Disclaimer: Lily's not mine, and that's okay. But I wish James was. :( In any case, Harry Potter and all its characters were dreamt up by JK Rowling, that genius, and I claim no ownership.
All synonyms for practical and all pertinent to any description of Lily Evans, who considers herself a practical girl.
She wears sensible black shoes with sensible flesh toned knee highs, pins her dark red hair back with practical barrettes to keep it out of her eyes practically all the time, addresses her Prefect underlings and disciplines nonsensical students with her unfailingly terrifying no-nonsense tone of voice, and raises her hand in every class so she can matter-of-factly state all manner of facts necessary to receive points and praise from her professors.
She was born that way according to every member of her family; if her parents are to be believed, at the age of three she successfully argued against the sensibility of hand washing dishes before putting them in the machine in terms of water conservation and time management. Her mother has not hand washed a dish since. If her parents are to be believed, Lily spent her first year at primary getting into heated debates with the head of discipline over the school's inadequate penalty system. The woman resigned halfway through the second term and took up a quiet life in Anguilla with five cabana boys and a margarita machine. If her parents are to be believed (she honestly has no recollection of this instance either, but she pretends due to a lingering hope that her parents are not insane), at age ten she engaged one of the Ministry's Muggle Liaison officers in an hour long deliberation about how magic "is an irrationally imaginary metaphysical force dreamed up by delusional superstitious medieval fools who knew nothing of the mechanics of the universe" and how "its very existence would fly in the face of every logical and scientific conclusion drawn in the last century and just who do you think you are wearing that hat".
All synonyms for logical and all essential to any explanation of the incurably inquisitive Lily Evans, who likes Arithmancy and Ancient Runes and Potions because every problem has an answer, every hieroglyph has a translation, and every list of ingredients ends with a perfect potion simmering in her pewter cauldron. She likes for all of her practical questions to have approximate solutions, because that way her world stays perfectly in line, with everything properly stored and colour coded with informative labels and in alphabetical order. Everything, in her opinion, can be broken down into categories and separated into separate boxes to be tucked away and filed for future reference. Sitting by herself to mentally systematize everything in her life is one of her favourite pastimes.
A high, arched, stain-glass window in the library is her favourite place to do this.
It is not unusual to find her sitting in front of it, not with a book on her lap, but with a hyperopic look on her face as she sorts and catalogues and classifies her life, ensuring and double checking that everything is organised to her seemingly impossible specifications.
Since she started dating James Potter, however, it is far less common.
He distracts her when she is trying to study. He doesn't blow in her ear or twirl her hair between his fingers, or do anything she could justifiably chastise him for; he leans close to her, his arm just barely brushing against hers, and he smells overwhelmingly of soap and pine and outside. It makes her insane, and reminds her powerfully of sixth year Potions and the sweetly simmering mother-of-pearl Amortentia that smelled so seductively of wood, and parchment, and pine, and then he puts his lips frustratingly soft to the sensitive spot on the curve of her neck and academia is driven completely from her mind because it is too full of James and the feeling of his unshaven upper lip scratching pleasantly against the soft skin behind her ear.
Lily is not sure exactly what made her stop loathing him and start becoming appreciative of his affections, and that irritating uncertainty is the main reason she is infrequently yet undeniably compelled to return to her seat by the library window. She remembers that she classified him under Boy, see Dislike, see Rude, see Avoid after her brief first encounter with him on the Hogwarts Express. In second year, she recalls editing his status to reflect his seemingly constant mischief-making: Boy, see Dislike, see Troublemaker, see Avoid. Near the end of her fifth year, after witnessing his cruel, yet admittedly justified, treatment of her then-best friend Severus Snape, she became incredibly confused. Yes, he should have been immediately shoved into a padlocked mental drawer and classified as Substandard Species, see Vehemently Dislike, see Bullying Toe-Rag, see Not Only Avoid But Turn Up Nose at When Possible, but at the beginning of her sixth year she found herself upgrading him to Male, see Tolerate, see Mischievous, see Talk to When Necessary (As Not to Encourage Him to Ask Me Out More Than Twelve Times a Day).
On patrol he stays far too close for comfort and makes her stomach alternatively clench and release butterflies with every teasing finger he brushes across the back of her hand. We're on duty, she says exasperatedly, frustrated by both his close proximity and by his tantalising refusal to do anything but pretend he isn't touching her. Yes, we are, he replies with that delicious smirk on his face and she knows that if anything is going to get done, she is going to have to cave and let him think he has won. She strokes his ego when she grabs his tie and pulls him to her lips, but she doesn't mind so much now that he calls her Lily instead of Evans and has stopped hexing helpless children to appease Sirius and his boredom. His fingers stretch across her back where he touches his hands to her, and the warmth seeps through her shirt and floods her entire body with a heady red flush. He tells her he loves it when she blushes.
Now, he is Boyfriend, see Like, see Charming, see Spend as Much Time With as I Possibly Can (Without Appearing to be Clingy or Controlling), though he insists that Like is really Love. Lily kisses his nose and tells him to keep dreaming.
He says it will be his pleasure.
She sometimes wonders, when she is curled up in front of the stained-glass window, if she has become exactly the kind of girl she used to despise. Does she giggle when James nuzzles her with his nose? Does schoolwork seem less interesting because her seventh year is drawing to a close and she is ready to enter the "real world", or is it only so lacklustre because it is not him? If she has changed, does that mean that James only loves her because she has become everything he has always wanted her to be? Or has she changed because she was supposed to change into everything he wants her to be?
Alarmingly, she finds she does not care.
Her absolutely meticulously arranged cabinets tend to fall into disarray and disrepair when the thought of James Potter sweeps through the record room that is her mind. Instead of analyzing, she appreciates; instead of rationalizing, she relishes; instead of investigating, she indulges. Logic flies out the window when she smells that pine or sees that upturned collar and untreatable unruly mop of jet-black hair, which is surprisingly soft and easy to run her fingers through.
She cannot decide whether she should be worried or overjoyed that he inspires such behaviour, but then he winks at her and it doesn't matter.
Actually, nothing matters anymore, because now his lips are caressing hers and her arms are around his neck because her knees have turned to margarine. He has that effect on her.
She has started wearing her hair down so that it flows around her shoulders, and a new low, succulent tone of voice has replaced her no-nonsense one whenever they are alone. Her fingers tiptoe across his strong shoulders and she draws lazy circles down the sharply defined line of his back. Muscles tense and pull under her palms and she arches against his kiss and feels his warm breath in her mouth and his hands on her ticklish sides and she laughs unrepentantly as they roll over and over and over, ties loosening and shirts unbuttoning almost of their own accord. Neither of them is shy or inexperienced, but the candles are burning bright and the beads of sweat are pooling in the hollow of her throat as she tilts her head back and bites her lip. At first it is awkward and the world sort of wishes it could hold its breath like she is holding her breath, and the candles flicker brilliantly on the outside of the curtains, playing shadows on the canopy as she suddenly can smell the wax and the sweat and the sheets are suddenly so smooth against her that she wonders how she didn't notice it before.
Then her toes curl and her breath leaps out of her throat and they kiss and kiss and kiss and roll over and over and over and the sheets become cumbersome and suffocating around their legs. They laugh again until the bed is bare except for them, and his touch makes her every nerve freeze and burn, and the heavy shadows match the effort it takes to say his name when there is no more movement and the air is clear. His skin is suddenly so smooth against her that she wonders how she didn't notice him before.
She is still a practical, logical girl.
Lily immediately wonders what comes next, what it means, how it was, what to say.
James kisses her and rests his forehead against hers. She feels that familiar sense of not caring, and she decides the stupid colour coded labels and their stupid carefully tidy drawers have got to go. He says, Next we lay here, and it means I love you and you are beautiful and you were beautiful, and don't say anything.
She pulls him on top of her and kisses him hard, harder than she has ever kissed him or any other man before and her sore legs and arms and body parts she doesn't know the name of tense up at the same time and only his hands relieve the tension but they cannot possibly be everywhere at once, so she presses herself to him as closely as she can and suddenly it's bliss and there's no hesitation or pausing or discomfort, and all her life seems to be contained in his four-poster, inside the hangings, him and her and nothing but gasps and pleads and lips. Morning comes too soon.
At breakfast, she sits across from him, wearing her sensible black shoes and her sensible flesh toned knee highs, but the barrettes are upstairs on her bedside table. She runs her leg up and down his calf as he talks to his friends and grins at her out of the corner of his eye, and the fingers of her left hand are entwined with the fingers of his right, and the bacon tastes so much better than usual. She knows that in less than an hour she will have to be focused and diligent in Professor McGonagall's N.E.W.T. Transfiguration class, and that there is a Prefects' meeting that night in which she will have to discipline the fifth years for their complete lack of professionalism, but right now the only thing her brain will register is that pumpkin juice is really good.
In fact, even sensation of the wool of her pleated uniform skirt across her legs feels rather enjoyable in the afterglow.
The sunshine streaming through the windows is stunning after so many gloomy days of rain and fog.