Chapter 5 : You Don't Want Trouble
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"Remember what we talked about this summer?" Remus asked James as he peered in the compartment, checking for Lily. "About putting in some effort if you plan to have a chance with her?"
"I do put in effort!" he protested as Remus took a seat beside him.
"It's the wrong kind, though," his friend said softly before thrusting the book at him. "Take a look at this."
"What is this?" James asked, gawking at the cover. "Why haven't I heard of this?"
"Twelve Ways to Charm Witches," Remus read aloud and opened to the first page. "I think this is going to be the best option for you. Instead of using your own silly methods, it's time to try some from the masters."
A wicked grin spread itself across James' face. "Did you use this, Moony? Is that why you know so much about it?"
A stiff expression crossed Remus' face before a small mischievous grin graced his face. "Let's just say that Mary Ellerby had no idea what hit her." James burst out into uncontrollable laughter.
"Moony, you are a bad boy!" James gave a low whistle as said girl passed the compartment and blushed when she saw Remus.
"Just flip through it before she gets here and then hide it. We both know it would backfire worse than Peter's wand when dueling Sirius if she found that book," Remus warned and then stood up. Comically, he leaned out of the compartment before easing out into the corridor and "sneakily" shutting the door. He tiptoed out of sight and James laughed the entire time.
He straightened his Head Boy badge, contemplating the book on his lap, before he opened it carefully, glancing at the door. He turned the pages quickly, waiting for something to really catch his eye, but the beginning seemed to be what he had tried on Lily for the past six years.
"James, have a nice summer?" Lily asked as she closed the compartment door with an efficient click. James jumped in surprised and closed the book, nonchalantly tucking it into his robe as he rose to shake her outstretched hand.
This is it, Potter, don't screw it up.
"Very well. And you, Lily?" He gave her a generic smile, attempting not to come on too strong.
"Peaceful," she said, a real smile slipping through. "To business?"
James gentlemanly gestured to the seat next to him and waited for her to take it before sitting himself. He reconsidered his opinion on that book, maybe it did know more about witches than he did.
As she talked, James began to feel nervous. Why hadn't she showed some sign of confusion? Why had she accepted his position in the prefects' compartment without so much as a glance? This wasn't like Lily and James squirmed under the stress of not knowing.
"Well, that's everything. The prefects will be here any moment and then we can get to our respective friends," Lily said curtly, crossing the final "t" on the parchment in front of her. "I think this is going to be a good year, don't you?"
James, dumbfounded, felt his jaw fall slightly agape and he nodded mechanically. This. Was. Not. Normal.
"Are you feeling all right, James? You look a little peaky," Lily asked, leaning in a bit, curiosity and slight concern crossing her face.
Luckily, James was saved from answering as the prefects began to file into the compartment. James was slightly surprised by the light atmosphere in the compartment as it filled up. There was a lot of laughter and loud talking; with Remus as his friend and Lily as his central focus, he had assumed prefects were a fairly quiet, rule-abiding bunch. He hadn't stopped to consider the possibility that they were all friends and enjoyed being together.
He was delighted to discover, on the other hand, how many students seemed to genuinely like Lily and respect her position as Head Girl. It was really incredible for him to see how much she liked them in return.
As he was absorbing the small room, Lily brought the meeting to order. Pretending to have a purpose, James waited another moment before turning to her.
"I'm glad to see you all here," Lily said, beaming. "Welcome back to our experienced prefects and to our new recruits, welcome! I'm Lily Evans, Head Girl, and this is Head Boy James Potter. We're both excited about the incoming year and we hope you are, too. We've got the usual rules: keeping curfew, order in the halls, and behavior expectations away from teachers. We'll have a meeting to set up schedules and touch base with any new rules within a few days. For now, wander up and down the corridor periodically and report any reoccurring troublemaking to James or me. That's all I have. James, do you have anything to add?"
James, shocked at being addressed when he had become accustomed to Lily's authority already, cleared his throat and looked at the students. "I know it's a bit of a surprise to see me up here, but I want you to know, I will take this seriously. If there's a problem, don't report it to me just because you think I'll go lightly." He didn't know how to finish, so he nodded back to Lily.
"Well, thanks guys. See you later and enjoy the feast. Welcome back to Hogwarts!"
There was a smattering of applause, but Lily didn't acknowledge it. She waved goodbye to students and gathered her papers. James continued to stand off to the side, uncertain what to do.
"You really belong up there, Lily," a voice said from behind them. When James spun around, he grinned in relief. Remus could save him. "And you don't look so bad yourself, mate." Lily gave her thanks and then Remus left.
"Okay, James, I've played along," Lily began and James looked down at her in confusion. "I let you have your start-of-term fun, I even helped it along with the prefects, but it's time to give the badge back. I know Remus is Head Boy, you can give it up."
James felt a little angry; hadn't he shown himself to be a decent leader during that meeting? He hadn't known what to do, sure, but he could learn easily!
"Lily, this isn't a joke," he said slowly, feeling his eyebrows knitting together. Why was she so desperate to make him a bad guy?
"James, don't take this personally, but I know you're not Head Boy material. You're a good guy, but I doubt you even know what the rules are!"
He huffed in frustration. Why was this impossible to believe? He opened his mouth, managed to get out two syllables, "I can—" before he felt a thwack against his face. Lily, in her hotheaded frustration, had actually hit him across the face!
Actually, that didn't surprise him. What did was the look of apology and shock on her own face.
"Oh, Merlin, James, I'm sorry! God, you really bring out the worst in me, did you know?" She covered her slowly reddening face with both of her hands. "I'm so sorry, James. Old habits die hard. Good Godric I didn't mean it!"
His hand falling from his face, James began to laugh. This girl, honestly. Maybe this really was the year…
A/N: Hey guys! Sorry it's taken me so long to update. I know this wasn't a very funny one, but I hoped you liked it. I tried to take a bit of a spin on a slightly cliche James and Lily moment.
Thanks for reading, and I would really appreciate reviews!
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by Livvy Potter