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Chapter 7 : The Couple.
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As the meeting came to a close and Lily began tidying up, James cleared his throat and began to talk quietly, almost nervously. Lily looked up.
“So…I know it’s a bit late now, but I had the idea of doing a kind of masquerade theme for the ball. It’d probably be too much organising for us now, but I thought I’d mention it anyway…” He trailed off, waiting for Lily’s approval/dismissal of his idea.
She paused and pursed her lips. This was unlike James. Had he actually just contributed to the meeting? It sounded like a great idea, too…how surprising.
“That sounds great, James. I’m sure it won’t be too much to hassle; I can spread the word and get the notice put into all teachers’ morning meetings so they tell their classes.” She smiled at him and laughed. “It’s a good idea.”
And with that, she grabbed her stack of papers and left the room, leaving James a little dazed. She’d smiled at him, and she said…she said his idea was good. That had never happened before. He couldn’t figure out whether the churning feeling in his stomach was to do with how beautiful she looked today or just because he hadn’t eaten in a long time. Grabbing his bag he ran out of the room, hoping to catch up with her in the hallway.
She turned round, smiling a little. “Mmhmm?”
“Oh. Are..uh. Um…” James looked around wildly for a reason as to why he had called her. “Are…you walking back to the Gryffindor common room?” He finished, not really caring as long as he could walk with her.
“Yeah. I thought I’d go and find the girls. I haven’t seen them since this afternoon. April’s probably still with Sirius.” She said thoughtfully, as James caught up with her and they set off in the direction of the common room.
They walked slowly, in no hurry to reach their destination, quite content with making comfortable small talk. Lily caught herself flicking her hair in an almost flirtatious way and ordered herself to stop. She didn’t want James to get the wrong idea, especially as their friendship was only recently renewed and totally platonic. And besides, it had been really nice just talking, he hadn’t asked her to date him once which was pretty good progress, she told herself.
They had fallen into step, wandering up and down staircases on their way back to the common room. Lily snapped out of her reverie when she realised James had stopped a few feet behind her and was craning his neck out of a window to look at something on the grounds with an amused expression on his face. She walked back to him, curious about what he had seen. She looked too and gasped.
“Is that….April and Sirius?” She stuttered.
“Yeah. Gross.” Said James looking disgusted at the pair cavorting in the moonlight.
“Oh God. I am scarred. Mentally scarred.” Lily muttered.
“Let’s go before this gets pornographic.” James suggested, grabbing her hand and pulling her away from the window. They carried on walking, but were interrupted again by shouting coming from a nearby classroom. They paused outside, wondering if they should go in and quiet the pair inside, but were stopped when they heard the conversation that was going on.
“Don’t you get it?? I love you. I freaking LOVE you!” Came a clearly distressed male voice. Lily tried to place it among her peers but found difficulty. There was a small sob from the classroom as a girl whispered, “You love me?”
“Of course! How could you think that I didn’t?” Was the reply from the boy.
There was a heavy silence between the two as James snuck a glance at Lily. She was leaning on the wall and listening intently, a look of such empathy on her face that James thought for a second she had recognised the people in the room, but she quickly caught his eye and made a face at him; ruining the moment.
The girl in the room had finally found her voice.
“I love you too. I always have. I always will.” She said slowly. Someone exhaled loudly, evidently relieved.
“Don’t ever leave me. I love you.”
“I couldn’t if I tried. My heart isn’t whole without you. It’s like I don’t even exist when you aren’t with me.”
The sound of kissing came from the room and James decided it was time to leave, not to mention that Lily was in hysterics and was about to reveal that they had been eavesdropping. He quickly steered her down the corridor with his hand over her mouth to stifle the giggles shaking through her body.
When they turned the corner he, too, burst out in laughter. They laughed solidly for a few minutes; their knees weak and their stomachs hurting. Sliding down the wall to the floor they held onto each other as their giggles subsided, leaving them breathless and exhausted.
“Oh Merlin…” Lily put on a low-pitched voice and imitated the boy in the room, “My heart…my heart is a mere shell of its former self without you.” She said, clutching her chest dramatically and swooning. James caught on; making his voice high and simpering at Lily, who was rolling on the floor laughing by this point.
“And I will love you always”, He said seriously, “until the last star has lost its shine, for you complete me.” They looked at each other and burst out in hysterics again.
When they had finished, Lily looked at James and said, “Promise me you’ll tell me if I ever sound that stupid?”
He nodded seriously at her. “I will tell you, light-of-my-life, star-of-my-stars, shining beacon of hope in this dark and dismal world-”
Lily interrupted him by giggling loudly.
“Love is stupid. Look what it does to people.” She mused, when her laughter died down enough so that she could breathe. James murmured his agreement.
“Let’s never fall in love.” She said as she rested her head on James’s shoulder, hiccoughing a little.
“I’m trying not to.” He said quietly, but she didn’t hear him.
And they sat in silence in the middle of a cold corridor, just being together. Around them hundreds of people slept, dreaming of magic, love and an unidentifiable feeling of anticipation, unaware of the spectacular normalcy with which Hogwarts' most famous duo were regarding each other. Couples argued, professed their love for each other, fell asleep together. At least one pair lay in the grass in the grounds and stared at the stars, hand-in-hand. In a few hours the school would wake up, and life would begin again as usual, but for now, Lily and James were happy just sat in that cold corridor, their hearts worn proudly on their sleeves.
Perhaps, they were more like the couple in the classroom than they realised.
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