JK Rowling rules this universe, I'm just playing in her sandbox.

The crowd on Platform 9 ¾ seemed more animated than usual, but Lily Evans couldn't tell if that was because she had missed the hustle and bustle of her wizarding peers over the summer or simply because it was the last time she would experience a Hogwarts start of term. As smoke belched out of the train and swirled around her, she could hear the slightly disgruntled sounds of owls and cats mixing with the excited cries of their owners.


The familiar voice of Mary MacDonald reached her ears first, and she was grinning before she ever turned around.

"All right, Lily?" Her fellow seventh year smiled breathlessly, cheeks reddened from the uncharacteristically chill weather that had struck London that September 1st.

Lily nodded, sweeping her long red hair back from her face. As she did so, she unconsciously revealed the shiny Head Girl badge already pinned to her chest. Mary's eyes widened.

"So you got it, then? Why didn't you write! Did your letter say who got Head Boy?" Mary swatted Lily playfully on the arm before grabbing her around the waist and hauling her toward the train. Lily gave a hurried wave and blew a kiss back to her parents, who were taking in the spectacle of the platform, before allowing herself to be dragged off.

"The letter was pretty standard," Lily said, when Mary pushed her for more information. "Didn't say too much more than my prefect letter did. I just hope the Head Boy isn't Jeremy Wilkes, from Slytherin. Always hated doing rounds after dark with that bloke."

On the train, Mary and Lily met up with Marlene McKinnon, Emmeline Vance, and Alice Fetescue, the other Gryffindor seventh year girls. They all oohed and ahhed over Lily's Head Girl appointment ("I knew it!" Alice had said triumphantly), before Lily had to beg off to go meet the prefects and her fellow Head.

"Maybe it'll be Remus Lupin," Marlene called after her, eyes glinting mischievously. Marlene had a bit of a crush on Lupin, and while Lily had always liked the boy, she didn't particularly care for the company he kept.

"It would be nice to have two Gryffindors," Lily agreed, "But I can't imagine how out of line those mates of his would get if Head Boy was a Marauder."

Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and James Potter were rather infamous among their fellow students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and although Remus had been made prefect in their fifth year, the boys weren't exactly known for following the rules. In fact, they earned the nickname "Marauders" from the Hogwarts faculty in their second year, and had spent the rest of their time at school proudly living up to the moniker.

The door to the compartment swung shut, and Lily turned to make her way toward the front of the train.

"Oof!" She smashed into someone very solid and decidedly bigger than she was. Rubbing her head, she looked up into the grinning face of Sirius Black.

"Evans! A bit scandalous, throwing yourself at me like this on the train, don't you think? At least wait until we get to school—then we can find ourselves a quiet corner to have a bit of a snog. All the compartments are full up by this point."

"Sirius," she said sternly. "Shouldn't you be finding your seat?"

"I'm looking for it now, darling," he said cheekily, "only I got a bit lost. I don't suppose you'll be a good little prefect and help me find it? It is your duty to help your fellow students, isn't it?"

She pointed to her Head Girl badge. "Actually, I'm a bit higher on the food chain this year, Black."

He laughed delightedly and clapped his hands. "The wee Evans, taking charge of all us poor slobs! That's grand, really."

He glanced over his shoulder, and a strange expression flew across his face. Before Lily could place it, he grinned wolfishly.

"Are you sure you don't want to come with me to take care of that snog, Evans? I'd make it worth your while."

Stifling a smile, Lily shook her head. "Seems a bit cold, Black, elbowing in on Potter's turf like that."

Sirius snorted. "The day you say yes to Prongs is the day I'll eat my Uncle Alphie's hat. And I'm fairly certain he hasn't had it properly cleaned since he was my age."

James Potter was a Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team and had been made Captain the year before. He was handsome, got good marks in all his lessons, and could make most of the girls in school, and some of the professors, melt with a well-placed smile and a wink. He had also been after Lily to go on a date with him since fifth year, and with each attempt he became wilder and more flamboyant about asking her.

On one memorable occasion, he had jinxed all of the Gryffindor first years into following her around the corridors, reciting limericks and declaring James' undying love. It had taken her most of the day to discover the counter-jinx, and by then the entire school had witnessed several embarrassing displays. She had taken twenty-five points from her own house after she tracked James down in the common room that night.

"I was just having a bit of fun, Evans," James had said innocently. "You need to learn to enjoy life a little. Besides, they're only first years."

"Only first years!" she had fumed. "Only! James Potter, you were a first year once yourself."

"I was never so titchy," he had protested. "These firsties are barely out of diapers!"

She had managed to restrain herself from unleashing a Bat Bogey curse on him, but it was a near thing.

Sirius looked over his shoulder one more time, and his fidgeting brought Lily back to the present. This time, she knew she wasn't imagining the look on his face. It was nervousness.

"Alas, fair Evans, if you're going to continue to be so hard to this poor, suffering bloke, then I must take my leave. Pip pip and all that."

Before she could question him further, he shot past her, snickering under his breath until he disappeared into a compartment where, no doubt, the rest of his cohorts waited for him.

With Sirius gone, Lily had no choice but to keep moving toward the front of the train, where she hoped the new Head Boy was waiting. She supposed Sirius would have mentioned something if Remus got the job, so that left Jeremy Wilkes, Howard Thistleswait, a burly Ravenclaw who was always nitpicking about something, or Terrance Humphrey, the Hufflepuff seventh year prefect who always looked as if he had lost his wand and wasn't quite sure where to look for it.

She was nearly to the front of the train when she heard the crash.


"Oh, no you don't! Expelliarmus!"

The voices were muted by a door, but the unmistakable sounds of a wizard's duel were coming from just ahead. Lily scanned the corridor for signs of a struggle, and her eyes fixed on the shadows moving rapidly just beyond the frosted glass door to her left. Another muffled crash confirmed her suspicions.

Steeling herself, she drew her wand and took a deep breath. It didn't occur to her to find an adult – after all, she was Head Girl, wasn't she? Surely it was more her job to break up a scuffle between a couple of students than it was anyone else's on the train, except maybe her as-yet-unnamed partner.

She flung open the door and aimed her wand quickly and carefully. "Petrificus totalus! Stupefy!"

A stinging hex whizzed past her ear and she scrambled furiously. "Stupefy!" she yelled again. This time, the hexes stopped.

Three boys lay slumped on the floor of the car. Two of them had rumpled black hair, and a third sported a nasty looking black eye. One of them wore a shiny, gold Head Boy badge.

Lily didn't know whom to go to first, although she wasn't too surprised to find James Potter and Severus Snape dueling before they ever reached the school. It was a little surprising that the other boy in the compartment was a Slytherin, and not another Marauder. James never went anywhere without the other seventh year Gryffindor boys. He must have been caught unawares. She wondered briefly why Sirius had been rushing in the other direction.

She had hit James and the other Slytherin, Gregory Mulciber, with stunning spells. Severus, on the other hand, was awake and stiff, eyes staring widely at the ceiling.

"Oh, Sev," she sighed, kneeling down beside him. She pointed her wand at his chest. "Finite Incantatem."

He took a deep breath and scrambled up to his feet, feeling around blindly for his wand.

She raised her hands in front of her, wand loosely pointed toward her former friend. "Shhhhh, Sev, it's me. Potter and Mulciber are still out."

"Li-lily? You…you…"

He backed away, his wand raised.

She sighed. "Don't worry. I won't touch you. Wouldn't want you to get dirty."

Regret flashed across his sallow features as she approached James. She extended her wand, pointing to the spot on his chest where the Head Boy badge gleamed. It was a mystery, for sure, but it explained Sirius's gleeful reaction to her appointment. What it didn't explain was why Black'd be running away from the fight, and not toward it.

"Ennervate," she muttered. Potter grunted.

"Bugger all," he sputtered, propping himself up. His eyelids fluttered a little before he focused on Lily's face. "Evans, my hero."

"Yeah, you're fine," she said, backing away.

Suddenly, James was throwing himself in front of her, pushing her back toward the corridor. "Snivellous, if you'll excuse us, Evans and I have work to do. Head business, very official."

"James, that's really not necessary," she protested, but even as she said it, Severus's face darkened and he raised his wand.

"Don't you touch her, Potter," he spat.

"Hello, I'm right here!"

"Get out of here, Evans," James said again. "This doesn't concern you."

"Do I have to hex the both of you again? Because I will! Marlene McKinnon taught me how to do a Bat Bogey curse that will have you drowning in your own snot for the first few months of term."

"Pleasure seeing you again, Snivellous," James said with a smile, giving Lily a final, backwards shove into the corridor.

They walked together in silence to the front car that was designated for the Heads and the prefects. When they entered the compartment, which was much more spacious than any of the others to compensate for the extra passengers, James threw himself onto a comfortable bench.

"Thanks for the heroics, Evans."

A hesitant smile lit up his face, and even though she was furious with him for instigating a fight on the very first day of term—and for getting her involved!—she couldn't help but notice how handsome he was, objectively speaking, of course. His wide hazel eyes peered up at her from behind crooked, round glasses. And on his chest, gleaming inconveniently, was a badge that read "Head Boy."

"Bugger all," she sighed.

"So," James Potter said uncertainly. His eyes bounced between her face and her Head Girl badge several times, as if he didn't quite believe what he was seeing. "I see congratulations are in order. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bird."

He shifted uneasily in his seat, watching her green eyes narrow. Talking with Lily Evans was always a little bit like facing down a dragon. They were beautiful creatures, but a fellow was liable to get burned if he got too close. Today was no exception.

"I want to make one thing perfectly clear before we get started, Potter," she said firmly. "I take this position seriously and I expect you to do the same. I had hoped that Dumbledore would give me a partner I could rely on, but as it is, it seems like I'm stuck with you. Try not to muck it up too badly. It would look awful if I had to dock points from my fellow Head. You're lucky that term hasn't started yet, or I'd feel duty bound to report your little duel with Snape."

James couldn't help but wince at the tone in her voice. He deserved it. She had often been the responsible senior prefect in Gryffindor tower, telling off trouble makers and putting a stop to the more egregious rule breaking that James and the other Marauders got up to, all without any support from Remus.

Lily was still staring at him coldly, so he nodded once, to show he understood, then gestured to one of the benches. "No promises, Evans, but I'll do my best not to bring the school burning down around your ears. Have a seat, love."

He had meant it to sound charming, but from her scowl, he guessed that Evans wasn't charmed.

Instead of acknowledging his promise, Lily simply pulled out a sheaf of parchment and got down to business, rattling on about preparing the prefects and getting ready for the start of term. He knew that he should be paying attention, but he simply couldn't focus on her words. Instead, he found himself staring at her mouth and thinking about the first time he had ever laid eyes on Lily Evans.

They were sitting in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express, and she was huddled up next to Severus, who looked just as greasy and untrustworthy as a first year as he did all grown up. James remembered the exhilarating feeling of being out in the world, on his own for the first time. He was mostly focused on the landscape whizzing by outside the window, but he couldn't help but notice the red-headed girl huddled up to the window, wiping tears from her eyes.

"You'd better be in Slytherin," the greasy boy next to her said. He said the words like it was some kind of great honor. James had been raised in a household that idolized the Gryffindor ideals of bravery and chivalry. His father, an Auror with the Ministry, instilled a great hatred of the dark arts in him, and by association, the house of Salazar Slytherin.

"Slytherin?" James had said, his upper lip curling in disgust. He had looked at the boy sitting opposite him, the boy who would become his closest friend and brother, and laughed.

"Who wants to be in Slytherin? I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"

The words echoed in his head from across the years.

"Gryffindor will be down a prefect," Lily sighed, sweeping her papers into a pile. "I wish they would consider promoting new prefects to replace the Heads. It would make things so much easier in situations like this."

"Don't tell me you're throwing your hands up in despair, already, Evans?" James stood up, clasped his hands behind his back, and affected an upper-crust accent. "Never surrender, even in the face of extreme adversity!"

Lily coughed back a laugh as the first prefects began to trickle into the car. It was Howie Thistleswait and Dorcas Meadows from Ravenclaw. Dorcas gave a little squeal and hugged Lily immediately, congratulating her and asking about her summer. Howie and James had a significantly cooler greeting, probably because James had never been a prefect, but still managed to get appointed to the top spot.

The meeting went far smoother than Lily was expecting. James was helpful and instructive, bantering with the prefects and passing out information. It was over in a little less than an hour, and Lily sent out Docas and Justin Bones, the new Hufflepuff prefect, out to start patrolling the train.

"Can I trust you to behave yourself, Potter? Or are you going to run off and start more duels with unsuspecting Slytherins?"

Lily and James were alone in the compartment again, getting ready to join their friends.

"I'm surprised at you, Evans," James said indignantly. "I was attacked, and a Gryffindor can't just take something like that lying down. Excellent aim with those stunning spells, by the way."

"You're never serious, are you?" Lily shook her head and left the compartment, James trailing along behind him.

"No, you're thinking of another handsome Marauder."

"It all makes sense, now. You never have girlfriends because you're too in love with each other!"

"Scandalous, Evans, simply scandalous! I'm shocked you would suggest such a thing. Besides, you know I'd never stray from your side."

They reached the doors to the compartment Sirius had disappeared into earlier.

"Figuratively speaking, of course," James said with a little bow. "Unless you want to join us? Always room for a beautiful bird in our compartment."

"Lily!" Alice's voice echoed down the corridor.

"That's my cue," she said, laughing a little at the crestfallen look on James' face.

"Some other time," he said hopefully. She didn't answer, just turned and jogged toward the compartment where her friends were waiting.

It was going to be an interesting year.

*looks around nervously* Hello... so this isn't really my normal fandom, but I've been feeling kind of artistically stuck. I figured, why not stretch a bit and play somewhere new? Since I've been lurking James/Lily fic for about a year now, I'm trying my hand at it myself. Hope you enjoy :)