The late August sun peeked through the window and poured itself upon James as he absentmindedly attempted to flatten his unruly locks (which was, at best, a futile task). He held a piece of parchment in his hands, staring at it so intensely he might have bored a hole right through the implausible words.
Dear Mr. Potter,
It is with greatest pleasure that we welcome you back to your seventh and final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We are also pleased to inform you that you have been selected to represent the students of Hogwarts as Head Boy. The Head of the Gryffindor House has assured me that you are a responsible, (James snickered) loyal, and an intelligent student; perfect for the job ahead of you this year.
Me? James though. Me…Head Boy? Impossible! What about Remus Lupin, the Angel of Gryffindor? He had half a mind to crumple the paper and toss it with the rubbish, but curiosity overcame his incredulity. James read on:
Your duties as Head Boy will include the following:
1) Supervising Common Room Activities
2) Patrolling the Corridors
3) Supervising Detentions
4) Communication between Staff and Students
All of the above duties will be completed alongside the Head Girl, Lily Evans. Should you need to contact Ms. Evans over the summer regarding these duties, she may be reached at:
4523 Spinners End
We look forward to seeing you on September 1st, Mr. Potter. Enjoy the remainder of your holiday!
James slouched on his bed, stunned for a moment. No way, he thought to himself. Lily Evans…well, of course she would be made Head Girl; she was popular and brilliant—beautiful too, some would add. James would add. He laughed despite his spinning mind.
“Just wait ‘till she gets wind of this”, James whispered to himself, “She’ll go—“
“Whose going where?”
James snapped his head up. A loud bang announced the arrival of his best friend Sirius Black. Sirius leaned casually against the doorframe, analyzing James’ face.
“What’cha got there Prongs?” Sirius probed offhandedly.
James tried to appear normal, to little effect. “Just—er—my book list. You got yours?”
Sirius glanced at the parchment. “Yes—but mine didn’t have the Headmaster’s seal on the envelope! Give it here!”
“No! Shouted James, sticking the paper under his pillow.
“Accio parchment!” Sirius yelled gleefully. James looked on sullenly as the letter zoomed across the room into Sirius’ waiting hands. As he read, Sirius’ face assumed the expression of a child on Christmas morning. Soon after was tears were rolling down his cheeks as he clutched his sides with laughter.
“You…haha, you—James Potter…haha…Head—Boy—? Sirius danced in a little circle waving the paper above James’ reaching arms.
“Give it here!” James protested.
“Wait ‘till I tell Moony! Oh, he’ll be so upset!” Sirius sang.
“Sirius! That’s mine!” James said hotly, snatching at the letter.
“And what’s this?” Sirius inquired, inspecting the Headmaster’s message. A slow smile spread across his face. “Evans is Head Girl? Well, no surprise there! You’re in for a smashing year, Prongs!”
A red-hot blush crept up James’ neck. He hoped it made him look angry, but it only gave the appearance of embarrassment.
Reluctantly, Sirius handed back the parchment. Recovering from his intense glee, he looked at James and asked, “But, really, that’s a joke, right? How could Dumbledore have forgotten all the detentions your shenanigans have landed us in?”
“MY shenanigans?” James spat. “More like your idiotic ideas”.
“I’ll have you know,” Sirius said airily, “That all of my plans have been brilliant beyond compare. They just all happen to fall through when it comes to their execution…”
“Yeah, like last March when you charmed the Slytherin teams’ broomsticks to whinny and buck like horses when the players mounted them, but it back fired and hit Melinda Adderson.” James reminisced.
Sirius interjected: “Yeah, but that only got us detention for a month or two. Now when we exploded Snivellus’ bookbag in the dining hall—that was classic. We’ve had some good fun with the slimy git, haven’t we Prongs?”
James grew cross. “No more of that this year, alright? Your little prank last term almost cost us our hides.” James warned, referring to a risky incident regarding Snape and Lupin four full moons ago. Sirius, for some reason, thought it would be amusing to trap Snape in the Shrieking Shack while Remus was transformed.
“Aw, come on Prongs, are you ever going to let that one go? Besides, you should be thanking me! As I recall, after that night, Snivellus and Evans never talked to each other again!”
Sirius was right. James, of course, did not know the going-ons between Lily and Severus, but he had heard the words “mudblood” and “deatheater” being whispered in the hallways the day after their altercation. Ever since, Lily and Snape did not even look each other in the eye.
“Thanking you?” James cried dubiously, “Yeah, ok, you got Snape off Lily’s back, but that wasn’t your intention, it was the accidental by-product of stupid trick. You’re bloody lucky that I saved your skin; you could have been expelled!”
“My, my” clucked Sirius, “We are starting to sound like a Head Boy, aren’t we?”
James smiled at his friend. “You know it. Now lets get downstairs before Wormy eats everything—I think I’ve just heard him come in.”
The two boys thundered down the steps and joined Remus, Peter and Mr. Potter at the breakfast table. Mrs. Potter, a slender woman with chestnut hair and a kind smile, stood nearby in the kitchen charming pots and pans back into their drawers.
“James!” She called to her son, “Do your school robes still fit? Perhaps we should get them altered when we go to Diagon Alley…and….oh! Did you receive your booklist yet? I could have sworn I saw a Hogwarts owl in our walnut tree.”
Sirius grinned through a mouthful of toast. “’Oh, ‘e got more ‘an a bookist! You’re looking and ‘Ogwarts’ new ‘Ead boy!”
“Head Boy?” Mrs. Potter repeated, somehow able to interpret Sirius' ramblings. James waved his hand at his mother while kicking Sirius under the table.
“It’s nothing Mum, don’t get all teary or anything.” James mumbled.
“Nonsense.” Mr. Potter insisted. “You should be proud James, after all, when I was at Hog— ” Mr. Potter halted abruptly at the violent gasp escaping Remus’ mouth. The five of them looked on at Remus’ alarmed expression as he scrutinized an article in the Daily Prophet.
“Remus,” Mrs. Potter asked softly, “are you alright?”
“Ye—yes, sorry. Yes, I’m fine. I was just, it’s just—well, here, take a look.” Remus muttered as he slid the paper towards James and Sirius. On the front was a picture of a savage looking man, thrashing his arms like an animal. Across the page in large, black print read:
FENRIR GREYBACK IN LEAGUE WITH DEATHEATERS
Sirius looked up over the paper. “Greyback? Who’s that?”
“Keep reading.” Remus said solemnly.
Fenrir Greyback, a vicious and reckless werewolf, has recently been spotted with several leading Deatheaters during an attack near London last Wednesday. Sources from the Ministry confirmed that this is, in fact, the very same werewolf responsible for a string of brutish attacks against children several years ago. He was seen…..
James stopped reading and looked up at his friend, who looked like death warmed over. However, not wanting to say anything in front of his parents, James folded the paper stuck it under the breadbasket.
James sighed. “All we ever get is this ghastly news. You don’t reckon Voldemort could take a holiday or something? I could use a break, and I’m sure all that terrorism can really drain a man…”
“James, it’s not a joke!” his mother snapped, “People are dying out there. Why, just last week Gemma Jones’ father was tortured and killed for withholding information from the Deatheaters!”
Sirius turned to Mrs. Potter. “It’s okay, Clara, (Sirius was the only one who could get away with using her first name) we all need a bit of a laugh, don’t you think? I do. Anyways, thanks for the food—“
“And for letting you stay at my house all summer!” Mrs. Potter retorted, chuckling.
Sirius grinned. “Yeah, that too. Now, if you will excuse us, I have challenged James to a game of Quidditch, and mercifully accepted Peter to be my team mate.”
The four of them scurried out into the yard, James clutching his new DustBuster. Once out of parental earshot, he jabbed Remus in the ribs and caught his eye.
“That—that Fenrir…is he the one who bit you?”
Remus nodded. “It doesn’t really matter though. Let’s just forget it. Can I be keeper?”
It was a mild morning a week before the end of summer holiday. Lily Evans was lolling on Alice’s living room couch, reading Seven Deadly Draughts. Her long red hair fanned out over several squashy pillows, creating a bright halo around her focused face. Without warning, a cacophony of sound erupted from the window beside her. Lily leapt from the couch and whipped out her wand, aiming it warily at the open shutters. After a second of silence, a drowsy owl tottered onto the windowsill. Lily breathed freely again as she moved forward to extract the letter from the birds leg.
“Hold, still, will you?” Lily barked impatiently at the fidgeting creature. With a disgruntled look, the bird stuck out its foot and allowed Lily to retrieve her mail. When freed from it’s parcel, the owl spread its gray wings and flew into the air. Excitement built up in Lily when she saw the Headmaster’s seal on the back of the envelope. She tore the wax and unfolded the official Hogwarts parchment. She read:
Dear Ms. Evans,
It is with greatest pleasure that we welcome you back to your seventh and final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We are also pleased to inform you that you have been selected to represent the students of Hogwarts as Head Girl. The Head of the Gryffindor House has assured me that you are a responsible, focused, and an intelligent student; perfect for the job ahead of you this year.
A smile erupted on Lily’s face and she threw the letter onto the couch. “Yes, yes, yes!” She cried, “I knew it! Oh, how perfect!” Absorbed in her success, Lily did not spy Alice entering the room.
“What’s perfect, Lils?” Alice questioned her bubbling friend.
“Oh, Alice, they’ve made me Head Girl! Just think how wonderful that will appear on my resume! I’ve been hoping, but I wasn’t sure I would get it.”
“How could you not be Head Girl? You’ve abided by every school rule since you stepped foot in Hogwarts, and I’m pretty sure you’ve helped invent a few new ones along the way…”
“Well, yes, I suppose I have.” Lily admitted, giggling. As Lily ran into the kitchen to show Frank her badge, Alice read the rest of Lily’s letter.
…Your duties as Head Girl will include the following:
5) Supervising Common Room Activities
6) Patrolling the Corridors
7) Supervising Detentions
8) Communication between Staff and Students
All of the above duties will be completed alongside the Head Boy, James Potter. Should you need to contact Mr. Potter over the summer regarding these duties, he may be reached at:
62 Lantern Way
We look forward to seeing you on September 1st, Ms. Evans. Enjoy the remainder of your holiday!
Alice shook her head; she could hear Lily talking animatedly about the new reforms she wanted to introduce to Hogwarts. Standing in the living room for a few seconds, Alice was caught in a limbo of amusement and fear of her friend’s reaction. After a moment of uncertainty, she decided that it would be a far worse situation if Lily discovered James was Head Boy on the first day of school. Gathering her courage, Alice trudged into the kitchen. She found Lily twirling in her new robes, her gleaming badge proudly displayed on her chest.
“Er, Lils— ” Alice said tentatively, “I’ve seen the rest of the letter—“
“Oh, Alice, isn’t it wonderful?” Lily interrupted dreamily.
“Yes, quite. But please listen, Lily—“
“Oh! I hope my gold scarf won’t clash with the silver? Do you think it will, Alice?” Lily asked.
“LILY!” Alice bellowed.
Lily, surprised at her friend’s tone, looked put out. “Yes?” she demanded.
Alice quieted. “I’m going to tell you something that might be a bit…upsetting. But you mustn’t shoot the messenger. You see, I’ve read the rest of your letter…forgive me for the intrusion, but I’ve found that Potter is the Head Boy.”
Lily smiled and cocked her head. “Cute Alice. I wouldn’t have fallen for that in a million years.”
Alice grimaced. “I’m serious, Lils. See for yourself.” She handed the letter to Lily as though it was a highly explosive bomb.
Lily’s merry face evolved to one of horror and disbelief. “No, no…I can’t be. Potter? James POTTER? He’s a first-class delinquent! How could they make him Head Boy?”
Alice spoke quietly. “Well, he does have very good marks. And he’s the Quidditch captain, that shows he’s responsible—“
“It shows he can ride a broom!” Lily replied acidly.
“You know, Lily, I think you’ve been a bit harsh on James.” Alice shared cautiously. “He can be quite kind.”
Rage burned in Lily’s eyes. “A bit HARSH? You say I’VE been a bit harsh? How about the numerous times he has publicly humiliated me, would you call that harsh? Or the way he would emotionally torture Severus?” Lily blinked tears out of her eyes. It still pained her to talk about Sev.
Alice shook her head, smiling a bit.
“This isn’t funny!” Lily moaned.
“Lily, don’t you see? James likes you; he truly admires you. He turned it all into a joke after you repeatedly turned him down because he was hurt and embarrassed.”
Lily tossed her head side to side. “Yeah? Then what about Sev? He never turned Potter down.”
Alice sat Lily down at the kitchen table. “Honestly, Lils, for all the O.W.L.S. you got, you’d think you were thick or something. James envied Severus! He envied your friendship with Sev, all the time you two spent together; the way you both would bend your heads over a shared library book or walk through Hogsmeade. For all the emotional pain James inflicted on Severus, he would have traded places in an instant.”
Lily sat still for a minute, a puzzled expression creeping onto her face. “Potter was…jealous?”
“Yes.” Alice confirmed.
“But…no! That—that is completely illogical…totally mental, if you ask me…” Lily faltered.
Alice smirked. “Well, this is a boy we are discussing”
Lily marched into the living room and slouched into the couch’s squashy pillows. She looked at her friend’s round, compassionate face. “Alice, why did you have to lay all this on me a week before school? It’s not like I have enough on my plate.”
“I merely thought it might give you some perspective on where James is coming from. You’re going to be working with him all year, you’d best get used to the idea.”
Lily hesitated, then nodded confidently. “You’re right. It’s the best for Hogwarts, Potter and I can put our differences in the past to survive this year.”
Alice beamed. “That’s my girl. Shall we get some breakfast?”
The two stood and walked to the kitchen, where Frank was standing half-hidden behind a large cabinet.
“Is it alright to come out now?” He posed, “I heard a lot of screaming…”
Lily and Alice looked at each other amusedly. “Yes,” Lily replied, “We’re all fine.”