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Chapter 2 : Chapter Two: Of Odd Feelings and Ground Rules
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The next morning wasn’t nearly as hectic as it normally was because Lily was finally of age and could apparate to Kings Cross. It had taken her a while to convince her parents to allow her to do so, but Lily kept saying that it was safer for her family if they didn’t immerse themselves in the wizarding world during these dark times. Eventually, she got through to them after promising she would write them as soon as she made it to Hogwarts and was in her dorm.
After many hugs and kisses from her parents (during which her dad slipped her some pocket money… though where he kept this random stash of galleons was a mystery to her) and one well-aimed hex at her sister, Lily pinned her Head Girl badge to the front of her t-shirt, grabbed her trunk and empty owl’s cage (her owl had been sent ahead to Hogwarts), and dragged it out the back door. She didn’t look back until she was past the barrier of protective charms and could apparate safely to Kings Cross. Focusing on the platform she had been on so many times, she closed her eyes, tightened her grip on her belongings, and turned on the spot.
She knew she had reached her destination when she could finally breathe again, yet still felt almost as trapped as she had during apparation. Students and family members alike pushed and shoved their way around her trying to reach the train, their loved ones, friends that they hadn’t seen all summer…
Lily took a deep breath (inhaling the many interesting scents that are found on train platforms) and opened her eyes to see the crowd in front of her. Flashes of people weaving in and out of the crowd, teary-eyed parents of anxious-looking first years, and a few cats that had escaped their cages came into focus around her. She smiled, happy to be back, readjusted her grip on her belongings and started towards the train trying not to be too obnoxious about displaying her Head Girl badge to the world.
“LILY! OI, EVANS!” she heard her name being called from behind her and though she couldn’t really place the voice, she found herself smiling as she turned. She saw Potter grinning as he wound his way through the crowds slowly and she couldn’t help but notice that he had grown up a bit since she’d seen him.
He was definitely taller than he had been when she had last seen him and broader in all the best ways, as evidenced by the way his old t-shirt was stretched tightly across his chest. His hair was longer that it normally was, falling a bit into his eyes and everywhere else (it never did sit flat on his head…). His glasses were lopsided to the point where they were threatening to fall off of his newly freckled nose and his grin was so wide that Lily felt hers widening too.
Lily, for one of the first times in her life, admitted to herself that James Potter looked very attractive.
And then she mentally kicked herself.
She was about to ask why he was moving so slowly when he finally broke free of the crowd and she saw that his hand was entwined with that of a petite blonde. Lily felt her grin drop ever-so-slightly before she was able to recover.
Potter stopped in front of her, slightly out of breath, and Elizabeth came to a halt at his side, resting her free hand on the crook of his arm, “We’d been calling your name forever!” Potter grinned at her.
Lily looked at them side-by-side and had to admit that they looked nice together. Elizabeth’s wavy, honey-colored hair reached her elbows and contrasted Potter’s dark hair; her unusual, smart green-yellow-brown colored eyes were the opposite of Potter’s perfect brown eyes that seemed to sparkle whenever he was up to something mischievous. Elizabeth had dark-colored skin – as if she was of Italian decent – and Potter was only a few shades paler; Lily felt pale as a corpse standing next to both of them. Elizabeth was an inch or two shorter than Lily’s 5’8 frame, though they were both much shorter than Potter who towered over the both of them now more than ever.
“Sorry,” Lily answered having snapped out of her momentary trance. “I guess I couldn’t hear you over the crowd.”
“Everyone’s crowding onto the platform this year instead of lingering out with the muggles, it’s mental,” Potter shook his head.
“It’s so scary,” Elizabeth said, gripping Potter’s hand tighter. “My parents wouldn’t let me walk to the platform alone even though I live only five blocks away; James had to pick me up.”
“It’s no problem,” he grinned at her and squeezed her hand. Lily felt uncomfortable.
“I made mine stay home,” she told them. “But I better find a compart –”
“Come sit with us!” Potter said. “That’s why we were trying to catch you. Adara, Padfoot, and Moony are already –” the sound of the train’s warning whistle drowned out the rest of his sentence but Lily nodded anyway and, for the first time, when Potter reached forward to take her trunk for her, she didn’t protest.
If this shocked him it didn’t show; he grabbed her trunk in one hand, Elizabeth’s hand in his other, and set off through the crowd. Lily followed the couple swinging her empty owls cage at her side, glad that she would soon at least have Remus to neglect the fact that she was the third/fifth wheel to Potter and Elizabeth and/or Sirius and Adara.
They entered the compartment just as the train lunged forward. Lily grabbed onto the doorway to steady herself, though it was fruitless because Adara tackled her in a hug a second later knocking her over anyway.
They crashed into Remus’ lap, “ImissedyousomuchLily!” Adara said so quickly Lily almost missed it.
“I didn’t miss this,” Remus groaned from under the two girls, who laughed. Adara extracted herself from the tangle of limbs, but Lily reached around, still in Remus’ lap and hugged him around the neck, “You totally did,” she told him.
“Maybe a bit,” he conceded, smiling his older-than-he-was smile.
Someone coughed from behind them and Lily turned to see James looking deftly out the window with Elizabeth leaning on his shoulder from the seat next to him. Sirius was talking to Adara leaving Lily with only a slight inkling of irritation.
She slipped off of Remus’ lap and into the seat between him and Adara, “Congrats on the Head Badge, Lily,” Remus told her nodding towards her badge.
This sparked something in Lily’s mind. “I nearly forgot! I have to go set up!” She jumped up, “Come on,” she said to Remus. “If I have to work with you all year, I’m not letting you slack off.”
Remus’ smile faded a bit, “What are you talking about?” he asked.
Lily rolled her eyes, “I’m talking about you getting off your arse and helping me plan this meeting! You know the Heads are in charge of informing the pref – what?” she cut off when Sirius, Adara, and Remus were giving her nearly identical smirks.
“You didn’t tell her, mate?” Sirius asked, looking at the seat across from his.
Lily spun around, her mind reeling, as Potter answered, “Nope, I wanted to see her reaction.” He took stood up, taking his arm from around Elizabeth and reaching into his pocket.
When he pulled out the badge and held it in front of Lily’s face she could only stare at it in shock.
Then it all clicked and she rolled her eyes, “Very funny, guys,” she said. “Now come on, Remus, we really need to get to the Head’s carriage.” Slightly annoyed with their petty prank, she walked out of the compartment knowing that Remus would follow her.
Which was why she was why she nearly walked into a second year when she heard Potter calling after her, “Joke’s over, Potter.” She sighed before apologizing to the second year.
“It’s not a joke, Lily,” Potter insisted. “And I thought we were over this whole ‘Potter’ business?” he added as he caught up to where she was standing easily with his long strides.
Lily glared at him, trying to get him to cave. When he only raised his eyebrows at her she began to rethink; that glare always made him cave. Then the absurdity of the situation hit her again and she was back to thinking it was all a ruse.
“You can’t be Head Boy,” Lily reasoned. “Dumbledore would never… after all the trouble you … but I don’t …”
Potter grinned half-heartedly, “Honestly, I think I was more shocked than you are when I got the letter. I may or may not have yelped.”
Lily imagined that and almost laughed.
“And you are not allowed to ask Padfoot about that.”
Lily raised an eyebrow at him, challenging.
He shrugged in response, “I also may or may not have confounded him to forget said moment. Who knows, really?”
“You’re honestly Head Boy?” Lily finally asked, resigned.
“Come on,” Potter grinned. “It won’t be that bad.”
Lily shot him a look that said quite plainly ‘what the fuck kind of planet do you live on?’
“It won’t! I’m all grow-ed up now,” he sent her a cheeky, hopeful grin and for a second Lily realized that he may be telling the truth.
Then she remembered that just because his body matured in no way means that his mind did. She turned away from him, “Doubtful,” she answered as she started walking again towards the Prefect’s carriage.
They walked in silence for a while until Potter started humming a random tune and Lily looked at him in shock, “What?” he asked.
“That’s a muggle song.”
“Yes it is.” He answered “Do you like it?”
“It’s one of my favorites,” Lily admitted. “How do you know it?”
“It’s one of Elizabeth’s favorites too.”
“I probably sing it in my sleep I’ve heard it so many times,” Potter told her.
“I feel bad for your dormmates, then,” Lily told him as she slipped through the door and into the Prefect’s carriage as Potter mumbled something about the others loving his voice.
The familiar smell of the old wooden table and chairs washed over her as she took a deep breath and smiled. Potter walked around her, chuckling.
“What?” Lily asked, somewhat defensively.
“How does it feel to finally be the one leading this meeting?” he grinned. “I bet you’ve been looking forward to this for ages.” He sat down in one of the two seats at the head of the table and propped his feet up.
Lily scowled and knocked his feet off the table, “Look we need to set some ground rules,” she said as she began to pace around the two Head chairs.
Potter raised his eyebrows.
“Don’t give me that look,” Lily told him. “If I have to work with you for a year as Heads of this school we need to get some things straight.”
Potter just grinned annoyingly and held up his palms in a way of telling her to continue.
“Alright, one: you have to do your half of the work –”
“Of course I’m going to – !”
“And you have to do it right,” Lily emphasized. “You can’t just throw things together as you’ve been doing for homework for the past six years!”
“I would never!” Potter gasped dramatically.
Lily sent him a look and stopped pacing. He sighed, “Fine, fine. I’ll try my very best at everything, okay?”
“Good. Two: you will attend and be alert during meetings.” She paused to make sure he was in compliance. When he just nodded she counted herself lucky and continued, “Three: you can’t torment the first years or the Slytherins.”
“This includes,” Lily talked over him, “but is not limited to hexing the Slytherins, giving the first years the wrong directions on purpose, jinxing the Slytherins, telling the first years that fenced area behind Hagrid’s house is a safe place to sit and do work, cursing the Slytherins, telling the first years that it is a myth that the Forbidden Forrest is Forbidden, getting your friends to hex the Slytherins, and telling the first years that Severus enjoys tutoring them in potions so long as they ask him nicely and persistently.” She marked them off on her fingers as she went along, noticing how Potter was looking more and more put out.
“Can I at least hex the Slytherins before quidditch matches?”
“What if they attempt to jinx me first?”
“No, protego is self defense, Potter.”
Potter scowled, “Are you done, then?”
“For now,” Lily told him.
“Good,” Potter grabbed her by the arm and forced her into the chair beside him. “Now it’s my turn.”
“What are you –” Lily began indignantly.
“One: you will take into account the fact that I am also Quidditch Captain and therefore have to hold practices at least three nights a week. You will not yell or physically harm me in any way when I have to leave to attend to a previously scheduled Quidditch event and/or if I arrive late from one.”
“Head duties are more import –”
“Not to me,” Potter told her sternly. When Lily opened her mouth indignantly, he gave a small smile. “They’re equal.”
Lily set her jaw and crossed her arms. “Fine, but you have to work your quidditch schedule around patrolling duties and meetings.”
“You can sit there and watch me make the schedule if you so wish,” Potter nodded. “Two: We have to work together as equals. My opinion is as important as yours.”
“If you’re actually giving valid opinions, maybe” Lily mumbled.
“Lily,” Potter started sternly.
Taken aback by his seriousness, she softened, “Did you really think I was going to make this a dictatorship?”
“I would not –” Lily started, but Potter shrugged, “I just wanted to make sure.”
“I’ll play fair if you will,” Lily told him.
“Good. Three: you and I only patrol with each other.”
“What?” Lily asked, caught off guard. She was expecting something more about quidditch or less work for him.
“I don’t want to be stuck patrolling with some stupid first year, so we’ll patrol together.”
Lily was a bit uncomfortable with this; this much time one-on-one with Potter was probably not the best idea. She might accidentally kill him or something. She could tolerate him in small doses, but patrol duties at least one a week – probably twice- along with all of the time they’d have to spend working up schedules and dealing with other Head business… “That’s probably not the best –”
“Those are my conditions. If you want me to accept yours…”
Lily scowled slightly and sighed. She really didn’t have a choice if she wanted him to follow her rules. It was only fair. “Fine.”
“Oh, wait!” Potter snapped. “One more: you have to call me James.”
Lily rolled her eyes, “Why does that matter?”
He shrugged, “Potter reminds me of the times when you hated me and now that we have to work together, we need to turn over a new leaf, eh?”
Lily thought about it for a second. “If you get a fourth rule, then I get another one,” Lily grinned, despite herself.
“Sure,” he shrugged.
“You have to apologize to Severus.”
“WHAT?” Potter jumped up from his seat so violently that it toppled over backward. “WHY THE HELL DO I HAVE TO DO THAT?”
Lily took a deep breath, to suppress both her irritation and her laughter at his response, “You’ve made his life hell since that first day on the train and if you’ve really grown up, you’ll prove it by apologizing.”
Potter ran his hand through his hair, causing his t-shirt to ride up a bit in the front reveling a peek of well-defined ab muscles. Lily forgot why she was irritated with him for a moment.
“This is ridiculous, Lily,” he said sternly, bringing her back to the present. She looked up at him. He looked torn. She shook her head, “It’s not.”
“Do you still like that…that… him?” Potter finally managed to say. He righted his chair and sat back down, facing her.
“I don’t hate him,” Lily answered stoically, looking at her hands in her lap.
“Not even after what he –” he trailed off causing Lily to look up and into his eyes. In that moment so many things were passed between them that Lily could barely catch her own thoughts. She knew he was remembering the deal they’d made over a year ago, the one that had been haunting her all summer. Only, as she could read clearly on his face – he was remembering it for the first time now.
He hadn’t spent hours upon hours reliving it this summer. He hadn’t been attacked by the memory every time he closed his eyes or let his guard down.
So why have I?
There was a very pregnant pause where they just stared at each other. Finally Lily, unable to take it anymore, looked down at her hands. She felt as if she could cut the awkward tension that had just arisen in the room with a dull blade.
“Okay.” Potter finally said.
Lily had to think for a second to remember what he was agreeing to. “You’ll apologize?”
“Yes, I’ll apologize. No problem.” He said somewhat tersely. The feeling of accomplishment that she had expected to accompany his agreement never came; instead, she felt as if something were unraveling inside of her. As if some string had been cut.
He’d been so mad that day – when Severus called her that word. And now, though he clearly recalled everything, he was willing to let it go and apologize for making Severus’ life hell.
Just like that.
She wasn’t sure why she wasn’t happier. She wasn’t even sure what she was feeling. Or what had happened.
“Shake on it, then?” Potter – James… now he was James, as the deal went… said.
She nodded and reached out and took his hand in hers. For a brief second after his rough, yet oddly warm and soothing, hand enclosed hers she felt something in her chest and looked up into his brown eyes.
But then the carriage door opened, they both pulled their hands back, and the Prefects began to enter the carriage in crowds for their first meeting.
The meeting when surprisingly well considering that she and Pot – James hadn’t even discussed what they were going to say. James was surprisingly good at keeping everyone’s attention (though Lily saw all the girl’s staring at him with disgustingly gooey eyes) and giving directions. They worked well together, and even finished a few of each other’s sentences. All-in-all Lily was actually not dreading the year ahead with Pot- James and thought that it might actually be alright.
The sorting was a bit odd with the hat giving a message for the school to unite in times of toil, but with James, Sirius, Peter, and Mary moaning about their hunger in the seats next to her she could barely concentrate on it.
It was much too late when Lily was finally free to trek up to the seventh year girl’s dorm. She threw the door open startling her dormmates (most of whom were already in bed), trudged over to her bed, and within minutes had thrown on her pajamas and collapsed into her own warm bed.
She could deal with everything else tomorrow.
A/N: I KNOW I'M A HORRIBLE PERSON, OKAY?! I KNOW I DON'T DESERVE ANY OF YOU. I'M NOT WORTHY. I'M NOT WORTHY.
That said, I'm really, really, REALLY sorry. And I know I said that I would update my other story first but... my mind doesn't work that way. It tells me what I have to write. But I'll work on them, I swear.
College is realy hectic. I have like NO free time, but I'm trying guys. HANG IN THERE. PLEASE.
I love you all so much. Thank you all for reviewing. You guys keep me going. TRULY.
over and outt.
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