James knew he loved her.
He didn't mean for it to happen; all he wanted was one date. A trip to Hogsmead, a butter beer, and time to understand her fiery nature. Maybe a second date, but that's it.
Maybe he realized it when his father, Uncle Edward and him had gotten a little bit drunk and they told him of the Potters and Redheads. Maybe not.
Maybe he's seen it when Death Eaters had advanced on her, the train lurching violently, and cuts and bruises tainted them both as they flew when he thrown himself on her, taking the bout of the curses. Maybe not.
Maybe he noticed it when he felt disappointment instead of irritation that one day when she had rejected him for the millionth time that day. Maybe not.
Maybe he felt it when she kissed Connor and smirked right at him, eyes flashing. Maybe not.
Or maybe he realized it them, with her in his arms, her whispering the words he's longed to her since his fifth year. Maybe not.
Maybe it was now, her head buried into his neck, his arms around her waist, fireworks exploding with the joy he felt inside, and her tears of joy tumbling down her cheeks, hints of pink around her neck and ears.
And, for the first time, he could tell someone that he loved them, without it being someone he's know since birth. And she could tell him back, and they could have the happily ever after they'd heard never existed.
And they did enjoy it. The last two years, in a happily ever after, and they both died protecting the proof of their totally messed up fairytale. But whatever they faced, no matter how not happy it was at the end, they'd both lived though it. Together.