One Word Can Change Everything

A/N: A random Lily/James one-shot.

"No, Potter."

James Potter just smiled and stared at her, and Lily rolled her eyes.

"Potter, you idiot, I've been saying no to you every single god damn day since fourth year. Including today, I must've said no like a thousand times!"

"Six hundred and fifty seven, actually."

"You're counting?" Lily asked.

"Of course. This is entertainment: Operation Nag Lily Until She Caves."

"You've dated basically every other girl in our year, even the Slytherins, and probably slept with half of them-"

"-if only-"

"And you want me?"

"You're the challenge."

Lily stared at him in shock. Then she just raised her hand and smacked him. He backed a few steps away from her backhand and stared.

"That's new-"

"I'm ENTERTAINMENT? What, not even human?"

"No, I swear I didn't mean it like that!"

"Oh, then what did you mean?"


"What? That I'm just some sort of prize for you? That I'm just some sort of…slut like those other girls you've shagged?"

"I didn't shag-"

"What? All of them? No, you only shagged the easy ones, you've shagged-"

"None of them!" James cried out.

"Look, Potter, I don't care about this stupid little game, all right?"

"It's not a game. I actually care about you," James said.

"You just said I was only a game," Lily challenge, raising and eyebrow and crossing her arms over her chest.

"I was…it was…I was just-"

"Shut your mouth, you little bastard. We both know that there are a bunch of lies in there, somewhere," Lily said. "Look, you know what? I don't give a damn about you, and in fact I want you to die." Lily turned on her heel and walked away, and out of the great double doors.

She made it to the tree before she heard James calling her name.


"Look, I'm sorry, all right?" he asked. She groaned and turned away from him to lean against the tree. She took off her robe and jumper so that she was only in her tee shirt.

"Potter, you don't mean it. You don't mean it – you're just trying to 'get me to cave'."

"Evans, I really am, I swear."

"No, you're not. You just want me to shag me, then dump me like every other girl you've dated."


"Evans. That's Evans to you."

"Fine then, Evans. I don't want you just for a shag-"

"You don't want me at all. After all, I'm just entertainment, remember?"

She turned to face him and frowned at him as he was taking off the robe.

"You're sweating."

"Why do you care?" He asked, taking off the robe and leaving on the jumper. "I'm fine. Look, I swear, I don't just want you for a one-night stand or anything. What I'm saying is just that it's kinda fun trying. Like I said, you're a challenge, but it's not just a game."

"Oh, just leave me the bloody hell alone!"

"Good-goody two shoes not watching her mouth?"

"You're taking the mickey out of me now?"

"Fine, I'll shut it. Look I just-"

"Potter, take that off."

"I thought you didn't want to shag me?"

"You're sweating. Either you have a fever or you're going to pass out."

"Once again, why do you care?"

"One, I am the one that would have to deal with it when I don't want to, and two, I'm going to be a Healer. I think about these things."

"Look, I'm fine." He paused, and she took the chance.

"Then get the hell out of my face, you little son-of-a-bitch."

"Leave my mother out of this."

"Wow, you actually care about your mother. What, does she make cookies when you come home or something? Oh, I know: she makes you a wiwwle-bubble bath!" She said the last part in a baby voice.

"She hasn't done either of those since I was ten, you little bitch."

Lily, though she realized this was the first time James had actually insulted her, without teasing, and that this was the first time he had ever called her a bitch, period, but she didn't really care.

"What, she hated you so much she stopped? Or she hated you so much that she just left? Or she-"

"She's dead." Lily stopped to stare at him, and he was glaring at her, but with a rather blank look. He looked out into the forest, and stared out over the trees. She followed his eyesight, but saw nothing.

"What are you looking at, Potter?"


Lily stared.

"There are six of them flying right now. And I've always seen them pull the carriages."

Lily opened her mouth, but he answered the question for her.

"That scar you saw on my arm four years ago? That was from the same Death Eater attack. She died of too much Crucio."

Lily just shook her head.

"Look, I'm sorry, but don't expect sympathy from me. If she's been dead for the last eight years, you aren't a different person than all I've ever known you as."

"I don't expect it," he said.

"Why do I have trouble believing that you saw her tortured to death? Probably just sick or something…"

He slowly shook his head.

"I'm wondering why I went after you in the first place."

"So are you going to leave me alone?"

"No. I'm going to forget you."

With that he turned and left.

Lily sighed and just smiled as she turned back to watch over the lake.

After a little bit more of fresh air, she gathered up her loose clothing and put them in her bag before heading to her common room.

She wasn't entirely looking forward to going back, now that she shared a common room with James….no, Potter.

But she had to. Besides, she had Potions homework to look through, and Potions was her specialty. Hell, she had like twenty healing potions in her room she made out of boredom.

But when she got to the common room, she found James's robe, jumper, and bag in an armchair, and a photo-album on the coffee table…lying open.

She sat down and gingerly picked it up to look at it.

James with his mum and dad, flying…when he was four.

James with his mum, baking, age eight.

James with his mum and dad, Mr. Potter laughing and Mrs. Potter wiping a bunch of cake off of James's face, age six.

James with his parents again, eating dinner, age nine.

James with his mother, him riding in front of her on a broom, age nine. But that was also the last picture.

Her head snapped up when she heard a crash from upstairs…from James's room.

She ran up the stairs and turned towards James's room, which was locked.

"Potter! Open this door!"

No response.

"Potter! I know you're there!"

Still nothing.

Lily pointed her wand at the door and used every spell she knew, and soon it unlocked itself.

But she stopped in the doorway. What if it was nothing that he was ignoring her?

"So are you going to leave me alone?"

"No. I'm going to forget you."

What if it was nothing?

But she heard a large thud and something like crunching…crunching glass…and she opened it anyway.

"Potter?" she asked gently, going towards where she heard the sound. She glanced around the room, expecting to find half a joke-shop stored in there, and was surprised. There were books of charms, spells, and Potions and a lot of Potions ingredients all around, along with the desk looking like someone actually used it.

Lily then blinked and remembered why she came up here.

But she gasped when she saw him in the bathroom.

There mirror was cracked and broken, most of it in pieces on the floor. There was a pocketknife on the counter, covered in blood, and there were cuts all over his arms…and straight cuts, as well…and so many old scars…and there were shards of glass imbedded into his arms, fist, and hand.

She stared in shock and ran to him.


But she realized he was unconscious. Blood loss.

She pulled out her wand from her robe pocket and pointed it at the blood around him, and slowly it vanished. She tried to vanish the glass, but realized that it was in too deep to just vanish it, so she just had to pull most of it out.

Lily realized he was still bleeding, so she quickly laid him out evenly and cast a few spells to slow it down, before she ran back out to run to her room and grab a few potions.

But she saw that one of the things she needed, Blood Clotter, something to heal open cuts, was already on his desk.

She could already guess why he had it, so she grabbed it and ran back in.

"Potter, you idiot…how could you…do something this stupid…why would you…" she spread the balm over all his arms, and even tore off his shirt to reveal the scarred, but muscular, chest underneath, and she vanished the blood from there, too, before spreading the balm there, too.

She realized how much blood he had just lost and got up to run to her room. She grabbed the Blood Replenishing Potion and a General Open Wound Healer and a more stable Blood Clotter and ran back into James's bathroom.

Lily quickly spread the General Healers over just about everywhere on his torso and used the blood clotter where need, and poured as much Blood Replenisher as she could down his throat.

Finally she sighed when she knew he was going to be all right.

How long has this been going on? She wondered. She pulled out her wand and pointed it at the oldest looking scar on his arm and did a Medical History spell.

That scar is a YEAR old?

She then realized there were many more, and much larger ones, crisscrossing over his chest, and probably his back. She levitated him out of there, and onto his bed, and tried the same spell on his scars…those were years old. Some were a little wider than others, and there were the ones on his arms.

She sighed and Summoned her book and homework from her room. She couldn't leave him for now.

She spent nearly an hour on that homework, looking up to check on him every now and then….okay, every ten seconds.

Finally, James's head started moving, and he stirred. She hastily set the book aside before having her wand out, ready just in case.

James groaned, and Lily grabbed his hand without thinking.

"Come on, Potter, wake the bloody hell up…"

He slowly opened his eyes to look at her.



"What are you doing here?" He asked.

"Trying to keep you alive, that's what!"

"I thought you didn't care," he mumbled.

"I don't," she said, smiling. "I actually thought I lost you there, for a little while."

"Wasn't that what you wanted?"

Lily shut her eyes, and opened them with hopefully an apologetic look in her eyes.

"Potter…how long have you been doing this to yourself, huh?"

"Once again – why do you care?"

"Because I do. No answer me."

She saw him trying to muster up defenses on his face, but failing. She knew she had him trapped.

"For fours years, you've been saying no. For the second half of that…there used to be one-scar for every broken heart."

Lily just stared at his arms in shock. She hoped to dear god he wasn't blaming her for this, but she knew he was.

"I'm so sorry," Lily said. "I didn't think that you actually cared."

"No one ever does. After all, I'm James Potter, right? Bloody James Potter, Quidditch star, permanently carefree, prankster, always happy!" He muttered bitterly. "You're not the only one around here who has to go around pretending to be perfect."

His eyes started trailing down, and landed on his hands.

"Evans…you're still holding my hands." Lily blushed and quickly let go.


"It's all right." Lily looked back up, and grabbed a tee shirt for him. "It was fine."

She nodded.

"Where did the scars on your chest come from? The thin ones?"

"They came from the attack."

"And the other ones?"



"Quidditch and idiocy in the forest and backfiring pranks."

"No it's not. You wouldn't have taken so long to answer."

"Sorry…just a little dizzy…but I'm fine now." But he tried to stand, and found he couldn't, too dizzy, and sat right back down.

"Sure, you are. Now where?"

"I already told you!" Lily just stared at him, and he faltered.

"Why do you care?"

"Because I do. Now answer me!" James blinked slowly and looked down at his feet, and started fidlling with teh hem of the shirt. In his state, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't lie to anyone.

"M-m…my dad…when he gets drunk…sometimes gets a little physical…"

She gasped at him, and James looked away.

"That's why I don't tell people – pity. It's the worst thing in the world."

"How long?"

"Why do you care?"

"How long?"


"How long?"

James sighed.

"Since he became an alcoholic, that's when!"

"And when was that?"

"…since my mum died. Since I was stupid enough to run off in the street and into an alley and she chased me into it, and she died from it…from that blasted attack...all because of me..."

His shoulders shook, and she knew he was suppressing sobs.

"James…" she gently wrapped her arm around his shoulder, but he jerked away.

"Evans...just go away, all right? Thanks, but I'm fine."

"Then why won't you look at me?"

But she saw when he barely turned his face to glare at her. She saw the years of hidden pain in his eyes, and she saw the silent tears on his cheeks.

"James…I'm so sorry…I really am…I just…" she sighed. "Why would you do something like this? You're in enough pain…why more?"

"It's when I'm myself…free…the sight of blood's a high…"

She slowly shook her head.

"Do you realize, Potter, that I've probably learned more about you in the last three and a half hours that I have in twice that many years?"


"Why do you try to live a hidden life like this?"

"It's the only way to protect myself."

She paused.



"Ask me out again."


"Ask. Me. Out. Again."

"Why should I?"

"Why shouldn't you?"

He paused.

"Lily Evans…will you go out with me this weekend?"

She looked directly in his eyes, filled with laughter and sorrow, pain and joy, and years of pressure and hidden emotions leaking out tear by tear.


A/N: Okay, well, there it is! Really jumpy and sudden, but year. Random one-shot. Anyway, review this, because I published this on MY FOURTEENTH BIRTHDAY! So please, review – best b-day present from you guys, ever!