Disclaimer: All characters and places belong to JK Rowling. I own nothing. No copyright infringement intended.
A/N-This is a story made up of the significant moments in James and Lily's relationship. It is a collection of drabbles, mostly fluff where the secondary characters are present but not a main focus. I hope you enjoy!
Chapter One: Promises
Lily was bored. This was her least favorite thing about being Head Girl, hands down. Professor Dumbledore had requested that she and James start doing bi-weekly hall monitoring. The other professors were doing the late night shifts but before curfew it was the Prefects and the Head Students' job to keep the corridors safe. So she and James had made up a schedule of the nights of the week and assigned the Prefects and themselves specific nights to roam the deserted corridors of Hogwarts castle. Prior to this particular night it hadn't been so bad. She and James had walked together chatting idly about nothing in particular. He would make her laugh and it was a nice break from the monotony of the deserted corridors.
She had to admit that working with James had not been nearly as horrible as she'd thought it would be at the beginning of the year. She had nearly broken down in tears when Professor McGonagall had informed her that the Head Boy was not Remus Lupin (as Lily had suspected it would be) but James Potter. It had taken her a few weeks but she eventually realized that James had changed. Not only that, but much to her dismay she found that she not only enjoyed his company but had come to count him as a friend.
They'd had fun the past two weeks (or at least as much fun as you can have walking in empty corridors for three hours) on their hall monitor nights. Last Thursday they'd finally run across something interesting. They'd found two Ravenclaw fifth years making out behind a statue. James had sniggered heartily as Lily had deducted five points each and then shamed them back to their common room.
"They were just having a little fun, Lily," he teased, still chuckling at her flushed cheeks. "You didn't have to be so hard on them."
"One of us has to be the responsible one. You didn't even try to help me." She feigned anger, but truly didn't care enough to be upset with him. Besides, there was still an hour left of their shift and she didn't want to spend it arguing.
"Well, it would be hypocritical of me to punish someone for that," he said flashing her an amused grin. She looked over at him with her nose crumpled up, her green eyes surveying him critically.
"You disgust me sometimes, you know that?" He laughed out loud at her reaction.
"Aw, come on. Don't tell me you've never been enchanted by this incredibly romantic setting. There's nothing better than dusty corners covered in cob webs to set the mood," he said sarcastically. Lily glared at him and shook her head. "Really? No one's ever even tempted you to give him a kiss in a dark, deserted hallway?" He raised his eyebrows at her suggestively. Lily was quiet for a moment and then smiled slyly.
"Someone tried once…he was in the hospital wing for the rest of the day." James had to laugh at this and they continued chatting happily the rest of the evening.
But instead of that friendly banter tonight, she found herself wandering along the 3rd floor corridor alone with nothing to distract her but the memory of the pile of homework she should have been working on this evening stacked up on her bedside table in her dorm. She and James, along with some of the other professors, had heard rumblings about some students (aka Slytherins) attacking other unsuspecting students (aka Muggle-borns and "blood traitors") and decided that while it would be more dangerous to be separated, they would be able to cover more ground and hopefully stop the attacks before they happened.
For the first thirty minutes of tonight's shift she had been alert, hearing everything from a murmuring portrait to the rustle of the leaves outside. Her hand had been tensed on her wand ready to strike. But as the minutes went by and she didn't run into anybody, her mind began to drift and her wand had ended up in the back pocket of her jeans.
She was just about to check her watch again when she heard muffled voices ahead of her. She assumed that it was probably James or one of the two prefects talking to someone but pulled her wand out anyway, just in case. As she crept closer to the noise, she realized that the sounds were more violent. She couldn't hear spells but what sounded more like punches and kicks.
"Lumos!" she muttered as a light on the tip of her wand flicked on. She began jogging a little quicker but still remained quiet. She heard distinct cursing and knew that she was getting closer. She snuck around the corner, her wand raised, ready to curse anyone when Severus Snape's face was illuminated by the beam of light from her wand.
She didn't hesitate long, but long enough for him to yell, "RUN!" and for the other two males with him to heed his warning. She waved her wand and sent a stunner in their direction but missed as they sprinted away from her and down the corridor. She momentarily considered going after them until she heard a moan from whomever it was that they had been beating up.
She shuffled toward him but continued to stare down the corridor to make sure that Snape and his two mates weren't coming back. Finally she looked at the figure lying crumpled against the wall, and realized with horror who it was as she saw his messy dark hair and cracked wire-rimmed glasses.
"James! Oh my gosh, what happened?" she asked as she sprinted the last few feet to him and knelt down by his side. "Are you okay?" Her voice was shaking as were her hands as she anxiously tried to help him sit up. He groaned again and grabbed his ribs before lying back down. She pulled his head into her lap so that he wasn't laying it on the cold stone floor and tried to take in his appearance.
He was bleeding...a lot. His lip was busted and there were two very obvious cuts above his left eye and across the bridge of his nose. He also appeared to have been thrown to the ground at one point because there was blood in his matted hair.
"I've never been better," he said through a grimace. He tried to grin at her but winced as the movement pulled at his bleeding lip. She rolled her eyes at him.
"Please don't try to be brave," she said as he attempted to sit up again, this time succeeding with her help, though the pained look on his face made her feel no better. "What happened?"
"I was walking around, not really paying attention, and one of them just came up behind me and held my arms back and the other two just started beating the crap out of me. Apparently I did something to really piss off one of those guys…I generally consider it pretty personal when someone actually throws a punch rather than just hexing me."
"Is this a regular occurrence for you?" Lily asked, trying to sound lighthearted but failing to do so. He gave a small chuckle but immediately winced and grabbed at his side again.
"I think they cracked a rib," he said through gritted teeth.
"Did you see who it was?"
"Snape, Avery and Mulciber…who else?"
After a moment of silence, Lily stood up and moved behind James. "Come on, lets get you to the Hospital Wing," she said putting her hands under his arms and attempting to help lift him up. He pushed up and groaned, grabbing his right side. Lily pulled his left arm over her shoulders to help hold up his body weight, though she knew that if he collapsed she would be able to do nothing about it.
"I don't need to go to the Hospital Wing, I'll be fine. Just take me back to the common room."
"James, you have a broken rib! You need Madam Pomfrey to mend you," Lily protested.
"I can fix it myself," James replied stubbornly.
"I know how to mend breaks too, but Madam Pomfrey is better at it than either of us and…"
"Don't insult my abilities. I happen to be a very skilled bone mender. I've had lots of practice," he interrupted, giving her half a smile. She sighed and glared at him.
"Now is not the time for jokes…you could be seriously injured. You could have a concussion or a punctured organ or..."
"Lily, I'm not going to give those guys the pleasure of knowing they put me in the Hospital Wing…this is humiliating enough as it is." Lily sighed again, clearly exasperated.
"Is that what this is about? You're more worried about your reputation than you are about your actual physical health?" She sounded frustrated and remained silent for a few moments as they took tentative steps down the hall. "James, please, please, you could be really hurt. If you value my peace of mind at all, you will go to the Hospital Wing and at least let Madam Pomfrey clear you," she begged.
He stopped walking and looked down at her pleading green eyes and considered her for a moment. She seemed genuinely concerned and he did value her peace of mind. Not to mention, his rib was really bothering him.
"Fine, let's go," he said, dragging her toward the Hospital Wing now.
"Thank you," Lily whispered.
"MmmHmm," he murmured. "And just for the record, I wasn't trying to save my reputation. I couldn't care less about what everyone else in the school thinks. I just don't want to give those three guys the satisfaction of knowing they hurt me enough to send me to the Hospital Wing." He was quiet for a moment. "It makes them think they've won." Lily considered this for a moment.
"I guess that's acceptable." She smiled at him gently and helped him limp down the stairs. "Why didn't you defend yourself? Where is your wand?" Lily had never known James to be caught unawares.
"In my back pocket…I guess I wasn't really paying attention."
They reached the wide doors of the Hospital Wing and Lily shoved them open and then helped James in before Madam Pomfrey bustled up to them and shooed Lily away to a chair in the corner. James changed into some Hospital pajamas and then headed over to a bed near where Lily waited. Madam Pomfrey touched her wand gently to his chest and ankle to repair what was two fractured ribs and a sprained ankle. Then she proceeded to tell James that he had a mild concussion and a spot of internal bleeding that would take an overnight stay in the Hospital Wing to heal. Lily tried not to look too smug when she heard this but couldn't help throwing him an "I told you so" look.
"Miss Evans, you are free to return to your duties. He needs his rest," Madam Pomfrey said severely. Lily was about to stand up to comply when James interrupted.
"Aw, come on Madam Pomfrey, let her stay a little longer."
"Please, it's curfew in twenty minutes anyway," James begged.
"Fine," she said coolly. "But keep it down. I know how you are with your friends, Mr. Potter. I don't want you two waking up any of the other patients." Lily smiled serenely at her as Madam Pomfrey handed her a rag and a bowl of water. "The least you can do is make yourself useful. Clean some of that dried blood off of his face. You have ten minutes." And with that, she threw a disgruntled look their way and bustled off to tend to another patient.
James fought back a grin as Lily pulled her chair closer to his bed and began dabbing cautiously at the smear of blood on his forehead.
"You don't have to do that," James said in a low voice. "I'll just wash it off before I go to sleep."
"I don't mind," Lily said, holding the rag out of his reach before soaking it in the water and dabbing at him again. "Besides, I'll probably be gentler than you. It's bound to hurt less if you just let me do it." He didn't argue but watched her as she gazed intently at the wounds on his face. "Now, aren't you glad I talked you into coming down here?" she asked, meeting his hazel eyes momentarily before going to work on the blood that had trickled down his nose.
"I am eternally grateful." He smiled at her and she grinned back.
"I feel bad though," she said quietly, avoiding his eyes.
"I feel like if we hadn't split up, maybe they wouldn't have attacked."
"Don't be ridiculous. Having you there might have made it worse." Seeing her confused expression, he hesitantly clarified. "I mean, because you're Muggle-born. They probably would have attacked you instead of me and that would have been infinitely worse." He shuddered at the idea.
"Maybe…but then again, it would have given you enough time to get your wand out of your pocket." He rolled his eyes trying not to visualize what would have happened had Lily been with him when he was ambushed. "Besides, I'm still not fully convinced that Severus has it in him to attack me," she said more quietly, for she knew that this would outrage James, and she was right. His hazel eyes instantly darkened and narrowed and she could see his fists open and close convulsively.
"I think you give your old mate too much credit," he said viciously. "He didn't seem too merciful to me tonight."
"Yes, but that's because he hates you," Lily said matter-of-factly. James' knuckles were turning white as he clenched his fists now. "But then again, maybe you're right. He's not under the greatest of influences right now…maybe he's changed enough that he would be capable of hurting me just as he is you."
They were quiet for a moment.
"Do me a favor, will you?" she finally said, breaking the silence and dropping the rag so that she could look him in the eye. "Go easy on Snape." James's eyes widened in horror.
"You're not serious!"
"Yeah, I am. You don't understand, it's hard for him to be around you."
"Yeah, well, it's going to be hard for me to be around him if I just stand there and let him do whatever he wants to me. You think this is bad?" He asked, gesturing wildly at his body. "Just wait 'til he decides to use his wand. I'll be lucky if I don't die!" James' voice was rising dangerously and Lily was afraid that Madam Pomfrey would come over and kick her out if he started yelling.
"I'm not saying try and be best friends with him, I'm just saying, if you get the opportunity to be the better man and just walk away, do it…please. It's hard for him, he's jealous of you." James looked ready to strike back until her last phrase which startled him.
"Why in the world would he be jealous of me?" James's voice was cold and disbelieving.
"You honestly don't know?" She looked at him skeptically but he just glared back at her. "James, you have everything. You're popular, you make the best grades without even trying, you're Quidditch captain, you're Head Boy, you have parents who love and adore you which is something that Severus never experienced." When James still didn't look convinced she swallowed and continued. "And…well, you have me." She shrugged and looked down at her hands briefly before meeting his gaze again.
"I don't have you," James murmured, a slightly pained look crossing his face briefly again. "Not the way he wished he had you." James tried to repress a shudder as he visualized the two of them together.
"True, but I am your friend. And that's still more than Snape has." She smiled gently at him. When he still looked reluctant she added, "All I'm asking is that you don't purposefully seek out a fight. Don't add insult to injury." James still didn't say anything but contemplated her words. "Plus…with the guys he's running around with, they won't just attack you with a bad jelly leg curse. You're bound to get hit with some kind of Dark Arts."
"I'm not afraid of that. Sirius and I could take on the whole lot of them without breaking a sweat."
"I know…but still, I worry." James looked up into her eyes and felt for the second time that night that he was going to give her something she wanted despite the fact that it went against his instincts.
"Fine," he said, throwing his hands up into the air. "Fine, I promise not to go out looking for a fight." She flashed him a huge and grateful grin but he held up a finger. "But I'm not promising that I won't fight him. If he comes after me I'm not just going to stand there and take it. I'll fight back." And there was a finality and assurance in his tone that told Lily that there was no debating that fact.
"I know…and thank you."
"Miss Evans!" Madam Pomfrey trilled as she bustled over to James' bed. "Your time was up seven minutes ago! Go back to your dormitory. You may visit Mr. Potter tomorrow morning."
"Okay, sorry," Lily muttered, scooting her chair back and setting the bowl of water on the table next to his head. "See you tomorrow. And feel better!" she murmured as she walked out of Hospital Wing and headed back toward Gryffindor tower.
A/N-There you have it. I hope you enjoyed this. I've had fun dreaming up different moments that led up to them getting together. Next chapter will be about "The First Time He Needed Her."