JK Rowling owns it all.

You can find a different version of this one-shot in chapters fifteen and sixteen of my fanfiction novel "In the Words of Ginevra Molly Potter."

I really like this scene and wanted to share it with all you one-shot lovers. If you happen to like this, I encourage you to check out more.

A Changed Man

"I still can't believe you talked me into this, Potter. It's freezing out here."

"Where's your sense of adventure, Evans?"

James Potter walked close to a redhead, but dared not come any closer. He had long ago realized what his boundaries were when it came to Lily Evans. He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye and still couldn't believe how beautiful she was. Her amazing crimson hair reached far below her shoulders and her green eyes shimmered against the winter sun.

She was right, it was freezing outside, but it hadn't started snowing until after their trip to Hogsmeade. The white blanket of snow now lay gracefully on the ground, much like the gracefullness Lily carried with her everywhere. Neither of them really cared about the falling flurries as they journeyed back from the Wizarding village. In fact, they had taken a long walk around the lake and were now standing beneath a lone tree that stretched its branches in every which way. Lily might have been complaining about the weather, but she certainly wasn't hurrying to get away.

James noticed her shiver. He reacted almost instantaneously and took his coat off. As he offered it to her, she hesitated. He rolled his eyes and half-smirked. There are no more ulterior motives, Lily, he thought. He took a step behind her with the coat and slipped it around her shoulders. His bare left hand brushed her neck in the slightest way possible and he noticed her shiver again from the accidental, gentle touch. She was doing a decent job at pretending she wasn't enjoying herself.

They were quiet for a few seconds. James wanted to speak, but he enjoyed the peacefullness of her company, something he had always failed to do. Most of the time when he opened his mouth to speak before, he would make a complete arse out of himself. He watched her shake her head in disbelief and wrapped the coat around her even tighter.

"I don't understand it, Potter," Lily said. "Last year, you were an arrgogant toerag. This year, you're actually being..."

"Charming?" James finished, grinning handsomely. For a fraction of a second, he wanted to punch himself in the face. That was the old James who always spoke before thinking. That was the old James who never cared for anybody but himself. And he wasn't that person anymore. Luckily, it caused the girl to smile and James realized that he could still mantain his personality and become a better person at the same time.

"I was going to say nice, but I suppose charming could work," she said.

A cool wind shook the tree and snow flurries fell from the branches. Lily wrinkled her nose as the flakes hit her face, but since her hands were wrapped in the coat, she was unable to wipe them away. James's reaction was once again impulsive. His hands were there, wiping the little water crystals from her cheeks. She waited patiently for the handsome seventh year to finish.

"Mary scolded me for coming with you today," Lily said.

"C'mon," James retorted, holding his hands off to the side in a questioning manner. "Am I really that bad?"

Lily shrugged. "Not lately."

There was a reason for that, more than just coming to his senses, more than just wanted to impress this girl. For too long, all he wanted to do was claim Lily like she was some kind of red ribbon at a magical contest. Now he could see how much of a selfish goal that was. She had been a major reason for wanting to transform his toerag status into something more respectable, but she was not the number one reason. That was a more sinister, heartbreaking reason.

His parents...

Harold and Lorraine Potter were all active members of the Order of the Phoenix. Six months ago, they developed a severe wizard's ailment and lost the battle. Although he wanted desperately to leave school and avenge his parents, Dumbledore convinced him to finish his seventh year. He was glad he made the promise, but he vowed that as soon as he graduated, he was going to join the Order and bring down the Dark Lord everyone feared. Before he began his final year, Remus and him discussed thier lives; James concluded that it was time to make a change.

He moved closer to Lily, but was still hesitant to touch her. Lily tensed and James was shamed. He recalled vividly how many times he had attempted to put his arm around her without permission. He never cared that she didn't like it. With his relunctance to do so, he noticed a different look in Lily's eyes... was she impressed? Was that all it took to catch this girl's attention? Not touching her?

"You've told me so much today," Lily said, a flirtatious look in her eyes. "Were you trying to impress me?"

James shrugged. If he wanted to be truthful with himself, all the stories he told Lily today were not to impress her. He simply wanted to be completely truthful with her from now on. When he started, the questions rolled off Lily's tongue, wanting to know details of all the Marauders. It didn't matter what she asked, James was powerless to deny her information once she wanted to know. James ultimately shook his head.

Before he could say anything, Lily pointed and shouted, "James, look!"

James marveled for a second at the use of his first name. She had never used it before. Before he had a chance to really process the development, she told him again to look. This time he did, towards a group of deer that might have wandered in from the forest. Whatever reason they were there, James couldn't get over how peaceful this was.

The four animals walked gracefully maybe twenty feet away from the couple, stopping every few feet to inspect a new noise that had alerted them. There was stag, whose antlers were majestic. There was a doe, which looked so serene, almost as if she was gliding over the snow. Following behind them, two fawns were walking side by side.

James found himself lost not at the presence of the creatures, but how lost Lily was in the serenity of them. She's more than I deserve, James thought. Lily stepped closer to him, entwining her hand in his own. James looked down, smiled, and quickly turned his eyes towards the deer.

Lily finally noticed what had happened and she turned a minor shade of pink. James swore inwardly and thought she was going to be angry, despite that it was her who had sought out his hand, and not the other way around. He attempted to pull away.

"I'm sorry, Lily," James sputtered. "I'm an idiot."

Lily did something strange. She didn't let go. James stared at her in wonder. Her facial expression had changed. If he didn't know any better, he had seen that look before, but never, never from Lily. She fixed her eyes upon his own and she wet her lips with her tongue, inviting him silently.

This time, James dared. He leaned closer to her, counting the freckles upon her nose, breathing in the sweet, flowery scent she always carried with her, and he pressed his lips against her own for the first time. With such a kiss, he confirmed what he had known for years: he was hers, completely, undoubtedly hers. And, if he was brave enough to ask, she might want to be his. How long had he been pursuing this girl?

James pulled away. Lily grinned at the satisfied expression upon his face.

"You've always been the stag looking for his doe," Lily whispered. "You finally found her." She pulled him towards her and kissed him again.

As she pulled away for a second time, she looked back towards the deer that had moved on. It was at that moment he heard a twig snape against the uncovered ground beneath the tree. Secretly, he reached into his pocket and pulled his wand out. He muttered, "Homenum Revelio" and confirmed that someone was here with them. He growled silently; he had an idea who it was.

"Lily, I'll catch up with you later. I've got to take care of something," James said, squeezing her forearm affectionately.

Although she looked disappointed, she replied, "That's probably for the best. I have Transfiguration notes to go over. Thanks… thanks for a beautiful day."

She leaned closer and kissed him goodbye. He could certainly get used to this kind of treatment from her. It was unfortunate that he needed to take care of one little problem. He watched her leave, trudging through the snow towards the castle. As she came closer to the entrance, he reached into his pocket again and slowly extracted his wand. Once Lily was inside the castle, James aggressively pointed his wand at the trunk of the tree.

"How long have you been following us?" James snarled.

None other than Severus Snape returned to the world of visibility, confirming James's suspicions. "You…" Snape shouted, his words caught in his mouth as anger took control. His wand was drawn and was now pointed at James. "It's an act! You're pretending so you can get Lily. You're not a good person."

James shook his head. "I'll admit that I've done some horrible things to many people and I am trying to atone for that. And yes, Lily is a major reason for my wanting to change…" His arm was unwavering as he kept the wand in place. "Unlike yourself, I care about Lily enough to change."

"How dare you throw this back on me!" Snape roared, his mouth frothing. "You don't care about her!"

"That is the only thing you and I have ever had in common." He paused, allowing Snape to take the words in. James considered cursing the Slytherin right there and end it completely before this man could cause any real damage with Death Eaters it was rumored that he had joined. But he promised Lily to take it easy on him only hours prior. Instead, he lowered his wand and said, "Don't let me catch you following us again."

James turned away from him, but an orange spell barely missed his shoulder. James turned around and had him against the tree trunk in one swift fluid motion. With his wand pressed against Snape's temple, he said, "The only reason I don't destroy you is because Lily seems to think you have some good in you still…"

"What…?"

"I know better," James hissed. He pressed his free hand against Snape's left forearm. "You're seventeen now. Have you sold your soul to the devil yet? Have you been branded like a filthy cow? You had better hope we don't cross paths once we leave this school."

As he pushed James backwards, Snape dropped his wand. He didn't even try to pick it up as he advanced closer. "I will kill you, Potter!" Snape screamed.

James laughed mockingly. "It'll be a cold day in hell before Snivellus Snape is responsible for my death." When Snape lept for his wand, James shouted, "Petrificus Totalus!" He smirked as the greasy haired git fell to the cold snow.

Months ago, James would have revelled in taunting Snape, making sure the man knew he was better than him, but he placed his wand away. It took every bit of willpower to do so, but he thought of Lily, and turned from heap of black and green robes sprawled upon the ground. He considered turning back for one more bit of fun, but that was the old James demanding...

...he was a changed man...

...for himself... for his parents...

...for Lily...

he really didn't deserve her