Author Notes: After getting some reviews of my story What Could Have Been, I've decided to develop it into a full-fledged alternate universe story. It begins with what I consider canon, although some may disagree--it's Lily/Sev and Lily/James. It will become AU at approximately chapter 5. I'm hoping to tell the alternate history of Harry Potter--and his parents. Without further ado, chapter 1 of Harry Potter and the Evans-Snapes!
Tangled Love Lives
James Potter was bored. He and his three best friends had just pulled off a truly magnificent prank on the Slytherins, but since they hadn't gotten caught, there was no Professor McGonagall lecture to attempt to evade, no detention to be deftly sidestepped, no admiring glances from his fellow Gryffindors on account of his daring (well, not no such glances, perhaps—he was still James Potter).
Normally, when he passed fiery, red-headed Evans in the hall, her exquisite beauty might briefly register with him, but then duty (in the form of his next truly magnificent prank, or Transfiguration books on Animagi) would call, and he would quickly forget about the beautiful Evans.
Not so today. There was nothing to do. And when he saw Evans, as they were queuing up for Charms class, he realized the time had come to grant her fondest wish. Ignoring Sirius's amused look, Pete's low-voiced encouragement, and Remus's eloquent eye-roll, he approached her.
She turned, her Charms book in her arms, and her green eyes flashing dangerously. Belatedly, James realized she must still be mad about the Halloween Incident. Furthermore, she always hung around with greasy, Slytherin Snivellus, much to the confusion of her own Housemates.
"What?" she asked now in a long-suffering tone.
"Go out with me, Evans!" James said, as though no girl could refuse his kind invitation.
Lily sniffed. "I think I'll pass, thanks."
James couldn't believe his ears: "What?" he asked, flabbergasted.
"I said, I think I'll pass. Now find some other girl to bother, Potter."
"But, Evans!" exclaimed James. "I love you! My heart is at your feet! This isn't a casual intrigue!" As he spoke, he was startled to realize he was telling the truth. Lily Evans was the perfect woman.
Lily glared. "No, thank you. How many times do I have to say it before the message penetrates your thick head?"
"Evans! Come on, just go out with me! You know you want to…" James continued, lowering his voice suggestively.
Lily's glare became, if possible, icier. "You arrogant toerag, Potter! Leave me alone."
Before James could continue declaring his undying love, Professor Flitwick arrived and opened the door to the classroom. Lily swept past him with her nose in the air. James gazed at her as one entranced. Their classmates snickered behind their hands—no one wanted to offend popular James Potter, but quite a few of his classmates rather enjoyed seeing him taken down a wand or two.
Sirius patted him on the back consolingly, and Peter launched into a quiet diatribe against Lily Evans under cover of the noise of everyone settling into their seats. Remus simply ignored the situation, with the ease of long practice; opening his Charms book, he slumped slightly and fixed his eyes determinedly on the page. Although his friends seemed to feel that this humiliating scene had been rather in the nature of a setback, James knew that it was no such thing—quite the reverse. Although he would certainly have denied it, the fact remained that Evans's categoric refusal had only served to strengthen his fascination with her. Indeed, she was the perfect woman.
James, thus undaunted by Lily's first refusal, had asked her out fifty-seven times by the end of the week. Any vestiges of politeness had quickly left her answers. Indeed, he no longer even had to say the words, at times: if Lily saw him coming, she simply said, "No, Potter."
Still, when James saw her talking to Snivellus, their heads bent so close together over a Potions book that Snape's greasy locks touched the fiery halo shot through with red and gold (a Gryffindor banner, almost) that was generally referred to as Lily's hair, he lost his temper.
"Hey, Snivellus!" he called insultingly. They both turned; Snape turned red with anger, and Lily rolled her eyes eloquently. James Summoned the Potions book, knowing this would infuriate Snape.
It did; Snape pulled out his wand, attempting to Summon it back, but James countered with a fast Protego.
He flipped the book open carelessly, and was momentarily surprised at the sharp, cramped writing in the margins. Needless to say, annotations weren't his thing. He peered closer, trying to discern the words. "Godric, Snape, your handwriting's terrible," he said absently, squinting.
The attack, when it came, took him by surprise. One minute he was trying to make out what he was pretty sure were some sort of alternate instructions under Wit-Sharpening Potion, the next he was dangling upside down by his left ankle. He managed to keep a grip on his wand, but the book fell from his hands to the floor. Snape darted over and grabbed it, shoving it into his bag. James stared at him—had Snape dared—actually dared—to use James and Sirius's favorite spell, Levicorpus, on him? There seemed no other explanation—until he peered around into the angry face of Lily Evans, her wand pointed directly at his heart. She gave him a sarcastic smile, and flicked her wand. He fell to the floor with a clatter, and got up clumsily.
Lily sank gracefully back into her seat, pulling a long sheet of parchment covered in tiny script toward her. She tossed her hair absently to prevent a long red tendril from landing in the inkwell, and spoke as if she'd dismissed the incident.
"So, anyway, Sev, I don't see why you have to grind the scarab beetles with a mortar and pestle; surely crushing them with the flat of a knife would be just as effective—and far less time-consuming. "
Snape glanced smugly at James before bending close to answer Lily. "That does work, but it changes the composition slightly, resulting in a rather unpleasant side-effect…"
James seethed with rage. Quite irrationally, he blamed this latest humiliation on Snape. What was he doing having such execrable handwriting, anyway? And what sort of bizarre magic made Lily support Snape to such a degree that she would actually hex him, James Potter, the love of her life (though she didn't know it yet)? His rage and indignation over this episode exercised his mind to such an extent that he quite failed to Transfigure his hedgehog into a pincushion, and Professor McGonagall assigned him extra homework. This not unnaturally raised his anger to fever pitch, since, as Sirius remarked, he was rather known for being a genius at Transfiguration, and they were nearly ready to start turning themselves into animals at will.
Consequently, when he next saw Snape, he was betrayed into a somewhat premature statement.
"Listen, Snivellus," James said snidely after dinner, cornering Snape in the Entrance Hall (momentarily somewhat deserted), "don't you dare use Lily as some kind of shield—too much of a coward to face me on your own?"
"Whereas you just need three mates at your back before you'll fight, Potter," Snape spat, scowling.
James thought about making a sharp answer to this, but could find no logical argument to refute it. So he fell back upon an old Muggle classic (he and Sirius were quite fond of the Muggle comic the X-Men). "Just stay away from my girl, Snape," he said aggressively.
Snape's reaction was…not what he had expected. He stared at James in blank astonishment for a moment, then spoke. "Your girl?" he was angry and incredulous. "Your girl?"
James frowned. The rage he had expected—he had known Snape for his rival for years now—even before he knew he loved Lily. But surely this blank shock was going a little far…?
"Potter," Snape said dangerously (and yet with the faintest hint of laughter in his voice), "Lily will never be your girl." And, with a swirling of robes, he was gone before James could hex him. Furious—James might be used to Evans making him look and feel like a fool, but to have Snape do so was going too far—James stomped off to the Gryffindor common room. Maybe he could get a little sympathy from his friends.
Not long after that, certain portions of the Slytherin benches in the Great Hall were transmuted—they continued to appear solid, but those people sitting upon them found themselves falling ignominiously to the floor. Needless to say, Professor Slughorn was not pleased.