Three am shone on the alarm clock beside the bed and James Potter was still awake, staring at the ceiling with no intention of sleeping any time soon. To be fair, he had only actually gone to bed an hour ago but that should have been more than enough time for him to have fallen asleep.
There were two reasons James was still awake and both had to do with a certain red head girl, but not in the same way as it usually did. The first reason was that he was slightly drunk, not wasted because that would have been bad given the events of the night, but enough that he didn't feel like sleeping and wasting the feeling.
The second reason was that the red head girl was with him, right beside him to be exact, and the fact that she kept moving around told him that she was still awake.
He hadn't planned to share a bed with Lily Evans, he was actually under the impression that he would never be able to do such a thing. He was simply there because he had to be, he was playing a part and he needed to stick it out until the end.
Two weeks prior to this night Lily had asked a favour of him that he had never imagined. She had come to his flat and let herself in, as she often did since Sirius gave her a key, to ask him if he would come to her sisters wedding with her.
That enough had been quite a shock but when she continued and explained that she needed him to pretend to be her boyfriend to get her mother to stop bothering her about getting one he nearly fainted.
James Potter had a problem with Lily Evans, he was in love with her. Not casually in love either, head over heels catastrophically in love and she had never returned the feeling. She had actually hated him for most of the time they were in school together and only agreed to be friends with him in their last year.
Despite feeling like the whole thing may be a bad idea, he had agreed and they had done an excellent job all night of pretending to be in love. It came naturally to James of course but he was impressed with how well Lily played the part. He had expected the whole thing to be painfully awkward but it was very natural and the only bad part of the night was the actual wedding.
And now this.
This was definitely awkward.
The reception had been held at the Evans house and when everyone was finished drinking and eating and the married couple had departed they had left to leave only Lily, James, Lily's mother and a couple other relatives who were too drunk to go home. They had all helped clean up and had had a good time doing it, by the time they finished it was 2 in the morning and Lily's mother was not approving of their plan to go home.
"Well that's just nonsense," she had said. "It's much too late to take a train or a bus and you've both been drinking so you can't drive. You'll just have to stay here, stay in Lily's old room the beds all done up for you since I figured the plan was for you to stay."
They had both protested but Mrs. Evans had her mind made up and practically pushed them both up the stairs herself. When they got in the room there had been a brief discussion of one of them taking the couch but then everyone would know something was wrong and so here they were, side by side, not talking even though they were both awake.
Lily had been shifting the whole time, slightly moving so she was never touching or looking at James. He caught these movements and would try to move to accommodate her but the bed was only so large.
He looked over to the clock to see that only two minutes had passed, this was quickly becoming the longest night of his life.
"Potter?" Lily's voice was soft and quiet since she wasn't facing him and James would have thought he imagined it had it not been the only sound in the room.
"Evans?" He said back, matching her volume so they wouldn't disturb anyone.
Lily shifted again, finally turning over so she could face him, her green eyes bright and her pale skin visible by a stripe of moonlight shining through the slightly open curtains. "Have you been awake the whole time?"
He nodded, propping himself up on his elbow so he could see her better. "Have you?"
"Yeah, I thought you were asleep but then I looked over and you still had your glasses on so I figured you were awake or just stupid."
He laughed and she shushed him through her own laughter. No sounds came from the rest of the house so he figured they didn't disturb anyone.
"Thanks by the way," Lily said when she stopped laughing. "For doing this I mean, I think we tricked my mum so she'll be off my case for a while now."
"No problem, I'm always a slut for free booze," James said, shrugging.
Lily punched him in the arm and he smiled at her, making her roll her eyes. They were quiet again, facing each other now but still quiet.
Lily was still wearing her dress from the wedding, green to match her eyes, and it did nothing to help him that it was shorter now than it was earlier. He looked at her face to find that she was already looking at him, curiosity in her gaze as she looked him in the eye.
"So what's gonna happen when I don't come back and all of a sudden you bring another bloke here to meet your mum?" He asked, partly to distract himself and partly because he'd been wondering that all night.
She considered it for a minute, looking up at the ceiling again. "Well I suppose I'll just have to tell her that you died and we only had a small funeral and I was too heartbroken to discuss it but I did manage to find a wonderful replacement for you."
James scoffed. "Your mother loves me she would never accept that, and as if you could find a replacement for me."
Lily laughed. "You did manage to charm her quite quickly, she's a famously uncharmable woman but you did it."
"Of course I did, I happen to be wonderful with parents. Plus I got plenty of practice trying to charm you at school."
He could see her smile slightly and he felt a burst of pride as it had taken him ages to learn to make her respond like that to him. She shifted again so that she was also propped up by her elbow and they were more on par with each other.
"Who said you managed to charm me?" She asked.
He looked down at the bed and shrugged. "Would you have asked me to be your date if I hadn't?"
She was quiet after that, avoiding looking at him and instead choosing a spot on the mattress to look at. "You were an obvious choice."
"Nah," he denied. "You could have brought Sirius or Remus, you're better friends with them and they would have worked just as well. In fact you probably should have brought Sirius because then it wouldn't be so devastating to your mother when you tell her you've ended things with him, he's every mothers nightmare."
"I did think of that," she said. She flipped her red hair off of her shoulder and kept avoiding looking at him.
"So why didn't you ask him?" James asked, willing her with his own gaze to look at him. She didn't though, she was stubborn and it was simultaneously his least and most favourite thing about her.
She shrugged, drawing patterns on the mattress space between them with her finger. He watched her while he waited for an answer, he was prepared to wait for a while if that's how she wanted to play it.
He'd had a thousand questions running around his head since she asked him but this one was the most prominent. It didn't have to be him, in some ways he was the worst choice given their history, but she still asked him first.
"I never hated you," she said abruptly. "In school, I mean. I didn't hate you."
He sighed and rolled over so he was on his back again, one arm resting behind his head. "Could have fooled me."
She was still drawing patterns and as he watched he saw that she was tracing flowers, she was always drawing flowers.
"I was only so awful to you because I didn't hate you," she said.
He tried to puzzle that out in his head but had nothing. "Right."
She stopped tracing and sat up fully so that he had to look up to see her. "I should have hated you, you were awful to Severus and you were just a pain in the ass with me so I tried to hate you. I told everyone that I did and I was awful to you but when I really thought about it, I didn't hate you. I didn't much like you, but I certainly didn't hate you."
"I see," he said, trying incredibly hard to digest what had been said. "And where do you stand now?"
"Yes at this moment, where do you stand?"
"I don't stand, I'm sitting."
James swiftly took the pillow from behind him and hit her with it while she laughed hysterically. A sound from the other room shocked them and he grabbed Lily to keep her from falling off the bed as she jumped in surprise.
When everything was quiet again they both sat back, though Lily was now quite a bit closer than she had been before. They stared at the door, waiting for any other sounds or movement and gradually began relaxing as none came.
They were quiet for a long time then, so long that he thought she might have fallen asleep but when he looked over she looked at the same time. "You never answered the question," James said when she didn't look away.
"I think very highly of you James," she said, shocking him with the use of his first name. "You grew up and you became a good person with a good head on your shoulders and I like that."
"Wow," James said. "I'm kind of waiting for a but to come in somewhere."
She laughed softly. "There's no but, you're a different person than you were at school and I happen to be fond of you now."
"Well that's fantastic news Evans because I'm fond of you as well," he replied, smiling down at her.
She rolled her eyes and then did something even more shocking than saying that she was actually fond of him, Lily rested her head on James' shoulder. If she noticed him tense up she didn't show it and eventually he rested his own head on top of hers.
This was new, incredibly new actually since the most she had ever touched him was a high five when they had made fun of Sirius. This was something different, it was soft and quiet and intimate in a way, nothing he would have expected.
"You're quite comfortable," she mumbled, curling up into him.
As she moved he took his arm and put it around her, pulling her closer to him and silently waiting for her to protest. "Are you saying I'm fat?" He joked as she moved closer and closed her eyes.
She laughed. "Yes you're gigantic James Potter, all the football you play does absolutely nothing for you."
He laughed too and rested his head back against the wall. It was quiet for some time and eventually he noticed Lily's breathing slow down and her head falling.
He re positioned himself so that they were both laying down and her head was on his chest as she slept, looking more peaceful than he'd seen her in years. Her breathing was slow and steady and she had one of her arms draped over his stomach.
As he looked down at her he figured that he should have felt awkward but he didn't, he in fact felt incredibly at ease as if this was supposed to happen. In the morning he would have to go back to being her friend and they would joke about this but for now he enjoyed the feeling that they were something more, maybe not right now but they could be.
Mrs. Potter found them the next morning, when she came to ask what their plans were, both still in their clothes for the wedding sleeping peacefully together. Lily had her head on his chest and was holding his hand with the arm thrown across him as though he might run away. James had his other arm over her protectively, gripping her to him as though he feared being separated above anything else.
She had known that Lily had only brought him home to try to fool her into thinking they were dating but when she saw them like this, she thought they may only be fooling themselves. As she closed the door she smiled to herself, knowing that she would be seeing a lot more of James Potter.