A/N: Another one for you. I'm not too excited about this one, but I think that's because my next couple of chapters are going to be so good! Haha. Please review and also forgive me for the time it takes me to get these up!! Thanks :)
Twittering birds can be the absolute worst thing in existence on a rainy Sunday morning, the reason being that the dark clouds allow one to sleep late. For some reason, despite the rain and occasional flash of lightening, the birds were still ready to annoy James Potter at nine in the morning. As the noise registered in James' sluggish, tired mind, James groaned inwardly. His neck was stuck at an odd angle and Lily was still curled up in his arms.
His mind caught up with him at that moment. He had kissed Lily Evans. Lily Evans had kissed him. They had spent the night together. She was still sleeping comfortably against him. Slowly, a smile spread across James' face. He cracked his neck as best he could without moving Lily and got slightly more comfortable. She was breathing deeply and deep within a dream. James thought it must be a good one, seeing as she looked so peaceful. Wow... he thought. He had been waiting for this moment for years, and now that he was actually living it, he was stunned. Better than I thought it'd be. he decided.
Lily chose that moment to yawn deeply and stretch. "Damn birds," she muttered, rolling to face James and burying her face in his chest. James didn't know whether or not she was still asleep, but kissed her forehead all the same. "Thanks," she murmured.
"Morning," said James quietly.
"Why are there birds out in the rain?"
"Because they are aware of the tiny amount of sleep we've gotten in the past few days," James said matter-of-factly. "Did you sleep well at least?"
"I did," said Lily, smiling up at James. "You're comfy."
"I try." There was a short silence during which both realized that they had really slept the night-or part of it anyway-together. "So...breakfast?" James finally suggested.
"Shower first," said Lily. "I have the stench of saving the school all over me." James laughed heartily. "Reconvene in a half hour to go down?" James nodded.
He sat up slowly to get the rest of the kinks out of his neck. "I've got to go grab the cloak before I lose it," he said. "Last year we couldn't find it for a few weeks, nearly ruined Sirius' birthday plans."
He ran a hand through his hair as he exited his bedroom and entered the common room.
Mary and Anna had just jumped up from the couch. Mary, who had shouted his name, was marching up to him. She poked him in the chest, reminding him forcibly-and a bit sadly-of his mother. "Where. Is. Lily."
"Calm down, Mary," Anna said, throwing James an apologetic look. "I'm sure James didn't throw her off the Astronomy Tower or anything."
"Potter, where is Lily? She was supposed to meet us for a tutoring session and we haven't seen her in days! What the h-" Mary's jaw dropped. Lily had just emerged, hair a mess and clothes wrinkled, from James' bedroom.
Anna's face broke into an enormous smile. "Good morning, sunshine," she said in a sing-song voice.
"Now, Mary, I know how this looks-"
"What the fuck, Lily?!" Mary burst.
James raised his eyebrows at Anna who mouthed, "Don't take it personally." Then, she turned to Mary. "Calm down, Mary."
"It's not what it looks like!" Lily exclaimed. "We only slept together."
As soon as the words left her lips, Lily's face went beat red and her friends' eyebrows shot up. James chose this moment to interject. "What she means by that," he said, "is that I was having a hard time last night. A lot has been going on with Remus and it's been rough on me, too, so she sat with me to talk last night and we both fell asleep after a while."
"See, Mary? He's not a murderer," Anna said amusedly. "Do you two want to join us for breakfast?"
"We were going to take showers then go down," Lily said quietly. Her face was still red, her eyes on her shoes.
"We'll meet you there, then," Anna said brightly. "I need to talk to Mary about-"
"About how Lily has been blowing us off to hang out with James Potter?" Mary said angrily. "Because that's all I can think about and it's a subject you don't seem to care about!"
With that, Mary stormed out of the tower, leaving in her wake an icy silence.
"Er..." said James.
"It's okay, James," said Lily. "It's not your fault."
"Actually, I was going to ask if you were alright," James said softly. Lily had tears in her eyes that were threatening to spill over.
"Anna," she said, her voice thick. "Anna, I'm so sorry. It's just been a-"
"Don't apologize," Anna said decisively. "Mary is overreacting because she can't get past the fact that James is James." She gave him another apologetic look; he grinned. "You two go and get presentable and I'll wait for you in here. I need to read that book for Charms anyway."
Ten minutes later, James was sitting next to Anna on the couch waiting for Lily to get done with her shower. He was silent for a small while, not wanting to bother Anna while she did her schoolwork, but after a few minutes, he had to ask the question that seemed to be burning his tongue. "Hey, Anna?"
"Sorry to bug you about this and all...but what is Mary's deal?"
Anna chuckled softly as she marked her page and closed the book. She turned to face James, a small smile playing on her lips. "None of us ever thought that Lily would ever come around and realize her feelings for you," she explained. "I knew, though, that if she ever did, she'd fall hard. And she is, James. And that's hard for Mary to accept. Mary doesn't realize that every time she's got a new boyfriend we don't see her for weeks at a time."
"Lily and I aren't-"
"Not yet," Anna said wisely. "It'll happen soon, though." She spoke with such conviction that James had no trouble believing her. His mind wandered briefly to the kiss he and Lily had shared the previous night. "You know," Anna said after a moment, "you're a good match for her. You can help her learn to loosen up a bit." Anna then looked him dead in the eyes. "And she's going to save you."
Not knowing what to say to this, James relaxed into the cushions. Anna opened her book again to continue reading. They sat in silence until Lily reentered the common room. "I'm ready," she said.
"About time, Evans," James said, teasing. "I'm starving here."
Lily only rolled her eyes. Anna shoved her book back into her bag and she, James and Lily went down to breakfast. As they chatted about lessons-Lily was supposed to tutor Anna but had missed the appointment, so she was answering questions-Lily laced her fingers with James'. Anna shot him an 'I told you so' look when Lily wasn't looking.
Sirius sat alone at the end of the Gryffindor table reading the Daily Prophet when they arrived in the Great Hall. "Hey, Padfoot," James said as he plopped down next to him. Anna and Lily took seats opposite both boys.
"Morning," Sirius said tiredly. "Nothing in the paper," he muttered to James. "They're keeping this whole ordeal hushed up."
"How's Remus?" James asked in an undertone.
"He won't take visitors," Sirius replied. "His mum was in there for a while, but Dumbledore is moving her to a secure location. She leaves in about twenty minutes. Dumbledore wants to meet with us all, but he said it can wait until tomorrow evening. He's hoping Remus will be more apt to speaking tomorrow. I think he's barking mad sometimes..."
James nodded. He began to collect his breakfast and listen in to the conversation Lily and Anna were having about Charms. Sirius regained James' attention a moment later. "Peter is keeping something from us," he said suddenly.
"What makes you say that, mate?" James asked through a mouthful of bacon.
"He's acting funny," Sirius said slowly. "He's...he's just..."
But whatever Peter was, James didn't find out, because at that moment, Professor McGonagall had stood and called for order. "Please return promptly to your house common rooms," she called. "Breakfast will be transferred there. Do not dilly dally in the corridors. You are to stay in your common rooms until further notice. Go, now."
"What now?" Sirius groaned. "I've never had a worse weekend."
Lily turned to James, eyebrows raised. James shrugged. Anna said, "I wonder..." As everyone began to rise around them, she asked, "Can I study in your common room then? The Gryffindor one is going to be impossible."
"No problem," said Lily. "Why don't you go on, James and I are going to do our...Headly duties or whatever you want to call them."
"Alright," said Anna, getting to her feet. "Join me, Sirius?" she offered.
Sirius' eyes lingered on James. "Mirror," James mouthed.
"I'd be delighted to," Sirius said, looking to Anna. He got to his feet and offered her his arm in an overly done fashion. Even when he was feeling serious, he couldn't help but act hilarious.
As they two joined the crowd exiting the Great Hall, James and Lily rushed up to where McGonagall was still standing. "What's up, professor?" they asked at the same time.
"There are more of them in Hogsmeade," the transfiguration master hissed. "The dormitories are the safest parts of this school. If Hogwarts is indeed attacked, that is where the students should be."
"But they'll be trapped in there," James said worriedly.
"There are many things about Hogwarts that you don't know, Mr. Potter," said McGonagall. "Trust Dumbledore when he says to send the students to their dormitories." James nodded. "A few of us teachers are going to the grounds on patrol, however, Dumbledore wants you all to stay in the castle for now. We'll send word if we need the reinforcements."
"Now, Potter, Evans." With that, McGonagall turned to join Professors Flitwick and Sprout.
James and Lily turned to leave. Most of the students had gone by this point, so their journey to their common room was a quiet one. Lily laced her fingers through James' once more as they climbed the mable staircase. "They won't get in...?" It was a statement, and yet it was a question at the same time.
"Dumbledore knows what he's doing," James said quietly. He was staring at their hands swinging together in time with their steps. He wanted to say something about it, but by the time he had plucked up the courage they were a few doors down from their common room's entrance. Lily let her hand slip from his and gave the password. When they entered, it was to find Sirius instructing Anna on the proper way to perform some charms.
"What did McGonagall say?" he asked as soon as James and Lily entered the room.
James shook his head. "Nothing really. There are Death Eaters in Hogsmeade and we're all to stay here unless they summon us."
"Death Eaters?" Anna gasped. "Those people who murder muggles and muggleborns?"
Lily nodded as Sirius posed another question. "The Hospital Wing, Remus...who's watching over him?"
"I expect Madame Pomfrey is staying up there," James said, collapsing into an armchair. "Honestly, you think they could give it a rest. It's Sunday!"
"Oh, like they care that we have an essay due in Transfiguration," Lily complained, dropping on top of James. Anna shot him yet another amused, knowing look. He was beginning to anticipate one huge 'I told you so!' from this girl. Sirius' eyebrows, on the other hand, had all but disappeared into his hairline.
Time crept by slowly that morning. All four of them decided to work together on the Transfiguration homework that McGonagall had set them, mostly just to keep their mind off of the situation at hand, but it didn't do them much good. In the end, Sirius ended up dragging out James' wireless and tuning into a station that played instrumental music.
"Care to dance?" Sirius asked, holding a hand out to Anna, who was sitting cross-legged in front of the fire. A quick waltz was playing. Smiling, Anna accepted and the two began to knock things over as they waltz-jumped around the common room.
"Good entertainment value," James commented, an eyebrow raised. Lily chuckled. "Shall we?"
Nodding, Lily stood, followed by James. With one hand on Lily's waist and one of hers in his other one, James began to dance...well. Lily's face showed shock as James led her through a very professional-looking waltz. Sirius, upon catching sight of Lily's face, began to laugh. "Sometimes it's easy to forget that James comes from a society-type background, isn't it?" he said to her. "He can be quite the gentleman when he wants to be."
As the morning wore on, Sirius fell asleep on the couch. As he began his nap, Anna continued with her homework. "I'm going to take a bath," Lily announced.
"You showered a couple of hours ago," James pointed out.
"So?" Lily disappeared into her room and after a few moments, James heard the tap running. James used his wand to summon his school bag and began his charms homework as well, however he was soon alone in schoolwork. Anna nodded off and not until she gave a slight snore did James realize that he was the only one awake. Checking his watch, he saw that it had been nearly an hour and a half since Lily had left for her bath.
Giving Charms up as a bad job, James stood and stretched. His back cracked in a few places. "Oy," he breathed. Slowly, he made his way into Lily's bedroom. The bathroom door wasn't closed all the way, but he knocked softly all the same. "Hmm?"
James poked his head into the bathroom and saw that Lily was completely covered by bubbles. As he fully entered the room and closed the door behind himself, he said, "I was just wondering if you'd drowned in here."
"Very funny," Lily said. Her eyes were closed, her head leaning back on a bath pillow. The tub was the size of a small in-ground swimming pool. The multicolored bubbles on the surface of the bath water were growing bigger and shrinking every few moments. When she opened her eyes and saw him admiring the bubbles, she smiled. "I charmed them to do that," she said. "It's kind of like a massage."
"Neat," said James. "May I?" He motioned to the floor next to the tub. Lily nodded, so he laid down next to her, using a towel as a pillow. "I never understood why girls like baths."
"It's relaxing," said Lily, her eyes closed again. "It's just nice to be submerged, I suppose."
"My mum used to take really long baths," James said. His eyes, too, were closed. When he mentioned his mother, Lily looked at him silently, unsure of whether or not to say anything yet. James continued, "She was a Healer at St. Mungo's. She worked really hard and when I was younger, once a week my dad would have me run a bath for her so that she could have alone time after work. My dad, now he was a good man. He loved my mum with all his heart and then some. If they had to go, I'm at least glad that they went together. They loved each other too much to ever have been apart..."
"What did your dad do?" Lily asked quietly after a few moments' silence, wondering if she was intruding on any memories by speaking.
"Dad worked for the Ministry," James said. "Department of Magical Law Enforcement."
"Was he an auror?"
"No," said James. "He worked in reforming the laws and stuff. I guess it's kind of like a lawyer...every once in a while he did take on cases and help people that way."
"That's very nice," said Lily, still unsure of whether or not James was about to break down.
James sighed heavily. "I miss them, Lily," he said quietly. "I really do."
Another few moments passed in silence. James was concentrating on steadying his breathing. "So," he said after a while. "Tell me about your family."
"Hmm...well..." Lily tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "My mum stayed home and raised my sister and me until we were ten years old. After that, she got a part time job at a craft shop. She loves making things, baking...cooking in general really. She loves her job at the craft store. I think she's getting the assistant manager position soon, too...
"My dad is a salesman. He sells cars. It's not the best job in the world, but he's a happy man and that's all he cares about. So long as he gets to go home to my mum he's alright."
"You have a sister, you said..."
"Yes, Petunia," Lily said, her voice a bit harsher. "We don't really speak anymore. She's getting married to a big bloke named Vernon Dursley. He's a jerk. She stopped speaking to me when I got my Hogwarts letter."
"Jealousy, though she'll never admit that," Lily said bitterly. "I miss when we were really sisters. Now we're just...we're just sisters." Lily shrugged.
"That sucks," James admitted. "I wish I'd had a brother or sister. It'd make this whole ordeal a bit easier..."
"Well...you have me now," said Lily softly. James opened his eyes and turned his head to look at Lily. She began to blush, but kept eye contact with James. "James I-"
Lily was cut off by a silver something streaking into the room. It took the form of a phoenix and spoke in the voice of Albus Dumbledore. "All is well. They have left Hogsmeade without any damages. We are redoubling the protection around the school, but I am confident that they will not try to get into this place again."
The phoenix vanished.
"Great news," James said, smiling. "I'm going to go wake the other two. Enjoy the rest of your bath."
After explaining what Dumbledore's patronus had said to Sirius and Anna, James left the tower. He had decided to pay Remus a visit. Up in the Hospital Wing, Remus was staying in the corner bed. Bottles of Dreamless Sleep potion were on the bedside table, but Remus wasn't asleep. James supposed they were old. James took the seat next to Remus' bed, but Remus didn't so much as look his way.
"Remus," James said. He waited for an answer. When none came, James plowed on. "I know how you feel, Moony. I felt the same way. When I did, you gave me the space that I need, and so I'm going to do the same for you. However, you also made it quite clear that you were there for me when I was ready. And, Remus, I am here for you. Whenever you're ready, whenever you need my shoulder or just for me to listen... Remus, please, just don't keep this bottled up for too long. I've been there, and it's not good."
James put a hand on Remus' shoulder. "You're going to be alright," he said. "I know it doesn't feel that way right now...and I know it's going to take a long time, but you will be. And until then, I'm here for you."
With that, James stood. After one more brief look at his friend, he exited the Hospital Wing, his mind on many different things at once, wondering if it would all work itself out soon...