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A/N: Guess who's back? This chapter is dedicated to EVERYONE who reviewed. Merci, Domo Arigato, Mahalo, Danke Schön, Muchas Gracias, Grazie, Thank You. (plus every other language that I didn't use).
Ch4 He’s not stupid, this Potter.
Oh Lord, why won’t James and Sirius put their shirts back on?
It’s rather awkward.
And not in an ‘arriving twenty minutes late to your first transfiguration class of the year and having to explain to McGonagall that it’s because your foot got trapped in a trick stair’ kind of awkward.
Much worse. I mean, how does someone have a civilized conversation with someone who has like three quarters of their body showing?
That’s a question I’d like answered before I die.
But while I’m at it, how does one have a civilized conversation with James Potter and Sirius Black while they are in a fifty-foot radius of each other?
I may never get that one answered.
“Lily, come back in the water!”
Why aren’t we allowed to use magic outside of school?
“No thank you, James. After that stunt your friend just pulled on me, I think I’d prefer to live.”
I think that answer was quite civilized.
Oh dear, Sirius is about to chime up now.
“All I wanted was a piggyback ride, Evans.”
More like, ‘let’s see how long Lily can stay underwater without drowning’.
This definitely will not be going on Sirius’ pro’s list.
If anything, it’s a con.
Well actually, if it can be anything, then it would be the worst con there is. Multiplied by a million. Squared. Plus two.
Too bad I don’t actually have a pros/cons list.
I should so make one.
New Year’s resolution.
“Lily, just get in the water. I promise I won’t let Sirius drown you,” James voiced.
Oh James, why do you set yourself up?
Be civilized, Lily.
“I don’t need your help. Which is something, I believe, I have told you before.”
Which is true.
Oh God, he’s smirking.
I wish I could take it and ship it away in a box. Preferably back in time. Maybe to the time of Napoleon.
Then Napoleon himself could stand on the box, (to make up for his shortness of course). And then the smirk would be in a box, under Napoleon’s feet, (who would then be tall), and it would be doing someone good.
I could stop randomly thinking about French history.
“You have told me that before, Lily.”
Oh right, I’ve told James that I didn’t need his help before.
I need to focus on the situation at hand.
“Ya, you told me that last year during exams, and during the train ride back to London, and during Christmas holidays, and during..”
Ok, that’s enough.
“All right, James. I get it. But I’m still not getting back in the water.”
The fact that you remember everything I’ve ever said to you is very creepy.
“Wow, James, you told me that Lily never talked to you. It sounds like she talked to you a lot last year.”
That’s why I love him. I was wondering when he’d join this messed up conversation.
“Dylan. We’ll talk about that later,” James quickly retorted.
James looks embarrassed.
My day is complete.
But I definitely talked to James last year. A lot in fact. And not all of it was insults. Some of it had to do with...well...I can’t remember now. But that doesn’t matter. He had no right to tell Dylan that I never talked to him.
Boy wants attention.
As if he doesn’t get enough of that at school.
I really shouldn’t be mad about this.
Why does he have so much control over my emotions?
“Thanks for lunch, Lily. Can I go play Quidditch with Sirius now?”
Where have I heard that sentence before...
“If you want to, Dylan. Might as well ask your brother to play too though, shouldn’t you?”
God knows how he loves the sport.
And he is sitting right there.
Ok, so why did the boys all glance at each other after I said that?
“I just want to play with Sirius today though. Whenever I play with James he shows off too much.”
Amen to that.
Might as well let him go. I mean, no one likes being forced to be in James’ company.
That may have been a little harsh. Good thing I didn’t say it out loud.
“Yay! Come on, let’s go Sirius!”
“I’m right behind you, kid.”
Well it’s decided. Black is still a kid. Even at age seventeen.
Good for him?
“So what do you want to do?” Came a voice from across the picnic table.
Something just took a turn for the worse.
Pity, just a pity.
“Excuse me, Potter?”
Seriously though. I can’t believe I didn’t think about the fact that I would be alone with him.
“So it’s Potter now, eh?”
Old habits are hard to lose.
Maybe if I just glare at him, he’ll get the message.
“So, do you want to go for a walk or something? There’s a little forest kind of down the road. We could go in there. It’s nice in there,” he asked.
Clearly he didn’t get the message.
Boys. Can’t take a hint.
And ‘it’s nice in there’? Who says that? It’s probably disgusting in there. It’s a forest for crying out loud.
“Did you get my email? We could talk about that.”
That could be interesting.
He sounds nervous. But then again, that email wasn’t just about rainbows and butterflies.
But do I want to risk getting lost in a forest with ‘the boy’? It’s really rather horrible to think of.
“I need to be here if Dylan needs anything, James,” I said.
It’s the truth.
I like to do my job if I’m getting paid for it, after all.
Why, oh why, is he laughing?
That’s not cool.
“Sirius is with him, Evans. They could play Quidditch for hours. And besides, he’s watched him before. Many times in fact. And Sirius has a little brother of his own. It’s perfectly fine, you won’t get ‘in trouble’ from my parents or anything like that.”
And he’s still laughing.
Girls love it when you make them feel like idiots.
I guess he missed that meeting.
“Seriously, let’s go. Kizzy can clean up and bring everything back inside to the kitchen.”
I bet he’s never cleaned up a day in his life.
Not that I care.
But it could be good for his ego to wash a few dishes once in a while.
“Why are you smiling?”
Just picturing you washing dishes, dear.
“No reason,” I lied.
So it looks like I have no choice but to go on this walk.
This walk of death.
Because if I survive this, then I will personally pat myself on the back.
Except I won’t, because that would be really uncool.
It only took a grand total of fifteen minutes to get to it.
Which means that it will take fifteen minutes to get back to the house later.
That’s half an hour.
That’s a long time.
Especially in utter silence.
“Ok, in we go,” James said, breaking the silence finally.
Like really. Please don’t talk like that.
What else am I supposed to say to that?
And now I am in a forest.
“So, Lily, do you like it here?”
I was going to start the conversation in a totally different way but props to him for speaking up first.
Oops. I must be in a French state of mind today. First Napoleon, and now this. Why am I attempting the language?
I even surprise myself sometimes.
“You know, you’re not like other girls.”
Glad he got the memo.
“And I pride myself on that fact.”
Well, I do.
And now he’s smiling.
“And you should. It’s really a good quality to have.”
Oh. Okay then. Thank you for that.
“Well thanks, James. That was nice.”
Oops, stepped on a twig. Oh well, there are more important things to be paying attention to then my footwork. ‘The Boy’ is being nice.
I’ll give myself a moment to gasp.
Okay, moving on.
I guess I should start a new conversation now. Something that won’t make me gasp again. It’s really an odd sound.
There’s only one thing I want to say to him.
And it won’t leave my mind. Since the moment I got here.
I’m not going to be able to restrain from talking about it any longer.
I wish I had self-control.
“You need to tell Dylan that he’s your cousin and not your brother.”
Oh well, can’t have everything.
Great, he’s not talking.
And his smile has definitely vanished.
Why do I have a knack for always doing that? Maybe it’s my special power.
That would suck.
James is about to speak. I should listen.
“Lily, I can’t. You don’t know what it’s like. I can’t. And it’s probably better if you didn’t get involved. The whole thing is a huge mess. You’re better off just forgetting about it.”
I guess he doesn’t know me that well after all.
“I can’t just forget about it. I keep thinking about how I would feel if it were me. I’d want to know, James,” I said.
We just passed a crooked tree. It somehow caught my attention, but I don’t know why.
“Look, I already told you that I want to tell him,” he answered.
So what’s the problem?
“The problem is my mother.”
“K, well, I don’t usually talk about this kind of stuff. But if you’ll listen, then I’ll try,” he added.
What choice do I have?
“Go for it,” I reckoned.
“Lily, I’m not exactly the most rule-abiding kid when I’m at Hogwarts.”
There’s a comment for the understatement police.
Seriously, thank you Captain Obvious.
“And I know my mom has a problem with that. So when I’m home, I try to be as good as I can. I listen to her. I do what she says. I try not to break her rules. Which is basically why I’ve broken every rule at school. I compensate, Lily.”
That made me smile.
Oh, he has more.
“She doesn’t want to tell Dylan. I respect her wish even if it sounds stupid to me. I don’t want to disappoint her any more then I already do, all right? There’s your answer.”
Am I talking to a totally different person here?
Who knew James had a conscience after all?
Who knew he trusted me enough to tell me?
Who knew he was a totally different person when he was at home?
Who knew I could have so many questions running through my head at one time?
What do I say to him…
“I understand the problem you’re faced with. Don’t roll your eyes at me because I do, James. But maybe you should talk to your mom about all of this. She may understand.”
Words of wisdom, (if I do say so myself).
Oh no, he stopped walking and he’s now looking me straight in the eyes.
How can someone tell so much just from their eyes?
I should learn his secret.
Maybe I could harness two special powers.
“I’ll think about it, Lily.”
That’s a start.
“So do you actually want to talk about the email, James?”
Because it will be mighty awkward if we do.
“Well, I’m thinking now, to save both of us from awkwardness, maybe you should just reply to it. Tonight perhaps? When we’re both in separate rooms.”
Wow, why do we think alike? That’s not normal.
So this forest is actually quite pretty. With all it’s trees and flowers. I could see myself going for walks here all the time if I lived here. Which I do not. Because I’m not a Potter. Mustn’t ever let that thought run through my mind again.
“So what do you want to talk about then?” I asked.
Hey, it’s an honest question, is it not?
“How about we play a game. I get to ask you any three questions I want and you can ask me any three questions you want. And we have to answer honestly, deal?”
Why do I sense that this will not end well.
Might as well give it a chance though.
Why do I give everything a chance?
It’s bloody annoying.
“All right, I guess. Do you already have a question?” I asked.
I already know the answer to that one.
“Sure. I’ll go first,” he said a little too happily.
What a reply.
Of course you will, when do you not?
Well. Let’s get this over with.
“Ok, question one. Would you actually sooner go out with any other boy in Hogwarts before you went out with me?” James asked.
Damn, I knew that would come around and bite me later.
Better be honest. No one likes a liar.
This isn’t going to help his ego.
“No, James. I would not sooner go out with any other boy before you. There are a select few who may be a little more undesirable then yourself,” I answered.
Can’t be completely nice. He’ll think I’ve fallen head over heels in love with him.
Which I have not.
“That’s all I needed to hear,” he said with a huge smile on his face, “your turn, sweetie.”
I kind of wish I could read his mind.
He probably thinks he’s making progress with me.
Okay, my turn.
What have I always wanted to know about the one and only James Potter?
This is going to be gutsy on my part.
I hope he doesn’t get the wrong idea.
But inquiring minds want to know.
“Erm…all right. When did you lose your virginity?”
What better time to ask? I’m not going to waste my question on something lame like ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’.
I hope he doesn’t judge me.
He’s not smiling anymore.
Well that’s a little out of character, isn’t it?
“You had to ask that,” he said with a sigh.
Does he not remember?
Was it that long ago?
Or have there been so many girls after that he can’t keep track of who was the first?
His reputation says it all, really.
“Okay. And you can’t tell anyone this. Not anyone at Hogwarts especially. But I haven’t lost my virginity yet.”
Hold the phone.
“I’m sorry? What?” I asked.
I don’t care if I sound stupid.
If he’s lying to me, I’m going to throw something at his forehead. Preferably a nice big chunk of bark from one of the trees nearby.
“Who do you think I am, Evans? We’re seventeen.”
Exactly what I had been thinking all this time I thought you were sleeping around.
“Well your reputation, and Sirius Black, say otherwise.”
He’s not getting out of this without some explaining.
“It’s just an act, Lily. I can’t believe you of all people bought it. We do have some respect, you know. It’s just fun playing the ‘school players’.”
Here goes that ‘let’s make Lily feel like an idiot’ thing again.
“Well, you just make it seem very convincing, okay? It’s not like I’m the only one who thinks that.”
Truth right there.
“I know. But the only people who know the accuracy of the situation are the marauders and now you. So let’s keep it that way.”
You learn something new about someone each and every day.
He has respect for women?
That’s a good trait for guys of our generation to have.
Dare I say I’m proud of him?
I’ll just think it.
“Okay, you’re turn again,” I reminded him.
And the smile is back on his face.
“Right. What do you look for in a guy?”
Good, an easy one.
“I like someone who’s confident in himself, but not overly…someone who I can talk with as if he’s my best friend, someone who can make me smile or laugh even when I really don’t feel like it…er…someone who will give me respect and honesty, someone who’s not afraid to be original and just someone who can make me happy every time I see them or hear their name. Oh! And eyes. I’m a sucker for nice eyes.”
That seems like a pretty good list.
It’s what all girls are looking for, really.
A guy who has all of that could get any girl he wants. In my most humble opinion.
“And you don’t deserve any less,” James said, breaking me from my thoughts as he always does.
That was cute.
Why does he make me smile? He’s got a talent for it. Hey, maybe that’s what his magic talent is.
“So my turn then,” I said, “okay, I’ve always kind of wondered this. Don’t take this as me being mean because I’m just genuinely curious. Why is Peter a marauder? He just doesn’t seem to fit in with you guys.”
I hope that sounded all right.
Don’t want to offend the Potter.
Not after he’s being so nice to me.
Hey, maybe this was what Mrs. Potter warned me about. When she said that James had a way with words.
“Well it’s simple really. Peter is a good guy. We can count on him to be there for us, to listen to us, and to offer his true friendship. He’s not like most other guys who get jealous of us, not to sound conceited or anything. I don’t know what it is about him Lily; he just plays the part of a friend really well. And who said that friends had to be similar anyways?”
That’s a fair question.
Friends can be complete opposites and still get along perfectly well.
He’s not stupid, this Potter.
And he used the word conceited.
“Okay. Good answer. Your turn, last question,” I said, a little choked up about his answer towards Peter. When did James start becoming a normal person?
So I don’t really know where we are in the forest either. We’ve been walking for what seems like forever.
Normally I would complain.
But dare I say that I may actually be having a somewhat decent time?
It’s interesting to say the least.
But we should probably start heading back soon so that it doesn’t take us hours to get home.
After the game I’ll suggest the turnaround.
“Okay. Here we go. What is it about me that you hate?”
He actually sucked in his breath after he said that.
Cute. He’s worried I’ll explode on him or something.
I bet he’s been dying to ask that since the beginning.
Now how do I even approach that question?
“I don’t hate you,” I said point blankly.
That should be a good way to start.
Oh My God, he actually stopped walking. That’s how much shock he’s in.
Better smooth this out somehow.
“Look James, I don’t hate anyone. Especially not you. Sometimes you do things that annoy me, it’s true, but since I’ve been here…I’ve already seen a whole new side of you. It’s actually scary. But I don’t hate you. In the past, there has been a strong dislike…but never hate. Okay? Please don’t rub it in my face.”
He raised his eyebrows.
“What is it that annoys you?” He asked.
Now I’m going to raise my eyebrows.
Two can play at this game, Mr. Potter.
“You only said three questions. You have to figure that one out on your own,” I replied.
James Potter doesn’t get everything he asks for.
So while he walks on in silence, I guess it’s my turn again.
“K, so last question. Why do you keep asking me out? I need to know once and for all. Is it some kind of bet or something?”
Please just tell me it’s a bet.
“Because I want to be with you and I’m not going to give up…because I know you’re going to say yes one of these times.”
I would have preferred if it were a bet.
“But why do you want to be with me? Why could you possibly like me after I’ve turned you down so many times?”
Oh God he’s smiling again.
Not a good sign.
“If I only get three questions, then the same goes for you too. You can figure that one out on your own,” he answered.
Snap. Again. This time directed to me.
He’s got wit.
I should have seen that one coming.
Man, I’m smiling again!
What is it with this boy?
I need some alone time.
As queer as that sounds.
“James, let’s head back now,” I said quietly.
I can’t let myself be friends with him.
I just can’t.
“Exactly what I was thinking, dear,” he replied.
I wonder how many times I can say I can’t before the summer is over.
A/N: It feels good to be writing again. I hope you enjoyed this.
Write a Review The Summer Before Seventh (as told by Lily Evans): He's not stupid, this Potter.