Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of its characters.
"After That Night"
"Hey, Lily, here!"
A voice shouted behind Lily. When she turned around to see the owner of the voice, she saw her best friend Louisa Jones waving at her from a compartment. Lily went inside, put her luggage on the shelf, and sat beside her friend.
"Hey, Louisa, how was your summer?"
"Mine was great. I visited my uncle's family in Scotland and it was just fabulous. How was yours?"
"Mine was good too," said Lily. "I went to a beach in France with my family."
"Oh, that must have been nice."
"But I'm more looking forward to start my new year, actually."
"Really? Why?" asked Louisa.
Lily took out something from her pocket and showed it to Louisa proudly; it was a badge with "Head Girl" written on it.
"I don't believe it!" squealed Louisa. "You are the Head Girl this year?"
"That's right." Lily grinned widely.
"Congratulations! Oh, but…but…"
"What? Is there any problem?" asked Lily curiously, for she thought Louisa was going to be as happy as she was.
"No, it's fantastic! But it's just that…"
Before Louisa could finish her sentence, the door suddenly opened and a tall guy with jet-black hair appeared.
"Ah, there you are, Evans."
It was James Potter.
"What do you want…"
However, Lily could not continue because she saw that the same badge she was holding in her hand gleaming on James' chest; the only difference was that his badge read "Head Boy."
"It's not possible! How can you be the…"
James, who realized that Lily was pointing at his badge, finished the sentence for her.
"Yes! Remus was the Prefect! How can you be…"
"Well, you can ask Dumbledore about that because he is the one who made the decision." He rumpled his already messy hair. "Anyway, the reason I came here is to tell you that there is a meeting in the Prefects' compartment twenty minutes later. We need to be there as the Head Boy and the Head Girl."
James looked as if he wanted to say something more, but he closed his mouth. He stood there for a moment awkwardly without saying anything, then left.
Lily was too shocked to say anything at all. James Potter as the Head Boy? What was Dumbledore thinking?
"Did you know this?" Lily asked Louisa.
"Yes, that's why I was worried…"
"How did you know this?"
"Well, I passed James and his friends and heard them talking about it."
"Probably shouting out loud so that the whole train can hear them," said Lily in a cold voice.
"No, they were just talking among themselves. I just happened to hear it."
Lily remained silent for a while, still looking confused about what has just happened.
"Lily, are you okay? Don't think too much about it. It won't be that bad…"
"Not that bad? I have to share a dorm with James Potter! And you know he's a jerk!"
"He's not!" Louisa shouted back somewhat abruptly. Lily looked at her friend dumbly; Louisa blushed when she realized what she had just said.
"I, I mean, he's not as bad as you think…"
"Since when did you start defending him, Louisa? You know he's an arrogant prat—"
"Don't talk about him like that when you know nothing of him!"
Lily frowned. It was very unlikely of Louisa, for she mostly agreed with her opinion of James Potter. Then it clicked; Lily remembered something from last year.
It was the last day of the school and everyone was excited to go home. Lily, too, was very excited about this and spent her day by talking with her friends about their summer plans. However, at night, Lily couldn't fall asleep for some reason; therefore, she grabbed her most favourite Muggle novel Pride and Prejudice and went down to the common room.
It was deserted, for it was long past midnight; only the sound of burning logs in the fireplace echoed in the large space. She sat down on one of the couches near the fireplace and began reading the book. However, maybe it was the long day of conversations with her friends or simply the warm fire that caused Lily to be drowsy; she felt her eyelids getting heavier, and finally put the book down on the table beside the couch and laid back. She did not want to get up from the couch and go all the way back to her room; the fire was blazing brightly and the room was very cozy; she closed her eyes and prepared to fall asleep.
It was then when she heard someone climbing in through the portrait hole.
"Merlin! Don't push me, Prongs!"
"Shh! Quiet, Padfoot! You'll wake up the entire house!"
Lily immediately realized who they were: James Potter and Sirius Black. She knew that the Marauders had weird nicknames for each other, although she did not know what they meant.
Lily debated within herself whether to get up and scold them about being out of their beds at night or just to pretend to be asleep.
'Ah, well, it's the last day of the school. Let's give them a break,' thought Lily.
She stayed silent, hoping that they would not notice her and just go back to their room. However, she heard their footsteps coming closer toward where she was; finally, Sirius noticed her and said,
"Oi, Prongs. Look who's here. It's your Lily-flower."
Lily expected James to join Sirius and say all silly things he usually say to her—which includes 'the most beautiful flower in the world, Lily-flower,' 'red hair and Golden Snitch, what a perfect match! It's the colour of Gryffindor!' or something along that line. However, surprisingly, he stayed silent; then he said quietly,
"Is she asleep?"
"I think so. Why is she sleeping in the common room, anyway?"
"She must have been tired after doing all the Prefect duties. It's the last day of the school, you know."
"Moony seemed fine," said Sirius; again, James was silent. Lily heard him sitting down on the couch beside hers, and soon, Sirius followed him.
"She sleeps like an angel," said James softly.
Lily tried hard not to twitch any of her muscles; it was the first time that any boy said such thing to her. She was sure that her face was reddened and only hoped that the bright fire would conceal the colour of her face.
"But when she wakes up, she is as fierce as a Hippogriff," said Sirius.
"Don't talk about her in such manner."
"But it's true. Don't you remember what she said to you last week…"
"She's not like that to other students. Just to me." James sounded somewhat sad when he said the last words.
"Prongs, you know picking on our poor Snivellus is not the best way to win her heart, don't you?"
"I know, but it's just that…I can't control myself when she's around," said James frustratedly. "I get too excited…or nervous as you might say."
"Because you have no experience with girls," said Sirius. "You never even dated a girl properly because you were too busy chasing after Evans."
"Well, yeah, that's kind of true…"
Lily found herself almost disbelieving what she just heard. James Potter gets nervous around a girl he likes? He never even dated anyone before? It was unimaginable. She always thought he was a playboy like Sirius; at least that was how all the girls in Hogwart viewed him.
No matter what was going inside her head, Lily still shut her eyes tight and tried to appear as if she was asleep. However, even when she slightly opened her eyes to see what the boys were doing, they seemed to be too absorbed in their conversation to notice Lily's movement anyway. Sirius started talking again.
"Do you know what I don't understand, Prongs? Why don't you just let her see who you really are? Has she ever seen you behaving normaly?"
"I guess not," laughed James quietly, "because I never behave normally when she's around."
"Exactly! That's the problem. She has never seen the real you. All she saw was this arrogant prick who's full of himself…Heck, does she even know that you saved her friend Louisa Jones from Mulciber and his gang?"
Lily cocked up her ears. 'What? He saved Louisa from Mulciber? When? Why hasn't Louisa never told me?' Her questions were soon answered by James.
"No, I told her not to tell Evans. That was more that a month ago, anyway. It doesn't really matter."
"Why did you tell her that? Evans must know that it was you who saved her best friend."
"She will think I did it to impress her," replied James melancholy.
'No, that's not true! I would have thanked you only if I knew!' thought Lily, trying not to burst her eyes open and tell her thought to James.
"That's her main problem. She thinks everything you do is somehow related to her. She thinks the world centres around her. Seriously Prongs, I don't even get why you're clinging to her when you can date any girl in the school."
"Except her." And there was a pause; it was Sirius who broke the silence.
"Oh, please don't tell me you are in love with her. That will make me vomit."
"Love?" said James blankly. "Maybe you are right. Maybe… I am in love with her." And Lily heard Sirius fake-vomitting.
"Merlin, love? Prongs, You are only sixteen!"
"Shh! You will wake her up!" hissed James.
"Oh, yeah, I wouldn't want that because she will freak out when she sees you here," said Sirius jokingly. "Anyway, we should go sleep now. I don't want to miss the train tomorrow."
"Yeah, we should."
Lily heard them getting up from the couch.
"Are you going to wake her up?" asked Sirius.
"Err…probably not. She's sleeping so peacefully. The room is warm enough, I guess." Lily could tell that James' eyes were fixed on her. "But in case she gets cold—"
Then she felt a warm fabric spread on her; it was James' robe.
"I'll bet ten galleons that she will freak out the next morning when she finds out whose it is," said Sirius, but James did not say anything. Instead, he bent down and kissed on Lily's hair softly.
"Good night, Lily. Sweet dreams."
Was it just Lily's imagination that there was sadness in his voice?
"Just give her up, Prongs. She'll never be yours."
Then they walked away.
When Lily was certain that they were gone completely, she opened her eyes and erected herself. She touched the spot where James kissed; it felt hot.
Lily could not believe all the things James said. Was he really the same James she knew? He sounded…so different. She never heard him sound so sad and depressed. And it was all because of her…He was sad and depressed because of her…
'She has never seen the real you.' Sirius' voice rang around her ears.
Then who is this person she has seen all these years? Why has James behaved so cocky and foolish in front of her? But then she remembered what James said to Sirius.
'I can't control myself whenever she's around. I get too excited…or nervous as you might say.'
'He…likes me that much? He…loves me?' Lily touched her face with her hands; it felt as if it was on fire.
She has never thought that James was serious when he asked her out. She has always thought that he did it just because she was the only one who turned him down. 'Like I want my name to appear on his endless list of girlfriends!' She always said to her friends.
Lily felt guilt flooding inside her. She did not know that it was James Potter who saved Louisa from Mulciber and his gang. When she heard what Mulciber tried to do to Louisa, she was so shocked and asked who saved her; Louisa never told.
'She'll think I did it to impress her.' James' voice echoed inside her head.
'How sad he sounded when he said that!' thought Lily. 'Am I such a horrible person in his opinion? Yet he still loves me?'
Lily buried her face into James' robe; it smelt nice. She let out a heavy sigh. She did not know what to think of James anymore. Her opinions of him that she had all these years did not match with James whom she just heard.
Finally, she just decided to forget about it. She is going back home tomorrow, anyway; she will not be seeing James for two months. She got up from the couch and stretched herself. She did not know what to do with James' robe, so she just neatly folded it and left it on the couch.
'He will find it tomorrow,' thought Lily.
She walked up the stairs and went into her room. She laid on her bed and stumbled around a bit, and eventually fell asleep. When she opened her eyes, it was morning and all of her roommates were already up, excited to head back home. When Louisa saw that Lily was awake, she asked where she was last night; Lily merely smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
She did not see James on the train that day.
'Oh Merlin, how could I have forgotten it?' Lily screamed inside her head. The thoughts and the feelings she had back then returned to her and made her extremely confused again; she hung her head.
"Lily, are you okay?" asked Louisa. Lily looked up and shook her head.
"What's wrong? You kind of zoned out…for awhile."
"I have something to tell you, Louisa."
"What is it?" Louisa asked with concerned eyes.
Lily took a deep breath and began telling Louisa about the night she heard the conversation between James and Sirius. Louisa gasped here and there while Lily told the story, and when it was finished, she looked shocked very much.
"Wow…and you never told it to me before?" asked Louisa, still her eyes wide-open from the story she just heard.
"It was the last day of the school," said Lily, "and I really tried to forget it. I didn't even remember it until you started defending Potter all of a sudden…Hey, you also didn't tell me that it was Potter who saved you from Mulciber!"
"Well, yeah…but James told me not to…" replied Louisa guiltily, "and you know why…"
Lily sighed and shrugged her shoulders.
"Oh, well, what's happened is what's happened. However—" said Lily, looking directly into Louisa's eyes. "It seems like you've got to know him a little better after he saved you…which I'm guessing from the fact you're addressing him by his first name, by the way." Lily's brilliant green eyes gleamed with curiosity. "What's he like when I'm not around?"
"I did talk to him a few times after he saved me…" said Louisa. "He's really nice, I should say. Sure, he sometimes sounds a bit arrogant, but who wouldn't be if they were as handsome and talented like him?" Louisa turned a light shade of pink as she said that. "One thing I'm very certain is that he really likes you. He does."
This time, it was Lily's turn to blush.
"Actually I was quite surprised when he didn't ask you out when he was here just now," continued Louisa. "He always asks you out whenever he has a chance, you know."
This made Lily think for a while. Yes, it was true. He surely would have asked her out if it were any other day? But then, she remembered a part of the conversation again.
'Just give her up, Prongs. She'll never be yours.'
Was he serious when he said that? Has he given upon her already? Lily was deep in confusion again. It was Louisa who brought her back to reality.
"Huh? What? Why?"
"I think your meeting is going to start soon. James said it would start after twenty minutes, didn't he?"
Lily quickly looked at her watch; it was indeed about the time. She quickly rose from her seat and headed toward the door. Then she felt Louisa holding on her robe.
"Be nice to him." She said with a soft smile.
Lily did not know what to respond, but gave a small nod and left the compartment.
As she headed to the Prefects' compartment, she noticed the familiar messy jet-black hair among the crowd. She went up to him and said,
"Potter, are you going to the meeting now?"
James looked surprised when Lily suddenly popped up behind him, but regained his composure and nodded.
"Yeah, I guess you are, too."
"Yes," replied Lily, then awkward silence followed.
Lily argued with herself as she walked beside James: should she say something nice to him or just treat him normally as she did before? After a struggle, she finally made up her mind.
"So—" said Lily, not looking at James' direction. "How did you spend your summer?"
"Err…just stayed home…playing some Quidditch with my friends…umm…yours?"
"My family ad I went to a beach in France. It was really nice there."
"It sounds nice."
"Yeah, it was. I wish we had stayed there longer." Lily glanced at James; his face was reddened a little bit and he looked very uncomfortable, clearly nervous about talking to her.
Their awkward silence remained until they reached in front of the Prefect's compartment.
"You go in first," said James as he opened the door for her.
"Thank you." Lily paused for a moment, then quickly added, "—James."
He did not make any reply. However, when Lily glanced back at James as she entered the compartment, she saw the happiest smile she has ever seen in her life on his face.
— The End—
A/N: What did you think of my story? Review please:)