A/N: So this story falls within the universe of my completed, multi-chapter story, The Bet. No understanding or prior reading of The Bet is necessary to read & understand this story as it's going to be a series of proposals that might exist in the canon universe. I'm writing because I wanted to release a few stories while I work on my next-multichap work and one of my anonymous reviewers requested this.

It's going to be 13 short parts (some shorter than others) released over the next two weeks or so. Pretty much everything's written already and I'm really excited to share with you.

So with nothing more to say, hope everyone enjoys!

Nice, solid, steady and decidedly unlikely to collapse in on her and send her plummeting to her death, it was Lily's opinion that human beings were meant to keep their two feet planted on the ground.

She'd only been at Hogwarts for a few weeks, however, and Lily had already learned that wizards didn't care for personal safety. They let all manner of beasts – werewolves and vampires and supposedly cannibalistic bears – roam the woods next to a children's school. They taught eleven-year-olds spells that set their surroundings on fire. And, they celebrated a sport in which they flew around, hundreds of meters above the good, safe earth, with nothing but a narrow stick of wood to keep them alive and aloft.

On the grounds that she was too young to die, Lily had tried to gain an exemption from her first flying lesson. Lily had beseeched her flying instructor, Madame Lee, to spare her the danger, reminded the well-muscled woman that the Evanses would certainly disapprove of such an activity and hadn't signed a slip of permission. Crossing her arms so that the taut muscles bulged even more noticeably, Madame Lee had promised Lily that her classes had a one hundred percent survival rate.

From where he loitered with his pack of bullies, Sirius Black had called her a baby and had a good laugh at her expense. The shame was enough to get her to straddle the broom and wait in line with the rest of her classmates. All the while, Severus whispered at her side that she'd be fine. That if a dunce like Potter could fly about with no trouble, she was sure to be a star.

Lily appreciated his efforts, she truly did, but now that she was waiting to kick off from the ground, she was finding it harder to concentrate on Sev's words. The sanded wood of her broom handle was slick from the sweat gathering beneath her grip. Above her, the sky was a pale blue that taunted her, misleadingly pleasing to the eye. A few of her classmates were similarly nervous, holding their brooms far from their bodies like they were poisonous snakes, but the majority were relaxed. Everyone was giggling and swapping stories of their adventures in the skies. Lily couldn't make the words out. All she could hear was her own labored breathing.

Madame Lee approached to correct Sev on the way he was holding his broom. Without his attention, all she could do was contemplate the height of the trees that surrounded her and how a fall from one of them would mean almost certain death. And they would likely fly much, much higher.

"You know, I don't think you're a baby."

Lily jolted, almost tripping over her broom at the unexpected voice by her side. Not only that, but it was the first kind word James Potter had said to her since she'd called him a 'snot-nosed punk' at breakfast last Tuesday. Yet there he was, smiling and twirling his broom around like a baton. It was likely for effect, to show off how comfortable he was with the broomstick, that he could flip it from one hand to the other with his eyes closed, and Lily was impressed against her own will.

"I don't think you're a baby," James repeated, "But Sirius is right that you don't have to be scared. Nothing frightening about flying."

Lily mumbled out what her grandfather had always said about sky divers, "If people were meant to leave the ground, they'd have been born with wings."

"Do you swim?" James asked after standing uncharacteristically quiet for a moment. When Lily nodded, James said, "Well, if people were meant to swim, they'd have been born with gills. That's the same thing, isn't it?"

"That's not the same at all!" Lily cried. "Your body can swim all on its own. This requires tools!"

"I thought muggles had those airplanes that go up in the sky. That's a tool, too," James pointed out.

Lily paused, in the strange position of having been rhetorically outwitted by Potter, who just yesterday had charmed Albert Albertson to belch every time someone said the word 'castle' within hearing distance. She'd only flown once, to Ireland for her maternal grandmother's funeral, and after the initial panic, she'd settled into the ride. But, she couldn't shake the sense that this was somehow different.

"I don't like that I can see everything, that there isn't something to keep me on the broom. What if I fall to the side?" Lily whispered.

James scratched his head. "How good's your grip?"

"My grip?"

"Yeah, like how tight can you hold on? Because if you can hold on tight, you won't fall. No matter what."

James presented his hand to her and told her to clench it with all her strength, that he'd tell her whether she was safe or not. She took his adolescent boy hand, no different than her own, and squeezed. She squeezed as tight and as hard as she could, face turning red with expended effort. James made a big show of moaning and groaning at the pain, to the point where she couldn't tell whether he was humoring her or if she was really in danger of crushing his phalanges.

When her own hand started to hurt, she released his with a heavy sigh. James groaned and shook his hand out comically.

"That's some grip! You've got nothing to worry about. You could ring a grown man's neck with those hands," James said.

Lily laughed in spite of herself, in spite of her fear, and climbed atop her broomstick once more.

"On the count of three, you're to kick off like we practiced," Madame Lee announced. "One, two, three."

Lily rose up, trainers dangling in empty air. She was flying – hovering more accurately – but flying all the same. Tilting the stem of her broom upward, she edged slightly higher. Her heart beat erratically, but it wasn't solely from fear. She felt the same way she had when she'd first performed magic purposefully, as if she'd unlocked a world of power and opportunity that she'd never believed possible.

On Madame Lee's orders, they all descended, only to take off again and this time drift a little higher. They repeated the process to gain familiarity with the launch.

A shout of joy drew her attention, and Lily saw that James had abandoned the rest of the class and was hovering high in the sky. The sun was at his back so that she couldn't look directly at him without shielding her eyes. She lifted one of her hands from the broom without thinking.

Two things happened simultaneously.

The first was that James flipped his broom so that he was hovering upside down. Lily nearly burst into tears at the sudden and explosive fear that James Potter might fall to his death in front of her. The second, was that Lily realized she was no longer digging her hands into the broom's handle like Potter had suggested, and was in fact holding on by one hand.

All of her old fear returned to her, and Lily flung her arms backward in a wheeling motion of surprise. Sev was at her side – too close – and her elbow made contact with his nose. She heard the crunch of a break and saw blood seep out of his left nostril. Sev's broom tilted dangerously backwards, like he might slide right off, but his legs remained closed around his broomstick and he didn't fall off. Frantic, Lily returned her hands to their death grip on her broomstick and nudged her broom to return to the ground.

"Madame Lee! Madame Lee!" Lily called.

Severus joined her on the ground, but his nose was now completely obscured by the torrent of blood that he'd unthinkingly rubbed across his face. He kept his head pointedly turned away, and Lily knew that he was crying and trying to hide the tears.

Still in the air, her classmates started to question what had happened, and Shelia Marks piped in with an answer: "Lily just tried to knock Snape off his broom. Gave him a bloody nose."

"What, no –!"

The Gryffindor boys started to clap and cheer from their broomsticks. James was still upside down.

"Bloody brilliant, Evans!" Sirius crowed. "Don't worry, you'll get him next time."

"I think I'm in love!" James said. "Marry me, Evans!"

"I wish I'd broken your hand for real!" Lily shouted back. She stomped her foot and when Sev went to the Hospital Wing, she escorted him. Nothing had changed after all: Sev was still her friend and Potter was still a prat.

Only he was the prat who had tried to make her feel better. And maybe, she could secretly admit that there was something to be said for that.

A/N: And that's that! Please review if you enjoyed and expect the follow-up tomorrow.