Chapter 9 : The Awakening.
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James couldn’t remember how he got back to his dorm that night. From the moment Lily pressed her lips against his, his mind had gone totally blank. The next morning, he lay in bed feeling more confused than ever. They’d kissed. They’d actually kissed. And she’d initiated it. Which meant she liked him, surely? He couldn’t describe it; that morning he felt more whole than he’d ever been, but for some reason he felt a little deflated. He might have just been being pedantic, but if he was honest with himself, he knew that the reason Lily kissed him was more the fact that she’d drunk a ridiculous amount of firewhiskey, rather than feelings she may or may not have.
But then, the look. The look. She so gave him the look. The ‘I-like-you’ look. Argh. He had wanted their first kiss to be amazing, which it was. He just wished it had been sober.
As he lay staring at the ceiling of his bed, he wondered how Lily would react this morning. Would she be angry? Would she throw herself into his arms and profess her love for him? Unlikely, but a nice thought. Would she ignore him? Suddenly a far worse thought struck him- would she even remember?
Across the tower Lily was stirring. It was a Friday morning and she had two free periods which meant she could have a lie-in. Probably good, aswell, considering the pounding headache and wicked hangover she had. Still dozing slightly, she thought over last night. She had images of dancing, a lot of alcohol, music, Remus and Darcy, some more alcohol. She got up, hand to her head, and pulled her robe around her.
Looking down at her knees she saw scrapes, and the signs of a new bruise forming. Touching her fingers to her lips she found them bruised and tender.
The cuts on her knees stung in the soapy water and an image slowly formed in her head. Falling out of the portrait hole. “That explains the scrapes”, she thought. More images flashed into her head.
She saw his eyes. The most beautiful brown eyes she’d ever seen. The fireworks she felt looking at them. A hand pulling her up. A hallway, a couple, a kiss.
Sirius woke up with his arms wrapped around April. After the party last night they had stayed in the boys’ dorms together but nothing had happened; they’d just slept. A smile crossed Sirius’s face as he watched her sleep. Tightening his grip on her delicate form, he closed his eyes and breathed in her sugary smell, thinking that he could stay there forever. This wasn’t just another girl; he reflected as he drifted off into a comfortable slumber, this wasn’t his usual territory. He was dangerously close to wanting more from their simple relationship and it made him nervous. She made him nervous, with her short blonde hair and ‘I-don’t-give-a-fuck’ attitude. She shifted slightly in his arms and he rested his cheek on her hair. Closing his eyes, he felt more alive than ever before.
Meanwhile, Remus lay as straight as a board on his bed. He stared up at the crimson drapes with wide eyes and his knuckles turned white as he gripped the bed sheet tightly. She had kissed him. Darcy Brown, had kissed him. On the lips. In front of everyone. (‘Everyone’ being the only people that mattered; that is to say, his friends.) He had an unidentifiable feeling in his stomach, something halfway between excitement and nausea but not unlike extreme hunger and alcohol poisoning. He felt a distinct tightness in his chest, and his heart beat against it as though it was a bird trapped in a cage. He thought he was having a heart attack. Her face filled his mind. The dark grey of her eyes consumed him. Subconsciously, he began to hum one of her favourite songs.
Lily got out of the shower, dressed and walked down to breakfast without saying a word, making a noise, blinking, reacting in any way. She was numb. Part of her was disgusted with herself. How could she have been so stupid? They were friends. Friends. Why did she have to turn everything into a drama?! She couldn’t just keep it platonic, for God’s sake. She liked him, and she’d acted on it. Ruining their friendship. She did the very thing she’d hated him for for the past six years. Was she any better than him now?
The other, more girly part of her was tingling with excitement. Something had happened between them. She’d admitted she liked him to herself and they’d kissed. She could still feel the fireworks. This part, however, was a great deal smaller than the part that was telling her she was a fool. Subsequently, it was quickly over-ruled. She resolved to act like it had never happened, so they could move past it. They had both been drunk and stupid. Yes, that was it.
James heard her scream and winced. She remembered, then. And it didn’t sound good. He got dressed quickly and made his way down to the Great Hall. In the Entrance Hall he met Sirius, April, Remus and Peter. Through the doors he could see Darcy was already sat with Lily at the Gryffindor table. They were talking quietly, heads together. Remus paled visibly.
“What am I going to do? I can’t deal with this. What do I say?” he asked James, panic in his eyes.
James ran a hand through his hair, not listening to Moony. His eyes were fixed on Lily. She looked worried. She hadn’t seen him yet, which meant that he could still make a run for it and not deal with the situation at all. He considered it.
Sirius and April pushed past the two hovering boys and made their way towards the girls, hand in hand. Drawing glares from many girls in the room, April kissed Sirius on the cheek before taking a place next to Darcy and joining in their, apparently serious, conversation.
“Why are we waiting here, again?” Asked Peter.
“Girl problems, Wormtail mate.” Replied James, wearily. Looking between the two, Peter smirked a little.
“Girl trouble? Prongs? Haha! First time ever?” He asked, jokingly.
The look he received from James was enough to send him scurrying into the hall. He joined Sirius at the table, where they promptly started a game of ‘who-can-flick-the-most-food-at-the-Slytherin-table-without-getting-hexed’.
“We’ve got to go in, haven’t we?” Remus asked miserably.
“Guess so. See you on the other side.” He replied.
They both took deep breaths before crossing the threshold into the Hall and walking to the table purposefully. Remus took a seat next to Sirius, glancing at Darcy. He would talk to her later. Sirius called him a coward in between bewitching bits of sausage to bounce off of Snape’s head. James, however, made his way over to Lily. She looked up at him reluctantly as he neared their seats. Biting her lip, James could see she looked nervous. He smiled a little, to calm her and she returned it.
“Oh.” Lily looked round at April and Darcy. The latter gave her a meaningful look. “Sure.” She said, getting up from the table and walking out of the hall with James.
“About last night, I’m sorry-” James began, but he was interrupted.
“No, no it wasn’t your fault. It was me who kissed you. I’m sorry. I drank far too much, and I don’t know, just got caught up in the moment I think.” She burst out. It sounded rehearsed. They both stopped walking and looked at each other. There was an acute sadness in her eyes as she looked at him. Lily knew that dismissing the kiss was the only way she could buy time until she figured out what she felt for the boy in front of her. But all the same, the way he was looking at her made her want to kiss him again.
After all this time, the only thing standing in the way was her pride. It was petty, but it was true. She had spent too many hours insulting him and convincing herself that she could never like James Potter. It had taken six and a half years to admit it to herself, it would a take a little longer to admit it to him.
Feeling better about the situation, she broke away from him. They bid each other goodbye and went their separate ways; Lily to the lake and James to find Sirius.
The cold December morning had begun to chill her, and she made her way up to the castle to her first lesson. Halfway across the lawns, she stopped. He hadn’t dated anyone all term. No-one. Not one girl. It was true; he really was waiting for her. Her breath caught in her chest, and she felt her stomach drop away. Rosy-cheeked and out of breath, she continued walking to the castle. She liked him. She really did.
James found Sirius in the common room, transfiguring Peter’s homework into various animals and watching him chase them round the room.
“How’d it go, Prongs?” He asked, without even turning round. How Sirius always knew it was him without looking, James would never know.
“Not good. She apologised.” Sirius winced.
“Ouch. No confessions of undying love, then?”
“Nope. But she did give me the look again.”
Sirius stopped. “I reckon she likes you, you know. Just won’t admit it.”
“Hope so.” James put his head into his hands and rubbed his eyes wearily.
James sighed. “It’s not like that.” He said quietly, and then mumbled something inaudibly.
“WHAT?!?” Sirius jumped up and pointed and accusatory finger at James. “Did you just say what I think you just said?”
“I love her, Padfoot.” James repeated softly.
Sirius opened and closed his mouth goldfish-style for a few moments, before plonking himself back down on the couch.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He asked.
“Didn’t know how.”
James looked up from studying his hands and locked eyes with the boy sat opposite him.
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