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Lily awoke to the sound of tapping at the window, instinctively she knew it had been there for a while, she wondered why Pearl – her tawny owl – could not just wait until the rest of the mail was delivered in – Lily checked her watch on the night stand three hours?! It was only five o’clock! Lily tossed her covers off with a groan as the tapping continued. This letter had better be important.
Lily stumbled to the window and flung it open, she dodged as a pebble flew in and she caught it instinctively in her left hand. Not what I was expecting to find. Lily’s brow creased in confusion, she wrapped her arms around herself against the early morning chill, the very early morning chill, and stuck her head out of the window. Standing at the bottom of the tower, face turned up to look at her and arms spread, was James Potter. He had his Nimbus in one hand and his wand in the other. Lily grinned, his meaning was clear, he was making good on last night’s promise. Lily held her hand out, fingers spread in a gesture she hoped he would understand as “five minutes,” before pulling closed the window and running to the bathroom.

Fifteen minutes later Lily was making her way across the frost covered grounds towards a very chipper looking James.

“Good morning, Lily.”

“Hi.” James turned and together they headed towards the quidditch pitch. With his broom slung over his shoulder James looked wide awake and completely at ease, Lily was not quite so calm.

“Good night’s sleep?” James asked.

“All three hours of it.” James laughed as Lily stifled a yawn before continuing to speak. “So tell me, how come we’re up this early and why don’t you look half dead like I do? The sun isn’t even up yet!”

“Well that’s the point, isn’t it?” Lily sent a quizzical look in James’s direction. “Ravenclaw have the pitch booked for eight o’clock and knowing them, they’ll be there all day. We had to come early if we wanted to fly, and I figured if we were getting up early already we might as well get up half an hour or so earlier and watch the sunrise. As for looking so awake…” he pulled a flask from the rucksack he had with him, “That’s what coffee is for. Besides we both know you look totally gorgeous all the time so stop fishing for compliments.”

“I was not…I do not…” Lily stumbled, then gave in and sighed, “Thank you.”

James set his broom parallel to the ground, level with his hip and let go, it stayed hovering a few feet above the grass.

“So I figured we get watch the sunrise from the air and then afterwards I’ll teach you how to fly the old girl properly.” Lily smiled at the expression.

“Your broom’s female?”

“Of course,” James replied completely serious as he swung one long leg over the broom.

“Does she have a name too?” Lily asked.

“Don’t be silly, it’s just a broom Lily.” Lily had only been joking but his admonishment had embarrassed her. James grinned at her and Lily instantly forgot feeling foolish.

“I reckon it’d be best to ride in front of me at first since you’ve never really flown before.”

“Erm…Ok.” Lily’s nerves that had been assuaged by their relaxed banter suddenly returned in full force.

“Have you ever ridden a horse side saddle before?”

“Once or twice.”

“Well it’s just like that.” Lily raised her eyebrows at him. “Ok, it’s actually nothing like that but the position’s exactly the same, kind of.” Lily looked at James, then at the thin strip of wood that was meant to keep her from falling to an untimely death sceptically. She looked at James’s extended hand then finally back at him. “I won’t let you fall, Lily.”

“Ok.” Lily took his hand and climbed delicately onto the broom. It felt delightfully sophisticated and womanly somehow to be sitting this way. James placed his hands on the handle in front of her right hand and Lily found herself encircled by his arms.

“Here we go,” James said pulling up and they took of smoothly. Lily gripped James’ forearms tightly as she felt a thrill go through her like nothing she had ever felt before, not entirely sure that it was completely to do with flying.

This is so surreal! I’m wrapped in James Potter’s arms, scent and warmth, on James Potter’s broomstick getting higher and higher by the second, my life is completely in his hands and we are about to watch the sunrise over the Scottish highlands together. This is SO surreal!

James flew up to a spectacular height before he levelled out. The view was fantastic and in the very distance was the most fantastic display of pinks and oranges with all the shades in between as the first rays of real sunlight began to show above the horizon. James heard Lily gasp and felt a small hand clutch at his wrist.

“Oh James, it’s beautiful,” Lily whispered breathlessly. Wait, did I just swoon? Oh who cares, it’s beautiful, more so than anything I’ve ever seen.

“Good idea then?” he asked. Lily turned to look at him, a look of awe, wonder and absolute contentment on her face.

“The best.” James smiled indulgently as she turned back to watch the constantly changing array of colours and patterns but he could not take his eyes from the face of the girl in front of him where her joy and wonderment were displayed so openly.

“Are you hungry?” James asked as the show was coming to an end. “Or thirsty? I have coffee and croissants in here,” he said indicating the satchel on his back.

“I’d love a cup of coffee but there’s not a cat in hells chance I’m taking a hand off this broom.”

“If I can fly no handed you can sit still one handed surely?”

“Yeah, but you’re practically a professional; I can’t even be classed as a beginner yet!” James laughed and took his hands from the broom to pour a coffee from the flask in his hands. “James, what are you doing?!” she squealed as his arms disappeared from around her, the hand that had been on his wrist now had the wood in a death grip.

“Relax Lily, I promised I wouldn’t let you fall. If you’re having trouble balancing just lean back against me, although I doubt that, you’re the most graceful person I know.” Lily smiled a little.

“I used to dance.”

“Used to? You mean you’ve given up since last night?” He smiled at her and handed her a steaming cup which she warily took in one hand. James poured himself a cup before replacing the flask in his bag.

“Very funny. I used to be a ballet dancer, I had to give it up when I came to Hogwarts though. Used to always be at gymnastics as well, I kept that up though, didn’t want to lose the flexibility. I practise here and then in the summer help out with the little ones in turn for some private tutoring.”

“I never knew that.”

“Not many people do.” Lily took a sip of the hot drink and sighed leaning back against James’ chest. It was still quite cold out but James was like a small furnace at her back and the coffee warmed her from the inside.

“Did you have to give up a lot when you came to Hogwarts?” James asked and Lily almost giggled – she could feel his voice rumbling and vibrating along her spine.

“Not really, I didn’t have that much; just the dancing, I never had many friends…”

“I find that hard to believe.”

“It’s true, besides ever since Severus told me about Hogwarts it was all I dreamed of.” At the name Lily felt James stiffen up and she instantly regretted saying anything at all. Honestly Lily, why do you never think before opening your mouth? Everything was going just swimmingly.

“It was Snape who told you about Hogwarts? When?”

“Practically the first time I saw him. It was him who told me what I was.”

“And what was that?” James asked and he almost sounded wary.

“A witch. What else would it be?” She asked accusingly sitting up and turning to look at him, the fear of falling temporarily forgotten.

“I don’t know. No wonder you two are close,” he said to himself as he stared off almost wistfully behind her.

Is that jealousy in his voice? Lily turned back to the sun that was now nearly fully risen. “We were close,” she emphasised. “We shared everything, he told me I was a witch and that I would go to Hogwarts, he taught me everything I knew about the magical world before I came here. Did you know that it was him that told me it didn’t matter I was muggleborn? I was worried about not being good enough. Now that’s ironic!” she laughed bitterly.

“I’m sorry, Lily.”


“Really.” And there was sincerity in his voice.

“It’s just…I’ve known him since I was eight, how could I have not have known what he was really like, what he was really thinking about me all along?”

“Love is blind.”

“I wasn’t in love with Severus!”

“No, but you did love him, he was your friend wasn’t he? But I wasn’t talking about you.”

“Who then?”

“Snape of course! He couldn’t see your blood because he loved you, you were the exception to his stupid rule. Why do think I was jealous of him?”

“You were never…”

“Course I was, I mean I hate his slimy guts don’t get me wrong, but I envied him too.”

“Why?” asked a bewildered Lily.

“Because he was allowed to love you.”

“Oh James…” James coughed and took her cup from her, he slung the dregs into the air and threw both cups back into his rucksack before taking hold of the handle.

“Come on. I promised to take you flying.” The case was clearly closed. For now. Lily thought.

James landed the broom just as gently as he had taken off, he threw his bag onto the bottom row of the stands. “Right Lily, swing your leg over so that you are facing the handle.” She did so and James climbed on behind her.

“No, really? I may be inexperienced, but I’m not a Slytherin Potter.” James laughed at her sarcastic comment and eye roll.

“Sorry, I’ve just known how to fly for so long I can’t even remember how I was taught.”

“Knowing you, you weren’t, you probably climbed on at the age of five and took off for the skies without a word of instruction.” Lily turned back to look at him and smiled at him so he knew she was only joking. Well, kind of, he does seem to be a natural at everything he does, lucky sod. James returned her grin.

“So you’re going to put your hands on it like this.”

“Like this?”

“Perfect, see the hand closest to the end has the most control so you always put your quill hand on top.”

“So that’s why you put your left hand first? ‘Cause you’re left handed.”


“Always have to be different don’t you Potter?” Lily teased.

“That’s original me – James Potter: the one and only.”

I’ll say, Lily thought.

Oblivious to Lily’s thoughts, James continued with his lesson, “So to go up you’re going to gently pull the handle towards you. Lily pulled up and they shot into the air.

“How do I stop? HOW DO I STOP?” screamed Lily. James placed his hands over hers and pressed down, they slowed to a stop.

“It’s alright, I got you,” James said the merest hint of amusement in his voice. Lily’s heart was beating a mile a minute.

“So I guess when you said pull up gently, you meant pull up gently,” Lily said shakily and not a little breathlessly. James laughed aloud at that and Lily found herself joining in and letting a little relieved giggle escape.

“It’s a racing broom Lily – it’s meant to go fast and with the slightest touch. I mean it’s not built for two but what with you being the little thing that you are I could easily coax at least eighty miles an hour out of her.”

“Hey! I’m not that small you know,” Lily said affronted. So I’m on the petite side, so what?

“I never said it was a bad thing, didn’t your mum ever tell you the best things come in small packages?” he asked her in a low voice, his warm breath tickled her ear.

Lily closed her eyes for a brief second glad that he was behind her and blocked from seeing the affect he was having on her. Is he flirting with me? Yes. Oh. No change there then. “No, why, did yours?” Lily responded quick wittedly.

“No. I would have been quite upset if she had, I like to be the best and my package is anything but small.”

“James!” Lily said aghast, glad their positions prevented James from seeing her blushing profusely.

“I’m joking, I’m joking!” James protested, adding after a short pause, “Sort of.”

“Stop it!” Lily half heartedly elbowed him.

“Ok, ok, no need to get physical…not in that way at least,” James laughed and Lily pulled back her elbow. “Sorry, sorry, I’ll be a good boy now.” Lily lowered her arm. “Ready to try this again?” Lily eased up the handle of the broom slowly and this time they rose at a steady speed. “That’s it, now to go forward just lean forward a bit, not too much, that’s it. Ok, now we’re going to go right so pull ever so gently in that direction and lean a bit with it. Perfect! Now back the other way. Great. Now if you wanted to go down…”

“I don’t, not yet.”

James smiled indulgently. “Ok, but if you did you just push the handle down. Simple really isn’t it?”

“Surprisingly so.”

“And if you want to go faster you just lie your torso flatter to the broom.”

“And hold on tighter?” Lily joked.

“Not a bad idea,” chuckled James. Lily flew for another half hour, James giving tips and hints, Lily drinking in his lessons eagerly before James got her to pull to a halt. “Now comes the fun part.”

“That wasn’t the fun part?” Lily asked entirely seriously, she had been thoroughly enjoying herself.

“Nope. This is the fun part.” James moved his hands so that they were covering hers and pressed his weight down on her, flattening her to the handle completely. Before Lily could say anything they shot to the other side of the pitch at full speed which Lily was sure was more than eighty miles per hour, Lily squealed and shut her eyes but James just laughed and performed a perfect hairpin turn. When Lily opened her eyes they were zooming in the opposite direction.

Oh. Looks like I’m not going to crash to a painful squidgy death at the hands of James Potter after all. Lily screamed as they were launched into a spiralling nosedive but it was drowned out by James whoop of utter delight.

As James continued their whirlwind flight Lily found herself enjoying every second, laughing and hollering through dives and spins, turns and wheels. As James raced from one end of the pitch to the other she even built up the courage to take her hands off the broom. Tucked safely between James’s arms she threw them into the air tipping her head back and laughing with sheer unmitigated joy.

“I feel like I’m flying!”

James laughed; there was wonder in her voice. “You are!”  

He grinned and coaxed the broom to go even faster.

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