A Rival from the Future
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. The only thing that belongs to me is the plot.
Story Summary: It looks like James had found another rival with Lily. But the strange thing is, he looks exactly like him, and his name is… Harry Potter?
Author: Sky's Teardrops
A\N: I guess no amount of apologizing is enough right now. =) For those who read the last chapter, especially to those who spared some time reviewing, thank you all so much! =) Those reviews were what motivated me to write this chapter, really. =) So thank you all so much!
Here's Chapter 21, hope you enjoy it! =)
Chapter 21 – An Unbelievable Chance
A few floors away, a pair of green eyes identical to the ones that were in the Room of Requirement also widened at the flash of lightning that looked too close to the window. Harry was blinking sleepily at the windows before him just seconds before, pondering whether or not he should go to bed when the lightning struck. Now wide awake, he moved away from the window and sat on his chair.
His slightly bloodshot eyes surveyed the scene before him. Remus had half his body spread out onto the large sofa, sleeping soundly. On the single chair beside the sofa was Sirius. He had propped his head on his right arm, which was leaning on the armchair. His eyes, like Remus's, were also closed and he was breathing regularly, clearly asleep.
Harry was about to stand up and tell them to go up to their dormitory, but the hushed voices he heard stopped him. He looked towards his left and saw Aliesha and Holly chatting. Their eyes were also bloodshot, and he wondered why they were still awake.
"Holly? Aliesha? Don't you want to go to sleep yet?"
"Well…" Aliesha said. "We're not yet sleepy."
"Yeah, not at all."
Harry laughed when he watched them both try to stifle a yawn. "C'mon guys. You're both as sleepy as I am. What's keeping you up?"
Aliesha avoided his eyes. "Nothing."
Holly nodded in agreement. Thanks to Harry's trained eye though, he caught the glance that Holly threw at the sleeping Sirius. Harry's brow furrowed and he turned to Aliesha, meaning to ask her about it. But Aliesha was busy at that moment staring at Remus.
When Aliesha saw Harry looking at her, she immediately looked at the opposite direction. Harry, being the guy that he was, stared uncomprehendingly at both of them for a few seconds. Then, something clicked into place and he slowly grinned.
He stared at Sirius and Remus and was able to make sure that they were both sound asleep. "It's okay. You can stare at them for as long as you want. They won't wake up anytime soon, I'm sure." He told the girls.
"What are you trying to say? We aren't staring at them!" Holly whispered.
Harry shrugged. "If you say so." Then he stood up. "I'm just gonna wake them up and we'll move to our room. You girls go on ahead." He was about to wake Remus up when he heard someone scrambling and the next moment, the girls held each of his wrist. He looked questioningly at them.
"Fine!" Aliesha puffed. "We like them, okay? Just don't say anything to them." she whispered.
"Yeah, so don't wake them up. Not yet. Please?" Holly looked up at him, her violet eyes pleading.
Harry threw his arms up. "Okay, okay." He grinned at them. "Two confessions on one night. Tonight's sure full of surprises." He laughed. "But I'll keep my mouth shut, I promise."
At that, Holly and Aliesha's faces relaxed and they smiled brilliantly at him. "Thanks Harry!"
"No prob." Harry shrugged and went back at his chair. Holly stared at Sirius, Aliesha at Remus. Their gazes were wistful, but they just shook their head and head towards their chair.
A few seconds passed, and Lily slowly became aware of her surroundings. Someone was holding her protectively, making her fear disappear little by little. When her fear was completely gone, the image of the lightning came back to her, very real and vivid. Frightened, she clutched her hands on the nearest object that she could reach, and the warm hug that was enveloping her tightened.
After a few more seconds, in which Lily had totally recovered, she opened her eyes slowly and stared uncomprehendingly at the Gryffindor badge that met her eyes. Realization dawned on her and with it came a flurry of emotions. She shut her eyes tightly, wishing that the floor would open up and eat her alive.
Her hands let go of James's robe, which was what she clutched moments ago. She placed her hands on his chest and began to slightly push. When he didn't budge, she pushed him again, with more force this time.
"I'm fine." She murmured.
James immediately let her go. "Sorry. Just wanna make sure you're really alright." He said sheepishly.
"There was no need for you to hug me, really." She said, trying to make herself sound irritated but failing miserably. "But thanks, anyway." She mumbled.
James looked questioningly at her but didn't say anything.
"What?" Lily demanded.
"Nothing. I just thought you'd be mad at me, screaming I'd taken advantage of you." James shrugged.
"I guess you don't really know me, after all." Lily answered without thinking.
James looked down. "Yeah."
"Sorry." She apologized, even though she doesn't know why. She felt as if she had hurt his feelings.
"There's nothing to apologize for."
"I know. It's just…" Lily was at a loss for words.
"Anyway," James stretched and returned on his chair. "On with the question and answer game. Whose turn is it, by the way?" James grinned at her and Lily stood rooted to her place.
James cocked his head. "Is there something wrong?"
"A-Aren't you…" Lily stuttered.
"What?" James looked confused.
"Nothing. I'm just waiting for you laugh at me." Lily said defensively.
James looked even more confused. "Why would I do that?"
"I mean, come one. I'm already sixteen and I'm afraid of lightning. Even I know that it's ridiculous!"
"No, it's not. Everyone has their own fears and weaknesses. Even I do, although I know it's hard to believe." James grinned at her. "So don't worry, I won't laugh at you just because of that."
Lily was at a loss of words for a few seconds. When she finally found her voice, she said, "Aren't you even going to ask me why I'm afraid of lightning?" she asked him, curious. "Everyone else who knew did."
"I'll just wait for you to willingly confide in me. I know right now's not the right time. I'm not worried though." James shrugged. "I'm sure you'll do so in the near future anyway." He flashed a confident smile on her.
Hearing his words erased the doubts she had and in spite of herself, Lily laughed. She was already getting used to James's words. "Is that so? Good luck in waiting then. And," Lily walked towards her chair and plopped down on it, feeling lighter than she had in an hour, "I believe it's my turn to ask you a question."
Normally, Lily would have been appalled if some guy hugged her. But considering the circumstances, she was actually… grateful.
Others would have laughed at my stupid fear of lightning. But James… Her eyes scanned the face before her. He tried his best to comfort me, even when he believed that I'd take it the wrong way. And he didn't force me to tell him what caused my fear, unlike all the others. He's willing to wait until I'm ready.
With that, Lily was able to conclude something.
I guess I don't know him that well, after all.
"It's still my turn!" James argued, and Lily shook her head.
"No, no! I already answered your question, so it's my turn now!"
"Fine." James sat back down on his chair and Lily smiled triumphantly.
They had been going on at it for quite a while. A lot of questions had been thrown at James, and that was also the case with Lily. After the incident though, both of them avoided personal questions and opted to ask about trivial matters.
But now Lily was sleepy and was out of questions. She looked out at the window, pondering. "Do you think it will stop raining soon?" she asked absently.
"I don't think so." James answered. "Okay, now it's my turn!"
Lily turned to him. "What? I still haven't asked you anything!" she said indignantly.
"Of course you did! You said, 'Do you think it will stop raining soon?'" he said, mimicking her.
"I so don't talk like that!" Lily said indignantly.
"Really? Then how 'bout this?" James stood up, put on a stern face and said in a high-pitched voice, "James Potter! What kind of mayhem have you caused this time!?" he paused for a while, as though listening to someone's reply. Lily was stifling her laugh while watching him. "What!? You merely turned all the Slytherin's robes pink? Why are you laughing!? This is not a laughing matter! I'm telling you: one more incident like this and I'm reporting you to Professor Dumbledore!"
By now Lily was laughing hard. "I can't believe it! How come you still remember what I said back then? That must have been… what? When we were still in first year?"
James merely grinned at her and tapped the side of his forehead, clearly gesturing his brain.
Lily laughed. "Fine. You're a genius, I get it." She waved her hand dismissively at him.
"I have another one!" James exclaimed.
"Another imitation of me? What is it?" Lily asked him suspiciously.
Lily watched James in anticipation while he readied himself. A second later, he turned his face on her and Lily had to bit back a laugh at the expression that he had. It strongly reminded her of the expression Holly had when staring at Sirius.
"Oh my god, have you seen James Potter?" he said in a girlish voice. "He is the sweetest, manliest, kindest and best-looking guy out here! I swear, he is simply perfect." James batted his eyelashes at her. Lily laughed loudly at that, but at the same time she couldn't help but notice how long and thick his eyelashes were.
"And can you believe it? He looked at me. Looked at me! For a full second!" James continued, looking as though all of his dreams just came true.
He was about to say more when a scarlet throw pillow with gold trimmings came hurtling at him. He dodged it quite easily and found Lily laughing loudly at him.
"You wish, James Potter!!!"
"Anyone can wish, you know." James winked at her.
"Whatever. But there is no way that I'll be that kind of girl. Get that Potter? No way."
"I just hope you'll eat your words."
"Nothing!" James looked at her innocently.
"Don't give me that look. Since when have you been innocent?" she raised her eyebrow at him, her eyes challenging him to answer.
James kept his mouth shut.
"Fine. Be quiet." Lily made herself more comfortable on her seat. "I'm starting to get sleepy anyways."
Lily was perfectly content to sleep there right now when another bright flash struck the skies. Lily looked at James immediately, fear in her eyes. He understood immediately.
"Wait here." James stood up and crossed over to the windows. He pulled the curtains down to block the view from the outside.
"Why haven't I thought of doing that?" Lily's sleepy voice reached him.
"I don't know. But I sure am glad you didn't." James answered, smiling.
The room became darker, and Lily noticed just then how cold it was.
After letting all the curtains down, James went back to his chair. The flickering light from the flame made the room nearly dark. And cold. James looked at Lily and saw her shiver slightly. He frowned and approached her slightly.
"Can I sit here?" he indicated the space on the sofa beside her.
Lily watched him warily at first before nodding. James gratefully sat down and closed his eyes. He was becoming slightly sleepy. "You're cold, aren't you?" He mumbled.
"Not really." But even as she said that, she shivered slightly. "Actually, yes. Aren't you?"
"No, not really." James turned to face her. "That must be the result of you and Harry playing out on the rain."
"Oh yeah." Lily fell silent. "We're finally finished with our game, huh?"
James looked at her sleepy eyes and nodded. "Looks like you don't have any energy left, anyway."
"Ah. So, this is my fault?" Lily raised her eyebrow.
"I didn't say anything." James answered defensively and laughed when Lily rolled her eyes. "And I'm out of questions myself."
"Really?" Just then Lily had another idea. "Then how about this? We'll think of something that we wish for right now, and we'll take turns in saying it out loud. How 'bout that?" Lily was blinking more frequently now, trying to battle sleep. For some unknown reason, she doesn't want to go to sleep yet.
James smiled. "Sure. You first!"
"Unfair!" Lily protested but gave in when James just grinned at her. "Fine. I wish for…" her eyes looked tboughtful for a moment. "a large, comfortable bed, and a fire going on that fireplace, I guess." she paused. "I really can't think of anything right now. My mind's too fuzzy." Her voice chattered.
James looked at her, beginning to grow concerned. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah. It's just really cold." She closed her eyes for a moment.
She felt, rather than heard James moving, and she felt a something warm enveloping her. She opened her eyes and looked at James eyes, which were only inches from hers. She blinked, surprised at how close he was to her. James hastily drew back, muttering an apology.
Lily clutched his robe which was draped around her and stared at him until he looked at her questioningly.
The next moment, he smirked at her. "Enjoying the view? Just go on ahead. I'm not going anywhere."
When Lily kept her silence, James waved his wand in front of her face. "Lily Evans? You still there?"
Lily blinked. "Sorry. I was just surprised."
"Yeah. Normally, you would've used that chance back there to tease me, as you always do, but you drew back. Again. Why?" Lily looked confused and James smiled.
"I'm just a guy who respects a girl's personal space. But only the literal meaning of that word." James added hastily when Lily looked at him disbelievingly.
"If you say so." Lily shrugged.
"Why? Were you disappointed I did nothing more?" James grinned at her. "Were you waiting for me to do something like this?" He held her face with his hands and jerked it towards him.
"Stop it!" Lily swatted his hands and James fell back at once, laughing.
"Now that's the James Potter that I know." Lily said drily, trying to control her thumping heart and forget how nice James's eyes looked that up-close.
"Yeah. That's the James Potter that you came to love." James answered and blinked his eyes innocently at Lily.
"I'm just going to ignore that." Lily replied and smiled when James looked disappointed.
Silence once again filled them, but it was a comfortable one.
"You know what I wish for?" James said suddenly.
"What?" Lily asked.
"That things between us will stay this way, even after we get out of this room." James said, his voice wistful.
"Again. You wish, Potter." Lily muttered.
When all she got was silence from James, she opened her eyes and looked at him. He was looking up at the ceiling, for once not looking at her.
"James?" Lily called, but he ignored her. Lily immediately realized that she hurt him once again and she silently scolded herself.
"I'm sorry. I was just kidding. I mean, we'll never know, right? Wishes do come true sometimes. We never know. So don't be mad." Lily said.
When James looked at her, she flashed him a brilliant smile. He laughed. "I think I have to force myself just to be mad at you. I'm doomed."
"That depends on me, so of course you'll be fine." Lily said dismissively.
James's robe gave her the warmth she needed and it made her feel sleepier. She clutched it to her more tightly. A thought occurred to her.
"I was always mean to you, always shutting you off." Lily looked down at the robe that smelled faintly of him. "And now, I don't know why you're being so nice to me."
"I'm a nice guy, believe it or not." James grinned at her, trying to lighten the moment, but Lily's brows furrowed.
"Maybe you're right." she sighed. "I've only realized that…" her voice trailed off and she looked at him. "That I've never given you the chance to show me who you really are." Lily turned to the ceilings.
James grew quiet. He stared at Lily and shook his head. "Nah, it's not your fault. I was too pigheaded, anyway. Still am. So don't worry about it. You can just blame me."
"Of course I'll blame you. It's not like I have the heart to blame myself, anyway." Lily laughed. "Only a few hours with you and you're already rubbing off on me. I'd better be careful."
"Yeah, you should do that. The school could handle only one James Potter at a time."
"You're absolutely right! It's a good thing Harry's totally not like you. I can't imagine what would happen if he was. Just imagine! The horror!" Lily feigned a look of fear.
"I'm not that bad, am I?" James complained.
"'Course not. You're a lot worse, believe me." Lily said seriously.
"You wound me." James clutched at his heart.
"Yeah right." Lily laughed and closed her eyes. She really can't keep them open anymore.
James smiled to himself and snuck a peek at Lily. He stared at her for a while, wanting to make sure that she's really asleep. A few minutes later, her breathing evened. He took it as a sign of her sleeping.
He stood up, stretching, and took the few steps that separated him from her. He studied her face for quite a while, still not quite believing what was happening. That all of this was happening.
And who said that miracles don't exist?
He slowly adjusted her body into a more comfortable position. As he tucked his robe around her, Lily held him by his wrist and opened her eyes slightly.
"James?" she said, her voice hoarse.
"You can go to sleep now. You've had a long day." He told her gently.
"I know." Lily replied, her voice weak. "Remember what I said earlier? About me not giving you the chance to show me who you really are?"
"'Course I do. Why?" James replied, curious.
"I just wish that… I've given you that chance." Lily whispered.
James stilled. He stared unseeingly at the face before him for a moment as she let go of his hand, and then closed her eyes, clearly resuming her sleep before her meaning finally sunk in.
He grinned, his hazel eyes sparkling. He would have let out a whoop of joy, if only he was not afraid of waking Lily up. Instead, he contented himself with looking at Lily.
After a while his eyes became heavy. He sat down on the sofa, putting some distance between them and continued to look at her, guarding her.
He couldn't believe his luck. Here was Lily Evans, alone in a room with him, wearing his robe and sleeping peacefully. A war had not erupted, he was not thrown out in the window, and she just said that she wanted to know him.
Everything certainly looked brighter right now.
He blinked rapidly, trying to fight off his need to sleep. He doesn't want to waste a few hours with Lily by sleeping, even though she herself was fast asleep. But when he was certain that he could no longer keep his eyes open, he admitted defeat. He leaned closer to her and murmured, "Good night, Lily."
"'Night James." James nearly missed her soft reply. He smiled, and finally gave in to sleep.