Chapter 1: Swallows and a Word Game
I didn't always like him. Some could probably say, at one point in my life, that I loathed him. That I wanted to decapitate him and bury his head in the ground. That I wanted to peel the flesh off his bones with my bare hands. To this, he would probably reply, "As long as it's your hands doing it, dear Lily bud." Then I would yell some not very nice things back at him. Sometimes it would include words and phrases like "toerag," "arrogant, big-headed jerk," "ego-maniac," and "cocky git."
You're probably wondering what this man could have done to deserve these harsh words thrown at him in such an uncivilized manner. Well, I will tell you, as I am locked in this rut with no escape or freedom. I've decided to write. Yes, write. Since I won't be out of this safehold for quite some time, I have lots of spare time on my hands. And so I speak the words on paper about the man I love. Here, in our epic romance, a new flower blooms. And that flower was me.
I guess my story starts a little after my sixth year was over. I was seventeen and going into my final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
I was sitting in my living room watching the Muggle movie 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' when a tawny barn owl swooped right through the window. I rushed up from the couch to see what the poor owl had sent me.
I quickly grinned when I realized what it was. My Hogwarts letter had arrived. The bird nipped at my finger and I offered it a bit of the popcorn I had made. The owl ate it gratefully and flew back out the window.
I glanced back down at the letter, which had a seal with the letter "H" surrounded by the lion, serpent, badger, and bird. Each animal on the crest stood for one of the four houses that the students were separated into. The lion was for Gryffindor (I was in this house), the bird for Ravenclaw, the badger for Hufflepuff, and the snake for Slytherin.
I slowly opened my letter—it was thicker than others I had gotten— and I briefly wondered if I had gotten what I thought I had.
Turns out I did. On the first slip of paper, I read:
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted as Head Girl this year. Meet the Head Boy in the Heads' compartment on the Hogwarts Express, first thing, and there will be a list of instructions of what the job requires. Congratulations, and remember, you are a role model for all the students in the school.
A shiny, silver badge slid out of the envelope, into my outstretched hand. It read, "HG" in gleaming letters.
The last piece of parchment was just the normal list of school supplies I had to get from Diagon Alley.
I went up to bed, forgetting about the movie I was watching, but still thinking of Hogwarts and European Swallows….
The next day my father and I headed off towards Madam Malkin's Robes, while my mother went to Flourish and Blotts to get my school books. This way, our trip wouldn't take as long as it would if we all went together to each place. I quickly got new robes fitted for me and paid for them. I then made my way over to Flourish and Blotts, hoping my mother wasn't too confused, since she was a Muggle.
I remember glancing through the window into the crowded shop and being absolutely revolted at the sight I saw.
There was my mother, alright. But she was talking to James Potter (aka the-man-I-used-to-call-a-cocky-arrogant-toerag). And they were talking with civilized tongues. James wasn't showing himself off, and he wasn't being egoistic, and my mum wasn't pissed off at him, as I normally would be. I mean, I got my temper from her! You'd think we would get angry about the same things. Like Potter, for instance.
I slowly forced myself to drag my feet towards the pair, squeezing through the many witches and wizards.
"Hey, Evans." James gave me the smile that won over so many hearts—and not necessarily only girls. My stomach squeamed a little, but I brushed it off, assuming James was making me feel nauseous, as usual.
"Potter," I replied stiffly, acting quite the opposite of how he was. I was frowning and being ice cold. I turned to my mother, completely ignoring him, and said, "Mum, we need to go to the potions place to get some more ingredients for Hogwarts."
"Oh, alright, Lily, stop being in such a hurry," my mum said, a little annoyed. "And nice to meet you, James, dear. Thank you for all of your help." My mother smiled warmly at him.
James said, "No problem," and walked away. I could swear I heard him say something like, "see ya, hot stuff," as he left, but I couldn't be positive if it was my imagination or not. I narrowed my eyes suspiciously.
I dragged my mother to the counter, and we made our purchases, then left.
"So you know that boy?" My mother interrogated me, as we stepped out into the busy street.
"Unfortunately, yes," I said in a flat tone.
"Why the attitude, Lily Kelly? He seems like a very polite, well mannered boy. He helped me with finding the books, you know. Wouldn't have gotten them, otherwise." I was disgusted with my mother. Fawning over James Potter like he was some kind of royal prince. Which, I could tell you then, he was not.
"You might think that NOW, but if you REALLY knew what it, as in Potter, was like, you wouldn't be singing flowers and daisies. Though maybe lilies…." I muttered the last part to myself but my mother heard it, nonetheless.
"So this boy has a crush on you?" My mother was doing it again. Interrogating, I mean.
"No," I answered. "He just is a showoff and asks me out for attention. He doesn't like me."
"Well, he can't be that bad if he made Head Boy this year," my mother reasoned.
I choked on the air I was breathing. I wanted to scream. Or run. Anything to save me from the freak attack that was happening inside of me. Correction, the nightmare. I would have to spend all year with James i Flippin' /i Potter. It was a sickening thought. The very idea wanted to make me puke. But then, I thought, it would be better if I was able to befriend Potter, instead of… ahem… releasing a little pent-up anger on him.
So on the Hogwarts Express, I found a compartment to put my trunk and owl in. I then walked down the corridor of the train with my sparkling badge resting upon my chest. I slid the Heads' compartment door open and was surprised to see James already sitting there, reading the lists of duties, instructions, and rules.
"Lily," James said, looking up when I entered.
"I see you've made Head Boy," I said, gritting my teeth. 'If I want to be his friend, so I won't be miserable for the rest of the year, I had better start now', I thought. "Congratulations." I put on a big, forced smile and sat across from him.
"Surprised?" James asked. "I was sure that Moon—Remus would have made it. I mean, I wasn't even a Prefect." James smiled, and I could tell his wasn't forced.
'Erm, yeah.' I was surprised. "Can I see those lists?" I asked a bit awkwardly. James was staring at me. He tended to do that a lot.
"Oh… I mean, yeah!" James seemed to come back to his senses after ogling at my face for the past ten hours. Giving him a look, I took the list from him and scanned it. The list, not the insufferable 'it' that was sitting in front of me.
"It says here that we have to patrol the corridors every other night and that we hand these schedules out to the Prefects when we go meet them in 10 minutes." I placed the pile matter-of-factly onto my lap and stared out at the passing hills of green.
"I was reading it before you came in, and it also said that we have our own Heads' quarters," James told me.
"That's nice. I never knew Head Boy and Girl got privileges like that," I said. I snapped my attention to my watch and it read, "11:34 AM." It was magic powered, so it worked in Hogwarts. "Oh, shoot! We need to get to the Prefects compartment!"
We both jumped up at the same time, resulting in running into each other, and falling back into our seats. We started laughing after a moment of a few "ows."
"Ladies first," James said, gesturing with his arms for me to get up.
"Okay," I smiled. And this time, the smile was real. I tried to cover it up before he could see it, not wanting him to think I was smiling at him. Which I was.
I got up and went across to the Prefects' compartment, James right behind me. We stumbled into the crowded space to see many students with silver pins on their robes.
"As you might already know," I started nervously to the fifth, sixth, and seventh years. I never WAS good at public speaking. Even if it was in front of a small group like this one. I preferred to sing. When I sang, it was like no one was around me, I was in my own little happy world. One time Professor Slughorn (the Potions Master) heard me humming in class during first year and insisted that I sing at his Christmas party he held every year. I have sung at that party every year since I was eleven. "My name is Lily Evans, and this is—"
"James Potter," he cut in, confidently. He, quite unlike me, was comfortable with talking in front of people. "And we are your Head Boy and Girl."
"Here are your patrolling schedules," I said, handing each Prefect a piece of paper. Gaining more confidence in my speech I told them all, "There is a meeting every Sunday at seven thirty PM in the Transfiguration classroom. There, you can ask any questions or give any suggestions you have. Any rule breaking from you is not tolerated lightly, because you are the role models for all the students in the school." I finished, quoting what McGonagall wrote in the letter. "Comprende?"
A few people nodded their heads.
"Good. You may leave if you wish to go back to other compartments," James said. Most people got up and left, while a few others stayed. James and I got up and went back to the Heads' compartment, for we had to stay at least half the trip.
We sat back down in the compartment, and I sighed. "Would you like to play a game to pass the time?" I asked him, figuring my game would be a good way to get to know him. I really hadn't the faintest idea who James Potter really was. But I assumed he was a bit cocky.
"Sure. How do you play?" James seemed sincerely interested. It was sweet, in a weird way.
"Well," I said brushing my shoulder length, red hair out of my eyes. "I was thinking of a game where one of us begins by saying a word that relates to us in some way that starts with the letter, 'a'. It can be friends, interests, places, anything, really. One could say something like 'apple', then the next person would say, 'apple, basketball', then, 'apple, basketball, character', and so on. When somebody messes it up or misses a word, they lose. Want to play?"
James shrugged and said, "Okay. I'll start." He looked thoughtful for a moment then said, "Animagus." I looked questioningly at him, but he avoided my eyes.
I went on, "Animagus, boats." My family and I went on boat rides on our family boat ever since I was four years old. We would fish and have lots of fun. At least until I found out I was a witch at eleven. My older sister, Petunia, hated me for it. I stole her spotlight in our family. We have never been the same since I received my first Hogwarts letter.
"…boats, Chudley Cannons," James went on, taking me out of my thoughts. And so we went on in that manner for a while. We learned a lot about each other that day. Just playing that game a few times. It was just one step closer to not hating Potter. We were so into talking and laughing, we didn't even noticed that we could go back to our compartments, so we just kept rambling on.
I saw a new James Potter that day. Not the showoff, cocky, arrogant boy I once knew, but a man, mature and sweet.
Voile! Or however the saying goes. Hope you LOVED the first chapter!
European Swallows-- They talk about these in 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail.'