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Note: Back for another chapter after forever? I believe it is an early Christmas miracle! I know that this is another chapter of talking instead of notes, but those will continue again especially considering new developments. Please, enjoy!
Chapter Five: Dialogue between Lily Evans and James Potter the evening of October 1st in the common room: directly after dinner
"Have you been waiting long?" Lily asks, approaching the crackling fireplace in the Gryffindor common room. James Potter is staring into the fire, rocking back and forth on his heels.
"Just got here," he lies, blinking away the bright light of the fire and looking at her. James smiles in what he hopes is a winning way and bows a little. "How may I be of service, sweet lady?" He figures laying on thick, if nothing else, usually makes her smile a little.
Lily does smile a little. James is sweet in an odd sort of way, and she hopes that he didn't bound up the stairs the minute Remus told her about the scheduled meeting. "I would like your esteemed opinion on an important topic," she tells him.
"I am an expert on many things," he says, looking down in feigned embarrassment as if this admission is stripping away his humility. Well. As if he had an excess of humility in the first place. "What is it?"
"Dating," she says. Lily pauses for a short time as if expecting a bomb to drop nearby. "I trust you have a great deal to say on this subject?"
James blinks, but he catches himself before he can show a more severe reaction to her response. He runs his hand through his hair, scratching the back of his head idly. "I could wax poetic on it for some time, yes."
Suddenly, Lily feels as if her idea is actually quite an idiotic one. She wonders how to form her next phrase. "Remus told me something quite interesting earlier today in Ancient Runes."
"He did," James says. He's trying not to plot ways to punish Remus, depending what interesting thing was said. He's trying to just nod encouragingly. "What was that?"
"That I should try asking you something I was trying to get out of him. He said a date did not constitute a relationship, but rather was a way to get to know each other." She stops and breaths, although something inside her is pushing for hyperventilation. "What do you think?"
James barely suppresses snorting--not out of amusement, but surprise. "He's right. I mean, what about blind dates, or when you meet someone and hit it off, but you'd never see the person again? Unless you ask them on a date, that is. Friendship alone is great," he says, speaking too quickly for his brain to stop his candor, "friendship like we have, but dates are different."
"Well, I mean, exactly what is our friendship?" Lily asks. She then holds up her right hand, and puts her left one against her forehead. "No, don't answer that, I don't want to get into that. How about this. Do you understand that if I agreed to a date with you, it would be just a date? You understand there's no guaranteed kiss, or romance, or future dates?"
He had laughed a little when she withdrew her first question. When she finishes speaking, he tilts his head to the side, wondering if it'd be pushing it to touch her hand when he answers. "That's fulfilling the number three wish on my list. It's all I could ask," he says, not moving.
The feeling that started in the pit of Lily's stomach when she began talking, starts to get stronger. Her resolve quails slightly. "Are you sure?" she asks. "I really like, I mean I don't mind, no, I want to make sure you don't get crushed. From what I've witnessed your infatuation has grown to almost epic proportions. Promise me you understand."
"I'm resilient. I've been crushed by many things in my life, and I spring back, much like the mossy grass that grows on that hill by the lake, or my own hair." James pushes his glasses on his nose with a knuckle, then holds up his index finger between their faces. "One date, no promises."
Lily has to admit, James is taking the whole thing with much more maturity than she had expected. One date, no promises. It sounds like quite the deal. If his hopes do happen to be flattened, at least his hair will remain cheerfully mussed. "I think you have yourself a deal, Potter." Or, at least, that's what she means to say. Instead, that feeling in her stomach proves to be something that isn't doubt. "Oh no, James, I'm..." sorry? mortified? ready to die? She looks weakly at the vomit on his shoes and cannot for the life of her come up with something to say.
"Bloody--" James starts, jumping back a little. Lily looks like she wants to crawl under the couch. As he slips his wand out of his sleeve, he searches his mind for any sort of cleaning spell his mother used at home. On instinct, he puts an arm around Lily and accios a glass of water. He's completely channeling his mother, he thinks. "Are you alright?"
"I..." Lily wants to tell him that she's fine, but that is clearly not the case. "I'll buy you new shoes," she says. What kind of statement is that anyway? Her stomach churns threateningly again.
"Forget my shoes. Do you want to go to the Hospital Wing? I don't know any anti-nausea charms, but I know the quickest route there," he says, thinking of Remus. James rubs her back and continues, wincing even as he says it. "And I could conjure, er, a bag or something?"
"A bag, yes," she agrees. Even taking secret (and most likely illegal) passages will not be fast enough. "The Hospital Wing would probably be wise too." She leans against James, feeling utterly delirious. "I ruined your shoes though."
He conjures a bag and, thinking of his mother again, a cool, damp towel, offering her both. "Let's go," he says, helping her up. "And I said forget the shoes. I've got other pairs."
Lily takes the bag, and soon uses it. She feels pitiful, but there is no way she can make it anywhere on her own and James is being so helpful and not disgusted, that her embarrassment dies down some. Walking proves to work best when she lets James do most of it. "That's a very nice pair you have there." Lily wonders if a sudden attack of fever causes the brain to become fixated on something inane, or if she just really likes James's shoes.
"Got them in a muggle shop in London," James says. He wonders, while escorting her along the halls, whether it is sort of sick that he's enjoying holding her close. "Just a bit further." He decides it's probably not.
"You've been to a muggle shop?" Anything, anything at all to keep her mind off her sickness, and the thought that James is really decent. He points out the door of the Hospital Wing to her, and smoothes back her hair. Maybe more than just really decent.
"Yeah," he tells her, although he is slightly bewildered by her sudden fixation on his feet. Perhaps when she gets well again they can share things besides shampoo. "I like to try and pass off as one, although as far as I can tell they're mostly insane."
"Never a sane moment, no," she agrees. Although the conversation she and James have just had is less than coherent. "Thanks," she says, "you're a saint, James Potter." Aware that she must rather revolting, she opts for squeezing his hands instead of a hug or (Merlin forbid) a kiss.
"If you're not back in the tower tomorrow," James promises, "I'm stopping by here to check on you. I'm working my way from sainthood to full out angel." He squeezes her hands back, and lets her slip out of sight before he turns to head back to the tower.
Although Madam Pomfrey has been known to work miracles, Lily doubts very much that she will be able to do anything the next day but lay about and feel pitiful. Lily watches James turn and feels like she has to say something before he leaves. After all, he's been more than sweet. "When I'm better, what do you say we go back to that store and I get you new shoes?" she suggests. The shoes. Lily wouldn't be surprised if he became sick just from mention of his footware so many times.
James pauses and turns back to look at her, a grin crossing his face. He nods once. "But is that the date, or an outing as just friends?" He hopes it's the latter, but would really go for either.
"Shoe shopping as a date? I'm making up for your kindness, not moving in with you. Besides, I expect you to do all the paying when it's a date." She smiles at him, but doesn't dare risk anything more than that.
"Not just shoe shopping, but a trip into deepest London. Full of adventure and Londoners and who knows what else." He steps forward, closer to her again, and when he speaks his voice is quieter. "Feel better, alright?" he says, not sure how to say that he can't stand thinking that she's unwell without sounding foolish.
Madam Pomfrey will soon begin screeching if James doesn't leave, which is really a shame. It isn't often that she enjoys their time together. "I'll do my best," she promises. Then the Head Girl part of her mind surfaces. "If I'm still sick, could you get my homework assignments tomorrow?"
"It would be my delight and pleasure," he assures her. Even pale and unwell he can't help but thinking she is one of the beautiful creatures he has ever beheld. And his mind won't stop making up fantasies of him tending to her every time she gets ill in the future. Madam Pomfrey shoots him a look of pure venom and he bends down boldly to kiss her forehead. "Sleep well."
"'Night," she says. Having determined that the conversation is over, Madam Pomfrey leads her to a bed for healing, and Lily follows. She feels slightly bewildered, and very ill, but surprisingly content. Maybe James Potter isn't quite so bad after all.