A/N: Well, we have reached the end; the end of a long journey. I'll talk about that later on, for now though, enjoy the final chapter of my baby.
Disclaimer: For the last time! I own ONLY Gabby, Courtney and Emily.
This chapter, being the epilogue, is slightly shorter than usual but please, don't complain!
Who's That Girl?
Sirius, Remus, Courtney and Gabby led James and Lily into the train compartment that had been 'the Marauder compartment' for the past seven years. As they entered, James took Lily's hand in his and entwined their fingers as they took a window seat.
It had been a very full-on year. So much had happened to all of them, the least of all being their NEWTS.
"So, what's in store for the Hogwarts Couple of the Year after the summer?" Sirius asked and conjured butterflies to circle Gabby's head.
She batted at them uselessly as James and Lily exchanged a secretive glance. They hadn't told their friends about their plans mainly because everyone had been so busy studying; their NEWTS would determine the rest of their lives.
"Well," said Lily, "James is going to continue with his plans to be an Auror and I'm actually thinking of applying for a position in the Ministry's Department of Magical Law Enforcement."
"Always looking out for the trouble-makers, eh Lils?" Courtney said with a laugh.
Lily blushed gracefully and James kissed her cheek, causing her to go redder still.
Taking pity on Gabby, Remus mad the butterflies disappear and said, "But you two will stay together, won't you?"
"Try to separate us and you'll get your answer," James stated, running a finger up and down Lily's left ring finger.
He brought their entwined hands up and kissed each of her finger tips, making her tremble slightly. Their four friends smiled. They were witnessing the tenderness that caused the rest of the Hogwarts population, teachers included, to name the pair 'Couple of the Year'.
They all sat in silence for a while, enjoying each others company until Sirius, staring out the window said gravely, "We're not coming back. Feels strange, doesn't it?"
Everyone was quiet as this sank in. They had talked of life after Hogwarts of course, but saying it like that made it so final.
"I wish you hadn't said that Sirius," Courtney said, a tinge of sadness evident in her voice.
With a look of deep thought on her face, Gabby said, "I kind of wish we could go back and do it all again."
Lily and James looked at her and said simultaneously, "No!"
Leaning against her boyfriend, Lily elaborated. "So much has happened this year that I don't ever want to forget or let go of. Who knew that we of all people would befriend the Marauders or that I'd date the James Potter? This has been the best year. We, or at least I, had the most fun this year and we made new friends."
"Lily's right," Remus replied, nodding. "You girls changed us."
"Right," said James, "we don't leave wet towels on the floor anymore."
This comment earned him an elbow to the sides from Lily, causing the rest of the group to erupt in laughter.
For the moment, they could afford to act like children. Everyone knew that real life was knocking on the door and the number of Dark Wizards had increased dramatically in the last couple of months.
"Say," said Sirius as he came in from the corridor, laden with all their purchases from the lunch trolley, "where's Peter? He hasn't been around a lot lately."
James laughed as he split a Cauldron Cake to share with Lily. "You've only just noticed that now?"
Sirius looked affronted. "Well…"
Remus stole an Every Flavour Bean from Gabby's box and said, "Peter has been disappearing all the year. It started about the time James and Lily began bumping into each other."
"How do you know?"
"Because Padfoot, I pay attention to these things." He threw Sirius a superior look and nibbled the bean he had finally finished inspected by sight and smell.
Lily straightened a little, James' arms confining her slightly. "You don't think I had something to do with it, do you?"
"Why do you say that Lils?" Courtney asked.
"Well, from what I've observed over the years, I'd say James was kind of a hero for Peter, like a favourite sibling. Maybe James' interest in me made Peter jealous."
The boys considered this suggestion as the train continued on its way to London.
"You might have something there, Lils," James said slowly. "But it's not like I paid him any attention before. Anyway, how could I hang out with him if he was never around?"
Lily shrugged and settled herself back against James chest. "Maybe the fact that you didn't seek him out when he left, hurt more than when you ignored him before."
"She's right, Prongs," Remus said matter-of-factly.
"Of course I am," she replied cockily.
As Lily's eyes were closed, she didn't see Courtney and Gabby take some beans from the box and so was unprepared for when they began pelting them at her.
The trip progressed in much the way until finally the sky dimmed and the compartment's occupants knew they were about half-an-hour away from their destination.
As the train drew to a halt at Platform 9 ¾, Gabby asked desperately, "We'll all keep in touch, won't we?"
Seeing the fear of being forgotten in her eyes, Sirius slung a comforting arm around her slender shoulders and said, "Of course. You couldn't pay me to forget you."
Courtney laughed as a blush crept into Gabby's cheeks. Six months ago, Courtney would have been jealous but she had begun dating a Hufflepuff boy since then and her crush had waned and finally disappeared.
Disembarking from the Hogwarts Express for the final time, they went through the barrier and sought out their parents.
Vivien and Zachary Potter found them first and James wasted no time in introducing his girlfriend to his parents.
Vivien looked her up and down. "So, you're Lily Evans." It was a statement, not a question.
Her mouth unnaturally dry, Lily nodded. "Yes ma'am."
"No need for formalities my dear," Vivien said, laughing. "James has been writing me about you all year. I know it's cliché to say, but I feel like I already know you."
"I like your hair," said Zachary. "Does the colour run in your family, or is it dyed?"
"My father is a redhead."
As the Potter's greeted Sirius and Remus and were introduced to the girls, James leaned down to whisper in her ear, "I told you they'd love you."
"Lily!" cried two voices from behind them.
The whole group turned to see a couple who could only be Lily's parents hurrying in their direction. Following them were Lily's sister Petunia and a rather rotund man.
Lily threw herself at her parents and put an arm around each neck.
"How are you all?" she asked, pulling back. "Mum? Dad? Petunia? Who's this?"
"We're all so much better for having you home, Princess Lily."
James smiled at her pet name. She was a princess.
"This is Vernon Dursley," Mr Evans said, gesturing to the man next to Petunia. "He and your sister have been dating for quite a while now."
"Really? I'm so happy for you Petunia."
Petunia smiled sourly as if there was no doubt in her mind that her baby sister was anything but.
"Mum, Dad, there's someone I want you to meet."
Lily giggled. "Yes Mum, a boy."
James stepped forward and offered his hand to Lily's father, somewhat nervous. After they'd shaken, James smiled and nodded to her mother.
"Dad, Mum, Petunia, this is James Potter. James, my parents, Jonathan and Anastasia Evans."
Anastasia frowned thoughtfully. "James Potter? Aren't you the boy Lily's always complaining about?"
James chuckled. "Most probably. But that's in the past. She doesn't do it anymore, do you Lils?"
Lily shook her head and took his hand. "He's not exactly what I thought he'd be, Mum. And Daddy, I want you to forget everything horrible I ever said about James, alright?"
"Alright," he said slowly. "Why?"
"Because," and here Lily drew a deep breath and uttered the secret they had kept from their friends, "we're getting married!"
A/N: So, it's over. I don't know whether to be proud or sad. Maybe a little of both. This is the first fic I've finished so it's an interesting feeling.
I'd like to thank all those who read and reviewed. If you haven't reviewed yet, please take the time to do it now and tell me what you think.
I have decided that I WILL be writing a sequel. Before I can start it though, I have to finish another running fic I have. Just to let you know, I'll be entering my final two years of school in 2006 so I'll have a great deal to do and not very much free time. I'll post as often as possible. Keep an eye out for it.
On a final note, thanks to everyone who has ridden this rollercoaster with me, whether you were with me in the beginning or joined me in the middle. Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. It got me through many a rough patch.
Lady Knight 1512.