I own nothing from the Harry Potter Universe
Lily Evans sat in her rather uncomfortable desk in Flitwick's Charms classroom; she had finished her in-class essay in record time and she was attempting to count the tiles on the ceiling. She was having difficulty with her task because her best friend, Marlene McKinnon, was throwing balled up pieces of paper at her. No doubt she wanted to copy of Lily's more-than-likely perfect essay. Lily was counting the seconds until they were dismissed.
7 minutes left… Lily glanced around the classroom (studiously avoiding her best friend's puppy-dog eyes ). Everyone was in a similar state of panic, except her and, of course, the infamous Marauders.
If you haven't already heard of their stunning good looks, magnanimous personalities, and beyond impressive Gringott's accounts, you must be living in a bubble. Girls wanted them, guys wanted to be them, blah blah bliddy blah blah, you know the tune. Lily had to hold back a snort as her thoughts turned to the god-like Marauders.
God-like my ass… Lily thought, There nothing but… but… arrogant… berks, yeah, arrogant berks.
Although Lily was suffering from a rather acute case of denial, her assumption had some merit. Potter, Black, Lupin and Pettigrew, it seemed, had everything handed to them. They were all disgustingly wealthy and mouth-wateringly delish. Potter was one of the most talented chasers on the Gryffindor quidditch team; Black had the highest average of their year without having to lift a finger (he beat Lily by a third of a percent, A FREAKIN' THIRD OF A PERCENT! Lily had yet to forgive him. Not that it really mattered, they were on completely different social rungs, he probably didn't even know her name, but still, a third of a percent…). Pettigrew, although not necessarily the sharpest crayon in the box, had an innocent teddy bear allure that hid a very mischievous and clever pranking mind.
Lily sighed, thinking some people had such an easy life. She shouldn't really complain. Although her father had passed away when she was young, she had a wonderful mother. She even got along with her sister on some occasions. Although Petunia was rather petty around her friends (not to mention her beluga-whale of a boyfriend) she tolerated Lily's… abnormalities by saying she attended a private school for geniuses instead of the magically inclined. Lily also had Marlene. Although Marlene was as much a social leper as Lily, she had a sharp sense of humour that rivaled Lily's own sarcastic wit. Besides Marlene, Lily had her intelligence, her drawing, her mad love of The Eagles and Steeleye Span, not to mention a singing voice that could rival pretty much anyone (not that any person besides her Mom and Mar knew of her talents, she was painfully shy.)
"Alright class, pass your essays up front. Remember your name this time, Pettigrew."
The Marauders snickered and punched Peter's shoulder good-naturedly. His forgetfulness was a long-standing joke among them. As they stood up to leave, you could practically hear peoples' eyes following them. Because they set the standard for 'cool' around Hogwarts, most of the population followed their daily schedule. It was actually creepy, if you took the time to think about it. Most people didn't, except for a certain redhead, who eyed the adoring mob with something akin to disdain. Lily sighed, stood up, and prepared herself for Mar's upcoming tirade about how the able folks should help their friends in dire situations.
" Lils! You know, one of these days you are going to need help with Care of Magical Creatures and I won't want to be of assistance to you!" Marlene had a way with animals; Lily always thought that if she spent half as much time in the library as in the Forbidden Forest, she would even outscore Black.
"I know, and when that day comes, I will forgive you for letting me be eaten by a manticore or whatever. Anyway, I'm sure you did great."
This rather trite comment earned her a glare that soon faltered, leaving the girls in a laughing fit. They could never stay mad at each other. They meandered to the Great Hall, in eager anticipation for a delectable lunch. As they neared the hall, they heard a large crowd laughing, and this could only mean one thing—the Marauders were fooling around. Sure enough, James and Sirius were having a pseudo-duel. Before Lily could think of a witty remark about their lack of maturity, a tall, messy-haired, muscular boy careened into her. She yelped as they crumpled to the floor. She blinked as she stared into the most gorgeous eyes she had ever seen, James Potter's eyes.
"Oh shit, I'm sorry, here, let me help you up." James said, getting up and holding out his hand.
"No, I'm fine. Really." Lily got up, wiped herself of, and glared at him. "You know, you should really watch where you're going, contrary to popular belief, you don't own these halls." As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she regretted them The surrounding students were all floored, no one, especially not some little nobody, talked to James Potter that way, unless they were sinister Slytherins, but those arguments always ended with the Slytherins being sent to the Hospital wing with odd bodily protrusions.
Lily's face went bright red as she grabbed Marlene's hand and raced to the Great hall.
" Omgosh, omgosh, omgosh! Tell me that didn't just happen! Tell me you, Lily Evans, did not just tell James freakin' Potter off! Wait, stop running, I have to preserve that in my memory! That was the best thing I have ever seen!" Marlene stared at her in admiration.
"Ughhh, Marlene! Why do these things always happen to me? Dammit, I'll probably wake up tomorrow with green hair, or purple skin, or something equally disgruntling."
"Honestly, Lils, he probably doesn't even care, I bet he already went off with some trampy fifth year for some quality broom closet bonding time."
Lily contemplated Marlene's point. It was true; people like James Potter didn't waste valuable snogging and pranking time plotting because of people like Lily Evans. By the time that the food was served, Lily had rapidly rationalized away her worries. In fact, she had almost forgotten the incident when someone plunked down next to her. A very male someone. An incredibly nice smelling someone. A someone who happened to have three delinquent friends who sat beside him. A James Potter.
She stared at him in surprise, and she wasn't the only one. The populars at the other end of the table were gaping, their perfectly lip-sticked mouths forming Os. The Marauders ignored them. They loaded their plates and continued their discussion about the last quidditch final. Lily's mind was racing, should she say something? Do something? Leave? She settled on gulping down her food and motioning to Marlene to make a quick exit. Marlene got the hint and started shoveling in her food; she was no more comfortable around these annoyingly handsome boys than Lily was. When they were half way done, the blond-haired, brown-eyed heartthrob Remus Lupin spoke up.
"You know, Lily, the food's not going anywhere." The boys snickered. For heavens sake, it was like they were on a timer or something. Lily swallowed, and thinking quickly, rejoined:
"Yeah, but I am, I don't want to lose any more brain cells listening to your drivel."
Marlene chuckled into her salad.
Stupid! Lily thought. Why did she antagonize them further?
"Why, Miss Evans, such anger," Sirius Black said, "Whatever did fine fellows like us do to deserve such animosity?"
Lily, rapidly resembling a tomato, was surprised that Black even knew her name. Without thinking, she started ranting.
"Oh please, you all think you're so great, but I think you're all just bullying cowards!"
Marlene dropped her spoon in surprise while all the Marauders' eyebrows shot up.
"Picking on people, screwing around in class! And… and… and you have no respect for the rules! It's people like you four that ruin things for others!" With that rather feeble rejoinder, Lily stood up and prepared to flounce away in a huff. She would have succeeded, had she not tripped over her bag. Recovering herself, she sighed, gathering her dignity, and sauntered of to the nearest girls' washroom, with Marlene scurrying after her.
Dammit… What had she been thinking?
James Potter remained in his seat as the intriguing redhead flounced off, her blushing friend trailing behind her. He was quite captivated. In later years, he would ardently profess that it was as Lily was storming away that she captured his heart and ensnared his senses, but in all actuality his infatuation with her turbulent personality and unique character festered over time, growing with each look of scorn, each stare of disdain he would receive from her all through their Hogwarts years.
Lily loped to the girls' loo; effectively pretending she had not just committed a monstrous social faux pas. As she passed the end of the Gryffindor table, she noticed Emmeline Vance's (the pinnacle of the lipstick toting populars) look of shock. She knew this stare was mirrored on all those who had witnessed Lily's spirited, though enormously imprudent bout of antagonism. There was no doubt, Lily knew, that her —incident— would spread throughout the castle faster than a niffler through Gringotts'. The student population devoured Marauder-esque tidbits, ranging from their detention schedule to their favourite colour of socks. This event was sure to keep the scandal aficionados in high spirits for ages.
The girls finally made it to the washroom and stared at each other. Lily blinked. Mar's lip twitched. Next the two girls laughed harder than they could ever remember laughing before. Lily's embarrassment was released in mad screeches of mirth. She and Marlene finally quieted down, only to start up again, louder and more deranged than before. At length the girls realized they needed to be in History of Magic and left the loo without even having said a word to each other. They had always been on the same wavelength. Marlene didn't have to comfort her friend because Lily knew that the two teenagers were like a melted cauldron and the dungeon floor: stuck together no matter how hard you frantically tried to wrench them apart (preferably before Slughorn noticed).
Lily and Marlene took their usual seats in the middle of the classroom. They liked to think of this area as no man's land—far enough in front of the Marauders to ignore the sighs of longing escaping from the glossy mouths of their groupies and far enough behind the attention seeking prats frantically waving their hands in the air, fervently hoping (without success) that Professor Binns' would call on them to answer a question.
The girls were still releasing spontaneous giggles when people began meandering into the classroom, fully prepared to catch up on any slumber neglected the night before. Lily opened her notebook and copied down the date and subject in a vain attempt to pay attention. This ineffective preparation would prove hopeless because of the events about to ensue. Upon hearing a puzzled murmur go through the class, Lily glanced up, only to find, yet again, the same pair of stunning brown eyes next to her, just like in the Great Hall this morning. Although Potter said nothing, Lily did catch a conspiratorial wink shared between the gorgeous boy next to her and his equally attractive friend, Remus Lupin. Again, Lily was caught in a very complicated social conundrum. If she were to move, she would be snubbing this generation's Sun King twice in one day. If she stayed seated, who knows what disgusting bit of goo he would slip into her bag or hair in retribution for her impertinence. She decided the best course of action would be that of inaction. She adamantly stared at the blackboard.
Perhaps her decision to disregard him would have proved more effective if he hadn't been so calm. He stared at her until class started, and even after Binns started roll call. Dammit, if he was going to exact his 'revenge', why not just do it? Why this incessant gawking, like she had just grown a beard similar to Dumbledore's and announced she was Ulga the Unattractive, risen from the dead?! As the seconds ticked by, Lily grew more agitated. Just as she felt she would crack and start stabbing him with her quill, he leaned in close and whispered,
"Honestly, can you believe this guy can still teach? It should be illegal to make Hornigold's upheaval this boring."
Lily gawked at him. How dare he sit there and attempt conversation with her when not only was she as jumpy as a first year around Hagrid, but she could also feel the glares resonating from his creepy stalker/followers? She turned back to the front, just in time to catch his devilish grin. This berk knew exactly what he was doing to her!
Lily was certain that time had actually slowed to a halt and she would be trapped in this hell for the rest of her life. Lily was so busy attempting to ignore Potter's pathetic (and if she was honest with herself, annoyingly charming) efforts at conversation and exchanging irritated looks with Mar, she barely noticed the end of class. When she did begin to become aware of the students now emerging from their comatose and the interconnected lack of Binns' nasal voice and, she shot up, not even waiting for Mar, and sprinted to the library.
James had been revelling in Lily's discomfort. Granted, he was used to making girls blush, but this was different. He saw her get up and knew he had to follow her. James threw a salute to his friends, not missing their wiggling eyebrows and innuendos. He jogged after Lily, chuckling to himself. Did she honestly think her short (and admitingly well-formed) legs could outrun his long and quidditch muscled ones? As soon as he was sure she was heading to the library, he veered off and took a short cut. James leaned up against the doors and waited for the cute redhead who would come careening around the corner any second. He was not disappointed. She soon appeared, quite deliciously disheveled, panting to the door. As soon as Lily spotted him, she let out a squawk and skidded to a halt, catching her breath.
"Hey Lily," he said, his most appealing smile gracing his features, "You left Binns' class quickly, got a lot of work to do? Not avoiding me, I hope…"
Lily looked at him, what the hell was he trying to pull? She had underestimated him. This bizarre facsimile of a camaraderie was much more disconcerting than any prank he could have pulled.
"Of course not," she answered, "Why would I be avoiding you? I don't even know you." Hoping to get the last word, she pranced into the library. Naturally, he would not be deterred. Following her to a table, he sat down next to her.
Having rushed to the Library straight from class, she had no work supplies with her. He would surely know that she had no History of Magic homework… She decided to look for something interesting to read, in hopes that he would lose interest and wander off.
As Lily entered the stacks, she was immediately aware that she had made a mistake. There was barely enough room for one person between the shelves. Two people crammed in there were making things rather uncomfortably… intimate. She grabbed the first book she saw and prepared to push her way past him. As their eyes connected, he leaned in closer. Using the reasonable excuse of the Nazi-librarian, he whispered into her ear, "You know, we have never been properly introduced, I'm James Potter."
She almost snorted at the ridiculous situation. As if she didn't know who he was, for heaven's sake, people in Papua New-Guinea probably knew who James Potter was! Well, she wasn't going to feed his already obese ego, there was no way she was going to introduce herself.
"Alright," he said, "I'll help you. You're Lily Evans. You're a spunky little redhead. You adore Potions and you're a Charms phenomenon. You like to draw but loathe showing others your work. You like to eat mashed potatoes and peas together and you never wear matching socks… Have I missed anything?"
Lily was in shock, besides Marlene, no one knew all those things about her. She glanced down at her feet (which were incidentally clad in one purple sock and one white one). As she glanced back up at him, his look of arrogant charm was replaced with something else, something almost… gentle.
"You know, Lily Evans," James whispered in her ear, causing her to shiver, "some people notice you more than you think…" With that enigmatic murmur, he turned away and left the library; oblivious to both the looks of appreciation he was receiving from the other girls and to state he had left Lily in. Lily slowly replaced the irrelevant book she had hastily grabbed. Wow, she thought. Wow.
A few minutes later, Lily's legs had finally been able to carry her to the nearest table. What the hell had just happened? Had James Potter, THE James Potter, just… well, come on to her? She was still contemplating the absurdity of the situation a moment later when Mar waltzed out from behind a tottering bookcase. She was smiling as though Transfiguration class had been abolished and Sirius Black had asked for her hand in marriage, all in one day. Obviously, she had heard the entire interaction. She gracelessly landed in a seat, not asking, but trusting Lily would begin her tirade any second. Instead, Lily sat there with a dumbstruck look on her face.
"Wow," Lily murmured.
"Yeah…" Mar answered.
"So… Uh… I don't get the joke. What is he trying to pull?" Lily mused, a perplexed look marring her delicate features.
"Well Lils, I may not know much about flesh and blood boys, but every harlequin book I've ever read is telling me that James Potter has a soft spot for spastically inclined gingers who repeatedly tell him he's arrogant in front of large crowds of people." Mar said teasingly, having yet to lose her maniacal grin.
Lily, knowing this was nonsense, snorted at her friend's nonsensicalness and announced she was off to take a catnap. She had a free period and didn't want to run the risk of rendezvousing yet again with the infamous James Potter, her teenage hormones only able to endure so much action in one day.
Lily was wholeheartedly convinced Potter's newfound… interest had little to do with infatuation, and more to do with some brilliant, yet decidedly unusual prank. Yeah… That had to be it…
Mar contemplated her companion as she wandered off. Lily was the best friend a girl could ask for, but she was a tad oblivious at times. Marlene knew that even though Lily was incredibly introverted, other people couldn't help but notice her many inimitable talents and striking good looks, including, apparently, a remarkably popular James Potter. Mar had always tried not to question Lily's reticence directly, knowing Lily had her own reasons for avoiding the spotlight. Still, Marlene was happy that someone was finally taking notice of Lily, she deserved to be recognized for the wonderful person she was. With that thought, Marlene headed off to the Magical Creatures section, hoping to distract herself from the appalling in-class Charms essay she had just completed.
James jogged up the stairs to his dormitory with a smile on his face. His rendezvous with Lily had gone exceptionally well, the euphoria still lingering with him. He had always had a soft spot for the shy redhead, even if they had not spoken before today. She and her little brunette friend seemed different than the girls that he usually… associated with. Of course, he had never voiced his infatuation to anyone; he was James Potter. James Potter did not get warm fuzzy feelings somewhere in the vicinity of his cardio-vascular organs. James Potter played the field and arranged meaningless pranks with his equally popular and frivolous friends. Still, this stereotypical rationalization could not diminish the fact that he knew her to a T, right down to her sock preferences. He bounded into his room, pulled out a Quidditch magazine and flopped on his bed, effectively ignoring the knowing looks on his friends' faces. He knew they were impatient to know what had transpired between the admired Quidditch captain and the innocent (but decidedly curvy) bookworm. Well, they would just have to ask…
It was Sirius who cracked.
"So, did you christen any of the library tables with the lovely Miss Evans?" Sirius asked, waggling his eyebrows for good measure.
James shot him a look. Lily was not some eager tart he amused himself with and told his friends about afterwards… Remus caught his friend's annoyed look and decided to coax James into answering.
"Honestly, Padfoot," Remus joked, "As if Lily Evans would have anything to do with out dear Prongs… What was it she called him? Oh yeah, an arrogant twerp."
"Come on, Moony," Sirius replied, "Get your facts straight, she called him a pompous bully."
"You're both wrong," James retorted, "She called me a bullying coward, but she obviously meant it as a sweet nothing, she practically fell into my arms this morning!"
Sirius, Remus and Peter shared a look. Their friend was either a compelling actor or completely delusional, they were all betting on the latter. Although James believed he concealed his emotions like a pro, all three friends were aware of his fascination with one Lily Evans, if for no other reason than the fact that he changed personalities when she was within shouting distance, going from considerate comrade to egotistical prat in two seconds flat. It would have been endearing if it wasn't so pathetic.
"You do realize, Prongs," Peter said, " That she didn't really leap into your arms as much as you fell on her and she ripped you out in front of half the school."
James shot him a look, as though Peter was the one talking nonsense, rather than the other way around. Obviously his friends were unaware of the finer points of flirting. He tuned out from their conversation (which had quickly turned to Quidditch, once they realized that James wasn't going to divulge the details surrounding the library meeting.) His friends hadn't seen how Lily had reacted to him in the library. If he knew anything about girls (and he liked to think that he did), he knew when one was turned on. As he recalled her wide eyes, shallow breathing, and tousled hair, he suddenly realized he needed to leave, before he embarrassed himself in front of his friends. He grabbed his broom and told his friends he would meet them in the Great Hall for dinner. He sprinted out of his room amidst catcalls and obscene gestures, telling him his roommates hadn't missed his state of… enthusiasm.
Lily had decided to forgo the nap, instead favouring to retrieve her sketchbook and pencil, and distract herself from this afternoon's meeting by drawing the Giant Squid in the lake (her favourite subject). After grabbing some cookies from the Great Hall to entice the Squid, she walked down to the lake. As fate would have it, once she was set up, another student walked out of the castle and hopped on a broom. Lily looked up and swore to herself; of course he would be here. She was wondering what she had done that was so appalling to rack up such awful karma when he finally noticed her, his eyes lighting up as he sent her a jaunty wave and a hearty wink. She ignored his attention and attempted to focus on her drawing; it was a lost cause.
James glanced back at the alluring redhead. She wasn't looking at him. Well, he would have to do something about that. After running a hand through his already windswept hair, he launched into a series of flying moves that bordered on the insane, slowing down every now and then to ensure he still had Lily's attention. With each glance down, he noticed more and more people milling around under him. He was used to being the centre of attention, but he felt a small pang of annoyance that it was not just Lily and him alone anymore. After a series of complicated dives and spins, he landed on the ground, hoping to sit with Lily by the lake. He had finally begun some sort of odd connection with her after crushing on her for ages, he wanted to utilize it to his full advantage, but as he glanced around, he soon realized she had left. Dammit, he thought, why would she leave, didn't she realize I was trying to get her to notice me? As he slung his broom on his back, he heard someone approaching, turning, he saw Emmeline sauntering towards him, mouth glossed and hips sashaying. Great.
"Hey James! I was watching you and— "
James cut her off.
"Hi Em. Sorry, but have you seen Evans? I'm supposed to talk to her about... something," he finished lamely.
She shot him a curious look. "Uh, no, but I was wondering—"
James interrupted her again. "Sorry, but I have to jet, I'm kinda busy." With a rather lame wave, he walked off, leaving Emmeline rather embarrassed. He didn't have time to waste on an ex, especially one that didn't get it when a guy wasn't interested. They had gone on a couple of dates before he had broken up with her, citing each of them wanted something different from the relationship. In all actuality, he had soon realized that she bored him to tears. He needed someone who intrigued him, someone who could carry a conversation about something other than fashion and his last Quidditch victory, someone like Lily. Ah yes, Lily. He was happy with the progress they had made in the last… 2 hours, but he knew it would have to put on a hold. O.W.L.s were coming quickly, and he knew for a fact that she barricaded herself with her books in her dorm during exams. Contenting himself with the idea that he would talk to her after the stress of exams was over, he prepared to meet his friends for dinner, and maybe catch a glimpse of his favourite redhead.