James walked through the snow covered streets of Hogsmeade. It was picture perfect. Someone had swept the streets so that snow was piled against the storefronts, and the sunlight glistened off the snow on the rooftops. Everyone was bundled in their warmest cloaks, and most were in-doors.
In fact, James was the only person walking at a leisurely pace. The other three Marauders were in the Three Broomsticks, drinking Butterbeer and enjoying not being in the school, but James had an important task.
He had to find Lily.
Remus had heard from Dorcas who said Mary knew for a fact that Lily would be in The Chipped Cup. It was a small coffee shop that several of the girls from school liked, so James thought it wouldn't hurt to check.
He would just walk in casually and order his coffee. Then he would turn, surprised to see Lily, and sit with her and whoever she was with. He would make her laugh, he would make her blush, and then he would ask her the all important question.
He had fancied her since fifth year. She had been firmly against dating him then, but now they were on friendly terms, he thought he would have better luck. He smiled as the sign for the shop came into view. As impressively as he could while still trying to look casual, he opened the door.
Glancing around, one thing immediately caught his attention; Lily, with her beautiful smile and brilliant red hair, was unmistakably not there.
This was it, then. The smile fell from his face and his shoulders slumped. Of course, even with such a reliable source, she wasn't here. Still, it was quite cold outside, so he might as well stay and warm up for a bit. Besides, Lily might come in while he was there. Then his plan could still work.
There wasn't a line, as most people preferred The Three Broomsticks, so he ordered and received his coffee quickly, finding a seat with an excellent view of the door. Time ticked by as he sipped on the bitter, but hot, drink.
Three-Fourths of a cup. Maybe she was coming later than he thought. She and her friends were shopping, and would be in for a cup before going back to the school. Half a cup. Honestly, though, maybe they went to the Three Broomsticks instead. It was crowded and heated, and a warm Butterbeer made everyone feel better. One-Fourth of a cup. Maybe this had been her first stop, and she was else-where in Hogsmeade, or already back at the school. Empty.
James sighed. It was obvious she wasn't coming. It didn't matter the why. She just wasn't going to be here. Standing and putting his coat back on, he wondered if his friends were still at The Three Broomsticks. He had time for a Butterbeer before they needed to be back at the castle.
He walked out the door, intending to leave the shop, only to bump into someone. He looked up, meeting brilliant emerald eyes.
A warm smile greeted him, even as she stammered her apologies. James ended them with the wave of his hand. He moved to the side, to allow her into the coffee shop, and stepped in after her. She glanced at him, confused.