|Before The Fawn
Author: andelyn kinsey PM
Before Harry, before Godric's Hollow, before the Dark Lord was defied three times... Lily Evans and James Potter discovered that neither of them were what the other had expected, and embarked on a relationship that would change the world as they knew it.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Lily Evans P. & James P. - Chapters: 52 - Words: 508,841 - Reviews: 1,201 - Favs: 942 - Follows: 955 - Updated: 10-22-12 - Published: 06-02-10 - id: 6019444
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"First Time" Lifehouse
The remainder of October passed and rolled into November. The full moon coincided with Hogsmeade weekend that month, so Lily had planned to get up very early Saturday morning to make sure Remus could get his final dose of potion for their adventure that evening. There was only a thin layer of light coming through the window when Lily awoke, but she noticed Julia was missing from her bed, which was strange considering the hour. Curious but unconcerned, Lily groggily descended the stairs and headed to the deserted bathroom on the second floor to fetch Remus' potion.
James had gotten up with Remus under the pretense he had been unable to sleep any longer. Remus laughed as he watched James yawn and stretch as they walked to the great hall together. They approached the Gryffindor side of the hall and were surprised to see Sirius sitting alone toward the end of the table, shoveling eggs onto his plate as though he hadn't eaten in days.
James and Remus sat down next to him. "You're up extraordinarily early, Padfoot. What's up?" asked James, yawning again before taking a large gulp of orange juice.
"Finishing up that essay for McGonagall," said Sirius. "I didn't want it hanging over my head all day, so I got up early."
"Speaking of stuff that's hanging over our heads, we've still got that potions essay due on Tuesday," said Remus.
"Eh, we can finish it; I'm not fussed," Sirius replied as he pulled a few pieces of bacon away from James and stuffed them into his grinning mouth. "Have you taken your potion yet?"
Remus shook his head. "Lily said she'd bring me some this morning. That's why we're down here early; there are not as many people. Plus, I've been meaning to ask her a question about it."
"What's the question?" asked James curiously.
"Yeah, what's up?" a lighter voice asked.
The three boys looked up to see Lily standing over them, a grin on her face and her hands behind her back. "Happy Saturday, Remus," she said, handing him a brown paper sack.
Remus took the bag cautiously, expecting it to be a goblet inside. But whatever was inside didn't feel like a goblet or glass of any sort. He curiously opened the bag and laughed loudly as he pulled out a large silver flask, filled with the potion she made for him every month.
"I figured this was a little less conspicuous," she explained, grinning as she sat down across from them and pulled a few pieces of bacon onto her plate. "Now people will just think you're a raging alcoholic."
The three boys chuckled loudly as they each took turns examining the flask. "Thanks, Lily; this is great," Remus said, looking at it fondly.
"You're welcome. Did you want to ask me something?"
"Yeah, I did. Er… I don't know how to say this, but this stuff tastes awful. Can I add sugar to it or anything?" said Remus.
"Jeez, Moony," scolded James. "The girl goes out of her way to make you a potion every month…"
"Yeah, Remus," teased Lily.
"Oh… I appreciate it, I really do! It's not a problem, I'm sorry, I-"
"Oh, stop; I was just kidding," said Lily.
"It's okay, I really appreciate it and-"
"Remus! I was kidding, it's all right," Lily laughed, reaching across the table tapping Remus' hand lightly. She tilted her head and considered the question. "Um… as far as I know sugar interacts with everything in it okay. I don't think it could hurt, but I'm not one hundred percent sure … I mean… it's still in the experimentation phase, says the bloke who invented it…" she explained, an apologetic expression on her face.
"Well, even if it does make it ineffective, it'll just be like every other full moon, right?" asked Sirius. "We can handle it."
"It's not like we won't be prepared; perhaps a break from the calm tempered Moony would be all right," teased James.
"What will Pettigrew think?" asked Lily.
"What will I think about what?" asked Peter's voice from behind her. He sat down next to her, eyeing his three friends curiously. Sirius and Remus brought him up to speed about the potion and it possibly being ineffective by adding sugar. "What's the worst that could happen?" Peter shrugged as he began to put eggs on to his plate.
"Looks like it's up to you, Moony," said James.
Remus nodded, and then reached for the sugar that was sitting in front of Lily. She placed her hand over top of it as she passed it to him. "Please, please, be careful," she implored quietly.
"We'll be all right, Lily," he replied. "I promise."
Lily nodded and removed her hand from the sugar bowl, watching as he added a few spoonfuls to the potion within the flask. He glanced at her before shaking it up and taking a large drink from it. "How's the sugar flavored firewhiskey taste?" she teased.
James, Sirius and Peter laughed as Remus wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and shrugged. "Not… well, it's not much better, but it's a little less sour at least," he explained.
Lily nodded and adjusted her plate in front of her. She reached for the eggs at exactly the same time that James did. "Jeez, Potter… ladies first, right?" she said knocking his hand away with a grin.
James widened his eyes, but then smirked and handed her the spoon. "I was just grabbing it for you - looked like it was a bit out of your reach," he replied with a smirk. Lily grinned and spooned herself up some breakfast before handing the spoon back to James. "Where's your crowd this morning?" he asked, taking the spoon from her and scooping eggs onto his plate.
Lily shrugged. "Mary's still sleeping, but Julia was up really early this morning for some reason. She was gone when I woke up; I'm guessing maybe she's in the showers."
"Well, it's nice of you to grace us with your presence at least," said Sirius with a smirk at James.
"Would you like me to tell her to come down, so you can see her?" replied Lily, eyeing Sirius curiously.
"If she gets a chance, but we'll be heading back up to the common room to get a few things before we head to Hogsmeade, so she can just see me down there," he said nonchalantly.
"Right…" Lily said, smirking and shaking her head.
"You're going to Hogsmeade today, aren't you?" asked James.
Lily nodded. "I do need to find Julia, though. She said she needed me for something last night, but she wasn't real specific."
James was about to open his mouth to ask her if she'd like to spend the day with them, but just then she was summoned from across the hall by Linghold and a few other Ravenclaws.
Lily flushed with color and gulped her orange juice down. "I suppose I should see what they want. I'll see you later though, right?" she asked, looking at James.
"Uh… well, I … I mean, you're going to Hogsmeade too, right?"
"Of course," said James.
"Well… I was thinking that maybe…well… er… yeah," Lily said, blushing as she realized that maybe her assumption James would want to spend time with her had been incorrect. "I'll… I'll, um… see you guys later," she said quickly, jumping up from the table and walking away toward Linghold.
James watched her go, internally cursing himself when he realized that perhaps she'd been trying to ask him to meet up with her in the village. He turned back to his plate and stared at his food.
"I wonder what that was all about," mused Peter from across the table. "I think she was trying to ask you out."
"I'm a git," said James, frowning as he watched Lily laugh loudly across the hall at something Linghold was saying. "She was trying to ask me out," he muttered sadly.
"Do I hear an echo?" Sirius asked with a snigger. "You must be growing on her, Prongsy," he laughed, clapping James on the back. "Now we just have to get you to pick up on signals."
"Speaking of picking up on things, I think you're shagging Tottleham," replied James, raising one eyebrow and glancing at Sirius.
Remus and Peter suddenly perked up and looked over at Sirius, whose face was impassive but reddening as more time passed. "Why… why would you say something like that? Julia is a nice, respectable girl. She'd never have any interest in shagging a scoundrel like me," he said lightly.
"Well, if you're not shagging her, then what were you doing this morning?" asked Remus with a smirk.
"Transfiguration," insisted Sirius.
"Vanishing knickers, I think," suggested Peter. James and Remus sniggered, but Sirius rolled his eyes and stood up from the table.
"Boys, when you become men, and can entertain the thought of shagging a girl without laughing, perhaps we'll discuss my morning activities," Sirius mused loftily as he walked away.
Lily traipsed back up the stairs after talking with Max. He had hinted heavily that he'd like to spend the day with her, but she had avoided committing by saying she needed to check with Julia about their plans. Max was a pleasant boy to be around, but she didn't find herself interested in him. Why, though? She asked herself. He's polite, he's sweet and funny. He's intelligent… but it's just… he's not-
"He's not James Potter," said a voice from behind her.
Lily started and turned around sharply, frowning as Julia walked up the stairs behind her. "Was I talking out loud?" Lily asked skeptically.
"No… but I saw you talking to Max, and I know you were debating in your head why you're not attracted to him," she said matter-of-factly, walking past Lily toward the portrait and muttering the password.
Lily frowned and followed her. "Where exactly were you this morning?"
"I was in the library, doing transfiguration homework," she replied simply.
"Was Black with you?"
"No," Julia giggled. "Why?"
"No reason," said Lily, giving her friend a skeptical glance. "You said you wanted to talk to me before we went to Hogsmeade, what's up?"
Julia smiled broadly. "I do… I have a plan. And I know you're going to object, so I want you to go take a shower before I tell you about it," she explained. Lily began to protest but Julia shook her head. "Nope… keep your mind open and go take a shower. We're going to have fun today," she said with a wink.
Lily sighed and turned around to head to the showers. She stood underneath the warm water and thought about what Julia had said. If Lily wasn't so stubbornly set on the idea that she would never, never, fall for James Potter, it would be easy for her to admit that she enjoyed his attention. But as it were, she was still completely assured that falling for James Potter would be hazardous to her well-being.
There were a few things, though, that betrayed her constant assertions that he was immature and would only end up making a fool of her. One was that he had proven he could be more than an arrogant bully. He could be kind, and even sweet when he wanted to be. Another was that he was incredibly intelligent, despite the fact that he never seemed to study for anything. He was also extremely amusing; clever, witty… and when he smiled at Lily, she wanted to smile back. When he playfully shoved her, she shoved him back; when he wrote her a note, she felt her stomach erupt with butterflies as she composed her reply.
Lily shook her head as she walked back from the showers, trying to distance the thought of wanting James to look at her like all the other boys looked at Felicity Flockhart from her mind. When she reached her dormitory, her eyes narrowed suspiciously as Julia and Marlene jumped up from her bed and grinned at her.
"What is going on?"
"The cringe factor," said Marlene, pulling Lily into the room and shutting the door.
"The what?" asked Lily as Marlene sat her down on the bed. "Where's Mary?"
"She's blowing us off today," said Julia lightly. "Needs to finish a divination assignment or something; but, her being gone means we can do this without interruption or-"
"Do what, exactly?" asked Lily, biting her lip nervously as she began to towel dry her hair.
"Julia tells me you've been spending a good deal of time flirting with James," Marlene teased. "Do you fancy him?"
"Of course I don't," insisted Lily. "I mean… I like him; he's an all right bloke, but I don't-"
"You fancy him… you just don't want to admit it," said Julia. "Don't you roll your eyes at me, Lils. I'm going to prove it to you."
"You're going to prove to me how I feel?" asked Lily skeptically.
"Yes," Marlene explained. "See, if you really aren't interested in him, when said boy pays attention to you, it will cause you to cringe. If you don't cringe, and you find yourself enjoying the attention, you like him. So, you should test this. Show yourself off a bit, and then see how you feel when you get attention."
Lily frowned. "That seems an awful lot like baiting… or teasing. Even if I did like the attention, I have absolutely no intention of acting on it. Besides, I'm not a slag… I'm not going to go around dressing like –"
"No one is going to think you're a slag!" laughed Julia. "Look, we always complain about Flockhart getting all this unwarranted attention from the boys, do we not? She gets it because she asks for it; she's pretty, yes, but she's not nearly as bright or as clever as we are. Give her a little competition," she explained as she began to examine the clothing hanging in her dresser.
"Does this have anything to do with the fact that she was all over Black the other day in Defense Against the Dark Arts?" asked Lily.
Julia turned over her shoulder, her eyes narrowed and a frown on her face. "No, not exactly. Sirius thinks she's a cow, but she still keeps on flirting with him; and, of course, he's a boy so he flirts back," she muttered as she pulled out a very pretty red jumper and tossed it at Lily. "But, you know damn well that if she had been doing that to James, which she will soon enough, you'd feel a little jealous."
Julia was watching Lily examine the jumper; her eyes were alight with excitement and mischievousness. "C'mon, Lils. Flockhart is always talking herself up and putting everyone else down; let's show her she's not the only one who can use her looks to get attention."
Lily stared at the jumper, thinking to herself how Felicity had just yesterday during Transfiguration asked Lily if she'd considered coloring her hair white to make her skin appear less pale. "All right, I'll see what we can do," she said with a grin.
"Wormtail! That's six hands in a row; brilliant!" shouted Sirius, grinning when Peter leaned back in his chair and stretched his arms over his head.
"Luck, mate, it's all luck," he laughed before sitting forward and reshuffling the cards. Remus and James were scowling. They had partnered up and were playing exploding snap as quietly as they could in the back of the Three Broomsticks. They knew that Madame Rosmerta didn't care, but Slughorn, McGonagall and McMyers were all in the bar as well, and the Marauders didn't want to be told off for being noisy.
Sirius shoved the ashes off the table and onto the floor, vanishing them with his wand as James pulled out a second pack of cards and began to deal. "Luck my arse," James muttered, smirking when Sirius and Peter laughed loudly. "I think you're full of it."
"Full of talent for finding matches," Peter said proudly, grinning when James rolled his eyes.
"Or you have a talent for not having any talent," said a snide voice. Peter scowled as James, Remus and Sirius looked behind their table. "D'you four mind playing your little games somewhere else? We're waiting for company," said Linghold as he, Rollingsfield, and seventh year Morgan Visken brushed pass them and moved to a separate table.
"From whom, might I ask?" said Sirius curiously. "Polly Puckle? Or perhaps little miss Flockhart will choose to amuse you boys with her giggles today."
"What's wrong with Felicity? Potter, you didn't have a problem with her last year… or was that rumor about you getting off with her just something you were spreading to get Evans curious?" asked Rollingsfield.
James laughed. "Because that's how to get a girl interested in you… spread a rumor about you getting off with someone else. I don't know where you're getting your romance advice, boys, but I assure you, if you keep doing that, you'll all remain single for an extensive time."
"Well, either way, could you stop with the childish games?" asked Linghold, rolling his eyes at James and tapping the cards on the table. "We are waiting for Julia and Lily and we don't-"
"Bloody hell," said Visken suddenly, standing up from his chair and staring at the entrance to the door with his eyes wide.
The six other boys glanced at him for a moment before turning and looking at the entrance. Marlene, Julia, and Lily had just walked in and were laughing animatedly about something. Behind them came Connie Lockwood and Felicity, both of them smiling but not laughing at whatever the three Gryffindors had said.
Sirius stood up at the same time Rollingsfield did. His eyes wide and a half smile on his face as he examined Julia. Max had also stood and looked over toward the girls, along with Remus and Peter to try and see what all the fuss was about. James finally moved completely away from the table, but stopped when he finally was able to see the girls properly.
Marlene was dressed very nicely; her jeans hugged the curves of her hips, and her hair was loose and floating around her shoulders. Julia and Lily, however, had shunned jeans despite the chill in the air and had chosen to wear their black school skirts. Julia was wearing a white shirt with her red Gryffindor scarf tied around her neck; her long, blonde hair was fluffy and carelessly tousled as it hung around her face. James could instantly see why Sirius had jumped up and grinned at her appearance. She had removed her cloak, and James saw that the skirt was about mid-thigh length on her long legs; the skin revealed there was smooth and enticing.
"Hey, Julia!" Rollingsfield suddenly called. Julia's head turned toward where they were sitting, but Sirius was much more direct and simply strode away from the table over to where she and Lily were standing.
"Ladies… we were expecting you. You neglected to grace us with your presence this morning, Julia," Sirius said in a scolding voice.
Julia grinned. "You promised you were going to help me with my transfiguration," she replied, pushing her lower lip out and widening her eyes at him.
Sirius grinned back. "That I did… my apologies. Can I make up for it and buy you a drink?" he offered, moving to stand in-between her and Lily and place his arm around her.
"Well… you can start there. I'll have a butterbeer with extra cinnamon," Julia laughed.
"Lils?" asked Sirius. "You want something?"
"Er… yes… same thing," she said shyly.
Sirius nodded and gave her a knowing smile. "Go have a seat at our table, I'll be there in a bit," he said, more so to Julia than to Lily. Lily bit her lip and fought back a smile as she watched Sirius squeeze Julia's waist lightly before striding over to the bar.
Julia smiled and tugged on Lily as she walked toward where James, Remus and Peter were sitting. Lily felt her face growing warmer the closer they came to where the boys sat. James was observing her curiously, and Max and Morgan Visken were at the table behind him, watching her and Julia with equally hungry eyes.
Just as they approached, Felicity and Connie rushed up to the table where James and the others were sitting. "What are you boys playing?" Felicity asked, leaning up against the table where they sat and examining the cards.
"Snap… they're being loud," said Max from behind where James sat.
"Oh, you don't mean any harm," Felicity said, giving James a light shove. "Don't be such a stick in the mud, Max."
"Hey, what was your deal yesterday during Defense Against the Dark Arts?" Max asked, a trace of laughter in his voice. Felicity grinned and leaned closer to him and James, talking in hushed whispers so they had to lean in to hear her.
Julia was right; as soon as Felicity started talking with James, Lily felt a rush of unwanted jealousy race through her. Even as she watched, she noticed how Felicity was twirling her hair and purposely standing to emphasize the curves her hips and chest as she talked to Max. Julia glanced knowingly at Lily, but then moved next to Sirius as he approached the table and set down their drinks.
"Who's the extra one for?" asked Felicity. "Oh… speaking of sticks in the mud… I didn't see you two over there," she muttered, when she saw Lily approach the empty chair next to James.
A flash of irritation rushed through Lily's body. She turned and smiled sweetly at Felicity. "I know… it's been so rainy that it is rather muddy out. But, don't you think it's rather warm in here?" she asked, removing her cloak and throwing it over the barstool. "I'm surprised they put a heating charm on the building this early," she said, fanning herself and placing a hand on her hip.
James had to choke back a cross between a gasp and a laugh as Lily shed her cloak and stood next to him, her eyes flashing mischievously at Felicity. He hadn't been able to see her properly from across the bar, but now that she was up close, James wondered exactly what Julia had said to Lily to make her shun her typical jeans and jumper attire for what she was wearing today.
With her cloak on, Lily had been able to somewhat hide herself; James knew from years of watching her that she didn't like to have a lot of attention drawn to her appearance. But now that the cloak was off, James swallowed and allowed his eyes to travel up and down her figure openly, completely forgoing any attempt to hide from her that he was looking.
Her skirt was the same length as Julia's, and when she sat down it hitched up seductively to reveal her long, slender legs. She had on a dark red jumper with a white shirt underneath, but had forgone putting on a scarf and allowed the buttons of the shirt to remain open, showing off her long neck and collarbones. Her hair was tousled carelessly around her shoulders, though James noticed that when she sat down, she pulled it behind her ears in a shy manner.
"Evans," Felicity asked, "don't you think it's a bit late in the season for skirts? And besides, I thought it bothered you when people looked at you," she observed critically.
Lily glanced around the room, her eyes wide and curious as she observed the patrons. "You seem to be the only one looking, Flutterhorn. Do you have a problem with my outfit? I thought about a blue sweater, but I don't own anything blue; can't betray my house colors. Plus… if it was blue, it would look exactly like what you wore yesterday, right? Oh, no it wouldn't… I have a bra on, so that would be different…" she mused thoughtfully.
Julia laughed and covered her mouth to refrain from spitting her drink out. The four Gryffindor boys all stifled sniggers, and even Max chuckled a bit. Felicity smiled sarcastically and turned to James. "I'll catch up with you later, then," she said, tapping his shoulder and strolling off.
"Here, Evans," laughed Sirius, pushing her drink closer to her, "drink up and you can partner for the next round."
"Next round?" Lily asked, taking a drink from the flask and looking at James curiously.
"Snap, of course," he said showing her the cards. "We're playing in pairs, though I think Peter should go it alone for a bit since you've been winning so much," James teased.
"No way, we're not switching partners yet," insisted Sirius.
"Looks like it's you and me, Remus," said Julia, elbowing Sirius and moving around next to where Remus was sitting.
"Childish game," muttered Max. "Hey, Lily, we're going to the Shrieking Shack later, care to join us?"
"Actually, the shrieking shack sort of bores me," she said making a face. Max had stepped very close to her and was leaning over her shoulder to ask the question. Lily found herself anxious to move away from his close proximity, and blushed when she felt his eyes examine her neck and collarbones. "Sorry, Max."
"S'all right. We'll catch up later," he said, squeezing her shoulder and strolling away.
James watched Max walk to across the bar, turning his head and watching her over his shoulder as he sat down at a table with Adrian and Morgan. The latter two nodded their head at something Max said and tipped their heads to try and get a better look at Lily. James slid his barstool closer to her, blocking their line of vision with his body and watching as she examined their cards. He glared at them, but then was suddenly distracted when Lily laid her hand very lightly on his chest.
"Potter, how do I even do this?" she asked quietly, looking up at him with a very confused expression.
"What? Oh…It's easy, here," he said, taking the cards and lining them up in pairs.
The game began, and within the first five minutes a card had exploded violently. Lily and Julia both jumped off their seats, but laughed loudly along with the boys over their reaction. They played five hands, Sirius and Peter winning all but one. James had been keeping an eye on the other students in the bar, shifting his position around Lily several times in an attempt to keep their prying eyes off her. She hadn't made it an easy task.
First, she had sat with her legs crossed and angled to the side, giving James a very nice view of her slender thighs, but also causing Linghold to groan from where he and the other Ravenclaws sat. Then, she had tucked her knees under her and sat up very tall, making the curve between her hips and ribcage very alluring. This caused more eyes to be drawn to her, and James to shift his position again. At the current moment, she had one leg tucked underneath her, the other leg stretched out long as she leaned against the table, half-standing, half-sitting on her barstool; her back was seductively arched, James wondered if she was doing it on purpose. The sixth hand was dealt and he rearranged himself so he was now standing beside her, one arm leaning on the table and his foot resting on the leg of her barstool. His other hand was resting on the space of her barstool that Lily wasn't occupying.
Julia became engaged in an argument with the other boys about how the cards seemed to know she was female, and thus exploded with less violence than normal. During the ensuing laughter and loudness, James leaned close to Lily and was overwhelmed with her sweet, clean scent as he drew breath to confide his observations.
"Did you suddenly decide you enjoy having people look at you?" he asked skeptically.
Lily started and gasped quietly; James' lips were right at her ear when he spoke, his voice low and his breath tickling her neck. She felt tingles erupt over her skin and butterflies flutter in her stomach, similar to what she had felt when Max had been close to her earlier. The difference was that she found herself not wanting to pull away from it. She didn't cringe; rather she found herself fighting to not lean into James. The cool, clean, watery scent that seemed to be embedded into his robes surrounded her, and she could feel the warmth of his body as he leaned over her.
"Not really," she confessed, answering his question in a shy voice.
"Well, I must say you've failed at preventing that today. Every single pair of eyes belonging to a male has been all over you at least twice," he said, narrowing his eyes defensively as he looked around the bar.
Lily followed his gaze, feeling her cheeks redden as she saw Max and Adrian look away abruptly to stare at their table, Mitch Huffton turn his gaze back to the bar when their eyes met, and even Jasper Westpelt and his group of friends were staring. She clicked her tongue and looked back at James. "You're right, I have failed."
"But, you've been protecting me, so I haven't really worried about it," she teased with a grin. "Are you leaving? Or will you keep being my bodyguard?"
James looked down at her; her eyes were shy, but her expression flirtatious and teasing. Not taking his eyes off her face, James pulled his barstool right next to hers and sat down, keeping one foot on hers and his hand on space where she wasn't sitting. "I charge by the hour, you know," he teased.
"I'll remember that," she grinned.
Her eyes suddenly flicked up, and she reached out her hand just in time to catch a ball of paper Julia had thrown at her. "Lily! Be on my side here," she growled.
"I am on your side! I just think you're being silly. They're not like chess pieces, they don't have thoughts. Watch," she explained, tapping the pair of cards in front of Peter and Sirius very hard with her hand. There was a loud crack as the cards exploded, causing Sirius and Peter to jump away from the table and fall off their barstools. The other four laughed, before looking around sheepishly as several adults glared sternly in their directions.
"And… with that, I think it's time we go," sniggered James, placing his arm at Lily's back as she stood up sharply. The six of them traipsed quickly out of the bar, biting back sniggers as McGonagall shook her head at them. Once they were outside, Julia and Lily both burst with laughter as they pulled on their cloaks.
"See! I told you, you just aren't aggressive enough," Sirius said to Julia.
"You want aggression? I'll show you aggression," she muttered, giving him a playful shove. The boys laughed and began to tease Julia and Lily both about their lack of aggressive behaviour. James pulled his snitch out of his pocket to occupy his hands as they walked down the street. He was afraid he wouldn't be able to keep from wrapping his arm around Lily's waist if he didn't; though, he noticed she didn't move away from him as she once would have. They were almost to the path that led back to Hogwarts when Lily reached in front of him and pulled the snitch out of the air before James could even react.
"I haven't seen you play with this for a while," she teased, dodging him when he tried to snatch it from her fingers. "I thought you'd lost it."
"That was a nice grab, Evans," said Peter admiringly. "None of us can ever get it away from him."
"Evans is going to be our new seeker," said James.
Julia burst into laughter, turning away from her conversation with Sirius and Remus to look at James. "You're kidding right? You might want to teach her to fly first," she said through her giggles.
"Shut up," said Lily rolling her eyes.
"You can't be that bad on a broom," said Remus.
"Yeah, Lily… you should try out next year," James encouraged.
Julia laughed again while Lily blushed. "No, I'll avoid that. I don't want people thinking you let me on the team just because we're friends," she said to James.
"And that's what they would think, because you can't fly to save your life," said Julia. Lily scowled, but Julia laughed and turned around to face them all. "Last time she was on a broom, it started speeding up a little and she screamed something about dying before flipping over and falling off."
The boys stared at her. "You did take flying lessons first year, right?" asked Sirius.
"Of course I did… I just don't like it. I used to jump off swings when I was a kid, but I had some measure of control over where I was going. I don't feel like I have any control on those things," Lily explained.
"You do, you just have to get used to it," said James.
"Well, seeing as I have no broomstick, that becomes difficult."
James suddenly had an idea. He grabbed Lily's hand and turned her toward the path that led back to Hogwarts. "What? Where are you taking me?" Lily asked.
"The Quidditch pitch. I'm going to teach you how to fly," said James. "I'll catch you guys later," he yelled to his friends and Julia, all of whom were sniggering at their retreating figures.
"Now? It's… it's too cold out, Potter," Lily protested.
"It's not my fault you wore a skirt," teased James.
Lily frowned. "Well, you got some enjoyment out of it."
James laughed and pulled her up next to him, boldly putting his arm around her waist. "That I did. But I'm going to get a lot more enjoyment out of this. I need a new seeker," he explained, thinking of how Scott Costers would be leaving after this year.
"James, even if I became the best flyer in the world, I wouldn't try out," she said firmly. "I'm not competitive enough for Quidditch."
"I doubt that," he grinned at her. "But let's just get the flying down before we discuss that."
Lily groaned, but allowed James to lead her in the direction of the Quidditch pitch and the shed where the brooms were kept. She was enjoying the feel of arm around her waist, and fought back a frown when he dropped it to open the doors. "Potter, this really isn't necessary. I … I just… I'm not a flyer, and no amount of practice will turn me into one, so-"
"Well, you're going to have to have some method of travel after you get out of school," he insisted, pulling out a very fancy broom from the shed and turning back to her. "As broomsticks are the most common, I think it's an important life skill for you to learn."
"What about … apparition?" she asked.
"Well, there's that too… but broomsticks are still used frequently," he said, taking her hand and walking toward the field.
When they arrived, James mounted his broom and kicked off, performing a quick a few quick runs around the pitch before gliding down next to Lily and braking dramatically. "Show off," she muttered.
"Did you expect anything less?" he laughed. "Now, come here. I'm just going to take you for a few laps so you get used to the feeling."
Lily's eyes widened and she sputtered. "Like… laps? Like you just did? No… that's way too much. You were up so high and-"
"Lily," laughed James, "trust me. I'm a good flyer; you're going to be fine." He placed his feet on the ground and held out a hand to her. "Do you think I'd let anything happen to you? I'm your bodyguard, remember?"
Lily grinned in spite of herself and stepped forward, sitting behind James on the broom and gripping his cloak tightly.
"You need to hold on to me better than that," he said sternly, taking her arms and wrapping them around his waist. "Ready?"
James chuckled. "By the way, your total is up to around five galleons now," he teased, waiting until she started laughing before he kicked off.
Cool wind whipped around them, Lily could feel the broomstick floating underneath her and felt very unsteady even though James' solid figure was right in front of her. Her feet felt free and not having something to set them on was nerve-wracking. She found herself clutching James tightly and burying her face into his cloak as they moved. She wished he wouldn't move so fast; didn't he realize how frightened she was?
"What?" she shouted, her voice muffled as her face was buried in his shoulder.
"Open your eyes," James said, trying to stifle a snigger.
"No… I'm fine like this, thanks," she replied.
"Just open them," he said, taking one of her hands in his and squeezing it gently. Lily finally obeyed and looked around at the pitch. The stands where students normally set were empty, and Lily noticed they weren't moving.
"All I did was rise up, we haven't even circled yet," he explained, again trying to stifle his laughter.
Lily frowned and pulled her hand away from his. She smacked him once on the top of his head before clutching him again. "You're a prat," she muttered, though she grinned and chuckled lightly.
James laughed shook his head as he leaned forward to start circling the pitch. He circled slowly until he felt Lily's grip on his waist relax slightly, then began going faster. After she started asking questions, he returned to the ground and made her take the driver's seat, sitting behind her and showing her how to shift her weight in order to turn different directions. After a few hours, though for both of them the time passed rather quickly, Lily had gained enough confidence to take the broom on her own for a few laps, though they were very low to the ground.
"You can go higher," shouted James, laughing a she passed him again only about three feet above his head.
"Nope… This is perfectly acceptable!"
James laughed and shook his head. Just then, they heard Peter's voice calling out to them, letting them know it was time for dinner in the great hall. Lily landed the broom much more gracefully than James had expected, and walked with him back to the dining hall.
When they sat down, it was James' turn to feel a pang of remorse when she chose to sit next to Julia opposite him and Sirius rather than next to him.
"I see you're still alive," Julia teased.
"She did great," said James.
"I wouldn't say 'great'," Lily grinned. "Better than I was, but not great."
"Enough practice, and you'll be ready for tryouts next year," James teased, laughing when she rolled her eyes and changed the subject to what their friends had done during their absence.
Evening came and went; Lily said good night but spent a good hour or two sitting awake in her four-poster bed thinking over the day's activities. She reluctantly admitted how much she enjoyed being around James all day; from watching his reactions to her clothing and flirting in Hogsmeade, to him insisting on teaching her to fly, and to their antics during dinner, she had enjoyed just being around him. His laugh was infectious; his cleverness kept her on her toes, and his subtle method of guarding her and finding reasons to touch her was sweet and amusing.
She also had to admit that she wanted him to touch her, and when they had flown around the pitch, she found herself resting her head against his shoulder as they glided through the air. His shoulders were soothing, and his hands on her hands and on her waist caused her skin to tingle with excitement. She wasn't sure if the butterflies in her stomach would ever settle down, and she found herself flirting with him much more than she ever did with anyone else.
But was it just because of the day? Was it because she had purposely put herself in a frame of mind that made her seek his attention? He gave it to her, of course, but so would the other boys if she had asked for it. Perhaps she hadn't given anyone a chance because she'd wanted to stick close to Julia; and Julia had been glued to Sirius, which meant she was stuck to James. Perhaps another test would be in order. Perhaps it was just the excitement of the day, and tomorrow the feelings would wear off, and James would go back to being relegated to the friend zone within her head. I don't want to lead him on, she thought, and if it was just a passing day event I won't feel any draw to him tomorrow… right?
To find out of her emotions were in line with her thoughts, Lily decided she would try her best to ignore James and his friends all day Sunday. She knew that it would be rude to not respond to their greetings and comments to her, but she had told herself it was best if she stopped caring about James' activities and feelings, choosing to instead to focus on her own. It was odd though, because the only time she saw any of the boys was at breakfast and dinner. Usually they were rowdy and all over the common room, but perhaps their long night had left them sleepy and they chose to spend the day in the dormitories.
Lily had to constantly remind herself to not ask where they were, lest she fuel the already stirring curiosity about her feelings toward James. Julia was not the only one that had asked her how her day went yesterday; she responded "very nice" several times to Mary and Marlene, refusing to delve any further into how she felt.
But when Monday came, and James, Sirius and Remus arrived at potions, Lily found could no longer quell her curiosity about their activities once she saw how they were acting.
James and Sirius looked exhausted, and Remus was sheepish and downtrodden; none of them uttered a word to each other as they sat down next to Lily and began to pull out their books. Samantha and Julia had not yet arrived, so Lily slid her chair next to James and eyed him curiously. "What happened?" she asked quietly, observing his and Sirius's distracted and tired expressions. Remus was pale as usual after the full moon, but his eyes were wary and he had several scratches on his face and arms. "Are you all right?" she said, placing her hand against James' arm.
Her touch seemed to shock him back to life. James looked up into Lily's eyes, seeing not pity or sympathy, but concern. His breath caught in his throat as he gazed at her soft expression looking him over, the worry evident in her eyes. Lily looked from him to Sirius, her eyes full of curiosity as she took in the numerous scrapes and cuts to their faces and arms.
"Sugar makes the potion useless, I think," whispered Remus, as James and Sirius covered the injuries to their arms with their cloaks.
"Oh, no," sighed Lily. "I'm so sorry; I should have told you not to do use it. I wondered if it would mix badly, I'm so-"
"It's not your fault," said Remus and Sirius at the same time.
"Was it a bad night?"
"Not bad, just… long…" Sirius explained, he looked like he was leaving out the intricate details. Lily was about to ask more when Sam and Julia came in to join them. Sam sat down next to Remus and started asking him about the essay while Julia sat next to Sirius and eyed him curiously as well.
Slughorn's lecture and the following assignment were very difficult, so all of them were forced to concentrate on the activity rather than conversation. When they left the dungeon, Lily gasped when she saw a large gash on James' forearm, which he covered quickly with his robes. As they walked into Charms, Lily noticed Sirius limping and Peter also had various scratches along his skin as well. But all their lessons that day were very detailed, so Lily did not have a chance to ask them exactly what had happened.
The four boys ate dinner early that night, and trudged wearily back to the Gryffindor common room before many of the other students had even gone down for the meal.
"I'm sorry, guys," said Remus for what seemed like the ten thousandth time.
"Stop it, Remus," said James. "It's not your fault; you can't control it."
"If I hadn't screwed up the potion-"
"Look, no one knew what was going to happen; now we do, so next month, just suck it up and drink the bitter stuff," said Sirius, clapping his friend on the back.
"Maybe you shouldn't come out next month," suggested Remus.
"Are you crazy?" asked Peter. "We live for this, besides we're not going to abandon you just because of one night. Ease up, mate. It's not a big deal," he said pushing the portrait hole open.
The common room was thankfully empty. The four boys moved toward their usual table to sit down for a moment, but were surprised to see a small piece of paper with intricate handwriting laying on it. James picked it up and read it aloud.
"Yell for me when you get up - L"
The four of them looked at each other curiously. "You don't suppose she wants to apologize? Seriously, if I hear another person say that they're sorry, I may vomit," Sirius groaned.
"Might as well find out," said James. He walked toward the staircase and yelled her name loudly. "EVANS! OY, EVANS! You left us a note! LILY!" he shouted, suddenly amused by how it felt to shout her name. There was no response. "LILY EVANS! LILY!"
"Gracious, I hear you," her voice called back, a hint of laughter echoing down the stairwell. There was the sound of running footsteps and she almost collided with James as she came down the stairs. She looked slightly breathless, and was holding a bowl of liquid, which slopped onto James' shoes as she stopped abruptly.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she said, stepping past him and over to the table.
"What is that?" asked Sirius, staring into the bowl, which was full of a murky yellowish substance.
"Let me see your leg," she said to him.
"You're leg, Sirius; let me see it," she pressed.
Sirius rolled up his pant leg to reveal a large gash on the side of it. Lily took a rag that was in the bowl and handed it to him. "Put this on it; it'll help with the stinging and make sure it's clean, and then I can mend it for you," she explained.
"I can clean it, look," he said pulling out his wand, but she stopped him. "It's quicker to use magic," Sirius said.
"Perhaps… but sometimes things are better done the muggle way," she insisted, handing a rag to Remus and Peter. She looked over to her shoulder at James and motioned for him to come over with her head. "Come here, you've got a nasty cut on your arm."
"It's fine," replied James, putting his hands behind his back.
Lily took a rag and walked over to James, who side stepped her and moved to the other side of the room. "Potter, it doesn't hurt. Come on," she argued, following him.
"Are you Madam Pomfrey now?" he asked stepping away from her again.
"Of course not, I'm just trying to help," she sighed, diving for him and missing.
"Call me 'James'… then I'll let you help me," he replied simply.
"What? I'm just trying to be nice! You have a cut on your arm from something and I want to help; why does it matter what I call you?" she asked.
"I call you 'Lily'. You just called him 'Sirius' rather than 'Black'. Why won't you call me 'James'?"
"You call me 'Evans' most of the time," she replied, diving at him and missing. "Why does it matter?"
"Not anymore," he replied. "Just call me 'James', it's a simple request."
"It's a stupid request," she growled, trying to grab his arm as he turned and moved away from her. "I'm just trying to help you."
James grinned and ran behind one of the couches. To his surprise, she ran, hopped over the couch and attempted to tackle him. "I dunno… you won't call me James, how can I trust you? I think you're trying to hurt me," he laughed as he stepped away from her outstretched arms.
"You don't want my help, fine," she shouted, throwing the rag in his direction. She had started to walk back toward where the other three were sitting, when James ran up behind her and wrapped his long arms around her waist. His fingers dug instantly into her sides, tickling her ribs and stomach as she screamed with laughter.
"STOP!" she squealed, trying desperately to get away from him. "STOP IT!"
"Call me 'James'," he said, trying to refrain from laughing at the way she squirmed and squealed at his touch. He ceased his tickling but kept his grip on her as she breathed heavily.
"Because that's my name," he said simply.
"Is 'Potter' not your last name?" she asked sarcastically. James began to tickle her again and she squirmed and pushed at his arms trying in vain to get away. "STOP! Stop, please!"
"Call me 'James'," he said, pressing his face into her shoulder and biting gently, which made her laugh even harder.
"JAMES!" she squealed, pushing at his hands to try and stop his tickling. "JAMES! Okay, enough, James!"
He tickled her for a few more seconds then released her, breathing in her flowery scent as he held her close to him. She pulled away and ran to the other side of the table to hide behind Remus, who was laughing loudly along with the other boys at the table.
"That was… completely uncalled for," she snapped, taking another rag out of the basin of liquid and throwing it at him.
"I just wanted to hear you scream my name," replied James, giving her a cheeky grin.
"You…oh, you're such a prat. Very clever, Potter. Clever," she said, trying in vain to look angry but laughing instead. James lunged for her and she ran out of the room and up the stairs. "The healing charm is 'vigoratus', take care of yourself," she called back with a laugh as she walked back to her dormitory.
James laughed and sat down at the fourth empty chair, watching his friends smirk and shake their head at him. "Well, that's one way to make her scream your name I guess," Sirius remarked.