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disclaimer: you know how it goes The next morning, after having pleasantly awakening him yet again, Lily and James made their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast. Spotting his friends, James went and sat with them. “Morning, Mates! How were your evenings?” “Probably not as good as yours,” Remus chuckled, staring down the table at Lily, who was huddled and talking excitedly with her friends. He then directed his gaze at Sirius, who, for once, had not yet spoken up. “But maybe Padfoot did. Why don’t you ask him?” Sirius looked up, startled to hear his name. James grinned at him in remembrance. “Ah, right, the flower the other night. How did that go for you, Padfoot?” He shrugged, but turned back to his breakfast in an attempt to hide his smile. James looked shocked, turning from Sirius to Peter to Remus. “That’s all he gave us when he tried to sneak into the dorm unnoticed... this morning,” Peter winked, causing Sirius to look up and try to glare at him defiantly, but only succeeding in revealing a happy grin. The other three Marauders broke out in laughter, finding it hard to believe that their womanizing friend could like a girl for more than snogging. They were broken from their teasing by a small cough behind them. Finding a shy-looking Melanie Davies, Sirius quickly stood up and smiled somewhat shyly himself. Taking her hand, they left the Great Hall, grinning playfully at each other. Seconds later, Amelia and Lily came to sit with the remaining boys. “That is so adorable!” Amelia gushed, looking to the door after the couple and taking a seat beside Remus. “Who would have guessed Sirius Black could be so sweet?” Lily took Sirius’ vacated spot next to James with a starry expression on her face. “I know, I never would have imagined!” She sighed. “Right, so, are you going to fill us in, or just sit there with goofy grins on your faces?” James asked jokingly. Amelia looked shocked that Sirius wouldn’t have told them, then remembered who she was referring to. “Well, he started out by following her around the library last night, begging her to forgive him for being such an insensitive prat. When they got kicked out for making a scene, he told her how much he liked her and wanted her to be his girlfriend and not just some other faceless girl on his list...” Amelia sighed, a dazed look on her face. “And the most romantic part,” Lily continued, in the same airy voice, “is that they spent the entire night talking and really getting to know each other in some room on the fourth floor.” James’ first reaction was that of shock; he had never known Sirius to act so serious (no pun intended, it was just the best word). Then, seeing the glazed over look in Lily’s eye from recounting the scenario, he got a little offended. He slipped Lily’s hand into his under the table. “I’m romantic, too, you know.” Pulling from her daze, Lily looked over at him and smiled. “Of course you are. That’s one of the things that made me fall for you.” No longer bothered, James tightened his grip on her hand and grinned back at her. Their friends across the table smiled at each other knowingly before turning their discussion to the quickly approaching NEWTs. * * * A few nights later, during a break from her studying, Lily was huddled in one of the squashy armchairs of the common room. She was engrossed in another of her novels from James when he stormed in through the portrait hole. His hair was more erratic than normal, and the closer he got to her, the more she understood why he looked so angry. “James, what happened to you?!” She got up to examine him more closely. There was a nasty looking bruise forming on the side of his head and there was a split in his lip. Pulling his slightly sore face away from her fussing hands, James slumped into the chair she had just gotten out of. “Snape,” he grumbled roughly. A concerned look crossed her face as she sat on the arm of his chair, facing him. Carefully slipping one leg behind his back and the other in front of him, she began to awkwardly rub his shoulders. “What did he do?” “The slimy git caught me off-guard and started pelting me with book ends!” “Book ends?” She asked confusedly. “Where did he get those?” “From the classroom we were in! I was–!” He paused for a moment, then continued in a significantly lower tone. “I was helping a second year with his... girl troubles.” When he looked up to find Lily with a small smile on her face, he continued, “I had to help him, I could relate!” She stopped rubbing his shoulders and smiled indulgently at him. “James, I think the idea of you helping others is adorable.” James cringed at the term: he was not adorable, he was strong and ruggedly handsome and – At that moment, Lily changed her sitting position from the arm of the chair to his lap, keeping one leg on either side of him. Leaning towards him, she lightly kissed his upper (undamaged) lip. “I really like hearing about you doing nice things like that. It makes you all the more desirable.” Forgetting what he was so angry about (and forgetting that he was angry altogether) a cheeky grin crossed his face as he placed his hands on her hips. “Hm, that so? Have I ever told you about all my work with the elderly?” Laughing, Lily leaned into him for a hug, but jerked back when she heard him groan. “Sorry– you hit a bit of a tender spot there, love.” He shifted his position under her. “No, you don’t have to get up!” James added hastily, pushing down on her legs to hold her in place. “Really,” he responded to her questioning stare. “How did your studying go, anyway?” Lily shrugged. “Alright, I guess. Charms and Potions don’t really worry me. I may need your help with Transfiguration later on, though,” she smirked at him. “Ah, well, yes, always up for helping you,” James grinned back. “So... I’ve been wondering... was it really such a big thing that Sirius did the other day? With Melanie, I mean.” Lily thought for a moment. “Well, yes, I think it was, especially to Melanie. Something like that coming from Sirius is pretty rare, and, I don’t know, sincere, I guess. Everyone kind of expects nice things from Remus, but it’s more of a shock coming from Sirius and– ” Lily stopped and looked up at James apologetically. “Well, most don’t expect it from you, either... but I know better,” she assured him. It was James’ turn to shrug. “What most people don’t know about James Potter could fill a library.” “Like what?” She asked sincerely. “I want to know everything there is to know about you.” James started out with things about his childhood, such as pranks he used to pull on his parents and his first time riding a broom. Then he told her about how he and Sirius had disliked each other when they had first met. “But you two are so close! You’re like brothers!” Lily interjected. “We are now,” James chuckled. “The first year or so we kept trying to jinx each other. We soon caught on that we could create a lot of havoc if we joined forces, so from then on, we were the Terrible Two. It wasn’t long after that when Sirius’ parents started showing their true colors, though,” James said darkly. “Horrible people.” “It’s funny, isn’t it, how someone so good can come from something so bad?” James eyed her suspiciously. “Weren’t you just saying not too long ago that you didn’t think too highly of him?” “I said no such thing. What I was referring to was the fact that, when it comes to girls, Sirius needs more work than he’s willing to admit,” Lily corrected him. “I think he’s a great friend to you and the Marauders, and I know that because I can see it in the way you four interact. He just needs to learn how to treat a girl right, that’s all.” Glad to know that she really did like his mates, James smiled at her. This sparked his interest in what else he might not know about her. “Ok, your turn. Tell me something no one else knows.” Tilting her head in concentration, Lily stared at a spot on the chair just over James’ left shoulder. A few moments later when her eyes shot back to his, there was an odd expression on her face. Speaking quietly, she replied, “I almost didn’t come here. To Hogwarts, I mean.” James’ expression turned from confusion to shock. “What?” Lily nodded in confirmation. “Back when I first got my letter. We all sort of thought it was a joke until the letters kept coming. It was all very strange at first. My parents didn’t know what to think... neither did I, for that matter. When we started taking it seriously, my sister got really..., well, let’s just say that she wasn’t very supportive. It wasn’t until after we got back from Diagon Alley that I started to worry, though.” Rubbing his hands consolingly on her legs, James asked, “what were you worried about?” “Everything,” she answered truthfully. “I was worried about leaving my family, my home, my friends– them more so because I couldn’t even tell them why I wouldn’t be able to go to school with them anymore. My sister couldn’t stand to be in the same room with me, and any time she was, she would stare at me like I had two heads. I was worried about the people here, too. I didn’t know if I’d be really far behind because I had Muggle parents, or if I’d be treated differently because of it. It was all terrifying... but exciting at the same time.” “Hmm,” James began,” I never really thought of that. I was always around magic and always knew that I’d be going to Hogwarts. It’s funny how we had such different experiences.” He paused and looked at her tentatively before asking in a small voice, “are you glad you came?” Her eyes opened in shock. “Are you kidding? To get to learn magic and be around others like me has been amazing! Besides that,” she grinned at him, “if I hadn’t come, I’d probably be dating some stuffy, pompous wind-bag like Petunia.” Lily wrinkled her nose in dislike. Then, with a twinkle in her eye, she grasped James’ hands in her own and leaned forward to peck him on the cheek. “And if I hadn’t come, I never would have met you.” Grinning at her, James commented, “a few years ago, that argument would have been on the negative side.” Leaning her forehead against his, she giggled, “I was in denial.” James kissed her. “I could’ve told you that from the beginning and saved us a lot of time.” Lily kissed him in response, paying special attention to his split lip. After a few minutes of gradually increasing intensity, James reluctantly pulled back. Speaking huskily, he mumbled, “can I ask you something?” “Mm hm,” she answered, opening her eyes to look into his. “My parents really want to meet you. Do you think you’d want to come home with me for Easter to meet them?” James held his breath as he waited for her response. A small smile began to spread across her face. “I think I’d like that very much.” Letting out his breath and beaming at her, he said enthusiastically, “great! I’ll owl them tomorrow. Now... where were we?” James wrapped his arms around her lower back. Lily grinned as she took his face in her hands (careful to avoid his bruises), and pulled him closer into a kiss. A/N: i've been so slow, i know! but i have the next chapter after this one half written, and i pretty much know whats going to happen in the one after that, so the next couple should be up reletively quickly. thanks again to all of you who have read and reviewed! i enjoy all of your opinions!

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