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He has to do it. He is reasoning with himself, because he isn’t necessarily sure that what he’s doing is right.

It is on one level, certainly. But then, it is certainly wrong on one level too.

It is what he needs, he knows. He also knows it is not what he wants in the slightest.

He wants to say yes to her, as she’s apologizing and begging him to take her back. He wants to run to her, take her in his arms and not ever let go. He wants to date her, hug her, kiss her, make love to her. He wants to hold her hand in the hallway. He just wants to be with her, in everyway they were before, and everyway she’s offering now.

But he can’t. Because, if he does that, if he runs back to her the way he always has, everything will be the same. He will still cling to her desperately, and she will still walk all over him. He can’t do that anymore.

So, reason wins out and he does what he needs to; he tells her no, and walks away.

Later, he decides that she has a point; he needs her. She drives him to his worst, yes, but when things were good (and they could be good), she brings out his very, very best. He lets her back in, gives her a foot in the door. He tells her they can be friends, though they both know that they will never be just friends. Then he hugs her, and holds her, close and tight, because he knows it will be the last time for a while, at least.

When he finally makes his way to bed, he is certain that Lily Evans is going to be the death of him.

 

 




“Oi, why didn’t you tell us?” Mary MacDonald accosts her as Lily entered the dormitory from the bathroom. She had been the first to bed, and the first to rise, and thus her roommates were only now able to question her.

“Tell you what?” Lily replied.

“That you fancy James Potter, of course!” Ella chimed in.

“I didn’t really think about it.” She lies. Of course she thought about. She hardly thinks of anything else lately.

“What do you mean you didn’t think about it? Didn’t you know that this is very important information?”

“I didn’t think about it.”

“Well, you could’ve at least told us you were going to ask him out.” Mary says sardonically.

“Well, I didn’t think about that either.” The two girls eyes grow. The remaining members of the dorm are listening while getting ready for the day, “It was completely unpremeditated. It was also a very bad idea.”

“You didn’t think about it at all?” Molly Fletcher asks. Lily shakes her head.

“You just did it? On a whim?” Aurora Burton is speaking now.

“Well, like I said, it was a very bad idea.” The girls are stunned into silence, “I probably should’ve told you though. Maybe then you would’ve stopped me.” They all shake their heads, “Really, you would’ve just let me do it?”

“You were really determined, Lily.” Ella reminds her.

“And it was bloody funny,” Mary adds.

“I appreciate the love, guys.”

“We do too, Lily,”

“Now tell us what happened!” Molly demands.

“Nothing special,” she informs them, “we went for a walk, and talked, and decided we should just be mates.”

“Just mates?” All of them ask, nearly as one. She nods.

“Just mates?” Aurora asks again. Lily nods once more, “You practically declare your undying love for him in front of the entire Great Hall, and he just wants to be mates?”

“Well, he’s seeing someone,” Lily defends.

“Why?” Mary asks.

“Whom, is the better question,” Ella corrects.

“Nina Hirt, and because he fancies her, I’d assume.”

“No, he doesn’t.” Lily looks confused. “He fancies you he always has. Everyone knows it.” Lily looks at Molly as though she is mad. “What? It’s true.”

“Well, he must’ve moved on.” And as she says it, she realizes it, and suddenly all Lily wants to be alone. “I think I fancy a walk,” she says.

She exits the room immediately, leaving her roommates utterly bewildered.

She walks gracefully down the stair and into the common room. As soon as she leaves the portrait hole she is running. She is not sure where she is going, but she is getting there quickly.

Her strides are long and clumsy. Her red mane is flying out behind her, and her breaths are hard and uneven. Her heart is beating quickly.

She doesn’t know how long she runs for; it seems a second and an eternity at once. Eventually she finds an alcove hidden from the view of the corridor. She enters and slides down the wall.

“He’s moved on.” She whispers to herself. She is too late. A tear falls down her face. He’s gone, and there’s nothing she can do. He’s moved on. She should too.

But she won’t. And she knows it as soon as she thinks it. She won’t move on. She can’t. She doesn’t want to. She will wait, days or weeks or months or years, she will wait just as patiently as he did. She’ll be his mate, and long from afar. He’ll come around eventually, and she will wait for him.

But this, she decides as the tear splashes on her knee, is the last tear she will shed for James Potter.

 

 




“Hey, James.” She says sweetly as she takes a seat next to him on the couch. He is reading a book, a muggle title Lily has heard of, but never read. “What are you reading?”

He puts it down, “Oliver Twist, have you ever read it? It’s for Muggle Studies.”

“I haven’t. It’s usually assigned in schools, but thanks to this wonderful establishment, I have escaped it.”

“Lucky you.” She chuckles, “It’s bloody boring. Don’t read it.”

“Well of course it is. It’s Dickens. He’s kind of bland. Don’t cut him out though, he did some rather brilliant work.”

“You’ve read other stuff by this bloke?” He looks at her quizzically. “Why?”

“Tradition.” She smiles, “My dad used to read us A Christmas Carol every year on Christmas Eve.”

“And you liked it?” He’s looking at her in utter disbelief.

“Yes. You can’t insult it until you’ve read it.” She scolds.

“I’ll have to read it then.” She nods in agreement.

They both smile.

“Say, now that I’ve saved you from the torture that is Oliver, are you busy? I need some help with Transfiguration.”

His face falls, “I can’t right now, I’ve got to meet Nina soon.”

“Why?” she asks before she can stop herself, “you could stay here with me. I’m sure it’d be way more fun.”

His eyes narrow in annoyance, “Lily, we’ve talked about this.”

“I know,” she sighs, “just take it as a friendly reminder that I’m here and available should you change your mind.” She smiles mischievously. Maybe waiting patiently wasn’t exactly her forte.

“Lily.” His expression says it all. He’s seeing Nina and there’s nothing she can do. Nothing is going to change.

“Right,” she concedes, “Go have fun with Nina. I’ll find someone else to help me.”

He rises to leave, “I’ll help you when I get back, I promise.”

“I’ll be here.” She assures him as he walks away.

This is going to be harder than she thought.

 

 




It’s not right. She knows that it’s not. There’s just- there’s something missing, and she’s not sure what it is. They get on very well; she thoroughly enjoys the time she spends with him. But it’s just not right.

Maybe, maybe something is there and she just isn’t feeling it yet. Maybe when he kisses her, really kisses her, she’ll see fireworks, and then she’ll know that it is right. Maybe that’s all it will take.

Or maybe, something really is missing, because they’ve been seeing each other for two weeks now, and he still hasn’t even tried to go beyond the practically chaste pecks they’ve been giving each other so far.

She knows which is more likely.

She’s tried to reason it away. He’s waiting for the right moment. He wants to take things slow. He’s nervous because, as far as she knows, he’s never actually dated another girl, and maybe he’s never kissed one either. He doesn’t know how to translate his passion physically. She hopes that it’s true, but in her heart, she knows it’s probably not.

What’s more, she doesn’t know if she even wants to snog him. She’s attracted to him, certainly, and she’s sure that it would be good; it might change the dynamic between them. True, it might well be a good thing- it could prove her wrong, tell her that there is something there. But it might also tell her that there’s not. She isn’t actually sure which one she would prefer.

She wants to want there to be a spark, but she isn’t really sure. Because this is James Potter she’s talking about. James her friend and rival who made her laugh in Care of Magical Creatures, and trash talked her before a quidditch match. This is James her… boyfriend? James and Nina. Nina and James. There just isn’t a ring to it.

It just isn’t right.

She sees him sometimes, at Gryffindor table, or in the Library studying. She watches, because everything about him is infectious, his laugh, his style, is very presence. The pure joy on his face when he’s with his friends brings a smile to her own. Sometimes, he sees her, and makes eye contact, and flashes that beautiful smile at her. It doesn’t put butterflies in her stomach or a tingling on her skin. Sometimes, she sees him with Evans. She wants to hate it, but she can’t, because when they’re together, they positively glow with glee.

He’s never like that when he’s with her.

It isn’t right.

But maybe it could be? Maybe she could make him that happy. Maybe he could make her that happy.

She knows it isn’t right.

She dates him anyway.

 

 




“Did you hear the one about the two hippogriffs in a bar?”

“Yes.” She ignores him, trying to focus on her work, but failing miserably.

“What about the one about the house elf’s wand?”

“Twice,” she looks up at him, “And it’s disgusting.” She tries to fight back a smile.

“Aye, but that’s what makes it so funny.” He looks at her seriously.

She chuckles despite herself, and James smirks. “Did you hear about the wizard who wouldn’t stop telling bad jokes?” she asks him.

“No, no I haven’t.” He responds.

“All his mates cut of their own ears so they wouldn’t have to listen to him anymore.” She says, looking back at her book.

James doesn’t laugh, “Well, that’s dumb. Why didn’t they just cut out his tongue?”

Lily smiles, “Aye, because” she looks at him, “His tongue can do other things… useful things…” she grins wickedly. He raises and eyebrow at her skeptically, “I could show you, but,” she leans in and whispers, “I don’t think your girlfriend would appreciate it.”

“Clever,” he deadpans.

“I do my best.”

That’s the best you can do?”

“I learned from you.”

“You must’ve failed the class.”

“Nonsense,” she looks up, “I’m your star pupil.”

“Yeah, you’re a star alright,” He rolls his eyes, obviously avoiding eye contact. He leans in close and pats her hand, “Everyone is special.”

She turns to him in offense. He chuckles, “And that is how it’s done.”

Lily fights back, but the laughter overtakes her, and soon there’s a tear rolling down her face. James has joined in, his own deep laughter weaving melodiously with her high-pitched giggles. Soon the librarian reprimands them for making so much noise, and the pair leaves with minimal work done, and aches in their stomachs.

 

 




The warm water soothes his muscles after a particularly rough quidditch practice. He cleans quickly, but he remains, allowing the knots to untie themselves, and the water to clear his mind. He attempts to rub out a particularly sore spot on his neck, realizes he is only making it worse, turns around and lets the water take care of it.

He opens his eyes, and she is there. White tee shirt, tight jeans, luscious red locks falling around her face. Her green eyes glint mischievously, a smirk grown on her face. He is suddenly very aware that he is in the shower, facing her, and she can see everything. He blushes; she grins a bit bigger.

She takes a step toward him. Then another, then another. Soon, she is standing directly in front of him, water darkening her hair, making her shirt translucent. He guiltily scans her body, thanking Merlin for the magic of water on white shirts, then his eyes lock on her face. She isn’t wearing make-up, he notices, and she has never looked so beautiful. Beads of water cling to her eyelashes, she blinks them away quickly. He brushes a drop away from her cheek with his thumb. She covers his hand with her own. “I love you.” She says softly.

And then, before he knows what is happening, they are kissing, and it’s the most glorious thing in the world. Their tongues are dancing, her hands are everywhere, and without realization, clothes are being shed. They stop suddenly, and he looks at her. She looks back, and they both smile at each other. Of all the beauty in front of him, her smile is his favorite. Their eyes do not break contact with each other. Hands find each other and fingers lace. Smiles do not fade. It is just the two of them, and nothing, nothing can come between them.

They stay that way for a while. Perfect together in the moment. And then, he realizes they aren’t alone. Not at all. In fact, there are definitely people looking at them, but James can’t seem to care. He doesn’t even feel as though he should. He searches her face, certain that she, at least would be embarrassed. He can’t find a trace. He asks her without words, and she responds, “It’s okay.” She smiles again, “It’s okay as long as I’m with you.”

James wakes with a start, thankfully alone, thoroughly confused, and in desperate need of a cold shower. The dream fades quickly from his memory, but leaves him with the nagging thought that he is making a terrible mistake.

 

 




“It’s not a date.”

“It’s a date.”

“It’s not a date.”

“It is a date.”

“Who’s got a date?” Remus interjects as he enters the room.

“Prongs.”

“With Nina?”

“No, with Evans.”

“Padfoot’s lying. I haven’t got a date.”

“No, he’s only got a meeting with Evans to study.”

“Sounds like a date.” Peter throws out as he walks in from the bathroom.

“But it’s not! Lily and I are just friends. Friends like to spend time together. Lily and I study. It’s what we do.”

“I’m sure you’d do a lot more if she gave you half a chance.”

“She did though!”

“Oh right, Wormtail, I forgot James was just too much of a pansy to act on it.”

“Don’t be so harsh, Sirius, it’s not his fault he hasn’t any nerve.”

“I do!” James yells. “Goddamn. If I wanted to date Evans, I would. But I don’t right now, because we’re. Just. Friends.”

“Well, if you’re just friends,” James nods, “You won’t mind if I tag along? Because I really do need to study, and it’s not like I’ll be interrupting your date or anything.”

James narrows his eyes, “I hate you.” Because, with that logic, he just couldn’t say no.

 

 




“I tried to stop them.” James is solemn when he approaches her in the library. Lily looks confused, but understanding dawns on her face as three boys boisterously enter. Peter too, and wanted to come along, and Remus had been convinced by the other two to join them.

“Will they be joining us?” She asks. She isn’t annoyed; her tone seems more amused than anything. James nods his head apologetically. “Okay.” She smiles.

“You’re not angry?” he asks before the three arrive.

“No, but it’s not like there’s much I could do if I was.” She shrugs.

He starts to respond, but is interrupted as the remaining boys finally join them, “Hey, Evans!” Sirius greets her enthusiastically.

“Hi,” Peter is more reserved.

“Hey, Lily.” Remus greets her as a friend.

“Hello,” she smiles at them, “Join us.” She gestures to the remaining seats around the table. James has sat down next to her, and the three other’s fill in.

Sirius sits across from her. She is working somewhat diligently, he is just pulling out his supplies, “So, Evans,” she looks up at him, “Any men in your life?”

“Well,” she’s looking at her work again, “I’m sitting with four strapping young gents right now, so, yes, I’d say there are.”

“So, that’s it then? No big, strong quidditch players? No one to strike your fancy?”

“Just the one,” she mutters under her breath. James hears it, but no one else reacts, “Why, Sirius? Looking for an introduction?”

“Funny,” Sirius says dryly, everyone else laughs. “Really though,” once the chuckling has subsided, “No quidditch players?”

“No,” she somewhat sighs, “I tend to avoid them though,” she leans in closer to Sirius, and whispers so everyone can hear, “They really only know how to use one kind of broomstick, if you know what I mean.”

Sirius, Remus, and Peter laugh, James is not amused. “That’s not funny,” he tells her seriously, she shrugs with a smile.

“The truth hurts, mate.” Peter informs him.

“You would know, wouldn’t you?” James retorts. They all laugh.

It is quiet for a moment, but Sirius picks up again shortly. “So, Evans, now that we know there are no men in your life,” she raises her eyebrows, “I think we should date.”

She snorts, “You’re not really my cup of tea, Sirius.”

“No, I’m a bottle of firewhiskey. It’s better.” The boys chuckle.

“I prefer gillywater, actually.”

“You would, ya pansy.”

“I’m a girl!”

“You’re still a pansy.”

They cannot contain themselves any longer. They erupt in laughter, and for the second time in a month, Lily and James are kicked out of the library.

“Well boys,” Lily says between chuckles, “It’s been lovely, but I best be off before you get me expelled.”

“Change your mind yet?” Sirius asks.

Lily shakes her head, “No.”

He clutches his chest, “You’re breaking my heart, Evans.”

“It’s what I do best.” The laughter fades from James’ face.

She bids them farewell again, and walks off. When she has gone, they all turn on James.

“You’re an idiot, Prongs.”

 

 




It’s a strange thing, Lily thinks, to be friends with James. To laugh with him, but not kiss him afterward. To know him with friends, instead of just alone. To be close to him, but not part of him. She doesn’t mind these things. She loves laughing with him, and there’s so much more to laugh at when there’s more than just the two of them. It does, however take a great deal of will power not to kiss him when he makes her laugh until she cries. Knowing him around his friends provides an entirely new insight to him. He is like James, but magnified, when he is near them, and though it’s a rare event for them to be truly alone together, it’s not as though they don’t spend time only with each other. She is closer to him now than ever. She knows things that no one else does, understands him on a level that cannot be compared to any. She enjoys being close to him mentally, though she craves his body more than ever. It’s not a bad thing, being friends with him.

It’s just not what she wants.

She wants to kiss him because she can. She wants to hold his hand in the hallway. She wants him to hold her when she’s overwhelmed. She wants to sneak off to classrooms and bedrooms where they can be the only two people in the world. She wants to fight with him like they used to, with passions flaring and tempers raging; not the civil disagreements they have now.

But it’s what he’s offering, and so she’s taking every bit of it. She’s waiting trying to wait patiently, though every once in a while a “friendly reminder” slips out. James pretends to be annoyed; she can tell he loves it.

She didn’t realize it would be this hard. She knew it wouldn’t be easy, waiting never is, but James had done this for years. She knows it wasn’t easy for him, but he had managed, so why is she having such a difficult time?

Maybe it’s because James has always been the stronger of the two.

Or maybe it’s because the situation is different. James had hardly had to deal with her having a boyfriend.

Ugh. She isn’t sure what it is. But she knows that it’s right, and exactly where she should be. She can feel it.

So she waits. She waits and she is his friend, and she enjoys it. She suffers through the tough spots, because the rest makes her so happy. She ignores the butterflies in her stomach, and the tingling skin when their hands brush together. She tries not to read too much into it when he goes out of his way to see her or make her smile. She waits. She isn’t sure exactly how much time passes between when he left and where they are now, but she knows it feels far too long. The days are turning into weeks, and the weeks maybe into months, and they’re all blending together with a few shining, beautiful, moments standing out. Time keeps going. Life keeps moving.

Somewhere along the line, James stops seeing Nina.

 




AN: So I'd like to point out that this is legit the longest chapter I've written, EVER. Win. Also, It wasn't a terribly long wait, was it? Less than a month at least. I am on a roll. :)

In case you were wondering: yes, James was dreaming. No, Sirius is not being serious. I am hesitantly telling you there are going to be three more chapters including the Epilouge, but don't hold me to that. Also, Fairytalesque will be written next.

Um... I think that's it... Please review! :)

Love, Sunny :)

 
 

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