(The A/N & Disclaimer are below…. But a warning first: You may not enjoy this fic. It's not exorbitantly fluffly. Infact, it's sort of weird.)

In Our House, It Was Sorry

"No password, no entry," the portrait repeated firmly. Lily took a deep, though a little shaky, breath before beginning again.

'Just this once," she begged in what she prayed was a suitably pitiful voice. But the portrait remained adamant in its refusal, shaking its head wearily. This was the final straw for Lily who gritted her teeth together and pressed her face right up next to the picture's painted one. It shrunk back against the canvas as she spoke, "I come in here every. single. day. I always know the password. I'm the Head Girl for goodness sake! The idiot that I am forced to refer to as Head Boy changed the password without telling me. Is that my fault?" The portrait remained unfazed, so she tried a different tack, "You let the Head Boy's friends in, but not me?" she demanded, "Do you realize how much trouble that could land you in?"

"They know the password," replied the little balding man. Lily had never really liked his face, even when he wasn't being so extraordinarily annoying.

"And I know several fire spells perfectly suited to the task of reducing you to cinders," she threatened, but he merely smiled that little superior smile of his. They both knew that Dumbledore had put protective magic over the school paintings. She sank dejectedly against the wall, cursing James Potter and his inability to communicate anything of importance to her. Meetings with Dumbledore and prefects, messages from McGonagall, activities they were meant to be planning… and now the new password to their shared dorm. Not to mention the fact that they couldn't seem to hold a decent conversation now that he had stopped picking on her.

"I just want to take a bloody nap," she muttered.

"Language!" reprimanded the little man primly. Lily rolled her eyes, wondering silently why anybody in their right mind would paint a picture of this man. It implied that they wanted to remember him. Thinking dark thoughts, Lily waited for Potter to return. Boy was she going to give him hell for this one. It had been a while since Lily had had a chance to yell at her nemesis, but now the perfect opportunity was presenting itself.

Fortunately for Potter, she did not have to wait long. He rounded the corner with his usual air of casual confidence. James had lost his former arrogant swagger, replacing it with a more pleasant gait. This was, however, lost on the object of his affections. She still barely acknowledged his presence… except the rare occasion when she had something to complain about.

"Potter! There you are!" Lily growled, springing from her sitting position in one fluid motion, like a cat pouncing on a defenseless mouse. But James the Mouse was not daunted. He smiled genially.

"Need me for something?" he asked, leaning against the wall opposite the redhead. She glared at him as though his words had been the worst kind of insult. He smiled again in return.

"What's the password?" she barked, getting straight to the point. Why was he never a prick to her anymore? Yelling at James had lost its appeal. Instead, she just wanted to get inside the common room and away from the boy who refused to let anything faze him. Sometimes she missed the old James- the one who had always been willing to retaliate and fuel her wrath. The one who gave her an excuse to hate him. Now, though he was still the same annoying git on the inside (she was sure of it), he acted so sweetly that even her friends were willing to give him a second chance. She wished she could get inside his head and prove them wrong.

"Please," he said. She let him have the full force of one of her fiercest glares.

"Don't try to teach me manners Potter," she snarled. He didn't move, but instead smiled his crooked smile. Again.

"You don't understand. I mean 'Please' is the password," he told her, "As in… 'The Magic Word'. No-one ever says it to these paintings, even though they've been serving the castle for decades… maybe even centuries. I thought it was kind of funny."

"Well I think it's kind of annoying when you change the password and don't bother to tell me," she replied, still trying to get a reaction. He rolled his eyes.

"Don't try to pick a fight with me Evans," he said quietly. Then, though Lily was not sure whether he was addressing her or the portrait, he added, "Please."

The door slid open soundlessly and James slipped through quickly. By the time Lily had stepped inside, James was gone. All she could see was his back retreating up the stairwell. She shook her head, still annoyed.

"Potter," she mumbled, "Always playing the victim." But she wasn't sure if she believed it. She sank heavily into one of the large couches in the middle of the room, not wanting to bother to climb up to her room. The sofa was a beautiful shade of red, and comfortingly soft. She closed her eyes, rolled over onto her side… and sat right back up again, massaging her right hip. The cause of her discomfort was a small black leather notebook with a golden clasp. In the bottom right corner of the cover were the words: 'Property of James H. Potter'. Lily raised a single eyebrow.

"Well this should be interesting,' she whispered, fiddling with the clasp. It wouldn't open. Both Lily's curiosity and conscience were awoken.

"What could James Potter have to say that he would ever want to hide?" she wondered out loud. He was usually so busy broadcasting his amazingly 'perfect' life to the world. What secrets lay hidden in these pages?

Lily felt a twinge of remorse as she recited the standard lock opening spells- Alohomora. The clasp remained stubbornly shut, reminding her all too well of a certain painted face just outside the common room door.

"Please?" she said tentatively, prodding the lock with her wand. It didn't work, but it did inspire her.

"Sabari!" she exclaimed (That's Dyula for 'Please' by the way- The language spoken in Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast), remembering the word from one of their first charms classes in the third year. Flitwick had explained to them that this rather obscure charm could be quite persuasive. James had poked her and said 'Sabari go out with me?' in the most unfeeling and mocking of tones. It had been the first of many requests- and the first of just as many rejections. The lock sprang open with a satisfying snap. Lily opened it guiltily, and grinned at the first page.

Padfoot. Moony. If you two have

managed to open my diary, I want

you to know that I will be VERY

pissed off if you go any further.

You can gloat about opening it

all you want, just don't… you know.

I'd say that this applied to others,

but no one else is would ever

actually know the password.

Still… just incase… READ AND


-James H. Potter (the First).

Before continuing, Lily glanced up and took a quick peek to make sure James hadn't come down. Then she slid off the couch and climbed the stairs to her bedroom, having completely forgotten about her nap. Once safely positioned on her bed knowing full well James would never dare to venture into her sanctuary, Lily returned her attention to the journal in her hands.

She knew she should return it. It was only right. But part of her wanted to prove that James hadn't changed. In the privacy of his diary, he would still be the same old arrogant boy who couldn't stand to be wrong. She was sure of it. And so she decided to compromise. She would give herself ten pages. Ten pages, preferably recent ones.

She flipped through the book, lingering only briefly on certain sections for fractions of a second before moving on. The whole book seemed to be organized by… songs. The lyrics were written in red ink while the spaces in between were filled with paragraphs in black and small charcoal sketches. Lily breezed past pictures of moons, wolves, stags, broomsticks, willows, Hogwarts and the grounds it was composed of and, occasionally, herself. She wanted to pause and examine them more closely, but instead forced herself to move forwards until she came to a page with the heading '7th Year'. She smiled, revising her plan. She would read one song. That was all. And she had found it.

Like a Diamond

I found this song on an old record in a Muggle thrift store. It took a little tweaking, but I go it to play. The singer is awful, as are the other songs… and yet this song seemed to sum up everything that was going wrong in my life so perfectly that I couldn't resist. It really looks back on the whole picture of my life… or at least my life since the 5th year. But mostly I think it expresses Lily's role in my life…though I can already foresee quite a bit of melodrama. Forgive me, journal. I'm afraid that any song the forces me to express emotions is going to have that effect. But enough rambling.

Madmen crawl

Across the wall

Well, that's where everything starts, isn't it? Most of the things that've gone wrong in my life anyway. Voldemort. He really is mad. But someday I'll get my revenge. That man (is he even a man?) is the worst thing that ever happened to this world. And people wonder why I blow up every time I hear the word 'Mudblood'. It's not just derogatory and cruel. It's also become a mark of allegiance. Insult someone's heritage and suddenly every Slytherin in the school is willing to proclaim you a hero, regardless of your cruelty. Keeping the 'blood pure' my ass. You cut me, I bleed. End of story. My blood's not like that of a dragon or a unicorn. The fact that my parents just happen to be wizards doesn't give my blood any kind of special quality. It doesn't cure anyone. It can't bring anyone back. My father was a pureblood. Big help that was to him. It's not the blood that's contaminated. It's the mind. The mind of anyone stupid enough to join that mob of killers, or murderers, or beasts. Mudminds. And bonkers to boot. But who knew someone so insane… so fundamentally evil… who knew they could have such an effect? Who knew they could do this to us all? Voldermort. It sounds like…no…it is a disease.

Knight gets away

Ah. Sirius. I'm not really sure how to describe him without being overly corny, except possibly as 'hope'. Because it's true. Sirius Black: Night Knight. And he escaped… though not totally unharmed. I think that's why he's so reckless really. I can't imagine telling my mother I was leaving and never coming back. I can't imagine waling away from my family. But really, I can't imagine a family that would turn their back on me without so much as a second thought. I can't imagine a family so opposed to my beliefs that they would turn me out when I refused to desert my friends and my ideals. But I guess this is how Padfoot deals with it. The whole 'I-don't-care' thing. He goes through 4 girls a minute practically without batting an eyelash and only acts like himself when he's with us. And I miss the old Padfoot. The one who pranked for the fun of it, not just to prove himself. He's still my best friend. He always will be. And he's getting out of it. Maturing. I guess we all have to eventually. I guess wish he could have avoided the incidents that ripped the old guy right out of him.

But he got away from the madness that is his family. And that's all that matters. Night became day.

Kings all fall

Which leads me to the man who didn't get away. My father. I still can't believe he's dead. I mean… he went after Voldemort and just… didn't come home, you know? How do you get over something like that? I'm better than I was but I can't help but feel like I should have been there or something. Or like I was supposed to say something meaningful that last day I saw him. I'm not going to say I never had the chance to say goodbye, because we all knew somewhere deep down that it might happen and that every time we watched him walk out the front door we had to accept that he might not come back. Even so. You don't go through some intricate goodbye every day. It's like dooming the person. And imagine telling your son an important fact so many times he got bored of it. You want to save the emotions and the love until you know you really need it. Until you know it'll be really special. Until you know it's the last time. The only problem? You never do know. So with my dad, it was just 'Bye Dad. I love you. You want some more pumpkin juice before you go?' Pumpkin Juice. The last thing I ever discussed with my dad. It's not even some dramatic fight. It's pumpkin juice.

But I'm not even sure if he's up there somewhere like the Muggleborns say. I want to. I want to believe that someday I'll be able to say goodbye. That someday he'll tell me something memorable or special or something. Something to cling to. Something so totally blockbuster and corny that I'll know it's finally over. As it is, all I know is that I miss him. I miss our family, imperfect and weird as it was. I miss the mixture of dinners, some so formal my back would cramp for days afterwards from sitting so straight, some so relaxed my father, mother and I would sit around eating in Quidditch robes and then some just so fundamentally boring we wouldn't remember them five minutes after we'd eaten.

But enough reminiscing. He's dead. No one really seems to care anymore. I'm supposed to be over it. My mother certainly seems to be, right?

And Queens chase men

How fitting. It is, after all, exactly what my mother does. Dad died and suddenly finding matches for Mummy's Little Jamie was unimportant (Thank Merlin), and finding a suitor for herself was top priority. I have since come to the conclusion that my mother may well have dated every single available magical bachelor in Britain. The sad thing? They're all gits really, and I'm not saying that just because my dad was better (though he was, it's true). The treat my mum awfully, and with each of them that leaves as he grows bored of the relationship, my mum grows more and more crushed. The spirit that used to be irrepressible has been so dimmed, it's barely a flickering candle anymore. She takes all the crap they give her meekly. In fact, the only time she gets angry now is when I piss off any of her 'friends'. Which I do frequently, with the help of Sirius. It's too easy really. They're all pompous bastards with spoons stuck up their ass. Usually all I have to do is walk behind them and mimic their prissy walking style and they blow their tops. Well… that's what I used to do anyway. Now I pretty much leave them alone really. It's the only thing my mum's got left in her life now that I don't seem to figure so much, so I might as well let her be happy, even though in the end she just gets more miserable. I'm sick of being held responsible for her problems. As though it's my fault that her boyfriends are jerks. As though it's my fault that she lets them walk all over her.

That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt though. Especially since she hardly has time for me. Depressing and fake as it sounds, I'm an unwelcome distraction in my own home.

And saints all sin

And then there are the people who really don't deserve any of this. Sirius and I? Maybe we're getting our comeuppance for being nasty list arrogant twerps for the first few years of Hogwarts. Maybe it's our fault and… what's that Muggle term? Barma or something. It's come and paid us back for all the pointless bullying (though the pranks were still amazing). But what about the person who was always trying to stop us and keep us in line? Remus. He's got the kindest, lightest, most forgiving spirit of anyone I know… and then the full moon comes along. How could something like that happen to a child of five? What could a kid that age possibly have done to deserve to become a monster once a month? Why should any kid have to be astonished that three people could know everything about him and not shun him in disgust and fear? It's cruel and unusual, especially since Remus should have become the best of the four us. The most successful. He's the only one who ever fully appreciated the honour that has been bestowed on all of us. The honour of going to Hogwarts and receiving the education that some of the best wizards in the world are more than willing to give us. But he's screwed just because some werewolf bit him. He'll never be allowed a proper job, because everyone is so ridiculously prejudiced. It's just not fair. I read a saying in one of my Muggle Studies books- 'A wolf in sheep's clothing'. At the time, I thought it fit Remus quite well, but now I realize he's a sheep in wolf's clothing… but his costume's zipper is stuck.

And good things

All must end

I guess I lied when I said Remus was the only person who appreciated Hogwarts. True, he was the only person to appreciate it from the day he set foot inside its walls, but I've come to love this school more than any other place in the world over the past six years…. And now it's my seventh. It's not so much that next year is some unfathomable mystery to me, or that I'm scared to start Auror training. I just can't believe that I have to let go of Hogwarts. I'm not willing to close this chapter of my life yet. I know every corner of this school like the back of my hand. It's more than my home. It's my way of life, and has been for more than a third of that life. I'd do anything to stay another year. Well… except stop pranking… but that's because there's nothing that makes me feel more alive and carefree. But it'll have to stop when I leave of course. You can't prank people in the workplace. There's just no time. Especially not if you're trying to become an Auror. I mean… pranking goes against everything being an Auror stands for. I can give it up to get back at my fahter's killers though. As it says- All good things must end. Hogwarts. Pranking. And though I will always be a Marauderer and never lose touch with my best friends.. it will never be the same again. We'll never spend another seven years cooped up in the same building. Not if we all choose different careers. And that's the thing that hurts me most. Knowing that I can't hold everything together. I can't preserve my life. Instead, I have to treasure every moment of this last year, savour every prank and every joke, preserve each moment in my diary… And stop acting like such an ass. I want Hogwarts to remember me, but not as a bully. I want them to remember the real James- just one of the Marauderers.

Lily leaned back against her bedpost, overwhelmed. It was only the first verse, but her head was already reeling. Everything she had 'known' about James was thrown into disarray. Here James was no longer the poised boy who strolled down the hallway, he was confused and angry and regretful. But mostly… he was interesting. And she had no idea what she thought about him. All she knew was that reading his journal was wrong. It bordered on cruel. And she couldn't stop. She was dying to know what he really thought and what he really felt, even if this was just a brief outline of all his problems. She kicked herself.

Why was she not complaining about his seemingly incessant complaints? Why did they have such an effect on her? Why did she not hate him anymore?

She tried to absorb the facts. Remus was a werewolf. James's father had been killed by Voldemort and his supporters, his mother was trying to replace his father and Sirius had been kicked out of his home… or left…. or something. But what really touched her was James's response to the last line. He obviously felt the same way she did about Hogwarts.

Lily shook her head and stared at the open page, trying to resist its pull. Finally she pulled the journal back into her lap and continued reading.

But she goes on forever

She goes on forever

Yeah, she's going to shine forever

Like a diamond

In the sunlight

And so we come to the only constant in my life. Lily. No matter what happens, I will keep in touch with her. Yes, she hates me, and may continue to do so for the rest of our respective lives, but there's something about her that I can't, and won't let go. It's not that I think she's going to repair all my problems. She's not. She's only human, after all. But just being around her makes me feel better. Even when she's yelling at me. True, sometimes I feel as though her words are making my heart and my mind crack, but for whatever reason, I don't care. She's like one of those crystals my mum used to hang up in my window. The ones that capture the sunlight and scatter it across the room in the form of thousands of little rainbows. There's something about Lily that does the same thing for me. She traps all the emotion and all the light in a room and tosses it out again, more beautiful than it ever was.

And the best thing is that I'll never know why that is. My initial attraction was, I admit, her beauty. No one else ever seemed to notice it as much as I did… but there has always been something about Lily Evans. She makes my breath catch in my throat every time I see her, even when she's just fallen into a puddle or a bush or when she's doing something as everyday as studying or handing in a paper. Her emotions play across her face so easily. I've never seen someone so openly happy, or so unquestionably angry.

And then I guess that's what it morphed into. Watching her emotions and her feelings. Lily never really reacts the way I expect her to. One minute she's angry at some tiny joke, and the next she's dealing with the aftermath of some enormous prank as though nothing had happened. And through the whole thing her moral compass never strays. Infact, if I didn't know better I'd say it was stuck on 'Rules'. But then she heads off into the Forbidden Forest to save some rare purple toad or using a forbidden curse to stop me from torturing Severus. I guess it was that selflessness combined with her obvious vulnerability that caught my attention next. And her mind. She was (and is) always on the mental alert, ready with a sharp retort or a correction. Watching Lily, I realized that learning really must be fun. She absorbs information as though receiving it is a blessing. I'd never seen anyone like her before.

But in the end, I have no idea why I love Lily so much. She's not prefect; she's not, according to most people, pretty, she's not a genius, she's got a temper… and yet I can stay away. Everything about her makes me love her more. The way she bites her nails, or the way she stares at a strand of her hair cross-eyed during History of Magic, or the fact that she cannot, it seems, ever navigate a staircase or hallway with tripping over something, or the way she eats cake and pie by flipping her fork upside down before sticking it in her mouth, or the way she keeps cherry stones in her mouth for hours after eating a cherry, or the automatic impulse that forces her to correct anyone who makes a grammatical error, and the way she always fiddles with the extra hairtie that she has around her wrist…

I can go on. I'll spare you. Suffice it to say that there is just something about Lily Evans that I can explain or define. Whatever it is, it just makes me happy. And that's all I need.

Big full moon

Across the road

So I guess there is one thing that will hold us Marauderers together forever… no matter what. Who would've thought that Remus and his 'furry little problem' would be such a defining element in our friendship? But I know this: If I can be there for him, I will. I'll make it to every single moon if I can. Because that's what friends are for. I mean… that was the whole point of becoming Animagi- always being there for Moony. Funny that the thing that began our friendship and that will preserve our friendship is illegal. But there's something about turning into a stag and knowing that Padfoot and Wormtail will always have my back. It's the same as knowing that we three will always have Remus's back. But again, it's illegal. And if I plan on becoming an Auror, I'll probably have to get myself registered or something. Funny. If you'd asked me in fifth year if I would ever get the stag side of my personality registered, I would've laughed in your face and told you it was a Marauderer secret. That was my life then- that and trying to impress Lily. I guess things change. The Marauderers are still a huge part of my life.. but a million other things have begun to creep in. Like being Head Boy. The James Potter of the past six years would never even consider Head Boyship.

But the full moon? That will always be one of my top priorities.

If you're lonely

Ungrateful as it sounds, even with my fabulous friends… I'm still lonely. I see Sirius and his constant female entourage, Remus with the occasional steady girlfriend… even Peter with a date or three. But not James Potter.

Sure, I flirt. I'm male. But I can never go any further. Every girlfriend I've ever had has just… not been Lily. And it's stupid, because it's not like going out with Lily would be perfect. It's not like I expect the most amazing dates in the world or something. But I feel like no one but her will ever be able to… well…. be her. Not for me. Every one has something about them- something different and special and defining. And whatever Lily has that attracts me? No one else has it. Just my luck that the only thing I find attractive is unique to the girl who hates me the most.

Yes, just being around her is enough. But I can't help but wish it was more. That will almost certainly be true for the rest of my life. I can't help but wish that I didn't have to spend the rest of my life alone. Yeah, it's melodramatic. But hell, if a guy can't put his emotions into a journal, where exactly can he put them? So that's all I'm trying to say: I wish I didn't have to go through life without Lily by my side. Or I wish I could leave her alone. Give her the peace she wants and deserves. Which I will try to do this year. I'm going to try- not to get over her- but to stop bothering her with my affections. Why do I somehow think I may not be successful?

And behind the wheel

And then there's the whole responsibility thing. Growing up… it's just plain hard. It's like I turned seventeen and suddenly everyone expects me to be completely mature. I don't mind taking care of duties, but Quidditch Captaincy and Head Boyship combined with all the work I have to do at home and NEWTs and all the third years I promised Dumbledore I'd tutor in Transfiguration and the career decisions I'm meant to be making… It piles up. It's as though I'm guiding seventeen brooms at once… with no time for myself. I suppose part of it is due to my previously totally self centered attitude (wow… It's still hard to admit that. I know I was a prat, but I wish people would stop reminding me of that fact). It's hard to go from having the world revolve around oneself and then only being able to laugh once a week because the rest of one's time is spent rushing between classes and organizing events and practices and tutoring sessions. It's all I can do to get five minutes to spend with my mates… and then that's blown up by Head Duties or a fifth year who needs help. But it's not so much that I don't like the responsibility. I do. I love knowing that I've helped someone else or that I've organized something that other people really enjoyed. I like helping. But I can't deal with everyone's problems. I can't be the supportive, ever attentive captain who notices when a team member has a problem or needs a hand when I'm also being the responsible Head Boy who maintains order and acts as a role model. Well… I can… but not without losing myself in the process. Somewhere underneath the expectations, I'm a Marauderer at heart. I'll always want to be planning a prank or undermining authority. I wish I wasn't sometimes. I wish I could be everything Lily and Dumbledore and McGonagall want me to be. But I'm not. I'm still James Potter.

When the ground gives way

I guess my real problem with my added obligations is that they're just not what I need right now. I know I've been ladling out the melodrama… but it's hard to avoid. Everything just fell apart when dad died two summers ago… so sixth year was probably my worst year when it came to being a jerk. And now I feel like nothing I do can make anyone think better of me. Everyone, especially Lily, thinks I'm just some idiotic bullying jerk. Sometimes I think even Moony and Padfoot and Wormtail entertain the same thoughts. And it's not like I've done anything to stop them. But even though it is my fault… I feel like everything is just crumbling apart… like my life is some twisted game of dominos or something. My dad died, my mom became a flirt, I acted worse than ever to try and maintain something inside me, my friends noticed and started to back off, Lily… well… yeah. And now there's nothing to support me. I'm trying my best to deal with everything that's coming in around me, but I've got no one backing me up. It's as though all these duties are a test (I know Lily sees them as one anyway). Could James Potter actually end up as anything more than a stuck up prat? So every failure is like a just a little more ground that I'm forced to give up. It's just another piece of my life that is, apparently, fated to go wrong.

You have to pray

To the unknown

And hope it's real

And I don't know what I believe in. Muggles have a thousand different religionsLoads of the Muggleborns tell me about Christianity and Judaism and Islam and Hinduism and Buddhism… and I can't help but wish that I had their faith. I was never taught to believe that there was someone up there looking out for me. When dad died, no one told me that he might be somewhere beyond the clouds… somewhere beyond human perception and understanding. I yearn for that kind of security and that kind of identity. I have no one to pray to. I have no one to go to for guidance. No one is watching over James Potter when things go wrong. No one up there cares if my life is scattered and scrambled… I'm not even entirely sure anyone down here does either.

But she goes on forever

But enough wallowing. I'll deal. And soon I'll be through stupid teenage adolescence… it's been long enough. And no matter what happens… there's always Lily.

Lily closed the book gently and placed it carefully on her bedside table before burying her face in her pillow and screaming. Then she flipped onto her back, opened her eyes, and stared at the ceiling, totally confused. Her brain was a mass of confliction opinions and splintered prejudices.

'…as though all these duties are a test'

'…the thing that began our friendship and that will preserve our friendship is illegal…'

'Noone is watching over James Potter…'

'…no one but her will ever be able to… well…. be her. Not for me…'

'…selflessness combined with her obvious vulnerability…'

'…it will never be the same again…'

'…because there's nothing that makes me feel more alive and carefree…'

'It's not the blood that's contaminated. It's the mind.'

'…a family so opposed to my beliefs that they would turn me out when I refused to desert my friends and my ideals…'

'You want some more pumpkin juice before you go?'

As the tide of emotions and thoughts subsided, Lily closed her eyes and started to cry silently. She cried for James, for Sirius, for Remus… but mostly she cried for herself. Most people do. The little voices in the back of her head were already providing excuses: 'Maybe he planted that book because he wanted you to find it… maybe it's all not true… maybe you didn't just force your way into Potter's mind…' But she rejected them, cursing herself.

There was a knock at the door. Lily resisted the urge to hide under her covers and pretend she didn't exist. She picked up the journal tearfully and made her way to the door, knowing full well exactly who would be standing behind it. She struggled with an apology, unable to think of a suitable one.

"Lily I'm sor-" James began quietly. Then he caught sight of his journal. His eyes remain fixed on it for a long moment before flitting up to Lily's tearstained face. His face remained emotionless, but his eyes were full of something Lily could not place. Disappointment? Pain? Fear?

"I-" she stuttered, "I-I… don't know what or how to say- I… James… I'm so sorry. I never- I don't know what came over me. I mean… I just-"

"You 'just' read my journal? Unintentionally? Or did the house elves make you do it?" he demanded angrily, snatching the book out of her hands. To her horror, Lily thought she could see tears in his eyes. He continued, "How much did you read Evans?" Lily opened her mouth to reply, but he stopped her with a sigh.

"No," he said softly, "It's alright. I understand, and it's fine. Don't apologize Evans. Please."

"Lily," she whispered. He looked at her, confused, "Call me Lily."

James shook his head slowly, but Lily refused to succumb to the wave of hopelessness that threatened to envelop her.

She goes on forever

"James," she began, "I'm sorry. I really am. It was wrong and insensitive and intrusive and horrid… but now I know you. I know who you are and why you are and I know that I've misjudged and mistreated you. But I want to know you. I want you to show me the person I read about."

"I'm not some character in a book Evans," he snarled, "I'm not one of the perfect romantics in your romance novels. What I write in my diary doesn't change that. Just because some passage made me look like your ideal prince doesn't mean that I am."

"How can a journal reflect anything but your inner self?" she yelled.

"You don't like James Potter. You've made that abundantly clear," he retorted, "You like the idea of me Evans." And with that he turned and started to walk down the stairs.

"Potter! James! Please," she begged, not sure what she was begging for. He turned briefly and she said the first thing that came to her head, "By ignorance we mistake…"

"…and by mistakes we learn," James whispered, finishing the proverb. Lily nodded. There was a brief pause.

"In some families," Lily began hesitantly, "please is described as the Magic Word. In our house, however, it was 'sorry'," She smiled softly, "I think that's Margaret Laurence"

She's going to shine forever

"Alright genius child. You can stop quoting at me now," he laughed, "I forgive you."

"One more," she protested, "Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

"Flattery will get you nowhere," James replied, punching her lightly on the arm, "Even if it is Gandhi."

"Apparently," she continued, "It's also the attribute of arrogant twerps."

"Oi!" he protested.

"You didn't appreciate my flattery," she muttered, pulling her mouth into a joking pout, "I had to exact my revenge." He laughed good-naturedly.

The previous tension and disappointment had all dissipated completely. James's amazingly quick recovery startled Lily.

"James," she ventured, "You… well… you're not mad. I mean… don't get me wrong, I'm more than grateful for your forgiveness… but… why so fast? It's not just the diary. I've been treating you like mud for years and you're willing to forget it all?"

"He bore no grudge against those he had wronged," he stated simply before smirking, "See? You're not the only one who can use quotes to prove a point."

"I'm obviously the only one who can do it without bragging," she shot back and he grinned.

"Now that we've determined that you are far less egotistic than yours truly… let's go for a walk," he suggested.

"Can we go through the Forest?" she teased, "I saw a rare purple toad in distress the other day and though I might-" She never got to finish her sentence. James had grabbed her and hoisted her small body onto his back, forcing her to take a piggyback ride.

Like a diamond

"James Potter!" she yelled as he starting running down the stairs, "Put me d-"

"I'm sorry Lily… you're too vulnerable," James cut in. She rolled her eyes, knowing full well he was teasing her right back. She could already see the many passing references to his diary James would be tormenting her with for the next few… weeks? Years?

"At least let me finish my sentences then," she compromised.

"I'll think about it." And with that, James pushed open the portrait. As he carried her down the hallway, Lily twisted to look back at the little bald man, expecting to see his usual sour expression. Instead, he bore a mollified and, perhaps, a little wistful expression.

Lily couldn't help but wonder if he didn't have a story too.

In the sunlight...

Author's Babble:

Disclaimer: Lily/James and anything else you recognize? They don't belong to me. Neither do the lyrics to the song 'Like a Diamond'. Those belong to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers… though they really don't deserve them. It's their only good song. Ever. I also don't own the quotes. But I think I cited the ones I used.

So. Yeah. I know what you're thinking. "That was weird/boring/whatever." And I'm sure it was. But for whatever reason I just had to write all that stuff about James. If it doesn't improve this fic, then it will improve any future LJ fics I work on. I also understand that you might not like the way they quote at each other.. but I did. There's a reason that this fic has the title it has. What I'm trying to say… is that I understand it's not a great fic, but I still really like it and want it in my story list.

It will never be more than a oneshot.

I would appreciate it VERY MUCH if people would point out mistakes. I don't have a Beta.

Just to finish… here are couple of quotes I think would've suited this fic too:

"There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they're necessary to reach the places we've chosen to go."

"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. Paul Boese

"Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door."

Much love, and thanks to anyone who reviews,