Summary: "She started going out with him in seventh year. Once James had deflated his head a bit." The process of 'deflating' one's head isn't an easy one…but James is desperate (really). But can he really modify everything he is…for a girl?
A/N: Yeah, even though the Pensieve chapter completely shattered every glorified notion of the Marauders I ever had, I enjoyed it immensely (I've only read it nine times), and decided that there's still a way for James to redeem himself…unfortunately, I have to write it or I'll go insane…so it might not turn out the way I (or you) pictured it….
Chapter One: Hypothetically Speaking…
James Potter sat in his room at home, wondering just how the next year was going to go. He was entering his seventh and final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and was approaching this year with mixed feelings.
On one hand, he was extremely excited to finally be considered a full-fledged wizard, as he would be when he left. The last year, his older friends had always insisted, is always the best, apart from the N.E.W.T.s, which were a set of rather draining examinations. James and his friends fancied themselves pranksters, and they were already planning a prank extravaganza for their adieu.
On the other hand, there was one thing--one person, rather--who stopped James's fantasies of glory in his seventh year: a girl by the name of Lily Evans.
James had been chasing after Lily for years, ever since their fourth year, when he decided that Lily was the prettiest girl he had ever set eyes on. Coincidentally, that same year Lily decided that James was a massive git.
It was a rather compromising situation.
When James had asked her out again on the last day of sixth year, she had certainly given him something to think about:
"Potter, do you realize that this is the sixty-seventh time you've asked me out?" Lily snapped, turning around to face him on the beaten path to the scarlet steam engine waiting to take them home with an eyebrow raised and an annoyed expression set on her face.
"Why, Evans," he said in turn, smiling. "I had no idea you'd been keeping count."
"Actually, it's more times even than that," she responded, starting to walk again. "I only started keeping count about three months after the first time. It must be really sad to be turned down sixty-six times, Potter."
He was not dissuaded by this speech. "Well, what's the answer this time?"
She scoffed. "Potter, if you ever expect me to say yes to anything you ask me, I suggest you stop being such a prick."
"I could do that," James said, while privately wondering what exactly she meant.
"You wouldn't know where to start," Lily hissed in a low voice, wearing a knowledgeable smirk on her face that James found wildly attractive.
"All right, Evans," James said. "If I stop being such a prick, you have to go out with me."
Lily gave a sharp, derisive laugh. "If you stop being a prick, I will bring you breakfast in bed for the rest of your life."
"I'll take you up on that offer," he warned her.
And he would, too. If he ever figured out what Lily meant by "stop being a prick".
Sirius Black wandered into James's room, holding two envelopes in his hand. "Hogwarts letters," he explained, tossing James his.
Sirius, who was James's best friend, was living with James and his family now. He had been since early July of the previous year, when he'd appeared on James's doorstep, carrying his broomstick and what looked like everything he owned.
Sirius and his family had always butted heads on everything, but especially where their beliefs about status were concerned. The elder Blacks hated anyone who wasn't pureblooded, and had convinced Sirius's younger brother to believe the same things. Sirius, on the other hand, was friends with everyone, and had rallied against his family ever since he was old enough to understand what he was taught was not necessarily right.
"Padfoot," James said slowly, referring to his best friend by the nickname they'd thought up in fifth year, "do you think I'm a prick?"
Sirius glanced up from his letter. "'Course not, mate," he muttered gruffly, returning back to his letter. "You're my best friend, why would I think that?"
"Well, Evans says that--"
Sirius laughed derisively. "Ah, Evans," he said, laughing still. He threw his letter on his desk and perched himself on the edge of his bed. "Should've known she was behind this. You're not still harping on what she said, are you?"
James didn't bother to refute this statement. "Hypothetically," he said, "how would one go about…being a person Evans would willingly date and bring breakfast in bed to every single solitary morning, weekends and major holidays included?"
Sirius smirked. "Hypothetically, how far is one willing to go?"
"Hypothetically, one is willing to go as far as far extends."
"Hypothetically, what if we stopped saying hypothetically?"
James grinned. "Hypothetically, that'd be a good idea."
"Good." Sirius sighed, and asked wearily, "You really want the truth, James?"
"Well," James said, a quivering note of anxiety detectable in his voice, "I did before you took that tone."
Sirius smirked. "Well, we are talking about the revamping of your outer personality."
"Well, Evans doesn't seem to like your current personality much, does she?" Sirius said hurriedly.
James scowled. "There's nothing wrong with my personality," he said defensively.
"I know that," Sirius assured him, "but Evans doesn't. You need to show her that you can be a nice person."
"I am a nice person!" James protested, his voice elevating.
"Again," Sirius said, "I realize this. However, you tend to…hold it back from Evans. Your more pleasant side, that is."
"I'm always nice to her," James said lamely, knowing deep down (not even that deep down, actually) that this was not true.
"Only when you ask her out."
James's eyebrows flickered in admittance, and he sighed. "All right," he said. "What do I have to do?"
Two months later, standing just outside the brick divider that served as the entrance to platform 9 ¾, James waited for Lily to arrive. It was 10:47, he noted, glancing up at the large clock hanging near the divider. She'd be here any moment.
And suddenly, almost too quickly for James's liking, she appeared, clutching her mother's arm. Her mother appeared a little frightened, but relieved once she saw that she had made it safely through the barrier.
Lily looked almost exactly the same. Her hair was a little longer than it had been, James noticed, and she had pinned half of it up and left the other half hanging loosely around her shoulders. She saw him standing there and eyed him with an expression of extreme distaste, but before she could say anything, James said cheerfully, "All right, Lily?"
Her expression changed from dislike to overt surprise. Her eyebrows lifted and her eyes widened. She was shocked that he had called her by her first name. He'd never done that before.
"Oh, Lily, is this a friend of yours?" Mrs. Evans asked delightedly.
"No," Lily snapped just as James replied, "Yes."
"No," Lily repeated fiercely, meeting James's eyes. James ignored her and shook her mother's hand, smiling merrily.
"I'm James Potter," he introduced himself. "I'm in Lily's house at school. I can certainly see where she gets her looks from, you two could be sisters!"
Sirius had taught him this line, he said that it made mothers go "fluffy", as he had described it. "You'll know what I mean when you see it," he'd said crossly when James inquired, through what could only be described as giggles, what exactly someone going "fluffy" looked like so that he'd know it when he saw it.
James knew now: Lily's mother looked as though she'd never been more flattered in her life. She emitted a small, chirping laugh and Lily rolled her eyes, looking very annoyed.
She attempted to salvage the situation by pulling her mother into a hug. "I'll see you at Christmas, Mum," she said, through gritted teeth. "I really have to go."
"All right," Mrs. Evans responded, looking a little reluctant to let her daughter embark on the journey to school. She then turned to James and said, "It was lovely meeting you, dear. Watch out for her, will you?"
James wanted to laugh, but didn't, wishing vaguely that Sirius could be here to see this. Lily was in an uproar.
"MUM!" she practically shrieked. "You only just met him, you don't know what he's really like--"
But James picked up her trunk for her and began to drag it towards the train. Lily was soon following him, stomping her feet as she did so.
"What is wrong with you?" she demanded shrilly. "My mother will never be the same! Did you put a spell on her? I'll have you arrested, Potter, I swear I will--"
"Lily," James said calmly as he pushed her trunk into the compartment, trying to make it look as though it were nothing, when in reality he was wondering just what her trunk was made of, "don't you think it's time we abandoned this juvenile practice of addressing each other by our surnames?"
Lily was apparently speechless. She just gaped at him.
"Aren't you going to thank me for putting your trunk away?"
She narrowed her eyes. "No," she replied, coming to her senses. "I didn't ask you to."
James merely smirked and began to walk toward the door of the train. Lily had no choice but to follow him, as she had to board the train as well, and there were only three more minutes before it departed.
"Potter," she said slowly, "what is wrong with you?"
"There's nothing wrong with me. I'm absolutely chipper."
Lily mouthed the word 'chipper' soundlessly. She appeared to be thinking deeply as she followed him down the hall of the train, glancing into compartments to look for her friends. Suddenly, she gasped, then started to laugh.
"Something funny, Lily?" James asked, turning around to face her as she leaned against the train wall for support.
"I know what this is about!" she exclaimed through giggles. "And…oh, Potter, you're absolutely hilarious!"
"Pray tell, Lily," James said pleasantly, heart hammering at the prospect of Lily discovering what he'd been practicing endlessly over the summer and telling him it was rubbish, "what is this about?"
"This is about me telling you to stop being a prick. Oh, Potter," she gasped, attempting to stop laughing but failing quite brilliantly. She sucked in a breath and finally contained herself. "You have turned from a massive git into a charmer." He was about to thank her for her compliment when she continued, "The type of charmer who is only interested in getting a girl into bed. Thank you, Potter, but I am certainly not interested in going anywhere near your bed."
Then, appearing to have found one of her friends, she went off to join them, leaving James standing alone in the hallway, feeling very frustrated.