Chapter 3 : Part Three
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The moment they were out of the door, Lily asked carefully; “What did I say that was so terrible Sirius?” He hesitated for a split second, before replying in a subdued voice; “Mrs. Potter was the only one who ever called him Jamie!” A look of realization dawned in her eyes and she looked guilty; “It’s so strange you know; I’ve never cared what James thought of me before, even though he always loved me but now, just when I was determined to be a source comfort, I hurt him the most!”
Sirius put his arm around her shoulders comfortingly; “No Lily, don’t go blaming yourself for what happened back there.How could you have known that only his mother called him Jamie?” She nodded sadly; “I couldn’t have known that, but I still feel bad!”
“You can make it up to him tomorrow," Sirius reassured her soothingly. Just then they reached the foot of the seventh floor staircase and were distracted by the raised voices in the distance; “No Snape, I don’t know where Lily is, now go away!”
Lily gulped, that was definitely Alice’s voice, what was going on? She broke into a run with Sirius following right behind her; finally the portrait hole came into view, as well as the two people standing in front of it, arguing heatedly: Alice and Severus!
Skidding to a halt beside her friend, Lily gasped; “What’s going on here, Al?” Alice scowled and pointed at Snape; “He was looking for you and kept pestering me even though I really had no idea where you were?” Suddenly she looked thoughtful and added; “Where were you anyway?”
Lily blushed and said in an undertone; “I was in the hospital wing with James.” Alice beamed; both she and Lily completely ignored the pained moan coming from Severus’ direction. Finally Lily noticed that he still hadn’t moved; “Did you want something, Snape?” she asked coldly.
He merely held a vial filled with a bright yellow liquid out to her and said evenly; “The potion is ready, but there is no way I’m delivering it! Here, you visit Potter all the time, take it with you next time!” She took it without a word, glaring at him all the while and then he left in a huff.
Lily turned to Sirius, who had uncharacteristically watched the entire conversation without a word. She admired his self-control, even as she watched he was grinding his teeth and clenching his fists angrily, but for once he hadn’t laid a finger on Snape. She supposed it had something to do with the fact that the latter was helping James, whom Sirius cared about very much, to recover.
Gently, she reached for his hand; “Well done for keeping your temper under control Sirius!” He looked at her and seemed to calm down slightly; “I swear Lils, the only thing that was keeping me from beating that git to pulp, was the thought that James needs his skills, rather unfortunate really!”
She nodded understandingly, smiling slightly; “Even so, I’m glad you could control that particular urge!” He just took a deep breath and entered the common room without looking back. Lily looked at her watch and started, it was nearing eleven o’ clock at night already. “Oh my, Al it’s so late already, let’s hit the hay!”
Her friend nodded and led the way to the girl’s dorms. As they ascended the stairs, Alice asked; “How did it go anyway?” Lily didn’t need to ask what she meant. For a moment, an image of James in tears flashed before her eyes and then she replied in a subdued voice; “I managed to hurt him again! I tell you, it was horrible!”
Alice looked startled for a moment and then she asked in a genuinely curious voice; “How did you manage to do that? The last I heard, Sirius was taking you to the hospital wing as a surprise for James, am I missing something here?” Lily shook her head sadly and recounted every miserable detail of her evening, by the time she was finished Alice could only look on sympathetically, for once she had no idea what to say that would help her friend to feel better.
Finally she said slowly; “Well then, you have to go back tomorrow and apologize again!” Lily sighed, she seemed to be doing nothing but apologizing to James for something or other nowadays, darn conscience!
The next morning, Lily awoke even earlier than usual. She’d been plagued by thoughts of the distress she’d left James in the previous day the entire night. Feeling extremely grateful that it was Saturday, she got dressed quietly and grabbed the new fever potion from her dresser. The least she could do for upsetting him the previous day was to lessen the discomfort which the fever brought with it.
She left Alice a quick note explaining where she’d gone and left the dorm hurriedly. This time, for some strange unknown reason, she didn’t feel anywhere near as nervous as she had on previous occasions. Today she was filled with more guilt than anything else. She practically ran to the hospital wing, only slowing down when she reached it. Cautiously she pushed the sturdy doors open and entered.
Madam Pomfrey was already doing her rounds, administering various medicines and potions when she came in. Very suddenly feeling wary, she hesitated in the doorway until she was spotted by the Healer. “Good morning Miss Evans, what brings you here so early on a Saturday?” she asked.
Lily couldn’t meet her eye, while staring at the ground she said; “I couldn’t sleep, I kept thinking about what happened here yesterday,” she mumbled trying not to turn red at the knowing look Madam Pomfrey was giving her. “Would you care to explain to me what went on here yesterday? All I witnessed was Potter crying about something and he refused to tell me what happened between you! He’s clammed up completely and whatever is bothering him has brought the fever back in full force.”
Utterly frustrated at having to repeat herself to so many people, Lily recounted the previous night’s events to the matron. Feeling the need to for redemption once she was finished, she handed over the vial to the relieved medi-witch. “Oh good, this is highly needed right now!”
She took the vial and proceeded to wake James, who was the only patient still asleep. Lily kept her distance and watched him apprehensively. He moaned as he matron shook him gently; “Wake up Potter, the fever potion is ready!” Lily had just started having second thoughts about staying, when he opened his eyes, thereby canceling out the option of leaving. She couldn’t leave him in the lurch again, not after what she’d said yesterday.
Once James got his bearings, he looked around and said to the Healer; “Madam Pomfrey, what is she doing here?” He pointed a shaking finger at Lily and she couldn’t tell if he felt hurt or angry right now, the only thing she knew for certain was that he definitely wasn’t pleased to see her.
Madam Pomfrey however, wasn’t at all fazed by his anger and said calmly; “She was worried about you, now stop pointing your finger so accusingly at her and drink this!” She held a glassful of the new potion out to him, but he blatantly ignored it since he was far too busy glaring at Lily. She shuffled her feet nervously, being fixed with such a mixed look of hurt and anger from those intense eyes of his, was decidedly not a pleasant experience.
Unable to bear it, she took to examining her own two feet, until Madam Pomfrey spoke to her; “Miss Evans, I would like to force-feed only as a last resort, would you attempt to make him drink the potion please?”
Cursing herself for being helpful by nature, she nodded and took the vial from the matron. “I have a lot of work to do, call me if you require assistance!” said the Healer before going towards her office and leaving Lily alone with James, who was now refusing to look at her.
After a tense silence that seemed to last an eternity, Lily finally took a tentative step towards him. Her voice shook slightly as she pleaded; “James, please drink the potion, you need it to get better!” He shook his head stubbornly and snapped; “Don’t pretend like you care if I get better or not, because I know you don’t give a damn what happens to me! Anyway, I happen to know Snivellus made that potion, which means it’s probably poisoned!”
Lily glared at him; she hadn’t realized what a stubborn idiot he could be. “Would I be here trying to convince you to drink this if I didn’t care about you?” she reasoned. He was looking the other way again, finally Lily had had enough and she turned and stormed towards Madam Pomfrey’s office.
The matron was doing some paperwork when she entered, nearly in tears by this time, Lily choked out; “James Potter is officially a stubborn git, he refused to take the potion from me, I’m sorry!” With those words she turned and ran from the infirmary, so that she could let her pent-up misery out in the safety of common room.
Luckily there weren’t too many people in the common room when she got there, in fact, by some miracle, the only people in sight were the ones who’s support she really needed right now; Alice and Sirius. The moment she entered the room, the tears began leaking from her eyes. Almost at once, Alice approached her; “Oh my god, Lily what happened? Please say something!”
Lily looked into her friend’s concerned eyes and choked out a single word; “James!” before dissolving in tears in Alice’ arms. She didn’t need to say more for her friend to understand, still holding Lily tightly, Alice beckoned to Sirius. “Sirius, just look what your best friend has done to mine!”
The latter looked shocked; “Lily, what did he say?” Taking a deep breath, Lily forced herself to quote James exactly. By the end of it, she was sobbing again, asking them both; “How can he possibly think I don’t care about him?”
Neither of them knew what to say, in actual fact Sirius could have thought of a million reasons James had not to trust Lily, but to voice them right now would be the most tactless thing he could possibly do. Instead he said gently; “Don’t worry Lils, Remus and I will talk to him! If I know James, which I do, he will have taken the medicine by now and I’m sure he regrets what he said to you!”
The events going on in the hospital wing at that precise time, only served to prove that Sirius did indeed know James very well. After losing patience and resorting to force-feeding, Madam Pomfrey told him what he had said according to Lily. Filled with painful remorse, the first thing he had tried to do was escape from the hospital so he could apologize to her. Needless to say, the watchful matron had put a stop to that plan almost at once.
“Don’t be silly Potter! You may not have the cough anymore, but you have to stay here till I’m certain that the fever potion has taken effect! If she comes back here then fine, but you are not leaving this bed!” He scowled even though he knew she was right and was reduced to asking himself how he could have said something so awful to Lily, whom he loved more than anything.
Not long after this, Sirius and Remus arrived on the scene to try and cheer up their highly depressed best friend. Sirius never revealed the actual reason he asked Remus to come, but in actual fact, it was because he couldn’t handle emotions in overdrive as well as the latter could. Almost as soon as they arrived, they realized that reasoning with James at this point would be fruitless; the only thing that would comfort him now was reconciliation with Lily. Getting the latter to visit him again, after all the negative experiences she’d had in the infirmary however, was another matter altogether.
“Don’t do this to yourself Prongs, you weren’t thinking straight when you said all those things to Lily!” the two boys tried to reassure their moping friend. It evidently didn’t work, because he shot back; “But guys, she thinks I meant every word! Madam Pomfrey told me how close to tears Lily was when she came to her and that’s entirely my fault! I love her so much, how is it that I always end up hurting her?”
Neither of them knew what to say to that, after an awkward silence, Remus said slowly; “You know Prongs, I think your only choice is to hope she comes back and then apologize! We certainly can’t force her into coming back; you just have to hope she cares enough to return.”
James rolled his eyes; “Thanks Moony, that really helps me feel better, not! She’ll never come back, she’ll hate me forever now, I’m sure of it!” Sirius couldn’t help but sigh at that, he was definitely getting a sense of déjà vu now, because those had been Lily’s exact words a few days ago, according to Alice.
Feeling completely miserable, James looked away, giving Sirius the chance to whisper unseen to Remus; “Keep him occupied for a few minutes Moony, I’ll be right back!” Before Remus could protest, he was gone.
Sirius ran to the library, hoping against hope that she’d still be there. He had a plan but her cooperation was required. Luckily, she was indeed there, surrounded by a mountain of books. Cautiously he approached her table and asked; “Lily? Will you come with me please?”
When she looked up, the first thing he noticed was how red her eyes were; “No Sirius, I have so much work to do, I can’t afford to go anywhere right now,” she said flatly. He wouldn’t have any of that, he’d had just about enough of Lily and James’ stupid misunderstandings and he vowed even as he pulled her to her feet, to get them together at all costs.
“Hey! Sirius Black let go of me right now!” she protested as he dragged her away. “No Lily, I gave you the choice to come with me of your own free will, but since you refused it has to be this way!” he answered firmly. Giving up the fight, Lily began to feel a bit scared. There was no doubt in her mind where they were headed but she didn’t feel at all ready for it.
“Sirius is this really necessary right now?” she asked, hoping her tone made it clear just how reluctant she was to do this. He merely nodded; “Yes it is James won’t relax until he’s apologized to you Lil!” She looked surprised for a moment, before she recovered her voice and exclaimed; “What! You have got to be kidding me Black, he wants to apologize?”
“Of course he does, contrary to your belief; he’s human and therefore knows when something is his fault! You don’t seem to realize how guilty he felt for hurting you, that’s what I’ve been trying to convince you of this whole time!”
He stopped speaking abruptly as they reached the hospital wing. The voices of James and Remus could just be heard behind the doors. They both looked up as Sirius made his entrance followed by an uncharacteristically timid Lily. Sirius beckoned to Remus; “Come on Moony, these two have got to work out their differences once and for all!”
Remus got up and followed him out, not at all reluctant to leave. For the past ten minutes he’d had to listen to James moping without a clue what he could say to cheer him up. He certainly pitied Lily right now.
Once their friends had gone, an awkward silence reigned in the room. Finally James patted the space on the bed next to him and said quietly; “Come here please Lils.” She gulped, but found herself obeying against her will. There was even something apologetic in the way he said it, that made her want to listen to him.
Once she was comfortably seated beside him, he reached for her hand and said; “Lily, I-I’m so sorry for what I said this morning. Please believe me when I say I didn’t mean it, please!” Only when she heard his pleading tone, followed by extremely real tears, did it hit home to her how sincere he was.
Gently she forced him to meet her gaze; “I believe you James, don’t worry we all say things we don’t really mean at times! While we’re apologizing, I need to get this of my conscience; I’m sorry for turning you down at the Quidditch party, I didn’t think it would affect you like this because I didn’t know about your parents at the time. So basically I’m sorry for making your life even more difficult!”
By the time she was done, James was no longer looking at her. Lily supposed the mention of his parents must have upset him further and she wasn’t disappointed, the next time he looked up, his eyes were full of tears and he simply said; “I miss them so much!” before rolling over and sobbing quietly, not caring that she was still there.
Lily was glad he’d opened up to her, as she stayed right there with him, rubbing his back and whispering words of comfort. Finally, his sobs subsided and he said in a voice filled with wonder; “Wow, you really do care!” she smiled and said; “Of course I do, I promise I’ll always be here for you!”
He looked thoughtful for a moment, then he said; “Lils?” “Hm?” she responded. “Would this be a bad time to ask you to be my girlfriend?” he asked curiously. She gaped at him, completely speechless; “James Potter you are unbelievable!” she exclaimed incredulously at last. “That doesn’t answer my question,” he reminded her with a small smile. Suddenly he could only look on disbelievingly, normally that question warranted a negative answer straight away, but now Lily appeared to be deep in thought.
The cogs were indeed turning over in Lily’s mind. She was forced to admit, there was something different about the way he’d asked her today than usual. She had even given a fairly standard answer to his frequently asked question, yet instead of a cheeky, arrogant comeback, she got a smile of all things! She really did care about him and what better way to show it than agree to be his girlfriend. Having thought all this through, yet still wondering why the hell she was feeling this way, she said; “Yes, I will be your girlfriend!”
At first he could only stare at her in surprise, but then he gave in to the sudden urge to kiss her. At first she was too shocked to act, but then she opened her mouth slightly, eagerly letting him in. He pulled her into a hug, grinning goofily all the while. When they surfaced from their first passionate kiss for air, the moment was shattered by Madam Pomfrey; “Excuse me, but this is a hospital! Potter please restrain such actions until you are discharged and Miss Evans I really think you should leave now!”
Lily giggled in an embarrassed kind of way and said hurriedly; “Sorry Madam Pomfrey! See you tomorrow James, bye!” with that she ran from the infirmary, leaving James to get a lecture about hospital etiquette.
As soon as she reached the common room, she pounced on Alice, who had been quietly reading in a corner; “Hey! Lily, what the hell are you doing?” When she noticed the uncharacteristic shy grin on her friends’ face, she knew instantly Lily must have big news, so she pulled her to the girls’ dorms where they’d have privacy.
“What happened?” she asked with urgent curiosity the instant they reached upstairs. “I kissed him!” said Lily in a rush. Alice looked confused; “Who, James?” Lily frowned and said sarcastically; “No, Peter Pettigrew, of course James silly!”
Alice grinned at her; “That’s great Lil, I’m so happy for you! Have you told Sirius and Remus yet?” She shook her head and said; “I also agreed to be his girlfriend, I can’t believe he’s changed so much Allie! I’m telling you he actually gave a nice smile when he asked me, not a cheeky smirk for once!”
Alice shook her head in mild exasperation; “I’ve been trying to tell you that for months!” she declared. Lily smiled and said; I’ll see you later Al, I have to tell Sirius about this!” Her friend nodded as Lily raced down the stairs still grinning broadly.
When she reached the bottom of the stairs, Lily paused; the fact that she had no idea where Sirius or Remus were had just occurred to her. She couldn’t know that they were in fact, with James at that very moment getting the same story she had told Alice, from his perspective. She also didn’t know that they were both thanking her inwardly for putting the smile back on James’ face.
He was discharged the following day and Lily became an integral part of the Marauders from that day onwards. She kept her promise and was indeed always there for James when he needed her, so much so, that they ended up married much to the amusement of any of their old professors who were invited to the wedding. As if to complete the picture of perfection, they had a son, whom they named Harry, not long after; never suspecting what an early end their blissful existence was destined to meet, and of course the rest is history.
A/N That is the longest “one-shot” I’ve ever written I hope you enjoyed it, because I’m certainly proud of it! That brings me to the usual request, please review; I thrive on feedback and I’d like to know if you thought it was good bad or ugly! Any comments are appreciated, but I think I’ll shut up now and let you all decide for yourselves if it’s worth that moment of your time which it takes to review! I love you all!