Chapter 1: The Girl
It was a hot summer day, and James Potter sat on the front steps of his large and gracious home, wearing a tee shirt and jeans and lazily smoking a cigarette. Inside, his mother was trying to find her maid, who he suspected was having more than the proper amount of fun with the milkman, and his father was trying to get his mother to hold still long enough to say the spell for his tie to knot properly. They were preparing for some fancy dinner party or another, and James really could not have been more bored if he tried.
He scanned the land before him. It was a seemingly endless expanse of land, rich and fertile. It all belonged to his parents, and someday he knew he'd be the sole owner. It had been in the family for years, handed down from the most ancient of his pureblooded ancestors. James tried not to think about it much, and almost as though showing his contempt for it all, he threw his cigarette butt in the grass. Though he pretended to be nonchalant, he made sure that the orange glow that it emitted burned out properly.
"Where the hell is Sirius?" he muttered, looking around him. He hadn't seen Sirius Black, his best friend and very nearly his adoptive brother, all day. Sirius had taken up residence with the Potters at the end of the school year. Being almost seventeen years old, he'd been able to finally run away from his stiflingly cold family, and liked to brag that his name would get the honor of being blasted off the family tree.
"Toujours Pur my ass." he'd said, "What a bunch of crap."
He hadn't always been that way. When James had first met him, he'd been the same sort of puppet child that his younger brother Regulus was now. He'd been saved by James's similar dark humor and violently stubborn opinions on human equality. In his company, along with that of their other best friends Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew, Sirius had flourished into a troublemaker and ladies man who made girls swoon with his dark good looks and wicked smile.
"James?" came a voice from the house. Turning around, he spotted his mother, who, in spite of her elegantly arranged hair and elegant plum colored robes, looked harassed and not a little frazzled.
"Darling, are you sure that you don't want to go the party?"
"Yes, Mum." James said. He barely restrained himself from rolling his eyes at the thought. His mother knew he hated going to those things. They consisted of listening to wizarding composers who'd died hundreds of years ago and laughing politely at jokes that weren't funny and more than a little mean spirited.
"It's only, you're getting older, Sweet, and you really should find a- well-"
"Potential mate?" James finished, grinning. Mrs. Potter touched the perfect blond chiffon her hair was tied into, making sure it wasn't falling out, and then turned a wary eye on her son.
"You needn't be so crude about it." she replied, "But yes. It wouldn't hurt to look."
"And what makes you think I'd find what you're wanting for me among those pureblooded, snobby girls?" he asked, "It's not as though I'll find a wife and happiness with one of the Black sisters." He turned away from his mother and began lighting another cigarette.
"Alas, there's no hope of that now." his mother said, "the youngest, Narcissa, was engaged to that Malfoy boy last month, didn't I tell you?"
James turned back to look at her incredulously.
"Isn't she only twelve?"
James took a deep drag on his cigarette, disgusted.
"Is that even legal? That's the sort of thing you want me to be doing?"
She sighed in exasperation.
"I'm not saying you have to marry somebody ten years younger than you, James. But it wouldn't hurt to at least look at girls."
"When one worth looking at comes, I'll look." he said sullenly. He turned away and stared off into the endless expanse of land once more. Unexpectedly, his cigarette was snatched from his hand and being crushed under his mother's velvet slipper.
"And it wouldn't hurt to stop using those damned muggle cigaplettes, or whatever they're called. They smell horrid." She checked the bottom of her shoe and groaned.
"Lydia!" James's father stuck his head through the doorway, "Lydia, please, I don't know how that spell goes…"
"Ask one of the house elves!" she cried. "Oh no." she added to herself, taking the slipper off her foot.
"Burned your shoe, have you, Mum?"
"Just my luck. They were new, too."
"Honey, please, I'll look foolish…" his father called weakly.
"Serves your right, taking a man's cigarette." James said.
She cast him a withering glare.
"I wouldn't go so far as to call you a man yet, Jamie." she said, "Now, I've forgotten the spell, so if you remember it, tell me before your father has an episode."
"Try 'redintegro' "
She did, and the burn mark disappeared.
"Thank you, sweetheart." she said, kissing the top of his head, and swept back into the house, saying as she went, "Darling, you really don't need a tie, just wear dress robes…"
James chuckled, and leaned back onto the step behind him. His eyes began to close when he heard something speed by. Thinking it might be Sirius, he opened his eyes, only to see an unfamiliar girl riding by. She was perched upon a yellow device that he could faintly remember from muggle studies as being called a bicycle. Sensing his stare, the girl looked up, and promptly lost control of the bike. With a yelp, she crashed to the ground, her legs twining with the contraption that she'd been riding.
Mildly concerned, James got up and walked over to where she'd fallen. He looked down at her, arms crossed. She was very pretty, slim with long red hair. She wore a purple tie-dyed shirt and cut off shorts, and on her feet were closed toed purple plastic sandals, faintly reminiscent of ones he'd seen muggle children wearing at the beach. She struggled to get into a sitting position, and once she did, she looked up at him expectantly.
"Well?" she asked, her intensely green eyes trying to penetrate his soul.
"Well, what?" he replied, fixing his eyes on her in a way he knew would be just as uncanny.
"Aren't you going to help me?"
James looked away, and pushed his longish black hair from his eyes. He didn't feel like giving an answer, because in truth he didn't have one. He was taken off guard a moment later when she grabbed his hand and pulled herself up using it.
"Thank you." she said, smiling at him, "I'll pretend that you did help me, anyway." She bent over and stood her bike up.
"Have a nice day, James."
He caught her wrist.
"How do you know my name?" he asked. She turned back to look at him, and this time she looked a little put out.
"You don't know who I am?" she asked, cocking an eyebrow. He shook his head. With eyes like hers, he would have remembered her.
"Lily. Lily Evans." she said, as though trying to convince him, "You don't know who I am?" she repeated. He shook his head again.
"Well…" she bit her lip, "This is a little strange. Here I thought-well-never mind." she smiled at him again, "No matter. Accio." she added. The box of cigarettes in his pocket flew into her hand and she examined it thoroughly.
"You do magic?" he asked, surprised. Most of the people who lived nearby were muggles.
"I'm in your year." She said, sounding a little irritated, "I'm a prefect? With one of your good friends, Remus Lupin?" she looked like she was desperately trying to jog his memory, but he kept drawing a blank. Seeing that it wasn't working, she put the cigarettes back gently.
"Don't smoke too many of those, now." she said, "All sorts of little nasties in there." She climbed back on her yellow bicycle and nodded at him.
"Nice to see you, even if you don't remember me." She said lightly, "Tell Remus I said hi." with a nod, she pedaled off, and James stared after her.
"Hey there, mate." came a voice behind him. He turned around once more, and saw Sirius, sitting on the step above him.
"Where have you been?" James cried good naturedly. Sirius wriggled his eyebrows.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" he replied devilishly.
"Yeah, actually, so tell me."
"If you must know," Sirius said, sighing dramatically (though it was clear he was enjoying himself), "I was getting- er- better acquainted with your mum's maid."
James felt his jaw drop.
"You were snogging Agnes?"
"Close your mouth." he laughed, "a fly will get in, you remember last time."
James did as he said, and he shot Sirius a dark look.
"That was only once. And I was thirteen."
"The best bloody day of my life, always and forever."
"Stop trying to avoid the point. What the hell were you doing with my mum's maid?"
"She looked like she needed some fun, so…"
"I thought she was with the milkman!"
Sirius chuckled to himself.
"She won't be going back to that spotty prat anytime soon, I'll tell you that."
James couldn't help feeling that Sirius had violated some sort of rule.
"You don't even like her, Sirius."
"You don't know that. She could be the bloody love of my life."
"The first time you saw her, you said she had a horrible overbite and a laugh like a chipmunk."
"It's amazing how things change when they're kissing rather than talking." Sirius said thoughtfully, "She's really very attractive, when it comes down to it."
"Shut up and hand me a smoke, will you?"
James complied, if only to keep his mouth shut. Once Sirius had lit the cigarette with a prod of his wand, James asked,
"You wouldn't happen to know a Lily Evans, would you?"
Sirius thought for a moment, then shook his head.
"No." he said, taking the cigarette from his mouth momentarily, "Should I?"
"She just came 'round. It was strange. She said she knew Remus and that she was a prefect."
"Evans, Evans, Evans…" Sirius muttered. "No, I don't know. I tend to avoid authority at all costs, you know that Jimmy." He ruffled James's hair. "Any particular reason you care?"
"No." James lied. "Just asking."
At that moment, James's parents came out.
"Goodbye James, Sirius." Mr. Potter said, smiling kindly at them, "try not to blow up the house again, please?"
"We'll try, Mr. Potter." Sirius said, giving him a charming grin. "And Mrs. Potter, may I say you look lovely…"
"Stuff it Sirius." James said, elbowing him, "that's sick."
"I can't resist when there's such beauty in your family, James. Though I'm not quite sure if it skipped a generation or if you were just some horrible mistake."
Mrs. Potter laughed and kissed both boys on the forehead.
"Be good." she reprimanded, and in a moment, both of them were gone.
"So." James said, after a few minutes of silence, "You never told me you were going to be related to the Malfoys."
Sirius made a gagging noise.
"Don't make me retch, Potter."
Just a quick note: In case anyone noticed, I edited this chapter a little bit, changing the spell James tells his mother from 'soleus patchinoso' to 'redintegro'. The cheesiness of the first one was killing me so I changed it, but everything else has remained the same :D