When the Hogwarts Express came to a halt at King's Cross, we all gathered out things and slowly made our way off the train. I stepped onto the platform and looked around, searching for my parents. I waved when I finally spotted them, and they started to make their way towards my friends and I. I turned to my friends, and a sudden feeling of foreboding washed over me.
"Well, I guess I'll see you guys in a couple of weeks." I said in a shaky voice.
Robyn let out an uncertain laugh.
"Don't be silly, Lily! We'll be back here, safe and sound in no time!" as she finished her sentence her lip started trembling and she reached out and pulled me into a bone-crushing hug. I tried to hold back tears, but all hope of that was lost when I saw Alice's face wet with tears.
"Oh, Alice!" I said as she threw herself into the hug. The three of us just held each other and cried silently. I was so scared to let go. The uncertainty that the three of us felt about the safety of one another, which we usually suppressed, seemed to burst forth at that moment.
"Okay, okay you crybabies." Robyn said as she broke our hug. She wiped away her tears and smiled. "We'll be fine. It's just two weeks!" I looked at her and at Alice. They were two of the most important people in my life. We all smiled at each other.
I raised my hand to wipe the tears off my face. Then I saw the Marauders make their way off the train behind Robyn and Alice. I smiled and nodded to Remus and he flashed me a charming smile in return.
The last Marauder off the train was Potter. He pulled his trunk off the train and, as if he was hyper aware of my presence, looked at me. I was expecting the resentful look that had become the norm from Potter, but this time, I saw something completely different.
Once again, for what felt like the millionth time this term, I felt that he had a truly uncanny ability to read me.
I felt that with one look he understood all the things I didn't dare say. That I was scared, that I was worried, that I hoped that we would all make it back from Christmas break.
He understood and perhaps the most perplexing: He CARED.
Then he did something that I haven't seen him do since the start of term. He flashed me his charming smile, winked, walked away with his trunk and followed his friends.
I do believe that might be the first time in our acquaintance that the "Potter smirk" didn't irk me. Instead, it comforted me in a way that my friends hugs didn't.
I made sure my face was clear of tears and smiled at Alice and Robyn.
"Yeah, it's only two weeks," I said to them. "We'll be fine. Just promise me you won't do anything stupid." I said looking pointedly at Robyn.
"Oh come on! I'm going home! I'll be under parental supervision the whole time." she said with a smirk. Alice and I just laughed. With one last hug, I turned around to see that my parents had made their way across the crowded platform.
"Lily!" My mom called out as she opened her arms to pull me into a bone-crushing hug. Her attack was so swift, I was instantly pressed up against her chest. I hugged her back tightly. I had grown some since the start of term and I could feel my head pressing up against her chin. I always missed my mothers hugs when I was away at school.
What I didn't miss was the lack of oxygen from her crushing strength. Go figure.
"Can't... breathe...Mom..." I managed to gasp.
"Oh, sorry, baby girl." she said as she released me.
I wasn't free for too long however, because almost as soon as my mother let go, I felt my father's arms wrap themselves around me. Dad was still quite a bit taller than I, so he easily raised me off my feet and spun me around. I let out an excited cry and wrapped my arms around his neck.
"I really missed you Daddy." I whispered in his ear as he spun me around one more time.
"You know I missed you too, Blossom," he said as he set me back on my feet.
"Where's Petunia?" I asked them as my eyes automatically scanned the area around them. I even leaned over to look around Dad.
"Um, Petunia was really sorry she couldn't come Lily, but she had some very important plans with-"
"Its ok Mom. You don't have to." I interrupted her as my heart dropped. Things were never going to be back to how they used to be.
Mom reached out to pull a strand of hair behind my ear and gave me a kiss on the forehead.
"We'll start taking all your things back to the car honey," she said as they started to gather my things.
"You girls have a good holiday," my Dad said as he hauled my trunk away.
My parents could sometimes be very perceptive. They saw that I just wanted a little more time with my friends alone.
"Bye Mr. and Mrs. Evans!" Alice said as Robyn just waved.
"You're such a Daddy's Girl, Lily." Robyn teased.
I just rolled my eyes.
"Anyway, help me find my parents," Alice said as she and Robyn picked their things and we started to make our way through the platform, looking around to find her parents.
We ended up finding Robyn's parents talking to the Potters.
"Hey Mom! Hey Dad!" she said as she set her trunk down on the floor and went to hug her parents.
"Hey kid," her dad said as he gave her a big hug.
"Hello Mr. and Mrs. Bennet." Alice said as they exchanged small hugs.
"How was your term, Alice?" Robyn's Mom asked her.
"It was great! Thank you for asking!"
I said hello to her parents as well and when they said my name, both Mr. and Mrs. Potter looked at me.
"Oh, is this THE Lily that we have heard so much about from James?" Mrs. Potter asked.
She seemed genuinely interested. But I couldn't tell if it was a good thing or a bad thing.
I smiled a little as I said, "Depends on what you have heard about this mythical Lily you're referring to."
Mr. Potter laughed. Well, I guess now I know where Potter gets his laugh from.
"It sounds like you might be her. You certainly are as beautiful as he's described you. For once James was not exaggerating."
I felt my face get hot in response to his comment.
"Um, t-thank you."
"Now look what you've done honey," Mrs. Potter teased. "You made her uncomfortable. Excuse my husband my dear. Sometimes he speaks too much."
For some reason that struck me as funny and I laughed.
"Reminds me of someone I know." I said with a giggle.
"Wouldn't be referring to me would you, Evans?"
How was it that I know who that voice belonged to before I even saw him?
I turned to see Potter and Sirius approach us with their trunks in tow. I noticed that Potter was teasing, so I decided to play nice.
"Why would you ever think I would be referring to you, Potter?" I replied playfully.
He chuckled and smiled at me.
"Wishful thinking I guess."
I couldn't suppress a smile in response to the genuine smile on his face.
I rolled my eyes playfully.
"Keep wishing." I said turning away from him. I heard him quietly chuckle.
"Alice! There you are sweetie!" I heard a woman's voice call from the crowd. I turned to see who it was and saw that it was Alice's Mom making her way through the crowd followed by Mr. Brant. Alice quickly closed the distance between them.
They exchanged kissed and greetings. Robyn and I were regularly invited to the Brant's house so they greeted us almost as enthusiastically as they did their daughter.
In the midst of all the commotion, I wasn't aware that Potter had gotten incredibly close to me.
He leaned closer so his lips brushed against my ears as he said, "Can I have a quick word, please?"
I was completely taken aback by the chill that rand down my spine that didn't feel altogether unpleasant, so I didn't respond.
He gently grabbed hold of my elbow and guided me away from the group. He stopped when we were separated enough from them so that we were out of earshot.
I finally regained my ability to speak when he released my arm.
"What is it Potter?" I asked. I made sure not to snap at him. Didn't really want good old Moping Potter to make an appearance.
He opened his mouth but no words came out so he shut it again.
Someone call the Department of Mysteries!!! James Edward Potter: Speechless!
Again, how I know his middle name is beyond comprehension.
I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. He looked like he was trying really hard to formulate the words.
Finally he spoke.
"Evans, you be careful alright?"
He looked straight into my eyes. His gaze was intense and I couldn't break the eye contact. A tiny, secluded part of me knew I didn't want to. As his eyes burned into mine, I felt the sincerity behind his words.
"Of course I'll be careful. It's not like I go looking for trouble."
"I know that. It's just- I just-" he was struggling with his words again.
All traces of the arrogant jerk were gone and in their place was just vulnerability.
This was the James Potter that almost no one ever go to see. This kind, vulnerable James Potter, I Lily Evans could be friends with.
What was it about this boy that could make me angrier than a slighted Hippogriff, but then could make me feel like we were best friends?
I smiled at him.
"I do believe this is the first time I've ever seen you at a loss for words James," my heart did a funky maneuver as his name passed through my lips.
As soon as I said his name, a huge genuine smile spread across his face.
"Well, I only ever get tongue tied when I'm talking to you."
"Doesn't happen often enough for me." I teased. "Honestly, James. I'll be careful. Believe it or not, there are people that would rather stay out of the spotlight."
He rolled his eyes. "Who would want to do that?" he smirked.
"I can't imagine." I replied with a smile. "I have to go."
I started to walk away when he reached for my elbow again and pulled me back. I turned to look at him. We really were too damn close.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Make sure you don't lose that," he said as he grabbed my wrist and touched Sev's bracelet. "As much as I hate that HE gave it to you, I can tell he put some real power behind those protective spells. I would feel a whole lot better knowing that you'll never take it off. For protection of course."
I looked at him with an incredulous look on my face.
"How do you know the caliber of the spells he placed on the bracelet?"
"Its just something my father taught me. But that's not important. Just makes sure it's always on. Please. If not for me, for Alice and Robyn."
He looked into my yes without and ounce of anger or resentment. He just seemed genuinely concerned with my safety.
"I'll keep it on for you, James."
WHAT!!?? Did those words seriously just come out of my mouth?! They must have because he seemed as taken aback as myself about them.
I quickly turned around and preceded to walk away.
We made our way back to the others. We all proceeded to say our goodbyes one more time. I turned to follow my parents who had returned from their trip to the car, but I couldn't resist the impulse to look back.
Automatically, my eyes locked with Potter's.
A smile broke across my face. His answering smile was dazzling and left me breathless. I couldn't stop myself from winking at him before I turned and made my way out of the platform.
The next couple of days went by in a blur of activity. Relatives arrived for the holidays and the preparations for my mother's yearly Christmas Party took up most of the time. But even that wasn't enough to keep my mother from trying to interrogate me about Potter. She had seen us talking at King's Cross and was determined to hear all about it. It was exhausting trying to deflect all her questions.
Robyn and Alice kept a faithful correspondence with me. It was definitely a comfort to hear from them especially since Petunia's behavior towards me was exceptionally antagonistic. Ever since I arrived home from Hogwarts, Petunia had been trying to avoid any sort of contact with me. If I were to enter a room, she would immediately walk out of it.
I tried not to let her behavior get under my skin, but as much as I tried to ignore it, every time I saw her walk past me, I felt like a bucket of ice cold water fell over my head.
As I walked into the kitchen to help out with dinner one day, Petunia looked up from the table where she was peeling potatoes, dropped the potato peeler onto the table unceremoniously and walked out of the kitchen. I rolled my eyes and tried to shrug off the hurtful feeling I got.
My mom looked over at me with a sympathetic look on her face.
"I'm sorry Blossom."
"It's ok mom. I'm starting to get used to it."
"That doesn't really make it better."
I looked at her and shrugged. "I know, sorry." We changed the subject after that.
It was strange to feel at home without any magic. When I came home to see my parents, I felt like I was safe and comfortable, but it was such a contrast to my life at Hogwarts, sometimes I wondered if I could really fit into the muggle aspect of my life as easily as I fit into the magical aspect of my life.
I looked at my mother getting dinner together and I realized I was perfectly happy just being at home with her making dinner that night.
When I woke up on Christmas Eve morning, I decided to start writing out the replies to the latest letters from Alice and Robyn that had arrived yesterday. Alice was always sweet, trying to be as supportive as possible about Petunia's behavior towards me. She even suggested we give her a pair of shrinking gloves. She also included news that Arthur and Molly Weasley, who were good friends of her family, were expected to stop by for Christmas dinner with their two boys Bill and Charlie. I had met them before and we would always babysit the boys for them.
Robyn's letter contained the same kind of sentiment against Petunia, even if her ideas for revenge were a bit more impressive than shrinking gloves. She also said that her Mom had decided to take the two week holiday off as well. She was getting annoyed by being constantly watched by her mother. "As if I can't keep myself out of trouble." she wrote angrily.
I packed their Christmas presents with their letter and sent them on their way. I then got showered and dressed. My parents and I were going to head to the mall to get some last minute things my mother's party.
True to my word, I hadn't take off Severus's bracelet the whole time I had been home.
What!? A promise is a promise even if it was to James Potter.
I had spent an uncharacteristically amount of time thinking about Potter. At seemingly random times I would just remember parts of the last several months since term started. When I caught myself thinking about him, I would mentally scold myself and remind myself that I really should be thinking about Davey. He had written me every day since break started and I was really starting to like him.
Once I was dressed I decided I might as well send Potter's Christmas present as well as Remus's. For Remus I decided to get him a special potion I had made just for him. It was for him to take before his 'time of the month' so that he wouldn't feel so lousy the next day.
The hard part came when I was writing the note for Potter. I couldn't find the appropriate way to address it. "Hey James, sorry for being such a bitch." seemed to be a little too straight forward. I don't know how long I sat there, thinking about it when, exasperated, I just wrote down the words that seemed to be dying to spill out.
The past several months have been some of the hardest of my life. I don't really know exactly what I need to do for us to get along. I'm truly sorry for my judgmental behaviors. What I want is to give you a chance to actually get to know me and hopefully I would get a chance to get to know you as well. But I mean get to know that guy that you keep buried under that act you put on for the whole school.
Enjoy my peace offering,
I wrapped up the curious lighter and sent it on its way.
"Lily dear!" Are you ready?" I heard my mother call from downstairs. I grabbed my wand from the desk and hid it in my coat pocket. I didn't use to carry it all the time before but times are changing and things aren't as safe as they used to be. My parents and I made our way to the car.
As we drove past the street that leads to Severus's house, I felt my heart clench. I fiddled absently with the bracelet. I really did miss him terribly. I tried not to think about him or any of the unpleasant things he has been involving himself in.
However, the closer we got to the mall, the more a sense of foreboding flooded through me.
A/N: I know that I can not possibly hope to still have the readers that had liked this story when I first decided to write it. It's been two years since I last updated! But either way If you are reading up to this point, thank you! Please take some time to review!!!