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A Different Kind of Magic by unjellify

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Chapter Notes: Disclaimer: I do not own any of J.K. Rowling's captivating creations.
Thanks to Soraya for her wonderful editing!

Lily looked down the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall toward James. He was rumpling his already constantly messy dark hair with one hand while talking to Sirius, Remus, and Peter. This idiosyncrasy had once annoyed her, as had everything else about James, but her erstwhile loathing for him had dissipated somehow without her noticing.

“You’re staring,” Mary said.

“At what?” Lily asked. A sixth-year Gryffindor girl had turned from her friends and was now talking to James. Lily couldn’t hear the conversation, but the sixth-year was giggling exaggeratedly and twisting her hair around her finger with remarkable frequency.

“Lily, you can’t be so outraged if you haven’t made a single move on him yet,” Mary said, following her eyes.

“Do I look outraged?” Lily asked innocently. “I just think that she is...embarrassing herself. Nobody wants to see that sort of disgusting flirting. I mean, people are eating.”

Mary sighed. “As your friend, may I just remind you that you are going to Hogsmeade today with Carl? So, since he is looking at you at this very moment, you should probably stop ogling James Potter.”

Though Lily did not want to prolong the conversation, she felt it necessary to mutter that she wasn’t ogling, just glancing in that direction, before swallowing another bite of her omelet and waving at Carl.

After breakfast, all students in third year and above queued up at the doors to the Great Hall. Filch methodically inspected each Hogsmeade permission slip before allowing the bearer out of the castle.

Lily and Mary were shunted along by the crowd until they were close behind James and his friends.

“...You think you could make that?” Remus was asking, an uncharacteristic excitement making his voice rise. “Think how much safer I’d be”how much safer we’d all be.”

“My specialty is Transfiguration, not Potions, as you well know”at least, it is usually,” James said with a rueful laugh, “but maybe someone else could make it. Someone like that Belby bloke.”

Belby. Why did that sound so familiar? Something in Potions class, thought Lily.

“Or Lily,” James added musingly, catching her attention again.

“You haven’t told her, have you?” Remus asked, his tone suddenly panicked and his voice cracking on the last word.

“No, of course not; how daft do you think I am?”

Lily’s brow furrowed. James seemed to be keeping quite a few secrets from her. However, she was more surprised that Remus didn’t want her to know something”after all, they had talked about everything from their highest aspirations to their deepest insecurities during their many meetings in the library.

“You’re utterly daft around Evans,” Sirius said, snickering.

James shoved him lightly, and the conversation degenerated into a series of friendly insults.

“Did you hear that?” Lily asked Mary.

“What they were saying? Yeah, something about you and potions, but I wasn’t really listening.”

“It’s not important,” Lily said. She walked slowly along the path that led off the castle grounds and into Hogsmeade so that Carl could catch up with her.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi,” Lily said, smiling. “How are you?”

Carl looked over at the Quidditch pitch to their left. “Exhausted, mostly,” he confessed. “The match is in two weeks, and James has got us training almost every night. Not that we don’t need it; Slytherin is”I hate to say it”quite good this year.”

“Slytherin has got quite the Keeper in Jared Bletchley, I hear,” Lily said. She, like every other Gryffindor, fell into the competitive spirit as the first match of the season versus Slytherin neared. Besides, Lily didn’t have anything against Quidditch; she just didn’t think it was worth shouting about.

“They do,” Carl said, surprised. “Here I was thinking you weren’t much for Quidditch!”

Lily shrugged. She didn’t follow Slytherin’s lineup very closely, but James had spent at least fifteen minutes straight during the previous night’s patrol ranting about Jared Bletchley. Lily had finally yelled at him to stop talking so loudly, after which they had glared at each other for a moment before dissolving into badly stifled peals of laughter. She grinned at the memory.

“I’m sure you’ll be able to score anyway,” she said to Carl. “You’re an excellent Chaser.”

The tips of Carl’s ears turned red. “Thanks,” he said.

“Anyway, I should visit Scrivenshaft’s first,” Lily said hastily. She did not usually give such bald compliments, and she wasn’t sure what to do in the aftermath of one. “I need a new quill,” she added unnecessarily.

“Of course, yeah,” Carl said, obviously bemused by her discomfort. “I could use one, too, come to think of it.”

Lily looked at him gratefully, and together they walked up the main street of Hogsmeade.


Carl and Lily ended up in The Three Broomsticks. Though Carl had offered to take her to Madam Puddifoot’s, Lily had declined, and Carl had been vastly relieved. Lily had been to the tea shop only once, and the perfume saturating the air coupled with the luridly pink interior had made her feel quite ill.

They were commiserating about a particularly nasty Venomous Tentacula in Greenhouse Three when their Butterbeers came.

“When it reached out to grab me, I very nearly screamed,” Lily said ashamedly.

“I would hardly blame you. That plant is out for blood, I swear!” Carl took a sip of his Butterbeer.

Lily was about to respond when she was distracted by the strains of shouting coming through the window by their table. She turned and saw James fishing in his robe for his wand, face contorted in fury, and, by all appearances, preparing to hex someone Lily couldn’t see.

“Carl, I’ll be back in a moment,” Lily said. She scrambled out of her chair and dashed out of the door.

Her eyes swept the improbable scene in an instant. James was facing Sev and Lucius Malfoy, both of whom were brandishing their wands as well. James’ arm was drawn back, ready to cast another curse.

Lily reacted immediately, running at James and catching him around the middle, trying to knock him sideways or, at the very least, draw him backwards. “James, stop!” she yelled as Severus’ face darkened. What could Sev possibly have said to make James so angry? Lily wondered.

“Me, stop? Why aren’t you yelling at these two?” James asked angrily, trying to remove her arms from his waist.

“You’re Head Boy! They aren’t! Protego totalum,” she added hastily, thrusting her wand in front of herself and James at the same time as Sev began to shout, “Sectum””

However, before he could finish, Lucius interrupted, “Careful, Severus.”

Sev lowered his wand, looking like a sulky child. Lucius stepped forward. His long blond hair shone in the sunlight, but that was the sole feature of his that looked familiar to Lily. She had seen him only in the halls when he had been at Hogwarts, but even one glance now was enough to tell her that his face was harder, somehow, and his eyes were absolutely devoid of emotion. His expression gave her chills.

Lily let go of James when he stopped straining against her grasp, and positioned herself between him and Severus. “Thirty points from Slytherin and thirty points from Gryffindor...yes, James, from my own house,” she said tersely, looking from Sev to James. “Your behavior is disgraceful and against school rules”and you, Lucius, should not be causing trouble among students.”

“Lily Evans,” Lucius said. He moved closer to her and examined her critically and methodically, as if she were a piece of meat. Lily trembled involuntarily at his gaze, though she tried to keep her posture perfect. Neither Lucius nor James missed this slight display of fear; Lucius smiled, and James stepped in front of Lily, pushing her behind him.

Lucius’ pale brow furrowed for a moment, and then his smile grew wider. “Have a crush, Potter?”

Lily could not see James’ face, but he did not relax his stance, and the arm that held his wand at his side twitched. “Leave her alone, Malfoy,” James said coldly.

“Oh, but this is cute!” Lucius drawled, chuckling. “With the company you keep at Hogwarts”blood traitors, weaklings, abominations”I thought you could sink no lower, but you fancy the filthy Mudblood, don’t you? Surprises will abound....”

James leaped at Malfoy, knocked him to the ground, and began trying to hit every part of him he could reach, kicking Lucius’ wand away with one foot. His own wand lay forgotten where he had dropped it; Lily picked it up quickly.

Sev started toward James and Lucius with his wand, but Lily cried, “Expelliarmus!”

Before she could decide what to do about the fight that was currently taking place, Carl, who had apparently decided to intervene, ran to them and pulled James off of Lucius, although James was clearly not finished. He lunged at Lucius, but Carl’s bear hug held him back.

“Are we fist-fighting, Potter?” Professor McGonagall asked, appearing from nowhere, her nostrils flaring.

Lily blanched. She didn’t know how long Professor McGonagall had been watching, but at any rate James had completely disgraced himself as Head Boy.

“If Smith would let me go, Professor,” James answered through his teeth, still looking daggers at Lucius.

“I think you had better come back to the school with me to see Professor Dumbledore,” Professor McGonagall said, her tone unreadable. “You too, Miss Evans,” she added.

“Evans didn’t do anything except take thirty points off our own house,” James muttered, regaining control of himself with a palpable effort.

“As well she should have,” Professor McGonagall said curtly. “Mr. Malfoy, I would suggest that you make yourself scarce and fix your nose; Mr. Potter seems to have done quite a job on it. Mr. Snape, I shall inform Professor Slughorn of your behavior earlier, and, Miss Evans, if you could return his wand...?”

Lily reluctantly walked to where Sev was standing and handed him his wand. Severus looked at her balefully. What is wrong with him? Lily thought. She studied him for a moment”his skinny frame, his pallid, scowling face, his hunched shoulders”and was reminded painfully of the boy who had been her best friend. Like Lucius, however, Sev had changed, and there was nothing left of that boy in him now.

She turned and followed Professor McGonagall and James to the castle without looking back.
Chapter Endnotes: Thanks for reading! Next chapter is from James' point of view. Please review: I respond to every one and I really appreciate them all. :)