The next day, Sirius casually strolled into James’ room. He had been gone for half the night with Mia, but oddly enough, started asking about Lily.
“So, you haven’t asked Lily out in a while,” Sirius said conversationally. “...Why?”
“Well, we are friends now,” James frowned, concentrating. “And we’re actually really close. I don’t want to wreck that. I guess I’m just waiting for her to make the first move.”
“You’ll be waiting a while,” Sirius mumbled.
“Yeah, well, not the first move exactly,” James elaborated. “I’m waiting for her to want me to make a move.”
Sirius nodded thoughtfully.
“I’ll keep an eye out and give you a heads up if she seems ready.”
“Thanks Padfoot. I really don’t want to screw this up.”
Sirius nodded and walked away, but, as though he couldn’t help himself, he spun around to face his friend again.
“Jamesy...” He started, smiling up at him.
“Padsey? What did you do?” James grinned at Sirius.
“It’s about Mia.”
“You – oh, I see,” James laughed. “Well, not the first time.”
“No...” Sirius was still talking in a sing –song voice, and grinning like an idiot. “But it’s different.”
“The Earth moved?” James asked sarcastically.
“I’m going to marry that girl, I swear,” Sirius said.
“You’re serious, aren’t you?”
“Always have been.” Sirius winked.
“True, but...Mia? She’s the one, huh?”
“She is so, so, so the one!” He let out a sort of yelp. “Going to see her again right now.”
“Have fun,” James called out. “Oh, wait, have you seen Lily?”
Sirius’ face darkened a little.
“That’s what I came in here to tell you, I forgot,” he said.
“She didn’t leave?” James’ glanced to the door, as though he were about to chase after her. “I mean, we sort of had a fight, but not really, I mean, I didn’t think she would-”
“No, no, it’s Remus, he’s well...he’s going to tell her. Today. Now, in fact, probably.”
“He’s going to tell her? Seriously?”
“He said he felt like he was lying to her or some rubbish. Like I said, Gryffindors are too loyal.”
“I wonder how she’ll take it,” James mumbled, though he felt sure Lily wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
“It’s making me wonder if I should tell Mia.”
“You want to tell Mia about Remus’ issues?”
“No, I want to tell her I’m a wizard. But, I don’t know. I’m not Remus. I can deal with lying to her for the rest of my life,” he sighed. “I just kind of want her to know.”
“Don’t rush into anything. Go see her now, and think about it. Decide another day. She’s not going anywhere.”
“Yeah, but I am,” Sirius rolled his eyes as he walked out the door. “The first of September gets closer every day.”
“Yeah, it does,” James mumbled to himself when he was alone in his room. Then, determined not to waste any more time, he headed to Lily’s room, to make sure things were okay between them. He found her in front of her closet, looking through her clothes.
“Did Remus talk to you?” He asked casually.
“No reason,” he said, and then mumbled to himself. “Guess he got too much ‘loyal’ and not enough ‘brave’.”
“James, can ask you something?” Lily’s voice was serious, she looked very concerned.
“Anything,” James answered, although a little nervous.
“How did you know about the Death Eaters?”
“Ah,” James said, running a hand through his jet black hair nervously. “I was hoping you wouldn’t pick up on that.”
“Do they know that you know?”
She raised an eyebrow at him, and sat down on her bed, patting the space next to her, indicating to him to sit down. She waited for him to tell all, but didn’t expect his reason for knowing shocked her as much as it did.
“My parents, that’s...that’s what they do, they’re Aurors,” he took a deep breath, Lily could tell he was going to say more. “They’re pretend Death Eaters, they’re spies.”
“How do they manage that?” Lily breathed.
“Polyjuice potion and very good Occlumency,” James smiled at her.
“Oh my God, that’s so dangerous,” she whispered, her eyes widening in fear as she looked at James. She couldn’t imagine how he felt, having his parents in that kind of peril.
“I know, but I’m really proud of them, and I’m going to be an Auror too. They’ve tried to talk me out of it, but my minds made up,” he nodded. “I am prepared to fight evil until I die.”
“So am I,” Lily whispered, and then she smiled sarcastically. “That’s a nice, happy thing to say, isn’t it?”
She laughed bitterly for a moment before getting a strange look on her face. She held out her right hand.
“Shake on it,” she said, looking deep into his eyes. “We’ll keep fighting evil, until we die.”
James felt protests bubbling up inside him, he wanted to tell her not to put herself in any danger, that he would always protect her, but something in her eyes told him she was being completely serious.
“Until we die,” he said firmly, shaking her hand.
He went to leave her room, but turned around at the last second, making himself smile as he realised he had done what Sirius had done earlier that day. They were so similar.
“I’ve figured it out now. I mean,” he looked a bit sheepish. “I’ve figured you out.”
“Really?” Lily raised her eyebrows at him. “I doubt that.”
James moved forward slowly, taking her hands in his, and leaned down to kiss her softly. After a moment, Lily whipped her head away.
“Lily,” he breathed, putting his hands on her shoulders and pulling her into a hug. “It’s about trust. You clearly have trust issues, I can see that now. But I won’t ever go to the Dark side of magic, you know that.”
He pulled back to look in her eyes, and they stared at each other for a long moment.
“Please trust me, Lily. Please be brave enough to trust me.”
With that, he walked away. He passed Remus on the way.
“Tell her,” he said.
“Peter needs your help on his charms homework,” Remus mumbled, looking extremely nervous.
“Of course he does, I’m the charming one,” James flashed a huge smile at Remus. “Moons, seriously, don’t worry about it. She’s an understanding person.”
“I know, I just...I don’t want her to be like...scared of me.”
“She won’t be. Listen she knows, about Snape’s crowd. Apparently they even tried to recruit her,” James said in a rush. Remus gasped, and couldn’t say anything, his mouth hung open in shock. “I know it’s a scary thought. I wouldn’t mention it to her, she’ll figure I’ll tell you anyway and besides that...I already yelled at her about it.”
“Weirdly enough, I feel like yelling at her about it. We could have helped her.”
“Try not to. Go on, tell her about your little problem, it’s a good time to,” James clapped him on the back. “See you later, mate.”
Remus nodded, took a deep breath, and headed to Lily’s room.
“Hey,” she smiled as he turned up in her doorway.
“Hi,” he smiled. “I have to talk to you.’
“Alright,” she said, shrugging. “Come on in.”
They sat down side by side on the desk. Remus took another deep breath.
“Look Lily, the truth is, I’m, um...I’m,” he broke off, shaking his head.
“Are you trying to tell me that you’re a werewolf? Go on; tell me, I can take it.”
“Of course, I’ve known for ages,” she smiled and held his hand. “Its fine, Remus, really.”
“James told you.”
“No, he didn’t. I knew he would if I asked so I didn’t ask. I followed you guys one night and saw.”
“You followed us? When I changed? Lily, I could have killed you!”He looked alarmed. “Now we have ways of keeping me tame, but back then...”
“No, you couldn’t have. I have a secret, too,” she winked and leaned in, and then whispered. “I’m an animagus. I could outrun you.”
“Why didn’t you say so? That’s great!”
“Because I transform into a doe and ever since I learnt James’ patronus was a stag and mine was a doe, and knowing he transformed into a stag I knew he would make a big deal about it,” she said in a rush, brining her brows together as she worried that what she had said hadn’t made sense. “So I made sure never to reveal my patronus or show myself as an animagus.”
She concentrated, wanting to tell him the full story.
“Remember Rookwood? He would have left by now; I think he was in Seventh, like, a year ago?”
“Well, once he was trying to kill me,” she said, comically shrugging as though it happened every day, Remus sarcastically nodded back. “He chased me out into the grounds, I ran into the forest and transformed, and he lost me and went back to the castle. Then I saw you four coming out, and thought you were up to no good as usual, so I spied for a while and saw you transfer.”
She took a deep breath.
“I remember thinking James’ animagus was really similar to mine, and that it was a bit odd, but I certainly didn’t think it meant anything.”
“I really, really don’t understand you two,” Remus said, shaking his head. “Why aren’t you together? All the signs are there, you’re one of those big couples in history, and I can feel it. ‘Lily and James’...it sounds right, doesn’t it?”
Lily just rolled her eyes.
“I’m not even sure I want a boyfriend. James is so in your face, he...well, he scares me a little. I know he’d only end up hurting me.”
“Why would you think that?” Remus still felt relieved that she didn’t care that he was a werewolf.
“Because, believe it or not, when I was thirteen I thought Severus Snape would always be there for me, I completely trusted him, and he really let me down.”
Remus stared at Lily for a moment. He was in a small state of shock, that anyone would ever trust the slime ball Snape, let alone that Lily, who was a very smart person, would. He didn’t know what to say, but eventually, the most important question came to him.
“Do you honestly think James is anything like Snape?”
“No, not really,” Lily confessed, relieved Remus had not made a big deal of her small confession of her past with Severus. “But he could still hurt me eventually. He would.”
“Nah, he wouldn’t,” Remus said, standing up and offering a hand to pull Lily to her feet as well. “First of all, because he just wouldn’t. He’s more serious about you then you know. And second of all, because he knows I’d kill him if he ever hurt you.”
Remus leaned in to Lily’s ear.
“And I could kill him rather easily,” he growled.
“Stop it,” Lily laughed. “I don’t really have feelings for James; he’s just...an annoying little pest.”
“I bet you don’t even believe that,” Remus said. “And I’d believe you more except for that look you get in your eyes every time you say his name. You should give him a chance, at least.”
“Everyone I’ve ever really loved has left me,” she protested.
“Did you just say ‘really loved’ in reference to James?” Remus asked her. Her eyes widened, and Remus though realisation was hitting her at last.
“I’m going to the library,” Lily said abruptly. “Don’t tell James where I am. I really need to think.”
“You need to stop thinking, sweetie,” Remus said, giving her a friendly kiss on the cheek. “Stop listening to your head and start listening to your heart. Goodnight.”
With that, he took off down the staircase towards the spare room. Lily headed up to the library.
Remus went into the room he was sharing with Peter and found James, Sirius and Peter in there.
“Where’s Lily?” James asked, jumping to his feet.
“Library,” Remus answered, not worrying about betraying Lily. He wanted Lily and James to sort things out already.
“Oh, and she absolutely likes you,” he mentioned as James headed past him.
“I know,” he said. “I just wish she knew.”
“She does,” Remus nodded. “Go for it.”
James could see that Remus was finally fully over Lily. He quickly hugged his friend.
“Thanks, Moons,” he said seriously, before heading off to the library, already forming his game plan. This was going to be it.
Lily had just pulled a good book of one of the many shelves when she heard him coming.
“Libraries,” James appeared at the doorway, smiling arrogantly as he swaggered into the candlelit room. “They are very...sensual, aren’t they?”
Lily was thrown for a moment. But only briefly – snapping the book she was holding shut, she turned to him.
“I suppose you could find sensuality in anything, James. You’re a seventeen year old male, after all.”
“Oh, come on,” James grinned widely, moving in just a little too close to her and taking the book from her fingers, curious to see what she had been reading. “You’re seventeen as well; you must find yourself having thoughts, feelings...”
He looked into her eyes, hazel bearing into green, and moved closer still, so she could feel his breath on her lips.
“And urges,” he whispered.
“The only urge I have, Potter,” she started, concentrating on breathing as she was starting to feel light headed. “Is to take that book and hit you over the head with it.”
James hurriedly placed the book on the nearest shelf.
“I just...like libraries, don’t you?” He asked, keeping within an inch of her and moving forward, forcing her to walk backward to keep the distance between them, until she was up against a shelf.
“Some – some – sometimes,” she stuttered, realising that when she looked into his eyes, she couldn’t talk. She glanced down to his lips. That was a bad idea. She licked her lips, then quickly looked out past James’ shoulder.
“Really?” James mumbled, moving in just slightly closer and placing his hands on the shelf, one on either side of her.
Lily felt her heart racing. She thought he could probably hear it, it was beating so hard. Without thinking, she spoke.
“Can you hear my heart?”
He looked confused for a moment, before raising an eyebrow at her.
“Not from here.”
With that, he leaned forward, resting an ear on her chest, listening. Lily couldn’t stop herself from running a hand through his thick black hair. She could feel his breath on her neck as he stood up straighter, slowly. The breath hit her chin and then her lips.
His lips grazed hers.
With a desperate moan, she pushed him off, spun him, and pushed him up against the shelves. Several books fell to the ground, but neither of them heard. They were in ecstasy, freeing all their built up tensions, kissing rather violently as they pushed into one another and moved from wall to wall, from shelf to shelf, always slamming the other one up against the surface, they both knew they would have bruises in the morning, but didn’t care.
Eventually Lily pushed away from him and ran off, as always, wanting time to think. James didn’t chase after her – he felt confident now, that they would be together. No one could deny their chemistry, their magnetism, not even Lily.
He looked up as he heard footsteps. Lily was back.
“Can I do something without you judging me?” She asked, out of breath.
“Sure,” he said, curious as to what it was. She walked over to him and slid her hand up under his shirt. His stomach felt like stone.
“How did you get so...so...”
“You need a strong stomach to stay on a broom,” he laughed, running a hand through her hair.
“Definitely running away now,” she whispered, before running away.
Much later in the night, towards midnight, James was sitting on his bed, reading. He heard a creak in the floorboard at his door. Lily.
“Sorry about before,” she said.
“Don’t be sorry,” he answered smoothly, putting the book down on the ground. “I’m not.”
She sat on the bed next to him.
“I don’t want to be alone. I tried to sleep, but,” she almost looked ashamed. “I missed you.”
She picked up the book to see what he had been reading. It was the book she had selected from the library earlier.
“Guess I missed you too,” he said, ruffling his hair with one hand as he took the book back from her and sat it on his nightstand. “I always miss you.”
“And I’m sorry for intruding, just turning up in your room like this.”
“You can turn up in my room any time,” he said seriously.
He smiled and held her hand.
“Whenever you need me, I’m always here for you, and you can show up uninvited at any time, wherever I may be.” He could feel her coming around, knew that this was going to be the moment he had dreamed of for years, and his heart started pounding with anticipation. She was going to finally let down the emotional barrier she had built up around herself and let him into her life.
“I really like you Lily,” he said, something he had said many times before. “You know that, right?”
She nodded, and leaned past him to place her head on his pillow. He leaned back to lie down as well, so their faces were inches from each others.
“I’m scared James.” She confessed. He gave her a questioning look. “I’m scared of what will happen if I allow myself to be with you.”
“Allow yourself?” He questioned. “Do whatever your heart tells you.”
He cupped her chin in one hand and kissed her once, softly on the mouth. She pushed his hand onto the pillow, between their candlelit faces, and stroked his palm with her fingers.
“I don’t want you to ever leave me,” she whispered, tears forming in her eyes. “You have to promise.” He moved a bit closer.
“I give you my word, Lily, I will never leave you.”
She nodded and smiled, a few stray tears carving paths down her cheeks. He wiped them away. She sighed.
“Tired?” He asked in a low voice, kissing her hand softly.
“I’m tired now, well, it is pretty late,” she mumbled. “But I don’t want to move, I’m too comfy.”
“That’s easily solved,” he whispered, kissing her cheek. He blew out the candle in his lamp and drew up the blankets using an accio charm. He wrapped his arms around her and she dug her face into his chest and inhaled, breathing in his warmth, his scent.
“Promise me we’ll be like this every night,” she whispered desperately.
“Every night,” he confirmed, kissing the top of her head. “Please trust me, Lily.”
“I do trust you, James,” she whispered, before finally drifting off to sleep.