Chapter 1 : Catch Me.
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There are players. There are teams. There are rules and wins and losses and those moments of euphoria when something finally goes according to plan. Sometimes the game is the best thing in the world. And sometimes the game sucks and all you want to do is curl up into a ball under your bed and cry into your stuffed unicorn.
And then sometimes someone comes along and re-writes all of the rules and you’re left in the middle of a reeling battle wondering when everything changed around you.
Mine came in the form of a messy-haired prat.
He goes by the name James Potter. Sometimes Prongs. Sometimes oh-my-Merlin-James-Potter-that-hottie. Sometimes Head Boy. Sometimes that-damn-Gryffindor-Seeker, or Captain.
But mostly he’s just a prat.
That was our game: he chased after me like I was the prize at the end of the competition, and I reminded him on a daily basis that he was never going to be able to win.
Of course, I should have realized that James Potter always wins.
It’s like…his job.
So just as I was about to let him win, once and for all, he played a maneuver in our game that I wasn’t expecting. He stopped playing altogether.
Now I’m falling and there’s no one to catch me.
It all started, originally enough, with an epiphany.
I mean, I’m sure all the great things in life happen when an epiphany. One of those elusive “AH-HA!” moments that leave you feeling like the coolest shit in the world.
Unfortunately, in my case, the elusive “AH-HA!” was more like a severe blow to my otherwise intact intelligence. And now I’ve gone into a downward spiral of brain deterioration – I’m serious! I’ve literally turned into one of those tittering bints who follow James Potter around at all hours and stalk his Quidditch Practice and…and…
I mean, bloody hell. I swooned at him in the hallway the other day.
Lily Evans does not swoon. Lily Evans swaggers through life with a confident smile on her face.
It’s his fault for wearing that bloody cologne. There I was, walking through the hallway with a bounce in my step, all chipper and ready to learn the hell out of the day –
And he walks by me just as another huge swarm of people do.
Of course, since luck hates on me, he ended up pressing me into the wall by accident to avoid the crowd. He didn’t seem to notice a thing, really. His face was turned to the side, his bag clamped to his body so prevent further jostling, his free hand pressed against the wall next to my head so he wouldn’t completely squish me against the wall.
Usually, in situations like these, I shove the Prat away, tell him a couple of choice words that my mother would faint upon hearing, and sometimes add in a quick blow to his ego. Then he would smirk at me, let me know that he knows I want him, and walk away whistling and with his hands in his pockets. And then I’d fume all the way up to my dorm and rant to Alice, and then at inanimate objects after she falls asleep.
But this time…I don’t know what came over me. I just stood there, my face flushing darker and darker, pressed between the wall and James Potter, simply staring at the side of his face with my mouth slightly open.
All in all, definitely not one of my more charming moments.
Maybe because at the beginning of the year, he told me he was Head Boy and didn’t smirk once. Maybe because he was actually a pretty decent bloke, and sometimes we had nice conversations. Maybe because he’d helped me out more times than I could count this year, and because he was mature and funny and charming.
Or maybe I’m just shallow and it’s because his eyes are really beautiful and his hair looks sexy and he has a rather kissable jawline that had been shoved uncomfortably close to my eyes. He also smells incredible and I had to stifle a longing sigh as I felt muscles pressing against me.
(Oh Quidditch, how I love you.)
And then, right in the middle of my lust-filled haze, the crowd dispersed enough so that he could push himself back up with the hand next to my head.
He then did the unthinkable.
He smiled at me.
“Sorry Evans, didn’t mean to squish you into the wall like that.”
I gaped unattractively at him. “It’s okay,” I said faintly.
He ruffed up the back of his head and glanced at the other end of the hallway. “Well, I’ll see you around Evans.”
I slumped against the wall as he walked away, my heart pounding painfully in my chest.
That’s when I realized two very important things: one, that I was extremely attracted to James Potter. And two, he no longer cared about our…well, whatever we had before this state of polite indifference.
Hence, I am an idiot.
I like to pretend that I don’t like him.
Alice says denial is unhealthy.
I mean, it’s not denial – I accept that I’m hopelessly in love with the bloke. It’s more… repression.
Bloody hell, I’m absolutely fucked. I groaned and pressed my forehead against the wood of the library table, completely unable to focus on my Charms Essay.
Like always, it’s James’ fault.
I guess he didn’t do anything this time…mostly it’s just the fact that he exists, really. Or maybe he cursed me and I can’t stop thinking about him. That could be a reason.
Just as I was about to go into a deep contemplation of how James and his cronies (who are also more than tolerable, I have recently discovered with some horror) could have cursed me to constantly be thinking about him, the man in question sat down across from me as though it was perfectly acceptable for him to do so.
I literally stared at him with my mouth hanging open for a solid three minutes.
My level of allure increases by day. Pretty soon I’ll be unable to leave my home in fear of being jumped by all males in the immediate vicinity.
Hot damn, look at that sexy Lily Evans.
“Hello Evans,” he said in his chocolate-like voice when I continued to act as though I was a daft idiot with a minus IQ.
“Hi,” I managed. “Can I help you?”
Score for Evans’ brain! I knew the thing wasn’t completely useless.
“Yes you can, actually,” he smiled at me, and I’m pretty sure I swooned a little.
Have your babies? Why, I thought you’d never ask (again), James! Of course I’ll mother your children! All fifty of them, if you’d like! In fact, let’s get started now, I’m sure the Heads’ Common Room can be quite comfortable –
I blinked a couple of times as he looked expectantly at me. “I’m sorry,” I finally said faintly, “I didn’t quite catch that.”
“I asked if you’re free to work on timetables,” he said again, looking at me with mild concern. “For the prefects,” he added when I continued to gaze at him like a gormless prat.
“Oh, er – right now?”
Stupid, stupid, stupid Evans! Of course he means now, you daft piece of bullcrud!
“Well, I’m free right now if that’s okay with you, but if you’re busy I’m sure we could –”
“No!” There was a short, awkward silence after my outburst. My face burned red. “I’m, er, free right now. It’s no problem.”
Let’s smooth this over with the Brilliant Evans Grin, and I might be able to go through life without wanting to throttle myself.
I offered him a weak grimace.
Damn it Evans, you enamored cow. Snap out of this.
“Great,” he gave me a warm smile despite the clear indications that I was mentally unstable and pulled out a blank piece of parchment. I literally froze as he unexpectedly reached across the table towards me. Holy fucking sodding shitting helling bloody crappity fuckity damn –
“Mind if I borrow this?”
“Sure,” I said, tucking my hair behind my ear nervously as he offered me a small smile in thanks and plucked my quill from its spot on my incomplete charms essay.
Merlin, I’m actually jealous of a quill right now. I believe I have reached a whole new level of pathetic and should probably be receiving an award any time soon.
I stared at him in rapture as he dipped my quill in my bottle of ink and wrote carefully along the top of the piece of parchment. He’s always had this way about him – it’s in the way he does things that he cares about. He looks at the parchment, or the teacher, or the person, like they have his full and unending attention and he genuinely cares about what they have to say. I guess that’s one of the things that I first noticed about him, the way he sat and gazed at Professor McGonagall as though what she was saying was vitally important to him.
He used to look at me like that. I can’t believe how I let that go.
I bit my lower lip lightly as his teeth sunk into his own, one of his annoyingly sexy habits when he focuses on something. Bloody hell, he hasn’t even written anything important down yet and I’m a puddle of lust.
“I have some notes written down here,” I spoke up suddenly, my neurons finally working a bit better. I pulled out a couple sheaves of parchment from my bag, with schedules scrawled down on them hastily. James reached out for them, and his mouth stretched into a smile as he looked them over.
“You created the schedules for the next three months, Evans?” he asked incredulously, looking through the papers.
I happen to be a proud overachiever, thank you very much. Don’t judge.
I shrugged as he turned his delighted eyes on me. “I had some free time and you’re always so busy with Quidditch so I thought I’d do some things myself.”
I held my breath for his reaction. Didn’t help, because I lost it altogether anyway.
He smiled brilliantly at me. “I really appreciate it.”
I shrugged again and smiled shyly, cursing the light blush that spread over my skin. “It’s no big deal. You might have to copy it down though, because it’s a bit messy, and –”
“I want to help next time though, okay?” he cut across gently.
I blinked at him. Dude, I’m giving you a free pass here of no work. Even I’d take this opportunity and milk it for all it’s worth.
“Copy it down,” I finally said lightly. I flashed him a quick grin. “That’s your help.” He bit his lip again as I got up off my seat, lost in an internal battle between the easy and right way out.
I am so attracted to him right now.
“Where are you going?” he called after me as I turned around abruptly to avoid my body’s spontaneous decision to jump him without consulting my mind first.
“Getting a book for the charms essay,” I said as calmly as I could. I scurried to the nearest aisle of charms books and rested my back lightly against the wood of the bookshelf, taking a couple of deep breaths to still my pounding heart.
This guy is so bad for my endocrine system. I swear whenever he’s around all my dopamine and serotonin levels go completely bonkers and I’m nervous and thrilled and happy and shaky all at once.
It’s all very disconcerting.
After I’d caught my breath and managed to make my hands less shaky, I turned around towards the bookshelf, scanning the rows with my eyes – and, of course, the book I needed was near the top.
My wand is at the table with James.
Just my luck.
I sighed loudly and glanced around (rather stupid of me, really, since the Heads are allowed in this place after curfew and no one is here – but habit is habit, I suppose) before bunching up my legs underneath me and jumping up wildly. My fingers fell pathetically short of the book.
Grunting in exasperation (my feminine wiles are just incredible right now), I jumped again, this time getting closer to the book. Alright – I got this – just need to jump a bit higher, okay, I can do this…
“What are you doing?”
I squeaked and whirled around, thumping my back forcefully against the bookshelf. James was standing in front of me with his hands in his pockets, looking half-amused and half-scared of my insanity.
“Oh my god,” I gasped, my heart pounding against my chest as I stepped away from the books and rubbed my shoulder, “don’t do that to me!”
“If you needed help, you know you could have just asked me,” he said, looking at me with his probing gaze.
I decided that his collar was infinitely more interesting than his eyes. “I didn’t need help.”
“Even with the schedules,” he continued as though I hadn’t spoken. “You don’t have to do everything yourself, Evans. It’s okay to be dependent on someone else once in a while.”
I couldn’t decide what he was feeling at the moment. His voice was completely neutral, a conversational tone, like he was discussing the weather or History class with me. I swallowed against my dry throat.
“It’s not like that,” I rasped out weakly.
James sighed and stepped towards me. I skittered back until I hit the bookshelf, still staring at his collar. He’d gotten rid of the Gryffindor tie and had unbuttoned his shirt enough for me to start salivating slightly.
Bloody hell, I hold the sex appeal of a slobbery dog.
“Okay,” he said quietly, taking another step forward. Ack – much – too – close – brain – cannot – function. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong.” My voice was a terrified squeak. Merlin – step away, Potter, before I do something sinful.
“Something’s wrong.” A small corner of my brain cursed him for being able to keep his calm while I was a quivering mass of nerves.
“Nope,” I said, “I’m just jim-dandy, really.”
Jim-dandy. I just said jim-dandy while in the presence of James Potter. Oh my god, shoot me.
“Look at me,” he said in a low voice. I refuse to move my eyes. You can’t make me, James Potter, no matter how delicious you look when you’re coming out of the shower with your wet hair, or when you read by the fire, or laugh, or you know…when you breathe…and all…
I’m buggered beyond words.
“Look at me, Evans,” he said in a slightly more commanding tone. I closed my eyes and took a deep, quivering breath. I was literally shaking against the bookshelf, trapped between the mustiness of the books and the heat of James Potter.
“Lily,” he growled out. My eyes snapped up to his and I swallowed forcefully. Bloody hell, I hate his stupid eyes. They’re…mesmerizing. Like hundreds of pieces of kaleidoscope stars. Broken glass. Sparkly stuff. Flames and forest fires and sunlight and molten gold and…I can’t breathe.
Sweet Merlin, I cannot breathe.
“Tell me what’s wrong,” he breathed, his eyes darting back and forth between mine. He was pressed almost fully against me, and had it not been for the bookshelf, my wobbly knees would have completely given out.
“Nothing,” I murmured faintly. I couldn’t think past the golden swirls in his pupils.
“Liar,” he drawled, his mouth quirking up into a slight smirk. My mouth ran dry.
Jump him, Evans! JUMP HIS FIT BONES.
“What makes you think something’s wrong with me?” I croaked.
Great, now I hold the sex appeal of a bullfrog. This keeps getting better and better.
“You’re acting weird.”
Just the thing a girl wants to hear from the man of her dreams. Thank you, Prince Charming.
My eyes narrowed. “Gosh,” I huffed, “that means a lot to me, thanks.”
He grinned. I restrained myself from ripping his shirt off.
“But seriously,” he said conversationally, leaning his forearms against the bookshelf behind my head. I was completely trapped between his arms, the shelf, and his body.
I will not rip James Potter’s shirt off. I will not rip James Potter’s shirt off. I will not rip James Potter’s shirt off. I will not –
“What has gotten into you?” he asked, looking into my eyes from underneath his eyebrows. I scuttled closer to the shelf and ended up stabbing myself in the back with it.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, usually, you’d be screaming at me to get out of your personal bubble at this point. Odd, don’t you think?” his mouth spread into a slow grin.
I sniffed and crossed my arms. “So? I’m just a bit more mature now.”
Yeah, and one day, my pet owl will rule the world.
“No I don’t think that’s it, though,” he said thoughtfully, his eyes darting over my entire face.
“Then what is your brilliant proposition, oh master of all detectives?”
Good to know that despite all of this, my sarcasm has not been affected.
“I,” he said gleefully, “think you like me.”
My heart literally stopped beating, then started up twice as fast again.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I rasped out. “I don’t like you.”
He merely gave me a look that I couldn’t quite understand.
Well poo on you and your stupid undecipherable looks, James Potter.
“Besides,” I said snottily. I was briefly reminded of my sister, and immediately hated myself for the imitation of her. “What does it matter to you, anyway? You’re over me now.”
He leaned forward until there was barely any space between our mouths. My lips were practically ready to jump off of my face and onto his. I sucked them into my mouth to prevent such an atrocity.
He laughed lightly, and my lips popped out of my mouth. My face tingled with the heat of his breath.
“What do you think, Lily?”
Before I had time to gather my (very meager) wits and react, however, he pushed off of the bookshelf and handed me a book. I took it wordlessly, my mouth still slightly agape.
“Never mind. Forget it. I’m sorry,” he said tonelessly, looking down at my feet. “I’ll see you later, Evans.”
And then – and then – he walked away from me while I leaned against the bookshelf, completely undone.
Oh hell no.
I threw my book at him before he could reach the end of the row, and it bounced off of his back and landed on the floor with a satisfying thud. He turned around, his face set in the lines of outrage.
“What the hell?” He asked angrily, but then took one look at me and fell silent. It’s understandable, really, that he’s slightly wary of me right now. I look like a crazy bint out of hell with my face flushed pink and my obnoxiously red hair in a hot mess around my head.
“You’re sorry?” I snarled, stalking forward so that I backed him up against a bookshelf. He looked downright terrified at this point.
“After all of these years – all seven goddamn years – you’re sorry? That’s it?” I demanded furiously. “You can’t be serious! That’s the big bang that James Potter leaves with?! That he’s sorry? What happened to getting what you want, huh Potter? Since when have you ever given up on something?”
“You’re not something that I can win!” he shot back in a frustrated voice. “You’re a person, Evans, and I can’t force someone to feel something they never will –”
“So you’re giving up?” I asked incredulously. “That’s it, you’re done?”
“Yes,” he spat. “You win, Evans. It took me seven years, but I got the hint. I’m done.”
I punched him. “No, you prat, you’re not done, okay? You’re not fucking done because I’m not ready for you to be done –”
“Look, I’m sure rejecting me gives you a real fucking dandy time,” he sneered, grabbing my fist before I could connect with him again, “but I’m tired now, Evans, so why don’t you just drop it?”
“I can’t, okay?” I screamed. To my shock and horror, tears sprung into my eyes.
WHY HASN’T ANYONE SHOT ME YET?
James’ expression instantly softened. “Evans, are you cr –”
“Shut. Up. Just shut up!” I yelled, hitting him feebly on the chest a couple of times. “I – just…I can’t.”
His arms gathered me in softly. “Shit, Evans,” he said quietly as I buried my face in his incredible-smelling shirt, “I’m really sorry.”
I pulled away from him, my face thankfully devoid of tears. He looked adorably, incredibly hot at the moment, his eyebrows furrowing up and his eyes large and golden with remorse.
“I do things myself because I feel secure that way,” I said, my eyes on his collar again.
“What if I fall and there’s no one to catch me?” I pulled my gaze back up to his. His expression was alive with tenderness and I’m pretty sure I melted a bit.
“There’s always going to be someone to catch you,” he said gently, pushing a bit of my hair behind my ear. Jump him, jump him, jump him – shut up, id, this is not the time for you to be taking over my brain! “It might be a friend, or a boyfriend, or hey, maybe even your husband one day, but –”
Turns out my id took over anyway (yes thank you, Sigmund Freud). I cut James off with a kiss.
For a second he stood, his face frozen in shock, his lips immobile and his hands still motionless against my shoulders, and I feared the worst. Oh god, maybe he really doesn’t like me anymore! Shit! Shit, shit, shit, sh – mmmm.
James Potter is a good kisser.
His large hands wrapped around my waist and pulled me closer to him, his head immediately tilting to the side.
James Potter is a really good kisser. Man, I could have got with this ages ago. Years and years of fantastic snogging, all gone to waste because of my stupid pride.
It is my new goal in life to make up for all of those lost years. If James doesn’t agree, I’ll stalk him.
I pulled away after I ran out of air and he pressed his forehead against mine.
“I want it to be you,” I panted, brushing my fingers along his jaw. He responded by catching my lips in another searing kiss.
This is wonderful. I’m pretty sure I just died a bit. Of happiness overdose. Is that possible? Happiness overdose? I feel like I’m so happy it’s practically sinful.
He pulled away and pushed my hair behind my ear again. “Even though you didn’t know it,” he said softly, “I’ve always been right here, waiting to catch you when you fall for me.”
“Just one more thing, then,” I told him. I brushed the hair out of his eyes.
“Yeah?” he said, leaning back against the bookshelf and pulling me comfortably against him, “what’s that?”
I smirked. “Will you go out with me, Potter?”
“Oh hell no!” He erupted, throwing his hands down and standing straight up. My waist felt uncomfortably cold.
“That is my job, woman! Mine! I’ve waited seven years to hear you say yes – oh there is no way in hell you are taking that away from me!” He ranted.
I laughed in relief. “I take it back. Was there something you wanted to ask me, Potter?”
He calmed down a bit. “Yes, my dearest love, there was.” I had an internal eye-roll at his fourth-year nickname for me. Funny, at the time it was quite annoying.
I looked expectantly at him.
“Hey Evans,” he said in a sexy low voice. Once again, I restrained myself from ripping his clothes off.
He leaned forward until his mouth was brushing against my ear. I’m pretty sure I turned tomato-red at the contact. “Go out with me?”
I closed my eyes and smiled.
“Tell me, did you fall from a shooting star?
One without a permanent scar,
And that you missed me while you were looking for yourself out there.”
-Drops of Jupiter, Train
well, this was originally supposed to be Fall for Me in Lily's POV, but i think i like this companion piece better :)
please review and tell me what you think!