A/N: So I'm writing fanfiction and avoiding real life. Hope you like it.
Lily starts behaving strangely a little over a month before Christmas hols and James really tries not to overreact. Telling himself NEWTs stress and the pressure of the holidays are the more likely cause of her general malaise about everything, as opposed to a growing distaste for her new boyfriend.
And James is mostly convinced he's right, until he drops next to her on one of the couches in the common room and Lily lets out a great moan and flops face first onto the cushions farthest away from him.
Ruffling his hair nervously, James lets his hand fall to her hip, squeezing gently, and takes some comfort in the fact that she doesn't pull away. Maybe he just smells rank.
Scooting closer, James runs his palm up and down her back and leans close, fire crackling and casting shadows across the emptying room. "Alright, Evans?"
Her answer is longer this time, but muffled enough against the dark velvet that he can't make out anything beyond Petunia, which is said with as much childish petulance as he's ever heard. And this is coming from someone who's know Sirius since they were eleven. "Come again, love?"
Letting out a shuddering sigh, Lily twists her face sideways, cheek mushed against the plush couch and hair a tangled mess about her head. "Petunia's getting married to Vermin over Christmas hols."
James smooths his hand up and down her back, warm and sure. "And she wants you there?"
"Mum wants me there," Lily sniffs and heaves another sigh, "and I do want to be at Petunia's wedding!"
After sending a warning glare at a couple second years who totter away from the sitting area and up the stairs to their dorms, James manages to wriggle himself behind Lily on the couch, his arm slotting over her waist easily. "I know. She's family."
Lily sniffles. "And we – when we were – ", she breaks off and James presses a kiss against the crown of her head, lingering with his nose tucked against her hair, a mix of cinnamon and vanilla from her recent attempts at baking in the kitchens with Sirius.
"I – we could go together," Lily sucks a breath in and James' voice pitches quieter, "If you want."
Silence falls without any response from Lily, which has James thinking they've mutually decided to pretend he never spoke. But she doesn't pull away or start shouting about overstepping so he figures all's not completely lost and just tries to let the crackling fire and whistling winds calm his heart as it thuds against his chest.
After a moment, one of Lily's hands comes to scratch at his scalp, gentle and relaxing. "It's going to be a ghastly affair. Dad says Petunia's gotten rather enthused with taffeta."
"You've got to be open-minded about clothing materials, Lily," James mumbles, tucking one leg between hers. Lily pinches his forearm.
"Finger foods only," she pauses for dramatic effect, "and no open bar."
Lily twists around until she's half splayed across James' chest, head propped on one hand while the other toys with his loosened tie. Blinking up at her from behind smudgy lenses, James groans, "No food or booze? It must be love."
Giggling, Lily lets her forehead drop to his collarbone, "It's terrifying, eh?"
James rucks up the back of her shirt just barely, calloused fingers brushing the sliver of skin revealed as his eyes droop tiredly. He'd been up at the crack of dawn running drills with his increasingly angst-filled Quidditch team. But the Slytherins have gotten particularly sneaky as the season's gone along and he prefers to keep his secret playbook just that. Still, his lovely girlfriend is splayed across his body and drawing distracting circles across his exposed chest where she's managed to loosen a few more buttons. So somehow, he manages to keep his train of thought on the conversation, "Aye. I'd say anyone considering a situation that could end in procreating with Vernon Derpy is terrifying."
Lily snickers against his throat, "I mean, yes. But just the idea of being that blinded by love – how can anyone not be afraid?"
"Worked in my favor – I mean – er," James manages to grind out, his pulse thrumming.
She sits up pretty rapidly and James thinks this is it, not even three months in and he's blown it already. But she doesn't storm away, despite her rather thunderous expression. "You're no Vernon Dursley. And if you think me loving you would make me blind then – "
He blinks once, twice, and grips her clutching fingers in his. "I am a bit of a prat, dear."
Lily's wide green eyes narrow dangerously as she blows a breath out her nose. "If you for one second think you're anything like that boorish, nasty, racist – "
"Lil – hey – Lily – Lily," James finally cuts in, stroking her hair back from her face, "Sorry, I was just," he shrugs, lets the sentence drop.
With a groan, Lily slumps against his chest, pressing a chaste kiss there. "You were just trying to have a laugh, I know," she fiddles with a button on his shirt, "I'm just on edge."
She laughs, quiet. "I guess I held out more hope than I realized, but this just feels – "
"Like an ending?"
Lily nods against his chest and he feels warm tears drip onto his shirt, "Well I know I'm not a sister but, I'll come and make nasty jokes."
She laughs, watery but genuine and it sends a shock of happiness through his chest. "I'll pick out some dreadfully scandalous dress and you'll look all dashing and roguish."
Their twin sighs mix in the air overhead and somehow Lily works her way up so she's looming overhead, hair a rich curtain around them as she nuzzles her nose against his. "I do though," she kisses him softly once, and again, more lingering, "love you, that is."
He cups her cheek, palm rough against her milky skin, returning her affections with another press of his lips. "Same, m'dear."
Lily snorts. "Well that was romantic."
"I didn't want to sound like a ponce! It was genuine!" James yelps, laughter in his voice as his eyes run, "Don't stunt my emotional growth with your judgment."
Rolling her eyes, Lily kisses each cheek, the tip of his nose, his chin, "I'd never."
James grins, half of him still in awe that they've even got to be friends after that disaster fifth year, and tucks Lily's head under his chin. The ambient late night noises of the castle continue in a quiet symphony around them, eventually joined by rain lashing against the eaves.
When he finally speaks again, Lily starts, like she was drifting off to the rhythm of his heartbeat. He strokes her hair behind her ear with one hand, the other fiddling with her fingers where they rest on his chest. "So, for the wedding."
"How do we feel about a pastel tux?"