Chapter 1 : Their First Kiss
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If one were to stand outside the portrait of the Fat lady one wouldn’t have guessed that a riotous party was being held beyond – thanks to Remus Lupin’s suggestion a Silencing Charm had been placed upon the entrance to the tower, thus no tune of music could be heard, to raucous cheers as Sirius Black downed a whole bottle of firewhiskey in one before a cheering crowd, no shrieks as a old friends reunited after the long summer, no mocking laughter as Feriga Frodine tripped over someone’s pet cat and spilled the bowl of punch she was carrying all over herself.
Nothing could be heard, that is, until the portrait swung open and a young girl stormed out, and for a moment the corridor was filled with all the sounds of the party within until the door swung closed again and the halls were silent once more.
The girl was breathing deeply, her red hair framing her pretty face, which at this moment was contorted with fury, her cheeks flushed. She began to walk immediately at a quick clip, glancing back for a second as if worried that someone might follow her. As she marched she murmured to herself, occasionally her mutterings escalating into loud, angry curses.
She glanced over her shoulder again and this time felt her stomach plummet – the portrait door had swung open and someone was emerging from it. She waited only a second, to identify the person, and upon recognition she hissed a profanity to herself and then began to run.
She could hear him running too, coming closer – even if she hadn’t been wearing those ridiculous heels (which Amelinda had lent her and insisted she wore) Lily knew she could never out run him, she had tried many times before.
But regardless she kept on sprinting down that otherwise dark and silent corridor until she heard his heavy breathing right behind her, felt his hand grab her roughly by her upper arm and pull her to a halt.
He looked angry as he towered over her, having spun her round to face him. A year ago he would not have been able to manhandle her in this way, she used to be able to push him away and meet him in the eye when they argued – now he had grown tall and strong, so that he loomed over her and could pull and restrain her as he wished.
She met his stare with her own burning anger – at least in this way, through words and looks, she could still pretend she held some power, some advantage over him.
“What?” She snapped as he continued to look at her without talking. She leaned back against the corridor wall to put some distance between the two of them. The tall arched windows were behind him, silhouetting him and making his face fall into shadow. It was dark and still outside, so different to the bright white anger inside her and between them.
“You know what.”
“I promise you James, I really don’t.” Her eyes narrowed as he continued to glare. “And stop looking at me as if I’ve done something wrong!”
“Well don’t you feel as though you have?” He retorted in a restrained voice, as though he had to work hard to keep his anger at bay.
“You were embarrassing yourself in there, letting him touch you and-and kiss you like that in front of everyone!”
Lily gaped for a moment before replying.
“He was not kissing me!” As she said this James tutted in disbelief and for the first time look away from her, his hand gripping his hair in frustration, but she ignored him and continued. “He was saying something in my ear-“
“Why did he have to be so close-“
“Because the music was loud, you idiot!”
“And his hand was on your leg! And you were giggling!” He threw back accusingly at her, and she almost felt like laughing despite herself – it was all so ridiculous.
“So what? He was saying something funny, so I laughed! He’s a good looking guy, so I let him touch my knee!” James flinched at this but she continued on regardless “You had no right to shout at him like you did. I’m not your girlfriend, James, I’m no one’s girlfriend and I’m free to do as a please!”
Here there was a pause. At her last sentence James had turned away from Lily completely and had moved towards the arched windows, resting his forehead against the cool pane with his eyes fixed upon the rolling moors of Hogwarts grounds. In the distance a small, weak light shone from the window of Hagrid’s cabin and the glass of the greenhouses glinted in the moonlight, but all else was darkness.
Lily watched him in silence and after a moment took a few tentative steps towards him. She could see his face now, basked in the pale moonlight. He seemed to be calmer, but his brow was furrowed and troubled.
“James…” She began weakly. He made no movement to show he had heard her. “James you can’t keep doing this. You can’t keep putting us both through this; it’s not making either of us happy.”
“Do you want me to be happy?” he asked abruptly, in a voice which was at once quiet and yet hard and cold. She blinked and paused before replying.
“Yes, of course I do. You’re my friend-“
“Am I?” Again that hard, almost accusatory voice.
“Yes!” She sighed and without thinking twice closed the distance between them, placing his hand upon his shoulder and trying to meet his eye. But he wouldn’t allow it, and he kept on turning away from her. “James, please…c’mon James, don’t be like this.” She raised a hand and gently touched his cheek, turning his face towards her. Their eyes met and she gave him what she hoped would be a kind smile. But to her surprise he scowled at her in return.
“Don’t touch me.” He snapped, throwing her hand form his face.
“Because I’m not allowed to touch you, am I?” His eyes bored into hers, without embarrassment or regret. She could not deny this, so in reply her cheeks burned furiously and she found she was unable to continue looking at him.
There was a long silence which grew between them, and Lily, unable to bare it, more than once almost walked away back to the common room. But something kept her there, her back against the cold window looking anywhere but at James who remained at his vigil of the outside grounds. She couldn’t be the one to leave; she felt as though she were always leaving him, pushing him away. She didn’t want to, not anymore. The days when she avoided James Potter’s company were long gone, and on the contrary she was always happier in his presence. He had come to be her companion, her comrade, her best friend. But at the same time their history, his continuing emotions, made it so difficult to be close to him. She always felt as though she should feel guilty for leading him on, even though she never intentionally did such a thing. She longed to be his friend, his confidant, but she also knew that she would have to be the one to draw the line between them, and also be the one to enforce it.
“You used to say to me that you wouldn’t go out with me because you thought I would cheat on you.” His voice awoke her from her own thoughts. She glanced at him and saw that his expression was lighter than it had been so far.
“That was one of the many reasons, yes.” She was glad to hear him chuckle softly at this.
“Why did you think that?” At this she could only raised an eyebrow at him, as though the answer were obvious and didn’t deserve a reply form her. He seemed to understand for he grinned his infamous grin, a spark in his eye. “Okay, well, yes I suppose I did go out with a few girls…”
“Most of the female student body, I would say!” Lily added with a laugh, glad that the atmosphere was easing, although she wasn’t sure if she liked the topic of conversation and was wary about where it was heading.
“Yeah, I suppose…” He smiled, but the grin was rapidly fading from his face as he waited for Lily to look up at him so he could catch her eye. Once their eyes met the laughter died from her face as she noted his serious, almost intense expression. “But you must have known, you must know now, that I would never do that to you.”
He took a small step towards her, and she felt her heart give a heavy thump.
“I know James, I know…”
He moved closer to her. She in turn retreated, but found that she could only step an inch backwards before her back was against the window.
“You do know. You know me.”
“Yes.” She said it so softly that she was surprised he heard her. The look in his eye at first alarmed her – he had never gazed at her like this before, with such longing and passion, that it at once terrified and thrilled her.
“And I know you.” He continued. “So much better than before. I used to lust after you Lily, I admit it, but now…but now…”
“But now?” She would later kick herself for saying this, for encouraging him, but his scent and the heat from his body as he moved in and pressed gently against her, had fogged her mind and for the first time in her life an irrational desire for him steeled over her and clouded her judgement.
“Now…I think I love you, Lily.”
He had leaned down, their eyes never breaking contact. She realised that his hands were upon her, one on her waist moving in slow, sensual circles under her top on the bare skin of her hips, the other had reach to the side of her face, carefully and deliberately moving down her neck, then into her hair …
Her heart thudded loudly in her chest and pulsed a heady desire through her body as he slowly, slowly moved his face towards hers, their noses touched and his sweet breath mixed with hers …
“No.” She gasped as his lips were about to brush hers. One splinter of clarity remained in her, though oddly she hated herself for it. “No. You promised me, you promised me you’d never kiss me…”
It had been months ago, just as her hate was subsiding and their friendship was blossoming. It had be a condition which she had laid down as a rule for their friendship. James had agreed with a giddy smile and a salute, ‘whatever you say, sir’.
Now he didn’t move away from her, though he had frozen. She felt his breath brush her face as he laughed softly, obviously also remembering their pact.
“I promise I won’t kiss you.” He breathed, and to her utter surprise, indignation, and delight he moved away from her lips and instead to her cheek. This was no chaste peck – his lips touched her skin so softly, so gently that it sent thrills throughout her body. He moved on, his lips caressing along her jaw line, just underneath her ear, down the side of her neck…His hands gripped her with desire, though like his lips they were gentle and loving as they ran across her back, through her hair – just as he had said, it was no longer just lust which he felt.
She felt a shudder run through her, and, as if she were no longer in control of her body, she moaned and her hands reached for his body in return. His kisses grew more passionate, more urgent, they traced down to her collar bone and she was sure he would be able to hear her heart beating wildly in her chest. Then he moved back up her neck, to her face, and this time she had neither the will nor the desire to stop him as his lips met hers and their embraced in their first kiss.
The kiss was fierce, messy, rough and exhilarating and if James’ body hadn’t been pressing against hers so hard to the wall Lily was sure she would have collapsed as desire made her knees weak…
A sudden explosion of noise made them both jump violently and break apart. Lily looked over James’ shoulder for the source of the noise and saw a nearby suit of armour had tumbled to the floor, the echo of the crash reverberating through the hall. But that was odd, those suits were sturdy and never had she seen one crash to the floor of its own accord.
But she didn’t have long to be curious as James turned back to her, smiling at their fright.
“Hey.” He breathed with a smile, leaning back into her, his eyes sparking and with a look of such happiness that Lily almost allowed him to continue. But the moment had passed and Lily had been hurtled back to reality, her desire gone and her sense returned, feeling as though someone had just poured a bucket of ice over her.
“No James, don’t.” She said, her voice loud and firm, turning her lips away from his.
She didn’t look him in the eye as she ducked underneath his arm and stumbled backwards, putting space between them and with each step realising the gravity of what she had just down, of what she had allowed to happen.
“I’m sorry.” She put a hand to her forehead. “I’m sorry, I – This was a mistake.”
James looked stunned.
“A mistake? You call that a mistake? Lily, I don’t know how you kiss other guys, but I can tell you I have never, ever, felt like that before-“
“Please don’t!” Her voice was louder and more shrill than she had intended, but she plunged on. “It was a mistake and it won’t happen again. I-I’m sorry I led you on James, but it really was a lapse in judgement-“
“Why are you denying yourself this?” he had suddenly come close to her again, grabbing her arm and shaking her with the force of his grip. “Why can’t you even consider the notion that you might ever be happy with me?”
She looked in his eyes, saw the burning and groaned
“Oh God, what have I done?...”
She had covered her face with her hands and didn’t see the flicker and anger across James’ face, didn’t see his look of self hatred.
“No, what have I done.” He muttered bitterly to himself. Lily looked up at him surprised. “Why have I wasted so many years on you? If after that you still can’t see what we have between us, what we could have together, then I don’t know how anything else I do is going to convince you – I shouldn’t have to convince you. Why do I want to be with someone I have to persuade to like me?” he looked at Lily with a stern expression, so different from how he had looked at her before. “I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry I’ve pestered you for all this time, sorry I’ve wasted your time and mine…sorry you are too blind or stubborn to realise what’s right in front of you-“
“So I’m going to stop.” She didn’t like this James, this cold, hard, decisive James.
“But … but you’re still my friend, aren’t you?” She felt pathetic and childish asking this, but she couldn’t keep her fears within her. He made no expression.
“I’m sorry I broke our promise, Lily.”
With that he brushed past her, walking down the corridor at a steady pace and disappearing through the portrait hole. And Lily had nothing to do except think.