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disclaimer:i dont own the names/ characters, just the plot The seventh years at Hogwarts were bombarded with homework and NEWT preparation. On top of this, Lily and James had increased duties keeping the students in check as they were nearing the Easter break and everyone was getting rather restless. On one such night of doing her Head Girl rounds, Lily had found five students out after curfew and had had to break up a fight between a Slytherin and Ravenclaw prefect. Rather flustered, Lily stormed through the halls of the sixth floor. She had heard someone cackling around the corner and was about to reprimand them for being out past curfew when a large water balloon was tossed at her head. Feeling the cold water gush over her face and neck, Lily glared up at the deliriously happy Peeves. Just as she was about to shout at him, he raised his ghostly arm and lobbed another balloon at her. Turning around so that her back took the brunt of the blow, Lily gritted her teeth. “Peeves! Get out of here before I get the Bloody Baron!” It was a scarcely known fact that the only one Peeves the Poltergeist would listen to was none other than the Slytherin ghost, the Bloody Baron. “Little wee red-head wouldn’t have the guts!” Peeves simpered in a sing-song voice, zooming around her head. “Oh no? Watch me!” She spat, turning on her heal and heading for the Grand Staircase. “Oh, come now, Peevsie was only playing around!” The poltergeist sped down the hall in the opposite direction, disappearing from sight. “Ghastly creature!” Lily huffed, checking her watch. It was nearly midnight on the Friday the week before the break. Feeling she had given enough that evening, she began to stalk back to the Head’s common room. A few minutes later, Lily moodily entered to the warm of the Head’s quarters. James looked up form his textbook and surveyed her with amusement. “Another scuffle with Moaning Myrtle?” He and Sirius had stumbled upon Moaning Myrtles bathroom a couple of years earlier and had vowed never to return, not only because it was a girls’ lavatory, but because she had flooded the toilets after they had apparently offended her. Lily glared at him. “Peeves thought it would be amusing to attack me with water balloons after an already horrible evening.” Chuckling quietly, James stood and sat Lily in his desk chair. Being careful not to pull her hair, he placed his hands on her shoulders and began to firmly massage them. “Don’t worry about Peeves, love, he pesters everyone.” Relaxing to his touch, Lily sighed. “He doesn’t bother you.” “That’s because he pranks with us,” James laughed. “I’ll be sure to tell him to lay off you next time I see him.” He leaned over her shoulder and pecked her on the check. “Wait here. I know something that will cheer you up.” With that, James retreated to the bathroom and closed the door behind him. Looking thoroughly perplexed, Lily turned her attention to the textbook James had been reading. It was for NEWT level Muggle Studies, the one subject Lily had not even thought about studying since she had lived as one until she was eleven. James had the book open to Muggle Cleaning, and Lily giggled at the idea of what James must have thought about using his Comet 360 to sweep floors with. Her mind then wandered to what visiting James’ house would be like. It was going to be interesting to see how a wizarding family functioned: they would have different methods of cooking and cleaning, and would probably be hooked up to the Floo Network. When she was at home (she felt a sudden stab of panic as she wondered where home would be this summer, as her parents were gone and Petunia had moved in with Vernon), she was completely devoid of magic, but when she went to James’, she would be surrounded by it. Pulled from her thoughts by James gently squeezing her shoulders, she looked up to find him grinning at her. “Come on,” he motioned, coaxing her towards the bathroom. Humoring him, Lily reluctantly stood from the chair and followed him to the bathroom. She thought it looked oddly dark as she stared over his shoulder, and soon after found the reasoning for this. The lights had been dimmed and there were a few candles scattered along the edge of the over-sized bath. A sweet aroma filled the room, and a bubbly lavender froth floated in the bath water. Lily turned to James with a grateful expression in her eyes. “You always know just what to do to make me feel better.” Smiling and kissing her forehead, he murmured, “that’s my job.” Flashing her one last smile, he retreated towards the common room. Lily didn’t even know what made her say what she said next. Well, in all honesty, she knew, she just couldn’t believe she had been so bold. Despite this and the shocked look on James’ face, she continued to hold her composure. “I– what?” James asked, sure he had heard her wrong. Her heart beating madly, she repeated, “aren’t you going to stay?” James’ eyes widened in shock again. He opened his mouth to reply, but closed it again when he decided he couldn’t possibly string a coherent sentence together. Lily began to panic, and was about to smile and tell him she had been joking when she heard him stutter, “oh– oh– okay.” Turning her back to him awkwardly, she began to unbutton her robe. Starting, James likewise turned his back to her, gulping nervously as he realized that in a few short moments she would be wearing nothing at all. He waited until he heard a soft splash behind him before tentatively turning back around. The sight of Lily’s discarded clothing made James feel as if the temperature of the room had just sky-rocketed. Pulling uneasily at the collar of his own robe, he tried to gather the infamous James Potter confidence. He could just sit there and be perfectly fine; he would think about quidditch, yes, that’s how he’d distract himself, quidditch– Lily’s nervous giggle pulled him from his thoughts. When he looked down to her, his cheeks began to burn. “Are you getting in like that?” She asked uncertainly, in regards to his clothes. Extremely conscious of the fact that she and James had not been very intimate thus far, she fought to keep all of her body submerged under the bubbles. James, meanwhile, was undergoing a pleasant tingling and sudden restriction below the belt, and, because of this, was seriously considering remaining fully clothed for the rest of his life. Stop being such a pansy! he scolded himself. If this were any other girl, you wouldn’t be acting so stupid!. Then, he reminded himself, he wouldn’t be in this situation with any other girl. True, he had dated his share of eager girls, but he had never let anything get out of hand as Lily never left the back of his mind. Turning his back once she had, James began unbuttoning his robe. Okay, quidditch, scoring a goal– wait, bad choice of words! Um, Remus being a werewolf, yeah (James’ robe was now on the floor) grindelows, homework... Lily likes doing her homework– ahh, not helping! (James had just pulled his shirt over his head) The giant squid, yeah, he’s not very attractive... Lily once told me to go take a swim with him... that would probably be a lot easier than this... oi! Quit making this worse for yourself, you imbecile! (his socks were discarded). Okay, pulling pranks with the Marauders, Professor McGonagall, yeah, she’s pretty scary, the NEWTs are coming up soon, I’ll have to study for those... pranking Snivellus, slimy git deserves every bit of it, he does (James’ pants now joined the pile on the floor). Dragons... big, ugly, scaly, horny– oh, bugger! This is hopeless!. With that, James whipped off his underwear and jumped into the bath. Lily turned in surprise and laughed when she saw his head emerge from the water. James placed his glasses on the side of the bath as an after thought, then grinned at Lily, his confidence semi-restored. “So, why don’t you tell me about your night?” He swam to the opposite side of the pool so that she was an arms length away and rested his elbow on the ledge. Lily rolled her eyes. “Well, I found five students out after curfew to start with.” “None of them were my friends, were they?” James asked with a grin. “No, Lily assured him with a smile. “But then I had to break up a fight between Nott and Johnson... I nearly got turned into a giant mushroom for stepping in between them. And then I walked into Peeves, and you know how that turned out. I’m just letting things get to me too much, all this stress about NEWTs and everything. It’s silly, really.” “No, I don’t think it’s silly at all. You just have a lot on your plate right now, that’s all,” he reasoned, reaching forward and tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. Letting his hand linger there a moment longer, James stared into the eyes he loved so much. “I guess,” she shrugged. After a few moments, she began to bite her lip. “What is it?” James asked, breaking her concentration. “Huh?” She looked at him in confusion. With a small smile, he responded, “whenever you have something on your mind, you always bite your lip. I was just wondering what it was.” “Oh,” she shook her head, finding it funny that he had picked up on this little habit. “It’s just...what’s going to happen to us next year?” Looking at her oddly, James shrugged. “What do you mean?” Sighing, she replied, “well, I’m going to be away for Auror training, and you’ll be off at some Quidditch Camp... where does that leave us?” Catching on to what she was so concerned about, James scratched the back of his head. “I never really thought about it that way, I always just thought of our future more in general, I suppose.” Looking slightly put out, he offered, “we’ll still see each other as often as we can, right? And then in a few years, things will be okay again, when we’re all through with training.” She looked at him oddly for a moment, then smiled in satisfaction at his answer. “I guess we’ll just have to deal with it when it comes, and make the best of the time we have now.” “We’ll get through it, love, no sweat.” With that, he took a step towards her and kissed her forehead. A glint in her eye and a mischievous smile on her face, Lily suddenly stood to her full height and caught James’ lips in her own. Eyes open wide with shock at what Lily had just revealed to him (namely, the top half of her body), he found it hard to respond to her kiss. When she pulled away, his eyes were still wide and his mouth hung open. His arms remained awkwardly at his sides and he averted his eyes to anywhere but Lily. “James, look at me.” When he finally turned his gaze back to her, she had re-submerged under the water. “James Potter, that is not a normal reaction from you.” Lily looked extremely uncomfortable and thoroughly embarrassed. James knew exactly how she felt. “What– have I done something wrong?” Her eyes were pleading with him. “No!” He assured her immediately. “No, Lily, it’s... (he swallowed hard) bugger.” Taking a step forward, he cupped her face in both of his hands and kissed her with all of the passion he could muster. When he began to feel light headed, due in part to a lack of oxygen plus the steamy nature of the situation, he pulled back from her, breathing heavily. “Could you feel that? Could you feel how you make me feel?” Her eyes still closed and her head tilted back as he had left it, she opened her mouth and took in a shaky breath. In a barely audible whisper, she replied, “yeah.” “That is how I feel every second I’m with you. Lily, you are so... intoxicating, and, yeah, I really, really want to experience things with you (she finally opened her eyes at this) but I could not live with myself if I felt I hurt you in any way.” Crossing her arms in front of her chest and rising again to her full height, she sighed deeply before saying her piece. “James, I love you so much,” she raised a hand to touch his face. “And what you just said proves why I do. But I do want to be with you... in every way possible... and you won’t hurt me, I know you won’t. The only way you could ever hurt me would be by denying what is right in front of you.” Taking a tentative step forward, Lily hugged him awkwardly. Finally throwing all his worries aside, James captured her lips in his and kissed her strongly. His touch on her skin couldn’t have contrasted more with his kiss; his hands grazed the surface of her body as if she were made of something so fragile it would crumble to dust if handled too roughly. Lily, meanwhile, was running her fingernails over his strong abdomen, her confidence stemming from his. They encouraged each other on for a while longer, exploring each other and enjoying the company. The night ended with Lily playfully dunking James’ head under the water and laughing as she retreated to her room. James shouted jokingly after her that she was nothing but a tease that left him with the need for a very cold shower. A/N: hey guys! thanks for all the great reviews! i'm working on the next chapter right now and i'll get it up as soon as i can-- im hoping its going to be a cute, fluffy one, and i've already been working on the sirius/melanie stuff for those of you who enjoyed that in other chapters! happy reading!

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