Chapter 1 : Sometimes
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I see the way you look at her. The way your brows furrow when she’s angry, the way your face falls when she’s sad, the way your eyes dance in a waltz of green and gold when you catch her laughing in the common room.
I see. No one else might. But I do.
Sometimes you call her name across the Great Hall just to watch her spin around and flip that wave of auburn over her shoulder.
“Evans!” you’ll yell. She may ignore you – in which case you just keep calling – or, if you’re lucky, she’ll turn.
“What, Potter?” she’ll ask, and you’ll smile because she’s payed attention and you’ll ruffle your hair nervously because now you don’t remember what ‘what’ is.
“Go out with me,” you’ll say, because the fact that she is even speaking to you gives you hope, so maybe this time she’ll say yes, too.
But when she says no, you shrug, flash a grin, mask the disappointment taking root in your chest and growing, growing into a giant sequoia.
Still, you don’t stop calling her.
You holler her name in the halls, whisper it during class, draw it out like a scroll so you can feel it dawdle on your tongue.
Not many people understand why. But I do.
Sometimes you talk to her. You don’t scream or fight or throw hexes like everyone expects you to. You just talk. And she talks back.
You explain to her how Quidditch works.
“No, Evans, the quaffle goes through the goals. The bludgers are meant to hurt people.”
“Why would you want to hurt people?”
“There are better ways to win, I think.”
“There are better ways to turn a bloke down, too, but you always aim straight for the gut, don’t you?”
She tells you about her sister.
“Petunia isn’t really that bad, I swear. I make her seem much worse than she actually is.”
“I don’t know, Lily. Stuffing your owl in the closet, purposely shrinking your uniform in that dryer thing, and donating all of your books to the library in the course of an hour sounds pretty bad to me.”
And the two of you talk about anything you can think of. Everything you can think of.
“Did you hear Poppy Potion’s new song?”
“I’m not too keen on eating licorice wands for breakfast, to be honest.”
“I think I know more about the back of my eyelids than I do about the history of magic.”
“Have you ever seen a meteor shower? I heard there’s going to be one tonight.”
People notice you don’t hate each other. How can you have a pleasant conversation with someone you hate, anyway? They notice how you smile when you see one another and always say hello and goodbye and make sure you haven’t gone a single day without saying something to her. They notice – they just don’t take note. But I do.
Sometimes, when you know she won’t pull away, you hold her hand. And sometimes she lets you, and she squeezes to let you know it’s okay. And sometimes your fingers thread together like the stitching in a shirt, and they stay that way until something tears the two of you apart.
Her thumb will run over yours, along your finger, across your knuckles.
When you’re feeling playful, you’ll engage her in a thumb war, and you won’t let her win, you’ll try to beat her, because if you don’t, she’ll drop your hand like it’s on fire and tuck hers under her armpits and won’t let you touch her for a minute or two. A minute or two that you can’t go without her palm next to yours.
When she’s feeling down, you’ll hold onto her hand tight and squeeze and bring it to your chest and tell her everything will be alright.
When you’re tired, you’ll loosen your grip, and she’ll loosen hers, but you never let go, because she’s the only thing keeping you awake.
When you do something wrong or she says something stupid, you’ll reach out, you’ll tug, you’ll remind her that her fingers and your fingers and those twenty fingers together mean more than a silly prank or a snotty remark ever will.
And when you make up, you will make sure her hand stays in yours for as long as possible.
Your friends know something has changed; her friends know it too. It seems as though the entire wizarding community has stopped to gawk at the odd couple with their fingers entwined. You don’t notice them. Don’t care to notice them, honestly. But I do.
Sometimes you will kiss her. Mostly on the cheek – as a ‘good morning’, as a ‘good night’ – sometimes on the nose – as a sign of affection, to tell her she’s adorable – occasionally on the forehead – to assure her she’s fine, everything is fine, and to show her that you’re there – on the mouth – to let her know she’s beautiful and magnificent and intelligent and perfect, perfect, perfect, and you fancy the skirt off of her. Love her clothes right off, really.
You find kissing her is more vital than oxygen. You think if you can’t ever press your lips to hers, you’ll suffocate and go brain dead and live the rest of your life as a vegetable. You might as well die.
Her cheeks feel like pillows against your mouth, her eyelids like the wings of a butterfly. Her lips taste like strawberries, the cavern of her mouth like mint toothpaste, her neck like perfume, her shoulders like soap. Lily Evans tastes better than Ogden’s best firewhiskey and Christmas dinner combined. She’s the most mouthwatering, delicious thing you’ve ever tried. You savor every bit of her like it’s your last.
The world is used to your kisses by now. They’re used to the obnoxious smacking of lips in the common room, the quick pecks between classes, the lingering brushes everywhere in between. They don’t look on in surprise anymore. They don’t stare at the two of you as though you’ve both gone completely mad. They don’t even roll their eyes, because, believe it or not, you give them hope. Hope that anything can happen. Hope that love can happen, even in a world so consumed by hate.
No one watches James Potter vie for the affection of Lily Evans any longer. They don’t wonder why she’s talking to you; they don’t question how you got anywhere near her, much less managed to hold her hand; they aren’t excited and surprised when you kiss her – all the time. Not even I am.
Which is good, you suppose, because why on God’s green earth should I be? Didn’t I expect this to happen all along?
Sometimes she stares at you too. Sometimes she calls your name so you’ll look at her and she can see your eyes tango with happiness behind your glasses. Sometimes she holds your hand because it fits, and that shocks her more than the time she broke every window in her small house when Petunia made her scream at the top of her lungs five years ago. Sometimes she kisses you, and she tastes the coffee – three sugars, no cream – you drank that morning.
You love her always. She loves you always too.
You don’t seem to realize how beautiful that is. But I do.