Towards the Back of the Library

She was staring again. But she just couldn't help it. She was attracted to him, plain and simple.

He was currently hunched over a table towards the back of the library, his eyebrows scrunched up in confusion as he worked on his Charms essay. It was due the next day, of course, and he had procrastinated, like always. She herself had finished it last week, the night after it had been assigned, while he and his friends had been huddled in a corner, coming up with new, mischievous plots. While she took pride in her schoolwork, he took pride in his prankwork.

Once, that had annoyed her to no end. All he cared about was pranking and hexing and joking. He didn't care about getting detentions, about losing Gryffindor points, or about getting his work done on time. And yet he still got decent grades, he still had time to play Quidditch, he was still full of himself.

But then, one day at the beginning of Sixth Year, she had stumbled across him sitting at the very same table towards the back of the library, engrossed in his studies.

And she had realized that it was a front, a façade. He really did take pride in his schoolwork and his grades but, for reasons she couldn't, and wouldn't really ever, fathom, he preferred to be seen as cocky, arrogant, and too intelligent to be bothered.

He was intelligent, no doubt about that, but it came with a bit of effort. She always had a sneaking suspicion that, after becoming famous or, rather, infamous for this reputation, he was too embarrassed to actually admit that he put effort into his studies.

But ever since that fateful day, she realized that there was more to James Potter than she had thought. She wanted to get to know that quiet, subdued side of him, the part of him that cared about his work, that wasn't always snickering obnoxiously or picking a stupid fight.

So, every once in a while, whenever she noticed that he was strangely absent from his group of friends, she would go to the library, sit in a hidden alcove with some homework or a book and watch him study at that table towards the back of the library.

The work wouldn't ever get done, of course, the book was never read.

But he was so enticing. She was taken in by this side of him that she'd never seen before, this quiet, studious, and even serene part of him. For once he wasn't acting obnoxiously, wasn't hexing Slytherins or asking her out endlessly. He just was.

And now, once again, she found herself sitting in that alcove towards the back of the library, ignoring the Potions textbook in her hands, and staring at him, tracing his profile with her eyes. He had quite a long nose, she mused, but it fit him well. His round eyeglasses were a nice contrast to his overall long face. His hair, although a bit too unruly for her taste, was quite dark, a color that she envied. Her eyes continued to travel until she stopped at his lips. She'd started having romantic feelings for him a few months ago, at the end of Sixth Year, and had ever since then, she'd endlessly imagined kissing those curvy, soft lips.

Forgetting herself and her whereabouts, she let out a small sigh.

And he immediately glanced up at her.

She barely had time to register the look of confusion on his face before he was standing up, peering over at her. "Lily?"

She swallowed. "Erm. Yes. Hullo, James."

"How long have you been there?" He asked amusedly, grinning at her.

"Oh, you know…" She trailed off, looking down at her hands, at the ground, at anything but his face. She could feel the blush creeping up her neck.

"You could, y'know, come study over here with me, yeah?"

Looking back up at him, she blinked. "Oh yeah, right. I, uh, hadn't even noticed you were… over there…"

Somehow she had the sinking feeling that he didn't buy that at all. Not one bit. Still, she dragged her feet over to the table, his table, and plopped down in the seat next to his.

Settling into his chair, James smiled at her again. "I don't suppose you've finished this essay?"

"Well, yes, I did, actually. Last week. When it was assigned." She looked at him pointedly, raising her eyebrows, her embarrassment momentarily forgotten as she reprimanded him silently.

He just chucked. "Figured as much. Would you mind helping me, then? You're ace at Charms and I'm having some trouble."

She nodded, looking over his shoulder at what he'd written, and couldn't help but snicker. "It might help if you start with the right spell."

He looked up at her, his eyes widening, his mouth forming an O, as he looked back down at the essay. "Bugger!"

Lily tried to stifle her laughter, patting him on the arm and saying, "Look, I'll go get you some books on the right spell. At least it's only a 500 word essay. Plus, the actual assignment is loads easier than what you've been trying to do."

"You're a life saver, love. Thanks so much."

Lily couldn't help but blush at the term of endearment and hurried away to get the books. Upon her return, she found James sitting in front of a clean piece of parchment, ready to begin.

They sat working for at least half an hour, him occasionally asking her questions about the essay, her attempting to read her Potions book.

But she couldn't concentrate with his knee bumping hers under the table. Afraid she would do something drastic like perhaps grabbing him and snogging him senseless, she stuck her hands in her lap, twiddling her thumbs and playing with her fingers.

And his knee bumped hers again. This time, however, it didn't move away. His leg stayed pressed up against hers. And it was silly, ridiculous really, but she felt so jumpy and nervous. It wasn't even his skin, it was just his clothed calf pressed up against hers, but it was so addicting and she wanted more, more contact, more touching, more James.

So she did something drastic. Her right hand shot out and landed itself on his left knee. She had no idea what she was doing; she'd never been so forward with a boy before, they were always the ones coming after her.

She heard James suck in his breath, but he didn't say anything and she wondered helplessly what was going through his mind. She wanted to know why he wasn't talking, wasn't questioning this, wasn't responding in turn. She desperately wanted him to respond in turn. So she did the only logical thing; she moved her hand a little further up his thigh, rubbing in soothing circles.

"Lily." He choked out a groan, turning to look at her and grabbing her hand in his.

"James." She knew she must've looked absolutely crazed, her eyes wide, her face bright red. She was sure her palms would start sweating any minute and hoped to all that was holy that he would let go of her hand before that.

"What-what're you doing?" His voice was choked, his own face pink and in that moment she knew that he had been enjoying her massage, a little too much.

"Oh, y'know. Just feeling you up." She had no idea where it came from, this sudden forwardness and flirtation, but the words just slipped out before she could even think twice.

At this, James' eyebrows shot up underneath his dark fringe, his face turned even pinker, and he started laughing, somewhat hysterically.

She couldn't help but smile back at him and laugh herself.

"You've gone mad!" He accused her, but he was grinning.

"Mad about you," she said in her cheesiest tone, winking at him.

At this, however, his face got serious again, his eyes deepening as he looked at her intently.

"No, seriously, Lily… was that-why did-did that mean something?"

Suddenly feeling very sober, Lily blushed even more and bit her lip, trying desperately to convey her feelings without actually having to say them. He was still staring at her, waiting for a response. After a few more terribly awkward moments, he sighed and nodded, looking back down at his essay.

"Yes." Lily didn't know her voice could be that squeaky.

He turned back to her, his eyes questioning. "Yes?"

She nodded, her face turning even redder, as if that were possible.

"You're blushing." He stated, smiling.

"Shut up," she moaned, covering her face with her hands.

"No, no, it's cute." His hands were suddenly over hers, prying her fingers away, and his face was right there, mere centimeters away from hers.

"You're really pretty." His eyes were serious, his tone quiet, and somehow she just knew that he was being one hundred percent truthful, that he really and truly thought her to be as pretty as he always said.

He was leaning closer now, his hands still holding hers, and her lips parted slightly, her eyelids beginning to close.

"Will you go out with me, Lily?" His eyes, still intent on her, lit up as she nodded slowly, a smile forming on her lips.

"Yeah, I'd like that." She leaned forward, closing the gap between them, pressing her lips against his, which were just as soft as she'd imagined, at that table towards the back of the library.

I am completely and utterly obsessed with Lily & James. It's a bit pathetic, but hey, I can live with that. They're just such a good pairing, I don't know. I'm such a hopeless romantic.

Reviews/feedback are appreciated. Thanks :)