When Lily went to bed that night, she was speechless. Mandy tried to get some words out of her, but Lily only shook her head, smiled or frowned.
“Come on!” Mandy said annoyed. “What’s up?”
“Lily, for Merlin’s sake! Just one word, please…”
“Have you been kidnapped by evil Slytherins? If they have… did they replace your body with one of them in disguise?”
Lily shook her head.
Mandy sighed. “Didn’t really expect you to answer that one…”
The other girls were down in the common room. It was Saturday, after all, and if Mandy didn’t get Lily to speak soon, she was certain she would not be alone in the dormitory with the girl who refused to say a word any more.
“This is not funny, Lily! If you don’t tell me what’s wrong now, I’m leaving you!” No answer. “Great. Your choice.” And Mandy left.
Lily lay down on her bed. She would have to apologise to Mandy tomorrow, but not now. Her mind was focused on other things. I’m weird, she thought. Who doesn’t answer your best friend, and just keeps thinking? That would be me. This is more important, though, she argued. Yeah, it is, but normal girls would tell their best friend what happened at once! She sighed. I’m glad no one writes down my conversations with myself …
Something had happened. Lily had no idea if it was a good or a bad thing, but something had happened…
“So that’s where he is?” Lily asked Peter uncertainly.
“I think I see him, so I s’pose that’s where he is,” Peter said, shrugging.
Lily bit her lip. “I have to do this alone.”
“So can you please go?”
“No problem, no problem! Wow, I didn’t know you were so crazy about getting your hands on him… I’m leaving, I’m leaving!” he added hastily when he saw Lily’s murderous look.
Taking a deep breath, Lily began walking towards the big beech tree. She could see some black, messy hair.
It seemed she was walking for days. It took such a long time. But then she suddenly was there. At last.
“Hi,” she said quietly, sitting down beside him.
James stared at her.
“Listen, I’m sorry for not believing you,” Lily said quickly. “Can you forgive me?”
James didn’t answer.
“Can’t you please answer?! This was like the hardest thing I’ve ever done!” Lily said angrily.
“Well, what d’you want me to say?” James asked, gazing at the lake.
“That you forgive me! That it’s all right! That you love me! That you –” Lily stopped. Blood rushed up to her face. She didn’t dare look at him.
“What?” James said, as though he couldn’t believe his ears.
“You didn’t hear me?” Lily said hopefully.
“I heard you, but – but I don’t think I did. I can’t have done!”
“What,” Lily said, hesitating, “what did you hear?”
James didn’t answer. “Why are you here?” he said instead.
“Because – well, I had to apologise! And before you say something else, how did you know it was Snape?”
“I recognised his owl.”
“Yeah, I know. Why would I send my present with it, then? But the point is, Snape had used a charm, or a hex, or something… that made everyone who entered the owlery use his owl… or something… dunno… but I understood it when you gave me ‘my’ poem.”
“Oh,” Lily said.
They were silent for a while.
“So…” Lily said, trying to find something she could talk about.
“Er – did you really write me a poem?” She felt stupid, but she had wondered that for a while.
“Can I see it?”
“I don’t have it. Snape’s got it somewhere, I s’pose.”
“And… you’re not going to hex him to get it back?”
“D’you want me to?”
“That’s what I thought,” James said, gazing at his shoes.
“But… d’you remember the poem?”
“Some of it. Why?”
“I’m curious. I want to hear it,” Lily said, smiling.
“Nope. I don’t think,” he added when he saw Lily’s disappointed look, “that poems say much, anyway. It’s better to… talk, you know?”
“Yeah. So… can we talk?”
“We’re talking right now, aren’t we?”
“Yeah, but this is the most awkward conversation I’ve ever had with someone! Can’t you just… become normal again? You know… act cocky, be as much of an arsehole as you want… well, maybe not, but the other normal things, then? Making me angry, teasing me, asking me out –”
“Do you want me to ask you out?” James asked in disbelief.
“I didn’t say that,” Lily whispered, not meeting his hazel eyes. “But if you absolutely want to ask me out… do it.”
“Lily, I’ve changed. I don’t try to act like a bastard, I’m not childish – at least not as childish as I used to be,” James said with a smile. “I don’t hurt people with no reason and I – I don’t ask you out any more.”
“Why not?” Without knowing it, she had moved closer and closer to him, and now she was holding his hand.
They both realised this at the exact same time. They stared at their hands, so nicely intertwined, before looking at each other.
James tried to act as casual as possible. “Do you, Lily Evans, want to go out with James Potter?” He really expected her to say no and see her run away, laughing, but that didn’t happen.
“What… what do you want me to say?” Lily mumbled.
“I want – I want – oh, please, you already know, don’t you? Yes of course!”
“Well, then…” She cleared her throat. “I, Lily Evans, accept the offer James Potter has made, and I say yes. Did that make sense?”
“The only thing that doesn’t make sense is why you suddenly want to go out with me!” James said. He still couldn’t believe his ears. This was a dream. It had to be. Just another dream. But in his dreams, the conversations he had with Lily were not as awkward and weird as this one.
“I can’t help it!” Lily shouted. “I don’t want to, but I do want to, and – never mind, this is just confusing!”
James grinned. “Does this mean that we have a date?”
“Of course it does; haven’t you been listening?”
“Not really. I was just thinking of that sexy girl in Slytherin,” he said, smirking.
“You were what?”
“I’m kidding. D’you understand? Joke.”
“That wasn’t funny!” Lily said, laughing.
“You’re laughing. Usually that means that the joke’s funny,” he told her.
“Not this time.”
“No? See you later.”
“It’s full moon tonight,” he said matter-of-factly. “So I have to go. I just have to do one more thing first…”
Full moon? Why did that mean he’d have to go? She forgot that when he came closer and closer, though. His breath tickled her lips. She closed her eyes, waiting for the kiss on her lips. But… it didn’t come. Instead, she got a peck on the left of her mouth. “Until next time,” he whispered, “goodbye.”
When Lily thought of that, she was just confused. Was she really in love with James Potter? She didn’t know. Had she wanted him to kiss her? She didn’t know. Was she actually going out with him? She didn’t have a clue.
And she had no idea if this was the best birthday she had ever had or if it was the worst. She remembered vaguely that she wanted this to be her best birthday ever, but it had turned out to be the worst. But had it, really? For she had this good feeling…
The best or the worst?
The best or the worst?
But she knew it now.
She could finally look back at her birthdays in Hogwarts as not something dreadful.
So… the best or the worst?
It was the best birthday she had ever had in the castle.
A/N: I believe this is a weak last chapter and that it's got a clichè ending, but I hope a person or two feels differently. I hope you enjoyed the little ride. Thank you for your reviews, guys! And if you can't get enough of my wonderful writng (note: sarcasm), you can go and see if some of my other fics interest you.
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