Sirius was sitting around in the common room when he decided he needed to go for a walk. His friends had long since gone to bed, but he found himself unable to sleep, a new feat as far as he was concerned. He swung open the portrait hole and turned into his animal form, which had earned him the name Padfoot in his third year. He trotted along the corridors and down the stairs until he was outside, under his and his friend's favorite tree. He turned back into himself and leaned against the tree's trunk. He took a deep breath of the night air and relaxed his muscles. He sat for a while in the warm air that still lingered now that summer had just barely turned to fall, and found himself humming. He didn't usually hum during the times he was alone, but every now and then, the urge would strike him off guard.
"Who's there?" a female voice asked with a sharpness that had never really suited her.
"That would be me." Sirius said, acknowledging that there was no running from Lily now.
"Black?! What are you doing out here so late?" Lily demanded.
"Sitting." He said simply. "Going to give me detention for it?" he asked rhetorically, knowing fully well she was.
"No…" she sighed. Sirius was taken aback.
"Really!? Why not? Isn't ball-busting a hobby of head girls?" he joked.
"I'd feel bad giving you detention for something I do myself all the time." Lily admitted as she sat down next to him. "And you better not tell anyone I do it." She added.
"What happens under the tree stays under the tree." Sirius assured her. "James taught me that." Lily sighed resentfully.
"James." She said rolling her eyes.
"I don't get what you don't like about him." Sirius said.
"He's an arrogant toerag who harasses people for his own amusement." Lily said matter of factly.
"Name three people he's harassed." Sirius challenged.
"Me, Serevus, everyone!" she said.
"You do realize that he's universally liked, excluding you and Snape." Sirius said calmly. "People love him being funny, playing jokes on people, even laugh when the jokes are at their expense… well, they always do later…"
"What do you call what he did to Severus?" Lily asked him.
"Jealously." Sirius said simply.
"Potter, jealous of Sev?" Lily said cynically. "He was better than him at everything but potions."
"He had you."
"You and Snape were friends. James envied the fact that he could make you smile."
"He's still a horrible person." Lily concluded
"What makes you think that?" Sirius asked
"What makes you think otherwise?" Lily retorted. "Name one extremely nice thing he's ever done, for no gain of his own."
"He befriended someone deemed befriendless." Sirius said.
"Who, Peter? Peter isn't befriendable." Lily barked.
"No, Remus." Sirius said plainly.
"Remus is very smart and friendly and kind. No offence, but if he didn't have you guys he would have other friends."
"Though I wish that were true, it's not so." Sirius sighed
"What? Why?" Lily asked confounded by the idea of Remus being a disagreeable person
"Can't say, it was something I learned under the tree, and what happens under the tree-"
"-stays under the tree, yes." Lily finished. "But Sirius, we are under the tree." Sirius looked up, as if confirming that they were, in fact, under the tree.
"Are you good with secrets?" Sirius asked. Lily nodded viciously. "Good. Now I know not to worry if you ever found out the truth." Lily slapped his arm playfully.
"Are you serious?!" she demanded.
"You can call me 'Handsome'." Sirius joked.
"Fine. Then name one other good thing James has done." Lily demanded.
"He took me into his home when I was orphaned." Sirius said.
"What? What happened to your parents?"
"Oh, they're fine. I ran away from home because they couldn't keep their heads out of their own asses. I had no place to go, and James welcomed into his home with open arms. I never could thank him enough for it."
"I never knew." Lily admitted.
"There's a lot you don't know." Sirius said. "Like Remus…"
"Oh, you're just going to tease me with that, aren't you?" she asked playfully.
"I would, but neither you nor I can ever mention any of this, or we'd be breaking the rules of the tree." He pointed out. Lily sighed.
"Well… I'm going off to bed…" Sirius said as he started to stand.
"Wait." Lily said. "I know James doesn't do this anymore, so I need to make sure you tell him to."
"To what?" Sirius asked.
"Tell him to ask me out Tomarrow." She said.
"Alas, I cannot." Sirius said.
"Why not?" Lily asked, very confused.
"You told me while we were still under the tree…" he said.
"Fine." She stood, grabbed his wrist and pulled him out from under the tree. "Tell James to ask me out tomorrow." She said firmly. "And don't tell him why."
"I don't know why… that knowledge escaped me at some moment between where we sat and where we are now." He said with a grin. Lily smiled,