It was Christmas Eve and James still hadn’t managed to buy his new girlfriend a Christmas present. There’s nothing worse than not giving your girlfriend a present at Christmas, that’s really not the way to go about getting a kiss. And it was worse that Lily had only just agreed to becoming James’s girlfriend and not getting her a present of some kind would mess up the whole relationship.
James had been spending three days in a row in Hogsmead trying to find something that really said ‘I love you,’ but nothing seemed to have that appeal. James had even written to Moony and Wormtail for advice, something he wouldn’t consider doing in any normal situation. As expected both boys replied very quickly and both were amazed that James had gotten Lily as his girlfriend in the first place
Remus had considered getting her something simple like flowers and a box of chocolates because he knew Lily loved the Honeydukes chocolates. Peter on the other hand had suggested a good book as that was what Lily spent half her life doing anyway, reading. However both these suggestions were good, but James really wanted something that was personal to him, something that you couldn’t just buy in a shop.
As usual the streets of Hogsmead were packed with people, more than usual doing last moment Christmas shopping. James had a hard time weaving in and out of the crowd to find something that he could get Lily. It was almost getting dark and James still hadn’t conjured up any amazing present and with agitation he had someone wound up outside the shrieking shack. He was not quite sure why or how he had managed to get here, but here he was and still with no present.
James sat dejectedly on a large boulder and stared at the familiar form of Hogwarts castle with its many windows shining like one thousand stars in the distance. Snow had started to fall from the sky covering the ground with a thin sheet of white, but James still didn’t move. He would bet anything that Lily had managed to buy him a Christmas present and the fact that he hadn’t got her one killed him from the inside.
Getting presents for his mates was always an easy thing to do, Peter always got a book, Remus nearly always got chocolate because he constantly craved the stuff and Sirius always got something from Zonko’s Joke Shop. The only girl James had really considered buying a present was his mother, but she always got some magical book or something James could be bothered to buy at the time.
Some time had ticked over and James wasn’t quite sure how long he had been sitting outside the shrieking shack, but it was a long time because he arse was staring to freeze off. He stood and did a small run on the spot to keep his blood flowing before he trudged off back towards Hogwarts castle in the distance. He passed a few Hogwarts students excitedly chatting about Christmas morning the following day, but James didn’t really care about what day it was, he just needed a damn present to keep Lily happy. He should have just gotten her a book and some chocolates, but no, James wanted something that was from the bottom of his heart. Why did feelings always get in the way in the most inconvenient of times? It also didn’t help that Sirius hated him for some unknown reason and every time James tried to talk to him he would just walk away. James wasn’t even certain on what he had done to get him mad, Sirius was just being some useless git and that was something James could really do without.
By the time the Gryffindor had reached the entrance of Hogwarts castle he was caked in fluffy white snow and it felt like his toes were about to drop off. He stomped into the warmth of the Great Hall and sighed happily as he was warmed from head to toe like a small fire was burning in the bottom of his stomach. His eyes looked around to find a few people standing in the corners of the Great Hall talking in whispers or they were passing through to get to the Grand Staircase. Thankfully there was no sign of Lily as James began to head towards the stairs to get back to Gryffindor tower.
He easily jumped over the trick step before he climbed upwards to the 7th floor where he turned left to get to Gryffindor tower. He passed a few other Gryffindors heading down to dinner when he arrived at the Fat Lady portrait almost out of breath. “Been for a jog?” The Fat Lady asked curiously. “I don’t think it’s the weather for that, dear.”
James glared at the Fat Lady through his glasses as he regained his breath whilst leaning against the wall. “I haven’t been for a jog,” he wheezed angrily.
The Fat Lady shrugged, but didn’t say anything else until James had fully regained his breath. “Chocolate Frog,” the Gryffindor said eventually and he watched as the portrait in front of him swung open.
With one final long breath, James entered the common room and nervously looked around not to find Lily, but Sirius sitting in the corner staring out of the window. James really didn’t want to deal with Sirius right now, but he found his feet leading him towards the window. He paused just behind his best friend and opened his mouth to say something, but his words didn’t come out.
“I don’t want to talk,” Sirius muttered without even turning his head.
James frowned, this was the first time Sirius had bothered to talk to him and James wasn’t going to make this the last. “And why not?” He asked curiously. “Last thing I checked I hadn’t done anything wrong.”
Sirius shurgged his shoulders as he continued to stare out of the window at the falling snow which looked like hundreds of fairies flying through the black sky. “I just don’t want to talk right now,” Sirius replied rather agitated. “So if you could just leave me alone that would be grand.”
“I’m not leaving,” James replied stubbornly. “I’m not going to leave you alone until you tell me what’s wrong; I hate to see you like this.”
The shaggy haired Gryffindor sighed before he turned his head and James was surprised to see his best friend look so worn out. Sirius’s usual bright and young looking face looked haunted and ghostly and his eyes were dull like they had lost their shine. “I don’t want to see you get hurt,” Sirius replied eventually with a little scorn in his voice. “I know that Lily Evans is not the right girl for you, you’re being a fool Prongs, why can’t you just see that?”
James felt anger burning in his chest, he felt the happiest he had ever been around Lily and here Sirius was trying to turn him away. “So this is about Lily?” James replied harshly. “Trust you and your ego to try and tell what’s right and wrong. Lily’s the one for me; you’re the one being a fool to think otherwise.”
Sirius’s eyes were stone cold as he stared at James and his expression didn’t even change like he was a statue. None of the boys spoke, each looked at the other with fire burning deep down inside and their gaze was cold. Others in the common room were staring to edge away towards their dorms to avoid in oncoming argument.
“You’re wrong,” Sirius replied, his voice was quiet and nervous. “Lily will only break your heart. I know you better than anyone in the school and I can tell you two are not right for each other. I have been trying to keep you two apart for four years now; please don’t let all my efforts got to waste because of one stupid mistake on your part.”
“I love her,” James breathed. “She is the best thing which has ever happened to me, you’re not thinking straight.”
Sirius shook his head, but didn’t break eye contact with James. “Please,” he begged. “Leave her, move on in life, nothing good will ever come from being with her, she’s not worth it.”
“Lily Evans is worth the world to me,” James shouted, not noticing that Lily had just entered the common room. “All my life I have been such a prat and now this is the one chance I get to turn my life around for the better. I would die before I let anyone come between me and her; I love her more than my own life.”
Lily was shocked and rooted to the spot as she heard the things James was saying about her. She had never known how much he felt for her, never known how much he cared about her. All this time she had thought James only teased her because she was the only one who could put up with it, but really it was because of his feelings towards her.
Sirius sat in shock at James’s words and he finaly broke eye contact to look around the common room. His eyes rested on Lily for a brief moment to find that she was just as stunned as he was to hear was James was saying. “Lily’s behind you,” the black haired Gryffindor muttered quietly.
James turned his head in surprise and shock and when his eyes met Lily’s he knew that she had heard every word of what James had just said. James smiled uncertainly and when Lily smiled comfortingly back James knew that Sirius was wrong, she would never break his heart. The two moved towards each other before they embraced in the longest and most welcoming hug James had experienced in all his life and the whole time Sirius watched in silence.