Provenance

.:..:..:.

Disclaimer

J.K Rowling owns the material. I do not.


Chapter 1: Aboard the Hogwarts Express

Steam spewed from the mouth of the scarlet engine as the whistle sounded, signaling its imminent departure. Lily Evans hastened to place her trunk on top of the luggage rack. Rising on her toes, she struggled to slide if the last couple of inches.

"Lily, dear, I think you're about to take off," Mrs. Evans called from the platform. She was peering through the door, looking small and out of place surrounded by the usual chaos of platform nine and three quarters. She flinched as a snitch zoomed past.

"I know, mum, sorry." Lily leapt down from the train and opened her arms to embrace her mother. "You'll be alright, won't you?"

"Of course, darling," she assured her. "Don't you go worrying about me." She took a step back and held Lily at arm's length so as to get a better look at her. With a watery smile, she reached out and smoothed her daughter's hair, the very same shade as her husband's had been. "He'd be so proud of you, you know. He always was."

Lily reached up to take her mother's hand. "I know, mum."

The whistle sounded again, a final warning. Lily drew back, letting her mother's fingers slide from hers. She hesitated by the door. This would be the first time her mother had been alone since her father had passed away. Petunia had left a couple of weeks ago for her new job.

"Go on, Lily," Mrs. Evans urged her.

Lily climbed onto the train. She had to jockey for position amongst the other students learning out the window to kiss their families goodbye.

"I'll miss you," she told her mom.

"I'll miss you too, dear. Take care of yourself, and be safe!"

"I will, mum. Same goes for you."

"And write to me now and then, won't you?"

Lily smiled. "Of course. Oh! And don't forget! The guard will help you back through the gate. You can't just go through in case the muggles—I mean the people—"

"I know, I know," her mother sighed. "I've been doing this for seven years now, remember? I'm sure I'll manage just fine." She waved as the train lurched forwards.

"Goodbye mum. I love you," Lily called.

"I love you too sweetheart."

Lily waved as the train increased its speed.

"Say hi to Severus for me…" Mrs. Evans voice was lost to the wind as the train rounded the bend, but not before Lily caught these last few words.

"Severus sch-meverus," she muttered to herself, turning to leave the throng of students at the door.

She ducked into an empty compartment.

Lily decided to wait here for a few moments until the initial influx of students settled into their various compartments. A couple of times the door flew open and a few battered looking first years stumbled in. Lily would have offered them her seat—she had to leave soon for the Heads compartment anyways—but they tended to run off before she could speak. She tried to remember if she had been that terrified on her first day on the train and decided that no, she definitely had not.

When the hallway seemed reasonably calm (or at least like a herd of centaurs wasn't stampeding past) Lily retrieved her robes from her trunk and changed. She made her way to the front of the train, keeping her eyes open for her friends as she went. Custom told her that they had probably taken their usual carriage near the end. She would have gone there herself, but she and her mom had gotten to the station late (damn muggle traffic) and had jumped on the first available carriage they'd found. She would just have to find them afterwards; hopefully this wouldn't take too long.

The Heads compartment was empty when she arrived, save for a singular envelope resting on the cushions. Guessing that they were the instructions, she took a seat next to it and removed her badge from her pocket. She pinned it to the front of her robes, just where her prefect's badge used to sit. The 'H' was a little elaborate, she thought, studying it upside down. What was wrong with plain old letter script? A little subtlety never hurt anyone.

This brought her to wondering who had been made head boy. She hadn't heard anything, but then, she hadn't had much contact with anyone since her father died. She thought that the two likeliest candidates were George Ogden and Remus Lupin. Both had been prefects for the past two years running and both were at the top of their classes. She was trying to decide which of the two she'd rather work with—Lupin was a known marauder but George had an ego the size of a Hungarian Horntail—when the door slid open and no other then James Potter walked inside. For an instant, Lily could only stare.

"What are you doing here?" she finally blurted.

James smiled at her, his usual cocky grin.

"Good morning Evans," he said brightly.

Lily's eyes narrowed. "Are you lost?"

James appeared not to have heard her. "Congratulations," he said, nodding at her badge. "Head girl—brilliant! Knew you'd get it."

Lily mentally cursed herself for pinning on the badge so soon.

"You didn't answer my question," she reminded him.

"No, quite happily, I am not lost," he answered.

"I meant the other one."

"Which one was that?" James asked with a maddening air of politeness.

Lily gritted her teeth together. "What are you doing here?"

"The same as you," he replied with an innocent expression.

Lily stared at him.

"What?" he finally asked, quailing under her suspicious gaze.

"Let's see it then," she demanded.

"Er, see what?"

"The badge, Potter," Lily replied, exasperated.

James shrugged and removed the object from his pocket. He tossed it to her. Lily turned it over in her hands in disbelief. It was identical to hers—obnoxious 'H' and all. She tapped it with her wand, searching—almost hoping—for a sign of tampering.

"Are you finished?" James asked.

"I…" Lily faltered.

"You what?"

"I don't know what to say," Lily finished, swallowing the questions she really wanted to ask. Who'd you nick this off of? Followed closely by, what are you up to? She handed it back to him and watched as he pinned it to the front of his robes. The sight was uncanny.

"You know," James said conversationally, "Ordinarily, I might find your shock rather offensive."

"And unordinarily?" Lily questioned.

James grinned. "Well, if I'm being completely honest, I was a tad surprised myself."

Lily didn't smile back. She was still trying to convince herself this wasn't a joke. "I thought Lupin for sure…or…" she murmured under her breath.

"Look, Evans," James began. "I know that we, er, haven't exactly gotten along in the past and that we didn't leave under the best terms last year…"

Lily looked at him incredulously. "You set a lethifold on the Slytherins."

"That wasn't what it looked like!" James protested.

"AND THEN, as Filch was dragging you to the dungeons, you had the nerve to ask me out. Again. In front of everyone, even after I've told you time and time again…"

"I didn't think I was going to survive that one," James mumbled meekly.

BANG!

Both Gryffindors jumped. Lily leapt up from her seat. The envelope she'd sat down beside was smoking. Liberally.

"What is that?" James asked.

"Our instructions…I think."

"Oh."

"Yeah."

"It got tired of waiting, do you reckon?" James mused.

Lily crossed her arms. "Well, go on, open it then."

James looked at her; she raised an eyebrow. He sighed and took the letter gingerly in his fingers. Given his lack of reaction, Lily assumed it wasn't dangerous.

James read the letter out loud.

"So that's it then," he said once he had finished.

"Easy enough," Lily remarked. She was already rehearsing the instructions in her head, eager to get out of here and away from Potter. Address the prefects, patrol the corridors from time to time, supervise the luggage once they stopped…

"We should probably go and see the prefects," James suggested.

"Yes, we should."

"Right-o."

"Their compartment is down this way." Lily pointed.

"Oh, okay."

"You'll have to open the door," Lily reminded him. He was standing in the way of the entrance.

"Er, right. After you," James said, bowing her out.

Lily sighed inwardly as she passed him. How on earth had James Potter gotten to be Head Boy? Perhaps Dumbledore really was losing his marbles. Whatever the reasoning, she had a feeling that this year was going to be memorable one.

And whether that was a good thing or not, she hadn't decided.

A/N: So I finally decided to go through my story, "Before it Began" and clean it up a bit. And by a bit, I mean a lot. When I finished my last edition, the sixth and seventh books hadn't come out yet. Actually, I'm not even sure the fifth had. So as you can imagine, there's a lot that needs to change if it's going to be kept canon. And I'm going to try. Not to mention improvements to the grammar, structure, and all that jazz. It won't be perfect (I'm too busy with other projects) but it will be better. In many ways, it's going to be a brand new story. Please comment me if you find any discrepancies or errors.

Reviews are much loved. I don't know when I'll update next so don't ask me. Cheers.