"Where is Marlene?" Mary asked Lily, glancing at her watch.

"Hmmm…" Lily's eyes scanned the Common Room.

Lily, Mary, Alice, and Yolanda were waiting in the Common Room. They weren't the only ones there, though most of the people were heading towards the Entrance Hall. Lily's friends had all arranged to meet in the Common Room before they left to find their dates. James and Sirius had told Lily to meet them in the Common Room as well, though they hadn't arrived yet. The only thing keeping the other three girls in the Common Room was Marlene.

"What's taking her so long?" Yolanda asked.

"Maybe she's trying to hex her lips off so she won't have to kiss Danny Smith again," Alice giggled again.

"It's not funny," Lily said reproachfully. "Besides, she's not going with Smith."

Yolanda gaped at her. "What? How do you know? Who is she going with, then?"

"Or is she joining your little friendship group thing with Potter and Black?" Alice added, giggling.

Lily frowned, ignoring Alice. "If she hasn't told you, I'm not saying a word."

"C'mon, Lily! Give us some clues!" Yolanda pleaded, looking around the room. "Is he in Gryffindor?"

Lily smiled. "I told you, I'm not saying a word."

Yolanda rounded on Mary. "You know, too, don't you?"

Mary grinned innocently; Yolanda playfully shook her tiny shoulders, causing her head to rock back and forth. "Tell me!"

"What's going on?"

The four of them spun around to see Marlene walking shyly towards them. Her robes were bright green, and her eyes were sparkling with excitement. She had tied her strawberry-blonde curls in an elegant twist on the top of her head, with one lock falling gently onto her right shoulder. Mary gave a very uncharacteristic squeal, and Yolanda and Alice gasped.

"Marlene, you look absolutely gorgeous!" Lily told her, smiling widely.

"D'you really think so?" Marlene asked, looking pleased. "So do you! And yellow is definitely your color! It goes with your hair so well!"

She touched Lily's shiny, dark red hair enviously.

"I wish my hair were this color."

"Oh, stop it," Lily scolded her friend. "You look amazing. Don't listen to what anyone else says."

"How did you get rid of Smith, Mar?" Alice burst out, unable to contain herself. "And who are you going to the party with?"

"Well, it turns out that Smith didn't even like me. He was going out with me because he wanted to make Mary jealous" She shrugged. "I never liked him anyways, so it didn't matter to me. Then, the word got out that I was free, so Eric Burby asked me."

Alice giggled. "The Ravenclaw Seeker?"

Marlene nodded, blushing. "Well, I'm going to go find him. See you all later!"

She waved and climbed through the Portrait hole.

"Burby!" Alice exclaimed when Marlene had left. "Well, I always thought there was something going on between them."

Lily rolled her eyes. "Of course you did." she said sarcastically.

"Well, now Marlene is gone, maybe we should head towards Entrance Hall," Alice suggested. "Coming, Lily?"

"No," she sighed. "They were supposed to meet me here."

"I still can't believe you got two dates, Lily," Yolanda told her.

Lily sighed. "Will everyone stop saying that?"

"No," Alice giggled. "It's too much fun. By the way, Mary, do you like Smith?"

"Mary made a gagging noise. "Danny Smith? Never in a million years! Especially since he used my friend to make me jealous! Ugh…"

"Hey, there's Potter!" Yolanda said suddenly, catching Lily off guard. "Let's go now. See you, Lily."

Lily waved at her departing friends and turned to face James and Sirius.

"Hi James, hi Padfoot," she greeted them brightly. "You look nice." They were both wearing identical black dress robes.

"So do you," James replied in an uncharacteristically shy voice.

"Er, shall we go?" Sirius asked them awkwardly, trying to break the silence.

"Oh…yes…"

The three off them set off toward Slughorn's office, climbing through the portrait hole one at a time.

What did you get yourself into? James scolded himself internally.

He wasn't sure what he was supposed to do and he hated admitting it to himself, but he was nervous. What did Lily expect from him? Did she expect him to dance with her? Did she want something to happen tonight?

He had to admit to himself that it had been much easier when she wasn't friends with him; it was so easy to casually ask her out and wait for her various rejections. He wasn't regretting this new friendship but he was worried about what she would think. Would she be disappointed if nothing out of ordinary happened at the party? Would she – he almost shuddered at the possibility – move on? Forget about him? Go out with someone else?

No, that is not what's going to happen, he told himself firmly.

He carefully watched her; she and Sirius were walking slightly in front of him and they were talking about something James had not been paying attention to, up to this point.

"….yeah, she's going with Burby," Lily was saying.

"Who?" James asked suddenly.

"Marlene," Lily and Sirius told him.

"Burby's a bastard," James muttered, remembering the last Quidditch match they had against Ravenclaw; Burby has not taken Ravenclaw's loss very well.

"Yeah, he isn't the most pleasant sort of bloke," Sirius agreed.

Lily's forehead creased, and she looked quite disturbed. James suspected that she was worried for her friend.

"So, did you finish Munitio's homework assignment?" James asked Lily, trying to take her mind off Burby.

"Yes, a while ago," Lily murmured distractedly.

They had finally reached Slughorn's office. It was very crowed and had a slightly claustrophobic feel to it. James watched as Lily waved to her friends, who were dancing with their dates in a distance. He felt as though thousands of small golden snitches were whizzing around inside his stomach.

"Prongs," Sirius muttered in his ear, too softly for Lily to hear, "get a grip on yourself. Relax, mate!"

James nodded and made an effort to compose his face.

"Er…shall we sit down?" Sirius asked.

The other two nodded and they quickly sat down at the first empty table (there weren't many tables in the room). Barely seconds after they sat down, they were joined by a small dark haired and cross-looking girl.

"Hi, Dorcas," Lily greeted her.

"Mind if I join you lot?" She said.

She didn't wait for them to answer; she quickly sat down in between Lily and Sirius and buried her face in her hands.

"Er – what's wrong?" James asked her. He knew her well; she was a year younger than them, Marlene's cousin (and one of his distant cousins), and she had played Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team with him for four years. She was generally a bright and cheerful person; he had rarely seen her looking this cross.

Dorcas sighed and looked up from her hands, giving them each a long stare before saying, "If you tell you, will you swear not to tell a soul? Especially not Mar?"

James, Lily, and Sirius exchanged confused glances and then nodded.

"Promise!"

"We swear, Dor," Lily told her friend. "Now what's the matter?"

She sighed, looking hesitant, and then she spilled, as if she had been containing this information for a long time.

"Eric Burby was supposed to come here with me! He asked me just a week ago. Only when he found out Marlene," her nostrils flared as she said the name, "was free, he made up some stupid excuse about his mother being ill so he could ask her!"

She had said this all in one breath, and she took a deep breath before continuing. "I know Marlene was only too pleased to get rid of Smith, and she wouldn't be caught dead coming here alone, so she obviously took the first opportunity she got."

Lily patted her friend on the back sympathetically.

"Mar probably doesn't know he asked you first," Lily insisted, though in a soft voice; it was obvious she was worried about upsetting her further. "Why didn't you tell her?"

"She wouldn't listen!" Dorcas said, and it sounded like she was holding back tears. "Anyways, he probably never liked me in the first place! He probably only asked me so he could get to Marlene. She is my cousin…"

"It's good that he doesn't like you," James muttered darkly. "He's not worth anything. Come on, you lot, let's go find them and kick Burby's arse."

Lily looked quite worried; Dorcas, on the other hand, said scornfully, "It shouldn't be too hard to find them. They're right there."

James followed Dorcas' eyes to where Marlene and Burby and without warning, he walked over to them.

"Hey, Marlene, can I talk to you and Burby for a minute?" He asked.

"Sure," she said, confused, looking at Burby cautiously.

James led the two of them of the dance floor to where Sirius, Lily, and Dorcas were watching him intently.

"Burby," James said slowly and carefully. "I heard that you asked Dorcas to come here with you before asking Marlene, is that true?"

Burby fidgeted uncomfortably. James glared at him, waiting for his answer.

"Come on, mate," Burby said, playfully clapping James on the shoulder. When James' expression did not soften, he lowered his voice and said, "You're a bloke. It's not a crime to want the better looking girl, is it?"

"Well at least you didn't have to lie to me about your mum being ill!" Dorcas yelled at him. Burby flinched; surprised that she had heard him.

"Get lost," James said, his voice deadly. "Go."

"Wait," said Marlene, her face filling with revulsion, "you agreed to go with Dor first? And you still asked me?"

Burby looked very uncomfortable. "I'll just be going then…"

"Fine!" Marlene yelled. "And you can forget about that Hogsmeade trip as well!" She then bent down and hugged her cousin.

"Dory, I'm so sorry!" She said. "If you had told me Burby asked you first, I wouldn't have said yes to him!"

"It's fine," Dorcas sniffed. "At least I realized what an idiot he is before going out with him."

Lily turned to James, smiling. "I don't know how to thank you," she murmured. And she was looking at him in a way she had rarely looked at him before. Her expression was full of…respect.

"I do," James replied, surprised by his own courage. "Will you honor me with a dance?" He bowed playfully, as he had done when he asked her out.

"The honor is mine, Mr. Potter," Lily said, laughing lightly and taking his hand.

"That was bloody brilliant!" Sirius said as they walked into their dormitories, out of Lily's earshot. "You know what the best parts were? First, you managed to take on Burby without jinxing him! And second, you didn't even make a fool out of yourself! You didn't even do it simply to impress Evans! Well done, mate."

He clapped his friend on the back playfully, and James felt extremely pleased.

"So what happened?" Remus asked as he saw them approaching.

After Sirius told him excitedly about the incident with Burby, Remus smiled and said, "Nice work, James. What I meant was…how did it go with Lily?"

"She was so impressed by him –"

Remus held out his hand to stop Sirius' excited chatter and said, "James. How did it go with Lily?"

"Well, it was great, Moony," James told him honestly, "but…nothing happened. Between us, specifically, I mean. We just danced and then…well, that was it."

"Tomorrow," Sirius said, "– and I'm serious about this mate – tomorrow, before she leaves for break, you're going to walk up to her and snog the living daylights out of her!"

"Are you mad, Padfoot?"

Remus looked very disapproving. "Don't do that, but you're going to have to wake up very early if you want to – erm – say goodbye to her. Which means you should probably sleep now."

"Aguamenti!"

James woke up, soaked.

"Wake up, Prongs!" Sirius yelled enthusiastically! "Lily is in the common room saying bye to her friends now! Hurry up! She won't be here for long…"

Upon hearing her name, James immediately dashed away to get changed into his robes. Once he was finished, he rushed outside to the nearly deserted common room. There were only three people in the room. Lily was hugging Marlene and Dorcas goodbye (the two of them were staying at Hogwarts for the break; the whole Quidditch team had agreed to stay in order to get extra practice).

Uh oh. He didn't want to say goodbye to her in front of everyone else. Slowly, he approached the three girls and cleared his throat.

"Hello, ladies," he said, trying to sound braver than he felt. "Do you mind if I borrow her for a moment?"

He saw Marlene nudge Dorcas lightly, making her giggle as she said, "Of course. We were just leaving to get some more sleep. See you later, Lily!"

"Bye Lily,' Marlene said, giving her friend one last hug before following her cousin up to the stairs to the girls' dormitories.

"Hi, James," Lily said, "you'll have to hurry up and say whatever you have to say, because…well I'm in sort of a hurry, you see."

"Of course," James said quickly. "I just came to say goodbye."

"Goodbye, James," Lily said, smiling. "I'll…I'll miss you. And Padfoot, Moony, and Wormtail as well. Will you say goodbye to them from me?"

"Of course," James told her. "Well, I guess this is it. Have a great winter break."

"Same to you," she said.

As she started to go, dragging her trunk with her, James said, "Wait!"

She stopped, and he walked over to where she was standing.

Slowly, he started to lean in. He was going to do it. He, James Potter, was going to kiss Lily Evans. He leaned it, closer, and closer…

Lily quickly pecked him on the cheek and said, "Bye, James! I really have to go! Send me an owl if you can!"

She waved at him one last time and disappeared through the portrait hole.


Aww! Poor James!

Hahahaha I am evil MUHAHAHA.

And I'm sorry for not updating sooner!

I'll tell you honestly, right now….I'm not sure when the next update will be! I sincerely promise I will not leave this story unfinished. Even if it takes me years! But really, I have no idea when I'll have time to update because skewl starts tomorrow! And I'm on a gymnastics team, which is very time consuming. And I'm taking two languages in skewl this year. Etc. It's going to be very stressful. SO I'll try to update ASAP but there's no telling when it'll be.

Anyways. I LOVE you all! 3