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Chapter

One
Lily Evans sat in her comfortable chair by the fire, with her bright red hair spread around
her shoulders and midnight blue nightgown. It wasn't all that late, just around ten-thirty
on July 30th, a very rainy night. It was strangely cold for July; it had hit the forties, which
hadn't happened in around two hundred years. Her father had lit the fire as soon as he had
heard that it was going to sink down to 41 degrees and that Lily was going to stay up a bit
and read. He'd made her promise, though, that she wouldn't fall asleep with the fire on
and that she'd put it out before midnight.
The book she was reading was in Hebrew; it was one that her mother had brought
back from her trip to the mainland, and right now, Lily was engaged in trying to translate
as best she could. She had just reached a particularly difficult phrase when she heard the
thump of feet on the hardwood floor.
"Lily, go to bed. I can hear the fire all the way into my room." Petunia, her older
sister, had grumpily stomped into the living room doorway. "You can read that stupid
book in the morning."
"Stupid?" Lily felt her face growing hot. "Did you just call this stupid?"
Petunia put on her annoyed face.
"I did, and if you don't put that fire out right now--AAHHH! Mom! Help!
OUCH!" She was grasping her stomach and sinking to the floor. Lily's eyes opened in
amazement as her parents rushed into the room, awakened by Petunia's screaming. She
had been fixedly staring at Petunia's stomach a moment before, to avoid having to look at
her face. Her eyes had become hot, and just when the pressure behind them let off,
Petunia had started to scream.
Lily gaped. "Wow. Did I do that?"
"Do what? Of course you did, you--you witch!" Petunia shrieked.
"Witch? Is that supposed to be insulting?" She shrugged and turned back to her
book. She couldn't concentrate on it, though. Her mind kept running over the strange
things that had happened just now. Practically in a sort of trance, she was rudely startled
out of it by a rap on the window.
She started in her chair. The knock she heard was repeated again and again, almost as if it
was Petunia's anxious boyfriend, Vernon Dursley. But Vernon didn't get out of bed at this
time of night. Simply out of curiosity, she went to the window, pulling aside the curtains
and undoing the latch.
"I'm asleep. I'm dreaming. I know I'm asleep," she kept repeating to herself as she
stared out of the window at a large, tawny owl carrying a letter in its beak. The owl
fluttered inside, landing on the sofa and dropping the letter on Lily's book. It shook itself,
then, without even resting for a while, it took off again into the dark and stormy night.
Slowly, as if it were some kind of explosive, Lily moved towards the letter. With a
quivering hand, she snatched it up. The envelope was a sort of yellowing parchment with
emerald green ink.

To Miss Lily Evans

1
Armchair in front of the Fire
777 Laner Street

She slit the envelope open. Inside were two sheets, but she only noticed the first
words on the page.

Dear Miss Evans,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

***

Of the next two days Lily hardly remembered anything, besides the fact that she
found out that this wasn't a hoax and that she would be taking a train to Hogwarts on
September first. A small slip of paper inside the envelope that she hadn't noticed before
gave directions on how to contact Professor M. McGonagall, who told Lily and her
family how to get onto the platform and how to get her school supplies. Her father and
mother were excited and pleasantly surprised, and after binding Petunia to secrecy, they
were on the subway to the street in front of the Leaky Cauldron, the entrance to the place
where Lily would find her supplies.
Petunia was grouchy most of the way, though as soon as they entered the small
pub, her face was frozen in fear and she was silent until they got to a brick wall in the
back, along with a rather small and wrinkly wizard.
"Let's see, now where are those bricks again? Oh, right, third left..." He tapped
several bricks, and almost immediately, the wall, which had been secure before, modeled
a gap, which slowly grew larger and larger, until all of Lily's family could fit inside.
Lily's mother and father stared with popped out eyes at the first bit of magic they had
seen performed. Lily grinned, then smiled even wider as she saw Petunia, who was sitting
down on a trash heap with a banana peel poking out from under her skirt and her vocal
cords frozen in an eternal whimper.
Tearing her amused gaze away from her sister, Lily looked back at the doorway.
Through it she could see a crowd of many wizards and witches congregating about bright
shops and window, some eating ice cream at a nearby café, and a group of boys oohing
over a broom one of them had just bought. The street was cobblestoned, with sparks
issuing from several random wands here and there; no trace of the rainy weather that
reigned outside in the rest of London. Here, there was a bright and cheery sky, with
several birds and--wait--gold balls with wings?--whizzing around among the clouds.
Several people could be seen through a shop window trying on wands, others were being
fitted for some type of clothing, and others were flipping through books at a place called
Flourish and Blotts.
"Wow." Lily whispered.
"Well, welcome to Diagon Alley," the crinkly wizard grinned.
Lily was the first to step into the alley. She glanced around, looking for what the letter
said was a bank; a large white building. She found it easily, as it was the tallest structure
on the street. Half dragging, half pulling Petunia, her family walked past several goblins

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on either side of the doorway and to the desk of another goblin.
"We'd like to open an account and exchange some money, please." Her father
spoke as if he had done this a million times before.
The goblin asked for his name, then told him that only wizards and witches could
open an account. "Is it for one of the young ladies here?"
"Yes, sir, it is. Lily Evans."
"Lily is it? Well, then, follow me." The goblin headed for an elevator behind the
counter, beckoning to the family. They stepped inside, while the goblin set a large golden
dial on the side of the elevator to 472. The door closed and, with breathtaking speed, the
elevator hurtled downwards. After about five seconds, with a gentle bump, the elevator
stopped.
Petunia, rather green in the face, was the first to leave. The goblin followed her
out to reveal a long corridor, all lined with iron doors, smaller golden dials, and padlocks.
They didn't have to walk far before the goblin stopped them in front of a door without a
padlock. He took out two small golden keys and turned to Lily's father.
"And how much will the young lady be depositing?"
"Er..." He looked around to Lily's mother. "About...I'd say, two hundred pounds. I
think that should be enough."
The goblin nodded. "Very well, then." He set the dial to 200, then opened the
padlock and door with one of the keys. Lily gasped. Inside were mountains of gold,
silver, and bronze coins, more than she could ever have imagined seeing. She drew out
several handfuls and put them into her purse, her mouth still hanging open. "Dad,
I...thanks, Dad." She hugged him. “Can we go and get my things now? I can't wait to get
a wand!"
The goblin and her parents smiled. Upstairs, the goblin handed Lily her own
golden key to her safe, then waved until they were out of sight. He finally turned around,
muttering.
"Good grief, that Muggle child was green!"
The next thing she knew, Lily found herself in the bookshop. Flourish and Blotts,
to be exact. The salesclerk who was in while the owner was out to lunch immediately
hurried over to her, a bit too overexcited to help.
"Let's see, I need Transfiguration,--Hey!" The salesclerk had dumped about seven
books on top of the list where she had placed it, on a small table with a "Here you are,
miss. That'll be seventy Sickles, four Knuts."
Lily raised one eyebrow. "How many first years have you had come in here
today?"
He grinned a bit sheepishly. "About fifteen." He pulled out a cloth bag from under
the counter. "Bag, miss?"
Lily nodded. "Yes, please." She left the store alone, having left her parents and
Petunia at the ice cream parlor, where Petunia was scarfing down about a pint of mint
dragon-eye ice cream to make up for the elevator ride.
The closest thing there was on the street was the robe shop she had noticed earlier. It had
pale blue drapes on the windows and black robes on moving statues in the show
windows. Lily stepped inside.
The owner, Madam Malkin, immediately flitted over and started taking her
measurements. "Hogwarts this year, dear?" She went on without waiting for

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confirmation. “I remember the very day my mother took my measurements for my first
Hogwarts robes...." She went on and on and on. Lily grew drowsy listening to the jabber
and would have fallen asleep, except that Madam Malkin used very sharp pins. About
twenty-five minutes later, she left the shop gratefully with her new robes wrapped in pale
blue tissue paper.
With difficulty, she pulled out her list again. "Wand. Wand, wand, wand. Now
where on earth--OW!" She was knocked onto the cobblestones as a boy about her age ran
into her, trying to dodge a few gold sparks.
"Watch where you're going!" she grumbled, quite miffed, as she retrieved her
packages from where they went flying all over the street.
"I--I'm sorry. Really. Here, let me help you." The boy dusted off a few of the
books and helped rewrap her robes. "First year, huh?"
Lily nodded. "That obvious, huh?"
He shrugged. "To me it is, just because I was one last year."
Lily smiled. "Hi--I'm sorry if I sounded rude. I'm Lily. Lily Evans."
The boy, with wildly messed up hair, smiled at her. "You didn't. I'm James Potter.
Hope I'll see you around at Hogwarts!"
Lily stared after James for a while, then came back to the real world, worked with
a start. He had such beautiful blue eyes--just the ones she wished she had--hers were
green. She hated green. With a sigh, she nimbly stepped out of the way of an out-of-
control broomstick and into the wand shop, which she'd just spotted. She couldn't
remember a minute of her stay in the shop, except that Mr. Ollivander had large bulgy
eyes and that he had an old owl in a cage on his counter that let out a dying croak when
she entered the shop. When she arrived at a store for miscellaneous items, she spotted a
friend of hers from school.
"Amanda!"
"Lily!" Lily couldn't believe that Amanda was also a witch. This was amazing--
and now she actually had people she'd know at Hogwarts. they raced to each other and
hugged, jumping up and down with excitement. "Eeek!" Amanda had always loved that
work. "I can't believe this!"
"Me either. By the way, what do I need here?"
"Oh, that's easy. Over here, look. Parchment and ink. I got lots of green and blue
ink, the sparkly kind, though Mom made me get some regular. Hey, you get some of the
gold and silver, then we can swap when we want to! And here--"
Lily left the store with a bulging bag of firecrackers, ink, parchment, and a few
colored quills. They said goodbye and went back to their families.
"See you at Hogwarts!" both of them shouted as Amanda's family left Diagon
Alley.
Lily watched the doorway close behind Amanda, smiling. Amanda wasn't exactly
her best friend, but it was neat to have her at Hogwarts, too. She pulled her list out again.
"Potions stuff. All right then." She headed straight for the dim and dusky store on her
right. Inside, she found her mother scooping out some black beetle eyes into a bag.
"Mom? I thought you were with Petunia."
Her mom smiled. "I was, but then I decided, that since I'm majoring in chemistry
this year, I'd do some extra experiments. Look, they have potion recipes up here!" And
she waved a whole stack of parchment in Lily's face. "I copied your list, so your Potions

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stuff is right here. I got you some extra stuff that I'm going to take back as soon as we get
home." Lily shook her head. Her mom couldn't even cook decently, not to mention do
experiments. Usually, the cookies turned out burnt and the experiments blew up, sending
smoke up her nose and causing her to have a sneeze attack.
"Mom, I'm gonna look at the other stores. See you in...how long?"
"A half hour. And stay in Diagon Alley."
"I will. Thanks." She practically dashed out of the murky shop with its awful
smell, thankful for fresh air.
She looked around for anyone else she might know, though the only familiar face was
James', and his wasn't actually a face, it was more the back of his head. He and some
others were clustered about the Quality Quidditch Supplies store, oohing over a broom
that, Lily read on its handle, was the new 'Millennium'.
James seemed to be the most interested. "Look at that thing! I bet you wouldn't
even feel that you're on a broom at all."
"I know." one of his friends added, with black hair and a sort of doglike
expression. "I wish Dad'd trade in that old one I have--it's starting to splinter."
A girl with short blond hair smirked. "Sirius, I've told you before that if you insist
on chasing Serverus with that thing, he's going to hex you. And that's gonna do some
damage to the broom."
"All right, all right! I've heard this before!" he retorted, clearly knowing her
statements by heart.
James was still staring at the broom. "I've already asked Mom to sell my old one
and give me this, but since she got me that model of the Milky Way, she thought I didn't
need this. It's just what we need to beat Slytherin, though!"
The blonde rolled her eyes. She took James' arm and pulled him away from the
window. "You promised me you'd get me some ice cream, c'mon, that broom isn't that
important, is it?"
He gave in, and Lily stared after them, wondering. "Is that his girlfriend?" She
wrinkled her nose. "Darn."
A few weeks later, September first, to be exact, Lily and her family were walking
towards King's Cross to drop her off in front of the magical barrier, the one separating the
platform from the other Muggle ones. Her family couldn't get inside, so she had to say
goodbye here.
"Mom, I promise I'll come home for Christmas. Thanks again for my trunk."
She hugged her father. "Dad, 'bye. Send me lots of owls, Ok? Oh, wait, you'd have to
wait for me to send Alisande. I'd forgotten." One of the things she'd gotten in Diagon
Alley was a raven-black owl with fiery black eyes; she had named her Alisande.
Petunia had been forced to come along, as Lily wasn't going to be home ‘til Christmas
holidays.
"'Tunia, stay out of my room. If you don't, I'll hex you. Bye, now," she added in a
sickly sweet tone.
"And good riddance, I'd say." Petunia muttered, out of her parents' hearing,
though not out of Lily's.
"Right back to ya, Muggle." Lily had answered. "When I come back, I'll make
sure to teach you a spell that'll make you look less like a horse." She nimbly evaded a
slap and, without waiting for a hug from her parents, dashed towards the barrier between

5
platforms nine and ten.
"I'll send you millions of owls, Mom! Bye!" She had just seen James and his
friends approaching and sped up, managing to get through the barrier. She had heard a
story of how, last year, the barrier had been locked and no one could get in and everyone
missed the train. No one was quite sure who had done it, though.
Lily was standing on platform Nine and Three-Quarters before she knew it. The
long, scarlet engine was letting off so much noise she had to cover her ears. Finally
deciding to let them go, she half carried, half dragged her trunk onto the train. It was
heavy, as her mother had insisted on buying a black trunk with gold fastenings. She got it
through the door and into one of the few empty compartments. Gasping for breath, she
sank down onto a plushy velvet seat. "Ow. Mom, next time get me a paper bag. Ouch, my
back." She remained sitting until she heard some noises outside and went to investigate.
She knew some of these people. Sirius, James, and two others were setting off a
couple of squeaky mice in the corridors, which went into quite a few compartments.
Squeals and screams and the occasional curses came from behind every half-open door
the mice went into.
Sirius pointed down the part of the corridor near Lily. "We haven't let them off in
any of those yet."
One of the other boys, with brownish-mousy hair and the look of a rat, shivered.
"But what if there's a teacher in one of them?"
James frowned. "Peter, you're entirely too spineless. C'mon. We'd better get rid of
these before Snape sees us."
They only had two mice left, and, carefully, they guided them to Lily's compartment and
another. She drew back inside quickly, not allowing them to see her, though leaving the
door partly open.
She saw the small brown mouse enter with a squeak, as if someone had just
pinched its tail. Swooping down on it, and making sure not to make a sound, she picked
the mouse up. It was really quite a cuddly thing as it started to nip at her ear. She reclined
in a seat, stroking the mouse.
Outside, the boys had realized that the other compartment was empty.
Disappointed, they waited for a shriek from the inhabitant of the other compartment.
They didn't hear a sound. Puzzled, James stuck his head in the small gap in the doorway.
His mouth dropped open. Lily was stroking the mouse. "Let's see, now what should I call
you? Oh, James, did you send him in here?" she asked, only now apparently noticing
him. "Can I keep him? I've already named him Clyde. If it's a her, though, I'll go with
Bonnie. What do you think?"
By now Sirius had come to investigate.
"She didn't scream? What kind of a girl are you, anyway?"
Lily flashed a sweet smile, the one she used to use for her teachers. "One of a
kind."
Lily watched the stunned expressions on the boys' faces. Unable to keep a straight
face anymore, she burst out laughing, which set them off, too. By the time a tallish,
greasy-haired kid about Sirius' and James' ages stepped into the doorway, Lily had been
introduced all around and learned that the three boys she hadn't recall met were Sirius
Black, Peter Pettigrew, and Remus Lupin. They were all in second year and had known
each other since they were about three, and James was just telling everyone how he and

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Lily had met the other day.
"So, anyway, you know how that Lucius Malfoy was trying to get me with a
permanent vomit-breath hex yesterday? Well, anyway, he aimed pretty good for once, so I
had to run, and I smashed into Lily." He smiled at her. "And I'm pretty glad I did." Sirius
and Remus started to snigger.
"Yo, James, don't let Sheila know that you said that! She'd probably start jinxing
you with all the spells she could get out of Snape; you know he likes her!"
"Indeed?" A hard, cold voice behind them made them all jump.
James rolled his eyes. "Snape, it's not exactly a secret."
Snape shook his long, very greasy hair. "What isn't a secret?"
Sirius raised thick, dark eyebrows. "That you sent Sheila a large bouquet full of roses last
Saturday,--"
"Which you bought at 'The Rosette Shop', three shops away from that large
fountain in the middle of Fraeden Square." Remus finished.
Snape's waxy cheeks went a bit rosy. He immediately turned and swished out of
the compartment as all four boys collapsed on the floor, laughing.
James recovered himself first. "Tracking Hex and Sheila's big mouth. Works
every time." He started to laugh again and had to swallow several Anti-Laugh chocolate
worms--at least, that's what he thought they were, but he grabbed several Ice Mice instead
and started to shiver and shake, teeth chattering. "Pink roses with a red rim! Paid sixteen
Sickles for them!" he gasped out. Lily joined in, trying to imagine Snape and Sheila as a
couple. She started to giggle uncontrollably.
By this time, the train had already started on its way to Hogwarts. Lily was the
first one who noticed the landscape moving. "Guys, did any of you notice the train
leave?"
Remus looked puzzled. "Why? It didn't, did it--OH, S--"
"Petrificus Totalus!" James shouted, pulling out his wand before Remus had a
chance to finish his sentence. Remus' arms snapped to his sides until he resembled a piece
of wood, besides being cut off in mid-sentence. "Remus, that was uncalled for. Sulatot
Sucofirtep." Remus returned to normal, glaring at James. "What
happened?" Sirius asked. "It sounded like something important."
Remus scowled. "It was. I left my trunk at the station." There was stunned
silence--they were a bit apprehensive of what Remus would say if they started to laugh as
loudly as they wanted to.
"You genius." Peter remarked. "How are you planning to get it back?"
"You're not even worried? I had a whole crate of Dungbombs in there! What if it's
stolen?"
Lily raised an eyebrow. "Who in their right mind would steal a pack of
Dungbombs?"
Sirius snorted with a bit of irrepressible laughter. "Especially from his trunk.
Everyone knows the story of how Malfoy tried to steal all of his extra robes and got his
eyebrows inflamed by the Burglar Hex James invented. They wouldn't go out for about
three minutes. Professor Hilton kept him in the hospital wing for a week!"
James sighed, with a dreamy expression on his face. "He still had the scars at the
end of last year. Maybe his eyebrows are actually growing again!"
Lily turned to James. "You invented a hex?"

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He looked a bit embarrassed. "Yeah, only a few. They're not that good, really." He
stopped as Sirius snorted again.
"James, you invented fifty-two jinxes by the time you left Hogwarts last year." He
turned to Lily, explaining. "One of them, a sort of Nail-Loss one, he put on Professor
McGonagall's wand, and the next time she picked it up--she'd just done her nails and was
wearing sandals, since it was near the end of the school year and was really hot--
anyway--we had twenty scarlet nails falling onto her desk and onto the floor. We were in
the class next door when she started to scream like a banshee and ran to the hospital
room--after picking up all of her nails."
Lily started to hyperventilate, she was laughing so hard.
After Remus and Peter had gone up to the one compartment that held about two teachers
to tell them about Remus not having a trunk, a thin, blond witch stopped by the
compartment with a cart.
"Anything to eat, kids?" she asked in a mournful sort of tone. James and Sirius
handed over two Galleons and the order:
"The usual, please." They were immediately handed a plastic bag from the bottom
shelf with a tag attached to it, saying: "Potter, Black, Pettigrew, and Lupin." Seeing Lily's
puzzled face, the witch explained.
"They've bought the same thing six times since they first got on this train, so I just
get their things ready ahead of time." With that, she handed Sirius two pitchers of
pumpkin juice and two Knuts. "You know where I am when you get hungry again.
When." She turned to Lily. "No need to buy anything, dear. These four have enough to
last seven giants for three weeks. I don't know how they manage to eat three bags of this
stuff." Shaking her head, she trundled along to the next compartment, leaving Lily to
stare at the contents of the bag, which had been emptied all over three seats, James,
Sirius, and the floor.
The bag had held about five dozen Chocolate Frogs, twelve bags of Bertie Bott's
Every Flavor Beans, two dozen Acid Pops, four blood-flavored packs of Drooble's Best
Blowing Gum, along with some that was pumpkin flavored. There were also about
seventy Limited Edition Hysteria Gumdrops and a good eight hundred things called
Toothflossing Stringmints, which had a label on them saying "New! Do Not Miss!"
James glanced at the label scornfully. "Yeah, right. We've been getting them delivered to
Hogwarts and to our homes for about three years now. 'New!' But the reason we get so
much is because this has to last us the whole year, and we hate brushing teeth between
every single load of candy," he added, at seeing Lily's amazed face when she saw the
amount of Stringmints.
By the time Remus and Peter got back, Lily, James, Sirius, and some passers-by
had finished all of the Chocolate Frogs and half of the rest, (except for the stringmints)
along with one of the two pitchers of pumpkin juice.
"Hey! Where's all the food?" Peter asked, indignant.
Lily stared. "All the food? There's still half the bag left!"
James looked at her incredulously. "For them, half a bag of candy? I think last
year I bet on nine minutes, seventeen seconds, though I might have to shorten it to nine
ten. They keep going faster every time. Now, where...Oh, yeah, right, here." Pulling out a
stopwatch, he leaned back over his shoulder to Remus and Lupin. "Ready, set, go!"
Lily watched in amazement. Pulling herself together, she managed to lean over to

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James and look at the stopwatch.
"Nine minutes, nine seconds. What, why, when, where, and how did you guys
even get all this unwrapped so fast?"
The compartment was littered with wrappers. Not one piece of candy remained besides
the Toothflossing Stringmints.
Lily was free to read for the next part of the trip, as all of the boys were fast
asleep. Outside, it grew darker and darker, until finally Lily had to turn on the extra lights
in the compartment and draw the scarlet velvet curtains in front of the window. She wrote
a letter to her family, which she placed in a small, golden compartment under Alisande's
cage, which, at the beginning of the trip, she had placed overhead so the owl wouldn't go
nuts at the sight of the mice, which were still running around.
Around seven, she went up to the front to ask when they would be arriving. The
witch with the cart told her about an hour, then went back to sleep.
When she got back to the compartment, she found Snape and a pale blonde boy inside,
with drawn wands. James was already covered in syrup and feathers, while Sirius was
snoring with what looked like mud in his mouth. Peter and Remus were untouched, so
far. Lily felt her eyes grow hot again. She dashed inside.
"And what do you think you're doing?" she demanded, indignantly.
Snape and the blond boy whirled around, defensive. The blonde boy raised his wand.
"And who are you, may I ask?"
"Lily Evans. How are you? Nice to meet you. All right, I'm done with politeness
for the day." She pulled out her wand, even though she hadn't even learned any spells yet.
Her mind went back to the one James had performed to shut Remus up.
"Petrificus Totalus!" she shouted, and immediately the pressure behind her eyes
melted away. She blinked, and when she opened her eyes again, Malfoy was lying on the
floor, limbs frozen in distorted positions, while Snape was frozen in the very attitude of
running his finger up his nose.
"Oops. Guess I'd better work on that one." Together with Remus and Peter, who
had awakened when she had shouted, she pushed the two statues out into the hallway.
"And stay out." She slammed the door.
Inside, Remus had freed James and Sirius of their syrup, feathers, and mud. All of
them were staring at Lily.
Sirius was the first to speak.
"How many times did you try that spell at home?"
Lily shrugged. "I didn't. This was my first bit of magic--I remembered what James did to
Remus, that's all."
James gulped. "Do you know how many times we practiced that spell just to get
as far as you did, just now?"
Remus answered for him. "Five weeks of endless practicing, just so we could use
it on Malfoy."
Lily frowned. "Malfoy?"
"Yeah, Lucius Malfoy, that blond guy who was in here just a minute ago."
"Oh. Well...is that good?"
"Y'know, James," Sirius overlooked her question, "I think you might have some
competition."
James looked puzzled. "Competition?" Sirius nodded, and Remus looked from

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one to the other, trying to figure out what on earth they meant. A few seconds later, his
eye had a gleam in it, he wore a knowing grin, and looked over to Lily out of the corner
of his eye.
"You two couldn't keep even your own secret if your life depended on it."
By the end of the trip, when a bodiless voice echoed through the corridors, Lily had heard
all about James', Sirius', and Remus' opinions on everyone in the school. She also was
told which houses to avoid getting into, if possible.
"Slytherin is somewhere I don't think you'd like, since you attacked Snape and
Malfoy. Gryffindor is the best--" here James had his narrative interrupted by hoots and
high-fives from the rest--"which is because we're in it." (More hoots.) "Ravenclaw has a
whole bunch of snobs, but Sheila and her group are in there, so you might like that.
Hufflepuff--well, enough said."
"So, you'd recommend Gryffindor?"
Sirius nodded. "Absolutely. Listen, I don't really think, when they test you to see what
house you'll be in, that you should scream all that much. If you do, they'll put you in
Hufflepuff."
Lily looked up. "Scream? Why?"
Peter sniggered at Lily's worried face.
"Hogwarts isn't exactly what you expected, is it?"
"No--not really--Why would I scream and what scars?" She caught sight of James'
face, which had gone all red. "James!"
He looked up. "What?"
"Tell me."
He glanced at his friends, bit his lip, then shook his head. "Guys, this is getting
really mean."
Remus looked shocked. "But, James, we took an oath to do this to every first
year! You can't mean you're backing out!"
Lily crossed her arms in front of her chest. "To do what to every first year?"
James gave in. "Listen, the only thing you'll have to do is put on a hat. I'm sorry, really."
He stood up and walked towards the door. "I'm going up front."
"Yeah, right." Sirius leaned out of the doorway. "Chicken!"
At that moment, the voice echoed through the corridors again, telling all students to put
their things into their trunks and to get dressed in their robes if they had not already done
so. The boys left the compartment, while Lily made sure the door was locked and the
curtain that covered the door's pane of glass was secured tightly. She reached into her
trunk and pulled out her robes.
She changed quickly, which was good, for the train stopped just thirty seconds
after she had finished.
The announcer echoed through the corridor again. "Please leave your trunks on the train.
They will be taken up to the castle separately."
Stepping off of the train, Lily found herself surrounded by a clear, starry night.
There were no clouds, just a crescent moon hiding behind a tree.
She heard a thick, throaty voice calling over the crowd of students. "First years over here!
First years, this way!" The speaker wasn't exactly hard to miss; in fact, just the opposite,
as he was twice as tall as an ordinary human and three times as broad. "First years this
way!"

10
About two hundred kids just Lily's age had surrounded him, a good half of them
scared and anxious. Lily scanned the crowd, hoping for someone she knew. That
someone found her first.
"Lily!"
Someone had tapped her on the back.
"Amanda!"
"Lily, aren't you scared? I heard something about the Sorting ceremony hurting a
bit."
Lily couldn't help it. She pulled a Sirius and snorted with laughter. "Don't worry.
They love doing that to first years. All you have to do is try on a hat."
Amanda breathed. "Good. That's a relief. Eeek! I can't wait!"
Lily rolled her eyes. The first thing she'd try to learn was how to make Amanda never say
Eeek!" again. After three years, she was getting sick and tired of that word.
The giant herded about two hundred first years towards several boats that were tied to the
shore of the lake.
"No more than five to a boat!"
Lily, Amanda, and two other girls climbed into one. The other girls obviously
were twins; they shared the same brown hair and frightened expression when the giant
spoke, this time to the boats. "All right then--move off!"
With a gentle, swinging motion, the boats started to float to an unknown
destination on the lake. The twins were clutching the wooden rims and looked sick; as if
they might hurl if anyone spoke to them.
Lily didn't speak to them.
She was enraptured by the starry sky, and anticipated eagerly wherever they were
going. She didn't even notice as someone in another boat paddled over to hers,
noiselessly. Lily felt a tap on her shoulder.
She whirled around and swallowed a surprised noise in her throat and a start.
"James Potter, what on earth?"
He grinned sheepishly. "I just want to try on the Sorting Hat again. Just to see
what it says."
Lily was about to make an incredulous remark, but he cut her off, pointing.
"Look!"
She gasped. In front of her, a tall castle towered against the starry sky. Light
streamed from every window, including the tops of about twelve towers.
"I-is that--"
James grinned. "Yeah, that's Hogwarts. Neat, isn't it?"
Lily gulped. "It's beautiful."
Once inside, they were welcomed by a rather stern-looking witch with her hair in a tight
knot, Professor Megan McGonagall.
After explaining briefly about their future at Hogwarts with their separate Houses,
she led then towards two huge doors, behind which, judging from the noise, the whole
rest of the school was gathered. The noise increased rapidly, and the doors opened by
themselves.
As if they were cattle, the first years were herded towards a stage, with all the
eyes of the school, issuing from four long tables, upon them. A stool was set upon the
stage, serving as a pedestal for a tattered and withered wizarding hat. A rip opened near

11
the brim, and the hat began to sing.

"Gryffindor, a mighty man
Did many worthy things.
And one out of the best he'd done
Was give me brains of kings.

He'd grown tired, year by year,
Of picking students, see,
So here I am, here in his place,
To choose for him with glee.

In Gryffindor I place
The bold of heart and mind,
Those who will forevermore
Be the bravest one can find.

In Hufflepuff the workers hard
Were put to work and serve
Those honest and hardworking souls
From their path have never swerved.

Ravenclaw got clever ones
Who, brilliant of sound mind,
Were, along with all their fellows
The smartest one could find.

Slytherin, that slinky soul
Chose people just like he.
Peculiar in his tastes he was
And stubborn, (just like me).

So put me on, I'll try to see
Where you should belong
Trust me, I bear the brains of kings
And have never yet been wrong."

The Great Hall burst into applause as the hat finished, the students lined up alphabetically
and the first student walked over to the stool.
"Benson, Dennis." the hat announced. "HUFFLEPUFF!" One of the four large
tabled burst into applause.
"Chandler, Margaret."
"RAVENCLAW!"
"Davis, Heather!"
There was a good thirty-second pause, then--
"RAVENCLAW!"

12
"Evans, Lily!"
The hat slipped far over her head, mumbling to itself. "Now, I think you have an
equally good chance in all three, don't you? Definitely. Now, let's see...I've never yet done
eeny-meeny-miney-mo, but where do you want to go?"
Lily clutched the stool. "Gryffindor, please," she thought. "Pretty please, hat?"
"All right, then, dear--GRYFFINDOR!" This last was shouted to the whole hall, leaving
Lily with ringing ears as she quickly plucked the hat off, handing it to the next student as
fast as possible.
She threaded her way as fast as possible to the table with the most applause. With
pink cheeks, she saw Remus, Sirius, and Peter waving to her to come and sit down. She
slid into a seat, smiling to herself.
The next few students she didn't know. About fifty of them went by until Lily's
palms hurt and it was Amanda's turn.
"Milton, Amanda!"
The hat didn't even touch her head before it belted out a "GRYFFINDOR!" She
came down from the stage and took a seat next to Lily.
The last student up, Lily could tell, was James, though his hat was pulled down
way over his forehead. He slipped on the hat.
"Potter, James!--Wait, wait just a minute there! Off my stage this instant! That
was uncalled for! I should make you a Slytherin for that. Come back here!" James had
torn off the hat and was racing for the edge of the stage and his table. The hat following
him, propelling himself off of other's heads. James dived under the table amidst roaring
laughter, and the hat followed. There were several shrieks, and then the hat emerged with
James' ear caught in its brim. "Nevewr--evewr--do--fwhat--again!" The hat let go.
"Understand?" It whacked James around the ears and finally had to be carried off by
Professor McGonagall.
Amid roaring laughter, the plates in front of the students filled and diverted their
attention.
James sank into his seat next to Lily, exhausted and with very red ears. "Wow, that hat
was aggressive!"
Lily couldn't help it. She started to hyperventilate again.
Dinner was finally over around one o'clock, and the prefects led the new students to their
dormitories. The Gryffindor first years stopped in front of a portrait of a fat lady in a pink
dress, after climbing many winding staircases and being scared mindless by the
Slytherin's ghost, the Bloody Baron, who swooped down among them, his robes all
stained with silver.
"Password?" the fat lady asked.
The prefect cleared his throat, but before he could say a word, James jumped in.
"Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia." The entire Gryffindor house stared at him as
the portrait swung open to reveal a comfortable common room with a blazing fire. James
shrugged. "It's the fear of long words."
The Gryffindors erupted.
Later in the evening, when all had said goodnight, Lily lay in her large four-poster,
thinking about that day's events. What on earth had motivated James and his friends to
stay with her? She was just a first year. But she had to admit--she was really glad that
James had stayed. He was kind of cute...

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