"James! James!" James turned around, grinning. "What's up, Olly?" James's nine-year-old brother narrowed his eyes threateningly. "If you call me that one more time…"
"What are you going to do?" Teased James not bothered by the threat. "You're only a midget." Oliver opened his mouth to whine at his mother. But their mom wasn't paying attention. "Got everything, James?" She ran a hand through her hair. "Owl, trunk, wand, books?" James nodded, not paying much attention to her, but to the glowing scarlet and black train that was parker in platform nine and three quarters. "I've got to go." He caught the eye of a tall second year with bright red hair. "First year?" He asked kindly. "Need help?" James tried to nod as meekly as possible. He planted a kiss on his mother's cheek, and leaped onto the train behind the second year, waving madly at Oliver and his mother. "I'm Arthur. Arthur Weasly."
"Acting a bit big for your boots, Arthur? After all, you're only a second year." Arthur stiffened as his eyes fell upon the towering fifth year with a Prefect badge gleaming upon his chest… the Prefect's cold grey eyes glittered with interest and he leaned forwards. "James Potter. How… interesting." James's face morphed into a glare. "I don't care what you think, filthy Slytherin." The prefect's eyes hardened. "You'll find a compartment and keep your little mouth shut, or I'll do it for you." He swept off looking regal and deadly. "Lucius Malfoy." Muttered Arthur in an undertone. "We've had more trouble from him then all the teacher's put together… I can't believe he's prefect this year."
"Hello, Arthur." A girl passed by, also a second year. Arthur turned the color of his hair. "Hi- I mean, what's up- Molly?" he stammered, dropping his hat as the train lurched into motion. Molly nodded and disappeared into a compartment. "Let's find you somewhere to sit." Arthur was obviously still not over molly's appearance. "Ah, here we are." The second year ushered him into a compartment where a handsome boy with elegant long black hair and twinkling dark eyes grinned at him. A troublemaker. James decided. I like him. He turned to Arthur. "I." But he was gone. James shrugged and sat down. "The name's James Potter. Yours?" The other first year raised an eyebrow at his cocky way of speaking. "Sirius Black." He too, sounded confident. Play Quidditch much?" James asked casually, eyes flicking up to Sirius's handsome face. "Doesn't seem like you've fell off a broom many times." Sirius roared with laughter. "I'd beat you any day, dude."
"Do we have a challenge here?" James was quite enjoying himself now; his eyes sparkled with mischief. "I think we do, Potter." Sirius replied carelessly. "Is this compartment free?" A girl stepped into the room. James barely stopped his mouth dropping open. The girl was beyond pretty. She was small, and slim, with pale skin, long, lush sunset orange curls with fell to her chest and almond shaped deep serious green eyes. "Keep your eyes in, mate." Sirius spoke in a stage whisper and James chucked his magazine at him. James kicked his feet up on the seats. "You'd better be in Slytherin." Behind the girl was a boy, same age, but with an unhealthy look. He had greasy black hair, oversized robes and black eyes. "Who wants to be in Slytherin? I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?" He flashed a smirk at Sirius, who didn't look happy. "My whole family's been in Slytherin," James sat up quickly. "Blimey, and I thought you were all right!"
"Maybe I'll break the tradition. Where are you heading, if you get to choose?" There was no need for thinking. James lifted an invisible sword. "Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart! Like my dad." The unhealthy boy made a small noise. James, startled at his cheek, spoke boldly. "You got a problem with that?"
"Well if you'd rather be brawny then brainy..."
"Where are you hoping to go, seeing as you're neither?" Sirius cut in. James rolled over laughing. Lily swept an icy gaze at the two boys. "Come on Severus, let's go."
"Ooooh…" Together the boys mocked her lofty voice. Lily slammed the compartment door. "See ya Snivellus!" James called out and he and Sirius collapsed in laughter.
'James kept on his cocky, witty appearance throughout the whole boat trip across the Black Lake to Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry. Underneath though, he felt tremors of anxiety wrack his body. What if he was in Slytherin? What if… "Potter, James!" James glanced up, startled. "Go on, James! Its your turn to be Sorted!" Sirius gave him a light shove. Feeling an arrogant smile flit across he drawled, "Going."
James seated himself upon the old wooden stool, feeling the gaze of Arthur, Snivellus, Lucius and Lily upon him. The hat was lowered onto James's head. Oh yes, interesting mind… Well cared for, there's ambition, lots of it… talent too, in many areas…. Bravery that cannot be ignored… a desire to prove yourself. An arrogance that I do not like, Potter, you will have to squash that in order to get Lily Evens to like you…Well, I can see what you desire most…. GRYFFINDOR!
The red and scarlet clad table burst into roaring cheers, some jumping up in ecstasy. James swaggered over to the long table, but saw the disdainful glance Lily shot him before sitting down. James looked back up at the Sorting. Sirius, after a five-minute pause, was put into Gryffindor. So were Lily (That brightened James's day considerably) and several other students: Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Mary Macdonald, Tina Lanwing and Charles Wong. James, glancing at Sirius, jeered loudly when Snape was Sorted into Slytherin. There were a few more names… (Smith, Daniel… Ravenclaw!)
(Abbie Jenkings… Hufflepuff!) And McGonagall folded up her long roll of parchment and eyes them with a severe look. "There is a new tree on Hogwarts grounds. It is extremely dangerous. You are advised to keep away from it."
"A tree?" James hissed to Sirius. What's it going to do, drop a leaf on us?" A group of girls nearby burst into giggles. Feeling pleased with himself, James ruffled his hair so it was very untidy the way he liked it. "So when's this feast?" Asked Sirius, rolling his eyes at his friends' antics. "I'm so hungry I could eat Snivellus. And that's saying something, because he would taste all greasy and disgusting." James chuckled. He could tell this was going to be a great year.
"You're such an idiot, James!" Sirius glared at his best friend. "Me?" Yelped James. "Yes, you! You said you know the way around the place."
"I do, we've been here two weeks!" James retorted. "And now we're late for Charms." Sirius shook his hair away from his face. "Having trouble?" Severus hovered nearby, a sneering expression on his face. "No. Go away." James replied peevishly. Severus laughed unpleasantly, black eyes flashing with triumph. "I knew you two were such dunderheads that~~~" James whipped out his wand so fast Severus barely had time to blink in shock. "Wingaurdiam leviosa!" The unpleasant Slytherin began floating into the air. Five feet, six feet, and seven feet- James gave his wand a lazy flick, and Severus's robes hung themselves from the chandelier. He struggled; arms and legs flailing in the air while James and Sirius laughed themselves silly. "Looks like James doesn't need charms class, Snivellus." Sirius choked when he got back his air supply. "Let me down!" Shouted Severus, color rushing to his pallid face. "No, I don't think I will," James switched his smile off and spoke very seriously. "You need to learn a lesson in respect. And hanging from a chandelier for a couple hours is very character building stuff." The crowd of students around them laughed admiringly. "Let's go," James knew the students wouldn't dare let Severus down- Sirius and him were the most popular and liked students in the first, second and third year. The pair, still chortling, hurried up the creaky stairs and slipped into the Charms classroom. "Potter, Black, you're late." Squeaked Professor Flitwick sternly. "Sorry Professor. Severus Snape held us up in the Great Hall- Causing trouble again." Sirius told Flitwick clearly. Flitwick shrugged, and continued on with his lesson. "You're liars, both of you!" Whispered Lily Evans, green eyes blazing. "I was there in the Great Hall, I saw what happened!"
"Lily Evans, perfect student, late for class? Ooh, your standards are dropping, Evens." James flashed back rapidly. "Oh, both of you are hopeless!" Lily marched to her seat beside Mary Macdonald. "Nice way to get her off our back." Sirius muttered to James, who just nodded. "Today we will be learning about Wingaurdiam leviosa spell…"
"Which James doesn't need to learn…" Sirius imitated Flitwick's high voice. Lily stared icily at the troublesome Gryffindors, but for once, James couldn't care less.
A slight nippy wind blew across James's face, ruffling his hair. It was a good, sunny day despite the slight breeze. Great for Quidditch tryouts, which were exactly what was happening. "No first years, potter, Black, you know the rules. Clear off." The Captain of the team, Melody, spoke briskly, blue eyes sweeping over James and Sirius. "We're just watching, Melody." Sirius spoke with a hurt air, which fooled no one. "Watching only, then. All right people!" Melody shouted at the rambunctious crowd. "We need a fast, light, clever seeker who's good with catching and fast and light on their broom. You think you're up to scratch?"
"YES." Roared the Gryffindor hopefuls. "They've got nothing on me." James swelled with pride at his Seeking ability. "Is the plan ready, Sir?" Sirius, in his element of mischief nodded. "Go."
"TEN SNITCHES ARE LOOSE!" Yelled Sirius, attracting everyone's attention and throwing ten tiny golden balls into the air. They darted this way and that, wings gleaming in the sun. "Why, Black, how dare you!" Melody looked beside herself, but a gasp from the crowd made her glance skyward. James Potter was soaring through the air on his broom catching snitch after snitch. Within five minutes, he landed, all ten caught. "Potter…." Breathed Melody.
Twenty minutes later James climbed through the Portrait Hole of the Gryffindor Common Room, the newly appointed Gryffindor seeker. He was bragging to everyone who would listen- and that was everyone, fascinated by the youngest house player in a century. Lily was sitting on a squishy armchair by the fire completing an essay. "I suppose you think this is the reward for hanging Severus from a chandelier?'
"Yep, I do, actually," James replied absently, not even looking at her. He pulled out an edible sugar quill. "Where'd you get that?" Lily grouched, thunderstruck. "Nicked it off a fourth year boy who got it from Hogsmeade." It was no big deal, but Lily stormed off to the girl's dormitory. "I don't think you're impressing her much." A quiet voice, full of weariness and wisdom spoke behind James. "You're Remus Lupin, right?" James dropped his sugar quill. "And your James Potter." It wasn't a question. James felt like retorting, "Who else would I be?" In his signature arrogance but he bit his tongue. "Well, I don't care about what Evens thinks anyways."
"But it's so obvious you do." Lupin wasn't challenging him, but stating what he thought in a mild voice. "Well, she hangs around Snivellus too much for my liking." He spat, nettled by the way Lupin made everything sound so sensible and obvious. "You and Severus are different, there's no argument about that… but you could be friends." Again, James was lost for words. "Unlikely." James noticed Lupin was looking pale and his eyes were gaunt. "Are you ill? You should see Madam Pomfrey." Lupin started, and regarded James warily. "I'm not ill." James shrugged and looked around. The common room was deserted. "It's late, we better get to bed." He hinted, unable to believe he sounded like a goody goody. "You go." Lupin sounded distant. "I have to…" He trailed off. James crept towards the boys' dormitory staircase but at a rustle he turned around. Lupin was sliding out of the common room.
"I'm telling you, he was sneaking out!" James repeated for the fifth time that morning, exasperated at Sirius's lack of belief. "Lupin? He's a good boy. As if he would."
"Oh, I guess it was his evil twin then." Muttered James heatedly. Sirius made an odd sighing sound. "You're a misery today. Lighten up! Besides, you have enough on your plate: Quidditch, classes, working on new ways to torment Snivellus…" James chuckled, shoving aside his plate. "True, that. "The pair got up and began walking to Defense against the Dark Arts. "You're a wimpy little fool. How you got in Gryffindor, I have no idea~~~" Snape was tormenting a pathetic lump of a boy, Peter Pettigrew. A thin smile was curling on his thin lips as he shot sparks from his wand, forcing Peter to hop clumsily from foot to foot. "Expelliarmus!" Shouted James and Sirius at the same time, Severus's wand flew far away and out of sight. Severus wrung his hands out in mad fury. "How dare you interfere!" He shouted. Peter crouched, trembling, behind the two furious Gryffindor boys. "Bullying people weaker then you, Snivellus?" Shouted Sirius, advancing. "You do that all the time, Black~~"
"You're not weaker than us, Snape, just more pathetic!" James said loudly, and the gathering crowd laughed. "Who wants to see us blast this pathetic snake across the Hall?" Sirius jeered to the crowd. Several people cheered. "Leave him alone!" Lily had pushed her way through the crowd and her wand was out. "He started it, Evens, he was bullying Pettigrew!" roared Sirius, no patience for her defiance. "This had better stop." Lupin 's voice rung through the excited mutters of the crowd, and he stepped into view. "Dumbledore's on his way up to the hall, unless you all want detention, you'd better scram." There was a great rush to leave after the words left Lupin's mouth. James reluctantly lowered his wand, and lowered Sirius's. "Until the next time, Snivellus." He growled and Him, Sirius, Remus and Peter walked away.
"Evans is such a drip." Sirius spoke contemptuously at dinner that night, shooting a glance at Lily who was eating nearby. James felt a flash of defiance. "Lay off her, man." Sirius cast James a taunting look. "Oooh, someone's in love."
"She is very pretty." Offered Peter tentatively. Remus said nothing, and resumed staring at his food. "Lily Evans is a traitor to Gryffindor." Sirius looked deliberately at James, who gripped his wand and began, "She's not~~~"
"Leave it, Potter. Let's hear what you've got to say, Black." Lily was standing behind Sirius, mouth set determinedly. "You're hanging around with that Gryffindor hating creep, who's also a bully to those weaker than himself." Sirius paused for effect, but Lily crossed her arms, unimpressed. "Do I have to spell it out, Evans? You hang with him, you get shunned. Right guys?" There was a chorus of agreement from most of the table, but a lot of people were suddenly interested in their supper. James turned to Sirius. "We can't ban her from who she hangs out with." A pleading note crept into his voice. Sirius shook away his grip. "Just because you've got a soft spot for pretty girls doesn't mean I do." James settled back into his chair, dismayed. Clearly Sirius wasn't who James thought he was. James considered his platter for a minute and said quietly. "Slytherin blood coming out in you then, Black?" Sirius ceased taunting Lily and froze, hands curled into fists. He swilled around. "What did you say?" Every word dripped threats. "You're just as bad as your family. I don't know how you were put in Gryffindor." James struggled to remain calm, he hated tormenting his friend. Sirius's face contorted in fury. "How dare you Potter- you've got such a big head that~~"
"I don't disagree with that." Lily swung her head around sharply to face Sirius and she emitted a light laugh. James blushed and looked away furiously. "But Potter's doing the right thing- and currently, you are acting like A Slytherin."
"Like Snivellus, you mean." Sirius snapped viciously, handsome face flushed and angry. Lily stared back at him coolly. Remus's eyes darted between the three of us. "Calm down," He spoke evenly, gesturing at Peter for help, but Peter looked scared and interested. "I don't tell you who to be friends with- so you don't tell me who to hang around with. Get that into your thick skull, Black… and have a good day." With that, she tossed her flaming red hair behind her shoulders and marched off. "By the way, Potter." She called. "You've spilled your dinner." James felt like dying, the whole of the Gryffindor house was laughing at him. Sirius got up. "Come on, Remus, Peter." He glowered at James. Peter mumbled something incomprehensible and he scampered to Sirius's side. "Remus?" James called out. Sirius widened his eyes dangerously. "Get your butt over here, Lupin." Looking shaken and confused, Remus shook his head as if to clear it. He spoke firmly. "I don't answer to threats, Sirius. And I'm with James. James is right. You were horrible to Lily today."
"Your funeral." Black spat contemptuously, and he barked at Peter, who hurried after Black who was stalking away to the Common Room. "That went well." James said sarcastically, playing with his fork. Remus shrugged. "Where'd you go last night anyways?" Lupin jumped. "What" He laughed nervously. "I don't follow you." James rolled his eyes. "It's okay, I won't tattle you to McGonagall. Heck, me and S~" His voice faltered at his former best friend's name, but he continued. "I have snuck out twice already and term only started three weeks ago." Lupin's face turned pale. "I didn't sneak out." He stammered. James opened his mouth, but one of the teachers swooped down on the boys. "Up to the Gryffindor Common Room! It's late!" As they got up, James saw relief cloud Remus's face could've sworn he had planned the interruption.
A couple of days passed, and James found them uneventful without Sirius. Of course, he still was funny, witty, and broke many rules, but it didn't feel the same without Sirius. At least, reflected James, My first Quidditch match is today. James had been feeling lots of mixed emotions for this event- jitters, excitement… "How are you coping?" Asked a voice, and James turned to a fellow Gryffindor first year he'd not met. She was small, with dark brown hair cropped short, wide heavy lashed electric blue eyes, and a dazzling white grin. "I'm Alice. Alice Lake. And this is Frank Longbottom." She gestured to a shy, plump young boy who was chubby and had black hair and brown eyes. A wild laugh burst from James. "Longbottom?" He gaped at the other Gryffindor. Tears of laughter ran down his face as he choked with laughter. Frank gave a large sniff. "I knew people would laugh." He muttered miserably, eyes downcast, he began to shuffle away. Alice shot James a glare, which had James backtracking quickly. "Hey- Hey, Frank. Sorry, man. I didn't mean it." He punched Frank's shoulder lightly and Frank nearly fell over. "Talk about clumsy." Murmured James, scanning the crowd for Remus. The teacher, Professor Merrythought walked in and said crisply, "No talking." As the class settled down for Defense Against The Dark Arts, Alice tossed James a note, flashing him a quirky smile before turning her attention to Merrythought. James unfolded the note, not forgetting to ruffle his hair quickly and smile arrogantly at the girls.