One Last Time

Lily Evans was having a very bad year.

Many people would say that she was being over dramatic, that having James Potter follow your every move was 'adorable', or that it showed just how 'enamored' he was of the fiery redhead, but Lily just found it annoying.

It was down right degrading the way Potter would throw her notes, magically or the old fashioned Muggle way, in every class. It got her in trouble almost as much as it did him, for as many times as he threw them, shot them, or flew them, he always came up with a different way to ask her out and despite her better judgment, Lily Evans was curious as to what James Potter would say today.

There was also that annoying little habit that he did whenever she happened to walk by; that irritating, irrational need to run his fingers through his hair so it looked like he just got off his broom, even in the middle of a classroom. Evey time he reached up to his head, Lily had to fight off an overwhelming urge to slap his hand away.

Yet, she didn't do a thing, because that would mean Potter would find out how much it got to her. If there was one thing Lily Evans was not going to do, it was letting James Potter know he got to her... or that it wasn't always dislike that took over her features when she saw him.

At least, that was what she had planned until Fifth Year, that was when something happened that threw all her hard work onto the floor and stomped it to a thousand tiny pieces. It also took her careful structured life and made a bloody mess of it...

James Potter happened. James bloody Potter and his little bloody band of 'Marauders', picking on Severus Snape like it was a bloody sport. Lily couldn't take it anymore and completely blew up in Potter's face, much to her surprise and humiliation.

She was surprised because she was normally an even tempered person, despite that old adage about a redhead's temper, her humiliation came from the fact that, despite that she was defending him, Snape had turned on her and it hurt to lose her friend.

Shaking her head, Lily decided that she would ignore Potter completely tonight, as well as the fact that, after her blow-up in Fifth Year, Potter seemed to have been ignoring her almost entirely. It was surprising that, after telling him that she rather listen to Mandrakes sing opera than hear him prattle on about his feelings, Lily rather missed the sound of Potter's warm voice.

True, he had been oddly cordial this Year; having to work together as Head Boy and Head Girl was an experience that Lily had been dreading until she boarded the Hogwarts' Express and attending the first Head meeting. Her suspicions about him and the seat next to him was put off by his stiff nod and cold, stand-offish manner that even had the Ravenclaw on his other side shivering.

Yet, that didn't matter tonight. Tonight was the Seventh Year's Halloween Ball and she was going to have a great time with her friends, dancing and laughing the night away, and dispel all enticingly strange (and new) thoughts of what a raven-haired Quidditch player looked like in a costume...

Waiting an extra minute or two so she wouldn't run into the boy that seemed to be dominating her thoughts, Lily made her way to the common room, glad that Headmaster Dumbledore decided on this night of fun. Between Voldemort running amok and her own confusing life, Lily could use the relaxing evening.

She was also sure that her costume was going to turn a few heads; it was a light pink, off-the-shoulder dress that twirled with the slightest puff of air, ruffles decorating the shoulder and the hem for a little bit of 'girly' on the notorious tomboy.

Decorating her face was deep red designs that gave her the supernatural look she hoped for, with a bit of yellow-tipped orange flames dancing up her dress, giving her the illusion of being engulfed in flames without any of the pain.

I wonder how many people will guess my costume right, Lily mused, looking herself over one last time, before it could be rightfully pegged as stalling. Most would probably think 'fire sprite' but it's a little harder than that...

Shaking her head, Lily met her friends at the portrait hole, dressed gaily and most of them with dates. Allowing a small smile to grace her face as Alice Prewett gushed along with her house mates at Lily's dress and make-up, Lily made herself a fierce and solemn promise:

Tonight is going to be just fine...


Walking into the Great Hall was like walking into a hunted land; there was icicles hanging from the walls and the enchanted ceiling was showing a soft, drifting downpour of snow that made Lily shiver just looking at it, earning her worried looks from many of her friends.

Smiling them off, Lily took a closer look at the Great Hall and gasped.

Instead of the usual candles, there were floating pumpkins instead, giving the Hall an eerie, haunted glow. All along the hall were cobwebs and an arrangement of live spiders crawling through them, making several girls who were standing near Lily, including Alice Prewett, moan and scoot closer to their dates, who took the opportunity to put a protective arm around them.

Smiling wider at the open flirtations between her best friends, and quickly dispelling all thoughts of her own non-existent social life, Lily made to sit at one of the tables lining the walls of the Hall; for she wanted to eat something to calm herself before dancing.

That was, at least, what she told herself instead of listening to the little voice that told her the raised seats would give her a better view of the dance floor and when a fellow Gryffindor might make an appearance. She was still arguing with herself when Professor Dumbledore raised from his seat at the High Table, stopped her inner argument immediately.

"Welcome, one and all to another year at Hogwarts!" Professor Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling brighter than the pumpkins floating around the room, which made Lily uneasy for some reason, despite how she trusted the aged Headmaster. "This night's entertainment is finally ready!"

"Before we begin the festivities, we've had a special treat tonight; a certain group of students has requested permission to start off the festivities with a song dedicated to a pair of Hogwarts' students celebrating this night. So I would like everyone to please put their hands together for... The Marauders!"

As most of the female population of Hogwarts, including a few of the Slytherins, immediately started cheering at the familiar name; Lily, however, had one horrifying thought going through her head:

The Marauders? Oh, Merlin, please don't let it be them...!

Sure enough, as soon as she finished the thought, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black walked up onto the raised platform that served as a stage in front of the High Table dressed up as Muggle rockers, Remus carrying what looked like an electric bass guitar and Black sitting at a drum set that had been previously set up. But where was Pettigrew and Potter?

Scanning the crowd as Black and Remus got ready and tuned up their instruments, Lily ignored the various whispers and giggles as she searched for a certain Gryffindor Seventh Year. She spotted Pettigrew right away on the fringes of the stage, his forehead scrunched up in total concentration and his wand in the air as he twisted it in a semi-complex design . Well, that answered that question; now where was-?

She was unable to finish the thought, for James Potter had stepped onto the stage right then, dressed in every girl's fantasy of what a rocker should be; skin tight dragon leather pants with the boots to match, a dark gray muscle shirt that looked like it had been poured on so it enhanced every muscle as James moved and a golden Griffin pendent on a chain necklace.

Lily could only stare opened mouthed as he walked up to a microphone that hadn't been there a few seconds ago and attach a navy blue lily to it, stroking it once before taking the lead guitar from Black, causing Lily to swallow at the movement, her mouth suddenly dry.

For blue was Lily's favorite color and if that wasn't proof enough what this was all about, the look that Potter gave her as he played the opening riff on his own guitar before opening his mouth and singing was...

I feel it everyday it's all the same
It brings me down but I'm the one to blame
I've tried everything to get away
So here I go again
Chasing you down again
Why do I do this?

Potter's hazel eyes had caught Lily where she stood and his voice, with Black and Remus harmonizing on the melody line, had trapped her there. Pettigrew's magical light show had the Hogwarts' Seventh Year population 'ooh' and 'ah'-ing supportively and appreciatively, but Lily only had eyes for the ebony-haired singer.

"He sings like a dream," A girl standing next to her sighed, causing an unfamiler wave of possession to flow through Lily's veins before she squashed it and just paid attention to the fact that James was looking at her, was singing to her, and had not looked away once...

Over and over, over and over
I fall for you
Over and over, over and over
I try not to...

It feels like everyday stays the same
It's dragging me down and I can't pull away
So here I go again
Chasing you down again
Why do I do this?

Lily wanted to blame the magic, it was what allowed the group to play the electric instruments so well, James to look so bloody sexy with his eyes so dark and focused, his voice so smooth, so hauntingly compelling. She wanted to blame all of this on the magic, but she knew it was a very different kind of magic that held her captive...

Over and over, over and over
I fall for you
Over and over, over and over
I try not to
Over and over, over and over
You make me fall for you
Over and over, over and over
You don't even try

James' voice took on a plaintive note and Lily suddenly realized that all around her couples had started dancing, yet she was standing completely still, staring up at the stage like a love-struck groupie. In her defense, she wasn't the only one, but it didn't stop her from blushing like a First Year when Remus smiled knowingly at her as James started on a new verse...

So many thoughts that I can't get out of my head
I try to live without you, every time I do I feel dead
I know what's best for me
But I want you instead
I'll keep on wasting all my time

Fighting off a sudden flush of shame, Lily was suddenly reminded of the single incident in Sixth Year when James had tried to talk to her; he had been as cordial as he was now, but not as cold. He had said that he needed to discuss something 'important' with her and she had automatically thought it was an attempt to ask her out again and she had angrily snapped at him to 'stop wasting her and his own time'.

How she was eating her words now, holding her breath as three of the four boys that had made her life hell for the past three years sang like fallen angels for the whole world to hear...

Over and over, over and over
I fall for you
Over and over, over and over
I try not to
Over and over, over and over
You make me fall for you
Over and over, over and over
You don't even try to

James' held the last note on a howl that was more moan than growl, earning him cheers and cries of 'We love you, James!' from the other girls surrounding the stage, making Lily's face burn again, only this time in shame, as she tried to break through the crowd before James-Potter, she reminded herself fiercely-saw her staring like a moonstruck idiot.

Yet, before she could go three paces away from the stage, he was suddenly there, way too close and his hand way too warm as he stopped her gently with a palm against her bare arm, making her wish fervently that she had thought to wear a outfit that had longer sleeves.

James had caught her involuntary shiver at the heated contact of their skin and thankfully had also, deliberately or otherwise, mistook it for another source as his eyes narrowed in concern and Lily's heart rate suddenly increased, "Are you cold? Do I need to get a coat?"

Not trusting her voice, Lily shook her head and tried to focus her thoughts. How could one song have the effect to turned her world upside down? She ignored the little voice that said it just cleared up what had been obvious for a year now: James Potter, star Quidditch player and playboy of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was trying to change... For her...


Lily wasn't even aware that she had said the word out loud until she saw the crooked smile tugging at James' lips and the sudden, upward crest of his of eyebrows as he muttered, "I didn't do it, whatever it was."

Lily felt a smile pulling at her own mouth at his automatic defense and decided that she could at least be civil around James Potter as she asked, "Was there something you needed?"

He stared at her for a few minutes, hazel eyes darkening in an emotion that Lily wasn't sure she wanted to identify. Shaking his own head, he simply whispered, "Did you like the song?"

He said it hesitantly, as if he was afraid she would snap at him, or that she would say she hated it. It was that bit of shyness that pulled the truth from Lily's lips before she even had time to think about it.

"It was... indescribably beautiful."

James' eyes blinked a few times and Lily was sure that it was from confusion that she just complimented something he did, and the thought that she surprised the infallible James Potter made it all the more harder to keep her face straight.

Catching her smile, James allowed a tentative one of his own to grow as he held up the lily in his hand, which made him look even more sexy. What was wrong with her tonight? "I was going to give this to you, but I don't think it goes with your outfit... I like it, though."

Lily's grin broke across her face as she shyly rubbed her hands down the front of her dress, feeling James' gaze follow her hands. Feeling a heat that had nothing to do with her costume, Lily asked shyly, "Thank you... Can you tell what I am?"

A hint of her-wait, her?!?-old James peeked through this stiff and formal stranger as he quipped, "An exquisite beauty?"

Instead of exploding like she was wont to do, and as James expected her to, from the look on his face, Lily simply giggled. She was feeling unusually care-free and simply purred, "No, I mean, what am I dressed as?"

James' grin grew wider, allowing Lily to see more of the boy she had known before, and she now realized she had started to miss. "Well, that's easy. You're dressed as a phoenix, of course."

Smiling once more, James laid the flower in Lily's hands, now a deep ruby with a sapphire center, before turning and making his way back to the stage and his friends who were grinning like idiots at their best mate.

Lily twirled the flower between her fingers, deliberating for a few minutes at James retreating back, fighting the sense of loss the sight, strangely, was giving her. Was this a good idea? Was letting herself fall in love with a boy who made her life one big pain a good thing?

"Hey, James!"

He turned, eyebrow raised in that motion that used to irritate her, now filling her with a wistful nostalgia as his friend's smiles grew behind him. Lily swallowed once more, finally making up her mind."Would you like to dance? Or do you have to do another song?"

The chorus of wolf howls answered her question long before the grin finished stretching across James' face, long before he reached out his hand and turned that grin into the smile he seemed to reserve just for her that made her feel even hotter than the costume could...

"I would love too... Lily."

Nodding at the others behind her, Remus picked up the lead guitar as Sirius abandoned the drums to take over the vocals, Peter leaving his duty as the lights manager in search for something to eat.

All of this, Lily saw in an instant; then James was pulling her close and the music was starting, a soft dance that had her swaying slowly to, wrapped happily in her used-to-be worst enemy's arms.

There were couples surrounding them, most girls casting baleful glances her way, but Lily was only aware of the overwhelming warmth encompassing her entire body... the feeling that something that had been missing was now found.

Tomorrow might be different, with the trails of every day life rushing in and the bewitching spell of Halloween night gone, but there was one fact that she was completely certain upon:

Lily Evans was having an absolutely wonderful year


Song is Over and Over by Three Days Grace.