Disclaimer: I don't own anyone you recognize.
Daddy told me today that 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade'. Apparently it's some muggle saying.
Muggles are silly.
I prefer to make lemon bars.
Actually, I prefer to have other people make them for me.
Operation: Eat Another Batch Of Daddy's Lemon Bars is on!
"Daddy!" Lily beams at her father as she wanders into the kitchen and clambers up onto the counter. "Do we have lemon bars?"
Harry turns away from the stove to send his daughter an amused smile. "Lily, darling, we always have lemon bars for you, my little addict."
She giggles. "Where are they?"
"Your brothers ate them all," Harry answers, completely matter-of-fact.
"What?" Lily shrieks in outrage. "How could they eat all—?"
"Harry, stop teasing your daughter," orders another, affectionate voice. Lily and Harry both turn, one delighted, one sheepish, to watch Ginny walk into their kitchen with a fond smile on her face. "Lily, the lemon bars are in the fridge. You can have them for dessert."
Harry raises an eyebrow at his wife.
"What?" Ginny asks.
Two seconds later, Lily's hopped off the counter and is already at the fridge, flinging it wide open. Her eyes light up at the sight of a silver tray full of lemon bars sitting right in the middle.
"Yay!" she laughs in delight, clapping her hands.
"Merlin's beard," Harry mutters, watching her fondly as she peels back the aluminum foil and makes a grab for the first, delicious square of lemony goodness sitting in the tray. "We should enroll her in Lemon Bars Addicts Anonymous or something."
"Don't be silly," Ginny admonishes. "She's not that obsessed."
"She's already finished her first one!" Harry snorts. "Honestly, Gin. Our daughter is a lemon bar addict."
"Am not!" Lily shouts through a mouthful of lemon bar, having finally clued in to the fact that their conversation was about her. "It is a healthy interest."
"Healthy," Harry repeats, grinning. "Whatever you say, Lemon Lily."
"What kind of a nickname is that?" Ginny demands, covering her mouth to hide her laughter when Lily sends her father a scandalized look.
"It's an apt one!" Harry protests. "You gotta admit that, at least."
Ginny snorts. "True enough, I suppose. Well, Lemon, darling, I don't suppose you want to help me clean up the mess your brothers left when they were in here last?"
There's a moment of silence.
Both elder Potters blink, and their daughter is gone.
So are the majority of the lemon bars.
Operation: Eat Another Batch Of Daddy's Lemon Bars is a success!
Teddy's Aunt Astoria makes delicious lemon bars. I mean, they are mouthwateringly amazing. Almost better than Daddy's lemon bars.
Hmm. I need to come up with a way to get more without appearing rude.
Operation: Get Astoria Malfoy's Lemon Bars is on!
Operation: Get Out Of Going to the May 2nd Gala is also on!
Lily Luna Potter likes the color yellow.
Mostly when it's square-shaped and filled with lemony, sugar goodness. She emphatically does not like it in the form of a dress that her mother forced her into for the May 2nd Gala. Especially when it comes with a matching ribbon and no way to hide stains from lemon bars.
"I don't wanna go!" Lily cries, on the verge of a tantrum, despite the fact that nobody is there to listen. Normally, simply pouting at her father would have worked, but the Gala was apparently too important to miss. "I don't, I don't, I don't!"
Outside her window, some birds chirp cheerfully. Lily scowls at them through the glass and sweeps her yellow-and-pink curtains across the window with a dramatic flourish.
"Too bad, Lemon," teases James, poking his head in her bedroom and making a face at all the pink inside. "We're all going."
"Get out of my room!" Lily demands, throwing one of the shiny, yellow slippers she was supposed to wear at his face. He laughs, dodges, and darts away into the safety of his own room before she can give chase. In a late retaliation, she throws the other shoe.
"Lemon, what did I tell you about throwing shoes at your brother?" Ginny asks warningly, though there is an affectionate smile on her face as she picks up the slippers and enters Lily's room.
Lily crosses her arms and sulks. "No matter how annoying they act, I can't throw shoes at my brother," she recites obediently. "But, Mum, he was—"
"Sweetheart, forget about your brother," Ginny cuts across her daughter with the ease of ten years of practice. "Now, come on, let me do your hair."
Lily huffs but sits down on the stool in front of her vanity when Ginny raises an eyebrow at her.
"Good girl," Ginny smiles, kneeling behind her and drawing a comb through Lily's tangled, bright red curls. "What kind of hairstyle do you want?"
"A ponytail," Lily mutters in a fit of rebellion.
Ginny sighs. "Everyone else is going to be in fancy updos and—"
"I want a ponytail," Lily insists.
"All right, Lemon," Ginny laughs, gathering her daughter's hair in a ponytail and tying it with the yellow silk ribbon. "Do you think you can enjoy the Gala now?"
"No," Lily says stubbornly, batting at the few loose curls that dance in front of her face. "They're all in my face," she adds, even though she rather likes the look of the lemon yellow ribbon contrasting vividly with her strawberry curls.
To be honest, she's quite fond of both fruits, but that doesn't stop her from pouting about not getting her way and being forced to go to the Gala.
"Oh, come on, you'll have fun," Ginny encourages, playfully shaking Lily's tiny shoulders.
"Will too, sweetheart."
"Will t—forget it."
Ugh, whose bright idea was this stupid Gala? I mean, dressing up, acting like a sweet little girl, dancing with boys? No, thank you. That's silly.
On the bright side, Astoria Malfoy is here. Maybe I can coax a few lemon bars—or at least the promise of more—from her.
To the refreshments table! Where, hopefully, they have lemon bars!
They don't have lemon bars.
Also, Celestina Warbeck is playing.
She hates Celestina Warbeck.
Almost as much as she hates dressing up, acting like a sweet little girl, and dancing with boys.
All of those things are silly. But, since she can't exactly complain to the Minister—or whomever is in charge of the awful music—about the irritatingly catchy love songs, Lily settles for gulping down her lemonade loud enough to almost drown out Celestina's screeching.
"Are you okay?" asks Scorpius Malfoy, her brother's best friend who happens to be standing nearby, watching her swallow a large mouthful of lemonade with concern. "I don't think you're supposed to drink that much in one go."
Lily sticks her tongue out at him. "Uncle George always says that when someone tries to stop your fun, it's because they're jealous that they can't be as awesome as you are."
Scorpius frowns at her. "I can do that, too!" he protests. "I just don't because I was raised with manners."
To prove his point, he looks down his nose at her and almost goes cross-eyed with the effort.
Lily giggles. "You look silly. Bet you can't drink an entire glass of lemonade in one go," she challenges.
"Can too!" Scorpius says instantly, his twelve-year-old pride wounded. "Give me a glass."
She hands him a glass, smirking as he fumbles with it for a moment. He sends her a glare and quickly fills it up to the top, finishing off the pitcher of lemonade at the same time.
"Here goes nothing," he tells her with a triumphant grin over the top of the glass before tilting his head back and pouring the liquid down his mouth.
Scorpius begins to cough and splutter, spraying lemonade everywhere in his haste to get it out of his system. "Lily! Help!"
"Oh, right," Lily beams, and then she takes his half-empty glass from him and sets it neatly on the counter. "There!"
He glowers. "I meant," he rasps, "get me some water!"
Lily wrinkles her nose at him. "There's no need to yell," she reprimands him in a matter-of-fact tone before flouncing to the other side of the table to fill a glass of water.
"Happy, now?" she says cheerfully, handing him the glass.
Scorpius snatches it and gulps down several mouthfuls in a highly undignified manner. Lily giggles, still watching him.
"You," Scorpius declares once he's washed all the lemonade out with water, "are an evil, evil little girl."
Lily opens her mouth to retort and is cut short by the appearance of Astoria Malfoy at her son's side.
"Oh, Scorpius, are you all right?" Astoria frets, looking her son over to make sure he's alive and safe. "I saw you choke! What happened?"
Scorpius sends Lily a look and she beams innocently at him. "I got some lemonade down the wrong way," he admits, staring daggers at her. "That's all. Really, Mum, I'm okay."
Astoria smoothes down his vanilla-blond hair and sighs. "I'm glad. And Lily, darling, thank you so much for saving him!"
"What?" Scorpius demands in outrage as his mother turns to smile gratefully at Lily.
Lily bats her eyes. "It was my pleasure, Mrs. Malfoy."
"You are such a sweet little girl," gushes Astoria.
"She is not!" Scorpius splutters.
"Scorpius, hush," Astoria chastises and he backs off, sulking. "Lily, do tell me if there's anything you want in return. I'm sure Scorpius will be more than happy to give you a gift."
"I most certainly will not," Scorpius says in alarm.
"Scorpius!" Astoria frowns at him. "Be thankful. You could have died!"
"It was just a glass of lemonade!" he cries, exasperated. "Honestly, Mum, I wasn't going to die!"
"Actually," Lily pipes up, interrupting Astoria's rebuke. "If you don't mind, Mrs. Malfoy, I would simply love to try some of your lemon bars. Teddy tells me they're delicious."
Astoria smiles in delight. "Does he, now?"
Lily nods, her hazel eyes wide and bright. "Maybe I could come over with Al and try one sometime? Daddy says I'm a bit addicted to lemon bars."
"Anytime you want, sweetheart!" Astoria says immediately. "Just tell me when and I'll have a batch ready for you!"
Scorpius smacks his forehead.
Lily giggles and claps her hands. "Yay!"
Malfoy Manor is really, really big. Like, the size of James's ego, almost. It's really dark and dusty and ancient and totally cool! If there was some more color in here, I'd love to live in this place!
Especially if Mrs. Malfoy was there to bake me lemon bars.
Mmm. They're just as good as I remember them.
Operation: Get Astoria Malfoy's Lemon Bars is a success!
Operation: Get Out Of Going To The May 2nd Gala is a failure, but a happy one.
Who knew acting like a sweet little girl would get such great results?
"You are unbelievable."
"Hello, Scorpius, it's nice to see you, too! How are you doing? Me? I'm fantastic, thanks for asking!"
"Stop emphasizing so much."
"Don't tell me what to do!"
"Excuse me, I am a guest in your house, Mr. I-Have-Manners!"
"Yeah, well, you—"
"Son, where are you? Al and Rose are looking for you!"
Draco Malfoy's voice cuts through his son's half-formed insult, shattering the argument taking place inside the kitchen. Lily and Scorpius, their faces completely innocent, both turn around as the olivewood door swings open and Draco enters, looking curiously at the two children.
"What were you two arguing about?" he asks, having the decency not to double-take at Lily's red-haired and freckled presence in his kitchen.
"Nothing," Scorpius says quickly.
"I was merely enjoying your wife's delicious lemon bars, Mr. Malfoy," Lily adds sweetly, stuffing her mouth with another bite of lemony sugar to prove her point. "She is a truly excellent cook."
"Kiss up," Scorpius mutters.
Draco looks amused. "Can't argue with that," he says, shooting Lily a quick smile. "Well, if you two are quite done arguing about nothing, Scorpius, your friends are looking for you."
"I'll be right there," says Scorpius. Draco nods and steps back outside, closing the door with a polite nod to Lily.
"Great," Scorpius sulks as soon as the door slams shut. "Now you have both my parents completely enamored of you. Dad still doesn't like Al and Rose!"
Lily beams. "What can I say? It's a gift. Lemon bar?"
Operation: Find The Hogwarts Kitchens was a success!
Ooh, the house elves make excellent lemon bars. I can't believe James made me wait till my second year to show me where this is!
I need to get back at him for this.
But first, I need to enjoy the scrumptiousness of these lemon bars.
"Still addicted to lemon bars, are you?"
Lily jumps, whirling around to find Scorpius Malfoy standing at the entrance to the kitchens, a smirk on his face.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I am," she says, sniffing disdainfully in a perfect copy of her Aunt Fleur. "What's it to ya?"
Scorpius saunters forward, no longer the easily-annoyed boy she remembers him as. Puberty had worked wonders on his confidence, apparently.
"Nothing, Lemon," he teases.
Lily straightens against the counter where she was leaning, an outraged look on her face. "You can't call me that! Only my family calls me that!"
Scorpius sends her an amused look over his shoulder. "I'm dating your cousin. Does that not make me family?"
"Wha—Rose?" Lily asks, caught off guard. "You're dating her? I thought James was joking."
He picks up a lemon and tosses it from hand to hand. "No joke, Lilikins."
"Only Uncle George calls me that," she snaps, narrowing her eyes. "Either come up with your own nickname, Malfoy, or just call me 'Lily'. Or 'Potter'. I'm not picky."
Scorpius raises an eyebrow. "Oh, all right, then. Let me think. Hey, elf, can you get me a slice of blueberry crumble? Much obliged, thanks."
"His name is Dax!" Lily protests. "Not 'elf'!"
"Sorry," Scorpius says, looking amused as Dax scurries off. "I'm used to calling them 'elf'. Won't happen again, Your Royal Highness. You have my word."
"I don't want your word," Lily huffs. "And 'Your Royal Highness' doesn't work as a nickname, either, you dolt. It's too long."
"I suppose it is," Scorpius nods sagely, as if that had been his idea all along. "How about Strawberry?"
"Huh?" Lily blinks at him, confused, and he flashes her a smile.
"Strawberry. You know, for your hair," Scorpius says, reaching over to tug on one of her (indeed, strawberry-red) curls.
"Oh." Lily mulls over it for a moment after batting his hand away. "Fine. That works."
"Glad to have your approval," smirks Scorpius. "Now, if you're quite done indulging your addiction, I have some blueberry crumble to eat."
Lily sticks her tongue out at him, just as she did back when they were younger at the May 2nd Gala, and finds herself wishing their dynamic had not changed so much that he only raises an eyebrow in response to that gesture.
Rose is still dating Malfoy.
This doesn't bother me, except in the sense that my cousin has awful taste, and that reflects badly on me. But, really, I'm happy for them (well, for Rose, at least). And I don't care that they're dating excepting when they're acting all mushy-gushy in front of me. That's annoying.
Still, it does make me wonder. I'm thirteen. I'm popular, on account of my parents and my legendary pranks, I'm pretty, or so all the adults in my family insist, and I've a smashing great personality.
I suppose the only thing I'm missing is modesty.
But, despite that, why hasn't anyone asked me out?
Operation: Find A Boy Who Likes Me is on!
"Maybe you're too unapproachable?" Lucy suggests when she brings up her problem to her one night in the Ravenclaw Common Room.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Lily demands.
"I mean," Lucy giggles, "that you're very…energetic, Lemon. You're like a bouncing ball of sunshine and bubbles and lemon bars, and it's a bit intimidating."
"It is?" Lily wonders, her brow furrowed. "I didn't know that."
"I'm sure it's nothing," Lucy assures her. "You're fantastic, Lils. Truly. In fact, don't look now, but Adam Goldstein is definitely checking you out."
Ignoring her warning, Lily cranes her neck over the top of the blue velvet couch they were sitting on to find her dark-haired classmate quickly averting his gaze.
"He's pretty cute," Lily admits once she's facing Lucy again. "Although brunettes are more your territory."
Lucy blushes. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"As if," Lily laughs, sending a pointed gaze in the direction of Lorcan Scamander, seated on an armchair in one corner of the room, studying from a thick textbook. As if on cue, he looks up, sees the two girls watching, and smiles at them.
"Shut up," Lucy mutters, still bright red. "Hey, Adam's coming over here," she adds quickly, looking to divert her cousin's attention away.
"He is?" Lily perks up, looking around to find that Adam is indeed walking towards the two redheads with a nervous look on his face.
"Uh, hi, Lily," he says once he's reached their couch. "I wanted to ask you something."
She flashes him her most dazzling smile. "Yeah?"
Adam clears his throat. "Um, would you maybe—possibly—I mean if you want to—you don't have to, of course, I just, erm—"
"Get to the point!" Lucy bursts out, on the edge of her seat with anticipation on her cousin's behalf.
He blushes. "Right. Um, do you want to go to Hogsmeade with me?"
Lily beams. "I would love to."
She has to admit, though—she would have preferred a blond.
Operation: Find A Guy Who Likes Me is successful!
To top it off, Adam is sweet, he's polite, he opens doors and carries my books for me. He's pretty easy on the eyes, too, and my brothers actually approve of him! Which is nothing short of a miracle, I tell you.
So why am I not happy with him?
Maybe it has something to do with the lack of lemon bars on our dates…
She breaks up with him the summer before her fifth year and spends the rest of the allotted three months of vacation sketching.
Mostly, she draws lemon bars. An addiction is an addiction, after all.
"Why are you drawing a strawberry?" Scorpius asks one breezy day in her backyard while she's sitting on their swing set with her sketchpad.
Lily jumps at the sudden sensation of someone standing over her shoulder and his warm breath tickling her neck. "Merlin's bloody beard, Malfoy. Give me a warning next time, would you?"
"I'd rather not," Scorpius says, and she can practically see the half-grin, half-smirk on his face, despite the fact that her back is turned to him. "You didn't answer the question."
Lily huffs. "I like drawing fruit, all right? Can you leave me alone?"
"Hm," Scorpius pretends to think about it. "Nah, I'd rather stay and bug you, if that's all right with you."
"It isn't," she snaps. "Don't you have a make-out session scheduled with Rose?"
For a moment, all she hears is the wind twisting through the leaves.
"We're kind of in the middle of a fight at the moment."
He's kneeling down now, and his words send hot, strawberry-flavored (strawberry? What the hell?) breath down her back, inducing butterflies in her stomach.
"Oh," she says, drawing out the word to gain some time for her heart to stop beating triple its normal rate. "Well, then. Don't you have boy stuff to do with Al?"
"He's sick with dragon pox," Scorpius reminds her, as if she can't remember her poor brother's endless coughing and sneezing fits and the bright green dots decorating his body. "So is James. Looks like it's just you and me, Strawberry."
Lily inhales his minty cologne, catches herself, and quickly exhales it. "Right. Um, in that case, I think I'm gonna go lock myself in my room."
"Oh, relax," Scorpius laughs, catching her wrist when she stands up. "I just want to watch you draw, Strawberry. You're good at it."
Subconsciously, pride blossoms in her chest from his compliment. "Thank you," she smiles, then remembers who she's talking to. "Wait, seriously?"
Scorpius nods, flashing her an irresistible smile. "Seriously. Sit down, would you? Maybe we can actually hold an animosity-less conversation."
Lily rolls her eyes, smoothing her skirt down as she sits. "Maybe," she says doubtfully, though there's still a smile on her face. "I suppose it depends on the subject."
She resumes her drawing as he muses on that for a moment. Finally, he says, "How about your boyfriend?"
She tenses in her seat, and not just because of the fingers he's casually resting on her bare arm. "I don't have a boyfriend."
He raises an eyebrow. "Really? Are you and Goldstein just friends with benefits, then?"
She smacks his hair with her paintbrush, spattering red paint all over his platinum blond locks so that the top of his head looks rather like vanilla ice cream with strawberry frosting, a fact which amuses her to no end.
"Oi!" he protests, drawing his wand. "I was just asking! And this is hardly 'animosity-less', Strawberry."
Lily giggles. "Serves you right, you prat."
Scorpius tweaks a strawberry curl, grinning. "You're a brat. And you didn't answer the question."
She huffs. "I don't see how it's any of your business."
"Just curious," he says with carefully-measured nonchalance which she doesn't fail to notice.
"Oh, well, in that case," Lily snorts. "We broke up, all right?"
"You did?" Scorpius asks, sounding delighted, though she has no idea why. "I mean, I'm sorry," he amends hastily when she raises an eyebrow at him.
"Don't worry about it," Lily dismisses with a sigh. "Out of curiosity, why so interested?"
To her surprise, he blushes. It's quite an odd sight on his fair skin, but it makes her smile and wonder if Rose has ever made him blush like that.
"I was just wondering," he insists, glancing away. "So, um, do you already have another prospect boyfriend lined up? Your brothers seem to think so."
Lily gazes at him for a moment, then giggles. "If I didn't know better, Scorpius, I'd say you were jealous."
Scorpius sits up straight, his blush intensifying. "I am not!"
"Of course not," she teases. "Let me guess—you're asking so Al can sleep easy at night, is that it?"
"Shut up, Lily," he mutters. "You're just as annoying at fifteen as you were at eleven, you know that?"
Lily laughs. "Well, you're just as cute," she tells him, a playful smile on her face, before she remembers.
He's Rose's boyfriend.
So why is she flirting with him?
Scorpius finally regains his composure and raises his eyebrows. "Oh, really?"
Lily backtracks quickly. "Um, I didn't mean—that's not what I—uh, that came out wrong."
From the amused look and fading blush on his face, she's clearly not doing a very good job of backpedaling.
"Did it?" he teases, reaching out to steal her sketchbook. "Let's see, here, any pictures of me?"
"Give that back!" Lily demands, lunging for the book. "Malfoy!"
"Huh. Not even any doodles like 'Mrs. Lily Malfoy' or anything?" Scorpius grins at her, holding the book out of her reach as he flips through it. "I'm disappointed, Strawberry."
"Stop it!" she cries, managing to grab the book, when she suddenly realizes that he's very, very close.
And very, very taken.
Lily steps back, hazel eyes wide. "I'll see you later," she murmurs and runs off with her sketchbook, leaving Scorpius standing alone in the backyard.
Question: What the hell was that?
Answer: I am not going to answer that because if I think about it too long, I might get dizzy or something. And that would suck.
You know what else would suck? Rose finding out I almost kissed her (infuriatingly attractive) boyfriend.
Yeah, that would suck. You know what, I think I'm just gonna forget about that.
Operation: Forget About The Not-Kiss is on!
"Let me guess," grins the muggle boy who works as a waiter at Peppermint Café. "You'll have a glass of lemonade with a lemon wedge on top and five lemon bars, is that right?"
Lily beams at him. "Got it in one, Jake. Thanks."
Jake Valentine rolls his eyes, a fond smile on his face. "You always get the same thing," he points out, collecting her unopened menu. "You know the staff sometimes calls you Lemon Lily?"
She giggles. "I get that a lot. Can't imagine why."
"Uh-huh," Jake snorts. "You're an interesting girl, Lily. Why do you only ever come here during the summer?"
"I go to a boarding school," says Lily, tilting her head innocently at him. "Why? Do you miss me?"
"You wish," he mutters, shooting her a sidelong grin. "Actually, yeah," he corrects himself. "You're fun to talk to."
"I'm glad I can amuse you," Lily grins. "Do let me know when you need me for your entertainment, Mr. Valentine."
Jake laughs. "Well, if you insist, how about this Friday at five o'clock?"
Lily widens her eyes. "Are you asking me on a date?" she asks, a playful smile on her lips.
"That depends," he shrugs.
"If you say 'yes' or not."
Lily bites her lip to hide her genuine smile. "It's a date."
Jake grins, delighted. "Awesome. I'll pick you up here, yeah?"
She smiles warmly at him. "Yeah."
He runs off to get her order, half-dancing his way to the kitchen. Lily watches him go, giggling.
"Who was that?" asks a curious voice from behind her, and she jumps.
"Stop doing that!" she orders Scorpius, who glances down at her amused. "That was just…my waiter. What are you doing here?"
"Your mum sent me looking for you. Something about chores," Scorpius replies absentmindedly. "Just your waiter, huh? You seemed pretty friendly with him."
Lily blushes. "It's none of your business."
There's a moment of silence. Scorpius stands behind her booth, hardly moving, his arm inches away from her back and subsequently sending shivers down her spine as he leans on her seat.
Then he says, "Do you think he's cute?"
Lily, being Lily, jumps on the note of annoyance in his voice. "Jealous, much?" she teases.
"No!" he scoffs, bringing to mind the memory of the very thing she'd been trying her hardest to forget.
"Haven't we been over this?" she wonders, toying with the tablecloth. "A few weeks ago, I mean. You said you weren't jealous of Adam."
"I wasn't," he insists. "I have a girlfriend, you know. Why would I be jealous of other guys when I have something much better?"
Lily stares at him, feeling a piece of her heart that irrevocably belonged to him shatter. "Pardon?"
Scorpius's eyes widen when he realizes what he said. "I didn't mean it like that!" he says instantly, desperately. "I meant—that's not what I—it came out wrong—Lily, please look at me!"
She keeps her heartbroken hazel gaze on the table. "Tell my mom I'll be there in ten minutes," she says softly.
"Lily, I'm sorry," he tries again.
"You should go," she tells him softly.
To his credit, Scorpius can take a hint.
Now would have been a good time to tell him that she's not as invincible as she likes to act, perhaps.
Why, why, why do I care so much?
I shouldn't. I really, really shouldn't.
But, Merlin's beard, did he have to put it that way? Like I'm second-best to Rose? Like I'm always gonna be second-best to Rose?
Because I don't need any more reminders of that, thank you very much.
Operation: Forget About Scorpius Malfoy is on. Wish me luck.
It's not as easy as she would have liked.
It's especially not easy when Rose seems bound and determined to snog him anywhere and anytime, perhaps to make up for that week-long fight they had.
"Oh, sorry!" Lily squeaks the first time she catches them making out on Al's bed while her brother is off running an errand for their father. They're in a rather compromising position which she doesn't care to remember, but they quickly untangle themselves when she opens the door.
"S'okay, Lemon," says Rose, flashing her cousin a smile. "Al's down in the village, if you're looking for him."
Scorpius, lying underneath his girlfriend, says nothing, though there's an emotion in his grey eyes that Lily doesn't particularly want to decipher.
"Right," Lily mutters, averting her gaze. "Thanks. Um, bye."
She closes the door, takes a moment to catch her breath, and then runs away.
The next day, Scorpius corners her on the swing set again, looking half-apologetic, half-nervous as he approaches her.
"Hey, Strawberry," he greets, his voice much lower and softer than it usually is.
Lily spares him a single glance before returning to her painting. "Hello." She injects as much frost and acid as she can into that one word, but it doesn't deter him much.
"I wanted to apologize," he says slowly, making her glance up in surprise. "For, uh, what happened yesterday."
"Oh," Lily says, biting her lip. "Right. Thanks."
Scorpius sighs. "And for what I said last week, in that café," he adds, his words rushed. "I'm really, really sorry, Lily. I didn't mean to say that, I swear!"
"Then what did you mean to say?" she demands, blinking back hot tears of fury at the reminder of the incident. "That I'll never be as good as her? Because that's what I heard!"
He stumbles back, startled at the venom in her words. "No, no, Lily, that's not what I meant at all! Please, I'm sorry! I didn't mean it like that!"
"Yeah, right," she scoffs, turning away. "Can you leave me alone?"
"Strawberry," Scorpius lowers his voice for the word. To her horror, butterflies begin squirming around in her stomach again. "Hear me out. Please."
Lily rubs more tears away and sighs. "You have one minute."
"I think you're gorgeous," he blurts out. She sends him an incredulous look, and he blushes. "I do. You're as gorgeous as Rose, just in a different way, all right? And you're smart and funny and cheerful and compassionate and you're amazing. So, see, there's no way I could think that you're worse than Rose. Because you're both amazing. And I like you a lot, Lily. And I'm sorry. Please forgive me?"
Her cheeks are hot, partly from the compliments and partly from his proximity. "Um. Right, then. Thanks. Erm, I guess—I accept your apology."
His smile is so delighted and his hug is so warm, she wonders how she could have ever been mad at him.
Sheesh. He really doesn't give up, does he?
Well, I have to admit, it was nice hearing those words come from the mouth of a guy who wasn't my father or otherwise related.
And that hug was pretty sweet, too.
So, um. I guess we're friends or something now. Just friends, though. Even though he and Rose are broken up now. Because I don't like him like that.
What? I don't!
Hmm. I need some lemon bars to distract me from all this drama.
Operation: Distract Self With Lemon Bars is on!
(It occurs to me that I'm getting too old for silly operations like that)
(Oh, like I care)
To this day, Astoria Malfoy's lemon bars are still the best she's ever tasted.
"These are delicious!" Lily gushes, biting into another square of delectable, sugary lemon. "Would you mind trading recipes with my father?"
Astoria laughs. "Thank you, sweetheart. But why don't you make your own lemon bars if you love them so much?"
Lily grins sheepishly. "I can't cook. Or bake. Or do anything in a kitchen except blow it up, actually."
"You sound like Draco," Astoria smiles. "Maybe I can help?"
Lily's eyes light up. "You'd teach me?"
"Actually, my sister is coming over for tea and I have to go play hostess," Astoria says apologetically. "But Scorpius can help you. He's almost as good as I am."
She winks at Lily and walks out of the kitchen in a whirl of blue silk and the same minty scent as Scorpius—maybe it wasn't his cologne after all? Either way, Lily sits on the counter, eyes wide, body frozen in shock, because if Astoria means what Lily thinks she means, then—
Five minutes later, Scorpius enters the kitchen, hands in his pockets and a half-smile on his lips. "Mum said you needed my help with something?"
"Um," Lily says eloquently.
Astoria appears at his shoulder, having already twisted her hair up into a fancy bun in that small space of time. "Scorpius, dear, do you mind teaching Lily how to make my lemon bars?"
Scorpius raises an eyebrow, looking rather like he wants to laugh as he glances over at her. "Really, now? I've been living in your house for three summers now and you never thought to ask me then?"
Lily blushes. "I was preoccupied by other things!" she says defensively. "And, really, Mrs. Malfoy, it's okay. I'd hate to ruin your kitchen."
"Nonsense," Astoria says quickly. "Scorpius can help you. Right, dear?"
"Right, Mum," Scorpius says with an amused smile on his face as he salutes his mother. Astoria smiles brilliantly and dashes off, leaving Lily alone with Scorpius in the kitchen.
"I think I'm supposed to shun you," she blurts out as soon as Astoria's out of earshot.
Scorpius blinks. "Oh, are you? Why is that?"
"Because you broke Rose's heart," she answers. "At least, that's what James said."
"James is an idiot," Scorpius dismisses. "And she dumped me. If anything, you should be shunning her."
"I can't do that. She's my cousin," Lily points out matter-of-factly. "So, I'm shunning you instead."
He saunters closer, smirking. "You're not doing a very good job."
Her breath quickens, and she looks away. "You're not making it easy."
Scorpius stops in front of her, a grin on his face. "Rose and I broke up weeks ago, Strawberry. Why all the sudden fuss?"
She huffs. "It's the principle of the matter."
"Right," Scorpius drawls, still amused. "Well, do you want to learn how to make lemon bars or not?"
Lily wavers for a moment, then sighs. "If you insist."
Scorpius grins. "I do insist. Watch me closely, Strawberry."
Okay, I have to admit, he's very good at this whole baking business. And I haven't blown anything up yet! That's a first.
I also have to admit that he looks remarkably good when baking. Maybe that's just my lemon bar addiction again, though.
Operation: Learn How To Bake Lemon Bars is in progress!
"Well, that was fun," Scorpius grins, watching Lily as she beams in delight at the tray of lemon bars, baked to perfection, sitting in front of her.
"Thank you!" she squeals, launching herself at him for a hug without thinking about it.
Instinctively, he catches her, his arms sliding around her waist and holding her close. Lily nestles her head into his neck and breathes in his mint-and-strawberries scent. Her hand rests on his chest, right over his heart, and she's rather pleased to feel it beating at three times its normal rate as well.
"You're welcome," Scorpius breathes into her ear, his breath tickling her cheek. The amusement in his voice makes her realize what she's doing, and she steps back with a blush on her cheeks.
"Um, I'm sorry," Lily says, feeling flustered. It's not an emotion she's used to, but if she's reading the emotions in Scorpius's grey eyes right, it looks good on her.
"Don't be," Scorpius grins, absently twirling one of her strawberry curls around his finger. "You're cute when you're embarrassed."
"I'm not embarrassed!" she protests, though she can feel herself blushing a brighter shade of red with every not-so-accidental brush of his fingers to her cheek.
"You're blushing," he points out.
Lily glances away, feeling a smile play on her lips. "Am not."
"Are too," Scorpius teases.
Lily gasps as he dips his head and kisses her, completely caught off guard by the onslaught of butterflies waltzing through her stomach and the feel of his lips on hers. He tastes just like he smells, of mint and strawberries, and she finds herself kissing back just to feel those silly, dancing butterflies.
Scorpius pulls back, a grin on his face. "Your brothers are gonna kill me," he whispers.
Lily giggles and snakes her arms around his neck, drawing him closer to her again. "Don't worry. We'll just bribe them with your lemon bars."
And with that, she kisses him soundly again, cutting off his protests with her lemon-flavored lips.
Operation: Find a Guy Who Can Make Lemon Bars is a resounding success =)
Author's Notes: That seriously wasn't meant to be so long :P I honestly intended for this to be a short little oneshot, but the Next Generation really does love to run away from me XD. In case you didn't figure it out, the italics are Lily's thoughts (or excerpts from her diary, you choose =D) Hope you guys liked it! Please review if you did! I really love hearing your thoughts! Thanks in advance! =)