How would you feel if I told you I loved you?
"Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you." - Walter Winchell
Lily Evans came from an ordinary family, with a mother, father, and sister who lived in an ordinary house in an ordinary neighborhood. There had been nothing strange or unusual in her upbringing and still, she was a most unordinary girl as her sister never tired of reminding her. Freak, Petunia liked to call her, pointed nose upturned, beady blue eyes narrowed in disgust and what Lily liked to think was envy rather than hatred.
See, Lily was a witch and her family were what was known as Muggles, non-magic folk. Five years her senior, Petunia seemed determined to be as ordinary as possible to make up for her sister's freakish uniqueness. Their parents were far less judgmental about it all, but they still didn't really understand exactly why Lily was so enthusiastic about school, and her friends, and her magic.
They didn't see the point of the cauldron she set up in her bedroom whenever she was home, or the unusual ingredients that were often delivered to their window via delivery owl and then sliced, chopped, and brewed into a potion the purpose of which they never understood even when she explained it again and again. They had met a few of her friends on trips to Diagon Alley - the magical shopping alley in London which they were always eager to visit and gawk about - and on Platform 9 3/4, but they were always a bit too shocked at their attire and cultural differences and the conversations too short for them to have any chance to actually get to know and like any of her magical friends.
However, for the first time ever today, they would hopefully be spending an extended amount of time with someone who had grown up in the magical world, someone who knew as little about the Muggle world as her parents did about the magical world. Of course, this would be taking place at Petunia's very traditional, very Muggle, distinctly un-freaky wedding, so Lily wasn't sure exactly how much free time her parents were going to have.
Up until a couple of months ago, Lily hadn't been planning on bringing anyone to the wedding, not because she didn't have any options, but because she had assumed that she was going to be in the wedding as opposed to at the wedding. As the sister of the bride, Lily had thought she would be too busy with her bridesmaid duties to spend any time with a date who wouldn't know anyone or have anything ordinary to share with a bunch of Muggles. When she had been home for Christmas break, however, she had quickly realized that wasn't going to be the case.
Petunia had no interest in including her sister in her wedding. In fact, if Petunia had gotten her way, Lily wouldn't even have been able to attend the wedding. It was, after all, scheduled not during break, but in the middle of her final term of school and Petunia knew that Lily had never been able to leave school for a weekend before. But Lily was Head Girl now, and that meant that, while she had more responsibilities at school, she also had more pull with her teachers and the headmaster, and had been able to convince Professor Dumbledore to allow her to come home for the weekend.
Her date, on the other hand, had no such permission. He likely could have gotten permission had he asked - he was well-liked by Professor Dumbledore and most of their professors, after all - but he was a trouble-maker through and through and he knew how to get out of the school without the headmaster's express permission. He could have gotten Lily out as well, had she not been granted permission to leave, but it would have been tricky, coming up with a believable story as to why no one had seen the Head Girl in days.
Petunia's face when Lily had arrived at the rehearsal dinner with their parents the previous night had stung, but she was mostly used to it, that sneering, disapproving, glaring down the bridge of the nose, unadulterated disappointment. She had sat quietly, which was something Lily was unaccustomed to doing, while speeches were made and food was consumed and champagne was sipped. When Petunia had been forced to hug her at the end of the evening, her fingernails had been sharp and almost pierced Lily's arm with the force with which she had gripped her. Her voice had been low and harsh in Lily's ear.
"Don't embarrass me tomorrow."
Lily frowned and dug her feet into the grass in her parent's front garden. She was sick of it all; sick of being Petunia's freak sister, sick of being the mudblood Head Girl, sick of not fitting in wherever she went. Usually, it didn't bother her. She had friends, really good friends who didn't care about her blood status. She had a boy who had proclaimed his preference for her over the cultural preoccupation with blood purity, who had knowingly and willingly subjected himself to torment and judgment and danger just to be with her. She had parents who loved her despite their differences, even if they didn't really understand her. She had the respect of all of her teachers, who saw her as a bright girl, a clever girl, a talented girl. She had the respect of herself, for not bowing under the pressure to disappear, to push away those who wanted to stand by her, to run from the words and the accusations and the hate and even the love.
Sometimes, though, it really got to her that no matter how hard she tried to mend bridges, there would always be people on the other side just waiting to tear those bridges right back down. Her sister, her best-friend-turned-traitor, the single most powerful dark wizard to ever exist and his ever-growing mass of followers. It was just too much, at times.
"You haven't been Petrified, have you, Evans?" The voice - and the completely unordinary wording of the question - mere inches from her ear had Lily breaking into a bright, relieved smile. "Only, I've been sitting here with you for a couple minutes and you haven't reacted or moved at all."
"Hello, James." Lily turned her head so he could see her smile and feel how glad she was to have him there.
"Oh, good, you're all right. Had me concerned for a moment there." James cocked his head curiously, his eyebrows all but knitting together even as he smiled while studying her. "What's got your attention?"
"Nothing important. I was just brooding a bit." She slid her hand into his, resting their hands on her thigh and wishing that they didn't have to leave for her sister's wedding in a moment.
"Yeah, I could tell. You had the Sirius look about you."
"No matter. Now all my attention is on you." She winked, then frowned when she finally took in his appearance. "Oh, no, this won't do at all."
"What?" He looked down, patted his neat tie, smoothed non-existent wrinkles from his pressed shirt. "Isn't this appropriate Muggle attire? I went to a Muggle shop. Brought Mary along and everything. I thought it looked ridiculous, but she assured me that this was what I should wear."
Muggleborn Mary MacDonald, Peter Pettigrew's new girlfriend and a longtime friend of Lily's, had not steered him wrong. Her choice of a pair of plaid, wide-legged trousers and a green suit jacket over a fitted off-white button-up was entirely fitting attire for a Muggle wedding guest. Still, Lily had never been more disappointed than when she stared at him. Down to the brand new brown dress shoes, he was completely ordinary.
"What have you done?" She stared, aghast, at the flat mass of black on top of his head. "You've even tamed your hair! You look completely normal."
"I'm afraid you've lost me. Are you upset because I look too Muggle?" He laughed when she nodded, sad eyes and bottom lip sticking out and all. "I thought you wanted your family to like me."
"I do, but this isn't you. This is… this is… Steve McQueen!"
"I'm not…" James stopped in the middle of his indignant protest to cock his head. "Who is Steve McQueen?"
"He's a very fit, well-dressed, tame-haired, ordinary, rich Muggle celebrity! Well, he's a bit old now, but he's still pretty fit!"
"Well, we have two things in common on a regular basis. I am, after all, very fit and very rich."
"I don't want Steve McQueen! I want messy hair, rumpled clothes, ink-stained fingers, crooked half-done ties, wand-twirling, Snitch-obsessed, nervous energy…"
James cut her off, rather abruptly covering her mouth with his. When he pulled away just a few seconds later, he didn't seem to notice the hunger he had awakened in her. He smiled and cupped the back of her neck in his free hand as he rested his forehead against hers.
"Hey, just because I properly tied my tie for once and got Sirius to charm my hair to lie flat for a couple hours, doesn't change the fact that I'm still that idiot prat who doesn't know how to tuck in his shirt all the way around or sit still for longer than five minutes on a good day."
"All the same." Lily laughed and slid her hand into his hair, thoroughly mussing it and undoing all of Sirius Black's undoubtedly hard work. "I'd like for you to at least resemble yourself when you meet my parents."
"Oh, shall I go slip into something more comfortable, eh?" James joked as she slipped her hand from his to fidget with his tie, loosening it a bit and undoing the first button on his shirt. "Perhaps a lovely pair of dress robes? Or maybe nothing at all?"
Lily's heart started hammering at the mere suggestion. He was clearly joking, but she had no doubt that if she told him that yes, she would like for him to follow her into the house and shuck every last stitch of clothing on his body and have his way with her, he would not hesitate to comply. They hadn't yet reached that stage in their relationship, but he had made enough offhand jokes for Lily to catch on that they weren't really all that offhand at all.
It wasn't that she wasn't interested, it was that they never seemed to have the time or opportunity to explore that side of their relationship. The furthest they had managed to get before one of them had to run off to some prior engagement or one of his roommates had come traipsing back into their dormitory was ripping the shirts off each other. And here they were sitting in front of her conveniently empty childhood home with somewhere they had to be in less than ten minutes.
"There," she said brusquely and stood to admire her handiwork. "Much more like yourself, but still thoroughly Muggle."
"Will your family approve, then?" He stood there on the stoop, did a little twirl for her, and then leapt the short distance down to her level.
"Petunia won't, but she wouldn't like the prince of England if he was dating me." Lily smiled when James looked momentarily affronted, and slipped her hands into his. "My mum will be mad for you, and I think my dad will like you."
"You're my first boyfriend I've ever brought home. I don't know how he'll act." Lily shrugged. "If you were shorter and uglier, but with the same personality, I would think he'd love you."
"So the only reason your dad might not be warm and welcoming to me is that I'm too attractive?" James frowned, then grinned and nodded. "I can deal with that."
"Hey, Evans." James's breath was warm on the side of her neck, his chest flush against the sliver of skin that her dress left exposed on her back. She shuddered at the sensation, and scowled at one of her sister's new in-laws when he shot them a disapproving glare.
"Yes, Potter?" Lily said, turning around to put them chest-to-chest because, honestly, fuck the Dursleys and anyone else who wanted to judge them.
They were standing just off to the side of the dance floor where people were doing more awkward swaying than dancing. She was waiting for her parents to extricate themselves from Vernon's intoxicated, loud, self-absorbed sister so that she could steal them away to get to know James. She had hurriedly introduced them before the ceremony, but thanks to Vernon Dursley's overbearing family, this was the first time since the ceremony had ended that she had even seen them and she wasn't planning on letting them out of her sight.
"You do know that there will be many opportunities for me to properly meet your parents, right? It doesn't have to be tonight."
"You're right." Lily frowned and pressed her face into his chest. "I guess my sister's wedding isn't exactly the best time for them to get to know you. Tonight is about her, after all."
"So you're going to stop trying to wandlessly Stun anyone who approaches your parents, then?" he asked, laughter evident in his tone as he wrapped his arms around her back in a warm, fond embrace.
"I am not doing that!" Lily protested.
"Lily, your cousin all but wet himself and ran from your parents when he saw your face," James said.
"You're completely exaggerating," Lily lied.
"Sure I am." He let his arms drop to his side, but Lily stayed huddled against him all the same. "Come on, let's dance."
"I'd rather not," she mumbled into his chest.
He sighed and patted the top of her head. "Just as well. I know you have less rhythm than a centaur with four left hooves."
She drew back on a falsely scandalized gasp and batted at his chest. "You are such an ass!" she exclaimed, forgetting to keep her voice down.
James laughed, the splitting grin on his face piercing straight through her heart. He kissed her, then turned and slipped away, moving quickly across the sparsely-populated dance floor. Lily followed after him, cursing a bit too loudly when she tripped over the heels she had worn partially to appease her sister and partially to minimize the extreme height difference between her abnormally tall boyfriend and herself. James laughed loudly, the prat, clearly hearing her struggle, and refused to turn around to offer her a hand. What he could do, she hadn't a clue but laughing at her without even turning to check on her while a crowd of people watched certainly wasn't helping.
"You're such a prat," she said when she caught up to him at the cake table. "I have half a mind to ditch you for that."
"What an obvious lie." James lifted a plate with a generous slice of cake on it, and winked conspiratorially at the bored young man serving from the other side of the table. "She's irrevocably besotted by me."
"You're an idiot with a high IQ," Lily said fondly.
"I've no idea what that means. Cake?" James offered her the slice he was holding.
Lily took the plate from him, smiled and slipped the shoes off her feet when he turned around for a second slice. He turned back to her, smiling widely, just in time for her to smash the contents of her plate into his face. Never one to be taken by surprise, he didn't even hesitate; his hand was moving almost before her cake had even come into contact with his face, and he smashed his own slice (a bit more gently than she had) into her face before she could flee like she'd planned.
Neither of them noticed the gasps of the people nearest them or the sudden wide berth they were given as they both dissolved into hysterics. Lily wiped frosting and mascara from her eyes with her fingertips, shaking the odd combination off her hands and onto the floor as James unashamedly smeared the sugar over his face with his jacket sleeve. Where most Muggle men would be cautious of ruining an expensive piece of clothing, Lily knew the thought didn't even occur to James, who could easily charm the mess right off of his clothing later.
She only realized what a scene they were causing when her father appeared at James's shoulder and her mother pulled her away from James. Lily turned to face her mother, and tried to shrink into herself when she caught a glimpse of her sister's livid expression from the other side of the room.
"What are you doing?" her mother, usually so calm and understanding, demanded. Lily realized quite suddenly how harried her parents looked and wondered if Lily wasn't the only one struggling to act a certain way to appease Petunia and her new family.
"Nothing?" Lily offered, and frowned when her mother scowled at her.
"Are you actually trying to ruin this night for your sister?" The harsh accusation had the hot sting of imminent tears burning Lily's eyes.
"No, of course not. I didn't mean… I didn't think… Mum, I forgot where we were, that's all." She gripped her mother's hands, her voice becoming very small. "I'm so sorry."
Her mother sighed and her shoulders hunched over very slightly. "I know, darling. I know you're not… like your sister."
Lily frowned, trying to discern whether or not that was a good thing.
"And you know we love that about you," her mother continued before she could reach a conclusion. "But perhaps now isn't the time for you to be having fun."
Her mother patted Lily on the back in a gesture that was probably meant to be bolstering but only served to make Lily feel about two feet tall, and turned her around to steer her back over to James and her father.
"I understand completely, sir, and I'm very sorry. It's all my fault, really. I forget, sometimes, that I'm not five years old and can no longer get away with behaving like a cave person in public," James was telling her father, his voice entirely sincere, when Lily and her mother reached them.
"It's all right, James," her mother said, announcing their return.
James immediately turned and locked gazes with Lily. She knew the instant their eyes met that he saw exactly how awful she felt. He closed the short distance between them and hugged her. It was all Lily could do not to cry when he pulled away, but kept his arm around her.
"Why don't you two go get cleaned up?" Lily's father suggested, his gaze intent on them and the comforting grip James had on her. "There's a room down that corridor there that's ordinarily meant for brides to get ready in, but Petunia didn't use it because she and Vernon just had to have two separate venues for the wedding and the reception, didn't they?"
"Dear." That one word from his wife was a gentle reprimand that hinted at harsher consequences if he didn't fall in line and Lily knew from his sudden silence that her father knew it well. Her mother turned to them and smiled a tight, worried smile, pointing out the corridor that led away from the reception. "Yes, why don't you go wash off that cake?"
Lily nodded, bending down to gather her discarded shoes and taking James's proffered hand when she stood up straight and turned away from her parents without a word. She led him down the corridor, finding the room her parents had pointed out easily. There was a table, a couch, a couple of plush armchairs, a private restroom, and a sink. She walked inside, threw her shoes halfway across the room, dropped down into one of the plush armchairs, and started to cry into her hands.
She heard the soft click of the door shutting behind James, then his quiet footsteps crossing the room. He knelt in front of her, drew her hands away from her face and rested their joined hands in her lap. She closed her eyes, resigned to the fact that he was going to sit there and watch her cry, and tried to pretend that he wasn't.
"I'm sorry, love," he whispered once she had started to calm down. "I really was trying to not cause any trouble, but I seem to have ruined your sister's wedding after all."
Lily laughed and pulled one hand free to wipe her face. She groaned when she remembered that they were both still covered in cake. "What are you talking about? I threw the cake first."
She stood up, and James got up to let her pass him, then walked to the sink to turn the faucet on and rinse her face.
"Is she really that upset that we were only having a bit of a laugh?" James asked.
"It's not the laughter that she minds." Lily straightened and turned around, not caring about the water dripping down her dress and onto the carpet, to find him perched on the arm of the chair she had vacated. "It's me. I'm unordinary and I don't fit in and I attract attention because I do strange things sometimes and she hates everything about me."
"Well, that's ridiculous. There is absolutely nothing about you that anyone could possibly hate," James insisted.
"Tell that to my sister," Lily scoffed. And Voldemort and his followers, she didn't add.
"It's just so unfair," James said, running a hand through his hair and frowning at the floor. "I mean, if I had to deal with someone like her, someone who's head is stuck so far up their own ass that they can't imagine any possible world in which different wasn't the opposite of good, I would probably be frustrated to tears as well."
Lily stared at him, suddenly overwhelmed with desire.
"And your parents! I mean, I know that you get along with your parents, and they're good people and everything, but they didn't have to act like it was the end of the world. It was a bit of cake. It didn't hurt anyone!"
"Take off your shirt."
"Nah, I can get it clean," he said, waving a dismissive hand and pulling out his wand.
"James." He looked up and his eyes went wide and his jaw slack to find her in nothing but a lacy white bra and matching knickers, her wand still strapped to her bare thigh. "Take off your clothes."
"I… yeah… okay." He stumbled to his feet and his wand fell from slack fingers to hit the ground with a flash of harmless green sparks as he shucked his jacket and started to fumble with the buttons on his shirt. Growing impatient, Lily crossed the room swiftly, aware of the fact that James's eyes didn't leave her chest, and began to work on his belt and slacks, her lips finding his throat and latching on.
"Ah, shit. Okay." He finally got his shirt unbuttoned and flung to the side just as his slacks fell to the floor. He stepped out of his slacks and, when he would have gathered her into his arms, Lily danced back, gave him a gentle shove that sent him sprawling into the armchair, and then climbed onto his lap, her knees on either side of his thighs.
She kissed him on the mouth, all tongue and teeth, and began to grind her hips against his. His hands gripped her hips, not to halt her movements, but to help guide her. It wasn't long before he was moving his hips as best he could given their current position. Each time she rubbed against him, a little shock of pleasure shot through her core and she could feel him growing harder and thicker beneath her. She let out a little whine and tore her mouth from his when his hands slipped from her hips to grip her ass.
She dropped her forehead against his shoulder when he groaned, their hips still rocking together.
When his hips started to move more insistently, and his grip on her tightened, and his breathing began to quicken, Lily climbed off of him. She could have laughed at the look on his face - an absurd mix of disappointment, frustration, bewilderment, and arousal - but she dropped to her knees in front of him, her fingers trembling as she started to pull down his briefs. His hands covered hers, and she looked up at him in disbelief.
"Wait. Wait. I. Just wait." He stood up, moved past her, and Lily watched from her spot on the floor as he fought an internalized battle. "Are you sure about this?"
Lily frowned up at him. "Yes?"
"I just mean… you've just been crying and we're in a room off the reception hall at you sister's wedding and we're covered in cake and… is this really how you want it to happen?" He watched warily, and eagerly, as Lily stood up and crossed the room towards him.
"Yes, I really want it to happen now, when I am alone with you in a room -" she drew her wand from its holster on her thigh and pointed it at the door, wordlessly locking it, and tossed it down on the floor near his - "that is locked to any Muggle who attempts to open it, and I am wanting you more than I've ever wanted anything in the world."
James smiled when she wrapped her arms around his waist and kissed his chest. He bent down to catch her lips in a long, heated kiss before he tore his mouth away to study her. "But why now?"
"Because you know the difference between frustrated tears and defeated tears." She smiled when he looked more bewildered than before, and started leading him towards the couch. "Because you're the only person in any world who doesn't expect me to be anyone other than who I am."
"I am rather fond of who you are, you know," James said, and Lily knew she would meet no other objections from him.
He turned their bodies at the last minute so that instead of finding himself flat on his back on the couch, he was able to push Lily down and fall on top of her. It wasn't long before Lily's hands returned to the task of ridding him of his last vestige of clothing, and then some.
"You know," Lily rested her chin on James's chest and smiled as he twirled her hair around his fingers, "after some Muggle weddings, the bride and groom smash cake into each other's faces before they serve it to their guests."
"How rude. They serve their guests cake off of their faces?" He laughed when she rolled her eyes at him.
"You really are the stupidest genius I've ever met." She pressed a soft kiss to the underside of his jaw.
"I don't know what a genius is," he lied.
"They cut the cake and then smash one slice into each other's faces. It's playful and cute and sometimes annoying and always wasteful," she explained as if he really had misunderstood the concept. "Of course, my sister is too refined and ordinary and boring to allow such lighthearted fun at her wedding."
He kissed her, and she knew he did it to distract her just as much as because she was lying naked on top of him.
"Well, we just did all that, smashing cake in each other's faces, and then we lost our virginities." When she would smack his chest, he wrapped her in a great bear hug, effectively trapping her hands at her sides. "Did I miss something? Are we the ones who got married?"
Lily laughed, but flushed at the thought that crossed her mind that one day, maybe soon, they would be the ones who got married. She allowed him to kiss her again, slow and long and deep, the warmth of it reaching all the way down to her toes. As much as she wanted to let him get carried away, she knew that they were playing on borrowed time. How long had it been since her parents had sent them to clean up? Nearly an hour, at least, what with her breakdown, and his interruption, and their nerves slowing them down at times.
When she broke the kiss, he sighed and released her from his confining embrace.
"Time to head back to the party?" he surmised, nodding when she frowned sadly. "I was wondering how long we had."
"I wish we could just stay here in this room forever, don't you?" she said.
"With all the Dursleys and your parents just on the other side of the door? Nah, that's okay," he answered.
"It's locked with magic; they can't get in here," Lily said as she rolled off him and then bent down to gather her undergarments from the ground. When she straightened and looked back at him, he was staring unabashedly at her bare ass.
"I am kicking the boys out of the room on penalty of death the second you get back to school tomorrow," he vowed.
She laughed, but couldn't deny the thrill that rushed through her as she tossed his briefs at him. "If you don't, I will."
Before they finished getting dressed, a process that took some time since they kept stopping to kiss and grope each other playfully, they finally did what they were sent there to do and charmed the cake off of their clothes. James also bent his head under the faucet to rinse off any of the lingering sugar before charming his hair dry. It ended up even messier than before he had wet his hair, probably because Lily hadn't properly mussed it after Sirius charmed it to behave.
When they finally made it out of the room that had become their little sanctuary, it was as if nothing had changed. There were still only a few couples swaying awkwardly on the dance floor, and her parents were still entrapped in conversation with Petunia's new in-laws, not even seeming to have noticed that Lily and James had been absent all this time. Petunia was still sitting next to her husband at the high table on the far end of the room, overlooking her reception. The only thing that seemed to have changed was that Vernon's sister was slightly more intoxicated given the fact that she now seemed incapable of communicating in anything softer than a shout.
"Do you want more food? They're still serving," Lily said, pointing out the dozen or so servers who were rushing from kitchen to table.
"I could go for some cake," James said in a far-too-innocent tone. He laughed and took her hand, pulling her out onto the dance floor when she sent him a warning glare. "Fine, then, if you won't let me have my cake, you at least owe me a dance."
"If you insist." Even though she didn't want to dance around these people, was afraid that she and James would stand out for simply not being incredibly awkward and rhythmless, she was smiling when he turned to her.
"So," James said as he placed his hands on either side of her waist and began to sway, "do you think your parents can forgive me for being a cake-throwing, attention-grabbing, completely unordinary delinquent who may have ruined their eldest daughter's wedding?"
"I threw the first slice," Lily reminded him again and shook her head on an aggravated huff. "Besides, if she's going to allow something as small as two frosting-faced teenagers to ruin her wedding, then she's even more ridiculous and uptight than I already knew her to be."
Lily clutched at his waist and leaned into him when he pulled her closer by the hips, and was thankful that he at least tried to match the simple swaying of the few couples around them even if he didn't observe the substantial distance between partners. "Anyway, it's like you said earlier: there will be plenty of opportunities for my parents to meet you, get to know you, and learn to love you, cake fiasco and all."
"Even though I'm not Steve McQueen?" James questioned, making Lily laugh against his jacket.
"I don't even know why I said Steve McQueen." She played absently with the hair at the base of his neck. "I could have gone with Keith Richards or Paul McCartney or George Harrison! I'm sure you've at least heard of them."
"I haven't heard the names, but I'm assuming they're from one of Sirius's Muggle records. The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, if you think I should know them?" he guessed, and she nodded.
"You're the best kind of unordinary," she whispered into his shoulder a moment later as they swayed together on their spot near the edge of the dance floor. "That's all I wanted them to see."
"You're wrong," he said, and Lily drew her face back from his shoulder to crane her neck up to stare at him. He was smiling down at her, the crooked grin she loved so much crinkling at the corners of his bespectacled eyes. "You're the best kind of unordinary. No matter where we are, you stand out as uncommonly kind, intelligent, fierce, strong-willed, incredibly beautiful…"
Freaky, she heard her sister's voice hissing in the back of her mind. Shut up, she imagined finally telling Petunia, and pushed her sister's judgment from her mind to focus instead on the earnest acceptance in James's soft, brown eyes.
"I'm in love with you," she said, cutting him off.
James froze, stopped swaying for a long moment, and stared down at her. She was amazed that she wasn't nervous or frightened that he would reject her, for although they had never said such a thing to one another, they had been together for six months already and she knew, she knew, that James loved her. It wasn't because they had just had sex and she had deluded herself into thinking that he must love her. It was the fact that even when he had been an immature prat not two years ago, he had never once expected or wanted her to change anything about herself. He had always accepted her for who she was. Even tonight, when he hadn't really understood why she had needed him so desperately, just that she had indeed needed him, even if the timing had been less than ideal.
He was clearly taken-aback by the abrupt, matter-of-fact way in which she had just proclaimed her devotion to him, and was having trouble stringing together enough words to reply - something which didn't happen to him often - so Lily smiled up at him, snaked her arms around the back of his neck, and launched herself up onto the tips of her toes to kiss him, judgmental sisters and Dursleys be damned. His arms wrapped around her waist and his mouth responded immediately, his body hunching forward to bring his lips more level with hers.
When they finally stopped kissing, they did not put more space between them. Rather, Lily's arms slid down his body to snake beneath his arms and loop around his back as she nestled her face into the base of his neck, his arms still around her waist and holding her just as close to him as ever. He turned his head, lowered it a bit so that his mouth was pressed into her soft, fragrant hair. She felt in the expanding of his chest, rather than heard, him take a deep breath.
"Lily Evans. More than any thing in any world, I love you." His grip on her waist tightened and she felt him draw her ever closer. "Even if you are a bit strange."
AN: This was, surprisingly, not something I was planning on writing. I just opened a document and started writing and here we are 12 hours later. I hope you enjoyed it.
The title is a line from an Ed Sheeran song called How Would You Feel (Paean).
Thank you so much for reading!