Lily’s eyes shot open at the sound of her alarm going off. She had to use all her willpower not to smash that damn thing into pieces.
After pushing the button to turn the alarm off, she sat up in her bed and rubbed the remaining sleep from her eyes before standing up out of bed and stretching. A quick glance at the calendar mounted on her wall told her that the date was the first of September. In about an hour, she would be on a train to London only to board a second train that would take her back to school.
(On a side note—Lily wished that her commute to school wasn’t so convoluted. First, it was a thirty minute drive from Cokeworth to Birmingham. Then, it was a ninety minute train ride from Birmingham to London. It would actually be a lot quicker if she could just travel straight from Cokeworth to Hogsmede, but of course, the Hogwarts Express only left from London and didn’t stop anywhere else. It meant that, every time Lily came home for a holiday, she had to wake up aggravatingly early to make sure she had enough time to catch both of her trains.)
With a sigh, Lily walked over to the shelf in her bedroom where she kept all her records and perused her collection before she found the perfect one—Welcome to My Nightmare, Alice Cooper’s latest album. Perfect.
Lily put it into her record player and let it play.
Lily danced around her room to the music as she got ready—brushing her teeth and just generally trying to make herself not look homeless. Since she was just going down for breakfast, she didn’t bother getting dressed yet.
After brushing her teeth and running a brush through her newly-cut hair, she put on her slippers and went downstairs to eat breakfast. When she opened her bedroom door she was greeted by the smell of sizzling bacon.
Lily made her way down the stairs and into the kitchen where her mother was standing at the stove scrambling eggs.
“Morning, Mum.” Lily greeted her mother with a kiss on the cheek before grabbing a glass from the cupboard and pouring herself some orange juice.
“Good morning, sweetheart!” Her mother greeted her, cheerfully. “How did you sleep?”
“Alright.” Lily shrugged. “Although, I always sleep better when my sleep isn’t interrupted by an alarm. Oh, by the way, have you seen Crookshanks? He must’ve gotten out of my room sometime in the night because he wasn’t in his bed when I woke up.”
“You lost him already?” Her mother sighed. “Lily, we let you have that cat because we thought you could take care of it. If you can’t—“
“I can, I promise!” Lily defended. “It’s just one time! I’ve been taking excellent care of him so far. I haven’t forgotten to feed him once. I’ve been cleaning out his litter box every day. I don’t know how he could’ve gotten out—“ Lily cut herself off when an idea occurred to her.
Lily walked into the front room where Petunia was watching TV.
“Did you let Crookshanks out of my room last night?” Lily asked her sister.
“What?” Petunia asked.
“You let him out of my room last night, didn’t you?” Lily repeated. “Why? To show Mum and Dad that I’m not responsible enough to have a cat?”
“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!” Petunia defended, standing up from the sofa.
“Where is he?” Lily asked, searching around the room. “You better not have let him escape!” Lily warned. “Crookshanks!” she called as she continued her search. Finally, she spotted a small tuft of orange fur curled up under the sofa. “Crookshanks! There you are, baby!” Lily cooed as she picked him up and cuddled him in her arms. “Are you okay, sweetie? The bad lady didn’t hurt you, did she?” Lily shot a dirty glance in the direction of her sister before going back into the kitchen. “I found him!” Lily announced.
“Found who?” Lily heard her father’s voice call from behind his newspaper.
“Crookshanks.” Lily replied. “He got out of my room last night, but I found him.”
“Oh good.” Her father responded.
“Roger, do you maybe want to put the paper down and actually interact with your family?” Lily’s mother called out as she came over to the table to set plates of eggs and bacon down next to the plate of toast and jam.
At her words, Lily’s father folded up his paper and set it aside, giving his wife a smile. “Anything for you, dear.” He stood up and placed a chaste kiss on her cheek before grabbing his coffee mug to top it off.
“Petunia, time for breakfast!” Lily’s mother called into the front room as Lily sat down at the table next to her father and setting Crookshanks on her lap.
“Lily, no pets at the table. Go put him upstairs.” Her mother instructed. Lily sighed, but did as she was told, running up the stairs quickly to set Crookshanks in his little bed before going back downstairs and taking her place at the table.
“Petunia, I’m not going to tell you again. Either come and eat breakfast at the table or don’t eat at all.” Lily’s mother called out in warning.
A few moments later, Petunia entered the kitchen and sat down at the table across from Lily.
“So, Lilliput, what’s in store for you this year?” Her father asked and Lily smiled to herself at the pet name he’d been calling her since she was young.
“Nothing new, really.” Lily replied, stuffing a forkful of scrambled eggs into her mouth. “All my classes are the same. Except at the end of this year we take these exams called OWLs. According to my friends, they’re like O Levels for wizards.”
“Wow, that’s a big deal then.” Lily’s mother responded.
“Yeah, but I’m not really worried. I’m doing really well in all my classes.”
“What classes are you hoping to take next year?” Lily’s mother asked.
“Well, I’ve been thinking that I want to be a Healer—it’s the Wizarding World equivalent of a doctor—and, right now, I’m not really sure what’s required to do that, but my friend, Marlene, tells me that, before we take our OWLs, each student meets with their Head of House to discuss their future goals and what’s required to meet those goals so, I suppose I’ll find out then.” Lily explained.
“Ooh, a Healer! That sounds wonderful, darling!” Lily’s mother cheered.
“Yeah it sounds great.” Petunia grumbled.
“Oh I’m sorry, you got something to say, Tuney?” Lily asked antagonistically.
Petunia shook her head as she munched on her toast.
“Ellen, could you pass me the jam, please?” Lily’s father asked.
“Of course, darling.” Lily’s mother replied as she did what she was asked.
“So what about you, Tuney?” Lily piped up. “It’s your last year of school? Whatcha gonna do after it’s over?”
“If you really want to know,” Petunia began, “I was actually thinking of moving to London.”
“What?” Lily’s mother asked, practically choking on her coffee. “Why would you want to move all the way to London? If you want to live in a big city, just move to Birmingham. At least then, you’ll still be close to home.”
“I don’t want to be close to home!” Petunia argued. “I want to live in London.”
“I just don’t—“ Lily’s mother tried to protest but was cut off by her father.
“Now Ellen, if Petunia wants to move to London when she’s finished with school then that’s her right. We should be happy that she wants to be independent.”
“I suppose so.” Lily’s mother sighed. “Petunia, if you want to move to London after you finish school, then of course we support you.”
After Lily finished the last of the food on her plate, she glanced at the clock. “Hey, we’re gonna have to leave soon so we can catch our train.” Lily announced.
“Right, of course.” Her mother nodded. “Petunia, will you be joining us this year?”
“No thanks.” Petunia stated.
“Very well. Then stay here until we get back. We’ll phone you once we’re on our way home.” Lily’s mother instructed as she cleared off the table and set everything in the sink. “And would you be a dear and do the washing up while we’re gone? Thank you darling!”
Lily went up to her bedroom to put Crookshanks in his carrier before hauling him and her trunk down the stairs one at a time.
Once her things were downstairs and Lily did a thorough sweep of her trunk and her room to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything, her father went to load everything in the boot while her mother made sure they had their train tickets. All the while, Petunia sat in the front room watching TV.
“Alright, Lilliput, we’ll be waiting in the car.” Lily’s father announced.
“Alright, I’ll be there in a minute.” Lily responded. Before she headed out the front door, she stopped in the front room. “Goodbye, Tuney. I’ll see you at Christmas. If you care...” Lily said before heading out the door. Just as Lily slipped out she could’ve sworn she heard Tuney whisper a faint “goodbye” as she left. But she was probably just imagining it...
Thirty minutes later, Lily and her parents arrived in Birmingham where they soon boarded the train that would take them to London and then, before they knew it, their train had arrived at King’s Cross Station and they were making their way onto Platform 9 3/4.
By the time they arrived on the platform, it was already 10:45 which didn’t leave much time for Lily to say goodbye to her parents and find her friends.
After giving both her parents a hug and a kiss and promising to come home for Christmas, she went off in search of her two best friends, Mary and Marlene.
Luckily, she found them pretty quickly as they were already standing in the spot that the three of them usually met at every year. Since they all lived in different parts of the country—Lily in the Midlands, Marlene lived close to London, and Mary just outside of Glasgow (she insisted on traveling all the way to London every year to take the train to school for the “experience”)—they all arrived at King’s Cross at different times so before the start of their second year, they decided that each year, whoever arrived first would wait for the others in the same spot so they could always find each other.
“Hey!” Lily greeted her two friends, excitedly, giving them both hugs.
“Oh my god, you cut your hair!” Marlene exclaimed.
“Yeah, I thought I’d have it short for a change.” Lily responded twirling a strand of her now shoulder-length hair as she spoke. In the past, ever since she was a girl, she’d always kept her hair long, but just a few weeks ago she woke up one morning and decided she wanted her hair short for a change.
“Well, I like it. I think it’s cute and it suits you.” Mary commented in that thick Glasgow accent that Lily simultaneously loved and could barely understand. During the school year, her accent would become a bit milder, but every year she would return from summer holiday with her accent back to its full strength again.
“Thanks, Mary!” Lily responded, giving her friend a smile. “Oh by the way, did I tell you that I’m one of the Gryffindor Prefects this year? Which I think means I can’t ride with you because me and the other Prefects will have to patrol the train.”
“Who’s the other Prefect?” Marlene asked.
“I don’t know, but it’s probably Remus.” Lily replied. “It’s either Remus or Peter because it’s definitely not Tweedledee or Tweedledum.”
“Hey, that’s my boyfriend!” Marlene protested, lightly smacking Lily’s arm.
“He’s still a dumbass.” Lily commented with a chuckle.
Lily glanced up at the clock and realized the train was about to depart. “Anyway, we should probably get on the train. I have to go to the Prefect’s carriage first.”
“Right, well, if we don’t see you on the train then we’ll see you at the feast, yeah?” Marlene asked.
“Yeah.” Lily nodded.
The three girls said their goodbyes before Mary and Marlene went to find their own seats and Lily made her way to the Prefects carriage. When she arrived at the carriage, she glanced around and, sure enough, Remus was the other fifth year Gryffindor Prefect.
“Remus!” Lily called out cheerfully, getting his attention since his nose was stuck in a book.
He looked up from his book and a smile spread across his face, although there was a look in his eyes that said he was disappointed.
“Well, don’t look too happy to see me.” Lily commented.
“I am happy to see you.” Remus responded.
“But you hoped that I would be Mary. You wanted her to be the other Gryffindor Prefect because you have a massive crush on her. And don’t try to deny it.” Lily added when Remus tried to protest. “We all know about it. Well, I’m here to tell you, Remus, that she has a massive crush on you too. I’m sorry I’m not Mary, but maybe I can make it up to you by setting you two up.”
“W-What? No. No, definitely not. That’s really not...I don’t...” Remus stammered. “I don’t have a crush on Mary, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Deny it all you want, Remus. We both know it’s true.”
Before they could continue their conversation, the Head Boy and Girl stood up to speak.
No surprise, Margery McKinnon was Head Girl. Margery McKinnon was the second child and oldest daughter of the McKinnon family and Marlene’s older sister. But just like Lily and her sister, Margery and Marlene were complete opposites in every way. Margery was very uptight and studious and accepted nothing less than absolute perfection. She thought that any activities outside of academia were frivolous and pointless. Marlene, on the other hand, while not stupid was, by no means, an academic. She cared more about Quidditch than anything else and she was also more carefree than her rigid older sister. Despite their differences, though, the two sisters were still very close which, admittedly, made Lily jealous.
“Hello everyone, I’m Margery McKinnon.” Margery announced, introducing herself to the group. “For the last two years I served as one of the Ravenclaw Prefects, but now I’m Head Girl. First off, I’d like us all to go around and introduce ourselves and then I’ll explain to you what your duties as a Prefect will be.”
The next several minutes went by agonizingly slowly as everyone went around individually to introduce themselves and then Margery went on to explain the duties and all the dos and don’ts of being a Prefect. But finally, after what felt like hours, all the Prefects were sent off in pairs to patrol different carriages of the train.
“So how was your summer, Remus?” Lily asked as the two of them set off for their designated carriage.
“It was pretty much the same as every other summer.” Remus replied.
“Me too.” Lily chuckled. “Well, aside from my haircut and the fact that my parents finally let me get a cat. But other than that, my summer was very uneventful.”
“What’s your cat’s name?” Remus asked.
“Crookshanks. And, technically, he’s not really a cat. He’s half-cat, half-Kneazle. I got him at the pet shop in Diagon Alley.”
“That sounds nice. I’ve never had a pet.”
“Well, you don’t really need one, do you? You’re kind of your own pet.” Lily joked. She continued to walk a few more steps before she realized that Remus was no longer by her side, so she turned around to see him gaping at her. “Relax, Remus, I’m not going to tell anyone. I’ve known since first year and I’ve never told a soul. Not even Mary and Marlene.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Remus shook his head.
“Don’t play dumb, Remus, it’s beneath you.” Lily sighed then walked back towards him and hooked her arm around his. “Come on! I’ll buy you some chocolate from the trolley.”
“I figured it out, it wasn’t that hard, honestly.” Lily shrugged. “But like I said, I haven’t told anyone and I never will. Now come on! Let’s go get some sweets!” Lily pleaded, pulling him forward.
The rest of the train ride passed pretty uneventfully, for the most part. There were a group of second year boys that gave them some trouble, but other than that, Lily and Remus spent most of their time talking.
When they finally arrived at Hogsmede, Lily and Remus were the last two people to leave their carriage and only arrived at the feast just as Dumbledore was giving his welcome speech before the sorting. Thankfully, their friends had saved places for them so they wouldn’t disrupt things.
“Did we miss anything?” Lily whispered to Mary as she sat down next to her.
“No.” Mary shook her head. “They’re just about to start the sorting.”
Dumbledore finished his speech and then McGonagall began to read out the names of the new first years. As Lily watched the sorting ceremony, she couldn’t help but remember her own sorting and how terrified she was...and then how bad she felt that she and Sev hadn’t gotten sorted into the same House. But maybe that was for the best...
After all the new students were sorted—there were eight new Gryffindors—Lily and Remus had to escort them all back to the common room.
“Why do we have to do this again?” Lily whispered to Remus as they made their way to the Gryffindor common room with eight little eleven-year-olds trailing behind them.
“The fifth year Prefects have to do it because we’re the newbies.” Remus whispered back.
Once Lily and Remus had finished their tour and the first years were safely in their dormitories, Lily and Remus departed for their own rooms.
When Lily arrived in her room she found Mary sitting on her bed quietly reading a book, but no Marlene.
“Where’s Marlene?” Lily asked.
“With the boys.” Mary replied.
“Bloody hell.” Lily sighed in exasperation, rolling her eyes. “I’ll be right back.” She stated before leaving the room and heading to the boys’ dormitory.
Lily knocked on the door once, only as a courtesy, before letting herself in.
“Oy!” Sirius shouted, as the door flew open. “What the hell?”
“Relax, it’s just me.” Lily stated. “I’m here for her.” Lily said as she pointed to Marlene who was curled up on Potter’s lap. “Come on, let’s go back to our room.”
Marlene groaned but made no move to get up.
Lily sighed and turned her attention to the others in the room. “Hey, Peter, how you doing over there?” She called to Peter who was sitting on his bed which sat in the far corner of the room.
“I’m good!” He called back.
“Yeah? How was your summer?”
“Alright.” Peter replied.
“Aren’t you gonna ask me how my summer was?” Sirius asked with a pout.
“No.” Lily stated. “Now, come on Marlene, let’s go!”
“She’s right.” Marlene said. “I probably should go, it’s getting late.” Marlene started to stand up from Potter’s lap, but he pulled her back in and placed a long, lingering kiss on her lips.
“Goodnight, honey. I’ll see you in the morning.” Potter called after her.
“Well, aren’t you two adorable.” Lily observed sarcastically.
“Jealous?” Potter asked, raising his eyebrow and giving Lily his signature cocky smirk.
“Surprised, actually.” Lily replied. “I thought you were gay.” Lily slammed the door behind her, not giving him the chance to reply. Then she grabbed Marlene’s arm and they walked back to their dormitory together.
Lily and Marlene arrived back in their own room a few moments later.
“Oh hey, Lily, do you have any new music?” Mary asked once Lily and Marlene were in the room.
“Yeah, just check my trunk. I’ve got all my records in there.” Lily replied. “And you can get my record player out while you’re at it.”
“Tell me again how you get your record player to work here at school?” Marlene asked.
“The same way that the radios and cameras work.” Lily replied.
Suddenly, Lily heard a gasp from inside her trunk and Mary’s head poked out the top. “You have ABBA’s new album!” Mary exclaimed.
“I have all three ABBA records. They’re my guilty pleasure.” Lily admitted.
“What about that band that I like?” Marlene asked. “The Insects.”
“The Beatles.” Lily and Mary corrected her simultaneously.
“Right, The Beatles. Whatever.” Marlene shrugged. “Do they have any new music?”
“Marlene, The Beatles broke up.” Mary stated.
Marlene gasped. “What? When?!”
“Like five years ago.” Lily answered.
“Ooh, speaking of, have you heard John Lennon’s new record?” Mary asked.
Lily scoffed. “I couldn’t care less about that traitor. It’s his fault The Beatles broke up. I want nothing to do with him or his stupid solo career.”
“But you have all of Paul McCartney’s solo music?” Mary asked, raising her eyebrows at Lily.
“Look, do you want to listen to the new ABBA or not?” Lily asked.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” Mary mumbled before placing the album on the record player.
“Two Muggleborns get into a fight about Muggle music while the pureblood stands by wondering what the hell is going on.” Marlene commented going to sit down on her bed.
“Do you really want to know?” Lily asked. “Or do you just want to nod your head, pretend you know exactly what’s happening, and listen to some music?”
Marlene pretended to contemplate for a moment before answering. “The latter, I suppose.”
“That’s what I thought.” Lily responded with a chuckle.
The three girls spent the rest of the night chatting about their summers and their plans for the new school year and dancing along to the music.