A/N: this started with a strange midnight inspiration that I typed into my phone half asleep. Then the fabulous petals-to-fish and I decided we needed to finish it, and so you have our first collaboration! Copious amounts of ogling James Potter await :)
Since her first day in Diagon Alley at the age of eleven, shopping for the tools of her new life, Lily has been a fan of wizarding fashion. Perhaps not for all occasions — she still loves a broken-in pair of jeans and a soft, well-loved t-shirt — but there are benefits to magical dress.
Hogwarts robes in particular are unifying and have that way of making her feel magical, aside from the ease of early mornings where she can just pull the dark uniform over her head, run a brush through her hair and be off. Plus, they do keep you fairly warm in the drafty castle.
But they also tend to leave a lot to the imagination. So if one isn't putting effort into imagining, one can be caught off guard by certain classmates who've implemented new arse-firming regimens.
And Lily has half a mind to write the board of governors. Luckily the other half of her mind realizes writing a letter which will say in bare bones terms, "you've kept James Potter's fantastic arse hidden for too long and I've had no time to develop an immunity" is perhaps not her best idea.
Still, each morning as she selects a couple of iced buns to stow in her bag for a mid morning snack, she can't manage to keep her eyes from straying to a certain other pair of buns that are entirely too pert.
Because James Potter somehow managed to set all of his robes on fire. Well, perhaps it wasn't him because he's not only detention free but romping about practically nude in a pair of trousers that should be registered as deadly weapons. Really, the wizarding community is woefully behind on muggle fashions. Lily's granddad didn't even wear these types of trousers.
Yes, good. Granddad.
But that doesn't change the fact that the combination of James Potter's arse, increases in Quidditch training, and well tailored trousers is a danger to Lily's ability to function. And remain sane.
Having an arse that beautiful should be illegal. Or you should be required to get a license — a well maintained bum can be just as threatening as a poorly driven car and you've got to take a class to drive one. Meanwhile, James Potter's just waltzing around with two beautiful, round cheeks, perfectly featured in his grey slacks and taunting Lily on a daily basis.
Which isn't even addressing the problem of quidditch uniforms. Because chasers have got to do upper body training as well and if a certain Gryffindor captain hasn't gotten broad as a high street then Lily'll eat her large, pointy black hat.
She does have some awareness though, and so far hasn't been caught in the act of...appreciating. But she does need to get ahold of herself because people are noticing she's been a bit off. Particularly Dorcas. The perceptive pain in Lily's neck — though she hasn't caught in to exactly why Lily's distracted yet.
Mainly because Lily always manages to switch focus quickly enough. So Dorcas just nudges her to ask why she's so enraptured with her breakfast buns. And Lily can't get up the chutzpah to say 'I'm comparing them to James Potter's buns and finding them wanting in terms of pertness,' so she shrugs, noncommittal, and suffers in silence.
One day though, Lily is unable to switch her focus fast enough and someone catches on. Now, it would've been just fine for someone to notice her staring at James Potter, most would assume she was just thinking of Head Duties or staring at the chalkboard over his head in classes. The only (big) problem was that the person who finally caught on to her staring was none other than James Potter's overly dramatic best mate Sirius. Now, overly dramatic Sirius was quite keen to discuss the topic after Transfiguration, so much so that when she stumbled out of the loo he cornered her in the most unnerving way possible — with a giant shite-eaiting grin on his stupid face.
"See something you liked in class Evans?"
Lily (who was familiar with Sirius' shite-eating grins after years of experience) suddenly knew she was in too deep and Sirius Black would never let her live in peace for the rest of her James-Potter-Pining Days.
The blush that grew on her neck was unhelpful, "No."
"I'm not a liar." Lily pathetically countered back.
"James walked up to the board to write the effects of transfiguration on geriatric bodies and your eyes were fastened to his arse the entire way there and back again."
Lily's expression probably more closely resembled a drowning fish at the end of Sirius' expert, detective-like monologue. Because if it had just been bum-induced lust she might've had a fighting chance at denial. But she's self-aware enough to know that her reaction to the combination of fit and smart could be seen from space. Which is where she's going to have to live now if she ever wants to escape the knowing grin of Sirius Orion Black.
Sirius breaks into her increasingly detailed plans to become a mail order potions making hermit business mogul, "I can't fault you for the longing gaze. He's not my cup of tea, but the boy does have a fantastic ass if that's what you're into."
Hoping bearing her teeth might make her flush look anger-induced, Lily lets out a low growl and decides denial might at least save face. And a lifetime of Petunia Evans does mean she's become rather expert in fighting about anything, even without much on her side. Which mostly involves ramping up your rage with enough rapidity that it takes attention off the fact that you've not got a leg to stand on.
"Piss off Sirius."
"Don't get testy, Evans. I'm commiserating," he pauses and looks thoughtful, "As best I can when I've seen the owner of said glorious globes with his foot stuck in a toilet."
She can't help but snort at that, and really, thinking of James looking that ridiculous should help her predicament, but her eyes flit to him where he's chatting to Remus and Peter down the corridor and laughing in that uninhibited way where you can't help but crack a smile. And when he drops his head back and highlights his bobbing Adam's apple, and that jaw she could cut herself on—
"Boy does have quality bone structure, eh?" Sirius prompts entirely too close and hovering like a little devil over her shoulder.
Swatting blindly at his face, Lily resettles her books in her arms and turns pointedly away from James' direction, hoping taking the long way to the Great Hall might clear her head before she does something ill advised like push him against the wall and snog him (with copious bum caressing) or at least sock Sirius in his aristocratic nose (which would look bad on her record).
When one is fancying another secretively (she's woman enough to admit that 'fancying' is the appropriate term for this infatuation) there is a strict,'don't hold eye contact for too long' rule, less you become lost in their gaze. Lily was lucky, James had nice eyes, but they were often hidden behind thick square frames. So unless he looked directly at her, she managed to escape falling into his hazel pools. Ahem. His eyes that is.
There were precisely three times in a day Lily and James' eyes could meet. The first was early in the morning if they crossed paths on the way out the portrait hole and so, Lily actively avoided going to breakfast the same time as him. The second possibility was rounds during their fourth timetable but she always manages to use her hair as a way to block his gazes directly. The third and final possibility was at the end of the night when the seventh year Gryffindors gather around the fireplace to help each other on Arithmancy homework.
It was a well known fact that there was a 'seating chart' for those sessions that was strictly adhered to to such an extent that no one has ever even mentioned it. James sat next to Sirius who sat next to Remus who sat next to Peter who sat beside Tracy who was always next to Dorcas who sat next to Lily who sat in between Dorcas and Samantha. Lily was perfectly content with the arrangements as of late, mostly because it put a person in between her and James' smiling face. Of course, Lily should've known better than to count so readily on the seating chart now that one Sirius Black had an idea about Lily's opinions surrounding James' arse…
Still, Lily prides herself in her ability to feign the slightest interest in Samantha's long winded stories, mainly developed under duress so that she wouldn't have the chance to pay attention to James when he waltzed in the room carrying a stack of books and laughing with his mates. She does so with effortless staring at Samantha's bony shoulders and nodding her head to Samantha's words, her face studiously contorted into an expression of interest while her ears are helplessly attuned to James' voice.
And his voice, Merlin, Lily would have written at least three parchment lengths about his voice if anyone asked. She could hear James from an entire hallway away. His laughter was boisterous and his voice was made for the Quidditch pitch because it carried like no other. And when he was talking to her? Damn. He could be talking about unicorn shortages or the fifty-two uses of slug feces in the healing arts and Lily would have to shut her brain off so she didn't think about what his voice could do to her when they were alone. Because James had a particularly affinity for talking to Lily like he was about to throw her up against the nearest wall and snog her senseless, voice low and inhibitions thrown to the wind. Warm and assured and the precise tone she'd want him to use when he's whispering into her neck exactly what he's going to do next.
But Lily really (really) couldn't be thinking about senseless snogs given by James. She was supposed to be sympathizing with Samantha's most recent woe. The only problem was that, at the present time, Lily had already forgotten what Samantha was even talking about and her ears had zeroed in on James' conversation.
"—I dunno mate." James' voice cut into Lily's subconsciousness, "Does it look that bad?"
"I dunno mate, looks bruised." Sirius' voice was dangerously close to Lily's left shoulder, "What do you think Evans?"
There are, at present, one hundred and forty two reasons why Lily should've known better than to turn at Sirius' suggestive tone. One hundred and forty two traps she'd fallen for in seven years of knowing Sirius. She should've known better. She should've asked Samantha for a recap of her drama. She should have asked Dorcas for a hairclip. She should've gone skinny dipping in the Great Lake and then streaked through the corridors shouting for McGonagall.
She should've done anything except turn halfway 'round and let her eyes fall onto James.
James, who had his jersey lifted up by his pianists' fingers as he and the entirety of the population of Gryffindor tower stared at his bare chest. Lily swallowed once as her eyes drifted across the fine lines of muscle he'd gotten from tossing the quaffle in quidditch eight hundred thousand times a week. She was vaguely aware of licking her lips as she admired every inch of James' chest.
"Is it that bad?"
"It's so good."
Shite. Did she say that out loud?
Lily's eyes look up and connect with James' hazel orbs glowing behind his square frames. Dammit. She'd looked. It was over, she was lost in his gaze and there was no going back. She was going to drown in his eyes and she couldn't have cared less if they weren't surrounded by the other Gryffindors. Her eyes dropped back down to his chest and then she realized one of James' fingers was pointing at something by his left rib. Lily squinted her eyes and saw a large purplish bruise.
Slowly (very slowly, she was seventeen years old and breathing after all) Lily's brain connected the dots. They'd been asking her if she thought the bruise looked bad...not her opinion on his gloriously well defined muscles.
Lily coughed, false and hollow, and tried to save herself, "I mean you got hit really good…"
James puffed out his chest proudly as he (sadly) let his shirt fall back down, "I've got the best beaters in the league."
"He encourages his beaters to practice hitting people by hitting him." Marlene, a fellow team player, announced to the group.
"If they can hit me, they can hit anything." James explained, "I'm a hard one to catch."
Lily settled in her seat, knowing at least she had Samantha to protect her from any part of James Potter coming into contact with her person. That's when Sirius opened up his big mouth and decided to ruin it all in true Sirius fashion.
"Oi, Samantha come here a sec?"
Lily's back went rigid as Samantha shrugged and stood up, leaving a blank spot right beside Lily. Lily stared pointedly at a spot on the floor as Samantha stood up...and James plopped unceremoniously beside Lily. Lily closed her eyes and counted to three as his forearm brushed her elbow. Their knees touched. Lily felt like she was on fire.
"Did anyone actually pay attention in Divination this morning?"
He was speaking on his normal voice but goosebumps still rose on her arms. He smelled like shampoo and his books fell partially onto Lily's lap as there was not a lot of room to spread out the circle, which also meant his shoulder was warm and pressed against hers. Lily glared daggers in Sirius' direction as he sat primly in his seat across the circle, Samantha taking James' usual place instead. There was no one between Lily and James. No one to separate her from her (lust driven) personal Hell. No one to help her keep her eyes to herself.
Lily saw the proud smirk Sirius sent her way. He was making her sit next to James out of spite—using their last conversation against her. Lily was able to keep her mind off snogging James in front of everyone simply by imaging twenty-three different ways she could ruin Sirius' life. In the middle of imagining Sirius strung up by his toes in the dungeons while being tickled by a flock of pixies, someone poked her in the side.
Lily pulled her eyes from glaring at her empty notebook (homework took a backseat to teenage romance) to stare owlishly at James, "What?" she squeaked.
Eloquent, Lily. That's how you get the blokes to jump your bones.
"You alright?" he whispered and her heart just about stopped, "You're being really quiet."
"Not interested in your studies Lily?" Sirius teased as he half glanced over his own books, "I know something else we can talk about. I personally love the story you told me earlier about geriatric arses."
Lily was going to hex Sirius within an inch of his life but beside her, James stood up. Lily looked up at his form, towering over her as he offered a hand. Lily stared at his palm, so inviting and warm looking. She'd always wanted to touch his hands, just to see what they felt like. Lily chewed her lower lip before grabbing ahold of his outstretched hand.
In half a second, strong chaser skills showing, James pulled her up to her feet and was dragging her away to a lonely corner outside of the common room. Lily didn't say a word, her eyes were stuck to their clasped hands. If the boy had a fine arse, that was nothing compared to his hands. They were rough thanks to James throwing a quaffle around but Lily imagined they'd be quite good at throwing her around too. Her fingernails scratched against the edge of his wrist and he glanced back at her as they came to a skidding halt.
Torchlight flickered off James' face and Lily allowed herself a look since they were alone together. His eyelashes. They were something she'd never noticed before. She would've killed for his long black eyelashes. The only way Lily could even come close to his lashes was with copious amounts of mascara. Behind the lashes his hazel eyes were sliding over the planes of her face.
"Just when I think I've stared at you long enough," his voice was barely above a whisper, "You look at me like that and I feel like I could stare until—until I don't even know—but I could stare a Hell of a long time."
She was wide eyed and that was apparently not the reply he'd been expecting because he laughed moodily. Lily could've lived with his sullen laugh. She could've walked away. She could've told him he was being stupid. There were one hundred other ways their conversation could have gone—and then James Potter brought out the number one thing that drove Lily crazy since the first day they met.
Running his fingers through his hair.
If there was one way to pick James out of a crowd it was by his fucking hair. It was jet black and as messy as a birds nest. It sat on top of his head in a curly disarray of perfection. Lily used to say it looked as if he'd just gotten off a broomstick but now...now she was older (perhaps wiser) and in love with him and Hell, even she could admit it was sex hair. He always looked like he'd just rolled out of bed. And it drove her spare.
He had no fucking reason to run his fingers through the black mess atop his head. He did it without any knowledge to the suffering it brought Lily. He'd throw his left hand up and move his fingers through the silky strands as he stared at the floor self consciously and Lily would turn to complete putty. She'd feel her heart skip a beat. She'd start chewing her lower lip. She'd twirl a strand of her red hair around her finger.
"Could you not do that?" he asked in annoyance, breaking her from her reverie.
"Not do what?" Lily took a step back, startled by his offronted tone.
James flushed a bit at the ears but continued, "Bite your lip and twirl your hair, it's bloody distracting and you do it all the time."
Lily blinked quickly, "I'm distracting?" she half laughed madly, "I'm distracting?"
"Yeah." James nodded, "You were doing it the entire time in the common room and it drives me spare because I don't know what you're thinking!"
Lily felt like she'd been shot through the gut, "I drive you spare?" she took a step forward that he matched with intensity in his stare.
"Yes, you drive me mad!" James threw his hands up a bit and she wished he'd place them on her, "You have no idea, do you?"
"I have no idea?" Lily pointed a finger at James, "You have no idea. Who burns all their school robes, huh?"
"Your school robes!" Lily exclaimed, "You burned all of them and now you walked around in those stupid trousers that leave little to my—anyone's!—imagination and don't get me started on your fucking hair, James."
"My hair?" exclaimed James, fingers jumping right up to the black curls.
"Your hair! Lily confirmed, eyeing it with an expression closely related to lust as she prods at his gloriously taut chest with an angry finger, "You can't go five seconds without running your fucking fingers through your fucking hair! I mean, I get it James, you've got great hair but unless I can personally run my fingers through it every once in a damn while you need to stop."
She was breathing rather like she'd run fifty kilos uphill with a baby dragon strapped to her back. James stared at her as if she'd said the most confounding thing on the face of the earth. Lily supposed she ought to have been rather worried that she'd said too much when she saw the (euphoric) smile replace his concern but her outburst was only rewarded when James' lips came crashing against her own without so much of a 'Hey Lil, gonna snog you now' from James himself.
And his lips.
Was there no part of this man that she couldn't love?
His lips pressed soft kisses against her mouth that left her aching for more and so Lily finally, finally, allowed herself some self indulgence. Her fingers knit through his soft hair and she scratched her nails across the back of his scalp to mold him firmly against her. Her movements only encouraged James in some indulgence of his own and she didn't mind it at all when James lightly bit her lower lip, his own hands firm and seeking as they worked distracting circuits up her back. In fact, it was like all her dreams had come true and she didn't ever want it to stop.
She'd been admiring James for months. She'd been pining from afar, her eyes doing all the exploring. Now that her hands could admire James, all bets were off. She trailed her fingers over his broad shoulders, let her hands palm his chest. Her nose pushed his fogged over glasses lopsided on his face as they snogged each other mercilessly. His hands roamed, cupping her arse and giving her the excuse to to the same. Her legs bumped into his and the kisses were getting sloppier and the hands were getting grabbier...
That's how Sirius found them, wrapped up in each other like the world was ending. He would lord it over Lily's head for the rest of her fucking life that he'd been right but she couldn't give a flying fuck about Sirius' smirk with her right hand stuffed in James Potter's trouser pocket as they walked back to the common room together and her left hand keeping his arm wrapped around her shoulders.