Tumblr anon requested: "Can you write a headcanon where Jily have their first kiss after Lily gets a letter from Petunia, informing her that her parents are dead and James comforts her?" But I screwed it up and wrote a oneshot instead.
It was a strange thing, the way the grief hit her. For a while, she had just sat there at her usual spot in the Great Hall, staring blankly at the bit of stark white muggle paper in front of her, the thick black, swirling lines made by her sister's hand. She had been startled, at first, to see that she had gotten a piece of mail from Petunia. Then she had been happy and a bit excited. It was the first time she had received anything from her sister in the more than six years since she had come to Hogwarts. Surely this letter signified a peace offering. Then she had actually read it, and it was as if the world stilled.
Mum and Dad are dead. It was a car accident. I have arranged for the burial and services to be held this coming Friday at one in the afternoon. I know you were close with them, so feel free to come and pay your respects. I only ask that you act normal.
She didn't know how long she had been sitting there, frozen, staring blankly at the paper in front of her, hearing nothing, feeling nothing, seeing nothing but her sister's precise scrawl. Someone slid into the seat next to her, jostling her back into reality. She turned to stare at James with wide eyes.
"Sorry I'm late," he said as he started piling food onto his plate. "Remus was ill last night, so we all stayed up with him and then we overslept."
When she said nothing, he dragged his gaze away from his food to study her. His eyebrows drew together in concern and he immediately dropped a serving spoon, spilling scrambled eggs everywhere as he reached for her. "Hey, what's wrong? Are you okay?"
She shoved away from the table and fled, not caring that she probably looked mad, that people were likely staring at her.
"Morning, Red," said a gruff, groggy voice in the Entrance Hall.
"Lily?" said another voice on the stairs, equally familiar as the first, but strained and raw as if he had spent hours screaming.
She didn't stop, didn't even look at them, just ran blindly.
She knew it had been hours, but only because the light filtering in through the small window above her head in the cramped, unused broom cupboard had begun to dim. She had spent the whole day alone, staring straight ahead at the brick wall, feeling as if she were stuck in an alternate universe, a world in which Lily Evans was not happy, did not have a family, did not have anything to go home to. It wasn't real. It couldn't be real. She wouldn't accept it.
She didn't look up when the door opened. He didn't say anything for a moment, but she knew it was him because who else could have found her? She heard footsteps as he shuffled forward, heard the door close behind him, and then finally, enclosed in such a small space, smelled the broom polish on his hands – he always brought out the broom kit when he was worried – and the coconut shampoo and some vaguely inky, parchmenty scent that always reminded her of the library.
"I took excellent notes today," James announced proudly as he crouched down in front of her. She had to avert her gaze when she saw the concern and distinct lack of pride in his expression. "Just for you."
"How did you find me?" she asked, not daring to look up as he squeezed himself between her and the corner where the two walls met. She had to move over a bit to make room for him and he pulled his legs close to his chest.
"I have my ways," he said as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her into his side. "Are you going?"
"You know. Of course you know," Lily said, not bothering to ask how. Likely, it was through some ridiculous feat of sleuthing.
"You left the letter on the table," James explained without prompting.
Obviously, he had found it. He always sat right next to her at breakfast. He had been there when she had made her great escape from the table, had clearly noticed the odd muggle paper sat on top of her half-eaten breakfast. Was it the newness of the paper that had led him to pick it up, or the concern over what had made her act so strangely, or was it some combination of the two?
"Do you want to talk about it?" he offered.
Lily frowned and shook her head. Then her mouth opened quite of its own accord. "She's an awful cow."
"Your sister?" James asked.
"She fucking gave me permission to show up. Like I need permission to go to my own parents' funeral," she fumed.
"Of course you don't need her permission," James said, appropriately supportive of her outrage.
"Let her try and stop me from going," Lily said fervently, which was a ridiculous thing to say because her sister had clearly said that she would not be excluding Lily.
"No one will keep you away," James vowed all the same.
Lily nodded, accepting his assurance, and fell silent. For a long time, they sat and quietly watched the shadows shifting on the brick wall opposite them.
"James?" Lily asked suddenly, a memory surfacing.
"Did I ignore Sirius and Remus this morning?" she asked.
"Oh. Well, yeah," James told her with a small, surprised chuckle. "And me and Peter."
"Peter was there?" Lily asked, frowning. How out of it had she been? She loved Peter. He was a bit awkward at times, but she found it endearing and enjoyed talking to him.
"He came down to breakfast with me," James said. "Sirius and Remus came down a few minutes later and you passed them by the Entrance Hall."
"Oh." She felt guilty, mostly for not even noticing sweet little Peter, but also a bit for ignoring Sirius and Remus. James clearly wasn't bothered, but she knew that Sirius took everything as a personal affront and Remus had been unwell lately and Peter was usually the overlooked one in their little group and, damn it, they all deserved better.
"None of them are cross with you," James said. "They saw how upset you were."
"Did you tell them why?" Lily asked.
"No." James studied her for a moment, then shrugged. "I wasn't sure if you would want anyone to know yet. Or if you would want to be the one to tell them."
Lily nodded, but didn't answer. She wasn't sure, either.
He shifted a bit then, trying to get comfortable in the cramped space, and she ended up leaning even further into his side. She reached absently for his hand dangling down over her shoulder. He turned it over, offering his palm for her to thread her fingers through his. She risked a glance at him as she did so, and was unsurprised to find him studying her. He was almost always studying her. At one point in time, she had hated that about him, or had at least tried to. Now, though, it made her feel good. Good and warm. And she would be lying if she said that she didn't often stare at him as well.
They were friends, but they were also a bit more, weren't they? She'd been coming to terms with that before she got the letter, had been getting a bit better every day at not denying herself the simple pleasures in life. It wasn't her fault if lately all of the simple pleasures seemed to involve James: his laugh, his smile, his hair, his fingers twined with hers on those late-night patrols, the smell of him fresh out the showers after Quidditch practice, the feel of his shoulder against hers when they sat just a little closer together than necessary in the common room or the Great Hall or even, sometimes, during Potions.
They never talked about it, but she knew that he knew she was coming around to her feelings for him. It was in the little things he did daily, the things he hadn't been bold enough to do at the start of term. Reading her mail, for instance, and owning up to it, confident in the knowledge that she wouldn't be too cross with him over it. Taking the time to seek her out after she had gone missing for a whole day, practically sitting her in his lap in this little-known, unused cupboard, the way he was rubbing small, soothing patterns on the back of her hand with his thumb.
She couldn't imagine anything more comforting than having him beside her, honestly, and the realization didn't startle her as much as it would have a few months ago.
"Will you come with me?" she asked.
There was no hesitation before he answered. "Of course."
"Thanks," she said, and dropped her head on his shoulder.
"We should probably go," he said after a moment and Lily sighed, but agreed.
It was growing exceptionally dark and they would have to get Professor Dumbledore's permission for both of them to leave soon because her sister's letter had arrived late, thanks to Muggle post, and the funeral was tomorrow.
James stood up first and she could see the relief on his face at finally being able to stretch his legs. He offered a hand to help her up and didn't act surprised when, instead of letting him lead her out of the cupboard, she wrapped her arms around the back of his neck and hugged him.
He opened his mouth to say something else, and she was sure it would have been a very nice sentiment, and it probably would have made her feel marginally better, but he never got a word of it out. Instead, she surged forward and pressed her mouth to his. She had to give it to him; even having been taken completely by surprise, the boy had quick reflexes. He responded immediately, his left arm wrapping around her waist and his right hand caressing her cheek as he tilted his head for a better angle.
James pulled away far sooner than she would have liked, having thoroughly enjoyed losing herself in feeling something good. When she stood on the tips of her toes, wrapped both of her hands around the back of his neck and tried to pull his lips back to hers, he sighed and rested his forehead against hers.
"Lily," he started quietly, but cut off with a groan when she moved her head and kissed the side of his neck.
"Kiss me," she begged, peering up at him through pleading eyes.
"I can't," he whispered, but she saw the longing all over him.
"Why not?" she asked.
"Because you're crying, sweetheart," he told her.
"Oh." She realized that must have been why he was suddenly so blurry. She had thought it was just the darkness getting to her. "Sorry."
"Don't be sorry," James said with a slight frown.
When she sniffled, he slid his hands up and into her hair, cradled her head in his warm, gentle hands, and used his grip on her to pull her face into his chest. She wrapped her arms around his waist and sobbed.
Hey guys! I'm back with another prompt from tumblr.
I'm still working (slowly) on my not-yet-posted multi-chapter fics, but I found a prompt I forgot someone had sent me, so here we go.
Hope you enjoyed it :)