Lily was already in the room waiting when he arrived. She had been standing at the window, looking out and singing a lonely little tune to herself but she stopped suddenly when she saw he had arrived. He wished she hadn't.


"For what?"

"Oh, erm, nothing," she said, pulling out her wand with much more confidence than she had spoken. She advanced on him wand out, en guard, at the ready.

James shook his head and pulled out his own wand, which somehow slipped right out of his hands. Lily bent down and picked it up. She eyed him, noticing the scrape on his chin.

"Why Professor, what have you done to yourself?" she said, although she had a pretty good idea. Those glasses Hagrid had handed out were ridiculously oversized, just like their owner himself was. "Hold still, I'll fix it."

He held out his hands as well, so she could fix them too. Using nonverbal spells again, she fixed the scrape on his chin, and relieved some of his drunkenness... now he would be only slightly buzzed, she thought.

"Better?" she asked.

"Much, thank..." He stopped. He didn't feel drunk any more, well, not quite as much. She hadn't spoken the spell so he didn't know which one she used. Had she...?

"So how does this lesson go? Do you attack me and I try to defend myself nonverbally?"

"Yes, that is the general idea. We will start out with simple spells, like expeliarmus. The jinxes will progress as you do."


"Do you have any questions?"

"Yes, are you going to be attacking nonverbally as well? Or will you give us a bit of warning."

"We will start out with my saying them aloud. Then we will see how you do from there."

"Ok, I am ready. Hit me with your least difficult shot."

"Somehow that doesn't have the same ring to it."

"Yes I know, I thought about saying "Hit me with your best shot," but I didn't want you to take me seriously and end up sending me to the hospital wing."

"I see."

"Ok, I truly am ready this time," she said, and she looked it too.

As he had said, he started out with easy ones, which she easily blocked. They moved on to intermediate level curses and jinxes. She blocked them easily too. She visibly shrank when he told her they were moving on to advanced, dangerous curses.

"Ready?" he asked.

She didn't answer. He asked again, and she gave a little squeak of a yes.

"We don't have to go that far today if you don't want to," he said, feeling slightly guilty that he had frightened the poor girl, but then he told himself he would have to get used to it. If Lily Evans was a bit intimidated, the rest of the class certainly would be.

"No I want to. It won't be any less terrifying next time. Might as well do it now while I'm warmed up. Just..."


"Nothing, never mind."

"No tell me, what is it? What were you going to say?"

"I was about to make a silly request that would defeat the purpose of the exercise..."
James waited for her to finish.

"I was going to say, just... don't hurt me."

Of course he didn't want to hurt her, but he had to throw some difficult curses at her, for the sake of education.

"Whether you get hurt is up to you," he said instead. Did that sound as cold to her as it did to him?

"I'm ready," she said stonily, resolved and resolute.

The first one he fired at her she blocked, but accidentally shouted the counted curse, instead of performing the spell silently. She banged her hand on her head.

"No, it's ok," James told her.

"How much would you take off for that in the exam?"

"Don't worry about that now. Ok, same one again."

This time she managed to block it without uttering a sound.

"Very good Miss Evans, very good." If everyone in the class did as well as she did he would be the happiest teacher in Hogwarts. But so much relies on the individual, not the teacher. But he had a very good class, very determined, mostly Gryffindors and a few of the other houses.

"Ok, this is going to be the last one, and the hardest one. If you can get through this, you are set... Are you ready?"

"Yes," she breathed, barely more than a whisper. He sighed on the inside. He really didn't want to do this to her or anyone, but he had to, he told himself.

He threw the last curse at her. His eyes were locked on hers and he saw the terror in them, and then everything went black.


"Professor! Professor! Please Potter wake up..."

"Evans?" he said groggily, unsure of what was going on. His head ached as if he had a hangover.

"Oh thank Merlin! I was afraid I'd... oh thank Merlin!" she said, giving him a sort of hug. It was only sort of a hug because he was lying flat on his back, so she couldn't really put her arms around him, but she did put her head on his chest and gave his shoulders a squeeze.

He sat up and readjusted his glasses. "What happened?"

"I... don't rightly know. You, fired that last curse at me and I panicked."

"Panicked? What counter curse did you use?"

"That's just it, I don't know. I think I made it up. My mind completely blanked and all I could think of was just I didn't want it to touch me. Your curse bounced away somewhere as you flew across the room and landed here. I'm so sorry Professor I didn't mean to," she apologised. He noticed that a single tear was running down her cheeks. He fought the impulse to wipe it away.

"I'm fine. Accidental magic is a perfectly natural thing. It happens to loads of witches and wizards."

"Yes, when they are 8! I thought I had gotten past that. I thought I had gained control," she said sounding embarrassed and upset, as if accidental magic was the magical equivalent of bed wetting.

"Not all accidental magic is bad. It's alright not to have control sometimes. Imagine if I were a death eater and had just shot an even worse curse at you. That kind of accidental magic would be very convenient. It was non verbal, and very effective. If that were the exam I would be forced to give you full marks," he said, trying to cheer her.

"No demerits for knocking the teacher unconscious?" she asked, her mouth finally twitching up into a grin.

"Maybe a detention, but it wouldn't affect your grade."

She laughed.

"Do you want to try that last one another time?"

"Yeah, I'll try."

This time she succeeded quite deftly, with no problems whatsoever.

"Very good, Miss Evans. Now of course you aren't going to know ahead of time what curses they are going to use..."

"Are you going to attack silently now?"

"No, not yet, I am simply going to mix them up, not go in order this time... Ready?"

"Yes," she said determinately.

She blocked them all easily, even the most dangerous one.

"Do you think you are ready for non verbal attack?"

"If you think I am ready I'll do it."

"I think you can."

"Alright then. Let me have it."

It was interesting to watch how her method changed when he attacked using this approach. She didn't look in his eyes, but at his wand, marking every movement. He knew that Lily was excellent at charm work, and wand movements and wrist flicking. She could tell his attack by way he moved his wand. In fact, he thought she might even be better this way. Deciding he would test her with one he hadn't used before.

This time he was ready for any "accidental magic use" and when he saw that blank frightened look in her eyes again, he immediately cast a shield about him. Sure enough his light jinx bounced off of her and something came roaring upon him. It was so powerful that even with his shield charm he was thrown back, but at least this time he was still conscious.

"I'm sorry I didn't it again. I'm glad you are not hurt."

"Me too."

"What was that last jinx? It looked familiar but I couldn't place it..."

"Rictasempra," he said, while simultaneously casting the jinx on her. She doubled over in a fit of glorious laughter. Then a moment later she abruptly stopped and glared at him.

"How did you do that?" he asked, amazed she had some how cast it off herself.

"Well, I figured one can use nonverbal defence, why not counter curses... couldn't actually speak now could I? I had no choice but to nonverbally remove it."

"Very clever."

"Not really."

"No, I suppose not... not really. But it was the first time I've seen that done. I remember in 6th year I put that curse on Sirius to wake him up one morning, he was laughing his ars.. I mean he was laughing really hard for half an hour. Oh but he was fuming mad with me after. He actually had to go to Madam Pomfrey because the stitches were so bad. I think he actually pulled a few muscles."

"You didn't take it off for half an hour?!"

"Actually it was Remus who did. He came back from breakfast and took pity on him. Ah that was a good morning," he said with a sigh of contentment at this apparently pleasant memory.

"I bet Sirius got you back though."

"He most certainly did..."

"Are you going to tell me?"


"Why not?"

"You are too young."

"Surely not any younger than you and Sirius were at the time..."

He considered this, accepted that it was true, but still wouldn't tell her. "That... is... beside the point."

"That painful of a memory?"

"It's that inappropriate of a memory. I couldn't in good conscious share it with a student."

"Oh... it's one of those stories..."

"What do you mean?"

"I think you know what I mean."


"I certainly will not. I couldn't very well talk about such an inappropriate subject with a teacher."

"You might be thinking something worse than it is."

"I might be, but there is no way of knowing unless you tell me."

"Or you tell me."

"I will not."

"Neither will I."

"So it seems that we are at an impasse."

"It appears so, yes."

"I don't mind. I'm no worse off for assuming something that may or may not be true about you. It's only your own conscious and your own pride at stake."

"How is my pride at stake?"

"If you knew the embarrassing scenario I have in my head..."

"Tell me!"

"No. I'd rather keep it to myself, it's more humorous that way." And at that she burst out laughing.

"What, why are you laughing?"

"I was just... imagining you..." but she didn't finish, because she was laughing so hard.

"It wasn't anything like that!" he said scandalized.

"It wasn't?"

"Well it didn't involve..."

"Involve what?"

"It wasn't funny..."

"Well, maybe not for you, but I bet Sirius found it amusing."

"You know what? We should just change the topic."

"Very well, so, how do you feel about... Rictasempra!"

It was James's turn. He was rolling around on the floor laughing wildly. In between gasps for breath he said, "Take... it... off!"

"Take it off yourself!"

"I... can't... Evans... please..." He was roaring with laughter, and tears were streaming down his face. She took pity on him and removed it.

Panting he rose to his feet. "I didn't know how difficult that would be. I really couldn't remove it myself."

"You just need to focus harder."

"I couldn't! I was too busy laughing."

"So was I."

"How did you manage?"

"I... I'm not sure. Try it again, I want to see if I can throw it off this time, now that I'm in a better mood it might be harder to stop laughing."


Lily burst out laughing yet again, but like the last time, she pointed her wand at herself as she laughed, and removed it.

"Hmm... I just think it and I stop."

"Can we try something?"


"I want to see if you can do it without a wand."


"Wandless magic. I want to see if you can do it."

"You think I can?"

"I think you might. Hand me your wand." She did so, reluctantly, thinking this might just be a ploy of his to get her without a wand.

"Alright, but Professor or not, if you leave me laughing for anywhere even close to 30 minutes, the payback will be so severe it will put Sirius's revenge to shame..."

James gulped. He thought had occurred to him the moment she had given him her wand... but perhaps he had better not.


Shrieks of laughter filled the air. Lily laughed so hard she felt like she was going to die from lack of oxygen.

"Stop it! Please!" she manage to spew out.

"You stop it. Think! Concentrate! Take it off yourself!"

She screamed with laughter, tears fell down her face as she fell down to the floor.

"You can do it. Come on. Take it off yourself," he coached.

"Potter! Miss Evans!" came the shocked, sharp voice of Professor McGonagall. "What is going on here!"
Lily stopped laughing. She lay there on the ground for a moment, catching her breath then got to her feet and wiped away the tears that covered her cheeks.

"Miss Evans, are you alright? What happened?

"Professor Potter, did you do that or did I?"

"I certainly didn't do it, so it must have been you."

"Somebody please explain what is going on here!" Professor McGonagall demanded once again.

"I did it Professor!" Lily explained excitedly to McGonagall. "Wandless, wordless magic! Professor Potter and I were having a training session in nonverbal defensive spells. I managed to take Rictasempra off of myself nonverbally. Then Professor Potter suggested I try it without a wand. It was a lot harder, and it took longer, but I did it!"

"That... is... very... quite special indeed," she said. She had started that statement as if she were going to scold her, but after the meaning sunk in she was duly impressed.

"And that's not all she's done, Professor McGonnagal," Potter interjected. "She has some sort of protective shield charm of her own invention that she can't help but use when she is panicked. I've seen it twice. The first time it knocked me unconscious, the second time I produced my own shield charm, but her own self created spell blasted it away. It was really quite remarkable. I think it's not exactly the "accidental magic" exactly, but more of a self preservation spell that she uses automatically. I'd like to speak to Dumbledore about this."

"Very well Potter, I mean, Professor Potter. I suppose since there is nothing wrong here I will go myself. In the future, please try to keep the volume down," she said turning around to leave.

"Sorry Professor, it won't happen again," Lily apologised.

"Yes, well... Goodnight Miss Evans."

She left. James looked at his watch. "Well, that's all for today Evans. You seem to have a really firm grip on this concept and I am confident that you are well prepared for next Thursday's practical."

"Thank you Professor, but..."


"Well, I was wondering if I could continue private lessons with you. You helped me do wandless magic today. I would really appreciate further guidance..."

"I'm no specialist on wandless magic, but I will tell Dumbledore. Maybe he will know someone better fit to coach you in this. Who knows, maybe Dumbledore himself might."


Was that a tone of disappointment? Or had he just imagined it...


That evening in Dumbledore's office, James explained everything.

"It seems that Miss Evans has a special gift," the headmaster stated amusedly.

"Yes, and she is keen on honing it. Professor, could you tutor her? She is a really clever girl and I think she could benefit most by having you help her with this. And I wouldn't easily say this but I think she would be a worthy pupil for you."

"You do not wish to continue teaching her yourself?"

"Surely you are better fit. I mean, I've seen you do wandless magic before. I can't do it, so how would I teach her?"

"You managed to this evening, didn't you? It was you who suggested the idea, you who coached it out of her."

"Yes, but you know more about it. Surely you would be able to explain things better."

"There is nothing to explain. Wandless magic is simply doing magic without a wand. There is no special trick to it, you just do it. It is something that changes from individual to individual. What may work for one, may not for another. Miss Evans just needs to find her own method. And you would be as good a tutor as anyone else. She needs encouragement and assistance, two things I'm sure Professor, you are capable of giving."

"Sir, I'm getting the impression that you want me to tutor her."

"I do."

"Why? Why me? Why not someone else?"

"Do you not want to?"

"I was just wondering, Professor, if there was any reason in particular that it should be me, as opposed to one of the other Professors."

"Well James," Dumbledore began, "You have a gift to understand students. You have a way of making them work hard because they want to. You motivate them. That is a magical quality in a teacher... And I think Miss Evans would be more comfortable, and could progress farther with a young enthusiastic person cheering her on. But if you'd rather not, I will ask Professor Slughorn. I'm sure he would be glad to help."

"Slughorn?" James spat. "What can he do? He knows ingredients, not gut intuition and spell theory."

"So then you will accept to tutor Miss Evans?"

"I... suppose I will."

"Why the resistance?"

"I don't want to let her down. She has so much potential..."

"I have faith in you James."

"Thank you, Professor."

"And speaking of helping Miss Evans, you are due at her common room in 20 or so minutes."

"Yes sir." James rose from his chair. "Goodnight Professor."

Dumbledore gave him a nod and a mysterious smile in return.


Lily had been in her heads chamber waiting and thinking. Why had she been disappointed that Professor Potter would be getting her a different tutor? She decided she was better off not answering that particular question. It was obviously really. Lily had heard the things her fellow female classmates said about their youngest professor. She hadn't participated in these conversations, but she couldn't help but agree silently.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock at her door. She went to open it.

"Evening Professor."

"Are you ready?"

"It seems like you have asked me that question fifty times today, but yes, I am ready."

The pair of the walked down to Hagrid's.

"Did you talk to Dumbledore?" she asked tentatively.

"I did. He was impressed and agrees that some extra training wouldn't go amiss."

"Who did he decide would be my tutor?"

James didn't answer immediately, he was somehow embarrassed.


"But, you don't know anything about wandless magic."

"I know that, and I told Dumbledore that too," he snapped defensively. "But apparently no one really does, and it's up to that witch or wizard to discover it within himself or herself."

"That makes perfect sense. If someone asked me how to do it, I wouldn't have the foggiest idea of how I would even begin to explain..."

"Dumbledore said it was a choice between either me or Slughorn."

"Slughorn?" she said, sounding aghast.

"That's exactly what I said," he chuckled. Lily laughed weakly.

"I'm sorry Professor Potter. It seems that all at once I've placed so many extra burdens on you. First having to come with me everyday to see to the unicorn and now extra lessons... I feel like I'm just imposed myself onto your schedule and I'm sorry."

"You didn't ask for it to happen. I would have been tied up the unicorn business anyway, I'm always helping out Hagrid with his latest... beastly acquisitions. And as for the lessons, well, I'm a teacher, and that's my whole point in being here."

The lights were still on inside Hagrid's hut and smoke was rising from the chimney. "Oh, looks like he is still awake." She knocked on the door. "Hagrid?" she asked sweetly.

"Just a mo'," Hagrid said. After a few clanging sounds and a muffled swear word, the front door opened and Hagrid appeared, sucking on his index finger.

"What happened Hagrid?"

"Burned myself."

"Must have been quite a fire, I wasn't aware that giant skin was that easily burned..." Lily said with playful inquisitiveness.

"Yeh well, erm... Accidents happen... Anyway the formula is over there on the table. Mercury's been waiting for yeh."

"Thanks Hagrid. Are you coming outside or are you going to finish..."

"I think I will do a bit of cleanin up..." he answered evasively.

"Yes, I thought you might." Lily grinned, and Hagrid couldn't help but grin back. He'd end up telling her eventually.
In Hagrid's backyard, Mercury was prancing around, if not gracefully, at least spiritedly, coat of gilt shining in the moonlight.

The moment Lily appeared Mercury went up to her and nudged her leg with his nose. She went and sat down on the pallet she had made earlier that day and Mercury immediately went and sat down next to her. She stroked the back of his neck and he gave a contented sort of whinny.

"I suppose you are hungry aren't you. Here you go, good boy... good boy." She began her lullaby again, and sang soothingly as the baby drank. It made a sweet scene, James admitted to himself, the beautiful red head, the beautiful baby unicorn and a midnight lullaby.

Hagrid came out just as Lily finished feeding him.

"Care for a night cap James?"

"I believe the Professor has had enough to drink for one evening, Hagrid. And I need to be getting back to the castle anyway."

"Oh right, got class in the morning haven't yeh... both of yeh..."

"Yes, I have Transfiguration at 9, then DADA at 11, but don't forget you have to be up at dawn tomorrow."

"I know, I won't forget."

"Alright, night Hagrid."

"Night Lily, James."

During the walk back, Lily's stomach let out a loud growl.

"I think my stomach is about to digest itself, the only thing I've had to eat all day is a bit of toast this morning at breakfast," she told him. "What I wouldn't give for some grilled chicken and a dinner roll, or soup, or pasta, or anything... I should stop talking about food or I'll be drooling next. I suppose I'll have to settle for a chocolate frog and a sugar quill to tide me over."

"I have a better idea, I'm a bit famished myself."
Instead of heading up the staircase towards the general direction of her Head Girl rooms, they went in the opposite direction.


"You'll see," he said. "My friends and I used to come hear all the time when we were at school." He also used to bring dates here as well, but he didn't bother telling her that. "Tickle the pear."


"Tickle the pear," he repeated.

Feeling a bit silly, she reached out a hand and scratched innocently at the portrait of a bowl of fruit. A handle appeared and without giving any thought to the matter she immediately opened in and walked in.

"James Potter! Can we get you anything?" an elf squeaked happily.

"Yes... how about a piece or two of grilled chicken, some dinner rolls, maybe a bowl of soup and... some lemon meringue pie."

"Of course!" And he scurried off. Lily looked around the kitchens in amazement and a few minutes later several elves came back to them with the requested food.

"Heaven..." Lily sighed happily. James grinned.

"Bon appetite."

Somehow, Lily Evans managed to look graceful even while gorging on food.

"Good?" James enquired with a smirk.

"Delicious, delectable, divine even."

The on-looking house elves beamed with happiness at this praise.

"There's no topping the house elves of Hogwarts," James agreed, starting on his lemon meringue.
Soaking up the last drop of soup with her bread Lily daintily devoured the last bite, shoved the tray away from her, and sighed.

"I'm stuffed, I think I could quite easily lie down right here and take a nap on the floor..."
James laughed. "Well, you'd better try to fight the urge until you get back to your room, then you can pass out."

"Afraid not. I still have some work to do."

"Really? Which subject?" James asked as they exited the kitchen.

"It's a... transfiguration project."

"Ah transfiguration. Easily my best subject in school, pity Minerva hated me. Well, she loved me, but Sirius and I didn't make things very easy for her when we were in school..."

"I thought DADA would have been your best subject."

"Oh it was my favourite, to be sure, but transfiguration comes naturally to me. What's the project?"

"Oh, erm... it's not exactly for class. More of an... extra curricular activity... for my own amusement."

"Oh I see. Just don't get caught because I would have to have to punish you. You take up enough of my time as it is." He had said it jokingly, but her face fell.

"I do feel bad abut that though... perhaps I can make it up to you?"

"How? Not that you need to, I'm just curious."

"I... thought I might help you prepare for your lessons... or help you with the class experiments..." she said, trying unsuccessfully to keep her lips from turning up into a grin. James face broke into a mischievous smile too.

"What did you do to those files anyway? Even Dumbledore can't get them back to the way they originally were."

"That's because those are brand new. I haven't touched the actual records, they are safe and sound and are scheduled to miraculously reappear next Tuesday night."

"Why Tuesday?"

"Because Filch will certainly be out of his office then, as he always is from 10-11 on Tuesdays."

"Where does he go?"

"I'm not certain, I know he doesn't leave the grounds. I think he goes up to the third floor, but I'm not exactly sure where or why. Never bothered to follow."

"Why not?"

"Because spying on the caretaker isn't my idea of a good time."

"But aren't you curious?"

"Not really. It's Filch, how scandalously interesting could it be? He probably polishes his favourite suit of armour every Tuesday or something. How should I know?"

"How long has he had this little appointment?"

"Oh, at least these last three years..."

"Well you are probably, right. It probably isn't worth investigating."

"So is it a yes or a no?" Lily enquired of her Professor.

"I'm sorry I can't seem to remember the question."

"Well, it wasn't as question so much as a suggestion about helping you with DADA class in exchange for your help, and in atonement for Filches file cabinets."

"Oh that, sure sure. It would actually be a nice to have a bit of help. This week is just private lessons to prepare for Thursday, but the third years are studying dark beasts, and I could use your help with that."

"You'll let me know?"

"I will."

By that time they had reached her room and she told the portrait Vigilance.

"Alright. Goodnight Professor, I'll see you in class tomorrow."

"Goodnight Evans. Don't work too hard. Get some sleep."

She smiled and nodded as the portrait swung closed, locking James out. Not that he wanted in, of course...