Author's Note: I honestly can't explain where the hell this story has been for the last year or so. But this is dedicated to you, who reviewed this story and sent me messages even when I had all but given up on writing. I don't know what happened to me this past year, but suddenly, a few weeks ago, I woke up and I needed to write so badly my hands were shaking. And just this evening I was perusing my documents and came upon this.

All apologies below in fiction form. Thanks to all of you who messaged me and reviewed this story and were so touched by these little moments. It means more to me than you will ever know. I hope I can continue to give you words.

xoxo,

Fiery

p.s.- reading playlist: parachutes, by Coldplay


The first thing Lily Evans notices upon waking is that the sheets are blue. It's an odd thing to notice at first, and were it any other day and were she any less groggy she may have noticed that her mouth tastes like parchment or that her ear is itching. But Lily Evans wakes up and she notices the sheets are a lovely shade of blue. A soft, cottony, decidedly-not-the-sheets-she-would-know-as-the-sheets-on-her-own-bed blue.

A few seconds later she notices the naked boy lying next to her in them.

Oh. Oh.

Lily fiddles with the sheets because that's easier to cope with than the naked boy in her bed. The naked boy who is warm and pressed against her own naked body (good Merlin why had it taken her so long to notice that?). The naked boy who is smiling at her and she feels the goddamn sun behind his smile and Merlin she feels so naked, even wrapped in these blankets.

It's not that Lily regrets the naked boy in her bed. Nor does she regret the process that led to the naked boy ending up in her bed. Lily's no prude, and it's not like she hasn't been practically keyed up just thinking about said naked boy for months now. It's not the presence of the naked boy and these sky blue sheets that scares her.

It's the meaning of them.

"Hey."

His voice all but shatters the peace pounding in her head, even as she avoids his sleepy eyed gaze and fiddles with those cerulean sheets.

His arm slowly slips around her waist, as if he's already aware of the pensive train of thought turning her stomach to knots. Lily's always been one to overanalyze, and he is anything if hyperaware of Lily's ability to over think. Or in this case, over feel.

Because Lily feels. She feels so much in that moment, tangled in those baby blue sheets with a boy who five years ago she would never have given a second thought. She feels the warmth of his body as he sits up next to her. Feels the thrum of his pulse as she unconsciously leans into his chest. She feels the soft cotton of the sheets. Feels the sunlight streaming in the window and spilling onto her freckled shoulders. She feels a wave of emotion stronger than the one she felt last night amidst the unbuttoning of blouses and the whisper soft brushes of fingertips across skin and the tentative "Are you sure?" spoken in between desperate and keening kisses.

Lily feels a lot. Because this…this bed, these sheets, these feelings, this boy

They're a big fucking deal.

"Tell me what you're thinking." James whispers lightly, and he's being so careful with his words that Lily wants to cry because he's always so gentle, so understanding, so aware of her that she feels as if it was pointless to ever resist this idiot.

Tell me what you're thinking.

Lily considers for a moment the feeling in her rib cage, like a balloon so full of helium she's afraid it might burst and leave her horribly broken. She considers the forget-me-not pattern on those blue sheets and she considers the fact that she's a little sore, though not in a bad way at all.

"James." She doesn't know why they're whispering. The bedroom they're in (one of the many in the Potter mansion) is far away from the rest of the house. James' parents are gone for the weekend. There's no one within a good five mile radius.

"Lily." He looks a little more alert now, a little more cautious. And his thumb is rubbing circles on the small of her back and she sighs with the realization of how utterly happy she is. And the realization of how she should probably tell him that.

"This…us…this means something to me." Lily replies slowly, turning in the sheets to face him and gaining in speed as she continues. The covers shift and fall away from her body just slightly, she doesn't bother to cover up. "I know we're not exactly just a fling but what happened last night…that's not. I'm not. This matters. You matter. And I know I joke about leaving you and running off with Remus because he's much smarter, or Sirius because he's a lot better looking, but you need to know—"

"Get to the point Evans." James is grinning again, and Lily is blushing and feeling like an idiot because now she's rambling and she doesn't want to ramble. She wants him to understand. She wants to explain away this warmth sitting in her limbs and how it's all but suffocating her and she's perfectly okay with that.

"So impatient." She huffs. James always needs a little bit of humor here and there. It would probably kill the poor bloke to be serious for more than five seconds.

"Tell me I'm not justified for being impatient when you're sitting in front of me naked, I dare you." His grin is infectious.

She rolls her eyes and sighs. "Only you could completely botch up my attempt to say I love you."

"I—what?"

James face is utterly delightful and so shocked and now Lily is the one biting back a grin.

"Did you just say you love me, Lily?"

He's smiling at her, but she can tell from the softness of his eyes and the way he's biting his lip that he sees the gravity of this moment just as much as she does. That even though they're naked and just a little bit wrecked from a night of rather enthusiastic debauchery and he's a hormonal goofy teenage boy, Lily can see James looking at her and knows that his whole world is hinging on this moment. And it makes her feel a little bit braver, a little bit safer, because hers is too. Last night was a big deal. Last night was personal and raw and vulnerable and wonderful.

But this, right here, is the crux.

Her lips meet his in a surge and it's a dry, brief kiss that tastes like sleep and promise and blue cotton sheets.

Then Lily punches James on the shoulder and says "Of course I love you, you idiot. I'm amazed it took you this long to come around to figure that out." She feels so light, like she could simply float away without a care. There's a part of her common sense telling her that there's no way this can last. That she's a muggle born and he's a pure blood and they're so vastly different from one another that this could never work. But there's a larger part of her that really couldn't care less.

James nearly chokes on his indignance. "It took me seven years to get you agree to go on a date with me! How was I supposed to know it wouldn't take another seven to get an actual confession of affection!?"

She punches him again and he tackles her and tickles her and together they dissolve into laughter and a tent of blue sheets and kisses.

And if Lily hears the chuckled "I love you. Always loved you, you loony bint", she decides it's in her best interest to not take the mickey out of James for it.

Just this once.