Chapter 1 : Lily Evans and the Practical Joke Gone Too Far!
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Hi, I'm Huffleherbs, and this is my attempt at a Lily/James story from 1977 to 1981. It's my first attempt at writing fanfiction, so reviews and con/crit are greatly valued. Quick note: I've accidently used the name Frank for two characters: Lily's step-dad and J K Rowling's Frank Longbottom. I'm not going to ret-con it, so sorry for any confusion! incredible chapter image by clearplastic@TDA
“Mum! Mum, where are you?!” I bounded from the front door where the mail had landed minutes before, through the landing and then into the kitchen, Hogwarts letter in my hand. I found her washing dishes at the kitchen sink, with Frank sitting at the table reading the Muggle morning news. He smiled warmly at me as I skipped excitedly into the room. “Mum, Frank, I’m Head Girl!” I shrieked. I was bouncing on the balls of my feet as I waved the letter excitedly at my mother. She removed her rubber gloves and patiently took the letter from me before sitting down at the table next to my step-dad. He craned his neck to read the letter from Dumbledore.
“Head Girl!” I cried. “I can’t believe it, I thought that Cynthia would have gotten it for sure. Remember me telling you about her? She’s the one who gets straight O’s."
"So do you, Lily, dear." Mum reminded me whilst continuing to read.
"Well, I suppose so, but did you know that she’s never been to a Marauders party? Let alone considered skipping a class." Frank looked up from the letter with furrowed eyebrows.
"Lily, you're seventeen. You didn't move halfway across the country to drink alcohol and skip your classes!" He scolded. My tell-tale cheeks blushed a hue of scarlet as I mumbled that I didn't skip classes either, of course.
"Mind you, Cynthia is awfully boring... " I recovered. "I’m sure they’ll want someone relatable. Last year it was Marlene McKinnon." I informed them whilst grabbing a plump red apple from the heaving fruit bowl. "She passed the auror course in a year. Can you imagine that? One year! Phenomenal.” I knew that I was rambling slightly, but my excitement had gotten the better of me.
“Yeah, phenomenal Lily.” Frank agreed as he finished reading the letter, beaming at me. “Well done.”
“I’m Head Girl. Me." I waved my free arm animatedly as I chewed through the remainder of the apple. "Lily Evans. Lily Evans: Head Girl. Remus’ll be head boy, of course, even if it means that the head’s will both be from Gryffindor. That’s okay, last year they were both Hufflepuff, and that worked out fine. With Remus and I heading the school, what could go wrong?" I threw the apple core towards the open bin and it rebounded off of the wall, landing in the bin with a squelch. I took it as a sign of my unfailing luck.
"Everything will be perfect for my last year. I can’t wait.” I spoke mostly to myself, but still grinned widely as my mum finished reading the letter. I hadn’t seen her look this proud of me since we received my Hogwarts’s acceptance letter all those years ago. My mum stood up and walked over to me with her arms wide open. She hugged me closely and kissed me on the cheek, taking me by surprise. Mum rarely hugged me anymore.
“We’re both so proud of you Lily." She lowered her voice. "Your dad would be too". I looked up at her and could have sworn that she was almost crying. I hugged her closer for a few more seconds before breaking away and smiling at her. I noticed that she looked more tired, more haggard, and wondered if she'd been taking her medication. The circles under her eyes looked more pronounced as of late, and her hair was growing lank and almost greasy.
“Do you get a badge?” Frank asked through a mouthful of toast. I nodded excitedly and produced the badge from my dressing gown pocket. I handed it over to him, and he examined it closely before nodding and resuming his breakfast. Mum had gone back to the washing up.
"Do you want some breakfast Lily?" She asked. I nodded as I hungrily eyed a jar of Nutella that had been clumsily discarded on the kitchen cabinet by Frank.
I was suddenly aware of Petunia stomping clumsily down the stairs. I grabbed the letter off the table and walked into the landing to wait for her. By her dishevelled appearance, it was clear that she’d just woken up despite it being almost 11am. She wore a loose fitting cream nightgown with fluffy purple slippers that matched her purple eye mask, which hung haphazardly around her head. She looked at me briefly before shoving past me and heading into the living room. I followed her in and sat down next to her on the leather sofa. She glared at me before noticing the letter.
"Whazzat?" She demanded roughly, before noticing the Hogwarts crest and wrinkling her pug-like nose at me.
“Oh this?" Nonchalance was not my forte, and Petunia ignored me. "It's nothing important... just a letter from Dumbledore, telling me that I’m Head Girl!” I boasted proudly. Her face was blank. I handed her the letter, which she flung on the side table without reading.
“Lily Evans: Head Freak. Congrats.” She bitterly smirked. Without another word she stood and headed through the living room into the kitchen, slamming the door shut behind her. Thank God she’d be moving out before Christmas, I thought to myself. I wasn't shocked; I hadn’t really expected her to be happy for me, but her icy comment reminded me that my being chosen Head Girl wouldn’t be to everyone’s liking.
Hogwarts is an amazing school for the most part, but for people like me there are certain issues. I try hard at school, and for the most part I'm a credit to Hogwarts. Some people don't look past my blood-status to appreciate the good that I do. For them, the "dirty", "impure" and "muddy" blood that swarms my veins is enough to rule me an outcast and a failure. I'd been bullied throughout my time there by the same malicious clique, how would they react now that I was their Head Girl?
They’re going to hate me, I realised. They are really going to hate me. Suddenly, I was panicking. I’m a Gryffindor and Muggle-born. The Slytherins were never going to listen to me! Even as a Prefect they ignored me, and called me mudblood. What would they do now that I was Head Girl? Surely they couldn’t hex me and get away with it? I began to chew my nails nervously, another guilty habit of mine, as mum came in with a cup of tea and two slices of toast. They were smothered in peanut butter with a healthy daub of Nutella in the middle: my favourite. My mum was a fantastic cook and tended to ignore the calorie content in most foods, which probably explains why I’d put on about six kilos over the summer break.
A chubby, Gryffindor mudblood, I bitterly thought. Jenna was going to destroy me.
“Is everything alright Lily?” Mum asked, setting the saucer down on the table next to my letter. She took Petunia's recently vacated seat on the sofa next to me. Would she understand? The Muggle world was so different from the world I was immersed in at Hogwarts, and until a few years ago she had had no idea that magic was anything but fantasy designed to entertain young children. Would she understand? I surely couldn’t tell her that the reason I was so nervous was because people hated me just for having Muggle parents, she’d be heartbroken.
“Everything’s fine, mum.” I picked up my tea and sipped it slowly. I’m an adult now, I mused. Dumbledore wouldn’t have chosen me as Head Girl if he didn’t think I was capable. I’d just have to act like a mature, responsible adult and not let any snobbish Slytherins get in my way. It was my last year dammit, and I was going to enjoy myself!
“Have you packed yet?” She asked, subtly changing the subject. Tomorrow I would be returning to Hogwarts for my final year and call it mother’s intuition, or the result of having a daughter in boarding school for six years, but I’m pretty sure she knew that I hadn’t started packing.
“Well, technically? No.” I admitted. She didn’t look overly impressed. “Mum, will you help?” I pleaded lamely with her. She looked at me, smiled, kissed me on the forehead and stood as if to leave the room.
“You’re a big girl now Lily, you can do your own packing.” And with that, she was gone.
Being an adult is rubbish.
Lugging my suitcase from the boot of the car to Platform 9 ¾ wasn’t easy and took a good five minutes, seeing as all the luggage trolleys that were usually scattered around had apparently been occupied already. Walking into King’s Cross from the parking lot had left me drenched so that my usually straight hair was wavy and frizzy. The sight of a slightly chubby, frizzy haired ginger walking through a station in soggy robes had a few Muggles staring at me, but I didn’t care. I was usually one of the only students wearing robes, so I was used to being stared at on the first of September.
Sidestepping a particularly deep puddle, I squelched into the station and shook my head, causing thick droplets of water to splatter my already dripping face.
Mum had dropped me off whilst she was looking for a parking space, so for the first time ever I arrived at Platform 9 ¾ alone. I watched as a black-haired first year swathed in robes too big for his tiny frame rushed hurriedly through onto the platform. So I wasn't the only one to wear robes after all, I thought. It cheered me up somehow. His mother, a tall, thin woman with platinum blonde hair followed haughtily after him, shooting me a disgusted look when I smiled politely at her. I’d put galleons on that kid being sorted into Slytherin. I followed after them and arrived at the Hogwart’s Express platform.
Already the platform was thick with the smell and presence of dozens of students and their parents. I scanned the amassing crowd for someone that I knew, but could only see younger students and the occasional cluster of seventh-years from other houses. There wasn’t so much of a clique-problem at Hogwarts, but a problem with socialising. Most students preferred to stick with their own house.
I must have been standing too close to the entrance, because seconds later I felt somebody shove past me roughly. The force almost knocked me over and caused me to drop my suitcase onto the concrete floor.
“Watch where you’re standing, mudblood.” Jenna Iles sneered at me before walking off to stand with a group of four seventh-year Slytherins, who had all witnessed the scene and were now laughing at me. I felt my face flush red. Not an accident, then. Evauna, the only tolerable girl from that detestable clique, furrowed her eyebrows and sharply snapped at Jenna, who shoved playfully her in return. Even the Slytherin’s felt threatened by their Queen Bee, it seemed.
Bending down to pick up my suitcase, I heard a low wolf-whistle. I stood up sharply and span around to face the perpetrator. He was leaning casually against a lamppost whilst his mum chatted with Sirius Black. I was shocked to see that he'd replaced his characteristic glasses with a smaller, more stylish pair, and had grown so that he was now taller than me by a few inches, making him look lanky and gangly.
“Damn Evans, is it just me or did you get a lot... curvier over the summer?” He grinned and winked at me. Was he calling me fat? The arrogant prat.
“Damn Potter, is it just me or are you still the same lecherous creep you were before summer?” I smiled pointedly at him, and crossed my arms over my chest.
“Ouch, that hurt. Tell you what though, I won’t give you a detention if you agree to go out with me. Hogsmeade, next Saturday.” He grinned.
“Ha! Like I’d ever want to- wait, what?” I looked at him in bewilderment. “How could you give me a detention? I’m Head Girl, if you haven’t noticed. And you’re not even a Pre-“ James was smirking arrogantly and pointing to his own chest, where an identical badge to mine was pinned. Identical except for the words “Head Boy” emblazoned across the front.
“One of your poorer practical jokes, I must say. Hand it over James, the first years might actually believe that you’re Head Boy!” I scolded him. Despite his leaner, and slightly older appearance, James Potter had not changed enough over the summer to be appointed Head Boy! His grades were as good as mine, and he was the Gryffindor Golden boy, but his antics with his friends surely excluded him from any real authority, I thought reassuringly to myself.
“Well, Evans,” he pushed himself off of the lamppost and walked towards me until he was inches away from me. “I actually am Head Boy. Found out yesterday. Guess we’ll be spending a lot more time together eh, Lils?” He grinned that slightly irresistible but overwhelmingly arrogant grin at me again, before running his hand through his already dishevelled hair. Lesser girls would have, and in fact have, thrown themselves at him. Nobody else could see him for the spoilt brat he actually was. The spoilt, slightly irresistible, totally charming brat...
“Take the badge off James.” I snapped back to reality.
“I’ve told you Lils, it’s mine. I’m Head Boy.” He pouted at me.
“Oh for goodness sake! James Potter, the day that you’re made Head Boy is the day that I will go out with you. So unless you've got a vial of feli-“ I began, but once again, the arrogant smirk returned. He rummaged through his pockets and produced an identical letter to mine, the letter than I’d prized so much.
“So, about that date?” Cocky prat.
I could almost feel my face flush as I realised that it was signed with Dumbledore's unique cursive. It had to be a joke, there was no way that it could be real! I began to panic.
"No, no, no, no, no!" I gasped repeatedly, scarcely able to believe it.
This practical joke had gone too far!
Disclaimer: as much as I'd love to be, I am not J K Rowling. Nothing in this story is mine, all the main characters and the whole wizarding world belongs to the amazingly talented J K Rowling.
Authors note: Okay, I know it's a bit cliché to start a Lily/James story at the start of their seventh year at King's Cross, but it's important for the next few chapters!
p.s. I promise to never put this through the queue for chapter image edits again :blush:
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