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Vanilla Ice Cream by mccl87
Chapter 1: Vanilla Ice Cream
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A/N: This chapter contains a reference to the book The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Also, the last scene scene draws inspiration from the song Vanilla Ice Cream from the musical She Loves Me.
Thanks goes to the amazing BohemianMoose (on fanfiction.net) for the beta!
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and am not making any profit off of this story. I also don't own The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or She Loves Me.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Given the bright sunshine and pleasant breeze, Lily Evans couldn't have picked a better day for going to Diagon Alley. She approached school shopping systematically, having created a clear, detailed schedule before she started and adhering to it strictly. Right now, she walked towards her final stop of the day, Flourish and Blotts. Her sixth year would begin in a little more than three weeks, and she wanted to get a chance to read her textbooks before the first day. Work would become much more difficult this year, now that they were in NEWT classes. Lily liked a challenge, but the sixth and seventh years always complained about how nastily exhausting they found their workload. It daunted her, but she'd never show anyone that.
It couldn't be so bad, she told herself. Hogwarts had always been exhausting. Even when they were eleven, the students worked on hours of homework, Astronomy classes at midnight, and grueling exams. She often wondered how the workload compared to muggle schools, but wasn't about to ask Petunia. And she didn't have any muggle friends to ask, since Petunia had told the whole neighborhood that she went to a school for troubled young women. Lily rolled her eyes. She understood her sister was jealous and insecure, but that didn't give her the right to-
Suddenly, a voice pulled Lily out of her reverie. "Fancy seeing you here, Evans." She stopped and looked up. None other than James Potter was standing in front of her, a knapsack slung over his shoulder. She looked at him in curiosity. Something had changed since the last time she saw him. The trademark arrogant smirk was gone from his face, replaced by a kind smile. And his tone was sincere, not mocking. He seemed so different, but perhaps that was just her mind playing tricks on her.
"Well, I had to do my school shopping sometime," Lily said in a conversational tone. "Where are your friends?" Lily walked towards a spot on the sidewalk in between Twilfitt and Tattings and Eeylop's Owl Emporium. James followed.
"Sirius said school shopping was something that should be left for the day before school, and Peter is on vacation in Ireland," James replied.
"He's...sick," he said.
"Poor Remus. I guess ill-health runs in the family, given how often his mother gets sick."
James nodded, trying to appear casual, but Lily could sense that the topic made him uncomfortable. He looked down at the ground to avoid her eyes. Lily herself looked towards the street, where shoppers bustled with bags in hand. No one stopped to notice the two teenagers.
"Are you going on your shopping trip alone?" James asked after a moment filled with silence.
"Yes. It's weird, since every other time I've gone to Diagon Alley I've been with Severus…" Lily's voice froze in her throat. Normally, she tried not to think about her ex-best friend, not after what he had become. And she knew James would use this as an opportunity to insult him and call him Snivellus.
To her surprise, all James said was, "This is the first time I've been here without anyone, my parents or my mates always come with me. It's a new experience for me, too."
Lily nodded. "I wasn't saying that to make the conversation all about myself, you know," he added hastily. "Just trying to make you feel more comfortable, like it wasn't so weird for you to be alone for the first time…"
"Why, I never thought I'd see the day when James Potter tried to make someone feel comfortable," Lily quipped.
She didn't mean for the remark to hurt him; they insulted each other every day without either being bothered. But James went red and looked down. "I'm the worst, aren't I?"
James Potter, to Lily's knowledge, had never felt bashful and insecure. She didn't like seeing him like that one bit. "No Potter, you're not the worst. Well, there have been times when you've been the worst, but now is not one of those times."
"What do you need to buy?" James asked after a moment of silence.
"I just need to go to Flourish and Blotts, then I'll have everything."
"That's where I just left," he said, holding up a bag from the store. "But you don't have anything but your purse with you." He furrowed his brow, puzzled. It was cute,
Lily noticed, before she mentally slapped herself.
"So?" she snapped, trying to somehow hide that she thought he was cute.
"I just thought that if you've had everything but your books, you'd have to carry it all." James was timid again. It made Lily regret her rudeness. She wanted to show James that she meant no harm, so she decided to playfully tease him.
"Oh, but what makes you think I'm not carrying it all?" Lily asked, grinning.
"All you have is your purse!" He pointed to her small maroon shoulder bag.
"Everything I've bought is in my purse."
"But that's impossible!
"I've put an extension charm on it." Lily said in an undertone, hoping the people who walked the streets of Diagon Alley wouldn't hear about her bit of rule breaking.
"Wow, an extension charm!"
"Shh, I don't want everyone to know about it."
"Okay then. What's that?"
"Simply put, it changes how big an object is on the inside, but not on the outside."
"It sounds like it could be useful for pranks!" James blurted. Lily smirked. "And er, it could make my schoolbag lighter."
"You know Potter, it's fine that you want to use it for pranks. I'm not judging you," Lily said, hoping to change the subject from the extension charm.
"Why, I never thought I'd see the day when Lily Evans didn't judge someone."
Now it was Lily's turn to go red and look down. "Well, I have always given you and your friends a hard time for your antics, but that was more from a place of wanting to annoy you than of actual disapproval…" He grinned. "And I'm not really in a place to judge you for rule breaking right now, because…" Lily leaned closer so only James could hear and whispered, "The use of extension charms is heavily regulated by the ministry. I'm breaking the Statue of Security."
Now that he knew, she pulled away from him. Part of her wanted to stay close, though she couldn't understand why.
James was silent for a moment, then chuckled. "You, break the rules?"
"It's worse than that; I'm breaking the law," Lily giggled.
"So that's why you shushed me when I talked about it."
"Yeah. As you probably know, rule breaking is all about not getting caught."
James looked appalled. "That's my life motto. You follow my life motto. And here I was, thinking you were some straight-laced goody two shoes!"
"Only when I'm around you."
"Meaning?" James asked.
"You're so mischievous, I have to be a 'straight-laced goody two shoes' to balance you out," Lily said, chuckling at her own joke.
"Wow." James paused, a smile starting on his face. "I wish I could say I only act mischievous to balance you out, but that's just my personality." Hazel eyes met green ones, and each of them burst into a fit of laughter.
"Well, I shouldn't keep you from buying your books," James said once he collected himself.
"Thanks, see you soon," Lily said. Her companion waved goodbye and joined the hubbub of people in the street. As she watched him leave from the spot in between stores, it hit her that the last thing she wanted was for him to leave. It was an inexplicable feeling, but he just couldn't leave. "Wait!" Lily cried. Several people shot disapproving looks her way.
James stopped when he heard her voice. He made his way back to where she stood. "What is it?"
"I, er...I was wondering if you'd meet me at Fortescue's later. To get ice cream." She paused. "Together." It wasn't part of Lily's planned agenda for the day, but somehow she didn't mind.
James face lit up with surprised happiness. "Geez Evans, I'd be delighted." He checked his watch. "It's half past two, so maybe we could meet an hour from now?"
"That'd be great. See you then, James." Lily waved goodbye and continued walking down the sidewalk towards the bookstore.
Before Lily had made her way out of earshot, she heard James say to himself, "That's the first time she's called me James."
An hour later, James swung open the door to Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor. A light 'ding' announced his arrival.
"Hey Potter-I mean James!" Lily called out. She sat at a small, three-legged table, where she waved at him. James smiled and walked towards her.
"How was Flourish and Blotts?" he asked as he sat down across from her, fighting the urge to run his hand through his hair.
"Oh, it was great."
"Get everything you need?" James hoped he didn't sound too creepy with all his questions.
"Yeah, got all my schoolbooks plus something for pleasure reading." She reached into her purse, rustled through all the many things James knew were in there, and pulled out a thin book. "It's called Hairy Snout, Human Heart. A werewolf wrote it, it's an autobiography. It came out a year or so ago, but I hadn't heard about it till now," Lily said casually.
James had heard all about that book; it was Remus' favorite. But he wouldn't tell her that, not now at least.
"What did you do?" she asked him. "In the interim between when we met and now, I mean."
"Well, we met when we were eleven. I did a lot of stuff in that time, I don't think I could tell you all of it," James joked.
"I meant when we met earlier today," she chuckled.
"I, you know, went to Quality Quidditch Supplies. There's a prototype for the new Nimbus out, you know. It's supposed to be really state of the art. My parents were always big on Cleansweeps, though, so I'm a bit partial to them. There are pros and cons for each type, I know. Sirius thinks…" James then realized Lily didn't care. "I er, also went to the apothecary."
"You're taking Slughorn's advanced potions class?"
"Yeah. I know I'm not that good at the subject, but I managed to get an E on my exams. You'd think I'd be better, since my dad invented Sleekeazy's and all."
"You'd think you'd have better hair!" Lily laughed.
"I could have neat hair if I wanted, but I kind of have an aesthetic going," James chuckled.
"So being a rugged bad boy isn't natural?"
"Yeah Evans, it takes a lot of effort to be this cool!"
"You know, you're a whole lot cooler when you don't try to be," Lily said, almost to herself.
"Would you like to go order our ice cream?" James asked, his voice too high-pitched. Lily nodded, and the two stood up and got in line, behind five other people. "What's your favorite ice cream flavor?" he asked. He stood to Lily's right, the list of ice cream flavors directly in front of him. He didn't bother looking at them; he got the same flavor every time he went for ice cream.
"Well, I know it sounds a bit boring, but vanilla's my favorite."
James couldn't think of much to say. He looked around the shop, suddenly finding the blue and white tiles of the wall very interesting. He racked his brain, hoping to find a topic of conversation. "When was the first time you had vanilla ice cream?" he asked once only one person stood in front of them in line.
Her lips turned up into a small smile. "You have been asking me an awful lot of questions today."
So much for not being creepy, James thought. "My mum told me asking questions was the best way to have a polite conversation," James blurted. "She told me this because, I- er, I asked her for some tips on how to be nicer. How to be a better person." James mentally cursed himself for his awkwardness.
"Well, the tips were obviously good ones," Lily said. Their hands were inches away from each other, and James wanted to grasp hers. But he couldn't. He knew now he had come on too strong last year, when he practically demanded she go out with him after the OWLS. He needed to get his act together, for everyone.
They had reached the end of the line. "James, Lily, I never knew you two were friends! What can I get for you?" Florean Fortescue said. He was a jolly faced man who seemed to remember every customer that had ever come to his shop.
"Thank you, Mr. Fortescue. Could-" James started.
"Mr. Fortescue? That's new. You used to call me Flory F," he interrupted, laughing.
Lily giggled and James blushed. He wished he wasn't doing that so much today. "Well, not anymore. Could I please order a medium treacle ice cream and-" he glanced at Lily. "A medium vanilla ice cream? That is what you wanted, Lily, isn't it?"
"It was, now don't be so worried about it!" Lily assured him.
"Cup or cone?" Florean asked.
"Put the treacle in a cone, please. And what would you like, Lily?"
"I'll have a cone too."
"Coming right up!" Florean Fortescue waved his wand. Two ice cream cones came flying forward. The customers each grabbed the one that belonged to them. "That'll be two sickles."
James reached into his pocket, and Lily reached into her purse. "Oh don't worry, I'll pay," he told her.
"No James, let me help…"
"It's fine, Lily." She protested a bit more, but eventually closed her magical purse.
"You really didn't need to do that, you know," Lily told him once they had returned to their table.
"Hey, it was only two sickles."
"But still, it's incredibly sweet of you to treat me to vanilla ice cream."
"You have low standards for what is considered incredibly sweet. It was moderately sweet at best," James laughed.
"Yes, but you're not one to do sweet things!"
"You can think of this as an apology for all those times I've been a git, then."
Lily was silent for what seemed like an eternity. Nervously, James licked his ice cream, and even though he swore he wouldn't, ran his hand through his hair. He didn't want to ask if he had done something wrong, but he had a feeling he had. When in this situation with authority figures, James normally took a devil-may-care attitude. But now didn't seem like the right time for that. He and Lily's friendship had gone so well today, but it was a fragile thing. And he had ruined it, somehow. James wanted to leave the scene of awkwardness and disaster.
But a grin broke out on Lily's face. A bubble of hope rose in James. She said, "Thank you. For getting me vanilla ice cream."
"Well, you did say it was your favorite."
"Do you want to eat our ice cream outside?" Lily asked. "Wouldn't want to waste the nice weather."
"Yeah, sure," James said, standing up. The two walked outside. Lily pointed to one of the shop's picnic tables, and there they sat. Their table stood underneath the shade of a maple tree.
"So, why'd you do the extens-" James started.
"Don't say it out loud!" Lily reprimanded.
"Fine, why did you do the EC on your purse?"
"Well, there's this muggle movie I really like. It's about these two kids, they're really badly behaved, so their nanny quits her job so she won't have to deal with them anymore. Then... why are you smiling like that?" Lily noticed the cheeky grin on James' face. It didn't make sense for their current conversation.
"I had a babysitter do the same thing once," James chuckled.
"Tell me more," Lily asked, intrigued.
"My parents went away to Venice for their anniversary one year. They hired one of their old friends to babysit. Mrs. Figg, I think, was her name. She really liked cats, so I made her a sandwich with cat food." He actually looked a bit ashamed for having done that. It was unlike James to talk about his pranks without a level of pride that bordered on arrogance.
"And she left just because of that?"
"Well, I did a lot of things like that, so she left out of continued frustration," he said.
Lily laughed. "I was going to say, a cat food sandwich sounds tame for you."
"Yeah." James paused. "What were you saying about that movie?"
Lily continued to explain the plot of the movie, with the occasional interjection from James.
Once Lily had finished, James asked, "But what does that have to do with your purse?"
"You see, one of the characters had this carpet-bag, and there's a scene where she pulls out a hat stand and a bunch of other stuff from it. I was inspired by that."
"You broke the law just so you could be like a movie character? You do realize you could be arrested, or worse, have your Prefect badge revoked?" James teased.
"Well, when you put it that way… But I'm sure you've broken the law for more ridiculous reasons!"
"I break school rules for ridiculous reasons. I break the law for important ones."
"What important reasons do you break the law for?"
"Well, I'd-er rather not talk about it right now," James said, looking down.
"Then let's change the subject. So, how about this weather we've been having lately?"
"It's been so sunny. Perfect for Quidditch. Sirius and I have been playing in our backyard every day."
That interested Lily. "You two share a backyard? But he lives in London, and you live in the country."
"Er, don't go around saying this, but Sirius moved in with my family," James whispered.
"How come?" Lily asked. "Or is that too personal?"
"His parents, you see, they aren't-they aren't decent to him, to anyone. But don't go around telling everyone that," he said, looking in her eyes. "He doesn't want the whole school knowing."
"I see," Lily said, glancing away from his eyes. "But why did you tell me?"
James turned his head to meet her eyes again. "I trust you, Lily. I know you wouldn't run around blabbing. And Sirius trusts you, too." He paused. "It may not seem that way, but you're one of the few people he'd be okay with knowing."
Lily didn't know how to respond to that. But luck seemed to favor her in that moment, because James had just finished eating his ice cream.
"Did you like it? Your ice cream, I mean," Lily asked.
"Yeah. I love treacle. Treacle tart is probably my favorite food." He placed his hands on the wooden surface of the table.
"Are you the one who ate all the treacle tart from the Gryffindor table at the end of term feast last year?"
"No actually, that was Peter trying to annoy me," James said.
"Yes." James and Lily looked at each other for a moment, and then burst out laughing.
"I see you've finished your ice cream," James said once they collected themselves.
"Yeah. Mr. Fortescue-or Flory F…" James chuckled at Lily's joke. "Makes such delicious ice cream. It's so rich and creamy. I wonder what his secret is."
"Probably some food charm."
"Or maybe he makes it like a potion," Lily suggested.
"Hey, charms and potions, your two best subjects. Maybe you could start your own ice cream place once you graduate!"
"I could call it Lil E," Lily exclaimed. James raised an eyebrow. "You take the Lil out of Lily, and then put the E from Evans at the end, so it's like Flory F…"
"You're trying too hard to be funny. And you're a whole lot cooler when you aren't trying to be," James said.
"Hey, that's my line! Thief!"
"Well I'm not a Marauder for nothing," James remarked.
"Honestly though, who names their friend group?" Lily teased.
"Really cool people, Lily! Really cool people name their friend group."
"Sure." She rolled her eyes. "The more I think about it, the more I realize what a dork the great James Potter is!"
"I am not a dork!" James squealed.
Lily giggled. "Don't get all defensive, I meant that as a compliment."
"Who calls someone a dork as a compliment?"
"Dorks are…" Lily wanted to say cute, but stopped herself. "Dorks are endearing. Much more so than rugged bad boys."
"So if I'm more of a dork, you won't hate me?"
"I might even like you," Lily told him.
He blushed. "Er, well thanks Lily."
Realizing what that must have sounded like, Lily said, "And by like you, I mean not think that you're an arrogant toerag and enjoy your company."
"It's better than what you've said in the past. I'll take it." James smiled at her, then checked his watch. "Merlin, look at the time! I've got to go. You see Remus... I promised Remus I'd go to his house."
"Sorry that this is unceremonious, but I really, really enjoyed your company. See you September first." James rushed from the picnic table. Other people who sat eating their ice cream outside looked in curiosity at the bespectacled boy who ran from the store.
"James, wait!" Lily called. But that bespectacled boy was out of sight.
Worrying she had offended James somehow, Lily walked back to the Leaky Cauldron.
"Bye Tom," she called to the toothless bartender. He waved goodbye as she opened the door to the pub and went back into the Muggle world.
"Hello, Mum!" Lily called out once she saw her mother. Mrs. Evans stood right outside the Leaky Cauldron, though to her eyes it was a broken-down shop.
"Hello dear. How was your trip?"
"Oh, it was good. Nothing like any of my other trips."
"How so?" Lily's mother asked.
"It was just, it was just er, different."
"Did something change about the alley?"
"No, not the alley. But someone else made a change," Lily said, smiling to herself.
James ran from the ice cream shop and continued down the street. He tried his best not to bump into people, but occasionally failed at that task. Once he had made it to the Leaky Cauldron, he asked Tom if he could use the Floo Network in the fireplace. The bartender obliged. James took a pinch of Floo powder and shouted "The Lupin home!"
"Now lad, there's really no need to shout," Tom told him.
James looked around and noticed stares from the bar's
patrons. "Sorry," he muttered. Then, he dropped the
pinch of powder into the fire and jumped into the
"Mr. and Mrs. Lupin!" James exclaimed once he had reached the family's living room. There sat the couple, each one drinking tea in a chair.
"Good to see you, James. Though, I thought you'd get here at three!" Lyall Lupin said.
James looked down, ashamed to have forgotten about his friend. "It slipped my mind. I'm really very sorry."
"Well, don't waste any more time. Go up and see him," Hope told him.
"Will do," James said before he dashed up the stairs.
"Remus!" James exclaimed as he hurried into his friend's bedroom. Peter sat on a chair and Remus lay sprawled out on his bed. Sirius was sitting at the edge of the bed, stroking Remus' hair. The dark circles under the werewolf's eyes were more prominent than usual, and his face had far too many lines for a sixteen-year-old. James knew his friend always felt and looked more tired right before a transformation, but it still worried him. "Sorry I'm late, mate…hey that rhymed!"
Sirius rolled his eyes. "What held you up? All you were doing was back to school shopping. You should have held it off till August 31st, like I do."
"School shopping can take a while, you know," James said, sitting on the floor besides the bed and taking his knapsack off his shoulder.
"Remus needs you today; it's not a time to be lagging in Diagon Alley!" Sirius scolded.
"Well, er, I saw someone," James murmured, looking down.
"Who?" Peter called out.
"Wow Pete, I didn't know you'd be here! Did you floo us?"
"Yeah. Just for tonight, though," Peter replied
"I suppose you're just here to keep Remus company before midnight?"
"How long has it been? Since the end of the school year, I think. Tell me about Ireland!" James said, talking very quickly.
"Well, first I want to hear why you were so late getting here. Then I'll tell you about Ireland."
"And don't dodge the subject, Prongs," Sirius said.
"I'm not dodging the subject! Hey, you know that dodge sounds like dog, which is what you transform into…"
"Come on James, I want to hear who you saw before I transform tonight," Remus said.
"I don't see why you need to know…"
"Just tell us who you bloody saw!" Sirius demanded.
"I saw Evans. Lily Evans," James said, looking at his feet. "And we got ice cream together."
The boys whistled and whooped. "That's bollocks, of course you didn't!" Sirius said.
"You're joking, I know you are," Peter laughed.
"No, I'm not joking!" James insisted. "And I didn't want to tell you because I knew you would act like this!"
"James, we promise we won't laugh. Tell us about it," Remus said.
"Er, I saw her walking down the street, so I said hello. And we had a nice chat, and she invited me for ice cream…" James tried to sound nonchalant, but inside he was bursting with enthusiasm about what happened.
"She invited you! I'd have believed if you asked her and she said yes, but she invite you!" Sirius interjected.
"Bugger off, Sirius. Let him tell us," Remus said.
"Thanks Moony, glad someone here cares. You could say you're aware wolf of my feelings." Remus groaned, Peter let out a forced laugh, and Sirius fist bumped James.
"I swear James, if you make another one of your shitty puns…" Remus started.
"Will you pun-ch me?" James said. Sirius and Peter roared with laughter. Remus buried his face in his pillow.
Once the rest of the Marauders had recovered from his punchline, James said, "I'm really surprised Lily and I got
along so well today."
"I suppose operation make James a gentleman worked," Remus said. He was speaking of what the rest of the Marauders had named James’ plan to better himself. He wasn't too fond of the name, but it entertained his friends.
"Yeah fellows, we did it!" Peter laughed.
"Nah Wormtail, you fellows didn't do it. It was me!" James said.
"Meaning?" Sirius asked, and his eyebrow rose.
"This self-improvement was self-inflicted! I mean, er, it was my decision to be a better person." James ran his hand through his hair. "So I did most of the work. And I did a pretty damn good job at it, if I do say so myself." He couldn't help but feel pride over all the effort he had put into becoming less prideful.
"No wonder Lily said she wondered how you managed to get your broomstick off the ground with your head on it," Remus muttered.
James looked down in shame. The incident after their Defense Against the Dark Arts exams wasn't a memory he liked thinking about. "She certainly wasn't saying that today!" That wasn't any better, he realized. "I shouldn't have been such a...I could have behaved better, that day, and a lot of other days. And I have a lot of self-improvement to do. But- I'm not a complete twat, okay!"
"Prongs, mate, we know that," Sirius sighed. "Now if you'll quit it with all the 'I need to be a better person' crap, it'd be much appreciated."
"Padfoot, it's not crap, don't say it’s crap!" Peter said. "James, if you want to improve yourself, you should be able to."
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Well, you can take comfort to know that no matter how much of a twat you are, you'll always have Wormtail to be your one man fan club."
"Good, I love validation," James remarked. Remus snorted. "Er, that's not to say that...I bought you some tea from Diagon Alley, Moony." He pulled out a tin from his knapsack. "They're chamomile tea leaves."
"Thanks, Prongs," Remus said.
"Where should I put it?"
"On the bedside table will be fine. I'll make some tomorrow morning"
"Nah mate, I'll make it for you," James said. "I know we can't transform with you, cause of your parents, but I'll floo here tomorrow morning to make you some breakfast in bed."
Remus smiled. "You know James, you really don't have as much self-improvement to do as you think."
Lily and her mother walked to the car park from the Leaky Cauldron. Their ride home from London passed by without any significant happening. Her mother asked her a few questions, but stopped once she saw how distracted her daughter was. In the silence, Lily tried to read Hairy Snout, Human Heart. Five minutes later, she put her book down, frustrated. She couldn't concentrate.
Once the car had pulled into the Evans' driveway, Lily rushed into the house and to her bedroom. She picked up the phone that stood on her bedside table and dialed Mary Macdonald's number.
"Hey Lily!" Mary's familiar voice exclaimed. Lily took a seat on her bed, over her knitted quilt.
"Hey Mary!" The two friends engaged in a bit of small talk before Lily said, "I've got something to tell you, and I feel like I'll burst if I don't tell you now."
"Well, I went to Diagon Alley today. You know, for school shopping. And I saw James Potter."
"Did you two have a screaming match in the middle of Gringotts?" Mary joked.
"No, not at all! We ran into each other walking down the street, and we started talking. And he wasn't, you know, an arse. I think it was the first time we were ever together without arguing!" Lily exclaimed.
"Was that all?" Mary asked.
"No, I…" Lily became bashful. "I asked him to go to Fortescue's with me. And he bought me vanilla ice cream!"
"Lily Evans, what the hell has gotten into you? I thought you hated him."
"I thought so, too. But something was different about him, and I realized…" Lily had no idea how to explain her actions.
"That maybe- maybe the James I met today is a completely different person from the old James. It makes me think of that book, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? How so."
"Well, most of the time James was a rude, conceited, arse- he was like Mr. Hyde. And now he's so caring and friendly and sweet!"
"Can you hear yourself talk? Lily, I think you've fallen for him!"
"I haven't fallen for him; I just think he's less of an arrogant toerag than he was in the past!"
"And the moment you notice this, you ask him on a date-" Mary started.
"It wasn't a date; it was an ice cream get-together between two newfound friends!" Lily protested.
"Whatever you say, but if I noticed a boy I hated for years was being nice, I would be intrigued and maybe try to talk to him some other time. I certainly wouldn't invite him for ice cream!"
"Maybe, I was just, er, very intrigued!" Lily said, though she knew Mary was winning the battle.
"Sure Lily. Now if you don't mind me, I've got to tell the rest of the girls in our dorm that you've finally realized you were head over heels for James Potter."
"I have not!" Lily protested. "And why would you tell them?"
"Because we've known it was going to happen since third year. Bye." Mary hung up the phone, leaving Lily baffled.
Chapter 2: Will Wonders Never Cease?
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A/N: This story is going to be expanded into a series of related oneshots.
Shoutout to my beta, BohemianMoose!
Also, please note that in this story, James only asked Lily out the one time during Snape's Worst Memory.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, all rights go to JK Rowling.
Will Wonders Never Cease?
Lily walked into the library, her school bag slung over her shoulder. She needed a break from the noisy dormitory to work on her Charms essay. Students burst with energy, anxious for the Christmas holiday to start in a week. Lily was unsure how she felt about the upcoming break from Hogwarts. She wanted to see her parents, sure, and it might be nice to get a break from all the homework they had. But of course, she would have Petunia and her fiancé to deal with. She had met the man once, over the summer and found him to be thoroughly unpleasant. In earlier years, Lily would have avoided the situation by going to Severus' house on Spinner's End. But she no longer had that option.
She looked around the library. It was empty, except for James and a small blonde haired boy who looked like a first year. The unlikely pair sat together at a small table, each one working on a piece of parchment. Lily took a step closer to see what was happening.
The first year put down his quill in frustration. "I can't do it!"
"Don't worry, mate, it's okay," James said, still scribbling on his piece of parchment. When Lily looked closer, she saw him drawing a picture of a deer with a dog. Now that they were spending more time together, she found that he doodled quite a bit.
"But this Transfiguration essay is so hard! I can't do any of the spells we learn in class. And McGonagall scares me." James looked up and put down his quill.
"Hey, McGonagall may seem tough at first, but she's actually a really nice lady. You don't need to worry about good old Minnie McGee." The boy laughed. "Don't call her that to her face though," James added.
"But if I don't get the stuff right, she'll get all angry with me. What am I going to do?" the boy asked.
"I'll help you with your Transfiguration homework if you want me to."
"Really?" The boy's eyes widened. He seemed honored to have received such an offer from the popular Quidditch captain.
"Sure, I'm a total whiz at the subject, so I think I'd be a good help." He noticed Lily watching. "Hey, Elijah, have you met Lily Evans?"
The boy looked at her. "She's my prefect, I know who she is."
"Yeah, but does Lily have the pleasure of knowing you?"
"No, I don't," Lily said, smiling. "It's nice to meet you." She reached out her hand to the boy, who shook it. "Well, I'll leave you so James can help with your homework." Lily waved goodbye and left to find a table.
"Your girlfriend's really pretty," Elijah said in an undertone. Lily stopped in her tracks.
"Nah, Evans isn't my girlfriend."
"But I saw you two at that ice cream parlor together!" Lily sat down at a nearby table. But she kept her ears open, still listening in on their conversation.
"When did you see that?" James asked. Lily subtly turned her head and saw James twiddling his thumbs together.
"It was during my school shopping trip. I saw these two teenagers making googly eyes at each other at Fortescue's. It was kinda gross. And then I got to school and recognized you two."
Googly eyes? Lily knew she and James were being nice to each other, but she didn't think they were making googly eyes.
James seemed to agree with her. "We've never made googly eyes at each other. We just were having fun that one day."
"But I see you guys talking all the time at school," Elijah said.
"Well yeah, I got ice cream with her, and we talk together, but that doesn't mean she's my girlfriend. Lily- she's become one of my mates. Which is kind of amazing, given... never mind. But we aren't dating, we're just friends," James explained.
"But do you fancy her?" Elijah asked.
"You sure? I bet she fancies you." Lily wondered if Elijah knew that she could hear them.
"You can-see that she fancies me? Not that she does, but get it? Can-see, fancy? They rhyme." Lily turned her head away from them to hide her amused smirk.
"So, rhymes are bloody, I mean, really awesome. And you know what else is really awesome? Transfiguration!" James exclaimed.
"Are you gonna make rhymes about it?" Elijah said, sounding exasperated.
"Well, now that you mention it, Transfiguration is the new sensation," James said.
Elijah made a face. "I'm getting hungry; I'm going to get dinner." He stood up and put his parchment and quill in his bag.
"I'll go too; I just need to pack up my stuff." He had strewn his school work all over the table, Lily noticed. "Hey, do you want to come back after dinner so that I can help you with that homework of yours?"
"Yeah, sure. Thank you so much."
"See you later, Elijah," James said.
"Bye... James Potter." Elijah sounded unsure what he should call the older boy. Lily heard his footsteps heading out of the library.
She turned her head again and saw James starting to pack up his things. Lily walked over to him. "Hey, do you need help putting your stuff away?"
He looked up. "Yeah, sure. How about you hold my bag and I put my papers in it?"
"That'll work." James handed Lily his bag.
"Thanks. Too bad I don't have a bag like your purse!" he said.
"Ah, I remember the day when I told you about that." She paused, and James put papers in his bag. "And apparently, Elijah does too."
"Yeah." James chuckled, and then looked down. "I don't know why he thought we were dating and that I fancied you, though."
"Well, you did ask me out after exams last year. He wasn't there to see it, but he might have heard about it," she said. She felt a bit bitter as she thought of the incident. Lily knew that James had matured a good bit, but she still didn't like what he had done that day. He had apologized to her, right before they boarded the Hogwarts Express back home. But back then, there was still a bit of animosity between them. They hadn't brought it up since. She almost wished that, now that they were friends, he could apologize once more.
He stopped putting his papers away. "That was rude, the way I asked and what I did. No wonder you said no. And I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry. But I don't do stuff like that anymore." He returned to his task.
Lily smiled; he had appeased her lingering anger. "I could tell."
"Well, that's a good thing, I guess," James said, letting out an uncertain laugh.
"I mean yeah, what you did was rude. More than rude, really...but I don't think the James I know now would ever do it. You're so different now. Like what you just did, helping out that first year? That was really nice." James smiled and reached his hand up as if to mess up his hair, but stopped himself. "How did you meet him, anyway?" Lily continued.
"I went to the library to do work, and he looked lonely, so I sat with him and introduced myself," James explained.
"Again, really nice."
James let out a nervous chuckle. "Thanks. Well, Elijah, he said, 'I can't do it!' so I told him it would be alright, and then he got all worried about McGonagall…"
"I heard all that," Lily said.
"Oh, cool," he said. "Are you staying here for the holiday?"
"Unfortunately, I'm going back home." Lily grimaced as she thought about Petunia and Vernacular...or whatever his name was. They were sure to make the break miserable for her.
James stopped and looked into her eyes. "What's going on at home, Lily?"
"Oh, nothing. It's just that Petunia, my sister, she's marrying this horrible man and he'll be staying with us."
He looked relieved. "But your parents, they're treating you decently?"
"Yeah. Why are you..." Lily stopped. She realized that James worried her parents were like Sirius Black's parents. "You don't need to worry, they're good people."
"Okay. But if things ever get rough over break, you can send me an owl with your address. We can come to your house to get you. So you can stay with us. We've got plenty of guest rooms."
"Thanks James, that means a lot." She and James had finished putting his papers away. He stood up. "Want to come down to dinner with me?"
"I can't. I'd like to, but I need to finish my work. I got a little distracted and didn't start it."
"Yeah, sorry for keeping you from it. I didn't mean to, I swear." He paused and then furrowed his brow. "But you need to eat at some point. Or else you'll get super hungry and pass out. Then you won't be able to do your work at all."
"It's fine, James," she said.
"No, it's not. I'll get you a sandwich, and give it to you later."
"How are you gonna get me a sandwich?" Lily asked.
"I have my ways." He winked and then walked out the doors of the library.
Lily rolled her eyes and sat back down at her table. She wished that James hadn't left. She imagined them doing their homework together. Then he would walk with her back to the Gryffindor common room, and kiss her goodnight before she went up to her dorm…
Lily froze. James had become her friend and one of her favorite people to talk to. But kissing him? That was something she'd never let herself dream of. It might be a fluke, a random thought, she reasoned. So she put the image of James kissing her in her mind again, to see how it would make her feel. And she realized that she rather liked the idea.
"Oh no," Lily whispered. Did she like James? She liked the way he cared about his friends, his bad jokes, his mischievousness, and the way he admitted his past mistakes. She thought of him as attractive and got butterflies when she saw him smile. But that didn't mean she liked him, did it?
She used to get into fights with him; she used to think he was an arrogant toerag. But Lily didn't hate him, not exactly. She hated his guts, but not him. She always knew that James was a caring person who valued others' happiness. He didn't always show it, but she could tell. He and his friends were nasty to Severus, but Severus was nasty right back. Of course, since the Slytherin boy was her best friend, Lily took his side. But she never wanted to speak to Severus again. After all, how could she be best friends with someone who hated Muggleborns? Although James was a lot of things, prejudiced was not one of them. After she and Severus ended her friendship, she realized that James might not be so bad. She still didn't like how he was rude and cocky, but she didn't think of him as her enemy.
Then there came Lily's school shopping trip in Diagon Alley. James acted polite and humble, the opposite of how he used to. But he was still James; he didn't lose his dorky sense of mischief. She had fun with him and they made each other laugh. She found it easy to talk to him; like the two were the best of friends. Ever since that day, she thought about James all day. Whenever something funny happened, she imagined telling him about it. She wanted to see his face light up with laughter. When she felt upset, she wanted him to comfort her. Lily became annoyed when her friends teased her about falling for James. But she would never tell anyone she enjoyed it very much. She liked the idea that other people thought they'd make a nice couple. But she thought that she liked others thinking that, not the idea of them together.
But Lily assumed that she wanted a close friendship with James. She wanted them to hang out more, so she thought about him all day. Until now, the thought of kissing him had never come up. But now it consumed her mind and delighted her. She wondered why. The obvious answer was that she fancied him, but she didn't feel comfortable with that idea. She tried to rack her brain for other explanations, but none came.
Lily sighed. She had fallen for James Potter, no point in denying it anymore. It was a fact of life. "I fancy James Potter, I fancy James Potter," she repeated in her head. When she first thought of the idea, it startled and unnerved her. But the more she repeated it, the more natural it felt. Lily thought about it and realized she liked him since that day in Diagon Alley, or even before that. She liked James Potter, and she wanted to be his girlfriend.
But did he feel the same way? Lily tried to examine the evidence. He might have last year, but today he Elijah that he didn't fancy her. That could have been a lie, she told herself. James might have lied because she was only a short distance away and could hear them. But Lily didn't want to get her hopes up too high, even though the idea that James Potter fancied her made her giddy. He liked her as a friend, sure. He called her his mate, and they knew how to make each other smile. But was there more? Oh, how she hoped there was.
She told herself to get it together. Doing her Charms essay more important than her budding romantic feelings, after all. Lily took out a scroll of parchment and a quill to write the assignment that she hadn't started, because a certain bespectacled boy had kept her from it whether he had meant to or not.