He looked down at her intense form. She hadn't slept for more than two hours a night in weeks. She barely ate at meals, and that was if she attended them. She was a walking zombie who could be seen reading at least three books at any given time, including lessons.
She knew everything, so why was she stressing? If anyone had the luxury of being able to relax, it was her.
"Hey Evans. You planning on getting any sleep ever?" Hearing her name, she was startled out of her concentrated trance.
"What?" she said, and looked up to see James Potter hovering over her shoulder, extremely frustrated at having her focus broken. "Oh, it's you. What do you want?"
"It's the middle of the night. I want to know what in the hell you're doing up still. Don't tell me you're studying for NEWTs. Relax Evans. They aren't for another two weeks."
She glared at him scathingly. "Some of us actually place importance on these exams, so leave, before your disaffected-failure-aura rubs off on me."
"Touchy, are we? You know what you need Evans?" he said with a drawl.
"Oh here we go. The great James Potter is going to impart his sage studying tactics on me. Well thanks, but no thanks," she said scathingly.
"You're going to stress yourself out so much that you're going to choke and fail," he said. The wand suddenly in his face did not surprise him. However, its shaking did. She was so weak she couldn't even hold her wand straight.
"Shut up!" she cried, tears of frustration building in her fiery emerald eyes.
"You know I'm right," he said darkly.
"I said shut up! You have no idea what it's like for me! No idea how hard I have to work! You think it's so easy, but it's not! It's bloody well not! My whole future rests on how I do on these exams! If I fail, then where will I go? Back to the muggle world? Completely disappointing my parents, proving to the wizarding community that blood really does matter, and giving my sister a reason to think I'm a freak! You—"
But whatever he was apparently did not matter, because at that precise moment, James Potter kissed Lily Evans for the first time. It was slow and warm and a little less than innocent, but it was everything she had ever heard kissing could be.
She could barely stand on her on two legs, her head filled with a drowsy warmth, like a hot air balloon helping her drift along. "What? Why did you…?" she asked drowsily.
His hands still held her close. "Because you needed to breathe. You need to get your head away from all of that. Admit it: the entire time we were kissing, you weren't thinking about anything related to NEWTs."
It was quite true, she thought. While they had been kissing, her mind had blissfully cleared of any thought whatsoever, mostly because she was completely taken aback by his audacity.
"I…" she said. His lips came back to caress hers again, teasing her and sending tranquilly warm oblivion through her body, not unlike gulping down a pint of butterbeer in one go.
She did not know how long they stood there, completely enraptured with one another, but all too quickly he pulled away. His face was flushed, and his breathing was ragged, as though he had run a marathon.
"You need sleep," he said as he kissed her neck, nuzzling the sensitive flesh. He pushed her back to the staircase, and she floated along under his ministrations, barely aware that they were moving at all. He kissed her again on the mouth, long and deep and hard, before pulling away, turning her around, and sending her up the stairs.
He stood at the bottom of the steps as she wound her way up them dazedly. He bit his lip to keep from attempting to follow her. She looked so beautiful in the firelight, with her hair mussed from his hands running through it, her eyes half lidded in pleasure, her cheeks flushed and her lips bruised a raspberry red.
She changed from her uniform and slipped into her nightgown and into bed, almost without realizing it. Her mind was whimsically distracted with feelings of overwhelming serenity and comfort. By the time her head had hit the pillow she was deep asleep.
When Lily awoke, the afternoon light streaming into her eyes seemed painfully bright. She sat up, only to see the beds around her long since emptied. She stretched, reminding herself it was Saturday. She could not remember when she had slept so well. Distractedly, she wondered why that was, when suddenly the night's events hit her like a ton of bricks dropping on her head.
Her face drained of all its color, before flushing a deep scarlet. She fell back into her pillow, a moan muffled in its folds.
She couldn't believe it. James Potter had kissed her, and she –and she! —Well, she obviously was extremely sleep deprived and completely missing all of her senses. There was no other explanation for it. He had taken advantage of her, really. She was infuriated.
She showered, dressed, and stormed into the common room. But it was empty. It was the last Hogsmeade weekend she remembered in a distant part of her mind, and it was already late afternoon. Plus it was beautiful outside. Surely that was where everyone else was, studying, like she wished she could be. And that was when it hit her.
Her books. Her notes. Everything was gone. It was nowhere near or around the table she had been working at last night before –well, before she was so rudely interrupted and taken advantage of.
She had to find James. But how? She had no idea where he was and—
The common room door opened, and in he waltzed with his band. They quickly took note of her, and her face blushed, though she tried to hold it back. Undoubtedly, they had heard about what had happened –a grossly exaggerated story, she was sure— and now thought she was some loose harlot woman.
She stalked up to James, unable to bare the thought of the whole school knowing and thinking horrible things about her. "I need to talk to you right now," she said, her voice dangerously low.
"What'd you do this time, Prongs?" Sirius said laughingly, but James did not react at all.
"Why don't you three head on up to the room? I'll be there in a bit," he said, his tone leaving no room for argument. They boys trudged up the stairs, and Lily made sure the door to their room was both opened and then closed before she spoke.
"What in the bloody hell is wrong with you!" she demanded. He raised his eyebrows.
"It's good to see that a little sleep helps that cranky temper you've got," he said sarcastically.
"I don't know what you've told anyone about last night, but—"
"Relax, Evans. I haven't told anyone anything. Your reputation of having the purity of a nun is preserved," he said scathingly. It upset him that she thought he would go parading around what had happened between them, like he didn't know that it was somehow special and private.
Of course, for about fifteen minutes he hadn't been able to get a stupid grin off his face, and he had tell the others that he had accidentally used too strong of a cheering charm on himself while practicing for NEWTs, though he had been desperately close to spilling everything at first.
"Oh," she said, and for a moment seemed at a loss for words. "Well, good. It had better stay that way," she said sharply.
He rolled his eyes and she glared. "And what about my books and notes? Did you even think about them when you made me leave last night? Or did you just leave them laying about to be stolen by other seventh years, or worse, disposed of by house elves?"
"I've got them. I've got everything," he said in a drone voice.
"Good," she said. "Well where are they?" she asked impatiently.
"In my room," he said, and then at her look, added, "Hidden, where my mates won't see them and ask questions."
"Well go get them!" she commanded, and that was the last straw.
"You know what, Evans, I don't think I will. You've been a right cow to me this morning, especially after I've been a proper gentleman to you, and I'm really rather bored with this attitude of yours." Her eyes shot wide at his voice.
"You wouldn't dare," she said. He raised an eyebrow and his trademark grin slid into place.
"You're challenging me?" he asked teasingly, and he saw she knew he was serious. She sighed, and looked like she had swallowed something sour.
"All right," she said. "I'm sorry."
"Nah, that's not good enough," he said laughingly.
"Fine," she gritted out. "I apologize for my rude behavior. It was ungrateful of me. I appreciate your silence about last night a great deal, and your retrieval of my personal belongings. Now if you would be so kind as to return them?"
"Nope. I've got a better idea," he said, and he could see she was close to screaming. "For every piece of parchment of your notes, you have to spend an hour with me. For every book, a full snogging session, reminiscent of last night. During any of these times, you cannot complain or make any comments negative to my person or the arrangement."
Her mouth had dropped open. "You're trying to blackmail me!" she cried.
"Uh huh," he said with a smile. "I mean, you could just go to McGonnagal, but then you'd have to explain why exactly it is I had them in the first place, wouldn't you?"
She glared daggers at him, whipped out her wand, and raised her eyebrow a fraction.
"How about this Potter? You either give me back my notes, or I'll make sure you're in the hospital wing for the rest of the year," she threatened.
"Ah," he said, that charming smile never slipping, "But then you'd still be out of your notes, and since my own roommates wouldn't be able to find them, what gives you any idea that you'll be able to? You'll fail for sure, and as you explained last night, I'm sure that's not a fate you're looking forward to, now is it?"
For a moment, tears glistened in her eyes and he was sure he had gone to far, but then she lowered her wand.
"I have more notes than there are hours before the exams. I'll spend fifteen minutes with you for a parchment of notes. At approximately six hours outside of class everyday, that amounts to twenty-four pieces a day. It will take about a week, but I can get them all back in time to still study some. As for the books, you will receive one kiss, the instigation and duration controlled by myself only," she negotiated.
He thought for a moment. "The kiss has to be on the lips, and I require full meals, three times a day, no exceptions."
"I'll give you the meals, but they count for double," she said, glaring.
"And the kissing?" he said, not aware of the tender-hooks upon which he hung.
She moaned miserably. "Fine," she said, defeated. "But we've been talking for at least fifteen minutes, so if you wouldn't mind, I'd like my fourteenth page of my Arithmancy notes please."
He grinned. "I didn't say I'd when I'd give them to you," he said, but she looked so miserable. "I know you'll either try to study during our time together, or wait and skip sleeping again, which is really rather impractical, as I want your full attention. So I'll cut you a break. I'll give you your notes at the end of five hours every day, and for an hour, we'll study together."
"Study?" she said disgusted. "With you? You just want to copy my notes because you haven't been taking them all year!"
He grinned at her accusation. "Contrary to popular belief, I actually pay attention in some classes."
"Which one is that? Flying lessons?" she said, and before she knew it, he was kissing her again. His hands gripped her wrists with one hand, pinning them behind her back so she couldn't struggle or reach for her wand. His other hand slid up her back to entangle in her hair, tugging lightly but not painfully, so she would arch her head to the position he desired.
He groaned softly into her mouth, unable to contain himself. He let her pull back slightly for air, but moved again to her neck, this time much more focused on leaving a mark of his affection there.
"This wasn't part of the deal," she said, and he noted with great satisfaction the breathy tone of her voice and the heave of her chest against his.
"So you're earning back one of your books faster than you thought," he growled to her before nipping at the sensitive flesh. He grinned as she gasped and tensed. His tongue flitted out to suckle the sensitive area.
"Besides, now we're alone. Tonight, the common room will be too full until too late. Unless of course you want to make a display of all this," he whispered, and she groaned, though he was not entirely sure it was from what he was saying and not from what he was doing to her.
His mouth moved back to hers, slowly massaging her lips, trying to somehow let her know that this meant more to him than any stupid game. He wanted her, to be and argue with, and definitely to kiss and caress any time he felt the urge (which, being a teenage male, was quite often).
His heard the door to his dormitory open. He heard footsteps on the stairs. He ripped himself away, pushing her back slightly. A slightly bewildered and, he quite thought, hurt look came to her face, before she realized they had company.
"So it's a deal then?" he asked, his tone faking the anger it usually held with they spoke with one another.
She swallowed. "Deal," she bit back at him, though she had not conjured up an angry face to match.
He turned to see Sirius at the bottom of the stair, an eyebrow raised in question as to what was taking so long. He turned back to Lily. "See you at dinner," he said, and then left to walk with Sirius.
"You two aren't in another spat, are you?" Sirius said.
"No," James said. "Why?"
"It's just your face is all flushed like it usually is when you two argue…" he said.
"Actually," James said, a dark smile on his face, "we've come to a bit of a truce, and I suppose we'll be getting along just fine."
Sirius looked surprised, but didn't say anything, figuring that whatever had happened, it couldn't have been that bad. Little did he know…
AN: everyone who reviews gets a cookie! And if you liked this, check out my other (slightly more serious) james/lily ficlet: beautiful contradictions! Thanks!