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Lysander didn’t want to wake up. He didn’t want to open his eyes and find himself lying alone on the quidditch pitch. That night had been too perfect, their kiss too idyllic. Surely she’d have run off by now and he’d turn to see only sand beside him.

 

“OY! EY!” 

 

A torrent of water suddenly poured over him and his first instinct was to laugh, but then he heard Lily’s stern voice swearing at whoever owned the shadow that loomed over them.

 

“Un-bloody-called-for!” She shot up to her feet and shoved Kit before he could even lower his wand. He mumbled something in response and Lily shot back again, “I don’t care what time it is you jealous prat!”

 

That’s when Lysander realized the faint music had died out entirely. The lanterns in the distance had all been put out. The half-shaded moon and constellations were the only source of light left on the pitch.

 

“He has a house not two blocks from the pitch, Little Potter-”

 

“So’ve you! So go home!”

 

Lysander stood and tried to dust the sand from his back, “Sorry mate, we didn’t realize everyone had gone.” 

 

Lily flung her hair over her shoulder to now scold Lysander, sending water everywhere, “Do not apologize to the man who just dumped water all over us!”

 

She lunged back at Kit and Lysander instinctively reached out to restrain her. He expected her to fight against him, but instead his arm around her waist seemed to simmer the rage that had begun to boil over. She interlaced her fingers with his and he rested his chin on her shoulder. 

 

“Let’s just go, yeah?”

 

Lily and Kit started a staring contest and Lysander wondered if the two of them already knew who would break first. Finally, Lily reached behind her and patted Lysander on his stubbled cheek,

 

“Yeah, love. Let’s go back to yours.”

 

Then she tilted her head and pulled Lysander to her until her lips found his. He was caught off guard by the feel of her tongue tangling with his until she pulled away. He opened his eyes after the embrace to find Kit had disapperated. 

Lily, patted his cheek again with a chuckle. She wandered over to where she had left her shoes earlier in the night and twisted her hair to one side, ringing it out. 

 

“Reckon that’ll do him for a bit...”

 

She was still laughing after picking up her shoes in one hand and holding the other one out for her new beau to take, but he scratched at the back of his neck instead.

 

“I don’t…” he hesitated, not able to process his thoughts quick enough to find the words, “Can you...not do that again?”

 

Lily’s eyebrows pulled together as she let her arm drop. “Not snog you again?”

 

“Yeah...I mean no, I mean...” Lysander started ringing out his shirt, “not so long as you’re just snoggin’ me to get a rise out’a someone...”

 

He saw a small smile start in the corner of the young Potter’s mouth. Then she took a moment, seeming to think his words over.

 

“Fine,” was her only response. Then she stuck out her hand and Lysander took hold of it. 

 

They walked to the gate in silence, but Lysander didn’t need words to be playful. He started swinging their hands back and forth slowly and then more intensely, until eventually he had swung so high that it spun Lily around and she finally broke into a stubborn smile. 

 

“Just for clarity’s sake, though,” she started, clearly upset with herself for losing her sober expression, “Should the occasion arise that I wanted to snog you again, we should probably lay out some ground rules.”

 

“That’s easy, there’s only five good reasons for snogging anybody,” Lysander shrugged and then he knelt down and motioned for Lily to climb on his back as an olive branch.

 

“Just five?” She latched her arms around his neck and he stood back up, tucking his arms under her thighs to hold her in place. She clearly had a higher number in mind as she rested her chin on his shoulder, “Go on then.”

 

Lysander felt her smile against his cheek, “Well obviously, there’s when you’re just so uncontrollably attracted to someone that you can’t resist them any longer.” 

 

“Obviously,” she teased.

 

“And then there’s times that you’re just remarkably happy to see someone.”

He thought back through that day. The way his stomach flipped when he caught a glimpse of Lily in the stands shouting ferociously at the officials. 

 

“And then if someone makes you laugh.” He spun around slowly, to illustrate his point. 

 

“Oh, laughter earns a kiss does it?” Lily challenged, though she did ask it through a soft chuckle.

 

“Sure, because it leads you to being chuffed, which is what makes people irresistibly attractive.”

 

“What’s next, then?” He felt her fingertips brush his hair back, and then rest again against his chest. 

 

“If a kiss will help keep someone from crying...but this one’s to be used sparingly and on a case by case basis.”

 

Lysander could feel Lily tense slightly before nuzzling closer against his cheek. His mind flashed back to their first kiss earlier that night and wondered which she’d give for initiating it. His gut told him it was the second, his ego was certain it was the first, and the annoying, nagging voice in the back of his mind that sounded deceptively like his brother, warned him that it was only the fourth. 

 

“And the fifth?”

 

Her voice was soft against his ear and it sent a shiver down his back. 

 

“What?” He asked as she wrapped her feet around his waist rather than having them dangle freely.

 

“You said there are five acceptable reasons, but you only gave me four.”

 

“Oh…” He looked down at her bare feet wrapped around him and then he watched his own as they stepped, one in front of the other, “Must’ve miscounted.” 

 

Of course he hadn’t. Lysander had always believed in five acceptable reasons to snog someone. But the first four were already enough to send his mind spinning and he didn’t need to muddy the waters with the fifth. So instead of answering, he chose to play dumb. It was a strategy that had always worked well for him in the past. People often underestimated him and few ever took him seriously.

 

He pinched at the spot under her knee knowing it would tickle and Lily bucked against him with a laugh. Then he spun around, faster this time, and felt Lily hold tighter to him. 

 

“Is it okay that I don’t know what this is?” She asked after they had gotten on a straight path again and their laughter died down. “Or even what I want this to be…”

 

Lysander slowed to a stop before he answered, as if he couldn’t do both at the same time. Then he cocked his head to the side so he could meet her eyes, 

 

“So long as you let me know once you figure it out.”

 

She brushed his hair from his face again and for a moment Lysander forgot to inhale. 

 

-

 

Dating Lily Potter was like greeting a hippogriff - something Lysander had done on only one occasion. One had to approach calmly and accept that at any point, for any reason, the wild creature was likely to attack- and just as likely to flee.

 

He spent nearly every minute of that first weekend at her side; talking, laughing, napping in her lap, then waking to argue over which bands were rubbish. Neither spoke about their families, neither spoke about their jobs, they left the rest of the world to fend for itself.
 

And then their moment was over and the rest of the world came rushing back into view and they went their separate ways again.

 

Sand? 

 

The ink on the parchment disappeared before it could even dry.

 

We agreed to sign off with ‘farewell’ so I can only assume you’re not paying attention again.

 

Lysander caught the end of the sentence before it faded from the page. His brother’s assumption was correct. He tore his eyes from the magazine cover of Lily Potter wrapped in Kit’s arms under the headline, “Cannon’s Spark More Than Quidditch Win,’ and dipped his quill in the inkwell before scribbling quickly, 

 

Sorry!

 

He let the quill hover at the end of the sentence as he hesitated to answer his brother’s question. The single world faded away in his hesitation and he was silently grateful their conversation was happening over enchanted parchment instead of in person. 

 

No

 

He finally wrote out, 

 

Nothing too exciting on my end. Match went well. 

 

Lorcan went on to detail an encounter he had at his work and how inconsiderate his peers had been. It was a perfectly normal interaction, but it made Lysander’s heartache because things shouldn’t have been normal. He found an incredible connection with the most amazing woman and spent the best couple of days with her. He wanted to share his excitement with his brother, with the entire world, but that cover photo kept staring at him from across the shop and it left him wondering if that weekend had really even happened at all. 

 

Maybe she didn’t remember it the same way. Or maybe it wasn’t even memorable to her at all. Perhaps their time spent chatting and giggling wasn’t comparable to the passionate nights she’d spent with other men.

 

He let out a sigh, knowing there would be no relief to his fears in the near future. Lysander was out of his depth when it came to Lily Potter.

 

They spent the next month in this balancing act always teetering on the edge of a relationship. Lily was cautious about public displays of affection so Lysander followed her lead. However, she made her attraction clear when they were in the privacy of his home. He was certain after their first night together that she’d felt their connection too and he could feel the scales tipping each morning she woke up still beside him, but was mindful to never bring it into their conversations. Those were meant for hypothetical questions and sharing funny childhood memories. 

 

One particular morning, he woke to see her sitting by the open window, her figure silhouetted by sunlight streaming in through the trees. It impressed upon him how much of her he’d already memorized. How many of her details would always sit in the back of his mind.

 

Like the way her freckles scattered over her nose or how her mouth turned up in the corners. He could close his eyes and see his fingers tracing down her spine to the dimples on her back or replay the memory of that night on the pitch with the fireworks exploding above them.

 

“Keep staring like that and the room is going to figure the two of you out.”

 

Lysander tore himself out of his thoughts to meet his captain’s eyes. 

 

“S’fine. All anyone’ll see is a lovesick boy and the woman far from his reach.”

 

Scorpius took a small step to block Lysander’s view of Lily across the ministry’s banquet hall, but it didn’t matter that she was out of view, Lysander could still see her clearly, imprinted into the back of his mind. Her hair was pulled back in a high ponytail that bounced with her steps. The dress she’d chosen for the occasion was a vibrant yellow that hung off her shoulders and ruffled down her thighs. 

The ministry’s christmas charity ball had always been an obligation for Lysander, but tonight, having seen her in that dress, he was happy to oblige.

 

“What they see are two people sickeningly smitten with each other.”

 

Lysander’s eyebrows pulled together as he stole a glance around the tall blonde and caught Lily’s eyes and a beaming smile. Her cheeks seemed to flush before she looked back at the group conversing around her. Somehow she was more beautiful than he remembered.

 

“I take it the two of you are getting on then?” 

 

Lysander didn’t know how to answer a question like that. Of course he was head over heels for Lily, but until this moment he hadn’t let himself believe those feelings were reciprocated. After all he was her secret wasn’t he? Hidden away in Chudley where the press couldn’t find them and the public couldn’t judge them. He tried to push the thought away - he wanted to believe the best in people. What they had was new and it was still fragile, there was nothing wrong with staying in a bubble for a bit...right?

 

“Not one for subtlety, our Lily, eh?”

 

Lysander had to stop his eyes from rolling at the sound of Kit’s voice. 

 

“I think I’ll ask her for a dance. Save her from that mundane conversation.”

 

He started to pass, but Scorpius held his hand against the beater’s chest to stop him.

 

“What’s the problem, Captain? You want another turn at her then?” Scorpius didn’t flinch and yet Kit’s smirk twisted into a sneer, “You know I saw your wife out front, maybe I’ll spin her around instead.”

 

Suddenly Scorpius’ hand knotted around the collar of Kit’s jacket before he shoved him backwards, sending him stumbling into the couple behind the three men. 

 

Kit found his footing and held his wand tightly at his side. Lysander whipped around to warn his teammate, but Scorpius had already vanished. Seeing that he would get no retaliation - and worse that his fumbling had drawn looks- Kit tucked his wand back in his pocket and straightened out his jacket. 

 

“Has a scrimmage broken out in the middle of the ministry? I dare say you’re short a few players, Wood.”

 

Lorcan adjusted his glasses before sticking both of his hands in his pockets calmly. Once Kit had fled around the corner to think of a retort he should have said, Lysander greeted his brother in a one armed hug. 

 

“It’s always nice to see you’ve taken my advice.”

 

Lysander scratched at the back of his head. 

 

“It’s not. We’re not. Kit’s just-”

 

“She hasn’t taken her eyes off of you, Sand.”

 

There must’ve been a hundred people bustling about the hall, but you could always spot Lily - and not because of her canary dress in the middle of a winter party. She simply had a way of owning a room. She laughed infectiously with a brunette near the window before peeking over the woman’s shoulder to catch his eyes again, making them both smile coyly.

 

“I know you think this is a terrible idea, but-”

 

“Look, I’m not father.. I’m not going to dictate which animals you can and cannot tug the tails of. Figure out for yourself which ones will spit fire at you for it.” Lysander smiled at the reference to a very memorable holiday they once took to Hungary, “Actually, I’m a little perplexed that you’ve not been at her side this whole evening.”

 

Lysander opened his mouth to answer, but realized he didn’t have one. After all he wanted to be at her side didn’t he? Wasn’t that what he had just been lamenting? Why were they dancing around each other? 

 

“Excuse me, brother…”

 

Lorcan grinned as the taller twin started towards the woman in the yellow dress. He found her still at the counter, sipping on something clear.

 

“Hey there stranger,” she sat her drink down, “How has your nigh-”

 

His lips pressed against hers rather than finish the end of her sentence as he slipped his hand around her waist to pull her even closer. A bright flash of light threatened to distract them, but neither pulled away from the embrace. 

 

“Sorry,” his lips brushed against hers as he caught his breath, “it’s just...reason number one.”

 

She kept her forehead pressed against his when another flash of light captured their moment. Her jaw clenched under his palm and he tilted his head slightly to spot the crowd of people quickly turning away to avoid suspicion and knew he made a grave miscalculation. He hadn’t meant to snog her like that in front of all those people. He’d only meant to kiss her hand and ask her to dance - but then she smiled at him...and now he ruined everything.

 

Then he felt her fingers tangle with his before leading him away from the dance floor, then away from the crowd, and eventually, away from the party entirely. He could barely hear the music faintly echoing down the corridor when Lily’s fingers knotted in his jacket and pulled him back to her. 

 

They were lost in one another like they always were when they were alone. Lily kissed at his ear knowing it was ticklish, and then giggled with satisfaction when it made him shiver. They spun around again and again until both were in a laughing fit. 

 

They rounded the corridor, about to find each other once more - but instead came face to face with Rose Weasley.

 

“Oy!” Lily shouted trying to stifle her laughter, “put a bell ‘round your neck or something. Creeping up on people like that.”

 

Lysander didn’t know Rose very well. What he remembered about her from childhood reminded him of Lily. However, the unamused look on her face suggested she might’ve changed since then. That’s when he realized she wasn’t alone. Her beau put an arm around her waist, but it didn’t seem to settle her at all.

 

“You must be Lily.” The stranger guessed, extending his hand for her to shake. Lily accepted it, but squeezed Lysander’s tighter at her side in silent protest,  “Anders Creevy.”

 

Lily dropped his hand, but he left it out for Lysander to shake “And you’re?”

 

Before Lysander could answer Rose pulled him away, “the newest on a long list of lovers and fools.”

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