AN the First: Here you! My first REAL Lily/James story!
"Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that—that school—and came home every vacation with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats…" Petunia Dursley, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Disclaimer: Lily and James Potter, and most affiliated characters belong to the highly esteemed JK Rowling and her enterprise of confusing names like Bloomsbury and Warner Bros. Ordinary Day, I am pretty sure, belongs to the wonderfully talented Vanessa Carlton. This song has been a great inspiration, but I'm not inspired enough to try and make money off of either. All in good fun, I promise.
By Shadow Dragon
Inspired by the song "Ordinary Day" by Vanessa Carlton
Just an ordinary day
Just trying to get by
Just a boy
Just an ordinary boy
But he was looking to the sky
"That's an odd teacup."
Petunia Evans stood on the threshold of the guest bedroom in the Evans home, where her sister Lily took up residence during the summer holidays. It had originally been Lily's bedroom, but now that she spent ten months of the year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, it had been converted into a guest bedroom. Lily only stayed at the Evans home for roughly a month of the summer, anyway. She was always off, visiting friends and whatnot.
Now, however, she was sitting at the desk, her red hair aglow in the lamplight. "Is it?" Her voice was distracted. "Uwila found it on her way back from Ara's and left it as a gift."
Crossing to the dresser with short, hesitant steps, Petunia plucked up the cup and held it up to inspect it more closely. Although it was surprisingly warm for having been sitting on Lily's dresser all day, it was painted a cool gray sort of color. Instead of a base, it seemed to have four feet, like a clawed bathtub. Petunia frowned at this. Even the handle appeared to be some sort of tail. "It reminds me of…"
"A rat?" Lily looked up from her homework for the first time. "That's what it struck me as, too. I thought I was going mad, but if you see it, too…"
Petunia bit her lip, deciding not to remind Lily that she really was going mad. Honestly, all this nonsense about magic, and parchment and quills. It was ludicrous! In secret, she wondered if Hogwarts wasn't just some elaborate scheme for Lily to drop out of school ten months of the year. Even if it was a school, she didn't seem to learn anything useful, like mathematics or philosophy. Magic was not practical—it was imaginary—and Petunia liked to think of herself as a very practical person.
But her parents were willing to believe that Lily, spoiled, perfect little Lily, was a witch.
"Hmm…I wonder." Lily took the teacup from Petunia's hands, turning it over as she did so. "I think I'll have to trust Uwila's judgment on this matter." She placed the teacup onto the bed and pulled out her wand before Petunia could protest. More to herself than to Petunia, she muttered, "There's a spell to show the teacup's previous form—because even wizards don't own teacups this strange. I bet you anything that somebody Transfigured a rat."
Petunia was looking at the wand with wide eyes. This was the first time Lily had so much as shown her what it looked like. Petunia had always imagined it to be black with white tips, like all of the magicians on TV had. No, it was a simple stick with finger grips on the thicker end. Noticing Petunia's gaze, Lily cleared her throat awkwardly. "I won't do it in front of you if you mind."
"Just do the spell! Stop trying to be a diplomat!" Petunia snapped, and Lily flinched.
"All right, then." She flicked the wand expertly and muttered something Petunia couldn't quite make out. The teacup spun around and kept spinning until it stopped as a rat. It was pudgy and light-gray and blinked at the pair rather dazedly. Petunia shrieked, but Lily just scooped the rat up and brought it closer to her face to inspect it. "Yes, blue eyes," she mused to herself. "I wonder what Sirius has been getting up to now." She sighed and dropped the rat into one of the dresser drawers. To Petunia, she explained, "The rat belongs to a year-mate of mine. Sirius Black is always doing something to it, so I'll just hold it here until Uwila comes back."
Petunia stared at the desk drawer, wondering if the rat was going to chew through the corner and bite them in their sleep.
Lily flicked her red hair out of her eyes. Her fringe was slowly starting to grow out and was always in her eyes, it seemed. "What were you wanting to tell me, 'Tunia? You don't come into my room for no reason at all anymore."
Petunia blinked at Lily's observation. Why had she come into Lily's room, anyway? She'd been so distracted by the teacup/rat… "Oh," she said, remembering. "You're to wear nice clothing when we go out with Vernon's parents tonight. Normal clothing."
Instead of complaining about Petunia's use of the word "normal," as she would have done in summers previous, Lily just nodded. "That's fair, I guess." She paused, obviously trying to remember something as well. "And can I call Mr. Dursley Vernon now, since there will be two Mr. Dursleys there?" She crossed to the closet and started rummaging though the outfits in there. Most of them were her school robes, but Mrs. Evans had taken it upon herself to get Lily some nicer clothing for outings and such. Lily was too short to take Petunia's castoffs anymore.
"I suppose," Petunia said in a strained voice. She was only four years Lily's senior, but she had always insisted that Lily call Vernon Mr. Dursley. To her surprise, Lily had just rolled her eyes and agreed to do whatever Petunia wished. When had bratty Lily become such a pushover? All summer, Petunia had been ordering her around for the mere fun of it. "His sister Marge will be there, as well, and she'll have a date."
Because Lily's back was to her, Petunia did not see Lily's eyes dull over with defeat. She had no idea of the war that was going on between Lily and her boyfriend's sister. When the redhead turned back around, holding her choice of outfits, her face was a carefully composed mask. "That's nice. How's this?" She held up a simple black dinner dress for Petunia to approve. "Will this do?"
Petunia eyed the garment. Her own dress was dark blue, and quite a bit more elegant, so they would not match. Petunia hated it when their mother bought them matching clothes. "That's fine. Please be downstairs at six." She started to turn to leave, but Lily touched her arm, eyes clouding as Petunia instinctively recoiled.
"Look, 'Tunia, I know you didn't want me to come to this. If it's any consolation, I'd rather let you have Mum and Daddy all to yourself. Perhaps I could invite one of my friends as a date to help keep out of the way? It would be easier on you."
At first, Petunia was sorely tempted to agree. Getting Lily out of the way would have made her evening much easier, but then she remembered that Lily's friends were all—like her. Petunia had met them, and they couldn't stop going on and on in amazement about 'Muggles' or whatever the term was. They were loud, arrogant, bratty little annoyances. They would give the secret away in the first minute, and then Vernon would storm out. Vernon was a very practical person, like Petunia. He didn't need to know about Lily and her freakishness. "No," she said shortly. "I don't think that's wise. Just keep your mouth shut and don't talk about your abnormality." She turned to leave, and missed Lily's crestfallen expression. "And be downstairs at six."
It was late afternoon when James Potter finally sighed and crawled out of the rosebushes of number nine, Magnolia Crescent, very careful not to muss up the suit he was wearing. The owl that had taken Peter—in teacup form—had flown into number eight, Magnolia Crescent, and he and the remaining Marauders had been keeping a stakeout on the window ever since. The light had come on, for it was cloudy outside, but other than that, they saw no sign of the Muggle-born wizard or witch that lived there. "I don't understand why we can't just go knock on the front door and ask for our teacup back," he grumbled to his companions.
Sirius Black crawled out as well, followed shortly by Remus Lupin. All three were clad in Muggle suits, for they had taken the Muggle Underground to get to the Ministry that morning. Sirius's father had invited the group to take a tour of the Ministry, and that required nice clothing. Nice, Muggle clothing, nonetheless.
"Because it's against Marauder code," Sirius replied immediately. "Going up there to ask for our friend back would be admitting defeat."
"Defeat to what?" Remus demanded, pushing both hands through his shaggy hair. The Marauders all had shaggy hair (except Peter, who styled his that way to fit in) and light eyes. James and Sirius had often been confused as brothers, but Remus's coloring was too light for that. Peter was as blond as they came, with the same blue eyes as Sirius and James. "Peter's a teacup, Sirius. Really, it's not that big of a deal to say that the owl stole our teacup."
"Who keeps a rat shaped teacup? Anybody's going to know that's a rat!" Sirius protested, pointing up at the window and, by default, at Peter. "And if the witch or wizard is old enough, they'll know the spell to change Peter back to a rat! Then what? Peter panics, that's what! You know how he is when he gets that way—he'll turn human right away, I wouldn't doubt!"
"So we just leave a Marauder in hot water alone?" James asked, standing and stretching. He moved onto the sidewalk so that the members of number eight would not see him on their lawn.
Remus followed him, brushing off the knees of his dark brown suit. "No," Sirius said, coming last. "We wait until whoever it is leaves the house, fly up to the window, Alohamora it, and grab Peter. Nobody knows we're there, and we can get Peter back before they Transfigure him."
Instead of commenting on Sirius's obviously-futile plan, James pulled a pocket watch from his suit vest and looked at it for a long moment before asking, "And what time are you supposed to be home again, Sirius?"
"Six-fifteen. Remus and I both," Sirius replied promptly, pulling on his suit jacket. He kept the sleeves of his nice shirt rolled up to his elbows, however. "Why?"
"Because it's five-thirty, and your house is nearly an hour away on broomstick." James held back a laugh at Sirius's and Remus's panicked expressions. "Look, tell you what. I'll just go up there and get Peter back, and you two head on home. I'll make up some story or something." Knowing that it would take Remus and Sirius awhile to get high enough for cloud cover, he laughed and said, "Hurry up!"
Both Remus and Sirius sprinted off to where they had hidden their brooms in the back of James's car. James walked off in the opposite direction, up the front path of number nine, Magnolia Crescent. Nervously, he patted down his hair and took his time surveying the house. It was obvious that this house belonged to Muggles—Muggles who liked to garden. James had to walk through a little gate and along a garden path, which was bordered by roses and other blooms of all kinds, before he could take the steps up to the patio. The siding on the house was white, the shutters were light blue. The door was cranberry-red and a had a flower-shaped knocker, much to James's amusement.
Whoever lives here must really like flowers, James mused to himself, and rang the doorbell.
A woman with bright red hair answered the door, smiling a bit oddly at the sight of James in his nice suit, standing on their patio. "Can I help you?" she asked, eyebrows raised. She must have thought he was a door-to-door salesman.
James cleared his throat nervously. "This is going to sound very strange, but can I talk to the wizard or witch that lives in this house? Their owl, ah, collected something that belonged to me, and I need to get it back."
For a moment, he was worried that the Marauders had been watching the wrong house, after all, because the woman looked a bit puzzled. "Oh!" she said suddenly. "You mean Uwila!" Her eyes widened incredulously, confirming James's suspicions of her being a Muggle. "You must be a wizard! Are you at Hogwarts, too?" She opened the screen door and waved James in. "Come in, come in. I'll go fetch my daughter for you."
His fancy shoes clicking oddly, James stepped into a genuinely Muggle home for the first time. It was just a regular entrance hall, really, with a watercolor of tulips on one wall, and a chest of drawers on the opposite wall. "Thank you," he said awkwardly. "And yes, I attend Hogwarts. My name's James Potter."
The woman opened her mouth to answer, but at just that moment, there was a call. "Mum? Can you help me out with this?"
"One moment, dear." Turning back to James, the woman smiled and promised, "I'll just send her down."
So James was left alone in the entrance hall. It occurred to him then, and only then, that he knew neither the name of the witch, nor her mother. On top of that, he hadn't even thought to check the mailbox during the stakeout. Not sure of whether or not he should leave the entrance hall and venture further into the house, James chose to remain where he was, fidgeting nervously. He caught sight of his image in the mirror and pushed his hair down reflexively. It just sprang straight back up.
"Who's that?" the voice from earlier asked. James pretended to be interested in the vase of roses sitting atop the chest so that they would not know he was eavesdropping. Really, they couldn't see him, for the entrance hall was cut off from the rest of the house. He could only see a wall straight ahead, with two openings on either side that led into the actual house.
"A wizard from Lily's school to see her." The voices were getting further away. "Oh, Petunia, is that what you're wearing tonight? It looks fabulous!"
James froze. Had the woman just said Lily? As in Lily the Perfect Prefect? James frowned uneasily. The Marauders had nothing against Lily as a person—they didn't know her well enough for that—but she was a prefect. She never hesitated to take points off of Gryffindor, and she wasn't too fond of Sirius. James suspected that this probably had to do with the fact that he had locked her in a closet for four hours back in third year. It had been a prank to play on Snape, but instead, they had found out the hard way that Lily was incredibly claustrophobic.
Petunia and Mrs. Evans—that had to be her name, for there were no other Muggle-born people at Hogwarts named Lily, who also owned an owl named Uwila—were still talking. "One of her friends? As in, one of them?" Petunia's voice was slightly shrill. James bristled at her tone.
Mrs. Evans, however, had other things to say on the matter. "Shush, dear. And keep your comments about Lily and her world to yourself from now on. She's trying hard not to be so obvious about it."
James decided that whoever this Petunia was, he did not like her at all. She reminded him of some of the purists at Hogwarts, who were always going on about pure blood and wizarding lines. Blood didn't really have anything to do with it; Muggle-born witches and wizards were just as powerful as the wizard-born. And even the longest of wizarding lines could have a Squib. All one had to do to prove that was to look at James's family. The Potters had been wizards for nearly a thousand years, and his younger sister was had no magical powers.
So deep was James in his musings that he did not hear the light slapping of bare feet on the hardwood floor. Only the soft call of, "Mum, are you in here?" alerted him to Lily's impending arrival.
He had shared a common room with her for roughly six years, give or take a few months. Naturally, he'd seen her in everything from nightgowns to regular Muggle clothing. Granted, he was rather used to seeing her in the heavy Hogwarts robes, so his reaction was somewhat akin to shock when she walked in—wearing what had to be the most immodest dress he had ever seen. James's mouth dropped open before he managed, "Lily?" The gentlemanly instincts in him were screaming for him to keep his eyes on her face. This was Lily Evans, the perfect Prefect. It was not right for prankster James Potter to look at her in such a manner. James snapped his mouth shut so hard that his jaw hurt.
Lily's head was tilted to the side, and her hands were at her ear, working an earring into her earlobe. Her hair—such a strange shade of red—was swept up into an elegant clip at the nape of her neck. The fact that her dress was black only seemed to make the dusting of brown freckles across her nose and her hair stand out. Right now, her green eyes were wide, a bit shocked to see him. She recovered quickly, her eyes narrowing into the green slits he was more accustomed to. "Yes, it's really me. And you're James. Now, stop gaping like you've never seen me before and tell me why you're standing in my entrance hall."
James's face flushed and he tore his eyes off of her. "Sorry, I'm just not used to see you look so…" He stumbled around for a word and finally managed, "Pretty." He was pretty sure his face matched her hair. Everything he had learned since first-year had somehow flown from his head, and he was having trouble managing speech.
Lily's looked darkened until she reminded James of a red-headed Professor McGonagall. The other Marauders had started to call this her "prefecting" look. ("She's getting ready to take points," Sirius would always hiss. "Run!") That look alone made it a lot easier to accomplish speech. "Anyway, sorry about that. I was shocked, that's all." He shook his head, unconsciously sending the hair that he had pushed down back to its normal position. "Did your owl pick up anything interesting this morning? Like a teacup, perhaps?"
"You mean Peter's rat? Yeah, he's up in my room."
James dropped the rose he had been playing with and scrambled to pick it up. If Peter had been in Lily's room all day, who knew what he could have seen? James felt slightly green at the thought, but decided to spare them all some trouble by not asking Lily if she had changed in there. He really did not want to think of an excuse to tell her when she wanted to know why he needed to know such a thing.
Instead, he forced a smile. "Oh, you changed him back? Great! I need to collect him. I'm, uh, watching him for Peter while he's in Majorca." His smile was almost sincerely innocent now.
Lily had known the Marauders, specifically James, too long to let him get away with just that. "Fancy telling me why he was a teacup in the first place? Or is that just Sirius's joke to play on poor Peter?"
She had never been more right, but more wrong at the same time. "Yes, actually. Little Pete's been through a lot with Sirius—I'm just glad he decided to settle with a nice, tame teacup." James's eyes started to wander again, so he wrenched his gaze away and stared hard at the tulips. "Er, could you—"
"Lily?" Mrs. Evans bustled into the room. "There you are—oh, I see you've met James!"
James wondered why he hadn't seen it before: Lily looked just like a younger version of her mum! Their hair was exactly the same color (granted, Mrs. Evans did have a few gray streaks), and they had the same facial shape. However, Lily had obviously got her eyes from her father, for Mrs. Evans had blue eyes. The witch was also a couple inches taller than Mrs. Evans, but not much.
A man that James could only assume to be Mr. Evans followed her in without saying a word. He gave James the evil eye, green like suspected, and James gulped. Mr. Evans, while about the same height as James himself, just seemed to tower over the wizard. James had never been more terrified of a Muggle, and he wasn't even dating Lily.
"James and I are in the same class, Mum," Lily told Mrs. Evans, and James could see that she was trying not to roll her eyes. "We've met." She didn't sound exactly thrilled by this because with James came Sirius, and with Sirius came trouble. There were probably still dozens of pranks she had yet to forgive the Marauders for.
James managed a hesitant smile, hoping that the Evanses couldn't read minds. He certainly didn't want them to know what he had just been thinking about their daughter only seconds earlier. "Pleased to meet you. I'm James Potter," he told Mr. Evans.
"Simon Evans. You've met my wife Rose." James shook Mr. Evans's hand first, then the hand of Mrs. Evans, callused from gardening. He mentally shook his head at the names; Rose, Petunia, and Lily. Did they have a sister named Violet? "What brings you here, James?"
"Uwila picked up his friend's rat on accident," Lily told her parents. Even to James, a full-blooded wizard, it sounded absurd. Mr. and Mrs. Evans eyed the pair uncertainly, and James found himself the target for yet another evil eye. "I was just going to fetch Little Pete for him."
"Oh, dear, what's the rush?" When Lily's eyes flew open wide, James knew her mother was up to something. Indeed, Mrs. Evans turned and smiled at James. "Why don't you stay for tea? Lily hasn't had a chance to visit with any of her Hogwarts friends this summer—I'm sure having another witch around will be nice." Rose Evans gave her daughter a big smile while James hastened to correct them that only women were witches, men were wizards. He was immediately whisked off into some kind of waiting room with stiff white couches and wicker chairs before he knew it, and the elder Evanses hurried off to the kitchen to collect things for tea.
"That was interesting," Lily commented, wrinkling her nose. "Mum's usually so strange about guests—whenever I've had male friends over, she's always beaten them away with a stick. She must really have taken to you to let a perfect stranger drink tea while sitting on her eggshell-colored couch."
"'Eggshell?'" James asked, wrinkling his nose as Lily had done moments earlier. He hadn't left any grass stains on the cushions, much to his relief. "It looks 'white' to me."
When Lily giggled, it occurred to James that he had never heard her laugh before. Oh, he knew that she laughed—she was too human not to—but he had just never really paid attention to it. Laughter could tell a lot about a person, he decided. Lily's was rather quiet, but it almost bubbled, like a brook would. She ended all too quickly. "Still the ever-perceptive James Potter, I see." She muffled another giggle as James pretended to send her an indignant look. "Anyway, it does look 'white.' Don't tell Mum that, though. I don't fancy trying to remember the charm against heart-attacks."
Conversation died then, as it is known to do in incredibly awkward moments. James cleared his throat, listening to the sounds of tea being prepared in the next room over. "So do you always wear things like that around the house?" he asked, nodding at Lily's dress. "Because if you do, I think I'll be dropping in more often."
To his surprise, Lily flushed. Still, the look that she sent him was her normal no-nonsense look. Warning bells took flight, only instants before the green eyes turned accusatory. "Flattery? Arriving unexpectedly on my doorstep? Wearing a Muggle suit? Turning Peter's pet rat into a teacup?" Green eyes narrowed dangerously. "Something's up. What are you and your little band planning now? And Peter's not in Majorca, because I owled him just last night with some Potions help."
It was really no question who was going to be Head Girl—it never really had been. Lily had had that position bagged since the first time she picked up a quill in Hogwarts, but James was slowly starting to see why. The green eyes were like a cat's, he realized in one corner of his mind as he tried to work up a plausible excuse. They were also the most perceptive things he had ever come across. In the severity of that gaze, he finally decided to tell the truth.
"Honestly, we're not planning anything against you. Sirius's dad took us on a tour of the Ministry this morning, so we had to dress nicely. But we had to dress nicely for Muggles, because there's no floo access at Mr. Black's office." James paused. "Er—about the rat…Well, after we'd had our time at the Ministry, Sirius decided that it would be fun to turn Peter's rat into a teacup." James shrugged helplessly, well-aware that Lily's gaze was still suspicious. "Where your owl picked him up. So basically, the three of us have spent the afternoon in your neighbor's rose bushes, trying to figure out how to get Little Pete back. It appears that all we needed to do was knock on your door, but Sirius was against that something fierce."
By the end of his story, James was quite a bashful shade of red. Lily, however, was coughing into her hand, probably trying to hide her laughter discreetly. "Oh, go ahead and laugh." And Lily did, her laughter bubbling again. "And that, Miss Evans, is why I am sitting on your living room couch, flattering you. You avoided my question—why are you dressed up?"
Caught up in the mirth of James's situation, Lily did not reply at first. Finally, she scowled (a look that James did not like to see on her face at all) and said, "My older sister and her boyfriend are taking the family out to a nice dinner. So of course, I have to dress normally." A note of bitterness slid into her voice before she shot James a perverse look. "And you're not helping things. If you don't stop ogling me, I'm going to hex you."
Immediately turning puce, James moved his eyes to the coffee table in front of him. "Well, I'm about as subtle as a purple llama," he remarked self-disparagingly. "Sorry about that—I guess it's shock. I mean, I'm used to seeing you in Hogwarts robes. Do you realize how bulky those things are?" He chanced a look at Lily, and saw that she was shaking her head in amusement. Normally, she would probably have slapped him on the arm. "And that thing—does your mother know you're wearing that?"
Lily looked down at her dress rather defensively. "What? There's nothing wrong with it!"
Before James could beg to differ, both of the Evanses came into the living room, Mrs. Evans bearing a tray with tea supplies and biscuits. James's eyes landed on these rather hungrily; because of the stakeout, he had not really had the chance to eat lunch. A couple of bites of the burger they'd shared on the Underground were the only things he'd managed to toss down his throat all day.
"So you're in the same year as Lily?" Simon Evans asked with some interest as he took a spot on the wicker chair across from Lily. Lily obligingly moved onto the couch next to James as another girl, one that looked strikingly like a longer, bonier Lily with blonde hair and blue eyes, entered. She shot James a guarded look as she sat down in the spot Lily had just vacated.
"Yes. We're in the same House, as well." James shifted awkwardly and thanked Mrs. Evans when she handed him a cup of tea. Just looking at the cup made him think of poor Peter, trapped up in Lily's room. "I'm still trying to figure out how I didn't recognize her owl—it's very distinctive."
This earned him a shrug from Lily. "Uwila was even more distinctive when Sirius turned her pink in third year," she told her parents, and James coughed discreetly into his hand. "Sirius is James's best friend."
Simon Evans looked interested now. "You can turn owls pink?" he asked.
"Apparently. We were actually trying to turn her blue, but Sirius's pronunciation leaves something to be desired. As it was, he turned my own owl green. I deserved it—I hit his toad with a tap-dancing jinx. Poor Michigan J—he hasn't been the same since."
The blonde girl—Petunia—was now staring at James with something very similar to dislike. James just gave her his best sunny smile and sipped his tea while he waited for Mr. and Mrs. Evans to digest the information.
"So, is your owl still green?" Lily asked, one eyebrow raised. Sirius had turned Uwila pink because Lily had beaten him on the Transfiguration exam, hoping to make Lily angry. She had only laughed and said that Uwila did look rather "cutesy" when pink—and that she had matched the holiday season (the prank was performed on February 13th) very well.
"Why, green is a very fetching shade for Herkemer." Petunia coughed into her hand, probably hiding a sigh of exasperation. "I think everybody is so accustomed to his coloring that it would be quite a shock to see him as a snowy owl again," James told the Evanses earnestly.
"You can change him back, though, can't you?" Mrs. Evans asked James worriedly, as though being green was a form of disease.
Beside him, Lily let out a very unladylike snort, earning a reproving look from her mother. "I'd be worried if he didn't know the counter-curse, Mum," she said. "James is Head Boy—and with good reason. We're tied in every class but Transfiguration and Charms."
Lily's words raised James a notch higher in the respect of her parents, James saw quickly. They also made Petunia look at him with genuine dislike now. "Well, actually, Remus is beating us both in Defense Against the Dark Arts," James pointed out modestly. "But the rest of it is true. I'm rather hopeless at Charms, and Lily happens to be quite the genius with them. She can't Transfigure anything for the life of her, though. Remember that time you tried to Transfigure your desk into—what was it?"
Much to James's delight, Lily had gone red again. It was then decided in James's mind that everybody should at least associate with a redhead, for it was always amusing to watch Lily blush. "It was supposed to be a sofa," she muttered, not looking up from her teacup.
Turning to Lily's parents, James contained his laughter long enough to say, "I don't know how she did it, but the rest of us got something furniture-like. Lily managed to Transfigure her desk into an honest-to-goodness aardvark. It was very complex Transfiguration, but a total accident."
As Mr. and Mrs. Evans exploded into laughter, James shot Lily a sideways grin. She stuck her tongue out at him and sipped her tea, pretending to be deaf to the happenings all around her. Petunia sniffed at them, but none of them really paid any attention to her.
"You're not going to tell them every mistake I've made at Hogwarts, are you?" Lily asked, her voice only half-joking. She grinned devilishly, making James once again glad that nobody could read his mind. "I've got some dirt on you. Remember that time in fifth year…"
James clapped both hands over his ears and sing-songed, "I'm not listening!"
"What an idiot," Petunia muttered under her breath.
Mrs. Evans smiled beseechingly at her eldest daughter and turned to Lily. "I'm very curious now. What about that time in fifth year?"
Somehow, I don't think I'm going to escape this with my dignity intact, James thought to himself, but he leaned back and let Lily tell the story anyway.
All was fair in…well, all was fair, either way.
In the time it took to have tea, James had drained two cups and had devoured too many biscuits to count. He and Lily had been telling her parents all about the different classes at Hogwarts; Lily kept surprising her around every turn, first showing a sense of humor, and then using that sense of humor to giggle at some of the pranks he and his friends had pulled in their prime.
Mr. Evans was in the middle of recounting a story from his own school days when the doorbell rang. "Get the door, Lily," Petunia said in an off-hand voice, waving for her father to continue on with his story. Wordlessly, Lily stood up and walked out of the room. James watched her walk away for a moment before he politely excused himself and followed her. He did not notice Mr. Evans's suspicious glance when he left, or the slight smile that Mrs. Evans sent after them.
He caught up with Lily just after she had opened the door and smiled rather hesitantly as she signed for a package. The postman handed her a parcel and tossed a wink at James. When Lily shut the door, James grabbed her arm and turned her to face him without realizing what he was doing. She jumped visibly at the contact. "What was that?"
Lily gave him a confused look and shook her arm out of his grip. "What was what?"
James nodded in the direction of the family room. "That. In there. She's been pushing you around the whole time I've been here, and I haven't seen you say anything once."
Having known Lily for six years, he'd been expecting an argument. He had invoked her temper enough to justify this. However, all he got was a dull shrug. "It's just one more month, isn't it?" she asked in a flat, defeated tone. "Either way, you don't understand. I don't want to upset my sister—"
James knew that he was overreacting. Petunia had only demanded little things, really, like for Lily to hand her another biscuit, or to fill her cup. Telling Lily to answer the door had been the biggest thing. However, the dead look in Lily's normally inquisitive eyes told him that there was something else going on. "She hates our kind," he interrupted. "How long has she been treating you this way? When your parents aren't looking, I mean."
For a moment, he saw something flicker in Lily's eyes, but her face just hardened in response. "Just leave it," she whispered. "You don't know anything." She pushed her way past James, who felt that he had failed somehow. As she was about to turn into the hallway leading into the living room, she paused. There was dismissal evident in every one of her features. "It was nice seeing you again. I'll go fetch Little Pete." As quick as a pixie, she darted into the living room. James heard her telling her parents about the package, and he saw just a flash of red as she started up the stairs.
James was about to head into the living room to bid his farewells and gratitude to the rest of the Evanses, but the doorbell rang once again. "Er, Lily?"
And as he asked if I would come along
I started to realize
That everyday he finds
Just what he's looking for
And like a shooting star
To be continued…
AN the Second: I was really going to wait until I had the third (and final, I hope) chapter done before posting this, but ExtraPenny, as I know her (or him), put in a request on behalf of my readers. So here you go. The first installment of my rather odd Lily/James story, Ordinary Day. If you want good L/J, read "How the Other Half Lives" by Rilina. Spanking good stuff right there.