Disclaimer: All characters & places belong to Joanne K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, Scholastic & Warner Bros.
Lily had always watched them carefully out of the corner of her eye, trying to work out what made the Marauders so special. The four of them were a hurricane of emotions, the definition of spontaneity, of unbridled joie-de-vivre, of energy. They seemed to bounce of everything they touched, going the same direction as everyone else, but hurtling down a different lane—one they had created for themselves—where the speed limits and traffic regulations no longer applied. Everyone wanted a taste of the whirlwind of excitement, but no one else could let go of their worries, their futures, and their lives. No one else could drive through life with his or her eyes closed—swerving in any direction and trusting that everything would work itself out beautifully—for more than a second. Except the Marauders.
It was because of this that Lily refused to date James Potter. Despite his constant badgering, she knew that any kind of relationship could only destroy them.
James might get bored, and Lily would get tossed out after a brief encounter with the speed and turmoil that composed the Marauders lives. This was the least painful option.
Lily might also get sucked into the very eye of the storm, forced to throw away all ties to the Earth and to live just as the Marauders did. For no one could date a Marauder for any length of time without sacrificing their common sense, especially not someone as dedicated and hardworking as Lily. No, they would tear her many years of effort to shreds within moments, and she, too, would become a hooligan. But this was not as painful as the last possibility.
Lily knew for a fact that Marauder emotions ran deep. They seemed to feel normal emotions to the power of ten. If the love James professed for her was real, Lily could only imagine how strong it really was. And Lily feared what James might sacrifice for her. What if she didn't lose her common sense, but instead ripped James out of the tornado? What if she destroyed that carefree joy? What if she forced him to mature, to accept the disaster that was the world, to plan out his life and his future, instead of trusting life to work itself out? What if she put an end to the charmed life that James seemed to live? That was the worst outcome.
Lily Evans refused to bring about the downfall of James Potter. People had called her selfish. They had told her she was in denial. That she was blind towards her amazing luck. But Lily remained content in the knowledge that she was preserving two lives.
Or at least, she had remained content. Now, she could barely glance at James without feeling a strange burn in her throat, a tightening in her stomach and the need to look away. She lived in fear of his approach, for each of her rejections made her want to curl up into a ball. She had never considered the idea that there was a fourth, even more painful, option: Them never getting together. Every part of her yearned for James, but still she resisted.
And now, as she stepped into the Head's Compartment, she caught sight of him. It had obviously taking numerous charms, but his hair was finally lying straight. His expression was serious, as opposed to his usual crooked grin. The Head Boy badge glinted snootily on his perfectly smooth dress robe, right next to the brand new Gryffindor tie—so different from the old, ratty tie that had been so messily knotted for the past six years. A fifth option presented itself: She was powerless. James Potter would bring about his own destruction.
"No," Lily announced fiercely, ignoring the nervous prefects completely as she glared at James.
"Lily!" James said quietly, misinterpreting her horror, "I've changed. I'm different. I-"
"No. No. No." Lily repeated, marching over to James and brandishing her wand. She grabbed his neat hair; muttering counter charms and running her hands through it angrily. James stared at her, shutting his mouth. Her hands moved quickly down to his tie, which she loosened easily, leaving it hanging crookedly across his chest like it always did. She undid the clasp of his robes, leaving them hanging open in blatant defiance of dress code, and undid the top three buttons of his collared shirt.
She stepped back and smiled brightly, admiring her handiwork. The old James Potter stood before her, in all his disorganized, attractive glory, despite the utter confusion stamped across his face.
"What the hell did you do to yourself?" she demanded. The prefects filed out awkwardly, hoping to avoid some kind of disastrous fight between the two Heads.
"I-What?" James asked, still totally overwhelmed. She slapped him across the face, and he seemed to come back to his senses.
"Thanks," he muttered, rubbing his face, "I needed that."
"No," she told him, "You deserved that. How dare you go trying to change?"
"Have you gone utterly mad?" he yelled, "I did it for you! I thought you wanted me to be more responsible and mature!"
"You were never supposed to change for me! I refused to date you so that you wouldn't change for me!" Lily screamed, "You were supposed to remain your crazy… happy… James Potter-y self forever! And I would keep on being me forever. And everything would be perfect! Do you have any idea how hard it has been for me to keep this up for the past few years?"
"You're not serious. You wouldn't date me because... you were scared… I would change?" James laughed incredulously, "No Lily. You could never be that ridiculous-"
"Yes!" Lily said defensively, "And I was right too. Look at the mess you made of yourself!"
James just kept laughing. Lily stared at him angrily. She had been a martyr for him, and he was laughing at her. So much for gratitude.
"Fine," she bit out, "I give up. But keep in mind that whatever happens now is your fault." James looked up, his chuckles subsiding, trying to work out what Lily meant. She didn't give him time to puzzle it out, however, as she grabbed his loosened tie and smashed his lips against hers furiously. There was no moment of surprise, no awkward second where Lily's lips pressed against James's with no reaction on his part. James toppled over, taking Lily with him. The two lay on the floor, laughing between kisses, and kissing between giggles.
McGonagall burst in, followed by the group of prefects. Lily and James were lying on the floor, laughing uncontrollably. She turned on the student next to her.
"I thought you said that Ms. Evans was attacking Mr. Potter," she reprimanded the young man. He peered curiously at the two.
"She was," he insisted. McGonagall turned to look at the two Heads dubiously. Finally she turned to usher the prefects out of the room.
"Alright, nothing to see here," she said calmly.
"But- our prefect meeting?" One fifth year asked. McGonagall wheeled on the individual.
""Do you have any idea how long we have been waiting for those two to come to their senses?" she asked the student as the door slammed shut.
Lily reached over, wrapping her fingers around James's. She knew that this was just the first of many improbable situations—she had entered the Marauder's own private lane, where the rules of life were bent to satisfy four young men.
And honestly? Common sense was overrated.
A/N—So… now we know where Harry gets his Atlas complex from.
No. But seriously. This was just a little oneshot piece of weirdness that floated into my head. Obviously, the Marauders aren't as perfectly happy as all that… but wouldn't it be nice if they were?
I've got lots of little grammar errors in here. Sorry. For the many people who've been messaging me about old fics & series? I apologize. I will get around to updating them. I actually have three or four potential stories that I've refused to let myself post because I know that I will stop updating them and leave people hanging. So. My mission is to get everything all finished up over the summer. We'll see.
Much love to anyone who's fantabulous enough to review.