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For the first time in his life, James Potter would not be spending the holidays at home.

Christmas had always been a special time in the Potter household. His mother would go all out, and his father would have to race to keep up with all her demands. Mr. Potter took it all in good spirit, though. He said more than once that he found her antics quite endearing.

Early this year, however, Mrs. Potter had passed away. Having already lost his father two summers previous, James no longer had a home to go to, and he wasn’t sure how he felt about it. Bitter wasn’t the right word, or angry. He just felt… out of place.

He wasn’t used to not having somewhere to belong.

With nothing better to do, he decided to take a walk around the castle. He found himself doing that a lot lately, just wandering around the castle late at night. It helped him clear his head a bit.

He strolled aimlessly, counting the numerous paintings that adored the walls. It wasn’t until sometime later that a muffled sob brought him back to reality.

He searched for the source of the noise, shocked to find that it was none other than Lily Evans.

The two of them had a very tentative friendship, if you could even call it that. They would chat, she would laugh, and he would think everything was going great. Then the next day she would be cold and distant, or mad at him for some absurd reason.

There were many things in the world that he didn’t understand, and Lily Potter definitely on the list. She was probably number one.

He decided, however, that he should at least talk to her. Maybe even cheer her up.

There was just one little problem…

James Potter handled crying girls the same way goblins handled being called short.

Badly.

It wasn’t because he was mean, or because didn’t want to help. He was just completely lost when it came to comforting beings of the female persuasion.

But he couldn’t ignore the ache he felt when he started to hear the soft cry of that certain redhead. Something inside him said it would be wrong to walk away.

“Lily, is that you?” he said cautiously to the weeping girl in the windowsill, knowing full that it was.

His voice echoed in the empty hall, piercing the silence. It was late, and the moon was high in the sky, casting an iridescent glow on the girl’s face.

She turned towards him, chocking back sobs as she replied, “Yes, who’s asking?”

It was long past curfew, and hardly anyone stayed at the castle over Christmas holidays anyway. So naturally, she had assumed that she would be able to cry in peace. She was known for her calm demeanor, she always had her act together. Someone witnessing her breakdown was not an option.

“It’s me,” James replied, nervously ruffling the back of his hair.

The moonlight didn’t quite reach James, leaving his facial features indiscernible from her point of view.

“Thanks,” she spat venomously back at him, “That really cleared things up.”

She whipped her head back towards the window, resuming her watch of the snowflakes as they fell to the ground. She hoped that if she ignored the boy, he would disappear. Maybe he’d go back to his dorm, where he belonged.

Taking a deep breath, James stepped into the light and took the seat next to her. “It’s me, James,” he said, putting extra emphasis on his name.

“Oh,” she said, the surprise evident in her voice.

For the majority of her time at Hogwarts, Lily had viewed him as an arrogant git. But something in him had changed over that summer before sixth year, and she noticed. Just as she also began to notice that his eyes were a rather nice shade of hazel, and that her heart skipped a beat when he smiled. Of course, none of this needed to be public knowledge.

Unsure of what to say next, she snapped her mouth shut and let the silence linger.
When she didn’t continue, James began to get annoyed with himself. Here he was sitting with his dream girl on Christmas Eve, basking in the moon light, and he had no idea what to say.

“So… why are you crying?” He finally said after two and a half minutes of agonizing silence (not that he was counting or anything).

“That,” she said angrily, trying to wipe away any stray tears, “is none of your business.”

He recoiled, caught off guard by her sharp tone. “Sorry,” he said, putting a sarcastic emphasis on the word sorry. “I was just trying to be considerate.”

Her cheeks began to flush with anger. “Well, don’t be. I don’t need you pretending like you care.”

She wasn’t sure why she said it, or if she even meant what she was saying, but she said it nonetheless. Besides, being mean to James Potter was basically her job, even if he had nice eyes.

“Pretend?” he said, irritation increasing by the second. “Who said I was pretending! Why would I be sitting in freezing corridor in the middle of the bloody night on Christmas Eve if I didn’t actually care?”

She shot him a venomous glare and stood up from her seat, deciding she’d had enough.
“Now, wait one blasted minute! Where do you think you’re going?” he said.

He stood up and started after her, he wasn’t ready to be done arguing. It was so like her to say something like that and not elaborate. He was tired of her making him out to be some villain. What had he even done to deserve it?

"Lily!" he yelled one more time as his teeth began to chatter.

For some mental reason she had decided to walk straight out the front door and into the freezing cold night, and he was mental enough to follow her.

The staff had held their annual Christmas party, and it seemed that Filch consumed one Firewhiskey too many, otherwise the doors would have all been locked up.

Outside, the snow continued to fall, she continued to ignore him, and he was livid.

“In the name of Merlin, Evans, what are you doing?” he finally snapped.

Lily halted, crossing the ten feet separating them in several large strides until she was right up in his face.

“For your information, James, I’m storming off. It doesn’t really work if you come with me.”
He rolled his eyes, “You’re always so dramatic! "

“Me?” she asked, incredulous. “If anyway is dramatic here, it’s you! Chasing after me as if I’m some damsel in distress. What are you playing at, Potter? Hoping that maybe I’ll give you a snog for being so nice to be in my time of need?”

“You would think that, wouldn’t you?” he said, a sort of sadness replacing the anger in his tone. “In case you haven’t noticed, Lily, I’m not that kind of guy. Maybe when I was younger I tried to play it of like I was, but believe it or not I’m actually a decent human being.”

“I…I don’t…” she had begun to say, but trailed off.

Of all the things he could have said, that was not at all what she was expecting to hear. For the first time, Lily Evans was stunned to silence.

“Forget it, Lily,” he whispered, deciding that it would be best for him to just go back inside. She obviously didn’t want anything to do with him.

Her heart begun to sink as she watched him walk away. She knew that he had every right, after all she was being downright nasty, but it still hurt.

“Oh, I almost forgot,” he said, turning back towards her, “Merry Christmas, Lily.”

The hurt in his voice was so evident, and she was disappointed to realize that she was the one to cause it. She really did care about him, even though she had a completely awful way of showing it.

“James, wait!” she yelled, bring him to an abrupt halt. “You’re right.”

“I am?” he said, eyebrow raised. In all the time they’d spent together, Lily had never admitted to him being right about anything. To say he was shocked would be an understatement.

“Yes, you are. I was wrong to say those things about you. I know I don’t act like it, but I have noticed the change in you. I noticing everything about you now and it scares me,” she said, her voice barely audible. “I don’t like the way I feel around you, I become so vulnerable. The only way I know how to compensate for that is to shut you out. It’s the only way I can keep myself from getting hurt.”

“That last thing I’d ever want to do is hurt you. You, along with the entire student body, are aware of how I feel about you. I love you, for Merlin’s sake.”

He knew the words were true as soon as they left his mouth. He had never used the ‘L’ to describe his feelings for her before, but he was glad he said it. At least that way everything would be out in the open.

“Please don’t hate me for saying this, but that’s the way I liked it. You liking me and me feeling nothing but annoyance towards you. That way, I could never be the one getting hurt. But now, I think I love you too, and that makes everything more complicated.“

Hearing her say that was the best Christmas gift he ever could have received. So what if they were fighting in the middle of the night in the freezing snow? She loved him! That was all that mattered.

“Lily, it’s okay to be afraid.” he said with a small smirk.

She looked down at her feet, “You’re never afraid.”

“Are you kidding me? All those years that I acted like a prat to you was because I was scared. Sure, it was a partially because I was immature, but also because I thought if I could make it all seem like a joke, it wouldn’t hurt as bad when you said no. Then one day I decided that the risk was worth it.”

She looked up from the ground and their gazes locked.

“A chance with you was worth it,” he finished with a sincere smile.

The next thing James knew, her mouth was on his. He made a mental correction; now this was definitely the best Christmas present he could ever have.

The kiss wasn’t urgent or rushed, it was sweet and perfect, just the way Lily imagined it might be.

They walked back into the castle, hand in hand, taking in the beauty of the grounds.

“So, you ever going to say why were crying?” he asked, breaking the comfortable silence.
She let out a tiny laugh, “I feel silly now for being so over the top. I guess I was just upset by the idea of spending Christmas alone.”

“That, Lily Evans, is something you’ll never have to worry about again. I’ll always be here to keep you company, if you want.” he said, giving her hand a squeeze.

“I want,” she said with a nod, giving him a peck on the cheek.

Even though this wasn’t the type of Christmas James was used too, he couldn’t ask for a better night. He finally had a new place to belong.

It was with Lily.

The End.




A/N: The “I’m storming off and it doesn’t work if you come with me” line is credited to the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (:
 

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