It was October. And dead boring, if you asked any one of the students at Hogwarts. Class was cancelled due to an emergency of some sort within the staff body. The students, on the other hand, were quite happy to have a day to catch up on all the work they had –
'No, Potter. Get out of it.'
Lily Evans was not pleased. Because of the cancellation of classes she was forced back into the Gryffindor common room where James and his friends – also known as the marauders – were settled and wreaking havoc.
And he had just walked over.
'Come on, Lily,' he moaned, plopping into the couch next to her. 'I'm not asking for marriage –'
'Yet,' Lily snarled. He was always doing this, and frankly, Lily was not in the mood. Nor was she ever in the mood for James Potter. It wasn't as though she had never told him that she hated him, he just wouldn't listen. In fact –
'Why don't you just give me a chance?' James asked softly, and Lily had to hold back her mixed emotions. Sure, he was cute, charming, obnoxious, brilliant, retarded, and a million other things, but Lily hated him, right?
'Because I don't like you, Potter.'
James raised his eyebrows. 'Don't like?' he asked, a smile spreading across his face. 'What happened to hate? Gone a little soft, haven't you?'
Lily turned to look at him. 'And this is why you will never have me,' she hissed.
James stared. 'Have you?' he said incredulously. 'I just want to go to Hogsmeade tomorrow with you!'
Lily had already stood up and was halfway to the stairs when she stopped. If she said yes this one time, she thought, a mischievous grin coming to her lips, then it might be the last time he would ask her, right?
'Fine,' she huffed, turning around to meet his smiling eyes. 'Tomorrow at ten.'
James whooped. 'Get out of it!' Sirius shouted at him as Remus' knight overtook his queen.
It was the day after Lily had gone to Hogsmeade with James for the fifth time in secret when she sat on the end of James' bed holding her head. Everyone else had gone down to breakfast, and none of the other boys knew she was there.
'I – uh, didn't mean for –' James spluttered as he swayed out of the bathroom.
'Don't talk,' Lily rasped. 'Just – yeah.'
James only nodded as he lowered himself onto the bed beside her. As he lay down, she did the same, closing her eyes to the maroon of the canopy above her. The Hogsmeade trip turned into 'how many rules can the head boy and girl break?' and before either of them knew it, there they were in muggle London, down five pints. Turned out that James and Lily got on quite well together, which was why they both stumbled, giggling at one in the morning, through the seventh boys' dormitory door and collapsed on James bed where they passed out. Each Hogsmeade weekend passed the same way, and each weekend brought a new eulogy and toast to another lost family. Now, mid April, they were spending their hangover time together.
'Didn't know you could drink like that,' James whispered. Lily laughed lightly.
'I didn't know you had a tab at that pub as well.'
James opened his eyes and caught hers. 'You're beautiful, you know that?'
'As you've said,' Lily moaned. 'What are you on about?'
They lied in silence for another five minutes when James added, 'Thank you.'
'Giving me a chance.'
Lily only nodded, not trusting herself to open her mouth. The truth was she had never really hated him. Well, maybe when he had rubbed it in her face when he had aced the transfiguration test and she had failed it. But now – lying on his bed, somewhere he had always wanted her and now could do nothing about it in the state he was – she decided maybe she did like him after all.
'I do like you, Lily.'
'I like you too.'
'What are you ladies doing?'
Both James and Lily sat up quickly catching sight of Sirius and Remus stood in the doorway before they both shut their eyes tight and moaned.
'I think I might –' James began, but Lily was already on her feet and into the bathroom.
'How did we miss this?'
James shot a dark look at Sirius through narrowed eyes. 'Not what it looks like.'
'What does it look like?' Remus cheeked. 'Studying for a test?'
'Shut up, Remus,' Lily called from the bathroom.
Both Remus and Sirius laughed. James fell back on the bed as Lily came out of the bathroom.
'Don't tell anyone,' she pleaded, falling onto the bed next to James. 'Please – all of you.'
'You have my word,' the three boys said together, and Lily smiled.
'Good,' she yawned, and promptly fell asleep.
'So, now how much do you owe?' Sirius asked James slyly.
James grinned. 'Let's just say she's a hell of a lot more fun than you lot at those drinking games.'
Sirius scoffed, fully entering the room with Remus, closing the door behind them. 'How much did you two drink?'
'How did she agree to going with you?'
'You were there when she said yes,' James reminded Remus, but he shook his head.
'I mean, how did she agree to going out of school bounds and getting smashed with you?'
James shrugged and Sirius had to bite back a laugh. 'Well, kudos to you, mate,' he said softly, patting James on the back. 'I never thought you'd be able to do it.'
'Wow, so now I'm twenty galleons richer, aren't I?' Remus said smugly. But James did not hear as he fell back next to Lily and fell asleep as well.
The room was filled with snoring when Lily woke up again. This time in the dark. She sat up quickly as James did the same.
'What time is it?' she breathed, squinting though the dark at him.
'One? Two?' he guessed, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes as his stomach gave an audible growl.
'I'm as hungry as you sound,' Lily whispered wistfully.
'Then come with me to the kitchen,' James said softly, standing up and offering his hand. 'Don't worry, no one will catch us.'
'How?' she asked, her eyes moving from his hand to his face.
'Invisibility cloak,' James grinned. 'It's right –' But as he looked to the foot of his bed he furrowed his brow. Then he turned from Lily, dropping his hand and placing it on his hip. 'Pads, where did you put it?' he asked loudly.
Sirius snorted, rolled over, and mumbled 'Rifgh tromoong.'
Lily raised her eyebrows as James, upon Sirius' words..? went over to Remus' trunk and pulled out a silvery cloak and threw it over his shoulders. Lily gasped as James – from the neck down, at least – disappeared.
'So?' he prompted her.
Lily shrugged. 'There better be chocolate involved,' she whispered teasingly.
James grinned, enveloping her in the cloak and, ignoring just how close they were and just how much she smelt like stake puke, led her down the stairs. They walked in silence down corridors, stairs, and secret passageways until they came to the portrait of the fruit bowl. But as soon as they had stepped into the cavernous kitchen, James threw the cloak off and made his way stealthily along to the pantry door.
'You sure know your way around,' Lily commented, placing the cloak on the nearest counter and gazing around, awestruck, at the kitchen.
'This isn't my first time down here, Lily,' James grinned, piling his arms with food. 'Now, you said chocolate, right?'
'Oh, I don't need –' she began, blushing.
'Of course you don't,' James held, rolling his eyes. 'Because you're sweet just the way you are.'
'Please, don't go there,' Lily moaned, falling into a chair.
'You obviously didn't catch my sarcasm.'
'And I have a lovely one.'
Lily blushed as James looked at her. He raised his eyebrows.
'Noticed, have you?'
'Hard to miss,' she retorted. 'Kind of like your big head.'
James laughed. 'I have to agree with you there,' he said, laying the food down on the table in front of her.
Lily immediately dug in, as did James, and they ate their way through cold turkey legs, salad, bread, trifle, and chocolate cake. Every now and then Lily would chance a glance up at James, who would no doubt have his mouth full of food, as he always did during meal times. It was comforting, she thought, that he didn't change for her. Her stomach gave a jolt as she thought about it. Must mean that he meant that he really liked her. Enough to ask her out twice a day. She frowned as she turned back to the food, missing the glance James had thrown at her. She was perfect, he figured. Well, except that every now and then she would have a zit in a really obvious place. But all the more reason to look at her. As sick as that sounded. And it sounded really sick, James figured. Staring at the zit on the face of the girl he liked. Talk about infatuated. Or something.
She looked up and met his eyes, her mouth full of chocolate cake.
They both blushed, and James' eyes were drawn to the smear of icing on her bottom lip. She had stopped chewing, and he swallowed thickly.
'You – er –' he managed, motioning awkwardly to her lips.
She looked back in confusion.
James reached towards her, his hand outstretched, but froze. He could just as easily lick it off, couldn't he? he thought. He could, he answered himself, and he leant across the table and pressed his lips to hers. I'm kissing Lily Evans, he thought ridiculously. I'm actually kissing her. And she's not pulling back. And no one is cat-calling, and she smells like meat and puke, which is gross, but I like it. And I'm kissing her. Lily. Evans. Kissing. Wow.
He's kissing me. And I puked a mere twelve hours ago. And I haven't even brushed my teeth, but he's kissing me anyways. And my mouth is full of chocolate cake. I just shoved it in there. But he's kissing me anyways. And he smells. I need to breathe.
Just as suddenly as it started, it stopped, and James was back staring at the shell-shocked Lily Evans who still had chocolate icing on her lip.
'I missed,' James blurted out. Lily laughed, subsequently spraying the saliva soaked cake all over James.
'Oh, I – I'm so sorry,' she apologized, leaning forwards as though to clean it up when she froze. There are no napkins, rags, or anything to clean up the mess, she thought. I am an idiot, she continued thinking, looking up at James. And he's dirty now. Commence the awkward silence. She blushed.
Bugger it, James thought savagely as he leant towards her and captured her lips again. His hands found their way to into her hair. It was then that he realized her arms were around his neck and her hands anchored in his hair. He revelled in the moment, in her warmth, the softness of her hair, of her lips, of her tongue. James moaned into her mouth, but she pulled back and they both gasped for breath.
'I –' she panted, her hands still tangled in his hair, her emerald eyes bright with passion.
'Still didn't get it,' James breathed, smiling as Lily laughed and they kissed again.
'Chocolate must be an aphrodisiac,' Lily commented when they broke apart again, and a clock chimed somewhere. They held still, listening to the number of chimes.
'Five,' James breathed, his eyes widening as he looked at her. 'Shit, we have to go.'
Bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger, Lily thought as they slid off the table and James grabbed the cloak.
'Quick,' he hissed, holding it open for her. 'Get under!'
She obeyed silently, and then praised whoever there was to praise when she and James were close again.
'Wait,' she breathed as the tapestry on the second floor flapped closed behind them, and she took his hand in hers, and under the cloak, looked up at him. 'James, I'm sorry for all –'
'Get out of it,' James grinned. 'I don't need to hear it. Don't bother. I know.'
'I don't think you –' she began, but his kiss cut her off, and he wrapped his other arm around her waist.
'Listen,' he whispered against her lips as he stepped towards her and she followed his movement. As she strained her ears a soft tinkling piano was being played somewhere in the distance. 'We're on the piano stairs,' he breathed in her ear, moving them both to the music. His cheek was rest against the crown of her head, and he could still smell the cigarette smoke and whiskey from the night before in her hair. They had both closed their eyes as they moved slowly under the cloak in a small circle, and Lily could smell the chocolate cake, turkey, and sweat on his skin.
'You do understand,' she whispered finally.
'I'm able to do that if you let me,' he countered, not daring to open his eyes or stop dancing, lest he ruin the moment or worse – lose her.
'I'll always let you.'
He stopped. She stumbled a little as he looked down at her, caught off guard. 'What?'
'Get out of it,' she snapped playfully, not letting go of his hand. 'I'm not going anywhere now.'
'Get out of here!'
Lily laughed, dropping his hand and wrapping her arms around his neck. 'Have you always loved me?'
'Like a bee loves a flower.'
'Cheese ball,' she grinned. 'I think I've loved you too.'
'Well, if you hadn't been such a prat every time you asked me, and didn't –'
'Attention all students: Because of recent war events, all of today's classes –'
'It's five in the morning!' James shouted, raising his head.
'Are cancelled. Enjoy your day.'
'Crazy old –'
James Potter and Lily Evan spent the last Monday of April sleeping. At first, they had slept in their respective dormitories, but around lunchtime, Lily had snuck up to the seventh year boy's room with a plate of food. No one questioned anything. It was past questioning. Honestly.