Far From Flawless Author's Note:This story was originally meant to be a companion to my fics, Michief Managed and In My Time of Dying. After a lot of thought, however, I've decided that this story didn't turn out quite how I wanted things to go in my IMTD/MM world. So with that said, PLEASE read this with a grain of salt, and consider it completely separate from my other stories - Mischief Managed will be covering James/Lily on it's own, away from this.
This story centers strongly around James and Lily's relationship. There will be little else involved. You will not see Lily's friends, and you will see little of the Marauders. This fic is purely for the sake of trying to write romance, something that I have always considered myself to be very fail at. I wanted a challenge, I wanted to try it. So don't expect anything great :)
Harry Potter world, characters and canon information in this story belong to J. K. Rowling. Everything else belongs to me.
C H A P T E R . O N E
Lily Evans needed to be alone. She was shocked, hurt, annoyed and frustrated all at once. It had been one thing back in fifth year when her best friend called her a mudblood in front of everybody. At least then he’d come back to her, apologizing for his actions, begging for her continued friendship and swearing he hadn’t meant it. She had turned him away, pointing out that he’d made his choices and she’d made hers. He was destined to be a Death Eater and he wouldn’t deny it, and thus, she had chosen to have nothing more to do with him.
But she was never prepared for the way the Slytherins treated her. They’d always seemed to ignore her before, perhaps because she and Severus had been friends. But now, with their seventh school year having begun two months earlier, everything had changed. She could no longer go on trying to ignore Severus’s presence and he trying to do the same to her. His friends attacked her at random now, whether with words or humiliating hexes. She could deal with that - she was talented and quick to react - but watching Severus look away and say nothing at all to defend her was more than she could bear.
Her best friend since childhood, since before she even knew the existence of witches and wizards. The boy who’d held her hand when she was nervous on the first day, the one who’d told her everything he knew so she would feel like she belonged. He’d spent summer days in her bedroom with her, sneaking through Petunia’s diary and other things. Their parting of ways in fifth year had been reluctant, but both seemed to understand it necessary. But Severus had never just stood by and allowed others to try to harm her.
Today was the first day that the Slytherin’s had gotten the better of her, having caught her off guard. A handful of Bulbadox Powder thrown in her face as she walked through a crowded corridor. Before she’d even realized what had happened, her face had been covered in painful boils - she’d covered her head and hurried to the hospital wing. Madame Pomfrey fixed it in an instant, but Lily couldn’t forget the raucous sounds of the Slytherin’s laughter as she ran. And she couldn’t forget the familiar sound of her best friend’s chuckles - it mattered not that they sounded fake and forced. They were there.
And so Lily had left the hospital wing in search of a place to hide, to avoid contact with anyone else, to dwell in her misery and humiliation and to give everyone in the corridor who’d seen what happened a chance to forget.
There was only one place in the entire castle where she could go with very little chance of interruption - the Prefects’ bathroom, which, as she was Head Girl, she had access to. The class she was skipping was one of her best - Potions - but she didn’t think she could handle being partnered with Severus Snape in the class they both excelled at. As classes were in session all over the castle, the chance of somebody walking in on her were slim to none. Even those who had free periods at this hour would have to have special permission to be in this bathroom.
Lily slumped around the in-ground bath towards the massive window and, upon reaching it, stared outside at the murky sky. It was snowing lightly and she crossed her arms over her chest for warmth as the chill radiated through the old glass. The scene outside was gorgeous - the mountains, the lake, the snow covered forest in the background. The absolute silence in the cavernous bathroom as she viewed the peaceful scene calmed her and she took a deep breath. Very soon the Christmas holidays were coming and she looked forward to it immensely - a week and a half at home with her family was a welcome break from all the Death Eater wannabe drama at school.
Rubbing her fingers tiredly in the hollows beneath her eyes, Lily inhaled deeply again, willing herself to relax and forget about Severus. She had plenty of Gryffindor friends - it was not as if she needed him. Hell, she even had James Potter, the most popular boy in school, after her (although she wasn’t sure why and wasn’t entire convinced it wasn’t one of his jokes). Who needed Severus Snape, anyway? She tried to convince herself on these points but knew she failed miserably before she could even think them. Who needed Severus Snape? She did.
She folded her arms across her chest once more, almost protectively this time as her thoughts continued to harass her, and focused on the scenery again. As she tried to shove thoughts of her best friend from her mind, she became dimly aware of the sound of approaching voices and laughter. A guy and a girl, Lily thought dryly. They were lucky she didn’t burst out of the restroom and take points away from both their houses for skipping class.
But to her disgust, the voices drew nearer and nearer and stopped for a moment just outside the bathroom door. Lily turned away from the window in annoyance to stare at the door as if her piercing gaze could somehow reach the students just beyond it and urge them past. But then the doorknob began to turn slowly and the door opened very slightly. Horrified, Lily backed into the long curtains that framed the large window and immediately pulled them over herself, pressing into the stone wall and barely daring to breathe.
The couple entered the airy bathroom in giggles - they echoed throughout the high ceiling - and Lily didn’t bother to peek around the curtains to see who it was. The girl didn’t matter. The boy was James Potter - she recognized his irritating laughter anywhere (not that there was anything wrong with his laugh - she’d simply heard it far too often.) They were snogging, barely able to even walk for how absorbed in each other they were. They carelessly flung the door closed behind them and moved towards the large sink, pressing themselves against it for support as they kissed each other hungrily.
Lily grimaced in disgust from where she was hidden behind her curtain - how does she end up in such situations? How long was this going to carry on for? She fervently hoped it wouldn’t be for the entire period. And she was going to have a talk with James for skipping Potions class. He was Head Boy - he was supposed to set an example and be responsible. She had an excuse for skipping - James had only skipped to make out with a random girl that he probably didn’t even know the name of.
The girl moaned as lust came over her - Lily was surprised she could even hear it over the sloppy sounds of their kissing - and James gave a haughty chuckle at her reaction. Typical. Lily rolled her eyes and shifted her weight onto her other foot, willing the tears in her eyes away. Really, was it so much to ask to be alone for once, or was everything destined to go wrong today?
James and the girl finally broke apart after several minutes, gasping for air, and they both stared yearningly at each other as they panted. “I have to go,” said the girl in a wobbly voice, as if unsure of what had come over her. She seemed incapable of handling her emotions, her desperate want for James; she forced out a laugh to cover her shaky tone. “I only had a bathroom pass, Flitwick’s probably wondering where I’m at.”
James grinned and made a noise of laughter, though his attempt sounded fake and just as forced. “All right,” he agreed easily, showing no regret that she was going. Figures, thought Lily disgustedly. He only used people for his own pleasure, but never really cared, never really missed them when they were gone.
“I’m free sixth period,” the girl pressed him anxiously, a smile still on her face. “If you are.”
“Right,” smiled James, carefully not confirming whether he'd meet up with her again. He'd want to keep her wanting him, after all. “See you around, Jennifer.”
Lily rolled her eyes - he had to have gotten her name wrong on purpose. James had a brilliant mind, one that Lily secretly envied, and he was far too intelligent to forget a name. It was all an act and she knew it.
Jessica left the bathroom and it was just Lily and James left after that. Lily waited to see if James would leave as well, but instead he turned on the faucet and began to wash his face in the sink. Probably washing off the lipstick, Lily reasoned dejectedly. She heaved a sigh that was masked by the sound of the sink's running water.
She decided to throw caution to the wind - she flung the curtains aside to reveal her presence. James, wide-eyed, straightened quickly, taken by surprise by the sudden noise. “Bugger,” he laughed at his own reaction, glancing at his reflection in the mirror. It was then that he caught sight of Lily in the reflection and he turned in horror, the laughter quickly sliding off his face. “Oh... Bollocks... Evans,” he stated apologetically.
Lily glared at him, unsure of what she was planning to say. She meant to lecture him on being out of class, but her argument suddenly seemed weak as to why she was out as well. She wanted to tell him off for snogging the girl, but it wasn’t exactly a crime and she knew he’d just turn it around and hint that it only bothered her because deep down she liked him. And she realized now, as all her intentions of arguing with him once she was face to face with him flew out the window, that perhaps she did. He looked like the picture of innocence and goodness after the Slytherins she’d just faced - she actually found herself welcoming the familiar sight of him. His presence comforted her, she realized in horror.
Noticing the tortured look on her face, James had no intentions of harassing her in this moment. It seemed as if he had upset her somehow - not simply irritated her, but truly made her sad. This was a first for him and he was so ashamed of himself that he was taken off guard. He quickly pinched the bridge of his nose and squinted his eyes shut, his hand carelessly shoving his glasses up to his forehead.
“Lily,” he corrected after a second, using her first name for once. His hand dropped limply to his side; he seemed frustrated with himself. “I...”
Lily waited for him to continue, but he seemed at a loss for words. Instead, he ran his hand through his hair, and after a closer look at her, raised his eyebrows. “Are you all right?” he finally asked curiously.
She swiped the heel of her hand across her tear-stained cheeks. “Fine,” she told him shortly.
“You’ve been crying,” he insisted in a heavy voice, and he took a step closer.
She, in return, took a step back. “Have not.” She couldn't believe herself - for a moment there, she'd actually thought he might apologize to her.
James narrowed his eyes as he peered at her in skepticism. “Was it Snivellus?” he asked after a brief pause; it couldn't be more obvious that he didn't believe a word she said.
“It’s none of your business, Potter,” she told him coldly, losing patience. Her mind groped around, desperate to grab onto anything to change the subject, before she finally blurted harshly, “What are you doing out of class?”
James jerked his head back and stiffened, surprised at her sudden harshness. “What are you doing out of class?” he countered easily, seeming to fall back into his haughty attitude. He even backed away, back to the sink, where he leaned against it and folded his arms, sizing her up.
Lily shoved the curtain away in disgust and stormed towards the door. She looked back to cast him a withering glare as she slipped around it and into the corridor, and then she closed the door in his face, leaving him alone in the large restroom.
James turned, rested his hands on the sink and leaned his weight into his arms, staring at his bewildered expression in the mirror. That had to have been the oddest exchange with Lily Evans he’d ever had in his six years of knowing her. He’d never caught her when she was weak before and the guilty feeling he’d experienced earlier still lingered. Finally, he sighed and ran his hand through his hair again. He stood up and pulled a mirror from his pocket.
“Padfoot?” he asked into it, and it was only a moment before Sirius Black’s face came into view.
“Hey, mate,” Sirius greeted warmly. The heavy chatter in the background told James that Potions class was in full swing and for that he was thankful. He could talk to Sirius without the worry of Sirius getting caught with the mirror. “Hope you’re enjoying your period off,” Sirius added quickly, his voice laced with sarcasm. “I had to make excuses for you, you know.”
“Yeah, yeah,” James waved him off. “Do me a favor?”
“Kick Snape’s arse when class is out.”
“You got it,” Sirius grinned pleasurably.
Author's Note:If you would be so gracious as to review, I am eager for your opinions. In fact, I'd love you forever, because in the September 08 server crash, this story lost all its reviews :(