The smoke cleared slowly as James Potter coughed roughly from within. He vowed silently that was the last time he'd play a game of exploding snap with Peter. The grey haze cleared and his eyes met with a gorgeous mop or red hair. He sighed, it was right where it should be.

Lily hadn't moved from her spot in one of the red armchairs for about an hour. James sighed again as Peter produced a new deck and Sirius chuckled.

" James, my boy, when are you going to learn you're going to get your eyebrows singed off while playing with Wormtail?" his friend kicked his arm gently from where he was perched on the window sill beside their table. James grinned and shook his head. He stood warily, ruffling his hair, before taking a seat in front of where Lily sat.

Lily; the stubbornly beautiful object of his affections. He took off his glasses, and peered at her hazy, blurry form, as he cleaned them with his crimson and gold tie. He heard her gentle sigh that made his heart beat a bit faster. She crooked her head exposing a bit more of that milky flesh and looked down into her lap once again.

James straightened his glasses back on his nose and relaxed for a long session of staring at her in the way she hates and letting his mind conjure up images of their future. It didn't take a genius to see they had chemistry, just anyone who wasn't Lily Evans. He sighed placing his head in a roughened palm to dreamily gaze at her.

His eyes traced the way she kneaded her lip in her concentration. James wished he had that concentration, but she only ever put that much effort into schoolwork and…her art.

Lily was an artist, a great artist. James winced internally remembering all the times before fourth year when he'd teased her and made fun of her for her art. Her wonderful art. Now if he tried to compliment it, or her, she'd take it personally as an insult. He sighed heavily in a troubled way and watched her again.

Currently she was sketching in her newest favorite medium, charcoal. He'd secretly given her a pack for Christmas and was delighted to see she was still using it. Her delicate fingers were darkened with the stuff as they gripped the nub of dusky mineral. She worked diligently; her paper was always being filled with whatever her mind fancied that day.

James smiled remembering that Cornish Pixy week when she spent hours trying to keep one in a cage as she sketched. Her green emerald eyes had sparkled with life and mirth and all he'd wanted to do was kiss her until she looked at him like that. His insides ached remembering, as it was never going to happen.

Lily had professed her undying hatred for him as many times as he'd done the exact opposite trying every tactic to woe such fine lady. Poetry, gifts, even serenading her hadn't worked, she was just plain uncrackable.

The only thing she'd love would be her art. Her pages upon pages of who knows what that she poured her soul into. James smiled, knowing she drew from her heart, and she'd sit with Hagrid the friendly gamekeeper, listen to all his nonsensical dreams, stories and eat his rock cakes to sit in the his pumpkin patch and sketch for hours.

He'd patiently stood by (well Sirius would have to disagree) while Lily had dates with other guys, there were, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, even a few older Gryffindors. He'd only punched a few of them, and that was honestly because they'd been rude to her, or broken her heart. He toyed with many thoughts in his head like if she ever drew any of them, and did they, or had they felt as honored as he would be? Did they appreciate it, and know that her masterpieces were parts of her soul to be framed and cherished?

He knew it was childish but he still had a napkin she'd once doodled a stick man and a cat on at one lunch and carelessly left behind. He'd cradled the lifeless rag and gotten it preserved as quickly as possible. It now rested framed at the bottom of his trunk as Sirius, Remus and even Peter had deemed it irreversibly creepy. But James couldn't deny the fact that when he felt bad after a particularly loud spar with her he'd look at the doodle and feel happy that maybe, just maybe, there was a ray of hope for them. The stick man had hair as messy as his…maybe she secretly had doodled him and purposely left it behind for him to find. Once again his friends had called him the creepiest stalker they'd ever met and thought that getting Lily a restraining order for her birthday would be well received.

James did have hope for them, he did. He knew he couldn't live without her, her spirit, her presence, her ever insistent nagging voice that told him to mind his own business, stop slobbering, staring, being a mooning git and go away…

" Potter, you miserable toe rag, stop it! You're being even more…what's the word I'm looking for?" she asked over her shoulder to where his mates still sat.

" Creepy? Obsessed? Paranoid?" Remus offered without looking up from his transfiguration. Lily snapped her fingers.

" Sure any of those, then ever, seriously, stop staring at me already! I know you have psychological problems and all but honestly! Pick your jaw up off the floor and don't act so surly, you know we're all rather tried with your endless crooning over how you love me so. It's not going to happen so run off and go cry yourself to sleep already," she snapped gesturing off to the boy's stairwell. Sirius was desperately trying to keep his laughter in as James' face shriveled up and he felt another cut opening his heart. He had nothing to say, no retorts, no quips, and that made it hurt all the worse.

The entire common room was staring now as he just stared back at her. When Sirius and Remus realized that he wasn't responding they both looked up in concern for him. That was the last straw, maybe he should give up on Lily. She'd blatantly told him she knew about his feelings he'd so tenderly entrusted her with, and decided to throw them on the floor and stomp on them to make a good jib at him. He set his gaze in a steady disapproving glare at her. She blinked back confused. He stood and swiftly cut into the boy's stairs. Behind him, he could hear the faint scrambling of people.

" Prongs?" Sirius

" Potter- don't-" Lily

"James…" Remus

James kept steadily marching up the stairs putting them behind him. He shut the door to their dorm firmly. Turning around he flopped over onto his bed and sighed looking at his bedside table. His prized golden snitch lay there merrily. He picked it up and squeezed the sides to activate its tiny wings. Maybe he'd feel a little better tomorrow he had a game to get rested up for.

He played with his enchanted Quidditch ball until his friends thought they could come to bed safely. He put his toy away, drew his hangings and settled himself in bed. The stag tried to pretend that the reason he'd gone to bed early didn't have long legs, red hair and beautiful green eyes. He shut his eyes tightly, trying to wash the images of her from behind his eyelids. But the only thing he had to clean them was the salty fluid that had been building up since the moment her barbed words had reached him.

He sniffled frustrated and rubbed his pajama's sleeve roughly over his watering eyes. James then soundly stuffed his head under his pillow trying to muffle the words that circled his head all night long.

" …Organized sport…" Lily had been muttering darkly all morning and it wasn't getting better. Usually one's spirits lifted when they attended a leisurely activity such as watching a sporting event and supporting their team. Instead Lily was brooding. She hated Quidditch and usually spent the much-needed hour or two of quiet to read or draw; whatever she fancied more that day.

Now she trudged heavily out over the rolling greens of the Hogwarts grounds. All the houses were attending and she almost grudgingly put on her red and gold Gryffindor scarf. This was just a sign that she was a huge hypocrite. Lily shifted uncomfortably looking around at all the other clumps of people. When was it going to happen? Inevitably someone would point and shout that Lily Evans, Gryffindor known for protesting Quidditch as a stupid sport that they could all do without, was going to a game and supporting her team.

Lily muttered darkly to herself that she was only doing this because she had to; her morals were at stake here. She knew she'd been out of line with James. He'd done nothing wrong and she'd just found it too irresistible to take the sharp poker he'd handed to her and shove it straight into his fleshy exposed underbelly. She sighed shaking her head. The image of his face, that face that usually took her jibes in good nature, twisted with hurt and disappointment haunted her dreams.

So here she was mucking her way to a bloody Quidditch match to watch him play, to give him a compliment. She'd say she's sorry and be on her merry way. Lily only wished it was that simple, she knew that James would never forgive her; either that or he'd try to force her into a date. As she approached the pitch, she found some first years in her house colours and followed them discreetly to the Gryffindor stands. Lily managed to find a seat behind some oblivious third year boys and shivered slightly in the wind that accompanied being so high in the air.

She spat her own hair out of her mouth and crossed her arms under her cloak watching the red and blue players shoot up into the air. Lily sighed internally as the crowd around her cheered as the red ones, Gryffindor, soared over their quarter of stands. She found a familiar figure above grinning like the idiot her was- Lily cut off her cruel thoughts and bit her lip as fresh waves of guilt splashed around inside her.

They set up in their starting stance she supposed and the red ball, the waffle? No… what was it…was thrown into the air and Lily was a bit lost. How were these people watching the action in such rapt? She could barely make anything out, as it was all happening so fast. Her head was buzzing as students around her cheered and jeered as the commentator called out each play without missing a beat how…Lily was left dumbfounded. Colours blurred and she was feeling a bit sick, and by the time a loud gong sounded and the angry rumble around her notified her that something had happened…a goal?

Yes Ravenclaw was cheering they'd done something good she'd guessed. A score was called, the first of many she could barely register. After half an hour her cheeks were wind burnt her bottom numb and her attention on only one person. James was seeker she'd known that much. He had to look for the golden…thingy and he'd win the game and get to land so she could apologize and go back into the castle and warm up. She willed him to search faster and find the damninable thingy.

" Alden passes to Gent, Gent to Burke, back to Alden, he throws- OH bounces off the rim- what's this? Potter's seen the snitch and the race is on folks…but he's going into the stands…" Lily's eyes stretched as she watched James spot her and come flying to her. She flinched hoping he wouldn't kill her or strangle her or kiss her or anything else entirely stupid.

The other seeker was on James tail and Lily couldn't help but notice the other students edging away from her on the wooden benches. She squirmed for a moment looking around helplessly.

" …Who is that he's diving for? Lily Evans? At a Quidditch match? Oi! James save it for after the match to snog her senseless..." the commentator prattled on and Lily melted into the same colour as her scarf and her hair. She could hear the gasps as James set his sights right on her. Finally a second year sitting closest to her pointed and screamed.

" THE SNITCH!" apparently the thingy had been circling her. Not too many people could really exclaim though before Lily was knocked backwards and tackled. When she finally opened her eyes again her head throbbed painfully. It was resting on the bench behind her, while her bottom was on the floor and her legs still on the seat. James's knees were straddling her chest and he held up the golden ball victoriously.

Finally he stood mindful of his broom and helped her up.

" All right Evans?" he asked stiffly letting go of Lily's hand as quickly as possible. Her heart gave an involuntary jerk upwards.

" Fine, but maybe shout a warning next time?" she asked. He nodded.

"What are you-" but his words were drown out by the sudden cheers of the victorious Gryffindors. They'd won and were carrying James off like they were ants and he was a piece of sugar. Lily let out a frustrated sigh. So much for cornering him privately, he wouldn't be let go for hours with a victory party going on.

Lily let herself be shifted in the crowd until she found herself back in Gryffindor tower. From there she tore the scarf from her throat, declined a butter beer from a fifth year and scaled the Girl's stairs. She let out a frustrated sigh as she threw herself onto her bed. All she'd wanted was to try and apologize! Why did Potter have to be so popular and loved by all?

She frowned, shaking her head, pulling out her sketchbook and a piece of charcoal. Right now she needed to calm her nerves. Her mind was buzzing from the infectious excitement that had accompanied the sport and the party. Though she'd barely gotten into it, it was enough to send her into a frenzied fit of drawing.

A line here, a jab there a curve…a bigger curve. She barely registered what she was making until she finished her chest heaving and looked at her work. She frowned it was a Quidditch player flying…well that was acceptable for what her mind had been preoccupied with.

She tore that sheet out and started another. The process repeated until she felt calm and had a dozen doodles and sketches around her. She paused in her current drawing to nibble on her lip, she'd been so rude to James, the least she could do was apologize…maybe even right now if he wasn't too busy…

The floor rumbled and cheers went up from below. Lily rolled her eyes nope the marauders had probably exploded a chair or something. She surveyed her surroundings from where she was propped up on her bed. Lily picked up the most recently cast away page and let her eyes travel the contours of the subject. She frowned deeply all of her drawings were starting to repeat. The nameless faceless Quidditch player had morphed in his daring loops and dives. Lily smiled she did think one good thing came from Quidditch. It had amazing lines and curves, a feast for the eyes really. But the matter at had was her drawing.

She peered down at what lay under her limp left hand. Dark hair, a devilish smirk, strong jaw…glasses. Lily sighed in despair, realizing she'd drawn the obnoxious seeker. She carefully lifted her hand again and tentatively added to the drawing. When she felt she was finished she looked down at it guiltily. It wasn't the carefree smirk she'd placed that made her feel so wretched, it was the fact it wasn't the first time she'd drawn him.

Lily quickly pulled the page out and opened her trunk. She found her moneybag and ripped it open. Her fingers searched inside until she felt not cool coins but cardboard. She pulled out a miniature cardboard box and with a swish of her wand it's enlarged to its regular size. She eyed the door holding her breath and peeled the top off the box. There inside were the hundreds of drawings and doodles that she'd accidentally created.

Her mind would wander and next thing she knew there would be that devilish smirking staring back at her. Lily sifted through the box flustered and sort of made sure they were all still there all safe…it was her secret and she swore to kill anyone who found out.

Lily picked up one in particular she'd always liked, James was looking out the window and he had a soft smile on his face, like he knew she was watching and wouldn't tell or something. Her fingers trailed lightly over the picture's surface before she dropped it stiffly and deposited the others inside. She sighed looking at them one last time before closing the lid of the box.

She shook her head; maybe after she'd apologized she'd get back to drawing the giant squid and the Whomping Willow. She didn't know what the pictures of James meant; perhaps finally he had burnt his everlasting annoyance into her brain.

Lily put the box away, and straightened it just in time for her friends to come traipsing up the stairs looking for her. She smiled welcomingly and left her sketchy secret to be figured out another night.

James sighed happily as the after party winded down. The marauders had had a right blast and he couldn't have been happier. Or at least that's what he told himself. Internally he knew that a certain redhead was missing.

He'd wondered all morning about their fight the previous night. It'd seemed to put a damper on the family atmosphere around the tower. He tried to forget about it, and forgive but he wondered if her words really did mean it in a way he'd never known. He'd gone to practice early and get a few good drills in before the game.

Then during the game he'd seen her. He thought it was his imagination at first, Lily never went to matches. Again and again his eyes went to her and it was definitely his Miss. Evans. On one of his many checking so make sure he wasn't dreaming she spotted a golden glitter that was not her scarf. Of course the game's snitch had to be with his golden prize.

He was sure he'd hurt her when they impacted but he hadn't gotten a chance to talk to her after he was carried off. Now he sat in the afterglow of the day's events. The common room was a mess and Sirius was rolling around the floor in it like the dog he was. Remus had long ago gone to bed to recover from a headache and Peter was scavenging for bits of left over food.

Lily had come down with her friends, but not long enough for him to be able to break off from his fifteenth retelling of the short game, to catch her. He desperately wanted to talk about the previous day he hadn't meant to upset her as he obviously had.

James steepled his fingers in thought of the next time they came together, he'd make sure to speak to her.

The next time James did see her was during class the next day, McGonagall was becoming a slave driver and he barely had a chance to send her a weak smile let alone be able to pull her aside for a leisurely chat.

The rest of the day had gone much like that; every class was filled with things to do. Lunch had proved a feeble thought as Moony dragged him aside to make sure he did his homework he'd neglected. Even history of Magic had James restricted as Lily just had to pick the seat in the center front row, now way James could even pass her a note from his regular place at the back of the room.

He was still in a mood from the surly Hufflepuffs in Herbology, not letting him copy their notes, when he got back to the common room. Upon realizing with great relief that he finally had a chance to speak to the Lovely Lily he got the grand view of her hair whipping up the girl's staircase.

James let out a roar of frustration that made Sirius look at him like he'd grown another head.

"Wow Prongs, mate, are you sure we shouldn't change your name to…" Sirius frowned in concentration, "Sod it, too much work to think of a clever nick name for a lion," he grinned clapping James on the back and leading him over the fire.

James tried not to let his frustration peak to that dangerous point where he'd throw himself at the girl's stairs, trying to claw his way up…not that that had happened before or anything.

He sighed in defeat collapsing into his favorite armchair, just as Lily flounced down the stairs having discarded her robes and tie and instead taken up her sketchbook. She absently flopped across from him and began her work.

James' mouth hung open, as he was about to begin his long rant of how he'd tried all day to get her attention, but found his voice gone. He couldn't interrupt her from that magical land she went to, to create such pretty pictures. He burrowed his head in his hands, moaning in despair. God, he'd never be able to talk to her properly!

He sighed and settled for staring at her again. Maybe if she yelled at him like she had yesterday, he'd find his voice and find out why she hated him so. He frowned watching as she occasionally looked up at him. But instead of her usual frown or sharp quip it was like she was seeing through him.

Her hand flew over her page and he wondered what she was seeing instead of him. When she looked down she sighed impatiently and flipped the page. Starting a new she started out carefully her hand gentle with the page. Then she sighed closing her eyes and she began to do that weird looking through him thing again. She must have repeated at least five times becoming more and more flustered and protective of her drawings.

Finally becoming rather concerned with his flower named maiden James coughed politely

" Lily? Are you alright?" he asked and she looked up startled like she barely realized he was there.

" Oh-" she frowned looking at her book again. He rose a bit in his chair leaning over.

" What have you been drawing?" he asked and she turned rather red and defensive with him.

" Why would I tell you what I've been drawing?" she flipped her book closed, practically on his nose. James frowned deeply and looked at her with only concern for her in mind.

" Well you seem rather worked up about it…" he said trying to be as innocent as possible. Her eyes suddenly narrowed in on him.

" You! You did this didn't you! You've cursed me or hexed me haven't you? That's a new low James Potter, a new low!" she screeched jumping to her feet. She streaked off up the girl's stairs hair flying and he sat there deep in his chair a bit shocked at her behavior. What did she mean he hexed her? James started trying to remember if he'd risen his wand to her at all in the past bit when she came back as fast as she'd left.

James jumped to his feet raising his palms up trying to get her to not overreact. He needed to plead his case. Lily had a large box in her hands she dropped it with a loud thump at his feet scowling at him hard.

" YOU WANT TO SEE POTTER? You want to see what you're damn handy work has done?" she shrieked, getting the attention of every Gryffindor present. She opened her book, still clutched in her palm and showed him a picture of him, then another and another, just his glasses, his hands, every page she'd recently been working on had him plastered all over it.

James gaped openly, taking the book meekly from her tight white grip. He stared at a sketch of him that he almost thought was a grayscale photo, but it didn't move. He swallowed looking at her where she'd dropped to her knees. She ripped the lid off of the box and started sifting through papers.

" You, you, more you, oh! Another one of you!" she threw each paper at him and he didn't try to block or catch them. He just stared at her. His mouth was dry as he watched her fit.

" YOU, YOU, YOU! JAMES POTTER YOU'D BETTER HAVE A RUDDY GOOD EXPLAINATION FOR THIS! I've wasted countless hours making these, apparently, so WHY? Why are you doing this? Haven't I told you I don't want you?" she asked lifting the box and shaking all the pictures out. They flopped out and sprayed around their feet. A couple onlookers swiped a few from the floor to check them out while James stared blankly.

" Lily…I haven't…" he whispered looking back at the book in his hands. He was incredibly nervous she'd kill him while at the same time inexplicably curious and triumphant over this breakthrough. Lily stood before him practically shaking with rage it seemed, as her face was already scarlet.

" I don't know…I didn't do anything-" he tried pleading desperately with her through his eyes. He didn't want her to rip away from him now, or ever. He wanted her to be able to confide in him. She shook her head like she was trying to clear her thoughts.

" No! Why would I ever do THIS if you hadn't hexed me?" she asked gesturing around them. James had to fight desperately against his smirk.

" I- I don't know Lily, maybe, maybe you don't hate me as much as you say," he added gently, trying not to seem too smarmy. It definitely backfired. James threw up his arms as Lily let out a cry of fury and launched herself at him.

Her tiny fists hit him in any available place hitting him as hard as she could. Lily didn't care what it took she'd beat the truth out of James. If only he wasn't so big, and if only he wasn't so…strong.

Lily found herself crying out in anguish as she weakened and he moved under her weakening blows. Finally his hands managed to close around hers, and stopped her. She sighed deeply breathing hard and staring at their hands. Her hair that had flown out of her loose bun was settling around her face in crimson waves.

Lily knew he hadn't cursed her, somewhere deep inside, she had known. All along, probably. The woman whimpered and hung her head in shame. Potter was right, she didn't hate him. She gave another low moan and before she knew it was being taken into gentle arms as she hid her face in his shoulder.

How could she have made such a huge deal of something so stupid? She rubbed her face further in closing her eyes tightly. How could she have not noticed her infatuation with James, was the better question.

Lily was dimly aware of people shifting in the room as Sirius gave gentle orders to the crowd, and Remus was collecting the papers around their feet and putting them back into her box. Her stomach felt very hollow as she realized what she'd done again, she was such a stupid git. She moaned again in despair as she tried to keep her emotions at bay.

" Shh, it's okay," James' comforting voice was far too close, and for some reason she needed it closer. She pulled in further and he tightened his grip on her. She felt, rather then saw Sirius pat James on the shoulder, and heard him creak up the stairs.

When Lily gently pulled away to look around, everyone was gone, miraculously.

"They really are nice guys if you give them a chance," James said gently and she looked at him as if she just realized he was there.

" Oh-" she couldn't really think of anything else to say at the moment, what retort was there to the amount of caring he was displaying? He slowly let her go from his grip and took her hand. He led her to the fire instead of the squashy furniture and they both sat looking at the crackling flames.

" Listen lily…I really didn't hex you, I haven't for a long time. I really do care about you and I'm really honoured," he grinned that stupid lopsided grin holding up her closed notebook. She rolled her eyes sighing and snatching the book back.

" And I'm sorry for what I said yesterday, it was really…out of line and I'm also sorry for this…just now it was completely humiliating," she sighed rubbing a hand over her cheek. He smiled kindly and replaced her hand with his.

" No, Lily it was right for us, for you. You do everything differently," he grinned taking his words carefully and she laughed leaning into his warm palm. She grinned at the look of pure joy and wonderment in his eyes. They sat there together for a long time, just staring at each other blankly.

" James?" she asked tentatively. He smiled reassuringly and nodded. She fiddled with the spiral binding on her notebook. " Aren't you going to ask me to Hogsmeade?" she smiled mischievously up at him and he cracked a large goofy grin.

" No," he paused for a beat that cause her heart to skip one, " I was thinking about asking you to marry me, but I suppose that's a tad fast isn't it?" he joked and she hit him gently.

" Hey don't you think I've suffered enough abuse for one night?" he asked mocking her as he rubbed the spot she'd smacked. She laughed freely and sighed at him. He beamed at her for a moment before grabbing the abandoned box and opening it up. Lily giggled as he rooted through them making comments on them.

" No, none have you know the James spirit! Come on Lily, I know you're great at this kind of thing, what happened?" he asked displaying one where he looked rather depressed. She laughed and opened her book.

" Fine, let me have another go?" she asked raising an eyebrow and he laughed.

" You're serious?" he asked stuffing all the others back in. she sighed looking him over before starting her sketch.

" Why not we're both here aren't we?" she asked and he nodded. She smiled and started her work. She felt relaxed in the lines and contours she'd drawn so many times it was like her artistic home. James also settled into a trance that she recognized he got into when he was thinking about her. She blushed slightly and lowered her head as she made the outline of his collar.

Halfway through her drawing she looked up suddenly startling him. He adjusted his glasses.

" Problem?" he asked and she smiled.

" No, no I just have to start over, I know why I'm not getting it right," she smiled and flipped to a new page. Now when she settled into the familiarity of the drawing she also got to experiment James wasn't the only figure in this one.

When she was finished she took a moment to appreciate the sight before her. Finally, she smiled up at him and made her way to sit beside him. She slowly released the newly formed picture for his viewing and he pulled his arm around her comfortably.

" It's…Lily it's amazing," he said softly and she smiled hesitantly.

" Yeah?" she asked and he nodded. She finally figured out what was missing from her portraits, the thing James always longed for. Before them was a newly made up picture of them together sitting kind of they way they were now. She'd finally captured him on paper, and the only way should could have him was if she was there too.

" So, want to go to Hogsmeade with me this Saturday?' James asked into her hair and she smirked giving him a shrug.

" I don't know I might have a lot of homework…" she smiled standing and he scrambled to stand too.

" But Lily-" he was going to plead and she cut him off.

" But I might also be a bit busy with other things I mean I have this new subject to draw and…it might take all day to capture his you know…essence," she smiled picking up the box. " I hear he's got pretty good muscle definition if you know what I mean," she gave him her own smirk before heading off up the girl's stairs. Barely a minute passed after she left before she heard his startling bellow

" I LOVE LILY EVANS!" Faint cheers were heard after that and Lily smiled, shaking her head, knowing that she had a lot of work ahead of her. She'd need at least four more boxes before the end of the year…

A/N: All right, so thanks for reading! this is my longest oneshot yet and i hope you enjoyed it. I spent and entrie day writing it so i'm really happy it's up. umm i don't think i have anything more to say other then a review would be very nice you can check out my other work (yes some are more LEJP) and oh! i have a new announcment

for all of you who liked this i will be soon posting my...er entries? to a 100 theme fic challenge, i will be making them all James and Lily so there is plenty more of this to come