A/N:Disclaimer: All Harry Potter-related characters, names, places, objects, spells, etc. belong to J.K. Rowling. I only own the original characters and the plot.
I hear my name being called over the hustle and bustle of students, all hurrying to board the train. I recognize the voice as my best friend, Lily’s. I turn around and there she is, long, dark, red hair falling over her shoulders, green eyes sparkling in excitement for the new year—our last year at Hogwarts. She’s already dressed in her school robes, but there is one new addition to her appearance this year: A shiny Head Girl badge is gleaming from the front of her robes.
“Lily!” I give her a hug. Even though I saw her on Friday at the Potters’ end of summer party, I was still excited to see her. “Congratulations again,” I say and she beams at me. “Still no idea who the Head Boy is?”
She shakes her head. “I really hope it’s Remus,” she says. “Let’s go get a compartment,” she suggests, and I nod. I follow her through the sea of students and parents and we make our way toward the train. We pass through the crowd, saying hello. Suddenly, Lily stops dead in her tracks.
“What is it?” I ask.
“Potter,” she replies tersely. “Let’s turn around.”
“Lily, this is the way to the train.”
“So? We’ll go a different way. It’s only the first day, and I don’t want to have to deal with his constant pestering already.”
“It’s not pestering, he fancies you!” I’m Lily’s best friend, but I have to stick up for James. We’ve been friends since we started walking, since he lives right next door. He really is a good guy, just a little full of himself sometimes.
“It’s still pestering!” she protests. “And how he can never call me by my first name-”
“You don’t call him by his, either,” I point out.
“Well he started it,” she says stubbornly. “I mean-”
She is cut off by a greeting from none other than James Potter. She groans. James makes his way over to us, smiling broadly, followed by his friends, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew. Remus looks content, although a little tired, while Sirius looks casual, walking with his hands in his pockets, his long black hair sweeping across his forehead. Peter hurries along to keep up with them.
“Hey, Maddie!” James says brightly, giving me a big bear hug. “Evans,” he says again, with another boyish grin, not even attempting to hug her. “Fancy finding a compartment?”
“Not with you,” says Lily pointedly, looking away. For a second, James’s face falls, but he recovers quickly.
“Glad to see you haven’t changed,” he says with a false cheeriness that implies he’d like nothing better than for her to change. He looks at me for help. “C’mon, Maddie wants to sit with us, don’t you Maddie?”
I look from James to Lily. I hate it when this happens. Luckily, Remus saves the day.
“At this rate, there aren’t going to be many compartments to choose from, so let’s just all sit together, okay?” He looks at James. “And behave.”
“Oh, Moony, lighten up,” says Sirius.
“I expect Remus is just beginning to influence his power as Head Boy,” Lily says hopefully, glancing at Remus.
“Hate to disappoint, Lily,” Remus says, and he sounds half-disappointed, half-amused. “But I didn’t get the badge.”
Lily looks crestfallen. “Oh,” she says. “Well, who did? Davies, from Ravenclaw? Or maybe it’s Stebbins…oh Merlin, please don’t let it be a Slytherin.”
“Oh, it’s a Gryffindor,” says Remus.
Lily looks puzzled. “But, if you didn’t get it…”
James pulls something out of his pocket. It’s the Head Boy badge.
“James Potter, Head Boy, at your service,” he says with a grin, holding out his hand to Lily.
Well I certainly wasn’t expecting that.
Lily’s mouth falls open. Her eyes widen. “No,” she says, becoming highly flustered. “There is no way that you, James Potter, have been made Head Boy.”
“Then why am I holding the badge?” asks James, continuing to grin devilishly.
Lily is silent for a moment, then a smile creeps across her face. “Very funny,” she says. “Really witty. Good prank, boys, but can we please be serious now?” She turns to Remus. “I’m surprised you went along with this one.”
James looks slightly hurt. “It’s not a prank,” he protests. “I really did get it! Help me!” he says to Remus.
“It’s true, Lily,” says Remus gently. “James is Head Boy.”
Lily looks from Remus, to James, to the badge in James’s hand, and back to James. Her mouth opens and closes silently, mouthing the words “Head Boy.” I pat her on the back. “C’mon, Lils, I’m sure the shock will wear off eventually.”
We begin walking towards the train, James somewhat grumpily.
“I expect Dumbledore has his reasons,” says Remus in a low voice. “It’s probably not the best idea to have a werewolf appointed Head Boy; what if he needs someone to patrol and it’s full moon?”
Lily looks at him sympathetically.
We board the train and find that most compartments are full. We come across one that has only two occupants: my other best friend, Alice, and her longtime boyfriend, Frank Longbottom.
“Al!” I say happily, giving her a hug. I haven’t seen her as recently as I’ve seen Lily. Alice isn’t much of a partier, and therefore she chose to forgo James’s party in favor of spending time with Frank. They’ve been dating for six months, and they spent a majority of their summer together.
“How was the rest of your summer?” she asks, as everyone else enters and sits down.
“Pretty good,” I say, smiling. “Yours?”
“Great,” she replies. “How was your party, James?”
“Wicked,” says James.
Remus adds, “Although, I think some of us had a little too much fun.” He looks first at Sirius, who lets out a short, bark-like laugh, and then at me.
Alice turns to stare at me too. “Oh, Maddie, what are we going to do with you?”
I shrug. These comments don’t faze me anymore. I live my life the way I want to, and sure, it’s different from how Lily and Alice live theirs, but it’s my decision.
“So, how many?” James asks me.
“Five,” I answer.
James shrugs. “It’s been worse.” (He’s right, one time it was eight.)
“Who?” Alice asks.
“Adrian, Joshua, Jason, Michael, and Greg,” I say.
Sirius lets out a low whistle. “Damn.”
I raise my eyebrows. “What’s that supposed to mean?” He isn’t one to be talking. During the party, I walked in on him and Katie Carmichael really going at it.
“You just surprise me, Lane,” he says. “That’s all.”
I don’t really see why this would surprise him; this is how I am and have always been. I think what he actually means is that it’s not okay for a girl to snog a variety of different blokes in one night, but perfectly fine for a bloke to snog as many girls as he likes.
“You surprise me too,” says Alice. “You’re so pretty, Maddie, you could get a great boyfriend.”
“I don’t want one.” I sound like a broken record.
“Why not?” asks Lily.
“Can we please not have this conversation again?” I ask. “I like things the way they are, okay?”
“We’re just looking out for you,” Alice says gently. “One of these times you might actually fancy one of these boys, but he won’t be taking it seriously because he’ll think that you won’t be either, and then you could get hurt.”
“I appreciate the concern, but I’m fine,” I say. “How come you guys never get on Sirius’s case for this stuff?” Sirius snogs just as many girls as I do boys, and somehow for him, it’s acceptable. What a ridiculous double standard.
“Because I’m a bloke,” I say simply. “We don’t get as easily attached.”
Maddie shakes her head, her long, dark brown curls shaking with her. “That’s such a stereotype,” she protests. “Guys get attached too; it just has to be the right girl.”
I realize now that what I said was slightly insensitive, considering my best mate has been stuck on the same girl for years now.
“Okay, fine,” I concede, “but will you agree that more often than not, it is the girl who wants a relationship?”
“Sometimes,” says Maddie. “But not always.”
I nod. “You prove that point.”
As if on cue, there is a knock on the compartment door. “Come in,” Lily calls. The door slides open and there’s Adrian.
“Hey,” he says to everyone in general. And then to Maddie, “Can I talk to you?”
“Sure,” she says nonchalantly, getting up from her seat. We watch them go.
“So how long do you think this one will last?” says James.
“I give it a week, tops,” I reply.
Adrian and I walk into the hallway of the train, and when we’re far enough away from our compartment, he kisses me.
While we kiss, I run my fingers through his hair. Damn, he’s got nice hair.
We stop for a second. “Okay, I’m liking this conversation,” I say, and he laughs, kisses me again.
“I’m going to see where the trolley is,” I announce. I slide open the compartment door and step out into the hallway. I’m just walking down the hall when I turn a corner and run right into Maddie and Adrian snogging.
“Get a room,” I say with a laugh. It’s what I would do.
They break apart and Maddie rolls her eyes at me.
“We’re going to be at school soon,” says Adrian hastily, checking the clock. “I’ll see you at the feast?” Maddie nods and he leaves.
“Thanks for that, Black, really,” she says.
“Hey, it’s your fault for snogging in the hallway,” I say. “You should have at least gone for something classy, like the bathroom.”
Walking through the front doors of the Great Hall after being away for so long just feels right. I enter next to James, who is talking about Quidditch. This year he’s been made the Captain of the Gryffindor team. He plays Chaser, just like me. Sirius is on the team too, as a Beater. I can’t wait for the season to start, and judging by his tone of voice, neither can James.
“So we’re going to have a stronger defense this year,” James is saying. “That’s what cost us the cup last time.”
I nod in agreement. “When are you going to hold trials?”
“We need a strong new Keeper,” Sirius joins in. “Thank Merlin Miles Fletcher is gone. Bloody idiot cost us the cup.”
“Don’t even bring that up,” says James, shaking his head. We all remember all too well Miles’ performance in the final last year. He was a good Keeper, but he stayed out all night before partying and getting psyched up, showed up with a hangover and only saved two goals. It wasn’t the sort of behavior a Captain should have been demonstrating.
We go and find seats at the Gryffindor table. I sit between Lily and Alice.
“Welcome to another year at Hogwarts,” our headmaster, Albus Dumbledore is saying. “I trust you have all had a pleasant vacation and are ready for another year of magical learning.”
“Absolutely!” yell James and Sirius in unison. Dumbledore chuckles.
“Before we eat, I have a couple of announcements…” He launches into the annual speech, going over all of the rules, telling the first years not to go into the Forbidden Forest, and so on.
“And now, we eat!” says Dumbledore finally, and suddenly the table before us is filled with food. James and Sirius attack it like they haven’t eaten for days. Lily rolls her eyes.
“Hey, Mads, pass the potatoes,” says Sirius.
“For the last time, Black, stop calling me that,” I say firmly, passing him the bowl.
“It’s going to grow on you,” he says confidently.
“I wouldn’t count on that, seeing as six years hasn’t changed my mind.” He just grins cockily back at me. Typical Sirius.
After the feast, we head up to the common room. Everyone is chatting about their summers, and unfortunately all the good armchairs by the fire are taken. Sirius and James start up a game of Wizard’s Chess. Lily and Alice are comparing their summer reading essays for Binns’ class. Someone comes up behind me and puts their hands over my eyes.
“I don’t have to guess, I know,” I say with a smile. I turn around and Adrian catches me in another surprise kiss.
“Come on,” he says, and I follow him out of the Portrait Hole.
He leads me into an empty classroom and once we’re inside, he leans in and presses his lips firmly to mine. He’s a good kisser; our kisses start off soft and gentle but grow more intense. His hands start on my waist and travel up my body, finding their way to my hair.
I lose track of time, but after a while I force myself to pull away, breathing deeply.
“We should probably get to bed,” he says, with an apologetic note in his voice.
First day of classes. After breakfast, we have Transfiguration, always a good time.
“Minnie!” I say in a winning voice, coming up to Professor McGonagall, “Did you miss us?”
“There’s no use pretending you didn’t,” James adds.
“Because we know you did,” I finish.
Professor McGonagall looks at us, trying to mask her amusement. “Potter, Black. Please take your seats.”
We do as we’re told, taking our usual seats in the back of the class.
Professor McGonagall starts teaching, but I’m not really listening. I watch Lily and Maddie, who you’d think would be paying attention, pass notes to each other. I wonder what they’re talking about. Probably Adrian. Girls are so predictable.
I pass Lily a note. I think I’m going to end things with Adrian.
Lily’s response is short; I know it's because she's trying to pay attention. Why?
I don’t know…he’s cute and everything but it’s just kind of…boring.
Everyone is too boring for you. (Now stop passing me notes, I wouldn't put it past McGonagall to give us homework even if it is the first day back.)
I consider this. It’s true, the main reason I end things with anyone is because things get boring, but is that my fault? I mean every boy feels exactly the same. Until I find someone that makes me feel different, or rather…something, then I’m sticking with this pattern. Besides, you’re only young once.
“Okay, class, this year I decided it might be a good idea for me to choose your partners,” announces Professor Slughorn, “due to some-shall we say, mishaps, last year.”
James and I exchange a glance. It was safe to say that when we had been partners, we’d been more focused on messing with Snape than making our potions.
“So the pairs will be…” Professor Slughorn begins, and I zone out until I hear, “Black and Lane.”
“Hey, Mads,” I greet her, as she puts her cauldron down next to mine. She gives me a look, and I know it’s because I called her Mads. However, she doesn’t protest, which I take as progress.
She begins to chop up the asphodel roots we need, and as she brings the knife down each time, one of her long curls sways back and forth. This is very distracting.
“Is your hair naturally that curly?” I ask without thinking.
Maddie looks at me strangely. “Can we please be serious?” she asks.
“Well, unfortunately, I think only one of us can be, and that would be me. Sorry to disappoint you,” I say. That joke never gets old.
She rolls her eyes, but I can tell she wants to laugh.
“So, you going to Hogsmeade this weekend?” I ask as I heat the potion as instructed.
“I’m planning on it,” she answers. “You?”
“I’m planning on it,” I answer, grinning at her. Sometimes I think I end up flirting with Mads without even meaning to.
Quidditch tryouts are the evening of our second day back. James has all of the hopefuls line up on the sidelines and fly one at a time. Some of the second years are just bloody awful.
Mads and I have to re try-out, which is just a waste of time. We both make it back on, as do the other returning players from last year, Kimberly (Chaser), and Ryan (Seeker). Our new Beater is some sixth year bloke named Trevor, and our Keeper is Lucas, another sixth year that I’ve never gotten to know very well. Frank Longbottom tried out for Keeper too. I could tell James wanted to let him on; Frank’s a good bloke, but Grey just saved one more goal than he did, and James had to be fair.
“First practice is tomorrow,” James announces. “We’re not wasting any time.”
As we head off the pitch, Kimberly walks by me, tossing her hair as she goes. “Hi, Sirius,” she calls flirtatiously. Kimmy and I have snogged a few times. I nod back at her.
I’m walking next to Maddie, and she looks kind of worried.
When we return to the castle, I see her go find Adrian and bring him outside. She still looks kind of troubled.
She’s ending it already! Damn, she moves fast.
Speaking of which, I haven’t snogged anyone since the year started, and it’s already the second day! Shame on you, Sirius Black!
I call across the room. “Hey, Kimmy!”
“I’m sorry,” I say to Adrian, hoping he’s not taking this too hard.
He just looks at me. “I guess I knew this was coming,” he says finally. “I mean, you’re Madison Lane, right?”
I consider this for a minute. “Right,” I agree. It’s really the only thing that needs to be said.
“Padfoot?” James says into the dark. “Are you awake?”
“Fine, what is it?”
Pause. “Never mind.”
“Okay. Good night.”
Silence, and then-
“What the bloody hell is it?” I say, annoyed, sitting up in bed.
“It’s always Evans,” I say exasperatedly.
“I know! I can’t get her out of my head,” he says, shaking his head, as if physically attempting to shake off all thoughts of Lily Evans. “I don’t understand. I haven’t said one rude thing about Snivellus since we got here. I haven’t pulled any pranks. I’ve been made Head Boy! I haven’t even asked her out! What does she want from me?!”
“Maybe she wants you to call her by her name,” I say, yawning.
James’s eyes widen. “That’s so…simple,” he said. “That’s brilliant!”
“Great, now can I go to sleep?”
I lay back down and close my eyes.
The next morning, Prongs and I head downstairs for breakfast.
“Good morning, Pott-” Lily stops, looking up from the copy of the Daily Prophet she’s reading. “Did you just call me Lily?”
James looks nervous. “Er-yes? That’s your name, isn’t it?”
“Well, yes, of course,” Lily responds, still looking puzzled. She looks away and continues reading her paper.
James looks at me, looking pleased with himself. I roll my eyes. Lovesick prat.
On our way to Transfiguration, I notice James has a sort of a bounce in his step.
“Prongs, cut that out, you look like an idiot.”
James stops the weird walk, but he doesn’t stop smiling.
This is just proof that snogging is better than love. Look how weird it makes you.
A/N: Hey, everyone! Thank you for deciding to read this story. I know this chapter might seem like it's starting out slow, but it gets exciting soon, I promise! I've got a lot of the story written, it's just a matter of getting the chapters validated. I hope you enjoyed; leave a review and let me know what you thought!