A POTTER'S TRUE LOVE
Description: True love never did run smooth . . . this certainly was true in the case of James Potter who wanted to win the heart of one Lily Evans. This is a story of the lives of two people whose experiences were filled with drama, friendship, war, passion, and of course – undying love. How will they overcome the obstacles that Lord Voldemort has put in their path? Can they save their son from the dark shroud of a prophecy? Happy ending! James/Lily
AN 1: I have always wanted to explore some of the characters of the Harry Potter universe in detail, two of whom were James Potter and Lily Evans. We have heard so much about the First Voldemort War, but we don't really know much about it, so this is my take on it. While doing so, I managed to explore many other characters who I believe had great potential. This is what this story is about. It begins with James and Lily starting Hogwarts and ends with the defeat of Lord Voldemort. Enjoy!
AN 2: I know that James' parents in canon are Fleamont and Euphemia Potter. I can give you a long list about why Charlus and Dorea fit the role better, but you can read that in the story itself. Please don't point out to me that they aren't James' parents as per the Pottermore website. I already know. I just can't write a story with those names or with knowing nothing about their backgrounds. My apologies to JKR.
AN 3: As in all my stories, James and Lily are five years older than in canon. They were born in 1955.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. It belongs to JK Rowling.
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Chapter 1 – The Beginning
26th July, 1966
Potter Manor, Nottinghamshire, England
Eleven-year-old James Potter was bouncing in his seat as he sat on the porch swing that overlooked the expansive grounds that surrounded Potter Manor. It was the twenty-sixth of July, and it was finally the day his Hogwarts letter would arrive. He had been waiting for this moment his whole life and he was too excited to stay indoors. Even flying on his broom was not interesting enough today.
After waiting impatiently for more than twenty minutes, he spotted something in the sky far away. He squinted his eyes, adjusting his glasses as he tried to identify it. The dot was growing bigger as it neared and he whooped. Not able to contain himself, he began running with excitement as he climbed the front steps of the manor two at a time and quickly entered through the large front doors.
"My Hogwarts letter is on its way!" screamed James excitedly. "Mum, Dad, come on! It's here!"
Dorea Potter groaned into her cup of tea as her husband chuckled behind the newspaper. She had just taken a sip of her drink when a blur rushed past her and attacked the person behind the newspaper.
"Dad, come on!" said James earnestly. "The owl should be here any minute."
"Alright, alright!" said Charlus in exasperation. "Jamie, the owl isn't going to fly away without delivering the letter. Calm down."
"You don't know that!" James said hysterically. "Mum said that if I make the owl wait, I won't be accepted into Hogwarts! Now come on!"
James finally gave up on his father and dashed out of the room. Charlus glared at his wife who was trying her best not to laugh.
"Anything you would like to say to that, dear?"
Dorea chuckled lightly. "I have no idea what you're talking about," she said smoothly.
"Why am I not surprised," replied Charlus sardonically. "And here I was wondering why he loves to prank people so much. He takes after his mother and shares her love for causing chaos! Imagine how our lives would have been if we had more children."
His wife burst out laughing as she pinched his cheek affectionately. "The best part is that no one suspects me for it, do they?" she asked, her grey eyes twinkling in mirth. "After all, I'm a former Slytherin and we supposedly hate pranks."
Charlus snorted at the irony. Their conversation was interrupted when their son again ran into the room, clutching a letter.
"Yes! I got it! I got the letter!" yelled James happily. "Can we go to Diagon Alley today, Mum? Please? I really want to finish my school shopping as soon as possible. I can't wait to get my own wand so that I can prank –"
"James!" admonished his father sternly.
"Practice, I said practice!"
Dorea's lips twitched in amusement. "I guess we could go, it's a weekend anyway."
James ran up to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks, Mum," he replied excitedly. "I'll go start packing."
Charlus chuckled as he put his arm around his wife. "The manor is going to be so quiet without him, isn't it?"
Dorea rested her head on his shoulder as she snuggled into his hold. "Yeah," she said quietly. "I can't believe he is old enough to go to Hogwarts. Time sure has flown by."
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Black Townhouse, 12, Grimmauld Place, London
Eleven-year-old Sirius Black clutched the letter to his chest, grinning happily. He had finally received his Hogwarts letter. It was time for him to go to school. More importantly, he could escape his mother. Even though he was excited, part of his was worried. For one, he was adamant that he didn't want to be like his mother and cousins. That meant not being sorted into Slytherin like the rest of the Blacks had been for generations. The Blacks always considered themselves cunning and resourceful for having been Slytherins for centuries, so how would they react if he were not sorted there?
How would his mother react if he were to be sorted into Gryffindor instead? That would certainly drive her insane.
Sirius turned towards the door, only to see his nine-year-old brother, still in his pyjama pants, wiping the sleep from his eyes.
"How come you're up so early?" asked Regulus curiously.
Sirius grinned as he showed the letter to his brother. "It's my Hogwarts letter, Riggie, don't you remember that it was supposed to come today morning?"
Regulus' eyes lit up as he snatched the letter from his brother's hand and read through it. But his smile slipped as a frown formed on his face. "You're not going to do something stupid just to make Mother mad, are you?"
The eleven-year-old boy sighed as he sat down on his expansive bed. His brother followed suit, placing a comforting hand on his brother's shoulders.
"I don't want to be like them, Reggie," whispered Sirius bitterly. "I don't want to end up like Mum or Bella. I'm so tired of them constantly putting me down, with Mother screaming at me every second she can spare. And Father . . . he doesn't stop her at all. I want to be free of all this madness. Maybe if I'm sorted into Gryffindor . . ."
"Sirius, you can't!" cried Regulus hysterically. "Mother will go crazy, you know that! Why do you want to provoke her?"
"I'm not like you, Reggie," frowned Sirius. "I don't think I can handle being in Slytherin with all their pureblood mania and politics. I just want to have fun."
Regulus frowned. He didn't understand why his brother was always acting out. Their parents held a strong opinion about Muggleborns and made their dislike of them quite clear. He understood parts of it, though. And he could also sympathise with his brother who always took the brunt of their mother's anger. Putting his small arms around his brother's form, he continued, "Everything will be okay, I promise," he whispered.
Sirius smiled sadly as he hugged his little brother closer. He hoped so, anyway. He would not be going to school alone. No, he would sadly have company in the form of his cousin Narcissa; and his mother loved to compare him with his cousins. Well, except Cousin James . . . now he would certainly be in Gryffindor. Hmm . . .
"SIRIUS!" screeched Walburga.
Both brothers cringed as they heard their mother's high-pitched voice. Getting up quickly, they walked down the stairs from the second-floor landing. They would have to wash up quickly and Floo to Black Manor to meet the rest of the family. Sirius grimaced; he really, really did not want to meet Bellatrix early in the morning but it wasn't as if he would get out of it. As he listened to his mother's talk with one ear open, he wondered if getting sorted into Gryffindor and being his own person was better than being just a good pureblood heir to satisfy his parents.
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Evans' household, Cokeworth, England
"– there are plenty of career opportunities available after school, Mr Evans," explained Professor McGonagall patiently. "It depends from person to person, really. Some attend university for higher education or apprentice under a qualified witch or wizard. Others, who do not want to pursue higher education, apply for jobs. I assure you that we will help your daughter find her place after school. We have a separate counselling session for that."
"We're really happy about Lily being magical, Professor McGonagall," said Rosemary Evans, smiling. "For so long, we thought there might be something wrong and –"
"Mrs Evans, your daughter is perfectly normal and please don't presume otherwise. As for school supplies and tuition –"
"Yes, about that," interrupted Andrew Evans, coughing slightly and looking apologetic for interrupting her. "Lily, Petunia, could you please excuse us for a minute? We would like to talk to Professor McGonagall in private."
Lily gave her parents a curious look and nodded as she left. Petunia's cheeks, having been burning red the whole time, simply gave her parents scathing looks as she too stomped out. Rosemary sighed as she watched her oldest daughter. She would have to talk to Petunia soon.
"Yes, Mr Evans?" inquired Professor McGonagall.
Andrew took a deep breath. "Professor, as much I would love to send Lily to your school, I'm afraid we simply can't afford it. You said that it's a private school, and the very best in your world as compared to others in Britain, but –"
The stern woman gave a hint of a smile. Minerva could understand where the man was coming from. This was quite a contrast to other Muggleborn families where the Muggle parents were very leery or downright hateful of magic. Andrew and Rosemary Evans genuinely wanted their daughter to learn magic and felt that their financial problems would hinder their daughter's education. It was touching.
"Not to worry, Mr Evans," explained Professor McGonagall. "I know that Hogwarts tuition is expensive, but we have scholarships to compensate for those who can't afford it. We can't lose out on the best students, now, can we? And from what young Miss Evans has told me, she is a powerful witch for having been controlling her powers for quite a few years now, and let me tell you, even most children who are born and raised in the magical world can't do that. The Hogwarts Scholarship Fund will cover most of your expenses."
"Thank you," said Andrew, breathing a sigh of relief. He didn't want to mention to the woman that they already knew about magic; Lily's friend Severus Snape apparently had explained it to her more than a year ago. They hadn't really believed it then, but McGonagall's appearance and display had certainly proved it. How else would she have made a cat appear in the living room out of thin air if not for magic?
"Please make it to Charing Cross Road in London along with your daughter on the thirty first of July," said McGonagall briskly. "I'll be accompanying you and the rest of the first year Muggleborns for shopping. If you need to contact me, please write a letter and post it to this address. Wizarding Mail Delivery will forward it to Hogwarts by owl. I shall see myself out."
After saying goodbye to Professor McGonagall, Lily practically skipped around the house before she begged her mother to give her permission to visit her friend Severus. Ten minutes later, she was chatting excitedly with her friend.
"My parents have agreed!" said Lily happily. "Professor McGonagall will be taking us to Diagon Alley soon. Did you get your letter?"
Severus Snape smiled faintly as he looked at his friend. He was happy that Lily was so excited. To be fair, he was jumping with joy on the inside too.
"How did your father take the news?" asked Lily in concern.
Snape grimaced, not wanting to talk about his parents in front of Lily. His face burned in embarrassment, wondering what he should tell her.
"Your parents aren't arguing anymore, are they?"
"Oh, they're arguing," said Snape. He picked up a fist-full of leaves and began tearing them apart. "But it won't be long before I'm gone, so it'll be fine."
Truthfully, Severus didn't understand why his mother put up with Tobias Snape. No, he wouldn't call that man by anything other than his name; certainly not by the term of Father. Snape loathed the man. Tobias constantly fought with his wife and shouted at his son, and sometimes even beat them up as well. If he hated magic so much, why didn't he just leave? In fact, his mother was a witch! Why couldn't she use magic to protect him from his father's wrath? Tobias was, after all, just a Muggle.
But she didn't do it. She never raised her wand against Tobias Snape. Severus had no idea why. While he loved his mother, he couldn't help but feel that she was weak.
I will never be weak like her, he promised himself. It disgusted him to see happy boys his age at school who were spoiled by their parents. Well, not in the traditional sense. No one in their town had enough money to spoil their kids rotten, but it still burned him up on the inside to see happy families when his own was horrible in comparison.
Snape's mouth twitched into a smile as she said his name.
"Will I be treated differently because I'm a Muggleborn? Does it make a difference?"
Snape hesitated for a few seconds. "No," he lied. "No, it makes no difference."
Lily smiled in satisfaction. "Good."
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"Mum, why do I have to do this?" whined James. "My glasses are fine! I can see perfectly, look!"
"Jamie, the only reason we got you those spectacles was because the Healer couldn't correct your eyesight three years ago," explained Dorea Potter as she walked briskly in the lobby of St Mungo's. "Now that you're old enough, we can get rid of that contraption."
James sighed. It wasn't like he particularly liked his glasses either, but he really didn't like anyone coming close to his eyes. It freaked him out. The time he had gotten his glasses were bad enough, but a wizard pointing his wand right near his eye? That was bloody terrifying! He quietly followed his mother up the flight of stairs in the massive building that housed St Mungo's Hospital. They finally reached their destination and James was fidgeting. Dorea placed a comforting hand on his shoulders.
"James, relax," she said softly. "I know you're uncomfortable, but he's not going to poke you in the eye with his wand. It's a very simple procedure. It'll be over in ten minutes."
When James still looked morose, Dorea smiled and tickled her son who giggled. "Look at it this way," she said mischievously. "Now we can see those beautiful hazel eyes without glasses. You look so cute without them, don't you think?"
James blushed at his mother's praise as he stammered. His mother laughed; she enjoyed teasing him, leaving him a wreck.
"We're ready, Mr Potter," said the Healer briskly. "Please lie down on the bed and close your eyes."
Gryffindors charge ahead, thought James as he lay down. Anything else was fine, but why his eyes? The Healer covered his eyes with a damp cloth – no doubt drenched in some sort of potion – and pretty soon, James felt drops falling on his eyelids. The amazing part was that the potion would get absorbed and fall directly in his eyes, even with his eyelids closed!
The Healer muttered under his breath as he waved his wand in front of James' face. Ten minutes later, he vanished the cloth that was covering James' eyes and said, "You may open your eyes now, Mr Potter."
James flinched as he slowly opened his eyes. Much to his shock, there was no pain – and he could see perfectly. His mother was smirking at him from beside his bed.
"Alright, alright, you've made your point," he muttered. "It was painless and he didn't poke me in the eye."
After the Healer left, Dorea lifted his chin and looked into his eyes. The warm hazel eyes were sparkling with mirth, now not hidden behind those glasses. Her son looked positively adorable!
"You're going to make heads turn," said Dorea in amusement, tussling his hair affectionately. "Who knows who my daughter-in-law is going to be?"
"Mum!" said James scandalized. "I'm never getting married, you know that! Girls are so – icky!"
"Of course, dear."
"They are! Never, ever!"
"Whatever you say, Jamie."
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The First of September, King's Cross Station
The large Floo system at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters was a beehive of activity as the emerald green flames repeatedly sprang to life, with families walking out of the massive granite fireplace. Just like the rest, a family of four stepped out of the Floo. The couple was richly dressed and the woman kept sniffing at the crowd.
Orion Black flicked his wand, dispelling the soot that had gathered on them all. This was the problem with the public Floo system – the Ministry never maintained them properly. His sharp grey eyes loomed over his two sons, both of whom looked nervous. His oldest, Sirius, had been acting odd the past few weeks and Orion wondered what stunt the boy would pull now. In the back of his mind, he already knew it, but for the sake of his sanity, he hoped Sirius did not rebel.
Putting up with his wife would be torture otherwise.
Throwing a final glare at her oldest son, Walburga moved away, no doubt intending to talk to her brother Cygnus and his wife Druella who had Flooed in with their three daughters. Bellatrix and Andromeda were already wearing their Slytherin robes and ties, whereas Narcissa was wearing the unsorted robes that were prescribed for the first year students.
Sirius looked away from the display. His stomach felt like it was doing somersaults. He looked at his brother, but Regulus was looking around the platform curiously. Suddenly, he felt his father's hand on his shoulder. Grey eyes met grey, and much to Sirius' shock, Orion Black knelt down in front of his son.
"Sirius," said Orion in a low voice. "I know what you're planning and I want you to know that I don't approve of it."
The Black scion looked bitter but kept his silence. Orion continued as though he weren't expecting a reply from his son. "Don't think acting out like this would make your mother care for you more."
"I don't care about Mother's affections for me," said Sirius coldly. "She's made that plenty clear over the past few years. Why do you care now, Father?"
Orion's eyes hardened. "I always cared," he replied, his tone slightly frigid. "Don't ever presume that I don't love you and your brother."
"But you never stopped her from belittling me either, did you? I don't know what you expect from me. I don't want to spend my life throwing parties and attending Wizengamot sessions. Maybe later, but for now, I just want to have fun! And I can never have fun if I'm in Slytherin, Father, you know I won't get along with those people. Do you think I can live with people like Cousin Bella or Lucius Malfoy?"
He has a point. Orion exhaled. He really should have kept a closer eye on his wife and children, but he had not, choosing instead to be engaged in his research on magic, the family finances or politics. Walburga essentially had free reign to raise their sons as she wished, and from what he could see, she hadn't done a good job of it. Walburga constantly lived with Sirius' and Regulus' disdain for her.
"Are you going to disown me if I'm sorted into Gryffindor?"
The silent whisper brought him out of his musings. Orion's eyes widened marginally. This was the moment. He could either stand by and do nothing and watch Sirius be torn apart or he could take a stand. From the corner of his eye, he could see Regulus looking very nervous.
"While I would not approve of you not being in Slytherin – no, I would not disown you if do end up in any other House," replied Orion quietly. That one sentence was enough for Sirius whose shoulders drooped in relief. The older man frowned slightly but didn't say anything. He looked up; the permanent Tempus charm a few feet above them told that it was ten minutes to eleven. Surprising himself and his son, he hugged Sirius briefly. The eleven-year-old boy was startled; he couldn't ever remember being hugged by his parents.
"Take care of yourself," whispered Orion. "Good luck, son."
Sirius smiled faintly and turned to hug Regulus too. The younger Black did not seem to want to let his brother go, but a gentle tap on the shoulder by his father made Regulus lose the death grip. Sirius looked sideways and saw the face of his scowling mother. Not even dignifying her with a goodbye, he carried his trunk and owl cage and moved forward to board the train.
"Need some help?"
Sirius looked up, only to see the grinning face of his cousin. Relief flooded throughout his body as he finally found someone he knew – and someone he could tolerate – as he said, "It would help."
James Potter happily helped Sirius get his trunk on board as they moved to find a compartment. That was when he saw it.
"James, what happened to your glasses?" he asked curiously.
"My mother finally took me to a Healer and got my eyesight fixed," replied James, grinning. "It wasn't as bad as I thought."
"You let him near your eye?" asked Sirius, quirking an eyebrow. "I thought you couldn't stand it."
"I thought so too, but the procedure was simple. I'm pretty sure my parents kept telling me all sorts of stuff just to freak me out."
Sirius chuckled. Over the years when they had met at various social functions, he knew that his Aunt Dorea had quite a playful side, hidden by her tough exterior. She was one of the few in his family he really liked. She was technically his Great-Aunt, but due to her and Walburga having such little age gap, Dorea hadn't been conferred with the title of 'Aunt' when Pollux's children were born. Therefore, for someone like Sirius, Dorea had always been his aunt, and for her, he was her nephew. They finally found a compartment that was not already filled, but there was a first-year student, dressed in Muggle clothes, already inside. James poked his head in.
"Excuse me, but do you mind if my friend and I sit here?"
The redhead didn't even look at him but nodded silently. James frowned slightly but shrugged. He entered the compartment with Sirius and the two of then placed their trunks under their seats and owl cages on the seat opposite to them. Sitting next to each other, they began chatting.
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Lily desperately tried to control her tears but she couldn't. How could Petunia call her a freak? On the day she was finally off to Hogwarts? She didn't understand why her sister was being so hateful. She could understand Petunia's frustration, but why take it out on her? Lily was innocent in this! Maybe if she could talk to Professor Dumbledore . . .
No, it wasn't possible and she knew it. What irked her most was that she and her sister had been best friends before all this happened. How would she ever mend their relationship? The compartment door opened again and she saw out of the corner of her eye that it was Severus, already dressed in his new school robes. Lily had yet to get changed; her mind was still on Petunia's hateful words.
"I don't want to talk to you."
"Why not?" asked Snape, surprised.
"Turney h-hates me," sniffed Lily. "Because we read D-Dumbledore's letter."
Lily glared at him, looking at him with a deep look of dislike.
"So what? She's my sister!"
"She's only a –" Muggle, he finished in his mind but kicked himself for it. He could not say such things in front of Lily. Thankfully, his best friend had not caught on to it, still wiping her tears away.
Just when they were about to make conversation, the two boys who were sitting in the corner of the compartment beside the door laughed loudly. Snape frowned, disliking such loud noise. Couldn't they be a little sensitive? Lily was here upset, crying, and they were laughing about some stupid joke?
"– that was one of the most memorable experiences of my life," explained one of the boys. "Mum, Dad and I went to Greece this year and the witch in the hotel lobby suggested that we use Gillyweed to go exploring underwater."
Sirius' eyes lit up. "Cool! How was it?" he asked excitedly.
"Amazing!" replied James. "I have never seen anything like it. The water was crystal clear, you know? Gillyweed lasts for about an hour, and we had enough time to go exploring. Of course, Mum was reluctant at first, but Dad and I managed to –"
Snape turned out their conversation and looked visibly disgusted. Who cares if the boy went on a vacation to Greece? The way in which the boy spoke about his parents was enough to make Snape's stomach churn with jealousy. He turned and looked at them.
Both boys were already dressed in their Hogwarts uniforms, just like Snape; white shirt, black trousers, tie and robes. But that was where the similarities ended. While Snape's new uniform was made of a coarse cotton material, he could see that both boys had uniforms made of high-quality silk. With the rays of sunlight streaming through the windows, he could see the gleam of the thin bands on their right ring fingers – heir rings, which many rich magical families commissioned for their children. Both boys had raven-black hair, but one of them had messy hair while the other's was curly. They looked effortlessly pretty and Snape hated it.
Rich, snobby pureblood brats, no doubt.
"My mother wants me to be in Slytherin –"
"Mine too," grimaced Sirius.
"– but I told her that I'd rather leave and continue being home-schooled rather than be stuck in Slytherin House."
Both cousins shared a look and knew exactly what James' statement meant. Neither one of them wanted to be part of the pureblood movement that was slowly rising in the shadows. More importantly, they wanted to stay the hell away from Bellatrix Black, who they both knew would make their lives miserable.
"Then where are you heading?" grinned Sirius, though he already knew the answer.
James smirked as he lifted his arm, as though holding an invisible sword. "Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart!" he said, swelling with pride as he added, "Like my dad. I really want to be like him when I grow up."
Before Sirius could reply, they heard a snort from the other side of the compartment. Lily, who had not been listening to the conversation, looked at Snape curiously. James narrowed his eyes at the boy.
"You've got a problem with that?" he asked coldly. Insulting Gryffindor was personal, and it was a lot deeper than House pride.
"No," said Snape, though his sneer gave it away. "If you'd rather be brawny rather than brainy –"
"And where are you hoping to go, seeing as you're neither?" said Sirius, his tone just as frigid. Neither of them missed the veiled insult to James' father.
Lily suddenly felt the compartment heat up as the three boys glared at each other. Wanting to avoid a confrontation on the first day, Lily got up, her face flustered.
"Come on, Severus, let's find another compartment."
Snape sneered at James as he passed and the latter took the opportunity to try to trip him. "See you later, Snivellus," added Sirius loudly behind his back.
"What a jerk," muttered Sirius darkly.
James nodded, his blood still boiling.
"What a jerk," muttered Lily to her friend as they sat down in another compartment. "Did you see the way he overreacted, all because of a House? How stupid is that?"
Snape relaxed when Lily insulted the boy in the compartment and a small smile formed on his face.
"Let it go, Lily," said Snape. "We're finally off to Hogwarts!"
Lily allowed a smile to form on her face as she looked out of the window at the passing scenery.
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AN: As you can see, there will be plenty of references to 'The Prince's Tale' from Book 7, and the memory from Book 5. I have tried to incorporate as much from canon as possible (and by canon, I mean the book, not those horrible, ridiculous, additional scenes in the last movie). Also, if you're wondering, no, there is no 'Lord Potter, Lord Black' in this. I've frankly grown tired of it and wanted to write politics in Magical Britain without it. Of course, Charlus and Orion would still be Wizengamot members. Where's the fun without it?
I can never stop at one chapter alone when I upload a new story. On to Chapter 2!
PS: I'm sorry that I haven't updated 'Saviour of Magic' yet. I promise to do it soon.