It was closer to the middle of their seventh year that Lily noticed that James, who used to stalk her and annoy her, was starting to completely avoid her. She wouldn't have mind f he stopped two years ago, but last year, as she sat in History of Magic, bored out of her mind, she realized that she liked him. Loved him even. But she never had the courage to tell him. she'd worked all summer on thinking of different ways to talk to him, different things to say when he started asking her out daily, but he hadn't said a single word to her that wasn't related to the fact that they were head boy and girl.
She sat next to him that day in potions class, which was something she had been forced into doing once before, but he didn't say anything to her as they got on with their work. He completely ignored her presence.
"James," she started quietly, James looked up at his with uninterested eyes. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"I'm fine… what makes you think otherwise?" he asked.
"I don't know. You used to always be plotting some prank, or hiding in a corner, or asking me out…" she said. "Not that I miss it," she added a little to quickly, then wishing she could take it back because she truly did miss all those things. "But you seem different."
"Hmm." He said simply. He went back to his work and Lily knew that was the best answer she was getting out of him. She sighed. She had to do something to get James back. Anything. As she left potions class, James hurried out to lunch, but Sirius asked Lily to stay behind for a while. They waited for the entirety of the class, including Professor Slughorn, to leave.
"Why'd you sit next to James?" Sirius asked in a concerned tone.
"I don't know…" Lily lied.
"Well don't." Sirius said plainly.
"Why not?" Lily demanded.
"Two reasons: one, I sit next to James, and two, he's still trying to get over you, and you're not making it easier by sitting near him." he explained.
"He's what?!" Lily asked.
"He gave up. You don't like him, never will, so he caved. So let him be." Sirius said.
"But… but… why?!" Lily asked.
"I just told you why, besides, what's the problem, you've been trying to get him off your back for years." Sirius said.
"No… he can't just give up like that! He-he has to keep trying, doesn't he?" Lily asked hopefully.
"Lily…" Sirius started. "What are you trying to say?"
"I… nothing- well, yes, something… but I- I- I-."
"Does it with an 'L' and ends with a 'ove James'?" Sirius asked. Lily trembled as she slowly nodded. "Great! I'll go tell him and this whole depression can end!"
"NO!" Lily screamed, grabbing Sirius' arm. He looked back at her and saw the mortified expression on her face. "You can't tell him!" she insisted. "Please, don't tell him." she begged.
"Well, what should I do then?" he asked.
"Tell him to not give up on me. but don't give him a reason." Lily suggested.
"You're insane." He stated simply.
"Please." Lily begged. Sirius sighed.
"Fine…" She let go of his arm.
"Just… promise me you won't tell him we had this conversation." Lily said. Sirius rolled his eyes.
"Okay, I promise" And they left. When they got to the great hall, Lily's friends barraged her with questions of why she was coming late to lunch with Sirius.
"Just because all of you have snogged Black, doesn't mean I have to!" She insisted as they all looked down with embarrassment. She saw James and Sirius talking quietly amongst them selves and the other marauders at the other end of the table.
That night, Lily sat wide-awake in a secluded chair in the empty common room. She was thinking about James when she heard footsteps came down the boys staircase.
"I thought that sleeping potion was never going to kick in." she heard Sirius say.
"That's great, Padfoot," Remus started. "But what's this about?"
"Listen, you know how we've been helping James get over Lily?" he asked.
"Yeah." Peter and Remus replied together.
"Well, we need to get him obsessed with her again." Sirius said.
"What?! What's wrong with you?! We've all put so much time and effort into helping him and you want us to throw it all away?! He decided long ago that he didn't want to be hurt anymore! Why bring that back to him?!" Remus demanded.
"Because, she loves him." Sirius admitted.
"Great then." Remus said, sounding a lot happier than he was a minute ago. "Let's go wake him and get this over with."
"Well… that's the problem… we can't tell him." Sirius said.
"Why not?" Peter asked.
"Lily doesn't want us to." He said.
"Really? Why not?" Remus asked skeptically.
"I don't know, but I promised her I wouldn't tell and we marauders are men of our words. It may be the only decent thing people can say about us…" he joked.
"Then what are we supposed to do?" Peter asked.
"Just convince him to stalk Lily again." Sirius said. "Should be easy enough." the three of them went back upstairs and to bed. Lily soon followed their lead and went up to her own room. The next day in classes, James seemed particularly peeved at his friends. Lily was worried that they hadn't gotten through to him, and Sirius confirmed her worries after lunch.
"He's just getting mad at us. He's insisting that he's over you." Lily looked tearful. "It's not true." He assured her. "If it was, we'd know."
The marauders disappeared into their room for most of the day. Nobody saw them until lunch, when James looked even more angered than before, and Lily couldn't stop herself from feeling miserable,.
Later that night, the four marauders were back in their room.
"Why don't you just admit that you still love her?" Peter was asking.
"Because I don't!" James growled angrily. "What's wrong with you guys today? All I've been getting from you is shit about Lily. It's over. Over! Now stop with it."
"So you're saying you feel nothing for her at all?" Sirius asked.
"Exactly!" James said. Sirius left their room and went down the stairs. He knew that the Ravenclaws were throwing a party, which explained why there were barely any other Gryffindors left in the tower, and none in the common room.
He wrote a quick note on a piece of paper and sent it up the girls staircase. The note hit lily in the head and she read it.
Please come down stairs for a moment
Lily looked at the note for a minute, but then went down the stairs anyway to see what it was about. She got down the stairs and before she could ask anything, Sirius had grabbed her wrist and was leading her up the boy's staircase.
"What are you doing?" Lily asked him as she tried to free herself.
"Don't worry." He assured her as he swung open the door into their room. All the marauders looked over at the two of them. Sirius turned Lily so that the two of them were in plain view of James, and he kissed her. She tried to wiggle out of it, but he held her tight against him. He finally let her free, but before she could even scream at him, James had socked him in the face. Sirius fell hard to the floor and the blood from his nose ran onto the floor. Yet he smiled. James was breathing heavily and angrily as Remus and Peter helped Sirius up. Lily could tell it was taking James all he had to not completely murder Sirius on the spot.
"Don't feel anything for her, eh?" Sirius asked with a laugh. James clenched his hand into a fist, and probably would have hit him again if lily didn't put her smooth hand on his shoulder. He turned around and faced her abruptly. She was smiling at him. He'd always wanted her to smile at him. His anger towards Sirius was completely forgotten as Lily put her arms around his shoulders and James put his on her hips.
"Do you feel something for me?" she asked him quietly. He answered her by leaning in and kissing her passionately. He put her arms around her back and pulled her closer to him as they deepened the kiss. When they finally came apart, Lily rested her head on James' shoulder.
"Sorry about punching you, mate." James said to Sirius.
"It was worth it." Sirius said passively.