Summary: Lily Evans needs a minute to figure something out - and it's a little hard to think straight around James Potter. L/J one-shot.
Disclaimer: Nope. None of it's mine. Le sigh.
A/N: The song that inspired this one-shot is totally awesome and amazing. I had to use very ounce of restraint I posses to only pick one part of it and not simply transcribe the entire thing. If you're struck by the urge to hear it, listen to the version from the play sung by Joey Richter and Jamie Lyn Beatty. It's incredibly adorable.
"Just wa-ait! Give me a minute!
My head's confused but I know there's something in it.
Won't you sta-a-ay?
Please sta-a-ay - until I get it clear."
Even Though from Starkid's "Me and My Dick: A New Musical"
It was raining.
Lily Evans ran up the path, holding her bag over her head in a vain attempt to prevent her hair from frizzing. The rain drizzled down in depressing sheets, splashing against the soggy earth. Lily leapt over puddles, desperate to avoid soaking her flat, black mary janes beyond repair. She landed in a squishy patch of mud with a squelch and a cringe. But she only hesitated for a moment before she was hurrying down the road and up the steps that lead to the tall, broad entrance doors of Hogwarts, school of witchcraft and wizardry.
She pushed against the door, nudging it open to get out of the cold, damp air of the evening. It was warm and dry inside of the entrance hall, and she took a second to catch her breath before she muttered a spell to dry her robes and clean the mud from her shoes. After a few quick swishes of her wand, all evidence of her trip to Hogsmeade was gone - except for a small smile she couldn't seem to wipe off her face.
A gust of chilled air swept through the hall, ruffling her long red tresses. Lily turned to see the front doors rumble slowly open, admitting some one new. James Potter, utterly soaked to the bone, fixed her with a devilish grin when his eyes found her. Rain water dripped from his black hair and ran in twisting rivulets down his neck, disappearing down the collar of his shirt.
He ran a hand through his hair and it stuck up in wet, spiky clumps as he adjusted his glasses. They were free of raindrops, having been charmed to repel water during Quidditch matches. He moved toward Lily, his slightly crooked smile still in place.
"Do you run away from all your dates, or is that a privilege reserved for me alone?" he asked, his head tilting to the side as he studied her. Lily forced her smile back, distracting herself from his warm gaze by twisting her hair between her fingers.
"It wasn't a date," she said, giving him a chiding look before she added, "And it's not my fault that you couldn't keep up." She was quickly loosing the battle against her smile, and it burst across her face
"You shoved me, Lily Evans," he told her, full of reproach. His mouth was set in a scolding line, but his hazel eyes danced behind his spectacles. "That's cheating."
"I don't know what you're talking about." she said primly, lifting her nose in the air. The corner of her mouth twitched.
"That's a load of waffle," James chuckled, stepping closer to her, now standing barely a foot away. Water dripped from his cloak and left dark spots on the stone floor. "Now you're a cheat and a liar. What kind of Head Girl are you?"
She smiled at him, the barest hint of a blush creeping up her neck as she gave a small shrug. "The kind that beats the Gryffindor Quidditch captain in a foot race?"
He chuckled, gently prodded her in the arm. "By cheating."
He laughed again, running his hand through his hair. "Hmm," he hummed, quirking an eyebrow as water dripped from his hand. "I suppose I should dry off, shouldn't I?"
When James hesitated, Lily warily suggested, "A simply drying charm should do it."
He smirked at her, sending chills scurrying down her spine.
"I've got a better idea," he said, his grin turning wicked. Before Lily could protest, James latched his arms around her and pulled her into a suffocating bear hug. He held her close, his face buried in her hair.
"James!" she squealed, trying to untangle herself from him. "You're wet!"
"Spiffing observation, Lily," he chuckled into her neck, still clutching her tightly to his chest. Lily sighed, resigned to being hugged by James - it wasn't the most unpleasant thing. They stood in the hall, him wrapped around her, and she found herself laughing as the cold water soaked through her clothing. She didn't think about it as she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him back. The action surprised him, his heart skipping a beat in it's usually steady rhythm. The question slipped out before he had a chance to process it.
"Go out with me, won't you, Lily?"
It was soft, a whisper that was slightly muffled by her hair. Barely heard - but it was heard. Lily froze, her brain going silent for a moment before whirring back to life in a panic. Her arms fell away from James, and he allowed her to step out of his grasp. Her green eyes watched him carefully as she folded her arms across her chest, looking away after a moment.
Her mind reeled and skidded through thoughts and memories - confused and frazzled. She wasn't sure how it had happened, but somewhere during the past month, they had formed a tentative friendship. He was different than she had thought he was. He had depth, he had secrets and passions and he was uncommonly loyal. He knew how to get her to smile, even when the weight of the world was pressing down on her shoulders. He could make her laugh at the most ridiculous things, make her notice the simple pleasures in life. Told her she worried too much, showed her how to let loose once in a while.
He'd told her she just had to go to Hogsmeade, even though she had mountains of homework and she wanted nothing more than to curl up by the fire and slog through it. He dragged her to the small town, sat her down for a butterbeer, made her troll through Zonko's to look at his favourite products. And they talked, and laughed, and teased each other. And Lily found herself growing sort of…fond of James Potter.
"James," she started slowly. She glanced at him, her face pulled into an expression of apology. He shook his head, looking down at the ground. His hand found his hair again, his fingers raking through it.
"Never mind, forget it, Lily," he said, flicking his wand, his clothes instantly drying. He turned and headed for the stairs.
Lily felt the sudden constriction of her chest - a sharp, stabbing pain of irrational loss. It didn't make sense - her sudden powerful attachment to him - and yet, it made all kinds of sense.
The words slipped out of her mouth before she even consciously thought them. Something within her twisted, coiled, settled, deep and warm. Strong and steady. She moved toward him, her hand reaching for his. His eyes searched her face.
"Just," she breathed, unsteady with the realisations that were flooding through her. "Just give me a minute."
He nodded, still looking wary, but a small amount of hope was flickering within his expression. Her fingers threaded through his, and she stared at the contrast between them. Large versus small, rough versus smooth. James versus Lily.
James and Lily.
She kind of liked the sound of that.
"I…" she whispered, her gaze finding his. "I'm… I would like…I just…" she sighed, stamping her foot. "Bugger."
James' lips twisted into a small smile. He brushed a strand of Lily's hair behind her ear, his fingers lingering on her cheek. She took a deep breath.
"Yes," she murmured.
"Yes…I will go out with you."
He blinked. Once. Twice. Then his face split into a grin so wide and bright, it could have blinded her. Instead, she found herself smiling similarly in return. James gripped her hand in his, squeezing it gently before tugging her toward him. She stumbled into him, her left hand splayed out on his chest. She could feel the steady, thrumming beat of his heart beneath her fingers, slightly faster than normal. It matched her own.
With a crooked grin, James leaned down and placed a soft, chaste kiss upon her lips. But before he could pull away, Lily wove her hand into his hair and pulled his face closer to hers, deepening the kiss. He smiled against her lips, breaking away after a minute or two.
"Well look at you," James smirked, his forehead pressed against Lily's. "You're not wasting any time, are you?"
Lily smiled, pressed another kiss against his lips -thrilling at the jolts that ran through her every time she did so - and huddled into his side as they moved up the stairs. James let out a low, rumbling laugh.
"You're still a cheat, by the way," he teased, placing a kiss in her hair. She stopped at the top of the stairs and turned to face him.
"Fine. We'll have a re-match, then," she said, crossing her arms over her chest. "First one to the common room wins."
"Alright. It's a deal," James said. He cracked his knuckles, giving her a cheeky grin. "You're going to lose terribly, Head Girl."
"We'll see, Head Boy," she laughed lightly, stretching her arms backward. "Ready?" she said. He nodded, a determined look creeping across his face as he said, "Set."
"Go!" she yelled.
However, instead of taking off, Lily turned to James, grabbed him by the front of his robes, and kissed him hard on the mouth. James stumbled, and they bumped into the wall behind them. Lily smiled against his lips before she pushed away from him and hurried off at a speedy jog down the hallway.
"Don't be a slow poke, Potter," she called over her shoulder with a sly grin. "Wouldn't want to lose twice in one evening, would you?"
James adjusted his glasses, straightened his robes and stared after Lily.
"Lily!" James picked up his pace to chase after her. "Lily!" he called again, a chuckle buried under his indignant tone. "You owe me at least three dates because of your incessant cheating!"
Lily stopped, still a yard away from him as she turned. She looked a bit startled at first, but slowly a smile slipped over her face.
"Okay," she said.
James stumbled to a halt, eyebrows raised. "Really?"
She nodded, her hair bouncing around her face. Then she took off running down the corridor again. James, still a bit stunned at how things were turning out, took a moment to realise that Lily was undoubtedly going to beat him to the common room.
"Lily!" he shouted, jogging along behind her. "Lily, wait up or I'm going to coax more dates out of you!"
Her only answer was a happy, ringing laugh.
A/N: So, lovelies, let me know what you think! I love reviews! They make me happier than dancing in the rain!