Disclaimer: I own nothing. Boo hoo.
The quiet things that no one ever knows
James Potter admits he wasn't born an artist. Born a skilled sportsman with the proficiency of an entire English Quidditch team is something he can divulge –with much conceited ruffling to the hair, surrounded by many of the female species— but anything that is produced from the ink of his quill, in his mind, is just pitiable. His handwriting lacks elegance, and even when he takes an inordinate amount of time to inscribe slowly, it still looks a mess. A big fat mess of squashed, illegible letters.
His drawings are much worse, if you could even call them that. Doodles are what he prefers to call them, and even when he does those, they lack imagination. At times when he's daydreaming in class, his doodles normally consume of something Quidditch related; a Quidditch broom or a golden snitch, or if he's exceptionally bored to death, a stickman drawing of Severus Snape being promptly squashed by a piano.
Lately, his doodles have had one particular theme.
"Alright Evans, what have you done to me?"
Trying extremely hard not to seize a chair and fling it in the direction of the voice in rage, Lily Evans merely put down her quill on top of her Potions essay laying on her lap, crossed her arms, and shot James Potter an indifferent look. A book on Anger Management Lily had recently borrowed off Alice was the reason of her unnaturally calm response.
James snorted at her, arms folded and chest strappingly puffed out.
Lily flung her quill at his head.
James flinched as the remarkably sharp end of the stationary hit him in the forehead, landing him with a face of spattered ink. Lily watched the quill bounce to the floor. She managed to seize the quill with her foot, debating whether to have a second throw, as though James' head was a dartboard (she'd contemplated setting one up on the back of her bedroom door, but there were complications like her parents not allowing her, not trusting herself with darts when her dear sister Petunia was in the house, and regrettably involving asking James Potter for a photograph –to throw darts at, and nothing else— and she didn't particularly want to go through with that awkward conversation).
"Thank you," James responded dryly. He licked the tip of his sleeve of his robe and started rubbing his ink stained cheeks, and next his ink-splashed glasses. "Thank you very bloody much."
"What do you want?" Lily demanded. At such a vicious tone, James had regretted picking such an inappropriate time to chat when she was clearly in a mood – though it seemed like she always in a mood in his company.
He stared down at the redhead sitting in the common room, still rubbing an ink spot on his chin. "I know you've done something to me, Evans," he pointed a finger at her.
Lily couldn't stop a scowl forming on her features. "I beg your pardon?"
"Will you stop stressing words like that?" he complained. "It's very distracting."
"Oh you'd like that wouldn't you, Potter! Merlin, you are so annoying—"
"I point it out to her, yet she still accentuates words," James muttered outrageously to himself. He studied Lily out of the corner of his eye as she continued her raging speech with emphasizing on particular phrases, along with wild animated hand gestures. "She still accentuates…"
"Potter, what is in that plastic bag?"
Suddenly realizing Lily had stopped her furious sermon; James took in her words, remembering the Muggle plastic bag he was holding in his hand. With a scoff, he said, "You know what it is."
"Obviously not if I just asked you what was the contents of the bag," Lily replied dryly. A devious smile suddenly tugged at her lips. "Maybe, what are inside, are the remains of your tiny brain." She faked a face of mock realization. "Oh, wait, you don't—"
"—have a brain," James finished. "Really Evans, that was a rather poor and predictable wisecrack for your usually sharp tongue."
Lily looked quite flustered. "Well, er," she stammered. Quickly regaining her composure, she demanded again, "Just what do you want?"
"I want you to own up to doing something to me."
"I'm sorry, your face looking like that is your parents fault, not my own."
James huffed, but it wasn't as if her remark had insulted him. He and everyone in the castle knew he was fetching, and Lily knew it, too. "You've done something to me," he repeated in a fierce tone. "You've made me ill."
At that revelation, Lily raised her brow. "You're ill?" she enquired, hiding her worry.
"Yes." James pouted, rubbing his stomach rather vividly in front of Lily. "My stomach is doing backflip thingys."
Lily laughed at him. "You've got a tummy bug? Oh good grief Potter, there are people dangerously ill in third world countries, not saying a word, and you're complaining about a tummy bug."
"Stop calling it a 'tummy bug'. It makes me sound spineless. Call it," James pondered at the word 'leprosy' but knew that would be taking it a little too far, settling for, "stomach anguish."
"What has your stomach have to do with me?"
James continued pointing a finger at her, which made him feel especially rebellious at the moment, particularly after his mother had tried teaching him that pointing was bad-mannered for the last fifteen years. With sudden gusto, he accused, "You've poisoned me!"
Out of all the declarations, Lily had not expected such a ridiculous one. "What?"
"You've poisoned me! I bet you got Remus to help you, didn't you? I know you're rather friendly with him and I caught him talking to you in the library once and I didn't speak to him for a month—but let's not discuss that right now," James spotted Remus sitting on the other side of the common room and pointed his finger at him instead, "Traitor Moony!"
Vacantly, Remus looked up from reading his book. "Prongs, what are you on about—"
Rolling his eyes and classifying his friend as clearly mental, Remus gave James the thumbs up, before returning to his book.
"Potter, I haven't got the foggiest idea what you're on about," Lily clarified. Sure, she made threats of poisoning him, but she would never go as far to carry it out.
James threw up his hands, clearly frustrated with the conversation. "Every time you come into a room, my stomach does weird back flip thingys! If that isn't a clear sign of poisoning, I don't know what is."
Now suddenly interested, Remus looked up once more from his book, picking up on the conversation. Half-laughing, he began his own explanation of what James' feeling of butterflies in the stomach could actually mean. "James, I think the cause of the stomach anguish is l—"
Remus exhaled noisily and pretended to read, listening carefully to the rest of James and Lily's exchange.
"I even went to Madam Pomfrey," James continued tiredly, "and she said there was nothing wrong with me."
"Maybe its indigestion, Potter," Lily suggested, with an air of mockery. "Eating too much, perhaps?"
As much as James wished it had something to do with food, the theory was extremely unlikely. "It can't be because there are other effects to your poison too, like the fact that I can't stop looking at you," he complained, in what could be recognized as hysteria. At the particular moment, he realized he was staring rather intently at her, and Lily's eyes widened in alarm. "Bloody hell, I can't even stop looking at you now!" He pulled at his hair. "Just watch my head. If I move it away, it automatically magnets back on to you!" He turned away, and, like he said, his head flung back into position so she was back in his sight. "See!" he told her.
Lily tried to find her voice. "That is rather… odd," she agreed faintly.
"It's not even the kind of looking-searching, you know? Like, in class, I know you're sitting on the second row next to Alice, yet I still look at the back of your head to make sure!"
"Why?" Lily questioned with a frown.
James pulled at his hair again. "I don't know!" Predictably, he pointed at her again - something Lily was rather getting sick of. "It's your poison Evans; I can't get you off my brain." Lily looked rather uncomfortable at this statement, her bottom lip quivering. "I should be thinking simple, expected things, like Quidditch and doughnuts, yet I can't stop undressing you with my eyes and wanting to get to know your family." Looking purely terrified, he tipped the plastic bag upside down and mountains of parchment emptied onto Lily's lap.
"What is this rubbish?" she questioned, leafing briefly through the parchment.
"Notes," James explained quickly. "You know, doodles, from all my classes this week."
Lily couldn't help but sigh, "How are you at the top of all classes?" She both wondered what the point was of showing her his plastic bag of 'artwork' and how James managed to appear incredibly smart, yet hold a small attention span.
His voice came across as exasperated when he spoke next, "Just look at the notes, Evans."
Sighing, Lily picked up the nearest piece of parchment on top of the pile and examined it with narrowed eyes. Her aloof expression quickly altered into one of surprise, discovering the rather careful ink drawing of a golden snitch with the initials "L.E" inside it. She felt stupid asking what the initials stood for when they clearly meant her. Not wanting to appear flattered, she masked her face of (rather pleased) astonishment.
"Well done, you can write the initials of my name correctly." Lily attempted a smirk but it didn't hold the usual stuck up attitude.
"Look at all of them, Evans," James said, and she eyed him peculiarly. "They all involve you."
"What on earth do you mean—" she stopped, picking up another piece of parchment, discovering a rather unattractive drawing of herself. Staring at James and his rather poor attempt of a portrait, she came to the conclusion that drawing was not his forte. If it wasn't for the charmed red hair of the stick person –though it looked a rather disgusting pink in her eyes—she could just about distinguish that she was the individual being drawn, due to fact that it was titled 'Lily' in indecipherable scrawl. Her stick person portrait showed she had legs the thickness of toothpicks that spread apart rather manly, while her arms were permanently outspread in a hugging position; not to overlook the fact that one of her eyes looked rather bigger than the other, and her mouth hovered somewhere near her left cheek.
She looked at James for an explanation, but he said nothing, studying his feet with red cheeks. Rifling further in the notes, she discovered more doodles; her face drawn at different angles, the back of her head, her chin, her green eyes, the curls of her eyelashes...
Lily was too stunned for words.
"Potter," was the only word she could form from her mouth in a murmur.
"Just tell me you've poisoned me." Desperation was behind James' voice. "Please."
Whatever Lily looked like she was going to say previously had vanished from her mind. With a bottomless stare, she replied, "Yes….yes, I did," before examining her skirt for creases.
James looked genuinely thankful for such news. "Thank Merlin," he rejoiced with a sigh of relief. "So, how long does it last?"
"I… I don't know," Lily admitted with a lame shrug of the shoulders.
"Well, hopefully it'll be soon because I can't concentrate," James said, rather naively. Seeing this as the end of the conversation, he said, "I better go, gonna get my five galleons off Sirius."
"Five galleons for what?" Lily asked.
"Oh, Sirius made a bet that I'd fallen in l—" he paused, looking rather sheepish. "But it's alright now, because, you know, I've been poisoned… right?"
"Of course," Lily told him, with no hesitation.
"Yeah," James cursed himself for staring at her, but merely blamed it on the venom. "Well, bye then, Evans." He stood awkwardly in front of her for a moment, tongue-tied, before darting through the portrait hole.
"Bye, Potter." Lily bid him farewell, staring after him thoughtfully.
"Why didn't you tell him, Lily?"
She'd forgotten the common room wasn't empty. Turning to the soft voice of the individual, she found the question had been by Remus, his book put aside.
"Tell him what, Remus?"
He chuckled at her, but Lily didn't join in, merely raising an eyebrow dangerously at him to be careful what he said. "Tell him that you didn't poison him, and what he is experiencing is love for you."
Her eyes enlarged at the mention of love, and she noticeably swallowed. "It's not love, Remus. It's a crush, that's all." Remus held a dubious stare. "We're fifteen, Remus!"
"Don't you believe in the idea of falling in love at any age?"
Lily merely laughed in response.
"How cynical," Remus commented. Lily hadn't like that remark. He smiled, appearing on some sort of inside joke she wasn't aware of, and could probably never grasp.
"Love is more than butterflies in the stomach and doodles on parchment, Remus," she told him, rather harsher than necessary. Embarrassed, she turned on her heel and climbed the staircase to her dormitory.
Once alone in her dorm, she made sure it was empty before parking herself on the side of her bed, watching loose strands of red hair come out from behind her ears as her head tipped, as though she found it difficult to hold up. Silently, she reached out for the drawer and pulled the drawer open, and with a sigh, let her hands wander over the collection of parchment.
Small doodles marked the particular parchment; his face drawn at different angles, the back of his head, his chin, his hazel eyes, the curls of his eyelashes—
She slammed the drawer shut.
Every night before bed, she told herself she'd burn the parchment the second she woke in the morning. Yet, there they still were, collecting dust in her drawer and filling up with new pieces.
Two years later, James was still 'poisoned'. The 'back flippy things' had not disappeared, his one bag of doodles had grown to at least three, and he still watched her, as though she were some spark of nature that needed to be studied before it vanished off the face the earth without a trace.
Coincidentally, they had both chosen the same night, the same hour, the same minute, and even the same second to exit their dormitories, enter the common and stand before the fireplace, intending to burn the pieces of parchment and start a new, refreshing life that didn't engage past fixations.
Except their desires to start new lives involved being with one another. And with both starry-eyed looks that could equally match the theory of falling in love at any age, they had shared their first kiss that would be the start of many more to come in front of the warmth of the fire.
Only the good die young.
That had been thought that had crossed Harry Potter's mind many times in his life, especially when he thought of his parents.
After his seventeenth birthday, starting his mission to find the remaining Horcruxes, he'd come to the conclusion that he was leaving Privet Drive and the Dursleys with them happily kicking him out the door, and Harry as equally not feeling any sense of kindness towards them in return – however, Aunt Petunia had surprised him. Though her expression had been indifferent, her gesture had been kind, and Harry was grateful, receiving the mysterious cardboard box from her hands and waving her farewell with an appreciative smile.
Sitting on the side of the road, he tore off the spellotape fastening the cardboard flaps and opened up the box. At first, he was confused by the mountains of parchment –rubbish, at first glance—until he delved in deeper, looking at the parchment more closely. A smile formed on his lips when he looked at the doodles by his mother and father - of one another. Someone could have described them as pointless; they meant something considerably to Harry.
All of a sudden, a laugh escaped Harry's mouth.
How ironic it was that he had made the same doodles of Ginny, and –unbeknownst to Harry—she had scribbled aimlessly of him.