A/N: Hey, everyone! This is a story that's been in the making for a long time. I have another two chapters already done, but I don't know if I'll continue much past that. It all depends on the response I get here. If people really like it, I'll try to come up with more. Anyway, enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own any information that appears in the Harry Potter books. That all belongs to J.K. Rowling. Anything familiar probably isn't mine so don't sue me for using it :D
Chapter 1: Diagon Alley
He had everything according to the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: the house, the money, the broom, the looks, and the talent; he would have readily agreed with them his first year at school, but it was now his seventh, and last year at Hogwarts and he would give it all up in a heartbeat if only he could have her.
James Potter gazed dreamily out of the window of his room atop his parents' mansion at the rain and sighed yet again.
"You still pining over Lily, mate?" Sirius asked, setting his new Cleansweep carefully down on his friend's bed.
"Pining, no. Planning, yes. This is the year. It has to be. If I don't make my Lily Flower fall in love with me, I may never see her again."
"What could you possibly do this year that you haven't already tried in the last six?" Sirius stretched his arms above his head and lay down on the bed, carefully avoiding the new broom. "Except, of course, being yourself around her."
James stifled a yawn before replying. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do exactly, but I'm not waiting around for a miracle." He yawned again.
"Stop trying to impress her," Sirius suggested again before standing and leaving his fellow marauder to his thoughts.
James glanced at his clock: eleven fifty-seven. He climbed into bed and fell asleep to thoughts of Lily.
Sirius bounded into James's room the next morning with a roll of parchment in his hand, followed closely by an owl that fluttered over to James and began nipping his finger until he awoke—James had closed his window the night before to block out the rain.
"Booklists!" Sirius exclaimed happily, bouncing on James's bed.
James just groaned in reply but sat up and relieved the owl of its burden. "Why is this so heavy?" He broke the Hogwarts seal and found, to his and Sirius's surprise, a Head Boy badge enclosed along with the usual book and supply lists.
"I'm Head Boy?"
"You? You're sure this is your letter, not Remus's? Has Dumbledore lost his touch or… something?"
As if he believed Sirius's suggestion he checked the envelope. Written in emerald green ink (like Lily's eyes, James reflected), was written his name and exact address.
"Prongs, don't you realize what this means?"
"Padfoot, I can't abuse this position. If I catch you pranking a Slytherin while I'm on duty, I will have to give you detention."
"No! Though, that does put you in a tough spot… But think of who you'll be working with! Evans is obviously going to be Head Girl; we've known it since third year. This is your chance!"
A familiar glint revealed itself in James's eye. This was exactly what he needed; this was his chance and he wasn't going to blow it.
"I suddenly have an urge to visit Diagon Alley, my dear Padfoot. Gather your things." James finally clambered out of bed and made his way to the bathroom where he took a quick shower and pulled on some muggle pants: old faded blue-jeans with holes in the knees (reminders of the times he had spent rolling around on the floor fighting. Whether it had been Slytherins or Sirius that had finally ripped them, he didn't know, but they were his favorite). Once back out in his room he dug in his school trunk and found the shirt he was looking for. If Lily was going to be at Diagon Alley he was going to make a good impression he thought as he buttoned the flattering black polo shirt with his trademark golden snitch embroidered on the left side.
He met Sirius in the kitchen, grabbed a piece of toast from the platter laid out by the Potter's house elf, Tibby, and stuffed it into his mouth before summoning some parchment, ink, and a quill and jotting down a quick note in his messy, loopy handwriting.
"Ready?" Sirius questioned.
James nodded and spun on the spot remembering the three D's they had been taught the past year: Destination, Determination, and Deliberation. He felt the horrible pressing sensation that comes along with Apparating but seconds later he opened his eyes to find himself exactly where he had meant to be, right outside the Leaky Cauldron. The two friends found it easier to appear there than inside Diagon Alley; you have much less of a risk of landing on top of someone unexpectedly.
A loud crack resounded and Sirius appeared beside him. They walked in, said a quick hello to Tom, the bartender, and walked to the back. James took out his wand and tapped the wall three times. Once the archway opened James and Sirius stepped through into the bustling wizarding marketplace of Diagon Alley.
They were hailed from all directions to which they waved or smiled but upon hearing "Padfoot! Prongs!" they wheeled around and soon spotted their friend Remus Lupin fighting his way through the mass of people.
"Moony!" James exclaimed, clapping his friend on the back. "How have you been?" His eyes portrayed his hidden meaning.
"I've been alright, though last Thursday could have been better. Things are always better with you guys."
"Next time, mate. Next time…" James reassured his friend.
"James, no more rule breaking for you. You're Head Boy," Sirius reminded him.
"Sometimes there are exceptions to the rules where even those enforcing the rules must break them for the well being of a friend."
"You don't have—" Lupin began to remind his friend. He often told them not to go with him on the full moons but they always talked him around.
"I know, Remus. I know I don't have to, but I want to."
"Have you seen any of our friends? Wormtail, for instance?" Sirius questioned referring to their tag-along Peter Pettigrew.
"No. He's coming here next week with his father, but I have seen our little Rose," Remus said with a smirk and a suggestive look at James.
"She's here?" James was suddenly alert and ready. His hand flew to his hair before he realized what he had done and lowered it once again to his side with a weak chuckle. 'Rose' was the Marauders' nickname for Lily. They'd made it up in their fourth year when James had come to terms with his crush on her and she had started to tolerate the Marauders less and less. A lily had no thorns and Lily Evans wasn't by any means defenseless.
"She's at Flourish and Blotts – the new book store here – buying her books and wondering who made Head Boy. She's in for a big surprise," he laughed.
Sirius glanced at James and sighed. His friend was staring hungrily at the bookstore's sign. "What do you think he'd do to us if we went to buy robes first?" he joked.
"Hex us like we were Slytherins?" Remus suggested.
"No, I'd hex you like you were Snivelous," James said. "Can we get going already?"
"I've already got my books, but I'll go with. Come on, Sirius, and get that evil look out of your eyes."
The three friends made their way down the crowded street to the bookstore. As James pulled the door open, a bell rang deep inside the store, and a man just a little older than the Marauders popped up behind the counter.
"Hogwarts? Which books?" the assistant asked as they approached the desk.
"Same as my buddy Lupin here," Sirius answered, pulling out his Hogwarts letter, though it contained a list of books that any seventh year student would need for classes at N.E.W.T. level.
of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Seventh-year students will require:
Three sets of plain work robes (black)
One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)
One pair of dress robes
Please not that all pupils' clothes should carry nametags
All students should have a copy of each of the following for the classes they are taking at N.E.W.T. level:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 7) by Miranda Goshawk (Charms)
An In-depth History of Magic by Albert Quillmer (History of Magic)
Advanced Potion Making by Nicolas Pevertius (Potions)
One Thousand More Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore (Herbology)
More Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (Care of Magical Creatures)
501 Advanced Defense Spells and How to Use Them by Ronald Coville (Defense Against the Dark Arts)
Advanced Transfiguration by Trans Powers (Transfiguration)
Reading the Stars (Predictions and Omens) by if you don't know you shouldn't be reading it (Divination)
Advanced Rune Translations by Alianne Pierce
Muggles: Why They do What They Do by A True Muggle
Advanced Arithmancy by Emeric Trimble
2 cauldrons (pewter, sizes 2 and 4) (Potions)
1 set glass or crystal phials (Potions)
1 telescope (Divination)
1 set brass scales (Potions and Herbology)
Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad
"Ah, going to be Aurors, are you?" he asked, pushing a stack of five books to both boys. "More power to you. With all this evil popping up we need more of them. We're coming on Dark Times… That's what my mum says, she went to one of those Seers."
"Er—thanks," James said. "Come on, let's find her." They wound in between the shelves of books, looking for a bit of red hair. Occasionally one of them would see something interesting and pause to take a closer look. After they searched the entire store they left. Assuming that she was now in one of the many other stores they went on with their shopping. James needed a new pair of dragon hide gloves and Sirius was running low on Potions supplies so they went to the potion supply store.
Then, learning that Lupin had saved enough money to finally buy himself a tawny barn owl, they made their way to the Magical Menagerie.
"Look at this cat!" Sirius said, wandering around the shop. The cat in question was a beautiful tiger cat. Its name, the assistant informed them, was fittingly Tiger. "If I didn't already have an owl, I'd buy him."
"Actually, I've already bought her," Lily Evans said, stepping out from behind one of the many shelves carrying a collar, some food, and other things for her newly purchased magical cat.
James's hand flew to his hair again, this time not noticing. "Hey, Lily."
"Potter," she acknowledged. "Black, Remus. Where's Peter? Not part of today's plotting?"
The use of Remus and Peter's first names but not his own or Sirius' did not escape him but he forced himself to answer evenly. "No more plotting, Lily," James swore. "I'm a changed man," he said, stressing the word 'man'.
"And what makes you think that I'm going to believe that? You've been pranking people since your first year – all four of you. Why have you made such a sudden change?"
"You haven't heard yet? I'm your partner in crime this year," James told her arrogantly as he walked over to the counter so that he was standing next to her. As he talked he gently stroked Tiger's orange-white fur.
"What do you mean?" Lily asked tiredly. She never understood why he couldn't get right to the point. Only a corner of her brain registered that he was standing so close and wasn't actually doing anything wrong. In fact, Tiger seemed particularly drawn to him, more so than she had to anyone but Lily herself. Unfortunately the rest of her mind and her mouth decided to say, "And get your hand out of hair. It's plenty ruffled already. Quidditch hasn't even started yet."
"But hun, at James's house, Quidditch never ends!" Sirius explained in such a serious tone that Remus almost laughed.
"To answer your question though," James said returning to the previous topic and taking his hand out of his hair, "I'm Head Boy."
"You!? You're joking, right? Has Dumbledore gone mad?"
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Lily. Might I remind you that I tied you for OWLS last year? And the times I got caught performing a prank were very few."
Lily laughed scathingly. "The times you got caught were few, James, but the times you were suspected or known by Dumbledore were many. I can't believe that he's appointed you Head Boy!"
James loved her laugh. Actually, when he thought about it, he loved everything about her: her smile, her bright green eyes, her flaming red hair, her attitude, her intelligence…
Remus poked James in the back covertly. When James turned around he mouthed, "You're staring."
"Well, Lily, I was thinking that you and I should get together next week to get Head things straightened out before the meeting on the Hogwarts Express," referring to the Prefects meeting where the Heads explained the rules and duties of the Prefects and handed out rounds.
"Potter, why would I want to spend more time with you than I need to? Anyway, the last week of my vacation I'm spending with Michelle and Kimberly, not with the Marauders." Lily used James's last name even after noting the use of her first. Michelle Clark and Kimberly McIntire were Lily's best friends and roommates along with Alice Greenly in Gryffindor tower.
An idea hit Sirius; "They can all stay at your house, James! Remus and Peter are going to be there for the last week, you might as well throw an all-out party!"
"As tempting as that sounds," Lily said. "I'd believe I'm speaking for all of my friends when I say thanks, but no thanks."
"Lily, I really would like to work on Heads business; nothing else, I promise. One day, that's all I ask. I'm trying to take this seriously."
"Fine, Potter. Monday, meet me at Florean's at three o'clock. If you're late, I'll leave. I am supposed to be at Kimberly's house at five. That gives us two hours."
As Lily turned to walk away James lightly caught her arm and turned her to face him again. "I'm assuming you know my first name, Lily. I would prefer that you use it," he told her quietly, a pure look of innocence and hopefulness evident in his hazel eyes.
Please review! If you liked it, hated it, or were indifferent, I want to know! Constructive criticism is appreciated. If there's some way that I can improve, please let me know! Thanks for reading!