A/N: It's the first light spring rain of the year here in my northern-Illinois city today – hence I wrote this & enjoyed the gray weather instead of doing my homework. I do hope you like it!
"Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby."
-- Langston Hughes
Tonight, it's just rained.
The air is warm, muggy, and moist; like the atmosphere in a bathroom after a hot shower. Wispy cloud clusters the color of pencil lead loiter about the gloomy sky – sullen, as though they don't belong there and know it. It smells wet, musty, but somehow, fresh and clean at the same time – the smell of old washed out and replaced with something new. Stray droplets of water pepper the newly-emerald grass, and the world is silent, save for a lazy, very occasional breeze – and a young woman.
She's seventeen years of age, and is the Head girl of Hogwarts, and she's loved rain for her entire life. She loves the comforting pitter-pat of raindrops falling on the window, the coolness of the water streaking down her pale, heart-shaped face, the humidity in the air that makes the tiny hairs at the back of her neck stand up.
The very atmosphere around her wrings her romantic soul, and makes her feel like she's not in the normal, physical world anymore. She's somewhere else, transformed into someone she's only wished she could be. She loves the freedom, the possibility, the notion that in this moment – this single moment – she can tread places she couldn't go before; grow wings she never thought she could.
There is just something so promising about the rain – something so mysterious about the phenomenon itself and the things it can do. It's one of those little marvels about life that make her gape and realize how small and insignificant she really is in this vast, ever-changing world.
She needs wands and words to make magic happen, but nature doesn't – nature has a much more powerful magic of its own.
She walks outside to the Hogwarts grounds, clad in her old faded blue-jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. On her feet are her oldest, rattiest sneakers, and her fiery red tresses – customarily tied up in a high ponytail to stay out of her face – are loose across her shoulders. This change in her is rare; she is known to loathe having her hair remain down in this fashion.
Quietly, she slips down to the Black Lake, where she stands against the thick trunk of her favorite beech tree. The fragrance here is of wet mulch, which is not nearly as appealing as the scent of pure rain, but she pays it no attention. She instead stares at the pensive-looking lake, which is displaying a mix of periwinkle, gray, and a grim, muddy brown.
She feels warm, but she's happy the way she is – reserved, contained in her own self. She came out here to avoid the rest of the students inside the school, and that is what she plans on doing.
Against her better judgment, she lets her cheek rest on the rough bark of the tree beside her and sighs, almost inaudibly. The sound is gentle, almost forlorn, but more awe-struck than anything else.
Being outside here, outside in this miraculous, raw state after a light rain-storm, always triggers something she can't quite put her finger on inside of her.
She stands here for several minutes, her kind, bright emerald eyes fixed upon the lake and the tints she can see in it, and she is in bliss, reveling in her solitude. She doesn't need the hustle and bustle of school every minute of her day, nor does she need noise or company all the time – she just needs this once in a while, and she knows intuitively that everything will be okay. It was a philosophy of her mother's, and now it has passed down to her.
As she lingers between the lake and the tree, her eyes gradually closing as she enjoys the wonder and majesty of her location seeping into her heart and soul, it begins to rain again. Those wispy, cross-looking clouds she'd observed earlier open up and allow more water to shower upon the land around her. She is safe beneath the branches of her beech tree, and she can watch the grass accept its nourishment while remaining dry. She does so, but as her eyes open again with the greatest care, she catches sight of a figure coming outside, towards her.
It's a boy – more specifically a man, dressed as casually as she. It's obvious to her from the start. But as the boy comes closer, and the features become more clearly visible, she realizes that it is her Head Boy and recently-acquired friend, James Potter. He joins her under her tree, his pace brisk so to avoid the rain, and his expression is curious, but somewhat concerned.
A part of her is annoyed by his presence here, destroying the tranquility and enchantment of her moment. But another part of her is almost glad to see him – she wants him to enjoy this rain with her.
"Hey," she says softly, her voice a little hoarse from disuse for the past half hour or so. "What are you doing out here?"
"Looking for you," he answers, running his fingers through his hair, obviously attempting to dry it out a little bit. "We've got a meeting with Professor McGonagall right now – for detentions or something about as charming – and she wanted me to find you and bring you."
"How did you know I would be here?"
He shrugs, his expression submissive. "Lucky guess?"
She complies with his answer with a small nod, and he smiles vaguely at her, his eyes on the grass they are standing on. Hers are on him, however – his face. It's admittedly quite a well-crafted face, his delicate features sporting intricate angles and shapes that capture her attention profoundly; then, coupled with his hay-stack hairstyle, he looks even more appealing, because his handsomeness appears almost accidental.
She admires this about how him – how he's so meaningful, yet so inadvertent at the same time – but she doesn't say so. It isn't the first time she's held this specific opinion to herself when confronted with him.
They dally there for several minutes, together although a bit awkward, shaded from the rain by the beech tree. She gets the overwhelming urge to touch his face, to stroke it with tenderness she's been saving up for him all year, but she doesn't. Instead, she continues to stare at him, drink the expression on his face in and commit it to memory, until he finally takes initiative and speaks.
"So…do you want to go in for the meeting before Professor McGonagall has both your head and mine on a silver platter?"
He offers her his hand to take her back in. She is tempted to accept it, to go in and do what she knows she must, but she doesn't do this either. As a more pleasing alternative, she shakes her head at him, and she says for what has to be the first time in her entire lifetime, "No. I don't want to."
His eyes – so gorgeously hazel, with honey and olive flecks sprinkles on them – are attractively befuddled upon hearing her extraordinary proclamation. "Do my ears deceive me? Is Lily Evans really going to miss a meeting with Professor McGonagall to stand outside in the rain? I must be dreaming."
She allows him a sarcastic half-smile, but she doesn't want to ruin this harmony in her right now – there's a certain mood here that she's created, and she doesn't want to shatter it completely because of something as trifling as a meeting.
Meetings can be rescheduled; this can not.
She explains this to him, misty-eyed and almost dream-like, and he is still astonished.
"Lily, this is the craziest thing you've ever said to me before, hands down," he tries to tell her. "Do you have any idea how badly McGonagall's going to kick my arse, in addition to yours, when she finds out that you've skipped the meeting? I mean, I know I'm a slacker, but she's not in an exceptional mood today, and her precious Head Girl's absence in the face of detention revision is not exactly going to help the cause –"
He is babbling now, and they know it, so she smiles and puts her index finger to his lips. Tingles run rampant on the spot she touches, but he does his best to hide them as he continues to stare at her in wonderment. When she's satisfied with his silence, her smile widens slightly, and she removes her finger.
He is about to say something – to protest, to convince her otherwise, an act he finds odd because that is usually her job and not his – but she doesn't want to hear it. She says, "I don't want to be anywhere but here right now, James. I'm not going to the meeting. I'll let McGonagall deal with me later."
"All right, so I'll just…I'll go. Yes, I'll go now." He's backing away, about to leave, but she surprises them both by suddenly reaching out and clasping her hand around his wrist.
His bewilderment is all too evident as he stops where he is and studies her as though he's never seen anything quite like her – which he hasn't. She can't help but allow the warm blood in her cheeks to rise and colour her pink, but it is still with pure earnestness that she requests, "Stay, won't you?"
Her eyes are enigmatic as she gazes at him, alluring in their transparency. There are no hidden signals or meanings here this time – only her. It's an idyllic alteration for him to see; normally there's a layer of hostility to her, a layer of reservation that sticks to her and repels him flawlessly most other days.
However, he's not complaining – nor is he turning down this opportunity.
With a grin, he says, "All right then, since you asked so nicely…I suppose we can have this last evening to ourselves before McGonagall hunts us down and roasts us over a campfire with marshmallows."
She laughs softly, but her eyes are faraway as her vision falls back to the rain, which has picked up a little speed during their conversation. And, all of a sudden, the idea hits her, like a lightning bolt of inspiration to her brain – she instantly knows what she wants to do.
Her eyes become bright, enraptured, as she proceeds by saying, "Come on, I want to try something."
Perplexed, but keen nonetheless, he looks expectantly at her, and she promptly takes his hand and pulls him outside into the rainy world around them with her. He tries to protest this, his arm instinctively coming up to his face to protect him from the downpour of rain, but she doesn't allow him to – she takes the hand that was shielding him in her own, and she holds onto him tightly. He winces slightly as his glasses get pelted with droplets, but she doesn't appear to mind them; she produces her wand from her pocket, casts a charm on it to deter the water, and tucks the wand back again.
He manages to grin again – that's much better.
Out loud, though, he inquires, "What are we doing out here?"
"I've always wanted to try this," she shares with him as she resumes her hands' position on his, her lit-up face streaked with rivulets of rain. "Always. But I could never find the right person, or the right moment to."
With this, she laughs a second time – a flowing, musical laugh – and she begins to spin him around, her fingers holding to him firmly. He can't believe his eyes, or his ears, but he's becoming as excited as she is, because he can see a buoyancy and radiance in her appearance that he has never seen there before. She's transformed, gone through a metamorphosis before his very eyes, and it's almost as incredible as the rain itself. He wants to be a part of it.
Together, they spin frivolously in the grass, all Head duties and responsibilities set aside for the time being. None of it is important – all that matters to them is that they are there, together, playing in the rain.
His momentum is greater than hers, because of all the Quidditch training, but she goes along with it anyway, gasping but giggling when he gets her feet off the ground. She feels like she's five years old again, whizzing around the wet grass with him, flitting around the sheer surrealism of this situation.
They are both soaking wet, but she likes him as he is; his hair is lying flat for once on his head, his bangs plastered to his forehead, and his eyes are twinkling like they never have before behind his glasses. His mouth – so large for his face – is open and laughing, as is hers, and there's a bouncy sort of elegance to him that catches her off-guard.
He really is a lovely man, she thinks to herself as she spins a little on her own before taking his hand and spinning on a grander scale again. Only a sincere friend would do something as silly as this when there were more important things to be done.
She appreciates him more now than she ever has in their shared teen-hood together, and here, in the rain, when all impossibilities are within her reach, it feels right. Natural. As though it's astounding things haven't been able to work out this way for this length of time. She's sure he's thinking it too.
So, she realizes, she has to make the most of this. She has to make the most of her dwindling time in Hogwarts, in this place where they have grown up so much together. And she knows there is no way she'd rather do it than living her most dreamed-about fantasy of all time – dancing with someone in the rain.
Energized, she stops spinning for but a moment to take off her socks/sneakers and toss them aside by the tree, her feet bare. Then, she rolls up the bottom cuffs of her sodden jeans to reveal part of her calves, and even removes her soaking sweatshirt, exposing her white spaghetti-strap tank top. Immediately, the shirt becomes transparent and clings to her pale skin, showing off the dips and valleys of her slender frame.
He is astonished to see her fling her clothes without a care in the world to the side, and look at him the way she is, but he's inspired as well. Even though he doesn't like the rain as much as she does, he removes his own sweatshirt, and leaves on a thinner, lighter shirt – his jeans are already filthy, so he leaves them alone, but his shoes unite with her own nearby.
The moment she is ready to join him once more, he smiles at her, and offers her his hand. "May I have this dance?" he inquires, his tone as gentlemanly as he can muster in this downpour.
She doesn't answer – instead she gives him a shriek of laughter and runs into his arms, all too eager to dance. He obligingly puts one of his hands on her waist and entwines the fingers of the other with hers. He is damp, and she is even more so, but they couldn't be happier than how they felt right now.
They continue to chortle and joke and waltz about together, under their backdrop of gray and murky blue, with rain falling on their heads and dousing their clothes; they are the Head boy and the Head girl, enjoying a dance to a song in their own heads and allowing their maturity to take a brief vacation to give them some time to simply be.
Nobody comes out to bother them, nor does the rain relent for at least a half hour, before it slows slightly – it is an hour out of time, an hour bestowed as a gift from someone somewhere who knows a thing or two about wish fulfillment. It is her favorite memory with him, because of its spontaneity – the way she let him into her world, because she was compelled by the dewy stardust formed by a good rain.
For once, there was no pressure, no obligation, no plan – just him, her, and a sopping-wet, starry-eyed dance to remember.
A/N: Yes, a kiss in the rain would have been great, but I couldn't break the flow here to add one – although I did try and hated the way it sounded. So, you only got the dance; but I hope you liked it! Please do review and let me know!