Changing Perceptions

A James and Lily Fan-Fiction

Part One--Lily

I heard Petunia screech at whatever had just hit the window. Instinctively, I knew it was an owl, but from whom, I could not guess. Mary was still on holiday; Pamela wrote me the other day. And, of course, Severus wouldn't have written to me at all. Even though it had been over a year since we had our falling out, it still hurt that my friend, the first magical person I had ever met, considered me beneath him, when he was not much better than I, as far as blood status went. I sighed heavily and continued reading my book, waiting for my horse-faced sister to bring me whatever message the owl had brought.

I didn't have to wait long. She barged into my room and flung an envelope at me, just missing me. I looked down and didn't recognize the writing.

"Some stupid owl brought that for you," she huffed brusquely as she turned around and exited my room.

"Thanks," I said to the empty room.

I picked up the letter from the floor and tore open the flap, unfolding the white parchment inside. I scanned to the end and gasped when I saw who it was from.


Why the bloody hell is he writing to me? I wondered and considered chucking the damn thing in the bin. But part of me was so bored this summer that I began to read.


How's your holiday? I hope you're doing well. You've probably got all your homework done already, don't you?

I chuckled. I did.

You're most likely wondering why I'm writing to you and if you actually are reading this, then curiosity must have got the best of you. Well, it's a long story.

Sirius came down with Dragon Pox, something he got from Maggie Baker. Poor bloke is in quarantine in the guest house. Mum and Dad have had it, so they go visit him. But I have to stay away from my best friend because I haven't had the bloody pox yet. I argued until I was blue in the face, but then Mum started bawling, and so here I am, without anyone my age to talk to. He does send me messages about every hour or so. He's bored out of his skull, too. Can't blame him.

Remus is away in Ireland with his parents. His grandmother passed a few days ago. He was pretty close to her and I think he's taking it pretty hard.

Peter isn't much fun these days. He's been moody and acting strange for the past couple weeks. I can't get a straight answer out of him and really don't feel like trying to figure out what's going on with him.

So, here I am writing to you, trying to figure out what to say to you. And to see if I can actually get it out.

Okay, here goes.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry for acting like a prat ever since I met you. I'm sorry for annoying you and bothering you every second. It's just that I really think you're pretty and smart and witty, and I just want to get to know you better, that's all. I'll understand if you never want to talk to me again.

Anyway, I really do hope your summer is going well.


Instead of crumpling up the letter like I would have last summer had he sent this, I reread it and noticed that his normal cocky attitude was missing. He was also careful not to swear in his writing, which was really the most interesting part of the letter.

"Has he grown up?" I asked Persephone, my silver cat, who was sunbathing on the quilt at the foot of my bed. She didn't bother to respond. But inside, I think I knew what the answer was.

Over the next fortnight, James and I exchanged letters, and I found myself looking forward to my sister bellowing out for me. The letters he wrote began to contain more and more personal information, making me wonder if he had some sort of ulterior motive in writing to me other than to relieve his boredom.

The fourth letter I received from him was more personal than the others, and I think it was the one that made the first chink in the armour I'd donned to defend myself from James Potter.


I've realized something about myself. I'm an idiot. You've probably known that for a long time now. And here I thought I was smart.

So, yeah, I'm an idiot. A pompous, self-righteous git.

I don't want to be like my parents, Lily. They've got their noses stuck up their arses at times and think they are Merlin's gift to the world. I thought that for a long time, too. I thought that just because I was a Pureblood and rich that the world owed me respect. Sirius did for a while, too, until his mother blew a gasket and he ran away. He tried to get me to change my ideas for a while, and now I know he was right. I'm not better than anyone else.

I don't know if you get the Prophet, but that's what sparked it all.

My father really made me mad this morning. He was reading the paper and began grumbling about something he'd read. I asked him what it was and he told me about this article talking about more respectful treatment of werewolves and their parents, something he always talked about. Anyway, Dad began spewing about how werewolves are a disgrace to wizard kind and that they should all be killed as soon as they were bitten and the parents who "allowed" their children to be contaminated should be stripped of their wands.

I was so angry with him that I asked him what he'd do if I was ever bitten. I said, "Would you kill me, too?" The bastard looked at me, gathered his thoughts, and said, "We're too good to get involved with that dirty kind of wizard."

Yes, he said that. I'm not making it up.

How could my father say something like that? How could he believe something so horrible and narrow-minded? I always looked up to him, always thought he was the best man in the world. I mean, they gave me everything I ever wanted when I was growing up, but I knew I couldn't end up like that—thinking that people were disposable like that, based on certain circumstances in their lives. It's just not right.

You probably don't believe any of this, and frankly, I don't blame you. But it's true. I don't like what I had become and don't want to turn into my father.

Sorry this has been such a depressing letter, Lily, but I really wanted to tell you. Sirius says I'm maturing. Yeah, right.



After I finished that letter, I had to stop and wipe tears from my eyes, crying for more than one reason. First off, I was shocked to hear that James' father held those sorts of idiotic beliefs about people, whether they were considered 'normal' or not. Second, I was taken aback by how passionately James felt about something like that. I had never met a werewolf, therefore can't really say whether they deserved to be treated as other wizards. But, surely, they couldn't all be bad, right? And finally, I shocked myself by seeing him as a person.

After years of thinking of him as nothing but an irritating fly, I began to think of James as a friend, a friend I should have had for years. I now understood the reason for his swagger and his attitude; he was only living the way he was raised. But somehow, the idea that he trusted me with this information made me realize that perhaps there was more to him than I once thought.

"And he told you that?" asked Mary McDonald.

Mary had come over the day after I received the letter from James, and I had to tell her. She was my best girlfriend, after all. How could I not tell her?

"Yeah. I can't imagine how he felt hearing that." I threw the magazine I had been looking at on the floor next to Mary and hung my head over the edge of my bed to look at the floor. "But is it true? Are his parents really like that?"

Mary, like James, was Pureblood, and her family ran in the same circles as his. Actually, she had dated him for a short time back in our third year.

She bit her lower lip and looked directly at me, nodding her head imperceptibly.

"They are. His mum's not as bad as his dad, though," she said offhandedly. "My dad doesn't much care for Mr. Potter, Cornelius. He's old, I mean moth ball old, Lil."

"You're kidding! I thought they were my parents' age," I told her as I began chewing on the fingernail of my thumb.

"Nope. I think his dad's like a hundred and ten—"

"No!" I slid off the bed onto the floor next to her on the floor.

Mary swallowed the water she had in her mouth and picked up one of the magazines from the pile.

"Lily, not all wizards settle down right out of school," she pointed out.

"I know that. Obviously they got married real late in life."

"Well," she began, thumbing through the copy of Vogue, "Thora, his mum, was a Healer at St. Mungo's for ages. She was in Nana's class at Hogwarts and they were pretty good friends. They'd get together once a week for tea until Nana died. Anyway, when Thora retired from the hospital, she met Cornelius, who was some sort of benefactor for the hospital or something like that. Oooh! Look at that!"

She held up a photo of a model wearing a miniskirt with patent leather white boots. I pushed the magazine aside, wanting to continue our conversation.

"Mary, come on, finish this," I chastised.

She let out a huff. "Didn't know you cared," she teased.

I knew her well enough to know what she was thinking. And if I were really honest with both of us, I'd admit that I was actually beginning to care about him and perhaps, even as more than just a friend.

Shaking my head to clear my thoughts, I reminded her, "Weren't you supposed to be telling me something?"

"I know what's going on in that head of yours, Evans, and it's about time, too," she stated, barely hiding the smirk forming in the corners of her mouth. "He's been slobbering after you for years and I see how your looks get longer and longer. I've seen the way you stare at him when he's not looking."

My cheeks grew warm.

"I do not!"

"You do, too!" she said with a giggle. "I've watched you staring across the common room at him for almost two years, Lil, ever since you and Sev—"

"Don't!" I held up my hands in an attempt to halt her speech. I hated it whenever his name was brought up; his betrayal and self-righteous attitude made my stomach burn.

"Sorry, Lily, really I am." She scooted over on the floor next to me and looked at me sideways. "So, get out that stash of hashish you were telling me about."

Two days after Mary visited, I was sitting in the back garden, drinking a glass of iced tea when I heard the phone ring inside the house. I didn't think too much of it, as it was most likely Petunia's whale of a fiancé. I hated Vernon, the blow hard, and I had a deep-seeded feeling that he would change my sister into more of a bigot than she already was. It was just a feeling, and I hoped I was wrong.

"LILY!!" came Petunia's voice from the kitchen. "PHONE call!"

I groaned. I knew that particular tone of voice. She was most likely expecting it to be Vernon and the fact that someone was calling for me simply added to her irritation. Still grasping my glass, I got off my chair and walked into the kitchen, enjoying the feel of the grass on my feet.

"Here. It's a boy," she said through gritted teeth. "Don't take too long. I'm expecting a call. From Vernon." The tone of her voice as she said his name nearly made me throw up.

"Thanks." I stared at her as she just stood there. "Er, can I have a moment?"

She huffed her answer and turned around, leaving me alone in the kitchen.

"This is Lily."

"Hey, Evans."

It was James. Somehow, I felt a bit of a thrill in the pit of my stomach.

"James? What are you calling me for?" I sat down at the small phone desk and stretched out my legs onto a chair.

"A bloke can't call without it being a prearranged time?" There was laughter in his voice.

I chuckled at his comment. I'd told him in a letter that Vernon and Petunia spoke on the phone at predetermined times of the day. We both thought it was rather amusing.

"Well, I'll let it slide this time."

He laughed.

"Good, because I don't know how long this pay phone will let me talk."

"You're in a phone box? Where are you?"

"Outside the Leaky."

"You're in London?"

"You alright there, Evans? 'Cause I always thought you knew that the Leaky was in London. Where else would I be phoning from?"

"Sorry. So what are you doing in the city?"

Usually, when I was on the phone with a boy, I was confident and full of witty conversation. But James made me…silly. The butterflies inside my stomach hadn't settled down at all and in fact, I think they'd even changed to miniature hippogriffs, fighting their way to get free. I took a deep breath to calm myself down.

"Well, I got my Hogwarts letter yesterday and wanted to get my stuff early."

"Oh. I see."

Why was I disappointed that he didn't come to London specifically to see me? Why did my heart feel as if it had been stabbed?

"You alright, Lily?" His voice was full of concern, and it eased the constriction around my heart. There were very few times where he actually said my name, and to hear it over the phone was thrilling. Dear God, what was happening to me?

"Er, yeah. Sure."

"You don't sound alright. Is something wrong?"

I was speechless. He cared.

"No. Sorry about that."

"'s okay. So you get your letter yet?" He sounded excited about something.

"Well, yes. Yesterday morning."

I was named Head Girl, and Mum and Dad were thrilled, and we went out to a fantastic place for dinner to celebrate. Petunia was not in a celebratory mood.

"You're Head Girl, aren't you?" I could almost picture the smirk on his face and the way his lips parted to show off his well-maintained teeth.

"Yeah." I blushed.

"Well, congratulations. Always knew you would be."

"Thanks." My face heated again.

"Aren't you going to ask about me?"

Oh, he's a cheeky bugger.

"I'm just surprised that you advanced to seventh-year," I teased.

"Oh, Lily, you wound me."

He said my name again. Even though he was teasing me, the sound of my name from his lips sent my heart aflutter. I had to shake my head to rid myself of those sorts of ideas. This was James Potter, after all.

"Okay, fine. You're Quidditch captain, aren't you?" He was livid when McGonagall didn't name him captain last year. From the tone of his voice, I knew he had something to share, and this was the only thing I could think of.

"Alas, that is but a fading dream." He sighed heavily.

"What? You're kidding!"

"Nope. Not captain this year."

"So then, what's got you in such a good mood?"

Suddenly, it struck me as to what could be making him so happy. It couldn't be, could it? I mean, he never really buckled down in regards to his schoolwork like Remus did. But then, he had a lot of natural ability and had an uncanny knack for picking up on things quickly.

"Think, Lily." Somehow, I knew he was smiling.

"Head Boy?" I whispered.

"One and only."

Thoughts of James and I spending hours together, planning prefect meetings, making duty timetables, attending meetings with the headmaster, suddenly flooded my brain. A year ago, I would have loathed the idea of having to spend so much time with him. But instead of dread, I felt…excited. Happy, even.

"Congratulations!" I squealed at him.

"Well, that's a better reception than I could have hoped for."

"You must have really worked hard last year."

"Yeah. Finally decided that if I wanted to make something of myself, I'd better buckle down. Appears to have paid off."

"In spades, I'd say. That's excellent!"

"Really? Are you being honest?" He sounded suddenly very serious. "I mean, we'll be spending a lot of time together with meetings and all. I don't want to go through the year with you hating me."

That was a shock.

"I…I don't hate you, James."

"So the last six years was merely foreplay?"

"N—no! I mean, I never—hated you." Why was I feeling this way? Why was James making me feel like a little lovestru—

What? What the bloody hell am I thinking?

"Well, seemed that way to me." He sounded hurt and knowing that I was responsible for that hurt tore me to the quick.

"You were just…annoying."

"That's putting it mildly. Really, it's okay to say you hate me."

"That's not true! I don't hate you, James. Honest. I didn't know you all that well and now…and now, I—"

"Do?" His voice was just above a whisper.

"Yes," I whispered back. "I enjoy getting your letters. You—you've shared so much with me."

"Wish I'd done it years ago."

I felt myself blush yet again.

"Me, too." There was silence on the other end and for a moment, I thought he'd hung up. "James? James, are you still there?"

"Yeah. I am." I could imagine the feel of his breath against my neck and I shivered.

"Good." Again, there was silence on the line.

"LilydowannameetmeinDiagonAlleytoday?" I'd never heard James sound so nervous about something. Or, perhaps, excited.

Without thinking, I grinned broadly.

"Yes, of course," I answered quickly.

"Brilliant! When can you get here?"

I had to laugh.

"A bit excited, are we?"


"It's fine. Uh, I can probably be there in half an hour."

"Okay. We could, er, get our school stuff."


My heartbeat sped up in anticipation. I don't know what possessed me to actually become excited over seeing James Potter again, but for the moment, I didn't question myself.