“Pathetic,” Sirius said, gazing at James in wonder. “Completely pathetic.”
It really was. James was twirling his wand in front of him, and a misty, wavering image of Lily was issuing from the tip, staring serenely at him.
“It’s actually really advanced magic,” James defended as the image seemed to seep back into his wand. “You couldn’t do it.”
“True,” Sirius nodded. “But I don’t need to, you see, I have a girlfriend, and she’s actually palpable.”
“Girlfriend?” James asked, smiling. “So it’s official then?”
“Have you ever had a girlfriend before?” James scratched his head comically; he knew the answer.
“I know. Mia is so...Mia.”
James laughed, and twisted his chair around to face Sirius, who had sat down on the bed.
“And Lily is so Lily. Do you understand now?”
“Never,” Sirius shook his head. “I mean, she’s smart, but really, what’s the deal?”
“She’s gorgeous, sweet, funny and smart,” James insisted.
Sirius nodded thoughtfully.
“Lily Evans is hot, and smart, yes. But sweet and funny?” He shook his head. “Not buying it.”
“She’s not just hot, Pads. She’s stunning. She stuns me faster than a stunning charm ever could.”
“I’m serious! Whenever I’ve walked into the Great Hall, and seen thousands of student there, I’ve always been able to find her right away, it’s like my eyes go straight to her, it’s like she’s magnetic, or something.”
“I’ve heard all this before,” Sirius sad, bored. “I know you think she’s unbelievably gorgeous, and fine, whatever, everyone has their own tastes, but sweet and funny? She’s more annoying and harsh and serious.”
“The way she’ll always break up a fight, that’s sweet, and brave, too. And she’s so nice to people, even Slytherins and first years.”
“And funny?” Sirius reminded her. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard her tell a joke.”
“There are different kinds of funny. She’s got a good sense of humour. And a really sexy laugh,” James suddenly frowned. “I wish she would just give me a chance. I don’t get why she doesn’t seem to like me. Or does she like me? I can’t keep up. Ever since the party I’ve been really confused about that.”
“I think...and you know I’m staying out of it, but I think she is just as confused as you are. She doesn’t know if she likes you or not, either.”
“So what should I do?” James asked.
“Get over her,” Sirius said, sure that it was in the best interest of his friend.
“Not going to happen,” James shook his head definitively.
“Then stick to the original plan,” Sirius shrugged.
“How original?” James queried. There had been plenty of Lily plans in the past.
“The one we came up with in fourth year - just be friends with her first, and then she’ll see what a great guy you are, and start to like you.”
“Aw, shucks, Padfoot, you’re making me blush,” James said. “Fine, friends.”
Sirius rolled his eyes.
“What now, Padfoot?” James asked testily.
“You’ve agreed to the friends plan so many times, and it never works out,” he said quietly, James nodded, it was true. “You need to approach it differently, I think.”
“How?” James wondered. “How can I become friends with her without messing it up?”
“I don’t know, just be yourself,” Sirius said, shrugging, though looking doubtful.
“She’ll hate me.”
“No, she won’t. You always act crazy when she’s around, like you’ve just had twenty cups of coffee,” he laughed. “Just be friendly and, well, calm.”
“Okay,” James nodded, comically placing his hands over his chest and taking a deep breath. “Calm.”
“That’s the spirit,” Sirius laughed, walking across the room to sit on James desk. He clasped his hands on James’ shoulders dramatically and looked down at his friend sitting in the desk chair. “Now can we please talk about Mia?”
The next day, Lily planned exactly what she was going to say to Remus; worried he would ask her out. She didn’t want to ruin their friendship at all – he was her closest friend in the world. She knew why he had been nowhere to be seen on the night of the full moon, and pinched herself for not realising earlier. She discovered he was a werewolf long ago – in all the drama it had slipped her mind. Lily found him just as the sun set and the stars were coming out, sitting outside in the cool summer breeze.
“Hey, Remus,” Lily said gently, sitting on the garden bench beside him.
“Hey, Lils,” he replied, not looking at her.
“So James told me you like me,” she said casually. “What’s up with that?”
“You get straight to the point, don’t you?”
“Look, Remus, I’m really flattered. But-”
Remus held up a hand to stop her.
“You don’t need to worry about it,” he said.
“Yeah, I value our friendship way too much to ruin it,” he smiled at her, nodding as relief fell upon her face. “I’ve done some thinking, about how I feel, and I don’t know if I really have a crush on you. Well, maybe a little one, but I guess I’m more lonely then anything.”
“Oh, Remus,” she mumbled, winding her arm around his. “The right girl’s out there for you.”
“I don’t know, Lils. I never really worried about it before, I suppose, because I always had James and Sirius and Peter. But now Sirius is off with Mia all the time, and you and James will hook up soon-”
“What?” Lily interrupted.
Remus glanced sidelong at her.
“Lily, come on,” he said.
“I don’t think so,” she shook her head. “Friends, maybe. Maybe I’ll be friends with him, maybe, but never anything more.”
“Never anything more...maybe?”
“No, no maybe for that one.”
“It’s not...it’s not Snape, is it?” Remus asked tentatively.
“What? Snape? Why?” She tried to keep her face stoic though her heart was pounding.
“No reason, we were just wondering if you, you know, liked him.”
“Of course I don’t!”
“I didn’t think you did. So what’s the deal with Snape, anyway?”
“I can’t say.”
“Because I just can’t, Remus. It’s a secret.”
“You are...protecting him, or something?”
“No, I’m protecting you! And the others, and myself.”
Remus’ mind went wild – was it possible she knew who Snape really was?
“It’s not what I think it is, is it?” Remus asked carefully.
“Why, what do you think it is?” Lily asked, wondering exactly where Remus was going with this, as she was sure he had no ideas about the Death Eaters.
“You know...the thing. The thing that’s happening. Snape, and others. We didn’t think you knew,” he whispered.
Lily assumed he must have been talking about the incident with Snape at the Whomping Willow. Surely he didn’t know about the upcoming war, no one knew about that. But she wasn’t supposed to know he was a werewolf either. Confused, she went for the easiest choice. Playing dumb.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she laughed, noticing how relieved Remus looked.
“I’m pretty tired, Lily,” he said, standing up, he stretched, his bones creaking just a little. “I might turn in.”
“Okay,” she smiled. “I’m glad we sorted everything out.”
“Yep,” Remus nodded. “Now I have to sort things out with Prongs. I can’t believe he told you. Well, actually I can.”
“Don’t kill him,” she called out.
“I’ll try my best not to,” he laughed.
James saw Lily sit down next to Remus from his bedroom window, and headed out to the garden.
James found Lily on the path heading back up to the house, hugging herself to stay warm. Remus wasn’t there anymore. James walked over to her, keeping the mantra in his head he had been saying all day. Calm. Calm. Calm. Normal. Normal. Normal. Calm-
“What are you doing out here?” She asked him, looking away from him.
“Saw you talking with Remus,” James mumbled, scuffing his shoe on the icy grass, looking down at his cold, trembling hands. The temperature was plummeting fast – it was a cloudless night. “I was worried he was coming onto you or something.”
“He would never hit on me, he knows I don’t like him and he wouldn’t ruin our friendship by making things uncomfortable.” Lily looked out across the empty grounds, her voice sounding oddly loud in the silent night.
“Does he know that you know he likes you?” James asked at length, thinking over his words before he said them to be sure it made sense.
“Yep, I told him,” Lily confirmed James’ suspicions.
“And…does he know who told you he likes you?”
“Yep,” Lily repeated, glancing sideways to James, trying to stifle her smile. “You are going to be in trouble when he finds you.”
“Damn it, Lily, did you have to tell him that!?” James brought both arms to the back of his neck in frustration and looked up at the stars, as if hoping he would find Remus’ forgiveness there.
Lily shrugged one shoulder. “I didn’t want to lie to Remus.”
When James continued to stare silently upwards, his rapid breathing a sign of his panic, Lily tried to make amends.
“But he knows you only told me because you don’t want to lie to me, so…”
James heaved a sigh and threw his arms down, though Lily could tell he was still a little rattled. “I guess that’s fine.”
He turned to her then, the crescent moon lighting his features flatteringly.
“I would never lie to you, Lily.”
“Well, if you were eight months pregnant with my child and asked me if you looked fat, I’d probably say no, but that’s about it.”
Lily burst out in laughter.
“Eight months pregnant? We haven’t even kissed, James.” She said.
“But you are calling me James now.” He replied, pointing at her.
“Well, all the others were so I guess I sort of picked it up. I mean, of course your friends don’t call you Potter.”
“We haven’t even kissed...” he mumbled, repeating her earlier words. “I’m working on it, Lils. I’m working on it.”
“Working on what?” She laughed.
“Getting you to want to kiss me,” he clarified.
“I think we had better be friends first.”
“I think we’re friends now,” James held his breath, hoping against hope she would agree.
Lily smiled, and folded her arms, turning her face to look at the stars.
“Yeah, I guess we are, James.” With that, she walked back to the house.
James couldn’t help himself. He began to dance.
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