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My Lips Are Sealed by Pointless Nostalgic

Format: Novella
Chapters: 7
Word Count: 18,404
Status: COMPLETED

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

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

First Published: 10/27/2009
Last Chapter: 01/25/2010
Last Updated: 01/25/2010

Summary:
banner removed by staff. image must not exceed 700x110px.

In order to get rid of James Potter once and for all, Lily devises a bet. James cannot speak to her for a week, and if he loses, he can never ask her out again. If he wins, she must go on a date with him. Who will win?

Endless thanks to SpottedZebra for the stunning banner.


Chapter 1: Day One
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My Lips Are Sealed



“He’s just lucky, that’s all.”

“Is she really on him again?”

“She’s just trying to maintain some semblance of self-esteem by convincing herself that he’s an awful person deep down.”

“I can think of easier ways to stroke my ego… Put on some mascara. Instant self-esteem boost.”

“This is Lily we’re talking about.”

“Right… Read a book? Is that what gets her off?”

“You’re an awful person.”

“I do what I can.”

“Just let her continue and pretend to listen.”

It was a usual day with bland conversation. Lily Evans was talking about what she usually did—James Potter, and how he was really a bad person despite what everyone may think. In fact, she seemed to talk about him more often than usual these days, likely because they were Head students together, meaning even more time together in close quarters. Unfortunately, the same two people always seemed to be on the receiving end of these rants—Evelyn Chase and Madeleine Halkett. Evelyn tended to take her tirades fairly well, simply allowing her friend to vent with little intervention. Madeleine, on the other hand, was convinced that the situation was preposterous and that Lily should simply get over her detestation of James. And so, as Lily continued on and on about her vehemence for her fellow Gryffindor, Madeleine simply sat on the windowsill of the dormitory and stared out the open window, enjoying the late September breeze and ignoring her friend as best as she could.

Why could she no longer rant to the creator of all this turmoil, James Potter himself? As she put it, “It would create a bad image for the Head Students. We wouldn’t want people thinking we don’t get along!” As if anyone had any doubts of their relationship…

“Really, it’s all dumb luck. He doesn’t study at all and yet he gets excellent grades. Considering how many rules he breaks, he rarely gets in trouble. Everyone adores him and worships him like a God just because he can throw a ball through a hoop. And don’t even get me started on this whole Head Boy thing. I still think it’s a big joke that I don’t find very funny. Everything just seems to go his way.”

“She’s still talking?” Madeleine muttered, not averting her gaze from the scenic view.

“Of course she is.” Evelyn yawned as she spoke, glancing over at Madeleine before continuing with her magazine.

“Are you guys even listening?” Lily shot a look at her two friends, narrowing her eyes slightly in annoyance.

“Yes dearest,” Madeleine said in a sugary sweet voice.

“Then what did I just say?” Lily demanded challengingly, pursing her lips.

Madeleine cleared her voice and did her best imitation of Lily. “I hate James Potter. He’s a git. He is a despicable person. He probably doesn’t have a heart. Or a soul. I have never hated a person more than I hate him.” Finally, she looked over at Lily, grinning to herself. After a moment, all three girls burst out in laughter.

“I’m sorry. It’s just that I can’t—…”

Madeleine interrupted her. “You can’t stand him. We know that. Now why don’t you do something about it?”

“I’ve told him how I feel about him hundreds of times, it seems! And in every possible way. I’ve been polite, I’ve yelled, I’ve ignored him, I’ve avoided him, I’ve insulted him, I’ve hexed him… I’m not really sure what else to do.” Lily’s tone could only be described as defeated.

“You could always make peace with him… He does seem like he’s become a little more tolerable…” Evelyn sounded hesitant. Such suggestions usually ended in scoffs and lobbed pillows.

“A little, but I certainly don’t want anything to do with him! Besides the whole Head student thing, because I can’t do anything about that…” she muttered under her breath unwillingly.

“I don’t know if you really have a choice here,” Evelyn contested. “You’re going to have to work with him nearly every day. It’s not like you can just stop talking to him or something!”

“Wait a second,” Madeleine said sharply, standing up. “You might have something there.” She stood poised, contemplation written on her face.

“I just stop talking to him? I tried that last year and it didn’t work. And I have to talk to him now,” Lily sighed with a shake of her head.

“No, no. What about this? You make a bet with Potter. Tell him that if he can abstain from speaking to you for a week, you’ll go on a date with him.” Lily moved to protest but Madeleine held up a finger. “But, if he fails at this, he can never ask you out on a date. Ever.” She looked quite pleased with herself.

“But Lily just said that he has to talk to her—Head business and all?”

“Exactly,” Madeleine said with a smirk, crossing her arms. “He’ll accept because he could never let up such a good opportunity. And he’ll like the risk. And his ego will tell him that he can’t fail.”

“She’s got a point…” Lily said slowly.

“Then after a day or two, he cracks and you’ve got him out of your hair forever. Thank you very much, I accept the award for best plan ever.” With that, she bowed and let out a laugh.





 

“It’s not going to work.” The words came from James Potter who was shaking his head, a doubtful look on his face. At his side was Sirius who was pointing wildly at a piece of parchment with various inky doodles. Behind them both were Remus, seeming rather unfazed by the situation as he lay on the Gryffindor Common Room couch, and Peter who was eagerly looking over James’ shoulder.

“He’s right. It won’t work,” came Peter’s voice.

“Yes it will! If you flip as the Beater is coming towards you—…”

“Yeah, if you flip—…“ Peter cut in, but Remus interjected.

“That’s already a move, mate,” Remus murmured from behind him.

“Exactly!” James threw his hands up in the air. “No one believes me unless Remus backs me up.”

“I wasn’t done,” Sirius said irritably, shaking his head. “You then use the foot closest to the Beater to kick their broom to send them spinning. It’ll take at least a few seconds for them to get back on track!”

James looked back down at the paper, considering Sirius’ words. “Legality is questionable…” he murmured, but then shrugged. “Best way to find out is if we get fouled in the game! Nice work.” With that, James patted Sirius, who was beaming with pride, on the back.

“I’d just like to say that I proved you wrong,” Sirius said as he turned to Remus smugly.

“I really don’t care,” Remus said dully, letting out a sigh.

“Oh, yes you do,” Sirius said with a grin. “Underneath that suave exterior, you really, truly care.”

“Right…” Remus said with a chuckle.

“Oy! Potter!”

The four boys turned their heads towards the Seventh Year Girls’ Dormitory stairs where the voice came from. Lily Evans came all but skipping down the stairs, clearly quite pleased with herself. When she reached the bottom of the stairs she made her way over to the Marauders.

“Remus, Black, Pettigrew,” she said as she acknowledged each student. Finally, her eyes came to James and she smiled rather sweetly. “Potter…”

“Hi there, Lily,” James said cordially, returning her smile with the most kind one he could manage. Remus had been trying to teach him how to be a gentleman, and it was killing him not to smirk.

Meanwhile, Sirius watched on with narrowed eyes, his ecstatic mood vanished. “Do you need something, Evans?” he said coldly, raising an eyebrow in question.

“This intimidating act has never worked on me, so give it up,” Lily snapped, glaring back at Sirius before she turned back to James. “I need to talk to you.” Before James could respond, Sirius had cut in.

“You can talk in front of all of us, that’s fine,” Sirius continued despite Remus’ sigh of disenchantment.

“Fine,” Lily said coolly, shrugging her shoulders. “I want to make a deal with you,” she continued as she looked back at James, satisfaction still written in her eyes.

James stared at her for a moment, bemusement shrouding his features. “What kind of deal?” he asked finally, running a hand through his hair idly. The usual air of pomposity he held was eclipsed by some slight nervousness.

“A bet of sorts.” He was listening now, and perhaps even a bit more relaxed. “If you can refrain from talking to me for one week, I will go on a date with you.” He was about to speak, but she held up a hand to stop him. “And if you are not successful, you can never ask me out again.”

There was silence for several moments until Remus cleared his throat and sat up. “Uh, James…This doesn’t seem like the best idea here…” he said carefully. “You kind of have to talk to her…Head duties and all.”

But James wasn’t listening. He was simply staring at Lily, a rather shocked look on his face. “And if I won,” he said, “you wouldn’t back out? You’d go on a date with me?”

“Just name the time and place,” she said with a firm nod.

“Okay…I agree then!” he said with a grin that he simply couldn’t hide. “When do we start?” he demanded eagerly.

“Right this moment,” she told him, smiling widely.

James opened his mouth to speak but quickly stopped himself, swallowing instead. “Alright. Well…” he said slowly. “I suppose I’ll just say to no one in particular… Let the games begin! And that was just to the general public for the record,” he reiterated, looking around at his four friends, beaming.

“Right… Well, good luck then,” Lily chuckled, shaking her head as she headed back towards the Girls’ Dorm.

As she left, James looked around at his friends once more, gulping. “Did I just do that?”

“Yes, you did,” Sirius said, shaking his head. “And yes, if you’ve forgotten, you do have a Head meeting with her tonight. So good luck with that one.”





 

Six o’clock came and James found himself in the empty classroom that he and Lily used for their meetings. Every week they scheduled to meet for thirty minutes, and at six-thirty sharp, the Prefects came in for another half hour meeting. James always insisted that the strict time keeping was Lily’s doing, but she denied all accusations.

On the dot, Lily walked into the classroom with that same grin on her face. “Good evening, James,” she told him brightly. James, on the other hand, simply stared at her with slight confusion. She was never this cheery… “Sorry, I’m just so happy!” she exclaimed with a small skip as she made her way towards the desk. James simply bit on his lip and restrained a laugh.

“Let’s get down to business, then!” Lily took out a folder and retrieved several pieces of parchment from it. “I wrote down a few things that I wanted to discuss at this meeting. First, some Prefects were under the impression that Slytherins should be deducted more points and that just caused plenty of chaos, so we’ll be changing that tonight.” She glanced over at James who merely shrugged.

“Perfect. Next, there is something down here about a Christmas ball that I think you brought up?” She paused for a moment, shaking her head. “I thought about it, and I just don’t think that’s going to work out. Perhaps something in the spring, then. Any objections?” she asked with a smile.

James gritted his teeth before shrugging reluctantly.

“Let’s see… Oh, yes. Last week there was some kind of Quidditch party which is really against the rules, so I think we’ll be increasing the punishment for such parties. What do you think?”

James shook his head quickly, looking quite passionate on the subject.

“Well, what is it that you object to?” she asked, raising any eyebrow. James signaled desperately for a quill and ink, but Lily shook her head sympathetically.

“Sorry, James. I don’t have one on me… So if you don’t have anything to say, I’ll just check that one off, then.”

With that, James put his head in his hands, staring jadedly ahead as she continued on.

At six-thirty, the Prefects filed into the room noisily, filling in the desks as Lily and James moved to the front of the room.

“Sit, sit, sit!” James said eagerly, the bored look gone from his face.

“We have some things to discuss,” Lily began, but James cut her off loudly.

“We have a bit of a situation here that I want to let you all know about. Something has occurred that will hinder me from speaking to our lovely Head Girl for a week. No need to be nosy about it because I’m really not going to tell you about it.” He paused for a moment, then continued. “Alright, here’s the deal. There may or may not be a bet that ends in a date for me if I win, so let’s all root for me here because you know you want me to stop talking about the lovely girl to my left incessantly.”

“Are you done?” Lily asked, clenching her jaw, clearly aggravated.

“I am not done if any of the Prefects were wondering whether or not I was done,” he continued jovially, clapping his hands together. “I heard some news of Prefects taking off more points for Slytherins. Shame, shame—it was simply a joke, I didn’t want you to actually do it,” he said, nodding grinningly at the Slytherin Prefects. Laughter rang out through the room and James glanced at Lily with a goading smirk. “Thankfully, there are no rules that say I cannot talk in the direction or in the vicinity of the lovely Ms. Evans, or else I would really be in a pickle here,” he continued as he turned back to the Prefects.

“I’d like to change the rules of this bet,” Lily said through gritted teeth, but James didn’t look back at her.

“In case any of you were wondering, bets cannot be changed after they are already in progress. It just doesn’t work that way. Next order of business! So I wanted you all to have a say in the activities of this year, so I wanted to know how many of you, by a show of hands, would be interested in a Christmas ball!” Roughly three quarters of the Prefects raised their hands. “Well, that’s settled then!”

“Excuse me!” Lily raised her hand in objection. “I believe we already discussed this and decided the outcome,” she hissed to James.

“I’m so glad we have all of you to help us make decisions like this because I’m afraid if it were simply up to Ms. Lily and I, we would surely be butting heads at this very moment.” Chuckles rang through the room once more.

“This is really ridiculous.”

“You know what’s ridiculous?” James said, nearly overlapping Lily’s words. “Quidditch parties. Especially ones with illegal firewhiskey involved. Tsk, tsk. And unfortunately, we’re all going to have to crack down together on this one.”

“Potter, you were at that last one! Didn’t you arrange it?!” Lily exclaimed, shoving James angrily.

“And even if I was at that last one and perhaps organized it, ladies and gentlemen, they’re simply against the rules and must be reprimanded. Get to work, fellow students, ensuring these parties don’t occur anymore.” The look of mock seriousness on his face along with a quick wink created some giggles across the room, and before long, Lily had stomped out the door and shut the door with a slam.

James looked down for a moment before peering at the door and back at the Prefects. “Right… Well, that’s how you dig yourself in an even deeper hole… Wish me luck and… Meeting dismissed. See you all next week.”





 

Hey there readers! So, I am kind of excited about this story-I've been dying to write a Marauder's Era story as opposed to vignettes, so here we go! Hope you enjoy, and please let me know what you think!

Until next time,

Christine


Chapter 2: Day Two
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My Lips Are Sealed



“I’m an idiot.” It was James, head in his hands as he sat in the Common Room amongst his friends. Dismay was written in his posture and his expression as he cursed himself for acting as he had.

“No you’re not,” Peter objected, but Remus shook his head.

“No, he is.” Sirius snorted at Remus' reply before he put in his own opinions.

“Why does it even matter? It’s not like if you win and you two go on a date, she’ll miraculously change her mind. She’s as stubborn as you,” Sirius said, leaning back in his chair and propping his feet up on the small table in front of them.

“She might!” James exclaimed, looking rather horrified at such a thought. “Sirius the pessimist,” he mumbled under his breath, to which he received a glare from his best friend.

“Not if you keep making her angry,” Remus pointed out, to which Peter nodded adamantly.

“Okay, okay,” James conceded, rubbing his eyes tiredly. “So what I do to fix this one?” he asked, looking solely at Remus with the same dejected look upon his face.

“Talk to her and give up the bet and forget about her. Problem solved,” Sirius said simply. “See how helpful pessimistic Sirius is?” He grinned before letting out a long and loud yawn.

“I don’t think I was talking to you, mate,” James said coolly, not taking his eyes off of Remus.

“Why don’t you just apologize? I’m sure she’ll appreciate it…Somewhat,” Remus responded somewhat doubtfully.

“But I can’t talk to her!”

“Right… Well, why don’t you catch one of her friends and tell them what you want to tell her. I’m sure they’ll help out.”

“Perfect! Who has a piece of parchment?” James demanded, looking around at the four of them quickly. While Sirius and Remus didn’t budge, Peter rushed for his bookbag and dug out a small piece of parchment, a quill, and ink.
“That’ll do,” James said as he began to wildly scribble on the scrap of parchment.

“Are you honestly writing down what you want to say?” Sirius asked incredulously, leaning over slightly to observe better.

“Yes, yes I am.” James did not look away from the parchment once until he had finished. He handed it to Remus who looked it over and corrected a few phrases before handing it back to him. At that moment, as fate would have it, Madeleine and Evelyn made their way through the portrait, heading up to the Girls’ dorm.

“Oy!” James yelled, springing up from his position and all but running over to the two of them. They looked startled for a moment, but he chose to ignore that. “Could you do me a favor?”

“Depends,” Madeleine said, raising an eyebrow in question. “Heard you were a bit of a jerk yesterday, so I’m not sure how much I want to help you.” She crossed her arms, giving him a rather pointed look.

“I know, I know…But I wanted to apologize and I can’t talk to Lily so I was wondering if you could pass on the apology to her.” He smiled sweetly, giving them the most angelic expression he could manage.

Madeleine was about to object when Evelyn smiled and nodded. “Sure thing.” It was then when she saw James take out a small piece of parchment. “Oh…You wrote something down?” She looked a bit surprised, but James only smiled wider in pride.

“Yeah, is that alright?” Evelyn nodded and he cleared his throat, reading from the parchment carefully and slowly. “I am sorry about how I acted at the meeting yesterday. I was being immature and now realize that I should have allowed you to voice your opinions. I hope you will forgive me.” Each word was deliberate and precise—he clearly did not want to mess things up any more than he already had. “Could you tell her that for me?” he asked hopefully, handing over the parchment to Evelyn.

“Sure thing,” she told him with a nod before the two girls headed up to their dorm.

When they finally reached the dorm and had closed the door behind them, Madeleine called out to her friend. “Lily, dearest! We have a message for you!” Her sing song voice rang through the room and she ignored the odd looks she got from her other dorm mates.

Lily, who was sitting on her bed reading, looked up with a rather surprised look on her face. “Yes?” she asked.

Evelyn cleared her throat and affected James’ voice as best as she could as she read the note. As she finished she couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh, Lily, it’s just adorable. It’s written so carefully and there are little scratch out marks where he changed his mind. You have to forgive him!”

“He was being mean, though!” Lily objected, looking quite cross as she did so.

“You were sort of antagonizing him, though…Taking advantage of the fact that he couldn’t speak,” Madeleine pointed out, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, that’s not the point!” Lily stubbornly crossed her arms and gave her friends a look.

“And he apologized. C’mon, he’s never done that before! Never this genuinely at least!” Evelyn countered. “You have to admit that it was very considerate.”

Lily narrowed her eyes before letting out a low sigh. “Fine… It doesn’t mean I like him or anything…” she muttered under her breath.

“Perfect!” Madeleine declared, moving over to Lily and grabbing her arm. “Now you’re going to go accept his beautiful apology.”

As Lily was being pulled out of her bed she let out a shriek. “Hey, hey! Earlier today you were on my side!” she exclaimed as she was being pushed towards the door.

“That was before James turned sweet. Now go tell him you accept his apology.”

Evelyn and Madeleine followed Lily down the staircase, nearly knocking her over several times. Finally, Lily stumbled over the threshold of the Common Room, receiving several stares as she balanced herself and quickly stood back up straight. She saw the four Marauders sitting there on the couches and chairs and she looked back at her friends desperately.

“But they’re all there!” Lily protested quietly, but Evelyn merely gave her another gentle nudge.

With another stumble forward, Lily finally walked meekly up to the four boys, smoothing out her skirt as she did so. “Hey, James?” she said as casually as she could manage.

James merely looked up at her with a bright smile.

“He can’t talk,” Peter said quickly to which Lily rolled her eyes.

“Thanks for pointing that out to me,” she snapped before turning back to James, trying to ignore the other sets of eyes that were boring into her. “I just wanted to say… That I accept your apology… And appreciate the consideration…” His smile only grew more and his eyes brightened with mirth. “Not that you should let that get to your head or anything…” He shook his head fervently. “Because I still think you’re annoying…” He nodded quickly, though the smile hadn’t faded a bit. “But… Thanks…” She turned to go back to her friends, but Madeleine gave her a look and she turned back around. “And I’m sorry for taking advantage of the fact that you couldn’t speak…” she mumbled.

Sirius leaned forward and put a hand to his ear. “Sorry, couldn’t hear that one,” he told her with a grin.

“I’m sorry for taking advantage of the fact that you couldn’t speak!” she nearly yelled at breakneck speed. She blushed deeply and gulped. When James gave her a thumbs up sign, she turned around swiftly and hurried back up to her dorm, Evelyn and Madeleine following and suppressing grins.










Lunchtime came, and Sirius insisted that the four of them sit at the opposite side of the Gryffindor table from Lily. James complained at first, but Sirius pointed out that he was doing his friend a favor by helping him win, as he put it, “this stupid bet.” James conceded and sat down as far away from Lily as he could. As James poked sadly at his food, Remus looked at him oddly.

“Are you really that depressed about this?” he asked slowly.

“It’s just that she’s so far away!” he exclaimed, motioning down the table to her in dejection.

“Merlin, she’s all you think about these days!” Sirius ridiculed, rolling his eyes as he tore into a piece of bread.

“I can’t have any more Quidditch parties so this is all I’ve got!” James snapped before returning to his potatoes, prodding them with his fork sadly.

“Excuse me?” Sirius asked with raised eyebrows, leaning towards James. “Don’t tell me this is Evans’ doing.”

“Then I won’t,” James said sharply, glaring at his friend.

Halfway through lunch, he couldn’t take it anymore. He began glancing subtly at his fellow Gryffindor, barely keeping a smile off of his face. Before long, James found himself staring across the long table at the redhead, unable to keep the goofy smile off of his face. When she finally caught his glance momentarily and gave him an odd look, he immediately looked to his neighbor.

“Hey, would you mind passing down a message to Lily for me?” he asked the third year girl quickly. His friends glanced at him wearily but made no objections.

“Yeah, sure,” was her simple reply and she looked at James expectantly.

“Could you tell her that I didn’t mean to stare but that she just looked so pretty today?” He looked at Remus for approval, who nodded reluctantly. As he turned to look back at her eagerly, the girl shrugged and passed it on to her neighbor. He watched with anticipation as it went down the line of students until he finally saw Lily’s reaction. She looked rather horrified and snapped at the person next to her rather sharply. As her message came back, his demeanor had changed visibly and he suddenly looked rather nervous.

“She says that you saying her hair looks like a cooked kitty is not the way to win her over,” the student said matter-of-factly before going back to her food rather nonchalantly. James, on the other hand, looked utterly appalled.

“No! No, I said I didn’t mean to stareLooked…Pretty… Tell her… that she’s the apple of my eye!” he said rather desperately, tripping over his words in franticness.

The message was passed down once more and Lily shot him an angry glare as she received the message and sent back her own reply in a huff. His neighbor received the message and she snorted with laughter.

“What? What!?” James exclaimed, nearly ready to grab the girl and shake her in anxiety.

The girl cleared her throat and spoke with as much calmness as she could. “She says that you shouldn’t be looking at her apples or her thighs.”

“I said apple of my eye!” he yelled across the table, surprised when he heard his voice echo back to him. The entire Great Hall grew quiet as everyone turned to James in a mix of confusion and amusement. He coughed as he looked around uncomfortably. “If anyone was wondering…” he amended, clearing his throat. “As you all were!” Slowly, conversation started back up and he turned to the girl next to him.

“Alright… Tell her that I have a great deal of respect for her and would never say something like that,” he told her quietly, looking over at Remus who was carrying on a conversation with Peter and paying little attention to James. Still, he decided to continue on despite Remus’ lack of approval.

When Lily received the next message, she choked on her water and burst out in laughter. She leaned over to Evelyn and Madeleine who also began snickering rather loudly. She looked at James with a shake of her head and sent back her message before returning amusedly to her food.

“Lily says that she doesn’t care what part of you is erect and would rather not have you display it. Or was it what part of you is infected… I don’t remember,” the girl said, unfazed.

“I said respect!” James exclaimed in shock, looking over at Lily desperately. “Could you just ask how it is possible that all of my messages get messed up but hers seem to stay intact?” he demanded and the girl reluctantly leaned over to her neighbor.

One by one it was sent down the line one final time. Lily let out a chuckle as she received the message and sent off her message back to him. James’ neighbor smiled as she received the message. “She says, ‘Just lucky I guess’.”

James narrowed his eyes and turned back to his food in disappointment. “Of course…That one gets through,” he muttered to himself with frustration before jabbing his disfigured potatoes.










After dinner, Lily found herself up in her Dorm once again, finishing up some reading for her classes. She hadn’t been there long when Madeleine and Evelyn came up once more, bearing a small piece of parchment and looking rather eager.

“Why do I suspect I know who that came from,” Lily asked with pursed lips, setting down her book. “Alright, let’s hear it.”

Evelyn cleared her throat and deepened her voice. “I wanted to ensure that you knew that I respect you, that you are the apple of my eye, and that you looked very pretty today. As you do every day. And I apologize for the lack of hearing of our fellow Gryffindors. And/or for my terrible enunciation.” Madeleine grinned and glanced over at Lily before letting out a gasp of surprise.

“Ms. Evans, are you smiling right now?” she demanded, bringing a hand to her chest in shock. “Evelyn, I believe she’s not griping at us! This is momentous!”

Lily immediately affected a frown and shook her head adamantly. “I certainly am not… I think he’s absolutely dreadful.”

“Oh, yes, I’m sure… That’s probably why you were glowing just now,” Evelyn ventured, walking over to hand her the parchment. “And why you kept that last piece of parchment in your bookbag,” she teased with twinkling eyes.

“I just thought it was nice,” Lily protested, looking at her friends with discontent. “Last year when he was mean or annoying or rude he would just let it be and never acknowledge his folly. I just found his notes of apology… Refreshing,” she said carefully, nodding to her friends satisfactorily. “That’s all.”

“Right. Refreshing,” Madeleine said laughingly. She moved over to her friend and sat on the edge of her bed. “Or you actually see that he’s trying and you think you could like him and you’re afraid to admit that he’s not that bad.” She looked at Evelyn slyly.

“Unquestioningly, no,” Lily said with a firm shake of her head. “That’s ridiculous.”

Evelyn let out a sigh of dismay. “You’re so stubborn,” she groaned, sitting down on her own bed.

“No, I’m just right,” Lily contested, picking up her book once more to finish her reading.

“We’ll see,” Madeleine said deviously, standing up to move to her own bed as well.

“We’ll see?” Lily asked quickly, shooting a look to her friend over the top of her book. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing,” Madeleine said quickly , turning to hide the grin on her face as best as she could. “Nothing at all.”










Yay for a second chapter! I’m having loads of fun writing this so I hope you’re all enjoying it! Drop me a review to let me know what you think.

Until next time,

Christine


Chapter 3: Day Three
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My Lips Are Sealed



The next morning, James found himself walking alone to breakfast. It was day three, and sleeping had begun to trouble him—he was probably anxious to know the outcome of the bet—and he had therefore gone to breakfast early while his friends slept in. Despite his nervousness, though he was fairly pleased with how things were going. His interaction with Lily after his first apology note was very positive, and he was doubtful that she had ever spoken so civilly to him. Yes, things were finally looking up.

To make things even better, he heard Evelyn’s voice ring out behind him. He turned around and saw the girl hurrying to catch up to him. He waited and as she finally approached, she nodded cordially.

“Potter,” she acknowledged, offering a smile.

“Hey there,” he responded with a smile in return. “What can I do for you?” he asked with a questioning raised eyebrow.

“I just wanted to let you know…” She paused for a moment, perhaps contemplating whether or not she should continue. Finally, she did. “I wanted to tell you that Lily liked your note.” It was somewhat reluctant, but she seemed relieved to say it.

“She did?” James said softly, his jaw dropping somewhat in shock. His mind was already reeling with excitement and he had suddenly lost his breath.

“Yes,” she continued with the same averseness. “But you can’t say a thing to her about it because she’ll absolutely kill me for telling you,” she informed him rapidly, a concerned look passing over her face.

“Oh… Yes…” James muttered as he looked down to the ground, but he appeared to be only half listening.

“I’m supposed to be on her side, after all,” she continued in an incredibly unsure tone.

“Her side?” he persisted, looking back up at her quickly.

“Well, I think she might see something different in you,” she said carefully, somewhat unwilling to meet his eyes. “But she won’t admit it and I’m supposed to believe her when she says that she feels no differently about you.” He didn’t speak for several moments which prompted her to continue. “Don’t get the impression that she’s going to fall at your feet tomorrow or something, but… She definitely softening.” She paused for a moment and then resumed speaking quickly. “But please don’t tell her I said anything because she would absolutely split me in two for even muttering a word.”

As she looked at him desperately, he smiled and nodded. “Mum’s the word,” he told her solemnly, to which she returned his nod and turned to walk away. As she was leaving, she stopped in mid turn, though, and faced him once more.

“By the way, James,” she said quietly, as if she were passing on some additional secret. “I’ve been rooting for you all along…Even though it may not seem like it.” She offered a warm smile—perhaps an encouragement of some kind. “And I really hope this bet works out for you. Just—…”

James interrupted her. “Don’t tell Lily,” he finished for her, chuckling. “Your secrets are safe with me. Thanks, Evelyn.” As she walked away, he turned once more to head to the Great Hall, unable to keep the bright and goofy grin off of his face.






After classes, the Marauders had taken refuge outside under a rather large oak tree. There was Remus with a book in hand as per usual, Sirius with a Quidditch magazine, Peter looking anxiously between the two of them, and James sitting several feet above them with arms crossed on the lowest branch of the tree.

“You know you look pretty silly brooding up there,” Sirius said without looking up to his friend.

“I’m not brooding,” James said simply, glancing down at his friends. “Just thinking.”

“Right, brooding,” Sirius said with a grin, licking his finger and lazily turning the page of the magazine.

“You know, Evelyn found me and talked to me this morning while you were all asleep,” James continued nonchalantly as he scanned the grounds.

“And what did she say?” Remus asked, eyes trained on the text of his book.

“That Lily likes the letters that I send her.”

“They’re not really letters,” Sirius protested with a snort. “They’re more like little scraps of paper with really small handwriting on them.”

“Okay, fine. She liked those. That’s not the point, though. She liked my letters,” he said, glimmers of hope lacing his tone.

“Your little scraps of—…” Sirius began, but Remus elbowed him.

“That’s great, Prongs,” Peter told him as he strained his neck to look up at his friend.

They sat in silence for some time before James pointed wildly to a point across the grass. “Look! There’s Lily and her friends!” he exclaimed before promptly losing his balance and sliding off of the branch. He caught himself though, just barely missing Sirius’ head with his foot, and found himself hanging from the tree branch as he watched in horror as Madeleine pointed over at him. He scrambled back up onto the branch and dusted off his clothes as gallantly as he could, clearing his throat. Nonetheless, he could see Lily and her two friends laughing openly at his clumsiness.

“I should go over there,” James said, preparing himself to jump off of the branch.

“You just got back up there!” Sirius pointed out, rolling his eyes.

“No,” Remus said quickly, barely stopping James before he slid off the branch. “Sit,” he ordered, looking up at James.

“But why!” James whined, looking back over at Lily who had ceased laughing and was now talking to her friends.

“You’re on her good side with these…” He paused and glanced at Sirius before continuing. “These little scraps of paper. You don’t want to go over there and do something stupid to make her forget that she likes something you did.”

“But what if I don’t do something stupid,” James pointed out quickly and rather desperately.

“You will,” Sirius offered, smiling sweetly up at his friend. “It’s you, after all.”

“Sirius is right,” Remus said, much to James’ dismay. “Let her think about these nice little notes that you sent for a day. It’ll give you a leg up. Tomorrow you can do something stupid again,” he conceded and went back to his book. “Besides, if you’re lucky, she may wonder why you didn’t talk to her today. She’ll find you all mysterious and such. If you’re lucky.”

“You could write her a note tonight!” Peter suggested quite excitedly, elbowing Remus for approval. Remus paused for a moment before finally shrugging and nodding in somewhat reluctant consent. Peter clapped his hands once, looking back up at James. “I can’t wait for you two to get married because then I can say that I was part of the reason!”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Sirius mumbled, narrowing his eyes as he looked at Peter and then returned to his magazine.

“Are they looking over here?” James asked quietly, widening his eyes in nervousness. Peter began to look wildly over at the girls but James threw a stick down onto his head.

“Hey hey! Don’t throw that! You could poke someone’s eye out!” Sirius said as he tossed the stick away from them.

“Yeah, like you’ve ever cared about the safety of others,” Remus scoffed.

“I like my eyes very much, thank you,” Sirius replied dignifiedly, crossing his arms.

James hadn’t heard a word, though, and continued as if none of them had spoken. “Don’t look! They’ll see you looking and know we’re looking.” He spoke quickly and stealthily, attempting to look as debonair as possible on the tree.

“You’re a woman, Prongs,” Sirius told him, shaking his head as he went back to his magazine once again.

“Okay, now I say we offhandedly walk back up to the castle and I’ll smile at Lily really charmingly and such, and she’ll swoon and it’ll be perfect.”

“I’m not even going to grace that comment with a response,” Sirius muttered.

“C’mon, everyone stand up so I can jump down all daring like,” James said hurriedly.

Reluctantly, Remus, Peter, and Sirius got up, all looking quite bored. “She’s looking so don’t—…” As Remus spoke, he saw James slip from the tree once more, flailing wildly until he hit the ground ungracefully with a thud. “—fall…”

James stood up quickly, tidying himself up with a clear of his throat. “Note to self, don’t sit on that branch…It’s slippery.”

“Or you’re just clumsy, but who’s really counting?” Sirius asked as he began to walk up to the castle, Peter following close behind.

As they walked nearer to Lily, Remus began muttering under his breath to James. “Now, you have to smile nicely. No grin. No hand through hair. No wink. Nothing like that. Just a nice smile.”

“A wave?” James asked under his breath.

“Too desperate. Okay. Look over casually…” James did so and locked eyes with Lily. “And smile…” Remus continued in a murmur. James delivered this “nice smile” beautifully and almost shrieked when he saw Lily offer a half-smile in return. “Be calm,” Remus muttered just in time and James continued up towards the castle, using all he had in him to contain his excitement until they reached the Entrance Hall. “Good work,” Remus commended, patting James on the back.






“Did he just fall out of that tree?” Evelyn asked in concern, her eyebrows furrowing suddenly.

“For the second time? Yes,” Lily replied, the ghost of a smile passing over her lips.

“No, the first time he was just hanging from the branch,” Madeleine pointed out simply.

“That looked like it hurt…” Evelyn muttered, shaking her head slightly.

“What, do you have a soft side for him now or something?” Lily asked suddenly, sending a sharp look over to her friend.

“No,” Evelyn protested, confusion passing over her features. “If anyone fell from a tree, I would be worried that they were hurt.”

Lily didn’t say anything, but simply looked back over at James, expressionless.

“Did you think I liked him or something?” Evelyn ventured carefully, glancing at James as well.

“No,” Lily replied quickly, not averting her eyes from James. “He’s not coming over here, is he?”

“No, it looks like he’s not,” Madeleine replied. “Do you want him to? I can call him on over if you want,” she continued slyly, opening her mouth to call out his name.

“No,” Lily repeated just as rapidly. Remus was talking to him and they were far too distant for her to hear a word they said. Had he even seen her? The question was answered when he looked over at her casually and smiled warmly. The smile that she returned was completely involuntary—she couldn’t help it!

“Are you smiling back?” Evelyn asked quietly, not wanting James and Remus to hear her.

“Was I?” Lily asked, turning to her friends slowly after watching Remus and James retreat for a few moments.

“Yes, you did,” Madeleine said with a smirk. “And you’re still smiling. If you wanted to know.”

“Oh…” Was all that Lily said.

“Not denying it?” Madeleine asked with raised eyebrows.

“I suppose not.” She paused for a moment, contemplating something, before continuing. “Why didn’t James talk to me today?” she asked suddenly.

“He’s not allowed to talk to you, remember?” Evelyn said, chuckling lightly.

“I meant, why isn’t he trying to talk to me?”

“Why do you care?” Evelyn asked jovially, her eyes glittering with mirth.

“I was just wondering,” Lily said with a shrug.

“Well, you didn’t have any classes with him today,” Madeleine pointed out. “And this is the first time you’ve seen him today. And he was with his friends when you did see him. And every other interaction has been a disaster. He probably saw no reason.”

“Oh…” Lily murmured again, watching their faraway figures as they finally entered the castle.

“Why, do you want him to talk to you?” Evelyn asked. “Or try to, I mean.”

“No, I suppose not,” Lily said, finally looking back at her two friends. “It’s starting to get dark—shall we head in?”

Madeleine looked at Evelyn with a smirk before replying. “Sure thing,” she said. “And we’re not going in because James just went in, right?”

“No, it’s just getting dark,” Lily said calmly, standing up. “That’s all.”

“Right…” Madeleine replied slowly, standing up as well.






The girls stopped at the Great Hall for dinner before heading up to the Gryffindor tower. Curiously, there were no Marauders in sight in the Great Hall or the Common Room, but Lily chose not to point this out to her friends. When they reached the girls’ dorm, though, they saw a letter sitting at the bottom of the stairs with Lily’s name written in fancy lettering on the envelope.

“What’s this?” she asked, picking up the letter slowly, quite confused by the object. They hurried up to the dorm to open and read the letter, quite anxious to see where it had come from. Lily sat down on her bed quickly and Evelyn and Madeleine sat on either edge, restlessly awaiting Lily’s reaction.

“Dear Lily,” she read slowly, her stomach knotting in anticipation. “Since I wrote you letters for the first two days of our bet, I decided to keep the tradition going and send you another one. Except for this time I’m not apologizing because I don’t think I did anything wrong today. I don’t think… Well, in any case, if I did something wrong, I apologize. The only I time I saw you was outside this evening, though (you looked quite nice today, by the way) and I all I did was fall out of that tree. Which was on purpose because I have excellent balancing skills. Okay, perhaps it wasn’t on purpose, but it made you laugh so I think I can live with the bruise. I miss talking to you (even if you are probably reveling in the peace and quiet from me) and even if I don’t win this bet, I look forward to being able to talk to you. If I don’t win this bet, I hope I can talk to you at least as a friend. But I can only hope for that much. I’ll see you tomorrow in Potions. Sleep well. James.”

Lily was silent for several moments as she read over the letter once more while Madeleine and Evelyn looked at each other, unsure. Finally, Lily spoke.

“Well, that was nice,” she said pleasantly, folding the paper and putting it back into the envelope neatly.

“Lily, you really just have to admit it,” Evelyn said after an instant as she stood up to move to her own bed.

“Admit what?” she asked innocently.

“That you don’t hate him anymore,” Madeleine offered, letting out a low and weary sigh, raising an eyebrow.

Lily waited, glancing down at the letter once more. “Fine, I don’t hate him,” she conceded, unable to look at her friends.

“And why do you look as if the world just ended?” Evelyn asked as she observed the worried look on Lily’s face.

“Because it means I was wrong!” she exclaimed quickly, looking up suddenly. “It means that he has changed and that could eventually lead to me liking him which I just can’t do!”

“Why can’t you? What’s wrong with liking him?” Madeleine asked softly.

“Because I don’t like being wrong. I don’t like having to admit that I made a mistake or that I’ve changed my mind. I’m stubborn! I like things to stay how they were and if I like him, then I lost and everybody will know!”

“It’s not a game, Lily,” Evelyn told her with a shake of her head. “Besides, he’s not the same person he once was. It’s okay to change your mind now. No one will think any less of you if you’re friends with him or if you date him or if you marry him even.”

“It is a game,” Lily said slowly, looking back down. “And I like winning.”

“You could be missing out on something so big here,” Evelyn continued. “Did you ever think of that?”

“Well, my pride is more important to me.” Lily’s tone was decided and firm, and every trace of the smile that had adorned her lips earlier had all but disappeared.

“This isn’t pride, Lily,” Madeleine suddenly snapped, standing up. “This is close-mindedness. This is obstinacy! This is you being completely unwilling to change! He changed! And yet you still can’t give him a chance because you’re too narrow-minded. You know that makes him the better person, right?”

“I’m not narrow-minded. I’m right,” Lily mumbled under her breath, still looking down at the letter.

“No you’re not,” Madeleine argued. “This time, you’re wrong.” With that, she moved to the door, opening it aggressively. She paused as she stood at the threshold of the door for only a moment, before finally passing through and slamming the door shut.

There was silence throughout the room before Evelyn finally spoke. “She’ll be back. Don’t worry.”

“I know…” Lily murmured, staring at the closed door, her stomach twisting in anxiousness and dismay.






Another chapter! Anywho, I hope you enjoyed this one. Drop me a review and let me know what you think.

Until next time,

Christine


Chapter 4: Day Four
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My Lips Are Sealed


Lily stayed up in hopes of seeing Madeleine again that night, but she eventually found herself falling in and out of sleep and finally allowed herself to submit to sleep. When she woke up the next morning, Evelyn told her that Madeleine had already left for breakfast, but assured her that Lily would see her in Potions, and seeing as they were always partners, they had to talk then. Although this came as a great relief to Lily, she still couldn’t help but feel tense and nervous as she made her way to breakfast and afterward to Potions.

Madeleine wasn’t in the classroom yet, but Lily lost no hope. They were always partners and Madeleine really had no one else to go to. They would work this out… She would apologize… Perhaps… As these thoughts reined her mind, she saw James and Remus enter the room, Madeleine following quite closely behind. Just as she was about to call out to Madeleine, Professor Slughorn walked into the room quite hurriedly and began speaking, quieting her immeditely.

“Quickly, quickly, we don’t have much time! Pair up! No time to lose!” Lily struggled to find Madeleine in the sea of moving students, and when she finally approached her friend, Madeleine had already linked arms with Remus.

“I thought we were partners,” Lily said quickly, her eyes shifting to Remus.

“He asked me,” Madeleine said simply. Remus looked as if he was about to protest, but Madeleine jabbed him with her elbow and he immediately closed his mouth.

“Well, who am I supposed to work with?” Lily demanded, crossing her arms as she glared at the two.

Madeleine pointed behind Lily with a sweet smile. “Potter there seems to be partnerless. Why don’t you go work with him?”

Lily looked at her friend, narrowing her eyes momentarily before she turned with as much pride as she could and marched over to James. Two could play at this game…

“Hello there, James,” she said cordially, her lips pursed rather formally.

He smiled widely and waved to her.

“Looks like we’re partners,” she continued after a deep breath.

James looked past Lily to Remus who was pointing at Madeleine with a shrug. Madeleine, on the other hand, smiled to him and urged him on. With a wide smile and bright eyes, he looked back at Lily and gave her a thumb’s up. She returned with a half-hearted smile, watching Madeleine out of the corner of her eye in hopes that she saw Lily’s civility. But alas, Madeleine had turned away and was chatting away with Remus, oblivious to her actions.

Lily was somewhat surprised when James listened almost as intently as she did when Professor Slughorn began giving instructions. Yes, James seemed somewhat interested in what they were doing, but whether or not this was a charade, she was not quite sure.

“Amortentia.” Lily blanched at Professor Slughorn’s words. “You probably all remember making this last year and it is the next potion on our review list! With that, begin, ladies and gentlemen,” Professor Slughorn clapped his hands jovially before students began rushing in every direction to find ingredients without question.

Lily looked over at James apprehensively, but he seemed rather nonchalant. “Alright, you go grab those leaves on the table over there and start chopping them finely.” He looked at her blankly for a moment and then motioned to the mortar and pestle at their table before he began imitating the action of grinding leaves. Lily watched with a raised eyebrow as he moved his fist up and down and after a moment of realization, he flushed and cleared his throat, putting his hands behind his back rather sheepishly.

“Right… I think the mortar and pestle would work just fine.” Still blushing, he retreated over to the table and grabbed the leaves before rushing back to Lily. He wordlessly began to grind up the leaves, glancing over at Lily as she smashed some aromatic dried rose petals between her hands. She stopped for a moment and sniffed the air before turning to him quickly.

“Are those mint leaves?” she demanded, to which his eyes simply widened as he nodded, mystified.

“I said willow bark. The mint leaves are last. Go get the willow bark.” He looked rather indignant as he opened his mouth to protest, though stopped himself just in time. Silently, he trudged back over to the ingredient table to fetch the bark. Before he had even set down the bark she had continued with her orders.

“Now, get a pot of water going so you can boil the willow. It needs to be soft and malleable,” she said without looking at him. He sighed momentarily before beginning the chore. There was silence for several minutes as each did their separate tasks, sneaking glimpses at the other, hoping not to be caught.

“I think it’s fairly ridiculous that we have to do this potion again,” Lily said idly when silence had reined for long enough. “When am I going to have to make a love potion? I don’t think being an Auror requires such a skill.” She narrowed her eyes as she pounded somewhat violently at a branch, trying at any length to retrieve its core.

James opened his mouth to respond once more but caught himself just as quickly. Lily turned to look at him.

“Sorry, I’m probably not making this easy. But really, if Madeleine hadn’t been so stubborn, you could’ve been with Remus and talked all you want,” she told him defensively, giving him a knowing look.

He cocked an eyebrow questioningly and she turned back to her branch, pummeling the wood rather mercilessly. “She just thinks I should be nicer to you, is all,” she mumbled noncommittally. He was still staring at her, and she turned her head sharply to him. “Well don’t just sit there gaping. That willow bark is going to disintegrate in there.” He smiled slightly before turning back to his pot of boiling water, fishing the bark out with a pair of tongs.

“Don’t get any ideas,” Lily said pointedly, pursing her lips indignantly. She could see James waiting for her to continue, but she was silent. In fact, she chose not to talk for the rest of their partnership, refusing to give him an upper hand.

In their silence, they finished before most of their classmates. Carefully, they poured the finished potion into a beaker, cautiously trying not to burn themselves in the process.

“Now let’s see if we got this right…” Lily murmured, leaning over the beaker before inhaling deeply. “Lavender…” she began quietly, continuing despite the fact that James’ eyes were watching her rather carefully. “Rosemary…” she continued, taking one last sniff. She stopped dead, standing up straight and staring down at the beaker. “Cinnamon. I didn’t get that last time we made this,” she said slowly, not meeting James’ eyes. “Perhaps we didn’t do it right,” she said hopefully, though Madeleine interrupted, apparently having listened to the whole conversation.

“James, isn’t your shampoo cinnamon scented?” she said rather loudly, ignoring Remus’ look of objection. “A birdie told me…” she said sweetly, batting her eyelashes at Lily.

“Well, yes, it is,” James said quietly as he looked over at Madeleine momentarily.

“We clearly made a mistake then,” Lily said sharply, staring down at the beaker in alarm. “It’s supposed to be the smell of roses. It’s not cinnamon.” Students were beginning to glance over at them, whispering amongst themselves.

“Maybe it changed,” Madeleine said helpfully, unable to hide her grin.

“Well, it didn’t.” She looked over at James, expecting to see a proud smirk, but he was only staring at her blankly, his mouth slightly ajar.
“What, didn’t you hear me? We got it wrong!” Without thinking, she picked up the beaker and threw it aggravatingly into their cauldron, jumping slightly when she heard the glass shatter into thousands of pieces.

The entire room was silent. Every student was staring at Lily in shock; all whispering had stopped. Slughorn had hurried over in quite a rush, looking at Lily in concern and question.

“What is going on here?” he demanded in panic, looking between Lily and James with worry.

“Nothing, it just slipped from my hand. I’m sorry, Professor Slughorn,” Lily told him without looking up from the cauldron, her jaw clenched in indignation.

“Actually, Professor,” Madeleine said, raising her hand. “James and Lily made a bet where James can’t talk to Lily for a week. I’m not sure if that has any bearing on the situation… I do think bets are against the rules…”

Lily turned sharply to Madeleine, shock written in her eyes. “You came up with it!” she hissed. “What’s your problem?!”

“I don’t have a problem,” Madeleine responded coolly.

“Yes you do! Why can’t you just stay out of my business!” Lily yelled, ignoring the rest of the students in the room.

“I can’t—I’m your friend,” Madeleine continued, a frown forming on her face.

“Well, you’re not acting like much of one,” Lily snapped, turning away before she could catch a sight of Madeleine’s hurt expression.

“Girls, please,” Professor Slughorn finally said, raising up an authoritative hand. “Now, I’m going to have to put you two in detention. Bets are simply not allowed, and I have to punish rule breakers. I’m sorry, Lily.” He paused fleetingly. “And unfortunately, I cannot give you a grade for a potion you did not finish. I’ll see you tomorrow at five o’clock in the evening to do some lines.” Professor Slughorn looked around at the students surrounding them and cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Now I don’t believe any of the rest of you are done and you barely have five minutes left. Let’s get to work.”

With that, students scattered to their respective tables, leaving James and Lily to themselves. Lily stood, breathing rather heavily as she stared down at the broken beaker, not daring to look over at James even for a moment. She couldn’t bear to see what his expression held, whether it was shock, conceit, laughter, or pity. She let out a breath she had been holding when he finally moved to clean up the broken glass with a flick of a wand, setting the restored beaker on the table quietly.

When the bell rang, Lily was the first out the door.




That night, Lily sat in her bed staring straight across the room in a daze. Evelyn and Madeleine were in their respective beds (though Lily and Madeleine had talked very little since Potions) and were sitting quite silently with books in hand. They had been like that for quite some time—since dinner, in fact—and none had said a word for at least forty minutes. No one dared say a word.

“I didn’t do the potion incorrectly…” The words were murmured by Lily and gave her two friends quite a shock. They glanced at Lily from over their books, waiting for her to continue. When she didn’t, Evelyn spoke up.

“We believe you. I’m sure Slughorn will give you the credit. You don’t need to worry. He loves you.”

Lily didn’t avert her eyes. “The potion was made correctly. It has to smell like the things that attract me most. Cinnamon, whether consciously or unconsciously, attracts me. There is no question about it. It has to be true.”

Evelyn and Madeleine looked at each other, not quite sure how to respond and unable to give any explanation.

“I’m attracted to James Potter!” Lily finally exclaimed, turning to her friends with a look of horror written across her face.

“It’s about time…” Madeleine murmured under her breath, but Lily ignored her.

“What am I supposed to do? How did this even happen!? I hated him last year!” Her words were frantic and nearly hysterical, but Evelyn responded calmly.

“He’s a different person now,” she told her in a smooth voice, trying her best to calm Lily down.

“I never realized how much I expected and… enjoyed James talking to me this year until he stopped…” Lily looked over at Madeleine whose grin had been replaced by a warm smile. “You knew I would like him, didn’t you.”

Madeleine shrugged. “No, but I had a feeling if I gave you two a little push something might happen.” She waited a moment before continuing. “You’re not angry at me, are you?” she asked tentatively.

Lily shook her head, returning Madeleine’s smile. “Of course not.” Her smile faded slowly as she continued. “But what do I do now?”

“You let him win the bet,” Evelyn responded evenly.

“But I don’t know how to do all this…Flirting stuff… I don’t remember the last time I liked a guy!” Lily was getting frenzied once again.

“Here’s what you do. When you see him at detention, bring up when the time is right that you could survive with being friends with him. It’ll give him the motivation to hold out on talking for the rest of the week. Don’t let him know that you might like him. Just tell him that a friendship could occur,” Madeleine instructed.

“Right…” Lily said slowly as she took in Madeleine’s words before looking between her two friends apprehensively. “You guys don’t completely hate me, do you?” she asked quietly and concernedly.

“Why in Merlin’s name would we hate you?” Madeleine demanded, furrowing her brow in confusion.

“Because I may like James Potter… I called you a bad friend… I was being a stubborn idiot yesterday…” Lily began, but Evelyn stopped her midsentence.

“We could never hate you, Lily,” Evelyn told her, smiling genially despite Lily’s look of utter alarm. Lily’s face softened nearly immediately, though, and she looked down at her hands in silence for several moments. Finally, she began to speak again with a slight tone of distress.

“But what if I don’t like him? What if I just think I do right now?”

“Then you don’t like him. You go on that date when he wins and you talk civilly for the first time in seven years and if you like him, you like him. If you go on the date and you end up hating him, then that’s that. No harm, no foul,” Madeleine told her.

“You make it sound so easy.” Lily sounded slightly wounded, but Madeleine only chuckled.

“It’s because you’ve made this whole thing far too complicated. You don’t really have a choice as to whom you love,” Evelyn told her and Lily choked in astonishment.

“Okay, let’s not get carried away here,” Lily said with wide eyes, but Evelyn simply rolled her eyes and smiled.

“The point is, you don’t get a choice about this whole attraction thing. No matter how hard you fight, you could end up falling for the guy you hate.”

“Subsequently, you could end up loving the girl who hates you. Let’s face it, there’s no way James Potter has enjoyed being turned down over and over by you. Even his pride has to be somewhat dented here,” Madeleine picked up as Evelyn had finished.

“I suppose you’re right…” Lily conceded with a slow nod. “Well, I suppose I’ll talk to him tomorrow…Or talk at him really.”

“It’s all the same to him. Just having you look at him is thrilling to him.”

“Right… Well, I’m going to draft what I’m going to say tonight and sleep on it… I’ll pass it by you two tomorrow morning and you can let me know how it is,” Lily said hurriedly, moving quickly to find a bit of parchment.

“And this is why you’re insane…” Madeleine laughed, but Lily had already begun.




Thank you so much for the reviews!  I'm so sorry for the wait on the last chapter--there was an issue and I had to send it back through the queue a second time.   I hope you all enjoyed this chapter!

 Until next time,

Christine


Chapter 5: Day Five
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My Lips Are Sealed



The entire day was nerve-wracking, to say the least. In every spare moment, Lily was staring down at her piece of parchment, trying to decipher her own handwriting. She was constantly at either Evelyn or Madeleine’s side, rapidly firing off questions every few moments. There was so much to learn about “the art of enticement,” as Lily so eloquently put it. The three of them went to the Great Hall for an early dinner, just before Lily’s detention, where Lily received her final few lessons.

“Okay, go ahead,” Madeleine said as she sat at the table, watching Lily critically with narrowed eyes.

Lily, for her part, cleared her throat and loosened up her shoulders in preparation, focusing her eyes on the far side of the Great Hall. She then smiled subtly, bringing her hand up to flip her hair behind her shoulder with a rather seductive smile on her face.

“That’ll do. Except you hit Evelyn in the face, but we’ll just assume no one will be behind you,” Madeleine said as Evelyn sputtered behind them. “And try not to whip your whole head around. It looks a bit like you were slapped in the face.” Lily noded at this readily, gulping nervously as Evelyn began to speak.

“What do you say when you enter the room?” Evelyn began when she could speak once again, a bit flustered from the mass of hair that had hit her. Lily was well prepared for this one...

“Hello there, James,” Lily said in a sweet voice, looking down coquettishly for a moment before glancing up through her eyelashes alluringly. She came out of her stance quickly, looking between her friends for an endorsement.

“Okay, that’s a little too much. You’re not trying to shag him,” Evelyn said cautiously.

“Yet…” Madeleine muttered, but Lily hit her in the shoulder, silencing her rather quickly. This was clearly no time for such jokes.

“Let me try again,” Lily said, clearing her throat and taking a deep breath. “Hello there, James,” she said, smiling somewhat after a moment.

“Better. The voice is still a little too velvety. You’re still you, remember?” Evelyn said, to which Madeleine agreed.

“Good call, my friend. Here, Lily, try just saying the words as you always would. No voice, no seductive eyes. Just smile a bit as you say it. A bit, being the key phrase here," Madeleine told her as she held up a warning finger.

Lily nodded slowly. “Hello there, James,” she said in a somewhat more blunt voice, offering her friends a subtle smile.

“Perfect! Now, what do you say about the whole friendship thing?”

Lily took a moment, replaying the words she had written down in her head a few times. Finally, she began. “James, I know you’ve been working so hard and it seems like it would be unfair for me to pretend to be disgusted with you even though it’s clear you’ve changed. Perhaps we could be civil from here on out?” She looked to her friends in approval, which they gave with applause of congratulations.

Despite this, Lily’s demeanor changed completely as her smile dropped and she looked nervously down at her plate. “What if he says something that’s not in the plan?’’ she asked anxiously, letting out a shaky breath.

“Lily, he can’t talk. You’re going to have the upper hand here the entire time. Relax,” Madeleine told her slowly, putting a hand gently on her friend’s arm. “This isn’t a life or death situation here. You’re just going to be friendly to him. Pretend he’s one of us.”

“But he’s not one of you! He’s different! If it was one of you this would be simple! But then again, I wouldn’t have this probably if it was one of you…” Lily protested hurriedly, scrunching her eyebrows up in deep concern and confusion.

“Yes, well… That’s all I can give you,” Madeleine said after a moment, patting Lily on the back a few times. “Now make me proud,” she told Lily firmly, smiling encouragingly as Lily stood up with a deep breath. With that, Lily nodded firmly before turning to walk out of the Great Hall.




Lily found herself wringing her hands all the way to the classroom, turning around several times to tell herself that she wasn’t going to do this until she remembered that it was detention and therefore not voluntary. She was rehearsing little things in her mind, muttering a few choice words in order to hear them spoken in her own voice. This merited a few odd looks from passersby, but she paid no attention.

When she finally made it to the classroom, she stopped in front of the door, preparing herself. She would sit down, wait for James to come, wait for Slughorn to come, and the rest would fall into place. Squaring her shoulders, Lily reached for the doorknob and opened the door.

“James!” she exclaimed, her eyes widening as she unexpectedly saw him already sitting there in the front row, his wand sitting on the desk near him. He looked up to her and smiled genially, waving to her.

“You’re already here!” she said with equal shock. She was shaken up by the fact because it meant that her plan was already deteriorating. He wasn’t supposed to be here yet… He was early. It was then when she noticed that he was pointing up to the clock at the front of the room—five after five. She was late. That never happened… Apparently she had taken longer than she had thought muttering to herself in the hallways and mentally preparing for her task.

“Oh…Right…” she said slowly, gulping nervously. She was only lucky that Slughorn wasn’t here yet. With her eyes trained on the ground, she moved slowly towards the desks. Terror seized her when she realized that she had no idea which desk to sit in. They hadn’t gone over this! Was she to sit next to James, or a set away, or a row away, or far behind him? With apparent hesitation, she made her way to the desk next to him, planting herself in the seat uneasily. She could feel his eyes trained on her, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Good thing he couldn’t talk…

At that point, Professor Slughorn opened the door and walked in, a thick folder under his arm. “Good morning,” he said to the two of them, setting down the folder on the desk at the front of the room. “This morning, you’ll be grading my First Years’ most recent exams. There’s a key somewhere in that pile, but I assume that you will know the answers without it.” He smiled at Lily as he said this, but she still had her eyes on the desk. “As soon as you’re done, you may leave. I’m trusting you, as the two Head Students, to grade these faithfully.” With that, he nodded to them and left the room.

There was silence for several moments as James glanced between Lily and the tests. When she didn’t move for several beats, he stood up and walked over to the folder, bringing it over to the desk. Grabbing half of the papers, he leaned over to Lily and set them on her desk before grabbing a quill and ink to begin.

“Do teachers always make you do their busy work?” Lily asked rather suddenly as she looked over at him, surprised at the strength in her voice. He looked up from the tests to her, offering a smile before nodding. “Oh… See, I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been in detention,” she said all too quickly, but he just chuckled a bit and nodded knowingly. “Right…” she murmured, looking back down at her papers, reaching for her own quill and ink.

They sat in silence for several minutes, only the sound of scratching quill bits permeating the air. “How about that weather?” she said abruptly, looking over at him with wide eyes and concern still lacing her features. He looked up at her, somewhat alarmed by her expression and suddenness. He gave her a halfhearted thumbs up, a nod, and a reluctant smile. Blushing madly, she murmured something before looking back down at her paper.

After another couple of minutes of agonizing silence, Lily cleared her throat and did one of her well practiced hair flips. Except her hair didn’t go over her shoulder as she had planned. Instead, it caught on the top of her quill, forcing her to manually dislodge her hair before flipping it again. She looked over at James, offering him a toothy smile before returning to her paper, muttering “Oh Merlin…” under her breath in horror.

Lily looked back up when she felt James poking at her, trying to hand her small piece of parchment. She grabbed it and looked down at the sloppy writing—“are you okay?” She laughed exaggeratedly, shaking her head. “James, you’re so funny! I’m perfectly fine!” she told him, and when he didn’t join in her laughter, she stopped hastily and returned to the tests.

It wasn’t five minutes before she burst out once again. “I’m sorry about the whole Potions class thing, by the way. I don't know if I said that already…I suppose I’m the reason you’re in here, and I know that I acted terribly childishly. I just… I’m…Sorry…” Her words came out with extreme difficulty, probably due to how seldom she offered apologies, especially to James Potter. For his part, he smiled warmly at her, shaking his head in a gesture of forgiveness. Letting out a sigh of relief, she looked back down at her tests, though didn’t get the chance to make one mark before she continued speaking rapidly.

“James, I want to tell you that I’d like it if we were friends, but can you just pretend that I was a lot more suave about asking you and that I didn’t ask and that it was really more of a suggestion and that I didn’t make a complete fool of myself in the process even though I am well aware that I did?” she asked at breakneck speed, holding her breath as she watched him.

The smile that formed on his face wasn’t one of condescension or of victory. Instead, it was one of pure exhilaration. His eyes lit up as he laughed in delight. He reached over for the piece of paper on her desk and their hands brushed lightly, eliciting a deep flush from Lily which did not go unnoticed by James. Nonetheless, he made no snarky expression, and instead scribbled something new on the parchment before handing it back to her. “You don’t know how happy that would make me,” it said.

Lily’s stomach flipped and for the remainder of detention, she found herself unable to keep the goofy smile off of her face.




“How’d it go?” Lily hadn’t even closed the door to the Girls’ Dorm before she heard Madeleine’s voice. Her two friends were sitting on the ground at the foot of Evelyn’s bed, a few magazines spread out between them. They looked up expectantly at Lily, eagerly awaiting her news.

“It went well,” Lily said simply, looking at them for a moment before moving to her bed.

“Elaborate please?” Evelyn asked slowly, standing up before approaching Lily’s bed.

“Well, I went there, I did what you told me to do, and…Yeah…” Lily said plainly, shrugging her shoulders whilst avoiding their eye contact.

“What did you do wrong? Don’t tell me you said something stupid,” came Madeleine’s voice dully.

“Well… See, I got there late… And then we were working… And I was trying to do the hair swish…” Lily’s voice was quiet and tentative and she refused to meet Madeleine’s eyes. “Okay, I completely messed up, but he doesn’t hate me and he said that he would love to be friends,” Lily spat out, quite akin to her outburst earlier that day.

“Suave, Lily,” Madeleine said with a chuckle, but Evelyn merely smiled.

“That’s wonderful,” Evelyn said genially. “Oh, and his letter already came today, and we were quite tempted to read it. Be proud of our self restraint,” she told Lily, leaning down to pick up the letter that was hidden underneath the magazines.

“How’d it get here this fast! I only stopped at the Charms classroom to pick up a test review… He couldn’t have written it that quickly,” she said, but stopped. She had finished her test grading a bit after him, and he had been writing something while she finished… Reaching for the letter, she tore it open and began to read.

“Dear Lily,” (she paused here, noticing that it was a proper letter this time rather than just some poorly planned note, not that she minded that either…) “You’re sitting next to me finishing up the grading and I decided to start your letter for tonight. I should probably be taking a few of those exams so that we can finish quicker… Apologies, please don’t be mad. You only have two more to go and it seems counterintuitive… Anyways, this is off-topic. Though I don’t think I really have a topic. I didn’t do anything particularly stupid (I didn’t even fall out a tree! It’s a good day so far, clearly) and I don’t think I made you angry (though forgive me if I did. I’m afraid I don’t know sometimes, though I think you know that.) I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’re willing to be friends with me. I feel like a little kid saying that, but it’s true. No matter what comes of this, you’re friendship is more than I could ever hope for. I know I used to be an absolute prick, but I promise that you won’t regret what you ever so eloquently said. I mean, I’d still like to win and be able to go on a date with you, but… I’m going to stop here before I dig myself in a hole, though that’s probably inevitable knowing how articulate I am. Anyways, I think you’re almost done with that one and I don’t want you to see me writing this letter because or else it wouldn’t be a surprise. –James.”

Lily didn’t say anything for a moment, instead keeping her eyes on the paper as she skimmed over the words once again, a faint smile on her lips.

“Well, you two are quite a pair,” Madeleine said eventually with a snort, leaning on her bedpost in amusement.

“What?” Lily asked, looking over at her friend with a furrowed brow.

“You two just…” Madeleine paused, contemplating her words. “You guys are so polished when you’re not around each other. Every girl wants to jump him because he’s so charming and you’re the most put together girl in school. But the moment you two are put together in a room or really in any situation, you turn into mush and all of your sophistication vanishes.”

Lily looked over at Evelyn, who was nodding with a knowing smile. “Is that a bad thing?” Lily demanded worriedly, looking back to Madeleine.

“No,” Madeleine told her with a small shake of her head. “It’s absolutely perfect.”




Hope you enjoyed it!  It's getting close to the end and I can't wait to see how you all like the conclusion of the story.  Thanks for reading and thank you for all the reviews.  

Until next time,

Christine

Chapter 6: Day Six
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My Lips Are Sealed



She was absolutely giddy. Words couldn’t describe how happy she felt after her conversation, if you could even call it that, with James. In fact, butterflies flew around her stomach during the following day in dizzying delight and she was rather unable to keep the smile off of her face. It was an odd situation, really. One day she hated him and couldn’t stand seeing him, and the next day she couldn’t stop thinking about him. The moment he was forced to stop talking to her was the moment she realized that she not only expected that he would talk to her, but she flat out enjoyed his company! Despite his friends’ teasing, though, she wasn’t quite ready to go marry him or something like that. No, her rational side was still fairly intact despite her overexcitement, and she was well aware that she could go on a date with him and have all of her preconceived notions proved once again true and that would be the end.

But then there was the matter of pride. Lily had pushed it aside somewhat, but the thought of having the whole student body know that she “gave in” to James Potter was still rather sickening. A small part of her still saw this as a giant game, and she still didn’t want to lose. Yes, her stubborn side was still standing strong, vaguely telling her in the back of her mind that this was a bad idea. Therefore, at seemingly random times during the day, Lily would find herself suddenly doubting herself and wondering if she actually liked James. She would think back to all of the things he did and suddenly hate him for a few minutes, before her obstinate side gave way once again to her giddy heart and she shoved her insecurities aside.

It was the sixth day of the bet, and Lily could see that James was finally getting used to not being able to talk around her. They were at lunch that day and by some stroke of coincidence (or scheming between her friends…probably the latter) she, Madeleine, and Evelyn were sitting with the Marauders. Six days ago, she wouldn’t have been caught dead sitting anywhere near them if she could help it, but things had evidently changed.

It was odd. As her friends spoke to the Marauders, James interjecting a word here and there when he wasn’t responding to Lily, she couldn’t seem to take her eyes off of him. It was almost magnetic. He would catch her looking at him every so often and she would look down at her food quickly, a ghost of a smile on her lips, until he looked away again. She couldn’t say just why she kept looking, but she had noticed that she was suddenly fascinated by things she had never noticed about him—the wrinkles near his eyes when he smiled widely, the way he fiddled with his glasses when he was listening to other people, the way he mussed up his hair far too often. Yes, even that habit which she so loathed was now something that intrigued her unexpectedly.

After he had caught her eye for the third time, Madeleine noted it and spoke up, clearly delighting in the situation.

“So, I know I’ve spoken to Lily plenty about the bet, but how is it going for you, James?” she asked, raising her eyebrows in interest.

James glanced at Lily for just a moment before looking at Madeleine. “Difficult. It’s rather challenging having to keep your mouth shut with the one person you want to talk to the most,” he said, and the group laughed while Lily blushed somewhat, though she found herself laughing along with them.

“Well, you’ve gotten rather good at it, I must say. You haven’t said anything too stupid for a few days which is rather impressive for you,” Evelyn said jokingly.

“And only one more day. Finish out today and tomorrow and you’re home free,” Sirius said, patting his friend on the back.

“You guys are talking as if I’m not here,” Lily said, though without malice. In fact, she still had that small smile etched on her face. “You do remember that this would mean I would lose, the bet, right?”

“Well, I’m hearing no objections,” Madeleine teased, watching her friend in amusement.

Lily could feel James’ eyes on her again, but she didn’t look up to him this time. “I just don’t even understand why he’s going through so much trouble,” she told her friends, looking back at him momentarily through the corner of her eye. “I know dozens of girls who would date him in a heartbeat without having to go through all of this.”

His eyes brightened while his expression stayed largely the same.

“Thank Merlin he can’t talk. He would go on for hours if he could,” Sirius said exasperatedly and while their friends let out another round of chuckles, Lily and James simply looked at each for a moment before, once again, looking down at their food endearingly.









“You know, you guys are starting to make me sick.” The smiling words came from Madeleine while she and Lily sat in their dorm that night.

Lily, for her part, looked up from her book and eyed Madeleine in confusion. “What do you mean?”

“You’re so cute together it’s nauseating,” she explained, giving Lily a sly look with bright, mirthful eyes.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Lily told her, though she couldn’t quite hide her slight smile.

“I saw you watching him at lunch with that look of affection. It was as if you two were already dating!”

“Now, come on,” Lily said, rolling her eyes. “You’re acting as if we’re already engaged or something. We haven’t even gone on a date—I could find him a bore!”

“Which you know he’s isn’t,” Madeleine pointed out, giving her friend a knowing look. Lily merely scoffed before conceding and continuing.

“Fine, then. I could find out that he hasn’t really changed,” Lily tried, but Madeleine shook her head in objection.

“You know that already too. You know that he’s a different person. I think you just need to admit that you’ve changed too,” Madeleine said simply with a shrug, though still watching her friend carefully.

“Well, I’m not.” Lily’s tone was suddenly a little harsher, to which Madeleine furrowed her brow.

“Lily, I’m not criticizing you, but honestly, you have to be ready for this kind of thing whether or not anything comes of this date.” Lily only stared at Madeleine for several moments before she continued. “Whether or not you like it, people are going to talk about it and you’ll just have to accept that. And some of it… Might not be very favorable towards you.” The words were cautious and tentative, but Lily nonetheless lashed out.

“Why would anyone pass judgment on me?!” she demanded, clenching her jaw tightly indignantly.

“I didn’t say that,” Madeleine interjected, shaking her head. “They just might…Tease you a bit.” When Lily began to demur, Madeleine held up a hand to quiet her. “No, wait. I mean, everyone has been waiting for you to give in or for James to give up, whichever came first. Now that you’re giving in, so to speak, people are going to joke about it. It’s just how people our age act!”

“But—…” Lily began, but before she could continue, Evelyn walked in with a letter in hand.

“Mail call!” she said jovially, but when she saw her friends’ faces, her smile fell and she looked between then in utter confusion. “What happened?”

Lily did not respond. Instead, she merely grabbed the letter and tore it open, devouring the words as soon as she saw them.

“Because you’re passionate about what you care for. Because you’re thoughtful and considerate towards those people who need someone. Because you’re utterly beautiful. Because you’re funny, even if you don’t always know it. Because you are genuine. Because you don’t sugar coat things. Because you’re smile is brighter than the sun. Because you don’t care what other people think of you. Because you want to help people. Because you know what you believe and you stand by your beliefs. Because you’re smart. Because you showed me that I had been an uncaring boy and showed me how to change, even if you don’t quite know how. Because you’re the strongest person I know. Because you’re don’t try to be anyone else. You are you. You didn’t understand why I tried so hard and why I went through so much trouble to win your respect. This is why. There is no other girl who is as extraordinary as you. I can’t help that I admire you so ardently. And perhaps I shouldn’t have written all of this, but you needed to know that what I feel for you is not childish or silly anymore, if it ever was. –James”

She stood there, unable to breathe and refusing to look at her friends while they stared at her with urgency. Her expression was completely blank and she couldn’t bear to speak or utter a single word.

“Well?” Evelyn finally said when she saw that Lily was no longer reading.

“I have to go,” Lily breathlessly choked out, rushing out of her dorm to the Common Room. Just her luck, he was there with his friends who were seemingly in something of a somber conversation. James looked up suddenly, though, and stood up when he saw a troubled Lily standing at the stairs to the Girls’ Dorm. He looked to his friends quickly, who in turn stood up and quickly filed out of the Common Room, motioning to the rest of the onlookers there to leave.

When they were finally alone, Lily marched up to James with letter in hand and wide-eyed.

“What is this?” she questioned suddenly, a look of concern gracing her features. He simply stared at her, his mouth slightly ajar, unable to speak. “What the hell is this?!” She looked down at the paper urgently, searching for specific phrases. “This isn’t me! I do care what other people think of me! I think about it constantly, and it has suddenly made me dread this date! I am more stubborn than you and I’m stuck-up and mean. Look at how I treated you all of these years!” she shouted. “I fear people making fun of me—how can you admire that?! I’m not strong at all! And I’m downright unkind to some people! And yet you paint me to be some saint and claim that you have so much reverence for me… How can you say that?!” Her green eyes flashed with anger momentarily until he spoke.

“Because I love you.”

“What in Merlin’s name does that even mean?” Lily asked, barely able to get the words out of her mouth. It hadn’t even crossed her mind that he had spoken, and apparently it hadn’t crossed his either.

“It means that even though those things might be true to some extent, I can overlook them all. There is too much that is good about you.”

“But I’m not that perfect person!” She felt herself clutching at the paper tightly and she heard it crumple slightly under her grip.

“I know you’re not. We’re all flawed, but you’re the closest thing to perfection I have ever seen or met.” She didn’t respond and his expression remained somber. “Lily, I love you and even though you don’t love me, I would just like to show you what kind of person I am now.”

“I can’t date you, James.” Lily said quickly, shaking her head as she looked away from him.

“What?” he asked after a moment, trying to catch her eye. “What happened to what happened at lunch and what happened yesterday?” His words were abruptly imploring as he tried to understand what was going through her mind.

“I can’t do it! Madeleine told me…” She paused and realized that she was holding her breath. “She told me that people would talk and I just can’t bear that. You may think that I am beyond pride, but I’m not. I can’t bear the thought of people talking about me and teasing me because I gave in.”

“No one will make fun of you! And if they do, who cares?” he said fervently, taking a step towards her.

“I do! You don’t understand! My pride is all I’ve got. It may seem stupid to you, but that’s the reason I never drink and I never break the rules and I never do anything stupid if I can help it. People would talk! They would say, ‘Oh, that Lily finally gave in. ‘Bout time! I knew she’d crack! Good for James for finally breaking her down.’ I can’t crack! I can’t have people thinking I let you—…” He stopped her suddenly, meeting her eyes as she finally looked up to him.

“Why do you care what other people think of you? Who cares what other people think?”

“I don’t know…” she murmured, feeling tears welling up her eyes. “You used to care what other people thought. What made you change your mind?”

He responded immediately, needing no time for thought or contemplation. “You. Knowing that there was something out there more important to me than people’s judgments.” He stood there in silence for several moments, unsure of whether to say what had come to mind. Carefully, he continued on. “Lily…I think you’re saying this because you’re afraid of what might come of it. I think you’re afraid that what you’re feeling right now might turn into something more, like what I feel for you. And yes, I know you feel something now. I know the look in your eyes, because I’ve had it in mine for years.”

“And I’ve gotten along just fine for years without love. I think I can survive a bit longer.” She clenched her jaw in an attempt to restrain her tears.

“You’re giving up on something that could be amazing without giving it a chance! You’re just pushing the emotions that I know you’re feeling behind you, and those will never go away.”

“Pushing emotions into the back of my mind has always worked perfectly well. This is no different.”

“This is completely different! This is not a bad grade on a paper or a petty insult. This is the potential for love. This is passion. Lily, how can you bear to pretend you don’t want it!” he countered, his eyebrows furrowing in apprehension.

“James, I just can’t do this…” Her voice was shaky, trembling with emotion. “I’m sorry.”

When he saw the first tear fall from her eyes, he reached up and wiped it away with a frown. “Please don’t cry,” he told her gently.

At this, though, Lily backed away from him quickly and rubbed at her eyes roughly to mop away any tears. Clearing her throat, she stood up just a bit straighter, looking him right in the eye with a grave look on her face.

“You spoke.” His lips parted slightly, but he said nothing. “I suppose I won.” Lily opened her mouth, about to speak once more, but she thought better of it and turned around and walked back up her stairs slowly without another word, leaving James to watch her hopelessly.









Mmkay, so I know that this was bipolar Lily, but I think the uncertainty of love can do crazy things to a girl. Anywho, there’s one chapter left I believe, but don’t worry! I already have a new story idea in the works. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and please do let me know what you think.

Until next time!

Christine


Chapter 7: Day Seven
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My Lips Are Sealed

               

                “He lost.”  The words were spoken dully as Lily came back to her dorm room, walking slowly and deliberately to her bed before throwing the letter on her red and gold comforter halfheartedly.  Ambivalence all but radiated off of her body as her mouth narrowed into a thin line and her normally tense shoulders slumped.

                “What?” Evelyn asked quickly from her own bed where she had been reading, looking to her friend with wide eyes and eyebrows raised. 

                “He spoke.  He lost.”  Lily shrugged and sat down on her bed, eyes trained on the ground as Madeleine and Evelyn stared at her.  She couldn’t bear to look back at the letter that was lying half crumpled behind her. 

                “I don’t understand.  I thought winning wasn’t the point anymore…” Madeleine ventured charily and Lily closed her eyes suddenly, letting out a slow, disheartening breath.

                “I know…” she murmured with a shake of her head, either unable or unwilling to continue. 

                “What happened?” Evelyn asked almost inaudibly, unsure of whether her friend would blow up or break down or something in between. 

                “I was afraid…  And I read his letter…”  She paused, realizing that her friends hadn’t seen or read the letter and she subsequently backtracked to catch them up. “He told me all the things he admires about me and explained to me why he tried so hard… And I was afraid and so I found him and I told him that I wasn’t the person he thought I was and that I didn’t understand how he could care so much about someone like me…And he told me he loved me.”  Lily raised her eyes to look at her friends who didn’t respond before she reluctantly continued.  “And I was even more afraid of that and so I told him I couldn’t date him and I said it was because I was afraid of what people would say and…When he kept trying to convince me that it would be alright, I did the cowardly thing to do and told him that he had lost because he had spoken.  And I walked out.”   Lily frowned deeply, searching for some kind of reaction from her friends.  “You can yell at me now, Madeleine…” she said without anger or spite. 

                “I’m not going to yell at you,” Madeleine said delicately, releasing a long sigh as well.  “I know I’ve been hard on you, but…  It’s your life.  If this is what you want to do, then I certainly shouldn’t be the one to tell you otherwise.  You know what I think, but it’s not my place to tell you to go back there and change your mind.  Whatever you do, it has to be your decision, because you’re the one that has to live with it, not me.”  Just as Lily had spoken without anger, Madeleine had spoken without malice or ridicule, but rather with deep concern and apprehension lining every word.

                “But what am I supposed to do?” Lily asked, a rather mystified look appearing on her face as she looked to her friends for some easy solution that she knew could never exist. 

                “Do you like him or not?” Evelyn asked cautiously after a moment.

                “I don’t know!” Lily burst out, putting her head in her hands dejectedly and rubbing at her temples in joylessness. 

                “Well, you’re going to have to figure that one out on your own,” Madeleine told her sympathetically, offering a smile despite the fact that Lily was not looking towards her. 

                “Sleep on it.  See how you feel tomorrow.  There’s nothing more to be done tonight,” Evelyn said as she sat down next to Lily on her bed, placing a hand gently on her back. 

                “I have a Head meeting with him tomorrow, you know…” Lily told Evelyn glumly, lifting her head to look over at her friend.

                “Don’t worry about that now.” 

                And with that word of advice, Lily got ready for bed quickly and flopped down on her bed in hopes of surrendering to sleep.  Despite this, she lay there for what seemed like hours, staring up at the ceiling of her four-poster bed as thoughts raced through her mind before she finally slipped into a dreamless slumber. 


 




 

                The next morning at breakfast, Lily and her friends sat a considerable distance away from the Marauders.  It was for the best, she knew, though she had enjoyed their meal together regardless of her previous inhibitions.  James looked rather emotionless, or rather, he neither looked happy nor sad.  When one of his friends would say something particularly funny, he would crack a smile before returning to his food and his impassive expression.  There were moments when he would stop eating and she could tell he was not listening to his friends.  He seemed to be thinking of something, pondering something or another, before he would realize with a jolt that he had been in a trance and would continue eating. 

                Lily wasn’t quite sure whether this was what she had expected or not.  Sure, she didn’t expect him to come in looking extremely upset, nor did she think he would come in overly jubilant.  After all, if there was one thing she knew about humans, it was that they could veil their emotions incredibly well.  The moment people were put into social situations, a mask came up that blocked true sentiments, or at least muted them greatly.  But she knew this mask was for the good—she could barely fathom how chaotic the world would be if we did not have such barriers!

                Lily knew these barriers perhaps better than anyone else she was acquainted with.  She was the master of cloaking emotions and hiding feelings that she felt were socially unacceptable.  Every time she felt attraction to a boy, she kept it locked within herself and before long, even she forgot about said attraction.  She usually only confided in her friends for extreme situations, and even then, she found herself only being half candid.  There was always a disingenuous layer that obscured the truth that she simply could not strip away.  In fact, the situation with James and the subsequent confiding was likely the most honest she had ever been with her friends. 

                As she ate (was she even eating anymore?  No, she had forgotten about her eggs) she hoped that he would look up for just a moment so that she could read his eyes.  She wanted to know if he was angry at her, angry at himself, indifferent to the situation, or embarrassed.  Or perhaps he felt sympathy for her, or resented her, or thought her selfish, or was ashamed of her behavior.  She had to know whether or not he blamed her and if he would only look at her once, she could find out.

                But he did not.  No, he seemed to not even notice that she was there.  Pity.

                With that thought, Lily realized that she had been staring at him for quite some time now.  Not only that, but her friends had long since noticed and were watching her with quite a bit of interest. 

                “I’ve been staring at him for five minutes now, haven’t I,” Lily said plainly, flushing as she turned to look at Madeleine and Evelyn.

                “It’s been at least ten,” Evelyn corrected with a chuckle to which Madeleine nodded fervently. 

                Without any cue or prompting, a look of understanding came to Lily’s eyes and she began to speak.  “I know what I have to do,” Lily said quite abruptly, setting down her fork firmly.            

                “You do?” Madeleine asked, surprised by her outburst and conviction.

                “Yes.  Yes, I do.”  Lily stood up and without another word to her friends and without any thought of her breakfast, she walked with extreme assurance out of the Great Hall, an impenetrable smile on her face.


 




 

 

James was already in the otherwise empty classroom when Lily arrived, seated at a table and looking at a few papers that were scattered in front of him. He looked up when he saw her come in and smiled halfheartedly before revisiting the papers.  Lily returned the smile and pulled a chair up to the table he was sitting at, seating herself across from him quietly. 

                “What’ve you got there?” she asked politely, eyeing the papers in interest as she held her hands neatly in her lap. 

                “Just a few notes I wrote up.  A couple of Prefects came to me asking to change their patrolling hours and I was just trying to work out the switches.  I can figure this out later, though,” he said, pulling the papers together and setting them to the side before looking back to her expectantly. 

                “Right…” she said slowly, a bit surprised at his preparedness.  “Anyways, I thought we’d discuss this Christmas Ball a bit.  There are a few arrangements that will have to be made quite a bit in advance which I’d like to figure out in the next few weeks.”  She reached in her bag and pulled out some parchment along with a quill and a pot of ink. 

                “I was thinking about the ball… I know that you didn’t want one for Christmas, and if you still think that would be better, I’d be fine with waiting until the Spring to plan something.”  She glanced up at him, observing his pleasant expression with hesitance.  She watched him for a few seconds before she began talking quickly, unable to bear the silence. 

                “No, I think a Christmas Ball would be nice, now that I think about it.  I mean, if you still think so, that is…” She looked down at her papers diffidently, blushing a bit to herself as she moved to open the ink pot. 

                “I think the students would enjoy it,” James said, watching her closely as she refused to meet his eyes.  She seemed completely unable to open the pot of ink that she had retrieved and after several seconds of struggling, set it down loudly and hastily.  “Is everything okay?” he asked her slowly, furrowing his brow.  She stood up quickly, gulping as she moved away from the table in order to collect herself.

                “I just had something I wanted to ask you, but…” She stopped suddenly, fiddling with her tie idly, biting down on her lower lip nervously.  This had been far easier when she had rehearsed it in her room… 

                “Go ahead,” he urged her, standing up as well and taking a step towards her despite the fact that she was turned away from him. 

                “Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about it…  And I am kind of nervous…  And you know how bad I am at these things…” she stuttered with evident anxiety, thankful that he could not see her face. 

                “At what things?” he questioned, taking another step towards her. 

Suddenly, she turned around, letting out a small gasp when she saw how close he was to her.  She gulped again, her eyes widening slightly before she finally spit out what she had been trying to say with so much difficulty.  “I was wondering if you would come to Hogsmeade with me this weekend,” she said rapidly, hoping he could understand her hurried speech.  Lily held her breath as she saw his eyebrows shoot up quickly, confusion written on his face.  Her stomach knotted uncomfortably, fearing that this meant imminent rejection which she wasn’t sure she could endure. 

                “I thought I had lost.  I thought the deal was…”  He began, but she put a hand up and interrupted him before he could finish. 

                “The deal was that you couldn’t ask me out,” she corrected, a somewhat sly look suddenly coming to her eyes as her confidence began to reappear.  “There was nothing in there about me asking you out.”  She smiled uncertainly before letting out a long breath of relief wherein he laughed cheerfully.  That had to be a good sign… 

                “You’re not joking, are you?” he asked, smiling widely as she shook her head quickly.  “How could I pass up that offer?” he asked with another laugh, a hint of shock still written on his face. 

                Lily let out a long breath of alleviation. “I was a bit worried that you would say no just to spite me.  You know, show me how it feels and everything,” she said, but he immediately shook his head.

                “I couldn’t bear to do that.”  He paused for a moment, about to say something more.  When he hesitated, she gave him a look to urge him on.  “What made you change your mind?” he finally said, cocking his head to the side slightly.  “Aren’t you still worried that people will talk?”

                Lily looked down at her hands for a moment, ruminating to herself.  “Yes,” she told him, looking back up with a small smile.  “But I figured out…No, someone told me that there was something else more important than pride that could come of this…  And I decided that it was worth a try…Because they’re just people, and who really cares what they think?”  The words were slow and calculated as she gradually thought through what truly had driven her to ask him out. 

                “Truer words have never been spoken,” he said proudly, all but beaming at her.  He was silent for another moment before he let out a laugh and continued.  “You know, I don’t think you could ever keep me silent for that long ever again,” he told her jovially, shaking his head with disbelief. 

                Spontaneity overtook her as she spoke. “I think I know one way,” she said simply, and before he could question her, she leaned forward and allowed their lips to meet momentarily while her hand came up and touched his jaw gently.  After a moment, she drew back and looked at him with bright eyes, her cheeks slightly flushed, and his grin widened.

                “Well, that’ll work.”


 




 

And there you go!  I hope you enjoyed My Lips Are Sealed.  As I said in a previous chapter, I already have another story in the works so there will be more to come.  Thank you all for reading and thank you to every reviewer.  I greatly appreciated your feedback!

 

Until next time,

 

Christine

http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com