-1A/ N: Because I could probably shelve both fiction and non fiction books in my sleep from now working for a month in the Library, this is the slightly random plot bunny that surfaced today during the three hours I spent putting books away.-- Enjoy!
Encounters at the Library:
Lily wheeled the rickety book cart down the many aisles of the library. If she had been thinking even remotely straight at all at the time, she would have never agreed to work for the slave driving Madam Pince. 'I must have been touched in the head-- only then would my agreeing to this had made any sense…' She reasoned.
'No,' Lily thought, 'maybe if I hadn't have been so desperate to earn a bit of money before term ended maybe…'
Either way, she was now stuck being part of the Hogwarts Library staff. She came to a halt, and winced as the sound of the rickety right wheel squeaked loudly. She hated the old book carts Madam Pince insisted on using to transport books around-- the same carts she refused to charm so they wouldn't squeak and rattle as you pushed them through the otherwise quiet library. Lily was convinced she kept them that way so she could keep tracks of how fast you were moving around in her beloved library-- who knew? Maybe even so she could track your exact location as you made rounds. Lily pondered all of this bitterly as she began placing books in their exact locations-- thinking up preposterous tall tales of exactly how Madam Pince monitored the sound and location of each book cart.
She turned to the opposite books shelf in the aisle, giving a fleeting glance toward the Library's designated 'Quiet Area' and noticed for the first time a pair of rather long legs propped up on a nearby table, obviously belonging to a boy (if they had belonged to a girl, Lily reasoned, they would have been wearing a skirt, not the black trousers boys wore as a uniform requirement.) But what caught Lily's attention most, was the book, they were reading. She could just make out the back cover and recognized it instantly as The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.
'Strange,' Lily thought to herself, examining the cover once more just to make sure she hadn't mistaken it for something that it wasn't. It was rare, although there were people like herself who came from non magical parents, that she ever saw anyone reading books by a muggle author in the library. Come to think of it, it was rare anywhere in Hogwarts to see students reading a book by a muggle author, and that alone, intrigued her enough to wonder who it was that was reading a Hemingway novel.
She leaned back and forth, trying to manoeuvre her body to get a clear view of who the mystery boy was but try as she might, she just couldn't see his face.
'Sodding hell, Lily,' she said, speaking mentally to herself. 'it's not THAT important, just let it go and get back to work…'
Taking her own advice, Lily got back to work. Twice she caught herself distracted by the reading boy as she sat on the floor, putting books away on the bottom most shelf, noting that from this position, she could make out part of his torso and his forearms.
'Bugger, I STILL can't see his face, what the hell?' Lily thought, leaning back and forth to get a better angle. 'Maybe if I…' Lily leaned forward and to one side slightly. 'Yes, I think-- I've almost got it…' She could barely make out the tip of a rather nice looking chin when all of a sudden, she collided with a small stool upon which she had stacked a small pile of books that had been misplaced. The stack went flying with a rather loud tumbling sound that came out sounding much louder than it normally would have had it not been almost silent in the large library.
The boy, Lily noted, moved his feet, as if he were going to get up to check on the source of the noise.
'Shit. Shit. Shit!' Lily turned quickly, pressing herself to the book shelf, afraid she would get caught.
'He almost saw-- did he see?' Lily turned her head slightly, peeking out of the corner of her eye and heaving a sigh of relief when she noticed that the boy had resumed his position and had gone back to reading his book.
'This is probably one of the most ridiculous things you've ever done, do you realize that? Why can't you just get back to work and forget about that boy? It's not as if you've never seen a bloke reading a Hemingway novel anyway, and aside from the fact that he's got a rather nice looking chin, he's probably not worth the trouble or the embarrassment of trying to find out who he is…at least not the way YOU'RE going about it!" Lily scolded herself as she collected the strewn books and concentrated on doing her job rather than on her current object of distraction.
Ten minutes later, and Lily still hadn't made much progress. It was ridiculous, but what could she do? She was just attracted and intrigued by the boy- whoever he was- and try as she might, she just couldn't shake the curiosity of wanting to know, rather badly mind you, who he was.
She was standing on a stepping stool the next time she caught herself staring in his direction, the forgotten book in her hand as she stood on the stool, raising herself to her fullest height and craning her neck to see if she could get a better look. She watched as he turned the page-- he was almost done, by the looks of it-- and could just make out what looked like a dark lock of hair.
'That's it!' Lily thought excitedly, thinking that now, she would finally be able to see who the mystery boy was. 'All I have to do is move a little this way, and I'll be able to see his head…'
Lily leaned back slightly, excited to find she could make out a bit more of his head. She took another step back, surprised at the slew of butterflies that stated fluttering in her stomach at the prospect of finally getting a good look at him but forgetting just how small the stool was she was standing on, her foot slipped off the stool. She couldn't help it, she let out a tiny yelp of surprise as she lost her footing and tried to regain her balance.
She heaved a sigh of relief, steadying herself on a nearby bookshelf for less than a minute before she caught a good glimpse of the boy's face as he turned his head to see who had made the funny yelping noise and shocked, Lily forgot to hang on to the side of the bookshelf, loosing her balance yet again, and not so gracefully slipped off the stool and onto the ground.
There was no mistake about who the boy reading the Hemingway novel was-- the long face, striking hazel eyes that even from this far seemed to pop framed by black wire rimmed glasses, and a tuft of hopelessly dishevelled hair atop his head. The lock of hair she'd spotted before, Lily realized, should have tipped her off instantly.
'James Potter? James sodding POTTER?!' Lily fumed 'I wasted a half hour and almost broke my neck SPYING on JAMES POTTER? I must not be feeling well…'
Lily placed a hand to her forehead, feeling her own temperature before crawling closer to double check if it hadn't just been her eyes playing tricks on her, but even a second look couldn't prove Lily wrong, taking in as much as she could see of the boy, Lily now realized that much as she would like to be wrong, this was undoubtedly James Potter sitting before her.
'…and reading Hemingway no less…' Lily thought, surprised. 'very interesting. I mean who knew the boy could read?' Lily frowned slightly, realizing the last comment to be quite invalid considering as class ranks stood, James was second, just under Lily herself meaning that as much as Lily tried convincing herself otherwise, James was quite intelligent.
'Okay, so the sodding git's smart, big deal.' Lily thought, rolling her eyes. 'What's the point of being smart anyway, if he's only going to use his powers for evil? If only he'd apply half of what he uses on those stupid pranks to his academics….god I hate him! I hate him AND I just wasted an hour of my life trying to get a good look at him-- kill me now…'
There was a pause as Lily let out an exasperated breath.
'Why do I hate him again?' Lily pondered this question for a moment while automatically placing books in their respective locations. 'Oh right! Because he walks around this sodding castle like he owns it, but technically speaking, he has stopped strutting in that annoying way…' a small voice inside her pointed out.
Truth be told, James merely walked with an air of self confidence, but being confident in yourself under normal circumstances shouldn't be looked at as a bad trait…
'he's constantly mussing up his hair 'cause he thinks it looks cool… Damn, he's stopped doing that too for the most part,' although, Lily noticed, he only really seemed to do it now whenever he was nervous.
'He's a great bullying toerag who's constantly going around hexing whoever he wants just because he feels like it-- but he hasn't done that nearly as often this year…well, except that once during the start of term with Severus, but then again, hadn't Severus been sneaking up trying to hex Peter? So really, it was all in self defense…
'But what about his sense of responsibility? Or lack, thereof, since he has NONE? That's a rather harsh thing to say, considering he's changed that, this year too, though-- he's really taken initiative to fulfill his Head Boy duties…' the smaller voice in her head argued-- the voice that, with every argument against James Potter it shut down, seemed to be getting stronger.
'Ha! I got one! What about the fact that he asks me out CONSTANTLY, hmm? I mean, he's used the phrase 'Go out with me, Evans' so many times it's lost it's meaning!' Come to think of it, he hadn't done that at all this year either, Lily thought. 'Wait a minute…WHY hasn't James Potter asked me out at all this year? That's-- That's--'
'Really now, why do you care so much if it bothered you before…?' the small voice said again.
Lily damned the small voice to hell before getting up and deciding to get back to work, placing a book from the cart onto the shelf, before leaning against the book shelf and massaging her temples in thought.
'There has to be something-- I KNOW there's something…
…Shit. I'm out of reasons-- HOW can I be out of reasons as to why I hate James Potter?' Lily tapped her foot impatiently on the ground, willing her mind to think of something-- anything. '…I have nothing-- how can I have NOTHING?!'
She raised her hands in frustration whilst looking up, as if talking to some higher being. She slumped to the floor, using the book shelf for support and rubbed her eyes with the palms of her hands before looking over her shoulder at James once more, who was still reclined in the chair, scratching the spot behind his right ear.
'Damn you, James Potter-- why must you be so bloody confusing-- I hate you!'Lily allowed her internal words to mull over in her head for a moment,
'I hate James because he's confusing-- how does that make any sense at all?' Lily let out a rather quiet but frustrated sigh, effectively blowing a loose curl out of her eyes. 'Well, shit, that's almost as bad as hating someone because of 'the fact that they exist.' which is horrible altogether…'
watched as James continued to read from her hiding spot. For the
first time in her life, a boy-- James Potter, to be exact-- was
making her think so much her head hurt, and the worst part about it?
James Potter had no idea so there was no way Lily could blame him at
'Oh good!'Lily thought happily, hearing the distinct scraping of chair legs on the tile floor and peering between bookshelves to see that James was indeed standing. 'He's getting up to leave, HUZZAH! Yes, he'll leave and my mind will cease to be a confused jumble of thoughts-- clearly I'm just not thinking straight…it's all these sodding books-- yes, that's it…'
She watched from the slightly hunched over position she had taken in order to get a better view, as James stretched before slinging his book bag over his shoulder, A Wizard's Guide to Muggle Etiquette by Cassandra Maybelle laying forgotten in her hands.
Lily's eyes widened in surprise realizing, he was walking right toward her, and turned around quickly, pretending to be completely immersed in placing the book in it's correct location while she watched out of the corner of her eye as James passed by her aisle making his way toward the front of the library giving not even the slightest of glances her way.
'Saved!'Lily sighed inwardly before tossing the book haphazardly on the shelf (if Madam Pince so happened to see her doing this, she'd have her neck for sure.) probably miles away from where it was actually supposed to go. 'Alright, so, Ja--erm…Potter is going that way, then I'll go this way…' Lily said, wheeling the rickety book cart down the opposite end of the aisle.
She made a sharp left, deciding she would work on the aisle over but pulled the book cart to a sudden stop, mere inches away from colliding with someone walking between the aisles.
She looked up, positively horrified to find herself staring at the grinning face of James Potter. Shit!
"Alright, Evans?" James asked politely.
Lily opened her mouth to speak but was surprised when nothing came out except for an incoherent sound that in no way resembled anything even remotely near the English language. And then, realizing she probably looked like a fish out of water, promptly closed her mouth, fighting the blush off that was dangerously close to staining her fair skinned cheeks.
'Speak! Say something!-- ANYTHING! You are Lily Evans and Lily Evans NEVER gets rendered speechless-- least of all rendered speechless by a boy-- by JAMES POTTER!' she said to herself.
James watched her thoughtfully for a moment.
'Greeeaaaat. Now he probably thinks I'm crazy!-- Not that I care, of course!'
"Well…See you around, then." James said brightly, after Lily rather than responding, continued to look like a deer caught in the headlights before sweeping off up the aisle once more.
Lily stood frozen to the spot for a few seconds before slumping down to rest with her knees up and her back against the book shelf. She grabbed an offending book that was jabbing against her lower back and regarded the cover momentarily before she smacked it against her forehead repeatedly.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid! Stupid bloody James Potter and his stupid bloody perfect smile! And my stupid bloody stomach with it's sodding flip flops!" she muttered, before realizing her heart was still beating what felt like a thousand times a minute and instead began willing it to slow down.
"Ugh, not you too!" Lily said, placing a hand over her heart, feeling it's rhythmic flutter. "I forbid you to flutter like that!--"
James rounded back toward the table where he had been sitting, having forgotten his notebook, when a soft thumping sound caught his attention. His eyes traveled downward toward the next aisle over where Lily Evans, sat, and he watched as his red haired Head Girl, slumped on the ground, smacked her forehead repeatedly with a rather heavy looking book. He cocked his head to one side, as he watched her, hearing her mutter words like
"Stupid," and "James Potter" and "bloody smile! Stomach…flip flops--"
Wait, what was that last one? James shook his head. No, he must have heard wrong…no way would he, James Potter ever effect Lily Evans so as to have her stomach do anything remotely similar to acrobatics-- Lily Evans hated him, it just wasn't possible. Of course, there was always that small, minuscule glimmer of hope he had secretly held onto all year, despite telling himself this would be the year he would get over Lily Evans…
Bloody Hell! James thought, his internal battle finally coming to a halt She's already stomped on my heart a hundred times over, what'll one more rejection do?
"…Stupid, bloody--" Lily's mumbling was halted by the sound of someone clearing their throat and she had a rather good idea of who it was-- however frightening that idea was.
"Madam Pince! It's not what it looks like, really! I wasn't hurting the books! I was just-- I was!-- I was…" Her mind was in jumbles but she dared not look up while willing herself to think up a believable excuse as to why she had been slapping the book against her forehead.
"Quite honestly, I think in the long run, that book would have done more damage to you, than you to it, Evans." said a voice which definitely did not belong to Madam Pince. She watched as two large hands took the book away from her and Lily trailed her eyes upward until she was staring at the grinning face of James Potter.
"Oh, James, it's just you." Lily said relieved, so relieved in fact that she didn't realize she had called him by his first name. "I thought it was…never mind-- was there something particular you wanted?"
"Not really…I just came over to see if you needed a hand." He said, flashing her a lopsided grin as he held an outstretched hand to help her up.
Lily smiled back, oddly dazed before taking his offered hand, surprised by the pleasant tingling feeling she felt pass up her arm as she took it.
James pulled Lily to a standing position easily, though still not letting go of her.
"A-are you sure there's not anything I can help you find?" Lily asked, willing herself not to blush as she noticed her hand was still encompassed by his slightly larger one.
"No, but thanks anyway." James replied.
"Alright-- I, um, better get back to work then…bye." Lily said, turning to walk away and expecting her hand to tug out of his grip.
She was surprised when she felt his grip tighten slightly, preventing her from going anywhere, and Lily looked up at him again.
James gave a fleeting glance down to where his hand was perfectly clasped with hers, and then, looking straight into her eyes, he spoke.
"Go out with me, Lily?" he asked quietly, almost shyly.
The sound of her name was foreign to her ears, but Lily marveled at the fact that while James had never referred to her as anything but 'Evans', her name tumbling from his lips made it sound like he had always said it.
And almost as if it had happened automatically, Lily heard herself speak a single word before she even had time to think about his question.
James nodded, looking a bit sad, though Lily couldn't understand why.
"I understand," He said. "Maybe some other time, yeah?"
"James, what are you talking about? I said 'okay.'" One look at James' face, told Lily he was till slightly bemused. "I mean…yes, I'll go out with you, James Potter."
"Y-you said yes?" James asked, bemused.
"I said yes." Lily confirmed, chuckling slightly.
"Really?" James asked, still unable to believe it was true.
Lily smiled before she walked up to him and slowly rose on her tip toes.
"Really." She whispered in his ear, before moving to kiss him on the cheek.
James however must have had other plans, because at that precise moment, he turned his head and Lily found her mouth missing his aimed for cheek and meeting his lips instead.
James could almost feel the shock reverberating from Lily into his own body, but what shocked him most, was the fact that she didn't pull away and instead, steadied herself by putting a hand on his shoulder.
He snaked his arms rather hesitantly around Lily's waist, hearing her sigh as he pulled her lips more fully onto his own and then--
"What do you two think you're doing?!"
A sharp voice from behind, caused Lily and James to jump apart quickly and they turned to see the rather frightening sight of Madam Pince glowering behind the.
"This is a LIBRARY not a bleeding BROOM CUBBOARD and I will NOT tolerate this around my precious books!"
Lily winced at Madam Pince's words.
"You, Potter! Out! Out!" Madam Pince said, pointing her wand at a pair of books that followed James behind him, snapping at his heels and occasionally rapping him on the head.
"Pick me up at ten, James!" Lily called, grinning as she watched a rather happy James make his way hurriedly down the aisle, the books following him every step of the way.
"And YOU!" Madam Pince said, rounding on Lily. "Back to work-- I certainly did not hire you to give out snogging lessons in the stacks!"
At any other time, the sound of Madam Pinces' furious clucks would have left Lily with the fleeting feeling of cowering in the corner, but she had just kissed James Potter and it was rather hard to concentrate on anything else at the moment.
Instead, she just nodded at the rather ruffled Hogwarts Librarian before wheeling her rickety cart away, unable to suppress the grin that would not vanish from her face.
So a bit different from the stuff I normally write, primarily because I usually steer clear of one-shots, but more importantly because I don't usually write stories primarily using internal dialogue but I hope you enjoyed this all the same. Something slightly fluffy as compensation for nothing happening between Lily and James in Chapter 14 of That Summer.
Take care and I'll see you all again when the next TS chapter goes up!