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AN: My chapters have suddenly almost doubled in length. I am confused, but I am not complaining. :)

Super cute first scene (and the next one) brought to you by the Snowpocolypse that hit the midwest last week and closed like... every school in Michigan. Colleges included. Yes, I had a snowday in college. It was epic.

Enjoy!

 








A crash of snow against Lily’s back distracts her from the snowman she is building with her roommates. A snowfall in early March has coated the ground for a final time, and nearly all of Hogwarts’ students are taking advantage of it. She turns around to find the culprit, and though nobody seems guilty, she knows immediately who it is. She rolls a ball of her own, and with the help of her wand, hurls it at the back of James’ head. She watches it make contact, and hears the satisfying crunch, then turns back to the snowman. The girls giggle.

Another snowball hits against Lily’s bare neck. She curses herself for putting her hair up. She quickly makes a snowball for herself, and turns to throw it back at James. He is standing much closer now, facing her and waiting expectantly. She throws it with all of her might, and it lands directly on his face. She laughs and then takes off running.

He follows her, pelting her with snowballs simultaneously. She attempts to throw some back at him, but none make contact. He catches up with her quickly, and though he only means to grab her, he has accumulated such momentum that he topples over, landing on top of her.

They stare at each other for a moment, and she think he might kiss her, but he doesn’t. Instead, he takes a handful of snow, and throws it in her face, grinning. She sputters, and shakes the snow off of her face as James rolls over lying next to her. He is laughing manically. She tries to shoot him a dirty look, but all she can manage is to join him.








“Remus, why is James the most bloody difficult person in the universe to shop for?”

“Because he’s filthy rich, and his parents buy him everything he wants.” He looks up at her. “Why are you shopping for him?”

“Because it’s his birthday.” Her voice is a cross between sounding as though it is the most obvious thing in the world, and second-guessing herself.

“And you want to get him something?”

“Yes.”

“Good luck.”

“You’re not being helpful.” He shrugs, “Well, what are you lot getting him?”

“I dunno yet.” She questions him with her expression, “Well, we usually all go in on gifts for him. I just give my money to Sirius, and he figures it out.” Her face lights up. “You can’t do that, though.”

“Why not?” She demands.

“Because it’s mates thing.”

“James and I are mates!”

He snorts, “No, you’re not.” Again, she questions him with her expression, “Look, just give him a kiss or something, he’ll love it.”

Her eyes narrow, “If James wanted to kiss me, don’t you think he’d just do it?”

“Let’s look at experience: has he kissed you before?”

“No,” she says quickly, she wonders if it’s too quickly, but her slip doesn’t seem to faze him. “but that’s not the point.”

“Really? Because he’s definitely wanted to kiss you before, and he hasn’t, so I think that’s exactly the point.” She narrows her eyes again, “Well if that’s out of the question, get him anything. He’ll love anything you get him, really. You could literally give him a pile of hippogriff manure, and he would put it on a pedestal, because you gave it to him.”

“Remus…”

“That’s all I’ve got for you, Lily.” She pleads with her expression, “He wouldn’t care if you gave him nothing, so really anything will work. Or even just acknowledging that it’s his birthday. He’ll be thrilled, really.” He checks his watch, “I’ve got to go, you’ll do fine.”

He gets up to leave, “Thanks, Remus.”








“James.” He looks up from the schedule, “Why is this taking so long?”

He takes her in: there are deep circles under her eyes, her tie is loosened, the hair that had been done so well this morning was now pulled back on her head. The first few buttons of her shirt are undone and he can see the familiar skin of her neck clearly. It does not exactly help his motivation to finish.

“That is a great question.” He checks his watch, and groans. “We’ve been working on this four three hours.” Lily stares at him, unable to form words. “Next time, we’re starting the schedule before nine o’clock the day before it’s due.”

“Yes,” she agrees, “that is an excellent idea.” She scans the progress they’ve made, “We’re not even close to being done.”

“We’re more than halfway,” her eyes narrow in annoyance at his optimism. He sighs, “Why don’t we take a break?”

“And do what, exactly?”

“Get some food. I for one am famished.” He isn’t but that doesn’t matter. He needs to get away from this stupid common room and this stupid work. Lily does too, he can tell.

“How are we supposed to get food now?”

He looks at her in shock, “You’re doubting me? Really?”

“Never.” She chuckles, “Lead the way.”

They walk out of the stuffy common room and into the brisk air of the corridor. There is a moment of slight panic on Lily’s part, what happens if they get caught? James reminds her that they are Head Students after all, and it comforts her enough.

They walk slowly, enjoying every moment away from the work they can afford. Talking isn’t necessary; the silence between them is nearly always comfortable.

Lily’s hand is casually bumping into James’. He is certain that she’s doing it on purpose, and he can’t exactly blame her. He too, takes every chance he can to innocently touch her. Their fingers often graze when working together, and his touch always lingers just a moment longer than necessary.

He wants to grab her hand, and hold it for the rest of the way to the kitchens. He wants to hold it forever. Every fiber of his body is telling him to do it. Part of his mind is trying to reason doing it. He wants to, she wants him to, there shouldn’t be a problem. It’s innocent.

But at deeper part of him, the broken hearted part, is telling him not to. He can’t. Touches are always more than they seem between them. They are both tired, and neither of them is exactly thinking clearly. Maybe he was ready to hold her hand, but it wouldn’t stop there. It would lead to more, and James is not ready for more.

The latter wins out, and James stuffs his hands in his pockets. Lily clasps hers behind her back.

This action has somehow made the silence awkward, and Lily is the first to break it.

“So, your birthday’s coming up. Any big plans?”

He shrugs, “I guess they’re throwing me a party, but that’s all that I know of.”

“I did hear of this party.” She nods.

“What did they tell you?” his interest piques, “They won’t say anything to me.”

“It’s supposed to be really spectacular, but that’s all I’m at liberty to say.”

He stares at her, trying to force an answer out. She ignores him. “That’s it? After all I’ve done for you?” He’s pleading now, it’s fake, but it never hurts to try.

She chuckles, “That’s all I really know anyway.”

“Well then,” he rolls his eyes dramatically, “I guess that is acceptable.”

“Good,” She grins at him.

They arrive at the entrance to the kitchens, “Have you ever been here before?” he asks her. She shakes her head. “See that pear?”

“Of course.”

“It’s ticklish.” She looks at him skeptically. “Try it.”

She seems suspicious, but walks forward and does it. James grins as he hears her gasp of surprise.

“The kitchens?” she turns around to ask.

“Open the door and see.”

She opens the door and turns back to him. “Remind me never to doubt you again.”

“Will do.”

They enter, take a seat, and allow the house elves to serve them. Lily takes a bite of her dessert, “You know, maybe we should make this a tradition.”

James laughs, “We’ve only got to do two more.”

“That’s right.” She takes a drink of pumpkin juice, “That’s rather sad.”

“You’re upset that we won’t have to slave away over prefect schedules anymore?”

“No,” she corrects, “I’m upset that we won’t be here anymore.”

“That’s fair.”

“I’m glad you approve.” She deadpans.

“Of course I approve.” She rolls her eyes, “It’s scary outside of here. There’s a war on.”

“It’d be scary even if they’re weren’t a war on.” He raises his eyebrows, inviting a further explanation, “Well, we leave here, and we have to be grown ups. We have to get jobs, and buy houses, and figure out what to do with our lives. It’s terrifying.”

“You don’t know what you want to do with your life?”

“You do?”

“Well, yeah. I mean, I did. The war kind of changes things.” He takes a bite of his cake as Lily sets down her goblet.

“Do tell.”

“Well, I always wanted to be a Curse-Breaker, for Gringotts,” she chuckles. “But with everything that’s going on, all I can imagine is fighting.”

She smiles, “A Curse-Breaker, that doesn’t surprise me at all.” He raises an eyebrow, “It’s just so you. A life full of chaos and adventure, that’s got ‘James Potter’ written all over it.”

He laughs, “Thanks. What about you?”

“I told you,” she scolds, “I haven’t got a clue.”

“Yes, you do.” She shakes her head; “You never wanted to be anything when you were little?”

“Well, when I was little, I wanted to be a teacher, but then I discovered I was a witch, and things changed.”

“And now?”

“And now, I dunno. I suppose I want to fight, how could I not? But it’s kind of impeding on other dreams.”

“What other dreams?”

“You’ll laugh.”

“I won’t.”

“You will.”

“I won’t!”

“Fine,” she concedes, “but if you do, I’m leaving and you’re finishing the schedules by yourself.”

“That’s fine, because I won’t.”

She rolls her eyes, “Well, as part of the master plan for my life I developed when I was six, after I taught, and got married, and had a family, I was just going to stay at home and raise my children.” James can’t stop his eyes from widening in surprise, “Yes, I wanted to be a housewife.”

He doesn’t laugh, “You still do?”

“Yeah.” She smiles, “I don’t want anything more, actually.”

He grins, “That’s brilliant. You’ll be a wonderful mother.”

She blushes, “Thank you.”

By they time they leave the kitchens it is nearly two in the morning. It takes them another hour to finish their work. They are completely exhausted by the time they finally make their way to bed. As they drift off to sleep, neither of them could be happier.









The bass is thumping. The music is up way too loud, and Lily can feel the vibrations coursing to her core. There is a general hum of excitement and chatter lingering just below the music. People are dancing. Food and drink are being consumed by the ton. James Potter’s birthday party is in full swing.

Lily has a headache.

This isn’t to say that she hasn’t been enjoying herself, because indeed, she has. She has eaten the delicious food, had at least her share of butterbeer, turned down a firewhiskey, chatted merrily with everyone around her, and danced with Sirius, Remus and Peter at least once.

She has seen James, but only from a distance. It is disappointing, but not all together unexpected. He is busy being the cordial host that she is certain his mother raised him to be.

Surely soon he would need to greet her too, and then she’ll get to see him, and talk to him a little, at least. Perhaps he’ll even stay by her side for the rest of the night. She can’t think of anyone who would object the thought. Soon, he would find her but now, she needs a break.

She excuses herself from the group she is chatting with, and cuts across the common room, bottle of butterbeer in hand. As she exits the portrait hole, the cool air of the corridor shocks her. She inhales deeply, and sighs in relief as the fat lady closes behind her, and shuts out the sounds from within.

Wishing to avoid conversation with the Fat Lady, as well as any other Gryffindors taking a break from the party, she took a few strides down the corridor, turned around the first corner, and slid down against the wall. Memories of turning this same corner flood her. Days when she would storm around, waiting to be shoved into the wall when he would inevitably find her. Good days. Well, better days.

No, that wasn’t it either. Days then were good of course, but so were the days now. And it wasn’t as if those days were better either. She was just as happy now as she was then, and in fact, in some ways, maybe happier. Life now is less confusing, less dramatic. When she puts her mind to it, she can really only think of one thing that she would change.

“There you are.” The voice is familiar and comforting; the only one she wants to hear, “Skipping out on my party already?”

“Just taking a break,” she smiles, “I have a headache.”

“Did Sirius give you firewhiskey?” He eyes the bottle wearily.

“No, he offered and I declined, it’s simply butterbeer for me.”

“Good, because that stuff will definitely give you a headache.”

She peers at him, “You’ve had some already, haven’t you?”

“No, absolutely-“ Her eyes are narrowed at him, “Okay I’ve had a bit, but it’s my birthday!” He slides down the wall opposite her. It’s a small corridor, and their feet almost touch when their legs are out straight in front of them.

She laughs, “Are you enjoying it?”

“The buzz or the birthday?”

She laughs again, “Both, I suppose.”

“Well, I’m really not that buzzed, but the birthday is going swimmingly.”

“Good presents?”

“Excellent. I particularly enjoyed yours.” He pulls a beautiful cherry box from the pocket of his cloak, opens it, and removes A Christmas Carol, holding it up to show her. “That’s wonderful, really.”

She laughs, “I hoped you would enjoy that. Have you figured out the box yet?”

“Well,” he ponders it for a bit, “No, I haven’t.”

“That’s probably because it’s just a box. It’s not magical. My father makes them. You’re supposed to keep things that are precious to you in them. I have one to keep letters from home in.”

He silently appraises it. He runs his hands over it, opens it, then closes it.

“You don’t have something precious to put in it?”

“No. The only thing worthy of it won’t fit in a box.” She smiles at him, but does not respond. Perhaps a strange sense of guilt overcomes him, because suddenly he tells her, “I’m not seeing Nina anymore.”

“Good.” She responds without thinking, but attempts to save herself, “I mean, I know. I mean, I’m sorry.”

“No you’re not.”

“I’m not,” she admits, “but I’m trying. Does that count?”

“I think it does.”

“You’re wonderful.” Her expression is full of affection for the boy. He doesn’t respond. She sighs, “This is just so difficult. Is this- is this how you felt?” He raises his eyebrows, asking for an elaboration, “Like, like everything you need in the world is right in front of you, but you just can’t have it. Or you’re favorite toy is at a store, or a friends house, and you can play with it all day, but you can’t bring it home. Or- or like there’s some wonderful toxic…thing, and you can spend some time with it, and when you do it’s glorious, but when you leave, and it makes you leave, it kills you a little bit more.” She stares at him.

“That about sums it up, yeah.” He avoids eye contact.

“I’m so sorry. I am a bitch. This is horrendous.”

“You’re not a bitch. You’re one of the kindest people I know, actually.”

She rolls her eyes, “I wouldn’t wish this suffering on my worst enemy, and I put you through it for years. That does not exactly sound kind to me.”

He moves slightly closer to her, “I didn’t exactly deserve your kindness for a good portion of that time.”

They are silent for a few moments; both are avoiding eye contact with each other. Finally, Lily speaks, “Does it make me selfish to want you after everything I’ve done to you?”

He ponders for a moment, “Yes.” Her face falls, “but being selfish is not the worst thing in the world. Every single person alive has selfish tendencies. I’m being selfish about this whole thing too,” she looks confused, but he ignores the expression, and she does not pursue it, “There are far worse things to be than selfish.”

“Like what?” her voice is flat.

“You could be a Slytherin.”

Lily cannot suppress her laugh. She looks at him, he is standing now, and holding out his hands, she smiles at him. “Thanks,” she takes his hands, and allows him to help her stand.

“Let’s go, Lily,” he offers her his arm, and she accepts, “the party awaits.”
 








They return to the party, and Lily is immediately stolen away by Sirius. He drags her away to dance, and James is left to find a seat on the couch, and think.

She is selfish, that can’t be denied, but there are so many good things about her, the selfishness seems miniscule in comparison. She is good, and sweet, and kind, and adventurous. She is brave, and strong, and fun, and funny, and always, always, always willing to stand up for what she believes in. She has such a beautiful soul that is a shame she focuses on the negative aspect.

James can’t even bring himself to think of it as a negative aspect. However much pain it has caused him, it’s brought him happiness too. If Lily was a selfless as she wanted to be, their relationship would’ve ended before it had even started. And even if it had lasted, they certainly wouldn’t be where they are now.

Where they are now isn’t the perfect place, and it isn’t where either of them wants to be, but it’s nice. It’s a piece of beautiful scenery on the bumpy road to somewhere amazing. And James doesn’t think he would change it, even if he could.

“James.” Lily brings him out of his reverie. “Listen!” She’s grinning.

He catches the familiar tune, and images of Lily dancing on his bed flood his memory. He smiles.

“Come dance with me!” She grabs his hands and drags him over.

The song is nearly over by the time they make it to the dance floor, and they have only a few precious moments of movement before a slow number comes on. Lily looks at him, uncertain of whether or not he wants to sit down. He answers her by grabbing her waist and pulling her close. He holds onto her right hand, and her left arm snakes around his neck. She gently rests her head on his shoulder.

It isn’t exactly the closest they’ve been since the last night they were together, but it is certainly the most intimate. James can feel her breath on his neck, and it makes him miss her all the more.

They aren’t nearly close enough, but for now, he is content.








AN: Next chapter is the last, excluding the Epilogue. (:( That’s a happy and a sad face because this is a little bit of both. There might be an update next weekend, but I can’t make promises. My goal is to have the entire thing done by March 9, because I think that’s the anniversary of this story. So, there’s that.

I’m so terribly sorry I’ve been slacking on review replies. There are a lot of you with really nice comments that I feel deserve response, but it takes so long with everything going on in my life right now. I’m prioritizing, and the story comes first.

I think that’s all.

Please review!

Love, Sunny

 

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