"Lily! Garbage!"

Lily Evans sighed in disgust. "Sure Mom," she hollered down the stairs. "In a few minutes." She returned to her report for Transformation, frowning a little. She would have given anything to be able to use her magic over the summer, but of course the Ministry forbade that. One more week, she thought happily. One more week and I'll be back at Hogwarts! She was counting the hours. She loved her family and all, but after living life with magic, being deprived of it was like a blind person gaining sight and than losing it.

Lily looked up at all the pictures that lined her wall, wizard pictures with all her friends waving happily. There was Muggle-born Cori Matthews and Danaelle Forlay, from a witch family. The three of them had been best friends since they had met on the train as first years. There were photos of the rest of her friends, and a few scattered pictures of the beautiful Hogwarts landscape and Hogsmead.

Her attention was caught by one in the corner, one she would have loved if not for a singular problem. Lily, Cori, and Danaelle were at the Halloween Dance, date at the arm, picture perfect, all six of them laughing at some comment Dana had made. It would have been wonderful, if not for James Potter snogging his newest fling in the background.

Lily shuddered. Just thinking about him annoyed her. They had been rivals since that day six years ago when he insulted her clothes and she told him she hoped he would be sorted into Slytherin. He'd retorted that there was no chance of that; besides, what did a stupid Muggle know about Houses?

A brief fistfight had insued, the first and last one Lily had at Hogwarts. Lily walked away with her dignity hurt and her braids slightly messy. James left with his dignity hurt, two black eyes, and three painful scratches on his arm from her fingers.

Unfortunately, they were both sorted into the same house, and never got along again. For their entire fifth year, James had wanted Lily to go out with him, but she refused, sure it was another prank.

"Lily! I told you to do the garbage five minutes ago!"

"I'm coming!"

Lily clamored down the stairs. Don't think about Potter, she told herself. He is definitely not worth it. She debated taking her jacket to cover up her nightgown, which was a little too embarrassingly frilly to be seen in, but decided against it. It was far too hot. She lugged the bag down her driveway in bare feet, then started to head back up to her house. A noise from across the road distracted her, though, and she turned towards it. It sounded like a hurt animal. Frowning, Lily glanced up and down the street. She lived in a nice neighborhood, with little real trees, though she knew there was a hunting reserve about a mile away. She flinched, hating to think about the deer killed.

The noise sounded again, and she frowned harder. It did sound like a hurt deer, but weren't they out of season? Was someone hunting illegally?

If they were, she certainly didn't want to be caught outside by someone with a gun, especially in her flimsy white nightgown. She started to back away towards her house, when a movement caught her eye. Something - something fourlegged - was moving across the street. She stood frozen, watching it.

Suddenly, a road roared around the corner, and came zooming towards it. For a second Lily saw the animal, a deer in the headlights, before it bolted across the road, narrowly avoiding the car - but hitting Lily instead.

Ow, she thought, a few seconds later when she was able to think. Really ow. She was staring up at the sky with a deer - a stag - sprawled across her. Gingerly, she attempted to move away, managing to sit up. She righted her dress, then looked at the animal. He was bleeding from the leg; it was only a trickle, but looked like he had already lost a fair amount of blood.

"It's okay," she whispered. "It's going to be okay." She wasn't sure it would be - in addition to the wound, he also looked pretty scraped up on the rest of him. "Weren't expecting hunters this time of year, were you?" she murmured, patting the top of his head gently. She smiled. He was cute - sort of like an oversized Bambi.

If only she had her wand . . . She knew she wasn't allowed to use magic, but Cori had last summer and when she explained the reasons to Professor Dumbledore, he had erased her record. She was pretty sure she could make some of the teachers believe saving a stag was a good reason to use magic; she really didn't want to let it die.

She thought about calling the vet, but that would take to long. She wanted to save the poor animal now. She started to walk away, and he raised himself and stumbled after her.

"No, wait here," she told him, then reconsidered. Petunia was asleep, and her dad wasn't home from work yet. Her mom was in the back of the house. She could lead the stag inside then rush up to get her broom . . . She giggled a little. Take an animal inside the house? Her parents would throw a fit!

Lily looked back at it, and sobered. The blood hadn't stopped flowing, and she realized he was favoring one of his back legs as well. "Come on," she told him, placed her hand on his shoulder and walking him to her back door. They slipped inside quietly, into the living room. "Lie down," Lily told him, pointing to the floor, but he just stared at her, his eyes glazed with pain.

Deciding not to waste any more time, Lily rushed up the stairs and started to search the floor of her room for he wand. She had just been polishing it the other day. . . There it was!

To her surprise, she heard unsteady thumps on the stairs. "Oh my god," she whispered, and ran out to see the stag limping up the stairs, completely awkward. "You idiot," she moaned softly, glancing around nervously to make sure no one came. She waved her hands. "Shoo. Go downstairs."

He didn't. Painstakingly, he maneuvered up them, then followed Lily to her room, leaving a light trail of blood behind. He collapsed on her carpet, making mournful little noises. Wincing in compassion, Lily reached for her wand. Her Herbology had always been good, hopefully good enough to heal, even though Charms was by far her best subject. Making a potion would be better, of course, but she couldn't find any of the ingredients she needed in the Muggle world.

"Um . . . corlatos!" Lily whispered, skimming one of her books. She tensed, as if she would suddenly get in trouble for using magic, but of course, nothing happened. Murmuring a few more words, she stopped the blood and made a temporary patch that would hold the skin together until they started to heal by themselves. There was a plant she should feed him that would help his body a lot . . . She'd just have to convince her mom to take her to a health food store the next day.

"It's going to be okay," Lily whispered, again and again, pausing only to clean up the blood leading to her room. She stayed by the stag's side, comforting him until they both fell asleep on her floor.

"Lily!"

"I already did the garbage," she murmured sleepily, rolling over. Her bed seemed to be unordinary bumpy and uncomfortable this morning.

"Lily, Dave's on the phone!"

Lily began to pull herself back from the edge of sleep. Dave. Dave was on the phone. That was nice. Did her mother particularly want Lily to do something about this? Sleep. Sleep was nice . . .

"Lily!"

"Urg . . ." Rubbing her eyes, Lily sat up, her mind finally beginning to function. With a start, she looked down at the stag, still lying still on the ground. The skin was raw, but the spell had quickly started the healing. He would be fine in four or five days, Lily thought with relief. "Stay there," she whispered to him, and he blinked once. Smiling, Lily hurried downstairs, taking the phone from her mother.

"Hi Dave," she said. "Don't you ever sleep?"

"It's eleven thirty, Lily," he said testily. "It's not good to sleep so late."

Lily rolled her eyes. "Sure Dave. Whatever you say. So, what's up?"

"I was thinking we'd go see Red Thunder today. It got great reviews in the paper."

"Okay."

"I'll pick you up in an hour," Dave said, and they ended their conversation.

Lily wished Dave could be a little more romantic once in a while, and a little less possessive. That was another reason she was glad school was here - they'd agreed that they would break up once it started, as neither worked to well with long distance relationships.

Lily brought up some meat, grass, and water for the deer, not exactly sure what one ate. She was greeted at her window by an owl. A sense of dread filled her, even though she had been expecting it. She opened the letter, scarcely breathing.

Dear Ms. Evans

We have received intelligence that a Mending Charm was used at your place of residence at half past nine this morning.

As you know, underage wizards are not permitted to perform spells outside of school, and further spellwork on your part may lead to expulsion from said school

(Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, 1875, Paragraph C).

We would also like you remember that any magical activity that risks notice by non- magical members of the community (Muggles) is a serious offense under section 13 of the International Confederation of Warlocks' Statute of Secrecy.

Enjoy Your Holidays!

Anita Hopkirk

Improper Use of Magic Office

Ministry of Magic

Lily lay down the letter, hands trembling a little and feeling like an idiot about it. Most of the kids she knew - that is, those liable to get a letter like this in the first place - would probably laugh it off. Lily, however, didn't want to get in any trouble with her school, especially considering her hopes - alright, expectations - of that head girl letter this year. If only the stag had waited one week more to be injured, so that she would have turned seventeen and have reached her majority. She shrugged it off. Animals couldn't chose when they were hurt.

She quickly wrote a letter explaining about the stag, stressing the importance of helping others and how, as a responsible person, she felt it was her duty to preserve life, and a hundred other things that officials often lap up. Satisfied, she stuck in a picture of the stag that she took, and gave the envelope to the owl to carry away. Breathing much more steadily now that that was taken care of, Lily went downstairs to meet her boyfriend, leaving the healing stag alone in her empty room.

Pain.

That was the first thing he was aware of as he lay there. There had been lots of pain, an explosion, but now it had lessened, down to a dull throb, a healthy throb. The pain was almost gone.

Slowly, he raised his head. The last hours - days? - were bleary. He remembered a calming voice, carpeted room . . . He looked around, surprised at the view he saw, the slightly different, more perceptive view of a stag. He focused his mind, and in a second a young man lay sprawled on the carpeted floor.

"Bloody hell," James Potter murmured. "Where in God's name am I?" He stood up, wincing as a fresh burst of pain racked his leg. He let himself collapse onto a bed, definitely a girl's bed. Everything about the room screamed "girl" from the pale blue walls to the delicate glass animals to the waving celebrity posters. He picked up a copy of the Daily Lantern, which was lying on the floor and considered the front page. It was the day after he had been shot by that stupid, idiotic, Muggle, and it seemed to be the most recent one there. James let out a breath, glad he hadn't taken a few days to heal. Whatever witch or wizard who rescued him must have -

He suddenly sat up straight. The deer range he had accidentally let himself be caught in was in a Muggle neighborhood, not near any wizards he had heard of at all. It was pure luck, probably, that a wizard had happened upon him. It wold have been a royal pain it he had been stuck being tended by a non-wizard family.

James looked around the room again, a slow smile beginning to form on his face. He was in a witch's room - a teen witch. He might even know the girl, if she went to Hogwarts and was in his year, or close to it. Wouldn't she be surprised to find James Potter in her room?

He hobbled across the floor, swearing about his knee, until he'd reached the photos tacked onto the far wall. His eyes widened as he looked at the first one - the Gryffindor common room, filled with everyone at their Quidditch-winning celebration last year. Another was of two of the girls in his year - Cori and Dana, blowing kisses towards the camera and giggling like mad. James wondered what would happen if this was one of their families - it could only be Cori's, come to think of it. Danaelle came from a wizarding family almost as old as his own, in a wizard district.

He knew Dana and Cori well; how could he not, when he had had classes with them for the past six years? And he knew perfectly well who their best friend was. He scowled. After his huge crush on her fifth year, their rivalry had increased even more then it had the previous four years. Evans just wouldn't give him a chance, wouldn't believe that he actually wanted her, believed himself in love with her.

Or in lust. But they were almost the same, weren't they?

He moved to the other pictures. Again, Cori and Dana were featured in most of them, along with Evans. James himself was actually in some of them, but always off in the background, as if him being in the picture was a mistake.

A sense of forbidding was filling James, one he really didn't want focus on. His eye was caught by a textbook, which he flipped open, reading the name that he was already sure he would see. There it was, in the girl's neat, perfect cursive; Lily Evans.

I'm doomed, James thought. Doomed, doomed, doomed. Of all the people at Hogwarts, of all the people in England, I had to end up with the one who completely and utterly despises me. I am such a lucky person. Really, I am. I wonder which she'll do first; flay me alive or tar and feather me? Sighing, James collapsed back on the bed.

And then he sat back up again. This was Lily Evans' bed. Evans' bed. James started to smirk. Getting shot by a hunter? That hadn't been fun. Driving one redhead crazy? That had major potential.

A/N: Wheeee! It's my first HP fanfic, and, let's see . . . the letter belongs to JK Rowling from CoS. I basically copied it word for word. And this was actually written right after Order, so it's a bit juvenile writing, but I've kept working on it, so I already've written a lot of it. And I'll respond to all reviews.

And everyone . . . he died! And the other was evil! And it was ENTIRELY TOO TERRIBLE TO BE TRUE! And I sobbed through the last fifty pages. . . wow . . . I'm still in shock . . . dead. . . I'm a sap . . .Ok. Now we just have to wait for the last book.

Preview:

"So, Carrots," Potter drawled, enjoying her anger, "What were you doing, dating a Muggle? No wizard good enough for you?"

"Who would you suggest? Yourself?" Lily asked testily.

Standing beside her bed now, Potter lifted one shoulder and let it fall. "Trust me, Evans," he said in a bored voice, "you just don't interest me anymore. I might have held a torch for you fifth year, but that's long past. Besides," he added in a voice meant to insult, "you're boring as hell."

"Well, pardon me for not sleeping with every willing soul!"

"Don't kid yourself, Evans. There isn't anyone willing to sleep with you."

Lily felt her cheeks flame. How had she gotten into talking about this with James Potter? Of all the utterly embarrassing topics. "Like you know what other people think," she said scornfully. "Not to mention the fact that you spent the entire fifth year chasing after me."

"Believe me, Carrots," Potter said, amused, "if I wanted you, I could have you."