Author's note: As a big fan of Lily and James, I've always found it sad how short their lives were and how much it was shaped by the war. I wanted to write a more light-hearted story about them where their biggest problems are growing up, getting a job, working, balancing relationships, family and friends. I wanted to see them as simple (but of course magical) young adults who fear magazine articles and gossip instead of dark wizards.

/If you like the story check out my Tumblr (aliciaomirza) for more content!/


Disclaimer: I don't own anything except for the OCs. The world of Harry Potter was created by J. K. Rowling and I'm just borrowing her characters and settings for my readers' and my own enjoyment.


AT PEACE WITH THE WORLD


Summary: In a universe where Tom Riddle was sentenced to Azkaban for the murder of his Muggle relatives, Lord Voldemort never came into power, many people's life turned out differently. However, it seems there is such a thing as fate and Harry Potter is bound to be born in 1980 – even if his parents are yet to meet.

AU factor: With no Voldemort, the First Wizarding War didn't happen (though there is still prejudice against Muggle-borns). The butterfly effect is strong though so other than the obvious changes there are many smaller ones such as Lily attending Ilvermorny instead of Hogwarts never meeting the Marauders. (After all Voldemort's plans and reign started many years ago so his absence would change a lot.) Note that some of the characters at first might seem a bit OOC, but that is mostly because they didn't grow up in wartime and weren't fighting a war by the time they left school. In some character's case it might make them look childish and/or less likeable, but don't worry, they will all grow up by the end of the story.

Time: The story starts in the autumn of 1979.

Universe: Completely canon to the Harry Potter universe, except for the obvious AU factor and the changes it causes. So the storyline itself is changed, the world is not. Though of course there will be fanon and head!canon elements as well.

Main characters: Lily Evans, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Euphemia Potter, Severus Snape, Alice Prewett, Marlene McKinnon, Mary Macdonald, Frank Longbottom, some OCs, etc.

Rating: T, because of language and mentions of some adult situations


I. The Night

17th November 1979, Saturday

Muggle London never seemed to rest, the lamps were flickering with white light and many of the buildings' windows were bright. Restaurants, casinos, pubs and even some shops stood with doors wide open still inviting everyone inside. It didn't seem to matter that it was long dark outside and many were already sleeping in their homes because of the late hour. Noise – a strange mix of music and laughter – greeted James as he strolled down the street.

"Oi, Prongs!" He didn't turn around. Instead, he fixed his eyes on a pretty Muggle girl who dropped her bag and was looking anxiously around. With swift movements she was grabbing everything that has spilt out of it. For a moment he thought of crossing the street quickly and helping the red-haired beauty, but he decided that he would only frighten her. Not to mention that his short-lived stop was enough for Sirius to catch up with him.

"Com' back, mate," Sirius offered, his words slightly blurred from all the alcohol he had already consumed (even though the night was far from over). James remained silent for a long moment. He kept looking in the general direction of the girl who was now on her way to one of the lit buildings. He didn't pay more attention to her after that. He turned around to face his best mate knowing that sooner or later he had to deal with him anyways so there was no point in just stalling time.

"I had enough of the celebration," he offered half-heartedly. Sirius pressed his lips together. His usually carefully and skilfully done dark hair was a bit wild now and his grey eyes were bright in the light of the Muggle street lamps. Whether it was from the alcohol or from concern for him, James wasn't sure.

"It's Frank's special night – he is getting hitched. It's his last night before he becomes Alice's minion. It's not nice of you to just leave." James crossed his arms. Frank was a nice guy and James liked him (though didn't know him as well as Sirius did), but he certainly wasn't in the mood for celebrating holy matrimony. Really, it was nothing against Frank.

"I know that –" he started only to have Sirius continue with his speech like he didn't even notice James was there. With the amount of Firewhisky he has had in a very short amount of time, it was not actually surprising. On the other hand, the fact that he was able to speak fluently and he was coherent certainly was.

"If it's about her, then just forget her for one night. She was a bitch to you. She doesn't deserve you moping around like a lost puppy. Fuck, puppies are at least cute. You are just pathetic." James snorted at that. Trust Sirius to start talking about dogs and insult him in one sentence while trying to make him feel better.

"Thanks, Pads, but I just want a bit of peace and quiet, you know?" he said and gestured towards the nicely-lit Muggle London.

"Alone?" Sirius tilted his head and formed the word like it was a foreign concept to him. In a way, it must have been as he was the type who was always craving other people's attention and love. (James supposed it was because Sirius lacked it as a child). James was much like Sirius. However, every once in a while when the world seemed to mock him and his life looked to be in ruins, he enjoyed having a bit of space.

"Yeah – just tonight," James added. Sirius looked at him with unfocused eyes, yet his gaze seemed sharper than ever.

"She's messed you up big time, Prongs," he said softly and James nodded without a word. "I'll be back in the Leaky then – you know where to find us." He eyed James like he was waiting for James to come around and say that he was going back to the pub with him.

"It's okay, Padfoot. Enjoy the party and make sure Frank has the best night out as it might be his last one," he joked half-heartedly. Sirius still watched him carefully, but he nodded eventually. He started walking back towards the magical pub where the rest of the stag night's guests were mingling, drinking a vast amount of alcohol and getting completely wasted as a way of celebrating the impending wedding of Frank Longbottom.

James looked back and noted how slowly Sirius was walking. Everyone else who saw him would think that he was already so drunk that he could hardly walk. However, James knew better. His best mate was still waiting for him to reconsider the offer. While the idea of drinking himself to numb was awfully tempting, he just couldn't do it with others around teasing Frank about being whipped. Especially not when Frank was obviously nauseously in love and was happy to be the minion of Alice for the rest of his life. If Sirius was thinking more clearly he would have probably understood what was going through James' head. He would have joined his best mate in a Muggle pub loudly complaining about how stupid relationships were. With his best mate under the influence of Firewhisky though, James remained alone.

He wondered where his other two closest friends were. It was strange that they didn't notice him slipping away and didn't realise that he needed them. Then again knowing Remus he actually paid attention to Frank whose night it was supposed to be. Then there was Peter who was probably trying to chat up any girl he came across.

He watched a group of Muggles around his age, both girls and boys, obviously friends going in a dimly lit building. With nothing better to do he followed them from a distance. They were a merry bunch, obviously looking for an entertaining night, so wherever they were going he was pretty sure he was going to find some alcohol as well. The magical folks and Muggles were different in many ways, but the possession of magical ability didn't change one's age. It seemed partying and drinking was part of both cultures equally.

A place where he could get alcohol seemed like a good option once the fresh air cleared his mind a bit. He only had a few drinks at the party and already he felt too sober for his self-pity. What he needed was a quiet night with lots of drinks. He wasn't sure why he ever thought he would be able to get through the bachelor party. Looking back it was obviously a bad idea in his current state of mind.

The pub he entered after a minute or two behind the group of young adults was a cosy place. The group was chatting with the bartender merrily and took place in a booth like they owned it which suggested to James that they frequented the place often. He guessed it was the type of place where Muggles around his age spent most of their nights. It was not overly loud, it was quite friendly, and certainly not a shady place, but it was still obviously a pub instead of a café.

He was glad that just before he left the Leaky Cauldron he had the sense of transfiguring his clothes in something more Muggle-like so instead of a cloak and robes, he had a black coat on and under it a white shirt. He was pretty sure everyone would be staring at him if he didn't do it while this way he looked just like one of them.

He sat down on a barstool, took off his coat and the bartender asked him what he wanted. According to Sirius the most important aspect of Muggle culture was drinking. Thanks to his mate who spent a vast amount of money and time to educate himself on the said form of culture, he knew exactly what he just wanted and needed. He muttered: "A Scotch." And only when he was passed the amber-like liquid and he reached for his wallet, did he remember that he had no Muggle money on him. The bartender looked at him impatiently, but to his luck, a young woman on his right seemed to notice his problem.

"I've got it, Brad," she said pleasantly obviously knowing the bartender. James supposed she was one of the Muggles who came often to the pub like the group he saw earlier. She gave the right amount of money to the bartender who seemed to look between the two of them somewhat suspiciously, but then nodded.

"Thank you, you didn't need to," James muttered embarrassedly. He turned towards the woman and he immediately recognized her. She was the one he saw earlier dropping her bag. She had long dark red hair falling down her shoulder in waves and a pale complexion dusted with light freckles. She also had rather peculiar green eyes. They were a shade James was pretty much he had hardly ever seen before. While studying them the world emerald came into his mind.

"It's okay. You seem to need it," she said and James nodded half-heartedly. To be honest, he had no desire to be talking with anyone especially not a Muggle girl he didn't know at all. However, after her kindness of paying for his drink, it would have been rude to ignore her completely.

"Yeah, life sucks," he offered cautiously. To his surprise she chuckled humourlessly.

"You tell me... I've just received the wedding invitation of the guy I thought I was going to marry," she said. James noted that there was a hint of foreign accent in her voice, but at the same time she sounded English. If he had to guess the touch of accent then he would say American, though he had no idea about the region. She herself had a glass of something rather strong in her hand which she quite frequently sipped on.

"I slipped away from a bachelor party. I couldn't handle it. The girl I kind of always thought I was going to marry laughed in my face when I proposed to her. She also kicked my ass out saying we were obviously not meant to be and I didn't understand her at all if I thought she wanted to get married." He wasn't sure why he was telling all this to a Muggle girl he has never met before. He guessed it was because it was actually easier talking about this with her than his mates. Not only were his friends emotionally invested in his life, but they knew his almost bride well too. This girl, on the other hand, was someone he was never going to see again. At the same time they shared a broken heart, so she knew what a messed up thing being heartbroken was.

"Sounds like a charmer," she said and a small smile played on the edge of his mouth.

"Says the girl whose ex has invited her to his wedding," he pointed out and she snorted.

"Touché," she replied. "Now tell me, have you left your wallet at home?" she asked and he nodded along because he couldn't exactly tell her that what he lacked was Muggle money. "How about this? I buy you drinks if you let me rant about my douche of an ex-boyfriend. The son of a bitch left me just because my family wasn't elegant enough for him. And then you tell me how messed up your love life is, so I know I'm not the only one who is completely screwed."

"Okay, I'm in. Bring it on. The love of my life told me that she just couldn't marry me, because she's never dated anyone else before. She said I was trying to tie her down before she even lived. Apparently she needed to sleep with other people. I was so pathetic I told her that she should go out that night, have sex in a bathroom with a random guy in a club or pub and then we should get married the next day." At that, the girl started laughing.

"You didn't!" she accused, but he shook his head with a faint smile.

"I did. She told me I was delusional and I should be sleeping with other girls instead too. As obviously, I don't have any real-life experience if I think that's how a relationship is supposed to work." James awkwardly ran his hand through his hair.

"Well, that must have hurt. Out of curiosity, did you take up on her offer though?" she asked eagerly and he paled.

"Nah, I mean, I know it's pathetic, but I do love her you know. My blood is boiling when I imagine her with someone else," he said and then he drank the rest of his Scotch in one gulp. The girl next to him asked for another for him and then another for her. He noticed that her attention was on him though. She seemed interested in his story.

"What did your mates say to that?" she asked curiously.

"My best mate told me to do it. According to him a quick but great shag is the best way to get over a heartbreak." She seemed to ponder on that. She remained silent. "What about ya? You haven't ranted yet even if it was supposed to be part of our deal," he prompted her.

"Remember later that you wanted it. Well, we went to school together, has been each other's firsts in every way. I was foolishly in love and then he just broke up with me one day saying that school was over and in real life, I'm not good enough for his very important family." While her story was a bit different, it did remind James a lot of his own heartbreak. Especially her apparent misery so he reached out for her hand which wasn't holding her glass. It was instead on her thigh, making it a lot more sensual than he first imagined. He thought that she would pull away from his touch, but she didn't, so he awkwardly entwined their hands on her thigh.

"If he is getting married obviously it hasn't just happened, so why the gloom?" he asked curiously. He was surprised to realise that he was interested in her story as well. She let out a laugh at that.

"Oh, it only happened like three months ago hence being so upset. I mean three months ago I was awaiting a ring myself. One I obviously never received. This was supposed to be a girl's night out with my roommate, but she is a med student, a very diligent one, and I'm sure she got held up by the beauty of atherosclerosis and is wasting away in the library." He didn't understand at all why she would call her friend a 'mad student', but he guessed it was a Muggle way of saying that the girl studied a lot. Also, the way she said 'beauty' made James sure that whatever that athero-thing was it was everything but pretty, but as he had no clue about such Muggle things he decided to change the topic.

"So, she stood you up?" He was curious because she didn't seem upset. She just shrugged.

"She is just diligent. As a good girl myself I understand that." She leaned closer to him like she was telling him a great secret. Her breath was warm on his neck and he shivered from her closeness. She let his hand go, but so close up to her, his hand remained firmly on her thigh. A piece of dark red hair was tickling his neck. The rest of her hair fell around her face as a blood-red halo reminding James of some tempting devil, a fallen angel.

She leaned back, which made James let out a sigh. If he was disappointed or relieved he wasn't sure. She ordered another round of drinks even though James wasn't sure anymore if it was a good idea. The more he drank the less focused he was and the more his mind wandered.

"You don't like drinking alone then?" he asked trying to get the images out of his mind that their close encounter prompted. She was immensely pretty there was no question there. He was also a nineteen-year-old lad who had a bit of a drink. It was a natural reaction, nothing more. Just to make sure there really wouldn't happen more, he removed his hand from her. Luckily she didn't seem to notice.

"Nah, not at all. I'm glad I found some company. I'm Lily by the way. Not sure if I introduced myself before. And you are?" She tilted her head and the waves of dark red shimmered in the dim light of the pub. James never really liked gingers before, but he had to admit that there was something enchanting about the rich red-coloured hair especially as it contrasted with her pale complexion and emphasized her unique eyes. It was like she was on fire.

"James," he replied stiffly trying to forget about the beauty in front of him. He should just go back to the Leaky Cauldron, he thought, rejoin the party. Knowing his friends it was still in full swing (and would be for another few hours at least). He should have another few drinks there, then go home and wallow in pity. He could get up early the next morning and go flying to get his mind off of his heartbreak. Maybe even train until he was completely exhausted and couldn't bother even thinking of the girl who broke his heart.

Lily – the name prompted something breakable, white and pure. The girl in front of him wasn't like that though. She was fiery, tempting and sharp from what he had seen of her. Yet, somehow it fit. (Just like the tiny black dress she had on he couldn't help, but notice. He had eyes after all.)

"James – how about another one?" she asked gesturing towards her glass and already grabbing he purse. This was where he was supposed to say no. He should thank her for the previous drinks and stumble back to the magical part of London. However, something about the way she was biting her lips, stopped him. She still seemed upset, lonely as well. She was obviously in need of some company and her roommate was not around to provide it to her. Why he cared he wasn't sure. A Muggle girl he had spent a bit of a time ranting about exes was not his problem. However, her heart was just as much broken as his and because of that he felt some kind of connexion to the girl. None of his mates understood what he was feeling the way a Muggle girl he has just met did. The thought was disorientating, but at the same time, it excited him.

"I–" He really was just about to say no, but then his eyes met her green ones. They were wide with hope. He looked around the pub, trying to see if there was anyone who could entertain the upset girl, not even knowing what he was looking for, but not finding it anyways. "Sure," he agreed eventually.

Once he started sipping on another glass of drink, he relaxed. Instead of the sharp November wind outside that had a sobering effect and cleared his mind temporarily, the pub's air was warm and stuffy. With each passing moment he felt more and more sluggish and he felt less upset. It was like his problems have never existed.

"Waz 'e always such a j'rk?" he asked after a few minutes of silence. She turned towards him and pressed her lips together, her forehead wrinkled as if she was deep in thought.

"Nah, he was like – like – you, know, perfect. Annoyingly per-per-fect. Talented, handso– good-looking, sexy, cha'ming." James noticed that her accent was thicker now and her words less clear. She was getting relaxed as well.

"A perfect jerk," James said with a smirk. She grinned and lifted her arms up in triumph like that was precisely what she was going to say.

"Exactly!" she agreed with a chuckle.

"Jerk," he said and she nodded along.

"Such a jerk."

"Let's drink to gettin' ri' of a jerk," he proposed and she dutifully clinked their glasses.

"A comp'ete jerk," she supplied. She then put down her glass and leaned again closer to him lowering her voice. "You see t'at guy over the corner in black? He is cre'py and starin' at me." James indeed noticed an older man looking in their direction, his eyes fixated on Lily. He seemed to have been looking at her hungrily. James put his right arm around her waist angrily, pulling her closer as if he could shield her from the creepy man's eyes.

"Ho' do I know you're not cr'epy?" she muttered wonderingly like it was the biggest question of the universe. Instead of getting away from him though, she got comfortable in his arms and even slipped her own left arm around his waistline. With a clumsy movement, her hand slipped under his shirt which made him stiffen. She obviously noticed her mistake and jerked away, but his arm remained planted around her waist. However, now he was completely aware of her body pressed against his making the trouser he had on considerably tighter. He also felt awkward for reacting like that to her presence. He wasn't supposed to be affected by her closeness.

"You think I am?" he questioned her looking at her. She was so close that he could have counted the freckles on her face even in the dim light of the pub. She didn't answer him for a long moment and didn't even look at him. He took that as agreement and he pulled his arm back. She turned his way entirely, facing him instead of the counter, which prompted him to do the same. She even pulled her bar stool closer to his in an awkward mess of motion. Her coordination was obviously lacking at the moment. She put her right hand on his waist, but this time she deliberately slipped her small hand under his transfigured shirt. He again stiffened but this time he didn't pull away.

"Nah, jus' a bit stiff," she replied with a wink. "You know my roomma'e had the same idea as your frien'. She says getting laid's the way to forget about a hear'break." His heart rate quickened especially when her sinful fingers started drawing patterns underneath his shirt. He really should get away as soon as possible from her and those fingers of hers, they were dangerous.

"I–" he completely forgot what he was about to say when her other hand found its way to his thigh. After a long moment of haze, he continued. "Isn't she a good girl?" he asked in a low voice and she smiled wickedly.

"I thought I was one too," she said as she leaned even closer to him. She lingered right in front of him with one hand on his thigh and the other under his shirt. Then she pressed her lips lightly to his. Before James even realized what was happening, it was all over.

"I'm outta cash. Ya know, my friend was supposed to pay. I've got lots of alcohol at home though, just around the corner. You coming?" she asked as she suddenly stood up. His head was light from her sudden actions and the movement. What she said hardly made any sense to him as his mind was still focused on the way her lips moved against his. Of course, the little sense he still possessed shouted at him to just go home (to Sirius's really) or back to the Leaky Cauldron.

She grabbed his arm though and pulled him after her. He had at least not forgotten to grab his long black coat but didn't put it on as they left. The cold and freshening air of London night returned some of his lost senses rather quickly. He was just about to bid goodbye to the fiery temptress who took away his mind when she turned towards him and kissed him again this time with a lot more force and passion. One of her wandering hands again got lost under his shirt while the other quickly found its way into his hair. James pressed her against the wall of the pub, his own hands wandering down her body, mapping it out.

"Let's continue this upstairs," she said seductively. As it turned around she wasn't kidding when she said she lived just around the corner. In a few minutes (which weren't enough to sober James up, not after that snog) they were inside of a cosy flat. James didn't have the time or the interest to observe it though.

"We – are not – supposed to do – this," James said as her quick fingers unbuttoned his shirt while she was pressed against him. How they went from ranting in a pub to doing this his mind couldn't even comprehend after all the drinks he had (in the wizarding and the Muggle London altogether).

"Why?" she asked as she reached the last button and threw away his shirt leaving him half naked. Somewhere around the hallway, she has already lost her coat and her dress. She was standing in no more than her undergarment in front of him which made answering her more difficult for James.

"We don't know each other – I – I still love her and-and it's... not right." His mind was a lot clearer than before but he was still under the influence of alcohol and he had a feeling that the sobering up was only temporary, so he had to stop this now before he was too unfocused to even think of leaving.

"It's therapy – for both of us," she muttered. "I-I have never had a one-night stand before, but maybe our friends were right. We shag, we forget, we get over it. Easy, but effective." James was pretty sure that he wasn't going to get over his heartbreak just by having sex with a Muggle stranger. However, her lips on his shut him up pretty quickly, especially as her tongue made its way into his mouth. Somehow a bottle of vodka got involved not to mention her sinful hands. In less than five minutes he even forgot why he ever thought this was a bad idea.

The next morning he woke up with a pounding headache. He couldn't even open his eyes for a long moment. When he finally opened them the light pouring in through the large windows disorientated him even more. He needed nearly a minute to remember that he was supposed to be sleeping on Sirius's couch and that his living-room was a pretty dark room with only a small window.

He looked around with intensity trying to work out where he was and what he was doing there. He needed another moment to realize that he didn't recognize the place at all, but what was worse that he wasn't alone in the bed. A young woman around his own age was sleeping soundlessly right next to him. Her dark red wavy hair was lying around her like a blood-tainted halo. The name Lily came into his mind and then so did last night's memories or at least enough of them to quickly locate the pieces of his clothing and get dressed. Luckily he found his wand without a problem in the pocket of his coat.

He hesitated for a moment not knowing what he was supposed to do. He never had a one-night stand before as he had been in a monogamous relationship since his adolescence. He had a glass of water in the kitchen to help curing his hangover and there he noticed a shopping list (which said: 'milk!, chocolate, bread, pepper, tomato, carrot') on the table with a Muggle invention next to it. He was pretty sure it was called a pen and was the non-magical version of a quill. He picked it up and he scribbled a quick note under the list a bit shakily as he has never used a pen before:

I didn't want to wake you; I have to go to work. I had a nice night, hope you did too.

Wish you luck with that jerk,

James

He knew it was awkward, but he had no idea what else to write especially to a Muggle. He supposed he should be giving her some way to contact him so it wouldn't look like that once he got laid, he didn't need her anymore. However, he had no idea how that was supposed to work with him being a wizard. Plus to be honest he wasn't looking for a relationship with her. Not because she wasn't a witch, but simply because the only relationship he wanted has just ended. He hoped to repair that one and not jump into another one.

The night he had just was a mistake, one he wasn't about to repeat, and one he just wanted to forget about. Both Sirius and Lily's friend were wrong. Getting laid didn't help with his heartbreak instead it just made him feel guilty.

Lily was a nice girl, but that was all. What took place between them only happened because both had too much to drink and were down. They were heartbroken and were desperate for some sort of release from their failed relationships. It didn't mean anything. He supposed he should wake her and tell her all that but this time she would be more alert than last night so he could easily slip up when it came to pretending to be a Muggle. If there was one way he didn't want to spend the rest of his day then it was trying to sort out the mess of breaking the Statute of Secrecy. So, with a pop, he Disapparated leaving behind more than he expected.