Pain. Cruel, blinding pain.

It was emotional pain. Physical pain couldn't bring this much destruction to herself, her thoughts.

For moments on end she couldn't breathe. Maybe she didn't want to. He would force her to, though – he always did.

She didn't deserve him. He was always there for her, despite the fact that she had ignored him for years before he matured. And now, she felt guilty for neglecting him. He understood, but it didn't lessen the guilt. Maybe guilt and pain reside together.

Lily could just count on her mother to die on the day before Christmas. The death was caused by a long-term disease, but Lily had thought she would have time to say goodbye. She wished she could have done something magical to make her mum last longer.

"Don't think that," James said softly into her ear, startling her by sneaking up behind her. She was sitting on her back porch, looking out into her backyard and the lightly falling snow. "It's not your fault and she wouldn't have wanted you to blame yourself."

"What do you know? You never even met my mum. And besides, you're supposed to say that," Lily replied bitterly.

"My mother died when I was ten, remember?" he replied nonchalantly. "If you want the truth, then I'll give you the truth: You killed your mother. There's a magical cure to the disease she had." His voice didn't dare betray the humor he felt.

James' words were each like a harsh blow. Alarmed, Lily looked into his face, and upon seeing his smirk, she slapped the sneer right off his face.

"What in the name of Merlin was that for?" he whinged.

She didn't answer. Lily sat in silence, thinking. She felt the weight of his arm over her shoulder and the weight of the huge rock in her stomach that had appeared when her mother died. It had gotten smaller when James talked to her; and she felt warm despite the cold.

"Lily?" he inquired. "You know I was joking, right?"

She smiled for the first time since she had heard the depressing news of her mum's death. Lily looked into James' hazel eyes and goose bumps erupted all over her skin. She contemplated what she was going to say, and how she would say it.

Lily took a deep breath and looked down. "I love you," she said softly. She felt flames burst in her cheeks; why was he the only one who could make her go from hot to cold to hot again in only a few minutes? "I know I've been horrible to you, so I doubt you love me back, but I just had to tell you. You're amazing and I really don't deserve you, so –"

James cut her off and lifted up her chin with the hand that wasn't around her shoulder. "Be quiet, Lily. Look into my eyes –" she gazed into his beautiful multi-colored orbs "- and listen to me. I love you more than anything else right now, and why wouldn't I? You are the amazing one; I'm just a big, arrogant prat who was blessed with talent and good looks that I shouldn't ought to have. You're the one who had enough magical talent to get into Hogwarts. You worked hard to get where you are, and even though you were born with an amazing face and body, you're not a whore or anything."

Her blush deepened. "I'm not –" she started to say, but James cut her off.

"Merlin, Lily, yes, you are," his eyes burned with lust. "Just… shut up and snog me."

She could only do as he asked.