Summary: I blamed Sirius. It was easier than blaming James and his denial. I wanted to, but I couldn't. Sequel to "Stupid Boys." Lily James. One-shot. COMPLETE
A/N: First off, if you have not read "Stupid Boys," you should read that fic first or else this one will not make much sense.
Secondly, thanks to everyone who reviewed and favorite-d "Stupid Boys." It's because of you that this story came into being. I think this fic was always in my head while I was writing SB, but it took your requests for a sequel for me to put pen to paper and get this story out of my head. So, thank you all again, and I hope you enjoy!
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I Blame Sirius
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We got it figured out.
I huffed to myself, blowing the hair out of my eyes that the wind had graciously pulled out of my ponytail.
You'll find out soon enough.
If Sirius Black had been near me at that moment, I would have hexed him.
Damn him and his riddles.
I couldn't take it any longer. I was going crazy. It had been over a week since James had kissed me (on the cheek, but still…), and I was still none the wiser about the revelation the boys had come to.
And, even better, James wasn't speaking to me.
Yup. That's right. No speaking. Every time he saw me, he avoided me like I was the plague.
I blamed Sirius.
It was his fault, after all. Maybe if he had just told me what he, Remus, and Peter had figured out I wouldn't be sitting out by the Black Lake, freezing my arse off because I didn't want anyone to see me moping.
I couldn't even get reassurances from Remus and Peter that things were figured out because every time they saw me they avoided me too. Well, not completely. They would give me these one sentence statements like "It's fine" or "Don't worry" before running off.
I hated boys. They're nothing but trouble.
Maybe I should've joined a convent.
There weren't any boys there to drive me absolutely bonkers.
Because what guy cuts off all communication with the girl that he just recently became friends? For years, we did nothing but scream at each other. But now we were the closest we had ever been, or ever could be.
Maybe it wasn't me who was losing it. Maybe it was him.
I began plucking grass out by its roots, trying to take out some of my frustration on something else instead of the people that I surrounded myself with.
The situation I was forced into was so damn difficult. I couldn't do anything.
Not that I didn't try.
I went to the main source. I went to his friends. I went to my friends. A lot of good that did me.
"I don't know what to do about that boy?" I said one night when we were all getting ready for bed.
"What boy?" Grace asked as her head popped through the neck of her night shirt.
"What boy, Grace?" Lexi said. "Have we not been living with the same girl the past seven years? What other boy could it be? James Potter, of course."
"There's no need to be so sassy, Lexi," said Amanda.
"I agree," said Grace.
I could do nothing more than roll my eyes at my friends' antics.
"Girls, please." I must have sounded utterly pathetic and pleading because they turned their attention to me immediately and looks of concern blossomed on their faces. "Can we focus on my mini crisis?"
All three girls plopped down on my bed.
"So what is this James Potter related crisis?" asked Lexi.
"He kissed me."
My eardrums could have burst from their squealing.
"It was only on the cheek."
I thought that would have decreased their volume. It didn't.
Their questions washed over me like a gigantic wave. I could only make out two: "When did this happen?" and "Are you getting together now?" Both from Lexi. That girl could talk over anyone.
I covered my ears for a moment. It didn't help much.
"Girls. One at a time," I begged.
"When?" Grace was literally bouncing in place.
"A few days ago. After our patrol."
"A few days ago!"
Again with the volume, Lexi. That girl needed a muffler.
"Are you two getting together now?" asked Grace.
"He already has a girlfriend," Amanda pointed out.
I did not need to be reminded of that fact.
"Lily, you harlot!"
"Lexi!" Amanda scolded.
"He kissed me, remember?" I said. "Not the other way around."
"So, why didn't you tell us sooner?" asked Amanda.
"Because I was trying to figure out what it meant."
"And did you?"
"No." My voice was the smallest it had been all night.
"Have you tried talking to him about it?"
"Yes. This is where the mini-crisis comes in… I can't talk to him because he is avoiding me."
"What do you mean he's avoiding you?" asked Grace.
"What do you think it means?" I snapped.
Just great. This thing was affecting me to the point that I was taking my temper out on my friends.
"He's doing everything he can to not be near me. He sits as far away from me in class as possible. He changed his route to get to class so he won't bump into me. And when we have patrol, he splits the area, says which he's taking, and runs off before I can say a word. And there is no use trying to catch up because he's got such long legs that make him travel at the speed of light, or so it seems. I don't understand it. He's never avoided me. It's always been the other way around."
I threw my head in my hands, since I was sure my friends would not have liked me screaming out my frustration or slamming my head against the wall like I wanted to.
"Maybe he just needs time," said Grace, while she ran her hand down my back in a futile attempt to soothe me.
"Time?" I lifted my head to look at her. "He's had five days."
"Yes, but boys are daft. It's going to take more than five days to figure out complicated situations like this one," said Lexi.
She was right. But that didn't mean that I had to like it, and I said as much.
The three laughed softly. "Give him more time. Let him come to you."
"I don't think I have the patience for that."
And I didn't.
Another two weeks later, I was sitting at the lakeside, pulling grass out by its roots because it would hurt too much to do it to my hair.
I couldn't do this waiting game much longer.
I was giving him time just like the girls told me to do, no longer trying to corner him to make him speak to me. But instead of thinking of ways to thwart him (I must have gone crazy. Try and thwart a Marauder. It simply isn't done.), I was spending all my time thinking about why he was avoiding me.
And it hurt.
All I wanted was to put this entire situation behind us.
Not true. First, I would grill him about why he kissed me and why he avoided me. Then, and only then, we could try and pretend it never happened.
Not that I wanted to.
After he kissed me, the butterflies that I had successfully caged in my stomach burst free from their confinement and had been rampaging through me ever since. That's not something a girl could easily ignore.
And it was all because of that stupid boy.
I crossed my arms over my chest and tucked my knees close to my body, resting my chin there. I stared out across the water and tried to empty my head of all thoughts remotely related to James Potter.
"Lily?" A voice said, tapping me lightly on the shoulder.
"What do you want, Grace?" I asked. I tried my hardest to keep the exasperation out of my voice. After all, she had been giving me this pitying look for over a week.
"It's almost time for dinner. I thought you would like to join us."
I looked up at her.
Maybe it was about time I went inside. I was cold, and I was fairly sure my stomach would start protesting about its lack of food.
"Okay," I said.
"Okay?" she asked. Apparently she hadn't thought I would give in so easily.
"Yeah. Okay." I replied. "Now can you help me up? I think my butt went numb."
She let out a small giggle and helped me to my feet.
"So did you finish your Transfiguration essay yet?" Grace asked as I fell into step beside her.
"Nope. Haven't even started. Not sure how."
"Well, if you need help, I could try and give you a hand," Grace said. She continued speaking, probably about the essay, but I wouldn't know because I got lost in my own thoughts.
As nice as it was for Grace to offer to help me, I was holding out on this hope that James would stop avoiding me and be able to help me through writing the essay.
I was beginning to think that all my hoping and wishing was in vain.
I had three days left before the essay was due. Three days for James to start talking to me again.
Or else I was surely going to get a T on the essay.
Just when I was about to accept Grace's offer, I saw a figure no more than twenty paces ahead of us, a figure I very much wanted to have a few frustrated words with. My stomach could wait.
"Sirius! Sirius Black!" I yelled down the corridor.
I knew he heard me because he quickened his step.
"Don't you dare run away from me, you coward."
He didn't want to face my temper. Smart boy. Some would have blamed my red hair for my short fuse, but this fuse had been ready to blow for two weeks now and the reason still had his back to me.
"I swear, if you take one more step, I will hex you."
That worked. That actually worked.
Sirius stopped and turned slowly, plastering an innocent smile on his face.
"Lily, love, what a wonderful day we're having, isn't it?"
"Cut the crap, Sirius," I spat. "James is avoiding me, and I know you're part of the reason. You said that you were going to talk to him and now he's not talking to me. What did you do?"
He held his hands up in surrender. "Hey, it's not my fault my best mate is off his rocker."
My hand itched to where I stowed my wand. "Sirius, what did you say to him?" My volume was steadily rising. "Why does he run away at the very sight of me? You said you had things figured out, that everything would be fine. This is not fine! If everything was fine, I wouldn't be a breath away from setting up a permanent residency in one of St. Mungo's padded rooms!"
"Lily!" Sirius grabbed my arms, which I had been flailing around while I screamed my frustrations at him.
I glared at Sirius, waiting impatiently for him to speak.
"Can we please talk about this somewhere else?" he asked, his eyes sweeping over the area behind me.
"And why would I want to do that?" I would have crossed my arms over my chest if they weren't still held firmly in Sirius' grasp.
"Because," he whispered, "you are drawing a lot of attention to us, and I don't think you'll want this information going through the Hogwarts gossip chain once you find out what it is."
I glanced around us quickly. Sure enough, a large group had gathered around us with amused looks on their faces, much like how they used to when James and I fought. Those were days I did not like being reminded of.
I swiveled, surprising Sirius in my quick movement into letting go of my arms. Instead, I grabbed one of his and dragged him along with me. I walked as fast as I could to the nearest empty classroom and only after I shut the door firmly behind us did I let go of Sirius' arm.
I performed a quick Charm on the door so we would not be interrupted, and then I turned to him.
"Start talking," I said.
"You might want to sit down first. And can I have your wand?"
"Because you might want to kill me, and I want to lessen the chance of that happening."
He looked very unsure of himself at that moment, something I don't think I had ever seen, and my stomach seemed to drop to my toes. I stepped back until I ran into a table, and I sat down on top of it, having pulled my wand out and let it fall to the floor.
"Okay. Good," he said softly, running his hand through his hair. He must have picked up that habit from James.
I lowered my eyes sadly, and Sirius noticed. He quickly retracted his hand from his hair. "Sorry," he murmured.
"So," he began. Or tried to begin. "I don't know how to start explaining what happened."
"Well, that night, you, Remus, and Peter were doing that silent communication thing that drives me bonkers, and when I asked what you were talking about you said you had it figured out. What did you figure out?"
"That James fancies you. Or still fancies you. We don't think he ever stopped," Sirius said.
"That's ridiculous. James got over me a long time ago," I retorted. I wasn't about to get my hopes up over something that wasn't even true.
"No, he didn't. He just got very good at hiding it. Hell, we didn't even know until this entire fiasco started, and we're his best friends."
I shook my head multiple times, not believing a word he said.
"It's the truth, Lily, so stop shaking your head," said Sirius. "James just made himself believe that he didn't like you anymore so that you could become friends. He thought he didn't have a chance with you, but he could make himself happy with being just friends. But that entire plan blew up in his face when he started treating you more like his girlfriend than he did with his actual girlfriend, especially when he gave you that kiss on the cheek. He was letting his true feelings out for you without realizing it.
"Remus, Peter, and I figured this out and decided to talk to James about it. We knew you had started to fancy him."
My eyes widened like a doe caught in a car's headlights.
"You really thought we didn't know? You gave your feelings away that morning this year at King's Cross."
"I thought you had forgotten, or that maybe I had run away quick enough that you hadn't come to that realization yet," I said.
"No such luck, Lily," Sirius said, a slight smile on his face. "So the three of us figured that the two of you finally had your chance. He still liked you. You fell for him. It couldn't be more perfect."
"Except James has a girlfriend," I said.
Sirius nodded and the smile slid off his lips. "Here comes the part you're not going to like."
Of course there had to be a part where everything went downhill.
"Remus, Peter, and I talked to James, told him everything I just told you, and—"
"Wait," I cut him off. "You told him everything? As in, not just his feelings but mine too?"
I was going to throttle him.
"He needed to know," Sirius insisted.
"And why is that?" I practically snapped.
"If he knew you fancy him, then you two could be together."
I could have hit him.
"Sirius, he has a—"
"—girlfriend," he finished. "I know. He said the same thing after he denied having feelings for you."
I thought my heart stopped.
I wanted to believe that James still had feelings for me, maybe so much that I actually had started to believe it.
And his refusal hurt that much more.
"He's lying, Lily," Sirius said. He took my hands in his, even though I had no clue when he got close enough to do so. "He's been denying it for so long that he actually believes it himself."
"So when do you get to the part where he thinks he has to start avoiding me?" I asked.
He gave my hands a gentle squeeze. "We yelled at him for a bit. Told him that he was being a dolt and didn't recognize reality when it was staring him in the face. But he continued to deny it. He said he would prove it to us. And that's where the conversation ended. The next day, he started avoiding you and started spending more time with Christine. We're thinking that he's trying to show us that he doesn't have feelings for you by staying away from you. Not that it's been helping his cause. He's been so irritable since then, and we know it's because he's exiled you from his life."
"Then, what do I do now?" I asked, staring at our hands. "If he keeps insisting that he has no feelings for me, where does that leave me?"
Sirius grabbed me into a huge hug, and I tried to get as much comfort from it as I could.
"I will do everything I can to make James see sense. I promise."
I didn't know how much good that was going to do for me.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
He ought to be.
I blamed Sirius.
It was easier than blaming James and his denial.
I wanted to, but I couldn't.
Hadn't I been denying my feelings for him for years? Well, maybe not years, but I've made my point.
I couldn't be upset with him. I could be upset, and I was, just not with him.
Sirius promised he would fix everything, but I didn't believe him. Yes, he and James were best friends, but they both had minds of their own. When they decided to do something, they stuck with it, no matter what anyone said about it.
And I saw this just a few days later.
Sleep would not come to me. I couldn't turn my brain off long enough for my exhaustion to kick in.
After two hours of tossing and turning, I gave up. I slipped my sleeping robe over my pajamas and walked out of my room, grabbing a book on my way out. I hoped that something, anything would allow me to fall asleep.
I came to the top of the stairs and heard voices in the Common Room.
I got half way down before I recognized the people speaking. Or arguing would be a more fitting term.
"You're being an idiot, Prongs!"
It was Sirius. Yelling at James.
I stopped were I was, thankful that the two could not see me yet.
"You don't know what you're talking about Padfoot."
"I know a hell of a lot more than you do! You're practically in love with the girl and have somehow convinced yourself otherwise."
"I am not in love with Lily!"
I had thought about going back up to my room, but abruptly changed my mind after hearing James' shout.
James was not in love with me.
"See! You're completely oblivious to your own feelings," said Sirius.
"I am entirely aware of what I am and am not feeling, and there is nothing there for Lily besides friendship."
"Which you are ruining!"
"What do you mean? We're fine."
"Fine? You haven't said more than a few words to her in the past few weeks. That's not fine. That's you being an arse."
"You're out of line, Sirius."
"No, James, you're out of line." He paused, and I could picture him pacing, ringing his hands through his hair in agitation. "Do you know what you're doing to her? She's going crazy because of this game you're playing with her."
James started to say something, probably to protest against what Sirius had said, but Sirius cut him off.
"Don't try denying it, but you've been stringing her along for months now. You became her best friend, and then you started treating her like something more. But after we cornered you about it, you cut off all contact without a single word as to why you're destroying your friendship. I don't understand why, after years of chasing after her, you ruin your chance to be with this girl. She fancies you, Prongs!"
"I have a girlfriend," James said.
"Who you don't even like!"
Silence. Pure silence.
I slid down a few steps so I could peer around the walls and down into the Common Room.
James and Sirius were standing stock still, staring unwaveringly at each other. The only sound over the crackling of the fire was Sirius' ragged breaths.
"That's… that's not true," James finally said.
"Then why did it take you so long to defend yourself?"
James said nothing.
"Your silence says more than your words ever could," said Sirius.
"Christine means a lot to me."
"That might be true, just not romantically. When was the last time you kissed her?" Pause. No answer. "Not once in the past week if I remember correctly. You don't look at her like you're love sick. You don't smile at her like you used to. You don't wrap your arms around her. You don't even hold her hand anymore. And yet all those little tokens of affection have been passed onto Lily without you even realizing it. You might have liked Christine a bit when you first started dating, but not anymore."
"That's utter crap. Why would I be dating her if I didn't like her?"
"To distract you from the girl you really want to be with."
"I'm with Christine."
"But you fancy Lily."
"Even if I did, I'm not the type to break up with one girl just to pass on to another. I'm going to bed. I'm sick of fighting with you over this."
James practically ran up the stairs to the boys' dormitory, and Sirius threw himself onto the couch.
I let my forehead smack into the wall with a gentle thud and closed my eyes tightly against the impending waterworks.
I hated it.
That boy was turning me into an emotional wreck.
"Lily?" a familiar voice asked from the bottom of the girls' staircase.
"Yes, Sirius?" I said without moving my head or opening my eyes.
"How long have you been sitting there?"
"Long enough to know James won't be breaking up with Christine any time soon."
"Not if I have anything to say about it," Sirius said.
That was when I looked up and down the stairs at him.
"Don't do anything, Sirius. I don't want you and James to have a falling out because of me."
"We'd get over it. He's be so blissfully happy that he was with you that he'd come begging me for forgiveness," he said.
"I don't think that's going to be happening anytime soon." I lowered my eyes to concentrate on my hands. "Maybe I should just give up on the idea of James and me ever being together."
"Not yet. Just wait a little longer."
"I don't think I can."
When I looked up, Sirius was holding his arms out, beckoning me down the staircase for a hug. I rushed down the stairs, practically slamming into his chest, and soaked in the small amount of comfort his embrace gave me. I rested my head on his chest as he gently swayed us back and forth, humming a soft tune to himself.
"Hey, Sirius?" I asked. He abruptly stopped his tune and locked eye contact. "Thank you. I never thought you were the sentimental type, but I'm glad you are, at least for me."
He smiled then and hugged me just a little tighter.
"You should try and get some sleep," he said.
I nodded and let him push me toward the stairs.
Weeks of the same silent treatment from James turned into a month, which crept toward a month and a half (it was already the beginning of November), and Sirius promised again and again that James would come to his senses.
I was left alone to do patrols or James would switch with someone else. The only time he talked to me wasn't verbal but through notes he gave to someone else to give to me, and this correspondence only ever covered one topic: Head Duties. I tried asking him about his treatment towards me, but he never replied.
And I cursed him every time.
I was in the process of ripping up one of his notes (this time given to me by some third) when I rammed into someone. I scrambled to pick up the pieces while apologizing to the poor thing that I had collided with.
"I really am sorry. I wasn't watching—," I continued to ramble until I looked up.
"Christine. Hi." I said, brushing myself off as I finally stood up. "How are you?"
"All right considering," she replied. 'All right considering'? Considering what? I barely had time to think before she rambled on. "How have you been? I feel like I haven't talked to you in ages."
"I'm okay. A little stressed. There's just so much to do between Head Duties and NEWT classes."
And your boyfriend is being a pain in the ass, which doesn't help, I thought.
She gave me a sympathetic smile. "I don't know how you do it, balancing that work load. I have a hard enough time getting all my stuff done, and you have it so much worse than me. I can't imagine how I'll get through next year."
"I'm sure you'll do just fine," I said. "You know, I haven't seen you around Gryffindor Tower recently. Are you going to come and visit soon?"
Her smile vanished. "I don't think that would be a good idea."
"Why not? We would love to have you around again."
It wasn't a complete lie. Christine was a sweet girl. It shouldn't matter that I wasn't on the best of terms with James. (That was an understatement. I had recently gone from sad to completely pissed because of the prolonged silent treatment from him.)
"Well…" Christine was fiddling with her hands. "James and I broke up."
"Actually, I broke up with him."
I was in shock. I think my jaw was currently lying on the floor.
"So, you see why I won't be coming around any time soon. There's no reason for me to. James wasn't too happy with me, and his friends will side with him, as they should, so I don't think I'll be welcome any more."
"But I thought you and James were doing just fine," I said.
"We were. Until shortly after term started. There was something different that I can't really describe. And then a few weeks later, he was hanging out with me and my friends constantly. Not that I minded, of course. I loved spending time with James, but I knew he needed his time with the boys too. I brought this up one night, and he said that he wanted to be with me more often and that the guys didn't mind. It was what I wanted to hear, but I didn't really believe him. There were these little things that weren't quite right. His smile didn't reach his eyes, and his laugh didn't sound completely genuine. And his mind always appeared to be somewhere else. I could tell that he wasn't really happy with me. It was just a façade. But I couldn't figure out why he didn't say anything or why he didn't take it a step further and break up with me. So I took the initiative and broke up with him. He swore that nothing had changed, that he still wanted to be with me as much now as he did when he first asked me out, but I knew that wasn't true. Now he just needs to realize it."
Christine finally stopped to breathe and flick away the bit of moisture collecting in the corner of her eye.
"Well," she continued, "I have to get going, but hopefully I'll run into you again. Except not in the literal sense next time." She shot me a small smile before walking away.
Part of me wanted to jump up and down with joy at her revelation, but the other half wanted to run after her and give her the biggest hug, telling her all those things girls tell each other after a break-up: 'he wasn't good enough for you,' 'you deserve so much better,' etc. But I let her go.
Instead I went looking for Sirius.
I had some questions he needed to answer.
I rushed back to the Common Room, hoping he would be there. I looked around but didn't see him, and I immediately started compiling a mental list of all the places he could be.
"Hi, Lily," someone said behind me, interrupting my list making.
But it wasn't just someone. It was James. I could recognize his voice anywhere.
I whipped around to face him.
He smiled at me uneasily, until I crossed my arms over my chest and narrowed my eyes at him, then the smile disappeared. He opened his mouth to speak but promptly shut it. And he repeated the motion two or three times.
"What do you want, James?" I asked.
An apology would be nice.
"Just to talk. See how you've been. Maybe go over some of our Head Duties for next week," he replied.
"Well, yeah," he replied with this look on his face that he had no idea why there was anything wrong with the conversation he wanted to have.
I could have smacked him.
"It's been six weeks," I said, my voice rising in volume. "Six weeks since you've last spoken to me and you want to have small talk."
He floundered for words.
"You were one of my best friends, and without any explanation you start avoiding me. That's not how this whole friendship-thing is supposed to work."
"I thought you would understand," he said.
"Understand! Understand what? How you started spending extremely small amounts of time with Sirius, Remus, and Peter, and how you cut me out of your life completely. How am I to understand that?"
There were so many people watching us now. But I didn't really care. Let them watch.
"Even Christine thought there was something wrong with the situation."
James' eyes, which had been focused on the floor, shot up to meet mine at the mention of his ex-girlfriend.
"And she didn't even know the whole story! She thought I was at least spending some time with you. Psh. How wrong she was. You ran whenever you caught sight of me. And the only time you ever spoke to me was through little notes that never had anything of real importance in them. Do you feel like explaining now?"
My chest was practically heaving from my rant, and my cheeks felt flushed.
"When did you talk to Christine?" he asked. He looked slightly worried.
It was my turn to look like a fish out of water. My mouth hung open. That's what caught his attention during my rant?
I hit him.
"I cannot believe you!" I continued to yell while he rubbed his shoulder where I hit him. He deserved a little pain at the moment. "I've been explaining for the past ten minutes why I'm royally pissed at you, and the only part you respond to is the fact that I talked to Christine!"
A figure behind me said my name and put a hand on my shoulder, but I pushed it off, not caring to find out who it belonged to, and began again where I had left off.
"Why is it that Christine has to break up with you before you start acting like my friend again?"
"She broke up with me a few days ago," James said.
"That's not the point! She had to be out of the picture before you would even give me the time of day!"
"Lily," the figure said, pulling on my arm and turning me slightly to reveal their identity.
Sirius Black. Why hadn't you come when I first needed you?
"No," I said to him, yanking my arm from his grasp. "I'm not finished."
I looked back to James. "Why, James?" I prompted. "Why would you do that?"
"Lily, this is not the time or place to have this conversation," Sirius said.
"I don't care!"
Sirius went to grab my arms again, but I jumped out of reach.
"You will later. Now let's go," Sirius said.
"No," I replied and tried to evade him again, but I was too slow this time. He wrapped his arms around my waist and lifted me off the ground, practically carrying me toward the Portrait Hole.
"We'll finish this later," I said to James. "And I didn't say anything to Christine so stop looking so worried."
The Portrait Hole closed before I could say anything else.
Sirius proceeded to carry me down the corridor until we were far enough away that I couldn't run back and hex James like I wanted to. He set me down abruptly before asking, "What were you doing in there, Lily?"
That was a stupid question.
"I was yelling at James. What did it look like I was doing?" I replied.
"Like you were feeding the gossip chain. You can't just say whatever you like when others can clearly hear you. No matter how mad you are," Sirius said.
"It's not like I said anything that they didn't already know."
"You got pretty damn close," Sirius said. "They know that James and Christine broke up, but they don't know that you're the reason their relationship ended, and they don't know the reason why you and James stopped speaking to each other. And you nearly gave both away."
"That's true," I said. "Do you think Christine will find out?"
Please say no. Please say no, I thought.
"I don't know." I lowered my eyes. That was not the answer I wanted to hear. "You gave plenty of material for speculation. And you know how the gossip mill works here at Hogwarts. All they need is a little something to go on and loads of rubbish stories come out of it."
I looked back up at him. "What do you think I should do? I don't want her getting hurt because of this."
"Then don't say anything. If she comes to you, answer whatever questions she has but nothing more. The less she knows the better."
I nodded. It was a good plan, but I wished I wasn't in the situation in the first place.
"When did everything get so complicated and turn to complete shite?" I asked.
I must have looked pitiful because Sirius wrapped me up in a huge hug. He always gives me hugs when I'm pitiful.
"It's always been complicated when it involved you and James," Sirius said.
"Isn't that the truth?"
Sirius let out a soft laugh at my reply and hugged me just a little tighter.
Over the next few days, I listened to what was being said in classes and in the corridors closer than I ever had before. Each story was more ridiculous than the next. One was that James and I were having a wild affair until Christine walked in on us and immediately broke up with him, and he ran after her and left me in the dust. That made me laugh just a little. It was so overdone. And how were James and I supposed to be having an affair if we weren't speaking? These people needed to start making up stories that were at least a little believable. No wonder Christine never came to talk to me. All she heard were these ridiculous tales.
As much as some of the stories amused me, I was getting really tired of the whispers and the pointing. If I wasn't Head Girl, I would probably have hexed most of them.
A group of third years stared at me as I passed after my last class, gossiping behind their hands. My hand itched toward my wand. I was done for the week and all I wanted to do was relax, but that was not going to happen when I was surrounded by gossip hungry students whose only goal in life was to make mine miserable, which they had succeeded in doing for just over a week.
"Move along!" I yelled, startling them into motion and away from me.
My thankfulness that they had left me alone was cut off short when I was shoved inside the nearest empty classroom.
"What the hell was that for?" I turned to see James. "What do you want?" He didn't look as nervous as he did the last time he tried to talk to me.
"To talk. Try and fix things between us," he said.
"I'm still mad at you," I said, crossing my arms.
"Clearly," he replied, which earned a glare from me.
"You wanted to talk, so talk," I said.
"Well, I actually wanted to apologize."
"Took you long enough," I bit out.
"Can you stop being hostile for one second?" he snapped. "I'm trying to do the right thing. Yes, it's a little late in coming, but I'm trying, and I would appreciate it if you stopped adding your cross little interruptions and listened to what I have to say."
Whatever I had been expecting, it wasn't that.
I uncrossed my arms, erased the glare from my face, and sat down on the nearest chair.
"Thank you," he said. He grabbed another chair and plopped himself down on it across from me.
"All right. Let's try this again," he said, smiling slightly before taking a big breath.
"I'm sorry, Lily. For everything. I know you think I'm the world's biggest arse right now," I gave a little nod but didn't speak, "but I hope you can forgive me. I didn't think what I did would affect you as much as it did, or maybe I didn't think at all and just took the easy way out. Either way, will you forgive me? Can we go back to being friends?"
He looked so hopeful, yet afraid that I would say 'no,' that I couldn't help but say 'yes.' Sure, I was still mad for everything he did, but I still wanted to be friends with him. That's what I always wanted during the whole silent treatment debacle. And I told him so.
I startled as he practically jumped out of his chair, knocking it to the ground in the process, and rushed over to me to give me a hug.
I tentatively wrapped my arms around him in return as he said, "I know you're still upset with me, but I'm so glad you said 'yes.' I was so worried you wouldn't want to be friends again after last week. I hadn't seen you that mad since fifth year. But you said 'yes'!"
"I did, but you still have a lot of explaining to do," I said.
"Right. Right." He let me go, and he set his seat upright before sitting down. "Where should I start?"
I thought long and hard. There were so many questions that I wanted answered, but which did I want to know first. I settled for one that was probably at the root of all our problems.
"Was Sirius right?"
James seemed to pale a bit. "About?" he asked.
"Everything," I said. "I know he told you that I fancy you, and he told me about the talk you boys had the night before you started avoiding me, and I heard part of the fight you had with Sirius a few weeks ago. So, was he right?"
I tried to keep my face neutral because James could always read me fairly well, and I didn't want him to give me a certain answer just because it was what I wanted to hear.
"Yes," James replied, "but it took me long enough to figure it out. I should have known that Sirius would be right about this entire situation. He does know me better than I do myself sometimes." He let out a slight chuckle, which made me smile. "And he was completely right. Last year and this past summer, I still fancied you, but I was so thrilled that we had become such good friends that I didn't want to ruin it by bringing up feelings that you never returned. I told myself I would get over you. Being friends would have to be enough. And then Christine came into the picture. When I met her, I thought I was finally getting over you because I could see myself dating her. Things were great between us during the summer, and I thought they still were once term started. I never realized when the shift happened, when I started acting more like I was dating you and less like I was dating Christine. Then, I kissed you on the cheek that night after patrols and didn't think anything of it, but Sirius, Remus, and Peter came and told me that it meant more than I thought it did. I didn't want to believe it. I wholeheartedly believed that my feelings towards you were purely platonic and that I was still crazy about Christine. I wanted to prove it to my mates and to myself, so I started avoiding you and spending more time with Christine. I thought if I could stay away from you it would show them that I couldn't possibly have feelings for you. Deep down, I was miserable, but I was so set on getting over you that I would do anything. I didn't even like Christine anymore, but I didn't realize it until a few days after she broke up with me, when I had time to sit down and think about what she said and what my mates had been telling me all along. That's when I came to talk to you the first time. I knew I screwed up, and I wanted to salvage as much of our friendship as I could. But you were so angry, and I thought I didn't have a chance in hell of ever being your friend again. I told that to my mates, and Sirius assured me that if I kept trying you would give in eventually."
Up until that moment, I had been completely silent and hadn't moved a muscle, but I couldn't help crack a smile. Sirius knew me too well.
"So, I tried to talk to you every chance I got," he continued, "but you ignored me. Every time. Sirius said that it might take more than that. Physical force may be necessary. He told me to shove you into an empty classroom and force you to listen to me. Use silencio if I had to. Actually, he told me to use a broom closet but I figured a classroom would be better. You'd be less likely to hex me, I thought, or hit me. I forgot how hard you can hit. I think I had a bruise the next day after you slugged me in the shoulder.
I shook my head at James, laughing to myself. He'd started rambling. James saw the motion and stopped talking.
He fiddled with his thumbs a bit before asking, "I know you said we could be friends, but do you forgive me?"
"I think I did about half way through your little speech," I replied.
"That's great." The smile on his face was the one I had gotten very used to seeing before this entire situation took place, and I was glad to see it again.
"Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?" he asked.
"Well, you still fancy me, right?" I asked.
"And you know I still fancy you?"
"Then, where do we go from here?"
James looked as dumbfounded as I felt by that question. It should have been an easy answer, "We go on a date," but our situation didn't allow for an easy answer.
"I don't know, Lily. Christine and I broke up only two weeks ago."
"I know that. I'm not saying we should rush into anything. I know it's too soon, and—"
"You don't want to hurt Christine," James interrupted, knowing exactly what I was going to say. "Sirius told me."
I should've guessed. Sirius' name was written all over our situation.
"Then what do we do?" I asked.
"We'll give it some time. Make up for what we lost while I was resisting reality and being an arse. Be friends again first."
"For how long?" I didn't think I could last more than a couple weeks with the 'Just Friends' plan, especially since I knew the feelings were mutual now.
"I was told to expect that question," James said.
I rolled my eyes.
"But he also gave me an idea of what we could do," he continued.
"So you already had this entire thing planned out?" I asked.
"In a way. This was the back-up plan, and I failed to come up with anything better."
"So what's this plan?" I asked.
"Wait until the next Hogsmeade trip," he said, grinning.
I was a bit confused. "But we haven't set the date for the next Hogsmeade trip."
"We have now. December 11th. The weekend before exams start, and only a week before term ends and everyone leaves for break. That adds another four weeks to the two that have passed since Christine and I broke up, giving her a bit more time, and then there's only one chance for her to see us together before we've all locked ourselves in the library studying for exams and then immediately leave the castle for the holidays, which adds on a few more weeks for her to get used to the idea of us."
Us. It was a wonderful thing to think about.
"It sounds like a great plan. Well thought out."
"Sirius knows how you agonize over every little detail." I mock glared at him. "So it had to be fairly extensive for you to agree to it."
"So, that brings me to my question for you." I raised an eyebrow. I didn't realize there were any questions left.
"Lily Evans," he grinned. "On Saturday, December 11th, will you go out with me?"
After two years of constantly saying 'no' and five months wishing he would ask that question again, I finally said 'yes.'
Sure, we had to focus on our friendship for a few weeks and keep our mutual feelings for each other a secret until then, but we finally had our chance.
James was smiling at me in such a way that it seemed to light up his whole face, and I couldn't help but return it.
I knew that no matter how much shit we had gone through and would go through we'd be okay.
Because, in four weeks, my wish would be coming true. I would be going on a date with James Potter.
And I blamed Sirius.
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A/N: Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think. Hopefully I didn't disappoint those of you who asked for a sequel. Review please!