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A Different Kind of Magic by unjellify

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Chapter Notes: I still (unfortunately) do not own the Potterverse. I hope this chapter is as fun to read as it was to write. This is the one we've all been waiting for!

The weather on the morning of Lily’s birthday had always been bleak at best. The January sun would cast its weak glow onto her bed, its light only further distilled by the mullioned, thick-paned windows of the girls’ dormitory. Hogwarts was covered in a sleet-weighted crust of snow, and the bare trees reached their naked branches into the sky like the supplicating fingers of Adam, more majestic and yet more starkly depressing than Michelangelo could have ever imagined.

This particular morning, however, Lily was woken not by the anemic sun, but by someone hurdling onto the end of her bed.

–HAPPY EIGHTEENTH!” Mary yelled, bouncing so energetically that a protesting squeak from the bedsprings punctuated every syllable.

Marlene, Alice, and Florence crowded around.

–What time is it?” Lily asked groggily.

–Time to open presents!” Mary squealed, grinning maniacally. She had inherited an unrivaled enthusiasm for birthdays from her mother. Mary’s own birthdays were, in Lily’s experience, marked by a tremendous gala every summer with no expense spared--string quartets, tables sagging with food, and more people than Lily had ever seen outside the Quidditch World Cup.

Lily’s first present was a huge, luridly pink hat that resembled the offspring of a standard pointy witch’s hat and a seven-layer cake, bearing the bedazzled title of –birthday girl.”

–Good Godric, that’s adorable,” Florence said brightly.

–What?” Lily asked incredulously.

–I completely agree, Lily,” Alice chimed in. –I think you should wear that round to lessons all day,” she added, as if she had just thought of the idea spontaneously.

–No, no, no--” Lily began, attempting to cram the hat back into its box, but Marlene seized it, exclaiming, –Don’t be silly! How else will people know it’s your birthday?” She stuffed it triumphantly onto Lily’s head, trying to keep a straight face.

–I’m quite sure this hat is visible from space,” Lily said, laughing.

–The more the merrier. That’s what Mum always says,” Mary said, swatting Lily’s fingers away from the hat. –Anyway, come on, open the rest of your presents!”

Lily’s other, less embarrassing presents included a history of the greatest contemporary potioneers, a huge bag of sweets from Honeydukes, and a bottle of Firewhiskey.

–Open it!” Florence said.

–I had a good buzz by two in the afternoon on my birthday,” Marlene said.

–Your birthday was a Saturday,” Lily pointed out. –It’s Monday morning and I have class in an hour.”

–Aah, Lily, you’re too focused,” Florence said, shaking her head sagely. –You’re going to give yourself ulcers. Drink with us tonight?”

–All right. Only a little; tomorrow’s still Tuesday.”

–Yes, Head Girl,” they chorused, grinning.


Remus caught up to Lily just as she was leaving Defense Against the Dark Arts. Behind her, James and Sirius were making fun of their Ministry guest lecturer’s wheezy and pedantic tone.

–Happy birthday, Lily!” he said, presenting her with a box of Chocolate Frogs. –That’s, erm, an interesting hat you’ve got there.”

Lily snatched it off her head and stuck it into her bag, where immediately the hat began to make loud weeping sounds. –Mary, I’m going to kill you,” she muttered, knowing Charms was her best friend’s strongest subject, and donning the hat once more. –Anyway, Remus, thank you! How sweet.... Um, no pun intended,” she added as Remus grinned.

–I have to admit, I have an ulterior motive,” Remus said. –I hate to spoil your birthday, but there’s a prefects’ meeting tonight at 10.”

–No, there’s not,” Lily said, puzzled. –I scheduled it for this Thursday at seven.”

–Yeah, but Ravenclaw complained to James because so many of their prefects are on the House team. They already booked the field and thought Gryffindor was trying to sabotage their chances against Slytherin, although why we’d do that I can’t imagine.”

–If Slytherin beats Ravenclaw by a margin of sixty points or more then we’re top contenders for the Cup,” Lily said absently, wondering why they had complained to James alone.

–Look at you following Quidditch,” Remus said, obviously impressed. –Apparently they thought wrongly that you wouldn’t understand how important Quidditch is.”

–Well, James is definitely the Quidditch lunatic, not me,” Lily said, although she had become more interested after listening to James pour his heart out over the game for an entire term. –Why couldn’t he have told me this?”

–He said it’d be better coming from me.”

Lily could understand that. They’d been talking more since that night on patrol, but things weren’t the same anymore and would probably never be, an eventuality about which Lily felt strangely and wistfully sad.


After opening all her cards, including a conciliatory birthday note from her mum that suggested she come home for Easter, and taking a celebratory shot with her friends, Lily ran down to the Divination classroom where they had prefects’ meetings. She was surprised when the knob did not turn beneath her fingers. Stepping back, she noticed a scrap of parchment Spellotaped to the door that read:

–Prefects’ meeting moved to kitchens.”

Lily rolled her eyes, recognizing the hand immediately, and stalked to the kitchens, tickling the pair so forcefully that it squealed before becoming the door handle. The kitchens were completely dark, which was unusual. –James Potter, what are you playing at?” she said exasperatedly, pausing on the step.

No one answered.

And suddenly the room was illuminated. Candles were floating in the air, ringed around a table with a red and white plaid tablecloth, two huge plates of spaghetti and meatballs, and two glasses of red wine.

–What...where are you?”

–Your arm, please, birthday girl,” a voice said from behind her.

She spun around and there was James, smiling his crooked smile.

Lily was rarely at a loss for words, but he seemed to have that effect on her. She took his arm, saying, –What is this?”

–Don’t you recognize it?”

–Well, it looks like something out of...I don’t know, Lady and the Tramp, but--” Lily broke off and eyed James. –You couldn’t possibly....”

–Fourth year. Remember when I didn’t do my developmental Muggle Studies assignment to interview a Muggle so I interviewed you instead?”

–Yeah, vaguely. I was a bit annoyed. I’m not a Muggle, after all.”

–Yeah, but you know their ways,” James said in hushed tones, as though Lily were a member of some highly secretive cult. –Anyway, you told me your favorite film when you were a kid was Lady and the Tramp, and then you started going on about pasta.”

Lily was having so much trouble processing the reality of this situation that she stared at him blankly.

–Wait, no, shi--um, let me start over. I wasn’t planning to lead off with the pasta bit.” James cleared his throat. –Lily Evans, I would like to wish you a happy birthday. Would you care to dine with me?”

–Yes,” Lily said, finding her voice at last.

They proceeded down the stairs, and as soon as their feet touched the ground, a song Lily knew all too well began to play. –James, this--oh my God, it’s ‘Bella Notte.’ You, you, but, you’re a Pureblood. You’ve never seen this film, have you?”

–Well, I have a certain newly reinstated best mate who’s obsessed with all things Muggle,” James said.

–Sirius? I thought you meant that as a euphemism for shagging girls from his village,” Lily said, grinning.

–No, no, no, you’ve got it wrong. Padfoot surrounds himself with Muggle culture to piss off his parents--and make sure no one confuses him with the rest of that horrid bunch. He’s not choosy any which way about blood status when it comes to girls.”

–What is he choosy about?”

–Well, they have to be completely female and have a pulse.”

Lily giggled.

–Anyway, Paddy’s well in with the Muggle Studies professors, believe it or not, and he got all the equipment and we watched it yesterday.”

–You watched Lady and the Tramp.”

–Merlin, Lily, I even took notes for you.”

Lily raised her eyebrows. –You didn’t even take notes when you took the subject.”

–Maybe that’s because I didn’t have the right motivation,” James said, and when he fixed her with his clear, earnest gaze, she knew it wasn’t just a chat-up line.

He pulled out her chair and Lily sat down. –Well, color me impressed, James Potter,” she said, looking around her. –How did you do the candles? What kind of enchantment is that?”

–Now, that is a trade secret. And, Lily, I’m not done yet.”

–What now?” Lily said, helping herself to spaghetti.

James’ hazel eyes widened and he looked almost scared. –My middle name is Maximus--”

–What?” Lily said, bursting out into a fresh round of giggles.

–I hate it. It’s embarrassing. I’m going to drop it as soon as I leave my parents’ house. Guess the arrogance runs in the family, Evans,” he said gently.


–I absolutely cannot stand the taste of coconut.”

She briefly wondered whether James had lost his mind.

–Once, my parents and I were playing hide and seek and I opened this really old cupboard in a far wing of the house and one started shifting through all my relatives, all horribly dead, one at a time. My mum--” James paused, but continued, –--she took care of it, but after that I was always terrified of boggarts as a kid.”

Lily considered him, continuing to eat, frowning slightly. What was he doing?

–My greatest fear now is failure,” he said. –I’m afraid that I’m not going to be useful to the Order and that I won’t be able to do my part to defeat Voldemort.”

And suddenly Lily got it. –James,” she said quietly, –you don’t have to tell me all this.”

–Yes, I do, Lily. I want to be an open book to you, even if you don’t like what you find,” he said fiercely.

–At this moment, I’ve never found anyone quite so wonderful,” she whispered.


They walked on the grounds afterward, drunk on each other’s company. –Can you imagine if both of us get caught breaking curfew?” Lily said, grinning as they both stretched out on the grass.

–We’re Head Boy and Girl; relax,” James said. –We’re allowed to be wherever we want whenever we want.”

–Did you actually read the rule book they gave us over the summer?” Lily asked, shifting her position on the ground next to him.

James waved her off. –I skimmed it. That’s definitely what it said.”

–I like that. Okay, we can go anywhere we want. But if a professor asks, it was all you.”

–Deal. Oh, that reminds me, we Marauders have been trying to figure out a way to leave our legacy of mischief to the next generation. We tried to bewitch a copy of Hogwarts: A History, but something went wrong and now it’s just mixed in with the text. Had to wipe everything we had done and start over.”

–What exactly is your legacy of mischief?”

–You know, secret places in the castle, some tunnels we’ve found--the four of us are trying to make sure Hogwarts stays in mayhem when we’ve gone. So we’re starting a map instead.”

–A map?”

–Yeah, Wormy’s convinced he botched the last one--Charms isn’t his thing--but a blank piece of parchment should be foolproof.”

–I know I should disapprove, but frankly that sounds like fun.”

–You’re getting reckless, Evans. I love it.”

–And you, James, are going soft in your old age. When you tried the strand of spaghetti trick, I nearly died laughing. But I suppose it worked,” she said, blushing a little.

–I don’t know,” James said in a low voice, leaning in so that his nose skimmed hers. –Maybe we should...make sure.”

–Please don’t tell me you brought more pasta out here. I’m stuffed.”

James smiled. –I wasn’t talking about the pasta.”

It was Lily who kissed him this time, winding her fingers into his permanently messy hair and cradling the back of his head with her palm. She was tired of waiting, tired of resisting, when now there was nothing more to resist. The truth that burned in her lips and tingled in her hands was that she had never gotten over him, not even close.

She drew his tongue out of his mouth with hers, sucking lightly on the end of it until James gave a low moan as she pulled gently away.

–Merlin’s pants, Lily,” he said, panting. –Get back here.”

He grabbed her in a bear hug. Lily drew closer, expecting another kiss, but James skimmed her jawline with his lips, stopping at her ear.

–Lily, I want to date you. I want this to be official. Hell, I want to shout it from the top of the Astronomy tower. If you want this to be a one-off, I’ll understand. I will. But, otherwise, would you--” He faltered, and Lily realized that he was not at all sure of how she felt.

She leaned into him as his arm tightened around her, looking up at his thin face. –Yes,” she said. –Yes, I would like that very much.”

–Then I am yours,” he said in a voice barely above a whisper, without a trace of his usual egotism. He did kiss her then, and she lost track of time. It could have been minutes, or hours, or several glorious weeks, but she wasn’t particularly bothered with the movements of the sun and the moon, only here and now and him.

A loud crack from the forest startled them both. James pulled her closer with one hand and reached into his robe for his wand with the other. They waited silently for a minute or two, on the alert.

Eventually, they relaxed. –Oh, I forgot the most important one,” James said, twisting a lock of her hair around his finger. –The reason I’ve been going into the Forest all this time is, well, it’s the same reason I’ve been doing so well in Transfiguration lately. I already know how to--”

And just then someone screamed, horribly and high-pitched, deep in the Forbidden Forest.
Chapter Endnotes: Thanks for reading!! Next chapter is from James' POV. I also do not own Lady and the Tramp; all credit for that classic spaghetti kiss goes to Disney. Please review; I answer every one and I would especially like feedback on this chapter.