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Flames by SpottedZebra
Chapter 3 : Chapter Three
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 5

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A/N: Enjoy! And don't forget a review at the end :D

When they asked me what I loved most about life,
I smiled and said you.
- Unknown

"Crap," Lily muttered again as she slid into her seat in the Prefects' cabin. Her dream job had descended into the Hell of Enmity, and it was everything in her power to keep from screaming swear words at the incoming Prefects.

Hogwarts had a total of twenty-four Prefects, made up of 6 from each House. A male and female student were annually selected from the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Years to make up one of the main disciplinary forces in the school...

"Yet another reason dip-stick headed Potter should not be a Prefect," Lily grumbled to herself.

Lily spotted Thomas Sole, of Hufflepuff, who had been Marietta’s herbology partner in Fifth Year. He waved and smiled at Lily. They had been friends during a brief span when he and Mari had taken 'partners' to a whole new level.

Beside her, James groaned at seeing Severus Snape slip in to the cabin. Snape sat tentatively at the far end, but not before shooting James a dark glare. Yet, on a whole, he alone was silent and cold; most of the Prefects were talking amiably around the room. 

Lily smoothed out her Prefects list, glancing the names over once more: 

List of Hogwarts Prefects
Arranged by House, Year, and Gender

Gryffindor Prefects
7th Years
1) Remus Lupin
2) Alice Montgomery

6th Years
1) Richard Bomworth
2) Katharine Fletchly

5th Years
1) Andrew Rosley
2) Tina Clementon

Ravenclaw Prefects
7th Years
1) Carlos Cameron
2) Emma McKinley

6th Years
1) Arthur Johnson
2) Hestia Jones

5th Years 
1) Davy Gudgeon
2) Anne Marie Davis

Hufflepuff Prefects
7th Years
1) Thomas Sole
2) Clarisse Smith

6th Years
1) David Pomfrey
2) Ruby Kremelle

5th Years
1) Carl Finch-Fletchy
2) Glyde Cotter

Slytherin Prefects
7th Years
1) Severus Snape
2) Narcissa Black

6th Years
1) Arknik Goyle
2) Vela MacFurl

5th Years
1) Antonin Dolohov
2) Karley Zabini

Putting aside the paper, Lily cleared her throat. She knew most of the Prefects by name, with the exception of one or two Fifth Years. 

"Excuse me! Excuse me. Quiet, please." Silence spread quickly. This was mostly a group of over-achievers, after all. Lily felt sweaty, although she knew it was simply her nerves and imagination. Turning to James, she asked sharply: "Do you have the folders?"

"Yes!" he said. James ran a hand through his hair hastily. Lily tried not to scowl at the action as he began rummaging through his bag. "Yes. Folders...folders...ah, here!" He tugged them out of his bag and snagged a few corners.

Fighting repulsion, Lily took them from him and handed them to the nearest Prefect, Remus, who continued to hand the thick files out. Once Remus had circled the table, Lily began.

"James and I--" Tina Clementon winked flirtatiously at the Head Boy. Lily cleared her throat and continued on, "--are this year’s Head students. We’ve passed around the folders," Lily held one up as an example. "There are five packets in there right now, but more will be added. Let’s see…" She opened her folder and read the titles. "Rounds…ah, Punishments…Rules…Expectations…oh, and Year Events. These are for your convenience. Please don’t lose them." 

Karley Zabini, a Fifth Year Slytherin, spoke up: "What are the year events?" 

Thomas smirked. "Events that happen in the year, obviously." 

Karley rolled her eyes, and flicked her yellow-blonde hair. "I mean what are we doing this year? Dances? Halloween parties?" She sneered at Thomas before turning back to Lily. 

The Head Girl cleared her throat, darting her eyes to James and back. "Well...that file was added last minute. The Head Boy thought it would be 'awesome' to have school-wide events to, ah, counter the worry and stress caused by Voldemort." 

An instant, predictable hush fell over the table as students let their thoughts wander. Remus, always the unsung hero, changed the mood by saying: "I think a Christmas dance sounds fantastic." 

"And a Halloween disco!" 

"How about a Valentine’s tea?" 

"Saint Patty’s lunch!" 

"An Easter egg hunt!" 

Lily flashed her werewolf friend a smile, before calming the Prefects to get back on track.

They trudged through the formalities of their duties and responsibilities slowly, until James finished with: "…and Hufflepuffs will patrol from 5:00 until the train stops. Lily, did we cover everything?" At her curt nod, he finished: "That will be all then. You are dismissed." He sounded very authoritative.

The noise level rose exponentially as Prefects scooted out chairs and gathered up papers, clearly ready to return to their friends. Lily remembered her first (three hour) meeting with a shudder; those Heads had been a living Hell — not only did they insist on a two-hour weekly meeting, but they broke up half way through the year. Behind their backs, they were called Mr. Heartbreak and Mrs. Backstab.

James turned to face the Head Girl, ruffling his hair in the process. "So, not too bad, huh? Erm…how do you think I did?" He felt his hand slid through his hair again. 

Lily shrugged. She bent under the table, gathering up her messenger bag. "My Dad always says: ‘What you can’t change, work with.’" 

"Wh-what's that supposed to mean?" His brows were lowered, questioningly. "Is that some weird Muggle saying?"

Lily straightened and swung her messenger bag on her shoulder. It bounced with her steps as she headed for the door. "I’ll let you figure that one out on your own, Head Boy." 

As soon as the compartment door clicked closed, and James was alone in the Meeting Room, he collapsed back into his chair. "Oh, Lily," he whispered pitifully. "This job sucks."
Lily barged into her friends’ compartment. Steam whistled from her ears and a fiery flush crept up her neck. The three girls paused in the conversation (about nail polish) to stare at Lily like she was a maniac.

"Ah, Lily?" Alice asked gently.

"James POTTER is HEAD BOY!" She seethed, panting for breath in the door way. Several students peeked out into the hallway to see the commotion, including Sirius and Peter.

Lily's friends tried to keep straight faces, but collectively burst out laughing at their redheaded friend. Lily looked positively frazzled.

"Thanks a lot guys! I’m really appreciating the support I’m getting from my best mates." She through her hands up into the air, but her lips twitched. Lily could see why it was funny, it just didn’t feel funny. 

Alice was the first to get over her giggle-fest, and said, "C’mon, Lil. Let’s go take over the Head Suite before the Marauders do. It’ll make you feel better. I promise."

"And even if you don't feel better there," Clair said, "I will."

The Head Suite had a grandeur and comfort that was gladly accepted, and did in fact bolster Lily's mood. They collapsed on the petite, tufted sofas with cheer. After two months of restricted interaction, the girls could hardly get enough of each other, and time flew by without effort. Lily did hear all about Alice and Frank’s not-quite-romantic not-quite-a-date, contrasted with details of Claribel's Moroccan boyfriend. 

They did, in fact, have to share with the Marauders, but neither party bothered the other beyond basic pleasantries, and they stretched out on opposite sides of the roomy coach, completely ignoring each other. Granted, Lily put up a silencing barrier that halved the compartment, which did make conversation a tad difficult. 

About halfway through the trip Lily exclaimed with joy, "Well, it's about time!" Her boyfriend, Carson Finch, peeked his head into the compartment. He smiled widely at her and made his way into the room.

"Gentlemen," he said with a nod--polite, if chilled. It was followed by: "Ladies," and a much friendly round of smiles.

Carson Finch was a handsome young man with a short cut of blond hair, a bold straight nose, and bright blue eyes. He wasn't tall for a man necessarily, but had broad shoulders and a wide chest that pulled tight against his t-shirt. His father was a Muggle and his mother was a half-blood, so he could related to Lily's world well. He had been dating Lily since December of their Sixth Year.

Lily patted the seat beside her and warmly received Carson's kiss. The room temperature may have dropped with the icy glares from the Marauders, but the girls ignored the macho-man territorial motions and continued with their conversation. She curled up under Carson's arm, feeling comfortable, and snuggled into his chest. Lily was more than happy to be returning to school.

"Where were you earlier? I swear I searched the whole Platform looking for you," she asked softly.

"I was on the train, helping First Years put their luggage on the upper racks. One was trying to levitate it with his wand...he gave his friend a weird wart, so I had to take both of the fellows down to the infirmary."

"Mmm," Lily mumbled with a smile. It was no surprise to her that Carson had been helping the new students. He like to be in the midst of things. "You're sweeter than you should be, y'know that? I hung out with your mom waiting for you."

He laughed and kissed the top of her head.

The train passed through miles of uninhabited farmland until the sun was low over the mountains and stomachs were growling louder than the complainers. Students began wandering the corridors in search of the time, dressed in robes and ties and pointy hats. At last, just as the sun’s last rays descended behind the peaks, the crimson locomotive pulled into the Hogwarts station. It pulled a squeaking brake, and everything stopped.
As the Head Girl stepped off the Hogwarts Express, she was reminded of her First Year. That September had been completely opposite: rainy, cold, and bitterly windy. 

Lily Evans hopped off of the train, very petite and completely alarmed. She held her arms in front of her face to deflect some of the rain. It dripped down her sleeves and plastered her hair to her face. She was unsure of where to go, and what to do, but her friends surrounded her. On one side, the newly-met Alice, Marietta, and Claribel stood hesitantly; on the other, Sev looked around with his wild grin. He was a half-blood, and had been raised with the knowledge of magic. 

Her friend, Severus Snape, was rather unusual looking. His greasy locks were cut to his ears; his black eyes roved like snake slits as they darted around searching for the famed castle. He had a rolling walk, but was twitchy and pallid. The wind whipped his hair around his face, like her own, but he did not even try to cover himself from the downpour. He was obviously under-cared for, with that slightly abandoned look that caused so much teasing back home on the playground. 

Behind them, two boys were also exiting the train. One of them said something about her, but even as she strained her ears, the wild winds whipped everything but her name away. The rain fell in endless sleets, making the school impossible to see. A huge man, hollering over the weather, was yelling: "Firs’ Years! O‘er here please! Firs’ Years! This way, if yer don’ mind, now! Les’ hurry! C’mon!" Lily goggled up at him in shock. She had not believed it was physically possible to be so hugely massive.

Her trunk was taken from her by a hunched older man, and she fell into the throng of rain and students. She was shoved around and separated from her companions; she caught Severus’ eye and tried to reach him, but it was a lost cause. She found herself between the two obnoxious boys from the train, who had been talking about her behind her back. 

They were both dark haired, and about her height, although she had about an inch over the one with glasses. Lily tried to surge forward and lose them in the crowd, but to her dismay, they kept up with her, making eye contact and smiling at each other. 

"Um…hello, Lilac, I’m Sirius." 

"And I’m James Potter." 

The girl simply sniffed and turned her eyes forward, willing them to disappear. "The name's
Lily, not 'Lilac'," she said with pre-teen snobbery. Suddenly, they both screeched and grabbed at their arms in pain. She had accidentally pinched them. Back home, her Hogwarts letter had explained that her magic was extremely sensitive to her emotions. Dumbledore hadn't been joking. She smiled her crooked smile, and continued to speed up. They kept pace. 

The Head Girl smiled at them as she aided in the procession of First Years. She was dark haired, and dark skinned, with an "Arabian Princess" look to her. Lily smiled shyly up into her pretty, wet face, thinking the girl to be a teacher. The Head Girl wore a vest to mark her apart from the rest of the students. It was blue for Ravenclaw. But soon their eye contact broke, and Lily was still stuck between the two boys. 

"Will you go out with me?" 

Lily’s jaw fell open. What did he just ask her? They were eleven, for Pete’s sake! Plus she knew nothing about either of them, except for the fact that they were stupid, arrogant boy-wizards who bullied people they didn’t know. 

James, the boy who asked, turned the brightest red, but tried to cover it up by looking sure of himself. Sirius, his friend, looked just as incredulous as Lily, but then began to laugh. 

Lily blushed too, and sniffed a sharp "No!" These boys had been mean to her oldest friend, and she was not about to go out with one. That was only something her sister did, not Lily. Petunia said she has had three boyfriends already, and she was only two years older than Lily.
James blushed again, and looked slightly disappointed, but he seemed to have expected that much. She watched as he ruffled up his hair with a hand; it looked ridiculously messy as it wetly flopped back to his scalp. He avoided eye contact with her. However, they refused, in their silent manner, to let her leave them. 

Next, she found herself in a boat, securely seated between the two. She was so wet and cold that she found that she was kind of thankful for their bulk beside her. James kept trying to put his arm around his shoulders, for Sirius’ enjoyment. They guffawed as her reactions grew increasingly more violent--although they occasionally grimaced in pain from the pinches--and sniggered when she tried to wriggle away.

After several minutes of this torture, Lily was frustrated enough that she completely lost control of her magic and tossed Potter into the lake. He was dragged out by his shoulders and flung several feet from the boat with a gigantic splash.

Now, honestly, James had been quite scared. His father and mother had told him the stories about the Great Squid in the middle of the Black Lake since his childhood. But Lily, however, was terrified. She was afraid he was going to drown because of her careless, uncontrollable magic, which would leave her in some jail cell because she murdered him. The waves in the lake were sloshing against the edges of the boat, and even though he tried to swim, he was being pushed out further. 

"No!" she cried out. Lily stretched out over the water to grab him. Her cold, numb hand was a pale contrast over the dark waters. She strained harder for him. Only inches...centimeters...there! She had him! But Lily saw the glint in his eyes too late, and soon she was splashing about in the water, screaming and cursing his name as her water-logged clothes dragged her about in a desperate struggle. 

Hagrid, the gamekeeper, had to row his boat about and save them both, although James had done his part to keep her afloat. He
had held her above water, all the while apologizing. She had clung to him like a kitten, sobbing and cursing and clawing at him. Sirius, who was very dry in comparison to the two, just laughed all the way to the towering castle.  
Lily began to walk along the platform, trying to let the beautiful sunset calm her. She felt that boiling anger against Potter. He, James Harold Potter, had been an obnoxious toe-rag since day one. No wonder they had been at ends ever since. 

The Head Girl began to shuffle anxious First Years towards the boats. She briefly recalled the "Arabian Princess" Head Girl from so many, many years ago. Lily flicked her wavy hair over a shoulder, and adjusted her red vest, showing she had come from Gryffindor. 

One First Year girl with bright red pigtails stared up at Lily and smiled ever-so slightly. The Head Girl grinned back. 'That', Lily thought, 'is exactly what I looked like'. Many of the new students greeted her politely, but were quickly silenced with open awe at the sight of Hogwarts Castle. 

The day’s last glow highlighted the top turrets and sprinkled shadows across the lake surface. A hazy reflection of the castle's walls danced in the water. In the evening sky, clouds of purple, red, and pink perched like a painting. Lily paused for a second to breathe in the fresh scent of the grounds. She tried to memorize every feature of the school, wondering if she would forget to take in the little details later through the Year. 

"See you a little later, Lily," Carson said with a sweet smile as he walked by. He squeezed her small hand quickly before letting himself get pushed along with the crowd.

"Bye!" She called, beaming and waving without a care.

James worked steadily like Lily, wondering if he had looked so small seven years ago. He, for certain, had not looked so dumb struck at the sight of the school. Instead, he had been preoccupied with the girl squished between him and Sirius. He laughed briefly as he remembered being shoved in the Lake so very long ago. And then pulling in Lily…and he had finally got to put his arm around her when he was saving her from drowning. Granted, she didn’t find it very "cute". 

Gently pushing a short, blocky boy towards the awaiting boats, he caught Lily’s eye. She smiled, much to his surprise. James returned the smile with joy, and ran a hand through his hair absently. She quickly grimaced. Once the redhead turned away (he thought he saw her roll her eyes, too) James smiled at the young boy. 

"Let’s hope for the best this year, alright small fry?"

The kid just nodded back, confused. "Uh...uh, alright, sir?"
The Head Boy and Girl walked through the massive front doors with the last of the students. After making sure everyone had made it to the school, they had caught the last carriage from the train. The Heads had sat squished together amongst sluggish Slytherins. Lily hadn't known for which party she had stronger repulsion.

Lily felt very awkward being in Potter’s presence. She kept resisting a natural habit to pull out her wand and hex the living daylights out of him. Instead, she just kept quoting her own father. "What you can't change, work with," he would have said. Or he might have teased: "Don't let people drive you crazy when you know it's in walking distance!" That one made her smile crookedly, imagining his laugh-lines crinkle as he said it.

In her Third Year, she had come home screaming mad at James Potter after he had bought her a diamond bracelet for her Christmas gift. She had been ranting through the house, angry at James’ nerve, irritated with the amount of money he had, and frustrated with how willing he was to throw it at Lily’s feet. Her father had sat her down and explained to her that some circumstances were beyond her control. He told her that James was as wildly independent as herself, "and that’s why you’ve got to learn to bend." 

With all of her father's inspiring quotes bouncing in her skull, Lily felt obligated to big a bigger person when James asked, "Are you excited to be back?" He ran a hand through his dark hair in habit.

Her affirmation was immediate, if terse: "Yes. I’m sorry it’s our last year."

"I'm going to miss eating here," he said as they walked towards the Gryffindor table. Lily purposefully made sure they did not walk in-step.

"I'm going to miss these enchanted ceilings," Lily added. The roof was a purplish mass, flecked with pale stars and tinged with rosy clouds.

"I'm going to miss the Slytherins, to be completely honest."

Lily rolled her eyes. "Your life is sad. But I'm going to miss seeing my friends and boyfriend every day."

"I'm going to miss you," he said with a flirty wink.

Lily scoffed irately. "Thank you, Potter, for your completely inappropriate comments. They're predictable."

"It's James, Lily. I wasn't asking you to go out with me!" He sounded completely and utterly shocked.

Lily rounded on him. "Are you serious right now? You have no idea why I'm mad? Look. I know I said for you to stop asking me out. But please. Just stop acting interested! I have a boyfriend. I'm happy with him. If you cared about me--" 

"--which I do!"

"--then you'd respect the decisions I make."

James looked away. He was filled with anger, but a different type of anger. He was stupid when it came to Lily. Girls--well, he understood them for the most part. But Lily was something else. Glancing around the room, he caught Dumbledore's piercing eyes. He waved with a gentle flourish at the Heads. The Headmaster certainly elevated both of their moods, and they beamed in response.

Soon the Heads parted. James plunked down on the benches with the Marauders, while Lily slid happily down to sit with Mari and Alice and Claribel. She seemed relieved to leave James’ tongue-tied presence. 

"Attention! May I have your attention, please."

The Hall instantly quieted for the Headmaster. Albus Dumbledore was a witty and life-loving man who always kept the school on their feet. He wore violently violet, star spangled robes, with a sliver ribbon tied around his ever-whitening beard. His eyes twinkled as he addressed the students. "Welcome to another year of Hogwarts. Welcome to our First Years," he nodded to the group nervously gathered at the back. "And welcome back to our older classmen. The elves have been preparing delicious food to fill your famished bellies. But first, we have some Sorting to do."

Professor McGonagall levitated a rickety stool to the front of the room. It plunked to the ground, wobbling on its three un-even legs. She gracefully followed it to the center, carrying the famed Sorting Hat. The Sorting Hat was a tattered and patched wide-brimmed hat you would expect to find hidden in a farmhouse attic. As James described it: "A broken, stepped upon, centuries old, poorly made, pointed sombrero." It was an unattractive muddy color and was overall unquestionably ugly. 

Lily leaned over to Alice. "Apparently," she whispered, "They have to keep patching the hat because no one knows the charm to create another one."  

The Hat made a noise suspiciously similar to a hiccup before exploding in song:

"Why suffer on alone?
When you could be as one?
To our divided school:
Why walk when you could run? 

Stand together, act as friends,
Be strong and unite!
A happy tale should not end 
with sadness and fright. 

To Gryffindor, our bold and brave:
Step down from your posts!
To Slytherin, our cunning friends:
Please silence your boasts! 

And Ravenclaw, the wise and quick:
There’s more to life than books!
And Hufflepuff, our loyal chums:
There’s more to life than looks! 

Let’s not forget the teachers
Who teach the Hogwarts group:
If a student’s misbehaving’
Just turn ‘em into soup!"

The tired, pointed cap seemed to bend over as if bowing, and the entire room burst into applause. At the back, the First Years clapped hesitantly. They seemed alarmed at the thought of a singing hat. One student even seemed close to tears, and sniffled bravely with wide, watery eyes.

Alice whispered, "Didn't you cry?"

"I most certainly did not!" Lily replied, aghast. "Well...I might have a little."

In a loving yet stern manner, McGonagall filed the First Years up to the front of the room. She was one of the younger teachers on Hogwarts' staff, gracefully in her late thirties, and taught Transfiguration. Handsome, she had a stern expression and wore her chestnut hair in a tight bun. Sirius Black sincerely claimed that she was his favorite teacher. He had asked her to Hogsmede every trip since Third Year, and adoringly calling her "Minnie".

Her voice, very clear and professional, announced with a regal tone, "Arkton, Andrew," as she read off of a long, rolling parchment. The chubby boy James had met darted to the front. He was eager; probably a youngest sibling in a wizarding family. The Hat was placed upon his tawny head. 

The rough fabric slipped down to hide the boy’s face where it bunched up on his nose. The magical Hat mumbled a few thoughts. After a moment, it yelled: "Hufflepuff!" The grinning boy pranced off the stage and into an older sister’s embrace. 

"Atton, John." A shy, blonde boy in secondhand robes walked up to the three legged stool. "Ravenclaw!" From there, the Sorting Hat became a blur of alphabetical names, eleven-year-olds, and cheering Houses.






The Hat assigned every First Year a House, from Andrew Arkton to Cathleen Zimmer, and they all scurried into the Houses amid cheers. 

And with a wrinkled smile, he became inanimate. McGonagall lovingly removed him from the platform and carried him off into a side room. Dumbledore rose again, silencing the chuckles and clapping. 

"Let the feast begin with: ‘Finkle, Totter, Blink’." And food (exquisite of course) began piling upon the empty trays to the excited yells of students and guffaws of Seventh Year boys. 
Lily swallowed another large bite of mashed potatoes before answering Marietta’s question. She was almost shaking with the excitement from the environment. 

"Yeah, my sister just kind of stormed down into the basement. But I guess I’ll see her over the break in December," Lily said. Marietta just shrugged; it had always bothered her how Petunia was so cruel to her only sister. Then again, Mari had enough family issues to know that a cruel family member wasn't the end-all-be-all.

Claribel swallowed, shoving her rich blonde and pink hair out of her face. "So, did your dad drive you to the Platform?" 

Lily nodded over her goblet of pumpkin juice. She was overjoyed to be with her friends again; it was hard to stay close over the summer when you are the living in a Muggle home. For some reason, the neighbors didn’t like owls flying to her window and "dropping a load of bird poop on top of my Ford! Do you know how much my water bill is from just cleaning my convertible? Why in the blazes do you own OWLS for pets?" 

So Lily changed the topic to Clair's new uniform wardrobe.
"Hey, what’s that shop called? Glad…" 

Claribel gasped and sloshed juice over the table, "Gladrag’s Wizardwear?!" She began gushing about her new uniform, "’K, my mom totally splurged. She got me four new skirts of the nicest stuff, three are thick, um, wool, and one is cotton. Two are light, two are dark. Oh! And she let me get different lengths! I am so happy! My shirts are nice, but plain y’know. One’s silk, kind of formal, and then cotton, I think…." 

Alice rolled her eyes, but listened in. They’d talk about Frank again later.
James half listened to Peter’s summer re-telling. He was watching The Girls...well, Lily specifically. They were all good looking, he admitted. Marietta had those gorgeous eyes. Her lashes were amazingly long. Her hair was dark and shiny, with light brown streaks. She was thin, petite, and smart, an amazing Chaser, fair Seeker, great Beater, and awesome flyer. She was sometimes moody and loud, but she had an impressive presence. 

Claribel had "kiss-me" lips (how did they shimmer?) with stick-straight blond hair and vibrant pink streaks. She was lanky and tall, quirky, kind, and a great kisser (according to Sirius). She was also a fashion-ista, feisty and witty, and kept a store of amazing come-backs.

Alice had thick, dark hair and could model for a library; books looked natural in her hands. She was slim and smart, shy and sweet. James didn’t think she had a mean bone in her body, but she was quick with a wand and loyal to her friends. 

And Lily…her hair was a kaleidoscope of reds, auburns, oranges, and just enough brown. Her eyes were the purest leaf green, her skin almost the color of his mother’s creamer. She was short, yes, but filled out just right. Not too lanky, far from big, not just skin and bones. She knew how to wear her clothes so they hung perfectly across her, her waist was so small…. 

And damn. His pretty redhead just waved at Finch, who was sitting at the Ravenclaw table. Her boyfriend blew a kiss back, and she blushed. Then she turned to Alice and began chatting about something she remembered.

"Prongs!" Remus snapped his fingers wearily in front of James, "You still here, buddy?" Remus was propped up on his elbow with a worn, embarrassed expression upon his handsome features. 

James blushed. "Yeah, yeah. Sorry guys." 

"What was she doing?" Peter asked with a heavy and exaggerated sigh. 

"Talking," said James (sheepishly), Sirius (disgustedly), and Remus (humorously) in unison. All four boys exchanged glances containing different opinions on the matter.

Peter just laughed until he started tearing up. "Mate!" 

"Tell me about it." James grumbled, and moodily stabbed his roast beef as they teased and sniggered. 
Once the feast was complete, Dumbledore rose from the staff table. "Hogwarts Students, I hope the feast was most satisfying." The Hall broke into murmurs of agreement before quieting again. "I beg only for your attention a few more short moments."

Dumbledore laid out the rules of the school. It was mostly reminders about being out after hours, forbidden objects, and the Whomping Willow. However, he particularly emphasized the dangers of the Forbidden Forest, and mentioned new security measures.

"As many of you know, these are dangerous times. We have stronger, more powerful spells protecting the school grounds, but we have stronger, more powerful enemies. I urge you not to be tempted to enter the Forest. A most grievous fate may await you.

"But enough chatter. If the Prefects would now please lead the First Years to their new Houses. All other students may be dismissed immediately after." 

First Years, however, did not get a special treatment of first leave; the Hall was abruptly filled with students racing to their beds. The sudden stream of uniformed bodies was something like a tsunami, and it carried the same similar pattern of chaos and noise. 

Nevertheless, two students, like salmon swimming up river, pushed towards the Staff Table, if not together. James could see Lily's fiery red head bobbing through the masses ahead of him. They soon reached the clearing at the front of the room, and once the last students were trickling out the door, Dumbledore turned from his discussion of giants with Professor Slughorn. 

"Good bye, Horace. Have a nice evening! And thank you; that raspberry wine was delicious."

"Ah! Yes, yes, Albus, my friend. It was an import from an old student of mine working in the South of France. 'Night, sir. 'Night, Lily and James."

Dumbledore faced the two students with a wide smile, nodding in both of their directions. Lily stood about three feet away from James. He smiled. "Ah, the new Heads! Good evening Ms. Evans, Mr. Potter. What responsibility awaits!"
A/N: Hey guys! Please tell me what you thought. I'd love some feedback from you all, let me know what you're thinking! I have tons of reads, but few reviews. Also let me know if you find typos ;) Thanks!

A/N2: Wow! This chapter recieved a huge chunk of edits. Let me know what you thought!

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