Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I don't own much money, either, so to wouldn't be prudent to sue me. But you can't sue me, because this is a disclaimer. Right?
Dedication: I'm dedicating this bit of no-angsty-snape Lily/James fluff to LittlexMissxMuffet. She writes lovely romantic fluff, and she writes hysterical humor. (You should read her stuff. It's great). So, my best romantic-humor fanfiction it to be dedicated to her. You rock LMM!
The Consequences Of Boredom
Why Lily Can't Keep A Steady Boyfriend
With Matthew, it was cherry colored slime. Why cherry colored, no one except for James would ever know. Remus would later say that it reflected the color of Lily's hair, and Sirius would disagree—it was the color of James's anger. Peter was convinced that it was supposed to symbolize blood (an idea which both Remus and Sirius vehemently rejected, due to its morbidity). Even Lily thought about it once or twice, though at the time she was too enraged to care.
The color was such an odd shade, in fact, that only one person in Hogwarts hadn't speculated on it at least once.
When Matthew Dapps found himself in the entryway to the crowded great hall, dripping gucky ooze, he didn't stinking well care what color the goop was. He only cared that he was being humiliated in front of the entire school, that he knew by whom he was being humiliated, that he knew why he was being humiliated, and that he knew what he had to do to keep it from happening again.
And thus the three-day relationship of Matthew Dapps and Lily Evans was ended by James Potter and a large amount of curiously cherry colored slime.
A year later, after the terror factor of dating Lily had plummeted rather, it happened again. Arthur Gnu was a soft spoken fifteen year old with a mouse-like haircut and a passion for reading. His friends had all asked him "What the Hell is wrong with you!?" many a time, and "Do you really want to incur the wrath of James Potter?" even more often, but Art paid them no mind. His friends were awed by his bravery, but what they didn't realize was that Art had never seen the goopy episode a year earlier—he had been too far into his book. And cherry colored slime is something that really cannot be appreciated if it was not seen first hand.
For his part, James decided that Art had a definably weak chin and a meek attitude—two things which even Lily couldn't dispute. But, then again, Lily was not dating him for his chin or his attitude. She was dating him for his shy smile, his love of the same books she was enamored of, and, though she hardly dared to admit it, because she could. Because he had asked, and because she hoped that James wouldn't scare him away.
James did, though, eventually. To his credit, Art survived a hellish two weeks and four dates of stink bombs, curse-charms, and good old fashion pranks as Lily's boyfriend. After that period of time (and a disgusting detention involving flobberworms after James had stolen Art's four foot potions essay), Lily and Art came to the decision that it just wasn't worth it, though they stayed fantastic friends.
Even with the happy outcome, Lily found herself thoroughly upset as to the situation. As she could be heard complaining to her friends, she was a teenage girl who wanted to explore dating—sans the slime.
Sixth year came with the usual idiotic prathead and two new suitors.
The prathead was, as should be expected, James Potter himself, and the only reason she called him "idiotic prathead" was because any stronger language was not fit for company.
The suitors were Jonathan Bait and Terry Jankson, and they couldn't have been more different. Jonathan lived up to his surname—the little worm which was bound to be killed no matter what else happened. In fact, it wasn't more than a day before a well-placed stink bomb sent him running—not that Lily blamed him, as it had smelled absolutely putrid.
Terry was, on the other hand, a jerk. Not a horrendous, disgusting jerk—Lily would never date one of those—but a more third-rate, C-grade jerk. She didn't like him one singular bit, but he seemed to be the sort that wouldn't let pranks scare him off, and Lily was desperate for a real, honest-to-goodness relationship, and this seemed the only way to get it. In this way, she was making quite an effort to be stubborn as she could be.
She succeeded, and then decided that she'd much rather she hadn't. Terry had indeed not been fazed by the infamous James Potter, but Lily found herself unable to abide his jerkiness.
James had had a field day when he found out that Lily had broken up with Terry of her own volition, which made Lily thoroughly angry (on the principle of it). This resulted in a loud, fiercely hateful, very public row between James and Lily in the Gryffindor Common Room, which left both of them completely exhausted.
So it wasn't all that unexpected when Lily came back to Hogwarts for her seventh and last year head held high, eyes determined, and "To bloody hell with James Potter" set firmly in her mind.
"Absolutely," the word echoed softly around the deserted potions room, "Though I'm not sure that I quite understand the choice of scenery." Lily waved at the cauldrons and ingredients still spewed around the room from the previous class (who had been making forgetfulness potions, and therefore had not remembered to pick up after themselves).
"Well, it was sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing, if you know what I mean?" Benjamin Mayze grinned at his newly accepted girlfriend. "Anyway, I need to go tell all my friends that they are not by any means allowed to go near you." He winked, making it quite clear that he didn't actually intend to be as overbearing as all that.
After a few more minutes Lily laughed and slipped out of the room with the understanding that she had a date next Saturday and a the private, decisive conclusion that James Potter was not going to ruin this one.
She needn't have worried. By the time James was half way through planning to make violet smoke come out of Ben's ears, he remembered that he had promised himself not to meddle in Lily's love affairs that year. With a gargantuan amount of effort, he pulled his mind out of the plans and sighed. Then he got angry. Really, really angry. The sort of quiet, controlled, glowing anger that gives people in the vicinity the urge to tiptoe.
In the back corner of James's mind, the small rational corner that was as truthful as it was annoying, he supposed that he was so mad because he wouldn't let himself vent it with pranks. He even didn't try to stop it, he just let the anger blow through.
It died down two weeks into Lily's and Ben's relationship, only to be replaced by an even more terrifying hopelessness. This puzzled James's friends, as he had never been like this before, but then again, before he had kept himself busy with the pranking. And now he couldn't—or wouldn't—do the only thing that would make him feel better.
Those weeks of hopelessness changed James, if only a little bit. He still laughed, still joked, still made everyone dizzy with his bizarre logic, still sang "We're Off To See The Wizard" on the way to Professor Dumbledore's office, but he thought more, listened more, watched more, understood more.
For the most part, though, the change was for the worse. Laughing, joking, singing though James may be, all of it was done with the slightest forced feel, the tiniest bit of melancholy, a bit less of his usual enthusiasm. It was, to his friends, like an itch they were unable to scratch, a constant damper on the fun they could have.
Lily, on the other hand, blossomed in the glow of girlfriendom that she had never truly been able to experience.
And if she sometimes got a faraway look on her face, or her laugh was a little bit fake sounding, or she would jump for no reason every now and then, then she supposed that it didn't really matter that much. After all, all relationships had a few tedious parts, right?
They had been together for a month and a half when it struck her. Well, maybe not struck, as Lily had the bothersome suspicion that it had been sneaking up on her for the past month. It was the sort of revelation that caused her to sit heavily down on a toilet (for this epiphany occurred in the girls' toilets at the Three Broomsticks) and begin chewing her thumbnail, even though that was a bad habit she had discarded when she was fifteen. And so, being the practical kind of person, she tried to figure out what to do about it.
The result of this train of thought was inevitable, she thought, resigned. Of course it was. No matter how she approached the situation, the outcome was the same.
Deciding to get it over with before she lost her nerve, she left the bathroom. She walked towards the table with no outward signs of nervousness, although she felt like little cherry colored aliens were drilling away at her stomach with tiny toy drills.
She sat down, and he gave her his usual dazzling smile. Lily looked him in the eye. He looked back.
James rested his cheek on his knees, which were curled up to his chest in a vain attempt to keep the heat in his body. It wouldn't be so cold if it wasn't so windy, he thought. Not that the cold bothered him that much.
The truth was that getting warm wasn't worth the loss of the view. The lake glittered in the dim afternoon light, and the water rippled with the heavily blowing wind. The sky was almost pure white and gold, sunny, but with the distant promise of snow.
And it was all his, at least for now. None of the other students seemed to want to brave the weather, or they were at Hogsmeade, so he was alone to admire the gloriousness of it all.
"You know, no one ever realizes that sunrise and sunset aren't the only beautiful times of day."
The soft voice interrupted his scattered musings so smoothly that he didn't even jump. Somehow, it just seemed to fit.
James replied—it seemed the thing to do; but "I know," was all he could think of to say.
"The sky looks like honey being dribbled into milk." The voice decided triumphantly, as though it was an unequaled achievement to find such an apt (if odd) description.
As he turned his gaze from the sky, James smiled, "I was thinking more along the lines of gold nuggets wrapped in cotton, actually."
Lily laughed, "You know, I told myself years ago that I would never start a conversation with comments on the weather."
"I won't tell if you won't." Lily laughed again, and a comfortable silence took over while they both watched the unchanging sky. Then James turned and spoke again. "So what brings you here on such a windy afternoon?"
Lily brought her eyes back down to his face dreamily "The sky. The wind. The water." Coming back to earth (and realizing that this wasn't a very good excuse), she quickly spewed out, "I just got back from a date, and this seemed like the place to go."
"How was it?" James asked.
"How was what?"
James stared straight at her, almost disconcertingly "The Date."
"Oh. The date." Lily answered, "Well, it was romantic, and thoughtful, and Ben was—as always—attentive, and sweet, and funny, and smart, and considerate, and absolutely perfect."
James had turned away by then. He almost sighed, but didn't. Sighing seemed far too over-dramatic. He settled for exhaling slowly, which was almost as good.
"And it all bores the hell out of me."
That woke James up. His head snapped up and around to lock onto Lily's face, but she was busy wriggling to get comfortable on the rock under her. "Repeat that, please" James asked in a slightly strangled voice.
Lily looked him in the eye, "I'm bored to tears by the perfectness. Everything is always the same. Wonderful, yes, but the same. Tell me, James, why did you stop trying to run my boyfriends off?"
Caught off guard, James told her about his summer, how he realized that, no matter how many boyfriends he kicked out, the next one was never going to be him. "There wasn't much point after that, so I decided that at least you could be happy." I will not sigh. I will not sigh. I will not sigh…
"Thank you." Lily smiled at him—the way he could remember wishing she would smile at him (Suddenly, he no longer had the urge to sigh). She continued, once again rapidly changing subject. "You weren't all that bad last year, you know. You'll always have that little streak of cockiness, of course—without it you wouldn't be you—but you had more sense of proportion. You usually knew where and when to stop. Once that little change took place, it was easier to look past your ego. And whether you believe me or not, you're actually a very good person." She smiled reminiscently, "And you make me laugh—you've always made me laugh. At least, when I wasn't plotting your death because you wouldn't let me participate in a lasting relationship."
James turned around completely this time, blushing rather. "Why are you telling me this, Lily?"
"Because, James, I've been jumping all week. I keep expecting more cherry colored slime every moment. But it never comes. It wasn't until today that I realized that I've been taking my disappointment for relief for the past month."
James eyebrow went up, causing Lily to blurt out (not very tactfully) "I miss you. Which is odd, as I never really liked you in the first place. I mean I liked you before, at least, I think I did, and—"
"Shut up, Lily." Lily shut up with a squeak, finally noticing that an amused James Potter had been standing less than an inch away from her for the past five minutes.
"So." His voice was offhand, but his eyes were anything but, "I know this is usually a matter for the second or third date, but since I've been waiting for so long, do you suppose I could kiss you now instead?"
"What!?" Lily looked at him with righteous indignation, "Don't be so presumptuous! How do you even know that I—"
She would have said more, but her lips had found a better occupation. Then, feeling rather cheated, she pushed him roughly away.
"What'd you do that for?" James moaned, keeping her as close as he could while he fiddled with her hair, tugging at it every now and then.
Lily blinked, unable to keep the elated smile off her face, "Oh, yes, I had something to say, didn't I? Well, I can't remember. You're very charming, aren't I? I mean you."
That made James laugh, though he continued to look thoughtful, "I like to think so. Anyway, I love your hair. It's a beautiful shade of red...I wonder...how it would look if it were blue?" With a short peck on her lips, James ran off.
Lily looked at a lock of her hair and found it to be a stunning cerulean blue before rushing off ("How dare you take advantage of me like that, you immature, idiotic prathead!") in pursuit of James. And, in the midst of all her shrieks and death threats, she couldn't help but think; this is what she had been missing.
A/N: I hope that this Lily/James fic takes you back to a time before the Marauders-Era was infiltrated by book-seven-induced Snape-Angst. Because, as much of a hero as Snape is, I hate (with a fiery passion) Lily/Snape. So...some good, old fashion, fluffy, funny L/J.
If thou dost read without reviewing, I curse thou with oodles of cherry-colored slime!
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