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Her mind is racing. She has to do something, but she isn’t sure what. James, she has to see James. She has to talk to James. Except it’s seven o’clock in the morning and James, like her roommates, and most normal people are sleeping. Sleep, right. Sleep is good. She doesn’t have time for sleep. Because she has class today. Classes she cannot talk to James during because she is too busy learning. And because James is only in one of them today anyway.

She needs to organize her thoughts. She sits down and inhales deeply. James. She cannot do anything about him right now, so she puts him to the side. Sleep. Sleep would be wonderful, but if she falls asleep now, she will sleep through all of her classes. Classes, they start in two hours, which gives her plenty of time to get ready. Getting ready. It’s necessary, feasible, and a good use of her time right now.

She takes her time in the shower. The warm water soothes the muscles which have cramped after sitting in the same position for so long. She allows the scent of violets to fill her nose as she washes her hair. She scrubs her body with odorless soap and relishes the clean feeling it leaves her with. The towel is especially soft against her skin, and she uses it for longer than normal before magically drying herself.

She adds a bit of eye shadow to her usual mascara and eye liner. As an afterthought, she adds a swipe of pink lipstick too. She does her hair meticulously. She starts with it straight, and then adds very loose curls. A look in the mirror satisfies her.

At quarter past eight, she gathers her things, and makes her way to breakfast alone. She hopes that James is there, though once the thought enters her head, she realizes that if he is, she has no idea what she would say to him.

I’m sorry. I want to be with you. I hate not having you in my life and I’m not sure how much longer I can take it. Please, please, please forgive me.

They are all givens. They are all necessary. She doesn’t think they’re enough. They don’t convey her emotions, her desperation, though she thinks that it may be impossible to do that with words.

She continues her path in a trance, shaping and refining the words she wants to say when the time comes. At the entrance to the Great Hall, she briefly comes out of her stupor, scans the Gryffindor table for a head of messy black hair, finds none, and slips back in. It is short-lived; however as a group of giggling Ravenclaws behind her ruin her concentration.

“So, how was it?” Someone asks suggestively.

“It was,” the voice pauses, “It was good.” The tone implies that “good,” is probably not the best word.

“Only good?” The first voice is trying to pull something from the second voice that the second voice is not easily giving up.

“Did you shag?” A third voice asks the question the first one had been hinting to, and Lily chokes on the pumpkin juice she had been drinking.

“No!” the second voice is very offended, “It was only our first date!”

“You went on a date with James Potter,” Lily starts to pay significantly more attention, “And you didn’t shag him?”

No.” Lily tries frantically to place the voice. She knows it’s familiar, from her year or a prefect, she doesn’t know any other Ravenclaws.

“I thought everyone who dated James Potter shagged him.” Lily stabs her eggs rather hard.

“Well, I didn’t.” Not a prefect, none of the Ravenclaw prefect’s sound that superior. “We hardly even kissed, actually.” There is a collective gasp, “Just a peck on the cheek at the end.”

“Well, are you going to see him again?” Lily no longer cares which friend is asking the questions.

“I don’t know yet,” She is definitely, definitely from Lily’s year. Which one, which one, Lily racks her brain.

“Nina!” the group explodes in laughter.

Nina?!

 

 




Nina Hirt.

Nina Hirt.

Nina Hirt?

Really? James went on a date with Nina Hirt. Nina Hirt!

The thought plagues her through all of double Arithmancy with the Slytherins, and Ancient Runes with the Hufflepuffs.

Nina Hirt.

Lily knows her, of course. They have had several classes together over the years. The two don’t really get along. They do not hate each other by any means, but, in a crowded room where they knew no one but each other, they would both decide it is the time to make new friends.

She doesn’t understand what he sees in her. Lily guesses she is attractive enough, rather short though, and her nose is quite pointed. She is very friendly, usually good for a laugh. Quidditch captain. She supposes that these are the qualities that jump out at James.

But doesn’t he realize how arrogant she is? Nina Hirt thinks that everything she does is better than what anybody else does. If her essay does not receive the top mark, it is because the teacher is playing favorites. She scores nearly every goal for her quidditch team, and the others are only achieved by direct involvement by her. Not shagging James on the first date was the proper thing to do, because she had done it. If she had shagged James, Lily is certain that the same tone of superiority she used with her friends would be there. If, per chance, she is not perfect in some way, she will constantly bring it up in the hopes that someone will contradict her.

Lily is also irritated by Nina Hirt’s inability to stand up for what she believes in. If asked, Nina will always, always say that any form of bullying is wrong; however during any bullying, Nina can be seen in the crowd, laughing, and doing nothing to stop it. She believes in Muggleborn rights, except for when speaking to someone who does not. Werewolves are people too, but the law says that they can’t have jobs, so that’s the way it should be. Lily cannot stand that.

But what absolutely infuriates Lily the very most about Nina Hirt, is that, for whatever reason, James likes her.

 

 




After another grueling hour of potions, during which Lily almost falls asleep and nearly ruins her potion, Lily is ever grateful when the lunch bell rings.

Two of her roommates are in the class with her, and the group walks down the corridors together. The two are chatting animatedly, and Lily is nodding and laughing at the appropriate times, but is otherwise not contributing. They don’t seem to mind.

At the entrance to the Great Hall, Lily once again scans Gryffindor table for a mess of black hair, and finds none. She sits with the rest of her dormitory, and eats quickly. She scans the door periodically, still searching for James.

Somehow she manages to miss his entrance. She doesn’t see him sit down or start to eat. She doesn’t see his quiet conversation with Sirius. When she does see him rise and greet Remus and Peter in between the tables, she is momentarily astounded that her careful scanning has failed her.

She sees her opportunity, and immediately decides to act on it. She rises, despite the strange looks she is receiving. “Potter!” she yells.

His back is toward her and he does not turn around. She walks quickly toward him, receiving more and more strange looks, and ignoring every one of them. “Potter!” she yells again. He still does not turn around. “James.” She places a hand on his shoulder, and he cannot ignore her any longer.

“Can I help you, Evans?”

“I just wanted to let you know,” she is suddenly acutely of every pair of eyes in the room on her, she forgets everything that she has planned to say, “that I,” she falters, then starts again, “that I fancy you,” she tries to ignore the collective gasp, “and I think we should go out sometime.”

Every one, including James is looking at her like she has an extra head. She pushes past him and his friends as suavely as she can manage, and walks toward the door. Before she is halfway there several people yell, “Evans!”

She turns around to see Sirius, Remus, and Peter, gesturing at her to come forward. James has not moved. “Yes?” She steps back toward them.

Sirius responds, “He’s free right now.” Remus turns James around and pushes him slightly forward.

“Is that so?”

James blinks rapidly, “I- yeah.” He nods.

“Shall we take a walk, then?”

“Yeah,” he is regaining his composure. “I think that’d be good.”

He meets up with her, and the pair exit, ignoring the whispers that follow them.

They decide the Lake is the best venue, though it is cold, and neither of them has their cloak.

To the doors, and even on the path to the water, the pair chats aimlessly. Their days have been good so far. Quidditch practice has been going well. Yes, the weather is beautiful. It is not until the reach the waters edge that James speaks what has been on his mind.

“So, what is this about, really?”

A small smile passes her lips, “It’s about me fancying you, really.” He raises an eyebrow at her. “It is! I fancy you. I like you. I have a crush on you. I have feelings for you.” He doesn’t respond, so she continues, “And I know,” everything is rushing to her at once, and she wishes there was a way to simply pour it out of her, but there isn’t, “I know that I’ve been really, really, really dreadful to you, but I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.” He is showing no emotion, “I just, I want to be with you, James. In public, in private, and everywhere in between. I’ll scream it from the rooftops. Please, James.” He looks away from her, “Please.”

He runs a hand through his hair, and lets out a frustrated sigh. Lily gently walks closer to him and puts a soothing hand on his shoulder. He shrugs it off. “This isn’t fair, Lily.”

“W-what?”

“This isn’t fair! You catch me off guard and apologize like that because you know I’ll always forgive you. Because I just can’t say no to you, can I?” He moves farther away from her, “But I can’t do this with you again. I can’t. I won’t. No, Lily.”

“James,” he turns and begins to walk back to the castle, “James, please!” she begins to walk after him, but he is much faster. Before he gets too far she yells, “The world won’t wait for us, James!” He stops, “It won’t stop until you realize that you need me in your life. You need me every bit as much as I need you, James, and I need you like air.” He doesn’t move an inch, tears are stinging her eyes. “Sometimes you just need to forgive and forget, even if you don’t want to, because you never know what will happen. Especially now.”

He finally turns to face her, takes a few steps forward, “I know that, Lily.” His voice is soft, hurt but not angry, “I know all of that. But sometimes ‘sorry’ just isn’t enough.” He turns again and begins to walk away.

“Then what is enough?” he turns back to look at her, “Tell me, and I’ll do it.” She catches up to him, “I’ll do anything, if we can just please be together.”

He drops the hand she has picked up. “No, Lily! Don’t you get it? I can’t do this. I can’t. It hurts too much. You hurt me too much. I can’t. We can’t. No.”

They stare at each other in silence for a moment. Her eyes are pleading with his, emerald begging hazel.

“Then what can we be?” His look of determined sadness morphs to one of confusion, “If we can’t be together, can we be… something? Lovers? Friends? Acquaintances?” His expression is now blank, “I just, I need you in my life. I want you in my life. I miss you. I miss all of you. And I want all of you in my life again, but if that can’t happen, I’ll take any part you’ll give.”

He runs a hand through his hair, “I don’t know, Lily.” He turns and makes his way back to the castle.

This time, she doesn’t call after him.

 

 




“Lily, wake up.” The voice is stern. She doesn’t want to wake herself, but the voice is also slightly intimidating. She squeezes her eyes together and then opens them. James is standing over her. She is very confused. She rubs her eyes, thinking maybe it is drowsiness playing tricks on her. She discovers him again, but still not sure, she closes her eyes and stretches out. It leads to the discovery that she is on a couch, and –gah!—her muscles are very sore. James is still there when she sits up. “Are you trying to will me away?” he cracks half a smile.

“Never.” She yawns, “I was just making sure I’m not seeing things.” He can’t hold in the chuckle in the sound makes Lily smile. “What time is it?”

“Four thirty.”

“Shit. I’ve missed my classes, haven’t I?” She is oddly calm.

“Not any important ones.”

“They’re all important, James.”

He chuckles again, “Whatever you say.”

“Exactly.”

They fall into a comfortable silence, but as the memory of their last conversation seeps over them, it quickly becomes awkward.

“So,” James starts. Lily clings to his words. “I’ve been thinking about our conversation all day.”

“Yeah?” he nods, “And?”

“And, you’re right.” He stares into the fire, “I hate to admit it, but you’re right. I need you like I need air.” He looks back at her, full of desperation, “But, we can’t be like we’ve been-“

“I don’t want that at all,” she interrupts.

“No, we can’t be like we’ve been at all. I’m dating someone and-“

“You went on a date with someone,” she corrects, “you went on a date with Nina Hirt,” she almost grimaces as she says it, “That doesn’t constitute dating.”

“Do you have a problem with Nina? And what we had wasn’t exactly dating either.”

“I’m not her biggest fan.” She looks away, “And it could be.”

He decides it’s time to change the subject. “Anyway, we can’t… do the things we’ve been doing.” Her face falls, “We can’t be together.” He looks at her with large, sad, eyes. “But we can be friends.”

She smiles slightly. “Okay,” she holds out her hand for him to shake, “friends.”

He stands, grabs her hand and pulls her up. “Friends hug.” He says, wrapping his arms around her.

“Right,” she says, looping her arms around his torso, “Friends hug.”

But the two stand there, holding each other, for far longer than any hug of friends

 




AN: Bam. UPdated again! Go me! Woo! Anyway, The next chapter is almost done, and should be up soon, hopefully. 

Please review!

Love, Sunny 
 
 

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