"Good morning!" Professor Slughorn said cheerfully. "Welcome to your final year of Potions! Please turn and look at the person sharing your table." He paused while they did so.
Lily was shocked to see James. He gave her an apologetic look, whispering, "It was the only seat left. I'm sorry." She sighed deeply, rubbing her temples. First he reads her journal, then he sits next to her in Double Potions. What next? Inviting her to join the Quidditch team?
She knew she was being unfair. She was tired and frustrated and mad at him for violating her privacy and still so very morose. Lily just nodded, not willing to make a scene this morning. The scenes she avoided these first weeks would double in number in the following year, and Lily knew that. She just didn't care yet.
"This person shall be your partner for the year. Exchanges are unable to be made, Miss Evans. Oh, we'll start simple. Sleeping Draught, please!"
Slughorn sent them to work, laughing slightly at the disgusted and indignant expression on Lily's face.
"Will you please get the ingredients?" Lily asked in an exhausted tone, resigning to fight later. James just nodded, recognizing she was in no mood to fight for what she wanted. He knew to except a new partner for the next class, however. He set everything he'd retrieved between the two of them. She moved them slightly to make room for the cauldron.
Together, it didn't take long for them to complete the potion. They were efficient and cooperative workers when James wasn't being bigheaded and Lily wasn't being stubborn.
Lily poured some in a vial, instructing James to take it to the desk, and she waved her wand, emptying the cauldron of everything. He didn't mind taking orders from her. Actually, James knew very well that Lily was superb in Potions and what she said went. All of her previous partners knew, too.
While James had his back turned, a very surprising and slightly alarming event happened. A pair of Slytherins were messing around instead of making the actual potion (no surprise, really) and one had called over Slughorn to see what it was.
Professor Slughorn wasn't exactly thin. He made too much haste and bumped into the table with the unknown potion. Unfortunately for Lily, she sat at the table right in front of the Slytherins. Their potion was flung onto the front of her robes and into her face, resulting in some mixing with her saliva.
These Slytherin seventh years had made a Shrinking Solution by a small string of luck. They were awarded detention every night for a week and five points for sheer cheek. Lily was rewarded with a new height.
James Potter turned around just in time to hear a tiny scream and see a flash of red hair.
He ran to the area were Slughorn was bending down. In the palm of Slughorn's left hand stood Lily.
She was screaming and stomping and laughing and crying and having a right meltdown.
"Er, Professor?" James asked after an awkward silence.
"Can, er, who's going to take care of her when she's this tall until the potion wears off?"
"If you would, Mr Potter," Slughorn suggested. James nodded.
James looked relieved as Slughorn dropped the tiny Lily into his open hands.
She stopped and looked up at James. "What are you doing?"
"Taking care of you."
"Oh." Lily looked confused, indignant, and grateful. "Well, thank you."
James was so shocked, his reply was forced and barely existing.
Lily smiled slightly at him and turned around to grab her bag, forgetting she was now three inches tall.
"Are you bloody kidding me?"
"I'll carry it," he volunteered.
"Wow, thanks," she said, looking mildly impressed. It was a nice change from the depressed, frightening expression she had worn through breakfast and class.
"Comfy?" James asked awkwardly, scratching the back of his neck. He lifted her bag onto his shoulder and just about died. Two bags, one shoulder. What genius he had.
"Could be worse," she replied. "Are you all right? Should someone else help you with the bags?"
"No, no. It's okay. I've just got to get used to it, is all."
She raised an eyebrow skeptically.
"Are you sure?"
"Positive." James ground his teeth. Suddenly, he had a stroke of brilliance.
The bell was about to ring, so he stood and began to walk toward the door as he placed Lily on his shoulder and carried her back in his left hand. He was about to switch it all around when the bell rang. He decided it could be resolved in Transfiguration.
Lily fell backwards from the force of the sound and was lost in James' hood. He had no idea.
As he walked along the hallway, his best mates came up next to him.
"Poor Lily," Peter said, shaking his head.
"She'll be fine, Wormy," Sirius said, dismissing Peter more rudely than usual.
"Sirius," Remus warned.
"What? She will!"
"Oh good grief," Remus said, hitting his hand against his forehead.
"Hey, what've you got now?" James asked, mostly to Lily. When his mates responded, he figured he'd ask her in a bit.
"Yeah, I've got one, too."
"Me!" came a small voice which could only be Lily's.
"That makes all five of us! Let's go to the common room!" Sirius said, contemplating all the fun they could have this year.
"Library!" Lily squeaked. Her tiny voice left her overruled.
When James arrived in Transfiguration, he turned his head to ask Lily where she wanted to sit. She wasn't there. He had already forgotten about losing her in his hood after Potions and again after lunch. James hadn't yet realized that his system involving transporting Lily on his shoulder was just not going to work.
"James!" a tiny voice yelled. "Potter! JAMES POTTER!" He felt something poking in between his shoulder blades. When he reached into the hood, Lily grabbed his finger and held on for dear life.
"Lily?" James asked carefully, holding her in his hand like she was going to break at any moment.
"Yes?" She turned around to face him. His hazel eyes had such an intense, fearsome look to them. But they were so scared, so worried.
"Where do you want to sit?" he asked, catching her off guard. Lily was so focused on his eyes, trying to decipher everything in them she had forgotten he had said her name.
"Oh, anywhere, James. I don't care," Lily said with a smile and a wave of her hand.
James placed her and himself up front, so Lily could see what was going on. That was when James realized Lily's voice wasn't a squeak anymore, like it had been. It was normal sounding, just as loud as his was.
"How come your voice is so loud?"
He nodded, wondering how he didn't guess that before. Professor McGonagall chose that moment to walk up to the front of the room.
"Mr Potter, where are your friends? Surely you wouldn't sit up front alone," she said sharply.
"Lily is next to me, Minnie," James said. McGonagall winced at the nickname.
"I don't see her, Potter," she told him flatly.
"Here, professor!" Lily called, waving to her as she sat in the middle of the desk.
"Well, hello Miss Evans! Why are you so small, my dear?" McGonagall asked.
"Shrinking Solution some Slytherins made in Potions got spilled on me," Lily told her teacher.
McGonagall nodded and began the lesson. Stranger things had happened at Hogwarts.
Lily turned to James and opened her mouth. He was gazing at her carefully, watching her every move and she froze, forgetting what she was going to ask.
Lily felt a little uncomfortable and turned to watch the lesson, completely not realizing she was not taking notes for the first day in her entire school career. Soon, McGonagall instructed each of them to try the spell on their own. McGonagall shrunk Lily's object.
As soon as Transfiguration was over, James took Lily to Arithmacy and instructed Remus to take care of her.
"Yes, Prongs. Nothing will happen to her," Remus said, rolling his eyes. His friend was so set on poor Lily Evans. The girl had no idea what was in store for her.
After Divination (which is what James had with Sirius and Peter while Lily and Remus were in Arithmacy), he ran back to get Lily and took her to dinner.
For the first day in as long as Lily could remember, she and James were finally getting along. She wasn't daft enough to believe it would last. They had too much of a history for anything quite that miraculous to occur. But it was a day of laughter and easy conversation. She wouldn't mind a few more in the coming year.
It changed a bit of her view on James. She began to see, in subtle ways, why Dumbledore had chosen James as Head Boy.
James also had a bit of an attitude change toward the "perfect girl" he'd imagined Lily to be. He had always thought her to be extremely focused on school, to always do everything her teachers told her. In reality, that's not all of who she was.
James placed Lily on the table and added food onto her plate. He then overflowed his own.
Lily began to get larger as she ate. When she finished her tiny lump of potatoes, she was as tall as a fork. It wasn't long before she could no longer fit on the table.
"James!" she called.
He turned to her. "What?"
"Put me on the floor!"
James set her down, slightly confused at the request. And then, in a whoosh of air and a blink of an eye, Lily was her normal height again. She smiled, glad to be able to move around on her own in a fairly good amount of time.
She sat down between Clare and James and piled a bit more food onto her plate.
If Lily had thought about it, she would have turned to look at James. James was sort of disappointed. He liked taking care of her. Then again, now he could actually touch her without her falling over or breaking.
When Lily had finished eating, she saw James' empty plate. He wasn't reaching for more food, either. He was just staring at her.
Lily smiled vaguely at him, and then caught herself.
"Thank you, Potter. And I'll thank you to stop staring at me."
James smiled and shook his head, glad to have his Lily back.
A/N: Thanks for reading. I know the whole "whoosh of air, blink of an eye" nonsense is not exactly canon. But, c'mon. I'm not JK Rowling, therefore I have no way of knowing exactly what happens after a potion wears off.