A/N: Just some fluff in honor of Valentine's Day. Hope you like it.
Disclaimer: I am not JKR and therefore these characters are not mine.
Lily Evans fancied James Potter.
There was no denying it. The idea had been a mortifying and conflicting one at first, but the more she thought about the reasons why, the more she accepted it.
In retrospect, Lily noted, their sixth year had been a transitory stage for James, it helped him deflate. And being named Head Boy for their seventh year didn't hurt either. Suddenly, instead of hexing the lower classmen, James was volunteering to lead the tutoring sessions and guiding lost first years to their classes. His successive change along with the amount of time she was forced to spend with him as Head Girl lessened her annoyance with him. It lead to many conversations which, in turn, evoked her to notice many things—fascinating things— about James.
For instance, she realized he was as brilliant as they said in all of their classes, not just Transfiguration or Defense. He was even good at Potions and the only reason why he didn't receive superior marks was the he hated it and therefore didn't even bother (or as he told her the day she asked about it, "You do realize there would be no time to brew a potion in a life-or-death situation, don't you?")
James found humor in almost everything, she also learned, which constituted to many people's beliefs that he was an insensitive prat. The difference was that he found some things reasonably hilarious and others he found funny in an ironic, cosmic sort of way. Whether it was a mirthful laugh or a humorless one, he would laugh nonetheless.
And then there was that small crease that appeared in his forehead when he was concentrating on something or when he was giving her his undivided attention. Whenever they spoke her eyes would wander from his forehead, down to his hazel eyes and finally to his lips…
Lily shook herself out of her reverie. She was thinking about James Potter's bloody forehead crease, for Merlin's sake. What kind of rational person did that?
Instead, Lily forced herself to focus on the task at hand: breakfast.
She could hear his laughter from a few seats down the Gryffindor table. Without looking at him, she could picture in her head exactly how he looked, how his hazel eyes shone behind his glasses and…
"What do you think, Lily?"
"Merlin, Lily," said Rose Riley disapprovingly. "You don't even pretend to be listening anymore, do you?" She looked at where Lily had been staring at and a small smile appeared on her lovely face. "Why is that?"
"I was just saying," Marlene interrupted loudly and Lily sent her a grateful look. Lily hadn't told Marlene but she was sure she had noticed. "There's a rumor that both Benjy Fenwick and Bertram Aubrey want to ask me out for Valentine's day. I just don't know who to go with, or who will ask me first, or-"
"Bertram Aubrey is so dull, though," interrupted Rose. And she went on to list the reasons why.
Valentine's day—she had forgotten. With it being so close to their next Hogsmeade trip, the entire female population was in a frenzy. Very few, like Rose Riley, had the nerve to take the first step and ask a bloke out. The rest desperately sought out the boys' attention or dropped subtle (and not so subtle) hints. Lily, however, tried not to judge since she was no better herself.
She stole a glance at where he sat. To her surprise, he was looking right at her and her eyes met with his hazel ones. She felt her face redden almost immediately. Merlin, she needed to get a grip on herself and just when she thought she could, he sent her a charming, lopsided smile.
For goodness' sake, she was seventeen and she was acting like a fourth year.
"Yes, but why do you think the Marauders never picked on Benjy?" Rose was saying. "They were always setting Bertram's robes on fire or enlarging his teeth. I reckon it was because he was so uninteresting."
"Rosie, that makes no sense and even if it did, it's not a good enough reason to reject Bertram," Lily said.
But Rose was no longer listening. Her attention, instead, was focused on the Marauders and Lily thought for a second that she may have caught her gawking at James earlier. But instead, she said with an air of pride, "Well, it looks like I've set an example for female population of Hogwarts and have encouraged them to break free from silly gender roles."
"What are you talking about?" asked Marlene.
"Look," she said, gesturing impatiently. "that Marissa Barlow is about to ask James Potter out."
The speed in which Lily turned to look at him could not have been good for her neck. Both Marlene and Rose were too busy watching as well that they did not notice. Sure enough, there was Marissa, all golden brown hair, long legs, and cleavage laughing at whatever James was saying (which, Lily noted, couldn't have been that funny given that Sirius, Remus, and Peter looked uncomfortable rather than amused).
"Ah, yes, she makes us womenfolk proud," Rose went on. "Mind you, she is an absolute slag, so perhaps that cancels it out."
Marlene eyed Lily uneasily and said, "Just because she is talking to him—"
Rose rolled her eyes.
"Doesn't mean that she wants to shag him?" she finished. "My poor, naïve Marlene. First of all, look at her blouse. Do you think those undone buttons are an accident? And second of all, have you seen Potter?"
Lily tore her eyes away from them. Her appetite completely gone, she rose from her seat and said, "We really ought to get going or we'll be late for Potions."
Marlene nodded and stood. "Are you coming or not?" she asked Rose, who had not moved.
"You two go on. I want to see this."
She rolled her eyes and followed Lily out of the Great Hall.
By Charms, Lily decided that the best thing was to move on. No more pining or thinking about that stupid crease—it was time to withdraw all her focus away from him. And for the rest of the day, she did not spare him a single glance. Feeling rather proud of herself, Lily was close to believing her plan of avoidance could work when Rose reminded her later that night, "Aren't you supposed to meet with Potter in the library?"
Lily cursed and begrudgingly made towards the library. She had completely forgotten she had agreed to meet him to finish logging in point deductions for the month and planning prefect patrol schedules.
James was already waiting which meant she was late (James was never early for anything).
Taking one last reassuring sigh, and convincing herself that her plan to move on could still work, she joined him at the table.
He grinned at the sight of her. The blush she felt on her cheeks told her she had been fooling herself.
"Ready, Evans?" he said in his usual jovial tone.
Nodding, she took a seat across from him and began to work in silence. The least she said to him, the better. James made causal conversation as always, despite the minimal response he got from her. This proved to both distract Lily from the large pile of work pending and set her on edge. It was obvious he was in a good mood and she bitterly thought of Marissa. Immediately, Lily pushed all thoughts of that morning aside.
They only had thirty minutes before the library closed and their work was nowhere near done. Lily pulled at her hair and sighed for the fifth time in the last half hour. "We're not going to finish all of these tonight," she pointed out.
James, on the other hand, was collected and far too relaxed. It made Lily even more anxious. "Relax, Evans," he said, yawning and stretching. "You worry far more than a person twice your age. We can finish them on Saturday." And on that note, he began to collect the unfinished scrolls, storing them in his book bag.
"Saturday?" she asked, puzzled. "That's the Hogsmeade trip."
"Oh, you've got plans," he asked, his previously cheery tone diminishing slightly.
"I don't," she replied. Lily could hear the edge to her own voice.
He grinned. "Good, neither do I." He finished packing away all their supplies and stood, waiting for Lily.
"What about Marissa?" she asked, grabbing her own bag and following him out of the library. Not wanting him to think she knew or cared too much, she hastily added, "I saw her at breakfast with you."
James looked at her curiously. "I turned her down."
"You don't want to go out with Marissa Barlow?"
"And go to Madam Puddifoot's?" he scoffed. "I'd rather serenade Filch."
Lily smiled in spite of herself, undoubtedly relieved with all plans of moving on forgotten.
At some point, it had began to rain. They made their way back to their dormitory, the sound of rain slashing against the windowpanes their only music. In walking silently next to him, Lily had the mad urge to entwine her arm with his so that he could lead her to the warmth and quiet of the common room. Thankfully, he spoke before she did something rash.
"So what do you say, Evans? You, me, and these scrolls over butterbeer?"
They had gone to the Three Broomsticks twice before to finish work and both times he had asked her in almost the exact same way. Also, in those two occasions Lily did not harbor feelings for him.
"It is not a date," she had told him.
He waited for her response. "It is not a date," he said playfully, echoing her words from then.
Although she knew he was only teasing her so she could say yes, the words still stung.
She was getting out of hand.
"Evans?" he asked when he noticed her change in demeanor. "Are you alright?"
Lily didn't answer. He had inadvertently forced her to wonder how much longer she would yearn for him. How much longer would she continue to be rendered speechless or be so harebrained around him? It wasn't going anywhere, that much was certain for James Potter had stopped asking her out ages ago.
They had stopped walking.
"Why not?" she blurted out.
"Er…why not what?"
Graduation was so close, when she thought about it. Four months left and their last year at Hogwarts would be gone forever. She could either waste them, hoping, expecting or she could make Rose proud. "God, Potter, you are so stupid."
Lily was angry but not at him. She was furious at herself and how ridiculous she had allowed herself to become.
"But what did I do?"
"Nothing, Potter, you did bloody nothing."
She began to walk ahead of him, but he held her by the wrist, halting her. "Hey," he said, softly. "What's gotten into you?"
Lily looked at him. This was it. She could tell him or she could just lie. The latter would be so much easier. She could just lie and they could both carry on as they had.
But she couldn't lie, not to James. The most important thing she learned about him was that he was just so honest. James Potter was the last person she expected to tell her a lie and it made her want to be honest herself.
"I fancy you, alright?"
Her face might as well have been on fire. "I fancy you. I've got feelings for you and I have for a while. Even if it means things are going to be awkward between us, I think the best thing to do was to just tell you. So there."
He still held her wrist but otherwise said nothing.
Suddenly, telling him all of that seemed like a stupid idea. The heat of his gaze was too much to handle so she averted her eyes to the floor, which she wished would open up and swallow her. Even worse, she was convinced the surge of heat that rushed to her face would only make things more embarrassing.
When she allowed herself a quick glance at him, she saw that smug grin she once hated so much begin to spread across his face. "I know," he said simply.
She stared, shocked. "You…you know?"
He nodded. "It was about time you told me, too."
Lily was mortified. She released her hand from his grasp. "You knew and you made me repeat it, you prat?"
"It was nice to hear it twice," he said matter-of-factly.
Lily buried her face in her hands, unsure of what to do or what to say. She had never been more embarrassed in her life. Finally, "How did you—?"
At this, he took her hands in his and gently removed them from her face. "Because I've never seen you blush so much in all of our seven years here," he said, his haughty grin replaced by a genuine smile. "See? There it is again."
"Oh, God," Lily muttered, humiliated.
James chuckled. "It's lovely." And so as to avoid embarrassing her any more, he said, "Why do you think I said no to Marissa? I was waiting for you to ask."
"You didn't know I would, though," she pointed out. "Why didn't you just ask me yourself?"
"Because that's worked so well before," he said sarcastically.
He let go of her hands and crossed his arms across his chest, waiting.
"What?" she asked and almost immediately realized what he was waiting for. "You don't expect me to actually ask you?"
The smug smile was back in place.
"Can't we just go on Saturday as planned and—"
But he was shaking his head.
Lily sighed. "Go out with me, Potter?"
"So I take it the Giant Squid turned you down?"
"Alright, sorry," he amended before she could walk away. "Let's try again."
"Will you go out with me this Saturday?"
"As long as you promise not to take me to Madam Puddifoot's," he said very seriously.
"I promise," she said.
"Then consider yourself the luckiest girl in all of Hogwarts," he said. Lily rolled her eyes then but as he hugged her goodnight at the foot of the girl's dormitory ten minutes later, she knew she was.
A/N: So there you have it.
Happy Valentine's Day!
If you don't celebrate it, then Happy Monday!
Thank you in advance if you decide to review or favorite!
All my best,