriting my invisibility cloak, so that when he graduates Hogwarts he can pass it on to his siblings. I’ll teach him to play Quidditch, and he’ll probably be a Keeper, as oldest kids tend to gravitate toward that position. Padfoot’ll be his godfather and Rhian’ll be his godmum, and we’ll all (me, Lily, and Harry, not Padfoot and Rhian) live in a gorgeous house in the Cotswolds and Harry will be Head Boy at Hogwarts and grow up to be Minister for Magic and maybe be lead singer of a rock band on the side.
Livia comes next, Livy for short. She’ll have Lily’s dad’s blonde hair and my hazel eyes, and be a real wise ass. All her teachers at school will hate her because she’s quite cheeky, but she’ll be wicked smart. And all the boys will try to date her, but Harry will pummel them if they get anywhere near her. She’ll be Chaser, like her dad, so of course she’ll be Daddy’s little girl. Livy will head the Auror Department by age 35, you wait and see.
Then come the twins, Toby and Liam. They’ll have their mum’s red hair and green eyes, but their personalities will be just like mine and Padfoot’s. They’re the ones who’ll get the Marauder’s Map, though they better not tell their mum about it. Anyway, these two will also be smart as whips but they’ll have no work ethic to speak of, so their grades’ll be abominable. Padfoot can teach them to be Beaters (twin Beaters—obviously!) and they’ll go pro when they get out of school. After the handful Liam and Toby will be, Lily will swear that we’re not having any more kids, but she’ll be wrong.
Fiona will be the Potters’ misunderstood, attention-starved middle child. She’ll have brown hair and look just like my mum, who is very pretty. Fi will be really bright (how could any of mine and Lily’s offspring be dumb?) and quite good at Arithmancy, and she’ll go off and be a Gringotts curse-breaker in Egypt or Guatemala or something. And for Quidditch, she’ll be second Chaser.
I will suspect Milo to be Moony and Lily’s love child, because he will be so conscientious and unlike me, but his terrible eyesight means he’s my kid. Milo will study way too hard in school and teach himself all these different languages, like Tagalog (mind you, it’s ta-GA-log, TAG-a-long) and Breton, and he’ll become a translator for the Ministry for Magic. He’ll also be really fast on a broom, and will round out the Chasers for our family.
Magda will look exactly like me, but have Lily’s compassion and temperament. She’ll be the baby of the family who everyone is way too overprotective of, and she’ll be a wee bit rebellious. Magda will be Quidditch captain and play Seeker. After school, she’ll become a great writer and win all these awards for both journalism and fiction writing, and she’ll write the Potter family biography.
Then, of course, the summer after Magda graduates from Hogwarts, the kids will train under my excellent coaching and we’ll challenge the British National Quidditch Team to a match and whup their asses and the entire wizarding world will beg us to represent the U.K. in the Quidditch World Cup, and we’ll be honored and accept and beat all the other teams out there, and then the kids’ll retire from Quidditch for good and go on to pursue their respective careers. But the legend of Team Potter will not die!
“James?” Lily asked, concerned, and waved her hand in front of my face as I snapped out of my daydream.
“You have yet to feel the wrath of Team Potter, China,” I murmured.
Lily looked at me skeptically. “You’ve been muttering random names and talking about Team Potter for the past few minutes.”
“I’m fine!” I burst. “Nothing’s wrong!”
She gave me another one of those I-know-exactly-what-you’re-thinking-about-but-I-won’t-let-it-phase-me-you-nutter looks (oh, how those looks make me swoon!) and I suggested that we go outside for some air. Lily grinned and took my hand in hers as she followed me to the back patio.
“Lovely night,” I observed, feeling like I ought to comment on the weather. Big, fluffy snowflakes began to fall from the dark night sky, and the air was crisp and frigid.
Lily rubbed her bare arms and shivered. “Yes, but I’m a bit chilly.”
“Take my coat!” I said too eagerly, pulling off my dress robe jacket thing and handing it to her.
“Thank you,” she said gratefully and slid her arms into the sleeves.
Now that Lily was a bit warmer and I was a bit chilly, I dug my hands into my pockets and thought desperately of what I was supposed to do or say. Because I fell in love with Lily Evans at age fourteen, and am the loyal type, my love life has been rather abysmal. And, now that I nearly had Lily Evans, I really, really couldn’t screw this up. I had the compulsion to run my hand through my untidy hair (as I oh so frequently do), but stopped right before it reached my ebony locks.
Lily hates it when I run my hands through my hair. I looked fondly at her, and she was smiling nervously, snowflakes falling through the air and catching her gorgeous red hair. The distant light from the house lit up her pretty face, and I didn’t feel so scared anymore.
“Lily,” I said softly, taking her hands in mine.
“Yes?” she answered, her face anticipatory.
Oh no, I’m about to say something that Padfoot would smack me in the head for…
“What are you doing, you putz?” Padfoot would say as he struck my head with his Transfiguration textbook. “Have I taught you nothing?”
“But I love Lily Evans with every fiber of my being!” I would protest.
“Snog first, talk about your feelings later!” Padfoot raises the thick, leather-bound volume once more, and I hold my hands up to shield my beautiful face…
“I fancy you a whole lot, Lily,” I finally said. “I know you never thought I meant it when I told you it for all these years, but I always have. You’re pretty and smart and treat others with dignity and respect, especially when they don’t deserve it, and most importantly, you put me in my place.”
“Well done, Prongs!” the angel on my right shoulder, who looks suspiciously like Moony, declared.
“What the hell are you doing?” the devil on my left shoulder, a menacing Padfoot brandishing a Transfiguration textbook, shouted. “When’d my best mate turn into such a girl?”
“That was the most sincere thing you’ve ever said, Prongs,” said Angel Moony. “I’m so proud of you.”
“Now you’ve gone and made yourself vulnerable!” said Devil Padfoot. “Has the thought of being a man ever occurred to you?”
“Yes, you have put yourself in a vulnerable position,” Angel Moony leered at Devil Padfoot, “but you’re finally being honest. Sure, Lily might turn you down, but at least you tried.”
“Well, at least this’ll be a good topic for your fruity diary,” Devil Padfoot shook his head. “The dodgy one with the unicorn on it.”
“Actually, that’s my imagination journal,” I said aloud. D’oh!
Lily’s face scrunched up in confusion for a minute, but then she dismissed this as another one of my random outbursts. “James,” she said earnestly. “To be completely honest, I despised you for a very long time. You were a real jerk, and I didn’t think you’d ever change.”
I wanted to cry. Really badly.
“But then,” her lips twitched into a coy grin, “you did. I guess Dumbledore saw what I couldn’t, when he appointed you Head Boy. Sure, you’ve never been one to live by the rules, but you command such respect from your peers and are a natural leader, and frankly, I admire that.”
You could have knocked me over with a feather at this point.
“I fancy you too, James,” Lily admitted. “You’re so clever and charming, and I’m probably going to regret saying this, but you’re pretty cute.”
Without a moment’s hesitation, I stepped forward and kissed Lily Evans on the lips. She wrapped her arms around my torso as I cupped her tender face in my hands.
For the first time in my life, I didn’t think any strange thoughts while I kissed Lily. All I could concentrate on was how soft she is all over and how she smells like flowers and how she seemed to kiss me as eagerly as I kissed her.
Wait! Memo to self: Girls’ dormitory steps surfing! Steal some trays from the kitchen with Padfoot and wait until the entire house goes to dinner, then run up the steps to the girls’ dormitory until they turn into a slide, then jump on the trays and slide down to the bottom! Best idea EVER.
Oh right, Lily.
“Hi,” I said dazedly as I broke away and wrapped my arms around her waist.
“Hi yourself,” she grinned knowingly and put her arms around my neck, pulling me closer.
Prongs. Stop imagining Lily’s body naked. It will do you no good, as it’ll be ten years after the wedding before you see anything.
Lily seemed to debate something, then tilted up her head and kissed me strongly, opening my lips with her tongue. My eyes went wide but I went along with it, because miracles don’t happen every day.
She pulled away and walked toward the house, asking, “You coming in?”
I smiled triumphantly as I followed her. Boy, that Lily Evans is full of surprises.
So…I hope it’s okay. Please review, because it’s great to hear positive feedback, but if I’m doing something terribly wrong, I want to become a better writer. And thanks so much for reading!