Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, I'd be so much happier.

A/N: The (hopefully) much awaited 2nd chapter! I'll let you get on with it, shall I? Oh, and please read the second author's note at the end of the chapter. You may need to, if you like the story.


Chapter 2—
Smile

That damn smile.

It was just infectious.

His hazel eyes would sparkle brightly and crease ever so slightly, and his full lips would curve upwards captivatingly and he seemed to radiate confidence and happiness. Then those around him, too, would automatically smile upon catching glimpse of the James Potter grin. It made people go weak in the knees, made people melt into a pool of incoherency at his feet.

And it had melted her heart.

She remembered a week before, when she'd started going out with Simon. She and James barely even spoke then. A simple greeting at Prefects' meetings, a few words exchanged at rounds, but that was it. He'd stopped asking her out, nagging her, annoying her in all aspects, and avoided speaking to her at all. They'd studied together in the Heads' Dorms, and that was about as far as it went. She'd found it quite pleasant then, so she hadn't commented on his strange behaviour.

And then along came Simon. He seemed a nice enough lad, quite genuine, so why refuse his proposal? So they started going out. Everything had gone nice and smooth for the first couple of days. But on the third day, she'd caught James staring at her.

It had shocked her so much; he hadn't done that in over two months, and here he was, watching her intently. Not knowing how to act in the awkward situation, she'd offered him a timid smile, blushed a faint hue of red, and quickly severed eye contact. He stared at her quite a few times that day, his actions so subtle sometimes she wasn't sure whether she'd imagined it or not. Maybe there'd been something on her face, she'd reasoned. She'd brushed the whole matter off.

But then the next day, she'd spotted him staring at her again. She'd waved the issue away once more, but then noticed that he stiffened whenever Simon was around. The look in his eyes would change and become dark and dangerous, his demeanour hostile. Maybe it was because he never liked Simon anyway, she'd attempted to rationalise. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Refusing to believe her suspicions, she'd remained normal, keeping up her cool, happy façade. Her heartbeat would increase rapidly at the slightest glimpse of him, sending her nerves into frenzy, but whether it was because of her inklings, she didn't know. Whatever it had been, she wasn't supposed to feel that way.

The next day had been a perfectly normal day, minus the minor amounts of staring from James, and she had been looking forwards to rounds that night, for some peculiar reason. She'd been waiting impatiently in the Heads' Dorms for him, and he'd come rushing in. Slightly late, she'd noticed.

Then it happened.

Pleasantly crinkled hazel eyes had shone behind his frames and the edges of his soft lips had quirked upwards into a warm, genuine yet apologetic smile. Regretful though it was, it had still lit up his whole face, and Lily had found herself staring at him in awe.

And this was when she'd known what that mysterious feeling was. This was when she realised why on earth she'd begun to find him so interesting all of a sudden.

She didn't know how it had happened. She'd just seen the boy smile, for goodness sake. It wasn't anything huge, just a simple, innocent smile. Yet it had complicated things so much.

One minute she'd thought she fancied Simon Delaney, and the next thing she knew she was tumbled headfirst into a mixture of unexplained sentiments. All because of a smile.

Needless to say, she'd forgiven him with a nervous smile of her own, and they'd done their patrols. With a lot of blushing on her part and a lot of puzzled expressions on his, they'd managed to finish their rounds and return to their respective rooms in the Heads' Dormitories.

The timing for all this couldn't have been worse. She had a boyfriend who seemed to fancy her an awful lot, yet she cherished a newly ignited passion for another man.

This was when it all changed.

The little things Simon did which she used to find cute now became irking. Like the way he'd incessantly talk about the 'O' he'd gotten in Ancient Runes, the way he'd frown when he didn't get what he want. Like the way he'd glower at any other boy who so much as looked at her, the way he'd smirk triumphantly when the other blokes looked dejected.

Though she'd never admitted it to herself, she'd come to realise that it had never been 'other blokes'. It had always been James. Simon didn't give a rat's arse about other boys, but whenever James was around he seemed to grow this boastful demeanour, as if silently saying, I have what you want, and you can't do anything about it. It aggravated her to no end and she just felt like ripping the boy's hair out.

Who was she kidding? She'd never felt anything for Simon. Nothing in comparison to what she felt for James.


She hadn't even known what was happening. They'd been doing their rounds, and he'd started asking about Simon. She'd attempted to be as monosyllabic as she could about the whole matter, but he was so persistent.

He'd asked and asked and asked until she thought she could take no more. She'd looked into his eyes and she'd wanted to break down, collapse, fall. But it didn't matter because she'd known he'd catch her, known it without a doubt.

And then he'd taken her hands, caressing them tenderly, and told her to look into his eyes and tell him the truth. She'd gazed up at him, and her heart had given a tug of longing for the young man before her. He'd stood there, all handsome and rugged and sexy, his eyes staring soulfully into hers, willing her to answer, begging her without a word.

So she'd kissed him, giving into her heart's yearnings, her body's need. And it had been, for lack of better term, complete and utter bliss. He'd held her with such tenderness tears had stung her eyelids, but she'd carried on kissing him like there was no tomorrow. And for a few, heavenly moments, all had seemed right in the world. Nothing else had mattered. Thoughts of Simon had evaporated and all that was left was a burning need to kiss James as fervently as she could.

This was when reality had decided to come crashing down upon her conscience. This was when she'd stepped back and fled, shock and fear submerging her as she realised the impact of what she'd done. She'd left him staring after her, and she could sense his pain, feel it, because his pain was her pain.

She hated herself for being such a coward. Because that's what she was. A coward. She'd wanted to avoid the matter at hand so badly, but she realised she'd only made things worse, roused more questions, caused more pain.

Why did it have to be like this?

She wanted him to love her, love her like she loved him. She wanted to be with him so badly it hurt. She wanted to throw her arms around his neck and kiss him with all the ardour that was burning inside her. She wanted him, plain and simple.

Except it wasn't. It never was.


Lily let out a breath, staring up at the ceiling as she lay, tangled in her sheets in bed. It was no use, she couldn't sleep. He seemed to plague her thoughts whatever she did.

Sighing, she disentangled herself from her covers and rose from bed slowly, making her way towards her door. Opening it, she listened for any indication that James was awake – but all was silent apart from the crackling noise of the fireplace. She sighed with relief as she padded down the stairs softly and made her way to the sofa, only to discover someone lying there already.

Her breath caught in her throat as the very person whom infiltrated her mind breathed in and out peacefully, his eyes closed in heavenly slumber. Just seeing him brought back all the memories of the previous night.

She inched towards James, apprehensive of making any noise to wake him up. Her eyes roamed his body; he was wearing a loose, scarlet shirt and black shorts, and he'd undeniably been watching the fireplace before he'd fallen asleep…

Before she knew it, Lily was kneeling beside him, confident that he wouldn't wake. She swallowed slowly as she took in his handsome features, raising a shaking hand to his cheek. She let it rest there, feeling his light stubble scratch the delicate skin of her hand. His skin was warm, radiating heat onto her cold body, and she wanted so much to crawl into his arms and lie there until the end of time. Her hand tingled madly from the contact it held with James's skin, and a smile worked its way across his full lips.

It was that smile again. Seeing him smile made her want to smile, and she felt a small smile grace her features. He was just so breathtakingly handsome. Everything from his dishevelled hair to his toned muscles to his callused palms was so attractive it sometimes made her ache inside. A tender finger traced his lips, which felt oh so soft under her skin, while her heartbeat echoed loudly in her ears.

She stroked his cheek tenderly, her other hand resting on his toned chest, which she could feel distinctly under his thin shirt. Leaning in further, she appreciated their proximity, especially since he wasn't awake to witness it. If he was, she wouldn't be so audacious; she wouldn't even be able to string two sentences together. Still smiling softly, her fingers worked their way through James's tousled hair – a gesture he often performed himself. It was a gesture she now found endearing and often longed to do herself.

He lay there, looking innocent, peaceful and so bloody gorgeous she just wanted to kiss a part of him, just briefly. Just once, it wouldn't do any harm.

Having convinced herself, Lily closed her eyes as she leant in further, and pressed her lips to his cheek gently, her lips lingering there for a second or two.

James's head shifted slightly in her hand and she halted immediately, her heartbeat quickening further. She felt a hand cover her own on his cheek and stomach, adding a light pressure to her hands. Her heart leapt to her throat as she realised that he was awake.

She shouldn't have kissed him; she shouldn't have woken him up. She shouldn't have let her yearning to be near him take her over. She shouldn't be this close to him in the first place. She never should have touched him.

Yet, surprisingly enough, Lily didn't regret doing any of that. She'd wanted to do that for such a long time it felt good to finally do it. Maybe now that she had, she wouldn't need to any longer.

Still, it didn't make her any less nervous or embarrassed as she pulled back. Her emerald eyes met with a pair of warm hazel, sending her nerves into frenzy as she gazed into the orbs, feeling heat spreading across her cheeks.

She was with Simon, she told herself calmly, she was with Simon. Simon, her boyfriend, Simon, who fancied her so much, Simon…Simon, who…?

All thoughts were immediately eliminated from her head as she gazed into James's eyes. The blush seemed to fade from her cheeks, and a curious tingling sensation spread though her hands as he held them in his own.

They stared at each other for what seemed like forever, the silence screaming loudly in their ears.

James tilted his head ever so slightly, decreasing the gap between their lips. His gaze never wavered from her eyes, and she stared back, knowing her eyes were like a window to the swirl of emotions inside her. It wasn't as if she'd be able to hide anything from him anyway. He knew her all too well.

And right now, she knew that he knew she wanted him to kiss her. Because his head inclined towards hers again, pausing a tantalising fraction away from her lips.

How she wished to close that gap, making their lips meet in heavenly ardour. And perhaps he knew just how much she wanted it, because he leant in, leant in until their lips were mere centimetres away from each other.

She grew numb as his breath crashed over her face. Want and desire were clouding her senses, immobilising her brain, making it impossible to think clearly. He was too hesitant; she wanted him to get on with it…

It was she, this time, who moved towards him.

Their lips had barely brushed when Lily came to her senses.

Leaping up hastily, she backed away, not daring to look him in the eye because if she did, she knew she'd find herself caving. She'd cave, and she wasn't ready to cave, not yet. Yet she wanted to be with him so badly. It was all so sickeningly twisted she was tearing up inside.

She sped from him for a second time, rushing up the stairs to her dormitory, sensing his pain, feeling it, sensing exactly what he would be thinking, knowing it. Because his pain was her pain, his thoughts so similar to hers.

And as she thought back to what made her fall for him in the first place, his smile, his strikingly handsome smile, she knew it wouldn't be flashed in her direction for a long, long time.


A/N: Edited on 05/08/2011

Alrighty. So. I will finish this. I have a few weeks' worth of holiday on my hands and nothing better to do aside from anything associated with Harry Potter, so I will finish this. I'm sorry I haven't been here - life has been amazingly hectic, and even though it's my holidays I've always got something to do or somewhere to be.

I'm hoping you haven't given up on this (or me) yet. And thank you, all of you, for your favourites, alerts and reviews - you've been seriously patient with me; I can't even begin to say how much I appreciate that.