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Lily hated that Invisibility Cloak. It was everything she was against; sneaking in the corridors past curfew, stealing rare ingredients from the potion professor's private stores, tapping Slytherins' shoulders while unseen. Generally causing downright mischief. That Cloak was against all her morals.
Sometimes Lily thought James cared about that Cloak more than he did about her. More than often James wore that Cloak, particularly favouring entrances which made Lily jump out of her skin as he whipped the Cloak off himself, suddenly appearing by her side, looking handsomely devious.
Of course, sometimes she perceived the out of the blue arrivals as quite attractive, reminding her of an image of a masked Muggle superhero as his cape-like cloak was pulled off with a flutter. Unfortunately, Lily was not like a cat with nine lives and wouldn't get a second chance to breathe again if she was eventually killed by James Potter's handsome but showy entrances. She definitely did not want a repeat performance of that one night she was studying, only to be interrupted by an invisible object slamming against her lips, making her promptly scream for help until James revealed his self under the Cloak with a bashful grin.
Of course, being kissed by something you cannot see is also quite attractive, but Lily believed it should not be made a habit of.
"James." Lily crossed his dormitory with a somewhat piqued expression. "Are you coming or what? We're going to be late to Hogsmeade."
It appeared as though James was searching for something, chucking belongings in the air and opening and closing drawers. "Just a sec, Lily. I'm trying to find the Cloak."
Lily knotted her brow. That damn cloak again...
"Surely you can make do without it on our date!" she said fiercely, stressing the importance of him joining her before she kneed him in the groin.
James quickly noticed her annoyed tone, bounded across the dormitory and climbed over his bed. He slid an arm around her waist and nuzzled her neck. "I want to bring it for emergencies. You know, just in case. I'll be two seconds, I promise."
"Fine," she surrendered. "I'll be waiting in the common room." She prodded him in the chest before letting him go.
James gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before returning to find the Invisibility Cloak, turning the dorm from top to bottom. Lily watched him for a few seconds, sighed, then made her way to the door. On her way out, she cursed as her foot got tangled in something on the messy floor, making her stumble and nearly trip.
Muttering obscurities, Lily glowered at the floor, and there was the object that had nearly tried to eradicate her: the Invisibility Cloak.
It seemed as if the Cloak hated her as much as she hated it.
Not only was the Invisibility Cloak used as a possession to create jazzy arrivals by James Potter, it was also used as a fast getaway. Lily couldn't add up the countless number of times James had disappeared under the cloak to avoid a question or conversation, or to use for storming off after petty arguments so she nobody would be able to follow him.
"I'm going to bed," James had told Lily, aloof and wearing a scowl after a rather ridiculous spat.
"Fine," Lily had replied, though her face told him she was not. She took a particular interest in the length of her nails instead of waving him off, hearing him escape up the boys' dormitory staircase in angry stomps. Naturally, she'd know he hadn't really gone to bed at seven o'clock at night, and barely seconds later she heard the his footsteps down the staircase, and then the portrait swing open and closed as he exited, invisible.
She'd acted oblivious. She hadn't stopped him or followed him; he needed his space. She'd merely watched him through one of the common room windows as he stood by the Great Lake, deep in thought. And when he returned, they embraced each other tightly, forgetting what the disagreement was about in the first place, and vowed never to row again - which was silly because they knew they would anyway.
Lily couldn't understand it, really. Maybe, she thought, one of the factors of her not understanding James' longing for the Cloak was because James had never let her wear it.
"But why?" Lily whined, reaching out to grasp the cloak from James' hand. However, he was too quick as he pulled it away from her line of seize, clutching it against his chest, making it look strangely like a security blanket.
"Just...because!" he answered lamely, pushing his glasses further up his nose. Lily almost laughed at his odd behaviour. "Let me put on the Cloak, James," she asked in her sweetest voice.
"No," James said yet again, knowing her tricks. He tried to make a game of the situation by grabbing her waist and tickling her, but she was not in the mood, pulling away. Lily crossed her arms.
"You let the boys wear it..."
James didn't make eye contact with her, playing with the Cloak with his stubby, worn fingers from too much Quidditch.
Finally, one day James had left his Invisibility Cloak unoccupied in his dormitory, and Lily sat on his bed, eyeing the article.
She had formulated a theory that it was evil. Naturally, James had laughed at such a hypothesis, pecked her nose and declared her insanity as cute.
As Lily sat in James' dorm, she contemplated burning it, but quickly brushed the idea aside on the grounds of it being too harsh. James loved the thing, and instead, Lily decided to be an understanding girlfriend and try on the Cloak herself to identify what all the fuss was about.
Before she could change her mind, she picked up the Cloak, covered her body with it, and stepped in front of James' full length mirror. She saw a flash of red hair before she was gone. Staring at the reflection, she could only see the wall behind her.
At first, she felt nothing as she was veiled by the Cloak; it just reminded her of the same feeling she got when wearing her plain, normal school robes. But then, unexpectedly, a feeling of content overcame her. She unclenched her hands, peeked down, and saw nothing there. She wiggled the toes of her invisible feet; swung her unseen arms; felt her undetectable hair fly as she twirled on the spot.
The cloak made her feel free; that she could do anything she wanted, any time. No one would look at her, judge her as the 'mudblood'.
The cloak made her forget all problems, like the fact that she had Transfiguration homework to finish by tomorrow. Her constant worry that people were dying every day due to a sadistic, powerful wizard and his followers and maybe she'd be next on their list. Her uncertainty that James and their future together wouldn't survive in the real world - the world outside the safe, protected Hogwarts castle. The split ends of her hair. Professor Slughorn's overfriendliness towards her. Her suspicions of Severus Snape's quick and furious writing into his Potions book.
She hadn't known the Cloak was a means of escape. She hadn't known the people who'd worn it before, and for whatever specific reasons.
Remus Lupin had worn it when being a werewolf was just too much.
Sirius Black had worn it when he argued with his thoughts that he really had no proper family that loved him for who he was.
Peter Pettigrew had worn it out of worry that he was drifting from his friends; being lead somewhere dark and corrupt that he would never be able to get out of.
James Potter had worn it every time he felt like giving up on Lily, the girl who supposedly hated him. And whenever the cloak shrouded him, all pessimistic thoughts on giving up on Lily disappeared in an instant. Once the cloak was taken off again, all spirit was returned anew.
Lily continued to spin under the Invisibility Cloak, as though she was a young child again, playing a game of Dizzy Dinosaurs.
"Bloody Sniv—Snape. Can't hit him because Lily will kill me. Ugh, so annoying..."
Her long red hair stopped gliding gracefully through the air as she froze to a halt, watching James Potter enter the dorm, obviously not knowing she was present. Lily guessed he wasn't in a good mood, noting his narrowed eyes as he stomped across the dormitory grumbling furiously to himself. Silently, Lily watched him under the cloak as he collapsed on his bed and, heaving a sigh, used his wand to flick the bed curtains shut.
"Stupid git Sniv—Snape. So annoying. Can't murder him because Lily will stop loving me. Aargh."
Lily forced back a chuckle. Quietly, still with the cloak on, she crept up to James' bed and opened the bed curtain slightly, poking her head inside. She spotted James lying down with his hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling and sticking out his lower lip. "Greasy haired tosser. Want to strangle him. Can't because of beautiful girlfriend—" He stopped, noticing the small amount of light creep inside the darkness confined by the bed curtains. "Who's there?" he asked, tilting his head up.
Immediately the light disappeared as the curtain fell back into position, and James heard the squeak of the mattress as an invisible weight climbed neatly on top of him. Unseen legs intertwined with his own, invisible arms rested on his stomach, and concealed, soft hair brushed against his cheek. Looking tremendously confused, his eyes widened as something gently touched his lips. His surprised expression quickly turned into one of ease as he realised what was going on, deepening the kiss.
"That better not be you, Padfoot, or I will seriously need to consider therapy."
Lily rolled her eyes and hit him in the stomach before rolling off him. He got out of bed.
"Lily?" he called, searching the room for any signs of her. When he received no answer, he became worried that maybe his joke had been correct. "Lily, it is you, right?" he checked to make sure.
"May-be," her light tone replied. James spotted a floating book to his left and focused on that.
"You're wearing the Cloak?"
He advanced towards the floating book, but stopped when a shirt on the other side of the room began to move. His original idea on Lily's whereabouts was completely misdirected now. "Lily, take off the Cloak," he said firmly. "Lily, please."
She frowned at the desperation behind his voice.
Hearing the tug of the invisibility cloak off her body, James turned to the direction of the sound and found it nowhere near the location he had thought; Lily was sitting on his bed, playing with the Cloak in her fingers. She put the Cloak aside when James rushed forward with mischievous eyes. He picked her up by the waist and spun her in the air once –where she laughed as she held on to his shoulders—before he plonked her back down to Earth. Before Lily could ask what on earth all that had been about, James had pulled her forwards and rested his chin on top of her head. Though Lily looked unresponsive at first to cuddling him, especially when she had been ordered to take the Cloak off like a child –being ordered around something she was not used to— she eventually melted into his embrace.
"Don't wear the cloak again, alright?" James murmured against her hair.
Lily asked the question that James had left unanswered so many times before: "But why?" Her eyes rounded as she stared at him, hurt.
"Because..." James raked a hand through his unruly hair. "I don't ever want you to disappear."
Lily tried to keep looking at him displeased, but a warm smile eventually formed at her mouth. "Fool," she muttered. Blushing, she tugged him forward by his collar to press her lips to his.
"How about we make a compromise?" James wagered.
"We wear the cloak together," James said. "When you wear the cloak, I wear it with you. That way—"
"If I disappear, you disappear with me," Lily concluded.
"Well, aren't you little Miss-clever-clogs finishing my sentences?"
"Aren't you a soppy, hopeless romantic making such corny sentences?"
James nudged her with his hip. "You know you love it."
"I love you," Lily said seriously.
"What a coincidence! I love me, too," James quipped. He chuckled at the sight of her glare, something he was familiarly on the receiving end of. "I'm kidding, Lily. You know how much I love you."
She smiled into his chest. "I know."
And when the rest of the Marauders climbed the staircase and burst into the dorm, searching for the couple; James and Lily hid under the cloak. Together.
Lily loved that Invisibility Cloak. It was everything she was for; private kisses in the forbidden section of the library, warm cuddles by the common room fire, late night stargazing in the Astronomy Tower after hours. Generally causing downright affection. That cloak was in favour of all her morals.