The Snitch of Secrets Three

James' Isn't Such A Prat After All

The Gryffindors were sat together in the Potters' living room later that night discussing the party they had just left. They had all changed out of their dressrobes and into their pyjamas and were sat drinking hot chocolate. Lily was squashed in between James and Sirius on one of the sofas, "I just don't get it… why?"

"Why what?" James asked.

"Why did he… why did he tell us that there was a place at the ministry for each of us? We're only third years…"

"I thought that was strange too," Remus frowned.

Sirius laughed, "Isn't it obvious? He thinks we're awesome."

Lily replied with, "Black – you're not awesome but you're certainly ridiculous," at the same time that James gave his own reply, "I think the ministry is a bit broken at the moment; employees are going missing, everyone is working tirelessly, and certain employees loyalty is in question. He knows that Voldemort is recruiting at Hogwarts – so Alcaraz has decided to play him at his own game."

"That's terrible!" Mary frowned from her place by the fire. "Surely not!"

"I think so…" James sighed.

"But it's not like they can give jobs until we're of age," Sirius replied uncertainly.

"Ever heard of the idea that loyalty is stronger the longer it has lasted?" James asked. Some of his friends nodded their heads whilst others sat in confusion. "Basically – if he wins us now with his department of mysteries and the prospect of future jobs, it gives him room to gain our trust. Once he has our trust he will gain our loyalty."

Remus nodded, "That makes sense."

"I wouldn't mind a job at the ministry," Marlene commented.

"Me neither – I'd quite like to be an auror!" Alice told her friends.

Frank went suddenly pale, "sweetie I don't like the sound of that."

"Like you don't want to do it too!"

"That's different."

"How?" Alice asked suddenly irritated.

"I don't mind risking my life but the idea of risking yours…"

The other Gryffindors were growing more and more awkward as the conversation continued. "What so I'm allowed to spend my life worrying about you but you aren't willing to do the same for me?"

"That's not what I mean," Frank tried to cut in.

James suddenly stood up, "Right I'm off to bed."

Sirius, Marlene and Lily both followed him up the stairs. Remus, Kate, Peter and Mary weren't far behind. They could still hear Alice and Frank arguing as they ascended the stairs. "I just wouldn't be able to live with myself if anything happened to you."

"And you don't think I feel the same way?" Alice was practically screaming.

Lily frowned, "I don't think anyone is going to be sleeping with that racket. Fancy some chocolate?"

"Yeah Lils," Marlene replied quickly.

James suggested that they wait for them to calm down in his bedroom. It was after all much larger than the others. They all nodded and followed after him. Lily had darted to her room to fetch the chocolate. When Lily walked into James' bedroom she was very surprised by the colour scheme. "I would have had you pegged for traditional Gryffindor colours," Lily commented as she eyed his walls.

"It was until I came home from school for the summer after first year," James replied honestly.

"I wonder why it changed," Lily thought out loud.

"I have my theories," James blushed.

They carried on their conversation from before, "I really don't get everything that is going on," Remus sighed.

"I don't think anyone does," Kate scowled. "I mean… most people know less than we do. They must be even more confused than us…"

James nodded in agreement, "We're the lucky ones really."

"Don't say that Potter – you'll jinx it," Lily was staring angrily at James across the room. James had sprawled across his bed.

"I never took you for the superstitious type Evans," James joked. Lily was stood by a large bookshelf pretending to look through James' personal collection of books now, blushing gently.

"Never mind," Lily replied sheepishly.

The rest of their time at the Potters' home was spent happily. All thoughts of Voldemort, war and Death Eaters was gone from their heads. Charlus and Dorea even took them camping in the forest behind the house for a few days. Charlus used it as an excuse to teach the students some protective magic much to their excitement. When it came to the students finally returning to Hogwarts none of them, including Lily, were looking forward to getting back into their previous routine. James was especially anxious that the holiday never end. He was concerned that as soon as they returned to Hogwarts Lily would remember that they weren't really friends and they'd be back to square one. James felt like they'd finally become friends. He didn't want to lose the thing that it had taken him three years to gain. They were driven to London in ministry cars yet again. When they finally reached the platform, James kissed his mother good bye and clasped his father's hand. Dorea hugged all the children, reminding them to behave. Charlus however, merely waved happily.

The train journey was not their easiest. Snape and Avery had walked into the Gryffindors' compartment. They had been looking for a fight – "it's your fault our friend is dead."

"No – I think you've got the wrong end of the stick," Sirius joked.

"Well its kind of his own fault," James replied. "He's the one who ended up being kissed by a dementor in the corridor."

When both boys held their wands out, aiming at each others heart, Lily grabbed Snape and darted from the room.

"I knew it was toooo soon," James commented. "Tooo bloody soon."

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