Chapter 20 : Chapter 20: I Love You, Lily
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November 30th dawned cold and crisp, a coat of white frost settled on the windows of the Head Girl’s bedroom. But Lily Evans wasn’t waking up as she did most mornings and seeing these winter sights. Instead she stirred in her bed as she felt an added weight on the mattress and someone breathing near her face.
“James,” she laughed sleepily, “get off me, that tickles.”
These was no reply and when she opened her eyes she looked into, not the hazel chocolate’s belonging to the Head Boy, but rather the green emeralds of…
Sitting up in her bed, making sure she was fully awake and not seeing things, she looked down at her covers again. Sure enough there, sitting on her bed, was a beautiful kitten with red fur that matched Lily’s own hair, green eyes and holding a purple lily in it’s mouth. It wore a green collar around its neck with a silver tag bearing the engraving; “Tiger” on the front, while the back read; “I love you, Lily”.
This had to be a Marauder working.
“James?” she called through the door. Moments later, as though only waiting on the other side for her call, James appeared wearing a wide grin.
“You summoned me?” he asked. “Do you like your present?”
Comprehension finally dawned on Lily; it was her seventeenth birthday, and the kitten, Tiger, was obviously James’ gift to her.
Being sure to avoid knocking the kitten off the bed, Lily jumped out of bed to rush at James, throwing her arms around him and kissing him on the lips.
“Oh, James, I love it! How did you know I wanted a kitten?”
James continued smiling and tapped his nose. “Magic, my dear girl. Now get dressed, or you’ll be late for the rest.”
Lily nodded and kissed James again before retreating back to her bed, and new pet, to get ready. Only then did it hit her what James had said.
“Happy birthday, Lily!” chorused Lily’s two friends, joined by the three Marauders, the moment she and James reached their section of the Gryffindor table.
“Thanks,” Lily said to them, her lips spread in a smile.
Amberle went to hand Lily a parcel, but Sirius stuck out his arm to stop her.
“Wait, we can’t get ahead of ourselves here. We’re missing a vital addition,” he said, standing up and pulling out his wand. He pointed it into the air above where Lily sat nervously and muttered something none of them could make out. Next second sparks flew from the end of his wand and assembled themselves in a form of banner that seemed to read;
“HAPPY 17TH LILY! FROM ALL THE MARAUDERS AND MARAUDERETTES!”
Remus sighed. “Sirius, I thought we agreed to do the celebrations at lunch?”
“What?” Sirius defended. “This is Lily’s first breakfast of legal age. And, since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it seemed smart to celebrate the important day at the important meal. it’s only logical, Moony.”
Lupin laughed and shook his head at his friend’s twisted sense of the word “logic”.
“Here, Lils, happy birthday. These are from me and Gabby,” Amberle said, she and Gabriella handing a parcel each to the birthday girl.
“We were checking out your stuff the other day and decided you needed something to spice you up a bit,” Gabriella said, grinning.
“Something guaranteed to knock the socks off your Head Boy here,” Amberle added wickedly, winking at James who had grown a grin so wide it looked like his own birthday had come.
Lily smiled, slightly pink from embarrassment, and put the parcels in her bag unopened, earning a disappointed moan from Sirius. But Lily knew better than to open a gift with that type of description in a public place.
The Marauders gift came next, giving her a series of different books. She opened one, entitled; “The Joys of Being of Age”, and flicked through it with a laugh, hiding the contents from James who was peering over her shoulder.
After thanking everyone for her presents, reaching over the table to offer hugs to the Marauders, she sat back down and prepared to eat her breakfast. But, before she had time to do more than decide on cereal, she was handed another gift. This time, by James.
Lily looked at him, puzzled. “But, James, you already gave me Tiger for my birthday. What’s this?”
“Tiger was present one. This, is present two,” he said with a proud grin.
“Two? How many are there?”
“You’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?” he told her with a wink.
Lily decided not to argue and turned her attention to the object wrapped in paper on her plate. She carefully tore off the wrappings and removed from inside what seemed to be a photo frame, and other beautiful purple lily. Turning it over she say “I love you, Lily” written on the back in purple ink.
Lily knew from first glance this was no ordinary Muggle frame, for behind the glass there was no picture, but instead an engraving; “Lily and James”.
She looked at it for another moment and gasped as it began to change. It no longer showed words, but flashed up several different pictures of Lily with James. They ranged from their first meeting (Lily soaking wet and James in stitches laughing on the Hogwarts Express), to their first date (standing together outside the book shop). Most of the photographs seemed to be taken without the knowledge of the photographed, but that just made it all the better.
When the reel of pictures came to an end, a second engraving showed up saying; “Forever and Always”.
Lily turned and put her arms around James’ neck, kissing him deeply. “James, it’s perfect! How did you ever-”
But James cut her off with a grin. “Ah, Lils, a wizard never reveals his secrets.”
“Especially a Marauder wizard, there are laws against things like that. Our secrets could be dangerous in the wrong hands,” Sirius added.
“So I’m guessing those wrong hands are yours, Sirius?” Remus enquired.
Lily was grinning as they all left the Great Hall together some time later. This had been her best birthday ever.
And, according to James, it was only just beginning.
“Do you know what he has planned?” Lily questioned Amberle and Gabriella on their way to Transfiguration. Her two friends smiled, giving Lily her answer before they said anything.
“Maybe,” Gabriella said.
“But birthdays are all about surprises, Lils. We can’t ruin it for you, you have to find it out for yourself,” Amberle added. Lily hated when her friends got all smug like this, but she couldn’t help but be excited about what was in store for her. Once James was behind it she knew it wasn’t going to be any ordinary birthday.
James watched Lily interrogate her friends with glee. This was turning out as well as he’d hoped, and the look on Lily’s face when she got her two gifts made all the preparation worth while.
Hey, when James Potter did something, he did it all. No stone was left unturned when it came to celebrating his girlfriends birthday, especially his first with her.
“Come along, everyone. We have a lot to get through today,” Professor McGonagall said, appearing in her doorway. The students filed in past her and took their usual seats throughout the classroom.
James watched Lily as she wove her way to her seat towards the front of the classroom. When she reached the desk she whipped around to look at James, glancing between him and the table. James grinned triumphantly at the look, for on the table a folded up cloak, accompanied by the purple lily lying on the top. A similar note to the others reading “I love you, Lily” was attached to the fabric.
Even from the first glance, Lily knew it was no ordinary cloak. This was known as the “All Purpose Cloak”, an extremely rare invention. It could shield from any weather, change length, colour and weight, even protected the wearer from fire and minor jinxes. It was said the only thing the cloak didn’t do was make you invisible, that talent reserved for an even rarer item. She never ever expected to see either of them, let alone be in possession of one. They were quite expensive and required very strong transfiguration spells.
Lily moved back to James. “How…W-Where did you get this?!”
“There’s more to me than you know, Lils,” James said with a wink. Lily couldn’t help herself, she began to laugh before kissing James, completely forgetting she was standing in the middle of a packed classroom. But her memory was brought back sharply by the sound of Professor McGonagall’s voice.
“It may be your birthday, Ms Evans, but I believe those actions should be conducted after class,” the Professor said, smiling slightly as she walked past the couple.
Lily turned scarlet faced and smacked James who was in stitches laughing at her embarrassment.
“I’m going to kill you,” she hissed from behind her book where she was hiding her red face. James only continued to laugh silently.
“You love me really, Lils,” he replied happily. “Happy birthday, dearest.”
Lily barely paid attention to the lesson, freaked over he public embarrassment but enticed to see what James had coming for her.
“I’ve never seen anyone turn that shade of red before, Lily, not even Snape that time in third year when he had to wear the girls uniform because we vanished all his clothes,” Sirius laughed as they all left their first class.
“It was quite magnificent, Lils. You even made McGonagall smile it was that funny,” Gabriella giggled.
Lily threw them a look, pretending to be hurt by their teasing. It lasted all of two seconds before she broke into a wide grin, unable to be anything other than happy at that moment.
As with Lily being unable to contain her happiness, James was unable to keep his pride in himself from his face. He was immensely pleased with himself at how well things were going so far.
Let’s hope it would continue that way, he loved the smile that lit up his girlfriend’s face with every surprise.
Not to mention the rewards he got himself!
“Did anyone do the defence homework?” Peter piped up, dulling the cheerful mood.
“You didn’t do it again, Wormtail?” Sirius sighed, sounding more than a little frustrated.
The smallest Marauder shook his head and said nervously, “I-I didn’t have time. I was b-busy.”
James sighed as well but drew out his homework - which he’d done the night before on Lily’s command - and wand, making a duplicate of his work and handing it to his friend.
“Here, change it around so it looks more like your work. But you gotta start doing things on your own, Wormtail. We won’t be able to bail you out of everything in the future.”
Wormtail nodded frantically, looking almost fearful of the wand in James’ hand. “Thanks, James, you’re the best. I better go on ahead and finish this.”
The remaining Marauders nodded in farewell, the three girls waving, before their companion disappeared into the throng of students.
“Does Wormtail seem to be a little…off…to you two lately?” Remus asked with a worried expression.
“Yeah a bit, I suppose,” James admitted as they continued down the corridor. “He hasn’t been with us much this year, now that you mention it. Always seems to be busy, I suppose it is a little weird.”
“Or it could just be Wormtail being Wormtail, he’s always been a little weird. It’s the nature of rats I guess,” Sirius added.
Amberle rounded on her boyfriend. “Ok, I know Peter can be a little…strange…sometimes, but he’s still your friend. Calling him a rat is harsh, Sirius.”
Sirius looked like he was going to reply with the explanation that Peter really was a rat, but frantic warning signals from Remus and James sent him off course.
“But he i-…Um…Yeah…You’re right, sorry,” he apologised hastily.
Amberle and Gabriella looked confused at Sirius’ very out of character apology. Eventually they shook it off as nothing, much to the relief of the four Marauders now able to breath easily once more.
The six continued towards the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom as if nothing had happened, the dangerous mention of the Marauder’s secret left behind them.
As they neared the classroom, they all began grinning excitedly. Lily turned to James, who’s smile was leading the rest.
“There’s something waiting in here, isn’t there?” she asked.
“My dear Lily, are you expecting something every lesson now?” he asked. This would have sounded like an insulted scolding if it wasn’t for the beaming mischief etched all over his face.
“Of course not! I was only-” Lily protested. James just laughed at her.
“Tough, ‘cause you should be.”
Lily, not sure whether to believe him or not, entered the classroom. Sure enough, occupying her seat near the front of the classroom was the tell tale purple lily covering the front of a book. Removing the flower, holding it close to her face to inhale its beautiful fragrance, she read the title; “All Things Cursed to Cured”.
She glanced up at James, who nodded, and opened it. Written on the back of the cover was a note from James;
“To mend for the future what the past has broken. I love you, Lily.”
Flicking through the pages she saw several interesting paragraphs bearing headings such as; “Turn Bad to Good; Use your curse to your advantage” and “5 Steps to Curse Removal”.
“Thank you so much, James,” she whispered meaningfully, giving him a quick hug and kiss on the cheek before the Professor came. “It’s perfect.”
“So are you,” James added chees-ily, but Lily smiled again.
“James, you’ve given me four wonderful presents, it’s too much, really,” Lily insisted as the couple strolled around the grounds during their morning break.
“I don’t think so. You’ve never been spoilt, and you definitely don’t do it yourself, so I decided you needed some spoiling on your birthday. You deserve it, Lils, just enjoy your day,” James said.
“But you went through so much trouble-”
“It’s your birthday, and I’m your boyfriend; I’m meant to go through trouble for you, it’s part of the job. I want to do it, Lils. Just think of it as making up for the last sixteen years when I couldn’t do anything with you for your birthday,” he told her, wrapping his arms around her as they seated themselves under a tree by the lake. “Now, do you want your next surprise? Or are you going to keep giving out?”
“Ok, Ok, I’ll stop,” she gave in with a smile. Lily wasn’t used to this much attention from anyone, not even her parents, but she couldn’t say she wasn’t enjoying it.
“Just as I thought,” James said with a smile and handed it over, leaning back against the tree while she inspected it.
He’d given her another of the purple lilies, this time accompanied by a beautifully decorated piece paper, bearing what seemed to be a poem. Intrigued, and definitely surprised, she read it.
(Poem written by Rex A. Williams)
~Never Have I Fallen~
Your lips speak soft sweetness
Your touch a cool caress
I am lost in your magic
My heart beats within your chest
I think of you each morning
And dream of you each night
I think of my arms around you
And cannot express my delight
Never have I fallen
But I am quickly on my way
You hold a heart in your hands
That has never before been given away
I love you, Lily
Without making a sound, Lily turned and placed her lips firmly against James’, surprising the Head Boy who hadn’t realised she was done. But he was James Potter after all and so quickly recovered, kissing her back with equal enthusiasm.
“Happy birthday, Lilykins,” he whispered when they eventually broke apart.
Surprise Number 5 had been a success; On to the next!
Lily was ashamed to admit it, but when she entered the dungeons for Potions and found no little gift or flower waiting on her stool, she felt a twinge of disappointment. She’d been enjoying the thrill and excitement of finding them, wondering what trick James had up his sleeve this time.
“Something wrong, Lils?” Gabriella asked, who was her partner for the lesson.
“What?” Lily, who’d been searching her desk, asked distractedly. “Um, no. everything’s fine, Gab.”
At the back of the room, James was almost falling off his stool with delight; it was so perfect.
“Everyone take out their cauldrons and start getting ready. We’ll be preparing Veritaserium today,” Professor said as he waddled towards his desk.
Lily sighed in defeat and retrieved her cauldron from beneath her desk, a rattle sounding from it’s depths. Gabriella, who was watching her friend with great curiosity, wasn’t prepared for the gasp she let out and nearly fell from her stool herself.
The reason for Lily’s surprised outburst was made clear moments later when she fished a small bottle from her cauldron, once again with a flower. Stuck to the bottle was another note bearing the same four words as before; “I love you, Lily” which she removed and placed carefully in her Potions book so that she could read the bottle label.
“AMORTENTIA PERFUME; be everyone’s favourite person to be around with this wonderful perfume that changes its scent to become the favourite of those with you!”
Lily whipped around to James who was gripping onto his desk to keep himself from falling off in laughter. He was getting too much enjoyment from this, but Lily’s reaction was better than he could have thought.
“Ms. Evans? Is everything ok?” Slughorn inquired.
Lily, still stunned from shock, stood gaping at James for another few moments before turning to her Potions Master. “Y-Yeah, Professor, I’m just…just great.”
Slughorn nodded and went to return to the lesson but stopped, sniffing the air around him. “Does someone have crystallised pineapple with them by any chance?”
Gift six? Check!
“That perfume is amazing, James!” Gabriella exclaimed after Potions.
“Yeah, you definitely have your way with gifts,” Amberle complimented. “I hope you’re taking notes from him, Mr. Black.”
“Thanks, Prongs,” Sirius said dryly. “You had to do all this for my girlfriend’s friend, didn’t you? Couldn’t you have gone and put that kind of torture-pressure on some other bloke?”
“Hey, Lily was mine first, Padfoot. It’s your own fault,” James laughed.
Sirius muttered something about having no choice in the matter, making everyone break into laughter.
“What’ve we got next?” Amberle asked when they emerged from the dark surroundings of the dungeons into the bright Entrance Hall.
“Charms!” Lily said cheerfully. She was always in a good mood going to Charms, it was her favourite subject after all.
“Who hit her with a Cheering Charm? Honestly, it’s not natural to be this perky during any lesson,” Sirius said, looking disgusted. Lily just laughed and kept going, her good mood not dampened in the slightest.
“Don’t knock it, Padfoot. Overly-happy Lily beats Scary-angry Lily, don’t you think?” James said, sneaking his arm around the waist of the Lily in question.
“Highly-insulted Lily isn’t too good either you know. And she tends to come out when people talk about her like that,” Lily added in.
“And Sirius tends to get scared when people talk about themselves in the third person.”
Remus shook his head in amusement. “You lot are such kids!”
“We are not!” James, Sirius, Amberle, Gabriella and even Lily replied in unison.
The spirits of the seven had been climbing higher throughout the day, everything forgotten bar the fun they were having.
“Everyone inside, now,” Flitwick said when they all reached the room. The three girls and four Marauders filed past the tiny Professor into the room with the rest of their classrooms.
For the seventh time that day, Lily saw the purple petals of the lily flower with the customary note in emerald scrawl attached. This time it was on top of what seemed to be a notebook. It didn’t look particularly spectacular, it looked like any normal notebook would, which is what it seemed to be to Lily. But what she loved about it immediately was the deep sapphire colour of it’s cover.
“It’s gorgeous, James. I’ve been needing a new place to put my Charms notes. Thanks,” she said to him when he took the seat to her left.
“Open it,” he said to her simply. Slightly confused, Lily did as he said. On the inside cover was a small introduction. Who needed an introduction to a notebook? Seemed kind of weird…even to a witch.
“Sick of lugging around dozens of books and pieces of parchment? Tired of getting detention because your “owl” flew away with your homework? Then you need the Never-Ending Notebook! It will hold any amount of information in its pages for any number of subjects! You’ll be able to go to the Quidditch from now on without any teachers breathing down your neck for homework…Unless you actually don’t do it!”
“James! That’s genius!” Lily exclaimed.
“Why thank you,” James replied with a modest grin. “Since I know you’ll drive yourself nuts studying this year, I thought it might be helpful if you could at least keep it all together.”
“Did you get one for yourself by any chance?” Lily asked, her smile from earlier in the day still growing.
“Hey now, Lils, you got him to be thoughtful towards your own study obsession. Asking him to do the same himself is going too far,” Sirius laughed from the desk in front of them where he’d obviously been listening to their conversation.
“I suppose so,” Lily said, giving James a sly look. “But I’ll get to him one way or another.”
“Yeah? And how exactly do you plan on doing such a thing, Ms. Head Girl,” James asked in a low tone, leaning closer to her.
“We’re going to revise Silencing Charms today. Would you like to try it on yourself first, Mr. Potter?” Professor Flitwick asked as he passed by their desk.
“I show you later,” Lily whispered to him before turning her attention back to the lesson.
“Food! Finally! It seems like today is going on forever,” Sirius complained when they arrived in the Great Hall for lunch.
Amberle sighed as she was dragged by the hand towards the Gryffindor table. “You’re hopeless, Sirius.”
“No, I’m hungry actually. Quite a difference there, dear,” Sirius told her, grinning.
“Forget about him being a dog, a pig is more like it,” James whispered to Remus who started laughing, getting weird looks from those around him.
The seven ate their lunch together, not exactly in silence (that word not even known to the Marauders) but with less conversation than any other time.
The one secret to controlling the Marauders? Feed them, they’ll do anything once they’re fed.
“What’s after lunch?” James asked in between mouthfuls.
“Well I’m going to Ancient Runes with Gabby, the rest of you’ve got Herbology,” Lily replied. This was the only difference in their timetables, every other lesson placed them all together.
“Try not to miss me too much, Lils. I know Ancient Runes is torture for you without me,” James winked.
“Not to mention the subject itself is boring as hell,” Sirius added.
The plates cleared themselves away as people began to make their way to their next lesson, but unlike the rest in the Hall, something appeared on Lily’s plate after she was finished.
It was, yet again, a purple lily but this time with a delicious treat. It was a box of chocolate. But not just any old chocolate, Lily’s absolute favourite; Lindor. Inscribed on the bottom of the box was “I love you, Lily” again.
Lily’s grin spread from ear to ear as she kissed James powerfully.
“Wow, give a girl a box of chocolate and she’s over the moon. Why didn’t I do this earlier?” James laughed before kissing his Head Girl again.
“You two really need to give that a break,” Remus told the couple, who didn’t seem too interested in what he was saying.
“Oh leave them alone, it’s Lily’s birthday after all. Once she doesn’t start it in class again,” Gabriella said with a giggle.
Surprise eight; brilliant success!
“Having a good day, Lils?” Gabriella asked as the two friends walked together towards their classroom.
“It’s brilliant! I can’t believe James did all this,” Lily said with pure admiration.
“He’s something else alright. Any ideas what else he has planned?”
“Not the slightest clue! I’ll never understand a Marauder mind, which is probably why they get away with so much,” Lily laughed.
“How did we get involved with all this, Lil?” Gabriella asked.
“I’m not sure, this year has been our weirdest yet. But I love it, don’t you?”
Gabriella looked embarrassed but nodded in agreement. “I really do as well, Remus is brilliant. I never thought I’d be dating a Marauder this time last year.”
“Ha, me neither! The thought of dating James would have made me sick last year, now it just makes me happy…even though it’s kind of weird.”
“It is quite unbelievable though,” Gabriella admitted before they reached the door leading to their next classroom.
But some things in life were like that; they took you by surprise and brought you places you’ve never been before, completely changing the world around you from what it had been before. The Marauders were one of those things.
“You think Prince Potter left a special surprise in here for the birthday girl, even though he doesn’t take this class?” Gabriella asked curiously.
“I doubt it. He doesn’t even know where the Ancient Runes class is held, so how could he leave something here?” Lily replied reasonably as they went inside.
“Looks like you spoke too soon,” Gabriella said and raised her finger to point at a box on one of the tables, the day’s traditional lily perched on top. “Ooooh! I wonder what it is!” she exclaimed excitedly, rushing towards the table, her excitement was almost more than Lily’s, sighing with impatience as Lily opened the box slowly and carefully.
Inside, wrapped in scarlet and gold paper, was a mug. Lily loved mugs, she had millions of them at home for her daily dozen cups of tea, but even she had never seen one like this before. It was white in colour, gold flowers painted on as decorations, but much more unusual by far was the writing that wound around the rim of the cup in dazzling emerald.
The writing wasn’t in English, nor any language known to the Muggle world, or even half of the wizarding world. But instead, it was in ruins, the subject she was about to study. The beautiful engravings along the rim spelt out not only Lily’s name, but also the names of her closest friends. It was a strange feature, but she didn’t question it.
The face of the cup bore three more markings. One read; “Happy Birthday”. the second; “I love you, Lily”. And the final one quoted Lily’s favourite saying; “Tea solves all problems”.
“How did he do this?” Lily wondered in amazement, turning the cup over in her hands. “He’s never even taken ruins, he couldn’t have translated this himself.”
“Maybe that’s why he was in the library so much recently?” Gabriella suggested. “Maybe he found it really hard to find the ruin for tea, it wasn’t a very common term back when as I’m sure he found out.”
Lily rounded on her friend accusingly. “You helped him do this, didn’t you?”
“No, of course not. He wouldn’t let anyone do any of it for him. He only asked where the Ancient Runes translation books were in the library, so I was really eager to see what he did with them. And I must say, it is quite amazing,” Gabriella said, looking at the cup with undisguised admiration.
James Potter was really pulling out all the stops by Number Nine!
Forty minutes later, the seven met up again to head towards the North Tower and their last class of the day; Divination.
“James! The cup is amazing, how on earth did you do all those translations?!” Lily shouted the moment she spotted his dark, unruly hair, running towards it.
“You liked it?” James asked with a small chuckle as her hands flew around his neck.
“I love it, thank you so much, James. It’s wonderful.”
“I’m glad you liked it, Lils. Definitely makes it worth tarnishing my reputation by being in the library,” he said.
“Thanks, I’m happy to be worth such a high cost,” Lily smiled.
“Of course,” James laughed and kissed her gently.
“Will you two please stop being so mushy all the time? Just because it’s technically legal to kiss her now, James, doesn’t mean you have to do it constantly every time you see her,” Amberle pointed out, even through her smile.
“Of course it does!” James objected, pulling Lily towards him as if to emphasise his point.
“Maybe Prongs has it right, for once. Showing a little affection every now and then may not be such a bad thing,” Sirius suggested, winking at his Gryffindor girlfriend.
“Showing up in time for class might not be such a bad thing either, you know,” Remus added, coming to stand between Amberle and a now disgruntled looking Sirius.
“Yeah, Lils, let’s go to class,” Amberle said and hurried to the end of the corridor and up the ladder, Gabriella and the birthday girl hot on her heels. The three girls were really getting into James’ treasure hunt now.
Girls and their games, what can be said for it?
“Where is it? Can you see anything?” Amberle asked, searching the room with her hawk eyes.
“Maybe there isn’t one. I might have run out of ideas you know,” James said from the top step of the ladder.
Amberle scoffed. “Not a chance of that happening, Potter. I know you left something he-”
“There! Over on the table by the window!” Gabriella cried.
The three seventeen year old girls raced across the classroom, coming dangerously close to falling over and wrecking the place for laughing so hard.
The scene that greeted Lily on the table was much like the previous one; her favourite purple lily lay resting on the lid of a pretty navy-blue box. Opening the seal and reaching into the navy depths, she withdrew a gold candle, “I love you, Lily” carved into the magnificent looking wax. On the bottom of the box was a small sheet of parchment which Gabriella fetched and read out;
“The Mood Candle; let everyone be warned of the mood you are in before they find out the hard way. Whether you’re a relaxed lavender, or a tangy orange, the flame and scent will tell all.”
“Oh, I want one! Then maybe that annoying ‘witch’ in out dormitory would know when to not piss me off,” Amberle cackled.
Lily looked around the room, finding James sitting at his table a few rows away, watching her again with a wide grin. She smiled back at him before they started to “gaze into the crystal ball”.
Ten down now…How many more to go?
Classes were finally over for the day and students were relaxing before they were struck by the mountain of homework they tried to escape.
Amberle and Gabriella, accompanied by three of the Marauders, had returned to Gryffindor Tower to change after their last lesson, while the Head Boy and Girl retreated to their own secluded quarters.
“This cat is really like you, Lils,” James commented as they sat together, him watching the feline prowl across the floor.
“How so?” Lily asked, raising her head to look at Tiger who was staring at James.
It was safe to say the look in the kitten’s eyes at that moment was far from loving.
“We’ve only just met, and she automatically seems to hate me for no reason what so ever.” James sounded affronted, that two creatures, with the same hair and eyes, could automatically write him off as a bad guy. Things like that just weren’t fair.
Lily laughed, reaching down to scratch the kitten, who growled appreciatively before bounding up onto the sofa to sit on Lily’s left. “Give her six years or so and I’m sure she’ll come around.”
James reached over to the pet as well, trying to imitate Lily’s movement but his results weren’t as rewarding; instead of the cute purr Lily had gotten, he got a snarl and an arched back. “I knew she was the cat to get you, you’re both as stubborn as one another.”
Lily found the whole situation hilarious and continued to giggle as her boyfriend and kitten stared daggers at one another from either side of her. A few minutes later, and James had given up, turning a resentful face towards Lily as Tiger took her prize as place of honour on Lily’s lap.
“Evil cat,” he muttered, earning himself another hiss. “Anyway, here you go, Lils,” James said, holding out the eleventh flower along with a book.
“Oh, James, this is great. How did you know this was my favourite book?” Lily asked. It was her all time favourite novel by a Muggle author; “PS; I Love You”.
“You mentioned it to me once, and I didn’t forget.”
Lily smiled at his strange ability to remember any and all details about her, quite a scary trait at times. “James, you really are amazing, you know that?”
“Well, I would agree, but then you might think I was big-headed like before. So I’ll go with I never had any idea in my whole life,” he said, giving her a wink.
Well, eleven had gone over quite smoothly, hadn’t it?
“We should get going soon, we have that Prefect meeting to go to,” Lily reminded him, getting up off the sofa rather reluctantly, shifting an even unhappier Tiger off her knee.
“Yeah, I’ll go get ready now,” James agreed.
But he never moved. Instead he sat where he was, watching her go into her room and cross it to the door that led to their bathroom, only losing sight with the click of the lock. Still, he didn’t move a muscle, listening quite patiently, a wide grin on his face.
“James!” came the cry moments later from the bathroom that he had been waiting for. He sat up and grinned as Lily reappeared in the common room, a purple lily in her left hand, and a long, slender velvet box in the right.
“It’s beautiful,” she cried. In the box was a gorgeous white gold bracelet bearing a small plaque at the centre with the comment; “I love you, Lily 1977” engraved on the back.
“James, this is-”
“Completely worthy of you,” James interrupted and kissed her head.
It was an even dozen now!
“Ok, I think that’s it for now. There probably won’t be any changes in the round timetable between now and the holidays, but if anything does pop up we’ll let you know. That’s all I think, right, James? Anything to add?” Lily asked, turning her attention from the gathered Prefects to the Head Boy.
“I do have something to add, actually,” James told her. Both Lily and the Prefects registered shock; James had never added anything to Lily’s speech. He usually just sat there and looked intimidating.
“Um…ok. What is it?”
“It’s the Head Girl’s seventeenth birthday today! Everyone sing happy birthday!”
Lily was mortified. There was no way James had just done that…
Oh but he had. Lily turned deep scarlet as the Prefects burst into song, conducted by James who was laughing his head off once more. Lily was now so far down in her seat from embarrassment she was nearly on the floor. She’d never known the happy birthday song could go on for so long, those two minutes seemed like two lifetimes to Lily.
When they had finished and cheered, the Prefects began to file out of the classroom, grinning and wishing her happy birthday. When the room was empty, apart from Lily and her Master Marauder she rounded on him.
“You are dead,” she said simply.
“Aw, come on, Lils, I had to give them the chance to wish you happy birthday. You can’t just let opportunities like that slide past. And after all, you gave me the window to do it, don’t you know me better than that by now?” James countered.
“Maybe, but I’m still going to kill you.”
“Well can we clean up and go back to the common room before you end my life, dearest? I don’t think I’d like my last sight to be the inside of a Prefect meeting, seems like such a dull way to go,” James teased.
Lily started to mutter to herself as she cleaned away the parchments used during the meeting, emptying the drawers of the desk she had used. But she was quickly silenced when she opened the bottom drawer to see if she had left anything behind, finding not one but two purple lilies and two velvet boxes, one a small cube shape and the other a large square.
“Since the number thirteen is considered unlucky, I thought it would be best to give you fourteen with it to counter the unlucky curse!” James explained proudly.
“Fourteen? You got me fourteen presents?!” Lily whispered, almost to herself.
“So far,” James said, smiling at Lily’s confused look. “I’ve given you fourteen so far, the day isn’t over yet. Now are you going to open them?”
Lily did as James suggested and opened the smallest of the boxes, still a little stunned. A pair of diamond earrings, the same design as her bracelet from earlier, were contained inside. They really were beautiful.
She smiled up and James and pulled the second box open, revealing a stunning necklace, again of the same design as the other jewellery. They were perfect, James really had an eye for jewellery.
Lily was speechless, which made James grin all the more. “Is that a good silence or a bad one?”
Lily put the boxes and flowers down on her desk and stood on tip-toe to kiss James on the lips. When she backed away, he was still grinning.
“I’ll take that as a good. So are you still going to kill me?”
Lily looked thoughtful. “Hmm, I might let you live now. You seem to have a few useful traits.”
James laughed as they kissed again. Lily had never had a better day in her life, and it was all because of him.
“You guys really expect me to believe that James came up with all this stuff by himself? He knew everything about me, stuff I know I never told him, without any hints from you two? How stupid do you really think I am?”
Lily was in the Gryffindor girl’s seventh year dormitories, showing her newest gifts to Amberle and Gabriella on their beds.
“We really didn’t help him find any of that stuff, Lils. He was asking us stuff about you about a week or so ago but we’d no idea what he was planning,” Gabriella informed her, running her fingers over the white gold necklace pendant.
“But you gotta admit, James’ got class. All this must have cost a fortune, he really didn’t spare anything did he?” Amberle said.
That hadn’t occurred to Lily. She had been concerned with the amount of effort James had put into making her birthday special, the money end of it never crossed her mind.
“I can’t take all this stuff, he’s spent far and away too much on me. I have to give it back to him,” Lily cried, gathering the presents in her arms.
“Lily, stop! You can’t do that. Sure it’s extremely extravagant, but that’s the way James is. The money never crossed his mind, he just wanted to make you happy,” Gabriella said.
“And it’s not even like he went and bought you a loads of meaningless expensive stuff, he put the effort into getting things he knew you’d like and that meant something to you. You can’t a blame a guy for that, not even a guy like James,” Amberle added.
Lily hated when her friends sided against her, there was no winning when it was two against one. But before the argument could go any further, there was a tapping noise on the window where a tawny owl was trying to get inside. Lily, recognising it instantly as James’ owl, opened the latch and let it soar in to drop a package on Amberle’s bed before taking back off out the window.
Looking both confused and excited, Lily pulled the letter from the front of the package with the flower stuck to it. It was from James saying;
Meet me outside the Room of Requirement at 7 o’ clock. I hope you like the present, can’t wait to see you.
I love you, Lily.
“Ooooh, a date. How romantic,” Gabriella giggled.
Lily didn’t make a reply, but instead tore open the paper that wrapped James’ latest surprise. She drew out a sheet of material and gasped. It was the most breathtaking dress Lily had ever seen in her life; it was a deep red, the straps of the halter neck dangling down the open back and the hem falling to knee length.
“Are you two still going to tell me James did this all by himself? ‘Cause if so I’m going to get a little worried,” Lily said, redirecting her gaze to focus on her friends.
Amberle and Gabriella looked at one another and grinned shyly before speaking. “Well, ok, we did help him a little there. We just gave hints as to what type of dress would suit you and such, but he came back with the fabulous result.”
“It really is stunning,” Lily said softly.
“And it’ll look even better when you’re in it. You better start getting ready if you’re going to make it for seven,” Gabriella told her, standing up and ushering Lily towards the bathroom.
“We’ll have you looking brilliant for James ,” Amberle said, following Lily and Gabriella. “I’ll do her hair. Gabby, you can take care of the rest, you’re much better at it than me.”
It took near to half an hour to primp and prepare the birthday girl for her date, but in the end it was well worth it. Amberle had put Lily’s hair into waves that fell across her shoulder and around her face, complimenting very well the light layer of make-up Gabriella had applied. She was loaned a pair of Amberle’s silver sandals and wore her new jewellery to finish it off.
It looked completely stunning.
“You’ll knock him dead now, Lils,” Amberle said quite proudly.
Amberle was right. When James saw Lily standing at the end of the corridor and making her way towards him, he was struck dumb. He couldn’t make a sound or move a muscle to greet her, his wide eyes glued to her moving figure.
Damn was he the luckiest guy in the world or what?!
“You…Um…Y-You look…You look beautiful, L-Lily,” James stammered, making Lily grin proudly. James Potter was nervous and unable to speak? Where was the camera when you needed one?
“You look quite handsome yourself,” Lily told him. The compliment seemed to do the trick and James was finally able to function properly. He took her arm and opened the large wooden door for her to walk through.
The room itself stopped Lily’s breath in her throat, it definitely beat the dress. In the centre was a small table set for two, a single candle lighting in the middle. The walls were lit up with the same gold candles and the floor littered with purple flower petals. In Lily’s opinion it was a beautiful romantic setting.
“You didn’t have to-”
“Yes I did. Let’s eat first, then you can tell me off,” James said and led her towards the table, acting the gentleman the entire time by pulling out her chair for her to sit on.
On her plate lay another single lily, she guessed the dinner itself was her gift. She felt a warm feeling growing in her stomach as she sat there with James, talking and laughing together while they ate.
It was perfect.
He was perfect.
They were perfect.
“Lily, there’s something I’ve been wondering about,” James said, as the main course dissolved off their plates and a serving of strawberries and cream appeared.
“What is it, James?”
“It’s about that guy we met in Hogsmeade last month.” Lily looked up surprised, she hadn’t been expecting that. “I know what you told me about how you knew him, but it’s just…something doesn’t seem to fit.”
“What do you mean?” Lily asked.
“Well, when he came up to you in that shop, it seemed like he was jealous of you being with me, and how he kept asking you to take him back made me wonder if…if something happened between you that had nothing to do with Voldemort,” James said.
“James-” Lily sighed.
“I’m not jealous or anything, nothing like that. I was just wondering if there was something there, he didn’t seem quite right when he was talking to you. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” James interrupted hastily. Maybe he’d made a mistake bringing it up.
“It’s ok, James, relax. Nothing really happened between us, we were twelve when I met him after all, so I suppose if you wanted to be technical you could say he was my first boyfriend. It never clicked with him though that turning me in to his father and Voldemort might create a wall between us,” Lily explained, her tone emotionless as it always was when she addressed anything got to do with her summer before second year.
“I’m sorry for bringing it up, I shouldn’t have,” James apologised. Lily shook her head, standing up and circling the table ‘til she came to rest at his chair.
“Don’t worry, James, you don’t have to fear competition from anyone else,” she said, giving a small laugh.
“Of course not, nobody could compete with me, I’d squash them all,” James proclaimed, swinging her onto his knee.
“Always the hero,” Lily smiled.
The tension had been broken and they were back to the same carefree, happy couple they’d been all day.
Unfortunately the day was coming to an end.
It was just after nine o’ clock when the Head Boy and Girl finally re-entered the main body of Hogwarts and wound their way through the many corridors towards Gryffindor where they had promised to meet their friends before they went to bed.
Before they reached the portrait, James turned to his girlfriend and handed her a seventeenth lily.
“You’re last surprise is inside,” he said and grinned. “After you.”
Extremely confused, Lily said the Gryffindor password and crawled through the hole.
The noise that greeted her nearly blew her back out it.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” came the thunderous roar.
The whole of Gryffindor house, from first to seventh years, had gathered in the now small seeming room, beaming and cheering at the red haired and faced girl.
The common room had been decorated for the occasion as well; birthday banners lined the walls, streamers hanging from the ceiling and balloons everywhere. There were snacks arranged on tables in the corners, bright colourful bulbs lighting up the room, an empty space in the middle of the floor for dancing and something Sirius had been fiddling with that looked like it would play music.
“You?” Lily turned to James who had crawled in behind her. “You did all this?”
“Well it wasn’t all me, most of the credit has to go to the others for this one. I got all the stuff and spread the word, but the rest of it was done by them while we were out,” he told her.
Lily laughed and flung her arms around James, kissing him deeply, earning herself another loud array of cheers from the Gryffindors.
“James, please! My friends are watching you here. I do not need to see my brother do that!” sounded the indignant voice of Lauren, James’ younger sister.
“Tough, they have to learn sometime, Laur,” James laughed, but Lily blushed deeply. Somehow it bothered her more to get caught in the act by her boyfriend’s eleven year old sister than anyone else.
“I got enough education from Sirius and his new girlfriend before you even got here, I don’t really need anymore, thanks,” she said matter of fact-ly before turning to Lily with the famous Potter grin. “Happy birthday, Lily!”
“Thanks, Lauren,” Lily replied with a weak smile, still blushing deeply. The younger girl grinned again and rushed over to her friends on the dance floor.
The party went on for hours. Thanks to the Silencing Charms placed around the Tower by the Marauders, there were no unwanted visits from Professors about the volume of the music.
In those four or five hours that the party raged, Lily had never experienced a better time in her life. Talking, dancing, laughing, laughing at James’ and Sirius’ attempts to dance, the night wore on without notice from anyone, the knowledge of classes the next morning banished from everyone’s mind.
This is what being a kid was all about, after all.
“Having a good time?” James whispered in Lily’s ear, coming up behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist.
“The best. Thanks, James, this had been the best day ever.”
“Glad to hear it,” he said with a smile, kissing her lightly on the cheek.
Seventeen years, seventeen surprises. It had been worth all the work he had put into it. Now he had caught up with the sixteen previous years he hadn’t been with her.
But he’d never have to play catch-up again. He was going to be there on this day, every year, for the rest of her life. He was certain of that, and nothing was going to change his mind on that.
“I love you, Lily.”
A/N: What did you think? I know it was centred around Lily (well it was her birthday so it’s hard to avoid that), and that it was extremely extravagant but it was to emphasise the whole seventeen year thing.
And I suppose if you want to be really picky, you could tell me that Lily should be eighteen and not seventeen, but I felt eighteen was pushing it. Especially since I couldn’t think of any more presents to give her, most of them were boring as it was lol.
Anyway, please review and tell me what you thought. The next two chapters are kinda fill-ins again but after that the big chapters come in a row.
Thanks for reading! = )
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