Author's Notes: Written for Sam. Enjoy. =)
For as long as she could remember, all she'd ever heard about was his hair.
Everyone was enamoured with it. The mess. The tussle. The silky, sloppy strands, so dark and so everywhere and Merlin's beard, if he couldn't even manage to keep his hands out of it, how were the witches of Hogwarts meant to stand a chance? You'd think the boy didn't have a face, that he was merely a wig on a stick figure, the way everyone went on and on about it. His hair was his crowning glory, and everyone ought to know it.
But for her, it had never been about his hair. It was perfectly nice hair, of course, and one could certainly grow to appreciate it, but the first time she noticed him—really noticed him, the way her classmates had, the way he seemingly had her—it was because of his hands.
They were partnered in Divination early in sixth year, a unit on palm reading that Lily couldn't for the life of her comprehend. She'd never been particularly good at Divination—her proclivity was to scoff at what Professor Tiadorro found stunningly, mystically significant—but palm reading was a matter unto itself. Lily stared at her own palm for hours, unsuccessfully attempting to discern which lines correlated with which reading. She was dreading doing a practical during class, and matters were only made worse when she was partnered with James Potter. She counted herself lucky that he seemed unusually knackered that morning and didn't make some smarmy comment as he sat down next to her and immediately presented her with his palm.
"Go on," he said. "Tell me what my future holds."
They were large hands—hard hands. For someone who had been raised having everything handed to him, James Potter's hands were that of a labourer, rough with calluses that pulled and toughened the skin across his palms and even up along his lengthy fingers. They were scratched and scuffed—she spotted more than a few bruised knuckles when he curled his fingers over, and a thin scab was healing over an errant cut running along the side of his smallest finger.
Hands told a lot about a person. Lily wasn't certain if she was keen on the fact that she was intrigued by his.
"Well, would you look at that?" She ran a wispy trail over the pale indent etched across the top of his palm. Soft fingers against hardened skin. She felt the friction down to her toes. "Your Line of Life is quite long. Congratulations."
He bent his head—the one she ought to be so taken with—then cleared his throat.
"Er, I think that's the Line of Heart." The hand she wasn't holding went for the textbook. Nimble fingers flipped quickly through the pages. He jabbed at something. "Yeah. Line of Heart."
Funny, but Lily could feel her own heart pounding. "So which is the Line of Life?"
Lily glanced down at the line that curved around his thumb. It wasn't particularly long. "Tragic Quidditch accident," she predicted with sham gravity. "Very early in your career. But you die a beloved legend."
"Quite beloved," Potter qualified, pointing at his Line of Heart again. Abruptly, he grabbed for her hand. "Ah-ha." He pokes at her own palm. Even his finger pads have calluses. "Seems we're of a pair."
Lily shot a look down at her palm, noting her own Line of Life. It wasn't particularly long, either. But her Line of Heart was.
"Potions explosion," Potter foretold with a teasing lift of his lips. "Heartbreaking, really. You'd just concocted the brew that would save millions. Never fear—you were quite celebrated afterwards."
He was rubbing his thumb along the top of her palm and Lily nearly shivered. She jerked her hand out of his grasp, found an excuse for it as she brought her hand close to her face and examined it more fully.
"Perhaps they're supposed to be that short," she mused. "Maybe it's relative."
"I don't mind my fate," Potter said, shrugging. "Better to die young and loved then old and alone. And look"—he thrust his hand back into hers—"my Line of Fate is colossal."
What was colossal was the way she could cup his hand just so in hers; the way her fingers curled over the edge of his palm and hit the spot where the Line of Life really ought to have ended, if the textbook was to be believed. She was surprised by his pronouncement, by the way he declared himself content with the fate his palm had laid out for him. Perhaps it was just because he thought Divination as ludicrous as she, but somehow that didn't seem right. Rough hands...he took what life threw at him, this boy, and somehow made it attractive. If he wasn't such a git, Lily thought she could become rather enamoured with that.
"Er, Evans?" He stared at her, gave his hand a slight tug. "My hand?"
She blushed furiously and immediately let go. "Right. Sorry."
He only smiled at her.
When Harry is a few months old and his features have finally turned from every baby to individually his own, all she ever hears about is how he's got James's hair. They're enamoured with it, that passed-down trait, the way it overwhelms his little body, the mess, the tussle, the silky sloppy strands. It's his crowning glory, and everyone ought to know it.
But Lily knows that his hair isn't the only thing Harry inherited from his father. And as the baby grips Lily's finger in his own, holding on with a solid strength that seems impossible for such a tiny person, she smiles.