Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of J.K. Rowling. No copyright infringement is intended. This story is for fun and not profit.

Author's Note: This story should be largely canon-compliant, with the exception of a special Quidditch event. The later chapters may get darker as Voldemort rises. The rating also may be updated to M if necessary. I'm not British, but I did my best to avoid any obvious American English words like mom rather than mum. Please do let me know if there are any glaring American phrases.

Also, I would very much appreciate your reviews. I would love to hear what you think of the characters, if there any plot twists you'd like to see, etc.

As dawn approached, the fog around the castle of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry cleared. Among the many stone towers and turrets, stood Gryffindor Tower, where dozens of students slept in mahogany, four-poster beds.

Inside the sixth-year girls dormitory, Lily Evans was up before her alarm even sounded. She sprang out of bed, stretched, and tip-toed to the window. She doubted any of her roommates would be awake. They had more than three hours before classes began.

But Lily knew she would not be able to fall back asleep. She grabbed her towel and toiletries, and set off for the showers. As she got ready for the first day of classes, she reflected on how much nicer it was to be able to use magic again. She could dry her auburn hair with a flick of her wand. Another flick had dried her petite body, another cleaned her teeth, and another curled and lengthened her eyelashes, making her green eyes stand out. She didn't even have to worry about what to wear, as she'd be wearing her uniform under her school robes.

"Oh Merlin, you're already dressed," Marlene McKinnon groaned as she sat up in her bed and pushed her blonde hair out of her eyes.

Marlene and Alice Manning were Lily's best friends. She had met Marlene on the train before her first year of classes. Lily had been trying to lift her trunk onto a high shelf when Marlene, who was tall and lanky even then, had come to assist her. Later that night, after she had been sorted into Gryffindoor, Lily had taken an empty seat next to Marlene.

They had met Alice a few minutes later. The sorting hat had taken its time with her. For nearly three minutes it had sat, covering half her round face, as it decided where to sort her. Alice had been nervously twirling the ends of light brown hair all the while. When the hat had finally yelled, "GRYFFINDOOR!", Alice had sprinted to the table and plopped into the chair beside Lily. The three girls had chatted through dinner, beginning a friendship that continued into the beginning of their sixth year.

"A bit eager aren't we?" Marlene said to Lily as she stumbled towards the bathroom.

"Lily is always up early on the first day," Alice said. Lily blushed and shrugged.

"Oh, it's alright, don't get embarrassed," Marlene said.

"At least this way, I'll have time to fix your hair," Lily called as Marlene entered the bathroom.

"And it's a good thing because I'm bloody useless at beauty charms, even when I am fully awake."

"Well isn't it just wonderful that Evans can do beauty charms. She certainly needs them!"

Lily groaned at the voice. Their other roommate, Christine Waters, had awoken.

"It's a bit early to be a bitch isn't it?" Marlene shouted from the bathroom.

"It is a bit early, but you three couldn't be bothered to keep it down, could you?"

Lily decided that Christine simply never washed her eyeliner off. Her brown eyes were rimmed with it though she hadn't left her bed. Lily thought the effect of her heavy makeup and bleached hair made Christine look positively ghastly, but she supposed boys didn't agree, as Christine never seemed to be without one.

"I'm sorry we woke you, Christine," Alice said.

"Oh, don't bother, Alice. She's rude no matter when she wakes up," Lily snapped.

"Bugger off, Evans."

Christine grabbed her toiletries and strode towards the door, most likely headed to the seventh year's dormitory, where she preferred to spend her time.

"Good riddance," Lily said when the door had slammed behind Christine.

"I was hoping we could all get along this year, but I suppose there's no reason it would be any different," Alice said.

Lily shrugged. Seeing as how Christine had just implied that Lily needed charms to keep from being ugly, Lily wasn't feeling much like getting along. That was hardly surprising since Christine had never gotten along with Lily, Marlene and Alice. She had said they were stuck-up teacher's pets, and they had said she was too concerned with partying and boys to be good for anything important.

Lily avoided looking at the mirror to see if she really could use a glamour charm or something for her hair. Christine had been implying Lily was ugly and stuck up since first year. In fifth year, Christine had added prude to the list when she found out Lily hadn't let her boyfriend get much beyond kissing.

Lily knew she shouldn't pay attention to anything Christine said, but she found herself fighting the urge to see a mirror nonetheless. She did want to look pretty on her first day of classes.

"Lily, you don't need any beauty help from charms," Alice said.

"Of course you don't!" Marlene called from the bathroom. "Christine has her knickers in a twist because she's shagged every single one of the Marauders, and none of them will so much as give her a second look, but you've got James Potter asking you out once a week. She's just jealous."

"Oh don't remind me about James Potter!" Lily groaned. "I think he may be done asking me out anyway. Things changed after…you know, the thing with Severus."

After OWLs last year, Lily had lost her first friend at Hogwarts. Severus Snape had been drifting towards what Lily called "the wrong crowd" for some time. His friends were obsessed with dark magic and bloodlines. She had felt them growing apart, their childhood together and his explanations about the magical world becoming a distant memory.

Things came to a head when James Potter and his friends, the famous Marauders, had started taunting Severus. James had him hanging upside down in the air when Lily marched over and insisted James stop. That was when Severus had said he didn't need any help from a Mudblood. To make matters worse, James had insisted he apologize and Lily had lost her temper at both of them.

When James found her later that day she had yelled at him more. She had taken out all her anger and the pain Severus had caused on James. She had screamed at him to leave her alone, mind his own business, and stop acting like a child. She had told him she hated him, thought he was a useless bully, and wanted nothing to do with him.

When she had finished her tirade, James was looking at her strangely. Normally he grinned charmingly at her, winked at her, or even stared longingly. This time she saw a flicker of hurt, and then his eyes went cold.

"Well Evans, I was going to apologize, but I think I've quite lost interest in that," he had snapped. "I won't bother defending you anymore, or really doing anything else with you. You can go straight to hell for all I care."

Then he had turned on his heel and walked out. Lily had been crying on her bed when Alice and Marlene found her and insisted she tell them what had happened.

"Lily," Marlene said. "Do you think James is still sore with you?"

"He must be. He didn't even say hello when we passed by eachother on the train."

Lily forced herself to shrug, but she felt strange nonetheless. James Potter had spent the better part of two years asking her out in every imaginable way. It was disconcerting to realize that he must have stayed angry throughout the summer and was now avoiding her.

"Well, at least he'll stop bothering you now," Marlene said.

"True. I wish Severus would follow Potter's strategy and ignore me as well. I think he's going to keep appearing out of nowhere to apologize."

"Well toss him," Marlene snapped. "I'd have hung him up in the air myself if I had heard him say that!"

"Yes, after he said it, not before; hence, the difference between you and Potter! I don't want to forgive him, even if he did only say it because he was embarrassed about-

"You don't honestly believe that, do you?" Marlene raised both her eyebrows at Lily. "You really think he's different than all his friends about that sort of thing?"

"I'm with Marlene on this," Alice said. "James may have made him angry enough to say it aloud, but I think James just brought out sentiments that were already there."

"I suppose you're right," Lily sighed. "Can we just forget it? It's the first day back, I don't want to think about it."

"Then think about my hair," Marlene said. "It needs that charm you do for volume."

"You could also think about what Dumbledore said last night, that there's going to be some sort of surprise he'll be announcing at dinner tonight," Alice said.

"Am I the only one unnerved by that?" Marlene asked. "He was grinning like a loon when he said it. Besides, my parents mentioned something about a surprise too."

"Yes, mine too!" Alice said. "And they were nervous about it. Said that perhaps we shouldn't be holding such an event in light of the muggle-born kidnappings that started this summer."

"My mum said the same thing, but my dad disagreed. Said Dumbledore would keep everyone safe, and I'm inclined to agree with him," Marlene said. "But I do worry when he gets excited like that. He has had some rather crazy ideas of fun."

"I suppose we'll just have to wait and see what he says tonight," Alice said. She had pulled her robes over her head and was now smoothing out her hair.

"Are you ready then? I want to see our timetables," Lily said.

"You would," Marlene laughed. "But, we might as well head down."