Harry watched from the doors of the Great Hall as his parents sat laughing amongst their friends. Lily was giggling as she clutched James' arm; listening to a joke that Sirius was telling them. Even James was smiling, perhaps for the first time since his mother's death. Anyone watching the children in the Great Hall wouldn't have been able to tell that there was a war waging all across the country. Yet so much had changed over the summer. There was a new minister for magic, Harold Minchum. Minchum working alongside Barty Crouch, the new head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, had changed several laws and put more dementors around Azkaban than ever before. The some of the public weren't particularly happy about it, especially after the dementors had attacked Hogwarts a few years ago. However, the majority of people seemed to have forgotten all about it.
The ministry were performing daily raids on pure-blood residences and had even arrested several people for possessing dark magical artefacts, but they were struggling to find any trace of Voldemort and the Deatheaters. But for all the fear and uncertainty Hogwarts was as busy as ever. Not a single child had been kept home, rather parents seemed to be convinced that the children were in fact safer at Hogwarts than anywhere else.
In the last few weeks Sirius had received some rather upsetting news. After being disowned the year before, he had been taken in by the Potters but there were still several members of the Black family he was very attached to. His relationship with his father, Orion Black was strained as a result of his mother's dislike of him but Orion had secretly been trying to support Sirius as best he could. Sirius' Uncle Alphard had died just over a week ago, leaving Sirius to inherit all his money. Sirius' mother, Alphard's sister had been severely angry, even going as far as burning Alphard off the family tapestry. Sirius had spent some of his uncle's money buying himself a small flat in the centre of London. He had written to Marlene and asked her to move in with him after Hogwarts and she had agreed.
Sirius wasn't the only one who had received news over the summer holidays. Lily had barely spent any time at all at home as she had been trying to avoid her sister Petunia. On Lily's last night with her parents before returning to Hogwarts she had been sat talking to her parents in the living room when Petunia ran in to the room, "look! look!"
"What is it dear?" Mrs Evans had asked kindly.
"Look!" Petunia shoved her left hand into her mother's face.
"Oh," Mrs Evans smiled, "it's beautiful dear."
"So he asked, did he?" Mr Evans smirked.
"Did you know daddy?" Petunia asked.
"Of course, I did. Needed my permission didn't he!"
"Oh, I'm so happy!" Petunia grinned.
Lily smiled at her big sister, "congratulations Petunia."
Petunia's face fell as she looked at Lily for the first time, "I guess this means I have to tell him all about you."
"Now Petunia dear," Mrs Evans started but Petunia cut across her, "you won't ruin this for me, will you?"
"Why would I," Lily frowned.
"Just promise," Petunia demanded.
"I won't ruin it," Lily sighed, "I promise."
The following night, Petunia had gone out with Vernon to the chip shop. Whilst they were sat in the car, Petunia told her fiancée all about her 'freaky witchy' sister and he told her he wouldn't hold it against her much to Petunia's delight.
When the feast had finally finished, Professor McGonagall led James and Lily to their new dorm room. They followed her through several corridors until they reached a large, old portrait of two Hogwarts students; one boy and one girl, each wearing head badges. "This is Alice and Edward, the very first Head Boy and Girl Hogwarts ever had. You can choose a password between you and give it to them."
"Yes Professor," Lily smiled.
Professor McGonagall turned and walked back down the corridor away from them. James grinned, "what do you want the password to be then Lilykins?"
"Anything but Lilykins," Lily laughed.