A/N: Missus Moony: Yes, yes, we know... we took a long time again. Missus Padfoot: This was a hard chapter to write, believe it or not! And we pretty much have no extra time... Missus Moony: We're so lame to always give excuses, but it's the truth! Anyways, we're not sure if we'll get another chapter out before our christmas break, but we're hoping for it! Missus Padfoot: And we'll have a lot more time after the break because of the new semester. But yeah, we really know that you're going to like this chapter... Missus Moony: But don't let the chapter title fool you! Heh heh. Oh, just read and you'll see!
Chapter 35: “About Bloody Time!”
Lily couldn't repress a heavy sigh of dismay as she looked over her lists for the Yule Ball. With the event only a day away, the entire school was already abuzz with excitement. The halls were filled with holly and garlands, and some brave students had even tacked mistletoe above some of the doorways. With all the attention on the upcoming ball, Lily was at her wits end with planing, decorating, and making last minute details.
Lily's attention was abruptly torn away from her pile of parchment, when the door to her common room was thrown open.
“IT'S SNOWING!!!” Marissa shouted, running through the portrait hole and posing with her arms outstretched. Rebecca calmly followed her exuberant friend, closing the portrait before striding over the couch and flopping down on it with a sigh.
“She's been saying that the entire way up here,” Rebecca explained blandly at Lily's questioning look.
Lily nodded in understanding, raising her eyebrow at Marissa, who was now twirling around the room chanting, “snow, snow, wonderful snow!!”
Shaking her head in amusement at her friend's antics, Lily turned her attention back to her massive pile of parchment, only to have her quill snatched out of her hand. Marissa, apparently noticing that she had lost the red-haired girl's attention, decided that she didn't like the fact that a few remnants of dead trees were holding more of the limelight than she was.
“Lils, I said 'it's snowing'!!”
Lily merely raised her eyebrows at her friend, calculating if she could reach her captured quill from her seat. “I know, I heard you the first time.”
Dang, she's holding it just out of reach!' Lily thought as she made a swipe at the quill.
“Well, aren't we going to do something about it?!?”
Out of the corner of her eye, Lily could see Rebecca grinning at the two of them. “Marissa, I'm up to my ears in things I have to finish for the Yule Ball! I just don't have time to be frolicking out in the freezing cold!”
“Lily, you've already done almost everything that needs to be done before tomorrow and what little you have left can be handed down to one of your numerous minions.”
Lily frowned at Marissa's dismissal of her work. “Despite what you think there is still a lot to get ready for. And they're called Prefects, not minions!”
Marissa waved a manicured hand dismissively. “Minions, Prefects, same thing.”
“But what is so important about this snow? It's already snowed about eight times this year!” Lily whined. She could see that Marissa was going to be very difficult.
“It's almost Christmas and we haven't had our annual snowball fight yet!”
“It's one tradition I could do without,” Lily mumbled, searching around the scattered piles for a spare quill.
Marissa stared at Lily in shock. “WHAT?! Why?”
Giving up her search, Lily threw her hands up in exasperation. “Because every year you and Rebecca gang up on me and I end up as frozen and wet as a, a-”
“-First year Hufflepuff that's just gotten away from the upperclassman hiding out by the gamekeepers hut?” Rebecca supplied helpfully.
“Yes, exactly like tha- Rebecca!! You've been ganging up on the poor first-years again?!”
Rebecca shrugged, remorseful. “Don't blame me, a bunch of us were sitting around bored. We needed to find a creative outlet.”
“Creative outlet? Didn't any of the Prefects try to stop you?”
“Well, that uptight Ravenclaw did, but only because her ex was flirting with one of the girls there.”
“Oh,” Marissa interrupted, “I know which one you're talking about. She was going out with that good-looking chap from Slytherin, wasn't she?”
Rebecca nodded before addressing Lily again. “Anyway, she ended up helping us when one of the little buggers we were aiming at called her a hag. Not very bright if you ask me. She had a mean little charm she added to make the snowballs grow as they flew at the target. Poor little sod looked like a drowned rat when she was done with him.”
Marissa laughed loudly, both at Rebecca's story, and the look on Lily's face. Lily glowered at her two friends as they both grinned at her.
“Oh, for the love of- it doesn't matter. I just can't go out right now! I just don't have the time!”
Collapsing on her knees, Marissa leaned over the table to stare at her friend straight in the eye. “Lily, do you really want to spend one of the last couple of days before Christmas sitting indoors, stressing out? Or would you rather spend half an hour outside, in the fresh air, relaxing?
“Look guys, I really don't have the time. Why don't we just postpone it until Christmas Day? I won't have anything to plan then.”
Rebecca merely grinned evilly.
Lily sat perched on Rebecca's back shoving her face further in the snow.
“That's for calling me a chicken!!”
Rebecca was able to shove Lily mostly off her, twisting around and straining to throw her off.
Lily laughed at Rebecca's garbled grunts as she put more snow on Rebecca's face. “It sounds like you're constipated!! Ha ha, constipated Becs!!!”
Lily's victory brag didn't last long, as the raven-haired girl was finally able to throw her legs around Lily and shove the petite red-head off her, not wasting any time before filling her arms with snow.
As the two began an all out snow war with each other, Marissa pranced around, glancing between the two of her friends. “Which one to help? The little runt, or the scary chick? Decisions, decisions...”
As she watched Rebecca shove snow down Lily's back, she grinned happily to herself.
“Eh, why break tradition? Hold her down, Becs, I'm coming!”
“I fell for it again!” Lily growled in her mind as she walked into her private common room, trailing a path of wet footprints behind her and her teeth chattering viciously. “Every year they somehow manage to wrangle me into their stupid snowball fight and then they ambush me! The little one! How is that fair?!”
Lily was completely soaked head to toe. Her hair was lank with cold moisture and there were even some chunks of packed snow frozen in some of her amber locks. Her fur boots squenched every time she took a step because of all the freezing water that had seeped through them. By the time she walked into her room, her entire body was convulsing with uncontrollable shivers. Lily winced as her skin brushed against the wet clothing as she moved to peel off her soaked cloak. She slowly moved towards her bathroom, leaving a trail of wet articles of clothing as she went, her shivers not ceasing until she stepped into the steaming hot shower and a sigh of contentment escaped her lips.
After her extremely long shower, for she had lingered in the hot water as long as possible, Lily wrapped a towel around herself and walked back into her room, over to her mirror. She picked up her comb and started to run it through her damp, tangled hair. She could just use her wand to comb her hair and dry it, but most of the time, Lily preferred to do her hair the muggle way.
Lily sighed as she thought about the work that she had put off by going off with Marissa and Rebecca on their harebrained snow scheme. She would be so glad when all this Yule Ball madness was over. She felt like she really hadn't been able to relax at all and take the time to just be herself ever since she had received the burden of being in charge of this ball. Sure, she shared the burden with James, but he didn't seem nearly as stressed out as she did even though he worked equally hard.
The thought of James suddenly brought a wave of sadness that crashed down on Lily. As much as it pained her, she had been avoiding James – for her own good, not for his. She knew that he didn't want anything to do with her anymore, so she stubbornly tried to squish the feelings that she had for him out of her. She thought that the more that she was away from James, the less she would get her hopes up that he would one day return her feelings. The only time that she allowed herself to see him was when they were doing their Head duties. Lily wondered how James was doing with his duties today. Was he overseeing the decorations in the gardens like he was supposed to? Come to think of it, she hadn't seen him all day...
As soon as her hair was tangle free, Lily got up from her stool and walked over to her closet to figure out what she was going to wear for the rest of the evening. She was just about to open her closet door when her bedroom door burst open.
“Lily? Lily! I have some great news! I just got an owl from -” A disheveled James had just run into the room with a bright, excited flush on his pale cheeks, when he stopped dead in his tracks as soon as he saw that Lily was in nothing but a towel.
“Merlin's beard.” he whispered as he stared at Lily, his eyes roaming up and down her body. He then realized with embarrassment that he was staring shamelessly at a half-naked Lily Evans and quickly averted his eyes. “Oh, god, I'm so sorry, Lily!”
Lily's eyes were wide with shock and she found that she couldn't move. All she could think about was the fact that James was in her room, and that he had been gawking at her as she just stood, frozen, in a towel. She was absolutely mortified.
James began to ramble on in embarrassment as he slowly backed out of the room, trying not to trip as he put his hand over his eyes. “It'll never happen again, Lily, I swear! Your door is usually locked when you're preoccupied, but I was just so excited to tell you my news that I just didn't even think -”
“Get out,” Lily whispered in a surprisingly calm manner. “Please.”
“Wha – oh, yeah, of course!” And with his face getting redder by the second, James turned tail and bolted from the room, slamming the door hastily.
As soon as the door was shut, James leaned his back against it and breathed deeply, trying to calm himself down. Did that just happen? Did he really just see Lily in only a towel? And she didn't yell at him! She didn't even seem mad, just surprised! Since when does Lily Evans not loose her cool? A small, sly smile began to tug at the corners of James' lips. He would admit, that was probably the sexiest he had ever seen Lily, and that was better than anything that he had seen in his dreams.
“Get a grip, Potter!” he suddenly thought, “In about two seconds, she's going to come out of there, charging like a crazed Bludger and you had better start thinking up ways to make this up to her or she is going to smack you one hard in the balls!”
Just as this thought came into his mind, he felt the door handle start to jiggle.
Not wanting to get caught still being at her door, James hastily straightened up from his leaning position, sprinted across the room, vaulted over the couch where he landed with a thud, crossed his legs, and tried to look as nonchalant as humanly possible.
Lily emerged from her room, looking as if she had just beat the world record in putting on clothes. Her hair was still in the collar of her shirt, and she was still tucking in one side of her undershirt into her pants when she closed her door. She bashfully looked over at James, biting her lower lip.
James stood up, looking as if he didn't quite know what to say. He ran one of his hands through his messy hair and then put both in his jean pockets. “Lily, I really am so sorry – I feel so bad!”
Lily waved her hand dismissively. “Don't worry about it, James. It's okay.”
James raised his eyebrows. How was she taking this so calmly? Shouldn't she be screaming at him by now? Little did he know that Lily was wondering the same thing...
An uncomfortable silence filled the room as James just stared incredulously at Lily and Lily tried to look anywhere in the room but at James.
“Look, let's just pretend like it didn't happen, okay?” Lily asked quietly. She didn't want things to be any more awkward between them than it already was.
“Fat chance in that happening,” James thought with a laugh. “Those few seconds will be running through my dreams like wildfire...”
James nodded in agreement with a small crooked smile.
“So, what was your good news? You've got me curious now.” Lily said, trying to change the subject as she sat down on the couch, gesturing for James to sit down next to her.
“Oh yeah!” James said excitedly as he just remembered his brilliant news. His eyes got bright and his crooked smile widened into a huge grin. “You are going to love this – I know that we already booked the Screeching Sorcerers as the band for tomorrow night, but I also happen to know that you absolutely love the Hobgoblins and so, I owled their manager, and just got their answer back today and they want to play at the Yule Ball tomorrow night!”
James' stomach whooped as he saw Lily's reaction. Her emerald eyes suddenly lit up with happiness and her glorious smile flashed across her face as she squealed, “No way! You got the Hobgoblins to agree to come?! That is so cool! And you did that... for me?” She suddenly looked down at her hands, embarrassed that she actually said that.
“Well, yeah, Lily! After all the hard work that you put into this ball, you deserve it!”
James cautiously put his hand on Lily's shoulder and they slowly turned their heads towards one another to look at each other. They found each other getting lost in the other's eyes – James in her glorious emerald eyes that were for once soft and inviting, something that James had never seen before as Lily's eyes were usually blazingly hard toward him, and Lily in his hazel eyes that were a warm honey color that day. Suddenly, as if a bolt of electricity surged through both of them, they jumped and turned away from each other, James removing his hand from Lily's shoulder.
Another awkward pause seeped through the room and James quickly cleared his throat. “So, um, you must be pretty excited about the Ball tomorrow and your date with Remus.”
Lily suddenly looked very uncomfortable. “Well, yeah,” she replied. “Remus is a really great friend to be taking me.”
"Yeah, good ol' reliable Remus,” James muttered with a slightly harsh laugh.
'That's odd,' thought Lily, puzzled. 'It's almost as if James were jealous of Remus! Wait, don't get your hopes up, Lily – you're probably just wishful thinking.'
Before Lily could stop herself, she horrifically found her self saying quietly, “Well, you know, James, I really would much rather go with a certain someone else...” She trailed off as she slowly looked up at James.
'What are you doing, you crazy psycho?!?! What a line too! Really smooth, Lily. Yeah, you sound like a bimbo idiot! And you're like falling all over him! Way to go.'
“Excuse me, what?!” James exclaimed, looking at Lily incredulously, not able to believe what he was hearing.
'Is Lily Evans actually making a move on me?! BLOODY HELL YES!!!' thought James as he just blankly stared at Lily.
Mistaking James' stunned stare for one of complete disgust, Lily thought, 'Oh my god, he's looking at me like I'm bubertuber puss! He must still hate me! Oh, how freaking humiliating!!'
Lily quickly averted her eyes. “Oh... um, just forget I said anything...”
Quick as a flash, Lily was off the sofa and headed towards the portrait hole before James even knew what was happening.
'Wait, where is she going?! Quick, you dunce, say something!!!'
James started to get up from his seat, his hand outstretched. “Wait, Lily! I -”
But Lily was already out of sight.
“Whoa, hey, Evans! What's your rush? Hey, ow!” James heard the laughing voice of Sirius Black echo through the portrait hole as he collapsed back on the couch, not able to comprehend what just happened.
“What did you bloody do to her, Prongs?” Sirius said as he entered the Head's common room, looking back at the now empty portrait hole as he walked over and plopped on the couch next to James.
“Absolutely nothing!” James said defensively as he stared off at nothing in particular, the cogs in his brain still trying to wrap around the thoughts that were flooding his brain.
“Oh, come on!” replied Sirius. “I don't believe that for a second! She just shoved me out of the way like she was desperately getting away from the Black Plague! Something happened between you two and as your best mate, I have the right to know what happened!!!”
“Well, I'm still trying to figure that out! But, for starters -” James turned to Sirius with a sly grin, “I accidentally walked in on Lily when she was only in a towel.”
Sirius' eyes got big and his bark of a laugh echoed throughout the room. “No way! Ha, ha! That's my boy!”
Sirius ruffled James' hair and James pushed Sirius away, embarrassed. Then Sirius started to lift up James' arms as if inspecting him.
“But wait! I see no bruises on you! Blimey, I always knew you healed fast, Prongs, but this is a miracle!”
Again, James shoved Sirius. “Gerroff me, Padfoot! That's the thing -She was totally fine about it!”
“Fine?” Sirius asked incredulously. “Lily Evans was fine that you walked in on her when she was only in her skivvies?”
James got up from the couch and started to pace as he started to blurt out the thoughts that were clouding his mind. “Well, of course she was embarrassed, but other than that, yeah! There were no aimed vases at my head, no shouts of profanity, nothing! She was fine!”
Sirius raised his eyebrows. “That's interesting...”
'Well, it looks as if Lily Evans is finally showing her true feelings for James Potter. Oh yes, she secretly loved that he saw her like that and she knows it... that sneaky girl...'
James continued to ramble as he paced. “Yeah, and then we were just talking about the Ball and then she said the strangest... thing...”
James abruptly stopped mid pace, looking as if he just had a brain hemorrhage.
“Oh, my giddy aunt,” he whispered. “She loves me.”
Sirius scrambled out of his seat and tripped over the coffee table as he tried to get to James. “WHAT?!”
James' crooked grin grew huge as his voice started getting louder. “She loves me, Padfoot! I can't believe I didn't see it before but she does! She loves me and I think she always has! She just didn't know it and neither did I! But she knows now! And she's just too afraid to tell me! She loves me! And I bloody love her!!”
'About bloody time!!!' thought Sirius.
Sirius walked over to James and put his hands on James' shoulders, trying to shake James from his insane babbling. “Prongs, that's great! ...James? James?! JAMES!!”
Sirius smacked James across the face. “Sorry 'bout that, Prongs. You started talking about the names of your future children with Lily and I just had to stop you.”
“Thanks, Padfoot.” James said as he rubbed his cheek. “Kinda lost it there, didn't I?”
“Just a little bit.”
Sirius led James over to the couch to try to get the poor boy to regulate his breathing.
“Okay, so now that you finally know that Lily loves you and you love her -”
“Wait, did you know?!” James looked slightly angry.
“Of course I did! Any idiot knows that you and Evans are perfect for each other!”
“Oh.” James frowned.
“Anyways, as I was saying before so rudely interrupted,” Sirius said slightly huffily and then slyly grinned when James glared at him, “now that you know, what are you going to do about it? You have to tell her, right?”
“T-t-tell her?” James became blanched at the thought.
Sirius, frustrated, stood up. “Prongs!! Are you telling me that after that astounding apostrophe -”
“It's epiphany, Padfoot.”
“Really? I always thought it was apostrophe...”
“No, no, apostrophe is a literary term, it's always been epiphany..." James suddenly put his hands on his hips. "You've been getting vocabulary lessons from Marissa again, haven't you?”
“OFF TOPIC!!!” Sirius shouted suddenly, waving his hands around above his head. “Back to what I was saying... you're telling me that after that astounding, erm, revelation that you aren't going to tell the girl of your dreams that you're crazy in love with her?!”
James looked down at his shoes. “Well, if you remember, Padfoot, last time I confessed my feelings to Lily Evans, I ended up kissing her and getting slapped for it!”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “James, that was before she realized her feelings about you! I'm pretty damn sure that if you kissed her now, you'd get a much different reaction...”
“Oh, I don't know, Siri-”
“Jeez, Prongs!” Sirius exclaimed exasperatedly. “Be a... be a MAN!” And with that, Sirius held up both his arms and flexed very macho-ly with a growl.
“I guess you're right...”
“I know I am!” Sirius said as he sat down again next to James and slapped him on the back. “You need to do something great for her! She deserves that!”
“Something spectacular! Like, oh, I don't know, like standing on top of the astronomy tower and confessing your love to the world! ...Granted, it's freezing outside and no one will be out there to hear you, but still!”
James stood up, snapping his fingers as his eyes lit up. “Your idea sucks, Padfoot. But I think that I have just got a brilliant plan!”
Sirius jumped up in the air, a fist punching the air above his head jubilantly. “Sweet! Now your talkin'! So, what's the plan?”
James started to pace for the second time that night. “Well, let me think about this some more...” James abruptly clapped his hands once and wheeled towards Sirius. “Yeah, this is going to work... but I'm going to need your help, Padfoot.”
A/N: Missus Padfoot: Yeah, we know, we're evil. Cliffie!!! MWAHAHAHA!!! Missus Moony: Heeheehee. Now we expect lots of lovely reviews! Oh, and you guys really are awesome for reviewing so much and giving us awesome feed back! Over 800 reviews? Crazy!!! Missus Padfoot: We never thought our story would ever be this big! Missus Moony: Ok, so, because of our lack of postage, we have two people we'd like to say thanks to for reviewer appreciation - maraudersmap and fredfanlol! Yay! Thanks you guys! Your reviews always bring us joy! Missus Padfoot: We love you!! Alas, a cornicopia of love! Aw!!!
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