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Living At The Potters by evanlyn

Format: Novella
Chapters: 14
Word Count: 25,916
Status: COMPLETED

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

Genres: Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Lupin, Snape, Sirius, Lily, James, Pettigrew, OC
Pairings: James/Lily, Remus/Lily, Snape/Lily, Sirius/OC

First Published: 03/15/2010
Last Chapter: 04/17/2011
Last Updated: 04/17/2011

Summary:
“You...you live with Potter?” Lily asked incredulously, panic setting in.
“Yep,” Sirius said, grinning at her. “And now, you do too.”



LivingatthePotters.png Living At The Potters picture by THEDRUNKENELF



Banner by SwissMiss@TDA

 


Chapter 1: Arrival
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es6o3q.png picture by THEDRUNKENELF
Image by vanillabean @ TDA

“Oh, I don’t know about this, Lily,” her mother said, whilst fussing needlessly with Lily’s lace collar. “How safe can it be, living in a magic house?”

Lily smiled reassuringly, taking her mother’s hands in her own.

“I’ve been living in a magic school for six years! What’s so worrisome about a magic house?”

Of course, Lily had been very reluctant to spend the summer with the Black family working on her potions project with Sirius, the only Gryffindor Black. All that had changed when Sirius assured her he no longer lived with his family, and that she would be fine.

She had then spoken to Remus Lupin, her best friend, just to be absolutely sure there was no danger. He had tried to convince her to do the project at the Evans residence, but due to laws of practising magic in front of muggles that was not possible.

Eventually, though, he said the people Sirius lived with were ‘cool’ and she needn’t worry.

“What’s so worrisome!?” Her mother asked as though it was obvious. “You’ll be living with Wizards and Witches, unsupervised, no parents...”

“I’m sure there is some sort of adult figure in the house, mum,” Lily said, although she wasn’t sure.

“But this Sirius guy...what if he tries something on you? Oh, Lily, I don’t think you should go.”

“You’re right, mum,” Lily said sarcastically. “I’ll just not bother doing my major work for potions class and fail the whole module, which means I won’t ever graduate in seventh year next year, and I’ll never get a good job.”

“Okay, okay,” her mother rolled her eyes. “You could always go to law school, you know. I don’t think I’ve won an argument with you in five years.”

“Well, I think I’m all packed,” Lily stepped away from her mother and headed towards the door, where her trunk was waiting. She was supposed to be picked up by Sirius himself today, but of course Sirius hadn’t bothered setting an exact time.

“Go and say goodbye to Petunia,” her mother said, giving her a little push in the right direction.

“She doesn’t care that I’m leaving, she’s happy I’ll be away all summer,” Lily protested.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with you girls,” her mother shook her head. “Just say goodbye to her, alright? I’m sure she’ll miss you really.”

“Yeah, right,” Lily mumbled, but she obediently walked upstairs.

“Pet?” She asked, sticking her head around Petunia’s bedroom door. “I’m leaving now.”

“Get out of my room, freak!” Petunia called without even bothering to turn around from her desk.

“Fine!” Lily said angrily. “Have a nice summer!”

She ran back downstairs. Petunia and Lily had once been inseparable, but Petunia’s jealousy of Lily’s abilities had made a tension grow between them which eventually led to hate, on Petunia’s part. Lily still had hope that it was all just a phase and when they were a bit older they would put it all behind them.

A loud roar came from outside and Lily ran into the front hall to find her mother staring out the window, white-faced.

“No. Not on your life, Lily. I forbid it!”

“What?” Lily ran to open the front door, confused. She gasped as she saw Sirius sitting on an oversized motorbike in their driveway. He was wearing a leather jacket, and as he removed his helmet he shook out his hair.

“I don’t want you to go anywhere near that boy!” Her mother sounded quite panicked now.

“Mum, we’re potions partners. He’s a good guy, okay? And I’m not into him or anything, I mean for Merlin's sake!”

“You’re not?” Her mother asked softly, fingering the sleeve of her jacket and looking at Sirius with a misty expression as he walked slowly up to them.

“Mum!” Lily elbowed her mother in the side to snap her out of the well known condition ‘Sirius Stupor’.

“Ready to go?” Sirius asked, nodding and smiling at Lily’s mum and picking up Lily’s heavy trunk with ease. “We have to get a move on if we’re going to make it before dark.”

Lily swiftly kissed her mother on the cheek before following Sirius to the motorbike. He fastened the trunk to the side of the bike, which would have made any normal bike lop-sided.  Sirius swung one leg over the bike and settled in as he handed a helmet to Lily. She placed it on her head, and got on the bike too, with a little less confidence than Sirius.

“Hold on tight,” he called, as he started the bike. She wrapped her arms around his waist tightly. She wanted to ask him where they were going exactly but the guttering, spitting sound of the roaring engine cancelled out her voice. Sirius gave a few small thrusts like he was trying to get a horse to go forward, and the bike finally started moving.

The sped down the muggle streets, Lily holding on tight, but not afraid. As soon as they got out of town, he pulled the bike into a wheelie, and she did scream then. Slowly, the bike lifted off the ground. They were flying. The red haired Gryffindor kept her face buried into Sirius' back at first, too scared of heights to look down. Eventually, though, she managed to peak out a little. They were souring above the clouds.

“Nearly there!” Sirius yelled out above the wind, as he started to angle the bike downwards. They sped towards the ground at an impossible speed, Sirius pulled the bike out of the dive at the last second and they landed with a soft bump on the ground. Lily realised she’d had her eyes closed for the landing. Slowly, she opened them.

“Wow,” she breathed. They were in a posh garden in front of a stately manor house, perhaps the most beautiful building Lily had ever seen, apart from Hogwarts.

“Hey, mate,” a familiar voice called out.

Lily groaned as she saw James Potter running towards them. The impossibly immature, annoying, prat of a boy.

“You’re not visiting, are you?” She asked, hoping he wasn’t staying for very long.

“Nope,” Sirius said, lifting Lily’s trunk off the bike. “I am.”

“What?” Lily asked, incredibly confused.

“When my parents kicked me out last year, the Potters were kind enough to take me in,” Sirius said, smiling warmly. “Lily, welcome to the Potter Manor. In the lovely, muggley Northhampton.”

“You...you live with Potter?” Lily asked incredulously, panic setting in.

“Yep,” Sirius said, grinning at her. “And now, you do too.”

James and Sirius started walking up to the house, roughhousing. Lily followed them slowly, wondering why she never listened to her mother.
 


Chapter 2: Muggles And Men
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It only took Lily a moment to leave the numb state of shock she was in.

“Potter!” Lily looked in horror at the handsome, hazel eyed boy before her as though he was an Acromantula. “Why didn’t anyone tell me? I can’t live...this isn’t...oh, no.”

“Hey, you’re here to do your schoolwork, I understand,” James said, holding his hands up as if in surrender. “I won’t bother you while you’re working.”

He took Lily’s suitcase from Sirius and began lugging it up towards the house. It bothered Lily for some reason.

“Potter, I’ll do that. I’ll use the feather light charm.” They were all of age now.

“Now, Evans, if we used magic for everything we’d be a group of lazy sods,” he said, straining a little. “I’ve got to keep in shape for Quidditch.”

“Quidditch. Right,” Lily mumbled, rolling her eyes.

“Now, Lily,” Sirius said, shaking his finger at her. “I saw you screaming along with all the other Gryffindors when we won last year.”

“Remember when you hugged me?” James smiled over his shoulder at her.

“Because he can’t bloody forget,” mumbled Sirius.

“I guess I got caught up in the moment,” Lily stammered.

“We need more moments,” James said quietly as he entered the grand front doors of the Manor. “Mum, dad! They’re here.”

James’ parents were a friendly looking couple in their sixties. Mr Potter had messy dark hair and glasses like his son, Mrs Potter had short reddish hair and hazel eyes similar to James’.

“So, this is Lily,” James said, gesturing to her.

“Oh, this is her,” James’ mother said, shaking Lily’s hand. “We’ve heard so much about you.”

“Um...you have?” Lily blushed.

“Ah, didn’t you guys have to go to that thing?” James asked, ushering his parents out of the room.

“Alright, alright,” his father said, leaving the room. Mrs Potter took James over to the door and continued to talk in what she undeniably thought was a quiet voice, thought Lily and Sirius could still hear her.

“She’s lovely, sweetheart,” his mother kissed his cheek. James squirmed. “Every bit as beautiful as you described.”

“Well, we had better go and set up the cauldron and everything,” Sirius said, steering Lily away from the front room to save James from further embarrassment.

“Where should we set up?” Lily asked Sirius. Behind them in the front room she noticed James beginning to lug the suitcase up the stairs. She briefly wondered if he was going to open it.

“There’s a potions room by the cellar.”

“A potions room?” Lily asked incredulously.

“Big house, Lily,’ he laughed.

They set up the cauldron and opened the envelope with the potion making instructions in it that had been sealed by magic until that day.

“We are making...Polyjuice potion, grade two,” Lily read aloud.

“What’s grade two?” Sirius wondered.

“I don’t know,” Lily eyed the bookcase full of texts on potions – a must have for any potions room. “But I bet we could find something here that can tell us.”

They flipped through the pages for a while until Sirius found it.

“Grade two is an exceptionally difficult type of polyjuice potion,” he read. “When brewed correctly it allows the consumer to turn into any animal or object when combined with a transfiguration spell. In most cases the effects wear off after one hour.”

“It is highly dangerous and illegal,” Lily read over Sirius’ shoulder.

“Awesome,” Sirius breathed.

“Well, let’s get started,” Lily said sharply, once again picking up the scroll of instructions they had been given. “Boil water, add four lacewing flies...then leave alone in a dark room for two weeks.”

Sirius sniggered.

“What are you laughing at?”

“Just the fact that Prongs promised he wouldn’t bother you while you were working on the project. I guess he’s going to be bothering you a lot then.”

“Come on Sirius, can’t you like, mediate between us?” Lily implored. “Tell him not to bother me, please?”

"Sadly, I cannot,” he answered melodramatically. “I have to go into town actually.”

With that, he abruptly turned to leave.

“What? Why?” Lily felt curious.

“Oh, nothing, no reason,” he said, grinning.

“What’s her name Sirius?”

He smiled wider.

“Mia.”

                                                                           *****

Sirius felt like an idiot.

Leaving James to push Lily away in a million different ways didn’t bother him; he always maintained that James could do whatever he wanted and that he wouldn’t interfere. Besides, he had always believed, deep down, that James and Lily would end up together. He was more interested in his own endeavours; that was, Mia Sparrows, the muggle girl who worked in the little nonfiction bookshop in Northampton.

Which was the reason why he was hiding behind a book shelf, peering at her between the thick texts on mathematics, though he had no idea what that was, as Sirius had never learnt any muggle subjects in his home schooled days (of course). 

It was very unusual behaviour from him. Usually, he would have strutted up to the girl, flipped his hair a little, show off his motorbike and she’d be melting in his arms. He was hiding because Mia made him nervous. If they were ever to be in each other’s arms, he thought he might be the one that would melt.

She was blonde, of course, which had always been his type, but not the usual idiot blonde he went for. There was a spark of humour in her eyes and from the way she talked he could tell she was very intelligent.

Sirius jumped as she saw him and started to walk over. He nervously pushed his hair back and took several deep breaths.

“I’ve seen you in here a lot,” she smiled at him. “And yet you haven’t purchased anything.”

Of course he hadn’t bought anything. He didn’t have any muggle money.

“I’m browsing,” he said, trying to be sexy, smart and cool all at once. “Just trying to make sure I make the right decision.”

“You were in the physics department yesterday, and today in maths,” she said, gesturing to the shelves. “Exactly what kind of book are you after?”

Sirius didn’t know what fizzicks was, and barely knew what maths was. He tried to turn the conversation around and get his flirting prowess into gear.

“Sounds like you’ve been watching me,” he said in a quiet voice. She blushed.

“More like you’ve been watching me,” she said, smiling. “You seem to always be on the other side of the section I’m working in.”

“You caught me,” Sirius smiled easily at her, feeling more confident now she was flirting with him.

“I don’t do this very often,” Mia said, walking around him and lowering her voice further. “But here’s my number. Give me a call, okay?”

She walked off, pressing a slip of paper into Sirius’ hands. He watched her walk away, and then looked at the paper. It had a number on it.

“Well, that’s a number alright,” he murmured, studying the paper, confused. “I think I need Lily.”

Chapter 3: While the Potion is Brewing
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When Sirius asked Lily what a ‘girls number’ was, she didn’t quite know what to say.
“You’ve seen a phone before, right?” She asked him, James hovering around, listening in. 

“Yes,” Sirius said uncertainly, making it sound like a question.
 
“Well, you punch those numbers, hold the phone up to your ear, and talk through it.”
He looked at her sceptically. 

“It’s like using a patronus to talk to someone, except they can talk back right away and you can have a conversation.” 

Sirius nodded, a knowing expression on his face, although it was clear he still didn’t really understand. 

“You won’t really understand how it works until you actually call her up, I think,” Lily said, smiling kindly. “We’ll go into town tomorrow and find a phone box, okay?”
 
Sirius shrugged. 

“I thought you were doing Potions, not Muggle Studies,” James spoke up, looking mischievous. “Although Sirius has definitely studied a muggle or two in his time.”
 
The two marauders laughed and high fived, Lily rolled her eyes. James immediately realised he had made a mistake and tried to change the subject. 

“So, phones are like patronuses, huh? We were kind of, um, in detention when we learned Expecto Patronum in Defence Against the Dark Arts last year,” James smiled, remembering the week in which Filch had blue skin. “Mine is a stag, Sirius’ is a dog, what’s yours?” 

Lily’s was a doe, but on hearing James’ was a stag, she didn’t want to say. She knew James would make a big deal about it. 

“Oh, a stag and a dog, that must be where you get your nicknames Prongs and Padfoot from, right?” She asked. James smiled a little – he’s never heard her say ‘Prongs’ before, and he liked the way it sounded in her voice. 

“Uh...yeah, that’s where we get them from,” Sirius said, not looking at James to keep a sincere expression on. 

It was late by that stage and time for bed. They agreed to leave for the town after breakfast the following morning in search of a phone box. 

It was a cool, crisp morning after Lily’s first night at the Potters. She had slept well, surprisingly; as she was half paranoid James was watching her through a crack in the wall or something. She took her time going down to breakfast, admiring the Manor. 

It was truly a beautiful house. The walls of the halls were wood panelled, small, understated chandeliers kept it well lit. Portraits spotted the walls, an array of friendly green and hazel eyes. Large windows gave views of the pretty grounds, rolling lawns and elaborate gardens. Lily wondered what it was the Potters did and how she could get a piece of that pie. Of course she had already made her mind up of what career she wanted and was pretty sure she would only ever dream of really living in a house like this, but she still wanted to know.
 
The three students walked out towards the town mid morning after a full English breakfast. 

“So, when you like a girl, you want her number,” Lily was trying to further explain the muggle tradition, finding it much harder to explain then she thought. “So you call her, and organise when to meet. Or you just talk to her on the phone.” 

“Is it just for dating?” Sirius asked incredulously. 

“Oh! No, no. Every house has a phone and you can call anybody for any reason. To talk, to invite them over, prank calling, telemarketers...” 

“Prank calling?” James smiled at the thought. “Elaborate.” 

“Yeah, you know, you call and say ‘is your refrigerator running?’ and they say ‘yes’ and you say ‘well you better go catch it!’” Lily giggled and shook her head at the old, stupid joke. 

She looked up at the boys to be greeted with two blank stares. 

“How is that a prank?” Sirius wondered aloud at the same time James asked, “What’s a refrigerator?” 

“I guess it loses something in translation,” Lily mumbled. “Never mind.” 

“So can I have your number?” James laughed, jumping in front of Lily and walking backwards. 

“No!” She said automatically, moving around him to continue their walk into town. 

“Aw, come on, I don’t even know how to use it,” James said. “Why not?”
 
“You don’t just get a girls number, she has to want you to have it.”
 
James shook his head as though she was being entirely illogical and fell into place beside Sirius as they continued their march into town. 

“Besides, my sister doesn’t want me to give out the home number,” she said, her voice wavering just a little and her lips quivered with sadness.
 
“Fighting with your sister?” Sirius asked, glancing along to Lily.
 
“She hates me because I’m a witch. She thinks I’m a freak and wants nothing to do with me.”
 
“See, that’s the total opposite of my family. I think they’re freaks and I want nothing to do with them.” 

“Petunia will come around. She’ll grow up and accept me one day, I know it,” Lily said optimistically. “Although she is twenty, I hope she still has more growing up to do.” 

Sirius looked at her sadly.
 
“I used to think that about my parents, I used to tell myself they really did love me, deep down,” he chuckled. “Way deep down.”
 
“What happened?” Lily asked, curious. 

“Mum said she hated me, called me disloyal, and I ran away. James took me in,” he glanced at James with a smile. “Because he’s the nicest guy in the world.”
 
James smiled back affectionately.
 
“The Potters are my family now, my real family,” Sirius said, before deliberately trying to lighten the dark mood of the conversation. “I bet you’ll be in the Potters family one day too, Evans!”
 
“Oh yeah, sure,” Lily rolled her eyes sarcastically. “Oh, look, here we are!” 

She led them to the red phone box, and of course had to dial for Sirius. He held the phone to his ear upside down. Lily hurridly corrected him. 

“Hello – hello?” He asked, looking plainly embarrassed. “Mia! It’s really you! Yeah...I don’t give out fake numbers, either. I agree, that is totally cruel.” 

He played along with the conversation, sounding confident, thought looking at James with a constant confused look. Mostly he just said ‘I agree’ and ‘you’re right’.
 
“So...I was hoping we could meet up sometime? For a date,” Sirius finally got around to asking, and his face brightened soon after. Lily guessed her answer had been the desired one. 

“Yep, the cinema, sounds good,” Sirius nodded whilst rolling his eyes in clear ‘whatever that is’ expression. “But, is it okay if we double? My best mate and his girlfriend want to come along.” 

James and Lily both looked shocked. Lily furiously shook her head, whilst James knocked his head against the wall of the phonebox. 

“Dude, that is so lame! That is so, so lame!” He kept saying. Sirius shushed at him, said goodbye to Mia, and handed the phone back to Lily for her to hang up.
 
“Why did you say that?” James asked, slapping Sirius on the arm. 

“I panicked, okay? I don’t want to go alone, I know I’ll make an idiot of myself. I need Lily there to help me with the muggle stuff.” 

“Hold on, why would I come?” Lily asked. Sirius pointed at James.
 
“My best friend...” he moved his pointed finger to Lily. “And his girlfriend.”
 
“No, no way!”
 
“Aw, please Lils, just for one night, put up with James.”
 
“Hey!” James cried. Sirius ignored him. 

“Help me out here, I really like her, please?”
 
“Fine,” Lily grumbled, and walked off in the direction of the Potters home. 

“You’ve totally lost your groove,” James commented as he and Sirius followed Lily. “I’ve never seen you be flustered by a girl before.” 

“I know,” Sirius answered. “It’s weird.” 

Later that day, Lily went to her room to read whilst James and Sirius went out on the lawn to tan, as it was one of those rare sunny days. They invited Lily to tan with them, and she was very happy to provide the excuse that red hair and alabaster skin did not make much of a tanner. 

The boys lay in silence, topless, their shirts over their eyes to protect them from the glaring sun. Eventually, as it always did with James, a conversation about Lily started. 

“But I can’t help thinking that if I don’t convince her this summer that we’re soul mates, it’ll be too late. She’ll be gone forever!!” 

“What about seventh year?” Sirius asked logically. “She’ll still be there.” 

“Well, yes, of course seventh year, but quite frankly I’d rather start seventh year holding her hand,” he smiled into the sun. “Oh, God, I’d love to just hold her hand, even for just a few seconds!” 

Sirius purposely did not reply. 

“I’m acting like a total girl, aren’t I?” James asked, turning over to tan his back.
 
“Ah, it’s alright, mate.” Sirius replied, copying James’ movement. “I love girls.”

Chapter 4: Muggle Movies
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Lily retreated to the Potion room, even thought there was no need to keep an eye on the polyjuice potion, and the instructions had explicitly said ‘leave it alone’. She figured the potion was better company then James, as he had barely been able to contain his excitement about their upcoming ‘date’.

He had been bothering her nonstop about it, asking any question he could think of just as an excuse to talk to her. She thought he was probably more knowledgeable about films then she was now, and didn’t want him to start asking questions about other things now that the gates of conversation had been opened. She knew, from past experience, that anything she said really would be used against her and that Potter read way too much into any little comment.

He had even asked if he could hug her on the date to keep up the pretence that they were a couple. After all, he had said, they had hugged before, so it was no big deal. She really wished she hadn’t hugged him when Gryffindor had won the cup. He had just looked so happy, and she was so proud of him...

Realising she was actually thinking about Potter she went to the bookshelf and pulled out a random book. She had come to this room to get away from him. He had promised not to bother her while she was working, after all.

The old, crumbling textbook in her hands was an A-Z of magic. She went to the polyjuice potion section, and swept her eyes over it, but it was nothing she hadn’t read before.

She flicked backwards a few pages, before one title caught her eyes.

The Patronus

Everything else she had read on patronuses focused on the incantation, expecto patronum, and its ability to ward of dementors. This page however, seemed to be all about the actual form of a patronus. And Lily was quite intrigued.

A patronus takes the shape of a magical creature or non magical animal. No patronus on record has been in the shape of a human though several house elf shapes half been recorded.

Though research has been great in this field, it is still generally unknown why people have certain forms for their patronuses. Usually animagi forms (though electable) reflect patronus forms.

Three theories are generally accepted as possible explanations though it is possible that they are all monstrously incorrect.

1)     Patronus shapes are a reflection of the persons’ soul or ‘inner animal spirit’ and reflects greatly on the persons characteristics.

2)     The patronus form is subconsciously chosen by the witch or wizard due to their desire to have that animal or creature as their patronus.

3)     The patronus is random and there are no reasons.

Cases have been reported of patronuses changing due to great emotional strain and couples having similar patronuses. Many believe, that if someone has mate to your patronus as their patronus, then he/she is your soul mate.

Lily thought she’d never read the word ‘patronus’ quite so many times. It was certainly interesting, but the thing about matching patronuses worried her. She knew the true reason she didn’t want to be with James Potter and her patronus telling her they were soul mates did nothing to change that.

Sirius entered the room and Lily hastily flipped back to the polyjuice potion page.

“Reading as always!”

Sirius laughed, moving past Lily to quickly jump backwards onto the desktop. Sitting casually beside the potion, he swung his legs back and forth.

“I suppose you want me to tell you what to do in a cinema?” Lily folded her arms, amused at his happy go lucky attitude.

“Lily, please,” he said sarcastically. “I know what to do on a date.”

“Oh, I bet you do,” Lily chuckled.

“Maybe you and James could learn a thing or two,” he nodded at her. “I’d teach him some of my moves... But then you wouldn’t stand a chance, and that’s not really fair.”

Lily shook her head and went to the bookshelf, looking for more research on where to find the strangest ingredients.

“What’s up with you two, anyway?” Sirius asked, standing up onto the table and reaching at the ceiling.

“Did James ask you to ask me that?” Lily quipped, instantly on her guard.

“Prongs never asks anyone for help,” Sirius said. “One of the first things you realise when you hang out with him for a while. You’ll notice, I’m sure. But I know he needs help...I want to get you two together, if only to stop his whining.”

“He’ll get over me eventually,” she breathed.

“You sure about that?” Sirius asked. Lily chose to ignore the question.

That night, the three students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ventured into the muggle world of dating. Mia met them at the door, and the four awkwardly bought tickets, popcorn and drinks, and then shuffled into the theatre. Lily and Sirius were on opposite ends of the group and he looked a bit worried but followed Mia’s lead when it came to sitting and waiting for something to happen. Mia was keen to get the conversation going as they waited for the lights to dim.

“So how long have you two been dating?” Mia asked, looking at James and Lily.“A few weeks,” James said. At the same time, Lily answered.

“This is our first date, too.”

They looked at each other.

“Well, we’ve been together a few weeks, but this is our first official date,” James improvised.

“Right, our first official date,” Lily smiled at Mia. She then whispered to James. “You know it’s not really, right?”

“Sorry, didn’t catch that,” James said cheekily as he put his arm along Lily’s shoulders.

“Potter!” She whispered angrily as the lights started to dim. Mia and Sirius both leaned forward and craned their necks to see what was going on. Mia looked confused, Sirius looked frantic.

“You, you caught some of my hair,” Lily said, smiling though gritting her teeth slightly. “Sweetheart.”

“Sorry, angel,” James said easily, sweeping her hair up and letting it fall over the back off the seat. He hugged her and kissed her softly on the cheek. “Better?”

“Much,” she said smiling sweetly, stomping hard on his foot, making him wince.

The film began. Sirius didn’t bother paying attention to it, he was too busy putting on his date moves which he had honed over time to perfection. He wrapped one arm around Mia, and then casually stroked one of her soft, bare arms with his thumb.

Mia didn’t acknowledge it, but she didn’t shake his hand off, either. Sirius knew he was half way there. Time for step two. Moving the hand down to her waist, casually slipping a few fingers under her shirt.

As he moved his hand down, he felt a sharp pain in his elbow. Biting his lip to stop himself from crying out in pain, he looked down between Mia and himself and saw the stiff armrest he hadn’t known was there and had just whacked his funny bone on. Mia looked at him like he was crazy, as far as he could tell in the darkened theatre. She could have been looking at him as though he smelt bad, as far as he could tell.

“Are you okay?” She whispered.

“Fine,” he said back just a little too loudly.

The film passed, and the four filed out. Sirius shook his head at James, clearly worried the date wasn’t going well. James, for his part, was incredibly happy. He’d just had his arm around Lily for an hour and a half. He was also limping, but he didn’t care.

“Come on, Lily, lets visit the powder room,” Mia quipped, pulling Lily towards the ladies. Sirius and James glanced at each other.

“Well,  we’ll just wait for you here then,” he called after them. Then he turned to James. “This girls too hot, Prongs. I’ve got no game tonight.”

As soon as they got to the ladies room, Mia immediately burst into tears.

“He’s too good looking for me,” she said, shaking her head.

“No, you’re beautiful,” Lily said, wiping the tears from Mia’s face with toilet paper. “He obviously likes you, he asked you out didn’t he?”

Mia nodded.

“He called the day after I gave him my number. I thought he must have been, I don’t know, desperate, or something. But he’s so gorgeous, he could have anyone. Why me?”

“Because he likes you!”

“I don’t know,” Mia said again. “I kind of want to get out of here.”

“What? No, don’t go, just...um...you haven’t even kissed him yet!” Lily improvised, for some reason she found herself the responsibility of Sirius’ happiness, and started to panic.

“Maybe I’ll catch up with him another time and take care of that,” Mia laughed. “But it’s like...if I look at him for too long, it hurts. He’s so beautiful, it hurts. Does that make any sense?”

“Yes, of course,” Lily answered. She wasn’t lying. She’d heard those exact words from at least five girls back at Hogwarts. She herself seemed to be the only one who didn’t find Sirius attractive at all. He was technically good looking of course, but she just didn’t get affected by him.

“Ok, well, I’m leaving,” Mia said, looking quite frantic.

“No, don’t,” Lily started to protest, but Mia was out the door, as if she’d disapparated. “I guess muggles can make themselves disappear. What will I tell Sirius?”

Lily glanced around the empty powder room.

“And now I’m talking to myself,” she said, nodding at her reflection in the mirror.

Meanwhile, James had just revealed something to Sirius.

“You brought your wand?” Sirius asked, his eyes widening. “We’re muggles, remember?”

“Of course I brought my wand, and I’m guessing you did too?” James argued.

“Why would you bring your wand?” Sirius said, almost sincerely.

“You know why. The thing that’s going on that all the marauders know about because of your family, that none of us ever talk about,” James whispered, looking around as if worried someone would hear. “But Lily’s innocent and doesn’t know about that stuff so let’s not mention it again, ok? I don’t want to scare her.”

“She probably didn’t bring her wand,” Sirius pointed out. “Her naivety could get her killed.”

James’ hand twitched to where his wand was concealed in his jacket pocket.

“No one would get close enough to curse her before I’d blown them to pieces,” he said darkly. “They’re coming back.”

“No...” Sirius said, looking confused. “Lily’s coming back.”

He held his hands out to either side and shook his head at the red haired witch.

“Where’s Mia?”

“I don’t know,” Lily said quietly, looking a little scared of Sirius. “She just left.”

“Damn it, Lily, where is she?” Sirius asked, grapping Lily’s shoulders and shaking her a little.

“Hey!” James yelled, pulling Sirius’ hands off her. “She said she doesn’t know, alright? Take a breath, man.”

Sirius walked away.

“Rejection hurts,” Lily said, trying to justify what he’d done, not wanting to cause a fight between them.

“I don’t think he’s ever gotten rejected before,” James said in awe. “Maybe I should teach him how to handle it, I’m an expert.”

He looked at Lily, and for a moment, was completely serious.

“And you’re right, Evans, rejection does hurt. Especially when the girl won’t even give you a chance.”

“Potter, just don’t, okay? I had reasons to ignore you at first and even later when I didn’t I still ignored you because I...I don’t know. Just leave it.”

“Sorry,” James said immediately.

“Forget about it,” she smiled at him. For one horrifying second, she felt herself welling up. Taking a few deep breaths, she willed herself not to cry, and it worked. Gryffindors were brave, after all. Sometimes bravery meant showing your true feelings. Sometimes it meant hiding them. His comments about her not ever giving him a chance had brought up memories of a time which seemed so long ago, it was like a past life. A time when she had thought she might be happy forever.

It had been right before the time she learnt the very hard lesson that boys always let you down.

“So,” Sirius walked back over to them. “That was the cinema. Pretty cool, I suppose, although there could be a better arrangement for food.”

“Strange how your cup kept refilling itself,” Lily smirked at James, deliberately trying to get him a bit in trouble, just because it was a comfortable, normal thing to do.

“Prongs! We are supposed to be muggles!” Sirius whispered fiercely.

“Sorry, mate,” James said to Sirius as he glared at Lily, then immediately smiled. “Oh, I can’t stay angry at you, Evans.”

Lily rolled her eyes; she just wanted this evening to be over. She didn’t like the James had looked at her when he was talking about rejection, it made her feel like she had been the bad person, it made her feel incredibly guilty.

“Let’s just go home, okay?” Sirius asked, feeling dejected.

“Sirius!” A sweet voice called out, as Mia ran up to the trio. She quickly kissed him, then ducked away, embarrassed. “Call me!”

Sirius smiled as she ran away.

“Weird,” James said.

“Awesome,” Sirius corrected.

“Women,” Lily said, sarcastically rolling her eyes.

Chapter 5: Marauders
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Remus1.png picture by THEDRUNKENELF
Image by Contour @ TDA





“James! James!”

Lily woke up to Sirius’ screaming out Potters name very early on a morning a few days after the interesting double date. She quickly dressed and went downstairs, not wanting to miss out. James had been avoiding her, and since Sirius spent all his time with James, it had gotten pretty lonely.

She bumped into James on the way to the main foyer where Sirius’ voice was now calling from. She apologised awkwardly, he ran a hand through his extra messy morning hair and smiled widely at her.

“Wonder what’s got Sirius all worked up?” He wondered out loud. “Maybe Mia dropped by last night.”

“He needs to call her again,” she said, looking up at James. She noticed he had stubble. She’d never seen him with stubble before.

“He will, he’s just playing it cool.”

Sirius appeared round the corner.

“We’ve got company,” he said in a dark, dramatic voice.

“No!” James said excitedly, and ran out with him. Lily heard roars of greetings, weirdly distorted as they echoed up the grand staircase. She had some idea who the ‘company’ was and felt a sudden relief that she wouldn’t be lonely anymore.

“Remus!” Lily squealed, bolting down the stairs and throwing herself into his arms.

“Lils, so good to see you,” he said, hugging her back fiercely. “How’s it been so far? James is acting like a perfect gentleman, I suppose?”

“He’s not too bad,” she answered. “Nothing I can’t handle.”

James felt his heart sink. He always felt it was incredibly unfair Lily favoured Remus so much over himself.

“You know, for such a large house, this place is starting to get a little crowded,” James drawled, looking at Lily and Remus. Sirius was the only one that heard.

“Play nice, Prongs,” he said, putting a hand on James’ shoulder and squeezing just a little.

“Lily isn’t a game,” James said quietly, before running over to the other two that rounded out the marauders. “Come on guys, I’ll show you where you’re sleeping.”

They ran off. Lily and Sirius were left in the foyer.

“I’m glad Remus is here,” she said, her excitement bubbling over. “He can protect me from Potter.”

“Don’t lead him on or anything,” Sirius said, walking towards the stairs.

“What? Please, it’s not like that Sirius. We’re just friends.”

“Right,” he mumbled to himself as he climbed the stairs two at a time.

He walked past Remus and Peters room, where they were unpacking in their own way (it involved throwing things at each other) and headed up to James’ room.

“What are you doing?” Sirius laughed, glancing around the room and shaking his head. “Are you...brooding?”

It certainly looked like it. James was sitting at his desk, holding his glasses in one hand a glass full of firewhiskey in the other.

“Yes,” he said darkly. “I’m so tortured right now.”

Sirius barked out a laugh and started wheezing from too much laughter.

“Are you kidding me?” He asked, finding it difficult to talk.

James roared with laughter too, and tackled Sirius, wrestling him to the ground.

“Doesn’t really suit me now, does it?” He asked.

“Well maybe if you actually drank some of the alcohol it would,” he said, trying to get the upper hand in the wrestling.

“Am I...interrupting something?” A quiet voice spoke from the door.

“Moony!” Sirius leapt up and slapped an arm over Remus’ shoulders, pointing his other hand at James. “This man right here needs some serious cheering up.”

James and Remus looked at each other and smiled, though a little coldly. Sirius tried desperatly to lighten the mood.

“Can you get over yourself, Prongs, Remus and Lily are just friends she said so herself.”

“Right,” Remus nodded. “So...drames?”

“Drames!” Sirius cried, looking to James for approval.

“Drames,” he said, nodding.

Peter entered the room, and looked at their three excited faces.

“Drames!?” He asked, bobbing up and down on the spot a little.

“I’ll get Lily!” James made to move out the door, but Sirius struck a hand against his chest.

“I’ll get Lily,” he said. “If we want her to play we’re certainly not sending you to invite her.”

Sirius jogged to Lily’s room, which was one floor up from James’. She was staying in one of the nicer guest rooms as she would be there all summer. When he walked in and saw her reading the Daily Prophet, he wasn’t surprised, until he saw exactly what she was reading.

“Is that...are you reading the sports pages?” He asked incredulously, walking over to her.

“No,” she said, ruffling the pages. “I was just, uh, checking the, uh-”

“Quidditch scores?” Sirius read over her shoulder. “My, my, Lily Evans, you’ve ‘hated’ quidditch for six years. Are you telling me it was all a lie?”

“I’m not telling you anything,” she said, folding the paper sharply. “What do you want, Black?”

“Do you want to have some fun?”

“With you? I’m guessing no...”

“Oh, ha ha,” he said. “No, I’m talking a marauder reunion tradition. Fun drinking games!”

She stared at him as though he was crazy.

“Of course, it’s only been a tradition since we all turned seventeen,” he rushed, not wanting her to dismiss the idea right away. “It’s always a laugh, come on. And you don’t have to drink alcohol if you don’t want to.”

Lily seriously doubted that the ‘fun drinking games’ would have the slightest hint of conviviality but decided to go along with it, she wanted to unwind, just a little.

They started with the classics, fuzzy duck and kings, then moved on to just hanging out and talking. Lily began to get very tipsy, as she hadn’t drunken in excess before. She noticed James was sticking to butterbeer.

“Why isn’t James drinking?” She wondered out loud.

“He’s our designated dueller,” Sirius said, shrugging. “Always a good idea to have one, just in case. And his parents are away.”

“Dueller?” Lily inquired. “Who are you duelling?”

“No one,” James assured her. “Just in case the house gets broken into or something, you know. Someone’s got to have their wits about them.”

"Where are your parents?” Lily said, changing the subject as she felt like James was lying about why he was staying sober. She did realise it was safe to have a non drinker around these days, but not for the reasons James had said.

“Working,” James shrugged.

“What do they do?”

“Can’t say,” he said, smiling at her. "But it keeps them very busy, they’re nearly always away.”

“He won’t tell us what they do,” Remus said. “It’s all very secretive.”

“Our current theory is that they are King and Queen of the merpeople,” Sirius laughed, lifting his glass in a kind of toast.

“It must be hard, having them gone,” Lily said softly, over exaggerating her pitying frown in her drunken state.

“I don’t mind, I know what they’re doing is important,” he answered, his cheeks glowing with pride.

As the night moved on, Lily got progressively more and more wasted. James said he should take this opportunity to ask her out. She immediately looked horrified, and backed away. He followed her.

“You don’t like me at all, do you?” James asked, sadly, pouting in what he undoubtedly thought was an adorable expression.

“Oh, James,” Lily said, wrapping her arms around him sloppily. “Sometimes I do! Sometimes I think we just must be soul mates, we are going to get married and all that...”

James started listening intently.

“Like, you are hot, but so is Sirius, so that doesn’t make a difference,” she had a difficult time saying ‘difference’. “But you are super funny and nice...I totally have a crush on you sometimes.”

“Just sometimes?”

“Well, you know James. Sometimes he’s all sexy and sweet, and other times he’s a jerk. But...I like that he likes me. And, I guess sometimes...I think we might be soul mates.”

“You said that already,” James said softly.

“Oh, did I? Well...don’t tell James. He’d just run around all stupid in a stupid tizzy!!” She burst out in a fit of giggles.

“I won’t tell James,” James laughed. “I think...I think you should drink some water. I’ll get you some.”

“Thanks, Sev. You’re a cool guy.”

Suddenly James felt as though he’d never smile again.

Chapter 6: Warfare
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Image by Deianeira @ TDA




The next morning, the marauders went to James room to engage in battle. They sat around James’ specially made chess table, and began to play the very complex game of four-player wizards’ chess, which had a set of pieces on each side of the square board.

“So, last night was fun,” Sirius started, whilst taking one of Peters pawns. “We should think of more things to do while you lot are here.”

“How long will you be staying?” James asked them.

“As long as we can,” Pettigrew answered, scratching his head as looked over the game. “Nothing else to do all summer.”

“You’re lucky you don’t do potions,” Sirius said. “I’m not going to have a lot of spare time coming up.”

Remus moved his bishop three squares across and it turned to shake his head at him.

“We should include Lily in anything we do,” he said thoughtfully, ignoring his bishops’ protests. “I don’t want her to be left out.”

“There goes my idea of starting a mini two on two Quidditch tournament,” James sighed. “Not that I have anything against including Lily.”

“I want to see Mia again,” Sirius said. He had filled Remus and Peter in on the Mia situation at the party. “I’m going to go back to the bookstore she works at and talk to her. Maybe I’ll ask her if there are any events on that my friends would be interested in.”

James nodded thoughtfully, moving a rook to take Remus’ bishop, which, after skulking off the board, gave Remus an ‘I told you so’ expression.

“Like a concert or something,” Sirius elaborated.

“This weekends the full moon,” Remus said quietly, looking about the room as if worried someone would overhear. “I’d appreciate it if you guys distracted Lily so she doesn’t notice I’m gone.”

“I’ll organise a date with Mia for that night so Lily has to stay with the potion,” Sirius said, smiling at Remus.

“Thanks, that’ll work,” Remus sounded relieved.

“And I’ll keep Lily company while she watches the potion,” James casually mentioned as he moved a pawn to protect his queen. The other three marauders paused and looked up at him in silence.

“What?” James queried.

“Prongs, you said you wouldn’t bother her while she was working on the potion,” Sirius reminded him. “I don’t want to fail the assignment because Lily throws the potion at you.’

Remus snorted in laughter at the mental image.

“I’m lost on the whole Lily thing, guys,” James said, moving the conversation to his favourite subject. “I don’t have a plan at all; I don’t know how to act around her.”

“Just act normally,” Remus said, shaking his head. “Be friends first. Check.”

James realised Remus’ knight was edging in on his king. He was surprised, usually Remus played the submissive role in four player chess, letting the other players knock each other out as he went under the radar.

“I don’t know how to act normally around her,” James shrugged, moving his king. “I was going for the friend’s thing, but now I know she likes me, it frustrates me just being friends.”

Sirius sighed.

“I explained to you, Prongs. You don’t know she likes you. She was drunk; she didn’t know what she was saying.”

“People always speak their minds when they’re drunk,” James retorted. “They say truths they normally wouldn’t, they reveal secrets.”

“But if you take what she said, about having a crush or whatever, to be true, then you have to take her thinking Snape is cool as true as well,” Remus said. “Checkmate.”

“She did used to be friends with him,” James said, watching his pieces trudge of the board, some of them shaking their fists at Remus. “It just annoys me that I don’t know anything about that whole situation. I don’t...I don't actually know her very well at all.”

The room fell silent as James’ sad confession sunk in.

“Moony, you’re friends with her,” Sirius said, reaching out to pat James’ shoulder. “She doesn’t like Snape, right?”

“How could anyone?” Peter wondered quietly.

“She doesn’t talk to him,” Remus said definitively.  “She hasn’t spoken to him since fifth year, at least. She never said she hated him or anything though. She just didn’t want to talk about it, she never mentioned it, and I didn’t bring it up.”

The three others looked at Remus.

“I think...and I know you won’t like this Prongs, I don’t like it either, but...I think he broke up with her, or something.”

“No,” James shook his head violently. “I absolutely refuse to believe she ever dated him.”

Remus shrugged.

The conversation about the Snape/Lily mystery continued all day, usually ending in the marauders talking about how horrible Snape was. Whenever Lily was around they quickly changed the subject to Quidditch, school, Mia, anything. None of them wanted her to know they were theorising about her past, they all felt rather guilty about talking about her behind her back. Lily had no idea her tiny outburst at the party had caused such drama.

Lily couldn’t remember much of the little party, and for a few days after James seemed to be acting differently. Sirius often left to go into town and flirt with Mia. Even with Remus there, Lily began to feel all alone, and decided to spend a day with her mother, so she apparated back to her house just outside London.

Lily felt a sense of relief when she walked back into her home and embraced her mother, she was safe again. They sat down at the small dining table and started on lunch.

“You’ll never guess, you’ll never guess!” Called out a sickly sweet voice as Petunia ran in, her blonde hair cascading over her shoulders. She quickly slowed as she saw Lily and her smile turned into a scowl.

“Vernon proposed this morning, and I said yes,” she said to her mother, ignoring her sister completely.

“Congratulations!” Mrs. Evans breathed, her eyes misting over in excitement.

“Yeah, well, I want to have the engagement party here, in September. Is that okay?”

Mrs. Evans glanced at Lily.

“Maybe you’ll want to have it before September, so Lily can come.”

Petunia purposely did not look at Lily.

“She’s not invited. It’s my party; I am in charge of who comes and who doesn’t!”

“Well, yes, I suppose,” her mother answered sadly. “But the wedding-”

“She’s not invited to the wedding.”

“Petunia,” her mother said warningly. Petunia scowled and ran up the stairs, shouting behind her.

“My wedding, my rules, okay!?”

Lily decided to try to reason with her. She walked up to her room and walked quietly in.

“You just have to ruin everything, don’t you?” Petunia asked, not looking up from her desk. “This is supposed to be my moment, and of course mum makes it all about you. ‘Make it before September, that way Lily can come’.”

“Look, Petunia, I’m really happy for you. I know you don’t want me there,” Lily voice caught in her throat as she blinked back tears. “But I want to be there, I’m really happy for you, like I said.”

“Didn’t know your species could feel emotion,” was Petunia’s snappy retort.

Lily took a deep breath, not wanting to lose her temper.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s during school times, I’ll sneak out. I want to be there for you,” she said quietly.

“Be there for me?” Petunia turned sharply to face her sister, and stood up abruptly from her desk. “You’re always flipping there, aren’t you? This is my life, my wedding, my marriage, don’t you get it? You are not in my life at all!”

“You don’t mean-”

“Don’t you dare tell me what I mean!” Petunia shrieked. “Why can’t you let me have one thing for myself for once? This morning was supposed to be the happiest of my life, the one all girls dream about, the love of my life pulled out a ring and asked me to be his. I ran home to tell mum, I was so happy that I could have died, and you ruined it all just by your bloody presence!”

Lily felt tears streak down her cheeks as she looked at her red-faced, out of control sister.

“What’s all this yelling?” Their mother came running up the stairs. “Honestly Petunia, you’re twenty years old, you should know better. I don’t know why you girls keep it up, now apologise!”

“Sorry,” Lily said immediately, looking at Petunia. Petunia merely looked at the ground and said nothing, shaking her head.

“I’ll just go,” Lily said quietly, turning to leave.

“No, sweetheart, stay,” her mother started.

“Its fine mum,” Lily said, smiling bravely and kissing her mother on her cheek. “I’ll see you later.”                                                                                                                                   

Lily apparated back to the Potters, forming the excuse in her mind of needing to return back to tend to the potion. The two weeks were up, and they would have to add more ingredients soon. Though as Lily walked up the path to the huge house, the polyjuice potion was the last thing on her mind.

Lily immediately headed to Sirius’ room, hoping he would be back from stalking Mia. He would understand family differences better than anyone.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, looking very uncomfortable when she showed up at his door, crying. She told him the whole thing, saying it aloud made it seem even more real and she felt even worse. She sat on the bed next to Sirius and fell into quiet sobs, waiting for his words of comfort.

“Lily, you should really talk to James about this,” Sirius said, stroking her back lightly.

“James?” Lily asked, sitting up straight and turning to look Sirius in the eye. “Why?”

“He’s much better at this sort of thing. I don’t know what to say to you. But I bet he would have some advice.”

Lily felt like a hug was all she needed, or maybe just one person to truly understand how she felt, rather than advice. But sitting here next to Sirius was distinctly awkward.

“Okay, fine,” she said softly, standing up and heading towards the door. “Thanks anyway.”

She didn’t go to James. Knocking on Remus and Peter’s door she sniffed hard and tried to stop crying. Remus answered.

“What happened?” He immediately reached out and pulled her into a hug.

“My sisters getting married and she doesn’t want me to go,” she said, hating that every time she said it, it seemed to hurt her even more deeply.

“You know she’s only jealous,” he mumbled.

“She’s blonde, prettier than me, thinner than me...I should be jealous of her,” Lily wailed. Remus hugged her closer.

“Shh,” he whispered. “You’re being ridiculous.”

She smiled and kissed him swiftly on the cheek.

“Thanks Remus, I’ll be alright.” She went off to be alone in her room for a while.

Remus watched her walk away.

Chapter 7: Potion Cauldron Gossip
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Lily and Sirius needed to tend to the potion almost hourly over the next day, and more often than not they found either Remus or James hanging around with them Lily began to notice she never saw James and Remus together, alone. When they were all in a group, Remus and James seemed to be ignoring each other. As she was eating lunch in the kitchen and suddenly found herself alone with Peter, she asked the question she found herself strangely curious about the answer to.

“Are Remus and James fighting?” Lily asked Peter.

“Sure, they are always having some debate or another. I noticed they’ve been a bit weird lately. Probably just about Quidditch or something.”

Lily realised her suspicions of Peter never being in the loop of things was correct, and supposed she would have more luck asking Sirius. There was no way Remus and James would be fighting about Quidditch, she knew from Remus that it was, in fact, the first thing they had bonded over, though Remus rarely played. She went to the potions room where Sirius was guarding the potion.

“He doesn’t like the fact that James likes you. He’s all against it.” Sirius said, looking angry. Lily knew he was probably angry at himself for revealing it.

“Why? What’s he against?”

“I don’t know,” Sirius mumbled, although he was clear he did. “It’s nothing, he’s probably just sick of James talking about you and stuff like that.”

“Does James talk about me still? I thought he was past all that.” She said, though she had really only hoped he was, instead of actually believing he was still going on about her to his friends. She shook her head. “Never mind that. Why exactly are Remus and James fighting?”

“I don’t know, Lily! I won’t say! Marauders confidentiality agreement!”

“But-” Lily began.

“Marauders confidentiality! Marauders confidentiality!” Sirius chanted, running away from her. Lily realised she would have to ask James; James was the only one who would break a Marauders confidentiality agreement for her.

She literally bumped into him in the first floor hallway. She pushed him into the nearest room, which happened to be bathroom, and shut the door behind her.

“Knew you’d come around, Evans,” James smiled coyly at her.

“Not this time, Potter,” she said, shaking her head. “You know if there’s one thing I can’t stand, its people who should be friends that are fighting.”

James immediately looked like he’d been caught in the act of doing something forbidden.

“Yeah, I know you hate that,” he said, edging towards the door. “Little Miss stop all the fighting, you are.”

“Sirius said that you and Remus are in some sort of argument about your liking me,” Lily said in a rush, getting straight to the point.

“There’s never a shortage of drama, is there? James pondered out loud. “We are having a small misunderstanding.”

“About what?” Lily asked, frustrated. “You’re best friends, you guys should support each other, and he should want whatever you want.”

“He does want what I want, Lily,” James said, looking her in the eye. “That’s the problem.”

“Oh,” Lily said softly. She’d never thought of Remus in that way, and would never have guessed that he liked her.

“But he’s my best friend,” she said.

“I’ve been saying the same thing,” James shrugged. “Don’t tell him anything, okay? Don’t tell him I told you.”

Lily shook her head.

“I have to sort this out.” She made to leave. As she was walking past James, he grabbed her arm gently.

“You don’t like him too, do you?” He looked so scared Lily almost laughed.

“No, James. I only see him as a friend.” She tried to leave once more, but as she got to the door he asked another question, in a quiet voice.

“How do you see me? As a friend?”

Lily answered honestly.

“I’m not sure.”

Lily couldn’t find Remus all day, but Sirius found her, after a day off with Mia.

“The potion needs to be watched all night,” he said.

“What for?”

“Colour changes.”

“Isn’t that quite unlikely?” She pondered. Yes, any unwarranted change in the colour of a potion needed to be fixed immediately, but the potion they were making was made up of fairly stable ingredients.

He shrugged.

“We’ve just started adding more to it, it’s at an...unstable state.”

So Lily accompanied Sirius to the potions room, complaining a little about James still liking her and now Remus as well. Once they got to the room, and cleared the yellow haze that had filled it since that morning, Lily realised Sirius had been silent the whole time.

“Don’t you have an opinion on this?” Lily asked Sirius as he settled himself on the desk, looking bored. “About James I mean. Can’t you tell him to back off or tell me to-”

“Back on up?” Sirius interrupted cheekily, glancing up at her.

“Black...” She said warningly.

“Look, when it comes to you and Prongs, I could tell him to back off, but I’m not sure he would,” he shrugged. “I am the one person that can boss him around and get away with it, but you seem to cast some sort of infallible spell on him.”

“Well I don’t mean to,” Lily defended.

“I don’t know why he’s so mad for you. I mean, you’re nice enough, and bloody brilliant at potions, I know I only passed last year because you were my partner, I’m not afraid to admit it,” he smiled at her. “But he’s really crazy for you. There is one thing...But you don’t know Lily, you just don’t get it.”

“What don’t I get?”

“I’m staying out of it, right? I’m definitely staying out of it.”

“Yeah, fine, you’re staying out of it,” she nodded, and then snapped her fingers at him. “Now what is it that I don’t get?”

“You like him too!” Sirius blurted out, throwing his hands in the air in front of him as though it was the most obvious fact in the world.

“I do not,” she said, turning away from him, looking back towards the shelves as if searching for another potions book.

“But you’ve never really said that,” Sirius leapt of the desk, walked up to her and pointed a finger in her face. “You’ve never definitively told him that. So either you are completely evil and are leading him on, or you like him and don’t know it, or you like him and know it and hate it.”

He backed off, walking to the potion and sitting on the desk beside it. Lily stood still, feeling as though she’d been slapped.

“Mind looking after it for a while? I need to talk to Remus.”

“Yeah, fine. There’s a good idea, go and talk to Remus. At least then you’ll have half the marauders in false hope.”

“Actually I need to tell Remus that he and I will always be friends. Just friends.”

“Great,” Sirius said in a disinterested tone, gazing into the potion. Then suddenly he leapt to his feet again, looking horrified. “Actually, don’t talk to Remus. Um, not now. You have to watch the potion.”

“Why? You saw Mia today didn’t you?”

“Yes and we snogged for hours and it was brilliant but...uh....but, you’ve got to, um, talk to James.”

“Talk to James?” She asked him. “I thought you were staying out of it?”

“No, I mean, I’ve got to talk to James, so you’ve got to stay here. With the potion. All night. Okay?” He seemed in a state of panic.

“Fine,” she said, scared by his sudden change in attitude. She took Sirius’ place on the desk next to the potion, watching it like a hawk for any change in colour, although occasionally glancing out the window to admire the beautiful full moon.

Chapter 8: The Triangle
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Sirius went to James’ room, his door was open.

“Pathetic,” Sirius said, gazing at James in wonder. “Completely pathetic.”

It really was. James was twirling his wand in front of him, and a misty, wavering image of Lily was issuing from the tip, staring serenely at him.

“It’s actually really advanced magic,” James defended as the image seemed to seep back into his wand. “You couldn’t do it.”

“True,” Sirius nodded. “But I don’t need to, you see, I have a girlfriend, and she’s actually palpable.”

“Girlfriend?” James asked, smiling. “So it’s official then?”

“Yep.”

“Have you ever had a girlfriend before?” James scratched his head comically; he knew the answer.

“Nope.”

“Wow.”

“I know. Mia is so...Mia.”

James laughed, and twisted his chair around to face Sirius, who had sat down on the bed.

“And Lily is so Lily. Do you understand now?”

“Never,” Sirius shook his head. “I mean, she’s smart, but really, what’s the deal?”

“She’s gorgeous, sweet, funny and smart,” James insisted.

Sirius nodded thoughtfully.

“Lily Evans is hot, and smart, yes. But sweet and funny?” He shook his head. “Not buying it.”

“She’s not just hot, Pads. She’s stunning. She stuns me faster than a stunning charm ever could.”

Sirius snorted.

“I’m serious! Whenever I’ve walked into the Great Hall, and seen thousands of student there, I’ve always been able to find her right away, it’s like my eyes go straight to her, it’s like she’s magnetic, or something.”

“I’ve heard all this before,” Sirius sad, bored. “I know you think she’s unbelievably gorgeous, and fine, whatever, everyone has their own tastes, but sweet and funny? She’s more annoying and harsh and serious.”

“The way she’ll always break up a fight, that’s sweet, and brave, too. And she’s so nice to people, even Slytherins and first years.”

“And funny?” Sirius reminded her. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard her tell a joke.”

“There are different kinds of funny. She’s got a good sense of humour. And a really sexy laugh,” James suddenly frowned. “I wish she would just give me a chance. I don’t get why she doesn’t seem to like me. Or does she like me? I can’t keep up. Ever since the party I’ve been really confused about that.”

“I think...and you know I’m staying out of it, but I think she is just as confused as you are. She doesn’t know if she likes you or not, either.”

“So what should I do?” James asked.

“Get over her,” Sirius said, sure that it was in the best interest of his friend.

“Not going to happen,” James shook his head definitively.

“Then stick to the original plan,” Sirius shrugged.

“How original?” James queried. There had been plenty of Lily plans in the past.

“The one we came up with in fourth year - just be friends with her first, and then she’ll see what a great guy you are, and start to like you.”

“Aw, shucks, Padfoot, you’re making me blush,” James said. “Fine, friends.”

Sirius rolled his eyes.

“What now, Padfoot?” James asked testily.

“You’ve agreed to the friends plan so many times, and it never works out,” he said quietly, James nodded, it was true. “You need to approach it differently, I think.”

“How?” James wondered. “How can I become friends with her without messing it up?”

“I don’t know, just be yourself,” Sirius said, shrugging, though looking doubtful.

“She’ll hate me.”

“No, she won’t. You always act crazy when she’s around, like you’ve just had twenty cups of coffee,” he laughed. “Just be friendly and, well, calm.”

“Okay,” James nodded, comically placing his hands over his chest and taking a deep breath. “Calm.”

“That’s the spirit,” Sirius laughed, walking across the room to sit on James desk. He clasped his hands on James’ shoulders dramatically and looked down at his friend sitting in the desk chair. “Now can we please talk about Mia?”

 

The next day, Lily planned exactly what she was going to say to Remus; worried he would ask her out. She didn’t want to ruin their friendship at all – he was her closest friend in the world. She knew why he had been nowhere to be seen on the night of the full moon, and pinched herself for not realising earlier. She discovered he was a werewolf long ago – in all the drama it had slipped her mind. Lily found him just as the sun set and the stars were coming out, sitting outside in the cool summer breeze.

“Hey, Remus,” Lily said gently, sitting on the garden bench beside him.

“Hey, Lils,” he replied, not looking at her.

“So James told me you like me,” she said casually. “What’s up with that?”

Remus laughed.

“You get straight to the point, don’t you?”

“Look, Remus, I’m really flattered. But-”

Remus held up a hand to stop her.

“You don’t need to worry about it,” he said.

“I don’t?”

“Yeah, I value our friendship way too much to ruin it,” he smiled at her, nodding as relief fell upon her face. “I’ve done some thinking, about how I feel, and I don’t know if I really have a crush on you. Well, maybe a little one, but I guess I’m more lonely then anything.”

“Oh, Remus,” she mumbled, winding her arm around his. “The right girl’s out there for you.”

“I don’t know, Lils. I never really worried about it before, I suppose, because I always had James and Sirius and Peter. But now Sirius is off with Mia all the time, and you and James will hook up soon-”

“What?” Lily interrupted.

Remus glanced sidelong at her.

“Lily, come on,” he said.

“I don’t think so,” she shook her head. “Friends, maybe. Maybe I’ll be friends with him, maybe, but never anything more.”

“Never anything more...maybe?”

“No, no maybe for that one.”

“It’s not...it’s not Snape, is it?” Remus asked tentatively.

“What? Snape? Why?” She tried to keep her face stoic though her heart was pounding.

“No reason, we were just wondering if you, you know, liked him.”

“Of course I don’t!”

“I didn’t think you did. So what’s the deal with Snape, anyway?”

“I can’t say.”

“Why not?”

“Because I just can’t, Remus. It’s a secret.”

“You are...protecting him, or something?”

“No, I’m protecting you! And the others, and myself.”

Remus’ mind went wild – was it possible she knew who Snape really was?

“It’s not what I think it is, is it?” Remus asked carefully.

“Why, what do you think it is?” Lily asked, wondering exactly where Remus was going with this, as she was sure he had no ideas about the Death Eaters.

“You know...the thing. The thing that’s happening. Snape, and others. We didn’t think you knew,” he whispered.

Lily assumed he must have been talking about the incident with Snape at the Whomping Willow. Surely he didn’t know about the upcoming war, no one knew about that. But she wasn’t supposed to know he was a werewolf either. Confused, she went for the easiest choice. Playing dumb.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she laughed, noticing how relieved Remus looked.

“I’m pretty tired, Lily,” he said, standing up, he stretched, his bones creaking just a little. “I might turn in.”

“Okay,” she smiled. “I’m glad we sorted everything out.”

“Yep,” Remus nodded. “Now I have to sort things out with Prongs. I can’t believe he told you. Well, actually I can.”

“Don’t kill him,” she called out.

“I’ll try my best not to,” he laughed.

James saw Lily sit down next to Remus from his bedroom window, and headed out to the garden.

 James found Lily on the path heading back up to the house, hugging herself to stay warm. Remus wasn’t there anymore. James walked over to her, keeping the mantra in his head he had been saying all day. Calm. Calm. Calm. Normal. Normal. Normal. Calm-

“What are you doing out here?” She asked him, looking away from him.

“Saw you talking with Remus,” James mumbled, scuffing his shoe on the icy grass, looking down at his cold, trembling hands. The temperature was plummeting fast – it was a cloudless night. “I was worried he was coming onto you or something.”

“He would never hit on me, he knows I don’t like him and he wouldn’t ruin our friendship by making things uncomfortable.” Lily looked out across the empty grounds, her voice sounding oddly loud in the silent night.

“Does he know that you know he likes you?” James asked at length, thinking over his words before he said them to be sure it made sense.

“Yep, I told him,” Lily confirmed James’ suspicions.

“And…does he know who told you he likes you?”

“Yep,” Lily repeated, glancing sideways to James, trying to stifle her smile. “You are going to be in trouble when he finds you.”

“Damn it, Lily, did you have to tell him that!?” James brought both arms to the back of his neck in frustration and looked up at the stars, as if hoping he would find Remus’ forgiveness there.

Lily shrugged one shoulder. “I didn’t want to lie to Remus.”

When James continued to stare silently upwards, his rapid breathing a sign of his panic, Lily tried to make amends.

“But he knows you only told me because you don’t want to lie to me, so…”

James heaved a sigh and threw his arms down, though Lily could tell he was still a little rattled. “I guess that’s fine.”

He turned to her then, the crescent moon lighting his features flatteringly.

“I would never lie to you, Lily.”

“You wouldn’t?”

“Well, if you were eight months pregnant with my child and asked me if you looked fat, I’d probably say no, but that’s about it.”

Lily burst out in laughter.

“Eight months pregnant? We haven’t even kissed, James.” She said.

“But you are calling me James now.” He replied, pointing at her.

“Well, all the others were so I guess I sort of picked it up. I mean, of course your friends don’t call you Potter.”

“We haven’t even kissed...” he mumbled, repeating her earlier words. “I’m working on it, Lils. I’m working on it.”

“Working on what?” She laughed.

“Getting you to want to kiss me,” he clarified.

“I think we had better be friends first.”

“I think we’re friends now,” James held his breath, hoping against hope she would agree.

Lily smiled, and folded her arms, turning her face to look at the stars.

“Yeah, I guess we are, James.” With that, she walked back to the house.

James couldn’t help himself. He began to dance.

Chapter 9: Truth Or Dare
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Disclaimer: “Pride and Prejudice” belongs to Jane Austen, as do the characters Mr Darcy and Mr Wickham and the quote ‘In vain I have struggled, it will not do...’. a5ghg1.png picture by THEDRUNKENELF
Image by stealingETERNITY @ TDA

The next day Lily and Sirius worked silently on the potion, James, Remus and Peter were nowhere to be seen. After a long days work, they could finally leave the potion at rest.

“I guess that’s that for today,” Sirius said softly, wiping his sweaty brow. “This is so hard.”

“I know,” Lily said sympathetically. “But it’s perfect so far, we should get really good marks. And at least we’ve got a night off to relax.”

“True,” Sirius nodded, standing up and pulling his leather jacket off the back of his chair. “I know the others were going to study most of the day so we could all relax tonight without any stress.”

“Great,” Lily mumbled tiredly, shuffling out the door of the potions room. Sirius slapped an arm across her shoulders.

“Want me to make you a coffee?”

Lily laughed.

“No, thanks. I’ll just walk it off.”

Lily wandered around the house thinking over her latest conversations with Remus and with James and suddenly found herself at his door. He was crouched over his desk, a pile of books at his arms, papers spilling out like a parchment waterfall.

“Can I help you?” James looked up from his work, suitably disgruntled that he had been interrupted.

“Oh! I wanted to borrow a book,” Lily stammered, praising herself in her mind for her quick thinking.

“Which book?”

“Pride and Prejudice,” was the first book to enter her mind. “I suppose I’ll go the library and try to find it.”

She realised that this didn’t warrant a visit to James’ room and improvised some ignorance.

“Where is the library from here?”

“No need,” James answered, pulling a thin volume from the shelf in front of him. “Writings a bit small, but I’m sure you’ll manage.”

Lily waited at the threshold for him to walk the book to her but to no avail – he remained planted in his desk chair, holding it out to her. She was forced to enter his room.

She decided to get it over with quickly, and took the book from him. She noticed his breath hitch a little as their fingers touched.

“Thank you,” she clipped, turning abruptly and walking out of the room towards her own. When she got to the second floor she began to run, until she reached her room and shut the door behind her. She leaned against it, breathing heavily. It took her a few moments to compose herself. She glanced at the darkness outside her window and decided it was time for soft pyjamas and a welcoming pillow.

As she, despite having no plans to, started reading Pride and Prejudice, she found her mind wandering. Mostly she thought about the fact that this novel had such a predominant place on James’ shelf and therefore he had surely read it, and judging by its weathered appearance more than once. She smiled as she pictured him as Mr Darcy and wondered why he hadn’t tried acting like him to gain her affection; he had certainly tried everything else.

Quickly she caught herself fantasising about James saying ‘In vain I have struggled, it will not do...’ and threw the book away from her as though it was poison. She told herself that he was not like Mr Darcy at all. He wasn’t shy and stoic, he was loud and annoying. She detested the idea of dating him; it would be like failing, him winning a battle that had begun between them in first year. She couldn’t fathom having a boyfriend at all, let alone having James as one. Factoring in another person’s plans into her day seemed most unappealing.

Realising she was thinking in Austen language she shut her mind off, willing herself to fall asleep.

Less than half an hour later, a sharp knock on the door startled her.

“Lils? We’re playing truth or dare downstairs if you want to join. It’s usually pretty funny,” Remus’ voice called out. “Sirius does any dare.”

“I’m in my pyjamas,” she called back uncertainly as she crawled out of bed and lit a candle with a non verbal incendio spell.

“We all are,” he said. “It’s alright. Come on, we’ve got biscuits!”

“Well, if you’ve got biscuits...” Lily opened the door and smiled. “How could I refuse?”

“Were you asleep?” Remus asked, smoothing down some of her red hair that was standing up on her head.

“Reading in bed,” she lied. A more truthful answer would have been ‘trying not to think of James wearing a top hat’.

Remus led her down to the front room where Sirius, James and Peter were sitting in a group in front of the roaring fireplace. They were, indeed, wearing pyjamas. Peter and James were in simple Gryffindor t-shirts and shorts. Sirius was shirtless, only wearing dark track pants. Lily had to admire the way the firelight reflected of his chiselled muscles, and briefly wondered if James was just a fit. She shook her head, trying to get rid of the thought.

“Sirius,” Remus turned to the handsome marauder. “Truth or-”

“Dare!” Sirius interrupted gleefully.

“Fine, I’ve got a spell to try out on you, if you dare.”

“Go for it,” Sirius said confidently, as Peter tried to sneak the last of the biscuits into his mouth with no one noticing.

“Hypnosisa Maxima,” Remus incanted, as a blue shimmer drifted from his wand into Sirius’ eyes. “Whenever I clap, you will find James to be the sexiest person on earth.”

Everyone collapsed into giggles as Sirius looked horrified.

“I doubt that’ll work,” he said, though looking unsure.

“We’ll see,” Remus said coyly. “Your turn.”

“Fine,” Sirius said, keeping his eyes on Remus. “Truth or dare, Prongs.”

“Truth...no, dare,” James said hesitantly. He nodded his head. “Dare.”

“Okay....you have to....do a cartwheel.”

The other marauders screamed with laughter as James glared at Sirius.

“You-!” He said dramatically.

“What’s the big deal?” Lily asked Remus, who was having trouble settling down.

“He got this dare back in first year, it’s become a bit of a tradition, it’s just so freaking funny,” Remus wheezed out. “You’d think by now he’d just learn how to cartwheel.”

James picked himself up from the ground and sighed, walking outside. Everyone crowded around the front door to watch. James took a huge step, and placed his hands onto the ground in front of him. His glasses fell off – undeterred, James pushed himself off the ground, fell, and collapsed in a heap. Onto his glasses.

“Oh, no,” he said, feeling around for them.

“I said do a cartwheel, mate,” Sirius barked, as Remus threw his head back and laughed. “Not find the most artistic way to destroy a pair of glasses.”

He was still moving his hand around, trying to find them. Lily shook her head and ran over to him, grabbing his hand and pulling him to his feet.

“Here, James,” she said, picking up the glasses. “Can you fix them, or shall I?”

“Trust me, it’s the first thing I had to learn how to do,” James said, whilst moving his wand in a small circle, silently repairing them. They headed back to the house, where the others were settling back down in front of the fire. Despite being summertime, it was chilly night. Remus suddenly clapped his hands three times.

“Oh, no,” Sirius looked at James. “I really don’t like what my head is telling me right now.”

“And what would that be, Pads?” James asked cheekily.

“You’re...you’re...you’re beautiful.”

Everyone broke into laughter, Sirius looked furious.

“Take it off, Remus, undo it, I...I don’t want to think like this!” Remus silently removed the charm.

“Payback, my turn,” Sirius said. Remus looked worried. “I think it’s time we humiliated someone else.”

“Me?” Peter asked, almost hopefully.

“No,” Sirius turned to Lily.

“Me?” She asked, hoping she was wrong.

“Truth or dare?”

“Dare,” Lily answered quickly. She had decided earlier not to say truth; she didn’t want to be asked personal questions.

“I dare Lily...to kiss James,” he said, smirking.

“We agreed not to dare each other to kiss Lily,” James protested, though he half glanced at Lily in hope.

“Exactly,” Sirius said. “Technically I haven’t done that. I don’t dare you, Prongs. I dare Lily.”

“Quite a technicality,” James shook his head. “Well, it’s up to her, I guess.”

“You don’t have to, Lily,” Remus immediately said. James and Sirius both glared daggers at him. Peter chewed lazily on a long fingernail.

“Not in front of everyone,” Lily said, looking at the four faces of the Marauders now turned in her direction. She knew she was as good as saying yes to the dare, and couldn’t understand herself. Maybe she just wanted to prove to herself that she didn’t like James at all, to show herself that she would feel nothing when kissing him. Immediately, James stood up and offered a hand to Lily. She didn’t take it, instead standing up on her own. He shrugged and walked out of the room. Lily followed numbly.

Once they were alone in the Potions room, which was where James ended up, though not really intending to, they stood awkwardly.

“You don’t have to,” James said. “You don’t have to kiss me, but you should.”

“Oh, should I?” Lily raised an eyebrow at him.

“Sure,” he shrugged. “Don’t worry about me reading too much into it. This is just a game, its fun.”

Lily had been worried that he would suddenly think they were a couple or something if she did kiss him. She walked closer to him now, feeling that if it was just fun, just for a game, then there was no real reason not to kiss him. She didn’t want to go back on a dare, and James was very handsome.

The potion was glugging away on the furthest desk. Lily walked over to it and stared into it. She sensed James behind her, moving in closer. He swept his hand under her hair and rubbed the back of her neck with his thumb. He kissed her neck, moving his lips slowly up to her earlobe. She turned her head slightly towards him, and met his lips with her own.

He kissed her softly, his lips gently massaging her own, and she kissed him back, wrapping her arms comfortably around his waist. He was so warm. She leaned closer to him as he deepened the kiss, still going slowly. Lily accidently let out a small moan. She felt James smiling and pushed him off her, feeling fear wash through her like ice water.

“Well, you can’t say you didn’t enjoy that,” James mumbled, still holding onto her as she leaned away.

“It was fine,” she said bitterly, unravelling his arms from her and moving towards the door.

“Fine?” He questioned. “It was better than fine, much better.”

She walked towards the staircase.

“You don’t want to keep playing?” James asked half heartedly, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the marauders.

“No,” she shook her head and began climbing the stairs.

“Me, neither,” he said. “Maybe another time then?”

Lily knew he wasn’t talking about truth or dare that time.

 “Remember, it doesn’t mean anything, James,” Lily said, beginning to regret it already.

“Doesn’t mean a thing,” James nodded. “Can I interest you in being friends with benefits?”

“No you can’t!”

“Thought that was a long shot,” he laughed, making it clear he had been kidding.

“Goodnight, James,” Lily said firmly, walking up the stairs towards her room.

“Goodnight...” James said, and then waited until she was out of earshot. “Beautiful.”

Lily returned to her room and saw Pride and Prejudice sadly thrown on the floor. She picked it up, cursing herself for throwing it as some of its pages were bent. As she straightened them out, she noticed something scrawled on the last page.

Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily

Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily

Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily

For reasons she didn’t quite understand, she hugged the book to her chest and smiled.

 

 

Authors note: Please review!!

Chapter 10: The History Of The Snake
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snake-1.png picture by THEDRUNKENELF
Image by deianeira at TDA




James expected Sirius early in the morning, asking how the dare had gone. Unfortunately, Sirius was all too set on his ‘staying out of it’ line, and James had to physically drag him up to his room to talk about the previous night.

“Fine, fine,” Sirius said, grinning at the completely befuddled expression on Prongs’ face. “How did it go last night?”

Suddenly, James didn’t want to say. He sat on his neatly made bed, and Sirius sprawled down on the clean wooden floor.

“I don’t think I should say,” James mumbled, as Sirius rolled his eyes, since James had been so desperate to tell before. “I just, I just need to know what to do next. We’re friends now; at least, I think...well, I think we’re still friends after last night. I hope so. I don’t know if she’s changed her mind. What if she has?”

“What are you ranting about?” Sirius asked, rubbing his eyes.

“Okay,” James held his hands up to clear his thoughts. “I just want to know if she likes me as a friend, or more than a friend, and how to get her to go out with me.”

“You’ve wanted that for years,” Padfoot looked up at the ceiling. “And there’s never an answer.”

“But we’re getting closer to an answer!” James pumped his fist excitedly. “We are, aren’t we?”

“She definitely likes you,” Sirius said, looking slightly annoyed that they were talking about Lily, yet again, when he really wanted to talk about how he was getting closer to Mia.

“I agree,” Remus said, strolling into the room. “We need to get her to admit she likes you, or get her to realise she does, if she doesn’t know already.”

“Really?” James asked incredulously as Remus crouched on the floor next to Sirius. “You’re going to help?”

“Look, Prongs,” Remus began, gazing up at James to make sure his words wouldn’t go unnoticed. “You’ve always been a very good friend to me. It’s high time I was a very good friend to you.”

James smiled warmly at him.

“Thank you,” was all he could think of to say. Remus nodded.

“So last night, you’re not like, together, or anything, now?” Sirius asked, choosing his words carefully.

“No,” James sighed and sat heavily on the bed. “She said it didn’t mean anything.”

“She might be, I don’t know, scared, or something,” Remus shrugged.

“But why? There has to be something she’s not telling us. Some reason why she’s so against dating me.”

“Especially when she obviously likes you,” Sirius mumbled, barely paying attention.

“I don’t know if she obviously likes you,” Remus said honestly. “But I do agree with you Prongs, there must be some reason she won’t even go on a date with you.”

The three sat for a while, scratching their heads, trying to think of reasons.

“I bet its Snape,” James said quietly.

“She told me she absolutely does not like him,” Remus said quickly. James shook his head.

“I just wish I knew what happened with them, I mean, she really doesn’t seem to hate him as much as she should,” he ran his hands through his black hair, making it stand on end.

Remus and Sirius shrugged unhelpfully. Snape had always been someone to be avoided, or teased and made fun of. The marauders all knew Snape had joined the group at Hogwarts who were involved in the dark arts, although, they all reasoned, Lily didn’t know that.

“Maybe we should tell her,” Remus voiced what they all were thinking. “Tell her what Snape’s been up to for the last few years.”

“Maybe she knows,” Sirius pointed out, though with a hint of doubt to his voice.

“There’s no way she knows. I only know because of my parents, and that’s all I can say about that,” he looked at his two friends, they nodded understanding. “But when I spoke to Dumbledore about warning people and stuff, he said ignorance was like armour at this stage, that the evil doers would go after anyone who knew too much.”

“Good thing they don’t know we know,” Remus said softly.

“I’d like to see them try anything,” Sirius growled, his hand twitching to where his wand stuck out of the waistband of his tracksuit pants.

“Try and talk to her, Moons,” James implored upon the fair-haired wizard. “Just ask her exactly why-”

“I’m not going behind her back like that,” Remus shook his head. “But...I can ask her if her opinion has changed of you since last night. I think that’s okay, morally speaking.”

“Good,” James nodded. “Then tell me everything she says.”

“No,” Remus said, standing up. “I’ll tell you if she says anything relevant, but beyond that, no. I don’t want to betray her trust.”

Sirius and James both rolled their eyes but Remus was already gone, out the door.

“Sometimes Gryffindors can be too loyal,” Sirius said, stretching back and closing his eyes.

“I’ll say,” James muttered, and then shook his head. “No, Remus is right of course. It’s just – I just want to know so badly!”

“He’ll tell eventually,” Sirius mumbled, dozing off.

James laughed. Sirius never had been much of a morning person.

 

Remus found Lily in the potions room, staring into the space in front of the cauldron. She smiled when he entered the room, and motioned for him to sit on the desk next to her.

“Talked to Prongs,” Remus said. “He wouldn’t tell us what happened, with the, uh, kiss and everything.”

“Nothing important happened,” Lily mumbled.

“Still just friends?” Remus asked, grinning. Lily was happy that he was clearly starting to get over his crush on her.

“Still just friends,” she confirmed.

“Last night you two were gone for a while...”

“Friends, Remus. It didn’t mean anything,” she said firmly.

“Alright,” he smiled. “Keep telling yourself that.”

He expected her to make a snappy retort, she usually made sure she had the last word, but instead she looked confused and just shook her head.

“Lils?” Remus began gently. “It’s okay if you like him, you know. Great, in fact.”

“I don’t want to talk about James, Remus,” she said turning to him. “And I don’t like him.”

Remus let it go, and changed the subject to something else. But he now felt a burning curiosity to know exactly why she was avoiding James’ affections, when clearly; something was going on with them.


After Sirius came into the potions room to take over stirring duty, Lily wandered around the house and once again, found herself at James’ door. He was sitting on his bed.

“Hi,” she smiled, standing awkwardly in the doorframe.

“Hi,” James answered, sounding surprised. “Come in.”

Lily sat by him on the bed, perched on the edge stiffly.

“About last night,” she began.

“Last night was a mistake,” James interrupted. “I should have told Sirius off for daring you to do that, I’m sorry.”

“Thanks,” Lily breathed. “It’s okay; it’s just sort of weird now.”

“I know, and just when we were getting to be friends,” he ran his hands through his hair. “We are still friends though, right?”

“Definitely,” Lily smiled at him.

“Lily, I want to know why you’re...holding back,” he said nervously, not looking at her. “I think...I think I deserve to at least know why I’ve never got a chance with you.”

Lily didn’t say anything.

“I mean, it’s not Snivellus, is it?” He laughed, though the laughter didn’t reach his eyes.

“Don’t call him that, Potter,” Lily whipped her head around to glare at him.

“Why do you keep defending him?” James shouted, pounding his fist on the side table. “What good has he ever done?”

He took a deep breath and tried a softer approach.

“What...what exactly happened between you two?” Even as he asked, a cloud of doubt crossed into his eyes; he wasn’t sure he really wanted to know. “I don’t understand why you ever hung out with that idiot.”

“You’ll never know what went on between Sev and me.”

“All I know is he’s a slime ball, what he said to you...I’ll never forgive him and I don’t think you should either.”

“But there is so much more to it than that,” Lily said, tucking her hair behind her ears and shaking her head. “So, so much more.”

“So tell me.”

She looked into James’ deep, hazel eyes for a long time. There was desperation there, a need to know. A need to know about this huge mysterious chunk of her life he was missing out on. The history of Lily Evans and Severus Snape.

Lily took a deep breath. James could tell that this was it; he was going to find out.

“We weren’t ever really in a relationship,” she said, smiling softly as the warm memories darted through her mind. “But we were kind of, together. I don’t know, it was weird.”

James didn’t say anything, wanting her to continue.

“We have...kissed and stuff,” she said, again smiling. James swallowed hard. “But we never really went on a date, I mean, he wasn’t ever my boyfriend...but it was just him and me, for so long, like, three years...”

Again, she paused. James sat in silence, allowing her to compose her thoughts.

“He said he loved me.” She finally said softly, a wrinkle of concern just touching her brow, like she was confused by the memory.

“And...Do you think he did?” James asked quietly, although he didn’t think that Snape was even capable of love.

“I think he still does,” she answered, before starting to get up. James grabbed her arm.

“Do you love him?”

“I used to, well as much as a thirteen year old can love someone. But he...he changed. It started at the end of third year, but I ignored it at first, told myself that he would never change. I think deep down he is still the same person, but, well, I wasn’t really on the same page as him towards fifth year. We became friends with different people and sort of just stopped talking.”

“And it was fifth year when he called you-”

“I know. But he broke my heart way before that,” she said, and then changed her mind. “Well, maybe he didn’t exactly break my heart, he just disappointed me. Befriending those people, James, you would be shocked at the sorts of things they would talk about...”

“I don’t think I would, actually.”

“Dark magic?” She asked, thinking that it would shock him.

“Dark magic, wanting to murder muggles in their beds...I know what his type does, Lily.”

Now Lily was the one that was shocked.

“You know about all that?!”

“You know about all that?” James retorted.

“I think...I think I know more than most,” she whispered, sitting back down on the bed, a little closer to James. “They wanted me to join.”

What!?” James screeched. “But you’re muggle born! What did you say?”

“What did I say? What do you think I said?” She asked the rhetorical question, smacking him on the arm. “I reported them too. Oh, boy, they didn’t like me much last year. Good thing most of them are idiots and can’t duel to save their lives. And I know I’m muggle born, but I think Sev said something to them, so...”

“You’ve...you’ve duelled them?” James asked, holding her hand. She didn’t let go.

“For the last couple of years – well, they tried to kill me a few times because I know so much. I’m pretty good at the old protego charm, so I got away. I wasn’t stupid – I never went out at night if I could help it, I never went anywhere alone...”

James couldn’t talk. He’d had no idea that the Dark Wizards in Waiting at Hogwarts had been so serious. He wouldn’t have believed any of them were capable of performing a killing curse.

“You should have told me,” he finally said.

“Dumbledore told me not to tell anyone, not to get anyone else involved. He had Aurors watching common rooms at night and stuff like that,” she shrugged. “You were perfectly safe.”

“That’s not what I meant,” he stood up now. “You know Lily, whether you like it or not, that I lo - I care about you. And you know deep down that I’m not messing around. If you’d have...if they killed...I...I would’ve died.”

Lily felt tears welling up in her eyes.

“Sorry,” she managed to whisper, before quickly leaving the room.

James stayed standing up in the middle of the room for a long time, his chest heaving, his mind roaring at the thought of Lily being in danger, at what might have happened last year.

Chapter 11: Knowledge
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The next day, Sirius casually strolled into James’ room. He had been gone for half the night with Mia, but oddly enough, started asking about Lily.

“So, you haven’t asked Lily out in a while,” Sirius said conversationally. “...Why?”

“Well, we are friends now,” James frowned, concentrating. “And we’re actually really close. I don’t want to wreck that. I guess I’m just waiting for her to make the first move.”

“You’ll be waiting a while,” Sirius mumbled.

“Yeah, well, not the first move exactly,” James elaborated. “I’m waiting for her to want me to make a move.”

Sirius nodded thoughtfully.

“I’ll keep an eye out and give you a heads up if she seems ready.”

“Thanks Padfoot. I really don’t want to screw this up.”

Sirius nodded and walked away, but, as though he couldn’t help himself, he spun around to face his friend again.

“Jamesy...” He started, smiling up at him.

“Padsey? What did you do?” James grinned at Sirius.

“It’s about Mia.”

“You – oh, I see,” James laughed. “Well, not the first time.”

“No...” Sirius was still talking in a sing –song voice, and grinning like an idiot. “But it’s different.”

“The Earth moved?” James asked sarcastically.

“I’m going to marry that girl, I swear,” Sirius said.

“You’re serious, aren’t you?”

“Always have been.” Sirius winked.

“True, but...Mia? She’s the one, huh?”

“She is so, so, so the one!” He let out a sort of yelp. “Going to see her again right now.”

“Have fun,” James called out. “Oh, wait, have you seen Lily?”

Sirius’ face darkened a little.

“That’s what I came in here to tell you, I forgot,” he said.

“She didn’t leave?” James’ glanced to the door, as though he were about to chase after her. “I mean, we sort of had a fight, but not really, I mean, I didn’t think she would-”

“No, no, it’s Remus, he’s well...he’s going to tell her. Today. Now, in fact, probably.”

“He’s going to tell her? Seriously?”

“He said he felt like he was lying to her or some rubbish. Like I said, Gryffindors are too loyal.”

“I wonder how she’ll take it,” James mumbled, though he felt sure Lily wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

“It’s making me wonder if I should tell Mia.”

“You want to tell Mia about Remus’ issues?”

“No, I want to tell her I’m a wizard. But, I don’t know. I’m not Remus. I can deal with lying to her for the rest of my life,” he sighed. “I just kind of want her to know.”

James shrugged.

“Don’t rush into anything. Go see her now, and think about it. Decide another day. She’s not going anywhere.”

“Yeah, but I am,” Sirius rolled his eyes as he walked out the door. “The first of September gets closer every day.”

“Yeah, it does,” James mumbled to himself when he was alone in his room. Then, determined not to waste any more time, he headed to Lily’s room, to make sure things were okay between them. He found her in front of her closet, looking through her clothes.

“Did Remus talk to you?” He asked casually.

“No...why?”

“No reason,” he said, and then mumbled to himself. “Guess he got too much ‘loyal’ and not enough ‘brave’.”

“James, can ask you something?” Lily’s voice was serious, she looked very concerned.

“Anything,” James answered, although a little nervous.

“How did you know about the Death Eaters?”

“Ah,” James said, running a hand through his jet black hair nervously. “I was hoping you wouldn’t pick up on that.”

“Do they know that you know?”

“No.”

She raised an eyebrow at him, and sat down on her bed, patting the space next to her, indicating to him to sit down. She waited for him to tell all, but didn’t expect his reason for knowing shocked her as much as it did.

“My parents, that’s...that’s what they do, they’re Aurors,” he took a deep breath, Lily could tell he was going to say more. “They’re pretend Death Eaters, they’re spies.”

“How do they manage that?” Lily breathed.

“Polyjuice potion and very good Occlumency,” James smiled at her.

“Oh my God, that’s so dangerous,” she whispered, her eyes widening in fear as she looked at James. She couldn’t imagine how he felt, having his parents in that kind of peril.

“I know, but I’m really proud of them, and I’m going to be an Auror too. They’ve tried to talk me out of it, but my minds made up,” he nodded. “I am prepared to fight evil until I die.”

“So am I,” Lily whispered, and then she smiled sarcastically. “That’s a nice, happy thing to say, isn’t it?”

She laughed bitterly for a moment before getting a strange look on her face. She held out her right hand.

“Shake on it,” she said, looking deep into his eyes. “We’ll keep fighting evil, until we die.”

James felt protests bubbling up inside him, he wanted to tell her not to put herself in any danger, that he would always protect her, but something in her eyes told him she was being completely serious.

“Until we die,” he said firmly, shaking her hand.

He went to leave her room, but turned around at the last second, making himself smile as he realised he had done what Sirius had done earlier that day. They were so similar.

“I’ve figured it out now. I mean,” he looked a bit sheepish. “I’ve figured you out.”

“Really?” Lily raised her eyebrows at him. “I doubt that.”

James moved forward slowly, taking her hands in his, and leaned down to kiss her softly. After a moment, Lily whipped her head away.

“Lily,” he breathed, putting his hands on her shoulders and pulling her into a hug. “It’s about trust. You clearly have trust issues, I can see that now. But I won’t ever go to the Dark side of magic, you know that.”

He pulled back to look in her eyes, and they stared at each other for a long moment.

“Please trust me, Lily. Please be brave enough to trust me.”

With that, he walked away. He passed Remus on the way.

“Tell her,” he said.

“Peter needs your help on his charms homework,” Remus mumbled, looking extremely nervous.

“Of course he does, I’m the charming one,” James flashed a huge smile at Remus. “Moons, seriously, don’t worry about it. She’s an understanding person.”

“I know, I just...I don’t want her to be like...scared of me.”

“She won’t be. Listen she knows, about Snape’s crowd. Apparently they even tried to recruit her,” James said in a rush. Remus gasped, and couldn’t say anything, his mouth hung open in shock. “I know it’s a scary thought. I wouldn’t mention it to her, she’ll figure I’ll tell you anyway and besides that...I already yelled at her about it.”

“Weirdly enough, I feel like yelling at her about it. We could have helped her.”

“Try not to. Go on, tell her about your little problem, it’s a good time to,” James clapped him on the back. “See you later, mate.”

Remus nodded, took a deep breath, and headed to Lily’s room.

“Hey,” she smiled as he turned up in her doorway.

“Hi,” he smiled. “I have to talk to you.’

“Alright,” she said, shrugging. “Come on in.”

They sat down side by side on the desk. Remus took another deep breath.

 “Look Lily, the truth is, I’m, um...I’m,” he broke off, shaking his head.

“Are you trying to tell me that you’re a werewolf? Go on; tell me, I can take it.”

“You know?”

“Of course, I’ve known for ages,” she smiled and held his hand. “Its fine, Remus, really.”

“James told you.”

“No, he didn’t. I knew he would if I asked so I didn’t ask. I followed you guys one night and saw.”

“You followed us? When I changed? Lily, I could have killed you!”He looked alarmed. “Now we have ways of keeping me tame, but back then...”

“No, you couldn’t have. I have a secret, too,” she winked and leaned in, and then whispered. “I’m an animagus. I could outrun you.”

“Why didn’t you say so? That’s great!”

“Because I transform into a doe and ever since I learnt James’ patronus was a stag and mine was a doe, and knowing he transformed into a stag I knew he would make a big deal about it,” she said in a rush, brining her brows together as she worried that what she had said hadn’t made sense. “So I made sure never to reveal my patronus or show myself as an animagus.”

She concentrated, wanting to tell him the full story.

“Remember Rookwood? He would have left by now; I think he was in Seventh, like, a year ago?”

Remus shrugged.

“Well, once he was trying to kill me,” she said, comically shrugging as though it happened every day, Remus sarcastically nodded back. “He chased me out into the grounds, I ran into the forest and transformed, and he lost me and went back to the castle. Then I saw you four coming out, and thought you were up to no good as usual, so I spied for a while and saw you transfer.”

She took a deep breath.

“I remember thinking James’ animagus was really similar to mine, and that it was a bit odd, but I certainly didn’t think it meant anything.”

“I really, really don’t understand you two,” Remus said, shaking his head. “Why aren’t you together? All the signs are there, you’re one of those big couples in history, and I can feel it. ‘Lily and James’...it sounds right, doesn’t it?”

Lily just rolled her eyes.

“I’m not even sure I want a boyfriend. James is so in your face, he...well, he scares me a little. I know he’d only end up hurting me.”

“Why would you think that?” Remus still felt relieved that she didn’t care that he was a werewolf.

“Because, believe it or not, when I was thirteen I thought Severus Snape would always be there for me, I completely trusted him, and he really let me down.”

Remus stared at Lily for a moment. He was in a small state of shock, that anyone would ever trust the slime ball Snape, let alone that Lily, who was a very smart person, would. He didn’t know what to say, but eventually, the most important question came to him.

“Do you honestly think James is anything like Snape?”

“No, not really,” Lily confessed, relieved Remus had not made a big deal of her small confession of her past with Severus. “But he could still hurt me eventually. He would.”

“Nah, he wouldn’t,” Remus said, standing up and offering a hand to pull Lily to her feet as well. “First of all, because he just wouldn’t. He’s more serious about you then you know. And second of all, because he knows I’d kill him if he ever hurt you.”

Remus leaned in to Lily’s ear.

“And I could kill him rather easily,” he growled.

“Stop it,” Lily laughed. “I don’t really have feelings for James; he’s just...an annoying little pest.”

“I bet you don’t even believe that,” Remus said. “And I’d believe you more except for that look you get in your eyes every time you say his name. You should give him a chance, at least.”

“Everyone I’ve ever really loved has left me,” she protested.

“Did you just say ‘really loved’ in reference to James?” Remus asked her. Her eyes widened, and Remus though realisation was hitting her at last.

“I’m going to the library,” Lily said abruptly. “Don’t tell James where I am. I really need to think.”

“You need to stop thinking, sweetie,” Remus said, giving her a friendly kiss on the cheek. “Stop listening to your head and start listening to your heart. Goodnight.”

With that, he took off down the staircase towards the spare room. Lily headed up to the library.

Remus went into the room he was sharing with Peter and found James, Sirius and Peter in there.

“Where’s Lily?” James asked, jumping to his feet.

“Library,” Remus answered, not worrying about betraying Lily. He wanted Lily and James to sort things out already.

“Oh, and she absolutely likes you,” he mentioned as James headed past him.

“I know,” he said. “I just wish she knew.”

“She does,” Remus nodded. “Go for it.”

James could see that Remus was finally fully over Lily. He quickly hugged his friend.

“Thanks, Moons,” he said seriously, before heading off to the library, already forming his game plan. This was going to be it.

Lily had just pulled a good book of one of the many shelves when she heard him coming.

“Libraries,” James appeared at the doorway, smiling arrogantly as he swaggered into the candlelit room. “They are very...sensual, aren’t they?”

Lily was thrown for a moment. But only briefly – snapping the book she was holding shut, she turned to him.

“I suppose you could find sensuality in anything, James. You’re a seventeen year old male, after all.”

“Oh, come on,” James grinned widely, moving in just a little too close to her and taking the book from her fingers, curious to see what she had been reading. “You’re seventeen as well; you must find yourself having thoughts, feelings...”

He looked into her eyes, hazel bearing into green, and moved closer still, so she could feel his breath on her lips.

“And urges,” he whispered.

“The only urge I have, Potter,” she started, concentrating on breathing as she was starting to feel light headed. “Is to take that book and hit you over the head with it.”

James hurriedly placed the book on the nearest shelf.

“I just...like libraries, don’t you?” He asked, keeping within an inch of her and moving forward, forcing her to walk backward to keep the distance between them, until she was up against a shelf.

“Some – some – sometimes,” she stuttered, realising that when she looked into his eyes, she couldn’t talk. She glanced down to his lips. That was a bad idea. She licked her lips, then quickly looked out past James’ shoulder.

“Really?” James mumbled, moving in just slightly closer and placing his hands on the shelf, one on either side of her.

Lily felt her heart racing. She thought he could probably hear it, it was beating so hard. Without thinking, she spoke.

“Can you hear my heart?”

He looked confused for a moment, before raising an eyebrow at her.

“Not from here.”

With that, he leaned forward, resting an ear on her chest, listening. Lily couldn’t stop herself from running a hand through his thick black hair. She could feel his breath on her neck as he stood up straighter, slowly. The breath hit her chin and then her lips.

His lips grazed hers.

With a desperate moan, she pushed him off, spun him, and pushed him up against the shelves. Several books fell to the ground, but neither of them heard. They were in ecstasy, freeing all their built up tensions, kissing rather violently as they pushed into one another and moved from wall to wall, from shelf to shelf, always slamming the other one up against the surface, they both knew they would have bruises in the morning, but didn’t care.

Eventually Lily pushed away from him and ran off, as always, wanting time to think. James didn’t chase after her – he felt confident now, that they would be together. No one could deny their chemistry, their magnetism, not even Lily.

He looked up as he heard footsteps. Lily was back.

“Can I do something without you judging me?” She asked, out of breath.

“Sure,” he said, curious as to what it was. She walked over to him and slid her hand up under his shirt. His stomach felt like stone.

“How did you get so...so...”

“You need a strong stomach to stay on a broom,” he laughed, running a hand through her hair.

“Definitely running away now,” she whispered, before running away.

Much later in the night, towards midnight, James was sitting on his bed, reading. He heard a creak in the floorboard at his door. Lily.

“Sorry about before,” she said.

“Don’t be sorry,” he answered smoothly, putting the book down on the ground. “I’m not.”

She sat on the bed next to him.

“I don’t want to be alone. I tried to sleep, but,” she almost looked ashamed. “I missed you.”

She picked up the book to see what he had been reading. It was the book she had selected from the library earlier.

“Guess I missed you too,” he said, ruffling his hair with one hand as he took the book back from her and sat it on his nightstand. “I always miss you.”

“And I’m sorry for intruding, just turning up in your room like this.”

“You can turn up in my room any time,” he said seriously.

“Really?”

He smiled and held her hand.

“Whenever you need me, I’m always here for you, and you can show up uninvited at any time, wherever I may be.” He could feel her coming around, knew that this was going to be the moment he had dreamed of for years, and his heart started pounding with anticipation. She was going to finally let down the emotional barrier she had built up around herself and let him into her life.

“I really like you Lily,” he said, something he had said many times before. “You know that, right?”

She nodded, and leaned past him to place her head on his pillow. He leaned back to lie down as well, so their faces were inches from each others.

“I’m scared James.” She confessed. He gave her a questioning look. “I’m scared of what will happen if I allow myself to be with you.”

“Allow yourself?” He questioned. “Do whatever your heart tells you.”

He cupped her chin in one hand and kissed her once, softly on the mouth. She pushed his hand onto the pillow, between their candlelit faces, and stroked his palm with her fingers.

“I don’t want you to ever leave me,” she whispered, tears forming in her eyes. “You have to promise.” He moved a bit closer.

“I give you my word, Lily, I will never leave you.”

She nodded and smiled, a few stray tears carving paths down her cheeks. He wiped them away. She sighed.

“Tired?” He asked in a low voice, kissing her hand softly.

“I’m tired now, well, it is pretty late,” she mumbled. “But I don’t want to move, I’m too comfy.”

“That’s easily solved,” he whispered, kissing her cheek. He blew out the candle in his lamp and drew up the blankets using an accio charm. He wrapped his arms around her and she dug her face into his chest and inhaled, breathing in his warmth, his scent.

“Promise me we’ll be like this every night,” she whispered desperately.

“Every night,” he confirmed, kissing the top of her head. “Please trust me, Lily.”

“I do trust you, James,” she whispered, before finally drifting off to sleep.

Chapter 12: Love and Pain
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Lily woke before James and watched him sleep for a little while. He looked so different without his glasses. His hair was wilder than usual, which was saying something. She ran her hand over his hair, softly, smiling as she listened to him breathing. He started smiling too, and she knew he was awake.

“Morning,” he mumbled, reaching a hand up to the back of her neck, pulling her towards him.

“Morning,” she whispered before kissing him. She wrapped her arms around him, desperate to be closer. The bed seemed to grow warmer as he pushed his body against hers, deepening the kiss. Lily reached down to feel his stomach once again.

“I guess you’ve found your favourite spot,” he mumbled against her lips. She giggled.

“I can’t believe how hard your stomach is,” she said, stroking his muscles.

“Mmm, I can’t believe how soft you are,” he mumbled, pulling her closer to him still.

 

Meanwhile, Sirius was looking for Lily, as the potion was nearing completion and he was starting to believe they could present Slughorn with a perfect potion, but only as long as Lily helped towards the end. He knocked on her bedroom door, but received no answer, so he poked his head in.

“Lily?” He asked, his eyes firmly closed. “I need you downstairs. Lily?”

He tentatively peeped one eye open.

“Oh.”

Remus walked down the hall to him.

“I think I know where she is,” he said, smiling smugly. “Finally.”

“No way!” Sirius laughed. “Are you kidding me? Oh, thank god, now maybe he’ll shut up about her!”

“Doubt it.”

“Yeah, he’ll have more to tell us now, come to think of it.”

“So, you need her for the potion?” Remus asked, gesturing downstairs. “Shall we go and wake up the lovebirds?”

“NO!” Sirius shouted. “Screw the perfect grade, James would murder me. I’d murder me. Leave them alone!”

With that, Sirius took off to finish the potion himself.

Later that day, James and Sirius bumped into each other in Lily’s room.

“Where’s Lily?” They asked each other at the same time. Sirius shrugged.

“I just wanted to let her know the potions finished. Oh, and Remus and Peter are leaving today,” he looked around the empty room and clapped his hands together in a bored manner. “Right then, I’ve got to go and see Mia.”

“Told her yet?” James asked, distracted by Lily’s absence.

“No,” Sirius grimaced. “I’m working up to it.”

“I wonder where Lily is?” James murmured.

“I don’t know,” Sirius answered. “I saw an owl earlier. Maybe she got a letter from her mum and went to visit her.”

“Lily’s family are muggles.”

“Oh, then I don’t know,” Sirius answered. “Why are you looking for her, anyway? Didn’t you get enough of her last night?”

“I have to tell her something.”

“What?”

“I love Lily,” James declared dramatically, flourishing his hands like an overacting performer.

“So I’ve heard,” Sirius rolled his eyes. “Many, many times.”

“No,” James shook his head. “I really love her, Pads. Really, really.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

James expected Sirius to be disbelieving, but instead he just nodded.

“I understand,” he said, smiling.

“You...you do?”

“I, too, am inflicted with the deadly disease called love.”

“You love Mia?” James asked, excitedly clasping his hands together. “Oh, that’s so cute!”

“Cute?” Sirius asked angrily.

“Yeah!” James laughed, throwing an arm over his shoulders and leading him towards the door. “I guess I better go and say goodbye to Moons and Wormtail.”

As they left Lily’s room, James gave a backward glance into it.

“She’ll be around, mate, don’t panic,” Sirius said, laughing.           “She’s probably just downstairs, I’ll help you look.”

“If she’s not home, I’m officially freaking out.”

“Rightio,” Sirius said, still laughing at James’ apparent overreaction.

 

Lily had received the owl earlier in the day. She glanced at the letter for one moment and knew who it was from. She’d recognise that handwriting anywhere. The letter didn’t have a name on it though, just a meeting place and a time.

She wasn’t sure if she could go, but a deep trust in the person drove her to apparate to the meeting spot. She hated him. But she still trusted him. Snape breathed a sigh of relief when he saw her and couldn’t help smiling for a second, before he was overcome with panic and remembered why he had organised the meeting. He walked over to her, looking around as if he were afraid of being seen.

“You have to join the Death Eaters,” he said desperately.

“Never,” she shook her head.

“You don’t have to believe it, you know half of us don’t, but it’s safer on this side, especially for you,” he said, panting. “Please, Lily, please, you just have to!”

“Why?” She asked defensively. “Why do I have to?”

“Because muggle borns will be the first to go,” he said darkly.

She shook her head.

“I don’t know what happened to the Sev I knew, but you’re not him.”

He reached forward and grabbed her hands.

“Lily, I love you, you know that. I’m trying to save your life here, please...”

“No,” she said, pulling her hands roughly out of his, feeling tears slip down her cheeks, regret for Snape and the situation he was in. “Good luck. I hope you survive, I really do.”

She started walking away.

“It’s Potter, isn’t it?” He called out angrily. “I knew he’d get you eventually.”

She turned around sharply.

“It’s morals, Sev. It’s about not wanting to be a murderer. ‘Muggle borns will be the first to go’? Are you kidding me?” She marched up to him and slapped him hard in the face, overcome by a sudden rage. “Do you hear what you’re saying!?”

He just looked at her sadly.

“Blood traitors, too, Lily. He’s not safe, either.”

They stared at each other for a very long moment. Years of friendship, love, anger and pain twisting in an almost palpable invisible shadow around them.

“I’ll do all I can,” he said, sniffing and straightening up, business like. “I’ll try to protect you, but I can’t promise anything.”

With that, he disapparated.

Lily just shook her head. She despaired for him. But she had more important men in her life to think about now. Much, much, more important.

She looked down at the letter still in her hands, and screwed it into a ball. She threw it into a nearby public rubbish bin.

“Goodbye, Snape,” she said flatly, before disaperating. The little meeting with Severus had made her realise just how special James was. All of a sudden, she felt extremely lucky to have him.

“James?” She called out as soon as she apparated into the front garden.

“Where have you been?” James exclaimed, running towards her down the garden path. He scooped her up in his arms, and started looking over her for injuries. “What happened? I thought you’d been kidnapped or something.”

“I was only gone for five minutes.”

“Gone where?” He asked, now that he saw she was fine, he was cross with her. “You just take off without telling me? I was so worried, Lily!”

“I’m sorry, but, you wouldn’t have let me go, and I wanted to believe that he’d changed, but of course he hasn’t.”

“Who?”

“Snape. I went to meet up with him.”

“I can’t believe you’d be so stupid to go-”

“I thought he might have decided to join our side! He might have been in trouble!”

“Was he?” James asked, a slight hint of concern in his voice.

“Well yes but he’s still on their side.”

“What did he want? Did he kiss you?”

“No! Of course not,” Lily went to James and wrapped her arms around his waist. She kissed him on the cheek.

“Don’t be paranoid, Potter,” she mumbled. “I’m sorry I went without telling you, but I had to go and I knew you wouldn’t let me. Isn’t it better to seek forgiveness then to ask permission?”

“Not when you get yourself killed,” James mumbled, walking over to the stone bench beside the rose bush.

“It’s Snape, James,” Lily smiled at him. “We don’t have to worry about him killing anybody.”

“I know, I just get so worried with you out there,” he sat down, Lily sat beside him.

“Out there?”

“Where the danger is. I worry that you won’t come back, that I’ll have missed my chance.”

“Didn’t you already get to take your chance?” Lily asked, confused. “We are together now.”

“There are still things I want to say. But I guess it’s too early to say them. But then, one day it could be too late. You know?”

“No,” Lily laughed, shaking her head. “Not really. Just tell me James, you can tell me anything.”

“I love you,” he said, slowly, deliberately, looking deep into her eyes.

“And I...am falling in love with you, I can feel it,” she said, playing with his hair. “Is that okay?”

He laughed and gave her a huge hug.

“It’s more than okay. It’s more than I ever hoped for. You are...the most perfect, most beautiful girl, no, woman in the whole world,” he said, kissing her over and over between words. “I love you; I will always love you, unconditionally. You’re so brave, and gorgeous, and such a good friend, so loyal...”

“Okay, now I love you,” she giggled.

“What? What did you say?”

“I said, I love you, James.”

“Say it again! Again, again!” He laughed.

“I love you, I love you, I love you,” she said softly, before she was kissing him too much to speak.

 

Meanwhile, Sirius had told Mia he loved her, not for the first time, and they had jumped into Mia’s bed, not for the first time. After, Sirius decided he absolutely had to tell her the truth – he wanted her to really know who he was.

“I love you, Sirius Black,” Mia whispered into Sirius’ sweaty neck, snuggling closer to him.

“I have to tell you something,” Sirius swallowed hard. “It’s not bad or anything, don’t worry, I just want you to love me for who I really am, not who you think I am.”

“Um, okay,” Mia said, biting her lip and looking confused.

“I have a secret,” he said. “And I really want you to know. I’m not supposed to tell you, but, I can trust you, right?”

She nodded enthusiastically.

“I have to...be myself. I have to tell you.”

She laughed and sighed, leaning back against the pillows.

“Just tell me already!”

“It’s sort of a big deal, Mia.”

“Should we get dressed first?”

“Might be a good idea.”

After they had dressed, Sirius took a deep breath, and told her. He was prepared for the look of concern that came over her face.

“Do you honestly believe that you’re a wizard?” She looked worried.

“It’s not a delusion, I am a wizard. I got to a magic school.”

“What’s that like, like, Clown College?”

“It’s not like we all think we’re doing magic and we run around pretending to be wizards, we actually are. Look, I have a wand,” Sirius went over to his jacket which was by the door where Mia had ripped it off him earlier and pulled his wand out of it. “I’ll do some magic, I’ll show you.”

“Why are you acting like this? Fine, you’re a wizard. Can we just get back to normal?”

“Magic is who I am, Mia, it’s not some bizarre quirk I have, look,” he held up his wand and her bed made itself. Mia screamed and backed away.

“What the hell was that?”

“It’s magic, I told you, and I’m a wizard. But I’ve only got one year of school left, then I’ll be moving to London, I thought you could come with me, I love you, and-”

He stopped. Mia was shaking her head furiously, backed into a corner, trembling.

“I don’t know if I believe you, but either way, get out of here.”

“What?” Sirius’ voice cracked. “I love you, let me, just let me explain.”

“No, don’t. Magic is real, huh? I always kind of believed in that stuff.”

“Yeah!” Sirius nodded. “I knew you’d understand, and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier, I was just waiting for the right moment.”

“It doesn’t matter,” she whispered. “Just get out, never call me again, never come to see me again.”

“No, Mia, wait a moment let’s talk about this,” Sirius approached her.

“Get away from me!” She screamed. “You – you freak! Just stay away!”

“Mia!” Sirius ran to her and grabbed her shoulders. “Why are you doing this?”

“Because you’re not who I thought you were, I loved Sirius Black, the hot guy with the motorbike and the funny laugh. I don’t know you anymore, and I don’t like this.”

“I’m still me!”

“No, you’re not! I don’t know you at all!”

“Well, you can get to know me!”

“How plain do I have to say it, Sirius? I don’t want you anymore, you’re weird, I – just hate this, oh my god, why, why is this – just go!!”

Sirius could see the tears streaming down her face and realised he was crying too. He walked to the door.

“Any chance that we will ever be okay again?” He asked seriously before he left.

“No,” she whispered. “I don’t like the ‘real’ you, it scares me, I’m...I’m sorry.”

Chapter 13: Badge of Honour
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After Lily had confessed her love to a delighted James, he insisted on making dinner for her. As night fell, he ran towards the house, laughing and punching the air. Lily shook her head and followed him. Soon she was alone on the walk to the front door, and sensed someone was behind her. Still on edge from the conversation she’d had with Severus just moments before, she pulled out her wand, and pointed it into the growing darkness.

“Who’s there?” She called out, her voice sounding odd in the silent night.

“Relax, Lily, it’s me,” Sirius answered, coming into view as he got closer to the house. In the light streaming from the front room’s window, Lily could see that Sirius’ eyes were red rimmed.

“What happened?” Lily asked, shocked to see devastation on Sirius’ face, he was usually laughing, bored, or angry.

He was silent for a moment, shaking his head at her, trying to find a way to put it into words. Finally, he spoke.

“I understand,” he said thickly, not looking at Lily, just staring forward, though seeing nothing. “I understand how it feels to be rejected for who you are, for the reason you love who you are.”

He stood up, took a shuddering breath and wiped his eyes.

“I know what it’s like for a girl you love to call you a freak,” Sirius said, giving Lily a sad smile.

“Oh, Sirius,” was all Lily could say, pulling him into a fierce hug. She had just wanted one of them to understand what she had been feeling over Petunia. Now Lily regretted those wishes. How dare she want someone else to go through such pain just so she could be understood?

Of course, deep down she knew she had nothing to do with it. She didn’t really believe in the old cliché ‘be careful what you wish for’.

They stood outside in the cool air, Lily rubbing Sirius’ back slowly as he composed himself.

“Are you okay? Do you need anything?” Lily asked, sure she was saying all the wrong things.

“I need James,” Sirius managed to croak out. “Get James, please.”

“Okay,” Lily said softly, leaving him to go inside.

She found James in the kitchen. He initially smiled when he saw her but soon frowned as he took in her concerned expression.

“Sirius needs you,” she said before she even reached him.

James leapt to his feet, knocking his chair to the floor in the process. Not acknowledging it, he ran past Lily, calling out over his shoulder.

“Where?”

“Outside, by the front door,” she called. Then, he was gone with a loud crack. Lily realised he’d disapparated, even though the front door was only a few moments from the underground kitchen.

Sirius felt a huge sense of relief as he saw James pop out of thin air in front of him. James is here, he kept thinking. Now everything will be alright. Marauders were stronger together.

James realised what must have happened and pulled Sirius to his feet.

“You’ll be alright, Pads,” he said in a comforting tone.

“I feel like I’ve been broken,” Sirius mumbled, as another tear slipped out. He rubbed at his eyes furiously. “Sorry I’m acting like such a girl.”

“Ah, it’s okay, mate,” James said, pulling Sirius into a hug. “I love girls.”

Sirius let out a laugh.

“See?” James said, stepping away from him. “You laughed. You’re going to be fine.”

“You’re the best friend ever, Prongs.”

“Whatever,” James shrugged.

“No, I mean it. You really are. I’m so glad that I know you, mate.”

James smiled.

“I know what you mean.”

They stood awkwardly for a moment.

“Right, now, I’ve got to get packing for Hogwarts,” Sirius said, taking a deep breath and nodding his head. “Seventh year, here we come!”

They headed back up to Sirius’ room, laughing, though James could still see fresh tears brimming in Sirius’ eyes. He knew his best friend would be heartbroken for quite some time and wished there was something he could do to help. He and Sirius ‘packed’ in Sirius’ room – that is. Threw their clothes at each other and then attempted to play quidditch in the hall, resulting in a cracked mirror. Eventually, Sirius went to bed, and James went to find Lily.

“How’s Sirius?” She asked as soon as James tapped his knuckles on her open door. She had realised James needed to help Sirius and had busied herself sending the polyjuice potion off to Hogwarts via an apparating house-elf, which had turned up to collect the potion for the Potions staff.

“Not good, really. He’s going to be fine, but, well, Mia left him, didn’t she? At his most vulnerable,” he shook his head. “I can’t imagine how he’s feeling right now.”

“You’ll never have to know,” Lily said, still sad for Sirius. James went to sit by her and put a warm arm over her shoulders.

“I know,” he said.

“Summer’s nearly over,” Lily said dreamily. “Hogwarts soon.”

“Ah, yes, Hogwarts,” James smiled cheekily before glancing at Lily. “I have a feeling it’s going to be a lot more fun than last year.”

James stayed in Lily’s room again that night, following his promise they would be together every night. However, both were worried about Hogwarts – surely Lily would be made Head Girl, and it would be difficult for them to sneak into each other’s rooms, considering the Heads stayed on a completely different floor to where the Gryffindor dormitories were.Their fears were allayed the following morning, when the mail arrived.

“Hogwarts letters,” Sirius mumbled, opening his and handing the others over to Lily and James who were seated across from him at the table.

“I’ve got something from Remus, too,” Lily said, recognising his handwriting on the envelope. Just as she was about to open it, James let out a gasp of shock.

“What? What is it?” Lily asked, worried, her mind spinning as she imagined all the bad news that might possibly await James in a letter, but then she realised James was smiling. He held out his hand; on his palm lay a small golden ‘H’ brooch.

“You’re Head Boy?” Sirius asked incredulously.

“So am I,” said Lily casually, holding up her own badge which she had just pulled out of the Hogwarts envelope.

“I guess I know what Mooney’s letter will be about then,” James shook his head. “He must be gutted. It should be him, really, he was prefect...”

“Read the letter,” Sirius encouraged Lily.

Lily and James,

I know you will be shocked about James being named Head Boy – as will everyone – but before you go up to Dumbledore and insist I be Head Boy in his place, don’t. I asked him not to give me the position. He then nominated you and I agreed. I never wanted to be Head Boy – it just didn’t feel right. I’m glad it’s you, marauders honour! I think old Dumbly thought he was being quite the matchmaker, making the Heads you two. Please allow me the pleasure of informing him he is too late.

                             Remus J. Lupin.

“Well,” James stated, holding the piece of parchment. “I guess if he’s okay with it, we can start celebrating.”

He pinned Lily’s Head badge onto her chest, then held his own aloft like a trophy, showing it off to a pretend crowd in the room.

“Oh, no, do you know what this means?” James said, shaking his Heads badge dramatically.

“What?”

“We’re going to have to live together! Man, is that going to suck, or what?”

Lily giggled and wrapped one arm around his neck.

“It’s going to be so weird living with you. I don’t know how I’m going to cope,” she said, kissing him swiftly on the lips. Sirius made a disgusted face and walked out of the room.

“I’m never going to be not living with you again,” James said, calling out over his shoulder as he left the kitchen, following Sirius, not wanting him to be alone in his difficult time. “Just letting you know, you’re going to be living with me for the rest of your life.”

Lily thought about that. She realised he was probably right. And she couldn’t see any good reason to not live with James for the rest of her life.

AN: Sorry for the wait people!! One more chapter to go, just to wrap things up.

Chapter 14: Epilogue
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Note: This is an extra little chapter; it takes place during their seventh year. I wrote it as a one-shot and was going to publish it separately but thought it would be cute to have a sort of bonus chapter to end Living at the Potters with.

Just after dinner, James had gone back to his old dormitory in the Gryffindor tower with Sirius, Peter and Remus. He looked around; it felt like ages since he’s been up here. Of course, now he lived in the Heads room, which was further down the corridor from the circular portrait of the fat lady. It was good to spend a bit of time with the marauders – he hadn’t gone out of a night time with them since last year. A fact which, he had no idea, they planned to address him on.

“We’re going out for a bit of a run tonight, come with us!” Peter said immediately, forgetting that Remus had told him earlier that he wanted to speak first.

“You’ve been spending all your time with Lily lately, which we totally get, but you can’t just forget about us,” Remus began gently. “I know things have changed, and we’ve all grown up a bit, but we’re still the same four guys we always were, you know?”

“Yeah, come on Prongs,” Sirius encouraged. “Bros before-“

“Don’t say that!” James dramatically clapped a hand over Sirius’ mouth. “We’re semi-respectable now, remember?”

Sirius shrugged, said something muffled under James hand, pointed at himself, and then at James, and folded his arms.

“Exactly,” Remus nodded towards Sirius. “What he just said.”

James sighed and dropped his hand.

“Look – I promised Lily that we’d never spend a night apart. I can’t just abandon her for you guys!”

“But you’ve had no problem abandoning us for the past few months,” Remus said moodily. “Just come out tonight with us, I’m not even changing tonight, we’ll just mess about, come on.”

“I haven’t been abandoning you, come on Moons, that’s not like you to get all grouchy.”

“Friends are...important to me,” Remus said quietly, taking a few steps back.

“Me, too,” added Peter, after a pause.

“Just once in the whole year, I’m sure she won’t hate you, come on Prongs it’s not the same without you out there,” Sirius implored, his eyes burning into James’.

“We all know it’s not exactly safe around here,” James whispered, glancing around the empty room as though suddenly worried about being overheard. “I know Lily can look after herself but I don’t feel right leaving her alone.”

“There are Aurors, like, every third corridor along,” Peter mumbled, shrugging.

“Yeah, and not Aurors two out of three corridors,” James replied.

“Huh?” Peter scratched his head.

“I don’t know, it made sense in my mind,” James threw up his hands in frustration. “You know what I mean.”

“Two out of three marauders know what you mean,” Remus said cheekily, the joke about Peter had no effect on the none the wiser animagus who was still scratching his head.

“Please James?” Sirius asked, looking hopeful. “We miss you.”

James sighed.

“Well, okay. But Lily’s not going to like this,” he said worriedly. The other marauders whooped and hugged him, already jabbering on about their plans for later that night.

Eventually, it came time for James to explain to Lily what was happening.

“I sort of expected this to happen. You’re tired of me, aren’t you?” She asked, as he finished telling her where he was going (of course, he had waited until the last minute to tell Lily, he was about to walk out the door.)

“No! Look, I didn’t want to do this, they talked me into it. You know I’d rather be here, but, well...I’ve been a pretty lousy friend lately. I haven’t spent anytime with the guys.”

“You spend all day with them!” She had begun shouting. This was not a good sign.

“It’s not the same,” James said feebly.

“Well fine, just go then,” she grunted out, not looking at him.

“Er...can I have a kiss goodnight?” He asked.

“Of course not!” She said angrily. He nodded, and headed towards the door. Just as he was leaving, she ran up to him, and placed a hand on his shoulder, turning him around to face her.

James laid his hands on her shoulders, stroking them lightly, as she ran her hands through his hair.

“I’m still angry,” she whispered into his ear, nibbling slightly on his earlobe. “I’m so not talking to you tomorrow.”

He swallowed hard, and kissed her neck, marvelling at the softness of her skin.

“Still want to go?” She asked.

He nodded.

“Urgh, fine then, leave,” she almost shouted, kicking his backside as he hurried out the door. She slammed it behind him, then sank down to the floor in front of it, arms folded, as a tear slipped out.

“See if I care,” she whispered, resting her chin on her knees which were drawn up to her chest. Suddenly the room looked very large and she felt very small in it.

Lily tried to go to bed that night around ten o’clock, but just couldn’t bring herself to lie down in it. She wrapped her black cloak around her body and shivered slightly in the cold air, wondering when James’ would get back. A few moments passed, and she just couldn’t stand waiting any longer. She decided to go and find him.

Peeking her head around the door, she saw the Auror guarding the corridor was otherwise engaged, about ten metres down the hall he was reprimanding a Hufflepuff sixth-year who had apparently just emerged from the Gryffindor tower. Lily smiled a little, imagining exactly what that student had been doing in there and what excuses he would be coming up with. She snuck away down the corridor with backwards glances towards the Auror every now and then to make sure she wasn’t seen.

She turned onto the main corridor that lead to the stairwell when the hair at the back of her neck prickled. Unsheathing her wand from her belt loop she spun around, and instinctively cried out a shielding spell.

About ten cloaked and masked figures stood before her, their wands out and pointing at her in a non-mistakable threatening way. And then the spells started.

Lily could feel her shield weakening as the Death Eaters attempted to break through the blue, shimmering force field around her. It took all her effort to keep it in place, when all of a sudden, she felt it strengthening. At first she thought it was taking less effort because it was fading, but her eyes did not deceive her – the protego charm was getting slightly stronger.

She thought wildly of James, of Aurors, anybody, she tried to see exactly who it was that was helping her, so she could find an island of safety in this terribly dangerous sea.                 Then realisation hit her – there was no safety here. Only a person who truly loved her. A person whom she truly detested.

A tiny bluish glow was on the tip of a wand belonging to one of the figures in the middle of the crowd. His words came back to her.

I’ll do all I can...I’ll try to protect you.

Even now, as the Death Eaters crowded around, trying to kill her, Severus Snape was saving her life.

“Stupefy!” An Auror’s voice called out, and Lily sighed with utter relief. The group before her scattered as a pair of Aurors appeared. One gave chase, the other stayed with Lily.

“Are you alright?” He asked, looking surprised to find Lily shaken yet unhurt.

“Yes, I suppose,” Lily answered softly, unsure of the sound of her own voice. “I want to speak with Professor Dumbledore.”

“Of course,” the Auror nodded. “I’ll take you to his office.”

Dumbledore was getting ready for bed when the knock came at the door. He sat Lily down and she told him the same story she had recounted before – that the Death Eaters were trying to kill her.

Lily felt fresh tears burn her cheeks as she told Dumbledore about Snape, and how he had saved her life.

“I wondered, if it really came to it, and they were about to execute me, if he would step out, you know, if he would turn and face them,” she took a shuddering breath in and her face shook as she tried to hold back her anguish. “And I knew that he wouldn’t. He’s such a coward.”

She bent forward, weeping into her lap.  Dumbledore rose and walked around his desk slowly. Lily sensed him standing next to her moments before he placed a comforting hand on her back.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that,” he said. “I can’t imagine why the Aurors didn’t find you sooner. Surely they were making noise.”

Lily knew about muffliato – she remembered when the brilliant mind of Severus had invented it back in second year. He’d run up to her – she was studying by the lake – and had excitedly told her about it. He’d then demonstrated it, shouting “James is a stupid head” towards the marauders who were only a few yards away. She smiled sadly, wishing that boy had never left her, the ambitious, genius; sweet, troubled boy who had been her best friend during those times. She reminded herself he was gone now – replaced by a twisted, ugly, evil version – but just couldn’t bring herself to tell Dumbledore about muffliato. Fresh tears came to her eyes as she felt so ashamed – but she just didn’t want to betray the twelve year old boy she pictured in her mind.

Meanwhile, James was returning to the Heads room, having left the other marauders playfully shoving each other in the common room. He knocked tentatively on his girlfriends door.

“Lily? I’m back. Are you still mad at me?” Getting no answer, he pushed her door open. Her bed was cold, unslept in.

“Oh my God,” he said under his breath, immediately panicking. He quickly checked his bed – maybe she’d slipped in there, missing him – but she was nowhere to be seen. Without thinking, almost like on auto pilot, James left and headed to the Headmasters office. He had to remind himself to keep breathing.

As he approached the Headmasters office, he saw Dumbledore walking down the spiral staircase that marked its entrance.

“Professor! Lily’s missing; I don’t know where she is!”

“Relax, Potter, I’m right here,” said a curt voice, as Lily came down the stairs behind Dumbledore.

“Lily!” James cried, running towards her and nearly knocking her over as he hugged her fiercely. “Oh my God, I’m sorry, I went back to the room, I didn’t know where you were, and I’m so sorry I just, I feel so bad.”

He was babbling. Lily pushed him off her. He grabbed her hands, she shook them off, refusing to meet his eyes.

“What are you doing here?” James asked, as though he’d just realised Lily had descended from the office.

“There was an incident tonight, Mr Potter,” Dumbledore said, walking off and motioning for the pair to follow him. “The unfortunate students who have succumbed to the Dark Lords desires found her and attempted to execute her, which I had hoped was no longer a familiar routine, but for some reason Miss Evans was out of bed and the patrolling Aurors didn’t seem to notice what was happening.”

“What on earth were you doing out of bed?” James yelled, grabbing onto her hands again.

“I was looking for you!” She shouted back, throwing her hands up in the air. His face crumbled.

“I’m so, so sorry,” he said softly.

“So you keep saying,” she grunted, still angry at him.

“I think you’d both better go to bed,” Professor Dumbledore said quietly, they had indeed reached the Heads room. “Calm down and talk to each other in the morning. In times like this, we shouldn’t spend our time yelling at our loved ones.”

“I do love you, Lils,” James said seriously.

“I know you do,” she replied, before turning to enter the room. As she did, something came over her, and she suddenly felt incredibly stupid for not being completely truthful with Dumbledore earlier.

“Muffliato,” she whispered.

“What was that, Miss Evans?” He asked.

“Sev...Snape, he, he invented a charm. Muffliato. It’s a silencing charm in reverse, so no one can hear you. Kind of like sound proofing a room,” she kept her eyes to the ground. She knew she was doing the right thing, but still felt absurdly guilty, as if she were betraying Snape. “I thought I should tell you, so you can figure out how to reverse it.”

She expected him to ask why she had waited until the eleventh hour to tell him. But he surprised her.

“Thank you for telling me, Miss Evans.”

“Goodnight, Professor,” she said, pointedly not saying goodnight to James. She then entered the heads room and shut the door behind her. James went to follow her, but Dumbledore stopped him with a hand on his arm.

“Keep yourself between them and her,” Dumbledore said softly, leaning towards James slightly. “They won’t want to spill pure blood.”

James nodded and stood a little straighter.

“I will,” he said, before adding more to emphasise how much he would try to protect her. “I’ll die for her if I have to.”

Dumbledore looked at him gravely, a sad expression in his eyes, as though he despaired for James.

“Well, I hope it never comes to that,” he said, not quite meeting James’ eyes. He made sure James was inside the room before turning and heading back to the little room behind his office, where he slept.

James looked around the empty room; Lily’s door was shut, as he had expected it to be.

“Lily?” He called out. There was no answer. She was ignoring him. After a while, Lily still hadn’t fallen asleep. She felt suitably shaken up by the evening’s events, and she felt horrible for the way she had gotten angry at James. Perhaps he had deserved it, perhaps not, but she felt as though she could have handled the situation better. She decided to apologise right then and there, and headed towards the threshold, planning to go to his room.

Lily opened her door to see James curled on the floor in front of it, sleeping, with his mouth slightly agape. She looked at him for a long time, before gathering a blanket off her bed and throwing it over him. Then, she crawled in next to him, and slept the rest of the night on the floor, as she never wanted to spend a night apart from him again.

 

 

Author’s Note: I’m so sorry this took so long to get up!! I got carried away writing ‘Fighting Back”. I hope you enjoyed the little bonus chapter! I just had to put Snape in, he’s one of the most interesting characters, don’t you think?

Anyway, thank you to everyone who reviewed this story! Over 200 reviews!! I’m so grateful :D

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