Disclaimer: This is the property of no one else, but the lovely and talented Jo Rowling.

A/N: Oh, just wait till you read this chapter! I'm so excited! But my excitement is cancelled out by my shame over being so late in finally getting around to writing this….

Chapter 13

A Plethora of Lemon Drops

"James! James! Oh, man! You fell through the lake?"

Boys. Several of them. Jumping over me. Shouting excitedly. And my head hurt so bad...

"How's ol' squidy? Did ya say hi to her for us?"

"Was it pretty freaking cold?"

"Must've been bloody brilliant!"

"Next time you go grab some of that sludge from the bottom. It'd be perfect to hex into Snivelly's hair!"

Typical boys.

They moan all the time about wanting to impress girls, and showing them how wonderful they are, but when a girl (in this case me, Lily Harriet Evans) actually needs assistance, all they care about is rubbing pond scum in the hair of an unpopular student.

Meanwhile, as the loud teenage cretins continued to yell exuberantly, I was shocked to find myself lying on the floor of the hospital wing. Apparently I had suffered a minor blackout due to a lack of Potter. Now if I could just sit up, or at least gain some assistance I would be---

Wait.

Lack of Potter?

No, no, no, no! This was all wrong. The completely, totally, unconditionally last thing that should be my first waking thought after passing out, was James Potter.

True, I had been in the process of running away from him when my consciousness left me, so there were undoubtedly some residual cranial fragments floating around in my mind concerning Potter, but they all involved wiping Potter's perfect nonchalant smile off his annoyingly charming face, and, and, and...

Blast everything!

I was supposed to be showing professional disdain and pity towards to boy, not swooning attraction!

And another thing!

I'd gone to the hospital wing with all five of my best friends, yet apparently none of them had noticed that I was lying on the floor most likely with a huge debilitating concussion that was going to cause a brain aneurysm which would result in the incapacitation of my entire nervous system creating a weakening of my internal organs, which in turn would shut down every bodily function including breathing and/or my circulatory system, leaving me in a vegetative state in which my life would slowly drip away until, alone, friendless, and barely conscious I died in some hideously hygienic room in St. Mungo's having spent 43 years of my life with no other company than the Mimbulus Mimbletonia potted next to my bed, all due to the lack of response that my supposed friends gave when I collapsed from hunger and confused hormones...

Woe is me. To die so young, so unloved, so...

"Lily?" Ah, not forgotten after all. Perhaps this unknown voice would be my solitary visitor, my single solace and comfort over the next forty-plus years as I lay rotting, institutionalized, broken and bereft after too little tapioca, and too much James.

"Are you okay?" Continued my lone friend, my sole stalwart pillar of kindness in the harsh, unforgiving world.

Cautiously I opened my left eye a crack, surprised to not find my body wracked with pain at even that tiniest amount of movement. Perhaps there was hope after all. But just a smidgeon. Not a lot. I was still most likely doomed. Of course.

There was a blurry figure standing over me. A tall blurry figure. A tall blurry figure with large hazel eyes. A tall blurry figure with large hazel eyes which were filled with concern, and, I'm sure, half-concealed mirth.

Tall?

Hazel eyes?

Blurry?

I groaned. The last person in the world I wanted to see before I died, and he was laughing down at me.

Lillers?

Yes, my Jamesie-poo?

Yuck! That's disgusting! Do you have to refer to each other in those disgustingly cutesy names?

Yep.

Gross! Uck, you two are so, so,

Mature?

In love?

Adult-like? Oh, wait. Huh. That's 'cause we are adults. Hmm. Funny how that happens.

Oh, ha, ha, Lily. So hilarious. Padfoot, just ask her your question and move on with the story. I'm simply dying to know what happens next!

But, Sirius, weren't you there in the hospital wing with us?

Lily! That's besides the point! Just keep talking!

It's all right Lily, I'll talk a little for now.

Oh, thanks so much Jamie-Love.

Anything for-- Sirius wipe that look off your face. Right now. Don't give me that look. You know what look I mean. The one that looks like you're being forced to watch someone disembowel themselves, then steal candy from a baby. Sorry, Lily-sweetheart where were--Lils? Wait! Where are you--- What are you talking about? Completely ruined the... what? The moment? Huh?

Women.

Yeah. Wait no. No. I don't agree with that. Do you hear me Lily? I DON'T AGREE WITH SIRIUS! ON ANYTHING! Well, except for maybe that marshmallow fluff and blueberry jam sandwiches are heaven on earth. But, but... REALLY! I LOVE YOU! Just as much as I did back then. Maybe more...

The moment that Lily had dropped to the ground, the teal-paisley walls of the hospital wing had begun to spin around me. Was she hurt? Was she ill? Was she unable to cope with my awesome and overpowering good looks and stunning intellect and was thus overcome by her fiery emotional passion?

Had to be that last one.

I was about to lurch forward lamenting my lovely Lily as she lay limp on the lime linoleum, but found myself at that moment distracted by a bad case of repugnant alliteration and the arrival of my fellow Marauders.

Sirius, Moony and Peter bounced excitedly around me, apparently impressed by my semi-suicidal fall through six-inch thick ice, into negative-twenty degree ice water.

Well, I did have to agree with them. It was pretty cool how I had managed to drag myself forcibly from the grasp of the thirty merpeople attempting to wrestle me down to my watery and frozen grave. And I suppose that it had been rather daring when I'd miraculous resuscitated myself using half a straw and some old Drooble's gum wrappers.

No, hold on. That's not what happened.

Or was it?

No, that was the version that I was going to use if any of the snot-nosed first years asked me how my day had been. Of course, they thought that was pretty much what a typical day was like for me, so they might not be unduly impressed, but at least they were gullible enough that...

James Potter! I do not remember allowing you to use this time as an opportunity to elaborate on the naivety of eleven year olds! Now continue with your perspective properly or, or, you may not continue! You may have forgotten, but we are writing this for our SON!

Sheesh! Sorry! Don't be so uptight!

Ahem.

Okay, okay. Sorry. I'll never do it again. But you have to think that Harry won't be the paragon of virtue himself. Not if he's anything like his father, and I'll drown myself if he isn't.

As ineffective as drowning yourself would be, my love, I would rather hope that our boy had inherited some of my gentler nature, but I'll give you points for using a word like paragon. Do you know what it means?

Um, of course I do, Mrs. Potter…

Lily had saved my life and now I was just watching her lie motionless on the floor? And, why wasn't Madam Pomfrey helping Lily? Wasn't she in charge of the wellbeing of Hogwarts' entire population?

I looked behind me. Poppy was harping on one of Lily's friends about the psychological and physical harm of applying too much mascara; something about the failure of her pancreas and loss of control of her left pinky? So much for Britain's Superb Magical Healer Program, "Watching Over, and Fixing Up The Magical United Kingdom," or whatever the bloody tripe was that Poppy was always banging on about.

"Thank you all so much for your very kind assistance in helping me to recover and rise from my rather nasty and indubitably harmful fall. Your generosity and kindness of spirit are supremely overwhelming."

I spun quickly to face Evans, tripping ungracefully on my oversized wool socks.

"You're alive!" I stammered. So perhaps my stunning intelligence and mind-boggling good looks weren't as potent as I had assumed. I made a mental note to practice harder. I've heard that Sleekeazy Hair Potion was supposed to do wonders to one's physical attractiveness. Although that would probably disappoint the fan girls, since I am known for my roguishly sexy windswept hair.

"And I would hate to upset the fan girls. There's just no stopping them if they're displeased."

"What an astute comment, James," said Lily brusquely.

"Huh? Oh, well I know it is a little obvious that you're alive, and it's a rather cliché phrase, but I thought that it was fitting for the situation given how worried I was for you and how much I really, really li—"

"While your concern is appreciated, I was referring to your entirely random comment on the delicate internal emotional balance of---fan girls." Lily smirked at me.

She walked over to a chair in the room and picked up her book-bag and gesturing to her friends with one hand.

"I do hope that you recover in time to please the fan girls, James. We wouldn't want to make them cry, now would we?" Lily said icily, heading for the door. Her youngest friend uttered what sounded awfully close to a guffaw.

"Excuse me?" I spat angrily. This was more than I could take. In one day I'd listened to Lily scream at me in front of all of the other interim staff members; fallen through a lake; been given C.P.R. by the girl of my dreams; almost been abducted by aliens; and now she was ragging on me about my fan girls?

Why did I even bother with her?

But that was a stupid question and I knew it. She was irresistibly different from even my most unique admirer, not mention funny, kind, smart… The list went on and on. And yet she vexed me more than anyone I had ever known.

Damn hormones.

Striding quickly to my hospital bed I jumped on top of it and stared furiously down at Evans. I slipped on the mauve and brown striped comforter, landing uncomfortably on my side.

Without thinking I jumped up quickly, only to leap up so high that in my haste, I slammed my head into the ceiling.

"Aw, shit!" I shouted, bouncing around on the bed, holding my head in my hands as tiny flecks of plaster showered down around my head, like some sort of bizarre snowstorm, or a bad case of dandruff.

Then I remembered where I was, and who was watching.

I straightened up. "Hey, baby," I said suavely to Lily. "I'm still really pissed at you." I shot her my patented I-Hate-You-Because-You're-So-Darn-Infuriating-But-Still-Really-Hot look. You know the one. It's the look that says I Hate You Because You're So Darn Infuriating But Still Really Hot with one wiggle of an eyebrow.

I prepared to open my mouth and scream at Lily that just because I was handsome and dashing and swashbuckling and popular with the ladies, she had no reason to mock me, when I felt a tug on my pant leg.

Wormtail was standing next to my bed, grinning cheerfully up at me. "James, I just wanted to tell you that I think that last move really impressed Evans. Look how much she's smiling at you!"

I turned swiftly. Could it be? My ungraceful plummet had caused my Lily-pumpkin, sweetie-dumpling to shine her angelic and gloriously radiant smile at me?

I have never seen someone laughing so hard. Her cheeks were bright red and her head was thrown back in peals of mirth. The clear green eyes that I adored were closed as she shook her hands in the air, dancing around in apparent glee over my stupidity. I shot Wormtail a glance of utter loathing, but he might have missed it, seeing as he was so busy retying his shoelace at the moment.

"Lily Evans you are the biggest loser I have ever met!" I yelled loudly.

"Mr. Potter, there is no need for that type of behavior!" Said Madam Pomfrey uncomfortably, clearly torn between her desire to continue to reprehend Evan's friend for being so un-health conscious as to wear eye makeup, and her imagined need for maintaining complete order in the infirmary.

"Oh, what a truly terrific insult, Potter," screamed back Lily, her iridescent eyes now snapping with anger.

"All I've ever wanted is for you to like me as I much as I love you, Evans! Is that so hard to ask?"

The other Marauders and Lily's quartet of friends were ever so slowly inching their way towards the door, but I had more important things to do then worry about traitor friends. I had a girl to scream manfully at.

Lily stared hard at me, clenching and unclenching her white-knuckled hands. "Well, yes, maybe it is!"

"I'm not that bad! It's you that's got the problems, you stuck up, conceited, know-it-all, bratty—"

"Um, 'scuse me? I got a message for Professors Evans and Potter?"

The entire room went silent. If someone had been idiotic enough to want to drop a pin at that moment, we would have heard its tiny metallic tinkle when it reached the floor.

Evans and I turned to look at the timid second year, her pigtails quivering around her peaky face as she stared nervously at us.

Lily flounced over to the girl. "I'm, er, Professor Evans. What can I do for you? It's Ivy, isn't it?"

The pig-tailed girl nodded tremulously. I saw her shoot me a frightened glance in my direction.

"Ah, yes, and that charming gentleman is unfortunately Professor Potter," Evans swept me a glance of disgust, apprehension, and faintly---confusion?

"I'm to tell you, that," The little girl placed her hand on her forehead, clearly desperate to remember the rest of the message. These darn little kids. It's like they're intimidated by the older students, or something. It's not as if we were three years older than them, or about twice their height, or supremely awesome and magnificent. Well, maybe that last part. But, just a little.

I cleared my throat. "Where are we to go?" I asked. The little girl looked at me gratefully.

Oh, yes! Score for Professor Potter! No one can ever resist the ol' Potter charm. Plus it's a great motivator. Everyone always remembers what they've forgotten with one flash of my charming smile.

Ooo. That wasn't arrogant.

Of course not. Just like that wasn't sarcasm.

Of course.

Well, maybe. But, I am pretty good looking…

Man, I could make a fortune on my ability to cure forgetfulness simply by looking at someone the right way. But, that's for another day…

Meanwhile little Ivy was speaking again. "I'm supposed to tell you that the Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress, I guess, is, is that you?" Evans and I nodded at the same time, she sending me a look of loathing as we did so, while I smiled at her dashingly. "Well, you're required immediately in the Great Hall to tend to a horrible crisis."

Lily and I had sprinted to the door before the girl had even finished nervously speaking. Remembering Evans' prior difficulty with opening the door, I blasted the hospital wing door as we reached it, quickening my pace as we dashed into the darkening halls of Hogwarts.

We sprinted silently through the halls and then hurtled down the marble staircase, our wands withdrawn, too concerned for the safety of our school to be angry at each other.

As it turned out, it was little matter for anxiety, only a dispute over how to change the dormitory passwords between two seventeen-year old teachers. Why Dumbledore ever thought that teenagers would be able to come up rational decisions concerning personal opinion and safety was beyond me! Not that I was complaining. My job that week was more to do with protecting the Headmaster's supply of Droobles' Best Blowing Gum, than anything else.

When we arrived, a tall blond girl who was teaching Muggle Studies was standing in the center of the Great Hall in tears as she insisted that it was not silly to make the Ravenclaw password "Hugs Make You Happy," to the plump boy with spiky brown hair who was playing janitor for us that week.

"Don't call it ridiculous! It's supposed to invoke feelings of friendship and happiness, and you know, that's so mean that you---" I let Evans sort it out. When it came to diplomacy, she ruled supreme.

As long as the diplomacy wasn't between us two, because when that was needed, she was worse than a provoked Bowtruckle in need of some fresh fairy eggs.

The rest of the evening passed quickly. After settling the dispute by creating the password herself, Lily and I each retired to our separate offices; she to grade Transfiguration papers, I to contemplate if I needed to use the Invisibility cloak to sneak into Hogsmeade while I was acting Headmaster, or if I had free roam and would be welcomed into the Hog's Head with open arms and calls of "A pint of your finest Firewhiskey for this young man! On me!"

I was praying it was the latter.

The morning found me with a pounding headache after drinking copious amounts of Butterbeer down at the Three Broomsticks, where unfortunately I was not given Firewhiskey or offered any free drinks, but did gain several sassy, yet attractive glances from the new barmaid, Rosmerta.

That day passed uneventfully, with little more than a hippogriff escaping from its pen. It only caused a trifling, unimportant situation by running rampage throughout the grounds refusing to be caught for thirteen hours creating the most dreadful damage to Hagrid's winter cabbage crop.

I did my best to ignore Evans that day, even gracefully offering to continue Captaining Quidditch. It was a big sacrifice, but someone had to make it. And if I happened to like flying around at top speeds at twilight in the bitter cold, showing off my amazing Chasing skills for my adoring public, well I guess that I had lucked out.

Having worked so hard to be a professionally distant Headmaster all day (in other words, dodging around corners when I saw Evans, and immediately going up to the nearest third year and giving them a pack of Dungbombs to set outside the office of the illustrious Potions master), I was shocked to see Lily Evans, at promptly eight o'clock that evening, stepping smartly through the door into my office.

Ooo! Ooo! My turn! My turn!

Why?

Because… I want to? I'm your wife. What other reason do you need?

Oh. That's fine. I'll just go and get some blueberry jam.

And marshmallow fluff?

How'd you know?

I've known you for a long time. Enjoy your sandwich…

"I have to go see Potter," I said to Katherine the Wednesday night of take-over week, having just finished wrestling a 456-pound hippogriff in a three-foot deep mound of snow.

"Eew, why?" Kat asked, turning around from the window, where she had been watching even more glistening flakes of snow bury Hagrid's hut and the greenhouses.

"Because," I said, brushing my hair in front of the ornate mirror currently residing in the tiny bedroom off my office. "It's our job as Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress to communicate on the running of this school and to make sure that the proper procedures are being followed. How do I look?" I turned in a slow circle for Katherine.

"Uh, you look great. Have fun seducing Potter." Katherine giggled and dashed towards the door of my office as I threw a hairbrush at her.

"I'm not attempting to have any relationship with that young man, other than one of a purely professional nature. I may hate his guts, and our current association may have forced us together in very unfortunate manner, but I still have to recognize my intellectual superiority, and act as though I care."

I paused. No, that didn't come out right. I don't care about Potter. I mean, not THAT way. Yuck, gross!

He's so, so stupid! I mean, did you see the way he fell on the hospital wing last night? Clearly, he's not right in the head.

"Oh, lord, she's in love," laughed Katherine, jerking me from my reverie obviously misinterpreting my immediate silence after mentioning Potter as a deep heartfelt, burning desire for him and his glorious body.

Obviously that was not the case at all.

"What? No! I'm not! I was just contemplating how much I hate his guts! Merlin, get it straight Kat!" I picked some folders and marched out of the door. "I have a total legitimate and non-romantic reason to confer with the Headmaster. I think," I added in an undertone as I headed into the hallway.

The truth was that although Potter was an awful git and infuriated me terribly, he honestly wasn't that bad. He just happened to be stunningly handsome, but increasingly arrogant, yet very intelligent, only quite, quite, something else negative about him that I couldn't recall at the moment, but would undoubtedly come to me soon.

I arrived at the Headmaster's office undeniably flustered. But, by the time I had disgustedly proclaimed, "I love Lily Evans," my fury and forced pity towards that boy had been kindled anew. A little.

As I stepped through the doorway into Potter's office, I composed my tumultuous emotions into a calm smile.

"Evening, Headmaster."

James had jumped to his feet on my entrance. Now, staring slightly agog at me, he slowly shut his mouth and ran his fingers nervously through his hair.

"Er, professor, this is a, um, surprise. What can—is there something—how—I hope that—Did you, um, need something?"

"Well, yes. Headmaster, I was hoping that we could ice skate for two hours on the lake then make out forcibly on top of your desk." I sweetened my smile, but my eyes remained cold.

Behind Potter, the portraits of the former Headmaster and Headmistresses smiled down at me from their guilt frames, winking in amusement over the look of shock and joy that had appeared on Potter's face.

"That, Headmaster, sir, is a form of humor referred to as sarcasm," I said quickly, in case he tried to take me up on the suggestion. Can we talk about how the week has progressed thus far?" Potter's face sank noticeably, but was replaced almost instantaneously by his usual look of cheeky carelessness.

Former Headmaster Dippet snickered. I repressed a giggle myself. It was almost enjoyable making Potter squirm. Almost. But not quite.

Flashing me his broadest smirk, James said quickly, "Of course, Evans. Lemon drop?" He handed me a large tin of candy. As I reached my hand out, he spilled its entire contents of sticky yellow candies onto the floor.

"Oh, that was very mature," I said sharply, but took a deep breath. Concentrate Lily. You are the ultimately superior being. Concentrate. Ignore his devilishly handsome smile. "Did you know," I said kindly to James, "that in many cultures pouring lemon drops onto the ground before a woman's feet is considered the supreme compliment? Thank you so much, Headmaster. What a thoughtful gesture." I stood up, smiling dangerously.

I waved my wand gracefully. The fallen lemon drops flew into the air, rearranging into a very rude hand gesture.

James blinked. "Well, did you know, that in many cultures enchanting lemon drops is considered the most sinful crime imaginable, punishable with seventy-nine years and 48 days imprisonment in a vat of overcooked asparagus?"

I grabbed a second jar of lemon drops from the desk and in one swift motion opened the lid and dumped the entire contents onto Potter's messy hair. Without drawing a breath, I slammed some papers onto the desk from out of my bag.

"And how do you feel, Headmaster, about the recapture of the escaped hippogriff?" I asked, sitting down again and gesticulating forcibly at the eighteen alphabetical diagrams depicting the creature's escape and capture.

"Oh," exclaimed Potter, pulling a drawer open and grabbing a cloth bag. "I—" He drew out a lemon drop and threw it at my face. "Think—" another lemon drop. "That—" a third lemon drop hit me squarely in the chin. I smiled serenely up at him. "It was truly masterfully—" one, two, three, ouch, four lemon drops, all aimed at my left ear. "Handled!!" He flung the entire remaining bag in my face, which stuck to my cheeks and forehead like so many sticky yellow pimples. "My compliments."

"Headmaster, it always my pleasure to, to—" I stood up and began rummaging around Dumbledore's shelves. Not by the Phoenix, nothing underneath his desk, shoot! There must be more somewhere!

"Here." James tossed me a large wooden box labeled Al's Luscious Lemon Sweeties.

"Thanks," I replied, grabbing the box viciously. Within three seconds the lemon drops had been artfully rearranged into a remarkable facsimile of Potter's moronic, yet somehow appealing facial features. I then proceeded to take off my left show and hit my lemon drop sculpture repeatedly with the heel, so that at each point of collision, six or seven candies broke off and landed neatly on James' arms, until his appendages were sagging from the weight of the numerous sweets.

Swiftly, my rival grabbed my shoe out of my hand and forced an entire bag of lemon drops into it, shaking the candy off his arms as he did so. In one deft motion he melted the sticky mass with a flick of his wand, while at the same time, tossing it onto my head where it stuck fast with a resounding squelch.

I stood up, as did Potter. I saw his eyes flick towards the far corner behind me.

Turning quickly, I saw a barrel almost six feet high, with the words Albus's Private Stash engraved in large flowing purple script on one side.

I lunged for it, but at the same time, Potter leaped over his desk, and tackled me, grabbing me around the ankles. With a massive effort I kicked him hard in the shoulder and, putting my head down, sprinted the remaining six feet and wrenched the lid off.

"Wingardium Leviosa!" I heard Potter call. The barrel rose up to the ceiling, floating ominously over our heads. It hung motionless and foreboding above us, until I flicked my wand twice, and the barrel slowly tipped itself over, dumping its entire contents on---

Lily?

I thought you were eating your marshmallow fluff and blueberry jam sandwiches with Sirius.

Yeah, but you're at a good part! Oh, please can I tell some?

Yeah, Lils, let Prongs tell a bit! Or at least let me talk for a little while!

NO!!!!! FINE! James, you may speak!

Thanks, mate! Works every time!

Wait, you set me up? What an outrage!

Well, maybe, but it's too late now…

With a barely perceptible creak of ancient timber, the barrel up-righted itself, releasing a cascade of lemon drops. Lily and I stood, our shoulders shrugged against the powerful rain of hard candies that was pouring down upon us. The many silver, spinning objects around Dumbledore's office broke with loud ringing crashes, as the impact of the many lemon sweets pounded the room. The bookshelves creaked and groaned under the weight of the mounting piles of candy and Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes fluttered disgustedly into another room.

I glanced over at Evans. She was holding her book bag over her head in an attempt to protect herself from the immense rush from above, but was continually shuffling on top of the deepening drifts of yellow candy in an attempt to not be buried under the harsh wave of falling lemon drops. My Lily was in danger? This would never do.

Ripping a curtain off the window, I swung it quickly around a small torch stand on the opposite wall. Taking a quick breath, I swung out across the vast expanse of lemon drops, grabbing for Evans' waist as I passed her.

Unfortunately, the torch holder couldn't support our combined weight, and we fell rather ungracefully into the hard sticky pool of lemon drops, just as the last few pieces of candy tipped from the barrel.

I landed forcibly on top of Lily, and as she struggled to climb out from underneath, her wand arm twitched, accidentally waving her wand so that the barrel was released from the air, and dropped it straight in the midst of the sea of lemon drops. The tidal wave that erupted from its sticky splash plastered the walls and ceiling in lemon drops, while also burying me and Lily deep under thousands of lemon drops.

Being buried alive in a cataclysmic flood of lemon drops was not very high on my list of ways to die (actually it ranks just above last place, which would be having every follicle of hair yanked from my body by a crocodile), so unsurprisingly I fought my way quickly out of the suffocating mound of candy pressing in all around me which was disorienting me with its harsh yellow tint.

When I finally reached the surface, I was surprised to see Lily already sitting atop a large hillock of lemon drops, gazing at me in a stern yet undeniably consternated manner.

"James Potter!" She shrieked, her eyes flashing brightly, as she tossed her long hair behind her back, pausing only momentarily to un-stick her lemon drop-glued shoe from her head. She attempted to rise, but began almost immediately to sink back down into the pit of lemon drops.

"Yes, that would be the name under which I currently reside," I responded blithely. After all, you can't angry with someone after you've just been doused in lemon drops with. It's sort of a survivor's syndrome. You know, we'd been through a horrendous and painful experience together, so we have to draw closer together.

"I hate you so much!" Screamed Lily. Ah well, so much for the bonding idea. "You are the most moronic, inhuman, revolting," she paused, clearly perusing her brain for more insults to fling at me.

"Despicable?" I suggested.

"Exactly!" She was wringing her hands now in evident distress. I tried to back away from the angry, yet beautiful and intelligent raving beast, but soon found that movement was difficult when surrounded by four and a half feet of lemon drops.

"You are so despicable!" Lily continued. "You are utterly the most horribly despicable person ever in the entire history of instant Jello! You're so despicable because, because---"

I sighed wearily. "Not because I'm unbelievably gorgeous, or hilariously witty, right?" My shoulders sagged. Her I-Hate-You-So-Much-Because-I-Said-So-Gosh-Darn-It routine was so predictable, yet still always discouraging. Was I doomed to a life of being desperately in love with a lunatic? With some effort I pulled myself together and grinned cockily at her. "Nah, I couldn't be despicable because you hate me? Now, where would I ever get that idea?"

Lily let out a plaintive wail, running lemon drop-encrusted fingers through her glorious hair. "No," she moaned. "You're despicable because---" she took a deep breath, trembling through her rage and swiftly falling tears. "You're despicable because—" For the first time in our lives, she looked straight into my eyes as she said, almost in self-disgust, "Because I love you."

Well, there are few responses to a phrase like that. My only options really were to a) fall over and faint in surprise, shock and heart failure, b) pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming, c) attempted to careen wildly about the piles of lemon drops doing my best impression of a moose on a pair of cross-country skis as I leaped in a victory dance, or d) kiss Lily Evans.

Okay, obviously, I'm not stupid. I knew which was the best option. So, after I'd finished my wild caribou-like victory dance, I tramped softly through the drifts of yellow candy to where Lily sat staring at me, all emotion drained from her face.

I bent down to meet her upturned, tear-stained face and---

Hold it! Hold it!

AAAGGHH! Sirius! Are you aware that you are perhaps the world's only person to posses the most impeccably horrendous sense of appropriate timing?

Uh, it is a fact that I pride myself on, Lily.

Great. Glad that you know it, Padfoot. Now, could I just finish going over the most important moment of my life, apart from the whole getting into Hogwarts, being born, or cutting my hair from that hideous mullet?

Fine, fine James. Just, cut down on all the fluff, 'kay? There's only so much gooiness that I can handle, and I prefer most of it to be smeared between two pieces of bread, spread thickly next to blueberry jam.

Thanks old, pal. Don't worry. I'll be as to the point as possible…

Without any fireworks, or soaring violins, or even any stupid people wearing berets and leaning off the Eiffel Tower, just standing in a chest-deep pile of Professor Dumbledore's private stock of candy, I, James Potter, kissed Lily Evans.

A/N: AAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! After thirteen chapters, we finally have a kiss!!!! Yay!!!! It was unexpected, but not entirely, I think. I kind of feel as though all of Lily's confused emotions towards James have just been building and building so far, and all she needed was one final straw, or in this case lemon drop, to get her to admit what we've all known for a while.

I know that this chapter has been horribly, horribly inexcusably late, but hopefully those last six words, as well as the 5, 000+ others that I've included in this chapter have made the wait bearable. Although I really have no idea where I want the story to go from here, I have no intention of stopping it soon, so stay tuned for the next chapter.