couldn't sleep. After being rejected by Lily Evans for the six
hundred and fifty fourth time (yes, he had counted), he had finally
officially thrown in the towel.
She hated him. It was a just a fact, and he had to deal with it. He had been living in a dream for the past three years, and now it was time to get real. With a sigh he got up from his bed heavily and went down to the commonroom.
The moment he opened the door, he thought he saw someone wearing white disappearing trough the portrait hole. He also thought he'd seen a flash of red, but slammed his hand against his forehead the second he realized what he had thought. He had to stop thinking like that. Seing Lily everywhere. Imagining them together. Planning their wedding. Silently naming their kids.
It was what girls did. Pathetic, obsessive girls with pathetic, obsessive crushes on boys they could never have.
James rolled his eyes skyward when he realized that was exactly what he had been like for the last three years. Pathetic. And obsessive.
He closed the door behind him, and was relieved to find the common room completely empty. He sank into the arm chair furthest away from the portrait hole, staring into the dark.
It had been Moony's idea. He had been urging James to do it for days (okay, years). To just ask her one last time and then leave her alone.
"You need some sort of closure, mate," Remus instisted as they were sitting in their dormitory, watching Sirius crushing Peter in wizard's chess. "Or you're going to stay miserable for the rest of your life. I'm sorry, Prongs, but I don't think there's much hope left."
James had been sitting with his back against the wall, toying with a snitch. When he remembered how much Lily hated it when he did that, he let it go. It flew around the room once or twice, before escaping out of the window.
"Then why ask her again?" he said miserably, getting to his feet.
Sirius looked up and grinned. "Not much hope, he said. Not 'no hope'. That means there still is some." James threw a pillow at him, missed, and the chessboard scattered across the stone floor.
Remus actually nodded at this. "You could be seven hundred time lucky, Prongs."
"Six hundred and fifty four," James mumbled and slammed the dorm door shut behind him.
That they could still joke about this, he had thought as he had made his way downstairs. Especially now, as he was about to voulenteer for the biggest public humilation and heart break in the history of Hogwarts.
But there was hope. Somewhere, deep down, he believed that there was a chance she would say yes. He didn't know why. But he just had a gut feeling. And his gut feeling was usually right.
James's spirit lifted as he bent over Lily Evans divine, flaming red hair. She turned, recognized him and turned back again. James had no intention of giving up so easily. He grabbed a chair and sat down opposite of her. She was determinately looking down, pressing her quill harder against the parchment.
"Lily," he said, and to his suprise, she looked up at once.
"I am going to ask you one last time and if you reject me, I'll never ask you again."
She frowned. Appearantly, this was an unexpected move. Maybe Moony's idea had been good after all. Maybe she'd get so thrown off, she'd say yes.
"Are you serious?"
He nodded. She raised her eyebrows. "Wow."
"Okay. So here goes... Um, Lily, would you please be my date to the Halloween dance?"
His heart dropped like a stone. His first impulse was to strangle Moony. Now there was no way back. He could never ask her again.
James got up heavily, mumbled "By then, Evans," and left. If he was going to cry, and there was a good chance he would, he was not going to do it for the whole common room to see. Bloody Moony. Bloody Evans. Just bloody everything.
His feelings had settled a bit now. Not seeing
Lily all day had helped. His feelings, which had been angry and
storming and plain sad all day, was now settling into something
deeper, like an old wound that was healed but still hurt. There was
pain. But he couldn't think about it. Didn't want to. He got up
from the comfy armchair and sat down on the windowsill instead,
leaning his forehead against the cool glass. He glanced up at the
moon.It would be full soon. The Marauders would come out again. He
smiled... Had it not been for his friends, he would never have gotten
trough this day.
A sound made him turn his head. When he saw who it was, he turned back again, his inside's twisting.
Lily noticed his reaction when she said
his name. No more "Potter". No more "git". She hoped that
he'd want to be just James to her.
But he stood up and walked across the room, towards his dormitory. Without turning around he said "I don't know what you're going to tell me, Evans, but I know it won't make me feel any better, so just leave me alone."
"James." She knew she was pleading, but she couldn't help it. She loved him. She knew it now.
desire", she whispered. "Is you."
James stared blankly at her. "What... huh?"
She took a step forward, insecurly, mumbling "I think I'm in love with you."
Something leapt inside James chest. He blinked. "Are you serious?"
She gave him a vague smile, then nodded and bit her lip.
"I'm sorry I've been so horrible to you, I just never realized, and..."
He closed his eyes, trying to let this sink in. Was she joking? If she was joking, if she was pulling his leg, he'd kill himself, he really would. She spoke again. Fast this time, her voice growing more and more high-pitched as the words tumbled out of her mouth.
"Oh God, I'm too late, I'm so sorry, off course I am, I... How could you, I mean after I rejected you again, and like that, I'm so stupid, let me just... Er, night James."
He opened his eyes, and saw her half-running across the common room towards the girl's dormitory.
"Wait!" he said, hurrying after her, grabbing her wrist and turning her towards him gently.
"Did you really think..." he said, bending down and kissing her forehead. "That I'd ever get over you?"
Lily sniffed, wiped away a tear still on her cheek and smiled.
"There's something I'd really like to ask you, but I can't. Because I promised not to," James said. Lily rolled her eyes.
"I never thought I'd ask you this, James, but would you come to the Halloween dance with me?"
"Are you serious? Are you asking me out?"
"Shut up, Potter."
He pulled her into a hug, not quite believing who he was holding yet.
"Yes... I'd really love to."
Somewhere in the castle, Dumbledore was wandering a deserted corridor in his purple nightgown, humming