TITLE: "Crossroads"

AUTHOR: Emmyjean ([email protected])



SUMMARY: The long journey of James Potter and Lily Evans over the course of their last year at Hogwarts.

DISCLAIMER: Without JK Rowling, none of this would exist. Thanks to her for letting me play with her creation.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This fic has been REVISED AS OF JULY, 2003 to fit with Order of the Phoenix canon.  Please read details from author HEREBy the way…yes, I KNOW I left the character of Arabella Figg as she was in the first version!  Trust me, I wouldn't overlook such a thing.  All shall be explained later. ;)


June, Fifth Year

            "Prongs, where did you put that deck of exploding snap cards?" Sirius Black called over the noise of talking and laughing in the Gryffindor common room.  It was the end of the term, and the Gryffindor prefects had been given permission by Professor McGonagall to throw a party in celebration. There was an endless amount of food and butterbeer, much game-playing, and even a few slight mishaps...but the evening was still young.

            "I don't know, I didn't have them," James Potter called from his place on a couch, his arm resting casually across the shoulders of the girl he was seeing at the moment, "Ask Wormtail!"

            Peter Pettigrew turned at the sound of his nickname and raised his eyebrows. Short and stocky, he didn't look the part of a Marauder – James, Sirius, and Remus Lupin were all tall and lean. "Is someone calling me?"

            "Yeah," Sirius grumbled, "What did you do with those cards?"

            Peter blinked, then pulled the deck out of the pocket of his trousers. Holding it out to Sirius, he asked, "Are you going to have a game?"

            "In a manner of speaking," Sirius replied cryptically, earning a suspicious look from Remus. He walked over to where James was sitting and asked, "Care for a game?"

            James eyed the deck Sirius was waving enticingly in front of his face, then smiled evilly and jumped up, the girl next to him temporarily forgotten at the prospect of causing some sort of mischief.  They cleared a space at the table nearest the window, and Sirius dealt. Remus and Peter walked over to watch, along with some other interested students. After both players had a full hand, Remus asked wryly, "What could possibly make you two start a game of cards in the middle of a party?"

            James grinned up at his friend and replied, "Think of the possibilities."

            Sirius smiled slightly at this and asked, "Hey James?"


            "How do you reckon could we make this game more entertaining for the group of onlookers we seem to have attracted?"

            James glanced around and replied, "Huh...I don't know. It would have to be something spectacular, to keep this lot's attention."

            The two friends locked eyes and made their decision, grinning as they did.

            "Why do I think this is going to end badly?" Remus mumbled mildly.

             "Nonsense, Moony," James reassured, removing his wand from his pocket, "We're only going to enhance the game a bit."

            "Besides," Sirius said, an ironic smile twisting his handsome face, "What are you going to do?  Report us?"

            At this, Lily Evans finally decided to speak up. She too was a prefect, and she felt it was her duty to say something in the way of a warning...even if the fact was that she really didn't want to get involved.  How was she supposed to live up to the badge if she shied away from the things that were hard?  After all...she'd dealt with him and his friends before.  "Look...I don't think you should do this. We aren't allowed to use magic at all...it was one of the conditions to having this party."

            James and Sirius exchanged a glance, and James replied, "Oh, come on, Evans. No one has to know."

            She persisted, "I don't think you should. It could go wrong."

            James rolled his eyes slightly to himself and replied, "Relax, would you? I know what I'm doing."

            Turning, he eyed her for a moment before a slow smile lifted the corners of his mouth.  "Besides...it's obvious that the things I've been doing so far to impress you haven't been working."

She narrowed her eyes at him and shook her head, embarrased as always when he did this in front of people.  It was clear they were completely different people and had nothing in common, and everyone knew that a relationship of any kind between them was a ridiculous notion...but did he have to use this knowledge to consistently make fun of her?  She knew he wasn't serious, and that it was probably just his way of joking with her...but she couldn't help feeling sometimes that there was a slight bit of maliciousness behind it as well.  He knew full well that it embarrassed her...and he knew that everytime he did it, he'd get a laugh.  It boosted his ego, she thought as her brows came together in a frown.  Shooting her a wink, he smiled wider and proceeded to ignore Lily's protests, putting some kind of enchantment on the deck in front of him. Then, he grinned roguishly and put his wand away, seating himself once more.

            "What did you do?" Pettigrew asked excitedly.

            James began to shuffle and replied, "Like I said...I just enhanced the deck, that's all."

            Sirius and James began to play, and the rest of the Gryffindors were soon roaring with laughter as it became apparent what this enhancement entailed. The cards, when they did explode, were ten times louder and released double the smoke and soot. James and Sirius were soon covered in smudges and the place smelled like someone was burning rubber. Lily, still worried about a disaster, looked on with her arms crossed, waiting for the slightest indication that this game could turn dangerous so that she could put a stop to it.  Frankly, she wished Remus Lupin would just do it...after all, he too was a prefect, and they were his friends.  As she glanced at him, however, she noticed that although he didn't seem to be abandoning himself so easily to the hilarity of the moment, he also didn't seem too concerned.  Sighing again, she decided to just wait it out...as it was, she just couldn't bear to ruin everyone's fun if she didn't have to...after all, nothing bad had happened yet.  As thought hearing her thoughts, James looked up and saw her.  Shaking his head, he assured,

            "Evans, relax. Nothing's going to happen."

            No sooner had the words left his mouth, however, than a card shot out of Sirius' hand. It was supposed to have exploded, but instead was behaving like some sort of wayward firecracker. Before anyone could register what had happened, the card flew straight at the long, red drapes hanging in the window and ignited them.

            James and Sirius jumped up, as did many other students, amidst screams and yells. Lily, however, was the one who got there first. She reached up and ripped the curtains from their rods. As they came tumbling down around her, still blazing, she felt a searing pain in her right arm. Not having time to think about it, she and a few other students who had come to her aid worked to put the fire out before it spread. At last, the fire itself was extinguished, although the room was even more full of smoke than it was before. Lily heard someone open a window, and then someone started to laugh.

            It was Sirius Black. Soon, he was roaring with laughter at the entire spectacle, and James joined him wholeheartedly. A few others began to titter, and it wasn't long before the entire student population of Gryffindor tower was in hysterics. Lily wasn't concerned about this right now, however...she was attempting to examine her throbbing arm through the haze of smoke in front of her.

            "What's the matter, Lily?" came a voice from beside her. It was her friend, Helen Knowles.

            "I'm not sure...I think it's hurt," she replied, motioning at her forearm.

            "We need to get to the hospital wing, then," Arabella Figg, her other best friend, said while casting a glare in the direction of James and Sirius, "That was completely irresponsible."

            Lily shushed her, not wanting to cause a scene, and the three of them slipped unnoticed out the portrait hole and up through the corridors of Hogwarts until they reached the hospital wing. The school nurse, Madam Pomfrey, came bustling over to see what was the matter. She tutted when she saw Lily's burn, and scooted her over to sit on a bed. Lily smiled slightly...it seemed Madam Pomfrey had been there forever.

            "Miss Evans, this is nothing other than a nasty burn, but how in the world did you get it?"

            Lily cast a glance at Arabella, who widened her eyes a bit in encouragement. She was of no help...she would have relished getting the Marauders in trouble for this. However, it was Lily who would have to live with it if she did.  Why hadn't she just put a stop to it when she had the chance? "Umm...well, we were having a party in the common room, and there was a small...er, mishap," she replied vaguely.

            The old nurse would not be put off, however.

            "A mishap? In the form of a fire, you mean?" she asked knowingly, a frown marring her brow as she applied cool paste to the burn. It truly did look like a horrible wound.

            Lily hesitated, then decided it would be no good trying to lie about it. She nodded, and Madam Pomfrey stood up, clasping her hands tightly in front of her.

            "Miss Evans, I'm sure I don't have to stress to you the importance of my reporting this incident to the head of your house. Being a prefect, you must know that I am obligated to..."

            "Oh, please," Lily cut her off, desperately. She couldn't bear to think about what those boys would do if they thought she told on them. She didn't get along very well with James Potter as it was.  "You don't have to do that. It was only an accident..."

            "An accident undoubtedly caused by magic, and I happen to know for a fact that magic was forbidden at this particular gathering."

            Lily shook her head firmly, knowing even now that it was futile but unable to simply give up, "Really, I'm fine. I don't wish to report it...please, I'll take care of it myself..."

            "I'm afraid that is impossible," Madam Pomfrey said with a finality that made Lily's heart sink, "You might very well have been hurt much worse, not to mention other students who were put in danger. I won't ask you to give me names, Miss Evans...but I must report it."

            Lily let out her breath in one hopeless sigh, and her shoulders sank. After promising Madam Pomfrey that she'd keep her bandage on overnight, she and her friends walked out of the infirmary. Helen didn't say much, but Arabella spoke up.

            "Lily, it's the only right thing to do, and you know it. They were way out of line."

            "That's easy for you to say, Bella," Lily replied, "You're not going to have to deal with the consequences."


            Lily sighed again in frustration. "It's not as if I get along very well with James Potter and his friends now."

            Arabella snorted, and they argued back and forth on it for a few moments without reaching any sort of agreement. Eventually, they reached the tower, and to Lily's utter dismay were met by Professor McGonagall climbing out of the portrait hole.

            "Miss Evans, may I have a word with you please?"

            Arabella and Helen looked sympathetically at Lily before heading inside. Lily stood before the professor, trying to hide her bandage with the sleeve of her robes. McGonagall noticed and said sharply,

            "No need to hide it from me, Miss Evans. I know all about it from Madam Pomfrey."

            Lily looked at the floor and grimaced. News traveled quickly around this school.

            "Miss Evans," McGonagall continued, "I have no one to punish in this instance, although a grave offense has been committed. You have not given us any names, and I must say I disapprove...you are not acting the part of a prefect."

            Lily didn't know how to respond to this, so she kept silent and waited for her to continue. After a moment, she did.

            "If you are willing to let the ones responsible go unpunished, that is your decision...but I hope that in the future, you will try and put your duties first.  That is...if you want to be considered for the position of Head Girl one day."

            As McGonagall walked briskly away, Lily closed her eyes and thought that perhaps she might kill herself when she got up to her dorm. Frankly, she didn't know why she was being spoken to so strictly...it wasn't as if she had caused the fire. She was a victim of circumstance in this case, and no one seemed to understand that. She stepped slowly forward and gave the Fat Lady the password, but what she saw when the portrait swung open made her reconsider her options – perhaps it would be better if she just killed herself right now.

            James Potter sat there, scowling at her as she came through the opening. She shivered quite involuntarily...she had never quite gotten along with him as well as everyone else, but she had never seen his eyes so cold before.

            Yet at the same time, they burned with rage.

            "What good did you expect it to do, may I ask?" he spat as she started to walk toward the stairs. She stopped, sensing that he wanted a fight...and he was going to get one. She didn't respond, trying desperately to come up with something to say in her defense. After all, the situation did look pretty incriminating. He let out a derisive laugh behind her and went on,

            "I knew you were stuck-up and swotty, Evans...everyone did.  I could've overlooked those as minor character flaws. It was just somehow surprising that you would be a rat as well."

            Lily spun around, feeling her neck burn as anger swept through her. How dare he say these things to her when he didn't even know what had happened? In any case...he was the one who caused the mess in the first place. He and his stupid, careless friends.

            "If I recall correctly," she shot back, "YOU were the one who started this whole thing! If you hadn't been so predictably arrogant..."

            "You can afford to be bloody arrogant sometimes if you know how to handle a situation!" he yelled, surprising her, "But you wouldn't know anything about that, would you? You're the most ineffective prefect I've ever seen...maybe that's why you feel you need to run and fetch a professor every time something happens."

            "I'm ineffective?" she sputtered, unable to believe her ears, "You caused a fire in the common room, Potter! That's not exactly what I would call 'handling a situation'!"

            "I'm not a prefect...besides, it was nothing and you know it. It got put out in two seconds, if that," he said irritably.

She struggled to think of something to say...she wasn't good with words in the same way he was. She wasn't as quick of a thinker, and it was a disadvantage in this situation. "What are you so worked up about, anyway? You didn't get in trouble, did you?"

He raised an eyebrow at her and said, "McGonagall's not happy with the prefects right now, as you were supposed to be monitoring the use of magic. She'll probably never let us have another bloody party in here again, thanks to you...not to mention the fact that Remus'll probably get in some kind of trouble."

            "Well, maybe he should, then!  You weren't supposed to be using magic at all! Someone could've gotten hurt! Can't you see that?" she replied in her most firm tone, unconsciously rubbing at her hidden wound as she did.

            He snorted and replied, "Come on...don't be daft."

            She was about to retort when he held up a hand. "I really don't feel like talking to you anymore, Evans. You just go on up to bed, and dream about what it would be like if you actually had some influence around here. Go on."

            As she stood there, dumbstruck by his blunt insults the likes of which she'd never heard from him before, he considered her for a moment longer and then let out a hollow little laugh.  Shaking his head and messing his hair, he commented, "You know what I just figured out?  You were not worth the effort."

            She felt her eyes begin to burn in frustration as she turned to huff away, but before she went even halfway up the stairs she turned back and said quietly, "You know, Potter...you needn't be so smug.  This is exactly what lost you that prefect's badge, but I guess we should all be thanking you for that, shouldn't we?  Otherwise we might have been stuck with you actually having power instead of just thinking you do because you happen to be popular.  You're an egotistical, insolent, overconfident git...nothing more."

            She turned and hurried the rest of the way up to the dorms, where her friends were no doubt waiting to hear what had happened...and for once, she noted that James Potter was left speechless.

            From that night on, James Potter and Lily Evans held each other in the utmost contempt and loathing. They only spoke to each other when it was absolutely necessary, and even then conversation was short and often curt. This made it all the more abominable for them both – and alarming for the Hogwarts students and faculty – when, in a decision that somewhat shocked the school, James Potter was made prefect in their sixth year... 

...and then he and Lily were made Head Boy and Girl in their seventh year.

To Be Continued in Chapter One

More Fic by Emmyjean at

The Hidden Tower