Author's Note: So, hi. This is the first time I've uploaded anything on here in years. This story is so old. It originally just started as a one-shot, but I liked it so much I decided to expand it into a full-length story. I had four chapters written when I stopped writing for a long while. I've always wanted to continue it though. The story of James and Lily is still one of my favorites in the Harry Potter universe. So, here's my take on it.
Only the first couple of chapters of this newly updated version, which take place at a wedding, are fairly similar to the original story I wrote. Even they've been revised quite a bit, though. Most notably, I've broken up the wedding into two chapters as it was super long as one. So, if anyone somehow remembers what the original four chapters were like, don't expect them to be the same now.
I'm posting four chapters tonight, and plan to have more up soon. Anyway, hope someone out there likes this!
It all started the summer before Lily Evans and James Potter's seventh year. Remus Lupin came down with a bad case of the dragon pox on the 6th of July. Oddly enough, the 6th of July was also the day Lily's sister Petunia was to be married. Remus Lupin was Lily's date to Petunia's wedding and because of the dragon pox, could not attend. And who else should take his place and escort the lovely Lily but Remus' very good friend James Potter?
Or possibly fate?
Whatever it was, it changed everything.
"What are you doing here?"
Lily Evans stood, frazzled and edgy, grasping the edge of the front door, waiting for what had better be a very good explanation as to why James Potter was at her house, looking rather pleased with himself. This wasn't the time to deal with James Potter... Lily should have known something like this would happen. The boy in front of her somehow always showed up at the worst possible time.
Her first kiss, for example ... well, her almost first kiss. They never actually got around to the kissing part because of Potter's bad timing. Just as Jeremy Howard (a nice, yet slightly dim, Hufflepuff who had an unhealthy obsession with quidditch) was leaning in, Potter happened to call her name. She'd jumped in surprise and accidentally raised her hand and hit him in the nose. She spent a half hour sitting next to Jeremy on a hospital wing bed, apologizing while Madam Pomfrey gave him a potion that smelled just as bad as it looked. Jeremy still unconsciously touched his nose whenever they happened to run into each other.
"Can't a bloke just stop by for a visit?" James asked, grinning as Lily pulled him inside and closed the door. "Woah! Evans, you're stronger than you look."
"Get in! Did anyone see you apparate here?" asked Lily, peering cautiously out one of the windows in the entry hall.
"Didn't see a soul." James glanced around the entry hall, hands in his pockets. His hazel eyes finally landed on Lily. "Nice dress," he said with a playful grin.
Lily unconsciously smoothed the front of her dress. "Yes, well. Thanks. Now, again - why are you here?"
"Well, I - "
Lily's father, a tall, thin man with a frazzled head of red hair, interrupted him. He entered the hall, looking at a piece of paper. "Lily, was that the florist? Your mother said they would - Oh. Hello there." The man said in surprise as he spotted James. "And who might you be? Is this that Remus fellow, m'dear?"
Lily opened her mouth, but it was James' turn to interrupt. "No, sir. The name's James Potter, sir. I'm a friend of Remus'. And sometimes even a friend of Lily's." He added with a wink in her direction. Lily rolled her eyes. "It's nice to meet you."
"Ah," her father started. "Potter… Potter, hmm. Sounds familiar." He paused, raking through his memory for this apparent familiarity.
"Ahem," Lily interrupted this time. She might have mentioned James a few times at home through the years in a less than flattering way. "Yes, this is James Potter. He goes to school with me."
"Well, that is excellent. I always enjoy meeting one of Lily's little magical friends," her father said enthusiastically. "What might you be doing here, James?"
"Yes, what are you doing here, James?" Lily asked impatiently.
James looked between the two redheads and paused. Lily could tell she would not like what he had to say next.
"Ah, right. I'm afraid Remus won't be able to make it today."
"Remus isn't coming?" Lily exclaimed. This was not happening. This was NOT happening AN HOUR before her sister's wedding! She had tried so hard to keep on Petunia's good side for this wedding. Having her "plus one" not show up would not make Petunia happy. She had explained for the last six months that the caterer was very expensive - no shows would be such a waste of money and ruin the reception seating chart.
Of course, Petunia would think she somehow plotted to ruin the wedding now. Everything always seemed to be Lily's fault.
Oh look! It's raining! And I wanted to go on a picnic with Vernon too!
Oh look! Some blasted cat's in the garbage!
Oh look! My pencil broke!
Oh look! I lost my purse!
Oh look! I have a massive angry, red pimple on my face!
Lily's fault ... well, Lily meant to do that. Petunia was just asking for it.
She took a deep breath and smiled weakly to her father.
"Dad, excuse us." She pulled James down the hall to her room. Shutting the door, she leaned against it and took a deep breath.
James stood in the middle of the room, taking it in. "Really, Evans, I'm hurt you kept your sister's wedding a secret from me. What, did you think I'd drop in and strike chaos?" He moved to a music box on her dresser, his finger tracing along the edges of it.
Lily scoffed. "I didn't keep the wedding a secret from you. I simply did not tell you. It's not like we talk about our comings and goings very often, Potter."
"That's true. We should really fix that, don't you think?" James asked, ponderously. Music filled the room as he opened the box. The tune abruptly stopped as Lily moved to his side to shut it.
"What's happened to Remus?"
"Well, your wonderful Remus - who, by the way, didn't bother to tell me about the wedding either, or the fact that he was your date - came down with a bad case of the dragon pox last night. He looks quite terrible. Doubt he'd look decent for the wedding, even if he could manage getting out of bed. Scare the willies out of all the wedding guests, most likely." He peeked inside one of her jewelry boxes and took out a bracelet.
"Potter, quit nosing through my things," Lily scolded, pulling the bracelet from his hands. James never seemed to understand boundaries around her. Or, he just liked to mess with her. Probably the latter.
Lily slumped down on the edge of her bed. She breathed out slowly and closed her eyes. Just breathe, Lily.
This wedding was the bain of her existence. She had been trying to help Petunia with the wedding since the announcement was made, but her sister made every attempt to reject her assistance. It was a miracle that their mother convinced Petunia to let Lily be a bride's maid. It was decidedly last minute, as Lily was mechanically informed by Petunia last week of her position in the wedding party. Their mother stood between them, holding each of their hands. She smiled hopefully, if not naively, between the two sisters. Lily forced a smile, while Petunia tried to hold back complete disdain for her mother's sake.
Lily almost wished she wasn't a part of this wedding party. Maybe then she wouldn't have had to spend so much time as of late with Petunia's stuffy fiancé Vernon and his snobby parents and sister. Or maybe she wouldn't have gotten up at five this morning to help set up everything at the church, or swing by and get the happy couple's ugly wedding cake. She was sorry to say the two little figurines on top of the cake that supposedly represented the bride and groom, did not represent them well at all. The groom was too slim to be Vernon. The bride was too plump to be Petunia. After everything she did this morning, Petunia still would not be appeased. That was why she was getting ready at the house, rather than at the church with Petunia.
Lily absently tried to remember the last time she and her sister had a happy exchange. She was unsuccessful.
"Don't we have a wedding to get to?"
Lily's eyes opened slowly and she jumped slightly at seeing James standing directly in front of her.
"What's the point?" she moaned, hiding her face in her hands. "I don't want to go, Petunia doesn't want me to go, this dress is so tight I can hardly breath, and oh, is it rather obvious I don't have a date? I checked 'plus one' on the invitation. If I don't come with a 'plus one', Petunia will 'minus one' me."
"Well, I don't know how to help you with not wanting to go, or about your sister not wanting you to go, or your dress being too tight - unless you'd like me to take it off, of course -" He suggested with a wink. Lily promptly kicked him in the knee. "- But as to not having a date, I don't know what your talking about. Of course you have an date."
A glimmer of hope passed through Lily's mind. She looked around for this mysterious date she had. Because she was sure James just said she had a date. Which could only mean that A) Remus was going to pop up soon and say "Ha, ha! Got you!" or B) James knew of a decent replacement date hanging around somewhere.
"Who?" She asked with confusion.
"Who?" James imitated, watching her with amusement. "Me, of course."
Lily jaw dropped and she sat up straighter, James backing away slightly. She carefully studied the boy standing in front of her, wondering what exactly he was getting at here. He looked serious enough, except for that dumb grin plastered all over his face.
"What do you mean, you? You're not my date!"
"Yes I am! Remus asked me to take his place." He held up his hands at Lily's raised eyebrow, "Really, he did."
Lily bit her lip and stared out the window at a bird flying around. Oh how she would love to be a bird, free to fly anywhere she liked, do what she wanted, and not have hateful sisters or silly boys who happen to think they were her replacement date. She glared as it twittered happily and swooped out of sight. Ruddy bird, thinks its so high and mighty.
It wasn't like she had any choice in the matter now, she thought, drumming her fingers against the mattress. James Potter was the only option this late in the game.
Lily resignedly stood up. "Okay. Well, thank you for coming at the last minute," she said, then quickly went on, "But, you have to agree to not make a complete disaster out of this, do you hear me? No funny business. No blowing up cakes or dresses, or enchanting bushes to sing, or -" She felt like a mother telling her child to keep out of the cookie jar.
James rolled his eyes. "Okay, okay. Contrary to what you think, I do know how act in public. Blowing up stuff happens to be more fun."
"Yes, yes, I know of your love for chaos. I need to finish getting ready so we can head over to the church and - Wait! You can't go to a wedding wearing those." She exclaimed, gesturing towards James' casual jeans and T-shirt.
"What, clothes? Do muggles go naked at weddings? Merlin, and I thought they couldn't get any weirder."
"They do not go naked." Lily said with exasperation. "What I meant was you can't go in casual clothes. It's formal. Suit and tie."
"You mean robes?"
"No, just a suit and tie."
"Er, no problem. I'll just transfigure these." He pulled out his wand and pointed them at his clothes.
Lily sighed and moved towards her full-length mirror, trying to figure out what to do with her hair, all the while watching James in the mirror to make sure he didn't start nosing around again.
Hmmm. A simple twist? Or a bun? Maybe she should just leave it down - no, it was warm out, she didn't want a mound of hair smothering her all day - the church did not have muggle air conditioning. Of course, the reception would be outside, at night. It would probably cool off by then -
She noticed something in the mirror.
"James, no. Absolutely not."
Lily's arms crossed over her chest as she tried to hold back a laugh.
James grinned and flicked his newly transfigured tie at her. "What? Suit and tie, right?"
"Yes, but no miniature lions running around on the tie roaring 'Go Gryffindor!' The muggles would be scared to death."
She grabbed her wand off the bed and walked to James, taking the tie in her hand. It soon was a simple deep red. No lions whatsoever.
"Good. Now, don't turn it back," she commanded.
She felt James step closer and slowly take the tie from her hands. "Okay, Lily," he agreed, his voice abruptly sincere for such a small request.
Lily tilted her head to look up at the boy. Her green eyes met his hazels and she wondered at this odd turn of events. James Potter, a conceited, overly persistent schoolmate who knew very little about her life outside of Hogwarts, had abruptly turned up at her house, met her father, and was now standing in the bedroom she spent her entire muggle life. But James Potter was not a part of her muggle life. Dumbledore himself might as well appear in her room. She wasn't sure how she felt about this new connection between them.
There was a knock at the door. "Lily, are you almost ready? Petunia just called saying she forgot her bouquet. She's crying and blubbering about not having it. I think we need to leave soon, or else your sister's going to have a meltdown."
The two jumped apart. If Lily hadn't taken such an interest in picking at invisible lent on her dress, she would have noticed a faint reddening of James cheeks. If Lily's father noticed anything unusual, he wisely said nothing.
"Oh dad! Hi." Her voice was rather high. Perhaps that was why James and her father were looking at her oddly?
"Er, hello Lily. I haven't seen you in ... ten minutes."
Lily gave a short, forced laugh. "Ha! Ha. You're right though, we should get that bouquet to Petunia. Definitely."
"Go down the hall, to the left, and the bathroom's the third door on the right." Lily gave James a distracted pat on the back and he soon was off to the bathroom.
"We couldn't've just apparate here, could we?" He muttered miserably, holding his stomach as he headed down the hall. His face was a rather off-shade green. "No, we had to take that muggle contraption you call an automodel..."
"Automobile," Lily corrected as she headed in the opposite direction, towards Petunia's dressing room. They made it to the church a bit late because James was reluctant to get in the car. He'd never ridden in one before. So, when she explained to him that her father would be driving them to the church, James asked why they couldn't just apparate. Her father asked how apparation worked, which made Lily curse James inwardly. She loved explaining magic to her parents, but now was not the time. Finally, after essentially pushing James into the car and locking the doors, they headed to the church.
"Whatever," she heard him mumble. Apparently, he was carsick. Honestly, did that boy not pay attention at all in Muggle Studies last year? There was a whole section taught about cars. Now that Lily thought about it, of course James wasn't paying attention. He and Sirius spent the whole class either ogling Professor Sondra or whispering about quidditch tactics.
Lily held her hand up to knock on Petunia's dressing room door, but stopped at the sound of screeching. It was very familiar screeching.
"-WHAT IS THIS? THOSE AREN'T THE SHOES I PICKED OUT FOR YOU! I'M THE BRIDE! NOT YOU! THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING! DO YOU WANT THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF MY LIFE TO BE RUINED? BECAUSE IF YOU DO-"
... and here comes the tears.
The door suddenly burst open and Marian, Petunia's snooty Maid of Honor, ran past her, sobbing. Lily watched her with exasperation. People were way too emotional at weddings. Or, at least, they were at Petunia's wedding. She shook her head and walked into the dressing room cautiously.
"Petunia, here's your -"
"LILY! WHERE IS MY BOUQUET? I CAN'T WALK DOWN THE AISLE WITHOUT A BOUQUET! YOU ALWAYS RUIN EVERYTHING! I DON'T KNOW HOW I LET MOTHER TALK ME INTO MAKING YOU A BRIDE'S MAID!"
"Your bouquet is right here! Merlin..."
"DON'T YOU BRING UP THAT FREAKISH NAME - I mean, er," Petunia smiled painfully as she glanced over at her other bridesmaid, "Just be quiet. I need peace right now. And WHERE did Marian go?" Petunia sniffled and promptly burst into tears. "MY DAY IS RUINED! I'M WITHOUT MY MAID OF HONOR AND I CAN'T FIND MY EARRINGS AND-"
"Here's you earrings, Pet."
Everyone gave a sigh of relief as Lily and Petunia's mother walked in and handed the earrings to Petunia. "They were in the car. They must have slipped between the seat - oh, Lily, there you are. We were beginning to worry you and your father wouldn't get here."
She gave Petunia a look.
"Weren't we, Petunia?"
Petunia didn't say anything, only took the earrings and began putting them on.
"Yes, well, my date came down with a cold -"
"Your date is not coming?" Petunia asked in panic. "I told you don't check 'plus one' unless you knew your guest is coming. You did this on purpose. Mother, Lily did this on purpose to ruin my day -"
Their mother laid a soothing arm around Petunia's shoulder. "Now, now, Pet, you know things happen. Your sister did not do this on purpose."
"Yes, and besides," Lily added quickly, "James Potter showed up at Remus' request, so I still have a guest and your seating plan will go on as it should."
"Potter…" Petunia muttered absently. She suddenly went rigid. Growing up with Lily, she had heard her sister mention that name before. "I thought I told you not to bring anyone from your… school, Lily." Petunia stated icily. There was panic in her eyes. Now there were two freaks here. Her wedding was turning out to be a disaster.
"Well, everyone else was busy."
Actually, Lily didn't know too many muggles because, after all, she was at Hogwarts just about all the time. She didn't really have friends outside of the magical world.
Petunia's eyes narrowed further. They flickered to Lily's hair. "And your hair isn't up."
Lily held back a scoff as she touched her curled hair. Her sister was determined to point out all of her faults. "We wanted to get your bouquet to you. I didn't have time to do much else."
"Speaking of hair, why don't I help you do yours, Pet? I haven't done your hair since you were a little girl," their mother cut in before Petunia could say more.
Lily saw this as a chance to get out, "Mother, I think I'll go find Marian. She looked a little, er, upset when she left." Other then finding Marian, Lily supposed she had ought to find James as well. Can't leave him unsupervised for too long...
"Good idea, Lily. Now, how would you like your hair?"
"Petunia's looking for you," she said as she passed Marian in the hallway. Marian gave her a short nod and continued on without a word.
"You're welcome," Lily muttered cheerfully. She heard Marian knock on Petunia's door. Soon after there was a burst of chatter and laughter. Things were settling down in Petunia's dressing room ... for now. The monster was tamed; her mother was doing her hair, no freakish sister in close proximity, and all of her bridal party was accounted for.
After following her own directions, Lily made it to the men's bathroom and knocked. "James? James, are you all right?"
Vernon's new boss from Grunning's greeted her. He was a plain man, who always looked constipated.
"Oh! Hello, Mr. Madison..."
"Would you happen to know if there was a boy in there? About seventeen-years-old, tall and lanky? Messy dark hair? Glasses? Possibly vomiting?"
He grunted again. Lily supposed that was a yes.
"Oh, good! Is he still in there?"
A grunt. That was most definitely a no. She was sure of it.
"Oh, okay. Thank you, Mr. Madison."
As soon as she turned her back to him, Lily's previous polite smile vanished and she anxiously began looking in all of the rooms down the hallway.
"Where are you, Potter? I don't have time to go on a wild goose chase. The ceremony's going to be starting soon!"
Meanwhile, James was sitting in a seat on the groom's side. Of course, he didn't know Petunia's family and friends from Vernon's family and friends. Not that it mattered if he did; James had never been to a muggle wedding before. He didn't know he was supposed to sit on the bride's side. And, of course, he never paid attention in Muggle Studies last year so he didn't know muggle wedding traditions. It wasn't his fault that Professor Sondra happened to be rather attractive. Okay, and maybe he spent a few too many times debating about quidditch tactics with Sirius...
He gave a friendly smile to the old lady sitting on his right. She was one of Vernon's grandmothers.
"Nice place," he said, nodding around him.
The woman only looked him up and down.
"I'm Lily Evans date," James boasted, "Do you know her? Her sister's the bride."
He was slightly disappointed when Vernon's grandmother didn't look at him enviously as if to say, How did you get so lucky to be LILY EVANS' date? but instead, only looked at him strangely. She slowly scooted away from James.
James watched her do this with confusion before shrugging and turning to an equally old lady (Vernon's other grandmother) sitting to his left.
He gave another friendly smile.
"Good day," she said stiffly.
"I've never been to a wedding like this before."
"Yeah... Don't mind me though, I'm just Lily Evans' guest. Do you know her?"
"Petunia's sister? The one who's always at that… boarding school?" He didn't notice the woman also scoot away from him. James didn't know that Petunia told Vernon's family Lily went to a boarding school for troubled teens. Petunia received quite a lecture after their parents found.
James nodded, "I go to school with her."
"Well, of course."
"Boys and girls never went to school together when I was growing up. Then again, maybe they make an exception for your school's, er, kind of students."
James raised an eyebrow. "My school's kind of students?"
"Shouldn't you be on the bride's side?" the woman hastily asked, eager to be rid of this strange boy.
She pointed to the seats on the other side of the aisle.
"Oh. Well, thanks for telling me. I definitely feel like an idiot." Although, James couldn't help but wonder why the bride and groom's guests had to sit on separate sides. They were all here to see the same thing, weren't they? Muggles were so strange.
"Lily! We've been looking for you-"
"-WHERE IS SHE? THIS IS MY WEDDING, NOT HIDE AND SEEK -"
"-the ceremony's going to start soon and-"
"- SHE'S DOING THIS ON PURPOSE, MOTHER! I'M TELLING YOU, SHE'S DOING THIS ON PURPOSE! SHE'S TRYING TO RUIN VERNON'S AND MY HAPPY DAY! BECAUSE THIS IS SUPPOSE TO BE A HAPPY DAY, MOTHER, AND IT – IS – NOT – A – HAPPY - DAY!"
"- and Petunia's a little nervous."
Lily tried to stay away from a seething Petunia who could probably tame a dragon right now if she didn't detest the magical world and everything in it. "I'm sorry, mother. I was looking for James, my date, remember?"
"Oh, well, I'm sure he's with the other guests."
"I suppose." I hope...
"- did you know I'm her date?"
"Oh, really? That's nice. I'm a friend of her mother's."
"The name's James Potter."
"Eva Stansburg. Lily's mother and I went to school together."
"That's funny because Lily and I go to school together!"
"Yeah, we've known each other since we were eleven."
"Oh, how wonderful. You two will be life-long friends, like her mother and I - unless, are you dating?"
James was liking the bride's side much better. He shrugged nonchalantly, "Well …"
"Dad, have you seen my date?" Lily whispered as he walked past her to join Petunia. The ceremony was about to start.
"No, Lily, I haven't, but -"
Everyone within ten feet of Petunia jumped at her voice. Lily's father hastily made his way to Petunia. Lily sent Petunia an exasperated look she didn't see - her wedding veil had fallen off her head and she was crouching over in her overly puffy white wedding dress to retrieve it.
Honestly. Could Petunia be anymore of a pain on her own wedding day?
James was sitting in the last row of the bride's side. He could faintly hear a woman screeching about her wedding veil falling to the floor and would someone pick it up, instead just standing there like a bunch of fools? James had a feeling that was the bride.
He had been sitting with Eva Stansburg, but her husband came back from the bathroom, and asked if he would mind moving to a different seat. So, James got up and moved, only being able to squeeze into a seat on the very back row because all of the guests had arrived by now - the wedding would be starting soon.
And so it did. A man started playing a song on an organ at the very front of the church and all of the guests stood up. James watched them do this, confused, but followed their movements anyway. Why the heck were they all standing up? Were the muggles going to dance?
The doors at the back of the church opened and three girls wearing matching dresses started walking down the aisle slowly, a bloke at their arm. He noticed one of them was Lily as she passed him. He watched her for moment before leaning out into the aisle slightly.
"Lily! Hey Lily!" he whispered.
Lily abruptly stopped, the bloke stumbling slightly, and looked over her shoulder at him. She frowned and rolled her eyes, then turned away and continued down the aisle.
James grinned as an embarrassed Lily tried to act as though she had not just stopped in the middle of the aisle, holding up a little girl with a basket of flowers, a boy with rings on a pillow, and the bride herself. James turned to a short, bald-headed man standing next to him.
"I'm escorting the red-head Lily Evans; the one who just stopped. Do you know her - ?"