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Lily checked her watch for the millionth time, finally! She had not been able to concentrate on her Potions essay at all, she had patrol with James this evening and time seemed to be moving at half its normal speed. Eventually the clock read nine and Lily flung down her quill, replaced the cap on her ink bottle, pulled out the ribbon that restrained her auburn mane and headed out of her dorm. Lily had not had a proper conversation with James since the night she had told him the story of Cinderella. With the rumours still flying they found it impossible to talk without more gossip being spread. They could not even be seen together without a comment being sent their way, and Lily was surprised by how much she missed his company. It was silly, how can I miss someone I see everyday? But a quick smile from across the crowded common room was no replacement for the late night chats, both in depth and light hearted, they had been having of late. Lily had become accustomed to the mealtime entertainment she and Tia received when dining with the Marauders and Lily was not ashamed to say – ok so she was – she had been looking forward to her rounds with James since Sunday – it was now Wednesday.

Lily skipped down the stairs to the common room, it was packed with students completing assignments, chatting with friends and playing several rambunctious games of exploding snap. She found James playing wizard chess with Lupin in the corner, Sirius and Peter watching and trying to distract both players.

"Alright, sexy?" Sirius greeted her with a wink.

"Hello, Sirius," Lily replied dryly, since when does he call me sexy? At her voice James looked up from the board he was consulting with a look of extreme concentration to smile at Lily who had perched herself on the arm of Remus' chair.

"Knight to D5," he said after a brief moment. Remus leaned forward, his hands clasped in front of him, he tapped the table with his finger tips then sat back again. Lily bent down and whispered in his ear, he nodded and then his face split into a wide grin.

"Queen to E6. Checkmate Jamesie boy." Lily and Remus high-fived each other.

“ can’t be!” James quickly scanned the board trying to find an escape route.

“Bad luck Prongs,” Sirius commiserated.

“That’s not fair, he cheated! Lily helped him!” As he whined, his black pieces let rip a roar of curses and protests and began throwing the broken bits of their comrades at the opposition.

“Aw... poor James.” Lily stood and patted his cheek patronisingly, “Did the nasty girl spoil your winning streak?” She laughed as James swatted her hand and crossed his arms petulantly.

“Yes, she did.” Lily continued to grin as she grabbed his wrist and pulled him from the squishy armchair.

“Come on sulky, we’ve got rounds. See you later guys.”

“Bye Lily,” Remus called and Peter waved.

Sirius, encouraging the pieces in their pintsized war, did not bother to look up as he waved absently at her and continued to shout at the pieces, "You call that a punch? My great grandma hits better than that and she's dead! Don't you know you're at war men?! Attack!!"

Lily looked at James who simply shrugged and held aside the portrait for her.

"He was dropped on his head as a baby." Lily raised her eyebrows sceptically at his explanation. "Many times," he added. Lily shook her head exasperatedly but could not help but laugh at the serious look on James’s face, boys!

"So how are you getting on with the book I lent to you?" Lily asked conversationally as they headed in the general direction of the Astronomy Tower.

"You mean Pride and Prejudice?" Lily nodded as she opened a classroom door to her left, she stuck her head in to check it was clear then locked it with her wand as they continued walking down the deserted corridor. "Finished it ages ago," James said as he repeated Lily's previous actions with a door to his right.

"What did you think?"

"I liked it."

"You did?" She had not thought it was his sort of thing.

"Really, it was a bit heavy going at first, but after I got used to the style I enjoyed it. It's really quite funny. I can see why you like, I still don't get how you can keep re-reading it though. I mean you know how it ends, it's not like it's going to change, it's not exciting anymore."

"But that's why I like it, it's safe. I know I'm not going to be disappointed, and besides, each time I read it I find something I hadn't noticed before or find a deeper meaning behind it."

"If you say so Lily."

"It's true! It's like when you walk the same way everyday but then you see something new that you've never noticed before but it's been there all along!”

"Lily, this is Hogwarts, it probably wasn't there before. This place changes all the time."

"Ok, bad example. It's's like... when you've known someone for years and you think you know everything about them and then they do something completely unexpected, or you're in a different mood and they're exactly the same but suddenly you see them in a whole new light."

They came to a halt in the corridor and just looked at each other. For example a certain Head Boy...
"This is all completely hypothetical of course," James stated although it seemed more than half question.

"Of course," Lily agreed and they walked on.

"So what about Cujo?"

"It was scary," Lily said simply.

"Good scary or bad scary?" James asked with a smile.

"There's a good scary?" Lily asked with her eyebrows raised.

"Sure, it's when your heart beats really fast, and your mouth goes dry and your palms sweat. The adrenaline starts pumping and you get that fluttery jumpy anticipation in the pit of your stomach." A bit like how I feel now?

"And...and bad scary?"

"Exactly the same except you don't get the flood of relief at the end." They laughed and James pulled aside a tapestry and gestured for her to go ahead.

"Good scary," Lily said decisively.

"So you want to borrow another of his books?" he asked.

"God no!"

"But you said..."

"That I liked it? I did but I have no desire for another week of nightmares thank you very much."

James chuckled, "Are you sure? I promise to hold your hand if you get frightened." It might almost be worth it.
"As tempting as that sounds…" and it really does. They smiled at each other and started up yet another flight of steps. "Gosh, at this rate I won't make it to the top of the Astronomy Tower," Lily said a little out of breath. They had been walking at a fast pace for quite a while and they must have scaled at least six sets of stairs one after the other.

"Are you hinting for a piggy back?" James asked winking cheekily at her.

Lily giggled, "Thanks for the offer but I doubt you'd manage it, I'm heavier than I look and I don't look all that light." Lily shifted a little nervously as James' eyes swept up the length of her body. He met her eyes, his hazel ones glittering with mischief as he grinned at her. "It's not happening, there's over seventy steps to the top and I am way too heavy for you. No way."

"Is that a challenge?" Lily caught the wicked glint in his eyes that was almost predatory and hurriedly shook her head.

"Nope, nah-uh, no it wasn't."

"Oh I think it was."


"Yah-huh." James lunged forward with lightening quick reflexes as Lily took a step back and he threw a squealing Lily over his shoulder.

"No... JAMES! Put. Me. Down!" she shouted hammering on his back with her tiny fists and kicking her legs, ruining her attempt at anger by laughing.

"Hush you. You'll wake up the whole castle," he said chuckling and wrapping his right arm around her waist to keep her from falling as she half-heartedly struggled the other hand resting on the bare back of her knees to keep her balanced.

"Put me down, James!" she whispered loudly. James just carried on strolling up the steps all the way to the top of the tower, laughing at Lily's increasingly irate protests. When they reached the open air he let her down slowly. Lowering her feet to the floor in front of him, he put both hands on her waist to steady her. The blood rushed to Lily's head and she pressed her palms to his chest as it spun. Is that 'cause I've been almost upside down or because James' hand just stroked up my bare leg to my waist. I really shouldn't have let him do that. Or enjoyed it so much. Oh well! Lily felt every part of her that touched James on her excruciatingly slow descent burn he IS strong! Sigh... Neither of them were laughing as they locked eyes. I've never noticed how many colours are in his eyes – gold, green – I thought they were just brown before. But you've never been this close to him before to see them. Good point.
"Oh," Lily gasped as her eyes slid from James' to something that had caught her peripheral vision. James followed her gaze. She had spotted a shooting star.

"Make a wish," James said looking directly at her. Lily’s cheeks were flushed from the cool air, her mouth still open in a perfect little "O" and her eyes reflected her wonderment and the clear sparkling heavens above her.

"I wish... look another one!" she pointed excitedly, sure enough there was a brief streak of bright white light, then another and a few seconds later another.

"Must be a meteor shower tonight," James said craning his neck to watch the astral light show. The dazzling blue and white flashes lasted less than a second each, so quick it made you wonder if you really had seen it at all. Lily’s face was alight with the exhilaration of it, she was so absorbed that she had forgotten she was still in James’ arms, her body millimetres from his. The grounds for once were enveloped in complete silence, the only noise was Lily’s whispered exclamation when they saw three meteors at the same time.

“Lily, don’t you think we should be getting back?” Without looking away from the stellar show she placed her finger to his lips.

“Shush...just enjoy.” Her right hand slipped down to his shoulder and she dropped her head even further back showing off her pale neck in a graceful curve. James returned his gaze to the heavens.

An hour later found them in the same position. The meteors were now few and far between and they were beginning to feel the cold.

“Come on you, we should have been back ages ago.” James guided her towards the stairs with a hand on the small of her back as she looked behind her for just one last shooting star.

Lily chattered excitedly all the way back to the Gryffindor Tower, skipping down the stairs, running a few steps ahead of James then spinning and walking backwards until he caught up with her again.

“It’s amazing, they look so small and insignificant but all it would take was a small knock to one of those things and it could be sent hurtling towards earth, and boom! Extinction, just like that. And another thing – I don’t get how the light is made from rocks and ice burning, how does ice burn. Ice is cold and fire is hot, it’s mind boggling.” Lily wrinkled her nose at the notion which made James smile, she did not notice though as she was in her own world. “That’s why I love looking at the stars, it makes me feel so small, and if you look long enough it can feel like no one else even exists, like you’re the last person on earth. And even if you really were the last living thing on the planet, you still wouldn’t matter. It’s so humbling.”

“It makes you wonder what it’s all for doesn’t it?”

“Exactly! It makes me think, ‘why?’”

“Makes me think, ‘why not?’” Lily looked at him, considering him for a long time, he was completely serious. Certainly a more optimistic way of looking at it. Lily smiled sweetly at James and nodded.

“So you’re telling me that all I really needed to do to deflate that ego of yours was take you stargazing?” she joked, James grinned at her and shrugged. “Well that would have been far more pleasant than shouting at you.” Lily sent him a cheeky half smile.

“Admit it Evans, you enjoyed it!”

“Well I won’t deny our fights weren’t, how shall I put it...bracing? Exhilarating?”


“As much as you annoyed me, and no one can as much as you do- did,” she corrected, “and as much as I hate to admit it, I did always admire your quick wit.”

“You know I only did it to get your attention right?” Well duh.

“Of course, and it worked, I blame the hair.”

“Tempestuous redheaded temperament, hey?”

Lily blushed a little but stuck to her excuse. Truly, no one could get under her skin like James Potter could. Under your skin is he? Is there any point in denying it? No. Well then.
“Well, while we’re admitting things there was another reason I wound you up so often,” James teased.

“Oh?” Lily encouraged intrigued.

“I used to love watching how hot and flustered you’d get. Your cheeks would flush and your eyes would get this gleam, it was like I could see the passion burning behind them, you would get this determined set to your face and your lips would form this perfect little pout. You just get this fire when you’re angry, you’re even more beautiful – it’s this fierce beauty, bloody scary, but hey, I’m a glutton for punishment,” he smiled at his joke. 

But Lily had not even heard his last sentence, in her head there was a ringing silence and then just one thought: James thinks that I’m beautiful. It spiralled towards her getting bigger and bigger, in her mind she was doing her happy dance. James thinks I’m beautiful, nah nah nah nah nah!
“And where have you two been?” Lily was greeted by the stern face of the Fat Lady. On such a high from James’ admission, Lily failed to detect the Fat Lady’s tone of voice, and eager to share she gushed about her and James’ unplanned star spotting expedition on the roof. James shifted uncomfortably under the portrait’s withering glare and pulled at his shirt collar.

When Lily finished the Fat Lady looked at Lily then back at the Head Boy, “I have better things to do, Mr. Potter than wait around all night while you woo young ladies. I waited half an hour to let you in because I thought that perhaps you had been caught up with your Head duties. Let’s see how you like hanging around shall we? I will be back in an hour and a half, then again I may not be.” And with that she strolled out of her frame and down the corridor Lily calling after her desperately. When Lily realised that the Fat Lady would not be coming back anytime soon she turned with a huff to James who had slid down to sit against the wall, legs bent up in front of him.

“Great! She’s only doing it ‘cause she’s jealous you know. I mean she does know that she’s a painting and as such she has no possible way of pursuing a relationship with you. It’s crazy, besides she must be quadruple your age! And how’s that fair anyway making us wait an hour and a half when we were only half an hour late? It’s illogical and irrational."

“I agree but there’s nothing we can do now.” James patted the hard floor to his right and Lily grudgingly took a seat.

“What a way to ruin a perfect evening. It’s freezing out here as well.”

“Come here.” James lifted his arm and Lily snuggled into his side, her head on his shoulder as he wrapped his arm back around her to keep her warm.

At least there’s compensation, Lily thought wryly, delighted by how comfortable this felt. Don’t think the Fat Lady would like this very much, she smirked, and with that Lily nestled herself closer to James’s body.

“Comfy?” he asked grinning down at her. Lily nodded.

“As I can be.” Lily stifled a yawn with her hand and James smiled sweetly at her.

“Sleep if you want. I’ll wake you when The Fat Lady gets back.”

“No, I’m not tired,” Lily insisted but she contradicted herself with another yawn. James raised his eyebrows at her amusedly and she smiled guiltily. “Maybe I’ll just rest my eyes for a minute.”

“You do that.”

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