A/N - Yes, I know it's been a while since I updated; that's why I'm here now!! Just incase you didn't realise, I've changed the name of this fic because I the name fitted another fic that I'm working on right now... but it's the same story!! You'll have to be patient with waiting for updates though... I'm in my final year at school and I'm just a little busy with all the assessment and exams so I don't have very much time to write at the moment. Hope you like it!
After the quick Prefect meeting, Lily and Remus patrolled the halls of the end few train cars together. Apart from a few nervous and friendless first years and a small mishap involving a deck of exploding snap cards and a disgruntled cat, the hour or so was uneventful, leaving the two to talk companionably.
When the train came to a halt at Hogsmead Station, they joined their friends, grabbing their stuff (Lily tucking her sleeping kitten into a basket) and taking a black coach up to the school. The coach was crowded, due to the fact that it was carrying eight students, and Lily, much to her annoyance, ended up squashed in the far corner with James.
Finally, they arrived at the castle and the others slowly unpacked themselves from the black carriage. Lily sat patiently waiting, highly aware that James had hardly come more unstuck from her side, despite the growing amount of vacant space on the seat. When there was enough room the two stood up, almost simultaneously, and Lily hung back to allow herself to breath once more.
As she made her way carefully down the step onto the driveway she paused, her eyes fixed on the splendid castle she had called home for four years. She was so transfixed, as she was every year, that she hardly registered the hand that took hers to help her to the ground.
"It's so beautiful," she said to herself quietly. The hand twitched.
"Beautiful is the word," a deep voice agreed.
With a jolt, Lily looked away from the glittering windows and straight into the face of a smugly grinning James.
"Urgh," she exclaimed, snatching her hand back like he was a leper, "what do you want Potter?"
The self-satisfied smile slipped off his face, but it was quickly replaced by a charming grin. Pretending not to notice, Lily took the opportunity to stalk her way to the steps. With a shrug, James followed after her.
"Of course, you already know what I want Evans – I don't see why you insist on asking me to repeat it every second."
Lily sighed. Why does he have to be so conceited? She continued to stomp up the stairs and into the huge Entrance Hall. He's just so full of himself that he can't see how much of a jerk he really is. If only I could wipe that…
Suddenly, he grabbed her arm and held her back. With an angry glare, Lily ripped her arm free again.
James pointed into the air, two metres ahead of them and Lily followed his finger. There, hovering near the ceiling was Peeves, a water bomb in one hand and a small bag of flour in the other. A couple of second year students, impatient to get to the feast, hurried around them and Lily watched as they were suddenly coated in a sticky mess of wet flour.
"Aren't you going to say thank you?" he asked self-righteously.
"Just leave me alone, Potter – don't you have some immature prank to play with your little friends?" she replied a little scathingly and, again taking advantage of his shock at her rudeness, stalked away to sit with her friends at the Gryffindor table.
James stared after her retreating figure, and shook his head in bewilderment. A mystery, he thought as he quickly helped the forlorn looking second years clean off the gluey paste that was slowly drying. Then, after threatening to tell the Bloody Baron if Peeves did anything else to ruin the students' first night back to school, he slowly made his way to join his friends. He had realised a couple of years ago that he got a better following from the younger students if he made an effort to stick up for them once in a while… which he did strictly when his friends weren't around.
When he finally reached the Gryffindor table, Sirius was chortling about something with Remus and Peter was on the opposite side, staring off into space as usual. James sat down next to him in silence – and they all looked at him immediately.
"What?" he asked as all three of them stared at him warily.
"Is there something wrong?" Remus asked bluntly.
James raised his eyebrows. "Of course not, why?"
"Well, we know you were walking in with Lily, but she came in fifteen minutes ago – and she looked a little angry and…" Professor McGonagall appeared at the back of the hall and strode in with the new first years at that point, so Remus finished with a shrug.
James shook his head and gave his friends a reassuringly mocking grin before they all turned their attention to the group of new students. The sorting was a long process, but James cheered just as hard as the others for every kid who was sorted into Gryffindor. He noticed, affectionately, that Lily and her friends were sitting at the front end of the table so that they could make each new student feel welcome. Sirius made an indelicate noise.
"I wish the sorting didn't take so bloody long," he complained as the last student nearly ran to a spare place at the Hufflepuff table to loud applause. "Why can't we have the feast before they sort… or something?"
James looked at his friend, who was slumped over the table with one arm propping up his head, with an appreciative grin and Remus shook his head with disgust.
"Trust you to think your stomach's more important than anything, Sirius," he retorted in a low voice as Dumbledore stood up and clapped his hands for silence.
"Welcome to Hogwarts!" he boomed, his rich voice echoing off the walls and enchanted ceiling. James tried to pay attention to the headmaster as he gave the usual warnings and admonitions that made up his start of year speech, but his eyes continually strayed to Lily at the end of the table.
She was sitting up straight, her back turned slightly to him as she paid close attention to the headmaster's every word, and the small part of her face he could see had the rapt expression that James found so enthralling. If only she would look at me like that, he thought with longing, and he no longer bothered to try to pay attention to Professor Dumbledore.
As the headmaster finished his speech, and invited everyone to enjoy their meals, Lily's head suddenly snapped around to look at him. Her eyes were disapproving as James struggled to conjure up a charming smile, but she had turned back to his sister, Hilary, before he managed to fully compose himself. Bitterly noting that Hilary had poked her tongue at him, proving his suspicion that it was she who'd told Lily he was staring, James turned his attention to the food that had appeared in front of him.
The other boys were talking rowdily, Sirius with a constantly over-full mouth, and James soon joined in, shrugging off another of Lily's death stares as sure proof that he was slowly getting to her.
When the feast finished and they had been dismissed to bed by a genial Dumbledore, James rose slowly and stretched.
"Come on, chums, our soft beds await us!" he said mockingly and the others stood, ironic grins plastered on their faces.
As he led the way to the doors, now carelessly pushing through the throngs of students, he watched Remus walk the other way. Being a Gryffindor prefect, his friend was expected to show the first years the way to the common room. This meant he'd be with Lily… how lovely.
James scrutinized his friend as he made it to where Lily was waiting for him with the frightened little first years. His stomach dropped as she flashed Remus a bright smile and gave him a friendly hug. At least it better be just friendly, a voice growled in the back of his mind. Sirius punched him in the shoulder.
"Are we going or not?" he asked impatiently. "If we wanna play that prank on the first years, we'd better be quick – look Remus and Lily have already started leading them!"