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Chapter 6 : Patrols and Moonlight Makeouts
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* * *
After a brief visit with Ramsey after dinner, James and Lily went back to their common room to do their homework. Their teachers had really started piling the work on, and their large stacks of NEWT preparation work discouraged them both as well.
“Hey Lily?” James asked, scratching a line out of his herbology essay.
“Yeah?” Her work was spread out around her like a miniature fortress, and she peered up over it to look at him.
“I was just wondering. Do you remember that night we played that game? With the firewhiskey?” He sounded a little embarrassed about bringing it up. She froze.
“Uh, vaguely. I was pretty wasted.”
James laughed. “That’s one way of putting it. I’d say more along the lines of ‘completely smashed’ myself. Anyway, I was just thinking about that first truth, and I realized I have no idea who the boy you were talking about is.”
“Oh, that,” said Lily bluntly. “Well, it wasn’t really my idea. I hated his guts, and since then have sworn to destroy him, which I have yet to do. Some Slytherin bloke trying to piss you off, I guess. I just never let him tell anyone he did it. Mulciber, I think is his name.”
“Eesh, sorry. But man, what a git. I can help you out on the whole destroying him thing, you know. Gosh, I love getting even with pricks.” He grinned.
“Really,” Lily said, with a warm yet sarcastic edge to her voice. “Then how come I’ve never seen you ‘get even’ with yourself?” James threw her a look, and the both of them burst out laughing.
Lily checked her watch. It read half past eleven. “Oh man, these late night heads patrols are going to kill me,” she said to James, while she attempted to get out of her fortress. “C’mon, Potter, let’s get this show on the road,” she said with a hint of a smile on her face, even after her rather awkward confession to him.
Seeing her struggling to extricate herself from the mountains of work around her, James stood up on the edge of his chair and offered her his hand, almost apologetically. She took it gratefully, and he easily lifted her up to him, pulling her close towards his body. She blushed, and he immediately set her down on the ground, looking embarrassed.
Lily had noticed with awe that James Potter was really quite charming. He no longer asked her out ever few seconds (in fact, the last time she could recall him doing it was during the first week of classes, to which Sirius had given him a dark look), and he was treating her with more respect than he ever had before.
“Oh shit,” said James, having just spilled his glass of pumpkin juice down his shirt. “Hang on, Lily, It’ll just take a minute.” He whipped out his wand, nonverbally summoning a clean shirt from his trunk, which was somewhere in his room. Then, right there in front of her, he stripped his stained shirt.
Lily couldn’t help but goggle. James was incredibly built from all his quidditch training, with perfectly toned muscles, but still a lean, seekers body. Once he had a clean shirt on, he muttered something that Lily didn’t quite catch, and then turned back towards her. “Shall we?” He gestured towards the other exit from their common room, which would take them to the other end of the seventh floor hallway, instead of leading them through Gryffindor Tower. Lily nodded and walked with him out of the portrait hole, all the white seeing James’ shirtless figure in her head.
* * *
After a sweep of the corridors, James and Lily were making their way back up to the common room, laughing about their classes and teachers, and the general word around the school about who was hooking up with who, and whatnot. Suddenly, from a corner behind a suit of armor, they heard a cold voice.
“Well if it isn’t the mudblood and the blood traitor, out for a little stroll.” A gangly, unattractive slytherin boy stepped out, wand raised.
“Mulciber, you shouldn’t be out in a the corridors at this time of night. I’m going to have to report this to Professor Slughorn.” James remained calm, but Lily noticed that he had shifted over closer to her, and put his hand on the small of her back, protectively. Any other time Lily probably would have hexed him into oblivion, but somewhere inside, she knew he was only trying to comfort her; to let her know everything would be okay.
“So what, you’ll report me to Slughorn. And then what, give me detention? I don’t think so.” He took a step forward, letting out a harsh bark of a laugh. “Let me deal with the mudblood now, Potter. You know, clean up the mess around the castle. Exterminate the…” his gaze flicked over to Lily, “vermin.”
Lily was frozen, arrows piercing at her with every word he uttered. “Impedimenta,” Mulciber sneered, pointing his wand at Lily’s chest.
James saw what was happening too late, and couldn’t get himself between Lily and the curse fast enough. Lily was blasted back by its force, and she landed in a heap on the cold floor, feet back from where James stood. James, forgetting that he was one of the most accomplished wizards of his age, forgetting the fact that he had a wand, and forgetting that he was head boy, lost it.
“Ahhhh,” he bellowed, charging at Mulciber. He struck the boy with so much force that the two of them were sent cascading to the floor, feet away. As Lily regained control over herself, she sat up, only to see James pummeling Mulciber to a pulp.
“You will never call her that again, do you understand me? You wont so much as look at her again, or you’ll have to answer to me, got it? James held the bleeding and bruised slytherin to the wall by the front of his shirt, glaring into cold, black eyes with his own deep sapphire ones, which were alit with fire.
The boy only glared at James, keeping his mouth, which was stained and wet with his own blood, shut. “I said DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME!” James shook him again, while Lily stared on in horror at the scene before her.
“James,” she whispered, slowly getting to her feet. “James, he’s not worth it.” She made her way to his side, tentatively placing her hand on his shoulder.
“You heard those awful things he was saying,” James murmured softly, almost pleading with he her, his eyes in sharp contact with hers.
She took one of his hands in hers, the other continuing to suspend Mulciber against the wall. “I know what he said. He’s not the first, and he probably won’t be the last. But you’re better than him, James. Just let him go, we can report him later. Please.” she entwined her fingers in his. “For me.”
James looked down, then back at Mulciber. “Just get out of my sight. Now.” With that, he released his hold on Mulciber, who crumpled to the floor, and scurried off towards the stairs.
“You’ll regret this, Potter. You and that bitch are gonna die someday.”
“Yeah, someday. But then again, so will you.” James tightened his grasp on Lily’s hand, turning towards her.
“I’m so sorry, Evans, I don’t know what came over me. I mean, when he called you that,” he paused, looking pained, “that god-awful thing, and when he cursed you, I just kinda lost it.” He ran his free hand through through her hair, causing Lily to turn away slightly, confused about the internal battle raging within her.
“Please, can we go somewhere? I need to get away from this. I need to sit outside for somewhere, for a minute at least.” She looked at him for a moment, hesitantly. “Please, Lils.” She nodded, leaning on him for support.
“Lets go to the Astronomy Tower. It’s not that far if we go behind that old tapestry the next hall over.”
“Blimey, you know about that one? I thought that the marauders were the only ones…” He shook his head, laughing a bit. “But of course, you’re Lily Evans. You know everything.”
She smiled weakly, and the two of them headed off towards the Astronomy Tower.
* * *
The Astronomy Tower was quiet. James and Lily stood, two silhouettes in the night, their hair ruffling softly in the breeze.
“The lake looks so still. Everything does, actually.” Lily sighed, leaning into James’ shoulder, her fingers absentmindedly fumbling with his. James merely nodded, his thoughts drifting as if they too were whispering in the wind.
They stood unmoving for a time, until Lily once again broke the silence. “Thanks, I guess.”
“For what? For practically destroying someone in front of you?” He laughed lightly, and she smiled.
“Well, that too, I guess. But you did it for me, aye?” She paused before continuing. “And thanks for stopping. I mean, before you absolutely killed him and got expelled.”
He turned to her. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that you like me. You’re actually glad I didn’t get expelled now, aren’t you?” He was so close to her that she could see herself reflected in his eyes. So close she couldn’t think straight.
“Well then, Mr. Potter. It seems you’ve caught me,” she breathed, before leaning slightly towards him. “Now what are you going to do?” It was not a question so much as a challenge.
His eyes flitted to her lips, then quickly back to her luminous eyes. And then, still holding hr hand, James moved towards her, whispering, “this,” and kissing her sweetly.
It was only for a moment before James pulled back. “Shit, Lily, I’m sorry,” he mumbled, his eyes shut. “I shouldn’t have—“
James was cut off by Lily pressing her lips to his. She too stopped, her eyes wide in realization of what she’d done. She stared into his eyes, brought her free hand to tangle in his messy hair, and kissed him full out. James wrapped his arm around her and lifted her up onto the railing of the tower, deepening the kiss as he went.
Lily’s head was foggy, but she slowly remembered who she was kissing, and that she, Lily Evans, was supposed to hate the boy in question, and that Lily Evans did not just go around kissing James Potter. Things like that just didn’t happen. “James,” she mumbled against his lips. “James, I, I can’t…we can’t, I mean…” James kept his eyes shut, and moved back a little. He nodded his head in solemn understanding, and pulled her tight to him in a warm embrace, which she reciprocated.
They stood like that, just hugging, for seconds, minutes, maybe even house, but Lily wasn’t sure. After a time, James wordlessly motioned that he would carry her back to their dormitory. On his back, she closed her eyes and, as he took them down the steps of the tower, and back towards the heads common room, she slowly drifted off to sleep.
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