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Chapter 8 : It Can't Be True
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"Lily, Lily, Lily!" James yelled, running through the common room in search of the most gorgeous redhead he had ever met.
"What?" Lily asked, her tone sharp but her mouth smiling. She seemed amused by him, instead of bemused, and James smiled widely in return, encouraged.
"I just got permission from Mum to ask you to come to my house for the holidays, so will you come?! I'd be so happy if you came, it would just amazing and it would make the Christmas tradition so much more fun because then it would be more than just me and Sirius dashing around the house, it would be you and your morning grumpiness, too! Please, please come, Lily! Will you? Can you?" James said quickly and loudly. He beamed widely at the completion, which slowly fell as a look of confusion passed over Lily's face.
"What?" she asked, shaking her head. "Please repeat that in English."
"Would you come to my house for the holidays?" he repeated slowly, hoping he sounded more like a gentleman.
"Uh…" Lily blinked at him, her face evidently surprised.
"Oh, please, Lily," James pleaded, pouting slightly.
"I'll…owl my mum," Lily said slowly, her eyebrows knitted together in confusion. James didn't care; he hardly noticed in fact.
He jumped around and then ran off, leaving Lily staring after him in twice as much confusion as before.
"What just happened?" she asked herself aloud slowly, her arms out in front of her and her palms facing the ground.
"James just ran off, looking giddy," Remus answered, coming through the portrait hole. "What did you do?"
"I honestly have no idea," Lily admitted, throwing her hands in the air. "He was jumping and pleading and something about Christmas with Sirius and my grumpiness and asking my mum and I don't know what just happened. Please explain it to me."
Remus laughed and shrugged his shoulders. "I haven't the foggiest either, Lily. Mind helping me with our Charms essay?"
"I'd love to, really Remus, but I'm supposed to meet James on the Quidditch pitch in an hour so we can talk about Head duties," Lily said. "And I need to get my notes ready."
"Could I borrow your Charms notes, then?" Remus asked, shrugging. "All the same, I suppose."
Lily dug her notes out of her bag and handed them over. "Good luck," she called over her shoulder.
"Thank you, dear," the Fat Lady said graciously. "Heaven knows I need it, guarding the Tower with those four hooligans in this House."
Lily smiled politely, not having the gall to tell the Fat Lady she hadn't been talking to her. Lily grimaced as she turned around and then scuttled to the library. She quickly put together everything she could think of in terms of the holiday ideas for the castle. James had already had the Prefects decorate the halls, but Lily had wanted something fun to do for the students who weren't going home for Christmas.
She realized the time and ran out of the library. She couldn't figure out why she was in such a hurry, it was only James after all. He wouldn't mind if she was late; he probably wasn't even done with practice yet.
She pulled her hair back and then yanked the ponytail holder out of her hair a few moments later, fluffing it with her fingers slightly. As she was about to pull it back up again, she stopped. Why did she even care?
The snow was a thin sheet on the ground as Lily hustled through it, creating a fog around her every breath she took. She covered her ears with her mittened hands and saw the Gryffindor team still in the air. James was explaining something to one of the Beaters, or that's what Lily assumed him to be doing, as she climbed up into the stands.
She pulled the parchment with her ideas out as she took a seat. It looked like the players were cold and tired and ready for a mutiny, so she predicted five more minutes. Her ears could tolerate five minutes of December bitter cold.
Lily simply couldn't resist the temptation to watch the team practice, her notes forgotten between her fingers. She smiled as her eyes followed James from one end to the other, sometimes stopping to help another player. A warm, funny feeling blossomed in her as she stared at James Potter. Her smile grew larger the more she watched and she laughed out loud when he was hit in the head by the Quaffle.
Was that the Quaffle? Or was it a Waffle? A Filaffle? Kaffle? It looked too big to be a Bludger, which she had had an unfortunate experience with during Third Year. James had shown off a Snitch before, so she was positive it wasn't that. Was it called a Quaffle, though? She could not remember.
When James turned around after she laughed, she waved, smiling brightly. Her stomach erupted in a fluttery feeling when he smiled and waved back. He held up five fingers. She assumed it meant five minutes.
He winked at her when she nodded. Lily felt her face heat up and glanced down at her papers.
The team dispersed and Lily waited a few minutes, studying what she had written, before standing up. Surely James would be ready by now.
She walked slowly down to the frost-bitten ground, taking an odd joy in watching the snow crunch under her shoes. Lily jumped when she heard a door and swiveled around.
"Hey," James said, smiling crookedly.
"Hey," Lily said automatically, a smiling spreading softly across her face.
"Ready?" he asked, ruffling his hair once. Lily noted that it seemed nearly frozen stiff.
"Sure, I've got the notes," she replied, attempting to be nonchalant. What was wrong with her?
"Great! How about we got to the kitchens? I could use some warm food," he suggested.
"Absolutely," Lily agreed. She would have agreed if he'd suggested the Forbidden Forest.
"So, what were you thinking?" James asked, looking sideways at her as they walked along. She purposefully stared down at her handwriting, to avoid blushing under his gaze.
"Well, I was thinking something in the Great Hall, a banquet. Not a ball, because of how few students usually stay. But a grand dinner and the professors still here acting silly, doing something unusual." It came out in a rush, and she took a deep gulp of air when finished. Lily bit her lip before glancing at James. "What do you think?
"I think maybe I want to say here to see what the professors do!" James laughed, shoving Lily's arm slightly. "It's a great idea. I'll see what I can get McGonagall to do if you talk to Dumbledore."
Lily laughed. "But McGonagall likes me so much better. Surely I should talk to her?"
"Nah, let me take a crack at it," he replied nonchalantly. He tickled the pear and said, "After you, mademoiselle." He continued while House Elves ran up to them, "Minnie needs to finally adjust to me as Head Boy, being responsible at all. Besides, if I say it's your idea, she'll do it."
Lily laughed full-heartedly as James asked for soup and hot chocolate. Lily was still laughing with the House Elf, Hixy, asked what she would like.
"Miss?" Hixy asked nervously. "Master James, what is wrong with Miss? Hixy is worried, sir."
"Ah, she's all right, Hixy," James replied. "Lily, you are all right, yes?"
Lily took a few deep breaths and nodded. "Sorry, Hixy. I'd like a piece of chocolate cake, please."
"Yes, Miss!" Hixy squeaked, happy to run off to find it.
As Lily ate her cake, James kept dripping soup onto his lap.
"Can't you eat?" she teased.
"Apparently not with you around," he joked back.
Lily laughed. She glanced at the time. "I have to run off, anyway," she lied smoothly. "I need to return a book to the library."
"You and that library," James joked lightly, smiling broadly. "It's like you're bloody married to the place."
"For all you know, I am," Lily said, dusting cake crumbs off her uniform. "Bye, James."
"Goodbye, Lily," he called after her.
When she was safely outside the kitchen, she leaned against the wall, holding her hand over her heart. "Oh, God, what's happening to me?"
Sirius walked up to her then. She jumped out of her skin when she realized he was leaning against the wall next to her.
"Ho-how long have you been there?" she stuttered, hoping she didn't seem hysterical.
"About ten seconds," he replied, laughing slightly. "What're you doing out here?"
"Thinking," she said shortly, hoping he got the message and would leave.
"About what?" he asked, smiling slightly.
"None of your business," she nearly snapped. Lily turned to leave, but Sirius put a hand on her shoulder. "What, Black?"
"I think you were thinking about Ja-ames," he sing-songed. Lily felt her face heat up and knew she had been caught. Sirius smiled widely. "And I think you should tell him."
"Tell him what," Lily demanded, facing Sirius and feeling righteously indignant.
"That you love him back," Sirius whispered, leaning close to her ear.
Lily gasped, but didn't deny it.
Sirius laughed gaily and wandered up to the portrait.
"Don't say anything to him," Lily warned him, "or you won't remember what year it is for the rest of your life."
Sirius tickled the pear and responded smoothly. "Of course not, love."
He disappeared inside, leaving Lily alone to worry he would spoil the secret she didn't know if she could admit to herself.
A/N: Just so you're aware, I have two chapters remaining in this section, and then I have a three-chapter sequel. It was originally posted as it's own story, pulled from this, but when I revamped the whole thing, I decided to make it a part. So, I should finish this story with the next few weeks.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and, even if you didn't, please review. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
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