On the evening before their return to Hogwarts, Victoria Potter and her elder brother James could both be found in their parents' sitting room, restlessly anticipating the following day. James was sprawled across the rug by the fireplace, tossing a stolen Snitch between each hand, while Victoria was lying on one of the sofas, attempting to proof read a particularly tricky Potions essay that was due for their first lesson.
It was not an enjoyable task. She had somehow managed to completely forget that the essay had been set until one of her friends, Lucy Phillips, had casually referred to it in a letter a couple of days ago. As a result, the final moments of Victoria's holidays had been spent furiously reading dauntingly large textbooks and attempting to construct something that was at least vaguely coherent. Checking it over now, she wasn't entirely sure that she had been successful.
'Can you please stop that,' she snapped suddenly, as James cheered to himself after making a particularly elaborate grab at the Snitch that was trying to escape his reach.
'You've become boring this summer, Vic,' he proclaimed, tossing the Snitch into his pocket nevertheless.
Victoria surveyed her brother over the top of her essay, hoping to emulate a McGonagall style severe glare.
'The resemblance is uncanny,' laughed James as he propped himself up onto his elbows.
'In what way have I become boring?' she demanded.
'Well for one thing, you stopped me going to visit Evans last week.'
'Oh please, that was for your own good! Stalking is not an attractive quality, James.'
James didn't look the slightest bit ruffled from her comment. Victoria could only assume that years of constant rejection from Lily had made him immune to any criticism regarding his actions towards her.
Victoria liked Lily very much, the two of them having become friends after Lily had helped her with a particularly difficult Potions project last year. Since then, Victoria had taken it upon herself to try and discourage James' obsession. While she would have loved the two of them to get together, Victoria thought it incredibly unlikely; Lily considered time not spent moaning about James time wasted.
'Imagine how much time she'll have to spend with me now we're both Heads,' sighed James, smiling at the thought.
'You don't know that she is Head Girl,' Victoria pointed out, although she realised how stupid that sounded. No one else in seventh year would have had a chance at beating Lily Evans to the post of Head Girl.
Victoria herself was about to begin her sixth year, and was also a prefect. She wasn't especially looking forward to watching her brother embarrass himself with Lily in the prefects' carriage the next day.
'Anyway, where's Sirius?' asked Victoria, in a transparent attempt to change the topic of conversation. Her brother's friend had barely left their house ever since the summer following first year. His somewhat deranged mother and generally horrible family were largely at the root of this. For once, however, he was absent. In fact, Victoria hadn't seen him for over a week.
An expression of pure excitement crossed James' face, making him resemble a small child who had just been let loose in Honeydukes.
'He's only gone and bought his own flat!' exclaimed James.
'How on earth did he manage that?'
'One of his better uncles died and left him some gold. So he used it to buy a place in London, Bloomsbury I think. We're all going to stay there over Christmas. It'll be great.'
Victoria knew 'we' to mean the self-styled Marauders, which compromised James, Sirius, and their two friends Remus and Peter. Victoria had a lot of time for all of them, even though Sirius could be unbearably arrogant, and Peter annoyingly doormat-like most of the time. However, the thought of the four of them being let loose alone in London made her fear for the well-being of the city.
'You do realise that you'll have to tone down the pranks now you're Head Boy?' she pointed out.
'I know,' said James, 'I expect you to carry on my noble work.'
Victoria snorted with laughter. While far away from the goody two shoes type, she wasn't exactly in the Marauders' league when it came to causing trouble.
'Stop being such a bad influence on your sister!' laughed their mother, who had suddenly appeared in the room.
Tall, with the dark hair and hazel eyes that both her children had inherited, Catherine Potter took a surprisingly relaxed view when it came to James' behaviour. While it was true that she never failed to send howlers whenever he received detention, Victoria had long suspected that this was driven by her own fiendish humour than by any real desire to scold her son.
'You two should get some sleep,' their mother advised, 'I don't want a repeat of last year when everyone over slept and you barely made the train.'
James shrugged and picked himself up from the floor. Acknowledging the truth in her mother's words, Victoria rolled up her essay and got up from the sofa.
'Night,' she said, kissing her mother on the cheek.
Victoria jogged up the stairs to the first floor, while James headed into the kitchen in search of a drink.
Talking to her brother just then had made Victoria anxious to get back to Hogwarts. She missed everything about the castle, but mainly her friends. Lucy had been staying with family in France for most of the holidays, so Victoria hadn't seen her since the end of the previous term. She had seen some of their other friends, such as Georgina and Pippa, but it wasn't the same as living with them.
As she pulled on her pyjamas and set an alarm for the following morning, it also struck Victoria that this year would be the final one where both her and James would be at school together. It would be so strange when she was in her seventh year when she wouldn't be able to see him or Sirius every day. They might annoy her on a regular basis, but she was insanely close to both of them.
Laughing at her own overly sentimental thoughts, Victoria turned off her bedroom lights and climbed into bed. How ridiculous she was being; she had a good sixty years or so of James and Sirius yet to endure.
It seemed to Victoria that she had barely closed her eyes, when her alarm rang shrilly beside her head. As per usual, it was a mad rush to get ready in time. Both her and James' owls were incredibly reluctant to return to their cages, after having spent the summer exclusively flying around outside. Then James thought it would be funny to hide Victoria's broomstick, and by the time she'd found it, and then chased him around the house beating him with it, it was getting dangerously close to eleven o clock.
They made it just in time to kiss their parents goodbye and hurry onto the train. James immediately dashed down the corridor in search of the prefects' compartment and the victim of his obsession, while Victoria lugged her trunk along behind her, looking for her own friends.
She found them about halfway down the train. Lucy, Georgina and Pippa were convened in one compartment, accompanied by Alexander Vance and Ben Moore, two of their fellow sixth year Gryffindors. They were spread across several seats, all engaged in animated conversation about something.
Upon seeing her, Alex jumped up to slide open the door and help Victoria drag her luggage inside.
'Hello,' he smiled, brushing his floppy blonde hair away from his face.
'Vic!' squealed Lucy, bouncing up from her seat.
Lucy had been Victoria's closest friend ever since they had met on their first journey aboard the train five years ago. A few hours later they had both been sorted into Gryffindor, and the rest was history.
'How was France?' laughed Victoria, as her best friend trapped her in a bone-crushing hug that was much more painful than Lucy's slender stature should have allowed.
'Great! I have so much to tell you!'
Victoria noticed the playful glint in Lucy's expression, and wondered just how many French boys she had managed to pull over the summer. With her blonde curls and large blue eyes, Lucy was ridiculously attractive, and had always succeeded in making guys fall at her feet. As far as Victoria could remember, Sirius was the only boy at Hogwarts that Lucy had wanted and failed to get, although Victoria had never gotten to the reason behind this.
'Vic, we should head over to the prefects' compartment,' Alex pointed out.
'Yes, we should,' she agreed, 'Let's go and watch my brother embarrass himself in front of Lily.'
'Is she Head Girl?' asked Pippa, a tall girl with a lot of bouncy brown hair.
'Of course,' said Lucy confidently, 'who else would be?'
'So your brother is still fixated on her then?' questioned Pippa, a definite note of disappointment in her voice.
Trying to ignore the thought that one of her best friends might be harbouring a secret attachment to her brother, Victoria bade them all goodbye and followed Alex out into the corridor.
They walked side by side in silence. That was the thing about Alex, he wasn't one to initiate pointless conversation just for the sake of it. Victoria appreciated that trait in him, especially at those times when she'd been around the incessantly loud Marauders for too long.
The two of them were almost at the prefects' compartment, when they walked past a compartment full of seventh year Slytherins. Victoria's eyes slid to the left, and she saw Avery, Mulciber and Snape lounging across some seats, and discussing something in hushed tones. While she disliked all three of them on the basis that they were not only Slytherins but also mostly likely future Death Eaters, Victoria held a particular candle of loathing for Snape. It was true that James and Sirius had perhaps been overly mean to him in the past, but in Victoria's opinion Snape had always given as good as he'd gotten. And then there was his old friendship with Lily, something that had effectively ended after he'd called her a mudblood in front of half of the school. To Victoria, that had merely confirmed the fact that he was simply a bad person.
As if he was performing Legilimency, Snape's gaze turned to the corridor, just as Victoria and Alex passed by the window. He sneered, his black eyes boring into her. Victoria glared back and continued walking.
'It's scary, isn't it?' asked Alex.
'What is?' Victoria herself didn't find Severus Snape remotely frightening.
'The fact that those three can be so open about wanting to join You Know Who when they leave this place. Who knows, maybe they already have. It's scary that people our age can think like that, and that they don't have anyone to tell them any different.'
Victoria considered Alex's words. He could be very perceptive at times, seeing things slightly different to how others did.
'I suppose so,' she admitted, 'Imagine what it'd be like to be so full of hate.'
'I can't imagine it.'
Like Victoria, Alex was from a pure-blood family, one which- like the Potters- had little time for any of the blood mania espoused by Voldermort and his supporters. His sister, Emmeline, was two years older and was allegedly a member of Dumbledore's secretive Order of the Phoenix group. Victoria knew little about it, but she understood that it was an organisation committed to doing their upmost to combat Voldermort.
The sober mood was lifted when they arrived at the prefects' compartment. Before Victoria had even slid the door open, she could hear two familiar voices.
Lily Evans was standing up in the limited floor space between the seats, her expression as blazing as her hair, and her wand pointed directly at James, who was sprawled across one of the window seats.
'I swear to you, Potter, one more word and I will hex you so hard that you will be incapable of speaking ever again.'
James eyed the wand with a degree of wariness, and held his hands up in defence, 'Okay, okay, you won't hear another word from me Evans, although I must say that might get in the way of our roles as Heads.'
Lily ignored him and sat down gracefully in between the two sixth year Ravenclaw prefects, Nicholas and Penny.
'Hi everyone,' said Victoria, struggling to maintain a straight face.
Lily gave her a smile, and gestured to the spare seat next to Remus, who was one of the seventh year Gryffindor prefects.
'Alright, sis?' said James, leaning across Remus to talk to her.
Victoria merely rolled her eyes at him, and turned to Remus instead, 'How was your summer?'
He shrugged, 'A little dull. I did quite a bit of work. How was yours?'
James made a tutting noise to indicate his disgust at studying during the holidays, but before Victoria could respond to either of them, Lily began talking.
'So, hi everyone,' she said, with a slightly nervous smile that only served to highlight her pretty features, 'As you can probably tell, James and I are the new Head Boy and Girl'- she spared James a single look of contempt before continuing- 'I can only assume that whoever decided to appoint Potter was mentally unwell at the time. Anyway, we just need to assign duties to you all, so shout when you hear something you want. Okay, does anyone want first floor patrol duty on Mondays...'
'Ah my future wife,' sighed James, quietly enough so that Lily couldn't hear him.
'Your brother doesn't know when to quit,' laughed Alex, who had sat down on Victoria's right.
'Tell me about it. Anyway, how was your summer?' It seemed like a safe time to talk; Lily was still dishing out prefect duties.
'Good actually,' said Alex, 'It was nice to see my family again, I went to stay with my cousins in Cornwall for quite a bit of it. How about you?'
'I think I spent most of it playing Quidditch with James,' considered Victoria.
'That's nice,' said Alex, stilting the conversation somewhat. In great contrast to Victoria, who was a Chaser on the Gryffindor team, Alex had little interest in Quidditch, to the extent that he rarely even watched the inter-school matches.
'And who wants patrol of the basement on Tuesdays and Thursdays?' asked Lily.
'Oh we'll do that!' exclaimed Victoria enthusiastically, gesturing between her and Alex.
'Good call, Potter,' Alex smiled.
'Thank you,' grinned Victoria.
Basement patrol was widely regarded as one of the best prefect duties, simply because it put you in close proximity to the kitchen, and it was a common occurrence for the house elves to appear with tea and cakes.
A few minutes later, all the duties had been assigned and they were free to go. Victoria and Alex headed back down the train corridor towards their friends, excitedly discussing the coup they had just managed.
They were literally outside their friends' compartment, when Victoria suddenly found herself caught up in something that was more akin to a tackle than a hug.
'Hello, you,' she laughed, as she pulled herself free of Sirius's grip and gave him a playful shove.
'Alright, Vic? Why haven't I seen you for ages?'
'Yeah, I mean it must be what, about eight days?'
Sirius laughed, his handsome face lighting up as he did so. From an objective point of view, Victoria could definitely understand why most of the school's female population experienced varying degrees of love and lust for him.
'Alright, Alex?' asked Sirius.
Alex nodded silently. He had never seemed entirely comfortable around the Marauders; Victoria had often thought that there was just too much of a contrast between his reserved nature and their boisterousness.
'What's this I hear about a flat in London?' exclaimed Victoria.
'Oh yeah, I meant to tell you about that! Wait until you see it, it's amazing! James and I are going to turn it into an epic bachelor pad.'
Victoria snorted with laughter at the thought of James and Sirius' idea of a bachelor pad. She could imagine a room full of Firewhiskey bottles and Quidditch magazines. Her feminine input would definitely be needed when it came to decorating the place.
'Okay, I'm going to find your tosser of a brother, but I'll see you at the feast?'
'Sure,' smiled Victoria, and Sirius jogged off down the corridor.
It was only when she turned back to the window of her friends' compartment, that she noticed Lucy's eyes on her.
'Hey,' said Victoria, following Alex inside.
'Sirius seems in a good mood,' commented Lucy, in what she clearly thought was a nonchalant voice.
'Erm yeah he's fine,' said Victoria awkwardly, as she sat down between Pippa and Georgina. Sirius was the one thing in the world that she felt unable to discuss with Lucy. Last year, Lucy had developed a crush on him, but for some unknown reason he'd rejected her advances. The whole incident had rather upset Lucy, and so Victoria had tried avoiding mentioning Sirius in front of her, something which was incredibly difficult considering that she spent a significant amount of time with him.
'Is Lily Head Girl?' asked Georgina, in a clear attempt to change the subject. That was Georgina through and through, always aware of others' feelings.
'Yep,' said Victoria, seizing on this, 'If she makes it through the year without murdering my brother I'll be surprised.'
Everyone chuckled at this, including Lucy, who luckily seemed to have forgotten all about Sirius.
'I don't mean to bring everyone down, but did you all see this morning's Prophet?' asked Ben from his seat next to Pippa.
'No,' said Victoria, who had been too busy beating James with the broomstick he'd hidden to read the newspaper.
'Oh God, it was awful,' gasped Pippa.
'A couple of Death Eaters massacred an entire muggle family last night,' explained Ben, his face grim, 'including three children.'
Victoria's stomach twisted painfully. Such stories were a stark reminder of the reality that awaited them all outside the safe walls of Hogwarts.
'Do we know who it was?' asked Georgina quietly. Victoria recognised the fearful look on her friend's face; Georgina's entire family were muggles, and she lived in terror of them being the victim of an attack like the one Ben had just described. Lucy put a sympathetic arm around her.
'The Ministry was quoted saying that they're chasing several leads, but we all know that means they have nothing to go one. And even if they did, what could they do?' said Pippa soberly.
'I suppose we all need to be ready for what's out there when we leave this place,' said Ben, his eyes staring into the increasingly wild landscape that could be seen beyond the compartment window. Ben was much less serene than Alex, often radiating an air of great impatience, as if desperate to be out there fighting. This evoked both admiration and terror in Victoria.
A silence descended upon the group, which was only broken by the sound of the door sliding open a few minutes later.
It was Frank Longbottom and his girlfriend Alice Howard, two amiable seventh year Gryffindors who were among the loveliest people Victoria had ever met.
'We were just walking past, thought we'd stop and say hello,' smiled Alice.
'Sure,' grinned Victoria, 'Hey, Alex, budge up a bit.'
There was a great deal of shuffling around in order to accommodate the extra people into the already crowded compartment. Victoria found herself squeezed between Lucy and Alex, the latter of which didn't appear to mind the situation at all.
The arrival of Frank and Alice served to lighten the mood considerable, and before Victoria knew it, they were all laughing at the usual trivial matters that entertained teenagers. No matter what horror awaited them all, at least they could enjoy these moments of peace with each other.
By the time the Hogwarts Express pulled into Hogsmede Station, a strong burst of rain was pelting the village and everyone in it. Unsurprisingly, the usual mad rush to unload luggage and fight for the first places on the horseless carriages ensued. In the chaos, Victoria found herself in a carriage with James, Sirius and- to her brother's total delight- Lily Evans.
'Oh dear God,' muttered Lily as she climbed into the carriage and realised who was already seated there.
She actually made to clamber back out, but was prevented from doing so by it starting to move. Scowling, she took a seat next to Victoria and angrily folded her arms across her chest.
'Alright, Evans?' asked James in what he evidently considered to be a nonchalant voice.
'Do not talk to me,' snapped Lily, 'I still can't believe they made you Head Boy.'
'Well, you see Evans, unlike you, most people understand my amazing qualities. Good looks, humour, intelligence...'
'Modesty?' interjected Lily.
'Well this is fun,' remarked Victoria to Sirius, as James and Lily continued to bicker.
Sirius winked at her, 'Tell me about it. What were you doing with Alex earlier anyway?'
'We're both prefects. And he's my friend,' Victoria reminded him, somewhat taken aback.
'He definitely has a thing for you,' commented Sirius.
'What's that?' asked James sharply, breaking off his conversation with Lily.
'Don't be ridiculous!' spluttered Victoria, 'Alex does not like me! We're just friends. He's no different with me than he is with Lucy and the other girls.'
'Is this Vance?' asked James, 'I never liked that one.'
'What a surprise,' said Lily sarcastically.
'When did you notice this?' demanded James of Sirius.
Sirius shrugged, 'Don't know, I've just thought it for a while.'
'Okay!' interrupted Victoria loudly, 'First of all, James this has nothing to do with you, and don't be so ridiculous, you've never had an issue with Alex. Second of all, the two of us are just friends, and I can assure you that that is all we'll ever be.'
'Well said,' smiled Lily, 'Although I do have to agree with Black on this one.'
Victoria sighed in exasperation and rolled her eyes, entertaining herself with the absurd concept of her and Alex Vance ever being more than friends.
As soon as the carriages stopped outside the castle, Lily said goodbye to Victoria and hurried off before James could even attempt to follow her.
'I'm telling you, this year will be the year that Lily Evans and I finally get together,' he assured Victoria and Sirius as they crossed the Entrance Hall and headed into the Great Hall.
'Whatever you say, mate,' laughed Sirius, while Victoria merely snorted with derision.
The three of them walked past the other house tables to reach the Gryffindor one, and took seats at it. They were soon joined by Remus and Peter, as well as Victoria's friends who she had managed to lose in the chaos of disembarking from the train. She was pleased to notice that Lucy and Sirius were perfectly cordial to one another, and exchanged friendly greetings. She less pleased, however, to notice James throwing suspicious looks at Alex; she would need to put a stop to Sirius' theory before it had the chance to snowball.
'How are you, Peter?' she asked, turning to the boy on her left in an attempt to ignore her brother.
'Fine thanks,' he replied in his usual squeaky voice, 'Summer was so boring. I hate being stuck with my family.'
Victoria had never met Peter's parents, although she had frequently heard him complain about them. He had no siblings, and seemed to resent having to spend any time at home, which was probably why he tagged along with the other Marauders for most of the holidays.
'Tell me about it,' sighed Pippa, flicking her long hair over her shoulder, 'I couldn't wait to get back here.'
'Well I for one have finally properly moved out and bought my own place,' grinned Sirius, 'You're all invited to the future weekly parties of course.'
'Why have you bothered buying somewhere when you're here most of the time?' inquired Alex.
Sirius' smile faded somewhat and his eyebrows contracted, 'Because I wanted to and because I could.'
Alex didn't press the matter, but instead took a sip of pumpkin juice.
Victoria noticed that Sirius continued to stare at him for a few moments, his nature ensuring that he wanted to carry on the debate rather than let it drop.
Luckily, Ben chose that moment to bring up Quidditch.
'So when are Quidditch trials, James?'
Ben had been a Beater on the Gryffindor team since third year, and he was incredibly good at it too. Sirius was the other Beater, his utterly reckless nature ensuring that he had no fear of the bludgers. Victoria, James and Pippa made up the Chaser positions, but they had lost their prized Seeker, Richard, who had finished Hogwarts last year. The team's keeper, Jordan, had also recently left.
'I was thinking of holding them this Saturday,' said James, 'I want to get us training as quickly as possible. I'm not optimistic about finding anyone of Richard and Jordan's standards though.'
'Keith Fielding might make a good keeper,' reasoned Sirius, 'he's so broad he'd block all the hoops without moving.'
'Or Ryan Clark,' suggested Victoria, thinking of a fifth year Gryffindor who was built in a similar way.
'We'll see,' said James, 'To be honest, it's the seeker position that I'm more concerned about not being able to fill, and we really need to trash Slytherin again this year.'
They all glanced across to the Slytherin table. The whole lot of them just seemed remarkably unpleasant thought Victoria, even if you didn't know that they were all wannabe Death Eaters. Her gaze fell on Snape, Avery and Mulciber, and her sentiments were merely reinforced.
'Don't worry, we'll manage it,' she assured them all confidently.
With that, Professor Dumbledore got to his feet and began making his traditional start of term speech. This was quickly followed by the arrival of the usual delicious food.
Victoria helped herself to a bit of everything, despite her and Lucy having worked their way through an enormous stack of cauldron cakes a mere couple of hours ago.
'Do our parents not feed you?' laughed James, as he took in the amount of food on her plate.
Victoria ignored him and took a bite of steak and kidney pie. A long bout of flying would be needed tomorrow or else she ran the risk of ballooning to the size of Professor Slughorn, but right now she couldn't care less.
The feast was thoroughly enjoyable thanks to the food and company, but by the time it was over she was well ready to climb into her bed, which no doubt would have had a warming pan placed in it by the house elves.
However, before that luxury, she, Alex, Remus, James, Lily and the rest of the Gryffindor prefects had to shepherd the first years to the Tower. It wasn't particularly difficult work since they all seemed to believe that safety was in numbers, and so walked along in a tight huddle.
'I'm sure we were never this small,' Alex laughed to Victoria, as they reached the portrait of the Fat Lady.
James heard this and raised his eyebrows at Victoria. She responded by sharply poking her brother with her wand. Damn Sirius for starting such a ridiculous rumour.
Once all the first years had been directed to their dormitories, Victoria said goodnight to the boys, and headed up the staircase to her own familiar dorm, the door of which now bear a label saying sixth year girls.
Lucy, Pippa and Georgina were already inside, pulling on pyjamas and climbing into their respective beds.
Victoria walked over to her own bed, opened her trunk and reached for her favourite pair of pyjamas. As she got into bed, chattering away with her friends, she truly felt as if she were at home. This year was going to be amazing, she would make sure of it.
So I hope the first chapter was okay! It would be great if you could leave me a review and let me know what you thought.
The eventual plan is for this to develop into a romantic story between Victoria and Sirius, but there will obviously be multiple bumps along the way. There will also be quite a bit of James/ Lily, as well as a bit of romance between some of the other characters.