Pink Green Blue

Prelude to Destiny by Hourglass nomineeHourglass winnerAnotherDreamer

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Rating: PG. Created: September 14th, 2005. Updated: April 21st, 2006. Read Reviews (252)
Disclaimer: Characters, the magical world, etc, is property of J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros, not the owner of this fic.

Chapter One-
The Ride Home

Satan had obviously had a hand in creating O.W.L. exams. All of the Hogwarts fifth years agreed.

Still, now that the O.W.L.s were finally, amazingly behind them, the fifth years couldn't quite believe their good fortune. In particular, the four female Gryffindor fifth years couldn't believe they didn't need to study again for two whole months. Yes, the train ride home felt confusing.

The four girls occupied every corner of their compartment: a tall blonde sprawled on the floor, a redhead taking up an entire bench, resting her head on the lap of the black-haired girl who stretched her legs out and placed them on the bench opposite them where a short brunette was resting. None of the four spoke. None wanted to. All they wanted to do was rest: a thing they had not done in a long while.

Lily Evans, the redhead, tried to force herself to think about anything that did not have to do with the exams, especially not what happened after the Defence exam. No. Nope. She would definitely not think about that because even thinking about it made her embarrassed. Yes, she would think about something else. Think about something... else...

"Oh shoot!" Lily moaned when she finally realized why she and her three friends were heading out of the castle. "I don't know if I brought my Herbology things." She slowed down and searched her bag for her Herbology book and the essay it within it.

"Your book's in the very bottom of you bag, under your parchment," Sam said, seeing that Lily's search was only hindering their progress. Lily shifted a few things and suddenly let out an excited shout as she pulled the thick book out of her bag. Sam had been dead on.

"Ew," Christine said, pointing at the contents of Lily's bag.

"Which means Christine thinks your bag looks like a squirrel went into it, had a party, and then died. Twice," Tracy said.

"This bag is the embodiment of organization, thank you very much," Lily said, miffed as she patted her bag fondly with her free hand.

"Yes, we can see that," Tracy said sarcastically, rolling her eyes and beginning to walk. The other girls joined her.

"As long as Sam knows where everything is, I don't see how any of you can say it's disorganized," Lily said, turning her book upside down and shaking it to determine whether or not her essay was really in there. The parchment slid out of the pages and fell to the ground in the spiralling sort of way that only parchment can manage: the way that, though slow, prevented people from catching it before it fell into the mud.

"We're going to be late. Again," Sam said. Lily bent over and picked up the parchment, scourgifying away the mud.

"All right, I'm ready now. We can go," Lily said, holding her book in one hand and her essay in the other as Tracy picked up two more pieces of forgotten parchment.

By the time they arrived at the Greenhouse, class had already started and the four girls received a stern look from Professor Sprout. They looked regretful, put their essays on Sprout's desk, and then situated themselves at a table in the back of the room.

The highlight, or more like the lowlight, of the class came nearly fifty minutes into it. Sirius Black, a boy who prided himself in lacking respect for authority figures, picked up a pot, spun it on his finger, yelled for everyone to look, and then-dumbarse that he was-dropped and shattered the pot.

Then everything turned green. Everything. The floor, students, other flowers, the professor, walls, glass, glasses, tables, stools, everything. Green, green, green.

"My Lepitum Vernicius!" Sprout exclaimed, rushing forward and just staring in shock at the shattered pot. Silence from the students. "Seven years. That took me seven years to grow!"

With a strangled sort of sob, Professor Sprout vanished the entirety of her plant, erasing the green from the room. Just like that, seven years of that woman's life ended because one stupid boy could not keep his hands to himself just once. Lily wanted to throw something heavy at that stupid imbecile Sirius Black.

"Class dismissed," came the sad, quiet, shaking voice of the Herbology professor as she sank to her knees in front of what remained of the pot. Lily moved closer to her professor, not knowing what else to do, and touched the older woman on the shoulder.

"Class dismissed, Miss Evans," said Sprout, her voice stronger, sadder, and angrier.

Lily turned, grabbed her things and headed for the exit, following the rest of the crowd of students filling out. She was too preoccupied with the image of her sad professor to think about finding her friends. Lily wished she could have done something, anything. She could have told Sirius to stop. She could have--

"Don't know what she was all worked up about," said a voice behind Lily casually. "It was just a plant. Did you see her crying?"

Lily spun around, her eyes flashing. Who would be that idiotic? But the answer was as obvious as it could have ever been: James Potter, Sirius's ever-present accomplice.

"You're such an idiot!" she yelled at him. He looked taken aback. Then he recovered and smirked, which only served to irritate Lily even more. "Don't you understand, you stupid cod? She spent seven years growing that plant and your friend there broke it in a moment! And you're just mocking her. We all already know you've no commonsense or feelings really, but did you just have to prove it to the Ravenclaws?"

"It was cool when he was spinning--" James said.

"You're so stupid!" Lily cut him off.

His smirk did not waver. She wanted to conjure an anvil and have it drop on his over-sized ego. Instead, she moved forward to claw his eyes out, but Sam restrained Lily.

"Come on, Lily, let's go to lunch," said Sam. Lily looked at James and felt like screaming at him some more, but instead she just turned and stalked back up to the castle. Sam walked beside her, saying nothing and offering no advise.

"That was brilliant, Potter. Really got her attention," some boy said sarcastically as Lily yanked open the giant doors that led to the Entrance Hall. She barely heard it and immediately forgot it, but she had yelled at him loud enough for everyone to hear and talk about, and then after the Defence O.W.L. she had gone and yelled at him in front of the whole school and he had asked her out and... Frick! She was thinking about it again: that horrific moment after the Defence O.W.L. down by the lake. She had promised herself she would stop thinking about that. But it was so hard when she remember the way she just went insane, basically.

Lily opened her eyes suddenly, overwhelmed with shame as she continued to remember that horrible day, and exclaimed, "I shouldn't have blown up like that."

"Are you still on about yelling at James?" Tracy McGrath, the brunette lying on the bench opposite her, asked.

"Yes," Lily replied, shutting her eyes and draping her left arm over her eyes.

"He was acting like an idiot," Lily's black-hair best friend Sam Caldwell said, calm and logical. But who needed calm and logical? Lily needed pity. She wanted pity!

"True," Christine O'Connell agreed from the floor. Lily rolled over to see her blonde friend lying flat on her back in the isle, hands under her head. But Christine rarely, if ever, regretted her actions, so that wasn't exactly comforting.

"You can't change what you did," Sam said, patting her friend on the arm. Lily grunted and rolled her eyes, not letting Sam's soothing voice reassure her. What did Sam know about making a fool of yourself? It seemed to Lily that Sam, in all of the years they had known each other, had never managed to say or do a single embarrassing thing.

"I think we should all reconsider jumping off the train. That way we won't have to think about Lily yelling at James Potter or O.W.L. scores," Tracy commented as she remained motionless on her bench. Looking at her, Lily could only see the side profile of her face: small round head with shoulder-length sandy-blonde hair. But looking at Tracy only reminded Lily of the Gryffindor Quidditch team (for whom Tracy played Beater) and that only made her think of the star player--

"Argh. I need to stop thinking about this. I made a royal fool of myself and I should just accept that," Lily moaned, ignoring Tracy.

"True. He deserved it," Christine agreed.

"No, he didn't!" Lily exclaimed, throwing her arms up.

"No. Wait. He did," Christine replied, sounding confused.

"They were being so stupid but then he went and-"

"James is normally a good enough bloke," Tracy said, rolling over onto her left side, tucking her arm under her head so that she could look at Lily and. Her words meant very little. James played Quidditch and that made Tracy bias, which Sam quickly pointed out.

"He plays Quidditch well, you mean," Sam said.

"That, too," Tracy agreed, closing her eyes and pretending to fall asleep.

"But he's so-- he believes he's so suave," Lily spat. Tracy smiled.

"Well, he's not suave," Tracy said, eyes still closed, "but he flies better than anyone on the team--"

"And that gives him the right to act like a sodding idiot?" Lily asked, annoyed that her friend was taking James' side. Tracy didn't even know James and Lily was practically her best friend!

"On game days? Yes," Tracy affirmed, smiling a smile that could best be described as adorable. But everything about Tracy could be described as adorable. A little below average height, her body gave the immediate impression of a dancer: strong leg muscles and shoulders. Her shoulder-length brown hair was often pulled back into tiny pigtails at the back of her head. Which just meant people were terribly shocked when she hit a bludger at an opponent's head.

"Tracy--"

A knock interrupted Sam's comment and caused all the girls to roll over and face it. Then the silent battle started: how could they convince someone else to answer the door?

"Are you going to get that, Christine?" Sam asked. Christine was the closest to the door.

"No," Christine replied, continuing to deeply consider the door.

"I'm not getting up again. Ever," Lily added, still wallowing in her own self-pity. "Tracy can. She needs the exercise."

Sam turned to look at Tracy and smiled a dazzling smile at her athletic friend. Tracy, rolling her eyes, grunted and looked annoyed.

"Good grief. Is sitting up really this much of an issue?" Tracy muttered as she sat up with her legs extended on the bench, and then, demonstrating her excellent agility, reached all the way over her toes and pushed open the door. In the doorway stood a tall, blonde figure of Matthew McGrath, Tracy's brother.

"Don't you look like a little ray of sunshine?" he joked, looking at Tracy's grumpy face.

"Always," she said, managing to twist in her seat so that her feet swung off the bench and hung near Christine's stomach.

"I'm heading down the train. Want to come?" Matt asked. Less than two years apart, Matt and Tracy managed to be good friends. It helped that they were the second and third children in their large family, and that the closest sibling besides each other was four years older than Matt and five years younger than Tracy. They had a natural alliance of sorts.

"Will you buy me things off the cart?" Tracy asked, dull blue eyes lighting up.

"Yes," he sighed, smiling at his deceptively innocent-looking sister (the same one who managed to scare off even the biggest opponents with her fierce arm, ruthless attitude, and perfect aim).

"Then I'm coming," Tracy replied, standing.

"Me, too," Christine said, sitting straight up.

"Were you invited?" Lily asked.

"Why would I have to be?" Christine was never one to let another person's feelings, plans, or opinions change what she did.

"Stumpy goes where Stumpy wants," Matt quipped, calling the tall Christine the nickname he had given her back when she and Tracy had first become friends a couple of years before entering Hogwarts. It was ironic now because Christine, out of all of the girls, was by far the tallest-- just a smidge beneath Matt. Actually, Christine looked the part of his sister more than Tracy.

Tracy (short, tightly built, with brown hair) shared no physical characteristics with her brother except their dull blue eyes. Otherwise they were opposites. His pale skin contrasted her tan look. Her compact, strong figure looked strange next to his tall, muscled body. Still, there was no doubt that they were both good-looking.

"You're the best brother ever," Tracy said, smirking as she wrapped her arm through his. "Taking care of my friend and me."

"Shut it, you." But Matt was smiling down at his little sister as he said that. Matt said goodbye to Lily and Sam, though the latter knew little more about him than his rank of prefect and house: Ravenclaw. Then, together, Matt, Christine, and Tracy set off down the train.

Sam soon realized there was a free bench and took advantage of it. Dumping Lily's head off of her lap, Sam dove for the other bench, lying down and taking Tracy's spot. Once fully stretched out, Sam twirled her raven-black hair in a tight bun and rested her head on it.

"This is wonderful," Sam said, sighing.

"Yes it is," Lily said, smiling.

"And now that they're gone, you can tell me why you're really so upset about the Potter thing." Sometimes Lily wished Sam didn't understand her so well. Tracy and Christine assumed Lily was upset because she had screamed at a housemate.

Lily closed her eyes and sighed. "You know why."

"No, I don't think I do." There was a pause.

"I liked James so much, Sam," Lily said quietly. "I liked him even though everyone knew he was a conceited idiot, even though I knew he was an idiot. I couldn't help it. I can't help it. He's just so-so freaking perfect."

"And that's made you yell at him all those times this year?" Sam sounded confused. But eff that. Other people occasionally made arses of themselves. And Sam would too if she weren't so intensely shy and insistent about avoiding attention.

"Well he certainly managed to make me feel stupid about liking him, didn't he?" Lily asked rhetorically. "He was so horrible to so many people and then he kept doing that thing with his hair and the snitch and those horrendous pranks on Severus Snape--"

"Whom you yourself don't like."

"I just felt like an fool for liking him," Lily finished, ignoring Sam's comment.

"So you yelled at him a lot," Sam said. She still sounded confused. Lily wanted to shrink herself and run away.

"I didn't plan to yell at him," Lily moaned, opening her eyes and tracing the lines of on the ceiling with her eyes. "It just happened. I was already frustrated with myself for liking him when I knew I shouldn't and he had to go and prove I really should never have liked him and be so cocky about everything. It just kind of boiled over." Lily's hands hung in the air as she finished her rant with a dramatic gesture. Slowly she lowered them onto her stomach and lay staring at the roof.

"Do you still like him?" Sam asked.

"Yes," Lily muttered. Yes! Lily wanted to scream the word, scream until her voice was raw and she could pretend she was lying. She liked him even when he was a bully toerag, even when he was asking her out to mock her, even when he was freaking harassing other students. This sucked.

"What are you going to do?" Sam asked.

"Find a boy to make me stop thinking about him, I guess. A boy who is completely different than him." Lily was a little proud of her plan.

"Brilliant idea, that." Sam sounded sarcastic now.

"It is!"

Sam paused. "What if-- what if James likes you?" Lily laughed. "I'm serious. He did ask you out."

"That was just a cruel joke," Lily said, her heart dropping into her stomach as she remembered the incident. "He did it to make me look stupid, and the worst thing is that it hurt so much, Sam. After a year and a half of liking him, he said words I desperately wanted to hear, but he only said them to make fun of me. It was the worst moment of my entire life." Lily's eyes narrowed. "He thought he was so cool with his hair all askew--"

"You thought he looked good."

"Not the point, Sam," Lily said, mentally brushing her friend's comment aside.

"Actually, I remember you telling me how good he look when we were down by the lake--"

"Ahhhh!" Lily exclaimed, throwing her hands over her eyes and feeling completely mortified by that particular memory. "I need to get over this. I need to stop liking him. I need to not care about him."

"Because that's so easy when he's in all of your classes?" Sam asked.

"He won't be next year," Lily said grumpily, letting her hands fall to her sides.

"He might be."

"Please don't let him be," Lily prayed. "I couldn't handle being in all of James Potter's classes next year, too. It was hard enough when he looked so good this year. Oh! Maybe over the summer he'll convert to uglyism."

"Uglyism?" Sam repeated.

"A new religion," Lily replied.

"Oh right, of course. This is all part of your get-over-James plan," Sam said, humouring Lily. Lily pick up her shoe and threw it at Sam.

"Shut it. I will get over James Potter this summer and then everything will be right in my world," Lily said, trying to convince herself more than Sam. Lily needed to get past this, get past this self-doubt and self-pity and this very self-destructive crush.

"You know-" but what Lily may or may not have known was never said because the compartment door opened at that moment, revealing Remus Lupin. Both girls sat up, though Sam only got as far as her resting her hands of the bench. Lily's heart skipped a few beats out of fright before she remembered that the doors were soundproof-wonderfully, fabulously, magically soundproof. This was a relief because Remus Lupin, besides being many other things, was James Potter's good friend. That meant what Remus heard, James heard. Lily had never been more thankful for magic in her life.

"There's a thing in the prefect compartment now," Remus muttered, looking at Lily after he glanced quickly at Sam, who looked not at all shaken by his entrance, though it must have frightened her as much as it had Lily. But then again, there was very little, if anything, to be frightened of in Remus Lupin.

Remus was a boy who looked rather like a strong wind might knock him over at any moment. Always sick or visiting sick family members, he missed more class than he seemed to make. Overall a good person, even if he never stood up to any of his friends, he was Lily's counterpart Gryffindor prefect.

"But they said there wouldn't be a meeting on the train!" Lily protested.

"It's to say goodbye to Cleopatra and Philip," he said, naming the Head Girl and Boy. "It's informal." He did not look too put out by that informality.

"Right now?" Remus nodded. Lily stood up and began looking for her shoes. "Just wait a moment and I'll go with you. Sam, do you mind?"

"No. Say goodbye to Cleo for me," Sam answered. As soon as Lily found her shoes and put them on, she stood up and ran her hands over her clothes as though to straighten them out. She also took her long hair out of her ponytail and put it up again. Then she headed out the door with Remus.

"Thanks for telling me," she said to Remus as she walked out the door.

"Not a problem," he replied as they journeyed up the train to the prefect compartment. A silence fell over reminiscent of the silence they endured during patrols; it was a silence that Lily often found herself desperate to end.

"What did you think about the O.W.L.s?" Lily asked, realising even as she said it that it was a stupid question, but she did not like silence and she knew that the one thing that Remus and she both really cared about was schoolwork.

"Some were difficult." Always awkward without his immediate group of friends, Remus never managed to maintain a conversation with Lily longer than a few sentences. In fact, she was really impressed that he'd come to collect her for this meeting at all. He never tried to speak with anyone who was not in his same year, house, and gender; actually, that, more than anything, frustrated Lily. Did he not think they were worthy of him or something?

"That Defence one was my worst." Lily continued as she tried to bridge the gap between Remus and herself. "I definitely failed the practical part even if the written part was easy. I mean, we learned about werewolves in third year and there were five questions about them!"

"Uh-huh," Remus murmured, scratching his left cheek.

"Well that test frustrated me to no end, led me to be rude to--" Lily stopped herself, knowing that talking about what had happened was not in her best interest.

"Rude to who?" Remus pressed. Oh, sure, now you want to ask questions, Lily thought.

"Someone I shouldn't have," Lily replied, but whether Remus would have continued to press the issue did not matter as because they reached the compartment that was their destination and the door opened to reveal Cleopatra Iverson.

"Lily!" Cleo squealed, running forward and giving her a hug. Lily smiled and hugged her back.

"Cleo!" she mock-squealed. When the older girl, who had been Head Girl this past year, backed away Lily could see that she might have had a few too many drinks to celebrate leaving school, so she jokingly asked, "You okay to stand on your own?"

"Of course!" Cleo turned to Remus. "Remus!" And the hug attack happened once more.

"Hello," he said uncertainly. Lily smiled at him over Cleo's shoulder and for the briefest of moments, Lily's and Remus' eyes met and he smiled back at her, and they understood what the other was thinking. In that one moment they had an inside joke all their own. It was decidedly odd.

Then the moment passed.

Cleo led the two Gryffindors into the compartment. They were handed champagne flutes and told to drink up. Remus tried to say hello to a boy across the room, but Cleo forced both he and Lily into the centre of the room where she started chatting with various people. Along the way, Lily managed to hand her flute to a fifth year she didn't recognise (she hated champagne) without hindering the constant conversation flowing out of Cleo.

"You live in Brighton, don't you, Lily?" Cleo asked after they had suffered another round of hugs and goodbyes from the seventh year prefects that Cleo knew.

"A little outside it, in Whitehawk," Lily said.

"My cousin's staying in Lower Bevendean for the holidays. Is that near you?"

"Depends where exactly he is."

"Good! I want you to meet and show him around a bit. He's your age. Goes to school at Beuxbaton. Old family. You know the type," Cleo said, turning to face Lily. The Head Girl's face was becoming redder as she continued to drink flute after flute of champagne. Lily nodded, though she had no idea what Cleo was talking about.

"Well, I'll owl you about him later," Cleo said. An odd look passed over Remus' face, and Lily wondered why he did not like Beuxbaton.

"Do you not like--"

"Joan!" Cleo exclaimed, cutting Lily off as she created another mess of tangled arms. Once she reappeared, the other girl straightened herself out and then looked at Lily. She looked vaguely familiar with her brown hair and brown eyes, wearing her green and silver scarf as if making a loud statement about her house and rank.

"I'm Joan Farral," she introduced herself.

"Lily Evans," she said, shaking Joan's hand.

"Remus Lupin." They too shook hands, though it seemed odd and uncomfortable.

"Joan is the greatest Potions student ever," Cleo gushed. Lily smiled and nodded at the Slytherin as Cleo, a Hufflepuff, went on and on about her. Cleo was easily the most outgoing girl in the whole of Hogwarts. She laughed, talked, and whispered loudly. No one was a stranger to her for long. Lily thought she was wonderful.

"Are you a seventh year?" Lily asked Joan when Cleo finally stopped talking and stumbled over to hug other friends.

"Sixth year," Joan said, crossing her left arm across her chest to touch her right elbow as she sipped her champagne.

"Sixth! What's your independent project?" Lily asked, excited.

"I'm doing a complex potion."

"Which one?" Lily wasn't about to let a possibly interesting topic go unmentioned in a room of prefects.

"It's called the Polyjuice potion," Joan said, gearing up to the idea of talking as Lily continued to look and feel extremely interested in the subject. "I had to start growing the ingredients in April, with the help of Professor Sprout, and it'll still take me until January to complete the whole thing, but I think that it's very interesting. It allows a person to change into another person for an hour. You only need one strand of hair from a person and you can change into them."

"But it wears off after an hour?" Lily asked. "That doesn't seem very helpful unless you were doing something really quickly."

"You can take the potion again within that expanse of time and the effect will remain indefinitely," Joan said. Lily thought that was an odd sort of potion.

"What made you decide-" a tap on her shoulder caused Lily to stop speaking mid- question. She spun around to find Matt McGrath standing behind her, smiling.

"Hi," Lily said, smiling at her and taking a step back so that the Slytherin and Remus were incorporated in the group.

"Matt." Joan nodded her head in his direction, her enthusiasm for the conversation she'd been having with Lily gone. "I think I see Cleo getting into some trouble. I need to check on her."

"And I need to go say goodbye to Philip," said Remus, who Lily had practically forgotten in all of the excitement for the conversation with Joan. Both he and the Slytherin sped away, and then Lily looked Matt, who glanced around the room.

"Quite a party, this is," Matt commented.

"It was better when there were cheese and crackers, but that Ravenclaw took the last cheese cube," Lily commented.

"Beggars can't be choosers," he replied. "I might not have been here at all if I hadn't overheard two people talking about it down the train."

"If it makes you feel any better, I wouldn't have known to come if Remus hadn't come by our compartment a little while after you left," Lily said. "Otherwise I too would have been left out. Sad as that is."

"Well, if you were to be left out too, I guess it's okay," Matt said. Together they turned and went to one of the remaining tables to grab him a drink. "Remus isn't the most conversational of all people, is he?"

"He's shy," Lily said, choosing not to think overly much about the enigma that was Remus Lupin.

"Isn't he friends with James Potter and Sirius Black?" Lily nodded. "And you say he's shy?"

"All right," Lily said, "maybe shy is the wrong word. He's reserved with people he doesn't know." And silent and boring on patrols.

"I wonder why."

"I don't know," Lily said, placing her hand on Matt's arm and turning him to look at the girl behind him who was clearly throwing up in a corner of the compartment. "But I definitely don't want to be near her."

"I think she might be Head Girl next year, you know," Matt said, chuckling slightly. Lily smiled up at him and for a moment forgot that this was one of her friend's brothers.

And thus the conversations in the room-so interesting to them and so boring to anyone else-continued. People moved from one group to another, eating here and drinking there, sitting down in a corner only to get up and leave to find other companions. But the most interesting thing about the prefect compartment (aside from the obviously stimulating conversation) was the diversity of the group that moved within it. These students had little in common from their upbringing: some were rich, some were poor, some were powerful, and some were weak. The only thing that bound them together was a title of prefect-a position that meant little in the real world-and their personalities. They were all overachievers.

While fifth years levitated champagne out of bottles and into their waiting mouths, while outside a war raged on and death-counts grew, there was nothing in that compartment to give hint to the troubled world outside this train. Instead, there were only easy conversations and good company.

In a few years, it will be impossible to bring these people into the same room. Their views on certain issues like Muggle-born rights will have been stoked by feelings of fear and love-two of the most dangerous and seductive emotions-leading these students to become bitter rivals. And that rivalry will lead to animosity and hatred. In a few years, half of these students, the brightest students at Hogwarts, will be marked for death by the Dark Lord and the other half will be the men and women assigned to kill them.

But the darkness will come later. At that moment there was only champagne and smiles, laughter and hugs, a warm enveloping feeling that let those who otherwise would never have spoken talk at length about seventh year projects and the History of Magic O.W.L. It was youth at its most perfect.

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