~~*~~
A/N
~~*~~

Welcome to the next chapter of 'Potters and the Days of War'.

I hope that you enjoyed the last chapters and continue to enjoy the next chapters.

Suggestions for OCs will be highly appreciated. You have to give the name, age, occupation (Ministry Worker, Death Eater, student, etc.), school(for this year), house(if Hogwarts), appearance(hair, eyes, height. whatever you feel), personality, blood status(and/or half breed), specialities (Quidditch, types of duelling, healing, etc.).

They might play a larger role as the story progresses, but no promises. Whatever OC I feel will play right into the story will be selected, no fixed number as of now! At any rate, I surely need at least one student from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons who will become their champions. Thanks!

Constructive Criticism is highly appreciated.

The story will stick to an 'M' rating which means there will be no lemons or sexual scenes. Suggestive sexual themes may be prevalent later on in the story. Swearing will occur and violence and gore will be prevalent.

The pairings have definitely changed. There will be no slash content in the story. Maybe.

"Speech"
Thoughts
Spells
$Parseltongue$

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters.

Let's get started!

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Chapter 4: Their Woes
~~*~~

6 September 1976

7:30 A.M.

Great Hall

Harry sat down on the Gryffindor table and started piling food on his plate. He bit down a piece of bacon and asked Lily who was sitting in front of him, "What have we got today?"

Lily promptly ignored him and continued eating her food.

Harry groaned, "Come on. That was four days ago. I even said sorry. I begged for it. It was demeaning. I've never had to beg for forgiveness after a prank."

Lily huffed, "My hair was completely ruined, thanks to you. I was late for our first class of the day and what else. Oh yes, I had to listen to Amelia crab on about how all five of you should be kicked out suspended for your "atrocious behaviour"."

Harry saw right through her, "You're just a little irritated of what happened to you. You're actually happy after seeing what happened to the Slytherin boys."

Lily's facade broke and she giggled, "Of course. Seeing all those boys in lacy black corsets and pantyhose made me giddy. That's why I didn't even snap at James that day."

Harry smiled as he ate his food, "That made everyone's day. Not only yours. Now, what do we have today?"

Lily nodded her head and brought out her timetable which was exactly like Harry's. They had taken the same classes.

"First class of DADA today. Double period with the 'Puffs. I've heard that Professor Hicks's first class includes a boggart."

Harry scoffed, "A boggart is usually covered in the third year. Why's he using a boggart now?"

Lily shrugged, "I don't know. Some are saying that he wants us to identify our fears and conquer them to become better spell casters if we want to stand a chance against the other schools."

"You're taking part in the Triwiz?"

Lily shook her head, "Nope. I may be good with Charms but I'm not very good at duelling. I'll just be taking part in the Academic Quiz."

"Think you'll win?"

Lily scoffed, "Please. There are so many other people who can do better than me. I don't think I have much of a chance."

Harry snorted at that, "Sure. You don't stand a chance in academics after you scored a record number of O.W.L.s last year."

Lily blushed a bit, "You got the same as me!"

Harry smirked a bit, "Well, honey, turns out you're a muggle-born. Thus, your score carries a bit more standing than mine."

Lily just huffed at his answer.

Harry finished his food and asked, "When are they going to put up the trial dates and format of the Duelling Tournament?"

"They already did."

Harry abruptly stood up, "Well, what are we doing here? We need to go to the Common Room. I have to take part in at least the Duelling Cup."

"What about your band of misfits?"

Harry put on a mock offended expression, "Hey. We are not a band of misfits." Harry let the expression go, "Besides when we are not pranking anybody they like to sleep in. Now, let's go!"

Lily sighed and followed Harry as he ran towards the Common Room like a kid hopped up on sugar.

Harry quickly noticed the flyer on the board. He quickly read it through.

Lily caught up with him, "How's it?"

"Trials for Duelling are on 19th while Quidditch trials are on 26th."

"Format?"

"Pretty simple. 3 students from each school for the singles competition. Then two teams of two from each school for doubles. Quidditch will have the one main team from each school and five reserves, in case of injury. We will have two matches against each house."

"Think you'll make it?"

"Please. I'll bet you twenty galleons that I'll wipe the floor in the singles in Duelling and Hogwarts will wipe the floor in Quidditch."

Lily checked her bag for the money. When she was convinced that she had enough money to set aside, she held out her hand, "Deal."

Harry smirked and clasped her hand and shook it.

They stayed in the Common Room for a few more minutes, chatting idly before the other four climbed down from the dormitory with bleary eyes. Sirius was leaning on Remus, who barely managed to climb down. James and Peter were continuously rubbing their eyes.

Harry leaned over to Lily and whispered, "A simple prank to wake them up."

Harry held up his wand and whispered the confundus charm on the stairs. It turned into a huge slide causing the four to slide down and land on the floor in a heap.

First to recover was James, who growled, "You might wake up like a bloody rooster, but we like to sleep in and enjoy it."

Harry maturely stuck out his tongue at James. After a long breakfast for the others at the Great Hall, they all made their way to their first DADA class. James and Sirius were planning their next great prank, Remus and Peter were talking about an article about the recent attacks by Voldemort and Harry and Lily were talking about their classes.

Soon, they reached the classroom which was sparsely filled with some Hufflepuff students. After a few minutes, all the sixth years who were taking DADA from both houses had arrived.

The lack of desks might have intrigued them but they knew why it was done. A sole cabinet stood at the end of the class with Professor Hicks leaning against it casually, looking at the expressions of all the students.

He cleared his throat, "Good morning sixth years. I'm Professor Hicks and I will be taking your Defence against the Dark Arts."

"Now, to be able to defend yourself against the Dark Arts you need to be able to work in any situation. That means you have to overcome your fears in the face of battle. That is why for your first class you will all be facing a boggart. Now, can anyone tell me what a boggart is?"

Several hands went up in the air. Hicks looked at the class and pointed at Amelia.

"Miss…"

"Amelia Bones, sir."

"Yes, Miss Bones."

"A Boggart is a shape-shifting non-being that takes on the form of its observer's worst fear. Because of their shape-shifting ability, no one knows what a Boggart looks like when it is alone, as it changes instantly upon encountering someone."

"Excellent. Ten points to Gryffindor for an excellent answer."

"Now, as I call out your name you have to step forward and face the boggart. When it takes the face of your worst fears you have to use the boggart-banishing spell. Enunciate the spell after me, Riddikulus!"

The whole class repeated, "Riddikulus!"

"Very good. First up," He summoned a sheet with their names on it, "Amelia Bones."

Several students were called up to face their worst fears. None of the images was too horrifying.

When James stepped forward the boggart transformed into Harry. Harry raised an eyebrow at this while the others stared at real Harry and Boggart-Harry.

Boggart-Harry spoke, "You're nothing. You're just a speck of dirt compared to me. If I wanted I would never be related to a weakling like you."

Boggart-Harry then transformed into Charlus Potter and spoke, "You're a disgrace to the Potter name. I've already planned to disown you just as you are ready to gain your Lordship."

James locked his jaw from shouting unnecessary profanities and spoke clearly, "Riddikulus." Boggart-Charlus Potter transformed into Snape wearing a bright red hat along with a bright red handbag.

Sirius's worst fear was the same as James, getting kicked out of his family, although his disowning was done by Andromeda, Narcissa, his uncle, Alphard Black and his grandfather Arcturus Black.

When Peter stepped forward his boggart turned into Harry, James, Sirius and Remus without pause after each had uttered a sentence demeaning him and insulting him. It was after a minute that Peter had a burst of his Gryffindor courage and spoke the Boggart-banishing spell.

Only three students were left and that was the point things started getting ugly.

Remus's name was called out and he stepped forward fingering his wand nervously. He knew exactly what he was gonna see. But his friends had other ideas. The boggart took the shape of a full moon and Remus started shuddering. His wand cluttered on the floor and only those who were concentrating could see the grey fur growing on his body. Before anything else could happen four bold voices spoke together, "Riddikulus" The sheer power banished the boggart straight into the cupboard. Sirius went over to Remus and grabbed him in a hug and led him towards the other students.

"Lily Evans." Professor Hicks called out.

Lily stepped forward and her boggart took a rather horrifying image rather than a single person or thing. Lily's parents lay dead in front of her with their bodies cut up brutally and the Dark Mark etched on their skin. Lily choked back a sob and raised her wand but before she could do something a clear voice whispered, "Riddikulus." The scene vanished and turned into a rather happy family who were laughing boisterously. Lily turned to Harry. She just knew it was him and smiled at him. Harry nodded back and smiled at her as well.

"Harry Potter."

Professor HIcks left him for the last to see what the Potter boy was made of.

He stepped up confidently in front of the boggart. When the boggart shifted image his confidence wavered and his wand arm started shaking. His eyes filled with tears at observing the scene that haunted his nights almost every day.

The other students were horrified at the image. Lily went to raise her wand but she was quickly deterred by a quick shake of the head by James.

A man in a grey robe with long black hair tied in a ponytail was hunched over a body. A body of a girl whose red hair was spread out on the ground. Blood was strewn everywhere and the faint noises of slurping from the man almost caused some to spew their meals.

The man raised his head and all the students gasped except the Marauders. It was Fenrir Greyback.

He spoke in a scratchy voice, "You couldn't save her then and you can't save her now."

After he spoke, Harry broke out of his stupor. His Occlumency shields locked in to prevent him from destroying the entire classroom. He never expected this scene to be replayed in front of the entire school. He spoke in a cold voice that sent shivers down the spine of even Professor Hicks.

"Shame it wasn't the real one." He raised his wand and whispered, "Riddikulus Perdere." Hicks scrambled for his wand as the spell was spoken but was unable to do anything as the boggart burst into golden dust. Harry summoned his bag and walked out of the class.

The Marauders while good friends couldn't fathom what had happened but Lily had an inkling that this scene was based on a real one. She summoned her bag and ran after Harry.

Harry had vanished from sight but Lily knew just where he would be. Whenever he was in his broody mood he always went there. Lily walked with a purpose towards the Black Lake.

And there he was, sitting under the great beech-tree throwing rocks into the lake. Lily observed a stray tear running down his cheek. She stealthily sat down beside him and laid a hand on his left hand.

"Harry," She softly began, "Who was that?"

Harry shook his head.

"Harry, who was that?"

"I can't tell you, Lily. Not right now. I wish I could but it's very difficult."

Lily pushed a stray strand of hair behind her ear and rubbed her fingers over his knuckles in a soothing manner, "It's okay. But you should know that you should not keep it in and if you ever need a listening ear, I'll always be there for you."

Harry stared into the eyes which were oh, so similar to his. His eyes were wet with unshed tears, "Thanks, Lils. I really appreciate it."

Lily wrapped her arm around his arm and set her head down on her shoulder, "I would never leave my best friend to face his demons alone."

~~*~~
Time Skip
~~*~~

19 September 1976

10:00 A.M.

Duelling Room

Several students ranging from fourth-years to seventh-years sat idly chatting with their peers waiting for the trails for the Hogwarts duelling team to start.

Harry spoke to James and Sirius, "Should I go full power or not?"

Sirius replied, "Don't go all Death Eater power on them. Take it down a notch but not by much."

James nodded, "Yup. But when you're in the finals, we want it to be full power, okay?"

Harry flashed him a thumb, "Understood."

On the stage, Professor Hicks, Flitwick and Headmaster Dumbledore stepped up.

Dumbledore spoke up first, "It's always heartening to see such young people taking part in an extremely popular sport without any worries. I hope all of you get a chance to prove yourself and secure a place on the Duelling team. Now, I'm just an observer here. The trials will be conducted by our best duellers, Professors Hicks and Flitwick."

Professor Flitwick began in his squeaky voice, "Good evening students. Now, those who want to compete in the Singles Duelling competition stand on my left, while those wanting to participate in the Doubles stand on my right with your intended partner."

Professor Hicks spoke next, "I will be conducting the Singles trials while Professor Flitwick will be conducting the Doubles. We have," Hicks counted the students on his left, "Ninety-six students for the Singles and we have 32 pairs for Doubles."

Flitwick spoke, "For the singles, you will be divided into 6 sets of sixteen. The winners of a particular set will duel against the winner of another set. The final three winners will comprise our Singles Duelling team. For the doubles, you will be divided into two sets of sixteen. The winners of the two sets will comprise our duelling team."

Hicks clapped his hands, "Now that the format has been explained. The rules. Anything short of an Unforgivable Curse is permitted. The duel will be over when a person has surrendered or with a fatal blow withheld. Only wands are permitted but whatever you use it for is allowed."

Harry grinned as a general tactic began forming in his head. He looked around and saw the familiar faces interspersed in the crowd. Andromeda and Amelia were present along with Marlene. Bellatrix, Rabastan and Rodolphus, were also present. He would be particularly vicious if he would have to fight those three.

The trials began and Harry breezed past his entire set. He faced some minor problems when he had to battle Alexander Pritchard, a fellow Quidditch fan and a Hufflepuff in the seventh year. He was considered the most handsome boy in the seventh year with his blonde hair and violet eyes.

Harry was practically giddy. He was in the final round for his set and his opponent was going to be either Marlene or Bellatrix. Bellatrix was a very good dueller, which was expected as she came from the Black family but Marlene could hold her own as well.

Soon, Bellatrix disarmed Marlene and held her wand at Marlene's throat.

Harry grinned as he waited for a few minutes to let Bellatrix recover. He glanced at the Doubles trial area and saw James and Sirius making quick work of Frank Longbottom, a Gryffindor fifth year and Emmeline Vance, a Ravenclaw sixth year.

Then, Harry's name was called out to battle Bellatrix Black.

Harry walked over with a smirk on his face. He bowed to Bellatrix who returned the gesture albeit hesitantly.

I don't want to bow to you too, bitch.

As Harry flicked his wrist to bring his wand into his right hand, Hicks calmly said, "The rules are the same. Let the battle begin!"

Bellatrix immediately shouted, "Diffindo." A red coloured beam shot towards Harry.

Harry jumped to the left to dodge the curse and spoke, "Glacius Tria." And pointed his wand on the floor. A layer of ice spread over the ground they were battling.

Bellatrix stumbled over the ice trying to regain her balance. Harry smirked in her direction. He slid along the ice with ease. He raised his wand and shouted, "Impedimenta." The ice actually helped Bellatrix. She slipped down to dodge the violet ball coming towards her.

Bellatrix regained her balance and glared at Harry. She shouted in quick succession, "Impedimenta. Flipendo. Relashio. Expelliarmus. Incarcerous."

Harry slid across the ice to dodge the impediment jinx. He blocked the knockback jinx with the reductor curse. He raised a shield against the revulsion jinx and the disarming charm and simply dodged the ropes that were sent to tie him.

Harry responded with his own spell chain, "Expulso. Reducto. Relashio. Flagellum Ignis."

The ground in front of Bellatrix resulted in two explosions which sent her back quite a lot. The revulsion jinx caused Bellatrix to be distracted as her wand almost left her hand, which allowed Harry to wrap his flaming whip against her leg. He pulled it towards him.

Bellatrix yelped and crashed into the ground as the whip burned her skin. Harry then dragged her behind him as he slid across the ice. Bellatrix soon regained her wits and cut off the whip to release herself.

"I'll kill you, Potter." Bellatrix snarled.

"You're welcome to try."

Bellatrix lost her mind at his calm reply, "Petrificus Totalus. Diffindo. Effusus Sanguis. Fragmina Ossis. Expulso. Expelliarmus."

"It just got interesting."

Harry was ready though. He whispered, "Inanimatus Conjurus. Piertotum Locomotor. Protego Horribilis."

This shield rendered the blood-boiling curse and the bone-breaker curse. An empty knight suit had materialised in front of him and the last spell animated it. The knight suit was frozen in midair. The severing charm cut the knights right arm, which meant Bellatrix meant to cut off his wand arm. The Expulso curse destroyed the suit's breastplate and the disarming charm removed its shield.

The crowd not battling was enamoured by their battle and stood gaping like fish.

The spell Randolph Lestrange had used rang in Harry's hand. He knew it was a dark curse but Dumbledore was not here so it didn't matter and Hicks looked right in his niche. Harry shouted, "Incendio Tria. Petrificus Totalus. Sectumsempra. Expelliarmus."

Huge flames came from Harry's wand which melted the remaining ice and also caused the temperature to rise in the room. Bellatrix lost her balance as she tried to dodge the incoming flames. This caused her to be hit by the full body-bind curse. The third spell caused lacerations to appear all over her body and the disarming charm made Bellatrix's wand fall into Harry's hand.

Hicks, who was quite impressed by their abilities, declared, "Mr Potter is declared the winner of the duel."

Professor Hicks knelt by Bellatrix and healed the Sectumsempra curse by using its counter curse which had been given by Snape to his peers who passed it onto the Death Eaters.

Harry narrowed his eyes as he saw the lacerations disappear in one single wave of Hicks's wand. That was suspicious because the healers at St Mungo's couldn't heal the cut on his arm with a single wave.

Bellatrix got up and Harry tossed her wand back to her. She glared at him and left the room.

Harry was given healing potions from the helpers of Madame Pomphrey, who were there at the request of Professor Dumbledore.

He looked at the Doubles trials and saw James and Sirius talking to Professor Flitwick along with a sixth year Hufflepuff boy named Tonks and fifth-year Hufflepuff Hestia Jones. Harry assumed that they were the Doubles Duelling team.

He saw the board which had the fixtures. He had won his set. Rodolphus Lestrange, Andromeda Black, seventh year Hufflepuff and brother of Amelia, Edgar Bones, fifth-year Gryffindor Christine Bell, the younger sister of John Bell, a chaser for Puddlemere United, and Marlene McKinnon had won their respective sets.

The fixtures had been drawn. Harry would be facing Rodolphus Lestrange. When Marlene noticed the feral grin on Harry's face she shuddered as she remembered the day on the train when Harry had recited the battle against Fenrir Greyback and Randolph Lestrange.

Marlene would be facing Andromeda and the last match would be Edgar Bones against Christine Bell.

Harry and Rodolphus took their places and bowed.

Hicks spoke, "Let the match begin!"

This time Harry was on the attack straight away. He was in no way letting this opportunity slip by, "Petrificus Totalus. Stupefy. Reducto. Relashio."

Rodolphus barely dodged the body-bind, blocked the stunning spell with a hasty "Protego." Which also blocked the reductor curse and the revulsion jinx made him lose the knife he was hiding in his pocket.

"Naughty, naughty Lestrange. Planning to stab me, eh? Not going to happen."

Rodolphus replied with a spell chain, "Incendio Duo. Engorgio. Fragmina Ossis. Stupefy. Expelliarmus."

Harry countered with, "Aqua Eructo. Protego Horribilis. Stupefy. Reducto. Expelliarmus. Incarcerous."

Ice blue water formed a shield around Harry which quenched the enlarged ball of flame running towards him. The shield blocked the bone-breaker curse, the two stunning spells and disarming charms clashed countered each other and the incarcerous spell managed to snag Rodolphus's leg.

Rodolphus said, "Diffindo." And cut the ropes around his leg and lifted his head to Harry shouting, "Depulso." Which was followed by a sticking charm.

As Rodolphus struggled, Harry approached with a feral grin.

Harry whispered, "Periculo Anguis." The spell he had created at the end of the fifth year as a preparation for the spell that would make Voldemort spill his secrets, followed by, "Muffliato." He didn't want anyone to know he had the ability to speak with snakes, $Scare him.$ He whispered as the snakes appeared and transformed into silver blades which hit him just below each appendage.

Rodolphus's eyes widened as he heard Harry speak to the snakes. A deep fear set in Rodolphus which couldn't be erased by a memory charm. Which was exactly what Harry was counting on.

The crowd observed the match but could not interfere because of the barrier. Plus, one of Harry's spells had all their ears ringing. Harry whispered, "Obliviate." Rodolphus's eyes glazed over as the knowledge of Harry's Parseltongue was erased from his mind. Harry brought down the privacy spell and grabbed Rodolphus's wand. Rodolphus wanted to glare at him but he felt that he should be scared of Harry Potter.

Hicks declared Harry the winner. Hicks saw the signs on Rodolphus's face to realise that Harry had used the memory charm and wondered what he was hiding.

After the next two matches had been completed the Duelling team had been completed. The Singles Duelling team consisted of Edgar Bones, who had defeated Christine Bell, Andromeda Black, who had defeated Marlene McKinnon and Harry Potter, who had defeated Rodolphus Lestrange.

The other two schools wouldn't even know what hit them.

~~*~~
Time Skip
~~*~~

26 September 1976

1:45 P.M.

Great Hall

Harry looked at the list in his hands. He was checking if he had made the right choices or not. As Captain of the Hogwarts Quidditch Team, he needed to make a team that would not lose a single game.

The list comprised of the names:

Harry Potter, Sixth-Year, Chaser (C)

James Potter, Sixth-Year, Chaser (A)

Johanna Prince, Sixth-Year, Chaser

Sirius Black, Sixth-Year, Beater

Alexander Pritchard, Seventh-Year, Beater

Regulus Black, Fifth-Year, Seeker

Ted Tonks, Seventh-Year, Keeper

Christine Bell, Fifth-Year, Reserve Chaser

Frank Longbottom, Fifth-Year, Reserve Chaser

Remus Lupin, Sixth-Year, Reserve Beater

Narcissa Black, Fourth-Year, Reserve Seeker

Pandora Davis, Sixth-Year, Reserve Keeper

As he read Narcissa's name on the list a thought struck him.

Well, there goes Walburga's pureblood princess image for Cissa.

Harry was pleased by his selections and really hoped that he could manage both competitions. He was having second doubts about the Triwiz but decided that he would face that decision when it was most necessary.

He took his bag and walked out of the Great Hall. He was not wearing his robes, just the shirt and trousers with a loosely tied red and gold tie. He walked down some corridors to reach the open and green area near the Whomping Willow. He was about to sit down on the grass when he heard shouting and then laughter.

Please don't be James.

Harry walked around the corner to see James pointing a wand at Snape. Harry stopped and observed. Brother or not, Harry had a duty as a prefect and he would take points off his brother.

"Who wants to see me take of Snivellus's pants?"

Sirius and some other students who hated Death Eaters and their associates cheered.

James spoke, "Levicorpus."

Snape was hit by an invisible force and then he was hanging upside down. People began chanting, "Snivellus. Snivellus."

Harry also noted that Rabastan, Rodolphus and Nott were standing just outside the area.

Harry was about to intervene when a sharp voice cut through the chanting and jeers, "Stop this at once!"

James looked positively shaken as he observed Lily come through the crowd and glared at him. He fumbled for his wand and spoke, "Lily, I was…"

"Let him down," Lily commanded.

The tips of James's ears turned red, "I don't know how to."

Lily was about to berate him for his foolishness when Harry decided that enough was enough.

"Liberacorpus. Arresto Momentum." Snape was let down and his fall was slowed down by the following spell.

James looked absolutely shaken when Harry emerged through the crowd.

"10 points from Gryffindor for bullying, James. Pranks on the masses are one thing and then there are targeted pranks, which is bullying. You and Sirius will be serving detention with Caretaker Filch every night for next week."

"But there's Quidditch practise next week, every evening. You were the one who scheduled it." Sirius protested.

Harry snapped, "I don't bloody care, Sirius. If you want to stay on the team you will not bully anyone." Sirius and James looked downcast while Lily smiled at him and went over to help Snape.

The next thing Snape did was the worst thing he could do.

He knocked back Lily's arm, who looked hurt at that, "I don't want help from a blood-traitor and a filthy mudblood like you."

Most of the students gasped. The word 'mudblood' was rarely used within the confines of the school.

James and Sirius brandished their wands and shouted, "Apologize!"

Harry's left eye twitched as he imagined strangling Snape right then and there. He looked at Lily and saw that she was close to tears.

Lily snapped back, "Fine. Then don't ever come back running to me. You're no better than those Death Eaters and Voldemort," Cue the flinching, "Who kill people for sport."

Lily was putting up a strong front but he knew she was shaken and hurt. He needed to go after her but before that, he had to do something.

"Mr Snape, for the use of a derogatory term, as punishment 5 points from Slytherin, two weeks of detention with Professor McGonnagal and as a more personal punishment, James and Sirius's detentions are cancelled because I fell that for the use of that particular word, you deserved to be humiliated."

He whipped around to see James with an angry look on his face. Harry hissed to both James and Sirius, "No more retaliation." He then ran after Lily. Had he stayed back he would have heard James pass an offhand comment, which could be heard by Snape.

"Next full moon near whomping right?" Sirius who had caught on, smirked and nodded.

Snape being the vengeful and curious person, thought that James and Sirius were going to do something that would get them expelled. Snape had an evil smirk on his face as he walked back to his dorm.

Harry ran after Lily who was walking at an impossible speed. He looked around the Black Lake and saw her sitting underneath the same beech where she had comforted him.

Lily had her knees tucked close to her chest and her head was buried in her knees. He set down his bag and sat down beside her. Lily lifted her head a bit and Harry saw tears streaking her face. He wiped her tears with his hands.

Lily sniffled, "Why… Why would he say that to me? We've been friends since we were nine."

"This started because of my brother and I know that I'm the last person you want here…" Harry saw her angry expression and corrected himself.

"Ok. You want me to be here when no one else is. But what I'm about to say will hurt. I'm very good at reading people. And from what I've learned till now and what I saw when Snape was eleven years, I think that he was abused."

"Snape himself is a half-blood, thus, he has no big moral ground to be spouting blood supremacy. I think that his father sometimes got violent and maybe, his father was a muggle which would lead to his hatred of muggles."

"Snape craves for approval from his housemates because of this abuse. I saw other Slytherins just standing there waiting for him to do something. When they heard him call you that they smiled. Snape might be a bit misguided but what he said was what he felt was true."

"But, you don't have to listen to him. In these five years, you've made so many, friends. Amelia's there for you. So is Pandora, Alice, Emmeline, Johanna. And you also have me. What more could you possibly want?" Harry asked with mock exasperation.

Lily giggled a bit which was nice because that had been his endgame, "You remember how we met?"

Harry got a faraway look in his eyes as he reminisced, "Oh yeah. Little ol' me was just walking down the platform when a girl literally crashed into him. The girl had the most beautiful eyes in the world and was a vision of beauty in herself. That girl was just chattering on and on about going to Hogwarts and didn't even notice where she was going. She crashed into me and after a quick introduction, we became friends. Kind of fast, wasn't it?"

He looked at Lily who was blushing a bit. He went over what he said and blushed a bit himself, "I said you were beautiful out loud didn't I?"

Lily nodded.

Harry shrugged, "Eh, what the heck. It's true, isn't it?"

Lily giggled and both of them just sat there staring at the lake as the Giant Squid made some appearances. After a few moments of silence, Lily spoke up without looking at Harry.

"Why are you staying here Harry?"

"Because I would never leave my best friend to face her demons alone."

Lily had a gentle smile on her face when she heard his reply. She stood up and walked to the edge of the lake. Harry looked at her with a confused expression but followed her nonetheless.

"You ever wonder why in the end it's always us?"

"What?"

Lily locked eyes with him and stepped forward a bit, "Whenever something happens that deeply affects me, you're the person who's the first to offer me comfort. When something happens to you, I always find you here alone. Alone. You have a tight-knit group of friends but when you're hurting they seemingly vanish. Why?"

Harry opened and closed his mouth. He didn't know what to say.

"First DADA class that incident with the boggart which I'm very sure is related to the thing that made you sad and angry in the third year, not one of them came to see if you were okay. Why?"

"You're my best friend Harry. Even Amelia doesn't compare to how you understand me. I'm worried about why none of your Marauders checks up on you!"

Lily was close to tears, so Harry wrapped her in a hug. Her head snuggled up to his chest as she choked back sobs.

Harry rubbed a hand on her back, "It's because I never let them know. James might be my twin but I'm very protective of him. Family is everything to me, and I can't lose that. James should not have to suffer the things I did. I for one know that if James ever went on an excursion like I did before school began, he wouldn't be able to kill."

"That's because I've always told him to stun, not kill. That thing I've hammered in his skill subtly since our first year. Sirius has had a tough life at his home. If it weren't for Andi and Narcissa I think he might have run away from his house. I've always seen him as my surrogate brother as he spends so much time at Potter Manor."

"Remus has his own problems to deal with and I wouldn't ever burden such petty problems on a person who has much bigger things to deal with. Peter… He was such a timid boy when I first met him. James and I took him under our wing and after so many years of hard work he has finally embraced his inner Gryffindor."

"That's why I somehow feel responsible for every person in the group. I deal with my problems in my own time, not in front of them. That's why you can't fault them. If it were up to me even you wouldn't be here."

Lily looked up at him with a questioning gaze.

"You're the only one who notices there's something wrong with me. Even when I don't want comfort, you're always there and I can't fathom why."

Lily and Harry looked at each other for a while. They subconsciously leaned in towards each other. Lily stood on her tiptoes and their lips met. Harry and Lily both closed their eyes.

They kissed each other with a unique tenderness at first which transformed into a passionate kiss. Lily ran her hands through Harry's messy hair as Harry pulled Lily closer to him by her waist.

Lily's cold lips met Harry's warm ones and they moulded with each other. Harry slowly nibbled on her lower lip and stroked it with his tongue. Lily opened her mouth to let his tongue in.

A battle of tongues began as Harry and Lily fought for dominance. Harry won out and explored Lily's mouth with his tongue. When their tongues clashed again, they snapped back to reality.

They both pushed each other back. Both their cheeks became red when they realised what they had done. They stood in awkward silence for a few moments.

"We can't be doing this," Lily spoke first.

"Yep. James fancies you and I can't do this to him."

"Mmhm. Amy fancies you and I couldn't hurt her."

Harry gaped at her, "Bones fancies… Wait, it's not important. The thing is we can't be doing this."

They looked at each other.

Harry spoke tentatively, "Right?"

"Right," Lily replied hesitantly.

"Right."

"Right."

An awkward silence enveloped them once again. They just stood there waiting for the other to make a move. Harry did it first.

"Ookay!" Harry exclaimed suddenly, causing Lily to jump, "I'll be going. See you later Lily."

Harry practically ran away and Lily stood staring at the spot he had previously occupied.

Lily sighed wearily, "What the hell have I done?"

~~*~~
Time Skip
~~*~~

8 October 1976

7:16 P.M.

Whomping Willow

Harry let out a sigh as he stood under his invisibility cloak with the other Marauders, who were under the disillusionment charm, as they observed Madam Pomfrey escort Remus to the secret passage under the Whomping Willow which led to the Shrieking Shack so that he could have a controlled transformation.

He and Lily were avoiding each other like the plague. It had gone on for so long that their other friends were getting suspicious.

Sirius, who had grown tired of all the sighing Harry had been doing for the past two weeks, snapped, "What is it with your sighing?" He was already a bit irritated because he had just had a huge fight with Marlene and all this sighing was pushing him to the fences.

James interjected before Harry could reply, "Leave him be, Padfoot. He's had something on his mind ever since Snape called Lily the 'M' word."

Sirius let out a frustrated sigh then stopped himself as he realised he was doing the exact same thing he snapped at Harry for.

Peter, who was closest to Harry asked in a quiet voice, "You okay, Shadow?"

"It's nothing, Wormtail. As James said, I've got a lot on my mind."

Their conversation died down as Madam Pomfrey passed by them.

"Now, Wormtail." Wormtai let his disillusionment charm fall down as he transformed into his rat animagus. He ran towards the tree and pressed the knot on the trunk of the tree which froze it. James and Sirius dropped their charms as Harry folded his cloak back into his back. They walked down the path under the Whomping Willow, from where they could hear some whimpering as Remus underwent the transformation.

The day they forgot to check the map was the day a person decided to follow.

They entered the Shrieking Shack and followed the stairs to the topmost floor and the biggest room where at least five animals could fit into, courtesy of an enlargement charm provided by Professor Dumbledore who had swept their illegal Animagus transformations under the rug so that they could help Remus.

They reached the floor when a howl erupted from Remus as grey fur began covering his body. His clothes seemingly moulded into the fur, courtesy of magical transformations.

Wormtail was already in his animagus form and was running around the room.

Harry, Sirius and James closed their eyes and transformed into their Animagus forms.

Where Harry had been standing, now stood was a horse-like creature. Except it was scarier. It was a thestral. It had a very skeletal face which was scarcely covered with black fur. He had emerald green eyes just like his human form. His ribcage was slightly visible because of the skeletal nature of thestrals.

The rest of his body was covered with midnight black fur. Shadow unfurled his wings which also had bones and black fur. Two bones were sticking out from the top of the wings which looked like they could pierce anything. He was better fed than the thestrals in the Forbidden Forest, so he had a slightly better body. His height was more than six feet which was larger than any of the other animals in the room. His wingspan was also about eight feet in width.

In James's spot, a stag with soft brown fur with white spots peppered on his body was standing. He had hazel eyes much like his human form. Huge antlers spouted from the top of his head which were very sharp.

Sirius, meanwhile, had transformed into the second smallest animal in the room. He was now a dog with black fur with grey eyes. This dog was an omen of death which was called The Grim but Sirius couldn't care less.

Moony had completely transformed and was growling at the three of them when they transformed into their Animagus forms. This subdued the growling from the werewolf.

Wormtail climbed onto Shadow and began running down each of the others just for kicks and giggles. Shadow after entertaining Wormtail for a bit curled up in a corner and rested. Even as Shadow he reminisced about the event that had occurred almost two weeks ago.

Padfoot, Prongs and Moony were butting heads with each other. The wolf part was in control whenever it was with other animals. If it caught the scent of a human it would start going berserk.

A creak went down from below. Shadow ignored it because this was a house that sometimes looked ready to fall. Prongs and Padfoot shared a look where Padfoot almost grinned.

Shadow focused on what was happening when he heard Moony growling. Shadow stood up instantly. A human had followed them. He was cursing himself for ignoring the map today. The person came into view.

Severus Snape had followed the four Marauders outside when they had vanished. He stood in the vicinity when he saw them again. He squinted to see a small animal touch the knot on the trunk of the Whomping Willow and saw the tree freeze in its movement.

As they vanished under the tree, Snape levitated a stone and banished it with extreme precision towards the knot. He followed the path and heard some noises from the upper floor.

Of all the things he had expected to see, it was not a werewolf, stag, a grim, a rat and a thestral.

Werewolf. Oh crap.

As the werewolf lunged at Snape, he closed his eyes ready for his fate but it never arrived. The werewolf had been headbutted by the thestral and sent sprawling. And then another thing happened. The thestral transformed to reveal the disgruntled form of Harry Potter.

And man, was he mad.

He drew his wand and fired several stunners towards Moony, which caused him to lose consciousness.

Sorry, Moony. I need to do this.

He turned back to Snape and fired a stunner. All Snape saw was red before the black surrounded him.

He turned around to the other three Animagus who were now very nervous under the gaze of the very angry Harry Potter. They reluctantly transformed back into their human forms.

"Who told him the trick to get past the Whomping Willow?" Harry asked, tapping his foot on the wooden flooring. Sirius, who now felt very guilty, as Snape could have died due to what he thought was a harmless prank for revenge.

"When you told us to not retaliate we gave him a hint so that he would follow us here," Sirius spoke meekly.

"We?"

"Me and James."

Harry glared at James, who cowered under the glare and looked positively scared when he heard Harry's malicious laughter. That's when both Sirius and James realised that they were dealing with the Harry who had killed Fenrir Greyback and Randolph Lestrange.

"Sirius I have no authority over. But you, my dear brother, are the Heir Potter and you almost killed the former Heir to House Prince. Tell me, dear brother, should I tell this to Mum and Dad?"

James shuddered as he imagined the reaction of his mother more than that of his father, "Please don't. I'll do anything."

Harry smirked, "I'll not make you do anything. I'll find a suitable punishment for you. One that will hurt you, either physically or emotionally. Could be anything. Now, we need to clear this mess."

Harry pointed his wand at Snape and murmured, "Obliviate." He erased any memory of this night's events and the hint Sirius and James had given him and rewrote his memory so that he felt that he had been near the lake the whole time.

"Peter, take him to the Black Lake and set him up against a tree and raise minor repelling wards, okay?"

Peter nodded and levitated Snape outside. He turned to the two offenders, "Go back to the dorms. I'll take care of Moony till the morning. And if you do anything like that I'm writing a letter to both your parents, I don't care how much I hate Walburga."

Both of them nodded and went back to their dorms. Harry slid onto the chair that was in the room and closed his eyes. He had a lot of time to kill and he had just the idea to get past it.

To figure out what the hell was going on between Lily and him.

~~*~~
A/N
~~*~~

Another chapter is done. Next chapter will mark the beginning of The Triwizard Cup, with the arrivals of the schools and the Champion Choosing Ceremony.

As I said above, constructive criticism is highly appreciated.

I hope you enjoyed the chapter. Remember to follow and favourite the story and leave your suggestions and comments in the reviews section. I would also like to leave a reminder for submitting OCs. Your OCs will most probably be used because I require several characters. Thanks!

Next Chapter: The Champions

Published: 26 June 2020

MasterChaos1