You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


Bitter About You by singing

Format: Novella
Chapters: 8
Word Count: 30,092
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: Romance
Characters: Lupin, Sirius, Lily, James, Pettigrew
Pairings: James/Lily, Remus/OC

First Published: 04/20/2005
Last Chapter: 06/14/2011
Last Updated: 06/14/2011

Summary:
Lily was bitter. She was bitter that James Potter got everything that he ever wanted--he was popular, rich, smart, loved, and a Quidditch superstar. Little did she know that James didn't have everything he wanted but wished he had the one thing he couldn't have--her.


Chapter 1: Chapter 1
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Hello, everyone! Thanks for clicking on this--I'll stop rambling in a minute. Obviously this is a Lily and James fanfic, with a little bit of a twist. It's mostly canon, you know, so I didn't make too much up. It's basically the typical L/J situation: James loves Lily, Lily hates James. I loved how in OotP we found out that James makes an absolute fool of himself so he can get Lily to like him--too cute. Anyway, this story isn't going to be like my other one Living Life--which is more angsty and dramatic. It won't be nearly as long either. And this will be in two point of views--Lily's and James's. It's not first person, but at one point you know what Lily's thinking, and the other you find out what James was doing and thinking also.

I think that's about it--I hope you all like it!


Thanks

- Katie (singing)





Okay, so maybe she wasn’t exactly perfect. She had to admit, practically everyone at her school thought she was. At some point, even she considered herself to be a girl with no temper problems, with a clear head that only thought about important things that no one her age seemed to think about. Grades. School. Careers. She never had done anything with another boy so she thought of herself to be quite pure—and very, very levelheaded. That is, until she encountered him.

Which of course, she always did. Anywhere. Anytime. He was always, constantly getting in her way.

His name was James Potter. He was in her school, (unfortunately) was in her year, (also unfortunately) and was an arrogant boy who decided the moment he saw her that he should fancy her (very, very unfortunate).

She honestly didn’t know why he did. She felt that there was nothing special about her, even if most people thought differently. But her standoffish, cold attitude was necessary. If she weren’t like that, people would take advantage of her. They’d see things about her that no one, in her opinion, should ever see. People then would know that calling her a mudblood really did hurt her.

And no one could find that out.

“Thanks for letting me borrow your notes, Lily.”

Lily looked up and forced a smile as Daphne Henderson, a girl who shared their dorm with her and was also in her year, came over to where she was laying down on her bed. Daphne, unlike Lily, had shed herself from her uniform and was wearing a pair of flared out, bellbottom jeans, a red halter-top, and platform sandals—nightclothes. Lily never wore anything like that, which was rather sensible, since Lily never went out.

“No problem,” Lily said, trying to be friendly. Although she found Daphne terribly annoying, at least when she was giggling over Sirius Black and Potter, she tried to be nice to her so the girls in her dormitory would see that she was a civilized girl that didn’t want to bite their heads off. She only wanted to bite one person’s head off, which was namely, a boy’s.

Damn that Potter, she thought. It was completely his fault that everyone thought of her that way. Well, maybe not entirely but still…

“Mm-hmm.” Daphne said, nodding and taking off. Lily rolled her eyes as she immediately got out of the room; as if she was afraid she’d catch Lily’s ability to be unsocial.

It was usually like this; she’d come up from dinner and do her homework in the common room, were Potter would usually follow her and start annoying her endlessly. Once she was done with whatever essays she had to do, she’d leave the common room and head up the stairs to the girls’ dormitory. She’d stay up there the rest of the night; just catching up on some reading or if she was really tired, just fall asleep. Even on Fridays, the routine never changed.

Lily sighed and turned over so she was lying down on her stomach. She glanced up at the clock and saw that it was only nine o’ clock. I really don’t have a life.

Even though James Potter irritated her, she couldn’t help but think about him often when she was up in her dormitory, contemplating. It wasn’t because she found him charming, handsome, or debonair, like he would continuously remind her that he was. It was simply because nothing else remotely out of the ordinary happened to her unless he was there.

He was the only subject she could think about.

Of course, she’d never admit it. When she actually admitted it to herself, she’d always feel her stomach bubbling up in fury. But it was true. James Potter was what made her life out of ordinary. She hesitated to say it…but he was what made her life, slightly (only slightly, Lily reassured herself angrily) interesting.

Like that day for instance. Potter had come up to her during lunch and just sat there, staring at her.

“You look nice, today.” He said, as if they were continuing a conversation instead of starting one. At least, he was. Lily sipped her pumpkin juice and didn’t glance up at him from her book, although she could feel his disturbing stare still on her.

Lily ignored him, like she always did at first. She had gotten tired of trying to be friendly to him, since he’d always wear her out with their heated arguments which usually consisted of him asking her why she’d never give him a chance and Lily snapping back that she was tired of having him annoy her. So instead, she pretended he wasn’t there, which of course, considering the boy’s personality, never worked. What else could she do?

Nothing, Lily answered herself gloomily. And she was right, because Potter wasn’t a giver-upper. No, he instead fought endlessly for what he wanted, which was unfortunately for Lily, a date with her.

Black had passed by, snickering as Daphne followed him around with her friends. Remus Lupin lagged behind with Peter Pettigrew, trying to explain something to him from their lesson in Charms that day. If Lily didn’t hate the “Marauders”, as they insisted everybody called them, she’d help Pettigrew out. But of course, she didn’t. Anyone who was associated with Potter, (which was everyone, practically) Lily usually didn’t like talking to.

“I mean, you should put your hair in a ponytail more often,” Potter said in an offhand voice. It was rather ridiculous, since Lily wasn’t talking and it looked like he was talking to himself. “It looks really…yeah.”

Lily turned the page of her book, still not acknowledging his existence. This of course, frustrated Potter, since he was used to being the center of attention. When Lily was trying to be understanding of his point of view she would reason in her head that it wasn’t exactly his fault that he was the way he was; he was probably a spoiled, pampered only child who got whatever he wanted. It probably made him angry that Lily didn’t want him.

But it was so hard to think like that.

“Damn it, Evans,” he said, running a hand through his jet-black hair, causing it to become even shaggier than usual. Lily couldn’t help but narrow her eyes; his habit of messing up his hair was always something that annoyed her endlessly. “Do you really hate me that much?”

Lily bit her lip and resisted in saying, “Yes, yes I do.” She saw from the corner of her eye that Potter had noticed, and was licking his lips. Ugh, gross.

“See?” Potter said, sounding smug. “I know you’re listening to me.”

Lily inwardly cursed herself and pretended that she was in a bubble. That way, she wouldn’t be able to hear him yapping next to her.

Potter’s voice was so loud and annoying, well at least for her anyway, that the whole “bubble” technique didn’t work. “You know what?” he said, still sounding so sure of himself. “I’m not calling you Evans anymore.”

It was the strangest thing he had ever said, and that counted the time that he had told her that he wanted to have a child with her colored eyes. Lily couldn’t help but say sadistically, “Well, that is my name, you know.”

This was a huge mistake, though. Potter suddenly widened his eyes, as if he didn’t expect her to talk during “their” whole conversation. Then a grin slowly formed on his face, an easy one, and the one he’d always use when he was talking to her.

She hardly found this flattering.

“I knew you’d give in,” he said, although it was clear by his earlier expression that he wasn’t expecting her to talk at all. “And you’re right; Evans is your name, but it’s your surname.”

Lily looked at him incredulously, hardly believing what she was hearing. “So, what? Are you going to start calling me Lily now?” She laughed, and Potter stopped grinning momentarily. He was giving her a disturbing stare again.

“Well, yes.” he said slowly.

Lily rolled her eyes. “Potter,” she sighed. “You really do have too much spirit, you know that?”

“Spirit is what makes your personality,” Potter said, raising his eyebrows.

“Well, I don’t really like your personality much either, do I?”

Potter pretended to look hurt, which she had to admit, he did a pretty good job of. But the boy in front of her didn’t have feelings. Not that she knew of, anyway.

“Are you done?” Lily asked, glancing at him for a moment. Potter sighed then reluctantly got up.

“You know, Lily,” he said, leaning forward so that his face was in barely an inch away from hers. She groaned inwardly that he was already taking his plan into action. “You’re going to like me someday. I know it. And I think you know it, too.”

“Don’t get your hopes up, Potter,” Lily said dryly, and then returned to her book. She didn’t want to talk to him.

“I don’t need to,” he said, just as he was leaving.

When Lily thought back to it, she really did give him too much information. James was hard to read already, and she wanted to make it look like she was the same. That way, he’d get frustrated with her like she did with him, and he’d stop liking her.

If only life was so kind.

Lily basically hated James Potter for being, well, James Potter. They couldn’t be more different. He was arrogant and thought the best of himself, when Lily’s efforts to get top grades were to prove to herself that she was capable for a better future. He was rich, and Lily could hardly be called that. He was popular, and Lily had no friends whatsoever. James loved Quidditch, (he was Chaser and captain, after all) while Lily detested any kind of sports. James had a nice, non-dysfunctional family, at least from what she had heard of. He lived in a manor, and had best friends who he could count on for anything. Lily had no one like that in her life.

She had to admit that sometimes she envied him. Everybody loved James Potter, the champion of all their Quidditch matches and the boy who had loving parents and got good grades. She hated how he got everything without even trying; when she had to work hard for anything she needed or wanted.

She hated it.

***

Why do I like her?

James sat there, barely tuning in to his friends’ conversation. He glanced at the girls’ staircase, which he knew led to the girls’ dormitories, a haven James always wanted to cross.

The reason was pretty obvious.

He leaned back and forced a laugh as his best friend, Sirius Black, cracked a joke. It was necessary for James to laugh; Sirius and he had been practically brothers growing up, since James was the only child and Sirius’s relatives were hardly what you called friendly. Sirius didn’t seem to care that James wasn’t paying attention though, he knew what James was probably thinking about, and Daphne Henderson was giggling at any little word Sirius said, fluttering her eyelashes.

Knowing Sirius wouldn’t mind at all at the moment, James said distractedly, “Hey, Padfoot. I think I’m going for a walk.”

Sirius seemed to be momentarily concentrated on Daphne’s legs, which were shapely even under jeans. He merely shrugged and said, “Go ahead mate. Don’t hurt yourself.”

Of course Sirius already knew where he was going. James pretended to not notice his heeded warning and got up from his comfy armchair, stretching his arms and earning some glances from a flock of fifth year girls that always seemed to be behind him. He smiled at them; rather innocently he had to add, since he found fifth year girls far too young for him, unlike Sirius. Sirius, however, found that any girl who had already gotten to puberty was a matching fit to be his one-week stand.

“See you later,” James said as he passed his other good friend, Remus Lupin, who was sitting in a chair in the corner, immersed in a book as always. He noticed Lannie Williamson was sitting nearby on the floor, although still far away from Remus. James rolled his eyes at this; he and Sirius and perhaps the rest of the school knew that Lannie, the quiet yet sort of pretty girl, (then again, as Sirius continuously reminded him, his eyes were only glued to Lily, thus blocking his hormones to react to any other girl) fancied Remus for a while now. Remus however, being the gentleman he was, always would defend Lannie and tell James and Sirius off for making fun of her (every time the boys would mention Lannie, the rest of the Marauders would start making disturbing slurping noises with an invisible woman).

“Off to the spot again?” Remus asked absentmindedly. James grinned.

“Yeah.”

“Alright. Well don’t get too into it.”

“Yeah, yeah.” James said, rolling his eyes. “Whatever.”

“See you, then.”

“Bye, Lannie.” James grinned, as he passed her. Lannie, who had been peeking at Remus behind her book upside-down, jumped at being addressed and blushed furiously. She hid her crimson face behind the book.

Peter Pettigrew was found to be at a table near the staircase, biting his lip and trying to do his homework. Once seeing that his friend was approaching him, he immediately closed his book, looking relieved to be held off his homework for a while. “Going to that place again, Prongs?”

Sometimes James hated how his friends knew him far too well. “Yeah.” James said, trying not to let his voice sound sober. He grimaced, knowing what was next.

“Shouldn’t you know by now that Evans is never going to like you?”

“Thanks, Pete.” James said sarcastically.

“Just telling the truth, mate.”

“I appreciate it,” James said grimly. “Well, I’ll see you later, then. I can help you with your homework if you like.”

Peter gave the book he was reading and the half-finished essay a fearful look. “That would be nice.” He said weakly. Then he muttered, “I hate Charms.”

Lily’s face appeared in James’s mind. Lily liked Charms. In fact, it was her favorite subject.

“Yeah, I know,” James said, not really paying attention to what he was saying, since his mind was on one of those Lily rebound moments. “Well, see you then.”

“Bye, Prongs.”

James strode over to the portrait hole, where predictably the fifth year girls were standing nearby, pretending to look nonchalant. This time James ignored them and climbed through the hole, glancing for a moment at their crestfallen faces. James grimaced and left the common room. If only they knew him. Then again, not a lot of people did.

Once he was alone, ignoring the calls from the Fat Lady portrait, who was telling him off for getting out of the common room out of hours again, James thought about the question that Sirius had popped up on him during lunch, just after he had gone to talk to Lily. During their conversation, James told him that he was now going to be calling Lily by her first name now, something he wanted to do for a long time. Lily was so much better than Evans anyway.

When Evans rejected him once again, James had gone to sit with his friends, and that was when Sirius asked him; Why do you like her?

But did he even know? James dug his fists into his pockets and wandered the moonlit halls, passing through the tapestries and walking skillfully quiet, due to Filch and some sixth year prefects to be patrolling the halls tonight. Since all of the sixth years feared him, due to James being Quidditch captain, Head Boy, and supposedly the most popular boy in the school, James didn’t have to worry about them. Thus he only had to keep an eye out for Filch, the caretaker who had held a grudge against him and the rest of the Marauders for a while for their havoc-causing record.

It was partly because of James’s popularity that Lily, the deemed love of his life, hated him. At least, that’s what he thought, due to her dropped clues. She’d always call him arrogant, bigheaded, and smug; things that James had to admit were part of the show he’d put on for everyone. But that was because he wanted to get her attention, and unfortunately, the only way he could think of how to do that was by making an idiot of himself in front of her.

But he wasn’t like that anymore. Not after what happened last year, with Snape.

James shook his head and ran his hand through his shaggy black hair, remembering that Lily had once told him that she hated it when he did that. James automatically dropped his hand and continued walking, pausing once and a while to look outside.

James closed his eyes and leaned against the wall, just so he could think about her for a while. He could never do this in front of his friends, who would always know what he was doing. Sirius called it pre-masturbation, something that would always earn him a good thump on his head.

He started to think about her eyes, which were his favorite physical attribute. James remembered first noticing Lily’s vivid, auburn hair, and then noticing her beautiful, emerald green eyes. He was in first year at the time, and James remembered that he stood there for a full minute, staring at the girl. Sirius looked at him, raising his eyebrow, and then pulled his ear painfully. “What are you doing, staring at that girl for?” he had said, in his squeaky, eleven-year old voice. James had blushed crimson, since a moment later Lily had turned around, looking for the person who had just yelped in pain. She blushed also; although it was the only time he remembered her blushing because of him. James liked the feeling.

Was that when I started liking her? James wondered if he liked Lily because of her eyes. He immediately countered the idea however, since James knew that this obsessive adoration couldn’t be just because of something physical, although Lily was quite pretty.

Quite? Uh, I don’t think so, James thought. To him, Lily was the most gorgeous, astonishingly beautiful, person in the world. Imagine how cute our kids would look…

James was just starting to kick himself for getting so desperately in love with her, when someone said shakily, “Potter, you’re not supposed to down here.”

He opened his eyes groggily and saw that two sixth year girls were holding their wands with alight at the tip. James could tell that they were trying to look brave and intimidating, although James knew if that was the case, they wouldn’t be patrolling in pairs.

“Oh, that’s right.” James said nonchalantly, jumping off the windowsill he was sitting at and brushing his robes. “Sorry about that, girls.”

The girl in the back blushed furiously, while the other said, “So, you’re going to the common room…right?”

“Sure.” James said seriously. He stood there for a moment, pausing. “Good to know that some prefects are doing their jobs right.” He wanted to burst out laughing at that statement, but since he was Head Boy and all, he had to at least try to set a good example.

The girl in the back squeaked, “Thanks.”

“Yep, no problem.” James said, giving them a charming grin. He walked past the two girls and winked, so they wouldn’t notice that he was going in the opposite direction of the common room.

Not that they would do anything about it. Predictably, one of the girls said in an audible voice, “That was James Potter talking to us,”

“Whatever,” the other snapped, although she smiled when James waved to them as he turned the corner. “He’s not going to the common room, you know.”

“But still,” the first girl said breathlessly. “He’s James Potter…”

Okay, James. Enough stalling, James thought as he kept on walking, although he was rather moody. He reached the entrance hall and took out his wand, pointing it at the locked front doors and muttering a charm so that it would open. James took a hold of the handle and tugged at it, ignoring the ominous creak that was echoing loudly in the room.

Once he was outside, James turned right and started to move around the building, looking for the right window. The castle was huge, and it took a while for him to get there. He walked along the border, shaking his head as it drizzled outside. His thick hair sent water flying everywhere.

James sighed as he saw the lake in the distance. He liked that lake. He always wanted to take her there as a first date and just sit there sprawled on the grass, holding each other and hopefully the sky would be clear—so they could see stars.

He hated how he was so romantic. Sirius would always call him lovesick, anyway.

He could tell which tower it was instantly. James stood out there, tilting his head upwards as he counted the windows. He passed his own dormitory window above, where the lights were all off. His friends were still in the common room.

His heart stopped once he saw her. Then again, it always did.

She was crossing the room, with bobby pins in her mouth. He watched as she put her hair up in a high ponytail, taking the bobby pins out of her mouth and sliding them into her hair. The mirror she was using was right next to the window, so he could see her in her loose nightgown. He sighed, wishing for once she could see him the same way he saw her.

Once she looked satisfied with her hair, she smiled slightly and picked up her book on the cabinet beside her. She then disappeared out of sight, probably sliding into her bed so she could read.

It was quite lucky actually that he saw her at all. Usually, when James came, he wouldn’t see her in any of the windows. He knew which one it was though, since as soon as he found out which window was his dormitory’s window, he decided to figure out hers too. When he wouldn’t see her sometimes he’d just sit down and imagine he did…pretending that she didn’t hate him and was actually getting ready for a date with him.

But life wasn’t so kind.

James knew that his friends were right in warning him not to come, since he’d always get moody during these little “visits”. He collapsed on the ground, closing his eyes as he lay back against the moist grass. He blew air out of his mouth, his hair in his eyes ruffling slightly.

“Lily, why can’t you just see me?”

But she didn’t. She never did.



Tell me what you guys think! I answer practically all my reviews, so if you have any questions, just ask.
 


Chapter 2: Chapter 2
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Hey, guys! Well, here's chapter two. I'd like to thank all of you so far for reviewing! I can't believe how many reviews I already have for chapter one and how many people like this. Thanks a lot! Also, a lot of people have been asking me if I'm still going to be writing my other two stories, Living Life and Reason to Live, and yes, I am. I love ALL of my stories and I won't abandon them. I might update more frequently on this one, however, just because the chapters are much shorter than the ones in Living Life. That doesn't mean though that I'm abandoning any of them.

Also, I'd like to ask you guys to please not to stop reading my other stories too, because I have a lot in store for them.

Thanks, again, guys! Oh, and below when it says it's ten degrees outside, I mean that's in Celsius. Sorry if I converted it wrong...in the U.S. for some strange reason they use Farhenheit instead of Celsius, like the rest of the world... Just remember it's chilly, September weather--like the beginning of fall. You also learn a little bit more of Lily's family in this one--but not too much. Don't want to give too much away. :-) Oh, and the parents have nothing to do with Living Life's parents...completely different problems here, people. Heh.

Anyway, enjoy!






The bustling of the girls woke her up the next morning instead of her alarm clock. Lily opened her eyes and stretched, flexing all of her toes and yawning. She waited for a while, since the morning was the part of her day she dreaded most, even more than breakfast, where Potter would always come along and ruin her day even more. She sat up and pressed her fingers against her temples, then swung her legs over the bed, wrenching open the four-poster.

The sunlight streaming through the window overwhelmed her eyes. She squinted and rubbed them, reaching towards her hair and taking her bobby pins out. Lily never took them out, although she wasn’t exactly sure why. She supposed that she wanted to look perfect and poised even when she went to sleep, just like she was in the morning.

Lily kept her eyes downwards determinedly, hoping that the person she had been dreading would ignore her that day. Sometimes, when Lily was lucky, she wouldn’t say anything. But not that day.

“Oh, look who just got up from her beauty sleep. You probably should get more of it, you know. You look awful.”

Lily sighed and tried to look indifferent as she turned around to look at the girl who was sitting on the windowsill, filing her nails. She had long, straight brown hair and dark brown eyes with a creamy complexion. Since it was the weekend, she didn’t have her Hogwarts uniform on, which would always have several buttons of her top undone to expose a lot of her chest and a shortened skirt that revealed more than any of the other girls. Instead she was wearing a tight sweater and bellbottoms with tall shoes, which made Heather Foster, look taller and more intimidating than the other girls. Her sneering expression made it clear what she felt about Lily: absolute loathing.

Heather, like numerous other girls, had dated Potter. She had dated all of the bachelors of Hogwarts except for Black, which was rather surprising since it seemed that Sirius Black was on a mission to date all of the girls in the school and break their hearts a week later. Lily supposed that in these rare moments, Black was an honorable man. When it came to best friends’ girlfriends—they were off-limits, period.

Heather and Potter had dated for a while. The day he broke up with her made Heather hate Lily even more. Before, she just thought Lily was grotesque and a geek. Now she seemed to want to prevent Lily from any sort of happiness that she might have. And why? Because when James Potter broke up with her, his exact words were: “Sorry, Heather, but I’m in love with Lily Evans.”

He definitely didn’t gain any points with her then.

Lily sighed. Heather wasn’t the first girl that had ended up hating Lily because Potter had fancied her.

“Thanks, Heather.” Lily said. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

Heather narrowed her eyes with one hand on her hip, since she always leaned forward on one leg to make herself look scarier, Lily supposed. She then threw her head back and laughed, throwing her thick, shiny hair to the side as she did so. Rachel Eve and Courtney Jenson were on Heather’s bed, probably in a midst of a conversation when Lily woke up, but immediately stopped talking once Heather did this and started laughing also, as if on cue.

Lily felt her face grow hotter just as the bathroom door opened. Lannie Williamson, the other girl that shared a dorm with Lily came out already dressed, her golden blonde hair swept up in her usual ponytail that would always swish side to side when she was walking down the halls. Her hair came abruptly to a halt as she stopped in the doorway, pushing her bangs out of her aqua-green eyes, which moved from Heather, to Lily, to Rachel and Courtney, then back to Lily.

“Heather, your laughter is pretty annoying, you know.” Lannie said finally, raising an eyebrow. Heather stopped shrieking and straightened her face to look at her, frowning. Most people liked Lannie and therefore Heather would not only gain her as an enemy, but all of her friends too, so she couldn’t afford to be mean to her. But then again, Heather didn’t let anyone insult her.

“Williamson, mind your own business.” Heather hissed.

Lannie grinned, although Lily didn’t know exactly why. How could she find Heather not intimidating? She must be different, Lily thought. She watched as Lannie laughed quietly to herself.

“Alright.” Lannie said, still beaming. And then, to Lily’s utter surprise and everyone else’s in the room, Lannie then said, “Hey Lily, want to go down to breakfast with me?”

Lily stared at her and Heather snorted loudly, Rachel and Courtney guffawing at her side. It was common knowledge to everyone at Hogwarts that Lily didn’t have any friends. Everyone just knew.

It was the perfect opportunity, too. If Lily wanted to—she wouldn’t be an outcast anymore, she’d have friends. Because if she became friends with Lannie, Lannie’s friends would eventually become her friends also. But instead of agreeing to go with her, Lily said softly, “No, it’s alright.”

They both heard distinctly Heather whisper, “I knew it.” Lily frowned, pretending she hadn’t heard.

Lannie, however, merely shrugged. She swept her hair out of her eyes again and said nonchalantly, “Alright. See you later, then. Bye Heather. Oh, and I guess I’ll see you two later too.” She grinned at Rachel and Courtney, and then waved to Heather just as she left.

“Let’s go.” Heather snarled, marching out of the dorm after Lannie. Her cronies got up as soon as she did, following her out.

Lily frowned and closed the door behind them, sitting on her bed for a while and contemplating. She sighed and pressed her forehead against her palms. She was glad they were out.

***

“Have you even tried doing anything I told you to?”

James looked dully at Remus. “Yes. How many times do I have to tell you?”

Remus raised his eyebrows knowingly. James hated it when he did that; it made it seem like Remus knew a lot more about him than James himself. Then again, that was probably right. Remus had that annoying talent that he could just see through people.

Damn him. But at the same time, James wouldn’t have made any progress with Lily. If you call that progress, James thought bitterly.

Remus cleared his throat and then said patiently, “Alright, then. What did you do?”

“I told her that I’d be calling her Lily from now on.” James said, stabbing moodily at his eggs and deforming them. “And she didn’t even seem to be impressed.”

Sirius, who so far had been quiet due to the fact that his mouth was full of bacon, suddenly gave his friends an incredulous look. “You’re not calling her Evans anymore? Why not?”

“Remus told me that she’d feel closer to me if I started calling her by her first name.” James said, sighing as if he highly doubted it. “But she still hates me.”

Remus seemed to be struggling to have a comforting look on, but it turned out more to be annoyed. “It’s only been one day, Prongs.”

“So? It’s been only six years for me, hasn’t it, Moony?”

“And a half.” Peter interjected. James glared at him, and he grinned sheepishly.

Sirius raised his eyebrow at Remus. “Do you honestly believe that Lily Evans—Lily Evans—is going to suddenly fall in love with James because he calls her Lily now?”

“No,” Remus said, rolling his eyes. “Of course not. But we are taking one step at a time, aren’t we?”

“Hm,” Peter said, looking thoughtful.

“What is it?” James asked dully, hoping that at least one person would tell him that Lily was probably going to fall in love with him that very day. Peter usually was the one who’d cheer James up—but that was probably because he was James’s most easygoing friend who’d go along with anything.

But whatever. James was looking for anything right now to comfort him.

Peter squinted while contemplating the options. The other three boys looked at him attentively as they waited for an answer. Finally, Peter said, “These eggs aren’t that great, you know.”

Sirius rolled his eyes and looked at James, who was looking even sulkier now for some reason. “What’s wrong, Prongs?”

“It’s just,” James sighed. “Lily doesn’t like eggs either.”

“No, I like eggs, it’s just that this morning—”

“Evans doesn’t like eggs?” Sirius interrupted, as if that was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. Then once he noticed just what he had said, he doubled back; practically screaming, “Hang on! How the hell do you know that?”

There was an awkward silence in the Great Hall as several people swiveled in their seats to look at them. Remus blushed furiously as he always did at the sudden rush of attention that his friends seemed to attract towards him too and pulled out his book, burying his face in it. James gave Sirius an exasperated look for being so loud while Peter smiled.

“Because he watches her every move,” Peter said smugly, once the talking in the Hall had resumed and people weren’t staring at them as much anymore. He then lowered his eyes, mumbling, “And I do like eggs…”

James looked at Sirius, who was scrunching his nose up in disgust, and turned slightly red. “I do not,” he said hotly.

“Oh look, he’s blushing.” Sirius said disgustedly. He pretended to gag right there in his seat, clutching his throat as if something invisible was blocking his windpipe.

“Oh, shut—” James suddenly stopped, feeling his lungs contract to a considerably smaller size as that familiar lump formed in his throat again. “Oh, god.”

Remus lowered his book with an inquiring look as both James and Sirius turned in their seats. Peter was busying himself with some cereal, not paying much attention anymore.

Sirius narrowed his eyes at James once noticing what he was talking about. “You—” Sirius started, poking him in the chest. “Are disgusting.”

For Lily Evans had just entered the Hall and was going towards the Gryffindor table, passing them without a word as she determinedly looked forward. Once she was gone James exhaled loudly, as if he was holding his breath the entire time. Sirius smacked him over the head.

“OW! Sirius, what the hell?” James hissed, rubbing his head where Sirius had hit him.

“Settle down,” Remus said tiredly once Sirius held his hand up again, ready to strike.

“No, thanks, Mum.” Sirius said sarcastically, swerving his palm towards James, who this time, ducked. Damn those Quidditch reflexes.

“Should I go talk to her?” James asked, looking desperate. Remus raised an eyebrow.

“Are you going to stay here if I say no?”

“No.”

Remus sighed. “Then go.”

James grinned and jumped of his seat, winking at Remus. “Just telling you, it’ll be on your conscience if it turns out wrong.”

Remus rolled his eyes, not saying anything, and returned to his book. James ducked another hit that was directed towards him from Sirius, and then took off to talk to Lily.

***

Damn, here he comes, Lily thought. Potter was walking towards her in full speed, ruffling his hair and coming down to sit next to her. Lily inwardly groaned and continued to sip her orange juice; looking at the pages of the Daily Prophet she got every morning and didn’t say anything. Of course, this never discouraged him enough.

“Hello, Lily.”

He was trying to make it clear that he wasn’t backing down on abandoning entirely the surname calling. Lily couldn’t help herself and looked at him, narrowing her eyes. He was wearing that usual cocky grin although it faltered slightly once she made eye contact, and he was sporting a striped shirt and slacks. He reached towards his hair again and ruffled it, which just irritated her further.

Lily sighed. “Potter, I am not calling you by your first name.”

“Ah, but Lily, why not? Why not, Lily?”

“Because it’s weird.” Lily said, giving him a hard look to see if he’d back down. He didn’t.

“No, it’s not. We’re practically going out anyway.”

Lily spat in her cup as she heard this. Sputtering, she looked at him incredulously and said, “What?

Potter looked sheepish. “Well, we are—”

Not!” Lily said loudly. “We are—we just—No! We aren’t.”

“Aw, come on Lily—”

“Potter,” Lily said slowly, trying to be patient. “I really need you to go away now. And stop calling me Lily.”

Oh, great. That weird stare of his. Potter’s hazel eyes were firmly locked onto hers determinedly. Lily hated it when he did this because he’d stop talking for a moment and devote all of his energies to this. She rolled her eyes and turned around, not wanting to look at him. She was already upset because of Heather, and she really didn’t want him to make her feel any worse.

Finally, he said, “It’s your name.”

“And I don’t want you saying it,” Lily snapped. “So, stop.”

Potter opened his mouth, then abruptly closed it. Lily turned around to see what he was looking at and saw that Remus was shaking his head slowly. Well, at least he’s quiet, Lily thought dully.

She looked at Potter tiredly. “Are you going to say anything else?”

“No.”

“Good.” Lily said briskly, standing up and stretching her arms. She took her bag and left the Hall, noticing that several people were looking at her strangely. She sighed, that’s how it always was anyway. Potter would always annoy her and she’d start yelling because of her short temper. Everyone at Hogwarts thought she was a mean bitch, which was partially true. After all, she was mean to Potter, wasn’t she?

I don’t want to be, though, Lily thought. She honestly wished that she were nice to everyone so everyone would be nice to her in return, but Potter would take all of her chances. Because of him, so many people at her school thought she’d yell at them too. She supposed that was why Dumbledore made her Head Girl—he knew that she wasn’t afraid to be hard on anybody.

She wished she were.

Lily had no idea why Potter was made Head Boy, though. He was soft on everyone—except for the Slytherins, of course. Before however, he was the meanest boy ever. He was even worse than he was now. Potter and Black would jinx anyone they’d like just for the hell of it and had fun too—good thing they changed somewhat.

Now he only bothers me. How great.

Lily was now turning a corner so she’d be able to go to the library and do some reading, when she heard something behind one of the tapestries that decorated the corridor. She knew that there was a secret staircase behind it, but hardly anybody used it regularly. Scowling, Lily took a hold of the tapestry and pulled it back.

“Get out.” Lily scolded. The couple in front of her froze, still clutching onto each other, widening their eyes and blushing. The boy had stringy blonde hair and was in Lily’s year and the girl was a fifth year with dark brown hair. “Stebbins, detention. And I’ll make sure that this one isn’t with you in it.”

The boy named Stebbins opened his mouth to retort but the girl gently grabbed his arm and whispered audibly, “It’s alright. Let’s just go.”

Lily stood her ground as they both stomped past her, muttering to one another. She distinctly heard Stebbins go, “Dumbledore was right in making her Head. She’s no fun.”

She pretended that she hadn’t heard him, hands at her hips, and watched the couple round the corner. Once they were gone she huffed loudly and continued her way.

I am fun, Lily thought angrily. But even as she thought about it, she knew it was no use. She wasn’t social like the people in her year—she never did anything she really wanted to. She must’ve been the only person who’d never been to one of the Marauders’ parties, which caused her to be even more annoyed.

They were the kings of everything. Whatever they thought was okay, was okay. Whatever they thought was stupid, was stupid. Jealousy bubbled inside of her more. If Potter would just leave her alone, then no body would care about her and would let her be. They wouldn’t be afraid to talk to her either, because Lily wouldn’t be mean to Potter. Perhaps even boys would approach her, instead of avoid her at all costs. Because why would anyone want Lily Evans, who was not only a loser, but a loser that Potter liked?

And since Lily was going at it, she might as well blame other people for the way she was too. If her mother weren’t so hard on her, maybe Lily would be more easygoing and fun. If her mother didn’t constantly want Lily to be flawless, perfect, exceedingly smart, maybe Lily wouldn’t try so hard. But then again, if Lily wasn’t a witch and if her older sister, Petunia, went to college and got out of high school with all A’s instead of all C’s, maybe her mother wouldn’t expect so much. Maybe she wouldn’t be like that.

Maybe they all wouldn’t be like that.

If her father cared and helped her mother more often, maybe Lily would be able to go and talk to him about Potter. Maybe he’d give her good, fatherly advice. Then again, if Lily’s parents were different, she wouldn’t be like she was now, and Potter would probably hate her instead of like her. Because life had these twisted little ways it could surprise you.

If only, though, right?

***

James sat moodily outside in the courtyard, as rain fell down and splattered them slightly from under the balcony. His friends were next to him and their teeth were chattering as they shivered.

“Why are we here, again?” James heard Sirius ask, and he knew that his friend was glowering at him from behind. James was sitting on the bench and didn’t bother to look back. From the side he could see that Remus merely shook his head and glanced at Peter, who was shuddering uncontrollably and was clutching himself on his arms to keep warm.

They had been outside for at least fifteen minutes, and James hadn’t moved or spoken at all during that time. James felt Sirius thump loudly onto the grass as he sunk down onto the ground and rolled his eyes as he heard Sirius blowing air out of his mouth every few seconds.

James liked the rain, even if it depressed him slightly at times like these. Apparently, however, his friends didn’t. They had started to sneeze and were grumbling to themselves, but hadn’t said much yet.

Finally, when Sirius had cleared his throat loudly and was pretending to be coughing as if he had asthma, James turned around and glared. “Sirius, do you mind?

Sirius’s pale skin was red at the cheeks because of the chilly September weather and he was narrowing his eyes and frowning. James rolled his eyes as Sirius said loudly, “Well, Merlin, Prongs, it’s fucking cold out here.”

“Then go inside!” James snapped, motioning towards the courtyard door where the fifth year Potter fan club were trying to look discreet as they sneaked a few glances towards him. James frowned and turned around again, tucking his arms in.

Behind them, the boys did not leave. James knew they wouldn’t, they were far too loyal to leave him to sulk in the cold rain by himself when he desperately needed some consolation. Damn my heart for ever liking her, James thought angrily.

“Prongs,” Remus said, always the reasonable one. “It’s probably ten degrees out here.”

“And my ass is probably freezing off.”

Peter chuckled, although since he was shaking it turned out to be more of a whimper at Sirius’s comment.

James glared at the rain. “I’m not leaving,” he said stubbornly, and the boys knew that he was right. It would take some convincing to get him out of there.

“Alright, why don’t we think of something, then.” Remus said, digging his hands into his pockets and walking forward so that he was in front of James. James watched as his friend looked at the courtyard splattered with mud and rain, then sighed. He looked at Sirius and Peter, then arched an eyebrow. “Any ideas?”

Peter, who apparently was desperate to get inside so he was actually suggesting something, said, “Er…why don’t you—make her a card? With a poem inside?”

Sirius snorted. “Prongs made her so many of those that she could probably make a nice fire out of them.”

“She probably has.” Peter said, and both of them laughed. Remus and James narrowed their eyes, and they abruptly stopped.

“Well, let’s consider what James wants.” Remus said, as if they were all in some kind of business meeting and James was the customer.

“Well, all of us want that,” Sirius said impatiently.

Peter turned red and Remus rolled his eyes, pressing his hands against his temples. “Sirius, is that all you ever think about?”

“Are you telling me you don’t want it?” Sirius demanded of James, who blushed slightly and didn’t say anything. “I thought so,” Sirius said knowingly, then smirked at Remus.

“Okay, then.” Remus sighed. “Anything else?”

They were all quiet for a moment, apparently thinking. Finally, Peter said hopefully, as if he they were all in a class and were asked a difficult question by Remus, the teacher, “He wants to impress her?”

Remus looked thoughtful for a moment. “True.”

“Well, of course he wants to.” Sirius said, letting his mouth drop in a brain dead impression.

They were quiet again, and James rolled his eyes. They weren’t helping at all.

“I got it!” Sirius said suddenly, making Peter jump in fright and James look at him in alarm. He was wearing a triumphant expression on, like he had just won the lottery. He beckoned them closer and they all leaned in. “It’s great. Now listen up…”



A/N: Sorry for the cliffy. You know how much I love those. :-)

Don't forget to review!

 


Chapter 3: Chapter 3
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Terribly, terribly sorry. I've had this chapter with me forever, I wrote it about a month ago or whenever it was that my computer was actually working...but I've never had the chance to add it. Like I said my computer had a horrible virus and I just got rid of it. So yes...I'm back on track now. Updates shouldn't take long anymore. :-)

I hope most of you are still with me,

- Katie





The weekend passed by slowly for Lily. She spent most of her time reading in the library, sometimes finding an infuriating Potter beside her, sleeping early, and waking up early too. She was glad for Monday when it came, because at least school occupied her time.

She was in one of her N.E.W.T.s classes right now—all of those in her year who decided after taking their O.W.L.s exams that they wanted to continue the subject of Charms were in it. It was Lily’s favorite subject, simply because it was the easiest and she was the best at it. Professor Flitwick was always kind to her and would constantly give her points for answering questions correctly or learning the spell ahead of time.

The lesson commenced as Professor Flitwick told them that they had to take a pop quiz. While the rest of the class groaned, Lily inwardly smiled. Strangely enough, Lily liked putting her skills to the test in Charms and loved to prove to everyone that she wasn’t just some strict Head Girl, or a mudblood, as the Slytherins liked to call her. She had brains too.

The Professor wrote the questions on the chalkboard as the students scrambled for their quills and parchment. Lily took a roll out and set it neatly onto her desk, poising her quill and writing immediately once the questions were on the board. She finished in record timing and turned it in, with a smile from Professor Flitwick. While she was heading back to her seat she noticed that Potter was staring vividly at her, although he bowed his head quickly once she had spotted him.

Lily sighed and sat in her seat, looking over at him again. He was scribbling so furiously that ink was splattering onto his nose and flying at Sirius, who was sitting next to him and was huffing with annoyance. She watched him with mild interest as he jumped from his seat and handed the Professor his test, glancing at her with a determined air. Lily raised her eyebrow. Is he competing with me?

He was now sitting down again, still staring at her. Lily sighed and turned around completely, so that he wasn’t even in her line of vision. She heard him click his tongue to get her attention, but Lily didn’t even bother.

The quiz took about half of the class period so the few students who had already finished idly doodled or in Lily’s case, read. After that the Professor lectured them about N.E.W.T.s exams this year, like he did all of last week and the week before. Then he sent them out to practice a few charms he thought would appear on the exams.

The class was grumbling by the time they got out, all except for Lily. She hitched her bag over her shoulder, sighing contently and straightened her gray skirt, which was part of her school uniform, along with her white button up and red and gold tie. She saw that Potter was on the other side of the classroom and was moving rather slowly so that he’d have an excuse to talk to her. Lily rolled her eyes and moved quickly past him, but he called out her name anyway.

Her first name.

“Lily,” he repeated, as she continued walking. He caught up to her, grinning. “Hi.”

She didn’t answer, and he mumbled something incoherent under his breath. Then he said, “So. Why aren’t you answering?”

“I don’t answer to ‘Lily’, Potter.” She replied briskly, taking big steps so that he’d leave her alone.

“Lily Potter,” he said, a grin coming on again. He was beaming. “I like that.”

Lily glared. “It’s Evans. Call me Evans, not—”

“That test was pretty easy,” Potter interrupted loudly, drowning out her voice. Lily narrowed her eyes at him for being so stuck-up. “I think I got an ‘O’ on it, how about you?”

“I don’t brag about my grades,” Lily said icily. Not to anyone directly, anyway.

“Charms is my favorite subject.” He said, as if he didn’t hear her. Lily raised an eyebrow.

“I thought it was Transfiguration.” Lily said suspiciously. Potter looked delighted.

“I knew you knew something about me,” he said, grinning.

“That’s because you tell everyone you’re the best at it,” she said, scrunching her nose up in disgust.

They had reached the library, and unfortunately, Potter was still following her. She stopped at the door, turning to look at him. “I have to go to the library,” she said slowly.

“So do I.” Potter said immediately.

“No,” Lily said, narrowing her eyes. “You don’t.”

“I do.” He said, nodding. “Are you going to stand there all day? Because break’s going to be over soon.”

Lily rolled her eyes and sighed, walking into the library and not bothering to hold the door for him. She sat down at the nearest table with James Potter following suit, although she knew already that she could do nothing to prevent it.

She took out her Transfiguration book and essay, then set out to work. Her parchment was already filled out a roll and a half, and only one roll was asked. Then again, the essay was only due in a week, and she had already started on it. From the corner of her eye she could see Potter staring at her again, in either amusement or awe, she couldn’t tell. Lily didn’t like it when people looked at her for a long period of time, which didn’t really happen unless he was around.

She huffed and turned to look at him, scowling. “What?” she spat.

“I was just admiring you,” he said matter-of-factly, smiling slightly. Lily gave him a very sadistic look and returned to her essay, forcing herself to keep her mouth shut.

Lily knew it was only a matter of time before he spoke again. And he did. “Is that our Transfiguration essay?”

Lily opened her mouth, ready to retort, but then saw that he wasn’t saying anything offensive. She quietly pursed her lips then said patiently (although with extreme difficulty), “Why, yes, it is, Potter.”

Potter widened his eyes. “That’s really long.”

“Yep.” Lily said briskly, cutting him off again. She put her quill behind her ear and read through what she had so far, double-checking if it was correct.

“Do you need help?” he asked, leaning over so he could read it. She snatched her parchment away.

“Potter, no.”

“Okay, okay.” Potter said, putting his hands up in defense. He leaned back in his chair so that the hind legs supported it, ruffling his hair but stopping once he saw the look on her face. “Er—Transfiguration’s my best subject, you know.”

Lily pursed her lips. “You said it was Charms.”

“No, I didn’t.”

Yes, you did.” Lily said, obviously flustered. “You said it a minute ago.”

“Oh, right. That.” Potter said, smiling although blushing slightly. “Well—you see, you misheard me. I said Charms is my favorite subject, and Transfiguration is my best subject.”

Lily gaped at him, holding her hands down so she wouldn’t slap him out of frustration. “Why am I even—” She stopped abruptly once the bell rung overhead. Lily glared at him and stuffed her essay into her bag along with her book, very peeved that she couldn’t finish her homework.

It’s only due in a week, the rational Lily said to herself. Mcgonagall just told you about it a few days ago.

But Potter is here and he is annoying the hell out of me, the other, easily tempered, and larger side of Lily, said. Why can’t he just—

“I’ll walk you to class,” Potter said suddenly, jumping out of his chair and throwing his bag over his shoulder quickly as if just in case she had any ideas of running away. Lily was fuming. See? I can’t even think by myself anymore!

Potter,” Lily said through gritted teeth, clenching her fists at her sides. “We have the same class.”

“Well, then it’ll be easier, won’t it?” he said, chuckling feebly but stopping as he noticed that she was glaring at him. In one quick motion, he grabbed Lily’s bag and slung it over his shoulder also, giving her his trademark, disturbing stare. “I’ll just carry these for you,” he said slowly and defiantly, as if he knew she was going to yell at him and didn’t care.

Lily stared at him. Is he losing his mind?

“We’re going to be late,” he said.

Yes. He definitely is, Lily thought with utter defeat.

“Whatever, Potter.” Lily said, heaving a sigh as she turned to leave the library. “Whatever.”

***

Wow. Evans looks like she’s about to kill you.

- Padfoot

That’s pretty probable.

- Prongs

Ha-ha. What did you do
this time, mate?

Besides proclaim my undying love for her? Nothing.

Did you really?

Nah. If I did, she’d
really kill me.

Too true. Do you think she’s glaring daggers at you because you two were late?

I’m pretty sure that’s it.

Ha-ha.
Look at her. You’d think she was never late in her life.

Well, she hasn’t been.

Trust you to know that.

Exactly.

So, how’s the plan going?

I think it’s going all right. Can’t be sure until Flitwick hands them back to us, though, can we?

I guess. Hey Prongs, why are you so happy?

Ha-ha. You can tell, can’t you?

Duh. Your grin is sickening me with your romantic arse.

My arse is romantic? That makes no sense, you know.

Whatever. So why are you beaming like Christmas came early?

She didn’t yell at me.

Come again?

No, seriously. She didn’t yell at me. Well, she glared, and she gritted her teeth a lot while we were walking down the hall, and wow, she looked like she was about to hit me over the head when she saw that I had gotten her bag—but she didn’t yell at me. Not once.

Prongs, you are so pathetic.

What? No…

Riiight. Anyway, she probably didn’t yell at you because then Mcgonagall would have
definitely given her a detention.

So? Well, giving us a detention would definitely be a plus. Do you think she’d put us in the same one?

Depends. If she feels like being kind to you and mean to her, then yes, she probably would.

Ha-ha, Padfoot. Ha-ha.

Well, then. Just try getting her late again and all of your problems will be solved.

For a few hours, anyway.

True.


***

Somehow she had managed to take her bag from him at the end of class and storm outside so she could have some peace. She thought that the air outside would be far too chilly for anybody to want to go outside, and he wouldn’t dare follow her. She was wrong.

“Seriously, why won’t you just give me a chance?”

“Potter, can you please go away? I’m asking you nicely.”

“And I’m asking you nicely. Why won’t you go out with me?”

Lily rolled her eyes and sat underneath a beech tree by the lake, which due to the wind, was rocking in ferocious waves that splashed ashore from side to side. She looked around and saw that no one was outside besides them, which made sense. She had goosebumps all over her skin due to the cold.

Potter was still looking at her intently. Lily sighed exasperatedly and took out her essay again, determined to finish it.

“Well?” he prompted.

Lily gritted her teeth and pressed her fingers against her temples while holding down her essay from the wind with her elbow. She opened her eyes and glared at him, but he didn’t back off. Finally, after a heated stare contest that was making Lily’s temper boil over the edge, she burst out, “Merlin, Potter, does it even matter?”

“Of course it does.” He said immediately, brushing his hair out of his eyes since the wind was continuously blowing his locks into his face.

“And why is that?” Lily bellowed, half because of the wind, half because she was losing her patience quickly.

“So—I—can—change!

Lily stared at him. His hair was even messier than usual and his cheeks were flushed, either from the cold or from embarrassment, she wasn’t sure. For some reason her attention was directed at his hazel eyes, which for some reason, were shining more so than usual.

She couldn’t think of why, but somehow she thought that he was telling the truth.

“You wouldn’t do that.” Lily said quietly, shaking her head and still staring at him. He heard her anyway.

“Of course I would.” He said.

“For me?” Lily said, raising an eyebrow. “You’d change for me?” The whole idea was laughable. Who the hell would change for her? Her mother certainly hadn’t, her father hadn’t, and her sister hadn’t. She had changed for them, but not them for her.

He looked pretty blank, as if to say, Why not?

“You are unbelievable,” Lily said, sighing. “James, don’t even say that.” She furrowed her eyebrows and took out her quill, reading over her sentences.

“What?”

Lily huffed and looked up at him in annoyance, but was taken aback at how he was looking at her. It was a very strange look, even stranger than the stare he’d use on her because when he looked at her like that, it would always seem like he was hurt by something she said, or he was angry that he couldn’t have her. But this look…well it was very…happy.

“What?” Lily asked loudly, due to the sudden wind current that had rushed towards them. She was also getting very nervous about what had she said that was obviously a mistake, since James looked positively gleeful.

“Well,” James began, grinning. That’s when Lily knew that she had said something she shouldn’t have—because James was looking very happy indeed.

Wait. James…

Lily suddenly slapped her hand over her mouth. She had called him James. Not Potter, but James.

“Uh…” Lily said slowly, feeling immediately stupid. She felt something fly past her elbow and gasped, seeing that it was her whole essay that was now blowing in the wind and moving away from her. “Wait, no! Where—where is it—” Lily scrambled through her bag, looking for her wand as James—no, Potter—looked at her in amusement.

“James! Do something!” she shrieked at him. “I mean, Potter! Potter—do something, damn it!”

“Okay, okay.” He said, although he was still grinning at her. He took out his wand out of his pocket and waved it. “Accio parchment!

Lily’s essay stopped in midair because of the charm, and slowly made its way back to his hands. He grabbed it and tucked it into his pocket, smiling at her. “I honestly don’t see why you wanted to come out here anyway.”

Lily hated the way he was looking at her. He was looking at her with immense smugness, as if he knew she’d call him by his first name someday. Lily scowled and reached for her essay, but he held it out of reach.

“Potter, give it back.” Lily snapped. She was getting very, very frustrated.

Instead of giving Lily back her homework, Ja—ahem—Potter, said, “Accio wand!

Lily’s wand flew right out of her bag and into his hand, and he held onto that and her essay, grinning. Lily frowned.

“Give it back,” she repeated.

“Not yet,” he said, tucking them into his book bag and throwing it over his shoulder. He stood up and she abruptly followed suit, taking her own bag.

“Potter, I mean it.” She said. Lily stepped up and gave him a very vehement look, despite the fact he was at least a head taller than she was.

James raised an eyebrow. “Do you? What are you going to do? Hex me?” He threw his head back and laughed at his own little joke. Lily hardly found it funny and made a sudden move to kick him, but he quickly moved out of the way. Damn those Quidditch reflexes.

He clucked his tongue and shook his head, still smiling at her. “Tut, tut, Lily. You can be really rude sometimes.”

“I don’t care,” Lily said, trying to be patient but failing miserably. “Just give it to me.

“Okay.” James said easily. He said it so easily, in fact, that Lily knew that he wanted something more. She was right. “Call me James then.”

It was the order she was dreading. Lily stuck her chin up and frowned. “No.”

“Alright,” he said. He was grinning; as if that was the answer he was both expecting and wanting from her. He made a move to leave her, but she abruptly moved in front of him.

“Potter, you’re not being funny.” She said, as he continued to beam at her. “I’m serious.”

“So am I.” James said pleasantly. He moved her out of the way, although Lily couldn’t help but notice that he grabbed her arm gently so, and didn’t push her. She gaped at him as he turned to leave and kept going, until he reached the stone steps and waved goodbye to her.

***

“I swear, if you don’t stop snogging that thing, I am going to kick your arse out of this room.” Sirius said later that day when they were in their dormitory, lazing about. James grinned; still clutching the essay that he had somehow managed to take from his loved one. “It was Evans who called you James, Prongs, not the parchment.”

“Yep. Lily called me James. James.” He was in a dreamy state of ignorance and bliss. “Can you believe it? She called me—”

“We heard you the first time,” Remus said tiredly from his four-poster, where he was folding his clothes neatly and stacking them in his trunk. Even he was getting a little annoyed.

Suddenly Peter appeared at the open doorway, where several students were passing through to get to their own dormitories. He was carrying all of his books, which he dropped grudgingly onto his bed, and then looked at his friends with panic. “Can someone help me with my homework?”

When James continued to rant about Lily and Sirius rolled his eyes and chucked a pillow at him, Remus sighed, “Here, Pete,” and then motioned his friend over so that he could help him while putting away his clothes.

“OW!” James suddenly yelped. “Honestly, Sirius, a pillow doesn’t hurt but a shoe—?”

“You’re so love stricken that you can’t even block it,” Sirius said, shaking his head and looking disgusted.

“Will both of you shut up?” Peter said irritably. “I had to endure the whole common room making noise until mostly everyone finally left, and you two are hardly being any quieter.”

“Say, is Lily down there?” James said, suddenly perking up.

“Uh, I think…”

“See you later chaps,” James said briskly and then left immediately, making sure that her essay was tucked safely into his pocket. Sirius tried throwing another shoe at him but this time missed.

She wasn’t there anymore. Damn it, James thought, feeling oddly crestfallen when he saw that the common room was completely empty except for Lannie Williamson and a young girl she was tutoring. He sunk into the nearest armchair and took out her essay, looking hard at it. Her handwriting was tiny, neat, and in cursive. James marveled at even something as simple as that.

She doesn’t love me, he thought grudgingly. Oh, well. You’re pretty bright, aren’t you, James?

James sighed and leaned back, sinking his head deeper into the cushion behind him. He closed his eyes and huffed loudly, like a two-year old whose parents refused to give him another sweet.

“You really like her, don’t you?”

James jumped in the air and looking frantically around. The girl Lannie had been tutoring was gone now and Lannie had obviously noticed that he was there. She grinned and James gave her a sheepish look. “Yeah, I do.” He said honestly.

Lannie smiled a bit and to James’s surprise, went around his seat and sat in the one across from him. She laid her books down on her lap and looked skeptic as she rested both her elbows at the sides and brought her fingers beneath her chin. “You know, most girls would kill to have a guy like them that much.”

James raised his eyebrow. She was being very bold for someone who he had always assumed to be quite shy. “That’s what I thought anyway,” he said matter-of-factly, then paused. “How did you know that I was thinking about her?”

“You looked like you were in love.” She said simply, and smiled. James smiled back. Lannie swept her golden bangs out of her eyes and looked curious, not incredulous like James assumed her to be. “So, why her?”

James let his mouth drop open and Lannie laughed. “Why her?

“Yes.” Lannie said slowly. She looked amused. “I’m just curious. I mean…she’s pretty quiet, don’t you think?”

It was James’s turn to laugh. “Quiet? No way.” James said, grinning at the very thought of her. “Lily…isn’t quiet.”

“Well, she’s in my dormitory.” Lannie said, with the air of someone who knew better. “She seems quiet to me.”

“She yells at me all the time,” James said reasonably. “And besides, you seem like a pretty quiet one too.”

This time it was Lannie’s turn to blush. She grinned embarrassedly. “Well…I can be.” She said, looking down.

“When you’re around Remus, you mean?” James said, giving her a devilish grin. Lannie rolled her eyes, sweeping her bangs again and tightening her ponytail just to buy time. “Right?” James prompted.

Fine, yes.” Lannie said forcefully, although she blushed slightly more. “But that’s not we’re talking about.”

“Of course.” James grinned.

“So…she’s not quiet then?”

“Well, I suppose I can see why you’d think that,” James said thoughtfully. “But when she’s not quiet, or yelling, which is usually at me, she can be…pleasant.”

Lannie raised her eyebrows. “Pleasant?”

“Oh, yes.”

“How so?” Lannie said, laughing as if she doubted it. James suddenly felt defensive.

“Well, like when she smiles.” James said, wanting more than ever now to prove her wrong. “She always smiles at the first years when they first arrive in the Great Hall.”

Lannie chuckled, tilting her head to the side. “Really.” She said.

“She gives anyone notes for any class any time.” James continued. He paused, smiling sadly for a moment. “Well, except the Slytherins. They’re always mean to her.”

“Yeah, well, they’re mean to everyone.” Lannie said reasonably.

“No, they’re a lot meaner to her.” James said, shaking his head and frowning. He suddenly felt angry. “Just because she’s a muggleborn.”

Lannie brought her books up to her chest and adjusted in her seat so that her ponytail swung from side to side. She tilted her head again. “Are you pureblood?” she asked curiously.

“Does it matter?” James said, sticking out his chin. Lannie laughed.

“Merlin, Potter, you think I care about that? Besides, I’m a half-blood, so I’m just wondering.”

James frowned, still feeling defensive. “Yeah, I am.”

“Hm.” Lannie said, looking thoughtful. James scowled and she raised an eyebrow. “Potter, I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying it’s strange. Purebloods usually don’t go for muggleborns.” She stood up, smoothing her skirt and straightening her books. “Well, I think I’m going to turn in now. Tutoring is harder than it looks, you know.”

“Wait, Lannie.” James said, just as she started to move to the staircase. She stopped, raising an eyebrow at his hopeful yet desperate expression. “Lily’s a girl, and well, you’re a girl too.”

“You got that much right.” Lannie said, smiling.

James ignored what she was trying to imply and continued. “So, what do you think…about our, you know—situation?”

Lannie sighed, although she was grinning also. “Potter, I think that the situation is entirely yours, and I think that’s also entirely your problem. Unless I’m very much mistaken, Lily just isn’t interested.” She paused; sweeping her bangs out of her face and looking amused at James’s crestfallen expression. “That doesn’t mean that she won’t be, though.”

James frowned, exhaling loudly. “What do you mean?”

“You’re a piece of work, Potter.” Lannie said, grinning and opening the door of the girls’ dormitories. “I’m sure you can figure it out.”
 


Chapter 4: Chapter 4
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Lily had avoided him all week, but he was always insistent and stubborn. Now that Lily thought about it, she was that way too.

Doesn’t mean anything though, she told herself. He’s still a prat.

She was only referring him to ‘you’, since now that Lily knew what her mouth was capable of, she didn’t want to take any chances of calling him by anything other than his surname. I really hate him sometimes.

“How’s that essay coming along, Lil?”

“Go away,” Lily said through gritted teeth. She didn’t even bother to look up at him and continued to sip some of her juice then diligently return to her work. He sat down close to her—a little too close, in Lily’s opinion—and reached for a fruit from the basket in front of him.

“What kind of juice is that?” he asked her. Lily rolled her eyes and bit on her thumbnail, ignoring him. “That’s a bad habit, by the way.”

“I know it’s a bad habit,” Lily snapped despite herself. “But I don’t care.”

“You should. Your hands are so nice.”

Lily glared at him but he looked unperturbed. “I bite my nails because of people like you.” She said venomously.

“You mean devilishly charming and handsome people?” he said teasingly. Lily narrowed her eyes down to slits and gave him a look that clearly said ‘Shut up’, but he kept on going. “You didn’t answer my question about what you’re drinking.”

“It’s apple.” Lily said tiredly. “Apple, okay? Now leavemealone.”

“Apple, you say?” he said, as if he wasn’t giving her a mental breakdown and as if they were good old friends who were chatting about the weather. “Look at that.”

Lily was beyond exasperated. “Look at what?”

James—or rather, Potter—pointed at the fruit he was holding. “I’m eating an apple,” he said, just in case she couldn’t identify the round, red fruit that was being held by his fingers. “And you’re having apple juice. You see? We do have some things in common.”

Lily raised her eyebrows. “I never said we didn’t.” Although it is true.

“Then why don’t you say it?” he said. “It would give me some hope, you know.”

“And that, is precisely why I don’t say it.” Lily sighed. The bell rung overhead and she stood up to gather her books; cursing that yet again James Potter had disturbed her work ethic. She stuffed her things inside her book bag and slung it over her shoulder, very much aware of the fact that he was walking beside her.

“You don’t want to give me hope?” he said, looking wounded. “That hurts, Lil.”

“Don’t call me, Lil—”

“I mean, can’t you see that I genuinely and truly like you?”

Lily paused in her steps, looking at him critically. His expression was rather hopeful as her eyes traveled from the top of his shaggy head, to the soles of his shoes. “No,” she finally said, then continued walking.

“But why not?” he said in a whining voice while Black laughed passing by.

“Because we’ve never had a proper and real conversation, you don’t even know anything about me, and I don’t know anything about you.” Lily said immediately, giving him a cold look. “Does that answer your question?”

“You think you know me, though.” He said, smiling slightly. “You call me smug and a stupid prat all the time.”

“Are you saying that you aren’t?” Lily said coolly.

“Are you saying that you’re wrong if I say I’m not?”

Lily had to think about that for a moment. “I suppose.” She said slowly.

“Then Lily dear, prepare to be proved wrong.” He said, and then opened the classroom door to let her through.

***

“Hola.”

James raised his eyebrows inquisitively. “Excuse me?” he asked Lannie, who was now leaning across the table that he was sitting at in the common room.

Lannie sighed, sweeping her bangs aside. “It means ‘hi’. Didn’t you ever study Spanish?” she asked, sitting down.

“I’m pureblood, remember?”

“Hm. Right.” She said, rolling her eyes. She looked up upon seeing Sirius walking towards them, grinning.

“Guess with whom Mr. Handsome just got a date with?” he said, completely ignoring Lannie and wiggling his eyebrows at James.

“One of the slut patrol, I bet.” Lannie said, jerking her head towards Heather, Daphne, and the other girls. Sirius gave her a weird look as if to say ‘who the hell are you and why are you here’ but she merely grinned. “Ah, I see I’m right.”

“I hope it’s Heather, so you could get her off my back.” James said grimly. He closed his book and gave him a questioning look. “Are you supposed to be Mr. Handsome?”

“Who are you?” Sirius said, rather rudely. He was still staring down at Lannie.

“Lannie Williamson.” She said unabashedly. James looked from one to the other, raising his eyebrows.

“The girl who’s in love with Moony?”

Lannie furrowed her eyebrows. “Who’s Moony?”

“That’s what we call Remus,” James said unconcernedly; Lily had just retrieved from her dormitory to search for her Transfiguration book. He knew that was the book she was looking for because he was the one who had taken it from her.

“So, are you the one who’s had a crush on him forever?”

It was one of those rare moments in which Lannie looked embarrassed and blushed. Nevertheless, she scowled defensively and said casually, “Black, forever is a considerably long time.”

“Where is my book?” Lily demanded. She had just stomped over to their table, looking furious.

“Lily, how lovely to see you.” James said, raising his eyebrows and grinning.

“Ah, I’ve been looking forward to this,” Sirius said, leaning back in his chair on its hind legs and looking amused. “I believe Evans here only yelled at James today—what? Twice? Three times?”

Lily gave him a sour look. “Ha-ha, Black.”

“You’re pretty mean, you know.” Lannie said, looking rather serious. She was staring at Sirius, who was staring at her, and who was being stared at by both Lily and James. Finally, Lannie shrugged, saying, “Well, you are.”

“Right.” Lily said, furrowing her eyebrows. She turned to James again. “James, can you please give me my book and my essay?”

If she thought that the silence would be broken she was certainly wrong. Instead of everyone staring at Lannie, everyone was now looking at Lily, who had just blushed crimson and slapped a hand over her mouth.

“You just called him James,” Sirius said slowly.

“Isn’t that his first name?” Lannie asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I can’t believe it,” James said, grinning smugly. “You said it again.”

Lily huffed and put her hands on her hips, but James saw through this immediately. She was trying to act all tough and indifferent, but her flaming red face gave her away.

“So, that’s how you’re going to play, isn’t it?” Lily said defiantly. In one moment she snatched James’s The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection and tucked it underneath her arm. “Fine. You don’t have to give me my stuff right now, but I’ll just be keeping this for the time being.”

She then stalked off over to her lone table, swinging her bag over her shoulder and stomping up the stairs to the girls’ dormitory.

Lannie gave James a sympathetic look. “Ah, I see.”

“See what?” James snapped. He was pretty annoyed right now, and didn’t really feel like listening to anybody at the moment.

“I see why she doesn’t like you.” Lannie clarified.

“And why is that?” James asked dully.

Lannie stood up from her seat, her ponytail bouncing behind her as she took her books from the table and held them in her arms. She grinned. “Well, you’re not very romantic.”

James’s jaw dropped. “What? I am too.” He said, sticking out his chin and crossing his arms.

“Prongs, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing,” Sirius said lazily, leaning back on the hind legs of his chair and smirking. He suddenly looked thoughtful. “I always thought you were too romantic though…”

Lannie pushed her bangs out of her eyes. “Well, either way, you have to show it more. And you need to grow up, Potter—taking a girl’s book will not win her heart.”

“That’s probably why you like Remus so much,” Sirius said, raising his eyebrow. “Because he acts like a forty year old.”

Lannie glared at him. “He does not.

Just as Sirius was about to retort, James interrupted. “Well, how should I do it, Williamson?” he asked crossly.

“Say and do nice things.” Lannie said slowly, as if she was talking to a stressed two-year old.

James scowled. “I am nice.” He said.

“Well, I know you are, and Black probably does too—”

“I don’t think so,” Sirius said, his gray eyes glinting mischievously as he grinned at James.

“Whatever.” Lannie said, rolling her eyes. “The point is, Lily doesn’t know that. She thinks you’re an arse. You should see the number of times I see her come up to our dormitory looking pissed because of something idiotic that you said.”

“Really?” James asked, looking crestfallen. That’s not the reaction he wanted Lily to have. Lannie nodded, and James ruffled his hair in an exasperated sort of way. “Well, I don’t mean to make her mad. I just—can’t exactly…help it sometimes.”

Lannie merely shook her head at him, and James sighed. “Lannie, can’t you—er—you know…”

“I’m not telling her you’re some god or something.” Lannie said, looking amused.

“I didn’t mean that!” James scolded, although by the way he blushed you could tell that what he wanted Lannie to say was something along the lines of that. “But you can at least put in a good word for me now and then…”

“Potter, even if I did,” Lannie said patiently. “She won’t believe me because of the stupid things you say.”

“I second that.” Sirius said, and James glared at him. “Honestly, Prongs, why do you like her so much anyway?”

“You always ask me that,” James said tiredly. “And I can never answer.”

“Anyway, I’ll go now.” Lannie said, already starting to walk off. “Adios.”

James and Sirius looked at her bewilderingly. “It means bye,” she said tiredly.

“Ah, right.” James said, nodding. He grinned at Lannie. “See you later, Williamson.”

She left, leaving only the two of them at their table. Sirius raised an eyebrow at James and said, “Why is she hanging out with you, anyway?”

James gave him a questioning look. “Um, I don’t know. She started talking to be a few days ago.”

“Hm.” Sirius said, but he did not elaborate.

“So,” James said, glancing at the girls’ dormitory door and then forcing himself not to look at it. “Do you want to do something tonight? Or are you too busy with whatever her name is?”

Sirius shrugged. “My date with Daphne is tomorrow. I can do something tonight, though.”

James grinned. “Okay. Let’s just get out our trusty map…” He reached towards his bag and took out his stack of parchment, where he usually kept it so that it would look irrelevant. He furrowed his eyebrows upon not seeing it, then looked through his One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi, which was on the table…

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” James muttered, opening The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 7 and flipping it upside down so that any papers that were in it would fall out. The only thing that dropped from the book, however, was a half-finished essay that he had to do for Transfiguration (how did he manage to be Head Boy?) and a broken quill. “Well, except that I can’t find the Marauder’s map.”

“It’s probably in your bag.” Sirius said without the least bit of worry as he looked at his fingernails.

“I looked in my bag.” James said, taking his book bag and spilling its contents onto the table frantically. He was starting to panic. “Where is it?

Sirius let the front legs of his chair set down onto the floor and furrowed his eyebrows at James. He seized the nearest book also and looked underneath it, spreading James’s homework so that he could see if the map was anywhere to be seen. Even if it was blank at the moment (the boys always remembered to wipe the map blank after their mischief-making was done), it was rather distinguishable because they had used it so many times and could practically memorize every crease and bent that was in the parchment.

“Okay, let’s think. Where was it the last time you saw it?”

James froze in his actions, having just opened Numerology and Gramatica and holding it in midair to dump everything that was in between the pages. He had a horrified look on his face, an expression Sirius knew too well and knew that it meant trouble. Sirius furrowed his eyebrows, clearly saying, what the hell did you do?

“It was in that book,” He said, looking terrified. “Lily has the map.

***

Lily really thought that James wouldn’t mind so much that she took his Defense Against the Dark Arts book; in fact, Lily thought that he wouldn’t even bug her about it. True, it was a weak offense on her part, but it was the only thing that she could think of doing to aggravate him, even if it might’ve not have worked.

It did though.

“Listen, Lily,” James said the next day during Potions, looking extremely nervous while Sirius gave him an ominous look next to him. “I know that I wasn’t being nice to you, so would you mind—er—giving my book back?”

“Give me my book and my essay then.” Lily said promptly at the supply shelf, taking the necessary ingredients and moving over so that Remus could get access to the shelf also.

“But, um…I don’t really have it right now.” James said. Lily stood up, her arms full of Ashwinder eggs and bezoars and a cold look on her face.

“No book then.” She said coolly, setting off to her desk and dumping the ingredients next to her cauldron. James followed her however, looking anxious.

“But you have it with you, don’t you?”

“No.” Lily said. “It’s in my dormitory.”

“Can we get it after this class then?” James asked quickly.

Lily raised her eyebrow suspiciously as she took the Ashwinder eggs and started to shell them. “We only have Defense Against the Dark Arts in two days…why do you want it so much?”

“No reason.” James answered, although by the look on his face, it was far from it. “Just give it to me soon, okay?” He started towards his own desk where Sirius was. Lily saw that he was looking rather angry and had asked James something, who shook his head.

“Is this seat taken?”

Lily jumped and nearly toppled off her seat. Lannie was standing across from her, smiling and holding her cauldron underneath her arm. “No,” Lily said, not really thinking about it (she was still looking at James’s and Sirius’s suspicious reactions), and Lannie sat down immediately.

“What are you looking at?” Lannie asked, turning so that she had Lily’s line of vision.

“Nothing.” Lily said hurriedly, just in case Lannie got any wrong ideas of how Lily felt about James. She realized that she had been calling him James inside of her head and not Potter all of the class period, and she inwardly cursed herself.

Lannie raised her eyebrow and smiled slightly, taking her own Ashwinder eggs and shelling them. “So,” she said, trying to initiate a conversation. “Potter seems to really like you.”

Lily gave a very cynical laugh. “Or so he says,” she said. She had already cut her eggs in top speed and had dumped them in her cauldron, and was now weighing her bezoars.

“You think he’s just fooling around and being his usual idiotic self?”

Lily looked at Lannie from her scales and furrowed her eyebrows. “Well, yes.” She said matter-of-factly.

“I don’t think so.” Lannie said firmly, shaking her head so that her ponytail thrashed behind her. When Lily openly stared at her, she added, “I mean…I’ve been talking to him lately. You’re all he talks about.”

Lily smiled for a fraction of a second, then remembering that she wasn’t supposed to be flattered by anything James would do or say, just shook her head and said acidly, “Well, even so, he really doesn’t feel anything for me. He just thinks I’m another challenge for him.”

Lannie smiled, as if she knew better. “You don’t really think that.”

What the heck? Lily thought, furrowing her eyebrows. They hardly even knew each other, and the girl was already telling her what was right and wrong! And now that she thought about it, why was Lannie even sitting with her? Lannie had been one of the few in their year who was taking Potions due to N.E.W.T.s, but she had always sat with people like Samantha Welling and Terry Jordan, who were both in Ravenclaw.

Lily realized that Lannie was talking to her again, and was waving her hand in front of her face. “You awake?” she asked, grinning.

“Uh, yes.” Lily said. She blushed and looked down at her scale again.

“Okay,” Lannie said, laughing slightly. She glanced over at James, who was raising his eyebrow at her and widening his eyes in some sort of silent communication. Lily noticed this too.

“Are you two in this together?” Lily asked suspiciously, raising an eyebrow.

Lannie waved at James then turned to Lily. “Well, he asked me to try and talk to you.”

Lily snorted. “Typical.”

“But I told him no.”

“Oh?” Lily asked, feeling slightly taken aback.

“Now I’m just in this for the fun,” Lannie said. She gave Lily a wicked grin, who was feeling more confused than ever.

***

Remus looked at Sirius, who was glaring at James, who was looking at Peter hopefully so that he would come to his defense. Remus sighed and pressed his fingers to his temples, closing his eyes for a moment then reopening them.

“Can you believe this prat?” Sirius had finally broken the silence and was now giving James a very murderous look.

“James, don’t you ever listen to me?” Remus asked calmly, although there was definite crease between his eyebrows.

“He doesn’t listen to anyone,” Peter said, shaking his head.

“Pete!” James exclaimed indignantly, looking affronted. He expected at least Peter to be on his side.

“Well, he’s right.” Remus said, raising an eyebrow. “How did you ever get to be Head Boy and Quidditch captain?”

James couldn’t help but grin, even though most of his friends at the moment were glaring at him in their dormitory. “You’re the one who didn’t want to be prefect anymore, Moony.”

Remus rolled his eyes. “James, why do you do these things to Lily?”

“Exactly!” Sirius said, pointing an accusing finger right at James’s face. “If it weren’t for you attacking Evans all the time—she wouldn’t have stolen our map!”

“She didn’t do it on purpose.” James said defensively.

“But you stole her things on purpose.” Remus replied patiently. “And Sirius is right—we wouldn’t be worrying about our map if it weren’t for you.”

“It took us two years to make,” Peter said, shaking his head. “We’re disappointed in you, James.”

The other three boys were all making their way to the dormitory door, and the discussion was clearly over. James furrowed his eyebrows as the rest of the Marauders left the room to go downstairs to the common room.

“Yeah, yeah. Keep your hats on.” James said grumpily, reaching for the door handle. “I’ll get it, don’t worry.”


A/N: For all of those readers out there who are still waiting out for Living Life's chapter, don't worry, I'm almost finished. I just have to edit now and it should be up in no time. Sorry for the delay, you guys, and thanks for all of those who are still with me on this one.

And of course, I hope you all liked chapter four of Bitter About You.

:-)

 


Chapter 5: Chapter 5
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Sorry about this huge delay--for those Living Life and Reason to Live readers, I'll be updating soon on those too. I promise I'll try not to take this long again.

Enjoy.




Lily had been sitting quietly in her dormitory at the time; she was brushing her hair and putting it up with her bobby pins. She smoothed out her nightgown and glanced at the mirror. She hated how white clothes made her look even paler.

After giving her reflection a critical look (she had always been self-conscious), she decided to look over her test that Flitwick had given out that day. She had received an ‘Outstanding’, much to her delight. James had also gotten an ‘Outstanding’, but she wouldn’t have known it if he hadn’t bragged about it to her when they left the classroom.

Stupid James, Lily thought viciously. She had given up on trying to train herself into calling him only Potter. It seemed that the more she tried the more she felt comfortable saying his first name, which wasn’t good at all. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

It was then that Lily noticed something. She must’ve been too preoccupied with calling James various names inside her head because she had just knocked over her glass of water as she tried to reach for it on her bedside cabinet. Not only did it spill water everywhere (she quickly tidied it up with her wand) it also rolled under her bed.

Miraculously, the cup did not break. When Lily bent down to look under her four-poster so that she would be able to retrieve it, she realized that James’s book was under there as well. She had forgotten that she had hidden it there.

Lily grabbed both her glass and the book, setting her cup on her cabinet and The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection onto her bed. She studied the cover for a moment, and then remembered how James had insisted for her to give it to him later that day. She didn’t—and not by accident, either. She liked to make that insufferable prat squirm, even if it was rather childish for her to do so. And for some reason, James had been very, very worried about not getting his book back.

Lily knew that it couldn’t have been homework because they hadn’t received any homework in their Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Perhaps he had borrowed it? Maybe he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to get it back to the owner in time. But this description of a James Potter that wasn’t selfish at all but actually thoughtful to others didn’t seem to fit the actual person. Lily checked the name in the inside cover and saw that there was none. So it had to be James’s—since he was very irresponsible. Sirius Black was rather irresponsible too, but she doubted that the two best friends would mind borrowing each other’s stuff.

So, what is it…? Lily flipped through the various pages and saw that there was a folded piece of parchment right in between pages 908 and 909. She picked it up, feeling pretty nosy but then reminding herself that this was James Potter and she shouldn’t care what he thought of her anyway. Lily unfolded it, but was disappointed to see that there was nothing written.

James was just being strange, she supposed.

***

After having his ears bitten off by both Sirius and Peter and having Remus telling him patiently that this was no way to ‘win fair lady’s heart’; James was finally able to leave upon seeing Lily enter the Great Hall. She had her hair in two braids today (she really is beautiful, isn’t she?), and was carrying James’s book in her arms.

“Good morning, James.” Lily said, surprising James immensely by greeting him first. She looked at him with a raised eyebrow and added, “And no, I don’t care that I’m saying your first name.”

James let his mouth drop open for a few seconds, and then realized that he probably looked very stupid doing so. He closed his mouth and cleared his throat, saying, “I’m glad to hear it, love.”

Lily immediately pushed aside his name for her and frowned at him. “Do you have my things?”

“Yep.” James said, grinning at her as he set his bag on the table and took out her Transfiguration book, which he gave to her. Lily gave him a suspicious look and opened her mouth to say something but James answered her first. “It’s in the first page.” He said.

Lily looked at him strangely. “What is?”

James raised an eyebrow. “Your essay,” James said, reaching towards the table and taking a pastry, which he immediately put in his mouth. He watched as Lily opened the book slowly, as if she wasn’t sure to believe him or not, then exhaled with relief upon seeing her essay folded right where he said it would be.

“Do you do this a lot?” Lily asked, pointing to her essay. “Put your homework in your books, I mean.”

James raised an eyebrow, wondering why she was asking. “Er—yeah, I do. It’s a habit.”

“Oh.” Lily said, and James was relieved to see her smile. “Well, here’s your book, then.”

“Thanks.” James said, glancing back at his friends who were all giving him expectant looks. He grimaced and turned to Lily, smiling. “I appreciate you being nice to me, Lil.”

Lily’s smile faded. “Don’t call me Lil.”

“Right.” He said, James’s own grin sliding off his face.

The bell rung overhead and Lily quickly took an apple from the fruit basket, biting off of it. James watched as she carefully put both her Transfiguration book and essay inside her bag and swung it over both her shoulders. Lily noticed that he was staring at her and she frowned.

“Don’t do that.” Lily snapped. James smirked.

“I guess the old Lily is back.” He said, raising an eyebrow. He too put his book inside his bag and followed her out of the Great Hall. “Any chance you’ll let me escort you?”

“I didn’t think I had a choice.” Lily sighed as they cut through the entrance hall and went out onto the grounds.

“You don’t.”

“Ah, okay.”

James stared at her openly. She was smiling. Again.

“What?” Lily asked. She looked perturbed to see him staring at her. But then again, she always did.

“Well—it’s that…why do you keep on doing that?” James asked, sounding much more demanding than what he wanted.

“Doing what?” Lily asked slowly.

James looked at her for a moment, and felt himself blush. “Er—never mind.”

“All right.” Lily said, although she still looked rather suspicious. “Oh, and James, I almost forgot…”

“Hm?” James asked, taking another bite out of his pastry that he had kept in his pocket.

“Here’s your piece of parchment.”

James gagged and choked on his food, stopping in his tracks and gasping for air once swallowing properly. “What?” he croaked. He put his hands onto his throat, feeling like it was on fire.

Lily raised an eyebrow at him. She was holding the Marauder’s Map, which was blissfully blank. “I said,” she replied. “Here’s your parchment.”

James took it immediately and stuffed it in his pocket. “Thanks.” He said hurriedly, opening the door to the greenhouse. Lily didn’t pass through.

“It fell out of your book—”

“That’s okay—”

“I wasn’t looking through your things or anything—”

“Of course not, why would I—”

“I just forgot to put it back—”

“That’s fine, Lily.” James said, ruffling his hair. Lily didn’t glare at him, but she wasn’t looking at him anyway. Instead, she stepped into the greenhouse and sat on one of the benches, not saying another word. He would’ve bothered her until she told him what she was up to, but James was far too worried about her finding out about the Marauder’s Map to risk it. Lily, unlike James, was responsible and took her Head job seriously and would give it straight to McGonagall, being sure to tell her whose it was also.

“Do you have it?”

James turned around and saw Sirius, Remus, and Peter enter the greenhouse and wearing identical frowns. Remus had his hand outstretched.

“Yeah,” James said quietly, glancing at Lily, who thankfully, wasn’t looking over at them. He handed Remus the Map who immediately put it in his bag. Sirius glowered at him as they took a seat on the benches.

“That was a close shave, Prongs,” he said. “Next time just don’t piss of Evans, okay?”

James didn’t even seem to register what he said. He was still looking at Lily, who seemed to know that he was doing so since she had her back turned to him. Lannie had just passed him and winked, taking a seat next to Lily once again.

“Oi, Prongs!” Sirius shouted, hitting James over on the head. Even though he sounded annoyed, he was grinning. “Do you mind taking your googley eyes off of Evans for one second so you can hear what I’m saying?”

That caught James’s attention to finally sit down. Thanks to Sirius, he had spoken loudly so that everyone in the greenhouse had heard him, but to James’s absolute happiness in his classmates’ laughing wake, he wasn’t the only one who was blushing.

***

Lily had left the greenhouse hurriedly as soon as the bell had rung, Lannie at her heels. While Lannie started talking about how Remus looked rather nice today, Lily was thinking of malicious ways to knock Sirius Black and James unconscious. She knew that they were just being the usual jerks, yet she was still blushing and it had been quite a while since her classmates had stopped laughing. It unnerved her.

“I always thought he looked nice in navy…probably his best color, I think—um, Lily? You okay?” Lannie had just stopped talking about Remus, either because Remus himself was just passing by or because Lily was still looking distressed, she wasn’t sure. James was passing by too, and had just brushed his shoulder against her, and even though he had apologized, Lily was pretty sure that it wasn’t an accident.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Lily said, although she did feel rather odd being asked if she was all right. She supposed she just wasn’t used to it, since she had been alone for most of her life anyway. Lannie was giving her a questioning look, however, which compelled Lily to change the subject and ask, “So. You really like Remus don’t you?”

This time it was Lannie’s turn to blush. It was strange seeing her blush, since Lily seemed to always think she was an outgoing, fearless person. Lily raised her eyebrow as Lannie mumbled something that sounded like an affirmative answer.

“Hm, okay.” Lily said. She couldn’t help but smirk a little, which made Lannie scowl.

“Well, I’m sure you know how it is.” Lannie said, exhaling loudly.

“Know what, exactly?”

Lannie furrowed her eyebrows. “You know…liking someone who doesn’t like you.”

“You mean unrequited love?” Lily asked, raising her eyebrows.

“Whatever.” Lannie huffed. Her bangs flew above her eyes as she glanced at Lily with a disbelieving look. “Are you saying you don’t know?”

“Well, yeah.” Lily said, as Lannie snorted loudly. Lily blushed. “No, seriously, I haven’t ever liked someone. Not like you with Remus, anyway.”

Lannie looked at her as if she had just sprouted two heads. “You never have,” she repeated flatly. She was smirking. “Alright then.”

“You don’t believe me?” Lily asked, noticing that Lannie wasn’t going back to the castle but was walking towards the lake. She sat cross-legged under a tree and pushed her bangs aside, raising her eyebrows at Lily.

“Well, I guess I do.” Lannie said, once studying Lily’s face for a moment. “I just find it strange.”

“It’s not.” Lily said, sitting down also. “I’m kind of glad I haven’t, actually.”

Lannie leaned against the bark of the tree and looked up at her. “Oh?”

Lily had to be quiet for a moment; she wanted to restrain herself from saying “Well, I wouldn’t want to be suffering like you are because of Remus,” but instead merely said, “Yes.”

Lannie looked like she was contemplating something. Lily knew before she opened her mouth that she was going to talk about a certain someone. “You never, ever felt anything for James?”

“Besides disgust and revulsion—no.”

“Really?” Lannie asked, as if she didn’t quite believe her. She clucked her tongue and said, “Well, it’s a pity then. He likes you so much.”

Lily couldn’t help but blush as she said that. “Well…that’s not my fault.” Lily said, finishing that last bit lamely.

Lannie raised an eyebrow. “Of course it is.”

“Excuse me?” Lily asked incredulously.

“You heard me.” Lannie said, shrugging. “I’m just saying…if you really wanted James to stop liking you, you would’ve changed somehow.”

“And why would I do that?” Lily asked, frowning. “I’m not the arrogant prat.”

“Because even though you don’t really believe it, I know James likes you a lot.” Lannie explained. “After all these years, do you really think he’s going to stop? I mean, think about it.”

No, Lily thought, he probably wasn’t…not until they left Hogwarts anyway. But what could Lily do about it? She certainly wasn’t going to change—that would be completely unfair to her. “Well, I don’t care.” Lily snapped. “If James likes me, that’s his problem.”

Lannie was looking at Lily oddly. Finally, she said, “Lily, are you sure?”

Lily raised her eyebrows at her. “What do you mean am I sure? Of course I am.”

Lannie merely sighed, pushing her bangs aside as she looked at the lake, a far away look in her eyes. “I wouldn’t want Remus to say that about me.” She said simply, but she said it in such a way that Lily knew that this time she was blushing of embarrassment.

***

James was very happy at the moment. He had just come up with a plan.

“Sirius, look at this,” he said, dragging Sirius’s arm so that it was thrown next to him with his body too. Sirius gave his friend an inquiring look, scratching his head as James merely pointed at a sign that had been posted that day in the common room. His expressions changed quickly as he read the sign, first to confusion, then to incredulity, then to utmost revulsion and dread.

“Well?” James asked eagerly.

“Prongs, mate—I respect you.” Sirius said, finally turning to him but with a sour expression. “You’re my friend, and I’m your friend. So please tell me that you’re not going to do this.”

“Hu? No, no, Sirius, you got it all wrong! Trust me, this is going to work.” James said jovially while thumping him on the back with a gigantic grin. “Seriously…have I ever been wrong?”

Sirius opened his mouth with the intention of fully saying and emphasizing, “Yes,” but James shushed him and started to mutter to himself. “Yes…all I have to do is…yes, that would work…”

“James—”

“It wouldn’t be too hard…Flitwick probably wouldn’t notice a thing…”

“Maybe you should—”

“Ill! I could say that I was ill and that’s why I couldn’t keep up with everyone else…”

“Yeah, ill of the head,” Sirius muttered. “Prongs! Can you please listen for just one second? This isn’t going to work!”

James had stopped rambling and was looking at Sirius as if he had just punched him. His face was crestfallen. “Why not?”

“Because it never does?”

“But I should at least try…”

“No.” Sirius said firmly. “You shouldn’t. Your grades are fine, but by the way things are going now, I think that you’re extremely stupid.”

James didn’t seem to have heard him, but was now walking to the portrait hole. “Yeah. Okay, Sirius.” He said, and then he left.
 
 
 


Chapter 6: Chapter 6
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: And here it is! Chapter six. Kind of short, but I don't think there's any more places to fill it up. Enjoy. :-)



Strangely enough, Lily had found out that Lannie and she were now friends. A notice for a Hogsmeade trip had been posted in the common room in mid-October, and Lannie had gone to find Lily in the Great Hall when she was having breakfast, ranting on about how she could help her find dress robes for the Graduation Ball and that they should stop at Three Broomsticks for a butterbeer or two.

“Whoa, whoa, wait.” Lily had said, frowning slightly as if Lannie was making fun of her. “You want me to go to Hogsmeade with you?”

Lannie stopped talking for a moment and gave Lily a confused look, as if she couldn’t quite understand her. “Of course,” she said finally, in a tone that made Lily blush with embarrassment. “Don’t you want to?” And once Lily had mumbled an affirmative answer, she continued with her ecstatic plans, not even noticing that Lily was finding it very strange to go to Hogsmeade with someone else, when normally she went alone or didn’t go at all.

“—and then I really need to buy a new quill, can you believe I haven’t got a single one? Must’ve lost them…”

“Should be fun,” Lily muttered, although she was thinking in her head that it would be far from it. But still, it was better than going with James, who had predictably asked her the day before. He was actually being quite strange, stranger than usual. Even though he was in the N.E.W.T. level class for Charms, his grade was dropping drastically, according to Professor Flitwick who had been saying that for the past few weeks. Lily found this very odd, because even though she detested James Potter, she did admit grudgingly at times that he was smart. But now…well, he was acting out-of-the-ordinary. Professor Flitwick had even told him in front of the whole class that if he didn’t start to pick up his act, he’d be forced to drop the class.

Lannie seemed to notice that Lily wasn’t paying much attention to the conversation and was pondering on something else. She gave her a questioning look then said, “Are you all right?”

“Yes,” Lily said distractedly, just as James himself entered the Great Hall and waved to her before sitting down with Sirius. “Just thinking…”

Lannie grinned. “Okay.”

And soon, the weekend arrived quicker than Lily could imagine, and for once she had something to do on Saturday. She had gone downstairs to find Lannie already dressed in a blue cashmere sweater, a brown jacket and scarf, and gray slacks that covered slightly her blue shoes. Her gloves were sticking out of her pocket, and she raised her eyebrow upon seeing Lily.

“Is that what you’re going to wear?”

Lily looked uncertainly at herself; she was wearing a gray skirt and white stockings, with black shoes. Her shirt was white and she was wearing a black jacket, and she didn’t think that anything was wrong with her appearance. Lannie, however, begged to differ.

“Here,” she said, grabbing her arm and dragging her to the girls’ staircase again. “I’ll let you borrow some things.”

She didn’t make Lily change her attire, although she did say something like, “We don’t have to wear our uniforms on weekends, Lily.” She dug into her trunk and threw Lily a multi-color and changing scarf and a dark green cap. After shushing Heather for snorting in the back, she gave Lily a critical look and smiled. “Okay. Now, you’re okay.”

In Lily’s opinion, she looked fine before, although all she did was scowl. After all, she actually had a good friend now, and didn’t want to scare her away. They walked out of the dormitory and headed down to the entrance hall, Lannie said that there was a nice breakfast place they could eat at in Hogsmeade. Lily agreed, after all, James Potter was having breakfast in the Great Hall in the moment and she didn’t want him to know that she was going to Hogsmeade. Filch let them pass after verifying that they had signatures, and they set out in the autumn air and down onto the winding path that led to the gates. It was slightly chilly and brisk, but in a nice way. Lily admired the trees for a while, whose leaves were crimson and the color of tangerines.

They ate some delicious pancakes in a small pub that Lily had never heard of, and then looked around for Lannie’s ‘dream dress robes’. There were more students on the streets now, also looking at the shops and carrying a few bags of products. Lily and Lannie walked aimlessly around, talking about a few things such as Remus and wondering if he’d wear that navy blue sweater of his and if her friends Samantha Welling and Terry Jordon were really going out as the rumors said. It was only after Lily was sure that they were having a wonderful, pleasant time together that they bumped into James Potter and his friends.

“Hello, Lily. Looking lovely today.” He said, with a cocky grin.

“What are you ladies doing?” Sirius asked, eyeing Lily’s scarf that had just turned from green to yellow with amusement.

“Shopping.” Lannie said simply, shaking her bag full of Honeydukes sweets. She looked at Remus, blushing a bit although it wasn’t really noticeable since her cheeks were already flushed from the wind. Lily caught her eye and they both grinned upon seeing that Remus really was wearing Lannie’s favorite sweater.

“What did you buy, Lil?” James asked, still grinning in a dumb sort of way. Lily wondered vaguely if the reason that James’s grades were slipping in Charms was because he was getting stupider.

“Nothing,” Lily said slowly. James’s grin faltered slightly as he gave her a penetrating stare. Lily lowered her eyes to the floor, although she wasn’t certain why.

“Well, Flitwick is in Three Broomsticks, Lily.” Remus said, making Lily look up curiously. “He’s been looking for you for some reason.”

“Oh? Um…okay.”

“All right, see you all later then.” Lannie said, grinning at Remus, who smiled back. They took off with James yelling goodbye cheerfully behind them, saying something about how Lily should hurry and see what Flitwick wanted. Lily gave him a hard look before turning the corner to High Street.

“He’s weird.” Lily said, shaking her head confusedly.

“He’s lovely.” Lannie sighed, looking dreamy. They walked into Three Broomsticks and found Professor Flitwick about to walk out, although he stopped and greeted them jovially.

“Why Ms. Evans! And Ms. Williamson.” He said, nodding to both of them. “I take it Mr. Lupin found you then?”

“Yes, he did. You needed to see me…?”

“As a matter of fact, I did. Hm, why don’t we sit down?” He gestured to the nearest empty table and they followed him as he climbed onto his seat. Lily and Lannie exchanged looks, and then turned to look at Flitwick, who was looking rather worried.

Lily furrowed her eyebrows. “What is it, sir?”

“Ah, it’s not very good, Ms. Evans.” Flitwick said. Upon seeing the alarmed looks on their faces, he said quickly, “Oh no, no, don’t worry, it has nothing to do with those attacks by You-Know-Who that have been happening. This is less grave, but still unfortunate—you see, Mr. Potter is failing my class.”

Lily, who didn’t find this appalling or unfortunate, but yes, weird, said, “Failing? Really?”

“Yes.” Flitwick said, frowning slightly. “And even though he is not the only one, he is certainly doing the worst.”

“I could help tutor,” Lannie said, shrugging. “I’m already tutoring a few younger kids in Arthimacy.”

“That would be great, Ms. Williamson.” Professor Flitwick said, smiling slightly. “But really, the reason I wanted to talk to Ms. Evans here is if to see if she could tutor as well.”

“Oh, of course—”

“Wonderful, Mr. Potter would be delighted.”

“—not!!

Lannie and Flitwick both looked at Lily, who was looking horrified. “Professor,” she said quickly. “You know that James and I don’t get along.”

“Well, of course, I know the way you two—ahem—feel about one another.” Professor Flitwick said delicately, moving his hands nervously in his lap. “But Ms. Evans, the way Mr. Potter is doing poorly—I know that you would be a good tutor to him, since you are the best in my class.” He smiled warmly at her, but Lily had turned slightly green with her eyes widened.

“Uh, er, sir, the thing is—” Professor Flitwick looked expectantly at her, and for some reason Lily found herself saying, “—uh…all right. I’ll do it.”

Professor Flitwick clapped his hands enthusiastically as he hopped off his chair. “Excellent, Ms. Evans. I cannot thank you enough…usually my students pass my class in rather well form but—” He paused, smiling at her. “I’m glad that you’re helping generously.”

Lily merely nodded and watched as he left Three Broomsticks, looking relieved. Lannie was giving Lily a strange expression, saying, “You gave in awfully fast.”

“Yes, I did, didn’t I?” Lily asked, confused. She could not understand why either, but the prospect of tutoring James didn’t sound so terrifying now that the alarm and horror had receded. She sighed and got up from her chair, Lannie following her out into the autumn breeze.

***

James had retired to the common room already, leaving his friends behind in Hogsmeade. He wanted to be alone, just to think for a while. He wondered if everything he was doing was worth it. His heart’s desire was to make Lily fall for him, just as he had fallen for her. Things were not going too well.

Why did she hate him? He had gotten better, hadn’t he? When James was alone, as he was now, with no one to bother him and to give him revolting looks, he did admit that he was a jerk before. He was immature, a complete fool, but didn’t Lily know that was because he wanted her attention? Was she really that daft to see that every time he bullied a first year around, or made Snape do ridiculous things without any control to stop, she was there? Sure, it was not the best way to get her attention, but it was certainly an effort….

Speaking of her….

“Oh, it’s you.” Lily said. She had just climbed into the common room with Lannie, who giggled and mumbled something about forgetting her book upstairs. She left almost immediately, winking at James before closing the door. As they heard her light footstep bouncing up the staircase, James stared. He couldn’t help it; Lily’s cheeks were flushed from the cold outside, and her eyes seemed to gleam in their emerald beauty. She took off her hat so that her auburn hair came spilling down in a messy yet attractive state, and threw it aside. She strode over to him. James couldn’t believe his eyes. Why was she coming to talk to him? Was she really coming on her own free will?

“You look beautiful.” James said automatically, blushing. Lily raised her eyebrow and for a moment he thought that she was about to smile, but it must’ve been his imagination. She cleared her throat.

“James, I know what you’ve done.” Her voice was cold and breezy, like autumn itself. “Flitwick came to talk to me.”

“Well, you’re a smart girl.” James said with a half-smile. “I knew you would.”

Lily widened her eyes at this; James supposed that she was thinking that he was trying to do this discreetly. She caught on quickly, however. “Oh?” she said as she put her hands on her hips. “Well, all right, Potter. You can play dumb for as long as you like, but I just want you to know that I’m not tutoring you.”

James felt his stomach drop. “You refused Flitwick?”

“Oh, no. I told him I would. That doesn’t mean I will, though.” Lily said, smirking. She raised her eyebrow, surveying him. “You didn’t think that I’d actually do it, did you?”

Somewhat. “No, I guess I didn’t.” James said, sighing heavily. Lily looked confused.

“So…now what?”

“Well,” James said, feigning a look of innocence. “I’m afraid you don’t have a choice, Evans. You’re Head Girl, and I know you’re responsible. But Flitwick won’t really see that if I tell him that you’re not really tutoring me, will he?”

“James, why are you doing this?” Lily hissed, narrowing her eyes. “I know you’re good at Charms. About a month ago you were gloating about that ‘Outstanding’ you had.”

“Things change.” James said simply.

“And you certainly don’t.” Lily shot back. James frowned.

“You must be joking.” James said slowly, furrowing his eyebrows at her. “You’ve got to be.”

Lily laughed loudly at this. “James Potter, what have you ever changed about yourself? I thought you thought yourself flawless, hm?”

“I never said that.”

“Actions can prove more than words, I’m afraid.”

James jumped over the couch at this, rounding on her. “You’ve got some nerve, you know.” He said. Lily widened her eyes at this, and finally seemed to be intimidated. It looked like she had just noticed just how much taller he was than her and bigger.

“Well, y-you haven’t.” Lily said, stuttering slightly and blushing for it.

“Do you see me bully first years anymore? Or jinx Snape?” James snapped. When he saw that she was about to open her mouth, he added, “Without being provoked.”

“Oh, so that justifies it, does it?” Lily said, standing up straighter and looking braver.

“Well, do you want me to just bow down my head and take it?”

Lily obviously didn’t have anything to say to this. She merely opened her mouth and closed it, looking rather like a goldfish. An attractive goldfish.

“Lily,” James said softly, stepping closer. He could smell her rosy perfume that lingered on her cheeks and neck; his heart beat faster. “Why do you hate me?”

“I don’t.” Lily stammered, widening her eyes as he stepped even closer. James held gently onto her waist and inhaled her smell deeply.

“Yes, you do. I can tell by every time you look at me.”

“I have to go.” Lily said weakly, but didn’t move. James smiled as he leaned in to her face, his lips hovering over her own. Suddenly a horrid thought had occurred to him. What if she doesn’t want this? Will she jinx me into oblivion later as a punishment?

James looked into her blazing eyes, which even though they were green, seemed to be on fire. I don’t care, James thought fervently, and in one, short time-stopping, heart beating moment, he bent down to kiss her.

She turned away and he brushed her cheek instead. “I h-have to go.” She repeated, and with that, she turned on her heel and left him there, speechless and frozen.

***

I am going crazy, Lily thought as she treaded up the stairs to her dormitory. James Potter just tried to kiss me. And I almost let him too.

“What did he say?” Lannie said excitedly as she opened the door. Once seeing her face and expression, her grin quickly faded. “Oh. He was being a jerk again, right?”

No. Not at all. “Yes.” Lily said, although her voice sounded distant and strange. “I suppose he was.”

Lannie hopped her bed and walked over to her, stopping in front of Lily and inspecting her face. “You okay?” she said, obviously thinking that she as sick or something once feeling her head for a fever. “You don’t look too good.”

“Nothing that sleep won’t cure,” Lily said, giving a weak smile. Lannie didn’t say anything as she closed the curtain and hid herself from sight.
 
 


Chapter 7: Chapter 7
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Okay, just so you know, the next chapter is probably going to be the last one of Bitter About You. I’ve never finished a story before…so I want to make it really good. It’ll probably take a while, like two weeks or so. Maybe less, I’m not sure. Anyway…lots of fluff in this chapter! I hope you all like it. :-)

Warning: scenes of a mild sexual nature


James’s head was still spinning when the weekend was over and he was finally able to see her again in class. She kept her head down and didn’t look at him, although he had a feeling that she knew that he was staring. He supposed that he didn’t mind that much, except—well, yes, he did.

Almost, he thought dizzily. He had almost kissed her. He could hardly believe that he was that close to doing it—and he blew it. Well, after all that thinking and pondering, that was the only explanation. Why else would she be ignoring him completely instead of glaring at him with disgust, and why else would she have ran up the stairs as if he was something horrible that she wanted to get away from as soon as possible?

Sirius looked over at him and raised an eyebrow, and James quickly shook his head and looked down at his paper. Charms…he was good at it, except he had failed everything purposefully so that he’d be able to spent time with Lily. How stupid was he? She just ended up hating him even more. Sirius was right…he was a stupid, lovesick arse….

“Where the hell were you?” Sirius asked once they walked out of the classroom. “You looked dazed…more so than usual.”

“I bet it has to do with Lily,” Peter said smugly. Lily didn’t turn around but walked more quickly so that she’d put some distance between herself and James. James sighed, ruffling his hair. He didn’t say anything.

Remus surveyed him for a moment. “What did you do?”

James looked at him, and then looked down, shaking his head in a crestfallen sort of way. He felt his stomach drop as Lily glanced in his direction. Stupid, stupid, stupid….

That day after dinner was supposed to be his first tutoring session in the common room. Lily wasn’t there.

***

“Lily…you seem bothered.” Lannie said as they sat down in the library, reviewing their notes for an exam they would be having in Potions. Lily furrowed her eyebrows as she read her text, not really comprehending what everything meant. In Potions—or Potter—or anything really.

“It’s that…something happened last weekend that I didn’t tell you about.” Lily said hesitantly. She didn’t want Lannie to be mad at her, since now they were friends and all they probably should tell each other things. Lannie, however, merely closed her book and looked curious, raising her eyebrows to urge Lily to continue.

“Pardon?” Lannie asked when Lily mumbled her answer.

Lily blushed and cleared her throat. “Er…Potter—I mean…James—tried to kiss me.”

“And did he succeed?” Lannie asked, raising an eyebrow. Lily blushed even more.

“N-no.” Lily stammered. “Honestly, Lannie—did you really think I’d let him?” She drew herself up to her full sitting height, looking defiant. Lannie merely exhaled slowly.

“Honestly? Hm. I don’t really know.”

Lily gave Lannie a hard look, but wasn’t sure if she was being sarcastic or not. Lily sighed and let her forehead drop onto her open book, feeling her heartbeat quicken suddenly for no reason. Or maybe there was a reason but Lily wasn’t exactly sure why.

“Are you confused?” Lily heard Lannie ask casually, as if it were a simple question about the weather she was implying.

“Yes.” Lily said desperately, turning to look at her again. “I just don’t know…why.”

For a moment it looked like Lannie was about to smile, but she didn’t. She swept her bangs to the side and said nonchalantly, “I think you have some things to sort out, Lily.”

Basically, she was saying, You are messed up and you need to figure out why.

“Lannie,” Lily whispered, not because they were in the library because nobody ever whispered just because they were in the library, but because they didn’t want anybody to hear what they were about to say. “I think…I mean—” She trailed off, looking confused.

“What?” Lannie asked, not lowering her voice but sounding rather impatient.

“I think I almost let him.” Lily said, shuddering as if horrified with what she had just said. “I almost let him kiss me.”

This seemed to get Lannie’s attention. She sat up straighter then leaned forward, not able to hide her grin. “Really?” she asked eagerly.

Yes!” Lily moaned. “I’m so disgusted with myself.”

“Why? He’s a really nice guy, Lily.”

“He is not.” Lily said hotly. “He’s conceited, big-headed, a huge snob…”

“You do notice that those all mean the same thing,” Lannie said with a hint of humor in her voice. “C’mon Lily…why don’t you give him a chance?”

“Because!” Lily snapped. “Lannie—you wouldn’t understand.”

“Obviously.” Lannie snorted. “Fine…whatever. Do what you want Lily—but I’m telling you that you are very mistaken to think that James is something as terrible as you think he is.”

Lily scoffed, digging her nose into her book again. Lannie observed her for a moment, and then sighed, shaking her head and giving into studying also.

***

“Whoa. Wait…you did what?

Sirius was staring at him with his mouth open, Peter gasped and nearly fell off his chair, and even Remus was looking a bit out of his usual calm self. James groaned, digging his face into his hands as he heard Sirius distinguishingly murmur, “That’s it, he’s lost it.”

“No wonder she looks like she wants to kill someone.” Peter said. James looked up and saw that he was right; Lily was in a corner hissing something at Lannie while she gestured angrily with her hands. James dug his fingernails in his scalp as he ruffled his hair rather forcefully.

“Careful, you’ll tear your hair out.” Remus said, who was finally starting to look all right again and was restoring sanity to the group. “Now…James. What did you do?”

“I don’t know.” James moaned. “But she ran away so I must’ve done something terrible.”

“Did you stick your tongue out?” Sirius said, grimacing. Then, with a knowledgeable air that they all knew had come from lots of experience, he said, “Sticking your tongue out before you kiss a girl will never end in a good way.”

“So true,” Peter said, shuddering as if he was recalling a bad experience.

“I wonder why she ran for it, though?” Sirius asked, raising an eyebrow. “I mean…James isn’t that bad looking, is he?”

“Padfoot,” James said heavily. “Shut up.”

“Or maybe…she didn’t want to kiss you, no matter what.” The other three boys looked at Remus with raised eyebrows.

“Who wouldn’t want to kiss James?” Sirius asked incredulously.

“Yeah, who wouldn’t?” James said defensively.

“Only if he really, really screwed up.” Peter added.

“Exactly. Thank you, Pete.”

Remus rolled his eyes. “Well, if you didn’t stick your tongue out as Sirius kindly reminded us not to do, then you didn’t do anything wrong, did you? So Lily probably just didn’t want to kiss you.”

Did you stick your tongue out?”

No, Wormtail.” James said exasperatedly. Suddenly he looked horrified. “Or wait…what if I did?

“That would certainly scare her away.” Sirius said, nodding understandably.

“But I don’t think I did…I wouldn’t do it, would I?”

“How would I know? I’ve never kissed you.”

“Thank Merlin for that.” Remus said, whistling softly. Both boys slapping him on the head quickly followed it. “Ow.”

“All right, so it’s settled.” Sirius said. “Lily ran off because Prongs stuck his tongue out.”

“Yeah, just don’t do it next time.” Peter said, chuckling.

“Right. Okay.” James said, picking up his quill to continue his essay now that he as somewhat reassured. “Wait. I hope there is a next time. And when that time comes, I will not stick my tongue out.”

“You’re all hopeless.” Remus sighed.

***

Lannie—are you seeing that?

- Lily

Seeing what, exactly?

- Lannie

Come on. The staring, the laughing, the…you really don’t see anything?

James has always stared at you, and has always laughed Lily. I think…now don’t take this the wrong way or anything, I could, possibly, be wrong…but I think you’re overreacting.

Ha-ha. But he looks so happy. I thought he’d be more upset because of…well…you know.

Maybe he doesn’t see it as a defeat, but another step forward.

Forward to what?

To achieving his goal, which is you, I suppose.

I’m his
goal? That’s disturbing.

Ha-ha, I know, right? And you have to tutor him…that is so brilliant.

Actually, I don’t. Well, I’m supposed to, but I haven’t.

Is the Head Girl disobeying a Professor? I hope you get a detention…then you’d be deemed to be like the rest of the population.

Well, James wasn’t really doing bad in Charms! He was
faking it, can you believe it?

Actually, I can. It’s stupid, slightly sweet, and reckless…like James Potter himself.

Yes, he is stupid, and reckless…but he’s not sweet. Not even slightly.

Yeah, yeah, okay.
I think he is.

Well…you’re…you. I’m me. And I don’t think he’s sweet.

I understand. But don’t you see it?

…?

This is the classic love/hate relationship! You hate him, but you
will love him because it’s your fate. Romantic, isn’t it? It almost makes me want to hate Remus so that we’d be meant to be…

I don’t hate James.

Well, you pretend you do. But if you say so…then it’s the classic love/dislike relationship.

That has no logic. If that were really the case it would also be my fate to marry Severus Snape. And we would have a jolly good time with me having his equally nasty kids and being his ‘mudblood’ wife.

But Snape doesn’t love you like James does!

Oh, please. James does not love me. He just thinks he does because it entertains him to chase me around.

I’m so tired of arguing with you about this. I can’t even bring myself to retort on a piece of parchment. Oh, and if you and Snape ever
do get married, I hope your kids get his filthy hair.

That’s not very nice, Lannie.


***

Lily was supposed to be tutoring him that night, but James had a pretty good inkling that he would have to study alone. Instead he followed her out of the Great Hall from a distance after dinner to see where she was going. She was going to the library (is that where she spends all her time?) and was with Lannie, who was laughing about something. To make sure that he didn’t look suspicious just in case Lily spotted him following her, he had brought Remus along.

“Why did I agree to this?” he asked as him and James entered the library. Madam Pince was nearby and was throwing them suspicious looks; apparently them being in the library at night instead of doing something more fun and rule-breaking was very out-of-the-ordinary. “And now the librarian looks like she wants to kill us.”

“She looks that way at everyone.” James said breezily, grabbing Remus’s arm and throwing them both behind a bookshelf where James could easily stare at Lily unnoticed. “All right, so this is what I want you to do—”

“Do I want to know?”

“Shut up. Now, go over there to Lannie.”

Remus raised his eyebrow. “Why?”

“Because she loves you and you will easily distract her. She won’t even notice that it’s slightly suspicious for me to go around you guys and corner Lily.”

“She doesn’t love me.” Remus said, shaking his head embarrassingly. “And if that is love I’m very afraid of knowing what it is you feel for Lily.”

“It is also love. Just more feverish.”

Remus coughed something that sounded oddly like “Obsessed.” James glared then continued, “Okay. So you…go talk to Lannie. You will do it, won’t you?”

“Yes, although it is against my better judgment—”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” James said, waving his hand to shush him. “Okay, let’s go.”

Remus went on ahead and waved to Lannie, who immediately blushed and waved back. He sat down with a surprisingly convincing, “Hey, I didn’t even see you there!” (The bugger was a good liar after all), and James edged around them towards the shelf that Lily had disappeared to. She was at the end, standing on her tiptoes so she could reach a book on one of the higher shelves. James, seeing this as a good time to show himself, stood over her and easily grabbed the desired book, handing it to an alarmed Lily and grinning for a charming effect. Lily merely frowned and didn’t say anything, squirming away from him and moving back to her table. James stood in front of her, barring her way.

“Get out of my way, James.” Lily said, glaring at him.

“Can’t I just talk to you?” James asked hopefully. “I don’t want you to hate me.”

Lily opened her mouth, and then closed it, contemplating something. “I don’t hate you.” She said finally. Somehow every conversation they had revolved about her hating him.

James raised his eyebrows. “That’s news to me.”

“Very funny.” Lily said, rolling her eyes. “Now can you please let me through?”

“No.” James said. He exhaled slowly. “Listen…I know that I was being stupid about the whole ‘failing Charms to get your attention’ thing. I’m sorry.”

Lily looked suspicious. “Are you really?”

“Yes.” James said earnestly.

“Good. I don’t want you ruining your chance for a career because of some stupid crush.”

“But you’re not a stupid crush,” James said seriously. “You know that.”

Lily sighed. “Okay, James, whatever. Can I go now?”

James stared at her. His heartbeat was accelerating in an alarming rate, just like that day in the common room. He suddenly wanted to kiss her again, but he had to check if his tongue was poking out first. Seeing that it wasn’t, James stepped closer, and Lily, widening her eyes, stepped back into the bookshelf. He bent his head again, not daring to close his eyes just in case she moved again…

Which of course, she did. He ended up brushing his lips against her cheek again, and felt suddenly bewildered.

“James…stop doing that.” Lily said, but she said it softly and in a weak way. Was she breathing quickly or was that just part of his fruitful imagination? In the back of his mind he heard a distant chuckle come from Lannie while Remus said something. James swallowed as she looked up at him. They were still very close. “I don’t want to.”

“Why not?” James said, his voice hoarse.

Lily blushed. “I don’t know! I just don’t.”

James raised his eyebrow. “Have you ever kissed before?”

She suddenly looked furious. “That has nothing to do with it.”

“So it’s me, then.”

“Well…yes, it is.”

He stared at her, and she looked down, embarrassed. He could see her cheeks flushing and she stood there, holding her hands together and waiting for him to leave. James would’ve preferred if she just pushed him like normally.

Suddenly the feeling was overwhelming. His adrenaline was pumping and he didn’t care anymore—and he no longer thought that he should just stand there and let her torture him the way she did. James tilted her chin up, looked in her eyes with a determined air, then touched her lips with his, holding her neck and giving her all that he had and all he could give her in one kiss.

She didn’t pull back. In fact, she didn’t even really move. Then, as if all the godly beings in the world had heard his praise and were finally listening to what he wanted and what he needed, James suddenly felt Lily’s soft hands on his shoulders as she kissed him back, moving her lips slowly and lovingly.

This cannot be happening…is this actually happening? But somehow…it was.
 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 8: Chapter 8
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Well…here we are. The last chapter of Bitter About You, which is by far the longest chapter of this whole story. How sad! First I’d like to thank absolutely everyone who has read this story and supported it, especially the readers who have been with me since the beginning. I can’t thank you enough, and I’ll miss this story and you guys!

Just so you know, this is the first story that I have ever finished, so I really want your input! Be mean if you must, just be honest so that the next story I write I’ll be able to improve the ending.

Thanks again, guys. Enjoy!

- Katie


Warning: scenes of a mild sexual nature


Lily’s mind had been blank for a while, but suddenly a strange, ringing noise went off in her head, telling her, no screaming at her, what are you doing? What the hell are you doing, Lily?

She pushed James away, who stumbled slightly back into the bookshelf on the other side, where he staggered as he tried to hold himself upright. He blinked, his lips looking soft and swollen (had she done that?), and they stared at one another for a while. Lily was glad, because now she could gather her thoughts and figure out what to do next—whoa! Where those his lips again?

So then she was kissing him again, and Lily’s reasonable and practical part of her mind was completely gone and running because she didn’t care anymore. She never thought she’d say it, but kissing James Potter was so—so—good and she didn’t want to stop anytime soon.

She couldn’t stop herself from thinking though. And her thoughts—after some serious rational ‘get-your-act-together’ time—were rather strange. Why did she like doing this? It was James. James Potter. She hated him. He wasn’t a nice person and he was only stumbling after Lily because he couldn’t have her!

Okay…well… Lily closed her eyes. Now that he’s had me, he’ll let me be…and that’s why I should keep on kissing him…

They stayed like that for a while. His lovely hands were on her hips as he came even closer to her, both of them only stopping for air and then going back under again. She never would believe it if someone told her that she would be kissing someone like this, never would think that she’d dare to part her lips slightly as he started to use his warm, soft tongue, and she never, ever thought that she’d let James steadily raise her skirt so he could rest his tingling fingertips there.

Who cared if it was James Potter? He was a damn good kisser and she wasn’t going to end this any time soon.

But just when it got more passionate and he was kissing her rougher, pressing her back harder against the books which were falling out from their shelves—they heard a voice which made them quickly jump apart and put some safe distance between each other.

Lannie and Remus were both standing between the two shelves where they had been concealed for the most part, and which now they were thrown to sharp relief as their friends came closer. They were both wearing the same, identical expression of complete disbelief and wonderment as Remus raised his eyebrows and Lannie gaped at them.

Lily suddenly forgot just how wonderful of a kisser James was and put even more distance between him and her. She hid her face behind her hand and blushed so terribly that she was sure that her head looked like one huge, bulbous tomato.

She didn’t look at James, and neither did she want to. She was afraid she’d slap him for doing this to her—yes, it was completely, completely his own fault! If he hadn’t insisted, hadn’t closed in on her, this never would’ve happened—

“Um, Lily…you ready to go?” Lannie said finally. She was trying to restore some sanity by acting casual and nonchalant, as if she hadn’t just seen her friend’s lips being smothered by James’s.

“Yes!” Lily squeaked, and she ran quickly out of there, practically knocking the wind out of Remus as she sped past him and grabbed her bag in record timing. She and Lannie were out the door before James could even react, which he didn’t. He didn’t even go after her, which she thought he would but was glad that he didn’t. She needed time to just…think.

Lannie didn’t ask anything, which she was grateful for as they climbed up to the Gryffindor Tower. In fact, she didn’t say anything at all until they reached the safe comfort of their gracefully empty dormitory. She was glad Heather and her cronies weren’t around.

Lannie was raising her eyebrow at Lily, who couldn’t meet her eyes. “Okay, what happened?

Lily looked at her blankly, opening and closing her mouth as she lost what she was about to say. “Uh…well…”

“Okay, I’ll answer for you.” Lannie said, going over to the vanity and grabbing the circular mirror, which she thrust into Lily’s hands. “Look at yourself.”

Lily did, and was horrified; her auburn hair had come out of her ponytail and looked an absolute terror; her lips were swollen and tender looking; her robes all wrinkled and her skirt higher than usual. Lily put a hand to her mouth. “Oh, dear…”

Lannie plopped down on her bed, leaning against the banister. “Were you thoroughly snogged or what?”

“The first one,” Lily said weakly, still staring at her reflection that looked so unlike herself.

Lannie grinned. “So…you finally did it.”

I didn’t!” Lily said defiantly. “It was all him! He was the one who came onto me and—”

“Lily, honey,” she said. She was smirking. “I saw you two, and believe me—it was not all James.”

Lily still couldn’t believe it. “I—I don’t…understand?”

“It’s simple.” Lannie said, still smiling widely. “You…like James. He…likes you. And today…you kissed!

She looked absolutely ecstatic. “Somehow I think you’re more excited about this than I am.” Lily said dully, sinking back into her pillows.

“Well, why aren’t you?”

Lily glared at her. “Because I didn’t want this to happen! I just wanted him to leave me alone, so I could graduate in peace and I wouldn’t have to worry about having my own stalker…”

“James isn’t a stalker!” Lannie said defensively. “He’s a guy who is in love with you even though you keep shunning him away!”

Lily sat straight up, her eyes flashing. “You know what, Lannie? Just leave me alone.”

Lannie raised an eyebrow at her. “Fine. You don’t have to use that tone, though.” She hopped off of her bed and Lily quickly closed the curtains with a wave of her wand. “You’ll figure out sooner or later, Lily.”

“There’s nothing to figure out!” Lily said as she heard the dormitory door click. She didn’t care how immature or childish she was acting, but she didn’t want to talk to Lannie at the moment. Sure, she was her friend, actually, the only one she had, but she was tired of listening to how excited she was about what would happen with her and James. She just wanted to sit there quietly, by herself, and just…be alone. To keep a clear head and think rationally and logically, the way she was programmed to. Lily sank deeper into her pillows and closed her eyes, pretending that she was very far away, from Lannie, from James, from everything.

***

After some time in the library that James stood there, gaping, at what had just happened, the librarian finally kicked him and Remus out and they retreated to their dormitory, where Sirius was helping Peter with some charms they had to study for. Remus quickly filled them in, however, which left Sirius to whoop loudly and Peter to drop his jaw in amazement.

“Finally!” Sirius said loudly, thumping his hand onto the bed and laughing. “Mate, I can’t believe you did it!”

“Congratulations,” Peter said, grinning as he motioned for them to sit on the bed they were gathered. James sat down but didn’t say anything, his eyes unfocused as he stared straight ahead.

“Um—Sirius—” Remus started, but he was quickly interrupted.

“So? How was it?” His eyes were shining in mischief and he was smirking as he waited for an answer, which he undoubtedly hoped that would have very much detail.

“Sirius, I really think—”

“Cool it, Moony. We all want to hear how it happened and how was it, am I right?” Peter nodded frantically and they both stared at James, who had still not said anything. “Uh…Prongs? You there?” He reached out and shook James a bit, who jerked out of his trance and blinked.

“What?” James asked, ruffling his hair.

“How was it?” Sirius asked. He was looking a bit irritated that he still wasn’t being filled in on all the details.

James stared at him blankly. “She…ran away.”

Sirius looked perplexed. “Okay…what happened before?

“Was there tongue?” Peter asked eagerly.

“She did kiss you back, right?” Sirius asked, raising his eyebrows. “I mean…she didn’t just stand there like some dead zombie, did she? James?”

“Hm? Oh…um, no. She kissed me back.”

Sirius grinned. “So? What’s the problem?”

“She ran away.” James replied flatly.

“I know, Prongs.” Sirius said, rolling his eyes at James’s slowness. “But what’s—”

“He just said it, Padfoot.” Remus snapped.

Sirius raised an eyebrow, completely nonplussed. “Well, James, what did you expect? I mean, she’s never warmed up to you.”

James had obviously had enough. He stood up, wrenched the dorm door open, and walked out without another word.

***

Lily had never felt so hopeless in her life. The next day she was able to avoid people for the most part; she woke up earlier than everyone else and ate breakfast alone, and since there wasn’t much time to talk during classes, she sped out of all of them, ignoring conversation.

It wasn’t supposed to be so hard. It was just a kiss for Merlin’s sake, it wasn’t as if they were now going steady or James had somehow tricked her into going on a date with him. In fact, the whole situation wasn’t even entirely James’s fault like she had told Lannie, because the truth was, Lily had kissed him back, no matter how hard she tried to forget about it.

What had happened? Lily thought she hated him, or at least disliked him very much. He was the complete opposite of her! He was rich, snobbish, selfish, unkind, and utterly unbearable. He was outrageous, he was loud, and he always spoke his mind to the point that it was just plain obnoxious. He always got his way, and when there was that small unlikely possibility that whatever he had planned wasn’t going to happen, he chased after it until it did. This was what he was trying to do! He was trying to make her like him, and when Lily finally did, he would dump her like some piece of garbage!

So, so obvious, Lily thought. Well, I’m certainly not falling for that.

The problem was, something had changed after that kiss he had given her. Lily kept trying to tell herself that it wasn’t that good, that he was a horrible kisser who slobbered all over her and was much too harsh for her taste, but the truth was he wasn’t. He was gentle, sweet, and he wasn’t messy and demanding. He held her, and somehow, she felt that she could just melt in the way he touched her, the way he kissed her, so that she would become nothing more than a helpless puddle on the floor.

But this wasn’t supposed to happen. She wasn’t supposed to feel this way. She tried to forget everything, tried to pretend that it wasn’t a big deal, that he had kissed her but it didn’t mean she was attached or anything, but she couldn’t. She simply couldn’t.

Oh no, Lily thought, slapping her hand over her horrified expression. I like James Potter.

He was looking at her in every class they had together. She had even skipped lunch so she wouldn’t have to deal with him. Instead she decided to go outside, she didn’t cared how cold it was, but she just wanted to be alone with her thoughts. Was it so much to ask?

Lannie, however, had different plans. She tried following Lily out of the Great Hall, but Lily had managed to hide herself in a crowd of sixth years who had just entered. She left quickly, not looking back.

Lily, you are so messed up.

She left her bag in the bushes and clutched her cloak closer to her body so that she wouldn’t mind the cold as much, which was biting at face and other parts of her body that were exposed. Her teeth chattered as she pulled some gloves out of her pocket to warm her already dry hands.

Lily didn’t like November. She didn’t like winter. In fact, she didn’t like anything at the moment, especially herself.

Again, you are so, so messed up, Lily. What kind of crazy people talk to their selves in third person, anyway? Stupid, stupid Lily.

She had always imagined that when she finally did like a boy, it would be a nice, warm feeling. Instead she felt cold and bitter, feelings that had nothing to do with the harsh wind that was blowing on her face.

***

James sat down and set his forehead on the wooden table. He closed his eyes and exhaled loudly, ignoring Sirius who was telling him about his recently acquired date, which had turned out well, apparently. As usual, he was not embarrassed to fill his friends in all the juicy details, which were earning him death glares from a group of girls nearby.

“Can you believe it? Only one date and she was already letting me touch her—”

James’s stomach felt very hollow, although he didn’t think it was because of hunger. “Sirius,” he heard Remus say. “Shut up.”

“Thank you,” James said heavily.

“What? Look, Prongs, I know that you’re upset and everything, but you shouldn’t just sulk around.” Sirius said as James sat up and glared at him. “Here…live a little. Have some potatoes.”

“I don’t want potatoes.”

“Sure you do.” Sirius said easily, sliding the bowl of roasted potatoes towards him and dumping some on his plate. “Potatoes are good for the soul.”

“Who cares? I’ll never have Lily, so my life might as well be over.”

Peter shook his head. “You shouldn’t say something like that. Sirius is right; have some potatoes.”

“Food isn’t the solution to everything.” Remus sighed.

“That’s what you think.” Sirius said. “Anyway…James, why are you so worried? I mean, you’re telling me she kissed you back, which means that you’re probably good at whatever you were doing.”

“It doesn’t matter if I’m good at it or not.” James said dully, sticking his fork in a potato and staring at it mournfully. “She ran away, didn’t she? Didn’t even say goodbye…she didn’t even look at me.”

Remus clucked his tongue sympathetically. “I just…expected that when I finally did kiss her…she would like it too, you know? It’d be special—for both of us.” James sighed, ruffling his hair.

“Prongs, why do you even like her anyway?” Sirius asked. His eyebrows were raised high into his hair as he tried to comprehend whatever James was about to tell him. But he never would, James knew that.

He had asked the same question in the beginning of the year, and many times before that. James never knew how to answer him; Lily was simply everything he dreamed his girl to be, heck, his wife even, and that was why it was so hard to let her go. Technically, however, he wasn’t really letting her go, since he never had her to begin with.

Sirius was now waving his fork and potatoes around, looking confused and incredulous as he emphasized his point. “I mean—you two are nothing alike.”

James opened his mouth, ready to respond, although this time he stopped and listened to what Sirius had just said, processing it. He closed his mouth, furrowing his eyebrows and staring at his plate with his untouched potatoes, and frowned. Then he looked up, touching his stomach as he felt that hollow feeling again.

“Don’t you get it?” James asked, as he too finally unraveled this. Sirius looked at him in what was clearly, ‘no.’ “That’s just it.”

Sirius continued to look confuse. “What? I said you two are—”

“—Nothing alike. Exactly.” James said, standing up. “I’ll catch you guys later, okay?”

“All right,” Sirius said in a ‘what-can-you-do?’ sort of tone. Remus and Peter nodded, and then he left. He bumped into Lannie in the entrance hall.

“Oh, hey.” James said, already moving so that he could get out of her way and be alone again.

“Wait.” Lannie said, and he turned around, raising an eyebrow. “Do you have a plan, Potter?”

James immediately knew what she was talking about. He sighed loudly, ruffling his hair. “Lannie, forget it, okay?”

Lannie scowled, putting her hands on her hips. “No, I won’t. And neither will you or Lily. You need a plan, James.”

James gave her an exasperated look. “What plan? There’s no plan that can change things, Lannie. She doesn’t like me, end of story. I should’ve accepted that years ago.” Even though those words weren’t what he was planning to say, it was what came out of his mouth. Realizing this made his heart turn and squelch unpleasantly in his chest.

Lannie let out a frustrated growl, stomping her foot on the ground. “Potter, how daft are you?”

James was feeling rather annoyed. Sure, Lannie was nice and everything, but he didn’t need her, and she didn’t need to get so involved. He merely waved her off then went up the stairs again, ignoring Lannie’s huffs as she stormed back into the Hall.

Sure, James had a plan, even though he would never confide Lannie with it or even Sirius. He was going to forget Lily Evans, or at least try to. Eventually, his system would get used to the lack of her, and he’d be able to live peacefully again. Besides, he would only have to do this for a few more months, since Graduation wasn’t very far off.

Yes, that was exactly what he would do. No worries. None at all.

Yeah, right, James thought. He’d have to at least try, though.

It wouldn’t be easy. He’d have to get rid of everything that reminded him of her. Those lilies the house-elves put in the dorm? Yep, they’re gone. I’ll chuck them out every day so I won’t have to look at them and think of Lily. Oh, and no more eating strawberries, because Lily loves strawberries. Let’s see…I have to get rid of that perfume I nicked from her in fifth year…well, I’ll ask Remus to do it for me. I’ll have to throw out that picture on my nightstand. And let’s see…yep, never, ever again will I be able to look at her from that spot I found out. I can never again look at her in the tower when she’s brushing her hair and putting those lovely bobby pins in…wait, doesn’t Sirius have bobby pins? Yep, I’ll have to get rid of those too. Hm, he won’t be too happy about that.

The mere thought of that girl made his stomach do massive flips. He didn’t even want to imagine how it would be to see Lily once he put his newfound plan into action. Sure, throwing out perfume and lilies wasn’t that hard, but James knew it would be a lot more difficult to go through with his plan every time he’d see her. Hm, maybe I can take classes with the Ravenclaws, instead…

He knew that he was talking crazy. Actually, now that he thought about it, Lily was the one who should try to change! She was the one who had to switch classes, even House, because who was torturing who? That’s right…Lily, that’s who.

He looked around and saw that he was only a staircase and a tapestry away from the Fat Lady corridor. Suddenly, he didn’t want people to be talking to him or even hearing people talk at all, so instead, he slid down on the window ledge and looked out onto the grounds. The moon was already coming out, the sun almost set. Lily was probably in her dormitory, avoiding everyone as usual…how typical of her. She was always shunning people away, one of the reasons he could never approximate himself to her…

It was no use, all his feelings for Lily were being torn apart, and the truth was, his good feelings were taking over his anger and bitterness very quickly. His frown was already smoothing into a smile as he closed his eyes and thought of how they had kissed, how he had been so careful not to rush things, to not be harsh, as if she were some sort of porcelain that he was afraid he’d let fall and break. Her skin was like porcelain…white and smooth, and James longed to touch it again, even though in the very back of his mind his conscious was screaming, Warning! Warning, you are getting to breaking point! WARNING!

Lily was probably getting out of the shower and brushing her hair, her bobby pins already in between her lips….

He quickly dropped to his feet and rushed in the way he had come from. He didn’t care…he just wanted to see her one more time that special way no one had ever seen her…and then, finally…he’d be done.

***

It was already dark and Lily was still outside. She leaned against the willow tree by the lake, clutching her cloak tighter to her neck and covering her mouth, which was ice cold. She stared out onto the lake, which was already starting to freeze, although not completely, and felt her heart beat dully in her chest, as if she weren’t really functioning but was just watching her body from far away, working its way by itself, without her soul.

It was a crescent moon that was out tonight. Lily looked at her gloved hands, which were illuminated by its light. She sighed and stared at them for a while, only breaking out of her trance as from the corner of her eye she saw someone leaving the castle and quickly crossing the lawn.

Even if the moon wasn’t out she’d be able to recognize James’s messy hair, and that glint from his glasses. She watched him, her heart beating no longer dully but back into action as she felt her stomach do strange somersaults. Suddenly, without thinking, Lily stood up and followed him as he made a turn around the castle and disappeared out of sight, not even noticing her.

What are you doing? Lily no longer cared. She wasn’t letting her head decide, at least not for this one moment, as her feet carried her across the grass chipped with frost and she was momentarily thrown into darkness; the clouds were covering the moon.

She felt something very light on her head, and she looked up to discover that it was snowing. The first snow of the season, she thought, and she was so enraptured by it she nearly forget what she was doing, and why she was about to turn the corner of the stone castle. Lily took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. She could see the warm air float in front of her.

When she turned the corner she saw that James was standing up, pointing to the windows up overhead and counting under his breath. Snow was covering his hair but he either didn’t notice or didn’t care, because he was apparently concentrating very hard on whatever he was doing. Finally, he seemed to be able to find the window he was looking for, and in doing so he sat down with his legs tucked underneath him, staring up and stretching out his neck as far as possible, apparently transfixed.

Lily raised an eyebrow, half-hidden in the shadow. She looked up also, not understanding what they were looking at. It took her a while to recognize the flowery curtains that she had put there her first year.

She slapped a hand over her mouth, silencing her gasp. That was her room.

Lily stared at James just as hard as he was staring at her window, frowning as if waiting for something. What’s he doing…?

He stayed there for nearly ten minutes, sitting and leaning against his elbows. He didn’t seem to mind much, he was acting as if he did this often, and he only checked his watch once. Once he saw how long he had been waiting there, however, he furrowed his eyebrows and stared at for a while, the snow covering his hair so that it looked like he had many white strands in that tangled mess of jet black. He stood up, ruffling his hair and shaking the snow slightly off of him. He was frowning and was looking at the ground.

That’s when the moon appeared from the clouds.

And that’s when he saw her, backed up against the wall.

***

When James finally checked his watch, which he had been trying to avoid but did anyway, he saw that he had been waiting for Lily to show up for at least ten minutes. He took this as some kind of sign that it wasn’t meant to be, that he was to start his plan that very night so that he would get used to trying not to like Lily. It would take a while, so he figured that he should probably get started with it as soon as possible.

That’s when he noticed that it had been snowing, and that it was a crescent moon that night. The light illuminated his face and the snow was even brighter than before, especially against his black cloak. He stared at the ground for a while, and then finally looked up to see that he wasn’t alone.

Lily was standing in the shadowy corner that was no longer dark, and she was pressed up against the wall as she covered her mouth in horror.

He tried not to look at her, tried to remind himself that he wasn’t supposed to be looking at her especially that way; he was supposed to just walk away and pretend that he hadn’t seen her so that he could finally, finally, try to forget about her. To let her go, even though she was never his anyway.

He couldn’t. They stared at one another for a while, his hazel eyes locked on her emerald ones, which were shining in the moonlight. She looked so beautiful with her rosy cheeks that were probably effects from the cold, with her red hair glittering with snow. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her, and he could see the warm air heating up his glasses as he breathed rapidly and raggedly.

He walked towards her, but she met him halfway. When they were about two feet apart, she lowered her hands from her face and he could see her lovely, pink lips again, lips he loved kissing in that library. She was looking at him with an expression he couldn’t quite read, and wasn’t sure if he wanted to.

“What are you doing out here?” he finally asked.

She was already tensing up, already going to defense mode. She frowned slightly and said, “I could ask the same of you.”

Another silence. James stared at his shoes so that he wasn’t overtaken by the strong urge to kiss her again. Don’t do that, she’ll just run away like last time.

“James…” she said slowly, and he wasn’t sure if she was softening her tone to be nice or out of pity. “Were you looking at my—room?”

James swallowed the lump in his throat and took the chance of looking at her. She had her arms crossed across her chest, which meant she was getting off her guard quite yet. “Yeah,” James said quietly. “I was.”

“Why?”

She was looking at him, furrowing her eyebrows in both confusion and speculation, as if she couldn’t understand. James felt his insides shiver as he looked at her face. He chuckled feebly. “Well…you know.”

You should leave now, James thought. Just leave, before she tells you that she’ll never have anything to do with you and you get trampled again.

Lily was already backing away, her eyes lowered as she gave him the space that she obviously thought he ought to have. James stared at her, his heart pounding so furiously and hurting so much that he thought he’d have a heart attack or something of that sort.

No, said another voice in his head. Don’t let her go…She needs to know…you need to tell her one last time before you give it all up.

“Lily,” James said hoarsely. She looked up and he saw that she had her lips tightly sealed, her shoulders arched back. He gulped, plucking up the courage before he ended all those feelings that were squatting in his chest, suffocating him and hardly allowing him to breathe, let alone talk. “I just want you to know that…I’ve been watching you for a long time. I know you might think it’s…well—strange—but, the thing is…”

He stopped, not quite sure what to say. Lily, thankfully, hadn’t run away yet. Her expression hadn’t changed, but she was looking at the ground again. She didn’t say anything.

This made it easier for him. “The thing is…sometimes, I think I might even love you. This isn’t some stupid crush, like you think. Lily, I—” he stopped, opening his mouth then closing it, then opening it again. “What I feel for you…isn’t stupid. Or childish.”

There was a silence that filled all of the grounds; even the owls or other animals didn’t seem to want to break it. He could feel the cold tense his muscles, his face, his insides, although he wasn’t sure if it was because of the snow that was still falling gently on them. He waited for what felt like a lifetime, waiting for some sort of answer, assurance, rejection even, anything….

“James,” she said softly. “You don’t even know me.”

“But I do!” James said immediately, which made her quirk her eyebrow and look at him as if she highly doubted it. “I—I know that your favorite food is strawberries. I know that your favorite color is green, your favorite flower lilies…”

Lily’s eyes looked unusually bright. She smiled slightly, but it was a sad sort of smile, a smile that made his heart almost break. “Those are just my favorites, James, you don’t really know who I am—”

“You’re kind! You’re generous, you’re—” James blabbered, and he could feel such cold sweat on his face, which was unusually hot. “—smart, proper, you’re—the most amazing person I’ve ever met.”

Lily had silent tears rolling down her cheeks. “James—that’s who everyone thinks I am.” She paused, catching her breath as she wiped her face with her hands. “But it’s not who I—am.”

James wasn’t going to let her run away; he grabbed her wrist and pulled her back to him as she tried to walk away. “Lily, you can be cynical. You can be—extremely hateful, I don’t know why.” Lily turned her head and looked down at her shoes, but James wasn’t going to stop. “But you know what your biggest problem is, Lily? You’re afraid of letting people get close to you.”

Lily looked up, her eyes red but flashing with anger. “How dare you—”

“Tell me it isn’t true, then.” James said, grabbing her shoulders and making her face him. “Tell me it isn’t true…just like tell me that you don’t have feelings for me.”

Lily opened her mouth, and then closed it. Her entire face was red from the cold and from her anger, while James’s heart leapt to his throat as he watched her and waited for an answer.

“What do you want from me?” Lily asked. She looked so helpless there with James holding her shoulders and tilting her chin so that she’d look at him.

“You.” James said softly, brushing a strand of hair away from her face. “Just you.”

He saw her swallow, her eyes still watery and red from her crying. Her lips were still there, hovering near his but he had to resist, because it just would make things harder if she rejected him again…

Finally, she stepped closer and wrapped his body with her own, closing that space between their lips and eliminating the cold from their bodies, taking that huge step for both of them. James opened his eyes in surprise, but quickly melted into it, pulling her closer as she kissed him in a way that made him want to stay with her—forever, maybe—so that he’d never have to think badly again.

The moon disappeared behind the clouds again, but that was okay. It came out again, and Lily and James were still underneath it, embracing each other tightly and making up for all that lost time.

***

“Lily? Lily? Wake up.”

Lily opened her eyes and focused them on Lannie’s face, which was hovering above hers as she grinned widely. Lily groaned and closed her eyes again, tossing to the side, which didn’t make a difference since Lannie started to shake her violently.

“Lily,” she repeated, this time more insistent. “C’mon…your parents are probably here already.”

“I’m tired.” Lily moaned, tugging at her sheets and pulling them over her head. “I’ll be up…in an hour or two. It’s still early.”

“It’s nearly noon!” Lannie said.

“Oh.” Lily said, clutching to her sheets as Lannie took a hold of them and tried to peel them off of her. “Lannie!

“You’ll thank me later. You don’t want to look like a zombie for all those pictures.” Lannie said smugly as Lily opened her eyes and frowned. Lannie grinned. “And this is entirely your fault, because a certain someone only went to sleep at four o’ clock in the morning last night…”

Lily blushed, hiding her face. “It wasn’t four. Don’t exaggerate.”

“It was four you liar.” Lannie said, going over to Lily’s trunk and digging for something inside of it. She threw Lily her dressrobes then went over to the vanity to check how she looked. She was already wearing her silver dressrobes and had her hair pinned up in a French twist, and she looked lovely. “I swear, I don’t know if James is doing more bad to you than good…If I told you a few months ago that you’d be sneaking off at night to go on moonlit strolls with Potter…”

“I wouldn’t have believed it.” Lily said, sitting up and rubbing her eyes. “The James part or the sneaking off part.” Lannie turned around, sweeping her bangs out of her face and smiling.

“None of us would have.”

“Right.” Lily said, hopping off her bed and heading to the bathroom. The dormitory was empty except for them, which meant Heather and the rest of the girls had already gotten ready and left for the ceremony. Lily yelped as her emerald green dressrobes were thrown on her head and Lannie laughed loudly.

“C’mon, let’s go.” She said, as Lily closed the door and turned on the shower.

*

“You look beautiful.” Lannie said as they were finally ready, with five minutes to spare. Lily looked at herself in the mirror and smiled; the week before Lannie and her had gone shopping for them and Lannie had immediately suggested that one, since it matched her eyes. Lily grabbed her purse and they rushed out of their dorm, running down the stairs and laughing as they nearly tripped on their gowns.

“Do you think James will get mad?” Lily gasped as the rushed down the Fat Lady corridor, waving goodbye to the portrait that was sobbing loudly. Lannie chuckled.

“James? As in the guy who loves you even if you were dunked in mud?”

Lily smiled. “Yep. That’s the one.”

Lannie laughed loudly, pushing her bangs aside as they flopped in front of her as they ran. “Do you think Remus will be mad?”

“Remus? The guy who loves you even though it’s you?”

They both laughed and pushed the tapestry aside, jumping over the trick step and picking up their pace as they started to hear voices and laughter in the entrance hall.

“Just on time.” Lannie said as they spun to a halt at the top of the marble staircase, clutching stitches at their sides and wheezing from running and laughter. All the parents were already in the Great Hall, while all the seventh years lined up near the doors wearing their colorful dressrobes. All of them—except one. “Hm, will you look at that.” Lannie whispered as James looked up and grinned, waving as he held up a lily with the other hand.

Lily beamed, glancing from James, to Lannie. “See you in a bit, then.”

They rushed down the steps, Lannie immediately finding Remus in one of the lines and standing next to him as they kissed. Lily smiled and took the flower James was holding, kissing him softly as she stepped on her tiptoes.

“Hey, you.” She said, smiling as they pulled away.

“Hey.” James said, extending his arm, which she immediately took. “You look tired.”

Lily smirked. “That’s because someone convinced me to sneak out last night.”

“Oh? And who would that be? Should I go beat him up?”

“Only if you can beat up yourself.”

James chuckled. “So, I’m guessing you’re still bitter that I brought you back so late?”

“Four o’ clock, according to Lannie.” Lily grinned. “And I’m always bitter about you.”

James brought her closer, kissing her deeply, which left her breathless, as always. When they pulled away it was because Lannie nudged them from behind, poking them in the ribs, which made them jump. “The line’s moving, love birds.” Lannie said, raising her eyebrows as her and Remus chuckled. Lily blushed and saw that McGonagall was waiting expectantly by the door, which was already open as she saw most of her classmates entering the Great Hall.

“We’re going,” James said as they interlocked arms again. They moved into the Great Hall, stepping into the limelight as all those faces turned to look at them, to witness the day they’d officially become adults. James gave her a quick peck on the cheek before going off to his row (the seats were ordered alphabetically), and Lily went to hers. Luckily Lannie’s seat was right behind hers, which meant that she wouldn’t be worried too much about being bored.

Dumbledore was soon calling the names and giving them a roll of parchment, which was their diploma. As Lily went up to get hers, she heard James, Remus, Sirius, Peter, and Lannie cheer the loudest, which made her grin as she went back to her seat and waved to her parents, who were looking extremely impressed with the Great Hall’s ceiling.

Lily was currently looking at her diploma, which had a moving picture of her getting her certificate, and had a little imprint of her Head Girl badge in the corner. She smiled and looked up as “Potter, James” was called up to the staff table, where Lannie nudged her in the ribs again and whispered, “There’s your man.”

Lily beamed and cheered loudly as James looked over at her and ruffled his hair, grinning widely.

“Yep.” Lily said softly. “There he is.”

***

The End.


Well…that’s it! Just so you know, I really enjoyed writing this story. I enjoyed it so much, actually, that I might write a sequel, although I’m not quite sure yet. I think I’ll finish my other two stories first, Living Life and Reason to Live, which are both on this site, if any of you are interested. Thanks again for all the support, you guys, and Happy Holidays! Have a great 2006.

- Katie

 
 
 
 


http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com