and we are just breakable girls and boys
Have you ever thought about what protects our hearts?
Just a cage of rib bones and other various parts,
So it's fairly simple to cut right through the mess
And to stop the muscle that makes us confess.
We are so fragile and our cracking bones make noise,
And we are just breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys...
-'Breakable' by Ingrid Michaelson
Notes: Just a little idea I had, late at night, wondering if perhaps I (along with a lot of other people, I'm sure) had been taking Remus's words too literally when he stated that Lily started dating James in Seventh Year. Surely something must have been brewing beforehand? It's not a relationship yet, but I think you'll agree that something's going on. I tried my best to give insight to Lily feelings.
I also wanted to add that no this is not a songfic. I don't write songfics. I'm currently obsessed with this song, however and thought that it kind of fit (what with all the reflecting Lily does in this, not to mention that I think she might have liked to 'stop the muscle' that made her give her own sort of confession to James). Anyway, everyone should go listen to Ingrid Michaelson because she's truly amazing.
I suppose I ought to get to the story. Enjoy!
A girl of just seventeen stepped out from the castle, feeling the warm, wet grass under her cold, bare feet. She felt a bit like she did when she was seven or eight years old, running through the neighbourhood with her sister until they reached the stream at the end of the street, near the trees and rocks, an area inhabited by beautiful wildflowers and many different kinds of small animals. Then, they'd flop themselves on the ground, staring into the sky and giggling happily about anything and everything.
She stared at the empty courtyard, all too aware that everyone else in the school was busy eating lunch in the Great Hall or packing their things in their dormitories before leaving the next day. After the summer, then, it would be her final year. She'd be graduating, that year. Then that would be it.
She smiled, hugging herself, squeezing her elbows tightly. She felt the warm summer breeze licking her legs and blowing up her pale yellow summer dress. She walked slowly down to the lake before her, taking a seat near a large beech tree and staring dreamily up into the sky.
The blue made her think of the forget-me-nots in her neighbour's yard and the ocean her father had taken her to when she was little and the paint her mother had used to decorate the guest bedroom. It was such a beautiful, pure colour, accompanied by the occasional floating cloud, white as snow. She noticed one that looked overwhelmingly like a frog, mid-leap. It made her smile, remembering the day when she and Severus had gone down to the stream and tried to catch the frogs there, falling into the water instead, watching the tadpoles swim around their feet as they did so. It felt like a dream to think of that day, like it wasn't really real. It had only been a few years, hadn't it?
She sighed, reclining, her long crimson hair fanning out beneath her. She felt the grass tickling and scratching her back and arms and she shut her eyes for a moment. When she opened them again, the frog had disappeared, replaced with a shapeless mass of white. If she hadn't learned when she was younger that clouds were made of water vapour and not really bits of the soft fluff they appeared to be, she would have wished she could touch one. She imagined herself standing on her toes, jumping to reach it, just out of her grasp. Maybe if she climbed the tree next to her, she could tear off the corner of the cloud and sleep on it like a pillow.
She stretched, feeling drowsy beneath the hot sun. She cupped her hand, holding it a bit over her eyes so she could see everything more clearly. She swore that the cloud directly above her looked just like a Snitch.
Her arm fell to her side and she began chewing on her lip, her mind flitting back to the year before, when James had nicked a Snitch and used it to show off. She didn't like thinking too much about that day. So much had changed since then and she wasn't sure that she liked it. Though, she argued with herself, that was natural. She'd pretty much lost her best friend that day.
But she had gained another one where she had least expected it.
She squeezed her eyes shut, smiling at the very thought. She had to admit to herself that of all that did change, she did enjoy the new friend she gained very much. Her stomach gave a pleasant lurch, thinking of it, thinking of him.
She tried to remember how it started, but it was a bit of a blur. It had been in the hurt after the fight with Severus, she was sure of that much. It started with some small, serious comment about how they had the same blood, how hers wasn't really dirty at all; it grew to more and more comforting words and phrases which convinced her that he was the one who didn't care about blood and family history like Severus did, that he just cared about her because she was a wonderful person.
They still fought. God, did they fight. Sometimes the things he said hurt her just as much as what Severus had called her, and she was sure that her words were just as biting and cruel; later, however, they would talk about them, make them right, make it so it never happened again. She loved how brutally honest he was with her, how he'd never lie just to make her feel better. She could always trust him for the truth, no matter how much it hurt.
He was her friend. By some strange miracle, he had become her friend.
Sometimes, she found herself wondering what something else with him would be like. She wondered how it would feel to kiss him, what he would taste like, how his body would smell if she pulled him close to her. She wondered if she'd enjoy the feeling of her hand in his, her head on his shoulder, his arm around her waist. She wondered what would have happened if she had said 'yes' to him all the times he'd asked in previous years. He'd given that up recently, though, in an effort to prove that he was more mature; or, at least, she hoped that was the reason. Not that it was really a problem, she reminded herself. She wasn't even certain that she fancied him, that any of these thoughts were a real possibility. She just couldn't help but wonder.
Her eyes, still closed, suddenly relaxed; although she was still under the blazing sun, a shadow seemed to pass over her line of vision, cooling her eyelids. She sensed as someone sat down beside her.
Her emerald eyes fluttered open and she found herself staring at the grinning face of the boy she'd just been thinking of. She blinked a few times, making sure he was still there and not just a figment of her imagination.
"Hey, Evans," he said.
Lily sat up, folding her legs underneath herself, looking at James. "Hey yourself, Potter," she replied.
"What's on your mind?" he asked, leaning back on his hands and squinting from the sun as he looked at her. The light glinted off of his glasses.
She shrugged, tugging innocent blades of grass from the ground around her and shredding them into a dozen pieces lengthwise. "Nothing," she told him lamely, taking her lip between her teeth again. He raised his eyebrows and she knew he wouldn't let her off so easily, not that he ever really did. "Exams," she pulled out of thin air.
"I can tell when you're lying, you know, Evans," James said to her. "You always look down to the left and bite your lip when you do."
Lily flushed, mentally cursing and vowing that she would be aware of her habits when lying in the future. "I was thinking about Sev," she told him. "And you, I suppose." She sighed. Saying that, she thought, was better than admitting she was bitterly dwelling on a lost friendship or cheerfully wondering what it felt like to kiss him, contemplating if she did in fact fancy him after constant confessions of hatred.
"I must admit that I definitely prefer the latter," he replied very seriously, which made her smile broadly. She loved the comments he made in effort to make situations and conversations lighter.
"It's been a year, you know," she muttered. "Since it all happened, I mean."
He nodded. "I know."
She didn't think he really did know. There were a thousand things that had changed since the day at the lake. She'd lost Severus, which killed her everyday. It made her blood—blood which he had told her years before made no difference—boil to see him walk down the hallway without saying a word to her, as though she was invisible and he saw straight through her. She wanted something to make everything between them okay again, but she knew it was impossible. Finally, the differences between them were too strong, the distance between them too far, and the wounds between them too deep.
And then in the weeks the followed, along with a good portion of the summer break, she'd become friends with James. She enjoyed that friendship. She was constantly distracted from all the hurt she felt when he made her laugh, and she felt stimulated by the occasionally deep conversations they had about the war and other such topics. He was always keeping her on her toes, one way or another.
Still, she wasn't perfectly satisfied.
"You haven't given up on me, have you?"
It was meant to be a thought, a question which remained in her head, but the signal from her brain seemed to get it wrong. The words escaped her lips before she could stop herself from being completely humiliated. They tumbled out of her mouth, laughing at her for her utter stupidity for sounding so childish and hopeless. She took a deep breath, trying to stay calm, trying not to show him how mortified she was in asking the question. She hoped he didn't notice.
He raised an eyebrow but smiled at her all the same. "Why?"
She shrugged, hoping her cheeks, which suddenly felt hot, weren't noticeably red. "Just curious."
A silence settled for a minute and Lily stared at the grass beneath her, still clutching several blades in her long fingers. "No," he said simply. "I haven't."
"Oh," she muttered. "Er, good, then."
"You know," Lily replied, blushing furiously, "being persistent and the like, going after something you want and never giving up. It's, you know... it's good."
He was leaning forward, now, sitting cross-legged, his elbows on his knees, hands hanging in front of him. "I distinctly remember you telling me last year that it was all very stupid of me and I ought to give up immediately."
"Yes, well... maybe I was, er, wrong."
He smiled, leaning in and brushing his mouth against her cheek. She froze, enjoying the warmth of his soft lips. It was the tiniest of pecks, and she didn't mind it in the least. She half-wished he would have tried it again, or she'd known what he was going to do a minute before, that he had given her the chance to quickly move her head and surprise him with a full kiss, lips meeting lips. She didn't know why she wanted to so badly, with a thousand different thoughts running around in her head, screaming that it was a bad idea and reminding her of all the doubts, that a year ago they hadn't even been friends, but something tugged on her brain and it felt like he was calling to her. She took a deep breath, trying to shake off the entire sensation.
"I like it when you're wrong occasionally," he told her, watching her blink in mild bemusement and resettling himself so his feet were out in front of him and his torso was angled toward her, leaning back on one of his hands. "Especially if it means that I'm right."
Lily swallowed hard, finding her voice again. "Don't get used to it, Potter," she said, winning a laugh from him. He stared down at the ground and finally placed his hand on hers, which was still holding a fistful of grass.
"You know, I can wait as long as it takes, Evans," he told her, watching his hand tighten around hers before withdrawing it. He gazed up at her, hazel eyes shining brightly. "I'll have you know that I'm a very patient person."
She smiled at him, certain she wasn't supposed to feel as nervous and simultaneously giddy as she did. It was against all that she had previously thought to be real, but she wasn't sure she cared. She actually liked the thought of him waiting for her while she figured things out, until she was positive this was what she wanted, that he was what she wanted; she was starting to like the idea of him, altogether.
She took a deep breath, looking at him softly. Yes, she told herself, this would be okay. She exhaled, finally dropping the grass and brushing off her hands, spreading her legs out in front of her and staring out to the lake. She could even see it—him, her, them. Maybe it was a possibility, after all. And while she decided, while she figured things out for sure, he'd be there. He was patient, after all. That was what he said, and she knew she could trust him.
"I'm glad." Her response came simply, surprising herself slightly by the confidence ringing through her words, but she didn't let him notice. The two simply sat comfortably together, watching the giant squid lazily poke a tentacle through the glassy surface of the water. She smiled, certain at last that these changes were for the better after all.