It was a gloomy Tuesday when Lily looked around her first period charms class
It was a gloomy Tuesday when Lily looked around her first period charms class. Something seemed missing. She wondered if she'd forgotten something as she looked around and made sure all her friends were there. Professor Flitwick wasn't in the room yet, but that wasn't it. As she continued to look around, Sirius walked over to her.
"Hey, Evans." He said, capturing her attention. The sight of Sirius made her realize what was missing, James' obnoxious flirting with her.
"What?" Lily said with a sigh.
"Sorry to bother, you. But I have to ask you something." Sirius said. Lily would have never suspected that Sirius would ever have an actual question for her, but she listened anyway.
"Go on." She said.
"Well, Prongs isn't coming to classes today, so I feel a certain responsibility towards him…" Now Lily was really confused. Sirius and responsibility have never gone together.
"What is it?" Lily asked, now deeply interested.
"Will you go out with him?" Sirius asked, feigning sincerity. "Please." He batted his eyes.
"That's what you wanted to ask me? Are you serious?" she asked, now rather annoyed.
"Yes, and as a matter of fact, I am Sirius." He said.
"No." she said definitively. "And why exactly did James skip class today?" Lily asked.
"Surprisingly, he's not skipping. He's in the hospital wing." Sirius said.
"What happened?" Lily asked, half expecting another stupid joke that he and James would laugh at later. But Sirius looked down and took a deep breath.
"I'd rather not talk about it." He said with a sincerely depressed expression on his face. After that, he stood up and left. She wasn't sure if Sirius was acting or not, but she was incredibly interested, and worried about him. Nemesis or not, James Potter did not deserve to be in the hospital for anything bad enough to make Sirius act serious.
In potions class, she was sitting near enough to Peter to whisper something to him while working.
"What happened to James?" she asked. Peter looked around nervously, as though hoping there was somebody else she could have been talking to, then pretended not to notice. "Peter," she said. He slowly and helplessly looked over at her. "What happened to James?" Peter was silent for a long time.
"He… um… he… Sirius needs me. Over there." He said before picking up his stuff and moving a few rows back and whispering to Sirius. It was later that day when she saw Remus in the hall, looking sadder than usual.
"Remus." she said brightly. She and Remus had always been on at least peaceful terms with each other, so she hoped that she could get an answer out of him.
"Lily." He responded, a smile appearing on his face.
"I was wondering if you could help me with something." Lily started.
"Of course, of course. What is it?" He asked.
"I was wondering what had happened to James…" Lily said. The smile vanished from Remus' face, and he was suddenly looking more depressed than ever.
"Oh…" he said, "I… well I…" He swallowed the lump in his throat. "I have to go." He said before quickly walking past her and up a staircase. Lily was now more nervous than ever. If it had been any stupid little trick of Sirius', he would have told her at least not to worry. She went up to the hospital wing as quick as she could, and sure enough, there was James, lying in one of the beds, fast asleep.
"Madam Pomfrey," Lily said, getting the nurse's attention. "What happened to James?"
"I'm sorry my dear, but I am not to tell." Madam Pomfrey said. Lily didn't know why she decided to stay by James' bed. Maybe it was because she was sure he would tell her when she asked, or because she'd grown to appreciate him as her rival, but regardless, she sat there waiting for him to awake.
It was just before dinner when he started to stir, and she couldn't help but smile as he opened his eyes. Without even noticing Lily was there, he sat up in his bed, pulled off his covers, and put a hand on his heavily bandaged leg. He sighed, probably realizing that whatever caused his ailment wasn't a dream, and looked up. He obviously saw Lily out of the corner of his eye, because he quickly turned his head towards her and jumped a little, then gasped his leg in pain.
"Bloody hell, you scared me." He said to her.
"Sorry." She said sympathetically. It seemed to take him until that moment to realize who he was talking to.
"Lily?!" he said, practically jumping again as he turned his head as if to see if she was really there. "Lily? What're you doing here!?"
"Surprisingly enough, I was worried about you." She said, smiling a little as she did so. He looked away. He couldn't stand to see her smile, not at him, not now.
"Tell me, are Padfoot and Wormtail alright?" James demanded.
"Yeah…" Lily said. "Remus too." James sighed in relief. "So, what happened to you?" Lily asked.
"Padfoot and Moony didn't tell you?" James asked. Lily shook her head. "In that case, I don't know." He said.
"Oh, come on James. I know you know." Lily pleaded. It took all he had to not give in to her pleading.
"I know you know I know." James started. "But I also know that you know that you aren't supposed to know."
"But why not?" Lily asked, still pleadingly.
"Now that, I don't know. But if it were to be known, Paddles would know to tell. He always knows." James said. "Is that enough knowing for you?" He asked. Lily sighed out her frustration at James' immaturity. James couldn't stand being next to Lily anymore. He needed to stop thinking about her. He desperately looked around the room for an excuse for her to leave, and luckily, he found one. "You should really get going to dinner." He said, noticing the time. She looked up at the clock.
"I guess you're right." She said gloomily. She stood up and left the room and went down to the great hall. Her friends pestered her on being at James Potter's bedside all day, but when she told them the truth, they believed it, despite continuing to joke about it. At dessert, she grabbed one of the little pumpkin pies of the tray and put it aside, determined to bring it to him. While doing so, she noticed that Remus, who hadn't touched his food, left the table abruptly, and without saying anything to Sirius or Peter.
After dinner, she grabbed the pie she'd kept and went back up to the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey was still at dinner, and James was the only one currently injured, so Lily was confident that she could sneak him the pie with no problem.
When she got there, she heard crying from inside, and she wondered what had made James start crying, but then she heard him speak.
"It's okay, Moons." She heard him say. She knew that Moony was Remus, and couldn't figure out why he would be crying by James' sickbed. "It wasn't your fault." James continued.
"It was! You know it was!" Remus sobbed. "I always knew it was a bad idea, but this is just horrible!" he started to cry even harder.
"Don't worry, Moony. It's not like I'll never walk again." James said.
"You know that's not what I'm worried about!" Remus shouted. Lily didn't know what was weirder, James being exceedingly nice, or Remus being exceedingly angry, but the whole situation spooked her.
"I know, Moons, I know." James admitted. "But you live with it, why shouldn't I be able to."
"You know you would undo last night if you could. You would've stayed in the common room. You wouldn't have snuck out." Remus said accusingly.
"Remus," James said with a more serious tone, "I know that you blame yourself, but the guys don't, Dumbledore doesn't, I don't. If it's anyone's fault it's mine. Don't beat yourself up over this. We'll get through it." Lily was so confused. There was something extremely wrong with James, it wasn't his leg, Remus caused it, and Dumbledore was somehow in on the whole secret. Lily listened to Remus cry and she knew she shouldn't be there, so she left. She got back to the Gryffindor common room, which was empty except for a single soul, sitting in dismay by the fire.
"Sirius," Lily said. Sirius looked up at her slowly. "Please tell me what happened to James." Sirius said nothing, but looked back into the fire.
"Lily," he finally said. She looked over at him hopefully. "I can see that you aren't going to stop asking about James." Sirius looked back over at her and she nodded. "But please do me one favor, you can ask me, Peter, James, anyone, but don't ask Remus." Lily would have asked why, had she not just heard what she'd heard in the hospital wing. So instead, she just nodded. "And I'd prefer you barrage me with that question over James." He added as she went up the stairs into her dormitory.
The next day, Lily couldn't pay attention in any of her classes. All she could think about was James in the hospital wing. She couldn't even figure out why she was thinking about James. None of her teachers really noticed it until she was in potions class. Professor Slughorn walked past her, and noticed that her hair was in the brewing concoction in her cauldron.
"Something bothering you, Lily?" he asked her. She snapped her head around, away from staring at the blank wall and looked at him, her hair flinging her potion all behind her.
"What? Yeah. I mean- sorry." She stuttered nervously as she tried to turn her attention back to her work.
"You know," Slughorn started, "Ones mind must take a break every once in a while." He smiled at her. "Missing one day of class won't make you any worse at potions, my dear. But the rest may make you better. Lily smiled graciously as she packed up her book. "And don't worry about your workspace, I'll clean it up myself once the rest of the class has gone."
"Thank you, professor." Lily said as she walked out of the class and into the hall. She immediately made her way up towards the hospital wing, just hoping that James would be awake. She made it up to the doorway, and Dumbledore was standing by his bed with Madam Pomfrey.
"By what you've told me, I believe there still may be a chance that you will go unharmed." Dumbledore said. "But it seems for now, we must just wait, and hope."
"And if I'm not 'unharmed' then… then I'll be completely a…" James asked nervously.
"There is no spectrum, I'm afraid. This is one of the few cases where there only exist a black and a white." Dumbledore said. James nodded.
"Thank you professor." Lily left the doorway again, but soon when she was down the hall, she found herself walking straight at Dumbledore.
"Professor." She said as she quickened her pace towards him.
"Yes, Lily." Professor Dumbledore responded.
"What, exactly, happened to James Potter?" she asked, hoping that he would give her a worthy answer.
"I presume you have asked James and his friends already." Dumbledore said. Lily nodded. "My girl, this is an issue between the four boys, that I just happen to be in on. You will only hear the truth when they have decided it should be heard." Lily sighed. She knew that Dumbledore was right, but she still couldn't stand not knowing.
Lily was sitting up in the common room later that day, when James walked in, his leg wrapped in bandages and him on crutches. Sirius, Peter, and even Remus seemed happier as he yelled for Sirius to get his big, lazy arse over to the portrait hole and help him climb through.
"Couldn't Madam Pomfrey just heal the wound?" Lily asked him a she sat down and put his bad leg up on the table.
"There are some things you can't just heal with magic." James said.
"Like what?" Lily asked skeptically.
"Well, there are some snakes whose poison makes its gash impossible to heal with magic." James said
"A snake did this to you?!" Lily asked frightened.
"Believe what you will…" James said, looking at her with a smug smile, silently assuring her it wasn't the truth.
Over the next week, people continued to ask him what happened, and he would always tell a complete crackpot story, each one more fascinating and horrific as the last, and by then end of the week, the story always ended with him being dead, followed by him insisting it was true. Other than that, though, he seemed to not take advantage of the extra attention, constantly assuring people that it was nothing, that it barely hurt, that he would be perfectly fine in a month. Lily found all of this very intriguing, but what she found more interesting was the way he was around his friends. Everything they said made her laugh when she was listening, and she started joining in on their conversations constantly. It seemed that the less she seemed to force herself to hate them, the more she liked them. Especially James. She had always thought of him as an arrogant toerag who treated everyone else like something he found on the bottom of his shoe, and though that may have been true when they first met, he was different now. He was kind and polite to everyone, though he didn't mind pulling a fast one on people occasionally, especially Sirius, he helped younger students with particularly difficult homework whenever he got the chance, and since the incident, he'd stopped constantly asking Lily out.
It was three weeks after James had been in the hospital wing when Lily found herself sitting alone under a tree with him. Only a moment ago, it had been her and three of the marauders, not including Remus, who was getting more and more worried about god knows what as time went on. Sirius had left to go see it Remus was okay, and Peter followed him hastily. Lily looked up at James, whose shoulder she'd been leaning on, and realized something. Over the last three weeks, she'd fallen for him.
"James," she said softly to him. He stopped staring out onto the lake and looked at her.
"Yeah." He said.
"James, I… I think, after all this time… I think I…" Lily stuttered. "When you were in the hospital wing, on the first day, Sirius asked me out for you, and of course I said no." James sighed, but Lily couldn't tell whether it had been a sigh of sadness, or somehow, a sigh of relief. "But I think if he asked me now, I'd tell him to get you quickly so we could start making arrangements."
"Lily, are you trying to say that… that…"
"I love you." She admitted. "I think I've always loved you, James."
"No, Lily, you hate me. You have to hate me." James said, sitting up straighter.
"What are you talking about? Why would I have to hate you?" Lily asked.
"Because, Lily, this can't work. You, me, us." He choked on his last word. Lily looked like she was on the verge of tears. "And trust me, if there's anybody who wants it to work, it's me."
"But why not? You've never had a problem trying to get with me before."
"Lily. It's different now. It's been different since…" James stopped short of his words.
"Since you got hurt." Lily finished for him. "What's that got to do with anything? Why can't you tell me?"
"It's not up to me." James said.
"Who's it up to, then?" Lily demanded.
"Remus." James said plainly. Lily stood up. "Wait, where are you going?"
"To see Moony." Lily said. Lily could walk much faster than James, who was still hobbling slightly because of his leg, but he managed to keep up with her as they went up the stairs and into the Gryffindor common room, James continuing to beg her to let it rest. She bound across the common room and up the boy's staircase, up to the door that read '7th years'. She flung open the doors and walked in, James shortly behind her.
"Remus," Lily said impatiently, "Please, please tell me what happened to James' leg." She begged. Remus looked at James who'd just come through the door.
"Lily, don't make him." James said.
"I'll tell her, as long as you don't mind, Prongs." Remus said.
"It's your furry little problem." James said. Remus took a deep breath before looking back at Lily.
"There's really only one thing you have to know for all of this to make sense/" Remus started. "You have to understand my nickname."
"Moony?" Lily asked.
"Exactly. You see, Sirius came up with that name sometime in our first year, when I finally told them about my 'furry little problem'. I'm a werewolf." Lily gasped. "I was infected when I was a little boy. Dumbledore helped me go to school here despite my horrible secret-"
"Furry little problem." Sirius corrected.
"Either way, Dumbledore planted the whomping willow so I could go to the shrieking shack during the full moon and be away from other people. But these three idiots decided that they wanted to start going with me," he sighed. "So they all worked out becoming- wait, should I be telling her this?"
"Fine with me." Sirius said.
"I don't care." James agreed.
"Tell her." Peter added.
"Right then, they all became animagi so they could come stay with me during my transformations."
"So the problem started during the last full moon." James chimed in. "Moony had broken out of the shrieking shack, again, and every time that happens, he ends up hurting himself, so we went out looking for him. The sun was just about to rise when we found him scratching at his own neck with his claws, and though werewolves won't attack other animals, they will defend themselves. So, in retrospect, it was pretty foolish of me to try to stop Moons from biting himself by trying to make him run away. We got into a fight, and he somehow got behind me without me noticing. He leapt at my leg, and the sun rose that very second as he was flying through the air. Most of him had turned back to human again by the time he hit me, but his teeth were still those of a wolfs for another fraction of a second, so we aren't too sure if I'm infected or not…"
Lily was speechless.
"Next full moon's in three day." Sirius said. "So we'll know then if Prongs is the nest Moony."
"So that's why, Lily. That's why we can't be together. Definitely not now, and possibly not ever."
"Wait a minute" Sirius said, "when did there start being the idea of you two being together. You know I like to be a part of these conversations, Prongs." He scolded. James rolled his eyes.
"We made sure to talk about it while you weren't around." James joked.
"I knew it." Sirius said back.
Lily cried herself to sleep that night. She though about all the opportunities she passed up to go out with James, to get to know him, to get to be with him, and she hated herself for it. She didn't know that James could here her from his room. They didn't say much to each other for the next two days, and on the third, she watched them get ready to go to the shrieking shack. It was just as they were leaving, that Lily grabbed his hand.
"Whatever happens, I love you." She said to him as he pulled her into a hug.
"Dammit, Lily, why do you have to make this so hard?" He said.
Lily never responded. He kissed the top of her head before the four of them left for the night.
Lily couldn't sleep at all. She stayed awake until the sky outside turned pink with the morning sun. She waited anxiously for them just inside the portrait hole, and the second it swung open, she found herself in James arms, kissing him.
"So, are you-" Lily asked when they pulled apart.
"I'm fine." James said. "Better actually; now I have you."
I was going to try and make this a multi-chapter thing, but I wrote it all in one sitting, so why not make it one big long chapter.