Author Note: Thanks for all of the Valentine's Day wishes! You guys are so sweet. I'm glad you enjoyed Chapter 6… I wasn't sure how good it was because I wrote it late at night, but I'm glad you liked it. I hope you enjoy the seventh and final chapter of this mini-story… it's been so much fun! It's not as good or as well-developed as I would have liked, but if it's really bad, I might go back and edit it later. I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day.
I would have posted this last night, but wouldn't let me upload it for some reason! I stayed up pretty late working on it, too, so I was upset about the site not letting me get it uploaded on time. I hope you enjoy it anyway!
"Rook to D5," James said, knocking Lily's Queen off her pedestal, and thus placing her King in a less-than-desirable situation. "Checkmate."
Lily looked at the chessboard in amazement, taking a moment to analyze the placement of each piece. "But how did you-" she began, completely bewildered. "James Potter, nobody has ever beaten me at Wizard's Chess before."
It was something that Lily took pride in. As a child, she had often played Muggle chess with her father, and only enjoyed the game even more when the pieces came to life. Her analytical skills led her to win every game she ever played at Hogwarts, even when she was young.
James smirked. "Ah," he said, "but clearly you haven't played me before."
Lily frowned at the board again, and crossed her arms. She couldn't believe he had won.
It was the night of February 13, and the two sat, facing each other, on the floor of their Common Room. As Head Boy and Head Girl, James and Lily shared their own Common Room and bathroom, with separate rooms upstairs, thus giving them more time alone to attend to their Head duties.
From early in the year, neither of them was pleased with these living arrangements. Their relationship had been particularly rocky since sixth year, when Lily first learned that James had given up on her. However, over the past few months – despite every effort Lily made to refute this – the Head Boy and Head Girl had grown to become somewhat of friends.
"Just don't tell anyone that I lost," Lily urged James, half-joking. "It might ruin my reputation."
James laughed. "If anyone asks, you let me win," he said good-naturedly, though they both knew that none of their friends would even think to ask them about a silly chess game. After all, no one else really knew anything that went on between them once they were in their own Common Room.
"Very good," Lily replied, smiling slightly. She couldn't help herself. After she'd finally opened herself up to James, it was hard not to smile when she was joking around with him.
James returned the smile. "We can rematch tomorrow night, if you want," he told her. "Of course, you realize that this time I'll know all your weaknesses." He winked at Lily.
Lily rolled her eyes. "Haven't you learned by now? I have no weaknesses." She paused for a moment. A rematch sounded like a good idea - surely she could regain her dignity by then - but wasn't tomorrow night…? "Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, James. Surely you'd want to rematch in two days?"
James' face fell slightly. "Oh, of course, right… if you're busy, it can wait."
"I'm not busy." Lily furrowed her brow in confusion. Why would James even suspect her of having Valentine's plans? It had only been a month since she'd broken up with her last boyfriend, Tristan Reid. "But I'm sure you are."
James shook his head. "No plans for me," he admitted. "I'm honestly not in the spirit of it this year." He smiled helplessly at her.
Somehow, this pleased Lily. Actually, a lot of things about James had been pleasing Lily lately. For instance, she had noticed only days before that James had dropped his annoying habit of rumpling his hair to look impressive. When James tried to flex his muscles in the bathroom mirror, Lily no longer found it childish and irksome (sometimes it even made her laugh). And as she watched him right at this moment, Lily even found his smile appealing.
What's wrong with me? Lily wondered, feeling awkward about having these thoughts. Why should I care if he has a Valentine or not?
"Then we'll rematch tomorrow night," Lily said finally.
"It's a date!" Right away, James began to regret his choice in words. "I mean… er… well, you know. Not a date."
Lily couldn't help but smile at this. "Right," she agreed, looking into his eyes. There was something endearing about the way he'd immediately blushed when he said that. In the past, he had always been so assertive about his feelings for her, and now that he was no longer interested, he seemed oddly… shy. After about a moment, Lily began to feel awkward again.
"I think I'm going to bed," she informed him, breaking his gaze to run up the stairs. "Good night."
"Sweet dreams!" James called, trying to regain his composure as Lily disappeared from his sight.
Something is happening, Lily thought to herself in bed, and I don't like it.
She had noticed this a while ago. For years James had always occupied her mind at least a little, whether she wanted him to or not, but ever since they began living in the same quarters, she had been thinking about him more and more. Lately, her thoughts had been mostly positive, though extremely confusing.
We're just friends, she tried to assure herself. Of course he can be insufferable, but we're friends and that's all I feel for him.
But then she thought back to the way she felt when he told her he had no Valentine. For the past six years, she had done everything in her power to avoid James on Valentine's Day, and now, here she was, planning to spend time with him that night.
It's a rematch. Purely harmless… that doesn't mean I have feelings for him.
Lily almost laughed at the thought, until another image came to mind. That grin.
She sighed. Just because I think of his smile does NOT mean that I am attracted to him.
But right as she thought this, she realized how silly she sounded. Of course I'm attracted to him, she admitted to herself miserably. I know all the reasons why I shouldn't think about him, but I do it anyway. It doesn't make sense, but it does. Why else would I let him bother me so much?
Lily could not believe the realizations that were coming right now. Feelings for James? Though a part of her knew that they had to be true, it felt completely outlandish to think of them now.
I can't deny it, she thought simply, inwardly cursing the concept of irony. How was it that the one time she would have said yes to him, he wasn't there to ask?
This is all too strange. Lily pulled up the covers, giving up on her analysis of the situation, and tried to fall asleep.
When Lily arrived downstairs the next morning, James was already waiting for her.
"Good morning, Lily!" he greeted her, seeming to have forgotten the awkward moments between them the night before. "I have something for you."
Lily bit her lip, wondering what on Earth he could have possibly brought her and why. Her heart began to pound.
James reached into his robe pocket and pulled out a heart-shaped box of chocolates. "For you," he told her, grinning. "I know that the last time I got you chocolates, Remus ate them all, so I figured that I owed you."
"Thank you," Lily said quietly, taking the box from him. She realized that her feelings had not changed from the night before. "What's it for?"
James laughed. "Not for Valentine's Day, if that's what you're asking!" he exclaimed. "It's just to call a truce. I know we've had our share of bad Valentine's Days… but I want you to know that I'm not going to try and ruin it for you anymore. I want you to be happy."
Lily nodded. "I want you to be happy, too," she told him, her voice slightly breaking.
James looked satisfied. "Shall we go to breakfast, then?" he asked, beginning to head toward the portrait hole.
Shaking her head, Lily sighed. Should she take a chance? It was all very new to her, but at that moment, she decided to just let her feelings out. "Wait," she told him, finally making her move. "I have something for you, too."
Surprised, James turned to her. "Lily, you didn't have-"
But James was interrupted by a pair of lips on his. Lily kissed him softly and innocently before pulling back. She smiled lightly, and her cheeks grew pink.
"Will you be my Valentine?" she asked meekly.
Against his best efforts (he wanted to seem completely un-phased by this), James grinned. "I have to think about it," he told her, seeming to take the offer very seriously.
"James!" she exclaimed, smacking his arm playfully. She couldn't believe what she had just done, but as it happened it had just made sense to her. "I just poured my heart and soul out to you, and you have to think about it?"
James nodded. "You've kept me waiting for six years, Lily," he reasoned. "Surely you can wait for a few minutes."
Roughly ten seconds later, James bent down and pulled Lily into a deeper, fuller kiss. His smile lingered as he broke away.
"I've thought long and hard," he told her, "and my answer is yes."
As the Head Boy and Head Girl left the Common Room, hand-in-hand, Lily couldn't help but realize what she had gotten herself into. Going out with James would not be easy. He was arrogant, and obnoxious, and at times difficult to deal with. He often showed up at the worst time possible, and distracted her from her homework, and asked her entirely-too-personal questions. He had even beaten her at Wizard's Chess.
Lily knew it was uncharted territory. James would probably tease her for saying no to him all those years, and she would probably yell at him for being so immature and threaten to end the relationship right then and there. But she knew she wouldn't – she couldn't – and that they'd been through a lot over the years. It was a lot to think about, but somehow, despite all of the things going against it, it just felt right. Because in the end, after seven years of Valentines, all that really mattered was one.
Acknowledgments: Thank you to all of my readers, who made this story so enjoyable to write! I'm sorry to have ended it so poorly… if you all hate it, I'll take some time to edit this last chapter when I get the chance. Special thanks goes out to reviewers of Chapter 6, whose pennames are His Half Blood Princess, EmeraldLovesHazel, ProngsGirl-Kady, CelticFairie, Tyem Marodyor, AnitaPotter, Ashley-In-Wonderland, Chocolate Covered Cherry, Katie.Cupcake, risaroo852, mishchef maker, Blue-Eyed Chica, CurryCurran, OniyuriGaaru, caraez, Rictumsempra, t-man, LILYandJAMESareCUTE, and Marlicat. You're all amazing!