Chapter 7: When Lily Finally Understands
The next few months flew by for Lily. Between her schoolwork, clubs, and her new relationship, Lily hardly had time to think. Most nights, she found herself in the library studying with Tom. The others had given the new couple some space; while the six of them still did hang out a lot, the four girls let Lily and Tom spend a lot of time together alone.
To Lily, this was a good thing and a bad thing. She liked spending time with Tom, but it was a lot more fun when the others were around. When it was just the two of them, it got a little awkward. She had figured that by spending time with him, her feelings would grow to match his, but that simply wasn’t happening.
A week before the Christmas holidays, the two were once again studying together in the library. As they were reading their History of Magic textbooks, Tom reached over and held Lily’s hand. He usually did this when they were reading together, and while Lily appreciated the gesture, she found it quite annoying when she was trying to focus.
“Uh, I have to go find another book about the Troll Wars,” said Lily. She could see the disappointment in his eyes, but he let go of her hand and she got up to go to the back of the library.
One stack over, she saw Scorpius looking for a book. Well, he wasn’t so much looking for a book as he was trying to see on the other side of the stack. This wasn’t the first time Lily had seen Scorpius “looking” for books near her and Tom.
“What are you doing here? Isn’t this where they keep the books on Divination? Last I checked you weren’t even taking that subject,” said Lily.
Scorpius started, not having heard her approach. His cheeks blushed pink and he picked up the nearest book and opened it. “New interest,” he muttered.
Lily decided to leave it alone and went to look for her book. She didn’t actually need more information on Troll Wars, but if she returned without a book, Tom would be suspicious. Just as she turned to leave, however, Scorpius grabbed her wrist.
“Lily, wait. I’m sorry I’ve been such a jerk these past few months,” he apologized. Ever since Lily started dating Tom, Scorpius had been even nastier to her than usual. However, she had built up a tolerance to the sixth year and had learned to block out most of what he said.
“Whatever you say, Malfoy,” she replied, her voice a lot stronger than she felt. There were two things that were weird about his apology: one, that he had called her by her first name for the first time she could remember, and two, that he was even apologizing in the first place.
She turned and walked back to where she and Tom were studying.
“Didn’t you find your book?” asked Tom. Lily had been so distracted by her encounter with Malfoy that she had completely forgotten to grab a book.
“Uh, couldn’t find anything,” she supplied distantly. He shrugged and continued reading. After a few minutes, he took her hand again. She just looked down at it, wondering why she hadn’t felt anything from his touch. When Scorpius had grabbed her wrist, something weird happened. Like he shocked her, or something.
When they returned to the common room later, hand-in-hand, Lily saw the other four and waved. She also noticed Scorpius reading alone in an armchair in the corner. He looked up, saw her, smiled, and then noticed she was holding hands with Tom. He quickly frowned, put his book in his bag, and walked over to the corridor that led to the boys dorms.
Tom noticed this just as Lily had. He suddenly squeezed her hand and lead her to a secluded corner in the room. “What’s going on between you and Scorpius?” he asked. He was not being accusatory, but she could tell he was suspicious.
“Nothing, I swear. He’s just been acting weird recently,” she explained. He looked at her skeptically, then smiled. Then, much unlike the Tom she knew, he leaned in and started kissing her. It wasn’t like the usual sweet kisses they shared, but more aggressive. She went along with it for a few seconds, then pulled away.
“What was that for?” she asked.
“What, can’t a guy kiss his girlfriend? It’s been a few months, Lils. Most people are surprised we’ve done little more than hold hands.”
“Since when do you care about the opinions of others?” she asked, quickly becoming angry with Tom’s new enthusiasm. “I think you’re just doing it because you think there’s something going on between me and Scorpius.”
“Lily, I really care about you, and I just want to know why you don’t seem to feel the same way. This has nothing to do with Malfoy,” he said, though she could tell he wasn’t being completely truthful.
“I do care, I just don’t think I’m ready for anything more than we’ve been doing,” said Lily.
“Okay,” he said, his tone softer and more kind, “I’m sorry. I won’t do anything unless you are ready.”
With that, he kissed her cheek and headed towards the boys dorm. Lily returned to her own room and didn’t say a word to any of the girls before getting in bed and going to sleep.
A week later, Lily was relieved to be on the train home for the Holidays. She shared a compartment with her friends, but instead of sitting next to Tom, she sat across from him. She used the excuse of not feeling well and just wanting to read a book, but he didn’t seem to buy it. He could tell there was something off about her since that night in the common room.
When she got off the train, she searched the crowd for her parents and bounded towards them. She had never been so happy to be home from Hogwarts, she thought as she hugged her Mum and Dad. James and Albus joined them shortly and the family made their way back to their home in Godric’s Hallow.
“How was your term?” Harry asked his children once they sat down for tea.
“Stressful,” said James. He was currently going through his NEWT year, and the preparation for his exams were just as nasty and exhausting as the tests themselves.
“Pretty good,” said Albus with a blush. Lily had heard some rumours about Albus having a new girlfriend just before they left for the Holidays, but she had yet to confirm this with her brother.
“Okay,” said Lily quietly.
Harry and Ginny were not sure which odd response they should address first. Usually all three came home in high spirits, telling them all about their wonderful times at Hogwarts. They decided to start with James, whose cause for distress was a bit more obvious.
After comforting James and instructing him to do whatever he wanted for the next few weeks at home, he decided to go outside and fly his broom for a while. Albus, not eager to talk to his parents about girl issues, quickly joined him. This left Lily alone to fend for herself.
“So, lovely Lily,” started Harry. This was something he called her when he wanted something from her. “Tell me what the issue is.”
“Erm… I missed you?” she said, hoping they would buy it.
“Lily Luna, you have not missed us a single time you went to Hogwarts. If you’re going to make up excuses, you were better off saying you miss school,” said Ginny.
“I don’t know, this year has just been a little weird. Tom and I are going through a bit of a rough patch—” she said, before stopping herself suddenly. She had told her mother about her new relationship, but she specifically left her father out of the picture.
“WHAT?” asked Harry loudly. Lily rolled her eyes; she knew he would react like this. She was actually rather surprised he didn’t already know, because James and Albus found out ages ago and she figured they’d tell him.
“Dad, it’s no big deal. You know Tom, and you’ve said before that you like him,” she explained calmly.
“Harry, we talked about this,” scolded Ginny, “you knew she was going to start dating some day, and frankly, I’m surprised it wasn’t earlier.”
Harry looked from his wife to his daughter, then a look of bemusement reached his face. “I guess there’s nothing I can do about it. Except make it very clear that if he hurts you…”
“No, Dad. It’s bad enough having the savior of the wizarding world as your father when it comes to making friends. People are so intimidated by me! I found a guy who is willing to date me who isn’t too scared of you, and I won’t have my first relationship end because he suddenly had a change of heart after you talk to him,” said Lily.
Harry laughed. “I’m only joking, sweetheart.”
Lily smiled at her father. It seemed the conversation had gotten away from her less-than-cheerful attitude, and she took this as her cue that she could leave and go fly with her brothers.
A few days later, the Wotters gathered at the Burrow for dinner. Grandma Weasley always had these dinners after all the grandchildren got back from Hogwarts.
Lily walked into the sitting room and found that it was packed to the brim with her cousins, aunts and uncles. She decided to go outside instead, but not before asking Rose and Roxanne to join her.
“What, I’m not invited?” asked Hugo incredulously.
“It’s girl talk, Hugo. You wouldn’t be interested,” explained Lily. He pulled a face and returned to his game of exploding snap with Fred.
When they reached the garden, Lily explained to them her situation with Tom, how she still didn’t really feel anything romantic towards him and how he thought there was something going on between her and Scorpius. Upon hearing the last part, both of her cousins looked shocked.
“As in Malfoy?” asked Roxanne.
“Yeah. I know he’s always been a jerk to me, but recently he’s been acting… odd,” said Lily.
“Odd as in how?” asked Rose. She had her analytical face on, a face that members of the Weasley family knew well.
“He was being nice to me until I started dating Tom, and then he got really nasty for a while. But lately he’s been more mellow, and I’ve caught him spying on us at the Library and he’s always staring at me at meals.”
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” said Roxanne, “he liiiikes you!”
“That’s what June, Kendra, Mia and Natalie think,” added Lily. Her cousin had confirmed a thought that had been going through her head for the past few weeks. “But what should I do about it?”
“Well, do you like him?” asked Rose. This question gave Lily a moment’s pause.
“No. I mean, I won’t say it hasn’t been nice not having to worry about him bothering me all the time, but I don’t like him. But I don’t think I really like Tom either. Not that way,” said Lily.
“But if you dump Tom, wouldn’t that ruin your friendship? It could also leave a gap for Scorpius to swoop in, too,” pointed out Roxanne.
“You shouldn’t stay with Tom if you aren’t completely committed to the relationship,” said Rose. She had a point—Lily didn’t want to hurt Tom by lying about her feelings for him. But she couldn’t break his heart by breaking up with him.
“Maybe if I just stay with him, I’ll start to feel something. Besides, this keeps Scorpius off my back like Roxy said,” said Lily. Roxanne looked triumphant and Rose frowned at her cousin.
“Okay, but don’t come crying to me when that doesn’t work out,” said Rose, and then she turned and walked back towards the house.
“For what it’s worth,” said Roxanne quietly as she and Lily followed Rose, “you may not like Scorpius, but he sure is a looker.”
A/N: Kind-of a filler chapter, but the good stuff is coming up! I included a bit more Harry in this chapter because I don’t want to cut him out entirely. He’s not really a part of the story but it feels strange to write something without him having at least a minimal part.
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