Disclaimer: The characters are the property of the amazingly talented J.K Rowling. I'm only borrowing the characters and world that she has so brilliantly created.

…………………

Beta by: ilovethedotgame

…………………

"Practically Sacred", a Valentine's Day one-shot by the very single Penguin623


Something was wrong. Terribly and desperately wrong.

It had been - Lily checked her watch – seventeen hours, twenty-six minutes, and approximately fifteen seconds since the day had begun, and nothing had happened. Nothing.

She had thought that there might have been something in the morning post for her. Some flowers, a box of chocolate, or perhaps a short letter. When nothing had arrived for her, she had tried not to seem disappointed. When he had asked her if she was feeling well, she had wanted to snap at him and tell him off for forgetting her, but she had resisted.

It infuriated her how he had just sat there while large numbers of people received pink and red envelopes, flowers, and boxes of chocolate. How he had failed to notice the unusually large show of public affection from the majority of the school population. How he had failed to remember that today was Valentine's Day.

James Potter had never forgotten Valentine's Day. Never. It just wasn't done. Valentine's Day was practically sacred to him, especially where Lily Evans was concerned.

Every Valentine's Day that Lily had spent at Hogwarts had been marked by a display of James' feelings for her. Even in first year, at an age in which most boys find Valentine's Day positively revolting, James had presented her with flowers. As they progressed through their years at Hogwarts, chocolates and offers of dates to Hogsmeade had accompanied the flowers, but Lily always had declined James' offers.

Although James had always been somewhat infatuated with Lily, she had found him to be something of an arrogant, pompous prat. James had claimed to fancy her, yet he had always gone about asking her out in an extravagant, insincere way. This was something that had not inclined Lily to say yes to him.

At some indefinable point during their sixth year, James and his friends started to grow up. He no longer strode down corridors hexing random students for fun and the instances in which he purposefully singled out Severus Snape grew few and far between.

It was not until the end of sixth year that they had been on friendly terms with one another. It had been such a gradual thing it had crept up on Lily seemingly overnight. Now in their seventh year, they were good friends, sharing the capacity of Head Boy and Head Girl.

At the beginning of the year, when Lily saw James on the platform, his skin tanned from a summer spent in the sun and raven hair as wild as ever, her stomach had performed an uncomfortable flip flop. This flip flop and quickening of the heart were, as she was soon to find out, only the first in a long line to come.

L ... J

"Sirius Black!" James said firmly into the two way mirror he shared with his best friend.

There was a pause, and then Sirius' disgruntled face swam into view. "Can this wait, Prongs? You're ruining my date."

"No, it can't wait!" James cried frantically, running a hand distractedly through his already horribly untidy hair. "It's Lily!"

"What about her?"

"She's not here! She was supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago. Do you think she read the note and just didn't want to come? Oh Merlin, she's not here because she hates me, but doesn't want to hurt my feelings, so she's just going to pretend she never got the note!"

"James, calm down! Take a deep breath," Sirius instructed, rolling his eyes.

James took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. He did feel calmer.

"Brilliant. Now, Lily does not hate you; quite the opposite in fact. I'm sure Remus gave her the note. She's probably just running late. Most likely some first years probably just tried to brew a love potion or something of the like, and she's fixing things up."

"Yeah," James shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. You're right. Merlin, the Love Potion Fiasco last year was – wait – did you say Remus?"

"Huh? What does Remus have to do with the Love Potion Fisaco?"

"Nothing," James shook his head. "Did you say Remus was supposed to give the note to Lily?"

"Yeah, it was his job."

James felt his mouth go dry. "No, it was yours."

"What do you mean mine?" Sirius' eyes widened. "I have a date! It was Remus' job!"

"Bloody hell!" James cried. "She never got the note!" Ignoring Sirius' laugher, James jammed the mirror back in his pocket and quickly made his way out of the Prefect's Meeting Room. Once in the corridor, he broke into a run.

He was rounding the corner of the hallway that led to the Gryffindor Common Room when Filch the caretaker stepped out in front of him, causing him to come to a rather abrupt halt.

"Potter! No running in the corridors!"

"I'm in a hurry," James panted and made to move around Filch, but the caretaker caught him by the upper arm.

"Then perhaps you should have left on time, Potter," he paused, then continued "I knowit wasyou thatlocked Mrs. Norris in that broom cupboard."

"It wasn't me!" James protested, even though he, along with Sirius, was at fault.

"Don't lie to me, boy!" Filch spat. "Come on, we have to file your crime and punishment."

"But you don't understand!" James cried frantically. He was losing time with every passing second. For all he knew, some bloke was asking her out at that very moment. "I have to see Lily!"

"Maybe you should have thought of that before you committed your crime, eh?"

"I'll come back later, I swear!" James promised. "Just let me go and see Lily right now." He tried to pull free of Filch's grip, but the caretaker's hold merely tightened.

"You'll come now."

L ... J

Working with James to carry out their duties as Head students had only helped their friendship grow, intensifying Lily's feelings for him. There was no longer any doubt in Lily's mind that she was absolutely head over heals for James Potter.

And there were times when Lily had thought that he felt the same way about her too, that his feelings for her had not diminished as she originally thought they had. Sometimes she would catch him staring at her, and she had sworn that he had almost kissed her once after a Prefect's Meeting.

Maybe I was just imagining things, Lily thought miserably as she tucked her legs under her. Maybe I was just hoping those things had happened. The cushy armchair was comfortable and a blazing fire danced in the grate warming her body, but still Lily felt cold and alone. Even the book she was trying to read, her favorite one that never ceased to make her smile, failed to cheer her up.

Valentine's Day had never been a lonely day for Lily, even on the occasions when she hadn't had someone special to share it with. But now, she was lonely and all because of James and the fact that he wasn't here with her.

Of course, he really didn't have any obligation to be with her. After all, it wasn't as though they were dating. They were merely friends. They had no understanding; if he wanted to be out with some other girl tonight that was his decision.

Another girl? The thought hadn't entered Lily's mind before, but now that it had, things became terribly clear. He had hardly spoken to her all day, and at the time, she hadn't thought it unusual since they had spent most of their classes taking notes. During lunch he barely said two whole sentences to her throughout the entire meal. She had thought that perhaps he was planning something special for Valentine's Day, but she now felt that she had guessed wrong. James Potter clearly didn't care for her in any capacity except friendship.

Feeling tears threaten her eyes, Lily blinked quickly. She was being stupid. Tears over a boy! This wasn't like her, wallowing in self pity over a boy like some pathetic thirteen year old with a silly crush.

All the same, Lily decided to go to up to her dormitory and be alone away from the other couples in the common room. Climbing the stairs slowly, she cast one last look over her shoulder to the common room below, hoping with every fiber of her being to see James waltz in through the portrait hole. When he didn't, she sighed and climbed the rest of the way up, opening the door to the girls' dormitory.

Sinking on to her four poster bed, Lily sighed. She was the only one here. Alice was with Frank and Emmeline was in Greenhouse One tutoring a group of dateless first years. She supposed that she could have gone with Emmeline just for the company, but she had decided against it in the hopes that James would show up. But he hadn't.

L … J

Finally free from Filch's clutches, James was once again running through Hogwarts Corridors at breakneck speed. As he raced past the Transfiguration classroom, he heard McGonagall's voice ring out.

"Potter! I'd like a word with you in my office please."

James skidded to a halt, groaning aloud in frustration. He turned and backtracked to stand in front of McGonagall.

"I didn't do anything, Professor, I swear."

McGonagall smiled as though she didn't quite believe this statement. "A likely tale – but you're not in trouble, Mr. Potter. Not yet, at any rate. I just wanted to talk to you about the House Quidditch team."

For the first in his life, James was not thrilled to hear about Quidditch. "Er…not to be rude, Professor, but I was just on my way back to the common room."

"I'm sure the common room can wait, Mr. Potter."

James felt his face grow at tad warm, and he impatiently rubbed the back of his neck.

"Well, yeah, the common room can wait, but Lily can't."

"Ah, Miss Evans," A slow smile flickered across McGonagall's usually stern face. "Well, given the circumstances, Mr. Potter, I'd suggest you hurry. But I want to see you in my office first thing tomorrow morning."

James grinned. "Thanks, Professor."

L … J

Lily sighed as she glanced at her watch for the third time since she'd come up to the girls' dormitory.

Deciding to go to bed early, she rummaged around in her trunk for her pajamas. After pulling them on, she crawled underneath her covers and pulled them up to her chin.

"Merlin, those first years are horrid! Absolutely no attention span to speak of," Emmeline announced loudly as she strode into the dormitory and threw her schoolbag on the ground next to her trunk. "Why are you already in bed?"

Lily pulled herself into a sitting position and shrugged. "I just felt like it."

Emmeline raised her eyebrows. "Oh really? You're not say…pouting over the fact that you don't have a date on Valentine's Day?"

Lily felt her face grow warm and laid back down to hide the growing redness of her face. "No, I'm not. Should I be?"

"I never thought I'd see the day that Lily Evans was pining away after James Potter."

Lily sat up quickly and glared at Emmeline. "I am not pining away after anybody. If James wants to be with someone else, that's his business, not mine."

Emmeline's mouth dropped open. "James is where, with who?"

"I don't know exactly where he is, or who he's with," Lily responded hotly. "But he's not in Gryffindor Tower. Where else could he be?"

Emmeline's eyes narrowed dangerously. Standing up and marching to the door, she yanked it open.

"Where are you going?" Lily asked, confused by her friend's actions.

"To find Remus. He's going to explain just what's going on."

"Why?"

Emmeline rolled her eyes. "Because you and James are half in love with each other, but he's not here right now, that's why." The door closed behind her with a snap.

Lily sighed heavily and laid back down against her pillow. Closing her eyes, she thought of what it would be like to be with James Potter. To be able to call herself his girlfriend, to hold his hand, to kiss him…And with these images dancing happily in her mind, Lily drifted off to sleep.

L … J

Emmeline bounded up the boys' staircase as quickly as her short legs would carry her. Reaching the door with the gold plaque that read "Seventh Year", she didn't bother to knock. Throwing the door open, she spotted Peter lying on his stomach in the middle of the floor working on an essay of some nature.

"Where's James?" She asked harshly.

Peter blinked. "He's with Lily."

"No he isn't," Emmeline argued. "If he's with her, then why is she up in our dorm?"

Peter shrugged. "Ask Remus."

Emmeline rolled her eyes. "I will. Where is he?"

"He said something about visiting the kitchens."

"The kitchens?" Emmeline cried, frustrated to the point of wanting to pull her hair out. "How am I supposed to talk to him if he's in the bloody kitchens?"

"He'll be back soon," Peter assured her. "He left quite a bit ago."

"He'd better be," Emmeline seethed.

L … J

"Well, well, well. Look who we have here. The high and mighty Potter all by his lonesome."

James cursed his rotten luck. Nott, Snape, and Rosier were standing in his way and showing no signs of letting him pass.

"Look, I'm not really in the mood," James replied casually. "Another time, eh?"

"Scared without Black and Lupin to back you up, Potter?" Snape jeered, glaring at him from behind curtains of greasy black hair.

"You wish, Snivellus," James shot back, feeling his anger get the better of him. He and Nott reached for their wands at the same time, but James was quicker, casting a shield charm that allowed Nott's spell to bounce harmlessly away.

"Not man enough to fight back, Potter?" Rosier laughed. "Where's that Gryffindor courage you're always bragging about? Where is it n- "

"Stupefy!" James cried. Both Snape and Nott attempted to hex him as Rosier fell, but with this reflexes honed from years of Quidditch, he dodged both and cast the full body bind hex on Snape. Two down, with only Nott left.

Nott's eyes were blazing. "You think you're so wonderful, Potter: Dumbledore and McGonagall's favorites. That'll only last as long as you're in this school, once we're out - "

"As much as I treasure advice from you, Nott," James cut in, "I think I'll have to pass. See, I've actually got places to be, people who want to be with me."

Nott's eyes narrowed. "A Pureblood like you hurrying off to be in the company of that traitor and the Mudblood?"

Nott didn't even have time to raise his wand before James cast a stupefying charm on him and watched in satisfaction as Nott's limp body fell to the ground beside his fellow Slytherins.

Snape's eyes were moving, watching him with nearly tangible contempt.

"Sirius and Lily are better people than you could ever hope to be," James told Snape and the other two unconscious Slytherins before turning around and sprinting off in the direction of Gryffindor Tower.

L … J

"How could you possibly think of food at a time like this!" Emmeline demanded the moment Remus walked in the door of the boys' dormitory.

"Pardon?" Remus asked, slightly confused.

"Never mind. Where's James?" she tried again.

"With Lily, like he should be."

"No, he most certainly is not!" Emmeline protested, motioning with her arms. "Lily is in our dormitory, under the impression that James is off fooling around with some other girl."

Remus's mouth dropped open. "Didn't Sirius give her the note?"

Emmeline crossed her arms impatiently. "Apparently not."

"But Sirius…" Remus began, then trailed off as his eyes came to rest on the note lying neatly folded in it's envelope on the floor beside James' bed. "Bloody hell. She didn't get it. But…how could she even think he's with someone else? Doesn't she know how much he fancies her?"

"Again, apparently not."

"Wait," Peter spoke up. "If Lily's upstairs then where is -"

The door was suddenly flung open, slamming into the wall and James burst into the room, looking rather anxious and harassed.

"Remus! She didn't get the note! I've completely ruined everything! She's probably off with some bloke right now and - "

"Whoa!" Emmeline held up her hands. "Slow down a minute."

James gave Emmeline an inquisitive look. "What are you doing here?"

"It's a long and complicated story, but the only part that matters is that Lily's up in our dorm thinking that you're on a date with some other girl."

"What?" James raised his eyebrows. "How in Merlin's name did she get an idea like that? It's not as though I've been exactly subtle about my feelings for her."

"It doesn't matter why, you prat! Just go and tell her how much you fancy her!"

James nodded quickly as he turned and raced back out of the room the other occupants of the room all staring after him.

"Wait!" Emmeline cried as James thundered down the stairs, realizing what would happen. "Boys can't go up the girls' staircase!"

Peter snickered. "James knows that. He tried to get up them once in fifth year to spy on Lily."

"Then how's he going to –" Emmeline began, but she never got the chance to finish as a series of earth shattering bangs and several screams came from the common room below.

"Oh for the love of Merlin."

L … J

Lily smiled as she glided along the ice, hand in hand with James. Other students were skating all around them, but Lily paid no attention to them. Her insides felt warm just listening to him debate the pros and cons of wet start fireworks.

There was suddenly a loud bang and the world shook. Lily looked around for the source, but could see none. James kept talking as though he had not heard the noise.

There it was again…

Lily opened her eyes, wondering whether or not the noise had been in her head. The sound of hysterical voices and several pairs of feet running up the stairs confirmed her suspicions that as Head Girl she should check and see if everything was fine in the common room.

Dragging herself out of the bed, Lily slowly made her way down to the common room. She stopped dead and gasped at the sight. Smoke filled the room, and although it was beginning to clear, the air was still hazy. As much as the smoke surprised her, what caught her attention most was James Potter standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up at her, a smile on his handsome face.

"What did you do?" Lily asked, as she stifled a yawn, descending the stairs fully and coming face to face with James.

By way of reply, James simply reached out, pulled Lily towards him, and kissed her. After recovering from her initial shock, Lily kissed him back, reaching up and placing her hands on his shoulders.

Pulling away, James grinned. "Happy Valentine's Day, Lily."

"Is this some elaborate scheme that you cooked up?" Lily asked suspiciously. "To have me think you were off with some other girl and then scare everyone out of the common room?"

James blushed and bit his lip. "No, that was an accident. You were supposed to get a note with a riddle that would have led you to the kitchens, but through some misunderstandings, you didn't. As soon as I realized what had happened, I tried to come and get you but I got held up in the corridors by a few different people. I'm truly sorry."

Lily looked down and blinked several times. "I thought…I thought that you had moved on and found somebody else."

James placed a hand under her chin and lifted it so that her eyes met his. "Never, Lily. It's always been you, it always will be," he paused. "Be my girlfriend?" he asked softly, leaning his forehead against hers.

Lily smiled shyly and nodded. Smiling widely, James leaned down and gently pressed his lips to hers. Lily closed her eyes, reveling in the soaring of her heart and stomach. Ten minutes ago, kissing James was a mere fantasy, and now here she was, standing in the common room, kissing him.

James leaned back and brushed her hair out her face, tucking it behind her ear, with a grin. "You should have known that I could never forget you on Valentine's Day, Lily. After all, it's practically sacred!"

The End