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Avoiding the Inevitable by hedwidgeon
Chapter 1 : The Head Boy's Badge
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 9


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[As of August 2011, I am doing a somewhat-annual Edit Of All Things Old and various drafts of one-shots for this fic fall into that category so there will be some edits and/or updates soon.

Characters and all that belong to JKR, and anything you recognize is probably not mine. All story graphics are mine.

This story is going to be a collection of unrelated one-shots about Lily and James. They’re going to come in a pretty random order; they will be posted as I write them. Some of them might refer to others, but it's not necessary to read them in order. Feel free to skip around or whatever; enjoy (: ]



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The Head Boy's Badge


The sun was bright, beating down on London.  It was a typically warm summer’s day, the sort that is made for lounging about in the sun with nothing particular in mind.  Indeed, the soft, cool breezes were the type to just sweep any errant thought completely away, with the result that it was quite difficult to do anything other than relax.

Two girls in their late teens were taking full advantage of this weather, lying side-by-side against a tree at the edge of a grassy park.  The taller of the two was sitting vaguely up, her brown eyes on two children over by the swing set.  Technically, she was babysitting the two, but with her best friend over for the summer holidays she was easily distracted.  For now, though, as Lily dozed in the sun, Mary focused on the children, who were laughing wildly as they ran through the sand around the swings.

A few minutes later, Sarah came running towards her, Jacob trailing behind.  “Mary!  Mary, Lily, c’mon, want to swing with us?” Sarah asked eagerly.

Lily opened one bleary eye and peered up at the two.  “You look like you’ve bathed in sand,” she commented wryly, and sat up to brush the girl’s shorts and t-shirt clean.

Mary grinned, thinking Lily probably did her job better than she did.  “Of course, Sarah,” she replied.  “But first let’s get a drink of water.”  She pulled some bottled water from her bag, and Lily grinned at her, knowing it was her way of redeeming herself.  Lily could keep them clean as long as Mary kept them well-fed and well-watered.

“Thanks,” said Jacob, wiping his mouth with his sleeve.

“You’re welcome,” Mary replied, stuffing them back into the bag.  Jacob grabbed her hand and began pulling at it while Sarah took charge of Lily, who laughed and followed her.

The children claimed the two available swings and turned to beam expectantly at Mary and Lily, who exchanged grins and pushed the two.  It amused the children to no end that they started off at the same speed, peaking and falling and rising together, so Mary and Lily coordinated their pushing to keep the two laughing.

Lily tried to ignore that nagging unpleasantness that always came around swing sets, and a glance at Mary’s face told her that Mary knew, too.  But it wasn’t the same swing set, this was where Mary had grown up, not where she, Lily, had lived and played with Petunia Evans and Severus Snape before life really began.

Jacob and Sarah were screaming in delight as they flew higher and higher.  Mary and Lily backed off, judging them to be fine on their own, but Jacob wriggled around a bit on his swing, sending him off-rhythm from his sister.  She cried out to Mary, who immediately approached to return them to their equal pace.

“I’ll be over by the tree,” Lily called to them, and Mary nodded to her with a smile.  Sarah turned slightly and waved as Lily walked away, but she barely saw through the upsurge of annoyance at stupid swing sets.

She was almost at the tree when she heard a voice that made her freeze in her tracks.

“Oy, Prongs…”

Lily stared intensely at the tree, wondering why it always had to happen when she was already ticked off.  They had settled on a truce, and she really was trying so hard to give him that chance she’d promised, but he always came at the worst moments.  If only he could bypass her now, wait for when she was actually in a mindset to tolerate him - Please don’t see me, please don’t see me, please, please, please…

But no such luck.

“Hey, Lily!  Lily!” called James Potter.  She had to admit that it was easier to talk to him now, being on a first-name basis.  It had always been so antagonizing, to hear hey Evans, go out with me?  She hadn’t heard the question in several months now, she reminded herself.  No reason to be pissed at him today.

She took a deep breath and turned to look over.  He and Sirius Black were playing football on the field beyond the playground with some Muggle boys from the neighborhood.  She gave them a cursory wave and forced a smile, hoping this would suffice, but then one of the boys Lily didn’t know called to James, “So that’s the one you were talking about?”  Sirius responded with a nod for James, who looked somewhat uncomfortable.

It was so awkward, yelling across half the playground, and Lily told herself to leave it alone.  But the idea that he’d been talking about her to these random boys she didn’t even know incensed her even more, and she found herself stalking over.  Sirius glanced at James and away again.

She glared at James, but kept a nice and civil tone.  “Listen, James, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t.  It’s enough that I’m known for stupid things like being your eternal love at Hogwarts but if you’re spreading that to these blokes as well…” 

He had the grace to look guilty.  “Sorry.  It’s just a topic that comes up a lot, you know, girls and things.”  Sirius smirked at that, and Lily had to breathe deeply again.  And things?

“Besides.  It, uh, came up when I was talking to Sirius about being Head Boy and saying that you probably made Head Girl.  You did, didn’t you?” he added, with the air of making sure of something he was certain on out of politeness’ sake. 

It took her a moment to puzzle through the entire statement.  “Wait.  You were talking to Sirius about being Head Boy?” she repeated incredulously.

“Yes,” he replied, all his arrogance suddenly back, and pulled the Head Boy badge out of his pocket and tilted it so that the sun caught it and flashed into her eyes.

Her jaw dropped.  Truce or no truce, this was unacceptable.  She sprang forward and grabbed the badge out of his hand, snapping, “I’ll admit that some of your pranks have amused me, James, but this one is just rude.  Who did you take it from?”

There was an honestly shocked look on his face, but after six years of seeing it when chaos erupted at school, she did not trust it in the slightest.  Sirius cleared his throat, obviously about to come to James’ defense, but she cut across him.

“And yes, I am Head Girl, and I’m not about to make any exceptions for you just because we promised to at least try to get along.  There’s more to getting along than not asking me out every five minutes, James.”  With that, she turned on her heel and stalked back to the tree, undoubtedly leaving James and Sirius appropriately snubbed behind her.

Mary intercepted her as she approached the tree.  “Merlin, Lily, I thought you and James were starting to actually tolerate each other,” she commented wryly.  “He looks like he’s about to feed his own broomstick to the Giant Squid.”

Lily gave a grudging smile at that.  She held the Head Boy badge up to show Mary.  “He had this.  I don’t know who the actual Head Boy is, but I’m going to write Professor Dumbledore to apologize.  I can’t even think what possessed him to do something like this.”

Mary looked at the badge, then back at Lily.  “What if it’s, you know, actually James?”

This time Lily honestly laughed.  “Actually James?  I’ll feed you to the Giant Squid if you take his side.”

“Hey!” cried Mary, and lunged at her, and Lily dodged away toward the swing set, yelling with laughter.

---

 
Dear Professor Dumbledore,

Thank you very much for appointing me to the position of Head Girl.  I truly appreciate it, and I hope you find yourself satisfied with your choice in the coming year.

However, I have a query on behalf of the Head Boy you have chosen.  I came across James Potter today, and he had the badge, claiming that it was his.  I confiscated it and have enclosed it in the envelope.  Would you please return it to its rightful owner with my apologies for Potter’s behavior?

Thank you, and I hope your summer has been enjoyable.

Sincerely,

Lily Evans



Lily folded the parchment carefully and slipped it into an envelope with the Head Boy badge.  She tied the letter onto her owl’s leg and stroked a hand over its back gently.  “Take this to Professor Dumbledore, all right?” she told it.

The owl blinked at her and nipped her ear affectionately before taking flight out of the window of Mary’s guest room.  She watched it fly until it was just a speck in the sky, and then she turned to collapse on her bed and allowed her mind to return to what had happened that day.

They had left the playground soon after the run-in with James, and after a lunch at Sarah and Jacob’s house (cooked by Mary, who did not trust Lily in kitchens), the children’s parents had returned.  Pay was split between Lily and Mary, and the two returned to Mary’s house where the money was deposited in the tin that the Macdonald family kept for Muggle money that needed to be exchanged at Gringotts.  Lily had thrown herself onto the couch in the living room, where Mary’s mother was redecorating.  Mary had followed, slouching into her favourite armchair.

It hadn’t been long before Lily began venting her frustration at the entire day, starting with the swing set and continuing to James Potter and his infuriating arrogance.

A Look had passed between Mary and her mother, unnoticed by Lily, who was rarely distracted once she got started on James Potter.

Distracted she was, however, when her rant reminded her of the Head Boy badge in her pocket, and that had brought her up into the guest room, her room for the two weeks she was spending with Mary, writing Professor Dumbledore.


She had compared the Head Boy and Head Girl badges next to each other before writing the letter.  They looked quite nice together, very complimentary – and it was terrible that those were the first words that came to mind, because Mary had used them about her and James Potter back in their first year, when they hadn’t argued quite as much, but she’d still refused to talk to Mary for three days after the comment.

The rest of the day passed without incident, although dinner was unusually quiet.  The Macdonalds had a flair for extravagance, so dinner was normally an elaborate three or four course affair with lavish decorations and food to rival that of the Hogwarts house elves during Christmas dinner.  But Lily spend it contemplating the punishments she’d set up for James Potter this year while Mary tried in vain to remind her that they were supposed to have a truce now.  Mary’s parents, at first quite unsure as to what to make of the girls’ conversation, quickly worked it out and spent the rest of the meal exchanging knowing looks when Lily was focused elsewhere.  

---


Lily woke up the next morning after a confusing and alarming dream involving kissing James Potter.  She had gone to sleep trying hard not to think of him, which was an absolute guarantee that he would star prominently in her dreams.  She’d learned that her mind worked like this from all the time she had spent trying not to think about Severus, so as she brushed tangles out of her hair she wondered if maybe she’d wanted to have dreams about him.

Merlin, no.  That was just the sort of thought you had when you were seriously hungry, she decided, and headed downstairs to eat.

Her owl was waiting for her in the kitchen, a thick roll of parchment tied to its leg.  Mary came ambling in as Lily carefully removed the letter, her hair standing in every direction.  “That was fast,” Mary commented, pouring herself a glass of milk and offering some of it to the owl.

Lily nodded vaguely.  Dumbledore’s slanted writing proclaimed her name on the outside of the scroll.  It was really very good of him to answer her so quickly; she hoped this was an indication that he was just as incensed at James’ latest prank as she was.  Lily unrolled the parchment.


My dear Miss Evans,

If you will permit me to say so, you never do cease to amuse me.  Mr. Potter is, in fact, the Head Boy that I have chosen.  As I am sure that you will be very reluctant to believe this, let me offer you some reasoning as to why I have selected him.

Firstly, I believe you know that he saved a certain Mr. Severus Snape from a rather dangerous situation in his fifth year, and has since been rather hesitant about hexing the boy.  I believe that this is an indication of the fact that he is growing out of his rather lawless ways and will not abuse his power as Head Boy.

Also, after this incident, he came to me and confessed something quite dangerous that he and his friends have been keeping from me.  It was very wise of him and I have come to realize that he has shown much better judgment in his time at Hogwarts than we have previously believed of him.

And finally, since making Mr. Remus Lupin a prefect did nothing whatsoever to control Mr. Potter and his friends, I thought that giving Mr. Potter himself a position of power would teach him a few things that he has yet to learn.

I hope you understand that I have devoted extensive thought to this decision.  I am providing you with more rational than I would usually do because I am well aware that you and Mr. Potter have had your differences in the past.  I suggest that you attempt to lay these aside, at least for the sake of Heads’ duties, and work together to keep Hogwarts running smoothly.

Thank you, and I am looking forward to having you back at Hogwarts for another year.

Professor Dumbledore



“You’re going to catch flies if you keep staring like that,” Mary commented, slapping some bacon into a pan.  The sudden sizzling shocked Lily out of her trance and she closed her mouth with a snap. 

“Mary, James is bloody Head Boy,” she replied flatly.

Mary turned to look at her, eyebrows raised.  “Does this mean you’re actually feeding me to the Giant Squid?”

“Mary, James is bloody Head Boy!” she repeated, hoping her emphasis would clue Mary in on the fact that this was no laughing matter at all.

Mary came over and pulled the letter from Lily’s hand.  She scanned it quickly, frowning.  “It’s not like there’s anything in here that we don’t know, aside from this whole big dangerous secret thing.”

“Must be pretty bloody big, because none of the rest of that makes him the ideal Head Boy,” Lily replied, staring hopelessly at the ceiling.  She had an inkling what that might be – but if Severus’s age-old theory about Remus Lupin was correct, then Professor Dumbledore, as headmaster, would already know, wouldn’t he? 

“Apparently it does in Dumbledore’s mind,” Mary said with a laugh, leaving the letter on the kitchen table and returning to her bacon.

“Yeah, well, who knows how Dumbledore’s mind works.  Maybe he just wants to torture me,” Lily groaned, and let herself fall down at the table.  Her owl pecked at her hair.

“Well, think of it this way,” said Mary, flipping some bacon onto a plate for Lily.  “Dumbledore’s always right, isn’t he?”

“Merlin, that’s a terrible method of comfort,” Lily moaned and shared her bacon with her owl.

Mary continued as if she hadn’t spoken.  “And if he’s always right and James Potter is so mature and responsible and has such great judgment and will learn the reins of power, then he’ll be so brilliant there won’t be anything for you to do!”

“And that’s supposed to be comforting how?” Lily asked. 

“It’s not,” grinned Mary.  “Double victory for Dumbledore, double victory for James Potter.  You’ve no idea how fun it is to infuriate you.”

Lily abandoned the bacon and lunged for her, and Mary ran screaming from the kitchen, nearly barreling over her mother.  “Forget the Giant Squid, I swear I will feed you all to an army of dementors!” Lily shouted through her laughter.

Her owl finished off the bacon, and relieved itself with precise aim onto Professor Dumbledore’s letter.


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