June of Fifth Year
“Oi, Padfoot, chuck us a Chocolate Frog, would you?” James called to his best friend as they lounged in their dormitory.
“Get off your lazy arse and get one yourself,” Sirius Black shot back.
“C’mon Padfoot,” James whined. “Take pity on me. I need chocolate to ease the sting of my aching heart.”
Sirius snorted. “Don’t be such a girl. So Evans said no when you asked her out. Big deal.”
“It is a big deal,” James insisted, sitting up on his bed. “You heard her, she said she’d rather date the Giant Squid!”
“That is pretty insulting,” Sirius mused, taking a large bite out of the Chocolate Frog James had wanted. “Though in her defense, you were hexing her best friend.”
James ran a hand through his hair, ruffling it up more than it already was. “I need to figure out a way to win her over.”
“Why do you care so much? I mean, I know you’ve always had a thing for Evans, and she is pretty fit, but I’ve never seen why you’ve always been so obsessed with her.”
James shrugged, flopping back down onto his bed and staring up at the ceiling with a slightly dreamy expression. “I’m not really sure. I mean at first, I just thought it was fun to annoy her. I liked seeing her face turn as red as her hair and the sparks fly from those eyes of hers. And the way she almost seems to swell before she starts screaming at me…” He trailed off, grinning.
Then he started when a Chocolate Frog came into contact with his head. “Earth to Prongs,” Sirius said dryly. “Are you still with me?”
“Right, sorry,” James said, grinning sheepishly. “Anyways, at first I went out of my way to bother her because I thought her reactions were funny. But I don’t know, eventually I just started really watching and paying attention, you know? I started seeing the little things. Like did you know she scrunches up her nose when she reads? Or that she absolutely loves pickles? And her laugh. Have you heard her laugh? It’s such a pure, carefree sound.”
Sirius stared at his friend before shaking his head. “You’ve got it bad, mate. She’s gotten into your head.”
“Oh, shut it,” James responded good-naturedly. “I just… I don’t know, I think there’s something more to her. And you know how smart she is. I could actually have intelligent conversation with her.”
“You could,” Sirius said doubtfully. “But first she’d have to stop yelling at you about how much she hates you every time you’re in a twenty-foot radius of her.”
“Yeah, I suppose that’s a bit of problem.”
“What are you two doing up here?” came the voice of Remus Lupin as he and Peter Pettigrew walked into the room. “You do realize you should be studying, right? Our Transfiguration OWL is tomorrow!”
Sirius scoffed haughtily. “I told you Moony, I don’t need to study. I could pass this thing with my eyes closed.”
Remus just frowned. “I really don’t think you two are taking this seriously enou – are you eating my Chocolate Frogs?!”
“We were hungry,” James said defensively.
“Those were mine!”
“There’s still some left,” Sirius said, gesturing at the three remaining Frogs.
“There were over two dozen of them this morning!”
“Chill, Moony, I’ll get some more for you,” James assured him.
Remus raised an eyebrow. “Right now? What about studying?”
James winked at him. “Please, that exam will be a piece of cake. It’s me, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, I suppose. Merlin knows you’re too naturally gifted at it for your own good,” Remus grumbled.
“I’m naturally gifted at everything, Moony,” James chuckled. “But it’s good to know you’ll acknowledge at least one of my stunning traits.”
As James walked out the door, he vaguely heard Remus shout “Lose the attitude, Prongs!” He chuckled to himself, shaking his head.
James strolled through the corridors, heading towards the statue of the one-eyed witch. It had been one of the last secret passageways out of the school that he and his friends had found. It had actually been Peter’s discovery and was definitely one of the most useful.
James was passing by an unused classroom when he heard a faint snuffling sound. He paused for a moment, curiosity getting the better of him. He was a Marauder, after all. Listening closely, James realized that there was a girl crying in the room. Pushing open the door, he immediately recognized the deep red hair of one Lily Evans.
“Evans?” he asked tentatively. Her head snapped up and she stared at him, her vivid green eyes slightly puffy. In the back of his mind, James marveled about how she still managed to look beautiful, even with blood shot eyes and tear-stained cheeks.
Lily had always had a strange sort of beauty. While not traditionally pretty, there was just something captivating about her. Her bright hair was thick, shiny, and eye-catching. Her skin, though unusually pale, was smooth with a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her small nose. Her lips were thin and chapped, but finely shaped. Her eyes were slightly too big for her oval-shaped face, but they were easily the most beautiful thing about her.
“What do you want, Potter?” Lily spat, breaking James out of his reverie.
He lifted his hand to ruffle his hair nervously. “Er, I heard you crying and I thought I’d see…”
Lily scoffed. “Of course you did. You’re James bloody Potter. You think it’s your job to snoop around and find out every little detail about this castle and the people living in it. Never mind the fact that sometimes, people don’t want you around.”
“I just wanted to see if you were okay,” James muttered defensively. Usually when Lily would yell at him, it was kind of amusing, kind of fun. But not right now. Now he felt almost… ashamed?
“Why on earth would I be okay?” Lily fumed. “You were down at the lake. You heard what Sever – what Snape said. What he called me.”
“Is that why you’re here?” James asked incredulously. “I get that it was hurtful, but it was Snivellus. You’re better off without him.”
Lily looked at him, utter contempt etched into her face. James shifted uncomfortably. “You are a pig-headed git, Potter! Are you forgetting the fact that he was my best friend? I get it. You’re an immature jerk that hates him. He hates you, too. But what on ever gave you the right to mock him like you did? Where do you get off hexing him at every opportunity?”
“Hey, your precious friend isn’t exactly innocent either!” James shot back. “He did all those things to me, too! But I don’t recall you ever telling him to stop. No, everything always had to be my fault!”
“But it’s not just him you do it to! You think you’re so much better than everyone else and that it gives you the right to jinx anyone you please! Well, it’s wrong Potter. And if you could see past your own giant ego, you might see that!”
James threw his hands up in frustration. “Oh, c’mon Evans, I’m just having a laugh! It’s not like any of the spells I use are dangerous.”
“Well, it’s immature and bigoted,” Lily said, crossing her arms stubbornly. Then her anger seemed to melt away and she sighed sadly. She stared at James unblinkingly, before asking quietly, “How would you feel, Potter? If Sirius called you the worst name you could think of? If he referred to you with a word that’s offensive and prejudice and… well, hurtful? What would you do if the one person you thought would never insult you like that, did?”
James was stunned. “I guess I didn’t really think of it that way.”
“Of course you didn’t,” Lily whispered, shaking her head and looking away.
James watched Lily, unable to think of anything to say. He didn’t like this. He was used to the fire and passion of their fights. Hell, he enjoyed them! He knew that if actually wanted her to like him, he shouldn’t act like such a jerk, but there was just something so… alluring about her anger. So he did the only thing he knew what to do around Lily: he acted like an arrogant toe-rag.
“Tell you what, Evans,” he said smoothly, smirking when she looked back over at him, “I think I know a little something that’ll make you feel better.”
“Do you? And what would that be?” she asked warily.
James mussed his hair confidently. “A chance to go on a date with the one and only James Potter.”
Lily’s mouth dropped open. “Are you… did you really just ask me out again?!” She cried out in frustration. “Potter, you are the most insufferable little berk I’ve ever had the misfortunate to meet! Weren’t you listening before? I’d rather date the giant squid than the likes of you! It is literally the last thing I would ever do, EVER! You are so aggravating, Potter, I honestly cannot believe you! Ugh!”
She stormed out, red hair whipping out behind her just before she slammed the door to the classroom shut. James shoved his hands into his pockets and waited a brief moment before strolling out of the room, getting back on his path to sneak out of the castle.
He knew he had just taken several steps backwards in his half-formed plan to win over Lily’s heart, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to care. Because he knew that by irritating her so much, he had made her forget about her sadness over Snape. And that made it worth it. And besides, making her angry was the only way he knew to get Lily’s attention. And that, after all, was all he had ever really wanted.
I hope you were able to draw a parallel to this chapter from the last one. Don't worry, not all the chapters will have James talking to a very upset Lily. But I just wanted to have this one to show contrast between the two. I wanted to show how much James had matured and how much more open to him Lily becomes. Plus, it can't be a James/Lily story if they don't fight! So please leave a review and tell me what you think!
Chapter title taken from In My Life, by The Beatles