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In Emerald Eyes by Midnight Ink

Format: Novella
Chapters: 24
Word Count: 50,776
Status: WIP

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

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

First Published: 10/29/2007
Last Chapter: 01/27/2009
Last Updated: 01/27/2009

Summary:





PAUSED DUE TO FINALS COMING UP FAST

Leap into Lily’s world and see what life is like through Emerald Eyes. 
Delve into her thoughts which.... rather worryingly... all  seem to be centred around James Potter.

A light-hearted romance with comedy straight from the mind of Lily Evans herself.

I'm astounded over 20,000 reads Thanks to all who have recommended and reviewed this.


Chapter 1: Curiosity Killed The Cat
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Lily was in the Gryffindor common room. She was sitting quite happily by herself in front of the fire engrossed in her favourite book. Her friends were in the library completing their Transfiguration homework which was due in tomorrow. Lily would have normally sat with them after she had finished her own essay but James-pain-in-the-neck-Potter was also in the library. She really hadn’t been in the mood for one of his highly embarrassing (or highly amusing depending who you were) propositions. Lily had had enough of being told that they were just perfect for each other. When would people learn? She hadn’t believed it three years ago, she didn’t believe it now!

Lilly looked up from her novel when the door swung open. Great! Thought Lily- Potter, the rest of the gang in tow, had just jumped graciously through the portrait hole. She’d never have peace now. She saw Potter scan the room for someone but wasn’t quick enough to avoid his eye, a smile spread across his face. She’d been caught looking at him. She sighed and closed her book as he strolled towards her. She looked up at him.

“Hi Lily.”

“Good evening James.” at least he’d given up calling her by her surname.

“How are you?” he enquired, that stupid grin still plastered on his face.

“I’m fine thank you.” she forced herself to be civil. “Yourself?”

“Oh you know…” he sat down at her feet, legs crossed, elbows on knees, his hands clasped in front of him. He glanced down at the floor. Here it comes she thought, holding her breath for the inevitable why didn’t you just ignore him? He might have gone away, well, we can live in hope.
“Be better if you’d go out with me.” I knew it! Here we were having a normal conversation, almost pleasant, and he has to go ruin it by repeating that terribly unfunny farce.
“So what do you say Lily? Will you go out with me?” He knelt up looking almost hopeful. Poor fool. His eyes were pleading with her. He should be an actor. Lily made herself look at him seriously. You know he does have rather nice eyes. Shame about the rest of him! Lily stopped herself from laughing at him.

“Yes.” she said.

“Really?” he asked, jumping to his feet.

“No!” his shoulders slumped. “Honestly James! Years you’ve been asking me now, years I’ve been saying no. Why would I change my mind now?”

She picked up her book and headed for the girls dorm room, at least he wouldn’t bother her there. Would he ever give up?

“Will you ever give up?” for a second Lily was confused, had she voiced her question out loud? She stopped to look over her shoulder to see James slumped in the chair she had just vacated. Remus Lupin was stood in front of him, waiting for an answer to his exasperated question.

“I can’t.” was James’s reply. Lily lost interest and started to walk away again.

“Why Prongs?” Asked Peter, using the affectionate nickname the Marauders had given him for reasons unbeknownst to Lily.

“Because Potters never give up!” said Sirius in a deep, playful voice. James smiled at his friend and gave him a light punch on the shoulder. Sirius rubbed his arm pretending to be hurt.

“No.” James said, only the slightest hint of laughter in his voice. “It’s 'cause I love her isn’t it?” the other three stopped laughing at once. Lily dropped her book in shock.

“Huh?” was all Sirius could manage.

Lily quickly stooped to retrieve the fallen novel. She didn’t think she could have been any more affluent than “Huh” either. Lily scrambled around on the floor, desperately trying to grab all of the pages of her book. She’d read it so many times that it was falling apart.

“Why?” asked Remus, James answer hadn’t seemed to be such a surprise to him as the others.

Lily was hurt by the tone of Lupin’s voice. She had thought they were friends, but from how he had said "why", it sounded like he couldn’t think of any reason somebody would like Lily, let alone love her.

James looked up from the fire into which he had been staring.

“How can I not? It’s nothing and everything all at the same time. I try not to but every time I see her… I love her a little bit more everyday. She’s so clever and funny and amazingly beautiful, and those eyes… God those eyes! They make me so weak, and then of course there’s-”

“No.” Lupin cut him off. “I get that but I mean why, why do you still love her?” James looked at him, confusion written all over his face.

“Yeah!” Sirius seemed to have recover from his temporary muteness, and was making up for it by shouting. “I mean come on Prongs- how many times are you gonna let her turn you down mate?” he asked rhetorically. “All the things you’ve done for her…”

That caught Lily’s attention. What exactly did Sirius Black think that James Potter had ever done for her? Lily wasn’t even pretending to be gathering her papers anymore, she was crouched on the floor listening intently to the boys conversation.

“You changed for her mate!” he let the statement hang in the air for a moment before continuing. “She told you that you were arrogant- you crawled out of your arse. She told you that you were bigheaded and suddenly you deflated and doubted yourself. She thought you were a bully- you stopped with the random- and may I say completely reasonable- hexing. You’ve even stopped hexing Snape! I mean every time I see him I just wanna…” Lily imagined Sirius throttling thin air, she resisted the temptation to look at the four boys, one in particular, she would be spotted if she stood up and she wanted to hear more. “…but somehow you resist. You must have bloody super powers mate. Yesterday for example: Snape was the one who sent that tripping charm your way and you know it. I know you know it! But you just walk away. I mean I made a pretty good show of making it look like you gave him that nosebleed, but I can’t always be there to maintain your reputation mate.”

Lily suddenly felt flush with guilt. She had shouted for ten minutes straight at James about that incident. Complaining that as Head Boy he should set an example. That he should really just grow up, on and on she’d gone and he had never said a word, he had just taken it all. James was such a loyal friend, he could have easily incriminated Black.

“You’ve even stopped the pranks!” It appeared Sirius hadn’t quite finished. “And what’s worse Prongs is that you’ve stopped mine too! You’d do anything for that girl- you have done everything!"

Why had Lily never seen it before? Why did it take Sirius-Bloody-Black to make her realise just how much James had changed.

“And what thanks do you get for it mate?”

Lily had noticed some of the differences in James, of course she had. But she had thought it was all just for her. It appeared she had been right. But did it really matter? James HAD changed, surely the means justified the ends? Surely the important thing was that he had changed? James did listen to her! James did care what she thought. Lily was pleasantly surprised, a warm feeling started to fill her, beginning at her toes. Is that… don’t be silly girl it’s just cramp.

But Black was still talking…

“You’d follow her anywhere. You’d step in front of bloody Voldemort for her!” His last statement was a whisper, no one wanted to be heard talking about Him. Lily wasn’t shocked at the use of His real name though, Black wasn’t stupid enough to be scared of a word, no matter what it represented. Nor was she, but she understood the sentiment that those words meant. Suddenly she knew Sirius was right. James would fight Voldemort himself if it meant keeping Lily safe.

“And what does she do? Throws it all back in your face!”

James buried his face in his hands and shook his head from side to side in anguish.

“She hates me doesn’t she? She hates me!” Remus put a comforting hand on James’s shoulder, knowing that it wouldn’t really console him, only one thing could- one person.

Lily stood up from where she had been crouching, ignoring the pains shooting up and down her legs and the startled looks of other Gryffindors who had forgotten she was still on the floor. She walked over and stood in front of James, between the fire and the armchair he was sitting in. Remus stepped graciously aside. When he removed his hand James looked up, straight at Lily.

“What do you want Evans?” asked Sirius “Come to rip out another piece of James’s heart, gonna stamp on it in front of the whole common room?” Sirius was a fierce friend- James was his real brother as he saw it.

“Sirius” warned Lupin in a low growl.

But both Lily and James were ignoring him. When Lily looked at him with those exquisitely gorgeous green eyes, he couldn’t help but think only of her. He got lost in them and he had never been so happy at the thought of drowning. No one else mattered when she stood so close to him, he longed to cross those few inches to touch her, but chastised himself for being so greedy. This was enough, as much as she wanted to give him. All he could think of was her and the flutterings in his stomach and the racing of his heart.

James gazed up at Lily from his seat. The firelight behind her set her hair ablaze with all the colours of gold and copper and bronze and reds that could be imagined. Her perfect face was bathed in soft light and rich shadows, she had never looked so beautiful.

“I don’t hate you James.” she said simply, the smallest of smiles pulling at the corners of her mouth. Then she swooped down and kissed him on the cheek. He would still be able to feel it burning there hours later.

Lily wouldn’t be able to remember what possessed her to kiss him- even if it was only on the cheek. But she would remember how right it had felt… even if it was only on the cheek.

All four Marauders watched her walk away with mouths open. Remus let a low whistle and clapped James on the back.

Lily made herself walk in a straight line, she refused her weak legs, It’s only ‘cause you were crouching for so long she told herself. She resisted turning and looking at James all the way across the (what felt like) three mile long, and oddly silent, common room. Just as she was about to disappear up the stairs she turned back and caught James's eye. He still looked gob smacked. She laughed and smiled at him over her shoulder and saw his face alight with glee, his eyes sparkled in the most captivating way. She saw Sirius and Peter jumping up and down and crashing into each other behind James’s back where he stood watching her. Sirius began singing at the top of his voice “Lily loves Jay-ems, Lily loves Jay-ems” Lily blushed at this and “Jay-ems” broke eye contact just long enough to turn his head and tell Sirius to

“Shut-up, Padfoot!” When he looked back Lily had gone. But James couldn’t wipe the grin from his face despite the Marauders catcalling. The other three lads jumped on him and dragged him to the floor ruffling his hair. He laughed and joined in the play fight, rolling around with his friends in front of the fire. He grabbed Peter playfully around the neck and gave him “knucks”.

When Lily got back to her dorm she realised she had forgotten her book, but she didn’t mind. She knew James would find it before long. He would know it was hers, he always teased her about reading and re-reading it. Perhaps when he returns it, I’ll reward him with another kiss. She mused. She smiled to herself, blew out her candle and flicked the curtains closed around her four-poster. She flopped onto her pillow face down and squeezed it in her fists, muffling her delighted scream. Lily Evans does not get giddy! She rolled over and pulled the covers up over her head. Letting out a giggle and a happy sigh. Oh yes she does!

Chapter 2: Morning Glory
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Lily woke with a smile on her face; she stretched her arms over her head and slumped back on her pillows contentedly. She could hear her dorm mates talking, their voices muffled by the thick curtains, but not quite silenced by them. She threw them back and was welcomed to the day with a glorious glare of sunlight that warmed her face. Before she could appreciate what seemed to be a perfect day she was ambushed by three predators, hungry for gossip. The girls flung themselves at her, bouncing up and down on her bed in excitement.

"Is it true? Is it true?" squealed her best friend Tia. Lily laughed and looked at the other two girls on her bed, just as eagerly awaiting her answer.

"Err... is what true?" she said glancing around, she caught Julia- the fifth member of the dorm- giving her a disapproving look from where she sat at her desk. Lily threw her a questioning look in return.

"Did you really kiss James Potter?" Tia asked, bubbling with anticipation and not a little impatience. A "tut" drifted across the dorm room and into her ears. Lily searched for the cause; her eyes alighted on Julia, who picked up her book bag and stormed out of the door. Lily released herself from the hand tugging at her hair, demanding her attention and confirmation and ran after the disappearing girl.

"What...what's wrong?" she asked catching her up.

Julia just shook her head. "Just don't lead him on Lily. It's beneath you," she turned her back on Lily and walked down the stairs that separated the female from male dorms, Lily stood stunned for a moment. Since when was Julia so opinionated? She's the quiet one!

"I'm not leading him on!" she said, and then realised Julia had already gone. "Julia! Julia!" she called out running after her. Lily was soon on the landing below, but Julia was nowhere to be seen. Where the hell did she go? I was right behind her! Lily put a hand to her head and looked both ways before deciding she was gone, she turned around to head back to the dorm. As she spun her face to the stairs she locked eyes with the very man who had occupied her thoughts since the previous night. He loves me. She thought, stifling a giggle and ignoring the funny sensation in her stomach, you’re just hungry, you haven't eaten yet. She smiled at the memory of his shocked face as she had grazed her lips over his rough stubble.

"Morning, James." she said brightly. "Remus. Sirius." she greeted the last with more warmth than he usually received. They had all stopped dead on the steps above her that led to the boys dormitories.

"Lily?" Remus asked. Asked? Lily questioned herself. Of course it was her, why wouldn't it be?

James still hadn't said one word; he was staring at her, mouth wide open. Oh come on! I know I haven't brushed my hair yet, but it can't be that bad!

"Good morning, Evans!" said Sirius with much more enthusiasm. Lily saw his eyes sweep down her body slowly, then return purposefully, to meet her gaze. He had a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous grin on his face; it made her feel a little uncomfortable.

Lily looked down at herself; tracing the path Sirius's eyes had taken, then up at James's stunned face, then back to Sirius. She let out a yelp, crossed her hands over her chest and practically flew up the stairs to her dorm.

Sirius let out a low whistle of appreciation, Remus shook his head of the most inappropriate of his thoughts and James just continued to stare at the space Lily had occupied seconds before.

"Prongs! Why the hell didn't you tell me Evans was so hot?! I mean I knew she looked good and everything but...but..." he let out another whistle. "Wow!"

James wasn't listening, his brain was still trying to process what his eyes were telling him he had just seen. He turned to Remus, his mouth opening and closing, his hand pointing to where Lily had been standing, his eyes glazed.

"I know mate." He said clapping James on the back. "It's alright." James just continued flapping his mouth; he was doing a rather good impression of a goldfish.

It was a good job that James wasn't listening to Sirius, who had continued in the same vein as before but only a lot more crudely, and with hand gestures. Moony put his hand between James's shoulder blades and directed him down the two flights of stairs, picking up the satchel James had dropped upon first seeing Lily.

"Just wait till I tell Longbottom!" exclaimed Sirius. This caught James's attention, and his tongue was suddenly loosened. He grabbed his friend by the back of his jumper and yanked him back from the common room entrance, into the corridor.

"No Padfoot. You will NOT tell Frank. Nor will you tell anyone else."

"But-"

"No buts! You will not tell anyone." James's eyes flashed and burned, even Sirius didn't dare cross him when he was like this.

"OK" he said sulkily.

"Promise?"

"Promise."

"Good." said James, a smile back on his face. He let go of the handful of clothing he had Sirius pinned to the wall by and dusted his friend off. Remus hid his laugh as he passed James his bag- he loved it when Sirius got told off!

"Well can I at least tell Worm-" Sirius was silenced as James stopped in his tracks. His shoulders hunched. "Right tell no one, got it!" James apparently satisfied continued into the common room and lay down on the sofa. Remus and Sirius followed him and sat on the floor in front of the hearth.

Fifteen minutes later Peter arrived in the common room. He was rubbing bleary eyes. His shirt was half tucked in, half out, his tie was on top of his collar as opposed to under it and off to one side, and his jumper was caught in his named underpants.

Sirius began to bounce up and down excitedly. James gave him a warning glare and he slumped back down, sitting back on his bottom disappointedly.

"OK. What happened?" said Peter, far more awake than before. Sirius looked at James who pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head. He waved a hand at his friend, giving him permission to tell the lump of a boy everything.

"But no one else." James instructed. Sirius saluted his best mate.

"Got it boss." he added for good measure. James sighed, but laughed all the same.

~*~

 

Lily ran up the stairs and into her dormitory, slamming the door behind her and leaning her back against it. Oh my God, oh my God!

“Oh my God, oh my God!” she repeated aloud.

“Lily, what’s wrong?” asked Tia, wondering at her friends strange behaviour.

“I... I... Oh my God!” Her friends surrounded her, concerned.

“Lily what happened?”

“I...I... just saw James and Remus and...” gulp “Black”

“So?”

“So?! So- they saw me!”

“Oh...Ohhh.” said Tia, realisation dawning. “And you kissed Potter last night didn’t you?”

Lily nodded her head once and ran into the adjoined bathroom. Her friends collapsed into hysterics the moment she had locked the door.

Lily put up a hand to stifle her own half-giggle. Swinging between mortification and amusement. The look on James’s face! She turned on the shower and waited for the stream to warm. She crossed her hands one over the other and pulled her very short, very silky, very sheer, almost see-through nighty off over her head and let it drop to the floor.Just be glad you were wearing big knickers! She let out another chuckle surface- this one mixed with relief. If only you’d been wearing a bra! Oh Lily you stupid girl! Seven years you’ve been at Hogwarts and the one day you happen to forget to get dressed, you let James see you. She stepped under the water and turned her very red face up to the jet. She closed her eyes and ran her hands through her hair- a very James like gesture. This is going to be a long day.

Lily dried her hair and applied a slick of mascara. It was the only make-up she wore, she blushed often enough anyway, and her skin was too pale for foundation, she didn’t want to look orange. Unlike a certain Barbie doll I know. Those Slytherin girls look like they’re made of plastic! Just false advertising if you ask me. Besides whatever she tried she could never hide all those blasted freckles.

She left the bathroom, taking a second to brace herself for the ridicule she was sure to receive, but none came. Must be later than I thought. She smoothed down her skirt and picked up her satchel.

~*~

 

James looked down at the tattered book in his hand “Pride and Prejudice”. He had never read it but it was Lily’s favourite. He always teased her about re-reading it repeatedly.

He did know what the novel was about though. His Mum had insisted he watch the Muggle adaptation last summer. One rainy day they had spent six hours locked in the lounge, butterbeer on ice. She had said it was “relevant” whatever that meant.

“A rich man falls in love with a woman that society deems inappropriate. He loves her, but she hates him. She tells him he is arrogant, pig-headed and egotistical and that she could never, ever even like him. He changes and she falls in love with him. They marry no matter what everyone else thinks. They live happily ever after. And this has relevance to me because...?” he had said at the end of the film.

“You can be slow, James, darling.” his mother had said, stroking his cheek affectionately. At his apparent confusion she gave him a knowing look and a loving smile. “You’ll see soon enough darling.” He had just raised an eyebrow at her in scepticism.

“I’ll never understand women.” this made his mother laugh, but she still didn’t offer an explanation.

~*~

 

James was sitting in his favourite armchair when Lily descended the stairs and entered the common room. It faced the fire and was unbelievably comfortable. She knew it was his favourite armchair, because it also happened to be hers. It had caused quite a few, shall we say ‘disagreements‘, over the years. His long legs were dangling over the arm, and his jet hair was sticking up over the back.

Maybe I can just sneak out? Lily thought, making stealthily for the portrait hole. Well it was stealthily; until she stubbed her toe that is. She cursed and held her foot in her hands. She immediately stopped jumping up and down on the spot when she saw James watching, amusement etched in his features. He cocked an eyebrow and Lily gave him a half smile- half wince, and flushed what she was sure was a very attractive beetroot colour.

“Stubbed my toe.” she explained.

“Weren’t trying to sneak out were you?” he asked, but he was only joking. He stood up, “Hi Lily.” he added, not having actually greeted her yet.

“Hi James” she replied, and looked around. “So, erm, where is everyone?”

“Oh, your friends went to breakfast. I said I’d wait for you.” James said looking a bit uncomfortable. James looking uncomfortable? Surely not? It’s kinda cute actually. No it’s not, what am I saying? Just ‘cause he looks all vunerable and adorable... Stop it!

“Oh...err...thanks.” Some friends! She thought leaving me with Potter, James. She mentally altered.

“I found this last night. I think you dropped it.” he handed her her book, it looked even sorrier for itself after last night’s expedition.

“Thank you.” she said, really meaning it this time. Both quickly looked away as their hands brushed at the same time as their eyes did. Do I just ignore what happened this morning, and act as normal or...? What is normal though? Normal was changed last night- wasn’t it?

“I best-”

“I should-” they both started speaking at the same time. They shared an uncomfortable laugh, as James put his hand back to his neck in that kinda cute gesture.

“I should go take this back to my room, don’t think it would survive the day in my bag.” she laughed at the pathetic looking but much treasured book in her hand.

“Yeah alright. I’ll see you in charms then.”

“No, wait, I’ll only be a second, I’ll walk with you if you like.” said Lily without thinking.

“OK” agreed James earnestly.

Lily ran back to her room. Stealing a glance in the mirror as she passed it. She stopped to check her hair, but then scolded herself. Stop being such a girl- it’s only James. But I am a girl! She told herself. And he’s a boy. She thought as she left the dorm and headed back downstairs. If it only it were that simple!

~*~

 

Lily and James went straight to Flitwicks’s classroom. There had been no time to grab breakfast. When they arrived Sirius gave her the most annoying knowing smile, but before he could say anything she took a slice of toast off of the pile he held in his hand.

“Hey, that’s Prongs’s.” Was all he could come up with- even he knew it had been lame. She winked at him, and his mouth fell open. Wasn’t expecting that!

 

“See you later James” She said as she walked over to her friends, breakfast in hand. She said something to them and looked back at Sirius, all the girls followed her lead and burst out laughing, she winked again as she took a bite.

Sirius sulked and took a huge mouthful of the buttery bread. James smiled and took the rest of his breakfast before his friend ate it all.

 

N/A Pride and Prejudice was of course written by the wonderful Jane Austen.

Chapter 3: King Vs. Queen
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"You are not reading that book again?!" 

"Hello James." Lily said placing the book down on her lap, and looking up at the 6ft of hunk standing incredulous before her. Hunk? Hunk? What are you saying girl? 

"I don't get it." he stated. 

"Don't get what James?" Would it be terribly rude just to ignore him? Yes. Just tell him to go away- can't, being civil remember? Damn! Language. Why? No one can hear me. Although sometimes Lily suspected that Severus Snape could read her mind. It was creepy, just this look he gave her sometimes- a knowing look, it made her shiver, quite unlike the normal disgusted, disdainful look... 

“Hello? Earth to Lily.”  James said, waving his hand in front of Lily’s face. She brought her eyes back into focus. 

“Hmm...Sorry- what were you saying?” 

“I said- I’d much rather prefer a Stephen King, none of this lovey-dovey stuff for me.” James can read? Wait- lovey-dovey stuff? 

“Lovey-dovey stuff? Lovey... This book is a classic! It’s about passion and politics and-” 

“Love.” 

“Well of course it’s about love,” she conceded, “if it’s about life, it has to be about love.” She justified as if it was obvious. At her agitated declaration, he cocked an eyebrow- just one. How does he do that? Try as she might- and ashamedly she had- she could never get one brow to work independently of the other. 

“Never had you pegged as a hopeless romantic Evans.” a grin on his face. He is trying to annoy you, he’s winding you up- that’s why he used your surname, don’t rise to the bait. 

“I am not a hopeless romantic!” Or do- whatever! Honestly Lily. James grinned in triumph and it only served to irritate her further. 

"Oh what would you know any way, Potter” she stressed the name and his smile fell a little. “Have you ever even read it? No? Well then. Stephen King preferable to Jane Austin? As if!” 

“Well have you ever read one of Stephen King’s books?” Lily faltered at his counter. 

“Well...err... not exactly.” 

“Ah-hah.” his satisfied smirk was back, but Lily was not one to be beaten so easily.  

“Alright then- you read my favourite book, and I’ll read yours, and then we can both decide that I am right.”

 “Fine, I accept your challenge- but you are so wrong!” they shook hands to seal the deal. 

“So are you going to get me your copy of “Where’s Wally?” now, or later?”

“Very funny.” he replied sarcastically, “You will be reading, for my pleasure, as well as your own, Stephen King’s one and only, Cujo.” Lily laughed. Who was he kidding? A book about a mangy old dog, versus one of the most loved books ever written? He’s already lost! Lily thought allowing herself to grin outwardly. 

“Here you go.” she handed over the book in her lap, admittedly rather reluctantly. “Just look after it, okay? I want it back in one piece.” They both looked down at the novel in both of their grasps. “Okay, four pieces. Just don’t lose any pages, and don’t get it wet, and don’t fold down the corners and don’t-”

James placed his hand over hers, and an involuntary shiver ran down her spine. His hands are just cold Lily justified then why does your skin feel like its burning? Frost bite? Nice try Lily. Oh, shut up. 

“Don’t worry Lily; I’ll look after your baby- as if it were my own.” Lily refused to let her eyes close at the softness and sweetness of his deep voice and eradicated the thought I’m sure James would be a great father. 

“That’s what I’m worried about.” she laughed. 

 

~*~ 

 

Wednesday evening found both James and Lily reading by firelight in the common room. Lily lay in the thick rug; James was sprawled on the sofa. A storm was brewing outside, and though the days were still reasonably long, the hour was late and the sky dark. Lily was half way through her book, and Lily had to admit it; she was hooked. James was only just starting, he’d been at Quidditch practise earlier, but he was used to late nights and wasn’t tired. Plus he didn’t really want to be seen reading such a girly book; in fact, most would tease him about reading at all. 

A chuckle broke through Lily’s concentration. 

“This is so unreal- I’m a single man in possession of a large fortune and I’m not in want of a wife!” Lily sighed mentally. He can’t help it- he’s male. 

“All men are in want of a wife James, rich or not, they just don’t all know it. All men want the same thing- a warm meal on the table and a warm body in their bed. They all think that a wife gives them that. Well I’ll tell you something for nothing- when, if, I get married, there’s no way I’m staying home and cooking every night.” “

That’s alright Lily- I’m an excellent cook. “ Is he insinuating that I marry him... nah, James Potter settle down? Impossible. 

“Alright James.” 

“No really! I’ll prove it sometime- my spaghetti carbonara is to die for!”

 “OK James you do that, but for now, if you’re not going to read, let me.” ‘Cause I’m really enjoying this book- but you don’t have to know that.

 “I am reading! I’m gonna beat you to the end too.” Yeah right thought Lily, but she didn’t say anything aloud. You can gloat when you win. Lily turned back to her book. She just couldn’t drink it in fast enough. It was scaring her so much but she couldn’t drag herself away. She wanted to tear her eyes from one particularly gruesome mauling, but couldn’t. She shuffled backwards. Just rest my back on the sofa. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that you’re terrified and James happens to be sitting at the other end of the very same couch? No, it wouldn’t.

She groaned in disgust at one very descriptive passage and inched down, closer to James’s legs. She gasped in fright and shuffled again, almost touching him. She shivered and turned the page, she did it so that one of her arms snaked around and through his legs, then when she let go of the paper she clutched at his trousers instead- all subconsciously. Err...that is...yuck... oh crap... get out, get out! Oh my God! Lily just put the book down...just...one more page...oh no don‘t do that, don‘t go in their- he‘s in there! 

James was trying very hard to read the book in front of him. Ok, he was pretending very hard to try to read it. But he couldn’t help noticing that every time he looked up, Lily was just a little bit closer to him. Then her arms were encircling his leg and her hand fisted in his trousers. The knuckles were white, and so was her face when he stole a glance. He could see her physically trying to drag her eyes from the page. He was sorry- no actually, he wasn’t- but no matter how beautiful this Bennett girl was supposed to be, she couldn’t be a patch on Lily. No book was better than his Lily. He resisted the urge to stroke her hair, he knew she was only scaring herself so because of him. She never could resist a challenge. 

A huge crash of thunder sounded and Lily jumped, her heart thundering itself in her chest. Chicken she chided herself it’s only a book. Then the lightening struck with another resonating boom and the fire was extinguished. Lily let out a scream and threw the book across the room, putting her hand over her racing heart. 

“James?” she asked in a small voice that she didn’t know she owned. She felt him slide off the sofa and sit on the floor beside her. 

“Right here Lily.” Thank God, Lily found herself thinking, then- wait this is James Potter. But when he found her hand in the darkness and gave it a tender squeeze, she was suddenly a lot less frightened. It’s just the fact he’s here, it could be anyone. It’s just unfortunate that it has to be James. Or lucky? Unfortunate! Or... 

“Not scared are you Lily?” Is he taking the mick? 

“I’m not scared!” he laughed, but it didn’t seem to be aimed at her. He was still holding her hand, and she didn’t think she could remember a nicer sound than his voice at this moment. It’s only because it’s late, and dark and your alone, hmm... we are aren’t we. Lily!

But he sounded genuine. She took a risk. 

“Not when you’re here.” she heard him take a sharp breath. You’re not leading him on! You’re just telling the truth.

 “Lily-” he started, almost as if unsure of himself, but she cut him off. 

“James, something just moved, over there.” he stood immediately, sensing her fear. He pulled his wand from his pocket and lit the tip. A thin beam of light fell on a reflective eye and salivating fang. A snarl erupted and a low growl. That’s, oh my god, that’s - 

“Cujo!” she whispered, hiding her face in James back. She felt rather than heard his laugh and sigh of relief, his tensed shoulders relaxed, and he removed the protective arm that held her behind him. 

“Lily, it’s alright, it’s not Cujo- it’s Sirius.” Huh? Lily poked her head out from behind James, curiosity just overcoming fear. James has gone insane! It’s a bloody rabid dog! Help! 

“Come on Sirius mate, show her.” Lily blinked several times.  Ok- so I’m insane as well. Where the dog had been seconds before now, stood Sirius- Bloody- Black. He was doubled over laughing- at her! James, however, did not seem to find it funny after his initial relief. 

“That was cruel Padfoot! You OK Lily?” he asked, turning and taking her shaking shoulders in hand, looking at her white face, but what he thought was fear, was actually rage. Lucky for him he was compassionate and so spared, unlucky for Sirius who was going to have to bear the whole of it. She turned on him. 

“That was NOT funny Black!” 

“Yeah, but it was tho-” he stopped short when he looked up to find Lily- wand drawn. He gulped and sent a pleading look at his best mate. James shook his head and stood right behind Lily. 

“You deserve what ever she gives you Padfoot. That was just plain evil.” he placed a hand on each of her shoulders, and rubbed, looking like a boxing coach instructing his trainee before a match. He leant down and whispered in her ear. 

“May I make a recommendation my lady?” the hot breath on her neck made her shudder. Pull yourself together- you’re angry remember- angry! Lily nodded her consent. 

“Perhaps a little thing called a bat bogey hex? I seem to recall you are quite talented.” 

“What excellent taste you have.” Sirius’s eyes flicked between them in panic.   

“Can I just say- you know? Before I die- that you two make a great couple, I mean team. Scary as hell, but brilliant.” he scrunched his eyes closed in dreaded anticipation of his fate. He was doomed and knew it. “If it can’t be painless, please, make it quick.” he pleaded.

After an angst filled minute he risked opening one eye. James was again muttering in Lily’s ear. She nodded and muttered something in reply. She didn’t take her eyes from her prey. 

“Goodnight Sirius.” Lily said and James smirked behind her. 

“I...erm...what?” he said, looking between them in confusion. 

“I said- good night Sirius.” 

“But...” 

“Run while you can mate.” Sirius willingly took James’s advice and ran from the room to his dorm, not risking looking back. Lily set a blue fire in the hearth, as opposed to the normal roaring red one, then she turned back and faced James. 

“So about this cold dish- revenge did you say was it’s name?” Lily grinned wickedly. Well if you are going to have a partner in crime- why not James Potter?

 

 

Disclaimer: All books mentioned are the property of their respective authors and used without permission for entertainment purposes only.

A/N: For people who don't know- Cujo is a St. Bernard with rabies that terrorises and kills people. This book wasn't published at the time of the Marauders, but please excuse this fact.

"Where's Wally?" is an english picture book in which you have to spot a character called Wally- hence the title, they were a much loved and hated part of my childhood, if I found him before my brother they were great, if not- well you know sibling rivalry. (Known as Where’s Waldo in the States.)

"The Bennett girl" is a reference to Elizabeth Bennett. A Jane Austin character from Pride and Prejudice.

Chapter 4: Sleeping Beauty
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Lily stifled a yawn as she descended the steps to the Gryffindor common room.  After Sirius's hasty retreat she and James had laughed, talked and plotted together until the early hours of the morning.  She had finally fallen asleep in front of the fire on the sofa – and partially on James too at about three o'clock.  She was shaken awake by a smiling James about half an hour later.

"Come on Lily, wake-up," Lily rubbed sleepy eyes and looked up into James's surprisingly close face, apparently she had been using him to great affect as a human pillow.  "You can't sleep down here all night, you'll get a crick in your neck and no one enjoys waking up down here surrounded by curious first years, trust me.  Besides, you're giving me pins and needles."  At this he gently moved her aside and stood up, flexing his arm and clenching and unclenching his fingers into a tight fist, he grimaced a little but he wasn't complaining really.  "Come on," he said helping a lethargic Lily to her feet.  When she shivered he took off his cloak and placed it around her slight shoulders.  Then they turned and walked together to the split in the stairs where they had to part.

"Night, James," mumbled a still drowsy Lily as she climbed the steps to her dormitory.

"Sweet dreams, sleeping beauty," he called to her back, he grinned when a arm appeared out of the folds of the overly large cloak she was swathed in, and made a gesture that he supposed was meant to be a wave.  James then turned back around and headed off to the kitchens, hands in his pockets and happily whistling to himself.  He was not in the least bit tired and if he felt the need later to catch up on sleep there was always double history of magic tomorrow morning.

Lily finally made her way downstairs, stumbled into the Great Hall and slumped at one of the benches pulling a bowl of cereal towards her.

"Alright Lily, glad to see you decided to get dress–  Ow, Remus!  What was that for, that hurt?"  Sirius rubbed his arm where he had been elbowed, his grin disappearing to be replaced with a scowl.  Remus ignored him and passed Lily a jug of milk, he avoided meeting her eye and his cheeks were slightly flushed but he smiled sheepishly at her none the less.

"Good morning, Lily."

"Hi," she replied, gratefully accepting the milk and completely ignoring Black who was still complaining of what he was sure was to become a bruise.  He'll get what's coming to him.  She grinned, suddenly she felt more awake.

"James said we weren't allowed to say anything to anyone," Peter muttered to Sirius.

"But she already knows! Why can't I tell her"

"Just leave it, Padfoot," admonished Remus.  Sirius moodily stabbed a whole sausage with his fork and tore off the end.  Lily sent Remus a grateful look. James told them they weren't allowed to say anything?  Would have thought he would have done the opposite.

At that moment the man himself walked into the great hall.  He sat down on Lily’s right at the only seat available, opposite the other three Marauders, and poured a cup of coffee.

"Milk. One sugar," he said passing it to Lily with a smile.  He knows that?  That is so sweet.  A week ago you would have thought it creepy.  Oh shut up it's sweet!

"Thank you, James."

"You looked like you needed it."  Lily took a sip from the cup and raised her eyebrows at him over the rim of the steaming brew.

"I...erm...not that you look bad or anything, I mean you always look great, I just meant that, well... you know... we were up late last night and... and..." he hastily explained.  Lily laughed and saw Sirius shaking his head from across the table.

"It's alright James, I did need it," she assured him, putting a placating hand on his forearm.  He looked at it them back at Lily who quickly removed it and turned to her left where her friend Tia was sitting.

"Did you finish McGonagall's essay Tia?"

"Real smooth Prongs," she heard Sirius mutter and from the corner of her eye she saw James throw a pastry at him which he deftly caught and proceeded to eat.

James took a huge gulp of scalding hot coffee then promptly set about choking on it.  Lily turned back to face him, she noticed his drink, tall, strong, black… not dissimilar to it's consumer, she thought with a wry grin.

"You ok, James?" she asked the choking boy, rubbing small circles on his back.  She felt a shudder which she was certain had nothing to do with his struggling to breath and immediately stopped what she was doing.  When he finally stopped spluttering he took a huge swig of water.

"Burnt my tongue," he explained to the many students whose attention he had drawn.  Has to be the centre of attention – even when he's dying!  She mused not unkindly.

"Maybe someone should lick that better for you," Lily said in a low throaty voice, enjoying the sight of his pupils dilating at the thought.  "Sirius, how about you? Well, that is how dogs heal wounds isn't it?" she asked her expression completely innocent as she took a sip of her coffee.  Both Sirius and James looked incredulous and revolted in turn while Remus and Peter roared with laughter.

"What?"  Lily asked feigning naivety, she took another drink.  This is just too easy!

~*~

Lily woke abruptly Friday night.  She bolted upright in bed, her hands clutching at her heart and head while trying to catch her breath.  She felt tears on her cheeks mixed with sweat.  She kicked her legs in frustration to rid herself of the constricting bed clothes.  Once free of the sheets she swung her legs over the side of her four poster.  She paused a second to look at the book on her bedside table and then determinedly reached out flipping it so the cover illustration could no longer be seen.  She stumbled to the bathroom and splashed her face with cold water, then took a long drink.  She looked at herself briefly in the mirror then grabbed her dressing gown and wand from next to her bed.  I've learnt my lesson.  No leaving the dorm without putting on suitable clothing first.  She slipped her wand in her knicker elastic for want of a pocket and left the dorm heading down one set of stairs only to come back up another.

"What the…?" She questioned as she entered the room, four beds – more specifically, four empty beds – was all she could find.  Where the hell are they at, Lily checked the clock, four o'clock in the morning?!  Lily shook her head and crept back to her own dorm.  Her nightmare was swiftly forgotten in light of this new mystery.

A/N not to worry, plenty more to happen in the next chapter, I know this one was a bit well... let me know what you think.

Chapter 5: Teeth Marks
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The common room was almost empty, it was a Hogsmeade weekend and apart from a few studious sixth years everyone was either in the village or out on the grounds enjoying the unseasonably good weather.  Lily, as usual, was reading in her favourite armchair.  She had not felt like going to Hogsmeade.  All of her friends had dates and she did not particularly fancy playing gooseberry.

"Hey Lily, you seen Sirius?"  Hi Lily, how are you? I'm fine thank you, James.  How are you?  I'm good thanks, say, you didn't happen to see Sirius did you?  Talk about skipping the chitchat!

"Detention."  As if he's ever anywhere else.

"Crap!  OK how about Peter?"

"With Sirius."

"Shit."

"Language," Lily muttered.  Don't ask him.  Don't do it, Lily, don't you do...  "James, where were you last night?"  So you do it!  Honestly Lily.  Well, whatever kept him up all night he's paying for it this morning, he's all pale and pasty.  Serves him right for not going to bed when he should have.  James stopped looking around distractedly.

"Huh?"

Lily rolled her eyes, very articulate James. 
"Last night, where were you?"

"What do you mean?  I was in the common room, Lily.  You were there."  He laughed but avoided looking her in the eye.

"James, don't play ignorant, you know what I mean.  Last night, say about 4 o'clock."

"Well strictly speaking that's this morning Lily.  I was in bed."

"No, you weren't"

"Yes, I was."

"James, if you don't want to tell me that's your prerogative, but don't insult me by lying."  Lily said quietly, standing and heading for the door.

"What makes you think I'm lying?"

"I saw your empty bed." Uh-oh, you did not just say that!

"Wait, what?  You were in my room last night?  Why were you in my room in the middle of the night."  Lily flushed bright red.

"Well strictly speaking, it was morning," she said giving him an awkward smile, but he just continued to look at her.  She sighed, "I was looking for you."

"In the middle of the night?"  Why is that so hard to believe.  Wait, no, don't answer that.

"Yes James, in the middle of the night.  It was your stupid book that gave me the stupid nightmare, so I figured it was only fair that stupid you-" at that moment a third year boy crashed into the both of them.

"Sorry!" he shouted over his shoulder as he threw himself out of the portrait hole without looking back.  Must be late for Hogsmeade, Lily reasoned.  She resisted the temptation to scold him for running in the castle and turned back to James who was clutching his side in apparent agony as his face turned a very pale grey colour.  The boy had crashed full pelt into James, but apart from being a little winded there really was no need for him to be doubled over in pain.  Wuss, talk about melodramtic!  Then she saw his eyes watering and, as he moved one of his hands to steady himself against the back of a chair, Lily saw his t-shirt and gasped, the left side was quickly being soaked in what was unquestionably blood.

"James, you're bleeding," she stated obviously.  Her own face now very white.

"It's nothing," he said, forcing himself to stand up straight.

"James, don't be so stupid, you have to go to Madame Pomfrey, now."  She had taken his left hand, which was slippery with his own blood – a thought Lily was trying very hard to ignore – and was leading him towards the exit.  At the mention of the school nurse, however, he came to an abrupt halt.

"No, Lily I can't.  I'm fine really."  But his brave smile was ruined by another stab of pain that turned it to a grimace and had him doubled over and clutching his left side once again.  "Please Lily, don't make me go to the infirmary, I'll be expelled.  Please Lily," he sent her an imploring look.  You do know he probably deserves whatever he would get.  "Please."

"Alright."

"I'll just wait for Sirius to get back and then..."

"No," Lily cut him off, "you can't wait that long, just let me think a second."  Think Lily, come on.  "Ok. Can you make it to the Head's bathroom?"

"I...I think so."

"Good, just give me one second."  Lily helped him over to one of the chairs, making sure that the bloodied left side of James’ t-shirt was hidden from prying eyes.  

Lily ran up to her room and began rummaging through her trunk.  Where's that bloody book, where is it?  Where is it?  She flung everything out of her trunk and onto the floor until she found what she was looking for.  

She ran back to James.  "Come on," she said gently, carefully pulling him to his feet.  She drew one of his arms around her shoulders, taking a little of his weight.  She heard one of the sixth years wolf whistle as the portrait swung closed behind them.  Thank God it's so close. James was struggling, gallantly, but struggling all the same.  

Lily muttered the password to the painting.  At the moment it showed a girl and a boy sitting on the edge of a fountain in a square in Venice, but If Lily was in the bathroom the boy would leave the painting, and if James was using it the girl would hide from view.  As there was no way of locking the bathroom, the portrait allowed each Head to know if the other was using the facilities, avoiding any embarrassing interruptions.  She often found the two characters talking with their heads close together, holding hands.  Although they always seemed happy to see her, unlike a certain Fat Lady.  Lily found herself wondering what would happen when she and James entered, would both leave the painting?

Lily stepped through the previously concealed archway and lowered James down to the floor leaning against the side of the swimming pool sized bath.  She set the book she had brought with her in front of him and began thumbing through the pages with shaking hands.

"James, I need you to take your shirt off."

"Whoa, slow down Lily, we haven't even had a first date yet."  Lily laughed and helped him pull it over his head.  Ok, so first you need to clean the wound.  Lily went to the sink, grabbed a clean flannel and then picked up a large bowl from a shelf unceremoniously chucking the candles out over her shoulder.  She filled the bowl with warm water and knelt in front of James.  "I've got to get rid of the blood so I can see what I'm doing, OK?"  James nodded silently his hazel eyes boring into hers.  She dunked the flannel into the water then rung it partially dry, she folded it and then tenderly wiped at the crimson staining his torso.  She repeated the process many times until the water ran red.  When the severity of the wound was revealed she stifled a gasp, it was very deep, the laceration long.  James made to look but her hands found his face first.  Don't let him see it, he might panic.  What, like you are?

"Don't look at it James."  He moved again to see.  "James, do not look.  Look at me instead."  His gaze was pulled to her face and when she was sure he wouldn't turn away, she let go of his face.  "I've got to disinfect it OK?" she asked, unscrewing a bottle she had pulled from the shelf earlier.  Getting up to grab another bowl, she diluted the bottle’s contents with a little clean water from the sink.  She knelt back down in front of James and wet a cotton pad with the disinfecting solution.  "This is going to sting.  Sure you can handle it?" she smiled and looked up at him, their eyes met instantly.

"Do your worst, Evans," he replied, his voice was light but his jaw set.  He could not help but cry out when the burning liquid hit the open wound though.  He gripped his leg, his knuckles white, and clenched his teeth.  After his initial outcry he refused to make another sound, though Lily knew each dousing must be just as painful.  He doesn't want to scare you she thought, although she was unsure how she knew it.  When she stole a glance at him his head was thrown back and he was biting down on his fist silencing himself.  She finished and consulted the book again.

"Maybe you should go to Madame Pomfrey.  I've only done this a couple of times, and only ever on small scrapes.  I don't know if I can do it James."  James took her hand in his and squeezed it.

"Lily you can do it, I know you can do it."  She looked him in the eye, nodded, looked once more at the book then picked up her wand.  If James can be brave, so can I. Come on Lily, you can do this, suck it up.  James thinks you can, not about to prove him wrong are you?

~*~

Lily gazed at her own work you'd never even know he was hurt!  "God I love magic!"

"Yeah, magic rocks."  James smiled at her.  Whoops, didn't mean to say that out loud.  "You rock, Lily."  Lily blushed and dropped her eyes from his face only to be confronted by a set of perfect pecs and a...six pack?  Go ahead lookI think you've deserved it.  Wait... are they...?  What looked like teeth marks – maybe fangs – were outlined in white on James' bare chest, the pale scars showing clearly on his tanned skin.  Lily's fingers stretched out seemingly of their own accord, intrigued she traced the scars with feather light touches.  Unexpectedly a hand closed over hers causing her to jump and look up into a pair of hazel eyes whose expression she could not read.  She realised suddenly what she had been doing and her cheeks tinged pink as she turned her face to the side.  But James would not relinquish his hold on her hand.

"I'm sorry," Lily said, embarrassed beyond belief.  What were you doing?

"It's alright," James said and Lily could not help but allow herself to be drawn back to those eyes, they conveyed so much but she found she could not understand any of it.  "Thank you," he said and lifted her hand to his mouth, grazing his lips against her knuckles.  Lily suddenly felt flustered and stood abruptly pulling her hand from his grasp.  She picked up the two bowls and emptied the bloodied water and disinfectant into the sink, running both under the tap and wiping down the sink.

“Lily, I think I owe you an explanation.”  Yes, you do.  Explain to me why every time you touch me I get a fluttery feeling in my stomach or why I can’t stop thinking about how you just kissed my hand.  When did you become such a gentleman anyway?  Explain to me why I can’t stop wondering what it would be like to feel those lips on mine.

“No you don’t James.  Not if you don’t want to.”

“I do want to, really I do.  I just can’t.”

“Okay James.”

“Lily, I…”

“Don’t worry about it,” she said turning to face him with a falsely bright smile pasted to her face.  “How does it feel?” she asked, back to business.  James stood and gingerly stretched, he twisted and then tried what seemed to be a quidditch move, it made his muscles ripple deliciously. 

Deliciously?

Yes, deliciously. Now stop staring!

Right, I’m going to stop staring, right… erm...ok...now. 
Lily forced her eyes back to his face.

“It’s perfect.  Thank you Lily.”  He looked as if he wanted to say something else but he turned instead and picked up his blood-stained shirt from the floor.

“No James, don’t put that back on.”  James looked at her for a moment with one eyebrow raised, then took a small step towards her.  Lily blushed furiously and hastened to explain, “It’s covered in blood, pass it here.”  He did so without question.  Oh, it’s still warm.  Lily lay it on the closed toilet seat – the closest thing she had to a table.  James had followed her and was standing entirely too close for her comfort, I think the rule is if you can feel the other person breathing on the nape of your neck they are definitely in your personal bubble!  “Scourgify,” Lily said waving her wand slightly erratically over the stained garment.  “If anyone saw you like that, well…”

“In that case you might want to do something about your jumper.”

Lily looked down at herself, she was drenched all down her right side with what could only be James’ blood.  “Oh great!  This is elf clean only!” 

James pulled on his t-shirt and by the time his head resurfaced Lily was wearing a lot less.  She had yanked off her thin blue sweater and was standing in a thin, tight fitted white camisole.  She dumped the sweater in the laundry basket and headed for the door.

“You coming?”  James nodded at her and finally remembered that 'goldfish' was not a good look on him.  He was still staring though, causing Lily to pull at her top self-consciously.  He would have to see me like this on a fat day!  Besides what IS he staring at?  So it’s a little tighter and lower cut than I normally wear, no one's supposed to see it, that’s why it’s called an UNDER shirt! They exited side by side through the portrait of a girl and boy whispering and pointing at them from a fountained square.

“James you dark horse!” said a Ravenclaw seventh year walking past with his arm slung around his girlfriend.  “If only we had a room our own to play in,” he said to the pretty Hufflepuff beside him who giggled giddily.  “Don’t wear him out before the match against Slytherin next week Lily!” he called back winking conspiratorially at James.

James looked confused for a brief moment.  “What…? Wait, no, we weren’t-“

“James, shush!” Lily interrupted him.

“But Lily they think that I…that you… that we…”

“Isn’t it better for them to think we just had a quick shag in the bathroom-”  James’s jaw dropped at her colourful expression, I really have been spending to much time with Tia, “than to know I’ve been healing your very inexplicable and very suspicious wounds?  I didn’t just save your life and, more importantly, your quidditch career so you could go and get yourself expelled!”  Lily started to walk back towards the common room.  Do not think about shagging Potter on the bathroom floor… or in the shower!  Argh!  STOP IT!  James stood still for a second before running to catch up with her.

“But Lily…”

“James?”

“That’s all I’ve got so far.”  Lily laughed at him.  “Thank you,” he said.  He smiled awkwardly and fell into step with her, stealing furtive glances every few milliseconds.  Does he think I can’t see him?  He does, doesn’t he?  Oh well, let him look.  Lily flicked her hair over her shoulder.

“You’re welcome James.”

Chapter 6: Rumours
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By the next morning the rumour was all over the school. Everyone was whispering the news on the way to breakfast. "Have you heard? Lily and James are going out," a chubby Hufflepuff told her bespectacled friend.

"I thought they were just friends with benefits?" her friend replied.

"What's that?" the plump blonde queried.

"You know, when you sleep together but there's no strings attached, you're still just friends," explained the brunette pushing up her oval glasses.

"No, you're both wrong, they’re engaged. James proposed last night," said a tall Ravenclaw who came to stand with them.

"I heard Lily asked him!" said the Asian girl attached to her arm.

"What are you talking about, they are NOT engaged! They got married in secret in the dead of night. My uncle's aunt's husband was the vicar. They did it in Hogsmede last full moon under the open sky. All the trees were covered in fairies and crystals and Lily arrived in a carriage that she transfigured from one of Hagrid's pumpkins, just like in that muggle fairytale, because she says James is her Prince."

"Oh, how romantic!" sighed the Hufflepuff who had started the conversation. Enthralled by their rumour mongering, none of the gossiping girls noticed when Lily and Tia snuck past towards the Great Hall for breakfast. Tia was desperately trying to keep from laughing out loud, her body shook with laughter and by the time they had turned the corner tears were streaming down her face. She came to a stop leaning on a dumbfounded Lily trying to catch her breath whilst gripping her aching stomach muscles.

"How? How can they believe that rubbish? We get seen walking out of a room together and all of a sudden we've eloped to Hogsmeade?!"

"Oh come on Lily... It's funny!"

"No it's not." Tia stood up straight and raised her eyebrows at her friend. Lily's eyes twinkled as she tried to keep a straight face, after about thirty seconds just staring at each other both girls collapsed into gales of laughter.

By lunch time neither Lily nor James could go anywhere without comment or catcalls. When they happened to walk into potions at the same time the room went completely silent. Then Frank Longbottom cheered and shouted, "Go James!" and raised his hand for a high five. Alice slapped him in the stomach and told him to shut up while she sent an apologetic look at a shame faced Lily. James looked at Lily but she just smiled and shook her head almost imperceptibly.

"You don't actually believe the rumours do you, Frank?" James asked quietly, raising his eyebrows at his friend as Lily headed to her desk and started getting out her ingredients. Frank looked back and forth between James and Alice confusedly for a second before closing his mouth and laughing a little uneasily.

"Ha. Of course not, just having a laugh with you." James clapped him on the back and laughed.

"Sure you were Frank, sure you were." As James lit the fire under his cauldron Sirius sidled over to Lily and put his arm around her shoulders.

"I've come to congratulate the new Mrs. Potter." Of all the infuriating little... "I heard what you did for James, Lily. I would have healed him but... well anyway, thank you and I'm sorry for the other night," he whispered and then walked off. Sirius Black apologising? Well I certainly wasn't expecting that!
~*~

Lily and James left the prefect meeting they had been heading both amused and frustrated. When Lily had asked if there were any questions many hands had been raised, when she then asked if there were any relevant questions almost all the hands were put back down.

"Why are they all so interested anyway?" Lily asked James as they took a slow stroll back to the common room.

"No idea, but it's a damn nuisance!"

"I'll say! And no matter what you say, people would rather listen to rumours and gossip than the truth. Surely they have more important things to worry about?"

"Apparently not. I didn't realise life at Hogwarts could be so boring, that whether or not we're dating is all they can talk about."

"Do you know what we did last full moon?"

"What?"

"Well according to Jennifer Gould we escaped to Hogsmeade where we got married by moonlight," Lily said a smile pulling at her mouth, James stared for a second then burst out laughing.

"That's ridiculous!"

"Oh no, apparently it's – and I quote – 'so romantic!" Lily imitated complete with breathy sigh and swooning hand to forehead. James laughed again. "But that's not it! Supposedly, I arrived in style in a carriage made out of a pumpkin."

"A pumpkin?!"

"Yep, didn't you know that I'm secretly Cinderella?"

"Cinderella?"

"Yep, and you're my Prince Charming," Lily said linking her arm through James', who looked down at her, his eyes twinkling with lingering amusement.

"Well I've never heard of this Sin-dee-ella, but I like the sound of this Prince Charming fellow."

"You've never heard of Cinderella? Oh James you've been deprived! It was my favourite bedtime story. Come on, treat me to a glass of warm milk and I'll tell you a story."

"Warm milk?"

"Yes, you can't have a bedtime story without a glass of warm milk. Every night when I was little my dad would tuck me in with a cup of milk in one hand and a book in the other and read me a story before I fell asleep." James smiled down at her and squeezed her forearm.

"The kitchens it is then." Lily grinned back at him.

When James had opened the portrait with a tickle, he bowed low and swept his arm across the entrance, "My Lady." Lily picked up the ends of her robes and curtseyed before giggling and bending her head to go through the door.

Once they were settled across from each other in front of the kitchen fire Lily began her story.

"Once upon a time, in a far away land..."

By the time Lily got to "...happily ever after," there was a collection of enraptured house elves as well as a spellbound James sitting on the floor at her feet, oohing, ahhing, clapping and cheering. Lily laughed and took a little bow as the elves heaped compliments on her. When she emerged from the thigh high crowd, her hands full of sweets that simply could not be refused, James was sitting on the floor, his arms supporting him from behind and his legs spread straight in front of him, an indecipherable look on his face. Lily spun round to face him a huge smile on her face and a glow in her cheeks. "What?" she asked him. James shook his head and clambered to his feet. "What?" she asked him again.

"Just admiring the general splendour."

"Of the kitchens?"

"Of you." How am I meant to respond to a comment like that? I don't know how to act with a charmingly honest James. I didn't even know a charmingly honest James existed!
"Oh… ok," Lily replied her smile faltering a little. "Erm... we should head back to the common room."

"Sure. We wouldn't want to get caught now would we?" he asked, a cheeky grin back on his face. Now cheeky James I know how to handle.

"Caught doing what, James?"

"Skipping curfew. Together."

"Oh... that," she said slowly. "Little late for that I'm afraid."

"Why? What else would we be caught doing?"

"I don't know. You tell me."

"No idea." They locked eyes for a second then both lowered their heads and smiled. Dangerous ground Lily. I'm only having a joke with him. You're flirting with him. Am not! Are too!
"Flobsgibbit."

"What?" Lily asked James, emerging from her thoughts to find herself standing at the entrance to Gryffindor tower.

"A little late tonight aren't we, Mr. Potter?" the Fat Lady asked, eyebrows raised.

"Sorry gorgeous, not keeping you from your many other admirers am I?"

"Oh you." The Fat Lady chuckled and fanned herself self consciously. "Go on in then," she said and the portrait swung aside.

"Thanks gorgeous."

"Thank you." Lily added as she crawled inside, although she doubted the Fat Lady even noticed she was there what with James' flattery and charm.

"So that's why you never get stuck in the corridor when you come in late."

"I don't know what you mean."

"Yes you do! The Fat Lady has the hots for you and you've got her wrapped around your little finger." James grinned and held up his hand.

"What? This little finger?" James asked holding up his left hand, his thumb curled around his three longest fingers and his pinkie sticking out towards her.

"Yep, that finger right there," she said smiling and tugging on his left pinkie.

"Your hands are freezing, Lily," he said when she touched him. "Come here." He grabbed her hand and rubbed it between his two warm ones, he brought it close to his face and blew hot air on them, and although his breath was warm it sent shivers down her spine. She watched his face as he warmed her hand, what's he doing? When he looked up their eyes met instantly and she blushed and turned her head to the side, what am I doing?

"We should really be getting to bed James, it's late. Goodnight." She pulled her hand away from his but felt a thrill when he seemed reluctant to let go.

"Sleep sweet, Lily." I'm sure I will.

Chapter 7: Seeing Stars
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Lily checked her watch for the millionth time, finally! She had not been able to concentrate on her Potions essay at all, she had patrol with James this evening and time seemed to be moving at half its normal speed. Eventually the clock read nine and Lily flung down her quill, replaced the cap on her ink bottle, pulled out the ribbon that restrained her auburn mane and headed out of her dorm. Lily had not had a proper conversation with James since the night she had told him the story of Cinderella. With the rumours still flying they found it impossible to talk without more gossip being spread. They could not even be seen together without a comment being sent their way, and Lily was surprised by how much she missed his company. It was silly, how can I miss someone I see everyday? But a quick smile from across the crowded common room was no replacement for the late night chats, both in depth and light hearted, they had been having of late. Lily had become accustomed to the mealtime entertainment she and Tia received when dining with the Marauders and Lily was not ashamed to say – ok so she was – she had been looking forward to her rounds with James since Sunday – it was now Wednesday.

Lily skipped down the stairs to the common room, it was packed with students completing assignments, chatting with friends and playing several rambunctious games of exploding snap. She found James playing wizard chess with Lupin in the corner, Sirius and Peter watching and trying to distract both players.

"Alright, sexy?" Sirius greeted her with a wink.

"Hello, Sirius," Lily replied dryly, since when does he call me sexy? At her voice James looked up from the board he was consulting with a look of extreme concentration to smile at Lily who had perched herself on the arm of Remus' chair.

"Knight to D5," he said after a brief moment. Remus leaned forward, his hands clasped in front of him, he tapped the table with his finger tips then sat back again. Lily bent down and whispered in his ear, he nodded and then his face split into a wide grin.

"Queen to E6. Checkmate Jamesie boy." Lily and Remus high-fived each other.

“No...it can’t be!” James quickly scanned the board trying to find an escape route.

“Bad luck Prongs,” Sirius commiserated.

“That’s not fair, he cheated! Lily helped him!” As he whined, his black pieces let rip a roar of curses and protests and began throwing the broken bits of their comrades at the opposition.

“Aw... poor James.” Lily stood and patted his cheek patronisingly, “Did the nasty girl spoil your winning streak?” She laughed as James swatted her hand and crossed his arms petulantly.

“Yes, she did.” Lily continued to grin as she grabbed his wrist and pulled him from the squishy armchair.

“Come on sulky, we’ve got rounds. See you later guys.”

“Bye Lily,” Remus called and Peter waved.

Sirius, encouraging the pieces in their pintsized war, did not bother to look up as he waved absently at her and continued to shout at the pieces, "You call that a punch? My great grandma hits better than that and she's dead! Don't you know you're at war men?! Attack!!"

Lily looked at James who simply shrugged and held aside the portrait for her.

"He was dropped on his head as a baby." Lily raised her eyebrows sceptically at his explanation. "Many times," he added. Lily shook her head exasperatedly but could not help but laugh at the serious look on James’s face, boys!

"So how are you getting on with the book I lent to you?" Lily asked conversationally as they headed in the general direction of the Astronomy Tower.

"You mean Pride and Prejudice?" Lily nodded as she opened a classroom door to her left, she stuck her head in to check it was clear then locked it with her wand as they continued walking down the deserted corridor. "Finished it ages ago," James said as he repeated Lily's previous actions with a door to his right.

"What did you think?"

"I liked it."

"You did?" She had not thought it was his sort of thing.

"Really, it was a bit heavy going at first, but after I got used to the style I enjoyed it. It's really quite funny. I can see why you like, I still don't get how you can keep re-reading it though. I mean you know how it ends, it's not like it's going to change, it's not exciting anymore."

"But that's why I like it, it's safe. I know I'm not going to be disappointed, and besides, each time I read it I find something I hadn't noticed before or find a deeper meaning behind it."

"If you say so Lily."

"It's true! It's like when you walk the same way everyday but then you see something new that you've never noticed before but it's been there all along!”

"Lily, this is Hogwarts, it probably wasn't there before. This place changes all the time."

"Ok, bad example. It's like...it's like... when you've known someone for years and you think you know everything about them and then they do something completely unexpected, or you're in a different mood and they're exactly the same but suddenly you see them in a whole new light."

They came to a halt in the corridor and just looked at each other. For example a certain Head Boy...
"This is all completely hypothetical of course," James stated although it seemed more than half question.

"Of course," Lily agreed and they walked on.

"So what about Cujo?"

"It was scary," Lily said simply.

"Good scary or bad scary?" James asked with a smile.

"There's a good scary?" Lily asked with her eyebrows raised.

"Sure, it's when your heart beats really fast, and your mouth goes dry and your palms sweat. The adrenaline starts pumping and you get that fluttery jumpy anticipation in the pit of your stomach." A bit like how I feel now?

"And...and bad scary?"

"Exactly the same except you don't get the flood of relief at the end." They laughed and James pulled aside a tapestry and gestured for her to go ahead.

"Good scary," Lily said decisively.

"So you want to borrow another of his books?" he asked.

"God no!"

"But you said..."

"That I liked it? I did but I have no desire for another week of nightmares thank you very much."

James chuckled, "Are you sure? I promise to hold your hand if you get frightened." It might almost be worth it.
"As tempting as that sounds…" and it really does. They smiled at each other and started up yet another flight of steps. "Gosh, at this rate I won't make it to the top of the Astronomy Tower," Lily said a little out of breath. They had been walking at a fast pace for quite a while and they must have scaled at least six sets of stairs one after the other.

"Are you hinting for a piggy back?" James asked winking cheekily at her.

Lily giggled, "Thanks for the offer but I doubt you'd manage it, I'm heavier than I look and I don't look all that light." Lily shifted a little nervously as James' eyes swept up the length of her body. He met her eyes, his hazel ones glittering with mischief as he grinned at her. "It's not happening, there's over seventy steps to the top and I am way too heavy for you. No way."

"Is that a challenge?" Lily caught the wicked glint in his eyes that was almost predatory and hurriedly shook her head.

"Nope, nah-uh, no it wasn't."

"Oh I think it was."

"Nah-uh."

"Yah-huh." James lunged forward with lightening quick reflexes as Lily took a step back and he threw a squealing Lily over his shoulder.

"No... JAMES! Put. Me. Down!" she shouted hammering on his back with her tiny fists and kicking her legs, ruining her attempt at anger by laughing.

"Hush you. You'll wake up the whole castle," he said chuckling and wrapping his right arm around her waist to keep her from falling as she half-heartedly struggled the other hand resting on the bare back of her knees to keep her balanced.

"Put me down, James!" she whispered loudly. James just carried on strolling up the steps all the way to the top of the tower, laughing at Lily's increasingly irate protests. When they reached the open air he let her down slowly. Lowering her feet to the floor in front of him, he put both hands on her waist to steady her. The blood rushed to Lily's head and she pressed her palms to his chest as it spun. Is that 'cause I've been almost upside down or because James' hand just stroked up my bare leg to my waist. I really shouldn't have let him do that. Or enjoyed it so much. Oh well! Lily felt every part of her that touched James on her excruciatingly slow descent burn he IS strong! Sigh... Neither of them were laughing as they locked eyes. I've never noticed how many colours are in his eyes – gold, green – I thought they were just brown before. But you've never been this close to him before to see them. Good point.
"Oh," Lily gasped as her eyes slid from James' to something that had caught her peripheral vision. James followed her gaze. She had spotted a shooting star.

"Make a wish," James said looking directly at her. Lily’s cheeks were flushed from the cool air, her mouth still open in a perfect little "O" and her eyes reflected her wonderment and the clear sparkling heavens above her.

"I wish... look another one!" she pointed excitedly, sure enough there was a brief streak of bright white light, then another and a few seconds later another.

"Must be a meteor shower tonight," James said craning his neck to watch the astral light show. The dazzling blue and white flashes lasted less than a second each, so quick it made you wonder if you really had seen it at all. Lily’s face was alight with the exhilaration of it, she was so absorbed that she had forgotten she was still in James’ arms, her body millimetres from his. The grounds for once were enveloped in complete silence, the only noise was Lily’s whispered exclamation when they saw three meteors at the same time.

“Lily, don’t you think we should be getting back?” Without looking away from the stellar show she placed her finger to his lips.

“Shush...just enjoy.” Her right hand slipped down to his shoulder and she dropped her head even further back showing off her pale neck in a graceful curve. James returned his gaze to the heavens.

An hour later found them in the same position. The meteors were now few and far between and they were beginning to feel the cold.

“Come on you, we should have been back ages ago.” James guided her towards the stairs with a hand on the small of her back as she looked behind her for just one last shooting star.

Lily chattered excitedly all the way back to the Gryffindor Tower, skipping down the stairs, running a few steps ahead of James then spinning and walking backwards until he caught up with her again.

“It’s amazing, they look so small and insignificant but all it would take was a small knock to one of those things and it could be sent hurtling towards earth, and boom! Extinction, just like that. And another thing – I don’t get how the light is made from rocks and ice burning, how does ice burn. Ice is cold and fire is hot, it’s mind boggling.” Lily wrinkled her nose at the notion which made James smile, she did not notice though as she was in her own world. “That’s why I love looking at the stars, it makes me feel so small, and if you look long enough it can feel like no one else even exists, like you’re the last person on earth. And even if you really were the last living thing on the planet, you still wouldn’t matter. It’s so humbling.”

“It makes you wonder what it’s all for doesn’t it?”

“Exactly! It makes me think, ‘why?’”

“Makes me think, ‘why not?’” Lily looked at him, considering him for a long time, he was completely serious. Certainly a more optimistic way of looking at it. Lily smiled sweetly at James and nodded.

“So you’re telling me that all I really needed to do to deflate that ego of yours was take you stargazing?” she joked, James grinned at her and shrugged. “Well that would have been far more pleasant than shouting at you.” Lily sent him a cheeky half smile.

“Admit it Evans, you enjoyed it!”

“Well I won’t deny our fights weren’t, how shall I put it...bracing? Exhilarating?”

“Indeed?”

“As much as you annoyed me, and no one can as much as you do- did,” she corrected, “and as much as I hate to admit it, I did always admire your quick wit.”

“You know I only did it to get your attention right?” Well duh.

“Of course, and it worked, I blame the hair.”

“Tempestuous redheaded temperament, hey?”

Lily blushed a little but stuck to her excuse. Truly, no one could get under her skin like James Potter could. Under your skin is he? Is there any point in denying it? No. Well then.
“Well, while we’re admitting things there was another reason I wound you up so often,” James teased.

“Oh?” Lily encouraged intrigued.

“I used to love watching how hot and flustered you’d get. Your cheeks would flush and your eyes would get this gleam, it was like I could see the passion burning behind them, you would get this determined set to your face and your lips would form this perfect little pout. You just get this fire when you’re angry, you’re even more beautiful – it’s this fierce beauty, bloody scary, but hey, I’m a glutton for punishment,” he smiled at his joke. 

But Lily had not even heard his last sentence, in her head there was a ringing silence and then just one thought: James thinks that I’m beautiful. It spiralled towards her getting bigger and bigger, in her mind she was doing her happy dance. James thinks I’m beautiful, nah nah nah nah nah!
“And where have you two been?” Lily was greeted by the stern face of the Fat Lady. On such a high from James’ admission, Lily failed to detect the Fat Lady’s tone of voice, and eager to share she gushed about her and James’ unplanned star spotting expedition on the roof. James shifted uncomfortably under the portrait’s withering glare and pulled at his shirt collar.

When Lily finished the Fat Lady looked at Lily then back at the Head Boy, “I have better things to do, Mr. Potter than wait around all night while you woo young ladies. I waited half an hour to let you in because I thought that perhaps you had been caught up with your Head duties. Let’s see how you like hanging around shall we? I will be back in an hour and a half, then again I may not be.” And with that she strolled out of her frame and down the corridor Lily calling after her desperately. When Lily realised that the Fat Lady would not be coming back anytime soon she turned with a huff to James who had slid down to sit against the wall, legs bent up in front of him.

“Great! She’s only doing it ‘cause she’s jealous you know. I mean she does know that she’s a painting and as such she has no possible way of pursuing a relationship with you. It’s crazy, besides she must be quadruple your age! And how’s that fair anyway making us wait an hour and a half when we were only half an hour late? It’s illogical and irrational."

“I agree but there’s nothing we can do now.” James patted the hard floor to his right and Lily grudgingly took a seat.

“What a way to ruin a perfect evening. It’s freezing out here as well.”

“Come here.” James lifted his arm and Lily snuggled into his side, her head on his shoulder as he wrapped his arm back around her to keep her warm.

At least there’s compensation, Lily thought wryly, delighted by how comfortable this felt. Don’t think the Fat Lady would like this very much, she smirked, and with that Lily nestled herself closer to James’s body.

“Comfy?” he asked grinning down at her. Lily nodded.

“As I can be.” Lily stifled a yawn with her hand and James smiled sweetly at her.

“Sleep if you want. I’ll wake you when The Fat Lady gets back.”

“No, I’m not tired,” Lily insisted but she contradicted herself with another yawn. James raised his eyebrows at her amusedly and she smiled guiltily. “Maybe I’ll just rest my eyes for a minute.”

“You do that.”

Chapter 8: That's a no, right?
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Lily and Tia had come up with a plan. It was obvious to all of their recently formed “gang” that is the Marauders and themselves- that the general student population would not listen to reason, but that was going to work against them! Between the four Marauders, the two girls and a few well-staged conversations a new rumour was spreading like wild fire.

Lily and James had split up!

~*~

James called out as someone grabbed him by the arm and pulled him into an alcove in which a suit of glistening armour stood and, surprisingly, one Lily Evans.

“James, shush,” Lily said placing her finger on his lips and looking around to see if anyone had heard him. James simply stared at her in shock and hope that … something would happen having to do with her finger still on his lips and her lips and her hand on his … nope, it was no use his brain had stopped working.

Lily looked back at him once she was sure no one was coming to see what the noise was. Oh, she thought. Didn’t realise quite how cramped it would be in here, there is quite a lot more to James Potter than Tia Roberts. A hell of a lot more man, well there’s bound to be with him being, you know, a man and Tia being a girl and all. Oh, yeah right.
“Lily?” James asked after a gulp.

Lily shook her head, she had been staring at him – not a good idea when he was close. Extremely close, so close I can feel the heat pouring off him, and smell him, and… Oh God he sells SO good!
“Lily?” he said again looking around a little worriedly.

“Oh, yeah, right, sorry. I just thought it would we best if we weren’t seen together for a little while, seeing as we’re meant to have ‘broken up.’ This seemed like a good idea at the time but you’re a lot bigger than Tia, normally we can hide in here quite comfortably, but…have you been working out?”

“Lily?”

“Sorry. Do you know somewhere we can go?”

“Erm… sure. Follow me,” he said, and she followed him out from under the archway as he shot strange looks in her direction every so often.

James pulled aside a tapestry a short while later and Lily stepped inside in front of him James replacing “The Flutist” right behind them.

“Where does this lead to?” Lily asked peering towards the other end of the concealed passage.

“Comes out near the charms corridor.”

“Wow, didn’t even know this was here and I reckon Tia and I know most of the shortcuts. This is going to save so much time getting from –”

“Lily.”

Lily’s head, her hair burnished by the torch light, snapped back to look at James and her porcelain features tinged with rose. “Sorry, I was babbling again wasn’t I?”

“Little bit.” James sent her a very disarming half smile and Lily blushed again, tucking her hair behind her ear. “So…”

“So?”

“So… what did you want to talk to me about? I assume that is what you wanted.” He left the other options hanging.

Lily took a second to remind herself that there were know other possibilities. It’s James Potter. James Potter. Hmm…James Potter. Sigh! “Right, talk, yeah, I just wanted to see if you were alright. The rumours have been escalating quite badly. Has it gone too far? It all seems to come out as your fault. Did it hurt your feelings? Did I ruin your stud career? ‘Cause Tia said…”

“Lily, it’s fine. Wait… my what? Stud…?”

“That’s what Tia calls it,” Lily explained as she flushed crimson in the flickering light.

“Calls what?”

“You know…”

“No, enlighten me.”

Lily had a feeling he knew exactly what she was talking about, he just wants you to say it aloud. “Well what I supposedly told those girls about you not being any … ahem … good … Tia thinks it may have affected your career as Hogwarts’ very own Casanova.”

“Ah, you mean I won’t be getting any for a while.” Lily blushed even more furiously but found that James not “getting any” for a while was quite a satisfying thought.

James laughed. “Don’t worry about it. My reputation may have taken a hit, but hey! At least it got rid of that group of giggly fifth years that follow me around everywhere I go. Besides, it’s not like I was planning on seducing anyone anytime soon, no one who doesn’t know the truth anyway.”

“But I’m the only one… oh,” Lily mumbled to herself and she could not help the smile that formed on her red face, she liked that thought. “Planning on seducing Remus or Sirius then are we?”

James laughed gently and reached out a hand, he touched a strand of hair close to her face, watching it move beneath his fingers before looking into her eyes. “You know who I’m taking about, Lily.”

The way he said her name shot through her like a bolt of electricity leaving a crackling, tingly sensation in her lower stomach and a spark in her eyes. Well that’s new.

James smiled that sexy little half smile again and dropped his hand, sitting on a chest to the side of the passageway. “So how was your day?” he asked.

Lily sat on the floor opposite him and tucked her legs to the side of her. “Surprisingly, not that bad. All the girls you have ever turned down, which was actually quite a few – some were really pretty too, don’t know why you didn’t want to go out with them.”

“They weren’t you,” James whispered watching Lily, who did not hear him, continue chattering away.

“Well all of them thought that they should congratulate me for seeing the error of my ways, a couple of the ‘I heart J.P. Club’ members told me to stop spreading lies about their precious Jamie, which is quite ironic, ‘cause well we have all been lying haven’t we? And then all of your exes” which were startlingly few- yay! “wanted to discuss that ‘yeah he was really bad in bed wasn’t he?’”

“Like they would even know!” James scoffed.

“What… you mean you’ve never…?”

“No! God I’m so fed up of people spreading lies about me,” James said as his voice rose in exasperation, and he turned his back to her forcing his hands through his hair.

“I…I’m sorry James,” Lily said in a voice not much louder than a whisper, quite taken aback by his sudden change in demeanour.

“What?” James asked turning back to face her, his anger immediately turning to regret when he saw her face. “Oh Lily, I didn’t mean you.”

“No, it’s alright James, I just thought of this easy way out of the problem and just went for it, I didn’t even really consult you first, I just stormed ahead as normal thinking ‘Lily knows best.”

“Lily, it’s fine, I didn’t mean you.”

“But it’s not fine, I hate lying, I absolutely abhor it yet here I am caught up in a web of them and all of my own making.”

“Lily,” James said softly and taking her shoulders gently in both hands. “I wasn’t having a go at you.”

“I’m really sorry James,” she said sincerely, looking up at him through slightly watery eyes.

“Nonsense, there’s nothing to be sorry for. You were just trying to help me out and it all just got a little out of hand is all. I shouldn’t have let you cover for me in the first place. And who cares if a few silly little girls don’t think I’m quite so cool anymore? I’m not mad at you Lily, or disappointed or upset or anything. Besides, it’s the match tomorrow. Everyone will forget all about this when we thrash Slytherin and take the lead for the cup. As captain of the winning team I’ll once again be – what’s the phrase you girls use these days? Ah yes, ‘Hogwarts number one hottie.’” As he said the last phrase he spread his hands as if imagining a giant banner with this inscribed upon it floating before him.

Lily giggled. “You wish Potter.”

James grinned at her. “Come on Evans, admit it – you think I’m sexy.”

“Maybe,” she answered, biting her lip on a smirk as she walked down the corridor away from him.

“Wait, what?”

“So James, any annoying packs of spurned boys wishing to commiserate with you?”

“What? You can’t just change the subject like that!”

“I just did,” she said with a wry smile.

“Fine,” he grumbled. “Nah, no one dared talk to me about it. It appears that my reputation is still good for something. They’re all worried they’ll get hexed if they say something and that as McGonagall loves me so much she’ll let me get away with it.”

“You know that’s not true right?” Lily questioned, eyebrows raised.

“Don’t spoil my fun, Evans.”

They continued walking in silence for a while until Lily finally worked up the nerve to confront James about his earlier comment. “So you really never…?” Lily asked James forcing her eyes forward and trying to act casual. Damn your curiosity Lily Evans.

“Oh… no. Have you?”

“James! You can’t ask a lady that question.”

“Why not?”

“Because… because… You just can’t, ok!”

“Oh. Ok. So… have you?” Lily let out and frustrated sigh. “That’s a “no” right?” he asked.

Lily flung aside the hanging at the end of the corridor and started the trek back to the common room refusing to look back.

James stopped at the exit. “But that’s a ‘no,’ right?” he shouted down the passage after her.

Chapter 9: Alone Except For Each Other
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A/N: This was originally split into two chapters but it made the first section very short so I've decided to reunite them, hope you don't mind it being a bit longer than normal and let me know if the two don't line up properly!

Also, my beta tells me I should let you know that the lyrics are my own and should not be used without my permission...or something like that =) Without further ado, chapter nine:






After curfew in the Gryffindor common room, it was usually thriving; tonight however, it was almost deserted, everyone seemed to have decided on an early night. Tomorrow was the long awaited Slytherin/Gryffindor match and everyone wanted to be up early in order to get down to the pitch and secure the very best seats.

Lily sat in a chair near the back of the room, James was by the fire surrounded by the house team. Lily daydreamed as she tapped her pen against her chin and hummed a soft song to herself. The meeting came to an end, James got to his feet and with much scraping of chairs the others followed suit. They filed past Lily one by one on orders to “Go straight to bed and get a good nights sleep.”

“Night, Lily.” Lily snapped back to the real world and smiled.

“Goodnight Maverick. Good luck tomorrow boys, Jane, night Fliss.”

“Night.” The others chorused. And then there were two. Lily thought as James sauntered up to her and deposited himself on the sofa opposite.

“If I didn’t know better Evans I’d say you’d stayed down here after everyone else had left just to get me all to yourself.” He gave her a cheeky grin and an exaggerated wink. Lily’s stomach did a little summersault. Naughty stomach!

“I did.” James coughed and sat up straight, ruffling his hair, Lily giggled a little.

“Excuse me?” he asked. Lily laughed again, he was so adorable when he was nervous. Wait- adorable? Where did that come from? He is annoying, bigheaded, a total…hottie! Arggh! Lily couldn’t even convince herself she didn’t like James no wonder she couldn’t convince everyone else.

“I need to ask you about Prefect rounds for next term.”

“And you couldn’t do this when I was with friends because…?” he cocked his head to one side curiously in an endearing gesture.

“Oh I could have but you looked so busy with the team; I didn’t want to bother you. Who am I to interrupt the Quidditch genius that is Mr Potter while he’s instructing his team on just exactly how to trounce the enemy team?”

“You flatter me Lily.”

“I do, oh god what’s wrong with me? I must be coming down with something!” Lily exclaimed exaggeratedly swooning with her hand to her forehead, they both laughed and then fell into companionable silence.

“So…” James prompted after a few minutes of catching each others eye smiling shyly and looking away again.

“Oh! Of course, well I’ve drawn up a rota, I just wanted you to check it over for me please, tell me what you think then you need to sign off on it.”

“Sure.” James took the piece of parchment covered in her flowing script and neat little lines from her outstretched hand. He studied it for a few moments then said, “Lily, you’ve put Lee down twice here, you’ve got Jess down on a Wednesday too- doesn’t she have Gobstones Club that night?”

“Oh yes, well remembered, pass it here? Yep, we can put Lee here, cross him out there, Jess can go here and if we just… There! Don’t mind giving up your Friday night once every two weeks do you James?” Lily looked at him; he was leaning over her right shoulder studying the paper in front of her. He looked at her for a second with something akin to adoration on his face, then looked back down at the timetable.

“Not if it means I get to spend it with you.” Lily shivered as he breathed his answer onto her neck, the warmth tickling her goose pimpled skin.

“O-Ok, just put your initials here.” Lily indicated with her right index finger, James reached down for the quill, his hand brushing down her bare forearm and his chest grazed her back and shoulder, he took the pen from her hand which she was mortified to see was shaking. She quickly clasped both hands in her lap. If James realised what he was doing to her insides– mega tummy tinglings!- he didn’t show a thing. Pull yourself together girl, it’s just Potter. So what if he’s so cute it should be illegal? Has the hottest body you’ve ever seen and if he’s…oh god… if he’s looking at you like that! Lily closed her eyes for a second to guard herself from the intense heat of his gaze and when they reopened, he wasn’t nearly as close to her as he had been.


“Is that all you wanted then Lily?” he asked from his new position; reclined against the edge of a nearby table. God no! I want you! I want you!

“Yep, that’s everything.” She smiled at him and tried not to let her mind wander to exactly how she wanted him.

“Goodnight then Lily.”

“Goodnight James.” James headed for the stairs but stopped to look back, one hand on the door frame as Lily called his name again. “James. Good luck tomorrow.”

“Thank you. Sleep sweet.”

“You too James.” Lily began to collect her belongings, muttering to herself as she did so. “‘Good luck James’, ‘you too James’.” She sneered at herself. “Uh! What are you doing?”

“First sign that you know.” Lily jumped almost a foot in the air and dropped her stuff everywhere as a voice sounded from behind her.

“Jesus Remus! Don’t do that! You almost gave me a heart attack.”

“Sorry.” Remus said sheepishly quickly covering a smirk at her reaction.

“First sign of what anyway?” she asked a little flustered as she began to pick up the stuff she had dropped in her surprise. 

“Talking to yourself- it’s the first sign of madness.”

“Oh I’m well past the first sign.” Lily mumbled from the floor where she was sat on her haunches retrieving various papers.

“Didn’t catch that, what did you say?”

“It doesn’t matter. I thought you went to bed ages ago anyway?” Lily asked.

“Forgot my bag.” He explained picking it up from the floor between the table and the chair leg.

“Oh right, night then Remus.” She said walking away to her dorm room. Remus stood and watched Lily’s retreating form. Was it just him or had he heard James’s name when he had walked in on Lily talking to herself? He gave the stairwell a curious look, then slung his bag over his shoulder, shook his head and headed to his own dormitory. 






The common room erupted in cheers as the portrait swung open to reveal the resplendent Quidditch team, fresh from the showers and back in their civvies. Remus and Peter had set up a table to one side of the room with drinks and snacks. Lily hadn’t asked where the butterbeer had appeared from because she had a feeling she wouldn’t like the answer.

A crowd of congratulators surrounded the winning team near the entrance, the room was full of happy excited chatter and someone had brought down something that looked like a muggle boom box with funny wires sticking out of the top.

“Hey James! Can we turn up the music?” someone shouted across the common room, everyone’s heads snapped to look at James. James looked at Lily: everybody looked at Lily. She pointed her wand at the wireless and turned the volume up to max, with a graceful sweep of her arm the furniture moved to one side of the room, the students looked confusedly at the empty floor and the Head pupils. James sent Lily a “What are you up to?” look, which was confusing in itself as it was usually the other way round. Then Tia snagged Lily’s hand – she caught on right away, she always knew what Lily was thinking – and dragged her into the middle of the space. Lily undid her hair clip and shook loose a tumble of glorious amber curls. The two began to dance. Soon almost all of the Gryffindor girls had joined them; a few lads had been dragged along too.

Mostly the boys watched the girls. Actually, mostly the boys watched Lily and Tia. Actually, the boys couldn’t remove their eyes from Lily and the strangest thing? She didn’t seem to care.

“Is James watching me?” Lily asked, grinding her hips to the beat, she couldn’t decide whether that was a pleasant or an unpleasant idea.

“Are you kidding Lily? Every male in the room is watching you!” That, Lily decided, was a very unpleasant idea.

“What? Why?” she said glancing around and finding Tia to be telling the truth.

“Duh, because you’re gorgeous, you’re single, they can’t believe it’s you and…oh yeah…’cause you’re with me!” They both laughed whole heartedly at the last bit. Lily grabbed Tia and pulled her off the dance floor in search of much needed liquid and gossip.

“What did you mean by, ‘they can’t believe it’s me’?” she asked at the first chance.

“Come on! Who could have imagined that little miss Head Girl would be the one to not only authorise this party but would crank up the volume, would dance like that, would have that many buttons undone?” Tia appended with a raised eyebrow. Lily looked down at her shirt, it’s not that bad!

“It’s hot in here!” she justified.

“I’ll say.”

“Oh. Hi Sirius.” Tia greeted the rakishly handsome man; she seemed unperturbed by the possessive arm around her waist and smiled at his suggestive comment.

“Black. We were in the middle of a conversation, was there something that you wanted?”

He gave Tia a burning sweep of his eyes that made her eyes sparkle in acknowledgement. “Why only to ask your gorgeous friend here if she might give me the immense pleasure of accompanying me onto the dance floor.” He said, giving Lily his best innocent expression.

Even his best isn’t anything like innocent, Lily thought, but she smiled anyway.

“What do you say gorgeous?” he asked Tia looking her straight in the eye.

And she’s gone. Lily sighed inwardly as she saw Tia’s hand sneak up to play with the pendent hanging around her neck.

Tia peered around Sirius, “Do you mind?”

I can read her like a book! “Of course not.” Giving Tia a quick thumbs up as reply to the thrilled look on her face, Sirius didn’t notice however, as he was stroking his hand down her arm to take her hand in his.

Tia mouthed her thanks to Lily and then disappeared with Sirius into the crush of people on the Lily-made dance floor.

Lily was left standing alone, but not for long.

~*~

“I must say, I didn’t think you could surprise me anymore but you've surpassed yourself in doing so this time.”

“James,” she greeted, turning to face him from finding herself a butterbeer.

“Lily,” he countered with a tilt of his head, a smirk twitching at the corner of his mouth. They stared at each other for a few moments until Lily could no longer keep a straight face and James could no longer be serious.

“You were great today James.” Lily grinned. Damn his sexy little half smile! It couldn’t fail to make her beam.

“Thanks.”

“I mean I’ve only ever seen quidditch at Hogwarts so it’s not like I’m an expert but even I know that ten goals in twenty minutes is more than impressive.”

James blushed a little at her praise but smiled proudly all the same. “I’ve never seen you at a match before, are you not a fan?”

“Are you kidding, I always go! I love it! It’s so exhilarating and that’s just watching it, but to play, now that must be something.”

“Wait, are you telling me you’ve never played quidditch?” He asked astonishment evident on his face. Lily shook her head. “Ever?”

“Never ever.”

“Why not? How is it even possible to be seventeen and not have played even once?”

“Muggleborn remember?”

“Oh no, actually I forgot for a minute there, but still, you fly don’t you?”

Lily didn’t answer for a second. He forgot? He forgot I was Muggleborn? He really doesn’t care what I am. You were wrong about him Severus. Come to that – so was I.

James was still looking at her expectantly as if the fate of the wizarding world depended upon her answer.

“Well…I had that one lesson that time. You know, first year.”

James’s jaw hung slack. Literally. “Lily, that isn’t even classed as flying! We hovered six feet off the ground for twenty seconds.” Lily blushed in embarrassment. “First thing tomorrow morning I am taking you flying,” he stated decisively.

“But I don’t have a broom.”

“I do. Come on, you up for it? I’d say we could go right now but someone has to keep an eye on this rabble.” He gestured to where Peter had managed to land flat on his bottom and he had taken three unsuspecting girls and an angry looking Sirius with him.

“Ok. I’m in.” For once Lily was going to be impulsive. Looks like James is starting to rub off on you. Shush, I can be spontaneous if I want to be, it has nothing to do with James. Ahem. 

James beamed at her. “Great! Excuse me,” and he hurried off to pick up Peter and convince Sirius that he really didn’t want to hex his friend “until his bits fell off.”

Lily watched James expertly diffuse the situation with not a little admiration on her part. A charming smile and the hope of a dance later had the girls off Peter’s back. An arm round Sirius’s shoulder with a whispered comment that made both smirk and a gentle push in the direction of a lonely looking Tia had the scowl lifted from his face. A pat on the back and a kind word of encouragement had Peter happily trying to dance once again.

James looked up from where he had started a conversation with Remus and caught her eye, he flashed a conspiratorial grin at her and far from being embarrassed at being caught watching him she found herself smiling back.

“Lily?”

“Hi, Maverick,” she said, quickly removing her eyes from James and turning to face the burly boy. “Are you having a good time?”

“Yes thanks. Erm…would you like to dance with me?”

WHAT? I was not expecting that! He held out his hand to her, Lily looked at it than back at James; he was watching her intently and was no longer smiling. Oh! She turned back to Maverick and placed her hand in his. Well I could hardly say no. She reasoned. He’s standing right in front of me. It’s not as if I’ve got a reason not to, James isn’t my boyfriend! He hasn’t even asked me to dance. Besides, I don’t need to justify myself – especially not to myself! Lily looked back at James as Maverick led her onto the dance floor; his expression was unfathomable. Lily almost mouthed a “sorry” to him but then bit her lip at the last moment. There is nothing to apologise for, she insisted but she couldn’t pretend she didn’t feel that tiny twist of guilt. Actually, she could – and she did.

Lily was soon having fun dancing, the song was a favourite of hers with a heavy bass line and she couldn’t resist running her hands through her hair and flinging it around as she moved to the beat. She made Maverick laugh as she played her air guitar, Sirius and Tia joined them and she and Black soon had the pair in stitches as they cried “flower power” with accompanying ‘mash potato’, ‘swim’, ‘fly’ and ‘the monkey’ dance moves.

The song came to and end and another started, a sultry little number. By this time Lily was having such a ball she didn’t notice the raven haired boy with an equally dark expression watching her from the edge of the room. Lily and Tia started the famous ‘bump and grind’, there was an appreciative low whistle from Sirius as they linked hands and slowly wound down to the floor before pulling up with a slow body roll. The girls giggled at the expressions on the boys faces. Close your mouth Maverick.

As soon as they were up Sirius grabbed Tia around the waist, Maverick seemed to be debating whether or not he dared to do the same to Lily. Lily smiled at her friend and put her arms around his neck.

“Your mouths still open ‘Rick,” she giggled.

“Who knew you could move like that?”

“I did,” she smiled and continued to dance. When a much slower song came on Lily’s smile dropped a little. Maverick didn’t notice though as he pulled her closer, Lily turned her head to the side and was forced to rest her cheek on his chest.

That was when she saw him. He was leaning against a table on the other side of the room, a butterbeer in hand, watching her. Their eyes locked, a fierce, intense look blazing just behind the hazel and Lily could not drag her gaze from his. As she swayed in Maverick’s arms, she couldn’t help thinking: I wish it was you.

She saw James jump up straight suddenly, almost as if…There is no way he could have heard that! I only thought it! He couldn’t have…could he? At that moment someone stepped in front of James and her view was impeded, when she found him again he was standing right in front of her.

“May I cut in?”

“Erm…I thought you two had broken up?” he whispered to Lily.

“Err…we did,” she replied, she didn’t have time to explain it all now and she couldn’t concentrate when James was looking at her like that. Like what? Like…THAT!

“Fine,” Maverick conceded, he didn’t seem very happy about it but his hands dropped from her waist and as the final chords of the song died James stepped closer to her.

I knew from the moment I saw you,
You were the one,
The fist time I touched you,
My swan song was sung.


Lily and James stood a foot apart and simply looked at one another, the hubbub of fifty other students faded into the background.

’Cause I’ve got you baby,
Under my skin,
And there is no escape
But do I want there to be?


James raised his hand with his palm towards her. Lily mirrored his action and their palms touched, finger to finger, thumb to thumb.

I can’t sleep at night,
But I dream of you,
I love you baby,
Don’t you know that it’s true? 


They both watched as their fingers interlaced, James closed the gap between them placing a warm hand to the small of her back gazing deep into her eyes.

’Cause I got you baby,
Under my skin,


Lily reached up and put her hand on his shoulder and slowly they began to move unable to drag their eyes from each other.

And there is no escape,
But do I want there to be?


Lily sighed and laid her cheek against his chest, listening to the steady thrumming of his heart, James rested his temple on the top of her head and closed his eyes breathing in a lungful of her delightful scent.

~*~

The portrait was flung open and in strode McGonagall, she flicked her wand agitatedly and the music cut out, the students froze and as one turned silently to look at their formidable professor.

“Really! I am just as thrilled as you that we won the match but you all should have been in bed hours ago. Where are the Head Boy and Girl?” Heads turned to follow as Minerva marched to a corner of the common room; she pulled a dark haired boy from a very amorous display of affection for the girl he had pinned to the wall.

“What the…? Oh Minnie.” He grinned at his irate Head of House. “How are you this evening?” The girl hastily smoothed her hair and rearranged her top blushing profusely. She hit her partner in crime on the arm trying to get him to shut up.

“I hardly think that this is appropriate public behaviour!” was her response.

“Oh come on Minnie, not jealous are we?” The young Professor seemed at a loss for words. “Because you know… you are a very attractive woman…” He continued and McGonagall turned a very fetching shade of pink.

“Enough Mr. Black! Where are Mr. Potter and Miss Evans?”

Sirius nodded to a couple shrouded in shadow in a far corner of the room. They seemed oblivious to the fact the music was no longer playing as they continued to dance slowly, talking and laughing softly together, their heads inclined intimately toward one another, unaware of their audience.

“Lily...” James whispered and she looked up at him, she took his breath away; her face was half lit, the shadows softening her features and giving her an ethereal glow. She gazed at him from beneath her long soot lashes and her lips were slightly parted in anticipation. She waited with baited breath.

“MR. POTTER. MISS EVANS.”

As if he had been shaken from a dream, James looked around him dazedly to see his professor – along with the rest of Gryffindor house – starring at him.

“Get these students to bed at once and I want this room back in its normal state before you retire!”

“Yes Professor,” he answered turning back to Lily as McGonagall left the room. Lily had not taken her eyes from him and it was with a small shock he realised their hands were still clasped, her fingers still brushing the nape of his neck and his thumb just touching the hem of her top. The position just felt so natural, it felt so good to have her in his arms. Reluctantly he released his hold on her and took a step back still unable to drag his eyes from her steady gaze; he raised his voice.

“Right, bed time you lot.” A storm of moans and complaints was the response to his order.

Lily finally turned away from him. “Come on, you heard the man, bed.” Slowly the students began to move towards the stairs still mumbling and groaning. “Just be glad you don’t have to stay and clean up!” she smiled and moved to start gathering the fallen sweet wrappers and streamers.

“Do you want some help Lily?” A girl asked gesturing to her boyfriend who had an arm draped around her shoulder. “We don’t mind.”

“Thanks Charlotte but James and I have got it covered, you head up to bed.”

“Ok, night Lily.”

“Goodnight.”

Lily continued to collect the scattered rubbish, conjuring a black sack she began to fill it placing forgotten belongings on a windowsill to be retrieved tomorrow morning. Eventually she could no longer stand it. She could feel his eyes boring into her back. She swiveled to face him; he was leaning against the wall on the other side of the deserted room his arms crossed in front of his chest, his legs outstretched.

“What?” she asked rather rudely. He gave her a hard long hard look that made Lily a little uncomfortable. It’s like he knows what you’re thinking, but that’s not possible – even you don’t know what you’re thinking when you look at him! He pushed off from the wall and with a flourish of his wand the furniture was back to its previous position.

“Nothing,” he replied unhelpfully.

Well if he’s not going to say anything, neither am I, she decided petulantly.

“Sleep sweet, Lily”

“Goodnight, James.”

He strolled out of the room and up the stairs and Lily collapsed into a chair letting out a breath she wasn’t aware she had been holding. Damn you James Potter, just when I think I’ve got you figured…

Chapter 10: One Heck of a High
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Lily awoke to the sound of tapping at the window, instinctively she knew it had been there for a while, she wondered why Pearl – her tawny owl – could not just wait until the rest of the mail was delivered in – Lily checked her watch on the night stand three hours?! It was only five o’clock! Lily tossed her covers off with a groan as the tapping continued. This letter had better be important.
Lily stumbled to the window and flung it open, she dodged as a pebble flew in and she caught it instinctively in her left hand. Not what I was expecting to find. Lily’s brow creased in confusion, she wrapped her arms around herself against the early morning chill, the very early morning chill, and stuck her head out of the window. Standing at the bottom of the tower, face turned up to look at her and arms spread, was James Potter. He had his Nimbus in one hand and his wand in the other. Lily grinned, his meaning was clear, he was making good on last night’s promise. Lily held her hand out, fingers spread in a gesture she hoped he would understand as “five minutes,” before pulling closed the window and running to the bathroom.

Fifteen minutes later Lily was making her way across the frost covered grounds towards a very chipper looking James.

“Good morning, Lily.”

“Hi.” James turned and together they headed towards the quidditch pitch. With his broom slung over his shoulder James looked wide awake and completely at ease, Lily was not quite so calm.

“Good night’s sleep?” James asked.

“All three hours of it.” James laughed as Lily stifled a yawn before continuing to speak. “So tell me, how come we’re up this early and why don’t you look half dead like I do? The sun isn’t even up yet!”

“Well that’s the point, isn’t it?” Lily sent a quizzical look in James’s direction. “Ravenclaw have the pitch booked for eight o’clock and knowing them, they’ll be there all day. We had to come early if we wanted to fly, and I figured if we were getting up early already we might as well get up half an hour or so earlier and watch the sunrise. As for looking so awake…” he pulled a flask from the rucksack he had with him, “That’s what coffee is for. Besides we both know you look totally gorgeous all the time so stop fishing for compliments.”

“I was not…I do not…” Lily stumbled, then gave in and sighed, “Thank you.”

James set his broom parallel to the ground, level with his hip and let go, it stayed hovering a few feet above the grass.

“So I figured we get watch the sunrise from the air and then afterwards I’ll teach you how to fly the old girl properly.” Lily smiled at the expression.

“Your broom’s female?”

“Of course,” James replied completely serious as he swung one long leg over the broom.

“Does she have a name too?” Lily asked.

“Don’t be silly, it’s just a broom Lily.” Lily had only been joking but his admonishment had embarrassed her. James grinned at her and Lily instantly forgot feeling foolish.

“I reckon it’d be best to ride in front of me at first since you’ve never really flown before.”

“Erm…Ok.” Lily’s nerves that had been assuaged by their relaxed banter suddenly returned in full force.

“Have you ever ridden a horse side saddle before?”

“Once or twice.”

“Well it’s just like that.” Lily raised her eyebrows at him. “Ok, it’s actually nothing like that but the position’s exactly the same, kind of.” Lily looked at James, then at the thin strip of wood that was meant to keep her from falling to an untimely death sceptically. She looked at James’s extended hand then finally back at him. “I won’t let you fall, Lily.”

“Ok.” Lily took his hand and climbed delicately onto the broom. It felt delightfully sophisticated and womanly somehow to be sitting this way. James placed his hands on the handle in front of her right hand and Lily found herself encircled by his arms.

“Here we go,” James said pulling up and they took of smoothly. Lily gripped James’ forearms tightly as she felt a thrill go through her like nothing she had ever felt before, not entirely sure that it was completely to do with flying.

This is so surreal! I’m wrapped in James Potter’s arms, scent and warmth, on James Potter’s broomstick getting higher and higher by the second, my life is completely in his hands and we are about to watch the sunrise over the Scottish highlands together. This is SO surreal!


James flew up to a spectacular height before he levelled out. The view was fantastic and in the very distance was the most fantastic display of pinks and oranges with all the shades in between as the first rays of real sunlight began to show above the horizon. James heard Lily gasp and felt a small hand clutch at his wrist.

“Oh James, it’s beautiful,” Lily whispered breathlessly. Wait, did I just swoon? Oh who cares, it’s beautiful, more so than anything I’ve ever seen.



“Good idea then?” he asked. Lily turned to look at him, a look of awe, wonder and absolute contentment on her face.

“The best.” James smiled indulgently as she turned back to watch the constantly changing array of colours and patterns but he could not take his eyes from the face of the girl in front of him where her joy and wonderment were displayed so openly.

“Are you hungry?” James asked as the show was coming to an end. “Or thirsty? I have coffee and croissants in here,” he said indicating the satchel on his back.

“I’d love a cup of coffee but there’s not a cat in hells chance I’m taking a hand off this broom.”

“If I can fly no handed you can sit still one handed surely?”

“Yeah, but you’re practically a professional; I can’t even be classed as a beginner yet!” James laughed and took his hands from the broom to pour a coffee from the flask in his hands. “James, what are you doing?!” she squealed as his arms disappeared from around her, the hand that had been on his wrist now had the wood in a death grip.

“Relax Lily, I promised I wouldn’t let you fall. If you’re having trouble balancing just lean back against me, although I doubt that, you’re the most graceful person I know.” Lily smiled a little.

“I used to dance.”

“Used to? You mean you’ve given up since last night?” He smiled at her and handed her a steaming cup which she warily took in one hand. James poured himself a cup before replacing the flask in his bag.

“Very funny. I used to be a ballet dancer, I had to give it up when I came to Hogwarts though. Used to always be at gymnastics as well, I kept that up though, didn’t want to lose the flexibility. I practise here and then in the summer help out with the little ones in turn for some private tutoring.”

“I never knew that.”

“Not many people do.” Lily took a sip of the hot drink and sighed leaning back against James’ chest. It was still quite cold out but James was like a small furnace at her back and the coffee warmed her from the inside.

“Did you have to give up a lot when you came to Hogwarts?” James asked and Lily almost giggled – she could feel his voice rumbling and vibrating along her spine.

“Not really, I didn’t have that much; just the dancing, I never had many friends…”

“I find that hard to believe.”

“It’s true, besides ever since Severus told me about Hogwarts it was all I dreamed of.” At the name Lily felt James stiffen up and she instantly regretted saying anything at all. Honestly Lily, why do you never think before opening your mouth? Everything was going just swimmingly.


“It was Snape who told you about Hogwarts? When?”

“Practically the first time I saw him. It was him who told me what I was.”

“And what was that?” James asked and he almost sounded wary.

“A witch. What else would it be?” She asked accusingly sitting up and turning to look at him, the fear of falling temporarily forgotten.

“I don’t know. No wonder you two are close,” he said to himself as he stared off almost wistfully behind her.

Is that jealousy in his voice? Lily turned back to the sun that was now nearly fully risen. “We were close,” she emphasised. “We shared everything, he told me I was a witch and that I would go to Hogwarts, he taught me everything I knew about the magical world before I came here. Did you know that it was him that told me it didn’t matter I was muggleborn? I was worried about not being good enough. Now that’s ironic!” she laughed bitterly.

“I’m sorry, Lily.”

“Really?”

“Really.” And there was sincerity in his voice.

“It’s just…I’ve known him since I was eight, how could I have not have known what he was really like, what he was really thinking about me all along?”

“Love is blind.”

“I wasn’t in love with Severus!”

“No, but you did love him, he was your friend wasn’t he? But I wasn’t talking about you.”

“Who then?”

“Snape of course! He couldn’t see your blood because he loved you, you were the exception to his stupid rule. Why do think I was jealous of him?”

“You were never…”

“Course I was, I mean I hate his slimy guts don’t get me wrong, but I envied him too.”

“Why?” asked a bewildered Lily.

“Because he was allowed to love you.”

“Oh James…” James coughed and took her cup from her, he slung the dregs into the air and threw both cups back into his rucksack before taking hold of the handle.

“Come on. I promised to take you flying.” The case was clearly closed. For now. Lily thought.

James landed the broom just as gently as he had taken off, he threw his bag onto the bottom row of the stands. “Right Lily, swing your leg over so that you are facing the handle.” She did so and James climbed on behind her.

“No, really? I may be inexperienced, but I’m not a Slytherin Potter.” James laughed at her sarcastic comment and eye roll.

“Sorry, I’ve just known how to fly for so long I can’t even remember how I was taught.”

“Knowing you, you weren’t, you probably climbed on at the age of five and took off for the skies without a word of instruction.” Lily turned back to look at him and smiled at him so he knew she was only joking. Well, kind of, he does seem to be a natural at everything he does, lucky sod. James returned her grin.

“So you’re going to put your hands on it like this.”

“Like this?”

“Perfect, see the hand closest to the end has the most control so you always put your quill hand on top.”

“So that’s why you put your left hand first? ‘Cause you’re left handed.”

“Yep.”

“Always have to be different don’t you Potter?” Lily teased.

“That’s original me – James Potter: the one and only.”

I’ll say, Lily thought.

Oblivious to Lily’s thoughts, James continued with his lesson, “So to go up you’re going to gently pull the handle towards you. Lily pulled up and they shot into the air.

“How do I stop? HOW DO I STOP?” screamed Lily. James placed his hands over hers and pressed down, they slowed to a stop.

“It’s alright, I got you,” James said the merest hint of amusement in his voice. Lily’s heart was beating a mile a minute.

“So I guess when you said pull up gently, you meant pull up gently,” Lily said shakily and not a little breathlessly. James laughed aloud at that and Lily found herself joining in and letting a little relieved giggle escape.

“It’s a racing broom Lily – it’s meant to go fast and with the slightest touch. I mean it’s not built for two but what with you being the little thing that you are I could easily coax at least eighty miles an hour out of her.”

“Hey! I’m not that small you know,” Lily said affronted. So I’m on the petite side, so what?

“I never said it was a bad thing, didn’t your mum ever tell you the best things come in small packages?” he asked her in a low voice, his warm breath tickled her ear.

Lily closed her eyes for a brief second glad that he was behind her and blocked from seeing the affect he was having on her. Is he flirting with me? Yes. Oh. No change there then. “No, why, did yours?” Lily responded quick wittedly.

“No. I would have been quite upset if she had, I like to be the best and my package is anything but small.”

“James!” Lily said aghast, glad their positions prevented James from seeing her blushing profusely.

“I’m joking, I’m joking!” James protested, adding after a short pause, “Sort of.”

“Stop it!” Lily half heartedly elbowed him.

“Ok, ok, no need to get physical…not in that way at least,” James laughed and Lily pulled back her elbow. “Sorry, sorry, I’ll be a good boy now.” Lily lowered her arm. “Ready to try this again?” Lily eased up the handle of the broom slowly and this time they rose at a steady speed. “That’s it, now to go forward just lean forward a bit, not too much, that’s it. Ok, now we’re going to go right so pull ever so gently in that direction and lean a bit with it. Perfect! Now back the other way. Great. Now if you wanted to go down…”

“I don’t, not yet.”

James smiled indulgently. “Ok, but if you did you just push the handle down. Simple really isn’t it?”

“Surprisingly so.”

“And if you want to go faster you just lie your torso flatter to the broom.”

“And hold on tighter?” Lily joked.

“Not a bad idea,” chuckled James. Lily flew for another half hour, James giving tips and hints, Lily drinking in his lessons eagerly before James got her to pull to a halt. “Now comes the fun part.”

“That wasn’t the fun part?” Lily asked entirely seriously, she had been thoroughly enjoying herself.

“Nope. This is the fun part.” James moved his hands so that they were covering hers and pressed his weight down on her, flattening her to the handle completely. Before Lily could say anything they shot to the other side of the pitch at full speed which Lily was sure was more than eighty miles per hour, Lily squealed and shut her eyes but James just laughed and performed a perfect hairpin turn. When Lily opened her eyes they were zooming in the opposite direction.

Oh. Looks like I’m not going to crash to a painful squidgy death at the hands of James Potter after all. Lily screamed as they were launched into a spiralling nosedive but it was drowned out by James whoop of utter delight.

As James continued their whirlwind flight Lily found herself enjoying every second, laughing and hollering through dives and spins, turns and wheels. As James raced from one end of the pitch to the other she even built up the courage to take her hands off the broom. Tucked safely between James’s arms she threw them into the air tipping her head back and laughing with sheer unmitigated joy.

“I feel like I’m flying!”

James laughed; there was wonder in her voice. “You are!”  

He grinned and coaxed the broom to go even faster.

Chapter 11: Rebellion: Detours and Diving
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With a final swoop James bought them to a stop exactly where they had left the ground to begin with. He hopped off the broom with practiced ease and held out his hand to help Lily down. She stumbled a little but he caught her, she leant against him with her palms spread against his chest and James lightly gripping her upper arms to steady her.

“Head rush,” she explained looking up at him, a slightly dazed grin on her face.

“The good kind?” he asked.

“The best.” Lily flashed him a winning smile and he reluctantly released her. Lily was buzzing, the adrenaline thrumming through her veins was giving her a huge high. Her hair was windswept and her cheeks tinged pink from the cold but she didn’t feel it – she was positively glowing and had never felt more exhilarated in her life!

“I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun, can we go again?” she asked her eyes sparking with energy and enthusiasm.

“Sorry, here come the Ravenclaws, we gotta go.” Lily groaned but followed him nonetheless as he shouldered his broom and snatched up his bag. As he reached the exit and headed towards the castle Lily grabbed his hand.

James raised his eyebrows, “We’re not?”

“Nah-ah, I’ve never felt more awake, more alive, come on,” she said dragging him away with both hands. “Lets do something fun, I’m buzzing, aren’t you? Ooh I know! Lets go swimming,” she said excitedly.

“Lily it’ll be freezing!” he exclaimed incredulously.

“Come on James, I’ll race you there,” she said tearing off in the direction of the lake “Unless you’re chicken?” she shouted over her shoulder.

James stared after her until she rounded the corner of the Forbidden Forest and was lost to sight. He took a quick look up at the school before racing after her. When he got to the pebble beach at the edge of the lake he stopped dead dropping his things where he stood. A trail of clothing marked where Lily had been and he was just in time to see her pull off her jumper leaving her standing in just knickers and a camisole, she threw him devilish smile over her shoulder before diving in. She emerged a short distance from the shore shaking her head, water flying in sheets from her silken locks.

“Come on in James – the water’s fine!” she shouted laughing at his expression and then throwing herself backwards and floating, kicking her legs and arms a little.

“You’re joking right?” Lily flipped onto her front and swam towards him, he’d moved to the waters edge.

“Not afraid of catching a little cold are we James?” Lily asked cocking her eyebrows at him. “Don’t make me come and get you,” she threatened.

“Oh?” James asked, intrigued. “I think you’re gonna have to.” Lily sprang from the water and grabbed him by the wrists pulling him fully clothed into the water. He emerged surprised, spluttering, cursing, wiping the water from his eyes and replacing his glasses.

“Jesus, Lily!” Lily simply clutched her sides from laughing so much.

Panting for breath she managed to get out through tears of laughter, “That… face… was… priceless. Do it again.” James who had been taking off his socks and shoes threw them onto land.

“Why you little…” Lily squealed as James made a lunge for her. Splashing away from him she ran through the shallows, giggling and protesting as he chased her. When he reached her, he grabbed her round the waist and dragged her further out into the deeper water. Laughing and shouting his name she tried to squirm out of his grasp.

“Oh no you don’t!” He tightened his arms easily around her tiny waist.

“JAMES!” she shouted, gasping for breath from her hysterics as she kicked her legs out of the water as he held her.

“Payback,” he said throwing her away from him so that she was completely submerged.

“Oh you are so dead,” she swore as she surfaced. This time it was James’ turn to flee and being fully clothed was not helping the matter in the slightest. His garments were slowing him down and Lily soon caught him, jumping on his back and dunking him under the water.

They frolicked, splashing back and forth until James cried out, making for land, “Ok, enough, enough I give up – you win.”

“Woo hoo!” Lily called out. James made his way onto the beach and Lily floated in the shallows.

“Honestly Lily, what’s got into you?” What has got into me?

“Honestly?” James nodded as he rang out his t-shirt. “I think it’s you.” He looked up from what he was doing. “Looks like you’re finally starting to rub off on me.” Lily chuckled as James stared at her, she was crouched in the water hidden from view from the shoulders down. “The flight was such a thrill, you know me when the adrenaline starts pumping I’m not so much with the thinking.” She smiled at him, he loved that she could laugh at herself but at the same time he knew she hated it when people laughed at her.

“Miss Evans, impulsive? Who’d have thunk?” he grinned back at her. He put his shirt back on and shivered, the moment was lost. “Lets get inside; I’m freezing!”

“Ok, just…turn around will you?” James obliged but not before she caught the look on his face.

You do know this is ridiculous right?

Yes.

You stripped down in front of him.

Yes.

You wrestled with him.

Yes.

You climbed on his back.

Yes, I know.

And your top has been pretty much see-through since you first dived in.

Yeah, I…wait.
“WHAT?” shouted Lily out loud. James had to have noticed!

“Lily, what’s wr…”

“Don’t turn around!” she shouted, pulling on her jeans and jumper in record time. See, this is where not thinking gets you. Shut up! “Ok,” was all she said that was audible, but in her head she was still cursing herself and her stupid voice of reason. James turned back to see Lily fully dressed with a bright red face to match her scarlet jumper.

“We should get back and dried off.” Lily nodded and they walked back to the castle side by side.


~*~


The entrance hall was deserted when they reached the doors but a huge din was coming from the Great Hall where breakfast was underway. James and Lily shared a look, “Probably not the best idea to turn up dripping wet.” Lily nodded her assent. “Common Room?” Lily nodded again but just as they turned a corner in the staircase they heard an almighty shriek.

“I’ve just mopped this floor!” It was followed by the thump of heavy footsteps following their slippery trail. With another quick glance at each other they took off running.

Filch chased them all over the castle, just as they were about to be caught James pulled Lily into an alcove. He had his hands on her upper arms and her palms were pressed to his chest, she giggled as they popped their heads out to see if Filch was still tracking them. They saw him round the corner and quickly pulled their heads back in. Luckily the caretaker had had his head down looking at the water they had left behind them on the stone floor and failed to see them.

James leaned closer to Lily and whispered to her, “Shush or you’re going to get us caught.” However, the harder Lily tried to stop laughing the more she did. She buried her head in James’ soaked t-shirt to muffle the sound and shook with silent laughter, tears of mirth streaking down her face as Filch declared, “I know where you are, don’t think you’ll get away with this,” whilst walking straight past their hiding place.

Lily looked up and stilled immediately as her eyes locked with James’, she actually felt his heart skip a beat in his chest. She could feel it thumping fast against her palm. Somehow I don’t think it’s the running that’s got him out of breath. Lily’s stomach flip-flopped as he leant towards her slightly. Naughty stomach, don’t give up on me yet!

Lily grabbed James’ hand and tore from the alcove doubling back on themselves as Filch was distracted by a portrait of a smiling woman, who winked at Lily. Lily noticed that the woman in the portrait was surrounded by a group of plump and merry children all pointing in opposite directions. Hand in hand, Lily and James ran all the way to the Gryffindor Tower giggling and stumbling in their haste.

They stopped at the Fat Lady, flushed, exhilarated and clutching at stitches in their sides as they held on to one another to stop from collapsing in hysterics.

“Password?”

“Broc…broc,” James tried to get out.

“Broc…ha…brocc…o,” was Lily’s attempt.

“Broccoli trousers,” James finally managed. Who comes up with these passwords anyway?
“Indeed,” said the Fat Lady disapprovingly. They both entered the room and after several minutes of catching each other’s eye and bursting into fits of giggles again, eventually sobered up.

“How do you always manage to get me into trouble, James?”

“Me? That was your fault; you were the one who wanted to go swimming!”

“Ah…but if you hadn’t taken me flying I wouldn’t have taken you swimming.”

“Hey, don’t say you didn’t enjoy that.”

“Yeah, you’re right, I did,” said Lily making for her dorm room.

“You were just winding me up weren’t you?” Lily threw him a wink to which he shook his head. And it works every time.


~*~


Lily walked back into the common room twenty minutes later to find a clean and dry James sitting in front of the fire surrounded by the rest of the Marauders. Lily flopped down on the sofa next to James and continued to dry her hair with the towel she had brought down from her dorm.

“Morning boys,” she said cheerfully to the three of them, each of whom then sent curious looks at James.

“So…we were just asking James how your date went,” Sirius said hoping to make Lily blush or even better blow her top. Either would be very entertaining, but all he got was a punch on the arm from James.

“Padfoot – I told you, it wasn’t a date.”

“We had a great time, didn’t we James?” she said pausing from rubbing her hair to smile over at him.

“Yeah, we did.” James beamed at her and she went back to drying her hair.

“Urgh, I hate my hair!” said a frustrated Lily as she threw the towel down. It landed on Peter’s head as he was sitting on the floor facing them. “Oops, sorry Pete,” she giggled a little as Peter removed it from his head with a chuckle.

“Why do you hate it? You have lovely hair,” James said, fingering a strand that sat close to her cheek.

“Thanks, it’s just so thick though, takes so long to dry,” she said pulling on a chunk and looking at it with distain.

“Can’t you just use a drying charm?” Remus asked.

“I do sometimes but it ruins your hair, plus it ends up about five times the size! Not a good look on me.”

“Well as interesting as this conversation is…” Sirius left the sentence hanging and they all laughed a little. “I want to hear what you two got up to on your date.”

“It was not a date Padfoot.”

“Oh come on, it was so a date. You barely even let me on your Nimbus 360, even then you have to be in a really good mood, like Lily has to have looked at you or something.” James looked mortified and went bright red, he looked at Lily who was laughing and shook his head with his mouth open.

“I cannot believe you just said that!” Sirius just shrugged with a mischievous grin and a twinkle in his eye. He rubbed his hands together and lent forward towards Lily.

“Give us all the gory details then Lilykins.”

“First of all…never call me that again, and I’m sorry to disappoint Black but there are no gory details. So, unless you want me to invent a story where me and James made mad passionate love on the back of his broom-”

“Please do,” Sirius interrupted her. James, Remus and Peter simply stared at her as if asking themselves, ‘did that sentence really just come out of Lily Evans’s mouth?’ James gulped almost audibly.

“Well, as delightful as that would be,” she said getting to her feet. “I’m starving and seeing as we seem to have missed breakfast I’m going to head down to the kitchens.” Lily got to the portrait hole and turned back. “Are you coming, James?”

Chapter 12: Code Cracked
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A/N: Terribly sorry about the long wait guys, as soon as this is validated I'll submit the next chapter. Validators are busy people though so please be patient =)


Sunday night found the Gryffindor common room packed, the seventh year boys crowed around the fire along with Tia. Peter was sprawled on the floor, James was in his favourite armchair, and Sirius was sat on the sofa with Remus sitting on the floor leaning his back against it. Tia had her back to the fire her long legs stretched out in front of her and her head tipped back. The lads were chatting and laughing as an irate Lily tried to control the rabble. Having sent a raucous group of first years to bed she walked over to her friends by the fire.

“Honestly, a little bad weather and they all go crazy!”

“Lily, relax, just let them get on with it,” Tia told her best friend.

“I can’t just… HEY! Put that down!” Lily shouted across the room to a gang of third years. She made towards them stepping over Remus’ legs, but as she passed Sirius he grabbed her around the waist and pulled her onto his lap.

“Leave them alone Lily, they’re not doing any damage.” At that moment there was the sound of something smashing and Lily raised an eyebrow as Sirius winced, “Well minimal damage, nothing me and Jamsie-boy can’t fix with a flick of the wrist.”

“Fine, fine,” Lily muttered reluctantly.

“Err, Padfoot mate, you can let go of her now,” said James, shifting a little uncomfortably in his seat.

“Nah it’s alright; I think I’ll keep her.”

“Black, you can’t just decide to keep me, I’m a woman not an object!”

“Hey, that’s what James always says,” exclaimed Sirius, unperturbed by Lily’s admonishment.

Lily and Tia looked at each other with open mouths before turning to stare at a blushing James.

“Well that was unexpected,” Tia said and they all looked at her in confusion, apart from Lily who couldn’t take her eyes from the dark haired man opposite her. “I would never have imagined I’d have my faith restored in men by James Potter of all people,” Tia explained still looking a little flabbergasted.

“You’re back on boys again? Does that mean I might get a real look in now?”

“I said ‘men’ Black, not boys.” But Sirius just smirked at the dark haired beauty.

“Here Prongs, you can have her back now,” said Black as he moved to sit next to Tia, he literally threw Lily off of his lap, she went straight up in the air as if she weighed barely more than a feather.

Lily gasped, it all seemed to go in slow motion. She was on Sirius’s lap, then in the air and then James had shot up and was standing beneath her. He caught her as a groom carries his bride and with just as much devotion in his eyes. He collapsed back into the chair with a sigh, Lily on top of him her heart still beating a mile a minute. She knew her hands would shake if she released her iron grip on James’ shirt and his hands were still curled on her hips. He broke eye contact as he dropped his head back and closed his eyes. Breath Lily…In…Out…In…Out… Repeat indefinitely.
“I can’t believe you just did that Sirius,” Remus said incredulously. Sirius just grinned from his place on the floor next to Tia who was shaking her head at him.

“Relax, you make it sound like there was a possibility James wouldn’t have caught her.” To Lily’s chagrin the whole group seemed to except this excuse and let it drop. “So I’ve got a question – how come everyone else gets a first name but I’m just ‘Black’?”

“How come you never told us Remus,” Tia emphasised his name to annoy him, “is a werewolf?”

“How the hell do you know that?” Sirius demanded jumping to his feet in shock. He looked around at the attention he had drawn and sat back down slowly, he repeated his question in a furious whisper.

“You just told us,” Tia grinned triumphantly.

“Shit,” Sirius swore, livid with himself.

“Actually, Lily figured it out ages ago, we just decided we wanted confirmation.”

At her name, Lily stopped staring down at James, Whoops, I forgot other people exist again, I should really stop doing that. Lily hastily stood up, her back to James and smoothed down her shirt. She heard James groan a little and shift in the armchair expelling a deep breath and relaxing the tension his body had been rigid with when Lily was on his lap. At least I’m not the only one affected, that means I’m not crazy right? Or am I just imagining things so I think I’m not going insane? I bet James is ruffling his hair right now…
“Lily!”

Lily jumped, “What?”

“Tell them how you found out about Remus’s ‘furry little problem’.” Tia air-quoted the codename.

“Ah man Prong’s – they even cracked your code! Next they’ll be telling us they know what our nicknames mean.”

“You mean your animagus names?” Sirius groaned and threw himself bodily onto his stomach his face buried in the rug.

“Maybe we could discuss this in a more private setting?” It was the first time Remus had spoken since Tia’s revelation. He was extremely pale and looked a little ill. The others nodded and they walked up to the boys’ dorm in uncomfortable silence where they formed a circle on the floor.

Lily continued, “Well when I saw you that night the whole Padfoot thing was really obvious, although Tia and I both agree you should be ‘Snuffles’.”

Tia laughed at Sirius’s disgusted face, and ruffled his hair as he scrunched his nose.

Lily stuck out her tongue at him and continued, “Once we knew about Remus, well, Moony? Duh! Wormtail; this is just a guess but you’re a rat, right?” Peter nodded dumbly. “And Prongs? Well we had a few ideas.” Tia caught Lily’s eyes and they quickly looked away giggling. “Why don’t you tell us?”

“I’m a stag.”

“Oh.” Lily didn’t mean to let the sound escape.

“What?” James asked defensively.

“No, that’s just…perfect.” Oh god, did I just sigh that last word?
“Oh.” James said a mixture of abashment, confusion and pleasure.

“So,” Remus cleared his throat and started again, “So, how did you figure it out? Is it really, really that obvious?” he gulped.

“Well it is if you’re our resident genius.” Tia nodded at Lily who blushed.

“It isn’t when you look at all the clues separately; but when you join the dots.”

“The clues?” James asked.

“Oh come on, James, you don’t really think no one else would be able to figure it out?” Sirius had a look that clearly stated he thought so and was about to speak but Tia hit him in the stomach and gave him a warning glare.

Lily started to list the things she had observed, “Being sick at the same time every month, your biggest fear is the moon…”

“How did you know that?” asked Remus.

Lily continued as if she hadn’t been interrupted, “Your, not so subtle, code when you refer to Remus’ ‘furry little problem’, you lot being animagi, James’ bite marks, the list goes on and on.”

“Wait! What, James has what?” Tia asked, James lifted his t-shirt and Tia crawled closer to have a better look.

“Whoa. You didn’t tell me about this Lily,” Tia accused her friend.

“I didn’t?” Lily asked innocently, “Oh, well, Tia – James has teeth marks on his chest.” Tia saw James eyeing Lily curiously and sent her a ‘we’ll talk about this later’ look. Uh-oh, I’m in trouble now.

“Hey, I have scars too you know,” Sirius pouted at the lack of attention he was getting from Tia.

“Yeah but yours are emotional they’re not nearly as sexy.” Tia bit her bottom lip and grinned before nudging him on the arm, “I’m joking, it gives you that whole I’m deep and broody thing, it’s very sexy,” Tia said nodding and pursing her lips to keep from giggling, Sirius looked appeased and Tia rolled her eyes at Lily who laughed at his easy persuasion.

“Anyway,” Lily carried on, “At first we thought it was your Aunt who was a werewolf and that you had to go and look after her when she transformed and that’s why you were always disappearing off there. Then we realised that was a stupid idea, didn’t we Tia?” Tia blushed and nodded as Lily raised her eyebrows at her and chuckled. “Anyway, we put two and two together and got werewolf,” Lily concluded shrugging.

“How long have you known?” Remus said in barely a whisper.

“Until Sirius’ reaction downstairs we couldn’t be a hundred percent, but a long time now I’ve had suspicions, I just wish you could have told me Remus, I don’t care. It hurt to think that you couldn’t trust me though, we’ve been friends for ever.”

“I’m sorry, Lily,” he said with a weak smile.

“Have you told anyone else?” Peter asked.

“Of course not!”

“Are you going to?”

“Peter,” Remus admonished.

“What?” he asked the three incredulous faces staring at him.

“Your secret is safe with us Remus,” Lily said quietly squeezing his hand and offering him a small smile which he returned with a watery one of his own. Tia gave him a hug from behind, resting her cheek on his shoulder as he covered her hands with one of his.

“You’re not mad at us are you Remus? ‘Cause we still love you.”

Remus laughed. “No, I’m not mad; it’s kind of a relief.”

Lily joined in hugging him and they kissed a cheek each.

“I think we should all become werewolves if this is how girls react,” Sirius said, a hint of jealously crept into his voice.

“Not all girls, these girls are special.” Remus squeezed Lily’s hand again and she grinned at his word as Tia went back to sit by Sirius.

“So are you going to tell anyone about us being animagi?” asked Peter completely ruining the tender moment.

“No,” Lily sighed agitatedly. Man he is slow sometimes!

“Why not?”

“Peter?”

He turned to look at Sirius, “Yeah?”

“Shut up!” Sirius told him exasperatedly as James shook his head in disbelief and Remus sent him a half-disgusted, half-pitying look.

“So now you know that we know, what other secrets have you got to tell us?” Tia asked lying on her stomach and kicking her legs as she rested her chin on her upturned palms.

“Yeah, come on lads, now’s the time to show off. You must have been dying to tell someone about all your adventures.”

“What do you want to know?” James asked Lily.

Everything, Lily thought before breaking his gaze after a few long seconds and instead asking, “How about how you get out of the castle undetected every full moon? Or how you managed to become animagi? Anything.”

“Ok,” Sirius said, he rubbed his hands together and a mischievous glint appeared in his steel coloured eyes.

“Ah-hem,” Remus cleared his throat and motioned with his head to the other boys. “A word?” The Marauders went to one side of the room and whispered together, arms around each other’s shoulders, occasionally throwing looks at the girls and grinning.

“Come on!” Tia called impatiently.

“This is your chance to impress, guys.” James threw a grin over his shoulder at Lily’s taunt, causing her to blush a little. Come on James, impress me.

With much nodding and back slapping the boys walked back and took their original positions. Tia was sandwiched between Sirius and Remus, then came Lily, James and Peter completed the circle on Sirius’ right.

“Our story begins on a winter’s night much like this one, the moon was full and the air was chill…” Remus began. Both girls shivered involuntarily with excitement and listened intently as they fidgeted in anticipation.

The tales of the Marauders continued long into the night as the boys took it in turn to regale them with their escapades. By two o’clock in the morning they were all yawning, the boys’ throats were dry from overuse and both Tia – head in Sirius’ lap – and Lily – who leant against James’ shoulder – were struggling to keep their eyes open. When Peter actually fell asleep, his forehead smacking the floor, they decided to call it a night. A sleepy Lily bumped her lips against James’ jaw and hugged Remus good night, she stumbled down the stairs followed closely by an equally drowsy Tia. They clambered into bed moments later and pulled their curtains closed, Lily was asleep within moments.

She had the strangest dream that night. A man who looked remarkably like James was playing the role of Robin Hood as Maid Lily stumbled into the Forbidden Forest with a huge bear like dog at her heels. The following adventure was a delightful mix of fantasy and the Marauders’ even more unbelievable reality, but the dream was soon forgotten in the light of day.


~*~


James and Sirius headed down the corridor following the throngs of students that were heading off to lessons for the day. “James. James! JAMES.” Is he deaf? “OI POTTER!” James finally stopped and turned around to answer Lily’s shouts and saw her standing by the notice board in the rapidly emptying Entrance Hall. “Quill?”

“Oh yeah,” he said whipping the borrowed item from his pocket. “Can you catch?”

“Can you throw?” James grinned and sent it sailing through the air towards her.

Time seemed to stop, or rather Lily felt like it was happening in slow motion around her as she stood apart from herself watching the action. One minute a quill was flying towards her outstretched hand, the next James was shouting “NO!” and running toward her, somehow the quill had transformed in mid-air. A dagger glinted as it passed through a beam of sunlight. James stopped two meters short of her as her fist closed around the razor sharp blade. Lily looked down at her hand. There’s a knife stuck in my palm, huh.

Chapter 13: Knife's Edge
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Both looked down at her hand where the dagger lay embedded in her palm. Lily’s left hand moved across her body and gripped the handle and James was running and shouting at her again.

“Lily don’t pull…”

Lily looked up at him, expressionless as a shower of blood hit the floor and with a resounding clatter so did the dagger. A look of confusion creased Lily’s forehead. James was speaking to her but she didn’t hear him or anything else, just a ringing in her ears. Why does James look so worried? It doesn’t hurt at all. I wonder who thought it would be funny to try and chop my hand in half?


“What the hell did you do that for?” Sirius screamed at a group of Slytherins leaning against the corridor wall looking amused.

“We just wanted to see how dirty her blood really is.”

My blood isn’t dirty… look at the puddle on the floor, bright red.


“Why you-” Sirius raised his wand.

“Sirius no! Help me!” James shouted. “NOW!” James took Lily’s damaged hand in both of his tenderly, as if he were holding the most delicate, precious thing in the world.

“God, Prongs is that…?”

“Bone? Yes. We have to stop the bleeding.”

“How?” Sirius couldn’t take his eyes from the gaping wound, it was morbidly fascinating and completely sickening. James didn’t answer but let go of Lily, placed his right hand on Sirius’ shoulder his left on Sirius’ cuff and pulled tearing the sleeve right off of his shirt.

“Hold her arm up,” ordered James.

Sirius did as he was commanded in somewhat of a daze.

“James?” asked an extremely pale Lily.

James looked up from where he was tying the makeshift tourniquet as tightly as possible around her wound. “It’s ok Lily.”

“No, I don’t think it is… You see, I’m going to faint now.”

James had just finished securing the knot when her legs buckled. Sirius held her up by the shoulder as James took her face in his hands.

“Lily? Lily!” She opened her glossy eyes and looked straight at him. “Lily you have to stay awake, ok? Lily, answer me.”

“O…Ok.”

“Ok.” James swept her up in his arms, one under her knees the other behind her back, she felt like a rag doll. “Sirius, put her arm on her chest, it’s got to stay above her heart, that’s it.” When he was sure she wouldn’t fall he began to run to the staircase only to be stopped before he got to the first step.

Snape stood in front of him.

“Out of my way.”

“I can heal her. Lily? Please, let me help. Lily?”

Lily cowered away from the greasy boy.

“James,” she begged in a whisper as she buried her face in his chest.

“I think you and your friends have done enough damage already,” Sirius growled, stepping forward threateningly, hate radiating from every cell in his body.

“Move,” James demanded in a terrifyingly quiet voice, his expression ugly and as dark as it was possible to be. “Move or Sirius is going to move you and I’m not going to stop him this time.”

Sirius took another step forward shaking with barely controlled rage and this time Snape wisely decided to back up. James ran up the steps and was at the first twist in the staircase before he paused and looked back to see that Sirius and Snape’s eyes were still locked, each one pouring out palpable malice.

“Padfoot!” Black snapped out of it and looked at James. “Get Dumbledore, tell him what happened, no detours, do it now!” James flew round the corner and up the stairs to the hospital wing. He crashed backwards through the doors and lay Lily gently on the closest bed.

“James?” Her voice was barely audible.

“It’s alright Lily,” he said moving her hair from her clammy forehead. “POPPY! POPPY!” he shouted at the top of his voice as Lily’s eyes fluttered. “Stay awake Lily, POPPY!”

“James, is that…? What happened?!” Madame Pomfrey pushed James aside to look at Lily. She was deathly pale, her eyes dull, her breathing shallow and the material wrapped around her right hand was soaked with blood, her and James’ shirts and the bed sheets were also stained red.

“Dagger…a dagger…pulled it out….couldn’t stop her…blood…bone…blood!” he panted out, his thoughts swimming, fast and incoherent now.

“Ok James, you did well,” she said calmly, sparing a second to give him a quick appraising glance. “Let’s see how bad this is.” She deftly removed the bandage and gasped at the site.

The knife had cut down to the bone right across her palm. Poppy paled at the sight and James realised just how bad it must be. Madame Pomfrey summoned a bottle.

“It’s slashed right to the bone, if she wants the use of her fingers back at all we have to work fast. Potter I need you to restrain her.”

“What?”

“If you want to save her don’t ask, do.” James ran to the other side of the bed as Poppy unscrewed the vile, a flurry of smoke spiralled out when the stopper was removed. “Press down on her shoulders, keep her still James.” He did as he was told with a helpless look on his face. Madame Pomfrey held Lily’s wrist, pinning her arm to her aproned body. She took a deep breath, nodded at James and upended the bottle onto Lily’s open palm.

Lily screamed. She writhed in searing agony, trying to pull her hand from the mediwitch as James held her struggling, kicking form to the bed. Pomfrey kept pouring and Lily kept screaming. It was the most piercing, heart rendering sound he had ever heard. He wanted to press his hands to his ears, anything to block out the noise but he held her down, he screwed up his eyes and turned his head to the side. Finally, the bottle was empty and Lily’s body went slack as she panted, shook and sobbed. But it was too late, that sound and the terrifying image were imprinted on James’s memory forever, as was the guilt that came from knowing he had let Poppy do that to her.

James sunk onto the edge of the bed letting Lily curl into a ball around him crying and trembling. Her left arm still held up by Madame Pomfrey who was performing spell after spell to close the wound. James held Lily’s good hand in both of his as she rested her forehead against the side of his leg. He tried to calm her, stroking her hair and cheek.

Poppy let go of her arm and Lily pulled it quickly to her chest, she was too disoriented for the moment to even realise that it was in a cast. James looked up at the healer expectantly.

“The wound’s closed but in order for the muscles and ligaments to knit properly she’ll have to keep it in a cast for several weeks. The artery was sliced open, that’s why there was so much blood, but I’ve fixed that too.” James nodded and looked down at Lily. “Lily, I need you to drink these, it’s a calming drought and a blood replenishing potion.” Lily refused to look at the school nurse and shook her head weakly. “You don’t have a choice Miss Evans, you must drink them.” Lily shook her head again.

“Come on Lily,” James implored, Lily looked him in the eyes with such a forlorn and pitiable expression he almost told Poppy to stick her stupid potions. “Come on,” he said again and helped her into a sitting position. She wavered so he swung his legs up onto the bed next to her and pulled so that she was leaning her back against his chest. He took one cup from Madame Pomfrey then the other, holding them to Lily’s lips and making sure she drank them before assisting the healer in tying Lily’s arm into a sling.

“Are you still in pain Miss Evans?” Lily shook her head. “Then you need to rest, James…”

“I’m staying,” he interrupted and even Poppy knew not to argue when he insisted. Lily snuggled up against James exhausted, her eyes were red but she was no longer crying. James dried her tear stained face with a clean section of his shirt and stroked her hair slowly. He took her good hand in his. “Are you ok Lily? You’re still shaking.”

“No James, that’s you,” she replied groggily. James tried to hold his hand out straight but found that he couldn’t stop the tremors, with a sigh he gave up and clasped Lily’s instead. Lily drifted in and out of sleep, awake each time just long enough to assure herself of James’s continued presence before falling back into unconsciousness.

On one such occasion she heard Dumbledore and James talking, they were standing at the side of her bed, James’ clothes still stained burgundy with her blood.

“All expelled of course,” the Headmaster was saying. “Although sometimes I wonder which is worse, to have them here where our students are at risk or to have them out there where the world is in danger. Now tell me, what of Severus? Was he involved in this?”

“I don’t think so sir, he was present but I don’t believe he took part. He is capable of many things, of this too I am sure but not to Lily. Never to Lily.”

James defending Severus? Not possible. She opened her eyes, she was sure she would know James’ voice anywhere but she still felt she ought to check.

“You are sure?”

“Yes.” Although it was the perfect opportunity to get Snape kicked out of school and away from Lily for good, James didn’t take it.

“Very well. Miss Evans?”

“Lily?” James turned to look at her but she was already back asleep.

~*~

“Got any chocolate Peter?” James asked.

“For Lily you mean?”

“No, for me. I feel like I’ve gone ten rounds with a dementor and lost all of them.”

“Oh James.” Tia’s voice sounded sympathetic, she sniffed and it sounded to Lily as if she’d been crying but she had yet to work up the energy to open her eyes and check.

“So what did Pomfrey have to say?” asked a voice that definitely had Remus’ patient, caring timbre to it spoke.

“After all the scary stuff like ‘If she’d lost much more blood… If she wasn’t such a strong witch… If she wasn’t so healthy she could easily have died, or lost the use of her wand hand’ you mean? Just that she’d have to wear the cast and sling while it heals. It’ll be weak for a long while, she might have a small scar but if she does the physio any permanent damage will be limited.”

“There might be permanent damage?” Tia whispered.

“Poppy doesn’t really know. We just have to wait and see, she said Lily was lucky I acted so quickly or she might not have made it at all.”

“Great, of all the people to have my life indebted to it has to be this fool!” Lily muttered a little hoarsely.

“Lily,” James exclaimed as Sirius barked with laughter. “You’re awake.”

“So it would seem.”

“And she comes up swinging.” Remus smiled at her, Lily winked as she tried to sit up using just one hand.

“That’s me. Thanks,” she told James as he helped her up, arranging the pillows behind her then perching on the side of her cot.

“How are you feeling Lily?” a worried Tia asked.

“Ok I guess. Bit disappointed to see I’ve still got all my fingers attached, I thought I’d finally found a way to stop you nagging me about giving me a manicure.”

Sirius, Peter and Remus laughed, James however turned white, didn’t she realise how close she’d come to just that?

“That’s not funny Lily,” Tia said she looked close to tears again.

“Sorry.”

“Come on Tia,” Sirius said putting his arm around her shoulders and giving her a gentle squeeze. “Lily’s fine, aren’t you Lily?”

Lily smiled and nodded, “Yeah T, I’m good as can be, come on you can be the first to sign my cast.”

“I can?”

“Sure, come here.” Lily waved her over and gave her sniffling and now smiling friend a hug.

“You sure you’re ok Lily?” James asked concernedly.

“I’m fine James.” Lily clasped his hand with her small one. When she turned to talk with Remus she kept it resting on his and he turned his palm up and closed it around her perfectly dainty one.

“Remus, do you think you could do my rounds with James tonight? I have a feeling that I won’t be escaping Pomfrey’s prison in time.”

“Of course. I’ll lend you today’s notes when you get out too, if you like.”

“Thank you Remus.”

“If we don’t go soon guys, we’re going to miss dinner.”

“Is that all you think about Peter?” Remus asked exasperatedly. Tia giggled as Sirius rolled his eyes at her.

“You know you really are going to miss dinner if you don’t go now and I know how grumpy you boys get if you get hungry,” Lily teased cheerfully.

“Yeah ok, we’re going, wouldn’t want to starve Peter here, he might just waste away.” They all laughed as Sirius ruffled his blushing friend’s hair affectionately, his other arm still around a perkier looking Tia.

“You going to be ok Lily?” James looked up from their tangled fingers with which he had been playing.

“Sure, I did survive six years of school before we became friends James.” I don’t think I could last another one without you.
“I’ll come back after rounds if you like.”

Oh, me like, me like!

“Come on Prongs,” an impatient Peter called from the doorway where they were all crowded.

“You’ll get in trouble if you get caught.”

“Then I won’t get caught, will I?” he asked cheekily, he kissed the back of her hand with a roguish wink.

Lily’s stomach gave a flutter that had nothing to do with the fact she’d missed lunch and her heart sped up. Traitors.

“Bye Lily,” they all called, apart from Sirius who yelled, “See you later sexy.” Tia hit him and they all laughed.

Despite what Lily had said, she felt lonely as soon as they closed the door behind them. How the hell can I miss James already? He just left! I used to long for a time when he would leave me alone. God that blood loss must have caused brain damage!

~*~

Why did I never notice how creepy hospitals are at night? Oh come on James; where are you?


Lily had been fine by herself until Madame Pomfrey had shut off all the lights after giving her some pain meds, now she was seriously wigged-out. There really was no way she’d be able to sleep tonight. She wasn’t really sure why, but the hospital was really giving her the creeps, she felt like someone was watching her.

“Hey Lily.”

Lily jumped about three feet in the air, she would have shouted but her throat was so sore no noise came out. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack James?” she croaked as he pulled off his invisibility cloak, “’Cause if you wanted me dead you could have just left me earlier.”

James chuckled. “Sorry didn’t mean to make you jump…well ok I did but I didn’t mean to scare you at all. Are you ok, you sound a little..?”

“Sore throat from earlier, you know.”

James’s grin slipped immediately, he did know and he never once wanted to forget something as strongly as in that moment. “Lily, about that, I’m really sorry that I had to-”

“Are you kidding?” Lily interrupted. “You saved my life, you have absolutely nothing to apologise for.”

“But-”

“But nothing. Now what do you have hidden behind your back?”

James grin was suddenly back. “Oh this?” he asked producing a large bowl, “A little something I like to call ‘jelly and ice cream.’”

“Why would you call it that?” Lily asked a small smile tugging at one corner of her mouth, her eyes twinkled as James looked a little confused.

“Because it’s jelly and ice cream,” he explained before noting Lily’s amused expression and realising she was having him on. “Anyway you can’t stay in hospital without jelly and ice cream.”

“You’re right, absolutely impossible,” Lily replied cheekily and James grinned back at her as he pulled a chair up to the edge of her bed. “So am I actually going to get any or are you just going to taunt me with it?”

James stroked his chin and tilted his head as if deep in thought. “I suppose I could let you have some; as long as you promise to share of course.”

“Of course,” Lily nodded. “You might have to help me out though,” Lily indicated her plastered arm, “Unfortunately, being ambidextrous is not one of my talents.”

“And I thought you were good at everything!” Lily poked her tongue at him in response. “Ok, I’ll help you.” James loaded the spoon he’d brought with him from the kitchens and sent it through the air towards Lily all the while making ‘chugga-chugga’ noises, “Woo woo! Open the tunnel Lily, here comes the train.” Lily clamped her mouth around the spoon and swallowed.

“I’m not three years old James!”

“No, three year olds can feed themselves.” James laughed at Lily’s ‘I’m not amused’ face, and laughed even harder when she tried to cross her arms but couldn’t because of her sling.

“Stupid sling! You, James Potter, are enjoying this far too much.”

“Oh come on Lily, its funny!” he filled the spoon again and wove it through the space between them. “Neowm neowm. Open up for the plane Lily.”

Lily raised her eyebrows at him. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re an idiot?”

“Yep,” he said with a big smile and an exaggerated nod. Lily took the proffered treat and swirled it around in her mouth, savouring the creamy texture and sweet taste.

“You know you’re not supposed to be proud of that, right?”

“Yep.”

“Well as long as you know,” Lily laughed.

“So do you think you’ll be back in lessons tomorrow?” James asked before having a mouthful of vanilla ice cream, Lily took the next bite.

“I hope so,” she said once her mouth was empty, “I mean it’s not so bad in here during the day, just boring, but at night…” Lily gave a larger-than-life shiver, “it gives me the creeps.”

James and Lily continued to talk and laugh until the ice cream had completely melted. At one point James had thought it would be funny to ‘accidentally’ miss Lily’s mouth and cover her nose in ice cream. He didn’t seem to find it quite so hilarious when Lily dipped her fingers into the bowl and smeared it across his cheeks so he looked like a tribal warrior. Lily on the other hand couldn’t stop giggling. After that the spoon seemed to disappear and they just licked the melted cream from their fingers, which seemed to fascinate James. The first time Lily slid her index finger into her mouth he stared, frozen with his mouth slightly ajar, his hand paused half way towards it. His reaction couldn't help but encourage Lily to repeat the action, it gave her a strange sense of power and feminine pride that she could captivate him so easily.

It was gone one when Lily began to yawn. James stretched and pushed his chair back.

“Where you going?” she asked sleepily.

“You need to get some sleep.”

“Yeah…but where are you going?”

“Back to the dorm.”

Back to the dorm? Not on his nelly!

“No you are not.”

He raised his eyebrows at her. “I’m not?”

“Nope, you’re staying with me.”

“But you need to get some rest.”

“Exactly, and there is no way that’s happening if I’m here by myself. I told you, this place gives me the creeps.”

“Ok.”

“Ok what?”

“Ok, I’ll stay.”

“Really?” It’s that easy?

“Really.”

“But…why?”

“Because you asked.”

“Well yeah, but that was a majorly unreasonable request. You’ll get into loads of trouble if they find you, and…and I didn’t even ask nicely!”

“Yeah, but you asked. This place must seriously freak you out if you asked me to stay with you.”

“What do you mean, ‘if I asked you’?”

“Well it’s me, isn’t it?”

“Exactly, you’re like a big James shaped security blanked. James, you saved my life, you’ve got to realise that changes things.”

“It does?”

“Of course! I can literally trust you with my life now.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah ‘oh’. Now let me get some sleep ‘k?”

“’K.” James pulled his chair back up to the side of the bed and sat down.

Lily waited for him to get settled before turning onto her right side to face him. She took his hand and held it on the bed in front of her with her free hand. She smiled and then closed her eyes, she was soon asleep with James watching over her. You used to hate it when James watched you. Used to being the operable phrase.

Chapter 14: Muddled Minds
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Lily stood in the middle of the deserted common room, shoulders slumped and feeling dejected. The portrait swung closed marking the flight of Remus Lupin from the room and the creaking hinges masked the footsteps of the boy coming down from the seventh year dorms.

“Lily?” came a voice from behind her, “Are you alright?”

“No, not really,” was her watery response as she turned to face James; tears in her eyes.

“What’s wrong?” he asked with concern as he walked towards her.

“I can’t do up the buttons on my shirt. I can’t put on my own tie because of this stupid cast on my arm.” She held up the plaster cast that encased her arm from elbow to wrist. “I can’t ask Tia to do it because I told her that I didn’t need her help and could do it myself and she’s gone to see McGonagall now anyway. I asked Remus but he just went bright red and literally ran away from me. And now… now I’m crying in front of you of all people because I can’t dress myself, because these painkillers are making me emotional and drowsy and I just want to crawl back into bed and go to sleep!” Lily sobbed the last part of her ramblings while furiously trying to rub away the hot salty tears dripping down her cheeks.

“Come here,” James said simply after listening to her tirade with a soft, sympathetic look on his face. Lily took a step towards him and he gently wiped her tears from her cheeks with a sleeve of his jumper. He took hold of the flaps of Lily’s shirt and smiled at her encouragingly before buttoning it from top to bottom, keeping his eyes on the task and occasionally glancing at her wet face. Lily’s shoulders were still shaking as he took the red and gold striped tie from her unhindered left hand. He turned up her collar and tied a windsor knot around her neck, pushing it up to just below her open top button. He put her blouse collar back in place then took the other piece of material she was holding in her fist. He placed her potted arm in the cream coloured sling then lifted the loop over her head so her cast was held up across her chest.

When he was finished he opened his arms to her and Lily closed the gap between them. She laid her head and free hand on his chest, her face to one side, her fingers fiddling with his jumper. James placed one hand between her shoulder blades and the other lightly cradled the back of her head.  After the tremors quaking her slender form died down James tilted his upper body back a little so that he could see her face.  “Alright?” he asked her in a rich, smooth voice, searching her face with a reassuring smile.

Lily nodded and drew a last shaky breath before giving him a quavering, “Yeah,” and a tremulous smile.

“Good,” James said, leaning closer he pressed a prolonged kiss to the top of her head and then looked her in her slightly puffy eyes. “Go get your bag and we’ll go to breakfast, shall we?” Lily nodded again and a minute later, she was back with her school satchel. James took it from her and shouldered it before picking up his own from at his feet and slinging that across his body too. “Let’s go.” Lily smiled at him and they left for the Great Hall, James helping her through the portrait hole on the way.

~*~*~*~*~*~

“Morning,” their friends greeted them from the other side of the long table. Remus, looking embarrassed and a little guilty, pushed a cup of coffee towards Lily in an obvious peacemaking gesture.

“Thanks,” she said with a smile after she had stirred in a spoonful of sugar and taken a sip.

“What’re you having to eat Lily?” James asked as he poured himself a goblet of pumpkin juice.

“Toast I reckon; easy to eat with one hand.”

The others laughed and James grabbed a slice from the stack.

“Lemon curd?”

“Please. But no…”

“No butter. Yes I know,” he interrupted with a long-suffering sigh and a roll of the eyes as he spread the sticky concoction onto the bread.

Lily was still surprised by just how much James did know. Kinda of creepy if you think about it, kinda stalkerish. Kinda romantic…yeah, or kinda cree… “Thanks James,” she said reaching to pick up the breakfast that had just hit her plate and take a bite. “Mmm, delicious.” James looked up from buttering his own toast and gave her a sweet smile. Are we talking about the toast or the boy? Lily mentally shrugged at her question, both. “I miss marmite,” Lily said staring moodily at her almost empty plate and dipping her finger in the yellow stuff coating the toast and examining it carefully before sucking it off thoughtfully. The boys gave her confused looks at her seemingly random and nonsensical statement but Tia who had stayed in Lily’s muggle home numerous times over the years simply rolled her eyes.

“She’s obsessed with marmite!”

“What’s mar-mite?” James asked breaking the word into two long syllables as if testing how they felt as they rolled off his tongue.

“It sounds like a pet’s name, you got a cat we don’t know about Lils?” Sirius asked.

Lily laughed, “No! It’s a type of sandwich spread. I do have two hamsters called Branston and Pickle though.”

“Brandon and what now?” James asked looking even more confused.

“Branston and Pickle, it’s another muggle thing. Anyway I have marmite on toast practically everyday for breakfast at home, I miss it.”

“What does it taste like?” Peter inquired, for once interested in the topic of conversation, any mention of food and he was suddenly enthralled and eager to converse.

“I don’t know.”

“You eat it every day and you don’t know what it tastes like?” Sirius asked incredulously.

“Well it’s hard to explain, it doesn’t really taste like anything.”

“It’s disgusting!” Tia told the boys wrinkling her nose at the thought. “I don’t know why she likes the stuff; she’s practically addicted to it.”

“It is not disgusting! And I am not addicted; it’s a perfectly healthy obsession thank you very much. They do say you either love it or you hate it though.”

“I’m definitely coming down on the hate side of things,” Tia said.

“You don’t know what you’re missing James – don’t listen to her.” Tia stuck her tongue out at Lily who returned the gesture. “You’ll have to come round in the holidays, you can try it then.”

“Sure.”

Wait did I just invite a wizard to my house? A James shaped wizard? Oh, Petunia is going to throw a fit! I wonder what Dad will say…

“Did you hear that James, she just as good as asked you to meet the parents. Careful mate I hear her dad is a veritable rottweiler when it comes to Lily and boys,” Sirius teased.

“I did no such thing,” Lily admonished, blushing at the implication of Sirius’s sentence. “Besides, my parents would love James.”

“Yeah, it’s the sister you’ve really got to watch out for,” Tia added, distaste colouring her voice. Lily’s brow instantly furrowed, her expression darkened with memories.

“What about the sister?” Sirius asked intrigued.

“You’ll see,” Lily told him. James rubbed his hand in calming circles on her back as he took a bite of jam covered toast. Lily smiled and her expression brightened. “So… who’s the invalid’s dedicated slave for today?” she grinned as the boys across from her all looked terrified and ran off throwing excuses over their shoulders. Tia shook her head and gathered her stuff before following them out of the door to lessons.

James held his wrists out to Lily with a soppy grin on his face, “Bring on the shackles baby.” Lily laughed and smacked him on the shoulder with her good hand.

~*~*~*~*~*~

“Oh Professor Slughorn, I’m so sorry but there’s no way I can make this potion without the use of my wand hand.”

“Don’t worry child, there isn’t a potion out there that you couldn’t make if you put your mind to it. Here.” Lily watched as Horace simply marked an “O” next to her name in the records alongside this year’s set of perfect scores. “Crystallised pineapple Lily?” He asked her offering the open box. Lily smiled sweetly at him and placed a small piece of the fruit into her mouth. “You just go back to your seat and relax, concentrate on getting yourself better.”

“Thank you Professor.”

“My pleasure Lily, my pleasure.”

Lily smothered a laugh as she turned to see James circling his little finger with his index finger at her while Sirius pressed his thumb to his palm. Wrapped around my finger? Check. Under the thumb? Check.

“I can’t believe it, you are so jammy,” Tia whispered as Lily took her seat next to her. Lily just shrugged and hid a James-like smug smirk. “You’re still gonna help me though, right?”

“Of course, I trust by now you can light the fire under your cauldron all by yourself though?”

Tia grinned at her friend, “Just about.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

“Ok class, today we will be working on transforming living objects,” McGonagall indicated the rabbit in front of her, “into other living objects. In particular, animals into different animals, observe.” With a flick of her wand, a dove flew up from her desk where the rodent had been seconds before. “The instructions are on the board, begin.” The Professor strolled over to where Lily was sat. “Miss Evans why don’t you just take notes today.” Lily indicated her sling and reminded the woman that it was the hand she used to write and to perform magic. “Of course, silly me. Well just observe then. I recommend you watch James; he seems to have the knack of it already. Well done James.” She raised her voice so that her praise would carry across the noisy room.

“Thanks Minnie,” he called back with a grin. Minerva pursed her lips but Lily was sure it was just to hide the smile threatening to spread there. Lily knew that she was actually very fond of her protégé and found most of his stunts quite amusing.

“McGonagall says I’ve got to watch you,” Lily told James when she reached where he was stood with Sirius, Remus and Peter. She made herself sound as unenthusiastic as she could but inside she was thrilled at been given the excuse to simply sit and drink him in without the worry of being caught staring.

“Alright, what do you want to see?”

That was a bad thing to ask James, you might as well have told my imagination to run away with itself – or rather you. Now what do I want to see…what do I want to see? I wouldn’t mind seeing those bite marks again, or maybe a chance to see if you have them anywhere other than your chest…Bad Lily! She scolded herself before her thoughts could get completely out of control. “Don’t know; show me what you’ve got,” she challenged. Now there’s a double entendre if ever I heard one. Lily mentally slapped herself, What is with you today?A second after the words had left her mouth there was a giant bright blue butterfly sitting on Lily’s head, she gasped in surprise, it landed for an instant before fluttering off and turning into a snow-white rabbit. The rabbit took a few hops towards her feet before becoming a stalking cat with gorgeous leopard markings in dark brown and grey. The cat became a tortoise, then a lovebird that chirruped sweetly. When Sirius’s cat went to snap at it the bird became a chocolate Labrador that growled before turning and licking Lily’s face.

“Eww gross! James I want the butterfly back.” Lily laughed as she ruffled the dog’s fur, petting it and pushing it away at the same time.

“Your wish is my command,” he said with a gallant bow and a moment later the turquoise butterfly was back and resting on Lily’s outstretched finger. Its wings slowly folded and unfolded in the beam of sunlight that fell in through one of the high windows.

“You’re a show off you know that right?” Lily said with a soft smile, looking up from the creature balanced on her hand.

“I think you might have mentioned that at some point, yes,” James joked and Lily blushed and returned her gaze to the insect.

I sure have a lot of making up to do. You know I think it would be easier to cast a memory charm on him. But that would be bad. Would it? Aren’t you meant to be my conscience?

“About that…” Lily began but James interrupted her. He put the butterfly back into the cage on his desk and returned it to the crow it had originally been.

“If you’re about to say sorry for every nasty thing you’ve ever said to me I don’t want to hear it.”

“You’re not going to let me apologise?”

“No.”

“So…you’re not going to forgive me?” Lily asked in a small voice that didn’t sound like it belonged to her.

“No,” he stated bluntly.

Ouch. Maybe I was wrong…” “Look Lily, I’m not going too pretend that what you’ve said in the past was pleasant but nor am I going to allow you to take it back. You meant it at the time and to be honest it was exactly what I needed to hear. I needed knocking down a peg or two and who else was going to tell me what an egotistical, self-centred, bullying jerk I was being?” Lily winced at her own words. “Sirius is wrong Lily.” This confused her and her brow wrinkled and her mouth opened to ask for further explanation. “I didn’t change for you, I changed for me – you, I changed because of you. You showed me my faults and I worked hard to try and fix them.”

Lily was more than a little surprised at his candidness, his painfully apparent honesty. “Well if it helps I think you did a pretty good job,” she said with a small smile playing at the corner of her mouth.

“Pretty good?” James joked.

He always was mercurial – one minute completely serious the next laughing and joking. “Nobody’s perfect James,” she said grinning at him. The heavy feeling that had settled in her chest when the conversation had started had lifted.

“I don’t know Lily, you come pretty darn close to perfection in my eyes.”

“You’re just biased,” Lily said, a pretty blush tingeing her cheeks as she looked up at him from beneath long dark lashes.

“Yeah I reckon I am.” James said softly and he stepped closer and stroked his fingertips across her cheekbone, tracing the flushed skin and heating it further while he stared at her lips. Lily saw him swallow as his left hand settled under her jaw, the pads of his fingers on the nape of her neck his thumb grazing her jaw. Lily wet her lips unconsciously and James whimpered almost inaudibly.

“Please James…” Lily mumbled, she wasn’t sure how she would have continued, perhaps with something along the lines of ‘we’re in the middle of a classroom’ but it could just as easily have been ‘please James, don’t stop!’ But his eyes flickered to hers as she spoke and he let go off her and threw himself into his seat. He flicked his wand at the crow, which then fell from the perch to the bottom of the cage as a toad.

“A toad Potter? That’s not very imaginative; I expected an eagle at least,” McGonagall commented as she was passing. James opened the cage, grabbed the toad in his right hand and stood throwing it into the air, as it began to fall it turned into a magnificent golden eagle that took flight. The beautiful bird of pray glided over the astounded class, it soared in a tight circle around the classroom and as it swooped to gather someone’s rat in it’s outstretched talons it changed again and dropped to the floor as a harmless mouse. “Bravo, ten points to Gryffindor. I must say I’m glad you don’t want to become a teacher Potter I might have to start watching my job.” The professor smiled at her student and then crossed the classroom to help a struggling Hufflepuff.

“That was awesome Prongs!” Sirius shouted clapping him on the back. “You have to teach me that one. Did you see that Lily?!”

“Hmm?” Lily looked up at the excited boy, moving for the first time since James had touched her. She slid from the desktop she had been sitting on, “Yeah, it was brilliant. I’m going to talk to Tia,” and she wandered off in somewhat of a daze.

“What’s up with her?” Sirius asked, James shrugged and luckily Black didn’t make any more enquiries. “So you’ll teach me the eagle?”

“Sure mate, it goes like this.”

~*~*~*~*~*~


“Lily what’s up?” Tia asked her friend. “Is your arm playing you up?”

“What, oh no it’s fine. I think James almost kissed me.”

“WHAT?!” Tia shouted. But when Professor McGonagall sent her a withering glance, she pulled her face into a look close to contrite and changed her retriever puppy into a cat that unfortunately still had a dog’s tail. Tia winced as McGonagall took a step towards her just as Remus subtly flicked his wand from across the room and made it look like Tia had fixed it herself. “Thanks,” she mouthed to him as soon as McGonagall stopped watching her. He grinned and nodded at her.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that he was going to kiss me.”

Tia looked around to check for eavesdroppers, all of the Marauders now had eagles circling their heads apart from Peter who had a strange half-bird half-tortoise flapping around at his feet. The rest were in absolute hysterics. “How do you know?” Tia whispered.

“Well I don’t, do I? Because he didn’t actually do it, but he had his hand on my face and he was staring at my mouth and he was just about to lean in, I know he was!” Lily ran her hand through her hair and collapsed into a chair.

“So what stopped him then?” Tia asked pulling another seat up and leaning into Lily.

“I don’t know; I think it was me though.”

“What do you mean, you think it was you?”

“Well I said his name and then he was gone.”

“How did you say his name? Was it like a ‘mmm…James’ or was it like a ‘eww…James’?”

“I don’t know, I wasn’t really capable of coherent thought at the time, all I could think was ‘James is gonna kiss me, James. Is. Going. To. Kiss. Me.’ But I really don’t think it could have been a ‘eww’. I don’t have ‘eww James’ thoughts.”

“I’m not surprised, I mean look at him, he is fine!” Tia scrunched her nose as she said the last word, twisting her mouth into a predatorial grin and nodding in approval.

“Tia, focus! What stopped him?” Lily groaned the question more to herself than to her friend.

“I don’t know, but I think it’s safe to say you didn’t want him to.”

Lily blushed and nodded, there really was no point denying it. “He told me he thought I was perfect,” Lily admitted with a small smile playing at her lips, Tia sighed. “What if he doesn’t like me anymore Tia; what if that’s why he stopped?”

“You do know those two sentences make absolutely no sense in the same paragraph, right? Honestly Lily he’s head over heels for you, anyone can see that – everyone does see that.”

“Then why?” Lily asked. Her confusion was agonising and completely frustrating.

“Who knows? He’s a boy, the workings of his mind and that of the rest of his bizarre species are a complete mystery to me. You could always just ask him…”

“No way!” Lily exclaimed, she was mortified by the very idea of that conversation. “Maybe I got it wrong, maybe he wasn’t going to kiss me.” Lily sighed.

“Yeah right, I think we can rely on your intuition Lily. Do you want me to ask him for you?”

“Don’t you dare!”

Tia grinned evilly before waving her wand at the cat that was busy preening itself on the desk in front of them and changing it into a lynx, which charged at the boys making them jump and shout as it leapt for their birds.

“Alright that’s enough class!” McGonagall shouted over the ruckus. “Return your animals to their original forms and you may leave. What is it about seventh year Gryffindors and making the most trouble they possibly can?” she muttered to herself.

Chapter 15: Prince Not-So-Charming
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A/N many many many apologies for the wait, exams have been the bain of my existance for the past few moths and have left little time for anything else. Rather than keep you waiting I've split this next chapter in half to get it out quicker.


“I can’t tell you how good it feels to be rid of that cast!” Lily said as she stretched her fingers and cautiously curled them into a lose fist. “Oh I meant to ask you; do you still have that old snitch you used to play with all the time?” Lily asked as they walked out of the hospital together. Lily knew that when having a muggle cast removed a special saw was used to cut it away, she’d feared that the wizarding method might have been similar and so when James had offered to hold her hand when she had voiced these fears to him, she had taken him literally.

“Yeah, sure, why?”

“I have to squeeze something that size as part of my exercises for getting my hand back to normal, I was wondering if I could borrow it?”

“Of course.” James routed around in his trouser pocket for a moment and pulled out the little gold and white ball, it’s wings fluttered slightly but it made no attempt to escape as he passed it to Lily.

“Oh.”

“What?”

“I didn’t know you still carried it around with you. I haven’t seen you play with it in ages.” James shrugged and put his hand back in his pocket as Lily smiled at him.

“Did you also not know that you’re still holding my hand?” James asked with an amused grin and a raised eyebrow.

“I am? I hadn’t noticed.” Lily said feigning shock; she had actually been trying very hard to try to forget she even had a left hand in an effort to stop the heat spreading from her palm to the rest of her hypersensitive body. “Best stop that at once then!” the mock seriousness on her face was belied by the twinkle in her eye.

“Oh no you don’t!” James said as she half-heartedly tried to free her hand. “I’m not letting you go now.” And he entwined their fingers, smiling at her before indulging in more small talk and regaling her with another of his seemingly endless adventures. It was still early and most students were either still in bed or at breakfast as they wandered aimlessly around the school halls.

Lily was looking up at James and laughing when she screamed. Someone had startled her by grabbing her shoulder and she was spun round as James let go of her hand and pulled out his wand in one smooth movement.

“Snape.” James spat in recognition, Severus, however ignored him and spoke directly to Lily.

“Can I have a word?” he asked her tightly.

“You can have two, f-“ James stopped at a sharp look from Lily but continued to glare at Snape who sneered back without an attempt to hide his contempt for his enemy. Lily rearranged he robes, which had been tugged from her shoulder and appraised Severus. Lily turned her back on him and lowered James’s wand with a firm hand on his wrist. James didn’t resist and dragged his eyes from his nemesis to look directly at Lily.

“Are you going to tell me not to talk to him?” she asked after a second of just looking at each other.

James’ brow furrowed and he looked a little surprised at her question, “You can talk to whomever you want to Lily, although I have a hard time thinking of a reason why you’d want to talk to that.” Snape hissed behind her back and Lily turned quickly, surreptitiously placing herself between Severus’ wand and James’ chest.

“You have one minute Severus, I advise you to be concise.” She said with cool formality, Snape blinked for a second, looked at James and grabbed her arm again. Lily shook him off easily and straightened her back. “I said you could talk, I did not give you permission to touch me.” Lily heard James smother a snort behind her and under other circumstances, the look on Severus’ face might have made her laugh too. She walked a few paces away from James and turned to face Severus again.

“What are you doing?” he demanded instantly.

“Excuse me?” Lily asked bewildered, kettle calling the pot much?

“Are you back with Potter?”

“Not that it’s any of your business Snape but no, me and James are just friends.” Lily was not a malicious person but she knew emphasising the names would sting her old friend and she was not in the mood for one of his interrogations. He looked taken aback at the word ‘friend’, as if this was somehow worse than whatever he had expected.

“How can you be friends with him?”

“People change Severus.” You’re testimony to that.

“He doesn’t deserve you.”

“Maybe not, but neither do you.”

“So Potter’s the reason we aren’t friends anymore, we can’t be friends because Potter’s changed?” He asked mockingly. Lily was incensed!

“No Severus. This is the reason we are no longer friends.” She said as she grabbed his wrist, pulling back his sleeve as she flipped his arm to reveal an ugly tattoo on his bone white flesh. Snape hissed and retracted his hand as if burnt. “If you think we could have any type of relationship after that you were sadly mistaken. Don’t you get it? With Him there is no distinction. You think he’d care if I was one of the scores of Muggleborns he’s tortured? If my parents were slaughtered like animals for being Muggles? And I hate to say it Severus, but there can be no distinction here; there’s no such thing as a good Death Eater.” If only there was!

“Lily, wait! I’ll… I’ll leave.”

“I wish I could believe that Severus, I really do.” She said softly and sincerely, she gave him one more compassion filled look before turning back to James who was trying very hard not to listen a few paces away. She picked up the satchel she had dropped when Severus had first startled her and walked down the corridor with James at her side.

“You ok?” James asked after a minute of silence.

“Yeah.” Lily said with a small sigh and a tentative smile. “It’s been on the cards for a long time now. It’s actually kind of a relief to be honest, a weight off my shoulders.” James slung his arm around Lily’s shoulder and gave her a quick squeeze.

“I know! Why don’t we go to charms now, I’m sure I can convince Flitwick to show us that Patronus charm he mentioned last lesson, what do you think?”

“The Dementor repelling one?”

“That’s the one.”

“Yeah, ok. What do you think yours will be?” Lily asked happy to have a change of topic to distract her from the disturbing memory of Severus’ bereft stance as she’d walked away from him.

“You mean if I actually manage to do it?” Lily chuckled. “I guess it would have to be a stag, same as my animagus form. What about you?”

“I don’t know.”

“I think you’d have something like a tigress.”

“A tigress? Why?”

“Think about it- they’re intelligent, feisty, independent, and fiercely protective.” At this Lily really laughed, now that one was very true, “They have a wicked temper when pushed and then they’re very rare… and very beautiful, they’ve even got red fur!” he added pulling a lock of her hair playfully.

“You’ve thought about this way too much.” That means he’s been thinking about you a lot! Whoop! James laughed.

“When we had the lesson and Flitwick told us how everyone’s patronus is different me and Padfoot tried to guess what each person’s would be. Parker’s was a toad.” Lily snorted and when they reached the classroom door, she knocked and entered, still smiling at James who followed her in.

“Ah, Miss Evans, Mr Potter, anything I can help you with?” Flitwick asked in his high-pitched squeak. He was sitting behind his desk on a seat piled high with cushions and marking a stack of fifth year essays.

“Actually Sir, we were wondering if you might please show us the patronus charm you mentioned last lesson?” James asked the tiny Professor.

“Ah… piqued your interest did it Mr Potter? Yes, I thought it might.” The Professor smiled at his student knowingly, “And Miss Evans; always eager to learn.” His eyes twinkled affectionately at his most talented student. “Well I can’t see why not.” He said, hopping down with a hand from Lily and an indulgent smile as he pulled his wand from behind his ear and waddled over to stand between them. “Now the trick is to think of a really happy memory whilst performing the charm, the incantation is simple enough but finding and sustaining that memory and the feelings that it evokes- that’s the tricky part. It takes real strength of character, especially under the circumstances that the charm needs to be performed. Now… observe: Expecto Patronum.” A burst of brilliant silver shot from his wand and coiled and swirled before taking the form of a beautiful, young nymph who curtseyed to the Professor who smiled and bowed before waving his wand again. The girl disappeared with a graceful turn and she was lost like smoke blown on the wind. “And there you have it.”

“Wow.” Lily and James said simultaneously, although Lily had the feeling it may have been for different reasons. Boys! She wasn’t even solid!

“Whoops.” Flitwick said as he checked his watch, “Time to let the others in.” James and Lily locked eyes as they sat down at their separate desks and a silent message passed between them- there would be no patrols tonight…

Chapter 16: Expecto Patronum
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“I really don’t think we should be skiving rounds, James,” Lily said as they snuck into an empty classroom.

“It’s for educational purposes,” he said grinning, “Besides, I’ve got it covered.” James took out the Marauders Map and spread it on the teacher’s desk. Lily went round to the other side of the desk to help him check that all the students were where they were supposed to be. There were two out of place near Ravenclaw Tower but two of the on duty prefects were already heading towards them. “See it’s fine, we’ll just do a quick sweep when we’re done here.” James tapped the map with his wand and muttered, “Mischief managed.”

“I still can’t believe you three made that – it’s ingenious.”

“Some of the Marauders’ finest work,” James said proudly as he folded the now blank parchment and placed it in his pocket. “Ready?” Lily nodded and pulled out her wand in response.

“On three,” she said. “One.”

“Two.”

“Three!” they said together, then, “Expecto Patronum!”

“Nothing happened,” James said, disappointed.

Lily’s brow furrowed. “Were you thinking happy thoughts?”

James shook his head. “I was thinking ‘I hope this works’, you?”

“‘I hope we don’t get caught’,” Lily bit her lip guiltily and blushed while James laughed at her. “Again?”

After half an hour, still nothing was happening.

“This is useless!” James cried frustrated.

“We’re tired that’s all. We can’t concentrate. Let’s head back, we’ll try again another time.”

“Sure.” James sighed, they pocketed their wands after flicking out the lights and headed back to the tower and their beds.







~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~







“It still isn’t working properly!” James exclaimed, gesturing at the silver mist in front of him. This was the second time they had skipped rounds in favour of holing up in the Charms classroom.

Lily shook her head, she was concentrating very hard on stopping the image of James’ hazel eyes appearing behind her closed lids. It left very little room for concentrating on happy memories. She’d already caught herself simply sitting and watching him practise twice this evening without even knowing that she had been doing it. “You just aren’t thinking happy enough thoughts.”

“I am!” James protested.

“The evidence suggests otherwise.”

“I have an idea.” James sounded a little uncertain and that made Lily very uncertain.

She shook off the feeling of needing to whisper when she asked warily, “What?”

James came to lean on the side of the desk opposite to the one she was sitting on, her legs dangling a little above the floor. He looked at her considering for a moment then stood, his stance was determined as he bridged the gap between them but he looked unsure as his eyes seemed to search her face for something. He stopped centimetres in front of her, much to close for comfort, not close enough, a treacherous part of Lily argued. He raised his left hand hesitantly and traced his finger tips across her forehead then down one cheek before he cupped her face between his palms. The pad of his left thumb traced her trembling bottom lip and he watched as her lips parted involuntarily to let out a shaky breath.

“Can I?” he whispered, his voice rich and husky.

Lily closed her eyes as a shiver ran the length of her spine, but eyes shut or not she saw the same perfect image. She placed her hands on James’ forearms and felt his heat surge through her. The air between them crackled like heat lightening setting her nerves tingling. Lily looked at James and slowly dropped her chin in a nod.

James lowered his face to hers, his eyes locked on her mouth. Lily instinctively wet her lips with the tip of her tongue. He paused for a fraction of a second, Lily was unsure whether this was to give her a chance to change her mind or if he was simply savouring the sweet sensation of anticipation.

A moment later his lips were sliding across hers, gliding with glorious friction in a feather-light stroke. The tingle from his touch spread throughout her body and she longed for him to crush his mouth to hers, to be rough and possessive and relieve the tension that was building from his barely-there kisses. Lily began to wonder if she was imagining the torturous pleasure that seared her lips but even if this was some glorious dream, she was loath to stir and disturb her bliss.

James’ breath was warm against her skin when he broke the kiss and rested his forehead against hers, she could feel the unevenness of it and despite its heat it still cooled her flushed face. Both sets of eyes were still closed when they reached for their wands and lifted them in the direction of the chalkboard.

“Expecto Patronum,” James exhaled and Lily repeated the phrase on a whispered sigh. From behind her delicate lids, Lily saw a glow coming from the direction in which their wands were pointing. As one, their eyes fluttered open and their heads turned, cheek to cheek for the slow movement. James’ fingertips were still entangled in Lily’s hair and her hand was still curled around his wrist.

A stag and doe stood facing them, their necks entwined. As one the pair of majestic creatures bowed their heads in silent recognition of their creators, the stag gently nuzzled the doe and then they faded. They left behind them a heavenly glow and an atmospheric warmth which only served to enhance the dreamlike quality of the last few minutes.

Simultaneously the couple turned back to each other, faces inches apart they mirrored each other’s expressions of disbelief. Then James broke into a huge grin, he grabbed Lily and spun her round laughing and shouting, “We did it!” Lily joined in the laughter feeling elated, as he twirled her, a stream of rainbow coloured light flew from her wand tip, which was still clasped tightly in her hand. Her arms were wrapped around his shoulders and his still clasped her waist as he set her down gently. He placed a quick kiss on her lips, a look of sheer joy and pride at their achievement on his face.

Lily’s head was spinning as he dragged her from the room and they ran to the common room to tell the others what they had managed to do. She was unsure whether the dizzy feeling was left over from James’ kiss, the giddiness of finally casting a corporeal patronus or James twirling her around the classroom.

They crashed through the portrait hole still holding hands and out of breath, Lily a pace behind. “You are never going to guess what happened!” James exclaimed to his friends who were all sat around the fire.

“My Uncle Alphard died,” Sirius said looking up at his best friend whose face dropped as he took in the expressions of the group. Tia was holding an ashen faced Sirius’ hand tightly. “He left his entire inheritance to me so my mother has finally cut all ties with me, blasted my name right off the family tree as if I was never born, probably his as well. On the other hand, I’m now the richest boy in school, that’s gotta help with the honies, right?” he tried to joke, his forced smile was more of a grimace and his eyes swam with unshed tears.

Lily dropped James’ hand as he swore and clenched his hands into furious fists, his knuckles turning white. He fell to his knees in front of the couch and pulled his shaking brother towards him. Sirius went to the floor, gripping the back of James’s jumper as he sobbed silent tears into his best friends shoulder.

Lily shouted at some students who were gawking unabashedly at the boys but the conversation went unheard by James and Sirius. When he thought Sirius was calmer, James let go his tight hold and took Sirius’ shoulders in his hands instead so he could look him directly in the eye.

“Don’t know why I’m even bothered,” Sirius sniffed, as he used angry fists to swipe at his wet cheeks. “Not like didn’t know it was goin’ to ‘appen,” he continued thickly. “They were never gonna change. Hate ‘em all anyway, stupid to be upset.” James knew he didn’t have to say anything, he pulled his mate to his feet, clasped him in another brief hug and cupped his face momentarily with a little tap. Lily was shocked to see the difference in them in that instant. Was it Sirius who looked so much younger, or had James aged considerably while she watched the scene unfold?

“Sod ‘em all ‘ey Prongs? I’m a real Potter now.” He lifted the corner of his mouth in a hopeful, crooked smile.

“Always have been mate, always have been,” James confirmed with a grin, ruffling his friend’s hair with an arm round his shoulder.

“And there’s the added bonus of not having to actually share his rotten genes.” Lily joked cocking a thumb at James.

“Hey!” James protested as Sirius laughed. Tia stood and put an arm round Sirius’ waist, his instinctively snaking around her slight shoulders.

“Want to go for a walk?” she asked him, moving the hair from his soft grey eyes and stroking his cheekbone and jaw line. Sirius nodded, the sad look had returned although not as anguished the moment he had stopped laughing. “I’m sure we can find a better way of occupying that mind of yours... and your hands,” she added in a husky whisper.

Sirius grinned, “Lead the way.” And they left hand in hand.

Chapter 17: Jump in the Name of Love
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Lily was sitting in the Common Room with Tia when the Marauders crashed through the entrance. Sirius had one arm around James’s shoulder and was talking animatedly. Remus followed with a disapproving look on his face and Peter trotted along behind them.

“…and that right hook…that was a beauty!” James smiled reluctantly and a little guiltily at his friend’s enthusiastic praise.

“James?” Lily stood, as did Tia as the boys strolled over to them. “Have you been fighting?” she asked with a little gasp as she saw his face. He didn’t answer but glared at Sirius, Lily didn’t need a response though. “It’s not his fault; did you really think I wouldn’t notice? Honestly James.” She closed the gap between them; one hand stretched up to rest on his shoulder, the fingers of her other hand ghosting over a cut above his left eyebrow, a rapidly bruising cheekbone and a split lip. “What happened?” Although she had been prepared to be angry with him, her voice and face showed concern only.

“Nothing.” He muttered, he shot another dark look at Sirius who was now sitting on the settee with Tia regaling her with a second by second re-enactment, actions and all. Peter was kneeling in front of them hanging off his every word as if he hadn’t just witnessed the whole thing firsthand. Remus sat in the armchair shaking his head at his friend’s antics.


“Come on you.” Lily said taking James’s hand, “Let’s get you cleaned up.” he followed her up to the boys’ dorm where she sat him on the end of his bed. Lily grabbed a couple of clean cloths from the bathroom, she cleaned the cut and cast a quick healing charm, then held a flannel that she had run under the cold tap to his cheek.

Lily found it very hard to concentrate on the simple tasks she was completing. James had placed a hand on either of her hips as she stood between his legs and his fingers were playing with the hem of her shirt. His eyes didn’t leave her face as Lily tried to focus on his injuries.

“Tell me what happened, James.” She asked meeting his gaze for a second.

“It was nothing.” Lily pressed the cold compress harder to his flourishing bruise and James winced. 

“Does that hurt?” he nodded, “Good. Tell me what happened or I shall be forced to assume it was your fault.” Lily looked into his eyes and flashed him a cheeky smile before turning her attention back to his cheek.

“Fine, but you won’t like it; you’ll get angry.” Unless he says it was over another girl I very much doubt it, damn it! Why can’t I be angry with him for longer than it takes him to smile at me anymore?! Lily raised her eyebrows but said nothing as he looked down at his left hand, which was now giving her goosebumps as his thumb traced a line back and forth across the hot skin of her hip just above the waistband of her skirt.

“I had a fight with a Ravenclaw; you would think he would have been smart enough to know knot to talk about you like that when I’m around- apparently not. Now don’t give me that look! I only told him to shut up and have some respect but then he said some stuff and I said some stuff and then out of nowhere, he punches me! So you can’t tell me off for defending your honour because really I was defending mine. It wasn’t even a real fight; just self defence on my part.” Lily frowned.

“Are you in trouble?”

“No, no teachers were around to see it and Poynter won’t tell anyone because he started it.”

“Hmm.” Lily said noncomitantly, then “So what did he say about me?”

“You don’t want to know.”

“Yes I do- that’s why I asked.” James returned her grin.

“Fine, you do want to know, but I’m not telling you.” Lily pouted playfully and James laughed.

“Alright, you’re done. There’s not much I can do about a split lip.”

“You could kiss it better.” James suggested with a wink. I could…

“Do you really think that would help?” Lily asked sceptically with a wry smile.

“You could always try.” His voice dropped an octave and the gravely baritone had more of an effect on Lily than she would like to have admitted.

“You’re incorrigible.” Lily joked slapping him lightly on the shoulder to hide how flustered she was. James dropped his hands from her waist and leant back on the bed as he laughed, when the little dimple appeared in his left cheek Lily was undone. What the hell, Eve didn’t resist temptation. Lily swooped down and pressed her lips to James’s slightly parted ones his breath mingling with hers for a second before standing back up, her cheeks flushed and heading to the bathroom to tidy up. Don’t look back. Don’t look back. Do. No. Look. Back. She chanted to herself but when she heard a whispered “yes” she couldn’t resist turning back to see James with his fist at his side where he’d just punched air. Lily giggled and quickly slipped into the bathroom before he could catch her watching him.

A minute later Lily was a lot calmer and ready to face her Quidditch Captain. Your Quidditch Captain? Oh, who am I kidding? He’s mine, all mine… or he soon will be at any rate.
“Let’s go.” She said and James got up off the bed and strolled over to her. “You know I’m not going to do this next time.” She said walking towards the stairs, when James slipped his hand into hers with a cautionary glance Lily pretended her hand wasn’t attached so the heated tingle wouldn’t spread further than her palm and continued. “Next time you’re going to Madame Pomfrey.”

“No I’m not.” He didn’t even try to deny that there would be a next time.

“Then I guess you’re just going to have to suffer in silence, Nurse Lily has officially retired.”

James grinned, “If you say so Lily.”

“I do.” She insisted. Is he smiling because he knows I won’t stick to my word or because I just gave him a mental image of me in a nurse’s outfit? Lily wondered before deciding that both were equally disturbing.

~*~

“All fixed up?” Tia asked when they returned to the common room.

“Yup.” James said flopping into the armchair as Lily took a seat next to Tia on the sofa.

“Why didn’t you get rid of the bruise?” Tia asked as she sat down.

“I’ve not done it before, didn’t want to risk it so close to his eye, it won’t last long anyway besides, he deserves it for fighting.”

“Sure it’s not because you like the ruggedly handsome look? Admit it Lily; you like him fighting for your honour, you think it’s sexy and chivalrous.” Lily laughed at Tia’s lighthearted teasing.

“You read too many of those romance novels T.”

“I’m bored.” Sirius winged.

“Me too.” Tia agreed with a sigh.

“Wanna go make out?”

Tia shrugged before saying “Ok.” And standing she took Sirius’s outstretched hand.

Lily was gob smacked by this new development. “Wait, WHAT is going on between you two?”

“We're just friends.” Tia said shrugging again.

“Who kiss?” Lily asked still trying to get her head around this odd agreement Tia and Sirius seemed to have.

“Sure, friends can kiss.”

“I don’t think it’s quite the same Tia.” Lily said raising her eyebrows at her friend.

“We're just friends...” Tia said again.

“...who kiss.” Sirius said with a cheeky grin pulling Tia out of the common room before anything else could be said.

Oh, she is not getting away that easily! Lily thought, There is going to be major girl talk later. “Can you believe those two?” Lily asked. James chuckled at her.

“It’s Sirius.” He said by way of explanation. “And you know better than most how impulsive Tia can be.” She did know that. “Exploding snap?” James asked pulling a deck of cards from his pocket.

~*~

Lily and Tia were perched on one of the tables in the school kitchen with a selection of chocolate covered goodies between them.

“So what’s really going on between you and Sirius?” Lily asked.

“I told you; we’re just friends.” Lily raised her eyebrows and Tia sighed. “And we kiss sometimes; it’s not a big deal.”

“Do you want it to be a big deal?”

“I know what you’re getting at Lily.” Tia accused, Lily put on her best innocent face and sucked on a chocolate lollypop shaped like a pumpkin. “We’re not going out, we’re just having a bit of fun is all.”

“How much fun?” Lily asked with a mischievous glint in her eye.

“Lily!” Tia exclaimed and the redhead laughed at her friend’s astonishment. “Not that much fun. We just kissed some. And no I don’t want to get into a relationship and no I don’t want to go any further with him.”

“So you wouldn’t mind if he was having ‘fun’ with other girls then?”

“Why, what do you know?” Tia asked sharply.

“I knew it! You do like him!”

“That’s so mean Lily.” Tia said pouting at her friend.

“You’re not going to deny it then?”

“What’s the point?” Tia asked popping some chocolate into her mouth. "You know me better than I know myself.”

“So what about Sirius, does he like you back?”

“I don’t know. I mean… I know he likes me and we do have fun and he is sooo sweet.” Lily gave her friend a sceptical look. “Oh Lily you should have seen him when you were in the hospital, he was so worried about you and James and he was so nice to me when I was upset. He didn’t try to take advantage or anything, just held my hand and told me not to worry, that everything would be ok.”

“So why don’t you just ask him?”

“What?”

“Ask him if he just fancies the pants off you, which we all know he does, he’s not a subtle guy.” Tia laughed. “It’s probably literally too.” Tia giggled harder and blushed. “Or if he wants something more.”

“But I’m not sure if I want something more.” Lily nodded. “So what about you and James?”

“What about me and James?”

“I saw you holding hands when you came down the stairs earlier. You tell me you had a knee-weakening, tummy-tingling kiss that made him so happy he cast a corporeal patronus and then nothing. Nada. Zip. Back to this weird little routine you had going before as if it never happened. How?”

“Tia, I really don’t think I described the kiss like that.” Lily said trying to avoid the subject.

“I definitely remember tummy-tingling.” She said nodding enthusiastically. So do I. The traitorous part of her brain muttered.

“But that’s nothing, I mean I get tummy-tingles pretty much whenever he touches me, sometimes even when he just looks at me.”

“You got it bad girl!”

Lily groaned, “I know!”

“So…?”

“‘So’ what?”

“So what are you going to do about it?”

Lily remembered the decision she’d made in the bathroom earlier. “I don’t know, but I may have kissed him earlier.”

“May?”

“Ok I did but it was only a peck on the lips. I wasn’t thinking properly; he was playing with my shirt and he kept stroking the skin on my hip, it was confusing.”

“Confusing? It sounds pretty straight forward to me; you should have jumped his bones right then and there.”

“I can not believe you just said that!” And the two girls burst into fits of hysterics, tears streaming down their cheeks. Every time they were about to stop one would catch the other’s eye and they would start all over again.

A few moments later Sirius and James sauntered into the kitchen. “We saw you on the map, we decided we were hungry.” Sirius said, as he walked over to Tia and made a playful growling sound and snapped his teeth at her before tossing some chocolate up and catching it in his mouth.

“What are you two laughing about anyway?” James asked as the girls gasped and gulped in air trying to calm down.

“Nothing…we were just talking about…umm… trampolining.” Lily caught Tia’s eye and they both tried to control their breathing, Sirius looked confused.

“Those muggle things you jump on?” At the word ‘jump’ the girls could no longer hold in the silent laughter, they collapsed against each other clutching their sides as the boys watched in bemusement. “What’s so funny?” Sirius asked James who just shrugged and grabbed some chocolate from the bowl on the table.

"Not a clue mate."


A/N: ok guys sorry for the wait but as all coursework is now complete and handed in I should finally have time to myself to write! Plus I now have trusted author status *does happy dance* so I no longer have to wait for validation, it does however mean I'll be employing all of you as spot checkers; if you see any typos etc please let me know via review.

In other news nominations for the Dobby awards are open so don't forget to support all your favourite authors and stories but please check out the rules before nominating people/fics or they may be disqualified.

Chapter 18: With A Cherry On Top
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In Emerald Eyes – With a cherry on top 


Lily was sitting in the Great Hall chatting to Tia when the post arrived. Hundreds upon hundreds of owls of all different sizes and colours flew in. A beautiful barn owl glided silently down to Lily and dropped an envelope in front of her. 


“Shadow!” Lily exclaimed happily; she didn’t often get mail during the school term. She eagerly picked up the letter and James’s bacon rind from his plate where he was sitting opposite her reading the paper. “There you go, lovely boy.” She said feeding the owl. 


“Who’s it from?” Tia asked as Lily carefully opened the envelope; a folded piece of flowery letter paper fell out as well as another envelope addressed to “Miss L. Evans” 


“It’s a letter from Mum and...” Lily slit open the other, thicker envelope. “Oh my!” 


“What?” James asked lowering the Daily Prophet so he could see Lily’s shocked expression. 


“It’s a wedding invitation, Miss Lily Evans” Lily read out loud, “you are cordially invited to witness the union of Miss Petunia Evans to Mr Vernon Dursley on the 3rd of January at the Rosaline Church at 2pm. My sister’s getting married!” Lily looked up flabbergasted. 


“No way!” Tia exclaimed and picked up the invitation for further inspection. “Hey Lily, look- I’m invited too.” 


“What?” Lily looked at where Tia was pointing; under the elaborate calligraphy was a small postscript in her mother’s handwriting:

Tia is of course most welcome and I expect to see a boy on both of your well-dressed arms! 

“We have to take dates?” Lily asked, she looked up and immediately caught James’s eye, he blushed at being caught staring and hastily hid behind his paper. 


“It would seem so, what does your mum’s letter say?” Tia asked, Lily picked up the second piece of correspondence and began to read:

Dear Lily,

Isn’t this exciting? You’re sister is getting married! I thought I’d never see the day. His name is Vernon and he seems a nice young man- if not a little boring (but shush, I did not say that!). Your father doesn’t like him of course but then who would ever be good enough for one of his little girls?

Petunia decided that she only wanted two bridesmaids so she is having Virginia and Clarence from her typing class. Please don’t be disappointed, besides you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in the dresses your sister has picked for them to wear (I didn’t say that either). That reminds me, you need to buy a dress, I want you to have it before you come home for Christmas otherwise there simply will not be enough time, I wish we could pick it together sweetie but there’s nothing to be done, it’s all such a rush!

I hope you are well, I know I’ve told you a thousand times but we are SO proud of you! Your father is missing you terribly, as am I. All the love in the world sweetheart,

Mum xxx 


Lily finished reading and looked up at Tia’s expectant face, “So…?” 


“It’s alright; I don’t have to be a bridesmaid.” Lily answered the unspeakable question and both girls sighed in relief. 


“Thank god for that!” 


“So looks like we’re going dress shopping this weekend.” 


“Oh no, Lily I can’t!” 


“Why not?” 


“I promised Sirius we could go together.” Tia whispered. 


“Sirius Black asked you out on a proper date?” Tia bit her lip on a smile and nodded her head. “After you kissed.” Tia giggled and nodded again. “Well then it must have been as good as you said it was.” Tia grinned and sighed as Lily winked. 


“He really is the most fantastic kisser.” 


“I guess I’ll just have to find someone else to go with then.” Lily said, smiling at her friends smitten expression. 


~*~ 


Sirius sauntered over to where the two girls were queuing outside of the potions classroom. He slung his arm around Tia’s shoulder and said, “So I hear we’re going to some fancy wedding, does this mean I have to get a suit?” 


“What, you want to come… as my date?” Tia asked. 


“Well you weren’t thinking about asking anyone else, were you?” he asked removing his arm and stepping to stand in front of her, he looks kind of…hurt Lily thought. Tia must have noticed too because she hastened to repair the damage, he must really like her. 

“No, not at all, it’s just that I hadn’t really thought about it yet, it’s not until January.” 


“That’s only a couple of weeks away now. So am I invited or what?” He asked bluntly ah Sirius Black, the very definition of subtle! 


“I’d love you to come.” Tia said with a huge smile on her face. Even if Sirius didn’t realise what that meant the girls did, Sirius Black just committed to at least a month long relationship, what is happening to the world? 


“Great.” Sirius said sounding relieved and grinning just as much as Tia, he kissed Tia softly on the lips and then slipped through the now open dungeon door. Tia looked around with a flush in her cheeks that Lily thought had more to do with pride than embarrassment. Tia gave Lily a positively thrilled look. 
 
“You want to jump and squeal, don’t you?” Tia nodded and Lily checked to see everyone had entered the classroom. The girls grabbed hands and jumped on the spot squealing together for two seconds before turning as if nothing had happened, adjusting their bags and strolling casually through the door. 


~*~ 


“Hey, Remus! Remus!” Lily shouted, running down the corridor after him, one hand keeping her satchel pushed behind her so as to not to bash the other students in the crowded hallway. 


“Hi Lily.” He greeted her once she’d caught up to him, a little out of breath, “You ok?” 


“Yes thanks, wanted to ask you a question.” 


“Shoot.” 


“What are you doing Saturday?” 


“It’s the last Hogsmeade weekend this Saturday.” he stated, brows knitted. 


“Yes I know, so what are you doing?” 


“Err..” 


“Great, fancy coming dress shopping with me?” 


“Dress shopping??” 


“Wait, let me rephrase that: you are coming dress shopping with me.” 


“I am?” he asked with a wry smile and raised eyebrows. 


“Yes, pleeeease.” She begged, tugging on his sleeve. 


“Why me?” 


“Because Tia is spending the day with Sirius and I can’t go by myself, I need an objective opinion.” 


“You trust my opinion…on clothes?” 


“On what I look like in clothes.” She corrected, “I mean you are male right? That’s exactly what I need. Please Remus, please? Pretty please with a cherry on top?” Lily pouted a little and gave the boy her best puppy dog eyes. Not even Sirius could do better! I invented puppy dog eyes! She could see him cracking and tried not to grin pre-emptively in triumph. 


“Ok.” He relented. 


“Yes! Thank you Remus, thank you, thank you.” She hugged him happily and kissed him on the cheek; Remus looked a bit stunned at her reaction to his reluctant yes. “9 o’clock in the courtyard!” she shouted as she ran off to her Ancient Runes class as a slightly bewildered Moony continued on his way to Care of Magical Creatures. 


“What was that all about?” James asked by way of greeting. He had arrived just in time to see his friend being embraced tightly by Lily Evans. She had waved and smiled brightly at him when she had turned to shout the details to his friend. 


“Lily and I are going to Hogsmeade together this Saturday.” 


“Really?” James asked suspiciously. 


“Yes, jealous?” 


“Is it a date?” 


“No.” 


“Well then, there’s no reason to be jealous, is there?” 


“No reason no, but that doesn’t answer my question.” 


“Oh shut up Moony.” James said grumpily, Remus grinned at his friend who hit him lightly on the arm in response. “Shut up!” 



AN: Ok guys, I know I promised an update as soon as I got back off of my hols, but unfortunately we came home to bad news and I've barely had chance to pause since. So my apologese for keeping you waiting I just wanted you to know there was a very valid reason.

Also, for a challenge I have co-authored a two shot with my good freind Marauder Lady and it can be found by searching "Welcome to where we are" under the pen name mignight_marauder- let me know what you think if you get a chance to check it out.

Chapter 19: Shop 'til your heart...stops?
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Remus entered the common room Saturday evening and threw himself onto the sofa. With a huge sigh, he kicked off his shoes and closed his eyes, which he covered with his left forearm.

James looked at a confounded Peter and then at an equally confused Sirius and Tia.

“Remus?” James asked, “You alright mate?”

“Why did no one tell me shopping was so bloody tiring? Or that ‘dress shopping’ actually meant ‘dress and handbag and shoe and underwear and hair and makeup shopping’?”

“Wait, hold on a second, did you just say Lily took you underwear shopping; as in bras and knickers, the things girls wear under their clothes?”

“Well you know James, that is what is generally meant by underwear.” Remus quipped sardonically, looking at James with one eye from under his arm. James. Just. Stared.

“What was it like?” Sirius asked, leaning forward eagerly.

“Yeah, tell us Moony!” Peter entreated, crawling closer to Remus, kneeling up like an excited child anticipating his favourite bedtime story.

“Guys!” Tia huffed. “Honestly, it’s really not that exciting.”

“Are you kidding?” Sirius exclaimed, “All that lace, and silk and soft floaty stuff, it’s so womanly and so…mystifying.”

“And just think of the places it gets to touch!” Peter said dreamily and not a little wistfully.

“To be surrounded by all that…all those…things, it’s be like some sort of heaven.”

“Honestly Sirius, if your that bothered you can come with me next time I go, you’ll soon see it’s a pain in the next, utterly boring.”

“I…I can come?” Sirius whispered as if by asking someone would snatch away the opportunity he was sure he had dreamed.

“If it’ll shut you up, sure.” Sirius grinned from ear to ear and pulled her to him, he pressed his body flush against hers and kissed her deeply, his hand slid up her back and he opened up her lips under his, sweeping his tongue into her mouth to dance across hers. Tia moaned and threaded her fingers into his dark, shiny locks..

“Er…guys?” James said.

“Oh sorry.” Sirius apologised, grinning guiltily and extricating himself from the embrace. Tia just looked a little dazed and breathless, putting her hand on her thundering heart and leaning against Sirius’ arm as if she couldn’t quite hold herself up.

Tia looked around as if figuring out where she was, then asked “Where-“ she cleared her throat and tried again, “Where’s Lily anyway?”

“Oh, she got stopped by one of the prefects; she should be here any second.” Remus assured Tia just as the portrait swung open to reveal a flushed Lily, struggling with a mountain of carrier bags.

“God that boy could talk for England; couldn’t get away from him!” Lily sat down on the arm of James’s chair and dropped her bags to the floor.

“Don’t sit down Lily, come and show me what you got.” Tia said, pushing her self up off the floor and grabbing a bag or two and peering inside. “You have to put it all on!”

“Really?” Lily asked unenthusiastically.

“Yes, it’ll make me feel like less of a crap friend for not coming with you today.”

“Oh ok.” Lily sighed resignedly. She knows I can’t stand a guilt trip! Damn girl using my own tricks against me, good job she’s my bloomin’ best friend! Lily followed her long legged friend across the room and up the stairs. Not really paying attention to where she was going until Tia opened the door, “The boys’ dorms?” Lily question when she looked up from riffling through her bags.

“Oh yeah, automatic pilot I guess, we seem to be in here more than our own dorm recently don’t we?”

“Yeah.” Lily laughed shaking her head, “Oh well we’re here now, pass me the purple bag will you and I’ll slip into the bathroom and change?

“I wasn’t sure about the dress but Remus convinced me it was the one. I think he was just fed up looking to be honest but I did love the dress and between me and you it was an absolute steal.” Lily chatted away to Tia through the closed door as she put on the dress, she felt like she’d dressed a hundred times over today that’s probably because you have! “So, what do you think?” Lily asked as she came out of the bathroom, head down as she smoothed the front of her dress with both hands.

She was wearing four inch heels that made her hips sway in the most alluring fashion as she walked. They were simple black satin sandals, the criss-crossing straps edged with the merest touch of silver. Her dress was strapless and shaped so it dipped slightly in the middle of her chest, just hinting at cleavage. Above a deep purple sash, strips of the same colour silk, as well as different shades of red were woven, below the sash the material hung straight down. The chiffon skirt was soft and the lighter material meant it floated and swayed with each movement Lily made, briefly clinging to one curve or another. It stopped just below the knee showing the pale curve of Lily’s calf to her slender ankles, the shape softened and elongated by the high heels.

Lily looked up and found that the Marauders had come to see what the girls were getting up to in their room. Lily immediately blushed; they were all staring at her, mouths open, all except for Remus, who had a decidedly smug expression on his face.

“Told you.” He whispered to James who nodded without moving his eyes.

“So?” Lily asked a little nervously as none of the boys had said anything in response to her question. “Oh Tia is it that bad? I still have the receipt; I can take it back and get the plain black one I saw.” I really loved it when I saw it in the shop window too and Mum always said I looked good in red. They could at least stop gawking! ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’ is all well and good but staring is just plain rude.
“Don’t you dare Lily Evans! It’s absolutely gorgeous and you look completely ravishing. Although I am rather annoyed because now I have the task of finding a dress that will look even half as good as that on me if I want any chance of standing next to you all night without feeling like the bloody ugly duckling.”

Lily chuckled a little uncomfortably as she walked past the boys toward her friend. “Thanks T, so if it looks ok, what’s wrong with them?”

“Are you kidding Lily? You’ve got them literally speechless, look at the adorable things.” She said taking James’ jaw in her hand and shaking his head from side to side.

“Hey!” James protested wrenching his head from her grip.

“You’ve got them gob smacked.” Tia grinned. “Close your mouths guys. Now Lily show me those shoes.” Lily raised her leg and rested her foot on the top of the trunk at the end of James’s bed to let her have a closer look, “Oh I love them, size five? Yes! Bagsy borrowing them next time we go clubbing.”

“What’s clubbing?” Sirius asked.

“Oh, found your voice now have you?” Tia teased. James was still staring at Lily’s leg, an inch of pale thigh had been revealed when she had raised her leg and now he was gazing at the dress as if he could see right through it to that inch of skin.

“Alright, come on Sirius, you said you were going to help me with my Transfiguration essay.” Tia said taking his wrist and pulling him towards the door.

“I did?”

“Yes you did and besides, I’m starting to get jealous.”

Sirius laughed. “Sorry Tia, you know you’re every bit as gorgeous as Evans, more so.” He whispered the last phrase in her ear and she giggled as his breath tickled her ear. “See you guys downstairs then, you look Hot Evans!” he shouted as he excited with his arm around Tia’s waist.

“Actually I need to do that essay.” Remus said and he grabbed his school bag from the chair by his bed.

“Wait for me.” Peter pleaded before chasing after Remus who paused in the door way.

“You really do look lovely Lily.”

“Thank you Remus.”

“Yeah, you look real pretty Lily.”

“Thanks Pete.” Lily said with a grin. Peter blushed and shot a look at James before grinning back at her and leaving the dorm.

Lily bent down and undid the straps of her heels before stepping delicately out of them and sinking her bare toes into the thick rug.

“Can I kiss you?” 


AN: Quick update huh? I split this chapter in two, I know it's another short one for which I apologise whole heartedly but I only had time to do this and I thought maybe you would like it now :)
Fingers crossed I'll have the second part up before the end of the week.
Just want to say thanks to my reviewers- I do always respond to individuals but I just wanted to make sure you all know how much you are appreciated, the support has been a real moral boost so thank you- a lot!
Marauder Lady- the next chapter is all yours ;)

Chapter 20: Shop 'til your...heart stops? part two
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AN: Quick update huh? I want to thanks all my wonderful reviewers for that- nagging really does work! Only joking, your support is what keeps me going on this though so thanks alot.

I want to thank Marauder Lady inparticular, thanks for your support, always but especially at this time- this one's for you hun. If I could give you a Sirius I would but until I figure out how to get one for you this will have to do I suppose.

All of you... enjoy ;)









“Can I kiss you?”

Lily flicked her head up; surely I must have heard that wrong! “What?”

“I need to kiss you.”

“What? Why?” Lily stuttered at James, am I imagining things again? Because I could swear I had this dream last night… 
“I need to kiss you. I don’t care what you do to me afterwards, you can slap me, curse me, whatever but please let me do this.” His voice was insistent and rough as he practically pleaded with her, an intense look in his eyes that bored straight through her. He was too close and too warm and too…James for Lily to be able to think properly. She was confused by his sudden desperation.

“What’s this about James?” she asked, surprised she could form a coherent sentence; her thoughts were anything but.

“No one can be this beautiful and have no one kiss them. No one should look like this much of a goddess and not be worshipped.” Lily thought his words should sound terribly corny but he said them with such conviction and the piercing, fiery look in his eyes burnt right to her core.

“Ok.” She found herself agreeing breathlessly before she had even considered what she was saying. But then his soft, hot hands were gliding across her bare shoulders and up the column of her neck. One made it’s way to the wisps of hair at the nape of her neck while the other caressed her cheek. He bowed his head unimaginably slowly, his eyes drinking in every flicker of emotion that flitted across her delicate features.

If Lily could have moved in that moment she would have stretched up and breached the last inches of electrified air that separated them.

His lips touched hers in an unbearably sweet kiss. It was feather light and she didn’t know how he could suppress the urge to press hard against her. This torture was even worse yet so much more pleasurable than waiting for contact, but this time she knew what to expect; for him to tease her, to drag every possible bit of bliss from each tiny touch.

He slid his lips across hers incredibly slowly, as he did this his left hand snaked up and unclipped her hair, he threw the slide across the room behind him letting a mass of curls tumble around Lily’s face without once releasing his mouths tender purchase. Lily let out a small gasp at his fast and fluid action.

Both of James’s hands slid up and tangled in her auburn locks, the heels of his palms rested lightly on the apples of her cheeks, the pads of his thumbs on her temples. As her mouth opened so did his and his sweet breath mingled with hers for a moment before his tongue darted forward to touch just the tip of his to hers.

Lily’s hands went to James’s chest in an attempt to steady herself. Her knees felt weak and her legs felt suddenly unsteady. When James tilted his head at more of an angle to better explore her mouth, her hands curled into fists in his jumper to better support her weight. She moaned quietly and he dragged her closer with an arm around her waist and a hot palm to the small of her back.

James wound her long, thick hair around his left fist and pulled gently to tilt her head back and to the side to expose her neck. He slid his lips sensuously down the pale skin he discovered there. He nipped lightly at her collarbone before touching his tongue and lips to the same point. Lily shivered as he dragged his bottom lip back up her neck to kiss along her jaw and return to her pliant mouth. The hand that had been strong and supportive on her back moved upwards, slightly shaking now and once again, he cupped her face lovingly between his palms. He pulled back and placed chaste kisses to her lips with open eyes before touching his forehead to hers and exhaling.

“I think you should take that dress of now.” He muttered, pulling his head back just a fraction.

“Why?” Lily whispered, reluctantly opening dazed eyes.

“Because with your hair messed like that and the flush in your cheeks and your lips so…” he petered off, shaking his head and dropping his hands to fists at his sides. “Because if you don’t, then I’m afraid I’ll take it off for you.” He told Lily, eyes closed as if to avoid temptation.

Lily’s own eyes grew wide with shock, surely he can’t mean… But Lily couldn’t even complete the thought. She dropped straight down and grabbed her shoes by the ankle straps, she ducked around James who hadn’t bothered to step back and was frozen like a statue, only his ragged breath to show he was not made of stone. She ran across the room, pausing momentarily to pick up her hair clip and shut the bathroom door quickly behind her. She leant against it for a few long seconds willing her heart rate and breathing to return to normal.

Lily pushed away from the hard wood and looked in the mirror; she was shocked by what she saw. She pressed fingers to her swollen lips and blushed at the vivid memory of how they had gotten that way; this didn’t help the glow that had blossomed beneath the almost translucent skin of her cheeks. She smoothed down her hair as best she could and then secured it on top of her head again. She steeped back and still watching the girl with the sparkling eyes that she couldn’t be quite sure was her she quickly unzipped her dress which dropped into a pool of material at her feet. She stepped out of it and hastily folded in the cream tissue paper she had put on the side earlier, she placed it carefully back in the purple paper bag with the rope handles.

She threw on her bra and struggled with the catch as her hands shook in her rush, chucking her round necked sweater over the top, foregoing her t-shirt, which she dumped in the bag on top of her dress. She shoved her feet into her socks and then her most comfortable pair of trainers.

She glanced again in the mirror and was sure that no matter what she did everyone was sure to know that she, Lily Evans, had just been delightfully and deliciously ravished by James Potter. She crept to the door and cracked it open, “James?” No answer, he must have gone- thank God. 

Really?

Of course, how am I meant to face him now?

Back straight, chest out, come-hither look on your face?

Interesting…

I thought we decided he was ours.

Damn right!
A new determination set in the angle of her body and her gait she left the bathroom head held high, wondering if this confidence she had gained from finally deciding what she wanted would hold up when she saw his face, looked in his deep hazel eyes…

“JESUS PETER!” Lily shouted jumping a foot in the air as a head popped up unexpectedly from behind one of the beds.

“Sorry Lily.” He apologised sheepishly, getting hurriedly to his feet.

“What were you doing down there anyway?” Lily asked, her voice a little sharper than she intended it to be.

“I forgot my text book. Are you ok?” Lily still had her hand on her chest where she could feel her heart thundering.

“You just gave me a heart attack Peter.”

“Oh. You sure that’s it? ‘Cause Prongs looked a little weird when he came down the stairs, did you two have a fight or something?” Or something. Really- of all the times he has to pick this one to start being observant! Lily thought.

“No, no, nothing like that.”

“No one ever tells me anything!” Peter pouted like a petulant toddler as he winged. Lily really wanted to be thinking along the lines of ‘don’t be such a wimp’ but he looked genuinely upset.

“There really is nothing to tell Peter.” Man I hate lying, but until I figure out what’s going on I can hardly explain it to someone else, can I? "And what do you mean no one ever tells you anything? You know everything I know, probably more, I know you Marauders still have your secrets.” The two shared a grin but Peter wasn’t distracted for long.

“Then why do you and Tia always stop talking when I come and sit with you in charms?”

“Well… if you really want to know how dreamy Tia thinks Sirius is or how fantastic a kisser he is…”

“Err… no thank you.”

“That’s what I thought.” Lily said getting a grin out of him as she nudged him playfully. “Now come on, I’ll check your charms homework for you if you like?” It’ll give me a distraction while I figure out what to say to James.
“Really?”

“Sure.”

“Thanks Lily!”

“I haven’t done anything yet!” Lily laughed and slung her left arm around his shoulder, ruffling his hair with her right hand. Peter blushed bright red and Lily laughed lightly once again; she couldn’t help but think Peter was cute, he was so innocent, so naïve, he brought out her mothering instincts.

Chapter 21: Decided
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Lily sat down opposite James who studiously avoided her eye whilst blushing bright red. So he’s just going to ignore it?? Uh uh now way! Not after THAT!

Tia nudged Lily and slid a note in front of her “What happened?”

“That obvious?”
Lily scrawled back.

“to me”

“he kissed me”

“Good as last time?”

“better”

“wow”

“I know”

“so?”

“I’ve decided”

“on?”

“James- I’ve decided I want him”

“YES!!”
Tia underlined this five times, Lily grinned at her and surreptitiously tossed the note into the fire.

“James?” His head snapped up and he gulped almost audibly.

“Yes Lily?”

“Could I speak to you outside please?”

“Erm… sure.” James timidly tailed Lily out of the portrait hole looking down at his shuffling feet, hands in his pockets. “So is this where you slap me?” James asked staring at the corridor’s stone floor.

“Maybe.” Lily said, trying to keep the amusement from her voice Bless him I think he’s actually scared, poor boy. Well trained more like!

“Perhaps you should.”

“What?” Lily asked, shocked by his response.

“Well that’s how it works isn’t it? I step over the line, you smack me, I apologise and everything goes back to normal. I don’t want it to be awkward between us Lily.” He looked up then and smiled a little sheepishly. “I like us being friends Lily, I don’t want to ruin that. So just get it over with, yeah?” he closed his eyes and braced himself for the blow. Lily raised her hand, try as she might she couldn’t fault his logic that is how it had worked for them in the past, in the PAST she thought, not now, you know he makes you illogical anyway, he drives you crazy! She just couldn’t bring herself to strike him.

“Well?” James asked, opening one eye and looking at her expectantly.

“I’m working myself up to it.”

“You’ve never had to do that before.”

“I was never not angry at you before.” Lily told him messes with your coherency too, that sentence made absolutely no sense Lily. Shut up, love is nonsensical. So it’s love now...?
“You’re not angry with me?” James said interrupting Lily’s internal debate.

“Nope.”

“Huh.”

“Yeah.”

“So…” James eyed Lily’s still raised hand and she blushed and lowered it hastily. “So how does this work then, we just forget it never happened?”

“I’m not sure I want to forget.” Lily said coyly, that I could forget! She fiddled with his tie as he looked confused. “James, do you have a suit?” James blinked seemingly surprised to find her so close.

“Yeah, Mum forces me into it every chance she gets.” James chuckled, relieved to have moved onto what appeared to be a much safer topic.

“Hmm.” Lily hummed, staring at his chest with a little crease between her brows.

“What?”

“I’m not sure I like the idea of that.” She admitted honestly.

“Why not?”

“I imagine you look quite irresistible in a suit.” Lily smirked ruefully up at him. “I don’t think the other girls need any more temptation.”

“But not you ‘ey?” James guessed. “You could resist.”

“I’m sure I could…” liar “but who says I’d want to?” Lily glanced at him from under her lashes, before he could speak she pecked him on the lips and turned to the portrait to utter the password. “Amore.” How fitting Lily grinned to herself as she hopped through leaving James stood stock still trying to process the unfathomable conversation he’d almost participated in.

Lily walked straight through the common room to her dorm, winking at an inquisitive Tia on the way. After a minute of curious glances sent between the group in front of the fire Sirius stood up and opened the portrait hole and called through to the other side.

“Prongs mate, you alright?” James turned in somewhat of a daze to look at him, “What happened?”

“I’m not really sure.” He answered truthfully as he took a seat in the armchair. “She just asked me if I had a suit.”

“What?”

“Yeah.”

“Well what does that mean? And why couldn’t she ask that in front of the rest of us?” Sirius asked, looking just as bewildered as James now. Peter and Remus, both just as clueless, simply shrugged.

Tia shook her head, “Honestly you guys are so slow, she was asking you to go to the wedding with her James.”

“Oh. Are you sure because she didn’t mention the wedding at all, at least I don’t think she did, it was kinda hard to concentrate, she was standing really close and playing with my tie…” Tia just raised he eyebrows in an omnipotent ‘you dare question me?’ way. “Ok, cool.” He said with a big grin.

“So, does this mean she like, likes you now?” Sirius asked, still looking confused. Tia huffed a huge frustrated sigh and left the room.

“Boys!”


~*~

“I can’t believe the first terms over already, it’s gone so fast, but then so much seems to have happened too. It’s weird.” Lily exclaimed as she looked out of the window of the Hogwarts Express onto the bustling Hogsmede station.

“I know it’s crazy. So if I write to you over Christmas will you reply?”

“Of course I will. Wrote to you all last summer didn’t I?”

“I guess, but for five years before that you just ignored my letters.”

“Well we weren’t friends then, god that seems so long ago! I still can’t believe you thought I actually hated you.”

“You remember that then?”

“It was only three months ago James.” Lily said rolling her eyes.

“Well a lot’s happened since then.”

“Yeah it has.” There was a long pause before James whispered. “I’m going to miss you.”

“It’s only a few weeks James and you’ll see me on the third of January anyway.”

“I’ve gotten used to seeing you everyday though.”

“You always were good at forming bad habits.” Lily teased with a warm smile.

“Oi.” James said nudging her arm gently as they both laughed.

“I’ll miss you too James.” Lily said quietly, she took a step towards him and he opened his arms automatically to her. Lily wrapped her arms around his waist as his went round her shoulders. James rested his chin on her head as she pressed her cheek to his chest with her eyes closed. Lily smiled and sighed. I could get used to this. Correction: I WILL get used to this.
At that moment the door to the prefect’s compartment opened, the two boys entering froze in the door, awkward at catching the two hugging. Although the embrace was platonic, it seemed like a very intimate moment.

Lily and James unravelled themselves slowly and Lily took a step back reluctantly. “Well don’t just stand there.” James said as they dithered in the doorway, loath to disturb the intimate moment. The boys took a seat and quietly continued their conversation.

“You’re blushing.” James whispered in Lily’s ear, playing with a piece of hair that lay against her back, almost long enough t reach her waist.

“They keep staring at me.” She whispered back, moving to fuss with some papers on one of the benches.

“I don’t blame them.” James answered and without looking at him Lily knew he’d be grinning at her with a teasing twinkle in his eye.

“Shut up you.” Lily told him, smiling softly to herself.

Chapter 22: Gifts
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“See you in 1978!” With a chorus of “Merry Christmases” the last prefect meeting of the year concluded and James and Lily were left alone in their compartment on the Hogwarts Express.

“Hey, Lily?”

“Yeah?” She said, turning around from where she was tidying up the mess the students had left behind them.

“Erm… Look, I know we agreed not to swap Christmas presents but you were saying the other day about how cold your hands get and how your gloves have been ended so many times and well I saw theses and…Merry Christmas Lily.” He placed a wrapped package in her hands and with a small pink tinge of embarrassment a lingering kiss on her cheek.

Lily undid the red bow and ripped through the gold wrapping paper. Inside were pair of thick, knitted cream mittens made of the softest wool she’d ever felt and a matching hat and thick scarf.

“Oh James they’re gorgeous, thank you.” She exclaimed stretching up to give him a hug. She was touched that he had remembered their conversation but by now not surprised always knew he was a mine of useless information, I just never realised half of it’s about me!

“You’re not mad I broke the agreement then?” James asked with a smile once she’d let him go.

“I’m not mad; it’d be very hypocritical of me.”

“What do you mean?” James asked her as she turned her back to him to rummage through her satchel.

“Well, I kind of went back on our deal too.” James grinned at Lily’s sheepish admittance.

“Come on then.” James invited excitedly, “what did you get me?”

“Patience is a virtue James.” Lily teased, laughing at his enthusiasm as he took the present from her outstretched hand.

“Yeah, the only one I don’t have.” He said as he ripped through the paper.

“You’re such a little kid!”

“Nah, I’m a big kid!” he joked, pausing to look up at her to wink roguishly. Be still my beating heart! No seriously, be still. Lily told her pounding heart.

“Wow.”

“If you don’t like it…”

“No way! I love it, it’s so cool!”

“I remembered what you said that night in the astronomy tower.” James examined the object eagerly. From the outside it looked like an old-fashioned gold pocket watch or compass with an atlas engraved into the metal and the same was inscribed on the inside too.

“This top half’s the northern hemisphere and this one’s the south and the stars move to show you the constellations that should be above you. And the stars are all individual pinpricks of light so you can use it in the dark too."

“Lily, it’s amazing, but it must have cost you a fortune.”

“Actually it didn’t cost me anything.” James looked up with an inquisitive expression and Lily continued. “It was my Granddad’s during the war, I was always fascinated with it and he left it to me in his will, I just made some…alterations.”

“You did all this yourself?”

“Well, Flitwick told me where to look for the spells.”

“Lily, I can’t…”

“Don’t, you’re worth it.” Lily smiled as James looked up from his gift and the locked eyes.

“Thank you.” James said sincerely.

“Besides, think of all the effort and breath it’ll save me trying to keep your ego in check. I’d say it was an investment.”

“Oi you!” Lily giggled and shrieked as he lunged at her and she ran laughing down the corridor with James chasing after her. Lily ran straight for the girls bathroom and slammed the door behind her.

“Don’t think I won’t come in there misses!”

“You wouldn’t dare!” she shouted back through the door. Would he? She wondered with a thrill, her heart pounding in her chest with exhilaration.

“Now you’ve done it!” James flung open the door and was met with the screams of the other girls who were primping themselves in front of the mirrors in the deceptively large room. Lily laughed as the girls at the sinks started shouting at him to get out and her belly ached from the hysteria of seeing him splashed in the face with the cold water and the look of utter surprise as he just stood there in shock getting wet.

~*~

“What happened to you?” Moony asked askance as James entered the carriage behind a still chuckling Lily, his hair plastered to his head and his shirt soaking and delightfully see-through… James should be wet more often!

Sirius took one look at his mate and burst out laughing. “You don’t want to know.” A drenched James told them, conjuring a towel and beginning to rub his hair dry.

“Oh, I think we do mate, Lily?” Sirius asked. James shot Lily a warning glare but she ignored it and told the story anyway. When she’d finished and the laughter had subsided she turned to him.

“Sorry, but it was just so funny; your face!” Lily suppressed another bubble of mirth.

“Oh you are so going to get it!” and with that he jumped on her, tickling her mercilessly as she squealed in protest. Everyone joining in until it dissolved into an all boys play fight before the four marauders collapsed on the floor in a heap laughing and panting.

“You guys are ridiculous.” Tia smiled indulgently.

“Ridiculously handsome?” Sirius asked.

“No.” Tia said rolling her eyes.

“Ridiculously charming?” Sirius asked crawling along the floor on his knees to look up at Tia sitting on the bench from beneath his eyelashes.

“No.” Tia said with a giggle this time.

“Ridiculously kissable.” He asked with a smile playing at the corner of his lips, stroking the back of her hand with his forefinger and fluttering his long black eyelashes.

“Maybe…” Tia giggled even more and bent her head down to brush his lips with hers. “Just a little bit.” Sirius grinned and pulled her to the floor with him as she squealed and the fight began all over again. 


A/N as I've been so absent of late here's two chapters in one night- hopefully this will make it up in some way.

Chapter 23: Letters
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A/N: Yes I am eventually back! Sorry for the long absence but apparently university takes over your life before you even get there! Silly A level exams. Anywho just wanted to warn you that this is the shortest chapter of In Emerald Eyes yet but before you complain the next chapter is quite possibly the longest and will be arriving on your screen within the next couple of days. In the meantime enjoy this (theres also an extract from a possible sequel to IEE on my authors page if you fancy a look). Cheers for reading my ramblings and I hope you enjoy the chapter.






Lily woke the first morning of the Christmas holidays with a smile on her face. She stretched and rolled over before deciding to get some breakfast and bring it back to bed. She paused at her desk to stroke the soft wool of the scarf James had given her yesterday then headed down to the kitchen.

It was ten thirty, her Mum would have left an hour ago to do the shopping and her Dad and sister were at work. Lily popped some bread into the toaster and pulled the marmite down from the cupboard above her head. On the way to the fridge to get the margarine and apple juice she noticed a letter with her name on the envelope and a note on top.

This arrived with a handsome tawny owl as I was leaving. I’m popping in to see Mrs Welsham on the way back from shopping so I won’t be back until after lunch. Tinned soup in the cupboard,
Love Ma x 



Lily finished prepping her toast and started to eat as she picked up the letter and broke the seal.

Day one of missing you

Been awake since & o’clock, apparently my body isn’t quite as up for celebrating no lessons as my mind is.
Sirius is still snoring away and now that the traditional breakfast is over with, I’m bored.
Mum suggested I read a book and that got me thinking of you. Wonder if you’re awake yet? Are you commencing the holidays with a slice of toast with the infamous marmite spread on it?
I’ve just realised I have nothing else to write, I’ve done nothing news worthy since I saw you… 21 hours ago.
Don’t think you have to reply to my mad rambling,
James X 

Lily quickly finished her toast and downed her juice; she grabbed the letter from the side and threw her plate in the sink before dashing upstairs to grab parchment, quill and ink.

James,

I slept in until 10.30, there’s really nothing like your own bed! As much as I adore my four-poster at Hogwarts I love being back in my own room even more. Although there’s no Tia to giggle with there’s no snoring Agnes either and no disapproving Jane.
I did have marmite toast for breakfast but I must admit to not tasting it much, I wolfed it down in a hurry to answer your letter- don’t get ideas; I just know what happens when James Potter gets bored!
Thinking of you too,
Lily x 


Lily sealed the letter and ran back downstairs. She flung on a pair of flowery wellies and headed out the back door and round to the side of the house to the owl coop in her pyjamas. Both Shadow her Mums owl and Pearl were fast asleep, heads tucked under their wings.

“Ok guys, who wants to go see James?” Shadow opened one eye before resolutely turning her back to Lily and retreating back under her wing to sleep. Pearl fluttered her wings and stuck out her leg. “Thanks Pearl.” Lily watched the bird fly away before returning to the kitchen for another slice of toast I’ll savour this one. 






As it’s now been over twenty-four hours since I saw you last I’m counting this as day two of missing you.
And just what do you mean by that? I’m perfectly capable of entertaining myself without getting into trouble thank you very much! However today I chose not to exercise that ability…

It started like this:
Me: Mum I’m bored.
Mum: go read a book.
Me: writes letter to favourite redhead
Me: there’s nothing to read.
Mum: well go to the shop and get yourself a magazine then… something about milk.
Me: buys cool muggle magazine about motorbikes… nothing about milk
Mum: shouts about milk
Sirius: wakes up, why isn't there any milk?
Me:shows Sirius cool magazine
Sirius: understands why there is no milk
Me and Sirius: discuss how cool having a motorbike would be
Sirius: buys a motorbike
James and Sirius: get in lots of trouble for not thinking and just randomly buying a motorbike 

It was a fun day! Tomorrow we’re going to teach the bike to fly.
James X

James,
You can’t “teach” things to bikes. You’ll need to use some moderated form of the wingardium leviosa charm- but if anyone asks I did not encourage this in anyway.
If you are going to do it you’ll need someway to disguise the bike, I don’t know if you’re aware but most muggle bikes are incapable of flight. Try a disillusionment charm.
Try not to kill yourself (or get kicked out of school) - I’d have no one left to make fun of!
Love, 
your favourite redhead x

Lily,
You didn’t tell me what you got up to today.
J X

J,
You didn’t ask.
L x

Lily smirked as she sealed her reply and attached it to James’s waiting owl’s leg. She wasn’t going to tell him that she’d spent most of her day wondering what he was up to even if it was true.

Chapter 24: Meet The Parents
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“Lily”

“Yes Mum?” Lily shouted down the stairs from her bedroom.

“Your friends are here.”

“What friends?” Lily queried, making her way to the landing, I don’t have plans tonight, do I? “Tia?” Lily stopped at the top of the stairs, her friend looked up at her with a grin on her face “What are you doing here?”

“Oh that’s nice, isn’t it?” she said, her hands going to her hips.

“Sorry.” Lily said, starting to descend the stairs.

“Don’t bother I’ll come up, we have to get you ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“We’re going out.”

“Out where?” Lily asked, turning to head back into her room as Tia reached her.

“A club, muggle, we did promise to take the boys at some point.”

“Wait, Mum said friends didn’t she? As in plural, oh my god are James and Sirius here too?”

“Yup, they went into the lounge with your Dad.”

“Oh no! Petunia and the walrus are in there! They came round for dinner.” Lily groaned as Tia cocked an eyebrow at her.

“Well this should be interesting.”

“I think you mean painful.”

“Here,” Tia grabbed a leather look miniskirt from the back of Lily’s wardrobe and a deep red halter neck top. “put these on and your black tie-on heels and…” Tia rammed her fingers into her insanely tight jeans pocket and pulled out a black suede thong. “put your hair up with this, I’ll go be damage control.”

~*~

Lily hovered nervously at the living room door, it wasn’t that she didn’t trust Sirius and James…ok so it totally is that sI don't trust Sirius and James- but she was really worried that Petunia couldn’t keep her bigoted views to herself. Lily fidgeted by the almost closed door, she had dressed at breakneck speed and now hovered, deliberating what to say to her sister about their guests and how best to avoid the subject of school.

~*~

“I wonder Lily managed to keep such a gorgeous sister a secret.” Lily’s mother giggled girlishly at the handsome young man and tapped his shoulder lightly.

“Sirius stop flirting with Mrs Evans, I might start to get jealous.” Sirius grinned and wound his arm around Tia’s slim waist. He whispered something in her ear that made her slap him in the stomach as she laughed and then she shivered as he brushed his lips across her neck.

“Sirius may have been joking Mrs Evans but he was not exaggerating, I’m no longer surprised that a beauty as exquisite as Lily exists.” James held Elizabeth’s eye as he bent his head to kiss the back of her hand. Lily’s mother blushed furiously and shooed him away. “Sir.” James greeted Lily’s father with a firm handshake. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“You too James, we’ve heard a lot about you.”

“Then the odds are stacked against me!” John Evans chuckled amiably.

“I assure you James, it’s all been good.”

“Then your daughter is even more generous than I believed her to be, I only hope I can prove myself worthy of the gift of her friendship.” The young man looked so serious that Lily’s father didn’t know how to respond, the uncomfortable silence was only momentary though as James flashed him a quick smile and moved on.

“And who, prey tell, are you?” James asked, releasing his most alluring smile on Petunia who was sat on the love seat with her lump of a boyfriend. He made his voice smooth, deep and mellow and his eyes twinkled with amusement when she seemed incapable of answering.

“She is a soon to be married woman.” Vernon said aggressively shifting in his seat, his skin starting to flush.

“Then you are a very lucky man, Vernon, is it?” Dursely seemed shocked that James was not intimidated by him. “At your service miss…” he said bowing low and flustering her further when he looked up from under his long ebony lashes with a grin “Sorry, I still didn’t catch your name.”

“James quit dazzling the girl, it’s Petunia and you know it!” Tia admonished. James grinned and stood straight again, flicking his head briefly to Tia to establish just how annoyed se really was.

“I just wanted to hear an angel speak.” James winked at her and Petunia pulled in a gasping breath, apparently, her own name wasn’t the only thing James had made her forget. James laughed and the rich sound rolled through the room, Lily couldn’t resist pushing the door open to see the mirth light his face, James laughing was one of her favourite sights in the world.

“Honestly James, you’ve been in the house five minutes and you’ve already charmed my mother and my sister into puddles at your feet. What were you having a competition with yourself to see who could be most charming?” Lily placed her hands on her hips to look stern. James laughed again but seemed to choke when he caught sight of Lily for the first time. That’s it, remember who you’re really here to see.

“He’s done no such thing Lily Evans.” Elizabeth protested, although the tinge of pink left in her cheeks contradicted her. The infamous Evans blush, better than a lie detector test, one gene I really wish she hadn’t passed on! Lily raised her eyebrows at her Mum as her Dad wrapped an arm around his wife’s shoulders and pressed a kiss to the top of her head,

“Seems it’s you who’s got James speechless darling.” Lily blushed a little herself not blushing…glowing. Really, I couldn't have gotten Dad's olive skin?
“How do I look Dad?” Lily twirled, her high ponytail flicking out behind her.

“Pretty as a picture darling, perhaps a little too so, none of the other girls will get a look in!”

“You look great Lily, but then I dressed you so you needn’t even have asked.” Tia joked, smiling at her best friend. Sirius ever so eloquently wolf whistled and James just nodded and gulped

“What they said.” Lily laughed at that, not so charming now are you hmm? Lily grabbed his arm, his dumbfounded expression turing into a grin and chuckling with her.

“See you later Daddy, love you Mum.”

“Have fun kids, stay safe.”

“Don’t worry Dad, I have my wand.”

“Ok see you tomorrow then sweetheart.”

“Tom-“ Tia cut Lily off by pushing her put of the door and shouting behind her,

“Bye Mr Evans, bye Mrs Evans!”

Elizabeth laughed at her enthusiasm, “Bye Tia dear.”

As the door shut behind them they heard a scream from inside the house “They were wizards?!! I can NOT believe you let those-” Lily winced, James and Sirius had been so careful not to provoke her, she was mortified! Stupid stupid girl, why did you have to mention your wand?? Couldn’t have just said, “Yes Dad” and left it at that could you? No, Eurgh! What must James think…
“Stop it, stop it now.” Tia hissed at her as she linked arms with her and they strolled down the lamp lit street.

“Stop what?” Lily snapped.

“I know what you’re thinking, it’s not your fault, Petunia’s a bitch and James doesn’t care. So, deep breath, forget it happened and let’s start having fun ok?”

“Ok. So…?”

“Oh yeah, you’re staying at mine tonight.” Tia said grinning and fluttering her eyelashes.

“So where are we really staying?”

“James’ house, I know your Mum’s cool with us clubbing but I didn’t think your Dad would be so keen on you sleeping at a boys house.”

“Good call, so your Mum…”

“Thinks I’m staying at yours yes. She wouldn’t be bothered but I just didn’t have time for the boy talk that was bound to ensue if I told her how serious me and Sirius were getting.” The girls grinned and spun to walk backwards so they could look at the boys as they spoke to them.

“So James, after all these years looks like you’ve finally got me to agree to spending the night with you.” Lily winked at him cheekily and he grinned back.

“Don’t say that Lily! You’ll give him ideas and he’s only just got his voice back.” Tia teased. They flipped back around giggling.

“How do they do that in those shoes?” Sirius asked, James shrugged, he had no clue how they stood in five inch heels let alone walked backwards.

“Just enjoy the view Padfoot.” James whispered and Sirius laughed and slung his arm around his friend’s shoulders. 




“I’ll take Sirius, you grab James and I’ll meet you there in a few?” Tia suggested.

“Sure.”

“Sirius?” Tia let him catch up so he was stood under the broken street light with her and then wrapped her arms around his neck. “Hold tight.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice" Tia gave him a quick peck on the lips and then the two of them disappeared from view.

“Ready James?” Lily asked holding her hand out to him. Hm… wish body contact wasn’t necessary… much higher chance of getting splinched when James is touching me…
“I was just wondering if what you said to your Dad was true?”

“What do you mean?” Lily asked, still walking down the street to keep warm

“That you have your wand.”

“Of course, with things as they are I’m not about to leave the house without it.”

“So where the heck do you have it hidden.” James asked looking her up and down in a completely different way with a confused look on her face. Lily grinned at James’ genuinely curious expression, bless him he really does not have a clue…
Lily stopped walking and placed a hand on his chest to stop him too. She took a step back as she trailed her left hand down her side, across her hip and down to the edge of her skirt at a teasingly slow speed. Slowly she slid her fingertips back up her thigh bringing the material with them. James glimpsed a deep blue garter very briefly and then her right hand had whipped across her body and pulled her wand from the silky scrap of material and as quick as lightening she had the tip pressed to the base of his neck.

“Bang bang you’re dead.” Lily whispered throatily, she threw back her head and laughed as James gulped. She quickly tucked the thin strip of wood back into the garter in case any Muggles happened to be watching from the windows. “Come on James, they’ll be wondering where we’ve gotten to.” She grabbed his hand again and they ran down the street together. The two teenagers entered the shadow of a large elm tree at the same time but neither came out the other side and the girl's laughter echoed before being swallowed by the night...

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