A/N: HELLO MY LOVELIES! I am SO beyond excited for you to read this chapter. Shout out to my amazing beta, DaftDruid, for giving me awesome input to help me make this the best chapter it could be. You rock, lady!
Big things happen in this installment, folks. Now, go find out!
Chapter 25: Confess Unto Me and Set Thy Soul Free
"Oh, Lily…darling, you are in trouble."
Lily rubbed a hand over her tired, newly clean-shaven face. A very late night was swiftly expanding into a very early morning as the small hours ticked larger. It wasn't only sleep deprivation that was finally taking its toll on her eyes and body, but also the highly emotional intensity she'd experienced over the last few hours – ironically, just when she had accepted and found peace in the situation. Her energy utterly was depleted after combatting stress from multiple directions, and it was beginning to show.
Everyone was entitled to some sort of leisure in order to keep sane, especially during trying times. Tonight, Lily had been robbed of that. The result was a vulnerable, tear-filled bout of insanity witnessed, much to her mortification, by someone with whom she'd never even exchanged niceties until few weeks prior. And then there was that…whatever with him that followed.
This night could rightly bugger off.
Lily splashed cold water over her face to right her mind. Right now, she had no fortitude to analyze her interaction with James. As much as she was loath to admit it, she knew there would be enough of it over the next few days that she could put it away for now, and let her mind finally rest so that her body could soon follow.
She took a deep breath and wrenched the bathroom door open, squaring her shoulders as she stepped out of the peaceful solace and into the drafty corridor. The swing of the door ushered a cold, musty gust of air against her skin and jarred her into vigilance, borrowed from the castle's nightly unseen to sustain her to the dormitory entrance. And it was a good thing too, because as she neared the Fat Lady she heard a cough from a few paces away.
Sirius was leaning against the wall nearby, and Lily gasped, starting violently at the sight of him. She wouldn't have, had it been anyone else. The additional presence from the shadows wasn't what made her jump, but this specific presence at such a time kicked up her unease by several notches and sent her heart into a rapid patter.
"Sorry, sorry," he said hurriedly, lifting his hands. "Damn, Prongs, all the things we've gotten into at night over the years and my cough makes you jump a mile high?"
Lily pressed her lips closed and exhaled explosively though her nostrils, pressing her finger pads against her eyes. She couldn't pull together the effort to be polite. "What are you doing out here, Sirius?" she ground out through clenched teeth, still covering her eyes.
"I couldn't sleep, just suffering through one of those random bouts of insomnia. You as well, hm?"
Lily delivered a jerky nod in his general direction, breathing deeply once more before opening her eyes to face Sirius's attentive gaze. "Yeah. Just headed back now." She cocked her head toward the Gryffindor entrance and said, "Well, shall we?" Without waiting for Sirius to respond, Lily turned on her heel and started walking, attempting to make the journey as short as possible without appearing as though in a rush.
After a several paces, Sirius caught up to fall in step by her side. "I'm sorry about earlier, James," he said as he matched her quick stride. "I shouldn't have snapped at you like that."
"It's fine," Lily said shortly. "We all have our days."
"Indeed," Sirius agreed. "I went down to the kitchens to relax and clear my mind, have a bite to eat. You know I hate being hungry, so that was my first mistake tonight." He directed a small grin at her, and Lily returned it wanly.
"Eating is always a start to getting out of a foul mood, isn't it?"
"You know it! The elves were kind enough to make me a small dinner even though it was so late. Nothing as elaborate as they usually make us, just some chicken and rice. But they cooked it exactly the way I like—added mushrooms and everything. Delicious."
"Those elves amazing," Lily commented. "As well as they can cook I'm sure it would be helpful for the schools to add a cooking requirement before graduation. It might better prepare us for the real world."
Giving her a sidelong glance, Sirius said, "I've got to learn that seasoning they used. I've never tasted mushrooms quite like that before, they truly were something else."
"If only they elves would part with their recipes. But since you love them so much, maybe they'll let you in on it if you ask nicely. And if not, well, then you'll have to really get your fill before graduation, won't you?"
"Hm…indeed…" He voice sounded distant, and after a few quiet moments he stopped walking and crossed his arms. He stared at the ground and stroked his chin. "James?"
Lily turned to address him. "Yeah?"
Sirius slowly lifted his head to look at her, and when he did, his previous warmth and amiable regard were gone completely. In a matter of seconds, he'd become someone Lily was certain she wouldn't walk down a dark deserted corridor alone, had he looked this way when he approached her.
Sirius looked positively lethal.
He stepped closer to her and spoke so faintly that his words were almost lost as they were carried atop his breath. "I find mushrooms detestable. I haven't eaten even one since before I came to Hogwarts. You know this."
Lily's stomach dropped and a lump formed in her throat.
"The real James Potter would know this."
Her eyes darted toward the portrait and briefly weighed her options of talking her way out of this one, but before she could say anything—whether it would be an excuse or an admission, she hadn't decided—Sirius securely gripped a fistful of her hair and yanked her head back painfully, pressing the tip of his wand against her throat. He pulled her backwards and tucked them into the alcove, concealed from anyone that might pass along. He leaned his head down toward Lily's ear so that his menacing words had very little distance to travel.
"Remus told me to wait three days before doing something about this," he murmured. "Said that we needed to watch and wait, gather evidence so that we didn't appear crazy when we accused you of being someone you aren't. I agreed just to get him off my back. But I'll tell you what I told him: I know you aren't James, so what the fuck do I care that I seem crazy to a stranger? He can scold me as impulsive as much as he likes. But now that I've noticed you, I'll be damned if I sit back and watch you live a life that isn't yours. Not when my best friend is the one you've stolen it from."
"Your stag has smelled…off. Did you know?" he interrupted savagely. He pressed his nose near her neck and inhaled, momentarily letting the Animagus inside dominate. "Ever so slightly. I don't know how long you've been keeping this up but it's since the last full moon at least—that's the first I remember of it. Your scent is somehow different when you transform but damn it all I just couldn't put my paw on it."
Lily raised her hands to grip Sirius's wrists, extremely uncomfortable in the awkward position he restrained her in. Her spine was arched backward and her knees bent, the back of her neck pressing against the curve of Sirius's shoulder. Her thighs quivered from supporting her weight without proper balance, and her body ached from being forced into odd angles. "Please," she panted. "Let me go and I can explain everything, I'll answer anything you want – Sirius, you're hurting me!"
"Let you go?" he barked incredulously. "Let you go? You'd better start explaining, and tell it all—I want to relay it properly when they find you by the Whomping Willow in the morning."
Lily's heart thumped faster in her chest. She knew Sirius was fully capable of making good on that threat if he continued to believe she was dangerous, especially if he remained convinced that any harm had come to James. "Sirius, stop!" she cried. "You're right, I'm not James! But it isn't how you think, I'm not a stran—!"
"Who the hell are you?!"
"Lily!" she yelled. "It's me, Lily Evans!"
Sirius stilled and in the periphery of her vision, Lily could see his jaw fall open and his eyes widen, staring at her wildly as he struggled to register her admission. He closed his eyes tightly and shook his head.
"She…? No, Lily's in the—I just saw her in the dorm; you can come up with something better than that, can't you?"
"No, that's James. In my body. It's the truth, Sirius, we've been stuck like this for weeks and we don't know how to fix it because it isn't up to us when we switch back!" Lily was growing short-winded as she tried to explain as fast as possible before Sirius did something drastic. She grunted as she tried to shift her weight in order to breathe easier, only managing to do so by a few centimeters. She tried to ignore the throbbing cramp in her side from breathing irregularly as she continued to speak as rapidly as she could. "Peeves found us when we were arguing one night and there's this crazy spell from Merlin-only-knows how long ago and we don't even know how Peeves…we went to Dumbledore and he said we just have to wait it out and we tried to research it in the library but there's no mention of it anywhere and I've wanted to tell you, Sirius, I've wanted to tell everyone but James said it was better if we—!"
"You're lying! James wouldn't keep something like that to himself!"
"The sorting," Lily gasped breathlessly. She spoke the first thing that came to her mind before questioning it. "When I got sorted into Gryffindor you were the first to congratulate me. Do you remember? 'That lion's mane has a proper home,' you said. I remember that!"
The arm around her twitched, as though fighting the battle to release her or tighten the restraint, but nothing gave away which decision Sirius leaned toward.
Lily plunged on. "Fourth year!" she exclaimed. "In fourth year I caught you in the Owlery cuddling one of the tiny brown owls. Nobody else was there and you made me promise not to say anything because you thought it would ruin your image and I never told a soul, that's something between only you and me! I don't know what else to tell you to make you believe me, Sirius! I know it sounds crazy but it's the truth; James is in my body and I'm in his and we don't know how to get out of it!"
Sirius froze for a few seconds as her words sank in, and when finally released Lily it was as though his palms had were scalded. Before she could properly recover her stance he gripped her by the shoulders, spinning her around to peer closely at her face. His face was flushed and dotted with beads of sweat from the exertion of their interaction, eyebrow furrowed in concentration as his eyes moved rapidly to look her over.
"I tried to make a move on you once," he said, guarded. "Tell me what you said to me when I tried to kiss you in the library."
Lily blinked in confusion as she quickly scanned her memory. "That's never happened," she said to him in surprise. "That never would happen." Of course Sirius had always been a flirt toward her, the same way his playful nature automatically took over. But not once had their interactions crossed the line to where he showed a genuine romantic interest in her. Though it remained an unspoken confirmation between them, it was clear that anything more than a playful banter was nonexistent.
"Bloody fucking hell," Sirius ground out under his breath, his eyes widening as this unfathomable reality sank in. He finally released her and hands went up to the top of his head, pressing down on top of his skull.
Lily groaned loudly, so overcome that she had to rest her hands on her knees as her adrenaline lowered and her panic slowly subsided. After weeks of emotional seclusion and hiding in plain sight, speaking her identity brought on a tidal wave of emotions that left her shaken.
There was a large lump growing her throat and she didn't know whether it would break loose as a laugh or a sob, so she squeezed her eyes shut and swallowed around it to tamp it down. Lily waited until she felt her breathing pattern even out before straightening up to stretch out her spine and sore muscles. She tried to step away to putsome distance between herself and Sirius, but he came toward her at the same time, leaning toward her face as he kept studying her eyes.
"Lily?!" he said incredulously, gaping at her. "It's actually you in there, isn't it?"
"Yes! It's me." Lily sighed, reveling in how the long-awaited admission tasted so sweet. "It's me," she repeated earnestly.
Sirius slumped his shoulders, but he maintained the acute, alert look of shock. "I-I can't…I don't even understand how this—shit, Lily! What the bloody hell are you doing in there?!" Lily shrugged helplessly and opened her mouth to answer, but Sirius stopped her with a raised hand. "No, wait—don't answer that. I need to sit down first." He leaned heavily against the wall and let his legs give out, slumping to the floor. He bent his head, plunging his fingers into the thick dark locks, and began to massage his scalp.
Lily looked anxiously out of the alcove and down both sides of the hall. "Maybe we should go inside. I really don't want to run into Filch and I've already abused my prefect privileges enough being out of the dorm so long while I'm off duty."
Sirius snorted and chuckled humorlessly. "Wow. Any doubt I had as to who you really were is certainly gone now." He rubbed his fingers along the bridgeof his nose. "Lily, I just found out that someone else has been in my best friend's body for the last few weeks. I didn't even know that was possible without Polyjuice. I mean, bloody hell, cut me some slack—I need a few minutes here."
Lily sheepishly winced and clasped her hands in front of her. "Fair point," she conceded awkwardly, sliding down opposite of him. "We'll just…worry about Filch later."
"Yeah. Sounds like a plan."
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Then Sirius inhaled deeply a few times, squared his shoulders and looked straight into Lily's eyes. "Tell me everything."
The short phrase was all Lily needed as encouragement. The explanations and truths weighing heavily on her tongue swelled and poured forth as easily as a dam breaking loose. She told Sirius everything she knew in a detailed account that he listened to without interruption. The entire time she spoke, his eyes remained trained on her, eyebrows tucked into a deep furrow as he became privy to what was such an intensely confidential situation. It was the most serious Lily had ever seen him by far. Had this been her first interaction with him, she never would have guessed that he had such a playful nature, for not even a glimmer of that lingered. Every shred of it was locked away. James had nothing to worry about; it was clear how gravely Sirius was taking this news, and that the last thing on his mind was teasing his friend for becoming a female.
The only change in his expression occurred when Lily timidly recounted her transformation into a stag. A flicker of pain etched his features and he closed his eyes just for a moment, before he returned to his stoic expression. When Lily finally finished speaking, Sirius didn't say anything. His face was stony and though she knew he was both angry and hurt, she couldn't tell which emotion would be dominant.
"I am so sorry, Sirius," she whispered. Lily bit her lip, stifling tears that suddenly welled. "I wanted to tell you, honestly. But James thought it best that I didn't say anything and it just wasn't my place to breach that, no matter what."
Sirius nodded solemnly. "You're right. It wasn't for you to tell me. And James and I will be having words over his choice to keep me in the dark. Believe me." He took in a deep breath. "But that doesn't involve you." His toned seemed light, as though he was attempting comfort Lily and absolve her of guilt. But she listened past that first impression to the underlying double message, which served to officially sever the intimacy she and Sirius shared while she'd acted as James. There was a barrier now between them, erected as Sirius accepted what was at first inconceivable.
Somehow that made Lily sad. Now that she'd been exposed to the other side of the boy in front of her, it was difficult—though understandable—to realize that she most likely would never be seeing it again.
"So…" she whispered, hesitantly. "I guess now we…?"
"We return upstairs and I try not to throttle my friend in his sleep for his complete stupidity."
"Please don't." Lily smiled weakly. "I really want my body back."
Sirius delivered a lopsided smile and ruffled her head. "I can only imagine," he chuckled. "I'll refrain from asking details and making remarks. You know, it actually explains everything and nothing all at the same time."
"How do you mean?"
"You and James have changed with how you're acting with one another. We could all see it happening. Spending the majority of your time with only each other, actually talking, sleeping on the couch, not to mention James very gallantly defending your honor in public—"
Lily coughed and rubbed the back of her neck. "Um, actually…that was me."
Sirius stammered to a stop. "You threw that punch?"
"Guilty as charged, and I feel awful for it."
"Are you joking? That was incredible! I guess that puts to bed our main theory."
Lily raised an eyebrow. "Which was what?"
"That you'd finally both done something about all that tension between you two."
"Oh, Lily, please! One day you and James are either going to come to blows in a duel to the death or you'll finally just fu—"
"Sirius, you are absolutely mental!" she interrupted sharply.
"Look, all I'm saying is that that energy has got to go somewhere—it isn't just going to disappear. I'm not kidding about that, it needs an outlet."
Lily's mind involuntarily flashed to the memory of her and James together in the prefect's bathroom, to the palpably charged tension brought to life between them while James shaved her face. Somehow it had been both unequivocally potent and yet markedly ethereal. Like a thick fog that settles low to the ground and devolves established surroundings into mere abstract shadows, it obscured her awareness of the substantial around her, including the physical, exterior body hovering so closely. In that moment, all she knew was the soul behind the eyes.
In that moment, all she knew was James.
Lily felt a warmth seep unbidden into her heart as she relived the experience so vividly, before the sensation dropped into the pit of her stomach. It thrummed to life, morphing into an incessant fluttering against the walls of her insides. She suddenly felt quite alarmed and absentmindedly brought a hand to her stomach to quell the disruption.
She felt utterly violated by her own subconscious. Oh. My. God, she thought, horrified.A deep and gleeful laugh from Sirius snapped Lily back to the land of the living.
"Oh, Lily…darling, you are in trouble."
She looked at him, panicked. Did I say that out loud?
Sirius smiled and pointed at her, finger making abstract patterns in the air in front of herface. "I caught that look you just gave. You're in trouble. You know it, and you know why. That's what's got you in such a strop."
"I don't know what you're talking about," she snapped at him. "You don't know what you're talking about. I'm exhausted. It's more Sunday morning than it is Saturday night and I haven't slept. I have zero control over what face I make right now, and that is what has me in a strop, so leave me the hell alone about it."
Sirius smile only grew at her irritation and he rolled his eyes, nodding mockingly. "Alright, suit yourself." A few beats of quiet passed before he laughed again, covering his mouth to muffle the sound and staring up at the ceiling. "Oh man, this is hilarious," he murmured to himself, eyes sparkling with mirth. "I cannot wait to watch this unfold."
Instead of her customary habit of delivering a cutting reply, Lily stubbornly let denial slam the door to the conversation and switched subjects. "So, now what?"
Sirius looked at Lily, sobering as they returned their focus to the main reason for their conversation. "I thought we covered this. Now, as in this moment or 'now' as in tomorrow?"
"Both, I suppose."
"Well, now now, all I want is to sleep and process all of this while I'm unconscious. 'Tomorrow' now...I mean, I have to tell Remus, Lily; I can't keep him in the dark about this about something so serious like this. Especially when his secret is...compromised."
The word was a punch to the gut for Lily. Kind, soft-spoken Remus, who was considerate beyond reason toward everyone, seemingly had the most at stake when it came to their reckless decision not to inform them of the switch. Being a werewolf was a huge secret, one that could absolutely ruin Remus if it got out. As good as Lily's intentions were, the fact was that she was let in on it without his knowledge. Such actions did mean that he was compromised.
Lily swallowed the lump in her throat that rose from the guilt, threatening to bring her to tears for the second time that evening. "I would never tell soul, Sirius," she insisted earnestly. "You must know that. I'd never do such a heartless thing."
"I...I assumed that. But Lily, be that as it may, you have to understand...it was never ever planned that anyone else would know that about Remus. Even in the best of circumstances, it is downright dangerous for others to find that out about him. James and I have been close to him since day one in first year, and he only told us because James and I were too young and stupid to leave him be when we suspected what was going on. Everyone sees Remus as easy going, understanding, and one of the sweetest people you could meet...which was why it was incredibly difficult to see him so terrified to tell us the truth. I never want to see him look like that again."
Sirius cut himself off with a bite down onto his lip, closing his eyes and willing his temper to cool. When he spoke again, his voice had a measured, controlled timbre, with a hard edge that made Lily wish he'd shout at her instead.
"James should have told us about what was going on as soon as it became clear that you would have to transform in his place," Sirius continued, eyes still closed. "And I am furious with him about that. It wasn't his place to...and without even trying to…!" Sirius leaned his head back against the stone wall, once again taking a minute to gain control of himself.
"I'm sorry, Lily," he told her. His voice echoed softly as he spoke into his hands cupped around his nose and mouth. "I'm really trying to keep from taking this out on you."
Lily shrugged. "I can take it, Sirius."
Sirius shook his head. "No."
"No, really, I deserve it."
"I said no, Lily," he told her angrily. "That part is between the three of us. I'll save my anger for James." Sirius cast his eyes down, looking remorseful for his tone. "That's very noble of you, Lily. But I'll be damned if James doesn't hear exactly what he needs to hear and how he deserves to hear it." He cracked a grin that didn't quite reach his eyes. "Trust me when I tell you, that boy is way overdue when it comes to comeuppance. We both know how much it bothers you that he gets away with everything."
Lily smiled back half-heartedly, but felt a sting when she finally understood the warning Sirius delivered, simmering beneath the spoken words. Sirius was effectively throwing up the barrier between them, cutting her off from him. James and whatnot aside, what he was really telling her was that her access to him was over. She was no longer to be privy to the side she'd witnessed by the lake before feeding the hippogriffs. Sirius had firmly placed her back into the masses that only saw what he made them see, sealing with a joke and jovial wink the mask that he presented to the rest of the world.
Could she blame him? For the first time, Lily felt true regret at allowing her assumptions to affect her treatment of Sirius Black all these years. Perhaps if she'd accepted even one of his overtures of friendship, no matter how corny, they'd have had the closeness of their own instead of the intimacy she'd borrowed from James.
"I made James promise me that we'd tell you and my friends tomorrow," Lily said to Sirius. "I really broke tonight under all of the pressure, and I can't keep this from you guys anymore. We're telling the crews tomorrow."
"That's good. Maybe there's something we can do to help—after all, six heads are better than two, right?"
Lily laughed. "There are a whole host of magical creatures and situations that would argue otherwise, but in this case, you might be right."
Sirius smiled at her—this time one that was genuine—and got to his feet, holding out a hand to help her up as well. "Come on, let's go to bed. You'll need your strength tomorrow to face the others and I'll need mine to really chew out that idiot properly."
They made their way back to the tower in silence, each sifting through their own thoughts as they trudged up to their room. Since sleeping in the dorm room Lily usually was quite prim about changing, ducking into the bathroom or facing the wall even if she was just changing a shirt. But tonight she was exhausted that she paid no mind to Sirius when he stripped down to his briefs in front of her while she removed her clothes down to her boxers and undershirt without thinking. The only thing that mattered was the relief that washed over her when slid, finally, into the pocket constructed with the sheets and blankets around her.
She dropped her head onto her pillow with a loud sigh and soon after her head hit the cool surfaceLily finally succumbed gratefully to sleep.
It felt like no time passed at all before Lily was being shaken by a very insistent pair of hands gripping her shoulder. At first, it was within that elusive world where one's dreams and reality melted like wet paint blending together to produce a new color into delicate existence. She only registered that Sirius shaking her violently while they stood in their dormitory. She had the head of a stag, but the rest of her body was her own—her proper one, with the female silhouette she'd been born with. Sirius was shaking her by the shoulders, trying to knock down the stag's head and reveal her face—whether he was trying to help to free her or hurt her, it wasn't clear.
Another shake from him lurched Lily entirely into the real world. After the night she'd had, both in terms of lateness and happenings, she was in absolutely no mood to be woken before her own say-so. The person next to her was speaking but Lily only registered chunks of the sentence.
"Sorry...disturbing you...but...and keeps asking for you."
She drew an arm out of the warmth of the blankets and swatted blindly at the offender. "Sto-o-op it," she groaned out, voice gurgled with sleep. "Le' me'lone, you have no idea wha' I wen' through las' nigh'." Without waiting for a response she put a pillow over her head, blocking out whatever the intruder answered.
"...wants you downstairs…" came the muffled reply. "...really...to you."
Lily clutched the pillow tighter against her ear.
"He won't...bothering me about...Sorry but...get you up!"
"Bugger off!" Lily growled back. She would take that stupid nightmare over this in a heartbeat, as long as it meant she could stay in bed.
It actually worked, at first. There was no returning argument and Lily heard the faint sound of the door opening and closing, leaving her in blissful peace. But a few minutes later, right as she was on the edge of drifting back asleep, a sharp tug ripped the pillow away from her grasp a small yet cold blast thrust her back into wakefulness.
"Bloody buggering hell," Lily snarled angrily. She whipped the covers aside and threw on a nearby sweater, then jammed her feet into slippers near the bed. "Fine! I'll go down there because someone clearly needs me, but never mind what I need after last night because who needs sleep to function anyway? I swear, it had better be the damn apocalypse out there or I will cause one, you can be sure of that!"
She stalked to the door and out of the room, without stopping to even brush her hair out of her eyes, making sure her displeasure reverberated into each step struck down on the ground.
"Okay," she bit out as she stomped down the stairs. "What is so bloody important that I need to come down here this exact second?"
As soon as she reached the bottom her wrist was grabbed and she was being tugged hurriedly toward the exit. "Just wait a minute before you say anything," the person in front of her muttered.
Lily protested as she was urgently pushed through the portrait hole and dragged further down the hall, but she went unanswered. Then she was pushed through another door into the Prefect's bathroom where she whirled around to face the person who'd so rudely jumpstarted her Sunday morning before she was ready.
When she finally focused on the face of the person with her, her outraged died on her tongue before it could be given life.
James Potter stood in front of her.
James, with his black hair already messy as though it had danced with a full day's wind despite the morning only just beginning. With his glasses on his face, at which Lily noted she needed to once again look slightly up to see into the hazel eyes behind the frames. James's chest rose and fell as his excitement built, holding his arms out to present himself. To present his form that looked nothing like a female figure.
Lily's hands went to her waist and trailed down over her hips to the top of her thighs, feeling how her palms rose and dipped with the curves and muscles she felt. Curves and muscles she hadn't felt in nearly a month. Trademark red hair framed her vision.
Lily spun around and stared into the mirror with her hands on her cheeks. Her mouth fell open as she locked eyes with her reflection, and it was remarkable how much she delighted in seeing herself as herself precisely replicate her actions. Behind her, she heard James chuckle deeply.
"All these years, Lily," he told her, fondly. "All this time, I've begged you for silence and you choose a moment like this to comply?"
Lily turned back around in time to see James sprint toward her. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her securely against him, and Lily returned the squeeze wholeheartedly. She felt her cheeks heat, separate from the warmth James enfolded her within, as a huge smile spread across her mouth.
James swiftly lifted her off the floor and spun them around in circles, and Lily shrieked in surprise before throwing her head back and laughing joyfully without abandon.
"We're back, Lily!" James shouted. "We're back!"
A/N: I can barely contain my excitement about this, you guys. Three MAJOR MOMENTS that I've been building up to: Sirius confronting Lily about the situation (!), Lily facing her growing feelings (!) and FINALLY switch-back (!). I don't know which one has me more pumped! That said, I'm pretty anxious to find out what you think. I sincerely hope that it was worth the wait, and I'm on pins and needles about what you have to say. Please let me know! Any questions? I'll happily answer them. I LOVE engaging with readers - we're all story nerds together. ;-*
i feel like I can finally get to the parts I've been dying to write, the romantic elements. Thank you all for supporting me this long. You are amazing. It brings me so much joy I can't explain.
Until next time,