"If you don't get away from me, so help me you won't see tomorrow James Potter!" Lily screeched.
"Why?" James asked, "You don't date anyone else, and you haven't in…since I've known you. Besides you know you like me," He retorted with confidence.
"So what? You think that because I've never had a boyfriend I'm saving myself for you? Even you can't be that egotistical can you?" Lily sighed. She was currently pressed between James and the wall. Normally he couldn't get her in this position, but today he snuck up on her.
"I'm not that egotistical. I can just read people, and I can read you too Lily. You like me, whether you know it or not," James replied, less cocky this time.
"If that's what help you sleep at night," Lily sighed.
"If that's what you think…" James trailed off with a smile. "You'll figure it out eventually." He gave Lily a peck on the cheek and walked silently away.
James had been a cocky bastard last year, and he knew it, but this year was a bit different. Before he'd just wanted Lily because he couldn't have her, but through the course of time, he grew to love her, and each time he was rejected it, hurt. He had to figure out what was pushing here away. It was the ego. And it had to stop. Since September he had tried to make Lily see that he had changed, but she wouldn't give him the time of day. Christmas was fast approaching and he was becoming desperate. After Hogwarts Lily would disappear, and James may have lost her forever.
Lily on the other hand, did in fact notice the change very much so. In fact, she found it extremely attractive. The problem wasn't that she didn't know; it was that she didn't know how to go about getting what she wanted. If she just came out with it, she would take the chase out of it. Plus, everyone would just assume she was giving up. On the other hand, if she didn't do something soon, school would be out, and James gone. Besides that, she saw the change, but she was sure he was still the old James somewhere, and was ruining someone's day. He was probably purposely hiding the behavior. Lily wanted to believe the change was full and permanent, but how could anyone be sure? It was the holidays though. Maybe something could be done to help move things along.
Lily sighed and finally made up her mind to go to the library. If nothing else, she had to the essay assigned by Professor Slughorn. Who really would assign homework over the Christmas break? Slughorn that's who. His theory was that they could finish it before tomorrow, and not have to work over the Christmas break. The only problem is that he just assigned it today. And he wanted a foot of parchment! No one, not even Lily Evans, could accomplish such a feat in one night.
"Oi Prongs!" Sirius beckoned to James as he re-entered the tower. He and Remus had encouraged him to go and find Lily. Peter had sat silent, saying nothing. What else was new?
"How'd it go mate?" Remus asked.
"Not as well as I'd have liked Moony," James replied honestly.
"Why? What happened?" Sirius cut in.
"I found her outside, walking in the snow. I asked if I could talk to her. She said no and ran off. I chased after her, and ended up pinning her to the castle wall. I told her I just wanted to talk, but I didn't want her to run away if I let her loose. She kept insulting me, and then that turned to threats. At that point I knew it was pretty much a lost cause at that point and I let her go," James described.
"Tough break Prongs," Sirius acknowledged.
"You might not want to pin her to walls though, just a thought," Remus threw in.
"You're probably right Moony," James sighed.
His three friends gave each other silent looks of concern. James had always been that happy go lucky guy. He was always at least semi happy. Right now though…he could have been mistaken for Snape for how miserable he seemed, but they only knew one way to relieve it, but they couldn't be the ones to do that.
"She'll figure it out eventually mate," Remus offered.
"I hope for sooner rather than later. After Hogwarts, she'll stay as far away from me as she can," James answered.
"James, mate, she's got to notice this change sooner or later," Sirius began, "You've not dated anyone in a year now, you've not spoken a word to Snape, the git, and you actually toned down that ego, something none of us thought you could do. Surely she'll notice soon, everyone else has," Sirius encouraged. And he was right, not even more girls were attracted to him because he deflated the ego, and of course, the 'unattainable' factor that popped up since he hadn't been dating.
James simply nodded absentmindedly to all of this. His friends were really afraid for him. The last time he smiled was when Lily complemented him on a potion last week.
Little did these three boys know there was a particular girl soaking in everything they were saying. She stood in the stairwell watching the common room before her. Lily wanted so hard to belief the rumors, that he hadn't dated, that he was acting differently, but six years of acting one way. What could spur a change like that? As for this depression, she'd heard about it, but she didn't believe it. James always seemed happy enough around her.
"Hello Lily, what are you thinking about?" Alice asked. Alice was a good friend of Lily's.
"Not much," Lily lied.
"As if I don’t see right through that. What are you really thinking of?" She chuckled.
"James," Lily answered honestly this time.
"What about him?" Alice asked. That was one thing Lily loved about Alice. She wasn't judgmental, at all. You see, everyone thought of Lily and James as two of the biggest rivals in the school. If anyone else heard Lily say that they'd laugh and think she was lying again, but Alice didn't think it odd.
"All the rumors, mostly," Lily answered.
"What about them? They're true you know," Alice pestered more.
"That's what everyone's saying. You know he's still pursuing me," Lily added.
"You know Lily, I'm your best friend. If I tell you these rumors are true, they are. He's been miserable, and not dated in a year," Alice replied.
"But what do you think could bring about such a drastic change, especially one that seems permanent?" Lily asked, her tone wary.
"What do you think Lily?" Alice asked, amused.
"If I knew that I wouldn't be asking you," Lily retorted.
"Love Lily. He's in love. With you. Maybe you ought actually consider him," Alice advised.
"Wow…Thanks Al, maybe I will," Lily said in a dreamy voice as she began to get lost in thought.
"Anytime," Alice replied with a knowing smile and made her way up to the dorm.
Lily watched the common room empty slowly until, as she hoped, everyone but James had drifted back to their dorms. James was still awake watching the fire. Lily gathered her courage. It was time to swallow her pride and figured this out.
She descended the stairs in a controlled silent walk. James stood, as he was about to leave himself. The caught each other face to face.
"Oh Lily," James smiled, "Oh, sorry I mean."
"James, I want to ask you something," Lily stared him straight in the eye, even though she had to look up at him. She wouldn't break his gaze.
"What's that Lily?" He asked.
"Why have you changed? What brought about this change? Not that I'm complaining. It's a change for the better, but why now?" Lily asked straight forward.
James stood silent for a moment trying to think of the best way to answer.
"Honestly?" James confirmed.
"Honestly," Lily shook her head in agreement with this statement.
"You," James said seriously, "You hated me, and I couldn't stand that, so I changed. I hoped you'd notice the change."
"Why'd you want me to notice? Why not some other girl?" Lily wanted him to confirm what Alice said.
"Because…" He trailed off, afraid of telling her.
"It's okay, just say it," Lily asked.
"Because…I love you Lily Evans," James answered quietly, and broke the eye contact.
"Well guess what Mr. Potter," Lily smiled, "I know the rumors are true, so I want you to do me a favor. Start being happy again. I'll give you two good reasons right now."
"What reasons?" James asked.
"One, there's a mistletoe floating over your head right now," Lily started. James flicked his eyes up to see the small object. Lily gestured to him to lean down and she whispered into his ear, "And two, I think I love you too, James."
The two locked in an embrace. It was filled with so much. Love, passion, longing, happiness, rejoice. They broke apart some time later.
"James?" Lily got his attention again.
"Lily?" He answered, all smiles
"Be happy now? Please? Just, Be happy," Lily asked. His response was another smile, and the meeting of their lips again.