Call Me Tinkerbell
Lily sat in a small alcove hidden away in the castle. She found herself sitting there a lot since she'd returned to Hogwarts, just pondering things. A lot of 'what ifs' had wheedled their way into her conscious thoughts since she fought with James. She didn't agree with what he was doing, but she was falling apart without him beside her.
Talk to him, her head whispered constantly when she caught him staring at her out of the corner of her eye. She adamantly refused every time, telling herself that she shouldn't be the one to start the patching.
She'd managed to convince herself that it was James' fault they fought that day – though she couldn't and didn't blame him at all for her kidnapping – but at the same time managed to convince herself he hated her because of it. Hope soared in her chest every time she caught him staring but then he'd continue to ignore her.
She copied him.
In his defence you haven't seen him with a girl since before the Christmas holidays, that annoying voice told her mockingly. Lily resisted the urge to bang her head against the stone where she sat. She never mentioned to anyone she'd seen him change. Things most people thought were subtle were glaringly obvious to a person who'd spent so much time rejecting him only to find that he'd entrenched himself firmly in her heart.
Still she felt babied.
Subconsciously she knew he wasn't doing it purposefully but it gave her fuel for the fire and kept her from running back and apologizing for jumping to conclusions. She didn't need him and she was out to prove that to herself.
James sat on his bed in the Head Dorms, moping as he usually did at that time of night. He had the Marauder's map in front of him, an invention which he, Sirius and Remus were intensely proud of, watching people wander the school. He saw Remus and Hayley in the Astronomy Tower, Sirius in the kitchens, Stella in the Owlry and professors wandering the halls. Finally, his eyes fell on the name above a small dot in an abandoned corridor.
He watched her sit there every night, wondered what she was thinking about. He knew she hated his player ways and how he picked up a girl only to throw her out a few days later. He completely regretted fighting with her in the first place.
He thought she hated him.
He'd never, in the five months he's spent with the redhead, considered spending time with her as babysitting. She challenged him in ways he'd never known and didn't cease to surprise him with her well of seemingly useless knowledge. All of the other girls he'd spent time with only spent that time with him because he was James Potter. To Lily, that didn't matter.
Or so he thought.
Now, he sat in his room pondering whether or not to take the map and find her, tell her he was sorry for getting mad at her and that he loved her for the person she was. He wanted to make her believe that he spent time with her because he wanted to and used the excuse of protection to do it. He wanted to explain that if she'd told him she was feeling babied he would have backed off, but still wanted to spend time with her.
So do it, you coward. You've been moping for weeks because both of you are too stubborn to say anything to the other, his mind told him angrily.
His mind was made for him.
Lily looked up at the sound of footsteps partially surprised to see a sheepish James Potter rounding the corner.
"Mind if I join you?"
She was surprised at his request but tried not to show it, nodding her agreement. He leaned against the wall at her feet. They were silent as Lily stared out at the black grounds and James gathered his thoughts.
"Lily…" he trailed off as his hazel eyes met her bright green ones. Until they solved this, he didn't think he deserved to call her Tink, the same name he'd christened her with one terrible night. Finally he sucked in a deep breath. "I don't know if I should be apologizing or not because I'm not totally sure I've done anything wrong."
Lily scoffed and rolled her eyes, though James could see the relief in them. She was happy one of them was finally extending the olive branch of peace and was starting to rebuild the bridge that had crashed and burned.
"What you said during our fight made me think about a few things and reorganize my priorities. I need you to believe me, Lily, when I say that I didn't mean to make you think I was babysitting you. I never, ever, ever, though of spending time with you as babysitting." She scoffed again and James realized that making her understand was probably going to be much harder than he'd expected. So, he went for the honest approach, opening himself up to the redheaded sprite unlike he'd ever done before.
"Truthfully, Lily, I was scared. I was afraid that once you'd healed there wouldn't be anything left of the bond we'd formed. You'd be independent again and wouldn't have any reason to keep me around. By telling you I was going to be there to protect you it gave me a reason to stay around forever, never let go of what we had." He could tell Lily was listening carefully to his words and weighing them impeccably in her mind.
"We had something special, Lily, something that no one could come between. At least, that's what I thought. You were my top priority during those five months, Lily, you came before my friends and before any other girl in the entire school. Any time I left you alone with anyone else, I was scared something was going to happen and when I came back, you'd be destroyed, crushed again." Her eyes were bright with unshed tears.
"How you I know you're telling me the truth?"
"Do you trust me?"
She was annoyed that he answered a question with a question but he'd presented her with a conundrum. A few weeks ago she would have said yes without hesitation, now, she thought about it. In truth, he'd never done anything to betray the trust she'd placed in him the first night he'd healed her cuts and bruises. She had no reason to believe he'd ever betray her to even his closest friends. He hadn't even told his parents for Merlin's sake! So why was she hesitant.
"Yes," she answered finally, her voice and body not showing the trace of hesitation she'd shown before thinking it through.
"Then you have to trust that I'm telling you the truth."
She thought about the catalyst to their fight, remembering that trust had come up in the argument. "I told you I didn't trust you," she said suddenly.
"During our fight. Essentially, I told you I didn't trust you."
He took a moment to think back, all of the words spoken in the heat of angry passion cemented into his brain.
"Is that what you think of me?" he asked softly.
"What did you expect me to think?"
"I expected you to trust me!"
"I do trust you, with my life, but trust has nothing to do with this!"
"Trust has everything to do with this."
"You told me you trusted me."
Lily shook her head. "Verbally, but by not believing you and by jumping to conclusions I told you that I didn't," she answered as if it was the most logical thing in the world.
"Do you want to hear the truth now?" he asked finally, after a few moments of contemplation.
Lily thought for a moment. "Yes."
"I never did anything beyond kiss a girl since you stumbled into the common room in September and haven't truly done that since December. I couldn't, Lily."
"Because of you."
He looked down at the floor, finding the stones interesting.
"You're a very special and complicated woman, Lily Evans, one that I devoted all of my time to figuring out. You aren't an airhead, you aren't a ditz and you know what's going on in the world. You aren't wrapped up in makeup and guys and you put everyone else before yourself. You challenge me, Lily, in everything I do and you want explanations for why everything happens. You wanted to know why I wasn't out every night and why I used girls, even if you never asked the questions.
"The truth is, I couldn't. I kept comparing every girl to you, even though I didn't know you intimately. Even when I was… busy… I couldn't…" he trailed off, taking a moment to gather his thoughts.
"You were the most important thing in my life for six months, Lily and I'm not sure… no I'm not ready to let that go." Lily sniffled and reached out to touch his arm, lowering herself to the floor in the process. He looked up at her, noticing the awe in her eyes at his admission. There were unreadable emotions in her eyes that he couldn't put his finger on.
Lily for her part noticed the pain and anguish in his face. Their time apart had really taken a toll on him and the vibrant youth she thought she saw every day in classes had suddenly aged beyond his years. His eyes reflected the sleepless nights he'd spent thinking about what went wrong and his face held the tired lines of worry. She knew she didn't look too much better.
"I love you, Lily," he said suddenly, knowing he meant it with every fibre of his being. "I don't know when or how it happened, but I'm in love with you."
She felt the life flow back into her cheeks as the words fell from his lips and felt the first genuine smile blossom over her face since she'd returned three weeks prior. She reached out to cup his cheek as the tears fell unchecked down her face. Her heart was fit to burst.
"I love you too," she whispered to him the thrill of finally saying the words pumping adrenaline through her blood. James leaned into her hand, hesitantly wrapping his arms around her and hugging her close. Her arms wrapped themselves around his neck. They were insanely happy that they'd solved their differences, or at least understood them further.
"We should be getting back, you look exhausted." She nodded and they made their way back to the portrait of their common room.
"Miss Evans! Welcome back!" the portrait exclaimed. Lily couldn't wipe the grin off of her face. James said the password and she walked into the common room. It was an absolute mess and Lily couldn't help the bark of laughter that left her throat. James had the sense to look sheepish.
"Come on, Lily, let's call it a night."
"Tink," she corrected him.
"Call me Tinkerbell."
And there we have it ladies and gentlemen. The conclusion of this little rewrite. I must admit, I'm much happier with this one than I am with it's original.
But, what matters is what you guys think. Let me know!