December of Seventh Year
“Aw, c’mon, Evans!” James said with a grin. “You know you want to.”
Lily couldn’t stop the smile that spread over her face. “Why is it that every time you try and beg me for something, you use my last name?” she asked in amusement.
“Whatever do you mean, Lily,” James replied, blinking innocently. Not that anyone would ever believe that James Potter was innocent.
“I mean,” she sighed, “that whenever you want me to help you with your Potions essay, or do some of your Head duties for you, or anytime you ever need something from me, you always wear that stupid grin and refer to me as Evans.”
“That’s not true and you know it!” James gasped dramatically. Lily rolled her eyes.
They were sitting in the Gryffindor common room with the rest of the Marauders. It had been a month since Lily found out about her parents’ death, and quite a few people were shocked by the friendship that Lily and James had formed. Lily was rather shocked herself. But then again, they had been getting along much better this year. James may have still been his obnoxious, fun-loving self, but he was much less immature. And now that he’d stopped aggravating Lily every chance he got, she found she actually quite liked James.
“Back me up here,” Lily appealed to Sirius, Remus, and Peter, who had been watching the two, thoroughly entertained.
“Sorry, mate,” Sirius said, clapping James on the back, “but she’s got a point.”
“Traitor,” James exclaimed, pointing an accusing finger at Sirius.
“No, it’s true,” Peter chimed in and Remus nodded. James glared at them.
Lily laughed. “I told you, James. And anyways, the answer is still no.”
“But why?” James whined, pouting. He looked like a three year old. An adorable three year old.
“James,” Lily said patiently. “I am not going outside to watch your Quidditch practice. First of all, it’s a practice. While I do enjoy watching Quidditch, I like the actual matches. Second, I have work. This Arithmancy essay isn’t going to write itself. And third, it’s cold out there. Why do you want me to watch your practice, anyway?”
“We’re friends! Shouldn’t friends support each other’s hobbies and interests? And since Quidditch is so much more than just a hobby or an interest, you should support me even more,” James explained eagerly.
Lily just stared at him, not quite able to comprehend how such an intelligent person could be so dense. “James. No.”
“Lily,” he pleaded. “Please? C’mon, Pete does it sometimes! You’re not going to let him be a better friend than you, are you?”
“Hey!” Peter protested. James grinned at him.
“No offence to you, of course, Wormtail. I was just trying to appeal to the side of Lily that wants to be better at everything than everyone,” James explained.
Lily shot him a glare. “That is not true. Just because I put effort into things and try to be the best I can be does not me I want to better than everyone else. And offending me really isn’t helping your case.”
“Just once,” James begged. “Just come this one time. That’s all I ask.”
“Give me one good reason,” Lily said, folding her arms over her chest.
“I’ll shut up and won’t bother you anymore?”
Lily deliberated for a second. “Fine. But I’m bringing my Arithmancy with me.”
James let out an obnoxious whoop, thrusting his arms into the air in victory. “Cheers! Okay, let’s go, I’m going to be late for practice!”
“Wha – your practice is now? James!”
“Get your cloak, let’s go, go, go!”
Lily was grumbling under her breath as she sat in the stands out on the Quidditch pitch. She couldn’t believe she’d let James talk her into this. Sure, she likes watching Quidditch and all, and James is a very good Chaser, but this was a practice. A practice. Why on earth did she need to be here?
Turning back to her Arithmancy work, Lily sighed. She was never going to get any work done out here. The wind kept on trying to snatch her parchment away from her and she was having difficulty juggling both it and the hefty textbook. Perhaps she should just go inside…
She shook her head. No, Lily would stay. But only because James would be so crushed if he saw her leaving. She glanced back out at the players flying through the air. James was currently giving instructions to the Seeker, while the rest of the players were scrimmaging against each other. Lily watched James’s face closely, taking note of the animation that shone in his eyes, despite the fact that he seemed to be speaking very seriously. One thing was for certain, James took his duties as Quidditch captain very seriously.
Suddenly, James turned his head and caught Lily’s gaze. He grinned at her, waving ostentatiously. Lily waved back, though less obviously, blushing slightly at being caught staring. Giving herself a little shake, Lily turned back to her work. She wasn’t sure why she had been so absorbed in thoughts of James. It’s weird. He’s her friend, she shouldn’t be staring at him like she was.
Giving herself a shake, Lily tried, once again, to concentrate on her Arithmancy. Unfortunately, her gaze kept straying back to the people flying around the pitch, especially one messy-haired individual. Her tenuous concentration was probably what caused her to loosen her grip on her parchment. And as a result, the parchment in question slipped from between her fingers, flying through the air on a particularly strong gust of wind.
Lily’s eyes followed the trajectory of the paper desperately. Maybe it would land safe and sound and she could retrieve it. It would be awful if she would have to redo the entire assignment. The parchment blew down the pitch, towards where James was closing in to try and score a goal. A sudden feeling a dread building in her, Lily watched as the parchment was blown directly into James’s face, blocking his sight.
With a strangled cry, Lily watched James recoil slightly at the sudden obscuring of his vision. But before he could remove the parchment, James smashed into one of the goal posts and fell from his broom. Lily screamed loudly as he plummeted towards the ground, but breathed a sigh of relief when one of the Beaters swooped down to catch him.
Lily ran down from the stands to where the Gryffindor Quidditch team had gathered around James, who was lying on the ground. She pushed them aside, dropping to her knees and gently stroking James’s cheek.
“James,” she said desperately. “James, are you all right? James?”
Slowly his eyes opened, looking a little stunned behind his glasses, which sat crookedly on his nose. He was lucky they weren’t broken. “Ouch.”
“How do you feel, James?” Lily asked in concern.
His eyes met hers and Lily was suddenly aware of closely she was leaning over him. They were only several inches apart. She felt herself begin to blush. James smiled slightly. “Better, now. It’s a good view.”
Lily flushed a darker red at the flirtatious tone in his voice, but she felt some of her worry slip away. Clearly if he was making remarks like that, he was going to be perfectly fine. She started to lean back slightly, but James put a hand on her shoulder to stop her. She looked at him questioningly.
He held up the parchment with her Arithmancy assignment. “I think you lost something.”
Chapter title taken from the song "In My Life" by The Beatles