A/N: The name of this lovely piece is taken from W.H. Auden's gorgeous poem, A Walk After Dark. The poem doesn't really have anything to do with this oneshot, but the name seemed to fit. This is the first LJ I ever wrote, and consequentially, it isn't all that spectacular, but I felt like posting something. If you kind people review, perhaps I will post some more LJ stuff in the very near future ;D. Enjoy!

A Walk After Dark

Lily Evans let her gaze wander from the never-ending roll of parchment that was her History of Magic essay to the sprawling green outside the Common Room window. Dusk was rapidly approaching and the sky seemed hesitant to allow its cornflower blue hue to be stained with inky purples and reds.

"Lily, are you even paying attention?"

The redhead quickly directed her gaze to that of Mary MacDonald's, whose golden eyebrows were raised as she stared questioningly at her from across the table. Mary had always been a let's-get-down-to-business type of study partner, which was one of the reasons why Lily had opted to study with her, being prone to frequent bouts of daydreaming herself.

"Sorry," Lily said, glancing once more out the window. "It's just that it's so gorgeous outside. It feels wrong to be indoors, you know?" She accompanied this with a dreamy sigh.

Mary frowned, following Lily's gaze to the grounds. "It's almost sunset."

Lily smiled, rolling up her half-written essay – it could wait until morning – and stashing away her quill. "The best time of day, then. I think I'll take a walk."

Mary shook her head at the girl, but the ghost of a smile was visible of her face. After being friends with Lily, one got used to her sporadic desires to explore the grounds or visit the kitchens; it was all a part of her charm.

"Do try and be back before curfew," Mary said, going back to her essay.

"Yes, Mum," Lily deadpanned, pulling her wand from the bun it had been holding up, releasing her crimson locks about her shoulders.

Just as she was walking towards the Fat Lady, twirling her wand absentmindedly with her fingers, the Fat Lady swung open and four heads – one with exceptionally messy black hair – emerged. There was the expected sound of sniggering as the infamous troublemakers walked into the Common Room, followed by Sirius Black's good-natured, "'Lo there, Evans."

Lily's green eyes instantly locked with a pair of hazel ones and she felt a familiar flipping sensation in her stomach. Merlin.

"Evening, boys," Lily replied, jauntily, ignoring the way that James Potter's unkempt hair looked particularly windswept at the moment.

James grinned. "Off to prowl about the school, Lil? Hex some unsuspecting Slytherins in their beds?"

It was that precise grin that caused Lily to drop the wand she had been fiddling with. She bent over to pick it up, cursing the unfortunate genes that made her blush that much more noticeable.

If someone had told Lily a few years ago that she would one day be blushing and flustered about James Potter, she would have laughed in their face.

Lily Evans never got flustered. Never. She had spurned the advances of many boys in her years at Hogwarts – though she'd also had her fair share of love interests as well. But no one except James Potter could ever make her nervous.

She'd come back to Hogwarts for her seventh year to find that James Potter had grown exceptionally well over the summer and had taken to his Head Boy duties quite admirably. So admirably, in fact, that she actually found herself looking forward to the time that she spent in his company.

Needless to say, over the course of a mere few weeks, her slight fondness for the boy had morphed into a full-fledged I-fancy-James-Potter fest. At first, she tried to crush said feelings by dating Charlie Macmillan, a fellow seventh year Hufflepuff. However, she had ultimately ended it a few days ago and found herself back at square one.

Clutching her wand and straightening, Lily tried to muster up a dignified response. "Curses, you've foiled my master plan."

He looked amused. "Bollocks. The Lily Evans I know always has a backup plan."

Lily smiled. "Maybe I do. Surely a mischievous individual like yourself knows never to reveal your secrets?"

"How could I forget?"

They grinned goofily at each other. Their mirth, however, was short-lived, for the rest of the Marauders concluded their side conversation and couldn't help but overhear their banter.

"Maybe she's off to go gallivanting with that Macmillan chap," Peter said in a tactless attempt at a joke.

Lily laughed weakly and did not miss James's tightened jaw and forced chuckle, signaling it was still a sore spot with him. This made Lily's heart flutter. Was it possible James still fancied her?

"That's been over with for ages," Lily tried casually, eyes flicking towards James's face. It betrayed nothing, remaining impassively blank.

"Ages?" Peter asked, "It's only been a few da- oomph!"

Lily refused to feel guilty for the damage done to Peter's left toe. This fancying stuff was, after all, a tricky business. Tricky business indeed.

"He wasn't my type anyways," Lily went on. "I much prefer the more athletic and intellectual type. Someone who isn't afraid to be a little...mischievous."

She couldn't have made it more obvious if she tried. Had she not referred to him only a few moments ago as "mischievous"? She might as well have had the words "I fancy James Potter" tattooed across her forehead.

Sirius raised his eyebrows in surprise, but James remained impassive, which irritated Lily to no end. Her eyes landed on a wrinkled bit of parchment near James's shoe and an idea struck her.

"Here, you dropped this," she said. She picked it up and placed it into his hand, careful to brush her fingers across his own. He glanced up at her in surprise and she smiled warmly at him in return. He looked a bit dazed. Success!

"Did Hestia send you another note?" Remus inquired.

"Er, yes," James said absently, crinkling the note into his pocket.

Lily's blood froze. Hesita? Hestia Jones? The pretty Ravenclaw seventh year?

"That girl is warm for your form, mate. There's no denying it." Sirius shook his head.

James laughed. "And what a good form it is, yeah?"

Remus rolled his eyes and the others laughed, but Lily couldn't even bring herself to crack a smile.

James didn't fancy her anymore and that was all there was to it. He fancied Hestia bloody Jones. After all, why else would he have pocketed her note like it was some kind of sodding keepsake?

And for that matter, what did the note say? "Meet me in the Astronomy tower at midnight", perhaps?

Lily couldn't help it, she was angry. She had, after all, tried flirting with him and he had to go off having some illicit romance with Hestia Jones!

"Well, I'd better be off. Things to do and all that," she said tightly, avoiding a certain pair of hazel eyes that she had been so keen to catch only a few moments earlier.

"I can't interest you in a round of Gobstones?" James said, throwing an arm across her shoulder. She would have found this display as a new development and perhaps a confirmation of his feelings for her, but it was probably just a warm-up for dearest Hestia.

Lily wriggled out from under his arm. "I'm afraid not, but I'm sure Hestia would love to take you up on that offer."

James frowned. "Lily, I-"

But she didn't want to hear his attempts to let her down easy. It was too embarrassing. She turned and bolted, practically knocking the Fat Lady off her hinges in her haste to escape.

Green eyes stinging, she power-walked down the corridors, trying her hardest not to cry. In fact, she refused to cry. She still had a good half-hour left until curfew and she was going to make the most of it. However, the once strong appeal of the glassy lake and the impending twilight no longer attracted her. All she really felt like doing was going to bed and drawing the hangings so that she could wallow in her misery.

Turning to head back to the Tower, she began to formulate various plans of how to get up to her dormitory without having to deal with James.

Perhaps he had cleared out by now?

No, not likely. The Marauders rarely turned in this early. Turning a sharp corner, Lily continued heading down the second floor corridor.

Maybe she could throw a Dungbomb and sprint for the stairs? No, there were too many witnesses. And she didn't have a Dungbomb for that matter.

Just as she was crafting an elaborate plan involving a tortoise and an Engorgio charm, she felt a cool hand grasp her wrist and pull her into a darkened broom closet.

Lily recognized the messy hair instantly.

"James, what are you-"

But he had already pinned her arms above her head – and just like that, James was kissing her.

The feeling of his hot mouth moving against her own and his hard body pushing hers against the wall was too much for her brain to process and she found herself frozen in place.

"Lily," James gasped between kisses. "I don't like Hestia Jones."

With that said, her resolve snapped and she was kissing James back just as fiercely as he was kissing her. The instant her hand shot into his hair, his mouth opened against hers and he let out a deep noise from the back of his throat.

When they finally broke apart for air, James was grinning widely.

"Do you believe me now?"

Lily raised her eyebrows at him. "I dunno. Still writing love letters to other girls?"

James rolled his eyes. "That was nothing. Just a reminder about our tutoring session."

"Sirius said she was warm for your form," Lily reminded him.

"Well," James said, "too bad. I'm already warm for somebody else's form. Have been for awhile, actually." He sealed that statement with another kiss.

"Oh really?" asked Lily, breathless.

He grinned – that dratted grin that got her every time – and Lily grabbed his hand, pulling him out of the darkened broom closet.

"Fancy a stroll about the grounds?"


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