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The Corner Market by jane pinkerton

Format: Novel
Chapters: 17
Word Count: 57,371
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

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

First Published: 11/22/2008
Last Chapter: 10/20/2010
Last Updated: 10/20/2010

Summary:
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The summer before 7th year, Lily was working at her parents small corner market. On her first day back she finds a new surprise waiting for her there making this just about the longest summer of her life.



thank you a million times over and again mad4sirius for the banner and chapter images! They're amazing :)!!


Chapter 1: A Complicated Beginning
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A Complicated Beginning
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Shoes?
Check.

Apron?
Check.

Name badge?
Check!

"Okay! I'm all set! Lets go, Mum!" Lily Evans yelled running down the stairs of her house.

She was excited to get back to work like every other summer, and ready to make money before her seventh year began at Hogwarts.

The good old Corner Market was owned by her parents and during the summer she would beg them to give her something to do and let her work there. Most of the people she worked with were like family. There were many she had known since she was a child and felt like her summer wouldn't be complete unless she spent time with them at the market.

"Alrighty, lets move," her mum said leading their way out the door and to the car.

"Where am I working this summer?" Lily asked buckling herself in.

"Well, lets see...last summer you were a grocery clerk."

"Yes.."

"And the year before that?

"In produce."

"And before then?"

"I was a bagger, and anytime before then I was just cleaning."

"Okay. So this summer, your father and I were thinking you could be a cashier!"

"Oh, yeah?"

"We think it'll be good for your... people skills."

"What?" Lily laughed, "Are you saying I'm bad with customers?"

"Of course not! We just want you to get to know the costumers more," she said with a little smile.

"As opposed to what?"

"As opposed to...constantly working and being with Marcus."

Marcus. Now she understood. He was a long story, but worthy of being told. He began working at The Corner Market when they were fifteen. Every summer they had a fling, but would always decide that while she was away at Hogwarts (or boarding school as far as he knew) they could see different people. Somehow they were always free for each other when summer came back around though.

Her parents loved Marcus as an employee, but as a boyfriend for their youngest daughter? Not so much. In the looks Marcus had it all. He stood tall at 6 feet and had short brown hair with electric blue eyes. Add on his football playing body...it's really not that difficult to know why so many were attracted to him!

The only problem was he wasn't known for only his looks. Every summer Lily came home, she had to go through all of the rumors and gossip still floating around about him from throughout the year. Her parents never liked knowing all of those rumors and then seeing him with Lily.

Lily couldn't even begin to explain how much she hated the beginning of each summer just because she had to go through it... Her parents always putting on a fake smile when they were around and then having a "serious talk" with her later on.

'Honestly!' she thought, 'I know how to control my boyfriend!' And even though he had those moments of dishonesty and attitude, they had fun together, and that was all Lily could ask for with a summer fling.

"You know how we feel about him, Lils," her mum explained, "And we're sorry to have to do it this way, but we refuse to let you see him."

"What!?" She choked out. 'Did she really just say what I think she said?!'

"Too many things have happened while you were away! We don't want you around that kind of behavior!"

"I'm seventeen, Mum! You can't tell me what to do anymore!"

"Maybe in the wizarding world, Lilian Marie."

'Oh Merlin....she used my middle name...' Lily thought exasperatedly.

"But under my roof, you're still under my ruling and you will do as your father and I say!"

They were pulling into the parking lot and Lily saw that, of course, Marcus's car was already there. 'Great...' she thought.

"Fine, but as soon as I'm back in the magical world there's nothing to stop me from seeing whoever I please; Muggle or wizard! And even if he's ten times worse than Marcus there will be nothing either of you will be able to say about it!"

She stormed out of the car when her mum found a parking spot and ran into the store. She could feel her face was red and thought she probably looked like a tomato to anyone standing at a distance. But she took a deep breath telling herself, 'Feel the blood circulation... Breathe to calm yourself...you'll work this out.'

"Lily!" She heard someone call. With one more deep breath she turned to the voice.

Jumping towards her was a cute, blonde haired, girl. She had green eyes similar to Lily's, but with yellow sparks dashed all around. She was the perkiest little Brit you would ever be able to find and even though Lily loved her to death, she sometimes wished she could use the 'Silencio' charm on her.

"Paula!" Lily screamed. They ran for each other and hugged tightly, still screaming, making some of the costumers look at them oddly.

"Oh my goodness! I can't believe you're really back! So much has happened since you left."

Lily laughed, "Like what?"

"Well, about 2 months ago, Anthony and Brittney were caught kissing in a bathroom stall," Paula happily gossiped.

"No, they were not!" Lily countered.

Paula laughed and tried to go on to explain the story of their hidden relationship, but instead Lily wanted to get the hard part of the day over. She promised she would let Paula continue soon, but then went in search for Marcus. She quickly glanced over at the lines, deciding that they were short enough for her to get the job done.

She ran into the back doors of the store and saw him sitting on some cereal boxes with another old friend named Michael. Even the back of his head looked gorgeous...

"Shouldn't you be putting those up on the shelves?" She asked him from behind.

Michael looked up and smiled, immediately punching Marcus to turn around. When he did, Lily didn't have a chance to say anything before he had her in a bear hug and then pressed their lips together. Merlin this feels good...so much better than when James Potter tries to kiss me, she quickly thought.

A memory flashed in her mind where Potter had held her up against a wall. He got a punch square in the nose for that one... Of course all it really did was get him to tell Lily, "I like 'um fiesty!" And then was promptly kicked in the shins.

Lily started to laugh from the memory, but held it back at a smile when Marcus said, "Bout time you've come down to see me! How was your year, love?"

"Fantastic! Just missed everyone was all."

She realized she had her arms around his shoulders still, and started to put them down to get his arms off of her waist... She didn't want to lead him on and then tell him it was over. It would be just mean!

"Well, you're here now. Shouldn't take us too long to get this summer started," he said in a low husky voice. Lily blushed because Michael was still there watching them in amusement, but couldn't keep out the thought that he did sound pretty damn sexy.

He leaned in to kiss her again with those plush red lips, but she turned her head, with her mother's words in her ears.

"We have to talk really quick."

"Alright," he chuckled.

"Mike, can you run up front and tell Shelly I'll be there in a sec?" Shelly was a cashier she would be working with, and didn't want to get off on the wrong foot, even though Lily knew Shelly loved her. There was no need to look like a slacker!

"Sure," he said walking off. Marcus looked calm, probably thinking that the conversation was going to be harmless.

"Is this about us staying away from each other?" he asked.

"You know?"

"Yeah, your dad came in earlier and told me..." He paused for a second, his eyebrows furrowing, "Were you really going to break it off?"

"Well...yeah. Not that I would want to, but-"

"Then don't."

Lily quickly weighed the options in her head. 'Pros: I'll get three months of good snogging in before I go back to Hogwarts. Cons: Sneaking around will be difficult. Mum and dad will be pissed. I'll have to deal with the rumor mill...' The cons weren't looking all that appealing.

"Marcus, I can't. I think it would be better if we really did stop seeing each other for right now." His face expression said he was clearly confused, and it made Lily want to laugh just because it looked so funny on him! But she couldn't. 'Focus Lily! You've got to keep serious!' she yelled at herself.

"Well, if that's the way you want it." He took a step towards her, but she refused to move. "But no crawling back to me when you see me with other girls."

"And no jealousy when you see me with another guy."

"Yeah, if you get another guy."

He walked away as leaving Lily speechless. 'Oh no he did not just say that.'

"SO GLAD WE COUD BE MATURE ABOUT THIS!" she yelled.

Her face began heating up again, turning crimson before she had time to calm herself down. She turned back around walking up to the front to take her spot at one of the cash registers.

"Lily! Guess what!" Paula jumped out from no where.

"Paula...I can't talk right now..." she tried to say calmly without letting her anger take over. To let more steam off, she power walked to the front of her cash register to grab the 'CLOSED' sign and get a customer.

"Oh! You're going to need to stay closed, you're training a new employee," Paula said excitedly taking the sign out of her hand to put it back in its place.

"I am?" Her parents hadn't told her about anyone new....

"Yeah! That's what I'm trying to tell you!" she kept on chatting when Lily spotted the back of someone's head...it looked very familiar.... "He's really, really cute, Lily! I mean gorgeous! Marcus is going to have to keep you on a leash!"

"Me and Marcus aren't going to be together this summer actually..." she said slowly. Where did she know that shaggy hair from? He began turning...a little more and she would be able to see his face.... 'Come on, baby, turn!'

And next thing she knew, she was on the floor hiding behind the register. 'Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. OH. MY. GOSH.'

"Lily, what are you doing?!" Paula asked perplexed. She was looking down like Lily was crazy....she couldn't blame her.

"You better stand back up because he's coming over here."

"I can't, Paula! A boy from my school is in here and I can't stand to see him!" she whispered loudly.

"Don't tell me, he's tall, dark and amazingly sexy?" a new voice laughed, entering their conversation.

Lily looked up and there he was, James Potter. She didn't bother saying hello, and instead threw her head back against a wall, making a loud 'THUD'. Paula's eyes bugged out wondering why on Earth she was acting this way in front of such a cute boy, but she just didn't understand!

James Potter was one of Lily's enemies at school. In fact, she blamed him for the fact that she never had boyfriends throughout her years at Hogwarts. So, in theory, it was because of him that she was still with Marcus all of those summers. She didn't know whether to thank him, or hit him at this point....

Lily took a deep breath thinking, 'This is definitely not my day...'

"What are you doing here, Potter?" she asked standing with a pounding headache.

"What? Paula didn't tell you?" Lily shook her head making him grin lopsidedly. "I'm a new employee here!"

Her eyes widened and turned to look at Paula who was smiling up at James like she had won the lottery. "This is the cute new guy?!" Paula nodded, blushing bright pink and sneaked another peek at James who casually winked at her. "Don't wink at her!" Lily warned him with a finger. She protectively moved to stand in front of Paula.

"Evans, if you're going to get jealous over me simply winking, how are we going to be able to work with each other?" Her jaw almost dropped that James would mistake her perplexity for jealousy. "You know, if you went out with me I wouldn't wink at anyone but you."

She regained her wit and sarcastically said, "Yes, and that would just be such a treat."

"Paula would think so." He turned to a still pink faced Paula, "Right?"

"I- you-" she stuttered flustered, "James you could wink at me everyday and I wouldn't mind one bit." James threw her a dazzling smile making Lily wish the giant squid would have just ate him already.

"Paula...could I talk to you?" She asked. Paula had to drag her eyes off of James to look at Lily. "Privately?"

"Oh! Sure!"

"Excuse us." Lily glared as she pulled Paula's arm four feet away. "What is wrong with you!" she asked.

"Me? What's wrong with you!"

"This guy is from my school."

"Really? Are there more like him? I'm coming next time you leave," Paula giggled.

Lily smacked her hand against her forehead. "No," she moaned.

"Lily! Come on, what's wrong with him?"

"He's just such a bully there! Him and his friends think they're a bunch of casanovas. Plus he practically gets away with whatever he wants just because he's James Potter!"

"I'm still not following you, Lils." Lily started to say more when Paula added, "I mean, you kind of just described Marcus, so technically James is just your type."

Lily let out a gasp, "He is not!"

Suddenly James was in their little circle again, "Am I getting trained today? Cause if not I have a quidd-" Lily's head snapped up at him, "I- I mean football game that I was hoping to catch...on my tele!" he added confidently.

"Sure you are! Lily's going to give you a tour of the store before she really starts though," Paula said, "Right, Lily?"

"Yeah...follow me," she mumbled walking away.

James smiled and wanted so badly to say, "I'd follow you anywhere," but bit his tongue not wanting to push his luck.

He had at first complained about having to work during his school-free time. His parents had surprised him with it saying he needed to experience how it was to be a muggle more, since according to his mother he, "Takes his magic for granted."

Now that he saw that he could use it to his advantage though, he wasn't going to be complaining anymore.

"This is quite the romantic situation, don't you think, Evans?" Lily ignored him and kept walking. "I mean, I start working at the same place you do on accident, you get to train me...it's like fate!"

Lily abruptly turned to be in face and said, "Listen up, Potter, this is not romantic, and there will never be any situation between you and I that has even the syllables of romantic in it!" Her face was getting to be slightly flushed, so she turned away to hide it.

"Not even Romania?"

The question threw her off guard and left her with only to choke out, "What?"

He walked over and threw his arm around Lily's waist leading her up the chip aisle and then down the canned beans. "What if we decide to go to Romania one day, and then we can't because it has two out of the three same syllables as 'romantic'. It would ruin the whole trip!"

Lily closed her eyes trying to focus on breathing.

"Lily, love, everything alright here?" Her eyes opened too see Michael staring James up and down while taking off his working gloves. She was suddenly very conscious about the arm around her waist and slapped it off.

"Yeah, Mike...this is James. He's a new employee."

"We know each other from school," James added

"Oh!" He extended his hand to shake James's. "I'm Michael. Nice to see a new face around here."

"Nice to meet you too."

He suddenly laughed to Lily, "Marcus isn't going to like this one bit."

Her eyes narrowed begging him to stop talking. "Who's Marcus?" James asked. His hand flew up to his hair trying to look nonchalant.

"Michael," Lily warned him.

"Lily's boyfriend. Currently two aisles away."

"Ex boyfriend," Lily said keeping her eyes dangerously on Michael. "Mike, I understand if you're more loyal to Marcus than to me, but don't start drama. It's the last thing any of us need. Especially over something that is never going to happen."

"Alright, I'll keep my mouth shut."

"Two aisles to the left or right?"

"Left."

"Thanks." She grabbed James's shirt and led him to the right.

"You had a muggle boyfriend?"

"Well, all of your black mailing of the magical ones wasn't exactly helping my situation, so I went for someone you couldn't touch." Lily turned to look at him and saw James's stern face.

"I never thought to look out for muggles..." he mumbled.

"Look, the store is pretty basic for a tour. We're in grocery, across the store is produce and the cashiers are up front. Which one were you hired for?"

"Cashier."

"Alright we'll start training tomorrow. Go home and watch your game."

James left the store trying to keep his mind from going insane. Lily had had a boyfriend?! Why didn't anyone ever tell him?! He would've found him and beat the hell out of him. Given, he didn't know the guy, but he still knew what the average guy was thinking. And when Lily was in the room, he knew where those thoughts led to.

He was trying to remember hearing of any rumors, or special packages that had ever come to Lily, hinting at a boyfrind, but could only remember one memory that might have been his answer.

James had just arrived on the platform with his best friends beside him. His eyes had immediately landed on a red head just ten feet away from him and beside her a dark haired girl with brown eyes. Sirius barked a laugh and hit James in the shoulder before running over to them. His other friend Remus laughed and nodded his head at James for him to follow.

Sirius had attached himself to the dark haired girl named Marie, and was talking animatedly about his summer adventures. Lily looked thoroughly annoyed, from both the chatting and James's constant staring, but put on a smile because she knew how much her friend liked Sirius.

After fifteen minutes of talking, Sirius suddenly stopped and whistled. "Lilikins! Is that what I think it is?" James's eyebrows furrowed wondering what his friend was talking about.

"What?" she asked innocently.

"Did you get some lovin' this summer?" He laughed reaching his hand out to brush her hair off of her shoulder.

Lily slapped his hand and curtly said, "I burned myself with a curling iron." She knew it was a line used way too much, but these were wizards! So she knew it was new to them.

"You burned yourself with a what?" James asked.

"A curling iron! You know, that muggle thing that curls my hair," she held out one of her ringlets.

Marie was giggling knowing the truth, but didn't have the chance to spill the beans because Lily grabbed her hand and pulled her onto the train that was getting ready to leave.

Sirius began laughing. "She's lying! That was a hickey! Who does she think she's playing with? I'm the king of hickeys."

"No way!" James said. "I would've known if she had a boyfriend!"

"I hear those curling irons can leave pretty nasty marks...my mum tried using one once....didn't turn out so pretty," Remus said with a shudder.

"Uh, huh." Sirius scoffed.

"Come on, your highness. We need to go meet Wormtail in our compartment."


He never thought to ask her about the mark again. He retold the story to Sirius later that night who was laughing on the ground by the time he was finished recounting the memory.

"I told you I'm the king!" he exclaimed. James laughed to amuse him. "But think of this in a good way! She pointed out that they're ex's! Not that they would need to be broken up for your charm to eventually get to her," he winked.

"That's the thing though, Padfoot! We say that every year and it's not working! I think it's time to call in a professional..."

"What do you mean?"

"It's time."

"You aren't thinking who I think you're thinking of calling, are you?" James couldn't say anything so he just nodded while scratching his head. "Prongs, that's betrayal to your own brother! I won't stand for that in this house!" Sirius yelled stomping his foot on the ground.

"She's my sister!" James cried.

"No. No, no, no! The last time she was here I was grounded for a two weeks by Mrs. P. and she loves me!!"

"You deserved that one, mate. If I found you wandering around the house naked like that..." James shuddered, "I would have a restraining order."

"SHE SET ME UP!"

"It's still creepy, mate."

"I'll get her back you know. One day."

"I wouldn't doubt it, but until then, she's going to help me with my redheaded beauty."
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edt 10/10/10
Author's Note: Hey everyone! Lol, told you I had a new one coming! I've never read anything like this so I hope it's a new direction for you guys too!

This is going to most definitely be longer than my last story, which I think will make you guys happy :D

but yeah! Let me know what you think so far! Reviewing is always a best friend for you guys. lol!

Disclaimer: :))nada

Chapter 2: Live News In Produce
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Live News in Produce

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James walked into the The Corner Market with confidence the next day, ready for his first closing shift. 'But not with too much confidence,' a voice said in his head.

His sister, Jasmine, had come over within minutes of getting his owl crying for help; happy that he had finally chosen her over Sirius. She gladly gave out pieces of advice that Sirius tried to counter with his own suggestions.

Jasmine had waist long, honey colored hair with settle highlights of blonde. Her set of eyes matched, and could melt anyones heart. Unlike James though, she used her beauty for good by getting jobs and such instead of getting boys.

When James began walking towards Lily he had a million different lines in his head to dazzle her with, so it took great difficulty to only say, "Hey," when she looked up at him.

"Hello, Potter. Ready to really get started?"

"Of course!" He looked around at all of the new tools around him realizing he didn't have a clue as to what would be expected of him. His mum always did the shopping for him...he never thought of where the food came from!

"Alright then! Lets see the amazing James Potter be a normal human being!" she exclaimed. She dug around in her apron and found a sheet of paper. "This is a list of all of the produce that you have to memorize." James looked at it and didn't think it looked too complex...except he didn't know some of the things on there.

"What the hell is an atemoya?" he asked making Lily giggle. "And why are there seven different ones for apples?" '...okay maybe i don't know any of them.'

"That's where today comes in! You're going to walk around in the produce department and come to recognize all of the things on the list." James's face still looked perplexed. "Come on, I'll introduce you to one of the guys that works in there."

They walked across the store and James tried his hardest not to stare at how gracefully Lily's hips swung. 'Come up with an easy conversation' his sister's voice said.

"So...um...where's Paula today?" he asked. 'And when you do converse, look in her eyes...not at her mouth, breasts, or anything else!' James's eyes snapped up from her hips.

"Why? You going to corrupt yet another young, innocent girl?" Lily scoffed.

"No! It would just be nice to have someone that I know to talk to."

"You know me," Lily shrugged.

"Oh, sorry, let me rephrase that. Someone that likes to talk to me."

Lily laughed, and James's eyes lit up. Never in their history had he been able to make her laugh! "Then I guess you're out of luck. She's off today." Lily spotted a man putting up some oranges and walked over to him. "Hey, Mario!"

"Lily! I didn't know you were back!" he smiled.

"Of course! Just like every other summer," She laughed.

"Well, it's great to have you back, kiddo." Mario looked like he was in his early forties, with a hat over his balding black hair. "Who's this young man?"

"James Potter," James said sticking out his hand. Mario shook it with a tight grip making James tighten his own.

Mario had to laugh at that. "Nice hand you've got. Not everyday you meet a boy with one like that."

"Thank you, sir."

"Oh no, just call me Mario, James."

"I'm training him to be a cashier, so I was wondering if you could just help him if he couldn't find anything on the list," Lily said.

"Course, love! Not everyone can have the luck of growing up with fruits and vegetables like you."

"Thank, Mar!" Lily walked off leaving James begging his eyes to look away.

"Beautiful thing, isn't she?" Mario said.

"Yeah..." James mumbled.

"I was pretty disappointed when she started seeing Marcus. Good looking kid, but...she's too sweet for him."

"Yeah I've heard his name around...Is he here today?"

"Yeah, he's here almost everyday now." Mario looked around and then pointed to a boy carrying two cases of water. "A couple months back he got in some trouble so he's trying to make it all up by doing community service here," Mario scoffed. He turned away from the guy saying, "He should be picking up trash on the side of the motor ways if you ask me."

"What'd he do?"

"It's all very... confusing," he hesitated, "From what I heard he went out drinking with the boys and tried to do too much with a girl. When she resisted he smacked her and got reported to the police the next day."

"And Lily was his girlfriend?"

"Yeah...but her dad stepped in between them this summer. Hopefully her eyes will land on a gentleman...a responsible gentleman."

"I hope so too," James said already knowing that he could out shine Marcus. "You think I could be a responsible gentleman?" he smiled up at Mario.

Mario's eyebrows went up in amusement. "We'll see all in good time. Now get working before she comes back. Lily's sweet, but she can be hell on wheels when it comes to being lazy."

After an hour, Lily watched James from her register to see how he was doing. She was slightly impressed when she saw him holding an atemoya up to his face like he was studying it.

His settle humor earlier had also surprised her. She couldn't remember a time when he had made her laugh, but shaking her head she knew he was still long way from gaining her complete trust. After all of those years at Hogwarts full of humiliation? Yeah...he had a lot to pay for, but they were in her territory now. It wouldn't be too hard to mess around with him.

She started walking towards him thinking of her own pranks to pull on him when another body stopped in front of her. She looked up to see Marcus, his electric blue eyes looking apologetic.

"Can we talk?" he asked.

"No," Lily laughed, "You really think after the way you handled yesterday I would want to talk to you?"

"Please, Lily!" he exclaimed. "Michael got me thinking last night, and I'm sorry. I should've respected your decision, and should've tried to talk to you about it."

Lily looked around and bit her lip wanting to say some things, but couldn't with so many customers around. She grabbed Marcus by the shirt and dragged him to a corner snapping, "Well, that's your problem, Marcus. You're such a hot head! I'm starting to think this is a good idea. Getting to know you from a different perspective and- are you even listening to me?!"

Marcus's eyes were glaring at something above Lily's head. "Yeah..." he said slowly, "That guy keeps looking at us."

Lily spun around to see James's eyes dart back down to his list. A small laugh escaped her lips knowing that it was probably killing him that he couldn't send over a small hex like he did to any other guy who dared to talk to her. "I'm training him. He's probably waiting for me to give him something new to do."

"Oh, it's Jasper, right?"

"No. It's James." Lily shook her head, not believing that they were really having this conversation. "I don't have time right now. I'll talk to you later."

She stepped off into James's direction and could hear Marcus behind her. "Wait! Lily!"

James could see, or really hear them coming towards him and tried hard not to look up. Marcus had already caught him looking in on their conversation a few times... But when he heard the stress in Lily's voice, his instincts kicked in to protect her! He couldn't help it!

'Let her handle herself...unless she's dealing with a real prick. Then give her a few minutes and very calmly step in.' Jasmine's voice said.

'OR JUST KICK THE GUY'S ASS!' Sirius's voice yelled in. He almost laughed out loud about how serious he had been on that subject, but James had to stick with his sister. Especially since he had tried that point of Sirius's advice before and it got him no where except being called a "wanna-be knight in shining armor".

"Marcus, now is neither the time, or the place to be talking about this," Lily hissed stopping in front of James. She sent him a warning glance not to do anything stupid.

"What, like you really want to be training right now anyways? I bet he won't mind, would you, Jimmy?" Marcus looked up at James.

Seeing him up close the for the first time, James took a second to study him before he answered. He was close to his own height, and could tell by looking at his arms that he probably pretty well built. There was something in his eyes though that didn't sit well. They had a sting of coldness to them reminding him of Lucius Malfoy.

"Actually, it's James. And yes I would mind." Marcus raised an eyebrow while James laughed and crossed his arms. "It's sounds pretty obvious that Lily doesn't want to talk to you. Believe me, I know that tone in her voice. She uses it every time on me."

Lily nodded her head in agreement realizing that she was using the same voice she yelled at James with.

"And who do you think you are to say you know Lily so well?" Marcus glared.

"James Potter. And I don't just think, I do know Lily that well." James then turned his attention to Lily, "Are you ready to see the amazing James Potter be a normal human being, or what?" And without another word headed towards the front end of the store. Lily stared after him not believing that she was actually amused by him.

"No, really, who is he?" Marcus asked still watching James walk away.

"You heard him, Marc, James Potter." She held in her laugh and then ran to catch up with James. "I must say I am very impressed! I've never heard anyone talk back to Marcus and leave him speechless!"

"Glad to be the first. He deserves it after all."

"Why?" Lily rolled her eyes, "Because he dared to talk to me?"

"'Course not," James shook his head, "No one calls me Jimmy."

Lily couldn't believe how natural the moment felt. It was like she was meeting him for the first time, and she was actually enjoying it! "You know, I think we might be able to have a little bit of fun together here," she dared to say.

James's eyes lit up in a smile. "Lets hope so. The last time you said we should try to be friends, you hexed me to stick to a wall."

Lily stopped in her tracks, her mouth hanging open. "That doesn't count! You snuck into the girl's dormitory with Sirius in nothing but your knickers screaming 'Sleepover! Sleepover!'" James laughed at the memory. "That hex was a natural reflex."

"What about the beating you gave us after you realized who it was?"

"Well...the point is, it's going to work now...as long as you keep those pants over your knickers," she laughed.

"I can't promise anything." James casually winked at Lily.

Lily sighed in half way annoyance and pushed his shoulder. "Try to keep that ego in check while you're at it."

Lily continued to have James work his way with the codes, forgetting to mention that there was a charm that would have the register remember the numbers for him. 'Silly forgetful me!' she laughed to herself.

James was actually acting like a normal person though for the first time in their history! Instead of constantly focusing his conversation on her he had taken to other subjects like the other people who worked at the market and friends from Hogwarts.

However, even with that in mind, she couldn't resist asking him to mop the freezer.

"Are you sure this is how muggles do it?" he asked shivering.

The mop was stuck to the floor and little by little he had to pull the cloth off and then remove the threads it left behind.

"Of course! All of us here do it!"

Lily watched him working hard when the doors to the back room swung open. She tried to find a hiding spot right there, but Michael walked in not giving her enough time.

He looked around the room and when he saw James in the freezer laughed, "Oh, you are a mean one." Lily held a finger up to her lips trying to keep him quiet, but that only made Michael want to cheat her out even faster. "Hey, James! Come on out of there, mate!"

Lily's eyes widened and then sprinted as fast as she could to the produce back room where she knew Mario would help her hide. She had just reached the doors when she heard, "LILY!" ring from the freezer.

She dashed inside the doors arming herself with grapes as her defense. Mario laughed at her as she tried to stack banana boxes around herself for her fort, but she wasn't quick enough. James bursted through the doors and despite being pelted with grapes, he managed to grab a water hose from a sink in the corner and spray it over to Lily.

"Okay, okay!" Mario yelled. He was just an innocent bystander, but was still getting hit by grapes and misted on with water. "We've only got ten minutes left guys! Get the place cleaned up!"

Lily cautiously stepped out from behind her boxes and dropped her remaining grapes in a trash can as a sign of surrender. James nodded and set down the hose.

"Thank you," Mario said with an exhausted sigh. He took a second to sit on a stool before tossing a broom to James and a dust pan to Lily. "Get to it then!"

When they had finished cleaning up, James walked out of the market feeling like he was already so much further ahead of the game from this one night than he had been able to get in the past six years!

He was still completely shocked though that Lily Evans had actually pulled a prank! It was definitely a story he would have to tell the Marauders.
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edt 10/10/10
Author's Note: Hey everyone! My gosh I can't even begin to thank everyone for reviewing! Keep the tradition going and don't forget to tell me what you think about this one!

Disclaimer: i wish i had created this story....then i wouldn't have Lily in my way for James ;) hahaha
thank you JK

Chapter 3: Marauders Coming Through
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Marauders Coming Through

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A week flew by with no problem, and Lily couldn't understand how she was tolerating James so much better here. A lot of ideas came to her mind like the fact that maybe it was because she only saw him for four or eight hours at a time instead of months. It could even be that he couldn't stalk her around the store because he was stuck behind the register the whole day. When she heard some obnoxious boys come into the market it clicked in her head. It was so much more...quiet.

Usually he was with the other Marauders running around the school provoking Peeves, pulling pranks, or telling stupid jokes hoping to make her laugh. He didn't have them here to egg him on!

Satisfied that she had come to a conclusion she turned around to give the boys who had come in a nice hard glare for ruining her loving silence, but froze when she saw their three figures.

One was a tall, built, guy with straight black hair and a cocky smile. Another was slightly shorter with sandy blonde hair and tired eyes. The last guy was short and stocky, whose pointed face slightly reminded her of a rat.

She glanced over at James and was surprised when he didn't immediately turn to greet them. He was too busy trying to count a customer's change correctly, however there was no one in her line. 'Escape!!' her mind yelled. Trying to put on her calm face, she walked past James telling him she'd be right back and then practically sprinted to the back room where she knew she would be safe from their eye sight.

She found Paula and Michael there talking as vendors came in and out of the back room with new product. She figured they were using the "We're making sure everything came in right" excuse.

"Hey, hey, hey! Look who it is!" Michael smiled.

"Hey, Lils!" Paula greeted her.

"Surprised to see you out of your register. You've been stuck there like glue this whole week."

Lily laughed, shrugging her shoulders, "Well, someone has to do their job around here." She cleared her throat hinting at their laziness.

"We get our work done!" Paula said defiantly, "Plus, if we don't we know Marcus will be here and can make up for us."

"I think that's called abusing a friendship," Lily laughed.

"Yeah, but I can never turn down Paula's puppy eyes," Marcus walked up.

Lily tensed a little with him walking up from behind her, but didn't want to end the moment of feeling like they were in the good old days. She shifted her body to be closer to Paula as to help her keep her cool.

Since the last time he had confronted her they hadn't spoken, but only stole glances at each other. It oddly reminded her of James at Hogwarts, but oddly enough now it was James who kept his cool around her.

"Speaking of lazy asses," Lily rolled her eyes, "Paula three guys from my school came in to visit James."

"Really?" she said raising an eyebrow, "Stats?"

"All three single, two of them capable of being in a serious relationship, the other is a player who I will not allow you date."

"Then what're my chances of the two capables?"

"One you won't be interested in, but the other is very dateable."

"Well then! That's my cue!" Throwing a quick wink toward the two boys in the room she ran from them and up to the front end to spy out her hunt.

"Think she'll actually go for good one?" Michael asked.

"Nope," Lily sighed.

"How will she know which is which?" Marcus asked.

"Oh believe me, it's easy. Sirius is the player. He's basically a worse version of James so she'll spot that out. And Remus is more quiet...very thoughtful and smart."

"A boy version of you?"

"Barely!" Lily exclaimed, "Underneath it all he uses his intelligence for evil. You guys wouldn't believe how many pranks have been thanks to Remus!" Lily smiled.

She could feel Marcus's eyes begging for her to look at him, but she wouldn't give in. Finally he let his eyes drop to the floor mumbling he had a lot of work to do. Michael clapped his shoulder as he walked off to the sales floor.

"Have you dated any of them?" Michael asked scratching the back of his head.

"No...James has wanted me to date him for a long time, but-"

"Why don't you?"

"He's an arrogant toe rag," she shrugged.

"You guys get along well enough here, though."

"Yeah that's true..." Lily said thoughtfully, but shrugged. "He's been changing a lot this summer."

"You thinking about dating him now?"

"What is this, Mike? An investigation? No! I haven't!"

"Just wondering about your life is all! You hardly tell us about that boarding school of yours."

"Well be careful to be more blunt next time, will you?" she said sarcastically.

"He just wants to know," Mike mumbled.

"Who? Marcus? Because it's none of his business, and if i remember correctly he's supposed to be with tons of girls right now making me want to come back to him."

"Those girls mean nothing to him. Not in the past, not now."

"And how am I supposed to believe that? I've heard so many stories for these past years that it would take more than my fingers to count off the girls that he had dated while I was away. Who did I date? No one! Not because Potter scared them all off, but because I thought we were a serious thing. I even put up with his crap when he would start drinking and get jealous if I was looking in the direction of another guy. Back then it was only words, but now I come home to find out he beat a girl and I should fall back into his arms? No way!"

"You're only saying that because your parents aren't letting you guys see each other. You're using reverse psychology on yourself!"

Lily moved closer to Michael so that she could speak in a lower tone. "No, it's not. It's called taking a stand and learning to respect myself. Do you really think I want to go down to the pub where he gets drunk, as always, and I have to be constantly looking out for a fist coming my way in cause I don't feel like doing something with him?"

"No! We would watch out for you! You know that!"

Lily couldn't believe what she was hearing. He didn't say that they would get him help, or that he respected her decision, but "We would watch out for you".

"Unbelievable," She hissed. Her hair whipped around as she turned, and stormed out of the back room.

'I would have rather dealt with the Marauders than hear that...' she thought angrily.

When she finally got to the front she saw a long line starting to form making James look nervous. He was still having a little trouble remembering each coins worth, which made him take a few extra seconds to count back their change.

"It's not that difficult," a customer snapped at James, "Give me the one with gold on the edge and silver on the inside, and a small copper one."

James did as he was told looking horribly embarrassed.

"Thank Merlin you're here, Lily!" he exclaimed when he caught sight of her. Lily couldn't help but laugh at how helpless he really did look. It was almost cute. "I got the big gold one mixed up with the little one again and then I got confused and-"

"Stop complaining, Prongs! I told you we'd practice with them tonight again." Sirius came out of no where chewing on an apple in his hand. "Hey, Evans!"

"I hope you paid for that," was all she said before turning to open her register.

The small rush only lasted for a few minutes before it was nice and calm again. Lily closed out of her register and turned to see Paula sitting in the middle of the three boys. Sirius was leaning towards her, intoxicating her with his presence, Remus was leaning back in his chair with his hands behind his head looking completely at ease, and Peter was sitting almost in a rigid position glancing between Remus and Sirius thinking, 'Should I lean forward like Padfoot? Or sit back like Moony? Should I go stand by Prongs?!'

"Peter looks very confused..." James said now standing next to Lily.

She looked up with a smile and nodded. "So you're having trouble with money still? I'm sorry that guy was so rude. What a muggle," Lily joked. James avoided her gaze though and looked in another direction. "It's nothing to be embarrassed about! It took me a while to get used to sickels and all too."

"But it is! I'm in the top ten of our class and can't understand the concept of muggle money...something we covered in Muggle Studies just last year."

"Well, how about a tutor?"

'What?' Both James and Lily's mind asked at the same time.

"I- I mean.... because you're having trouble... and no offense, but Sirius probably isn't as good with the specifics as I am..."

'Why are you saying this?' Lily's mind asked her.

"That would be great actually," James said with his smile getting bigger by the second.

"Great!" Lily exclaimed. 'Calm down, Lily! He's going to get the wrong idea, as usual.'

"So...this isn't like a date or anything, is it?"

'Told you.' "Absolutely not."

"If you happen to start snogging at the end of the night, it might be considered one!" Sirius yelled over from where he was sitting. Paula giggled sending Lily a wink.

"Merlin..." Lily mumbled.

"Padfoot, shut up will you?" James hissed. He slowly turned back to Lily. "Sorry...I was just wondering what you were making of it, and I say stupid things when I think too much..."

"I noticed," Lily laughed, "I'm off in a minute, but Shelly will be here after me. Want to just head over to my house when you're off?"

"Sure! Sounds like a plan."

"Alright, see you later then!"

Lily walked away feeling James's eyes on her, but for once didn't feel creeped out. Instead she walked smoothly over to Paula, and whispered, "You're hitting on the wrong one!"

Paula smiled largely and said back, "I know."

When Lily got home her parents were actually glad that they would have James as a visitor that night.

"That's the boy that just started, right?" her dad asked.

Her parents and James hadn't gotten a lot of time to work with each other since they were there in the mornings and she and James worked at night, but they were glad they would have this chance to get to know him.

"You know, it's funny that I didn't know that he was a wizard until after he was hired," Mrs. Evans commented. "Is there like a code question that we could start asking to know if they're magical or not?" she asked Lily.

"Not that I know of," she laughed. "I'm sure he'll only be here for a little while though since he doesn't get off until eight."

"Well, take as much time as he needs! We can't have our cashiers not knowing their money," her dad said with a chuckle, "What kind of business would that be?"

"I'll make snacks for you, Lils," her mum said heading to the counter. In the mean time, Lily gathered all of the different coins she would need to show James from her wallet before heading upstairs to get changed.

At first she lazily threw on a pair of old jeans with a baggy sweatshirt, but looking into her mirror...it was almost too lazy! And it was already 7:50. James would be off in just ten minutes leaving her only two minutes after that for him to find a dark corner to Apparate to her front door.

She ran back to her closet and found jeans that fit her nicer, but still couldn't find a top. It was times like these when she wished Petunia still lived with her parents. She may not have been the nicest, but she was easy to steal cute clothes from when she needed them. With very hopeful thinking, she threw on the sweatshirt again and ran from her room to Petunia's old room thinking that maybe she had left a few things in her closet.

Of course though, the closet was black and empty. More frustrated at herself, not knowing why she couldn't just wear her sweatshirt she walked back to her room and stood in front of her closet.

Catching the corner of her eye was an old t-shirt she had bought from Camden town. It was old giving it a feeling that Lily hadn't thought about it much, but it still fit her nicely enough that she didn't look completely lazy.

She threw off the sweatshirt and reached for the shirt. She tugged on it nicely trying to get it off the hanger, but one of the sleeves had caught one of the arms of the hangar. She started pulling on it harder not understanding why it wouldn't cooperate when a light knock sounded from outside her ajar door, and in came James Potter.

"Lily? Your mum said I could-OH MERLIN!"

And before she could even react the door slammed shut leaving Lily still just hanging onto the shirt; her face steadily growing a shade of red. She slammed the palm of her hand against her forehead and giving up on the shirt she threw the sweatshirt back on against her better judgement.

She tugged to open her door, but it wouldn't budge.

"Are you dressed?" James whispered from the other side of the door.

"A little late for that question, but yes I am. Now will you let go of my door knob?" she asked in a biting tone.

"Maybe..."

"What? Let me open my door!"

"No! I don't want you to yell at me!"

"You're being ridiculous! I'm not going to yell at you! It was my fault for not shutting the door." Silence. "If you don't open this door, Merlin so help me, I will blast it to pieces James Potter!"

She felt the pressure on the knob being released and then opened her door to find James's face even redder than hers. "Are you...blushing?"

"No!" he said loudly, "I was just shocked was all...I didn't expect to see...your mum sent me up."

Lily couldn't help but laugh. At first she was shocked that she wasn't too embarrassed to do so, but something about James having that much color in his cheeks was amusing and quite honestly adorable.

"Lets just pretend that didn't happen....and no that doesn't make this a date." She walked past him leaving him staring after her.

In just that brief second he had been in Heaven. Her skin wasn't necessarily pale, but just a porcelain white and it looked beautiful against the black bra she was wearing, which fit her perfectly. Her breasts weren't like the usual bimbos he was around. They were petite and perfectly proportioned for her body. His eyes had skimmed down from there he could see just how tiny her waist was. It was always hidden under their school robes and seeing it plain and simple right then made him want to brush his fingers up and down her sides.

"James, can you please come out of your day dream so we can get this going?"

"Er...yeah..."

He walked back down to their living room staring at the floor hoping his blush was fading away as his mind started coming back to him.

'You just saw her in her bra, man!...Don't let her see you're enjoying this too much she'll think you're a pig.'

"So which coins do you get confused with?"

He finally looked up but his eyes would slowly wander down, down, down, and then cranked back up to her face.

"Well....uh.....you know...so many silver ones...same, but different," he stumbled. "And er...the shapes...they..."

'Get your eyes in control, man! Have some dignity!!' James yelled at himself. "They um..."

"Are you going to be like this the entire night?"

'Well....you tried...' he sighed to himself. "Probably, yes."

'Poor boy...' Lily thought, 'He can't even keep track of his thoughts.'

"Then lets make a deal." 'Prepare yourself for his wishful thinking.' "Go home and study by yourself and then tomorrow night we'll review. Some of the people from work are going over to a pub to just kick back, want to join?"

"Really?"

"Yes. You can practice muggle money and buy me and Paula a drink."

"This isn't by any chance a way of you saying-"

"Potter! Unless I say it's a date, it's not. Stop asking that stupid question! Now get out of my house before I really start getting mad at you for staring at my chest for the last five minutes. For Merlin's sake, it was just a bra!"

"Right. Well, thanks for trying, love," He clapped his hands and stood up from the sofa that they had sat on.

"You're welcome, but don't call me love."

James laughed and said good night before pulling out his wand and 'popping' out of sight.

"That boy..." she sighed, "Never going to get a hint!"

"Where's James?" Lily's mum came out of the kitchen.

"He ended up having to leave early."

"Shame! I had cookies!"

Lily apologized and then said good night, heading for her bedroom. She still wasn't sure why she had invited James to the next night, but was relieved he had accepted it. Marcus would be there, and it helped her conscience that James would be there if anything went wrong. He might not always be her favorite of guys, but he made one hell of a body guard.

She sat on the edge of her bed ready to free fall into its covers when she saw an owl coming for her window. It was one that she wasn't familiar with, but opened her window to it none the less. Once inside, the bird very promptly stuck his leg out for Lily to grab out its note.

Written on the inside was, "I'm sorry about those last five minutes, I promise I'll be better tomorrow. However, I wanted to let you know that on the Marauder's scale of womanlyness you rate at 9. On the James Potter scale you've always been a 10+."
~JP


She had to cover her mouth from laughing out loud and then turned to her pillows to hide her giggling. The Marauder's scale? The James Potter scale? What is wrong with those boys?
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Once James's feet landed inside of his house he sprinted all the way up to Sirius's room.

"You guys!" he practically screamed. He threw the door open to see Sirius, Remus and Peter sitting around a game of wizard's chest. "You are never going to believe what just happened!"

Remus looked at his watch before answering, "Lily could actually stand you for an extra five minutes more than we had figured she could?" A light went on in his eyes and moved one of his pieces making Sirius mutter, "Dammit."

"She probably could've stood me for another while, but I saw her in her bra!"

"Alright, Prongs! Back on top of your game!" Peter whooped.

Remus's head snapped to James's grinning face, "No way," he started shaking his head, "There's no way she let you see her in her bra."

Sirius took advantage of Remus's distracted moment to switch two of their pieces before saying, "Our Prongs is the second most sought after single man of Hogwarts! He can get any woman he wants! I'll bet you anything Evans just snapped not able to take their sexual chemistry anymore."

"Yeah, right," Remus scoffed.

James ruffled his hair wishing he could tell the story Sirius envisioned, but Lily would never forgive him if he did. So he told the truth.

"Well, I got to her house and her mum told me I could meet her up in her bedroom. I knocked before I went in and she didn't say anything so I went in! And there she was in her almost naked glory," James sighed smiling at the memory.

When he snapped out of the moment he looked at Sirius who was giving him a strange look.

"Prongs," he paused thinking carefully about his next words, "You're my best mate. I love you like my own brother."

"Okay...What's your point?"

"You're acting like a virgin!" he exclaimed, "You've seen plenty of other fully exposed chests, but you're acting like this is the most you've ever seen of a girl!"

"That's harsh," Peter mumbled.

"But it's true!" Sirius yelled. He stood up from his seat and placed a hand on James's shoulder, "You need to show Evans that you're a man. That she isn't your only option and you can get any girl you want!"

"Stop!" a voice came from outside of Sirius's door. Jasmine came in with a glare ready to set on Sirius. "Don't put that crap in his head! Girls never like a guy who could easily pass them off as just another pair!"

"Not in any of my experiences," Sirius said, "Women like to be handled!"

"Wha-? Who?" Jasmine took a second to calm herself down. Remus laughed at the two's going on debate. "How does any girl stand you for anything more than three minutes?" she choked out.

"Well, that's all it can take, you know," Sirius winked throwing his arms behind his head.

"Disgusting," Jasmine muttered. She changed her gaze to James saying, "It'd be ten times better to just apologize and move on. She didn't blame you did she?"

"Nope," James said his proud smile returning, "In fact she invited me to go out tomorrow night with some of the other employees and buy her and Paula a drink."

"Very nice, Prongsie!" Sirius said.

"Did you mess with my pieces?" Remus suddenly said finally looking back to their game.

"Nonsense! Why would I do that?"

"Reverto," Remus muttered with his wand pointed at the board.

The two pieces Sirius had switched returned to their original places making Sirius give a guilty smile.

"James," Jasmine said, "If you need some real advice for tomorrow just come and ask me."

She left the room leaving Sirius to mock her, "Come and ask me. Please. Who does she think she is? I'm Sirius Black! I know everything about girls!"

The three boys snickered at his pride.

"Just keep telling yourself that, Padfoot!" Peter laughed.

Sirius pushed Peter off of his seat. "Well I definitely know more than you."

They continued to bicker with each other while James pulled out a piece of parchment and sent his owl off to Lily's with a quick apology...with a Marauder twist.
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edt 10/10/10

Author's Note: Welcome back everyone! Wow, I am OVERWHELMED with all of those reviews! But believe me, I am loving every one of them! and i answer back to all of them so be looking for a reply!
I hope you liked the chapter and that it leaves you pretty excited for the next one (;

Chapter 4: A Night's Beginning
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A Night's Beginning


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"Sirius, what do I wear?!"

"I don't know," Sirius rolled his eyes, "Why don't you call Jasmine? She seems to know everything."

"Padfoot, I don't have time for your rivalry with her! Help me!"

"What's in it for me?"

"Easy," James scoffed. "I'll let you come with me." Sirius raised his eyebrow interested. "And I'm sure Paula would love to see you again."

"The cute little blonde?"

"Yep."

"Alright, I'm in."

"That's what I thought! Now help me find some muggle clothes. We've only got...an hour."

Sirius Apparated to the nearest store and bought a magazine with what he thought looked like a good example. Flipping through it, he couldn't believe how many parts there were to men's clothing and how few there were to women's.

"According to this we're supposed to layer... this magazine is so difficult! The pictures are broken!" Sirius frustratedly shook the magazine yelling, "Show me how!!" at the still pictures.

"Just make the best out of it, Padfoot!"

"Alright, fine! Get your jeans on. I'll be in the closet."
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At ten o clock, Lily was ready to go out for a fun night. Despite that she was at Hogwarts for more than half of the year, it was still nice to go out on her own and out of their reach.

Her house phone rang and she happily bound for it. "Hello?"

"Hey! I'm about to come by your house so get ready to leave!" Paula said through the reciever.

"Alright! I'll wait for you on the porch."

"'Kay, bye!"

Lily excitedly grabbed her clutch and looked in the mirrow just one more time. She had on a black dress that came up to her neck but had tank top sleeves. On the material there were dark blue stripes that ran down to her mid thigh where it suddenly tightened showing off her cute bum. Her blue heels matched the color on her dress (thanks to a little magic) and made her legs look a mile long.

"Bye, mum! Bye, dad!" she yelled almost running out the door.

"What time will you be home, dear?"

"I'm going to stay the night at Paula's actually," she lied. Whenever she went out with Paula it was just safer to say she was spending the night. She never knew what they would end up doing, or if she would join in on the drinking festivities and it was never worth the chance of getting caught to come home.

"Don't forget you work in the morning...and take your pepperspray!" her mother warned.

"I've got my wand!" Lily patted her clutch.

She heard a honk outside and yelled a last good bye before walking out the door.

"First night out!" Paula was screaming once Lily was inside of the car.

"I know!" Lily screamed with her.

"Okay, lets calm down and just imagine what the boys are going to do once they see us!"

"It's going to be priceless."

"You know it's going to drive Marcus crazy, right?"

"Yep, and I hope it teaches him a lesson."
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James and Sirius walked into the pub only taking a second to pick out where Lily and Paula were. James couldn't believe it when his eyes set on her. Her make up was done, her hair was curled and falling beautifully around her shoulders and her dress...it made him curse Hogwarts for their stupid dress code of robes and too long skirts. He wished he could see her in outfits like that everyday.

There was only one problem, the guy sitting next to her. He was leaning in towards her with a drink in his hand laughing at something she had just said.

"Better go claim your territory, Prongs," Sirius said under his breath to James.

James scowled, but knew he wasn't the only one hurting in the room. A little further down the bar there was Marcus glaring dangerously in their direction. Michael was next to him trying to make him laugh, but he knew he was failing.

"I think I'll let her handle herself for a while."

"What?" Sirius was perplexed.

"Look at her face," James laughed, "She's not comfortable with him."

"Exactly mate. Why aren't you kicking that guy's ass?"

"If I wait long enough she won't get mad if I come to save her. In fact I think I'll make her beg me to save her for once."

James finished with a confident smile on his face and Sirius barked a laugh. He didn't know where this sudden knowledge came from, but it actually sounded like a legitimate plan!

At the sound of Sirius's laughter, Lily's head snapped around. Her face looked relieved when she saw the two of them and raised her eyebrows at James as a sign for help.

"What?" James mouthed at her. He put his hand up to his ear motioning for her to be louder.

'That ass,' Lily thought throwing a fake smile to the guy-Jake- who was still trying to make conversation with her.

Sirius suddenly giggled, "She's going to kill you."

"I know," James laughed. Lily turned around to them again and gave a look that clearly said, 'If you don't get over here now I will use an unforgivable.' "Alright, now I think I'll give it a go."

"Have fun, mate. Oh- one more time, what's the girl's name?"

"Paula. Just think 'Polly got a cracker'. That's what I did!"

"Ha! Paula, Polly. Oh, man! I can't believe I didn't think of that!" They knocked knuckles with each. "Good luck to us both."

James walked towards Lily who had taken to drinking from her cup to distract herself from listening to Jake. She slightly jumped when she felt James's warm hand on her shoulder.

"James!" she exclaimed.

"Sorry I'm late, love. Have you been waiting long?"

"No, just been talking to Jake here."

James hardened his look and gave the guy a good up and down. "Well, thanks for looking after my girl," James said shaking Jake's hand. He purposely tightened his grip to make it feel like he was going to crush his bones. "You can take off now though."

"Er...yeah," Jake said stretching his hand. "Nice meeting you, Lily."

"Take care," James answered for her, throwing his arm around her shoulders.

James waited for him to be out of ear shot before he started laughing.

"That was almost too good!" James prided in himself before being smacked in the chest. "OW! What was that for?!"

"What took you so long? I signaled you to come over like five minutes ago!"

"What? At least I came instead of just standing there like Marcus. He's been staring at you, but hasn't done one thing."

"He did before you got here, but I would have rather been with that guy waiting for you to come along."

"I don't think I'll ever completely understand your mind, Lily Evans." James said. He knew this wasn't a date, but it felt like it should be. She wasn't sitting with Paula, or anyone else from the market. Instead she waited for him.

"I don't expect you to," she laughed, "Now can I buy you a drink for saving me?"

"I would let you, but according to Muggle Studies you still have a year until you're allowed to buy alcohol. Plus, I'm the one who's supposed to be practicing their money."

"But I know the bartenders. I'll let you pay later," Lily said with a wink. She got up swiftly and walked over to the bartender leaving James to watch. His vision of her was suddenly obscured when a body stepped in front of him. 'Here it goes...' he thought warily looking up at Marcus.

"Are you stealing my girl?"

"Excuse me?" James asked baffled.

"Are. You. Stealing. My. Girl."

James stood up so they could be face to face and could barely see the blue in Marcus's eyes because of the slit-like form they had taken. Bringing himself up to his full height, James almost laughed to see Lily looking over with a terrified look on her face. "Lily isn't anyone's 'girl'. And she sure as hell isn't your anything. Now I suggest you back off before you do something really stupid."

"That's where you're wrong. Lily is my girl, and everyone here seems to know it except for you. It doesn't matter what her parents tell her, or what I do when she's here or at that school. She always comes running back."

James's fists began curling into balls. He could try as hard as he could to stay calm for Lily's sake, but this guy was really starting to push his buttons. He couldn't apprehend why she would go for this guy who was obviously a complete jackass, but never looked his way twice!

"Everything okay, Prongs?" Sirius suddenly appeared at James's side.

"No. This guy seems to think that Lily is his property. You know how I feel about that kind of thing, don't you Sirius?"

"Ah, yes. I remember those kinds of occasions quite well."

Michael, who could see from his seat that things weren't going well, walked next to Marcus and grabbed one of his arms trying to pull him away. "Stay away from her," Marcus hissed before allowing himself to be dragged away.

Sirius raised his eyebrows surprised at Marcus's hostility. "And you have to work with that for the rest of the summer?" James nodded. "Nice way to make enemies in the first month," he laughed.

"Thanks for the back up."

Sirius clapped James's shoulder, "What're brothers for, right?" With a final wink Sirius made his way back over to where he had been sitting with Paula.

James sat back down at the table and watched Lily make her way back over to him with two beers in her hands. She had a long worried crease going along her forehead glancing over at Marcus who was sitting on the edge of his seat.

"What'd he say?" she asked.

"Nothing important," he shrugged.

"Nothing important? It looked like he wanted to bury you!"

"It's nothing you need to worry about. He just needed someone to straighten the facts out for him."

Lily looked down at the beer in her hand and sighed. "I'm going to need something much stronger than beer for tonight to be good."

"No, you just need to not be under surveillance." James took a small swig from his drink. "Grab your coat."

"What? Where are we going?"

"Somewhere you can have a good night."

"What're you talking about?"

"Have you ever had a shot of firewhiskey?"

"N-no."

"Want to?"

James smiled at the worried crease that reappeared across her forehead. Firewhiskey was entirely different from muggle alcohol. It put a fire in you that not only burned in your throat, but traveled into each finger and every toe. It got a person feeling good almost twice as fast, which made it scary for first time users.

"Come on," James said, "Lets get out of here"

Lily smiled deciding she just might like this James Potter she was getting to know. For the first time in their history she said, "Sure."

Grabbing her clutch and starting to stand Lily turned to James realizing they had one problem. "We're going to have to run."

"What? Why?"

"Marcus is watching us, and he's not afraid to follow."

"I doubt it. Michael's on his case. I don't think he'll let him cause any drama."

Lily laughed knowing that Michael could only do so much to keep Marcus under control. "If that's what you really think."

"Lily," James put his hand on her arm, "Trust me. Even if he does I won't let anything happen to you. And if you don't want me to fight him I'll throw you over my shoulder and run if I have to," he laughed. Lily smiled up at him still a little unsure, but confident that she could trust him. "Lets go."

She laughed and with a last look around the pub walked out the exit. James followed just a second later thinking 'Who would be stupid enough to try to follow me?'

"See? No big deal." James shrugged once they were outside.

"Just wait for it," Lily sighed.

The bar door slammed open with Marcus running out of it. "LILY!" he yelled staggering. James tried to hold in his laugh at Marcus's drunken appearance. "LILY GET BACK HERE!"

Lily had her head in the palm of her hand thinking how stupid this was. It seriously wasn't that big of a deal that they weren't together this summer. She was ripped from her thoughts though when James grabbed her hand and started off down the sidewalk.

"What're you doing?!"

"Escaping!" He laughed still running.

"Get him under control, Michael!" Lily heard Paula's voice in the background. "Lily, where're you going?!"

Lily ignored the shouts behind them and ran. She didn't know why she was doing this, or where exactly they were going, but she really didn't care. After being so excited to be home, it was nice to get away from it at the same time.

After five minutes of running, Lily decided they were in the clear and pulled away from James's hand so she could rest.

"Why are you stopping? We're almost there!"

"Do you know how hard it is to run in these babies?" She pointed down to her blue heels.

James smiled with a glint in his eye. "Need a lift?"

Lily laughed, "No thanks." She reached down and took off her shoes sighing with contentment at how good the cold concrete felt on her feet. "Much better."

James laughed and started walking again. He knew tonight was going to be interesting, but he didn't know this would all happen so fast! He had barely been inside the bar when he had to save Lily from a creep, almost get in a fight with her ex boyfriend, and then have to run away from him. Trying to date Lily Evans was proving to be more difficult outside of school than he had expected.

"Are there any other crazy people that I need to look out for?"

"Just my sister...or Severus."

"Snape?"

"Yeah...don't ask why, just know." She laughed and they walked some more. Lily noticed that James was slowly inching nearer to her, but she couldn't tell if he was doing it on purpose or if he just walked crooked.

Their arms bumped and she got goose bumps. "Are we there yet, or was this a trick to get me alone?"

James shrugged, "A little of both."

Lily looked around and noticed they were in a residential area. The houses were glamourous and decorated in an expensive taste.

"Are we even going to a bar?"

"Relax, Evans, you'll see."

James turned and walked up one of the driveways. "James!" she hissed. "What're you doing? Get back here!" He ignored her commands and walked straight up to the door. "You don't know who lives here! They could shoot you!" Then she saw him pull out a pair of keys and unlock the door. "Oh..." she mumbled.

"You worry too much," he laughed.

"How was I supposed to know you lived in a mansion?"

"It's not a mansion...just bigger than an average home."

"Sure," Lily scoffed.

It was dark inside the house like everyone in it had gone to sleep. Lily stepped inside and slightly jumped when the door shut. She felt James grab her hand, and its warmth sent the shivers up her arm. She rubbed it instantly trying to get rid of the goose bumps.

Then she heard giggling. 'Oh Merlin....bimbos,' she thought warily. She didn't want to spend her night with all of those twitty, stuck up, fake-

"Paula?"

"Lily!" she screamed sprinting off the couch. "I was wondering where you went! Then Sirius said we were going to meet up so I wasn't too worried."

"Oh? You guys planned this?"

"Somewhat," Sirius shrugged. "Here's the deal my dear Lillian, we're out of school and things are different!"

"Uh huh."

"I'm honestly like James. I can be responsible, and caring, and amazingly sexy all at the same time. Whereas at school I was sexy, cunning, and-"

"Brutally amazed by yourself."

"Sure, if you want to put it that way."

"Sirius?"

"Yeah?"

"You're exactly the same, so let me remind you: Marie, Lisa and Danielle.

"What about them?"

"Do you remember what happened after you broke their hearts?" Sirius visibly cringed. "Exactly! Now do us all a favor and be a good boy with Paula."

With his head down, Sirius walked over to the couch in the room, sitting furthest from Paula.

"I think it was the Lisa punishment that scarred him the most," James commented from behind her. She turned and noticed that he was carrying two shot glasses filled to the brim with a little bit of smoke coming off the top.

"Cheers," he said handing her one and downing the one left in his own hand. He felt the liquid quickly making its way through his body and shook his head trying to get the fire out of his throat. "Love that taste," he mumbled.

Lily looked down at her own glass and it reminded her of her first shot. She had been scared of that one too.

"We haven't got all day, Evans!" Sirius exclaimed.

Lily gave a a nervous laugh and with a shrug threw the glass bottoms up.
____________________________________

I smell...bacon...toast...and hashbrowns?

Lily woke up slowly and unsure of quite everything. She laid wherever she had been placed debating when to open her eyes. 'The food smells so good....' She unwillingly opened her eyes, and flinched when sunlight shined down on her.

"You better get up soon, Lily!" she heard Paula's voice call from behind her. "It's already ten thirty."

Slowly, she sat up and took a deep breath. She suddenly didn't feel like eating breakfast.

"Morning sleepy head!" Sirius said with a mouthful of food.

"Dear Merlin, that was a strong drink." she mumbled making her way towards them. She looked down and noticed that she had been changed out of her dress and into a Puddlemere United t-shirt and a pair of boxers. 'I wonder who did the job' she wondered.

Sirius and Paula were sitting at a table that was in the same room they had been in the whole night. Its doors were closed off from the rest of the house...it was almost like a mini apartment.

"What team is Puddlemere United?" Paula asked.

Sirius dropped the piece of toast he was holding in shock. "You don't know who bloody Puddelmere United is?!"

"It's a football team in America," Lily quickly lied. She threw Sirius a face that said to leave it. "Where's James?"

"He went to the Market. Said you were in no shape to work, so he went for you."

Lily gasped and covered her mouth with her hand. "I completely forgot about my shift!"

"Don't worry about it, he's got you covered."

"Eat some breakfast, Evans." Sirius came into the conversation. "James made your favorites."

"He made this?" Lily asked impressed.

"Yeah, I don't think he ever went to sleep, so he had time to mix this up for us."

Lily grabbed a cup of orange juice that was on the table and said a quick good bye before she walked out of the room and Apparated to her house. She knew her parents were both at the store, so she took her time showering and freshening up. When she felt she looked decent and had taken enough Advil she walked out her door and in the direction of the market.

'You really owe him for this one,' her mind told her.

"I know," she mumbled rubbing her eyes. She stood outside of the shop for a good few minutes trying to think of a way to make it up to him, but nothing logical came to mind.

Finally deciding to go in and say a sufficient 'Thank you', Lily straightened her shoulders and saw that the store was having a good afternoon. She stood at the end of James's register helping him bag the groceries as he scanned them and typed in produce numbers. He smiled when he looked up and saw her, his eyes said he was truly relieved to see her.

He got permission to go on a quick break and put up his 'CLOSED' sign. "So you made it out alive?"

"Yeah...barely," Lily laughed. "Paula and Black are loud morning people." She got out a laugh from James. "I wanted to say though-"

"Don't," James shrugged. "This is the least I could do for you."

"No, really...thank you, James. What you did for me this morning was really sweet and I hope that I can repay you in the future. My parents would've killed me if I did a no call, no show."

"Yeah," James laughed, "They looked surprised to see me this morning, but I pulled it off pretty swiftly. You're in the clear."

They sat there quietly for a few more minutes when Lily said, "If there's anything you want me to do as payment let me know, okay?"

"Alright I will." James smiled. "I better get back in there though. I think I'm late."

"Okay...thanks again!"

"Lily! Stop thanking me!" James laughed.

When he walked back to his register Lily left to walk back home. Her mind was confused that James hadn't taken advantage of her promise. 'Why didn't he ask me out?' she kept wondering.

James on the other hand, was quite proud of himself for acting so normally. He doubted Lily could remember any of the previous night, but he remembered it vividly. After his first shot of fire whiskey he kept it at a halt. He knew how stupid he could act when he had it going through him, and he didn't want Lily to start thinking of him badly again.

He enjoyed watching the other three though.

Paula wondered around the room laughing hysterically the whole time asking "What is this stuff??". Sirius kept her occupied though by dancing and the occasional kiss. And Lily sat next to him talking about anything that went through her mind. It was mostly about him he came to notice. 'You hair is really soft....I think magic and muggles should be friends!...you can fly really fast...I thought about dating Remus to make you mad in the fourth year...Have you ever wanted to just...to just...combust?!'

He laughed at all of her comments and tried to keep her off the subject of magic with a muggle so close. When she started to sober up though, he knew what was about to happen. Her water works turned on and she cried about everything and for everyone. "I just don't understand w-why he would do it!....What if my sister never l-loves me again?...I pushed you away for so long, James, but you're really an okay guy! I m-might even..." and that was when she broke off in her sobs. He couldn't understand what she was trying to say, but tried his best to comfort his drunken love.

"It's all in the past, Lils!" he tried to get her to calm down. "Of course she loves you! Who couldn't love you? You just stop worrying, okay?"

Lily snuffled and pulled herself closer to James. "You really are a sweet guy, James. Why couldn't I see that earlier?" She kissed him on the cheek and laid her head down in his lap. It wasn't two minutes later that her breathes were deep and even.

He had carefully changed her into his Puddlemere United shirt not wanting her dress to get ruined incase she had to run to the bathroom. Throughout the process he only looked when necessary at her body. 'You are a sick man if you take pleasure out of this.' he kept telling himself.

Seeing her in his t-shirt though proved to be quite a turn on. Despite its length, her legs still stuck out looking smooth and long. He wondered if there would be a day where maybe she would wear it regularly. He closed his eyes and could picture her walking into his room...her hair down...a big smile directed towards him... 'Don't get ahead of yourself...' He shook the thoughts out of his head, but knew he would treasure that shirt forever.

James thought about Lily's offer to repay him. The idea to ask her on a date flashed through his mind, but he didn't want to force her into a date like that. Now that he was actually getting somewhere he wanted to finish flattering her so that when he did ask her out on a date, she would want to go.

"My day will come..." he mumbled to himself.

"I'm sure it will, dear. Can I have my change?" his customer snapped him into the real world. This was really starting to take a toll on him.
________________________
edt 10/11/10

Author's Note: Hey everyone! Yay for stories being posted again! haha! So this is the beginning. lol if i added it all on it would've been one gigantic chapter. haha! so read&review and make me very very happy! next chapter is already written so it'll be up soon! :D

Chapter 5: Tension at Register Four
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Tension at Register Four


Two weeks after the night at the bar, the relationship between Lily and James had grown.

Lily helped James learn all of the different values of money in one or two nights, but for some reason he just kept coming to her house with something to be helped with. He'd brought his Potions book, Charms homework, and Divination paper. It was when he asked for help in Transfiguration that she stopped him.

"James, if you want to hang out, you could just ask," she told him before shutting the door.

He laughed and took a second to Apparate his books back to his house. He knew she would see through his plan to spend more time with her, but he also knew she wouldn't be able to turn away a chance to show off her intelligence.

He knocked a second time knowing she would be waiting for him. "Oh, hey James! What're you doing here?" she said sarcastically.

"I was wondering if you wanted to hang out for a little bit."

"Um...wow, I don't know, I'm just so busy," she dangled the answer. She watched him wait for a definite answer and it made her smile. He was bouncing on his feet with his hands in his pockets and a smile stretched from ear to ear. "I'm supposed to help some kid study."

"Is it the subject anatomy by any chance?" he winked.

"You wish," she laughed. "Get in here, Potter."

He walked in and said a polite hello to her parents. It was kind of weird seeing his bosses like this every night, and he still hadn't quite found the balance of being both an employee and friends of their daughter.

"What're you kids studying tonight?" Mr. Evans asked.

"Nothing," Lily laughed. "We're going to go out for a little bit though."

James gave her a questioning look, but she ignored it and turned to grab a coat.

"Where will you guys be?" Mrs. Evans asked.

"The movies," she shrugged.

"The MOVIES?!"

The room went silent and everyone turned to James.

"Is that a problem?"

"No!" He waved his hands in front of himself. "It's just...I've never been to the movies before..." he mumbled with a blush slowly creeping up in his cheeks.

"Ha! Better make it a good one if it's his first, Lils," her dad laughed.

"I will," she promised. "See you guys later!"

They walked out the door and James's smile was growing by the second. 'This is the best summer of my life!'

The theater was only a few blocks away, but it gave them enough time to talk. Lily made fun of him for his attempts to study with her, and he laughed, knowing how silly of a plan it was.

"Did Remus help you come up with that one?"

"No! It was a Potter original," he said proudly. When he had proposed it the Remus, he had thought it was actually pretty stupid saying what Lily had said. "If you want to hang out with her, just ask!"

'Go figure he was right....again.'

They reached the theater and Lily bought tickets for a movie called Star Wars.

"Shouldn't I be the one buying the tickets?" he asked.

"No way! It's your first time here, my treat." she smiled. He felt butterflies going nuts in his stomach. She had been smiling at him a lot lately, but it was a hard thing to get used to! She had been scowling at him for so long, but he liked the change. "Are you excited?" she asked him as they took their seats.

"Yeah! Sirius is going to be really jealous."

The lights dimmed and he slightly jumped, his hand instinctively going into his pocket to get a handle on his wand.

"Relax," she whispered, "It's just getting ready to start."

She grabbed his hand from his pocket and placed it on the arm rest. Her hand lingered there for a minute until she realized what she was doing and quickly pulled it away to be in her lap.

"What're you doing? I liked your hand there," James whispered. He grabbed it from her lap and placed it underneath his.

Lily wondered if he could hear her heart beat. She had started thinking of James in a new light, but she had hoped it wouldn't turn to be like this. 'I don't want a boyfriend....I think....' but his hand was keeping hers so incredibly warm and it felt so nice. She turned her hand palm up and locked her fingers with his.

"This is already the best movie ever," she heard him whisper.

James was fascinated throughout the entire movie. The way the pictures moved, how warm Lily's hand felt, the costumes of all of the alien creatures, how long Lily's fingers were, and so on and so forth.

By the time the movie was coming to a close though, he started to get nervous. 'Oh dear Merlin what do I do once the lights come back on?!'

Lily's mind was in the same area. 'I'll just act normal! What is normal with James now? Maybe I should just start yelling...it always works on him!' Pause. No...he looks too excited right now. No way could I muster up even a false anger.'

And even though neither of them knew what they were doing, the lights came on and they walked outside of the theater with their hands still intertwined. They walked slowly back towards her house making small talk about the movie until they reached a park. Lily sat herself on a swing and silently pushed back and forth with her feet. James followed her example and before they knew it they were flying through the air.

"Did I ever tell you how I knew I was different from my family?" she yelled.

"No," he laughed. "How?"

"When I was little me and my sister, Petunia, would come to the park and swing and I could make myself float to the ground."

He laughed out loud thinking how he wished he could do that. "Can you still do it?"

"Sometimes...when I concentrate hard enough. I think it went with my childhood though, you know? My mum made me control it so it became harder for it to happen naturally."

"I know what you mean...you know how I knew?"

"How?"

"Well, minus that my parents are both magical, I could levitate things with my mind. Only until I was like...three though. Then my magic just kind of...ran out."

Lily let her swing slow down so that she was only going a few feet above the ground. "How sad," she mumbled.

"Yeah, but i have my wand to levitate things for me now so it's no big deal."

"That must've been how it started though."

"What?"

"You getting everything you want. I bet you used to use it to get yourself sweets or toys."

James let out a loud laugh. "Probably! I really can't remember, but I probably did."

Not long after that, James walked Lily home even though they both could have Apparated. 'I like his company,' Lily told herself after she asked herself why she was letting him do this.

Their good bye had only changed slightly. She stood at the door, James still grasping onto her hand. She said good night, but before she could pull it away he brought her hand up to his lips and softly planted a kiss on it.

"Good night," he said. And without another thought, he turned and left leaving her with a millions questions going through her brain.
___________________________________

When Lily woke up the next morning her brain was still a mess. She was getting ready for a long shift, and was trying to remember if James worked too. Incase he did, she put on mascara and made sure her hair looked cute. She refrained from doing anything else to herself afraid that she would look like she was trying too hard, or was she trying hard enough?

She started to realize what a mess she was becoming and muttered, "Stupid boys."

She was dropped off at the market by her mum and felt confident when she felt a few boys gazes follow her. She let her eyes scan the schedule and saw that James would be arriving in an half hour; they were closing together.

She refrained from skipping to her register, but she couldn't help but smile when she saw Paula.

"Hey there, happy," Paula greeted her laughing, "What's gotten into you?"

"Nothing. I'm just in a good mood."

"Because of me? Or because you get to close with sexy James again?"

"Ha! A little of both," she admitted.

"This isn't fair!" Paula slammed down her fist. "You get to close with James every time! I get stuck with Shelly! Who I love, but she's getting older every year and it's just not fun anymore! She's starting to tell more stories about her cats, Lils. I have to listen to the cat lady!"

"It's not my fault! You prefer the mornings anyway so you can go out at night!"

"I guess," Paula shrugged, "How are you with James now? Not such an arrogant casanova now that you're buddy, buddy, huh?"

"Yeah, speaking of casanovas, how's Sirius?" Lily raised an eyebrow.

"He's perfectly fine! Or...at least he was the last time I talked to him."

"And when was that?"

Paula's facial expression was slowly sinking more and more to a frown. "Last week."

"Seriously?"

"Yeah...but you know what? You warned me about him. I should've known!" her voice started to get wobbly, "Stupid boys! I say screw them, right, Lils?" Lily didn't say anything. "Lily, did you hear what I said?"

"Yeah..."

"We say screw boys, don't we?" Lily bit her nail. "You like him?"

"I don't know!"

"I mean you really like him? Enough to not bash on boys?"

"Paula, I don't know! It's like I don't want to like him, but I do!"

"One of you guys open?" Marcus walked up.

"Er...yeah. Lils, could you do it? I have to clock out."

"Sure," Lily said with a dreading feeling. "Register four."

They walked over and he set down a water and an apple. She stiffly rang his things up, purposely placing his apple with a little extra force in hopes that it might bruise a little.

"One thirty five," she gave his total.

He held out a five bill, but kept a grip on it when she tried to take it. "Can we talk?"

She tugged the bill out of his hand and angrily said, "Why do you always want to talk when we're at work?"

"It's the only time I see you And you practically shooed me away at the bar!!" Lily tried to hand him his change, but he ignored it and grabbed hold of her hand. "Do you know how embarrassing that was?"

She tried to pull her hand away, but his grip only tightened. "Not as embarrassing as every summer when I have to come home and find out you replace me with bimbos during the year. Now let go of my hand before I use my other one to smash my coin box into the side of your head."

He immediately let go, and as hard as it was she forced herself to keep eye contact with him instead of tending to to her now red hand.

"You can't avoid talking to me forever," he sneered walking away.

Lily waited until he was gone before she started rubbing her hand. She quickly stopped though when she saw James clocking in.

"Hey!" he called.

"Hi." He happily reached out to grab her hand, but she immediately pulled it back because of its tenderness. "Sorry," she said, "I smashed it in the register just a little bit ago...it still hurts."

"Well then that's exactly my level of expertise! Didn't any of the other girls tell you how great my massages are?"

"No, I'm not a subscriber to your fan magazine," she teased.

"Ouch!" he laughed it off, "Did Marcus say anything to you?" he asked in an undertone seeing Marcus not too far away.

"He said a little. Apparently I embarrassed him."

"He said you embarrassed him?" he asked incredulously. "That's ridiculous!"

"I know, but it's not the worst thing he could've said."

Marcus walked back to them and Lily could see James tense up. "You gave me an extra penny," he said plainly. He placed it down on her register and let out a scoff when he saw James. "You should keep your dog on a tighter leash, Lils."

"Marucs, shut up and go do your job," she sighed.

Marcus laughed and walked away and across to the grocery aisles.

"I should curse the bloody day lights out of him. First he insults you, then he insults me and now he's going to get it." He was squeezing his hand harder and harder into a fist and all it made Lily do was think about how he was looking like the James from school.

"Jeez, the real you has been there all this time, hasn't it?"

"What real me? I've been real this whole time."

"No, James. Here I was thinking you finally understood. You got me to even like you!" she huffed, but James grabbed her around the waist and pulled her towards him.

"You like me?"

"Get your dirty paws off of me." He gently pulled away and she immediately turned to speed away to her register.

They worked silently until nine o clock when the store closed and most of the other employees had gone home. At nine thirty they were completely by themselves in the store and James patiently waited for Lily's steam to blow off.

Their job was to finish cleaning the registers and straighten up after the costumers making it difficult for James to catch a spare moment.

"You can leave if you want," Lily said piling the products customers had left behind inside of a cart.

"I was hoping we could talk."

"It wouldn't be appropriate if we're working." Lily really didn't want to talk about it. She realized that James had been wearing a mask for the past month. She was surprised he had been able to keep up the act for so long, really! But trying to protect her was something she was easily insulted by. She could do it herself, and she had proven it to everyone time and time again. Yet people only thought of her as a tiny red head and she couldn't possibly protect herself!

"I'll clock out then! That way I'm not completely wasting your time. Plus, I told you the other day I'd give you a ride home tonight."

Lily huffed jealously that he already had a car to drive. He had admitted to her that he wasn't really driving. It was a spell his dad had put on the car, but it got him through the town and guaranteed that he would never get pulled over by the muggle authorities.

"I already called my mum," she said stiffly.

"Damn it, Lily! Can't you stop being so self righteous for just one second so I can say this to you?!" He stepped in front of the cart to stop her from walking away from him.

She stopped for just a second to glare at him before continuing and running into him with the cart. "You think I'm self righteous? Me?"

"Ow..." he muttered, but she kept going.

"When you're the one running around practically screaming how you can beat up anyone you want? That you can protect poor, little, Lily?"

"That's not how I meant it, and you know it!" He stomped his feet down on the ground and stopped her from going any further.

"Then how did you mean it? Cause I really need to practice listening comprehension if what you said didn't translate into you beating up a muggle for me!"

He walked around from the cart and grabbed Lily before she could resist. He put one hand on the small of her back and the other caressed her cheek.

She tried her best to look away from his gaze, but his eyes attracted hers like magnets. "I know he's hurt you with his words before. I can tell. I don't want him to be able to do that anymore. And if he does...I want to be the one who teaches him to never hurt a woman. Especially if she's my girlfriend."

"Who ever said I'd be your-"

He pressed a finger to her lips and started to lean down towards her. Lily noticed her breathing had quickened and her eyes were closed in anticipation before she even realized that she should.

But instead of feeling his plush lips against hers, she felt his hot breath on her ear and he whispered, "Good night, Lily," before walking away without a second glance.

"I really hate boys..."
______________________
10/11/10

Author's Note: not much to say this time...just...hehe!
and please please please review you guys! i want to know how i'm doing and if i'm going in the right direction. all of that blah di blah!
and disclaimer!!

disclaimer: if i owned either hp or star wars i would be a freaking billionaire....probably more than a billion. point is: not mine :)

Chapter 6: The Almighty Roast Beef
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The Almighty Roast Beef



It was impossible that night for Lily to get any sleep after James called her his girlfriend.

'I didn't give him permission to call me his girlfriend!' she thought, 'We go on one bloody date, if you even call that a date, and he gets all protective and sweet about me....the nerve!' she added on the keep on the aggravated edge.

She looked at her clock hoping it would be almost dawn, but only a mere twenty minutes had passed by since she had checked last. 1:34 AM it told her.

"I can't take this," she whispered throwing off her covers. An owl would take too long, and she could already tell how slow time was going to be waiting for the morning. She threw on a pair of jeans and a jacket and paced around her room for ten minutes. "I'll just sneak out like Petunia used to!" she planned. However the more she said it in her head the more she paced and couldn't get herself to do it.

Then she heard it. A light tap on her window.

'Tap'

She paused and giggled, "This is such a James Potter move."

'Tap'

She looked in her mirror and gave her hair a quick brush and then hurried over to her window. She opened the glass and could only see the outline of his body.

"What're you doing here?" she whispered. She only saw him motion his hand for her to come to him. "Let me find a way down!"

With adrenaline rushing through her now instead of nervousness, Lily gently climbed out of her window and onto the tree that was conveniently planted next to it. She tested the branches before putting her full weight on them, but quickly climbed down once she was sure it wouldn't break on her.

She dusted off her hands when she landed on the ground and said, "Just so you know, this is how every girl imagines James Potter coming to their house," she laughed walking over to him.

She saw the shadow flinch and then the voice came out different than she had expected, "Why would he be here?"

"Oh no," she mumbled.

The voice wasn't as deep as James's, and she knew it all too well. The body stepped into the moonlight and she could see every difference between James and Marcus.

"You said we couldn't talk at work so I decided to come to you." He wore some nice jeans and a shirt that fit well on his body...she didn't like to admit it now, but he looked pretty good. "Why would James come to your house?" His arms were crossed across his chest puffing out his muscles, slightly intimidating Lily, though she refused to show it.

"No reason..." she said hoping to get him off the topic. "What do you want to talk about?"

"I just need to explain everything to you. Ever since that night when I, uh..."

"Hit that girl?" she snapped folding her arms.

"Well, jeez Lils, when you put it that way-"

"There isn't a way, Marcus! That's how it is! It's what you really did! There are no circumstances that make you sound any better!"

"I was drunk!" He exclaimed, "I didn't know what I was doing!"

Lily stood there shaking her head in disbelief. "That's the most pathetic excuse I have ever heard."

Marcus's eyes were hard in defense, but he took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. "Well, it's the only explanation I've got. I don't want us to be like this, Lily. I want it to be like last summer, and the summer before that!"

"Marcus how many times do I have to say-"

He held up his hand and continued. "But I can tell you don't, and apparently other people don't either. That leaves us here and with my proposal." Lily raised an eyebrow and nodded for him to continue. "I want us to be...friends."

"Friends?"

"Friends."

Lily laughed and put her hands on her hips, "You know what would've been easier, Marcus?" She didn't give him time to answer. "If you hadn't been such a jackass that first day! You remember what you told me? To not come crawling back to you when you got another girl, and that you wouldn't if I could get a guy. And do I have to bring up the night at the pub? Me and James are friends, and I've known him even longer than I've known you! Do you know how embarrassing that was when you came screaming after me when we tried to leave? Why did you do that again? Oh, yes, probably because you were drunk."

"Don't be a bitch! I'm sorry, okay! I'm sorry!" he yelled throwing his hands up in the air.

Lily let out a heavy sigh and shifted weight from her right hip to the left. It wasn't worded the way she would have liked it, but it was an apology. She turned to walk back to her tree without another word.

"Baby, come on!" he said following her

"Don't call me baby anymore." She jumped up and grabbed a branch to swung herself up to sit upright. "Go home, and go to sleep...before you ruin your second chance."

She climbed up higher and higher only pausing once when she heard Marcus say, "I thought you were afraid of heights."

"Yeah, well, I've changed."
__________________________________

When Lily woke up the next morning all she could think about was how different her night had been from what she expected.

When had heard those little taps she thought James was going to make her forget any resistance she might have had and then sweep her off into the sunset-or sunrise she should say.

But since it was really her ex boyfriend trying to make amends she was back to frustration with James. Who was he to say she was his girlfriend? He had never asked, hadn't taken her on a real date...and even though she got those butterflies when she saw him and loved that he had held her hand in the movies there was the old Lily and James relationship in the back of her mind.

What if they went back to their old ways? With James being annoying and her always screaming...she didn't want a relationship like that.

'Stop, Lily! Just stop!' she suddenly started yelling in her head, 'Last night you were willing to do whatever James wanted if he had been outside of your window. And you know why? Because you were happy! So get over it and go with the flow.'

She took a deep breath and smiled. She would go with the flow.
___________________________________

"James, what were you thinking to say it like that?" Jasmine exclaimed. "I put you on the one way train to get her and then you go and say that? Girls like to be asked to be someone's girlfriend, not told...especially Lily!"

"Will you please relax? You should've seen her face when I said goodnight. She was ready to kiss me."

"That's my man!" Sirius yelled throwing up a high five, which James excitedly returned. "I told you all she needed was some time."

"Yeah, but if he had come to me six years ago they could've been engaged by now."

"Engaged? Why would he want to be engaged?" Sirius sat up straighter and looked highly offended. "James can date Lily for however long he pleases, but there's no way they're getting married."

"Why not?" Jasmine scoffed.

"Yeah! Why not!" James added in with some dignity.

"Hello! You're a Marauder. Marauders don't get married. Ask Remus. It's in the rule book."

"You guys have rules?" Jasmine raised an eyebrow.

"Any good club does!" Sirius stated like it was an obvious fact.

"You guys are more like a cult!"

"We aren't a cult!"

"The definition of a cult is a particular system of worship, especially with reference to it's rites and ceremonies."

"We don't worship anything."

"You worship yourselves! And you have a ceremony once a month on the full moon."

James sighed and walked away. He wasn't going to let their arguments ruin his moment. Lily Evans had wanted to kiss him. His plan to get her to be his girlfriend might have changed somewhat from willingly to straight out telling her, but it was all going to work out.

'Plus...she wanted to kiss me.' He sat down in his bedroom and put his hands behind his head letting that thought make him one of the happiest guys in the world.
_______________________________________

When Lily stepped into the shop the next day, her mum told her she would be working in the dairy section. Her mouth dropped at the no notice and walked into the freezing box wishing she had brought her jacket.

She spent the first half hour going through all of the different products looking for things that were expired, but walked out of the box shivering in the back room and stubbornly rubbed her cold nose.

"I didn't know we hired a strawberry!" She turned and saw James sitting on a stool that they kept by a filing cabinet.

Lily smiled and walked towards him. "Well, they hired a Marauder so it wasn't too difficult to get in." They laughed for a second before Lily asked, "What're you doing back here?"

"Oh!" He jumped up and grabbed a jacket that was on the filing cabinet. "Your mum called and asked me to bring you one of these."

He handed it to her and she couldn't help by smile. "Thanks."

"Anytime. You get to do anything exciting back here?"

"Eh...not really...just freeze my butt off." They stood there quietly for a second and as calm as Lily tried to be, she blurted out, "Are we going steady?"

Her face turned a slight shade of pink and James let out a laugh. "Do you want to go out?"

"If I do you better ask me properly."

"Is that a yes?"

"You have to ask me!"

"I've been asking you since third year! I'm kind of traumatized from all of your rejections." He said, even though his glowing face said otherwise.

"James Potter," she warned.

"Lily, will you be my girlfriend?" James looked at Lily's eyes and saw them smile at his question.

She allowed her lips to follow the action showing all of her white teeth and answered, "Yes."

He jumped off the stool and wrapped his arms around Lily's waist. "I've been waiting a long time for that answer."

"I know."

"I would probably kiss you right now, but it's not proper at work."

"Shut up," Lily laughed. She put her hands around his neck and pulled him down to meet her lips.

They had only touched for a second when they heard the door open and automatically sprang apart. Michael walked through and stopped at their silence.

"Hello," he said taking a bite out of sandwich he had in his hand.

"Hey, Mike," James nodded with a slight wave.

"What're you guys doing back here?" he laughed.

"James brought me a jacket." Lily held it up and then put it on.

"Well, isn't that funny?"

"What?"

"Brittney used to bring Anthony jackets too. Just to make sure he would be...warm," he added in a wink.

"What's in the sandwich?" she asked to change the subject.

"The almighty roast beef!" he took another large bite and walked away laughing with his sandwich.

"He's kind of weird sometimes..." James commented.

Lily laughed. "He's like a...more sentimental version of Sirius." James had walked closer to her now. "Thank you for bringing a jacket."

"Anytime, love." He leaned down again and pressed his lips against hers.

She might not have liked to admit it a month ago, but his lips were the softest thing she had ever felt. James deepened the kiss and swept her mouth with his tongue. It made her feel so warm inside that she took another step towards him and stood on her tip toes to try to get some more.

'Did you forget where you are?' her mind reminded her. Lily reluctantly broke off the kiss and smiled shyly.

"Want to come over tonight?" he asked her. "My family wants to meet you."

Lily laughed that his parents already knew about her. "I'd love to."

And with a final peck on the lips he walked out the door leaving her dancing around the back room singing. "I do want a boyfriend! I have a boyfriend!"
_____________________
edt. 10/12/10
Author's Note: Finally! the big break! oh the love of James and Lily

Chapter 7: A Night of Tales
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A Night of Tales



Lily waited outside of James's house for about two minutes before deciding to knock. She had always thought she was great with adults like when Professor McGonagall first came to her house when she was eleven she had been so bright and charming that the Professor had smiled the whole time, which she had come to find wasn't a regular thing.

But right now she was nervous. She and James had only been going out for five hours! And now here she was knocking on the door about to meet his parents. 'Is this normal timing? It took Marcus three weeks to introduce me to his parents! Oh jeez they're wizards. Do I do magic?'

Then the door opened and James's smiling face was there. "Hey!' He greeted her happily.

"Hi!"

He ushered her into the house and Lily got to look at it this time in the light. The ceilings were high and at the top there was a chandelier that made her eyes widen. Looking past that she saw a white set of stairs leading up to the second floor and moving pictures of the family leading up the wall.

Focusing in on the pictures she could see James, and two older people who must be his parents, but there was someone else. A girl who looked like James, but older.

"You have a sibling?" she asked.

"Yeah! She's really excited to meet you. If her and Sirius start fighting just ignore them."

He grabbed hold of her hand and led her through the entrance hall to a doorway just to the right of the room she remembered she went into last time.

James slightly smiled when he could feel her hands getting clammy. She was always so confident and defiant at school that he had always wondered what she did when she got nervous. Here was his answer; sweaty palms.

When they walked into the dining room everyone was already seated. Mr. Potter at the top of table, talking casually to Sirius. Mrs. Potter to his left, smiling from ear to ear at Lily. And across from her was Jasmine who was listening to Sirius and Mr. Potter's conversation throwing in her own response when she felt the need.

"Everyone, this is Lily." Jasmine's head snapped up with a proud smile on her face. "Lily this is my mum, dad and Jasmine, my sister."

"Hullo," she smiled.

"Please, come sit!" Mrs. Potter ushered. "I hope you like Indian food."

"I love Indian food!"

James went to pull the chair out for her, but she misunderstood his meaning and rerouted herself to the chair next to it.

"James told us," Jasmine shrugged.

"Because he stalks you," Sirius said.

Lily shrugged and everyone laughed

"You have a lovely home," she said formerly.

"Thank you! It took us a few years to really get it looking like muggles live here." A door behind Mr. Potter swung open, but Lily didn't pay any attention to it. "We always have to remember to put a stilling charm on the pictures when we have over neighbors and-"

"OH DEAR LORD!" Lily screamed.

Food went flying into the air and Lily was up and out of her seat. A little house elf stood in the middle of the raining salad trying his best to catch it back into the salad bowl. James was struggling not to laugh at the scene but it was difficult with Sirius already howling and Lily's face turning the truest color red.

"I so sorry!" the elf was screaming, "Scooter didn't know Miss dislikes like salad!"

"It's okay, Scooter. I don't believe Lily has ever seen a house elf before, correct?" Mr. Potter stood.

Lily nodded and bent down to set her chair in an upright position. "I'm so sorry...I didn't know...I've never..." she was muttering.

"James, you ass! Make her feel better!" Jasmine ordered. But the minute he opened his mouth to say anything only laughter came out. "Stupid boys...come on Lily, you've got lettuce in your hair." She grabbed Lily's hand and led her into the kitchen where Scooter had come from.

"I'm so sorry!" Lily automatically said when the door was shut, "I feel so ridiculous!"

Jasmine had plucked out a piece of celery and a lettuce leaf. "Don't worry, they're just stupid and don't know how to behave right. I would scream too if I saw Scooter for the first time!"

"Was it really a scream?"

She lightly laughed, "Just a little, big one."

"How embarrassing!" She threw her head into her hands

"If it makes you feel any better I can tell you plenty of embarrassing stories about James and Sirius that are far worse that this. Comes in handy for bribing," she winked, "Wanna hear one?"

"Sure," Lily laughed.

"Right, well, there was this one time we were at a business party for my dad. James and Sirius had decided to scope out the home we were in because they heard there was a pool in the backyard. Being magical and all we don't see those very often, so they were really excited. One thing led to another and I walked out there to find them stripped down to their knickers daring each other to jump in first."

"Oh my gosh!"

"Oh no, that's not all. I started yelling at them to get their heads back on right, and scared James right into the pool! He came to the surface screaming that something had got him by the foot, so Sirius jumps in to save him. Everyone inside heard their commotion and turned all the lights on to see them wrestling in the water with a net."

They started laughing and it was heard by the other four still in the dining room.

"Oh, good! They're getting along!" Mrs. Potter said.

"What if they start hanging out?" Sirius asked. "Then Lily would slowly become more and more like her."

"Sirius Black! Do not talk about my daughter like she's such a horrible thing!"

"No, Mrs. P! I'm just saying, for Prongsies sake here, what if Lily starts coming over to hang out with her instead of him," he turned to James, "And then you would be girlfriendless, and even when you did get to see her it would be like dating your sister!"

"That's disgusting!" James exclaimed.

"Exactly."

"Jasmine! Come back in here so we can finish this up without giving Scooter an anxiety attack!" Mr. Potter called.

They came walking out with smiles on their lips. James could see a piece of tomato blending in with Lily's hair almost perfectly. When she sat next to him, he neatly picked it out and put it on his plate.

"Missed one," he laughed.

"Thanks." The shy smile she was putting on made James want to squeeze her in a hug. He hadn't meant to start laughing, but it was such a comical situation! With Scooter running around screaming, she didn't look like she had a clue as to what was happening, and the raining salad...who wouldn't laugh!

The rest of the dinner went by some-what normally to say the least. Scooter edged around Lily carefully so as not to upset her anymore, even though James kept telling him she hadn't meant it. Lily suspected Sirius wasn't helping the situation; he would whisper things out of the side of his mouth to Scooter, whose eyes in turn would bug out even more.

"Want a tour of the house?" James asked when the dishes were being cleared.

"Sure!" she scooted out from the chair and almost knocked over Scooter. He immediately dropped to the ground covering his head, almost quivering. "Is...that normal?"

"Yeah, don't worry about him. He'll get used to you."

They walked back into the entrance hall and up the stairs. Lily had a hard time keeping her eyes off the chandelier until she noticed James was walking awkwardly close to the wall. Then she remembered the pictures that were hanging there and wrestled with him to get a view.

"Please! I was so immature when I took those!"

"I don't care!"

"Plus! You've known me all this time, there's no gain to your knowledge by looking at them!"

He was soon out of her way and it was her turn to laugh. The photos had been taken from all different times of the year; christmas, halloween, but mostly during the summer. There were a few family portraits, two that starred Sirius, and many kodaks of Jasmine and James playing as kids. A few were of Jasmine, James and Sirius where Sirius and Jasmine looked like they were picking on each other. All of the pictures of James had turned their attention to Lily and began bowing, leaning against the frames, or running their hand through their hair.

"What's the history behind those two?"

James started laughing. "The mental images might scar you."

"I think I can chance it."

"Alright, well, before Sirius actually moved in he was over everyday, and it was only half because he wanted to hang out with me. He spent most of his time doing things to impress Jasmine. She thought it was cute at first because he's younger than her and everything, but then he came back one summer and decided he was mature enough to uh..." he let out some snickers, "sneak into her room for a little midnight surprise." Lily gasped. "She told him she needed time to freshen up for him, but to meet him down stairs ready for a good time."

"Oh my gosh!" Lily was laughing.

"He did as she said, and bumped into my mum naked."

"I WAS FRAMED!" Sirius yelled from the bottom of the stairs. "I CAN'T GO ANYWHERE IN THIS HOUSE WITHOUT HAVING TO HEAR ABOUT IT!" He stormed up the steps flattening Lily and James against the wall. He turned when he reached the top. "Lily, if anyone at school finds out about this one and only failure you will be in the wrath of a Marauder! I can make detentions happen for you."

"Shut up, Padfoot! You know it's against Marauder rules to purposely get a girl in trouble."

"She doesn't know the rules!" He yelled and walked down the hall and slammed the door of his room.

"You've gotten plenty of girls in trouble!" Lily said.

"But not on purpose. We pull pranks and they, or mostly you, get in the way! Entirely not our fault!" Lily rolled her eyes and followed James up the rest of the stairs.

She noticed how well the flow of the night had been, minus her disfunction with house elves, and wondered how many times he had pulled this off. James Potter had definitely had more girlfriends than just her. 'I calculated that he had a different one every one to three weeks!' A slight knot formed in her stomach. She had forgotten about all those other girls!

"How many times have you done this?" she decided to ask.

"Done what?"

"Bring girls over for dinner, charm them with your family."

"Oh, never. You're the first."

"I'm so sure!" she laughed. "You've had so many girlfriends there's got to be five that you've brought home."

"No, really. My mum told me to only bring over girls that I seriously consider my girlfriend." He had such a sincere look on his face, and his eyes were locked with hers. But all of that couldn't help her from laughing. "What?"

"It's just that...we haven't been steady for a day yet and you're saying I'm a serious girlfriend!"

"But you are! I can see it now. We'll go back to Hogwarts and everyone will think we're the hottest couple on campus. Bets will be made about how long we last, and only the ones that say a very long time will win."

"You really think we'll last that long?"

"You put up with Marcus for a long time, didn't you?"

"He doesn't count!" she said. "We were only together during the summers. There was no consistency."

"My point still stands."

"Oh, whatever."

James had led her into a bedroom. There were posters on the wall of Quidditch players flying and a Puddlemere United scarf hanging around his bed. There was a picture on his bed stand of him and his family and another with the Marauders.

He led her over to the bed and offered her to sit on it. He sat next to her and grabbed hold of her soft hand.

"I'm really glad you decided to come over. It means a lot to all of us."

"Of course! I figured it was only fair since you already know my parents."

"Kind of."

"What do you mean kind of? You came over for a straight week to hang out and you work with them. I'd say you know them."

"But it's weird! It's like a boss to worker relationship. Not a normal boyfriend-parent relationship.

"You'll get over it," she laughed.

"Yeah, I guess I'll have to!" He took a second to smile. "Thank you though...really."

"You're welcome." She reached over and gave him a peck on the cheek. "I like your room."

"Thanks," he chuckled. His hand had reached up to mess up his hair before he could stop himself.

"I just have one question about your house..."

"Yeah?"

"Where exactly is the room we were in that one night?"

"Down the hallway next to the dining room doorway. Perfect location to have any secret parties in the middle of the night."

They sat on his bed and talked for two more hours before Lily had to go back to her own house. It had been a great night. Mr. Potter was a little quiet, not that she expected to be like Paula or anything. On the contrary, that was how Mrs. Potter seemed to her.

But she decided to make her analysis of everyone later and focused on kissing James good night.

'Oh yes...I could get used to this...'
______________________

edt.10/12/10
Author's Note: chapter niiiiiine! too exciting!! keep the reviews up everyone! they're my confidence boosters!
i hope you guys liked the night though :)

disclaimer: :)

Chapter 8: The Biggest Problems
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The Biggest Problems




"You know what's amazing?" Sirius asked one night.

He, James and Lily all laid in the sand at a park near Lily's house staring up at the night sky. It had them all entranced looking for shooting stars and constellations.

"What?" James asked.

"It really did take you more than half of our time at Hogwarts to get Lily to like you."

"It's not my fault she was so stubborn and hot headed!"

"Hey!" Lily said indignantly.

"Well, it's true," James muttered.

"You guys were bullies anyways. I don't understand why people wanted to be your friends so badly."

"We're handsome," Sirius said.

"And charming," James added.

"Too charming for your own good! Sirius, you've got Paula all in a panic because you've been ignoring her."

"Yeah, sorry about that, Evans. She's a muggle though! It was too difficult to be myself around her."

Lily sat up with her mouth open in a gasp. "So just because you can't hold a wand in front of her you can't be yourself?"

"No! It's not just that!" He sat up. "I can't talk about my favorite things like Quidditch, or the pranks we've pulled. I can't even take her for a ride on my broom! All because you can't tell her about our world."

"You can't blame this on me! Can you honestly imagine if I did tell her? She would be too ecstatic and probably start asking us to do things in front of other muggles!"

James joined them and sat up. "She's got a point, mate."

A swing creaked on the other side of the field at the park making the three of their heads turn. It was hard to see in the dark, but Lily knew who it was. She had spent many days in this park with him as a child. But they weren't kids anymore, and with that went any chance of staying friends. Severus sat on the swing and silently swayed back and forth.

"Who's that creep?" Sirius asked.

"I don't know. Lets go find somewhere else though," Lily said wanting to leave before anything started. She stood waiting for them to follow her example, but they just sat there staring. "James, please?"

"Alright," he said dusting off his pants.

"But we were here first!" Sirius complained.

"Who cares, Padfoot. Lily needs to be home in just a while anyways. We can start walking back to her house."

"This is ridiculous!" Sirius exclaimed standing up in a fit. Sand sprayed everywhere and he started to speed walk over to the stranger on the swings.

"Sirius, please don't!" Lily chased after him. Severus turned at the sound of Lily's voice and let out a quiet scoff when he saw Sirius coming towards him.

"Oh, ho, ho!" Sirius let out when he saw Severus's face. "I told you it was a creep, Prongs! Looks like old Snivellus likes to hang out by himself during the holidays."

"Padfoot, come on. We don't have time for this."

"No, it's ok. Let him have a go at me. I dare you," Severus sneered.

Sirius raised his eyebrows at the threat and started laughing. "You've gotten just a little more confident than the last time I hung you upside down, haven't you?"

"Sirius Black do you know how much of an idiot you are being?" Lily hissed.

"I'd rather be an idiot than a loaner," he smirked.

"A loaner is better than an orphan in my books," Severus said, "Least that's what I heard you were from your brother. Seems that your mother blasted your name right off the family tree."

Sirius barred his teeth and let out a growl. His hand was gripped around his wand so tightly that his knuckles were starting to turn white. James was behind him with his own wand at hand, but had his other hand gripping the back of Sirius's shirt in case he decided to take a lunge.

"Severus, will you stop it!" Lily yelled.

"Oh, yeah, Lily go ahead and defend him!"

"Give me one good reason I should defend you. You already gave up defending me years ago."

James was watching them carefully not sure what to do. Seeing Snape that close to Lily was making him uncomfortable. He had heard Snape and many of his kind speak such dirty things against her and other muggle-borns that it made him sick. He knew though that if he voiced the angry insults in head Lily would make him pay.

"You know I didn't mean what I called you," Severus hissed, "I apologized a hundred times and you ignored me every time." He took a step closer to Lily. "You're making the ultimate betrayal by hanging out with them."

"Watch it, Snape," James said sharply.

"They're already better than the friendship I had with you," Lily snapped. "I don't have to worry about them getting nasty tattoos on their arms."

Snape took another threatening step towards her, but James decided enough was enough and interfered putting himself between them.

"I think you'd better go now," he hissed.

Snape growled, but turned and left with his cloak flying behind him. James shook his head and turned on Sirius. "Are you serious?"

"Awe, come on, Prongs. We've gone over that joke and agreed to not use it. It's so cliche," he said to Lily who looked at him incredulously.

"I'm not joking!" he yelled, "We're in the middle of a muggle neighborhood and you honestly thought you could just duel it out with Snape?"

"You heard him talking about my family! You know I can't stand it when people mention them!"

"You should've listened to Lily in the first place and never even come over here!" James grabbed Lily's hand and started to walk to the street.

"Prongs!" Sirius groaned, "Come on! I'm sorry, okay? Its been such a long time since we dueled or done anything exciting!" James didn't say anything back. "I need an outlet for energy!"

James didn't look back, but shook his head and kept walking.

"You aren't going to listen to him?" Lily whispered.

"Not right now. I'm sick of his shit."

Her eyes widened a bit at the remark. She had never heard any of the Marauders speak with such hostility about another.

"You're being a shitty brother, you know!" Sirius shouted.

They heard a 'pop' and Sirius was gone.

"He's such a-"

"Don't say anything. You'll just regret it later," Lily warned.

"Did you ever feel guilty for calling me names?" he snapped.

She brushed off his harsh tone. "Yes." James raised an eyebrow. "Once."

"He just doesn't think his actions through! Of course Snape is going to insult him back! And of course he's going to say the thing that'll cut him the deepest! It's all pretty logical."

"It's just Sirius being Sirius. He can't help but be a git sometimes."

"But he should be able to! What's going to happen when we graduate and he can't control himself? He'll end up in Azkaban and I won't be able to help him!"

"He'll grow up. The streaks got to run out sooner or later."

James stopped and sat down on the curb rubbing his eyes with the palms of his hands. Lily stood behind him and leaned down to kiss him on the cheek.

"It feels kind of weird to be acting like this," she giggled.

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" James muttered. "Oh yeah! Me and Lily are doing great! We're just working on her being comfortable around me."

"Shut up!" Lily laughed, "What I meant is that it's weird to want to comfort and touch you, you know?" She wrapped her arms around his shoulders leaning down and he hugged them.

"Yeah, I know. It's kind of weird to be wanted by you. For once I don't have to trap you against a wall!" Lily gently pulled out of his hold and moved to sit next to him. "I'm sorry Sirius ruined the night."

"Don't be. He didn't. I've been wanting to say that to Severus for a long time now."

"I don't understand," James said, "How can he call you so many things and yet you still call him Severus?"

Lily looked slightyly taken aback by the question. She hadn't really noticed that she still called him Severus. Snape was just such a sharp and cold name...if she called him by his surname it would officially mean that they were enemies.

"I don't know," she mumbled, "It's an improvement from 'Sev'....he had been my best friend for such a long time it almost feels wrong to call him 'Snape'."

They sat there in a companionable silence both thinking about their own demonic friends- or ex friends. She didn't even notice when both she had James had laid back down the watch the stars. The cement wasn't nearly as comfortable as the sand, but they didn't care. They didn't want to think about such petty things like where they were laying. The point was that the everyone was changing, for better or worse, and no matter how hard they tried to get the world to rewind or stop completely they could go no where but forward.

'Forward together...' James thought.
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Lily noticed by James's light attitude the next day that everything was okay between him and Sirius. She stood at her register checking out her customers and tried not to look like she had been looking at him when he turned her way.

"Morning, Lils," he said with a sloppy grin.

"Morning," she said with a little stutter in her stomach. She made herself concentrate on her customers, even ignoring James when he had let out a few quiet coughs trying to get her attention. 'No way am I going to let him distract me today!' she thought with a little smirk on her lips.

"Lily," he whispered in her ear.

"Oh!" she yelped. He had come out of no where! "My gosh, James, don't sneak up on me like that!"

"I've been trying to get your attention! You didn't hear me." The current customer was trying to hide her laughter. "Do you have change for a fifty?"

"Oh...yeah...give me just sec."

She finished up with the lady and then counted out fifty pounds in tens.

"Thanks," he said with a wink.

No one else was in her line so she followed him to help bag. She told the customer to have a nice day and then it was just the two of them.

"Sirius is really sorry," He ran his hand through his hair.

"I know," she sighed. "I'm glad he got through to you."

He took a step out from his register and had his arms out to give Lily a hug. "Me too," he said.

The front doors opened and the two split apart.

'I hate customers.' James thought bitterly. He heard Lily groan and turned to look who had come in.

It was a girl who didn't look too far off from their own age. Her face was long and narrow with blonde hair stopping at her chin. She looked around for a second and seemed to shares Lily's groan when she saw the pair.

"Hey!" she yelled, "Where's my mum and dad?"

"Excu-" James started to say.

"Our parents aren't here anymore. They left an hour ago."

"Our-?" James asked his face scrunching up.

"Well, great. I drove all the way down here for nothing."

"Oh please, Petunia," Lily put her hands on her hips, "I hardly think a ten minute drive was out of your way."

"You're right," Petunia smiled in a sick sweetness, "At least I can drive."

Lily bursted out with laughter. "Yes, I am so upset that I can't drive. If only I had never gone to Hogwarts and then maybe-"

"Don't mention that place," she hissed eyeing James.

"Oh, don't worry about him. He knows all about it. He's my classmate."

Petunia's face went tight and slowly paled. "You both...he can..."

"Yep. He could turn your pretty little tea cup into a rat too." Lily smiled in victory. She knew she had won the fight when Petunia stormed away. "Love you too, Pet!"

James started laughing as soon as Petunia was out of the door. "You've got to be kidding me." Lily sighed shaking her head. "That's your sister?"

"The one and only!"

"Wow," he was still laughing. "You know maybe this is good. I was afraid if she was like you, you would both start fighting over me."

"Ha! In your dreams."

"Oh, it is," he mumbled. She promptly smacked him in the gut. "Kidding! I'm kidding!"

Lily shook her head and leaned against the register. "So. You've been lucky enough to meet my two biggest problems in twenty four hours. Anything you'd like to warn me about?"

James grinned lopsidedly. "A have one or two...You won't have to meet them until school comes back around though."

"Let me guess. The James Potter Fan Club and Quidditch?"

"Something like that..." he ran his hand through his hair. "I'll explain it to you another time. Ma'am are you finding everything okay?" he moved out from the register and walked over to a customer leaving Lily confused.
__________________________________________________

She just couldn't help it. One minute she and James were trying to clean up spilt whipped cream the last customer of the night had dropped. The next they were having a food fight with it. And then they were on the ground kissing ferociously.

He had her arms trapped above her head with one hand and was using the other to move her long hair away fro her neck so he could nibble.

"This hair is always in my way," he mumbled.

"Move it," she said impatiently.

"It's all stuck to you," he started laughing. He gave up and started kissing her all over her face. "You're cute when you're sticky."

This made Lily laugh. "You're not so bad yourself." She reached up and licked some whipped cream off his cheek. "You taste better too."

There was a loud banging on the door.

"What the-?"

Lily immediately jumped up and started for the door muttering, "The sign says we close at nine."

"Lily, wait!" James yelled. He had the feeling in the pit of his stomach, knots turning and tying in a million different ways.

"PRONGS!"

"Sirius?" Lily cocked an eyebrow. She got her keys and unlocked the door quickly.

He barely gave her enough time to really open it before he got in and slammed it shut behind him.

"We've gotta go, man. They're coming."

"What?" James froze in his tracks.

"They're coming," he said slowly.

"Who's coming?" Lily asked.

"Where are they?" James asked, focus coming back to his eyes.

"I'm not sure, but flying this way as we speak."

"WHO?!" Lily demanded.

James turned to her and mentally noted how long it had been since he saw her face get red. He missed it in a way...but knew he had replaced it with something better.

"It's too difficult to explain right now. I promise to explain once they're gone."

"But James-" He cut her off with a deep kiss taking in every taste of her mouth.

Sirius let out a frustrated breath. "You'll see her tomorrow, mate! Lets go!"

"It's one of our biggest problems. That's all I can say. Call your mum and tell her to come get you. I have to go with Sirius."

And with that they ran out of sight from the store leaving Lily breathless, clueless, and thoroughly confused.
_________________________________

edt. 10/12/10

Author's Note: Hey everyone! so this chapter is actually arriving extremely late bc first when i turned it in at first it just wasn't good enough you know? secondly!! it got rejected for some lingo. sooo had to make those changes for the story and anyways it's here now and i already have the next chapter written so enjoy!!!
thank you for reading! don't forget to review!!

disclaimer:naaaah

Chapter 9: Meetings Gone Wrong
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Meetings Gone Wrong


"Boys?" Mrs. Potter called out when she heard the door shut.

"Yeah, mum, it's us," James ran into the room. "Are they here?"

"In the dining room."

Sirius scowled clenching his fists tight. "How many of them?" he asked through his teeth.

"Three...they decided to bring us an example."

Sirius nodded to James and they walked into the room one after the other. They kept their eyes uncharacteristically cold upon seeing their guests.

Mr. Potter was seated at the head of the table with Jasmine right behind him with her arms crossed and wand at hand. She didn't say a word, but her brooding eyes watched, waiting for a signal or one wrong word from their company.

Across from Mr. Potter was Orion Black; Sirius' father. His black hair, long like Sirius', was kept in a ponytail leading down his back, and his eyes were a cold gray. So beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

Next to him was Lucius Malfoy. He had graduated in Jasmine's year, giving James and Sirius enough memories to know that they hated him. They had heard and seen the kinds of things he liked to do with muggleborns. During his last year at Hogwarts, James noticed that Lucius would pick on Lily whenever James was around, despite his position as Prefect. James had to learn to keep his distance from Lily when Lucius was around just to make sure that Lucius wouldn't have any incentive to single her out

Lastly was the person Sirius wanted to tackle the most. It wasn't because of the crimes he had committed, or the words he had said, in fact, before now Sirius had thought he was still an innocent little boy; but there he sat. Little Regulus Black his hair cropped short and eyes only staring at the table cloth.

"What the hell is he doing here?!" Sirius shouted at his father. "He's fifteen for fuck's sake!"

"Sirius!" Mr. Potter held up his hand, "No need for language." Sirius listened, but still was having a hard time controlling himself.

"He's not the angel you thought he is, is he, Potter?" Orion said. He crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair, eyeing Sirius with a smirk.

"These men have come to give you a message."

"It's a last chance call for a career, really." Lucius looked up. "We would like to speak to them in private if you don't mind, Mr. Potter."

"I do." He leaned forward clasping his hands in front of him.

"Fine," he said stiffly, "Then we ask that the girl leaves the room. The Dark Lord has no use for people like her."

"You watch how you talk about her." Sirius hissed.

Lucius raised an eyebrow. "I'll keep note of that. Mr. Potter?"

He sighed. "Jasmine, wait for us in the other room."

"What!" she exclaimed. "No way!"

"Jas, please?"

She stared at her dad in disbelief, but made her way to the door. "My name is Jasmine, jackass. We went to school together for seven years, get it right!"

"Right," Lucius dismissed her. "Gentlemen?" he gestured for James and Sirius to sit.

James moved towards the table never taking his eyes off the three. Representatives of this Lord Voldey character had come to their house on only one other occasion. He expected they would say just about the same this time.

"There is a change arising in favor of the power for wizards. We plan to wager a sort of...reconstruction with our ways and laws and hope that you can help us."

"You can go stick-" Sirius started to say.

"Has your view of 'reconstruction' changed from the last meeting?" James stopped him.

"In the way that we see mudbloods-"

"Language, please," Mr. Potter muttered.

Lucius pursed his lips in response to being interupted. "In the way that we see....muggleborns, no. We are in the middle of making a plan where they are on the bottom of the food chain." When he didn't get the reaction he wanted his eyes darkened. "Can't you see what they are doing to us? Taking up room in our schools, filling jobs that should be honored by a pureblood!"

"And it's great for kids learning how to be respectful and loyal." Orion spoke up. He put a proud hand on Regulus' shoulder. "I've never been so proud of my son."

"So that's why you're trying so hard to get me to join?" Sirius stood up. "Want a legacy of killers, eh?"

"They are not killers. They're-"

"Maybe not yet, but that's where it's going to be in a short time. You don't see or hear the way they treat them. It's obvius where this "reconstruction" is headed," James said standing by Sirius.

"Sirius Black," Orion clenched his teeth, "I am your father and you will do as I tell you!"

"NO!" he whipped his wand out making everyone tense up.

"Alright, well I would say this meeting has reached its end," Mr. Potter clapped his hands, "James, get Sirius calmed down."

James nodded and pushed Sirius out the door.

"You can't take my son away from me, Potter," Orion hissed.

"He's seventeen, Orion. He can do whatever he wants."

"Mr. Black, please calm down." Lucius stood up. "Potter to make it clear, if you don't support the Dark Lord you will come to be known as an enemy. We will do whatever is necessary to get compliance from everyone."

"You're barking up the wrong tree if you think that meek threat will persuade me. I'll see you on the battlefield."

Lucius smirked and walked closer to Mr. Potter. "Your boy's little girlfriend is a mudblood, isn't that right?" Mr. Potter didn't move an inch. "Pity."

And with that they all three popped out of the dining room. Mr. Potter sat back down and sighed rubbing the bridge of his nose.

Jasmine stormed through the doors. "If they ever decide to discriminate against me again I expect you to teach them a lesson in manners, daddy. They are unbelievable!" she fumed.

"Where are James and Sirius?"

"Calling an emergency cult-Marauders meeting to plot."

Mr. Potter walked through the door and saw them hovered around the coffee table.

"No! Don't put it like that! Moony will never come if it sounds like we're planning a prank! This is for the protection of mankind!" Sirius threw a fist into the air.

"If we put it like that he would definitely think we're joking. It's too hard to write!"

"I have an idea!" Jasmine exclaimed, "Why don't you just tell him to come and you'll explain when he gets here?" She put on a sarcastic excited face.

James shrugged. "That might work."

"No, no, no. Everyone stop!" Mr. Potter threw up his hands. "We all need to talk about what this means. Sit."

Sirius dropped down where he was. "Good dog!" James laughed.

"Be serious, you guys." Jasmine scolded only to make them laugh harder. She narrowed her eyes and smacked them both upside their heads.

"OW!"

"Well then pay attention!"

Mr. Potter sighed. "Thank you, Jasmine. You guys this is going to be bigger than just shooting some funny curses in a Slytherin's way. Much bigger in fact..."

"We know dad. We want to stop them."

"Then....I think we need to set up an appointment with Dumbledore."

"What?!" Jasmine gasped. "MUM!"

"Why with Dumbledore?" James asked.

"Mum, get in here quick!"

"Does he teach a class?" Sirius asked.

"Not exactly...."

Mrs. Potter ran into the room breathless. "What? What happened?"

"Dad wants to get them an appointment with Dumbledore."

Her face visibly paled. "Go take a walk, boys," she mumbled.

"No way! We want to know what this is all about!"

"Go take a walk!" She yelled uncharacteristically, "Jasmine you go with them."

"But I-"

"Jasmine! Please. Go."

"Fine," she grumbled. She grabbed the sleeves of the boys shirts and started to walk outside muttering, "Twenty years old and I can't listen..."

"What's going on?" They asked once they were out of the house.

"What would a meeting with Dumbledore mean?"

"Would we be going to a different school?"

"A school of defense?"

"Did you go to the school of defense?"

"Is it in Russia?"

"Are there Russian girls?"

"Where the bloody hell are you guys getting these questions from?" Jasmine asked exasperatedly. "I can't tell you. It's not my job. But it's not a school, it's not in Russia, and I'm pretty sure that means no Russian girls. Merlin, your imaginations are annoying." She looked across the street to where one of their neighbors were having a party.

"Can you tell us anything?" James asked.

"Nope," she said, "I'm sure you'll find out in good time though. Mum looked furious, didn't she?"

"Yeah, because you called her in the room!" Sirius said.

"I had too," she hissed, "You guys need to finish school before you get caught up in that."

"Caught up in what" Sirius groaned. "I want to know!"

"It's too dangerous for you!" She took a threatening step towards Sirius. "Know one piece too much of it and you could end up killed the next day."

"Like anyone would be able to kill me," Sirius scoffed. "Between my quick brain and wit with my wand I'm practically untouchable."

"How about this?" She smacked him upside the head.

"OW!"

She punched him in the gut. "Couldn't stop that one could you?"

"James, tell her to stop abusing me!"

"Will both of you just stop it?" James said. He looked up to see another car pull up to the neighbor's house, only catching his eye because of its vivid red color. "We have bigger things to worry about. If things go their way loads of people are going to get hurt, whether they want to be involved or not."

He couldn't stop thinking about Lily. They would be getting out of school this year and if she didn't know how to protect herself without Dumbledore's help....he would have step in. He would keep her from any danger.

A scream came from the red car. "This world is already a mess," Sirius commented. "That was a girl, wasn't it?"

James scowled. He couldn't believe how screwed up both of these worlds were. "Yeah," he muttered. "Lets go."

_________________________________________________________________

Lily had decided not to bother calling her mum to pick her up. 'It's a beautiful night! A walk will do me good.' she thought. Locking up the store she threw her keys in her pocket and started the walk. Instinctively, she had her hand on her wand, just in case.

She couldn't help but think how drastically things were changing around her. She was just making out with James Potter on the whipped cream covered floor for Merlin's sake! She had never imagined she would pull that kind of stunt in the market!

There was something about James that made her feel lively; Like there's more magic than meets the eye. Just thinking about the way he would bite her bottom lip so tightly made her stomach fill with butterflies. She giggled at the feeling.

"Boys...." she muttered. "They're going to drive me crazy one day."

Behind her she could hear a few cars coming up. 'One car. Two cars. Three cars,' she counted. A fourth had just passed her when its breaks squealed and the reverse lights came on. It blinded Lily as it pulled beside her, making it hard to see who was getting out of the passenger seat.

The way he walked and the way his hair was done told her it was Marcus. The light post proved her theory right.

"LILY!" he called, "'ello, love! Wha're you doing out here so late?"

She shook her head relieved and walked over to see him. "Just walking home from work."

"Want a ride?" he asked pointing to the car. It was a bright red Buick, a classic, though she had no idea what year. "I'm sure Brad wouldn't mind. Right, Brad!"

"Course not!" The driver called back.

"Thanks, but I think I'm good."

"Non sense! What kind of friend would I be if I just let you wonder the town all by your lonesome?" Lily took a step back when she smelled the strong liquor on his breath, but measured that he was still in control of himself.

"I guess, but just straight to my house. No where else."

"This'll be a two stop bus," Brad said. "I have to stop by my cousin's place. Then I can drive you anywhere you want, honey," he winked.

Lily mentally shuddered and hoped that this cousin didn't live too far away from her.

They drove around for about fifteen minutes before Brad parked in front of a house saying he'd "Be back in a jiffy." She was in the backseat with Marcus who was smelling more and more like the drink in his hand. It had gotten to the point where Lily was trying to confuse him with his own words; just for fun. She started laughing when she got him to admit that Michael had an attractive body. Her eyes were glistening from the laughter and she couldn't help but miss having these time with Marcus. It had all been so different....

"Lily?" She shook the thoughts from her head. "Do you ever miss me?" Marcus' eyes were slightly frowning making Lily feel a slight bit of guilt. She sighed knowing no words were going to come out of her. "Because I miss you. I miss your laughter, and your hair, and how you used to get riled up so easily from kissing."

"Marcus, I don't think-"

"We could spend hours on my couch, or in your grass. Do you remember that time in the park?"

"Of course I do, but-"

"Then why don't we just give it another go?! I'm sure your parents will have forgiven me by now. We can beg them!"

"Marcus, it doesn't matter anymore! I don't feel that way about you....I'm dating James now." His mouth was moving, but no words were coming out. "Remember when you came to my house that night? We decided to be friends, right? We need to stick to that."

"Potter? You're dating that joke Potter?" Lily rolled his eyes hating the way everything always turned into a fight between them. "I bet you already gave yourself to him, DIDN'T YOU?!"

"Of course not! Even if I had it would be none of your bloody business!" She had had enough. "I'll find my way home from here. Tell Brad thanks."

She reached for the door handle, but was jerked back into Marcus' arms. "You're not getting away that easily. If he gets some of you, so do I."

She wriggled to get free of his grip, but his arms were made of iron. He turned her around roughly and forced her against him.

"LET GO!" she screamed. She could feel her wand jabbing into her leg, but it was stuck around her pocket seam, and she couldn't get it out of the material.

Marcus grabbed the front of Lily's shirt by the buttons and ripped down causing them to rain around in the car. Groaning, he pushed her onto her back searching for the button of her jeans.

"Please, Marcus, think about what you're doing," she cried.

"I just. Want. You."

Lily pushed as hard as she could at his chest, and he went flying back and out of the car door. She let out a relieved sob thanking Merlin for that unbelievable strength, but knew she would only have seconds before he was up again. She scrambled as fast as she could across the seat and leaped from the door running into something tall and hard.

Thinking it was Marcus she kicked and hit hoping the grasp on her shoulders would loosen until she heard,

"Evans?"
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edt. 10/12/10
Author's Note: hahaha omgsh i loved you guys complaining about a cliffhanger so here's all of the answers!! ahh! i hope you guys love this chapter as much as i do!! hopefully it won't take as long for it to get validated. lol!
as always, read and review!! :D

disclaimer:no ownership.

Chapter 10: Those Muggle Wars
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Those Muggle Wars


Lily immediately stopped her fight when she heard the voice and looked up to see Sirius' stormy eyes gazing down at her.

"Shit...Prongs is going to have a fit that it was you in there."

She looked to her left and saw James with Marcus by the collar up against the car. Marcus had a scowl on his face, but his body was nothing but defeated.

"Didn't you learn from your past?" James muttered. "She okay, Padfoot?"

"Uh..." Sirius bit his lip trying to decide how to word this. "Are you okay?" he whispered to Lily. She nodded and turned into his chest. "I-I think she's okay."

James looked over to see for himself, but when he saw that specific blue color of their uniforms ripped to threads and that specific red hair messy and sticking up, his vision turned red.

"Prongs! NO!" 

His rage busted through his body, his fists wildly punching at Marcus's face. Even when Marcus dropped to the ground, James followed him down and let his fury rain.

Sirius let go of Lily and ran to restrain his friend. He knew Marcus deserved exactly what he was getting, but it wasn't worth the punishment James would get from both magical and muggle authorities. He grabbed James' arms and pulled them to his back so that only his body was still fighting.

Marcus curled to his side, his hands hiding his blood covered face. Jasmine had run to the scene when Sirius yelled, and was now the one trying to get Lily to look away from James. She had seen him get in fights hundreds of times at Hogwarts, but he had never had that wild look on his face. He was screaming profanities trying to get out of Sirius's grip.

"James, stop! she yelled. She shook off Jasmine's arms and walked in front of her struggling boyfriend. "STOP!

He stopped his fit, but didn't take his eyes off of Marcus.

"Let go, Padfoot," he muttered.

"Maybe we should wait until we're in the house."

"I'm not going to pummel Lily to get to him." Sirius was still hesitant. "LET GO!"

"Alright! Sheesh!" 

James looked at Lily and gently pushed her aside with a trembling hand.

"James..." She warned.

He stopped and said in a strained voice, "Give me just a second." He bent down and grabbed Marcus by the shirt again. "You're lucky they were here to pull me off of you. You'd be dead if it was choice."

James dropped Marcus back on to the ground making him groan. Without a backward glance he grabbed Lily's hand and walked to his house. When they were inside he saw Lily trying to keep her shirt together without the buttons. She was slightly trembling keeping her eyes down on the floor.

James unbuttoned his own shirt and drew it around her shoulders. "Here you are, love," he whispered.

"Thanks." She quickly put her arms through the sleeves, but couldn't get her hands to stop shaking enough so that she could button it; James took over the job.

Jasmine and Sirius ran into the living room to get their parents.

"I tell you to go on a walk and you turn it into a rescuing crusade," Mrs. Potter muttered. "Lily, dear, are you alright?"

"I just want to go home," she said in a whisper.

She took her wand out ready to Apparate, but Mrs. Potter stopped her. "You'll splinch if you try to Apparate in this state, Lily. Why don't you let James drive you?"
 
Lily, for the first time since they had gotten into the house, looked up. He had both of his hands behind his head making his chest look quite broad. He had had on a wife beater under his work shirt, but it didn't help cover much of his muscle. His shoulders looked hard and his waist was perfectly symmetrical to the rest of his body.

"No problem," James said meeting her gaze.

Lily was suddenly worried about being alone with him. 'What's he going to think? Catching me in the backseat with my ex boyfriend...Lily, you idiot! What were you thinking?!'

They walked outside and Lily curiously peeked to the other side of the street to see that the red Buick was gone from the front of the house.

"Lily?" Her attention snapped to the car in front of her. James held the door open for her, his eyes looking slightly worried.

"Sorry..." she mumbled.

They pulled out onto the main street, and Lily noticed how little James was actually looking at the road. It made her want to laugh to imagine what the muggles looking in would think, seeing a boy drive perfectly without having to look where he was going.

The car stayed silent and it was making James crazy. He didn't want to see her in this mess. He wanted to see her smiling, and with her hair bouncing  like it always did when she laughed...he had lost count how many times she had distracted him with that trait.

Finally he heard her say, "Thank you."

He couldn't believe his ears. He was the one who left her at the store without knowing if she could get home alright. He abandoned her because he couldn't wait the extra five minutes to take her home. It was entirely all his fault.

"E-excuse me?"

"I said thank you...I never would have gotten out of that car without you and-"

"It's because of me that you were in that car!" James erupted making Lily flinch. "I should've waited. I should've known you wouldn't call your mum! Walking home alone this late...should've known," he muttered to himself.

Lily felt a slight growl in her throat, but refused to let it surface. 'Just because I couldn't get to my wand-UGH! STOP! Don't get defensive...breathe.' She slowly let out the breath that was making her face turn red. She took one more before saying, "Will you stop being such an ass and just accept my thank you?"

James still didn't look calm in the least. "You're welcome," she barely heard him say.

When they reached Lily's house the car was filled with silence. Neither quite knew what to say, but Lily was starting to feel unbalanced. Her emotions were driving her haywire; sad, grateful, relieved, hurt.

"I guess I'll be going now," she said unbuckling her belt.

James threw his head back against the head rest and groaned, "Lily." She stopped with her hand on the door handle. He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her across the car into a bone breaking hug. "Just please stay away from from him now....please," he begged.

The raw emotion in his voice pulled the last straw for Lily. Her eyes became faucets and they poured out what felt like a thousand tears.

'What did I say?!' James thought frantically. Was that too pushy? Did I squeeze her too hard?'

"I'm so sorry!" she sobbed, "I shouldn't be acting like this in front of you." She took deep breaths trying to rewind her sudden outbreak. "Goodness, I've frightened you to death!" She tried to laugh.

"I've just never...you've never...cried."

She let out a scoff. "Just not in front of you." She picked up the end of her borrowed shirt and wiped her face. "You should've seen me when me and Severus stopped being friends. I was a mess to say the least." James' brow started furrow.

She started to climb back over to her side, but hesitated a moment to put a soft kiss on James's cheek. "Please don't blame yourself," she whispered.

James sighed and got out of the car to follow her to the door. "Do you want me to come in with you?" he asked.

"I...I don't know..." she hesitated, "How do you bring that up to them? They've done so much for Marcus thinking it would make him better, but... I don't think he wanted to be..."

James could see more tears starting to form up behind her eyes, and with the porch light shining on her he could see the dark bags starting to form around her eyes. She looked beautiful, but nevertheless a mess.

"Why don't I at least come in? Make sure that you can stay awake during the discussion."

Lily took in a shaky breath and opened the door.

"Lily, is that you?" She heard her mum.
 
She had thought she could rile up a strong voice, but it came out weak when she said, "Yes."

"Well, you have some explaining to do! Do you know what time it is?"

Mrs. Evans came walking through the kitchen and stopped when she saw the two. The first thought that registered in her head was that Lily was wearing an XL uniform shirt. The second was that Lily had tear stains on her cheeks and James' expression was hard as a rock.

"Good heavens, what happened?" Lily opened her mouth to speak, but only tiny squeaks from the back of her throat were coming out. Mrs. Evans turned to James. "James?"

"There was a...happening," he said failing to find the right words.

"A happening? What does that mean?" She ran to Lily and grabbed her shoulders, "Was there a robbery? David!" she called for Mr. Evans.

"Mrs. Evans, I left work early because of a family emergency," he started. Mrs. Evans tried to take deeper breaths.

"What's wrong, Rose?" Mr. Evans walked in.
 
"I- I don't know! James left early and something happened!"

Lily slightly sighed and reached over giving James's hand a squeeze.

"Mum, I tried to walk home, but I ran into Marcus and he...he had been drinking."

"That's not an excuse," James muttered.

"Did he hurt you?" Mr. Evans demanded.

"He tried...but James and Sirius saved me."

"Where is he?" He had his jacket in a flash and started angrily searching for his keys.

"No, dad!" Lily ran up and tried to stop him from searching. "James already did that part! There's no need-"

"This is why we told you to stay away from him, Lily!" Mrs. Evans said sharply. "Why didn't you listen?"

"I did! He offered me a ride home, and I didn't think there was anything wrong with that..."

"You drove with him drunk?!" Mrs. Evans yelled.

"We give him a second chance and this is how he repays us," Mr. Evans muttered.

"Mr. Evans," James spoke, "I don't think finding him tonight will do any good. It would be better to wait until the morning when he's sober enough to remember everything."

Mr. Evans stared at James and then walked away into the kitchen muttering inaudible things.

"Lily, we're glad you're alright but...you need to use your head," Mrs. Evans said softly. She walked over and gave Lily a hug. "It would tear this family apart if anything happened to you." Mrs. Evans took a step back and held Lily's face in her hands, "I'll make you some tea to help your nerves. We'll call the police like James said in the morning."

James watched Mrs. Evans join her husband in the kitchen and turned back to Lily. He flinched when he saw that she had more tears streaming down her cheeks.

"Lils," He rushed to her. "What's wrong? It's all going to be okay!" He crushed her in his arms trying to give comfort.

"It was never supposed to be like this," she whispered, "Thank you for being there tonight...I owe you even more now." She gently untangled herself from James's arms and planted another soft kiss on his cheek. "I think I'll just go to bed...I'll see you at work or owl you."

"Are you sure? I could stay a little bit longer."

"No, it's ok." She walked him over to the front door and opened it. 

"Good night," he mumbled.

______________________________________________

James sat on the sofa in his living room after getting a phone call from Mrs. Evans

"Due to the...event," she said, "we thought it would be better if the two of you took the weekend off...just until we get everything figured out.

He had of course agreed and tried not to worry when he didn't hear from Lily. Luckily, Remus had showed up that morning laughing about the note James sent last night. It helped (in a small way) keep his mind occupied.

"Just come?" he laughed. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Moony, this is serious!" Sirius tried to explain, "You should've heard the way they were talking about it. Remember that muggle war we learned about? How our parents are always talking about the old muggle bombings or whatever?"

"World War II? Of course."

"It's going to be like that, mate, but much worse because we have to keep it secret from muggles!"

"Quiet down, little ones," Jasmine walked into the room, "The parents have news."

She sat on the chair of the sofa gaining a glare from Sirius. "Don't you have an apartment of your own?"

"Sure I do, but it's summer! When else am I supposed to see my little brother?" She reached across Sirius to pinch James's cheek.

"Jas!" James complained.

Remus started laughing. "You guys never change," he muttered.

"Boys," Mr. Potter walked into the room. Everyone settled down. "We've got to talk."

Mrs. Potter stood in the doorway his eyes brooding, but James and Sirius didn't have time to notice. Their bodies perked up and turned their full attention on their father.

"We're going to talk to Dumbledore about what happened last night. I'm not promising anything about you being able to talk to him...and Remus I can't speak for you, but I'm sure he'll have the same verdict for you all."

"Why can't we go with you?" James asked, "I think it's only fair that we're there to show our side of the fight."

"Agreed," Sirius said.

"No," Mrs. Potter spoke up. "You're going to stay here with Jasmine. Be careful while we're gone. I don't want you boys out too late, and coming home in the early hours of the morning doesn't count." She eyed the three carefully trying to make her point clear.

"Nothing to worry about, mum," Jasmines said sharing the watchful eye. "I've got them."

They said their quick goodbyes and then Apparated from the room.

"I've got them," Sirius mimicked. 

"Shut up, Sirius!"

"You're the one being all goody, goody. Honestly, twenty years old and you're still sucking up?"

"No, I respect them! I grew up and decided that maybe acting like an idiot wasn't the best way to live my life."

"Oh, so you think I'm idiot?!"

James sighed and walked out the door with Remus chuckling behind him, "Not even two seconds and they're back at it,"

"It's starting to get worse."

"They'll get it together eventually."

"Yeah, right about when hell freezes over."

Remus laughed and slapped James's shoulder. It had been over a month since they had all hung out and Remus didn't like to admit it, but that one full moon was lonely. He hated that his friends had broken the law to be with him when he transformed, but he hated it even more when they weren't there with him. Biting, scratching, howling by himself.

Excluding the urgency of the letter from James and Sirius, he was embarrassingly excited to go and see them. He only thought for a second about Peter not being here, but he was sure they would owl him by the end of the night to have him come over.

"How's Lily?"

James fidgeted a little. "Good, I think...She didn't go to work either."

"Why don't you have her come over? I'm sure she needs a break from parents too."

"You think she would want to? After...last night?"

"Only one way to find out!" He pulled his wand out and pointed it towards the kitchen. "Accio keys!" They flew into his hands.

"Watch where you're fling those keys, Lupin!" Sirius yelled.

Remus laughed. "Lets go!"
_______________________

edt. 10/12/10
hi everyone! omgsh i'm so sorry this took so long! i had some technical difficulties. but thanks to some of the users and staff i found out how to fix it!
so here's the chapter! i hope it was worth the wait!!
don't forget to review!!

Chapter 11: What A Night
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What A Night



Lily had tried to keep herself occupied, but her choices of entertainment were coming on a short.

When she was really little she would watch t.v. with Petunia. Then she met Severus and they would go out and about. Long after that she was constantly with Marcus, Mike, or Paula. Now? She could owl James, but she was afraid of their confrontation. Last night he hadn't said anything about her being with Marcus, but would he think to say something today?

She sighed and walked out from her bedroom. She could hear Petunia and her fiance Vernon laughing downstairs, and though her mum might not hear it, it was completely forced.

The doorbell rang and Lily slowly walked over to open it, but before her hand was on the knob she could hear the people on the other side.

"Oh, Evaaans!" one sang.

"We call her Lily now, Padfoot. She's on our side!" another said, "James stop trying to look through the window!"

She laughed and pulled the door open. "Hey, boys," she greeted.

"My, oh, my, Evans! Hey back!" Sirius said playfully. James punched him in the arm, but he just winked at Lily and walked past her into the house.

"Hey, Lily!" Remus smiled. "Its been a while, eh?" He gave her a gentle hug and then followed behind Sirius.

James gave her a kiss on the cheek. "How's your day?"

"Better now." She gave him a hug around the waist and then ushered him into the house. With her family in the kitchen she led them to her backyard where they decided to lay under a tree. "What mischief are you guys up to today?"

"Give us some credit there, Evans! We aren't always doing something bad!" Sirius defended them.

"Just occasionally throughout every day," James shrugged.

"Yeah, or when Jasmine decides we needed a babysitter," Sirius muttered.

"Babysit?" Lily laughed, "Aren't the three of you a little old for that?"

"Apparently not."

She let out another laugh making James smile and be glad that she was being herself. He had been so scared that he would come over and find the same girl that had been there the night before. But then, what was he thinking? This was the Lily Evans. She was one of the strongest people he knew, and he didn't expect her to get soft on him now.

Remus waited for James to invite Lily over to the house, but he was staring so intently at her, he figured he should just throw it out there before James got into too much of trance.

"Have any plans for the night, Lils?" he asked.

She thought about her sister in the kitchen and then dinner they were supposed to have with her fiance's parents, but she knew it would probably be better for everyone if she "forgot".

"Not really," she said, "You guys?"

"James' parents are out of town for the night. We were going to have a few select people over."

"Will I know any of the few select?"

"Sure! You'll know all of them!" he shrugged. "You, me, James, Sirius and Jasmine!"

"And Polly!" Sirius exclaimed.

"Polly?" The other three asked at once.

"P....Paul.....Polly....Pinky...."

"Paula?" James suggested.

"Yeah!"

"No!" Lily scrunched her eye brows together.

"Please, Lily?" Sirius begged. "I promise I'll be good this time!"

"You'll be good?" Lily stopped scrunching her face. She took a second to look at Sirius' face and then busted out laughing. "Y-you'll be good?"

Sirius turned to James in a huff. "Your girlfriend is being very disrespectful."

Lily immediately stopped laughing. "You ditching my friend is disrespectful. You using her for a hook up is disrespectful. And was it only me there or did someone say they couldn't be themselves around her not too long ago?"

Sirius could tell he had stepped into dangerous territory. "I didn't mean it, Lils! I was just saying that you could've been....nicer?"

She rolled her eyes and James quietly suggested to Sirius to stop speaking so stupidly.

"So what do you think, Lily?" Remus asked. "We'll have fun!"

She looked over at James who only had a thoughtful look on his face. 'What does that mean?' she thought to herself.

"Is it okay with you, James?" she decided to asked.

"Of course!" he almost yelled. " I mean, we'll have a lot of fun, you know?"

"Alright, fine," she laughed, "What time should I come over?"

"Seven."

"Five."

"Eleven!" They all gave their own answers.

"Er..." James looked around. "I like eight. You guys?"

"Oh, yeah!"

"Sure!"

Lily shook her head and wondered if these boys would ever entirely grow up.

"Okay," she agreed. "Eight it is. Should I bring anything?"

"No, just yourself will be fine," James shrugged.

"Plus, if we don't have anything there's always Scooter. He can get us anything!" Sirius said.

The other two nodded.

After Mrs. Evans brought them out some sandwiches, the boys decided to leave. Lily walked them to the door and they made their way to James's car that was parked just a few spaces down.

"See, Prongs? Told you it would be ok!" Remus clapped him on the back.
____________________________________________

Lily had taken forever to pick out what she wanted to wear. It was summer, but it was at night. It was inside, but there could be an air conditioner. Too many options left her in some jeans and a t-shirt...something so simple turned into maximum difficulty.

When she walked up to the door she knocked and waited. Knocked...waited....and thought about knocking one more time, but instead just walked in.

"Hello?" she called out.

The house was slightly dimmed with only a few of the candles on the chandelier lit. She could hear voices and laughter, but the providers of the noise couldn't be seen.

"James?"

A door opened and light flooded out into the hallways.

"That you, Evans?" Sirius swaggered out. "We've been waiting for you!"

"Have you been drinking?"

"Maybe..." he walked over to lock the front door and threw his arm around her shoulders.

She slightly tensed up when thoughts of her previous night came to her, but allowed him to direct her into the room. When they walked in she could see a pair of feet flung over the top of the sofa, Remus digging through a refrigerator, and James doing a weird dance jig next to him.

"Look who I found!" Sirius announced.

A head came up from the sofa and Lily realized that it was Peter's feet she had seen and Remus waved without coming out from the fridge.

"Lily!" James exclaimed.

She tried to laugh, but it came out as a nervous giggle. He tried to come over to her while doing his jig, but gave up and did a weird skipping action instead.

"How're you tonight, love?" he asked wrapping his arms around her waist. He pulled her in tighter for a hug, but her hands slightly pushed against his chest.

"Um...good. Looks like you're having a good time."

"Yeah...celebration for the reunion of the Marauders!"

"Here, here!" she heard Sirius cheer.

Lily was starting to look for a way out. She wasn't ready to be around anyone like this, not even James.

"Maybe I should skip out and you guys can have the night for yourselves," she suggested while trying to untangle herself from his arms.

"No!" He grabbed the back of her legs and lifted her up around his waist. "When else am I supposed to get you alone?"

He leaned in and bit her softly on her neck. Lily gulped ready to have an anxiety attack. 'What if he can't stop himself? He's going to get ahead of the both of us and I won't be able to fight him off and the other guys are going to be too hammered to notice...'

She pushed against his chest to get him off of her neck. "Stop, James."

He looked up in her eyes, but it was hard for him to identify the look they had in them. "What's wrong?"

"Just stop! Let me down!"

He immediately dropped her and without a second to spare, she sprinted from the room.

"What'd you do?" Remus called.

"I...I don't know," his brow scrunched.

"Well, go find her then! If Jasmine finds out we're drinking we're all being sent to Hell!" Sirius said.

James ran out of the room and saw that the front door was still locked and knew she hadn't gone outside.

"Scooter!" he called.

The small house elf snapped out of the air. "Yes, Young Master?"

"Have you seen Lily?"

"Yes!" he nodded eagerly, "She ran up the stairs! Would Young Master like Scooter to find where she run?"

James had already started running up the stairs. "No, thank you, Scooter."

When he reached the top of the stairs he started to automatically head for his room, where else would she go?

"James Harold Potter!" he heard a scream. He froze on spot and saw Jasmine with such a look of ferocity he wanted to run into his room and shut the door. "What the hell are you thinking?" she hissed. "Do you even remember what happened last night? Or are you that stupid to think Lily had forgotten?"

"What're you talking about?"

She stormed up to his face. "Lily just came sobbing into my room saying you've been drinking." James's eyes were confused. She hit him upside the head. "Don't you remember last night when her ex boyfriend tried to take advantage of her when he was drunk?"

"Shit..." he mumbled.

Jasmine hit his head again. "Yeah, that's right! You're a Class A jack off! Congratulations!"

"I didn't think she would mind!" he exclaimed. "She seemed perfectly fine this afternoon!"

"Well, duh! Wouldn't you want to feel normal after that kind of thing too?" James started to answer, but he was cut off. "Get in there and apologize. I didn't give you all of that advice for you to ruin it with your own stupidity."

James couldn't believe he had overlooked the situation. He was so worried about her earlier, and this was how he decided to help her cope? "Real nice, James...real nice," he muttered to himself.

He walked down the hallway to Jasmine's room and gently pushed the door open. Lily was sitting on the bed facing the wall with her hands working furiously to get the tears off of her face.

"Lily?" he said hesitantly.

"Just a second," she said taking a moment to rub tears off her cheeks. It made James's insides twist to see her eyes puffy and her face turned red. It made him feel sick that he had been the one to make her cry and turn into the Lily he hated to see.

"I'm so sorry," he gushed running towards her. He got on his knees in front of her and cupped her hands. "I didn't mean to make you cry. I thought I would be fine with a couple of drinks in me, but I didn't realize it would make you so upset."

"It's okay," she said softly. James could still hear the hurt in her voice. "I know you didn't mean to...but seeing you like that and knowing i'm powerless against you-"

"You are not powerless," James said sternly, "You are one of the strongest people I know."

"Maybe mentally, but not physically. There's no way I'd ever be able to fight off someone like you off."

"Mentally is physically in the wizard world, Lils. I'm pretty confident you would have anyone flinging across the room before they could even touch you. And I know you're scared, but I hope you know you will never be powerless against me. Once you say stop, I stop. I won't ever push you farther than where you want to go."

Lily felt her throat tighten. She knew James meant what he said. It was all there in his hazel eyes.

"Thank you, James," she whispered. She leaned down and kissed him on the cheek. "You have no idea how much that means to me."

"Do you want to go back downstairs?"

"No, I think I should go."

"Go? Lily you haven't even been here for half an hour! Am I still making you uncomfortable? I promise I'll only drink water for the rest of the night."

"No, it's not that! I just feel stupid from crying! I hate crying!"

She began rubbing her face again trying to rid the evidence, but James stopped her hands.

"It's okay to cry sometimes," he reassured her. He moved his hands to her face and gently kissed her on the lips. Her lips only gave a small effort to kiss him back, but he understood.

Lily's eyes started to shimmer again from all of the different emotions she was feeling. She wanted to kiss James, but she just couldn't. She wanted to believe that she wasn't powerless, but she knew she still would. Most of all she wanted to be held in his arms so she jumped forward and gave him the biggest hug she could.

A few shaky breaths escaped from her and she tried to keep them quiet, but the way James held her in the embrace, gently running his fingers through her hair and grasping like he never wanted to let go made it impossible for her not to let it all out.

"Thank you, James," she whispered. He knew the double meaning of her words.

"You're welcome..." he muttered just to appease her. "Did you still want to go home?"

She pulled away and pulled off some of the hair that was sticking to her wet face.

"Maybe in a little while," she shrugged. "Do you think we could just...hang out?"

"Of course," he laughed, "That's all I've wanted since third year.

"You're sweet," she smiled. She reached down and gave him another kiss on the cheek.

"Do you think we could go in my room though? It's kind of weird to be hanging out in here without my sister."

Lily laughed and hand in hand they walked down the hallway together. Lily was sure that whatever happened that night she would feel right at home in his arms.
___________________________________________
Downstairs, Sirius and Jasmine were sitting on the couch listening for signs of Lily and James, but it was absolutely silent.

"Silence is never good," Jasmine sighed.

She had come downstairs to yell at the boys when she was done with James, but one smooth talker led to another and before she knew she had a drink in her hand and she was starting to relax. It was the first peaceful moment she could remember with Sirius for as long as she had known him.

Remus had fallen asleep in the kitchen chair with food in his lap while Peter decided to bail out early. That left the two of them in each other's company with for once, nothing to fight about.

Sirius shook his head laughing. "Oh dear Jasmine, you really don't know James, do you?"

"Of course I do! But I think for anyone an awkward silence is awful!"

"No, no, no. You're looking at silence all in the wrong way. Knowing Lily she would be screaming if she had something on her mind to say to James. And if James can keep her quiet..." He clicked his tongue and gave a wink.

Jasmine couldn't believe her ears. "I don't get it! How does he do it? If I were Lily I wouldn't let him take one step towards me."

"It's easy," Sirius shrugged. He scooted closer to her on the cushions. "You look her in the eyes, caress her cheek," he reached over and touched her cheek bone. "Then I'll just tell you how beautiful your eyes are and how they make me melt like the honey color they are. That I've had a thing for you since the first time we were introduced."

Jasmine started laughing. "Yeah that might work, except Lily's eyes are green. That would really get her going."

"I'm not talking about Lily."

Jasmine stopped laughing and noticed how close Sirius had gotten. "Oh, boy."
________________________
author's note: muhahah i had been waiting for a time to write that.
thank you as always for reading! i'll have the next chapter up as soon as i can!! eek!

disclaimer: i disclaim.

Chapter 12: Naked
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Naked




"JASMINE MAURINE POTTER!" a scream filled the Potter house. "JAMES POTTER WHERE ARE YOU?!"

James awoke at a start hearing his own name.

"Oh shit..." he muttered.

"What's going on?" Lily popped up. Her hair was slightly sticking up in the front, all of her baby hairs making an appearance.

James jumped from the bed and starting digging around in his drawer. "You've got to hide."

"What? Why?"

"My parents are here!" he said urgently. He could hear footsteps coming down the hallway. "Perfect!" James said in victory as he pulled out a shimmery cloak. "Put this on. Don't speak, don't move. Just stand in the corner while I work things out, okay?"

"Okay, give it to me!" She ripped the cloak out of his hands and wrapped it around her thin body right before his door flew open.

"James Potter you have got some explaining to do!" Mrs. Potter bursted. "This place is a mess! And why weren't you keeping an eye on Sirius? I thought I had seen him naked for the last time, but there he was spread out on the couch!"

"He was naked?"

"You bet! Where is your sister?"

"I-I don't know! I just came up here and slept!"

Mrs. Potter came a step closer. "If I find one ounce of Fire Whiskey down there you are grounded from everything except work." James's face fell. "That's right. Quidditch, Lily, Remus's house, and any other rendezvous you have planned."

"Mum? What's going on?" Jasmine appeared in the doorway.

"Where were you last night?" Mrs. Potter asked murderously.

"Here! I was in my room the whole time! What's going on?"

Mrs. Potter looked between the two. "Just get down there and start cleaning."

Jasmine automatically ran down the stairs, but James stayed in the same spot making his mum glare even harder.

"Mum, I'll be right there! I've got to change!" He motioned to his boxers.

She walked out of the room with a last glare and followed Jasmine. "Sirius Black you had better be clothed!" she yelled as a precaution.

He shut his door and let out the breath he had been holding.

"Lily?" he whispered.

"Yeah?" she whispered back.

Lily giggled as she watched him grope around the room for the cloak. Finally he caught her and pulled it over her head.

"Well, that was close," he smiled.

"A little too close. I can't believe we fell asleep last night!" she smacked her forehead. "My parents are going to kill me!"

"Maybe they didn't notice."

"I doubt it...the only way I get away with anything is by saying I'll be at Paula's. Why did I tell Sirius she couldn't come? Why?"

James laughed and leaned down to give her a small kiss.

"James Potter it doesn't take that long to get dressed!" Mrs. Potter yelled from below.

James groaned. "Coming!" he yelled back. "I better go find out what happened last night..."

"Alright," Lily laughed. "Can't wait to hear how Sirius got naked again."

James laughed and gave her another kiss. "I'll owl you later."

"'Kay. Bye."

She pulled out her wand and Apparated straight to her room; she hoped her 'pop' hadn't been too loud. Looking at the clock on her bedside she saw that it was 7am. Her parents would have left an hour ago if they had work.

'What day is it?' she quickly thought. 'Monday, Thursday...Sunday?' No...they shouldn't be at work. Lily crossed her fingers they were still sleeping.

She fell into her bed wishing she could be back with James. Lily couldn't remember a more comfortable night. James held her in his arms combing her hair through his fingers and keeping her warm with his own body heat. It was better than any mattress or blanket heater she could have every asked for. She couldn't wait for the next time she could fall asleep with him.

Just remembering it made her sigh and giggle like a school girl. There was a light knock on her door and Lily hurriedly threw her bed's covers over herself to hide the clothes she had worn last night.

"Morning, Lily," her mum poked her head in.

"Good morning, mum," she said uncertainly. 'Does she know?!'

"I'm sorry I fell asleep last night before you got in! Going out with Petunia and Vernon took all of my energy!"

"Oh no! It's perfectly fine! I didn't expect you to stay up for me."

"What time did you get in, anyhow? Usually the door wakes me up..."

"I was late. It wasn't until one. I was going to call, but I didn't want to wake everyone up with the phone."

"No, no, it's fine. I'm making pancakes downstairs, so feel free to come get some."

"Thanks, mum!"

The door shut and Lily almost started laughing. She couldn't believe her luck! Usually it had been Petunia to get away with everything...but then again, maybe it was because Petunia lived in the house to be a tattle tale that she had always gotten caught before. Her jaw dropped at the revolution.

'I might have to try this breaking rules thing more often...'
______________________________________

"What in the blazing name of Merlin happened last night?" James asked once he got downstairs.

Sirius nervously scratched the back of his head. The couch was overturned, the refrigerator was completely disorganized and food containers littered the floor. Their parents had gone to discuss punishment forms with each other in the kitchen, so James was sure Sirius would give him a straight answer.

"I-I don't know, Prongs."

James cocked an eyebrow. "You don't know?"

Sirius looked at Jasmine, who had become very focused on cleaning up the room.

"No, not really. Just remember Jasmine yelling at us for a little bit and then...blank!"

James' eyebrow still didn't lower. "You've never blanked out once while drinking. Did you invite Paula over?" Sirius's eyes almost popped out of his head, begging James not to say any more. "You did, didn't you! Sirius, you old dog!" James punched him on the shoulder.

"No, really! I don't remember!"

"Oh come on, I promise I won't tell Lily."

"I'm serious! It must've been me, Remus and Peter."

"You're lying. You had sex last night."

"No...I....er..." Sirius was running out of lies. It was true that you could tell whenever he had sex. His hair did an odd flippy thing...no one knew why, but it just did!

"Will you boys shut up and start cleaning? I shouldn't even have to be cleaning right now. Don't make it worse by talking about your sex lives," Jasmine interrupted.

Sirius shrugged to James and went to put the couch up right.

"I'm going to find out sooner or later!" James laughed.

"Merlin, I hope not..." Sirius muttered to himself.

He knew James wouldn't hesitate to tear him apart if he found out about Jasmine, and who would blame him? He had pulled the ultimate betrayal any friend could ever do. He imagined that if he had a little sister he wouldn't even let a boy hold her hand! Especially it if was his best friend.

"James, where's Remus?" Jasmine asked.

"Er...I don't know...Sirius, do you know? Or can you remember?" Sirius shook his head. "Fine. I'll go look for him."

James walked out of the room, and Sirius waited for the bomb to go off. Jasmine would without a doubt go off about Paula and his head would probably be sore from her hitting it so many times. He looked up, careful to avoid any flying objects, and almost fell over when Jasmine was still cleaning, her face not even red from anger.

"Were you uh...listening to us?"

Jasmine looked up and brushed a piece of hair behind her ear. "Yeah," she shrugged.

"So you're not...mad?"

Jasmine crinkled her brow. "Should I be? You didn't tell him the truth, did you?"

"No, but-"

She shrugged. "Then that's all I can ask for!"

Sirius couldn't believe his ears. He was pretty sure that Jasmine wasn't a one-night-stand type of girl, but she was acting so unattached it made him second guess himself.

"Do you think we should talk about last night?" Sirius asked.

"Why?"

"Well, we did ehem-"

"I know what we did," she snapped. "We don't need to talk about it. Just forget it ever happened."

"Really?"

"Yes, really. And tell James some fake name so he'll stop pestering you. He's the last person who needs to know."

Jasmine stormed from the room leaving Sirius in shock. He knew he wasn't one for long term relationships, but did she really think he would shag his best friend's sister and not expect him to try for something longer than one night? Especially since that sister was Jasmine. They had known each other for so long, and something like this could ruin the relationship they had together. Given, it was based on arguing on things like whether or not the sky is blue, but it was still something!

"That's fine," he muttered to himself, "Sirius Black is a bachelor for life."
____________________________________

When Mr. Evans called Marcus into his office, everyone prepared for a bad split...they prepared correctly. Marcus sat in front of Mr. Evans pleading desperately for his job and apologized for what he had done, but Mr. Evans had had enough.

"You have pulled the last straw, Marcus. You're lucky I don't have the police coming after you with that kind of stunt on my own daughter!"

He was finding it difficult to keep their meeting professional. All he saw was a broken man who wasn't intending on fixing himself. James had done a number on him though, he had to give him credit. It looked like his nose had been broken so both of his eyes were circled by a deep purple of bruising.

"Please, sir, you know I would never intentionally hurt Lily. I made a mistake! Please!"

"I've already let one of those mistakes slide. I warned you then not to mess up again, but you didn't listen."

Marcus's face started to look mashed between a mask of innocence and his true face of anger.

"THIS IS YOUR FAULT!" he roared. "You're the one who made us stop seeing each other! If we had been together again none of this would have happened! She would have wanted me instead of that joke Potter!"

"That's enough!" Mr. Evans yelled back. "Sign the papers and leave. If anyone sees you within a mile of the store or Lily I will call the police. Is that clear, Mr. Herrings?"

Marcus gritted his teeth and grasped the pen in his hand so hard that his knuckles were beginning to turn white. He signed the lines on the paper, almost ripping the paper while doing so.

"This is all BULL! She's going to come running straight into my arms one day and none of you will be able to stop her!"

He stormed from the market with the employees staring after him. No one except the owners, Lily, and James knew what happened. The yelling match made everyone wonder though if things in the business had gotten personal.

After being filled in on the situation, Michael tried to go in and speak on Marcus's behalf saying he just needed some sort of therapy, but when Mr. Evans shut him down before he could even suggest a plan Michael started to give attitude.

"It isn't right that he doesn't even get a fair trial! How do we know what really happened?"

"Michael, if you don't agree with the terms the store has come to you can leave. If you want a job though I suggest you put this in the past and focus on your work," Mrs. Evans warned him.

He left the office with his head down refusing to talk to anyone.

Since James was newer to the store the employees hadn't attacked him with questions. They tried to edge around the situation and hoped that he would slip up with a story, but once he sensed what they were after he would scoff and walk away.

Lily had it a little harder. Since she knew everyone for so long they weren't shy at trying to get the answers, but they didn't know the pain they were causing her by being so blunt.

"I thought we were best friends. Why you can't trust me?" Paula complained. "What kind of friendship is that?"

"Paula, come on," Lily said a little shaky, "You would understand if you knew, but I just can't tell you right now."

Paula crossed her ams and let out a huff. "Well make sure to let me know when I'm reliable enough to talk to." She walked away from Lily's register to a bagger named Hallie that Lily had never been close with.

Lily could tell by Hallie's raised eyebrows that the information Paula got wasn't what she had been waiting for.

"Lily!" a voice exclaimed. She took a deep breath and tried to count to ten before she lost her temper. "Lily!" they called again. Mario came through her register line. "How are ya', kid?"

"Couldn't be better!" She rolled her eyes to add on the sarcasm.

"Keep your head up, girl. You know how this store works. Everyone wants to be included!"

"They wouldn't want to be if they knew..." she mumbled.

Mario's lips slightly frowned. "I don't want to know what happened. I'm just glad the sleaze-ball is gone. He was always leaving a mess in my department..."

He went on asking how James was doing in the front end since his first day and it made Lily smile for the change of conversation.

'Some people do care,' she thought.
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Author's Note: I'm sorry this one isn't too long, but you know how there has to be like a break from one big thing to another. lol.
Still! Review with any suggestions&comments!

Disclaimer: do I have to do this anymore? lol! so obviously not j.k.

Chapter 13: Lily Protection Program
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Lily Protection Program



Lucius Malfoy sat in a dark room anxiously bouncing his leg up and down. His mission had been clear; he was to go out and recruit all of the pureblood families. If they refused he was given permission to do whatever he needed to, to get them to join.

Suddenly, there were footsteps in the hallway, possibly two sets, but he couldn't be sure. He pressed his hand down on his leg to make it stop bouncing, knowing the Dark Lord would still be able to sense his fear. The door opened and his soon-to-be sister in law stepped in.

She threw a smirk in his direction and said, "The Dark Lord is ready to see you."

She stepped to the side and in came Lord Voldemort himself. He reached up for his hood and slowly pulled it down so that his eyes could stare into Lucius's. He sighed and then walked deeper into the room to stand in front of the young man.

"Malfoy," he said, "I believe you have information to report back to me."

"Yes, my Lord," he said holding down the lump in his throat. "Orion Black, his son and myself went to the Potter's to recruit them, but they refused."

"I see. So what did you do with them?" Lucius took in a deep breath and started to stand, but Voldemort stopped him. "Sit!" he barked. Lucius was looking down at his hands, but Voldemort didn't have the patience. He grabbed him by the chin and forced him to look in his eyes. "You. Did. Nothing?!"

"M-my Lord there were too many them! If we had tried to overtake them it would have been a failure!"

Voldemort removed his hand from his chin and slapped it hard across his face. "Deatheaters do not fail! It never matters what the numbers are! You do what I say! Even it means you have to die in the process."

"I-I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" he started to say profusely.

"This is why you aren't on any of the special missions, Malfoy. You can't even recruit people without running off scared." He tried to calm himself by stroking his wand. "Bella," he called.

"Yes, my Lord?" She jumped forward at the sound of her name.

"I'm putting you in charge of the recruitment of the Potters." Lucius gasped, but didn't voice his complaint. "Take whichever three deatheaters you want- excluding Malfoy. He can't seem to handle the pressure."

Bella bowed her head. "Thank you, my Lord."

With a final scowl in Lucius's direction, Voldemort stormed away, his footsteps light as a feather. Lucius groaned and threw his head into his hands.

"Too bad, brother," Bella taunted, "I'll be sure to take care of my little cousin and his friends just right!"
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Lily sighed as she locked the doors of the Corner Market. It was just another night, and even though Mike was closing with her, James didn't take any chances. He and Sirius walked into the market right before it closed and decided that they would personally make sure Lily got home safe.

"I trust Mike, you guys. I'll be fine!" she protested in a hushed voice. She didn't want Michael to hear them, but she had a feeling that the hard look on their faces would tip him off.

"That's what you think," Sirius scoffed. "What side do you think he's on?"

"He wouldn't be like that. We've known each other for too long!"

James loved Lily's hope and trust in people, but it had gone too far. She needed to get harder skin and start looking at reality.

"Lily, how long did you know Marcus?" James asked. Lily flinched, but didn't say anything. "Exactly. I know he's your friend, but he's Marcus's best friend. Even if he innocently let Marcus in just to wait for him to get off, something could happen! We're going to be here every time you close."

"You guys are stupid. My parents wouldn't schedule me with Michael if they didn't think I was safe."

She was starting to get mad with these boys. They didn't know anything about the bonds people in the market had with each other. There might have been a bump....okay a mountain of troubles with Marcus, but that was only one person! Never had anyone else ever betrayed another employee before.

"It's all apart of the Lily Protection Program. Relax, Evans!" Sirius said.

"The Lily what?" She sent a hard glare in James's direction and mumbled angrily, "Ridiculous. This is all ridiculous."

Lily could hear Sirius chuckling, but grabbed some old sale signs to take to the back room. She passed by the aisle Michael was working on and he cleared his throat to get her attention. She backed up to look at him and he waved her over.

"What's up?" she asked walking over.

"Why's Potter and his buddy here?" Lily could tell he was trying not to be defensive, but his clenched right hand told her otherwise.

"They're giving me a lift home and decided to show up a little early."

Michael let out a scoff. "A little early? We aren't getting out of here for another half hour."

Lily sighed and shifted her weight. "I know...just let them be here. They're over protective."

Michael's eyebrow raised. "They're protecting you from me?" Lily started to deny it, but Michael continued, "That's exactly it, isn't it? I can't be trusted because Marcus is my mate!"

"That's not true! You know if I didn't trust you we wouldn't be working together."

"This is all bull, Lily. I'm sorry about what Marcus did. He was born an idiot. But it isn't fair for me to be put under the same perspective. I'm not Marcus!"

"I know!" Lily exclaimed. She let out a frustrated groan and stomped one of her feet. "Boys just make everything complicated!" She started to walk away, but turned back around for just a second to yell, "I hate your species!"

James and Sirius had started to go to Lily's aid, but once they heard her yelling about boys in general they decided to back off for a little bit.

They sat in chairs in the foyer of the store; James throwing and catching a lime he found and Sirius casually lounging with his feet up on a table.

"This is our last month of holiday," James murmured. Then he started to laugh, "I wonder how the school is going to react to me and Lily going out."

Sirius let out a chuckle. "Minnie will probably die of shock! Her perfect Lily Evans going out with Marauder James Potter."

"It's going to be the best year of our lives."

"Or the worst! Who am I supposed to woo ladies with now? Remus is too considerate and Peter is...Peter."

"You'll live."

Their conversation stopped and Sirius gave a forlorn sigh making James glance over at him.

"You okay, mate?" he asked. Sirius only gave a shrug. "You don't have to wait if you don't want to. I'm sure I could handle a few muggles," James laughed.

Sirius fiddled with his thumbs for a few minutes and then decided he would take up the offer. James almost ran to get the door keys before Sirius reminded him that he was very capable of Apparating. They laughed and then Sirius took out his wand to leave. His original plan was to go straight home, but then he decided he could use a good walk.

He appeared just a few blocks away from their house and shivered, not from the weather but from the confusion that was going on inside his head. Since the night that he and Jasmine had been together things at the house felt awkward and unusually quiet.They were in a secret agreement to avoid each other, which included Sirius having to hide in a broom closet a time or two.

No one in the house seemed to realize what was going on. Sure, Scooter gave him a funny look when he would open the closet to find Sirius, but he stayed silent.

"Not my place, Sir!" he would say before hurrying away.

Every time he found himself in one of those closets trying to avoid a broom to his bum or his foot getting stuck in a box, he became more and more upset! He shouldn't be hiding in bloody broom closets just to avoid a woman he had sex with!

"I'm Sirius Black!" he said out loud, "Girls hide from me, I don't hide from them!"

He stormed the rest of the way home and was scolded by Mrs. Potter for slamming the door, but he was on a mission; he would apologize later. He walked straight up to Jasmine's door and knocked, which she opened in her summer pajamas. Oh Merlin, how he loved her summer pajamas. Shorts to show off her muscular legs and tiny t-shirts to hug her every curve.

She quickly threw on a sweatshirt when she saw it was Sirius and was sure to keep her door only slightly open.

"Yeah?" she asked. Her voice was free from any immediate emotion making her sound flat.

"Can I come in?" he asked, "This isn't really something I want to say in the hallway."

She tapped her right foot on the ground contemplating whether or not she wanted to have this conversation. She knew they would eventually, but she was hoping that wouldn't be for another good twenty years so that they could laugh about the whole situation.

'Or at least he would laugh,' she thought, 'I would have a million bloody daggers going through me!'

The night Sirius had seduced her she saw a whole different side to him. He was gentle, loving, and a man. But when they were laying there and his sweet murmurs turned into quiet snores, the realization hit her.

'Oh dear Merlin,' she had thought,'I'm a pedophile!'

She waited until his snores grew deeper and then snuck away from under Sirius' arm to throw back on her pants and shirt. She sprinted up the stairs and quietly shut her door so that she could scream into her pillow and jump on her bed without anyone waking up.

Those moments with Sirius had been incredible! Her climax was so powerful she was surprised no one had walked in on them. But on the other hand, he was her little brother's best friend. They fought all the time to the extent that she hadn't even had any other opinion of him other than that he was a jerk.

Jasmine was apparently taking too long with thinking because Sirius slid between her and the door to get inside the room. She could smell his cologne filter into her room and she really wished it wouldn't. It hadn't meant anything to her before, but now when she smelled it, it made her stomach twist with anxiety.

"Thank you for not running away," Sirius said.

"I haven't been-" she tried to defend herself.

"Yes, you have." She opened her mouth to say something else, but Sirius continued, "But so have I. It's a bit ridiculous, don't you think?"

Jasmine gritted her teeth because she knew he was right, but so badly wanted to make it sound like it was his fault.

"Fine," she said, "We'll start acting more normal. You don't jump into closets and I can look in your eyes without wanting to scream my head off."

Sirius laughed and sat himself on her bed. "Scream you head off, huh? Just like the other-"

"Scream my head off as in I would rather have to deal with those damn Death Eaters than relive that night."

"That's not what you said that night!"

"Merlin, Sirius!" she almost yelled, "How do you expect us to be normal if you're going to keep talking about it?"

"I'm getting us back to normal! Look at us! We're already in a fight."

Jasmine threw her head into the palm of her hand, but couldn't help to laugh. His logic was almost as ridiculous as the entire situation. She sobered up quick though so they could finish up the conversation.

"We're going to forget this ever happened, right?" she asked.

Sirius got up from the bed and scratched the back of his head. "Sure," he shrugged, "We were just two drunkards having a good time. No harm in that."

"And if James should ever happen to figure out?"

"Deny. Deny, deny, deny. Until he has no other choice but to believe."

He quietly left the room not too long after that and slouched the whole way to his room. Sure, they had talked, but it hadn't gone anywhere that he had wanted it to.

'What did you expect?' he thought, 'She's smart, funny and actually has a life outside of having sex. What would she want with a guy like you?'

He groaned and belly flopped onto his bed. He wished he could go back to that night and just press pause. It was the first time he had ever felt completely content. He wasn't thinking about when he should kick her out, or who he would be with next...really he just kept thinking of the two words she had said "Oh boy."

When that came out of her mouth he knew he had made no mistake as a twelve year old that Jasmine was the girl for him. Of course, through the years he had lost his way a time or two, not to mention the revenge he claimed on her for the naked couch incident, but his feelings had never stopped. For those couple of hours she was his, and then he lost her. It was time for him to get back on the saddle...however reluctantly.
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"You sure you want me to leave, Lils?" Michael asked, "You feel comfortable enough with James? If not we could both stay just to protect you from each other."

"Michael, will you shut up?" Lily snapped.

When Sirius left James decided to tag along with Lily as she worked, but Michael took it as an even deeper insult. He scoffed every time they passed and threw stupid remarks when he could.

Lily thanked Merlin a million times and over when they were finished and they could finally leave. Michael clocked out and once the door was unlocked fled from the store.

"What's his problem?" James asked, "You'd think he'd understand that we just want you to get home safe."

"You guys embarrassed him! You basically told him that you think he's either not strong enough to protect me or he's not strong enough willed to keep from attacking me!"

James shrugged it off. A man's pride was meant to be bumped around a little. 'Builds character!' he thought with a smile on his lips.

Lily locked and alarmed the store still shaking her head.

"Oh come on, Lils. You should be glad we care this much!" He threw his arm around her shoulder and pressed a kiss against his temple.

"Whatever," she grumbled.

She took a deep breath of the night air and detected a slight hint of the soon coming fall. The summer had gone by so incredibly fast she almost couldn't believe it. It felt like just the other day she and Paula were screaming with each other. Now Paula had gone a week straight not talking to her.

It was because of this reason that Lily hated being friends with so many girls. You refuse to tell them one thing and they turn on you quicker than an insulted hippogriff.

'Maybe I'll fix that tomorrow,' she thought warily. Feeling exhausted she rested her head against James's shoulder and wished more than anything that they could sleep in each other's arms again.

Like the gentleman he was, James opened the door for her and waited for her to jump in.

"Can you promise me one thing?" She leaned against the car.

"Depends."

"Believe your own words. You told me I wasn't powerless. That I could take care of myself against anyone! The only way I'm going to be able to believe that myself is if you believe in me too."

"I do believe that!" James defended himself, "I would just rather be able to protect you if I can instead of feeling useless on the sidelines." He moved in closer and wrapped his arms around her waist. "Don't take away my boyfriend duties. I've been waiting to have them for a very long time." He leaned down and gently nuzzled her neck. "I already screwed up once," he whispered, "I'm not willing to take another chance."

Lily's eyes started to water and she shrugged off James from her neck. "You didn't screw up. I did. I got into the car. I didn't call my mum. It was all just a giant mistake. Just please, please can we leave it in the past." A tear rolled down her cheek, but she kept going. "I don't want you guys hovering around me, I don't want to have to be scared of the family that's grown in that store. I need space!"

James rubbed the back of his neck finally understanding. He was sure that if Jasmine were there she would give him a good smack on his head.

"Can I still pick you up from work? Just so I can see you?"

Lily laughed and wiped away her tear. "Yeah...but you can't show up forty five minutes early," she laughed a little harder.

James smiled and walked to his side of the car. He jumped in and started the ignition, and with a tap of his wand they were on their way home.

"Maybe we need a day out of the muggle world," James suggested, "When was the last time you were in the magical world anyway?"

"The end of school? I can't believe its been that long!"

"Me either!" James suddenly shuddered, "The thought of being away from Zonko's that long....it's just wrong!"

Lily laughed and closed her eyes to imagine herself standing at the top of Hogsmeade with the fall breeze going through her hair. After her first time there in the third year, Lily could always imagine herself there to get away from a fight with Petunia or a disagreement with Severus. The only difference now in her mind was that James was there holding her hand, and there was no way she was going to let him let go.
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edt. 10/12/10
Author's Note: Hello all! My gosh can you all believe we've already gone through all of these chapters?! I can't. I keep getting confused which chapter I'm writing for. lol! But! I hope you guys liked this chapter! It kind of jumps around to everyone to catch you all up on like the death eater/sirius and jasmine/lily and james situations. lol!

As always, read&review! :)


Chapter 14: Forever Blowing Bubbles
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Forever Blowing Bubbles



James was excited! He was finally courting Lily Evans into the wizarding world, and he had taken the proper steps to make sure that Diagon Alley would be flooded with Hogwarts students.

Besides the fact that their school supplies lists had recently arrived, he sent letters to the Quidditch team saying they needed to get all of their supplies ready for the next season by today so that everything would be broken in by the time the season started, Sirius had "let it slip" in some of the letters to admiring girls that the Marauders would be there, and he told Peter, who would be sure to tell anyone that would listen.

"We're meeting at the ice cream parlor, right?" Sirius asked.

"Yep!" James said stuffing his wand into his jean pockets. "You told enough people didn't you?"

Sirius scoffed at the question. "Mate, I told Judy."

James shook his head, "So?"

"So? So Judy is the fifth year I teased all last year. She is sure to tell everyone that she's finally going to get a kiss from me, which will make everyone want to come and watch me just tease her some more!"

James laughed. "Cruel. You are a cruel one!"

"Like you're one to talk. You did the same with that girl Aubrey!"

James snorted at the memory and then walked away leaving Sirius to wonder how many girls he would be warming up to today so that he would have a full line ready for him the second he stepped onto Hogwarts territory. He decided to break his personal record of how many girls he would shag by the end of the year. Every other week he would try to have a new girl. Sure! It was daring, but there were enough girls on campus to make it happen.

He could hear Jasmine in the bathroom and silently giggled when he imagined the look on Jasmine's face if he told her his goal.

'You're disgusting!' she would say, 'I probably got a disease from you!'

He couldn't think of any other way to entertain himself so walked over the bathroom and knocked on the door.

"Hey, Jas! I want your opinion on something!" He called over the noise of the shower.

"What!" She yelled.

"Well, I was thinking about what I should apply myself to this year and I think I have a goal in mind!"

He heard her huff, "Hold on."

Sirius laughed again to himself and leaned against the wall by the door while Jasmine turned the shower off.

"Okay. What were you saying?" she said through the door.

"Well, I was just thinking that I should have something to inspire me to make it through my last year and I came up with the idea to do-"

The door swung open and Jasmine walked out with a towel wrapped around her. Water sparkletts ran down her back making a trail go in between the towel and her body.

Sirius' eyes bugged out while he took her figure in, but he couldn't help but want to tear the towel away from her body.

"Do what?" she asked without looking back.

'You, you, YOU!' his mind screamed. "Uh- I should do... some... extra credit lessons with younger years! That way I get in some extra practice and they uh...they get some help."

Jasmine stopped in her tracks from shock. She couldn't have possibly heard what she thought she just head.

"You're going to what?" she asked.

Sirius shrugged and scratched the back of his head, "Teach kids...should give my parents a good kick, eh?" he laughed.

He couldn't believe he was saying this, but it seemed to be getting easier as he went along. Plus! It wasn't like he would have to give up his other goal...this would just be an imaginary addition!

"Yeah, I'm sure it would," Jasmine blinked. She hesitated to turn back around before asking, "Really?"

"Maybe." Sirius took a few steps towards her trying his best not to look her up and down. "I could probably teach you a few things if you want. I mean, you look a hell lot better than a kid."

Jasmine was about to roll her eyes when she felt her cheeks get hot.

'I'm blushing?!' she thought incredulously, 'Dear Merlin...'

"I..." she started to say, but her tongue was getting tied, "I think I know a lot more than you do."

Sirius circled around her knowing it would get her more flustered. "I don't know. I remember you and James dueling around at school and I think I could take you down."

Jasmine laughed then, "I think I've moved on from the simple hexes and curses from Hogwarts. I've learned things you can't even imagine!"

"From who?" he asked like he didn't believe her.

Jasmine lifted her eyebrows and proudly said, "Dumbledore."

Without another word Jasmine walked away suddenly conscious of the fact that she was in a towel. Sirius chased her the whole way asking her questions and trying to get more information, but she proudly shut the door in his face.

"Come on just give me a little bit of information!" he begged.

"No way! What's my secret, is mine!"

Sirius stood in the hallway trying to remember what exactly Jasmine had been doing since she graduated Hogwarts. She'd been taking a break from full time work and school during this summer, but there weren't any times when she was missing from the house.

'I do like a girl who can defend herself,' he added to himself smirking.
___________________________________________________________________

Lily never knew what to wear to Diagon Alley. She could wear her robes and look like a witch, or wear her cute muggle clothes to look normal on the streets. She sometimes opted for both, storing her robe in her purse and throwing it on once they got there, but today she felt like looking like a muggle.

She threw on her jeans and a dark blue tank top adding on a touch of make up before running down the stairs to wait for James.

"Where you going today, dear?" her mum asked.

"James and I are going to Diagon Alley! Might Apparate to Hogsmeade, but we'll see how much shopping he can handle," Lily laughed.

"Are you going to be shopping for school supplies? I didn't see any owls come through yet..."

"They had the owl wait at my window a few nights ago. It had something different in it this year though," she said looking nonchalant.

"Really? What was it?"

Lily's face began to glow and out of her pocket she grabbed a big gold badge with the letters "HG" engraved on it.

"I got Head Girl!" she screamed.

Her mum began cheering and clapping while she danced around the room and giving Lily hugs.

"That's so spectacular for you! See what we trained you for at The Market? Hard work pays off!"

Lily laughed and rolled her eyes. Of course her success as a witch was due to a muggle market! The door bell rang and Lily skipped to the door excited to tell James about her newest position. However, it wasn't James she found at the door. Instead it was a floating envelope. A red ribbon was tied around it to keep it shut but she could still see the writing 'To Lily, Love James,' written on it.

She reached out and grabbed it bringing it into the house before any neighbors could see. As she pulled at the ribbon she could smell the faint smell of James's cologne acting as an incense . She pulled out the paper inside the envelope and read, 'Hold on tight'

With an excited giggle she yelled out a quick goodbye to her mum before she was being pulled by her naval at an unmeasurable speed. She gripped onto the letter as hard as she could and prayed to Merlin that she would land before it slipped from her grip, or before her lungs were crushed from the fast growing pressure.

Then as soon as it had started, she landed hard on grass with her knees almost buckling under her. She sucked in a big breath of air taking a few second to recompose herself.

"That probably wasn't the smoothest way to get you here..." she heard James mumble. He put his hands securely around her waist to support her standing.

She opened her eyes and saw that she was now in the Potter's backyard. It was large and roomy with lots of grass and trees. Towards the back there was a gazebo with flowers planted all around it and benches were placed underneath trees.

"No offense, James, but I could've walked here if you had told me too," she said.

"That's what Jasmine said, but I thought this way would be more exciting!"

Lily laughed despite her aching ribs. He would always that Marauder in him wanting everything to be an adventure or exciting. She straightened herself up and patted James's shoulder, "I did like it! It was very spontaneous."

This put a smile on James's face and a proud puff in his chest. "Are you ready to leave the muggle world for a few more spontaneous hours?" he asked.

"More than anything!"

They took the underground to another part of town where they could enter the Leaky Cauldron to get to Diagon Alley. Lily pulled on James's hand once they stepped off trying to get him to walk faster down the street, but he determinedly slowed the pace hoping that more people would be at the Alley.

"Can't we get a butterbeer before we go through?" James asked, "Please?"

"Fine," Lily put herself into a seat, "But if all the good copies of our books are gone I am going to be very upset."

"The owls just arrived. I'm sure everyone is waiting until the weekend to come here anyway," James tried to soothe her.

The bartender brought out their drinks giving a wink to James and together they sipped while the warmth of the drink spread through their bodies.

"Did I tell you about Remus?" James asked. Lily shook her head. "He got Head Boy!"

"He did?" Lily said excitedly, "How great! He deserves it. We've been prefects together for such a long time."

"Is there something you want to tell me?" James asked.

Lily's cheeks blushed a little before she nodded her head. "I'm the Head Girl!"

James leaned over and gave her a big kiss on the cheek. "I'm so proud of you! Of course we all knew you'd get it, but that's so great!" He grabbed her hands from across the table and kissed them as well.

From across the pub the couple heard some giggles and gasps. Students Lily recognized as a year below them were gaping at the scene trying to make sense of it.

"There's no way!" one of them whispered.

"Obviously there is, Clarissa!" another challenged.

"I'd heard Stephanie say there was a rumor, but I didn't believe her! We'd better go tell Kristin before she does anything stupid."

'And so the word spreads,' James thought smugly.

Lily's head snapped from the girls to James. His eyes were glinting and that small curve of his lips told her that that was exactly what he had wanted to hear.

"James," Lily interrupted his thoughts, "You and the Marauders haven't planned anything, right?"

"What do you mean, love?"

"You know what I mean," Lily whispered.

"'Course we haven't!" James said standing up, "Come on now! Lets go get you those books!"

Lily's head dropped, but she got up anyway knowing that this was what she had signed up for when she agreed to date a Marauder. James swiftly grabbed her hand and swung it gently back and forth.

"Do you think there's any rules about the Head Girl and Head Marauder being the only ones able to stay out later than other students?" James asked.

"I think that depends on whether or not the Head Marauder can get to the Head's personal dormitory before curfew," Lily played along.

She gave James a wink before pulling out her wand to touch the stones that lead to Diagon Alley. One by one they broke away to the side revealing the stores and people already there. Children stood outside of store windows admiring different products and students gathered in groups with friends they missed during the summer.

"This place sure does bring back memories," Lily smiled.

"Oh yeah," James sighed, "That's the Quidditch store where you hit me with a broomstick when I accidently implied girls can't play sports."

"For a smooth talker I would've thought you had caught yourself before saying that," Lily shrugged.

"You threw your ice cream at my face in front of that parlor when I tried to suggest you use your tongue to kiss me instead."

"It sounded so crude when you said it!" Lily exclaimed.

"And in the Robe Shop on the corner you enchanted the sewing needles to chase me when I saw you changing out of your old robes."

Lily stepped in front of James to make him stop walking and said, You know, maybe we shouldn't reminisce right this moment. I want today to be a marking of the new us!" she exclaimed. "Plus, no need to remind me why it took me so long to see this side of you," she joked. She leaned up on her toes and kissed his chin.

"Lily?" a voice interrupted them.

Lily turned towards the voice and saw her friend Marie staring at her in shock.

"Marie!" Lily exclaimed. She dropped her hands from James's grasp and ran to hug her friend. "How was your summer?"

"Who cares about my summer! Were you just-? Is that really James?" She untangled herself from Lily and walked up to James. She raised a hand and pinched his cheek with a gasp. "It is you!" she gasped. "What is going on here?"

"James works at the Corner Market with me," Lily explained.

"So just because he knows how to work a muggle register he's okay now?"

Lily laughed and shook her head. "James can we meet somewhere in just a little while?" she asked. "It might take time to explain things," she laughed.

James nodded, but slightly slumped. Their entrance into the Ice Cream Parlor was supposed to be the defining moment of their Hogwarts history together! He turned away from the chatting girls and headed towards the Ice Cream Parlor to at least meet up with Sirius and the rest of the Marauders.

He opened the door and when the bell let out a 'ding' the entire place turned to look. However, when only James entered everyone shook their heads.

"I told you Black was lying," a boy muttered, "Why would Lily Evans date a guy like Potter?"

"Thank Merlin!" a girl gasped, "I didn't think she was good enough for him anyway."

James's head dropped as he walked to the corner where he saw Sirius and Remus waiting. He plopped himself into a seat and let out a sigh.

"Where's Evans?" Sirius asked.

"Where's Lily?" Remus emphasized her name. "Call her by her first name for Merlin's sake," he muttered.

"With Marie. Said she would meet me here later."

"Excuse me, Sirius?" a girl who was sitting at their table interrupted, "Are you still going to buy me that ice cream?"

"Here," he said handing some sickels to the girl, "How about you get yourself something and bring James back something chocolate?"

"Okay," the girl beamed. She took the sickels and skipped to the line.

"Ice cream will help you feel better," Sirius said putting a big pat on his buddy's shoulder. "This really isn't that bad of a situation though. Before you came in everyone was in such denial about you guys! Now when she comes in everyone will be doubly surprised!"

"This is true," James mumbled.

"Why do you care so much about what everyone thinks? She's still your girlfriend even if people don't see you eating ice cream with her," Remus commented.

"Here's your ice cream, James," the girl returned. James nodded a thanks and ate a spoonfull.

"You're right, Moony," he said with a mouthfull. "She's still my girl! And I have the rest of our lives to take her around and show her off as my girlfriend."

The bell above the door dinged again and in came Peter. He spotted his friends in a hurry and rushed over to meet with them. His cheeks looked flushed like he had been running and his breath sounded slightly harsh.

"I thought you said you and Lily were together still?" he said to James.

"Of course we are! Why wouldn't we?"

Peter's cheeks turned an even deeper shade of pink and he nervously itched the back of his neck.

"Well, I was just in Flourish and Blotts and I saw her in there..."

"So? She loves books. What's the big deal about that?"

"Amos Diggory was with her. He was holding her books and everything! It just looked like..."

"Diggory!" He clenched his hand and accidentally crushed his ice cream cone. "He always had an eye for Lily."

Remus smacked Peter's head. "Thanks a lot you dolt. I'll bet you it's nothing, Prongs. Lily's allowed to be friends with other guys."

"Not if his name is Diggory!"

"You should probably remember the steps Jasmine gave you for situations like this," Sirius said, "Go and see what's really going on and then move in calmly."

This comment made everyone stop. Since the time Jasmine got Sirius in trouble for being nude they had never agreed on anything. Not even that grass is green!

"You're acting weird," Remus said. He turned to James, "Girls have been marching up to him all day and he hasn't even made a move on any of them. Asking Judy to get you ice cream was the first word he said directly to any of them...and he even paid for that ice cream!"

"Are you hiding something from us?" James asked, "Are you sick?"

"Yeah! What're you hiding?" Peter asked.

"Nothing! I'm just saying that that certain piece of advice happened to be helpful!" Sirius defended himself. The boys continued to stare at him. "Can we just go to the shop so we can make Diggory hang upside down or something?"

He pushed back his chair and walked out of the parlor.

"Sirius!" A girl chased after him, "You haven't told me where we're going to meet on the Hogwarts Express yet!"

The remaining Marauders looked at each other and laughed. "There is definitely something wrong with him," Remus said.

They pushed in their chairs as well and tried to catch up with Sirius. It had gotten more crowded since they first arrived and now had to nudge their way through the crowds.

"Wait up, Padfoot!" James yelled.

They ran all the way to Flourish and Blotts and finally caught up with Sirius at the entrance. There was a huge crowd lining up and some people trying to push their way through to get in.

"This can't be the line to buy books," Remus said.

James looked around and grabbed a kid he recognized from Ravenclaw. "Hey, Zach! What's going on?"

"Lily Evans blasted Amos Diggory across the store! The whole place is a mess, but she was still going at him!"

James's eyes widened and without worrying about the people around him, shoved a pathway for himself and the rest of the Marauders to get through. From what he could tell, the mess started upstairs where there were some bookshelves overturned. From there, there was a bend in the railing which led his vision to see Amos lying on the first floor near the register.

Employees were holding Lily in a chair across the room, but that didn't stop her voice from carrying across the room.

"If you ever touch me again I swear on Merlin's beard all of those books will land directly on your head!" she screamed, "Let go of me!" she yelled at the employees.

They reluctantly let go of her, but made a make-shift human wall around Amos to lead her to the door.

Lily started storming away and spotted James on her way out. She roughly grabbed his hand and headed to the open air of the Alley.

"I fully expect you to do something about him when school starts," she muttered.

James shrugged his shoulders as he followed her and had to laugh as he took another backwards look at Amos. He was propping himself up on his elbows while his head slightly drooped onto his chest.

"Good work, Lils!" he laughed.

The other Marauders followed, but knew to keep a safe distance from the pair. They had seen Lily angry countless times throughout the years. When they were out of the view of the store Lily finally stopped and sat herself down on a nearby bench. She let out a big huff and crossed his arms while her face put on an upset look.

"What happened?"James asked.

She didn't answer quite at first, but instead said, "i guess it really doesn't matter which world you're in. No matter what you do there's a prick to ruin your day."

"Well," James sat beside her, "Can I can be the prick to brighten it back up?" Lily slightly smiled and held out her hand for him to hold. "What'd he do?" James asked.

"At first nothing! Marie and I ran into him and she ran off to be with one of his friends so we started talking about school and our summers. He kind of flirted by holding my books and all that, and even after I insisted I could hold them he kept them in his arms. We sat down to look through some of the books and he started scooting closer and closer to me. I told him that you and I were a couple, but he didn't believe me! He started laughing and put his arm around my waist and I tried to walk away, but when I did he grabbed my bum! Normally I would've just made him stick against a wall or put funny things all over his face, but my instinct spell just made him fly like a rocket!" she exclaimed, "And even after that it didn't feel like enough and I couldn't get myself to stop!" She turned into James's shoulder trying to hide her red face.

"Told you you're a dolt," Remus muttered to Peter.

"What else was a supposed to think?" Peter asked, "Nobody even thought they would make it to the school year!"

"Will you please shut up before you make things worse?"

"No!" Peter bursted, "I won't! I'm sick of being treated like I'm the idiot being tagged along!"

"You are," Sirius shrugged.

"Then I'm done with it!" he stormed away while the others watched in shock.

"Did we really have to do that now?" James asked.

"I don't like how he's sticking up for himself. Did his mum send him to a self confidence camp this summer?" Sirius said.

"Sorry, Prongs," Remus shrugged, "He'll come back to us on the train ride anyway. Always does."

Lily let out a sigh and brought her head back up from James's shoulder. "Can we get ice cream now?" she asked.

"Of course!" Sirius exclaimed before James could answer. He grabbed Lily's hands and pulled her up from the bench. "You know, Evans, that looked like some pretty impressive stuff you did to Diggory." He threw his arm around Lily's shoulders and began walking back down the Alley. "I think you just might be the person to replace our Wormtail."

"No way!" Remus said, "We're the Head Boy and Girl! I don't think Hogwarts would be able to handle an unruly society where the most responsible students are also the most reckless," he joked

James followed the three and laughed. He allowed his mates to joke around with Lily, but when they were about to reach the doors of the ice cream place he stole her away from them to make sure this moment wasn't robbed from him again. Remus and Sirius walked in first holding the doors open for them. A scream sounded from a nearby table which made the whole room turn their attention to the entering couple.

"It's okay, Kristin! We tried to tell you earlier, but you just wouldn't listen!" a girl tried to comfort her friend.

Sirius let out a bark of a laugh and then found a table for themselves.

"Guess what kind of ice cream I eat," Lily said to James.

"Vanilla," James said without wasting a breath. "That was almost too easy of a question," he laughed, "What kind do I eat?"

Lily was suddently intimidated by this competition. "Er...strawberry?" James shook his head. "Mint and chip?" He shook his head again with a laugh.

"Chocolate," he said, "It's easy to remember because the first time I tried to offer you ice cream in Hogsmeade you commented on how different we are. I already had a chocolate cone in my hand and you said we were as opposite as chocolate and vanilla."

Lily slightly blushed. "Sorry," she mumbled.

"Don't be. Everything you once said to me helped me to know everything about you!" he said. "Well, except that you work a muggle market, have a crazy muggle friend and an even crazier ex boyfriend."

Lily laughed before ordering her ice cream, which James paid for like a gentleman.

"He never paid for my ice creams when we dated," Lily heard a girl whisper as they walked to their table.

This only made her laugh and hold on even tighter to James's hand. She sat at the table and wondered why she had let herself be so prejudiced against these boys for the longest time. As a muggle born she should have realized how closed minded she was being and just given them a chance despite their silly tricks and arrogance.

"Evans, are you paying attention?" Sirius made her snap out of her thoughts, "I'm trying to fight for your right as a Marauder and you aren't even trying to help!"

"You know, Sirius, Remus might be right. If we're both Marauders and Head Students the school could spontaneously combust!"

"See!" Remus suddenly exclaimed, "She calls you by your first name! Why can't you call her by hers?"

"Don't change the subject!" Sirius exclaimed exasperated. "Do you or do you not want to be a Marauder?"

"Not particularly," she shyly said, "That kind of stuff was never really my type of thing. I think I'll just keep to being a bookworm."

"Fine," Sirius muttered. "You get her all to yourself, Prongs,"

"That's the only way I would have her!" James said wrapping his arms around her. He put a big sloppy kiss on her cheek leaving a little chocolate stain there.

Lily laughed and tried to rub it off onto his shirt.

"Why don't they go get a room?!" a girl asked loudly. Half of the girls in the place had either left or turned their chairs away from the scene.

"This year is defintely going to be interesting," Remus laughed.

James tried to get Lily to walk around the place a little bit longer, but she was still too shy from the incident that had happened. Instead they said their goodbyes and decided to go back to Lily's house.

They took their time walking to the underground and gently swung their hands between them.

"What're you going to do once we're out of Hogwarts?" Lily asked.

James shrugged and took a minute to think about it. "I'm taking all the classes so I can train to be an Auror, but I'm not sure where I want to go training. There are three different schools and I know I can get into whichever I choose, but now that we're dating I don't want to go anywhere too far away."

"You shouldn't make your decisions based off of our relationship," Lily said. They stepped onto the underground and found a seat. "You need to do whatever is best for your future," she continued, "If that means we have to do long distance, or stop seeing each other-"

"Excuse me?" James stopped her.

"Whatever careers we choose should be the priority. It might not mean the best for us, but certain things just have to come first."

"Lily, I've hardly had you for two months! There's no way I'm going to let our relationship end because of school changes."

Lily dropped her hand from James's grasp starting to look a little flustered. "There's no way in even knowing that we'll make it through the school year!" she paused, "This was a stupid subject to bring up. Lets talk about something else."

James looked at her with his eyes wide and jaw dropping. "Do you have that little of confidence in our relationship?" he asked. "I have worked my ass off to get to this level with you and you're ready to just throw it all away?"

"It's not like I'm just giving up! I said we could try long distance, but it's really hard to stay together that way. Like you said, we've only been dating for two months. It's too soon for us to be talking so serious."

"I love you," James said, "And that's why it's unbearable for me to even think about going a week without seeing you."

"James," Lily said softly. Her hand reached up to rest on his cheek. "I don't want to break up. I always want to be with you, but I'm trying to be realistic. We can live in a bubble where we'll always be just a hallway away from each other, but that'll make it even harder when the bubble pops."

James grabbed Lily's hand off of his cheek and kissed her palm.

"I would spend forever blowing bubbles if it meant I would be with you," he said softly.

After that they silently agreed not to talk about that until it was necessary and started talking about their day. James put a smile on his face, but he couldn't stop thinking that Lily didn't say 'I love you' back. He knew she had been through a lot in such a short span of time, but he was hoping that his presence through it all would help her emotions toward him.

When they reached her house they laid on the couch and watched some of the television shows that Lily assured him were the greatest. He laughed when she did and occasionally reached down to give her a peck, but he couldn't fully concentrate until he had a solution to their problem.
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Author's Note: :)

Chapter 15: Duplicate Story Line
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Duplicate Story Line



As August went on the faint nip of fall started to move in on summer. Lily's parents hired a new cashier, Ethan, to take over Lily's position, but hadn't quite found another to cover James's job.

"I don't know what we're going to do without you two!" Mrs. Evans said on day.

"The same as every other year," Lily had laughed.

Lily trained Ethan like she did James by putting him in produce to study the different fruits and vegetables. James carefully watched them from his register keeping an eye on Ethan.

"What're you doing?" Paula asked when she caught James peeking.

"Nothing," he shrugged.

"Okay," Paula scoffed, "Has Lily said if he's single or not?"

"Why don't you ask her yourself?"

Paula glared hard at James, "Because."

"Because?" James raised his eyebrows.

"Shut up, James! You know why! It's hard to be friends when she doesn't confide in you!"

"Why don't you shut up! I never thought I'd say this about you Paula, but you're being a bitch!"

Paula's face fell and her eyes slightly watered. Lily's laughter started getting closer and they both turned to see her and Ethan walking towards them.

"Come on," James said. He threw his arm around Paula's shoulder and called over to Lily, "I'm taking a ten!"

"Okay," Lily said. Her cheeks turned a little pink as she looked at his arm around Paula's shoulder, but didn't say anything to stop them.

James led Paula to the break room and sat her down at a tables. Tears streaked down her face and it made a knot tie in his stomach that she was crying thanks to him.

"I'm sorry, okay?"

Paula sniffled and shook her head, "Don't take back your words! It's too late...and if you said it, it's probably true."

James sighed and shook is head, "Yeah, but I'm sorry it made you cry."

"It's just, we're best friends! But we've hardly hung out this entire summer because she's been hanging out with you or been working and the one time she needed a friend she won't tell me about it! And I'll bet you know all about it!"

"I wish I didn't," James thought. "You really want to be someone she needs?"

"Of course!" Paula cried. She desperately wiped her eyes to get them to stop running.

"Here." James dug his hand into his pocket and picked out his wallet. "Take her out," he said handing her forty pounds. "Do what you guys do best and have a good time."

Paula's face lit up at his offer, but handed the money back to James. "When we go out we don't have to pay for anything."
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Lily watched James and Paula walk away and hoped James wouldn't break down and tell her what was going on. She had managed to put in the back of her head, and she planned on keeping it that way. She didn't need Paula to find out and then blab it to the rest of the store.

"Lily?" Ethan called. He was standing behind a register and looking at the keyboard weirdly. "I don't know what I pressed, but it won't stop blinking."

Lily laughed and walked over to the register. She leaned over the flat surface where customers would regularly place their groceries and pressed clear a few times. This only made the computer more mad and additionally started beeping.

"Woops," Lily mumbled.

"You're supposed to be helping," Ethan laughed.

Lily gave him a small shove and put herself back on her feet. "It'll stop once it gets its head straight."

A customer walked up and Lily led her to another register. Ethan followed and bagged the groceries.

"Where do you and James go to school?" Ethan asked.

"A boarding school over in Scotland," Lily said nonchalantly, "Did you find everything okay, ma'am?" she changed her attention to the customer.

Lily always tried to change the subject when it came to Hogwarts, and usually after saying it was a random place in Scotland people stopped asking about it.

However, Ethan went on. "My uncle and aunt live in Scotland. What city is it in?"

"It's not really in a city. It's out in the country side. The only place near it is a small village," she said quickly, "Your total comes out to twenty seven, eighty nine."

The woman paid and made her way out of the door.

"That must be nice. I've driven around the country when I'm there and it's really pretty."

"Yeah it is," Lily agreed.

James and Paula returned the front end letting Lily feel relieved that she wouldn't have to keep answering questions by herself.

"Perfect timing," she said, "I'm just about off so I'm going to go sweep up the mess by the onions. Ethan you should probably start cleaning the registers."

She smiled at everyone and started walking to the broom closet, followed by James who tugged on her shirt to slow down.

"What did you and Paula talk about?" Lily asked quietly.

"She wants to take you out, but didn't know how to apologize," he shrugged, "I told her I'd talk to you."

"So you're apologizing for her?"

"No! Just softening your hard shell up so you don't blow up at her."

James looked around the store and made sure no one was paying attention to them. The guys in grocery were hidden behind the shelves, Paula walked off somewhere and Ethan had his back turned towards them.

"Well," Lily opened the closet door, "I don't know if-whoa!"

James pushed her into the hole in the wall and quietly shut the door behind them.

"What're you-"

He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her closer to him with his finger against her lips to 'shush' her.

"We have to practice for when we're at school," he grinned.

"You are so ridiculous," Lily laughed.

James softly pushed her up against the wall and almost tripped when his foot got stuck in a bucket. Lily had to cover her mouth so that she wouldn't laugh too loudly.

"I'm usually slicker than this," he explained.

He bent down and placed a delicate kiss on her lips. Lily tried her best to respond, but her lips were still curled in a smile. James tried again to get her to cooperate, but when he realized she couldn't stop laughing he let out a sigh and moved back.

"Can't you concentrate?"

He placed one of his hands by her head to lean against the wall.

"No!" Lily laughed, "We're in a broom closet at work! And do you really think we're going to do this at school?"

James shrugged, "Maybe. Most girls find it daring." He leaned down again, but aimed for an ear. He softly bit it resting his other hand on her waist.

"I'm not like most girls, you know." Lily was trying really hard to fight the feeling in her chest. Her lips were now in a smirk and ready to be coaxed into a kiss.

"Trust me," James said bringing his head back up, "I know."

Their heads came together and gave each other simple kisses.

"What're you doing when you get off work?" Lily asked in between a kiss.

"Me and Sirius are...doing something," James replied.

"What something?"

"Something."

The kisses stopped and Lily pushed James a little on his chest.

"What're you doing?" her eyes slightly narrowed.

"Oh come on, Lils," James said kissing her cheek, "It's a Marauder thing."

"James" Lily whined. She pushed him completely away and made her way back out of the closet. "Please, please don't make me give you a detention the first day of school."

"What're you talking about? You don't even know what we do together as Marauders."

Lily raised her eyebrows looking at him. "Everyone knows what the Marauders do. Either pick up on girls, or scheme a prank. And it bloody well not be the first."

"I swear on Merlin's beard it isn't the first," James said in a lazy tone.

"Just because we're dating doesn't mean that I can just let you off the hook! Remus already did enough of that as a prefect. It would be wrong if we just let you slide on everything." She walked over to the time clock and punched in her number.

"We would never ask to slide on everything. It would be too obvious."

Lily laughed and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Not going to happen."

They said good bye and Lily began walking out to the parking lot where her mum would be waiting. A quick honk sounded from two isles over so she made out in that direction.

"Lily!" Paula's voice came from the store, "Wait!"

Lily stopped in the middle of the street surprised that Paula was really going to apologize in person instead of calling her.

"What're you doing tomorrow night?"

"I work until seven, but that's it."

"Well...how about we go down to the pub for old times sake?" Lily was already shaking her head, but Paula added, "Or not even the pub! Movies or getting something to eat maybe?"

"If any of this has to do with me and Marcus-"

"It doesn't!" Paula reassured her, "I don't want us to not see each other for another year with this between us. I want to make up for what a bitch I've been."

Lily's mum bumped the horn again. "Okay," Lily gave in. Paula's face started to brighten up. "I'll call you when I get off and you can come pick me up."

"Great! Tell your mum I said sorry for making her wait. See you tomorrow!" And with that she skipped back into the store to show James that no words could bring down her perky self.
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The Potter house was empty except for two people; Sirius and Jasmine. Usually at times like these the two silently agreed to take turns staying in their rooms. Sure, they acted natural for the most part, especially when the others where in the house, but today they both sat in the living room- Sirius with a Quidditch magazine and Jasmine with a Charms book.

They sat quietly together for some time, but it wasn't too soon after that Sirius got distracted. Jasmine had her legs curled underneath her and the book propped up on her thigh. She was wearing shorts which gave him her long legs to marvel at.

More entertaining than those though was her face. As she read she put on different expressions that masked her thoughts. Her eye brow crinkled when she didn't get something, and then raised for a few seconds when she figured it out. Bit her lip to keep herself from smiling when she read something interesting. And closed her eyes when she got tired.

"When is James off from work?" she asked. Sirius jumped out from his thoughts quickly trying to look like he had been reading the magazine in his hands.

"Er...nine, i think?" Sirius supplied. He took a quick glance at his watch. "About forty five minutes."

"Oh," was all Jasmine said.

For a minute Sirius thought that was all that was going to be said, and was about to look back to his magazine when Jasmine continued again, "Were you telling the truth the other day?"

"About what?"

"Tutoring kids. Or was that just you rambling from seeing me in a towel."

"Ha!" Sirius barked, "I never ramble. Trust me, I've seen lots of girls without towels."

"That's what I thought," Jasmine shook her head.

"But I was telling the truth." Sirius got up and casually moved to sit on the arm of Jasmine's chair. "I think it'd be funny to watch them blow something up incorrectly and then show them how a master really does it."

"I suppose that's a form or teaching," Jasmine mumbled.

"Well why don't you give me an example? You said you didn't need me teaching you anything."

"I don't, and I don't need to prove that to you."

"That's not even what I'm saying, love!" Sirius exclaimed. "I'll do something stupid and wrong and you'll show me how to do it right."

"Nope," Jasmine popped her 'p'.

She closed her book and got up from the chair. She began walking away to go up to her room, but Sirius wasn't going to let her go that far. He stood up silently from the chair's arm and brought his wand up to a striking position.

"Levicorpus!" he yelled.

But Jasmine had already turned around and whipped her wand right back him. Without speaking a word, she sent Sirius flying backwards and onto the back wall.

"Oh, Merlin!" she screamed. "Sirius? Sirius! I'm so sorry!" She sprinted back to him and laid him flat on the floor. He let out a groan, but his body was limp. "Can you hear me? I'm so sorry! I didn't mean for it to come out that strongly!" She slapped his face a few times and that made him come around.

"Damn, woman," he muttered.

"Come back to everything slowly. You're probably going to have a concussion."

"I s'pose you don't need me. Not for this, not even for sex."

His comments made Jasmine laugh. He definitely has a concussion, she thought.

"Not for sex? What's that suppose to mean?" she questioned him.

"We did it one time, and it didn't even effect you! Not one ounce of feeling for me came from that night," he paused, "And we were good!"

"What're you talking about? Why do you think I've been avoiding you so much?" she said, "It just feels so wrong...we don't even like each other!"

"Correction! You don't like me. I've been hitting on you for almost as long as James has been asking out Evans."

"And you're my little brother's best friend."

Sirius lifted himslelf from the ground and rubbed the back of his head for a second.

"That's a good point. It's a pretty big betrayal that I slept with you." Sirius looked over to Jasmine and shook his head for some clarity. "Nothing makes sense with you!"

"With me? Nothing about you makes sense!" Jasmine retaliated.

"Everything makes sense with me! I'm witty and sexy-"

"So am I!"

"I know!" Sirius yelled, "That's the problem! You're actually tolerable! I've never been with a girl who I can stand! That's why my sex life is how it is! I see a girl, show her a good time and then get rid of her. I don't want to get rid of you!"

The room went silent , but tension didn't freeze the atmosphere. Instead they just sat there thinking in their own minds what they would possibly do about any of this.

"Come on," Jasmine said standing up.

"Where are we going?"

"My room."

"Wha-? Why?" Sirius asked completed confused.

"Sirius Black that's the second most romantic thing a guy has told me. Now come on!"

Sirius got up grabbing her hand. Sirius walked slowly at first trying to get everything in head to stop swirling, and came to a stop before they reached the stairs.

"What's the first most romantic thing a guy has told you?" he asked.

"What you told me that first night."

She looked down blushing, but Sirius smiled in triumph. He kissed her cheek happily and then continued to pull her up the stairs.
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James was quite proud of himself. He had single handedly pieced together Lily and Paula's friendship...or at least put it into a start. Tomorrow they would go out and have a good night while he and Sirius stayed in the finalize their first big prank. Remus and Peter would see their plans on the train ride and make any suggestions they had before they reached the school.

He walked into his house and firstly noticed that his parents hadn't gotten home yet. If they had they would be talking in just the other room and greeted him as he walked in. The silence in the house was normal when it was just Sirius and Jasmine in the house, which was a weird, but pleasant change from their constant bickering.

"Padfoot!" he called as he ran up the stairs. "We better make tonight good. I turned down a fully willing girlfriend just to be with my best budyy!" He stopped when he got to the top of the stairs waiting for a response. "That's you, by the way," he added.

He shrugged and went into his room to get changed. Swiftly he tugged off his work shirt and put on another that fit his body better. He leaned over his bed to the wall that separated his and Sirius's room and gave it a good pound.

It wasn't out of the normal for his mate to take a nice nap in the middle of the day. However, when there wasn't an answer he decided to go and take a look for himself. He knocked on the door and entered when he didn't hear a protest. It was empty. Clothes laid around on the floor and on an unmade bed, but no note about his absence was there.

Instead he ran down the kitchen, but still no napping Sirius, or a note.

"Scooter!" James called. With a 'pop' the house elf was by his side. "Yes, little master?"

"Do you know where Sirius is?" Scooter rang his hands nervously looking around the room. "If you haven't, that's fine. I was just wondering

"No, no, I knows! He and little misses are in her room."

"They're in her-?" he paused, "Are you sure?"

"Yes, little master!"

"Okay..." he said unsurely, "Thank you, Scooter."

With a final bow the little elf left with another 'pop'. James took his time going back up the stairs unsure how to take this if Scooter was right. Had they secretly been getting along this whole time? What if Sirius was sharing their plans with Jasmine? She would surely tell his mum, or worse, Lily who would then spoil it all! Of course he loved how Lily made sure to keep all rule in tact, but seeing as how it was their last year they planned only doing the ultimate greeting prank. One to set the bar for ages!

Once at the top of the stairs he walked straight for Jasmine's and without bothering to knock, opened the door.

Jasmine's shriek filled the room, but she didn't give James a chance to see her before she bolted into her closet. James's was frozen as he looked at his best friend naked in his sister's bed. For a second neither of them even blinked and instead just looked at each other.

"Prongs?" Sirius said taking the next step. He grabbed the sheets from Jasmine's bed and covered himself as well as he could. He stood and reached for his pants on the floor.

"Is that my sister in the closet?"

"Well...yeah..."

Sirius slowly stepped towards James unsure of what was going through his mind. However, when he found himself unconscious on the floor for the second time that day he had an idea.

"Merlin! James what did you do?" Jasmine screamed. She had come out of the closet fully dressed.

"Me?! What did you do?" James yelled back.

"It's none of your business," Jasmine hissed.

"None of my-? Ha! HA! None of my business?! You're my sister and he was my best mate. How does that make this none of my business?" He took a second to breathe and started to pacing in the room. Finally he stopped and pointed his finger down at Sirius. "Betrayal!" he yelled.

And with that he stormed from the room slamming the door behind him. He walked down the hallway hard and did a double take as he walked by Sirius's room. He scowled and took out his wand with a trembling mumbled a spell that made his wand shoot out a laser like beam.

Into the door he traced B.A.C.K.S.T.A.B.B.E.R. and then continued his trip down the stairs and out the door. He thought about apparating straight to Lily or Remus's house, but he couldn't trust himself in this state. So he opted for the closer option, Lily's house, so that he could walk there.

In his mind all he kept seeing was Sirius in his sister's bed looking like a deer caught in the head lights....or a dog being caught in the trash. He had to stop himself after three blocks of walking to just sit down on a curb and think for a second because the question that he should have asked himself first just now popped into his mind.

"How the hell did that happen?" he said out loud.

Absolutely none of this made sense! They hated each other! Sure, he hadn't been around the house as much and maybe that led them to tolerate each other better, but he never would have guessed it would drive them to have sex!

He stood back up and began walking again. The moon was full and leading his path to Lily's house a good couple of blocks away. When he go closer he passed by a park and saw Snape sitting there on a swing, but he didn't look at him twice. The smallest thing he might say could send him off into a rage and that was one thing that he didn't need.

Snape did look lonely sitting there by himself. James wondered why he chose the swings as his place in the park, but shoved it to the back of his mind only focusing on getting a plan together about how to get into Lily's room.

When he walked up to the house all the windows were dark as sleep took over the household. He looked at the moon and guessed that it was approximately a quarter to ten. There was no way that Lily was really already asleep since she usually liked to read until eleven and then drift off to sleep while thinking about the book...not that he read that in the diary that he and Marauders stole during their fifth year.

He picked up a pebble to throw at the window, but after some second thoughts decided that that might be too obvious to the neighbors, or accidentally wake up her parents just down the hall. Instead he sized up the tree that was next to her window. It was a decently sized tree, though its branches didn't look quite strong enough to steadily hold his weight.

'They'll have to do...' he thought with a sigh.

With care, he propped himself up onto the lowest branches, and waited to see if he heard any cracking. When he was satisfied that they would hold he grabbed the next branch up with his right hand and was able to swing his other arm up next to it. This repeated a few more feet up until he was finally up beside Lily's window.

He looked in and saw Lily laying in her bed, with his head propped up against a pillow and a book opened and laying on her knees. She held her lighted wand at the book with a steady hand tracing the words that she was reading with interest.

Her hair was pulled up in a ponytail, but it was still long enough to come down and lay on her shoulder. With her hair up James could see her long, smooth neck that was usually hidden underneath it and the flow from her neck to her chest, to her waist to her legs. All of which was exposed thanks to her scant summer pajamas.

However, as much as James wanted to keep looking, he couldn't get distracted at a time like this. He reached his hand out and tapped on the window.

Lily practically jumped out of her bed, but kept a tight grip on her wand that she now had pointing straight at the window. James knew he was blending in too well with the darkness and tried to lean forward so that the light from her wand might show her who he was.

Her eyes strained to make out his face, but then realization dawned on her and relief spread over her face.

"Thank goodness it's you," she breathed when she opened the window.

James didn't say anything but just climbed into the room brushing past a kiss-expecting Lily. Her eyebrows crinkled in confusion. Never in the history of the world would James give up an opportunity to kiss Lily. It was all he ever talked about for the past six years when he was still waiting to receive one, and now it was all he ever did! Kissed her hand, her forehead, and most of all her lips!

"Are....you okay?" Lily asked slowly.

"No," he snapped, "I am absolutely not okay."

Lily crossed her arms and brought her eyebrows out of the crinkle. "Well would you like to explain instead of giving me this attitude?"

"No. I don't want to relive it again."

He walked to Lily's bed and fell into its covers. With a big sigh he lifted his head from a pillow and turned towards Lily.

"I caught them together."

"Who?"

"Sirius and Jasmine."

"Okay," Lily shrugged. She walked over to her bed and sat on the edge next to him. "They aren't allowed to be together when you're at work?"

"No, Lily," he paused and pushed himself into a sitting position next to her. "They were together. In the bed together. Both of them were naked toget-"

"I get it! I get it!" Lily popped up from where she was sitting. She brought up her hand to cover her mouth that was still dropped open. "I can't believe that!"

The room was silent with Lily's shock while James continually rubbed his eyes again.

"What did Sirius say?" Lily whispered.

"Nothing," James muttered.

"Nothing? He sleeps with your sister and he says nothing?"

"I punched him before he could," James shrugged.

"Why in the world would you punch him!" Lily exclaimed.

"Why wouldn't I! If Sirius slept with your sister I'm sure-"

"Sh!" Lily cut him off. The room froze for a second and footsteps were heard coming down the hallway. "Quick, quick, quick!" she whispered in a frenzy.

She grabbed him by the shoulders of his shirt and pulled him off the bed. With a swift shove she put him on the ground and instructed him to go under the bed.

With only seconds to spare, Lily jumped back onto the bed and replaced her book on her lap.

"Lily?" a call came from outside her door.

"Yeah?"

The door opened and Mr. Evans popped his head into the bedroom and smiled when he saw her reading yet another book. Since the first day they came home from Diagon Alley, Lily was always reading something new about magic. Sometimes while she was away he would sneak into her room and read one that she had left behind, but it made him sad that it was something he would never fully be able to understand.

"Were you talking to someone?" he asked.

"Yeah! I was on the phone with Paula for a bit. There was some rumor she heard about a girl we used to go to school with, but I don't believe it and had to convince her to check it out some more before she really bought into it."

"That's good to see that you two are starting to talk again." He stepped away from the door and moved a little into the room. "She's really been missing you since you and James began dating. You only see each other three out of the twelve months of the year but you spent most of it with James, who you see at school."

"I know. It was partly bad judgement on my part. There was a lot more to it than just that though," Lily sighed, "And to be fair I didn't really spend time with James during this last school year. In fact I avoided him at all costs!" she laughed.

Mr.Evans rubbed the back of his neck and sat on the edge of Lily's bed. "That's one thing I actually have been wanting to talk to you about, Lils."

Lily's hands began sweating as her dad made himself more at home in her room. She was sure the weight from her and her dad was beginning to push down the mattress into where James was laying.

"What's wrong, daddy?" she managed to say with a confident voice.

"It's not easy to say," he started, "But it's also not easy to see you go off to Hogwarts with a boyfriend. I know you say the teachers keep a strict eye and the stairs fall out from the bottom of your feet, but I just want to make sure you know you're only seventeen."

"Dad, trust me, I know. Me and James are moving very slow."

"It may feel that way, but there are times when things might get crazy-"

"Dad! Please! Mum already talked to me!"

Lily was absolutely mortified. Of all people her dad should not be saying things, or even thinking about things like that with her involved. Especially when James was so close and listening to every word!

"Alright," Mr. Evans gave up. He stood from the bed and headed back towards the door. "Love you, flower."

"Love you too, dad," Lily mumbled. Her cheeks were bright pink and that made her dad laugh.

"You don't have to be embarrassed," he chuckled, "Sex is a perfectly normal thing!"

"Dad, please just don't say that kind of thing around me!" Lily pleaded

With a final laugh he shut her door, his footsteps fading as she walked further down the hallway. Lily threw her book to the side and her head into her hands. Her parents had always done fairly well not embarrassing her, but of course the one time they did James was in the room.

She could hear James scooting out from underneath the bed, but refused to look up.

He popped his head up and rested it on her mattress. "I think this is where me and your dad would have passed the personal/business barrier."

"What are you going to do about Sirius and Jasmine?" Lily changed the subject.

"Well, first I'll isolate him from the rest of the Marauders and intercept all of his mail at school to make sure him and Jasmine aren't communicating-"

"You aren't even going to let him explain?" Lily scolded him. "What if he really likes her? He wouldn't risk your friendship if it was just for a one night stand. And I really doubt Jasmine would just jump into bed with him after resisting him after all of these years."

"Sirius doesn't really like girls. He gets attracted to them, but he never likes them for them. I doubt Jasmine would just get into bed with him either, but they've both been home without anyone else. Jasmine may have gotten bored and started flirting with him for fun, and he probably put his moves on to finally get every girl he wanted. After a Marauder puts on the moves there's only a 99% chance of resisting."

"Is that what you're doing with me?" Lily challenged, "Just dating me because you want to get every girl you've ever set your eyes on?"

"Of course not!"

"Exactly. You need to at least let him explain."

James sighed and climbed onto the bed and laid next to Lily. "I guess," he mumbled. He wrapped his arm around Lily's waist and moved to rest his head onto her stomach. "He needs to apologize first though. There's no way I'm going to talk to him first."

"Fine," Lily laughed. She waited a few seconds before saying, "It's kind of sweet you know. I'll bet he's had a crush for her all of these years and now he finally won her over."

"That story line is already taken."

"Yeah, but it's so much cuter when you get to watch someone else go through it!"

"Oh, really?" James said beginning to tickle Lily.

"Definitely," she laughed.

Lily locked her door so that James could sleep with a clear head for a while. However when Lily woke up at one thirty she found out James hadn't even been able to sleep, but James didn't complain.

"I was happy just to watch you," James said.

He climbed out of window into the tree saying he would either owl her, or see her in two days when they worked their last shift. He leaned in from the tree and placed one last kiss on her lips before climbing back down and starting his walk back to his house.
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Author's Note: Muhaha Now he knooows! Yes, it may have been obvious that it was going to happen, but he had to find out! And there was no other way...that I could think of at the moment and I really wanted to get another chapter out to you guys! Hope you enjoyed it!

Read and Review pleaaaaase!! it's driving me insane not knowing what you guys are thinking about all of this!

Disclaimer: (:



Chapter 16: Solutions Night
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Solutions Night


Sirius was in a daze. Jasmine was sure he was having a concussion this time, but it was really the shock that had been punched into him... literally.

"I can't believe he punched you!" Jasmine cried in fret.

Usually Sirius would have stood back up and brushed off a punch to act like he hadn't felt a thing, but this one hurt more. It was from his best mate...and what really got him was that he deserved it. So instead he laid there on Jasmine's floor where he fell.

Jasmine was on her knees with her hands behind his head to feel any more bumps that may have formed from falling onto the floor.

"What have I done?" was all that he could keep thinking, "What was I thinking?"

"Sirius, you have to move. Usually I would say to just lay there for a while, but mum and dad are bound to be home any minute and if they see you in here they'll figure it out too."

"I just ruined the best friendship I've ever had. I should've told him weeks ago," Sirius mumbled.

"No you shouldn't have! He would have reacted the same way!"

Jasmine got up from her knees and attempted to drag him out of her room by his arms. She pulled with all of her might, but his body barely moved.

"How much to you weigh?" she asked shocked, "I always knew eating like that wouldn't be good for you." Sirius didn't answer. "What's Remus's address?" she asked after a pause. Sirius's face went blank not giving her any sign of communication.

"I need help! Wake up, Sirius!"

Jasmine dropped Sirius's arms back to the ground and walked off. He wasn't sure what her plan was, but there was no way he was going to be able to move himself. He felt like a thousand bricks were lying on top of his body holding him in place.

"Bricks of guilt," he though miserably.

He zoned out staring up at the ceiling. "I never realized how smooth the ceiling is...smooth like my and James's friendship was. No bumps, just endless smoothness. That cream seems to be on every ceiling. What is it with people and cream? I guess it does go with about every color. Even if they decided to change colors of the walls it would probably still match the ceiling. What kind of person determines their wall colors off of their ceiling color? What fun could they possibly find in-"

"What's he doing?" a voice interrupted his thoughts.

"He's just been lying there. I've been snapping in front of his face and calling out his name, since I flooed you an hour and half ago," Jasmine's voice said. Her voice was slightly wobbling making Sirius unsure if she had been crying, or maybe was beginning to cry, or just panicking.

"Padfoot," a stern voice called him. Remus stepped over him making Sirius's mind click with recognition. However, his face expression didn't show it. "Criminy. Come on, mate."

Sirius suddenly felt himself being lifted up like a sack of potatoes and then thrown over Remus's shoulder. He mentally noted that it was much bonier than he had expected and if this were ever to happen again to be a little more prepared for that.

Remus sighed feeling Sirius's full weight on his shoulders. To be honest, this was about the only good thing about being a werewolf. He could look sickly on the outside, but there was muscle hidden underneath that.

Walking down the hall he stood outside of Sirius's room reading the word that James had inscribed on his door. Kicking it open, he threw Sirius onto his bed without caring about the roughness.

On one side he could see how Sirius could want Jasmine. She's beautiful, intelligent, and witty, but the fact that her last name is Potter throws all that to the side where the "Out of Boundaries" sign is. Sirius should have known to at least talk to James and let him know how real his feelings really are...or so Remus was assuming. Sirius is the least capable Marauder of a long term relationship, and it was hard to tell if he was really going to stick with it this time.

On the other side though, James should have known that one day this was going to happen. The chemistry between Sirius and Jasmine was too strong to ignore for much longer. Even as her brother, James should have seen how easy it is to fall in love, lust or whatever with Jasmine. She's one of kind just like Lily!

"Really, mate?" Remus said with a dry voice, "Jasmine? You had to sleep with Jasmine?!"

"So she told you," Sirius mumbled.

"Of course she told me! How else was she supposed to convince me to come over here and drag your ass out of her room?"

Sirius sighed from his laying position and propped himself up onto his elbows. "Are you going to hate me too? Punch me just like Prongs? I wouldn't blame you. I'm the biggest prick there is," he ended miserably. His elbows strength went out making him crash back onto the mattress.

Remus watched in disbelief. Sirius wasn't making it any easier to be mad and on James's side when he acted so guilty and sorry.

"Do you even like her? You realize she's got smarter wits than you, don't you?"

"Of course I do! That girl is so incredibly hard to get along with, but that's why we're perfect for each other because there are times she can't stand me either! We're so exactly the same that we just....work."

"I thought opposites attract," Remus mumbled to himself.

"Not in this case."

From Sirius's room, the two boys could hear the front door open and close. Without a second to lose Remus sprinted to Sirius's door trying to think of a spell that would undo James's art work. If Mr. and Mrs. Potter came upstairs and saw 'Backstabber' carved into the door they would ask questions, which meant they would find out, which meant things would get just a lot more complicated than needed.

'Not to mention how awkward that would be for Mr. Potter to know Sirius is sleeping with his daughter...' Remus thought.

His mind wasn't thinking fast enough though for spells. Instead he ran into Sirius's room and removed a poster of a Quidditch team from his wall. He shoved it over the words and tried to think of a sticking spell, but still his mind was blank. Jasmine thankfully ran up and pushed Remus out of the way, muttering a spell that made the poster stay in its place.

They let out a sigh together as footsteps neared the top of the stairs. Mrs. Potter, however, didn't even notice that they were there. She walked straight past them and into her own bedroom with her eyes glazed over in what looked like exhaustion. Mr. Potter's steps weren't far behind, and though he had dark bags under his eyes, he acknowledged the pair.

"Hard day at work, daddy?" Jasmine asked in an unnaturally high voice.

"You could say that," he mumbled. He stopped and looked at Sirius's door. "I hope you didn't use a permanent sticking charm for that."

"Of course not, sir!" Remus exclaimed. He glanced worriedly at Jasmine hoping she hadn't.

"Good. A seer announced today she saw them coming in last place, and I doubt Sirius will like them much after that."

Mr. Potter lifted his hand lazily as a wave goodnight and then followed Mrs. Potter's trail into their bedroom.

"You didn't use the permanent spell, did you?" Remus asked quietly.

"To be honest..." Jasmine mumbled, "I can't remember. I just sputtered out the first thing that came to my mind, and it happened to work!"

Remus rubbed his eyes in stress. The coming full moon made him especially irritable, but he tried hard to hide it.

"Where's James?"

"I don't know...we started yelling at each other and he just left. Stormed out of here."

"He's probably with Lily," Remus mumbled, "You might want to stay away from Sirius for the night." Jasmine's eyes turned to slits. "Do you really want James to come back and have to go through it all again? No offense, Jasmine, but this is a pretty selfish thing you did. They've been best friends since forever, and you guys got together without even thinking about how James would react?"

"Of course I did!" Jasmine hissed, "But this was never supposed to happen. I didn't think we would really get together after the first time, but then..." she stopped and had to take a breath, "He says and does these things and it feels like I've never felt so connected with a person before!" A guilty look came over her face and shuffled from one foot to another. "I thought if it only happened once he would never have to know."

"Real nice," Remus half laughed.

This made Jasmine look at him with a glare. "Don't judge me."

Whipping her hair behind her, Jasmine walked hurriedly to her room snapping her door shot.

"So much drama before the school year even starts," Remus thought.

He walked down the stairs and waited for James to come home in the kitchen. He helped himself to some food, but after an hour started wondering if he would even be coming home. Finally, as he was starting to drift to sleep, the front door opened and shut.

Remus jumped to his feet and caught James just as he put a foot on the steps.

"Hey, Prongs," he called.

James turned and a curious look came over his face.

"What're you doing here?" he asked.

"Hanging out. Where've you been?"

"Lily's."

"How is she?"

"Fine."

James crossed his arms in front of his chest glaring hard at Remus. He didn't think about it earlier, but what if Remus had known this whole time? It felt as if he had been waiting for James to get home so he could fight for Sirius's side.

Remus started to walk towards James, pointing his thumb up the stairs to Sirius's door. "You did some nice work."

"We were planning on using it on the Slytherins this year," James stopped to smile, "We were going to switch the dorm room signs. Make the boys go in on the girls."

Remus himself started smiling, not even wanting to ask how they planned to get into their common room unnoticed.

James sighed wanting to get this lecture over with. "Remus, if you're going to try to get me to apologize, he's going to have to do it first. There's no way I'll be the first one to speak a word to him."

Remus put his hands up in defense, "I don't blame you, mate. I would've punched him too!"

This made James pause, confused why Remus was here if he wasn't going to be the peace maker. This brought him back to the thought that maybe he was just going to calm James down because he'd known the whole time.

"I didn't know," Remus blurted out reading his mind, "Jasmine just flooed me and asked me said she needed help. So of course I came thinking it was serious, and then there was Sirius...on the floor. I was pretty confused, but it made sense after she explained."

James brought his hand to his hair anxiously not knowing what else there was to say. "Now what?" he said.

"Well...I know Jasmine wants me to talk to you, but I need your advice on something first." This made James's eye brows scrunch in confusion. This definitely wasn't what he was expecting. "Can we talk?"

"Yeah, mate. You know I'm always here for you," James said with a sigh.

He stepped away from the stairs and headed toward the kitchen where Remus had come from. Remus followed and leaned over a counter top across from where James sat on a stool. Reaching into his pocket he brought out an envelope that had a slight bulge in it.

"I guess it's not as much that I need advice, but I need to tell you."

"Okay..." James said uncertainly.

"The last couple of months I've noticed a change in myself. I've been really moody and-"

"Remus," James stopped him, "If this is another thing about the 'wolf in you', you need to realize that's not you! It's just your furry little problem that likes to make an appearance every once in a while!"

"No, James, it's really starting to make a difference in my personality, and I know why!" Remus paused to make sure James was really listening. "It's because of stress. All of the stress from classes, Prefect duties, the problem in general, and thinking about how it'll be when I get out of school...it makes me be a person I'm not."

"Everyone gets like that. It's perfectly normal! Look at this situation! I got stressed out and punched my best friend!"

"I sent a letter to Dumbledore," Remus ignored his comment, "I resigned from Head Boy."

"What?" James said in shock, "What is wrong with you? You're perfect for the job, Moony!"

"I know, and trust me, I really wanted to do it, but I can't," Remus shook his head and looked down at the envelope in his hands. "Dumbledore said he understood, and he asked me to give you this."

He slid it across the counter making James even more confused. He picked it up, noticing it was heavier than the usual letter from Dumbledore. He slipped his finger under the seal and broke it with an easy tug. Inside was a golden badge with 'James Potter, Head Boy' engraved onto it.

"I don't understand!" James exclaimed, "I've never even been a Prefect. Why would Dumbledore give me this?"

"I don't know," Remus laughed, "But apparently he thinks you're the man for the job!"

James twirled the badge in his fingers examining the details on it. "Interesting," he mumbled.

Never in a million years did James think Dumbledore would even consider making him Head Boy! He was apart of the notorious pranking group, already the Quidditch captain of a team well known for their victory parties, and shamelessly made a love-sick fool out of himself for six years.

On the brighter side, James knew he was in the top three of their class, was really good with younger year kids when it came to teaching magic, and has become a respectable guy who is mature enough to share a dorm with-

"Oh Merlin!" James yelled making Remus jump. He jumped up from his chair and punched his fist in the air. "Me and Lily get the dorm to ourselves! No friends to walk in on us, no fighting the rest of the house for chairs by the fire. Just us two, for a year, in our own room! Mate this is the best thing you've ever thought to have done!"

Remus started laughing wondering how long it was going to take for him to realize that. He himself thought about it after thinking how bad he felt for Lily to have to live with a boy. Especially when that boy is a messy Marauder.

"This is going to be great," James continued, "I can't wait to tell her. If I didn't know she were asleep I'd send her an owl right now." He stopped for a second bouncing excitedly on his feet. "She can handle losing a few seconds of sleep to let Ripper in, I have to tell her!"

Remus laughed as he watched James spring away with his badge in his hand. Remus had been sad at first to give up his position, but seeing the excitement on James's face was worth it. He actually couldn't wait to have a school year where his only duties were to get homework done. It was going to be a synch.
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Lily anxiously watched the clock on her register. It was 6:50PM and in ten minutes she was going to be going out with Paula. She had brought clothes with her to work to change into for their night out knowing she would be able to change in her parents' office without anyone walking in on her.

A little part of her was hoping that she would be able to squeeze her way out of hanging out with Paula. Not because she didn't want to straighten everything out before she went back to school, but she was so tired! After James had left she fell back asleep without a problem...or that was until he sent his owl.

The sharp tapping on her window had scared her almost off the bed, but when she saw whose owl it was she took the letter and set it on her bed stand planning to read it in the morning. However, before an hour could go by she was woken by that tapping noise again.

She again got the letter from Ripper, and scanned this second note that said, 'Why didn't you answer? Aren't you excited?' This made Lily roll her eyes and stubbornly went back to sleep thinking that he could wait for her reply until morning.

However, this didn't stop James from sending a third note. She tried so hard to ignore it, but Ripper wouldn't stop! She threw off her bed covers and stormed to her window practically ripping the note from Ripper's leg.

"You don't let him send you to me anymore tonight," she hissed to the owl. Without a second to waste the owl took off from her window sill and didn't return.

This made Lily feel pleased in the kind of power she held over things, but still didn't bring back those moments of interrupted sleep. She drowsily made her way to her last day of work, meeting James just as he was leaving his last shift.

His face was lit up with excitement, and only dimmed a little when he saw Lily's baggy-eyed face.

"Aren't you happy for me?" he asked her.

"For what?" Lily mumbled.

James's face dropped. "You didn't read my notes?"

"You sent them to me when I was dead asleep!"

"But you didn't read them this morning?"

"Sorry, I forgot," Lily shrugged with an apologetic smile.

"Well then," James said a little put out, "Sorry to have woken you. I guess I'll just let you work then." James punched out his number and started walking away.

"Wait, James!" Lily hurriedly punched in her own number and chased after him, "I'm sorry! I was just so tired when I woke up it slipped my mind. Tell me! Did Sirius talk to you?"

"No," James said darkly. He shook his head not wanting to think about that.

"James," Lily grabbed the back of his shirt and forced him to turn around, "What is it?"

"You really want to know?"

"Yes! Really bad!"

"Okay," his face lit up again, "I'm going to be Head Boy!"

Lily didn't know what to say so she just looked at James with an odd expression.

"But Remus is Head Boy," she finally managed.

"No, Remus was Head Boy. He told Dumbledore he didn't want to do it, so he chose me instead!"

"You didn't ask Remus to do this, did you?"

"What? No! Of course not!"

Lily crossed her arms unsurely. "But next in line was Severus! You've never even been a Prefect!"

"Lily, you're really ruining the moment for me."

"Oh!" she caught herself, "Sorry." She took a second and realized how big of an accomplishment this was. "Wow!" she exclaimed, "You're the Head Boy!" She jumped onto James giving him a big hug. "Congratulations! I'm so proud of you! I don't think any other student has ever been able to pull that off!"

"Thanks...I think," James laughed returning her hug, "You're going out tonight with Paula, right?"

"Yeah," she nodded, "I'm not sure what we're going to do, but I'm sure it'll be fine."

"She's trying really hard to make things right between you two. She's just scared I think." James took a second to sigh. "It is a shame though that we're going to have tonight together."

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah. I've been rather lonely, you know. I even dragged some poor girl into a closet with me just to get a little bit of action."

Lily started laughing and pushed James against his chest.

"I think you're on the verge of sounding desperate, Mr. Potter," Lily teased.

"If that's what it takes!" James planted a kiss on Lily's cheek and hugged her good bye.

And that's how Lily got to work, and now stared at the register's clock that said 6:50PM.

"Excuse me, miss?" a customer called out to her, "I was wondering, how sour is this sourdough bread?"

Lily mentally smacked her palm against her forehead, but instead said, "Well, you know, that's a great question. As far as I've heard other customers say this particular brand has a great taste to it.

"Yes, but how sour is it?"

Lily sighed unsure how to tell the woman she had no clue how to answer that.

"Let me go ask someone."

She paged for help over the intercom and began ringing up customers that were done shopping. One couple left, and when she looked up, she was caught off guard to see Sirius standing there.

Usually she would give him a fairly warm greeting, but now she wasn't sure what to do. So instead he spoke first.

"I know you're obligated to be on James's side, but can you help me?" His eyes were pleading her to say yes, and though part of her wanted to, she was sure this conversation wouldn't be suitable for customer's ears, and she didn't know how James would like that.

"I'm working, Sirius," she shrugged.

"What about when you're off?"

"I'm going out with Paula when I'm done here. Can't you ask Remus for help?"

"I want your help! Give me five minutes! Please?"

Lily threw ideas around in head, but finally gave in after just a few seconds. "Meet me in the foyer. I'm off in just about five or ten minutes now. But we can only talk until Paula gets here. Then we're leaving."

"That's fine!" Sirius smiled.

He obediently walked away form her register and sat in the foyer waiting for her to join him. Lily watched him from the corner of her eye not sure what advice she could give him that Remus couldn't. She and James had only been dating for a couple months now. There was no way she knew as much as him.

Instead of waiting for Lily to meet him, he went back to her side once he saw her 'CLOSED' sign go up.

"How much did he tell you?" he asked her.

"Well," Lily said as she cleaned her conveyor belt, "Aside from him being in a state of shock, he just told me that he caught you guys together. Is there much more to add to to that?" Lily laughed.

"Well, kind of," Sirius swallowed, "It wasn't the first time."

Lily looked up at him shaking her head. "When was the first time?"

"Not too long ago. The night we had been drinking."

"Why didn't you tell James?" Lily walked out from behind her register and worked her way to the time clock to punch out.

"I don't know!" Sirius reached up and pulled on his hair, "She told me not to and I listened! This is all besides the point! What is James's plan?"

"What plan?" Lily asked.

"I'm sure he ranted about doing something to make me pay."

"Oh....er...he said he would keep you from talking with the rest of the Marauders and try to stop communication between you and Jasmine."

"The complete cold shoulder," Sirius nodded, "I would do same. What do you think I can do to get him to stop?"

"Well...why don't you talk to him?"

"What? Why would James want me to talk to him? He doesn't even want to see me!"

Lily raised her eyebrows at Sirius, "What else is there to do?"

"Well, I was thinking I could buy him a new broom that hasn't been released yet, or a new captain's uniform for this season. I'm so scared he wouldn't like it though! I've never messed up this bad before!"

Lily's jaw dropped, "You're acting like he's your boyfriend! For Merlin's sake, man up and go say you're sorry!" Lily lowered her voice, "You slept with her, okay? Should you have told him? Yeah! But you didn't, and now he knows so what more could go wrong?"

Someone coughed behind the pair making them turn around to see Paula.

"Sorry, I didn't want to interrupt..."

"No, it's ok!" Lily said, "I'm just going to change and I'll be ready to go."

Lily walked away into the office leaving Sirius awkwardly trying to find a way out of this situation.

"How've you been, Sirius?" Paula asked him.

"Good," Sirius nodded, "Just needed some advice from Lily."

Paula nodded waiting for him to ask the question in return. When he didn't she decided to tell him anyway, "I've been really good too. I work during the day and go out on nights with friends. I was glad Lily was open tonight so we could hang out before you guys go back to school."

"Definitely. Right, well, I've got to be going. Tell Lily I said thanks for helping."

And with that he walked away leaving Paula very frustrated. Sirius was supposed to be mad that he had let her go, but instead he acted like he didn't even know her!

Lily came out from her parent's office now dressed in jeans and a cute top.

"Where'd Sirius go?" she asked noticing his absence.

"He left like I was the plague," Paula frowned, "He is the most infuriating boy ever! Usually when a guy dumps me they always come crawling back because I am a great catch! But him? He can't even have a conversation with me!" Paula paused taking a second to think. "Do you think he's acting like that because he still has a thing for me?"

Lily held in a laugh because she was over thinking the situation too much. "I'm sorry, Paula, but he's actually seeing someone."

Paula's face scrunched and she let out a breath. "Never mind him. It's girls night! What do you want to do tonight?"

They made their way out of the store and towards Paula's car.

"How about some dinner first, and we can we can decide what to do while we're eating."

"Okay," Paula nodded. She started the ignition and made their way out of the parking lot. She drove them to a restaurant called 'Anthony's Italian' where they knew the owners.

They were greeted kindly by the owner's wife, Isabella, and seated by their son, Johnny.

"Its been a while since you ladies have graced us with your presence," Johnny teased.

Lily laughed as Paula went along with it, "Yeah, its been a crazy summer. Hardly any time to hang out with each other let alone go out to dinner!"

They stopped at a table by a window and sat down without asking for menus.

"I'll put the regular in for you guys,"

"Thanks, Johnny," they both smiled up at him.

He walked away leaving the both of them giggling.

"He gets cuter every summer," Lily said quietly.

"I know!" Paula agreed, "I ran into him at a party during this last year and he tried really hard to hook up with me, but I was with Danny at the time. If I had known what a jerk Danny would turn out to be I might have taken him on the answer."

"No way!" Lily laughed, "Because then, no offense, but if it didn't work out they might not give us our meals for free anymore."

Paula laughed with her and agreed. Free food was not to be put in jeopardy.

Their spaghettis came not too long after letting the two settle into a silence while they ate. Lily was afraid of what the silence would bring. It could mean they had either run out of things to say already, or Paula was preparing to bring up the subject of Marcus.

She sat there waiting to find out. Paula looked like she was feeling the same awkwardness from the silence, looking off into the air as she ate her spaghetti. When she finished her plate she pushed it away and looked over at Lily.

"So," she started, "I want to apologize." Lily's ears perked up. "I wasn't the kind of friend that you needed. I turned into some bitch that only wanted to hear the gossip and didn't even try to help you," Paula's voice slightly shook as she spoke, staring hard in the opposite direction to keep back any potential tears, "I wouldn't want to tell me either! James put it all into prospective for me though, and I couldn't believe it when I realized it was true."

Lily reached across the table and grabbed one of Paula's hands. "I really appreciate the apology. I shouldn't have just pushed you out like that. It was really bad of me and really didn't help the situation like I thought it would."

The girls sat there for a few second soaking in each other's apologies.

"Are you okay, though?" Paula asked, "Michael told me what happened..." she mumbled.

Lily's stomach slightly clenched in anger that Michael had told Paula. It wasn't his to tell. Especially when all he knew was Marcus's point of view.

"I'm fine. If James and Sirius hadn't pulled up though...the story would probably be different," Lily paused focusing her sight on the plate in front of her, "I never expected to see that look in his eyes of just... pure anger."

Paula squeezed Lily's hands and whispered, "Want to go for a walk?"

"The both of you leaving so quickly?" Johnny called out when they stood from their table.

"Places to go, people to see," Paula answered swiftly.

"They're two beautiful girls, Johnny! What do you think? They can't sit there forever for you to drool all over," Isabella said. She threw a wink at the girls, who laughed and thanked her for the great dinner. "Lily, I know you go away for school, but Paula you have no excuse to take so long to come and visit us!"

"It's never quite the same though without Lily," she squeezed Lily from the side.

They walked out of the front door meeting the night's fresh air Lily felt like she could finally breathe. She made peace with Paula, and she thanks Merlin she didn't have to keep anymore secrets from her.

"So, Lils, what exactly do you learn at your school?"

"Oh..." she thought, "Except for that one..."
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Author's Note: Hi everyooone! As usual, I must apologize for this taking me foreverrrr. I've been trying to make the chapters longer, which doesn't necessarily give me an excuse to take THIS long to write, but i'm going to try to use it anyway.
And sheesh! Now are all of you guys happy? James is the Head Boy. Was this apart of my plan the whole time? Or did I give in to the people's demands? We will never know....but it just happened to fit in nicely right there. lol!!
reviews are always welcome! and are there any suggestions of some good l/j reads? i'm in dire need a good one :D

Chapter 17: Tied Ends
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Tied Ends



Sirius had a plan. He might have even dared to say it was a great plan! In one hand was a note card with bullet points of things he wanted to say to James. It included the words idiotic, guilt, git, yellow-belly, twit, moron, imbecile, dope, ninny...practically everything he could find related to the situation in the thesaurus. This would be his first step to making James forgive him. However, if that didn't work he would throw the note card aside, say it was all Lily's idea and then bring out what was in his other hand! A never before seen to the public model of the new Nimbus 1001. Sirius had been able to pull enough strings with his uncle, the only relative who still talked to him, and borrow enough money to convince a co-owner of the Nimbus Broomstick Company to let him have a model.

One way or another he was sure to get James back as a friend. Even if the note card did work and he didn't have to bring out the broom, he might be able to send it back to his connection for the money, or just keep it for his own!

Since James had already finished his last day at the market they only had a week until they had to leave for the Hogwart's Express. James had been spending most of his day in his room slowly putting things in a suitcase that he didn't think he would need until he arrived at Hogwarts.

When he heard a knock on his door he figured it was his mum bringing in some clean clothes, but instead Sirius entered with a piece of paper in his hand. This made James stop what he was doing and cross his arms in anticipation.

"Hey, mate," Sirius nodded.

"Hey."

"Okay, well, I have a few things to say." He cleared his throat and took a glance at the notecard before starting. "First off I want to tell you that you're my best mate," he saw James roll his eyes, "With that in mind I don't think there has ever been a bigger case of douche-baggery in the history of friendship. Mate, Jasmine is an amazing person, and I've never felt this way about a girl before."

James started to ruffle his hair, "I just don't get it. You've never gotten along with each other. You can't be in the same room for two minutes without starting to fight!"

"I know and I think that's because neither of us was willing to giving each other a chance. We were so stuck on the past that we didn't see our personalities actually match!" When James still looked uncertain Sirius got nervous. "I'm so sorry for not telling you! I know I should have, but we didn't expect anything to really come out of it and-"

"Wait," James stopped him, "Are you saying you were actually going to make my sister into a one night stand?"

"No! Not even! I mean if anything she only wanted it to be a fling, but I've always-"

"So now you're saying my sister is a slag?"

"Never! This was all Lily's idea!" He bursted. Throwing the notecard aside he said, "You know what? Forget I ever said anything." He stepped outside the room and grabbed the Nimbus 1001 and practically shoving it at James. "Please take this as my apology! I love your sister, I love you, I'm sorry."

James looked at the broom in his hands noting the shining 'Nimbus 1001' at the end of the broom's handle. He stared at it in awe that Sirius had been able to get his hands on one. For months he had been trying to pull strings by using his dad's position as an Auror, but the company had flat out refused his attempts.

"Merlin," he mumbled, "I'm scared to even ask how you got this."

"Legally," Sirius nervously joked, "I think."

James softly set the broom down on his bed before looking back at Sirius letting out a sigh. He promised Lily if Sirius apologized first he would speak to him again...and he did already miss his best mate! It was just...

"Padfoot, I really wish you would've told me instead of making me witness it. I can't get the images out of my head! My eyes haven't stopped burning!"

"You have no idea how much I regret not telling you, mate. I mean I don't want to get all girly or anything, but I've never felt this bad before and there is seriously a whole in my gut that is just wrenching that we aren't talking."

James had to laugh because Sirius really did sound like a girl. "So you really like her?"

Sirius smiled and scratched the back of his head. "She drives me insane. I've never been in love before, but I think this is pretty damn close."

James walked over to Sirius and clapped his shoulder. "Alright," he said, "I think I can deal with that."
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Even though Lily had already worked her last day at the Market she couldn't help but to go back the day before she left for Hogwarts to squeeze in some final time with her parents and some good byes to the other employees.

At the beginning of the summer she had neatly put aside all of her school things, cleaned her robes and such so that they were ready to go and added on her new books when she got them so that she wouldn't have to worry about it at the end of the summer.

Now she sat in the back room on top of a table chatting with Paula about how they planned to stay in touch better while Lily was away. Before they knew it the school year would be over and then Lily would back to work at the Market while she went to Healer school. At least she was pretty sure that was what she wanted to do. Even after all these years in the wizarding world there were just so many new options she could choose than what she had grown up believing!

"I don't know what I want to do Lils, and my mum is really starting to get on me about all of this," Paula stressed, "You can't work at the Market forever," she mimicked her mum. Lily laughed unsure what to tell her friend. "I mean, I could go into banking, but I was pretty horrible in math. I could probably try teaching..."

"You don't like kids," Lily chimed in.

Paula pouted her lip out at Lily before dramatically screaming, "I'm hopeless!"

Michael walked into the break room laughing at the blond. "Relax, P," he said, "You'll find something. Look at me! I've already been out of school for a year and still don't know what I'm going to do! In fact, I find it kind of freeing. I can go in any direction I want. For all we know I could decide I want to own my own market one day, or I could even decide to become an abusive drunk!" Lily sent him a scold for referencing to Marcus. "You just never know!"

"Oh, God," Paula turned back to Lily, "Am I going to be like Michael?"

Michael laughed taking a seat for himself. "What're you going to do, Lils?"

"Either nursing or doctor. I'll probably shoot high though and at least try to be a doctor. Who knows?"

"Good! That means incase I do want to own a market I won't have any competition on becoming an assistant one day," he winked.

"You've grown up so much from the little box boy you used to be!"

"I wish I had the brains to be a doctor," Paula sighed, "Anyway, Lils, I know it's your last night at home and all, and you don't have to if you don't want, but we're going down to the pub if you want to join?"

"Maybe," Lily shrugged, "I'm having dinner with the family, and I have to get up pretty early, but I'll see if James wants to go down there with me." Michael noticeably scoffed from his chair. "I'm sorry do you have a problem with that Mike?"

"No, no, not at all! It's not like he now thinks that every guy, including myself, you know is trying to jump your bones. I liked him in the beginning, but he just seems so on edge he's with you."

"I think it's kind of sweet," Paula shrugged, "Can't blame the bloke from trying to protect the girl he loves."

"Paula!" Lily snapped.

"He said he loves you?" Michael laughed, "What'd you say?"

"Nothing," Lily muttered turning pink.

"That has got to hurt!"

"Especially when it's so obvious that you love him back!" Paula exclaimed.

"You guys don't get it! People from my school...they can go really far away for college. James might end up going to Scotland or something for this train-degree and I don't know if I didn't want to say I love him if we're just going to break up."

"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. That still leaves you guys almost a year together. Are you telling me you're going to break up with him now?"

"No..."

"Then you plan on dating him for a year and some odd months the whole time never saying that you love him?"

Lily let out a frustrated huff. It hadn't sounded so ridiculous in her head...

"I did that to a girl once," Michael shrugged.

"That's a lie. You've never had a girlfriend for more than three months," Paula said.

"No truly! You tell me you love me all the time Paula, but never have I said it back to you."

"You're a dimwit."

"You still love me," he winked.

Lily looked between the two smiling. "I'm going to miss you guys all over again! I hate this part of the summer!"

Paula moved closer to Lily to throw her arms around her in a hug making Michael shake his head.

"I'm sure you'll be back here for Christmas. Only a few months away!" he tried to be optimistic.

Lily left the shop soon after knowing that she wouldn't see them later on at the pub, but was happy that she had gotten to see them one last time before heading off for school. It had always surprised her that she had been able to keep the magical side of herself hidden all of these years. Thinking of the future and how she's be getting a job in the magical world made her wonder how much longer she'd be able to keep it up. It wasn't like she could pretend to work somewhere in the muggle world! They'd find out sooner or later.

She ate dinner with her parents and Petunia contemplating what Paula had said to her about saying the "L" word to James. What was love anyway? Sure, she cared about him, but she cared for a lot of people! If that were the case she'd be saying 'I love you' to Michael, Paula, Mario...everyone she practically knew!

Instead, she put herself in a metaphorical position. Who, out of everyone she knew, would she choose to protect her if needed? James. Who could she trust to care for her, forever? James. It's the end of the world and she has to choose who to leave her last breath with. Who would it be?

"James," she sighed.

Needing fresh air she stepped outside her house and absentmindedly walked to the park. A cold breeze wafted through the air showing the threat of fall, but she needed to sit on a swing. There had only been one other boy who she trusted with her life, besides her dad, and he had turned his back on her in their fifth year.

The year Severus turned his back on her everything changed. She didn't have a reason to hurry home from the market so she could hang out. It also happened to be the same time that Paula, Michael and Marcus were all hired. The four of them were courtesy clerks together and by the end of the first month of working together she had found her new niche of friends.

Never in her right mind would Lily compare James to Severus or Marcus, but it just felt too good to be true for her.

The breeze carried the sound of footsteps coming up behind Lily making her turn to see Petunia walking towards her. Lily's eyebrows wrinkled in confusion as she walked closer to the swing set and sat down beside her. Lily didn't say anything scared she would ruin the only conversation they had had her entire holiday, so she waited.

Finally after some twirling in her seat Petunia said, "So do they have jobs for people like you after you graduate?"

"Yeah," Lily shrugged, "I kind of have more options though since I'm from a mug- I mean non magic family. I can choose a job from either world and fit in."

"What side are you going to choose?"

"Magic," Lily said softly, "I'll be with all of my friends and James... It's the place where I really feel I belong."

They softly swung together in silence letting the truth set in. Even when given the choice, Lily would be a witch.

"I'm sorry, Tuney," Lily whispered, "Nothing has turned out the way we thought it would..."

Petunia focused her gaze on her shoes refusing to let Lily see the disappointment in her own face.

"Whatever," she muttered, "I should've known better to rely on you anyway."

Standing from the swing Petunia walked away from the park trying to keep her head up high. Through the growing darkness Lily could see her reaching up to her face to wipe away some tears that might've escaped from her eyes. Lily stood and followed her, though not closely knowing for sure now that even though they'd still each other around their parents, they would never understand each other like they had when they were kids.
____________________________________________________________________

"Boys, you've been doing this for seven years now! Have you learned absolutely nothing about preparing the night before!" Mrs. Potter shouted down the hallway.

The two boys were in a frenzy running around their rooms for anything and everything they would need for the school year. Meanwhile Jasmine laughed as she sat on Sirius' bed watching him run back and forth between packing and trying to kiss her.

"Merlin I am going to miss you," he leaned over to kiss her.

"Be careful," Jasmine pushed him off, "My mum could walk in any second."

"I don't care!" He gripped her around the waist and nuzzled his face into the side of her neck. "How am I going to go until Christmas?"

"You just focus on tutoring those younger years, and we'll be just fine," she joked.

There was a knock on the door and the two sprung apart.

"Relax, its just me," James sighed. Sirius could hear in his voice that he was still uncomfortable about them being together. "You ready to go, mate?"

"Yeah," Sirius sighed, "Give me just a second."

"Fine, I'll hold off the crazy mother for you two to say goodbye."

Sirius stepped away from Jasmine to snap his bags shut. Mrs. Potter would definitely curse him if he didn't have that much done.

"Alright. I better not come back here to find you with another bloke."

"And I better not hear about any lady friends," Jasmine challenged back.

Sirius pressed his lips against hers for just a minute before Mrs. Potter's yells were heard again.

"See you in a few months," Sirius smiled.

"I'll write soon!"

Grabbing his bags, Sirius rushed down the stairs and out there door where Mrs. Potter had forced James in and was prepared to leave Sirius if he a minute more late.

"I sometimes don't know what to do about you boys," she tutted.

"Imagine if we were muggles!" James laughed, "Then we'd be come all the time, mum. Twelves months out of the year of pure James and Sirius until we found jobs."

"Thank Merlin for that school," Mrs. Potter winked.

She drove the two to the station avoiding any traffic at all costs so that they wouldn't miss their last train ride to Hogwarts. There had honestly been a year or two where the boys had to hop onto the already moving train and be tossed their bags. All the same though, Mrs. Potter figured that was just how her boys were- always on the move.

"What would you do if you didn't get to see Lily for three months?" she heard Sirius ask.

"Easy. I'd steal your mirror and give it to her. That way we would at least be able to talk and I could see her face," James shrugged.

Sirius's eyes widened. "Why didn't I think of that?"

"Because you didn't ask the smarter one of the two," James joked, and in return was punched in the arm.

When they pulled into the station James practically jumped from the car in excitement to see Lily. Just the thought of being at Hogwarts with her made him feel like it was Christmas. Everyone would be able to see that he was exactly who he had said he was all of these years; a mature and good looking man who was good enough to land the job of Head Boy and be the boyfriend of the smartest and most beautiful girl.

With a kiss on his mum's cheek and a promise to see her at Christmas time, James hurried to the platform with Sirius dragging behind him.

"You just saw her like two days ago, mate!" Sirius yelled after him.

"And every minute has been killing me," James yelled back.

His eyes searched anxiously around the right side of the platform where they had agreed to meet. After only seconds he spotted red hair that stood out sharper than anyone else's.

As if from a movie, the crowd dispersed and their eyes locked. James ran with his bags to her, and after dropping them at his feet grabbed her around the waist and twirled her off of her feet. She giggled only half demanding to be put down. When he finally did they kissed in greeting and hurried onto the train.

The hallway was crowded with students trying to find a compartment to sit in, but these two students had the Head compartment all to themselves until the Prefect meeting. James was able to push their way through and when they finally reached the privacy of their compartment they practically fell to their seats already tired.

"James," Lily said making him turn to look at her. "I want to start this year out right, and I just wanted to say," she paused and took a deep breath,"I love you."

James couldn't help but laugh. He was sure that Lily was going to drive him crazy waiting for her to say those words. However, when he saw her eyes getting defensive about his laughter he stopped and with a large smile said, "I love you too."
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Author's Note: Ok! Before you guys start shooting me, I just wanted to let you know my plan. Yes, this is the last chapter to The Corner Market. However!! There is going to be a sequel called The Corner Dorm. That way it keeps this story from getting too long, and well...I don't know! I just kind of want to make it that way. lol!!
Thank you so so so so much though for sticking with me throughout this story! I know I've been a horrible author and been taking forever to update, but I promise I was always thinking about it and I never forgot about you guys!! I hope you'll follow me to the next chapter of their relationship and cross your fingers for me to keep up with it better than I did with this story. lol!
As usual though, Read&Review por favorrr :)

Disclaimer: I am absolutely not JK Rowling

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