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Chapter 1 : Unrequited Infatuation
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Chapter One: Unrequited Infatuation
Fifth Year, 1975
Lily Evans tapped her foot impatiently against the ground, waiting for Severus to realize that he was already a full five minutes late, verging on six. She was standing directly in front of the Great Hall, which gave her a perfect view of the students as they walked by. There were a few Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs, a couple of Gryffindors, and a batch of Slytherins who snickered as they shoved past the others.
And then she heard it, the raucous laughter that bounced off the corridor walls. Lily grimaced when the noise grew steadily louder and she watched with trepidation as the Marauders came into view.
James Potter and Sirius Black were in the lead, making faces and crude gestures as they talked. Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew took up the rear, looking equally animated as their friends, though somewhat less vulgar.
As chance would have it, a couple of students trickled in front of the Marauders as they walked, largely due to the narrow nature of the corridors. But it looked like they would have none of it.
James gave the closest Ravenclaw a light shove, sending the boy tripping forward on his robes. His books and quills clattered to the floor in a messy wave, and even as he hurried to retrieve them, his ink pot fell open, splattering his texts with the dark liquid.
Sirius guffawed and spun to exchange a congratulatory five with James, an action that just happened to put Lily directly in his line of sight.
She stiffened when she felt his eyes on her, and then watched with barely concealed disgust as he smirked and gave a very visible nudge to James, causing him to look in her direction. The grin on his face slowly morphed into a leer when he saw her, and he gave her a slow once-over, purposefully dragging his eyes from her face to her feet and back again.
Lily nearly threw her schoolbag in his face.
It was a minute later when the Marauders finally entered the Great Hall, but it was a minute too long in Lily’s opinion.
She glared at the double doors and considered, not for the first time, telling McGonagall to expel them from Hogwarts. They were loud, disrespectful, and most importantly, believed themselves superior to all other students at Hogwarts. She didn’t understand how their arrogance could’ve attracted so many admirers, but their popularity was undeniable.
She was still feeling a bit red in the face when Severus pulled up next to her at a run. His pale cheeks were flushed pink from his sprint, making him look uncharacteristically flustered. Lily couldn’t help but smile. Severus was normally so punctual that his tardiness probably shocked himself more than anyone else.
He looked at her apologetically. “Sorry, Lily. I lost track of the time.”
She dismissed it with a wave of her hand. “Don’t worry about it. But you owe me a favor now.”
He rolled his eyes. “Not this again. Why do we have to owe each other something every time we’re late?”
“Well, there has to be some form of punishment for tardiness.” They walked into the Great Hall and Lily shot him a quick grin. “See you later?”
Severus nodded. “I’ll meet you outside before class starts.”
They split up near the double doors, as was usual, and Lily headed over to the Gryffindor table. Marlene McKinnon and Dorcas Meadowes grinned when they saw her and Marlene slid over to make room at the end of the table.
“We were wondering where you were,” Dorcas said, the moment Lily seated herself. “And then we saw you coming in with Snape.”
Lily helped herself to a few rolls and grabbed the nearest butter knife. “Can you please call him Severus? It’s kind of awkward to have my best friends call each other by their surnames.”
“It’s not like he calls us by our first names,” Marlene said huffily. “We’re just following his example.”
Lily laughed and spread the butter over her first roll. “I guess Severus can be a little stubborn. Just give him time.”
“Right,” Dorcas said wryly. “You say that every year. I’ve already given up on the idea that he and I could ever be friends.”
Marlene stabbed her bacon with her fork. “So what kind of relationship are you guys in? Still just friends?”
Lily frowned through a mouthful. She managed to swallow after a couple gulps of pumpkin juice and gave her friend an exasperated look. “Of course we’re just friends. What are you thinking?”
Marlene shrugged. “You guys look like you could be more.” She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “Everyone has noticed, even the Marauders. Potter was paying particularly close attention to you the entire time you were with Snape. He had the strangest expression on his face.”
“I agree,” Dorcas said. “He looked like he was thinking hard about something. Probably trying to figure out if you’re going out with Snape.”
Lily momentarily forgot her second piece of bread. “What?”
Marlene directed her knife towards the Marauders, who were sitting a couple of seats away. Lily craned her neck to see. The others were eating heartily, but James looked troubled, as if something was bothering him.
She turned back and stared at her friends. “He’s not looking at me.”
“Oh believe me, he was. I think he’s interested in you.”
Her eyes grew wide. She instinctively looked towards Severus for help, but he was sitting at his own table, obliviously talking to his neighbors. She turned back to her friends and made a face. “Please don’t say that again. Even the thought of it disgusts me.”
Dorcas smiled and patted Lily’s hand reassuringly. “Oh don’t worry about that. As far as I can see, Potter has nothing on Snape, at least in your mind.”
Lily nodded and breathed out a sigh. She honestly didn’t need further complications in her life, especially not someone as troublesome as James Potter.
She glanced at her watch then and nearly choked. She hurriedly grabbed her last bread roll and stuffed a banana into her bag. “Oh bollocks, I’ve got to go. I can’t be late to Ancient Runes.”
Marlene grabbed Lily’s arm and looked at the watch, frowning when she saw the time. “So early? It’s no wonder no one takes that class.”
She playfully swatted Marlene on the head and gave Dorcas a wave before she picked up her bag and headed towards the double doors. She glanced over at the Slytherin table and saw Severus looking her way. She tapped her watch and swept out the Great Hall, unwilling to attract too much attention. Gryffindor and Slytherin had an age-old rivalry that complicated her friendship with Severus. They had managed to get past it all so far, but even so, she didn’t want to spark any unnecessary arguments.
She perched against the opposite wall, waiting for Severus to disentangle himself from his friends. It didn’t take long. He was out in a matter of two minutes, his bag on one shoulder and a couple of books in his other hand.
Lily eyed the books. “You weren’t carrying those earlier, were you?”
Severus shook his head. “No, I borrowed these from a friend.” He opened his bag and dumped them in.
Lily couldn’t help the feeling of uncertainty upon hearing the name. Mulciber and Avery were Severus’ closest friends in Slytherin, but they were also the darkest. She had once even gone as far as to call them evil, but Severus had quickly pointed out that several of Gryffindor’s most popular weren’t exactly angels either. She had been forced to let the topic drop.
Still, Lily was willing to bet her entire fortune that those books weren’t schoolbooks, which made her doubly worried. Mulciber couldn’t have possibly been reading up on Erumpets in his spare time.
“Oh don’t look so suspicious, Lily,” Severus said. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders as they walked. “I don’t plan on practicing any spells in here. You know how interested I am in various forms of magic. The Dark Arts just happens to fall within that category.”
She sighed and hefted her book bag. “You know I disapprove. Do you have any idea what those spells and curses could do?”
He rolled his eyes as he opened the door to their Ancient Runes class. “You’ve told me a million times, Lily. I know.”
“Do you really?”
“Yes,” he stressed. He sat her down on the Gryffindor side. “Don’t worry, all right? You’ve got too much on your mind already.”
She eventually caved, giving him a small smile as he headed over to the Slytherin side. He settled himself next to Bellatrix Black, an alarmingly beautiful girl who was too caught up in all things dark and mysterious.
Lily was so caught up in Severus and the whispers that had started around him and Bellatrix that she didn’t notice someone occupying the seat next to her. It was only when Professor Larkin stepped to the front of the class did she turn around to see James Potter situated beside her, feet propped up on the desk and seat tilted back. He looked smug and nonchalant as usual, with his patented smirk and his tie loose around his neck.
His smile widened until all his pearly whites were showing. “Looking good, Evans.”
She ignored his greeting. “You’re sitting in someone’s spot.”
“Am I?” He made a show of looking around their jointly occupied table. “I don’t see anyone else. You must be hallucinating, Evans.”
Lily opened her book and took out her quill, meticulously placing it in her ink pot. She prayed that Larkin would begin class soon so she wouldn’t have to listen to James’ endless driveling.
Sadly enough, luck wasn’t on her side. Larkin disappeared back into his room and the students began to converse freely again.
James laughed when she purposefully turned away from him. “Come on, Evans. Why look away? You’ll like what you see.”
Her snort told him exactly how she felt.
“Unless, of course,” he continued, unabashed, “you’re scared you might mar the vision of your perfect Snivellus after you’ve seen my sterling good looks.”
Lily whirled around, already furious. It must’ve been a record. “His name is Severus, Potter. But don’t hurt yourself trying to remember it.”
Instead of being insulted, he looked tickled. “You’re quite the charmer, Evans.” He ruffled her hair and she batted his hand away angrily. “You know, you could do a lot better than Snivellus. Why hang out with him?”
“He’s a better person than you could ever be,” she snapped.
“You don’t know that,” he said, his grin wide. “You hardly know me, Evans. Give me a week and you’ll have completely forgotten that git.”
Lily propped her chin on her hand and yawned loudly. “You bore me with your attempts at charm, Potter. Go entertain someone else with an equal level of stupidity.”
“But I like you,” he said. “I don’t want to talk to anyone else.”
Lily briefly marveled at his resilience to insults. They simply bounced off him. “Well, I don’t like you,” she retorted. “And I’d rather you like someone else.”
“Touché.” James laughed, his hazel eyes bright. His smile was genuine when he looked at her again. “You know, I never thought it’d be so difficult to convince a girl to leave Snape.”
“Not everyone comes at your beck and call,” she said wryly.
“No,” he admitted, “but most do. What makes you so different?”
Lily looked at him, surprised. She attempted to discern whether his question was genuine or not, but then gave up when she realized she wasn’t able to see through him. While James appeared to be an open-book, he wasn’t as easy to read as she had believed.
“You’re not as appealing as you think, Potter.” At his look of mild shock, she couldn’t help but snort at his vanity. “You’re far too fake for me to even consider being your friend.”
“Fake?” Dare she say it, but he sounded slightly offended. “How am I fake?”
“You swim in superficiality.”
His lips turned up, but it looked forced. “Just because I don’t discuss literature or the finer points of Transfiguration?”
She clenched her teeth. “And you wonder why I don’t like you.”
James held up his hands, palms out. “No need to be so uptight, Evans. I meant no offense.”
“Oh I’m sure.” Lily looked at him pointedly. “See, now this is your biggest problem. You think yourself so above everyone else that you can’t even consider the possibility that there are people out there who despise you.”
He raised an eyebrow. “I assume you’re referring to Snape.”
“Not just Severus.”
“I can’t please everyone.” He snatched the spare quill on her table and ran his long fingers through the feathers. “I don’t see a point in it if there are people who hate me anyway.” He smiled then, startling Lily with its suddenness. “But most people love me, so I really don’t have much of a problem.”
“Your cockiness will be your death.”
James tossed the quill back onto her table. “Well if that’s the case, at least the epitaph on my tombstone won’t be boring.”
She rolled her eyes. “Better boring than stupid.”
He sounded exasperated. “You can’t talk to me without insulting me, can you?”
“You ask for it most of the time,” Lily admitted.
James cocked his head. “You make it extremely difficult to be your friend.”
“Only you,” she responded sweetly.
He smirked and ran a hand through his hair. There were a few sighs from behind and Lily turned to see three Gryffindors ogling James, their eyes round and mouths pursed in an ‘ooh’ formation. They looked positively dazzled and she resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Some people really needed to grow some backbone.
James, however, seemed to bathe in the attention. He turned around and shot them each a wink and greeted them by name. Lily shook her head at his amorous display of affection and looked at her unopened book.
“See, Evans?” he said, sweeping out his arm. “People adore me. You should learn to conform.”
She scowled. “I refuse to become one of your minions.”
“Minions?” James placed a hand on his chest. “Shame on you. How could you call them such an awful name?”
“That’s all they are to you, right? You don’t care enough about them to consider them your acquaintances, much less your friends.”
He tapped the table surface lightly, the noise making a rhythmic pattern. He seemed to be in deep thought about something, and when he finally looked at her, his gaze was resolute. “You know what? You’re feisty, Evans. Let’s go out.”
Lily was gobsmacked. “Excuse me?” Had he not heard everything else she had said about despising him?
His smile widened. “Say yes. I know you want to.”
It was the last statement that did it. Lily grabbed the first thing she saw on her desk—her book—and threw it at James. It hit him in the center of the face and he fell over in his chair with a loud crash, followed by a cry of pain. She hurriedly climbed over and saw his hand covering his nose, his eyes wide. His expression told her that no one had ever dared to treat him like that before.
“You… you hit me!”
Lily blinked, partially astonished at her violence and partially pleased that she had done something to prove she wasn’t one of his devotees.
“Why?” James cried. Thanks to Remus, who had immediately come to his aid, he was now standing, but his nose and cheek were a nice swollen shade of red. “What have I ever done to you?”
Sirius was shaking his head. “Damn it, Prongs. I can’t believe this. A girl just got the better of you.”
Lily helplessly sought out a friendly face in the sea of disapproval that she was now drowning in. Her eyes fell on Severus, and once he caught her gaze, he flashed her a thumbs up. She relaxed and returned the smile, glad to have someone on her side.
She was contemplating how to, or whether she even ought to apologize to James, when Larkin stepped back into the classroom. He had a thick stack of parchments in his hands and was looking rather pleased with himself… until he saw the state of disarray his class was in.
“Kids!” he snapped. “What is this nonsense? Can you please reseat yourselves and attempt to act your age?”
Lily quickly scooped up her fallen textbook and gladly obliged with the professor’s request. She didn’t spare James another glance for the rest of the class period.
Lily was busy engrossed in deciphering a particularly strange-looking rune when Severus tapped her arm with his quill. He gestured discreetly towards the library doors and her eyes widened when she saw James walk in. He rarely frequented the library, if ever. Even the librarian paused to make sure she wasn’t seeing things before she passed by.
And like Lily had expected, the whispers started up immediately. There was much pointing and ogling, but James was searching around the library as if looking for a specific something or someone.
Severus’ voice was low when he spoke. “I think the bloody idiot’s looking for you.”
Lily’s brows furrowed and she ducked lower in her seat. “That’s not making me feel much better. Can you somehow get him out of here before he sees me?”
It was too late.
James’ grin widened when he saw her failed attempts to hide under the table and sauntered over, his steps slow and assured. It was like a cat and mouse chase, Lily thought bitterly. Only the mouse was already in the trap and the cat knew this.
“Evans, my darling,” James drawled. His smile was wide as he leisurely perched on the table they were working on. “Want to go on a walk with me?”
Lily made her voice firm. “Not in the least, actually.”
“And she’s not your darling,” Severus snapped.
James blew out a loud exasperated breath and tipped his head back. “Bloody hell, Snape. Once, just once, could you please not ruin the moment by opening your fat mouth? I would very much like to go on pretending you don’t exist.”
Lily bristled in fury on behalf of her friend, but Severus just rolled his eyes and continued looking at the book in front of him, seemingly unruffled. “Frankly, Potter, I’m not interested in dealing with your juvenile behavior.”
James tensed. Lily could sense it in the way his spine stiffened and the way his eyes narrowed slightly, almost imperceptibly. Severus had ticked him off. The dismissiveness with which Severus had spoken, coupled with the fact that he hadn’t even spared James a second glance just served to worsen the situation.
“No, I don’t think you quite understand what juvenile behavior actually is,” he finally said. His lips twisted into a semblance of a smirk, though it was laced with a fine layer of venom. “I would be happy to show you, if that’s what you’re interested in.”
“Spare me,” Severus drawled.
“I would never,” James said diplomatically, “but I wouldn’t want to subject our fair Lily to the sight of your impending demise. Just wait for it, Snivellus. You’ll get what’s coming to you.”
Lily finally had enough. “Hey!” She stood and slammed her palm on the desk, incensed. “Back off, Potter. You don’t get to go around threatening my friends like that.”
He slid off the table in one fluid motion and stepped forward so that they were only a few inches apart, the bottom of their robes lightly touching.
“Friends who can’t even stand up for themselves? Not worth your time, Evans.” He angled his head so that his lips brushed her cheek when he spoke. “I wasn’t kidding about wanting to go out with you.”
She shuddered from the alarming degree of intimacy and put both hands on his chest, giving him a small but powerful shove away from her.
“Don’t ever touch me again, Potter,” she snapped.
James stumbled back slightly from her unexpected blow, but his smile was unwavering. “Your resistance is charming, Evans, but also futile. Haven’t you realized by now? I always get what I want.”
“Oh for Merlin’s sake,” Severus snapped, sounding unbelievably incensed. “Can your head possibly get-”
He, unfortunately, never got to finish his sentence. James’ hand lashed out and the back of it smacked Severus in the mouth, shocking him to the point where he flew back and knocked into the nearby bookshelf, causing several heavy tomes to crash to his feet.
Several students looked over at the commotion.
Lily was so angry she was shaking. “I cannot believe you just did that, James Potter. What the hell is wrong with you?”
James lifted a brow at Severus, who was still clinging onto the bookshelf, half in shock as to what had just happened to him. His expression was a mixture of anger and embarrassment, evident by the slight pink tinting his cheeks.
“He was talking too much,” was all he said.
Lily reached out and grabbed his robes, giving him a forceful yank so that he was forced to bend down to her eye level. She was seething. “If you even think you have the slightest chance with me, you would be wrong, Potter. I hope you realize your bigoted ways are nothing to be proud of.”
He frowned. “Now Evans…”
But she had already brushed past him and gone to help Severus, who had straightened himself out in the meantime and looked like he seriously wanted to throw a couple of nasty curses at James.
She grabbed his arm. “Come on, Sev. Let’s go.”
Author's Note: Long time no see, everyone! Welcome to my latest and greatest. I'm estimating about 15 to 20 chapters, so it'll be a relatively short ride. In any case, it'll take us through Lily's fifth, sixth, and seventh years. :) Hope you enjoy and I'll see you in the next chapter!
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