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The next morning the six weary bodies dragged themselves out of bed to the chairs in front of the fire, where they had stayed talking till after midnight the night before. After their conversations of careers finished up they moved on to Quidditch and then their studies – but Sirius promptly got up and headed to bed – followed by the rest.

”Am I awake?” mumbled Sirius.

“Could be – I’m not sure if I’m awake” replied James sleepily. However both were then attacked with a pillow, thrown precisely by Susan.

“Oh – now I’m awake” mumbled Sirius, only slightly more awake then before.

“Yeah – I’m definitely getting those signs” replied James. The girls just laughed – Remus snored.

“What’s with him?” asked Lily, indicating towards Remus. “Heavy sleeper?”

“I dunno – never tried” replied James receiving a huge look from the girls. “Wanna test it Padfoot?” receiving a nod from Sirius. They then both walked over and attempted to pick Remus off of his chair. When they finally got him up they looked at each other, and then dropped him back into his chair – abruptly waking him up. “No heavier then normal” James said, directing his response to Lily, who in return just laughed and shook her head.

“WHA?” said Remus, looking about blearily.

“Good morning Moony!” said Sirius brightly – despite his own appearance.

“Shut up!” was Remus’ only reply, his head hitting his pillow that he had apparently brought with him. James threw a spare pillow at him, and Remus just sat up slowly.

“So what is there to do on holidays?” asked Susan.

“Easy – we play Quidditch!” replied Sirius eagerly. His early morning sleepiness disappearing.

“I’m no Quidditch expert” interrupted Lily, “but don’t you need seven players per team?”

“Yes, you are correct” started James, “unless you play the smaller version.”

“Oh this should be interesting” moaned Remus.

“Nah – it’s great! I used to play it with friends of my parents” replied James defensively. “Three on three – you charm one bludger and there is no goalie.”

”What about the Snitch?” asked Susan, interestedly.

“There is a designated Chaser who is also the Seeker – but the primary goal is scoring goals in this, not the Snitch like normal Quidditch.” The group was excited – each loved flying apart from Lily – who was the least experienced out of the group. James turning to Lily said, “Don’t worry about it – you’re a natural – just trust your instincts!”

“My instincts” said Lily “tell me not to play.”

“Then listen to mine” said James, grabbing her hand and pulling her up and towards the portrait hole. “Breakfast People!” And with that quick reminder each person was up and running after James and Lily. The moment that Lily caught up to James he let go of her wrist – a small sigh escaping Lily’s lips before she could stop it.

As the rest of the group caught up with them James and Lily were already halfway down the first flight of stairs. Making their way down to the great dining hall had grown into something of a tradition for these six over the years. Finally making their way down into the hall they took up their seats in the centre of the Gryffindor table.

“Food!” was the last words out of Sirius’ mouth before he sat down – grinning madly, the others just sat down and ate quietly.

“May I have a word with you two” interrupted the silence. The group all turned to find Headmaster Dumbledore standing behind them. He looked at Lily and Remus and they got up and followed him to the professors table. It looked from where the rest were left sitting that they were talking with Professor McGonagall and Dumbledore.

When they came back to the table, after about five minutes of talking to the two professors, both Lily and Remus looked excited. “What’s up with you two?” inquired Susan, pushing her plate away from her.

“You wan… nah you! You tell them” stammered Lily.

“Lily and I have been asked to organize this years Valentines Ball” said Remus, excitedly, but not quiet as much as Lily. “Each year one set of house prefects are asked to organize it. I honestly didn’t think it would be us.”

“So who’s on the team? To organize that is…” asked James. “The other house prefects?”

“Don’t you wish” said Remus, all of a sudden grinning as madly as Lily. “I hereby nominate you four as our helpers.” Remus and Lily laughed – the rest moaned. “Now, now, where’s your house pride?”

“I left it up in my room” mumbled Sirius through his last slice of bacon.

“Well – anyway, we’ll talk about this later” squealed Lily. “Now it’s time for Quidditch.” And with that, she and Remus ran out of the common room and headed for the Quidditch pitch. The group of four kept watching, waiting; and in under a minute they could see Lily and Remus running back up the opposite way – having forgotten their broomsticks.

“I guess we better head off as well” said Sirius. “I’ve eaten enough… kinda” he grinned sheepishly. And the remaining four got up with Sirius and headed up to get their brooms, or to borrow one from the supply room like Lily. After about five minutes the six were assembled on the Quidditch pitch, James and Sirius having brought out the Quidditch balls.

“You got that book Padfoot?” inquired James. Sirius replied by showing James the book that he had brought from the supply room when they got the balls. “Ok, turn it to page… fifty one I think it was.” James was busy un-strapping the case. He took out the Quaffle – and released the Snitch, letting it do whatever it wanted for the moment. Then he pulled out his wand and took the book from Sirius.

As the rest watched what James was doing, all they could hear was a mumbled couple of words, at which point a burst of red light shot out of his wand. “Done! And easier then I thought as well. Stand back everyone!” When everyone was far enough away, he released the strap holding the Quaffle he had cursed, and it took off into the air.

“All right, what are the teams?” asked Susan. “Not girls vs. boys!” The other girls nodded their agreement.

“Ok then – we need two seekers, so James go on one team” said Remus, “and Amanda, you go on the other.” Amanda seemed the logical choice for the other seeker, as Sirius was too bulky for it. “Lily, you go on James’ team, Sirius, you’re on Amanda’s, and I’ll be on James and Susan” he finished, looking at Susan, “you go on Amanda’s team.”

“Sound fair” said Sirius, who jumped on to his broom and took off towards the goalposts, diving through the highest one and then around back through the one to it’s right.

“Show off” muttered James with a grin, who then took off and did exactly the same as Sirius. This just caused those left on the ground to laugh. Everybody mounted their brooms and soared up into the arena, all except Lily. When he noticed this, James directed his broom down to her and hovered next to her. “What’s the matter?” he inquired of her.

“I’m just not sure about this – what if I fall off?” she asked nervously.

“You’re not going to fall off” said James, but noticing the fear in her eyes continued, hoping this would waylay her fears of flying. “And if you do, then I’ll catch you – now come on!” James held out his hand, which she took graciously. James helped her onto her broom, and then they took off together – James steadying her until she, in his opinion, was flying better then most.

“All right – I want a nice clean game” shouted Sirius to nobody in particular. “Where’s that Bludger?” he continued, looking around the empty stadium. “Ah, there it is!” he said as he spotted the bludger coming around from behind one of the stands. At this he threw the Quaffle up in the air and turned got out of the way, trying to maneuver himself back into the game.

The game was not as fast paced as a normal game of Quidditch; however everyone was enjoying themselves immensely. The charmed bludger was attempting to hit people, but luckily there only being one it was easier to dodge. The snitch made very few appearances, but at both times James and Amanda had shot towards it, at one time Amanda nearly beating James to it before it disappeared up and out of sight.

Everyone had scored, Amanda scoring the most out of everyone. James was delighted to see Lily put a couple through the goals as well – the look on her face after her first goal priceless, as she came streaking back to her pack. “I got one! I actually got one” she screamed.

“I told you, you would!” replied James, screaming just as loudly.

As the game continued though, Amanda’s team managed to stay one goal ahead, scoring a goal each time James’ team did. Unable to patch the distance, James decided to try and keep an eye out for the Snitch. However before he could employ his strategy, the Bludger came straight for him – warned just at the last minute by a scream from Susan – James jumped off his broom as the Bludger went by underneath, right where his midsection had been.

James was used to dodging angry Bludgers, but the others weren’t. “Keep an eye –“was all he could manage before a horrifying sight met his eyes. The bludger had kept straight on after it had missed him, and was now chasing Lily. It’s path was not that of a normal Bludger though – it was obviously gunning for a particular person – Lily! However, not the accomplished flyer that the others were, Lily was not going to be able to get out of its way.

As James turned his broom around to go help Lily, a maneuver that required him to go nearly three-hundred and sixty degrees in the opposite direction – he caught sight of a blonde haired youth running away from behind one of the stands. However the thought was not processed until much later.

The most skilled flyer of the group being James, the others had all congregated close to the ground in case of emergency. Watching James pull of a ridiculously fast about face and then speed off in the direction of Lily – the group were half a step away from screaming.

As they continued to watch the Bludger continued to chase Lily – Lily miraculously managing to stay ahead of it, but not by much. They could sometimes catch a glimpse of the horror that was etched over her face – sending their stomach’s cringing.

By now the Bludger had chased Lily higher up into the air. James noticing this tilted his broom upwards and attempted to follow. However he was too late – and with a sickening CRACK the bludger destroyed the broom that Lily was on – and by the looks of it her leg.

Ignoring the screams behind him James leant directly parallel to his broom and hurtled to meet Lily in mid air. Not sure that he would make it he nearly laid flat on the broom, keeping a hand free to catch Lily. James didn’t allow himself to think he’d miss her – he had to catch her, he had promised!

As Sirius heard the screams from his friends, he saw Lily’s leg and arm bent at angles that were just not meant to be. However, Sirius was not as scared as the others – having full confidence in his near-brother to catch her before she hit the ground. As Lily neared the ground Sirius began to get nervous, but then as he watched James jump off of his broom head first, catching Lily as he went and rolling into a landing on the grass, somehow managing to protect Lily from the worst of it.

As James jumped he thought, “This had better work”. Thanking his lucky stars, at least according to his Divination teacher, he laid Lily down on the ground in front of him, looking to see what damage had been done, before a soft voice said “You caught me.”

“I promised I would Lils – I promised I would” he replied, maneuvering her hair back away from her face. “Now don’t try and move ok? I’ll take care of you – just like you did for me, OK?” he asked. Lily nodded quietly, after James put a finger to her lips.

“Prongs – good work” said Sirius from beside him, the group of girls gathered behind him. “Now let’s get her to the Hospital Wing to mend these legs. You think you can carry her?”

“Yeah – but someone has to hold her arm out straight” he said to the girls, “I don’t want it just dangling there.” Amanda rushed forward and gently took hold of Lily’s arm, eliciting a small gasp from Lily.

“Don’t worry Lils, James’ll keep you safe” said Susan from Lily’s side, as Remus and Sirius gently helped James lift her into his arms. “You got her?” she asked James.

“Yeah – she’s light as a feather” he commented. “Just make sure the arm is safe ok?” With that, the group headed slowly back to the castle. Sirius made a quick flash of his wand behind him and the three balls used were sent back into the case from whence they came. The five remaining brooms piled neatly up alongside the case, Sirius finished it off with an anti-theft charm and then hurried after the group, catching up after only a couple of meters.

“Did you see someone just after the bludger went nuts?” asked Remus of Sirius and James. “I thought I saw someone running away from behind the stands.”

“Yeah – so did I” said Amanda, gently cradling Lily’s arm. “Did it have blonde hair?”

“Malfoy!” raged Sirius. “That bastard is going to pay this time!”

“He did say that someone James cares about would be hurt, right?” asked Susan.

“Yeah, something like that” mumbled James, still focused on carrying Lily, trying not to jerk her around to much. The group turned their attention away from James for the moment, realizing where his concentration was focused.

“Well – I think we better tell Dumbledore” said Remus. “We don’t need to go after Lucius ourselves, that’ll only get us into trouble.”

“Agreed” said Amanda, looking directly at Sirius. “Isn’t that right Snuffles?”

Sirius grimaced, but realized that they were right. Hurting Malfoy left open the chance they could be caught, and then punished – and that wouldn’t do anybody any good. “Ok – Remus, Susan and I will go to McGonagall’s office now” he said. “Amanda, you go with James and then meet us at Dumbledore’s office. We’ll need as many witnesses as possible.” Everyone agreed, and when they entered the main doors to the castle, Sirius, Remus and Susan ran in the direction of Professor McGonagall’s office.

“Hey – can I ask you a question?” said James softly. His eyes were darting between where he had to go and the girl he held in his arms. “It’s kinda… personal.”

Amanda was not surprised and couldn’t wait to tell Susan. “Sure!” she said, trying to put a voice of surprise on, hoping she had she continued, “what’s up?”

“Um…” James stammered, unsure of how to proceed. “Would… would now be…” he stopped again.

“Would now be a good time to ask Lily out?” finished Amanda, the look of shock on James’ face worth her weight in gold. “I’m just clever” she said, preempting his question. “The answer is yes – you’ll know how to do it as well, so don’t worry” she said, as the walked into the hospital wing.

“Madame Pomfrey” Amanda called out to the empty room. At once Madame Pomfrey appeared around the corner and, upon noticing where the attention was needed said in a loud voice, “Put her softly down on that bed in front of you” and then turning to Amanda as she came running up beside the bed, “how did it happen?”

“We were playing Quidditch, there was a rogue bludger and it broke her broom” Amanda said without preamble. “James here managed to catch her before she landed. You’ll want to check him for injuries as well” she finished in a whisper, knowing that James would not want any attention right now.

“All right – you can go my dear” she said hurriedly, ‘I imagine you have someone to tell about this right now” she finished showing amazing insight into the accident. Having been at Hogwarts for so long Madame Pomfrey had seen everything, and new the results of almost everything as well. With that Amanda ran out of the room and headed towards the Headmasters office entrance.

“You did well Mr. Potter” she said after a moment’s silence. “How did you know to have someone hold her arm like that?”

“It’s what I would have wanted if I were in her place” James admitted, “not as smart as you thought hey?”

“Not at all” she countered, “it shows great presence of mind to look after a badly hurt person.” With this she gave James a quick once over and said, “I imagine you don’t realize the state your hand is in do you?” she asked quickly.

James looked down at his hands, noticing blood covering his right hand; a bone protruding from his middle finger and three more fingers all at odd angles, obviously from his attempt to catch Lily, he shrugged.

“That must have been an amazing catch you made out there” she said as she continued to minister to Lily, her hands busy between her wand and some potions on the table next to her.

“I can’t remember” said James honestly, “but don’t worry about me, take care of Lily first” he finished, concern flushed his face.

“As it should be Mr. Potter – but when I’m done with her, no nonsense from you ok?” she said firmly. “I may want to keep you overnight, the both of you.”

“Why?” asked James suddenly, “It’s just my fingers.”

“Well unless you have undergone long-term training in medicine since the last time we’ve met, I think that you will admit that maybe I know what I’m talking about” she said, half amused.

James just shook his head and smiled. “But it is just my fingers” he said, suddenly raising a hand to his head.

“Ah – you see?” she countered, “I thought so. You’ve received a nasty bump to the head. So when I’m done with Miss. Evans here I will deal with you, and there will be no nonsense from you.”

That seemed to be the end of the argument, and James was in no mood for arguments at the moment. He would see how he felt tomorrow – at least now he would have time to ask Lily.

When Madame Pomfrey had finished with Lily, she instructed James to lie down on the bed next to Lily’s – separated only by the small cabinet that sat between the two beds. She ran through a small mental list of checks, mostly to do with his head. She quickly mended his fingers, but instructed him that like Lily, tonight would be slightly painful. “Just be glad that you didn’t lose any bones – that’s much more painful!” she had commented.

After a little while his friends arrived, a couple carrying flowers and one carrying a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. “Seems I got hurt too” said James as they all took up a seat either on his or Lily’s bed.

“Yeah – I wondered when you’d figure that out?” said Sirius, concern intermixed with his normal smile.

“Actually – she had to tell me” laughed James. “Seems I broke a fingers and got a bit of a concussion” he groaned. “She’s keeping me over night for ‘observation.’”

“I’ll tell you about your nice catch later” said Remus, “how’s Lily though?”

“She’s ok apparently” replied James. “She hasn’t woken up which is good apparently, Madame Pomfrey mended the bones in her arm and leg – but wants to keep her overnight as well.”

The group exchanged quick glances before Amanda spoke up, “We brought these for you!” she squeaked, holding out the chocolates she had brought.

“What, no flowers?” exclaimed James in mock surprise.

“We figured Lily might appreciate them more” replied Susan. “Anyway, you’re to share the candy with her as well… ok?”

“Deal” he replied. “Now tell me what the professors said.”

“Well” started Sirius, obviously the designated speaker for the group for the past hour or so. “We went to McGonagall’s office and explained what had happened – all of it, including what happened last night.”

“We didn’t tell her about Friday night either – just said that Malfoy was being his normal self” said Susan quickly.

“Right – well she listened and then immediately took us up to Professor Dumbledore’s office. We met Amanda out the front and then went up and went through the whole thing again with Dumbledore.” James could see that Sirius was leading up to something he didn’t agree with by the change in his face, but he let him continue. “When we finished he just sat there thinking for a couple of minutes before saying that there wasn’t anything he could do.”

“What?!” exclaimed James, drawing the attention of Madame Pomfrey for a moment, before she turned back to her work. “Why not?”

“Well he said that it was because there was no real proof, just our word against Malfoy’s. He believed us – he told us that, but that he couldn’t do anything.” Sirius’ face softened – “I’m sorry mate, but there’s nothing we can do. If we do do anything now then Dumbledore will know it was us.” James just growled at this, clearly unhappy about the turn of events.

“Funny thing though – he said something to me before I left the room,” the rest of the group looked at him, Sirius hadn’t let the others know about this yet. “He said ‘Good job on Friday night!’ real softly, so only I could hear him.”

James looked shocked, as did everybody else. “I wonder if he means the prank or… the other thing?” he asked quizzically.

“I don’t know – he didn’t say. But the other thing was he said it really softly, I could only hear it because of the whole Snuffles factor – he doesn’t know does he?” Sirius said, not scared but definitely intrigued. “Well – if he does, he’s obviously not going to say anything because he hasn’t yet. If he doesn’t – then maybe he didn’t mean for me to hear it. Either way – I’m not worried” said Sirius, answering his own question.

“So tell me about my catch?” said James. “I’m not asking for praise, I just want to know what happened to us.”

As the group took turns explaining different parts of what happened, James realized he couldn’t remember any of it. “And then when you landed, you’re broom was heading for Lily but you kind of ducked in front of it, so it wouldn’t hit her,” said Amanda, “Then you landed heavily on the ground, taking the impact away from Lily. That’s when you broke your fingers.”

They sat talking for another fifteen or twenty minutes before Madame Pomfrey came along and ushered the healthy out. “I’ll bring you some food” whispered Sirius before he was swept along. James just nodded and grinned.

After a few moments James heard from beside him, “Are they gone?” It was Lily, and she sounded really tired.

“Yeah – they just left. How long have you been awake?” he asked quietly.

“Long enough to hear about my miraculous savior Mr. Potter” she whispered back.

“Don’t both saying anything, I just did what I promised you” said James quickly. “I’m just glad that you’re all right. We’ll be staying here overnight so she can keep an eye on us, ok?”

“Ok – but you are not going to stop me from saying this” she started shakily. “Thank You James!” She tilted her head to the side so that she could see James above the cabinet, that only came up to the bottom of the mattresses.

“Well it was my pleasure” he said, before adding “do you mind talking? You don’t have too, but…”

“I’d love too” she cut him off. “What about?”

“Well – this is difficult for me so I’ll just go and say it.” Lily’s heart jumped, hoping, praying he would ask her out. As drugged as she felt, she still knew what her heart had wanted. “Well first I just wanted to apologize for the way that I’ve treated you. It’s been childish and … mean” he said.

“Well you have to remember, that for some of it, you were a child” laughed Lily.

“That doesn’t excuse anything, and don’t interrupt me or I’ll never finish” James finished, turning his head so that she could see the smile on his face. “The second thing …” James’ heart was pounding, “I’ve been finding lately that… that I really like you, more then a friend that is, and I was wondering, if you would, if you wanted to, go out with me?”

Lily’s heart had leapt to levels that she knew Madame Pomfrey would complain about before James even finished – which in itself took a long time for him to finally get to the end of his sentence. She waited a couple of moments, hanging onto this moment before answering. “I would love to James Potter” she said, the look on James’ face making it all worth it.

“Really?” he exclaimed. “After everything I’ve-“

“Don’t ruin it Potter” she laughed, “you don’t want me to change my mind do you” she threatened.

“No – no, I really don’t” he spluttered, still amazed at the fact that she had said yes. “I just didn’t think you felt the same way.”

“I didn’t think I did either, not for certain at least. Not until just now when I heard how you caught me” Lily said. “I just thought, ‘here’s someone who’ll do anything for me, and not even know that he’s hurt himself in the process.’”

James didn’t know what to say, so he just stayed silent, before finally saying, “I’d do anything for you Lily – anything, anytime.”

“I know” was the only reply.

A/N: Ok, so they're together now - happy? Coming up - the invention of something we all know and love, the Ball, exams and career advice and more. Please Review for me!

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