I collapsed onto the bed, (I was the sole occupant of Room 13) and grinned when it bounced slightly. I love bouncy beds. When me and Petunia were little (and when she wasn't a complete git), we used to join our beds together and jump and jump till our tiny legs ached and didn't support us. I sat up on my elbows, and gazed around at the room which would be a kind of home for the next couple of days.
The room was fairly bare. There was a cupboard door against one wall, a fireplace, a mirror in one corner, and a door leading to what I imagined to be the bathroom. My trunk was on a rug on the floor, and my owl, Elvis (can you blame a twelve year old?), was perched in his cage which was sitting on a redwood table. A window was open, letting a faint breeze in which ruffled the floral curtains slightly. I nodded once to myself. Despite the obvious lack of taste in matching décor, the furnisher of the room had made an effort to make it homely, which I hadn't really expected of an inn.
Yes, it would do.
There was a knock on the door, and I shot up, straightening my twisted sweater and rumpled hair as I looked into the mirror, which gave a vague noise of disgust at my appearance.
"Come in!" I called behind my back to the door. I turned around when no one entered, and called louder
"I said, come in!"
Oh. I strode to the door, slightly peeved that I wasn't able to turn and face the intruder of my private time from the window, a calm and graceful look on my face just like the pretty girls did in the movies. I flung the door open to reveal a smiling James Potter, who spoke as straight as he saw me.
"So, what do you think of the room? I figured they would be fairly empty, most people stay home nowadays," was the first thing he said to me.
I grinned a little.
"It's actually pretty good. I must say, Potter, you're ideas are fabulous."
I almost hit myself over the head. Nice job Lily. Now his absentee ego would come back full force and you'll have to deal with a smirking James Potter hitting on you non stop.
But I was pleasantly surprised, and instead of the arrogant comment that I had been expecting, James said,
"Uh…thanks I guess. It wasn't much really."
This was accompanied by a shrug and an averted gaze. Modesty! Then he grinned suddenly.
"Well, what do you want to do?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, we're stuck here, and it's not like sitting here twiddling our thumbs will be too fun."
I frowned. Forward thinking wasn't really my area of skill. I live for the moment, and think accordingly. Planning et cetera hurts my brain sometimes. I mean, look at the whole day. I've done nothing but follow James around. It's kind of weird, because I love being in control, and today I've been following around my previously sworn enemy. Perhaps it's because he's knows what he's doing and where he can go, being from a magical background and all, but still. It's kind of weird how easily I'd started to take in everything he said. Almost if I respected his opinion.
I had never respected James Potter's opinion before this. Merlin, all these revelations and changes were doing my head. Finding out James Potter may actually not be the bane of my existence, placed on earth to bite me in the butt for sins committed in my previous life was something that needed to be taken in slow doses over, say, a lifetime, not a couple of hours. A clearing of a throat brought me back to the present, and I blinked before I replied,
"I hadn't really thought about it. What do you suggest we do?"
I just asked James Potter for his opinion.
"We could go into Diagon Alley…do you need anything?"
I shook my head. I had got all my supplies with Marlene McKinnon on the holidays. She was alright, a fellow Gryffindor like me, but a bit overly cheerful. I used to be friends with her, but not as much anymore. She made friends with other people, and I made it pretty clear I just wanted to be acquaintances that traveled places together because they lived near each other. I was like that to most people, actually, because I usually enjoyed keeping to myself.
"Well then, Diagon Alley might be fun anyway. There's a lot of stores that you wouldn't have visited if you've just been to Diagon Alley to buy school stuff. I'll take you on a grand tour of all the best places"
I shrugged easily.
"I guess there's nothing else we can really do. Lead the way."
"Do you want to look my arse, Lily?"
"You do realize these boots hurt when aimed in a certain direction?"
James swiped his mouth with the back of his hand and grinned when I rolled my eyes in sheer delight.
"I'll take it you like Florean Fortescue's ice creams?"
I swallowed the mound Charming Caramel Cream melting in my mouth, and said with a much clearer voice,
"This is delicious."
James smiled as he finished his ice cream. A Lemon something or rather.
"So, you're saying you've never had one of these before? I've gone through every flavour roughly ten times. But Sirius holds the record. Twenty times through and counting. Once, he ate so much, he missed dinner."
"Sirius Black missed dinner? That's impossible!" I laughed. The only thing that defined Sirius Black more than his good looks and bad boy attitude was his insatiable hunger. An appetite of a dragon. It's actually kind of fascinating watching him wolf down food, and borderline disgusting. A comfortable silence wrapped around us, almost as if I hadn't hated him for a good part of my life. I finished up my ice cream, satisfied and lazy as I sat back in my chair.
"Say, Lily, how do you usually come into Diagon Alley? Your parents are Muggles, right?"
I nodded; I was not at all surprised by the fact that he knew my upbringing. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if James Potter wrote a biography on my life, with not one fact omitted. The guy probably knew the song I sung in the shower. Not that I sing in the shower, of course. Anyway, James Potter had adopted stalker like tendencies in Fifth Year, and when that had failed to make me fall at his feet, brought it about himself to attempt to be charming and suave, reciting mutated Shakespeare from the bottom of the girl's dormitory stairs. Needless to say, he failed miserably in wooing me, but had the whole Gryffindor Common Room in hysterics at his antics instead.
"I normally come with Marlene McKinnon. You know, brown hair, brown eyes, a giggle that can bring a drunken Fat Lady to shame?"
He chuckled. Merlin James Potter chuckled heaps.
"Course I do Lily. The girl's practically my sister. I've known her since I was, what, three years old."
My eyebrows shot up. Marlene had never mentioned she and James had been friends for that long. But when I thought about it, they were really friendly, like siblings that get along, and the rest of the Marauders adored the younger girl. Actually, a lot of people did adore Marlene McKinnon. She had a really sweet face, and a really sweet nature, too. People were drawn to Marlene because of her kindness, like people were drawn to James Potter's humour. Perhaps I'm just picky, but Marlene is just a tad too chipper for me.
"I take it you didn't know that? The girl knows almost as much as the Marauders do about me. Marlene thinks the world of you, Lily.. In fact, and I'm not sure if you remember, she introduced you to me. She said, I know this wonderful girl, James. Her name's Lily Evans and she'll be at the top of the class soon, even though she's Muggle, and she's never done magic before."
My eyebrows risked losing themselves in my hairline.
"She said that about me in first year? But I was just getting to know her!"
James gave a wry smile.
"You were awfully nice in first year, Lily. It was glaringly obvious. But…"
He trailed off, and I could practically hear the rest of the sentence…you changed.
He continued softly,
"What happened to you? You were so kind to everyone that year. Even to me and Sirius despite the fact we annoyed you till you almost screamed. You came back, you stopped hanging out with Marlene…you were so different."
I swallowed, wondering how the conversation had tipped from being so friendly and carefree, to so intense.
Then James said quickly,
"Sorry, I shouldn't be prying. It's absolutely none of my business."
I have no idea what happened to me then, but all of a sudden it all poured out of my mouth. Stuff I hadn't told anyone, not even Marlene who I was good friends with at the end of first year, I was telling James Potter.
I told him what went wrong in the summer of my first year. How I had gone home that summer, full to the brim in excitement of what I had learnt, what I had seen. I wanted nothing more than to share all my experiences with my family so that they could revel in the wonder of them too. How I had taken one took one look at my family which was missing a third member and was drained of happiness immediately. Petunia's scathing comments had left me hurt and bewildered, and I had come back to Hogwarts the next year a thousand times more bitter than what should've been allowed for a twelve year old. I know it was a pathetic excuse for being as cold as I was that year, but it was like I was blaming the wizarding world for my falling out with my sister, because I had been so close to my sister, and surely it wasn't my fault for her hating me. How when I had accidentally knocked into Malfoy on the train, an idiot in the year above me that didn't even know anything about me except for my heritage called me 'bloody Mudblood filth'. God, it was like I was a freak in both worlds. How I had gotten over it by throwing myself into my studies and distancing myself from people.
James was quiet afterwards.
"That's horrible Lily. I had no idea."
"It was. It really was. I mean, there's worse stuff that's happened; we all know about the horrible things Black's relatives say to him, but I was really close to my sister. And it hurt a lot knowing that she didn't love me."
James grabbed my hand roughly, gently, earnestly.
"She loves you Lily. One day, she'll regret whatever she said to you and come back crawling on her knees."
"See, that's the thing, I don't want her to beg me for forgiveness. I'd forgive her in a blink of the eye. She's my sister, and no matter what she's done to me, I still care for her. I just want to go back to how it was before, and I want an apology and I want remorse. That's all."
James had taken to rubbing my hand soothingly, and somewhere in the back of my mind I registered that it felt kind of nice. This was beginning to freak me out. How did I go from passionately hating him to…not? I'm fairly sure I didn't hate him, judging by the smile I could feel on my face, and the ease I felt in his company. And he made me feel so much better, really. James had been such a great listener, and he hadn't even interrupted me once. I opened my mouth, testing the words in my head, and when spoke I them, it felt foreign to my lips, but not awkward.
I ducked my head now slightly uncomfortable under his shocked gaze. Of course he would be shocked! I called him James for the first time, and thanked him in the same sentence. I withdrew my hand from his, and tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear.
"You're welcome, Lily."
I raised my head to see James smiling at me, albeit looking slightly bewildered. I offered a small smile of my own. Now he spoke, just like I did. Slightly hesitant and slightly wary.
"Does this mean we're friends?"
My eyes snapped to his. Is that why I no longer hated him? Had we really become friends in less than twelve hours? Did chugging Firewhiskey, eating ice cream, pouring out life stories account to friendship? Did trusting opinions, listening to ideas, learning about each other account to friendship?"
"I guess so."
His jubilant face made me grin too. Maybe being friends with James Potter was something I should've done before he declared his undying love for me in fourth year. Then he cried out,
"Hey! I got a great idea! We should be friends…with benefits!"
"Hey! That's a great idea!"
He almost fell out of his seat. He whispered in utmost astonishment.
And we burst out laughing after he got out of his chair feigning devastation and slipped on a bit of dropped ice cream and fell flat on his butt.
Because, essentially, that's what friends do.
A/N I'm actually really happy with this. It's my longest piece of writing. I didn't really like Lily in the previous chapters, to be honest; she seemed like a bit of a bitch. I hope I portrayed her a bit better in this chapter. I'm going away on holiday for four weeks in a couple of days, so unfortunately I won't be updating any time soon. Sorry I took so long to do this one, but I hope the wait was worth it.