SUMMARY: "The girl bit her lip and release a small, excruciating sob. 'What's the matter?' James asked tenderly, his expression growing more and more concerned. He cautiously drew nearer to her, so close that he could stoke her dark red hair. Lily shook her head and continued to sob. 'Don't cry,' he pleaded in a pained voice, moving closer still. 'What is it? Please don't cry, love.' She looked up in surprise at his last word. Slowly, with his eyes never leaving her tear-stained face, he closed the gap between them with his lips."

"Tuney, what happened to my necklace?" Lily said, nervously twisting and untwisting her hair around her delicate fingers.

The ride to King's Cross had been very silent. Petunia, Lily's older sister, was facing the window, her back to everyone else.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she snapped, without turning her head.

Lily cringed, but kept her voice composed and kind; she had learned that this was the best way to deal with her sister.

"You borrowed it – remember, the one with white pearls? You wanted to use it when you were going out with your friends – "

"I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT IS, LILY!" Petunia shrieked, shooting her sister the iciest glare she could manage.

Lily sighed, and let it drop. Petunia had "borrowed" nearly all of the jewelry Lily owned, and everything ended up either lost or broken. Usually, Lily didn't mind much, but her mother had given this necklace to her when she was nine; it had been very special.

She knew that it would be pointless to argue with Petunia about it, though, so she lied, "It's alright, Tuney, I know you didn't mean to lose it."

"I didn't lose it!" Petunia whined indignantly, scowling at Lily's martyred expression for a moment and turning away again.

Forget it, Lily urged herself, but it was nearly impossible.

Lily had been trying to stay on good terms with her sister for over six years now. Ever since she had been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, her relationship with Petunia had started to crumble, and it didn't seem like there was anything she could do to prevent it. Of course, she had never really been on good terms with her sister from the start; she now realized that most of her early childhood had been spent competing with Petunia for attention from their parents. When Lily had received her acceptance letter, Petunia seemed to take it as a personal insult. Since then, Lily had done everything in her power to repair their friendship. It wasn't easy though; Petunia was very stubborn.

Lily leaned her head carefully against the opposite window of her sister, idly watching the blur of colors and shapes of the houses, trees, and barns they passed. She picked up a few strands of her long, dark red hair and weaved it through her fingers again.

Instead of dwelling on her problems with her sister, she tried to imagine what she would face back at Hogwarts. This was her last year at Hogwarts, hence the most difficult. Lily had never had a problem with juggling her schoolwork at all – it was just something that came to her naturally. She'd never received a grade lower than an O in her entire school life and was determined to keep it that way. She was taking all the classes required in order to become an Auror – Defense Against the Dark Arts, Potions, Charms, Transfiguration, and Herbology. She had also received a letter a few days ago telling her that she would be Head Girl this year. Lily had been a Prefect for the past two years and would have been very disappointed if she did not become Head Girl. She was almost positive that Remus Lupin would be Head Boy; he had been a Prefect along with her for the past few years. It was very rare when a Prefect did not continue on to become Head Boy in the seventh year, but it was not impossible, either.

Lily knew that Dumbledore had made Remus Lupin a Prefect because he hoped it would help the boy keep his friends under control. Remus was part of a foursome along with Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and James Potter. The four of them, James and Sirius in particular, were always getting into some sort of trouble. Whether it was stealing food from the kitchen or hexing people in the corridors, they were constantly doing something exciting. Most girls in the school found it very endearing.

In fact, if Lily was being honest with herself, a very small part of her found it endearing as well, but she would never admit that to anyone. James hadn't exactly made it a secret that he fancied her, but Lily would never give him any kind of satisfaction, not if she could help it.

Even since the first two years at Hogwarts, it was almost impossible not to notice James Potter, what with his loud and obnoxious discussions with Sirius Black about his Quidditch matches. None of them had ever paid much attention to the girls, and vice versa. Lily had disliked the two boys ever since she had met them on her first train ride to Hogwarts, and she had never hung onto his every word the way some other silly girls at school had.

Sometime during third year, on a rainy Friday, Professor McGonagall was handing the students back their Transfiguration essays. James, whose best subject was Transfiguration, had made it a habit to rumple his hair and look around to make sure no one had gotten marks as high as his. Lily, who was sitting right behind him, had been soothing her friend Alice.

"It's all right, Alice," she had been saying quietly, gently rubbing her friend's back, "I'm sure people get A's all the time. It just means you have to put a little more effort into it."

She had been right; people all around them were looking crestfallen. Just then, she noticed James Potter gaping at her paper.

"What?" she hissed, snatching it away.

She had not meant to sound so harsh, but she was quite alarmed at being caught. She hadn't exactly advertised her grades, in an effort to be modest.

"You got an O," James had said, almost inaudibly. He no longer looked as proud as he had before.

A faint blush crept over her skin, and she couldn't think of anything to say. She had never really noticed James Potter before – at least not in this way. James had seemed almost as flustered as she was.

"How?" he probed gently.

"I'm not sure, I put a lot of effort into my homework," Lily had responded faintly, still uncomfortable.

More and more heads were turning in their direction, and Lily could hear several people whispering to each other, but Lily didn't notice; she was too busy scrutinizing James' expression. She realized that it was the first time she had seen – or noticed – him take anything seriously.

It was also the last time. Since that day, James seemed to always treat it as a joke; teasing Lily by saying that one day he would find out how she jinxed everyone else's papers so hers was the best. At first, it had been flattering, but after a while it became a little overwhelming. Lily always ended up irritated with herself for not being able to think of a witty remark to respond to him.

"Don't you see?" Lily's friend Marlene had asked after Lily had confided everything to her.

"See what?" Lily demanded.

"He fancies you, Lily, it's so obvious!" Marlene all but shrieked, and Lily could see that she had been bouncing with excitement during Lily's entire story.

"Go to Hogsmeade with him next weekend!" she urged Lily.

"No!" Lily hissed after looking around to make sure no one was eavesdropping.

"Lily, you silly goose!" Marlene chided her. "Almost everyone would die to go out with James Potter, and you…"

But Lily wasn't listening. She doubted very much that James fancied her, but she felt warmer towards him after that.

Her sudden positive opinions of him, however, were ruined very quickly. A few weeks after that one Transfiguration class, they had had been feeding Flobberworms in Care of the Magical Creatures, and Professor Kettleburn had run back to the castle to get more lettuce from the greenhouse.

Lily had been feeding lettuce to one of the Flobberworms when she noticed a huge crowd. She moved closer to find out what all the fuss was about and gasped when she saw that one of the Flobberworms was four times the size it had been before, and steam was gushing out of its ears. James Potter was standing proudly in front it with his wand out. Several girls were screaming, and most of the boys were guffawing.

"Stop!" Lily shouted at James.

He looked at her questioningly.

"Why? It's not bothering you."

"Stop! You're hurting it!"

James pretended to deliberate for a second.

"Hm…I'll make you a deal, Evans. If you go to Hogsmeade with me, I won't lay a wand on a Flobberworm ever again."

His brown eyes were hopeful. Lily could hear several "Ooooo"s.

"I will never go out with someone like you, Potter," Lily finally said, her voice cold. "Leave it alone, now, " she ordered, feeling like a mother speaking to her five-year-old child.

James, sighed, resigned, and to Lily's shock, he muttered a few counter-curses, and the crowd watched with disappointed eyes, as the Flobberworm shrunk to its original size – clearly they had been hoping for more entertainment.

"Thank you," Lily had said to James coolly.

"You're welcome, " James had responded, just as cool.

Lily tried to ignore how much the coolness of his voice hurt her. She had seen what James had done to the Flobberworm and could not allow that to be her. She wouldn't allow James to take advantage of her like that.

James' persistence was everlasting, though. He constantly followed her around in school, carved her initials into the snitches he nicked, passed her notes in class…Lily couldn't help but feel a little impressed by him. This was until she had seen him hexing her former best friend, Severus Snape. How was he any better than the loathsome Death Eaters, if he hexed people for the fun of it?

It's not the same thing, An annoying voice in her head argued. James never uses Dark Arts.

She refused to give him the time of the day, though. She had watched James toy with the girls' feelings, and vowed to herself that she would never become like every other girl, fall into the trap – she would never give in to James Potter.

"Lily, we're here," Lily's mother's gentle voice broke into her reverie.

Lily's head snapped up. She unbuckled her seat belt, opened the door, and walked silently with her parents and sister. She clasped her bag in one hand, and a cage with a tiny, white owl in the other.

She vaguely noticed people carrying owls who were probably off to Hogwarts as well, but didn't acknowledge them. Instead, she was trying to estimate whether she would have enough time to change into her school robes before the Prefect's meeting began.

They had finally reached platform nine. With a sigh, she kissed her parents goodbye and waved at Petunia - who glared in return - and rushed through the barrier that led to platform nine and three quarters.