-1Disclaimer: We do not own Harry Potter, it's themes, settings or characters. They all belong to JK Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter. We just borrowed them for this fan fiction.
For Every Purpose Under Heaven
Chapter One: Leaving the Summer Behind
The James Potter that arrived on platform nine and three quarters at 11am on the morning of September first was a very different James to the one who had left this platform three months prior. His distant, sunken eyes betrayed lack of sleep and his drawn, pale figure showed off his unwillingness to eat anything that might make him feel alive again. No family walked through the barrier after him and ushered him onto the train with farewell kisses and proud hugs. Not this year.
Walking as if in an empty dream the young man dragged his trunk up the steps of the Hogwarts Express and walked wearily down the corridor to an empty compartment in the far reaches of the train. The students he passed on his way watched him sympathetically, whispering to each other quietly, but he did not notice. Eyes directed firmly to the floor he avoided giving off any signs whatsoever that he wished to talk with anyone.
Heaving his trunk into the luggage rack James slumped down against the window in exhaustion. Out the window large families of wizards took it in turns to hug their departing children and siblings, wishing them luck for the coming year. Just in front of his compartment a proud father embraced his sixth year son in a tight hug, just as his own father had done the previous year. James felt his eyes begin to burn and blinked furiously, shifting his gaze from the scene with hollow yet bitter ache. Staring without seeing he once again became lost in a reoccurring thought that haunted him endlessly…
"Why didn't he kill me too?"
"James?" said a tentative yet familiar voice from the doorway.
He had not heard the compartment door roll back as one of his best friends, Remus Lupin, entered quietly. James looked up to see Remus hovering in the doorway, a troubled expression on his face. Despite everything that had happened, seeing his old friends face gave James a small jolt of relief and, for a brief moment, James could imagine being happy again. He smiled weakly at Remus, unable to reply. He had not spoken in many weeks now.
Remus, Understanding this completely, closed the door behind him and sat opposite James. He noticed the drawn appearance of his friend and his brow furrowed slightly. James too, noticed that Remus was also looking sickly, then realized that the full moon was approaching, so this was quite normal. Remus had of course sent many owls to James after the incident had occurred, as had Sirius. Of this James was increasingly thankful, despite the fact that he had not replied to either of them.
However it was at this moment that Remus fully appreciated that it was far easier to express his sympathy, and how he felt, to James through owls rather than to his face. Everything in his head seemed ten times weaker than what he truly wished to say, and he knew that if he said it, it would sound entirely unconvincing. James, sensing his friends internal struggle smiled bracingly and gave Remus a look of thanks, who in turn sighed with relief.
"I had to come and tell you.. well.. you'd probably forgotten and all.. with all that's been.. well its just.. your Head Boy this year James.. and .. well.. you have to sit in the compartment with the other head and the prefects." Remus finally managed to blurt out.
"Oh.." said James quietly. "I.. forgot"
"Its ok, its no big deal.. you probably won't have to stay there the whole time.. Sirius and Peter will sit in here and watch our stuff until we can get away."
"Right.." James said quietly. This wasn't exactly what he had wanted to hear. Sitting in a compartment full of prefects who would probably just stare at him for the entire trip was not something he was particularly looking forward too, especially when all he wanted was to be alone. He could be alone with Sirius and Remus; their presence was in a small way soothing to him. Anywhere else and he felt trapped. Trapped in the dark.
"Come on James, Let's go, they're waiting for us."
James concentrated on Remus' back as he followed him down the now moving train, refusing to look at the people around him who he could now hear whispering.
"Just ignore it James" Came Lupin's voice from in front of him. But even as the words reached his ears the small voice inside his head popped up.
"They're wondering why you aren't dead too, you know."
As the door rolled back James heard a voice shriek of joy as he stood hidden behind Lupin's back.
"Oh Remus! I knew it! I just knew you would be! Isn't it wonderful? Head of the school! My parents were so proud. Of course they said I'd be a shoe in but I didn't want to get my hopes up too high. But where's your badge? You didn't forget it did you?"
Lilly Evans voice rang in James' ears. A voice he had loved for a long time, even as she spoke it seemed for a brief shining second that a ray of light had penetrated the deepest darkness in his heart. But no sooner had it shone than it was swallowed up once more in the gloom.
"Oh.." said Lupin in an embarrassed, awkward sort of voice, "No Lilly.. its not me. I'm not Head Boy I mean.. I'm a prefect but- it's James, not me" he said quickly stepping aside so that James was brought into view.
Lilly looked between James and Remus, her eyebrows raised in a high arch.
"Very funny Remus, nice try but I'm not that stupid. Like Dumbledore would ever make Potter Head Boy."
"Um.. Well.. Actually he did" Said Lupin again, turning the slightest shade of pink. "See?" he pointed to James' badge pinned to the front of his robes.
Lilly's mouth fell open in shock. She seemed to struggle to comprehend what had just taken place. She stiffened up suddenly and shook her head.
"Well," She said sharply, "I didn't ever think Dumbledore would take part in favoritism. I had much higher expectations of him than that."
"Lilly that's not fair, James is a good student he got head boy on his own merits" said Remus starting to get angry.
"Ha! Good student? I guess he overlooked 'Arrogant student' and 'Bully' and 'Self Absorbed', 'Conceited'…" She recited spitefully on her fingers. "Ha! I guess being the Headmaster's grandson does have its advantages, aye Potter?"
"Cut it out Evans! Can't you lay off of him for five seconds! For Gods sake I thought maybe after everything that's happened you might cut him some slack.." snarled Remus to James' great surprise. He had never seen his friend so fired up before.
"After what happened?" She snapped back, slightly affronted at being yelled at.
Remus stared at her incredulously. "You can't tell me you haven't heard?"
"Haven't heard what?" she said started to get annoyed.
Lupin made to open his mouth when James cut him off.
"Drop it, Remus" he said clearing his throat loudly. He hadn't spoken aloud in so long his throat croaked horribly. Lilly glanced at him in surprise wondering what was wrong with his voice.
"But James.." Lupin began to interject.
"No.. Drop it.. If Lily thinks you deserve the Head Boy position more than I do she's entitled to believe that." He said croakily, looking directly at Lily whose eyes were still blazing.
"What do you mean if I think he deserves it more? He DOES deserve it more. All you've ever done at school is cause trouble. You've lost god knows how many house points for Gryffindor! Your obnoxious, you run around with that Sirius Black who thinks he's gods gift to women, you think your so cool because you're a chaser on the Quidditch team. Big deal! You set a poor example for younger students, I don't know what the hell Dumbledore was thinking when he made you head boy. You're hopeless! You're always up to something, always. "
Out of the corner of his eye James noticed that Remus had drawn his wand and was aiming it at Lily, shaking with fury. But before he could utter the silencing spells name James hit him with the disarming spell.
"Don't be thick, Remus." He said in a tired voice and slumped down in a seat by the window. "Its not worth it." Indicating that the conversation was over.
Remus scowled at Lily slightly, picking up his wand and shoving it in his pocket. Looking at James he frowned sheepishly then said "Sorry James, lost control.. getting near that time of the month.. you know"
James nodded thoughtfully as Lupin seated himself next to him and looked up just in time to see a look of outrage flick across Lily's face. Suddenly it dawned on him what Lupin had just said, and how, through misunderstanding, Lily could have taken this the wrong way. Her hand flew across the carriage before he could even lift his wand and hit Remus square in the jaw.
"Pig!" she yelled furiously, "How dare you!"
Remus sat for a few seconds rubbing his jaw in shock, trying to figure out what had just happened when the comprehension of what he had just said finally hit him.
"Ohh.. you thought I meant.."
"Ouch! Cut it out would you.. I wasn't talking about you.. I wasn't making fun of you!" Lupin pleaded.
"Like hell you weren't!" Lily roared.
"KNOCK IT OFF!" James boomed so loudly that several people jumped off their seats.
Lily froze, paled slightly then scowled at James. "Don't usurp authority over me you.."
"I said leave Remus alone" James said loudly. "Or I'll reconsider letting him jinx you."
"Oh? And what makes you think you have any Authority to allow him to do anything? Just because grandpa gave you a badge doesn't make you king of the world you know!" she yelled angrily.
James sighed and resumed looking out the window, clearing his throat again.
Lily turned and looked at James. She was slightly confused as to why he wasn't defending himself against her. She noticed he didn't look well and thought maybe he had a cold. She didn't, however, think this was a good enough excuse to lay off of him.
She glared at him and said "You don't deserve this. You don't deserve this at all. I don't know how you managed to talk Dumbledore into making you head boy, but I don't think its funny. I wont let you make a mockery of this position. You always have to have things your way don't you? You always have to get what you want even at the expense of your own friends. Of course your dear old grandfather would let you have whatever you want, wouldn't he?"
James saw out of the corner of his eye Remus gripping his wand tightly through his pocket. Seeing the determination in his eyes he quickly grabbed Mooney's wrist and gave him a stern glance. Remus bowed his head sadly in disappointment and relaxed his grip. James once again turned to face Lily, anger firing up inside of him again.
Lily knew she must have gone to far by the look in James' eyes when he turned to her.
"This is the last damn thing I want." He said trying to keep his tone even. Suddenly he felt his eyes burning again, and he turned sharply from her and gazed out the window, oblivious to the passing scenery, the little voice in his head saying;
"She's right, you don't even deserve to be here"
Lily huffed, sitting down between two Gryffindor girls from fifth and sixth year. Lily had noticed the emptiness in his voice and was just in the process of thinking over what could be wrong with him when she noticed the filthy looks she was receiving from the two girls either side of her. She raised her eyebrow skeptically.
"What's up with you too?" she asked sharply.
The girls snorted simultaneously, crossed their arms and turned their backs on her not saying a word.
"Fine." Lily said huffily. "Just fine."
Unfortunately for James and Remus, they were required to stay in the Prefects compartment for the entire journey, under the scathing looks of Ms Lily Evans. So when it finally came time for them to slip away, Sirius and Peter were already in their school robes and were in the middle of collecting their things together so that they would be ready to leave the train.
"James!" said Sirius as he entered the room and grasped his friend in a bear hug. "Its good to see you mate."
James smiled weakly, "You too."
Remus quickly launched into a heated re-enactment of the battle with Lily in the prefect's compartment. James pretended to busy himself with his trunk whilst Remus told the tale, pretending that it had not bothered him. It was obvious to everyone however, that it had upset him greatly. By the time Remus had finished his blow-by-blow account Sirius was red with fury.
"Evil little jumped up Wen.."
"Sirius. It's ok" James interjected.
Sirius stopped at looked at James. He looked exhausted, pale, and as though he hadn't had a good meal in several weeks. He realized that perhaps all this yelling was only making things worse, and decided to switch to cheering up mode. Sirius knew that James would let the events of the summer consume him unless he was given daily distraction. Luckily, Sirius and Remus were masters of distraction.
"I'm telling you mate, if I'd been there with you, you would have had a lot more than a silencing spell to deflect." Sirius said grinning.
James grimaced. "Really guys, it's ok. She's right, I would have been shocked to find out I beat Lupin to head boy too. I don't deserve it. I'm going straight to Dumbledore to make him give it to Remus."
"What? No! James I don't want it, it's rightfully yours.." Remus began.
"Yeah.. Well he was stupid to think I'd want this. I don't care about any of this.." he said in an empty voice, which caused Sirius and Remus to exchange significantly dark looks.
James rummaged through his trunk and began to pull on his robes when Sirius noticed something.
"Um, James, where are your Quidditch robes?"
"Didn't bring them." He said firmly.
"But why not? Your going to need them mate, big year.. your Quidditch captain!"
"I'm not playing."
"What!" came three simultaneous voices.
"I'm not playing Quidditch this year."
A stunned silence followed this exclamation and Sirius opened his mouth to argue but was stopped by a sharp dig in the ribs by Remus, who gave him a sharp look. Sirius scowled but shut his mouth, letting the conversation drop. It became apparent after several minutes of dead silence that James was perfectly serious about dropping Quidditch. His friends finally got to witness in person what the past summer had done to their best friend, he was a shadow of his former self. Sirius knew that things were beyond terrible the minute James informed them that he didn't care about Quidditch. Quidditch was ALL the former James cared about, except maybe Lily Evans, Merlin knows why. Sirius let out a defeated sigh.
"Come on James," Said Sirius reluctantly as the train pulled to a stop. " Lets get out of here".