Summary: James Potter has seen only the dark side of life since he discovered a secret when he was thirteen, and since then, he has been becoming increasingly cynical until he has reached the point he could be described as misanthropic. He begins his search for the answer to questions that will change his life, and along the way he encounters a bright patch of light in his dark world, namely Lily Evans.

Author's Note: Right now, I'm going to point out one thing. In this fanfic, Lily and James are in two different years at school, but that's just the way it's going to be, it's necessary for my plot. If you want to flame me, go ahead, it's mildly amusing, and I'm sure I'll live.

Disclaimer: I unfortunately don't own the concept of Harry Potter, of Muggles and Magicals, and all that great stuff. I'm fifteen in jobless, so if you file charges, my life will be ruined and I'll only know poverty for the rest of my existence. Have a heart.

When Dawn Breaks The Night

September 1st, 1972

Life is weird, not at all constant, not even fair. I learned that a few years ago. You see, I had a perfectly normal existence for the first sixteen years of my life. Well, normal considering I'm a witch, but for a lot of people, that is normal. But when I started my sixth and next to last year at my school, that's when my life turned around. But it was a good sort of turn-around. I'm happy, honest-to-God, one hundred percent, genuinely happy right now. I was always a happy girl, but not the way I am now. I had a small but loving family. Now, well, my family could be accurately described as minuscule, but I'm loved thoroughly and completely by all two members. Actually, it's five, but I know in their own way those other three love me too. But right now, I'm scared, too. He is coming for them, my family, and I can't let them go. And right now, if I could have one wish, it would be for more time with them.

Part One- Meeting the Dawn

Dawn: The beginning of something; to begin to appear or develop; to come forth; to begin to be understood or felt.

Light: brightness; illumination of a specified kind; mental illumination; spiritual inspiration; -Webster's New World College Dictionary

Chapter One-The Solution

Lily Adelle Evans blindly reached out to turn off the beeping of her alarm clock. After the aggravating sound abated, she stretched and smiled, the bright dawn of September the first peeping through her east-facing window. Lily cheerfully hopped out of bed with the excitement of knowing that something special would happen today. This was guaranteed, because she would be starting her sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, the sixteen and one day year-old Lily didn't know how special today would turn out to be. Because today would be the first day of something even greater than what she could have imagined. Today, another chapter in her life would begin. Today...today would be the day she would look back on in the years to come, because today would be the day that the greatest and most trying obstacles in her life would start rising in front of her, but it would be the day that her most amazingly joyous moments would start appearing. And today....it was another day, a clean page to write on, free of any scribbles or stray marks, unmarred by the blackness of the world. It was today that she would start filling that page.

When Lily emerged from the bathroom awhile later, she went to breakfast, pleased to find her older sister and her husband there.. "Good morning, Mum, Dad, Petunia, Vernon." Lily smiled, helping herself to scrambled eggs and biscotti made for her going-away breakfast.

"Hi, sweetheart." Lily's mother, Annette, greeted while kicking the refrigerator, which had decided to stop working.

"Nettie, don't do that, you'll break it!" Robert, Annette's husband and Lily's father said frantically, jumping up to save the refrigerator. "I'll fix it later."

"Before or after you cut the grass?" Annette asked sarcastically, but a teasing smile was upon her features, pale skin and green eyes like Lily's, but black hair replaced her daughter's fiery tresses. Their eyes were very special, in the magical and Muggle world alike; the six shades of green, ranging from forest to a light sea mist, drew attention like flies to honey. "Lily, watch out for men, they're all the same. They never follow through on their promises."

"Alright, Mum. I think I'll join a convent instead."

"Very good idea, Lily." Robert piped up, a protective tone in his voice. It was easy to tell that they were father and daughter. Lily had inherited a tall stature, and his bright red hair that curled stubbornly, along with a chin that hinted at an equally-obstinate nature. The most pleasant thing she had gained from either parent, though, was Annette's ceaselessly optimistic nature, that failed to see the bad side of anything or anyone. Her cheerful personality had yet to be crushed by the not-so-happy world, for which her parents were very thankful.

"Petunia didn't join a convent though, and I guess she turned out all right. I'm glad to note she and Vernon have finally emerged from their little love-bound pupa." Lily teased, loving to pick on her older sister. Technically speaking, though, Petunia wasn't her sister. Robert and Annette had adopted Petunia as an infant when it became clear they wouldn't be able to have children of their own. Then, four years later, by some act of God Himself, Annette had become pregnant with their miracle-child, Lily.

Petunia took the joking with good nature, turning red to match Vernon. "Just wait, little sister. I'd be willing to bet you'll never get out of a love-bound pupa once you wander into one. And then, you'll never hear the end of it from me."

"Or me" Vernon added, buttering toast. "Although, you do come up with some original material, and for that I give you kudos."

"I'm never going to be in a love-bound pupa, I'm joining a convent." Lily reminded them, and then made a face, causing her freckles to scrunch together. "Remember?"

"Lily, if you join a convent, I'll go to that weird school of years and wear one of those crazy hats that look like traffic cones." Petunia told her pointedly, knowing how dorky Lily felt wearing the hats.

"Deal?"

"Deal. However, I am not spit-shaking with you. I refuse to."

"Wimp. Mum, can you braid my hair when you get done eating?" Lily asked, setting her plate and glass in the sink, hoping to avoid dish-duty.

"How do you get your hair braided at Hogwarts? Somehow, I don't see Millie agreeing to it."


"She doesn't. But at Hogwarts, I can use a spell. Remember, Petunia bought me a book of them in first year."

"Me being the excellent older sister I am."

"Ha ha." Lily rolled her eyes, and grabbed the last piece of biscotti before Vernon could, smiling brightly.

"You get to eat like this all the time, and me, married to Ms-I-Don't-Cook, can't even get a fourth one."

"I don't get Italian food at Hogwarts. I have to stock up now." She reminded him. "Besides, at least we know you married Petunia because you loved her, not because she can cook."

"And we know that the same thing will apply to you too." Annette said gently.

"That was below the belt, Mother. It wasn't polite of you to mention my lack of cooking skills."

"It's a recognized fact, Lils." Robert told his daughter.

"I have a wand. I don't need to know how to cook. Besides, I'll marry some rich guy that has House-Elves, and I can sit on my bum all day doing whatever rich witches do." Lily grinned brightly at the infuriating thought that her whole family hated.

There were a couple things that made the Evans family unique. The first was that they were a long line of proud Muggles. Having a witch pop up out of nowhere was quite a shock. The second thing was that Annette's family was Italian to the bone. Her entire family, which wasn't really very large, lived in Venice. They rarely saw them, but they talked with disgusting frequency on the phone. Raised with as many Italian traditions as English ones, Petunia and Lily were what they called Englian.

After Lily's hair got braided, her trunk and owl cage was loaded into the family car, and everyone, including Petunia, but not Vernon who had to go to work, went to see Lily off at King's Cross. Lily went through the line of hugs, then through 'I love you', 'Ti amo, innamorato' from her mother, and 'Try not to get yourself killed' from Petunia. Then, her parents had to chorus, 'send lots of owls' and Petunia said, 'Send me a letter the regular way. No owls'. This was very based, though, and not meant meanly. Petunia had been in the bird room at a zoo at feeding time once, and several birds had gotten loose, scaring a four-year old to death.

"Can do, folks." Lily hugged everyone again for good measure, and pushed her cart surreptitiously through the barrier of Platform 9 3/4. As she looked for a compartment that appeared empty, she met her best friend, Millicent Barstow, always referred to as Millie, also looking for seating. "Hey, Millie." Lily greeted. It had been much more enthusiastic yesterday at her birthday party after a month-long separation.

"Long time, no see. Where is that Diggory boy at? He can never manage to show up at the time he is needed."

"I'm sure we can manage to put our own trunks up."

"We tried that once, remember? It took two and a half hours when you include unpacking half the stuff in there. Which reminds me, you never did tell me why you had a tin of stale bread."

"I've told you a million times, it's biscotti, not stale bread! It's crisped, you idiot." Lily said, hitting her friend on the arm. They had by now found an empty seating space, and were eyeing the space for the trunks skeptically.

"You do realize that as soon as we get it up there, Amos will come prancing along, and say he's been talking to The Quidditch Captain." Millie spoke with such mock awe that the two girls started giggling.

"Let's just leave them out here and wait for him. If anyone asks questions, I have asthma and you, uh, have...a back condition!"

"Or we could just say we can't lift our trunks." She said dryly, and Lily rolled her eyes. They started chatting, discussing the people at Hogwarts and their summers, and weren't interrupted until they heard a shout from outside their compartment that sounded suspiciously like 'what idiots left their trunks in the middle of the floor'.

"Remember, I have asthma." Lily said, then opened the door cautiously, not sure what sort of situation she would be viewing. Then, she saw five boys in a dog pile near the trunks, her close friend Amos Diggory among them. "I'm guessing you guys tripped over our trunks?"

"Excellent observation." Was the dry comment from Remus Lupin, on the bottom of the five-man pile-up which was slowly being repaired.

"Sorry, Remus."

"If Diggory would have hurried his bum up, this wouldn't have happened." Millie said impatiently, standing in the door frame.

"Well. This looks like a situation I don't want to be in. I'll adjourn to my compartment." A person Lily knew to be James Potter said, when it was finally his turn to get up. "And might I suggest a simple levitating charm next time. I believe it was taught in first year."

Lily's jaw dropped at the blunt rudeness, from a person she didn't even know, but everybody else looked after him as if they expected it. The other boys except Amos walked after the apparently grumpy James Potter. He put their trunks up for them, and smiled brightly. Once all three had sat down in the compartment, Lily huffed. "Can you believe how rude he was?"

The others gave her a strange look.

"What?"

"Lily, he's always like that. It's his personality." Millie explained as if it was a simple concept she should have grasped long ago.

"His personality is to be rude to everything that breathes? He acted like I was a first year!"

"He's only like that to people he doesn't know. I like him. He's the Quidditch captain, you know. And technically speaking, he was talking to you and Millie."

"Gee, thanks, that makes me feel better. So that's the Quidditch captain, is it?" Lily asked. "I never put the name to the face to the position." That was really a possibility, considering Lily hadn't watched a Quidditch game since the first one of the first year, having deemed it a reckless, dangerous, and ignorant game. Also, she had watched it during the time first years were still learning how to fly, a veritable nightmare for Lily, who was on the ground, screaming, or hanging off by one hand more than she was on the broom actually flying.

"You have to be the only witch in the world who doesn't like Quidditch." Amos said, it was a statement repeated at least once a week.

"I know, I know." Lily muttered, and pulled a small book out of her pocket.

"Oh no, Amos, she's going to ignore us now." Millie said with mock fear.

"Shut up." She groaned, throwing the book at Millie and regretting she didn't have another to hurl at Amos. Since she didn't, she had to go for a change of subject. "So, do you two have plans for Christmas yet?"

She was answered with two sets of eyes rolling to Heaven. Amos sighed. "Lily, you are the only person in the world, who starts the Christmas countdown in September, so no, we do not have plans yet. However, I'm assuming you do?"

"It's going to be a quiet, family Christmas. Nonna can't come, and nobody else is either." Lily sighed. "I'll just have to kick up my spirit a notch to make up for us."

This time she was met with groans. Nobody wanted to see her spirit kicked up a notch. Millie decided she would do the subject changing this time around. "So, since you're our source for all things academic, who's the Head Boy and Girl this year?"

Lily wrinkled her nose at the thought, feeling like a major dimwit. Of course she should have known James Potter, the other Gryffindor Prefect last year. He was the one who was always late, and last year's Head boy had 'unofficially' named him as his usurper. "James Potter and-"

"Big surprise." Millie snorted, "I could see that coming five kilometers away."

"You asked. I answered. The Head Girl is Lizzy Wilkins."

"Is she still dating Frank?"

"I don't know. Why don't we ask the guy who's buddies with the most marvelous Quidditch captain ever, who shares a dorm with Frank?" Lily asked, raising her eyebrows at Amos.

"That's a little swervy, don't you think. I don't think it would be reliable. Besides, isn't it against the Lily Evans rule to hold grudges again people like James Potter?"


"You're right. It is, and I forgive him for being a rude and intolerable arse, I'm sure he has his reasons for being the way he is. I imagine he has a very hard life in his own way."

She was again met with stares, but there was no subject change again, allowing silence to fall upon the compartment. After about five minutes, it became apparent Amos was trying to work up his courage to say something, and eventually, he did. "How about I invite the Quidditch team in here?"

Millie nodded her consent, and so they turned to Lily to wait for her reaction. "Why don't you just go to them?"

"Well, I, um, I-"

"Because he wants to see if a little time around the new and very rude Head Boy could get you to shake the sweet-little-Lily shell." Millie supplied brightly, looking around, and Amos looked shocked.

"How did you know that? Lily's supposed to be the mind-reader."

"It wasn't hard to guess."

Lily, the supposed mind reader, was drumming her fingers against the arm rest in aggravation. "How many times do I have to tell you that I don't read minds," she said through gritted teeth, "I never have, and I most likely never will, and it's a great source of annoyance when you say that I do."

"Sorry." Amos said, implying he wasn't at all sorry. "So, how about it?"

"Fine," Lily said with a smile, "go ahead and invite your little Quidditch buddies in here."

"Great." He left, and when he returned, it wasn't with the whole Quidditch team as expected, but with two players and two of their friends. Lily and Millicent were forced to squish together so there would be enough room for all seven to sit down. And within seven minutes, Lily wanted to cry from sheer boredom.

"So, Lily, how was your summer?" Remus asked, he was sitting on her other side, so they could talk without interrupting the Quidditch discussion involving Amos, Millie, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black, and of course, the captain, James Potter.

"Pretty good. Just the usual boring summer stuff, nothing too exciting, how about you?"

"Nothing much." He lowered his voice slightly, "I went to a clinic in Egypt for my you-know-what. It was nightmarish, trust me. Been walking backwards much lately?"

His you-know-what was actually lycanthropy. Remus and Lily shared what you could call, at best, an unusual relationship. They had met in Lily's fourth year, Remus's fifth, when she had been walking down the hall backwards after dinner and had run into him. They weren't close after that, but formed a peculiar friendship; they help each other with homework, greeted each other in passing, and were solicitous to the other, but they seldom did anything together. They didn't sit together in the Great Hall, in the class they shared they didn't even sit in the same vicinity unless they worked together on a project, they had had a total of about four real conversations, this potentially being the fourth, Lily's discovery of his condition being the second, and they never asked personal questions.

"No, I haven't felt the urge in quite some time." She answered, "You know that's an occasional thing. So far, only good has come out of it, and I don't want to test my luck."

"That might be a good plan." Lily saw his eyes light up, and turned to see the witch with the food cart outside their compartment. Her friends shot her a cautious look, and she surreptitiously put a hand over her face.

"Anything from the cart?"

"Yes!" The boys, minus Amos, jumped up from their wedged-in spots, and flocked around the cart, happily inspecting the food. Millie and Amos turned to look at her expectantly.

"Give us the biscotti." Lily glared, and pulled out two plastic-wrapped pieces of biscotti, a gift from her mother.

"Are you three boycotting sugar products?" Peter Pettigrew asked, setting down with his own hefty pile.

"Are you boycotting good health?' Millie snapped archly.

"This is how I reward myself for the purgatory called Quidditch practice with James Potter running it." Peter grinned, and took a huge bite of a cauldron cake to accent his point. Indeed, you couldn't tell that Peter consumed pounds of sugar with regularity.

"So, what is going on with the no candy thing?" James asked, his expression was suspicious, as if their answer would undoubtedly be a remark aimed to hit him in the rear.

"It's a small sacrifice for a dear friend." Millie said this, and was promptly whacked on the arm for it, courtesy Lily Evans.

"So, do are you one of those candy Nazis who only eat wheat products and gelatin?"

"Only on weekends." Lily smiled, as if he had just asked her the time. "I'm too busy Monday through Friday setting sugar cane fields on fire, so I have to eat whatever appears at the table."

Sirius Black snorted, and his shoulders started shaking with laughter.

"What's really going on?"

"Is it any of your business?" Millie questioned sweetly.

"Excuse me for my curiosity. I didn't realize it would be such a problem."

For the second time in James Potter's presence, Lily's eyes widened, this time at the incredible coldness that he gave off. Within the time it took to say that one statement, his face had completely closed off any emotion, and his eyes took on the appearance of uncarved granite, and his jaw was firmly set. Silence reigned, being conquered only by the crunching of various sugar products.

Finally, Lily had had enough. "I'm allergic to peanuts."

"What?" Sirius asked, not spotting the sudden relevance.

"I'm allergic to peanuts. That's why we didn't get anything off the cart." Awareness dawned in three sets of eyes, but the hazel ones remained cold and unmoved. "Please excuse me." Lily stood up, and when she had her hand on the door, she turned with a little smile. "Peter, you have frosting on your face."

"It looked good there, right?" He asked with a pleasant grin, wiping it away.

"In a toddler-ish sort of way, it looked kind of cute." Lily assured him, and walked out of the compartment to find a couple Ravenclaw acquaintances.

"Well, the party left, so we can too." Remus decided, hoping to get out of the uncomfortable atmosphere soon. James usually had the decency to be alone before he completely shut down, but apparently the time with his parents had made that shut down point come more quickly.

For the faintest fraction of a second, there looked to be a spark of amusement, no doubt based on cruel derision, but it proved something Remus and Peter had wondered for some time; James Byron Potter XXIV did indeed have emotions when he froze up. Whether it was stoicism or a defense mechanism, very few people had realistic dreams of finding out, but the ability to completely cut all emotional displays off was a trait of James everyone knew about, and the majority didn't question.

Once they were in the corridor, Sirius turned to James, and merely raised his eyebrows, and it was understood there would be quite a conversation in the boys' dormitory that night. The four boys sat in the Head Students' compartment, which was, at the moment, free from the Head Girl.

"Play any Quidditch this summer, Pete?" James asked lazily, looking for all the world as if nothing was unusual.

"Dumb question, Potter." Peter returned, green eyes sparkling. "My mum had to drag me off the pitch every night. My ears are sore from it."

"They're getting ready for one of their Quidditch talks." Sirius warned Remus, "Just look, they've both got that expression, they're all set for the long haul."

"We keep Gryffindor afloat, Padfoot, we have to be preoccupied with Quidditch." James answered, turning back to his star keeper and buddy, Peter Pettigrew, who happened to have a rich daddy with a Quidditch pitch all of his own up in Scotland. James personally adored Patrick Pettigrew because of that thoughtful purchase, which gave him a much-needed break from his rather colorful parents. "However, we also have to keep the...humorous side of the castle in gear. Quidditch can be put on hold temporarily."

"Now we're talking." Sirius rubbed his hands together greedily, and the four leaned towards each other to begin plotting.

*~*~*

Yadda Yadda Yadda Blah Blah Blah. James Potter drummed his fingers against the table in boredom, wondering how long it could possibly take for any one person to go over the new rules and restricted items. Like anybody actually paid attention to that. He snorted out loud at that thought, and his friends looked at him, probably thinking he had finally lost what remained of his mind after a rather distressing childhood.

"-Eat up!"

"Maybe there is actually a god."

"Rough summer?' Remus asked, and received an eye-roll.

"You could say that. If I was...if I was in the place my..." James trailed off dully, and that pretty much summed up the situation for his friends.

"So, what tune will we be singing to this year? It must be our best and greatest." Peter said, wisely changing the subject.

"My vote's for 'God Save The Minister'." Sirius suggested, and it was unanimous. After a very filling dinner, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore stood up with a quirky smile.

"Let us now sing the song of Hogwarts. Any tune is acceptable."

Most people now started scrambling to choose a tune with a friend. Millicent went with 'Happy Birthday', Amos sang to the tune of 'Hat Over Robes', the newest song from Taran Venecia. Lily, being the Christmas-loving girl she was, went with 'Silver Bells', which, unfortunately, left her and her awful singing voice as one of the stragglers.

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,

Teach us something please,

Whether we be old and bald

Or young with scabby knees,

Our heads could do with filling

With some interesting stuff,

For now they're bare and full of air,

Dead flies and bits of fluff,

So teach us things worth knowing,

Bring back what we've forgot,

Just do your best, we'll do the rest,

And learn until our brains all rot.

Lily burst into giggles when she was done, noticing her friends looking appalled. "Did I improve over the summer?"

"You might have hit a few notes." Millicent said, looking like she wanted to erase the past three minutes from her audio memory.

And by now, only the Marauders, singing to 'God Save The Minister' or 'God Save The Queen' as it was known to Muggle-borns, were left. "-allllllllll roooooo-oooooootttt!"

"Bravo, bravo! I believe we have future stars in the halls of Hogwarts this year." Dumbledore said kindly, clapping his hands. "Now, off to bed students! Prefects, you will find the password to your house in your pocket."

Lily reached into her pocket, and as promised, discovered a small slip of parchment with the word 'Queerditch Marsh'. "That's my call." She said to Millicent, and started towards the first years. Since the Head Boy was from Gryffindor, she was the only Prefect, and thinking it was a nice thought, she walked over to James Potter. "Do you want to lead the first years since it's your last year?"


"No, I'm sure you'll do an admirable job."

"I sure do hope you get the burr off your butt soon." Lily smiled sweetly, took a deep breath, and went to the task of guiding the new students.

Sirius and Peter were snickering at James. "Shut up." James stalked off, in a direction that wasn't of Gryffindor Tower.

"This is too good." Remus decided, allowing laughter to break free.

"So who's going to let the Head Boy in tonight?" Peter asked, looking between Sirius and Remus.

"Not me." They both said at the same time, and looked at Peter. They ended up on an amicable agreement; none of them would. However, this plan didn't get put to use, to their severe disappointment, James was on their heels as they went through the portrait hole.

"Where did you fly off to?" Peter asked.

"You will be incredibly pleased to note that Quidditch practice is next Thursday at six p.m. for all old Quidditch players. We'll assess the team, see what we need."

"You booked the pitch our first day back?" Sirius asked in disbelief.

"Sure did. Daddy wouldn't like me to captain a losing team. It would disgrace the family name." James said mockingly, face curled in disgust.

"Well. I see we have the whole summer to work off." Remus sighed, and started toward the boys' staircase. James made a face behind his friend's back, but followed anyway. Making as much noise as wizardly possible, he slammed into his dormitory, and ripped night clothes from his trunk, cursing whoever happened to be in the bathroom.

"I believe you're getting to the point you need anger management classes." Peter said philosophically, "This started out as the rolling of the eyes in third year, and it has now progressed to-" He paused while he rolled onto the floor for safety, "-aggression and surly cursing."

"Okay, Prongs, enough of your temper fit, put your wand down, and calmly wait your turn. I'm next, you know." Remus sat watching him through amber eyes that were oddly soothing.

"I'll go use my own bloody bathroom." James stomped out, growling something unintelligible.

"Is it clear?" Sirius asked from the bathroom.

"Yep, quit hogging." The second the door was open, Remus squeezed in, leaving Sirius and Peter to discuss their friend, Frank Longbottom no doubt chatting, or uh, not chatting, with Lizzy somewhere.

"So, what are we going to do with our good buddy James?" Sirius asked Peter. Each Marauder was different from the other, but alike another in some way. Sirius looked most similar to James, both tall with black hair, except James's had an unkempt appearance, and he was thinner than Sirius. He had hazel eyes, gold glinting and swirling in brown, and a face that seemed to me made of steel, while Sirius had teddy bear eyes, and a loveable appearance, like a stray puppy. Peter was the shortest of the Marauders, but stocky, and had miraculously tidy brown hair. Remus was the tallest of their little group, even his human appearance implying a wolfishness that couldn't be tamed.

Their temperaments were what kept the four-way friendship going strong. The unbreakable cynicism that had long held James and Remus was interrupted by Sirius and Peter, two of the most disgustingly cheery people to ever walk the planet.

"What would work with every other male human being on the planet won't work with him." Peter picked at a loose thread on his blanket. "Maybe he had a new traumatizing experience we need to learn about first."

"Maybe so." And as agreed, the second James walked in the doorway, he was bombarded by his three friends.

"So, what did you do this summer?" Sirius asked mildly as James flopped on his bed.

"The usual. I was hassled by my very dear family. I listened to my parents fight, had a revelation I didn't want from my father, drilled in the Potter way of life, and had my life ran for me for six pleasurable weeks. I can't wait until I turn eighteen; which is in ten days I might add, and I'm never going back there. Not without a very good reason anyway."

"I bet." Peter said sarcastically, and found a sneezing curse shot at him. He picked up his wand to retaliate, but it was stolen by James.

"James, give his wand back like a good boy. Honestly, if you weren't so good at getting us out of trouble, we'd ditch you." Remus observed, and transferred the wand from James's hand to Peter's bed.

"So, how's the lovely Willa McKinnon doing?" Sirius said loudly, breaking up the possible conflict.

"I wouldn't know. I broke up with her." James reached to close the bed curtains, but was stopped by three sounds of surprise. "Not by choice, I assure you."

"What for then?"

"The reasons for my existence don't approve of her. They claim her reputation precedes her. Like I know what that means."

"And you just broke up with her?" Peter asked in disbelief.

"It wasn't worth the trouble of arguing, and it didn't really matter that much. She didn't care either, it was an amicable break-up. And it was a month ago, I'm over it. Are we done with the interrogation, gentlemen?"

"Not quite, Potter. What's it going to take to get you out of this little mood of yours?"


"Proof that the human race isn't just a big bunch of rude idiots out to do each other in." James closed his curtains promptly, and the topic, and conversation as a whole, wasn't pursued.

*~*~*

In the sixth year girls' dormitory, the six inhabitants were moving back into their living space; hanging pictures, stacking magazines, setting up beauty supplies, kicking shoes underneath the bed, and crowding belongings into the bathroom. During this process, every one of them was trying to talk over the rest, creating a deafening din that could be heard in the common room. Without a doubt, the sixth years were the noisiest group of girls Hogwarts had seen in a great many years, much to the despair of the Tower occupants.

"And he just belted it out, it was unbelievable!"

"You should have SEEN the way she yelled at him! I thought she was going to blow bloody well up!"

"The food there was absolutely to die for!"

"My mother nearly killed us! She crossed three lanes of traffic!"

"My neighbor had her baby! It was so adorable!"

"I fell down the freaking hill in those shoes!"

Somehow, each of the girls would have been able to tell the general concept of each others' stories, which had to be a miracle. The volume level kept getting higher and higher as they all tried to out-talk each other. They were one of the few dormitories in the school where all the occupants got along at least decently. Of course, they weren't all best buddies, but they joked with each other, and were comfortable in the dorm. Naturally, since they were girls, there were also moments of discord, sometimes extending into days of it, but that didn't happen too often. Fulfilling their first day back tradition, a seventh year came in and told them to 'pipe down or get out'.

"Just think how loud we can be next year!" Starla Mason said, sighing at the thought after she finished hanging a poster. Starla was described on first impressions as a sweet girl. By all means, she looked it; she had short, curly, dark brown hair, and a turned up girl-next-door nose. Surprisingly, she was the most daring girl in their year.

"And Lily will be Head Girl, so Professor Fletcher himself will have to come and tell us to shut up!" Millie also moaned dreamily.

"Or then again, if the Head Boy would happen to be in Gryffindor, he could just yell at us." Lily put in her two cents in, grinning in response to her roommates' glares.

"At least this year's Head Boy won't toss a fit if we're a little noisy." Starla practically beamed. "He likes trouble more than we do."

"No, he won't yell at us. He'll come up here and toss every last one of us out that window, cursing all the while." Lily said this with a pleasant smile, making it obvious she wasn't really concerned with what was obviously the truth.

"Cold treatment?" Jeanne Beach asked knowingly, having received it herself numerous times.

"Just a little. He's had a rough life, hasn't he?"

"Oh yeah, those stacks of galleons in Gringott's really make his life hard. So does that manor he has, along with that one vacation house. I bet being an only child absolutely kills him, all that coddling, why, I couldn't handle it."

Lily winced at the sarcasm. "I was being serious, Jeanne."

"I am too."

*~*~*

"So what do you think it was that set him off?" Peter asked, walking between Sirius and Remus on their way to Divination. It was the first day of classes, in the afternoon, and James had Herbology, giving his friends the perfect opportunity to talk about him.

"I don't know. I can only assume something happened with his parents." Sirius answered, for once not knowing what was going on with James.

"Something happens with his parents every time he sees them, but this hasn't happened before." Remus observed, digging in his backpack for some dungbombs.

"Maybe he needs more positive influences." Peter suggested, and he and Sirius both turned to stare promptingly at Remus.

"What? I'm positive! I am!"

"Sure you are. Keep on thinking that."

"Since you two are being so…disagreeable, I'll withhold my perfect solution for this conflict."

"Grindewald! I'm surrounded by moody idiots." Sirius groaned, and accepted the offered dungbomb to toss in a particularly fond spot of Peeves. Of course, the poltergeist couldn't smell the stench, but the plasma held it, and Peeves had an ego larger than Sirius's own, and wasn't happy when the entire population of the castle held their noses and laughed as they passed him.

"You do realize he'll kill you someday." Peter said soberly, knowing as sure as he knew his name it would happen. A ghost and a human couldn't aggravate each other that much without consequences.

"Then I'll be a ghost and terrorize Slytherins!" Sirius said gleefully, searching his own belongings for anything to throw at Peeves.

"I think I've got an idea." Remus said as they were climbing the ladder into the Divination classroom.