Change of Heart
Nearly all of this belongs to Mrs J.K. Rowling. See
before chapter 1 for details.
To my beta readers Arwen and Beth,
my Italian friend Akari, my sister Nicky
and (last but not least) to you, my readers.
to the Live Journal post on which I replied to your reviews.
This fanfiction is dedicated to Akari.
* * *
2 - Back
Lily opened the door
of the Prefect compartment, took one step in then stopped short.
Clearly, she was
dreaming – or more exactly having a nightmare. Otherwise, how could James
Potter stand there, talking to a girl who looked at him in the admiring way that
exasperated Lily so deeply? He had nothing to do in this place.
Had he come to make
sure he would see her? He was surely capable to do something like that, but he
should have been clever enough to think it would be better to wait for her
outside the compartment, so he would have a chance to talk to her without being
surrounded by all the Prefects.
Maybe he only wanted
to tell Remus Lupin where to join him at the end of the meeting. After all, they
were friends, although Lily had always wondered why. Remus was so different from
James! He never deliberately drew the attention to him. On the contrary, as he
was rather shy, he did all he could to go unnoticed the better part of the time.
Once he even confessed to Lily he sometimes wished he wasn't a Prefect, because
he felt quite uncomfortable every time he had to reprimand somebody. And he
merely answered with an awkward smile when she commented that by saying "I
guess it's particularly embarrassing having friends who are known to consider
rule breaking as a kind of art".
Remus was nowhere to be seen and James didn't seem to realize he wasn't supposed
to stay. He was simply talking. He hadn't seen Lily yet but two six year
Prefects had, and at the very moment he heard them greeting her he moved away
from the other girl, who cast a furious look in Lily's direction.
saw him hesitating for about two seconds then, just as she was dreading, he
crossed the compartment, smiled saying "hi!" and - more surprisingly
– held out a hand she shook without thinking, just because she didn't know
what else to do.
Evans. I knew you'd be the one to get the Head Girl job. You'll be perfect, I'm
surprised to find a better reply, Lily thanked him in a formal tone. Since he
was acting as if the letter didn't exist, she was certainly not going to remind
it to him. At least not as long as she wouldn't know exactly how to make him
understand what she thought about it.
you should leave, Potter," she said, still very calmly and politely. "And
if you see Lupin please tell him we're waiting for him."
smiled again, this time in a rather mocking way that Lily didn't like at all.
won't come," he said. "And I won't go."
frowned. What was he playing at? She had no time to waste with his silly talks.
She was about to tell it to him but he spoke again before she started to do so:
your new colleague, you see," he announced, pointing to a badge on his
Lily stared at the words in astonishment. Then she shut her
eyes and took a deep breath, hoping the nightmare would end. Because this
couldn't possibly be real, could it? It must be a bad dream. It couldn't
be anything else.
nothing had changed when she reopened her eyes. James was still there, and
neither the Head Boy badge had disappeared.
you...explain?" she asked.
kindly to James Potter felt like a disgrace to her, but she was unable to think
clearly. She really needed an explanation, and he was the one who could give it
seemed to hesitate.
but not here," he said eventually.
took a suspicious look at him. Was that an excuse to be alone with her? To talk
opened the door, apparently convinced that Lily would follow him outside the
compartment. Then he turned round and saw she hadn't moved.
you coming?" he insisted. "There isn't much time. We're supposed to
start the meeting right after the departure of the train, and it's already..."
(he checked his watch) "...3 to 11."
not to start arguing now,
she told herself, joining James into the corridor.
least the conversation wouldn't last for more than three minutes...
How is it you got this badge?" she asked as soon as she had shut the door.
James began, looking quite ill at ease, which Lily would never have believed if
she hadn't seen it. "I'd rather not to go into detail but it happens that
Remus has...er...sort of resigned...so I took his place. That's all."
why you?" Lily cried out.
didn't make sense. She could more or less understand why Remus didn't want to be
Head Boy, but what about the Prefects of the three other Houses?
see you're very pleased to hear the news," James remarked with another
was an automatic reply, clearly ironic but not only. There was also a touch of
amusement that felt out of place in a conversation with an enemy. So, Lily
thought, it was high time for her to pull herself together. If this wasn't a
nightmare, she had to act normally, despite the undeniable abnormality of the
was now clearly amused, and Lily suddenly wondered if he could be joking. Had he
borrowed Remus's badge to make fun of her?
you nearly convinced me, I admit it. But now please stop."
voice was still calm, but she wasn't. She only tried to hide her irritation
because this wasn't the right time to make a scene. The new Prefects would
surely take her Head Girl speech much less seriously than they should if they
first overheard her shouting at someone...
to annoy you, Evans, but I swear this is not a joke, if that's what you think,"
James insisted. "Do you want to see the letter?"
his Hogwarts letter, of course... He had taken it out of his pocket while asking
the question, and he showed it to her without waiting for the answer.
here," he said, pointing at a particular sentence.
stretched out a hand to take the parchment but, for some reason, James didn't
let go of it.
I have a look at it, then?" Lily snapped impatiently. "Or are you
trying to hide something from me? The lack of official seal, for example..."
shook his head, looking both annoyed and undecided, as if the situation was very
awkward to him - which, of course, could only increase Lily's suspicions.
not what you th-" he began.
before he finished talking, Lily had already snatched the letter from his hands,
too convinced he was trying to trick her to care about the rudeness of the
started reading while James was staring at her, amazement written all over his
you surely know, your classmate Mister Lupin has thought it was best for him to
give up his Prefect duties, in case that the events of last year would come to
the other students' knowledge. Consequently, we decided to offer you his
position and, considering your courageous intervention in the above-mentioned
events, as well as your excellent examinations marks, we’re pleased to inform
you we also chose you as the new Head Boy.
was signed by the Headmaster himself, and the Hogwarts seal wasn't missing.
tentatively looked up at James. He clearly had been watching out for her
reaction, and there was also some kind of determined look in his eyes that told
her asking questions would be useless.
slightly at the thought she had accused him of lying when he really had nothing
to reproach himself for, Lily gave the parchment back to the new Head Boy.
go back inside, now," she said simply.
nodded, keeping quiet too, then reopened the door of the compartment, standing
aside to let her pass first. She walked in slowly, her mind focused on the
mystery that hid behind the words she had just read.
events of last year...
were been lots of gossiping at school, but since it was nearly the end of the
year, everybody had left for the holidays before anyone succeeded in getting to
the bottom of it. Now Lily was sure of one thing: James did show some kind of
heroism in the matter. And she couldn't believe he didn't seem to brag at all
But it was time to start the
meeting, so she put her questions aside, promising herself to think of it later.
Actually, the only question that really mattered now was this: how would she
manage to survive being forced to deal with James Potter all year long? She had
thought the worst thing that could happen would be the nomination of Severus
Snape as Head Boy, but now she almost wished that fear had come true, because at
least she could have been sure that the idea of writing a love letter to her
would never cross the Slytherin's mind!
~ * ~
her conversation with Sandra, Lily half expected Joanne to think the same. Yet,
when the three of them went up to their dormitory – right after the welcoming
feast, so they could talk privately while the two other Gryffindor 7th
year girls were still in the common room – Joanne said something that Lily
would never have imagined. And neither Sandra had, judging by her look.
mean it, you know," Joanne insisted. "You should go out with
James. So you'd have the chance to tell him what you think...and maybe he would
dreaming!" Lily and Sandra answered at the same time and in the same tone.
never will," Lily added.
she remembered what Sandra had said in Diagon Alley.
you think he was sincere in the letter?" she asked, frowning.
do think he is, but that doesn't mean he's able to change. Honestly, Jo, can you
imagine a James Potter who would play Quidditch without showing off or simply
stop checking there are some girls watching and listening every time he does or
says something? He wouldn't be James Potter anymore!"
smiled involuntarily at those words, which didn't escape Sandra.
would be a pity, wouldn't it?"
do you mean?" Joanne questioned before Lily got over her surprise.
think she would miss hating him, don't you? She has spent years talking about
how unbearably arrogant he was, how stupid his 'fans' were and so on... What
would our poor Lily do if she lost her favourite subject of conversation?"
kept silent, even when Joanne remarked, laughing, that Sandra made it all sound
like their friend was obsessed with James.
she? Well, yes, in a way... It was true she talked about him too much. She
hadn't realized it before but now it seemed evident that Sandra had barely
exaggerated. She couldn't help commenting everything he did and everything he
said, and she often recalled what she regarded as his worst acting and talks,
without any reason but the rather idiotic need to insist on his faults. She
suddenly wondered what the others thought of that...that obsession, yes, it was
the right word. They hadn't said anything about it so far, but they might have
talked when she wasn't with them...
you been thinking I was kind of insane, for all this time, without daring to
the other girls protested immediately: no, of course, they hadn't. What gave her
that funny idea?
just...I shouldn't think too much, especially at the end of a day like this. I
had such a shock when I saw that Head Boy badge!"
neither of us could believe it until we saw it, too" Sandra said. "What
do you reckon he did to have it?"
say he saved Snape's life," Joanne answered. "But nobody seems to know
how, why or even from what. And it's quite weird, isn't it? He should be telling
the whole story for anyone to hear..."
was exactly what Lily was thinking too. And she couldn't find any convincing
he doesn't want us to know he doesn't hate Snape enough to let him die,"
The others admitted it was possible, though Lily doubted it
think he wouldn't let slip the opportunity to humiliate Snape a little
more," she said. "Actually, I wouldn't even be surprised if he saved
him only to make him feel in debt."
things considered, you may be a little insane!"
at least too set against Potter."
didn't mean what she said, but Sandra did, and Lily guessed she was right. Which
was almost as irritating as hearing James's admirers enumerate the foolish
reasons why they loved him.
want to prove us wrong? Go out with him!" Sandra threw out in a burst of
could be our chance to know exactly what happened last year," Joanne added.
"You're curious too, aren't you?"
you're both becoming as unbearable as he is!" Lily sighed, throwing her
pillows at them.
minutes later, when Mary Ann Summers and Chloe Jones
entered their dormitory, they found the Head Girl involved in a first year-like
battle with her friends, and feathers flying all around the room.
~ * ~
Later that night,
when all had turned quiet again and the feathers had found their way back to the
pillows thanks to a simple spell, Lily tried to think as calmly as she could
about the recent events.
After six years, she
had been convinced she knew James Potter well enough to guess how he would act
and the kind of things he would say in almost any situation. Which seemed to
prove she was really obsessed with him, she had to admit it – though she would
never do in front of anyone, especially in those terms that could be taken so
As for keeping her
calm, she had already failed. The thought of someone imagining she could feel
anything else but despise and irritation about Mister Arrogant made her so
indignant that she considered for half a second to ask Sandra and Joanne whether
that absurd suspicion had ever crossed their minds. But she knew in the next
half second that it wasn't a good idea at all. She could picture Sandra's
it's-all-like-I-thought sort of smile and hear Joanne’s exclamation ("I
knew it wasn't normal you talked about him that much!").
She only wished it
would be just to tease her, but she wasn't sure it would. There were so many
things she wasn't sure anymore, lately... Not only she couldn’t understand
James but even her own best friends had expressed opinions she would never had
thought they could have. What was happening to everyone? Were they all
conspiring to drive her crazy by the end of the month? No, of course they
weren't. Joanne and Sandra wouldn't. And neither would Remus...
When she had told
the others about the letter James had shown her to prove he really was the new
Head Boy, she had intentionally omitted to mention what had confused her most.
that the events of last year come to the other students' knowledge"...
Remus do something wrong? There didn't seem to be any other explanation, but
Lily found it hard to believe: even though he was a friend of Potter's, she had
always seen the former Gryffindor Prefect as the perfect example of someone
who's just unable to even think of doing something wrong. If she hadn't
read those words she would have been sure he had resigned either because he
thought he was lacking of authority (which was rather true) or because of his
health, that took him away from classes for at least one day every month. But
the sentence said clearly that the real reason was connected to the mysterious
events... That was probably why James avoided giving more details that he needed
to about the matter. At least he cared about his friends...
Sure enough, Lily
didn't like at all being forced to conclude her 'worst enemy' wasn't all bad.
Sandra was definitely right... She wouldn't be pleased if he started to act
reasonably. Not because she would miss hating him, though. It certainly would
feel weird not having any more reason to dislike him, but the worse thing would
be that, logically... No! She would never like him. Never, never, never. Jamais.
And why should she
bother thinking of him, in the first place? He could do whatever he wanted, it
was none of her business. So she shouldn't care. And she didn't.
Except that he
pretended he was in love with her...
This wasn't fair.
Receiving a love letter was supposed to be a nice thing. Not a source of
irritation, of indignation... Of humiliation, too. Because, if he thought she
could fall into his trap...
Not that she cared
about what he thought, of course. But, really, he should have known she wasn't
so stupid. Or hadn't he even noticed she was the best student in the class after
him and Sirius Black?
No, not after
them. She had got as many O.W.L.s as they had, after all! But she hadn't been
boasting around about it, so they probably didn't know. They were too proud of
their marks to pay attention to others'. Which proved that James wasn't really
interested to her. If he were, he would know she was clever too.
But that was not the point. The letter was an
outrage and she had to answer it. Tomorrow. In the Great Hall. In front of
* * *
you next week for chapter 3!