Disclaimer: The characters are the property of the amazingly talented J.K Rowling. I'm only borrowing the characters and world that she has so brilliantly created.
Beta by: ilovethedotgame
Chapter One: Fifth Year
Author's Note: This ficlet will be three chapters long, spanning fifth through seventh year. Happy reading!
For as long as he could remember, James Potter had had a slight preoccupation with Lily Evans. Or at least this was how he liked to phrase it. In truth, it was an unhealthy obsession that was now entering its seventh year. James had fancied Lily for six years; six long years of Lily disliking him and refusing to go out with him.
In his younger years, James had possessed a considerable ego and failed to understand that this defect in his personality was largely responsible for Lily's rejection of his offers. Both James and his best friend Sirius Black were considered the most popular boys in school, and the status gave them unnecessary confidence when it came to members of the opposite sex.
Despite this boost of confidence, James was actually as clueless about the world and minds of females as the next poor bloke. He was simply better at bluffing his way through than most other boys. Another of James' friends, a small boy by the name of Peter Pettigrew, was just as clueless about girls, if not more so, than James or Sirius.
So it often fell to James' remaining friend, Remus Lupin, to explain the complexities of the female mind to the others who resided in the Gryffindor boys dormitory. And so, naturally, whenever James had questions about Lily and her seemingly odd behavior, he asked Remus. On the same token, whenever Lily had questions about James' antics and attention towards her, she asked the only person who could explain James' behavior in a logical manner. "Ask Remus" became a very common phrase in Gryffindor Tower.
L … J
"Hey! Evans!" James called out in the crowded corridor on his way to Transfiguration, pushing forward through the mass of people in order to get closer to Lily.
A few paces in front of him Lily Evans turned, fixing him with a stern, questioning glare. "Yes?"
James coughed nervously a few times and rubbed the toe of his shoe against the raised stones on the floor. "I…um…"
"Potter?" Lily prompted, tapping her foot impatiently.
James nervously ran a hand through his hair, ruffling it and making it appear windblown, missing the annoyed look that crossed Lily's face at the action. "I was just…" He took a deep breath and pulled himself up to his full height. "Go out with me, Evans?"
Lily looked startled at James' offer. She seemed to debate the question for a moment, hugging her books to her chest protectively. "I'm sorry, Potter, but I…I fancy someone else. Sorry."
She turned around and continued on her way to class leaving James standing in the corridor, people pushing their way past him. Snapping out of his daze, he slowly made his way to Transfiguration, stepping through the door just as class began.
"Take a seat, Mr. Potter," McGonagall ordered him off handedly, used to telling him to get to his proper seat on time. James slowly dragged himself to his desk and slid into his usual place beside Sirius.
"Oy, who died?" Sirius asked as James sat in his seat, not speaking or moving.
"She said no," James replied dully, staring at his desk as though the answers would suddenly appear engrained in the wood in front of his face.
"I told you she'd say no," Sirius shook his head in an apologetic manner. "I mean, she follows the rules, mate. Someone like that wouldn't be any good for you."
"What does that have to do with anything?" James asked incredulously.
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Image the scene if you will: You and Lily are somewhere in the castle on a date. You take out the marauder's map to make sure Filch isn't going to catch you, and before you can blink she's frog marching you McGonagall's office to turn you in as a deviant troublemaker."
James scowled at Sirius and crossed his arms over his chest. "She wouldn't do that if she'd agreed to date me."
"It's quite funny now that I think on it," Sirius commented lightly, ignoring James' statement.
"Please enlighten me," James bit out crossly, not sharing Sirius's feelings on the matter.
"Kindly pay attention, gentleman," McGonagall admonished them, pausing her explanation of the summoning charm.
"Sorry, Professor," James replied, pulling out parchment and a quill of his own to take notes with.
Sirius opened his book and took out a quill and began writing notes in the margins. After a few moments of silence, he leaned towards James.
"It's funny because no one's ever said 'no' to you."
James blew out a breath of air causing his fringe to flutter and settle back on his forehead in a disarranged mess. "Well, someone just did. She said she fancied somebody else."
"Mr. Potter, Mr. Black, please refrain from talking during my class," Professor McGonagall stood in front of their desk, staring down at them sternly.
"Sorry, Professor," James mumbled again and returned to his note taking.
As McGonagall returned to the front of the classroom to continue the lecture, James poked Sirius with his quill.
"Ow!" Sirius rubbed his arm where James had prodded him. "What was that for?"
"Why doesn't she fancy me?" James asked, curiosity evident even through the whisper.
James rolled his eyes. "Evans. Why does she fancy some other bloke? Why doesn't she fancy me?"
"Detention!" McGonagall shrilled from her place at the front of the classroom. "See me after class, you two."
James groaned and slunk down even further in his seat. Shooting Sirius a glare for no particular reason other than he could, James pulled his notes back towards himself.
A small, folded piece of parchment landed on James' pile of notes and he picked it up, opening it on his lap. In Sirius's messy scrawl was written two words: Ask Remus.
L … J
"Hey, Remus," James asked, tossing a large box of Honeydukes finest chocolate onto Remus's bed.
Remus looked up from his book and observed the large golden box. "What do you want?"
"Who says that I want anything?" James lied. "Can't a bloke bring his friend some chocolate?"
Remus rolled his eyes. "Anytime you want something you bribe me with Honeydukes chocolate, now what is it that you want?"
"Well, you see…" James began, but Remus cut him off.
"I'm beginning to get worried. The last time you started a sentence like that, the whole of Gryffindor ended up with tentacles and we ended up with a weeks worth of detention."
"It's nothing like that," James reassured Remus with a wave of his hand.
"Then what is it?" Remus prompted, setting aside his book.
James sighed and sat down on the end of Remus' bed. "There's this girl, and I really like her, but she won't go out with me."
"Does this girl have a name?"
"Lily," James responded with a dreamy look on his face.
Remus's eyebrows shot into his hairline, and his mouth formed an o shape.
"What?" James demanded. "What's wrong with her?"
"Nothing's wrong with her," Remus said slowly. "It's more…you."
"Me?" James cried, looking down at himself. "What's wrong with me?"
"Honestly," Remus dropped his head into his hands. "It's like this, James. Lily's the studious, rule abiding type. She doesn't like surprises or things out of the ordinary. You are none of these things. You and Lily are complete opposites."
"So?" James made a face. "Opposites attract, right?" he added hopefully.
Remus sighed. "Not always. I think this is something you're going to have to let go of, James. It won't work out."
"It will work," James said emphatically, rising from the bed and walking to the door. "Just you watch, Remus. I'll go out with her if it's the last thing I do."
L … J
"What is it with him?" Lily cried in exasperation as she and her best friend Alice made their way down the hallway to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. "This is the third time this week that he's asked me out!"
"Just ignore him, Lily," her friend Alice replied, patting her on the back in a consoling manner. "He'll get the hint eventually."
"You said that two months ago, Alice!"
Alice shrugged helplessly. "Er…"
"He's not giving up, Alice! Why isn't he giving up?" Lily demanded, adjusting the strap of her schoolbag.
"I don't know, Lily. Ask somebody who knows him. Ask Remus."
L … J
Lily entered the library and scanned the students sitting at the tables, looking for Remus. She spotted him in the farthest corner, absorbed in a large book.
Approaching his table, she greeted him, and he looked up from his book. "Hi, Lily. Can I help you with something?"
"Actually, yes," Lily said as she pulled out a chair and took a seat across from Remus. "I have a question for you."
"Sure," Remus picked up a spare bit of parchment and inserted it into the book, marking his page. Folding his hand in front of him, he gave Lily his full attention.
"It's…it's about Potter."
"Ah, James," Remus nodded. "What do you need to know?"
"Why won't he leave me alone?"
"Well that's certainly blunt," Remus chuckled as Lily blushed. "Honestly, Lily, I'm not quite sure. He came to me about it awhile ago, and when I told him it wouldn't work out between you two, he seemed determined to make it work."
"So he sees me as a challenge?" Lily asked incredulously, her emerald eyes narrowing.
"Don't quote me on that," Remus said hurriedly, holding up his hands. "It's just my suspicions. I don't always understand what goes on James' mind."
"Do you think if I just keep ignoring him he'll leave me alone?" Lily asked hopefully.
Remus paused for a moment. "Truthfully?" Lily nodded. "No. James likes difficult and challenging things, and you are difficult and challenging. If there's not a fight involved to get something, James doesn't want it. I think…"
"You think I'm in trouble," Lily responded dryly, rubbing her eyes wearily.
"Being James' friend I wouldn't necessarily say 'trouble', but I'd say your patience is going to be severely tested for quite a long time."
L … J
"Padfoot?" James asked as he, Sirius, and Peter made their way up from the lake and towards the castle. "Back there, when you said that Lily thinks I'm conceited, what exactly did you mean by that?"
"She thinks you're conceited. What's there to explain?" Sirius replied, throwing an arm around James' and Peter's shoulders. "What do you say we go to the kitchens before the practical exam, eh?"
James shrugged off Sirius's arm. "How am I conceited? Tell me. Both of you."
"You're not conceited, Prongs," Peter supplied in attempt to make James feel better.
"Don't be thick, Wormtail," Sirius said in an annoyed tone. "Of course he is. We all are. Except maybe Moony," he added as an afterthought.
"What do I do that's conceited?" James questioned anxiously. "I need to know. If my conceitedness is what's keeping Lily from fancying me, I need to fix it."
Sirius and Peter began to laugh. James frowned. "What's so funny?"
"You," Peter managed to say through peels of laughter.
"Some help you lot are," James scowled at the two boys. "I'll go find Remus and ask him. He'll help me."
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