AN: Written for 'My Dear Professor McGonagall's' 'Sibling Rivalry' challenge on HPFC. I pulled James Sirius and Lily Luna. I own nothing recognisable. This story is supposed to focus on the actual act of beginning a heartfelt conversation.

By the fire in the Gryffindor common room he was scratching out an essay in an offhand scrawl. It had been a long day and although he'd never admit it, he did care about doing well.

You're a first year and the longest essay you've ever had to write was nothing compared to your brothers. Should you disturb him?

At home it'd be simple because James was easy and relatable. In front of everyone it'd be simple because nothing bothered his cool wit. Here, where he is trying to be ignored for once? You don't know.

You want him though. For him to tickle you and tell you fantastical stories about things that have never happened in these hallowed halls. You want your brother.

Albus, he's all well and good. A bit serious and you know you love each other but James was the oldest, the head of all adventures, her defendant.

The narrative voice is a bit odd here. It's directly addressing Lily but observing James.


He can see her standing at the bottom of the girls' staircase but he's tired, frustrated and this essay is doing his head in. He's only had three hours of sleep and with quidditch practice scheduled for tomorrow he need essay to be done.

If Lily wants something she needs to ask.


You take one step forward. And then another.

Is it so hard to approach your own brother?

"School isn't like home, Lily."

Rose had said that, she explained that their family was different at school. Not like at Christmas where the insanity and games ruled. And for some reason you have become wary of those closest around you.


He can't take it anymore.

"Lily," I call, straightening up and rubbing the ached from my neck.

"Oh, James, um, I didn't see you there." She looks around guiltily.

"Whatever, what do you want?" He knows he's being harsh but can one really blame him. He's exhausted and without patience. She knows.

"It's nothing." She mumbles, it would be incoherent to all but her brother.

"Look, Lil, you're supposed to be in bed but because you're an infernal worrier you won't sleep yet, what's wrong for crying out loud?"

Lily promptly began to cry.

Rolling his eyes at the insanity of the situation he stands and holds his baby sister close.

"Lily, what's the matter, is someone bullying or being mean, did you get points taken away?"

An odd coughing cry fills the void.


You know your face is a phlegmy mess and your hoarse voice adds to the non-existent charm and you are certain that James is frustrated.

Just say it.

Go on.


"Everything's so different here!" It's a wail and instantly you feel embarrassed, James will laugh and you've never felt so ashamed.


He couldn't help it.

James laughed.

"I knew you'd laugh!" And despite the tear streaked face Lily was looking as indignant as her mother ever had.

"Lil, of course it's different. It's school."

"But everyone, you, Albus, Rose, Hugo, everyone…they're all so different. They don't act like they do at home."

"I know, it's like at home when we are all just mucking around and eating and playing quidditch. It's family. Then at school, there are invisible lines no one crosses. Just remember Lil, the magnitude of the scrapes you will get into, being a Potter after all, will always be compensated by the number of relatives in the castle. We're here for you…always."

"I love you, James."

"I love you too, Lil." He chuckles, "Do you want to hear about my great exploits of late?"


You know you have the greatest defendant in the world.



Lily leans into James and with his essay completely forgotten the greatly exaggerated tales of inter-house, inter-cousin prank wars emerge.

The fire dies down to its embers.

AN: It is a bit odd, but I did leave it to the last minute, please read and review.