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James's Sketchbook by Houlestar
Chapter 1 : Prologue – The Seventh Hogwarts Express
 
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Prologue – The Seventh Hogwarts Express


So this was it. Lily could hardly believe that this moment had come. Until recently, this day had seemed so far away, but here it was. The days had slipped by so quickly since she had received the letter with the Head Girl badge. Where had the summer gone? Seventh year. Where had the past seven years gone?

Lily took her violin case from her father and gave him a one armed embrace.

“I’ll miss you,” he whispered in her ear.

“You know it’s only until Christmas.”

“But still…” Mr. Evans gazed at his daughter. “You’ve grown up so much. Remember the first time we brought you here?”

Smiling, Lily nodded.

“Must we go through the same routine every year?” sighed Petunia. She stood with her arms crossed, looking disdainfully at the Hogwarts Express, her nose wrinkled up in disgust. Last night, Petunia had declared she would not to come to see her sister off, as she had done every year since the first trip to Platform Nine and Three Quarters. And like every year, Lily had pleaded with her until Tuney reluctantly agreed.

“I’ll miss you too, Tuney.” She took a step closer to her sister. “In June you’ll finally be able to come to Hogwarts to see me gradu—“

“And why would I want to go to your freak school?” snapped Petunia.

“Once you—“

Her cheeks reddening, Petunia hissed, “I never wanted to be a freak like you.” She no longer met her sister’s gaze, nor did she look at the Hogwarts Express. Instead she stared pointedly at the ground.

“Oh, Tuney….”

“Please, girls,” said their mother, “let’s not reopen these wounds.” She embraced her youngest daughter. “Lily, we all love you very much.” She kissed Lily’s cheek. “I’m so proud of you. Head Girl! I’m so happy you got that letter seven years ago.”

“Me too.”

“You’d better start boarding the train. We wouldn’t want you to miss it,” said her mother softly, pulling away. There was a slight tremble in her voice and Lily knew her mother was fighting back tears.

“I love you,” Lily said looking from her mother, to her father, and finally to Petunia, who no longer seemed fixated on the ground. Lily followed her sister’s disapproving glare to a thin, sallow-skinned boy, already dressed in his Hogwarts robes and standing with his mother.

Lily’s heart surged with pain as she watched her former best friend.

Severus and his mother did not hug, nor did they say much. Mrs. Snape only said a few words to her son before he nodded slightly in response and turned to the Hogwarts Express, without looking back.

“Lily.”

Her mother’s soft voice brought her back.

“I’d better get on,” Lily said, picking up her trunk. “I’ll write you.”

“Goodbye, dear,” her father said.

“We’re so proud,” her mother said, giving her one last hug.

Petunia said nothing. Lily knew better than to expect her sister to wish her well, but nevertheless, Lily couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

Wheeling her trunk to the edge of the platform, Lily approached the Hogwarts Express, about to board for her last year. Forcing herself to smile despite her conflicting emotions – sadness, excitement, and nerves – she turned back to her family and waved. Her parents warmly waved back.

Lily then boarded the Hogwarts Express.


***


“I can’t believe it, Prongs,” said Peter as he admired the shiny Head Boy badge pinned to James’s tee-shirt.

“I still can’t believe it, and I was there when he got the letter,” laughed Sirius from his seat in the corner of the compartment. “What was Dumbledore thinking?”

“Must not have been,” agreed James laughing. “But it’s a nice honour.”

“It is an honour, and no doubt there was some reason Dumbledore thought you’d deserve it,” said Remus. “You’d better not let him regret it, Prongs. The Head Boy shouldn’t be going around pulling pranks and getting into trouble.”

“Yeah, be a model student and all that,” sighed James. “Moony, do you have to make everything serious?”

“I’m just saying—“

James rolled his eyes.

Changing track mid-sentence, Remus said, “Congratulations.”

“Thank you.”

Reaching into his worn satchel, Remus said, “I brought some Chocolate Frogs. Let’s eat them to celebrate James’s achievement.”

Nodding vigorously, Peter said, “Let’s!”

“Hey, Moony, throw me one,” said Sirius.

Remus did and missed by a long shot.

Leaning down to pick it up off the floor of the compartment, Sirius laughed and Remus couldn’t help but join him. Soon all the Marauders were laughing heartily. Remus had better luck handing the others their Frogs.

“Bollocks.” Sirius looked up from his trading card. “I got Agrippa. Who do you have, Prongs?”

“The usual…” James held up the familiar face with the half-moon spectacles.

“I won’t trade you, if you don’t mind,” said Sirius. “I’ve got at least two dozen of him.”

“Mine didn’t come with a card,” lamented Peter.

“Bad luck, mate,” said James. “You can have mine.”

Happily, Peter accepted the card from his friend.

“Moony, who’d you get?”

Quickly swallowing what he had been chewing, Remus replied, “Merlin.”

“Typical,” muttered Sirius taking a bite of his Frog.

They spent the next couple hours catching up on what had happened since the last time they had been together at the Potter Manor just a few weeks ago. Since Sirius and James lived together, it was mostly Peter describing in great lengths the ins-and-outs of his summer job at a café in his hometown. Remus gave a long list of the books he had read.

Checking his watch, Remus said, “James, don’t you think we should get ready?”

Lazily, James replied, “No… Hogwarts is several hours away still.”

Exasperatedly, Remus sighed. “Have you forgotten the prefects’ meeting with Head Boy and Girl at one in the first compartment?”

“Merlin!” James bolted to his feet. “It slipped my mind!” He started for the door.

“Don’t you think that badge would look a lot better on your uniform?” suggested Remus.

“Err…. Right.” As quickly as he could, James fumbled around in his trunk and pulled out his robes. Before Remus could count to fifty, James was dressed as untidily as his hair.

“Great. Bring something to write with.”

His sketchbook and pencil were the first things James could lay his hands on.

“Come on, James,” said Remus, an eye on his watch, “Let’s not be late.”

James straightened up. “Alright. Let’s go.”

James nearly ran down the train’s narrow corridor, leaving Remus trailing behind him. Being late to class was one thing; being late to your first day as Head Boy was another. He nearly collided with several first-years who leapt out of harm’s way just in the nick of time. Out of breath, James arrived at the first compartment at 12:56.

“Made… it,” he panted to no one in particular. Remus, not as worried as his friend, had long since been out-distanced by James. Trying to muster some composure, James took a breath and flung open the door to the compartment.

A familiar pair of emerald green eyes met his. His heart leapt. “Lily!”

Rising from her seat, Lily said, “You’re Head Boy, Potter?”

A girl in the corner giggled.

Face turning slightly red, James said, “Oh, hi, Mary. How was your summer?”

Regaining her composure, Mary Macdonald smiled broadly at James. Her entire face lit up beautifully with the smile. Though Mary’s nowhere near as beautiful as Lily is, even when she’s scowling at me, thought James.

“It was great. My family went down to Dover—“

“So you’re Head Girl,” said James to Lily, completely cutting Mary off. “That’s great. We’re Head Boy and Girl together. I always knew you’d make it.”

Stiffly, Lily said, “Can’t say the same for you.”

“Well, I know it’ll be hard to fill Frank’s shoes, but I think I’m up to the job,” said James with a nervous laugh. The last Gryffindor Head Boy had graduated five years ago. James had looked up to him a lot.

“Frank Longbottom is twice the student you are and ten times the wizard!”

“Be nice, Lily.”

Returning to her seat next to Mary, Lily said, “I’ll take it under advisement, Potter.”

The door to the compartment opened and Remus entered. “Hello Mary… Lily! You’re Head Girl. Congratulations!”

Smiling warmly, Lily said, “Thank you, Remus. I was surprised, since I wasn’t a prefect. I’m so nervous I’ll do something wrong.”

Remus squeezed her hand. “Don’t worry, you’ll do just fine.”

At that moment the other prefects began to file in, and soon the first compartment, even though it was much larger than all the others, was crowded with the fourteen of them.

“All right…” began James, clapping his hands, “let’s get this meeting to order. Um… Welcome. I’m Head Boy… James Potter and this is—“

“I’m Lily Evans, Head Girl,” interjected Lily. “It’s great to see you here. Some of you are old hat at this prefect business, but to some of you, like Potter and me, this is completely new.” She directed her words at the fifth-year prefects who sat perched, nervously. Some even took notes. She smiled. Wouldn’t she have been taken notes if she had been there in fifth year? “So if any of you veterans want to add to what Potter and I say here, feel free.”

“So… prefects,” said James, “your duty is to enforce order. Give detentions and such. Oh, and you patrol the corridors on weekends… and um…”

“You’re the model of good student behaviour. The students look up to you, so don’t let them down by behaving,” Lily glanced at James, “immaturely.”

“But, that doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun. So… I think that’s about it…”

Remus leaned over and whispered in James’s ear, “Pass around a schedule for corridor duties.”

“Oh…” Addressing the whole compartment, James said, “Wait a moment and I’ll pass around a sign-up schedule for corridor duty.”

James flipped through his sketchbook quickly, passing by his drawings in various states of completion until he found a blank page. He scrawled out a barely legible table of the upcoming weekends with places for the prefects to sign up for. “There… that should serve us ‘til Halloween.” He held out the sheet to a Hufflepuff fifth-year sitting beside him.

“Seventh-year privilege!” declared Avery as he ripped the sheet out of James’s hand.

Bloody git, thought James.

“Once you’re done signing up, you can go back to your compartments,” said Lily, not looking at Avery, who had been glaring at her the whole meeting.

“That was quick,” muttered Regulus Black to the fifth-year Slytherin prefect James thought was named Crouch, “they usually last an hour.” He glanced over at James and smirked. Crouch laughed.

The schedule was passed around quickly. By the time it got back to James there were only two slots left for Halloween night. “Guess you’ll be patrolling with me, Lily,” he said as he signed his name on the second to last blank.

“We’ll be splitting up. We aren’t going to be wandering the corridors together,” said Lily, accepting the paper from James.

James looked at Remus and rolled his eyes. Remus shrugged his shoulders. Mary, who stood by the compartment door waiting for Lily, began to hum a Muggle pop song.

Lily stood up. “Done. Potter, I’m going to keep this.”

“Why?”

“Because you’ll lose it.”

Once again, James could feel his cheeks turning pink.

“Let’s go, Mary,” Lily said, making her way for the door. “Bye, Remus.”

“Goodbye, Lily.”

Lily didn’t even glance back at James as she walked down the corridor and disappeared from sight.

“Sorry she’s so hard on you,” whispered Remus as he and James left the compartment empty. “But you know that—“

Solemnly, James said, “This year will be different.”

Taken aback by James’s tone, Remus stopped midstride. “What?”

“Things are going to be different, Moony.” Exhilarated, James smiled. He didn’t know how, but he knew that this year would be the year that he would get Lily to change her mind. “This year, things will change.”

***


Weary of his friends, Severus wandered the Hogwarts Express, ignoring everyone, lost in his thoughts.

He could only take so much of Mulciber’s rants. The purity of blood could only be discussed so much before it became tedious. Avery was expected back soon, which meant that there would be a discussion of the “agenda”. Wilkes, who was a brilliant duelist was made distasteful by his association with his fellow sixth-year Black. Every time Severus saw Regulus Black, he couldn’t help but see Sirius Black, so Severus had never enjoyed Regulus’ company. The only person he could stand remotely was Evan Rosier. At least he knew when he wasn’t wanted.

This year was going to be the same as the last. Schoolwork would be easy, things he had long ago learned. No doubt his friends would expect him to share his answers with them. The Marauders would still harass him. His professors wouldn’t know what to make of him. The whole school would hate him. And Lily would still despise him.

Suddenly someone rammed into him. Collisions were not uncommon in the narrow passageway, but Severus could tell that this was on purpose.

Macdonald was laughing.

A curse was on the tip of Severus’ tongue, but then he saw her and his heart stopped. Those emerald eyes flashed, as if in warning, and Severus found he was at a loss for words.

“Mary, apologise,” said Lily softly, her eyes still on Severus.

Still giggling, Mary said, “Oh, yeah. Sorry, Snape. I didn’t see you there.”

Severus paid her no attention. “Lily… I…”

“Come on, Lily!” Mary Macdonald whined.

Edging past Severus, Lily avoided brushing against her former best friend to follow Mary.

Severus watched her go. He half wanted to hex Mary, half wanted to shout after Lily, but he managed to regain control of himself, at least outwardly. Inside his heart was racing and his mind was reeling.

“Hello, Snivellus.”

“Potter,” Severus hissed. “What do you want?”

James smirked. “Oh, Snivvy, you’d better show me some more respect, or I’ll have to give you detention.”

“You can’t do—“

Pointing to the silver badge on his chest, James said, “I’m Head Boy. So yes, I can.”

Severus scowled.

“James,” began Remus, who Severus noticed was standing behind James, “you can’t abuse your position. Snape hasn’t done anything.”

“He’s blocking my way.”

“If that’s the case,” sneered Severus as he pushed past the two of them, “then proceed, your Majesty.” Severus did not want to deal with Potter in the least, so he made sure he was out of earshot before James could reply.

He found himself once again at the compartment where his friends gathered. No one welcomed him as he opened the door and took his seat beside Rosier. Severus had not expected them to. This year, Severus thought, things are going to change. I’ll make sure of it.

Author’s Notes: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters of JK Rowling’s creation.

Summer 2005 I published the original “James’s Sketch Book”. As a young writer, this fanfic had many issues and eventually it was abandoned. In the five years since, I have always wished to go back and revise it, but I finally realized I had to write a completely new “James’s Sketchbook”. This is “James’s Sketchbook” as I write it now, and I think it has improved for the better. It holds little resemblance to the “James’s Sketchbook” of 2005. Don’t read that one. You will be disappointed and it will completely mislead you.
So welcome to this fanfic. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Stick along for the ride. Thank you for the read. Please review and let me know what you think.
And a big thanks to Danii, the PI beta for this story. Without you my story wouldn't be pretty!
-Houlestar


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