MuggleNet Fan Fiction
Harry Potter stories written by fans!

A Different Kind of Magic by unjellify

[ - ]   Printer Chapter or Story Table of Contents

- Text Size +
Chapter Notes: I am not J.K. Rowling (obviously) and as such her characters and settings are not mine. In the spirit of giving credit, the chapter title, as all Disney fans know, comes from Beauty and the Beast.
Thanks to Erin and Soraya for their help in shaping this chapter into its current, beautiful version. Enjoy!

Lily had absorbed herself in Notable Magical Names of Our Time when her concentration was broken by a loud thunk and a cry of, “Godric damn it!”

She looked up to see Sirius hopping up and down on one foot, a Butterbeer keg at his feet. “Are you all right?” she asked, standing up and putting her book on her chair. “Where did you get that?”

“Yeah, I s’pose,” Sirius said, rubbing his toe and ignoring her second question entirely.

Lily raised her eyebrows. She barely noticed her surroundings whenever she read, and, until now, she had been unaware that students were steadily streaming into the Gryffindor common room.

“I’m a Marauder, Lily,” Sirius drawled. Peter Pettigrew climbed through the portrait hole behind Sirius with more bottles and nodded in agreement with a bright, emphatic smile.

“That doesn’t explain anything!” Lily said, rolling her eyes.

Au contraire, Miss Evans, it explains everything,” Sirius said. “Right, Prongs?”

“Indeed,” James said enigmatically.

Lily sat down next to him. “What is this Marauders thing all about anyway?” she asked him.

“Honestly, Evans, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” James answered, dropping his decorum and tilting his head back onto the top of the sofa cushion.

“Try me,” she answered.

Their fellow Gryffindors were already standing around the room, laughing and talking. Sirius put on a Muggle record by The Clash.

“Well, you see, it’s kind of a secret,” James said, tugging at the collar of his shirt.

“Fine,” Lily said, turning away. She wasn’t sure why she was so offended; after all, it wasn’t like they were friends. “It’s not like we’re friends,” she said aloud, for good measure.

“You just broke my heart, Evans. Don’t you feel horrible?” James smirked, adding seriously, “It’s just that it’s not my secret to tell.”

“I can understand that,” Lily said, softening. “All right, we’re friends, are you happy now?”

“Incandescently,” James said.

“So, I suppose the ridiculous nicknames are part of this secret?” she asked skeptically.

“Your powers of perception astound me,” he replied, grinning. “How dare you call ‘Prongs’ ridiculous, though? I’m thoroughly offended.”

“I’m sorry. What, do you have horns underneath that mop of hair?”

“No horns,” he said, though there seemed to be an inexplicable tone of mixed surprise and amusement in his voice.

Lily threw up her hands. “Argh, you’re absolutely ridiculous, acting like you’re in MI6 or something.”

“In what?”

“Oh, never mind.” She had almost forgotten that James knew practically nothing of the Muggle world. She and James had actually been having a normal conversation tonight, without either of them getting offended. This was refreshing and surprisingly fun. Most of Lily’s close female friends”Mary, Florence, Marlene”had seemingly lost the ability to converse about much of anything but boys, whether about Sirius Black, judged by Florence to be the most attractive boy at Hogwarts, or international Quidditch players.

Alice Wilkes approached with Mary close behind. “Alice!” Lily exclaimed. “How are you?” She hadn’t seen much of her friend’s round, pretty face lately, what with all the time Alice spent in the Herbology greenhouses.

“Oh, I’m wonderful,” Alice said. Since she had started going out with Frank Longbottom the previous year, Alice always exuded a glow of happiness no matter the situation. Lily wished that she had someone who made her so transcendentally blissful, yet she doubted that she ever would. Despite the slight twinge of jealousy, however, Lily appreciated her friend’s good fortune, not to mention that Alice managed to keep from being sickeningly starry-eyed.

“Anyway, James, you can’t have Lily all to yourself!” Mary put in. “Come over and talk to us.”

Lily excused herself politely and followed Mary and Alice to the circle of chairs in the corner in which the older Gryffindor girls were now sitting. She didn’t particularly relish the excessive gossiping and speculation that was sure to follow, but she did enjoy talking to her friends and forgetting about schoolwork for a moment or two.

“So, you’re spending your nights with James Potter?” Mary said, taking a sip from a bottle that looked suspiciously like Firewhiskey. She knew perfectly well that Lily patrolled with James every weekend night, but she had phrased that somewhat salaciously for the benefit of the group.

Lily seized a cushion from the nearest chintz armchair and threw it at her friend. “It’s just patrolling for an hour! Must you make everything sound so scandalous?”

“Yes,” Mary said complacently. “I must.”

“Well, he’s nowhere near as gorgeous as his mate Black, but Potter’s definitely handsome and very dateable,” Florence said. Dateable? Is that even an adjective? Lily wondered.

“I wouldn’t say Sirius is all that,” she objected. Though Sirius was fun to hang around with, Lily had never particularly seen the attraction. It could have been his long hair, or the haughty set of his jaw, or the fact that he was usually the instigator when the Marauders”what a ridiculous name”had made fun of other students.

“So it is Potter that you fancy,” Florence exclaimed. “I knew it!”

“For the last time, I don’t fancy James,” Lily said indignantly.

“In denial,” Mary sang. “Anyway, Florence, are you making a play for Sirius now? I thought you had a man.”

“No, that was last year. I couldn’t stay with him forever, not like Alice over there, who’s practically married.”

Alice turned slightly pink but did not protest.

“Oh, and Lily, if you’re really not interested in Potter, I know someone who’d like to meet you,” Florence added.

After a moment’s hesitation, Lily got up and followed her friend. She could have sworn she saw James turn from his friends and glance at her, but when she looked back he was waving his hands around animatedly, most likely describing a Quidditch match. Lily had a strange feeling of disloyalty, but she brushed it away. After all, they were barely even friends. It wasn’t like James would care if she talked to another boy, or that he had any right to care if she did.

“Lily, this is Carl; Carl, Lily,” Florence introduced them.

“Hi,” Carl said. “We’re in Transfiguration together, I think?”

Lily thought for a moment. She usually sat in the front, with Remus and Marlene. However, his voice did sound familiar. James and all of his Quidditch friends always argued loudly over their favorite professional players before class started; perhaps that was it. Yes, Lily was sure she had heard Carl yesterday contesting loudly that Ludo Bagman was the greatest Beater of all time. She dearly hoped that he wouldn’t start shouting at her about Quidditch. “Yes,” she said, in a tone that she hoped suggested both friendliness and a reluctance to talk about sports. “I know you.”

“You do?” Carl said eagerly, looking surprised and pleased. “That’s good,” he added, collecting himself and nodding in an easygoing sort of way.

Lily laughed. She had expected him to be railing on about Bagman already, but instead he was shy in a rather charming way.

They began awkwardly talking about the Transfiguration homework”how difficult it had been to transform an owl into a rat and back again, and how frightening it might be to transfigure themselves by year’s end. When they moved on to other topics of conversation, however, Lily found out that Carl had a Muggle father and consequently had read many of the same books and seen many of the same films that Lily had. By the time that students began to disperse in the directions of their respective dormitories, they were reminiscing about their favorite episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

“You know, this was really nice,” Lily said. “I was afr”” she started, but stopped, not wanting to offend Carl.

“Afraid that I would only talk about Quidditch?” Carl said, half-smiling.

Lily laughed and looked at the fire. “You caught me.”

“Well, don’t get me wrong, I love the sport. Tryouts are next week, actually. Wish me luck?”

“Good luck,” Lily said. “Anyway, I’m sorry, but I’d better go if I want to have a bit of a nap before patrol.”

“Goodnight, then. See you later?”

“Of course,” Lily said, smiling. She walked away with a wave, knowing Mary would be proud of her. Despite Mary’s dramatics, she was a good friend and had taught Lily everything she had learned from her own mistakes with the opposite sex.

Lily changed into her pajamas, crawled into bed, and closed her eyes, but sleep eluded her. She had so much on her mind”Ancient Runes homework, her conversation with Carl, patrol at midnight”and yet her mind kept returning to James and his stupid nickname, disclosed with a smile she had never seen before, a smile that said he knew something she didn’t. Though Lily was hardly a know-it-all, she hated to be the last one to know what was going on. She had had quite enough of that as a child; after all, Sev”to even think his name now made her stomach twist”had known for ages that she was a witch before she had.

Lily was still awake thinking when she looked up at the clock in the dormitory and saw that midnight was almost upon her. She jumped up, threw her robes over her pajamas, and ran as quietly as she could down to the common room, which appeared deserted. She turned to sit in one of the armchairs near the fire, but found that one was already occupied by Sirius. He seemed to be attempting to bond a Dungbomb to a Filibuster Firework using a muttered Permanent Sticking Charm.

Lily cleared her throat. “Sirius, as Head Girl, I must ask you to dispose of that or I shall have to confiscate it.”

“Well, Lily, as a concerned student, I must give you detention for roaming about at such a late hour.”

Sirius was, willfully or otherwise, so unclear on Hogwarts’ rules and regulations that Lily decided not even to address it. Instead, she said, “I’m looking for James. We have patrol tonight.”

“He’s in his bed, but....” Sirius trailed off with the same expression he wore when deciding how much of his culpability to reveal to Professor McGonagall.

“What?” Lily asked severely.

“He’s a bit, shall I say, intoxicated.”

Lily closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “That is very, shall I say, irresponsible of him,” she said.

“I don’t think he meant to drink as much as he did. He was...distracted. Either way, though, I must say that it’s not classy.”

“You are the expert on class,” Lily said, smiling. “Anyway, will you go get him up for me?”

“Prongs needs his beauty rest!”

“He’s Head Boy, and he has duties to perform regardless of his sobriety.”

“Speak English, will you? It’s too late for that sort of fanciful language. Anyway, if you want him, you can go.”

“The stairs won’t disappear from underneath me?”

“Nope. The founders trusted girls a damn sight more than boys, apparently.”

Sighing, Lily climbed the stairs to the boys’ dormitory and found James (who had pulled the covers up over his head) in the seventh year boys’ dormitory through an embarrassing process of elimination. “James!” she hissed, pulling the covers from over his face.

“Lily,” James said, his voice gravelly from sleep, rolling over and squinting at her. “Are you wearing anything under those robes?”

“Of course I am!” Lily said impatiently, shaking her head incredulously at him. “Anyway, we’re late for patrol. Come on, get up.”

“I’m sick,” James said, pulling the covers back over his head.

“You’re drunk.”

“No’m not,” James said indistinctly from beneath his bedclothes.

“This is ridiculous! It’s like talking to a five-year-old. You are getting up and that’s final.” Lily yanked the sheets completely off him and immediately wished she hadn’t; he was mostly undressed except for his underwear and socks. She could feel her face heat up, but only because she was embarrassed on James’ behalf. That was all.

“You sound like my mum,” James grumbled. “Help me up.”

With much effort from both of them, James was on his feet and had one arm braced against her shoulder. “That’s progress,” Lily remarked.

James let go of her and took several slow, deliberate steps forward. “Was that a straight line?” he asked hopefully.

“No,” she answered, smiling despite herself.

“Good enough. C’mon, Lily,” he said, enunciating each consonant a little too much as he made his way to the door.

“Would you perhaps want to put some clothes on first?”

With help from Lily, who flinched every time her fingers touched his bare skin, James was finally in a physically presentable state to patrol by quarter after midnight and seemed steadier on his feet.

After they had patrolled four floors without event, James seemed to have sobered up. He cleared his throat. “Did you have fun with that duffer Carl, then?” he asked, trying and failing to sound nonchalant.

“He’s not a duffer, and yes, I did.”

“Are you going to see him again?”

“I’d like to,” Lily answered.

James paused. “What’s wrong with me, Lily?” he asked.

“Just a guess, but I’d say you’re still a bit drunk.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

Lily had to think for a moment before she understood that he was really asking what was so right about Carl, and once she did, she wished she hadn’t.
Chapter Endnotes: Thanks for reading! Please review with comments of any kind; I loved the feedback I got last chapter. Next chapter is from James' perspective.