It was almost the end of March in Lily and James' seventh year at Hogwarts. They were co-head students together, and had become friends. James had grown up a lot over their sixth and seventh year. He had stopped asking Lily out every week, he had even started to date other girls.
One night Lily couldn't sleep, so she got up and went to the Heads Common room if she wasn't going to get some sleep she might as well start her Herbology essay. She climbed through the portrait hole and almost screamed when she saw James sitting in front of the fire, she had assumed everyone would be in bed.
"Oh Merlin, James!" she gasped. "Are you trying to kill me?"
"That wasn't main intention," said James. He didn't even seem surprised to see her.
"You have the map don't do you?" said Lily.
"How do you know about the map?" asked James shocked that she would know. He hadn't told her and he was pretty sure none of his mates would have told her. She was Head girl she would feel obligated to confiscate it.
"You really think I don't know you by now," Lily scoffed.
"Fine, I saw you using it last week," Lily admitted. "But that doesn't mean I don't know you."
"You know me better than you used to," James admitted. "But I wouldn't say you know me well enough to translate my thoughts."
"You'd be surprised," said Lily. "I am very observant."
"Why are you out of bed?" James asked wanting to change the subject.
Lily didn't know him as well as she thought she did, he was getting good at hiding things from her. She had worked out Remus' little furry problem a few years back, and in October of their Seventh year she had worked out that James was an animagus, she had been surprisingly okay about it. She said she thought it was a wonderful thing for him to do for his mate and that she would never tell a soul about it, she had never brought it up again. But she still hadn't worked out his biggest secret yet, he was still mad about her. Nobody else knew that he still felt that way about Lily, not even Sirius suspected. He had tried to get over her, he was still trying in fact but he just couldn't quite shake those feeling not even when he was with his girlfriend. He was pathetic when it came to Lily, but she didn't need to know that because she had only just became close to him when he told her he was over her. He didn't want to risk losing her by telling her how he felt, she deserved happiness more happiness than he could give her.
"I couldn't sleep," she said. "Why are you up?"
"I never went to bed," said James.
"You know me so well, you tell me."
"You're upset," said Lily looking at him closely. "Did you have a fight with Chloe? If you had a fight with a guy you would out flying trying to calm down but you never lose your temper when you fight with a girl…except when we used to fight…weird."
"You are a very frustrating at times," said James.
"Right back at you."
"Yeah we had some insane fights," James chuckled.
"We did," Lily agreed. "So back to your fight with Chloe?"
"What makes you think we had a fight?"
"Yeah we did," James admitted. "She dumped me."
"Oh I'm sorry," said Lily. "She was nice."
Lily surprised herself she actually sounded sincere when she told James she was sorry that his girlfriend had dumped him. At the start of seventh year Lily wasn't really looking forward to working so closely with James, he had grown up a lot in sixth year and they had stopped arguing but she still felt weird around him because of their history. But it took her about a week to realise that James was the easiest person in the world to be around, he never brought up the way they had been before unless he was poking fun at how silly they had both been. He hadn't flirted with her or behaved inappropriately towards her in any way. They became good friends, Lily found herself talking to James she couldn't even talk to her best friends about, she trusted him he never judged her and he would never tell anyone. Soon she found herself falling for him, she had always known he was hot everyone knew, but he was also such an amazing guy that she couldn't have stopped herself wanting more. She had thought about asking him out on a date, but she wasn't sure how he would react given how many times she turned him down in the past. She had also thought about a letter, she had even written one but for some reason it had gotten delivered to Sirius and not James. Sirius, in a rare moment of sensitivity had come to talk to her, he had told her that James had gotten over her now. He had told her that James was dating someone else and that he had given up. He wasn't nasty or spiteful in the least, he had genuinely told her that so that neither she nor James got embarrassed and that they could still be friends. It wouldn't have done James any good to realise that she was in love with him, he was such a good guy he would feel terrible that he didn't feel the same. Then James had started to date Chloe and as much as Lily hated to admit it, she had actually liked her. Chloe was smart, pretty and just a genuinely nice person, she was the right sort of person to make James happy.
"Yeah she was," James sighed. Chloe was nice, she was smart and funny and she could actually put up with Sirius.
"Did you two have a fight?" Lily asked.
"No," said James. "We didn't have a fight or anything, we just talked."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"Hmmm not really," said James. "But you know what, you're a girl maybe you can decode this."
"I'll try," said Lily uncertainly.
"She said I wasn't really there with her," said James. "She said it was like I would rather be somewhere else."
"Okay," said Lily. "Anything else."
"No that was pretty much the gist of it," said James. "Any ideas? I thought maybe she thought I spend too much time with my mates."
"I think it sounds like she thought you were into someone else," said Lily. "Don't just take my word for it though…that is just what I think."
"Hmmm sounds plausible," said James slowly.
"Am I what?"
"Are you into somebody else?" Lily asked. She knew it couldn't be her but that didn't mean she wasn't curious.
"What do you think?" James asked carefully avoiding the question.
"I think you're avoiding my question and hiding something," said Lily. "Come on you know you can talk to me."
"Yeah I know I can talk to you, maybe not about this though," said James.
"Why not?" said Lily and then she realised. "I'm sorry I thought we were…"
"We are," said James. "It's just weird to talk about my love life with the girl that couldn't even stomach the idea of a date with me."
"Oh James I'm sorry," said Lily softly. "I'm sorry I was so awful to you all those times."
"I deserved it a lot of the time," said James. "I was a prat."
"You didn't deserve it a lot of the time," said Lily sadly. "I was an uptight pain in the ass."
"A prat and an uptight pain in the ass. We're a right pair aren't we?" James laughed.
"We are," said Lily. "And if you don't want to talk about it with me, that's fine."
"Believe me I know what it's like to feel something for someone and not be able to even acknowledge it not even to yourself," said Lily sadly.
"Something you want to talk about?" asked James.
"Not with you," said Lily sadly.
"Why not with me?" asked James hurt. "It's not like you've ever fancied me…" he looked at her and realised she was now blushing and turning away from him. "Have you?"
"Not when you liked me," said Lily wishing she could just take back what she had said.
"When then?" he pressed. How could not have noticed that she had liked him?
"Doesn't matter," she said sadly. "We're friends now, good friends and I wouldn't want anything to ruin that."
"Neither would I," said James. "You don't feel anything for me anymore though?"
"You're my friend," said Lily avoiding the question. Was the idea of her liking him so repulsing to him that he had to make sure that she didn't like him anymore? How would he react if he knew that she was so in love with him it was pathetic?
"I meant you don't have any romantic feelings for me now?" he asked somewhat desperately.
"Why would it matter?" she snapped. He was just being plain insensitive now. She knew he didn't like her in that way anymore but did he have to make it so obvious that he didn't want her to fancy him.
"Whoa why are you shouting at me?" he asked putting his hands up in the air. "I was just wondering."
"Well don't! You insufferable prat!" she shouted. "Why did I think I could talk to you about anything? You just automatically jumped to the conclusion that I fancied you. Ugh your ego never ceases to amaze me Potter!"
"What the hell just happened in your head?" James shouted. "One minute we're talking and now you're yelling at me."
"Ugh I going to bed," said Lily storming out.
As soon as she made it back to her dormitory, Lily wanted the ground to swallow her whole. Why had she reacted that way to him? He just wanted to make sure she wasn't going to ruin their friendship or the possibility of him getting back together with Chloe. Why couldn't she have just kept her mouth shut? Now she might have lost him as a friend, she hated the thought of not talking to him everyday. Believe it or not she was content with just being James' friend, they had the best conversations sometimes, he could make her laugh and he had an uncanny ability to make her feel better no matter what the situation, except of course this one. Yes she did yearn for more, she spent more time than was healthy thinking about what it would be like to kiss him, but she just wanted be around the man she loved.
The next morning Lily got up and got dressed. For the first time in a really long time, she didn't want to see James, she just wanted to forget what happened the night before. She managed to avoid seeing him in the Gryffindor common room but she had no choice but to go into the Heads Common room she had left her schoolbooks in there. As she had dreaded when she got there, James was waiting for her. He was sitting at the table holding a piece of parchment. He didn't look up when she came in so she walked over to the chair where her books were.
"I spoke to Sirius," said James calmly.
"Did you?" she asked casually. "About what?"
"You," he said getting to his feet. "He told me about your letter."
"He had no right," said Lily keeping her tone even.
"Would you have ever told me how you felt?"
"No," she said not being able to look at him. "He told me that you had moved on and you were happy about it."
"Yeah he told me he said that," said James. "Lily do you like me?"
"You're my friend James," Lily sighed. "You still want Chloe, lets just forget about everything that happened last night…oh and I'm sorry for shouting at you."
"You have to tell me how you feel about me," James pressed. "You owe me that much."
"James, please this won't do any of us any good," she said helplessly.
"Maybe I need to hear it," he said.
"Fine! I love you! Are you happy now? I love you," she shouted at him.
"I love you too," said James calmly as if he was talking about the weather.
"Oh I know you love me as a friend, that is just bloody brilliant…" Lily ranted.
Before she could finish James and walked over to her, curled his index finger under chin tilting her head up so that she could look at him. Then he kissed her. At first it was a soft kiss as if he was still afraid that she would push him away, he knew her temper and wouldn't put it past her to be stubborn. But she responded almost immediately, moving her lips against his. She raised her arms and placed them behind his neck, pulling him closer.
"I love you too," said James softly as he pulled away. He moved his hand from her face and placed it on her waist. "I always have."
"I never really gave up on you," he continued. "I tried but I guess I just got better at hiding it."
"Well you had me fooled," Lily laughed.
"Your acting skills aren't so bad either," James murmured as he reached his hand up to stroke her hair. "I really do love you, you know? And I love that I've gotten to know you so well."
"Me too," she smiled. "And I do really love you."
"I'd never thought I'd hear you say that," he said resting his forehead against hers.
"I never thought I'd say it."
"So, Lily will you go out with me"