Disclaimer: considering that Rowling writes 700 page novels I doubt she'd limit herself to a one-shot
Summary: what happens when you're too scared to say yes? Worse yet, what happens when you finally lose the choice to say yes?
Losing it All
She said no every time. She said no regardless of the fact that she so desperately wanted to say yes. She said no in spite of the fact that she could really see herself falling head over heels in love with him. She wanted to say yes, to give it a shot. She could see them making a great couple; it all just made so much sense. She could help him tone down his pride and ego; teach him how to laugh at himself once in a while. And he, he could introduce her to his "carpe diem," "c'est la vie" outlook on life, teach her to take it day by day rather than planning everything out, "live and let live." He could stop her from prematurely growing up. He could make her just a regular kid again.
She could see it all, but she said no regardless of it.
In the end she knew that in spite of how great they could be together, it'd never work out, and she just wasn't ready to risk her heart like that. She didn't want the disappointment.
"Thanks, James, for everything," she told him with a sweet smile as the two of them cleaned up the room after another tedious perfects meeting.
He looked at her, utterly baffled, the picture of confusion, eyebrows furrowed and all. "What'd I do? You're the one that sets up all the meetings and organizes patrol schedules. I'm total shite at all of that, even when I do try to help I manage to fuck it all up. It's all you Evans," he told her with a slight smirk as he complimented her.
"Yeah, but you're the one that they listen to. I may be popular, but I'm not the one that they look up to. You're a bit of a novelty here, the only reason the perfects do everything I ask is because they don't want to disappoint you… or come to think of it they are also scared of you hexing them if they do screw it up."
"Lils, in case you didn't notice, a few of the perfects were rather adamant about having me 'relieved of my duty' as they so kindly put it, so trust me, it's not all me."
"Thanks, James, it means a lot to me to hear that," she told him as her cheeks slightly blushed at his words.
"It's no problem, Lils, I'm always here for an ego boost, I'm good at them. I give them to myself all the time. It's actually why I'm a 'big headed wanker' as you put it," he told her with a small smile before grabbing the last of the books and walking out the door.
Lily turned to the board, erasing everything that they had written on it throughout the meeting. "Hey Evans," she heard James' voice call out to her from behind.
She turned around to face him, smiling slightly as she noted upon the fact that he was yet again ruffling his hair, a sure sign of nerves on his part (a fact that she'd only become aware of that year as they began working together). "I thought you left," she commented.
"I have something to ask you-"
"No, James," she interrupted him, not wanting to hear the question in fear of the fact that she might actually let her guard down and say yes if she did.
"But-" he sputtered, trying to find the words to convince her otherwise.
She raised her hand to stop him, "James, please don't. Just go to bed, it's late."
"Please," she begged him slightly.
She watched him clench and unclench his fists, surely trying to alleviate himself of his frustration with her. "Fine," he told her through gritted teeth, but just as he was in the process of angrily storming out of the room, he stopped himself at the exit. He turned to her so that he was standing at the door way. He spoke to her coolly, trying to maintain a calm front, "You'll see one day, Evans, you're perfect-"
However, she interrupted him, "No, I'm really not, James."
He smirked at her and it was as though all of his anger towards her and frustration with her suddenly dissipated, "Yes, you are, but you'll see it one day," he told her as he walked away.
She quickly ran out to the hallway, yelling after him, "I'm not perfect and it's about time you finally realized that, James."
He never turned around, he just kept on walking, calling out to her, "I'm never wrong, Evans, never."
"Come on, Evans, just say yes, you know that you want to," he goaded her with a small smile as they stood in the Gryffindor common room, celebrating the Quidditch team's latest victory.
She sighed at his words, knowing how true they really were. "No," she told him quietly before walking away.
And he let her go.
"Come on, Lily, just give him a chance," Remus pleaded as the two sat in the empty library during their weekly study session where they tried to somehow decipher transfiguration, something that they were both failing miserably at.
"Remus, I have my reasons for rejecting him, just trust me," she begged, hoping that he'd let the topic rest.
"Then at least tell me why."
"It just wouldn't work," she told him simply, refusing to go into further detail.
"Why not?" James asked suddenly as he took off his invisibility cloak.
"You were listening in on our conversation?!"
"That's beside the point, why wouldn't we work?" he asked her, seething with anger, unrelenting, never letting her escape the topic at hand.
She tried to think of something to tell him, anything just to get him off her case. "You're a man whore," she told him without even fully processing what she said before she did, never having time to think of the possible ramifications of it.
She saw the hurt in his face and instantly regretted it, "You're a bitch, Evans," he spat at her before storming out of the library.
Remus looked at her, obviously disgusted by her words, "James may have had his fair share of dates Lily, but he's never been one to cheat."
"I know," she told him quietly, repulsed by herself.
"Then why did you say that to him?"
"I wasn't thinking."
"Well, you may want to try because by the looks of it you have a lot of things to reconsider," he told her before leaving.
She saw him sitting in the back of the potions classroom, he was early and the rest of the Marauders had yet to join him. She sat down next to him. He turned to her once she did. He never said a word to her; he just gave her that look. It was the "What the hell are you doing here?" look with a bit of abhorrence mixed in before turning away, it hurt like a bitch to see, it had never been sent her way before. In the past he'd only rejoice over the fact that she actually gave him the time of day.
"So, I'd say we have about four minutes until Slughorne gets here so I'll just keep it short and simple. I'm sorry, James, I'm so sorry," she apologized sincerely, pleading for forgiveness.
He turned to her, his voice cold when he spoke, "Why did you say that? How could you think that about me?"
"I wasn't thinking, James. I honestly don't think that you'd ever cheat on a girl, James."
"Lily," he said before taking a slight pause to collect his thoughts, "start thinking," he told her before grabbing his things and moving to another desk.
He was the second person to say that to her, and she knew that he was right.
However, what hurt the most was that that was also the second time that he had really left her.
It was a week later at breakfast that her heart broke for the first time. She was sitting and gorging herself in eggs and bacon like she did every morning, minding her own business, when she saw it.
James walked into the Great Hall with her, Catherine Livingston. She and Lily had been in competition with one another ever since first year and so far Lily had won. She was always at the top of every class (with Remus and James, but that varied depending on which course it was) and she was awarded head girl. She had thought that she had won, but Catherine was the victor when it cam to the only thing that really mattered: James.
"She's been after him for ages," Lily's friend Cecilia told her. "Never thought that anything would actually come of it, though, but there they are, living proof. They're exclusive too, you know."
"You're a pervert," Lily told him with disgust.
"It's true, I've been trying to get her attention forever, but she was always too hung up on Potter. Now, once they end it I can be her shoulder to cry on… and later of course the rebound… too bad I may be waiting for a while," her best friend Cooper pouted.
Lily's eyes widened at the statement, "You think they'll last?"
"Look at his history, Lils. Among his many casual relationships are two girls that he dated exclusively, both of which lasted like six months. All the other girls were only and would only be one night stands, and they knew it. If a girl is sitting by him the next morning then he's in it for the long haul. It's a shame that he always manages to take such a nice piece of ass off the market though. Shame, shame."
She was so shocked by what he had told her regarding James that she didn't even admonish Cooper for his last words and for being a perverted wanker as she usually would.
He'd moved on.
He'd given up on her.
The next time that she talked to him wasn't for another two weeks. "We need to discuss the details of the ball," James told her as he walked into the Heads' common room.
"Fine," she told him in a clipped tone.
James ignored it, "When do you want to meet up?"
"So seven then, meet you here," he told her before getting up off the couch to leave.
It was that word that proved to be the final straw with James. He turned to her, "What the bloody hell is your problem? Why are you acting like such a bitch?"
"I am not!"
"Yes, you are, and what I don't understand is why."
"Oh, go back to that wench of yours, I'm tired and don't feel like talking now," she told him.
Comprehension dawned upon him, "That's what it's about?"
"What?" Lily asked, feigning confusion as she prayed that he was as clueless as he appeared to be.
"I am not!"
"Yes, you are, but why?"
"What do you mean why?"
"I thought you despised me."
"Well, you're not always right about everything, James. God, you really are as dumb as you look," she exclaimed before leaving the room.
"You look awfully happy," as she entered the Great Hall the next morning to see an almost giddy Cooper.
"I shagged Catherine," he told her with a broad smile, obviously proud of himself.
"She cheated on James?"
"No, he dumped her, how else would I get into her pants so easily? Anyway, I'd say that she's a six and a half out of ten. Hot, but just lay there… come to think of it, it was pretty boring actually… but she's bloody sexy… but boring…"
Lily zoned out, paying no mind to his inner debate over whether she was more boring or hot. James had dumped Catherine… but what did that mean for her? Did it really change her answer?
"Go out with me, Evans," he told her as he came up from behind her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
"Come on, Lils, admit you're undying love for me, you're hot for my bod, it's okay. I promise I'll make it worth your while," he told her with a wink, and she didn't doubt his words.
"James, no," she told him before walking away.
However, that time, unlike all those that came before it, he didn't let her.
"No," he told her as he grabbed her arm and turned her around to face him.
"What do you mean 'no'?"
"No, you're not getting away this time, that's what I mean," he told her angrily. "Tell me why you won't go out with me when you obviously like me."
"If you didn't, you wouldn't have been jealous of my relationship with Cat," he told her, never letting her escape the truth, forcing her to be honest with him for once.
She stood there trying to figure out what to say to that. She stood there for what felt like hours before she realized she had run out of options, out of excuses.
"I'm not perfect."
"What?" he asked, his face the picture of confusion.
"You have this image of this perfect girl in your head and that's just not me-"
"What the bloody hell are you talking about?" he asked, interrupting her.
"No, I heard you, but what ever gave you the idea that I thought that you were?"
"You say it all the time," she told him, unsure as to where it was going.
"So then how do you not think that I am if you always say that I am?"
"Love," he told her in an exasperated tone, comprehension finally dawning upon him as to what she was alluding to. "You're clumsy as hell, you eat more than Sirius and I combined, have the worst temper I've ever seen, and you can be unbelievably straight-laced. Trust me when I say that I really don't think that you're perfect."
"Then why the hell do you tell me that I am?" she asked, her patience wearing and signs of her infamous temper beginning to make way.
"Because, you idiot, you're perfect for me."
"I am?" she asked, looking up at him with a shy smile.
"Yes, and that is why regardless of how presumptuous of me it may sound, I'm going to ask you something. Since we both know that I love you how about we go back to the rooms so I can have my naughty way with you."
"We don't have to shag, just a bit of action would be nice," he told her with a teasing smile.
"James!" she exclaimed again, only that time even louder.
"Is that a no?"
"No, but you still don't have to be so crude."
"See you are perfect for me, you keep me in my place. It's very sexy come to think of it. Seriously though, how about we go to our rooms?"
"You're an idiot."
"You're the one that's in love with an idiot, therefore you're an even bigger idiot my dear."