Disclaimer: (Insert disclaimer that you've all read a million times over.)
AN: Trying to get back into the swing of things...
It was the storm that did it, she finally decided.
She was fine without him, fine alone. She was fine constantly bickering, constantly yelling.
But that one afternoon, sitting in the library, is what changed it all.
It was a dreary day. Terrible, really. It was as though the clouds had ripped themselves apart in anger, their wrath pouring down upon the earth. The lake was a black nothing, just a hole in space, as its waves crashed against the shores.
The forest was such a dark shade of green that it was nearly gray, and the trees swayed as one in the powerful wind.
None of the beautiful mountains in the lands surrounding the castle were visible amongst the fog, the rain, and the darkness.
She had watched it all from her vantage point in the library. Sitting in her usual seat, at her usual table, the mounds of books surrounding her did nothing to soothe this distracted feeling, these unshakable thoughts in her head.
Gazing out upon the previously mentioned mayhem, she couldn't help but think that the world was coming apart at the seams. It certainly seemed that way; the land was flooded and marshy, the sky was dark and foreboding, the lake was monstrous and unforgiving.
Fixated, she stood absentmindedly, and wandered over to the window. With her elbows on the sill, she set her head in her hands, and watched.
The wind shrieked, further disturbing the water in the lake, continuing to shake the trees. Green eyes wide, she wondered, ridiculously, how Hagrid's hut could withstand such chaos.
Yes, the world was definitely ending, here before her. It was as though she was witnessing the destruction of Eden, God's anger pouring out into the world, after banishing Adam and Eve from the garden.
And as the wind moaned, the trees shuddered, the waves raged, she noticed something that shook her even more than this turmoil.
There on the grounds, under the same tree as always, stood James Potter. And, although she was quite a distance away, and she could barely make him out against the rain and the darkness, she thought he was looking quite content.
'Potter!' Her mind raged.'How can he stand in that and look happy?! Can't he tell that the world is ending?'
The world, of course, was notending, and she was very aware of this fact. But, regardless, he could drown, or get struck by lightning, in the hell that was this storm, and he was enjoying it all?
Shaking her head at his idiocy, she told herself to sit back down and finish her work. But she stood, watching him.
She watched him until the sky finally began to lighten. She watched him until the rain finally began to halt.
Unable to explain, even to herself, why she was unable to turn away, her eyes fed upon the sight of him. Dressed in regular clothes, his dark T-Shirt was plastered to his chest, his jeans were a brilliant navy, soaked through. His head was thrown back in abandon, and he was looking up to the sky.
'Idiot,' she thought, finally turning back towards her books. But, in the coming weeks, she still couldn't shake the image of him standing in the rain, embracing the water.
Now, as she looked back upon that one day, she was certain that had been when her attitude towards him had changed. It was only then, after years of seeing him, of fighting with him, of raging against him, that she yearned to really know him. She longed to learn what it was about him that had held her attention that day.
She found herself feeding off of the glimpses she caught of him during the days. It disgusted her, but she found herself looking for him first in a crowd.
At this current point in time, she her two selves were fighting, quite spectacularly.
The dilemma, you may ask?
Lily had often cursed the late night patrols that forced her together with James. For the better half of the semester, she had struggled not to argue, not to snap. In fact, she had done quite a good job of it by saying nothing at all.
But now, she found herself struggling not to speak. She wanted to ask him about anything, to know him. The truth nearly made her gag; she wanted to be friends with James Potter.
She sighed, hating herself for the situation she was in. Because Lily Evans does not just decide to like James Potter. It just doesn't happen. Anarchy would descend upon Hogwarts, perhaps Hell itself would freeze over, if these two opposing forces became friends.
It was nearly the end of yet another shift, and she was quite proud of herself for surviving another night. Her mind was racing with the one question that had plagued her mind, but she refused to permit her mouth to open. If she could only get back to Gryffindor Tower, if she could only…..
"How do you do it?"
James looked nearly as surprised as she did at the sudden question, and he stopped walking, looking over at her.
"Pardon? How do I do what?"
'Stop, Lily!' her mind warned. 'Don't say another word.'
But her mind and her mouth were clearly working separately tonight, and she said, "How do you not care about what people think about you?"
He grinned, still glancing sideways towards her, as they continued walking. "I care."
"No, you don't. Not like the others care. You don't care about what anyone thinks of you."
"Not true," he argued lightly. "I care what Sirius thinks. I care what Remus and Peter think." He hesitated, before quietly saying, "I care what you think."
This jostled her, and she tried to quickly push it away. "But still, you do whatever you want. You never seem to care when you get in trouble, when people laugh at you, when-"
"Why do other people matter, Lily?" He had turned fully now, looking at her. "I don't answer when people ask me about pranks, because they don't need to know. I don't owe them anything. I do what I want because I can. There's just nothing to stop me."
Months, or even mere weeks ago, this statement would have infuriated her. But now, she struggled to grasp his concept.
And she thought that, maybe, she understood it.
He clearly took her silence as a challenge, and he tried to amend himself. "I don't hurt people anymore, Lily. I don't… I don't just make fun of people for sport. But as far as everything else goes…" he trailed off, trying to find a thought, "the freedom is just amazing. Breaking these pointless little rules that everyone takes as law, it's just what I do."
Taking this in, she thought again of that day in the storm.
"So that day in the rain…" she voiced, uncertainly.
"Hm?" He asked, confused now.
"That one day a few weeks ago, that terrible storm. It was as though the world was coming unglued, and you were out in it all, a part of it."
He smiled now, remembering. "That's exactly what I'm talking about. It's a bit like flying, standing out in the open rain. Exhilarating, and probably more than a bit stupid, but it's so refreshing."
Once again, he took her silence as a cue to continue. Pulling at her hand, he stopped her in front of a painting of Eden. The garden was lush, and green, and perfect. In the semi-darkness, his face up in contrast to the brilliant colors was striking.
He stood against the painting, and she stood in front of him, further out in the corridor, watching.
"Lily, isn't it amazing, how the world looks after rain? Doesn't it look so new, so cleansed? See, that's what it was like that day in the storm, any day in a storm. After it's all over, after the violence and wrath is through, you just feel so….."
He broke off, his voice trembling as he tried to explain it to her.
"You feel like a brand new person," he tried to explain again. "It's clarifying, it helps you think. You could change every moral, every idea you ever had, and it wouldn't seem like that big of a deal."
Her voice caught in her throat, as she finally fully comprehended what he was saying.
Her voice was a ragged murmur when she spoke. "You can gain a whole new perspective on anything…"
He looked at her, confused that she had understood so fully. "That's exactly right."
She was breathing deeply as she reached an arm up around his neck, pulling him down into a kiss.
Surprised, he half pulled away. But then his mind caught up to the situation, and he snaked his arms around her waist, deepening their embrace.
When they finally pulled away, she looked up into his eyes, and smiled.
"I know exactly what you mean, James."
AN: Well, that's it! Just trying to get the hang of writing again, after a tough couple of weeks.
Thanks for reading, review if you can!