It was Saturday. The air was cool but damp, as it had just rained. It was springtime, and usually the grounds of Hogwarts were dotted with flowers in every size, color, and species. On this particular day, however, the vibrant colors of the flowers had been washed out by the rain. The skies were slightly overcast and the rain came in bouts every few hours. At the moment, the sun was peeking through the clouds, allowing just enough sunlight to illuminate the grounds. Most of the students were inside, playing a round of Exploding Snap or wandering around the corridors in search for a secret passage or two. But once in a while, a stray student would happen to look out the window just in time to see a certain red-head walking along the Black Lake, clad in a yellow rain jacket.
Lily Evans liked this kind of weather. During the summer, she lived for the days when it would rain and rain and rain. When she was little, she and Petunia used to go outside and dance in the streets, splashing each other with puddles until their mother called them in for dinner. Today, Lily thought that the weather meshed perfectly with how she was feeling. Only a few hours earlier, her boyfriend of 8 months, Ted Tonks, broke up with her. When it had happened, she expected a wave of emotions to come over her. Anger, sadness, confusion, she didn't know what. Instead, she felt numb. She felt "okay." Of course, she didn't really know what that meant but she knew that was what she felt.
She suspected that it would hit her hard later, leaving Alice, Marlene, and Emmeline to pick up the pieces. When she started walking, she didn't really know where her feet would lead her. Looking up from the dark, wet ground she realized she had reached her destination. The big tree by the lake. A lot of memories were held there, however painful. In her first year, she would come here to do homework on nice days. In third year, she would come here to read or gossip with her friends. And just eight months ago, her sixth year, she had shared her very first kiss with Ted Tonks, her now ex-boyfriend. Maybe it's not a coincidence that I ended up here, she thought. After all, what better place to go to in order to think about what you did… what you could have done?
Taking off her jacket and laying it down, Lily sat underneath the cool shade of the tree. Over the years, she realized that whenever she was upset (usually a result of that toe-rag James Potter) she would come here to think things over. Maybe it was the calming effect that nature had on her, or the fact that the tree was in a more isolated part of the grounds, but Lily usually felt a lot better after coming here than if she had gone to the library or up to her room. Sitting in the peace and quiet, she allowed the conversation that had occurred only a few hours before flood her mind.
"I think that we should take a break. I just can't handle all of this right now."
"What's there to handle? I thought everything was going perfectly."
"No, it was, it's just…"
"What? It's just what?"
"Never mind. Forget it."
And then he had left. They had been in the Room of Requirement, as Ted had wanted a "private place to talk, just the two of us." She ran to the common room after that, ignoring her friends' questioning looks, praying that they saw that she just wanted to be alone. Grabbing her coat, she had sprinted down the many staircases and out the main doors, and before she knew it she was walking along the Black Lake. She thought to herself many times about what might have gone wrong. Had she been too clingy? No, of course not. She gave him all the time he needed to spend with his friends, though she guessed that she could have given him too much distance. Had she ever lied to him? Yes, but nothing big that would have ever changed their relationship as a whole. She tried to be as honest with herself as she could. Reason after reason filled Lily's head, and every question was answered with either a "No" or a "Yes, but."
In the back of her mind, deep deep down, a little monster was clawing to get out. She wasn't ready to let it out of its cage. But she knew that she would have to sooner or later. Lily sighed and relented. The little monster crawled out of the cage and slowly climbed into her thoughts. Had he ever said "I love you."? She knew the answer. The answer was yes. But she also knew something else. A secret. A secret she had told no one, not her best friends, not even Ted himself. Usually, Lily was very conscientious of the rules, but on this particular night she had skipped dinner to study for the Charms exam next class. Lily had only heard about the kitchens from Sirius Black, James Potter's best friend, because Sirius tended to be very loud when he wanted to. As she was making her way to the portrait of fruit, she heard giggling coming from behind a tapestry. Being a prefect, Lily felt that it was her duty to at least give a warning to students out of bed. She supposed she was being a bit of a hypocrite, but she would deal with that later.
She was about to whip back the tapestry when she heard the unmistakable honey sweet voice of Ted Tonks.
"You are so beautiful," she heard him murmur softly, and seconds later a girl's giggle. She knew that giggle. It was the giggle of Mary Macdonald, the class flirt right next to Sirius Black. There were some more giggles and then, out of nowhere, she heard "I love you." At first she wasn't sure who it had come from, but when a second girlish voice said "I love you too" back, she knew that it was Ted who had instigated it. They had only been going out for 6 months when this happened. He must have been cheating on her the whole time. Not very hungry anymore, Lily crept back to the common room and up to her dorm. She was too shocked and tired to cry.
Unleashing this monster from its cage brought unexpected tears to her eyes. She tried to wipe them away, but they just kept on falling.
"Lily! Hey, Lily!" A familiar, but not very welcome voice called. Lily whipped her head around and saw James Potter jogging down the hill to meet her. She stood up quickly, trying to erase any evidence that she had been crying. She felt a slight tap on her shoulder. Whirling around, she realized she was eye to chest with James Potter.
"What do you want, Potter?" she spat, glaring at him. He probably had heard what happened, and was coming to gloat and ask her out for the umpteenth time.
"I was only coming to ask you what you were doing in the pouring rain," he said, throwing her a lopsided grin. Lily looked around in surprise, for it was indeed pouring. James had also, conveniently she might add, brought a large black umbrella big enough for two people.
"What's it matter to you? I can do whatever I want," While she knew that he wasn't exactly telling her not to be out in the rain, she always became defensive when she was around him. She was also thankful that she wasn't directly under the umbrella for her eyes had betrayed her, tears spilling down her face.
"Lily, are you alright?" James asked cautiously. Lily thought it might have been the way that his voice was full of genuine concern because the next thing she knew; she had launched herself into James' arms and was crying in earnest. James, caught quite by surprise, dropped the umbrella, allowing the rain to soak through their clothes in minutes. He wrapped his strong arms around her shaking body and held her, occasionally whispering "It's okay, it will be alright" in the hopes that it would calm her down long enough for her to explain what happened. At first, Lily didn't want to pull away. She clung to James as if her life depends on it, burying her face in his chest. She felt safe there. He made all the bad memories go away. After a few minutes, she came to her senses and realized that they would both be sick as dogs in the morning if they didn't get inside soon. Reluctantly, Lily pulled away and smiled at James sheepishly.
"Sorry," she whispered, her voice hoarse from crying. James looked at her with a smile. He couldn't pretend he wasn't happy, hell, he was thrilled!
"It's okay. Why don't we go to the kitchens? It'll be warm there." Lily nodded quietly and they headed up to the castle together. As they were nearing the portrait of fruit, Lily's eyes teared up again and she turned her head away so that James wouldn't see. James, not missing a thing, gently took her hand and squeezed it, not letting go until they were inside the kitchens. House elves swarmed around them, providing them with blankets and clean sets of pajamas to change into. After they changed, James asked a nearby house elf for two mugs of hot chocolate, extra marshmallows. Lily smiled appreciatively as she didn't think she could really talk at the moment.
The house elf came scurrying back with two steaming mugs. Lily sat across from James at the table and they sipped their drink in silence for a few minutes. James glanced up at Lily and found her watching him. She giggled a bit, and he was happy that she didn't seem as sad anymore.
"What's so funny?"
"You have a bit of a mustache, from your hot chocolate." Lily said with a small smile. James reached up and wiped his mouth with his sleeve. He wasn't sure if he should ask her what happened or just let it be, but thankfully he didn't have to.
"Thank you, James. I was just really upset because Ted broke up with me this morning and I knew why but I didn't want to admit it to myself. You kind of came during my breakdown." She sighed.
"Not to be nosy, but why exactly did he break up with you? I mean, you're amazing. He's a right git for letting you go!" James blurted out, not realizing what he'd said before it was too late.
Lily smiled sadly. "He was cheating on me. With Mary Macdonald."
James felt anger building up inside him. "I'm going to give that Ted Tonks a piece of my mind… cheating on my Lily…" he muttered angrily, again speaking before he thought. Lily blushed despite her best efforts.
"That's sweet of you James, really, but I think it's best we left it alone." Lily was sure that she was going to warn the next girl that Ted asked out, but she didn't want anything bad to happen to him.
"You know what I just realized? You've been calling me James for the past five minutes!" James looked at Lily with a kind of awe. Lily laughed quietly.
"Yeah, I guess I have been. You're not as bad as I thought, Potter. You're actually kind of… sweet. Not to say that you aren't still an arrogant idiot, but you're definitely improving." Lily smiled at him, the spark that filled her eyes slowly coming back to life.
"Why thank you, Evans. I'm flattered. Does this mean we're – dare I say it – friends?" James said dramatically, placing a hand to his heart.
"Why yes, Potter. I think it does." Lily said, smiling warmly at him. They got up from the table, finished with their hot chocolate.
Lily crossed over to James and stood in front of him. "Thanks again, James. I really do feel a lot better."
James grinned cheekily at her. "As friends, we are allowed to hug, right?"
Lily laughed. "Yes, we are." She stepped forward and hugged him tightly. James, savoring the moment, held on.
"And – refresh my memory – do friends kiss?" Lily wriggled free of James' grip and swatted him gently.
"No, I'm afraid not, Potter," she said with a small smile.
"Ah, well, better luck next time." James grinned mischievously. Lily looked at him in disbelief, and promptly stalked out of the kitchen.
"Oi! Evans! Wait up!" James called, and to his surprise, she did.
A/N: This is quite new for me; I have never done a Harry Potter fanfic before Although I have to say, it feels pretty good to have finally accomplished something! I'm debating whether or not I want to make this into a story or just leave it as a one-shot. As readers, I am hopeful that you will review review review, partly to boost my self-esteem and partly to improve my writing technique ;D Much love!