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    In their final year at Hogwarts, the seventh years varied widely in the quantity of scholastic knowledge that they had acquired. However, there were some truths universally accepted and understood. They all knew that homework from Flitwick could be handed in late, but that of McGonagall could not. They knew that pranking Filch would be funny forever, but pranking a Marauder was only funny until you got found out. And they knew that Lily Evans always had, and always would, hate James Potter. 

    The last of these seemed highly ironic to Lily herself, in a ‘this would be funny if it wasn’t happening to me’ kind of way. For in truth, Lily had not always hated James Potter. In fact, in fourth year, she had even begun to form a bit of a crush on him – the bold and funny boy so universally loved. She had watched him fussing with his hair and playing tricks on others with rose tinted adoration, certain that were he only to notice her, they could be perfect together. In her mind, she would bring out the sweet and clever side of him that she sometimes saw when he helped his friends with homework. In return, he would allow her to be seen as more than just a bookworm – allow her to be the vivacious teenager she knew she could become. She was so certain that he would be the one to notice the real her, as she had noticed the real him. 

    Only one person had ever known of her secret crush – her best friend at the time, Severus. He had desperately tried to convince her not to say anything; pleaded with her to avoid the inevitable embarrassment. However, Lily had been convinced she knew best, and so had marched off to the boys dormitories to confess all.

    Pausing just outside their room, Lily heard two people talking, in that brash, confident way unique to edgy teenage boys.

    “You’ve got no chance, mate!”

    “Really, bet I can get Lily to go out with me before you can get ... Alice to go out with you!”

    Lily gasped, too shocked for a moment to even leave. However, the sound of approaching footsteps quickly spurred her into action, and she fled back down the stairs and onwards to her room. She flung herself onto her bed, and sobbing, drew the curtains tightly closed. How could I have ever thought he would actually like me? All this time, all those smiles and hellos, and it was all for a bet to see who could date the biggest geek. As tears poured down her face, she told herself that she should at least be grateful she found out before he had a chance to truly humiliate her, but it was a cold comfort to her freshly broken heart. 

    An hour later and James was still trying to work up the nerve to do the deed. He had been in love with Lily for almost two months now, which seemed like an impossibly long time, particularly as she barely seemed to notice he existed. He couldn’t believe he’d been stupid enough to make the bet with Sirius, but the constant teasing about his ‘hopeless crush’ had finally gotten to him. He’ll see, he thought ruefully, as he glanced at his friend, who was playing snap in the corner of the common room, soon I’ll be dating the girl of my dreams, which is more than he’ll be able to say for him and Alice. He knew that Sirius was far too cool to ever risk asking out a girl like Alice without absolute certainty of the answer. Until a few weeks ago, he had assumed the same would be true of him as well, but each moment spent watching Lily and her ‘friend’ Snivellus made him ever more desperate. Today, I’ll ask her today.

    Just as he was convincing himself of this, a group of fourth year girls came down the stairs, including Lily herself. So desperate was he to achieve his goal, he failed to notice her puffy eyes and red nose, instead blurting out:

    “Lily, can I have a word?” 

    Lily turned round; shocked that he would approach her so publicly. It’s one thing to ask me out as a joke, it’s another to do it in front of all my friends. Surely he wouldn’t be so cruel?
    “Yes?” She answered, arching an eyebrow and looking highly irritated, “what do you want?”

    “I was wondering if-you-wanted-to-go-out-with-me.” James rushed, “Next Hogsmeade weekend, perhaps?”

    How dare he! HOW DARE HE?! Incensed, Lily replied “Not a chance, Potter. I wouldn’t date you if you asked me every day for the rest of your miserable life!”

    “Oh yeah?” James responded, turning an angry shade of red. “We’ll see about that!”

    Lily simply glared at him, before turning on her heel and storming out of the common room. 

    “Well, that went well,” Sirius commented, coming over to check on his friend. “You OK there?”

    “Fine.” James responded, overcoming the urge to cry, “She’s just playing hard to get.”

    “Really?” Remus added, joining the group after collecting his cards. “’Cause she sounded pretty certain with that whole ‘I wouldn’t date you if...etcetera’.”

    “Precisely – she’s trying to make it a challenge. I mean she practically begged me to keep asking her out!”

    Remus and Sirius shared a look over James’ head, before each taking an arm and pulling him towards the portrait hole.

    “I think you need a nice big dinner, and then we’ll get you to bed, OK?”

    James rolled his eyes, aware that his friends were trying to handle him.

    “Whatever guys, but I’m serious; I’m going to keep asking her out, and one of these days, she’s going to say yes. You’ll see!” 

    Well, over the past two and a half years, they had definitely seen; they’d seen their friend continue to ask out Lily Evans every single day, and seen her continue to refuse him. What they hadn’t seen was her pain, as the guy she had once adored continued to treat the idea of them dating as nothing more than a joke. Oh, she knew he no longer saw her simply as an asexual nerd – two years of growing and a new wardrobe and hairstyle had seen to that. However, he still didn’t take her seriously, but assumed that she should simply fall at his feet because of how great he was. Well, she was one girl that wasn’t going to fall for the Marauder charm, to then be casually thrown aside. Alice hadn’t gone near a guy for almost a year after her disastrous date with Sirius, and Lily still felt guilty for not cluing the girl in while she’d had the chance. 

    James was almost at the end of his self-confidence when it came to Lily Evans. The past two and a half years had been very kind to her, and as they now boarded the train for their seventh year, she was looking better than ever. He honestly couldn’t work out where things had gone so wrong with them – back in fourth year they had almost been friends. Then that disastrous day had happened, and ever since they seemed to have become locked in some twisted kind of war. He couldn’t even pinpoint when asking her out had stopped being because he thought she was playing hard to get, and instead been about trying to change her mind. What he did know though, was that it was time to end it, and simply leave her alone like she clearly wanted him to. Lily Evans always had and always would hate James Potter; everyone knew that, even him. 

    A.N. So, taking a mini hiatus with Just Malfoy. This idea kept getting in the way, so I'd thought I'd put it out there, see if it would help. Any opinions? Please review!

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