Lily Evans was a strong, independent woman that needed no man. But in so saying, that didn’t mean she didn’t want one. One very specific one. One with astonishingly messy black hair and glasses. One that aggravated her just as much as he excited her. One that somehow managed to excel at all his classes despite being rather cavalier towards the idea of study. One that could be an incredible bully in the same breath as being incredibly kind. One that had served more detentions than nearly their entire year combined, and yet managed to be chosen as Head Boy. One that was by far the greatest quidditch player in their entire school, which made her weak at the knees. Which she would never tell him. Because then his aggravating side would rear its ugly head and she would be forced to beat him to death. And she rather enjoyed him of late.

Lily Evans, who was currently standing through a care of magical creatures lesson, refused to admit that the reason she was looking up to the castle at two minute intervals was in a futile attempt to see said messy haired boy. It was a ridiculous notion, James was definitely sitting in muggle studies and wouldn’t be standing at the castle doors. Thinking of James in muggle studies suddenly made Lily smile. For knowing that he took such a class meant he, unlike others throughout her life, accepted her for exactly who she was.

When she found herself smiling for no reason other than the image of James Potter before her eyes, she suddenly sobered. Beside her stood her best friend, Marlene McKinnon. Marlene for the last week had not been herself. Looking from her pretty blonde friend, across the class to another of her friends, she saw that Remus Lupin had certainly looked better. He had fresh scars on his face and Lily expected they probably extended to other parts of his body. They could not be seen though as it was the beginning of winter and everyone in their class was well rugged up.

Remus kept glancing towards them, and his expression seemed dead. Marlene had cried into Lily’s lap for an entire night as she and Mary had rubbed her back last week. Remus had ended their relationship out of nowhere. To Marlene it seemed completely unmerited and strange. Lily unfortunately knew better. Remus had told her he was “no good for her”. Marlene had sobbed that she couldn’t understand what he meant. But Lily knew. She suddenly felt very guilty for how well her relationship seemed to be fairing in comparison. She reached a hand up and took Marlene’s in it. She knew it must have been hard sharing so many classes with Remus.

When she looked back to Remus, his head was facing downwards. For the rest of their class Lily felt a pang of guilt for Remus, who in the current situation looked like the bad guy to onlookers. Lily knew he would most certainly be hurting just as much as Marlene. If not more. Boys could be fickle at their age, but for Remus to just turn around out of the blue and tell Marlene their relationship was a joke and he was done with it? That sounded to Lily a little more like a cover up.

As she held Marlene’s hand back up to the castle, thankful that Professor Kettleburn had only given them a theory class today about differentiating between specific dragons through their markings and hides, she decided she wanted to see how Remus was coping, also. After classes they made their way up to Gryffindor tower, having to evade Peeves who was doing his upmost to make sure every picture on the grand staircase was ever so slightly off centre. The portraits were all discussing their new positions heatedly as they crossed through into each other’s frames, pointing at Peeves as he cackled maliciously.

‘Do you want me to help you with your transfiguration essay, Marls?’ Mary asked as they strategically crossed the common room, dodging where Remus stood in a lax circle talking to Peter and James. Lily only let her eyes linger on James’s back half a second longer than she deemed necessary.

‘I don’t know. Whatever.’ Marlene shrugged as they climbed the stairs up to their dorm. Once inside she crossed the distance to her bed, dropped her bag effortlessly to the floor, pulled her blanket back and climbed into the warmth without even taking off her school robes. Mary looked to Lily with a face of worry. When they looked back to Marlene they just barely saw her hand pop out from under the mass of blankets grasping her wand before the drapes around her bed flung shut.

Lily saw Mary wince out the corner of her eye as it happened and moved forward to speak, ‘you’ll… you’ll let us know if you need anything, yeah?’ she asked with furrowed brows.

All that was registered in return was a solemn grunt. The two friends exchanged glances. Marlene had never been like this before. She had dated her fair share of boys in the past. She was an exuberant, charming girl. She made people laugh. Mostly she ended relationships when she bored of them. This had to be the first time she had ever exhibited anything other than mild apathy after one going sour. Mary went and sat on Lily’s bed beside Marlene’s and Lily sighed.

‘I’m going to see James for a bit. Let me know if she resurfaces.’ She whispered putting her things down and deciding to stay in her uniform for now. Mary nodded and crossed her legs on the bed despite it not being her own.

Lily left the room in low spirits and set off downstairs to where she had seen the boys. But once she arrived in the common room they were nowhere to be seen. Having been into their dorm more than a few times since she and James had started dating two months ago she deemed it acceptable to venture up on her own again now. She climbed up the four flights of stairs to their dorm and stopped at the door. It was unusually quiet. Remus must have been in there on his own. She knocked lightly and stepped in quietly when no reply came.

Of course the room was putrid, as always. She had to step over an assortment of dirty clothing and discarded wrappers to get inside the room fully before she could look up. To her shock it was devoid of one werewolf, boyfriend and boyfriend’s shorter friend. Sirius Black however stared back at her from his bed. He looked bored and unimpressed and she felt instantly awkward.

‘Oh sorry, I was just looking for-'

‘James isn’t here.’ He cut her off and looked back down at the book before him where he lay on his stomach, the bed was lacking any kind of blanket or sheets.

‘Actually,’ her eye twitched somewhat, ‘I wasn’t looking for James.’

‘Ha, that’s a new one. Are you trying out for a comedy gig, Evans?’ He chuckled to himself but it sounded hollow and mirthless.

She had noticed the quite apparent lack of niceties between Sirius and herself this school year. Not that she and Sirius had ever had a rolling repute, but he was usually quite forthcoming when she would put James down. He liked to annoy James as much as she did and for that reason, usually they got along when they were in close enough contact. But since she and James started dating it was as if she had jumped to the top of Sirius Black’s indifference list. It was a long list. And Lily wasn’t the kind of girl to just put up with condescending comments or being ignored.

‘I’m looking for Remus actually. Where is he?’ Her sentence was crisp as she watched Sirius reading over a textbook. She frowned, as it was a very odd thing to see him doing.

‘He left for the library a few minutes ago. Said he wanted some silent company.’ Sirius shrugged, not even bothering to look up. But Lily noted the smile that crossed his face almost seamlessly as he mentioned “silent company”.

‘What are you reading?’ She asked, not being able to hide her confusion at seeing him, what looked to be, studying. As she moved over to his fourth of the room Sirius still did not look up. She cleared her throat when no reply came.

He sighed, ‘it is called a transfiguration textbook. People apparently read them when they want to learn how to practice transfiguration. Or, idiots read them too much and suck at transfiguration.’

This sentence was completely lost on Lily. When she looked down she realised it was the sixth year passages of their text that he was reading, not their new seventh year ones further towards the back. This completely baffled her.

‘You’re top of the class Black, why on earth are you studying last year’s material?’ Once this question fell out of her mouth Sirius snapped the copy shut and pushed himself into a sitting position.

‘Is there something you wanted? James isn’t here. He went off with Wormtail to get something to cheer Moony up.’ The look he gave her from where he sat was icy. Lily was at a loss for words. Since when had Sirius Black ever displayed tendencies that didn’t include indifference or humour inducing qualities?

‘What crawled up your arse and died, Black?’ Lily spat, ‘ever since James and I started dating you’ve been sulking like a fourteen year old girl at a Beatles concert.’

‘At a what?’ Sirius frowned, a little taken aback.

‘Oh nevermind, but if you have something to say then say it. Stop moping, because you’re making this harder on James.’

‘Oh yeah, because James is having such a hard time lately, isn’t he? Sneaking off to spend every spare second with his girlfriend. I don’t have time for this.’ Sirius nothing short of pouted and turned to face another direction.

‘Are you kidding right now?’ Lily stared at him in shock, ‘are you sulking because your boyfriend is spending more time with me?’ This awarded her his attention. ‘Let me tell you something Sirius Black you are being a damn five year old child right now. Do you have any idea what’s going on for James at the moment?’ She paused for a reply. Sirius didn’t seem to have anything and shrugged.

‘James is Head Boy. Do you think we just snog in a room together when we’re alone? Do you have any idea what we have to do? We’re in control of the entire student body. We have to represent every student at Hogwarts. Students come to us every day with new problems. We have to solve them, we don’t go to the professors. We have to go between the students and the professors, not to mention the school’s board of governor with proposed ideas. We have to organise meetings. We run patrols. Every prefect comes to us for advice and the go ahead for any detentions or problems. We still have to do patrols. Do you know how boring patrols are? Do you? And if that’s not enough, James has to get up early every morning to run quidditch, too, or have you forgotten he’s also quidditch captain?

               ‘He wakes up earlier than anyone and he’s been beating himself up over losing to Slytherin, he blames himself entirely. The whole teams looks up to him and rely on him, so he’s been run ragged with those responsibilities, too. He’s trying his damn best and I haven’t been the most accommodating girlfriend. I whine and complain that I want to see him more. So he tries to fit in romantic little dates with me, too, and then to top it off he fits in time for you boys. He loves you three.’ Lily was so worked up in her speech she hadn’t noticed herself moving forwards until the end of Sirius’s bed stopped her. In turn, Sirius was moving further up the bed towards where his pillows should have been.

‘All he ever does is talk about you. He adores you Sirius Black. You’re his brother. He would cut off his own leg if it meant making you laugh. The day he forgot your birthday he was with me writing up letters to the Hogwarts board of governors about finalizing next terms Hogsmeade trip and I thought he was going to cry when he realised the date. He felt so terrible. He barely got the words out before he raced to find you. And what are you doing? Sitting in here being a sad sack about him not playing pranks with you every second day? Making him feel even worse than he already does? Shame on you, Sirius Black. Shame on you.’ As Lily finished she heaved out a huge breath, hands on her hips and stared at Sirius.

Sirius blinked back, holding onto his copy of A Guide to Advance Transfiguration. For a moment there was a dead silence between them. Sirius lowered his head and began examining the pattern on his mattress quite closely.

‘I-' he stopped, ‘I didn’t realise he was so busy.’

‘No. Because he doesn’t want you to think he doesn’t have time for you.’ Lily watched Sirius as he placed the book down and shuffled to the side of his bed, putting his left leg over the edge followed by his right. He held onto the mattress to either side of him and stared down at the floor for a moment and suddenly Lily realized she may have gone a little far. How long had her monologue just lasted? Surely there was more than one thing she had just blurted out that James didn’t want Sirius to know. Probably mostly the stuff about him trying to be romantic. Lily Evans, blabbermouth extraordinaire.

‘Evans?’ Sirius spoke towards the floor. Lily shook herself out of her own head and came around to take a seat beside him.

‘Yes, Black?’ She asked, focusing on the same pillow Sirius seemed to be.

‘You’ll look after him, won’t you?’ Lily felt warmth swirl around inside her from the light and polite tone he adopted. Sirius Black had always been a strange case. Everyone knew he’d come from a pureblood family and he certainly displayed it in a lot of areas. But then he also acted up to counter it. Mostly he was obnoxious and rude when he wasn’t ignoring you altogether. But then there were chosen times when Sirius Black was uncharacteristically polite and regal even.

‘As if he needs me to look after him. He has you for that.’ Lily bumped her shoulder into his own, swaying them slightly.

‘Clearly I’m rubbish at it. You picked up on all that while I just thought of myself.’ Sirius stopped and seemed to contemplate something.

‘For a while-' he took a breath as if the thing he was about to admit was hard for him to push out, ‘-for a while I didn’t like you, you know? In third year.’

‘I knew.’ Lily smirked. Sirius was incredibly cruel to her that year. That was the year he learnt not to test her when it came to hexes.

‘It was because everyone knew James liked you, but you never did anything about it. I thought you were a bit of an idiot.’ Sirius said this so quietly Lily had to lean closer to catch it.

‘Well, the two of you were complete jerks that year, you’re aware of that right? He might have seemed like a catch to you but he used to trip me over in the hallway, Sirius.’ Lily shook her head reminiscing. She heard Sirius let loose one of his bark-like laughs.

‘We weren’t that bad, were we?’

Were? Let me tell you something Black, one day you are going to look back on your school years and go, “Wow, James and I were kind of arrogant berks at school weren’t we?” and the two of you will laugh about how big your heads were. Hopefully aren’t still.’ She prayed.

‘Oh, well you’ll be there to say I told you so, at least.’ This was, and Lily picked up on it straight away, Sirius’s way of saying he accepted her. She smiled.

‘You bloody bet I will. I’ll rub it in your face with the force of a horntail. And, I’ll let you in on a secret if you can keep it?’ Lily asked looking towards Sirius who was waving his feet from side to side where his heels were rested on the floor. He turned to her and nodded once.

‘I’ve actually liked James for a long time. Since the train the year we started.’ Lily felt her cheeks redden slightly as she admitted it, looking away. Sirius didn’t reply and when she looked over at him he was smiling at the floor. ‘Don’t laugh at me, Black!’ She shoved him.

Sirius let his laughter free then composed himself, ‘I’m not laughing at you. You’re just a little softer than I expected, Evans. You seem so tough, but you’re a girl deep… deep down.’

‘Shut up!’ She punched him as hard as she could manage in the arm and Sirius grabbed the site in mock pain.

‘Don’t worry. If James is my brother that makes you my new honorary sister. You’re supposed to laugh at your sister’s expense.’ Sirius justified edging away from her so not to cop another blow.

Lily smiled, ‘oh, well that’s good. I need a sibling I can talk to seeing as my sister hasn’t even bothered to inform me she’s set the date for her wedding.’ Lily had received a letter from her parents informing her that Petunia and Vernon had set a date for the following summer, now that they had been engaged since the summer holidays just gone. Of course. Because a yearlong engagement was just the perfect amount of time to leave. And her sister was always so very by the book. She was hoping that Petunia would have written to her personally, but it seemed her sister still vastly distanced herself from her ‘riff raff’. Lily hadn’t realised she let go a sigh.

‘Don’t worry, I think I’ve had about four sentences from Regulus since we started school together.’ Sirius spoke and Lily looked over to him. She realised in that moment that she may have had more in common with the troublesome teenager than she realised.

‘Well then, I’ll just have to come to you with all my girly topics and harass you when James is busy.’ Lily grinned. She almost expected him to have his usual indifferent persona as a reply, but he glanced back at her with a quaint smile that warmed her heart. He could be very sweet, this misunderstood boy. As he looked back down to his jittering feet she reached out and pulled him into a hug.

‘Sorry. Sorry for stealing his time away from you.’ She spoke as Sirius tensed quite a bit from her contact. Funnily enough she didn’t expect as much from him. Sirius always seemed so relaxed with James and the other two that she expected he was the type to be comfortable around everyone. But as he only slightly relaxed with her, and gently returned the hug, she felt there was definitely something hiding under the surface with him. He was much more reserved than he let on.

For a boy that most of the female population of the school had a crush on, he wasn’t a flirt. For a boy that seemed to get in trouble at every turn, he wasn’t rough around the edges. For a boy that acted like he didn’t care, he clearly did. He was a very strange case, but as he relaxed only slightly more, and gave her back a slight rub she felt special, just for a moment, to have a small glimpse of the boy, the real one, that had truly captured her boyfriend’s heart. She knew very well that James cared for her very deeply. But she was also well aware that he held a whole separate level of devotion for Sirius, and she was perfectly okay with that.

‘So-' Lily quickly let go of Sirius and turned around to see James smiling at the two of them, ‘-oh don’t mind me. By all means, carry on.’ He had Peter trailing behind him and an invisible package tucked under his arm.

‘Evans was just informing me of all the romantic things you do for her, Prongs. I wasn’t aware you were such a romeo?’

‘Sirius Black!’ Lily whipped around and smacked him as he laughed and grabbed his arm yet again.

‘Don’t even get me started on you Love-Pup. What are you reading over there? Is that sixth year Transfiguration notes again?’ James had a massive smile on his goofy face as Lily turned back to meet his gaze.

‘Shut up, James.’ Sirius warned standing up from the bed and Lily was at a loss.

‘What’s this about?’ She couldn’t help the bemused smile that crept onto her face as she stared up at the three of them.

‘Well, if you’re going to be hanging around you may as well know,’ Peter stepped into line with James.

‘Padfoot has a wittle crush.’ James cooed puckering his lips and then narrowly dodging Sirius who almost bowled Lily over making a dive for him.

‘Shut your mouth you dirty stag! I don’t want this rubbish getting around the school.’ Sirius huffed from the ground.

‘Who said I’d let anything slip? I’m probably better at keeping a secret than any of you.’ Lily stared at Sirius, ‘but I have to admit, this doesn’t sound like reality. Sirius Black doesn’t have crushes.’

‘Exactly.’ Sirius agreed with her, ‘they’re just-'

‘He most certainly does. Have you ever known him to help anyone with their homework?’ Peter asked holding a hand out for Sirius.

‘I’m not sticking around to be degraded by you two.’ Sirius hit Peter’s hand away and helped himself up easily. ‘Evans knows a load of dragon dug when she hears it. She’s intelligent.’ He walked over to her and pulled her head towards his own and placed a light kiss just above her hairline and with that he left the room while Peter and James laughed at his expense.

‘I was just getting him to like me and you come in and ruin it!’ Lily stood up and smacked her palms onto James' toned chest. He bent over slightly for a moment to recover but then wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed every inch of her face he could reach over and over again until she was beside herself with laughter.

‘You two are disgusting.’ Peter muttered making his way over to his own bed and trying to ignore them.

‘And you are the sweetest girlfriend for that. Thank you.’ James smiled down at her as he relented on the kissing and they both calmed down a little.

‘Does he really like someone? Marlene, Mary and I have always thought maybe he was, I don’t even know- devoid of human emotions mostly?’ Lily looked up at James from where he held her in his arms as she asked this. She was more than a little curious now.

‘Oh no. He plays it cool, but he’s just as normal as the rest of us.’ James placed one final kiss just below her left eye and pulled her back up.

‘Then, who is it?’ She asked when the answer didn’t come, wrapping her arms around James’s waist absentmindedly and reaching up to push her lips into his.

‘Honestly, you don’t need to be told. Just watch him for a day and you’ll figure it out. The only person stupid enough not to get it, is her.’ Peter answered as he pulled out a sandwich from his bag, unwrapping it and taking a bite much too large to be normal. Lily felt James kiss her on the cheek as he chuckled at Peter’s remark. Lily was slightly frustrated that they wouldn’t just tell her, but that also made it all the more fun. And while there was a war raging on outside the walls of their school, and a workload as high as they had inside the walls of their school, fun was always welcomed.  

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