Sorry for such a long delay! Anyway, I'm determined to finish this, hopefully by Christmas—or somewhere in that vicinity! ;)
Lily started to worry. "Dumbledore wants to meet with us?" she asked. Surely the headmaster hadn't seen her and James in their compromising position. At least she hoped not. Lily Evans tried hard to maintain a spotless reputation. It wouldn't do to have it all blown to bits because of a kiss. Her gaze immediately shot to James, who was brushing off some lingering snow from the seat of his pants, and then back to Hagrid. "Why? Why would he want to see us?" she added trying to sound nonplussed.
"Can't really say," Hagrid answered. "Reckon it's important though, so you'd best hurry along."
Lily looked back at James to find a surprised expression on his face. So he was a bit nervous, too. Well, at least she wasn't the only one.
The cloud James had been sailing on ever since Lily Evans kissed him suddenly disappeared at Hagrid's announcement that Dumbledore had something important to discuss with him and Lily. The implications sobered him instantly, the silly, dreamy smile wiped clear off his face. What could the headmaster possibly want with him and Lily? Surely the old wizard hadn't seen James and Lily lying in the snow kissing…had he? Oh well, he shrugged. Not even an audience with the head of the school could completely dampen James's spirits, not after he had just kissed the girl of his dreams and had her kiss him back.
James took a deep breath, proudly puffing up his chest and followed behind Hagrid and Lily. A couple of times she looked worriedly back at him, the nervousness showing on her pretty face. He couldn't help but grin and wink at her, which only made her more irritated. Taking a few large strides, he pulled up right along side her.
"So, what d'you think?" he asked in a whisper. "What does old Dumbledore want to see us for?"
She shot him a sideways glare before returning her gaze straight ahead. "I don't know," she said with a small shrug. Then James noticed her shoulders sag a bit. She turned back to him, her large green eyes wide with worry. "Do you think he saw us, you know--kissing?"
James smiled and nearly whooped for joy. Now that she had said the word—kissing-- he knew for sure that it wasn't just a dream. And he'd had plenty of those over the years.
"I don't know," he replied. Then he reached out and grabbed her mittened hand. She looked at their hands and then back at him. "But even if he did, I don't care," James confessed with a sly expression spreading across his face. "In fact, I'd like to do it again. How about you?"
Lily groaned in exasperation and threw his hand down. James merely chuckled, satisfied that he knew her true answer even if she tried to deny it. He'd felt it in the way her soft lips touched his, seen it in her beautiful eyes when she looked into his.
Things couldn't be going better.
Things couldn't be any worse.
Lily forced herself not to look at James as they stood in front of Professor Dumbledore's huge wooden desk and listened to him expound on the details of his reason for summoning them to his office. She had breathed an audible sigh of relief when she realized the wizard hadn't seen them down by the woods. Knowing that was not the reason she'd been sent for made her drop her guard. Nothing could be as bad as being caught kissing on campus, could it? She knew that other students often searched out private nooks in which to do a little necking, but she had never been one of those types of girls. Her studies were first and foremost on her priority list and boys were almost a nonentity. They were there, but too much of a bother to spend time on. So, she didn't know what would happen if she and James had been caught.
But this—this was nearly as horrible as anything she could have imagined.
Once Professor Dumbledore paused to give them a chance to respond, Lily wasted no time.
"You want us to be in charge of Christmas here at Hogwarts?"
"Yes," Dumbledore replied. "There are quite a few students, younger years, who remained on campus for the holiday this year, for whatever reason. They deserve to have a merry Christmas even so."
"But don't the staff usually take care of all that kind of thing?" she asked, still not believing her ears.
"Usually, yes, they do," Dumbledore answered. "However, recently many of our staff have been busy performing other…duties. If you keep up with the news, you know of what I am referring to."
"Volde—" Lily began before a hand clamped down over her mouth. It was James.
"Don't say his name," he whispered in her ear. "We know who you're talking about, Professor. My parents have been involved in things, as well."
Lily pushed James's hand away indignantly offering him another vicious glare.
"Yes, yes. Your parents have been very helpful, James. And now I am asking you two to do your part to help."
"Professor," Lily interjected, "decorating a Christmas tree is hardly on par with aiding in the search for Vol—you-know-who."
Dumbledore offered one of his rare smiles. "No, I don't suppose it is. But to those students who are here without family, a festive holiday will be equally as important. And it is more than simply decorating a tree, Miss Evans. You'll need to plan the meal, buy the gifts, organize the activities, and see that every single person enjoys his holiday. It is a big task, one I wouldn't entrust to just anyone."
"Why us?" James asked.
"I have faith in you both. Isn't that enough?" Dumbledore said with another enigmatic smile.
"Of course it is, Professor," Lily admitted with a weak smile. "And you know you can count on me—"
"On us," James interrupted. Lily spun her head to look at him. "We're in this together remember," he added with a cheeky grin.
"Us," Lily repeated. "You can count on us to get the job done."
"Good, good!" Dumbledore said as he rose from his chair, prompting the other two to do the same. "Now, I'll give you a budget and you can get started right away. You have a lot to do in just a few days time."
After a few more minutes of formalities and directions, Lily and James found themselves standing outside of Professor Dumbledore's office contemplating their assignment. Lily was mentally fretting over the whole thing. Not only did she have to organize Christmas at Hogwarts, but now she also had to spend most of her break working side by side with James Potter, a boy she despised—or at least used to. Now she wasn't sure what she felt for him, but she was sure that it would not be a good thing to spend so much time in close contact with him. Every time she looked at him, she'd be thinking of that kiss…and wondering if it would be the same if she kissed him again.
James, as if sensing her very thoughts, looked at her and smirked mischievously. "Well, Evans, looks like we'll be spending a lot of time together during break. But somehow I don't think you'll mind, not after the way you kissed me earlier."
"I kissed you?" she said incredulously. "You're the one who tackled and forced yourself on me."
James chuckled. "Yeah, well you weren't fighting me very hard. Just admit it, Evans. You're crazy about me."
"Go on and keep deluding yourself, Potter. Yes, we'll have to spend time together to do this job, but there's no way I'll ever kiss you again!"
James grinned. "And you say I'm delusional?" he stated impishly. "Oh, you'll kiss me again, sweet Lily, and you'll like it even better than the first one. Now let's get started, shall we? We have a Christmas to plan."
James bowed chivalrously and motioned for her to go first. Lily practically snarled at him as she passed and fought back the urge to smack that goofy grin off his face. James Potter was much too sure of himself if he thought she would ever kiss him again.
No, things couldn't get any worse.