One Month to Change Your Life by lilyandjames2790
A/N This first chapter has been updated because about six years have passed since we first wrote this chapter, and even back then I wasn't a huge fan of how it flowed. So, here's another shot.
As always, reviews are extremely appreciated. This story is being written by two co-authors, so sometimes it takes a while for us to get together and write, but reviews always get us motivated to get back to it!
Disclaimer: We are most certainly not the amazing JKR.
One Month to Change Your Life
There is something about watching the snow fall on a Saturday morning that is so peaceful. It's so white, so beautiful, and so inspiring, and you couldn't help but feel at peace when watching it.
Well, at least I was feeling calm until an owl nearly bowled me over in its hurry to fly in from the cold. I straightened my back from the crouched position I had taken in my haste to get out of the tawny owl's way. I'm not sure why I decided the owlery was the best place for my musings, but I was too settled to be bothered to move.
I supposed the real question ought to have been why I was up so early on the first Saturday of winter holiday anyway. Well, then again, that question really wasn't very difficult to answer, was it?
I sighed and tucked a few strands of dark red hair behind my ear. I guess it always came back to him. He had specifically made a point of coming over to me from the Ravenclaw table at dinner last night to wish me a happy holiday. Yeah, that's it. I knew it wasn't anything to get worked up over, but I got butterflies instantly and it had been all I could think about. A part of me wished that I could get over my schoolgirl crush on my best friend's brother, but a girl can't exactly help how she feels, now can she?
At least that was what I was going to keep telling myself, and so far neither the snow nor the owls had argued with me, so I was pretty certain that meant I was right...or insane...but I was choosing to go with right.
But the thing was that the other part of me didn't want to give up hope. He was literally everything I'd ever wanted in a guy. He was attractive without even realizing it, he had a sense of humor and was easy to talk to, and perhaps most importantly, he wasn't a bloody marauder.
Ok, so maybe I hadn't really had a full conversation with any of the marauders aside from Remus since Potter pulled my pigtails in the middle of first year, but one can't expect a girl to get over that in a day! Or, you know, in five years.
Anna has told me that I should give him a chance, but I couldn't really be bothered to make the effort. I'd seen him carrying on with his friends and it just seemed easier to not bother getting in the middle of their mayhem.
Wait, why was I wasting my blissful Saturday morning snow on thoughts about Potter?
I shook myself out of my reverie only to notice with a small jump of surprise that a barn owl was standing on the window ledge in front of me, sticking its leg out with impatience. I looked around even though I knew the owlery was empty before grabbing the bundle it carried from its leg, figuring it had to be meant for me. As I did so, the owl made a sound that sounded oddly like Professor McGonagall's huff of disapproval.
I looked at the bundle, wrapped in plain brown paper with no writings or marks of any kind. I had no clue who it could be from. Christmas was still over a week away, and the owl had looked like it might have been one of the school barn owls, but that didn't necessarily mean anything.
As I opened the paper, out fell a notebook and quill into my lap. "What in Merlin's name?" I wondered aloud, and looked inside the notebook on the back of the front cover where a large letter was written.
"E," I read. "What the...?" I turned the page only to have an inserted page fall onto my lap. I read, in long, flowing script:
Dear Miss Lily Evans,
I decided that the winter holiday this year would be a wonderful time to start a project I've been thinking about for quite some time now. Since you are one of the few people staying at Hogwarts between terms, you would be a wonderful addition to this project, if you are interested.
The staff and I want friendship among Houses this holiday, and we have decided there should be a talent contest. Not just any talent contest, mind you, but a special one. Each student participating will have a partner, and together they will perform in this talent contest. Whichever pair wins the contest will have the wonderful prize of
spending a non-Hogsmeade weekend at Hogsmeade!
Now, you may be wondering who your partner could be. Well, to tell you the truth,
no one really knows. Not even I know! You have been selected a partner at random through my patented "letter system." I hope you noticed the letter you received on the previous page. Your partner has the same letter.
You can't go asking around about who your partner is, because that is against the rules you'll find on the following page. But I'll give you a hint: it's a boy. No girl is partnered withanother girl, just as no boy is with another boy. Also, no student under third year is participating, so that narrows down the field even more.
The talent competition will take place at the end of break, a day before the rest of the school returns. You and your partner will both compete, against the other pairs.
But, you may be asking, how can there be a competition when no one knows who
their partners are? Never fear, for I have found a solution. You notice the quill you have been given, along with the notebook? Well, they are both magic. This quill works only with this notebook, which is connected directly to your partner's notebook. When you write in your notebook with this quill (when written in with any other quill, it will remain only in this notebook and won't be transmitted through), your partner will be able to see what you have written, and vice verse.
Through this notebook system, you will be able to communicate with your partner, and decide what your talent will be, when you will meet to practice, and so on. The Room of Requirement is available for practicing your act, and will meet any demands that you may have, as long as you can find it.
Along with the talent competition there will be a ball. Everyone will be in costume, and the masks you wear will be charmed upon your arrival, so only other girls will be able to recognize you, and you them. This is to keep everyone from ruining the surprise until after the competition, when everyone is unmasked, and you meet
your partner face-to-face for the first time.
Good luck, and I can't wait to see your act the day before holiday ends!
I smiled as I finished the letter. Professor Dumbledore really hadn't even needed to sign his name. Who else could have come up with a scheme like this one? It certainly sounded interesting. A little bit of intrique and mystery could certainly spice up this winter holiday.
Turning to the next page, I found it was full of rules, just like Dumbledore had said.
The following rules must be followed carefully, otherwise you and your partner will both be disqualified from this competition.
1. You must never ask your partner who he is.
2. You must never ask anyone else who your partner is.
3. You must never ask anyone for their letter, nor can you give them yours.
4. You must also never tell any male students what your talent act is, unless they are your partner via the notebook.
5. At the ball, you can't ask any male student what talent is theirs. You will see for yourself who your partner is at the end.
6. When practicing, you must use a means such as the room of requirement
so as to keep your identity and that or your partner hidden.
7. Do not try to give hints to your partner regarding your identity. Any
statement which will give away your identity or come close to it, the
quill will not allow you to write.
8. You are also not allowed to write any names to your partner.
I shut the notebook excitedly. This would certainly make for an interesting 6th year! I wonder if Anna knows yet…
Figuring there was no use in running to the tower since Anna was probably still
in bed, I took my sweet time and took the long way around, taking my time to admire all of the portraits on the way. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and decided that if Anna wasn't up yet, I'd just jump on her bed until she awoke.
Once I got up to Gryffindor tower it was around 10am, but the common room was still surprisingly empty. A couple of first years occupied the poufy red armchairs by the fire. Three 7th years were talking in hushed tones at a table in the corner. Other than
that the entire space was empty…except for a messy-haired teen sprawled out on the couch in the middle of the room.
Yes. Potter was not only up before noon on a Saturday, he was in the common room, without his band of miscreants, reading a book. I may not know the boy personally, but he seems to be constantly fooling around and pulling pranks. I was just beginning to assume he was in the process of a prank when I heard,
"My, my, Evans, you look rather lovely this morning." Then, he winked! Winked!
Oh yeah, definitely pulling a prank. The whole not-talking-since-first-year has been quite mutual. Aside from any mandatory classwork, we really hadn't interacted at all. Why would he talk to me now, let alone compliment me and wink if it wasn't for a
"Oh, very funny Potter. What do you think you're playing at?"
"I don't know what you're talking about." He looked so innocent. Yeah right.
"Oh come off it. Here you are, by yourself, reading a book, and then you compliment me? You haven't spoken to me since first year."
"What? Oh please, Evans, that's because you avoided me like the plague for some
unknown reason." He looked so honestly perplexed I found it near impossible to stay mad.
"Okay…fine…I didn't…well actually I did have a reason, but well…it's stupid…anyways, that still doesn't give you a reason to call me "lovely" now! It's just weird. Seriously, why now?"
He dog-eared his page, and set down his book, never taking his eyes off of me.
He walked right up to me and whispered, his voice warm in my ear, "So now I can't even compliment a pretty girl?"
Definitely a prank. Definitely.
If you are new to this story, welcome! I hope you enjoyed the first
chapter! There are currently 6 additional chapter up, and hopefully
chapter 8 will be up soon!