A/N: Just a standalone piece of fluff, written on the spur of the moment :)
The sole occupant of the Gryffindor common room swore as he crossed something out for the fourth time on the parchment resting on his knees. After a few seconds of staring in frustration, he screwed it up and threw it into the fire beside him, then pulled out a new roll and began again to write steadily, tugging at his hair periodically as he paused to consider a sentence.
It was at this point that a certain red-haired girl, who went by the name of Lily Evans ("and never, ever Lils, or I'll rip your tongue out and choke you with it!") walked slowly down from the dormitory and stopped on the penultimate step, looking around nervously. The room was dark and cool despite it being the middle of a summer's day, due to the heavy thunderclouds outside that looked just moments away from spilling their load.
She checked her watch anxiously. There were only twenty minutes left until she had to get to Arithmancy - she had spent the past forty steeling herself to do this. Straightening her back, she stepped down and walked up to her former arch-nemesis, looking determined.
Hi Lily," James said absently without looking up, as her shadow fella cross his sofa. Have you finished that Charms essay for Flitwick? 'Cause I could really use -"
"Kiss me," Lily interrupted.
" - I still need four inches, and there's really nothing more to say about Babbling Charms and their side effects - wait, what did you say?"
"Kiss me," Lily repeated.
James dropped his quill. Oblivious to the ink blot spreading gradually over his work, he gaped up at her profile. "You - what?"
"Kiss me," Lily said for the third time, looking slightly irritated, even as she blushed.
James looked back down at his work, realised his quill was leaking and hastily removed it. He pushed his books to a side, but took his time swinging his legs off the sofa and getting up. When he was finally standing, the shock had all but gone from his face, and he regarded her cautiously.
"Not that I'm not flattered, Lily, but why?"
Lily launched into an explanation so quickly that James had no trouble imagining she'd practically memorised it. Probably written it down first too and everything.
"Well, if you kiss me, the 'thrill of the chase' will go, so you'll finally leave me alone and get rid of this stupid infatuation, and we can go back to being just friends. Besides, I'm a horrible kisser anyway, so that ought to put you off me for once and for all."
A half-smile flitted over James' face. "And it's that easy, is it?"
"Of course," came the stolid reply.
James simply looked at her. She really did believe it, believe that he would be over it with one kiss; it was there in her face, despite the fact that she was avoiding his eyes. There was a determined jut to her chin as she anticipated a final end to his 'infatuation'.
Gently, he stepped forward, knowing full well that he was invading her personal space, and took her chin in his hand, forcing her to look at him. "Are you sure you want me to?"
Lily, who had closed her eyes, opened them, and James could hardly prevent a laugh as they flashed at him. "Yes. Just get on with it!"
She closed her eyes again, and leaned in slightly, and James stared at her. He studied her a moment longer, his eyes lingering on her mouth, as her hands came up to fidget with her hair. Catching her wrists, he pulled them back down and leaned in to press a tentative kiss onto her lips.
The feeling was heady, and a rush coursed through every nerve in her body as he moved back. She was about to let out a sigh - of relief? Disappointment? when he leaned in again and kissed her, more confidently this time, but light still. There was a thirty-second pause, during which they stared at each other, and then James moved in for the third time. He pushed her back against the wall, kissing as voraciously as if he were a dying man in the desert who had just discovered a well. Almost unconsciously, Lily's hands threaded their way into his unruly hair, pulling him closer, and James tightened his arms around her.
When the lack of oxygen became too urgent to ignore any longer, they finally drew apart and loved into a tight embrace. The peace didn't last long as James nuzzled at her neck, trailing a light line of kisses down her jaw line.
Lily gasped again, blushing scarlet this time, and pulled away, breathing heavily. James stepped back, and she fought the wave of desire that rolled up at the look in his eyes.
Fighting to breathe normally, she took another step away, feeling behind her with one shaking hand for the support of the wall, and swallowed hard, squeezing her eyes shut again. "So," she said, trying to inject as much force as possible into her voice. "Are you over me now?"
There was a pause, during which the crackling of the fire seemed magnified tenfold, and eventually Lily cracked an eye open to see James staring at her with the most incredulous expression she'd ever seen him wear.
"You honestly think that?" he choked out, at last.
Lily avoided his eye, choosing instead to focus on a spot just beyond his right shoulder. "It was just a kiss. You got what you wanted. Now we can get over this awkwardness and go back to being friends. That's all there is to it."
James' face grew, if possible, even more gobsmacked.
"You seriously believe that?" he demanded roughly. He looked as though he almost wanted to shake her. "You're going to stand there in front of me, with your hair messed and your cheeks red and your lips swollen from my - from our kiss -" Lily bit her lip " - and tell me that you felt nothing? That we can go back to being friends just like that?"
Lily made no response; instead she was calculating the probability that the wall would crack open behind her and let her fall into it, to end this conversation.
James saw her hesitation. "Go on, then," he challenged. "Look me in the eye and tell me you didn't like it and you wanted me to stop."
Lily lifted her eyes to him. "I didn't like it and I wanted you to stop."
James raised an eyebrow. "Very good. Now say it like you actually mean it."
His cocksure tone made Lily want to almost growl with frustration. "What is wrong with you?" she wailed. "Why can't you just be helpful?!"
"You really think that this is an infatuation? That's lasted for years?" James' voice had lost all its confidence now, and he uncrossed his arms, his posture softening. "Lily…I don't even know what to say to you." He swallowed and looked at her, and Lily cursed the fact that not only was this not over, but that a part of her was waiting to hear what he would say next. "Three years, now. I admit that maybe the way I went about things when I was fifteen wasn't the best of methods to win you over, but…I'm not the same person I was then. I was hoping you'd noticed…and that maybe you'd have changed too…in how you felt about me…"
God help her, but she was actually feeling sorry for the boy. Damn you, James! she thought inwardly, watching him run a hand through his hair nervously, all his general swagger gone. The longer she remained silent, the more she could tell that he was assuming the worst, and he sat down heavily on the sofa again, sighing, and pulled his parchment towards him. "Have a good Arithmancy class, Lily," he said tiredly.
Lily remained standing. There were only ten more minutes until the bell, she should be going up to get her bag, and yet…Weighing her feelings, she tried desperately hard to work out the truth, of what she felt and what he had said. It was going to be the choice of either one path, or another, and neither would be easy.
A soft weight sinking into the sofa next to him made James look up to see Lily seating herself carefully beside his ink bottle. She swallowed, looking distinctly…what? Unsettled? Nervous? and straightened her skirt. "James?" she said quietly. He turned to look directly at her, and before he knew it, her lips were on his, in the soft pressure of a kiss, and her arms around him, and there was nothing to be said, only felt, as the ink bottle and parchment landed on the floor.
Needless to say, Lily did not make it to Arithmancy that day.
A/N: It's good to be back :) Reviews, please?