My first ever James/Lily fic. Hope you like it, it was supposed to be a SHORt oneshot, but it… kind of grew on its own. Srsly, I only wanted to make it sweet and short, and it grew into a dramatic almost-9k-words long shot.
"hold that thought"
It started like this.
She glared at the kid that insulted her friend in the Hogwarts Express (valiantly trying to ignore the fact that Severus started the whole thing); she ignored the cute hair and round glasses and adorable expression and simply glared, because his smug smirk (or what the boy thought was a smirk) was grating on her nerves.
"So, you wanna be my girlfriend?"
James Potter (and that was a name she was seldom to forget) arched one eyebrow while he awaited her answer. Lily didn't know it yet, but that would be the only time he was going to ask such question and she, in all her preteen glory, gave him her most severe and disapproving frown.
And then walked away.
She noticed the changes in him the moment they bumped into each other outside the Prefect's compartment on the Express. They stood there, staring, waiting for the other to react. Lily was fully expecting him to flash his cocky smile and start pestering her about dates.
Only, he didn't.
James averted his eyes, looking up and then to the side; letting out a sigh, he seemed to steel himself before focusing his hazel-coloured eyes on her. Then, he gave her a tentative smile; no smugness, no cockiness, just a genuine little smile that made her heart flutter for several seconds.
Lily was so shocked (and it probably showed, because his smile lost its tentativeness but acquired a gentleness she never thought him capable of), that he simply reached behind her and opened the door to the Prefect's compartment, urging her to enter with a firm, but gentle push on the small of her back.
All through the meeting, her focus drifted between the boy next to her and what the Head students were saying. Sometimes she could feel his eyes on her, but every time she stole a glimpse of the black-haired boy, he was either completely focused on the meeting or levelling a cold stare at Severus. Suddenly, Lily realized she was so used to see James being an arrogant prankster and losing control of his hatred of Severus that seeing this side of him, cool and collected, unnerved her more than it should.
Once the meeting was over, and they were on their way to their respective compartments, James went back to being the tentative boy she bumped into before the Prefect' meeting. Only, this time, the change in attitude didn't unnerve her but… was actually pleasing, if a little weird.
"So, um… Evans, how was your summer?" he asked, sounding a little nervous, while fidgeting with the collar of his shirt.
Lily sent him a startled look, but answered nonetheless. "It was good. My parents planned a trip to France. We spent three weeks there and then I went to stay with my grandparents."
James was smiling at her again, that little smile from before, the one that sent her heart aflutter. "That's good. Sounds like an exciting summer. I hope you enjoyed it, Evans."
As they walked to the back of the train, Lily was vaguely aware of the students they passed by doing double takes when they caught sight of the famous Gryffindor duo. After all, it was disconcerting to see Lily Evans walking side by side with James Potter and having an actual conversation. She knew that by the end of the trip to Hogwarts, the rumour mill of the school would have come up with thousands of explanations and other unsavoury stories as to why James and she were not arguing.
However her sole focus was on the bespectacled boy, on how he seemed to look more mature and… how much she was actually enjoying this side of him. "I did. Very much in fact, thank you."
They continued walking side by side; drawing more and more stares towards them, until Lily couldn't stand the silence anymore.
"What about you, Potter? Was your summer any good?" she asked, wondering exactly why as she'd never felt compelled to initiate any kind of interaction with him before.
James sent her a surprised look, but his lips twitched before stretching into what was rapidly becoming his smile. "Oh, it was good. I spent some time with Sirius, Remus and Peter, just hanging out. But mostly with Sirius, as he's been staying at my house since the beginning of the summer."
Now that caught her attention. "He is?"
Her question made him cringe, as if only now remembering he wasn't supposed to say that. And, judging by the way he looked around them before moving closer, she was most definitely right. She forgot all about this, of course, as his closeness made her heart flutter inside her chest again. He wasn't too close, but certainly closer than he had ever been before-closer than she had ever allowed him to be.
James spared one last glance around them before answering her question. "I'm not supposed to say this, er… I wasn't supposed to say anything to begin with, so you must promise me not to tell anyone."
Intrigued by all the secrecy, she nodded slightly and leaned even closer and-really, what was wrong with her?
"Sirius ran away from his family the day after we arrived at King's Cross. He showed up at our doorstep with nothing but his school trunk and wand. My parents didn't wait for an explanation and simply told him to stay as long as he wanted, and, well…" He straightened up, his focused ahead of them, but Lily was sure he wasn't seeing the hallway. "There was never a reason to think about it. Sirius, Remus and Peter are my brothers in all but blood."
The strength behind his words made her pause, although she wasn't certain why.
James took two more steps before realizing she had stopped; he turned around, questioning her action with a simple tilt of the head, but before either could even open their mouths to speak the compartment door to her left opened to reveal one Dorcas Meadowes.
"Oh, Lily, there you are! I've been wondering where-oh, hello James," she said, ending her sentence with a seductive smile.
For some foreign reason, the way her friend was acting grated on her nerves. It didn't help that James decided that moment to go back to his usual holier-than-thou attitude and give Dorcas his trademark cocky smirk. So, of course, Lily had to put a stop to that.
"Did you need something, Dorcas?"
And maybe her question came out harsher than what she intended, but it fulfilled its purpose and broke whatever flirting was about to happen.
The girl moved her gaze back and forth between James and her, and then Dorcas turned to face her fully and gave her a sheepish smile. "I was just wondering what was taking you so long."
James seemed to take that as his cue to leave, probably sensing her rising temper (not that she blamed him, she could feel it boiling too). "Well, milady, it seems I have accomplished the task of escorting you to the safety of your humble abode. Now, I must take my leave."
Lily truly expected him to turn his smirk on her, almost begged him to do it and give her a reason to be mad at him, but she was thoroughly disappointed. Because, as soon as their eyes locked, James' smirk was replaced with his smile.
And her heart went fluttering against her ribcage. Again.
With a small wave in her direction, James walked by her and down the hall, and to Lily's great surprise, towards the front of the train.
For the next two months, everything went back to normal, well sort of.
The Marauders still were playing pranks on the students, but this time it were harmless and more to brighten up the castle with a little bit of laugher, and even the staff couldn't remain immune to their humour for long. Of course, that didn't mean all was peachy, no. Because while the Marauders didn't bully anyone anymore (not even Severus), they most certainly retaliated against the Slytherin students that bullied anyone from the other three Houses.
And did it with a vengeance.
It was on the morning of All Hallows Eve that something happened; something that shook her down to her very core.
It was after Potions class. Slughorn had held back both James and Sirius, probably to lecture them about their performance in class. Those two were pretty smart, but their mutual dislike for their Potions Professor clouded their judgment and didn't allow them to succeed.
Remus had stayed behind with them and asked her to tell Peter that they would meet him for Transfiguration. Lily had agreed and left the classroom just as Slughorn berated the boys about their lack of brewing skills and how their goal of being Aurors was doomed to fail if they didn't get their act together.
Barely, out of the corner of her eyes, she noticed Severus and some of his Slytherin friends snickering just out of sight in the hallway, but paid him no mind and quickly made her way up the stairs (it still hurt to think of what her once best friend said to her). At the top of the stairs leading down to the dungeons, however, Lily realized she'd left her potions book, and assignment for next week, next to her cauldron. Cursing her distraction (that lately, grew exponentially every time James gave her his smile, which happened an awful lot during Potions), Lily quickly descended the stairs back to the dungeons and arrived just in time to see what was clearly the end of a spat (which was really an understatement) between James and Severus.
"How's your daddy, Potter? Had any accidents lately?" Severus' tone was so smug, so certain, that it was obvious he knew exactly what he was saying.
For a brief second, the red-haired witch wondered if something really had happened to James's father. The inquiry forming in her tongue, however, vanished when, instead of responding with the usual violence, James merely tensed up before turning to face his nemesis, the icy stare she'd seen on him during the Prefects' meeting on the Express back at it fullest.
"He's been better. But he's certainly better than your mummy, Snivellus."
The cold fury behind the insult made it all the worse, if Severus' paling face said anything. James spun around quickly, Sirius and Remus following his lead, and Lily thought that was a good moment to step in, before things got out of control.
But, of course, she wasn't fast enough.
Severus pulled out his wand shockingly fast while the Marauders' backs were turned and fired a spell, screaming it so loud it drowned out her yell. "SECTUMSEMPTRA!!"
James never had a chance of avoiding it; it hit him right in the middle of his chest as he turned to fight back. James flew back, slamming against the wall next to her, and she screamed. She was positive she screamed because James' face had a long gash pouring out blood at an alarming rate while his clothes were rapidly staining with red on several places across his upper body.
After that, everything was a big confusing blur to her. She remembered falling to her knees next to the injured boy; she also remembered cradling his head on her lap and trying to keep him conscious. Vaguely, she remembered Sirius and Remus attacking the Slytherin group viciously, Professor Slughorn coming out of his classroom and start screaming at the Marauders about unprovoked attacks and severe consequences.
But she most certainly remembered uttering the words that cut whatever bonds she had left with Severus permanently.
"Snape did it, Professor. Snape fired the curse when James' back was turned."
She didn't know it then, but her voice had been a cold monotone as she gently pressed her own robes to the bleeding wounds of the boy who had done nothing but annoy her for the last five years.
At some point, Slughorn sent someone for help, because suddenly Lily was watching as Professor McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey took an unconscious James to the Hospital Wing and Headmaster Dumbledore took Snape to his office.
Snape. That's who he was to her now, Snape. Just another Slytherin bully.
When she finally managed to snap back to reality, the green-eyed girl was facing the remaining Marauders. Remus looked at her clothes once and flicked his wand, cleaning her of the blood. Sirius looked solemnly at her before handing over her backpack.
"Thank you," she said softly and then hurried to her next class.
She forgot all about her potion's book and assignment.
The rest of the day passed in a haze, Lily couldn't focus on the lectures. Not that she really wanted to, her mind too troubled, too wrapped up in the fact that her dear friend was finally gone. That the Severus she once knew was no more-that he chose to travel the path of the pure-blooded bastards that looked at her as filthy trash.
Then there was James. Reckless, impulsive James Potter being the bigger man and willingly walking out of a fight he would have most likely won. James, that instead of responding with childish insults and stupid, harmful pranks, simply turned his back on his nemesis.
The very same James that now lay in the Hospital Wing, injured due to a dark Curse (because Lily had no illusions, it had been a dark Curse).
Her feelings about the whole ordeal were a little conflictive. Oh, she knew Snape was for all intents and purposes dead to her, but James… Lily knew she was worried about him, that Curse could've killed him if Headmaster Dumbledore hadn't gotten the counter for the Curse out of the culprit, but exactly how worried she was, she didn't know. Was it friendly concern? Something more? It had to be something more, if the fluttering of her heart meant anything at all, but… did she wanted it to be more, right now?
No. I don't know.
Imagine her surprise, though, when against her better judgment (it was, right?), she decided to forgo the Halloween feast and instead went to the Hospital Wing. She found the Marauders surrounding the still form of James as they plotted ways to avenge their injured brother. Sirius saw her first, showing his surprise briefly before giving her a tentative smile. Remus and Peter turned to look at her and repeated the gesture. Feeling more confident, Lily approached the Marauders and took a sit next to Remus, the spot closer to the head of the bed.
Her three housemates continued their plotting, and though Lily knew she should stop them, or at least go report them to a professor, she couldn't bring herself to leave her spot. So, instead, she focused on the healing face of her personal annoyance, which, lately, was not so much of an annoyance but a relatively good bloke. She remembered how he had looked just last week as he had been helping some First Years with their Transfiguration homework, so enthusiastic and alive, and now… to see him so pale and weak.
It was truly disheartening.
Without really thinking, she grasped his hand, holding it between her own and willing him to wake up, if only to pester her with requests for a date. Really, right now, she would take James at his worse as long as he was up and about, healthy and strutting like he owned the place.
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but… please, James, wake up. I'd rather have you pestering me about dates than laying here and-"
"-looking like death?"
Her whispered sentence was cut off short by the very same boy that was now grasping her hand tightly. Lily jumped, startled and feeling very embarrassed at being found out showing concern over James Potter, by the very same James Potter. She tried to free her hand, but he didn't relent and tightened his hold enough to stop her, but not enough to hurt. The pleading look in his hazel eyes broke her resolve to leave him be and she relaxed once again, proceeding to hold his hand as she had been doing.
"Well, you definitely are a sight for sore eyes," said James, a half-hearted attempt at humor.
She acknowledged his effort with a little smile, resisting the urge to run her fingers through his black locks. "How are you feeling?"
"I've been better."
"Well, that's an understatement."
He chuckled and immediately winced in pain, moving his other hand to clutch the clothes above his chest. The pain must've been too much, because he ended up gasping for air.
Lily leaned forward, feeling dread creeping into her mind, as she looked at him worriedly. "Are you alright?"
Taking some deep breaths, James managed to nod his head slightly. "Yeah, just… a little sore."
She sat back, wanting to berate him for baiting Snape, but refraining from doing so. Because she knew there was no way he could have known Snape would use such a dark spell on him, no one could have known, except maybe, the Slytherins themselves. Finally, Lily gave into her urge and let her left hand wander until it threaded through his hair. She wasn't paying much attention at his reaction, but caught his shocked expression and the blush that rushed to his face.
James averted his gaze, letting his eyes scan their surrounding before he settled back to look at her. "Where's Sirius? And Remus?"
His question made her not only realize her action, but the sudden lack of comments from the Marauders. Somehow, she'd forgotten all about her three other housemates. She looked around questioningly, but shrugged at finding the Hospital Wing deserted except for James and herself.
"I don't know," she said. "They were right here when I arrived. All three of them."
"They were plotting ways to avenge their fallen brother," she added after a few seconds, smiling mischievously.
"And you are condoning such behaviour, Miss Prefect?" His look said it all; he was thoroughly shocked.
But his question sobered her up enough to let her mischievousness go. Looking at their joined hand, she answered. "He deserves whatever's coming his way."
"Lily, you… you don't believe that…"
She saw his face twisting in pain as he tried to sit up. She reached over with her left hand, grazing the healing scar on his face gently, and then looked him right in the eyes. "But I do."
James closed his eyes and leaned back into the pillows. For several seconds, neither said a word, willing the sombre mood to go away, and it finally did, when he opened his hazel eyes and gave her his trademark smirk "So, can I make use of my pitiful state to secure a date with you this upcoming Hogsmeade weekend?"
Far from annoying her, his attitude brought a smile to her face. But still, there were certain expectations to meet so…
"Not in this life, Potter."
And, oh, how wrong she was going to be.
They entered into a weird kind of friendship after that night.
Their interaction expanded beyond the usual Prefect duties, or James' pestering. They spent time together doing homework now, or simply sitting next to each other while one or the other read a book. Lily was now included in whatever activity the Marauders were planning, only if it didn't include pranking someone (she was, after all, a Prefect and had to act responsible). And it amazed her how much these four boys knew about the castle and its secret passages and corridors. Sometimes James would keep her company while she studied in the library, and sometimes she would sit with Remus and Peter to watch the other two Marauders practice Quidditch with the team.
It was always one thing or the other.
Something she became aware later, was that there always seemed to be two or more Marauders with her at all times. She knew it was because James feared the Slytherins were planning to get back at her for pointing her finger at Snape on Halloween, because they all knew if it hadn't been for her, Slughorn wouldn't have believed Sirius or Remus, not over his precious Potion Master in-the-making.
The rumour-mill of Hogwarts was already speculating at this unexpected turnabout. Some whispered of a secret relationship between she and James, other of how Snape tried to force himself on her and James came to her rescue (like a freaking Knight in shining armour!) and thus ended up hurt while protecting her honour. Other, the Slytherins most likely, whispered about how she was in a relationship with all the Marauders at the same time and Snape was simply trying to put a stop to such a travesty (four Purebloods, traitors or not, sullying their linage with a Mudblood, unacceptable).
Whatever the rumour of the day was, Lily Evans soon became an unofficial member of the Marauders, and whatever her relationship with James Potter was, she definitely didn't think of him as a toe-rag anymore.
Christmas Holidays arrived much too soon for Lily's liking, and she was surprised to find herself not looking forward to spending two weeks with her family.
Of course, part of it was because of her crumbling relationship with her sister, another… well, she didn't want to think of it right now.
"So, you going back to the muggles, Evans?"
She pulled her gaze away from the book she was reading to send Sirius a mild glare; he was the only one still calling her by her surname, but he said it was only until he found a suitable nickname for her (and only then, he'd said, she could become a true Marauder). Sirius only gave her his insufferable smirk, similar to James' but somehow more grating (that could be, of course, because she actually liked James now-a little bit).
"They are my parents, and yes. I can't miss it; it's a family tradition to spend Christmas together. My grandparents and some of my aunts and uncles are all coming down to spend it with us."
"Sounds like fun."
What she didn't say, was that the fun began and ended on Christmas day, for the rest of the holidays she had to spend it listening to her sister making snide comments about the Wizarding world. That was not fun at all.
"Well," said Sirius again. "You have to find a time to escape your relatives and come over James' place, if only for a little while. You'll love it, I promise."
He winked at her and her only response was an arched eyebrow. Before she could answer back with a witty remark, James came into the Common Room, followed by Remus and Peter. He was just in time to see Sirius sending her his trademark smirk.
"Hey, what's this, Padfoot? I leave you alone and you start hitting on her? Not cool, brother, I called dibs."
This, of course, once upon a time, would have enraged her-someone calling dibs on her. But the humour dancing in his hazel eyes, as well and Sirius' grey eyes, gave away the teasing that was actually taking place.
Sirius' smirk widened and he moved over to sit on the couch next to her, leaving her other side available for James, who took a sit as well. The white sheep of the Black family threw his arm over her shoulders and leaned over to stick out his tongue to the Scion of Potter.
"Careful, brother, this bird doesn't like to be treated as a possession. She could hand you your arse for calling dibs like that."
By then, all those present in the Common Room were watching in fascination, smiling amusedly or grinning at the Marauders interaction.
Lily simply rolled her eyes as she caught sight of James mock-glare and brushed off Sirius arm before standing up, and turning to face the jokesters. "This bird has a name, and this bird would rather sweep the floor with you before touching anyone's arse."
That been said, she began to gather her books and parchments, trying, and failing, to supress the smile that attempted to break free as she heard James and Sirius laughing. The rest of her housemates were chuckling along too.
"Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to bed."
"A moment, Miss Evans."
James' voice made her stop, turn and stare.
As one, the Marauders stood up and approached her with mischievous smiles on their faces. However, before she could so much as become weary, they acted. Remus and Peter moved first, each pressing a firm kiss to each of her cheeks before dashing for the stairs, yelling a hearty goodnight in between laugher. Sirius was next, as he wrapped his arms around her and kissed (more like slobbered) her cheek as well. As he let her go, making a quick dash for the stairs, Lily glaring at him while wiping her cheek, James stepped in.
His embrace was gentler; it took her by surprise as she turned her head quickly, almost accidentally kissing him. He gave her his smile, and slowly, probably to give her time to stop him, he leaned in to place a firm kiss to her unattended cheek, much more closer to her lips than the other boys. Then, he was pulling away.
She wasn't even aware of when she grabbed hold of his jumper, but suddenly she saw him there and he was oh, so close and she was so tempted to close the distance between their lips and steal a kiss and-
"THAT'S IT, LILY-FLOWER!"
-and Sirius' booming voice completely broke the spell and had them both stepping away while trying unsuccessfully to hide their blush.
"That's going to be your name! Lily-flower!"
She smiled ruefully and bid him goodbye, needing to be in her room as soon as humanly possible and sort these confusing feeling out.
I was going to kiss him. God, I was going to kiss James Potter.
Her musings were lost in the sudden commotion created by the Marauders, as always.
Sometime between the arrival of the Prophet via owl post and the ringing doorbell, Lily thought it was fortunate that such tragedy happened after Christmas day.
"HEAD OF HOUSE, CHARLUS POTTER, DIES MISTERIOUSLY WHILE EN ROUTE TO THE MINISTRY OF MAGIC."
The story went on to speculate about the unfortunate death, especially of such an influential man. Being the Head of an Ancient and Noble House made it all the worse, as his sole Heir was still a student at Hogwarts. There was no date to the funeral, no place either, but the Prophet was nothing if not good at making assumptions. And in this case, those were accurate.
But Lily cared not about that. Her eyes were focused on the black, bold letter spelling out the name. Charlus Potter. James's father had died, and she had no way of getting to his house. Before the panic could set in, her sister stormed into the kitchen.
"One of your… kind is waiting for you at the door, freak," she snarled.
But Lily was beyond caring about how her sister seemed to despise her now; she clutched the Prophet in her hand and rushes through the hall to the front door, wondering who would come to her house.
She most certainly didn't expect Sirius Black.
He looked at her hand pointedly, before smiling grimly. "Already on the Prophet I see."
"Well, come now, the funeral is about to start and… James would appreciate you being there for him now."
She blinked a few times and then snapped into action. "Just let me go and grab my cloak."
She didn't see Sirius nodding as she raced up the stairs to her room. Her mother was coming up as she raced back, but Lily didn't give her time to speak, merely told her she would be back later and then was closing the front door. Grabbing Sirius arm, she panted. "How are we getting there?"
He gave her a small smirk, that didn't even reach his eyes, before gripping her hand tightly. "Apparition, of course."
She barely had time to register his words and then was being squeezed through a tube, only to land on what appeared to be the backyard of a majestic palace seconds later. Sirius said nothing as he led her to the front rows and she soon spotted James sitting next to who she assumed was his mother. She eyed him worried, this expressive and joyful boy, now sat with his back straight and a carefully blank expression on his face as he held his mother hand. His gaze locked on the casket resting on a small podium in front of the people.
Remus and Peter were already there, and they gave her a simple nod in response to her sad smile. There were two seats left between James and Remus, and contrary to what she expected, Sirius made her sit next to James. Only then, the Scion of Potter acknowledged her presence, and gave her a tiny ghost of his smile, before returning his blank gaze ahead, where his father lay.
Lily ached for him. She wanted so much to wrap her arms around him and soothe his pain, so, so much; to cradle his head on her shoulder and tell him everything was going to be alright, but… It wouldn't be proper. She wasn't exactly well-versed in the ancient laws and customs of the Wizarding world, but she knew enough to supress her urge to comfort him. At least for now.
After everyone spoke for the late Charlus Potter, and the guests left the family to mourn alone, Lily found herself aching to look for James. She remained close to the Marauders, and listened as they whispered the truth no one seemed to want to say out loud.
This was no accident, no mysterious death.
Is the war already…? Her thought trailed off as she saw the object of her worries walk towards their little group slowly. James looked devastated, lost and on the verge of breaking down, but no one said anything. They all greeted him with sad smiles and words of support.
"Thanks for being here, Lily," he said after a prolonged silence.
"It's alright. Sirius brought me, otherwise I wouldn't have known how to get here."
Another prolonged silence went by, until she caught sight of Remus exchanging pointed glances with Sirius and Peter, and then the three boys excused themselves and went back into the house.
James took a deep breath before turning to smile at her, and failing at that. "It's getting late, I… should probably take you back to your family."
"I…" Lily was at a lost, a small part of her wanted to berate him for Apparating illegally, but the other part didn't have it in her to do so, especially not now. "Okay."
A few minutes later they were standing on her front porch while the sky darkened above them. And Lily couldn't hold her urge any longer, so tentatively, she placed her hands on his chest and slid them up and around his shoulders, forcing James to bend a little, as he was almost a head taller than her.
"I'm sorry," her voice broke as sobs surged up and racked her small frame. "God, James, I'm so sorry."
His breath caught in his throat, and a beat later his arms wound around her shaking form, pressing her against his body as they both shook with suppressed sobs. Lily didn't stop murmuring and soon she felt the clothes over her shoulder dampen. She let his cry for as long as it took, revelling in the knowledge that he trusted her enough to be this vulnerable around her. She didn't care how long they stood there, ignored her mother's shocked interruption, and whatever else happened around them. Her only concern was the hurting boy finding comfort in her arms.
Because Lily knew, in a moment of clarity, that these were the first tears James Potter shed over the loss of his beloved father.
Christmas had brought another change in their relationship.
They were closer now, Lily couldn't tell how, but she felt it. True, the past semester they had acquired a great level of friendship and comfort in each other, but now… now there was definitely more there. Much more.
They seemed to always gravitate towards each other now, every time they were in the Common Room or and one the classrooms, or the Great Hall. No matter where they sat initially, they ended up next to each other. Lily couldn't remember a time where she would turn to look next to her and wouldn't find James Potter sitting there, doing homework or reading a Quidditch magazine or simply resting.
He was always there now.
And she liked that.
Valentine's arrived with the same excitement of every year.
And Lily welcomed it with the same dread of every year.
It wasn't that she didn't like it, she did, in a way. It was an excuse to celebrate a wonderful feeling and be generally lazy, especially if the Professors decided to give them a free day. Like today, Monday 14th, and Lily was escaping the whispers and curious glances of her classmates.
The years previous to this Valentine's she had used to spend the day with-with her former best friend; at first they spent it in the Library, but the last three years they went to Hogsmeade together, as friends of course.
But that was no longer an option this year, and worse yet, in a fit of frustration she had snapped at Dorcas that she already had a date for Valentine's, and only because her friend would simply not shut up about how very wonderful it would be if James asked her out.
So, yeah, maybe she shouldn't have gotten so jealous of Dorcas wishes (or the fact that Dorcas could actually voice said wishes), but still… It was getting ridiculous! And now she had to make sure the rumours didn't get to James before she could explain what really happened (without telling him of her sudden jealousy), or-
"So, I heard you have a date tonight, Lily-flower."
Of course, she should've known. Nothing escapes the ears of the Marauders.
That was all the acknowledgement she gave him and then continued her trek to the Great Hall, Sirius shadowing her steps.
"So it's true?"
"The rumours of you having a date tonight?"
Sirius caught up with her, blocked her way and cornered against the wall. She bit back the choice of words about to escape her mouth when she saw how troubled and upset he looked.
"What's got your knickers in twist?"
Huffing loudly, Sirius passed a hand through his hair before levelling her with a sombre look. "I want you to stop leading James on."
Now that was unexpected.
"What?" hissed Lily, casting a quick glance at their surrounding before glaring daggers at Sirius. "What makes you think I'm leading him on?"
"Well, lately, you've been so nice to him-"
"I'm nice to everyone! Especially my friends! James is my friend!"
"But it's different for him!"
However, before she could reply with a nasty comment, Sirius waved his hand to make her stop talking and then started pacing in front of her.
"Look, I now you're a kind person and that it's in your nature to be nice to everyone," he began. "But James sees it differently. He's in love with you, Lily, and everything you do for him, every nice gesture and every kind word, is another grain of hope falling into his heart. He analyses all you do, trying to see what fuels your actions, if your feelings for him are simply platonic or not."
"Look, just-cut the drama and tell him how you feel!"
"Oh, for the love of-don't look at me like that! It's obvious to anyone who cares enough to watch you! You're in love with him too!"
But their discussion was cut short by the very topic of it. Because James Potter decided to walk around the corner at that moment and stumble upon a glaring match between two of the most important people in his life. And, probably sensing the awkward atmosphere, tried to smooth thing over.
"Alright, what did you do this time, Padfoot?"
However, the boy in question only glared at Lily some more before storming away in the direction of the Great Hall. And when James turned his inquisitive hazel eyes on her, Lily did the only thing she could think of: she ran in the opposite direction.
Some Gryffindor she was.
The problem with Sirius was that, while he joked about everything, he didn't joke about his friends. So what he said about James was most certainly true. Lily knew it, of course she knew it, and up until now she'd done a grand job ignoring it too, but no, Sirius had to go and bust her little bubble.
Thus, it was with a shaken resolve that Lily made her way back to the Great Hall, purposely late for lunch and hoping the Marauders would be long gone. But lady luck seemed to be enjoying her misery so far, for there they were, still sitting at the end of Gryffindor table.
As if that were not enough, by the way every remaining student turned to look at her a she walked in, she surmised the rumours of her date had spread through the other houses like wildfire.
Now I need an actual date.
Trying to seem as calm and collected as always, Lily sat down next to Remus, right across from James, who smiled brightly at her and passed her a plate filled with all her favourites. This gesture brought Sirius' words back.
"He's in love with you, Lily!"
It took her damnest best to stop her face from going bright red. She accepted the plate with a tentative smile, and for a while all was well. The Marauders were regaling her with tales of their latest adventure and giving her details of how they made their pranks work so well, when Dorcas appeared next to her, a look of triumph mixed with pity.
Oh, shite, she found out the true.
"So, Lily, about your date tonight…"
James started choking on his drink, Sirius cringed, and Remus and Peter looked like they swallowed a lemon.
Lily didn't wait for Dorcas to finish talking, she held up her hand, motioning for the girl to shut up, before turning her flushed face to James. "Can't believe I'm saying this, but…" muttered Lily, before putting her best sad-puppy face. "Will you go out with me, James?"
The silence that followed her question was deafening. But Lily kept her expression as helpless as possible, because, hey, even with Sirius' words ringing inside her head, there was no telling whether James would accept or refuse her.
She hoped for it to be the former.
After a while, James seemed to snap out of his stupor. He blinked a few times and then, oh so very slowly, parted his lips to respond (and why, in the name of all that's holy, was she looking at his lips). "Hmm. Maybe."
Lily felt shock run through her, freezing her on the spot and when she thought it was going to consumed her, she caught the smile wanting to break free on the corner of his mouth (and again the fixation with his lips). Lily scoffed and reached across the table to shove him away.
James chuckled as he grabbed her offending hand. "Well, Miss Evans, I guess I've earned the right to think about your proposal."
"Yes or no, James."
James grinned and she started to feel that well-known annoyance that she learned to associate with James Potter over the years. Although now, it was laced with a… complicated feeling.
"Well, I suppose, I'll say yes." Suddenly, James shot to his feet, and forced the Marauders to the same. "Come on, ladies, you have to help me pick out my best dress robes!"
With hearty laugh, James left the Great Hall, leaving a stunned Lily behind.
Still in shock, the red-haired girl turned to Dorcas. "I guess that makes me the bloke."
Who would have thought, that she would instigate her first date with James Potter?
Certainly not Lily.
When they walked into Hogsmeade, James looked at her expectantly, one eyebrow raised in poorly concealed amusement. "Oh, I'm so very happy you asked me out. I've been dreaming of this day since First Year!"
The girly tone of his voice and the way he flipped invisible hair over his shoulder made her giggle, successfully breaking the ice.
"Behave, Potter, or I'll turn around and go back to the Castle," she said, feigning a stern tone.
He laughed and stopped for a while, his eyes darting from the Three Broomsticks to Madam Puddifoot's and back. "So, you invited me. Where are we going?"
Lily couldn't tell if he wanted or not to go into the Teashop. Oh, God, she hoped he didn't, he most likely didn't, but it never hurts to ask. "So, um, you want to go into Madam Puddifoot's?"
James casted a reluctant glance at the Teashop before turning to face her. "I… only if you want to."
Lily could tell from the way he struggled not to frown, that his words were sincere yet he was hoping she answered negatively. Feeling a unexpected surge of warmth inside her, Lily laughed softly before grabbing his hand and moving away from Madam Puddifoot's. "The Three Broomsticks it is."
As soon as they set foot inside, Madam Rosmerta rushed to them and led them to a secluded spot. "So, finally managed to crack her armour, Jamie?"
James laughed good-naturedly as he held her chair, waiting for her to take a sit, and once both were in place he replied to the older witch. "Actually, Rosie, she asked me out."
"Oh, really now."
Madam Rosmerta took their orders and then left them alone.
Lily didn't waste time in turning her inquisitive glance on a smiling James. "What was that about?"
"Mmm, well, Rosie has known about my feelings for you since the very first Hogsmeade trip we did. She's been giving advice on how to catch your attention since."
"But that way back to our Third Year. And her advices don't seem to work much, uh?"
James laughed at that, and then gave her his smile. "Well, I never really took her advices seriously; I didn't thought they'd work. I was wrong."
She could feel the blush climbing up her neck and was saved the embarrassment by their drinks arriving.
The date was, surprisingly, rather pleasant. After that one awkward moment at The Three Broomsticks, they slid into a comfortable conversation. After that, they strolled through the streets of Hogsmeade, savouring the relaxing atmosphere. James treated her to some candies at Honeydukes and even bought her some chocolates. And sooner than she expected, a bit disappointed that it was over, Lily found herself standing at the foot of the stairs leading to the her dorm, watching as James fidgeted nervously.
"I had a good time," she said, wondering what to do next.
Commonly, after a first date, a couple would share a small kiss, but… they were not just any couple. They were James and Lily! And a kiss, Lily knew, would only feed James' hopes and she… she still wasn't sure what she felt, IF she felt anything at all.
"Yeah, me too."
A few seconds later, Lily smiled amusedly and leaned up to press a tender kiss on his cheek, lingering, probably, more than a friend should. "Goodnight, James."
She didn't dare look back as she hurried up the stairs, so she missed the puppy dog look he sent her way, and it was for the best, as that look would've broken her resolve to do nothing with James until she sorted out her feeling and… well, she would've kissed him on the spot.
The Quidditch finals signalled the end of relaxing time in Hogwarts, as Final Exams began soon after that.
This, of course, did not discouraged Gryffindor from celebrating their smashing success in winning the Cup for another year. Everyone from Fourth Year and up was gathered in the Common Room laughing, drinking, and being all-around happy. Try as she might, Lily lost control of the situation as soon as one of her dorm mates slipped her a spiked Butterbeer. As her tolerance to alcohol was very low, it didn't take long for her to be as happy as everyone else, and as the bottles kept coming, she no longer cared about property and rules.
Oh, no, she was more interested in the way the room seemed to spin round and round without anyone noticing.
Someone tapped her shoulder, and Lily turned her head too fast for her drunken mind to catch up and she stumbled into a warm chest. Looking up, she was mesmerized by a pair of hazel eyes that haunted her dreams as of late (not, mind you, that she was going to admit it)-the warm chest belonged to none other than James Potter.
Maybe it was the alcohol-no, it was definitely the alcohol, because there was no other explanation for her actions from then on.
James smiled and it was obvious that he, too, was drunk, but that didn't stop her from snaking her arms around his waist as snuggle into him. Resting her chin on his chest, Lily smiled at him in response.
Yep, he was definitely drunk.
And it didn't bother her one bit.
He tried to walk them to the couch but ended up stumbling back over the first steps of the stairs. Their laugher got lost among the exuberant shouts of their housemates. She tried to stand up, her knees were hurting at the awkward angle they landed on the stairs, but James held her close and brought her head closer to his.
"Let's go up to my room," he whispered, right into her ear.
His warm breath and the husky tone his voice acquired sent shivers down her spine, and Lily could no more refuse him than she could refuse her muggle heritage.
Obviously, he wasn't expecting her to agree, and it showed as he blinked several times before nodding. They stood up slowly, trying to not fall again and made their way up the stairs.
No one noticed their retreat.
They stumbled into the room and found someone there. In her drunken state, Lily didn't recognize the boy, only that he made himself scarce as James told him to leave. Once alone, James managed to lock the door and then, they were kissing.
Sharing clumsy and passionate kisses, they struggled to reach naked skin. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Lily realized that James, while he had no qualms about groping her, did so only over her clothes, and it wasn't until she managed to pull his shirt over his head that the young man proceeded to eliminate the barriers separating their naked bodies.
It was in a semi-nude state that they fell on the bed, Lily clad only in her knickers and knee-high socks, and James in his boxers short. Lily gasped for air, overwhelmed by the sensations assaulting her senses, and couldn't stop the moan that escaped her parted lips.
James settled between her legs and started trailing kisses down her neck. He grabbed her legs and urged her to wrap them around his hips; Lily complied as she treaded her finger through his hair urging him to reach her chest faster.
When his lips encircled her nipple, Lily thought she'd reached Heaven.
To have been such an important turning point in her life, she was surprise at how very little she remembered of that night. Not an unexpected occurrence, considering her inebriated state, but she certainly wanted to remember more of her first sexual encounter. That the extent of her knowledge about the night summed up into feelings only did not exactly put her in a good mood, so adding the splitting headache made her all the more miserable.
What she did remember, though, left her feeling all tingly and warm inside.
That moment being when she had James placed firmly between her legs, only the thin fabric of their underwear separating them, and he slipped his fingers under the elastic band of her knickers, seeking permission with his gaze. Lily felt the fear and uncertainty burst inside her and it showed, because the boy who once was the ban of her existence simply smiled at her and withdrew his hand, kissing her doubts away.
They'd gone to sleep after that, wrapped around each other as if it were an everyday thing.
That was how Lily woke up this morning and that was how she remained, face pressed into James' chest as his arms drew her closer to him. But even in her pain-filled mind she knew that she needed to return to her room before someone noticed h absence, IF they hadn't already.
Carefully not to wake her companion, Lily slid off the bed and silently started to collect her clothes. The words don't make a noise, don't wake him up, going off in her hear like a broken record. Once she was ready, she stood there unsure of what to do next. The logical choice would be leaving, but something prevented her from doing so.
Looking at the peaceful expression on James' face kind of helped her make up her mind, so with great care not to wake him up, Lily knelt next to him and kissed his cheek, unable to avoid the blush that raced up her neck.
"Thank you for respecting my… unvoiced wishes."
One last kiss and she left; unaware of the happy teen she left behind.
Sixth Year came to an end rather uneventfully. Nobody was any wiser as to what happened between she and James at the party, though everyone noticed the changes.
Because while their friendship had been a sight to behold, this new shy and awkward act threw the population of Hogwarts off, leaving them grasping for answer that were not there. The Marauders nagged James endlessly but the boy didn't budge, that his smiles left her blushing and fumbling now drew more attention to them than what Lily was ready to take.
She spent the journey back to London mulling everything that had happened during the past year, and avoiding James. He gave her space right until the train arrived at King's Cross. There, he swiftly pulled her aside and kissed her lips softly.
"I hope you have a nice summer, Lily. See you in September."
The rest of her summer, compared to that moment, was rather dull.
It ended (and started anew) like this.
She caught sight of him first, laughing and joking with his three best friends, his Head Boy badge shining in the morning light and her head finally accepted what her heart had been screaming for months.
He caught sight of her later, mainly because she walked right up to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, it would've been impossible to miss her. That she kissed him rather passionately right in the middle of the platform ensured that everyone else had their eyes on them as well.
"Yes," said Lily, after breaking the kiss. "Yes, I wanna be your girlfriend."
James laughed heartily, picked her up and began spinning around with her. They looked silly, but it was okay.
Lily found out she no longer cared about that anyway.
Ehhh, if you find some mistake, please tell me so I can fix it, yeah? Thanks.Document created with wvWare/wvWare version 1.2.7