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We seem to have a knack for miscommunication by Elle Winters

Format: Short story
Chapters: 17
Word Count: 23,513
Status: Abandoned

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Dumbledore, Lupin, Snape, Sirius, A. Longbottom, Lily, James, Andromeda, Pettigrew, Voldemort
Pairings: James/Lily, Sirius/OC

First Published: 03/11/2007
Last Chapter: 05/16/2008
Last Updated: 05/16/2008

Summary:




Sorry guys but I have decided to abandon this story. I just couldn't keep it going. Maybe one day I'll return to it. Thank you so much for reading it when it was at it's peak - it was so much appreciated:(


Chapter 1: Magic vs Arrogance
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This fan-fic is carrying on from the scene Harry witnesses in the OOTP.




Disclaimer – The title is taken from the lyrics of ‘Miscommunication’ by Delta Goodrem. I do not own any other characters in this chapter – they are JKs.





 




PROLOGUE




“Who wants to see me take off Snivelly’s pants?”…




It took all of Lily’s might not to turn around and march straight back up to James Potter and curse him into oblivion. He really was the most arrogant toe rag in the world! He seemed to believe that he was the best thing since chocolate frogs and you know what the worst part was? 95% of Hogwarts students thought he was too.




Lily had no idea why this was the case. Well… she did… but she didn’t think they were valid reasons.




James Potter was handsome, confident and bright. He was also filthy rich and an excellent Quidditch player. He’d had numerous girlfriends, some even being so ridiculous as to go as far as saying that they wanted to marry him.




Lily pitied the poor girl who ended up marrying that conceited git.




Lily had always despised James Potter, since the first day they had arrived at Hogwarts. As soon as they’d met, he’d teased her mercilessly about not knowing one end of a broomstick from the other and for not understanding a lot of the wizarding-lingo himself and many of the other pure and half-blood wizards and witches used.




But the teasing wasn’t the worst part.




 A few years ago, Lily had noticed that James had started acting differently towards her. He had tried (tried being the operative word here) to act maturely round her and even offered to help her with her work (something that caused Lily to laugh at no end – James Potter NEVER did his homework EVER). She finally realised that this change in attitude had come around because he had taken a fancy to her.




 Far from being thrilled, Lily was furious! She did not want to be another cast-off in a long line of girls that had dated the ‘awesome’ James Potter. So as soon as she cottoned onto this rather unenviable fact she avoided James Potter like the plague. Unfortunately, like any plague, James Potter would not give up easily and Lily was forced to put up with almost daily requests of, “Evans, go out with me!” or “I really fancy you. Will you go out with me?”




Lily, of course, turned him down every time without fail but this did not seem to deter Potter in the slightest. On the contrary, her negative responses seemed to make him even more determined, which caused Lily to think that he no longer genuinely liked her (that is, if he had ever genuinely liked her in the first place) but now regarded her as an ongoing task, one which could only end in victory and she was the prize.




But, Lily knew quite certainly, James Potter would one day have to admit defeat, for she would NEVER accept his offer to make her his girlfriend.




If she ever did, Lily would know that the world had gone quite spectacularly mad…





 





1 year and 6 months later




 




“Aargh!”




Lily Evans crashed into the wall of the Room of Requirement. Bouncing off it she landed face down on the floor but no sooner had let out a muffled “Oh!” she rolled onto her back and sprang back to her feet, spinning around just in time to see another hex coming towards her. She ducked it and, aiming her wand at the boy in front of her, screamed “Furnunculus!”




She heard a yell as the boy felt the ugly boils spring up all over his face and knew the spell had hit its mark. She couldn’t resist a satisfied smirk. Whilst he was caught off guard she sent a stream of spells towards him and had to laugh at what he looked like: he had tentacles all over his body as well as the boils on his face, steam coming out of his ears and he was foaming at the mouth.




But in her smugness she had let down her guard too and she suddenly found herself being pulled irresistibly towards her enemy, her wand hanging limply at her side.




The boy caught her roughly in his arms, twisting her arm painfully behind her back as he turned her away from him. She felt the tip of his wand at her throat.




“Give in Evans?” James Potter whispered softly in her ear, pressing the wand harder into her neck, his silky breath tickling her ear.




“Never,” she growled and in one swift movement she thrust her head back, smashing it into his scull, twisted her arm out of his slackened grip and performed a round-house kick that caught him heavily on the side of the head.




James stumbled back, nose bleeding, dazed by the multiple blows he had received.




Whilst he was still reeling from the attack, Lily bent down and in a quick sweeping motion, knocked out James’ feet from beneath him. He landed on his back and gasped as all the wind was knocked out of him. Lily straightened up and hastened to straddle him, pinning his arms and legs against the floor.




Expelliarmus!” she cried and James felt his wand fly out of his hand and clatter to a stop somewhere out of his reach.




“Do you give in?” she asked James, breathing heavily. James coughed and spluttered as the blood from his nose formed a pool in his mouth.




“Yes!” croaked James. “I give up!”




They were suddenly bathed in flood-lights. Lily looked round to see a beaming Professor Dumbledore coming towards them. Realising she was on top of James she quickly stood up and stepped to the side of him. James, meanwhile, remained on the floor, still trying to recover from the thrashing he had just received. Lily suspected it wasn’t just his body that had been bruised – being beaten by a girl must have dealt a huge blow to his elephant-size ego.




Flushed with her success, Lily grinned as Dumbledore stopped in front of them.




“Well done!” he exclaimed joyously, “You both did VERY well. Miss Evans, excellent memory of the Muggle defence tricks I taught you! And Mr Potter…” He looked down at James who was still trying to catch his breath. Dumbledore laughed and offered him his hand, which James took and he pulled him to his feet.




As James regained his balance and composure, Dumbledore continued, “… brilliant use of the ‘Mirage Charm’. Miss Evans was obviously fooled by it!”




Lily blushed as she realised that none of the spells she had cast after ‘Furnunculus’ and before ‘Expelliarmus’ had even hit James. It was a good job she had remembered the moves Dumbledore had taught her, otherwise she would have been defeated by James Potter – the consequences didn’t bear thinking about!




Dumbledore had not finished however, “Unfortunately you both got too confident – Miss Evans when you thought Mr Potter was being inundated with spells and could not retaliate and Mr Potter when you had Miss Evans caught in your arms and believed she had run out of options. Both of you were wrong and had it been a real duel it could have cost both of you your lives! You must never lose your edge in a fight, no matter if it seems as though you have the upper hand. As you both saw tonight, circumstances can change in an instance. He who believes he is the winner when the battle is not yet through loses the war. Do you both understand what I’m saying?”




Lily and James nodded, although James seemed to regret it instantly, letting out a little yelp as a split in his lip that Lily had not noticed before reopened. Dumbledore, seeing this, said, “Ah! Yes, wounds! Well Mr Potter, I think you’ll be needing a patch up and nights rest in the hospital wing. Miss Evans, could you escort him there?”




“Of course, Sir,” Lily answered immediately, gently linking her arm through James’ as he partially limped towards the door.




Dumbledore watched them go with a most curious expression on his face. He had seen the look of longing on James’ face when he had held Lily so tightly against him.




But all James received from Lily was contempt – contempt, Dumbledore mused, that wasn’t entirely unfounded.




But James had grown up in the last year or so and Dumbledore had taken the rather unadvisable step of putting the two of them together as Head Boy and Girl.




Dumbledore believed that, with a little tweaking of the circumstances, Lily Evans and James Potter would make a rather commendable couple.




The problem would be getting Lily to come round to that way of thinking.




 James was very obviously in love with her but Dumbledore knew that Lily certainly wasn’t (or at least didn’t realise she was) in love with him. Dumbledore knew for a fact that at this very moment a huge row was taking place between them just a few hundred metres from this very room.




How did he know this?





Why, they had forgotten to close the door behind them…




Chapter 2: Immaturity vs Difference
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Lily and James exited the room of requirement, Lily walking at an odd angle because she was supporting James’ weight. As they edged down the corridor, James turned to Lily with a smirk on his face.


“You know Evans, I could totally have taken you back there. It was my sheer good manners that stopped me from winning that duel!”



Lily stopped dead, threw off the arm James had curled round her shoulders to stop him from falling over, and looked at him with a mixture of surprise and anger on her face.

“How dare you!” she screamed at him as he fell backwards and tried to regain his balance. “I won the duel FAIR AND SQUARE! You did not LET me win!”

James, who had managed to steady himself by grabbing onto a suit of armour merely grinned.

“Aw Evans! Looks like I’ve struck a nerve huh?! Can’t accept my utter brilliance, no?”

Lily glared at him, breathing hard, nostrils flared.

“James Potter you are an arrogant BEAST!”

James winked at her, “Well, the beast part is certainly true…!”

Lily reddened as she realised what he was suggesting.



James laughed at the look on her face, but instantly regretted it when she pulled out her wand and pointed it towards him.


 


 “Woah, Evans!” he said, hands in the air, backing up against a wall. “No need to involve wands. Come on, the poor man’s already injured, it’s not really fair to take advantage is it? Although, I wouldn’t say no if you tried to take advantage in another way…”


 


Lily’s lip curled as she lowered her wand, staring at him intently.



 “You’d like that wouldn’t you?” she asked, narrowing her eyes at him.


 


James straightened up and looked her in the eye.


 


“You know it’s true,” he said sincerely. “Why won’t you just give me a chance?”



 Lily laughed humourlessly, but couldn’t help noticing the look of pleading on his face. Deciding that James Potter really deserved a WIZARD, she answered, a look of loathing plastered all over her pretty face.


 


“Why won’t I go out with you?” she repeated. “You r-eally can’t think why? Ok, I’ll give you a list.”



She cleared her throat for maximum effect and continued, “You are UNBELIEVABLY arrogant, you mess up your hair CONSTANTLY, you jinx ANYBODY you want to just because you can, you think ONLY of yourself, you’re really handsome, and you’re head boy!”


James raised his eyebrows.


 


“That’s it? That’s why you don’t like me?”
 


Lily spluttered with indignation.



“’That’s it?! That’s IT!?!” she repeated incredulously. “What could POSSIBLY be worse than that?!”


 


“Well,” said James slowly, “I’m sure I could come up with a whole bunch of things that are ‘worse than that’, but first of all, I think I should be able to defend myself, so here goes: You say I’m ‘unbelievably arrogant’. Well yes, I was in fifth year, but perhaps, if you’d actually paid me any unbiased attention, you would have noticed that midway through sixth year, I realised just how conceited I was and sought to change my ways. I now know that I am in no way ‘better’ than anyone else. Except maybe Snape,” he added as an afterthought.


 


Lily rolled her eyes.

“Two,” James went on, “I mess up my hair – so what? It’s a habit! I know for a fact you bite your nails!”


Lily glared at him, and glanced down at her gnawed-upon nails.


 


“Three,” James said, “I don’t jinx just ‘anyone’ anymore – that comes with the ‘realising that I am in no way better than anyone else’ part. I will only jinx someone if they have done something to offend, hurt, or embarrass me or anyone that I care about. Four, I am aghast at the thought of you thinking that I care only about myself – that is completely untrue! Whenever Padfoot gets given a detention, I always make sure I get given one too, so that he doesn’t get bored and lonely carrying out whatever punishment he’s been dealt on his own!”
 


Lily couldn’t help but smile slightly at this, but tried her best to cover it with a look of pure loathing.



 “Fifth,” James continued, “It’s a crime to be handsome? Because I personally have never looked on it as being a curse, but please, do enlighten me as to what the problem is there.”


 


Glowering at him, she said acidly, “I have no problem with good-looking people. It’s just that, because you are good looking, girls fawn all over you and believe that you’re the best thing in the world, when you’re really, really not!”
 


James’ eyes widened.


 


“You jealous?” he asked hopefully.


 


"You wish," replied Lily cooly.


 


“Damn,” James said with a wink. “And last but not least, me being head boy is also a bad thing for me to be in the world of Evans– why’s that? Surely being head boy shows maturity, right?”


 


“It does,” Lily scowled at him. "But it also means I have to spend a lot of time with you, which is not something that I enjoy doing, and likens to having to wash my hands in undiluted Bubotuber pus.”


 


James sucked in his breath, “So, despite my pretty good come-backs to all the things you don’t like about me, you still despise the ground I walk on?”


 


“Precisely,” replied Lily sweetly.



“Well then, aren’t you the one being immature this time?”


Lily opened her mouth in surprise.


 


“W-what?!” she stammered.



“Well,” James said pleasantly, “Surely a girl of your age and ranking should let live and let die old prejudices. I’ve changed Evans – why won’t you let yourself see that?”


“Because,” Lily said with as much conviction as she could muster in her present state of shock, “I don’t want to.”


 


“But why not?!” asked James earnestly.



“Because…because…well, it’s none of your business why!”


James grinned mischievously.



 


“It’s because you fancy me, isn’t it Evans?”



 


“No!”



 


“It is!”



 


“Is not!”



 


“Is too!”



 


“Is NOT!”



 


“Is too-oo!” James sang.



 


“It is n- oh shut up James, this is ridiculous!”



 


“HA!” James cried triumphantly. “You called me by first name – you so fancy me!”



 


Lily screamed in frustration.



 


“I DO NOT!!”
 
And with that she pushed James, who had been circling her with taunts of ‘you fancy me!’, out of her way and ran to the end of the corridor and all the way back to Gryffindor tower.



 


“Bye Evans!” Called James, from his sprawled position on the floor, “See you at breakfast – I’ll be waiting!”



 


He heard Lily shriek, “SHUT UP POTTER!” and laughed.



 


Lily Evans would soon come to realise the error of her ways, and would suddenly find enlightenment in the way of James Potter. And when she did, James would be waiting.



 


Still.



_________________________________________________________________
A slightly more humorous second chapter, with only minimal violence this time:P
Hope you enjoyed it


Chapter 3: Vegan vs Carnivore
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Lily Evans flopped down on the bench in the great hall, and grabbed a bagel and some cream cheese.

Her friends Alice Summers and Andromeda Black looked at each other with raised eyebrows.

“Uh, Lil,” Alice said uncertainly, “You’re a vegan – you don’t eat cheese remember.”

Lily blinked and stared at the cream she had just spread all over her bagel.

“Oh yeah,” she said slowly, pushing the food away from her.

She picked up an apple oatmeal pancake instead and began to eat it.

“Er, you not gonna cut it up and eat it with a knife and fork like you usually do?”asked Romeda, alarmed at her friend’s complete change of character. Lily was always neat and tidy and really believed in being a vegan, so something huge must’ve happened to bring about this new, cheese loving, messy Lily Evans.

Lily eyed her sticky fingers, her face hardening.

“Oh I hate him!” she spat. “Look what he’s done to me!”

“Who?” chorused Alice and Romeda.

Lily opened her mouth to answer, when the object of her distaste entered the room with a full-on fan-fare in the shape of his fellow Marauders.

“Roll up, roll up!” cried James through a magical megaphone. “Come and get your tickets for the Marauders’ gig, this Saturday at 8pm in the Great Hall. No admission without a ticket! Only seven sickles, all proceeds go to future pranks on the Slytherins!”

“Here here!” yelled Sirius, crashing his cymbals together enthusiastically.

Around twenty girls leapt up from the surrounding house tables and sprinted up to James, all clamouring to buy a ticket from him.

“Now now ladies, no pushing, there’s plenty of me to go around!” he said loudly.

“Urgh,” said Lily, rolling her eyes and turning away from the sickening sight in front of her.

“Oh,” sniggered Romeda. “Him.”

“Why are you laughing?” asked Lily, wide-eyed. “It’s not funny!”

“It is Lil,” replied Alice, also laughing.

Lily’s eyes darted between her friends.

“Oh God, don’t tell me you actually like him!” she said in horror.

Alice and Romeda merely looked at her.

“Oh man!” cried Lily in despair. “Not you two too! What is happening to the world?!”

“Aw come on, Lil!” said Alice earnestly, “You’ve gotta admit he is quite funny, along with the rest of the marauders! My life would be very humourless without them!”

“Yeah,” added Romeda. “Plus, James is damn fine!”

Lily rolled her eyes.

“Please, please let me not have heard you correctly,” she begged, closing her eyes and willing her friends to return to normal.

Romeda grinned.

“But he is Lil! I have seen him getting changed after quidditch, and BOY has he got some good abs!”

“No, no, no!” moaned Lily, covering her ears, whilst firmly keeping her eyes closed.

“Merlin, please relieve us of this alien impersonator, and give us the real Romeda back!”

Romeda laughed.

“Hate to break it to ya Lil, but this is me, non-alien, and very much in envy of you!”

Lily eyes snapped open.

“Pardon?”

Romeda smirked.

“Work it out,” she said snidely.

Lily frowned at her in confusion.

“Why would you be envious of me?”

“Think about it Evans.”

Lily honestly didn’t have a clue what she was talking about.

“Romeda I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about!”

“Potter,” she replied simply.

Lily gave Romeda a look that suggested that she thought her friend had gone mad.

“What about him?” she asked confusedly.

“Well,” Romeda began, as though explaining to a five year old that two plus two equals four, “If a guy as yummy as Potter gave me half as much attention as you receive from him, then I would die one happy girl!”

“Unh,” was all Lily could say in response to this statement, as her mouth was hanging so far open that you could’ve fit an entire orange in it.

Lily managed to close her mouth with some effort, and stared in disbelief at her friend.

“Ok,” she stammered, “Let me see if I’ve got this right. You’re envious of me, because Potter pays me so much attention. Are you insane?!”

Romeda grinned.

“Quite possibly,” she replied, eyebrows raised, tongue hanging out, giving her the look of someone who’d gone mad.

Lily was about to lecture Romeda when James called to Lily from across the hall.

“You alright there Evans?” he yelled. “Hands not permanently stuck to your ears are they?”

Lily realised embarrassedly that she still had her hands over her ears, and hastily removed them whilst glowering at James.

James put his hands up in mock surrender, stuck his tongue out at her with a wink, and then turned back to the girls in front of him, all vying for his attention.

“Oh, I hate him!” Lily growled for the second time.

“Don’t!” Alice said.

“Why not?!” asked Lily incredulously. “He is so ANNOYING!”

“In a really cute way though,” teased Romeda.

Lily glared at her.

“Aw Lil, don’t look at me like that! I think you two would make a GREAT couple!”

Lily stared at her friend, horrified.

“What?!” she spluttered. “No we wouldn’t!”

“Lil,” said Romeda sternly, “He worships the ground you walk on!”

“No,” replied Lily coldly, “He worships the legs attached to the feet that walk on the ground. It paints a completely different picture of his intentions!”

“He totally loves you girl!” Romeda cried in frustration. “Why won’t you give him a chance?”

Suddenly a girl started squealing, and they all looked round to see James Potter holding a fifth year Hufflepuff above his head.

“That’s why not,” said Lily.  

 

Chapter 4: Request vs Agreement
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The next day Lily was walking down the Charms corridor, heading for her next lesson, when she heard giggling coming from one of the alcoves. As she approached it, she saw a Hufflepuff 7th Year and James Potter kissing.

“Good afternoon, James,” she said snidely as she passed.

There was a smacking noise as James looked round to see who had spoken to him.

When he realised it was Lily he pushed the Hufflepuff girl off him and hurried after

Lily, who had just rounded the corner, ignoring the disgruntled yells of “Hey!” from the abandoned Hufflepuff.

When he reached Lily he grabbed her arm but immediately regretted it when she swung round and said in a venomous voice, “You have exactly three seconds to let go of my arm. One…two…”

“Ok!” said James, hastily removing his hand. He had been on the receiving end of one of Lily’s curses many times before and had no desire to repeat the experience. His hand instead jumped unconsciously to his hair, which he ruffled as he said to Lily, “No need for violence, just thought I’d respond to your rather polite greeting with:  ‘It’s an even better afternoon now I’ve seen you!’”

Lily rolled her eyes.

“Hey James, you’re not a vegan are you?”

“Er…no,” replied James confusedly.

“Oh good, ‘cause the amount of cheese you just spouted must surely go against all vegan morals!”

James burst out laughing and Lily couldn’t help a small smile. She wasn’t a naturally witty person but she thought that was a pretty good come-back.

Having broken the tension between them, James said, “So, you been busy lately?”

“No, but I know you have been,” replied Lily pointedly.

Surprisingly, James looked quite abashed.

“Yeah,” he said sheepishly. “Well, she said she fancied me and I thought ‘Hey there’s nothing else to do!’ so-”

“James, you’re supposed to be in Transfiguration,” Lily pointed out.

James grinned.

“I already am,” he said with a wink.

Lily looked confused.

James laughed at the expression on her face and proceeded to explain how he was in two places at once.

“… and so because Remus doesn’t have any classes today he can take the Polyjuice potion and take my lessons as me when I’m too busy with-”

“Snogging 7th Year Hufflepuffs in alcoves?” suggested Lily sweetly.

“Amongst other things,” replied James with a wink.

Lily rolled her eyes but let it pass.

As much as she hated to admit it, she was actually quite enjoying talking to James.

Maybe he was growing on her.

Lily suddenly spotted a problem with James’ little arrangement with Remus.

“Uh James, isn’t there a teensy flaw to your oh-so-brilliant double act?”

James considered it for a moment then shook his head.

“Can’t think of one, no. Care to enlighten me as to what it is?”

“Well, surely it’d be a dead giveaway having Remus pretend to be you, what with how he’d answer all the questions correctly and actually behave himself!”

James smirked.

“You’d think so wouldn’t you? But ever since Dumbledore made me Head Boy, I’ve decided to clean up my act.”

Lily frowned.

“Surely skipping lessons to snog girls is hardly ‘cleaning up your act’?”

“Yeah well, old habits die hard,” James replied with a wink.

Lily rolled her eyes yet again but thought about what he had just said. Her mind flashed back to all of the classes that they had shared in the past few months and realised with a jolt of surprise that James had actually behaved himself in every lesson.

“Wow,” said Lily softly. “I never noticed.”

“‘Course you didn’t,” said James, a note of sadness creeping into his voice. “You don’t ever pay me any attention, unless it’s to yell at me for hexing Snivellus or to inform me of something.”

Lily stopped walking, having noticed his change of tone, and looked at him.

“James,” began Lily. James looked over his shoulder and realised she’d stopped and hastened to imitate her.

“Yeah?”

“I do pay you attention at other times as well you know, but you’re too busy trying to show off to everyone that you just don’t notice!”

James visibly brightened at this news.

 “Well that’s good to know.”

Lily smiled at him and they began walking again.

As much as James Potter annoyed her, Lily didn’t like to see him down – it didn’t suit him.

Admittedly he seemed down a lot in her company - generally because she had, once again, rejected his request that she become his girlfriend - but he usually bounced right back to his usual, chirpy self after a few minutes of sulking.

“Why do you pick on Snape so much?” asked Lily heavily.

James opened his mouth to answer, then closed it again as he gave the question some serious thought.

Finally, he opened his mouth again and said slowly, “Well, I guess it’s because I hate who he is and what he believes in.”

“How do you mean?” questioned Lily, looking slightly confused.

“All his dark-arts affiliations – knowing the spells, calling you and other muggle-borns ‘m-blood’ because you’re not pure bloods (which obviously means you’re lesser than him) and just stuff like that.”

Lily noticed that James had refused to say mudblood and she suddenly found she had renewed respect for him. James Potter may well be arrogant, Lily thought, but he would never stoop as low as to insult someone because of their bloodline.

“Yeah, but sometimes James you pick on him for no reason!” Lily pressed.

“Yeah I know,” said James earnestly. “But me and Sirius just can’t help ourselves! He’s so slimy and everything we despise – he’s one of those idiot Slytherins who actually believes all that crap that Voldermort is spouting.”

Lily shuddered.

James noticed this and with raised eyebrows said disappointedly, “Ah Lil, don’t tell me you’re scared of using his name?”

Lily felt her cheeks redden.

“I can’t help it,” she replied quietly. “He… he scares me more than anything in this world. He’s so powerful and ruthless…”

James regarded her frightened face with unease. How he wised he could reach out and hold Lily in his arms and assure her that when she was with him he would do all he could to keep her safe but he knew that she would never permit it, so instead he reached out and took one of her hands in his.

She looked surprised at his actions but didn’t pull away.

“Lily,” he said gently, “There are worse things in life than Voldermort. One day he will be defeated and when that day comes, everyone will be saying his names as though it were nothing because they will no longer feel there is anything to fear. If you can say it now then his power over you will have already                                                                                                                                                     lessened. So do it, say it, and I guarantee you, you'll feel better."

Lily looked at him then nodded.

“I will. On one condition.”

James raised his eyebrows.

“And what condition is that?” he asked warily.

“Stop hexing/humiliating/bullying Snape.”

James looked like he was in pain.

“Does it have to be that?” he asked pleadingly.

“Yes,” responded Lily firmly.

James shook his head.

“Why do you stand up for that git so much Lily? He treats you like dirt and calls you m-blood on a regular basis!”

“I know,” said Lily. “But I can’t just stand by and watch you humiliate him when he hasn’t provoked you in any way. James, you’re popular enough – you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone.”

James considered her for a moment and then nodded too.

“Deal,” he said. “You say Voldermort from now on and I’ll-” he grimaced. “I’ll leave old Snivelly alone.”

Lily smiled at him but didn’t notice him cross his fingers behind his back.

“Well,” said Lily. “I’d better go. DADA started twenty minutes ago and it doesn’t really look very good if the Head Girl comes in late.”

James laughed and nodded.

“Ok then. I’ll see you later for duties.”

“Sure thing,” smiled Lily. “Oh and James? I really enjoyed talking to you today.”

James felt his heart lift at her words.

“Me too,” he said, returning her smile.

With a grin, Lily turned to go off to her DADA class, leaving an extremely happy James Potter to walk back to Gryffindor tower, an ecstatic grin plastered across his face.

And you know what the best bit was?

Neither of them had noticed that they hadn’t used each other’s surnames once.

Chapter 5: Potions vs Cunning
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The following couple of weeks were the quietest Hogwarts had ever known since Lily and James had started there. They had not had a single argument and many were wondering if it was the calm before a storm.

They were right.

The bell rang for 4th period and Sirius Black and James Potter bounded into Potions, both flying high in the wake of the fortnight they’d had; Sirius because he’d manage to get a date with Sienna Peters, a very sexy and slightly promiscuous girl, who he’d been after for months; James because he and Lily were getting on well and both of them happy because the gig they’d performed the other weekend had gone swimmingly (and that’s meant in the literal sense – the Marauders transfigured the Great Hall into a fully-fledged swimming pool, complete with wave machine and flume). They were followed in by a weary looking Remus and an excited looking Peter.

In their excitement however, they ended up crashing into a table laden with potions.

The resulting BANG! was enough to bring Professor Slughorn waddling in, puffing and spluttering as he took in the mess in front of him.

“Boys!” he cried in despair. “Look at the mess you’ve caused!”

James and Sirius looked around at the devastation that was their once tidy Potions classroom.

“Um,” mumbled Sirius, “Sorry?”
 
James snickered at Sirius’ feeble response.

Slughorn rounded on him.

“Oh, so you think this is funny do you, Mr Potter?”

James’ smirk disappeared in an instant.

“Um,” he stammered, “No?”

This time it was Sirius’ turn to snigger.

Slughorn regarded the two of them, then rolled his eyes and sighed.

“Ok, it’s very obvious that I’m not going to get very far with you boys by just shouting at you. I think the best way to deal with this situation is to uproot the rooters, so to speak. You,” he said, motioning at James, Sirius, Remus and Peter, “Will spend the remainder of this term working apart.”

The Marauders looked dumbstruck.

“That is to say,” clarified Slughorn, “That you will not be working together. At all. In any sense.”

The Marauders continued to look dumbstruck.

Slughorn looked to the heavens.

Waving his wand, he transported the Marauders to separate areas of the dungeons.

Blinking at their new surroundings, the Marauders began to protest profusely.

“What?! Sir that’s so-”

“Unfair! We shouldn’t have to-”

“Move! It wasn’t even-”

“Us! Surely Sirius and James should get-”

“Applauded for wasting so much lesson time!”

Remus looked over at James with raised eyebrows.

“I was going to say ‘punished’ but-”

“Enough!” roared Slughorn, making the whole class jump.

The Marauders all jumped and stood to attention.

“Now, Mr Pettigrew, you will be working with Mr Snape.”

Peter looked terrified.

Snape glided across the hall, a look of contempt on his face.

Peter gulped and moved as far away from Snape as he possibly could.

“Mr Lupin, you will be working with Mr Zechnion.”

A sharp-faced Slytherin slouched over, looking disgustedly at Remus.
Remus sighed and courteously moved so that the boy could stand behind the desk.

Zechnion did not thank him for it.

“Mr Black, you will be working with Miss Fawcett.”

A giggling blonde Hufflepuff hurried over to stand next to Sirius, who was looking horrified.

“And finally, Mr Potter,” finished Slughorn. “Who to put you with…?”

Oh please, please not some goody-goody two-shoes who’s gonna make me actually work, he thought desperately.

“Ah yes,” said Slughorn. “Someone to keep you on your toes and make sure you’re behaving yourself-”

“Really, sir,” interrupted James quickly, “I honestly don’t need-”

“Miss Evans, if you could work with Mr Potter please.”

“Never mind!”

James grinned as he watched Lily make her way towards him.

“Alright Lils?” he asked pleasantly, as she dumped her bag on the table.

“No thanks to you,” she muttered, annoyed.

James looked bewildered.

“What did I do?!”

“Oh, only got me moved away from my friends is all!” replied Lily sarcastically.

James looked round the Potions room and saw Alice Summers talking awkwardly to Frank Longbottom, a shy but kind Gryffindor.

Ah well that’s not so bad, he thought, glancing round for Andromeda Black.

He spotted her threatening to hex some Slytherin boy, who kept attempting to look down the front of her robes.

Oops, he thought, looking back apprehensively at Lily, who was staring at him with raised eyebrows.

“Sorry,” he said apologetically.

“We’ll see,” replied Lily haughtily, turning to face the blackboard, on which Slughorn had just conjured the instructions for today’s potion.

“Ok, 7th Years. Today we will be brewing a Love Potion-”

At this, the entire class made an ‘ooh’ sound.

James stood up straighter and was suddenly rapt with attention.

Which,” shouted Slughorn over the babble that had just broken out, “Is a very dangerous potion, if brewed incorrectly, so I want your full attention and there is to be no messing around. If I see anyone misbehaving, they will be in detention for a month. The instructions,” he finished, “Are on the board. Enjoy!”

Lily had never seen James move so fast. The rest of the class had barely pulled out their Advanced-Potion-Making books as James crashed his cauldron down on the work-bench and fervently tried to light it.

Lily watched James in bewilderment but had to say something when he dropped Newt-Eyes all over her parchment.

“Potter!” she cried furiously, collecting up the Newt-Eyes in a cloth. “What the hell is wrong with you?!”

“Nothing,” said James quickly, grabbing the eye-filled cloth off Lily. “Sorry about that. Just got a bit over-excited!”

“I’ll say!” replied Lily, continuing to look bewildered. “You’ve never been this enthusiastic about making a potion since 3rd Year, when Slughorn said that a badly made Laughing Potion would cause excessive farting so you deliberately made it wrong!”

“Ha ha ha ha, yeah!” laughed James in an unusually high-pitched voice, causing Lily to take a step away from him in alarm.

Frowning, she said, “James, have you taken something?”

“What?” asked James, looking confused. “No why?”

“Because you look like a man possessed, that’s why!”

James looked around the dungeon and noticed all eyes were on him, the girls looking anxious and the boys shaking their heads at James’ complete lack of cool.

The Marauders, however, were grinning.

“Uh,” said James, looking bashful.

Lily rolled her eyes and put out James’ cauldron, which had just caught alight, then turned around to her own work and began to carefully slice up some Mandrake leaves.

James watched her with a curious expression and realised that he would need to keep calm in order for his plan to work…

Chapter 6: Reversal vs Realisation
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           The bell signalling the end of lessons rang just as Lily was carefully taking her flask to the front of the room, which she then placed on Slughorn’s desk.

“Alright everyone, you’re free to go!” boomed Slughorn, himself swiftly exiting just as the barrage of students reached the door.

As she was walking back to her bench she noticed James Potter going through her bag.

Speeding up her pace, she reached the bench she was sharing with him and said in a dangerous voice, “What do you think you are doing?”

James jumped back as though his hand had been burned and looked guiltily at Lily.

“Sorry Lils, I was just-”

“Just what? Hmm?” demanded Lily, hands on hips. “Just going through my stuff?”

“It’s not what it looks like, honestly!” James said desperately, trying to avert a full blown fight. “I was just putting-”

“Your filthy hands in my bag?!”

“No! Lily I-”

“You know what Potter? I thought you’d changed. I really did! I can’t believe I actually enjoyed talking to you the other week! Man, I must be losing it! You’re just the same, old, arrogant JERK you always were! As soon as I can, I am going straight to Dumbledore and requesting your dismissal as Head Boy. You make me sick!”

James stood in shock as wave after wave of insults hit him. To his dismay, tears were starting to prick his eyes.

Gritting his teeth, he gave Lily a hard look and said, “For your information, Evans, I was putting your books away for you, so that I could tidy up the rest of the work-bench. I’m sorry if showing you a kindness is out of order.”

Lily looked at the work-bench and saw to her horror that all of her work had been tidied away.

Turning back to James, she saw he looked angrier than she had ever seen him.

“James, I-”

Save it!” said James harshly, grabbing his own bag and storming out of the dungeon, leaving a shocked Lily in his wake.

Lily looked like a goldfish needing air, her mouth opening and closing in stunned disbelief. 

She had accused Potter of looking through her stuff, said horrible things to him and all the time he had been helping her. Lily didn’t think she’d ever felt as bad as this in her life.

“You know Evans,” said a voice behind her, “That was really harsh.”

Lily looked round to see an unusually expressionless Sirius in front of her.

What?” she said, jutting her chin out in an attempt to make herself feel less guilty.

“You heard me,” said Sirius quietly. “What you said to James was really out of order. 
He didn’t deserve that.”

Lily opened her mouth to retaliate with some more harsh words but found she couldn’t.

“How was I supposed to know he was trying to help me?” she said in a defeated voice.

“By asking him calmly what he was doing and then actually waiting to hear his response before jumping straight in with accusations!”

Lily bowed her head, ashamed at how she’d handled the situation. Taking a deep breath she looked back at Sirius and said, “I’m just so used to him…pulling tricks on me…finding new ways in which to ask me out! I wish he’d just get the message that it’s a ‘no’ and it’s always going to be a ‘no’!

“Well,” said Sirius, his voice emotionless, “I think you’ve finally got your wish. After today I reckon you’re well-shot of James. I highly doubt he’ll want to talk to you again, let alone ask you out. Want my advice, Evans? Actually, no, I don’t care what you want; I’m just going to give it to you any way. Stop treating James like something you found on the bottom of your shoe; he’s worth more than that. You act all high and mighty and as though you’re the best damn thing going, yet accuse James of being arrogant! Ok, so he was two years ago but now he’s grown up and was trying really hard to show you that! But you just can’t help yourself, can you Evans? You’ve gotta drive the knife in just a little bit more. If I’m honest, I’ve had enough of you and your ‘better than thou’ approach to James. He’s well shot of you and I can’t say I blame him.”

With that, Sirius turned on his heel and walked out of the dungeon.

Lily watched him go as tears began to slide down her face.

Was that really her? Was she really that stuck up?!

Yes, she found herself answering.

Lily gasped as ice-cold-realisation swept over her.

She'd never thought of herself as an unfair person - she’d always believed that James got what he deserved when he was given numerous detentions or was yelled at by a teacher.

That was all very well and good, she thought, but me acting like I'm superior to him all the time, even when he doesn't deserve it? Sirius was right, I am out of order.

She needed to make it up to James. She had to.

The question would be ‘how?’
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I apologise for this being such a short chapter but it's an important filler:)


Chapter 7: Clear Out vs Destruction
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James crashed into his dormitory, the door hitting the wall so hard that it made a dent. He stormed over to his bed-side cabinet and swept the entire contents on top of it onto the floor. He grabbed the frame which contained a picture of Lily and him being congratulated on becoming Head Boy and Girl and threw it across the room where it hit a wall and smashed, showering Remus’ bed with glass.

Why did she hate him so much?! What had he done to earn so much distrust?! He’d tried so hard for her and yet it still wasn’t good enough! What did she want from him?!

His anger not yet sated, he ripped the bed-clothes off his bed and began punching the mattress as hard as he could, the afternoon’s events running through his mind like a tape on fast forward. He began punching the mattress harder and harder as Lily’s accusatory voice filled his head.

“I hate her, I hate her, I HATE HER!” he screamed, swinging round and punching a clean whole in the wall.

The pain in his hand finally shook him out of his consuming-state of anger. He began to sob as he sank down onto his, now broken, mattress, putting his head in his hands as blood trickled down the one that had punched the wall.

He heard the door creak open and someone enter.

“James? Prongsy?”

James remained where he was, not bothering to even look round at who he knew was Sirius.

“Gees mate! You’ve made a right mess in here!” said Sirius, taking in the devastation of the room.

He swore when he saw the hole in the wall by James’ bed.

“Shit, James! Did you do that?!”

“What do you think?” murmured James sarcastically, staring at a hole in the carpet.

Sirius marched over to James, grabbed the front of his robes, pulled him to his feet and shook him hard.

“Now you listen to me, James,” he said sternly his face inches away from James’, who was looking away from him. “No one, not even Lily-fricking-Evans should EVER make you loose control like this! She’s not worth it mate!”

James looked round at Sirius.

“But she is! Sirius I love her! I can’t not!”

Sirius let go of James’ robes and stared at him incredulously.

“You love her?” he said in a stunned voice. “Even after the way she treated you?”

James pushed past Sirius and began pacing.

“I just…” he struggled to put into words how he was feeling. “I just…she’s the one mate, I know it!”

Sirius looked at him with raised eyebrows.

“She’s a bitch, Prongs!”

Sirius saw James’ eyes widen.

James rushed over to Sirius and pinned him up against the wall.

“Don’t you ever say that about Lily again! Do you understand me?!”

“Get off me you idiot!” yelled Sirius, pushing James off of him. James crashed into the bed post and smacked his head.

“Ow!”

James whipped out his wand but found Sirius was already pointing his own wand in his direction.

“I don’t know what the hell has gotten into you, James, but it’s like Evans said, you’re acting like a man-possessed!”

James glared at Sirius then looked away.

“I just…I just want her to see me! You know? The real me! The guy who’s loved her since forever. I just want her to give me a chance. But I don’t think she ever will and I can’t bear that idea!”

Sirius was alarmed to see that James was crying.

“Prongs, no! No, no, no, no! You are not crying over some dumb girl! Where’s your manliness gone, huh? Marauders don’t cry, we part-iy!”

James laughed.

“That was completely crap, Pads!”

Sirius grinned.

“Yeah but it made you smile!”

James bent down and grabbed a pillow, which he threw at Sirius.

“Hey!” yelled Sirius in a muffled voice as the pillow hit him in the face.

James smiled and wiped at his eyes.

“Thanks mate. Really. I’m sorry I shoved you against the wall. I just… needed to let

off some steam.”

“No worries mate. And you only managed to do that ‘cause I let you!”

“Shut up! I’m way stronger than you!”

“Oh yeah?!”

“Yeah!”

“Bring it on!”

Sirius grabbed James in a headlock and started going round in circles.

“Who’s the strongest now huh?”

“Get off me you dumb-ass!”

“I’m sorry, what was that?”

“Let go, you great b-”

They were interrupted by a knock at the door.

“James?” said a voice tentatively.

Sirius let go off James, who fell with a crash to the floor.

“Shit, it’s Evans!” he said, looking alarmed.

James mirrored his expression.

“What should I do?!” he said in a panicked voice.

“I dunno - it’s up to you!”

“James? Are you in there?”

“Shit!”

“James? Please open up!”

James looking round at Sirius, eyes wide.

“Help!”

Sirius looked at him apprehensively.

“Do what you want mate, I’m outta here!”

He walked over to the door and flung it open.

A very surprised Lily stood in front of him.

“Um, hi. Is James there?”

“How should I know?” replied Sirius coldly.

“Oh, I just-”

Sirius pushed past her.

Lily spun round.

“Look, I just wanted to tell Potter that I was sorry!” she yelled after his retreating back.

“Why don’t you just tell me yourself?” said a voice right behind her.

 
__________________________________________________________
Really short, I know, but the following ones do get longer, I promise!
Thanks for reading:)


Chapter 8: Lily vs James
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Lily froze at the sound of James’ voice.

What the hell was she going to say to him?

What the hell was he going to say to her?

Taking a deep breath, she turned around to face James.

She took a step back in surprise at his close proximity and stumbled over her bag, which she’d set down in anger at Sirius’ flippancy.

James grabbed her before she ended up on the floor but as his hand touched hers, a huge shiver ran through it, causing her to pull swiftly away.

Clearing her throat, she said, “Sorry about that. Can I uh…Can I come in?”

James nodded and stood to the side to let her pass. She grabbed her bag and went in.

She could feel his eyes on her as she took in the state of his dormitory.

“You er…you decided to have an um…a clean out?” she said faintly, turning round to look at him.

“Something like that,” he replied coldly, walking past her and taking a seat on his mattress.

Lily stood apprehensively, uncertain as to what to do.

James regarded her expectantly.

“Um,” she said, staring at her feet as though they fascinated her, “I just wanted to say that I’m…I’m sorry for earlier.”

James expression did not change.

There was a pause.

But James still didn’t say anything.

Lily was completely stumped. She’d assumed he’d say something after she’d apologised. She hadn’t anticipated having to do all the talking – normally it was James that did that when they were together.
After a minute of awkward silence, Lily decided that it would be a better idea for her to leave.

“Well…I should go! I’ll see you around…”

As she turned to leave, James finally spoke.

“That’s it then? That’s all I get?”

Lily looked round to see James staring at her with intense dislike on his face.

Or was it something else?

“What else am I supposed to say?!” she asked angrily. “I’ve said I’m sorry and I meant it!”

“Sorry for what, exactly?” asked James.

“Well, for…for earlier of course!”

“Which part of earlier, precisely?” said James sweetly.

James saw Lily’s nostrils flare – a sure sign that she was starting to get angry.

Lily knew James was trying to provoke her and it was damn well working!

“Oh, for crying out loud! Trust you to milk the situation for all it’s worth, Potter!”

“Perhaps,” said James unsmilingly, “But it was you who created it in the first place.”

Lily gaped at him.

“How was I supposed to know that you weren’t trying to nick my stuff or whatever?! It’s not like you haven’t done it before!”

For the first time since Lily’s arrival, James appeared to lose some of his cool.

Lily noticed a flush had started to creep up his neck.

She couldn’t resist a smirk.

“Ah ha. Not quite as innocent as we’ve been pretending, are we Potter?”

James glared at her.

“Ok, so what if I’m not?! At least I have the guts to admit it!”

“Are you saying that I don’t?!” asked Lily furiously.

“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” said James coldly, getting up off of the bed and walking over to stand in front of her. “You punish and you preach: to me, to Sirius, even to fucking Peter! And yet, you’re the one who’s guilty of the worst behaviour!”

“Wh-how is that?!” asked Lily in bewilderment.

“You hurl an insult at me at least once a day. You humiliate the Marauders on a weekly basis. You don’t ever seem to have any fun Lily and because you don’t, you try and stop everyone else from having it too!”

“I have fun!” said Lily indignantly. “I have a whole broom-shed full of fun! And I don’t try and…stop people having fun, but there’s got to be a limit!”

“Does the limit always have to be zero and harsh words aimed in my direction?” asked James quietly.

“It…I…” began Lily, but the same realisation she’d felt earlier coursed through her again.

“It doesn’t and…and it… it shouldn’t be,” said Lily, looking James straight in the eye.

James look stunned.

“Wh-what?” he stuttered, evidently taken aback by Lily’s sudden change in attitude.

Deciding to take advantage of his temporary speech impediment, Lily said, “I’m in the wrong. I didn’t realise it before and I’ve been pleading blamelessness since I arrived (which I think is actually just down to habit) but I’m not blameless and I realise that now. And I’m sorry. When you left earlier, I felt so awful! I mean, I’ve said some pretty harsh things to you in the past – I admit it – and I didn’t really think much of it (except, you know, ‘oh boo hoo, poor me, why won’t Potter leave me alone??’) and you pretty much always bounced back after a few minutes…but the look on your face when I said that stuff to you today…I’ll never forget it. I jumped to conclusions straight away, instead of asking your side of the story first and I shouldn’t have done. I was in the wrong and I’m sorry. I am; I-I really am.”
James nodded.

Heartened by this, Lily went on, “I’ve just become so accustomed to your immature pranks-”

James raised his eyebrows at this but didn’t comment.

“-and never really tried to…find any other side to you. But these past few weeks I have seen another side to you and I’ve actually liked what I’ve seen. What I’m trying to say is that…well…if-if you want to be friends – and I would really like that – then well…maybe we could be. If you want.”

James, whose heart had lifted at the words ‘maybe we could’, found himself crashing back down to earth with a very large bump.

‘Friends’. That was all that Lily wanted them to be. The disappointment that flooded through him was almost unbearable.

He so badly wanted to accept her offer – surely friends was better than nothing?

But he knew, deep down, that he and Lily could never just be friends. To be so close yet so far from her…he wouldn’t be able to stand it.

So, knowing that he’d probably be miserable for the rest of his life, James said sadly, “I can’t.”

Lily blinked.

“You can’t what?” she asked him uncertainly.

“I can’t be just you’re friend. I…I love you too much.”

He regretted the words as soon as they were out of his mouth. He wanted to take them back but the damage was already done.

Lily looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

She didn’t know what to do.

“I think you should go,” James said quietly, walking past her and opening the door.

Lily turned around and walked towards the door still looking stunned.

“I-” she began, but James just looked away.

Pressing her lips tightly together she walked past him and through the open door.

As soon as she’d crossed the threshold, James closed the door and slid down it, tears pouring down his face.

He didn’t realise that Lily was still stood on the other side of the door and could hear every one of his sobs.

Chapter 9: Anger vs Jealousy
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Sorry it took such a long time to update - rather large case of writer's block, I'm afraid.

            It was three days later and still Lily and James weren’t talking. Both were surprised at this: Lily because she hadn’t thought that James could really let her go and James because he didn’t think that he could either.

But he’d found that the anger Lily had created within him had not yet abated and whenever he saw Lily he felt it stir. Although it was lessening every day, he still wasn’t prepared to forgive her.

And a tiny part of him wasn’t even sure if he ever wanted to.

Lily had hurt him so much when she’d accused him so harshly of something he hadn’t done and he didn’t know, if he did let her back into his life, whether he could deal with the cocktail of high-octane emotions that came with her.

            Lily was shocked at how much she missed James in her day to day life – she had always taken his come-ons and teasing for granted, but now that it was gone, she found herself quite lost.

            Plus, whenever the two of them crossed paths, the tension between them was almost unbearable. Both had now taken to walking in the opposite direction whenever they saw the other.

            The whole situation was a mess and they both knew it, but neither was quite sure how they were going to make things better.

            James was sat in the Great Hall that morning, playing with a bowl of stone-cold porridge that was set in front of him.

He could hear Sirius talking to him but he had no idea what he was saying.

A sharp pinch shook him out of his reverie.

“Ouch!” he yelped, rubbing his arm.

“Oh, now he pays attention!” said Sirius exasperatedly. “The guy only responds to violence, eh? Perhaps I should tell Evans that…”

“Shut up, Sirius!” said James angrily, grabbing his schoolbag and swinging himself off the bench, only to find himself face to face with Lily.

James felt his stomach do a back-flip at the sight of her.

Oh God, she’s so gorgeous, he thought, staring into her emerald green eyes longingly.

He suddenly realised what he was doing and mentally slapped himself for being so weak.

            Bowing his head, he tried to duck past her but she caught his arm.

“James, wait.”

James looked up at her and noticed that she couldn’t quite look him in the eyes.

“Um,” stammered Lily, looking terrified. “I-I need to talk to you.”

“I don’t want to hear it, Evans,” said James harshly, pushing past her.

Lily physically recoiled at his use of her surname and how angry he obviously still was at her.

“James, please-” she tried but he just shouted at her, “I don’t want to hear your stupid apologies, Evans!”

James practically ran to the door of the Great Hall, desperate to get away from Lily.

“James, stop!” he head her call after him.

Eyeing one of his favourite short-cuts to his right, he dashed over to it and slipped behind the tapestry that was covering it.

He got the shock of his life when he turned around and found Lily right in front of him.

“Holy shit!” he yelled, clutching his heart. “Where the hell did you come from?!”

Lily tried to eye him with disdain but merely looked scared.

“You’re not the only one who knows some of Hogwart’s secrets,” she said quietly, looking at a point just to the left of James’ head. “And I’d appreciate it if my other half didn’t run off when I said that I needed to talk to them.”

“Other half?” repeated James, looking bewildered. “I’m not your anything Evans – we’re not friends, and I don’t-”

I only meant,” said Lily, through gritted teeth, “That you are Head Boy opposite my Head Girl.”

James felt himself turn red.

“And that, although you hate me, Potter-”

James winced.

“-We still need to act civilly to one another in order to carry out our duties. Which is what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Lily saw James twitch slightly and knew that he was embarrassed.

“Ok, fine,” said James coldly, eyeing her stonily. “What about it?”

“Well, are you free tomorrow night to meet up for a meeting?”

“Where?”

“The Room of Requirement?”

“Fine. Time?”

“Um, eight o’clock?”

“Sure. See you then.”

And with that, James had turned around, pushed open the tapestry and disappeared.

Lily stood, rooted to the spot in shock, reeling at how abrupt James had been. Fighting back tears, she turned around and walked down the passageway, pursing her lips in an effort to keep herself together.

She had just stepped out into a corridor when someone touched her on the shoulder.

Jumping in surprise, she spun round to see Severus Snape looking at her with a worried expression on his face.

“Oh, hey Sev,” said Lily quietly, blinking furiously.

“What’s the matter?” asked Severus, looking concerned. “Why are you crying?”

“I’m not crying!” said Lily sharply, wiping quickly at her eyes.

“Yes, you are. What’s happened?”

“It’s nothing,” she said, looking away.

“Lily, you’re a bad liar. Who has upset you?”

“It doesn’t matter, Sev!”

“Yes, it does. Talk to me Lily.”

Swallowing hard, Lily said, “Can we go somewhere quieter?”

“Ok,” replied Snape, following her as she led him into an empty classroom.

As Lily began to pace the room, she could feel his eyes on her.

Taking a steadying breath, she said as calmly as she could, “It’s Potter.”

She heard him inhale sharply and immediately began on the defence.

“Now, don’t start, Sev! It’s not how you think it is-”

“I’ll jinx him Lily, I swear, I’ll pay him back for whatever-”

No! Sev, I told you – it’s not like that. It’s me…I’ve done something.”

Lily saw Severus’ head tilt slightly and knew that he was curious.

“Go on.”

Lily told him about all that had happened in Potions and the ensuing argument in Gryffindor Tower.

Severus listened without interruption, but as soon as she’d finished speaking, he said coldly, “It sounds like he deserved it.”

“Sev!” cried Lily aghast. “I’m the one in the wrong, not him!”

“You made one mistake, Lily. He’s made thousands. Mostly at my expense,” he added bitterly.

“Sev, are you always going to hate him?” asked Lily, sighing slightly.

“Yes,” replied Severus immediately. “He’s not worth your tears, Lily. Anyway, I thought you didn’t care what Potter said or did?”

“I-I,” stammered Lily, “I just don’t think I was fair and I-”

“You like him, don’t you?” said Severus accusingly.

“No, I-”

“You do!” exclaimed Severus disbelievingly. “And after all you’ve said-!”

“You’ve got no right to judge me, Sev! A person can change, he’s matured-”

“A poisonous toad-stool doesn’t change its spots,” spat Severus, “And neither has Potter. He’s got you under his spell Lily, just like I said he would-”

“You make me sound like an object – incapable of having a will of my own!”

“That’s all he sees you as!” cried Severus in disgust. “Just another trophy to add to his already huge collection – another notch on his bedpost-”

Lily slapped him.

How dare you! As if I would ever sleep with him! I’m not stupid, Sev! I know things have been hard between us lately but you’re the one who would sink to such lows, not me!”

Severus’ expression, which had looked hurt that Lily had slapped him, turned to outrage.

“I’m not gay! I’d never have sex with that piece of sh-”

“I meant that you’ve changed, Sev, not that you’re gay!”

“Oh,” said Severus, two dull-spots of colour appearing on his cheeks. “Never mind then.”

Lily couldn’t help but laugh.

“You know, for someone so smart, you can be awfully stupid sometimes!” she grinned at him.

Severus reluctantly smiled back.

“Look, we’ll be late for class. We can resume this subject another time. What say we go to Hogsmeade together next weekend?”

“What about your Death Eater pals?” she said, her grin fading.

“What about them?” replied Snape dismissively. “They don’t own me – I can do what I want, with whomever I want.”

Lily bit back the retort that she was about to utter and simply said, “Ok, that would be lovely.”

“Good,” smiled Severus. “Shall we go to Transfiguration?”

“If we must,” laughed Lily, quickly checking her reflection to make sure she didn’t look as though she’d been crying.

Ignoring Severus’ quip about her being vain, she stalked out of the room and refused to listen to him unless he apologised to her, although she was grinning as she said it, so Severus didn’t take her seriously.

 

*

 

James Potter angrily slammed down his bag on the desk, causing Sirius to look up at him in mild surprise.

“Time of the month, is it?” he asked, ducking as one of James’ books came flying at his head.

“Give it a rest, Sirius – I’m not in the mood!”

“Clearly,” said Sirius, straightening up. “Who’s got your broomstick in a twist? Not Evans still, surely?”

James ignored him and took his seat, grinding his teeth slightly as he thought back, yet again, to his argument with Lily the other day.

Why couldn’t he get that girl out of his head?

He looked up as the classroom door opened and practically exploded with jealousy and rage at the scene in front of him.

Lily Evans was laughing happily with Severus Snape, who currently had his arms around her.

“No! Stop! Sev, you know I’m ticklish, get off!” she squealed, twisting around in attempt to get away from him and found herself staring into his eyes…

A loud bang! to their right caused Lily and Severus to spring apart.

Both looked around wildly for the cause of the explosion and their eyes settled on James Potter and Sirius Black, who were both covered in soil and pottery.

Lily’s eyes locked with James’ and she found herself oddly flustered. Bowing her head, she raced over to her seat and quickly took out a textbook, which she then hid behind.

Severus, on the other hand, gave James a triumphant smirk and casually glided over to sit next to Lily.

James could feel himself shaking with rage.

“That slimy git!” he growled.

Sirius, who was brushing leaves out of his hair, replied, “Agreed.”

“He did that on purpose, flaunting Lily in front of me like that! Oh, the next time I see him, he’s going to wish he was never born!”

“Er, James? Slightly overreacting, aren’t we? I thought you didn’t even like Evans anymore?”

But James was too busy glaring at Snape to answer.

No-one was going to take Lily Evans away from him – especially not slimy-Snivellus-Snape!

But that still didn’t mean he’d forgiven her…


Chapter 10: Light vs Dark
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            Lily could feel James’ eyes on her as she sat listening to Severus talking about how he had found a way to stop a Mandrake-cry killing you.

“…and so, once you’ve let it brew for two months, you place a dead Mandrake in it and stir it five times counter-clockwise. Once it turns orange, you quickly place it in a flask and I’m really not interesting you, am I?”

“Hmm?” said Lily distractedly, blinking as Severus shook her out of her thoughts.

Severus gave her a hard look then looked over the other side of the room, to see James staring at them.

“Something I can help you with, Potter?” he enquired, looking both smug and annoyed at the same time.

“How about washing your hair, you filthy grease-ball?” spat James, angrily.

Sirius guffawed heartily next to him as Severus turned pink.

Lily caught his hand as he plunged it into his robes, intent on pulling out his wand and cursing James into oblivion.

“Don’t start!” said Lily furiously, glaring at Severus and James in turn.

Lily couldn’t stand another fight between James and Severus. She didn’t care that they hated each other – duelling was not an option.

“Let’s all just…just relax. Talk about fluffy things and…wonder where the rest of the class is…” she finished, a frown on her face.

“Where is the rest of the class?”

Sirius, James and Severus all looked around the room, as though this action would cause the class to appear.

“Were we ‘sposed to go to the Library or something?” asked James.

“Probably,” replied Sirius, looking supremely unconcerned.

“We should go and look,” said Lily, getting to her feet.

Severus followed suit, much to James' annoyance.

No way was he letting Snape go anywhere alone with Lily.

“Come on, Sirius,” he said, standing up and elbowing him in the process.

“Oi! Where’re you going?”

“To find our class!”

Sirius looked confused, then glanced over at the door and saw Snape and Lily leaving together.

Rolling his eyes, he said, “You’re such a loser, Prongs,” but heaved himself up all the same.

James glared at him.

“James, are you coming?” called Lily from the other side of the room.

James felt his stomach do a back-flip at the sound of Lily saying his name, but Lily’s stomach was doing more of a sickening lurch as she realised what she’d just done.

No way were she and Potter going to be on speaking terms through any action of hers. She’d apologised - now he had to make the effort to accept it.

“Ooh, check it out, Prongs,” whispered Sirius. “Looks like you’re in there, mate!”

“Shut up,” hissed James.

The pair of them hurried to catch up with Lily and Snape, who had just gotten to the end of the corridor.

“So,” said James, trying to act cool as he watched Snivellus inch ever closer to his beloved, “You two an item then?”

The shock on both Lily and Snape’s faces were priceless.

Snape recovered first, and bitingly replied, “Shut your face, Potter! Although it may be hard for someone as dim-witted as you to understand, girls and boys can actually spend time together without fancying each other!”

James raised his eyebrows.

“Well, actually, Snivellus, I can understand the principle of a girl and a guy being just friends – it’s just that we all know that that isn’t how you regard Lily, is it?”

Snape’s face flooded with colour, and James smirked, satisfied.

He began to walk past the two of them, but his smirk was replaced with a look of worry, as Lily broke away from Snape and strode towards him.

 “What is your problem, Potter?! Leave Sev- No! Sev, don’t!

James looked round just in time to see a fist swing towards his face.

The resounding crunch made Lily wince.

James bought a hand up to his bleeding nose.

“Oh, that’s gonna cost you!” he snarled, pulling out his wand as he did so.

“James, don’t!” cried Lily, but the words had barely left her mouth when Severus yelled “Protego!

Lily had to duck as the curse rebounded towards her.

“Sev!” she yelled, as the wall behind her exploded.

But neither James nor Severus was listening. They were both glaring at one another, daring the other to make the first move.

Sirius was currently watching them like a predator watches its prey, ready to strike the minute he thought James was in trouble.

But Lily had had enough. She strode over to Severus, intent on talking him out of this ridiculous fight but just as she reached him, James shouted, “Impedimenta!

The force of the spell blew her off her feet and she crashed into a stone-gargoyle.

James looked horrified at what he’d done.

“Lily!” he yelled, just as Snape did the same thing and they collided as they both raced to check that Lily was ok.

“Get out of my way, you scumbag!” roared James, punching Snape in the face.

Snape responded by spitting in his face.

“You’re the fucking scumbag, not me Potter!”

The pair suddenly found themselves flying through the air. James smashed into a potted plant and Snape landed awkwardly on his side.

Gasping as he dragged himself to his feet, James looked round wildly and saw Lily glaring at him, her wand in one hand, as she wiped her bleeding lip with the other.

“Lily, I’m sorry, I-”

James grimaced as he heard another vase smash behind him.

“Oh, just go away, Potter!” spat Lily, tears running down her face as she dragged herself to her feet.

Slapping away James’ helping hand, she hurried off to the hospital wing, leaving James to stare after her, and wonder if he’d ruined everything.

He didn’t even grin when he heard Snape yell, as Sirius’ curse hit him.

He did, however, freeze at the unmistakeable tone of Minerva McGonagall.

 “SEVERUS SNAPE, SIRIUS BLACK, AND JAMES POTTER!  WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK YOU ARE PLAYING AT?!”

Turning slowly around, he was met with the unpleasant sight of Snape’s greasy head, right in front of his face.

“Oh, god, move over greasy,” he said disgustedly.

“Potter!” roared McGonagall, making him jump. “I am absolutely appalled at this! Your attitude, it’s just… unacceptable! This is not the kind of behaviour I expect from the Head Boy! You will come to Dumbledore’s office at 8pm, and explain yourself. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself stripped of your title!”

James gasped.

“But… Professor-”

“No buts! You are in serious trouble! And I don’t know why you’re sniggering, Snape! You and Black both have detention – for a week!”

James barely heard their protests – he was too wrapped up in his own dire situation.

Stripped of his Head Boy status?

He couldn’t believe it.

No, he couldn’t believe himself, his stupidity!

He’d thought that his immature days of being an absolute git were gone – how very wrong he’d been.

And now, he was going to have to pay the price.

Perhaps Lily had been right about him all along…

Chapter 11: Short vs Sweet
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Lily was just getting up, ready to leave after Madam Pompfrey had patched up her war wounds, when the hospital wing doors burst open and in flew Romeda and Alice, both looking flushed, but excited.

“Lily, Lily! Guess what?! Guess what’s happened!” gasped Romeda, her eyes shining with anticipation.

Lily raised her eyebrows.

“Hey, Lily, how are you? I hope you’re ok, seeing as how you’re in the hospital wing!” she replied sarcastically.

Romeda just rolled her eyes.

“Oh, shut up, Lils, of course you’re alright! I’d hardly call crashing into the wall a major injury!”

“Uh!” said Lily, her mouth hanging open.

“Aw, Lils, don’t look like that! We have much more important stuff to talk about-!”

“-Yeah, like how James Potter’s going to have his Head Boy badge taken off him!” cut in Alice excitedly.

“What?!” shrieked Lily, causing Giles Fawcett, who was laying in the bed next to her, to gasp in pain as he snapped his neck round to see what had happened.

“Miss Evans!” cried Madam Pompfrey, appalled. “There are very sick patients in here, and I do not wish for them to be disturbed!”

“Sorry, Madam Pompfrey,” she said sheepishly, signalling for Alice and Romeda to leave the hospital wing with her.

As soon as they were clear of Madam Pompfrey, Lily burst out, “What happened?! How come it’s being taken off of him?!”

“Something about Professor McGonagall catching him, Black and Snape duelling with each other!”

“Yeah, it’s a good job you scampered when you did Lils; she might’ve demanded you give up your badge too!”

“What, so he’s not Head Boy anymore?!”

“Nothing’s been confirmed, but I would say that outcome is very likely.”

Lily couldn’t believe what she was hearing!

She knew she’d threatened James with getting his Head Boy-ship taken away from him, but she’d never really meant it, and she did genuinely think that he was a good head boy.

A slightly bent one, but good nonetheless!

“I’m going to see Professor Dumbledore,” she burst out, surprising Alice and Romeda.

“What?!” gasped Alice, staring at her wide-eyed.

“I thought you hated James now,” added Romeda, looking bewildered. “Surely this is what you wanted?! I mean, he did hex you, and you two had that massive fight-”

“I know,” said Lily, “But that doesn’t mean I want him to lose his badge! It means everything to him!”

To Lily’s great surprise, Romeda and Alice looked at each other, grinned, then burst out laughing.

“What?! Why are you laughing at me?! Alice! Romeda! What did I do?!”

“It’s just… you-”spluttered Alice, shaking her head.

“‘Oh that James Potter makes my blood-boil; I can’t wait until we leave Hogwarts and I never have to see that obnoxious git again!’” quoted Romeda solemnly, as she regained some of her composure. “Wasn’t that what you said just last night, Lily? Or was it some other fiery red-head that shares our dorm?”

Lily turned red.

“When I said that, I… I just… It’s not that I like James now-”

“Oh, come off it, Lils!” grinned Romeda. “He’s gotten under your skin, and, you’ve gotta admit, you like it.”

“I do not!”

“You do too,” said Alice, with a smirk.

“I-” began Lily, but suddenly remembered a very similar argument she’d had with a certain arrogant, albeit very attractive, Gryffindor.

Lily froze.

She couldn’t believe what she’d just thought!

“Oh god,” she muttered, looking terrified. “I haven’t-”

“You have!” chorused Alice and Romeda, grinning widely.

“Noooo!” cried Lily, burying her face in her hands. “Oh, mother of Merlin, my life is over!!”

Her friends eyed her bemusedly.

“He’s not that bad,” commented Romeda, smiling slightly.

“It’s not that he’s bad,” said Lily, lifting up her head and shaking it. “It’s just that I’ve spent nearly seven years saying how much of a toad he is, and how stupid the girls who liked him were, and now I’m one of them! Oh, I’ll never live this down!!!”

A sudden horrible, terrible, thought crossed Lily’s mind.

“You won’t tell him, will you?!” she gasped, looking at her friends frantically. “If you did… if he found out… well, at least there’s only half a year left in which to bask in the humiliation!”

“Oh, for crying out loud, Lily, we’re not gonna tell!” laughed Romeda, smacking Lily on the arm. “We’re not that mean! Now, if you wanna go and save your love, then-”

“Andromeda!”

“Alright, alright! And don’t call me Andromeda!”

Lily just glared.

“Quit glaring Lily, and put your running shoes on!”

Lily frowned.

“Why?” she asked confusedly.

“’Cause if you wanna save James’ neck, then I suggest you get to Dumbledore’s study pronto – it’s two minutes to eight.”

“What?!” she gasped, grabbing Romeda’s wrist in an attempt to see her watch. “How did it get so late?!”

“Ah, Lils, you know what Madam Pompfrey’s like!”

“Argh, I’ve gotta go!” cried Lily, panic evident in her voice. “Get out of my way!”

“We’re not in your way, you silly cow! Dumbledore’s office is that way!”

As Lily spun round and tore down the corridor, Romeda looked at Alice and said, with a smirk, “How long do you give it until she starts dating him?”

“Two weeks?”

“You’re on.”

 

Chapter 12: Sincerity vs Humour
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As Lily rushed along the corridor that led to the entrance of Dumbledore’s study, she quickly tried to formulate an argument in her mind.

On the one hand, James had cursed her, causing her to spend almost an entire day in the hospital wing. But, on the other, and as much as she hated to admit it, she liked working with James, and didn’t fancy having to find a new balance with somebody else.

No, it would be much better if James remained as Head Boy.

All she had to do was convince Dumbledore of this.

 

*

 

James fidgeted nervously as he waited for Dumbledore to sit down.

He really really didn’t want Dumbledore to take his Head Boy badge off of him.

Being able to stand the silence no more, James began, “Sir, I know that I’ve been an idiot-”

“It has always fascinated me, Mr Potter,” said Dumbledore, pressing his long fingers together and fixing James with a piercing stare, “when it comes to the prospect of losing one’s high position, how repentant one becomes. If one were not in danger of being demoted, I rather suspect that there would be no remorse. Am I correct?”

James blushed.

He always felt as though Dumbledore’s piercing blue eyes could see right through him, and now really wasn’t a time when he wanted Dumbledore knowing what he was thinking.

“Look, Sir, I know that I’ve acted like a complete idiot, and I probably don’t deserve to keep my badge, but I just lost it when I saw… uh… well, um…” James coughed uncomfortably.

Dumbledore smiled knowingly.

“It has been brought to my attention that yourself and Miss Evans have had a fight. Is that correct?”

James reddened further and nodded.

“And what, may I ask, was the argument about?”

“Um…” stammered James, uncertain as of how to answer. “Lily- I mean Evans - thought that I’d been going through her bag, which I hadn’t. She got really mad and said loads of stuff that really pissed – uh, I mean, annoyed – me, so I lost my temper and, um-”

“Took it out on the contents of Gryffindor’s 7th Year boys’ dormitory?”

“Um,” said James sheepishly, “Yeah.”

He faltered for a moment, wondering whether Dumbledore was going to tell him off, but Dumbledore merely smiled and began to hum slightly.

“Um, and then Evans came and apologised, and said that she’d like to be, uh, friends… A-and I told her that… that I didn’t want to be,” finished James, bowing his head slightly and mentally slapping himself for the hundredth time for turning down Lily’s offer.

“I see. You did not wish to accept Miss Evans’ apology?”

“No,” blurted out James, “No, I just… didn’t want to be friends with her…”

“You wanted to be more?” nodded Dumbledore.

James’ insides shrivelled with embarrassment.

How did Dumbledore know this?!

“Mr Potter, despite Professor McGonagall’s insistence that you be stripped of your title, I do not have any plans to do so.”

James looked up at Dumbledore disbelievingly.

“Y-you’re not taking my badge away?” he breathed, hardly daring to believe what he was hearing.

“No, I am not. As much as I do not condone violence, I have it on good authority that you were under a lot of stress when you attacked Mr Snape – after all, it’s not easy seeing the one that we love dallying with someone else, is it?”

James did not answer, but Dumbledore’s question seemed to be rhetorical.

After a brief pause, during which Dumbledore muttered something about needing to brush-up on his Shakespeare, James realised that now was probably the right time to leave.

Pushing his chair back, he stuck out his hand, feeling slightly foolish as he did so.

Dumbledore took it, a slightly bemused look on his face, and shook it.

“I really appreciate this, sir, and I promise you, I won’t put another foot wrong.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t go as far as promising that,” chuckled Dumbledore, withdrawing his hand from James’. “A bit of Marauders’-style mischief never hurt anybody… except, perhaps, the Slytherins.”

James laughed nervously.

Dumbledore really was the least conventional Head Master Hogwarts had ever seen!

Picking up his school bag, he gave a final nod to Dumbledore, and headed for the door.

Just as his hand settled on the door knob, it flew open, smacking him in the face and sending him sprawling onto the floor.

Clutching his nose, he looked up with watering eyes to see who had come hurling through the door.

 

 

*

 

“James!” cried Lily, gasping as she realised what she’d hit when she had flung the door open. “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!”

Rushing over to him, she knelt down and gingerly took in the state of his face.

“Is it broken?” she whispered, placing a hand over her mouth.

James gingerly prodded his nose and yelped.

“Yep,” he said, wincing, “Yep, I think you’ve broken it good and proper!”

Lily looked horrified.

I am so sorry! I didn’t realise you’d be right behind the door! I only just heard from Alice and Romeda that Dumbledore was thinking of taking your badge off of you! I’m not too late, am I?! Stupid Peeves caught me as I got to the stone gargoyles, and it took me five minutes just to get him to let me through! But I’m here now, and I’m willing to fight for your title; where’s Dumbledore?!”

Looking around wildly, she spotted him sat at his desk, looking highly amused.

“Professor,” said Lily, standing up and moving towards him, “I know that James can be a bit of an idiot sometimes, and slightly too arrogant for his own good, but he does really care about being Head Boy, and I think it’s wholly unfair to deprive Hogwarts of his, admittedly less than normal, approach to head boy-ship. I mean, you yourself are hardly what one could call conventional, and yet you’re the best head master Hogwarts has ever had!”

“Oh, you flatter me so, Miss Evans,” smiled Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling. “But you needn’t worry – Mr Potter’s position is as secure as it ever was.”

“What?!” cried Lily, spinning round to look at James, who was currently in the process of searching for a tissue to stem the blood that was flowing from his broken nose. “You’re still Head Boy? Why didn’t you tell me?!”

“I think the small event of getting smacked in the face with a door by a rather excitable red-head drove the thought from his mind somewhat,” beamed Dumbledore, rising from his chair. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting to attend to with the Minister of Magic. Feel free to occupy my office for as long as it takes to, ah, sort out your differences.”

With a small wink, he waltzed past Lily, who was still reeling from the fact that James had not been dismissed, pulled open the door, and gently closed it behind him, chortling slightly as he did so.

When Lily heard the door click shut, she felt a wave of fear wash over her.

James had attacked her; did that mean he hated her?

Turning around slowly, she noticed that James was turning steadily whiter as he struggled to stop his nose bleed.

Rushing over, she waved her wand, causing the bleeding to stop immediately.

With another wave, she repaired the damage to his nose, adding in a blood-replenishing charm for good measure.

Sniffing, James said gratefully, “Thanks. I think I’m part-haemophilic.”

“Is that even possible?” laughed Lily, reddening a bit.

“Who knows?”

There was an awkward pause.

“James…” began Lily, but he cut in.

“Lily, earlier, when I cursed you, I swear I didn’t mean to! I was aiming for Snape and you just got in the way… I honestly never meant to hurt you. I’d never hurt you, Lils.”

Lily opened her mouth to protest that he shouldn’t have been cursing anyone, but closed it again, a small smile appearing on her face.

“I’m sorry that I accused you of stealing my stuff,” she said softly, looking him in the eyes.

“And I’m sorry that I completely flew off the handle and wouldn’t accept your apology,” replied James, staring back at her.

“Does… does that mean you have now?” she asked, feeling slightly nervous.

“If it’s still there to be accepted,” said James, hoping with all his might that it was.

“It is,” nodded Lily.

“Then I accept!” laughed James.

Lily laughed too.

“Ok, good – perhaps we might actually be able to get on for more than two seconds without biting each others’ heads off!”

“Here’s hoping!” grinned James.

“Right, well, I best be off. You should really go and get your nose checked out – I don’t know how temporary my mending is, and it still looks a bit wonky if you ask me.”

“Ok,” nodded James, “I’ll do that.”

“Ok then,” said Lily, “I’ll see you later.”

 Turning around to leave, she was filled with a sudden urge to hug James.

Taking a deep breath, she turned back round to face him and gave him a quick hug, before darting out of the door.

Five minutes later, James was still rooted to the spot, his face frozen in shock.

Lily Evans had actually hugged him!

HIM!

James Potter.

Head Boy.

Clinically arrogant.

Him!

His face suddenly broke into a grin.

Maybe all was not lost after all!

 

Chapter 13: Loss vs Gain
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The following day, both James and Lily felt a lot happier than they had done in ages.

Having finally swept all their previous arguments and misconceptions under the rug, they were now free to actually enjoy each other’s company – much to the delight of Sirius, who was busily taking bets on how long it would take Lily and James to lock lips, and had so far taken 10 galleons worth – and that was just from his fellow Gryffindors!

It was whilst he was collecting one of these bets from Richard Playwright, a 4th Year Gryffindor, that he noticed James’ school bag lying partially open on the floor, a small flask just visible between the gap.

Checking that Playwright was still looking for his money, Sirius bent down and pulled the flask out of the bag.

Pulling out the stopper, he sniffed it gingerly.

“Oh, James, James, James,” he grinned, shaking his head as he put the stopper back in the flask. “I never would have believed it. A love potion, huh? Well, I guess now I know how you got all those girls last year.”

Fully intending to put the flask back, he felt his heart stop momentarily as he heard a voice behind him.

“Hey, Padfoot, what’ve you got there?” said James, walking over from the portrait hole he’d just climbed through.

“Oh, nothing,” said Sirius, hastily stuffing the flask into the side pocket of his robes. “Just seeing if I’ve got enough money on me to bribe Peter into letting me copy his work, that’s all.”

“What work?” asked James, looking suddenly worried.

“That foot-long essay that we got from Binns yesterday, which is due in after lunch.”

“Crap!” cried James, now searching his own pockets. “I completely forgot about that! How much do you reckon Peter’ll take?”

“Just promise to give him Quidditch lessons – that’ll make all his dreams come true. But make sure you mention my name in the bargain – I’m not as rich as I once was, you know, seeing as how my parents have disowned me and all.”

James laughed.

“Your mum still sending you Howlers, huh?”

“Only every other day now, but the house-elves are starting to complain; all the explosions at breakfast are making scorch-marks on the table.”

James grinned.

“Why don’t you send her one back?”

“Now there’s an idea!” said Sirius, his eyes suddenly alight with mischief. “Ooh, yes, I can see it now: I could disguise it as something else, and maybe it’ll blow up in Kreacher’s hands, and…”

It was whilst Sirius was rambling excitedly about the prospect of his mother’s house-elf acquiring third-degree burns, that Richard Playwright had found the money he owed him.

“Hey, Black, I’ve got that money for you.”

Sirius froze.

“What money?” asked James, looking suspicious.

“For the bet,” replied Playwright, looking at James like he was an idiot.

“What be-”

“Oh, ha ha ha, Playwright, you’re such a laugh!” cried Sirius, bounding over to him, looking alarmed. “You know it’s Peter making bets, not me!”

“But you said that-”

“-Bets were despicable, and anyone taking them should be reported! Yes, I did indeed, and I tell you what! Why don’t you go and shop Peter right now, eh? Yep? Ok. Bu-bye now!”

And with that he shoved a very confused looking Playwright through the portrait hole.

Turning back around, he mimed brushing his hands together and smiled innocently at James.

“Ready for good old transfiguration, Prongs?”

James raised his eyebrows, a grin on his face.

“You’re a terrible liar, Padfoot.”

“Oh, I know,” he grinned, deciding that James didn’t look particularly mad. “And you love me for it.”

“Sirius! There will be no gay exploits today, thank you very much!” gasped James in mock outrage.

Sirius pretended to look disappointed.

“Damn it. But, in all fairness, we do need to keep you pure for Evans…”

“Shut your mouth,” said James, but couldn’t quite contain the happy smile that was spreading across his face.

“Awww,” snickered Sirius. “She like you now, does she?”

“I don’t know,” said James, his face suddenly serious. “But I don’t think she hates me, which is a definite improvement.”

“Exactly,” nodded Sirius.

“Hey guys?” said a voice from the portrait hole.

Looking round, they saw Peter was standing there, looking slightly nervous.

“Um, McGonagall sent me to tell you two to hurry up – apparently we have a really important lesson, or something.”

“Right-o,” said Sirius cheerfully, climbing out of the portrait hole and chucking Peter playfully under the chin. “Lead the way, Wormtail!”

Frowning as he rubbed his chin, he said to Sirius, “Why do you always do that?”

“Because he fancies you,” said James, who had climbed through after Sirius. “Take it as a compliment – only the hottest girls at school get that kind of treatment!”

“Thanks,” muttered Peter sarcastically, still rubbing his chin.

“Aw, come on, Wormy, don’t get all sulky!” said Sirius, pulling him into a side embrace, and rubbing his hair affectionately.

“Don’t!” said Peter angrily, pulling away from him and flattening his hair.

“Alright, stress ball!” said Sirius, holding his hands up in mock surrender. “Jeez, ever since you got partnered with Snivellus in Potions you’ve been a right moody git!”

“I have not,” said Peter tetchily, pushing past Sirius and James.

As he reached the end of the corridor, he turned around, his face cover in annoyance, and said, “Oh, and how come McGonagall says I’ve got to see her after class for taking bets on how long it’ll take James to snog Evans?!”

Sirius and James hopped into Transfiguration ten minutes later, both swearing they had no idea who’d cursed them with the leg locker curse.

Both flat-out denied that they’d cursed each other.

Once McGonagall had taken the spell off of them, they motioned to go and sit in their usual spaces, but found to their distaste that the places were no longer available.

“Why are Crabbe and Walters sat in our spaces, Professor?” asked Sirius, with a frown.

“As soon as I assign you your new places, you shall find out,” replied McGonagall crisply. “Now, Mr Black, you will be sat with Miss Ford, and Mr Potter, you will be sat with Miss Evans.”

James grinned as he took his seat next to Lily.

“Don’t get too comfortable, Mr Potter,” said McGonagall sternly. “I assure you, comfort is something that is going to be in short supply this week…”

James looked uncertainly at Lily.

“Do you know what she’s talking about?”

“I haven’t a clue, but I’m sure whatever it is, it can’t be good. And it must be something that deals with maturity, because if you haven’t noticed already, every boy has been paired with a girl.”

James looked round and saw that Lily was right.

Remus had been paired with Andromeda Black, Peter was paired with Anita Abdul and Lily’s friend Alice had been paired with Frank Longbottom again.

“Now, as you may all have noticed, you are each sat with a member of the opposite sex-”

“Oh, I don’t know Professor,” piped up Sirius. “I’m not too sure whether Snape counts as a guy or not.”

“That will do, Black,” snapped McGonagall, as the rest of class, bar Lily, snickered and Snape flushed red, “Unless you want a detention on top of your parenting duties.”

“What?!” cried Sirius, along with the rest of the class.

“That will do,” shouted McGonagall again. “Now, due to a sudden usurp of teenage pregnancies at Hogwarts-”

“Ida Miller!” shouted Ian Thomas.

“Leanne Billsworth!” yelled Kelly Taylor.

“That’s enough!” she barked. “Suffice it to say, this isn’t a situation that we’re very happy with. So, to try and combat it, we have decided to try an exercise used in the muggle world to discourage teenagers such as yourselves from not using… protection.” She said the final word as though it left a bad taste in her mouth, which caused a number of the students to snigger.

So,” said McGonagall sharply, ignoring them, “That is why you are all being presented with one of these…”

As she said this she waved her wand, and on each desk materialised a perfect copy of a baby, complete with tear-ducts and a full set of lungs.

“Oh, bloody hell!” yelled James over the screaming. “We have to look after one of these all day?!”

“For one week, Mr Potter,” replied McGonagall, a smile threatening to appear on her lips.

“A week?!” cried James, looking horrified. “When am I supposed to study?!”

Lily snorted as she picked up the baby.

“Like you ever study.”

“Well, I will do now, if it gets me out of looking after one of these things!”

“Oh, you are so un-parental!” scoffed Lily, smiling at the baby in her arms adoringly. “What do we call them?” she asked McGonnagal.

“Whatever you wish,” she said sternly, not too happy about how pleased Lily looked. “But please do remember that by the end of the week, the babies will cease to exist. So don’t get attached!”

There were a few cries of protest at this, but again McGonnagal ignored them.

“So what are we actually ‘sposed to do with them?” asked Sirius, looking uncertain as he inspected one of his baby’s tiny hands. “You teachers don’t actually expect us to parent them, do you?!”

“Of course we do,” responded McGonnagal, eyebrows raised. “However, if you do mistreat your baby – forgetting to change its nappy, feed it, etc. – then we will know, and you shall be punished appropriately. You must also work effectively with your assigned partners. Scheduling will, of course, be needed in order for you to continue your studies and keep to other commitments, such as quidditch. However, you will not be allowed to ‘dump’ your baby on one of the staff.”

“Each couple will be issued with a baby-pack, complete with all of the products and objects that you will need. Those partnered with someone from another House will have to sort out who has the baby when, as there will be no allowance of inter-house common room meetings. If you do really need help, you may go and see Madam Pompfrey.”

“Happy parenting!”

And with that, McGonnagal exited the room, leaving a class full of worried-looking 7th Years in her wake.

“Anyone up for permanent baby-sitting duties?” asked Sirius dully, as he wiped baby sick off of his shoulder.

“Only if you take mine,” said James, eyeing the baby apprehensively.

“Oh, James, he’s the cutest little thing I ever did see,” cooed Lily, tickling her baby under the chin. “What shall we call him?”

“A nuisance?” suggested James. “Ow!”

“Don’t be mean – he’ll have a proper name.”

“How about Dick?”

“James!”

“Alright, alright! Noah?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because I want our baby to be allowed to decide for himself whether he follows Christian teachings, and giving him a name like that would seem like we were coercing him into doing so!”

“Lily, it’s not real…”

“Shut up.”

Hey guys! Thank you all so much for your reviews and encouragement! I was just wondering whether you'd like to read some trivia for the story, e.g. different ways chapters were going to end.
Let me know:)
Thanks again!!:)


Chapter 14: Babies vs Teenagers
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James was sat with the baby on his lap, smiling softly at Lily, who was laid on the sofa opposite him, fast asleep.

After the initial shock of being issued with a ready-made baby, James had found that he actually quite enjoyed playing Dad.

Admittedly, the first few hours of parenthood had not been smooth ones…

Eleven Hours Earlier

“Oh my God!”

“James, it’s only a bit of poo!”

It had been four hours since Professor McGonnagal had introduced the seventh years to their little bundles of joy, and some were adjusting far quicker than others.

“But it’s all runny, and smells like sh-”

“James! Kindly do not swear in front of the baby! And of course it smells like the ‘s’ word – that’s what it is!”

“It could at least have the decency to use the loo, like other human beings do!”

“It’s five months old!”

“So?”

“Oh, I give up!” said Lily, exasperatedly.

She glanced down at the screaming baby and shook her head.

“I just can’t understand why he’s still crying,” she said, frowning. “I’ve changed his nappy, you fed him at lunch, and-”

“Uh, well actually…” began James, apprehensively.

“You didn’t feed him?!” cried Lily, staring at him disbelievingly. “What is wrong with you?!”

“I just… kind of… forgot?”

“You forgot?! How could you forget?! Wasn’t all the crying a bit of an indication to you that you may have forgotten to do something?!”

“Well, no, not really! I just assumed babies cried all the time!”

Lily mouthed soundlessly at him.

“What?! It was one teensy mistake, Lily!” cried James, trying to defend himself. “It’s not like it’s the end of the world!”

“He could have starved James!” screamed Lily, holding the baby protectively against her. “Doesn’t that mean anything to you?!”

“It’s not real, Lils!” shouted James, unable to see why she was getting so upset about the situation. “It’s just an illusion!”

“You are unbelievable,” spat Lily, staring incredulously. “You really really are! How can you just… just… just be like this! Are you telling me that there is not a single paternal bone in your body?!”

“I’m seventeen, Lily! I don’t need to feel paternal right now!”

“Oh, that is so immature, James!”

“So, I’m immature because I don’t feel the need to knock some girl up?! How is that bad!?

James’ ear-drums were saved from Lily’s reply by the sudden addition of a new screaming baby, who was held in the arms of a weary looking Sirius.

“I am never, ever going to get a girl knocked up,” he informed them, looking at the baby in his arms as though it were some sort of alien life form. “I just can’t take it!”

“You know what, Potter,” snapped Lily, ignoring Sirius. “I think you should look after the baby for the next couple of hours – maybe then you’ll show a bit of maturity!”

And with that, she put the baby back on the changing mat and stormed out, leaving James to stare apprehensively at the, once again, screaming five month old.

He looked at Sirius, who backed away, shaking his head.

“Oh, no,” he said, staring wide-eyed at James. “I can barely deal with one baby, let alone two! No, mate, you’re on your own with this one!”

And then he too left just as fast as he could, holding his baby awkwardly in one arm.

James watched him go as mild panic began welling up inside him.

How on earth was he meant to cope on his own?

Lily seemed to know instinctively what to do, yet he felt as though he were floundering in the middle of the black lake, without a life-belt.

And then sudden inspiration hit him.

Picking up the baby, and popping it on his hip, like Lily always did, he started rummaging through the bag of things they’d been given to help them look after their baby, and pulled out a book entitled ‘How to care for your little one’.

The relief that swept through him as he flicked through the book and found all the instructions he needed was second to none.

The first thing he knew he had to do was feed it. Finding an empty bottle in the bag, he settled himself down in one of the armchairs near to the fire and repeated the incantation he found in the book next to a diagram of a bottle filled with milk. The bottle filled up before his eyes and he smiled.

Adjusting the baby so he was in the right position to feed, he placed the teat of the bottle to its mouth.

The baby’s eyes flicked up to look at him, as though saying, ‘Are you sure this is alright for me to drink?’

James couldn’t help a small smile appearing on his face as he watched it decide that it was ok, latch onto the teat and begin sucking greedily.

Despite all the crying and dribbling and stuff, the baby really was rather cute.

He continued to feed the baby, but levitated the book in front of him so that he could continue to read it.

By half past two in the afternoon, the baby was fast asleep and he felt as though his brain could absorb no more.

He’d decided to name the baby Al, after a famous muggle actor Lily was always going on about.

He did, after all, want to make her happy.

He was slightly annoyed that they’d already had a fight, and had barely been friends for a day!

It was then that Lily’s friend Alice walked in, looking absolutely shattered.

“Alice,” he whispered, getting carefully to his feet, Al in his arms, still fast asleep.

Alice jumped about a mile.

“James!” she cried, putting a hand on her chest. “Don’t do that!”

“Shh,” James hissed at her, nodding at Al.

Alice put her hand to her mouth and whispered, “Sorry!”

James smiled.

“It’s alright. Sorry I scared you.”

Alice shook her head.

“Don’t worry about it, I’m just tired. Mine and Frank’s baby just won’t stop crying. Thankfully Frank’s volunteered to look after it whilst I catch up on some work, and then we’ll swop later. Anyway, what’s up?”

James shifted Al slightly on his hip, and then said, staring embarrassedly at the floor, “Um, it’s about Lily. I, uh… I kind of upset her. But I want to make it up to her… I just don’t know how.”

He looked up to see Alice smiling knowingly at him, and blushed.

“Shut up.”

Alice pretended to not know what he was talking about.

“What? What did I do?”

James raised an eyebrow, and said sourly, “You know.”

She grinned.

“Alright,” she laughed, a glint of mischief flashing through her eyes, “So I do know what’s up. But, seriously, James – you need to stop making screw ups like this. Lily’s never going to agree to date you if you keep causing her to doubt you…”

James’ ears pricked up at this.

“Wait. You think she’d date me?”

“I’m not saying a word,” she said, shaking her head, but smirking all the while. “What I will say, though, is that Lily likes romance. She likes a guy who can surprise her - in a good way, I mean – and one that takes the time to notice and listen to her.”

I listen to her!” cried James, hastily lowering his voice as Al stirred in his arms. “I love listening to stuff she’s got to say!”

“Then prove it,” replied Alice, staring him straight in the eye. “You’ve got that Head’s meeting in the Room of Requirement, right?”

James’ eyes widened.

“Oh, yeah! God, I completely forgot about that!”

“Yeah, well, Lily hasn’t. And she’s just expecting it to be a boring, painful affair, so why don’t you spice stuff up a bit – give her an evening she’ll really remember…”

“But how do I-”

“Not my problem,” said Alice, with a wave of her hand, as she started to make her way to the girls’ dormitories. “I’ve given you your starting point – the rest is up to you!”

Just as she was about to go up the stairs, she turned round and said to James, who had been watching her go with a panicked expression on his face, “Oh, and James? Remember – Lily is a vegan. So don’t go giving her any of those disgusting Pork Scratchings you and Black like so much.”

Then she disappeared up the stairs, leaving James to wonder – what on earth was a vegan?

Chapter 15: Surprise vs Delight
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It was with a rapidly beating heart that James waited for Lily to return to the common room. He’d arranged for a house-elf to politely ask Lily to go to the common room instead of going down for dinner, made sure that the room could deal with his request, and had asked Alice if she’d look after Al for him.

Oh, and he’d changed his clothes and attempted to flatten his hair.

All in all, he was pretty happy with how things had gone so far.

But now came the hard part.

He felt his heart skip a beat as Lily came through the portrait hole, her pretty face tarnished with a look of confusion.

When she saw James standing there, looking unusually smart, she frowned.

“Where are you going?” she asked suspiciously, eyeing his purple shirt and flattened hair.

“Um,” he began nervously, twisting his hands, which he’d placed behind his back, together. “To the Room of Requirement. With you.”

Lily looked confused again.

“But why are you so dressed up?” she asked shrewdly.

“Erm,” coughed James, feeling his face starting to turn red. “I just thought it’d be, erm… that it’d be nice to wear something that wasn’t school robes or jeans for a change.”

Lily raised an eyebrow.

“Oh really?”

James nodded, too nervous to say anymore.

Lily regarded him for a moment, and then said, “Ok. If that’s how you want to play it. Where’ve you put the baby?”

“Do you mean Al?” he croaked.

“Who?”

“Al. I named the baby after that famous actor you like. Alan someone? Last name begins with an R, I think.”

“Oh, him,” said Lily, a dreamy expression crossing her face.

James felt slightly disgruntled.

“Yeah, him. But if you don’t like it, we-”

“Oh, no, Al’s perfect,” she smiled. “So, where is he?”

“I asked Alice to look after him for the evening. Give us time to properly discuss Head duties, and stuff. And for me to apologise,” he added quickly.

Lily blinked.

“For you to what?” She wasn’t sure if she’d heard him correctly.

“To, um, apologise,” he mumbled, staring at his feet. “For being such a git earlier.”

He looked up to see a slightly stunned expression on Lily’s face.

“If that’s alright with you,” he said hurriedly .

To his surprise, Lily burst out laughing.

“‘If that’s alright with you’,” she repeated, laughing even harder at the worried look on James’ face. “James, you don’t ask if it’s ok to apologise to someone!”

James really couldn’t tell if the laughing was a good or a bad thing.

“Are you mad?” he asked uncertainly, eyeing Lily anxiously.

“No!” she spluttered, shaking her head, and wiping her eyes. “I just think you’re a bit of an idiot sometimes!”

Not at all reassured, James looked to one of the portraits on the wall, who shook their head, and said, “Just lead her to the room. Otherwise she’ll never go.”

So James walked forward, gently took hold of one of Lily’s arms, and steered her out through the portrait hole.

And his biggest surprise?

She let him do it.

Lily watched as the stone wall in front of her moved to become a doorway, on which the letters ‘RR’ had been ornately carved.

“Very nice,” nodded Lily appreciatively. “Normally when I ask for the room the door is just your bog-standard kind. Did you ask for something more specific?”

“Uh, yeah,” said James gruffly, feeling himself turning pink again. “After you, then.”

Lily looked at him oddly, and then proceeded to open the door.

As soon as she saw inside, she gasped, “Woah!”

Before her was a candle-lit table, set for two, a gift-wrapped item in the middle. Soft, romantic music was playing, and she could see just over to her far right that there was a dance floor, decked out with lights and spinning-decks.

“Oh, wow,” she breathed, staring round at James, who had been watching nervously for her reaction. “Did you ask it for all of this?”

James blushed a deep red.

“Um, yeah, I did,” he muttered, feeling embarrassed. “I just thought it’d be nice to, you know, enjoy ourselves in a meeting, for once.”

Lily smiled.

“Ok then. Are you going to lead me to my seat or do I have to choose one for myself?”

James hastened to show her to the seat furthest away from them.

“Um, I have a surprise, but you need to be facing this way to see it,” he told her, as he tucked the chair in beneath her as she sat down.

Lily looked slightly bemused but nodded nonetheless.

“Fine with me. I like surprises. Perhaps I should fight with you more often,” she teased.

James laughed nervously.

“I hope not. I like being friends with you,” he said, cursing himself for turning red for the hundredth time that day.

Lily grinned.

“Snap. In fact, with this set-up, you could almost say we were on a date…”

James choked on the pumpkin juice, which had just appeared in front of them, he was drinking, and hastily tried to deny that this wasn’t a date, he was just being friendly.

“…And I mean, there’s no pressure, right? It’s just a friends-thing and-”

“James!” cried Lily calmly, watching him with amusement. “I was joking! This doesn’t have to be a date. Well, unless you want it to be?”

James nearly fell of his chair in shock.

“What?!” he gasped, sure he’d heard her wrong.

“A date?” smiled Lily. “Surely you know what one of them is, right?”

“No-I mean, of course I do. But I thought you just wanted to be friends?! I mean, I’d love for it to be a date, but-”

“James, do you want it to be a date or not?” asked Lily, almost sternly (although she wasn’t mad in the slightest).

James gaped at her for a few seconds, during which time she began to panic that she’d just made a complete fool of herself by suggesting that they should count this as a date, and wondered whether this was what she really wanted.

Finally, James made his decision.

“Yes.”

“Yes, you want this to be a date?” Lily checked.

“Yes, I want this to be a date,” he responded, grinning now.

Suddenly all his nerves were gone and he felt back to his old self.

Oh, thank you, thank you, God, he thought silently.

Perhaps all those daydreams might come true after all…

“One thing I would like to know, Mr Date-Man” Lily was saying now, staring at him intently, “Is why, if you weren’t counting this as a date, you went to so much trouble?”

“Well,” grinned James, “I was thinking of flying up to your dorm window and serenading you like that guy did in that play where they both killed themselves in the end, but I decided I’d probably end up flying to the wrong window and find Snape in his underwear or something.”

“Severus is in Slytherin; they sleep in the dungeons,” Lily pointed out.

“Stranger things have happened,” replied James, in all seriousness.

Lily laughed.

“So,” she asked, looking at the present in the middle of the table, “What’s in the package?”

James resisted interpreting her question as something inappropriate and instead said, “Open it up, and find out.”

“It’s actually for me?” she said, in some surprise.

“Well, yeah…” laughed James, shaking his head. “I certainly don’t want what’s inside it!”

Lily looked at him suspiciously, then reached forward and took the present.

Feeling it slightly, she began to unwrap it slowly, glancing all the while at James for any sign that this was all just an elaborate joke.

A moment later, though, she did not believe it was.

“Oh my god!” she squealed in delight, pulling out the object from the wrapping paper. “Oh, James! How did you know this was what I wanted?!”

“Um, because of all the posters you have up around your room, and-”

“How do you know I’ve got posters up in my room?”

James blanched.

“It’s not what you think! I haven’t been spying, I just saw a photo of you and your friends, and they were all up in the background-”

“I’m kidding!” laughed Lily, once again enjoying James’ panic. “I don’t care how you know; I’m just pleased at how thoughtful you are!”

James smiled with relief.

“Oh, good,” he laughed, feeling his heart, which had sped up rapidly at Lily’s accusatory question, slow back down to normal speed. “I didn’t want to ruin this date before it had even properly started!”

“Me neither,” smiled Lily.

James felt his heart give a little jolt.

I love her, he thought, as he found himself drowning in her emerald green eyes, which were focused on the Complete Guide to AR – A Fan’s Ultimate Resource.

I think I’m really starting to fall for him, thought Lily, as she put down the book and watched as James thanked the House-elf who had just bought them their starters (Spiced Potato Soup, her favourite).

Little did they know how much that first date would change the rest of the world…

Chapter 16: Him vs Her
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The following day, Lily was walking down the Charms corridor, a happy smile set permanently on her face. Everything had gone fantastically well with James last night – he had been kind and funny and his gifts to her had been so thoughtful! How he had known what her favourite film was, she didn’t know, but that hardly mattered; he had, inexplicably, managed to enchant a muggle television so that it would work inside Hogwarts grounds, a feat Lily knew was enormous.

And now, she supposed, they were dating; a fact that terrified and excited her in equal measures.

Her smile turned into a grin.

If she a year ago could have seen herself now… Well, she’d have thought she’d gone mad!

Perhaps she had…

“Lily.”

Lily jumped as a voice behind her shook her out of her thoughts.

Startled, she turned around to find Severus Snape leant against a wall, arms folded, expression unreadable.

“Oh, Sev!” she exclaimed, laying a hand over her rapidly beating heart. “You scared me!”

“I’m sorry,” he said, though his expression was not one of regret.

Lily frowned.

“Are you ok, Sev?” she asked concernedly.

He twitched slightly, a shadow passing over his face.

Ignoring her question, he said sourly, “Thinking about Potter, were you?”

“No!” she said, too quickly.

“Don’t lie to me, Lily,” he said coldly, straightening up and uncrossing his arms. “I saw you.”

Lily looked at him in surprise.

“What do you mean, you saw me?”

“Not you – you and him.” He spat out the last word as though it were poison. “Coming out of the Room of Requirement.”

Lily felt her blood run cold.

“We weren’t-we were just there to discuss our Head Boy and Girl duties,” she stammered, her facing turning red.

But she and James had done nothing wrong, she argued with herself. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed about it.

And yet, a small part of her still felt guilty…

Especially considering the way Sev was looking at her.

She’d never seen him look so angry.

“Well, it must have been quite a meeting,” he said, his voice dripping with disdain. “It is a usual custom, then, for Potter to present you with gifts and have House Elves prepare three course meals for you?”

Lily felt herself tense.

“Sev, it’s not what you-”she began, but he cut her off.

“What I don’t understand,” he said, looking as though he got it only too well, “Is how you could be staring so admiringly at someone you, and I quote, ‘hate with a passion’.”

Realising where this was going, Lily hurriedly said, “Look, I admit, I have been spending more time with James, and I have found him to be really funny and smart, as well as thoughtful. But that doesn’t mean there’s anything going on between-”

“You agreed to go to Hogsmeade with him this weekend.”

“Well, yes, but-”

“The same weekend you agreed to go with me,” he continued tonelessly.

Lily felt her heart stop momentarily.

She’d completely forgotten the promise she’d made to him.

“Oh, Sev, I’m so sorry!” she cried, meaning it. “I completely forgot!”

“I realised,” he replied coldly.

Lily didn’t know what to say.

On the one hand, she really wanted to go with James, but, on the other, she’d made a promise to Severus to go with him, and she knew she couldn’t go back on her word.

James would just have to go with his friends, she decided.

She told Severus this, but, instead of looking happier, he looked angrier than ever.

“You think I want to go with you now, knowing the whole time you’ll be wishing you were with him?!” he spat, looking at her furiously.

“No!” she gasped, shaking her head. “Sev, I want to go with you!”

“No. You don’t,” he said, his voice toneless once again. “And you want to be his girlfriend, just like I always knew you would.”

Lily gaped at him, speechless.

“And I’ve lost you forever,” he said quietly, so quietly Lily wasn’t sure if she’d heard him right.

“Wh-Sev, you haven’t lost me – don’t be so ridiculous!” she cried, firmly finding her voice again. “I’m still the same old Lily, even if I have fallen for James Potter!”

“Aha!” screeched Severus, an almost manic look in his eyes. “So you do fancy him!”

Lily blanched, realising what she’d just admitted.

“I was-I was being hypothetical!” she stammered, but it was too late.

“You’re a liar, Lily Evans,” snarled Severus, looking at her as though she were dragon dung. “A liar and a fool.”

“I hope you and Potter are very happy together,” he spat, looking as though he wished nothing but.

Before Lily could say anything more, Severus had turned on his heel and stormed off down the corridor, leaving her to feel confused and hurt.

Had Severus broken friends with her, she wondered, staring after his rapidly retreating back.

And why on earth was he so angry?

Yes, she could understand his annoyance at her accidentally – and it was an accident – double-booking herself, but his assertion that he’d ‘lost her forever’ was ridiculous! She admitted she fancied James (yes, finally), but that wasn’t going to stop her liking Sev as well.

It was as if he thought that, if she and James were to go out(!), she’d stop talking to him completely.

Which was, of course, ridiculous.

She knew that James and Severus didn’t get on (understatement of the century!), but they’d both have to deal with it – after all, she could just hang out with them separately from the other.

But what if James or Severus rejected that idea?

She pondered this all the way back to Gryffindor Tower, and didn’t even hear James call her name as she walked through the common room.

It wasn’t until he’d tapped her on the shoulder that she snapped back to reality.

“Wow, he must be some guy,” commented James, a smile threatening to form on his lips.

“What?” said Lily, distractedly.

 “The guy you were thinking about,” he replied, grinning. “He must be really amazing. I called your name three times and you still didn’t hear me.”

Understanding dawning, Lily shook her head, and said, “Oh, I’m really sorry. I was just thinking about Sev…”

The grin that had appeared on James’ face vanished instantly.

“You were thinking about Snivellus? I mean Snape?” he asked, looking hilariously jealous. “Any particular reason why?”

“Oh nothing,” said Lily, shaking her head, oblivious to how much of an effect those five small words were going to have on the rest of her life. “At least, it doesn’t matter at the moment. Where’s Al?” she added, looking around as she realised James wasn’t holding him.

“Oh, I put him down for a nap,” he replied distractedly. “Now, what’s this about you thinking about Snape?”

Lily opened her mouth to reply, but before she had a chance to say anything, a voice said quietly behind her, “Lily, I need to talk to you.”

She looked round to find Romeda, eyes red and clutching Apple (don’t ask) awkwardly in her arms.

“Romeda, what’s the matter?” said Lily, her voice full of concern as she took in her best friend’s appearance. “What’s happened?”

“Not here,” she muttered quickly, shaking her head. “Some place quiet.”

“Ok,” said Lily, nodding. “We’ll go to our dorm. James,” she said, turning round to look at him, “Can we talk about this later? I really have to…” She trailed off, but James understood; Romeda needed her.

Forcing a smile, he said, “Sure, you go. But don’t think you’ve gotten away with telling me why you were thinking about Snape!”

Lily flashed him a brief smile then turned her attention back to Romeda, who appeared to be shaking slightly.

“Right, upstairs,” she said, putting a hand gently on her shoulder and steering her in the direction of the stairs that led to their room.

As they climbed, Lily could hear how rapidly Romeda was breathing, and the shaking was getting worse.

When they reached their dorm, Lily pushed open the door and stood aside for Romeda to enter.

Clutching Apple tightly, she walked inside, her eyes, Lily realised, wide with fear.

Lily closed the door as Romeda settled herself down on her bed, Apple placed carefully on her lap.

Lily sat down too, so that she was facing her, and said softly, “Romeda, what’s happened?”

Romeda, who had been staring unseeingly at the top of Apple’s head, looked up, tears swimming in her eyes, and said, in an anguished voice, “Lily, I’m pregnant!”

 

Chapter 17: Right vs Wrong
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Lily felt her jaw drop.

“You’re what?!”

“Pregnant, Lily, pregnant!” sobbed Romeda, tears spilling down her cheeks. “And I have been for a while!”

“But-”

Lily was having trouble processing what Romeda was saying.

“But you don’t even have a boyfriend!” she managed to stammer out. “Do you?”

“Remember that guy I told you I met when I went to my sister Narcissa’s wedding to Lucius Malfoy…”

Him?!” gasped Lily, astounded. “But I didn’t… I mean, I wasn’t aware that you two’d, you know… done it!”

“It was only once,” said Romeda quietly, stroking Apple’s hair softly. “I’d spent all evening talking to him at the bar where he works to help pay off his mortgage, and I really, really liked him and he said he liked me, too. Then, one thing led to another…”

“But didn’t you use contraception?!”

“Of course we did!” said Romeda, looking angry and offended. “I’m not stupid, Lily! God!”

“I know, I know!” said Lily, trying to calm down. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to suggest… I didn’t... this is just… Romeda, this is huge!”

“Yes, I do know!” she snapped, sarcastically.

Lily watched her for a moment and then said, “How far gone are you?”

Romeda sniffed/

“Nearly three and a half months.”

Lily managed to hide her surprise.

“Okay. And have you told anyone else?”

She shook her head.

“Okay.”

They sat in silence for a while, Romeda sniffing every so often, Apple quiet as mouse, having fallen asleep during Romeda’s confession.

Finally, Lily came to a conclusion.

“Ok, here’s what I think we should do. I-”

“I am not telling Dumbledore,” interrupted Romeda flatly. “No way.”

Lily gaped at her.

“Romeda, you have to tell him!”

Romeda shook her head.

“Lily, he’ll expel me!”

“Wh-and don’t you think he’ll notice when one of his students suddenly has a baby in tow?! And not one of the fake ones, either!”

Romeda glared at her.

“You don’t have to be sarcastic, Lily.”

“Oh, and what do you want me to be like, Andromeda? The best advice I could you is the one you flat out refuse to take! What else can I do?!”

“You could try supporting me!” yelled Romeda, as Apple started to whine.

“I AM supporting you, Romeda! Why the hell do you think I’m here?!” shouted Lily, staring at her friend incredulously.

“I don’t know!” roared Romeda, turning Apple round as she began screaming. “I’m just the stupid girl who got herself pregnant because she’s too stupid a witch to do a contraception charm properly!”

Then she burst into tears.

All of the anger Lily had felt towards Romeda’s suggestion that she didn’t care melted away as she watched her best friend sob her heart out.

“Oh, ‘Meda,” she said, feeling tears well up in her own eyes as she leant forward and took Apple from Romeda and placed her in her cot. “Honey, I’m sorry! Please don’t cry. It’ll all be ok…”

And as Romeda sobbed into her chest, Lily tried her hardest believe it.




Meanwhile, James was still pondering (read: obsessing) over why Lily had been thinking about Snape.

“I mean,” he was saying to Remus, who was attempting to read, “I don’t think she fancies him or anything…”

He shuddered at the thought of anyone ever liking Snape.

“I think she just feels sorry for him, or something – the only friends he’s got are, like, McNair and Crabbe. Or is it Goyle?”

He shook his head.

“But she likes me! She told me so! Well… okay, she didn’t say those exact, but, I mean, we made yesterday’s meeting a date, right? Right, Moony?!”

“Yes, James,” replied Remus, sounding bored as he turned over a page of his book.

“But I know he fancies her,” James continued, oblivious to Remus’ suffering. “Ever since that first day on the Hogwarts Express. Maybe he told her!”

He gasped.

“And now she’s thinking about whether she loves him, too!”

“JAMES!” yelled Remus, slamming his book together loudly. “She likes you! Lily LIKES YOU! Now be quiet so I can revise!”

“Yes, but-wait, what was that about revising?”

“James?”

James whipped round at the sound of Lily’s voice, and was surprised at how tired she looked.

“Hey,” he said, his voice filling with concern, “You okay?”

Lily nodded, looking agitated.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said quickly, nodding again. “I was just wondering whether you’d seen Alice?”

“I think I saw her with Frank Longbottom,” said Remus, before James could answer.

Annoyed that Remus had deflected Lily’s attention away from him, James added hurriedly, “In the Library! About half an hour ago.”

“Thank you,” said Lily gratefully, motioning to move towards the portrait hole.

“Wait!” exclaimed James.

Lily and Remus looked at him curiously.

“What for?” Lily asked, glancing at Remus, who raised his eyebrows at her.

“I’ll come with you!”

Lily smiled slightly and shook her head.

“No, no, I’ll be fine on my own. I’m going to the Library, after all. But thank you for offering!”

She motioned to go again, but James wasn’t finished.

“Yeah, I know that, but what if they aren’t there, huh?! You’ll have to look for her somewhere else, which will take you longer!”

Lily frowned again.

“Well, yes…” she said slowly, not quite sure where James was going with this, “But how you coming make any difference?”

“Because two heads’ll be better than one, right? You’d look in one place and I’d look in another. Together, we’d find her quicker, and, by the way you look, I’m thinking sooner would be better.”

Lily blushed as she realised she probably looked a state.

She’d cried almost as much as Romeda had, and, uncertain as to the best plan of action, she’d decided she needed to go and find Alice.

Realising that she could probably do with some help, she sighed and nodded.

“Okay, that does make sense. I’d really appreciate it if you came with me.”

James grinned and jumped up, ready to play Mr Hero.

“Okay, Miss Evans, lead the way!”

Despite all her worries, Lily couldn’t help shaking her head as a smile appeared on her lips.

James was such a nutter.

And that was why, she thought, as James helped her through the portrait hole, she would say yes if he ever felt compelled to ask her out again.




Sirius was busy searching through the Restricted Section, trying to find a book that might help him to write the two foot essay for Potions that he’d neglected to do the previous night and which was due in after lunch, when he saw Lily Evans rush into the Library and head straight for the table Frank Longbottom and Alice Summers were sat at.

He watched as she frantically whispered something to Alice, who frowned and then nodded.

After signalling to Frank that she’d be back in a minute, Alice and Lily headed towards the Restricted Section.

Sirius ducked as he saw this and hurried a few aisles along, trying to keep out of sight.

When James and Lily had returned to the common room after their ‘meeting’, both grinning like that cat from the story where the girl fell down a rabbit hole, Sirius had teased them mercilessly, until both James and Lily had thrown a shoe at him.

Not being one of Lily’s favourite people right at that moment in time, he did not particularly wish to come face to face with her, especially when she looked so serious.

Unfortunately, as he straightened up, he found Lily and Alice were heading straight towards him.

Ducking quickly back down, he watched as they came closer and closer, and was relieved when they stopped in the row next to him.

He didn’t pay much attention to what they were saying, due to his eyes settling on a book called ‘How To Cheat At Potions’.

He had just reached forward to pull it out of the case when Alice gasped, “Pregnant?!”

He was so surprised that he jumped up and smacked his head on the top of the shelf, just as Lily hissed, “Shh! Alice! Someone could hear you!”

Sirius managed to stifle his yell by clapping a hand over his mouth and stood, frozen, waiting breathlessly to hear whether they’d heard him.

Fortunately, he heard Alice say, “Don’t be silly, Lil, there’s no one else in here. God, this is… this huge!”

Sirius, staring through the stacks, saw Lily nod.

“Well, yeah, Alice. We’re talking about a real person here, not the fake ones McGonagall gave us!”

“Alright, Lily, there’s no need to bite my head off!”

Sirius heard Lily sigh.

“I know. I’m sorry, Ali. I just… this has come as such a huge shock!”

“You’ve got that right! How long have you known?”

“I only just found out. Romeda’s practically in hysterics.”

“I’m not surprised!” exclaimed Alice, then, realising how loud she was being, she whispered, “Who’s the father?”

Sirius strained to hear Lily’s response.

“I don’t want to say right now. If someone did overhear…”

He saw Alice nod.

“Fair enough. Does he know?”

Lily shook her head.

“Not yet.”

“Well don’t you think he should be told?”

“Of course he should. But I think it’s better to decide what you’re going to do and say, first.”

“I guess,” sighed Alice. “But still…”

“It’s not up to you, Al.”

“Yeah, I know. Have you told anyone else?”

“No, just you. I thought you should know, seeing as we’re best friends and all.”

Sirius saw Alice smiled slightly.

“You need help deciding what to do,” she stated gently.

“I thought Dumbledore should know, but Romeda didn’t think it was a good idea.”

“That’s stupid. She’s probably just in shock; she’s not thinking straight. At least two level heads are better than one. Was protection not used or something?”

“No, it was but the spell didn’t work properly.”

“I never thought you would-”

“LILY EVANS AND ALICE SUMMERS, OUT OF THE LIBRARY, AT ONCE!”

Sirius jumped, along with Lily and Alice, as Madame Pince’s sharp tone cut through the air like a knife.

“This is not the common room – OUT!”

Lily and Alice hurried out of the Restricted Section, Madame Pince right behind them, leaving Sirius alone.

He lowered himself onto the floor, his mouth open as the full meaning of what he’d just heard washed over him.

Holy crap, he thought, Lily’s pregnant!

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