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Change of Heart by lime flavoured bertie bott

Format: Novella
Chapters: 20
Word Count: 37,526

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Genres: Romance, Humor
Characters: Dumbledore, James, Lily, OC, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Snape, Peter Pettigrew, M. McGonagall
Pairings: James/Lily

First Published: 07/22/2005
Last Chapter: 10/30/2005
Last Updated: 11/01/2005

It's the beginning of the Marauder's seventh year at Hogwarts. James is determined more than ever to win over a certain girl... *rating is for later chapters*

Chapter 1: On the Train
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disclaimer: names and (most) characters belong to J.K. Rowling

“I don’t know, Prongs. You’ve been after Evans since...well, forever, and nothing’s changed. I personally think it’s a lost cause.” Sirius Black patted his best friend, James Potter, on the back. The two were standing on Platform 9 3/4, waiting for their friends, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew, to arrive before boarding the Hogwarts Express. “What, with my help and your shiny new Head Boy badge, you will definitely be able to have any other girl.”

James sighed and smiled his lopsided grin. “Well, my parents have always taught me to aim for the best, so I’m not about to disappoint them now. Besides, you know I’m always up for a challenge, Padfoot.”

Sirius laughed and shook his shaggy brown hair out of his eyes. “Too true, my friend. Ah, look, here comes Remus now. Well, well, and would you take a look at who’s tagging along with him... I do believe it’s the one and only Miss Evans.”

To this, James spun around. He was very excited to see his other best friend, but also ecstatic to see the object of his affections. James grinned widely, and, as was an unconscious habit whenever Lily Evans was around, he reached a hand to his head and ruffled his already messy black hair.

Lily rolled her eyes when she saw this, but bit her tongue to keep from saying something rude about it, as doing so would be admitting that she had been staring at him. Which she definitely wasn’t.

“James! Sirius!” Remus yelled, pulling them each into a hug. “How was your summer?”

“Not bad, Mooney. We kept ourselves out of trouble.” Sirius replied.

Remus chuckled. “I find that hard to believe. Then again, I didn’t see any international crisis headlined in the Prophet, so I guess you two couldn’t have gotten yourselves into too much trouble.”

“Told you we’ve been good. Besides, Prongsie here has a new reason to behave.”

At this, James reached into his pocket, pulled out a shiny object, then tossed it at Remus.

When Remus realized what it was, a smile a mile wide formed on his face. “Good for you, James! This is great!”

Lily, who had been talking to a friend behind Remus, glanced over and burst out, “where the devil did you get that, Potter?”

James gave her an amused look. “Came with my letter. So, wanna go out with me and let me get to know the Head Girl better?” He began to waggle his eyebrows at her.

She glared at him, the hope that she had had that he would grow up and stop asking her out fading away. “Digging my eyes out with a dull, rusty spoon would give me greater pleasure than dating you.” Lilly huffed away angrily, cursing and saying something about how awful the year was going to be.

“Right feisty little one,” Sirius barked with laughter, as he jovially punched James on the shoulder. “Off to a great start, eh Prongs? Got her begging to be asked out.”

Shrugging his shoulders, James turned towards the train. “I’m working on it. And let’s go get a seat, here comes Wormtail.”

* * *
After Lily had ended the prefect meeting that she and James had led, she had quickly left James alone in the compartment to go seek out her friends.

James wandered down the train trying to find the seats his friends had taken. His mood perked up when he heard Lily speaking from a partially opened compartment. He knew he shouldn’t listen in on her conversation, but he couldn’t help his curiosity.

“I can’t believe this,” she moaned.

“It’s really not that bad, Lily.” James recognized the voice of Amelia Henley. “He can’t be that horrible.”

James then heard another familiar voice, Melanie Davies, speak up. “I honestly can’t comprehend how you turn him down so much, he’s positively adorable.”

Amelia giggled. “And all that chasing he does for quidditch really does the body good.”

“I know,” Lily sighed in spite of herself. “When I saw him this morning I nearly died.”

“What’s the problem, then? Honestly, any other girl in your shoes would have been all over him by now,” Melanie scoffed.

“’s, he’s–he’s just Potter!”–James grinned happily after realizing they had been talking about him– “You can’t honestly expect me to go out with him! Yeah, he’s good looking, but he knows it, too, and he’s an arrogant prat about it!”

He swallowed hard. On one hand, she found him physically attractive; on the other, she found his character repulsive. Admitting that his looks wouldn’t get him anywhere with her didn’t discourage a giddy grin from forming on his face, however.

Amelia spoke up tentatively. “I know, but...don’t you think that’s, I don’t know...kind of an act? I mean, he can’t be like that all the time. I think he’s just trying to impress you.”

Lily was skeptical. “Ok, but unless he’s really thick, he has to see that that’s not working on me.”

Amelia continued. “That’s probably just the only way he knows how to relate to girls. He sees that it works with some of them and figures that it’s a good way to act around all of them. I’m sure if you just gave him a chance, even as friends, you’d start to see a side of him that you liked.”

Lily chose not to respond. “Can we just drop the subject? I’ve got loads to tell you about my summer.”

James stopped listening to the conversation there and continued his search for his friends. Though he was a little uncomfortable hearing them analyze his seduction capabilities, he realized he really did like that Amelia Henley. She understood where he was coming from. As he entered the next part of the train, he heard the high-pitched squeal of laughter from his friend Peter, probably laughing at something Sirius had just done. Pulling on a wide smile, James entered the train compartment and told his friends what he had heard.

Chapter 2: New Sorroundings
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disclaimer: i only own the plot
After the opening feast, Dumbledore rose and gave his usual start of term speech, reminding students not to use magic in the halls and to stay out of the Forbidden Forest. “And to those of you who do not already know, Mr. James Potter and Miss Lily Evans are our Head Boy and Girl this year, if you should need them for anything.”

Lily beamed proudly, while James smiled at the look of pure happiness on her face. He loved seeing her smile because it was something he didn’t get to see very often. Not that Lily was a miserable person, quite the contrary. She just never smiled when James was within speaking distance.

As they all got up to retreat to their common rooms, the Head of Gryffindor House, Professor McGonagall, came up to James and instructed him to get Lily and for the two of them to meet her outside of the Great Hall. He looked out over the stream of heads (he was a good foot taller than almost all the students he could see) until his gaze rested on her shiny, auburn head. James jogged to catch up to her, and stopped her by placing a hand on her shoulder.

She turned around with a smile on her face (which made James smile back), but it slid from her face when she saw that it was him. Impatience in her eyes, she was about to tell him to go away when he spoke first.

“McGonagall wants us,” he said, motioning towards the door with his head.

Lily looked down at his hand, still resting on her shoulder, then back up at him challengingly.

He removed it quickly, giving her an innocent grin. When he waited a moment for her to continue ahead of him, she narrowed her eyebrows at him.

“Don’t walk behind me.”

“Why not?”

“Because,” she replied, and hint of a blush in her cheeks. “I don’t like it when people walk behind me. Coming from you, it’s not exactly a gentlemanly gesture, anyway” The real reason she didn’t want him behind her was because, as she had admitted earlier, he was a fit and good-looking boy, one who she didn’t wish to be granted access to view what she felt was her sub-par body. “Not like it’s any of your business anyway, Potter,” she added, more as an after thought.

He shrugged. “Where would you have me walk, then?”

She began walking and pointed to a spot to her left. “Right there’s good.”

Obediently, James walked beside Lily, perhaps a little closer than she had intended, but she kept that opinion to herself.

When they emerged from the Great Hall, they found McGonagall standing beside a large portrait of a little girl with blonde ringlets.

“Hello, Professor. You needed us for something?” Lily asked in a pleasant tone, one much different from the one she had just used with James.

“Good evening, Miss Evans. I have been instructed by the Headmaster to show you to your Head’s rooms.” At this, she turned to the portrait of the little girl. “This is the entrance to your common room and study. You will find that only the two of you can open the portrait and gain entrance. Visitors, of course, are welcome, however you will have to be with them for them to enter. On top of this, you will both need to agree upon a password. You will find all of your belongings inside your respective rooms. I shall now leave you for the evening to explore your new quarters, and will see you both tomorrow for class.” McGonagall left them with a nod and bustled down the corridor.

“So,” James said, turning to Lily, “what should we make our password?”

Lily thought for a moment. “How about something like Dumbledore’s, like Ice Mice or something?”

“Well, I was thinking something like ‘Lily and James are the most amazing sex gods in Hogwart’s history’, but whatever you like will work.”

She raised her eyebrow at him. She was about to respond scathingly when Amelia’s voice floated to her mind, telling her to just give him a chance. Sighing audibly, Lily responded with, “it’s a little long, don’t you think?”

James was shocked by this; he was sure the moment that the words had left his mouth that she would yell at him and tell him to grow up. He stared at her with an expression of deepest surprise, his eyes wide and his mouth agape.

Lily snapped her fingers in front of his face. When he blinked and came to, she shook her head, and though she fought against it, a small smile crossed her face. “It’s funny how someone as odd as you is so popular, Potter.”

Though he couldn’t be sure he had really seen it, James thought he saw the shadow of a smile pass Lily’s face– a smile at him! His confident air restored, he grinned at her, then turned to the Little Girl. “Ice Mice it is!”

With that, she smiled down from her portrait, revealing a deep dimple in her left cheek and a mouthful of pearly white teeth. She curtsied, and the portrait swung open.

They walked into a comfortably warm room with two squashy armchairs and a small sofa. There were two separate desks with hard-backed chairs tucked under them. A fire was roaring in front of the sofa, and to either side of it stood a closed door. On the other side of the room, there was another door. Portraits of previous Heads hung on the walls.

James grinned at Lily as he walked over to examine what was behind the solitary door. He walked into a pale yellow, blue, and green bathroom, complete with a tub the size of the one found in the Prefects bathroom. “Whoa, Evans, you’ve got to come see this!”

Lily came closer and stood on tip-toe to try to see over his shoulder. “I could see a lot better if you weren’t in the way, you know,” she said in a half-hearted sarcastic way, placing a hand on his shoulder and lightly pushing him over so that she could enter the room. “Wow,” she whispered, slowly letting her hand slide from his arm.

James let out a quiet chuckle as her hand left his body. He felt a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach, something he’d never gotten around any other girl. His insides were squirming at the thought of her touch– both a nauseating and exciting squirming at the same time. Pulling him from his thoughts, Lily rounded on him and said, “come on, I can’t wait to see what out rooms look like!”

She skipped lightly across the room to the door on the left side of the fireplace. “Oh, sorry! This one must be yours.” Backing from the room quickly, she stumbled into him, as he had quickly crossed the common room after her. She turned around to face him and realized that she had never been this close to him before. There were tiny flecks of gold amongst the brown of his eyes, she noticed, and he smelled incredibly good. She felt something odd, almost like a sense of belonging...

James was having trouble breathing. Being this close to Lily without her yelling at him or hitting him was something he only imagined in his dreams. He tried to find something to say, but for the first time in his life, he was speechless.

Lily finally realized what she was doing and stepped away from him. She brushed passed him and walked over to the door on the opposite side of the fireplace. “Goodnight, Potter,” she grumbled, more forcefully than she had intended. The door clicked tightly behind her, leaving James feeling more confused than he ever had in his life.

Chapter 3: The Hand of Friendship Extended
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disclaimer: you know the deal

It was nearing the end of October. The daylight hours were getting shorter and the weather was getting colder.

Lily had been keeping herself busy to avoid James. That was becoming an easy task as their first set of essays had been assigned, and on top of that, planning for the Halloween feast had to be done. The little talking she and James had done for it had been straight to the point, and even at that she refused to look him in the eye.

It was a week before Halloween and Lily was struggling with a Transfiguration essay. Though she had always maintained top marks, she had had to work extremely hard to understand and succeed in Transfiguration. This particular essay on Animagi was stressing her out to no end. She couldn’t understand how it worked for the life of her. After throwing her quill down angrily, she groaned in frustration and rubbed her temples with her finger tips.

James looked up from revising his newly completed essay. Without even thinking of how she had been ignoring him for the past month, he stood up from his desk and crossed the room to hers. “Can I give you a hand with anything, Evans?” he asked uncertainly, scratching the back of his head.

Lily looked up at him, surprised that he would talk to her let alone offer to help her out, after the way she had been treating him lately. “No, it’s just this essay,” she sighed quietly. “I just don’t understand it at all.”

He leaned over her to read what she was working on, and his face lit up at the sight of it. “You’re in luck. Just so happens I’m and expert on the subject.” After the words had left his mouth, he mentally kicked himself for sounding so cocky about it.

Not even noticing this, Lily perked up a little, more eager than she ever thought possible to be speaking to him again.

James took this as a good sign and summoned his chair over from his desk. It came to rest beside Lily’s and he sat in it, a smile forming on his face. “So, what do you need to know?”

Lily carefully chose her words, as being this close to him made her slightly nervous. “Well... I suppose I just don’t understand how it works... do they just have to think about it and it happens, or...?”

James squinted his eyes in concentration, thinking of what he thought of, since he himself was an unregistered Animagus. “Kind of. It’s kind of like when you make a Patronus.” He stood form his chair and conjured a silver stag to trot around the room.

A gasp escaped Lily’s lips as James commanded it to prance over to her. “James, I had no idea you could do that! It’s wonderful!” The stag began to fade after a moment, and Lily turned to see that James had lowered his wand and was wearing and uncharacteristically odd smile on his face. She looked at him curiously for a moment before asking, “are you alright?”

“Hm?” He looked at her as if suddenly pulled from a trance.

Lily giggled. “I asked if you were alright. You got this strange look on your face all of a sudden.”

“Oh, no, sorry, I’m fine,” James grinned back at her. He had been shocked that she had called him by his first name. She usually referred to him ad ‘Potter’ or else didn’t address him at all. He shook his head and decided to keep this to himself. “So, where were we? Oh, right, how to do it. You have to concentrate really hard when you’re doing it, not a specific happy memory like with a Patronus, but more just a general... I guess just seeing yourself doing it in your mind. Like with any other magic, it does get easier the more you do it, though.”

“So,” Lily cut in, working things through in her mind, “so, that’s all one would have to do in the beginning to become and Animagus? Or... no, that can’t be it, otherwise everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they?”

A mischievous glint crossed James’ eyes. “That’s where the tricky bit of magic comes in. See, there’s weeks, months, and even years worth of preparations and potions to make, things that have to be done at precisely the right cycle of the moon, or changing of the tides, or with a very rare and specific type of ingredient. Even after all that’s done with, there’s still all of the mental and physical preparation to go through,” he chuckled, adding as an after thought, “ registration with the Ministry, of course...”

Lily looked at James as a very curious expression crossed face. “How come you know so much about this?”

James had expected this question. He stared into her eyes for a few moments, weighing his options, before he spoke. “The others would skin me alive if they knew I told you this, but I can appreciate that you’re someone I can trust with my life.”

Lily blushed at this, then felt a stab of guilt as she remembered how she had been treating him since the moment she had met him. She decided she would make up for this. Staring back at him, she implored him to continue.

He leaned forward on Lily’s desk, his gaze never leaving hers. “The reason I know so much about this is because I am one.”

A familiar rush of sarcasm rose up in her as she scoffed, “oh, right, and I’m a monkey’s uncle. I don’t know much about this subject, but I do know that there are only a select few registered in the world, Potter, and you’re not one of them.”

“That’s right, registered being the key word.”

The sarcasm left Lily as she stopped and looked at the seriousness in his eyes. “You can’t be serious?”

James nodded in response. “Sirius and Peter, too.”

There were a few moments of silence as Lily stared at him in bewilderment. Finally, she let out a whispered, “how...?”

He gave her an awkward smile. “Just like I told you. I was back in... third year, I believe,” he said, squinting slightly and looking up at the ceiling as though it would help him remember.

“So... so... why? I don’t understand what possessed– wait– what– what about Remus? You four always to everything together, and you said that only you and Peter and Sirius can do it, so what about him?” Lily’s mind was racing with questions.

James looked up, a little worried about revealing a secret that wasn’t his own. “We honestly did it for Remus. And Lily,” James sat closer to her, urgency in his face and voice, “that’s why you have to promise me on your family’s lives that you won’t breathe a word to anyone or treat him any differently because of it.”

She looked suddenly frightened. “What? James– is he ok? Is something wrong with him?”

When James finally spoke it was I hushed tones. “Back before we even started here, when he was young... he... Remus, he, he was bitten by a werewolf.”

A gasp escaped Lily’s lips. “I– I– I had no idea...”

“No one does, except Professor Dumbledore, a few other Professors, his parents, the rest of the Marauders, and, well, you.”

“S– so every full moon, he, he...?”

James nodded solemnly. “But Lily, you know him, he’s a good person, you can’t let this change the way you think of him.”

Taking in a shuddering breath, she nodded in agreement.

“And besides that,” James ducked his head in closer to hers, “he’s not really that dangerous...we keep him in check pretty good. As long as we’re around, he won’t hurt anybody.”

Lily looked suddenly scared again. “But how could you? There’s no way that three boys, wizard or not, could keep a werewolf under control!”

“First of all, we’re not boys, we’re men.” James said with a grin. “And second, of course we don’t go near him like this. That’s what we became Animagi for.”

“Hm,” she responded, biting her lip. “So, could you– I mean, could I, erm, oh...” Lily stuttered embarrassingly, wringing her hands tightly.

“Do you want me to show you?” James asked her, a little surprised.

She looked up to meet his eyes, an expression like a child on Christmas morning behind her gaze. Then she nodded her head eagerly.

Looking around the room, James used his wand to push all of the furniture as close to the walls as possible so that there was a wide open area in the center of the common room. Need as much room as I can get. Here, hold this.” He tossed his wand at Lily. James stood in the middle of the room, his eyes closed, thinking hard on what he was trying to accomplish. He felt the familiar pressure of added weight on his head as it began to lower slightly, while simultaneously he could feel his rib cage shift and contort and his legs (now four of them) become stronger. When he opened his eyes to look at Lily, she was one her feet, breathing quickly, a look of astonishment written on her face.

She was staring at James– at least, she was staring at the place James had been moments before. Now, in the center of their common room, stood a gorgeous stag with large antlers on top of it’s head. Its eyes seemed to smile at her as it bent it’s head non-threateningly and began to walk slowly towards her. As it got closer, Lily began to grin as she recognized some distinguishing features, like the gold-flecked brown eyes and the messy tuft of hair between the antlers that stuck up in all the same places that James’ did. When he stopped a few feet in front of her, she took the last few tentative steps towards him.

She circled him, taking in every detail. Though she wouldn’t admit it to him, she was extremely impressed with all the work he had put into learning how to do this, and even moreso with the knowledge of why he did it. Lily had never imagined he could be so dedicated to something and someone else other than himself, and she decided she really liked that quality. When she had come full circle and was again in front of him, she reached her hand out to stroke the messy tuft of hair when she paused, her hand just above him. After a moment of decided whether or not it was ok to do so, James nodded his head up until he felt her hand. He received and smile and messed up hair in return.

James the stag stepped back from her and shook his head. A few moments later, James the seventeen-year-old wizard was sitting n the common room floor grinning up at her.

Lily looked at James as though she had never seen him before, then chuckled as she extended her hand to help him to his feet.

Chapter 4: Hogsmeade
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disclaimer: same old, i dont own names or characters

“So, Lil, do tell us what brought on this sudden change of heart towards James Potter,” Melanie prodded Halloween morning while the two of them and Amelia were beginning the walk to Hogsmeade.

She shook her head and grinned. “Whatever are you talking about?”

“What everyone else in the castle is?” Melanie offered, hoping to get Lily to spill the truth.

Lily looked at her and shook her again. “Rubbish.”

Amelia raised her eyebrow suspiciously. “Right. So... is he a good kisser?”

Lily spun around, her mouth open in shock and her cheeks an almost indistinguishable shade of pink. “I most definitely wouldn’t know!”

Melanie giggled as Amelia continued. “What have you two been up to, then?”

Lily rolled her eyes. “Girls and boys are allowed to be friends, you know.”

“Yeah, we know that, we just weren’t aware that you did,” Melanie teased, placing an arm around Lily’s shoulder and pulling her into a hug.

Lily jokingly pushed her friend away.

All three turned their attention to a loud, roaring sound behind them. The Marauders were loudly singing (if you could call what they were doing singing), something about throwing a barmaid over the side of a ship. James stopped singing when he caught Lily’s eye, but continued to smile enthusiastically.

Lily grinned back and waved at him, not only surprising James but herself as well. She couldn’t believe how easy it was becoming to enjoy his company as of late. He was always joking to make her laugh, but was mature about it. It seemed to Lily that he had given up most of his childish antics, such as constantly pranking the Slytherins and asking her out twenty times a day. She now found his actions more funny than stupid, and felt a giddy sensation whenever he smiled at her as he was doing now. Though she never imagined this feeling could be from anything more than friendship, she couldn’t deny that she loved the way he made her feel. She especially liked that she didn’t have to pretend as if she hated him anymore.

After ducking from Sirius’ hand trying to mess up his hair, James jogged up the path to where the girls stood. He placed one hand on the small of Lily’s back and ushered the other two forwards with his other hand. “Come on, ladies, I don’t know who let these animals out of their cages, but we better hurry up before they get any closer.”

The three girls laughed as the rest of the Marauders caught up to them, Sirius jumping up on James’ back in an attempt to wrestle him to the ground.

The group of seven spent the afternoon leisurely browsing the small shops of Hogsmeade, the girls laughing endlessly at the jokes and insults the boys threw back and forth at each other. It amazed Lily how well they all clicked, even though they were all so different. Sirius and James were the most alike, however Sirius was more laid back (a few months before, Lily wouldn’t have thought that possible) but lost interest in things fairly quickly– including girls– whereas James liked to focus all of his efforts on one particular thing until he accomplished it, which she found rather adorable. Wait– did she just say that? Yes, she decided, and it was true. He honestly had changed for the better since taking on the role of Head Boy, she contemplated with herself. Maybe... maybe if he still liked her, and he were to ask her out like he used to, maybe... maybe she would agree...

Lily was pulled from her thoughts as James whispered, “a pretty flower for a pretty girl,” in her ear, standing behind her and holding a small, white lily in front of her. He wasn’t sure if his small romantic gesture would push his luck with her, but judging by the smile on her face, he felt he was still on good grounds with her. James was almost tempted to kiss her right there (which was what the old James would have done) but he refrained. Noticing how his constant hounding of her to date him had only succeeded in making her angry, he had also refrained from that. James liked the way things were progressing far too much to risk screwing them up at this point.

* * *

Later that evening, in the seventh year Gryffindor girls dormitory, Lily stood, tilting her head and looking inquisitively at her reflection in the mirror. “Do I look alright?”

Amelia poked her head around her four-poster as she adjusted her skirt. “ look like you always do, if that’s what you mean.”

Lily looked at her disappointedly. “Oh.”

Sensing the upset tone in Lily’s voice without having to look at her, Amelia crossed the room to stand beside her friend. “Lily, you’re one of the prettiest girls at school, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the way you look.”

She smiled weakly at the compliment. “Thanks... I guess I just, I don’t know... wanted to look nice tonight, that’s all...”

Melanie had just come into the room. Well, we can fix that! No problem!” She flicked her wand before lily could protest and her red locks began to twist themselves to form a fancy ponytail high on her head.

Lily admired the effect in the mirror and smiled. “Cute.”

A spell floated through the doorway that immediately changed lily’s jeans and tee-shirt to a black corduroy skirt and a long-sleeved, form fitting black and green striped shirt. “Now that’s hot,” Sirius said, leaning against the doorframe and admiring his work. “Prongs is going to lose it. Anyway, you ladies reading yet?”

The girls were staring at him in disbelief. How did a boy get up the stairs to the girls’ dormitory? The stairs were supposed to turn into a slide anytime a boy tried to get up them.

Amelia was the first to find her voice. How on earth did you get up here?”

“How did I– I’m sorry, you girls do know who I am, right?” Sirius asked incredulously. “You do know what I’m capable of, don’t you? You’ve seen my work before, I know you have!”

Melanie laughed. “Right, don’t tell us, then. Let’s get your oversized head out of here before you inflate it any larger and you’re incapable of fitting it back out the door.”

Amelia laughed, and Lily pointed her wand at the skirt she was now wearing and lengthened it to her knee. At the last minute before leaving her friends’ room, she raised it again slightly, smiling to herself as she did so.

Chapter 5: Halloween
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disclaimer: you know how it goes, the characters belong to jo and such

“Padfoot!” James called across the Great Hall. “Have you seen Lily? We have to get this party kicked off.”

Sirius grinned at his best friend, and then looked behind him expectantly. When the three girls entered the Hall, Sirius responded to James’ dropped jaw by patting him on the back and saying, “thank me later.”

When Lily scanned the Great Hall and found James, he was staring at her with a dumbfounded and open-mouthed expression. She blushed and broke their gaze. As she chanced another glace up, he seemed to have come to and was now flashing her one of his most adorable smiles.

“Looking positively smashing this evening, as always,” James told her confidently, bowing his head slightly.

Lily grinned shyly up at him. “You clean up pretty well yourself, Mr. Potter.”

James raised an eyebrow playfully, then extended his arm. “Shall we get it started, then?”

Hesitating for only a moment, Lily, deciding to throw caution to the wind, slid her hand into the crook of his arm.

The two walked to the front of the Hall and called everyone’s attention. They announced the night’s proceedings, staring with the feast, followed by traditional muggle and wizard games. James finished it off by wishing everyone a fun and pleasurable evening and a hope that they would all enjoy their meal. The hour that followed satisfied everyone’s appetites and gave each of the houses ample time to talk with and enjoy each others company. Sirius was flirting shamelessly with Melanie, feeding her some line about how he liked the lip she had been showing him in her dorm earlier and how he hoped she’d show him again some time. This made Remus shake his head and turn his attention to Lily and Amelia’s conversation about how many NEWTS they needed to get at the end of the year. Not long had passed after this that the tables were magically cleared and moved out of the way to leave room for the games. There were pumpkin carving stations (though most students chose to use their wands instead of knives), tables to play Exploding Snap (when the deck exploded, a wispy ghost would flutter out), bobbing for apples, and face painting.

Lily was looking around for someone who she could persuade to join in the face painting with her when she spotted Melanie over by the entrance of the Hall. She smiled and was about to walk over to her friend, however Sirius ducked inside the Hall for a moment and immediately pulled Melanie back out with him. Grinning to herself, Lily turned her focus back to the rest of the students milling around. She spotted a familiar head of messy black hair. A giddy sensation grew in her stomach as she began to walk towards him. He was entertaining a group of students at a small table playing Exploding Snap. Lily recognized a fifth year girl sitting across the table from James; she was grinning flirtatiously at him as he spoke. Rolling her eyes at this, Lily thought about going to ‘save’ him from his obvious spot of trouble when she realized it didn’t appear as if he needed saving. The fifth year girl ran her foot suggestively up the bottom of his leg, Lily could see, and James looked quite undisturbed by her obvious advance. A wave of jealously ran through Lily’s body. Just what did this... this girl think she was doing? Didn’t she know that James and she– And that’s when Lily realized what she was thinking. In all honesty, she and James were just friends, which left him perfectly free to flirt with whomever he chose. The jealously Lily felt at the thought didn’t desist, however, so instead of waiting around to see just how gutsy this fifth- year was, she turned on her heel and quickly left the Great Hall.

Despite all outward appearances, James was not having the great evening he had expected to. Based on the outcome of that very afternoon, James had expected to spend a lot more time with Lily. He was currently talking animatedly with a group of students (including a young blonde girl sitting across from him), but he was just holding off for the right moment when he would ask Lily to join him for a moon-lit walk around the Lake. When at last he looked up to find her, he glimpsed her red ponytail bouncing as she exited the Great Hall. After excusing himself from the table (and a disgruntled looking blonde girl), he got up hurriedly and followed her out. He quickly jogged to the Head’s portrait and peered inside. Noting her not to have retired here, James headed to the Grand Staircase, taking the stone steps three at a time. He checked both the Library and Gryffindor Common Room, to find them both Lily-free. Racking his brain for where she might be, an idea popped into his head and he ran back to his own room. Tapping a spare bit of parchment and saying the words “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good”, a complete map of Hogwarts sprung up on the parchment. He searched the names on top of all of the tiny moving dots labeled with the names of every moving thing inside the castle. Most of the dots were congregated in the Great Hall, so it wasn’t hard to find the lone dot labeled ‘Lily Evans’, outside the castle, somewhere near the Lake. Smiling to himself for his friends’ brilliance at making this map, he tapped it once again, saying “mischief managed”, and then left at a brisk walk for the Lake.

He found her sitting against a tree, her knees tucked up close to her body. As he quietly approached, she closed her eyes and tilted her head towards the moon. James stood watching her for a moment, just to the left of the tree, one hand hanging at his side while the other absent-mindedly scratched at the back of his head. As he began to close the distance between them, a twig snapped under his foot.

Lily’s eyes shot open and she turned quickly towards the sound. Her eyes were fearful for a half-second, but softened when she registered that it was James. Tilting her head in exasperation, her eyes flashed a common playfulness at his sudden appearance. “You scared me half to death! Do you always sneak up on people at night or do you save that especially for me?”

He smiled apologetically. “Sorry, I just saw you leave the Hall and came to see what was up. May I?” He asked, gesturing to the spot on the ground beside her.

Lily grinned up at him and shrugged her shoulders. “I won’t stop you.”

James raised an eyebrow and sat beside her. He leaned over and purposefully bumped her with his shoulder. “That’s because I’m the unstoppable James Potter.”

She laughed and shoved his head away. “I think you need to go back to the shop and get your head deflated again. It’s getting a little too large for my liking.”

Chuckling at her, he reached up to remove her hand from his head. At the touch, both of them felt as if a spark had just surged from one to the other. They stared at each other for a few moments, Lily wondering if he was at last going to ask her out, James wondering if he dared. Fearing yet again to ruin the moment, however, James broke the silence. “Do you know what I like to do out here by myself sometimes?”

Lily cocked her head curiously.

“Come here, I’ll show you.” James stood and grabbed her hand to bring her with him (both of them experiencing a pleasant tingling in their stomachs), then began to lead her over closer to the Forbidden Forest. He could feel her pulling back slightly. “No, no, don’t worry, it’s ok, I promise.” She looked at him skeptically for a moment, but then continued to let him lead her. James turned to a clearing around the back of the Forest where most of the light form the castle was blocked out. Here, he finally let go of her hand, sprawled out on the grass beneath them, then looked up at her expectantly.

Lily was holding her arms around herself and casting furtive glances around them. When she looked down at James, she couldn’t help but laugh at the look of indulgence on his face. “What are you doing?”

Patting the ground beside him, he grinned. “Just humour me for a minute.”

She shook her head but laid down beside him none-the-less. Just as she was about to ask again what he was doing, she looked up at the night’s sky and gasped. “Wow. I never knew it was so... wow...”

James grinned as he, too, took to exploring the stars above. It truly was a breathtaking sight; the sky was so black here and the stars so bright that you couldn’t even fathom a possible end. After a few moments of searching for it, James spotted a constellation. “This one’s my favorite. It’s called Pegasus,” he told her.

Lily searched the sky in the direction that James was pointing, but couldn’t see it. “Where, I can’t--”

“Here,” James scooted closer to her (closer, indeed, than she had ever let him before) so that he could point directly above her. “It starts with that big one over there... do you see it? And then continues,” James motioned with his finger at all the points that formed the constellation.

Following his hand, she smiled when she finally saw how the points came together to form the picture against the dark sky. Biting her lip, she toyed with a thought that wouldn’t leave her alone. Sighing deeply, she decided to voice her thoughts before she lost her nerve. “You know... I can’t believe, well, this. I mean, a few months ago we never would have been doing this. I can’t believe how different things are.”

James looked over at her. “Yeah... I know what you mean.”

She, likewise, looked over, and was glad it was so dark because she began to blush when she realized just how close they were. She wanted to tell him how much she enjoyed his company, that she was glad they had formed this friendship. What came out of her mouth instead was, “I’m sorry.”

A look of puzzled curiosity on his face, James asked her what for.

Sighing again, she spoke in a meek voice. “For being so completely unbearable these passed few years. I know you had good intentions,” she stopped and thought for a moment on all the times he and Sirius had tormented Snape, then added with a smile, “well, most of the time, anyway.”

James smiled back. “I know I haven’t made it easy to get along with me. Thanks for, well, putting in the effort to get to know me.” He shook his hair out of his eyes, then froze a split second later. Sitting up and looking around them, he was keen to find the something that Lily was unaware of.

“James, what’s--”

“Shhh,” he motioned for her to sit quietly. “I think I heard--”

James was interrupted by what sounded like a wolf baying at the moon. His heart sank. Why had he brought her so far from the safety of the castle? Whipping around, he faced the bright moon. His panic began to seep away to be replaced by confusion. It was only half moon, which meant that Remus couldn’t,/I> be–

“James!” Lily hissed, tugging on his arm and pointing over at something advancing on them.

Instinctively, he stood up (Lily following his lead) and took a protective step in front of her. James knew he would die before letting anything happen to her. As he pulled his wand out, a mangy black dog came trotting closer to them. Its snout seemed to curl up into a grin, and that’s when James sighed in relief. He bent and picked up a fist-sized rock from the ground and hurled it at the dog. “I ought to curse you into oblivion for that, you stupid prat!”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea!” Lily whispered frantically, thinking what they were seeing was a wild dog.

James turned around to face her. “Don’t worry, it’s just Sirius. Out here spying on us, I’ll bet.”

The dog began prancing circles around them.

Lily relaxed when the realization set in, and James began to laugh. “Quit showing off, you idiot, I already told her it was you.”

The dog stopped mid-prance, and began to sulkily walk towards them. It was about to jump up and greet Lily like any normal dog would, but James grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and held him back. “You better keep that tongue of your in your mouth, Padfoot.” The dog retreated to the ground, and a moment later, Sirius lay in its place laughing loudly. “You should have seen the looks on your faces! Priceless!” Once he calmed down from his laughing fit, he suddenly blurted out, “oi! When did you tell little Miss Head Girl about us?”

James looked at her and was about to respond when Lily beat him to it. “For your information, Black, he was helping me with an essay when he told me. And it’s not like I’m going to go blabbing it around school.”

Sirius stared back at her, then broke out in one of his charming smiles. “I know, if James trusts you with it, I do. Besides, if you do tell, we’ll just have to kill you. Speaking of which, McGonagall’s been looking for you two. She might have a right good melt down if you don’t get back there soon.”

Lily’s eyes widened. “I completely forgot! We have to get everyone back to their common rooms! Come on!” She began to rush back to the castle.

James began to walk after her, throwing a punch at his friend. “Thanks for interrupting the perfect moment.”

Sirius grinned knowingly and patted his friend on the back. “What?”

Chapter 6: Snowballs and Discussions
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disclaimer: i only own the plot and the characters that do not appear in the real books

The beginning of December found the fifth and seventh-years swamped with homework that was supposed to help prepare them for their OWLS or NEWTS, respectively.

Lily was finding it increasingly hard to concentrate on her studies. One cause for this was because she was spending an increasing amount of time with James and his fellow Marauders. Another cause was the weather; the grounds outside of the castle looked like the inside of a perfect snow globe, and Lily found it next to impossible to keep from staring out her window instead of doing her homework.

On one particularly clear, blue-skied day, Lily couldn’t remain inside for another second. She put the textbook she had been reading down on her desk and walked across their common room to where James was working on a Potions assignment. Leaning across his desk so that he couldn’t ignore her, Lily waited for James to look up at her.

When James lifted his eyes from his parchment, he couldn’t help but laugh at the glowing smile on her face. “What are you doing?”

“I’m going outside,” she announced, grabbing his arm, “and you’re coming with me.”

James chuckled again. “But it’s freezing out!”

Lily backed up from the table and pretended to pout. “Fine. I’ll go by myself.”

He grinned at her but packed his books and parchments up before rising from his chair. Shaking his head, he muttered, loud enough for her to hear, “the things I do for you...”

By this time, Lily had a triumphant smile on her face. The pair of them gathered their outerwear and headed out towards the quidditch pitch.

James shivered in the crisp afternoon air. “So why exactly did you drag--”

At that moment, Lily fell flat on her back into a large pile of snow. James was worried for a split-second until he saw her begin to move her arms and legs back and forth in the snow, making a snow angel. He smiled and tried to lock this image in his mind forever; she looked happier than he’d ever seen her.

Suddenly, she reached her hands out towards him. “Help me up, I don’t want to ruin it.”

James took her hands and lifted her easily. As she admired the work, James leaned closer to her ear and said, “it’s perfect, just like you.”

Lily tilted her eyes up to his and smiled. Before he could say what else was on his mind, she began to walk over to the quidditch stands.

He began to follow after her, his feet crunching the snow as he walked alongside her footprints. He began to think that this was the perfect moment he’d waited for, he was going to–


James looked down and saw remnants of a snowball on the front of his robes.

When he looked up, Lily was laughing spiritedly at her excellent shot. A grin began to spread across his face as he bent to grab a fistful of snow. Walking slowly towards her, Lily grabbed another pile of snow. When he broke into a run, her eyes widened in surprise and she fled deeper into the pitch. James lobbed his snowball at her, which hit her squarely in the small of her back. Lily spun around and tossed her second snowball at him, but he ducked it easily and continued to run towards her. As she bent to grab another snowball, she realized too late that she didn’t have enough time and tried to run away from his charging form. James, however, grabbed her arm, preventing her escape. Caught by surprise, Lily was jolted back to James with such force that she bumped into him and they both toppled to the snow covered ground, laughing and slightly winded.

Lily rolled over so that they lay side-by-side, grinning widely over at him. When they both looked into each other’s eyes, the humour of the situation was forgotten and both of their hearts began to pound against their chests.

James found his nerve and asked, “what would you say if I told you that you were positively gorgeous right now?”

She grinned shyly, glad her cheeks were already red form the cold. “I’d say thank you.”

“And what if I said I really wanted to kiss you right now?”

Lily blinked up at him, a twinkle in her eye. “I’d say that I don’t kiss boys I’m not dating.”

He looked back up at the sky, mentally kicking himself for forcing things that were never going to happen. As he was beginning to push himself up from the ground, Lily grabbed his arm and looked at him seriously, then said quietly, “aren’t you going to ask me?”

James’ head turned so quickly to look at her that he cricked his neck. A smile began to light up his face as he saw that she meant it. “Lily, will you go out with me?”

Grinning widely, she chuckled at the irony. “I thought you’d never ask.”

Taking a deep breath, James tentatively began to lower his head towards hers. He hovered for a moment before brushing his lips against hers. Feeling her shiver, he pulled away. “It’s cold, we should--”

“That’s not why I’m shivering,” she interrupted in a whisper, her eyes still closed.

“Oh,” James gave a small smile before leaning down and kissing her. He moved so that his head was directly above hers; one arm supported his body and the hand of the other cupped her face.

Lily let him take change; he was the one exception where she preferred it better that way.

A small group of first-years stopped and began giggling from somewhere to the left of them. James and Lily both looked over at them, embarrassed by being caught, then back at each other.

James let out a giddy laugh before pushing himself up off of the ground and then offering a hand to Lily to help her up. He smiled widely was Lily continued to hold his hand for the walk up to the castle.

As they entered their common room, Lily let go of his hand and began heading towards her room to deposit her wet cloak and mittens. Grabbing her hand quickly, James pulled her back to him and kissed her. “Tell me, tell me this is real, that it’s not a dream.”

Lily wrapped her arms around his torso and nuzzled closer to him. “If this isn’t real, than I’m in the same dream with you.”

This caused James to wrap his arms around her and hug tightly. He couldn’t believe that after all these years of chasing her, Lily was finally with him. She was allowing him to hug her, and, what was more, she was returning the gesture.

Taking a deep breath and sighing, Lily pulled away form him. “Listen, I’ve got some things I need to do.”

James looked her in the eye. “Now?” He asked in a childish voice, making Lily grin.

She placed a hand on either side of his face and pulled it down closer so that she could rest her forehead on his. “Yes, but I’ll see you at dinner in a little while. Besides that, it’s not as if we aren’t going to have lots more opportunities to see each other.”

Grinning, James kissed her again. “Alright. I should probably get back to my Potions anyway... seeing as someone distracted me from it.”

Lily grinned up at him. “Sounds like a good plan.” She deposited her wet clothing into her closet and then left through the portrait hole. She walked until she stopped in front of the Fat Lady. Entering quickly, she crossed the common room and jogged up the stairs to the girls dormitories. She rapped on seventh year door and entered without waiting for a reply.

Amelia looked up at her in surprise as Lily closed the door and stood in the middle of the room. “Where’s Melanie?” She asked, looking around the room as if she would pop up from under one of the beds.

Amelia shrugged. “Probably off somewhere snogging Sirius Black.”

“I resent that,” Melanie said, entering the dormitory.

“Where were you, then?”

“I was in the common room... snogging Sirius Black.” Melanie smiled. “So, what are you doing up here anyway, Lily? You look like Christmas came early.”

Lily turned to Amelia, a twinkle in her eye. “Do you remember what you asked me Halloween day, on our way to Hogsmeade?”

“About what NEWTS you were worried about?”

“No,” Lily bit her lip before continuing. “No... about, about James.”

Amelia thought for a moment, looking to Melanie, then back at Lily. “What... if he was a good– Lily!”

Lily’s face glowed red, but she couldn’t stop the grin from spreading.

“You kissed him?!” Amelia shrieked. When Lily nodded, Amelia and Melanie began jumping up and down excitedly, hugging Lily, and squealing with excitement. “How did this happen? When?!”

Lily told them the entire story, her eyes sparkling happily as she remembered. The girls hugged her again.

“Oh, Lily, this is so exciting!” Melanie giggled.

The three girls talked the rest of the afternoon, until they decided to go down to the Great Hall for dinner.

* * *

Meanwhile, down in the Gryffindor common room, James was trying to convince his friends of what had happened between himself and Lily.

“You sure you weren’t dreaming all afternoon, Prongs?” Sirius joked.

James shook his head. “I’m telling you, it happened!”

“They have been getting on rather well lately, Padfoot,” Remus broke in. “Maybe it could have happened... you didn’t spot any flying pigs while you two were out there, did you James?”

Sirius and Peter laughed, while James looked at his friends scathingly.

“Sorry, mate, you dating Lily Evans is just something I’ll have to see to believe,” Sirius shrugged, shacking back his shaggy hair.

At that moment, three girls came down the stairs to the common room, giggling to each other about something unknown to anyone but themselves.

James perked up and grinned widely when he saw Lily.

She flipped her hair behind her shoulder and grinned shyly at him. She could tell that James had just been telling the Marauders what she had just revealed to her friends. By the looks on the boys faces, however, she could see that they didn’t believe him. Telling her two friends to continue on ahead of her, she paused at the portrait and smiled playfully at the boys. “You coming, James?”

James raised his eyebrows and smiled in triumph at his friends. Standing from his chair, he said, “I’ll see you guys at dinner, then?” before walking over to Lily and twinning his fingers in hers. As they left Gryffindor Tower, neither had to look back to know that Sirius, Remus and Peter had looks of utter shock on their faces.

A/N i had fun with this chapter, plus i figured it was about time to get down to what we're all here for! haha. thanks to everyone for the reviews so far!

Chapter 7: Unexpected Jealously
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disclaimer: i just own the plot

It had been a couple of weeks since Lily and James had started dating, but not very many people were aware of this. James wanted to shout it from the rooftops, but Lily worried that, though they had been spending time together as friends this year, it would still come as a shock for people to see them together. People were used to her turning James down multiple times in a day, not holding his had and batting her eyelashes at him. If someone asked her if they were dating, she wouldn’t deny it, she just didn’t see the point in making a public spectacle of their relationship. This was how she felt, at least, until the day she saw James having an exuberant conversation with a very pretty Ravenclaw girl.

It was the beginning of dinner, and Lily was running behind arriving because she had stayed to ask Professor McGonagall a question. When she walked into the Great Hall, she was about to take her usual seat next to James , but stopped when she saw the Ravenclaw laughing openly and touching a hand to James’ shoulder. Lily stood watching this progress for a few minutes, anger coursing through her entire body. She couldn’t stand the way the girl was laughing at what he was saying as if it were the funniest thing she’d ever heard– ok, he was terribly funny, but the other girls weren’t supposed to know that, Lily inwardly grumbled. Lily couldn’t handle it anymore when the girl reached around James to write something on his parchment lying on the table in front of him. Stalking over to the pair, Lily tapped the Ravenclaw on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” she more demanded than requested. With that, she grabbed James by the collar of his robes and kissed him as though she’d never see him again.

It took a moment for James to realize what was happening, but he immediately raised his hands to her face and leaned into the kiss when he did.

No sooner had James responded that Lily pulled away. Smirking at the Ravenclaw girl, she turned on her heel and strutted from the Great Hall.

She was barely through the portrait hole when James flew in after her. “Bloody hell, you don’t just kiss a bloke like that and then--”

“What are you playing at, Potter?” Lily interrupted forcefully.

James stepped towards her, completely confused. “What– I– Lily– you’re the one that kissed me!”

Lily ignored this and continued on her tirade. “What– you finally got the unconquerable Lily Evans to fall for you, so now you’re on to your next task?!” Hurt was shining in her eyes.

“Lily, no– I have no idea what you’re talking about! Where did this come from?” James stood in front of her and placed his hands firmly on her shoulders.

Willing her tears not to fall, she spat back, “who was that girl, then?!” She pulled back from James’ grasp.

“Who?” James asked, looking puzzled. “The Ravenclaw? What’s she got to do with anything?”

“Are you telling me that you wouldn’t wonder what was going on if you walked in on some guy flirting like crazy with me– and me not stopping him?”

James opened his mouth to respond, then closed it. He looked at her in silence for a moment. “I’d be insanely jealous.”

Lily’s expression softened a little.

“Lily, she’s just a classmate. We’re in Divination together and we were just discussing the latest assignment, that’s all, I swear.” He leaned in towards her and hugged her. “You really have no clue how much you mean to me, do you?” James pulled away slightly so that he could see her face. “This isn’t just some silly crush or infatuation. Do you honestly think I’d spend this much time and put that much effort into a relationship I could easily throw away?”

Lily closed her eyes and realized how horribly wrong she had been about him. How could she have not known how wonderful he was? When she opened her eyes, he was staring at her intently, and she most definitely had not expected what he said next.

“Lily, don’t you understand that I love you?”

She felt light-headed and her heart had jumped up to her throat, so she did the only thing she could think of. Lily wrapped her arms around his middle and pulled him closer. “I’m sorry,’ she whispered.

James put his arms around her protectively and kissed the top of her head. “Absolutely nothing I need you to apologize for.”

Chapter 8: Before You Leave
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disclaimer: you all know the drill

“Hey, Evans, got a minute?” Sirius asked, as he straddled the library chair across from Lily’s table.

“Make it quick, Sirius,” she responded without even looking up from the parchment she was scribbling furiously on. After aggressively finishing a sentence, she paused and looked up at him.

“Right, so, Mel and I were looking for a bit of alone time, and we thought, ‘hey, why don’t we go ask our best mates James and Lily if we can borrow their Head’s rooms’, so here I am, asking.”

Lily looked up curiously at him. “You two are suddenly bashful about snogging in public?”

Sirius chuckled. “Snogging, no... but...” Sirius raised his eyebrows suggestively.

A look between shock and disgust crossed Lily’s face. “Didn’t care to know that, thanks.” She went back to writing her essay.

“So... can we, then?”

“You’re asking permission to...... in my room?” She asked incredulously.

Sirius shrugged. “Pretty much, yeah.”

“Absolutely not!”

“Alright, alright, don’t get your knickers in a twist. Forget I asked...” Sirius got up and left the library. He jogged up the stairs and to Gryffindor Tower, where three expectant students waited anxiously for him. “Didn’t go as well as I hoped, I’m afraid. Maybe you should give it a shot, Moony, she likes you.”

“What did you say to try to get her there?” Remus asked, heading towards the portrait hole. “I don’t want to try the same tactic.”

Sirius grinned cheekily. “Don’t think you need to worry about that, Moony, you’re a decent bloke.”

Remus shook his head and left for the library. He found Lily just as Sirius had left her, writing as fast as she possibly could. Taking a quick look around the desk, he started his act. “Hey, Lily. Sorry to interrupt you, but I was wondering if I could borrow you, um, Potions notes from today. I was a little tired, and um, I’m afraid I didn’t take very good notes.”

Without looking up form her work, Lily groped along the table until her hand rested on a large pile of notes. “Here you are, Remus,” she smiled up at him, then immediately resumed her essay writing.

“Thanks,” Remus replied. He had been hoping her notes would have been in her room so that she would have had to go up there. “Right... so... what about Herbology?”

Lily looked up at him with a curious expression on her face. “Herbology? You’re not even taking it this year.”

Remus stuttered for a moment. “Oh, well, yes, but erm, I was hoping for some, uh, light reading over the holiday, you know, to keep me out of trouble.”

Still eyeing him suspiciously, she reached into her bag and pulled out her Herbology textbook. “Anything else I can help you with?”

Taking the book from her, Remus could think of no other way to get Lily to her room. Admitting defeat, he thanked her and retreated to the Gryffindor common room, where Melanie Davies had joined Sirius, Peter, and Amelia Henley. He shrugged his shoulders apologetically when they looked expectantly at him. “Does she always carry all of her class work with her?”

Melanie and Amelia nodded.

“Alright, well, Peter, you ready to give it a go?”

Peter looked as if Remus had just asked him to jump off of the Astronomy Tower.

Amelia looked from Peter, to Remus, to Sirius. “Oh, honestly! You three could prank the entire school one-handed and blind-folded, but you can’t get one unsuspecting girl to head off to the safety of her room?”

The three Marauders had the decency to look slightly embarrassed.

Walking in the direction of the portrait hole, Amelia called out, “let a professional show you how it’s done.” As she entered the library a few minutes later, Lily was running her fingers through her hair tiredly. Amelia took a seat beside Lily and tried to put on her glummest face. “Hey, Lil. What are you up to?”

“I’m trying to finish this Ancient Runes paper. I just can’t find a good way to end it.”

“Oh,” Amelia said mock-sadly. “How come you’re doing it now? It’s Friday night.”

“Well, I’m leaving tomorrow for the holidays and I don’t want to have to worry about doing this essay during my time off.”

“Oh,” Amelia sighed.

Lily finally took notice of her friend’s apparent sadness. “Amelia, what’s the matter?”

She sighed dramatically. “I just really need to talk...but if you’re busy, I guess I’ll just go sit by myself in the common room...”

Putting her quill down on the table, Lily turned, concerned, to face her friend. “You’re more important to me than this silly essay. What’s the problem?”

Amelia looked around the library. “Well, I’d kind of like to discuss it in private.”

Lily began to gather her things. “Alright, why don’t we go up to you room? No one should be in bed yet.”

“We can’t!” Amelia burst out suddenly. Composing herself, she explained. “I think I saw Melanie and Sirius head up there, is all.”

Lily raised her eyebrows at this. “Ok, then, my room it is.”

Smiling inwardly to herself, Amelia followed Lily to the Head’s portrait. As she gave the password, a real smile spread across Amelia’s face and she let out a small laugh.

Lily turned to face her friend, surprised, then heard someone calling her name from inside the common room. Feeling a slight push on her back from Amelia, Lily peered into the common room. What she saw there caused a gasp to escape her lips.

The only light in the room came from the fire and a few candles leading a pathway to the center of the room. At the end of the path stood James, holding a single white rose and wearing a shy smile. He had enchanted their ceiling to look like the star-specked sky, and at his feet lay a large wool blanket and a few over stuffed pillows.

Lily bit her lower lip as her entire body suddenly felt filled with anxious butterflies. Smiling shyly back at him, she began to walk down the candle lit path towards him, the anxious feeling multiplying tenfold as she neared him.

Once she stood just in front of him, he held the rose out to her. When Lily took it in her hand, James stepped forward to hug her.

Lily lifted her head and caught him in a kiss.

James smiled as she did this, then reached up to touch her soft, flowing hair. When he pulled away to look at her, she pulled him back to her lips, muttering, “not yet,” which made James laugh through the kiss. Lily, in turn, laughed at her own actions.

Still giggling, she looked up at him. “Sorry– making up for lost time.”

“No one here’s complaining,” James grinned.

“So, what’s all this for, anyway?”

“Well, I figured that, since we won’t get to spend Christmas together, that we could have one night completely in each other’s company before you leave. Does that sound alright to you?”

Lily’s eyes twinkled happily. “Sounds lovely.”

“So... do you want to, um...” James cleared his throat, gesturing towards the blanket.

Smiling, Lily sat in the middle of it, blinking expectantly up at him. James stretched out beside her, laying back with his hands behind his head. He looked from her to the spot next to him indulgently. Grinning back at him, she laid down, not beside him, but with her head on his stomach so that their bodies formed the letter ‘T’.

Looking up at the enchanted stars, Lily sighed contentedly as she felt James play with her hair. She suddenly cocked her head and smiled as she remembered something he had told her nearly two months ago. “Hey, isn’t that Pegasus right there?” She asked, pointing and rubbing his side to get his attention.

James smiled broadly. “You remembered.” Pointing his wand at the ceiling, he showed her something else. “That one’s Sirius; he took the liberty of showing me that one.” Lily grinned. He pointed his wand again and the stars joined together to form the words ‘James loves Lily’.

Lily turned her head to smile up at him for a moment, then turned back with her own wand drawn. The words began to re-arrange themselves so that they now spelled out ‘Lily loves James’. Looking back up at him expectantly, Lily waited for James’ reaction to what she was telling him for the first time.

His gaze fell from the ceiling to her eyes, not wanting to believe what he had just read for fear that someone would pinch him and wake him up from the best dream of his life. When he looked into her eyes, however, and saw that she meant it, a smile larger than he had ever smiled spread across his face. “Really?”

Lily leaned on his chest and stopped inches from his face. “Really.”

Still beaming, James took Lily’s face in both of his hands and kissed her

disclaimer: jkr made the characters and settings and everything else that is not mine

Coming back to school after the break was always a dreaded task. For James, however, the holidays couldn’t have ended soon enough. He was anxious to get back to Lily, and had begged his parents so often to take him and Sirius (since Sirius had been living with the Potter’s for nearly a year now) back that they had arrived early Sunday afternoon, the day before term started.

Sirius was lounging on the small sofa in the Head’s common room while James was busy putting his belongings away.

It was just before dinner when Lily arrived. A shocked look covered her face when she saw Sirius, but it immediately changed when she realized that James must also be back for Sirius to be in there.

Sirius bowed his head in salutation, then pointed towards James’ room with a smile.

Lily grinned back at him, then made her way quietly to see James. His back was to her, putting his belongings away in his trunk. Tip-toeing up behind him, Lily sprang forward and wrapped her arms around him.

Jumping slightly, James hollered, “oi! Padfoot, have you gone– Lily!” He craned his neck and saw, to his great pleasure, that the intruder was not Sirius. Kissing her in excitement, he pulled her closer to him in a tight hug. “How were your holidays?”

“Mmm, they were good, but they would have been better if you were there.” Lily stretched upwards and kissed him. “And I love the bracelet,” she said, shaking her sleeve out of the way to reveal the small gold chain upon her wrist that James had sent. “Did you like your present?”

“Loved it,” he smiled, kissing her nose and gesturing towards his night stand. On it lay the newest edition of Quidditch Through the Ages and a picture frame. The picture was of James and Lily, the latter leaning forward every so often to kiss the former. “I tried to enlarge it so that I could put it above my bed, but so far it hasn’t really work.”

Lily smiled. “Well, you could continue with that if you like, or you could just settle for the real thing.”

James scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Hmmm, a picture of Lily Evans and I snogging in my bed, or snogging the real Lily Evans in my ever will I choose?”

Giggling, Lily responded. “That’s not exactly what I was getting at, but--”

“Sorry to interrupt the reunion of the lovebirds,” Sirius called from the doorway, “but it is dinner time.”

* * *

The next morning (after James had snapped Lily’s bottom with a towel and had received a punch in the arm for offering to rub it better) the Head Boy and Girl joined their friends for breakfast.

“Good morning, Lily, how was your break?” Remus asked as Lily reached for some toast.

“It was fine, thanks. How about yours? Did you catch up on your Herbology?” She asked with a grin.

Everyone but Remus looked perplexed by this. “Herbology... right.”

When they all got up to go to their respective classes, Professor McGonagall grabbed Lily’s arm and pulled her away from the others. James waited for her at the door. With a pained look on her face, Professor McGonagall told Lily that the Headmaster needed to see her. When Lily questioned what about, McGonagall told her it really wasn’t her place to say. Hurrying to the Entrance Hall, Lily took hold of James’ arm. “Listen, I’m supposed to go see Professor Dumbledore. Can you save me a seat?”

“Of course,” James responded, kissing her on the cheek before heading to the dungeons for Potions.

* * *

When James took a seat in Charms over an hour later, he expressed his concern to Sirius that Lily still hadn’t returned from Professor Dumbledore’s office. Quickly heading to the front of the class, he bent down to speak with tiny Professor Flitwick. “Excuse me, Professor, would I be able to go see Professor Dumbledore?”

“Why, whatever for, my dear boy?” Flitwick squeaked.

“Um, well, Lily went up to see him after breakfast and she still hasn’t returned. I just want to--”

“Oh, my,” the tiny professor cut in, his eyes suddenly melancholic. “I– yes, dear boy, I– I think that would be for the best.”

James gathered his things, threw a worried glance at the Marauders and sprinted up to Professor Dumbledore’s office. Only when he reached the stone gargoyles did he remember that he did not have the password. “Licorice Wands– Pepper Imps– Sugar Quills– Chocolate Frogs– ”

The gargoyles suddenly sprung to life, revealing the staircase up to Dumbledore’s office. When he got to the top, the door opened before him and he entered to find Dumbledore sitting behind his desk, quite alone.

“Ah, Mr. Potter, to what do I owe the pleasure?”

“I, sorry, Professor, I was just worried when Lily didn’t return to class and--”

“Oh oh oh oh,” Dumbledore leaned forward on his desk. “No, Mr. Potter, I don’t suppose she did. May I suggest that you take a seat?” He gestured towards an empty armchair in front of his desk.

James heart plummeted. “I think I’ll stand, thanks.”

“Very well. The reason, I am sure, that Miss Evans has not returned to her classes is this: both of her parents were discovered dead this morning. And the saddest part about this is not merely the fact that two innocent souls have been taken from their loved ones, but the reason behind why they were killed. Mr. Potter, am I correct in assuming that you know of the evil wizard who proclaimed himself Lord Voldemort?”

James nodded numbly, feeling as though his own parents had just been taken from him.

“Then you will know,” Dumbledore continued, “of his hate for muggles?”

Again, James nodded.

“And being that Miss Evans is muggle-born, can I assume that you can add two and two together and realize the reason behind this senseless attack?”

Suddenly feeling as though ice water had filled his entire body, James looked up at his Headmaster. “They were after Lily.”

Dumbledore peered through his half-moon spectacles at the young man in front of him and nodded grimly. “Lord Voldemort’s followers have been raiding and killing many wizards with muggle-parentage, and I do correctly assume that they were after Miss Evans when they attacked her parents. Be this as it may, however, more imminent at this point in time than her safety– as I assure you, Mr. Potter, that she is perfectly safe here (for James had just opened his mouth to interrupt at this)– is her emotional well-being. As I assume you can imagine, Miss Evans is going through something very difficult and will be needing the care and support of those friends closest to her.”

James nodded and then looked to the door. “Sorry, Professor, but I need to--”

“Go, yes,” Dumbledore bowed his head towards the door. “And don’t worry about your classes today, Mr. Potter, I think this is something rather more important than school work.”

“Thanks, Professor.” With that, James quickly jogged to the Head’s common room to search for Lily.

* * *

When James at last stood in front of her closed door, he could hear nothing but the occasional snuffle from inside. Swallowing hard, he gently pushed the door open, and his heart broke at the sight he saw there.

Lily lay huddled on her bed, a pillow clutched tightly to her chest. Her red, puffy eyes stared vacantly across the room, and she was shaking ever so slightly. It didn’t even appear as though she had seen him enter. The first sign she showed in response to his arrival was to sit up and look at him when he sat at the foot of her bed. When their eyes locked, Lily burst into fresh sobs.

Instinctively, James pulled her closer to him in a warm embrace.

Though she continued to cling to him as she had her pillow, she turned her tear-soaked face up to his. “M– my– my parents! He– he– he–!”

“Shh, shh, I know, love,” James pulled her head back to his chest, wishing hard that he could right this terrible wrong. With each beat of his heart, he willed her to hear it screaming that he would do anything to make her feel better.

Lily continued to cry inconsolably, letting James securely hold her lower back with one hand while stroking her hair with his other. After a few moments, the crying stopped and she looked up at James with wide eyes. Tears still shining on her cheeks and sniffling occasionally, she asked, “James, do you love me?”

Looking questioningly down at her, he responded. “You know I do, very much.”

“Then show me,” she said, laying back on the bed and pulling him with her. “I need to feel it, James, please. Please show me, make, make love to me.”

“Lily.” James leaned forward with a pained expression on his face. True, he had wanted this for as long as he could remember, but not like this. He had never seen her look so vulnerable before, and he could tell by the scared look in her eyes that she wasn’t thinking straight. “No, Lily, not now.”

Lily’s lower lip trembled and her eyes filled with tears yet again before she threw her hands up to hide her face.

Feeling terrible for giving her another reason to cry, James moved beside her on the bed and put his arms around her, pulling her back to the warmth of his chest. “Lily, I love you, so much. Let me just be here with you. I know that nothing I do can make this better, but I want to try.”

Though Lily continued to cry into his shirt, she felt thoroughly thankful that she still had him.

A/N: i know that lily is a bit out of character here, but she just told him she loved him and then didn't see him for two weeks so i figured she would be excited to see him! haha. as always, thanks for the r&r, and i will hurry up with writing the rest!

Chapter 10: Slumber Party
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disclaimer: you know how it goes

The next day was the hardest Lily had ever had to go through. Everyone knew what had happened and worse still even than them knowing were the pitying glances they all now cast at her. She would have much preferred it if everyone had just treated her like they used to.

But, as time has a habit of doing, that day waned and gave way to others; the days eventually gave way to weeks; and with a little more of its natural magic, time would turn the weeks into months.

As it was at this point, however, it was the beginning of February and Lily’s deep wound was on the road to recovery. Amelia and Melanie had gladly taken the task of keeping Lily as busy as possible, which she was extremely grateful for.

On the particular evening in question, the three girls were sitting on the four-poster in Lily’s room in the midst of a slumber party. They had each sealed the door a few times over, as the four Marauders sat curiously just on the other side of it.

Lily smiled at the thought of this. “I really do enjoy having those guys around. Our lives wouldn’t be half as exciting without them.”

Amelia giggled and nodded her head. “I know what you mean.”

Melanie, however, sniffed indifferently. “I’d probably agree if Sirius Black wasn’t a part of the package.”

Both Amelia and Lily looked at her questioningly for a moment before she spoke again.

“We aren’t seeing each other any more...or, well, we aren’t doing whatever you call what we were any more. I’m looking for something real, and he’s just, well, Sirius Black... and don’t you dare say I told you so about this, it was a temporary lapse into stupidity and I’m over it now so can we please talk about something else?”

After a moment of looking uncertainly at each other, Melanie let out a small smile. “It wasn’t a totally bad experience, though. He was a really good kisser.” At this, any tension that may have been in the room lifted and the three girls burst into giggles.

“So, Amelia,” Lily asked, hugging a large pillow and batting her eyelashes at her friend jokingly, “when are you going to tell us about what’s going on between you and Eric Bones?”

Smiling smugly, Amelia crossed her arms and answered non-committally, “when Snape starts showering.”

“We’ll just take it that you’re dating, then,” Melanie giggled.

“Okay, and I just won’t correct you,” Amelia grinned. “So, what do you suppose those boys are up to out there?”

Lily laughed. “Probably trying to get in and figure out what we’re doing.”

“Hey, we should do make overs,” Melanie piped in, looking at her own fingernails in disdain.

“On the boys?!” Lily burst out with a laugh.

Melanie smacked the bed and chuckled at the thought. “I meant on each other! But...” she paused and grinned at her friends mischievously, “that could be an interesting way to keep ourselves busy. Who should we do, then?”

Amelia and Lily both thought for a few minutes, then looked up at each other and started to laugh.

“Anyone would be hilarious,” Lily giggled, clutching a stitch in her side.

“I say we nab the one that’s the most curious,” Amelia laughed knowingly. “Come here, I have an idea.”

* * *

“What do you suppose they’re doing in there, anyway?” Sirius asked his friends in what he thought was a disinterested way, though his curiosity was given away by his close proximity to the door and his constant stream of counter-curses sent at the door to try and open it.

“I don’t know, mate,” James replied in his upside-down position on the couch. “Probably comparing make-up tips or debating which one of us is better looking.”

Peter dropped the chess piece he had been examining. “They– they do that?”

James ginned up at his friend, the blood starting to rush to his head. “Obviously. Where are they going to find better looking blokes than us?”

Sirius barked with laughter and Remus just shook his head and continued reading his book.

Clumsily, Peter picked the chess piece back up, only to drop it again when he heard a sudden giggling coming from Lily’s room.

All four Marauders looked at each other, then back at the closed door with large grins.

”Lily, where on earth did my bra get to?” Amelia asked, stifling a giggle.

“Um, isn’t it over there where you threw it? Yeah, right there, with my pants.” Lily responded back, doubled over with silent giggles at what the boys must be imagining.

“Silly me. Oh, Mel, would I be able to borrow your top? No, no, not that one, the one you’re wearing.”

“Sure,” was all Melanie managed to get out before she had to stuff a pillow over her face to muffle her laughter.

Sirius tripped over his feet trying to get closer to the door; James fell, head first, off of the sofa in his attempt; Peter’s foot caught on the rug and he fell flat on his face; Remus remained reading his book (he was a gentleman, after all) though his eyes did wander expectantly to the door.

Sirius was the first to gain his composure and lay his hand on the doorknob. It twisted easily in his hand (which it definitely hadn’t done twenty minutes previous) and Sirius looked over his shoulder to grin triumphantly at his friends. He was pushing the door open when a shocked look came over his face and he became as stiff as a board. He fell to the floor with a loud thud, and the girls closed the door behind him before his fellow Marauders could reach him.

When James pushed on the door, he was bounced back by the spell that had been placed on it, and sat, looking bewildered up at Remus and Peter.

* * *

It was half an hour later and the boys in the Head’s common room were waiting impatiently for their friend to emerge. Remus’ book lay in his lap, his finger holding his place. Peter was leaning against Lily’s door, playing with the old snitch James had given him. James himself was lying, sprawled on his back, in front of the fire.

Suddenly, the door gave way behind Peter and he fell flat on his back. “Hey! A little warning–!”
But Peter never finished his sentence.

Sirius stood in the doorway, glaring as though he wished death upon anyone in his path of vision.

The three girls stood behind him, Lily and Melanie bent over double with laughter and Amelia with one hand on her hip and the other loosely holding Sirius’ wand.

When the Marauders took in Sirius’ appearance, they howled with laughter along with the girls.

Sirius’ pants were rolled up to reveal painted toenails and bare legs; the short sleeves of his shirt were rolled up to the shoulders and there was a knot at the bottom of his shirt which hiked it up to reveal his mid-drift; his fingernails matched his toenails; his lips were a bright red, there was a green color above his curled eyelashes, and there were large hoops hanging from his earlobes; his hair was twisted and curled in ways never meant for a man’s head.

James got up and staggered towards his friend, tears in his eyes. “Why, Padfoot, who would have guessed you’d make such a good woman?”

Sirius shoved James away, and spoke in a dangerously low tone. “You. Have. No. IDEA. What. They. Did. To. Me.”

“We gave him a make over,” Lily said brightly, crossing the room to stand by James. “Do you like it?”

James put an arm around her and wiped a tear from his eye. “Bloody brilliant.”

“What?!” Sirius yelled. “Do you– look at me! The– the– the make-up and– and the hair! Oh! And my legs! They ripped the hair from my legs!”

Peter was rolling on the floor laughing. Remus’ book had fallen to the ground at his friend’s statement and he was now snorting with laughter.

“It was positively horrific!” Sirius continued. “They put this– this hot goo all over my legs– and paper, too! And then they just ripped the paper off! It was the most painful thing in the world!”

The girls laughed at this, but the boys wound down and began to look at them apprehensively.

“You actually did that?” Remus asked.

James looked slightly frightened when Lily spoke with a grin. “It’s called waxing. Muggle women do it all the time.”

Sirius piped up, “yeah, well, last time I checked, I wasn’t a Muggle woman!”

The room went silent to take in what he has said, then erupted in renewed laughter at the absurdity of his statement.

“Fine. Fine. Don’t help a bloke out, then,” Sirius huffed, brushing passed James and Lily.

“Aw, Padfoot, come on,” James called after him. “Don’t be sore about it, you make a good looking woman.”

Sirius stopped, turned, and narrowed his eyes at his friend. Then, he broke out into a characteristic grin. “Yeah, I know. But if you don’t mind, I much prefer being a man.”

The six others started up again, Amelia tossing Sirius his wand back.

A/N: i started writing this before the release of HBP, so the part about Amelia dating Eric Bones, well, i didn't want to change her to a new charcter, so i left it and figured, since we know she was found alone in HBP, maybe she was widowed before having children or something.....i just didn't want to change my character,lol
and as always, thanks for the reads and reviews, sorry this took so long! I will start working on the next chapter asap and i promise it'll be more james/ lily romantic as the next one's on valentines day!

Chapter 11: Valentine's Day-- Part One
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discaimer: i don't own the characters and such

James awoke to the sound of hushed whispering near his head. Confused, he opened his eyes groggily, but could only see darkness. “Whozair?” he demanded, reaching for his glasses and sitting up. He felt for his wand and was about to mutter “lumos” when someone beat him to it. Blinded by the light directed in his eyes, James raised a hand and tried to see who was intruding on his sleep.

“Prongs, get up,” Sirius said quietly, prodding him in the chest.

“Padfoot....what...?” James replied, still rubbing sleep from his eyes.

“Come on, mate. Hogsmeade, remember? We planned this weeks ago,” Sirius whined, rapping James on the head with his wand.

James swatted at his friend. “Right. Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Are you sure the stores will still be open? It’s got to be...” James reached to find his alarm clock, “11:30? No way they’ll still be open.”

Sirius sighed dramatically. “Midnight special, Prongs. This is a big holiday for some of those shops. But if you don’t hurry up, they will close.”

James jumped from his bed and grabbed his invisibility cloak and their map of Hogwarts (which they had fondly named the Marauders Map) and set out of his room with his friend. “Incidentally, I don’t want to know how you got in here, right?”

Sirius grinned. “Nah, probably not.”

The two found Remus and Peter waiting in the common room. The four huddled, as best they could, underneath James invisibility cloak, checked to see that the caretaker was no where in sight, then made their way to one of the unknown paths to Hogsmeade. The passageway they took was one very familiar to them, as it was that same one they took each month when the four of them went to the Shrieking Shack to let Remus live out his terrible curse away from the other students. Because of this, Remus shivered slightly when they entered the building, seeing the wreckage he had caused there on previous occasions. James patted him comfortingly on the back as they exited out into the cold night air in Hogsmeade.

“So, Prongsie, where to first?” Sirius asked, as they walked down the main street.

Scratching the back of his head, James replied, “well, I suppose the flower shop would be good, right? Then maybe The Three Broomsticks to make arrangements for tomorrow.”

The four boys went to The Magic Pot to pick out a flower arrangement. James and Sirius were rather useless when it came to picking out nice things, so Remus did most of the talking with the shop owner. To James’ great delight, his friend had chosen one arrangement that Lily was sure to love. After the shop owner put a long lasting spell on the bundle, the boys started to head for the door when Sirius began talking to the owner quietly.

“Right, so... what type of flower would you suggest as a, oh, I don’t know, as a sort of apology kind of thing?”

The shop keeper turned his back to Sirius for a moment, then returned with a smile on his face and a deep red rose in his hand. “It’s usually a Muggle gesture, but even the witches seem to enjoy it immensely.”

Sirius grinned at the man, then turned back to his friends. When he saw the curious expressions on their faces, he put the flower inside his cloak and asked, “what?”

“Sirius Black, has some girl made you go soft on us?” James asked with a smirk.

“Oh, sod off.”

* * *

Lily rolled over as the sun shone brightly on her face. She had heard a tapping at her window, and was now debating whether or not it was worth getting up for. Rubbing her eyes and yawning widely, she sat up and looked to find a handsome brown owl hovering outside of her window with a letter tied to his one foot and a lily clutched in his other. Lily smiled as she let the familiar owl in. “Morning, Canoah. What have you got there?” James’ owl dropped the flower in her hand and held his leg out for her to take it off. Smiling, Lily unfolded the note.

Happy Valentine’s Day, love! This flower is the first of many today, along with many other surprises. I’ve got lots more planned for us today, so I hope you kept your schedule open!.

Patting Canoah and sending him off, Lily left her room and crossed the common room to James’. She had expected him to be sitting on his desk with a huge grin on his face, proud of himself for setting this all up. Instead, he was sleeping soundly, his body spread out as though he was trying to cover the entire bed. Shaking her head and smiling at his completely innocent state (which she was sure only happened when he was asleep), Lily crawled under his blanket and snuggled up beside him. She stretched up to kiss him a couple of times, then waited for his response as he began to stir.

Trying to roll over on his stomach, James realized there was something in his way. Screwing up his face against the bright sunlight, he opened an eye and saw a glowing face staring up at him. James shook his head as he tried to clear it and smiled when he discovered that Lily truly was laying there like she had been in his dream. His voice still gravelly with sleep, he mumbled, “morning, love.”

“Good morning to you, too,” Lily smiled, kissing him just to the right of his mouth. “I got a nice little visit from Canoah just a few minutes ago.”

Grinning at her, he responded, “that so? Wonder what that was about...”

Lily nestled closer into the nook between his body and arm. “So, I’m intrigued– what is it you have planned for today?”

James grabbed the blanket and pulled it up over both of their heads, covering them completely. “Well... I did have some things in mind... but that was before you got into my bed.” He winked at her and raised his eyebrow playfully.

Rolling her eyes up at him, Lily raised her head and bit him on the shoulder.

“Ow!” He laughed, pulling away from her slightly. “I can’t believe you just bit me!”

Laughing at his reaction, Lily giggled, “well, if I’d have know that biting you would have gotten you to back off, I would have done it years ago.”

James’ mouth opened in shock, then he pushed himself to a sitting position and leaned over her. “Oh, really? That so?” He began tickling her, then paused to ask, “care to change your answer yet?”

Giggling and trying to hold his hands away, Lily yelled, “no!”

“Oh, we’ll see about that!” James resumed tickling her. “Take it back!”

Thrashing underneath him, Lily refused to give in. “Not a chance!” She tried to wriggle out from under him, and succeeded, only to find herself on the cold floor.

James looked over the edge of the bed at her, momentarily stunned, then jumped out after her with a grin. “Do remember who you’re dealing with here, love. I don’t give up for anything!”

Laughing and shaking her head at him, Lily jumped back onto his bed and back under the covers.

Taking her lead, James also returned to the warm mass, pulling her closer as he did so. Before she could object, he pressed his lips against hers. When she gave a small moan, James ended the kiss and pulled back to smile at her. “And this is exactly why I don’t give up. I knew my dashing charm would get you in my bed eventually.”

Laughing in surprise, Lily punched him in the shoulder. “You’re such a toad.”

James shrugged. “If toads are what you go for, I’m glad I’m one.”

Lily grinned up at him, her eyes gleaming.

They continued to stare at each other for a few minutes in silence before James asked, “so, I’ve been anxious to know... when was it exactly that you decided I wasn’t such a prat and that it would be okay to date me?”

“Oh, I still think you’re a prat,” Lily chuckled. “But I realized that’s just who you are.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

“No, it’s supposed to be a joke. Anyway... I guess it was about... sixth year when I realized some of your better qualities.”

James looked at her questioningly. “And yet you still continued to turn me down for a year?”

Lily shrugged apologetically. “It was more out of principle. Stubbornness, really, but then you really did get loads better this year, and well...” she smiled up at him. “And then this happened.”

Scratching his head, James responded. “Yeah, well, getting in my bed usually changes a person.”

“You’re impossible.” Lily reached for his head and ruffled his hair. “Hey, what’s Canoah doing?” She pointed over to James’ window.

He looked over and grinned. “It’s the first part of our day. You just stay here, I’ll get it.” James crossed over to his window to let Canoah in. He took the large bundle from his owl, tossed him a treat, then sent him off to the owlery until he needed him again later. Pointing his wand at his bed, he conjured a small table to sit over it, then brought his bundle over to reveal an assortment of breakfast foods from The Three Broomsticks. “Ta-da! How’s that?”

Lily grinned up at him. “Oh, you are good.”

A/N: hey all! thanks again for the r&r, i really appreciate it! i absolutely loved this chapter, but as i was typing it, i realized it was getting really long so i decided to split it up. i will do my best to get the next part up soon! hope you enjoyed it!

Chapter 12: Valentine's Day-- Part Two
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disclaimer: i only own the plot...and i guess the owl...but, yeah...

An hour later, Lily was drying her hair after her shower and was picking out her clothes for the day. Not knowing what else James had planned, she pulled on a pair of jeans and a bottle-green sweater. Her bouncy, red curls swinging as she went out to the common room to wait for James, Lily smiled at how glad she was that she had given him a chance.

A few minutes later, however, she retracted this thought as James came up behind her and caught her in a huge bear hug. The problem with this was that he was still dripping wet from his shower.

Gasping and trying to jump away from him, Lily screamed, “James! You’re getting me completely wet!”

Grinning back at her cheekily, James laughed, “well, yeah, that was the point.”

Lily tried to glare at him fiercely, however she quickly averted her eyes in embarrassment. Seeing as James had just gotten out of the shower, he was wet, at least what she could see of him that was not hidden by the towel at his waist was wet. To say the least, this was quite the eyeful. As she and her friends had joked about on the train at the beginning of the year, quidditch, indeed, did the body good. She could feel her cheeks burning as he stared at her inquisitively.

Sensing her embarrassment, James walked towards her and bent until he was at eye level with her. Tilting her chin up until she was forced to look him in the eye, he raised his eyebrows. “And you better stop being so embarrassed and get used to this because you’re going to be seeing a lot more of it.”

Unable to do anything else, Lily rolled her eyes as a grin escaped her lips.

Smiling at his success, James turned to go to his room, shaking his behind in a kind of jig as he did so, which caused Lily to burst out in giggles as she pointed her wand at herself to cast a drying spell.

* * *

James strutted from his room a few moments later, his hands held behind his back. “So, do tell me again, what was your favorite book growing up?”

Though eyeing him suspiciously, she made room for him on the couch. “Hmm, well... a few years ago, I would have definitely gone with Jane Eyre, now, however, I’m rather taken with Great Expectations. No– Little Wom– oh, no, The Scarlet Letter... hmm, no, I liked that other one better...” Lily’s eyes had taken on a reverential glaze as she remembered some of her favorite reads. Shaking from this, she turned to him. “Why do you ask?”

Grinning triumphantly, James pulled a package out from behind him and handed it to her, taking a seat.

Turning the heavy package over in her hands, Lily began to slowly remove the outer coverings. Every so often, she would steal a glance at James, trying to catch his mood. When at last she got to the intended surprise, she saw the markings of a packing box. Taking off the lid, Lily gasped and looked up at James in excitement. In the box lay numerous Muggle novels, the titles of which were all one’s she had mentioned to him that she had enjoyed reading over the course of the year. Carefully pulling the copy of Anne of Green Gables out, Lily beamed at James. “Where did you get these?”

Shrugging and looking (for once in his life) rather humble, he responded, “I went around looking for some of them on my Christmas holidays. Got my mom to send me some of the others. This was the first one you loved, right?” he indicated the book in her hands.

Biting her lip and placing the book and box on the floor, Lily leaned forward and hugged him tightly. “Yes, it is. Thank you so much, this is wonderful.”

Kissing her lightly by her ear, James whispered, “you’re wonderful.”

Looking at him coyly, Lily spoke again. “You do realize this scores you big points, right?”

A large grin spread across his face as he leaned in and kissed her.

* * *

The pair spent the afternoon outside with their friends. It was a clear day, and perfect for a snowball fight.

When the sun began to dip below the horizon, James pulled Lily aside and whispered that they should get going as Canoah would be there shortly with their dinner.

Once back in their common room, James had locked Lily in her room and had told her she wasn’t allowed to come out until he was ready. Taking the opportunity, Lily rummaged through her closet for the dress her mother had gotten her for Christmas. With a pang of sadness, Lily stopped her search and held the dress in her hands. No Lily, she told herself firmly, closing her eyes tightly to hold the tears back. They want you to be happy. This is a happy day... think of everything James has done so far... And with that, Lily proudly put the dress on, then searched for a sweater to throw on over top. James truly had made not only this day very special but had helped her through the toughest part of her life thus far. She had been at her lowest point that night, and though she had asked him for something very special, he had known her enough to decline and hadn’t mentioned it since. For this, this was forever grateful. If she had been unsure of her feelings for him before Christmas, there was no doubt in her mind now that she loved him very much– so much, in fact, that she couldn’t imagine her life without him.

With that thought in mind, Lily stared at her reflection in the mirror and attempted the impossible: the subtle art of make-up application. The task in itself was not hard, it was just the fact that it was something Lily had never put much interest in before. In the end, she felt she hadn’t failed the task too miserably, and turned her attention to her hair, something she knew a bit more about. She tried to magically straightening it, but decided on going with her natural curl. It looked more, well, natural that way. Deciding she had put in enough effort on her appearance, she took a seat on her bed and pulled out her new copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Smiling as she remembered the tale, she couldn’t help but wonder how much it reminded her of James and the Marauders.

Startling slightly when she heard a knock on her door, Lily rose from her bed and greeted a grinning James. He, too, had changed into a more formal outfit, and looked as though he had attempted to tame his hair. Smiling at him for this, Lily allowed him to take her hand in his and pulled her out to the common room.

Twirling her once to take in the full view, James whistled his approval. “If it’s possible, you look more lovely than ever. You weren’t trying to impress me, were you? Cause you really shouldn’t, I’m always amazed just by you showing up.”

Grinning up at him, Lily shrugged. “So you don’t like it, then? Fine, I can just go change.” She was half-way through her door when James pulled her back eagerly.

“No, don’t do that, I love it. You’ve found my weakness, happy now?”

Lily laughed as she twinned her fingers in his. “You’re my weakness.”

“I’ve been trying to tell you that for years, love.” James grinned widely down at her. “We can finish this little discussion later, though. Right now, we’ve got dinner plans.” With that, he stepped around beside her to reveal an intimate table for two.

“How is it you know how to do everything just right?” Lily asked, allowing him to pull her chair out for her.

Shrugging at her and raising an eyebrow, James took his place across from her. Raising his glass towards her, he grinned. “To us?”

“To us.” Lily clinked her own glass with his.

A/N: hey all! thanks yet again for the comments and reads! i know i'm being terribly slow at updating... i lost my steam but am constantly trying to work out ideas in my head to get them written down, i promise! i also lose interest in things quickly, so i'm working on other pieces, which i know is bad, but i am going to push myself to finish this for all of you people (you know who you are and i love you!) who keep giving me encouraging reviews. i'll stop nattering now and let you get on with stuff! happy reading!

Chapter 13: The Aftermath and the Truth
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disclaimer: you know how it goes

The next morning, after having pleasantly awakening him yet again, Lily and James made their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast.

Spotting his friends, James went and sat with them. “Morning, Mates! How were your evenings?”

“Probably not as good as yours,” Remus chuckled, staring down the table at Lily, who was huddled and talking excitedly with her friends. He then directed his gaze at Sirius, who, for once, had not yet spoken up. “But maybe Padfoot did. Why don’t you ask him?”

Sirius looked up, startled to hear his name.

James grinned at him in remembrance. “Ah, right, the flower the other night. How did that go for you, Padfoot?”

He shrugged, but turned back to his breakfast in an attempt to hide his smile.

James looked shocked, turning from Sirius to Peter to Remus.

“That’s all he gave us when he tried to sneak into the dorm unnoticed... this morning,” Peter winked, causing Sirius to look up and try to glare at him defiantly, but only succeeding in revealing a happy grin.

The other three Marauders broke out in laughter, finding it hard to believe that their womanizing friend could like a girl for more than snogging.

They were broken from their teasing by a small cough behind them. Finding a shy-looking Melanie Davies, Sirius quickly stood up and smiled somewhat shyly himself. Taking her hand, they left the Great Hall, grinning playfully at each other.

Seconds later, Amelia and Lily came to sit with the remaining boys.

“That is so adorable!” Amelia gushed, looking to the door after the couple and taking a seat beside Remus. “Who would have guessed Sirius Black could be so sweet?”

Lily took Sirius’ vacated spot next to James with a starry expression on her face. “I know, I never would have imagined!” She sighed.

“Right, so, are you going to fill us in, or just sit there with goofy grins on your faces?” James asked jokingly.

Amelia looked shocked that Sirius wouldn’t have told them, then remembered who she was referring to. “Well, he started out by following her around the library last night, begging her to forgive him for being such an insensitive prat. When they got kicked out for making a scene, he told her how much he liked her and wanted her to be his girlfriend and not just some other faceless girl on his list...” Amelia sighed, a dazed look on her face.

“And the most romantic part,” Lily continued, in the same airy voice, “is that they spent the entire night talking and really getting to know each other in some room on the fourth floor.”

James’ first reaction was that of shock; he had never known Sirius to act so serious (no pun intended, it was just the best word). Then, seeing the glazed over look in Lily’s eye from recounting the scenario, he got a little offended. He slipped Lily’s hand into his under the table. “I’m romantic, too, you know.”

Pulling from her daze, Lily looked over at him and smiled. “Of course you are. That’s one of the things that made me fall for you.”

No longer bothered, James tightened his grip on her hand and grinned back at her.

Their friends across the table smiled at each other knowingly before turning their discussion to the quickly approaching NEWTs.

* * *

A few nights later, during a break from her studying, Lily was huddled in one of the squashy armchairs of the common room. She was engrossed in another of her novels from James when he stormed in through the portrait hole.

His hair was more erratic than normal, and the closer he got to her, the more she understood why he looked so angry.

“James, what happened to you?!” She got up to examine him more closely. There was a nasty looking bruise forming on the side of his head and there was a split in his lip.

Pulling his slightly sore face away from her fussing hands, James slumped into the chair she had just gotten out of. “Snape,” he grumbled roughly.

A concerned look crossed her face as she sat on the arm of his chair, facing him. Carefully slipping one leg behind his back and the other in front of him, she began to awkwardly rub his shoulders. “What did he do?”

“The slimy git caught me off-guard and started pelting me with book ends!”

“Book ends?” She asked confusedly. “Where did he get those?”

“From the classroom we were in! I was–!” He paused for a moment, then continued in a significantly lower tone. “I was helping a second year with his... girl troubles.” When he looked up to find Lily with a small smile on her face, he continued, “I had to help him, I could relate!”

She stopped rubbing his shoulders and smiled indulgently at him. “James, I think the idea of you helping others is adorable.”

James cringed at the term: he was not adorable, he was strong and ruggedly handsome and –

At that moment, Lily changed her sitting position from the arm of the chair to his lap, keeping one leg on either side of him. Leaning towards him, she lightly kissed his upper (undamaged) lip. “I really like hearing about you doing nice things like that. It makes you all the more desirable.”

Forgetting what he was so angry about (and forgetting that he was angry altogether) a cheeky grin crossed his face as he placed his hands on her hips. “Hm, that so? Have I ever told you about all my work with the elderly?”

Laughing, Lily leaned into him for a hug, but jerked back when she heard him groan.

“Sorry– you hit a bit of a tender spot there, love.” He shifted his position under her. “No, you don’t have to get up!” James added hastily, pushing down on her legs to hold her in place. “Really,” he responded to her questioning stare. “How did your studying go, anyway?”

Lily shrugged. “Alright, I guess. Charms and Potions don’t really worry me. I may need your help with Transfiguration later on, though,” she smirked at him.

“Ah, well, yes, always up for helping you,” James grinned back. “So... I’ve been wondering... was it really such a big thing that Sirius did the other day? With Melanie, I mean.”

Lily thought for a moment. “Well, yes, I think it was, especially to Melanie. Something like that coming from Sirius is pretty rare, and, I don’t know, sincere, I guess. Everyone kind of expects nice things from Remus, but it’s more of a shock coming from Sirius and– ” Lily stopped and looked up at James apologetically. “Well, most don’t expect it from you, either... but I know better,” she assured him.

It was James’ turn to shrug. “What most people don’t know about James Potter could fill a library.”

“Like what?” She asked sincerely. “I want to know everything there is to know about you.”

James started out with things about his childhood, such as pranks he used to pull on his parents and his first time riding a broom. Then he told her about how he and Sirius had disliked each other when they had first met.

“But you two are so close! You’re like brothers!” Lily interjected.

“We are now,” James chuckled. “The first year or so we kept trying to jinx each other. We soon caught on that we could create a lot of havoc if we joined forces, so from then on, we were the Terrible Two. It wasn’t long after that when Sirius’ parents started showing their true colors, though,” James said darkly. “Horrible people.”

“It’s funny, isn’t it, how someone so good can come from something so bad?”

James eyed her suspiciously. “Weren’t you just saying not too long ago that you didn’t think too highly of him?”

“I said no such thing. What I was referring to was the fact that, when it comes to girls, Sirius needs more work than he’s willing to admit,” Lily corrected him. “I think he’s a great friend to you and the Marauders, and I know that because I can see it in the way you four interact. He just needs to learn how to treat a girl right, that’s all.”

Glad to know that she really did like his mates, James smiled at her. This sparked his interest in what else he might not know about her. “Ok, your turn. Tell me something no one else knows.”

Tilting her head in concentration, Lily stared at a spot on the chair just over James’ left shoulder. A few moments later when her eyes shot back to his, there was an odd expression on her face. Speaking quietly, she replied, “I almost didn’t come here. To Hogwarts, I mean.”

James’ expression turned from confusion to shock. “What?”

Lily nodded in confirmation. “Back when I first got my letter. We all sort of thought it was a joke until the letters kept coming. It was all very strange at first. My parents didn’t know what to think... neither did I, for that matter. When we started taking it seriously, my sister got really..., well, let’s just say that she wasn’t very supportive. It wasn’t until after we got back from Diagon Alley that I started to worry, though.”

Rubbing his hands consolingly on her legs, James asked, “what were you worried about?”

“Everything,” she answered truthfully. “I was worried about leaving my family, my home, my friends– them more so because I couldn’t even tell them why I wouldn’t be able to go to school with them anymore. My sister couldn’t stand to be in the same room with me, and any time she was, she would stare at me like I had two heads. I was worried about the people here, too. I didn’t know if I’d be really far behind because I had Muggle parents, or if I’d be treated differently because of it. It was all terrifying... but exciting at the same time.”

“Hmm,” James began,” I never really thought of that. I was always around magic and always knew that I’d be going to Hogwarts. It’s funny how we had such different experiences.” He paused and looked at her tentatively before asking in a small voice, “are you glad you came?”

Her eyes opened in shock. “Are you kidding? To get to learn magic and be around others like me has been amazing! Besides that,” she grinned at him, “if I hadn’t come, I’d probably be dating some stuffy, pompous wind-bag like Petunia.” Lily wrinkled her nose in dislike. Then, with a twinkle in her eye, she grasped James’ hands in her own and leaned forward to peck him on the cheek. “And if I hadn’t come, I never would have met you.”

Grinning at her, James commented, “a few years ago, that argument would have been on the negative side.”

Leaning her forehead against his, she giggled, “I was in denial.”

James kissed her. “I could’ve told you that from the beginning and saved us a lot of time.”

Lily kissed him in response, paying special attention to his split lip.

After a few minutes of gradually increasing intensity, James reluctantly pulled back. Speaking huskily, he mumbled, “can I ask you something?”

“Mm hm,” she answered, opening her eyes to look into his.

“My parents really want to meet you. Do you think you’d want to come home with me for Easter to meet them?” James held his breath as he waited for her response.

A small smile began to spread across her face. “I think I’d like that very much.”

Letting out his breath and beaming at her, he said enthusiastically, “great! I’ll owl them tomorrow. Now... where were we?” James wrapped his arms around her lower back.

Lily grinned as she took his face in her hands (careful to avoid his bruises), and pulled him closer into a kiss.

A/N: i've been so slow, i know! but i have the next chapter after this one half written, and i pretty much know whats going to happen in the one after that, so the next couple should be up reletively quickly. thanks again to all of you who have read and reviewed! i enjoy all of your opinions!

Chapter 14: Bubblebath
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disclaimer:i dont own the names/ characters, just the plot

The seventh years at Hogwarts were bombarded with homework and NEWT preparation. On top of this, Lily and James had increased duties keeping the students in check as they were nearing the Easter break and everyone was getting rather restless.

On one such night of doing her Head Girl rounds, Lily had found five students out after curfew and had had to break up a fight between a Slytherin and Ravenclaw prefect. Rather flustered, Lily stormed through the halls of the sixth floor. She had heard someone cackling around the corner and was about to reprimand them for being out past curfew when a large water balloon was tossed at her head. Feeling the cold water gush over her face and neck, Lily glared up at the deliriously happy Peeves. Just as she was about to shout at him, he raised his ghostly arm and lobbed another balloon at her. Turning around so that her back took the brunt of the blow, Lily gritted her teeth. “Peeves! Get out of here before I get the Bloody Baron!” It was a scarcely known fact that the only one Peeves the Poltergeist would listen to was none other than the Slytherin ghost, the Bloody Baron.

“Little wee red-head wouldn’t have the guts!” Peeves simpered in a sing-song voice, zooming around her head.

“Oh no? Watch me!” She spat, turning on her heal and heading for the Grand Staircase.

“Oh, come now, Peevsie was only playing around!” The poltergeist sped down the hall in the opposite direction, disappearing from sight.

“Ghastly creature!” Lily huffed, checking her watch. It was nearly midnight on the Friday the week before the break. Feeling she had given enough that evening, she began to stalk back to the Head’s common room.

A few minutes later, Lily moodily entered to the warm of the Head’s quarters.

James looked up form his textbook and surveyed her with amusement. “Another scuffle with Moaning Myrtle?” He and Sirius had stumbled upon Moaning Myrtles bathroom a couple of years earlier and had vowed never to return, not only because it was a girls’ lavatory, but because she had flooded the toilets after they had apparently offended her.

Lily glared at him. “Peeves thought it would be amusing to attack me with water balloons after an already horrible evening.”

Chuckling quietly, James stood and sat Lily in his desk chair. Being careful not to pull her hair, he placed his hands on her shoulders and began to firmly massage them. “Don’t worry about Peeves, love, he pesters everyone.”

Relaxing to his touch, Lily sighed. “He doesn’t bother you.”

“That’s because he pranks with us,” James laughed. “I’ll be sure to tell him to lay off you next time I see him.” He leaned over her shoulder and pecked her on the check. “Wait here. I know something that will cheer you up.” With that, James retreated to the bathroom and closed the door behind him.

Looking thoroughly perplexed, Lily turned her attention to the textbook James had been reading. It was for NEWT level Muggle Studies, the one subject Lily had not even thought about studying since she had lived as one until she was eleven. James had the book open to Muggle Cleaning, and Lily giggled at the idea of what James must have thought about using his Comet 360 to sweep floors with. Her mind then wandered to what visiting James’ house would be like. It was going to be interesting to see how a wizarding family functioned: they would have different methods of cooking and cleaning, and would probably be hooked up to the Floo Network. When she was at home (she felt a sudden stab of panic as she wondered where home would be this summer, as her parents were gone and Petunia had moved in with Vernon), she was completely devoid of magic, but when she went to James’, she would be surrounded by it. Pulled from her thoughts by James gently squeezing her shoulders, she looked up to find him grinning at her.

“Come on,” he motioned, coaxing her towards the bathroom.

Humoring him, Lily reluctantly stood from the chair and followed him to the bathroom. She thought it looked oddly dark as she stared over his shoulder, and soon after found the reasoning for this.

The lights had been dimmed and there were a few candles scattered along the edge of the over-sized bath. A sweet aroma filled the room, and a bubbly lavender froth floated in the bath water.

Lily turned to James with a grateful expression in her eyes. “You always know just what to do to make me feel better.”

Smiling and kissing her forehead, he murmured, “that’s my job.” Flashing her one last smile, he retreated towards the common room.

Lily didn’t even know what made her say what she said next. Well, in all honesty, she knew, she just couldn’t believe she had been so bold. Despite this and the shocked look on James’ face, she continued to hold her composure.

“I– what?” James asked, sure he had heard her wrong.

Her heart beating madly, she repeated, “aren’t you going to stay?”

James’ eyes widened in shock again. He opened his mouth to reply, but closed it again when he decided he couldn’t possibly string a coherent sentence together.

Lily began to panic, and was about to smile and tell him she had been joking when she heard him stutter, “oh– oh– okay.” Turning her back to him awkwardly, she began to unbutton her robe.

Starting, James likewise turned his back to her, gulping nervously as he realized that in a few short moments she would be wearing nothing at all. He waited until he heard a soft splash behind him before tentatively turning back around. The sight of Lily’s discarded clothing made James feel as if the temperature of the room had just sky-rocketed. Pulling uneasily at the collar of his own robe, he tried to gather the infamous James Potter confidence. He could just sit there and be perfectly fine; he would think about quidditch, yes, that’s how he’d distract himself, quidditch– Lily’s nervous giggle pulled him from his thoughts. When he looked down to her, his cheeks began to burn.

“Are you getting in like that?” She asked uncertainly, in regards to his clothes. Extremely conscious of the fact that she and James had not been very intimate thus far, she fought to keep all of her body submerged under the bubbles.

James, meanwhile, was undergoing a pleasant tingling and sudden restriction below the belt, and, because of this, was seriously considering remaining fully clothed for the rest of his life. Stop being such a pansy! he scolded himself. If this were any other girl, you wouldn’t be acting so stupid!. Then, he reminded himself, he wouldn’t be in this situation with any other girl. True, he had dated his share of eager girls, but he had never let anything get out of hand as Lily never left the back of his mind. Turning his back once she had, James began unbuttoning his robe. Okay, quidditch, scoring a goal– wait, bad choice of words! Um, Remus being a werewolf, yeah (James’ robe was now on the floor) grindelows, homework... Lily likes doing her homework– ahh, not helping! (James had just pulled his shirt over his head) The giant squid, yeah, he’s not very attractive... Lily once told me to go take a swim with him... that would probably be a lot easier than this... oi! Quit making this worse for yourself, you imbecile! (his socks were discarded). Okay, pulling pranks with the Marauders, Professor McGonagall, yeah, she’s pretty scary, the NEWTs are coming up soon, I’ll have to study for those... pranking Snivellus, slimy git deserves every bit of it, he does (James’ pants now joined the pile on the floor). Dragons... big, ugly, scaly, horny– oh, bugger! This is hopeless!. With that, James whipped off his underwear and jumped into the bath.

Lily turned in surprise and laughed when she saw his head emerge from the water.

James placed his glasses on the side of the bath as an after thought, then grinned at Lily, his confidence semi-restored. “So, why don’t you tell me about your night?” He swam to the opposite side of the pool so that she was an arms length away and rested his elbow on the ledge.

Lily rolled her eyes. “Well, I found five students out after curfew to start with.”

“None of them were my friends, were they?” James asked with a grin.

“No, Lily assured him with a smile. “But then I had to break up a fight between Nott and Johnson... I nearly got turned into a giant mushroom for stepping in between them. And then I walked into Peeves, and you know how that turned out. I’m just letting things get to me too much, all this stress about NEWTs and everything. It’s silly, really.”

“No, I don’t think it’s silly at all. You just have a lot on your plate right now, that’s all,” he reasoned, reaching forward and tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. Letting his hand linger there a moment longer, James stared into the eyes he loved so much.

“I guess,” she shrugged. After a few moments, she began to bite her lip.

“What is it?” James asked, breaking her concentration.

“Huh?” She looked at him in confusion.

With a small smile, he responded, “whenever you have something on your mind, you always bite your lip. I was just wondering what it was.”

“Oh,” she shook her head, finding it funny that he had picked up on this little habit. “It’s just...what’s going to happen to us next year?”

Looking at her oddly, James shrugged. “What do you mean?”

Sighing, she replied, “well, I’m going to be away for Auror training, and you’ll be off at some Quidditch Camp... where does that leave us?”

Catching on to what she was so concerned about, James scratched the back of his head. “I never really thought about it that way, I always just thought of our future more in general, I suppose.” Looking slightly put out, he offered, “we’ll still see each other as often as we can, right? And then in a few years, things will be okay again, when we’re all through with training.”

She looked at him oddly for a moment, then smiled in satisfaction at his answer. “I guess we’ll just have to deal with it when it comes, and make the best of the time we have now.”

“We’ll get through it, love, no sweat.” With that, he took a step towards her and kissed her forehead.

A glint in her eye and a mischievous smile on her face, Lily suddenly stood to her full height and caught James’ lips in her own.

Eyes open wide with shock at what Lily had just revealed to him (namely, the top half of her body), he found it hard to respond to her kiss. When she pulled away, his eyes were still wide and his mouth hung open. His arms remained awkwardly at his sides and he averted his eyes to anywhere but Lily.

“James, look at me.”

When he finally turned his gaze back to her, she had re-submerged under the water.

“James Potter, that is not a normal reaction from you.” Lily looked extremely uncomfortable and thoroughly embarrassed.

James knew exactly how she felt.

“What– have I done something wrong?” Her eyes were pleading with him.

“No!” He assured her immediately. “No, Lily, it’s... (he swallowed hard) bugger.” Taking a step forward, he cupped her face in both of his hands and kissed her with all of the passion he could muster. When he began to feel light headed, due in part to a lack of oxygen plus the steamy nature of the situation, he pulled back from her, breathing heavily. “Could you feel that? Could you feel how you make me feel?”

Her eyes still closed and her head tilted back as he had left it, she opened her mouth and took in a shaky breath. In a barely audible whisper, she replied, “yeah.”

“That is how I feel every second I’m with you. Lily, you are so... intoxicating, and, yeah, I really, really want to experience things with you (she finally opened her eyes at this) but I could not live with myself if I felt I hurt you in any way.”

Crossing her arms in front of her chest and rising again to her full height, she sighed deeply before saying her piece. “James, I love you so much,” she raised a hand to touch his face. “And what you just said proves why I do. But I do want to be with you... in every way possible... and you won’t hurt me, I know you won’t. The only way you could ever hurt me would be by denying what is right in front of you.” Taking a tentative step forward, Lily hugged him awkwardly.

Finally throwing all his worries aside, James captured her lips in his and kissed her strongly. His touch on her skin couldn’t have contrasted more with his kiss; his hands grazed the surface of her body as if she were made of something so fragile it would crumble to dust if handled too roughly.

Lily, meanwhile, was running her fingernails over his strong abdomen, her confidence stemming from his.

They encouraged each other on for a while longer, exploring each other and enjoying the company.

The night ended with Lily playfully dunking James’ head under the water and laughing as she retreated to her room. James shouted jokingly after her that she was nothing but a tease that left him with the need for a very cold shower.

A/N: hey guys! thanks for all the great reviews! i'm working on the next chapter right now and i'll get it up as soon as i can-- im hoping its going to be a cute, fluffy one, and i've already been working on the sirius/melanie stuff for those of you who enjoyed that in other chapters! happy reading!

Chapter 15: Getting There
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disclaimer: you know how it is... i dont own the characters and such

“Okay, Padfoot, we really need to go,” James called from across the Gryffindor common room. He and Lily had been ready and waiting to catch the train home for the past half hour. It was a bright, early Saturday morning, but the two were both too excited (and Lily too nervous) to be tired.

Sirius was saying an enthusiastic and completely non-verbal good-bye to a compliant Melanie. Their relationship was the most talked about subject as of late– who knew Sirius Black had it in him to settle down with a girl?

When James had finally managed to drag his best friend away form Melanie, they had a little over twenty minutes to get to Hogsmeade before the train left without them.

Throwing his girlfriend his charming smile, Sirius raised his hand to his mouth and blew a large kiss across the room to her. “See you in a few days, Mellie-Bell!”

Melanie, along with the rest of the girls in the room, giggled at his over-the-top antics. “Bye, Sirius.”

Grinning at her once more before James pulled him through the portrait hole, Sirius swung his bag over his shoulder and shook his dark hair out of his eyes.

Walking through the castle towards the Entrance Hall, James slung his bag over his own shoulder and gestured for Lily to give him hers. “So,” he started, with an amused grin on his face. “Mellie-Bell, huh?”

Sirius turned to his friend, the happy smile never leaving his face. “Not going to work, Prongsie, I’m in far too good a mood to let you tease me into oblivion.” He strutted towards the large oak doors and held them open for the other two.

James shook his head at his friends behavior, while Lily chuckled, glad her friends were hitting it off so well.
* * *

As they were settling into their compartment, Sirius suddenly began rummaging through his bag. Pulling out a bit of parchment and his wand, a grin spread across his face as a spell hit the parchment and it began to fold itself into a paper butterfly. Sirius opened the window, held the paper butterfly up to it, and watched as it zoomed back towards the castle. When he turned back to face his friends, they were staring at him with curious expressions on their faces.

“What was that all about?” James asked him, smirking.

Resting his hands behind his head with a smug grin on his face, Sirius shrugged.

“Fine, keep your secrets, Padfoot. How ‘bout a game of chess, then? You can play Lily and I’ll play the winner.”

“No thanks,” Lily commented from further down the bench. “I think I’ll just read. You guys play.”

Smiling down at her, James patted her foot resting on the seat next to him. “Alright, love.” He then turned his attention back to his friend. “Okay, Padfoot, prepare to bow down to my amazing chess playing skills.”

Rolling his eyes at James, Sirius began setting up the chess board.

* * *

It was after noon when the train pulled into King’s Cross Station, and Lily’s insides were now squirming uncomfortably as she realized she would be meeting James’ parents in the next few minutes.

When the train came to a halt, James hitched on a wide smile. “You ready?” He asked Lily, taking hold of both of their bags and preparing to follow Sirius out.

Trying to match his smile with one of her own, Lily nodded and made her way off of the train.

James stole a glance at Lily after Sirius had gone through the barrier of Platform nine and three-quarters and saw the anxious look in her eyes. He took her hand, kissed her cheek, then whispered, “don’t worry, Lily, they’re going to love you,” before pulling her through the magical barrier.

“Mrs. P.!” Sirius called, pulling the short woman into a tight hug.

“Sirius, dear, it’s good to see you, too!” The mahogany-haired Mrs. Potter beamed at him, taking his rugged face in her hands. “Why, what’s got you in such a chipper mood?”

“He’s in love, mum,” James sighed, batting his eyelashes dramatically at his mother.

Sirius backed away from Mrs. Potter, cleared his throat, then caught James in a tight head lock and tried to wrestle him to the ground.

“Now boys!” Mrs. Potter tried to interrupt sternly, though there was a happy smile on her face only a mother could create. “Don’t start the weekend off like this!” Now that the boys were rolling on the ground play fighting, she looked up and noticed Lily for the first time. Smiling at her widely, Mrs. Potter stepped forwards towards her. “And you must be Lily.”

Lily smiled politely, then held out her hand in greeting, but found herself instead pulled into a warm embrace.

“It’s nice to finally meet you, dear,” Mrs. Potter said cheerily, pulling back to get a good look at her.

“It’s nice to meet you as well, Mrs. Potter.”

“Oh, we’ll have none of that– it’s Elizabeth,” she chuckled, taking Lily’s face in her hands as she had done with Sirius. “My stars, you have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. James told us how pretty you were, but he never mentioned your gorgeous eyes.” Her own eyes were twinkling merrily as she said this.

Lily’s cheeks tinged pink, but she grinned back regardless. “Thank-you.”

“Aw, mum, now you’ve gone and embarrassed me,” James said from behind Mrs. Potter, his crooked smile on his face.

Turning to him with a look of adoration on her face, Elizabeth Potter crossed her arms and stared at him questioningly. “I didn’t think that was an emotion you were capable of experiencing, Jamesie.”

Shrugging, James leaned forward to kiss her on the cheek and pulled her into a tight embrace, lifting her off the ground as he did so. “It’s good to see you, mum.”

“It’s good to have my boys back,” she assured him.

“Where’s dad?” He asked next, craning his neck to look around the busy train station.

“He got called into work today, dear, some big mess at the Ministry. He’ll be back in time for dinner, though, don’t you worry,” she told him, gesturing back to Lily.

James put his arm around his mother and squeezed her next to him. “She is pretty, isn’t she?” James asked as though Lily wasn’t standing right behind them. “Don’t know how I managed to finally get her to go out with me, but I suppose I’m pretty lucky, huh?” He looked over his shoulder and winked at Lily, beckoning her forward with his other arm.

Taking his chin in her hand, Elizabeth smiled up at her son. “She probably saw the tinniest glimmer of the sweet little James I know is in there somewhere.”

Lily giggled as Mrs. Potter winked at her.

“Now, what do you say we get going, hm? Get you lot some lunch?” Elizabeth motioned for the exit.

James and Lily nodded, taking each other by the hand.

Grinning when she saw this, she bustled forward to her surrogate son. “Sirius, be a dear and hold this door open?”

“Sure thing, Mrs. P.”

* * *

Upon arriving at the Potter’s house, the three teens were surrounded by a bunch of tiny children.

“James! James! Guess what? Guess what?!?” A small girl with dirt smudged on her face and her messy hair stuffed under an equally dirty baseball cap asked excitedly, grabbing at his hands to turn his attention to her.

“What’s that, Gertie?” He inquired with a grin, turning his gaze from the dog pile of children trying to drag Sirius to the ground with minimal results.

She continued eagerly. “We were playing quidditch and Ollie was keeper and I got six goals in!”

James laughed and high-fived her enthusiastically. “What did I tell you? Ollie’s not so tough, is he?”

Gertie beamed up at him, then joined the attempt to over power Sirius.

Lily smiled at how good James and Sirius were with the children– probably because they’re still children themselves, she giggled to herself. She felt a tap on her arm and looked down to see a boy of about nine years old holding a flower out to her and grinning widely. “Why, thank-you,” she bent slightly so that they were at the same height. “What’s your name?”

“William,” he beamed, reaching a hand to his head and ruffling his hair. Then, with a wink at James, he slipped his arm around her waist and said, “you’re pretty. Want to go out for ice cream with me?”

Lily stared down at him in shock for a moment, but then James stepped forward and pulled the youngster away from her. His arm around the child’s shoulder, Lily heard James say, “okay, Will, that’s Lily– my girlfriend. We don’t put the moves on her, she doesn’t go for it. Go get one of those girls your own age over there,” he finished, patting the boy on the back and sending him on his way.

When James turned around to where Lily stood, she had her arms crossed and a shocked smile on her face.

“Please don’t tell me you’re molding a little army in your image?” She giggled.

“He was an eager learner, what can I say?”

Shaking her head and smiling, she gestured towards the group of children. “Should we go give him a hand?”

Sirius had been apparently defeated, as six children were sitting on him and three were holding his arms down.

“Sirius? Naw, he loves that.” James laughed.

As though hit by another burst of energy, Sirius’ arms sprung up and wrapped around as many of the children as possible, toppling them all in a shrieking and giggling pile, before jumping to his feet for another round.

A/N: hey al! i finally posted again! yay! i hope you enjoyed this chapter, as it took so long to get out of me! haha. i've been a little distracted with someone else's awesome story, so thats why it took me so long! im also, yet again, experiencing a bit of writers block. i know where i want this story to go and a few of the land marks on the way...but im just having trouble getting it written down! i will post again as soon as i can, though! as always, thanks for all the reads and reviews-- every little one is appreciated!

Chapter 16: Cause For Celebration and the Night Out
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disclaimer: the characters and hogwarts and such belong to jkr

James and Sirius took Lily throughout the entire Potter Estate, the pair of them adding colourful commentary on the way, such as “That’s the closet we caught Sirius snogging my cousin in,” or “Prongsie here had to sleep off a backfired spell in that bathroom, and when he woke up, he crowed like a rooster at the sound of a bell for the next week!”. The Potter’s, Lily soon realized, were financially well off, as evident from the polished wood floors to the exquisitely high ceilings, not the mention the indoor swimming pool, three living rooms (though two were usually only for entertaining, James told her), a games room, the library, and dozens of guest bedrooms.

“This is my room,” James told her with a grin, after Sirius had retreated to his own. “We’ll be coming back here later.” Little did he know the irony of this statement.

Rolling her eyes and playfully pushing him, Lily asked where she would be staying.

“Well, that’s really up to you,” he responded, walking down the multi-roomed hallway. “This one’s Remus’ favourite.” Opening the door, it revealed a room similar to their rooms at Hogwarts. “Or,” he turned to the other side of the hall, across from his own room. “We never fancied this one much– too girly,” James contorted his face in dislike. “But, well, you’re a girl, so...”

Lily laughed. “That’s very observant of you.” Peeking into the room he had suggested, she smiled. It reminded her of home. “This one will be great.”

* * *

“James! Sirius! Lily! Dinner’s ready!” Elizabeth Potter called up the main staircase to the second floor bedrooms.

Lily and James walked down hand in hand, with Sirius bringing up the rear excitedly.

“Oh, how I’ve missed your mum’s cooking!” Sirius beamed, squeezing in between them and taking his usual seat at the table.

“Lily, dear,” Mrs. Potter bustled forward, “this is my husband, Richard.”

A tall, aged replica of James stood in front of her. His hair was greying at the temples, and his eyes were different, but the Potter charm was obviously inherited as James’ father reached for her hand and kissed it. “What a pleasure to finally meet the lovely Lily Evans,” he said merrily, smiling warmly at her. “We’ve heard so much about you from James... speaking of which,” his expression brightened at the sight of his son, “have I got news for you, m’boy!” He stepped forward and clapped James on the back. “I had a personal visit from the captain of a certain quidditch team come in asking about you today.”

James’ eyes widened in excitement. “Who?”

His father winked. “Oh, no one special... he just happens to head the Whimbourne Wasps!” He now looked quite as excited as his son.

James’ mouth was open in shock: some team wanted him to play for them– and not just any team, but one at the top of the league! As this hit him, a smile stretched across his face and he grabbed his father by the shoulders.

They both started into a victory dance, whooping and hollering as they did so. Mrs. Potter and Lily both had looks of great happiness on their faces as they watched the crazy scene progress further when Sirius added to the mixture.

“Oh, James, this is wonderful!” His mother exclaimed, rushing to grip him in a tight hug.

“Thanks, mum!” He grinned widely.

“Congratulations, James!” Lily piped in, and before she could object, he pulled her into an excited hug and kissed her. She was in a momentary blissful daze (James’ kisses had a habit of causing that reaction), but pulled away in embarrassment when she remembered that James’ parents were in the room.

Mr. Potter and Sirius, however, had returned to the table and were talking enthusiastically about the last prank the Marauders had pulled. Mrs. Potter was grinning nostalgically, the young love between her son and Lily reminding her of the early years with her husband.

James and Lily took their seats at the table with the others and tucked into their dinners.

The boys regaled their parents (Sirius was as good as a son, anyway) with tales from the past few months, and Mrs. Potter asked Lily if she would show her how to make some Muggle cookies she had heard about.

When dinner was over and Mrs. Potter was clearing away the dishes (after refusing Lily’s fourth offer to help), Mr. Potter relaxed back in his chair. “So, what are you three up to tonight?”

“Dunno,” James shrugged, looking from Lily to Sirius.

“Hey, we should go out and celebrate!” Sirius exclaimed. “To the newest player of the Whimbourne Wasps!”

James smiled in mild interest. “Suppose we could do that. Where d’you have in mind, Padfoot?”

“We always wanted to try that Wandering Witchhead in town,” he winked at his friend, as they had both snuck into it the previous summer.

Mr. Potter chuckled. “Not exactly the place to take a lady,” he raised his eyebrows in Lily’s direction. “There’s a new place just opened down near Hansbrower Holiday’s, it’s not really my cup of tea, but you kids might like it,” he offered.

“Yeah, alright. Sound good to you?” James asked, turning his attention to Lily.

“Sure,” she replied with a smile.

“Excellent,” Sirius grinned, standing from his seat. “Should we get ready to go, then?”

James was rising from his own chair when his mother came back towards them with something in her hand.

“This came for you earlier, Sirius,” she said, handing him the letter she was clutching. “From someone named Melanie, thanking you for the note and something about a paper butterfly.” She shook her head in confusion at the last part.

James and Lily smirked at each other, remembering Sirius’ odd behaviour on the train.

For the first time since James had known him, Sirius looked slightly embarrassed, but grinned happily as he scanned the letter.
* * *

The trio left the Potter Estate at a quarter past nine, after Sirius had written and sent a lengthy response to Melanie.

Sirius was bouncing eagerly ahead of them, letting James and Lily enjoy the calming warmth of the evening in peace.

James studied her through quick side glances. She had on a form-fitting tee shirt (James approved) and a relatively short skirt (James approved even more). And, best of all, she had pulled her hair back into a pony tail, which was a pleasant change from how she wore it most days. Not that James didn’t enjoy watching her red locks bounce and sway when they hung down her back, he just found the contrast of being able to see her neck fantastically attractive.

As the three of them neared their destination, they could hear the muffled sound of music filling the streets.
“Come on, you two!” Sirius urged, grabbing hold of Lily’s arm and pulling. Since her other hand was entwined with James’, he, too, was pulled along after Sirius.

They entered the newly open dance pub, Quigley’s, after showing their forearms to prove they were not Death Eaters and having their wands tested to see that they were legal-aged wizards.

The building was cramped with youths around and just above the trio’s ages, most of whom were unrecognizable to them. James did see a few people he knew, such as Frank Longbottom and his girlfriend Alice Engleton, both of whom had graduated from Hogwarts a couple of years earlier. Then there was Gideon or Fabian Prewitt (James couldn’t tell which as they were identical twins) who had graduated after James’ first year. There were also others their age that James recognized by sight, but wouldn’t have been able to guess at their names as they had attended different schools.

“I’ll go get us some drinks!” Sirius yelled over the music from the band.

James nodded and tucked Lily closer to his body, not wanting to lose her in the crowd.

“What should we do now?” She hollered up at him.

“We could dance,” he grinned and shimmed along with the music for a moment.

Lily laughed. “Maybe later.” Not two seconds later, she was pushed into James by others trying to get by. Giggling, she turned her face back up to his. “Or now will work.”

Truth be told, it was impossible to really dance due to the lack of personal space, but James and Lily did their best.

A few moments later, Sirius returned with two bottles in one hand and a fizzing glass in his other. Gesturing one of the bottles to James, he held the glass out for Lily. “It’s a Fizzing Pixie,” he told her, seeing the questioning look she was giving the drink. “A bunch of girls up near the bar were drinking them,” he shrugged.

Still looking at the glass skeptically, Lily took a small sip. She pondered it for a minute or two, the boys looking at her expectantly, then assured them it was alright.

“And these, my friend,” Sirius started to clink his bottle with James’, “are Triple Butterbeers, they’re brand new– all the same taste with triple the alcohol. Cheers,” he motioned in the air with his bottle before taking a large gulp. Little did he know that in a short month the product he was enjoying would be recalled for causing large boils to breakout all over the skin of those with white-blonde hair after just one sip.

The evening continued in the crowded pub, occasionally giving way to someone they knew from Hogwarts coming over to say hello.

Amos Diggory was one such visitor; he was a year older than them, and could have rivaled James and Sirius as one of Hogwarts best looking men.

Smiling questioningly at seeing James and Lily side by side, Amos addressed her. “Hello, Lily! It’s good to see you. Would you care to dance?”

Being as tiny as she was, three drinks had Lily rather inebriated and giddy. “Sure!”

“Not right now, Diggory,” James said, pulling an arm around Lily’s waist. “She’s a little, well, now’s probably not the best time.” He offered a dry chuckle.

“Alright. Well, it was nice to see you all again.” Amos surveyed the situation uncertainly before disappearing in the crowd.

“James, you weren’t jealous, were you?” Lily asked with a floppy grin.

Smiling in amusement down at her, he responded, “whatever it was, I’m not about to let my gorgeous and uninhibited girlfriend go dance with a smooth bloke like Diggory. The only smooth bloke you’ll be seeing tonight is me.”

Lily chuckled and wrapped her arms around him. “Fine, but if I don’t have a dance partner, I’ll just have to go by myself.”

James laughed, fully convinced she was bluffing. He turned to Sirius to comment on the stories they were going to have to tease Lily about, but when he turned back, he saw that Lily had forced her way to the front of the stage and was dancing energetically with a group of complete strangers.

“Who knew she’d loosen up so much if you gave her a bit of alcohol?” Sirius barked out a laugh, clapping James on the shoulder.

“Well, I do now,” James chuckled, purely astonished at the sight he was seeing.

After surveying the look in James’ eye as he watched over Lily, Sirius spoke up. “So... you love her, eh, mate?”

James reluctantly pulled his gaze from Lily to look at his friend. “Yeah,” he said with a grin.

Sirius smirked back and nodded his acceptance. “And we all thought it was just a silly crush. I’m happy for you, though, Prongs. The way you two interact is magic way better than anything they teach us at school.”

His grin widening, James nodded back, returning his gaze to Lily and the dance floor.

“I’m going to get us another round, why don’t you go snag your girl before someone else does?” Sirius nudged James before heading back to the bar.

Making his way through the crowd, James came up behind Lily and wrapped his arms around her waist. “Having fun, love?”

When Lily craned her neck and saw that it was him, she pulled on a large smile. “Knew you wouldn’t stay away for long,” she winked at him slyly. Running her hands along his arms, Lily leaned back against him and continued to move to the beat. Her right hand over his, holding it in place on her stomach, she raised his left hand and started placing kisses on it.

Moving his hand to her face, he felt her place one last lingering kiss on his thumb before he turned her head and leaned down to kiss her. James felt her left hand begin to snake up his neck and pull his head closer to hers.

Sirius cleared his throat loudly, holding out a glass to each of them. “You do realize there are loads of people that can see you, right?” He asked with a grin.

Lily didn’t see a problem with the situation at the moment, and so she took a long draught from her glass.

This caused a large cheering from the men in the vicinity, including Sirius. James laughed as he lowered the glass from her mouth and spun her around to face him.

“Now the wild girl comes out, huh?” He inquired with a crooked smile.

Lily looked up at him with her eyes wide, her face angelic like that of a child. Without any hesitation in her voice, she told him, “I’m going to marry you some day.”

A spark flickered behind James’ eye as a genuine smile played on his lips. “And why’s that?”

The look of complete innocence still on her face, she replied, “because you’re smart, and funny, and very handsome... and you’re good with kids, and your eyes have little bits of gold in them, and–” a grin of recklessness came over her face as she whispered, “and you have a really cute bum,” her unoccupied hand running over it as she said so.

James let out a laugh and pulled her to his side with his left arm. “Padfoot, I think this one’s had enough!” he yelled to his friend. “We should maybe get her home soon, she’s starting to get cheeky!”

Letting out his bark-like laugh before finishing his own drink, he offered, “all the more to tease her about in the morning, mate!”

The trio remained for a further half hour, only because it took that long to coax Lily into leaving. The fresh air did nothing to calm her wild character at the moment, but only invoked an even greater sense of euphoria to flood her system. Twirling in circles, Lily Evans held her outstretched hands to the sky.

“People are going to think you’ve gone mental and send you to St. Mungo’s if you don’t stop that!” Sirius called out to her.

“Bollocks!” She shouted back, though she discontinued spinning and promptly fell on her behind.

Chuckling at her disoriented state, James jogged over to her and pulled her to her feet. Placing her right arm around his middle and holding her securely with his left, he began to steer her in the direction of his house. “Now, what did we learn here, love?”

“That I don’t need to twirl to make the sky spin,” she replied, rubbing her forehead with the heel of her left hand.

“Close enough,” James responded, while Sirius began to laugh anew.

* * *

After creeping into the house as quietly as they could, James grabbed a large tee shirt from his room before taking Lily to her own. Sitting her on the bed, he reached to pull her shirt of her head.

“This isn’t you trying to seduce me, is it?” She asked groggily.

Chuckling, he pulled his shirt into her field of vision. “I’m putting this on you so you don’t have to sleep in your clothes, and I think it best not to go digging through your personal effects for something of your own.”

“Oh, okay,” she sighed, giving in ten times easier than a sober Lily would have.

Shaking his head, James returned to the task as hand and replaced the shirt she was wearing with much larger one. As her head popped through the correct hole, she spoke up again in slightly slurred words.

“And just so you know, I’m not so drunk that I would let just anybody do this.”

“Good to know,” he smiled down at her, then pushed her back into a lying position on the bed. James fumbled nervously with the buttons on her skirt for a moment before deciding it was loose enough to just slip off. He took hold of her hands and pulled her up beside him so that he could turn down her bed sheets. Before he could get her back down, however, she had spun him around to face her.

“Look what I learned how to do,” Lily stated proudly, as she began to fiddle with something behind her back. Not long after, she had extricated her brasier without removing the shirt. “Ta-da!” She said dramatically, throwing the garment across the room to where her travel bag was.

Running a hand through his hair and laughing, James stepped forward to put her to bed. “You’re some piece of work, you know that?”

Lily didn’t object when James helped her get settled, but instead gave a sigh of contentment and fell asleep.

James kissed her on the forehead then retreated to his own room.

A/N: hey, i updated earlier than i thought i would! thats mostly due to the fact that this chapter was turning out to be way too long and i was having trouble getting it finished, so i ended it where i did so that i could update! i hope you liked it! thanks again to everyone for their support, its always appreciated! happy reading!

Chapter 17: Pranks and Alone Time
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disclaimer: you know it, i know it, why state the obvious

James awoke the next morning to find his limbs entangled with Lily’s. He smiled at the thought, thinking how nice it was to– but that’s when he distinctly remembered tucking Lily into her own bed across the hall.

Lily gave a loud groan from beside him and began trying to disentangle herself from whatever was restricting her. Squinting, she turned to the warm mass on her right. “James?” She mumbled hoarsely. “What are you doing in here?”

“I was just about to ask you the same thing, love. Not that I mind waking up next to you, it’s just odd, especially since I remember putting you in your own bed last night.”

Managing to open her eyes slightly wider, she took in her surroundings, which confirmed that she was, indeed, in James’ room. She slowly kicked the blankets off and swung her legs over the side of the bed, wincing as her head gave an almighty throb at the sudden movement. Rubbing her temples, she looked down and noticed what she was wearing. Turning back to James with a questioning look, she asked, “where did I get this?’

James sat up with an amused sort of grin, trying to pat his unruly hair down in the process. “Don’t you remember putting that on?”

An almost worried look crossed her face. “We didn’t... did we?”

His eyes widened. “No, no. We just put that on so you didn’t have to sleep in your clothes, that’s all.”

Lily looked relieved for moment (she was hoping to at least remember her first time with him), but then the worried expression crept back. “We?”

Letting out a small chuckle, James patted her knee. “Well, I suppose it was more me, you were a little...incapable...” he then gave her a funny grin. “You did show me a neat little trick with your bra, though.”

Covering her face with her hands, Lily groaned. “I don’t remember any of that.”

James scooted closer to her and rubbed her back. “Don’t worry about it. I’m the only one you said anything to... well, Sirius, too, but that’s all.”

“That’s all? That’s all?!” She cried, for those were the last two people on the planet she wanted having dirt on her. “I’m almost afraid to ask what else I did.”

Chuckling, James hopped off the bed, picked a shirt up off the floor and pulled it over his head. “Nothing too embarrassing... unless you’re embarrassed of me,” he smirked, crossing the room towards her.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well... you nearly snogged me to death in the middle of the dance floor, for starters,” Lily’s eyes went wide with shock, “and then you told me you were going to marry me because you liked my bum.” James had a mirthful smile on his face; Lily’s face, meanwhile, was contorted in a look of utter embarrassment.

“Right... I’m going to go die now.” She turned to flee to her own room, but James caught her by the arm.

Letting out a laugh, he looked her in the eye and said, “don’t worry, that’s why I’d marry you, too.”

The embarrassment slowly slid from her face to be replaced by an unsure grin.

“That and this sexy hair of yours,” he smirked, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear that had fallen from her now messy and lopsided ponytail.

Lily chuckled.

“Now, why don’t you go put some real clothes on and meet us downstairs for breakfast, hm?”

Lily nodded and headed across the hall to her room.
* * *

“So, Button, how did you sleep last night?” Sirius asked Lily as she entered the kitchen.

Though embarrassed by the idea of what she might have said to him the previous evening, she tried to muster a disgruntled look at his calling her “Button”. “Fine,” she responded tersely. Taking a seat beside James, Lily picked up a piece of toast and reached for the jam.

Looking at her contemplatively, Sirius continued. “Yes, well, a romp with Sirius Black usually tires a girl out,” he said, returning his gaze back to his pancakes.

Lily dropped the knife in her hand with a gasp and shot a worried, open-mouthed glance across the table at him. “A what, excuse me?”

Sirius looked back up from his plate after swallowing a mouthful of his breakfast. “A romp,” he repeated mildly, winking at her. “You know, making like rabbits– (Lily’s face looked horrified) – “oh, fine, making love, if you must–”

“Yeah–yeah, I get it!” She interrupted him in exasperation, wondering why James was taking this in such passive silence. Slowly turning to look at him, the expression he wore was not surprise... anger... hatred... but– amusement?

Suddenly, both boys burst out laughing, unable to keep straight faces a second longer.

Looking back and forth between them in bewilderment, Lily couldn’t for the life of her figure out what was so funny about losing her virginity to her boyfriends’ best mate. Unless–

“Don’t worry, Lily,” Sirius chortled, wiping a tear from his eye. “I was only joking.”

As the pair continued to laugh, what he had just said sunk into Lily’s brain.

“Oh, you horrible little toe rag!” She yelled angrily, chucking her piece of toast and hitting him square between the eyes.

This only caused Sirius to laugh harder, eventually falling from his chair to the floor with a loud thud.

Lily made to get up and pummel him, but James held her back. Clutching his side, he gasped, “aw, come on, he was just having a little fun because–” his voice caught in his throat at the death-stare she was sending his way. “Besides, the only way to truly make him regret it is to beat him at his own game.”

Looking slightly less murderous, she waited for James to continue.

Shrugging like it was the answer to the easiest question in the world (then hugging her apologetically with one arm after seeing her narrowed eyes), he stated, “prank him back.”

Lily’s jaw remained stubbornly set for a moment before she decidedly sat back down. When Sirius, too, had returned to his seat, using his sleeve to dry his wet face, she looked at him sweetly, but spoke in an icy tone. “Fine. I’ll do that– when he least expects it.”

Sirius gulped.
* * *

Later that afternoon, Lily helped Mrs. Potter, as promised, with the baking of some cookies while James and Sirius flew around out back on some family brooms.

Enticed by the sweet smells wafting from the kitchen, the boys meandered in.

James wiped a small spot of flour from Lily’s nose with a grin. “Having fun teaching my mum to be a Muggle?”

Lily tried to smile as she gestured around the kitchen, which was covered with little bits of everything they had used to make the cookie dough. “She’s a very... enthusiastic learner.”

Mrs. Potter beamed, then rapped Sirius’ knuckles with a spatula when he reached for a cookie that had just come out of the oven. “They’re hot, dear,” she said in response to his hurt look.

“Besides that,” Lily added with a benign smile, while holding out an extra large cookie, “I made this one especially for you, Button.”

Sirius had begun to walk forward with a grin when he stopped to take in the meaning of Lily calling him “Button”. Looking skeptically from her smile to the cookie, he wondered what she could have possibly done to it, if she had done anything at all. Deciding he didn’t want to risk that chance, he declined the offer, saying he wasn’t that hungry after all.

“You sure?” She asked with mock-concern. When he nodded, she turned to James with a true smile. “Okay, then. Would you like it, James?”

James pecked her on the cheek before taking a large bite. Lily smirked smugly at Sirius.
* * *

It was late afternoon when James decided that he and Lily had not gotten to spend anywhere near enough alone time together in the passed few days. Creeping quietly from the games room (where Sirius had fallen asleep on the couch), he made his was to the library in search of Lily. Finding her nestled in a comfy armchair and completely immersed in another of her novels, James strode across the room and started a small trail of kisses down her neck.

Finishing off her sentence and placing the book on a near-by table, Lily grinned and tried to squirm away. “That tickles.” A shiver ran down her spine when he breathed into her ear.

“This is me trying to seduce you,” he whispered, before continuing his rainfall of kisses.

“That so?” She whispered back, tangling her hand in his hair. Pulling away reluctantly, she said in a slightly louder voice, “wait, James, your parents...”

“What about them?” He asked, capturing her lips under his.

Letting out a small giggle against his mouth, she tried to push his head away. “What if they were to walk in here right this minute?”

James let out a childish groan.

“Come on, we can go up to your room,” Lily said, kissing his neck and trying to stand.

“Yeah, yeah,” he responded, kissing her forehead (the first part of her he could reach). “Yeah– I mean, no, that’s no good. If Sirius wakes up, that’s the first place he’ll go looking for me... we’ll, uh, there’s– there’s lots of rooms, let’s go find one.” James grabbed Lily’s hand and kissed it before pulling her from the room.

Lily giggled as she skipped to keep up with James. Snaking her arm around his, she kissed his shoulder.

James grinned down at her, then quickened his pace eagerly.

When they reached the top of the staircase to the third floor guest rooms, Lily let out a playful laugh before pulling James into a kiss.

He took the gesture with enthusiasm, reaching behind himself to turn the doorknob of the nearest door. It opened with ease and they stumbled through, both of them chuckling but refusing to break apart.

James’ hands held Lily’s head where it was, while she tugged at the hem of his shirt. Their kissing intensified, Lily parting her lips slightly to allow James to explore further. She let her hands stray from his shirt to his hips and upper thighs, running her fingernails up and down in slow strokes.

He let out a low, guttural moan at this, pulling her body closer against his own.

As if participating in a carefully timed and orchestrated dance, Lily’s hands moved up James’ body just as his hands began to descend on hers. Lily tugged softly at his dark hair while James moved his hands firmly over her backside and hoisted her up into his arms.

Wrapping her legs tightly around his middle, she could feel him back towards the large wooden bed in the guest bedroom.

Lily let out a muffled cry of surprise (muffled because their lips were still pressed together) as James toppled onto the bed.

This was the first they stopped kissing as they were now too busy laughing at the incident they found themselves in.

“Well, this is turning out perfectly, isn’t it?” Lily grinned down at him, trying to toss her hair over her shoulder to keep it out of both of their faces.

“It’d be much more enjoyable if I didn’t have someone’s bony ankles digging into my back,” he replied jokingly, arching his back awkwardly away from the bed.

“Oh, sorry!” She giggled.

James couldn’t help but let an almost inaudible moan escape his lips when Lily’s hips rolled against his own as she extricated first one leg, then the other from underneath him.

“That better?”

“Much,” he responded in a low, husky voice. Without warning, he rolled over top of her with the swing of his furthest leg.

Lily’s surprised giggle was cut short as James’ mouth once again found its way back to hers. She gasped into his kiss and felt her stomach clench tightly when he ran his hands up her arms and held them above her head for a moment. It was a feeling of complete helplessness, but at the same time exhilaration; she loved the unexpectedness of his advance but also the knowledge that he would desist the second she requested it.

He continued to hold her wrists with one of his hands while his other trailed down the curves of her side. Eventually, James guided her hands to rest behind his neck so he could continue his task unimpeded.

Lily’s heart was pounding fit to burst when James’ hands moved to her chest and his kisses took to her neck. She loved how he was carrying on, however she pulled his hands away from her body nonetheless. “James...”

Breathing heavily, he caught her expression. “Sorry... carried away...”

“No.” Smiling, she turned his head in the opposite direction. “There’s someone here.”

Standing in the doorway, looking down at their feet as though in a bow, stood a small house-elf with long, droopy ears. “I is sorry, Master James, sir, but my Mistress has asked Pockets to inform you and miss that dinner is ready, sir.” Pockets the house-elf put himself in a deep bow to await James response.

“Thanks, Pockets, tell my mum we’ll be down in a minute.” When the elf had bowed itself from the room, James returned his gaze to Lily with a look of disdain. “She likes to call it mothers’ intuition. I like to call it mother wanting to keep her son from having any fun.”

Laughing, Lily pushed James off of her and tried to straighten her clothing before heading down to dinner.
* * *

The next morning, the three students were rushed back to King’s Cross Station to catch the bus back to Hogwarts. Mrs. Potter hugged her boys profusely, fussing over their hair and trying to clean away any imperfections to their appearances.

“Alright, mum,” James said in an annoyed way, though his grin was hard to miss. “We have to board now or we’ll be walking the entire way back.”

Wringing her hands, she pulled him into one last hug before sending him off with a pat on the back from his father. She grabbed Lily unexpectedly in a tight embrace. “I do hope to see you again soon, dear, it’s been such a pleasure.”

“You, too,” Lily squeaked, fighting for air.

“If you don’t let her go she won’t be able to,” James chuckled. “We’ll see you in a couple months!”

Waving to a teary-eyed Mrs. Potter and wide-smiled Mr. Potter, the trio found a compartment for the long ride back.

A/N: and here it is....the forever-to-finish-chapter-of-easter-weekend! thanks for the reviews so far, i love them all! i'm now in the final stretch of this story, which makes me both excited and sad....because, as i have said before, this story has become like a child to me,lol. i'm not sure how many more chapters you should expect, but the story will end at the end of their year... thats all im sure of right, hope you enjoyed this chapter and i will do my best to write and then post the rest soon! happy reading!

Chapter 18: The Trouble With NEWTs...
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“Shielding Charm.”

“Protego,” Lily responded, indicating the correct wand movement. “Summoning Charm.”

“Accio,” Amelia yawned, waving her wand lazily. “Enlargement Charm.”

“Engorgio. Disillusionment Charm.”

Amelia closed her eyes and screwed up her face in concentration. “My brain hurts too much to think anymore.”

Lily flopped onto her bed. “I could use a break, too. All this studying is making me a little stir crazy.”

Rolling onto her side to face Lily, Amelia commented, “we should take after Melanie, she’s obviously not too stressed at the moment.”

Cocking her head in curiosity, she tried to remember what Melanie had said she would be doing. “I thought she was with Sirius? How is that—oooh,” Lily caught on as Amelia giggled. “They spend an awful lot of time alone… you don’t think they’ve…?”

“I like to think that she’d tell us,” Amelia responded thoughtfully. “That’s a big pretty big step… especially with someone like Sirius Black.”

“He’s really not that bad,” Lily cut in, “once you get to know him.”

“I still worry. There are lots of storied from lots of different girls, Lily.”

“Yes, I’ve heard quite a few of them, and I know for a fact that most of them are completely fabricated.”

“Fair enough, fair enough. I suppose you do know him better than I do, anyway.”

Lily nodded. “So, on the topic of romance, how are things going with you and Eric?”

A large smile spread across her face. “Things are good. He’s already asked me to come along on his family vacation this summer.”

“Oooo, sounds like fun,” Lily giggled. “I hadn’t realized you two were that close.”

“That’s most likely because you’re had your own Prince Charming to deal with,” Amelia grinned back. “That nitwit seems to have it in his head that you two are going to get married.”

The imprint of a smile remained on Lily’s face, but she averted her eyes and bit her lip. “It’s not really that crazy, is it? I mean, we do love each other.” She flicked her eyes upward once again.

“To love someone, no, but, Lily—this is marriage we’re talking about here. For ever and ever—til death do you part. That’s a huge decision to make so young, don’t you think?”

Lily opened her mouth to respond, then closed it to gather her thoughts fully. “Not when it’s right. And in times of danger like these when we could be ripped apart in seconds…” Her eyes locked on Amelia’s. “If lives can be ruined and taken away so easily, why shouldn’t we be together while we can?”

Sighing deeply, Amelia raised a hand to Lily’s forehead. “Okay, Lily, I don’t know what Potter’s done to you, but it’s starting to worry me.”

Lily sat up to protest, but before she could, Amelia broke out into a grin.

“But it’s also proving just why you two are so perfect together.”

Lily grinned at her friend.

“Hey, Lil,” Amelia asked timidly. “Have you thought about what you’re going to do this summer? I mean—you know the offer still stands to come stay at my house, right?”

She nodded in confirmation. “It would only be for a couple of months, then I’ll be off for Auror training…”

“My mom would love you for as long as you would stay,” Amelia assured her with a smile. “Plus, then it will be like a continuation of this year. It’ll be perfect.”

Lily smiled warmly at Amelia, then reached across the bed for her Charms textbook. “Ready for another go?”

Amelia let out a loud groan and flopped back onto the bed.
* * *

All the spare time the fifth and seventh years had seemed to be over-run by OWL or NEWT preparations, which meant that the precious moments in between classes and studying time that Lily and James had were put to good use.

On one such occasion, James was in a particularly frisky mood.

Lily, on the other hand, was trying to stick religiously to her strict schedule. “Jaaames,” she pleaded, trying to push his head away so she could see her book. “Please, I really need to get through this.”

“You’re just so pretty I can’t help it,” he responded, leaning in to kiss her again.

Sighing in irritation, she stood from the chair and plopped onto the far side of the sofa, leaving James behind.

James strode in front of the fireplace so that he could sit directly across from her, then pulled on his perfected puppy-dog face.

Lily ignored him for a few moments, pretending to be deep in thought. Sniffing in predetermined defiance, she glared over the top of her book at him. “No. I really need to study, and so do you.”

Still continuing to look as though someone had stolen his favourite Comet 360, James remained motionless.

Rolling her eyes, Lily returned her gaze to her textbook. A page later, James was still staring at her. “That’s not going to work,” she told him without looking up. Two pages later, he was still determinedly staring at her. “James—” Lily started sternly, glaring up at him. If it was possible, he looked more homely than he had ever achieved before. This was his puppy-face to the extreme. “Been working on that, have you?”

“I’ve gotten lots of practice lately,” he responded, never taking the dejected look from his face. “Is it working?”

“No,” she replied immediately, returning to her book. The corners of her mouth twitched before she spoke again. “Maybe… a little… okay, it is.” Lily placed the book in her lap. “You’ve got five minutes.”

James broke out in a grin in record time and pounced on the couch beside her.

Lily giggled as he leaned over her to kiss her neck. “You act like such a child sometimes.”

Swinging her legs onto the couch and pushing her back into a lying position, he responded, “I don’t know what you did as a child, but this is definitely not the way I used to play.”

Giggling again and pinching his side, she shot back, “that’s not what I meant! This crazy way you’re acting is what’s so childish!”

James held her hands so she couldn’t inflict anymore pinches on him, then kissed her. “I suppose I should just stop, then?”

Lily fought half-heartedly against his restraint. “No, you don’t have to do that. I think it’s actually just what I needed right now.”

James grinned down at her before taking full advantage of their remaining three minutes.
* * *

James and Lily even became creative in planning their time together.

For every half hour that Lily studied, James provided her with ten minutes of relaxation in the bathtub.

For James, the preferred method was the reward game. Every correct answer he gave would elicit a reward courtesy of Lily.

“Essence of Bicorn Horn?” She asked, coyly playing with the hem of her sweater.

“It’s the main ingredient in the Elixer of Harmony, and it’s also key to brewing a love potion and the Polyjuice Potion.”

Lily grinned and unbuttoned her sweater as she took a step towards him. “Good. What’s another name for the Luck Potion?”

“Felix Felicis.”

Lily dropped her sweater to the floor and took another step forward. “Mm hm. The first person to successfully brew a sleeping draught?”

“Aberforth Springwood, 1422.”

The game would progress until Lily was convinced he had sufficiently learned the material—or until she was overcome by his charm, whichever came first. Lily was more than a willing participant if it meant getting James to study, just so long as the timing was right. Catching her on an off day was a mistake James didn’t make often after their first real spat.

Lily had been growing increasingly irritable as the NEWTs drew nearer, and James had known fairly well when to stay out of her way. But he was only human, afterall, so his patience with not spending near enough time together was thinning.

“Lily,” he whispered across the library table at her, making her jump at the sudden noise.

She looked up at him with tired eyes that alighted the second they locked with his.

His characteristic grin over-took his features as he leaned over the table and whispered, “I think I’ve got this all covered, wanna test me?”

“Not now,” she responded tensely, looking around to see if anyone was listening in on their conversation.

James, undeterred, slid into a chair on the other side of the table so he was beside her. Under the table, his hand found her knee. In hushed tones, he continued, “come on, Lily, no one has to know…” He tried to nuzzle her neck as he said this.

Lily pushed his head away. “James, no. What we do in private is just that—private.”

“Then let’s go somewhere else,” he breathed into her ear, sliding his hand up to her thigh.

“No,” Lily hissed, shoving his hand away and casting embarrassed glances around the library.

James sighed in agitation, his voice no longer a whisper. “We haven’t said so much as two words to each other the passed couple of days. Is it so much to want to spend a few moments alone?”

Lily remained in a loud whisper. “We really don’t have the time right now, you know that!”

“You just won’t make the time,” he grumbled.

“That’s not true!” She shot back angrily. “It’s just a matter of priority!”

James looked first shocked, then disbelieving. “So studying for some ruddy tests is more important to you than our relationship?”

Lily had the decency to look apologetic, for she had not intended the statement to come out as it had. She loved him, and he was more important to her than—well, anything. She also knew that in a couple weeks when this would all be over, he would be there to spend time with her. Before she could explain this to him, however, he spoke again.

“There’s lots of girls who would eat stinksap to be in your position, and you don’t even care to spend time with me.” The second the words had left his mouth, he wished that he could have stuffed his foot in there to stop them. That was the most arrogant thing he had ever found himself saying. “Lily, I--”

But the damage was already done. Her eyes were narrowed, and James could see the hurt behind them.

“Fine,” she growled, bothering only to grab her wand before standing to leave the library. “Go be with one of them, then.”

“Lily, that’s not what I meant!” James, likewise, stood, taking hold of her arm.

She pulled away forcefully from his grasp. “I don’t even want to see you right now,” she grumbled before leaving him alone to stew over his thoughts.
* * *

When James retreated to the common room (after having waited what he thought was ample time for Lily to cool down), he found Lily huddled in a chair. When he approached her, she glanced up. For a split-second, he was expecting her usual softened glance and possible smile, but was greeted instead with a hard, glistening stare. “Lily, please, can we--”

“I’m going to bed,” she mumbled, retiring to her bedroom with a loud slam of her door.

A/N: hey guys! i finally updated! woohoo! and its probably slightly disappointing because they ended up fighting...but who doesnt fight, right? well, i think ive got it down to two chapters left now, so the end is near! thanks for the continued support!

Chapter 19: A Time of Firsts and A Time of Lasts
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disclaimer: again, i obviously dont own the characters and such

The next day was horrible for the pair of them.

Lily was no longer angry (unless James was within shouting distance), but rather miserable instead. It had been a completely conceited thing he had said, but she also knew it was true. It was common knowledge that James was one of the (previous to their relationship) most sought after boys at Hogwarts, and Lily could also name a handful of girls off the top of her head who would gladly, as James had put it, eat stinksap for the chance to date him. She had learned to deal with this because she knew he had chosen her… but his bringing it up made her rethink that unchangeable theory. Why would he bring it up if he wasn’t contemplating it? Lily’s studying was also falling off track because she couldn’t concentrate on anything but his words.

James was also having a hard time dealing with the fight. He knew he had screwed up tremendously, but he was also a little bothered about what had caused him to say such a thing. Did she really consider studying and school more important than him? He loved her more than life itself, and there she was, saying she didn’t feel the same. A dull ache pounded both in his chest and the back of his head, the chest from his longing to right his relationship with Lily, his head from Sirius knocking him to shake him from his trance.

“Oi, Prongs! You awake, mate? You look a little ill,” Sirius commented from his chair beside James, completely ignoring Professor Slughorn’s written instructions on the board and poking James in the shoulder.

James turned his head lethargically to cast a glance at his friend. “We had a rather large row last night, me and Lily.”

Sirius raised an eyebrow at him. “You guys fight all the time, what’s the big deal?”

James shook his head. “Not since we’ve been together. She won’t even look at me,” he moaned, looking towards the back of her head a few rows in front of them.

“Sure she will,” Sirius grinned, balling up a piece of parchment and tossing it at her. “Ah, the joys of--”

“Don’t do that!” James hissed, grabbing at Sirius’ hands just as Lily turned around.

When she saw the culprits behind her paper assault, Lily glared at them before turning back around.

“Great, now she’ll be on me for disrupting her in class, too,” James groaned, covering his face with his hands.

“I got her to look at you, didn’t I?” Sirius nudged him with a wink.

James groaned again. “You don’t get it, do you? This isn’t like before, when I would bug her silly and she’d yell at me. This is serious, Padfoot.”

Stroking his chin in thought, Sirius leaned back in his chair. “Okay, young Pronsie, tell Dr. Padfoot what happened.”

Unable to completely hide a smile, James looked towards Professor Slughorn to make sure he was busy with work. “I kind of got angry that we haven’t been spending as much time together as before… she said it was because studying was too important (Sirius’ brow narrowed at this)… and then I said the first thing that came to mind.”

“Which was…?” Sirius prompted, eyes still furrowed.

James sighed. “I… I kind of said that any other girl would give me the attention if I asked
for it—and I know that’s a completely bigheaded thing to say!” He added this part quickly at the wide-eyed expression of disbelief Sirius was now wearing. “It just sort of… slipped out. And then she told me to go after one of those girls, and hasn’t talked to me since.”

“Ouch, mate. You shouldn’t have let me throw that parchment at her.”

James glared over at him before burying his head in his hands once again.
* * *

The rest of the day went by in much the same fashion, James trying to sort things out with Lily, and Lily adamantly avoiding James’ attempts.

It wasn’t until after dinner when James got his chance to say his piece.

Lily had run off, and, like the eve of the Halloween feast, James had had to use the Marauders Map to find her. Also like that night, she was sitting against the tree by the Lake.

James dropped to his knees beside her. “Can we please talk?”

Shrugging, Lily raised her weary eyes to his.

“Lily, I hate this. It’s been the single most terrible day of my life, and I can’t even begin to describe how utterly miserable I’ve been throughout it.”

“One of mine, too,” Lily mumbled in a tiny voice, looking down to her hands.

James swallowed hard, needing to know the answer to his next question, but simultaneously dreading it. “Lily… why did you say it?”

She looked up at him immediately, and she shook her head. In a small voice, she answered, “I didn’t mean it to come out like that, I… it just came out badly.” Her eyes seemed to take on a slightly panicked appearance when she asked, “and you?”

Hanging his head, James replied. “I don’t know what made me say it… I suppose I was just angry… upset… How did you mean it to come out?”

“I didn’t… it’s not that school’s more important to me-- because it isn’t. But NEWTs are next week, James, and I knew that after they were over, we could spend time together. It just came out wrong, that’s all.” Her eyes found his once again, looking slightly less worn.

“I’m sorry, and I didn’t mean it like there’s someone else, because there never could be… you’ve had my heart all along, Lily.” James reached forward to take hold of her hand.

Lily gave a small smile, then repeated his words. “I’m sorry too… for being so crazy.” She leaned forward slowly and wrapped her arms around his neck, sighing in relief when he pulled her closer into the hug.

“I love you, Lily” James muttered into her neck. “Let’s not do this again… ever.”

“I love you, too,” Lily replied in a hushed voice, glad to be back in his arms.

After a few moments, James whispered into her ear, “can we go back to the castle and just… sit like this?”

Reluctantly pulling back from the embrace, Lily nodded, a smile evident on her lips as she twinned her fingers in his.

When the pair had reached their common room, James led Lily towards the couch. He was surprised to feel her gently tugging his hand in the opposite direction, towards her room. She slowly led him inside, and closed the door behind him.

* * *

The rest of the week was put full-heartedly into cramming for the NEWTs, though James and Lily made sure to do it together so that they were at least able to share each others company.

When the dreaded day came, everyone’s emotions ran high—except for Sirius, who was far more worried with his hair than the tests.

“It’s not lying right,” he grumbled, looking at his reflection on the back of his spoon.

Remus rolled his eyes. “So what? You do know what today is, right?”

Sirius looked at his friend in disdain. “Yes, I do. It’s officially the Day of Bad Hair.”

James grinned, though the little voice in the back of his head (which, ironically, sounded a lot like Lily) kept reminding him not to get too distracted or he was sure to forget which Goblin started the War of 1622 or what the cause for the Giant banishment was.

Further down the breakfast table, Lily had buried herself once again in her History of Magic textbook, her eyes traveling the length of each page in a frantic manner. Amelia was flipping through a copy of The Daily Prophet, trying to distract herself from the exam that was going to take place in fifteen minutes. Melanie was reading over her shoulder, but would occasionally glance down the length of the table to smile at Sirius.

Peter’s shaking hand collided with the juice jug, drenching a third year.

“Take it easy, Pete,” Remus said, handing a napkin to his dripping housemate. “You’re going to do fine.”

This did nothing to ease Peter’s worry, though neither did Sirius’ sniggers.

“You lot ready?” James asked, standing from his chair.

Peter’s eyes widened in fright.

Remus nodded grimly.

Sirius grinned. “I was born ready.”

* * *

Two days later, after the seventh years had finished their Charms practical exam, Sirius coaxed his friends (including Lily, Amelia, and Melanie) into taking an exam break to sit by the Lake.

“So, how’d everyone find that?” James asked, lying in the grass with his head on Lily’s lap.

Peter glared over at him, still suffering from the backfired Fuzzy-Ear charm he had tried to perform for his examiner.

Amelia shrugged non-commitally.

“Wasn’t bad,” Lily offered, combing the fringe out of James’ eyes with her fingers.

Remus nodded his agreement, then returned to reading for the next exam.

Melanie sighed, deciding that agreeing with them was better than getting a lecture from Lily about how she should spend less time fooling around with Sirius and more time studying. It wouldn’t have changed her actions, anyway.

“It was a breeze,” Sirius commented, resting his hands behind his head and stretching back on the grass. “What about you, Prongs? Like that one about charming a tea cozy into an animal?”

James grinned, remembering the prank they had pulled on Snape at the beginning on the year involving a handful of change, a permanent sticking charm on Snivellus, and a charmed tea cozy/ Niffler. “It’s like they’re following up on us, Padfoot.”

“I’ve never been able to figure out why you have those silly nicknames,” Melanie eyed them thoughtfully.

When no one seemed eager to give an explanation (Remus pretended to read but a line in his forehead creased dramatically; James cleared his throat, multiple times; Peter looked nervously around them, scratching his ears— not just because they were fuzzy--; Sirius shrugged with a mysterious grin on his face), Lily voiced her own thoughts—those previous to knowing the truth, anyway. “Oh, you know these four. We probably don’t even want to know where they got the ideas for them.”

Though looking suspicious at first, Melanie finally decided that this was a reasonable explanation. Amelia, likewise, agreed with a hearty, “I would have to second that idea”

James thanked Lily for covering their secret with a touch to her knee.

Sirius winked over at her with a grin.

Remus caught her eye over the top of his book and she could tell he was thanking her a thousand times over.

Peter was watching a butterfly’s wavering course across the school grounds, apparently unaware that any exchange had just taken place.

* * *

The remainder of the week drained everyone (including Sirius), and they were all glad to slump into the comfy armchairs and couches of the Gryffindor common room after finishing their final exam.

“I can’t believe this is one of our final nights here,” Amelia said quietly, hugging her knees against her chest.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Sirius added, stretching an arm over Melanie’s shoulder.

“It’s sad, too… aren’t there things you’re going to miss?” Melanie asked him meaningfully.

Sirius was about to shrug, but quickly caught on to what she was saying. “Mm, not really, because I’m going to be keeping in close contact with the best parts of this place.” He squeezed her shoulder, then sent a goofy grin around the room at the others.

“Alright, I’ve got it. What’s everyone’s favourite Hogwarts memory?” Remus asked, finally free of a book—he was completely done school now, after all.

“Keeping Snivellus on his toes,” Sirius grinned nostalgically.

“Making Sirius into a woman,” Melanie giggled, receiving a shocked look from him and chuckles from everyone else.

“Mine was making the best friends of my life,” Remus offered, sending significant glances at his fellow Marauders.

Amelia scratched her chin, then said, “I agree with Remus… the best part has been everyone I’ve met. So….I guess one of my favourite memories was one of our many topless pillow fights up in our dorms.”

The boys’ eyes bugged out of their heads before Amelia broke out laughing along with Melanie and Lily.

“Ok, so that was an exaggeration. There weren’t many,” She grinned.

“Hogsmeade visits,” Peter said in a rather strangled, high-pitched voice, still red around the face from Amelia’s statement.

“Getting to spend Christmas with you guys,” Lily thought out loud with a smile.

“Even before this year?” Sirius grinned at her, reminding her that they hadn’t been on such friendly terms previous to the past year.

Lily giggled. “Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: as much of a pain as you guys sometimes are, it’s always been entertaining to sit back and watch the things you get yourselves into.”

Remus laughed at the thought of such occasions, and Sirius grinned knowingly. Peter, once again, wasn’t paying attention.

“I’ve got two,” James spoke up, the last to share his favourite memories. “First,” he said, looking to the Marauders, “it has been a pleasure to get to spend the past seven years causing endless mayhem with the three of you. Second,” he turned his head to look up at Lily, “was meeting you.”

A/N: hey guys! so a couple things i have to say about this chapter. when, in the chapter title, i call it a time of firsts, i don't necessarily mean of lily and james getting together--you can interpret it in that way if you like, or you can choose to believe it was just a cute night of cuddling-- but more of it was their first fight and first make-up. secondly, this is the second last chapter, so next one is going to include graduation, goodbyes, and a really cute surprise. thanks for the continued reading and reviewing, guys!

Chapter 20: The Beginning of the Rest of Their Lives
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disclaimer: i still don't own the characters here

“It seems odd to think of never coming back here, doesn’t it?” Lily asked James as they prepared for their graduation ceremony.

James came out of the bathroom with a large grin on his face and his hair uncharacteristically flat. “Yeah… but we’re going to be on to bigger and better things. And besides that, we get this one last big bash as a good-bye present.”

Lily cocked her head curiously before ruffling his hair (to his protest). “It looks better that way, more you,” she explained. “But aren’t you going to miss it? The people? The everyday activity?”

Ruffling his hair even more, James tucked his shirt into his pants. “Yes, but look at it like this: we’re venturing into a new chapter of our lives. We’re going to meet lots of interesting people along the way. That’s what growing up is all about, changing life styles, meeting new people, trying new things. One chapter of our lives has come to a close, yes, but who’s to say that the next won’t be even better?”

Trying to smile in response, Lily couldn’t help but think abut the fact that this was the last day she was going to see James day in and day out for quite some time. With tears stinging her eyes, she responded, “it’s just so hard, though. Saying good-bye… to everyone.” At this, her eyes met his.

“Hey, we’ve already discussed this,” James said soothingly, rubbing her shoulders. “We are going to be together, no matter what. The sweet without the bitter wouldn’t be half as sweet, right?”

Lily sighed heavily and quickly wiped her eyes. “You’re right. There’s still two months right now that we can spend together before going off for our own dreams.” She thought she saw a glimmer of mischief in James’ eyes when she looked back up at them. “What?”

James grinned, but shrugged his shoulders in a very Sirius-like manner. “I’m just excited to finally be done school, that’s all. Come on, we should go see if my parents are here yet”

Lily wasn’t entirely convinced that this was the cause for the glint in his eye, but she, too, was excited to see his parents again.

* * *

“Remus! Oh my, but you’ve grown!” Mrs. Potter, exclaimed, pulling him into a hug. “It’s good to see you again.”

“You, too, Mrs. Potter,” Remus replied happily. Mrs. Potter had always been exceptionally kind to him.

“Good luck to you today!” She continued. “And where’s Peter? I haven’t seen him since last summer,” she craned her neck to try to find him, though had minimal results because she was so petite.

“I think I saw him over by the food table, Mrs. P.” Sirius beamed at her before wrapping her in a hug. “Your son should be around here somewhere, too.”

“Oh, there’s Lily, dear,” Mr. Potter called to his wife. “James must be around here—oh, there he is now. James! Over here, m’boy!”

A wide smile plastered on his face, James jogged over to where his friends stood with his parents. “Hey, Dad. Alright, then?”

Mr. Potter pulled him into a brief hug before Mrs. Potter could pull him away.

“Oh, I’m so proud to see you all here!” She gushed, planting a large kiss on James’ cheek. “Oh, Lily, how are you dear?” Mrs. Potter turned her affections momentarily away from her son.

“I’m doing fine, thanks, and yourself?”

“Quite good, quite good! I’ve been working on my baking since you last came to visit.”

“That she has,” Mr. Potter cut in with a grin.

Lily smiled indulgently, then turned her head in the opposite direction when she heard someone call her name.

“Lily! Come over here, my mom wants to see you!” Amelia shouted, trying to force her way through the crowd.

Turning back with an apologetic look, Lily excused herself from the group.

“Good luck, dear! We’ll see you after as well!” Mrs. Potter called after her.

* * *

“Before we wrap up, there are a few honorable mentions I would like to make.” Dumbledore held up his hands, asking for quiet once again from the rows of students and parents. “First, to Mr. Severus Snape” --Sirius made a small booing noise, and James looked like he was using all his strength to keep from doing the same—“who will be returning next term as a teacher in training.” Dumbledore bowed his head in Snape’s direction and ushered in the congratulatory applause. “Also, Mr. Harvey McMillan has been accepted to manage Gringott’s foreign affairs in the United States of America.” Again, the Headmaster bowed towards the recipient before continuing. “Lastly, I would like to announce, to my great pleasure, that two of our students have been admitted into an advanced Auror training program.”

Lily’s stomach clenched and her face burned a little red, but her nervousness was drowned out by her curiosity as to whom had achieved that other position along side her.

“Congratulations both to Miss Lily Evans and Mr. James Potter.” Dumbledore beamed out towards the tumultuous applause.

Lily spun around in her seat to search for James, sure there had been some mistake. When her eyes rested on his, he merely sent her a smile and gestured for her to turn back around for Dumbledore to finish. Her heart pounding madly and her brain working furiously to work this information out in her head, she swiveled in her seat to once again face the front.

“Without further or due, it is with great pride and privilege that I present to you the graduating class of 1977.” Dumbledore was the first to clap, followed by the numerous other Professors on either side of him, and roaring to thunderous levels when the parents and family joined in.

Lily stood and hugged the people on either side of her, then tried to push through the crowd to find James.

Sirius had taken to standing on his chair to call out a staged good-bye to those around him, much to the pleasure of the crowd.

Remus had made his way over to congratulate Harvey McMillan.

Amelia was already back hugging her parents.

Peter and James were giving each other sycophantic praise when Lily had pushed towards him.

“What is Dumbledore on about?” She asked, a look of bewilderment on her face.

James gestured for Peter to run along with the other Marauders. “Congratulations to you, too,” he grinned.

“Con—wait, don’t change the subject! What about playing for the Wasps?”

Shrugging, James gave her an awkward grin. “I applied late for the Auror program. Lucky I’m so bloody brilliant, eh?”

“James, playing quidditch has been you dream since as long as I can remember! As much as I love you, you can’t just follow me around and forget your own dreams, I won’t--”

Interrupting her tirade with a quick kiss, James said quietly, “Now my dreams include you.”

Lily had a pained expression on her face. “This isn’t--”

“Hey,” James interrupted again with a small smile. “I turned down the Wasp’s offer ages ago, so you better learn to live with this decision.”

Managing a small smile of her own Lily hugged him.

“You are my dreams, Lily. Anything you do, I want to be right there beside you, every step of the way.”

“Aren’t you going to miss it, though?”

“I can’t promise I won’t, but it’s like I said earlier: we’re on to a new chapter of our lives now… well, after the party, of course, and I’m sure I’ll have you to occupy my time.”

Lily giggled, then pulled slightly away from him when she saw his parents approaching them.

“Oh, would you look at you two, all done school now!” Mrs. Potter cried, literally, a handkerchief clutched tightly in her hand. When Sirius, Remus, and Peter came to join the group, Mrs. Potter wailed even louder.

Mr. Potter grinned as he pulled his wife towards his shoulder and began to lead her away from them. “Congratulations, you lot. James, I think it best if we head off now.”

James grinned his identical grin back at his father. “Sure. See you tomorrow, then?”

“You bet.”

They were walking away when Mrs. Potter burst away from her husband. “No, not yet, I haven’t hugged him!” Bustling back to her son, she squeezed him tightly, then held out an arm for Sirius to join as well. “We’ll see you tomorrow, boys.” Her gaze fell on Lily, Remus, and Peter before she spoke again. “And we had best be seeing you soon as well.”

After reassuring her that they would all be regular visitors, Mrs. Potter and her husband left for home.

It didn’t take long for everyone to say their good-byes and likewise send their parents on their way.

* * *

“It won’t be too bad, I promise!” James called to Lily as Sirius began dragging him towards the refreshments table in the Great Hall for some unidentified mischief.

“It better not be!” Lily giggled back, resting for a moment in her chair. She was smoothing the wrinkles out of her skirt when a voice interrupted her thoughts.

“Would you like to dance?”

When Lily looked up, she smiled widely at Remus. “Sure!”

This was the final good-bye to the seventh years, a dance care of Dumbledore. It was already well into the evening, and everyone was anxious to get in their last words with each other.

Remus took Lily’s hand in one of his own and they began to dance, a rather old-fashioned gesture, but expected nonetheless.

“So, what are your plans for the summer?” Lily asked brightly.

“I--” Remus began, then seemed to change his mind. In a barely audible voice, he replied, “I wanted to thank you…for everything this year...i know that you know, and I just—thanks” His eyes remained on the floor.
Lily gave him an odd look, but waited for him to look back up to respond. “Remus, you’re a good person, I know that.”

He caught her eyes uncertainly.

She nodded in confirmation. “It’s not like you chose for this to happen, and I understand that. I don’t know what you’re like for that small fraction of time each month, but I do know that during the rest of the time, you are the best and most needed influence on those two boys over there,” she finished with a grin, motioning over towards James and Sirius and what appeared to be a completely innocent situation had they not been standing there.

Remus chuckled at this, glad they had cleared the air on the subject of his abnormality. “They’re untamable, those two. But I must say, James has been doing loads better lately, and there’s only one change I can attribute that to.” He gave Lily a significant glance. “You’ve been really good for him, Lily.”

Lily grinned up at him. “I like to think he’s been good for me, too. Made me loosen up a bit.”

Remus was about to reply when the sound of a clearing throat interrupted.

“If I didn’t know better, I might be jealous of this friendly little conversation,” James said with a grin, his arms folded across his chest.

Lily rolled her eyes playfully, while Remus reddened around the ears.

“I guess I’ll let you step in then, eh, mate?” Remus asked holding Lily’s hand out to his friend. “You just mind you’re manners, she’s a good girl.” He tipped his head downward to look at him in a mock-fatherly way.

Bowing in acceptance, James took Remus’ place on the dance floor and grinned at him toothily as he retreated to baby-sitting Sirius.

“Nice bloke, that one,” James commented, as though he had just met him.

“Yes, he is. That’s why I always wondered what he was doing mucking about with you,” Lily responded, beginning to sway to the music along with James, a large smile capturing her features.

James cocked an eyebrow at her, then let his face fall into a smug grin. “Well, you obviously like them bad, anyway.”

Lily laughed. “I suppose. So, what did you two do over there, anyway?” She tilted her head towards the table, which now stood abandoned.

Shrugging, James sighed. “Oh, nothing, really…a little of this, a little of that….the usual.”

Allowing her smiling eyes to linger on his for a brief moment, Lily took to resting her head on his chest, listening to the rhythmic beating of his heart.

The recently graduated students continued to dance and chat the night away, leaving to go to bed only when McGonagall forcefully closed the doors to the hall.

As they began heading for the common room with their friends, James gradually began to lead Lily towards the large oak doors. “What do you say, one last stroll by the Lake?”

Casting an uncharacteristically reckless look back towards the teachers, Lily quickly nodded.

Once out in the cool night air, she seemed less excited at the prospect of being caught outside after hours, even though term was officially over. “Is there something special you had in mind? I’m kind of worried about being found out.”

James grinned. “It’s called the dark side, Lily, and you’re going to love it.”

Shaking the feeling of dread away, Lily grinned back at him.

“Seriously, though, there is one stop in particular I wanted to make.”

A few moments later, the pair found themselves under a familiar Weeping Willow.

Lily smiled at him. “What’s this, has James Potter gone soft?”

Chuckling at her, James pulled her into a seated position facing the tree. “Yeah, alright, it’s got a special place in my heart. There’s been some rather fond memories made here. Got a problem with that?”

Giggling as she rested back against him, she shook her head.

Taking out his wand, James flicked his wrist in a quick, upward fashion. Seconds later, as though carved into the trunk of the tree hundreds of years earlier, the words ‘J.P. loves L.E.’ shone back to them in the moonlight.

“We’ll always have this,” he whispered into her ear, leaning down to receive the kiss she was leaning in for.

The couple remained for some time later, only deciding to retreat to the castle when the skies opened up and started to rain down on them.

* * *
The following morning was a rushed haze of flying books, parchments, and clothing as Lily tried to help James pack in time to catch the train.

“You really should have gotten this started yesterday, you know,” she huffed, after sitting on his trunk to help close it.

James shrugged. “Early preparation’s not really my style, love. Besides that, we’re ready in time, anyway.” Casting a levitating charm on both of their heaving trunks, James picked up Canoah’s cage and surveyed the Head’s room around him. “I guess that’s everything, then. Ready to head out?”

Taking one last look around her, Lily nodded and exited there dormitory for the last time.

The two rushed down the path to Hogsmeade Station eagerly, the sun shining on top of both their heads. Settling their belongings in a compartment with their friends, the two went off for their final duty as Head Boy and Girl—one final patrol of all the cars to make sure everyone was aboard.

* * *

“See, I think McGonagall’s going to have us all beat. She’s been alive for, what, a hundred years already?” Sirius joked, just as James and Lily returned to the cozy train compartment already occupied my Amelia, Melanie, Sirius, Peter, and Remus. “There’s no way she’ll retire before our children get there, at any rate”

“You do realize how long she’s been there already, right?” Amelia asked, shoving down to make room for the two newcomers.

“So what?” Sirius retorted quickly. “Look how long Dumbledore’s been there, and McGonagall’s his right hand man —er, woman.”

“What does it matter?” James jumped in. “We’ve got a whole summer of recklessness ahead of us and all you lot can think about is school and what it’s going to be like in the future? I really expected more from you, Padfoot,” he chided, smirking at his friend.

“As did I,” Remus grinned.

“Hey! I was just stating an obvious observation!” Sirius tried to rectify himself. “I’m probably the most excited to be out of there!”

The rest of the train ride had the former Hogwarts students comparing previous summer stories and how much they were going to make this summer count.

“You’re going to come visit us, right?” Sirius asked Lily from across the compartment. “It was such an eye opening experience last time, I’m eager to catch some more dirt on you.”
Lily grinned in embarrassment. “I most likely will…though I do remember you scaring quite easily as well. I must admit, my interest on the subject is rather piqued.”

Sirius let out his bark-like laughter. “Oh, Evans, how is it we didn’t discover how much fun you were sooner? We’ve got many a year to get caught up on.”

“All in due time, Sirius,” Lily giggled. “But for now, I think we’ve got a more pressing matter. We’re at King’s Cross.”

The group of seven slowly gathered their belongings and exited the train. Once on the familiar platform, the realization that they would never be doing this again hit them all.

Melanie gave a sob-wracked good-bye to the Marauders (and a rather wet send off to Sirius) and her two closest friends before leaving for home with her parents.

Amelia shed a few tears as she walked away from the group to give Lily a more private good-bye.

Turning to Peter, Remus, and Sirius in turn, Lily squeezed them each tightly, uttering a soft farewell. When she came to the end of the line, she tried to put on a brave face, but what happened instead was a rather sad, forced smile. With tears in her eyes, she rushed James to hold him in a tight embrace. “This is more awful than I imagined,” she whispered, trying to hold in her sobs.

“Hey, hey, shh,” James whispered, holding her head against his chest. “It’s not good-bye, not really. You’re going to come visit lots, alright? And maybe you can even take me on some muggle adventure or something, yeah?” He ducked his head down to get a good look at her.

Sirius cleared his throat loudly before throwing a cloak over both Lily and James’ heads.

Laughing at the gesture, Lily even through tears, James leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips. “I’m always going to be there, Lily, always. I can be with you in a heartbeat, whenever you like. Probably even sometimes when you don’t want it.”

Lily chuckled again, drying her eyes. “It just all seems so…final.”

Sighing and pulling her towards him for a final parting hug, James said, “the only thing I look at as forever is you and me.”

Standing on tip-toe to place a final kiss on his cheek, Lily ducked out from under the cloak and strode towards the magical barrier. Looking back once, she smiled as she waved to the four Marauders, snapping a mental picture in her mind of the first day of the rest of her life.

A/N: and it's finally finished! woohoo, took me long enough, eh? haha, well, here's to hoping you like how i ended it, and as i've said before, i hate shameless self-advertising, but it would be awesome if i could get feedback on this now that its complete--some have asked if theres a sequel and such, so review and let me know what you think!

just as another note: because so many of you awesome people asked, i will be working on a sequel. however, because it took me so ridiculously long to finish the last few chapters of this one while school was in, i think it best to wait until i have a bit more of a break, so maybe christmas, but probably not until the summer. i am working on other one shots and such though!