A/N: Chapter two! Is anyone willing to make me a banner? If so, let me know and make my day. Also, there is a part in this chapter where it mentions the characters' heights, and they are in feet because I'm a lazy American who doesn't feel like converting them. I apologize. This chapter is intended to give a good overview of Jacob and Lily's relationship as it stands in a friendly way after eight years. Wow, this was lengthy! Read on!
I was twirling through fireplace after fireplace, feeling slightly sick, hating Floo Powder with every nauseated part of my body but loving the knowledge that I’d get to see Lily in a few moments. I hadn’t seen her in nearly a week (cue your sarcastic gasp, if you must).
Once my body stopped spinning, I tumbled out gracelessly and landed on top of Hugo Weasley. I’d spent the night with him, and then we’d left to see our two favorite fifth year girls. Obviously, Hugo didn’t harbor a soft spot for Lily, being cousins and all, but Lily’s best girlfriend, Julia Atkins, was a different story. Julia, Hugo, Lily and I were almost as close as could be. We knew nearly everything about each other (with the exception of Lily knowing that I fancied her like mad) and spent our months at Hogwarts side by side.
Julia was definitely Hugo’s type. She was nearly five feet eight, which was fine since Hugo was six three, and had thick blonde hair, a very curvaceous figure, and an impressive chest. When I rolled off of Hugo, she was smirking down at us.
“How cute,” she cooed. “I always knew you two’d be good together. Oi! Lily! Jacob and Hugo have finally come out of the closet!”
Lily stepped into the siting room of her parents’ large country home. It was obvious that she had just woken up—she was not a morning person—by her long, mussed up red hair and the expression on her face. She was wearing a pair of boxer shorts and a tank top, still in her pajamas. I blinked, trying to avoid gazing at her very nice legs.
She wouldn’t have noticed anyway; her eyes were fixed intently on the bowl of cereal in her hands, her spoon stabbing the inside of the bowl repeatedly.
“Er, Lily, what are you doing?” I asked, pulling myself to my feet in an attempt to look more dignified.
“Mufetfadamfarfulo,” she answered, her mother full of breakfast. Ah, my sweet, proper lady.
“Erm . . . didn’t catch that, sorry,” I said.
Lily swallowed and tried again. “I must get the damn marshmallow.”
“Why do you think, Hugo Weasley? Because the marshmallows are the best part. Aha!” She held up the spoon triumphantly, only to have the marshmallow slip off again. A very bad word escaped her lips.
“Lily Luna Potter! Watch your language!” her mother scolded, entering the room with a laundry basket levitating in front of her.
Lily ignored this; she never listened to what she didn’t want to hear.
Mrs. Potter rolled her eyes and sighed; then they lighted on Hugo and me. “Boys!” she cried excitedly, pulling both of us into tight hugs. I unhappily realized that she smelled like flowers, just like Lily. That was distracting.
“Mum,” Lily said, “oxygen.”
“Oh, right.” Mrs. Potter let us go, patting our shoulders. We were both too tall for her to reach our heads. She headed out of the room.
“You guys are early,” Julia observed keenly.
I smirked. “Some people couldn’t wait to get here, could they?” I arched my eyebrows at Hugo, who flushed and mumbled something that sounded like a very nasty insult.
“Well, I don’t care about how desperate Hugo was to see Julia,” Lily declared. “I’m going to get dressed . . . after I get this marshmallow.”
I flopped onto the sofa, Hugo on the right of me and Julia next to him. We watched for several minutes as Lily chased the piece of cereal before giving up and chugging the milk and its contents straight from the bowl. Then she turned and left the room.
“James and Al say O.W.L.s are horrible,’ Lily commented, dangling her bare feet off of the log that stretched the width of the creek and arching her back.
“So do Cindy and Samantha,” I added, thinking of my older sisters, who were twins and both twenty years old. Cindy was strange—I was actually convinced that she was gay, which was fine, but she denied it every time I implied anything of the like and made Mum ground me. Samantha was quite nice, though. She was married to your average Joe (seriously, his name was Joe) and was expecting her first kid. Lily was more excited than I was, really. She loved kids, and since my family considered her a member, she was guaranteed visiting rights.
Anyway, I’m digressing.
Back to the log-sitting, yeah?
Hugo shrugged. “I’m not too worried,” he said easily.
Lily snorted. “You should be.”
Hugo shoved her, and she had to fling her arms around my neck to keep from plummeting into the water. I felt my heart fall into the area of my stomach at the same time that my stomach moved up toward my chest.
After regaining her balance, Lily glared at her cousin. “I’ll teach you to push me, Weasley,” she snarled threateningly, giving him an almighty heave. He shouted as he rolled off the log and into the bubbling creek below.
We were all roaring with laughter when he came up for air, gasping and spluttering. “That’s not fair! You’re stronger than I am!”
Lily smirked and propped her elbows on her bare knees. “Remember that next time you try to push me, Hugo.”
“Hate you.” He pulled himself up onto the log again, sopping.
“Love you too.” She mussed his wet auburn hair affectionately.
“Oi! Lily and you lot!” Albus Potter came around one of the trees surrounding the stream and shook his unruly black hair from his emerald eyes.
“What?” Lily asked, tilting her head slightly to look at him. Her red tresses fell softly against my leg, and I inhaled sharply, mastering the impulse to play with them.
“Mum sent me to tell you that lunch is ready,” he replied grumpily. “Apparently I’m her owl now.”
“Cry me a river, Al,” Lily retorted, switching positions so she was on her hands and knees, crawling off the log behind Hugo. I worked very hard to keep my eyes from lingering on her bum, which was an extremely difficult feat, I might add.
The five of us hiked back up the steep incline that led to the Potters’ backyard, Al and Hugo grumbling along the way. Then we crossed the wide grassy area toward the large house. Mrs. Potter halted us at the doorway, however, and held up a blanket and a wicker basket. “You’re all dirty,” she said simply, thrusting them into Lily’s arms.
“Oh, exiled from your own house, Lily,” I sniggered; she stuck her tongue out at me happily.
“You can come in, Al, since your friends are in here,” Mrs. Potter continued, stepping aside to let him pass. “Hugo, why are you all wet?”
“Ah, I see.” Mrs. Potter turned and stepped back into the house.
Hugo looked affronted. “Not even going to yell at her, Aunt Ginny?”
“I sense you deserved it.” She closed the door with a snap.
I laughed heartily at his expense.
About an hour later, Hugo and I were stretched out across the warm grass, contentedly wishing that our mothers could cook like Mrs. Potter, and Lily and Julia were conversing in hushed tones over something that I was too tired to be concerned about.
I would’ve been quite happy to fall asleep in the yard, lying like a cat in the sun, but suddenly Lily stood up and strode over to my patch of grass. She leaned over me and scrutinized my face.
“What?” I asked mildly. “I didn’t do it.”
She rolled her persuasive chocolate eyes, reaching down and ruffling my thick brown hair. A surge shot through me at her touch, but she seemed blissfully unaware of the effect she had on me.
“Get up,” she commanded.
I groaned. “Why?”
“Is ‘coming to spend the day with Lily’ really code for ‘coming to mooch for food and then fall asleep in her backyard’?” Lily questioned playfully.
I sighed and sat up, rubbing my neck. “No, it’s code for ‘coming to spend the day with Lily.’”
And then she did something that made me love her so much that I almost hated her. She smiled. And Lily has one of those smiles that makes you stop and do a double take. If that wasn’t enough, she laughed. I loved her laugh. But I hated it when she laughed, because I wanted to tell her how much I loved it.
Then she lifted her eyes from mine, gazing over to Hugo and Julia. I allowed my eyes to remain on her face for several moments more than strictly necessary before looking. Hugo seemed unwilling to get up, and Julia had resorted to begging.
“Ten Galleons says they get together before the end of this year,” Lily wagered amusedly.
“This school year, or this calendar year?”
“I’m not accepting,” I told her, “because I fully believe that they’ll be snogging constantly by Christmas.”
Lily laughed again. Damn. “You’re such a hopeless romantic, Jake.”
I raised an eyebrow. “And you’re such a cynic. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
“I go from experience,” she replied, sighing, flopping down on her back. Her hand reached up and pushed against my chest, bringing me with her.
I swiveled my neck so I was watching the profile of her face; Lily was gazing intently at the vibrant blue sky. “What do you mean? You’ve dated half the guys at Hogwarts!”
“That doesn’t mean I loved them,” she explained in exasperation. “They were all good snoggers, though.”
“Then why’d you date them?”
She turned to gaze at me, a smile on her lips. “If I waited until the guy I loved noticed me, I’d be older than Great-Auntie Muriel by the time he came around, if ever.”
“Ohhhh,” I teased, “Lilykins is in love.” I grinned at her, trying to replace the sting of her words.
She snorted. “That reminds me, I’ve got to break up with Mikey on the train tomorrow. Ugh, he’s so gross.”
“What do you mean? I thought you liked him?” I pretended to be upset for Mikey’s sake, though my internal organs were celebrating like Voldemort had just been defeated.
“He has one thing on his mind and one alone,” she muttered darkly, crossing her arms over her small chest in what I considered an unconscious movement.
I felt panic shoot through my veins. “You two didn’t—?”
“Oh, Merlin, no,” she cut me off hastily. “No, no, no. That’s why he’s so unhappy.”
A sigh of relief escaped my lips. Hopefully she chalked it up to one of brotherly concern.
“He’s a prat,” I said simply. “Never liked him.”
Lily giggled. She was one of the few girls who could giggle without sounding like a complete bimbo. “I know that.”
“Ditch him first thing,” I suggested. “Because you, my Lilykins, are not going on birth control.”
She rolled onto her stomach, and one of her soft arms brushed against mine.
“I wasn’t planning on it,” she agreed. “Don’t think my family’d be too keen on it, actually.”
“No, I can’t envision your father being too into that.” Good old overly protective Potter males. Mr. Potter could defeat the most evil wizard for a century, but he couldn’t bear to watch his daughter interact with teenagers of the opposite sex, with the exception of Lily’s cousins and me. He trusted me, figuring we’d been friends for so long that I couldn’t develop feelings for her. Ignorance is bliss, yeah?
We lapsed into that comfortable silence that seems to follow Lily everywhere; for a couple minutes the only sound was the light wind rustling leaves, the gurgling of the creek in the background, calling birds (Lily’s favorite sound), and the murmur of Hugo and Julia talking. Suddenly, Lily gasped and sat bolt upright.
“What?” I asked, doing the same. “What is it? You okay?”
She gestured wordlessly. My gaze followed her outstretched arm and fell upon my other two best friends, wrapped in a deep embrace, their lips pressed against each other.
“Damn,” I said, “that was random.”
Lily nodded slowly. “That’s odd. They were just talking, and then Julia pounced.”
I snorted. “Nice word choice, Lil.”
“That’s what it was like!” she exclaimed, waving her hands around. “I mean, it was like this!”
She threw herself at me, really threw herself, and knocked me to the ground, pressing her small frame against my larger Keeper-sized one. Her face was only inches from mine as she said, “How else would you describe that?”
“I guess pounce is adequate,” I answered faintly, my heart hammering so hard I was positive she could feel it against her breast.
“Told you.” Lily rolled off and into the grass.
I tried not to look too crestfallen.
It had only been a demonstration, after all.
A wonderful demonstration, but a demonstration nonetheless.
A wonderful, beautiful, spectacular, amazing, thrilling demonstration.
But a demonstration.
No wonder the word “demon” is in “demonstration”.
We both gazed at our friends for a moment, before Lily said, “That’s disgusting. It looks like Hugo’s trying to eat her skin off.”
I snorted, magically appearing calm after that incident. “Julia doesn’t seem too concerned about his lack of kissing skills, does she?”
“You should tutor him,” she suggested.
I gave her the You’re-Completely-Mental look.
“What?” Lily demanded.
I asked curiously, “How do you know that I can kiss better?”
She smirked. “Jessica Pierce told me so.”
I groaned in memory of Jessica Pierce. When Lily had first started dating in our third year, I’d very nearly had an aneurysm and had dated Jessica in a futile attempt to spite her. Needless to say, it didn’t work. All that was accomplished was Jessica stealing my dignity with her random public snog sessions, which I only agreed to in an effort in inspire even the most pathetic amount of envy in my best friend. No luck.
“Could we not ever talk about Jessica Pierce again?” I pleaded, covering my face with my hands.
“That’s a bit difficult since she spends her nights in the girls’ dormitory ranting about how much she loves you and plots ways to regain your affection in the lavatory.”
“Please tell me you’re kidding.” My voice was muffled; I was still concealing my face. No way was Lily seeing me blush.
“Nope. My little Jakie’s got himself a stalker.”
I groaned again. Lily was the only one who could get away with calling me Jake, let alone Jakie. But it was fair, since she let me and only me call her Lil, Lillers, or Lilykins. Several other males had been hospitalized for trying.
“Lily, your friends are snogging on my lawn,” Mrs. Potter’s voice said. I opened my eyes to see her watching in amusement.
“I know, it’s repulsive, isn’t it? It looks like Hugo’s eating her face,” Lily commented.
Mrs. Potter laughed very hard at this. In response to our quizzical looks, she elaborated, “I said the same thing about your Uncle Ron and his first girlfriend, Lavender. That was back in my fifth year, of course, the year before the battle, back when your father was at Hogwarts and Dumbledore was headmaster and—”
“Mum, you should go check in the mirror,” Lily interjected, a grin on her face. “Your age is showing.”
“Ha ha,” Mrs. Potter said derisively. “Anyway, Miss Smarty Pants, I did not come out here to observe your friends becoming even friendlier or to show my age, funnily enough. I came to see if Hugo and Jacob would like to stay the night. We can bring them to King’s Cross tomorrow.”
“You want to?” Lily asked, looking eagerly at me, the same eagerness I’d seen eight years ago, the eagerness I couldn’t deny.
“Sure,” I replied. “I think Hugo will appreciate it.”
Mrs. Potter said, “I’ll talk to Mione. However, Jacob, you keep Hugo in line. No one’s cherry is getting popped under my roof.”
“Oh my God,” Lily whispered, taking her turn in hiding behind her hands. “Please tell me that you never said that.”
Mrs. Potter laughed and ruffled her daughter’s hair genially before returning to the house.
“Pretend you didn’t hear my mother discuss sex,” Lily implored.
Lily’s door was ajar. I pushed it open and stepped into the familiar room; it was empty.
Ah, she was in her adjoining bathroom. I collapsed onto her bed, my red pajama-clad legs hanging over the side. She was standing at her sink, washing her face.
“Still no sign of the love fledglings yet?” she asked.
“No sign whatsoever.”
They had parted from each other to eat dinner and get Hugo’s things from his house and had proceeded to mysteriously disappear upon our return.
“Hopeless cases, Jake,” she observed.
I laughed. “We can be third wheels together.”
“That’ll be fun.” Lily let out an unladylike snort.
“Lily?” Mr. Potter stood in the doorway to her room. I gestured to the open bathroom door, and he headed for it.
“What is it, Daddy?” she asked, stepping back from the sink and looking inquisitively at her father.
“I’d like a word with you for a moment, if that’s okay,” he said.
Being the diplomatic boy that I am, I slid off her bed and announced, “I’m off in search of a Weasley and an Atkins. I’ll be back in a bit.”
When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I headed for the kitchen, where a light was beaconing. Mrs. Potter was at the table, clearly working on her newest article for the Daily Prophet. She lifted her head at the sound of my footfalls and rubbed her neck tenderly. “Hey, Jacob,” she greeted.
“Hi,” I returned, taking a step in. “Have you seen Hugo and Julia anywhere, Mrs. Potter?”
She smiled. “Last time I caught a glimpse of them, they were out back. Where’s Lily?”
“Up in her room. Mr. Potter said he wanted to talk to her.”
“Oh, Harry,” she whispered, sounding annoyed. “You moron.” She pushed back her chair and headed for the stairs. Slightly nonplussed, I set out for the backyard, glancing at the Quidditch stats on the table as I passed.
“Puddlemere United lost to the Chudley Cannons?!” I shouted on instinct, incredulous.
“I know, can you believe it?” I heard Mrs. Potter yell over the thumping of her feet on the hardwood staircase.
I continued out onto the back porch, glancing around. There they were, swinging on the swing in the gazebo that overlooked the creek. Resisting the urge to gag, I dropped onto the steps and sat, watching the stars come out.
Lily had a fascination with the stars. When we were little, I refused to let my parents pick me up until we’d seen them appear together each night. Some nights at Hogwarts I found her perched up in the Astronomy Tower; others, she’d sneak out to the Quidditch pitch and drift about on her broom. Lily loved the stars; I loved Lily. Therefore, I loved the stars.
I was so absorbed by them that I didn’t notice the back door opening or the footsteps on the porch. I was very oblivious to someone sitting next to me until a light summer breeze blew the smell of roses in my direction. My head dropped. Lily was sitting next to me, a smile on her face.
“Feeling deep and philosophical, are we?” she teased.
“A bit,” I conceded. “I like the stars.”
“I do too.”
There was a cricket somewhere, chirping.
“What was that thing about, with your parents?” I pried.
She smirked crookedly. “Every year, the night before we leave for school, Daddy tries to give me the same speech. Mum, being the chivalrous woman that she is, endeavors to keep him from it.”
I must have looked slightly bemused, for she elaborated, “A speech on how to not act like Hugo and Julia.”
We laughed together for a bit, enjoying the warm, perfect summer evening. It was hard, of course, having to be only Lily’s best friend, but I’d rather have her on her terms than not at all.
That was the way things were between us. I never thought it would change.
But it did.
And it started the next day.
Ever notice how many fascinating events occur on the Hogwarts Express?
A/N: Review please! :)