"Ah come on, Lily, why do you keep up this charade that you still hate me?!" James called after a storming Lily.
They had recently become head students together and James was trying to show her that he had matured. For years, James had chased Lily and constantly asked her out, while he pranked, hexed and bullied other students (mainly Slytherins). Lily had always detested the way he would pick on people less talented than him, he would always make fun of them instead of helping them. That had all changed, they were 3 months into the year and James hadn't hexed or pranked anyone. Well, he had pulled a prank but it was a harmless one even Lily saw that.
"I don't hate you Potter. I never hated you," said Lily, spinning round to find him jogging to catch up with her.
"You didn't?" asked James, the surprise evident on his face.
"No, not really. I hated when you bullied people, but I didn't believe you were a bad person," said Lily honestly.
"Then why wouldn't you go out with me?" said James bluntly.
"Because you were an arrogant prat, because you expected me to go out with you, just because you thought you were God's gift to women."
"Oh… that is fair enough, I guess," said James thoughtfully.
"And just because you seem to have grown up a bit does not mean that I will go out with you now," said Lily firmly.
"Did I ask you to go out with me?" said James, quite harshly.
"No… I… I just meant…" said Lily, taken aback that James had snapped at her. He never snapped at her.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to snap at you," said James, quickly backtracking. He really hadn't meant to say it that way.
"That's okay, I was insensitive," said Lily. "We have to work together. I don't know about you, but I don't find you that awful to be around, so I'd like it if we could be friends."
"I'd like that too," said James genuinely. "But on one condition."
"What? And it better not be something perverted like one shag and we're friends for life," Lily retorted.
"Miss Evans, I am appalled," gasped James, holding his hand to his chest.
Lily just burst out laughing at his over-the-top reaction. "Alright then, Potter, what is the condition?"
"Stop calling me Potter," James asked, smiling. "Call me James like everyone else does."
"Alright then… James."
"Alright then… Lily."
"Why are you laughing? Megan Loposki nearly molesting me is not funny!" yelped James, although he couldn't help but smile a little, Lily's laughter was infectious.
"It is hilarious that a girl could overpower you enough to get you into the chair in the first place," laughed Lily. James had just finished telling her about his traumatic experience that day with the 'slightly large' Hufflepuff that had a crush on him.
"Of course she could overpower me, she is twice my size. I swear she was about to give me a lap dance if Slughorn hadn't walked in," said James, visibly shuddering at the mere memory.
"I would have paid good money to see that," Lily giggled.
"Well that is lovely, some friend you are," said James, crossing his arms and pretending to be in a huff.
"Oh come on Jamesie, there is no need to go in a strop," said Lily teasingly.
"I think there is, I am traumatized," pouted James.
"Aw… you poor dear," said Lily, patting his head.
"Finally a little sympathy," shrieked James, flinging his hands up the air dramatically, accidentally on purpose flicking Lily's hair up in the air.
"Oh that's it Potter," said Lily dangerously, then she launched herself at him and tickling him.
"When are they going to finally get together?" Sirius asked Remus for the thousandth time as he watching Lily and James laughing and playing on the floor together.
"Why does my favorite redhead look like she is about to slit her wrists?" asked James charmingly.
It was a Hogsmade weekend, Lily was in the Three Broomsticks her date had just gone to the bathroom and James had come over.
"I don't know what you mean," said Lily monotonously.
"Sure you don't. So what's up?" asked James, sitting down on the seat opposite Lily.
"Darren will be back any minute," hissed Lily.
"Do you care?" asked James, raising an eyebrow at her.
"No, this is the longest afternoon of my life," Lily confessed.
James threw his head back and laughed. "I knew it, you're just trying to fight your feelings for me." He meant it in a joking way, but then he saw Lily look away and blush. He had hit the nail on the head without even meaning to. She liked him, he liked liked him. He never thought he would see the day.
"In your dreams."
"I told you before Lily, you are always in my dreams in your suspender…"
"Don't you dare finish that sentence," Lily warned, blushing crimson.
"Lets get out of here," grinned James. He loved making her blush, it was adorable.
"I'm on a date."
"So… you said yourself you're bored and you don't really like the guy. So come with me, I'm sure we can find something fun to do," said James suggestively.
"You have a one track mind," laughed Lily nervously.
"Oh come on, Sirius, Remus and even Peter, they all have dates. Lily I'm lonely, come with me," whined James.
"Oh alright, but we better make it quick I think I see Darren," giggled Lily. Yes, she giggled like an airhead but she didn't care.
"Hurry up then," beamed James, grabbing her hand and making a run for the door.
LATER THAT AFTERNOON
"That was so much fun," said Lily as she and James walked back into Hogwarts. They had spent the afternoon shopping and James found that shopping was actually bearable with Lily.
"Yeah, who knew shopping wouldn't bore me to tears," said James. "You barely even bought anything."
"I got earrings and shoes to match my new outfit," said Lily, "and thank you for being such a gentleman and carrying my bags."
"You are most welcome," said James with a big grin.
"What are you doing up?" Lily asked.
It was a week until they left Hogwarts, it was 4am and Lily couldn't sleep. She had gone down to the common room and found James sitting on the sofa staring at the dying fire in front of him.
"Couldn't sleep," said James. He didn't even need to look up to know it was Lily, he could sense her.
"Me neither," said Lily, sitting down next to James.
"I just can't believe that in a week… we're never going to come back here," said James.
"I know it'll be so weird, being out in the real world," said Lily, leaning down slightly so that her back was pressed against James' chest.
"You cold?" he asked, pulling his arms round her.
"Yeah," said Lily. He didn't have to know how infatuated she was with him.
"We're still going to be friends aren't we?" said James quietly.
"I mean it, Lily. You are one my best friends now, and I don't like the idea of not seeing you everyday."
"Me neither," said Lily. The thought that she might lose him just occurring to her. "I'll miss you. Promise me we'll keep in touch no matter what."
"I promise," said James. "We should go to bed… separately I mean."
"Okay," said Lily sadly, she was enjoying lying there in his arms. But still not saying anything to him about how she felt, she got up and followed James to the stairs.
"James, wait," said Lily, grabbing his arm as he was about to walk away.
Lily pulled him to her and pressed her lips against hers. She didn't know what came over her, just that she couldn't leave Hogwarts without getting to kiss him at least once. Lily pulled away when she realised he wasn't kissing back, he didn't like her that way anymore. She had missed her chance.
"I… I'm sorry, forget I did that," she mumbled, turning to run up the stairs. But she didn't even make it one, James had pulled her back down in front of him.
"It's not a game anymore, not for me. Don't do that if it's a game… I'd much rather have you as my best friend than have you as the woman that broke my heart," said James, staring intently at her.
Lily knew by the look in his eyes that he loved her, and he was terrified of losing her and getting hurt.
"It's not a game to me either James, I… I think… no I know… I mean…" babbled Lily, not being able to break eye contact with him.
"What is it?" asked James desperately as he cupped her cheek with his hand.
"I love you."