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Dear Lily by chloish

Format: Short story
Chapters: 5
Word Count: 10,667
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 12+
Warnings: No Warnings

Genres: Romance
Characters: Lily, James
Pairings: James/Lily

First Published: 11/01/2005
Last Chapter: 01/29/2006
Last Updated: 01/29/2006

Summary:

The Marauders' names are known by every student and teacher at Hogwarts. Their identities, however, remain hidden. When Lily Evans begins recieving letters from a certain Mr. Prongs, her curiosity is turned into something more...


Chapter 1: Mr. Prongs, indeed.
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Author’s Notes: Hello, hello. Before any followers of Meant to Be decide to throw an unpleasant amount of rotten fruit at me -- well, wait. Actually, I don’t have anything to say that would stop you from doing that, but hear me out anyway! I know you’re all probably fuming at me. The thought, “She’s wasting her time on this, when she should be getting the rest of Meant to Be up!” has probably crossed your mind by now. Trust me, it has mine.



But! I’m going to say this to defend myself: You must understand that I have been working on Meant to Be for just a little under a year, by now. I have only completed one other story (a one-shot, mind you), since then, and almost all my fan-fiction writing time has been consumed by Meant to Be. Meant to be is, in all honesty, a bit sad and depressing at places. I needed a break, and writing a nice, fun, less dramatic mini-fiction was a great way to accomplish that.



Now, I’m going to say another thing that’ll make you want to throw stuff at me, but I beg you, at least give me a moment to dodge! This is not a one-shot. I have about 3-4 chapters planned for this story. However, I do have two chapters written already, and this is a really quick fiction to write, by my standards, that is. (I wrote two chapters in two days. That’s pretty good, for me.)



Okay, I’m rambling now. Without further ado, I give you -- Oh wait. I have actual notes on this story. Dang. Okay, so it’s slightly AU (see end Author’s Note for more detail), and it takes place in Lily and James’s sixth year.



Okay, NOW, I give you…Dear Lily (Chapter 1: Mr. Prongs, indeed).



The Great Hall was in pandemonium. Students howled with both laughter and disgust as everything from mashed potatoes to chocolate frogs was hurled from their golden dishes, and proceeded to attack students and teachers alike. Teachers were stripped of their dignity as they wiped gravy from their foreheads and potato from their chins.


A certain red-haired Gryffindor prefect watched the ordeal attempting to keep a straight face. It really was quite a genius prank -- not that she condoned that sort of behavior, she reminded herself hastily. The professors were baffled. Professor Flitwick had attempted to charm the plates to stop emitting food, but all it had achieved was to send a plate of Pumpkin Pasties hurtling towards him; the tiny professor tumbled off his chair with a squeak. Professor McGonagall had also tried some complex spell, only to be greeted with the same effect. Dumbledore was smiling serenely as he wiped a bit of chocolate pudding off his cheek a tasted it with interest.


Lily Evans, the aforementioned prefect, had to dive under the table, under the pretense of dodging flying food, to hide her giggles. Oddly, however, she had not been hit with a single morsel of food. It seemed to just…bounce off her. Less than a minute ago, a parsnip had been soaring directly at her, but it had changed direction just before hitting her.


Lily’s good friend Harriet eyed her suspiciously as she reemerged from beneath the table. “How come you’ve come out so clean?” she asked irritably, rubbing the spot where a peppermint humbug had just whapped her smartly between the eyes.


Lily shrugged, failing to hide a grin this time. “Maybe the food has respect for authority?” she asked, motioning at the shining prefect badge.


“Right,” snorted Harriet, nodding at the High Table, where Professor Slughorn was laughing heartily as Professor McGonagall scowled. “It respects them, alright.”


Harriet yelped and ducked as a drumstick came hurtling towards her. Lily didn’t even flinch this time, and indeed, the drumstick froze in front of her. Smiling slightly, Lily grabbed it out of the air and took a bite. It was a shame to let such good food go to waste.


Lily supposed, being a prefect (and, seemingly, the only one the rogue food avoided), she should do something, but she couldn’t for the life of her think of what that something was. Instead, she simply observed, denying her amusement.


To her right, she saw some first years hiding under the table, their hands over their heads, and to her left, she saw some older students hooting and laughing, adding to the commotion by throwing food or sending it towards others with a banishing spell. Among these, she recognized some of her own year; Sirius Black and James Potter, to name a few.


In all the kerfuffle, Lily had hardly noticed a gold plate near her spit out an envelope. The envelope shot upward, then floated back down lightly, landing before her. Lily picked up the envelope with some surprise and examined it. It was a standard beige envelope, but what caught her eye was the wax seal upon it. The seal was scarlet, the letters MWPP adorning it.


She nodded softly with comprehension. Of course. It was them. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t realized it before. She ripped the envelope open carefully, and pulled out a piece of parchment. It was written in scarlet ink, matching the wax seal. Very little was written; it simply read:



Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs bid you a Happy Halloween!



Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, indeed. Of course. Of course it was them. These tricksters, these ‘Marauders,’ as they were called, were famous at Hogwarts. Every crazy, ingenious prank that Hogwarts encountered seemed to be of their doing: The time it snowed in the second-floor corridor, and students could be found sledding down staircases. (Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs wish you a white Christmas.) The time all of the suits of armor had been charmed to belch loudly whenever a teacher or prefect walked by. (Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs send their utmost respect.) The time the words “Slytherin smells” had been charmed to follow around the Bloody Baron -- the Bloody Baron! -- for a day. (Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs would like to remind everyone that honesty is a virtue.) And every time, a letter with the scarlet seal. It was their trademark.


Soon, these ‘Marauders’ were accountable for everything that went wrong. Missing quills, spilt ink, vanishing sweets. “A Marauder got you,” they’d say. They were famous, and yet no one knew who they were. The students responsible never got punished, because they were never caught. But were they even students? Or phantoms, ghosts? That was what was so fantastic about them. The Marauders were a mystery. Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, indeed.


Figuring she had better show the letter to either McGonagall or Dumbledore, Lily made her way to the High Table, clutching the envelope. She reached McGonagall first. “Professor?” she said. A rather harried looking McGongall turned to her, and Lily handed her the letter. McGonagall’s frown became even more pronounced as she read the words written.


“The ‘Marauders’ again!” she said angrily. “Thank you Miss Evans, you may have a seat. Mind you watch your step.”


But at that exact moment, the food suddenly stopped flying about. At last, it seemed, the plates had run out of ammunition. A few students sighed in relief, a few moaned in disappointment, and many emerged from under tables and chairs.


Professor McGonagall was livid. “I have a message for Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs,” she said coldly, addressing the Great Hall, which fell silent almost immediately. “When I find who you are -- and I will -- I will give you so many detentions that you will break the current record in one punishment. Understood?” But everyone knew she wouldn’t. No one would ever catch the Marauders. You couldn’t catch phantoms.


“Hang on just a moment there, you!” Lily stopped, realizing it was she who was being addressed. She turned around in surprise to see Professor Chilling-Block, the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, pointing at her suspiciously. “If I’m not mistaken, you, Miss Evans, are the only one who seems to have been immune to the attack!”


Lily froze. But it was true, she was perfectly clean, and everyone else…


“Headmaster, I think we’ve found our culprit,” said Chilling-Block in triumph.


There were a few gasps and angry murmurs, but most student looked surprised and doubtful. She saw James Potter exchange a shocked glance with his friends. He looked rather worried, actually.


“I didn’t -- Of course I would never -- I --” Lily stuttered.


“She was hiding under the tables, Professor!” said James Potter suddenly. “That’s why she’s clean; she was hiding under the tables, because she was scared of getting dirty!” He smirked, and there were a couple of laughs. “Besides, do you really think a swotty prefect like her would do something like this?”


Lily felt her cheeks burn. She was not hiding and she was not a swot! How dare he…how dare he…!


“In his uncouth way,” Professor McGonagall said coldly, addressing Chilling-Block, “Mr. Potter has a point. Lily Evans is an honorable student. I would not have made her a prefect if I did not have more faith in her than this. There is no proof to your claim. Innocent until proven guilty.”


Chilling-Block looked most sour indeed.


The students were dismissed -- some grumbling, some still laughing at the spectacle -- and told that sandwiches would be provided in their House Common rooms.


“And you have your Marauders to thank for the ruining of a wonderful feast,” McGonagall told them as they left, although those who looked closely could not help but notice that the corners of her mouth twitched as she said it.


Harriet and Lily, who was still grumbling slightly about the accusation, followed the crowd of Gryffindors towards the common room.


“That was completely unfair of Professor Chilling-Block,” said Harriet. “I mean, just because it looked like you had done it…you didn’t do it, right?”


“Of course I didn’t,” said Lily flatly. “Do you really think I would?”


“Of course not,” answered Harriet promptly.


“It was a brilliant prank though,” Lily mused, climbing through the portrait hole after Harriet. “Incredibly well thought out. I suppose they just had to charm the plates to eject the food…I have no clue how they would’ve done it…and the poor house-elves, I suppose they’d just keep adding food to the plates, unaware what was going on above, clueless as to why the food was disappearing so suddenly…”


“You know,” said Harriet, rolling her eyes, “if you keep going on like that, I might actually start to believe that you did do it. I’m going to go get a sandwich,” she said.


“Get me one, will you?” Lily asked, as she flopped onto a chair with a sigh.


“Evans,” said a voice from behind her. Lily turned around to see James Potter grinning at her.


“Oh, great. It’s you,” she said, turning back around again.


“Well, that’s nice!” said James sarcastically, walking around the couch to stand in front of her. “You should be thanking me. I practically saved you from taking the blame --”


“Oh, that’s what you were doing, was it?” Lily replied resentfully.


“You’re sore about the prefect comment.”


“I think it was more the ‘swotty prefect,’ part.”


“Oh, don’t be so touchy,” James said dismissively. “I got you out of trouble, didn’t I?”


“Humph,” said Lily.


“You act so stuffy, but you can’t tell me you didn’t enjoy that at least a little. I saw you laughing.”


“Oh really? I thought you saw me hiding under the table,” Lily countered, crossing her arms.


“Yeesh, someone’s crabby tonight.”


“Oh, just bugger off,” Lily said glaring at him.


“Fine, fine…” said James, shrugging and rolling his eyes. Lily watched him out of the corner of her eye as he walked over to his friends. They talked for a moment, and then James disappeared into the dormitories, leaving his friends shaking their heads slightly.


“What did he want?” Lily looked up to see Harriet following her gaze.


“Just being a git, really. I don’t know what I ever did to that bloke, but he seems to really like picking on me.


“Maybe he likes you,” teased Harriet. “You know, the little boy who pulls your pigtails.”


“Oh, shut it,” said Lily laughing now. “Potter the git likes Evans the swot, that’ll be the day. Oh gosh, Harriet. You’ve made me lose my appetite.”


They both laughed. Lily lingered only a little longer in the common room, due to the funny looks and whispers she was getting. As she climbed the stairs to the girl’s dormitory, she could’ve sworn she felt something brush against her, but nothing was there when she looked around.


Glad that the dormitory was empty, Lily searched through her trunk and pulled out a book, figuring she’d get a little reading done before turning in. But when she pulled open the bed hangings, she froze.


There, lying on her pillow, was an envelope with a scarlet wax seal.


Both intrigued and slightly apprehensive, Lily reached for the envelope. Breaking the seal, she pulled out the letter carefully.



Dear Lily,

Please accept my most heart-felt apology. Even the most thought-out plans can go wrong. I had had no intent of making you appear to be the perpetrator. It had never occurred to me that leaving only you untouched would make it appear as if you were behind the prank. You are probably wondering -- and rightfully so -- why you were unaffected by this evening’s show. The answer is simple; I shall tell you, but please promise not to think less of me. I simply could not bear to sully something so beautiful. And you looked so beautiful tonight, as always.

Please, again, accept my apology.

Yours,
Mr. Prongs.

Lily stared at the letter. Mr. Prongs? It had to be a joke…a prank…by the biggest prankster in the school, she reminded herself. And yet, she felt sure this letter was genuine. She pulled the covers up to her chin and read the letter again.



And you looked so beautiful tonight, as always.



Who was this mysterious Marauder? And why her? Why Lily?


When the other Gryffindor girls came up to the dorms, Lily was still there, the bed hangings closed, staring at the letter.


And when they themselves fell asleep, so had Lily, the letter clutched inside her hand.



Author’s Note: There we are, chapter one. Now, I have a few notes to make on the AU-ness of this fiction:



1. James and his friends do not call each other “Prongs” or “Moony” in public. That’s the major AU factor in this story. It simply wouldn’t work if they did, because then everyone would know who the Marauders were, which, in essence, destroys the story. On that note, they do not call themselves “the Marauders” in public, for the same reason.



2. James does not constantly and/or has never asked Lily out. They don’t get along, certainly, but James does not make his affections for the red-head quite so obvious.



3. James’s character is slightly different in this fiction. He does not seek quite the attention he does in canon, or else he would, of course, admit to being Mr. Prongs and a Marauder and claim all the glory that the Marauders have. I did try to keep the essence of his character, though, so he is still a rather cocky git at times.



I think that’s all…Oh, one more thing. I cannot decide whether to call this fiction “Dear Lily,” or “Letters of an Anonymous Marauder.” I would love your opinion on the matter, if you would be so kind. :)



Kisses,
~Chloë



Chapter 2: A Poignant Letter
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Disclaimer: HP is all the genius work of Jo Rowling.



Dear Lily, Chapter 2.



The sounds of students moving around the dorms awoke Lily the next morning. She knew she had better get up, or she’d miss breakfast. With all the self-discipline she could muster, she pushed the covers off and rolled over. Something crumpled beneath her. She pulled herself up and looked down to see what it was.


The letter. She had almost forgotten.


She picked it up and gently smoothed out the creases.



I simply could not bear to sully something so beautiful.



She placed the letter in the bottom of her trunk. She changed quickly and descended the stairs to the common room.


As she and Harriet walked to breakfast, Lily felt as though someone was watching her. Perhaps she was just imagining it, or perhaps she was just now noticing it. She threw frequent glances over her shoulder, but every time, there were simply students, minding their own business.


“Are you okay, Lily?” asked Harriet. “You’re rather jumpy this morning.”


“I’m fine,” said Lily with a laugh. “I just…had some weird dreams last night. You know how that can make a person.”


Harriet eyed her dubiously, but accepted the explanation.


The rest of the day passed quickly, and, as did the rest of the week, without any sign of the mysterious Mr. Prongs.


Mr. Prongs. What kind of a name was that? A false name, of course, but even then. Prongs? She found herself thinking about him and the letter at random points throughout the day: During lunch, in the middle of a Charms lesson, throughout a History of Magic lecture…any time her mind had the chance to wander.


She occasionally wondered if she had not dreamt it all, but the letter in the bottom of her trunk squashed that idea. Maybe, she sometimes thought, maybe this ‘Mr. Prongs’ had been angry or disappointed that his setup had not worked, that Lily had not been framed, that James Potter had spoilt it by proving (to some extent) her innocence. Perhaps the letter was his revenge. Perhaps he knew it would drive her crazy, or maybe it was sarcastic and mocking, and she hadn’t noticed.


But then, one Wednesday evening when Lily returned to her dormitory she found placed on her pillow what she had been dreaming about for so many days: A letter, with the scarlet wax seal.


Lily glanced to see that no one was looking, then closed the hangings around her. With an almost trembling hand she reached for the letter and carefully opened it.



Dear Lily,

I’ve found that my previous letter to you has done more than to introduce you to myself, your admirer from afar. It has broken the barrier between us, allowing myself to speak to you, when before I could not. It has broken the dam, and thus my words have been poured from my quill like the rushing waters that have so long been held back.

I find just writing to you makes me smile. I have no idea how you will receive these letters. Perhaps you will laugh at them, show them to your friends and laugh at the poor fool whose words he could do nothing more with than write letters. Perhaps you will despise them, hate them, cast them into the fire and watch them burn. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll accept them, and in time, accept me.

I’m sure I sound crooked or devious…A trickster trying to lure you into some horrible prank. I know no words that can assure you this is not so but the ones I speak now.

I remain yours,
Mr. Prongs

Lily found, as she finished reading the scarlet words, her mouth was slightly open. How could a prankster -- a Mr. Prongs -- write such beautiful words? Mr. Prongs! Shouldn’t a writer of such breath-taking letters have a romantic name, like…Nathaniel, or…. Franklin or Alexander? But Mr. Prongs?


I’m sure I sound crooked or devious…A trickster trying to lure you into some horrible prank. I know no words that can assure you this not so but the ones I speak now.



It was almost as if he knew just what she was thinking. Could she believe the words he spoke? What if they too were intended to deceive? What if, realizing a flaw in his scheme, he had added those words simply to fool her further? Could she trust this anonymous prankster who spoke so beautifully? And who was this nameless man?


She didn’t know if she could stand it. He had left her no way to contact him, so she could ask no questions, and it was driving her crazy. Would he write again? And when?


She found herself up in her dormitory during breaks, checking to see if another one would arrive. And another did, and another, and another, each as beautiful as the last.



Dear Lily,

How I look forward to writing these letters! I find myself scribbling words to you during classes and escaping to the confines of my dormitory simply to write to you and imagine these words I place upon this unhappy parchment are spoken to your face.

I find my floor is covered with crumpled scraps of paper, of words I threw away. That is why I hide in these letters, here, where I can be careful and calculated, where I can form each word in the way I wish; it is a comfort in knowing that I can say what I mean to say, and not a slip of the tongue, of words that would condemn me. It takes all the courage I possess to send you these letters, and yet so much courage I lack, to speak to you in person. That I might reveal myself to you at last!

But what is courage, and where does it hide? Why, when I most need it, can I not find it? You must think me a coward, to hide behind this scarlet ink, this false name. But I beg you, do not think too badly of me. Perhaps, in time, you’ll understand. I hope with all my heart -- the heart of a foolish boy and uncertain man -- that this will prove true.

Forever yours,
Mr. Prongs


Dear Lily,

I wonder if you ever think of me, wonder who I am, and what I am like. In a away, I think, you are the only one who really knows me, save, perhaps, my closest mates. You are the only I have ever written such letters to, before, and certainly the only one I intend to. And yet, I know so little of you, and you so little of I…I suppose these letters are my way of remedying that….



Dear Lily,

I thought of you again this afternoon, not that I don’t every day. I was out on the grounds at dusk, and I was flying, both literally and figuratively, I suppose. The sky was the most brilliant hue of reds and oranges…of your hair. And though it must have been one of the coldest evenings I have been out on in a while, a sudden warmth overcame me. I ceased my flying, and simply drifted along, staring at the sunset and thinking of you. I wish you had been there with me….



But by far the most poignant letter…a letter that made her want to cry, laugh, scream…was one she had received during break one Friday afternoon.



Dear Lily,


Can a man have everything in life? I’ve certainly pondered this question before. A man can have so much, and yet want so much more. A man can have everything he needs to live life, and yet in his heart, he lacks the most vital thing of all, leaving an empty, barren hole in its place. And what can he do to fill that hole? What must he lose from that past life, that seems so far and insignificant now, that he might find the one thing, or rather, one person who can fill his heart?


I read this back and it sounds like the babble of a very verbose madman, but perhaps a madman I am. You hardly know me, and I hardly know you. And yet -- I hardly know you, but, Lily…I think I love you. My tongue has been cut out, my ink has all dried upon my quill. I can think of no more words to say than that.


Yours, until the world ends,


Mr. -- it pains me to sign so -- Prongs



Lily couldn’t -- wouldn’t -- stand it anymore. Not after that last letter…She had to write him. She had to find out who he was. He hinted that she knew him…she tried to think of anyone she knew who wrote so beautifully. No one came to mind. She couldn’t stand it anymore…She had to write him.


So, with a quivering hand, she began to write.



Dear Mr. Prongs…





Chapter 3: Pass the Potatoes
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Disclaimer: JKR a ecrit l’histoire de Harry Potter. Pas moi. Maybe if I say it in a different language, you won’t believe me. ;)



Chapter 3: Pass the Potatoes.



Lily sat back and reread the letter she had just written.



Dear Mr. Prongs,

As you well know, I have been receiving letters from you (a total of eleven, now) for well over a month and a half. You have given me no means of replying to your letters, and so, up till now, I have remained silent. After your last letter, I find it impossible not to reply.


I’m going to speak -- ah, write candidly here. I do not know whether to trust you or not. I’d love to, really. Your letters are nothing short of amazing, but surely you understand that if you are indeed who you say you are -- that is, Mr. Prongs -- then you are known to be a trickster. I do not know who you really are, and without that knowledge, I cannot trust you.


Please, if I may ask one thing of you: Let me meet you. The real you. Not Mr. Prongs, but the man behind the beautiful letters. Reveal yourself to me. I cannot fear it anymore; if it is a fool you wish to make of me, then a fool you have made.


Please respond. I do not wish to fall in love with parchment.

Yours,
Lily



There. That would have to do it. It was by no means as beautiful as his, but it would do. Just then, the bell rang. Oh, bugger. She’d just have to go to the Owlery this evening. She’d be late for class if she went now.


Stuffing the letters hastily into her copy of Advanced Potion Making, Lily hurried to the dungeons.


“Lily m’dear!” said Professor Slughorn happily as she took a seat. “Doing well, I hope?”


“Very well, Professor,” said Lily smiling. She had always liked Professor Slughorn, even if he was a little odd at times.


Soon the dungeons were filled with chatting sixth years. “Welcome, welcome,” said Slughorn, beaming at them all. “I think today we might have another shot at that Combusting Concoction --”


Several students tittered, remembering the incident earlier that week in which Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew’s Combusting Concoction turned a bit too literal.


“Though I think, perhaps, we’ll try different partners this time. Miss Green, if you’ll just move over here and work with Mr. Pettigrew…” Lily watched sadly as Harriet, her former partner, walked to the other side of the classroom where Peter Pettigrew sat. “And Mr. Black, you can work with Miss Evans.” Lily bit back a groan. Sirius Black was dreadful at potions. Not to mention a bit obnoxious.


“Hello, partner!” said Sirius brightly. Sure, Lily thought bitterly. Easy for him to be happy. His new partner doesn’t have a habit of exploding potions and setting things on fire…


“Sorry, Lily,” said Professor Slughorn as he passed. “But I know you’re one of the few who could put up with this one, here.” He winked at her. Black grinned.


Lily just sighed and pulled out her textbook. She flipped open to page sixty-two of Advanced Potion Making, wiping a bit of ash off the title, “Combusting Concoction.”


“Alright,” said Lily bracingly. “This is a pretty complicated potion -- though you probably already know that -- so, if you’ll just work on the first steps, I’ll prepare for the rest.”


“Okay,” said Sirius indifferently, leaving to go get supplies. Lily was heating the cauldron to the appropriate temperature when he returned, dumping the supplies on the table.


“You forgot the fire seeds,” Lily said.


“I’ll get them in a bit,” Sirius shrugged.


“You’ll get them now,” Lily demanded, glaring at him.


Sirius relented. “Alright, alright. Calm yourself, Evans.”


Lily rolled her eyes, and continued to prepare the potion. She would not have her grade killed by some pyromaniac half-wit.


“Now, chop the fire seeds with a silver knife -- a silver one, Black,” she said exasperatedly, as Sirius reached for a pewter knife. “And cut them carefully,” she stressed. “They need to be of equal sizes. As small as possible.”


“Yes, m’am,” said Sirius.


Soon, between their work, the potion had turned a fiery red color, precisely the hue it should be. Lily was pleased.


“Okay, work on step five, if you would.” She had been having him only work on chopping various ingredients, and Sirius was clearly getting bored, as his work grew steadily sloppier.


“Alright, lend me your book a minute, would you?”


“I need it…Where’s yours?” Lily asked, narrowing her eyes.


“Yeah, about that…I don’t have one,” said Sirius carelessly.


“Pardon?”


“I lost it about a month ago.”


“What have you been doing this whole year?” asked Lily incredulously.


“Using Pete’s. C’mon, just let me use yours for a minute.”


“Fine,” said Lily, handing him her copy of Advanced Potion Making rather grudgingly. She resumed carefully stirring the potion.


She heard a thud. She turned around to see Sirius leaning down to pick up the textbook.


“I dropped it, sorry!” he said defensively. “Don’t look at me like that.”


Lily just rolled her eyes, and began to turn back around, but froze midway.


As Sirius picked up the book, several pieces of creased parchment fluttered to the ground. Without noticing Lily’s horror, Sirius leaned over and grabbed them, stuffing them back into the book. But then he caught sight of Lily’s expression, and the nosy git, giving her a curious look, unfolded a piece of parchment. His curious expression changed to delighted glee as he read the first few words.


“What’s this?” he asked, laughing. “Lily Evans keeps love letters in her textbooks?”


“Give me those,” Lily said quietly and fiercely.


Sirius, however, had other plans. To her utmost horror, he began to read one of the letters. “Dear Lily,” he said, in a rather supercilious voice. “I thought of you again this afternoon, not that I don’t every day…”


“Give it back, Black!”


“I was flying, both literally and figuratively…The sky was the most brilliant hue of reds and oranges…of your hair…”


“I’m warning you --”


“And though it must have been one of the coldest evenings I have been out on in a while, a sudden warmth overcame me -- How sweet…”


Lily had her wand out, and was ready to hex the idiot to smithereens, but suddenly, Sirius unexpectedly stopped. He stared at the bottom of the letter, glancing from Lily to the letter with a shocked expression.


“Give me the letters, Black,” Lily said again. She knew what he was thinking. Of course, he was as surprised as she was that Mr. Prongs, one of the schools infamous pranksters, was writing to her. He was probably thinking of the Halloween prank…there would be rumors everywhere…


But then, thank goodness, he put the letters back into the textbook, and handed it to her, still giving her a funny look. Lily snatched it, glaring at him.


There was a loud bang behind her, causing her to jump. But it wasn’t a book this time; it was her potion.


“Oh no!” she cried, throwing Advanced Potion Making carelessly onto the desk. She had been completely distracted. “It’s too hot!” Lily was trying frantically to cool the potion.


“Not again,” moaned Sirius.


And with another bang, the potion burst into flame.


Professor Slughorn hurried over at the sight of the fire. “Dear me! I think this potion is just bad luck for you, Mr. Black,” he said, as Lily doused the potion with her wand, so as not to engulf the entire room in fire.


“It’s ruined!” she said angrily. “Professor, I cannot work with this -- this -- idiot.” Her anger was drawn both from the ruin of what would’ve been a perfect potion, and Black’s taunting over the love letter.


“Hey, it’s not all my fault,” said Sirius indignantly. “It was just as much your job to stop it from catching fire as it was mine!”


“Yes, but if you hadn’t been reading my…” her voice trailed off, not wishing to bring up the letter in front of the entire class.


Sirius seemed to realize this, and he smirked triumphantly.


Thankfully, the class was soon announced over, and Lily, furious at both herself and Black, stormed out of the dungeons.


Now was as good a time as any to post the letter. She wasn’t really sure whether she would be able to get it to him or not, seeing as the letter was addressed to “Mr. Prongs.” A part of her was quite certain the owl would bring the letter right back to her, unable to locate the recipient, but it was worth a shot anyway.


As she climbed the stairs to the Owlery, she passed James Potter, heading in the opposite direction.


“You have soot on your shoulder,” was all he said. She made a face at his back as he walked away.


Happy to find the Owlery empty, Lily coaxed a school owl down. Then she pulled her Potions textbook out of her bag, and flipped through the pages, looking for her letter. Neither her letter nor Mr. Prong’s where anywhere to be found.


Panicking slightly, she searched her other belongings fervently. Where was it? Surely she hadn’t lost it…


What if Black had taken it? What if he meant to show it to the whole school?


But she had seen him put the letters back into the book… she had seen him! They must have fallen out. Cursing herself, she hurried back towards the Dungeons, determined to retrace her steps and find that letter.


But she could find it nowhere.


She could easily rewrite it, of course, but she didn’t exactly want that letter floating around the school.


Dejectedly, Lily made her way back towards the dorms. She wasn’t hungry for supper, anyway. The common room, as she had expected, was generally empty. Only several people were present: A fifth year couple, snogging each other by the fire, a gaggle of seventh years studying for N.E.W.Ts, and, Lily was less than pleased to see, James Potter and Sirius Black. The two were having a furious yet hushed conversation, involving many scowls and angry hand gestures. Thankfully, they both ignored her.


Curling up comfortably in her favorite chair, Lily pulled out a book and began to read. She’d rewrite the letter later. She couldn’t deal with it right now.


“I will NOT!”


Lily jumped at the outburst, as did pretty much everyone else in the near-silent common room. She looked up from her book just in time to see James Potter stomping up the stairs, Sirius Black following at his heels.


Curiosity got the better of her. Under the pretense of looking at the notice board, Lily moved herself nearer to the boy’s dormitory stairs. Apparently Sirius had stopped his friend at the top of the stairs, because she could just hear their conversation.


“I won’t do it,” James said angrily, yet keeping his voice as quiet as possible.


“You have to! You’ll completely give us away--”


James hesitated. “What does it matter anymore?”


“What does it matter? Are you kidding?” Sirius said, incredulously. “James, you have to stop.”


“I can’t! I’m telling you, I’m in --”


“Just stop sending them! It never happened, ‘Mr. Prongs’ never existed.”


Lily’s breath caught in her throat. It couldn’t be…


“She’ll get over it, eventually. She‘ll think it was just a prank,” Sirius continued. “And then you can stop hiding behind these ridiculous letters --”


“I can’t, I’m -- I love --”


“You don’t,” said Sirius roughly. “You just think you do. You hardly know her. How can you?”


“You wouldn’t understand.”


“Maybe not, but I understand enough to know that you have to stop sending those letters.”


James was silent. “I won’t send another,” said James after a moment. Sirius sighed in relief. “Because I’ve already delivered the last one,” James finished.


Lily heard no more. She walked, or rather, drifted back towards the dorms. She climbed the stairs slowly, as if in a dream. It wasn’t possible. James Potter was Mr. Prongs. James Potter. It wasn’t possible. He hated her! He teased her, he picked on her…He called her a swot! James Potter wrote the beautiful letters she had been receiving for over a month? Ridiculous. The most intelligent thing James Potter had ever said to her was “Pass the potatoes.”


No. James Potter couldn’t be Mr. Prongs. He just couldn’t be.


But, instinctively, when she got into the room, she slowly pulled back the bed hangings. A letter with a scarlet wax seal rested on her pillow.




An excerpt from Chapter 4 is available in my livejournal. See Profile for link.


Chapter 4: Gregory the Smarmy
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Hey folks: Sorry this chapter took so long. I could've sworn I uploaded it ages ago, and have been waiting (im)patiently for it to get accepted, only to look today to see it's not there. Hmm. Well, here it is. Hopefully. :)

Disclaimer: It's all Jo's of course. :)



Dear Lily,


I have received your letter. I won’t go into details as of how, but I want to apologize for any embarrassment they, that is my previous letters, might have caused today. I suppose that by acknowledging the incident earlier, I give myself away a bit, but it hardly matters anymore.


You ask me to reveal myself. It is a weighty request upon my character, but I shall not refuse you. I pale at the thought of it, but I shall show my courage for once, at last.


I scribble these words quickly as I walk through the hallways, for I know -- and in someway, have always known -- that this façade can last but little longer. You ask for my true self, and this I will show you. I will show you who I am, the very core of my being. But to do this, I must ask you to abandon your Prefect title -- hang the rules -- for just one night.


I will meet you tomorrow evening. Go to the East Wing, tomorrow evening thirty-five minutes past curfew. Find the statue of Gregory the Smarmy. Behind it there is a secret passage. Follow it, and it will lead you out of the school, to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. There, you will see a sign, and it will lead you to me. I cannot tell you what it is, but I assure you, you will not miss it. I ask you to please do this, and here I will indeed reveal myself to you.


And I have something I want to show you.


Yours for as long as you’ll have me,


Mr. Prongs



James Potter wrote this? she asked herself incredulously. James Potter.


And suddenly, Lily started laughing really, really hard. She collapsed onto the bed in giggles. She laughed because she knew it was all a hoax. She laughed because she was certain that the entire argument she had just witnessed had been staged. She laughed because it was so clever. She laughed because she had fallen for it entirely. She laughed because she knew, at this very moment, James Potter and Sirius Black were in their dorm, laughing as hard as she was.


James Potter and his friends would love to get swotty Prefect Lily Evans detention.



There, you will see a sign, and it will lead you to me. I cannot tell you what it is, but I assure you, you will not miss it.


“Sure I’ll see a sign,” Lily said loudly. “Filch, waiting there to march me right into Professor McGonagall’s office.”


They would not make a fool out of her again.


The next day Lily awoke with a resolution: She would treat James Potter exactly as she always had, and she certainly would not be going to the Forbidden Forest tonight.


This resolution was tested, slightly, throughout the day. She couldn’t help but notice James was acting very oddly. He was exceptionally quiet all day, and she’d glance up at random moments throughout their classes, only to see him quickly avert his eyes.


He’s doing it for show, she told herself.


Then, when leaving Charms, she overhead James and Sirius arguing again. Or rather, Sirius battering James with reasons why he shouldn’t go through with it tonight.


“You can’t go, James,” he whispered. “Do you know what’ll happen when she finds it’s you? She’ll tell the whole school, and then everyone will know…”


Honestly, that boy had a rather low opinion of her.


Later, after dinner, in the common room, Sirius was still going at a rather tired looking James.


“Friends come first, James. I can’t believe you’d throw this all away for a girl…”


They really were spectacular actors.


But Lily held strong and tried her hardest to ignore them as she finished her homework.. At least, that was, until she discovered an odd parcel awaiting her on her bed, when she returned to her dorm. A quickly scrawled note lay upon it.


To help you on your way tonight.


Slightly wary, Lily opened the parcel. What she found couldn’t have surprised her more: A silvery cloak that felt like liquid in her hands. Was this what she thought it was…?


She threw it over her shoulders. And glanced down at her body, or rather, where her body should’ve been. An Invisibility Cloak.


And Lily felt all her resolve and determination fade away.


Why would he give her something to help her, if he wanted to get her caught? That just didn’t add up…Maybe James Potter actually was…


She just couldn’t believe it.


Well, she’d go. And if James Potter was setting her up, all the better for Lily: James Potter would not be getting his Invisibility Cloak back, if that was the case.


And with that comforting thought, she threw the cloak over herself.


Lily moved quickly down the corridors, pausing at each corner to check and make sure there wasn’t a teacher or Head student waiting to ambush her. It was an odd feeling, knowing that no one could see her, but she didn’t let it make her any less nervous. If she got caught…Potter would wish he was never born, she thought to herself.


Just then, Lily heard an angry hiss. Startled, she jumped backwards, falling against the cold stone wall. She cursed under her breath, realizing he had just almost trampled Mrs. Norris, Filch’s horrible cat.


Lily held her breath as the cat’s lamp-like eyes glared through her. Finally, the cat sped off in the other direction. Lily was hardly relieved, though, for she knew that in moments time, Filch would be wheezing his way towards her, following that wretched cat.


So, taking a deep breath, Lily sped as fast she could out of there.


At last, she found herself standing before the statue of Gregory the Smarmy. Lily glanced at her watch. Technically, she was early, but she didn’t know just how long this ‘secret passage’ was.


Lily peeked behind the statue, but saw no passageway. Was there something he hadn’t told her? She was beginning to feel setup again. Clutching the cloak tightly to her chest, as if James Potter might jump out and rip it off her, Lily started to turn back.


But then something caught her eye. A small hole on the wall behind the statue, just level with Gregory’s thumb. But how on earth could that be a secret passageway? The hole wasn’t even big enough for her to fit her fist through.


Maybe there’s a knob or lever behind it, Lily thought hopefully. It was unlikely, but there had to be someway…She reached for the hole, prepared to try and squeeze her hand through, but then something else occurred to her.


You have a wand, don’t you? Lily would’ve laughed at herself if she hadn’t been so terrified of being caught. She pulled out her wand and tapped the hole, wondering if she needed to say a spell or something. Really, she thought, aggravated, He could’ve told me how to do it…


But just as her wand touched the hole, it began to expand quickly. Soon it was large enough for her to crawl through, and she did, with some misgivings. The hole closed again behind her.


Taking a deep breath, Lily sought to examine her surroundings, but found she couldn’t, as the darkness was absolute.


“Lumos,” she muttered, and an eerie glow filled the passageway. She was in a small corridor, the ceiling low enough for her to touch. The walls, ceiling and floor were all constructed of cold stone, old and battered -- likely from the feet of a thousand years’ worth of troublemakers -- so much so, that it was much too smooth, and her feet slipped and slid as she walked.


The passageway was very long indeed; at some points it sloped downwards, and Lily found herself struggling to keep herself upright. And then, at times, there were stairs -- steep, slanting stairs with no railing at all. At first she was puzzled by the presence of these stairs, until she remembered that she had started on the fifth floor.


The farther she went, the colder the air became, and she clutched the Invisibility cloak against herself more for warmth than stealth.


And then she reached a dead end.


Frowning, she held her wand aloft, hoping to illuminate another passageway or a door, but there was nothing. But then something occurred to her, and she began scrutinizing the offending wall. Yes, there it was: A hole, just smaller than her fist. The hole expanded like before, and she crawled out, shivering against the harsh night’s wind.


And then she gasped at the sight before her.




A/N:
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..
...
....
.....don't hurt me. :)


Chapter 5: I do.
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Disclaimer: Harry Potter is copyright JK Rowling, I am merely playing around.



Previously in Dear Lily:



The passageway was very long indeed; at some points it sloped downwards, and Lily found herself struggling to keep herself upright. And then, at times, there were stairs -- steep, slanting stairs with no railing at all. At first she was puzzled by the presence of these stairs, until she remembered that she had started on the fifth floor.


The farther she went, the colder the air became, and she clutched the Invisibility cloak against herself more for warmth than stealth.


And then she reached a dead end.


Frowning, she held her wand aloft, hoping to illuminate another passageway or a door, but there was nothing. But then something occurred to her, and she began scrutinizing the offending wall. Yes, there it was: A hole, just smaller than her fist. The hole expanded like before, and she crawled out, shivering against the harsh night’s wind.


And then she gasped at the sight before her.



Chapter 5:



It was cold. Very, very cold, but Lily hardly cared. She removed the cloak, still gawking. Before her stood the very last thing she would have expected to see: A beautiful stag, at least six feet at the shoulder. Its majesty left her feeling as though she had been hit with the stunning spell five times. Speechless, she gazed.


It watched her through warm, hazel eyes. Those eyes, bright and knowing…she had seen them before.


A sign, she thought, dazed. You can’t miss it.


Prongs.


The stag began to walk away, but Lily was too stunned to follow. It stopped and turned its head around to gaze at her. When she didn’t come, it trotted back over to her and nudged her hand with his muzzle. And Lily began to follow as it walked off again, glancing back at her occasionally with those deep, hazel eyes.


They were heading towards the forest. The Forbidden Forest. Every bone in Lily’s body screamed at her that this was a bad idea -- the forest was forbidden for a reason! -- but nonetheless her feet kept moving, following the magnificent stag, as if she was in some sort of a trance.


As they breached the forest’s edge, Lily noticed that the stag’s gait slowed, and he walked beside her, rather than in front of her. Lily held her breath as she stepped among the trees. Great Oaks, Pines, and Sycamores towered above her as a hazy mist hung above her feet, thick with mystery. As the wind blew, it seemed it was whispering a sort of song, pulling her along, and though Lily was not the type of girl to be easily intimidated, she found she was glad of the presence of the stag beside her. She felt -- odd as it was -- protected with him there.


The path they were following was thin and winding; an undergrowth of thorns and knotgrass snagged her feet as she gingerly stepped through.


They were moving deeper and deeper into the forest with every pace, but despite her misgivings, Lily continued, curiosity growing. The stag showed no sign of slowing, and Lily’s mind began to wander like the meandering path they followed.


Where was Potter? Would he be wherever they were going? Would he even show up at all? Was it really even Potter, or had he just figured out the secret and had tried to trick her into believing it was him?


And worst of all, what if the stag was there to lead her into the forest, then disappear -- leaving her lost forever inside this dark maze of snaking paths and menacing trees?


Lily was so wrapped up in thought that she had barely noticed that the density of the forest was beginning to diminish. It was gradually becoming easier to see and step, and the extensive blanket of leaves above was slowly thinning.


And then the stag stopped. It stopped so suddenly that Lily had walked ahead a few paces before realizing that her companion had halted.


She was standing in a glade of some sort. The trees stopped almost abruptly with a defensive stance, as if guarding the circular area. The moonlight, it seemed, was creating little spinning specs of light that ricocheted off invisible barriers. The whisper she had thought was the wind had grown louder and stronger to an evident song; it bounced off the trees surrounding the small clearing -- no! It was coming from the trees. She listened in wonder. The words were indistinguishable, but it was a song no less.


Wood Nymphs,” she muttered, recalling a Care of Magical Creatures lesson from fourth year. They were tree dwellers, known for their beautiful songs, and though Lily had studied them before, she had never actually heard one.


On closer inspection, she realized that specs of light were, in fact, more. Glittering, glowing firefly-like insects fluttered upward throughout the clearing, thousands of them, so when one looked up, it appeared as if one was looking straight into the heavens.


It was positively entrancing.


Lily took a few hesitant steps forward, giving a quick glance back to the stag, who still watching her from the outskirts of the clearing. Her eyes caught his, and it was as if he was speaking to her.



And I have something I want to show you.



Tearing her gaze away from the stag, Lily returned to the spectacle, taking it all in. She spun on her feet, feeling slightly giddy at the beauty of it all. It was as if she was flying -- a sensation that even a broomstick couldn’t bring to her -- flying through space and time and stars…


But then, abruptly, she came back down to earth as she remembered why, actually, she was here.


“James Potter,” she said loudly. “I know you’re here and I know you’re behind all this!” She was glaring wildly around the clearing, as if she thought a tree would randomly transform into him.


She heard a pop behind her, not unlike a twig snapping. She spun around, expecting to see the great stag. She received quite a shock.


There, standing exactly where the stag had previously -- two feet centered between four prints -- was a rather weary looking James Potter.


A thick silence hung between the pair. Lily simply stared at him, her jaw hanging slightly, and James gazed back, an odd look in his eyes.


After several moments, when Lily showed no sign of saying anything, James spoke. “Well,” he said heavily, with the defeated air of a wealthy man who had, at last, lost everything. “That wasn’t exactly how I had expected this to go.”


Lily didn’t respond immediately. She just stared at him. Finally, she managed to get out, “How -- I mean, I knew, but -- you’re ‘Mr. Prongs?’”


James sighed. “Guilty.”


How? Lily asked, still looking at him as though she had never seen him before. (Which, in a sense, she hadn’t.) “I mean, Mr. Prongs was so -- so -- well, and you -- you’re…”


“A total git around you?” James suggested with slumped shoulders.


Lily felt an unexpected pang of guilt. “Well, yeah,” she said, not meeting his eyes.


James gave a remorseful smile. “This is the part where I come off as a total insecure prat,” he said. In an attempt to change the subject, he asked, “How did you know it was me, anyway?”


“I -- overheard you and Black arguing -- and -- yeah,” Lily lamely responded.


James looked at her almost incredulously. Then he let out a very forced laugh. “Who would’ve thought -- we got away with everything this long, only to blow it by our own stupidity.”


“It’s not like I was going to tell or anything,” Lily said irritably, feeling compelled to point out that she was not, actually, the tale-telling swot that Black made her out to be.


James looked at her questioningly, which only irritated her further.


“Black -- he made it sound like I was some horrible little sneak who would spill your ‘secret’ if given half the opportunity --”


“You have to excuse him,” James said solemnly. “He doesn’t --”


“…Like me?” Lily offered coldly.


“It’s not that. He was just worried because -- there’s a lot more to these pretenses than I can say --”


“You could’ve told me, you know!”


“What?”


“You didn’t have to be ‘Mr. Prongs!’ You could’ve told me as James Potter and then you wouldn’t have had to risk your ‘secret.’”


James looked at her, his expression startling. “Could I have, really?” he asked.


“Yes!” Lily said indignantly.


“But you hated James Potter. And everyone knew that Potter the Prat and Evans the Prefect hated each other.” He paused. “But I didn’t hate you. Far from it, actually, I -- Mr. Prongs said it, so I will too…I -- I love --”


“Don’t!” Lily cried, turning away. “Not here. I won’t believe you here.” She turned her gaze towards the glittering sky, aglow from the phosphorescent fireflies. “I need to be somewhere where I don’t feel so -- so overwhelmed.”


James nodded, his hazel eyes dark. “The common room?”


“Sure,” said Lily distractedly, ripping her gaze away from the spectacle above her.


“I’ll meet you back there?”


“Okay.”


James bent down and picked something up. He handed her the silvery invisibility cloak gently.


Lily took it. “But -- won’t you need it to get back?”


James smiled. “I’m a Marauder, Lily. The cloak is merely an accessory.” Another small smile. “I’ll meet you back in the common room.”


Lily simply nodded. Throwing the cloak over her shoulders, she began to walk away. She paused after a few steps to gaze back at him one last time, only to find James wasn’t there.


A great stag stood in the clearing, staring up at the glittering heavens.



Lily was never entirely certain how she made it back to the school, for through the woods and through the passageway, her mind dwelled on one thing: James Potter was Mr. Prongs.


James Potter, who teased her, made fun of her freckles, picked on her for being a Prefect…James Potter, who secretly had feelings for her…


James Potter was Mr. Prongs.


Lily stood in front of the Fat Lady’s portrait, fighting with herself. If she went in there, she’d have to face James Potter. And it would be different. Out in the woods -- it was like a dream. But here -- in this familiar place, where she had spent so many days of her life -- here it would be real. And she still wasn’t sure she could handle it.


On the other hand, standing out in the corridor staring like an idiot at the sleeping portrait would do no good whatsoever.


Lily coughed, in an attempt to wake the portrait up. The Fat Lady opened one eye drowsily, but snapped it shut again quickly, when she saw Lily there. Lily narrowed her eyes and said, “Abditus Amator.”


The portrait attempted to ignore her, and let out a loud snore for good measure, but Lily said more forcefully, “Abditus Amator.


“Alright, alright,” the Fat Lady muttered. “You shouldn’t even be out this late, I don’t know what you Gryffindor lot are up to. First that boy, now you…”


But she was cut off as the portrait swung open.


First that boy? Did that mean that James had already returned? ‘That boy’ could be anyone, but the possibility shook her slightly. She had assumed she would return first -- having left before him and having the invisibility cloak at her aid -- and she had hoped to have time to find her bearings.


Lily held her breath as she climbed through the portrait hole. She glanced around the common room. It was mostly empty, as it usually was at this time of night -- save a student or two, studying by the fire.


At first she thought that James hadn’t arrived yet, for she saw no sign of his messy-haired head anywhere -- That was, until she glanced over to the far side of the common room, away from the late-night studiers.


James was sitting on a couch by the roaring fire, with his head in his hands. Lily had rather thought that it would’ve been her, sitting there, waiting for him with her head in her hands.


She took a deep breath and walked over to him. His head snapped up.


“Hi,” he said.


“Hi.”


Silence hung between them. For someone so prolific on paper, Lily was, admittedly, surprised at his awkward brevity. However, she was getting on rather friendly terms with surprise these days, so she tried not too think much of it.


Once again the pair found themselves having a silent battle over who would speak first. Finally Lily flopped on to a chair with a sigh and said, “I just don’t know what to think.”


James opened his mouth to reply, but closed it again. After a moment, he said. “And I don’t know what to say.”


Silence again.


“I guess -- I just have a lot of questions, and I want answers. I’ve been in the dark for ages, and I just want to know what’s going on.”


James nodded. “Alright. Shoot.”


Lily chewed her lip. “Right. Well…” she thought for a minute about all the questions she’d been dying to ask. Suddenly it all seemed rather silly. “How have you been delivering the letters?” she finally asked.


“Owls, naturally,” James said. “Except the first time, that Halloween, I mean. That was hand-delivered. There wasn’t enough time.”


“But the stairs --”


James just shrugged.


“Oh right, the ‘Marauder’ thing,” Lily said with an almost amused roll of the eyes. “Well then…well, how did you get my last letter? You can’t just call that a Marauder trick.”


“Sirius swiped my letters -- the letters I sent you, that is -- with a quick summoning spell when your potion exploded. As evidence of my ‘crimes.’ Your letter was with them.”


“Git,” Lily muttered underneath her breath. “So Sirius didn’t know beforehand, I gather?”


“No.”


As all of Lily’s thoughts and questions of the last month came pouring back to her, their little ‘Question and Answer’ session was quickly turning into a rapid-fire interrogation.


“Who did know, then?”


“Nobody.”


“For how long?”


“A couple of years, I guess. But I’ve been infatuated with you since first year.”


“But you always picked on me,” Lily reminded him, standing up now and pacing the small area.


“I was an eleven year old boy. I was an idiot.”


“But even this year! Even when you were sending the letters … you still teased me and treated me just the same!”


“An idiot and a coward. I didn’t want you to find out.”


“But surely you intended on telling me at some point! You couldn’t honestly have meant to just send the letters forever!”


“I didn’t think ahead.”


“Why didn’t you just tell me who you were here?” she asked. “Why the Forest?”


“I thought it was beautiful, and it reminded me of you. I thought you’d like it.”


“It was beautiful,” Lily muttered pensively. “What did you expect to happen, though, once I got there? Throw myself romantically into your arms, tell you I’m madly in love with you -- even though I hardly know you, and Mr. Prongs defied anything I’ve ever known of James Potter?”


“It would’ve been nice,” said James, cocking his head.


Lily snorted. “But honestly! What did you expect to say to me?”


“I suppose I’m not really sure. I had already said what I meant to say as Mr. Prongs. I hadn’t anticipated James Potter would be so much more difficult.”


“I hardly know you,” Lily said.


“You know Mr. Prongs! We’re the same person.”


“I know that Mr. Prongs writes beautifully. I know that he’s clever, and smart, and talented enough to get away with practically anything -- But I don’t know anything about him that I’d want to know about James Potter. I don’t know what his favorite food is, I don’t know what drives him absolutely crazy, I don’t know …anything!”


“Then ask me. Ask me anything, and I’ll answer. Right here, right now.”


“Right now?”


“Yes.”


“I…well, alright then. What is your favorite food?”


“Chicken,” he said, and the two exchanged tentative grins at the absurdity of the question.


“And what drives you absolutely crazy?” she asked with a small smile.


“You,” he answered.


Lily laughed. “Ditto,” she said. Then she thought of something. “The stag -- are you…an Animagus?”


“Yes.”


Lily’s jaw dropped. “But…a sixth year! It’s not plausible…How could you have possibly…? Oh, right. The Marauder thing.”


“No, not really. It took the best of four years before we -- I mean, I could…”


“But why? Just for kicks? Did you just randomly wake up one morning saying, ‘I think I‘ll learn to be an Animagus today?’”


“I can’t tell you that,” James said quietly. “It would jeopardize a friend.”


Lily was quiet for a moment. “I respect that.”


“Thank you.”


“I have another question,” she said, walking over to him.


“Okay.”


Lily looked James right in the eye. “Do you love me?”


“Yes,” he answered without hesitation. He looked slightly embarrassed at his quick response.


“And do I love you?”


This question seemed to stump him. “Well,” he said carefully. “You don’t know yet, but you’re willing to give me a chance.”


“You’re wrong,” Lily said.


A look of dread passed quickly over James’s face. “I’m wrong?”


“Yes,” Lily said, leaning towards him. “I do. I do know yet…I do love you.”


And then Lily Evans kissed James Potter.


Or Mr. Prongs.


Or did it really even matter?



-End-



Author’s Note: It’s over, Dear Lily is complete! I know, this chapter took forever. You have my apologies, but it’s finally here! Though I was worried for a bit, I really like how it turned out. I’d love to here what you think! Thanks for all the support over this long period of waiting.

Much love,
Chloë





http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com