It never really had been, but she’d hoped to make it to her first date with James Potter without everyone in the entire school somehow knowing about it.
Somehow, however, word had gotten out.
She had no idea how all of her roommates seemed to know by Sunday morning that she had a date with James for their coming Hogsmeade weekend when she’d only told Jane and Sarah and specifically asked them not to tell anyone else. She doubted very much that either of them had told anyone else, but somehow, everyone seemed to know anyway.
The added pressure was not doing good things for her nerves.
By the time Wednesday rolled around, Lily was truly wondering whether she would make it to their Hogsmeade weekend without going completely crazy. Between the gossip and the anticipation, she was definitely a little on edge.
“You know, I think the entire school is onto us,” James said cheerfully as they left the Great Hall after lunch and began to walk in the direction of the Potions classroom. “I had a fifth year I’ve never spoken to in my life congratulate me this morning as I was walking down to breakfast.”
Lily bit her lip, trying to hide a smile. “You’re probably going to be disappointed,” she teased. “I don’t see how I can possibly live up to your expectations.”
He shifted his bag from one shoulder to the other so he could grab her hand. She interlaced her fingers with his and glanced up at him. He was beaming, and when he saw her looking at him, his free hand jumped to the back of his head. “I have faith in you,” he assured her as he pushed aside a portrait that concealed a secret passage that she had never seen before he and Sirius had led her through it on their way to Potions on Monday.
She’d spent enough time with them in sixth year to know that they’d discovered a lot of secret passageways and shortcuts that no one ever used, but she’d never guessed just how much Hogwarts was hiding until now.
“I’m not sure why,” she said. “You’ll probably think that I’m rubbish at snogging or something.”
James let out a laugh. It echoed off the stone walls around them in a pleasant sort of way. “Nah. And even if you were, haven’t you heard? Practice makes perfect.” He glanced at her quickly, and she grinned.
“Well, as long as you don’t mind the practice,” she said, and he visibly relaxed.
Her rejections over the last year and a half were definitely coming back to haunt her. There had been a few times now that he’d gotten tense after making a joke, clearly afraid that this time, she’d get annoyed, say that he’d gone too far, and call the whole thing off.
“Nah,” he replied. “It’s for a good cause and all of that.”
“A good cause?” she asked. Her heartbeat was beginning to quicken, though she had no idea why – he hadn’t initiated a kiss yet, and he obviously wasn’t going to do so for the first time in an old dusty corridor while they were on their way to class, though at the moment she was rather wishing he would. Since she’d asked him out, she’d been paying more attention to him than usual, and even stupid things like his intentionally messed up hair and his stupid jokes made her feel warm and happy inside.
He winked at her. “Well, you know. We do look to our Head Boy and Girl to set an example for everyone, and Merlin knows I’m useless, so it all falls to you.”
“Does it, now?”
His grin broadened. “Well, if it was to get out that you were rubbish at snogging, who knows what that would do? Maybe everyone else would start to think, ‘Well, if Lily Evans can’t do it, it’s obviously not worth bothering with.’ Suddenly nobody would be snogging anyone. Imagine a Hogwarts with no snogging.”
She rolled her eyes. “Yes. I’m just that influential in Hogwarts. There would be absolutely no kissing if I wasn’t doing it.” She stretched her arms over her head. “Makes you wonder how they’ve all managed this long.”
James stopped dead. She turned around to ask him what was wrong, and was surprised to find a slightly perplexed look on his face. “You’ve never been kissed?”
“Oh, Merlin, come off it, James, that’s not what I meant. I’m just saying that I’ve never had – you know. A real boyfriend.”
“Oh.” Lily had the distinct impression that if James felt a little more confident around her, he’d make a joke about it. As it was, though, he seemed to decide that he didn’t dare to try.
“Have you?” she asked curiously as they began walking again. “Kissed anyone, I mean?”
“Sure,” he said. “Loads of times.”
Lily had honestly been expecting him to say yes, but something about his bravado didn’t quite ring true. “Really?” she asked. “Loads of times?”
“Sure,” he repeated.
She twisted around to study him. He had a slightly sheepish expression, and after a moment, she said, “You’ve never kissed anyone, have you?”
“We should get to class,” he said quickly.
She raised her eyebrows. “So for all your talk –” She stopped; he was starting to look more than a little embarrassed, which really wasn’t what she wanted. “Sorry,” she said quickly. “I shouldn’t tease you. I know you’re very manly.”
He snorted. “Thanks.” He did, however, take the hand that she offered him, and by the time they reached the dungeons, he was in much better spirits. He even dropped her hand long enough to hold the door open for her.
“You know, I can open doors on my own,” she told him, but stepped through anyway.
He smirked and followed her in, not bothering to hold it for the other students coming down the hall. “How’s this: I’ll let you open the next door, and you can say ‘toerags first’ or something.”
Lily groaned. “Don’t remind me.” At the end of their fifth year, she’d had it out with him six or seven times in the space of two weeks, and she was fairly sure she’d called him a toerag every time.
In her defense, he’d been acting like an arse a good two-thirds of those times, and had probably deserved a good tongue-lashing.
In his, she’d definitely taken some of her frustration about her falling out with Severus on him – and, as Sarah had so kindly pointed out to her on the train ride home, it really wasn’t any of her business if he and Sirius snuck out after-hours or jinxed each other.
It had not been her finest moment.
James grinned and put an arm around her shoulders. “All is forgiven,” he said magnanimously. She hesitated, but nodded after a moment, and a mischievous look spread across his face. “Of course, if you’d like to make it up to me…”
By the time Saturday rolled around, Lily was feeling very nervous. Despite the amount of time she’d spent in James’s company since she’d asked him out – which was considerable enough that Jane had commented on it five or six times – she couldn’t shake the feeling that she just wasn’t going to live up to his ideal.
“Oh, stop worrying,” Jane had said rather waspishly earlier that morning at breakfast. “He’s been all about you for years, and it’s not exactly like you were making a great impression. It’ll be fine.”
Lily had no idea why Jane was in such a foul mood, but she decided not to push it, especially since her friend was probably right. It wasn’t as though she’d been on her best behavior around James for the vast majority of the time they’d known each other, and he didn’t seem to have been scared off yet.
When she met him by the portrait hole after getting her jacket and hat, though, some of her nervousness melted away. “You look amazing,” he said softly, and she glanced down at the floor. She could feel her face getting warm, and a smile was spreading across her face with what she felt was a will of its own.
“Thanks,” she said. “I – should we go?”
“Sure.” He led her past the Fat Lady and down the stairs. She was just as glad that he wasn’t looking at her – her smile probably made her look like a complete idiot. By the time they reached the bottom and he looked back at her, she’d composed herself enough that she was able to offer a natural smile back to him when he grinned.
“Shall we?” he asked, sweeping an arm toward the enormous double doors.
She felt her stomach turn over. This was actually happening. She was about to go on a date with James Potter. There was a pleasant sort of tingling running through her entire body, and she found the smile she’d finally managed to control working its way across her face again.
He didn’t seem particularly put off by it, though.
“Yes,” she said, linking his arm with hers. “Let’s.”
It ended up being a very pleasant first date, though Lily suspected that that had more to do with the company than what they actually did. James had bought some sweets at Honeydukes for them to share, and the chocolate put her in such a good mood than when she caught him glancing longingly at Zonko’s, she’d suggested they go in. She even turned a blind eye to the firecrackers, though when he showed signs of wanting to get an entire crate of fireworks, she drew the line.
“I can shrink it,” he insisted, even after he’d paid for the firecrackers. “It wouldn’t get in the way of us at all.” She just stared at him until he sighed and said, “Oh, fine. Let’s go to the Three Broomsticks.”
It was predictably crowded, but not horribly so; it was still early enough in the day that most of the students were still wandering the village. By the time they started streaming in at about mid-afternoon, Lily and James were both ready to leave. It had been a wonderful day, but by the time you reached your seventh year, Hogsmeade visits lost some of the excitement they held earlier on.
“Hold on,” he said as they began to walk back toward the road that would lead them back to the castle. She glanced at him in confusion, and he pulled her along the side of the pub.
“James, what –”
He sank his fingers into her hair, lowered his head, and kissed her.
She had kissed him since she’d asked him out, but it had always been on the cheek, or else just a quick brush of her lips against his. He’d clearly enjoyed it, and so had she, but this was something different. This was something deeper and stronger and much more meaningful. This was something that was making her stomach do strange little flips. This would have made breathing difficult even if her mouth wasn’t otherwise occupied.
She wound her arms around his neck and raised herself up on the tiptoes as she returned the kiss, and he stumbled back against the side of the building. She started to pull away to ask if he was all right, but he shook his head and deepened the kiss.
She was more than happy to go along with him.
By the time they broke away, they were both panting heavily, and Lily was suddenly aware of a small audience of third and fourth years who were peering at them from around the front of the pub.
“We have an audience,” she murmured to him as she tried to make her hair less messy.
He glanced toward them, and they scattered. She expected him to make a smart comment, but for once, his brain seemed to be blank. “Let’s go back,” was all he managed to get out.
At this point, Lily was secretly hoping that the Common Room would be completely deserted when they got back – the first and second years might be spending what was surely one of the last weekends of truly good weather for awhile outside. She would be perfectly happy to pick the kiss up right where they’d left off.
“So that was our first date, right?” James asked as they were walking back to the castle.
“It was,” she agreed.
“And I kissed you, and you didn’t recoil with disgust.”
“You’re right. I didn’t.”
“In fact, you kissed me back.”
“I did,” she confirmed when he glanced at her as though he half-expected her to contradict him. “I was enthusiastic about it, too.”
He stretched his arms over his head. When they came down, one managed to conveniently land around her shoulders. She didn’t shrug it off, though; she was finding that she quite liked all this physical contact with James.
“So does that make you my girlfriend?” he asked. She pretended to consider that, and he quickly added, “It doesn’t have to – I mean, I don’t want you to – I just –”
Lily decided to take mercy on him. She stopped him, and when he turned to look at her, she kissed him squarely on the mouth.
He blinked several times.
“That was a yes,” she supplied when he didn’t respond.
A wide grin was making its way across his face. “See, I knew it. Deep down, it was only a matter of time, wasn’t it?”
Lily took his hand and started back down the road. “Very deep down,” she teased him.
“Ah, well. Couldn’t really expect anything better.” He leaned down to kiss her cheek. “Thanks. For giving me a chance.”
She inhaled deeply and looked up at the sky. The sky was starting to get dark, and the smell of the autumn leaves was in the air. “Don’t thank me,” she said. “I had a really good time. You know, James, you really have gotten much less unbearable.”
He snorted. “You always know how to make a guy feel special, don’t you?”
“I try.” She smiled as a breeze whipped through the air and through her hair. Autumn had always been Lily’s favourite season, and it had been a beautiful day.
A/N: Hello, my lovely readers! I'm sorry I've kept you so long waiting for a new chapter, and I'm sorry that this is out of order. We all know what happens with James and Lily anyway, though, so I thought you'd forgive me for writing about their first date. I really hope you liked it.
Over on the forums, the Dobbys have started - they're awards for the best stories on HPFF, for those of you who don't spend much time over there. :) If you like this story (or, of course, any of my others) a lot, I would be really touched if I saw nominations for it. (No pressure, though - there are a lot of stories on HPFF, and I understand it if you like others more than this one. :P)
As always, if you have the time, I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter. Every review, even if it's just a "I loved this chapter," means a lot to me. Most importantly, though, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!
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