The Sugar Quill
Author: Alkari (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Silver Badge  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Lily hugged and kissed her parents, assured them that yes, she would definitely have a wonderful last year at school, and push

SILVER BADGE

 

 

Summary:   Lily Evans finds that her first day as Head Girl has its ups and downs, and one or two surprises.   (An outtake from “A Most Unusual Student”.)

 

Disclaimer:   Naturally I do not own JK Rowling’s characters, or make any claim to them. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>She invented them and the wonderful world of Hogwarts. I am just happily visiting her world for a while.

 

_______________

 

 

Lily hugged and kissed her parents, assuring them that of course she would have a wonderful last year at school; yes, she would write soon and tell them all about her first week as Head Girl.  Would have been nice for Petunia to come too, this last time, but that might mean she’d meet one of those ‘freaks’.  Oh well …   Hitching her bag securely over her shoulder, Lily wheeled her trunk towards the barrier.  A burly purple-jacketed guard waved her on – Ministry official, she presumed – and next thing she was surrounded by the familiar start of term chaos on the crowded platform.       

 

Trying not to feel too self-conscious about the silver badge pinned to the front of her jacket, she muttered a Levitation charm over her trunk and started to manoeuvre it towards the front of the train, eyes scanning the crowd for her friends and the other prefects.  Progress was slow: the little badge seemed to announce itself like a blazing neon sign, and she found herself constantly pausing to answer the greetings and congratulations that showered her from all sides.   They seem genuinely pleased I’m Head Girl, she thought.  I just hope I can live up to it all … wish I knew who’s Head Boy …  

 

She waved to Portia Staples and Ambrose Mitchell, the seventh year Slytherin prefects, who seemed to be caught up in a group of parents and relatives.   He’s not wearing the badge, so it’s not Ambrose, though I half expected it – he’s not one of the Dark crowd.  Must be Charles Plummer then – Remus is a lovely person, but he isn’t really a Head Boy, and I can’t see Robert Goodall being appointed.  Too officious.

 

Up ahead, someone called her name, and to her relief she saw Amanda Fisher and Fiona Martin waving and beckoning from a large group of fellow seventh years.  I thought Fiona might have been Head Girl – hope she’s not too upset.   But when she reached them, the Ravenclaw prefect was the first to hug her and offer best wishes.

 

“I knew you’d be Head Girl,” Fiona enthused.  “I’m so glad for you - as if they’d appoint any one else!”   Remus was next, kissing her shyly on the cheek as he wished her well and said how pleased he was; then the others were crowding around, hugging her, patting her on the back, everyone speaking at once.  Peter, Susan, Amanda, Jeffrey … they were all there.   So Remus wasn’t Head Boy either.

 

“You owe me five Galleons, Potter.”   Sirius’ voice carried above the others, and she turned to face the inevitable duo.  Well, I’ve managed for two years as a prefect – another one shouldn’t be too hard.  

 

“Best looking Head Girl in years.”  Sirius seized her and spun her into an exuberant hug, planting a kiss on each cheek almost before she realised what was happening.  “And you’re the best person for the job too,” he murmured as he released her, grey eyes meeting hers in a disconcertingly shrewd look.  “You’ll be fine. I really mean it.”

 

Startled at this unexpected vote of confidence, she found herself thanking him, even as she braced to deal with the inevitable reaction from James.

 

The matching silver badge to her own winked and glittered in front of her.  

 

James?  How … what … how could he be?  James was Head Boy?  Quidditch Captain and now Head Boy?  But … he wasn’t even a prefect!  How … what was Dumbledore doing?  How could James Potter be Head Boy?   She stepped back, raising her eyes to his face, hoping that her confusion didn’t show.   She could feel her cheeks growing red: why didn’t he say something?  Why is he just looking at me like that?   Why is everything suddenly so quiet?

 

“Head Girl, meet Head Boy.  His name’s James Potter, by the way.  Head Boy, your Head Girl.  I believe her name is Lily Evans.”    I’ll definitely kill Sirius later, Lily decided.  Slowly.

 

“Congratulations, Lily.”  There was genuine warmth in James’ voice and smile.  

 

Somehow, she managed to respond in kind.   “Thank you, James.  And to you too.”  

 

“Not quite the Head Boy you expected?” he teased.

 

He had no right to have eyes that could twinkle so much behind glasses.   “No.  I thought Head Boys were supposed to be law-abiding people who set a good example to the rest of the school.”  

 

“You mean, like perfectly behaved Head Girls?  Or is that perfect Head Girls?”  Damn that twinkle and the way the corners of his eyes crinkle like that.  Though at least my detention records will fit on six inches of parchment, unlike his. 

 

“I may be a prefect, but I’ve never pretended to be perfect,” she quipped, realising too late that she had left herself wide open.

 

But to her confusion, he didn’t rise to the challenge.  Again, merely that maddening scrutiny and knowing smile.  She felt herself growing warm; her cheeks must be as red as her hair by now.   She knew the others were watching, but somehow the only people in the world were the two of them. 

 

“I … Lily, I need to speak to you alone.  Just for a moment.”    She was about to retort that it was no use asking her out yet again, but the words stuck in her throat.  The tone of his voice, the sudden slight frown - something wasn’t right.  Out of the corner of her eye, she registered that despite his previous jocularity, Sirius too was no longer smiling.

 

“Now?”

“Yes. Now.  Please, Lily.”   Please?  Since when did James ask like that?

 

“Here Lily, I’ll put your trunk on the train.”  She allowed Remus to take it; somewhere in the background, a cloud of steam hissed and whooshed from the Hogwarts engine.

 

“So what’s so important, James?”  She stepped aside to the shelter of a nearby pillar and stood with arms crossed.  He’s got new glasses – they’re a different shape.  Not black this time – tortoiseshell.  They suit him.  And his hair’s a bit longer. Still messy though …

 

“Dumbledore called me by Floo early this morning.  Your home’s not on the network, so he asked me to tell you.”  James took a deep breath, and continued in a low voice.   “There was another Death Eater raid last night – it won’t have been in today’s Prophet, and maybe hasn’t been on the WWN news yet.”

“Who … who was killed this time?”   She swallowed. 

 

“Derwent Appleton and his family.  All of them. Their farm’s rather isolated, so it wasn’t discovered for a few hours, even though the Dark Mark was overhead.”

 

Not Derwent.  Not the Appletons!  She thought of the fourth year Hufflepuff in their Charms Club, a tow-headed boy with a gap-toothed smile who’d started going out with Pearl Goldman from Gryffindor.  She’d sometimes noticed them holding hands as they left Club meetings, and on one evening’s patrol Remus, slightly embarrassed, had discovered them kissing enthusiastically in the alcove behind Sir Mallory’s statue.  Derwent was the eldest of four – younger twin sisters and a brother, all in Hufflepuff. 

 

 She couldn’t even find the usual expressions of sorrow.  It was so unfair - they were just normal people, trying to live a normal life, and now the Death Eaters had come and …

 

Tears unaccountably threatened.   Angrily, she pushed back her hair, hoping a surreptitious swipe with her sleeve would get rid of any telltale moisture.    I’m not going to cry in front of James Potter.   Not on the first day of term.  Not ever.  I’m the Head Girl, and Head Girls don’t cry in public.

 

He was standing very close to her, shielding her from passing students.  “I’m sorry, Lily.  You OK?”   His voice came from somewhere above her. 

 

“Yes.  Just – just shocked.  Derwent - he was …”    She took a deep breath, blinking rapidly as she focused on the silver badge pinned so firmly to the front of his jumper.   I am not going to cry.


“I know.  The
Appletons were a good family.  I didn’t know him very well, but he seemed like a nice kid.”   A pause.  “Dumbledore’s going to tell the school this evening of course, but he wanted us to know before the prefects’ meeting.  He’d made Derwent a prefect this year, and the others might ask why there’s no Hufflepuff fifth year boy.”

 

“What are we supposed to say?”

 

“Probably nothing, but he’ll leave it up to us.  He said Derwent missed the train once before when he was ill, so people may think that’s why.  Though if they don’t see the other Appletons …”   He shrugged.

 

“Or else they’ll think his parents have taken them out of school.”  She met his eyes squarely.  “How many won’t be coming back this year, James?”

 

“Don’t know.  Sirius and I got here very early, tried to head count those in our year.  So far, everyone’s back.  Even the Slytherins - alas.  Don’t know about other years though.”

 

Patrolling with Sirius already.  “Sirius is going to be your trusted assistant, is he?” she snapped.

 

His eyes narrowed.  “I hope I have a trusted Head Girl as my equal partner this year.”  There was a gentle rebuke in his tone.

 

That was bitchy of me.  “Sorry, James – I shouldn’t have said that.”

 

“We’ll need him this year.  With all his jokes and mayhem,” he replied, his expression softening.  “He won’t let us down.  And you know what he thinks of the Dark Arts.”

 

“Keep smiling while people are dying and the world is falling down around us?”

 

“Something like that.  At least in public.”

 

She nodded, and they stood there in sudden awkward silence.  The war isn’t going to end soon.  There’ll be more deaths - we won’t want to read the paper, in case we see the name of someone we know.   Just hope Mum and Dad will be safe – haven’t told them very much about what’s going on – they wouldn’t really understand - hope they won’t be targets because I’m Head Girl. 

 

 She pushed that thought down very firmly: it had kept her lying awake at times ever since the letter with its little silver badge had arrived from Hogwarts a week ago.   A Muggle-born Head Girl – if she wasn’t already a target, her parents could be.    

 

Maybe I should have done something - I know some good defensive charms, I could have put a few up, but they wouldn’t stop Death Eaters for very long.  I could have even asked Remus to come and help me – he’d probably have brought James and Sirius – they know much more about those things than I do, and I know they’d have helped – maybe we could have done it at night so’s not to worry Mum and Dad - but it really wouldn’t matter.  I can’t protect Dad at work, or Mum when she goes shopping - they can’t do magic, they could be killed anywhere – so could Petunia ...   At least we’ll be safe with Dumbledore at Hogwarts.  But he’ll expect us to set an example - we can’t show we’re frightened too -  I don’t know if I can do that all the time  -  but James is strong.  Wouldn’t matter what happened – he’d never let people see he was scared.

 

James is strong.  The thought startled her: she turned it over carefully, examining it for flaws.  But I’ve always known that.  Ever since first year.  I could kill him sometimes when he and Sirius behave like gits – but underneath it all he’s just - a strong person.  And he was better last term – not so big-headed.   I’m glad he’s Head Boy.    That realisation had been lurking there too, ever since she saw his badge.  She faced the idea, prodded it, shied away and came back to it.   It was still there, as steady and solid as James himself. 

 

I AM glad he’s Head Boy – none of the others would have been right for the job – they just aren’t ... Head Boys.    People look up to James, they follow him, he’s a leader.  And I can trust him - I need someone I can rely on.  What did he say just now?  ‘A trusted Head Girl as my equal partner’ - we’ve both got to trust each other - we have to work together …

 

“Lily.”  He reached out and hesitantly put a hand on hers.  His fingers were warm; his hand covered hers easily.  Last year she would have shaken it off, but now his touch was strangely reassuring. 

 

“It’s not going to be easy this year.  This war – we’ll have to help Dumbledore hold things together at school.   He needs us.  You and me.  We’re not going to let Voldemort win.”

 

Where did he get this confidence, this assurance?  How does he know what I’ve just been thinking?  Doesn’t he have doubts too?  How can he say that name when so many others can’t?  When did he suddenly - grow up?  

 

The train whistle gave three loud blasts, saving her from the need to reply.   Doors slammed, voices called out. 

 

“C’mon.  We’ll miss the train.”   He seized her hand, pulling her towards the nearest carriage.   She scrambled aboard just as it started to move, a familiar figure reaching down to haul her inside before grabbing James, who was swinging up behind her.   The train gathered speed, rocking as it crossed some points, and she clutched a doorframe to stop herself falling against Sirius.

 

“Cutting it a bit fine, you two.  Mustn’t leave the Head Boy and Girl behind – questions would be asked!”   Sirius was smiling, but she caught his wordless exchange with James. 

 

“You’d find a suitable way to stop the train for us,” she retorted, and he laughed. 

 

“Prefects’ carriage is that way,” he jerked his head.  “Remus put your stuff in there, Lily.   They’re probably all waiting for you.”  He stood aside to let them pass, and James followed her down the swaying corridor. 

 

Lily paused outside the door to the prefects’ compartment, listening to the murmur of voices and occasional laughter.  How were they going to react?  What will they think about James?  Will we have to tell them about Derwent – it’d be a horrible way to start the year.    She turned to glance at James, once again oddly glad of his presence.

 

“Into the lion’s den?” he suggested.   “Courage, my lovely lioness - we’re Gryffindors!”  He winked, reached across her and turned the door handle.  “After you.”

 

She was quite unprepared for the cheering and clapping that greeted them, spending the next few moments in another flurry of good wishes, hugs, kisses and handshakes.   She was dimly aware that James too was receiving congratulations; he seemed totally at ease, shaking hands, smiling, and joking.   Once the initial fuss had died down, she spent several minutes seeking out the new fifth year prefects, trying to say a few personal words to each of them.   If the newcomers were startled at James’ appointment, they didn’t show it: indeed, she suspected that one or two of them were quite taken with the prospect of being closer to their idol.

 

At last the noise died away and everyone took their places.  Feeling proud yet strangely vulnerable, Lily settled into one of the two ornate seats traditionally reserved for Head Boy and Head Girl, and took out the notes she’d prepared yesterday for the meeting.    She wondered briefly whether James would want to speak first, and darted him a quick look.  He smiled, and she realised that for once in his life, James Potter was quite content to let her take the lead.  She cleared her throat and took a deep breath.

 

“Just a moment, Lily.  Think we’re missing a fifth year Hufflepuff,” said Wendy Chetwood, the seventh year from that House.  “Don’t know who it’s supposed to be though.  You know, Violet?”    The fifth year girl shook her head mutely and shrugged.  

 

I don’t like deceiving them.  Do we say something?  She glanced surreptitiously at James again, raising an eyebrow, but he shook his head slightly.  “No,” he mouthed soundlessly. “Go on.”

 

“I heard some parents are taking their children direct to the school.  Using the Knight Bus.  Won’t let them go on the train,” said Enid Chilton, the sixth year Gryffindor.   “If they’re not here by now, let’s get started anyway.” 

 

“Right then.  Maybe that’s it.”  Lily forced a bright smile.  “So here we are, a new year, and some new faces.”  She looked down at her notes, and managed not to drop them.  The words “Well done – just keep going” were scrawled across the page in faintly glowing letters.   A second or two later, they’d vanished.  Wandless magic like that – he is good.  She took another deep breath.

 

Remembering other Head Girls, she’d tried to plan a short speech that morning – nothing too formal, just a bit of a welcome - but the events of the last hour had somehow made it irrelevant.  So she found herself thanking them for their good wishes, and then acknowledging each of the new prefects.  

 

“And of course, we can’t forget our new Head Boy.”  Lily smiled wickedly, her confidence restored.  “I’m probably not the only one to be a little surprised – but I’m sure the Headmaster has made an excellent choice.   We all know James is a brilliant student, and he’s Gryffindor’s Quidditch star and captain.  Perhaps more importantly, though, he has an extensive knowledge of the school rules and a very detailed understanding of the House points and detention systems.  Mostly, I believe, from personal experience!”   I’ll give you ‘my lovely lioness’, James Potter, she thought, as the laughter erupted.  

 

But not everyone seemed to be so relaxed about it, she realised.  Over to her left, Robert Goodall was frowning as he spoke in low tones to Charles Plummer next to him.  As the merriment died away, Robert spoke up.  

 

 “Congratulations on your appointment, Potter,” he said, nodding at James, “An honour for Gryffindor to have both Head Boy and Head Girl.   But I was wondering - isn’t it a little – unusual – for someone to become Head Boy without being a prefect first?”  He glanced around the compartment.

 

The sudden silence was absolute.   I should have expected this.  I just didn’t think it would be so open, and so immediate.  Better to deal with it now though …

 

“Robert,” she began, hoping James would hold his tongue until she could smooth things over.  But before she could say another word, support came from an entirely unexpected quarter.

 

“Well, the situation may be unusual, Goodall, but there’s no rule against it as far as I know.  I am sure the Headmaster has perfectly good reasons.  You could always ask him, of course.”   Ambrose Mitchell had a clipped, precise voice.  “I certainly don’t have any problems with Potter’s appointment.  He and Black are the top students, and Potter is Quidditch Captain.  You wouldn’t perhaps be suggesting that he is - unsuitable - in any way?” 

 

“Of course not.  I – I merely meant that – well, it was all a bit unusual.”  Robert was clearly thrown by the Slytherin’s response.  

 

“That’s good.”  Ambrose let his gaze linger on Robert, then switched back to James.  “Of course, it may be that the Headmaster simply thought that the badge looked better on Potter’s chest than yours.”  

 

Lily tried to keep a straight face; there was a slightly nervous titter of laughter.  Robert Goodall was a scrawny boy of medium height and a rather pale complexion.  James was a good four inches taller.  And I bet he has a much better chest, she thought, not daring to look at him. 

 

“You know, that’s an interesting idea,” drawled Portia Staples, leaning forward and eyeing James up and down suggestively.  “Maybe we should start a new way of selecting Head Boys – best chest wins!”   She surveyed Robert with the same calculating look, and the titters became open laughter.

 

“Wouldn’t we have to line up all the seventh year boys to choose?” asked Fiona, casting Lily a relieved “let’s keep them diverted” look.

 

“You’d have to share Sirius with us!” called out Clothilda, the sixth year Ravenclaw.  “We’ll help you inspect him.”  There were several appreciative whistles, and even Robert was smiling slightly.

 

James held up his hand, and waited for the chance to speak.  “A very interesting suggestion, Portia,” he said gravely.  He looked innocently round the gathering.  “But gentlemen, don’t you think we should insist that the Head Girl be selected on exactly the same basis?”

 

It took some time to restore order. 

 

*     *     *

 

 

Lily said good night to the last of the first year Gryffindor girls and watched their dormitory door close behind them.  She sighed and stretched: it had been a long and rather emotional day.   A couple of passing fourth years smiled at her as she made her way back to the common room.  

 

Normally, the appointment of a Gryffindor Head Boy and Head Girl would have been the cause of much House celebration, but despite the pleasure of returning to Hogwarts and meeting up with friends once more, there’d been an unfortunate gloom over the welcoming feast.   The Sorting Hat had sung a strange song about standing together to fight the evils ahead; Dumbledore had broken the news about the Appletons, causing considerable grief, especially amongst the Hufflepuffs; there had been a few gaps at House tables, with some students not returning after the holidays.   And she was sure that the first year numbers were down slightly – only nine in Gryffindor this year.   This war – this stupid damned war …

 

She crossed to the noticeboard and rummaged in her pocket for the list she’d written out on the train.  There – names of Gryffindor prefects – at least the first years know whom to contact if they have any questions or problems.   It’s quieter now - maybe I can just sit down by the fire for a few minutes’ peace.

 

Very few people were left in the room, but as she reached the fireplace Lily saw two familiar black-haired figures lounging in nearby armchairs, talking quietly.    They can be impossible at times, but they’ve been wonderful today.  They looked up and smiled, and Lily felt a surge of affection.  She sank into a chair opposite.

 

 “Thanks for the speech, Sirius,” she said, and he grinned.  As the Gryffindors had crowded through the portrait hole and into their Tower after the feast, Sirius had climbed onto a table and yelled for silence.  For one awful moment she feared he was about to be completely insensitive and launch a noisy party despite the sad news about the Appletons, but not for the first time, he’d completely surprised her.   His speech had been brief and oddly heartfelt – a simple statement about what it meant to be in Gryffindor, a welcome to the first years and fifth year prefects, and congratulations to her and James, “two of the very finest people I know.  The school will be in good hands this year.”  

 

“Glad you didn’t let off any fireworks though,” she added.

 

“Had some ready, for James – but it wouldn’t have been right this evening.  Save them for the Quidditch.”

 

 “Planning to end the year as winning Quidditch captain as well as Head Boy?” she teased James.    

 

“Of course.   Trials start next weekend.”

 

“Be careful you don’t have to award yourself a detention on match days.”

 

“You’d probably do that instead.”

 

“You’ll just have to behave.”

 

Sirius rolled his eyes and stood up.  “Think I’ll leave you two to discuss James and his reformed character in private.   Night, Lily.  See you in the morning.”    He gave her a friendly pat on the shoulder.  “Sleep well.  Glad I don’t have to decide who has the best chest for a Head Girl!”   Chuckling, he strode off towards the stairs to the boys’ dormitories.

 

I’m never going to live that down.  It’ll be round the whole school by tomorrow.   She sighed and leant her head back against the comfortable cushions, closing her eyes briefly.  Though the Head Boy contest would be funny – could just see James and Sirius organising that - and at least it lightened things up after Robert’s comment …

 

“Survived your first day as Head Girl?”  James broke into her thoughts.

 

She smiled tiredly.  “It’s had its moments.” 

 

‘You’re not worried about Goody Goodall, are you?”

 

He’s doing it again – reading my thoughts.    “No, not really.  Though I wish he hadn’t brought it up like that.”

 

“Better out in the open than muttering about it in corners.   Anyway, it was Mitchell who made him look an idiot, not you.”   James smiled reassuringly.   “Look, you know Goody - he likes things in black and white.  Letter of the law stuff – even if nothing’s ever been written.  Takes everything too seriously.”

 

Yes, that describes Robert exactly.   “Taking things seriously is rather expected of prefects.”  She sighed.  “I don’t think he meant it to sound like it did – and I don’t think he expected to be Head Boy himself.   Just wish – well, that he hadn’t said it in the way he did.”

 

“You thought Charles would be Head Boy?”

 

“Mmm.   He was the logical choice – good student, most people like him.  Or at least don’t dislike him   Maybe Ambrose if Dumbledore was worried about Slytherin feelings – though he’s a bit too prickly at times.”

 

“Not Remus though?”  James raised an eyebrow.

 

“You didn’t think he’d be appointed?”  Lily dodged the question.

 

“No.” 

 

Lily hesitated; these were treacherous waters.   “James, I really like Remus,” she said, keeping her voice down and choosing her words with some care.   “He’s one of the nicest, kindest, fairest people I know.   And now I know about him – “she paused again, “I like him all the more.   But you know he wouldn’t be right for a Head Boy.”

 

“Meaning he’s sometimes looked the other way when it comes to his friends?” 

 

So you do realise that?   “It’s not just that.  But you two haven’t made it easy for him.  I think – I think he feels he owes you, and,” she took a deep breath, “deep down I think he’s frightened he’d lose you and Sirius as his friends.”  I really don’t want to have this conversation, not right now.  I’m tired.  But I have to say it.

 

He stared at her, sitting up a little straighter.  “That’s really what you think of us?  Sirius and me?  That we’d give up Remus because he pulled us into line?” 

 

“No.  I don’t think you would.  Or Sirius.  But – well, I think Remus might think that.”

 

“You don’t have a very good opinion of us, do you.”

 

Well, you asked.  “Not all the time.”

 

James didn’t reply.   I really am in dangerous waters here – I shouldn’t have said it like that.  Why did I come and sit down here anyway – why didn’t I just go back to the dormitory and put up with Mavis’s giggles and Susan’s questions? Whatever I say now is probably going to be wrong.

 

“So – where does that leave us?  This year.”  James’ voice was oddly flat.  

 

Us?”   Lily tried to inject a lighter note into the word.

 

“Yes.   Lily Evans, Head Girl.  James Potter, Head Boy.”  He leant forward, nodding at her badge.  “Whatever you think of me, we still have to work together this year.”

 

 “I didn’t say I had any objections to that, did I?”  The waters swirled and eddied around yet another dangerous reef.  “I don’t dislike James Potter – I just don’t think very much of some of his behaviour.”

 

“Ah.”  His glasses had slipped down his nose, and he pushed at them absently, before running a hand through his hair. 

 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with tidy hair – maybe it will never stay down.   He’d probably look a mess even on his wedding day.  Wedding day?  Why did I think of that ….?  He studied his hands, then looked up at her, and she was relieved to see the beginnings of a smile. 

 

“So – could you ever come to like James Potter, perhaps?”   

 

You are an idiot, James.  Why do intelligent boys have to be so thick when it comes to girls?   Of course I like you – why would I be sitting here talking to you if I didn’t?  And one of these days you might realise just how much I like you underneath all that – and how that funny little smile of yours makes me want to hit you over the head and then hug you and run my hands through that hair – and …

  

“I already do like James Potter,” she said softly.  “Most of the time.  And – I’m very glad he’s Head Boy.”    Which was the whirlpool – Scylla or Charybdis?   Either way, she was in real trouble now.  It was probably time to leave …   She stood up, realising that they were the only two people left in the common room. 

 

“You do like me?”  He rose too, looking like a little boy whose mother had scolded him for his latest misdemeanour, and then given him a chocolate biscuit because she was glad he was home safely.

 

“Yes.  For some very odd reason, I do.”

 

He nodded.  “Shame then.  That I’ve decided to mend my ways.”

 

What on earth …?  “Oh?” 

 

“Yes.  I know I’ve been a real pest – always asking you out.  Never taking no for an answer.”

 

“You have been – persistent.”  She smiled despite herself.

 

“I have.  But as Sirius said, I am a reformed character.  I won’t annoy you any more – I’m not going to ask you out again.”  

 

Bewildered, she could only stare at him.  He was no longer smiling.  Oh no – I don’t want that!  Don’t tell me I’ve ruined it … me and my big mouth.  Lily Evans, telling the painful truth – nothing like brutal honesty to drive a boy away.

 

“James, I …”

 

He held up his hand.  “No, I’ve decided.  I’m not going to pester you again.   Good night Lily.  Sweet dreams.”  He made a funny little bow, turned and strode off towards the boys’ dormitories.

 

“Good night, James.”   The waters receded, the flotsam of six years swirling around her feet as she watched him go.   Well, at least he wasn’t angry, though that might have been preferable.  She could deal with anger.

 

At the door, he paused.   “Um, Lily?”

 

“Yes, James?”

 

He faced her again, a look of the purest mischief on his face.  “Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t ask me out.  I might even say yes!”    He blew her an extravagant kiss, and disappeared.

 

That arrogant …! That insufferable, impossible …!  That …!  Lily ran through a long list of choice adjectives as she climbed the stairs to her dormitory.   So he expects me to ask him out, does he!   Hex him into a purple donkey, more likely ...

 

Warm and sleepy after her bath, Lily carefully placed the little silver badge next to the photo of her parents on her bedside table, and climbed into bed.  The pillows were deliciously soft, and the freshly laundered sheets welcomed her tired body.   She closed her eyes.    Head Girl, meet Head Boy.  His name’s James Potter, by the way ...   my lovely lioness … a warm hand on hers, an oddly protective presence …   So – could you ever come to like James Potter, perhaps?   Her last thought as she drifted into sleep was a pair of mischievous hazel eyes and a shock of messy black hair.

 

 

_______________________

 

 

Author’s Notes:  This is an outtake from “A Most Unusual Student”.  For those who picked up the little reference to Lily knowing ‘about’ Remus, in my fic she finds out about him over the summer holidays between 6th and 7th years.  

 

My thanks to those who have helped with advice and feedback on this fic, including Clarimonde and Violet Azure, Seriously Sirius, Eir de Scania and Gryffinjack.

 

Oh yes, and this is written with a very big smile to those members on the “Fluff”’ thread here on SQ, especially those who enjoy Fluffy Tuesdays!   Thank you for inspiration and encouragement. 

 

 

//
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