Summary: Lily and James love/hate fic. James uncovers some dark secrets in his seventh year.

Author's notes: This is my first L/J love/hate fic--my first HP fic for that matter--so do go easy on me. I came up with this idea after reading numerous L/J love/hate and James-return-from-the-dead fics. This fic begins at the beginning of the Marauders' seventh year at Hogwarts and ends (hopefully) with the death of James and Lily. Hope you do enjoy! ^.^

Disclaimer: I own no characters you recognize! *pouts* Though I would love to own Jimmy, Siri, and Remy. *sighs*







Of Hidden Truths
(September First)






"Morning, Dad!" greeted James Potter as he entered the kitchen with a grin on his seventeen-year old face. Today was September first. The day that his seventh--and final--year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry began. Not only that, but James had received an owl a few days before telling him that he was to be Head Boy.

James Potter--leader of the Marauders, the magical mischief makers of Hogwarts--Head Boy!

James' father, Edward Potter, peered over the top of the newspaper--The Daily Prophet--he was reading, giving the boy a curious look.

"All right," said Mr. Potter, putting down the newspaper when James took a seat across from him, munching on some toast. "Who are you and what have you done to with my son?"

James feigned a thoughtful look before answering, "Your worse nightmare and I transfigured him into toast."

He took a large bite to emphasize his statement.

Mr. Potter chuckled and went back to looking and his paper. James continued to eat his toast until he spotted something. A small grin appeared on his face as he pretended to see nothing.

Mr. Potter, who was unaware of anything happening, didn't realize someone was behind him until he heard someone whisper, "Hello, Edward."

He jumped since the voice was both unexpected and seemed to sound like someone else's and cursed to himself as his son and the person behind him laughed. The elder Potter spun around in his seat and saw that young Sirius Black was howling in laughter, clutching his stomach.

"I'm glad you find me amusing, Sirius," said Mr. Potter dryly. The laughter didn't stop, though it was somewhat more controlled.

"I'm--I'm sorry, Mr. Potter, but the look on your face was priceless!" exclaimed Sirius as he fell into a seat at the table.

Mr. Potter shook his head. Sirius Black was a very close friend of James'. They were so close, in fact, that some wondered how they were not related. They even looked somewhat similar. They both had dark hair and mischievous eyes and grins.

Their differences, however, were as plain as their similarities. While James had short hair that stuck up everywhere, strong gray eyes behind his glasses, and was slightly shorter than his friend, Sirius had shoulder-length hair, joyful blue eyes that screamed trouble, and was at least six feet tall. But still many people would wonder if they were, indeed, related and--being who they were--James and Sirius would often pretend they were related, just to cause confusion.

James had managed to control his laughter to where he could eat his toast without choking and glanced up at his father, who was beginning to gain some color into his cheeks again.

"Something the matter, Dad?" asked James curiously. Sirius, who had heard the question, ceased his laughter as he watched the older man recover from the surprise.

Mr. Potter jerked his head up, startling both James and Sirius slightly. "Matter? Nothing's the matter. Why?"

James and Sirius exchanged glances.

"Well, it's just that you never...well," began James. "get--"

"--caught on the wrong end of my pranks," finished Sirius. Mr. Potter shook his head and chuckled at the two.

"If I weren't James' father, I would wonder if you two were related," he said, expertly avoiding the question.

Sirius looked shocked.

"You mean we're not?" He spun to James, pointing an accusing finger at him. "You knew this and never told me?"

James looked as if his hand had been caught in the cookie jar. "It was a surprise?" he asked dumbly.

"All right, you two, that's enough. It's time to get to the station," announced Mr. Potter, chuckling as he stood.

The two boys, obviously forgetting the question they had asked James' father, raced up the stairs to see if they had forgotten anything while Mr. Potter readied a portkey. It was only minutes later that James and Sirius came back down, trunks and all.

"--auder a Head Boy!" Sirius was exclaiming as they dragged their things into the kitchen. "What was Dumbledore thinking!"

"He probably thought," James began to suggest with a shrug. "that since I can lead a bunch like you, I can lead the student body."

"Bunch of me? I thought there was only one of me."

Mr. Potter chuckled once more.

"Come along, you two. Sirius, your parents are going to be there, right?" he asked as the boys came next to him.

"Er...I think so. They're supposed to be, anyway," answered Sirius. James gave his friend an amused look before turning to his father.

It was common knowledge that Mr. and Mrs. Black--Sirius' parents--were usually out of the house, going to Ministry meetings and such. It was only one of the few reasons Sirius usually stayed at the Potters' during vacation. This sometimes made James wonder if Sirius still remembered what his parents looked like, he had seen them so little.

"Are we going straight there or...?" asked James, gaining a mischievous smirk. His father shook his head.

"We're not going to have a repeat of last year," he said firmly.

"Aw, come on, Mr. Potter. It wasn't that bad," put in Sirius as he dragged his belongings closer to the portkey.

"We're not going to have a repeat of last year," repeated Mr. Potter as he held out the portkey. James and Sirius exchange amused glances for a moment, for they remembered well about what had happened the year before.

"Oh, joy," commented Sirius before they touched the portkey. "Traveling by portkey is just oh so fun!"

James let out a snort just as the portkey was activated and he felt the familiar jerk as if there were a hook behind his navel. Their feet had left the kitchen floor only to be dropped onto the ground of an alley. Sirius stumbled into James, who was already off-balance, and both were soon on the ground in a tangled heap.

"Gerroff, Padfoot!" shouted James, feeling as though his taller, more muscular friend were suffocating him.

"Aw...Prongs no wuv me no more." Sirius pretended to pout and stood up and away from the smaller boy before he could retaliate. James scowled as he stood up and noticed that his father was waiting patiently as the two brushed off their clothing.

"We should travel by portkey more often," muttered Mr. Potter to himself before looking to the boys. "Hurry it up. We don't want to be late."

With that, he turned and walked out of the alley. Sirius leaned over to James, who was gathering his things again, and whispered, "How much you want to bet we're early?"

James nodded in agreement as they dragged their things into the station. It was just about as busy as it was every year, but James was suspicious that not very many witches or wizards were there yet.

As they passed gates one through eight, he and Sirius amused themselves by taking about Muggle clothing they saw and pointing out fair-looking Muggle women to one another.

They especially enjoyed the latter.

"Ah! Look there! The blonde one there, Prongs!" exclaimed Sirius as they neared their destination. James turned to look and saw a blonde hair, blue eyed beauty who had quite attractive legs.

"The one with the legs?" he asked to be sure.

He could picture Sirius rolling his eyes at him before answering, "All of them have legs, Prongs. She, however, has legs."

Now James rolled his eyes, thinking that there wasn't much of a difference in their statements. He didn't get a chance to point this out, however, for his trolley had hit someone else's and he had been knocked off his feet. Sirius stopped only to snicker while James scrambled to find his glasses, which had been knocked off his face.

"Looking for these?" asked a voice coldly, and James, who was on his hands and knees, squinted up at the person before him. He cursed to himself and stood up, glaring at the person.

Lily Evans...his house rival and one of the few girls who despised him.

"Give them here, Evans," he snapped, holding out his hand and knowing that that wouldn't work at all.

The redheaded girl studied the glasses she held before looking at her rival. "And why should I, Potter? I seem to recall that you took something of mine in fourth year."

James' blood began to boil. "That was three years ago!" he shouted angrily, wondering where the hell Sirius was.

"And?" snapped Lily Evans.

"You know what? Keep them," said James, taking his trolley and walking off. As he went, however, he called back, "Why would I want something your filthy hands touched, anyway?"

A muffled growl of annoyance satisfied the Marauder as he continue on to the barrier between nine and ten, almost blindly. When he reached the barrier, he found two fuzzy figures that he recognized as his father and Sirius.

"Prongs! What kept you?" shouted Sirius with a knowing grin as James shoved his trolley angrily forward.

Ignoring the question, James snapped, "Where the hell were you? Evans the Annoying ran into my trolley and took my glasses!"

"Oh, is that what's different about you? I thought--"

"Padfoot!" interrupted James, impatiently.

"Oh, come on, Prongs. It's not all that bad," said Sirius, and received a glare in turn.

"I can't see, Padfoot!" cried James, frustrated.

"Then open your eyes!"

"Oh, for the love of--they are open!"

"Then why can't you see?"

"Argh!"

The bickering continued until both the boys were on the platform and making there way into the train, where they were going to put their trunks and everything else they had with them. It was when they were exiting the train to go say farewell to James' father, since he had to leave as soon as possible, that it the bickering turned into a serious argument.

Some people say that the argument had been about Sirius saying something about James' parents. Others say that it had been about Lily Evans. But even though they were not sure about what they were arguing about, they all knew what happened next.

James Potter was about to tackle Sirius Black when someone grabbed him by the shoulders. James then turned and saw that it was Remus Lupin, another Marauder. He growled and struggled to be released, but his light brown haired friend held strong.

"Let me go, Remus!" he snapped, glaring at Sirius, who was looking pleased with himself.

"Calm down, James! He was only making you vent out your--" Remus began to say.

"Then let me vent while beating his face into a bloody pulp!" James' shout echoed throughout the corridor. Sirius backed out of the way as Remus dragged James into a compartment and shoved the struggling Head Boy into a seat.

Sirius walked into the compartment a few seconds afterward, crossing his arms and shaking his head. "I told you he was repressing it," he said and Remus sighed, stopping James from standing up.

James glared at each of them from his seat. "Repressing what?" he snapped, straightening his clothing a bit and thinking that he was lucky that the whole student body of Hogwarts weren't on the train yet.

Remus sighed again. "James, Padfoot has been owling me all summer, telling me how you're 'pretending' that it didn't happen," he explained.

James bit the inside of his cheek and quashed the feeling of betrayal that was rising. "So Sirius has been trying to make me come to terms with what's happened? It's not going to work, Remus, so stop trying and leave me alone. I'm f--"

"If you say you're fine one more time, James, I'm going to ring your neck," roared Sirius, and James fell silent. "You are not fine and you haven't been since last year! You won't admit that it wasn't your fault--"

"That's because it is!" objected James, standing, but was pulled back down by Remus.

"And you're pretending that she never existed!" finished Sirius and was about to add something else when James jumped up again.

"I am not! And that's not true!" he shouted, blinking as tears began to enter his eyes.

"Then what is, James?" asked Remus, gently. James was about to reply when he noticed Sirius expectant stare.

Sitting back down, James sighed and wiped his eyes, muttering, "What'd I ever do to you?"

"You became my friend, that's what," answered Sirius, scowling in annoyance at James' stubbornness. "You're my friend and I want to help you. You're Moony's friend and he wants to help you, but neither of us can if you don't let us."

"I don't need any help, Sirius," spat out James, glaring at him again. Sirius met his glare with an icy stare.

"Yes, you do. If you don't acknowledge what has happened and keep everything locked up, you're going to crack. First the foundation and then the tower. Understand?"

There was a long and painful silence in which James lowered his eye to the ground in thought. When he brought them back up, however, fierce determination, fresh pain, and raw anger reflected from his usual laid-back gray eyes.

"You can't make me tell you anything like this and I'm not going to let you trick me anymore. Either drop the attempts or drop the friendship," he said coldly before getting up and working out.

Neither of the others followed, knowing he needed to cool off. If they had gone, they might have prevented James second run-in with Lily Evans.

James hadn't gone five steps before knocking into the redhead. The collision caused them both to fall over, but only one of them chose to complain about it as they stood up.

"Watch where you're going!" shouted Lily, her face red. With embarrassment or anger, James couldn't tell and didn't care about. He scowled at her, stood up, and shoved by. That, of course, didn't help matters.

"How rude! Didn't your mother ever teach you--" That was as far she had gotten into her rant, for James had spun around and swung his hand at her, as if attempting a back-handed slap, only to stop...inches from her face.

All Lily could do was stare at him. He had never struck out at her before. And even though he hadn't really struck her, it was still shocking that he was so close to doing that. His hand was shaking slightly and Lily backed up a bit, fearful that he would actually stike her.

So busy was she watching his hand that she missed the conflicting emotions that were playing in his eyes. Anger, pain, grief, guilt, shame, and fear flashed quickly through James' thoughts and were surely shown in his eyes.

How dare she speak of his mother like that, was the first thought that crossed his mind. She didn't know what happened to her. She didn't know that she was gone, were the second and third. What would his mother think if he found he had came that close to striking her? Why did he try to strike her when she didn't know, were the last.

They stood there for a moment--James with his arm still out near her face and Lily staring with some fear at the hand that had came so close to hitting her--and didn't move until James managed to choke out, "Never mention my mum again," with his voice quavering ever so slightly.

Lily nodded her head quickly and James lowered his hand and his eyes and quickly left, leaving her standing there bewildered and confused.

James left the train and went over to where his father was, remembering that he had to leve as quickly as possible. Putting the confusing emotions he felt before and after his second encounter with Evans aside, he approached his father with a smile that would scare away any professor at Hogwarts--besides, perhaps, Dumbledore and McGonagall.

"Ready to go?" asked Mr. Potter and James nodded in reply. "Good, now I don't want any owls telling me that you've killed a professor because of stress or anything, so behave yourself. Understand?"

"Yes, Sir," answered James with a fake smile that proved to be believeable. Mr. Potter smiled back at him and ruffled his hair a bit.

"All right then. Tell Sirius that I'm sorry his parents didn't come again. I'll see you at Christmas," he said, giving his son a quick hug.

"All right, Dad. Take care of yourself," said James, inwardly meaning what he said. Again Mr. Potter gave him a smile before turning and leaving the platform. James sighed and headed back into the train, hoping not to run into Evans again.

His wish was granted and he went to find an empty compartment. Again his luck prevailed and he sat alone in the compartment, thinking about what Sirius and Remus had said to him and wondering if he should go back and apologize to them. But, he reminded himself, he should apologize to Evans first.

That was...if he could find which compartment she was in.






Author's notes: *paying that its not rushed...notices people are reading this and coughs* And I believe I am finished with this part! Tell me what you think! Both compliments and flames are welcome of course! ^.^