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disclaimer: again, i obviously dont own the characters and such The next day was horrible for the pair of them. Lily was no longer angry (unless James was within shouting distance), but rather miserable instead. It had been a completely conceited thing he had said, but she also knew it was true. It was common knowledge that James was one of the (previous to their relationship) most sought after boys at Hogwarts, and Lily could also name a handful of girls off the top of her head who would gladly, as James had put it, eat stinksap for the chance to date him. She had learned to deal with this because she knew he had chosen her… but his bringing it up made her rethink that unchangeable theory. Why would he bring it up if he wasn’t contemplating it? Lily’s studying was also falling off track because she couldn’t concentrate on anything but his words. James was also having a hard time dealing with the fight. He knew he had screwed up tremendously, but he was also a little bothered about what had caused him to say such a thing. Did she really consider studying and school more important than him? He loved her more than life itself, and there she was, saying she didn’t feel the same. A dull ache pounded both in his chest and the back of his head, the chest from his longing to right his relationship with Lily, his head from Sirius knocking him to shake him from his trance. “Oi, Prongs! You awake, mate? You look a little ill,” Sirius commented from his chair beside James, completely ignoring Professor Slughorn’s written instructions on the board and poking James in the shoulder. James turned his head lethargically to cast a glance at his friend. “We had a rather large row last night, me and Lily.” Sirius raised an eyebrow at him. “You guys fight all the time, what’s the big deal?” James shook his head. “Not since we’ve been together. She won’t even look at me,” he moaned, looking towards the back of her head a few rows in front of them. “Sure she will,” Sirius grinned, balling up a piece of parchment and tossing it at her. “Ah, the joys of--” “Don’t do that!” James hissed, grabbing at Sirius’ hands just as Lily turned around. When she saw the culprits behind her paper assault, Lily glared at them before turning back around. “Great, now she’ll be on me for disrupting her in class, too,” James groaned, covering his face with his hands. “I got her to look at you, didn’t I?” Sirius nudged him with a wink. James groaned again. “You don’t get it, do you? This isn’t like before, when I would bug her silly and she’d yell at me. This is serious, Padfoot.” Stroking his chin in thought, Sirius leaned back in his chair. “Okay, young Pronsie, tell Dr. Padfoot what happened.” Unable to completely hide a smile, James looked towards Professor Slughorn to make sure he was busy with work. “I kind of got angry that we haven’t been spending as much time together as before… she said it was because studying was too important (Sirius’ brow narrowed at this)… and then I said the first thing that came to mind.” “Which was…?” Sirius prompted, eyes still furrowed. James sighed. “I… I kind of said that any other girl would give me the attention if I asked for it—and I know that’s a completely bigheaded thing to say!” He added this part quickly at the wide-eyed expression of disbelief Sirius was now wearing. “It just sort of… slipped out. And then she told me to go after one of those girls, and hasn’t talked to me since.” “Ouch, mate. You shouldn’t have let me throw that parchment at her.” James glared over at him before burying his head in his hands once again. * * * The rest of the day went by in much the same fashion, James trying to sort things out with Lily, and Lily adamantly avoiding James’ attempts. It wasn’t until after dinner when James got his chance to say his piece. Lily had run off, and, like the eve of the Halloween feast, James had had to use the Marauders Map to find her. Also like that night, she was sitting against the tree by the Lake. James dropped to his knees beside her. “Can we please talk?” Shrugging, Lily raised her weary eyes to his. “Lily, I hate this. It’s been the single most terrible day of my life, and I can’t even begin to describe how utterly miserable I’ve been throughout it.” “One of mine, too,” Lily mumbled in a tiny voice, looking down to her hands. James swallowed hard, needing to know the answer to his next question, but simultaneously dreading it. “Lily… why did you say it?” She looked up at him immediately, and she shook her head. In a small voice, she answered, “I didn’t mean it to come out like that, I… it just came out badly.” Her eyes seemed to take on a slightly panicked appearance when she asked, “and you?” Hanging his head, James replied. “I don’t know what made me say it… I suppose I was just angry… upset… How did you mean it to come out?” “I didn’t… it’s not that school’s more important to me-- because it isn’t. But NEWTs are next week, James, and I knew that after they were over, we could spend time together. It just came out wrong, that’s all.” Her eyes found his once again, looking slightly less worn. “I’m sorry, and I didn’t mean it like there’s someone else, because there never could be… you’ve had my heart all along, Lily.” James reached forward to take hold of her hand. Lily gave a small smile, then repeated his words. “I’m sorry too… for being so crazy.” She leaned forward slowly and wrapped her arms around his neck, sighing in relief when he pulled her closer into the hug. “I love you, Lily” James muttered into her neck. “Let’s not do this again… ever.” “I love you, too,” Lily replied in a hushed voice, glad to be back in his arms. After a few moments, James whispered into her ear, “can we go back to the castle and just… sit like this?” Reluctantly pulling back from the embrace, Lily nodded, a smile evident on her lips as she twinned her fingers in his. When the pair had reached their common room, James led Lily towards the couch. He was surprised to feel her gently tugging his hand in the opposite direction, towards her room. She slowly led him inside, and closed the door behind him. * * * The rest of the week was put full-heartedly into cramming for the NEWTs, though James and Lily made sure to do it together so that they were at least able to share each others company. When the dreaded day came, everyone’s emotions ran high—except for Sirius, who was far more worried with his hair than the tests. “It’s not lying right,” he grumbled, looking at his reflection on the back of his spoon. Remus rolled his eyes. “So what? You do know what today is, right?” Sirius looked at his friend in disdain. “Yes, I do. It’s officially the Day of Bad Hair.” James grinned, though the little voice in the back of his head (which, ironically, sounded a lot like Lily) kept reminding him not to get too distracted or he was sure to forget which Goblin started the War of 1622 or what the cause for the Giant banishment was. Further down the breakfast table, Lily had buried herself once again in her History of Magic textbook, her eyes traveling the length of each page in a frantic manner. Amelia was flipping through a copy of The Daily Prophet, trying to distract herself from the exam that was going to take place in fifteen minutes. Melanie was reading over her shoulder, but would occasionally glance down the length of the table to smile at Sirius. Peter’s shaking hand collided with the juice jug, drenching a third year. “Take it easy, Pete,” Remus said, handing a napkin to his dripping housemate. “You’re going to do fine.” This did nothing to ease Peter’s worry, though neither did Sirius’ sniggers. “You lot ready?” James asked, standing from his chair. Peter’s eyes widened in fright. Remus nodded grimly. Sirius grinned. “I was born ready.” * * * Two days later, after the seventh years had finished their Charms practical exam, Sirius coaxed his friends (including Lily, Amelia, and Melanie) into taking an exam break to sit by the Lake. “So, how’d everyone find that?” James asked, lying in the grass with his head on Lily’s lap. Peter glared over at him, still suffering from the backfired Fuzzy-Ear charm he had tried to perform for his examiner. Amelia shrugged non-commitally. “Wasn’t bad,” Lily offered, combing the fringe out of James’ eyes with her fingers. Remus nodded his agreement, then returned to reading for the next exam. Melanie sighed, deciding that agreeing with them was better than getting a lecture from Lily about how she should spend less time fooling around with Sirius and more time studying. It wouldn’t have changed her actions, anyway. “It was a breeze,” Sirius commented, resting his hands behind his head and stretching back on the grass. “What about you, Prongs? Like that one about charming a tea cozy into an animal?” James grinned, remembering the prank they had pulled on Snape at the beginning on the year involving a handful of change, a permanent sticking charm on Snivellus, and a charmed tea cozy/ Niffler. “It’s like they’re following up on us, Padfoot.” “I’ve never been able to figure out why you have those silly nicknames,” Melanie eyed them thoughtfully. When no one seemed eager to give an explanation (Remus pretended to read but a line in his forehead creased dramatically; James cleared his throat, multiple times; Peter looked nervously around them, scratching his ears— not just because they were fuzzy--; Sirius shrugged with a mysterious grin on his face), Lily voiced her own thoughts—those previous to knowing the truth, anyway. “Oh, you know these four. We probably don’t even want to know where they got the ideas for them.” Though looking suspicious at first, Melanie finally decided that this was a reasonable explanation. Amelia, likewise, agreed with a hearty, “I would have to second that idea” James thanked Lily for covering their secret with a touch to her knee. Sirius winked over at her with a grin. Remus caught her eye over the top of his book and she could tell he was thanking her a thousand times over. Peter was watching a butterfly’s wavering course across the school grounds, apparently unaware that any exchange had just taken place. * * * The remainder of the week drained everyone (including Sirius), and they were all glad to slump into the comfy armchairs and couches of the Gryffindor common room after finishing their final exam. “I can’t believe this is one of our final nights here,” Amelia said quietly, hugging her knees against her chest. “It’s been a long time coming,” Sirius added, stretching an arm over Melanie’s shoulder. “It’s sad, too… aren’t there things you’re going to miss?” Melanie asked him meaningfully. Sirius was about to shrug, but quickly caught on to what she was saying. “Mm, not really, because I’m going to be keeping in close contact with the best parts of this place.” He squeezed her shoulder, then sent a goofy grin around the room at the others. “Alright, I’ve got it. What’s everyone’s favourite Hogwarts memory?” Remus asked, finally free of a book—he was completely done school now, after all. “Keeping Snivellus on his toes,” Sirius grinned nostalgically. “Making Sirius into a woman,” Melanie giggled, receiving a shocked look from him and chuckles from everyone else. “Mine was making the best friends of my life,” Remus offered, sending significant glances at his fellow Marauders. Amelia scratched her chin, then said, “I agree with Remus… the best part has been everyone I’ve met. So….I guess one of my favourite memories was one of our many topless pillow fights up in our dorms.” The boys’ eyes bugged out of their heads before Amelia broke out laughing along with Melanie and Lily. “Ok, so that was an exaggeration. There weren’t many,” She grinned. “Hogsmeade visits,” Peter said in a rather strangled, high-pitched voice, still red around the face from Amelia’s statement. “Getting to spend Christmas with you guys,” Lily thought out loud with a smile. “Even before this year?” Sirius grinned at her, reminding her that they hadn’t been on such friendly terms previous to the past year. Lily giggled. “Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: as much of a pain as you guys sometimes are, it’s always been entertaining to sit back and watch the things you get yourselves into.” Remus laughed at the thought of such occasions, and Sirius grinned knowingly. Peter, once again, wasn’t paying attention. “I’ve got two,” James spoke up, the last to share his favourite memories. “First,” he said, looking to the Marauders, “it has been a pleasure to get to spend the past seven years causing endless mayhem with the three of you. Second,” he turned his head to look up at Lily, “was meeting you.” A/N: hey guys! so a couple things i have to say about this chapter. when, in the chapter title, i call it a time of firsts, i don't necessarily mean of lily and james getting together--you can interpret it in that way if you like, or you can choose to believe it was just a cute night of cuddling-- but more of it was their first fight and first make-up. secondly, this is the second last chapter, so next one is going to include graduation, goodbyes, and a really cute surprise. thanks for the continued reading and reviewing, guys!

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