Disclaimer: I am not J. K. Rowling and none of her wonderful characters belong to me. Sadly. On a more cheerful note, this is my first attempt at fanfiction! I hope you enjoy it.
Lily sighed. Loudly. Sitting in the Prefect's compartment, with no one but her owl for company, she glanced down at the letter in her hands. And promptly suffered another wave of anxiety. A tidal wave, in fact. Because there was no way, no possible way, that she could be Head Girl. There must have been a mistake. She looked down at the parchment once more, her nerveless fingers shaking slightly, and mouthed the opening lines to herself. For the twentieth time that morning.
Dear Miss Evans
I am pleased to inform you that we, the board and staff, have decided to appoint you as Head Girl...
There was more, but those were the lines that kept catching her attention. Despite the letter in her hands, Lily was having a hard time accepting the badge was truly hers. They couldn't have chosen her? Could they? Head Girls were beautiful, talented students and, despite James Potter's numerous serenades to the contrary, Lily Evans did not believe she fitted that description. She was, in her eyes, a frizzy haired ginger with a slight inferiority complex. Looking at her reflection in the grubby train window, Lily tried to put her doubts aside.
Smoothing down a stray curl, Lily turned her mind to more pleasant things. In a few minutes, she was due to meet the new Head Boy and was dying to know who it was. She hoped it would be Remus. The shy, unassuming boy was the other seventh year prefect in Gryffindor and had been her friend for many years. Not for the first time, she wondered how he had become a member of the infamous Marauders. His sensitive nature was a world away from the brash confidence of Potter or Black and, although he possessed a wry sense of humour, she could not imagine what he saw in their pranks.
Shaking her head, Lily began to assess the other candidates. With a pleasurable squirm, she thought of Matthew Stork. The popular Ravenclaw was enjoyable company and this, coupled with looks that had already won him a host of admirers, meant Lily had long nursed a soft spot for him. A reproachful hoot from Hazel, however, quickly dissuaded her from indulging in one of her more fanciful day-dreams. The owl had the uncanny - and highly frustrating – ability to steer Lily's thoughts away from boys. Cynically, Lily had often wondered if Hazel was the subject of a nefarious hex. She wouldn't put it past Potter to jinx her owl, and Hazel certainly didn't hoot when she thought about him. Not that she thought about him often… Blushing furiously, Lily quickly moved on.
Instinctively, her mind turned to the Slytherin candidate. With great reluctance, she considered the possibility. It couldn't be Severus could it? Her insides writhed at the idea. Without warning, the word "Mudblood" echoed in her ears and she stood abruptly. She began to pace and watched, without truly seeing, the sea of people rushing along the platform. With a tinge of nostalgia, she watched a pair of first years jabbering away to each other, excitement clearly etched on both their faces, and felt a pang of longing. It had all been so simple then.
She was almost glad when the door creaked open, interrupting her reverie and banishing all memories of Severus from her mind. Smiling, she spun on the spot, half hoping to see Remus standing there.
But it wasn't Remus.
Or Matthew Stork.
It wasn't even Severus.
It was Potter.
The smile died on her lips. If she had any lingering questions about Dumbledore's sanity they were answered. He was mad. Absolutely and undeniably insane. Although she had worries regarding her own suitability, they were dwarfed by her concern about Potter's. He wasn't even a prefect! This had to a joke, right? Perhaps, a hopeful voice inside her mind whispered, this was another of Black's dastardly schemes to send her mad. But the shiny badge on his robes was incontrovertible proof. Belatedly, she realised that she was staring. Lily tried, desperately, to say something – anything – but her mouth failed her. Thankfully, Potter appeared equally stunned.
"Err, hi," he managed finally, running his hands through a shock of dark hair.
"Potter," she said coolly. Something flicked in his eyes.
Touché, Potter. "I take it that you are… that Dumbledore has… you're Head Boy?" she finished, sounding somewhat incoherently. Merlin, why did she have to go red now? Why? The corner of Potter's mouth twitched slightly, as though he had noticed her embarrassment and was considering the best way of making it worse. Lily braced herself for the inevitable. For nearly seven years, Potter had mocked her, asking her out at every opportunity. Her friends thought it was sweet, but Lily knew better. He didn't care for her; this was just another way of making her life hell. What she didn't expect, however, was what he said next.
"Yeah, crazy isn't it?" She blinked. He hadn't asked her out. James Potter, the bane of her existence, was being polite. She nodded mutely, not trusting herself with anything more complex. "Congrats, by the way," Potter offered, giving her an uncertain smile.
"You too," she managed. Something like a smirk crossed his features, but in an instant it was gone. "Look," she said, more forcefully this time, "we're going to have to work together this year. So, can you try and take this seriously?" With relief, she noticed her voice had taken on the haughty tone that she usually employed around Potter. Somehow, this reassured Lily. The world, temporarily turned upside down, had begun to right itself.
"Ok." Lily glanced at him suspiciously, eyebrows furrowed. This time the smirk remained firmly in place. "What do you expect me to do?" he asked, "Blow up the carriage?"
"Something like that," Lily replied automatically.
"If it's any consolation, I left the newest set of explosives with Sirius," Potter told her, making a show of emptying his pockets. Catching the look on Lily's face, he added hastily, "It was a joke, Evans. If we're going to work together, you need to work on your sense of humour!"
"My sense of humour is fine, thank you," she said primly, aware her voice was the polar opposite of amused.
"Alright, then." Lily could tell he didn't believe her. But her spirits lifted. As they began to discuss their various duties, she sensed a willingness to learn. Although his light heartedness was undeniably irritating, the enforced cordiality of their conversation allowed them to divide responsibilities without too much distraction. She realised, looking at Potter's face, that the badge had been a shock to him too. But it wouldn't last, of that she was certain. Sooner or later he would revert back to his old ways. And she could return to hating him in peace. Just as things were meant to be.