Change of Heart
By Tempest Break
Chapter One: Good News and Bad News
James Potter lay on his four-poster bed staring at the ceiling, his messy black hair becoming messier with each time he swept his hand through it. Tomorrow was Lily Evans's birthday, and he was debating whether to send her a present by owl or not. He knew she hated him, and would probably throw out his gift before even opening it, but he was compelled to send her something anyway.
"Yeah, I'm gonna get her something," he said to himself. Now he had only to Apparate to Diagon Alley and buy her a gift. He had been cleared in his Apparition testing, along with his best friends, the roguish Sirius Black and the mysterious Remus Lupin. Their other friend, Peter Pettigrew, had yet to pass, but he was taking it again at the beginning of the year.
James stood off his bed and concentrated hard on Diagon Alley. Then there was a loud BANG! and the uncomfortable compressing sensation of Apparition, and he was suddenly standing outside Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor. He was tempted to drift into it and get himself some ice cream, but he remembered his mission and headed to Flourish and Blotts, as he knew Lily was obsessive about her studies.
As soon as he entered the book shop, he caught sight of his least favorite person in the world – Severus Snape. Snape was browsing – James thought lurking was a better word for it – in the Dark Arts section, and James was not surprised in the least. "Probably under the pretense of D.A.D.A. studies," he muttered, and considered strolling over and hexing him from behind, maybe a nice Impetus Crinis Jinx to make his hair grow into long tentacles and strangle him, but denied his desire and headed toward the Transfiguration section.
He remembered that one of their required books was Advanced Transfiguration, and reached for it before thinking that he had seen Lily with it in fifth year, even though it was N.E.W.T. required reading. He went through four more books the same way before standing back from the impossibly high shelves and sighing.
"Doing some school shopping, Potter?" sneered a voice from behind him. "Your family must be so disappointed. All the money they've wasted buying your grades."
James calmly turned around and eyed Snape from behind his glasses. "I see you're doing some errands for Voldemort, eh, Snivellus? You're in his Death Eater training program, aren't you? It's nice to finally fit in somewhere, innit?"
Snape's eyes narrowed. "Don't speak of things you don't understand, Potter," he said tightly.
"Oh, I understand," replied James. "You're just afraid of being caught by the Ministry. Don't worry. I'll keep your secret. I'm a regular Fidelius Charm in sneakers." He smirked.
Snape's mouth was set into a tense line, and he looked like he was about to reach for his wand, but instead he swept away with a flapping of black robes emblazoned with the Slytherin crest.
"You practice to get that flutter just right?" James called after Snape scornfully. He watched the Slytherin exit the store before turning back to the task at hand: getting Lily Evans a present.
After an hour of perusing Flourish and Blotts, he wondered in exasperation if he would ever be able to find a book she didn't already have. Advanced Transfiguration; Hogwarts: A History, 900th Anniversary Edition; Magical Tree-frogs of the Amazon: Fact or Fiction? He was certain he'd seen each of these books in her lovely hands at some time during their six years at Hogwarts.
He tried to think of other things to buy her. He could go to Madam Malkin's, but she didn't care much about robes, and James knew nothing about fashion anyway. He thought of his own favorite store – Quality Quidditch Supplies – but dismissed it, as Lily didn't play Quidditch, nor was she very interested. He started out of Flourish and Blotts, but something caught his eye. It was a sign that read, "Dark Arts - Restricted to Wizards Under 21."
James stole a look at the desk where the witch cashier was apathetically blowing Exploding Bubble bubblegum. He edged closer to the restricted area, feigning interest in the Divination section, though he knew nothing could be more boring.
Finally he was into the restricted section, and it was completely empty. He ran his finger along the spines of the books, looking for a good title, until one of them tried to bite off his index finger. By then he had found a few potential gifts, one of them called The Dark Arts Outsmarted by Bellerophon Biggs, and another Self-Defensive Spellwork by Artemis Arch. He knew Lily had a great interest in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and he thought she would appreciate getting books that were obviously rare. He checked the copyright information on both of them, and they had both been written in the 1300s.
He smuggled them under his robes before he found some Wizarding magazines. He grabbed a few and covered the two books with the magazines, then headed toward the cashier.
Thankfully, she looked new to Flourish and Blotts, and he got through without a problem, except when she noticed one of the magazines he had grabbed was Witch Weekly with the headline, "How to Get a Bigger Bust in Three Easy Spells".
"Umm..." James fumbled around for a good excuse. "My sister asked for it. Yeah. I told her, 'Your breasts are big enough!' but she just wouldn't listen. Heh, heh…"
The witch gave him a suspicious look but let him get away with the two books he really wanted. When he finally got back out on the streets of Diagon Alley, he caught sight of Quality Qudditch Supplies and found his feet walking over there without conscious permission from his brain.
"Well, who am I to deny them?" he asked himself and succumbed to the admittedly welcome whims of his feet.
He pressed his nose up against the window, looking inside the shop. He could see the new broom, a Cleansweep Four, rotated in the window display. He briefly considered buying it but remembered that his Nimbus 1000 was as good as the Cleansweep and less expensive. He stepped away from the window and caught sight of Snape sliding through the entrance to Knockturn Alley in the reflection. James scowled at the place where Snape had been but decided to Apparate home rather than waste more time on old Snivellus, so with a great BANG! he was back in his bedroom.
James crossed the room to his eagle owl Icarus. He removed him from his cage, handed him the package of books, and told him, "Take this to Lily Evans. She lives in Manchester, I don't know exactly where. You'll find it, right, Ick?"
Icarus gave him a slightly reproachful look (he always liked to know where James's friends lived so he couldn't get lost and was not entirely fond of the nickname 'Ick'), but took the books and the card James had already made and winged it out of James's bedroom window.
James asked his mother that night if Sirius or Remus (Peter was too busy practicing for his Apparition examination) could come over the following day, and she said yes. So James used his parents' old barn owl Helios to send invitations to Sirius and Remus, before retreating to his room again to wait for responses from any of them. He lay on his bed, trying to imagine Lily's face when she opened his presents, until he slowly fell asleep.
- - - - -
"Hey, wake up sleepyhead!" called a voice the next morning. "Cor, but you sleep more than I do!"
James opened his hazel eyes to find his best friend Sirius Black staring down at him, standing over his bed.
"Padfoot!" James exclaimed, sitting up. "What're you doing here?"
"Well, you invited me, didn't you?" Sirius said with a grin. "You wouldn't send a poor runaway off after he's come all this way, would you?" He went to sit on James's desk, but had to clear away a space barely big enough for him. "You really need to clean up around here, Prongs."
"You should talk!" said James, fixing his bed-head hair but leaving it slightly ruffled. He looked to see if Helios had returned with Remus's reply and found him sitting on Icarus's perch with a letter strapped to his leg.
James went over and removed the letter from Helios, opening it with his usual affected nonchalance. In the envelope, he found a letter with Remus's familiar, neat writing.
I was happy to get your letter, as I've been missing you, Padfoot, and Wormtail the whole summer. My mother wouldn't permit me to leave the house until a week after the July full moon, so I've been having a miserable time here. However happy I was, though, I'm sorry to say that I already have plans for today. I'm actually going to Lily Evans's birthday party. I promise that I will tell you all about it, Prongs, as I'm sure you would be interested.
Your werewolf friend,
James dropped the letter in shock, still staring into the space where he'd held it. He could see those words – nearly an admission of betrayal! – still burning in the air.
"What's the problem?" asked Sirius, reaching down to pick up the letter off the floor. He read it quickly and then smirked at James. "I see," he said. "You a little jealous there, Prongs?"
"No," insisted James, mentally shaking himself. "I'm just surprised that Moony didn't tell me – us – before now. I mean, you must be just as shocked as I am."
Sirius raised an eyebrow apprehensively at his friend. "Oh, yes," he said. "I'm devastated that Remus didn't inform me of his party plans. Right torn up, I am." He took another look at Remus's letter, before gesturing to the window, where Icarus was tapping at the glass, a note strapped to his leg. "You going to get that or shall I?"
"That must be from Lily," James said, trying not to let his excitement creep into his voice.
"Lily?" Sirius looked surprised. "Didn't know you were in regular correspondence."
"We're not," replied James as he opened the window, letting Icarus in. "I sent her a present for her birthday."
"James, I think this is an appropriate time for the conventional Muggle wisdom: 'Can't buy me love'."
"Silly Muggles," James muttered. "Can't even speak good." He tore open the letter and his eyes flew over the loopy cursive writing that he watched flow from her delicate hand every day in Defense Against the Dark Arts.
While I appreciate the books on D.A.D.A., I wish you hadn't gone to get them. Now I feel as if I'm indebted to you, and there is no worse feeling in the world, I assure you. Just make sure to stay away from me when we return to Hogwarts, as I am Head Girl, and if you come anywhere near me, I can land you in detention. Keep away from me, Potter, or suffer the consequences.
Yours (well, not really),
James frowned at the paper, and put it down on his desk, which was already overflowing with stuff.
Sirius, of course, read the letter, and laughed, "Well, well. Not quite the profession of undying love one would hope for. You're getting closer, though, Prongsy. I especially like the part where she declares her own, unofficial, Head-Girl restraining order on you."
James turned to glare at his best friend. "She – She just doesn't – She completely – "
"She completely despises you? I'd have to agree with that," said Sirius, still grinning.
James sighed and leaned against the windowsill. Then suddenly he leapt up and shouted: "Wait, did you say – ?" He snatched the letter from Sirius's hands, reread it quickly, and then smiled widely, pumping his fist into the air. "Yes! This is the chance I've been waiting for, Padfoot!"
Sirius raised an eyebrow at him again. "What're you on about, Prongs?"
"Look, look! You were right, it says right here!" James thrust the letter in Sirius's face. " 'I am Head Girl and if you come anywhere near me, I can land you in detention!' "
"Umm, yes," said Sirius uncertainly. "I'm still not understanding why this is a good thing."
"Oh, didn't I tell you?" asked James. Sirius shook his head. "Well, I'm Head Boy! And don't Head Boy and Girl share a common room off by the Astronomy tower?"
Sirius's mouth dropped open. "You're Head Boy?!" he said incredulously. "What – ? How does that work?! I coulda sworn Moony or even that stick in the mud Davies would be Head Boy!"
James shrugged. "It's not important. What is important is that Evans is going to be sharing a whole tower with me! She can't avoid me now! And if she gives me a detention, I can just turn around and give her one... WITH ME!" He laughed, almost hysterically.
"Uh, James?" said Sirius. "Sorry to burst your bubble, Prongs, but couldn't Evans just request a room change?"
James's shoulders slumped. "Padfoot?"
"Shut the hell up."
- - - - - - - - -
Tempest: Hellooo! I just wanted to write a Harry Potter fanfiction because I'm so upset about the demise of Padfoot. I was compelled to write one about Moony, Padfoot, and Prongs (Wormtail is evil, of course, though he'll be in it). I love anything from the Marauders' generation, so I like James and Lily, too, even if Sirius is my favorite character. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, read and review, and I will appreciate it greatly!
7-30-07: I've decided to go through this story and revise the chapters to better fit canon. I can't completely demolish some things, though, because they're important to the story. If a chapter has been redone, there will be an italicized note at the bottom with the date it was revised. If not, keep in mind that this story was begun shortly after the fifth book came out and finished after the sixth book, so there was a definite lack of complete canon to go by. Anyway, this chapter has been revamped! Hope you enjoy it more than before. So far the only non-canon thing in the story is Lily's birthday, here slated for August 1 but in canon, January 30. Unfortunately, I couldn't change that because James's quest for a birthday present is important.