AUTHORS NOTE: My first One Shot story – not much like my others, but it was pretty fun to write! Also, no worries, Light will still be continued! Enjoy!

FULL SUMMARY: Lily and James used to be best friends, hanging out in their neighborhood with each other. But once they were accepted into Hogwarts, they went their separate ways - James, the popular prankster, and Lily, the know-it-all bystander. But will their past be able to bring them back together?

Up to Speed

"Bring it on," James said, bending low to the ground in a running stance.

"You got it," Lily muttered, from across the street.

James nodded, focusing intently. "Three… Two… Go!"

The two twelve year olds began running down their street on the sidewalks – James on the left, and Lily on the right. They reached the curb at the end of their lane and touched it quickly with one foot, turning rapidly to run back the direction they came. They were neck and neck…

"I win!" James yelled, screeching to a halt at the end of the street.

"Oh, no you didn't," Lily shouted, crossing the street with her hands on her hips as she breathed in heavily. "You're off your rocker – your overly large nose might have won, but I crossed the finish line first. Plus," she added, smirking, "you were on a hill."

"You were too!" he pointed out, getting in her face.

"But yours was steeper," she said, poking a finger in his chest.

"Aw, give it up, Evans," he said, laughing, "I beat the neighborhood sprinter – I'm the new champion."

Lily laughed, wiping the sweat from her forehead. "Alright, rematch – the person who wins is the 'champion,'" Lily said, grinning.

"But I pick the track."

"Of course," she said, smirking.

James surveyed the street, looking for the best possible place for them to race. He glanced at his house on the corner, speculating a possible place to run. He continued down the streets, passing two, identical houses and a quaint house on the opposite corner, belonging to Lily's family.

James tapped Lily on her shoulder and nodded his head toward the other side of the street. She nodded and followed him.

Once he had reached their backyard, James looked at the small woodland down through the yards of the four houses. He touched a large cottonwood tree and looked up at the branches, spiraling out of the trunk. He grinned and looked back at Lily. "We start here and run through The Forest," he said, referring to the nickname that had given the large cluster of trees and bushes when they were younger. "First one to the very last tree in your yard wins."

Lily squinted into the distance and frowned. "James, this wouldn't be testing our speed."

"No it would not be, would it?"

"Then why are we running this – I thought we wanted to see who the fastest runner was."

"No," he said slyly, "we wanted a champion. The champion would be agile and flexible, correct? Using all of their wits to get through the challenge, not just what's required of them."

Lily shrugged, resting her hand onto the tree and bent low, determined to beat him. "What are you waiting for?" she asked, looking up at James. "You probably want to get this over with, don't you? I doubt you seriously think you can beat me."

James narrowed his eyes playfully. "All right, then, Evans. On my count. Ready… Set… Go!"

Wind hit Lily's rosy cheeks and she grinned to no one in particular. Just running was a joy of hers. She loved feeling the wind running through her hair, adrenaline pumping through her veins. It gave her the reason to think she were a bird, soaring over the clouds, looking down on others. No care in the world.

She leaped over a bush and dodged a tree. Halfway there, she thought, passing one of the blue houses. Quickly, Lily darted her eyes slightly to the left, seeing James almost struggling to keep up with her.

She's a girl!James said to himself, pumping his arms faster and breathing in sharper. You can't let her beat you! Imagine what the guys would say if they were here.

With a spurt of energy, he managed to gain some ground, running beside Lily now, determined to win.

Broadly grinning from ear to ear, James reached the tree in Lily's yard. He ran a few victory laps around the trunk of the tree, showing off, and then turned to find Lily breathing heavily, beside him.

James smirked at her. "You realize I won, don't you?"

"Yeah," Lily muttered, biting her lip. "Fair and square," she said, extending her hand.

James laughed in her face, ignoring her outstretched hand. "I won – I beat you Lily Evans!"

Lily nodded, pulling her hand back and tucking it in her pockets. "Yes, well… I think we already figured that out."

"I beat you!" he shouted, his voice bouncing off of the walls of the houses.

"Thanks for that," Lily muttered, walking back to her house.

-

It wasn't like Lily and James were best friends or anything. At least… not anymore, they weren't.

Life before Hogwarts had been simple and – tolerant. Lily and James were best friends. In fact, they were the only friends the other had. Everyone else on the street was either too old or Petunia. So, naturally, the two bonded together over their similarity of having no friends and found more in common with each other than they ever imagined. One of those loves, of course, was the outdoors.

They often times challenged the other to friendly races around the neighborhood, seeing as Lily loved the sport. Occasionally they would end up sitting around in The Forest, climbing trees, or just lounging outside on the deck, talking.

But then Hogwarts came.

Lily and James each received a letter by owl. Lily was quick to inform James of her new found talent, but James merely smirked knowingly. Of course, after small "accidents" occurring every now and then, obviously somehow caused by magic, Lily was bound to be a witch.

Lily had found where to purchase her school books via James' parents and traveled along to Platform 9 ¾ with their help as well.

-

"James, you better act on your best behavior," Mrs. Potter said, narrowing her eyes in a playful manner. She ruffled his hair and kissed him in front of a large crowd, nudging him towards the Platform barrier.

"Good luck, son," Mr. Potter called as well, nodding with his hands in his pocket, smiling.

Lily bit her lip, watching James as he charged the barrier. She shut her eyes, worried, but when no crash came, she cautiously opened her eyes, slightly confused.

"Where did he go?" she gasped, eyes wide and fully awake.

Mrs. Potter laughed and took Lily up into a large hug. "Oh, dear, you have so much you're going to learn this year!"

Lily felt herself getting squished in a bear hug, but was unable to put her own arms around the caring mother.

"It's so sad your parents couldn't make it," she said, frowning slightly.

Lily's parents had always had a bit of something softer in their heart for their older daughter, Petunia. If there was any question as to which event of their daughter's they would rather go to, it tended to be Petunia's events. Today, in fact, was the first day Petunia was going to boarding school as well. Her parents had just sent Lily along with the Potters, knowing full well that they would take care of Lily.

"It's a shame," Lily muttered, blandly.

Mr. Potter bent down, hands on his knees, and grinned at Lily. "You're going to be a great witch," he said. "Don't worry one bit – you'll do great."

Lily nodded, looking away, back at the brick wall. Helplessly, she gazed upward at Mrs. Potter again, in hope for an explanation.

"Just run, dear," she said, smiling. "Right through the wall – you'll make it, no problem."

Lily tightened her grip on her cart and swallowed, moving forward. Her heart began to race as she picked up her pace and headed straight towards the wall.

Don't crash, she said to herself, the wall looming nearer. Two inches – she was going to hit it!

Lily held her breath, but found it wasn't necessary. She got through without the slightest bit of trouble. She breathed a sigh of relief and looked around at the station. People were bustling all about the place. A bright red train was sitting on the tracks, its doors open for students to climb on.

Lily looked around for a familiar face – mainly, James.

She found him – in the middle of a fight.

"Get your greasy hair away from me," he said, glaring dangerously.

"Ah," the boy said, smirking, "a future Gryffindor, here. Acting all brave and heroic – pity, he's neither."

A third boy had entered the conversation now, backing James. "Look, no one wants to hear what you have to say," he fired, loudly. "Stay away from us, and we'll stay away from you."

"That's a laugh," he said, narrowing his eyes. "They're trying to plot revenge on me!"

The third boy had now pulled out his wand and pointed it at the opposing boy's feet, shooting sparks at him. The boy, who Lily had later found out to be Severus Snape, jumped over a foot in the air, running from small sparks.

James laughed and Lily smiled, hearing him. The boy turned to James and shook his hand, smirking.

"Sirius Black," Lily heard the boy say.

James froze for a moment, dropping his hand. "Black?" he asked, puzzled. "You helped me?"

The boy shrugged. "I go against the grain," he said, referring to his line of heritage.

James grinned and slapped him on the back, stepping onto the train. "The name's James Potter."

"Ah," Sirius said, nodding. "The family as pure and kind in the heart as possible. That would explain the reaction when hearing my surname."

-

Lily had been slightly confused once she heard their conversation, but soon realized the Black family had a knack for producing dark wizards while, on the other hand, the Potter family was known for famous wizards who were big in helping to defeat dark wizards. But she wasn't very quick to realize they would soon become the greatest mischief making duo ever to reach the school.

That first year had passed by in the blink of an eye, and Lily found herself on the train ride home to her first summer away from Hogwarts. She and James hadn't talked as much at school as she had been hoping, but it didn't matter much to her – he had another group of friends to be with now, he couldn't always be with her. She knew she couldn't possibly be the center of attention in his life forever – but it was just too hard to let go of her only friend she'd ever had.

Needless to say, Lily had come home with top grades, but very little friends, merely acquaintances.

The week after Lily and James had been welcomed back into their homes with open arms, he had knocked on her door. "Care to walk down memory lane?" he had asked, smiling at her.

The two got along, just like old times, running around the neighborhood. Although the ending of their day, with James becoming the "champion" wasn't much of the reuniting of old friends as Lily had hoped. He had become a competitive person, ignoring others' feelings, as he once used to take into consideration.

-

Lily pulled off her trainers and hit them against the porch step, knocking large clumps of mud off, onto the ground. She set her shoes down and stepped inside with just socks on.

Lily called a faint "hello" to her parents and ran upstairs, taking two steps at a time. She walked into her rather empty room and stood by the window, looking out. James was still outside; he was playing in The Forest, ignoring the fact the Lily had left him long ago after he had beat her in the race.

Lily practically spent the rest of her summer sitting with her window open. It was her only way to be with the old James she remembered from, what seemed like, so long ago. Her want – need – to watch from her window had grown into an obsession.

James had his group of friends over to his house for a month or so before their second year of school at Hogwarts started. Once she had been tempted to leave her sanctuary and venture down the street to say "hello" to the group of four boys, but the thought of being outnumbered had overpowered any thinking she might have done then. So instead, she stared from her window, watching them play or goof around in The Forest, just like she and James used to. In fact, they had even begun building a tree house near James' part of The Forest as a summer project.

Lily longed to join them, to help build also, but she was too shy and continued backing away, never stepping foot outside.

The years progressed and her fear of the boys had increased slightly, realizing how powerful their full potential could grow to be. Along with the years came more separation between James and Lily, not speaking much anymore. But each summer, they would visit James, building that tree house, and each summer, it would grow – adding a large floor board, the walls, the roof, and finally painting it, a blood red color. She thought of the other girls in her dormitory, groaning slightly. None of them were anything like James, willing to get dirty – she would want to spend her free time outside, under the sun. Her lousy roommates would throw a fit if a fleck of mud even came in their direction.

-

"Lily!" a petite girl shrieked, covering her mouth. "What on earth did you just do?"

Lily laughed, carefree. She was wet to the bone, still wearing her school robes, and proud of it. "I decided I needed a little bit of a break after the final exams," she said, referring to the tests the second years had just finished earlier that day.

"Lily, you should get cleaned up right away!" the girl, also known as Maddi, yelled, running into the bathroom to find a towel. "What if a boy sees you?"

Lily giggled and took her hair out from her ponytail, shaking her head, spraying water over the room. "Oh, please," she said, rolling her eyes. "James was in the lake with me."

She had expected an outburst of "In the lake?" But that's not what she heard. "James – as in James Potter?"

"Uh huh," Lily said, drying her hair vigorously with the towel she had been given. "Yeah, that's the one."

"But – he – you're friends?" she asked, puzzled.

The other girl in the dormitory, Andee, stood up, jaw dropped and a hand on her hip. "You two aren't friends – you never spoke to each other unless you were paired together! He would never hang out with you!"

Lily frowned at the girl. "James Potter is my neighbor. I've known him my whole life. Plus," she said, "we just talked a little by the lake and I kind-of – pushed him in…" she said, giggling.

Maddi's eyes widened disbelievingly. "You pushed him into the lake."

"Hey," Lily protested, "he pulled me in too."

"I can't believe you would do that," Maddi muttered, speaking to herself. "To James Potter."

"He's not a celebrity," Lily said, raising an eyebrow at the girls.

"But he's a bit more than you," Andee muttered coldly, breezing past her.

-

Needless to say, Lily's hope at finding any friends at Hogwarts was low.

The year of their fourth summer, going into their fifth year at Hogwarts, Lily got a bit more daring and sat on her back porch with a book in hand. But every day, she walked outside to watch the boys work on the tree house from afar. She never read a single page that summer, much less finished the book.

They put the finishing touches on the tree house, painting in black, "The Marauders," with a distinctive flourish, on both panels of the roof. Then, on each of their walls they put their nicknames they had created for one another. Lily, being the silent type, was no dummy and knew which name belonged to who – however, the reason why was still a mystery to her.

Their fifth year came and went with merely a small hitch by the time their O.W.L.s had finished. James had touched a bit of a nerve with Lily and she had snapped back at him. The tests had Lily on the edge that year and snapping back at James Potter would not be something she normally would have done. Especially, considering Lily had begun to do some serious thinking on what she thought of James.

-

"Lily," her roommate said, flipping through a textbook assignment, "why won't you just tell the truth?"

"About what?" Lily asked, knowing full well what they would say.

"About James – hello?"

Lily nodded, partially ignoring them. "Everyone knows you like him," Andee said, raising her thin eyebrows pointedly.

"I do not like James Potter," she repeated, monotonously.

"Oh, please," Maddi muttered, snapping her book shut. "Every girl has to like him at least once in their lifetime. You'll just like him your whole lifetime."

"And where's your evidence?" Lily asked, yawning.

Andee moved from her laying position on her bed and sat up, listing items off of her fingers. "You claim you were best friends with him, you're constantly bickering with him against any topic just to speak to him - "

"We do not bicker!" Lily shouted, aghast.

" – you pushed him into the lake - "

"That was clearly flirting," Maddi piped up.

" – you're always staring at him during class, whenever you're bored you always draw his name in your book - "

"That means you want to marry him," Maddi stated.

" – and you signed up for all of the same classes as him just so you might have a better chance of having him as a partner in more classes."

Lily glared at the pair. "I most certainly did not sign up just to be with James in all of his classes!"

"What about Divination?" Maddi pointed out, cleaning out her nails. "You come back here every day, ranting and raving about how much you despise the class, yet you never drop out. Why is that?"

Lily shrugged. "I just never wanted to drop out. Didn't think about it that seriously…"

The girls merely brushed her off and opened their books, continuing their homework as Lily sat in a stupor, contemplating her real feelings toward James. I've thought several times about dropping out of Divination – why haven't I?

Lily bit her lip and shook it off, returning to her homework.

-

Their fifth summer arrived. Sirius had been returning to the Potter's house for the winter holidays during the past year. He had, apparently, moved out, joining James' family over the break.

Lily began her daily routine of sitting outside with a book in her hand, expecting, if not four, but at least two boys, James and Sirius to be precise, to step outside, maybe for a bit of Quidditch or to work on their tree house. She had been hoping, maybe – just maybe – she might actually talk to James again this summer. Maybe use her apology for behaving as she did that year as an excuse for speaking to him again.

She waited outside for a sign of James. She might actually have a chance to speak to him! Lily was ecstatic. Given the train ride home after her fifth year, Lily had realized exactly what James meant to her, and was almost ashamed to say. He meant the world to her and she had never figured it out. Deep down, she knew that it wasn't even logical to have such feelings toward someone who knew nothing about her. Which was why she was going to become friends with him again – she was going to talk to him.

But this year, their tree house was finished and there was no need to stay at James' anymore. He had apparently left to join a fellow Marauder a different house.

Lily carefully set down her book in her chair as the sun began to set and stood, walking out to The Forest. No one seemed to be home at the Potter residence. Quietly, she walked through the trees and shrubs, reaching the cottonwood tree she and James had once used as their starting point in the final race they'd ever had together.

Lily reached up and grabbed onto a plank nailed into the tree. She hoisted herself onto the next one, climbing to the top, where the tree house sat, awaiting her arrival.

She reached the flat platform, rolling onto the floor with relief. Lily stood, looking down over The Forest floor, nearly twenty feet in the air. She hoped it wouldn't collapse and fall on her.

Lily stood and circled the tree house, walking around the outside ledge, holding on to the railing and admiring their work on the small house. She brushed her finger along the words they had written, smiling. Finishing her circle, she crawled on her hands and knees again and opened the door, going inside.

Lily gasped.

The room was incredible. It was as if it were three times the size it actually looked from the outside. Although, it was completely possible that James' parents had a bit of a hand in this.

Lily was able to stand without hitting her head on the roof. She walked across the room, touching the objects as she passed. There was a four-sided table set up in the middle of the room and four chairs pushed in around it. In the corner, there was a regular sized door. Upon opening it, Lily found several different games piled on top and four sleeping bags rolled up neatly on the floor.

She laughed to no one in particular, admiring the kitchen equipment she found behind her. A stove, sink, and dishwasher were lined up next to each other, underneath a set of cupboards. Curious, Lily opened the cupboard doors and found, to her surprise, a set of dishes and plates, stacked neatly on the shelves, spotless.

She opened up the next cabinets and laughed again. The shelves were covered with foods of every sort. They looked as if they were about to fall down on her if she took the smallest item out. Carefully, she closed the door, so as not to cause an avalanche of food.

Lily pulled out a wooden chair and sat down, smiling at the moving pictures hanging around the interior of the tree house. She stood, inspecting each, one by one. She found herself taking one of James down, off of the wall and tracing with her finger, the shape of his face. Smiling slightly, Lily put the picture back up, sighing.

A yawn crept up on her, making her head for the door, opening it and looking down.

She couldn't see the ground.

Groaning, Lily turned and stepped back inside. Great, she thought, pacing slightly. I stayed up here so long I can't get down until the morning.

A thought dawned on her, mentally kicking herself for not even thinking of it before, and she opened the small closet door, pulling at a sleeping bag and a pillow shoved into the corner.

Lily laid the sleeping bag down, unrolling it, and crawled inside, instantly feeling the warmth and feeling of drowsiness fall over her. The wooden floor even felt comfortable at this hour.

It can't hurt for me to sleep up here, she thought, drifting off to sleep. No one's home anyway…

-

Lily woke abruptly, opening her eyes and looking at the ceiling. She had felt something. A cool breeze of some sort passed through her. She began to feel her leg tingle. What if there was a spider in her sleeping bag. She could feel it, right now, climbing up her foot, making its way up her leg.

Crash.

Lily jolted and sat up quickly, forgetting completely about her hallucination involving a spider on her leg.

"Aw, third one I broke. I'll have to buy another set of these now…"

Lily's eyes widened as she saw two of the four Marauders walking around the kitchen in their pajamas: boxers and a t-shirt.

"Oy, Prongs," the dark-haired Marauder piped up, pulling out a chair at the table and sitting down, shoveling in several bites of his plate of eggs at once. "I think Sleeping Beauty's awake."

Lily blushed, wanting to be hidden.

"Morning, Lily," James called, smiling over at her. He had a small broom and pan out and was sweeping up a broken plate. "Care for some breakfast?"

Lily raised an eyebrow, slightly confused. "Sure…"

"Hope you like eggs," he said, leaving the broken pieces of the plate on the counter in the small pan. "Might have Mum fix that plate…" he mumbled to himself.

Lily nodded, standing. "Yeah, I like eggs."

"We also have bacon if you want that, too."

Lily shrugged again, scratching her head. "I guess."

Sirius grinned up at her with a mouthful of eggs. He swallowed and patted the chair next to him. "Have a seat," he said. "Prongs is an awesome cook."

"Oh, really?" Lily laughed slightly, sitting down gently in the chair offered to her. "Do I see a future Super Mom in the making?"

James turned and grinned at her, usually a grin known to make girls melt.

Lily blushed again, feeling his smile take effect on her.

"Here you go," he said, setting the plate down in front of her along with a glass of orange juice. "On the house."

Lily chuckled and picked up her fork. She took a bite of the eggs.

"Oh my gosh…" she said swallowing.

"What is it?" James asked, concerned.

"This is great!"

Sirius laughed loudly, shoveling more food in his mouth. "I told you so."

Lily grinned and continued eating.

"So," Sirius asked between bites, "how come you never talked to us before or said you were neighbors?" he asked, curiously.

Lily shrugged and looked at James' reddening neck.

"Are you two friends?"

Again, Lily shrugged. How exactly was she supposed to answer that question? Best friends before Hogwarts, but then completely ignored each other afterwards?

"Why'd you come up here?" he asked, taking a final stab at conversation.

Lily swallowed. She had an answer for this one. "I was a bit curious as to what you had built," she said. "And I didn't think anyone was home and I would be out by the morning. Well, technically," she added, "I was going to be out last night but it was too dark and couldn't find my way down."

"Wouldn't your parents be worried?"

Lily raised an eyebrow, looking at James who nodded, agreeing silently with what she was about to say. "They probably don't even realize I'm gone."

Sirius nodded solemnly, taking his last bite. "Got any more, James?"

"Get it yourself," James said, smirking. He sat down across the table from Sirius, next to Lily, smiling kindly at her. "Have a nice night?" he asked.

Lily nodded. "You guys really did a nice job on this place."

"Several summers in the making," he said, laughing awkwardly.

Lily laughed as well, biting her lip. "I loved the names on the outside."

"Yeah, those are cool."

"Uh huh."

"Yep."

They sat without speaking, listening to Sirius making eggs.

"Damn," he muttered, frowning. "Can one of you guys help me – I burned 'em."

James jumped at the chance. "Sure."

Lily giggled at the thought of the two most popular boys at school cooking.

"There we go," Sirius said, scooping up the remaining eggs onto his plate. He glanced at James, taking his seat back, and then over to Lily. "I, uh – left a few things in my room unpacked, I'll be right back," he said, winking at James.

He rolled his eyes. "Since when have you ever been eager to do any work?"

Sirius shrugged. "Dunno. Hey, I'm going to take the back elevator down," he told James.

Lily's eyes widened. "You have an elevator? Well if I had known that I would have been able to get down!"

James smirked, sitting back and eating his eggs. "It's password protected, though."

Lily nodded, smiling. "I'm sure I could have broken it."

"Oh, really?" James challenged, narrowing his eyes.

The two laughed. Another awkward silence followed.

"So," Lily said softly, "why exactly did we stop being friends?"

James set down his fork and shrugged, turning his gorgeous brown eyes down on her. Lily swayed on the spot. "We probably just grew apart, I guess."

"But we didn't," she pointed out. "If anything, we could have grown closer together, being at the same school."

James didn't speak.

"Is it too late to still be friends?"

He smiled. "Course not."

Lily laughed easily, now, carefree. But the feeling of James with her began to turn her face red. So near. So alone. "Do you think Sirius had something to do with this?"

"I assume he did," James said, grinning. "He's always got something up his sleeve."

"Is he staying with you all summer?" Lily asked, biting her lip.

"Yeah – he got sick of his family's junk, decided to stay here. He said he'll move out as soon as he finds some money after Hogwarts, but my parents will probably force him to stay here forever and a decade."

Lily smiled, remembering James' kind parents.

"How are they doing? All's well in the Potter family?"

"Yeah, we're doing great – and yours?" he asked, referring to her own family.

"Oh, same old," Lily said.

"Petunia still being a brat?"

Lily laughed, hearing him say exactly what she had been debating whether or not to say. "Yes."

James nodded, smiling knowingly. "Some people never change."

"Speaking of never changing," Lily muttered, hoping to spice up their small talk, "care for a run for your money?"

"Is that a challenge, Evans? Would you like to regain your title as 'champion'?"

Lily smirked. "Yes – and we'll take the elevator down." Lily walked outside, around the tree house, and found the small elevator she hadn't seen the night before.

oHoH"Marauders," she stated clearly.

The elevator doors opened and she smirked. "Honestly," she said, "be at least a bit more creative."

James glared at her and stepped inside, crossing his arms stubbornly. Lily felt a shock run up her arm as they squished together in the small space available.

"Same track as last time?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"If you want."

Lily nodded, not saying anymore. This time she wouldn't mess up – she was determined to win this time.

"You ready for this?" she asked, stretching slightly. "Cause you're about to get beaten by a girl who just woke up from a long nights sleep."

James laughed. "You're mistaken," he said, "because you're about to get beaten by a guy still in his boxers."

James looked over to his right and saw Sirius, looking down on them from a window in his bedroom. Grimacing slightly, James turned back, taking a long, relaxing breath.

Lily lowered herself to the ground. "Ready… Set… Go!"

They began running, leaping over bushes and swerving to miss trees in their path. A distinct sense of déjà vu settled in.

Lily began to remember the feeling of running with James when she was younger. She hadn't done this in, what seemed like, centuries. Back at Hogwarts, she only had small chances to run freely – it was almost always work, for her, no relaxation anymore. But being here with James, she felt – different.

She and James were running at the same speed – tied – neck and neck –

James heard a small thud against the ground. Throwing a quick look over his shoulder, he saw Lily, sprawled on the ground. Skidding to a stop, James rebounded and dropped to her side. "Lily, what happened – are you alright?"

Lily sat up, brushing off bits of dirt from her outfit and smiled weakly. "Sorry about that," she muttered. "Uh… Redo?" she asked.

James shrugged and stood up, holding out his hand. Lily took it pulling herself up from the ground and immediately went back down. "Ow – my ankle," she muttered, grimacing from the pain. "Maybe I'll have to take you up on that offer later, sorry."

"No, no, it's uh…" James looked down at her with a slightly glazed look, smiling kindly. "It's quite alright."

Lily began to stare into his eyes, feeling herself lose all self control. Her senses began to come back and Lily felt like she could have kicked herself for staring so openly.

"Should we, uh…" Lily bit her lip, trying to divert her attention from James' face at all costs. "You know, we could, er…"

"Could what?" James questioned, leaning in slightly, catching Lily's attention.

"I mean – well…" Lily faked a cough, beginning to feel uncomfortable with the situation. Was it just her, or was he getting closer… "My, uh – what do you call it, again?" she asked, sighing as she gazed into his eyes again.

"Your ankle?"

Lily nodded, grinning stupidly. "Yeah, that's it. Maybe we should go in and get some ice or something cold, you know…" she trailed off.

James began laughing.

"What's so funny?" Lily asked sharply, blushing.

"You're just – oh, I don't know."

"I'm just what, James?"

He smiled. "You're so cute, sometimes."

Lily swallowed, leaning away slightly. "Is that so?"

"Yes," James said, laughing again. "That is so."

Lily felt a smile cross her lips. "That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me before."

"Oh, come off it," James said, lowering his voice to a soft whisper. "Such a pretty girl like you, and that's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to you?" He reached a hand up, touching her cheek.

"I'm not pretty," Lily mumbled, shivering from his touch.

"Are you kidding?" James asked, shocked. "You're the most beautiful girl I've ever met."

"You don't mean that," Lily said under her breath, looking away.

"I do," James said firmly, pulling her face back towards his. "And I always have."

Lily felt her eyes tear up. "Really?" she whispered.

James didn't even bother responding. He leaned in, closing the empty gap between them and kissed her.

A loud whistle sounded across the yard and James pulled away quickly, wrapping his arms protectively around Lily.

"Nice one, Prongs!" Sirius shouted, obviously being the source of the noise earlier. James relaxed and looked down at Lily, smiling, and turning back to Sirius. He cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled from where he was standing on the Potter's back porch. "I told you that you would win her over in the end!"

James blushed at Sirius' words, averting Lily's gaze.

"Oh, really?" Lily asked, poking him in the shoulder playfully. "And how long have you been holding out on me, James Potter?"

James grinned innocently. "Maybe, just a few, uh… years or so…"

Lily cut him off, putting her hands behind his head and pulling him towards her, entering another mind-blowing kiss.

"Oy!" Sirius shouted throughout the Potter residence. "Mrs. P. – your son is snogging the girl next door!"

"He's what?!?"

Lily smiled into the kiss and felt James do the same, but they both ignored the havoc they had caused.

"That's my boy!" Mr. Potter shouted, grinning broadly from ear to ear as he and his wife joined Sirius outside on the porch.

"Harold!" A loud slap on the shoulder echoed between the houses.

"Ow – Marlene, what was that for?"

"That was for encouraging such behavior in our son!"

"Right on, Mrs. P.," Sirius agreed, putting a hand on his waist. "Men these days, I tell you."

"Sirius Black, you've got no room to talk."

Sirius stepped behind Mr. Potter – a safe distance from Mrs. Potter's wrath. "Yes, ma'am."

James and Lily had long since stopped their kissing and had been watching the scene unfold before them, laughing.

"So," Lily asked, grinning as she looked up at James, "have you really been pining for me all this time?"

James smirked, kissing her forehead. "I have, and let me tell you, waiting for years to have something I've wanted so badly is painful." Lily grinned. "And you?" he asked, returning the question.

"Several years I've been waiting," she replied, "but I only just realized it after the girls in my dormitory tortured me into finding that out."

James scoffed. "Oh, so I'm having a bunch of pain while you go and realize you wanted me – what was it, within the past year?"

Lily smirked, twiddling her thumbs innocently. "End of fifth year…"

"Lily!"

She giggled, falling back into his arms, looking up into his eyes. Smiling, James leaned down, kissing her on the lips. "You're so amazing," he whispered, kissing her once more.

"Look, there they go again!" Sirius shouted, pointing towards the lip locked couple.

"Oh, leave them some peace and quiet!" Mrs. Potter argued.

"Aw, come on," Mr. Potter whined. "We should really stay out here and keep an eye on them, you know."

Sirius nodded energetically. "You know, Mrs. P., we should really start charging admission for such entertaining things, huh?" He nudged her on the arm, raising his eyebrows, as if proposing a brilliant idea.

"Hey!" James shouted. "Could you lot keep it down, we're a bit busy, right now."

"Ooh – busy!" Sirius and Mr. Potter mocked, laughing and giving each other high fives. But immediately, they stopped, looking into Mrs. Potter's red face.

"Would you two knock it off?" she said, pushing them inside the house and closing the door behind her, listening to their laughs fade away into another part of the house.

She sighed, smiling. "Boys…"

AUTHORS NOTE: Hope you all enjoyed the last bit with Sirius and the Potter parents! I know I sure had some fun writing them! :D

Thanks for reading, everyone! (Next chapter of Light will be up soon…)

Yours truly,
Amelia Bedelia