"You're being ridiculous," she said, walking through the portrait hole.

"How am I being ridiculous?" he returned. "You basically asked one of my mates out on a date."

She scoffed at him. "I did not ask one of your mates out on a date," she said. "I invited Remus, who happens to be a friend of mine, to a concert."

"Right," he said. "Which is basically a date."

"No," she snapped. "It is not." She turned to the werewolf in question. "Remus," she said. James watched his friend's eyes widen. "Are you at all under the impression there will be any snogging or shagging on Friday night?"

"No," Remus responded, shaking his head quickly.

"Dating doesn't have anything to do with snogging or shagging," James said. He rolled his eyes when Sirius' mouth dropped open.

"Mate," Sirius said. "I know I did not just hear you say that."

James took a deep breath. "Look, that's not the point. The point is Lily asked Remus out on a bloody date."

"I did not," Lily shouted at him. "I invited him to a concert."

"Fine," James said. "If it isn't a date, why didn't invite me too? Or Sirius? Or Peter?" he asked.

"Well," she pretended to consider. "Possibly because you're a wanker, Sirius is a prat, and Peter is an idiot," she said in a scornful tone.

Sirius turned to James. "Nicely done, Prongs," he said. "We were getting along fine until you decided to throw your little tantrum."

"It's not a bloody tantrum," James hollered. "I've got a valid point. Even Dennison thinks so." James was concerned when Sirius and Remus both closed their eyes. "What?"

"Really?" Remus asked in a tired voice. "That's the direction you want to take this?"

James stared at him. "What's wrong with that?" he asked. "I wanted a female perspective." He turned to Lily. "Dennison agrees that one girl asking one guy to a concert constitutes a date."

"Does she also agree that one girl continuing to throw herself at one guy who has a girlfriend constitutes a slag?" Lily asked in a sugary voice.

James blinked. "She hasn't thrown herself at anyone," he said defensively. "Besides, she's not the problem here."

Lily looked at him. "Right," she said. "I guess that would be me." She shook her head, rising from her seat. "I'm sorry James. Am I not normal enough for you? Maybe you can convince the school to offer a course on how to be a proper girlfriend to a 'quidditch star'. You know, things like how many buttons I should leave undone if I want blokes to stare at my cleavage when I talk to them. Or how best to giggle at stupid jokes that aren't funny."

"I don't think you're a bad girlfriend," James groaned. "I'd just prefer it if you didn't go out on dates with other blokes."

"I'm not going on a bloody date with anyone," she shouted at him.

"Fine then," he said, "tell me why you didn't invite me to come too."

She huffed out a breath and flicked her wand. Suddenly loud noises blasted around the room. James cringed and covered his ears, just catching a fleeting view of Lily exiting out the portrait hole.

"Bloody hell," he said. "I know she's angry, but this is a bit overkill, don't you think?" he yelled, trying to be heard over the cacophony. "At least she could have answered the question."

"She did," Remus shouted back. "This," he gestured to the room at large, half smiling, "is the band we're going to see tomorrow night." He swished his wand and the music died out. "I could be wrong, but I'm guessing she didn't invite you because she didn't think you'd like it."

James covered his face with his hand. "Balls," he said. "If I'd known this was what you were going to listen too, I would never have made a fuss about it."

He waited to talk to her until Saturday morning. Well, he intended to talk to her on Saturday morning, but as she still disappeared off to Merlin knew where, he had to wait to seek her out until she appeared on the map. By then it was more like Saturday afternoon. It was a Hogsmeade weekend too, so they should have been down at the Three Broomsticks enjoying a butterbeer. Sometimes James didn't know what was wrong with him that he managed to mess everything up so badly.

He caught up with her on the grounds, in the end. She was sitting by the lake, studying. He walked up quietly, trying to plan out his apology.

"I'm still angry," she said, before he could open his mouth.

"Yeah," he nodded. "I expect so. And I know you aren't likely to just let it go because I apologize, but I still want to," he said. "I was out of order," he continued. "All the way. You've a right to go wherever you want with whoever you want."

She glanced over at him. "I'm not going to be Dennison, James. No matter how hard you try to make me into her."

He lifted his hands defensively. "I'm not trying to do that at all. I'm not interested in Dennison. If I was, I'd be dating her, not you." He ignored her derisive snort. "I like that you aren't like other girls. I like that you're independent, and you do what you want, and like what you like," he said. "It's just sometimes I get stupid about it." He shrugged. "I was jealous, I guess."

She turned to face him. "Remus and I are just friends."

"I know," he said, picking at some grass. "Only you were friends before we got together. Back when you still thought I was the scum of the earth." He threw a clump of grass back down on the ground. "And he knows you better than I do." He scrubbed at some dirt on his fingers. "And you two like the same things," he said, staring at his hands. "I guess, sometimes I just wonder why you aren't dating him instead of me," he finished quietly.

"Well," she said after a long moment, "I think it comes down to snogging."

He looked up at her. "That's it? That's all you like about me?"

She shook her head. "No. I'm saying that's the difference. I think friends are people you just want to hang out with. Whereas boyfriends are people you want to hang out with and snog," she explained. "There's no part of me that wants to kiss Remus when we hang out." She spoke again before he could object. "And," she said, "If all I liked about you was snogging, I wouldn't be dating you. I'd just be getting off with you."

"So . . . umm . . ." he said, plucking at some more grass. "What do you like about me?" he asked.

She stared at him. "Really?" she said. "Really? You're going to use this as an excuse to try to get me to stroke your ego?"

He shook his head. "I tell you what I like about you," he said.

She rolled her eyes. "Oh, Lily, you're so fit," she imitated him.

"That's not it. I was just on about how I like that you're independent and all that," he said defensively. "And anyway, I liked you before you were fit." When she gave him a look, he quickly amended his statement. "Before you were as gorgeous as you are now."

She sighed. Laying back on the grass, she stared up at the sky. "I like that you know where you stand on muggleborns," she said. "And that it's not a bad place." She thought about it for a moment. "I like that you're a good friend, when you decide someone matters to you," she said. "And that you're willing to apologize when you know you've done something wrong."

He laid down on the grass next to her. "I'm still listening," he said.

She snorted. "And begging for accolades," she returned.

He reached over, interlacing his fingers with hers. "I can go one better, you know," he said.

He saw her smile slightly out of the corner of his eye. "Oh yeah?" she asked.

"Mmmhhmmm," he responded, bringing their joined hands up to his lips. "I love that you tell me when you have a problem with something I do. And that you give me a chance to fix it, instead of just writing me off." He kissed her fingers. "I love that you like ridiculous music, and don't seem at all embarrassed by it," he said, smiling when she huffed out an annoyed breath at his description. "I love that you like picking out shapes in the clouds," he continued, propping himself up on his elbow. "But mostly," he said, leaning down to kiss her, "I love you." He kissed her again. "Even the bits that drive me crazy."

When he pulled back, he saw she was staring up at the sky again. "With me it's a little different," she said. "I think I love you more despite all the irritating bits," she said, smiling cheekily. "And there are a lot of irritating bits," she added.

He kissed her again. "I think I'm going to need you to repeat that," he said, before leaning in again. "Without the insulting parts. In fact, let's start after the 'I think' portion, because that's not a very firm statement. And then we can finish after 'you'." He thought about it. "If you want to keep the word 'more' in there, I don't mind," he added. "We'll call it optional."

"You're such an arse," she said, pushing him off of her.

He rolled, pulling her with him so that she was laying on his chest. "No," he said, feigning a thoughtful expression. "I don't think that was the phrase we were aiming for at all." He kissed her again, for good measure. And because he really couldn't stop himself, even when he tried.

When she didn't say anything, he felt a friendly reminder was in order. "Lily," he said.

She laughed, pulling back. "Fine," she grumbled. "I," she punctuated it with a kiss, "Love," and another, "You." The last kiss was quite a bit longer. "Are you happy now?"


I guess it didn't feel quite complete after all. Hope you liked the addition.

- Naj