Rating: Rating will remain the same as it was in the first version for mature content, violence, language, and sexual situations. If you are too young or offended by reading this type of material I suggest you go no further.Challenge
Chapter 1: A New Year
James Potter sat down on his bed and looked down at the shiny, silver Head Boy badge in his hand. James' initial thought when the badge had fallen from his yearly school letter a month ago was that Dumbledore had made a serious mistake. How could he, James Harold Potter known member of the mischievous group of Marauders, holder of the record for the most detentions ever received (except for maybe Sirius of course), be named Head Boy?
"He's gone mental, Dumbledore has!" Sirius Black exclaimed when the second badge tumbled from James' envelope. That had been James' second guess. Dumbledore although a very wise and great mentor and wizard but also eccentric, had finally lost it. Gryffindor Quidditch captain, yes. But Head Boy? Surely not. He had been most certain that Remus Lupin surely would have been elected Head Boy as they entered their seventh and final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Leading the school with him, the fiery redhead Lily Evans, who no doubt would be given the position of Head Girl.
James' parents Melanie and John Potter were overjoyed with the news of James being elected Head Boy and Gryffindor Quidditch captain for the fourth year in a row. But James still had a hard time wrapping his head around it all. He was overjoyed, yes, that he would be spending loads of quality time with the one Lily Evans that raided his every thought, awake or not. He had been trying to win her affections since the day he'd bumped into her on the Hogwarts Express seven years ago. Granted, calling her names and playing foolish pranks on her probably wasn't the way to go, but being the prat he was, had done it anyway. In their fifth year, after a rather raucous display of James making a complete fool out of Severus Snape in front of their whole year Lily had told him that he made her sick and that she would rather go out with the giant squid.
Normally after being turned down by Lily, James would set his sights on a blonde or a brunette (never another redhead because there was only one he wanted), turn on the charm, and bed her by nightfall. After all, James was in the top five of the most wanted boys in school and it was easy to see why. He was 5'9" and had the muscular toned build of a Chaser, which was his position on the Gryffindor House Quidditch team. His unruly black hair never lay flat and always stuck up in the same place in the back. His hazel eyes were framed by thin black-rimmed glasses and were always glittering sexily with a hint of mischief, and his smile was golden. James was a charmer with an ego the size of Jupiter but although he was a mischievous prat he was loyal, protective, trustworthy, and though some couldn't believe it, smart.
James' bedroom door flew open and in strutted Sirius Black, James' best friend and fellow Marauder. "What'cha doin' Jamsie-boy? Thinking about the lovely Lily Evans?" Sirius asked wriggling his eyebrows and plopping down beside James. He, like James was, one of the most wanted and popular boys in school. His longish dark hair fell into his stormy gray eyes and framed his handsome face. He was taller than James by four inches and had a toned build that made any girl drool at the sight of him. His sexy smile and irresistible charm made any girl swoon at his feet and he had the reputation of Hogwarts' own playboy. But once you got passed the ego, the mischief, and the pratlike behavior, you found a boy who wanted absolutely nothing to do with his family, who was loyal and trustworthy and a man who would do anything for his friends.
He'd run away from his home, if one could call it that, the previous summer and fled to James' own home where he was welcomed to stay. His parents were obsessed with blood. Black was a pureblood name and they felt that anyone who did not possess the ancestry of pureblood was not fit to be in their world. Sirius had never agreed with their views on this or anything else for that matter and therefore became the bad seed of the family.
"No." James replied quickly, perhaps a little too quickly, closing his fist over the badge in his hand. "And how many times have I told you to stop calling me Jamsie-boy?"
Sirius rolled his eyes, "Are you packed yet? Your mother's near conniption downstairs making sure we have enough socks and such." James laughed and Sirius peered into James almost fully packed trunk, "Still neater than me I see."
James rolled his eyes, "That's because I actually want my stuff coming out looking like it's supposed to. I for one don't feel like performing an ironing charm on the first day of lessons." Sirius gave him a bored look, "Nor do I want to explain to McGonagall why the smoke alert charm went off again like last year," he added making Sirius flush.
"I-I—that was one time and I was in a hurry!" Sirius started to defend himself over the incident that had occurred last year on the first day of lessons. Sirius had pulled his trousers from his trunk to find them rumpled and tied in knots. He performed a simple ironing charm on them, only to stop paying attention halfway through and wound up setting fire to them. The look on McGonagall's face had not been pretty when the alert charm informed the teachers of fire and Sirius had wound up in detention the first Saturday back.
"Sirius Charles Black! You get into this room this instant and repack your trunk!" Melanie bellowed from down the hall making Sirius and James wince. Sighing Sirius left James' room, James' snickers following after him.
The two boys had been best mates since their very first train ride up to the school where they'd come to each other's defense when Lucius Malfoy approached them. The two quickly became inseparable, one rarely seen without the other causing mischief wherever they went. They befriended Remus Lupin during their first week of classes and after the first month of being at Hogwarts Peter Pettigrew became their fourth.
After several months of mischief the three friends couldn't help but notice that Remus disappeared once a month and quickly discovered Remus' secret. Remus was a werewolf. Instead of deserting him like Remus thought they would, they worked for the better part of three years to become Animagi. Every month after Remus was led down a secret tunnel that led to an abandoned shack in Hogsmeade to transform; James, Sirius, and Peter would transform into their Animagus shapes and follow. James as a brilliant white stag, Sirius as a shaggy black dog, and Peter as a tiny rat. In the months that followed and Remus' transformations became more controllable they took to leaving the shack and exploring Hogwarts grounds. Over the years the foursome came to know the grounds better than anyone, finding all its hidden rooms and secret pathways, and created the Marauders Map. Signed by Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs no one would have suspected a folded-up piece of parchment to be their greatest asset.
Lily Evans discreetly slid through the barrier between platforms nine and ten at King's Cross Station in London only to come face to face with platform nine and three-quarters. A scarlet red steam engine gleamed brilliantly whirring almost impatiently to take Hogwarts students on their journey back to school. The platform, as it was every year at this time, was in a state of confusion. Parents reminding children to write and going through a check list of items they may have forgotten, younger students running this way and that to see everything they could, couples being reunited, girls screaming, owls hooting, and boys laughing.
Lily smiled at a little blonde girl that ran past her as she lugged her heavy Hogwarts trunk toward the train, carrying her very wary looking Snowy owl, Stella, in a cage. Lily's mood had changed considerably the second she'd seen the train. Saying goodbye to her muggle parents was never an easy thing to do. Saying goodbye to Petunia, her older sister, seemed to get easier every year. Lily sighed puffing a strand of straight auburn hair from her eyes as she watched for any sign of her three best friends.
Lily was well known around school for her friendly and kind personality, her brilliance, her muggleborn background, and her looks. Lily was a very beautiful girl with long auburn hair, deep green eyes, and an ivory complexion dusted with freckles. She had a slim figure and seemed completely oblivious to the boys' appreciative looks as they passed her.
Finally, she heard a familiar laugh and spun on her heel to face the first girl she'd met on her first ever train ride to Hogwarts. "Lily!" the slightly taller girl with shoulder length brown hair dusted with gold exclaimed pulling her sunglasses off. A second later the two girls were hugging tightly. "I missed you!" Rachel Rabb exclaimed, as the two girls broke apart.
Lily grinned, "I missed you too. Spain agreed with you," Lily teased getting a good look at her tanned friend.
"I wish you could have been there!" Rachel smiled sympathetically, "The damage we could have done!"
Lily grinned wickedly, "Shopping or with the boys?"
Rachel laughed, "Both." Rachel was not only beautiful with a killer figure and sapphire blue eyes but also extremely spunky and outspoken. Rachel and Lily had much in common but where Lily was quiet and sometimes shy, Rachel was loud and outgoing. Both girls worked extremely hard in classes and this was proven by their top marks. Although, Rachel did not take crap from anyone and could be a total flirt when she wanted to be, she also had a sweet and kind personality under all the toughness, and was loyal to those she cared about. Most people thought that Rachel had corrupted innocent Lily Evans but Lily had a wild streak in her as well.
"You'd think you hadn't kept in touch over the summer," a tanner than usual Andrew Rabb said grinning from behind his twin. He was the older of the pair by seven minutes and a good seven inches taller than Rachel who stood at 5'4". They had the same nose, the same sapphire eyes, and shared the same stubborn streak. His hair however was dirty blonde like their father and was a little less outgoing than his sister. He was smart, also at the top of his classes, loyal, and one of the sweetest boys at Hogwarts. He was the eldest of four Rabb children and protective especially of the two girls. Matt, the third Rabb child, was heading into his fifth year at Hogwarts, and the youngest, Julianna, was beginning her first. Andy was well known around school for his sense of humor, sweet personality, and good looks, and although he'd had his share of girls he didn't whip through them as fast as James or Sirius did.
"Good to see you too Andy," Lily said giving the male twin a hug.
"So, what do you say we get this junk on the train?" Andy said after breaking away from Lily's hug and looking around at the three trunks and three owl cages.
"I still don't like the fact that you and Lily leave us behind," Alyssa Anderson said as she shoved her trunk into the luggage rack above their heads. She'd recently joined up with the other three as they searched the train for an empty compartment.
"Aw, come on Angel, we always have fun," Andy told his girlfriend wrapping an arm around her waist. Angel was not only the nickname Andy had given Alyssa after they started going out a year ago, but Alyssa was really an Angel. Her father was an Angel; another member of the White Lighter's Order, and her mother was a muggle born witch. Alyssa had seen her father maybe a dozen times since she'd been born because it was frowned upon for Angels to wed let alone have children with a witch or wizard. But Alyssa's mother and father had fallen in love and two children were the fruits of that love. But because they did not want to be found out and because her dad held a very important position among the Angels they hardly ever saw him. Alyssa and her older brother Nick, a recent graduate of Hogwarts, hardly ever saw their mother either. She was one of the top designers in the wizarding world and was constantly flying to all sorts of destinations to look at and open new lines.
That was probably why Alyssa was as big of a rebel as she was. Alyssa may have Angel blood in her, but she looked in no way angelic. She had shoulder length dark brown hair that was always streaked with some wild color (it was hot pink at the moment) and ice blue eyes. Her ears were each pierced four times and a tiny diamond stud glittered from her nose and she favored black nail polish. She was the tallest of the four girls, only an inch shorter than Andy. She like Rachel did not take crap from anyone and to most looked rather intimidating, but her friends, knew her as incredibly sweet, compassionate, and trustworthy with a mischievous streak. She and Rachel were always figuring out ways to get back at the Marauders for their latest prank. Alyssa was also the most athletic of the group and had the figure to prove it. She was very agile and quick for someone of her height, which made her a perfect Chaser for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. But her height also came with a price. Alyssa was often overlooked by boys, not because she wasn't good looking, but because of how tall she was. She had always towered over boys and that always seemed to be a problem, but it wasn't for Andy who had liked her for a good two years before Rachel convinced him to ask her out. They'd been going steady ever since.
Alyssa smiled and gave Andy a quick peck on the lips as Rachel and Lily exchanged a knowing look. "Besides Alyssa," Rachel began after her twin and best friend had come up for air, "Do you think we like having to patrol the corridors stopping mischief and pulling apart snogging couples? I for one do not look forward to it." The others laughed.
"And yet we know you love getting in people's faces," a voice floated into the compartment and a second later a round face with rosy, chubby cheeks appeared followed by a short and somewhat chubby girl.
"Izzy!" The girls exclaimed hurrying over to hug their other best friend. Isabella Matthews was the shortest of the four girls and also the quietest and sweetest. She had long, blonde, corkscrew curls, kind honey colored eyes, and a friendly smile. Izzy was by far the most rational one of the group next to Lily, who could sometimes lose her head especially when dealing with the one and only James Potter. Izzy stayed extremely calm under pressure and was the best advice giver in Gryffindor tower and could make anyone laugh no matter what mood they were in. She was the mother of the group always checking on the girls when they were sick, and making sure they were getting enough sleep when exam time came, among other things.
After several minutes of rearranging the luggage rack the four girls and Andy collapsed onto the plush red velvet seats as the usual train whistle sounded before pulling away from the platform. Lily watched through the window as parents waved and called out their final goodbyes to the children they'd just put on the train. Izzy looked down at her watch, "What time are you two supposed to be down at the Heads and prefects compartments?" she asked, being her usual punctual self. She was always the one making sure the other three got to where they were supposed to be on time.
Rachel and Lily sat bolt upright looking down at their watches, "Now!" Lily exclaimed.
"Shit!" Rachel exclaimed and Izzy gave her a scolding look. "Sorry!" Rachel called back as she and Lily scrambled for the door and sprinted down the train.
"It hasn't started yet has it Remus?" Lily panted as she and Rachel skidded to a stop in front of the least troublesome Marauder.
"No, we're still waiting on a couple Hufflepuffs, one or two Ravenclaws, and most of the Slytherins," the sandy haired boy replied smiling at the two girls. He was shorter than James and Sirius but quite a bit taller than Peter and was always looking a bit peaky. Today was no different but his light blue eyes were smiling all the same. "And…" Remus started to continue but was interrupted by Lily.
"Thank Merlin. How would that have looked? The Head Girl late to the meeting she was supposed to run." Lily said this in such a hurry that Rachel was sure she had missed the fact that Remus was sporting a 7th year prefect badge like her own, and not the Head Boy badge they were sure he would have been sporting.
Rachel looked up at Remus who was frowning slightly as Lily continued to rant on and on about how meetings were going to begin on time from now on and that everyone was expected to arrive at the appointed time. "Uh, Lils," Rachel said but Lily continued to rant as though Rachel had never spoken. "Lils," Rachel tried again.
"My dear Lily what are you worrying your pretty little head over so very early on in the term?" a voice that made Lily stop cold said. James appeared on Remus' left and Rachel noticed the shiny silver Head Boy badge pinned above his Quidditch captain badge on his t-shirt.
Lily's mouth closed with a snap and she crossed her arms over her chest, "What are you doing down this end of the train, Potter?" Lily replied coolly, "These compartments are reserved for prefects and the Head Boy and Girl."
James smiled, "Why, thank you, flower. I wasn't sure if I had the right compartment." Rachel closed her eyes, knowing this would not go over well. Judging by the similar look on Remus' face, he didn't think so either.
"Look, I have better things to do than stand here and argue with—right compartment?" Lily blinked.
James' smile widened, "Yes, you see I've been elected Head Boy this year and…"
"WHAT!" Lily screeched interrupting James.
James looked only mildly surprised at this outburst but continued on as though he had not been interrupted, "And am therefore invited to share in the Heads compartment same as you. As such, we'll be working quite closely together this year starting in a few minutes with the speech to the prefects." Lily was seething. If looks could kill James would have been six feet under faster than anyone could say hippogriff. "We'll give the other prefects another few minutes before getting started, I say." James suggested before turning on his heel and walking into the heads compartment.
Lily rounded on Rachel and Remus, "WHAT was Dumbledore thinking!" She exclaimed, her face almost as red as her hair. "Giving the Head Boy position to that—to that egotistical, hypocritical, pea brained, manipulating, infuriating prat?" Rachel and Remus remained quiet knowing Lily was far from done. "He wasn't even prefect! He's had more detention that the rest of the school combined multiplied by a thousand! And I'm expected to work with him! How? When's he's hitting on me every two seconds! This is a complete nightmare! Why weren't you," she pointed at Remus, "elected Head Boy. You were the obvious choice! It can't be true! There must have been some kind of mistake!" Lily finished breathing hard.
"Well, unfortunately James being Head Boy is no mistake. He thought so himself when he opened his letter." He looked sideways at Rachel, "But don't be too hard on him Lily. He may be a prat but he's changed a lot since last year. He's really trying to make a difference that's why he's taking his Head Boy responsibilities very seriously. Give him a chance, Lily. You have nothing to lose." He smiled kindly at her before turning and joining James and the other prefects in the Heads compartment.
"Except my sanity!" Lily yelled after him and Rachel stepped in front of her friend and took her by the arms.
"Lily, listen to me. Maybe Remus is right. We both know he can be a prat with the biggest ego on the planet but maybe being given the position of Head Boy he'll shape up." Lily began to protest and Rachel looked at her sternly, "Give him a chance. He might surprise you and the rest of the school." Lily sighed looking defeated. "Come on the rest of the prefects are coming and you need to pull yourself together because you have a job to do. Alright?" Lily nodded and the two girls turned to enter the compartment.
"You could have warned me," Lily hissed before leaving Rachel's side and going to stand near James somewhat reluctantly. Rachel rolled her eyes and took her position beside Remus and the other Gryffindor prefects.
A few moments passed and Lily pointed her wand at the door and it slid closed with a snap. "Welcome back," she said turning to look at the prefects standing before her. There were six prefects from each of the four houses and two students, a boy and a girl, from every year starting from fifth and up; twenty-four in total. "We have been appointed Head Boy and Girl," Lily continued pointing at James and then herself. James opened his mouth to speak but Lily beat him to it.
For the next twenty minutes Lily beat James to every point in the speech they were supposed to make together. Lily listed the rules that the Prefects must follow, their duties, who they reported to with misbehavior, and they're patrolling schedules for the train. They would learn their patrol route for the school from McGonagall who would inform them of such most likely the following morning. As the twenty minutes wore on James steadily became more and more irritated and by the time Lily asked if there were any questions, he was downright infuriated. Lily dismissed the prefects and Rachel and Remus scooted out of the compartment with the other prefects before James exploded.
"Do you think next time you could allow me to speak?" he said evenly as Lily turned to leave.
Lily spun around to face him, "I didn't see you jumping in to assist me," she replied looking him square in the eye.
James inhaled angrily, "You didn't even give me a chance to jump in and assist you. I don't think you took a breath the entire time you gave the speech that we were supposed to give together," he said putting emphasis where appropriate, "If you had you can bet I would have said something." Lily glared at him.
"And what would you have said Potter?" she replied sardonically, "Go have a good time and if you spot any mischief cheer them on? I don't expect you to take this seriously."
James took a step toward her until they were almost nose-to-nose when he lowered his head. "You obviously know nothing about me. I respect and think very highly of Dumbledore. He appointed me this position and I do not intend to disappoint him. I don't expect you to do all the work; in fact I'll take more on myself if it'll prove to you that I am willing to work hard. I do however expect that you show me the same amount of respect I intend on giving you. I expect you to listen to my ideas just as I intend on listening to all of yours. I don't think any teacher will find it professional of us to constantly be bickering in front of the other students. Next time I would appreciate it if you would give me a chance to talk instead of making me look like some mindful idiot." He straightened, "Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to check to make sure those you assigned to patrol the train the first hour are doing as they were asked." He said coldly stepping around her and exiting the compartment.
Lily turned and watched him go feeling not only guilty for what she'd done but quite surprised that James Potter had just yelled at her and not once insisted she go out with him.
"Prongs!" James turned and saw Padfoot coming out of the loo at the end of the train car James was currently patrolling.
"What?" James grunted.
Sirius looked mildly affronted, "What's rubbed you the wrong way?"
James sighed, "Sorry. I'm just—she just infuriates me so much."
"Lily." Sirius stated nodding his head. "What did she do this time, mate?" he asked leaning back against a compartment window. James gave Sirius the short end of what happened in the Heads compartment. "Well, now she has some things to think about," Sirius said, "As do I. Where in the world did this new James come from?"
James chuckled, "It's still me. I've just realized that Dumbledore obviously sees something in me to have given me this position and I don't want to disappoint him." He replied with a shrug.
"Does this mean that you won't be going on any more midnight raids of the kitchens? Or traipsing over the grounds once a month? Or pranking the unsuspecting Slytherins any chance we get?" Sirius asked.
James grinned, "Marauders till the end," was his simple reply and Sirius knew immediately that nothing would change. That underneath the Head Boy badge the mischievous James was still there, "Where's Moony and Wormtail?"
"Remus is patrolling and Wormtail is back in the compartment. His constant babbling was driving me mad, you know how he is," Sirius replied speaking of the fourth Marauder, Peter Pettigrew. Peter was the smallest and plumpest of the group standing at only 5'2" with thin practically colorless hair, small watery eyes, and a pointy nose. Peter looked nothing like the other three Marauders and people often forgot he was one of them because Peter didn't have the smarts nor the wit of the other three. Many figured that he tagged along because his friends were bigger and because they were loyal would protect him against people like the Slytherins.
A door that connected the carriage to the one James and Sirius were standing in flew open and in walked Rachel Rabb who slammed the door behind her looking rather disgusted. James and Sirius raised their eyebrows at each other as they saw Rachel shudder and mutter something to herself under her breath. "Alright, Rachel?" James called to her as she walked toward them.
Rachel looked up at the two boys, "Fine," she replied stopping in front of him. "You'll never guess who I just caught snogging a girl in a closet though?" she said looking at James, ignoring Sirius entirely.
Sirius took this fairly well and took it as a chance for his eyes to roam her figure loving the way her shirt and mini skirt clung to her curves. He'd liked Rachel for as long as James had liked Lily but Rachel had never given him the time of day. She knew his reputation and didn't want anything to do with him unless it involved getting back at him for a prank or else snapping at him in the halls for catcalling at her. "Who?" James asked seeing what Sirius was doing out of the corner of his eye.
At the mention of the name both boys did a double take and looked at her sharply. "Snape?" Sirius repeated.
"Seversus Snape?" James asked for confirmation.
Rachel nodded. "Snogging a-a-a," Sirius stuttered having a hard time wrapping his mind around what Rachel had just told them.
"A girl?" James said looking disgusted and shocked at the same time
"Well, he was trying to snog her but she slapped him as I was opening the door. She looked revolted and ran next door to throw up I think," Rachel said grimacing.
James and Sirius laughed loudly. "Now that sounds believable," James said still laughing.
Rachel rolled her eyes, "Yes, well, I'm off." She said going to walk around the two and leave the car and move onto the next when Sirius appeared at her side slinging his arm over her shoulders.
"Would you like an escort?" Sirius asked smoothly, flashing her a killer grin. "Maybe we could find an empty compartment on the way?" he suggested.
Rachel smiled sweetly at Sirius, "Me! Really! Oh, Sirius I've been waiting for the day when you would finally invite me into an empty compartment with you!" she exclaimed in a bubbly voice as James looked on, one eyebrow raised in amusement.
Sirius nodded his head, "Well, today is your lucky day sweetheart."
Rachel's overly sweet smile slid from her face as she pushed his arm off her shoulders. "Go take a cold shower, Black because the day I join you in an empty compartment will be the day Lucius Malfoy parades around in a tutu confessing his everlasting love to Severus Snape and Hagrid shrinks!" She said walking over to the next carriage door and wrenching it open. Before she turned to leave she pointed her wand just above Sirius' head, muttered a few choice words and slammed the door behind her as Sirius was drenched in freezing cold water.
James burst out laughing as Sirius stood dripping wet staring at the spot Rachel had been standing moments before tongue in cheek. He didn't say a word as he pulled his own wand from his jeans and performed a quick drying spell on himself. "Shut up Prongs," he added to a still laughing James before walking back to his compartment.
"Firs' years! Firs' years this way!" A deep voice boomed across the platform as Hogwarts students disembarked the train dressed in their school robes. A large almost giant like man holding a lantern in one hand was waving over the first years. He was as tall as three men stacked one on top of the other with a wild head of black hair and a just as wild beard.
James grunted as a blonde first year boy ran smack into him. Putting his hands on the younger boys shoulders he turned him in the direction opposite of where he was heading. "That way. Follow Hagrid."
"Who's Hagrid?" another first year yelped getting caught up in a throng of older students hurrying for the horseless drawn carriages waiting to take them up to the castle.
"The tall man yelling for first years!" James replied exasperatedly pointing a few first year girls in the correct direction.
"No pushing! And there's no need for that language Gibbons," Lily exclaimed to a third year as he hurried past her with his friends.
"Alrigh' there James?" Hagrid yelled over the din.
James nodded, "And yourself?"
"Not to bad. Head Boy, eh? Congratulations!"
James grinned up at the giant like man, "Thanks Hagrid." James called back as Hagrid turned toward the lake to take the first years on the traditional trip across the lake to get to the castle.
When it seemed that the train was empty aside from the trunks and squawking owls and meowing cats Lily and James turned to join their friends on the journey up to the castle. They arrived at the doorway off the platform at the same time and wound up wedged between the bricks on either side. They tried squeezing through at the same time but after this proved to be stupid James stepped back and let Lily go on ahead of him. He followed her out and the two climbed into the carriages where their own friends accordingly without a word to each other.
One by one the black horseless carriages pulled up in front of the great oak front doors and waited for their occupants to depart. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter hopped out of theirs and walked up the front stone steps. Before going inside Sirius took a deep breath, "It's good to be home," he said smiling at James as they joined the crowd in the Entrance Hall and eventually into the Great Hall.
The Great Hall was as warm and welcoming as every year previous as the students split upon entering the room for their own house table. The enchanted ceiling twinkled with stars above them as the Marauders sat down at the Gryffindor table. The china and silver gleamed reflecting the flickering lights of the hundreds of candles floating overhead. Up at the staff table the teachers were conversing together watching as the returning students filed into the Great Hall. Little Professor Flitwick was sitting atop his usual pile of books, Professor Sprout's hair was frizzy as always and the smudge of earth across her nose and cheek was nothing new, Professor Slughorn was just as round and jolly looking as ever, and Professor Dumbledore sat at the very center of the table surveying the students over the top of his half-moon spectacles.
Minutes later the doors at the end of the hall flew open and Professor McGonagall entered carrying a three-legged stool and an old and faded wizarding hat. A group of scared looking first years followed her, among them, Rachel and Andy's youngest sibling Julianna.
McGonagall explained to the first years what they were to do when she called their name and began to read off her list. One by one each scared looking first year approached the stool and put the old wizarding hat on his or her head. Sometimes it took several minutes for the hat to make up its mind and others it took only a few seconds to decide which house the student belonged in.
"Come on, come on already!" Sirius said impatiently as his stomach rumbled.
Finally, McGonagall rolled up her scroll, picked up the stool and old hat, and walked away as the four houses greeted and congratulated their newest members. Rachel and Andy were currently giving their youngest sister congratulatory hugs as she sat down at the Gryffindor table. Dumbledore stood and the hall was silent within seconds. "To all of our first years welcome to Hogwarts. To our returning students welcome back. I have many notices to give you but I do not wish you to hear them on empty bellies," he spread his arms wide, "Tuck in!"
The dishes before them instantly filled and students began loading their plates, as jubilant talk started up again. Summer vacations, the Marauders start of term prank, and Quidditch were among the conversations that arose as the students helped themselves to mashed potato and crispy chicken legs.
Once everyone had had their fill and the plates were once again left as sparkling as they had before the feast began Dumbledore was back on his feet. "I would like to first remind all students that the Forbidden Forest is forbidden to all students unless accompanied by a teacher. Second, Mr. Filch has asked me to tell you that several items have been added to his list of prohibited items. If you are unsure about an item you currently have in your possession, kindly check the list posted outside Mr. Filch's office." The old man's blue eyes flickered over to the Marauders briefly before he continued.
"My final announcement tonight is one that we, that is to say the staff and I, find very exciting. We have decided to hold a competition between the four houses, called Challenge. The competition will consist of nine tasks throughout the year. All students in fifth year and above have been entered into the competition and divided into groups of four within their house. If you do not wish to participate in this tournament or feel that for whatever reason you are incapable of competing please contact and discuss the matter with your head of house immediately after the meal. More details about the competition, how points are awarded, and such will be discussed before the first task, but not tonight. The groups will be posted on your house bulletin board first thing tomorrow morning. And on that note I know that all of you want to be rested for your lessons tomorrow morning and I wish you a good night's sleep." He said as way of dismissal and the deafening sound of the benches being pushed back as the students began to exit talking excitedly of the Challenge tournament filled the hall once more.
"Mr. Potter! Miss Evans!" McGonagall's shrill voice called to the two Head students.
James and Lily stopped, exchanged a brief glance, and waited for McGonagall to reach them. "Professor Dumbledore would like you to meet him at the unicorn statue on the wing opposite from Gryffindor tower." James and Lily exchanged a second sidelong look before doing as McGonagall wished and instead of following their friends to Gryffindor tower, turned and stopped at the unicorn statue.
"Why do you think he wanted to meet us here?" Lily asked quietly looking at the ground.
James looked over at her for a moment and then looked away again, still obviously sore about what happened on the train. "I don't know," James replied just as quietly.
Lily looked up at him and opened her mouth to apologize when she noticed Dumbledore striding toward them. "Mr. Potter. Miss Evans. I trust your summers were restful and enjoyable," he asked peering at them over his half-moon spectacles. The two teenagers nodded. "Well, you're probably both wondering why I did not let you return to Gryffindor tower then?" James and Lily nodded again and Dumbledore faced the unicorn statue. "Lemon drop." He said clearly to the unicorn who's wings flapped once and a panel of stone moved aside behind the statue. "After you," Dumbledore said to the teenagers stepping aside for them to enter.
James let Lily enter ahead of him and ducked in after her and stopped dead as Lily had by the sight before them. Dumbledore ducked in after them and smiled at the awestruck looks on their faces. "This is the Head's tower. You each have your own bedroom there," he pointed up one staircase to a door, "And there." He pointed up a second staircase to a second door. "This common room is yours to share with your friends should you choose too. My only request is that you treat this place with as much respect as you would to Gryffindor tower. As Head students you are given much responsibility but are also trusted by all staff members. We expect you to take your duties as Head Boy and Girl very seriously and continue to be role models for younger students."
"Yes, sir," James replied for the both of them.
"I suggest we meet over the weekend to discuss a prefect meeting schedule, school wide events, and your ideas for the coming term. Discuss a time that will be good for the both of you and send me an owl." He smiled at them, "Your things have already been brought up. I'm sure you want to get unpacked before heading to bed so I will bid you goodnight."
"Goodnight professor and thank you," Lily called as the older man exited, the stone paneling sliding closed behind him.
Lily turned back to survey the room as James was doing. The common room looked very similar to that of Gryffindor tower decorated in deep red and gold littered with squashy armchairs and couches. "I'll take the room on the left," James told Lily after a few silent minutes. Lily nodded. "Goodnight." He said and headed for the spiral staircase that led to his room.
"James," Lily called after him. James turned on sheer surprise of hearing her call after him using his first name. "I'm sorry for how I acted on the train and for not taking you seriously."
James shook his head, "Don't worry about it." He replied and giving her a small smile continued up the stairs and entered his room. Lily sighed feeling worse than ever and climbed the second spiral staircase to her own room, closing the door behind her.
I hope you enjoyed this first chapter of the revised version of Challenge! I plan on updating again this weekend! I thrive off feedback and reviews! That was a hint to what I want you to do now that you've finished reading! If you have any questions regarding why I chose to do revise this don't be hesitant to ask! I will answer to the best of my ability! I however, will not answer any questions about the plot especially to new readers! Readers who read the original version I ask once again to not spoil it for any new readers who will be picking the story up now! Thank you!