Chapter Two, and James tries some unorthodox pulling techniques.
gorgeous chapter image by clearplastic@TDA
"So, about that date?” I grinned my infamous Marauder grin at her, and tousled my hair in that sexy way that I know girls love. Of course, Lily Evans isn’t like most girls, and instead of swooning dreamily at me, she stomped her foot and huffed, walking away with that ridiculously oversized suitcase that she could barely carry. I sighed loudly and followed her.
“Come on Lils, at least let me help you with that thing.” Before she could reply (she was going to say no and call me a chauvinistic pig anyway), I took the suitcase from her and headed towards the train.
“My name is Lily! James, give me my suitcase back! I was carrying it just fine!” She protested, scurrying alongside me. I had to admit, I wasn’t in the best of shape, and I struggled carrying it too, but like hell was she ever gonna know that. I had to show her just how much I had matured over the summer for her to finally fall in love with me. It was only a matter of time! And if that meant opening doors for her, carrying her suitcase and being all romantic, then so be it.
I carefully put her suitcase into a carriage where Remus and Peter were already sitting.
“Hey.” I greeted them. They nodded in response, too submerged in their game of Exploding Snap to greet me properly. I turned around to chat up Lily, but she was gone. Confused, I walked outside to say goodbye to my mum. I found her hugging Sirius, who had been staying with us over the summer.
“Replacing me already mum? I’m hurt.” Sirius pulled away from the hug and coughed, looking embarrassed. He avoided eye contact with me as he grabbed his suitcase and said goodbye to my mum.
“Thanks for everything Mrs. Potter. I’ll see you at Christmas” He smiled warmly at her. “See you in a few, James.” He muttered, before jogging over towards the train.
“Do you have everything you need poppet?”
“Yes, mum.” I groaned.
“Oh, I can’t believe it. My little Jamesy, Head Boy!” She beamed at me. “If only your father were here to see this, he’d be so proud.”
“I know he would mum,” I hugged her then, not caring about the cute Hufflepuff girls checking me out. “I know.”
Heading back to the compartment, I noticed that Lily still hadn’t turned up. Alice, Isadora (Isa, if you valued the use of your tongue) and Kim were sitting opposite from Sirius, Remus and Peter though, so I had to assume that Lily would also be sitting with us. I leaned against the carriage door and grinned at the girls.
“Hello there ladies.” Remus and Peter rolled their eyes at each other as Sirius continued to avoid talking to me. That boy was so weird.
“James, do you have to be such
a pest?” Isa grinned humourlessly at me. The miniature brunette (clocking in at a miniscule 5 foot!) had always been my favourite out of Lily’s friends, even if she was painfully oblivious to the huge crush that Peter had on her. And even if she hated me.
“You sound just like Lily!” I cried with fake exasperation.
“Who sounds like Lily?” A familiar voice asked from behind me. I turned around to see her standing there, arms folded over her chest. God, she was gorgeous when she pouted like that. I could just lean forward, take her lips in mine and kiss her until the end of time... Oh, she’d noticed me staring at her. I ran my hand through my hair awkwardly.
“Hey Lils. I was just saying that er, Isa sounds a lot like you.” I grinned nervously.
“Oh, Isa! Alice! Kim! I hardly noticed you all there!” She pushed past me and sat down in-between her roommates. They began to chat mindlessly about their summers, even though they all had owls at home and had probably been talking non-stop over the summer anyway. I sat down next to Remus, who smiled sympathetically at me. Ignored, again.
I couldn’t be mad at her though, she looked so happy when she was talking like that. She never looked at me like that, like her emerald eyes were alight with happiness. I never saw her flash those gorgeous, straight, white teeth at me unless she was sneering or laughing sarcastically. It wasn’t fair. I loved her! I loved Lily Evans! Sirius staying over the summer had made me realise just how much I’d matured, and now I just had to prove it. Sirius had given me all these tips about pulling a girl the Muggle way. Poetry, flowers, chocolates, all that stuff. Girls loved romance, so I’d be romantic for Lily!
Gone were the days of wayward hexes, the days of marauding around Hogwarts like a king, the days of snogging Sandra Corrigan in the Room of Requirement. From now on, I would be a different man, a one-woman man. I would prove to Lily Evans that I truly loved her, and that I wasn’t the same immature spoilt brat that I used to be. This was my final year, my final chance! Oh bloody hell, she’s noticed me staring at her again.
“What do you want James?” She asked pointedly. This was my chance, I thought. Girls do
like old romantic stuff, right? Sirius told me I should be romantic. Sirius has had a few girlfriends over the years, he knows about girls, right?
“Lily, I want you.” I told her, moving from my side of the carriage and suavely sitting down next to her. She turned and looked at me.
“Oh, really?” She raised an eyebrow. “And why, James, is that?” Romantic. Right. Go.
“Thou art more lovely and more temperate than er, a summer’s day?” Muggle poetry, that had to get her. Nobody could resist Muggle poetry.
“Isn’t that from a Shakespeare sonnet?” I heard Peter ask Isa. She snorted loudly. Alice shushed them both. I was suddenly very aware of the audience listening in.
“What?” Lily snapped at me. Oh bugger. She was angry.
“Look, Lils...” I began.
“My name is Lily!” She screeched. Wow, she really was sexy when she pouted like that.
“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet!” Nailed it. Sirius was right, Muggle Studies was perfect for pulling material.
“Oh, now that’s definitely Shakespeare!” Peter cried out, causing everybody to collapse into giggles, apart from Lily, who’s cheeks were blushing as red as her hair.
“James!” She hissed furiously, pulling me outside the carriage and sliding the door shut behind us. I could hear the boys catcalling and whooping in the carriage.
“Lily?” I echoed.
“What the hell was that? Is that your plan for this year? To humiliate me?” Her eyes began to fill with tears. Bugger.
“No! No, I just, I just thought that maybe, if I was more romantic, more serious...” I looked down at her. Her bottom lip was quivering and she actually looked pretty upset. “Lils, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to-“ I was interrupted by the door sliding open.
“We should probably go to the Prefect’s carriage.” Remus surveyed the situation and suddenly looked apprehensive. He wasn’t good with crying girls. Or any girls, for that matter. For all our arrogance, us Marauders were doomed to spend our Hogwarts days pining after unobtainable girls! “Sorry to interrupt.” He mumbled.
“No, Remus you’re completely right. Let’s go.” And with that, Lily was gone. One attempt down, thirty-seven thousand more to go.
“Thee hexed me! Thee bloody hexed me! Thome Head Girl thee’ll turn out to be.” Evan Rosier hissed venomously. The sixth-year Slytherin had barely regained the full use of his tongue as he slinked out of the exceptionally long prefect meeting. Prefect meetings: a total waste of a couple of hours that I could have spent wooing Lily Evans. My first order as head boy would be to cut the useless things; all the Prefects in there knew
not to enter the forbidden forest and not to swim in the lake after eating! Hell, even Kim knew it!
“Well maybe if you hadn’t of called her a mudblood, she wouldn’t have had to hex you, Evan.” A fifth-year Ravenclaw cried. Roe, I think her name was. Alva Roe. I liked her, she must have been brave to stick up to Rosier.
Lily had been furious throughout the meeting, barely looking at me the whole time. Sure, she’d had to do all the talking because I hadn’t known a few things that we were supposed to, but it was hardly dragon-taming! And despite a snarky comment from Rosier, it had all run smoothly. Well, yes, Lily hexed him, but he did call her a mudblood and if it was up to me, he would have got a lot worse than langlock.
Eventually, it was only me and Lily left in the Prefect’s carriage. I sat down on one of the worn leather seats and offered her a slightly squashed cauldron cake from my pocket. If I knew Lily Evans (and trust me, I knew Lily Evans) then she’d happily forget her animosity towards me for one of her favourite cauldron cakes. She looked down at the offering placed in my outstretched hand.
“Come on Lils, it’s not a trick.” She still hesitated. “My mum made them, with her famous serendipity-berry-treacle filling.” She raised an eyebrow and her eyes widened slightly. I knew that’d work.
“Thank you.” She said as she carefully took the cauldron cake and sat down opposite me. I sunk further into the cushioned seat and examined her carefully.
“Lily...” She looked up at me. “I didn’t mean to leave it all to you in the meeting. And I didn’t mean to insult you earlier. I wasn’t making fun of you, not at all, I just thought that maybe if you could see the romantic side of me then you’d realise...” I paused, looking at her again. “I thought you’d realise how much I like you.” I realised that my voice had gone pretty quiet.
Lily stood up, and sat next to me.
“It’s fine. I’d got a bit of bad news just before we got on the train... I didn’t mean to take it out on you at all.” Her voice was quiet and she sounded close to tears.
“Is everything alright?” I asked carefully.
“Not really,” she smiled sadly and I was overwhelmed with the desire to engulf her in my arms and make everything better. “But it will be.” Her voice was suddenly full of determination.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Mum...” She trailed off. I put my hand on her arm.
“Lily?” She sniffed loudly.
“Mum’s sick. We’ve known for a while, but...” Tears were forming in her eyes. It occurred to me that Lily Evans cries, a lot. Weird. I heard her swallow back tears. “She’s going to Addenbrooke’s tomorrow for a couple of tests.” I had no idea what that was, but I guessed it was a Muggle version of St Mungo’s.
Lily gulped. I looked at her then, and I mean really looked at her. Her red hair hung in wisps, framing her face perfectly. She looked so small, so fragile. I put my arm around her shoulders and drew her into a hug, cautious of the untouched cauldron cake in her hand. I was surprised that instead of pulling away, she threw her arms around my neck. We stayed in that mutual embrace for a few seconds, until she pulled away, looking embarrassed. I didn’t really understand what was wrong with her mum, but I knew better than to push it anymore.
“You should eat that Lils, they’re really good.” I told her, gesturing to the sugary cake. She looked apprehensive. “It’s not poisoned!” I laughed.
“Don’t you have one?” She asked. I shook my head.
“That’s my last one, but I guess you deserve it more, eh?” I winked and her and grinned.
“Split it?” She offered.
“That sounds lovely, Lily.” I told her sincerely.
She smiled at me, and took a bite of the cake. A dollop of cream affixed itself to her nose. I laughed.
“What?” Apparently she was oblivious to the mess she was making. I reached over and wiped the cream away with the sleeve of my robe. She blinked, surprised, before she began to laugh. A sweet, tinkling laugh that reminded me of bells gently ringing in a breeze. That was cheesy.
Dammit Evans, is this what you do to me?
Me and Lily had talked for about an hour, about anything and everything, before heading back to the carriage. The girls and boys were involved in what could only be described as a tag-team round of Wizard’s chess. I didn’t really feel like playing, so I sat and watched for a while until the train slowed and it was time to instruct the first-years during their first Hogwarts encounter. Sirius, Peter and the girls headed towards the carriages, whilst Lily and I waited patiently with the first years. The other Prefects, including Remus, were helping students onto the carriages. I noticed Remus watching Sirius as he chatted to an attractive Ravenclaw with an air of jealousy. A small blonde girl in oversized robes was chatting to Lily. I couldn’t help but notice how comfortable Lily looked in her new role. No wonder she hadn’t believed me when I told her that I was Head Boy, I hadn’t even been a Prefect! I didn’t really know anything about how to run the student side of Hogwarts...
I sighed, looking at the small group of first years surrounding me. There were 36 this year, a few more than the previous year. I’d done a quick headcount to make sure that nobody had been left behind. They were all so small, so enthusiastic. A few Defence Against the Dark Arts classes with Professor Draghelda would cure that, I thought bitterly, remembering the numerous detentions that the old bat had given me and Sirius for the most mundane things. Replacing Snape's parchment with Firepaper hadn't warranted a week of detentions: not even if his robes had
caught on fire!
“Alright then.” I spoke loudly, causing the skitterish first years to all look at me with wide eyes, filled with trepidation. “I’m James Potter, your Head Boy.” I grinned sheepishly. “And the lovely lady over there,” I pointed to Lily, who began to blush. “is Lily Evans, your Head Girl.”
“Okay, if you want to follow us, we’ll take you to the boats that will take us over the lake, towards your new school!” Lily smiled warmly at the children.
“And don’t worry; the giant squid is actually very friendly!” I joked. Lily shot me a hasty warning look as a few of the first years gasped in horror. “Er, that was a joke...” I ruffled my hair awkwardly and mouthed “sorry” to Lily. She grinned and began to walk from the station towards the boats, leading the small group of children as I headed the rear. The children began chattering about what houses they hoped they’d be sorted into, and worriedly asking Lily whether there was really
a giant squid in the lake. The way that they flocked together reminded me of the way that diricawls flocked together before disappearing.
I started to follow the group, but as I did I was surrounded by the popping noises that signalled apparation. I could hear some of the first-years screaming as they all pressed closely together. Some seemed unsure as to whether they should be scared or not, but the Muggle-born’s had never seen somebody apparate before. I looked at Lily; her doe-like eyes were wide with surprise. I watched as she slowly drew out her wand. I did the same, cautiously so as not to frighten the first-years. Were they teachers? I wondered. No. The figures who had appeared only moments before wore long, billowing robes and ornate silver masks. Suddenly, everything became blindingly coherent. They were death-eaters, and they were here for us.
Hogsmeade was under attack.
Disclaimer/author’s note: Not J K Rowling and nothing belongs to me. Woo for cliffhangers!
Shakespeare quotes come from Romeo and Juliet (Act II Scene ii) and a paraphrased version of Sonnet #18. If you don't read Shakespeare, then you should. Simple.