And he makes her want to…make up words. Not any words. Words that seem real, but aren't. Like the emotions he makes her feel. They seem right, normal, until she thinks about it and all of a sudden it's wrong. Conversate. We were conversating over here. Talken. We haven't talken in a while. Love. She's in love with him. Nonono. Converse, talked, hate. Or maybe not hate, but not love. Definitely not that.
Love should take you high, but it only brings them down. And it's been so long since this dance began that it's a part of her now (she hates him for that) and if she loves him, then it's big. It's huge. It's not just a changing feeling— it's changing who she fucking IS. And she's too smart to deny it outright, but scared enough to never really admit it to herself.
"Alright, Evans?" His usual inquiry.
"Fine, Potter." Not her usual response. It's not fire and death threats, but it's certainly not proclamations of love. It's a reflection of how she feels. Maybe.
Part of her wants him to take choice out of the equation, because part of her knows that if he would just ask her again, she would have to say yes. She wasn't apathetic enough to say no. Maybe. And the old James would have done it. Seen the signs that her resolve to despise him for all eternity was sailing away on the last tide, and jumped at the chance to accost her with requests for dates. But the new James won't see that. He's being a good boy.
She wants to smack him back into being a bad boy, an incorrigible prankster. Crooken that straight tie. There she goes, making up words again. And now part of her is glad that he won't see her confusion. Because the words aren't right, and neither is this twisted feeling.
But now he's helped her with Transfiguration, and it's only natural to admire a bloke who'll help you with no need for a reward (she gave him a smile, and that's reward enough for him).
Alas, it's back to the real world, away from this introspective shit that's never actually helped her solve any of her problems, anyway. But she doesn't think that, not really. She's a careful girl, and careful girls think about things. They don't leap before looking.
"Evans! Wait up!" He pants just once, catching up to her. He smiles, falls in step with her, and lightly snatches her bag from her shoulder, placing it on his own. He smiles down at her, eyes twinkling, and oh. Ohohoh her heart is pounding and she tosses her head like she doesn't care for him, but really she swears her face is on fire and she can't let JamesPotter see her resembling a tomato!
"Mph?" she asks. Or says. Or emits. She bets he's raising his eyebrow, but can't see with that curtain of hair in the way.
"I can't go on rounds tonight. I can ask Dawson to cover for me, or…Evans? You ok?" he asks, stops, and gently touches her arm to turn her towards him. His face is coming closer, trying to see around all her crimson locks. (Or maybe they're tomato. Or strawberry. He can't ever decide. The light plays games with her hair, to keep him guessing. Crimson, he decides. It's crimson now.)
Lily's mouth is dry and her stomach feels a little queasy. She decides she does not like these flutterbys. Butterflies, she means. They were NOT nice, not nice at all. They feel much more like tarantulas and scorpions wreaking havoc in her intestines than pretty, floating butterflies.
"Just great," she manages to reply. Pat on the back for saying real words. He doesn't believe her, but he's a gentleman and leaves her to her emotional breakdown.
"Alright. See you tomorrow. Getting those Transfiguration essay marks back. Exciting, yeah?" he askes rhetorically, already too far away for her to really answer. He is walking backwards to keep looking at her as he talks, and she thinks her mouth is open, catching flies, because he's so beautiful, inside and out. He turns around to hurry out to meet his friends, waving goodbye over his shoulder. She waves back, not that he can see it. She hugs her books to her chest like she's in first year again.
Now she wonders what would have happened if he hadn't teased Severus that first train ride. Maybe she wouldn't have been so prejudiced against him. Maybe he wouldn't have made an arse of himself for six years trying to impress her, or whatever he thought he was doing. Maybe she never would have been deluded enough to think that the fire in her veins was pure hate. Pure hate, she knows now, chills to the bone. Voldemort makes her very marrow freeze with undistilled loathing and fear. Potter never did that. Potter made her alive, and now that his head's been pulled from its former residence up his arse, there was nothing to disguise the blaze he ignited in her.
Funny, caring, witty, open, honest, silly, intense, everything. She feels breathless and actually, legitimately mentally handicapped whenever he comes too close now. Like he is a king and she is a serf, she clams up and feels grateful that he is blessing her with his presence, yet begrudging that she should feel grateful. Where has the old Lily Evans gone? She was a spitfire. The spitfire bowed to no one, felt beneath no one, and was cowed by no one. Except maybe Professor McGonagall. But now she is shy and clumsy when he approaches, and can't take McGonagall as seriously anymore since she started thinking of her as Minnie, courtesy of one Sirius Black.
She is doomed, because now she can't find a reason on Earth why James should still show any interest in her (not that she's decided she wants him to). Despite all the evidence, she is now an insecure girl and she only sees a nose that flares too much, thighs that jiggle just a tad, a personality that's dull, and a voice that nasals. Nasal isn't a verb. Damn.
She has managed to work herself into quite the state by the end of rounds and, when Dawson goes to bed, she paces in front of the fire. All of a sudden, it's not just Potter who's bothering her, but it's Severus, and NEWTs, and Mary's tendency to snap at her, and Petunia, and becoming an Auror, and she justcan'ttakeit! But she's not got her period yet, so thankfully she doesn't cry hormonally. She just paces (and probably gets a bit ruddy in the face).
"Evans?" Wow. She wishes her recording device worked at Hogwarts; it would be right pleasant to hear him say her name whenever she wanted. It's smooth, like velvet, but tough, like wood. A velvet wand, his voice. She barely notices Black and Pettigrew nod at her and shuffle up the boys' staircase.
"Mph?" She is dying of embarrassment, one cell at a time. But he might actually be dying of real physical injury, so she pays attention to him instead of herself (he's much more interesting anyway). He's limping a bit and has a long mark on his arm; it looks like a recently, and badly, healed gash. Her eyes narrow.
"What have you been up to, Potter?" He puts on his best innocent face. Big eyes, quizzical brow, and parted lips.
"What do you mean? Aw, Evans, you're not gonna bust my balls for being out past curfew, are you? I didn't do anything naughty- cross my heart," he says with a chuckle. He knows his charm is working on me; he doesn't even look scared. In the old days, he would've pissed his trousers by now.
"What I'm referring to, Potter," she says, trying to speak sternly—get a foothold, go back to familiar ground— "are the injuries you seem to be sporting." She almost stops to let him flounder for an excuse, but decides to end the conversation sooner rather than later by just telling him she already knows what he was up to. Less of a chance the last of her cells will perish in mortification. "Pick-up game of Quidditch? Really, Potter, if you're going to act like an idiot, at least have some boundaries. Don't play dirty if you can't even go to Madam Pomfrey to get stitched up." She ignores his confusion at the reference to sewing, which he has probably learned about in Muggle Studies, but which, as far as he had probably been taught, had no bearing on injuries.
"And you should be more mindful of the phase of the moon the next time you take a late-night jaunt outside around a magical community," she finishes. She grabs her wand from the table by the fire and pockets it, ready to make a strong exit. He just looks angry.
"What, you think there are werewolves roaming around the grounds?" he asks. She doesn't know why he seems mad, and now she's confused. If she figured out about Remus, surely he did, too? But maybe he's just confused because he assumes she's still out of the loop? Or maybe he's sticking up for his mate. That's it, she decides. She'll play along.
"Well, no, but maybe someone in Hogsmeade…" she starts, her brow furrowed.
"What? Is a bloody monster and is going to come maul me to death for shits and giggles?" he asks. His eyes are thunderous and she doesn't know what's she done. The confidence from her telling off is completely gone, now, and her shoulders hunch a little because why doesn't he like her?
"Well, they can't control themselves, can they?" she mumbles (it's a statement, not a question), beyond ready to dash up the stairs to the haven of her dormitory. He seems a little less mad, but a storm is still brewing in his face and for some reason the heart that was already beating against her ribcage is now in overdrive, screaming to get out. Swallowing is hard and there's a tic in her quad, making it hard to stand.
"Yeah," he mutters darkly. "Foul beasts, the lot of them, sure." He is muttering to himself, angry with her, she thinks. But her brain can't work and the old Lily, who is screaming in her head, "Just tell him you know about Remus, you bleeding idiot!" doesn't seem to have a voice that carries anymore, as new Lily is stupidly wondering what's wrong with him and what she should do.
"Don't have to act like such a loon," she ends up saying, her voice sharp without her meaning it to be. Her whole existence seems out of her control these days. The thunder is back- oh, it's back, and now not just her heart is thumping, but every vein. She feels her toes, fingers, neck, arms— everything— throb. Part of her knows that it's not all her fault, that something else must be eating him, but oh, it doesn't feel that way. It feels like he's going to shove her, throw her down… her breath hitches and she backs up a step.
"A loon? Funny wording, Evans. You know, I'm just so fucking sick of you acting superior," he starts, looming over her, and he seems ever so slightly surprised at what's coming out of his mouth, like it isn't exactly what he meant to say. But now the hesitation is over and whatever he meant to say is lost, because he's decided he'd love to continue with this train of thought. "Like it's not ok to laugh instead of study once in a while— " she resents that because she doesn't study all that much (she's smart, just like him), but she's not about to interrupt the tirade, "— or play Quidditch instead of read, or go on dates instead of keeping to yourself. I mean, shit, you act like you want to end up an old maid, rather than condescend to give a guy, any guy a chance!" But now she's mad, pissed as hell that he's ranting at her like she did something wrong.
"Where do you get off, yelling at me?" she booms. Well, she wants to boom back at his thunder, but she sounds dangerously close to hurt, and that won't do at all. She swallows- it's hard to do- and presses on. "I was just minding my own business and now you're acting like I offended you, going off like it's a sin that I'm just a serious person, sometimes. Sometimes, Potter. We both know I," she pauses for an instant, struggling for words, "let loose, too, or don't you remember some of our less pleasant exchanges?" She is bright red again, but she's mad, so it's ok— she doesn't need to hide. She's so angry, or something, that the look on his face barely registers, and even if it did, she wouldn't know what it means.
"Oh, I remember," he says, and it's like he's thrown a dagger between her eyes, because he sounds impossibly bitter, like she's killed his mum (oh wait, his parents have already died, haven't they? She starts to feel guilty, but it's pushed back by anger).
"I'm just trying to be nice and discreet about your friend's," she emphasizes that Remus is his mate, not hers, even though she gets on with Remus quite well, "lycanthropy, but hey, if you want to be an arse about everything possible, be my guest. Maybe it'll remind me why I can't stand you," she spits out. Well, she wants to spit it out, but she sounds dangerously close to hurt— again. Now her throat is burning and thick with emotion and the whole thing has spiraled out of control for no apparent reason, and it's hard to say what she says next, "And I hope you're happy that you've completely proved to me beyond a doubt why we could never be— " she was going to say 'friends' but her whole body bursts into flames and the pain in her throat squeezes out of her eyes, just one tear (or maybe four) as he kisses her for all he's worth.
A disconnected group of brain cells floating in her head absently thinks that it was good James kissed her instead of asking her out again, because his lips seem to flip off the awkward, insecure switch in her body, not to mention most of her brain.
Her heart is humming and her toes are still throbbing, but suddenly it's a good thing, and all those made up words start to sound better and better. Grammar wasn't such a big deal.
"James?" she asks when they pull apart and his forehead rests against hers. Well, she wants to ask, but she sounds deliciously close to breathily pleading. But his eyes are intense and he wants— no, needs, if his sudden interruption is any indication— to talk first.
"Lily. Lilylilylily," his eyes squeeze shut and he looks upset and now she's glad she didn't talk first because she's wondering if he didn't just snog her to shut her up. Now that his lips were gone from hers, her awkwardness switch was flipped back to Fully Operational and her cheeks turn cherry red. Oh wait, they already were. Her forehead joined them in their quest to resemble certain vermilion fruits.
"I'm sorry I yelled at you," he finally says (well, maybe it had only been a moment). "I took some other things out on you. Can you forgive me?" Who knew hazel could be such a powerful color? It had always seemed like a lighter, fluffier color than her own emerald eyes or those deep blue eyes you see on boys in magazines. But now they far surpass her own in potency and all she can do is nod. He breathes out in relief and a smile starts to creep onto his mouth (mm, his mouth).
"Now please tell me that you're not mad at me for kissing you," he begs; when he says "kissing", even her lips seem to blush, and even though she's not very upset anymore, her throat is still thick, so she just shakes her head. His eyes shut for a moment in happiness and he says, "Good. Because I'm honestly not sure I could take it if you were." He sounds more like an adult when he utters that one sentence than anyone she's ever known, as though the weight of the world is smunching him down, down, past where she can reach him. Her heart gives a faint pop, and she thinks she might be ready to admit those feelings to herself. And now it's her turn to talk.
"James," she starts, the same as before, except that she sounds a little like a chain smoker with laryngitis, "I won't let it smunch you. And I don't even care that that's not a real word, even though it kind of sounds like one, because if I say it, it's a word." And she kisses him again, wiping the confused look right off his beautiful face.
A/N So I'd love some feedback. This isn't my normal style, but it just came out. Like, love, moderately appreciate? (Notice I didn't include dislike- that's because I would cry if I got a negative review). THERE'S NO EXCUSE FOR NOT REVIEWING! Thanks!