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Lily rolled out of bed quickly. Mechanically her hand whipped out to silence her alarm clock, just as it did every morning at six thirty. Once the annoying chirp was gone she slumped, rubbing her eyes. Smoothing down her tousled auburn hair, she sighed, just a typical Monday in the sixth year Gryffindor girl’s dorm. Running her tongue over her slimy feeling teeth she grimaced, and summoned her toothbrush, heading for the bathroom.

After an invigorating hot shower and brushing her teeth, she trudged back into the dorm and dressed in the shapeless black robe that was the school uniform. Running a brush through her magically dried hair, she contemplated her reflection. Her pale face was long and oval, her nose dotted with freckles. The only part of her face that she considered pretty were the startlingly green eyes that were her mother’s legacy. Lately those eyes had been shaded by the dark circles underneath them. Her normally pale skin had taken on a ashen pallor as well.

Deciding that makeup would be a useless pursuit she said to herself, “Green-eyed freckly ghosts don’t need to wear makeup.” With that she put the brush down on the dresser next to her bed, grabbed her heavy book bag from on top of her trunk, and tiptoed out of the room, making no noise that could wake up her nosy dorm-mates.

I wake up in the morning
Put on my face
the one that's gonna get me
through another day
doesn’t really matter
How I feel inside
'Cause life is like a game sometimes

When she got to the Great Hall only a few people were awake. She took a place near the end of the Gryffindor table and pulled the orange juice closer looking at her schedule for the day. Double potions with the Slytherins, Charms with the Ravenclaws, and Arithmancy with only her fellow Gryffindors. It was going to be a trying day. Double potions with the Slytherins meant that she had to endure two of the most annoying gits in the school; Professor Slughorn, who was always praising her and getting in the way of her work and Severus Snape, who stared at her incessantly as if that would get her friendship back. The Ravenclaws were still mad at her because she held the top spot in the class ranking and she’d beaten them all out for the Head Girl position. Arithmancy though, that was a class she could look forward to. Only Potter to deal with in there.

Seventh year started out on a bad note for Lily Evans. With her life seeming to unravel, she had begun the school year. On the outside her life seemed perfect. She was Head Girl, had the highest grades on her class, she was going out with one of the top Quidditch players in her year, she had plenty of friends, and parents who wrote to her and sent her presents in the mail. It was the life that every girl dreamed of.

But on the inside things weren’t so great. Her best friend Mandy, was hanging out with a different crowd and was barely speaking to her, although she did sit close by at meal times. Her boyfriend of three months, Amos Diggory, was pressuring her about their relationship, wanting more than she was ready to give. Her grades were not as good as they had been, suffering due to a lack of effort. Her sister hated her, which caused trouble at home. She was sleeping and eating less, causing the dark circles that appeared permanently beneath her brilliant green eyes. All in all, things were pretty bad.

Today, a Monday when she thought that things couldn’t get any worse, they did.

As she sat in the Great Hall, which soon filled up with other sleepy students, the owls flew in bringing the day’s post. A tiny screech owl landed in front of her, startling the redhead who had been engrossed in her breakfast and the Charms text in front of her. With interest she opened the small white muggle envelope with it’s familiar blocky handwriting, and her expression changed dramatically. The look of shock and sadness that crossed her face before she burst into tears alarmed the few girlfriends that sat around her, “Lily? What’s- ” began one of them as the crying girl jumped up from the table. But Lily just ran right out of the hall; straight into the arms of that handsome trouble maker, James Potter.

“Whoa there Evans, I know you’ve been secretly in love with me, but-” Holding the sobbing redhead he broke off, “What’s wrong Lily?”

She looked up at him, sorrow making her brain fuzzy, tears making her vision cloudy, and saw real concern in his eyes. A fresh sob burst from her lips at this point as she clutched at him for support.

He led her silently through corridors and passageways that she had never known of, until they reached a door that she’d never seen before. Inside the blur room was a big fluffy sofa near a crackling fire. In front of the couch stood a little coffee table holding a box of tissues. It was the perfect place to be sad.

They sat on opposite ends of the sofa, James handing Lily tissues as she used them. After her third he asked again, “What’s wrong, Lil?”

Sniffing she replied, “Not that it’s any of your business, but my father has decided that I’m no longer welcome at home.”

“What! That’s a load of dragon dung. Why would he say something like that?” James demanded, shocking her with his vehemence.

Lily sighed, “There was an incident this summer. I got mad at a neighbor and accidentally transfigured their clothes. There was a fine and a hearing and the neighbors were odd for a couple of weeks. It made things at home a bit strange. And then, well…” she trailed off into memory as she told him about the day she’d left home. It was so clear in her mind.

“You freak!” Petunia screamed, throwing the offending batch of freshly conjured scones at her sister.

Her mother admonished, “Don’t upset your sister Lily.”

“She’s not the one who should be upset!” Lily retorted, furiously.

Mr. Evans scowled at his magical daughter, “Listen to your mother. Petunia doesn’t have the advantages that you do and you don’t need to flaunt them in front of her.”

“I’m not flaunting anything I was only trying to help!” the young witch protested.

Her father stood up reprimanded her loudly, “You will not speak to me like that under my roof, young lady.”

“Maybe I won’t stay under your roof then.” she replied, showing the famous red-head’s temper.

Petunia interjected haughtily, “You have to live somewhere.”

“Well you should be happy because the ‘freak’ is leaving, Miss Perfect!” Lily yelled back, flinging the scones back at her resented sister as she stomped down the hallway.

“Good riddance!” Petunia shrieked.

“You won’t ever have to see my face again. You should be happy!” Lily shouted. Marching into her room, she threw her things into her trunk angrily. When she was finished, she left the house, called the Knight Bus, and with one last look at her “home”, she was gone.

She shivered to remember it, the night she had finally left her Muggle life behind. Her mother had written her rarely since then, but Lily acted as if it was all the same as before.

And now, her father had officially disowned her. His will was set in place, she was not to get the little house in the countryside that her grandmother once owned. She would not get the small trust fund that had been set aside for her university education before they had found out that she was a witch. She would not even get the things that she’d left, muggle clothes, photos, other mementos of her childhood; her father had thrown them out, thinking that she wouldn’t come back for them after her departure two weeks ago.

James let out a low whistle that brought her back into the present, “Wow.”

“And I can’t believe I just told you that.” Lily sniffed again, shaking her head at the oddness of the situation.

But then you came around me
the walls just disappeared
Nothing to surround me
and keep me from my fears
I'm unprotected
See how I've opened up
Oh, you've made me trust

“Well, I was here, and I did ask.” He replied conjuring a small tea tray, “Besides, I’m a good friend you know.”

“And modest too.” She retorted with a weak smile as she accepted the cup of tea that he offered, “We’ve never been friends Potter. You’ve always been the stalker and I‘ve been the stalked.”

He stirred his own tea as he considered a reply. Looking at her he stated directly, “I would quite like to be your friend, Evans.”

“Yes, I know, my boyfriend. I’ve heard all of those lines before.” She countered with a sip of her tea and a roll of her eyes.

He just shook his head, “Not like that, well, yeah, maybe eventually. But right now I’d just like to be your friend. You don’t seem to have many good ones right now.”

Lily stared at him uncomprehendingly. He was offering her friendship, without the push to date him. It was amazing and seemed impossible at first that Potter of all people had grown up so much. It seemed as likely as Snape finally taking a bath.

It was crazy but somehow, she trusted him.

“I’d like that.” she finally said, wiping her eyes one last time.

James gave a crooked grin as he agreed, “Then let’s go, or we’ll be late to class.”

Because I've never felt like this before
I'm naked
around you
does it show?
You see right through me
and I can't hide
I'm naked
around you
and it feels so right

At lunch, James convinced Lily to sit with the Marauders, instead of eating in the library so that she could study.

“Hey Evans, Ol’Prongsie here finally slip that love potion into your morning Pumpkin Juice?” Sirius asked as she settled onto the bench next to James, “Or did you lose a bet?”

Laughing, she put a bit of food on her plate as Remus looked up from his book and commented, “Lily doesn’t look like the pumpkin juice type.”

“Yeah, I knew that it was a bad idea to take that wager, but you know me, I’m a gambler.” Lily joked, putting some food on her plate, “I’m more of a tea person myself.”

James looked at her shocked at the humor she displayed, and then played along, giving a great wounded sigh.

The other two laughed and ignored him. After that, lunch went smoothly. Lily enjoyed herself as she discussed classes and other topics with the Marauders. When lunch was over she was amazed to see that she’d eaten the biggest meal that she’d had in weeks. Even more amazing to her was the fact that Remus and Sirius had accepted her with out a qualm.

Over the next few weeks, Lily began to spend time with her former suitor turned friend. They did rounds together, she ate lunch with him and his friends, and they worked together in Arithmancy. Over those weeks, he fell into an important place into her life. When she was given an award for her work in charms, James was the one who celebrated with her. And when Amos Diggory decided that he would rather be free to play the field, than be her boyfriend, it was James who was there to wipe away the few tears that fell.

It was amazing, once she put aside her own prejudices about him, how much she found that he’d changed. No longer did he taunt Snape into duels or curse people at random. Now he was the one who ignored Snape. He even seemed to take his head boy duties seriously and when she caught him helping out a first year who’d gotten lost, she confronted him.

It amazed her how he just shrugged it off with a blush, “Eh, well, I was a bit of an ‘arrogant bullying toe-rag’ last year, but I guess I know better now.” He grinned at her own phrase and continued on his rounds.

Lily had never imagined the man that had hidden behind that arrogant albeit persistent boy who had asked her out so many times. Once she got to know him, Lily could see what drew people to James. His charm and the way he could make anyone laugh, and wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself was a great trait.

It was strange in this school full of people who they’d turned to. As Lily had opened up, so had he.

“I know I’ve acted completely different this year.” James had admitted one day as they did rounds, “I had a bit of an epiphany over the summer. I got a pensive from my inheritance. When I looked back through all of the memories of last year, I realized what a tyrant I’d been.”

This revelation just made Lily realize more what was happening to her. She was slowly but surely falling in love with James Potter.

I'm trying to remember
Why I was afraid
To be myself and let the
Covers fall away
I guess I never had someone like you
To help me, to help me fit
In my skin

“Where are you hiding, Evans?” James asked as he entered, scanning the classroom for movement.

On that particular Saturday afternoon rain had kept them inside, and so Lily and the Marauders had begun a children’s game of hide and seek. James, walking in late had been too slow to avoid becoming ‘It” and now he wandered over the castle trying to find his friends. She couldn’t stifle a giggle at their own childishness, destroying her cover as he dove for her hiding spot.

“Aha!” He cried victoriously, pulling her out from her spot, concealed under a worktable.

She replied dryly, “I don’t know why I try. You do realize that I’ve lost three games in a row now.”

“Yes, but I’m always it, so get used to it.” He retorted, returning to his search for the remaining Marauders, “You just weren’t meant for this game.”

Lily sighed, “I’ll never be able to hide properly.”

“You can’t hide from me. Might as well give up now.” James agreed, as they searched.

Lily just rolled her eyes and grinned, enjoying their banter.

I never felt like this before
I'm naked
around you
does it show?
You see right through me
and I can't hide
I'm naked
around you
and it feels so right

“Lily, I’ve got to ask you something.” James whispered as they sat together sometime later in Arithmancy while completing their assignment. The rest of the class was working diligently, minding the bold letters on the chalk board that warned them to remain silent and keep working.

“What is it?” Lily asked, not looking up from her paper and speaking quietly.

Taking a deep breath he began, “Well…”

Interrupting him, Professor Vector demanded, “Mr. Potter, are you incapable of reading?”

“No, ma’am. I can read perfectly well.” he replied politely, a little miffed at getting caught.

The teacher looked at him severely, “Then you have no excuse to be making noise. Please remain silent or I will be forced to assign you a detention.”

“Yes ma’am.” James responded uninterestedly.

When she turned her attention back to the papers she had been grading, the Marauder turned back to Lily, who was still working on her paper, a little smile on her face.

Gently she whispered to him, “So you don’t want to spend time with me anymore, huh? Trying to get closer to Vector? I didn’t know that you went for older women.”

“NO!” He insisted a little louder than he intended, making the class look at him again as he lowered his voice, blushing slightly, and continued, “I’d like to see more of you, actually. I know I’ve asked you a hundred times.”

“Try a thousand.” She joked quietly, knowing where this was heading.

“Seriously, will you go out with me?” James asked for the thousandth time, “It’s a Hogsmeade weekend tomorrow.”

“I’m not Sirius. He’s that dark haired bloke, you know, your best friend.” Lily objected jokingly.

James groaned as the bell rang, “Lily!”

“Maybe.” She replied after pretending to give it a lot of thought. She gathered her things with a smirk on her face.

James’ eyes lit up hopefully as the class room emptied, “Maybe?” They followed the crowd out the door

“The entrance hall at noon.” She called out, laughing at his antics as she disappeared around the corner. A loud whoop was heard throughout the corridor over the loud thrum of conversation.

I'm naked
Oh oh yeah
Does it show?
Yeah, I'm naked
Oh oh, yeah yeah

Their date the next day was great. Though nervous, James was a perfect gentleman. It was he who was surprised when Lily took his hand as they walked toward the village. It was she who was amazed at how natural it felt to be wandering around Hogsmeade hand in hand. At two they met Sirius, Remus, and Peter in the Three Broomsticks for lunch. It was fun and comfortable to be sitting at a table with them joking and eating.

This is amazing. Lily thought to herself as she watched Sirius make a bag of crisps do cartwheels over the table. Who would have thought that he would be the one I finally fell for? Looking at James, who smiled as he discussed Transfiguration heatedly with Remus. I guess I’m just lucky.

I'm so naked around you
and I can't hide
you’re gonna see right through, baby

“Hey Evans, what’s wrong?” James asked as they reached the portrait hole that night, “You’ve been quiet since we left the pub.”

“Nothing, I’m fine.” Lily answered, faking a smile.

“No you’re not. What are you thinking?” He pressed, genuinely concerned.

Sighing she replied, “I don’t know. I guess I just can’t believe that I could be this happy.”

“Why wouldn‘t you deserve to be happy?” James asked incredulously.

“Well, I am the freak, remember. And you‘re too good to me.” Lily responded slowly.

He shook his head at her and stated vehemently, “You’re amazing, Lily. Of course, you deserve an arrogant git like me. Merlin, you deserve better! You’re brilliant and beautiful and talented, no matter what that evil shrew of a sister says to you.”

“I…” Lily tried to argue.

James cut her off, “No. You are. You’re amazing. Just accept it. Besides who else is going to keep me in line? Certainly not Padfoot or Moony.”

“I guess you’re right.” she finally conceded with a shake of her head, “Someone’s got to do it. I’m the only one crazy enough to take the job.”

“You know I’m right. I can read you like a book.” He said smugly before giving the password. He waited for Lily to go through the portrait hole first and he added, “Remember, you can’t hide from me.”

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