A/N: The sequel is up and running! I apologize that it took me so long to get it up on the website. I've been writing as much as I can ever since I finished Tears on the Balcony but I've just been super busy with my job, writing essays, studying for exams, holidays, and the list goes on. But I've finally planned out how the sequel is going to unfold and I've written a good amount of it that I've decided it's finally time to put the first chapter up! So please tell me what you think and I will get the next chapter out asap. On a sidenote, if you haven't read Tears on the Balcony, you probably should go back and read that one first. This fanfic probably won't make a lot of sense unless you read that one first. And by the way, I started writing both of these stories before and during Half-Blood Prince so it is a bit AU though I have altered the sequel to be correct. So not quite everything in Tears on the Balcony and Kisses on the Balcony might add up.
Just a reminder of what happened in the end of the last story for those who haven't read it for a while: James breaks up with Kristina to be with Lily, and Lily and James finally get together after multiple chances and after Sirius bugged Lily throughout the entire Christmas break about it, only Lily and James' friends plus his sister Dezzy and Remus' new love interest Jillian Greene (a sixth year Gryffindor) know about it, Sirius and Riley are dating but are keeping it a secret from everyone, Remus and Jillian like each other and are not in a relationship but are taking things slow, and Lily runs into Kristina during rounds and they have a conversation that leads to an understanding of each other. Other things to keep noted: Lily is an orphan who lost her family when she was eight, Kay is dating Riley's older brother Lance, both James and Riley have a huge family with lots of siblings, Riley's Gran is pretty much a tyrant who thinks Riley needs to get married right out of Hogwarts, Riley and Rhett Davies had a little something going before Sirius ruined it, and Sirius "dated" Rachael LeBlanc for three months.
Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling who wrote an amazing series of 7 books. It sucks that I'm not her, but I'm not. :(
Kisses on the Balcony
Chapter 1: Of Lily, James, Sirius, and Riley
It was snowing that Thursday. The mountain of white was piling up high against the Hogwarts doors, keeping everyone trapped inside the Hogwarts walls. The snowflakes fell heavily against the frozen ground, building up quickly as each minute passed. The blizzard had appeared unexpectedly late the night before when all of the students were slumbering in their beds. It had continued through the night and into the morning, much to the delight of the students who thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Hogwarts grounds turned into a blanket of white yet. Outdoor classes, such as Herbology and the Care for Magical Creatures, had to be canceled and the students walked into the Great Hall for meals at awe at the sheer beauty of the simulated snow as the ceiling. Talk of the snowstorm and the winter wonderland was a very common talking point on the tip of everyone's tongues. The students all crowded in their respective common rooms around the fireplaces, snuggled under wool blankets, and found solace in their time off from classes as a way to spend more time with their friends.
Except for two people who remained hidden away from the crowds and the chatter, simply enjoying each others' company.
James Potter sat in the private quarters designated to the two Heads of the school, reading over his Potions essay on the couch as the fire warmed his extremeties. In his arms was Lily Evans, a smile on her face and her eyes shut loosely as she used that rare bit of free time for a quick power nap. A blanket was covering her keeping her comfortable and cozy as she snuggled up beside James.
James glanced away from his essay to smile at the sight of Lily resting beside him. It was these small moments that James couldn't get enough of. The stolen private minutes, just the two of them, with a rare chance of interruption. He tightened his grasp around her shoulder, and an exciting electric charge ran through his body at the slightest touch. He still got butterflies in his stomach when she reached for his hand during rounds. Or when she came up behind him in the common room and let her fingers linger on his shoulders before placing a light kiss on his cheek. Or when she wrapped her tiny arms around his neck when pulling him in for an embrace. Or when she walked into class and let her hands dance along his arms briefly before taking a seat beside him. Or when they were sitting on the couch and she draped her legs across his lap. She was always doing something to cause his heart race and the little hairs on the back of his neck to stand up without even realizing it. No girl had ever made him feel so comfortable and yet made him long so desperately for. He wanted to be with her all the time and when he was not with her, he was thinking about her: her touch, her kisses, her smile, her eyes, her voice. It was always there with him, leaving him with an unremitting grin on his fac. A grin which his three friends felt the need to tease him about incessantly. But he didn't care. Because he had the girl. The girl he was convinced he going to spend the rest of his life with.
He started stroking her hair, careful not to wake her, and bent down to kiss her lightly on the cheek. He winced when he heard her whimper quietly. "Sorry," he whispered regrettably. "I didn't mean to wake you."
"Mm," was her simple reply.
James chuckled lightly to himself. "But now that you're up..." he trailed off with a guilty smile.
"I'm not up," she whined with a pout. "I'm still sleeping. Can't you tell?"
He laughed, trailing his fingers along her hairline. "Sorry, but I sorta promised Sirius I would meet him at lunch. Er...about ten minutes ago."
Lily peeked one eye open. "Fashionably late, hm?"
He nodded. "You looked too cute to stir," he admitted with a bashful smile.
A hint of red appeared in Lily's cheeks. Sometimes, she still couldn't believe that she was with James Potter. When she thought back to the people they were barely a year prior, she never would have given James the time of day. And now, she was in his arms, never wanting him to let her go. "Compliments will get you everywhere, m'friend," she whispered, tilting her head up towards his.
He smiled, knowing she intended him to kiss her. He did just that. "And now I'm twelve minutes late meeting him," he whispered. "Do you want to come?"
A suggestive glint twinkled in Lily's eye as she smiled slyly. "I hope you're referring to me coming to the Great Hall."
James' heart skipped a beat, grimacing in amusement. "A sexual innuendo, hm?" he whispered, brushing the tendrils from her forehead. "Uh-oh, I think I've rubbed off on you."
A slow smile crept on to Lily's lips and she reached for his hand, squeezing it tightly. "I could think of worse things," she said.
He smiled. "I could, too," he murmured, stroking her silky hair.
Lily cozied up under the blanket, kissing the back of his hand. "Do you think we could just stay here forever?" she whispered.
"Doubtful. We'd starve to death and I think Dumbledore would feel it necessary to scrape our bodies off this couch before the next Head Girl and Boy move in."
Lily sighed. "You paint such a vivid picture."
"Well, I, too, have thought about staying here forever," he admitted with a smile. "But I'm also pretty sure that our friends would come barreling through here, breaking the door in the process, and demand that we spend some time with them."
"Yes, but then we can just kiss in front of them, watch them say 'ewww' and 'get a room' and hightail it out of here and we'd be back to being alone."
James' eyebrow arched curiously. "Now who's painting a vivid picture?"
She grinned, winking playfully at him. "C'mon," she said slowly as she stifled a yawn and stretched her arms over her head with a whimper. She threw the blanket off of her and said, "Let's go eat."
James grabbed her arm before she could walk off. "Wait," he whispered, pulling her towards him as he kissed her.
When they pulled apart, Lily smiled at him. Sometimes she was still in awe that it was James Potter she was kissing. "You're going to be late and those friends of ours will be breaking that door down."
"Eh, let them," he said immediately. He pulled her down on to his lap and kissed her again, letting his fingers dance through her hair.
She smiled, blushing, and kissed him back with a ferocity unforeseen by the both of them.
"Oh, look," James said once they pulled apart, smoothing down the back of her now messy hair. "Our door is still intact."
Lily grinned and grabbed James' hand, pulling both of them off the couch. "C'mon, you jokester. Let's go to lunch."
Unfortunately, going to lunch wasn't as easy as they thought it would be.
"I hear he and Kristina broke up a month ago!"
"No way! And we're just hearing about this?"
"But they were the 'it' couple! What happened?"
"No one knows. It's all some sort of secret."
"I cannot believe this! This has to be some sort of rumor!"
"Well, rumor is it came straight from Kristina's mouth."
"Why would she start this?"
"Looking for pity, knowing her."
"She must be heartbroken!"
"Well, probably. One of the most eligible bachelors in the entire school just broke up with her."
"We all knew it wouldn't last."
"Yeah, he was a huge player before her!"
"Exactly. Didn't realize that girlfriends were his thing."
"I'm surprised he lasted this long with a girl."
"I wonder why they broke up."
"Who broke up with whom?"
"From what I hear, James broke up with her."
"But last I heard, he said he loved her."
"Apparently, that didn't last."
"I wonder if James is already dating someone new."
"You think? It's been a month!"
"So? That guy has always bounced back fast."
"Well, if he doesn't already have one, I wonder if he's on the market for a new girlfriend."
"I hope it's me!"
"James doesn't even know you exist, Olivia."
"A girl can dream, can't she?"
"I bet Daniella Skeeter has all the gossip on this. We should go find her and get the details."
"She's probably bombarded by everyone in this school."
"Well what's three more?"
James slid into the Gryffindor table with his girlfriend right beside him before immediately placing his head down on the table and letting a loud groan escape. Lily, too, looked disgruntled.
Sirius Black flashed his trademark flippant smirk. "Well, I think it's safe to say that Jamesie here has discovered that the whole school has found out about his and Kristina's break-up," he concluded, patting his friend on the back in amusement.
James lifted his head off the table, exhaling sharply. He rubbed his temples and chose not to acknowledge Sirius' witty comment. "Who knew that this would be the hugest gossip of the year?" he murmured, shaking his head in utter frustration.
The exchange of looks among his friends didn't go unnoticed. "Well, for one, I did," Sirius snickered.
"Yeah, I did, too," Riley Gilmore grinned.
"Yep, me too," Kay Richards agreed.
"Me three," Peter Pettigrew interjected.
Remus Lupin hesitated, shaking his head. "I actually have to disagree," he pointed out. "I think once everyone finds out you and Lily are together, that will be the hugest gossip of the year."
"Ohhh, yeah," the rest of the group chorused.
"He's right," Riley agreed.
"That will be huge," Kay spoke.
"Bigger than huge," Peter added.
"Yeah, ignore what we said before," said Sirius.
"Gee thanks, that's comforting," spoke James, crinkling his nose irritably. "You guys are a big help. I'm glad to call you all my friends."
"To be fair, last week when Sirius experimented with enlargening spells on your head you called him a poor example of a best friend," Riley pointed out.
James rolled his eyes. "I'm beginning to think the same of all of you."
A chorus of chuckles filled the table. "You knew this would happen eventually," Kay pointed out with a shrug. "We've all been trying to prepare you."
James slumped further down into his chair, a feeling of dread washing over him at the thought of this gossip running its way through the gossip mill. "Yeah, but what you neglected to prepare me for are the millions of giggly girls coming up to me attempting to give me sympathy when really all they want is to know if I plan on dating anyone else anytime soon," James grunted.
"Millions of girls?" Lily questioned, an eyebrow raised.
James smiled suggestively. "Yeah…you jealous?" he teased.
"Maybe," she suggested with a flippant laugh.
He grinned, leaving in closer to her. "Because if you were jealous, I know plenty of ways to make it up to you later," he whispered into her ear, winking at her.
A hint of red appeared on her cheeks, but she couldn't help but smile. "Then I guess I am extremely jealous," she whispered back.
"Okay, ew, this is the lunch table and we would like to actually be able to eat our food without gagging it up," Riley joked, sticking a finger down her throat and pretending to vomit.
"Aww, are you feeling a little jealous?" James teased, wiggling his eyebrows at her. "I could make it up to you later, too, if you'd like."
Riley made a face. "I've seen you in diapers, James. There's no way I could ever be attracted to you enough for you ever to make it up to me in that way."
Sirius immediately perked up. "And do you happen to have pictures of itty-bitty Jamesie-wamesie in diapers?"
James skewered chicken on to his fork while rolling his eyes. "No way. I burned those years ago in case of moments just like this," he clarified. "My mom wasn't too happy with me after I ransacked her photo albums. In fact, she grounded me for a week and I fought back by not cleaning my room. She wasn't too happy with that either. It started to smell like old, dirty socks mixed with moldy bread."
They all stared at him.
"What, I can't share with you all a little about my personal life?" James questioned with an innocent gaze.
"How about you just stick to sharing with us what's going on with your love life," Riley snickered.
Sirius snorted. "Which love life? The old love life that the whole school is now talking about or the secret under-the-table love life that no one knows about?"
James glared at him. "I never really liked you."
"Oh sure, Lily comes along and you're kicking me to the curb!" Sirius pouted.
"Lily's been around for a while now, Sirius," Kay snickered. "Six years, in fact."
"Oh sure, take his side," Sirius mumbled, his mouth full of food.
James rolled his eyes, ignoring Sirius and returning to the questions in his mind. "I wonder how it finally leaked out," he muttered. "Aw man, it was probably Dezzy, wasn't it?"
The gang exchanged worried glances.
"What?" James asked, noticing the looks on their faces.
"Well, rumor is that Kristina was the one who first mentioned it," Remus explained slowly.
James stared at Remus with his mouth open, clearly presenting his confusion. "What?" he exclaimed. "Why would she be the one to spread this around?"
Sirius snorted. "Oh, I don't know, because she's Kristina Reinhart?" he said, giving James a look. "She likes attention and she'll go about getting it in any way she can."
James rolled his eyes. "Kristina isn't that attention-driven," he argued, not noticing how uncomfortable Lily was beginning to feel.
The gang, excluding Lily who was too busy staring at her hands, burst into laughter. "Are you kidding?" Riley snickered. "She enjoys being in the limelight more than a Hollywood actress. She's seen as the victim here and everyone is going up to her giving her pity and offering up their sympathy, which is something she is most definitely thriving on."
James shook her head. "You guys don't know her like I do."
Sirius rolled his eyes and pointed towards the Ravenclaw table. "I think we know her more than you give us credit for."
James sighed and glanced towards the Ravenclaw table where Kristina was sitting with a crowd of people around her, no doubt exaggerating the story of how they broke up. There was a smile on her face "Kristina didn't mention anything about me and Lily, did she?" he questioned, turning back around to face his friends, again not noticing how awkward Lily was feeling.
"I didn't get the impression that she knew about you two," Riley said.
"No, she knows," James murmured.
The table erupted into groans. "Please tell me you didn't tell Kristina about Lily when you were breaking it off."
"I didn't, but I didn't have to," James protested. "I think she assumed and that's why she didn't ask me about it."
"Well, let's just hope the school doesn't find out about us anytime soon," Lily muttered.
"Why?" Sirius asked. "They already know about James and Kristina. It's only appropriate they find out about you two next."
Lily could feel her whole body tensing up in aggravation. "Not right now it isn't. Let Kristina have her limelight. Give it a few weeks until this gossip blows over before we unleash our gossip."
"First of all, this gossip is never going to blow over," Sirius snickered. "Second of all, why not just take both pieces of gossip at the same time? Might be easier."
"Oh yeah, so I can be looked at as the bad guy?" Lily snapped, harsher than she intended. "I don't think so."
James placed his hand on hers comfortingly. "No one's going to look at you as the bad guy, Lily."
Lily jerked her hand away quickly and glanced around to make sure no one saw that. "I was the reason you broke up with her, James," she grumbled. She grabbed her books off the table and stood up. "So the bad guy is exactly how everyone is going to look at me as," she snapped, before whirling around and walking out of the Great Hall.
James' mouth hung open, completely baffled. "What just happened here?" he murmured.
"Your girlfriend just ran out and you're still sitting at the table," Riley pointed out, giving him a look of disbelief.
"Oh shit!" James cried. He jumped up from the table, slung his bag over his shoulder and with a quick 'good-bye,' chased after her.
He ran into her just a few feet outside of the Great Hall. "Lily, hold on!" he cried, grabbing her arm.
Lily turned around, bitterness spewing from her eyes, and wrenched her arm away from him. "What?" she asked irritably.
He stepped back, surprised by her tone. "What's going on?"
She rolled her eyes and turned back around to walk away further from the Great Hall. "Nothing."
He grabbed her arm again. "Lily, talk to me."
Lily ripped her arm out of his and gave him an annoyed look. "You wouldn't understand."
"Try me," James urged.
"I just don't think telling the school about me and you is going to help in any way," Lily muttered, staring at her feet.
"What are you talking about?" James asked, confused. "Help what?"
Lily frowned. "Nothing, James," she murmured, turning away from her gaze. "I just don't need the entire school to talk about me behind my back, that's all."
"Because," she replied vaguely.
"Okay, I'm going to need more than that," he snickered, trying to lighten the mood.
Lily sighed, not caring for his joke. "Does it matter?"
James smiled. "You matter."
She glared at him. "Don't get cute on me."
He shrugged. "Too late."
She glanced up to meet his goofy grin. "James, can we please just continue to keep this between you and me?"
He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, kissing her forehead. "I'd do anything for you, Lily," he said sincerely.
"Okay, the cuteness needs to stop now." There was a slight, amused pout tucked on her face.
He chuckled, wrapping his arms around her and drawing her close to him. "Fine, I'll stop being cute if you tell me what's really bothering you."
She tensed up in his arms, frustration building inside of her.
"Lily," he urged. "Talk to me."
She sighed, wrapping her arms around his waist and sinking her head into his chest. "James, I'm not Kristina."
"Uh, yes, I know that. And thank God for that: I didn't need to break up with one Kristina just to hop into a relationship with another," James laughed.
Lily glared up at him.
"Er…what I meant to say was, what do you mean you're not Kristina?" James asked sheepishly.
She shrugged, taking an awkward step back, away from his soft touch. "I don't enjoy it when the whole school talks about me. Even to my face. I don't enjoy gossiping about my personal life to people who aren't my close friends. I just can't stand the pointing and the whispering and knowing that people are talking about me. I don't want or need people questioning me about something that is absolutely none of their business. I don't chime in and tell anyone who wants to know my side of the story nor do I exaggerate my part of the story. I usually hide out until a new story comes along. But it's like Remus said earlier: our relationship is going to be the biggest gossip of the year. Hiding out until a new story comes along doesn't sound like an option here," Lily blurted out, shaking her head defeatedly. She finally glanced up at him, noting the shock in his eyes.
James' heart ached at the distraught girl standing in front of him. He never realized how dating him would really affect her. "I get it, Lily," he murmured. "I just-"
James frowned. "Lily, I-"
"James, I know you might not understand this concept, but I hate the limelight. I hate standing out. I am so good at fading into the background. That's how I prefer it. If people don't know who you are, they won't talk about you, right? I don't need popularity nor do I particularly want it. But, you, on the other hand, are followed by popularity wherever you go. You're followed by gossip and limelight and standing out. Maybe a part of me just wants to hold on to my innocence and naivety as much as possible before the school rips it to shreds."
James wasn't sure how to respond. He was taken aback by her sudden lack of confidence. She had always been good at hiding the truth behind her feelings, which he had always seen right through, but this fragile, intimidated girl in front of him was someone he wasn't used to. The girl who was finally admitting that the confidence inside of her was wavering just by dating him. "Just because popularity and limelight and gossip follow me around doesn't mean I prefer it that way. I understand that-"
"It doesn't matter what you prefer, James," Lily murmured. "Each and every one of our fates were decided seven years ago when we entered this school. It just so happens that your fate and mine were complete opposites. So honestly? I have no idea how to merge the two."
A sinking feeling buried itself deep within his heart. "Do you even want to?" he dared to ask.
She jerked her head up, shocked by the question. "James, I knew what I was getting into since the first time we kissed," she admitted stubbornly. "I knew that a lot was going to change, but what I don't think you realize is that…that everything's going to change for me, but nothing is going to change for you."
"What are you talking about?"
She sighed, sensing uneasiness in both his tone and his standoffish body language. "Do you know what people are going to remember you for when you graduate? For being one hell of a Quidditch player and Captain and for being the reason that Gryffindor won four Quidditch Cups in the last seven years, for being an infamous Marauder and jokester and entertaining the entire school with your humorous pranks and your many jokes, for throwing some of the best parties Hogwarts has ever seen, for knowing every nook and cranny of the school and for knowing how to dig yourself out of trouble, for being one hell of a friend to Sirius, Remus, and Peter. Do you know what people are going to remember me for when I graduate? Being your girlfriend."
A wave of gnawing realization overcame him. "You are so much more than that, Lily," he said softly. "And I hate that you can't see that."
"It's not about what I see, it's about what everyone else sees."
James shrugged indifferently. "I thought it was about what we see in each other."
Lily's heart skipped a beat. She glanced up at him and saw remorse resting in his eyes. She sighed, leaning up against the wall. "I'm being completely paranoid, aren't I?"
A smile crept onto James' face. "No," he argued, shaking his head. "I-I get it. I know you're afraid of everything changing. And maybe it will. But you know what won't change?"
He reached for her hand and pressed his lips tenderly to her cheek, letting his lips dance in front of her ear. "How I feel about you," he whispered.
She let out a relieved sigh and gratefully wrapped her arms around his waist, resting her head against his chest. He reached his arms around her, drawing her close to him. "Thank you," she said softly.
"For being you."
He smiled, kissing the top of her head. "How about this?" he suggested. "We wait a few weeks until this whole Kristina story blows over, we'll let our gossip leak when the time is right, and then Grant gets hexed into a million pieces so that the school will be talking about him instead."
Lily laughed lightly. "What makes you think your brother is going to get hexed into a million pieces?"
James grinned slyly. "I'm a Marauder, remember?"
Lily rolled her eyes, but amusement shone in her eyes. "So, we'll wait?"
He nodded. "We'll wait," he whispered. He smiled down at her and, without thinking, leaned down and kissed her, which Lily gratefully received. His hands ran up the small of her back and snaked into her gorgeous auburn hair as his tongue explored the inside of her mouth. They eventually tore apart and James' eyes fluttered open. A movement over Lily's shoulder caught his attention and a gasp emitted from his lips with a curse word quickly following.
"What?" Lily asked curiously.
James groaned, rubbing his temples. "Um…you know how we wanted to wait a few weeks?"
"Yeah…?" Lily said slowly, before realizing what he was trying to say and cursed under her breath. "Dammit! Kissing in the hallway isn't exactly subtle, is it?"
"Hm…not so much."
"Well, maybe whoever saw us won't tell?" Lily suggested hopefully.
James snorted. "I doubt it," he muttered. "It was Drew Gilmore."
"You're right. We're doomed," Lily muttered.
"OH MY GOD, DID YOU HEAR THE NEWS!"
"Drew Gilmore saw James Potter kissing Lily Evans!"
"What! That's a joke, right?"
"It's not! They really were all over each other!"
"James Potter and Lily Evans?"
"Are you sure you heard correctly?"
"Heard it straight from Drew Gilmore himself!"
"Seriously, this has got to be a joke..."
"You think that's why he broke up with Kristina?"
"Why would someone break up with Kristina for Lily Evans?"
"I stand by my 'this has got to be a joke' statement."
"Why would she date him? I thought she hated him!"
"Whoa, who said anything about dating! They were just kissing!"
"Does Lily Evans seem the type to be someone's fling? I don't think so."
"Does she seem the type to be James Potter's girlfriend? That seems even more unlikely!"
"This has got to be a joke!"
"Will you quit saying that?"
"Tell me you don't think it's a joke."
"We should ask Sirius Black about it. He's the Gossip King around here and it helps that James and Lily are his friends."
"You really think he'll tell us anything?"
"Can't hurt to try, right?"
"Hey, a little word of advice the next time you don't want the school knowing a secret of yours," Sirius greeted, plopping into the couch beside James and Lily in their private quarters while patting James on the shoulder. "Don't kiss in the middle of a public hallway."
"Thanks for that sound advice, mate," James muttered.
"How bad is it?" Lily cringed.
"Well, let's just say that Kristina isn't being bombarded by people anymore," Remus said sympathetically. He grabbed a pillow off the couch to lean up against the couch with.
"I'll give you one guess as to who is being bombarded," Riley murmured, pushing Sirius over to make room for herself on the couch ("Hey! I was sitting here first!").
"Yeah, thanks for not being there for the rest of lunch," Kay said sarcastically, sitting on the edge of the coffee table.
"Hell, I wanted to be nowhere near that crowd," James laughed.
"So what are the chances we can hide out here until this whole thing blows over?" Lily murmured with a sigh.
"Not likely," Remus snickered. "You have classes all day and you have a prefect meeting tonight."
Lily swore under her breath, surprising everyone. It wasn't every day Lily Evans cursed. "What are the chances the prefects won't notice if we don't show up to the meeting tonight?"
"Again, not likely," Remus pointed out. "You guys run the meeting."
"Eh, it was about time I quit being Head Girl. I never liked the position anyway," she teased.
"Was that why you screamed, jumped up and down, danced around your bedroom, and baked yourself a congratulatory cake when you received Dumbledore's letter over the summer?" James asked with a sly smile.
Lily pouted. "First of all, it was a congratulatory cupcake. I'm not about to eat a whole cake by myself. And second of all, how do you know that story?"
James wiggled his eyebrows mysteriously at her. "I have my ways."
"So basically Riley told you," Lily replied bluntly.
James shrugged. "As expected."
Lily laughed and James leaned over to kiss her, earning 'ewwws' from the peanut gallery.
"I'm still so not used to that," Sirius muttered.
"Yeah, you two disgust me," Riley said with a teasing grin.
"Just because you're jealous, doesn't mean you have to insult us," Lily said with a snicker.
Riley gave her a look. "Jealous, hm? And what would I have to be jealous of?"
Kay snorted and interrupted with, "The fact that you're not in a relationship even though your Advanced Transfiguration partner is gorgeous as hell."
Riley rolled her eyes, glancing ever-so-quickly at Sirius next to her, who was staring at her in pure amusement. "Eh, been there, done that."
"You did that for three dates," Lily interjected, wiggling her eyes suggestively.
"Okay, just to clarify, I didn't do anybody," Riley corrected.
"Yeah, for once in your life," Kay snickered.
Riley wrenched the pillow out from underneath Remus, earning a glare, and smacked Kay with it. "Rhett Davies and I did the whole dating thing and now we're over. Give it a rest."
Lily gave her a look. "Oh please, you didn't date. You just hung out together three times. That's not exactly what I call a relationship."
Riley rolled her eyes again. "And you're dating James Potter. Not exactly what I call a relationship either."
"HEY!" James cried, ignoring the chorus of laughter ringing through the common room. "I'll have you know that girls have been throwing themselves at me all day trying to get me to date again when they found out about me and Kristina."
Lily's eyebrow arched as she cleared her throat.
"Er…did I say throwing? I meant running away."
"Smooth," Sirius snickered. James ripped the pillow out of Riley's hand and smacked Sirius with it.
Riley rolled her eyes. "Why do you always manage to mock James when there happens to be tons of pillows around?"
"What am I supposed to do? Remove all of the pillows every time I walk into a room?"
Riley shot him a look. "I was thinking more like not mocking him."
"Or anyone else for that matter," Remus chimed in.
Sirius feigned horror, his mouth forming an O as he gasped loudly. "I do not understand this concept."
"It's this novel idea where you don't mock your friends and in return they choose not to hate you," Riley suggested with a grin.
"My friends don't hate me. I'm too awesome to hate."
"Hm, yeah, I completely disagree," Riley reacted, her grin growing.
"Yeah, well considering a month ago we hated each others' guts, I'm not entirely surprised by that."
Riley rolled her eyes. "And considering-"
"So you're saying that you don't hate each others' guts now?" Kay interrupted curiously.
Riley and Sirius exchanged a look. "Nah," Sirius said with a shrug. "She's kinda, sorta, almost a little bit decent."
"Gee, that sounded heartfelt," Riley snorted. But she was smiling. "And you're kinda, sorta, almost a little bit less Sirius-esque than you used to be."
He blinked. "I have absolutely no idea what that means so I'm going to assume you just called me awesome."
Riley turned to James beside her. "Can you please hand me that pillow next to Lily?"
That launched them all into a fresh wave of laughter, except for Kay who continued to stare at Sirius and Riley warily. "Seriously, this is just creepy. What the hell is going on with you two?" she asked curiously.
"Well, Sirius thinks he's awesome and let's face it, he's not, so I want to throw a pillow at him," Riley explained, knowing perfectly well that wasn't what Kay was asking. "I didn't realize that was hard to understand."
Kay rolled her eyes. "That's not what I meant," she replied dryly. "You two just seem awfully...hm...friendly for lack of a better term. You're joking around, laughing with each other, not sending each other death glares. It's very bizzare. When did you two bury the hatchett?"
Sirius and Riley exchanged casual looks and both shrugged. "I don't know," Riley replied. "I'm afraid I can't give you an exact day or time for that. However, I can say it was sometime in the season of winter."
"Cute," Kay replied sarcastically.
"Who cares anyway?" Sirius interjected. "Don't you want us to be friendly?"
"Of course," Kay replied. "That is, unless it goes away tomorrow which is often the case."
"It won't go away tomorrow," Riley protested with casual shrug. "We have an understanding."
"Oooh, does it have something to do with the fact that I told you last month you two need to come to an understanding before I throw you both out the window?" James asked, gesturing his finger back and forth between the two.
Riley and Sirius glanced at each other and then turned back to James. "Nope."
"Prats," he mumbled, the ends of his mouth tugging upward. "Then how is it that just a few weeks later you two have somehow come to an understanding, the same thing I just happened to suggest earlier?"
"Coincidence," Sirius replied in all sincerity. Ironically, it was a coincidence, not that the six other friends had to know that. "Come on, you're not that persuasive."
"I resent that," James murmured.
"So what is this understanding?" Remus dared to ask, ignoring James.
"Nothing really. Just that it's time we grew up and started getting along," Sirius explained.
James snorted. "Oh yeah and I'm sure it was that easy."
"It was," Riley lied.
"You were never good at fibbing, Riles," James pointed out.
"Yeah, well you were never good at anything," she teased.
James rolled his eyes. "The Gryffindor Quidditch record states otherwise."
Riley couldn't help but chuckle. "Look, with you and Lily now getting along, it…it just makes sense that so should Sirius and I. We buried the hatchet as Kay suggested and let go of old grudges."
"And what, per se, are these old grudges you speak of?" Kay asked curiously.
Riley gave her a look. "None of your business."
"Yeah, I had a feeling you'd say that."
"The past is just that," Sirius interjected, hoping to end this topic of conversation. "It's time we focus on the future." He hesitated, shaking his head. "Well, maybe Lily shouldn't focus on the future or she might realize she's dating the wrong guy."
Sirius gave James a look. "Oh, please, tell me you're not still in shock that she's with you."
James hesitated, glancing over at Lily with amusement in his eyes. "No, I am. I just don't need you putting ideas in her head."
"Oh, don't worry," Lily dismissed. "Those ideas are already there."
"I am just being bombarded by insults today," James whined. "And as much as I'd love to stick around and continue to get insulted by my friends," he teased, "It's time for me to head to the library with Lily and figure out what the hell we're supposed to be talking about in tonight's prefect meeting so I can run it."
"Since when have you run a prefect meeting? Lily's usually the one taking over," Remus snickered.
"Oh good, the insults just keep on coming," James replied sarcastically.
"That's not an insult," Lily corrected. "That's true."
Lily laughed and kissed him, earning another around of 'ewwws.'
"Oh grow up!" Lily laughed as she helped herself off the couch.
Lily offered her hand to James and he took it. "Bye guys," he said as he headed towards his door with Lily.
"Do you actually expect us to believe you'll be trying to figure out what the prefect meeting's about tonight?" Sirius argued. "Let's face it: you just want to leave so you can snog your girlfriend."
James grinned mischievously. "Maybe, but if you'd like to stick around and see which one we end up doing, then be my guest."
Sirius made a face. "I think I'd rather go to class."
"And that's saying a lot," Remus teased, getting up along with the rest of the group to head out of the private quarters.
If Lily thought the walk to the library was unbearable, it was nothing in comparison to actually being in the library. Any student they ran into made it their mission to congratulate James on finally winning Lily over. They asked Lily if he had put Amortentia in her pumpkin juice, they questioned Lily's motives, they wondered if it was all just some sort of act, they blamed her for breaking James and Kristina up, and they made it perfectly clear that the match-up made no sense.
Lily could see the concern in James' eyes every time he glanced over at her, which she appreciated, but it didn't change the fact that she felt so abused and naïve. "Do you have the Hufflepuff detention slips?" she murmured.
He handed them to her, letting his gaze linger.
He lifted an eyebrow. "Stop what?"
"Staring at me. I can't do work with you scrutinizing my every move."
"Sorry," he murmured sheepishly. "I just want to make sure you're-"
"I'm fine," Lily interrupted coolly. "How many times do I need to say that before you believe it?"
"About as many times as you say it before you believe it."
She frowned, glancing down at the detention slips in front of her. The last thing she wanted to do was work, but she knew that if she left the library so quickly after arriving, that would just give the school more reason to talk. So she tried sticking it out. "I knew this was going to happen," she muttered, throwing her quill down in frustration.
"Doesn't make it any less annoying," James pointed out, cupping her hand with his.
A fury of whispers broke out at the surrounding tables. Lily quickly retracted her own hand, glaring furiously at the group of female sixth-year Hufflepuffs, who were pointing over at her. "Can we try and keep the PDA to a minimum?" Lily grunted.
James sighed. It was like Lily had done a complete 180°. But he shouldn't have been surprised. Closing herself off and building a wall around herself was something she excelled in. So when the whole school was talking about her, he had no reason to believe it would be different. He just wished she could realize that he wasn't the bad guy here. "Keeping the PDA to a minimum isn't going to change the opinions of the gossipers," he said softly.
Lily shot him a look. "You don't think I know that?" she snapped. "It's not about that."
James frowned. "Then what is it about?"
"I'm not getting into this here, James," Lily argued before picking her quill back up and glancing back down at the mound of paperwork in front of her.
James reached over and thrust her quill out of her hands.
"Lily, stop this," he pleaded. "I know you're upset and I know you're frustrated and I know that this is what you wanted to avoid, but don't avoid me because you're upset and frustrated. We're in this together, right?"
Lily bit down hard on her tongue so as not to lash out. Because truth was, she knew it wasn't his fault. She knew it had every little to do with him and everything to do with her. But she couldn't help but be frustrated at the entire situation. "No, James, we're not in this together," she argued, shaking her head sullenly. "Because the entire school is laughing at me for falling for your charm and yet, they're treating you like some sort of praiseworthy hero. They're all out there saying, 'Oh, look, the poor, naïve bookworm finally caves to the incessant solicitations from the popular, charming womanizer. Yeah, we all know how this one is going to end.'"
James was taken aback by the vehement criticism in Lily's tone. "Is that what you're afraid of, Lily?" he asked softly.
He frowned. "Are you afraid that because it's out in the open, I will now therefore get…get bored with you?"
Lily turned her gaze away quickly to hide the anxiety in her eyes. "Just forget I said anything, James," she sighed. "Can I have my quill back?"
He shook his head, leaning back in his chair defeatedly. "This past month has been more than I could have ever dreamed of," he said softly. "You mean more to me than I ever thought you could. I want to be with you all the time and when I'm forced to not be with you, I can't stop thinking about you. It's never been about the chase with you and it's never been about proving myself to anyone in this school but you. All I have ever wanted is to be good enough for you." He saw a hint of red flush to her cheeks and he reached over to grab her hand. He took it as a good sign that she didn't pull it away. "I hate to break it to you, but I'm not going anywhere. You're stuck with me. Whether you like it or not. And I really hope you like it."
Lily hesitated. Why is it that she can be so scared of committing herself to him in one minute and the next, she wanted to throw herself at James and never let go? Once everyone found out about them, everything became so real. She realized that if she ever wanted to get out only slightly unscathed, now would be the time. But as she glanced up in James' hopeful, longing eyes, she realized that she didn't want to get out. Not now. Not ever.
And after only being with him for a month, that thought scared the hell out of her.
"James, it's not about whether I-I like that or not," she murmured, slumping down.
"You're right," James interrupted. "But it's also not about what everyone else in this school thinks. It's about what you think."
She glanced up, startled. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I can read fear written across your forehead," he retaliated with a shrug. "And I know it has nothing to do with what the school is saying."
She frowned. "How do you always manage to know what I'm thinking?" she asked softly. She could feel his eyes piercing through her, but she refused to meet his gaze.
"Because I've been watching you for seven years, Evans," James said, the surname surprising both of them.
Surprise flickered in her eyes. "Don't," she pleaded.
She took a deep breath in, finally lifting her eyes to meet his. Concern and worry were staring back at her. "Don't go back to using my last name," she whispered, smiling slyly.
She shook her head. "You want the truth?"
"You scare me, James."
He quirked an eyebrow. "Come again?"
"Everything about you scares me. Everything about us scares me. I don't know if I'm getting way in over my head or if I'm supposed to just jump in and pray that I land on my feet. I don't know if it's you or if it's me or if it's us or if it's everyone else, but as I think about our relationship, I wonder if we're moving too fast or not fast enough. I'm scared of admitting that I like the way things are going between us and I'm scared of admitting that whenever I'm not with you, I want to be with you. More than anything. And…and I'm scared of admitting that I don't know how I feel about being scared!"
James cracked a smile.
"And now that everyone in this damned school is speculating and overanalyzing, it's hard for me not to speculate and overanalyze, too."
"Well, stop," he teased. "Because your speculations and overanalyzing are scaring me."
He sighed. "I don't want you to have doubts about us. Because even though we are now in the limelight and every single person in this school is gossiping about us and speculating and overanalyzing and casting doubts within their own minds, I have never doubted us for a single second. Nor will I ever," he said softly. "I really like you, Lily."
Lily swallowed hard. "I don't want to have doubts, James," she said guiltily.
Lily sighed, wondering why she was so set on sabotaging the relationship before she barely even had a chance to experience it. "But…but when the entire male population in this school is high-fiving you and winking suggestively and making crude humping motions, what the hell am I supposed to believe?"
"That the guys in this school are complete and total arses."
Lily didn't even crack a smile.
He squeezed her hand and she jumped slightly, forgetting that he was still holding her hand. It had become such a comfortable second-nature for her, that the fact that they were holding hands in public hadn't fazed her in the slightest. "Lily, don't let everyone else influence us. Influence how we feel about each other. Unfortunately, they're going to talk. It's what they do. But I don't give a damn about what everyone else in this school thinks or says because they don't know us like we do. All I care about is you. Us. Nothing else matters."
Lily mentally slapped herself for even questioning their relationship in her mind. He had so much faith in them even with everyone else's skepticism, including hers. She needed to stop focusing on what everyone else was thinking and just focus on herself and James. Because he was right. All that mattered was them and everything else would eventually just fade.
"Can you promise to keep reminding me of that?" she whispered.
"Absolutely," he said immediately.
And with a smile, she leaned over the table and kissed him, not caring who was watching.
She wasn't surprised when that kiss was all anyone could talk about for the remainder of the day. But for once, she didn't care.
The Marauders and Lily were all sitting in the boys' room after dinner, doing their separate things. They had spent only a few minutes down in the Gryffindor common room before realizing that the frantic whispering and pointing was distracting. They quickly changed their plans and ended up in the boys' dormitory.
Remus was sprawled out on the floor, trying to finish up an essay, but kept being interrupted by Sirius throwing paper planes at him. Sirius was sitting at his desk, not even acting like he was doing homework, reading his Playboy magazine and every so often, creating a paper plane with the pages of women he didn't think made the cut and throwing them at Remus. Peter was sitting against the headboard of his bed, focusing hard on his Muggle Studies homework, periodically lifting up his head to ask Lily questions. James was sitting on the floor, leaning up against his bed, reading the Daily Prophet, stroking Lily's hair whose head was resting in his lap reading a book.
Lily glanced around the room and snickered. "Wow, I think this is the longest you guys have ever been quiet when in the same room together."
"No, it's just because we can't talk about the usual stuff we talk about because you're here," Sirius snickered, flashing him a look.
Lily rolled her eyes. "But you're certainly willing to read Playboy in front of me."
Sirius snorted. "Like you didn't suspect I read it already."
Lily merely laughed as she dove back into her book again. Silence filled the room once again.
"What's the purpose of a rubber duck?"
Lily couldn't help but laugh at Peter's question. "Um…I don't really think there is one," she admitted, ignoring the confused look on his face. "It's a toy that floats in the bathtub."
Four blank stares glanced up at her.
"I don't understand all of the Muggle ways either!" Lily laughed.
Peter shrugged and returned to studying his notes, creating another silence in the room.
Which didn't last long.
"SIRIUS!" Remus barked, crumpling up the paper airplane Sirius just threw at him and tossing it into the waste-paper basket on the other side of the room, missing it completely.
"Word to the wise: don't take up sports," Sirius snickered. "And I was throwing Clarissa at you because I thought you might want her."
Peter snorted. "Clarissa?"
Sirius nodded with a cheap grin. "Yep. Nineteen, blonde, green eyes, 5'9", Aries, lives in Worchester, 34D cup—"
"Too much information," Lily interrupted.
"And that's why you shouldn't be here," Sirius teased, giving her a suggestive look. "I liked you better when you hated James."
"Oh, and is that why you stalked me over Christmas break trying to get me admit my feelings for him?" she pointed out.
Sirius hesitated. "Do you have to remember everything I do?"
"Whoa, what?" James interjected, snapping his head out of the Daily Prophet. "He tried to convince you?"
"Yep. He totally stalked me," Lily explained. "Pretty much every damn day until I did anything about my feelings for you."
"Not every damn day," Sirius argued.
Lily gave him a look.
"Yeah, okay, every damn day."
Lily laughed. "It was rather annoying, if you ask me. I'd be getting ready to go to bed, and there'd be a knock on my door. It would be Sirius with some excuse to talk to me and somehow he'd slip in that you and I were meant to be," she continued explaining, giving James a gentle smile.
"And did you not realize that? Were my annoying antics not worth it in the end?" Sirius questioned, giving her a knowing look.
"Sirius, your annoying antics are never worth it," Remus interjected, furiously writing his essay.
"Shh, we're debating here," Sirius shushed.
"I don't think I'm debating the fact you're annoying. That's already a fact," Lily said with a snicker.
"That's not what we're debating about!" Sirius cried out. "We're debating about how I influenced you to make a decision about James!"
James groaned. "Please tell me Sirius had nothing to do with us," he murmured to Lily with a pout. "I don't think I can live knowing the King of the Sack was the one that got us together."
"Don't worry, I never listened to him. In fact, I rarely do," Lily explained.
"Well, I sure as hell am never stalking you again," Sirius pouted.
"Am I supposed to be upset about that?" Lily teased.
"Yuh-huh! Who wouldn't want to be stalked by me?"
"Me," Remus said.
"Me too," Peter added.
"Me three," James snickered.
Sirius scrunched up his nose. "I'm feeling very unappreciated."
Lily laughed and went back to her book, glancing up at James with a smile.
"So whatdya think?" Sirius questioned Remus with a chuckle a few minutes later.
"What do I think about what?" Remus asked, not looking up from his essay.
Sirius gave him a look. "Clarissa!"
Remus snorted and rolled his eyes. "Hadn't we moved from that?"
"Okay, well does it say anywhere in that article about her that she likes to date werewolves?"
Sirius hesitated. "….Yes?"
"Try no," Remus laughed. "Besides, I have Jillian."
"I thought you guys were 'taking it slow,'" Sirius mocked.
"We are," Remus agreed. "But I think Clarissa might tear us apart."
"Eh, that's a sacrifice you're going to have to be willing to make," Sirius joked.
"Okay, I'm done with this conversation," Remus snorted.
"Oh thank God," James murmured, returning to the article he was reading in the Daily Prophet.
Sirius pouted. "Y'know, just a few weeks ago, you two would have been helping me choose Playboys to date. Now you two are attached and no longer any fun."
Lily glanced up at James with an intrigued look. "Oh, you picked out Playboys, did you?"
James gave her a sheepish look. "Er…oh look, it's time for our meeting!"
Lily turned over to her stomach and propped herself up on her elbows to give him a knowing look. "We still have ten minutes."
James hesitated. "You're going to break up with me now, aren't you…"
Lily laughed and shrugged. "I'll contemplate that thought on the way to our meeting."
"No," Remus whined as James pouted. "I only have an inch more to write. I need to finish!"
"Whoa there," Sirius murmured. "Obsessed with homework much?"
Remus gave him a look. "Well someone has to be."
Sirius hesitated. "I'm obsessed with Playboys. Does that count?"
Lily snorted. "Not so much," she pointed out, slowly getting off the floor. She outstretched her hand to James, who took it and let Lily pull him off the floor. "C'mon, we have to go back to our rooms to grab all the stuff. You coming, Remus, or do you want to finish and we'll meet you there?"
Remus pouted and shrugged, closing up his books and climbing off the floor. "Well, I have no clue what to write so I guess I'll come with you guys."
"Have fun at your smart-peoples meeting," Sirius interjected.
"Oh we will," James snickered. "It's always fun to laugh at all the people in the school who aren't smart."
"Funny, we laugh at those people who are smart," Sirius shot back, sticking his tongue out at him.
James laughed. "Mature," he snickered. "See you later."
"Bye," Sirius murmured, returning to his magazine. He glanced slightly over the top of his magazine at his best friend as he left the room with his girlfriend and wondered briefly if it was always going to be that way from now on.
Lily and James walked into the meeting together, already the start of a controversy, with Remus right behind them, a smile on his face. He had been awaiting that prefect meeting all day, thankful for once that he was a prefect.
"Is everyone here?" Lily asked gently, as she organized her papers.
No one said anything.
Lily looked up, glancing around the room in irritation, wishing she could have held off one day from kissing James in the hallway. "Well?"
James rolled his eyes when, again, no one bothered to say anything. "Fine, I guess we'll start."
They both ignored the twenty-three pair of eyes that were fixated on them and continued with the meeting, overlooking the fact that no one was paying attention to what they were saying but instead were just focused on their body language. "Valentine's Day is coming up in a few weeks, as you all should know, and we have to decorate the Great Hall," Lily explained. "So before-"
She was interrupted by LeAnn Withers' hand shooting into the air.
Lily was taken aback, wondering how there could possibly be a question already. "Uh…yes?"
She put down herhand and opened her mouth to speak. "Uh…er…" she stuttered, realizing everyone was staring at her, knowing perfectly well she was going to ask the question they wanted to know. "Never mind." The rest of the prefects groaned.
Lily shrugged. "Okay. As I was saying, before we move on to talking about graduation, which may seem lightyears away, but in fact is only in a few months and is going to take every meeting to plan for, what with everything that we have to do—7th year class gift, Dumbledore's gift, speeches, setting up the grounds, donations from parents, and especially the graduation ball which will take-"
She was interrupted again by Randy Cattano's hand flying into the air.
She sighed, hating being interrupted. "Yes?" she asked in irritation.
He slowly placed his hand down and looked like a deer in headlights, as if he was afraid to ask his question. "Uh…never mind," he murmured. Another round of groans.
James rolled his eyes. "Like Lily was saying," he continued, when Lily was busy giving a deathly glare to Randy. He ignored the whispers that started erupting, probably at the mention of Lily's first name. "Before we talk about graduation, we need to plan decorations for Valentine's Day. We need all the seventh-years to pick up some supplies and decorations on our Hogsmeade trip this weekend. Please pick up a copy of what we need you to acquire when the meeting is done. So-"
Brad Harper threw his hand into the air, interrupting James.
"What?" Lily snapped.
Brad cringed and glanced at Skyler Swenson for help, who was looking terribly uncomfortable at the time. "Er…never mind," he said in a small voice when he realized no one was going to help him out.
"Oh my God!" Lily cried, slamming her notebook against the table so hard, everyone jumped. "Yes, James and I were snogging in the hallway earlier. Yes, we were kissing in the library. Yes, that means we're not enemies anymore. Yes, that means we won't be punching each other anymore. Yes, we are officially in a relationship. Yes, that means James broke up with Kristina for me. And yes, we have been keeping it a secret!" she cried out, much to the surprise of everyone in the room, including James, who was smiling at her with much pride for being willing to blurt that all out. "Now, are there any other questions!" she barked.
Twenty-three hands flew into the air.
Lily groaned and rubbed her forehead in irritation. "Let me rephrase that: any questions not dealing with me and James?"
Slowly, all the hands went down.
"That's what I thought!" Lily snapped.
"Now can we please talk about Valentine's Day before I keep you all until midnight tonight?" James asked.
No one replied.
"Thank you," both James and Lily said in unison breathlessly.
Lily shared a perturbed smile with James before going back to talking about the Valentine's Day decorations.
James and Lily walked back to their room slowly, James' arm around Lily's shoulders and hers around his waist, laughing about the meeting the whole time.
"Did you see the look on Remus' face when you blurted out all of that stuff about us?" James snickered.
Lily laughed. "I thought he was going to pass out. I don't think he ever imagined I could be possible of confronting my gossip in front of a crowd of people. Especially the prefects!"
James kissed her on the top of her head. "Well, I'm proud of you."
Lily gave him an inquisitive look. "Why?"
James gave his girlfriend a pleased smile. "Just a few hours ago, you said you couldn't handle people talking about you," he explained. "I think you have more courage that you give yourself credit for, Miss Tough Girl."
Lily stared up at him, wondering how she got so lucky to end up with him, and then stared down at her hands. "Well…I don't think I had half as much of this courage before I started dating you."
James pulled apart and looked at her with much passion in his eyes, anyone could see that. "How did you get to be so amazing?"
"Again," Lily whispered, giving him the same look in her eyes back, "I think you may have something to do with that."
He pressed his lips unrelentingly to hers, running his hands through her hair as he pushed against the wall, causing her to drop the folders and notebooks of prefect papers as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. A moan escaped from deep in her throat, indulging herself intensely with the fervent kiss.
"Oh, honestly, get a room! This is a public hallway!"
Lily and James broke apart, both smiling at the recognition of the voice to be of one Sirius Black.
"Oh Sirius, are you feeling left out?" James mocked. "Come here!" he kidded, chasing his friend with open arms.
Sirius ducked quickly and started running down the hallway. "Get away from me with those lips of yours, Lover Boy!"
"Don't tempt me further!" James laughed and stopped midway, letting Sirius continue to run down the hallway.
Lily glanced at Riley and smiled in embarrassment, as she bent down to pick up the things that dropped from her hands moments before.
Riley snickered and leaned a foot against the wall. "So things seem to be going…ahem, well with you two?"
Lily blushed and made sure James was far from earshot. "Shut up," she murmured, getting up off the floor continuing to organize her papers. Lily paused, a look of confusion coming over her face. "Wait…what the hell were you doing walking with Sirius?"
Riley tried not to show the panic across her face. "Er…just, y'know…looking for you guys."
"Why?" Lily asked curiously, knowing Riley was lying.
"Wanted to see how the prefect meeting went," she said casually, like it was nothing.
Lily stared at Riley, analyzing her facial expressions as Riley avoided eye-contact. "Hm…I know we sorta discussed it earlier today, but I just thought you guys were being nicer to each other. It looks a little more than that, Riley. Are you and Sirius, dare I say it, friends?"
Riley started having a coughing fit. "What would make you ask a question like that?"
"Because before a few weeks ago, you never would have been caught dead walking alone with Sirius Black through the hallways after curfew hours," Lily explained.
"It's not after curfew hours yet," Riley only had to argue.
Lily snorted. "And that's the only thing you have to defend?"
Riley stared at her friend, completely flustered, before glancing down the hallway where Sirius was hunched over breathlessly from the running. "We're not friends. We're just friendly," she eventually lied, continuing to stare at Sirius, whom James was now laughing at. If only she had the guts to tell her best friend she was in a relationship. "And our best friends just happen to be dating. Guess that brings us closer together." She shrugged and glanced back at Lily.
"What do you mean?"
Riley shrugged. "You two were able to...to rid yourself of all your hatred and negativity from the past. You learned to let go of old grudges and now you're dating! It...it puts things into perspective."
Lily hesitated, sensing desperation in her voice. "Like what?"
Riley wished she'd stop asking questions. "You two had seven years worth of baggage to let go of. Black and I only had two. So if you two could do it, we should be able to do it, also."
"It's that easy, hm?"
Riley glanced back down the hallway toward Sirius, trying to suppress the smile that was slowly creeping on to her face. "No," she murmured, thinking back to the day that she and Sirius got together and all of the back-and-forth questioning in her own mind, "Easy definitely isn't the word. But you should know that by now."
"Oh, please," Riley snickered. "It took you and James how long to figure out you wanted to be with each other? Days? Weeks? Months? And now you're dealing with all this ridiculous gossip, which is probably making it that much more difficult for you two to just be with each other."
Lily hesitated. "Maybe," she murmured sheepishly.
Riley laughed. "But it's worth it, right?"
A smile spread across Lily's face, her gaze torn towards James. "Yes," she said softly. "Yes, it is."
Riley shrugged. "If you and James can actually date each other, then Black and I can be friendly with each other. All seven of us should be able to hang out without any tension. Without awkwardness. Without any fear of two of us breaking out into an argument," she murmured sincerely, "This is all of your fault, y'know. I can't help it that my two best friends got together!"
Lily grinned, happiness shining in her eyes. "Well, your best friends make a really cute couple."
Riley snickered. "I'd argue that, but as it so happens, it's true."
Lily laughed and linked arms with her best friend, walking down the hall to meet the two guys.
"Whoa, don't have a seizure there, Sirius," Lily snickered. "Haven't run much, have you? Not much in shape?"
"HEY!" Sirius argued. "I'll have you know I'm in tip-top shape!"
Lily snorted. "Tip-top?"
"What? It's a perfectly respectable word!" Sirius argued.
Lily gave him a look.
"Okay, well you don't see me getting straight O's around here, do you?"
"No, but I thought you knew your vocabulary a little better than that," Lily snickered.
"Well, I don't need vocabulary to play Quidditch," Sirius protested huffily. "And with my tip-top shape, I'm going to dominate next week's game."
"Well, whether or not you dominate and whether or not you'll be in tip-top shape, I'll be there supporting you."
Riley snorted. "Yeah, right. You'll be staring at James the whole time to bother caring whether or not Sirius dominates in whatever shape he's in."
Lily glared at her. "Don't you have somewhere better to be?"
"It's a Thursday night…so, no," Riley snickered.
"Don't you have some homework to do?"
"Probably," Riley chuckled.
"So what are your plans for the rest of the night?" Sirius asked, stifling a yawn. "Lots of sex, I bet."
Lily gave Sirius a discontented look. "Sirius, give it up. You will be the first to know when James and I do the dirty deed."
"Really?" Sirius asked excitedly.
"Really?" Riley asked, shocked.
"Really?" James asked, completely taken back.
Lily burst into laughter. "Hell no!" she cried. "But the looks on your faces were totally worth that."
James grinned and put his arm around his girl, kissing her on the cheek. "That's my girl."
Sirius pouted. "I hate being mocked."
"Aww, but you should be used to that by now," Riley teased, wanting nothing more than to be the one with her boyfriend's arm around her shoulders.
"Aren't you cute," Sirius derided sarcastically.
Riley grinned. "Yes, very."
"Wow," James murmured. "I never thought I'd miss your fighting but it's getting rather quiet within our group of friends. First, Lily and me, now you guys."
"Well, I'll go pick a fight with Remus later if you want," Riley teased.
"And that's my other girl," James teased.
Riley and Sirius settled into their private dungeon room that they knew no one would bother stumbling across. It was far out of the way of everything else and hadn't been used for probably over a hundred years. It was cold and extremely stuffy, but it was a place they could be by themselves and not worry about being found, especially since Sirius had swiped the Map before meeting Riley.
Riley stared at her fingers intertwined with Sirius' fingers, happy to be secluded from the rest of Hogwarts and the rest of the world. She smiled at the feel of his hot breath against the back of her neck and snuggled up against him. "I wish we could spend the day together at Hogsmeade on Saturday," she sighed.
Sirius jumped at the sound of her voice, a comfortable silence having fallen over them. "I know," he said breathlessly, pressing his lips to the nap of her neck. "But we both agreed it's better to keep it a secret."
Riley bit her lip. "Yeah, I know," she agreed, giggling at the tickle of his lips against her neck. "I just hate going through the day pretending like nothing is going on between us. And I think people are catching on."
"What? What people?" Sirius asked immediately, shocked.
"Pod people," Riley replied sarcastically, rolling her eyes.
"Really? Cuz that's kinda cool," Sirius teased.
Riley chuckled and patted Sirius' hand comfortingly. "Lily was asking questions about us tonight, that's all."
"Lily-bean?" Sirius asked surprised. "Damn, I thought she was clueless."
Riley turned her head and gave her boyfriend a surprised look. "She's Head Girl. She's hardly clueless."
Sirius laughed and shook his head. "No, I don't mean clueless in general," he clarified. "I just mean clueless lately. Usually in the beginning of relationships, girls tend not to notice what's going on around them that doesn't include their new guy. They're often in a daze, daydreaming whenever they have the time and fantasizing about their future."
Riley looked at him and smiled, knowing that that was exactly what she did throughout Christmas break. "Yeah…" she said slowly. "But apparently Lily isn't doing any of that."
"What kind of questions was she asking?" Sirius asked curiously.
Riley shrugged. "Nothing extreme. Just wondering why you and I were together tonight without the rest of the gang."
Sirius winced. "Yeah, I guess we should've remembered they'd be taking that route back to their room. We'll be more careful next time."
"Yeah…" Riley said slowly. "I know it's smarter to be hiding it but…tell me again why we are?"
Sirius kissed her on the cheek and leaned back against the wall with a sigh. "Because our friends will never understand. James will never understand. For them to understand, we'd have to tell them about what happened two years ago and neither one of us wants that. Besides, the whole school will then be judging us and probably taking bets on how long it lasts It's…it's exactly what's happening with James and Lily right now and watching them endure the endless questioning just makes me realize I don't want to be a part of that if I don't need to be. We don't need anyone questioning our relationship when...when we're still trying to figure us out," he explained, staring intimately at her. "We're not exactly relationship people, Riley. This is new to us and we don't need the whole school waiting for us to screw up. Planting doubts in our minds. Doubts that wouldn't be there if it weren't for them."
"Right," Riley murmured. "It's just really hard hiding my feelings for you around everyone else. Especially tonight when I watch how Lily and James are with each other and I can't be that same way with you. And coming up with a lie off the top of my head is difficult!"
Sirius snorted. "Oh please, you've had years of practice with your mother and your grandmother."
Riley winced. "Oh man, wait until Gran hears about us. She'll throw a fit."
"Good, maybe she'll go into cardiac arrest."
"Oh c'mon, don't tell me you weren't thinking the same thing."
Riley grinned. "Guilty as charged."
Sirius smiled shyly at the gleaming spark in her eyes. He cupped her face and leaned in to touch his lips against hers.
When they pulled apart, neither strayed their eyes away from the other. "I care about you so much, Riley," Sirius said breathlessly, running his fingers through her silky hair. "I'm really glad we're giving ourselves a second chance. Words can't express how much I love just being with you."
"Then don't tell me," she replied anxiously. "Show me."
The ends of Sirius' mouths curved up as he took her in his arms and gently kissed her cheeks. "There's nothing more I'd rather do."
A/N: Awww, aren't they all cute? Please tell me what you think of the first chapter! I hope it's up to par with what you all have been expecting :)