Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I didn't invent Harry Potter. I just love Harry Potter.
The Magic Word Is Sorry, Not Please
(Chapter One- Just How It Is)
Lily had possibly never been so uncomfortable in her life. With her face pressed up against the window and her family squashing themselves against her she couldn't even lift up her arm to wave goodbye to her family, who were taking up most of Platform 9 and 3/4.
And although, for a second, all the children were together, waving, when the train pulled far enough out of the station Lily could breathe again as her cousins and siblings leant back to sit on the seats or leave the compartment.
It was true what the kids in Hogwarts said; the Weasleys and Potters really did dominate the school. They tripled every other family in the school easily; whereas in most families you just have your brother and sister, Lily had her two brothers and six cousins. If you were ever in the Gryffindor common room, you could always find a Weasley or a Potter. There would always be a red head in there, practically matching the colour of the furnishings.
There was a joke in Hogwarts that Lily found out on her first day of school; that the sorting hat didn't even think about sorting the Weasleys or Potters any more, it simply heard their surname and shouted Gryffindor. It was true though, actually; Lily swore the hat didn't even touch her head before announcing her house to the hall.
That was when all her problems started.
Because she was sure that, unlike the rest of her family, she didn't belong in Gryffindor. She wasn't brave like James, Fred or Albus, she was not quite as fiercely loyal as Hugo or Louis and she wasn't as passionate or courageous as Rose, Dominique or Roxanne. She was just plain, boring, shy Lily. She didn't fit in her family of Gryffindor and she didn't fit in the Potters.
She didn't even look like them, she was sure. Sure, she had the red hair, but she could never quite work out where she'd inherited her eyes from. And she wasn't as beautiful as the other Weasley girls had grown up to be. Before, she and Rose had a connection; they used to be "the ugly Weasleys" together, but after this summer even Rose was one of the prettiest girls in the school. It had almost happened overnight. One day she suddenly seemed to suit her long hair (the brown inherited from her Mother but the straightness from her Father) and out of nowhere she suddenly looked more feminine. And like that she was a "Weasley girl" and Lily was on her own.
Lily was always on her own.
Everyone said that, collectively, the Weasleys and Potters ruled the school. And as much as the rest of them wouldn't admit it, Lily knew it was true. Everyone loved them. Every one of them. And not just because of their surnames.
With James and Fred together trying to live up to their namesakes they'd become the most legendary pranksters in the school, although their parents claimed that they could never beat "that firework day".
Dominique was in seventh year with them, and her rebelling ways combined with her inherited Veela charm made everyone (although admittedly, the boys were certainly more obvious with their opinions) think she was best person to ever set foot in Hogwarts.
Roxy (or Roxanne), Fred's twin, and her best friend, Louisa Hall (who James had spent the entire four years of Lily's school life relentlessly asking out) were the first girls to ever be named joint Head Girls in the history of Hogwarts. This was because (as it said in the letter Lily's Grandma had read out to the other Weasley children as "inspiration" multiple times this Summer) it was "Simply impossible to choose between the two most exemplary pupils Hogwarts has seen in it's last decade." Combining that with the fact Roxanne was also dating the head boy, Craig Cunningham, she was easily the most influential person in the school.
Then there was Rose and Albus. Rose was the smartest girl in her year, her only competition being fellow Gryffindor and best friend Scorpius Malfoy. And Albus? Well he was the best Quidditch player Hogwarts had seen since their father. Better, actually, because he'd beaten his Dad's game wins back in fifth year and was now blazing his own record. He was undefeated. In fact, the only thing Albus really ever got passionate about was Quidditch, other than that he was pretty quiet, compared to his brother and older cousins.
Then there was Louis, the only Weasley representative in fifth year. He was the kind of person who didn't need to make an effort. He had everything handed to him, because he was good looking and his surname was Weasley. His only failing was Quidditch, which he claimed was a "pointless sport anyway". Rose and Lily's Aunt Hermione had always agreed with Louis on this subject, and together they had had many arguments with the rest of the Weasleys about the "necessity of flying", the longest of which had apparently lasted until 3am with Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione still yelling at each other alone with the rest of the family sleeping on the sofas around them.
The youngsters, Lily and Hugo were the last Weasleys and Potters that were going to be in the school for a good few years. And while Hugo was managing to slowly carve himself a reputation and his own personality, Lily was sure that she was going to be the most disappointing Potter to ever enter Hogwarts. She wasn't smart, she wasn't pretty, she wasn't funny, she didn't like to cause trouble and sometimes she could be annoyingly shy. The only thing she could do even half right was play Quidditch, but James wouldn't let her even try to get into the team. She was sure that if she didn't have her cousin Hugo around, she'd be completely alone in this school, famous Father or no famous Father. She was so unimportant it was almost funny.
It was just who she was. Who she'd always be. And she was terrified that one day, maybe today, the Sorting Hat wouldn't sing a song, but would instead announce that Lily Potter didn't belong in Gryffindor. She didn't belong in her family.
She didn't belong anywhere.
"Can't believe it's our last year." Fred sighed from the seat opposite James.
"No me neither." He replied, shaking his head. Seven years in Hogwarts had gone far faster than he wanted it to.
"What kind of trouble are we going to cause this year then, eh?"
James had wondered when this would come up. He folded his arms and looked up at his cousin. "We're... um, not."
Louis, next to him, instantly stopped eating his packed lunch and turned to look at James in awe. He'd always worshipped him, not that James was complaining. It wasn't like he wasn't used to being adored.
"You're not pranking this year?"
"Why?" Fred whined.
James bit his lip. He didn't want to tell the truth; that he was stopping his trouble-causing ways all for some girl. "Just... because it's our last year. We have to go out and get jobs next year and I don't want McGonagall to write us bad recommendation letters."
"But that's a year away!"
"Besides, I think the whole pranking thing's getting old and... boring." He lied.
Fred stared, his mouth slightly open. "Boring? Wha... Wait. This isn't about recommendation letters is it?" His mouth started to turn into a satisfied smile.
James should've known that Fred would work him out. Cousins, roommates and best mates; there was nothing Fred and James could hide from each other.
"This is about Louisa! Oh, James let it go!"
"No, listen, I have a plan this time-"
"A plan? So you've given up on repeatedly asking her out until she accidentally says yes?"
"Yes. I have actually. You see, I talked to Dad."
"And what exactly did The Great Harry Potter have to say?" Fred joked.
James sighed, and explained the conversation he had had with his Father that summer. Having finally had enough of his repeated rejections, he'd turned to his Dad and told him the story of him and Louisa. She seemed to hate him; she thought he was nothing but some sort of womanising trouble-maker, but James couldn't stop himself falling for her harder and harder each year. And what had The Magnificent Harry Potter done when his first born son had told him about his unsuccessful love life? He had laughed. He had laughed so hard that James wondered if Albus had turned his hair green again while he wasn't looking.
"What's so funny?" He asked, checking his hair was still the same old black in the window.
"Just... you reminded me of someone."
"Who? You and Mum?"
"No. My parents."
James stared back. He knew hardly anything about his Grandparents, considering the fact they died when his Dad was a baby. And he'd always assumed that his Dad knew just as little.
"Because my Dad was exactly the same. He spent all his time causing trouble, and the few minutes he had spare he spent asking out my Mum."
"How do you know?" James asked, only realising how insensitive he sounded after it'd come out of his mouth.
His Dad's eyes seemed to glaze over for a second, and then he sighed quickly as if trying to bring himself back into the room. He always did it, whenever anyone mentioned his parents or the war or Voldemort. James was used to it. All the Potter children were. And the Weasley children, come to think of it.
"I saw it in a memory. Well, I saw it in a few memories actually."
"Well, I mean, they must've got together eventually, otherwise you wouldn't be here. So what happened?"
"I don't know."
"Oh well that's really useful Dad!" James said sarcastically.
"I've never known, actually. I've just guessed. I think Mum realised she loved Dad, and he stopped being such a prat and started treating her like an actual human being. And then it just went on from there."
"So, what? I should stop having fun and turn all serious and boring. Basically morph into Al... and then I might be able to get Louisa to take me seriously?"
"Number one, your brother is not boring." James scoffed. "And number two, you don't have to stop having fun. Just, try and make Louisa see the other side of you; the one that's not just pratting about and asking her out all the time."
"...So that's what I'm doing."
"So basically you're turning into a boring sod just for one girl? There are hundreds of girls out there-"
"Says the guy who's had the same girlfriend since fifth year!"
Fred laughed. "Ok, good point well made. So you're seriously not pranking at all anymore?"
"Only a little bit."
"God." Fred stood up. "Hope she's worth it in the end, J."
"She will be. Where're you going?"
"Going to find Dom. She'll definitely want a legendary last year." He headed out of the carriage and James watch him leave. He wanted a legendary last year as well, but in different ways. It was ok for Fred; he got his dream girl two years ago. He could waste his time all he liked.
"It's so weird how similar you and Louisa are to Dad's parents." James heard from next to him. He turned around to see Lily sat there, looking up at him through her big brown eyes.
"They're our grandparents, Lils, not 'Dad's parents'". And how long have you been sat there?"
"Ever since we left London."
James stared down at her guiltily. He hadn't noticed she was there. She really needed to make more noise sometimes. "Where's Hugo?"
"Gone to find... someone."
"Why didn't you go too?"
"I don't know them." Lily shrugged.
"That doesn't matter. Get to know them, Lils."
She really was painfully shy; the horrible part of James sometimes wondered if she was really related to them.
She just shook her head and sighed. "It's fine. He should be back soon."
James nodded. "I'll stay here with you then."
"No it's fine. The prefects meeting'll finish in a minute, so Louisa'll be out in the train. You want to talk to her, right? Go."
James nodded and stood up, towering over Lily. He turned to look at Louis, raising his eyebrows at him in a way that he hoped would mean "Stay here with Lily" before leaving the compartment, sighing as he shut the door behind him.
His sister was a worry. She'd always been the quiet one, but James had just always been sure that one day she would find her voice. But no, it hadn't happened, and James was beginning to wonder it never would.
"Potter, you need to be changing into your robes soon." He turned and saw Louisa looking at him expectantly. She really was beautiful. On a whole new level, even when she was scowling at him.
And just like that, all worries about his little sister had been knocked out of his head, and replaced with thoughts of someone else.