James deftly worked his fingers around the desperate-to-escape snitch as he strode through the halls of Hogwarts, ignoring the impressed eyes of students he passed with a smirk decorating his face.
He had never not been at the center of attention before- he was James Potter. Wherever there were people, you could count on him to be coasting the social waves of popularity while everyone else watched in awe. He knew what, when, and how to say things and who to say them to. Knowing how to charm people came like second nature to him, only being one upped by his ability to always get what he wanted.
And so that one fateful day when he met Severus Snape four years, one month, and two days ago was something of great significance to him, though he would never admit it to anyone else.
Upon seeing the sallow-skinned, oddly eerie eleven year old all by himself in a lonely looking compartment, the friendly would-be Gryffindor felt an unusual mixture of both pity and strong dislike. He could almost smell the stench of a Slytherin wafting from him, but James had felt obliged to do something, if not to only acknowledge the other boy's existence.
Needless to say, it did not end well.
And thus, a bitter rivalry was born.
Whenever James remembered that day, he always felt a sudden urge to sulk by himself somewhere. It was stupidly childish, but he still felt resentful at his first failure of being unable to charm someone into oblivion.
Conveniently, Sirius was still in detention with Filch (no doubt the old squib was still furious about the mass of dungbomb explosions), Remus was studying in the library, and Peter was doing... well, whatever he did when he wasn't worshipfully drooling over James (which wasn't very often).
James decided to make his way to the Marauder's tree by the lake, which just happened to be placed so they had a fine view of the tree Severus so often read under- just in case they ever felt in the mood to mess with him (and that, respectively, was all the time).
He was unpleasantly surprised, however, to see that someone was already sitting by the Marauder's tree. Frowning, he took a closer look at the person who dared to violate the invisible law that prohibited any non-Marauder from basking under the tree.
He probably would have begun with a lashing order to "MOVE YOUR SKINNY LITTLE ARSE BEFORE I MAKE YOU," as he was not nearly as charismatic when he was in a cranky mood. However, upon realizing the intruder was a girl, he held back his temper and began to tread lightly.
It had happened several times before, so he knew whenever a girl was waiting under the tree, she was usually an ex of Sirius' who was, to put mildly, 'unhappy' about the circumstances in which they broke up, and was waiting to ambush him with a hex or two. Unfortunately, more often than not, it was James, Remus, or Peter who faced the brunt of the assaults, as Sirius had a knack of conveniently disappearing when angry witches were involved.
"Er. Hello..." James said cautiously as the girl took notice of him, slowly inching his way backwards to safety. "Sirius isn't here with me, so... um... I'll just... leave." He fought the urge to run as felt her stare linger on him longer than necessary. That tended to be the first sign that he was going to be horribly hexed by an angsty hormonal teen witch.
Instead, she cocked her head and asked, "Why?"
"Because... that's why you're here, right?" James questioned, feeling less panicky, but slightly confused.
"No. I'm here because I like looking at the lake from here. It's pretty." She paused, smiling, before letting out a sickly sounding cough. "Isn't that why you're here?"
James stared at the girl, suddenly realizing that he didn't know who she was. Despite being extremely popular, it wasn't like he was on a first name basis with everyone- but he definitely would have remembered someone who had fiery red hair like hers. Her bangs were messy and long enough to cover her eyes, and he found himself wondering if she could see at all.
"I can leave, if you want me too," she said, misinterpreting his silence.
"No, that's okay," James replied quickly, not wanting to seem rude. Besides, she didn't seem to be the loud and nosy type like most girls, and he'd be lying if he said he wasn't slightly curious about her.
She scooted over, and he sat in the empty spot.
"So, what's your name?" he asked, absentmindedly fiddling with a piece of grass.
"Lily. Lily Evans."