Disclaimer: I own Randolph Sayles and Richard Haden, though I'd rather not own the Minister of Magic...

Author's Notes: This is a completely random and completely odd oneshot that I personally find a little out there. It has no real plot, though I may have started out with one, I'm not quite sure. It was supposed to be mainly narrator but then somehow Lily, James, and Randolph Sayles worked their ways in there. Dunno how, really didn't want them in there in the first place.

Anyway, read and review, por favor.


The Third Date Rule

Lily Evans had one simple rule for dating: not a kiss until after the third date.

It might not make sense to you or me, but to Lily, it was perfectly logical. In fact, it was the only way to sort out those who wanted a long-term relationship from those who were only seeking a one-night stand. It was the only way to separate the guys who wanted her for what was on the inside rather than the outside from those who wanted her only to please themselves. It was the only way to crop out the real gentlemen from the players.

It was simple, really. Any guy who felt that snogging was included in the "date" package was horribly mistaken. Lily took that need to exchange saliva as the only reason they'd bothered to date her, and they were promptly dumped.

Any guy that could go for three dates —actual dates, including drinks at the Three Broomsticks and walks through Hogsmeade— and last for the time between them was gentleman enough for Lily. That would prove to her that he didn't need to snog to be happy with her. It said, Lily reasoned, that he cared about her enough not to push her to do something she didn't feel necessary.

Now don't get me wrong. Of course Lily enjoyed a good snog, but that couldn't be the basis of their relationship.

She wanted someone who would be content with holding her hand and talking about the political stance of centaurs.

She wanted someone who would read her the next chapter of her Potions book while she braided her hair.

She wanted someone who would put a pillow under her head if she fell asleep on her Ancient Runes book again.

She wanted someone who would appreciate being with her… someone who wasn't James Potter.

It was awful, really, fancying James Potter, but it was difficult not to. He was so charismatic and funny and sweet and kind and adorable.

Time and time again Lily would have to remind herself why she wasn't dating him, with the help of her current boyfriend dropping her on the pretense of "it's me, not you," which —as Lily understood it— was really male code for "we never snogged."

That sudden jolt would bring her back to reality and she would be reminded once again as to why she constantly refused to date James Potter.

She was his conquest.

She was the one he couldn't get, and she wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he'd gotten to her.

She barely allowed herself to realize it.

And, as Lily was soon to discover, that was to be her downfall.

She was sitting in the Heads' common room with —ironically enough— James Potter. They were listening to the WWN (a debate was on between the Minister of Magic himself and the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures on the rights of sphinxes in the magical community) and enjoying a plate of biscuits. James was attempting to quiz Lily on the material for a Transfiguration test that was scheduled for the following day, but the latter was much more interested in tutting and tsking and throwing out witty comments to the radio set.

Running a hairbrush through her hair, she snapped at the radio as if she was having an exchange with it. "Of course they're violent! What would happen if someone got injured? The chaos would be endless!"

"They really oughtn't to be employed in such jobs. They're dangerous magical creatures in the vicinity of hundreds of wizards and goblins; imagine the riot if someone was to get hurt. The uproar would be deafening, cases and reports every which way, and the things the Prophet would say!" retorted the voice of Randolph Sayles, the Head of the Department, through the wireless to the Minister of Magic, Richard Haden.

She nodded in satisfaction and turned back to James, who was staring at her oddly with a half-formed grin gracing his lips, as if he hadn't yet decided whether to smile or to frown. Biting her lip to hold back her laughter, she cocked an eyebrow at him.

His eyes focusing on her face, a blush crept up his neck. She couldn't help but laugh at this.

"You know," he said indignantly, his head cocked slightly to the side, "Ibet sphinxes are a brilliant defensive system. Besides, anyone who's stupid enough to break into Gringotts deserves to be eaten."

She narrowed her eyes. "So you'd pluck a sphinx right out of Egypt to protect your money?"

"Of course not," he said, looking slightly alarmed. "I've learned better than to remove a creature from its home."

Raising her eyebrows, she responded, "Hmm?"

"Firstly, there's Sirius. The first week back home is awful…" he said, shuddering. "And then there was the time—"

She nodded him on and his still-visible blush darkened.

"I brought a gnome in from the garden and it ransacked the house. Mum was ready to kill me."

She giggled softly as he embarrassedly joined her.

Their laughter died as only the Eye of Newt song "Two Knuts and a Cauldron Cake" played softly on the wireless.

"You know, James," Lily spoke suddenly, "you're not so bad."

He grinned, his eyes twinkling with something Lily could only label as admiration. "You're not so bad yourself, Evans."

It was then —during that stupid little sentimental moment— that Lily knew that James Potter had passed her three date test… without actually going out on a date with her.

He was the one who helped her study at night; the one who argued with her about government; the one who had laid a blanket on her when she had fallen asleep on the common room couch.

They were practically married.

That is why Lily went against everything she'd ever been for and asked James Potter out (much to his consent).

And the beautiful irony of it all?

James kissed Lily on their second date. Or rather, Lily kissed James.

But I suppose, as James had reminded her countless times, some rules were just meant to be broken.