A Teacher's Work
The first time McGonagall ever saw them, it was the first and last time they would ever tolerate each other's presence in silence. They sat at the table together, not speaking. Well at least the red head wasn't, staring fixed at the food with a stubborn set to her mouth but her eyes, like all of the first years, were glowing with awe. The male however, McGonagall knew he would be trouble. He was laughing with his friends, snickering behind his robes and constantly glancing at her. She didn't realize why except after the sickening splat as the cake dropped on top of her head. The girl, visibly shaking with anger slowly stood up. The peace was over as the war began.
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"Potter!" McGonagall stopped the scratching of her quill for just a few seconds, just to look up with interest at the newest prank of Lily Evan's existence; the master mind behind it was of course, James Potter. McGonagall had found within the first few days of the semester that pairing them up, as brilliant as they both were, was just asking for anarchy to rule the classroom. The session had ended up with their toads exploding splattering their remnants all over her new robes. McGonagall's eyes traveled over to the usually bright, red hair of Lily…which was now turned green. Although what she had kept red was exhibited on her face as she whipped her wand out.
"Well now you really do look like a lily pad!" James exclaimed, walking back slowly. Sirius stood to the back, not bothering to help. No, these confrontations were much to entertaining to lend his mate a hand. Muttering a few words, Lily waved her wand and soon James was no more.
McGonagall couldn't help but be impressed at her magic. Not many of her students could turn a human into a toad but then again, Lily was one to strive high.
"Lily pads aren't complete without utter toads like you Potter." She spat as the spun around and left. James hopped around aimlessly croaking as Sirius nearly crushed him keeling over laughing.
It took a week for McGonagall to get the counter curse.
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McGonagall would never find out how they traveled about the school undetected or how they got their hands on magic markers but this- this was unacceptable.
"…have caused our house complete and utter disgrace!" She ranted. Her words ran more like a rehearsed speech that had been rehearsed more times that it should have been necessary. There were three of them now, the Marauders. The newest recruit, Remus Lupin was sitting in his chair looking down. She was honestly surprised. He was usually a quiet and thoughtful boy who didn't seem to fit in with…Potter and Black. But she could also see the slight mischievous twist on his lips as James and Sirius didn't even bother to hide their cocky grins.
"The Fat Lady is ashamed to show her face! None of the portraits will step up now for the password protection because they're afraid of getting their face mustached in their sleep! And the first years Oh! The first years, must I even speak? One had pygmy puff on their chest really Sirius was the necessary?" McGonagall snapped. He opened his mouth to say something but thought better of it when he saw the look in her eye. "And the Slytherins," McGonagall shook her head, they had received the worst of it. Lucius Malfoy would wake up the next morning with an image of Merlin's pants scribbled onto his forehead and Severus Snape…She shook her head.
"20 points from Gryffindor and your flying privileges are revoked."
"What?" Potter and Black exclaimed.
"But Professor! We need to practice- House Cup- Slytherin!" Potter stuttered. McGonagall mustered up her stern look.
"You should have thought of that before tonight Mr. Potter now off to bed, all of you." They all stomped out the door. McGonagall sat back down in her desk. While others would wake up marked there would be one girl whose face would remain pure. McGonagall almost caught herself smiling, almost.
But she had to hide her laughter when she taught Slytherin house that afternoon.
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In all her years of teaching, McGonagall has witnessed the animosity between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Slytherin's newest victim being Peter Pettigrew, a short, stumpy little boy whom McGonagall knew from experience mostly ended up blowing up feathers instead of transfiguring them. For once, it was not James Potter stirring up the trouble.
"Hey rodent!" There was a flash and the boy's form tumbled to the floor, his books flying everywhere. Lucius Malfoy walked over. He picked up the small ball the rolled out of the boy's pockets. "A remeraball? I'd suppose you'd need on Pettigrew since your brain can't seem to function on its own. I honestly don't even know why you're here, it's one thing to be a mudblood but another to honestly be an idiot."
"Give it back?" Malfoy's head snapped up and his lips curled into a smirk at the sight of James Potter coming back from Quidditch practice.
"You want it?" He sneered. His fingers gripped the ball to the very top and held it over the railings. "Go get it." He released it at the last second. Without even thinking about it, James jumped on his broom and dived after it, dodging the moving staircases. The ground was now getting alarmingly close, increasingly fast as he pulled up, his fingertips yanking the ball just in time. He flew back up, tossing the ball back to Pettigrew and walking away.
Everyone who saw the events recounted Malfoy's enraged yells or Pettigrew's eyes glazed over with admiration but no one noticed the pair of emerald green eyes peering from the column the day three became four.
McGonagall made sure James kept his flying privileges throughout the entire semester.
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Pride was something that McGonagall had witnessed to be a flaw in Lily Evan's character. At times, it could be a good thing forcing her to be independent and experiment with things by herself but other times, especially in Transfiguration, her weakest subject, it was a problem.
It was the sixth time she had come up for a new rat. Her old ones had turned into some deformed version of a cup with a tail still twitching. She still refused help, still refused advice set on figuring this out herself. McGonagall almost wanted to remind her that jabbing her wand and cursing angrily would not help but Potter got there before her.
She felt her heart seize, dear Lord, Potter and Evans together? She felt her hands make her wand at the ready, prepared to shield herself from any substances that would go flying. She had just gotten this new hat and there was no way she was going to let rat guts ruin it.
"Stop it, you're going to poke someone's eyes out." James said coolly as he observed Lily's furious jabbing.
"What am I supposed to do?" She sighed, clearly frustrated. Her hand went down in defeat.
"Be more gentle with your movements, it's more of one swish rather than two, look." James flicked his wand and the rat transformed into a golden cup with a shiny handle. Nice work Potter…
McGonagall thought. Lily took a breath and tried it but soon she was jabbing again. James gently took her hand to get her to stop, she froze. He didn't notice or perhaps ignored it as he coached her through it, waving her hand for her.
By the end of the period, they had produced a brass cup that McGonagall would happily drink out of…were it not a rat in its past state.
For the first time in her years of teaching them, McGonagall spotted something in Lily's eyes that she had never seen before when she looked at James- respect.
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McGonagall had known about that incident near the lake. But after this year, she could see a growing maturity in both Potter and Evans. There was a lot more peace around the school now as their screaming rants were now reduced to the occasional argument. Potter had deflated his head a bit and Evans had learned to be more accepting of others flaws.
They grew closer and closer together and so McGonagall didn't find it surprising to see Lily cheering in the stands for James. He smirked at the crowd and waved at them, not paying attention to the quaffle until he reached out and snatched it, sending a Slytherin chaser spiraling downwards. He had deflated his head…a bit. The game grew intense until McGonagall was sitting on the edge of her seat biting her lip, she was not going to lose this bet to Slughorn.
"And there goes a cheap shot by Mcullain! I tell you now Slytherin is just asking for it in the after party!" Sirius's voice boomed over the stands. McGonagall sometimes questioned her sanity when she appointed Black as the announcer. But now, she was glad she did.
McGonagall couldn't help but wince as she saw Johnson take a bludger from a direct blow. She could see the seeker diving for the snitch in a blur of red and gold come on…
There were sudden screams as McGonagall's eyes flickered to the other blur of red and gold….spiraling down uncontrollably…James Potter.
"Aresto Momentum!" McGonagall's wand was pointed at his form, slowing his falls. Lily Evans was the first to meet him on the ground, clutching his robes. McGonagall pushed her way through the crowd, not being able to pull her away. There was a moment of tense silence as James's groan broke it. There was a unanimous sigh of relief, the biggest one coming from Lily's lips. She cleared her throat, standing up awkwardly, pulling James up with him.
"Well Potter…I'm glad you're alright." She directed her gaze at the floor. James just grinned and pulled her to him, pressing his lips against hers. There was a wild whooping from the crowd, some catcalls and whistling as they kissed, not having a care in the world. For once, McGonagall allowed a knowing smile to briefly grace her lips.
Now if only she could prevent them from snogging in her classroom after class.
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That time had seemed like centuries ago. It was almost like a different life. They had graduated, grown up….or rather had been forced to grow up. The world had changed into a fight of survivial, a fight to keep your morals and James and Lily Potter had just been victims of it.
McGonagall sat in the front row, looking upon them for the last time before they were to be buried into the earth forever. Her mind was numb with shock, she had known them since the time they were tiny 11 year olds and going into Hogwarts for the first time until they were sent off on their way after graduation to find their own way in the world. She had known them for most of their lives…and now they were gone.
Most of their senior class had gone with them, students that McGonagall had taught, had reprimanded, had praised and had grown up with. They were all gone where Lily and James were now going. McGonagall closed her eyes, feeling the first pangs of sorrow that hit her chest. She thought back to the baby boy she had delivered but a few weeks ago.
For once, a tear trickled down her cheek, but she wiped it away before anyone could see.
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McGonagall forced herself to hide her shock as she first saw their son, Harry James Potter in the midst of first years with that same awed look his mother had when she first walked in. Her voice quivered a bit as she got closer to his name but she knew even before he got up to the hat-
Admittedly he wasn't as good in Transfiguration as his father but he did have the same streak of mischief armed with his two best friends. McGonagall could see traces of the Marauders in them, causing nostalgic waves to hit her but she had heard at how skilled her was at Defense Against the Dark Arts and his showdowns with Voldemort…She shook her head. McGonagall didn't' know if she could handle losing another student.
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McGonagall could see how Ginny Weasley has grown and Harry saw it too. It was the ark figures that caught her eye one night as she was grading papers, their forms holding each other, wrapping around each other with secret whispers and caresses. The green Quidditch pitch stretched out beneath their forms in rolling green land and in the middle of it stood the two of them, defending each other against the world where James and Lily Potter first kissed.
McGonagall then did something she had never done before. She pursued her lips and closed her blinds, getting ready for bed.
Perhaps she didn't lose them as much s she had thought. After all, like father, like son.
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There concludes my long overdue Lily and James Tribute, I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!