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What's That Word? by Groundswell
Chapter 16 : They Call It Doubt
 
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Sorry! After several months, I could finally get it here. With my fingers crossed, I'll have the next chapter done very soonish... Sorry.

They Call It Doubt

For as long as James could remember, he had never once been in doubt about Lily Evans. He had always known for sure that she did not like not to be in control. He had always known for sure that she hated the way he could be sometimes. He had always known for sure that she did like him very much. Also, he had always known for sure, that she didn't know that she liked him very much.

A push was all she needed, Sirius had told him. Time, Remus had said. A knock at the top of her head, Peter had said, and they all agreed that was the best idea.

But she had gotten a push, and time. And she fallen a lot during this year's football games, that another knock to the head, probably wouldn't be a good idea. But little did it help. Lily had stubbornly insisted on staying blind to her feelings.

At least, that's what James had been so sure of.

And now, for the first time ever, he was actually not so sure about Lily. He was not sure she had been ready for him to say stop, and leave her with a choice. And he certainly no longer was sure about what kind of decision she would make. But he had also known that she had left him with no choice. He had actually thought about it for several months, but he did have a weak spot for Lily, and he hadn't found the strength to do what he had done before New Year's.

And now...

He hated himself for putting her in that position. He knew that she had to be suffering. No matter what the outcome would be, she had to be suffering. And he was to blame for it.

”I can't see her.” The statement was low, but he was sure. ”I can't.”

Remus turned, on the way out of the door. He waved Sirius and Peter along and stayed, looking at James. ”You mean Lily, I guess.”

James nodded. ”I don't want to... After what I said... she should have more time. Without me. Alone.” He buried his face in his hands.

Dropping his bag to the floor, Remus walked to James' side. ”You have yet to tell me the whole story, so now I'm just guessing. You want to be with her, and... you told her, and now she's... freaking out?”

”I...” He searched for the words. ”In short, yes. Though I don't know about the freaking out.” He thought for a second. ”Okay, she's got to be freaking out. What am I going to do?”

A smile spread across Remus' lips. ”What we haven't been doing in a long time: skipping class for no good reason what so ever!”

James thought about it, studying his friend's face. ”Okay. Let's do it. What did you have in mind?”

”Nothing.”

That was exactly what they spent the day doing. Nothing at all. They spent a few hours in the library, reading. They went outside to built a snowman, and after that they had a quick trip to Hogsmeade. Remus had a natural gift of making James forget whatever it was that was bothering him. At they end of the day they met up with Sirius and Peter in the Great Hall.

”I can't believe you skipping the whole day without including us!” Sirius hissed as he sat down. ”I'm very disappointed in you. Especially you, Remus.”

James looked up just in time to see Lily and Megan walk by. He turned away at once, not really sure if he wanted to make eyecontact with her. He pushed his vegetables around at his plate, glancing up as they sat down a little further down the table.

”This is stupid,” he muttered.

”What is?” Sirius asked.

”Nothing. I don't wanna talk about it.”

Sirius glanced down the table and then leaned forward. ”Look, James. The way to really make girls want you, is to not give them a chance to have you. Understand?”

”Not sure where you're coming from,” James muttered, his eyes flicking from Sirius, to Lily and back again fast. ”Sorry.”

”Megan told me.” There was a glint in Sirius' eyes James only knew too well. ”And to really make her want you, is to make it impossible for her to get you.”

James didn't really have the energy to be upset that everyone knew about him and Lily now. In fact, he was kind of relieved. If Lily had told Megan, and she had told Sirius, that had to be a good thing. Or maybe not, maybe- He had got to stop overthinking it. He did not overthink things. Not usually at least.

”So to make Lily want me more, I need to ignore her more?” He asked, making Sirius nod. ”But then how can I get her?”

”She'll come to you. Trust me. I'm an expert, know everything there is to know about how to get the girl, and how to get rid of her.”

A few minutes passed in silence. James ate quickly. ”So you're sure about this?” he asked, getting up.

”As sure as I'm ever going to get.” He winked. ”When have I ever failed?”

”Don't get me started,” Remus muttered, earning a punch from Sirius.

”See you later.” James shook his head, rushing out of the Great Hall. As soon as he was out, he took a quick turn towards a secret passage, and just as it slammed shut, his eyes landed on Lily, rushing into the Entrance Hall. ”Shit.”

He slumped down against the wall. That look on her face was not to be mistaken. She had obviously wanted to talk to him... or something. He was sure about that, and now he was suddenly unsure about why he even listened to Sirius to begin with.

Slowly he reached forward, pushing the painting open again, but there was no Lily standing out there, just the sound of steps echoing through the hall. He let it fall back, and after spending a few minutes just sitting on the floor, he got up and slowly started walking back to the common room.

”I can't believe this is happening,” he muttered, kicking to the wall. ”This just can't be happening.”

He wasn't exactly sure if he was supposed to feel bad, but he did. Maybe it was because he had actually wanted to talk to Lily, but instead he had listened to his friends. He couldn't even remember the last time it had paid off to listen to them instead of going with what his guts told him.

But really it wasn't all his fault. Lily was a nut, he knew that, but he liked her no matter how crazy she seemed at times. And she was clearly (no matter what he had done) overreacting. She always was. He kind of started to expect Lily to be standing in the common room when he got back, just waiting to yell at him. Because that was exactly what she could do – yell at people. And slowly he had gotten used to it. Over the years he had started to care less, but somehow in the last few weeks or months, he had started to care. Just a little bit. He didn't want her to yell, and he didn't want her to be mad at her. Which was exactly the reason why he somehow gave her a little back. Because it was not okay for her to always be mad at him – he had rights to be mad too. Not that he liked it, but he did like the equality he could feel flowing between them. He liked everything that involved Lily, no matter what it was, even if she was mad at him.

He stopped in front of the portrait hole, breathing in deeply.

But really, the question was, if he even wanted her to be mad at him this time. Did he want to listen to her?

After having told the Fat Lady the password he slowly pushed it open, and closing his eyes, he begged not to find her inside. She wasn't and somehow he felt very relieved.

”I'm going crazy,” he muttered, realising it. ”She's made me go crazy.”

There was just something about it that scared him. Meeting her, seeing her. He was ashamed of his thoughts in the same second. Because really, he wanted Lily. He just...

He felt a knot in his stomach. He wanted all of her. The smart side, the friendly side, the loving side, the crazy side. Even her angry. But that seemed like the only thing he he got lately. And he had decided that it was no longer enough for him. Not one thing at a time, but all of them at the same time.

He glanced another time around. Maybe she hadn't gotten back. Or maybe she had, but just didn't want to see him. He frowned, and slowly turned around, declaring this day to be the worst of his life.


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