I didn’t know exactly what time it was, but it was definitely past midnight. The library was quieter than usual. The darkness seemed to make everything even more silent than usual. That overwhelming book scent that I loved so much clung to the air. It was a calming smell that I found all libraries possessed. Although, I did have to admit that libraries of the non-Muggle variety had a few hazards that could get annoying. James and I carefully read the books’ spines to make sure none of them were going to scream unexpectedly or something when opened.
We no longer needed to whisper as Madame Pince had left about an hour before. We had books spread all around us on the ground and were reading them by wand light. He and I were laughing and joking as we researched. I was regaling James with pranks he had done and the various ways he’d embarrassed me throughout the years.
“I used to think that you were the single most arrogant person I’d ever met. It seemed like I was the only person who didn’t worship the ground you walked on. That’s probably why you asked me out so many times.”
James looked startled. “Exactly how many times did I ask you out?”
“Merlin, I don’t even know. You irritated me to no end. It got to the point in fourth year that I’d cringe whenever you would open your mouth.”
He laughed. “That sounds like me. I never know when to shut up.”
“No, you don’t. And you always found the most inappropriate times to ask me too.”
“For example…” James prompted me, looking amused. I could see his hazel eyes even through the glare on his glasses from our wands. His messy hair was the same as always, but I realized just then how well it suited him. He had his tie loosened and was sitting back against the bookshelves. That lopsided grin that I used to hate was on his face. I’d never noticed how attractive he could be before. It was at this moment that I finally understood why all of those other girls went bonkers over him. I had always been caught up in how much of a git he was to have seen it clearly before.
“For example, there was the time in fourth year that you hexed some Slytherins to sing a song in the Great Hall about going to Hogsmeade with you. They just marched right up to me, and belted it out in front of everyone during the lunch hour. Oh, and there was that time you made paper Valentines follow me around all day in fifth year, each asking me to go out with you. You can’t even imagine the amount of times I’ve threatened to hex you.”
“And yet, you still didn’t, did you?” He had a smug expression on his face. It wasn’t like he was the James Potter that did all of these things, so I didn’t know why he had to look so satisfied with himself.
“No, but only because I knew that it was all just a joke to you.”
“A joke?” James said with mock indignation. “What if I really did fancy you? Do you realize just how much rejection you’ve put me through?”
“Ha. Ha. Hilarious. I know that you didn’t actually fancy me because I’m not that all that interesting. I’m actually quite dull. All I do is study and hang out with Marlene and Helen. I'm not spontaneous nor do I say anything interesting really. I’m just ordinary.”
“No you’re not. Why would you think that?”
“James, come on. You don’t even really know me. The other James Potter, the one I know, only asks me out because he likes to get a rise out of me. I can’t resist having a row with him. He’s the only one who can get under my skin and he knows it.”
James gave a small smile and slowly shook his head. “You don’t really see yourself, do you?” When I gave him a confused look, he continued. “Lily, you’re beautiful and clever and bloody attractive. The reason that I know the other me fancies you is because I used to fancy you.”
“What?” I asked in surprise.
“When we were younger, there was a time that I was going to ask you to Hogsmeade, but lost my nerve. My mates all used to tease me about it. It was really annoying.”
James Potter losing his nerve? This really was a backwards world. “Did I do something to scare you off?”
“No, it wasn’t that.” He took a second to think about his words. “You’ve just always been so…distant. You’ve never really had any friends, but it’s always seemed like you preferred it that way.”
“Huh. That must be why everyone seems to ignore me now.”
He nodded. “I’ve noticed that. It never looked as if that bothered you.”
I looked down at the book in my lap and began reading it without really seeing the words. It was weird hearing this. In my normal life, I relied on Marlene and Helen so often. They were my support system that always kept me going, and vice versa. It was odd that Lily Evans, the Hufflepuff not only didn’t have that sort of friendship, but didn’t seem to need it either.
“That’s why I decided to help you just outside the library earlier,” James continued after a bit as if there were no lapse in the conversation. It seemed like he’d been debating whether or not to speak. “It was odd for me to see you looking so vulnerable.”
“So, it wasn’t because you believe my crazy story about alternate universes?” I bit my lip, disappointed. Even though I expected this, I’d hoped he had believed me. “How about now? We’ve been in this library researching for hours and I’ve told you of all these crazy things you’ve done. Why are you still here wasting your time with me when you could be sleeping?”
He looked perplexed for a moment. “I don't really know. Maybe it’s one of those things that I believe now while I'm here with you. I'm not going to lie, once I’m back in my dorm I’ll probably start to doubt it. Hey,” He lifted my chin when I looked back down at the pages in front of me. “I’m sure if you give me time, I might change my mind. It's just a lot to take in.”
He might change his mind. That’s what I was afraid of. Once James was gone, I'd be stuck by myself again, scrambling around for answers.
“Give me time,” James repeated, softly. He still had his hand on my chin, so I couldn’t help but stare back at him. We stayed like that for a moment, and for some insane reason I thought he was going to kiss me. My heart skipped a beat at the thought. Then James dropped his hand and cleared his throat.
“I think we should stop for tonight. We can do some more research tomorrow. I don't know about you, but I can't understand a word I'm reading anymore.”
“Right, good idea. I’m exhausted too.” That would explain my lapse in sanity. I mean, seriously, James Potter kissing me. Yeah. Right. It’s not like I fancied him or anything. Sure, I may have started to like him just now, but only in a platonic way. That and I was having the absolute bloody worst couple of days in the history of mankind. That sort of thing tends to make a girl feel things she might otherwise not have. James was the only person that I'd had actually held a real conversation with since the switch. I was just trying to connect with him. Man is a social being and cannot be expected to not talk to anybody. That's just insanity.
I continued to think about all of this even after James chivalrously walked me to the Hufflepuff dormitories, and then left for the Gryffindor tower. After dressing for bed, I lied down and promptly fell asleep, all disturbing thoughts of James Potter and kissing left forgotten.
Author’s Note: What did I tell you? There was TONS of James in this chapter. When I had first written it, I absolutely hated everything about chapter three. To fix it, I took a couple of days and thought about possible outcomes. I got into a really good mood and the words just flowed. It was amazing. I had fun writing this chapter with all the dialogue and I hope you had fun reading it. Again, I need to thank NaidatheRavenclaw for her awesome editing skills. Reviews would make me happy, even if you have some constructive criticism to give.