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Chapter 12 : Doting On His Very Absence
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Lily had long known what James would have to do once he saw the letter.
He had to go home.
And Evie would have to go with him.
I’m so sorry that I didn’t get the chance --
Evie sighed then scrunched the parchment between her hands and flung it into the mounting pile that was steadily burning in the fireplace. It bounced slightly, sending off a few golden sparks.
Mr Potter’s soft elderly voice called to her from the next room over - the kitchen - where he was preparing cups of tea for all of them. Evie took one last haunted look at the blank piece of parchment on her lap before placing it on the ground and going to him.
His wise fatherly smile made everything so much better.
“Everything alright?” he asked slowly, a suspicious tone to his voice.
Evie just shrugged, leaning her chin on her hands on the old wooden bench top. Its smell brought a comfort to her she hadn’t known in months.
“I guess it is, why do you ask?”
“Well,” Mr Potter continued raising his eyebrow at her in an effort to look fatherly and serious, “I just had an urgent owl from my next door neighbour asking why there seemed to be an abnormally large amount of smoke puffing from my chimney.”
Evie groaned pressing her forehead into her hands.
“They may be the nosiest old bats I know, but they do live half a mile away. That’s a lot of smoke coming from my chimney,” he continued with a little chuckle reminiscent of James, “Apparently for a while they thought I was trying to send a secret message to them. They even tried to translate it.”
Her adopted father’s chuckle had always been too hard to resist. Evie began to laugh with him.
“If you must join the nosey old bats then,” she said impertinently causing Mr Potter to just chuckle more, “I was trying to write a letter.”
“How many editions does this letter have?”
“Probably about fifty by now. All steadily fueling your fire.”
Mr Potter smiled fondly at her before looking down at the tea he was stirring in his hands. The teaspoon clinked slightly on the teacup.
“And should I assume that these letters were addressed to a male member of the species?”
Evie laughed at his suddenly protective tone and expression.
“Well that depends. Which species are we talking about?” she asked, smiling cheekily at him.
“We accept all in this household if you’ve fallen for a house-elf Evangeline.”
“No-o!” Evangeline laughed louder, her stomach muscles showing signs of cramping as she tried hard to keep her laughter in check.
“Not even --”
Evie tried very hard to stifle her chuckles as Mr Potter peered closely at her through his glasses in mocking seriousness. He paused dramatically for effect.
“Didn’t think so. Centaurs generally prefer four legs anyway.”
By this time the joyful sounds of the two of them laughing were flowing throughout the house, drawing James into the kitchen with them.
“What’s so funny in here?” he asked, an expectant smile on his face.
“Evie has fallen for a Grindelow,” Mr Potter announced, “He hails from the Black Lake.”
“He has a lovely personality,” Evie joked with him.
James laughed with them before he finally spoke. With a cup of tea in his hand, he peered sneakily over it watching for her reaction.
“So is Grindelow code name for Sirius Black now?”
Evie gasped and hit at James’s arm, which he tried to dodge without spilling his precious tea. She turned back to find Mr Potter humming to himself. He looked up at her and stopped dead still as if he’d been caught being naughty. .
“I’m sorry my dear were you speaking to me? Did I miss something?”
“Mr Potter,” she reasoned.
“Oh dear I’m sorry I can be selectively deaf sometimes. I have a wonderful habit of not hearing things that people don’t want me to hear,” he said, his eyes wide and innocent.
James snickered over his cup of tea. This time it did spill when Evie hit him.
“Ooowwww it’s hooottt! Oo-ah. Oo-oo-ah. Ouch. Burnies!”
“You better take this into Mrs Potter dear,” Mr Potter finally said, ignoring his only son and handing her the teapot and a little jug of milk, “Don’t want it to be stone cold for her.”
“Daddd! She burnt me!”
“And you thoroughly deserved it. Here take this to your mother,” Mr Potter said handing a tray of food and a tea towel to James.
James mumbled childishly all the way to his mother’s room, where she lay propped up in her bed.
“Thankyou dear,” Mrs Potter said weakly as Evie set the tea down, “Now tell me about this girl that James is refusing to mention.”
Evie laughed, gripping the teapot steadily and pouring the steaming hot liquid into the china.
“Mum!” James exclaimed cheerily, although the weariness around his eyes was beginning to show, “I told you, it’s not important.”
Mrs Potter took the teacup and peered closely at James over the rim. Her hazel eyes, which James had inherited well and truly, saw right through him.
“You know James Potter,” she said quietly with a little twinkle in her eye, “I do believe that’s the first time you’ve lied to me.”
Evie laughed again, particularly after James groaned in frustration and rubbed at his mess of hair.
“I know my son, I can see it, you’ve changed,” Mrs Potter continued, chuckling away at her own words, “Now if you don’t mind, I want to know what this girl is like before I die.”
At those words, James fell silent. There was a moment’s hesitation before Mrs Potter handed Evie back the half-drunk cup of tea.
“You can’t say that,” James’s small voice said.
“I’m going to say it because it’s going to happen soon. Now you need to realise that my time left is what’s important, not my survival.”
James bit his lip, going to shake his head then thinking better of it. His father had warned him that she was like this. So willing to let go. So ready to face death…as if she would be greeting it like an old friend.
“I’ve lived a very long and good life James,” she said softly, her withered hand resting on his cheek, “I’ve had your father and you and Evangeline. I’ve been blessed over and over and I’m not about to go asking for any more when there are plenty more people who deserve it.”
James hesitated then nodded. He lowered his head pretty quickly, trying to hide the tears stinging his eyes.
“Good. Now tell me about her,” she said nudging him softly on his arm, “What’s her name?”
James chuckled and wiped away his tears on the back of his hand with a sniffle.
“Her name is Lily,” he answered looking up at his mother with a steely hope in his eyes, “And…she’s...incredible.”
Mothers have an incredible way of not just listening to you speak but also watching you carefully. Half of what you say is in how you say it and it is only a mother’s instinct that allows them to know what you are truly saying – even if you’re not actually saying it.
And so Mrs Potter sat there, watching her own son blossom in front of her as he spoke about this girl. She’d heard about her before. She’d heard about a few them before.
But nothing ever like this.
“Well,” she finally said, “Sounds as though we need to invite this girl to Christmas at the Potters.”
James frowned, an extremely disapproving expression.
“You can’t be serious…a party in your condition?”
“Now then! Since when has it been proper to remind a lady of her age?”
James couldn’t help but snicker at her mockingly mortified expression. She smiled at seeing that hint of joy.
“I want a party and I want it to be here. I will be fine,” she said interrupting James as he opened his mouth, “But I do wish to see some dancing again.”
James nodded and patted her hand affectionately before giving a great big sigh. A rather devious expression suddenly flashed across his face.
“Is Sirius invited?”
“Oh that BOY!” Mrs Potter exclaimed, giving a greater laugh than she had all day before feebly waving her hands about in frustration, “Oh if we must.”
James laughed at that, knowing full well how much his mother adored Sirius Black. He had this funny way of being able to bring out a good hearty smile and laugh from her, no matter the situation. Without even trying.
It would be very important to have him there now.
Lily Evans was having a difficult time concentrating on studying. She’d actually resorted to charming the words so that they got up and danced on the page. The word Locomotor had just started doing backflips when she was interrupted.
“Got something on your mind, Evans?” Sirius Black said with a smirk, joining her at the small round table in the corner of the Common Room. Lily squirmed uncomfortably at his question.
“Yes as a matter of fact I have,” she replied, a little snootily, “They are called exams. I haven’t even taken my Potions one yet…I just can’t seem to get the Lux Perpetua right even now…”
Sirius smirked and watched as she went back to looking blankly at her parchment. She’d been studying for two hours. There was one sentence on the page. Dancing words suddenly didn’t seem so entertaining.
“He’s only gone three days, you know,” he finally said, watching her closely. Lily tried very hard to keep staring at her page meaningfully.
But Sirius knows when a girl isn’t really studying.
After another moment of tense silence, Lily sighed and looked up at him. She studied the expression on his face, wondering how exactly he thought she would handle his cheeky remark.
“So is she,” Lily finally answered.
Her remark wiped the knowing smirk off Sirius’s face immediately. And for the first time in Lily’s life, she truly believed that she was seeing the real Sirius Black. The one that James was so loyal to.
Sirius dropped his gaze, looking at the table, then at her page, then around the room. His eyes finally came to a rest on the still staring Lily.
“I feel like a break. Shall we take a walk?” she asked, packing her books and parchment away without waiting for an answer.
Because he didn’t really have to answer. He just followed her.
The two of them walked along the corridor in silence for a while. Not an uncomfortable silence, and certainly nothing awkward. It was the sort of silence that friends enjoy. The sort of silence where a million things are shared but none are actually said.
“Do you ever find,” Lily suddenly spoke up, her hands stuffed inside her woollen jacket,“That there are moments where you want to say something to Evie about how you’re feeling…but then you decide not to and it’s not ‘til the next morning that you realise you’ll never again have the courage to say it?”
Sirius chuckled, staring straight ahead down the darkening corridor.
“I wanted to say…so many things after she transformed safely,” he confessed, finding himself chewing at his lip, “And I can’t believe I didn’t. Because yeah. I don’t think I’ll ever have the courage to say them again.”
Lily nodded her head, stealing a glance at Sirius’s face. His eyes seemed to be in some far away place and certainly not staring at the corridor in front of him.
“It’s exactly the same with James,” she said, “I used to be so good at venting my feelings to him--”
Lily laughed. “Yes at him. So why not now?”
“Because then he didn’t mean anything to you. Now…now you’re afraid you’ll walk out onto that limb and he won’t follow you.”
Lily stopped and frowned at him, suddenly processing the fact she was having this conversation with Sirius Black.
“Sorry,” she said abruptly, “I’m just trying to wrap my head around the fact I’m talking to you about my feelings for James.”
Sirius smirked, looking at her straight on. There was no hint of smugness or condescension. And it threw her a little. That maybe she’d had this image of Sirius in her head and she’d been projecting it at him all these years.
Maybe, just like James, Sirius was different.
“It’s not anymore unusual that I’m talking to you about my feelings for Evie,” he said, his voice tender when he said her name.
Lily smiled at that.
“You really like her don’t you?” she asked as they resumed walking.
Sirius frowned and shook his head.
“No. I’ve grown up with Evie, seeing her at the Potters at Christmas. She’s in every part of my childhood. It took me awhile to realise it, but I can’t do anything but love her.”
“Oh she’s perfect then, is she?” Lily joked sarcastically, arching her eyebrows at him. But Sirius didn’t take any notice.
“No she’s not perfect. But you shouldn’t love someone because they’re perfect. What she is, is a fighter. I have so much respect for her. Someone who comes up against these incredible odds – her mother, her father, her family, the attack – and she handles it with this incredible strength and wisdom. She just, doesn’t let the obstacles stop her in life. She doesn’t whinge like so many girls do. She sees it all as experience to learn from and that’s…that’s…”
“Evie,” Lily whispered, concluding for him.
“Yeah, that’s just her,” he settled with her.
Lily smiled fondly at Sirius, wondering when exactly he had realised this. How had Evie not noticed? The way he even talked about Evie was with such affection that Lily’s own heart had begun longing for James. Now there was a feeling she hadn’t experienced too often before. Quite suddenly, Lily had a burning question, one that seemed to sink to the pit of her stomach and sit there heavily until she was brave enough to ask it.
So ask it she did.
“Do you think…you know…that James would ask me to…” she said, stopping and starting as though she really didn’t have the right words to ask such a complicated question.
“Girlfriend?” Sirius simplified for her, causing Lily to blush.
“Lily I think if he could, he’d ask you to be his wife. Right here, right now,” Sirius joked.
The very thought caused a little hitch in Lily’s breath. But perhaps not for the reason Sirius may have thought.
“I think that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves,” she said quietly, “I just want to go on a date to be honest.”
Sirius laughed again and nodded significantly. In amongst all the crazy planning and plotting, they seemed to have almost forgotten that Lily and James hadn’t actually been on a date. And a proper good one at that.
“What would I do if the first date was terrible?” Lily asked quickly, the thought overcoming her, “I wonder how I would react--”
Sirius looked meaningfully at her.
“Really? I thought you were smart Lily Evans,” Sirius replied.
“Just what I was thinking,” an old man in the painting next to them piped up.
Lily frowned at him and the old man gave a little yelp and toddled out of the picture. He poked his head around one more time only to find Lily still glaring at him and quickly disappeared again.
“And what is that meant to mean?” she finally asked, crossing her arms and tapping her foot – an image that Sirius was well familiar with.
Sirius shrugged and continued. “James is the Quidditch star of this school. Despite the fact he’s loved you since forever, he has dated other girls.”
This last sentence brought up an insatiable desire in Lily to kick everything resembling a girl out of Hogwarts.
“So?” she said waving her hand for him to explain further. Sirius rubbed at the back of his neck as he chuckled and tried to find the right words to say.
“Just trust me, okay?” he finally said, “Your first date with James, it won’t go wrong.”
A number of classroom doors suddenly banged open and the corridor was quickly filled with a swarm of students. They pushed around each other, their chatter filling the once silent corridor with noise. Lily and Sirius stood their ground as students of all years pushed around them, the younger ones a little more urgent than the older years.
It was just at the moment when the corridor was at its fullest that Lily spotted her.
“Nova?” Lily whispered to herself, keeping her eyes trained on the young woman who looked so unusual and out of place in a Hogwarts uniform. She was making her way in the opposite direction to Lily, walking down the staircase to the right. Lily wasn’t sure if her eyes were betraying her…or whether that was actually Nova Ford walking down the Hogwarts staircase.
There was only one way to prove it.
“NOVA!” Lily yelled.
The woman turned her head sharply in the direction her name had been called, confirming her identity in an instant. Her eyes locked with Lily’s but instead of relief or recognition flooding her face, a shadow of fear seemed to overtake her. Nova broke their eye contact and began to push her way more forcefully and desperately down the stairs away from Lily. There were students giving her dirty looks as she fought to push harder and harder against them.
Lily in turn found herself doing the exact same thing, trying to make her way towards Nova. Every so often she would use a shoulder to push herself above the crowd just so she could catch a glimpse of the young woman. Lily even found herself swearing at students to get them out of the way faster. It was effective to say the least.
But no matter how Lily shouted or fought to get to her, Nova just seemed to be faster.
Until Lily finally lost sight of her in the crowd and stopped to regain her senses.
Sirius Black caught up with her, his chest heaving slightly.
“Geez Lily you could’ve warned me,” he huffed looking at her as though she’d gone bonkers, “What was the sudden rush off for? And who were you calling?”
Lily finally stopped looking around her frantically and turned slowly to Sirius. Her green eyes were alight with wonder and confusion.
“That,” she said staring meaningfully at Sirius, “Was Evie’s missing sister.”
Lily’s nails did not survive the next two days. If she wasn’t looking at a book, she was chewing them in desperation, in thought, in constant worry about how she was going to tell Evie that she had spotted her missing sister. At Hogwarts. Of all places.
To be honest, what she was most worried about was getting Evie to believe her in the first place.
But what Lily was yet to realise was that something was developing deep within her. A realization of what was quickly happening in the outside world.
She’d seen the treatment of those who weren’t pure blood inside the school.
So what was it possibly like outside?
And although Lily spent most of her time worrying about how to talk to Evie (and that blasted Lux Perpetua potion that just wouldn’t work for her!) she was yet to realise that bit by bit, it was becoming obvious that James did mean something to her.
And if families could be pulled apart this suddenly?
Maybe, just maybe, there were more important things in life than what her marks were or whether or not other people liked her.
But before Lily knew it, she was sitting at one of those soft inviting couches in the Common Room, with the returned Evangeline sitting across from her. Around the couch also sat Ana, Margie, Remus and Sirius. James was yet to return from his parents’ home. Sirius’s eyes flickered up at Lily every now and then. For now, he remained the only one who knew what she had seen.
Consequently the others sat there at the table, their joy over spilling at the prospect of Christmas at the Potters.
“Think of the gloves! And the coats! And the Christmas lights!” Margie exclaimed to the laughter of the rest of the group, “It will be magical!”
“Well if I’m going to be honest…” Evie said mysteriously, looking at Lily, “Mrs Potter really wants to meet you Lily.”
Lily’s head shot up in surprise, her eyes wide.
“Me?!” she exclaimed a hand to her chest, “She wants to meet me?”
Evie laughed at her. “Yes you funny thing. James hasn’t stopped talking about you since the moment we got home.”
Lily blushed, her eyes now flickering to Sirius who was trying very hard to stifle a chuckle.
“Great. I’m meeting his mother before I even get a first date,” Lily deadpanned sarcastically. Sirius’s laughter broke through his restraints and he bit down on his fist.
“If you really want a proper date Lily maybe you should just ask him,” Ana piped up, causing both boys to screw up their noses at her suggestion, “I mean, it can’t be that bad?”
Remus looked at Ana, a sincere look of curiosity in his eyes.
“Really? A girl asking a guy out. Fancy that,” he said significantly.
“No I’m not comfortable with that,” Lily continued, completely oblivious to their silent exchange, “I’d want James to ask me. To take charge. I don’t know if he would do that considering how I treated him in the past.”
“And there we have it folks, the taming of Lily Evans,” Sirius joked causing a ripple of laughter around the table.
“Couldn’t we…couldn’t we wait until his birthday or something?” Lily asked queasily.
“Nah, there’s no way he’d wait that long” Remus said casually, “His birthday isn’t ‘til March.”
Something stirred in Lily’s memory whilst the rest of them laughed. For a moment, it was as though all sound was muffled whilst her brain searched for that missing link.
Lily’s breath caught in her throat.
“I need to go,” she said suddenly, standing up rather abruptly.
“Lily?” Evie asked, perplexed at her sudden change in behaviour. But there was no stopping her. Lily Evans raced out of the Gryffindor portrait hole and down the corridor. She didn’t stop until she’d gotten to Professor Slughorn’s classroom.
She only hesitated when she brought her fist up to knock on the door.
What if she was wrong? What if she was about to make a complete fool of herself?
Lily knocked anyway.
As Slughorn opened the door, Lily tried to catch her breath from rushing there.
“Professor Slughorn,” she gasped, “I’m ready.”
Slughorn did not say a word. He just smiled, nodded curtly and opened the door.
Only for Lily to find he had set up an entire cauldron with all ingredients she needed to brew the Lux Perpetua.
With one thing missing.
Lily looked up at him quizzically. “You were expecting me?” she asked.
Slughorn laughed, his belly jiggling with the movement. “Of course dear girl, I knew you would work it out eventually.”
Lily smiled at that. Then took the daffodil from his outstretched fingers.
“Before I start,” she said suddenly, “…How did you know?”
Slughorn just smiled fondly at her.
“Teachers know far more than you students give us credit for, Miss Evans.”
Lily smiled as Slughorn chuckled and toddled off to his lush velvet armchair. It wasn’t long before his gentle snores accompanied her potion brewing.
But Lily didn’t really notice. She was too caught up in the incredible soft light coming from her potion. If hope had a liquid form, it would be the Lux Perpetua.
Lily had gotten so caught up in brewing her potion that she hadn’t even noticed the time. James Potter opening the door to the classroom was sufficient enough to bring her back down to earth.
His smile caused her to falter to a stop.
“I was wondering,” he began rather suavely, “If you would accompany me down to the Quidditch pitch?”
James stood next to the door, his navy blue jumper clinging suggestively to his well-sculpted torso courtesy of being an elite athlete. He held out a large, strong hand.
Outside the door, the rest of the group had followed on tip-toe, so they could watch what was happening. A series of comical flickering of eyes between the boys - Sirius, Peter and Remus – and the girls - Evie, Ana and Margie - accompanied the tense silence before Lily Evans answered.
“Of…of course,” she almost whispered, slipping her delicate hand into his outstretched one. He held out a warm jacket for her to slip around her shoulders as she quickly extinguished the fire from beneath the cauldron and vanished the beautiful light.
Every pair of eyes of the peeking group followed each move of James and Lily until they reached the end of the corridor and stepped out of sight.
A sudden raucous and scrambling for the nearest window followed.
“Sirius, ladies first!”
“Are you bloody kidding…”
“I can’t see any…”
“This has got to be the worst view of the pitch in Hogwarts.”
“Well if the boys weren’t blocking the entire thing with their enlarged heads…”
“Oi! Sod off!”
“Ah, that was not a good place to elbow…”
“Can’t a lady get any respect…”
“STOP!” Evangeline pushed her way out of the tangled limbs, “Our window has a better view.”
“Of course!” Ana smacked her forehead, “Quickly!”
The three girls were halfway up the next staircase heading back towards the Common Room before they realised the boys had become stock still, jaws to the floor staring at their retreating forms.
“What are you waiting for?” Evangeline huffed.
“You…You’re…Do you mean… your d-d-dormitory?” Peter squeaked.
The three girls burst into laughter, slumping against the stone banisters of the staircase.
“Yes in our dormitory! Don’t look so terrified. Come on!” Margie managed to voice in between fits of giggles.
It didn’t take long for them to all scale the numerous staircases before they got back to the Common Room.
Somehow the three boys managed to get to their dormitory door before they did, each one looking behind them maniacally at the unchanging staircase.
“Well. That’s different,” Remus quipped, relief removing the embedded lines on his forehead.
Ana opened the dormitory door and led the way, to the large window against the east wall, a window from which the five girls had regularly watched a number of young men train on the Quidditch pitch. With such an elevated and wide view of the grounds, this window had provided quite a number of lengthy hours of entertainment for the girls.
And the window was wide enough that each of them had their own space of vision, without having to convince a seventeen-year-old boy that chivalry wasn’t dead and he should currently be proving that sentiment.
“There!” Evangeline pointed excitedly to two tiny figures entering the pitch. As James and Lily sat on the same broom together, the three girls sighed contentedly whilst the three young men loudly exchanged high fives and shouts of ‘I told you so!’
They all settled themselves comfortably on the cold stone windowsill, into what they hoped would be a night to remember.
Down on the Quidditch pitch, James’ heart beat erratically as Lily slipped her arms around his torso, clutching in excitement and fear at the prospect of flying over the Hogwarts grounds. Ah, he thought as the breeze picked up her scent and sent its strong cinnamon smell in his direction, she smells so good.
James steadied himself and, remembering the rarity of Lily’s experiences with flying as well as missing her face already, twisted to look straight at her.
“Are you alright?” his rough voice was low and sensitive. Her green eyes shone in the moonlight.
“No,” she began hesitantly, “but I’m with you. I don’t think I could have chosen a more capable person to fly with.”
James’ smile lit up his features and he chuckled, placing a warm hand over her entwined ones tight around his chest. A rather pleasant melting sensation replaced Lily’s indifferent heart. In fact, she felt rather like she’d been hit with a Jelly-Legs jinx, only in a much more gratifying way.
“Do you think they’re watching us?” James asked, his dark eyes panning the orange lights of Gryffindor Tower.
Lily had to clear her throat before she could answer.
“Oh yes. In fact, they’re probably in my dorm room. We have the perfect view of the Quidditch pitch from there.”
James’ eyebrows shot up into his muss of dark hair.
“The girls…but we...I mean… boys can’t get to your room…can they?”
“If the girls were standing on the staircase, yes they certainly could. The staircase won’t turn into a ridiculous slide if its true and honest occupants are standing upon it.”
“Huh,” James said shortly, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
A small comfortable silence passed as they both stared at Gryffindor Tower. James chuckled again, his ribs vibrating under Lily’s hands.
“If the girls invited them up there, I can bet you my broomstick Peter nearly had a heart attack.”
James Potter laughed again at the thought and it was all Lily could do to keep herself from laughing with him. His chortle was so infectious in its happiness that Lily wanted to share his joy. In fact, she found herself hoping she could make him laugh like that.
He stopped, still twisted towards her and stared at her with alight dark eyes and a fondness that melted Lily’s inhibitions.
“Are you ready to fly Lily Evans?” he asked with a wink. Lily tightened her grip on James and bit her lip in mock fear. Although, she may have just used it as an excuse to press herself further into James Potter’s well formed shoulders.
James quite suddenly took off from the ground, soaring into the night sky with exhilarating speed. The roaring wind whipped past Lily’s ears, her red hair flailing as he accelerated around the pitch, the stands and golden hoops purely a blur. Lily had the exclamations knocked out of her as James whooped and shouted into the unoccupied night.
But the ecstatic smile plastered on her face said it all.
The bitterly cold wind slapped at Lily’s bare face, swooping through the material of her jacket and jeans as though they didn’t exist. She found herself wishing she’d thought to put on another cardigan. Or perhaps a thick fur coat.
Until a rather nasty flow of ice-cold wind blew through her bones, causing her to gasp and instinctively press herself closer to the warmest thing around.
Alright, Lily thought with a blush as the heat exuding from his body warmed her core, I take the coat thought back.
James felt the change in Lily’s touch, his heart now thumping so loudly, he was afraid it may beat its way out of his chest. He realised, with a sudden overwhelming flow of concern and consideration for her, that she must have been freezing in this wind. After all, she wasn’t quite as used to this situation as he was, and to add to that, her body was quite a bit tinier and more delicate than his.
No, James thought, Don’t think about Lily’s body. Don’t think about Lily’s body.
James only did a couple more laps before he slowed, drifting just beyond the stands til they stopped at a hover near the Black Lake. The velvet sky glittered with the occasional sparkle of stars, their shine reflected in the ripple of the dark waters. The Forbidden Forest was not nearly as terrifying from these heights with a welcoming puff of smoke drifting from the chimney of the groundskeeper hut. And of course, the sight of Hogwarts was enough to soften the heart of the hardest man, exuding comfort, protection, and warmth. The dotted lights of thousands of windows amongst the glory of a thousand year old stone castle were magnificent. The sight made Lily sigh.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“Mm, it has nothing on you though,” James spoke into the night. Very suddenly he swung a leg around and then another until he sat on the hovering broomstick facing her.
“James!” Lily squealed clutching at him, “Flip, I thought you were falling!”
James laughed, taking her steadying hands gently from their tight (and yet completely exhilarating) grip on his arms, to hold them between his own. They both stared silently for the moment at each other.
“Tell me something,” he said quite seriously, “If you wanted anything from me, anything at all, either right now or… later, what would it be?”
Lily watched him curiously for a few moments, her silence unnerving James. He was so used to her immediately voicing her very low opinion of him in a rather louder and far more angered voice that her quiet pondering left him in a state of utter nerves.
Idiot, he chided himself, getting carried away…
Of course she wasn’t ready for that yet…
James was about to fill the silence with a simple forget about it when Lily did something rather unexpected and strange.
“Hmm,” she sighed, closing her eyes against the calming crisp night air, “Guess.”
He couldn’t help it. She’d answered him. She had answered him in a positive way. With no shouting. And here she sat, her face only inches away, completely and utterly vulnerable to his next move. And she didn’t care. In fact, she sat there as though she expected him…
There was no way he was going to talk himself out of this opportunity.
James leant in towards her and placed his warm lips very carefully and gently within the nook under her jaw. He waited tentatively for her to pull away only for his touch to be answered with a pleasant sigh from Lily. Although James did not know this, tingles exuded from his touch, flying quickly from his lips to where Lily’s hands lay under his. If his tender kiss and protective strength weren’t enough to melt Lily’s soul, then the low rumbling tones of his voice may have just edged her closer to sealing the deal.
“Does it involve,” he began lowly, pressing his lips to her soft porcelain skin, “a large apartment in inner-city London?”
Lily giggled and smiled as James moved his lips to her forehead, hovering until she answered.
“Not quite. Try again,” she said encouragingly and James smiled, brushing her skin with the tip of his nose.
“Could it be bribing every Professor in Hogwarts to give you an Outstanding on your NEWTs?” he finished, kissing her forehead simply, lingering there to savour the moment.
“Sounds great but not what I had in mind,” she whispered, as he trailed his touch down along her cheekbone, hesitating once again. A small chuckle issued from James.
“What about winning the Quidditch World Cup and dedicating my team win to you in front of the entire wizarding world?” James murmured, pressing his lips firmly to her blushing cheek.
Lily laughed outright again and opened her eyes.
“You’re thinking too large James Potter. What I thought of was actually a little more simple,” she said, her green eyes looking at him mysteriously, urging him on.
“Will you tell me?” he said sliding closer, kissing her throat once, twice and then kissing her hands. James felt he was getting a little adventurous and held his breath for the moment she would pull away in refusal. But Lily leant forward until their lips brushed against one another. It wasn’t until that moment that Lily realised she had never thought about what it would be like to actually kiss James Potter. When they had been in the Room of Requirement together, she’d kissed him on a whim, and it had been so quick, so slight that she hadn’t truly thought about it before or after. Now, thinking about having him actually that close to her…made her heart thump unevenly at the thought.
‘Kiss me first,” she whispered, closing her eyes again.
He pulled away ever so slightly.
“Tell me first. Whatever you want Lily Evans and I’ll give it to you.”
Lily hesitated wondering if she was about to sound rather feminine and idiotic. And then one of James’ strong arms slid around her waist bringing her closer, holding her firmly to his warm chest and she forgot that she had spent the past four years denying these very feelings, that she had threatened to murder him, his best friend or perhaps render him incapable of producing offspring almost on a daily basis. She forgot that three of her best friends were quite possibly spying on her, after willingly inviting three Marauders into their room.
She also forgot where they were and how volatile the world was becoming around them.
She may have even forgotten her name if it wasn’t the foremost thing on her mind.
“Name,” she whispered against his lips, “Say my name.”
His hand spread and pressed at her back.
“Lily Evans?” James whispered back quizzically.
“No, James. The name I know you want to call me.”
James’ breathing hitched and he stared at her in disbelief. Lily’s face was upturned to his, her mouth parted slightly and her eyes closed. Her complexion was perfect, porcelain and bright in the moonlight. But it was more than that. Her expression was one of want, of longing…for him.
“Lily Potter,” he said roughly, his chest almost bursting with pride, “My Lily Potter.”
Lily laughed again at the sudden joy spread thickly over his words and the smile she could hear lacing them.
“There you go,” she said, “That’s all I want. That’s all I ever want.”
James revelled in the moment, his gaze turned purely upon the red haired beauty within his arms, residing within his heart, wanting to be called by his name.
It was a first kiss like no other.
The peering group within the Seventh Year Gryffindor Girls Dorm erupted into raucous and cheering, drawing speculative and assumptive giggles from the students in the Common Room. Sirius bent down and picked up Evie, swinging her around the room as they all laughed, relieved and finally, finally victorious.
Nova Ford stayed silent as the door slid open under the power of her wand. Slipping through the darkness, she crept silently, knowing that her daughter’s very life was currently in her hands.
She came to a shelf that seemed to go for days, lined with small gold contraptions.
And without taking a breath she began to slip a number of them, one by one into the small material drawstring bag hanging from the inside of her cloak.
Her heart stopped.
She turned quickly, flashing her best innocent looking smile.
“Jacobus, how nice to see you,” she said, apparently quite convincingly as his frown disappeared, “I’m just checking up on the old stock. I heard a rumour a few of them had fallen from the shelf and smashed.”
For a moment as he hesitated, Nova thought he may delve further, ask for more details, things which she would have to invent on the spot and hope desperately that she could keep her story straight.
In a normal situation, which this was not.
Quietly she cursed the people making her do this. Jacobus was a good man, a hard worker, one of her best. It was only the thought of Mollie that allowed her to entertain the thought of cursing him.
Her hand closed tightly around the wand next to the drawstring bag.
“Need some help carrying them?” Jacobus suddenly asked.
But Nova did not relax.
“No thanks I’ll be fine. It’s only a couple of them by the looks of it,” she answered, holding up the bag, “I think I can manage.”
Nova brushed past him, wanting to sprint from that darkened room with its high shelves and deadly secrets.
“Right then. Give Mollie a hug from me!” he called after her.
Nova ignored his good intentions and continued on determinedly, the time-turners clanging together in her drawstring bag.
Phew! Finally. I feel as though I've been hoarding that broomstick scene for such a long time that my fingers started itching to write it in. I hope you guys liked it? In other news, I've just started back at university so the chapters may be a little slower. But they are still coming so don't go away!
Okay. So now I'm going to take a really deep breath (a really really deep one) and hold it until you guys tell me whether or not you liked it...Yeah, I'm a little nervous. Fingers crossed!
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