A/N: Before you embark on this lovely journey through the world of Lily and James as I created it, there are several rather important things you should know. If you decide to skip this Author's Note, then you are a complete ninny and I have no sympathy for you if you are annoyed with the story later on.

If you are the sort of person who normally skips Author's Notes, I would advise you to read this one.

First things first: I planned and wrote much of this story prior to the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. There are certain scenes and characters you simply will not find in this story, like…the scene that appears in Book 5 during which James reveals the state of Severus Snape's underpants to the general Hogwarts population, or the character of Horace Slughorn. There are also blatant mistakes, such as Lily being in Ravenclaw and James playing Seeker rather than Chaser on the Gryffindor House team. Several other minor characters from canon are also in the wrong Houses (Frank and Alice Longbottom, for example), and certain characters are slightly the wrong age (like Lucius Malfoy). These are just things you're going to have to deal with. (Or you could find a different story. It's cool. I'll never know.)

Quick note about Arabella Figg: I made her a character of Lily and James's generation because Dumbledore or someone mentions her at the end of Goblet of Fire as being part of "the old crowd." We don't learn until OotP that she's really Harry's crazy old neighbor with all the cats, so I made her a young witch in Gryffindor House. Later I thought it might be nifty if my Arabella were actually related to the older, Squib Arabella, but I never got a chance to work that minor detail into the plot. (Not that I'm suggesting this story has a real plot…but if it did….)

Also, this story is a prequel to an Alternate Universe fiction in which Lily and James do not die. This is my main excuse for there being so many discrepancies between "Eyes" and Harry Potter canon. I am now never going to complete the AU fanfic that "Eyes" preludes, but you will find a vaguely accurate summary of the plot of this story and its sequel following the Epilogue of "Eyes."

It is also important to note that I began writing this story when I was fourteen and did not finish until I was twenty. The writing gradually improves as the story goes along (or at least…I hope it does). You may also notice, in later chapters, the inclusion of some minor details from HP canon coming from the fifth, sixth, and (in the last chapter), seventh books, but I would advise you to remember that, overall, this story was planned and written without any knowledge of what was to come in Books 5-7.

If you've never read this story before, then that's all you really need to know, so—Cheers! (And Happy Reading)

If you have read "Eyes" before, however, a quick note:

I've read through the story and roughly "edited" it—fixing minor errors in grammar and things—and have re-posted all the chapters in their final form. You'll find it mostly the same, with only minor tweaking, except for the one small storyline I blatantly removed—the "Windkey" storyline. The whole Windkey thing seemed like a good idea at the time, but later I realized it had no purpose, so now it's gone. I hope you don't find this too distressing, since frankly I don't think it was that wonderful to begin with.

I think that's all. Cheers. :-)

Eyes as Green as a Fresh Pickled Toad
(The tortured romance of Lily and James)

Part One: Fifth Year

Chapter One
The First Meeting

She had never really noticed him before, but now she had no choice. For he had just spilled his entire bottle of ink down the front of her favorite green robes, and they were stained black. It was Friday afternoon, and Lily Evans had been attempting to study in the library when James Potter had stumbled in and sent a bottle of ink flying across the room.

She looked down at her robes in shock, then up at James, who looked just as shocked as she did. At first Lily couldn't think of anything to say, but then she gathered her wits about her and spoke.

"Tell me, are you always this articulate, or is it above and beyond your great Quidditch-playing self to tell a poor girl you're sorry?" she snapped, and nearly clapped a hand over her mouth in shock. She never lashed out at anyone. Never.

James blinked and shook his head, as if suddenly coming back to his senses. "S-sorry," he said, his cheeks flushing. "I'm really sorry. I-I-I don't usually-I'm sorry."

Lily rolled her eyes and took out her wand. She whispered "reparo" and watched as the ink flew back into the bottle and the bottle put itself back together. "It's no big deal," she said, handing him the ink bottle back. James nodded and accepted it.

"You-when I walked-you were just-I didn't mean to-uh, thanks." James stammered, seeming unable to string together words to form a comprehensible sentence.

Lily sat back in her chair and crossed her arms, lifting an eyebrow at him in amusement. "So this is all James Potter, the famous, popular Quidditch captain has to say for himself?" she asked bemusedly, twirling her quill around in circles on her paper. "What a shame. I would have expected more."

What was she, teasing him? Mocking him? Since when did Lily mock anybody?

"I say interesting stuff," James said desperately, apparently still lost for words. Lily laughed and smiled.

"Don't worry about it," she said. "But if you'll excuse me, I have to study." She stood up and gathered her books into her arms. Without saying good-bye, she began walking out of the library.

James, who had dropped a stack of books upon entering and spilling his ink all over Lily, stooped to pick his things up. Lily, who was prepared to walk out of the library and not look back, found herself pausing and turning to look back at him.

Why was he so popular, anyway? Honestly, he wasn't even that cute! And he certainly didn't seem to have a flavor for conversation. And besides all that, he was a klutz!

"Hey!" she found herself calling to him. He straightened up, books in his arms, surprised. "You better watch it, you know. Or you might find yourself with a pint of pumpkin juice down your front." With that, she smirked and flounced out of the library.

Well, where had that come from? She never got to have the last word in anything...and she couldn't remember the last time she had smirked...Lily was the softspoken, quiet, studious, introverted one.

As she walked back to the Ravenclaw common room, she made a mental note not to ever speak to James Potter. What rude, uncharacteristic thing would she find herself doing next?

As Lily turned and walked out of the library, James promptly stumbled over himself and dropped all his books again. What was wrong with him? And what was with that girl? He didn't even know her name. All he knew was that she had to be about the most beautiful creature he'd ever seen, and that included the veela he'd met while on vacation in Bulgaria with his parents when he was nine...but that was another story!

That was why he'd spilled his ink bottle in the first place. Upon entering the library, he'd found himself staring at this amazingly beautiful girl. She had been sitting by a window, scribbling on a piece of parchment. The sunlight had been streaming in through the window behind her, lighting her fiery red hair and creating a halo around her face, making her look very much like an angel.

That was when he'd tripped over himself and set the ink bottle flying across the room. A brilliant move on his part, he had to say. First, tripping over himself. Then, staining her brilliant green robes with ink. And third, just standing there, staring at her like an idiot and stammering at her. The only comprehensible sentence he'd uttered in and of itself didn't really make much sense.

"I say interesting stuff," he muttered to himself in disgust. "What a line, James, what a line. Way to get a girl's attention."

"Girl? What girl?" said a very familiar voice. James looked up, not surprised to see his best friend in the world, Sirius Black, standing there and looking devilishly handsome, as usual. He was smiling mischievously. Any mention of a girl got him going. James scowled at him.

"What'd I do?" Sirius asked, spinning a chair around and sitting on it, his chest resting on the back of it.

"You look handsome!" James said irritably.

"James, you're not hitting on me, are you?" Sirius asked, smirking.

"Shut up!" James snapped.

"What wizard's cursing your mood?" Sirius asked, picking one of James's books up off the floor and flipping through it absentmindedly. It was upside-down.

"Not a wizard," James said, slamming his books on the table and grabbing a chair for himself. "A witch."

"Ah, a witch!" Sirius said. "Someone finally stolen your heart?"

"More like my sanity," James muttered, flipping open his Transfiguration book.

"What? She got ya tongue-tied?" Sirius had been through every dating dilemma known to man.

"That would be an understatement."

"So who is it? Kim? Lorelei? Melody?"

"She's not a Gryffindor. I don't know her name."

"You don't know her name!" Sirius exclaimed. "Who in the world is she? What house is she in?"

"I don't know," James shrugged. "She was wearing green robes."

"Slytherin? She's in Slytherin?"

"I didn't say she was in Slytherin. I said she was wearing green robes," James said, irritated.

"Well, describe her. I probably know who she is."

"Red hair. Amazing green eyes, like emeralds, or...or...something really green, I dunno, like..."

"A fresh pickled toad?" Sirius suggested. James shot him a look.

"Not exactly. But anyway, red hair, green eyes, milky white skin, no freckles, the most beautiful girl in the universe..." James let it trail off.

"Yep. She's got you hook, line, and sinker, buddy," Sirius said, smirking. "I never thought I'd see you reeled in."

"I am not reeled in!" James protested. "I've known about her existence for what, five minutes? And all she's managed to do is bite my head off!"

"Bite your head off? It doesn't sound like her, but it's got to be." Sirius said.

"Well, who is she?"

"Lily Evans. Ravenclaw. Top of her class in about every subject. Favorite subject is Charms. She's about 5'6", 135 lbs, usually quiet and reserved. She likes wearing green because it accents her eyes. After she leaves Hogwarts, she wants to-"

"What is this, published somewhere?" James said, interrupting his friend's speech.

"No. She's Melody's best friend. I never hear the end of it. You should know her, James. I mean, she is a Prefect."

"She is?" James said, bewildered.

"You really need to get out more."



"Do me a favor, would you?"


"Shut up."

"So, what evil troublemaking scheme d'you think Sirius is going to come up with this time?" Melody Cauldwell asked of Remus Lupin, plopping down in a cozy armchair right across from his. She stuck a multicolored lollipop in her mouth, seemingly unaware that the candy was turning her brilliantly blonde hair bright blue.

Remus, biting his lip to keep from laughing at her hair, tried to answer as normally as possible. "Five galleons says it has something to do with Snape."

"I'll bet you five it's Mrs. Norris," Melody shot back, still sucking on the lollipop, which was starting to turn her hair green.

"Deal," Remus said, smiling evilly while at the same time remembering he'd spent all his money at Hogsmeade last week. Oh, well.

At that moment, just as Melody's hair was beginning to go purple, Peter Pettigrew stumbled into the Gryffindor common room, wheezing and panting, his face red. Remus straightened up a little and turned to his friend, but Melody ignored him and continued sucking leisurely on her lollipop, which was now turning her hair an interesting shade of pink. She didn't much like Peter, and he didn't seem to like her. As a result, they completely ignored one another.

She wondered what Sirius really would come up with for their next evil scheme, and suddenly remembered she'd spent her last five galleons on three bags of magical lollipops. All she had left was two Sickles and a Knut. She hoped Sirius would be going for Mrs. Norris, because she sure could use another five Galleons.

Peter had just finished telling Remus about his run-in with Snape when James and Sirius burst into the common room, arguing terribly about something.

"-am not in love with a girl I met five minutes ago-" James was saying, but Sirius wouldn't let him finish.

"Sure you are! Got stars in your eyes, it's pathetic!"

"I wouldn't go out with her if she were the last witch-"

"Blah, blah, blah, you're a horrible liar-"

"-she's completely rude-"

"-you deserve a good kick in the rear-"

"-don't even know her-"

"-in complete denial-"

"-as we're talking about denial-"

"-she's perfectly cute-"

"-why don't you ask Melody out-"

"Shut it!" Sirius snapped, glaring at his best friend and glancing nervously over at Melody, who was completely oblivious to the whole thing. She was still sucking absentmindedly on her lollipop, which was, by now, nearly gone. Sirius laughed as he saw her hair being turned to an interesting shade of red.

"Hey, Sirius!" Melody said, noticing him. "So, what detention-worthy scheme have you cooked up now?"

"Interesting hair," Sirius said, ignoring her question and smiling at her bright red coif, which was rapidly changing to another color.

"You like it?" Melody asked, smiling cheesily.

"You look better blonde," Sirius said. Melody shrugged as she finished her sucker. She looked at the stick for a moment, then shrugged and threw it over her shoulder, oblivious to the fact that it landed in a third year's hair.

She picked up a lock of her hair and looked at it. "Damn!" She said, cursing her neon orange hair. "That's the fourth time in a row it's been neon orange! Different result every time my ass..." she muttered. The Marauders laughed. Melody stuck her tongue out. "Anyway, Sirius, have you come up with anything?"

A devilish grin spread across Sirius's face. "I have something to show you all. Come with me," he said. Melody, James, and Remus smiled, but Peter whimpered.

"Come on, guys, we're not going to break the rules again, are we?" he whined. "I hate detention! They always make me go with Filch and do some really horrible cleaning without magic."

Melody rolled her eyes. "All detentions are without magic, you idiot, that's why they're called detentions!"

Peter sniffed and looked at her indignantly. "They are not! There was that one time we all went down to Hogsmeade to investigate that murder! We got to use magic then."

"Yeah, and so much good it did us, too, in that stupid old office going through piles of useless stuff!"

"Hey, I liked that office!" Sirius said, his eyes sparking. Melody laughed.

"Yeah, only after you turned the desk into an elephant!"

All the Marauders laughed at this.

"Hey, I was bored, what can I say?" Sirius shrugged. "Come on, let's go!"

"And Peter?" Melody said as they left.

"What?" he asked sulkily.

"Don't be such a baby."

"Have fun studying?" Mimi Ramirez asked as Lily entered the common room. Mimi was one of Lily's best friends, and a little boy crazy, at that. At the moment she was concentrating very hard on painting her fingernails red. Well, red and gold, to be precise. She had already painted them gold and was painting on strips of red.

"Not really," Lily answered. Noticing Mimi's fingernails, she frowned. "Mimi, what are you doing?"

"Painting my nails. What does it look like?"

"Uh, in case you haven't noticed, you're painting them red and gold."

"So?" Mimi asked, dipping the brush back into the container, wiping it off a little, and setting to work on her next fingernail.

"Mimi, we're in Ravenclaw! Those are Gryffindor colors!"

Mimi rolled her eyes. "Well, I knew that, silly. I'm painting them for the Quidditch match tomorrow!"

"Mimi, we're playing Gryffindor tomorrow! Have you completely lost your mind? The rest of the Ravenclaws are going to slaughter you!"

"Well, that's why the rest of the Ravenclaws aren't going to find out," Mimi said matter-of-factly, finishing up the nails on her right hand, picking up her wand, and muttering an instant dry spell. She then set to work on her left hand.

"Oh, and how is that?" Lily asked curiously.

"Because," Mimi said. "I'll be sitting with the Gryffindors. And none of the Ravenclaws ever have to know."

Lily plopped down in a chair, perplexed. "May I ask why you're all of a sudden supporting Gryffindor?" she asked, her lips twitching. Last month she had avidly supported Ravenclaw because of her crush on one of the Ravenclaw Beaters, Adam Johnson. Wonder who it is this month...? Lily mused.

"Because!" Mimi gushed. "James Potter! So cute! And Sirius Black! He's even cuter!" Mimi forgot her nails for a moment and leaned back in her chair, a dreamy look on her face. "I can't decide which is better. Which sounds better: Mimi Potter, or Mimi Black? Mimi Potter...Mimi Black...I can't decide. What do you think?"

Lily sighed irritably. What did she think? She thought she'd had enough of James Potter for one day, thank you! She decided to change the subject. "I don't know," she shrugged. "But who, exactly, are you going to be sitting with?"

"Remus Lupin." Mimi said promptly. "Just as cute. And get this: James, and Sirius, and Remus are all best friends! How amazing is that? The three cutest guys in school...and they're best friends..." Mimi's eyes glazed over.

Lily laughed. "Maybe you should be thinking about Mimi Lupin then, if you're so blown away by all of them."

Mimi gasped. "Maybe!" she said. "I hadn't thought of that..." She went back to painting her nails. Lily shook her head and went up to their dorm room.

"This. Is. Awesome." Melody declared.

"How, exactly, did you create a room?" Remus asked, looking around at what Sirius had dubbed their new headquarters.

"Yes," James agreed. "And why chamber pots?"

Sirius smiled. "That's for me to know and you all not to find out!" he said gleefully. "But I'll have you know the chamber pots are for cover," he said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "So if anyone happens to stumble upon it-which they shouldn't, because it's guarded by a password-but if they should, they'll just see a bunch of chamber pots, think they're crazy, and leave. It's brilliant!" Sirius declared triumphantly.

"Yes, it's the room of the crazy chamber pots," Melody said unenthusiastically.

"What? You don't like my chamber pots?" Sirius said, pretending to be hurt. Melody opened her mouth to respond, but James interrupted.

"Enough about the chamber pots!" he said. "Sirius and I have come up with a brilliant plan!"

"Oh really?" Melody asked, interested. "Do tell."

"We've come up with a way to get back at Snape for cursing your nose off in Potions," Sirius said to Melody.

"Yes!" Melody said. She was still sore about the whole incident.

Last week, during Double Potions with the Slytherins, Melody and Snape had been paired together. They were supposed to be preparing a Truthfulness Potion, otherwise known as Veritaserum, but they were having a row instead.

"You weren't supposed to put in the bat spleen yet, you idiot!" Melody shrieked.

"I'm an idiot?" Snape said indignantly. "You're the one who just spilled all of our dragon's blood onto the floor."

"It didn't all go on the floor! And anyway I wouldn't have spilled it if you hadn't pushed me!"

"Well, you pushed me first!"

"I was reaching for the eyeballs!"

"Well, you deserved it!"

"If I deserve dragon's blood on my robes, then I suppose you deserve a boiling potion on yours!" Melody said, tipping the cauldron over and watching in satisfaction as Snape howled in pain, trying to get the boiling potion off his skin and his robes.

Still in pain, he reached for his wand and screeched a spell, at which point many things happened at once:

1. The teacher ran over and started yelling at both of them.

2. Snape's skin began to melt away.

3. James and Sirius set off a wet-start firework in Jamie Bankstone's (an annoying Slytherin girl) cauldron, causing half the potions lab to be soaked in Veritaserum and Jamie, who happened to swallow some, to start spouting that she hated Transfiguration, hated the Potions master, Professor Thorne, and had a secret crush on Remus Lupin, among other things.

4. Melody's nose fell off.

"You little-" Melody began, but Professor Thorne was yelling his head off at the entire class so loudly that no one could hear what she was saying.

Between howls of pain, Snape saw Melody without a nose and started laughing. James and Sirius, who had been caught up in laughing at Jamie and teasing Remus about her having a crush on him, suddenly noticed Melody's noseless face.

Remus shied away from Sirius and James, glad he was out of the center of attention, James started laughing so hard he couldn't stop, and Sirius, although he was laughing, ran over and tried to fix her nose back on, but he couldn't, so he ended up escorting her to the hospital wing .

They lost three hundred points for Gryffindor and got detentions for two straight weeks. The Marauders really hated Potions after that.

Melody was brought out of her trance by Remus, who was speaking to her.

"You owe me five Galleons."


"Lily! My dearest Lily! It's been forever! How are you?"

Lily looked up from her spot on a large blue bean bag chair to see Melody Cauldwell appear in the Ravenclaw common room. "What are you doing here?" she asked, slightly annoyed.

"Why, visiting my dear old chum Lily, of course!" Melody said, grinning cheekily and plopping down in a bean bag chair across from Lily.

Lily sighed. "What do you want?"

"I don't want anything, old friend! Just the pleasure of your company!" Melody said, just a little too cheerily. Lily rolled her eyes, shook her head, smiled, and put down her Charms book.

"Okay, what is it?" she asked.

Melody sighed, breaking down. "I need your help. I have to seek revenge!"

"For Snape cursing your nose off?" Lily asked, the sides of her mouth twitching in amusement.

"It's not funny," Melody said, glaring and poking her tongue out at Lily. Lily just giggled.

"Well, what do you need my help for?"

"Me—and the guys—need to learn how to do a little Charm to thoroughly embarrass him. It's rather advanced, and none of us are especially good at Charms—well, nothing you shake a stick at, anyway. At least not compared to you. So we need your help."

"Who are all of the guys?" Lily asked, raising an eyebrow. Lately, Melody had been hanging out with a group of Gryffindor boys a lot, but Lily wasn't clear on who they were.

"Well, there's Sirius, of course," Melody began, ticking the names off on her fingers as she went, "and then Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew,"—Melody stuck her tongue out and made a face as she reached Peter's name, and Lily laughed—"and James Potter."

Lily groaned at the mention of James's name.

"What?" Melody asked, clearly confused.

"I keep hearing that name! What is it with James Potter?" Lily said furiously.

"Well, he is Quidditch captain. And extremely popular. And devilishly handsome. Although not as handsome as Sirius, of course."

"Of course," Lily rolled her eyes. Melody had a thing for Sirius, along with just about fifty percent of the school. James and Sirius were supposed to be the heartthrobs of the school, and Lily wondered why she seemed to be the only one who hadn't noticed either of them.

Well, that was a lie. She had noticed Sirius, but that was because her best friend had a crush on him (even though she refused to admit it), and besides that, Melody was right: Sirius was devilishly handsome. And certainly more handsome than James, which didn't seem too hard to Lily, considering she didn't find James cute in the least.

"What? Do you not like James?" Melody asked.

"No...not really..." Lily said.

"Not really?" Melody said with raised eyebrows. "What is going on in the World of Lily?"

"Nothing!" Lily rolled her eyes. "I just had a run-in with James in the library today. He was very articulate," she said sarcastically. "Honestly, I don't know what people see in him. He's not that great. He couldn't even string two sentences together!"

"Really? What'd he say?"

"Not much of anything. Just a lot of tripping over his own words. The one coherent sentence he could manage was 'I say interesting stuff!' Now there's a conversation starter."

"He was stumbling over his words? That doesn't sound like James," Melody said, having a hard time picturing the confident, collected mischief-maker tripping over anything.

"Well, we're even then," Lily mused. "Because I didn't sound much like myself either."

"What'd you say?" Melody asked with interest.

"I practically told the poor guy off! But he deserved it, after spilling ink all over my robes..."

"He what?" Melody cried. Lily shook her head.

"Long story."

"Well, explain it to me!" Lily sighed and explained the events of this morning as well as she could.

"Well, it's obvious!" Melody said.

"What?" Lily asked.

"He likes you," Melody said matter-of-factly.

"Uh-huh," Lily said, rolling her eyes, but her cheeks turned pink. "Melody, what are you doing here? You know you're not supposed to be in the Ravenclaw common room. If Professor Flitwick comes in to check on us and sees you here again, you'll get suspended."

"Well, that was bad luck!" Melody said. "Give it a rest!" Lily rolled her eyes again.

"I told you, only come in here for emergencies," Lily said. "I shouldn't have allowed you to come in here at all!"

"Well, what's the fun in that?" Melody pouted. "Besides, this was an emergency!" she declared.

"Yeah? And what was the emergency?" Lily asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I haven't seen you for a whole--" Melody paused dramatically, thinking about it for a moment before continuing. "--two days!" she concluded.

"Yes, two days. And you've been in so much pain and torment over it, haven't you?" Lily said dryly.

"It's been unbearable!" Melody wailed. Everyone in the common room turned to look at her. Lily looked around and tried to keep from laughing.

"That's enough, Melody," she said, smiling and shaking her head.

"Okay," Melody said, snapping back to normal immediately. (If you could call anything about Melody normal.)

"Nice hair," Lily said, noting Melody's neon orange locks. "Been eating lollipops again?" she asked.

Melody nodded. "I was trying to get something besides neon orange, but it didn't work." She sighed, looking as though she were terribly disappointed. "I guess I'll just have to give it another go next weekend!" she said. She only ate the suckers on Friday, because it took the effects of the lollipops two days to wear off, and, on top of turning her hair different colors, the suckers seemed to have an affect on her listening ability as well. So if she ate one during any day of the week besides Friday, she had to go to class with the effects of the sucker still on her, and her professors kicked her out of class for a combination of reasons every time she did, the main one being she usually got bored and started blowing up the desks.

"Are you excited about the Quidditch match tomorrow?" Lily asked. Melody was a Beater on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. She played opposite Sirius, who was the other Gryffindor Beater.

Melody nodded and smiled evilly. "And we're going to kick your Ravenclaw butts!" she declared triumphantly. Several people close to her turned and glared.

"Keep it down, would you?" Lily hissed. "You know you're not supposed to be here!"

"Sorry," Melody said, her eyes twinkling, not looking sorry at all. "But we're still gonna kick your butts!" she said, although much quieter.

"No way," Lily said coolly. "Ravenclaw rocks! We are so much better than you! Just look at our mascot: an eagle. We're obviously going to be better fliers."

"Bet you ten Galleons Ravenclaw loses."

Lily grinned. "You haven't got ten Galleons."

"You still owe me five Galleons," Remus reminded Melody as they walked down the stairs to breakfast the next morning.

"Oh, shut up," Melody said, pretending to whack him with her broomstick.

"No violence in the hallways. Ten points from Gryffindor," said Professor Thorne, who was passing. "And watch your broomstick, Miss Cauldwell, or you might just find yourself thrown off the Gryffindor Quidditch team."

They exchanged icy glares and continued walking down the hallway.

"Bastard," Melody muttered.

"Tut, tut!" Sirius said. "Watch that language now, my dear fellow Beater!" Sirius said, slinging an arm around her shoulders as they entered the Great Hall.

"Get off me, you great oaf!" Melody said, bopping him over the head with her broomstick and laughing. Sirius rubbed his head and slinked away, doglike.

"Feisty, isn't she?" he asked James.

"Feisty?" Melody said. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Would you two knock it off?" Remus intervened. "We do not need two-sevenths of our Quidditch team mauled before breakfast."

Melody and Sirius laughed, sticking their tongues out at each other. They did so all through breakfast, and it got quite annoying. James, Melody, and Sirius preferred not to eat before a Quidditch match, as they were always too nervous, or excited, or some combination of the sort. Remus and Peter spent the whole breakfast trying to persuade the three of them (well, Remus was trying to persuade the three of them; Peter was only worrying about James and Sirius) to eat, but to no avail.

After a long and grueling Quidditch match, with Lily cheering adamantly for the Ravenclaws with her friends Susie and Matt, and Mimi shamelessly flirting up Remus, both of them ignoring Peter, the Gryffindors won. Melody flounced over to Lily after the match and said, "Ha! We won! I told you so!" she stuck her tongue out. "You owe me ten Galleons!"

"We never made an official bet. I don't owe you anything!" Lily said.


"You still owe me five Galleons!" Remus yelled, walking by.

"Damn!" Melody said again. "I keep hoping he'll forget."

Lily laughed. "Nobody forgets money," she said. "Nobody."

Afterwards—that is, after a long party in the Gryffindor common room and lunch—Melody went over to the Ravenclaw common room, dragged Lily away from her Charms book, and took her to the Marauder Headquarters, where they were holding a meeting. Lily entered somewhat reluctantly and looked around.

"Chamber pots?" she asked, eyebrows raised. "Nice touch."

"Thank you!" Sirius said proudly, as it was his idea, and besides, he was the only other one there. "Quite a nice collection, if I do say so myself." Lily laughed again. She had beautiful laughter, which James did not miss when he walked in the door five minutes later to hear Lily laughing again.

Struck by both the beauty of the laughter and the person producing it, James stood, frozen, by the doorway, and was run into by Remus and Peter as they arrived together.

"James? Hello? HELLO?" Sirius yelled coming up to James and waving his hand in front of his face, yelling into his ear. James winced, blinked, and came back down to Earth, to see the Marauders staring at him with odd expressions on their faces. Lily was standing in the middle of the room, by their meeting table, looking at him with an amused expression on her face.

"Right," Sirius said. "Anyway, we have called this meeting for a reason! And it's not for James to gawk at Lily, so he'd better stop doing it right now," Sirius declared, sitting down at the head of the table and putting his feet up, looking at James and Lily's reactions with a satisfied look on his face.

Lily was sputtering, her face quite red. James was giving Sirius an Evil Death Glare and fervently denying anything of the sort. No one believed him.

After James and Lily had calmed down, they all sat at the table (Lily and James as far from each other as possible) and started discussing the prank they were going to pull. When Sirius and James were done describing what it was they were going to do (with as many bad imitations of Snape as possible), Lily was rolling on the floor laughing.

"That's—brilliant!" she gasped, clutching her stomach and climbing back in to her chair. "But if you get caught, you'll be in so much trouble!"

"Well, that's why we're not going to get caught." James said matter-of-factly.

"And if we do, oh well," Sirius shrugged. "We've already got detentions for two weeks anyway. What's another week or two? And we earned half those points back when we won the Quidditch game today. It's no big deal!"

"So are you going to help us?" James asked, leaning across the table toward Lily, his eyes twinkling mischievously. It was at that moment Lily suddenly realized how nice his eyes were. They were the color of melted chocolate. They looked warm, inviting, intelligent, and playful. How could she say no?

Quite suddenly, she blushed and looked away, muttering, "Sure."

"All right!" James said, clapping his hands together. "Here it is! The charm we want to perform! Sirius, the book, please?" Sirius handed over a large black book, which was falling apart. Silver lettering on the cover read Hawkley's Book of Curses and Charms, Volume III: Advanced.

James placed on the table and gingerly flipped its pages until he found the one he wanted. He shoved the book across the table to Lily, and she looked at it.

"I don't know," she said skeptically. "It looks a little dangerous."

"What's revenge without a little danger?" James exclaimed.

"Safe," Lily shot back.

"Oh, you're no fun!" James said. Lily stuck out her tongue at him and looked back at the book. "Did you just stick your tongue out at me?"

"Mm-hmm," Lily said calmly, eyes skimming over the page. "It's difficult," she said, pushing up her sleeves. "But it's doable. I think I can help you."

"Awesome!" James said.

"Not you," Lily said, looking up at James. "Her," she motioned to Melody. James's mouth fell open.

"You're a rude little thing, aren't you?" he said, but Lily ignored him and looked back down at the book. He only knew she was joking by the badly hidden smile on her half-hidden face.

"So how do we do this?" Melody asked, walking over and looking over Lily's shoulder. Lily shrugged.

"There's not much to it," she said. "We just follow the directions and try. The difficult part will be getting enough magic behind it. Sounds like you really have to concentrate."

"So after you learn it, you can teach us!" James said matter-of-factly.

"Was that an order or a request?" Lily asked crossing her arms and raising an eyebrow.

"Both," James declared, sitting in a chair and putting his feet up on the table.

"You know," Lily said thoughtfully, looking at the book again, "I really don't see why I should help you. I mean, you haven't really given me a good reason."

"Because you'll be getting revenge on Snape!" Melody said. "And you're my best friend! It's obvious!"

"You'll be doing the school a favor," Sirius assured her. "He'll be out of the way for a few weeks."

Lily raised her eyebrow higher and looked at all of them skeptically.

"What, you don't think you can do it?" James asked, eyes twinkling, arms crossed, a smug smile on his face.

Lily's mouth fell open slightly. "Are you challenging me?" she asked, smiling slightly.

"Maybe," James said coolly.

"All right," Lily said, standing up straighter and looking down at James. "I'll do it."

"I thought you would," James said, standing up.

"What, you can predict me now?" Lily said, walking around the table and crossing her arms again.

"Of course. You're too easy."

"I'm easy?" she said furiously, eyes widening. "What about you? If I flip my hair the right way, you'll just stand there looking all starry-eyed for five minutes before coming back to your senses."

James's cheeks burned red. "I will not!" he said indignantly. Lily laughed and walked back around the table, flipping her hair as she did so. James stared at her for a moment, but he didn't gawk like he had before.

Melody ducked under the table to keep from laughing.

"I don't know about this," Lily said several weeks later as she met Melody at the Marauder headquarters.

She and James and Sirius had been the only ones able to perform the charm they needed to pull a prank on Snape, but Lily was the best at it, so they had commissioned her to perform it. They all, of course, insisted on tagging along.

So for the last few weeks, they had been preparing an invisibility potion, to turn them invisible. However, it would only last half an hour, so they would have to hurry.

"Oh, come on, Lily! It'll be fun!" Melody said cheerily, checking the potion. Lily gave her a withering glare.

"Define 'fun.'"

"Anything but hanging out with you," came a new voice. Lily recognized it immediately, and groaned.

It was James.

"Well, I just live to torture you James," Lily said, turning around. "But you really should have thought of that before you gave me the password to your little headquarters here."

"Don't worry, we'll change the password," James said, grinning. Lily stuck her tongue out at him and turned back to Melody.

Several minutes later, Sirius, Remus, and Peter all came in together, laughing. "You really shouldn't have done that!" Remus said, gasping for air.

"Oh, but Bertha looked so good as a mule!" Sirius said.

"At least you're getting better at Transfiguration!" Peter said, wiping the tears away from his eyes.

"What'd I miss?" James and Melody demanded at the same time.

"You know Bertha Jorkins?" Sirius said, recovering first. Peter and Remus were still laughing.

"Yeah," James said.

"We ran into her in the hallway. She was being nosy again, so Sirius turned her into a mule," Remus finished. James and Melody started laughing again. Lily couldn't help but laugh, either. Bertha was one of the nosiest girls in school, always in other people's business. She wasn't a very talented witch, which was probably why she spent so much time being nosy. Or maybe it was the other way around. Lily wasn't sure.

"Did you change her back?" Lily asked, giggling.

"Well...kind of..." Peter said, starting to laugh again.

"Oh, McGonagall'll find her and change her back eventually," Sirius said. Remus, Peter, and Sirius started laughing harder. Lily groaned and put a hand over her face, while at the same time smiling and giggling too.

"Okay-okay," Melody gasped. "Let's get down to business!"

Once the Marauders calmed down (which took a while, since nearly every time Sirius, Peter, and Remus stopped laughing, one of them would hee-haw, and they'd start all over again, laughing harder than ever), they all ran through the plan for tonight again.

"Okay, here's how it goes," James said. "First, we take the potion."

"Second," Sirius continued, "we walk—or run—down to the Slytherin common room."

"Third," James said, "we use the stolen password to get in."

"We then find the dormitory where Snape sleeps and perform the charm," Sirius said.

"Then, we run like hell and hope the potion doesn't wear off and that we don't get caught," James finished.

"Got a backup plan?" Lily asked.

"Er—not really," James said. "But if we need one, we'll figure it out."

Lily rolled her eyes. "I should have known, considering the two geniuses planning all this," she said. James scowled.

"Okay, whatever!" Melody said. "Are we ready?"

"As ready as we'll ever be," Remus said. Melody dished out the potion, nearly dropping Peter's as she handed it to him. She didn't seem to care. They swallowed it down and watched each other with wide eyes as they disappeared. Soon, there didn't appear to be anybody in the room.

Lily tried walking to the door, but she ran into somebody on the way. "Ow!" they both said at the same time. "Sorry," they both said. It took a while for the six invisible people to sort themselves out, but once they had, they were all holding hands, first so they wouldn't run into each other, and second, because Sirius and James were the only ones who knew the way to the Slytherin common room.

Trying to be as quiet as possible, they slipped out of the Marauder headquarters and down the hallway. Lily didn't know whose hands she was clutching, but the person behind her was starting to sweat, and the person in front of her seemed to be leading the way.

It was a very odd experience, to be clutching something she couldn't see, and also to not be able to see herself. It was even odder to not have any idea who she was hanging onto, although she had the sneaking suspicion the person behind her was Peter, as he seemed the only one who would get nervous in this situation. The person in front was either Sirius or James, as they knew the way and seemed overly confident. She could tell it wasn't Melody because the hand was too big to be hers.

She felt oddly secure, however, with her hand tucked inside the person's in front of her. She wasn't even nervous about what she was about to do. She just knew she was going to, and quite suddenly, it didn't matter much what happened after that. She just wanted to have fun.

Lily had never really pulled a prank before, although it sounded like fun, and she'd thought about it. She couldn't think of many people she'd like to play a prank on, first of all. Second, even if there was someone she wanted to pull a prank on, she couldn't think of anything to do to them. And by the time she'd thought of something, she hadn't really cared anymore.

But now, she was thinking, if she could come up with a good prank to pull on someone, she'd have to do it to James Potter.

They reached a stone wall, and whoever was in front of Lily stopped. She heard James's voice call out a password, and the wall slid open. They entered the Slytherin common room, which wasn't as nice as Ravenclaw's, Lily noted, and tried out three dormitories before finding Snape's.

"All right, Lily, do it!" Melody hissed. Lily rolled her eyes and dug into her robes for her wand. As if she didn't know what she was supposed to be doing right now. She whispered the incantation, and watched with pleasure as the spell began to take effect. The Marauders decided to leave before they completely lost it and started laughing their heads off. As they re-entered the common room, Lily looked down to see her hand starting to re-appear. And it was attached to James's.

"Uh-oh," she whispered.

"Uh-oh what?" James asked.

"Look down."


"What?" Melody asked, but she didn't stop to wait for a response. "Oh, shit," she said, realizing what was happening.

"Hey! Who are you?" An angry Slytherin asked, popping his head over the back of a chair.

"Everyone grab a partner and run!" Sirius said, grabbing Melody's hand and making a mad dash for the door to the hall. Remus, Peter, James, and Lily followed suit and exited the common room as quickly as possible. "Split up! That way, if we get caught, it won't look quite as bad-or as suspicious, for that matter," Sirius continued. He and Melody ran off in one direction, Remus and Peter took another, and James and Lily looked at each other in disgust and ran straight ahead.

Running up a flight of stairs, Lily tripped and almost fell. James grabbed her hand and pulled her up. They kept running, and when they reached the top of the stairs, he didn't let go. They kept running, down a long hallway with lots of portraits. As they neared the end, someone slowly rounded the corner and started coming toward them. Before the person could see James and Lily, James grabbed her and pulled both of them into the shadows, in a little niche behind a suit of armor.

They stood close, breathing hard, as they watched Filch walk by. Lily moved to get out from behind the armor, but James pulled her back.

"Wait," he whispered. "Wait until he's at the end of the hall. And then a little longer. Mrs. Norris might come by."

Oh. Duh. Lily felt stupid. They stood there for a few more minutes. "Thanks," Lily whispered.

"For what?"

"Holding me back. You could have just let me go and make a complete fool out of myself."

James shrugged. She couldn't really see it since it was so dark, but they were so close she could feel it. A fact that was making itself acutely aware to Lily. It was beginning to get unbearably cramped back there, as Lily was trying as hard as she could to prevent any part of her body from touching his.

"Lily?" James said, sounding slightly concerned. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Lily said, pressing herself up against the wall. "Why?" She felt like hitting herself in the head the second she asked.

"You're as rigid as a broomstick. And I get the feeling you're trying not to touch me." He sounded amused.

"Don't be silly," Lily said, not making a move to relax. James put a hand on her arm, and she slid away. He laughed softly.

"You're afraid to touch me," he said. "I don't have cooties, you know."

"I am not afraid," Lily whispered indignantly. "I'd just prefer not to touch you." She kicked herself mentally, realizing how stupid that sounded.

James put a hand on her arm again, but this time she didn't shy away. She could practically hear James smiling in the silence, and she was sure he could feel her glaring at him. So what if he had just won an argument?

She still didn't think he was cute.

"They are too much," Melody said as she crept along the dark corridor, trying to get back to the Marauder headquarters unnoticed.

"Who?" Sirius asked. He crept along behind her.

"Lily and James," Melody said.

"Oh, yeah. They sure do fight a lot, don't they?"

"Ya think?" Melody said sarcastically.

"Not really," Sirius replied. Melody laughed, then quickly stopped herself, not wanting to be discovered.

"They are so funny," she continued, shaking her head.

"How so?" Sirius asked.

"Well, James is trying so hard to act like he doesn't like her, and he's obviously ga-ga over her anyway, which you can't blame him for, because she really is beautiful. You know?" Melody said, stopping to turn and look at Sirius.

"Mm-hmm," he agreed absentmindedly, but Melody could tell he wasn't really following the conversation. He seemed to be more interested in staring at her, which was hardly a bad thing, but she wasn't in the mood for making out or flirting. She was more interested in setting up her best friend.

"And then poor Lily, trying so hard not to like him..." Melody shook her head. "I wouldn't be surprised if they fall in love."

"I'll bet you ten Sickles they fall in love and James kisses her first," Sirius said, but Melody shook her head.

"Uh-uh. No way,"

"Why not?"

"Because. You'd win."

James and Lily crept out from behind the statue and continued to walk along the hallway, as fast and as quietly as they could. James led her through several secret passages, only two of which she had known about before.

Just as they were about to reach the Marauder Headquarters, just as they were almost home-free, someone came up behind them.

"Out for a midnight stroll?" A cheery voice asked. Lily and James looked around in horror.

They had run into Professor Dumbledore himself. "I must admit, it is lovely tonight. However, lovely nights are no reason to be breaking the rules."

"Sorry, Professor Dumbledore." Lily said. "We were just-" she found herself lost for words.

"It was my fault," James said quickly. "I dragged her out of bed to come see something."

Dumbledore raised his eyes. "You visited a Ravenclaw girls' common room? And how might you have stumbled upon the password?"

"Er," James said. Lily couldn't just let him stand there and take all the blame. She had to do something!

"I gave it to him," she blurted out. "I know I shouldn't have, but...he is a Prefect, so I assumed he wouldn't abuse the privilege. We were working on a Herbology project together. I'm sorry," she said, casting her eyes downward.

Dumbledore had an amused expression on his face. He knew for a fact that James Potter and Lily Evans didn't have a single class together, and that Lily wouldn't give him the password for the Ravenclaw Tower if her life depended on it—well, that was a bad analogy, but he knew she was completely trustworthy.

He'd been watching these two very carefully, as they were both unusually bright and gifted. They pretended to hate each other, but as they were covering up for each other, it was most obviously a charade.

He should give them both harsh punishments for breaking the rules, but there were several reasons why he was preparing to hold back. First of all, James was already being punished for a rather humorous incident in Potions. Second, Lily liked James a lot less than he liked her, and, although giving them a harsh punishment would in no way stop them from being friends, it would slow progress quite a bit, and if the most powerful witch and wizard in school became close friends, it would make them all the more powerful to fight Voldemort when they got older, which Dumbledore feared they'd have to do.

"Well, as you've broken the rules, you will each receive a detention, and ten points from each of your houses. That said, let me escort you both back to bed."

Lily and James followed Dumbledore up to Gryffindor, where James climbed through the portrait hole and bid good-bye to Lily, who was both furious with him for getting her in so much trouble and glad that he'd dragged her along in the first place.

"Nice boy, don't you think?" Dumbledore said as they walked from Gryffindor Tower down to the Ravenclaw Common room.

"Depends on how you define nice," Lily snorted. Dumbledore bit back a laugh.

"I take it you two don't get along very well, then?"

"About as well as oil and water."

"You'd be surprised how well oil and water can mix, when added to the right ingredients."

Lily looked at Dumbledore with wide eyes, surprised. Was he warning her of something? Was he trying to say she and James were going to start getting along? Or what?

It was ridiculous! She'd known James for only a couple of weeks, and already even Dumbledore was more interested in their relationship than she was. Next thing you knew, Bertha Jorkins or Rita Skeeter would have it spread all over school that she and James were dating.

"Well, I'll leave you to your sleep, then," Dumbledore said as they reached the entrance to the Ravenclaw common room. "Good night, Miss Evans," he said, smiling so cheerfully Lily just had to smile back.

"Good night, Professor Dumbledore."

Melody, Sirius, Remus, and Peter were waiting nervously for James and Lily to meet them. But they weren't coming. It had been an hour already since all of them had returned to the MHQ (Marauder Headquarters), and still no sign of Lily and James.

"D'you think they got caught?" Melody asked.

"Must've," Sirius replied. "Well, let's go back to Gryffindor Tower then, and see if James isn't there yet. If he's got back, then so has Lily,"

"Sucks she's in Ravenclaw," Melody said as they lined up in front of the fireplace to be whisked away to Gryffindor Tower by Floo Network. "We'd have a lot more fun if she weren't. Well, if she were in Gryffindor, that is," she amended as Remus got whisked away.

"Don't say that," Sirius said. "We'd never hear the end of their fighting."

Sirius, Remus, Melody, James, and Peter came over to Lily the next morning at breakfast. Lily was eating with her friends Susie, Matt, and Mimi. Mimi had just gotten up to go ask the Hufflepuffs if they had any extra bacon, since theirs was all gone. James plopped down in Mimi's now-empty seat, which was right next to Lily's.

"Someone's sitting there, you know," Lily said, shooting James a look.

James shrugged. "I'll get up when she gets back."

"What do you guys want?" Lily asked, noting the four people standing behind her. She twisted around in her chair to face them.

"We just want to thank you for last night." Melody said. "And we came over to watch the show. You have a better view of the doors than we do, and we must see Snape when he comes in..." she trailed off, glancing over at the doors.

"Heard you had a run-in with Dumbledore last night," Sirius said.

"Yeah," Lily replied. "I don't think he believed our story, though."

"What'd you tell him?" Sirius asked.

"That I dragged her out of bed to go see something," James replied. "When he asked where I had gotten the password from, Lily said she had given it to me. She made it sound like she had a crush on me until she hastily added we were working on a Herbology project together. Even though Dumbledore probably knows we don't have any classes together."

Lily gaped at him, mouth wide open. Sirius started laughing. "I did not make it sound like I had a crush on you!" she said.

"Sure ya did," James said easily, leaning back in his chair. "Ah—bacon!" he said, grabbing a piece off the tray Mimi had brought over.

Still gaping at him, Lily did the only thing she could think of.

She poured a pitcher of pumpkin juice down the front of his robes.