What's Your Happy Memory?
Towards the end of November the castle was filled with expectancy. The second match of the season was fast approaching. Hufflepuff were playing Ravenclaw on the last weekend of the month. The Gryffindors were unsure who to support. The Slytherins had decided to support Ravenclaw as Hufflepuff had too many muggle-borns for their liking and so most of Gryffindor had decided to support Hufflepuff. James and Sirius were sat in the common room one evening with a small pile of muggle money, "I don't get it…" Sirius sighed.
James laughed gently. He had only just started to understand. "Right so a penny is this little one and this is a two pence coin."
"That's just ridiculous…" Sirius frowned.
"Then you have a five pence coin and ten and twenty, and fifty…"
"Why botter… knuts and sickles make way more sense."
Lily had been walking passed at that moment and laughed under her breath, "Evans, what are you laughing at?" Sirius asked.
"You… muggle money is simple. Everything goes up in tens."
"You just think that because you are muggle-born. You grew up with these coins," Sirius remarked bitterly.
"Look its 100 pence to 1 pound and then the pounds just keep going up…" She explained.
"But what about the debinal joint?" Sirius asked.
"The decimal point," James corrected.
"The decimal point keeps the pence separate from the pounds. So if I say ten pounds and thirty seven pence, you would write it as ten point thirty seven." She then wrote the number down on the parchment in front of him; £10.37 "Simples."
Lily and Marlene had won the fairy competition in care of magical creatures and the class had moved on to study the other creatures in the fairy family. They had briefly covered Imps and Pixies and were about to move onto the Doxy. First they had to do their homework assignment; an essay on the similarities and differences between the Imp and the Pixie.
James was working on his essay in his dorm room. It was the only quiet place in the whole of Gryffindor tower. He began making a list of the differences and similarities, rubbing his eyes gently. It had been a long week. It was finally the weekend and he had an afternoon free of lessons.
Similar height – Imp (6-8 inches) Pixie (8 inches)
Colour – Pixie is brightly coloured (blue) whilst the Imp is not.
Flying Capability – Imps (No) Pixie (Yes)
Different habitats – Imp (marshland) Pixie (Cornwall)
Breeding – Imp (young hatch fully formed) Pixie (bear live young)
Diet – Imp (insects)
Mischievous Nature – Imps (pushing and tripping people) Pixie (lifting people up by their ears and depositing them on the tops of trees and buildings)
Communication – Pixie (Can only communicate with other Pixies – very shrill voices)
Before James could even begin his essay the other third years all barged into the room. Suddenly there were nine people staring at him. Sirius smiled, "you aren't actually working are you?"
"I was trying to, yes," James sighed.
"Fancy a quick match of Quidditch before it gets dark? Girls vs. boys."
"That doesn't seem fair," James laughed as he leaned under his bed for his quaffle. It had been a gift from an ex-girlfriend but that didn't stop him using it. "Sure thing but maybe not girls vs. boys. You know the girls will win," he winked.
The ten friends made their way out to the Quidditch pitch. Most of them had to borrow brooms from the school broom shed but soon they were ready to play. "How are we going to do teams?" Alice asked.
"Right well – it's unfair for me and Sirius to be on the same team. We are on the team so technically we should be better… although if you ask me, Alice will beat all of us. So if Sirius and I are captains and you guys all choose a number from one to eight and we'll call out numbers. Simple."
The remaining eight Gryffindors stood in a circle as Alice gave them a number. James and Sirius waited patiently. When they were ready, Sirius called out, "number 5."
Frank began to make his way over to stand beside Sirius. James laughed, "number one." Alice joined James. "Oh good – we always were a good team," James smiled as Alice gave him a high five.
"Number seven," Sirius called and Kate began to make her way over to him.
"Number two," James smiled as Lily came to stand with him and Alice.
"Number eight," this time it was Peter who joined Sirius' team.
"Number three," James saw Remus come towards him.
Next it was Marlene who joined Sirius' team as he called out her number; "Four."
"Number six, I guess," James joked as Mary came and joined his team.
Soon they were in the air passing the quaffle back and forth. Lily looked anxious on her broom. "Alright there Evans?" James asked kindly.
"I'm fine thanks," She replied proudly.
James laughed slightly, not taking offence. He decided to keep an eye on her. She clearly wasn't very experienced on a broom and the last thing he wanted was for her to get hurt. Harry watched them fly from the stands. He couldn't help but think his mother looked hilariously awkward on a broom. It was clearly evident that he didn't get his Quidditch skills from his mother. Even with the practically useless Lily, James' team still won. James wasn't even playing his best but he was still a lot quicker than the others. Alice was incredible as well but James also noticed that Marlene was pretty good. She'd make a good chaser or even a beater. Alice was clearly a natural seeker. She was so light and petite that she could zoom across the pitch easily. When they finally touched down, James began talking to Lily, "you aren't a big fan of flying are you?"
Lily laughed slightly, "no – I can't fly to save my life."
"One day I'll teach you Evans," James grabbed her broom, "I'll take the school brooms back to the shed guys." He had almost eight brooms in his arms and Lily couldn't help but laugh at him.
"Come here… I'll help you," She offered. "Go ahead guys. We'll meet you in the common room."
They walked quietly over to the broom shed. There was an awkward silence. Eventually James broke it, "I like it when we get on," he commented.
"Me too," Lily smiled, "but I never know how long it will last." She sighed.
"Me neither," James replied. They walked back up to the castle in silence. Once they were inside, James noticed Lily visibly relax her shoulders, "you ok?"
"Yeah, it's just the dementors," Lily admitted. "I can cast a Patronus but in the forest I… I couldn't."
"I know," James nodded, turning to face her, "it's a lot harder to cast the charm when they are so close. It becomes harder to focus on your happy memory… that's why the memory has to be such a powerful memory. The best of memories… But you don't have to be scared," James softly placed a strand of her hair behind her ear, "I'd never let them hurt you. I promise."
Lily looked him in the eye, "I know." She suddenly got the urge to ask him a question, "James – what's your happy memory? The memory you use for the charm."
James' felt himself turn red, "er…" he ran a nervous hand through his hair, "Last summer I went with my dad to watch the Quidditch World Cup – it was incredible. It was a great day with my dad." James sighed, as Lily nodded, accepting his lie. It had been a great day with his dad but it wasn't the memory that he chose whenever he cast his patronus. No – that memory hadn't really been just one memory – it was more of a bundle of memories. It was the look on Lily's face every time she had received a rose from him last year on her birthday, it was the feeling of kissing her when they'd been dared to do so by their friends, it was the guilty look she got when she suggested they cheat in Divination – "should we just make up the answers?" It was the way she'd grabbed his hand in the Forbidden Forest at the beginning of the year in detention. Simply his happy memory was Lily Evans.
"What about you?" he asked, feeling suddenly very serious.
"Eh… good question. I think that's my problem. I haven't got a memory that's that powerful, that's that full of happiness and positive emotion. I tried the day I got my letter inviting me to Hogwarts, I tried spending time with Severus in Paris – we'd had so much fun. I even tried using the memory of the first time I used magic for real and…" she suddenly cut off. "I don't know."
"I just wish something big had happened in my life that would be an obvious happy memory…"
"One day you'll have that," James smiled.
"Yeah… one day… In the meantime I'll just have to make do," Lily laughed.