Title: Hogsmeade. This Weekend. (Or, Muggle Studies: UST Outtake)
Warnings: Please pardon the UST
Summary: In which Lily wants him, James wants her, and nobody wants to make an overt move.
Author's Note: Written in celebration of Lily's 51st birthday, and I'm just now getting around to posting it. This is an outtake from Chapter 6 of Muggle Studies. I've provided the snippet of the fic that inspired this piece in case you need to be refreshed. Thanks for the once-over, L.
"When the final Hogsmeade weekend came around in May, James had offered to escort her. She'd declined, not feeling entirely up for it, and so he'd surprised her when he returned with a small bag full of sweets and chocolates from Honeydukes."
-Muggle Studies, Chapter 6
For what must be the seventh time in the past two minutes, Lily rereads the same line in her Advanced Charm Theory text: The range of this charm is dependent upon three factors—the limit of the caster's natural magic reserve, Grimbarrow's Fourth Law of Web Theory, and Tyrbert's Seventh Principle.
On any other day, Lily knows that she would be able to understand this, but as it stands, she can't remember which theory is which and what the Seventh Principle is founded upon. No, today has been all around rubbish, from the moment she overslept to the surprise quiz in Herbology. She's still got dirt under her nails from that, and to top things off, tomorrow is the trip to Hogsmeade.
Just as she reaches to close her book in defeat, she hears a soft knock on the door of her private study—one of the few perks of being a prefect. A sudden fear grips her, despite the fact that the hazing has lessened considerably after the incident in her dormitory, and she briefly considers pretending that she's not in here.
The door clicks open though, just a small crack. Lily's panic subsides. It's password protected and only a select few know.
James. Lily nearly jumps to her feet, her heart beating just a little faster at the sound of his voice. She meets him at the door, opening it entirely for him.
"Sorry if I'm being a bother," he says, stepping into the room as she shuts the door. "Looks like you're busy. Advanced Charms?"
"Just finishing up, actually."
They look at each other for a long moment, both with small, awkward smiles on their lips. Lily wishes she could control the fluttering in her stomach, but struggles in vain. The fact that James is in his Quidditch kit does not help matters in the least, nor does his obscenely wind-swept hair. If Lily would have thought back in September that she would be this smitten with James Potter, she would have never believed it.
"How was practice?" she blurts out after what feels like forever, the silence-induced tension becoming impossible to bear.
"Fine, I guess. I still don't think we're a match for Hufflepuff, but…" James shrugs. "Sorry I had to come after practice. I probably smell like arse. I just, I wanted to make sure I caught you before you turned in for the night."
James shakes his head. "Hogsmeade. This weekend. I know I've asked you a thousand times over, but I thought…" He pauses, and then seems more resolved, taking her hand. "Go with me?"
Lily looks into those pleading, hazel eyes, can see the apprehension there and just a small speck of hope. She aches with the knowledge that she's decided not to go, but is firm in her resolve. Things have been mad lately, and for all that she is a Gryffindor, Lily doesn't think she has the courage to leave the safety of her password protected dormitory or study room.
But she wants to go, more than anything. A date with James—how long had she spent imagining it after he had decided he wasn't going to ask her anymore? And a date could lead to so much more, so much more of all the things she's been thinking of lately. Kisses and hand-holding and snogging and conversation. Lily thinks briefly about whose heart is going to break more when she gives James her answer—hers or his?
She squeezes his hand. "I'm sorry."
His expression falls, hurt so terribly apparent. She wonders if he'd been working up the courage to ask her all day, and knowing James now like she does, it wouldn't surprise her. James takes a quick, deep breath and forces his face into its normal, light and arrogant look.
"Of course. Sorry, I…I shouldn't have asked."
"No!" She says loudly, surprising herself with her volume. "What I meant was I'm glad you did—ask. And I would go." Lily bites her lip. "Iwant to go. With you. I just…can't."
It looks like James doesn't know what to say in reply, though he seems relieved enough to know that she didn't reject his offer because it was him asking. Lily, herself, can only think of repeating Sorryover and over again, but she thinks better of it. Instead, she takes two steps towards James, wrapping her arms around his neck. James holds her tightly to him, and it feels like he's never going to let her go.
It feels wonderful.
Her hands seek out the feel of his lean muscles under the thick material of his Quidditch jersey. One of his is subtly squeezing her curvy hip, the other lost in her mass of auburn hair. This is so much more than a hug; it's what they both want and won't let themselves have.
"Can I walk you back to the Tower?" he asks, and it's barely a whisper in her ear.
She thinks she feels him place a soft kiss at her temple, her knees trembling with the mere idea. Turning her head just so, she ghosts a kiss across his jaw before pulling back to look into his eyes.
"That'd be lovely."
End Notes: A big thank you to everyone who read Muggle Studies! I wrote this for a fic fest over at Livejournal, so it was never meant to be any longer than the 35,000 words it ended up being. Not to mention the fact that this whole fic was written over the course of a month. The good news is that this is not the end of the Muggle Studies 'verse, even if it is the end of this particular fic. One of my major projects in the coming months is to begin the sequel to Muggle Studies, and I have every intention of making it longer and chaptered. It won't be posted as additional chapters to this fic, so I would recommend adding me to your author alert list if you'd like to read the story of Lily and James' seventh year! In addition, you can find links to my other websites on my profile page, which I update more frequently. Thanks again! - Muse