Lily walked along platform nine and three quarters at an unnatural speed – she was late, and due to her general enthusiasm for things she was never late. It was the first day back after the Christmas holidays, which had been particularly relaxed (if a little lonely) as there had been no Petunia, and she had found it hard to get back into the school mind-set that morning. Basically, she had slept in. It was five minutes to eleven before she was in a position to haul her heavy trunk onto the floor of the Hogwarts Express, and she was so stressed that she could barely manage the task.
“Need a hand?”
The voice came from Rachel Marquis, another Gryffindor sixth year. Rachel and Lily weren’t close, but they got on well, and Rachel was nice.
“Yeah, that’d be great” Lily answered, “I couldn’t dump my stuff in your carriage could I? I’ve got prefect duty but I probably won’t be needed for the whole journey.”
“Sure,” said Rachel “we’re just down here. Had a nice Christmas?”
They chatted pleasantly until they reached the carriage where the rest of their dormitory were spending the train ride, and Rachel helped Lily lift her trunk up into the luggage rack. The other girls greeted Lily as she came in. Elizabeth and Alice sat on the left seat, deep in discussion, but they smiled and acknowledged Lily as she entered. They were best friends, and looked very striking together with their dramatic colouring – Alice was pale and blonde, with rosy cheeks and round blue eyes, whereas Elizabeth had thick black hair and her eyes were Spanish brown with a synical expression. Curly haired Mary Macdonald had her feet up on the right seat, and was gazing absently out of the window, but turned round to be sociable when the other two came in.
“Hey Lil,” Mary began “I thought you’d be prefect-ing right about now?”
“Yeah, I’m off to do that in a minute, just need to get changed”. She hastily pulled on her Hogwarts robes while the others talked over what they’d got for Christmas, among other things. Mary had received a new broomstick, and was considering trying out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, next year.
“You should go for it” Lily encouraged, as she fastened up the front of her uniform.
“My thought was, “ Mary answered, “that as Potter is the captain, I’ve got a fair chance – he’d do anything to get in your good books.”
“He would aswell!”
Lily shook of the remark – she was used to their teasing about James Potter, he’d been bugging her for so long.
“Lily you should go out with him.” said Alice, who was a romantic. “He’s so sweet to you!”
“Yeah, but is he sweet to anyone else though?”
“Thank you, Elizabeth!” Lily turned to the dark haired girl and they shared an understanding look. “Just because he’s nice to me, it doesn’t excuse the way he acts to people like Severus.”
“Severus does bring it on himself though,” added Mary.
“I’m not getting into this” said Lily, annoyed. “I’ve got to go – get me something off the trolley will you Rach? I’ll give you the money.” And she slid open the door and left the carriage.
As Lily began her walk along the empty corridor to the prefect’s carriage, she thought over what the others had said about James. It was true that he had always been sweet to her, but her anger at his treatment of her old best friend had always cancelled out any feelings she might have felt towards him. Lately however, she had had to admit that she hadn’t seen him, or any of his friends ridicule or even speak to Severus Snape. Maybe they had problems of their own now, she thought, thinking about Sirius, and had realised that life was too short to make other people miserable.
Lily turned around to see Sirius strolling up the corridor towards her. She smiled at him as he approached.
“Hi, you alright?” she asked, as he fell into step beside her. He grinned back at her as they walked and his grey eyes twinkled.
“Yeah I’m fine” he said. “I just wanted to thank you, you know, for the advice Christmas Eve.” His expression became more serious for a second as he looked at her, and she felt her heart- beat speed up involuntarily.
“I would have thought to go to James’s eventually, obviously” he continued “but if you hadn’t knocked some sense into me I would have had a pretty crap Christmas, so...”
“No problem – like you said, you would’ve clicked on eventually. How did the Potters take it, then?”
“Oh they were great, welcomed me with open arms.” He laughed, and she cringed away from the sound – it was so loud. He noticed and laughed again.
“Sorry Evans” he added and ruffled her hair. The sensation gave her the feeling that there were shockwaves running through her but she gave Sirius a push and told him to get off. This was obviously how he expected her to react as he continued with their conversation, unfazed. “I wish I had parents like them” Sirius admitted slightly mournfully, and he shoved his hands in his pockets. Despite the somber expression, he looked like a model as he stood beside her. They had stopped walking, and Lily felt as if she wanted to cheer him up.
“I bet James thinks they’re embarrassing though, doesn’t he?”
It had been the right thing to say, as a wide grin spread across Sirius’s face.
“Ha!” he barked. “It is hilarious the way they talk to him. You should hear them - James would kill me if I repeated any of it to you though. I better keep quiet or he might chuck me out.”
Lily laughed, as she knew he wasn’t being serious.
“Are you going to stay with them then, for now?”
“Yeah, until I can get my own place – my uncle Alphard left me a fair bit of money last year, in his will, but it’s not enough, I’m looking for a job to help me make up the rest.”
“Oh, right…” they had almost reached a carriage which had the added feature of James Potter’s head sticking out of it. He was looking at Sirius as if to say – ‘since when do you talk to her?’ Lily grinned despite of herself – maybe he was jealous.
“I’ll see you later then” Lily said. “Good luck with the job stuff.”
“Thanks” Sirius grinned. “See you around Evans.”
Lily continued up the corridor as the two boys disappeared back into their carriage – but as she passed, James smiled at her and, unusually, she returned the smile. What harm could it do, after all?
Sirius slid open the door of his carriage with his thoughts full of Lily Evans – he had always thought her a bit stuck up, as that was how she had always seemed around James, but both times he had spoken to her recently she had been friendly and nice. And there was no doubt she was pretty – possibly the prettiest girl in the year…
“Padfoot, since when do you talk to Lily Evans?” James demanded of his best friend, as soon as the door was shut behind them – almost exactly as Lily herself had imagined.
“Er, since just then? Calm down Prongs, she was just seeing that I was okay – she’d heard I’d left home”
“Maybe because it’s round the whole school already? And because she’s a nice girl! Give her credit mate.”
James ruffled up his already messy hair flustratedly.
“I know she’s a nice girl, why do think I… Arrgh!”
Peter Pettigrew, in the window seat, looked bemused.
“I thought you liked her because she was pretty” he said.
“He does Pete.” Said Sirius.
“She’s never going to like me.” James continued hopelessly, “I’ve tried being obvious, and I’ve tried being hard to get, but she obviously doesn’t want to get me so she isn’t going to try very hard!” He was almost shouting.
“Prongs, It’ll work, give it time…”
“I even laid off Snivellus, and now I can’t even defend myself when that slimeball throws hexs at me! What more does she want?”
“She just doesn’t realise how much you like her yet.”
“I’ve asked her out haven’t i?”
“More like screeched it at her.”
“You’re welcome.” Sirius grinned at James, and James smiled back half-heartedly.
“I give up.” He said, and flopped down onto a seat.
Sirius crashed down beside him and thumped him on the back encouragingly.
“Don’t give up” he said “Did u not see the way she smiled at you just now?” James’s face lit up.
“She smiled back?”
James was elated. Strangely however, Sirius felt less happy than he would have previously done, at giving James this piece of information. He had noticed Lily’s smile, and known it would please James, but on first seeing it he had, for a moment, hoped that it was for him.
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