Priori Incantatem by fellytone
"Let us hope that we are all preceded in this world by a love story." - Don Snyder
Prologue: The Sorting Hat
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, 1971
James Potter stood in line with the other first years, waiting to be called into Hogwarts' Great Hall for the Sorting and glancing nervously around him at the impressive entryway. He had been waiting his whole life to get to Hogwarts, now he was finally here and about to be Sorted. Looking up and down the line of his fellow first years, James caught the eye of Sirius Black, one of the boys he had met earlier on the train. Noticeably more confidant than most of the students in line, Sirius gave James a broad wink and a cocky grin.
Just then, Professor McGonagall, the formidable deputy headmistress who had been assigned to supervising the new students, turned to face the line again. "They're ready for you now," McGonagall announced. Follow me please."
McGonagall swept briskly into the hall, the first years following behind her at a more hesitant pace, and stopped in front of a three-legged stool with a battered pointed hat perched on it.
Without warning, the Sorting Hat burst into song, stunning the already nervous first years and greatly entertaining the rest of the hall. As the hat sang about the virtues of each of the four houses, Sirius caught James' eye again and they grinned at each other. Gryffindor was definitely the one they wanted.
"When I call your name, you will come forward and place the Sorting Hat on your head, and the hat will sort you into your houses," McGonagall announced, pulling a roll of parchment from her robes.
A pale, dark-haired boy came forward and set the hat on his head.
"SLYTHERIN!" the hat proclaimed after only a few seconds had passed. Avery strode briskly off to join the cheering Slytherin table.
"Black, Bellatrix" McGonagall called.
A posh-looking girl with heavily lidded dark eyes and a malicious smile came forward, supremely confident.
"SLYTHERIN!" the hat bellowed once more, this time with even less hesitation. Bellatrix's cat-that-ate-the-canary grin confirmed that she had gotten what she wanted as she glided regally over to the Slytherin table.
James' friend from the train sauntered up to the Sorting Hat, exuding innate confidence, an anticipatory sparkle in his eyes.
"GRYFFINDOR!" the hat called after a few seconds. Sirius looked slightly surprised, but extremely pleased nonetheless. James clapped hard for his friend, hoping they would be in Gryffindor together like they had talked about.
James, becoming bored, let his mind wander as the next couple of students were sorted into Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, respectively. Vaguely he heard McGonagall call out "Evans, Lily" but only glanced around when a dark red object caught the corner of his eye.
The "object" turned out to be "Evans, Lily's" hair, and James felt his stomach do a funny sort of flip-flop when he saw her properly.
Even though she was extremely nervous and blushing beet-red with the attention, and even though he was only 11 years old and hardly at the stage to fully appreciate the opposite sex, James was conscious of the fact that this was the prettiest girl he had ever seen.
When the hat called out "GRYFFINDOR!" and Lily Evans went to join the cheering Gryffindor table, James looked after her for a minute, hoping all the more that he too would be sorted into Gryffindor.
James grew increasingly nervous as the hat continued to sort the first years into the four houses. Finally Professor McGonagall called out "Potter, James," and James, pasting a brazen grin on his face, sauntered forward to place the hat on his head.
"Hmm..." the hat whispered in James' ear. "There's little difficulty in placing you. Definite penchant for mischief-making. I see talent too, lots of it, and confidence to spare. Loyalty, yes, definitely. Bravery, without a doubt. Perhaps a bit too much for your own good. Clearly you're a...GRYFFINDOR!"
James, grinning widely, went to join the clapping Gryffindor table and sat next to Sirius, who was cheering James with noticeably more enthusiasm than anyone else. Across from James was Remus Lupin, another boy he and Sirius had met on the train, who was smiling nervously at him. Next to Remus was Peter Pettigrew, a small squeaky-voiced boy who was nearly as enthusiastic as Sirius. James looked around at the other three and grinned, certain that they would have a grand time together.
James glanced a few seats down the table at Lily Evans, who was talking with some of the other first year girls. James' heart did another flip-flop as Lily smiled at something Morwenna Marchbanks, a girl James knew through his parents, had said. Lily, feeling James' eyes on her, looked back at him and James, now a little breathless, smirked at her. Puzzled, Lily offered him a small, polite smile in return and James' breathlessness became worse.
"Oy! James!" exclaimed Sirius, poking him. "Look at that one. Greasy haired little git, isn't he?"
Sirius was pointing to "Snape, Severus," who had just been sorted into Slytherin. Reluctantly, James turned his attention away from Lily and back to his new friends' conversation.
Peeking over his shoulder one last time at Lily Evans before he gave Sirius and the others his complete attention, James once again experienced that funny feeling in the pit of his stomach. With people like Lily Evans around, it was definitely going to be an interesting seven years.