That Friday night, James was allowed to go home (“Finally!”). His ribs, four of which had been broken or severely bruised, were mended and he could walk just fine. Lily helped him onto the Knight Bus, followed by Helena, at about 7 that evening. Jack was meeting them back at the house.
“Lily, I’m fine!” said James, sitting on a large comfy bench and rolling his eyes.
“You didn’t get a splinter. You broke your ribs, James! I am just trying to help.”
Helena grinned as Lily sat next to James, arms across her chest.
“I’m not-” began James.
“Nevermind, James, it doesn’t matter.” Lily was staring out the opposite window, deliberately not looking at him.
Helena, remembering she hadn’t paid the driver, excused herself and marched off. James waited until his mother was out of earshot.
“Lils…” whispered James, drawing her name out like a song. Lily tried to stifle her smirk, but to no avail. He placed his hand under her chin. She melted. Reluctantly, she turned to face him.
“Yes?” replied Lily curtly.
“You aren’t mad, are you?” He knew her a little too well.
“And why do you say that?” asked Lily, glaring him in the eyes.
“Because, when you are, you’re nostrils flare and you scrunch up your nose.” He smiled at her. “Besides, I was just about to say that, I am very grateful that you would escort me home like this. I just think you might, you know, want to take a break.”
“Break? What for? I just want to sleep and eat, and I can do all those things with you.” Lily slumped over and rested on his shoulder.
“I was thinking, actually…” James said thoughtfully.
“About what?” Lily asked, looking up.
“Well, about where you’re going to… er, stay. Maybe you should get a flat in London. I could… help you pay for it…” said James uncertainly.
“Why? I have money,” Lily muttered, slightly offended. She moved a little bit further away from him, but he turned and shook his head.
“No! That’s not it!” James said hurriedly. “I… was thinking that maybe if there were two rooms, you know… I could, well… live… with you.”
It was Lily’s turn to gape back. “What? Really?”
James nodded. “I just don’t want you to be alone,” he added stupidly.
“I’m not. I have you.” She leaned in for a short kiss, smiling again. Just then the bus gave an almighty jolt, spurring off toward the next stop. “I hate traveling like this,” complained Lily from the floor. James quickly helped her back onto her seat.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t apparate, and all…” said James somewhat shyly. “You are definitely welcome to sit on my lap, though.”
“James, you’re flirting with me,” she said mischievously, biting her lip.
“Is it working?” he asked in the same tone.
“A little. But don’t get too cocky, it’s not good for your head.” She nodded with definite sarcasm.
“And I thought it was my ribs!”
“Yeah, well… they didn’t want you to worry. So… is that seating option still available?”
“Of course! Although, you might want to hurry up – some other girl could get there first.”
Lily narrowed her eyes at him, but moved onto his lap anyway. A few minutes passed, Lily resting on James shoulder, cradled in his arms. Every so often the bus would halt abruptly, nearly throwing everyone off their seats. But not Lily. James held her tightly, and every time they stopped he hugged her to him. Soon, she was asleep. I bet she didn’t sleep last night… or recently, thought James. He let her sleep, happy to have her back in his arms.
Saturday dawned and James, Sirius, and Lily all woke to the same dreary thought – tomorrow was their return to school. Lily and James, mostly because of what the others might say about Voldemort and Lily. Sirius, because he was Sirius. But, as we all know, time flies in two circumstances: when you’re having fun, and when you are dreading something. The latter explains our situation. Dinner that night was a wonderful affair. Helena had pulled out all the tricks – every imaginable treat and dish she had whipped up (literally). James and Sirius pulled off a major fireworks display halfway through dessert. Lily performed a major stunt on Sirius as they all left the dining room.
“Well, you guys are so close now,” said Sirius as all three of them walked up the stairs.
“…I suppose that I can’t sleep in Jamesy’s room, then?”
Lily lost her patience. “Sirius?” she said nonchalantly, turning around. James turned around with her to face Sirius, who was a little behind them on the stairs.
“Yes, Lily darling?” replied Sirius, eyebrows raised in a fake mothering tone.
“Tell me again, how many servings did you have at dinner?”
James looked at her, bewildered. She ignored him, and let Sirius ramble about the three servings of chicken, four dishes of potatoes and the entire bowl of lima beans he had eaten. While he talked, Lily nodded and pointed her wand at Sirius’ feet. Nexumaluta, thought Lily. As he continued to talk, Sirius’ shoelaces tied themselves to each other. James looked away quickly, covering his mouth with his hand as he laughed silently.
“…So, that’s about, what… nineteen servings?” finished Sirius, counting on his fingers.
“Something like that,” Lily agreed. “Time for bed guys!”
James took Lily’s arm, (which she accepted with a smile) and ran up the stairs.
“Wait up, gu- aah!” Sirius had tried to follow them, but had succeeded in falling backwards on his butt, shoes tied together. James couldn’t stop laughing all the way to the top of the stairs. Halfway down the stairs, Sirius was still trying to untie his shoes.
Upstairs, hand in hand, James and Lily had reached James’ door. James walked in, but Lily stopped at the door. Confused to find her hand no longer in his, James turned and looked at her sweetly.
“Am I coming in?” she asked. James hadn’t been expecting this.
“Why not? Sirius’ll go away,” argued James.
“Because, this is your parents house. It’s a bit odd to be… you know, kissy in their house.”
“And if they didn’t know?” he asked slyly.
“Then it might be less weird. Less,” she stressed. That was enough for him.
“Would it be alright if I, er… visited you later, then?”
Rolling her eyes inwardly, Lily couldn’t help but be flattered. He really wanted to be with her. Or was it just the kissing?
“Even if we just talk?”
A test. “Of course.” And if by chance we just so happen to snog after, so be it.
“Fine, then. But don’t let Black see. It’s way too awkward!” Lily smiled and pecked him on the lips. James tried to hide the triumph he felt swelling inside him. “You’re so cute when you get something,” she said.
With one last longing look, she turned and left for her room – though, not the one she had been occupying before the battle. The room two doors to the right of James’ was much brighter and cozier, so Lily had taken to sleeping there instead.
James lay down on his bed, a million thought buzzing inside his head. Sirius, as was his standard, promptly entered the room at precisely when James needed silence. However, he thankfully knew James well enough to sense that privacy was required. Climbing into bed, Sirius tapped his own head and instantly was wearing his boxers.
“OK if I turn out the lights?” Sirius asked. James nodded.
Another swish and the lights went out, plunging the room into pitch darkness for a few seconds. After a little while their eyes adjusted. By then, though, Sirius was dozing off. James waited another ten or fifteen minutes, then got out of bed. Using his animal-instinct hearing, James crept down the hall, closing the door silently behind him, and entered Lily’s room. She was sitting on the bed, holding a pillow.
Except, she didn’t look like she wanted to talk. She was wearing a plum colored slip, silky and framed with lace. It hugged her curves in all the right places. James felt his jaw drop.
Lily, flattered and amused, tilted her head and bit her lip, smiling hugely. Of course, this only made him more intrigued.
Collecting himself, James went and sat at the edge of the bed. “I didn’t tell you how nice it is to see you smile. You didn’t smile as much before, and it was a shame. It’s nice to see you smile.”
She scooted over and sat next to him, bending her knees out to the other side. “So,” began Lily, lying her head on his shoulder as usual, “what do you want to talk about?”
He didn’t trust himself. We start kissing and bad stuff happens. Well, not bad, just stuff. “Homework?” he suggested.
“Oh my god!” exclaimed Lily. Her head popped off his shoulder, aghast. “I didn’t do any of it!”
“No, Lils, of course you did it. Before we left school, remember? In the common room on Friday night?”
They sat together in silence. Finally, the question that had been pestering James spilled out.
“Lils? Tomorrow is back to school, and prefect stuff and tests… I was hoping…”
“Yes?” she said finally, when he hadn’t finished.
“I just wanted to kiss you.” Just.
“James, asking is nice, but I’m pretty sure we’re beyond that.”
Unable to wait any longer, he leaned in for a kiss. For a while, the just kissed, more and more deeply. Pinning her on the bed, he kissed her even more. They went along, Lily pressed down upon the bed and kissing harder still. At some point James’ jeans came off, boxers exposed. Again, his self-mistrust halted their progress.
“What?” she said breathlessly. James backed off from on top of her, sitting on the edge of the bed again. Lily sat up, flustered.
“I don’t think we should…. Maybe we should call it a night.” It cost him every ounce of strength to refuse her.
“But why?” I still don’t get it.
“Because, we can do as much of this as we want when we get a place. And I don’t want to take advantage of you.”
“Corniest thing I’ve ever heard. OK, fine. But won’t you at least stay here?”
“Sure,” said a smirking James.
Well, this is ironic. I’m the one asking James to sleep the night here. Weird. She moved under the covers. “Lights, please.”
She rolled over to look at him. “You didn’t bring your wand?”
“Walking down the hall two doors? I thought I could leave it. Plus,” he added, seeing her face, “it makes it look like I left for the toilet, or something, not went away to stay.”
“Fine,” Lily consented. She leaned over and grabbed her own wand from the bedside table. Flicking it quickly, the lights went low. “There. Now, I need to sleep – we have to sleep. We have an early train, remember.”
James lay down, on top of the covers next to her. He looked up at the ceiling, trying to sleep. Every time he did, though, his thoughts wandered to Lily wearing nothing but a purple satin nightdress…
“Why aren’t you sleeping?” she whispered.
“Because I can’t get the picture of you in that silky thing out of my head.” They both smirked.
“Well, fine, if you can’t sleep than give me your shirt.”
“What?” said James, confused.
“Hand it over. I’ll wear that instead. Or, maybe on top.”
With one last raised eyebrow, James started to take off his shirt. His Quidditch training definitely showed. All his muscles were toned, and other than a bruise on his rib, his skin was perfect.
“And how am I supposed to sleep with you looking like that?” she said. Flirting, again? Lily, you nut.
“Should I go back to my room?” he asked. He stood up, holding his shirt and looked down at her.
“I don’t know how either of us is going to sleep, otherwise.” She looked at him longingly, but her reason caught up. Lily sat up on her knees and gave him one last kiss. James bent to pick up his jeans, twisting into them. He walked to the door, but turned around once in the hall, head still inside the door.
“Night.” Lily sighed as the door closed, but as she lay down, the door opened again. She caught his shirt as it soared from the hall. She slept that night better than she had in several days, holding his shirt in her arms.
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Write a Review The Princess & The Prat (Finished): Chapter 18 - Last Night