“Have fun now, Lily,” Marissa Berska chorused with a wink and a wide smile. The four girls around her giggled madly and threw Lily looks that clearly meant they knew more about this than she thought they did.
As the girls walked out the door and descended down to the common room, Lily couldn’t resist rolling her eyes. “With friends like them who needs enemies.”
“Hush, Lily. I’m almost done,” Tallie commanded. She was a plain girl with straight blond hair and always had a smile on her face. Putting down the brush and curling iron, Tallie picked up a spray bottle labeled ‘Curls Forever More’ and misted it all over Lily’s red hair. “Voila, you look gorgeous.”
Lily stood up from the stool she was sitting on and walked to the full-length mirror in the bathroom. She twirled around, the gold dress she wore was simple, but it sparkled extravagantly when the light hit it. She was shocked by how grown-up she looked. Her hair was half-down-half-up in curls, and red tendrils framed her green eyes.
“Potter will turn speechless at the sight of you,” Tallie exclaimed.
Lily frowned at her reflection. “Do you think it’s a bit much? It is Petunia’s day. I don’t want to take away her spotlight.”
“Once she sees your dashing date, your dear sister will understand.”
“Not you, too,” Lily moaned. It had been a tiring week having to deal with everyone’s concerns and questions about her apparent ‘change of heart’ toward Gryffindor’s Golden Boy.
“You’ve been so silent on the topic, so you can’t be mad at me for coming up with some fantastical answer, such as you’ve been harboring a secret passion for Potter since you first looked into his hazel eyes our first year.”
“Hardly,” Lily retorted with a grimace.
“Well then I suppose you just enjoy messing with the poor bloke’s heart?”
Lily swiveled around to face Tallie. “Come again?”
“You are sort of leading him on… Potter’s been pining for you since fifth year, and you finally invite him somewhere, but not at all in a romantic sense. It is a bit cruel.”
Lily stared at her friend. She had never meant for her actions to be cruel…well maybe at one time when James deserved it, she might have wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine. Now though, it hadn’t been her intention and Lily wondered if other students thought the same thing about her. Was she playing with James’ feelings? She didn’t think so, especially since she had been honest that this was strictly a friendship. This, after all, wasn’t a movie or fairy-tale, this was her life, and building a friendship with a boy she’d held in disdain only a few months ago was a large step.
“You don’t think I should have invited him?” Lily asked tentatively. Tallie was an honest person, and Lily hoped she wouldn’t lie to her just to spare her feelings this one time.
“It’s a little late for that…” Tallie said, a thoughtful look crossing her face. “Look, Lily, you are the kindest person I know, but when it comes to Potter, well you’re quite stubborn about your opinion of him.”
“I am trying to change my opinion about him, but his past actions have been very questionable and…”
“No one will argue with you about Potter’s arrogance…but I don’t know, he just has a way about him, don’t you think? A certain, unexplainable charm.”
Lily thought back to some of the conversations she had with Potter during rounds and Head duties. He could make her laugh easily, he was witty and with one off-hand comment could erase the uneasiness between them.
“And he has changed this year. He appears to be assigning more detentions than he actually receives. Also that annoying habit of hexing anyone he comes in contact in the hallways has toned down….”
Everything Tallie cited was true, but the change was abrupt and perhaps not even genuine.
“The thing is, people don’t change their true nature over night,” Lily noted. “I doubt this polite and courteous Potter will last long, especially not with Black over his shoulder tempting him…”
“Speaking of Black,” Tallie said wiggling her eyebrows, causing Lily to wish she had not ever spoken the name. “With Potter preoccupied with you, poor Sirius might be lonely tonight.”
“Don’t tell me you fancy Black?” Lily cried, outraged. Getting involved with Black as far as Lily knew had caused more heartbreak than necessary.
“He’s a perfect specimen of the male species. What’s there not to like in Black?”
“He’s a berk…” Just like James, Lily added in her head, yet she had invited him to her sister’s engagement party.
“Ah, well I’m not looking for a relationship. Just a good snog in an empty classroom or under the stars…”
Lily gaped at Tallie, unable to protest in words.
Tallie burst out in laughter. “Relax, Lily, you’re so tense lately. I was only joking. I’m not about to go snog any of the Marauders. If anyone will have that chance, it’s going to be you.”
“If Potter doesn’t try to kiss you, then the bloke is dumber than I originally thought.”
“You’re joking again? Kiss me? That’s absurd.”
Tallie ignored her protests. “Perhaps you even want him to try? See if the rumors are true about his kissing prowess?”
“No! Never! What have you been drinking?”
Tallie smirked, reveling in the nerve she had touched. “Sorry I mentioned it. Lily, could you answer me honestly about one thing? Why did you invite Potter?”
Lily was struck dumb for the second time. Her reasons were so befuddled and mixed up in her mind that to actually grasp it enough to be able to articulate it seemed impossible. Why indeed? Was it because she genuinely enjoyed his companionship when she stopped criticizing his every action and let her guard down? Or was it that a spark lit up in his eyes when he bumped into her in the hallway between classes, a spark that sent shivers down Lily’s spine and made her feel special? Did it mean something that James was one of the few people she had opened up to about Petunia? James understood her and the way he grabbed onto any small detail of her life, as if it was all equally important to him, showed he cared about her personally. Lily knew Potter would not shy way from the Muggle strangers, and he would not be intimidated by Petunia’s prejudiced remarks or the inquisitive questions her father or mother might ask him about Hogwarts and the general magical world. It was still a mysterious world to her family, because Lily had always been careful to keep the two worlds separate.
Tallie was looking at her expectantly, waiting for the revelation.
“I didn’t really know who else to invite and if I went dateless it would only prove to Petunia that I’m a freak even here in the wizarding world.”
“If you expect me to believe that, then you don’t know me well, Lily. I, for one, can think of a dozen boys who would have said yes.”
As Tallie listed the names off, Lily in her head ticked off the reasons she disliked each of them. Too short…too shy…too boring…too self-involved.
“Ok,” Lily admitted, “so I had other options.”
“We’re making progress, at least you are admitting you chose Potter, and not because of some outside influence. You still haven’t answered my question.”
Lily busied herself with the bag she was taking, fiddling with the objects inside, pretending to be check-listing the items.
“Could it be that you are falling for Potter?” Tallie asked tentatively. She was studying Lily carefully.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Lily answered with a final tone, clasping a black cloak over her dress.
“I, for one, don’t think it would be a horrible thing,” Tallie stated slyly.
“I thought we’ve already covered that subject.”
“Just hoping to catch you off guard,” Tallie replied with a laugh and a thought suddenly occurred to her. “Did you explain to James about the dress code?”
“I told him it was formal. Why?”
“No, I mean about Muggle clothing. You have to remember James is a pureblood…he’ll show up in his best dress robes.”
Lily stared at Tallie. “Oh no!” She could just see everyone’s reaction, the gaping and whispers behind the hands, and Petunia would die if she saw anything blatantly magical.
“Worst case scenario you can persuade your family that it’s the latest style in Scotland,” Tallie remarked consolingly.
If Lily was worried about the party before, her nerves kicked into high gear. This day could easily turn into a disaster, and not because of Potter’s antics, but because she had forgotten that James had little contact or information about Muggle life. She was generally prepared for all situations, but lately her life had gotten out of control.
Tallie glanced down at her wristwatch, the one Lily had given to her for her sixteenth birthday. She had bought it in a Muggle jewelry shop in London, then using a slew of complicated charms she had bewitched the face of the clock to mirror the weather outside, a bit like the Great Hall ceiling. Right now it was a gray color with clouds of various sizes moving across it to signal that it was cloudy.
“I think it’s time to go down.”
Lily nodded, composing herself. She was anxious to see Potter.
“I’ll tell you why I chose Potter,” Lily said suddenly. She owed Tallie part of the truth. It might not be as exciting as harboring a secret crush on the boy, but it was legitimate. “I know I’ll have fun with James.”
No matter what else she thought of Potter, she knew this was true. Tallie had been right. James had a charm about him that made him a delightful companion.
“Well then…he’s the perfect choice,” Tallie conceded.
James wished Peter would stop talking. The constant chatter was not keeping his mind off his date with Lily; instead, it was grating on his nerves and his nerves at the moment did not need any further disturbance.
Remus was upstairs finishing up the homework due Monday; as if was the full moon tonight, Remus would spend most of Monday sleeping and recovering. While Sirius had joined Lily’s roommates when they had come down, and James would have given anything to have Sirius jabbing jokes about his love interest instead of dealing with Peter’s attempts to impress him. The week when James most needed the reassurances of his best mate, Sirius had been cool and distant.
James didn’t understand why he felt as if he were back in fourth year on his first date. He was usually so confident around girls. The stakes today were high, and if he messed up with Lily today, James knew he would get no further chances with Lily. He had to keep his wits about him. He couldn’t act like an idiot in front of her. He had to relax, be charming and respectful.
There was an intense pain in his shin and James realized Peter had just kicked him. James glanced upward to see Lily descending the steps. She was a vision, looking beautiful and sophisticated, and he was thankful no matter what occurred tonight that Lily had chosen him.
James didn’t miss the fact that every male in the common room had their eyes on his date – Lily, after all, was quite a catch. But when Lily shyly found his eyes, he forgot all about them. As James stumbled to his feet, Sirius whistled. James turned briefly to give Padfoot a grin, taking the whistle as an apology and approval. Instantly he felt better and he approached Lily with confidence, wanting to offer her a compliment, but unable to think of one that she wouldn’t rebuke.
“You’re in Muggle clothes?” Lily asked her emerald eyes widening.
“Remus told me I’d be laughed at if I wore my dress robes. Is this ok?”
Judging by Lily’s reaction, Moony had been correct.
“Yes,” Lily replied quickly, looking relieved. “I should have told you. I had forgotten. You look like a proper Muggle.”
Noticing everyone was still watching their exchange, James decided it was time he and Lily were alone. “Shall we?” He motioned toward the exit of the common room. Dumbledore had arranged a special carriage for them that would take them to where they could Floo to Lily’s house.
They walked down the hall and toward the Grand staircase silently. James was beginning to feel self-conscious once more. He wasn’t sure how to act. All he wanted to do was kiss her ravishingly right there…to feel his body against hers…but he kept control.
“How far away is your house?”
Lily looked just as uncomfortable, and smiled at his safe question topic. “Quite far. Once we get to Hogsmeade, we can Floo over to my house; Professor Dumbledore had it arranged. From my house we’ll drive with my parents to the party.”
“It should be fun,” he commented, his wit seemed to be on vacation at the moment.
Lily shrugged and began playing with the clasp on her robe.
“Is there something on your mind?” he asked as they waited patiently for one of the staircases to move to allow them to go to the next floor beneath them.
“I know it’s none of my business and it isn’t proper of me to ask, but are you still seeing Joceyln?”
James couldn’t hide how taken back he was at the mention of his few week fling with Joceyln. Well it might have progressed to more than a few weeks, but he never thought of their relationship as official. He had mentioned to Moony one time how Lily constantly brought that topic up, and Moony had agreed it was suspicious, but had not agreed that James could see it as a declaration of love.
“I was never seeing her,” James quipped. Technically his answer wasn’t a lie. James had never asked Joceyln to be his girlfriend, but they had acted as a couple in public.
“You know what I mean,” Lily answered back, her eyes serious. “I hope this, for lack of a better term, date, didn’t ruin your relationship.”
“Is that what people are saying? That you ruined my relationship?”
“Some,” Lily replied noncommittally. James had heard this too and was convinced either Jocelyn or someone in her gang had spread this the moment they heard the news of Lily asking James out.
“Those people are being idiots. You didn’t ruin anything because my relationship with Jocelyn is completely separate from my friendship with you.”
Jocelyn had been icy toward him the entire week, even out right declining him in public to ‘walk around the lake’, a code word for snogging. He might have not been officially seeing Jocelyn, but they were more than friends. It hadn’t mattered to him. He had feelings for Jocelyn, but they were shallow and replaceable. At the same time, James knew Jocelyn was using his status to further her own, and she had no deep feelings for him either. Peter was also peeved at his treatment of Joceyln; he couldn’t get over how easily he could toss away a gorgeous beauty. Throw it away for a chance with a fiery red head who most likely would break his heart.
Before James could properly prepare himself, they had arrived at Lily’s house. He entered in a dream-like sate, dusting the ash off his clothes and helping Lily with her cloak revealing the exquisite dress she wore underneath. The dress clung to her curves in the most provocative way, so James kept his eyes firmly away from Lily.
He shook hands with Lily’s sister, a plain blonde haired girl who was taller than Lily with a face that reminded James of a horse. Lily’s parents, who were very simple plain folks (no hint of aristocracy like most of the parents James had met before), were very pleased to meet a wizard and welcomed him warmly. It surprised him that they weren’t more cautious and he easily fell into conversation with them.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Lily’s bewildered expression, and she narrowed her gaze at him as if suspecting he had used a spell to charm them.
Finally he was able to extract himself away to ‘wash up’ and as he walked up the stairs to the lavatory, he knew he was entering a secret place of Lily’s. He walked by four bedrooms, all doors closed tightly except for one. The Marauder in him urged him to take a peek and he knew immediately this was Lily’s room. It had a very childish quality to it, as if Lily wasn’t ready to formally accept the beginning of adulthood.
He saw pictures of her and Petunia, and some of her with ‘Muggle friends’, none of those pictures moved. He ran a hand over her dark purple comforter, knowing this was taboo. He should not be in here, looking around her room without her permission, yet he felt closer to her by crossing that line. He then heard voices on the stairs and hastily exited, going toward the bathroom, his original destination.
After dozens of pictures with various members of the family, as Petunia wanted to remember this party with as many pictures as possible, Lily went in search of James.
She couldn’t believe how quickly James had charmed her parents, and even Petunia was taken by him, until she realized he was a wizard.
Lily spotted James a little ways away from the buffet table surrounded by a slew of females consisting of Lily’s cousins and Petunia’s school friends. All the girls appeared enamored by James, voices flowing easily, with laughter occasionally in between. Lily wondered what on earth James could possibly be talking about to them. Although she knew Potter had grown up in wizard high society, attending balls and parties that were much more sophisticated than this, she had never witnessed him so well-mannered and comfortable in his surroundings, treating each person he was introduced to as if they were well-known friends.
As Lily neared James feeling slightly self-conscious, the girls around James were the first to notice her. When James looked her way, his eyes lit up giving her approach his full attention, the girls surrounding him looked at her with a mixture of disdain and jealousy realizing they had lost their audience.
James politely excused himself placing a loose arm around her and he led her away from the girls, intentionally or not, he was letting them know who Lily belonged to.
They paused near the dance floor. James gazed at the happy, dancing couples. “Would you honor me with one dance, Miss Evans?” He bowed gracefully causing Lily to blush.
“All right,” she agreed. She had grown tired of conversing with the guests and she did love dancing.
James was as graceful and agile in the sky as he was on his feet, so he made a wonderful dance partner. He held her close, but not too close. They didn’t speak, letting the music take them, twirling and swirling as one, ignoring everyone around them. As the song ended and they came to a halt, Lily felt pleasantly strange and disoriented. If James hadn’t his arms around her, she might have fainted to the floor. Another song began and Lily nodded when James asked if she wanted to continue.
Over in the far right corner, Mrs. Evans was watching the exuberant young couples dance. She smiled to herself. Her daughter was smitten with her handsome, well-mannered date whether she realized it or not.
James watched Lily walk up to the girl’s dormitory. Her perfume still clung to his clothes. She had ended the day with a brief hug, something that the Lily Evans he knew would have not done only a few hours ago.
It was really early in the morning, around five a.m., and James crept up the stairs into the silent dormitory.
“You back, Prongs?” mumbled Padfoot sleepily. Padfoot’s bed sheets were strewn all over the place as if he’d had a fight with an imaginary foe.
“Yes,” James whispered back, changing out of the Muggle clothes. He could hear Peter breathing heavily and did not want to wake him.
Padfoot sat up looking more awake than his voice had let on a few moments ago. “Fancy a trip to the kitchens?”
“Sure,” James agreed. He was neither hungry nor thirsty, but it had been awhile since the two of them had hung out alone. James grabbed his invisibility cloak, and Sirius got the map out of his trunk and they silently headed downstairs. Since they had both gotten rather tall, the cloak was only there to hide them in an emergency. The map showed the hallways were clear, and they ambled on their way.
“How was your night?” James asked, figuring it was only polite to inquire before dwelling on the details of his own night.
“Completely and utterly boring.”
“You were with Lily’s gang, were they not entertaining?”
“Girls our age are starting to bore me. I need a challenge. I swear, if I just sat there and smiled bobbing my head or babbling nonsense, it wouldn’t matter. They’d still be all over me.”
“Poor soul,” James said sarcastically. “Don’t let Wormtail hear you complaining about that, you know how he gets.” Peter’s problem wasn’t that he couldn’t find a girl. Peter’s problem was he liked really pretty girls, the type that went after Sirius and wouldn’t give an average lad like Peter the time of day.
Grinning slyly James added, “Rosmerta was asking you.”
Rosmerta was the pretty barmaid who worked at the Three Broomsticks. Every Hogwarts schoolboy had a crush on her at one time or another. Rosmerta took it in stride, gently, but firmly putting down any boy whose crush went too far. Sirius and James were two of her favorite customers, she was a great audience, laughing at their jokes and antics and never squealing on them when they mysteriously turned up for a round of butterbeers on a non Hogwarts weekend.
“Were you in Hogsmeade?” Sirius asked sharply.
James explained to Sirius how the party had lasted longer than expected because everyone was enjoying themselves. Although Evans’s parents had offered for Lily and James to sleep over, James in a guest room and Lily in her own room, Lily had quickly declined the offer. So they Flooed to Hogsmeade and realized then that they had no way to get back to Hogwarts, and since the Hogwarts staff would be asleep, they’d have to wait until early morning. They had taken a romantic stroll, which took them closer to the Shrieking Shack than James had wanted. Every shriek and howl coming out of the Shack had reminded him that Moony wouldn’t be in as much pain if he had not gone with Lily. The noises had frightened Lily slightly because at one point she had grabbed his hand and did not let go. Then they had gone to the Three Broomsticks, and Rosmerta lent them an owl to contact someone at Hogwarts. She had also allowed them to hang in a back table even after the place had closed, until a carriage could be arranged to pick them up.
“I hope you got further than holding hands with Miss Evans,” Sirius said suggestively.
“Oh, I wanted to. Moony advised me not to try anything. Let Lily make the moves and call the shots because she would assume I’d try something. A little reverse psychology is what Moony called it, and I think he might actually be onto something. Not only did she hold my hand, but we danced a lot, way past the obligatory one dance, and she hugged me in the common room.”
“Well done, mate,” complimented Sirius. “Moony does seem to have a knack with reading girls, though I haven’t figured out where he’s gotten this knowledge. What’s he been with, two girls?”
“Something like that. I really hope Moony was ok without us.”
“Wormtail and I kept him company in the Shrieking Shack for a bit. Though right before he transformed he kicked us out. I know without you we couldn’t take a romp in the forest, but I figured Wormtail and I could transform and stay with him there in the Shack, but Moony refused. He said the ‘wolf’ would recognize our scent and believe he was being allowed to run free, and would become very agitated when he realized he was stuck indoors. I doubt that’s really true; I think Moony just doesn’t trust me.” Sirius didn’t seem at all concerned with that notion, since he was grinning mischievously.
“With good reason,” James answered matching his friend’s smile. “We should visit him tomorrow before breakfast.”
“Just like the old days before we became Animagi,” Sirius replied.
They reached the kitchens, and Sirius ordered a mug of hot chocolate, and James just a glass of water. They settled themselves along the secret corridor to the kitchen, legs stretched out, backs leaning against the wall.
“How was it being surrounded by so many Muggles?” Sirius questioned.
“They were all very normal.”
“No strange rituals? “ Sirius asked in mock outrage. “Or scaly skin? No foaming of the mouth?”
James laughed. Sirius had told him a long time ago the way his parents had described Muggles to him when he had been a small boy.
“I did make quite an impression on Lily’s parents.”
“A good impression?”
“Of course,” scoffed James. “I think it annoyed Lily that her parents liked me.”
“You know, you generally wait to woo the parents until you’ve actually captured the girl’s heart.”
“Hmm….well the important thing is I managed to not act like an idiot the entire time I was with her.”
“Quite an accomplishment,” Sirius asserted.
“How are things between Regulus and you?” James mentioned casually.
“Same,” Sirius answered abruptly and too quickly for it to be an honest answer. Sirius didn’t like talking about his brother, but James felt it was duty as best friend to inquire Sirius about it on occasion. James stayed quiet waiting for him to elaborate on his own time.
Sirius sighed exasperatedly. “He’s become a prefect, as you know. Now that his status has risen in Slytherin he thinks even more highly of himself. And to make matters worse Snivellus has taken him under his wing.”
“Did Snivelly give you guys any trouble yesterday after I left?”
“Only the usual. Making those not so quite innocent remarks alluding to Moony’s lycanthropy. He knows I can’t hex him into tomorrow because he’d turn around and spill Moony’s secret.”
The days of hexing Snape for no reason had ended after ‘the prank’. They still retaliated, but in a much less degree, always having to be conscious of the hold Snivellus had on them now.
Snape also never missed a chance to goad Sirius about his estrangement from his family. Most Slytherins had at one time or another called Sirius a blood traitor, cast-off heir, and useless, but when it was Snape it always bothered Sirius the most. It never occurred to either James or Sirius that Snape’s remarks stemmed from jealousy. Snape could not comprehend how Sirius could carelessly throw away a status and inheritance that could not be bought. No matter how clever or resourceful Snape tried to be, he could never achieve the status that came with the Black name.
“We’ll get Snivellus back,” James promised. He had halted his pranking ways, but Snape was a special case. Snape would not leave them alone, he kept asking for their attention. James would not take that lying down.
“Actually I did receive some interesting news,” Sirius stated, perking up. “My Uncle
James nodded, but stayed silent. When it came to Sirius’s family, one had to tread carefully.
“He left his entire fortune to me.”
“What?” James cried. “That’s wonderful. Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“The family is livid. It’s enough for me to get my own flat this summer, as well as anything else I fancy.”
“That causes for a celebration. Do you suppose Wormtail still has that half-drunken bottle of firewhiskey?”
They hung around talking for a good hour. James was pleased to have fixed whatever problem they had between them. Padfoot could easily go from the highest high to the lowest low, and rarely was his frame of mind merely content. He was always in constant motion, always needed some sort of stimuli to keep him entertained. And it eased his mind to see Padfoot in high spirits.
Lily checked her hair in the mirror, applying a dab of perfume on her wrists and a dab of lip gloss. She had never done any of these things before going on patrol with James. Today was different because it was the first time she’d be spending time alone with him since their ‘date’ a week ago.
They had both been very busy and had fallen into their usual patterns, which did not include each other.
The night with James had been, well, magical. She had been drawn to Potter, sparks had flown between them and that night she had fallen asleep with the comforting feeling of James’s arms still around her.
That night felt like a dream and now she was back in reality. Back at Hogwarts, she didn’t know to treat him or act around him. The way she knew how to deal with James was to yell at him and refuse his endless advancements.
“All right, Lily?” James asked cordially as they started their patrol.
“Fine. Yourself?” Lily answered back politely. Keep it polite - that was simple and reasonable.
An awkward silence followed her words. She didn’t know what to say and she couldn’t even look at him.
Suddenly James turned, bending down and kissed her softly on the lips. It took a few seconds for the surprise to register and when she did, she pulled back.
James turned red. “Sorry…sorry…” he mumbled running his hand repeatedly through his hair.
“Stop,” Lily commanded, reaching out to take a hold of his arm. James had no idea how appealing he looked, shy and awkward, looking like a boy just caught stealing a cookie. She preferred this softer side to him than the cocky, perfect golden Quidditch star.
Lily ran her own hand carefully through his mess of hair. James stared at her, silent and still. Before she knew it, they were kissing again and Lily was kissing back. They broke apart suddenly both breathless and unsure.
Lily turned away dumbstruck. What had she done?
A boy had never kissed Lily like that before with so much passion and reckless abandonment. She’d only kissed two boys before and they had always been abrupt chaste kisses, as if they were doing something wrong.
It took some time, but eventually they found a safe topic to discuss and Lily let her guard down once again. They carefully skirted the issue of the kissing.
It wasn’t until they stood in front of the impatient portrait of the Fat Lady that Lily found she had to bring the topic up.
“James, we have to keep this between us.”
“The kiss?” He gazed at her thoughtfully.
“Yes,” Lily replied. She stopped herself from calling it a mistake. She couldn’t regret something that at that moment had felt right.
James frowned. She could tell he was confused. Their relationship had taken both a step forward and a step backward.
“I’m not ready. I-”
“As you wish.”
James kept his word. She knew he had not even spilled to Sirius, who she was sure would have been unable to contain himself if he had known about the kiss.
Outside of patrolling things stayed as they were. During patrols, they fell into a pattern of kissing more than talking, dancing around each other more than patrolling.
It was strange and wonderful at the same time. Lily worried at times that one of her friends or one of his would suspect. His eyes would always find hers, the passion in his eyes so intense, that Lily would blush furiously, uncomprehending how no one else had noticed these exchanges.
A month passed by quickly, but instead of feeling better about their relationship, Lily was doubting her own sanity. Snogging Potter on the sly? This was not something Lily Evans did. First of all she hated Potter and she had always condemned the idea of ‘secret relationships’. Yet here she was, unable to stop herself, kissing James back, leading him on, letting his hand travel and linger.
She knew James cared deeply about her, perhaps even too deeply. She knew he was committed, and that was what scared her the most. She had fallen fast and hard…these romantic feelings were too much. She felt as if she were drowning. How could James be so sure of his feelings? He never analyzed or gave it a thought; he just went with the moment, forgetting about the world’s expectations. He was a pureblood. She was a Muggle-born. He was a rule-breaker. She was a rule-follower. These were huge differences.
So it was almost a relief to come across the scene in front of her. A scene that last year had been all too common.
Severus Snape was hanging upside down, his wand a few feet in front of him. Remus Lupin was holding a wounded arm, trying with little success to stop the bleeding. Peter Pettigrew was bouncing on his feet looking pleased with the situation. Sirius Black had his wand pointed directly at Snape, his face contorted with malice. And James Potter, no longer looking like the boy - the man she was started to fall for - was in his usual cocky stance, his wand held loosely in his hand.
“Stop it!” Lily cried, bracing herself for any excuse Potter might have. “What are you doing?”
“Lily?” James turned around almost dropping his wand. His face drained of color and his confidence faltered at the sight of her.
“Stay out of this, Evans,” Sirius instructed, her presence mattered little to him. “We’re just teaching this spineless worm a much needed lesson.”
“Expelliarmus!” Five wands came flying at Lily. She then pointed her wand at Snape. “Finite Incantatem.”
Snape fell unceremoniously to the ground and picked himself up. “I’ve told you before that I don’t need help from a--”
“Get out of here,” Lily yelled, chucking his wand back, “or I’ll take twenty points from Slytherin.”
Still sneering, Snape wisely followed her instructions. He disappeared from sight, but hid around the corner to hear the redhead chew out the Gryffindors. She was one of the few to ever challenge one of the ‘Marauders’ and he wasn’t about to miss this.
Lily whirled around, hands on her hips, to face her housemates.
“You haven’t changed,” Lily accused James, her green eyes flashing. Her heart was racing, but she felt better than she had in weeks. Her rising temper was an outlet of her mixed up emotions that all centered around James.
“You don’t understand,” James placated, his palms faced upward, unthreatening. Lily looked at him in disgust, unable to believe he had the nerve to try and excuse his despicable behavior.
“I think I understand VERY clearly,” Lily interrupted. “You still think you can do whatever you want. You still think you rule Hogwarts and that the rules don’t apply to you.”
Lily threw down the wands and turned to walk away to emphasize her point. This felt better, this felt right, and this was how she was used to dealing with Potter. He’d do something stupid (usually to impress her), Lily would yell at him and then the next moment he’d be asking her out. Lily felt a satisfied smirk begin to form as she anxiously waited for his response. She was ready for the banter. She was used to relating to Potter this way.
“Oh, right. I forgot what a little miss perfect you are!”
Lily froze; the malice in his voice was disconcerting. His tone was all wrong, and she looked at him in puzzlement. He was not amused, he looked angry, his fingers curled in fists.
“All righteous and never doing anything wrong. All those morals you hold dear will fall apart the moment you step outside of Hogwarts, where everything isn’t black and white.” James strode mere inches from her face. “I’m sick of this! I’m sick of fitting into your standards!”
Lily was stunned. She had called him worse things and her insults had always just bounced right off him. Why did James look at her as if she’d just ripped his heart out? Where had his sudden anger come from?
James bent down to retrieve his wand and handed his friends theirs back. “We’re through, Evans,” James added for clarification. “Come on, Padfoot, we need to get Moony to the infirmary.”
Lily watched helplessly as the boys helped Lupin to his feet, his arm still bleeding, his skin a sallow grey.
She realized too late that she had made a mistake. Left alone in the silent corridor she felt her eyes well with tears.
A/N: I’d like to thank you for READING and now’s the time to let me know your thoughts by leaving a REVIEW!