Once More…What If

A HariPo Fanfiction

by mew-tsubaki

Note: Another small one-shot featuring Lily and James. Actually, it's my second LExJP story, but it's awesome; it's kinda James' version of Once More…Hug Me. As usual, the Harry Potter charries belong to J.K. Rowling. The songs used are "What If" and "Hug Me" (Lily's song) by Meg and Dia (again, please don't pay mind to the fact that these songs aren't from that decade). REVIEW!!!

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"I love you, Lily."

It was something I said on a daily basis. It was natural, like the order of the world. Natural order. It was in my body, in my blood. And it was there because so was my love for Lily Evans.

Also on a daily basis, Lily rolled her eyes. "You're still a prat, Potter," she replied.

I smiled my most charming smile. "But I'm your prat."

"Um, no," she said curtly, and she walked away with Marlene McKinnon and Dorcas Meadows, the three of them laughing at my latest wooing.

"Ooh, shot down cold, as usual," Sirius Black, my best mate, spoke beside my ear, flinging an arm around my shoulders.

I shrugged. "Eh, it happens. She has to give in one of these days."

Remus Lupin, my other best friend, quirked an eyebrow. "This is our last year at Hogwarts, James. What do you plan to do after we don't see her every day?"

"You're right. We won't see her every day. I will, though. I'll just dog her like usual until she admits she loves me."

"Love the pun, by the way," Sirius chirped.

"What makes you think she loves you?" Remus asked. "What if she truly means you're a prat or a pompous bastard or an arse for absconding with someone else's Defense Against the Dark Arts homework last week?"

I raised an eyebrow. "First, I can tell; I just know she loves me deep down. Second, she didn't call me all of those things. And third, get over the homework-snatching already. I said I was sorry."

"I had to redo the entire assignment," Remus griped.

Sirius batted him away. "Oh, don't be such a daisy-downer. You love doing homework and you know it."

Remus shot Sirius a dirty look, causing me to laugh. I knew everything would work out someday. In the mean time, I had to keep at it. Lily would come around some day. Maybe some day soon.

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The next day I presented Lily with a bouquet of tiger lilies. I guess it didn't help much that I did this in the middle of History of Magic, but what's a guy to do?

She took them, smiled evilly, and said, "Flowers don't work on me, Potter." She scoffed. "Now please sit down and stop disturbing class."

"Of course, my dear," I answered, and I stole Marlene's seat beside her. "After all, you did say, 'please'."

Lily glared at me, but I knew I wasn't bothering her that badly. We did this every day: We bickered, I asked her out, she rejected me, and we carried on a delightfully wicked banter. Yes, natural order. This was how it was supposed to be until she gave in and became my girlfriend. Actually, no. This was how it was supposed to go until she gave in and became my love. Love is a whole lot more permanent than girlfriend. And I had no intention of letting her ever get away.

The rest of the day and the rest of our classes (she, Marlene, Dorcas, Alice, Mary Macdonald, Frank Longbottom, my friends, and I all wanted to be Aurors, so we had almost all of the same classes) were the same as usual. Every now-and-then I hollered for Lily and/or asked her out, she rolled her eyes and/or said something as a retort, and then she and her friends laughed about it. But the laughter didn't hurt. As long as we kept things like this, I felt like I had a chance.

"I can't believe you," Remus said, shaking his head as he, Sirius, our other best mate Peter Pettigrew, and I readied for bed in the dorms. "Once we leave Hogwarts, she could always sick the authorities on you. Magical or not."

I paused, contemplating incarceration. "Nah," I finally said. "If I had to wait in jail or Azkaban for a little while, if it was for her, I'd be fine. If I had to die for her, I would."

Remus looked at me, and Sirius' face exaggerated Remus' shocked look. "James…," Sirius began. "You've never said that before."

I shrugged it off like it was no big thing, but actually…it was. Had I really just said that? Yes, I had always professed my love for Lily Evans, but…wow. I just amazed myself. Apparently I was in deeper than I had ever known. "I know," I answered.

"You mean it, too," he added, continuing to stare at me. Out of the other three Marauders, Sirius knew me best. Of course he could read this on my face.

"I do," I stated. I climbed into my bed and flopped my head on my pillow, ready to sleep. The only problem was that sleep didn't take me. "Bollocks. I can't sleep."

"Take a potion," Remus muttered from his bed next to my four-poster.

"I can't sleep either," Sirius whined from his bed on my other side.

"Same here," Peter called on the other side of Sirius.

I sat up in bed and ran my hands through my messy hair. "Anyone feel like a prank?"

"Don't do it," Remus warned. "You're Head Boy, you nitwit."

I rolled my eyes. "Then what am I supposed to do? Lie here all night hoping I'll get a few minutes of shuteye?"

"Yes."

Sirius sat up, too, and turned on his light. "It's too quiet."

Remus sighed. "That's because we're trying to sleep, Sirius."

Sirius ignored him and groped the pile of stuff on his nightstand. His hand landed on his radio and he turned it on. Guitar blasted through the quiet. Sirius hastily turned the volume down, but a smile formed on his lips. "I love this song!!"

"What is it?" I asked, turning to face him. Meanwhile, the words poured out:

Stand tall
Head and shoulders down
They don't make them like us anymore
You failed (You failed) to see that I am not your shadow
I can be more

"I dunno!" Sirius said excitedly. "I don't remember the name of the song or band, but this chick's voice rocks! She plays some of the guitar, too. Merlin, what I wouldn't give for a rocker girlfriend…"

I snorted. "I wonder how long she would last." Yep, Sirius was a womanizer. I highly doubt that a rocker girl would last as long as the others.

You said the world is hard to face
I am your umbrella, Megan
But I can keep up with its pace
If you let me go

"She would be the best!" Sirius retorted, appearing offended. "I wouldn't give her up for anything."

"Twenty galleons, maybe," came Remus interjection.

"Har, har," Sirius snapped, squinting at him.

What if I see you down the line?
What if I've built up what was mine?
What if I didn't forget passion like you did?

That last line made me listen. Huh. This wasn't too shabby.

What if I find my purpose first?
What if I fulfill my life's work?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?

Sirius smiled. "That line is most certainly you, James," he commented.

"What?"

He pointed at me. "Come on, don't you see it? All Lils does is turn you down, but you persevere. Her constant rejection keeps you alive."

"I s'pose…"

Not scared.
I know you thought I was shaking fast in my own two shoes
But these soles could fight the ocean waves,
Dirty laundry, and World War II

Finally I see past my front hands
Not a coward's pissed-stained pants
Thank you for telling me I can't
Without you, I wouldn't be where I am

Actually, that fourth stanza was true. Sirius was right. Lily told me that we would never happen, but I made it my sole purpose to prove her wrong. It was one of the most important things in my life. It was one of the few things I dedicated myself to. I wanted her so badly, it hurt. But if she didn't tell me that we would never happen, if she just acted like I didn't exist, I sure as hell wouldn't be where I am now, an almost friend in her life. I may not be her love –yet –but I was close to her in some ways.

What if I see you down the line?
What if I took back my lost time?
What if I didn't forget passion like you did?

What if I find my purpose first?
What if I fulfill my life's work?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?

"I think you're right, Sirius," I finally admitted.

"'Course he's right," Peter mumbled. "It's as plain as day to anyone who sees you interact with her."

"I was going to it's because I'm always right, but Peter has a point," Sirius said. I raised an eyebrow at him.

When you see me again,
You won't know my face
But you'll recall my heart
Inside of me, a side of you is placed

"She probably won't ever forget you," Remus said, finally turning over and using his wand as a light. He must've been listening to the song, too. "I doubt she could ever forget these seven years."

When I see you again,
I won't be bitter
You, you're so far to blame
You're part of this change
I knew so much of you
I won't ever be the same

I won't ever be the same. I know that. Almost all of my life had been spent loving Lily and hanging out with the guys. I went from boy to man here at Hogwarts, my love for Lily maturing from gentle crush to true love. Even if I don't see much of her after school ends –only a few months away since it was almost March and we were in our seventh and final year –I know I won't ever be the same. I don't think I'll ever love another woman as much as her. I don't think I'll ever get over her.

What if I see you down the line?
What I took back what was mine?
What if I didn't forget passion like you did?

Yep. As long as Lilykins didn't drop that fire of hers, the one that kept her shooting comebacks at me, I knew everything would be right between us. The rest of the song played out and then Sirius turned it down more before turning it off.

What if I find my purpose first?
What if I fulfill my life's work?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?

Not a bad image song for me.

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Morning dawned, rays of sunlight poured in through the windows, and everything was tinted in brilliant warm golds, ambers, and burgundys (where it fell on anything that was Gryffindor maroon).

These colors reminded me of Lily. Insert emotional, love-struck sigh.

I got dressed and waited with Remus while Sirius got his sorry arse up. Peter fumbled with his sweater's buttons while we waited, and he fixed them just as we made it to the Great Hall downstairs for breakfast.

I looked around while the four of us took our seats at the Gryffindor table. Oh. Lily wasn't there yet.

Remus smiled. "It never gets old, does it?"

I grinned. "The anticipation? Never."

"I envy you," he said, surprising me. "To almost be seventeen and have the love of your life –well, you found her. You just have to win her over."

I rolled my eyes. "You're almost seventeen, too, Remus. Which reminds me…" I poked Sirius to get his attention, and he got Peter's attention. "What should we plan for your birthday?"

Remus stared pointedly at me. "None of you are allowed to throw a huge party. None."

"Aw, Remmy!" Sirius whined. "C'mooon!!! No birthday bash?!"

"You guys know I don't like big events. I dare any of you to try, but," he continued, drawing his wand, "as I recall, I'm the best one out of the four of us at Hexes and Jinxes. So try me."

Sirius and I gulped. "Okay, okay," I said. "Are gifts and candy out of the question, too?"

Remus put away his wand and smiled. Except it was the kind of smile that made you wonder if he'd kill you the next moment. "Of course not."

Sirius tsked. "Go figure. Mention anything that could possibly be chocolate, and we get Ceiling Remus."

I chuckled, because Sirius was right. There was Ceiling Remus, and then there was Basement Remus. We had just seen both in under a minute.

More students entered for breakfast. I looked up, scanning the faces and- There she was, walking in with Marlene, Dorcas, and Mary. I drew in a deep breath and bellowed, "LILYKINS!!"

She seemed to cringe. She kept her head down and she and her friends sat down at the table several seats away from the guys and me. Well, now that was just plain rude.

"LILY!!"

Oh my- Could you believe- She- Lily was ignoring me!! No, no. There must be some mistake. She always acknowledged me, even if it was to just glare at me.

"LILS!!"

Her head twitched up-! No, she looked at Marlene, not me. Marlene said something, and Dorcas and Mary spoke with them, as well.

"EVANS!!!"

"James, let it go!" Remus said, wincing. He covered his ears. "You can try her in class."

"You guys know me. I don't give up." I deeply inhaled and- "LILY, LILY, LILY!!!"

"Mr. Potter!" Oh, bugger. This was not the voice I wanted to hear. "Will you please be quiet?!"

I turned around and gave good ol' McGonagall a shaky grin. She looked bloody furious. "'Course, professor," I answered. "Sorry, professor."

She drew her lips into a flat line. "I'm beginning to doubt your capability as Head Boy, Mr. Potter."

I paled. That wasn't just mean; that was plain torture. Lily was Head Girl; as long as I remained Head Boy, our positions guaranteed some of her time was spent with me. I couldn't let a golden opportunity like that get away. "It won't happen again, professor," I almost choked.

"Good," McGonagall retorted. "I'd hate to have to take away points from my own house." She walked back to the staff table and I turned to the guys.

"You almost lost us points!" Peter complained.

"You almost lost Head Boy," Sirius said. "You're walking a dangerous line, mate."

"You've clearly lost your head," Remus commented. "You don't usually shout that much during a meal."

I glared at them. "I usually don't have to. Did you see that? She completely ignored me. Lily! Ignored me!"

Remus rolled his eyes. "I can't imagine why."

I grimaced. "Thanks for the vote of confidence."

"That was really weird, though," Sirius stated. "She always responds with something."

"I know."

"Cheer up," Peter said. "You can get her to snap at some point today. Maybe even next period."

I half-smiled, grateful for a shred of hope. Peter was right. I could get her to break later. I mean, she always did. It was natural order, remember.

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Merlin's beard. The world's fallen to shit.

Through History of Magic, through Potions, through Transfiguration, through Herbology –Through each and every of our morning classes, Lily ignored me. She never did that. In Charms, Flitwick paired us to practice a spell, but as soon as he broke apart the groups to resume class, she went back to acting as if I didn't exist. What the hell, Lily?!!

Several of the teachers called me out for my 'rowdy' behavior, but I really didn't give a damn. All I cared about was Lily. She wasn't talking to me or looking at me –what had I done?!

I stressed about it over supper, where I didn't eat much. I didn't have much of an appetite, after all. My fellow Marauders were concerned and tried to get me to eat more, but I really couldn't. Eventually we headed upstairs to the Common Room.

Oh, look. There's Lily. She's sitting next to Marlene in front of the fire. Huh. I guess they're having a kind of study group with Dorcas, Mary, and Alice, Frank's girlfriend. Hmm. The way her hair catches the firelight… Merlin, she's so beautiful.

I sighed and went up to the boys' dormitories with Sirius and Peter. Remus told us that he'd catch up. We entered the seventh years' level and I went straight to my bed. I collapsed on my mattress. I didn't really feel like moving.

Someone shook my shoulder. "C'mon, James," Sirius said in a quiet voice. "At least put your pajamas on."

I grunted into my pillow. "I don't really feel like moving." Well, that's what I said. I doubt that's what he and Peter heard, though, since I talked through the pillow. They probably heard, "I mmf fmfmg mfmfmfggmf mfmfmfggfmf."

A little bit later, Remus came up. "It's like she's a different person."

I turned my head. "What do you mean?"

He walked over to his bed and began undressing. "I was just standing there, waiting to see if she'd look up. She did and she looked around the room. She seemed to notice me, but she didn't smile or nod like she usually does by way of a greeting. It was like she saw that someone was there, that's all."

I buried my face deeper into my pillow. "Great."

Soon enough, the others were ready for bed, so I had to get up and change. When I got under the covers this time, I turned to Sirius.

"Mind if I turn your radio on?"

My answer? A snore.

I turned the device on anyway, and I kept the volume low. I heard bits and pieces of electric guitar. A familiar tune chimed. Wait. I know this. This was-

What if I see you down the line?
What if I took back my lost time?
What if I didn't forget passion like you did?

Of course. It was like this song was taunting me. Only last night had I been telling myself how horrible it would be if I didn't have Lily's attention. Now, my 'if's were real. But that line was right. Where had her passion, her fire, gone?

What if I find my purpose first?
What if I fulfill my life's work?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?

I drowned out the rest by focusing on Sirius's snoring. I didn't want to listen to this right now. Hopefully, today was a fluke.

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Flukes, schmukes.

The next three days were the same as yesterday. She was all ice, and I was all fire, keeping up my persistence. But ice and fire don't mix. Fire is supposed to win, supposed to melt away ice's coldness. But it wasn't working.

I prayed for the chance to shatter her newfound Ice Queen exterior.

Someone must've been listening, because Friday came. It was March now, and today was the first Prefect meeting of the month. Oh, how lovely! It was at lunch, too, so there was no way she could escape it.

Or me.

I went to the Prefect room on the second floor, underneath Slughorn's Potions classroom on the third. I went ahead early, hoping to catch Lily off-guard. The other Heads and Prefects were there, too. Actually, Lily was the last to arrive. She did take her seat beside me, but I could sense her discomfort. Jeez, was I really that repulsive?

McGonagall came in, then. She stood at the head of the long table and spoke. "We have an idea for at least two more Hogsmeade trips before the end of the school year. However, there seems to be some dispute as to when they shall happen. I turn to the Head Boys and Girls to make a decision on the matter."

Lily raised her hand. "One trip should be at the beginning of the last month of school, something to relieve the pressure of impending exams."

"An excellent idea, Miss Evans," the deputy headmistress stated. There were other sounds and murmurs of agreement all around the table. So, one trip date was solved. I agreed with it, though. It would be nice to relieve ourselves before the worst part of the school year.

"What about the other?" a Hufflepuff Prefect asked. "Why not have it halfway between now and then?"

Ooh. Idea. Lily has to jump on me for this one.

People started to acquiesce, but I shook my head. McGonagall called on me. "You have an alternative date, Mr. Potter?"

"It's too far away," I whined. "Why not have it the first weekend of April?"

Okay, Evans. Let me have it. You know as well as I do what the first weekend of April means. April would begin on the weekend, giving the Marauders a fantastic Saturday April Fools'. Not to mention the havoc that could be wrought throughout the castle if the students had all day to really pull pranks. So come on, Lily. You know you want to scold me. I know you're going to scoff and point out a billion reasons why I'm wrong and an idiot and you're going to be talking to me again…now!

No response from her.

Okay, how about…now!

Damn it, yell at me!!!!

"I'm not sure that's a wise idea," McGonagall replied.

It took all of my willpower not to stand up and snap at the Transfiguration teacher. I really wanted to shout at her, "I didn't want to hear that from you, you old bag!!" But I didn't. I think I deserve some credit for that. Or maybe a hundred House Points.

Still, Lily kept her mouth shut. God, I wanted to just grab her by the chin and open her mouth with a good snog. Then she'd yell at me. And I would also probably end up in the Hospital Wing for a month or two.

"How about the third week of March?" the stupid Ravenclaw Head Boy offered.

Everybody, including me, decided on that and McGonagall adjourned the meeting so we could eat. It wasn't every time that we had a lunchtime meeting. Lily left the Prefect room and headed back downstairs, most likely to join up with the girls. I kept up a good pace behind her. She was humming to herself; she appeared to be in a good mood.

I had to get her attention this time. "Evans!"

All I heard was her soft humming.

"Evans!!"

The tune was pretty, her voice prettier.

"Evans!!!"

More goddamn humming…

"LILY!!!"

It was as if she was completely lost in this ruddy song stuck in her brain. There was no way that she didn't hear me.

Why? Why was she doing this?

Why?

"Lily!!"

Merlin, my throat was dry. I'm sure her name came out as a croak that time. But that wasn't my fault. I was trying every day to hear her voice, her words directed at me.

"Lily! Talk to me!!!"

I followed her into the Great Hall. She went straight to the empty seat beside Mary. When she started pouring some soup for herself, I grimaced and stomped past, joining my mates.

"You look scarier than MickeyGonagall," Sirius stated with wide eyes and raised eyebrows. "What the hell happened to you?"

"I did my best to rile her at the Prefect meeting," I supplied, making myself a sandwich. "She didn't even flinch."

Remus leaned on the table with his elbows. "What did you prod her with?"

I darkly smiled. "I said one of the Hogsmeade trips should be on April Fools' Day."

"Nice. I'm surprised she didn't bite."

I shook my head. "She just sat there, lips kept shut tighter than a clam. McGonagall was the one who finally said it wasn't a good idea."

"Damn. Lily didn't even have to say anything," Sirius groused.

"I know." I took an angry bite out of my lunch. "She wormed her way out of that one."

"Indeed she did," he and Remus said together, and Peter nodded.

But could she really get away from me forever?

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This torture has to be worse than anything in Azkaban –maybe even worse than anything He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named could possibly come up with!

I really wished I was dead at this point.

The weekend came and went, as did the following week. Nothing changed. She was not breaking as ice should. She was completely flame-resistant.

It hurt so much, this cold rejection. I physically began feeling the pain in my chest, in my heart. But Madam Pomfrey couldn't fix this. My mates couldn't cheer this away. The only thing that could heal this was Lily.

Wednesday evening came and I went to the library with Remus to get some homework done while Sirius and Peter were off pranking some Slytherins. I could barely concentrate on the assignment in front of me, so I excused myself and went looking for something different to read.

I didn't hear the words, but a familiar tune caught my hearing when I was near the history section. I put my book down and listened in. Ah. It wasn't that song from Sirius's radio. But I had heard this before, I just didn't know-

Lily. This was the tune she'd been humming that day. And this was her voice humming it again.

Involuntarily, the pain kicked into overdrive. I thumped my chest with a fist and turned the corner. I stood in front of her, though she was looking at the shelf when I spoke.

"Lily."

She turned around and headed to the Divination books. Of course I followed.

"Lily, speak to me," I begged. My brow furrowed. What was so wrong that things had suddenly changed between us?

Wait. Could she finally have fallen for me?

I brushed that ridiculous idea aside when she merely skimmed the book titles. "Lily, I know you know I exist," I added. Okay, I didn't really know that anymore. I mean, with how she'd been treating me lately…

As expected, nothing. Well, I had an idea.

"Fine. Miss Evans, I would like to speak to you about a Head Boy and Head Girl matter," I stated.

She finally looked at me. "Continue, Mr. Potter."

"Aha!" I suddenly said and she tore her eyes away. "See! I knew you could still talk to me!! I made that up to see if you would fall for it, and you did!" I paused, waiting for a reaction.

She got the books she wanted and turned away, heading back to the carrel where she had left her rucksack. I followed right behind.

"Evans, talk to me," I spat. I was really angry this time. I daresay pissed-off, even. "There really is a Head Boy and Head Girl matter."

She looked up again and met my smoldering hazel eyes. Ah. She had fallen for that one again.

Just as she turned her head away, I spoke. "That statement's true, you know. We do have a matter: You're Head Girl and I'm Head Boy, and you're not speaking at all to me. You're being unfair."

She sat at the carrel and flipped through her parchment, still ignoring me.

"Lily," I breathed. Her name was prayer on my lips. Merlin, I wanted to cry. See what you do to me, Lily Evans? You make a near-grown man want to break down and cry. "Lily, you're being cold. At the beginning of this year when Dumbledore made me Head Boy, I told myself –I told you," I corrected, "that I was going to clean up my act. I haven't pulled any pranks, I haven't gone after Snape, and I toned down my wooing of you. But you always rejected me to my face."

Her hand froze while in the middle of turning a page. So, you're listening to me now, when I'm finally baring my torn-up soul?

"But now, you turning your back every time… That's something no one heals from." I breathed. Merlin, who knew it was so hard to speak the truth? "You had always been so much more than this. At least, that's what I thought." And I always had, but now she was making me doubt myself. I didn't say anything more, and I hoped she would face me while I waited behind her. After nothing (again), I walked away. I had to be strong, while everything important to me collapsed.

Did you want to kill me, Lily? If so, you've done one hell of a job.

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"Do you want to go to Zonko's?"

"…Sure."

I ambled alongside the guys while we made our way to Zonko's Joke Shop in Hogsmeade. There really hadn't been any excitement lately. We had a little get-together for Remus' birthday, but no big bash, as he had requested. And then Lily… She was the same as ever, living in a James-free world.

"Prongs," Sirius spat. "Can't you be happy for one minute? Forget about girls for one measly minute and enjoy some time with your best mates!"

I grimaced. "I'm just not in a happy mood, Padfoot."

He glared at me. "We only need one Mooney, James."

Remus shoved Sirius. "Hey! That was a cheap shot!"

We made it to the joke shop and the guys seemed happy enough inside, even Remus who wouldn't always pull pranks with us. But the items and trinkets just weren't doing it for me this time around.

"James, James! What about this?" Peter asked, holding up some Belch Powder and Stink Pellets. "You know you want to buy some."

"Not now, Wormtail," I answered, shaking my head.

"Mooney, why don't you escort dear Prongs back to the castle?" Sirius suggested, coming back with his arms full of purchases.

"I don't need an escort, Sirius," I stated.

"You do when we have to prepare for your birthday on Tuesday."

I rolled my eyes. "Whatever. I don't really feel like having a birthday this year." That got their attention.

"You-" Remus started.

"-not wanting-" Peter added.

"-a birthday?!" Sirius shrilly hissed.

I winced. "Forget it. I'm going back anyway. I'll see you later, guys." And I did. I returned to the castle on my own, no purchases to carry, which was a first. Nothing from Zonko's or Honeydukes. No spotting of Lily. No nothing.

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I managed to get my friends to agree to no celebration for my seventeenth birthday. I know, I know, it's the big one in the wizarding world. But there wasn't any cause for celebration for me. They could've thrown it, but I wouldn't have been any happier for it. The way I see it, I just saved us from all turning into daisy-downers, like Sirius would've called us.

During Potions later that last week of March, I asked Remus to talk to Lil for me. I sat with Dorcas and Remus worked with Lily on an assignment Slughorn had given us. He spoke to her, but now she was ignoring him, too. Great. Was she going to treat all the Marauders the same way now?

I shook my head and added the dragon scale to Dorcas' and my concoction. The potion fizzed and turned sky blue as Slughorn said it should. Wow. I managed to actually get something right in this class for once. That rarely happened.

"Wait! You're supposed to use a bronze ladle, Lily, not silver!!" Remus cried. I looked up in time to see it happen.

BOOM!

Oh, hell. That was something that never happened. Lily was the best in our year in Potions.

And she had just blown up half of the room.

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"Wait. You got a pardon?!" Sirius asked incredulously as we made our way to Defense Against the Dark Arts.

Remus frowned. "You know Lily's Slughorn's favorite. He seemed to notice she wasn't in her right mind today. She was really distracted, too."

"What did you say?" I asked.

"I told her the truth, that you're hurting really bad and that she has to talk to you."

"Real subtle, Mooney," I griped.

Remus shot me a look. "I talked to her for you, remember?"

"And no response?"

"She was as cold-hearted as she's been lately."

Sirius got angry. "Even when you told her how awful she's been to James?"

"Yes."

"Fine, then." We were almost at the classroom doors. "It's my turn to corner her."

"Why does that sound like a dangerous idea?" I commented.

Sirius smiled a wicked grin. "Hey, I'm just getting my say in."

So with that, we went into D.A.D.A. Sirius sat by himself, I joined Peter, and Remus stole the spot next to Mary right as Lily made a beeline for it. That definitely disgruntled her, and she sat next to Sirius when she realized it was the only one left.

Okay, Sirius. What's your plan?

Talking, talking, talking –hey! He was sitting much to close to my Lily!! Merlin, when we leave, I'll kill-

She hissed something at him after he was done. Oh, so she spoke to Sirius and not Remus or me?!!

Sirius stared at her before they both faced forward and listened to the teacher. And that was that.

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When break came, Peter, Remus, Sirius, and I went up to the dorms to relax. Well, we intended that. I tore into Sirius.

"What the hell was that all about?!!" I shouted.

Sirius glared at me. "I was fighting for you, you git."

"Did you have to be so close to her?!!"

He shrugged. "She's not even susceptible to threats. She even turned around and threatened to poison my next drink."

"Yikes," Peter mumbled, shrinking back.

I sighed. "Threats, Sirius?"

He glowered at me. "She doesn't even care that she's ripped you to shreds. She's perfectly fine with it."

The color left my face.

She knew what she was doing –and was fine with it?

I dropped onto my bed. This pained me the most. I could've forgotten about this if she had been acting without thinking. But –she knew? And still she-?

I really did wish I was dead now.

"That's it." I was surprised I managed to say, considering what those two words carried.

"What?" Sirius asked.

"That's it," I repeated, looking up at him. I looked at Peter and Remus, as well. I shook my head. "I'm done."

"You don't mean it," Remus said.

"I do. If she really wants me to leave her alone, then fine. That's it. I'll speak to her one last time." I stood and got some homework out. "And then that'll be it."

"You're not kidding," Sirius stated with a shocked expression.

"I'm done."

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Remnants of that song haunted my mind as I wandered the halls that weekend. It really was a harbinger of doom and emotional death.

I was going to do it. I was going to tell Lily goodbye.

She'd probably take it as a joke. It was Friday, and the day before April Fools' Day. But I wasn't joking around.

Stand tall
Head and shoulders down
They don't make them like us anymore
You failed (You failed) to see that I am not your shadow
I can be more

I could've been more, if she had just let me.

Finally I see past my front hands
Not a coward's pissed-stained pants
Thank you for telling me I can't
Without you, I wouldn't be where I am

Damn it, Lily! You were right. You were right, I can't. We never would've worked out. And I'm going to tell you, admit the truth to you.

What if I see you down the line?
What I took back what was mine?
What if I didn't forget passion like you did?

What if I find my purpose first?
What if I fulfill my life's work?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?

Well, my failure had finally happened. And now I was dead inside.

It was almost the end of my free period, and I was heading down to Charms early. I was still thinking of just how to approach her without getting brushed off. And then I heard it.

Lily's voice.

"…swear I've seen that face somewhere before. It's the very face I fell for in the human race. I can't lie; I was brainwashed to be honest in this brave new world that slowly passes by."

I saw her on the flight of steps below me. She paused to look outside the window. I didn't have to look. I already knew it was drizzling outside.

"Wait. Wait. I swear I've seen that face somewhere before. It's the very face I fell for in the human race. I can't lie; I was brainwashed to be honest in this brave new world that slowly passes by," she finished, deepening the last note. She did have a lovely voice. That song was sweet, too. The singer was talking about finally admitting she loved her guy.

Yeah, if only it worked out that way.

She chuckled softly under her breath. I guess part of that song was still stuck in her head. "Hug me 'til you drug me, honey, hug me… Hug me 'til you suffocate me, honey, hug me… Drug me 'til you love me, honey, love me…," she sang.

I liked those lines, though they stung. They were kind of bittersweet, in a sense. I half-grinned. "Okay, I'll bite."

Lily jumped at the sound of my voice. Whoops. I must've startled her. Her books and bag clattered to the steps below, two of her books tumbling all the way down to the next landing.

I took the stairs several at a time until I was behind her. I didn't let her turn around. Instead, I wrapped my arms around her. She didn't struggle or say anything.

Actually, I felt her slacken a bit, like she was relaxing into me. …No. I imagined that.

"I won't drug you or suffocate you, but I damn well love you, Lily," I said slowly. My face was beside hers, my lips near her ear. Her hair was near my nose, and I breathed in her scent. God. She would always, always drive me crazy. "I love you, Lily Evans." It really was all I could say. I had to get that out before I released her. Before she could fly away.

I sensed that she wanted to say something, though it didn't come out right away at first. "James…," she muttered.

I thought I was hearing things. Had she just called me 'James'? Wait –she had spoken to me. Of course she would finally say something when I was about to let her go. Nothing could ever be easy.

Curse Fate.

I squinted. Crap, my eyes were tearing up. I had meant to be strong, but… "Lily, please…," I breathed. Merlin, getting out this next part would be the hardest thing I'd ever done. "Do you want- Do you need me to stop? It tears me apart, but if it hurts you more, then I'll leave you alone. I'll stop. I'll get- I'll get- I'll…get over you," I finally managed.

Yes. That was it. If my feelings hurt her, then that was it.

Nothing happened for a moment that felt like it lasted an eternity. Then something did.

Her hands moved onto my arms. Her fingers interlaced with mine and squeezed my hands. No –no, no, no, no, no. How could she be doing this to me now?! I was finally ready to give up on her and now she was weakening my resolve.

AGH!!! DAMN IT, DAMN IT, DAMN IT!!!!!!

"J-James," she stuttered.

God, every time she said my name… I couldn't get another word out. "Hmm?" I prompted.

"James…"

Oh. I get it. She wanted me to let go. She was trying to be nice about it, but she wanted me to let go and leave her be. Right. Okay. Suck it up, James. You can do this. "Okay, Lily. I get it. I give up. I leave you alone now. Enjoy your life." My head left her shoulder, taking warmth with it. I began to withdraw my arms.

Lily bowed her head slightly and squeezed my hands again. She… She wasn't letting me go. She didn't want me to leave?!!!

I was frozen. "Lily…?"

"James, don't go."

Oh my- This can't be- "What?"

"I said, 'Don't go.'"

This was unbelievable. I tightened my arms around her. "What?" I repeated. Was she pulling a prank on me?!!!!!!!!

Before I could blink or get another word in, Lily turned around. She yanked my hands down behind her and kissed me. I was shocked. How had she gone from acting like I didn't exist to suddenly snogging me?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But damn, it was good. Her hands in mine, my mouth over hers. She deepened the kiss and I greedily accepted the invitation, forcing my tongue into her mouth.

This was the best thing in the universe.

When she pulled away, we slowly opened our eyes. She giggled at my foggy spectacles. I coughed. "I won't go," I stated.

Lily gave me a half-sweet, half-devilish smile. "Good."

I stared into those bottle green eyes and lifted her up, planting another kiss on her lovely lips.

What if I see you down the line?
What I took back what was mine?
What if I didn't forget passion like you did?

HA! Forget passion?! None had been forgotten at all! This song… I knew I wouldn't forget it any time soon.

What if I find my purpose first?
What if I fulfill my life's work?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?
What if you counting on my failure made me live?

This song was no harbinger of doom. It truly was my image song. I fulfilled my life's work, all right. I finally had my purpose. Lily was finally mine.

Thank you for counting on my failure, love. With you, Lily, I have never felt more alive.

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Not too shabby for a JamesxLily fic, right? I hope not! Well, I guess I cheated a bit since this is just the James' pov of Lily's Once More…Hug Me. But I felt I had to do it. It was too tempting, all thirty pages of it. (Funny how this ended up being longer than Lily's…)

It's only my second LilyxJames, but I really enjoyed writing it. I would love to see your review if you really enjoyed reading it, too!!! And like with Lily's, does anyone want to see a sequel?

Let me know in a review! And THANK YOU for checking this story out!!!

-mew-tsubaki