- . -
Chapter 1: The Train
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart,
The place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows.
The beauty of a woman
With passing years - only grows.
- . -
The train left the station nearly two hours ago. I am alone in the Prefect's compartment. Which is good. This means I can express myself freely, with no regrets. The year has not yet started and already I am alone. This is strange. I wonder where everyone went. Somehow or another, despite the restrictions, they always find their way aboard this compartment.
Somehow, I feel empty inside…void of all emotion. This emptiness is startling…maybe it is with the absence of James Potter for so long…
I do not understand this sudden infatuation with James Potter. However I am sure that it will not last very long. After all, this is mainly a part of growing, and I suppose this is one of those added perks. However, I cannot deny that I am missing the boy – a lot. Although I will not go searching for him, as I am well aware of his pastimes – and I am not sure whether this crazy heart can bear it. These circumstances are so strange it almost hurts. I have maintained a furious pretence to the world that I hate James Potter, and no matter what, I will always put my reputation first. I am not sure whether I can stand the change or not – and I am also scared of his reaction – and also at my own crazy, idiotic self. So I will not tell a soul, nor will I let a soul know, until I feel that the time is ripe.
Lily looked up, startled, as the compartment door slid open with a crash. She finished signing her name with a flourish and slammed her diary shut and crammed it into her book bag along with her fountain pen and looked up at the tall, tanned girl looking down at her from the entrance of the compartment.
"There you are, Lil, I've been searching the entire train for you! We're all down there – the others are waiting for you –"
Lily rolled her eyes at her best friend. Alexis Kensington was such an overactive girl – hyper, and annoying, and manipulative, yet lovable at the same time. She was also one of Hogwarts' spotlight sought-afters: 5"9, with a slim figure defined in all the right places, and an attitude to match with it. She was the Keeper on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and probably the best one in the entire history of Hogwarts. Not to mention she was dead-dangerous with a wand.
Lily didn't envy her friend, although recently, she had thought about how much easier it would be to get people to notice her if she was more like Alexis. Lily was short – 5"4 – with a calm, inexpressive, quiet, and occasionally sarcastic nature with a bad temper. In terms of looks, she supposed she was just about okay – her body was just about as well-defined as Alexis', with the minor exception of her being five inches too short. What she lacked were Alexis' toned limbs – all the same though, Lily felt the lack of them made her just a bit more feminine.
What Alexis could never figure out about Lily was her lack of showing what she felt. Although Lily could say she was extremely happy, she'd never show it. Which in a way was pretty good – she could walk away undaunted from a crowd of Slytherins that would otherwise have made anyone else bawl their eyes out. Alexis had seen Lily fly, and at once Alexis had been confident that Lily was a natural in flying and had persuaded her, to this day, to try out for the Gryffindor Seeker. It had been a long time since Gryffindor had a decent Seeker. However, Lily would get that strange look in her eye and refuse, saying that Quidditch was really not for her. Alexis knew the real reason Lily would never try out – James Potter was lead Chaser on the team, and, for the past two years, had been its captain.
"So," Lily said conversationally as they made their way down different compartments, "how much further is it?"
Alexis shrugged. "Right down a couple more – there it is! See, there's Hilary, right where I left her."
She broke off, snickering.
Lily squinted her eyes, trying to see through the frosted glass, and then sure enough –
Hilary looked very busy to Lily, who whirled on her best friend.
"Why, oh why does she have to make out right in front of the damn door?"
Alexis shrugged. "She was on the other end of the compartment when I left."
Lily rolled her eyes. "What have they been doing? Dancing?"
"This is so not funny," Lily said indignantly. "Why do I have to sit around watching Hilary snog her life away?"
"It's called knocking, Lil," Alexis giggled.
"Is everyone else in there?" Lily asked.
"No," Alexis replied sarcastically. "Hilary and James somehow managed to find a compartment all to themselves."
Lily didn't hear the last bit.
"James?" she asked tonelessly. "That's James in there?"
"Who else, but The Greatest Stud?" Alexis replied, raising an eyebrow. "I thought you would have known by now that Hilary has had the hots for him since the second year. And James is happy with any girl who'll worship him. Perfect match."
This was exactly why Lily had preferred to stay in the Prefect's compartment. The problem with liking James and him not knowing it, was that he was indeed, The Greatest Stud. And if she was going to take him seriously…
"Hello in there?" Alexis waved her arm in front of Lily's face.
"Sorry," Lily said apologetically, effectively hiding her current bad temper with a smile.
"I'll knock. You open the door," Alexis replied.
Lily nodded. A few minutes later –
"What the hell -?"
Lily and Alexis were both staring, round-eyed and trying not to laugh, as Lily realized that the hard thing the door had knocked into was none other than James Potter's head.
"Oops. Sorry. Didn't see you there, Potter," Alexis said cheerfully, as she and Lily burst into fits of giggles.
James glared at Lily. "I'll bet you didn't. My foot you didn't."
"Temper, Potter," Lily choked out, her pale face flushing with trying to keep all of her mirth in check. "In case you didn't realise, you were making out right in front of the goddamn door. What was I supposed to do? Send you flowers?"
"Ho ho," James said darkly. "You could have knocked."
"That I did, but you see, when one makes out, it's almost impossible to hear anything else," Alexis stated matter-of-factly.
"I wouldn't be too sure about that," James muttered under his breath.
Alexis looked outraged.
"Are you doubting my snogging expertise?" she demanded. Lily snorted.
"Well, I wouldn't know…" James trailed off, giving Alexis the Look. "Maybe if you gave me a little demonstration…"
"Please, we've been watching you snog Hilary for the last half hour, please don't start with Alexis now!" came a mock whining voice from further in the compartment. It was Sirius Black, sitting in between Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.
James ignored Sirius and continued to give Alexis the Look.
Alexis winked. "In your dreams, lover boy."
And she walked off to sit beside Remus Lupin.
"Lily, where were you?" Sirius demanded. "I was going to give James a bit of competition there, but I needed you there. What would happen if people saw me with Alexis?"
Lily rolled her eyes.
"What would happen is that people would realise that you are an even bigger prat than Potter," Lily said. "Although everyone knows that's physically impossible, even in the wizarding world."
James glared at her.
"Oops. Sore spot, eh Potter?"
"Get a life, Evans. I see you're a little bit further away from the ground this year."
Lily scowled at him, and followed his glance to her shoes, which had two-inch long heels.
"Sorry, my mistake," James amended sarcastically.
"I'm dying in laughter," Lily muttered under her breath. "Your head seems even more filled with air than it was last summer. I'm surprised you haven't floated off the ground yet."
"Will you guys just cut it out?" Remus asked exasperatedly. "Two minutes into the compartment and you're already having a go at each other. Now shut up, both of you."
Both obliged, but continued staring daggers at each other.
Lily smiled inwardly. People still believed that she hated James Potter, and nobody would suspect that she had suddenly become attracted toward him. Although it wasn't from lack of practise. Hating James Potter had become second nature to her. Maybe if she continued acting like so, this stupid crush on Potter would disappear. Yes…act normal…
"So, Potter," Alexis said conversationally. "What crazy tactics have you been cooking up over the summer for Quidditch? I mean, we were flattened last year without you."
James grinned, albeit a tad guiltily. "Well, I was thinking up of something for the extreme…the best players Hogwarts has seen in a long time. We've got a great set of Chasers, and two exceptional Beaters. And there's no need to mention our Keeper."
"Flattery has no effect on me whatsoever," Alexis claimed dramatically.
"Yes, but you see, we need a new Seeker. You see, Gabian Prewett is entering his final year at Hogwarts, and he's expressly told me that he really can't find time off homework to play Quidditch, so we'll need a new Seeker. I was thinking of Seeker tryouts for Gryffindor on Thursday. For the whole team," James said pointedly.
"Whoops," Alexis said, unashamed. She had missed Beater tryouts the previous year, owing to a detention she had carelessly gotten herself into.
"Like I said, the Seeker has to be good. Exceptional. And you know what I mean by that. And also has to fit into the whole team. And we'll see that in the tryouts. Because you weren't there last time, you missed out on most tactics and kept flinching from the stupid Bludgers half the time!"
"Hey, how was I supposed to know the bloke would go and give me detention?" Alexis protested indignantly. "All I told him was that automatic parking meters weren't signs that Muggles had discovered magic, they were electric. Or something like that."
Lily stifled a snort of laughter. "What an idiot."
Alexis' eyes registered on Lily. Her eyes went perfectly round. "Hey!" she said brightly. "I've got the perfect Seeker in mind, Potter!"
James rolled his eyes. "Well then, spit it out."
"Don't worry, this Seeker is great. Although a bit of practise would definitely be handy. And the Seeker would fit in to the team. Light, speedy –"
"Just say it already, goddammit!"
Alexis sighed exasperatedly. "Isn't it obvious, Potter? I'm talking about Lily."
- . -
All went perfectly still in the compartment for three full seconds. Then, all hell broke loose.
"Evans?" James snorted. "You think Evans can be a good Seeker? Oh, that's a good one, Kensington! Evans, as Seeker!" He dissolved into fits of laughter.
"I'm not joking," Alexis said quietly. "I seriously think she can do it –"
"Oh, come off it," James said, stopping his mirth, and adopting a serious tone. "Evans has never even set foot on a broomstick, let alone flown one. And to top that, she's afraid of heights!"
"I am not," Lily responded, her voice quiet and filled with anger. "That's just an assumption made by a stupid, puffed-up git like you. I'm surprised you can get off the ground, Potter – oh yes, I forgot – your head is completely empty, and just a little bit of support can get you up higher than most-"
"Oh, just shut up, Evans."
"Get a life, Potter."
"Shut up, both of you!" Alexis said loudly. "Potter, you've never even seen Lily fly, she's amazing, a complete natural – she's got a way with that broomstick not many have – oh come on Potter, don't be such a prat – at least see her!"
"I don't know," James said doubtfully. "Just some abysmal show of talent god-knows-when may not cut it for the team."
"You're just scared, Potter, if Lily beats you in the one thing you think you're the best at –"
Alexis had struck a nerve.
"Fine!" James said coldly. "If it makes you shut up, than fine! If Evans wants to be the Seeker, she can try for it!"
"I don't need your permission to try out for the team, Potter," Lily said in an even frostier voice.
There was an awestruck silence.
"So – so are you going to try out, Lil?" Alexis asked eagerly.
"Of course. After you showed me up like that, I don't really have a choice, now do I?" Lily said indifferently.
"Attagirl, Lily!" Hilary said cheerfully, clapping Lily on the back.
"You'll kick those baboons' asses!" another sixth-year Gryffindor girl named Marlene McKinnon said eagerly.
"By baboons, do you mean the Slytherins?" the final female Gryffindor sixth-year, Niles Fletcher, asked quizzically.
"What other team consists of flying gorillas?" Marlene demanded.
"Fair point," Niles agreed.
That was just before the door opened, signalling the customary appearance of the evil Slytherin idiots.
- . -
"Well," Lucius Malfoy sneered, "I seem to have come across the wrong compartment. This one is filthy. It is filled with Mudbloods and half-breeds."
"Watch who you're calling half-breed, Malfoy!" Sirius said, clearly miffed.
"I correct myself," Malfoy said, smirking, "Mudbloods, half-breeds and Muggle-lovers. Any better?"
"Oh yes," Lily said defiantly. "Now kindly remove your pureblooded self from our ranks, you are embarrassing us."
Malfoy's cold grey eyes met Lily's green ones.
"Do you have anything left to be embarrassed about, Mudblood?" he whispered icily.
"Don't call her a –" James started before Lily cut him off.
"Could you possibly repeat that any louder, or are you afraid of anyone hearing that last statement?" she said idly.
Malfoy swelled up with rage. "Us Malfoys are scared of nothing!"
Lily rolled her eyes.
"We Malfoys inflict fear in everyone else's hearts!"
"Yes, I'm shaking," Lily said sarcastically. "You see, I get terrified when I see ugly guys."
The compartment rang with laughter. Sirius and Alexis were literally rolling on the floor, laughing. Marlene, Hilary and Nile weren't in much better shape; they were doubled over in laughter. Remus and Peter were chuckling to themselves quietly, and even James had a smile on. Even though Lily's retort was not necessarily as funny as it could have been, the resulting expression of fury on Lucius Malfoy's face made up for it, as he turned tail and left with his three sidekicks.
To Lily, her mind was floating with the sweet taste of success. She had made James laugh, and she had shown him that she too, was more than a cooped-up bookworm. She was laughing cheerfully like she hadn't in days.
She was still laughing when a jet of silvery light hit her squarely in the chest.
- . -
Disclaimer: I own no one you recognise. Actually…I only own Hilary, Alexis Kensington and Niles Fletcher, and I must say, I'm proud to own at least someone, but I'm also proud that I don't need to add in all these imaginary characters – it keeps the list nice and short. Lol, Catherine (Reines im Herzen, for those who don't know), you're right – I always pay attention to those unimportant details which are only useful for fanfics, and nothing else. I rest my case.