Lily awoke the next morning to find a boy with ebony coloured hair slumped on an armchair at her bedside. His cheeks were flustered, and Lily realised, enjoying a moment where there was no chance of anyone noticing her small moment of weakness, that James Potter looked even slightly innocent – cute would be going too far – when he was asleep. It was the first time for Lily that she had seen him look even remotely vulnerable, and she enjoyed the sight much more than she wished to.
She looked down at herself, there were bandages wrapped all around her chest, but no pain seemed to catch her off guard when she lifted her right arm to see if her chest still felt tender. Turning to her left, she noticed that James’ hand lay merely centimetres from her own on her bed, and she wondered, before mentally scolding herself, if he had held her hand as she slept. And it was for this reason that her hatred aroused for him once more. Apparently he didn’t even have to be awake to break through her pretences. How could a mere teenage boy have such a (she flinched) hold on her?
Grumbling to herself, Lily pulled herself up into a seated position, accidentally knocking James’ hand off of the bed. He stirred, and, noticing that the object of all his fears had awoken, he jumped to his feet.
‘You.’ Lily scowled. Her anger caused him to flinch – after all he had done for her, how could she still feel so much hatred towards him? He backed away. ‘Why are you here, hmm?’ If she had been standing, she would have tapped her foot impatiently. ‘You conveniently managed dodge that question last night, didn’t you?’
‘Conveniently dodge?’ James barked, laughing. ‘You were bleeding! I got Pomfrey and then sat at your side all night, making sure you didn’t get worse!’
‘Stop with all the distractions.’ She snapped. ‘Answer me.’
‘I. I, well, I got in a fight.’ James finished blandly. If she reacted so badly to finding out he watched her protectively all night, praying for her to wake up better, how on earth would she react when she found out he was the one who pushed her aside in the paddock? She would probably make up some crap about it not being his life to save. James mentally rolled his eyes – Lily would not react well to seeing him do it.
‘Ugh!’ she said in a disgusted tone. ‘Let me guess, Severus Snape?’
There was no point arguing with her, and he was partly thankful that she had provided him with such a convincing lie. ‘Yeah. It was brilliant – didn’t even have a second to think about a counter-jinx, I was that fast!’ The lie came easily to him. After all, how many times had they shared a similar conversation? James just hoped that this time his boasting wasn’t met with physical blows or skilled wand work on Lily’s part. James mentally scolded himself for the rogue innuendo that entered his mind, given Lily’s current physical and mental state.
‘Good. I can go and curse him later for landing you in here with me,’ Lily practically snarled.
‘Fine by me, he deserves to be knocked off his high broomstick every once in a while. Especially when he cheats in a duel like that, the slimy toad. You know, he tried to use one of his home-made spells on me again? Spectumlentra or something? Luckily I avoided the worst of it, a few cuts and broken bones – nothing I can’t handle.’
‘Whatever, can you just tell me who pushed me aside? Away from Cassie, I mean. I owe someone a thank you.’
James looked away, trying to avoid her eyes. James said the first thing that entered his mind: ‘Padfoot, Sirius. He ran forward and pushed you out of the way.’
Lily snorted, why on earth would Sirius Black do something without an ulterior motive? Especially when it was her that was the object of his gallant actions? Never in her life had Lily known Black to do something nice for someone, unless they were a Marauder, of he was sleeping with them – and of course, if he wanted to sleep with them, and Merlin knows that would never happen between Black and Lily.
‘Well, if you’re not going to tell the truth, just go.’ Lily turned away from him, hoping he would get the message. Thankfully, he was one of the brighter Marauders, and realised she wasn’t joking.
Lily was released from the Hospital Wing in time for lunch, and she joined her friends at the Gryffindor table. Most of her friends smirked, to Lily’s distaste, when she joined them. ‘Hey Lils,’ Alice was the first one to talk. ‘We came up to see you last night – but, well … you were asleep.’ She cast a sideways glance to Lucy, who sniggered.
‘Just spit it out, Alice.’
‘So, what actually happened with you and Potter?’
‘What d’you mean?’ Lily asked, hoping they weren’t referring to his holding her hand.
‘Well, after what happened at Care of Magical Creatures, we assumed things between you would be, you know … less strained. And then when we went up to see you – oh, Lily, he was so cute! – he was sitting beside you, holding your hand. You should have seen it; he was so worried about you!’ All of the girls surrounding her looked as though they were falling further and further in love with James Potter, Lily felt nauseated, and took all of her strength to convince herself that her feeling sick was because their faces were sickening, rather than because a certain green monster was constricting her chest.
Lucy stepped in, filling the silence between the group, ‘We all just assumed you’d well … straightened things out.’
‘Shut up a second,’ Lily held up her hand to silence them, her head reeling at Alice’s words. ‘What has that got to do with James? Let’s travel back a bit – what the hell happened in Magical Creatures?’
The others raised their eyebrows, starting a silent conversation between each other. ‘Well, after James ran in front of Cassie.’ Lucy said softly, her voice a mixture of admiration and fear of Lily’s reaction.
Lily just burst out laughing, catching her friends by surprise. ‘Oh, that is so like Potter! I can’t believe him! Taking responsibility for the one thing his friend does right. What an ass!’
‘Um, honey, what?’ Lucy asked.
‘Potter told me Sirius pushed me away. I can’t believe he took credit for it in front of all of you!’
‘Lily, we were there. We saw James push you to the side – why else do you think he was in the Hospital Wing?’ But Lily gave no answer, as fury built up inside her, burning her rational thought. She jumped up from the table, and practically ran from the hall.
‘Seriously, how can she be angry about that?’ Lucy asked. ‘I mean, he saved her, and looked after her, and then didn’t try to boast about it as though this incident would get him in her good books, or should I say knickers. I mean, if I were her, I would love him even more after that!’ Lucy looked utterly bewildered.
‘I think that’s exactly the problem. She wants to hate him – but yesterday, he gave her a fool proof reason to love him, and she doesn’t know what to do.’ The girls looked towards the doors after her, and sighed.
Tears stung her eyes, making it difficult for her to see as she ran straight up into the boys’ dormitory. As the door slammed open against the wall, the four boys snapped their heads up, and stopped talking sharply. ‘James Potter you complete wart!’ she screeched, digging her heels into the ground, and her nails into her palms.
‘What have you done now?’ Lupin whispered into James’ ear.
‘Honest to Merlin, mate, I don’t have a clue,’ they continued to converse in low whispers, staring straight as Lily as though they hoped she couldn’t see their lips move as they spoke.
Peter Pettigrew leaned into the huddle, ‘Did you attack Snivellus? Send her a bunch of lilies again? Ask her if her she wanted a ride on your broomstick?’ Peter smirked, but it quickly disappeared from his face when Lily shot him a deadly look.
‘Why would you lie to me about something like that?’ Lily yelled, not caring that she and James were far from alone. ‘You’d think that after seven years of me making it painfully obvious that I hate you that it would register in your overconfident brain but no, no, you can’t even make up your mind about how to act around me! You act like you adore me, and then find every way possible to annoy me, and then you save me, and then you lie about it! Do you know how much you’re messing me around?’
Neither party realised that the other Marauders had subtly vacated the room, leaving them in private. ‘Me? Messing you around? Oh, I can see how I frustrated you – because, I mean, a girl hating you, stripping for you, and hating you again, I see how that could be so very un-frustrating!’
‘Ugh!’ Lily spat. ‘You do this constantly, turn things around so that everything shows you as the victim – consider, for once, how I feel -’ But Lily had no time to tell him how she felt, as James broke.
‘Oh okay, if that’s how you want it. You think I was thinking of me when I got my wrist and collarbone broken in order to save you? So maybe I tried to protect myself when I told you Pad saved you, but if I hadn’t, you would have accused me of trying to manipulate the way you feel of me – either way I lose with you, Lily. I can’t win!’
‘Maybe if you just stopped before you force me to hurt you, you would win!’
‘I can’t do that, Lily! Because the only time I get to spend with you is when you’re yelling at me, and okay, that hurts, but it’s a million times better than not having you at all! And okay, maybe it’s not like that for you, but it is for me, and I can’t change that. Having you hate me isn’t the worst thing!’
‘Well maybe if you hadn’t been such an idiot in first year we wouldn’t have to yell to see each other!’
‘You can’t just twist everything round like that! Why can’t you forgive me for that? It was seven years ago! Why can’t you just be thankful for me saving you? What can I do for you to forgive me for first year? ‘Cause Lily, I’ve tried being nice, I’ve tried staying away, I’ve tried being a friend, I’ve tried breaking bones for you – what else can I possibly try, Lily?’
‘Try giving up.’ Lily said blankly.
‘That’s good advice, why didn’t I think of it?’ James said sarcastically.
‘You’re impossible!’ Lily screamed, and once again, ran away.
James slumped back on his bed, wanting to scream at her, but knowing nothing else could be said to sort out the situation if she wasn’t there to hear him. ‘And so we meet again, Square One.’ He whispered, hating himself.
Thank you for reading this far! I know there are still some inconsistencies in the story (especially if you read on), but I plan to rectify these. Please let me know what you think! :)
- Ced x