She makes me feel endless.
“James, you can’t do that, you idiot. You’re supposed to swish your wand, not jab it in the air like you’re trying to gouge someone’s eyeball out.”
…most of the time.
“Maybe you can show me,” I said innocently, looking at Lily. Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t all innocent. I cheated a bit – you know, if you call smoldering ‘cheating’. I call it acting really sexy. I smolder like a beast. I’m generally a very sexy person.
Merlin, I sure am glad that Lily can’t read minds.
She looked at me suspiciously. “You don’t even need my help, James. You should be topping Charms right now – why the hell did you fail the last test?”
I adopted my ‘upset’ look. “I didn’t get it, Lily.”
What?! It is not bullshit, thank you very much. Sure, I may have thrown a couple questions on the test…kind of on purpose...but it really was because I have comprehension issues! I haven’t, in any way, shape or form, purposely failed the test in order to get Lily to tutor me privately.
I mean, who does something as utterly pathetic and desperate as that?
Not me. I’m James Potter, the polar opposite of pathetic and desperate. That’s more Snivelly’s area, if you get my drift.
But…for Lily, I guess I’d do pretty much anything.
It’s only one test, anyway.
“You promised you’d help,” I accused her.
“You don’t need it,” Lily argued.
“How do you know I don’t need it?” I asked her, cocking my head curiously to the side. “How do you know that I don’t dream and wish for it everyday?” I smoldered again.
“You dream and wish for Charms tutoring on a daily basis?” Lily asked drily, her green eyes sparkling with humor. Merlin, her eyes are so hot.
“Not the tutoring,” I corrected. “Just the tutor.”
I shot her my James Potter Smirk® and smoldered like my life depended on it.
She blushed prettily, but then rolled her eyes to cover it up.
She wants me.
“I heard she’s an awesome tutor,” she grinned up teasingly at me, and I had to restrain myself from beaming like a dork.
“She’s absolutely brilliant,” I said fervently, playing along.
“Yeah?” she cocked her head to the side, and her red hair glinted in the fading light.
“Yep. She’s not just smart, either – she’s got these brilliant green eyes, and this gorgeous red hair,” I stepped closer to her, my voice low and my expression intense. I wanted her to know that I wasn’t joking anymore. “And you know, when she smiles, I swear the whole world lights up. I reckon she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Lily looked like she was struggling to swallow. “Oh,” she croaked out.
“Yeah,” I whispered. “Can I tell you a secret?”
“I think I’m in love with her,” I breathed in her ear, loving the way heat radiated off of her skin. We stood there for a moment, me taking in the feel of her warmth against my face, and the smell of her skin and her hair. I wanted so bad just to step forward and bury my face in that luscious waterfall of red and just forget the world, lost in Lily.
I stepped back. Lily’s were tightly shut, and she was breathing shallowly. Her skin was still tinged with pink, and I loved the way it made her glow.
“I have to go,” she said quietly, not looking at me. She picked up her bag and slung it over her shoulder.
“I’ll come with –” I stepped forward and reached towards her bag.
“No, James. I just – don’t – just let me go, okay?” Lily’s eyes were still lowered to the floor.
“Next time, don’t fail your tests on purpose for me.”
“Lily, I’m sorry –”
“I’ll see you at rounds later,” she cut across, turning around and walking quickly out the door. I watched her leave, wishing I could run after her and make everything perfect. I hate watching her leave. It always makes me feel like she’s never going to come back and I’ll lose her forever.
I slumped against a desk. Damn.
“What are you so afraid of?” I asked Lily later that night, as we made our rounds of the school. For once the castle was quiet and serene, save for the faint whispering of the portraits on the walls and the sound of our footsteps echoing around us. She’d been quiet the whole time, not even glancing at me once.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” She said feebly.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about, Lily. Don’t feign unintelligence with me, I know you’re smart.”
She didn’t say anything for a long time. I figured she wasn’t going to talk at all about the subject. Merlin, if she never says yes, I don’t know what I’m going to do.
“You.” The murmur was so faint that I barely heard it.
It took a couple minutes to register, then –
“Excuse me?” Me? What’s there to be afraid of? What, is she scared of sexiness or something? That would make sense – she was best friends with Snape, after all – but who’s scared of sexiness?
Heh. She has sexyphobia.
I’m so funny.
“I’m afraid of you,” Lily said clearly, her eyes lifting carefully to look into my own. They were flickering with concealed emotions.
“Why would you be afraid of me?” I asked. I realized just then how hurt I sounded. Think Manly, James. Think Manly. Men aren’t hurt by obvious spurns from their beloved soul mates. Well, they are. They’re just better at hiding it than I am.
Whatever, I’m an emotional person. It adds to my sexiness.
“You’re going to hurt me.” She sounded afraid and vulnerable, and I realized that she was actually – bloody hell – serious.
How could she assume something as preposterous as that?! “I’d rather die first,” I said truthfully, not caring about how melodramatic I sounded. Watch out – pretty soon I’ll be waking up early to do my hair and I’ll officially turn into Sirius Black. What a scary thought.
She shook her head. “You love yourself too much to ever love anyone else, James. That’s just how it is.” There was a wry smile at her mouth.
The words were not only a blow to my ego, but also a blow to…no, pretty much just my ego. I mean, of course I love myself. What’s there not to love? But if there’s one thing that I love more than my life, more than anything – it’s Lily.
“That’s not true,” I said in a low voice. I was surprised by how angry I felt at that blind assumption about my personality. Lily should know me better than that.
“You know it is,” she whispered.
“You should know that it isn’t – bloody hell Lily, what kind of person do you think I am?!” I demanded, my voice loud and sharp against the silent stone walls.
“You’re James bloody Potter,” she said bitterly, “Hogwarts Golden Boy, Marauder, Quidditch Captain, Best Seeker in the School, Head Boy, Valedictorian, Most Wanted Bloke –” she scoffed at that one, “ – and you’re arrogant and conceited, and nothing is going to change that.”
There was A Silence.
What’s really, painfully ironic is that whatever she hates so much about me – all those achievements and titles and awards and trophies – they were all for her.
“So that’s what you think of me.” My voice was low, bitter, hurt, angry – it was a mixture and a whirlwind of so many emotions that I could even identify them myself as they rolled around inside of me.
“It’s what I know,” she said callously.
I felt like she had ripped my heart out of my chest and stomped on it.
“I love you,” I said, my voice breaking twice, “I love you more than anything in my entire world – and trust me, I don’t know why, but I do.”
She swallowed with some difficulty, her green eyes flitting quickly to the floor. “I don’t want you to love me,” she said in a small voice that neither of us believed.
“You know what you’re really afraid of, Lily?” I was looking down at her now, wanting her – daring her – to look up at me. She didn’t look, so I lowered myself so I could speak in her ear, my voice a low hiss. “You’re afraid of love. And most of all, you’re afraid because you’re in love with the one guy that you promised yourself you wouldn’t fall for.”
Her eyes snapped up to mine, and for a trembling moment it was emerald green and molten gold and I almost wanted this to last forever.
“I don’t love you,” her voice was a deadly quiet whisper.
Yeah? I leaned even closer. “Prove it.”
It was the middle of Transfiguration and I’d just successfully turned a pigeon into a desk and back. I was now in the process of thoroughly enjoying the rest of my classmates turn their various animals into grotesquely interesting new things.
Sirius had just managed to turn his owl into a top hat with eyes when Lily’s voice, hard and cold, came up behind me.
“Your hair,” she repeated, leaning on the desk right next to me. “I hate it.” She turned her head to look up at me, matching my smirk with a challenging one of her own.
“What’s so bad about it?” I asked her, delicately raising an eyebrow.
“It’s messy,” she stated matter-of-factly.
“Ah, but love, you don’t hate things that are messy,” I said knowingly, turning back to watch Sirius with a kind of detached interest.
“Yeah? How do you reckon that?” She was watching Alice Prewett transform a grasshopper into a quill.
“You’re the messiest person I know. You live for disorganization – that’s your method of organization. Try again.”
“I’m not messy,” she argued. “I’m disorganized. There’s a difference between the two. Messy implies that I leave my crap lying around on the ground and don’t clean up after myself.”
“I don’t leave crap in my hair and I wash it daily. So that makes my head disorganized. Try again,” I grinned, thoroughly enjoying myself. She’s so entertaining; I want to keep her around forever.
“I hate how you mess it up on purpose just to make it look like you’ve just gotten off your broom. I hate how you run your hand through it every three seconds,” Lily said again.
“My hair is already mussed up to begin with; might as well pretend like it’s done on purpose, yeah?” I grinned and winked at her, causing her to roll her eyes. “And the second thing – well that’s a bit of a nervous habit. But you can’t tell anyone,” I whispered the last part in her ear, pulling away and putting a finger to my lips to indicate ‘shh’. I also smoldered at her, so she turned slightly red again.
Merlin, I love smoldering.
“Face it, Lily,” I said happily. “You don’t hate my hair at all.”
There was a short silence while she sulked.
“Your eyes,” I said to her.
Said eyes latched onto mine in surprise. “What?”
“I love your eyes. They’re infinite and iridescent – sort of like a rainforest after a thunderstorm. I can spend forever looking at them.”
I gazed at her eyes for a little while, noting that she didn’t look away, not even once.
“Beautiful,” I whispered.
She wants me.
I put my quill down and looked up at Lily, quirking an eyebrow.
“The Library, Lil? Isn’t this place like a sanctuary for you?” I asked conversationally.
She sniffed. “Only because you’re not in it.”
I spread my arms out as if to say, ‘well, here I am.’ “I do study, Lil.”
“Stop calling me that,” she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Why? I like it. Sounds pretty. Lil.”
Lily’s expression softened into one of sadness. Shit. I take it back, shit, don’t cry, shit – “My dad used to call me that.”
“Used to?” I asked softly.
Lily’s green eyes flooded lightly. “He was killed by a Death Eater.”
I’ll kill that Death Eater.
“Stop that,” she said sharply, and I realized that I’d said it out loud.
I didn’t say anything in apology, just looked up at her. “So you mean you don’t want to kill him?”
Anger flashed across her face and her fist curled quickly into a ball. She looked away from me, hiding her face in her hair, but I’d caught the expression.
“You do want to kill him,” I said simply. “That’s why you want to be an Auror. Not the only reason,” I added quickly, seeing her outraged expression.
She huffed and crossed her arms.
“See, that’s one thing about you,” I said, pointing my quill at her and leaning back on two legs, “you fight for what you know is right, even at the risk of your own death. You’re willing to give yourself up for the protection of others, to make sure that no one else has to go through the same pain that you went through.”
Her arms dropped to her sides. She looked absolutely shocked.
“I love you for it,” I said, “it’s part of what makes you so beautiful.”
She didn’t say anything, just turned her eyes to the wood pattern on the table. Suddenly, I just didn’t want to be in the same room with Lily and her rejection.
“Anyways, I’ll just get out of your sanctuary…go study in my dorm or something,” I muttered, looking down and away from her and stacking my papers and books into a pile.
“Don’t you also want to be an Auror?” She blurted out.
My hands froze and I looked up at her warily. She was looking at me with one of those expressions that kind of made me want to snog her.
Then again, everything she does makes me want to snog her.
But this is on a more intense level.
“Yeah, I do,” I said carefully.
“Why?” She asked right away. Her green eyes were sparking with something I couldn’t quite identify, but I was really afraid that I was going to say the wrong thing and she’d hate me forever.
Then again, at the rate I’m going, there’s really not much else damage I could do.
I was such a prat when I was a kid.
Damn younger me. I should’ve learned to shut the hell up every now and then.
“I can’t really see myself being anything else,” I said, my eyes flicking back and forth between hers. “Ever since I was a kid, it’s just been my goal to turn out like my parents.” My mouth quirked up a little. “They were Aurors, both of them. Incredible at what they did. One day I hope I’ll turn out half of what they were.”
“What happened to them?” Lily whispered.
My jaw locked, and anger flooded through me again, mixed with sadness. “They were killed the summer before sixth year. They told me to wait for them before I went running off with Sirius so that we could have just one evening of hanging out together, you know? I stayed up till 4 am waiting for them, and they never came back.”
I just said way too much. Shit James, why the hell do you find the need to pour your heart out to this one girl every time?
Sirius is going to injure me for this one.
Lily’s lips were slightly parted. Abruptly, she pulled out the chair across from me and sat down into it, her eyes never leaving my face.
“Are you ever afraid you’ll forget them?” She whispered, staring at me like I held all the answers she needed.
A shaky breath escaped from my mouth. “All the time. And you know, sometimes I can feel them slipping away. I forget the way my mum’s perfume smelled, or the exact sound of my dad’s laugh, or where the grey streaks in his hair where, or the shade of reddish-brown my mum’s hair was.”
Lily was crying. I was too afraid to get up and comfort her.
“But that’s not important,” I said softly, leaning towards her. “Those little details added to making them who they were, but they didn’t define my mum and dad. Just because I can’t remember her perfume or his grey streaks doesn’t mean that I’m forgetting them. All that matters is that I remember their love, their comfort, everything they taught me, and how incredible they were as people.”
A huge shudder wracked through her, and it literally tore a rip in my chest.
“That’s what makes a person immortal. Memories and love.” I looked at her for a couple of seconds.
“Lily,” I whispered.
She looked up at me, her green eyes shimmering and rimmed with red, her cheeks tinged with pink, her eyelids puffy and delicate, her lips swollen – and I’d never seen her so beautiful, so undone, so raw.
“I’m going to kiss you now,” I told her. She didn’t say anything, so I did.
And even though she was crying and I was upset all over again, it was kind of perfect.
I sighed. “Again?”
Lily’s hand snapped into my vision and closed my book, and, ignoring my whimper of protest, placed it behind her as she sat down next to me.
“Quidditch,” was all I could manage as I stared at her with the best wounded puppy expression I knew.
“Later,” she responded.
That heartless little – blah. I sat back against the cushions and looked expectantly at her.
“If you’re here to yell at me for kissing you, I’m not taking it back. I wanted to kiss you, and I did. Tough luck.”
Lily – to my complete surprise – grinned. “I’m not here for that. I needed to finish my list.”
My jaw locked. “Of reasons why I’m a horrible person? I think I’ve had enough, actually. O for effort, Evans.” I gave her a two fingered salute and leaned over her to grab my book and go read in my dorm or something – and then she did something crazy.
“Guh!” I exclaimed as I pitched forward. My arms flailed around me to gain some sort of equilibrium, but Lily’s vice-like grip on my neck refused to loosen. And before I could further embarrass myself with random exclamations, I found myself laying on her in the fucking couch in the fucking common room.
…what is happening. WHAT IS HAPPENING. LILY JUST PULLED ME ON TOP OF HER IN THE COMMON ROOM AND SHE HAS BOOBS AND I LIKE BOOBS AND WHAT. WHAT. WHAT.
I – WHAT.
“I’m not done yet,” Lily whispered, looking at me with – oh hell! Oh my god, she stole my James Potter Smolder®! Mine! In her eyes!
Bloody hell, that is sexy.
“Oh,” I squeaked.
Bloody hell, that was not sexy.
“This…mlkjda….askkduug…list,” she continued.
I stared uncomprehendingly at her.
“Can I please get up?” I replied stupidly.
I can’t focus with her under me.
Yes, yes. That’s what she said and all that jazz.
But she is under me.
And I can’t focus.
Lily has boobs.
…buggering poop, the things she does to my brain.
(I just said “buggering poop”. I think that’s direct evidence.)
Lily’s entire expression shifted, and she immediately dropped her arms. I lifted myself off of her as fast as I could and sat down on the cushion, fixing my glasses so I could distract myself from blushing.
(Blushing isn’t manly or sexy, and I happen to be both manly and sexy. So, obviously, I don’t blush.)
There was an awkward silence while I fidgeted and stared at the fire, and Lily continued to lay on the couch while she stared up at me. I really didn’t know what to do. I kind of wanted to snog her again.
I also kind of like my body the way it is.
No snogging. ABSTINENCE.
Wait, that’s for sex.
It could also be for snogging, though. You know…if you wanted it to be.
Bleeding hell, I need to get out more.
“I’m really bad at this,” Lily finally said, and my neck snapped around so that I was looking at her. She popped up at the same second, but she was refusing to meet my eyes as she huddled up next to me and stared at the fire.
I love the way flames flicker in her eyes and dance off of her hair. It makes her eyes look like sunlight slipping through leaves, or like a rainforest right after a thunderstorm. Her hair just turns into fire.
I love her so much it’s actually not normal.
I sighed and dropped my face into my intertwined hands, my knuckles pressing into my forehead.
“I’m tired, Lily,” I said truthfully.
“Me too,” she whispered. Soft hands pulled at my wrists, and I pulled my head up in surprise (Lily’s touching me?! I thought she’d rather kiss the Giant Squid first!). Her hand brushed across my forehead, smoothing out the marks that my knuckles had made, and trailed down my cheek.
I think I just forgot how to breathe.
“I’m so bad at this,” she whispered again, dropping her hand from my face to her lap. I stared at her, at the expression on her face – one that I’d never seen – and at the way she just looked like perfection sitting there next to me.
“You know, we’re completely wrong for each other,” she continued, pressing her hand against my mouth with a sad smile as I opened it to vehemently protest.
(WE ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER YOU DAFT WOMAN.)
“Because you’re James Potter,” she said softly, “Hogwarts Golden Boy, Marauder, Quidditch Captain, Best Seeker in the School, Head Boy, Valedictorian, Most Wanted Bloke…” she took a quivering breath, “and you’re charming and sweet and funny and handsome and clever, and I’m not good enough to be a part of your shine. I’m just Evans, James.”
“You’re everything, Lily.” I pulled her hand away from my mouth but trapped it against the side of my face.
She shook her head. “I can never understand why, to this day, you still treat me like I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to you. I can’t live up to that expectation.”
“Hey,” I said, catching her face in my hands before she could turn away, using my thumbs to wipe away the tears she blinked out of her eyes, “you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. You glow, Lily,” I said truthfully, watching as she caught her breath and finally looked up at me, “you glow with this kind of perfection and confidence and genuine compassion, and I don’t even know what I’m doing half the time. I want that glow so badly it hurts, just because it’s your incandescence. And with you, I’m so happy. Everything feels extraordinary just because you’re there.”
“My list was never about why I hated you,” she whispered, “it was everything I loved so much about you. It’s not your hair, or your personality, or your inability to follow rules –” I grinned at that one “– it’s just you, James.”
I stared at her, hardly breathing, not daring to believe it.
“James?” she whispered.
I tried swallowing. Nothing. Guess I’m going mute on this one. Good work, Potter.
“I’m going to kiss you now,” she told me.
And she did.
And it felt endlessly perfect.